This past weekend the Milwaukee Metal Fest made its triumphant return. The lineup was stellar all around and after watching all the video clips from the 3 day festival (4 if you count the Thursday Pre-Party), it really made me think I should’ve gone. While checking out a ton of clips of so many bands it got me thinking, what if out of this fest a rad tour package came out of it and here’s my idea. Now, this is just hypothetical but, would be seriously awesome if it did happen, a Machine Head, Biohazard and Hatebreed tour. You could even throw on an up and coming band on the bill to open the whole thing like Dying Wish, Creeping Death or someone else. Think about this, Biohazard is back and their set was straight up fire from what I saw. Machine Head’s new album is a banger and those songs really need to be played live. And then you have Hatebreed to bring it all together and just murder out of the gates. I don’t know about you but, I would be at that tour in a heartbeat.
The Breakdown: Machine Head- 100 min set Biohazard- 90 min set Hatebreed- 60 min set Opener- 30 min set
Have it at a place that holds about 2,000-4,000 people.
This could and should totally happen! Just imagine how awesome this tour would be!
The other day I saw that it’s the 20th anniversary of Deftones 2003 self titled album. I remember the day it came out, it was also the same day as Metallica’s St. Anger! When I went to listen to the album, it’s been quite a minute since I have, I quickly remembered an old favorite song and went straight for it and that song would be “When Girls Telephone Boys.” This song is one hell of a gem. It’s got everything I like about the band in one and live?! Oh, it’s a beast that goes off! I’m just gonna keep it short and simple, enjoy this song!
The month of May is almost over which means that half the year is almost over. In the past few months there have been a few records that I’ve had in constant rotation. Some of these are older albums and some are brand spanking new. Either way, they have yet to leave my constant music rotation and I thought I’d share these with you all. Each of these picks are ones you should definitely check out!
01) Iress- Solace: Ever since I heard this EP, I haven’t gone a day without listening to it. It’s so damn good. This album hits you in all the feels and yet it’s so seductive and beautiful. Iress are beyond the real deal and I can’t wait for what’s to come for this band!
02) Metallica- 72 Seasons: As a lifelong Metallica fan, I’m stoked on this new one from the metal legends. From start to finish this one really gets the blood pumping. There’s a song for every type of Metallica fan on here as well. My favorite track as of now is still the final song “Inamorata.” When you hear this epic, you’ll know why!
03) Unearth- The Wretched / The Ruinous: This new Unearth album is a blistering and heavy record. It’s got everything you know and love about Unearth and then some. One of the things I love most about this record is that it’s uncompromising and delivers banger after banger. This is what “MetalCore” should sound like, not this new laptop backing track bullshit!
04) Billy Howerdel- What Normal Was: There’s something really fun about Billy Howerdel’s first “solo” album. There’s a lot to delve into on this and with each listen you start to notice these little nuances the more it all comes to life. One of the things that I love about this album is that it sounds classic in it’s approach but doesn’t rely on “nostalgia.” Just listen!
05) Placebo- Never Let Me Go: Placebo’s long awaited new album came out last year and it’s chock full of gems. Now on their 8th studio album, this album still has the “classic” sound but with a a few new experiments. These new sounds and approaches show that even this far into their career, complacency is not in their vocabulary
06) She Wants Revenge- She Wants Revenge: It’s been a minute since I listened to this album. The other day, randomly I had part of “Tear You Apart” stuck in my head and from there I felt compelled to put this one on. I forgot how wellput together this album is. It’s got all the post-punk goodness in it along with some other elements that make for a really solid debut album. Glad to see that they are back out playing again. I remember seeing them many years ago and it being a really good show.
07) Rancid- …And Out Come The Wolves: Ever since it was announced that Rancid are returning with a new album, I’ve been on a bit of a Rancid kick. Their first 5 albums are unfuckwithable! They are punk rock classics in my book. Their 1995 album …And Out Come The Wolves is a true classic for sure. From the moment track one starts with “Maxwell Murder” all the way to track 19 “The Way I Feel,” it’s a non-stop ride of punk, ska punk, and then some. All these years later and this album still burns bright!
08) Emma Ruth Rundle- On Dark Horses: I love this album. It’s so damn good. There aren’t enough adjectives to properly describe it. There’s a beauty in the darkness that resides throughout this album. Even on her most recent album, Engine Of Hell (which you should listen to as well) there is no stopping Emma. She’s one of the most honest artists out there. Everything about her music, lyrics and self is real. Each time I listen to her albums, I always finds something else to enjoy about them.
09) Holy Fawn- Dimensional Bleed: This is one of my favorite albums of 2022 and I still get a kick out of listening to this one. After seeing them live, this album took on a whole new form for me. Knowing that these songs are that much more bombastic live makes listening to the album all the more enjoyable. Dimensional Bleed is an album that should be recognized not just as a great album but one that will inspire others.
