You know the saying “music can save lives?” Well, I truly believe that. There is a real sense of healing power through music no matter the genre. With that in mind, I’d like to introduce you to The Mendenhall Experiment. Guitarist Brandon Mendenhall who has cerebral palsy, started to learn how to play guitar at age 19 as a way to work through his physical limitations. The band which originally formed in 2008, has seen its share of line up changes over the years but, in 2014 the line up was solidified with the additions of Nate Stockton (who is also deaf), Mike Lira, Bruce Lira, and Mario Valadez. The Mendenhall Experiment is more than just your run of the mill heavy rock band. Instead they use music to help change the perspective people have about those with disabilities and inspires hope to those that have one to overcome it. Through the years they have played shows and toured with the likes of Korn, Fear Factory, POD and more, leaving a lasting mark with those bands and their fans.
This past May, The Mendenhall Experiment released their self titled EP featuring 6 songs of heavy melodic rock. The EP also features a few guests like Korn’s James “Munky” Shaffer on the song “Prosthetic” and former Nine Inch Nails multi instrumentalist and producer Danny Lohner on “Find A Way Out.” If you are looking for sharp melodies and hooky guitar parts, then The Mendenhall Experiment is the band for you.
There is a new force to be reckoned with in the extreme music circles. Hailing from Sweden, God Mother is here to leave you with a severe case of whiplash and change your perception of heavy music. God Mother was founded in 2012 Michael Dahlström (drums), Daniel Noring (bass) and Jonatan Lindgren (guitar). When they formed the band, they sought to combine their influences form hardcore, metal, grindcore and sludge. Until the addition of Sebastian Campbell (vocals) in 2013, drummer Michael Dahlström was the bands vocalist. God Mother have released 2 EP’s and one full length album (so far), that are a very take no prisoners heavy approach to what they do. Most recently though, while The Dillinger Escape Plan was touring through Sweden, they handpicked God Mother to be their support band for those shows. Then when it came time for South By Southwest, Dillinger guitarist Ben Weinman invited the band to be a part of his Party Smasher showcase at the event.
Now, God Mother are gearing up to unleash the fury that is their upcoming album Vilseledd. I’ve had the opportunity to hear this album and it is absolutely crushing and heavy in all the right places. You can just tell from the couple songs they’ve released that God Mother are here and are taking over. Even Ben Weinman has said “God Mother is an undeniable force majeure that demands attention like bands did in the old days, by just being that f—king good. Torch, officially passed!”
So do yourselves a favor and check out God Mother and all they bring to the table. Your ears and your CD/Record/Digital collection will thank you!
The A to Z list continues to find the top ten bands/artists in the alphabet. S is upon us and needs help to complete the list. S is going to be one of the most difficult due to there being so many bands that begin with the letter S.
As usual your suggestions are wanted in completing this list.
These are in no particular order as well.
01) Sex Pistols
02) Stone Temple Pilots
03) Bruce Springsteen
05) Smashing Pumpkins
06) The Smiths
08) Paul Simon/Simon and Garfunkel
There are bands that often get overlooked because there are so many coming out of a genre at the time. Most times when you take a step back and see what you’ve missed, you come across some pretty spectacular bands. Back in 2009 or 2010 when I went to see the band Dredg, they brought along a band called Balance and Composure on tour with them. During their set I really began to dig on their sound and songs. I remember thinking that they had a very cool vibe that was similar to that of Brand New with a bit of Sunny Day Real Estate.
Since the bands inception in 2007, Balance and Composure have released 3 full length albums and more than half a dozen EP’s and splits. Through the years not only has the band progressed and evolved but, they have started to really rub off on other up and coming bands from the post-hardcore/alternative rock scenes. Something else about Balance and Composure is their ability to write songs that not only emit feeling but, also pack a punch of aggression delicately with precision. Their music isn’t “heavy” for the sake of being “heavy.” It’s all done in a way that is needed for the song and fits where things are going.
