Normally, I use this topic to highlight unsigned or up and coming bands but, since they are now an “independent” band, I thought, why not expand upon this topic a bit. Filteris back with their first new song in four years. This new track “Thoughts and Prayers” is taken from the now defunct ReBus sessions that Richard Patrick and Brian Liesegang began working on before the whole Pledge Music debacle. The upcoming Filter album, entitled Murica is due out later this year. “Thoughts and Prayers” definitely has a Short Bus feel to it in parts as well as a bit of an Amalgamut vibe, especially because of the heavy guitar riff and it’s a pretty angry track as well. I’m looking forward to hearing more from this album. Richard has mentioned that he hopes to include a few other songs that he and Brian worked on for this upcoming album.
Lamb Of God have been at this for over two decades now and have solidified their place in the heavy music community. Throughout their time, they’ve released two albums that have become classics in the metal world (As The Palaces Burn and Ashes Of The Wake). Now, in 2020, Lamb Of God have released a new album with a renewed sense of energy that hasn’t been heard from them in a long while. That’s not to say that this sounds like a different band, it’s still Lamb through and through. Longtime drummer Chris Adler is no longer in the fold and has been replaced with the very accomplished Art Cruz (formerly of Winds Of Plague and Prong).
This album definitely seems to pick up where their previous one, VII Sturm Und Drang left off. There’s plenty of intricate parts, thrashy elements and metal to go around as well as a new groove that seems to have energized all the members to pick it up a bit more. Album opener “Memento Mori” has some very cool vibes that show that this is more than just a run of the mill song. The clean vocals from Randy Blythe actually fit in really well on this track. “Checkmate” lyrically is hard charging but, musically it does sound a bit familiar. “Gears” offers a bit more of that new groove I mentioned. I have a feeling this song live would be crowd favorite. My favorite song on the new album is “Reality Bath.” This one shows off a lot of diversity in what this band can do. The arrangement on this song along with “that groove” makes this one a stand out. “New Colossal Hate” is straight up Lamb Of God. This song needs to be added to their set list. It definitely has a bit of an Ashes vibe to it as well. “Resurrection Man” is a pretty fun song in that it has a bit of a Pantera-ish vibe mixed with a bit a sort of prog element too. This would be an interesting one to hear live. “Poison Dream” features Hatebreed frontman Jamey Jasta. This song is another very Lamb sounding song. Jamey’s vocals do tend to get lost in the shuffle on this track. It would have been cooler if there was a badass breakdown and he was unleashed. “Routes” is a very introspective song lyrically about Randy’s time spent protesting at the Dakota Access Pipeline. Testament’s Chuck Billy guests on this track in a passionate way. “Bloodshot Eyes” is a song that musically could have fit very easily on guitarist Mark Morton’s solo album. The inclusion of mostly clean vocals on this one is sure to separate some fans but, it’s definitely a welcome change. “Off The Hook” closes out the album and this one is pretty hard charging.
This album is Lamb Of God doing what they do. It’s not reinventing the wheel. It does have a bit of a different vibe since Chris Adler is no longer involved but, it was needed change. Art Cruz, like I mentioned before, has brought a new energy and groove to the band. That groove he learned from playing in Prong, definitely shows through. Mark Morton and Willie Adler have really become quite the guitar duo over the years and on this album it really comes to light a bit more. John Campbell is a seriously underrated bass player. His style along with Art’s are super in sync and it allows for the right amount of breath to be let out on these songs. Randy Blythe’s vocals have really taken shape in interesting ways. He’s still ferocious and gritty but, being able to expand upon the dynamics of the songs with clean parts give these songs something more than just a run of the mill vibe. Overall, this album is solid and a great place to start anew. I can definitely see a few of these songs becoming live staples for a good amount of time. Also, I can really see Art Cruz finding his own place in this band and helping to push the boundaries of what this band can do.
