Since Less Art was announced, I’ve been looking forward to hearing music from them. Made up of Riley and Ed Breckinridge of Thrice (on drums and guitar) along with Kowloon Walled City’s Jon Howell and Ian Miller (on guitar and bass) and Curl Up and Die’s Mike Minnick (on vocals), you knew that the music these gents would release would be something substantial. Their debut album Strangled Light is shaping up to be a righteous slab of post hardcore with a bit of a shoe-gaze vibe. The first song released “Pessimism As Denial.” is everything you want it to be and more. Obviously with Thrice, back and going full steam, this is a side project for Riley and Ed but, I can tell that they are really dedicated to this. Check out Less Art, you’ll thank me later!
Heavy music comes in all shapes, sounds and vibes. Sometimes the band is just a full on gutteral screaming band that just thrashes about with their music. Other heavier bands incorporate brutality and riffs that make for some pretty intense tunes. And then you have heavy bands that can be “heavy” and “brutal” but still have a sense of melody that doesn’t compromise their intention to be heavy. Which brings me to Westfield Massacre. These guys have made music that combines heavy guitars along with thumping bass and groovy drums and soaring vocals that range from aggressive screams and melodic harmonies.
Led by the ever busy Tommy Vext on vocals, Westfield Massacre is a band for today’s heavy metal/rock circles. The rest of the band which includes Ira Black (Guitar),
Stephen Brewer (Guitar), Erik Tisinger (Bass), and Dio Britto (Drums), add their own personal flairs to writing groove laden and hook filled songs, that doesn’t come across as cheesy or “commercial.”
Westfield Massacre are about to release their second full length album. The first single “Only The Dead” is a great step forward for the band not just as writers but, as players as well. You can tell they were inspired to step up their game on the new album.
I’ve long been intrigued by the bands people start after leaving a band they’ve been in for many years. Most of the time the new band is a departure from what they have been doing, and the new project is their way to break away from the musical path they were in with their former band. Which brings me to Bad Wolves. Formed by drummer John Boecklin, formerly of DevilDriver, Bad Wolves expands upon John’s creativity and explores different avenues of heavy, without being predictable and generic.
Joining John in Bad Wolves are vocalist Tommy Vext (Westfield Massacre, ex Divine Heresy), guitarists Doc Coyle (Vagus Nerve, ex God Forbid) and Chris Cain, and on bass Kyle Konkiel. The music they create blurs the lines of heavy rock and metal. Think a bit of Meshuggah with a bit of Sevendust. The first song released “Learn To Live,” is filled with thick riffs, aggression and melody. I personally am looking forward to seeing Bad Wolves live as well as hearing their debut album!
There seems to be a river of inspiration flowing in Los Angeles. Over the past few years, the bands that have been making an impact in Los Angeles are something to really pay attention to. One such band is New Language. Formed in Los Angeles by Tyler Demorest and Matt Cohen, this band is rounded out by Sebastien Betley and Martin Dovali. New Language has a sound that combines the 90’s quiet to loud with a post hardcore vibe. Think if Failure and Sparta had a child. Their full length album Come Alive was produced by At The Drive In and Sparta drummer Tony Hajjar. The 10 songs on their album are rockin and full of life. Songs like “Wake Up,” “Right Now,” “Frantic Behavior,” and the title track “Come Alive” are perfect examples of why New Language needs to be on your radar.
Over the last few years electronic music has made a strong impact among many people. There has been a sort of “craze” about it and the scene has become flush with many different groups and genres. I’ve always dug on certain aspects of electronic music like, industrial and trip hop. Recently I saw a band live that has really reinvigorated my love for industrial music. That band is Youth Code. Formed in 2012 by Ryan William George and Sara Taylor, Youth Code has taken the scene by storm. By combining elements of industrial, electronica, and a bit of a dance vibe, Youth Code delivers a relentless and punishing sound that will make you bang your head and dance.
When I saw them a few months back, they absolutely stole the show and left me wanting more. Their live performances are intense and energetic. One thing that they have that their other peers lack are lyrics that really grab you just as the music does. It’s beyond refreshing to hear this style of music done so well. So do yourself a favor and check out Youth Code.
There are a handful of bands that I’ve written about here that really get me excited. One of those bands is He Whose Ox Is Gored. Ever since I first heard them, I’ve become enthralled by what they do. This four piece from Seattle is starting to really take the underground music scene by storm. Their mix of doom, shoegaze, and ambience are perfectly blended into their heavy and emotional sound. Their full length album The Camel, The Lion, The Child is still in constant rotation on my stereo and turntable. One thing that I really love about He Whose Ox Is Gored is the way the sparse vocals resonate through their songs. The lyrics and vocals add another dimension to their hypnotic sound. It’s almost as though the vocals invoke a whole different beast.
He Whose Ox Is Gored is the type of band that can transcend just being another heavy band. They have all the parts to make them not only stand out among their peers but, also the talent to really leave their own mark and inspire other bands. Do yourself a favor and buy their album and play it loud and proudly. You’ll thank me later for it.
He Whose Ox Is Gored- The Camel, The Lion, The Child:
Over the course of the few years that I’ve been doing the Band Of The Week feature, I’ve been able to really watch and hear those bands I’ve written about grow by leaps and bounds. A great example of that is New Jersey’s Hidden Cabins. The duo consists of Craig Cirinelli (vocals/percussion) and Brian Hofgesang (guitars/effects/vocals). They deliver songs that branch out of the normal acoustic sound to allow space and ambience to play a big part. Hidden Cabins is the type of band that is the perfect accompaniment to any genre you might listen to. There is something special about this band. Their willingness to be vulnerable lets the music and words hit you in a way that connects.