Their most recent album Light We Made, is the perfect representation of the band. This album is mature yet full of all the things that make Balance and Composure a band for the times. Since that release, they have also released an EP called Slowheart that is one of their best pieces of work.
Catch Balance and Composure on tour this fall with Thrice and Circa Survive.
Balance and Composure- Light We Made:
Balance and Composure- Slowheart EP:
Balance and Composure- The Things We Think Are Missing:
Ice T and Body Count are a very interesting band. I’ll never forget hearing them with Slayer on the Judgement Night Soundtrack. Oh the 90’s you were so damn good! Lately I’ve been slowly checking out the new stuff Body Count has put out and it’s pretty good. Their last couple albums have featured covers of Suicidal Tendencies “Institutionalized” and Slayer’s “Raining Blood” Both of which are interesting and decent. Ice T took some liberties with the lyrics to the Suicidal song but, they are pretty funny.
The date is March 19, 1990 and Depeche Mode have just unleashed the masterpiece Violator on the world. This album propelled the band into international notoriety and helped to usher in a new wave of alternative music. I also remember my dad buying me the cassette of Violator when I was 6 and I couldn’t stop listening to it. It’s pretty amazing how much my parents helped to keep my love of music growing since I was a wee lad.
Depeche Mode’s Violator, though only 9 songs, is deep and without compromise. Each song has a genuine purpose of being on the album and you get a genuine sense of “feeling” from every single one. Everyone knows “Personal Jesus,” “Enjoy The Silence,” and “Policy of Truth” but the real gems are the deep cuts on the album. “World In My Eyes,” “Halo” (which is my favorite song on the album), and “Clean” are a trifecta of artistic expression. “Sweetest Perfection” and “Waiting For The Night” are two of the best songs on the album along with “Halo.” Sorry but, I really think “Halo” is one of their best songs ever. The one song that I was never too keen on as a stand alone song “Blue Dress” is quite a dark song. The way it fits right after “Policy Of Truth” is truly remarkable.
The oozing of sexuality and darkness through the entire album is captivating and sophisticating. Martin Gore proved on Violator that he is a force to be reckoned with as a songwriter. Dave Gahan’s voice and conviction singing the words of Gore, makes it seem as though he wrote them himself. Not to mention the production by Mark “Flood” Ellis, (who you might know from his work with U2, Nine Inch Nails, PJ Harvey and The Smashing Pumpkins) which really accentuated the use of synthesizers, live drums, drum machines, and guitars. His knack for getting the best tones for the songs and albums is absolutely remarkable.
Violator stands out in the bands catalog for not only being the most successful but the one that some believe to be their peak of creativity. Personally, I love that the band has been able to keep on their legacy of creating new music and albums that still carry the torch for the band. Since the 25 years since the release of Violator, Depeche Mode has gone on to release 7 more albums and continue to sell out venues all around the world. The magnitude of influence the band has left over the years is insurmountable.
Because electronic music has become such a force within music, I felt compelled to start a category to feature the best electronic artists I’ve come across. Beats Per Minute will showcase all these bands/artists and give you a nice cross section of different styles and genres within the electronic music scene.
For this first one I’d like to introduce to you Robots With Rayguns. Formed by Lucas Patrick Smith in Phoenix, Arizona, Robots With Rayguns oozes with synth driven ballads a la 80’s New Wave and bits of modern electronica. The latest release Slow Jams is a concept album that incorporates all new songs along with revamped versions of older RWR songs. After taking the time to listen to the entire album, there is definitely a sense of continuity between all the songs and it creates a very intriguing “good time” vibe. The way the songs play out in the “ballad” format gives the album a bit of a 70’s R & B vibe as well.
Normally this isn’t something I would gravitate to but there is certainly something catchy about Robots With Rayguns that sticks out. The “good time” vibe that I mentioned above is contagious. You could put this entire album on while having a party, and I’m sure you’d start seeing people dancing out of nowhere.
Pre-order the 2 x LP vinyl via Sofa King Vinyl HERE