Philip H. Anselmo is quite a talented guy. Throughout the years whether it’s been Pantera, Down, Superjoint, Scour, etc it goes to show how versatile he is as a vocalist and lyricist, not to mention frontman. Last year, we got the first taste of a band he’s talked about for years, En Minor. The two songs released were quite stunning and a complete left turn from anything you’ve ever heard from Philip before. Now, the full length, When The Cold Truth Has Worn Its Miserable Welcome Out, is finally coming out September 4th. The first single “Blue” is absolutely beautiful and haunting. This track features the full arsenal of all the members involved with En Minor and it shows the versatility of all the players. Personally, I really look forward to this album. I also hope when the world gets back to some sort of normalcy, En Minor will get to tour and show off how good these songs are.
Seeing as we are living in uncertain times and the world is on the verge of burning, there is a need for a sense of hope and comfort. Music has always had the ability to evoke feelings that can “save the world.” I truly believe that statement. More often than not, an album is released that strikes a chord with people that gives them just that feeling. Very recently, O’Brother released their new album You and I and it is truly a remarkable album. They have always been a band to evolve and bring something new to the table with each release and on this one, they most certainly have. You and I is a very deep album chock full of all the things you’ve grown to love about this band and then some. The elements of Rock, Post Hardcore, Shoegaze, Trip-Hop, Post Rock are all there but, this time, they brought a more etherial sense to their writing. It’s a very haunting and eerie album but not in the dark and dreary sense. Instead there is a hope to these songs that is uplifting and gets under your skin in a tingling way.
The way the album flows from the moment it opens to the closing song is surreal. It’s a true journey of an album. The way albums should be. They’ve always had a knack for that but, on this one they have truly mastered it. Most of the time when I review an album, I tend to go track by track or name a few stand out songs but, on this one, I can’t do that. If I were to do so, I’d be taking away from the feeling one would get listening to this album. I would feel like I cheated you out of how great this album is. So please, take the time to listen to this and let it all soak in.
O’Brother is a band that since their debut has left me in a sort of awe. I remember seeing them open for Thrice many years ago and their show that night left a mark in my mind. Fast forward a few years to when they were the direct support for The Dillinger Escape Plan’s final tour, as well as releasing one of my favorite albums, Endless Light, it was solidified that this band was beyond something special. I have to say too that it’s criminal that O’Brother isn’t a huge band. By all accounts they should be. The artistry, songs, musicianship, live show, etc is all there. I highly recommend you taking some extra time and listen to all their albums. You’ll definitely understand why I think they are great.
Vowws is one of my favorite new bands that have come along in a while. I really dig their approach to electronic music. As I mentioned in a previous post about them, Vowws adds the right amount of other elements such as 80’s and 90’s alternative along with bits of pop with post-punk, shoegaze, new wave, goth and synthwave. All together, it sounds refreshing and something you can really sink your teeth into. Now, Vowws is back again with a new track called “Impulse Control” that is absolutely badass. I genuinely look forward to a new Vowws release in the near future.
I’ve long been intrigued when certain members of bands I dig, step out and do something else. Having another outlet to be creative is quite a good thing, especially these days when there are so many different genres and sub-genres out there to explore. There’s a band I’ve written about on here a bunch of times called A Light Within. They are a really cool prog-rock band with great songs, riffs, rhythms and vocals. Now, their singer has stepped out on his own with a new project called Molitoth. This new venture sees vocalist Kyle Brandt exploring different textures and sounds while keeping true to his roots. The debut album, The Tribunal (which is out June 26, 2020) is a whirlwind of rock, metal, prog, bits of post punk and a ton of poetic energy. There is a definite narrative and story that coincides with this album and with each listen, you get pulled deeper and deeper within. The way the songs ebb and flow along with the production keep you engrossed in each note and lyric. Just as he has been able to do with A Light Within, this project lets you in even more. The introspection of ones self can often times really connect with those that are listening and that is no different on this album. The Tribunal has also given Kyle a chance to really try out some things vocally, that might not necessarily fit in with his other band. And the end result is something that I hope he carries on with him on the next A Light Within album. For those of you out there looking for a sense of hope at this juncture in time, Molitoth, is one of the perfect choices for you to put on and let it take you away.