10) Greg Puciato- Mirrorcell: My favorite album of 2022 and I still haven’t stopped listening to this one. Everything about this album is phenomenal. The performances, songs, riffs, rhythms, lyrics, melodies and more all make up a truly great album. In the span of a couple years, Greg has put out 2 of the best albums of the last few years and he just keeps going. If you haven’t listened to Mirrorcell, I highly recommend that you change that. I love this album and everything about it!
I love when you see a video that really connects with the energy of the song. I still remember when this video came out and it was one of those “damn, that video is really really good and now I am quite enjoying the song.” I have something lined up in the next couple weeks to further delve into Linkin Park but, first I really want to highlight this gem of a video. Riding high off their debut album, Hybrid Theory and then their follow up Meteora, Linkin Park was the biggest band in the world. During the summer of 2003, Linkin Park released “Faint” as a single and the accompanying video was something else. Legendary director Mark Romanek (Nine Inch Nails, Fiona Apple, Jay-Z, etc) was behind the camera for this one and it definitely left a mark (no pun intended). The video has the band performing with an audience with giant floodlights. Almost the entire video is shot from behind the band, allowing the strong lighting to portray them in silhouettes. A fun thing about this video is that the faces of the band are not shown throughout most of the video, except at the final chorus where the band is then shown from the front. So instead of getting an “audience view” you get the perspective of what the band sees from the state. The way the video is shot and edited is so fun and interesting. Mark Romanek does a phenomenal job of capturing not just the performance aspect of the band but, the energy from the audience that roars back to the band “on stage.” This is video is one of those that I like to put in the category of “this video will get you into the song.” As of now too, the video for “Faint” has almost 400 million plays on YouTube.
On July 7, 2023 the mighty Will Haven will unleash their long awaited new album, VII (pre-orders available HERE). I personally am quite stoked on there being a new Will Haven album. Their last opus, Muerte was top notch and showed that there is still much more in the tank. They have now released two singles “Wings Of Mariposa” and the latest offering “5 Of Fire” and oh boy is it a scorcher for damn sure. Guitarist Jeff Irwin said of the track ” ‘5 Of Fire‘ is to me the blueprint for this record; it’s heavy, chaotic, with different moods and tempo changes. We wanted to challenge ourselves by writing live in real time, and this song was the one to set that off. I love how it came out and I find myself going back and listening to it over and over again. I still find something new every time I listen.” Based on that little description, I’m even more excited to hear what lies ahead on the 10 songs that will be on the new record. I’ve always felt like Will Haven never got the due they deserved. Their 2001 album, Carpe Diem is still one of the gems of the time as well as their entire catalog. You can catch Will Haven live at this years Furnace Fest in September as well as at The Knitting Factory in North Hollywood on August 30 with Arc Angles, Stronger Than Machines, Cycotic Youth and more. And don’t forget to blast the ever living hell out of “5 Of Fire!!!!”
It’s finally here!!! New Mutoid Man!!! Today the band released the first single “Call Of The Void” from their upcoming new album, Mutants which will be out July 28, 2023 via Sargent House! This first single is a total ripper! This album also marks the first album with new bassist Jeff Matz from High On Fire joining Stephen Brodsky and Ben Koller. I’ve been a fan of this band for some time and each album is sublimely divine! The video for “Call Of The Void” was created by the fine folks over at Two Minutes To Late Night and it’s the perfect companion piece not just for this but in general as they have captured the humor that runs rampant throughout the members of the band. July 28 can’t come soon enough!
The year was 2013, Nine Inch Nails have returned from a 5 year hiatus and a new album, Hesitation Marks. When news of this came out, needless to say I was pretty damn excited. Around the time of the release of the album, it was announced that Nine Inch Nails would be the musical guest on an upcoming episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live. This would mark the bands network TV debut. They have obviously previously performed on MTV but, never a late night network show. They would perform 5 songs this evening with “Various Methods Of Escape” leading it off on TV followed by “All Time Low,” “Sanctified (altered version),” “Came Back Haunted,” and “The Hand That Feeds.” It was quite a fun set as those of us in attendance got to hear 3 new songs live for the first time plus a couple classics. It’s crazy to think that this was almost 10 years ago now. And since today is May 17… Happy Birthday Trent!
