Review: WOODHAWK – ‘Beyond The Sun’

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Artwork by Mark Kowalchuk

Just this Friday, Calgary, Alberta band Woodhawk released ‘Beyond the Sun’ independently. They dropped their first EP in 2014 and are now here with their first album. With slamming, groovy riffs, the band’s first full length record brings you back to the early 70s rock n roll sound with several different lyrical themes to keep it interesting. The trio recorded this album at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver BC. It was mixed by Jesse Gander, mastered by Brad Boatright, and produced by Gander and the band. The album artwork was created by Mark Kowalchuk. You can purchase ‘Beyond the Sun’ on Bandcamp or stream it below.

‘Beyond the Sun’ leads us in with a relaxed intro from the title track before taking off into a space-like dimension of riffs to prepare us for what is in store for the rest of the record. “The High Priest” (music video below) is a hard rock anthem filled with remarkable instrumentals and catchy choruses from Turner Midzain. Woodhawk continues to pack a huge punch in their sound with the thunderous “Living in the Sand”. This track features guest vocals from Kevin Keegan (Dead Quiet, ex-Mountain Dust, ex-Barn Burner). It’s a six minute epic with a full dose of 70s hard rock storming into your door with power and emotion overflooding your stereo.  “Magnetic North” is a slow tempo, bluesy with booming bass from Mike Badmington and is plentiful of riffs that will put the listener into a trance. The album picks its pace back up with “Lawless” shredding through with that classic rock sound with a psychedelic edge. “Quest For Clarity” has an marvelous bass intro before exploding into another musical adventure with splendid work behind the drum kit from Kevin Nelson. The more relaxed guitar solo near the end is a beautiful work of art and builds tension before roaring back into the chorus. “A New Hope” has a  neat guitar echo effect and obviously rotates around the theme of Star Wars. It doesn’t get much better than rock’n’roll about Star Wars! “Foresee the Future” is a slick two-minute instrumental with a desert-like tone to set the mood for the final song on the record. “Chrononaut” is definitely the most rifftastic song on the album with these huge sounds rushing to you at the speed of light. It takes a more mid-tempo turn towards the middle before closing out in dramatic fashion. Woodhawk has released a killer 9-track debut record not to be forgotten soon by fans of stoner rock. Make sure to follow Woodhawk on Facebook at the link below.

‘Beyond the Sun’ Tracklist
1. Beyond The Sun (3:57)
2. The High Priest (4:46)
3. Living In The Sand (6:03)
4. Magnetic North (4:13)
5. Lawless (3:06)
6. Quest For Clarity (4:14)
7. A New Hope (4:49)
8. Foresee The Future (2:12)
9. Chrononaut (5:19)

Woodhawk is:
Turner Midzain – Vocals/Guitar
Mike Badmington – Bass/Vocals
Kevin Nelson – Drums

 

Review: CUSTOM BLACK – ‘Smoke Shall Rise’ [Album Stream]

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Custom Black is a heavy doom rock trio from the plains of Kansas City. One thing that instantly let’s you know a band is good is when artist David Paul Seymour is involved. The renowned artist created the bands logo. He has done album art or logos for various bands like Wofat, Bastard Lord, Clouds Taste Satanic, and Stone Machine Electric. This of course puts their artwork in competition with some well known bands in the realm of stoner and doom music. Although often times the artwork is enough to entice you to purchase the album, Custom Black have something much greater inside the packaging. On February 21st the band released their debut album ‘Smoke Shall Rise’. The album which was self-released was recorded and mixed by Justin Mantooth at Westend Recording Studios and mastered by Mike Nolte at Eureka Mastering. Their style is full of mouth watering riffs, copiousness amounts of groove and classic breathtaking doom vocal tones.  Continue reading

Chicago Open Air Spotlight: AVATAR

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*Every Thursday from now until Chicago Open Air gets here we will be releasing an article about a band playing the festival to get you familiar with them.*

This week’s artist is Avatar!

Swedish metal band Avatar will be making their debut at Chicago Open Air to “steal the show” on July 15th. Forming in 2001, the band went through several lineup changes before releasing their first full length album, ‘Thoughts of No Tomorrow’ in 2006. ‘Schlact’ followed that in 2007 and then their self titled album was released in 2010. This was the start of the band’s rise to fame having been signed by Sony Music and releasing their biggest song yet “Queen of Blades”. The song received recognition from Blizzard Entertainment as it was about a character from the game Starcraft. Throughout these years they hit the road with many experienced bands like In Flames, Obituary, Helloween, and Dark Tranquility. Continue reading

Album Review: THUNDERBIRD “Heavyweight”

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Hailing from the great white north THUNDERBIRD has a refreshing sound that harkens back to the glory days of hard rock music with a spirit out of the 70’s and 80’s.  They have the a rhythmic feel that would make any AC/DC fan happy.  But amazingly they pair it with vocals that are very comparable to the legendary PAUL STANLEY of KISS.  Originally formed in 2003 the band consists of Marc Lafrance (Vocals), Rod Coogan (Guitar), Kelly Stodola (Drums) also Tim Rath and Rob Becker (Bass). The group disbanded after their 2006 release “What’s The Word?”.  A decade later the rockers are back with vengeance supporting their all new 2016 release “Heavyweight” Continue reading

State Of The Art: DEAD SEASON

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This is part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured State.

This month’s State is Maine!

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Formed in 2003 DEAD SEASON was Founded by brothers Matt and Ian Truman. Ian is the lead vocalist for the group while Matt plays guitar and does backing vocals. They were later joined by bassist Steven Church (2007) and drummer Dustin Fitzpatrick (2014). DEAD SEASON has sold over 25,000 cd’s, an amazing feat considering the band has done it all on their own w/out the help of a record label. The group hail from Paris, ME and have held their own with some of the biggest names in hard rock history. In their 13 year history they have managed to score gigs on the “ROCKSTAR MAYHEM FESTIVAL” and DISTURBED’S “MUSIC AS A WEAPON TOUR” to name only a few. They have also played gigs with and shared the bill with rock icons like SLIPKNOT, AVENEGED SEVENFOLD, GODSMACK, KORN, MEGADETH and MOTORHEAD. Trust me, that was the short list. These guys have played with everyone.

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State Of The Art: Vegas Rockers SIN CITY SINNERS

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*This is part of our State Of The Art series showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state*

This month’s State is Nevada!

Nevada_Road_Sign You can’t think about Nevada without thinking about Sin City. Now these days you can’t think about Sin City without thinking about the SIN CITY SINNERS! Formed in 2007 the SIN CITY SINNERS started as a just for fun jam band but quickly turned into something much bigger. Now in 2015 they are Las Vegas’s top drawing rock act. Their reputation has grown so much that rock legends will not visit Vegas without catching a performance from the rockers, very often joining them on stage. In fact, Hundreds of rock stars have jammed with the “Sinners” including members of iconic bands like Guns N’ Roses, KISS, Motley Crue, Journey, Motorhead and Pantera to name just a few. The band claims that if you took every artist who has performed on stage with them and added their record sells together, the total sells would eclipse 500 Million albums sold worldwide. Continue reading