*This is a part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state.*
This month’s state is Alabama!
Hailing from Mobile, Alabama, Oracle offers extreme metal with intention. Ranging from melodic to outright bludgeoning brutality, it’s the elaborately well-conceived song structures that bring together all of the interesting musical elements for a truly exciting listening experience. Like an intricately crafted movie plot with multiple twists and turns, Oracle takes the same approach with their music. Tracks transition through multiple moods, tones, and tempos not simply because they can, but because they need to in order to achieve such monumental levels of depths and dynamics this band delivers. Continue reading →
Formed in 1976 Diamond Head have been one of the most iconic yet underrated New Wave Of British Heavy Metal bands in the history of music. The band has influenced a long list of musicians and bands around the world but some of those topping the list would be Metallica, and Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine. You may have heard Metallica’s cover of “Am I Evil”, which they have also performed with the Big 4 during their tour. The song was originally written and recorded by Diamond Head in 1980 on the bands album ‘Lightning to the Nations’. The band has released 7 studio albums, 5 live albums, and several EPs, singles and splits. The bands most recent album released in 2016 and is self titled. The album was the debut of the bands new vocalist Rasmus “Ras” Bom Andersen. Ras is the third vocalist the band has had since their formation over 40 years ago. The bands original vocalist was Sean Harris who last left the band in 2004 and from then until 2014 the bands vocalist was Nick Tart. Though both the former singers released great material with the band I do feel that the vocal style Ras delivers in the bands new album is exactly what the band needed, and I believe it’s some of the best material the band has released to date. Diamond Head has been working on a follow up to the self titled album with plans to have it released during the winter of this year.
In Early May I got to catch my very first Trivium Concert at Manchester Music Hall in Lexington KY. If you aren’t familiar with Manchester Music Hall, first let me say that its one of, if not the best small concert venues in Central, Kentucky. Prior to this concert, I did a little research on the band. I had heard of the band over the years and had checked out the radio-friendly cuts but I had never really dug into any of the album tracks. One thing I love about listening to tracks off a bands albums 24 hrs before going to see the band really makes me appreciate the hard work, blood sweat, and tears musicians put into making an album. Most bands track songs just for studio cuts while others track just how they would be on stage as if they were performing the songs live. Being a musician myself I can certainly say that in my many years of stage experience less means more. The more backing tracks and other electronic gear you bring to a live show other than whats necessary raises the chances for more shit to go wrong. Continue reading →
Arriving a half hour early to any gig is perhaps not the best idea, especially when it is freezing cold with snow in the air, but I wasn’t the only one keen to get into Londons iconic Koko in Camden town ahead of tonight’s monumental performance. On their headlining tour in support of their record ‘Machine Messiah’ that just so happens to coincide with vocalist Derrick Green marking 20 years with the band, the mighty Brazilian legends Sepultura. There was a decent crowd joining me already and the vocal topic of choice was the Cannibal Corpse gig happening right around the corner, but we were all in agreement that tonight’s line-up of Fit For An Autopsy, Goatwhore and Obscura as supports was far too appealing.
Londons Koko is perhaps one of the most beautiful venues I have been too. Formerly one of the largest theatres outside of Londons West End, the venue itself boasts numerous viewing platforms with many touches celebrating its mixed and magical past as a theatre, cinema and now as a dedicated music venue. Inside the lights were already dim with the stage illuminated red and blue spotlights gleaming across the lower floor. Many fans rushed to the pit barrier to claim their front row spot for the evening and within about 10 minutes the 2000+ capacity venue was already looking full. Continue reading →
Pacific Northwest punk thrashers, Zeke are set to release ‘Hellbender’ via Relapse Records on March 30th, 2018 – the band’s first full-length LP in 14 years. Their energetic, high-octane sound on ‘Hellbender’ is equal parts Motörhead-style rock n’ roll/thrash and Circle Jerks’, West Coast-influenced hardcore punk. The band takes a noticeably blue-collar approach to the songwriting by stripping things down to just the bare essentials – no frills, no fluff, no gimmicks; just pure, in-your-face, guitar-driven ferocity. With the traditional three power chords per song punk model, blazing guitar solos, and highspeed kick-snare-kick-snare drumming, ‘Hellbender’ offers a concise 15-track, 20-minute asskicker of a record that leaves no opportunity for a dull moment. Continue reading →
‘Livin’ Oblivion’, the fourth release by Vancouver-based doom-sters Black Wizard (and the second release under the Listenable label), is a genre bending, heavy metal amalgam of Iron Maiden harmonies mixed with the aggression of old school Thrash Metal! My introduction to Black Wizard was through the album ‘New Waste’ (released in 2016). At first listen I knew this would be a band I’d like! Black Wizard take influence from bands like Judas Priest, Thin Lizzy, Iron Maiden, and Black Sabbath but instead of rehashing riffs and being content with sounding like a throwback band, they have found a way to take all these old school elements and push them forward to new heights! Continue reading →
Throughout history, the San Francisco Bay Area has long been deemed as the epicenter for thrash metal, whereas Los Angeles has invariably been considered the stomping ground for glam and hair metal. True, San Francisco has birthed many exceptional thrash bands since the early ‘80s, but the fact remains – Los Angeles is the rightful birthplace of three of the “Big 4” thrash bands and is the breeding grounds for unconventional thrash/punk-metal bands. From legendary thrash icons Metallica, Slayer, and Megadeth, to punk/metal renegades Suicidal Tendencies and combative thrash stalwarts Dark Angel and Hirax, they all generated from this pretentious, megalopolis hellhole we call Los Angeles. Continue reading →
Throughout their 24 year career, the modern metal colossus that is Machine Head have seen their fair amount of love, hate and skepticism. A band who change with the times, not necessarily with the trends, they have shown especially interesting senses of progression most recently through adding string sections, choral chants and a bigger sense of scope to their crushing brand of metal. Fans have been kept on their toes in other words and the Machine Head brand is not easily painted into a corner. So when the band’s new record, ‘Catharsis’, was unveiled and its mission statement was to be a major statement for rock & metal music in 2018, one can’t help but let curiosity take over and see what the Cali boys have concocted this time. ‘Catharsis’ was recorded with Zack Ohren (Fallujah, All Shall Perish) at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, California and will be released via Nuclear Blast on January 26th, 2018.
Ornimental is a band with a mission, a mission to put the groove punch, originality, and excitement back into metal, where it belongs. The band was founded by lead guitarist Danny Perry and drummer Julio. The name itself, Ornimental, comes from the Latin prefix Orni (to celebrate or decorate) and the root word mental (of intelligence or insanity), and true to form, Ornimental delivers an intelligent, possessed sound that celebrates the origins and foundations of hard rock and metal alike. More than anything what Ornimental has come to mean with regards to the bands sound is unique. With influences ranging from metal legends like Megadeth, Van Halen, Metallica, Arch Enemy, and Pantera. The band doesn’t of course stop with influences from the metal world, within their musical you can also hear classical music influences from composers like Beethoven or Mozart. Continue reading →
Remember that Big4 show (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax) back in the day in Sweden where the show was dedicated to a band called IceAge? I do and vaguely recall looking the band up, only to find a few songs floating around with a few demo bootlegs available. I dug them, but didn’t expend too much more effort once I heard the limited amount of what was available here in the US. Since then, the name has come up in passing a few times in the “whatever happened to…” context and I always wondered myself. Surprise! They’re back, and with a damned vengeance…