Nine Inch Nails- Various Methods Of Escape (Live On Jimmy Kimmel 2013):
I’m sure we’ve all heard albums that have left a last impression on ones self. Sometimes these albums take us to different places be it in our minds, imaginations, etc. Then there are times when an album comes out that hits you at the right moment in all the right ways and it makes it feel like everything will be ok because of that album. A couple months back the band Iress, released the song “Ricochet” off their now released and utterly spellbinding and superb EP, Solace. The moment I heard that song, I knew there was something more to it than just a “dark/moody vibe.” What I found was a band that sonically devastates while at the same time draws you in seductively. Iress’s new EP, Solace is a piece of art and music that hypnotizes you while the words and vocals crawl under your skin and gives you the type of chills that you might find when you reach that moment of clarity. The life that these songs breathe is astounding. One of the most intriguing factors about Iress is their ability to utilize atmosphere and space to balance out the heavy nature of the songs. It’s a feeling you will notice as you listen. Through all the darkness on these songs, the hope and light found throughout is breathtaking. The depths these songs take you and the place it leaves you in the end is the light at the end of the tunnel. Fronted by Michelle Malley (aka The Adele Of Doom) her vocals and guitar take you on quite a journey of love, loss, pain, and anguish all while the band Graham Walker (guitar), Michael Maldonado (bass) and Glenn Chu (drums) create the soundtrack to all this and add the right sonic elements the leaves you breathless. Another aspect that makes this release so damn good is the production. Producer/Engineer/Mixer Alex Estrada (Touche Amore, Joyce Manor, etc) makes this all come to life by capturing the raw and emotional charged performances of each member. There is no mistaking the magnitude that Iress puts out and with this EP it’s not even close to where their potential lays. I personally can’t wait to hear what else this band does and goes musically. Solace is not just a superb release, it’s my favorite release of 2023. Congratulations to all involved in the creation and release of this masterful EP. Iress is here and they are coming for you! You can pick up your copy of the EP now via the one and only Dune Altar Records (one of the best indie labels around)!
For over 20 years and now 8 studio albums in, Unearth has never let up. Their latest album, The Wretched / The Ruinous is 11 tracks of unrelenting heaviness and some interesting twists and turns that makes this album one that really stands out in their catalog. I will be honest, it’s been a minute since I really got into an Unearth album but, the moment this one started, there was something about this one that just felt different. While the album still has it’s “core” attributes, there is more depth to these songs that on previous albums.
The title track kicks off the album and it’s a full hard charging piece of work. It’s one of those songs that not only is a great track one but, you can tell this one is gonna be in the set list for a long time to come. One of the things that I enjoyed most about this album, is that while the band stays true to their sound, they are willing to take chances and change the formula just enough to make a difference. A track like “Mother Betrayal,” showcases this element as you can hear the band move into new territory that is almost along the spectrum lines of black metal. Then you have a song like “Broken Arrow” that explores more of a “rock” vibe but, still keeps the integrity of what Unearth is all about. Another song that steps a little outside the comfort zone like “Dawn Of The Militant” is a straight up classic metalcore track that features a classic breakdown that will get a crowd going full force in the pit for sure. Another component of this album that shines is that everything is building up to something more, just like an album should. On previous Unearth albums, there has been a lack of cohesion but, on this new one, you can definitely tell this is meant to be played from start to finish.
The Wretched / The Ruinous is a solid album that hits your in the face like a ton of bricks. On this album for Unearth, there is a definite sense of urgency and reignited fire burning throughout. Sometimes bands do need to change things up whether it’s members, producers, styles, etc. Those things can help to bring out the best at times and in the case of Unearth it sure made a difference. As a fan of the band especially during The Oncoming Storm and III: In The Eyes Of Fire, I can honestly say this is their best album since that time. Now, that’s not to say they output in between hasn’t been good, The Wretched / The Ruinous is just one of those albums that just goes a bit harder and feels like a band ready to get back out there and show the world why for over 20 years, Unearth has been a mainstay and one of the more consistent bands in the genre.
There are some albums you never forget hearing for the first time. And when you think of those albums there are certain songs that always come to mind right away. When Rancid announced that their 10th studio album would be coming out soon, I did what I usually do when I get excited about a band I like, I went back through their catalog. Then I got to the band’s third album, …And Out Come The Wolves and all those memories of being 10/11 years old blasting the hell out of this album came back. Yes, we’ve all heard “Time Bomb” and “Ruby Soho” a ton of times but, the one that has always got me the most on the album is the first track, “Maxwell Murder.” This song has all the makings of a great track one. It’s got the great intro, killer riff and bass line, driving rhythm, and not to mention that the vocals are right on the money. Plus I’d like to give a shout out to the one and only Matt Freeman, as his bass solo on this song is absolutely killer. Also “Maxwell Murder” is all killer in only one minute and twenty-five seconds. The ability to make such an impact with barely a minute and a half is astounding. Rancid have been one of the most consistent bands since their debut album came out 30 years ago this year. I’m stoked on new Rancid this year and you should be too!