Well, we are definitely getting closer to the day that Greg Puciato’s debut solo album, Child Soldier: Creator Of God is released this summer. So far two songs have been released. The first being “Fire For Water” and now “Deep Set.” Both songs are different from each other but, still pack one hell of a punch. I’m very intrigued by these two songs and am highly anticipating this album. Even the cover art for the “Deep Set” single is great, as it pays homage to Soundgarden’s Louder Than Love. Also worth noting is that the drums on “Deep Set” were played by Chris Hornbrook (Poison The Well, Dhani Harrison, etc) and he absolutely rips it up on the skins! Do yourself a favor and play this song multiple times today.
As a fan of music, the first thing I do when I get an album is put it on and just let it take me where it’s supposed to go. Obviously, it takes more than one listen to fully grasp everything that is in there but, when it finally reaches that apex, the moment is what keeps me coming back. Recently, the new Elder album was dropped off in my inbox and I was very intrigued to delve into this one. I’ve heard a few songs of theirs over the years and have dug what they’ve been doing. So before I fully immersed myself into their new album, I had to go back and see where it all started. Well, I’m glad I did. The progression this band has shown from album one till their new one, Omens, is astounding. Moving across the many sub-genres of rock and metal, Elder has established themselves as one of the most epic bands out there and on Omens, they have fully cemented themselves as one of the best to do it in this day and age.
The more I listen to this album, the more I pick up on different things to enjoy about it. Rather than rely on a classic sludgey/stoner mentality, they went off in this really cool Zeppelin meets Deep Purple territory that is parts psychedelic, experimental and full of crisp tones that let your mind wander. There’s also some really cool prog rock moments in these songs that help to build on what I just mentioned without it becoming to grandiose or Toolish for the sake of just wanking off. The five songs on Omens, are crafted without a doubt to bring about new textures and surprise longtime fans of the new directions they are going. Even if this is the first album you’ve ever heard from Elder, you will instantly be drawn into the lush soundscapes and trippy structures. Omens is the type of album that this band was meant to make. When you look back on where they began till now, it’s obvious that this was meant to be and in a total good way. I was trying to think of another band that had a similar trajectory and I came up with a couple, Mastodon, Baroness and Pallbearer. Each of those bands started as this big riff magnet but over time, really took the time to enhance their sound and delve deeper within to make something that really spoke volumes. Elder is now in that company.
Omens is an album that deserves not only your time and patience but, it’s also one that will, for an hour, let your mind escape and wander to many different places. This is what music is all about. That feeling of ease and letting go, even if it’s just for a few moments, it will most definitely give you what you need. The talent is there, the songs are here and the sound is just right to capture the essence of the vibe that Elder is transmitting. So, do yourself a favor and dig into Omens and go on the ride.
A while back I wrote about a Los Angeles based band that summoned some pretty cool Bowie-esque moments to accompany their blend of post-punk and alternative rock. That band was Darkroads and they are back with new music that is damn good. Combining what the have done in the past but, now with a bit more of a synthwave element, Darkroads have really honed in on their sound. Their first new song “Close Your Eyes” is a perfect example of this. It’s still got that cool dark and eerie sense but now has something else to it that helps stand out from their peers. As I described before, the way they hit on the darkness yet create these bright spots with the music is quite beautiful. The clean guitar tones provide the light while the drums, bass and vocals usher in the dark. Darkroads are definitely one to travel on.
There really is something intriguing about extreme music and the heavier side of rock music. I’ve always been drawn to it in bits and pieces but, as I’ve gotten older, I’m starting to realize the technicality that comes with it. Which brings me to the band END. What began as a fun passion project for guitarist (and producer) Will Putney, quickly became something else as the band became more recognized for their aggressive and volatile music. END features a collection of musicians from various sub-genres of extreme music, including current and former members of Counterparts, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Fit For An Autopsy, Misery Signals, Shai Hulud, and Reign Supreme. And all those pieces have made for quite a reputation. The debut EP FromThe Unforgiving Arms Of God, released in fall 2017 via Good Fight Music, was met with critical praise and fan response was definitely there as well. This summer will see the release of their debut full-length, Splinters From An Ever-Changing Face. The two songs released from it so far, really are quite a glimpse into their in your face approach to heavy music. END is more than just a run of the mill heavy/extreme band. When you take the time to listen, you can hear a plethora of inspiration and influences, which in turn, makes for quite a listening journey.