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Album Anniversary: Down- NOLA

Down - NOLA (1995) | Metal Academy

It’s crazy to think that 25 years have passed since this now legendary debut album was released. There are lots of debut albums that I’ve heard that have stuck with me but, this one in particular is one that will always blow my mind every single time I put it on. I’m talking about the first Down album, NOLA. This album is one of the all time greatest debut albums EVER!

Before we get into the album itself, the history of the band should be discussed. Down formed back in 1991. The group was started first by Philip Anselmo and Pepper Keenan. Kirk Windstein and Jimmy Bower would join not long after along with Todd Strange. Their shared interests in bands like Black Sabbath, Trouble, St. Vitus and others would serve as the inspiration for the music they would soon begin to write. NOLA was written mainly by Anselmo and Keenan over the course of a few years and jam sessions. The band would record 3 different demos and then pass them around to friends asking if they’ve heard of this band “Down” without ever saying who was in the band. Eventually, the original demo tape was distributed throughout the United States and Down played a small concert in its home town. A record executive from Elektra Records was attending the show. When he found out who the members of the band were, he signed Down to a recording contract. Talk about a real grassroots way of getting the name out there. Now, on to the album.

The moment the first note plays there is absolutely no denying that what you are about to experience is pure and unrelenting. There is not one song on this album that feels out of place or doesn’t fit within the context of the vibe. The riffs alone on this album are astonishing. I could list all the songs but, why take away from the pleasure you’d get from listening and letting you take it all in. I’d like to take a minute and get into the overall vibe of the album. There is obviously a “metal” sound to it but, there is so much more. It’s got a southern charm to it as well as a bit of blues and a very cool sludgey sound and at times almost dare I say “grunge” sound too. The sum of all these parts not only makes this album a true standout but, one that has gone on to influence and inspire so many other bands. For all the heaviness there is also a wonderful element of ambience too. For example, just listen to the song “Jail.”

Down is a band that stands out not because of who is in the group but, rather because of the great music they created. Ever since I first heard Down in the late 90’s, I’ve been a fan. I take a lot of crap from people for this opinion but, that’s fine, Down is better than Pantera. I just think that Down is better. They have better riffs, songs, rhythm, and overall vibe. I read somewhere a long time ago back about the NOLA album and it said something to the effect of this is a landmark album that combines the talents of dedicated rock musicians, and should be included in any collection of heavy metal music. That statement is 100% true. Not only that but, this album should be in every record collection as well. Here’s to 25 great years of Down’s amazing debut!

 
Down- NOLA:

New Release: Deftones- Ohms

Deftones Announce New Album Ohms - Stereogum

The wait is finally over. Deftones have announced their new album, Ohms, will be released on September 25. The first single from the new record is the title track and it’s quite good. Sure there might be some bias on that since it has been a while that we’ve had new tunes from the band. Based on the sound of this track, it seems to bridge the gap between White Pony and their 2003 self titled album. Check out the song.

Deftones- Ohms:

 

Against The Grain: Umbra Vitae

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As a musician and artist, when you have the chance to tap back into a genre that you’ve been away from for a long while, the end result is something that often times feels refreshing and reinvigorating. That being said, while in rehearsals for Wear Your Wounds, Jacob Bannon, Sean Martin and Mike McKenzie, began messing around with some heavy riffs. After realizing what they had, the three of them recruited Greg Weeks (The Red Chord, Labor Hex) and Jon Rice (Uncle Acid and the Deadbeats, Job For A Cowboy) for the rhythm section to back their aggressive riffs and thus Umbra Vitae was conceived.  Taking their name from a poem by Georg Heym, The music and and words are as haunting as it’s namesake. Their debut album, Shadow of Life (out May 1st via Deathwish Inc.), was recorded and mixed by Kurt Ballou. The album one that will pummel the listener with unrelenting force and unpredictability. As well as providing self affirming mantras to give it even more of an edge.

Vocalist Jacob Bannon has gone on to say about Umbra Vitae “After reading the piece from Heym, I immediately felt connected to it. Later, while working on the previous Wear Your Wounds album, my love for Death Metal was rekindled. This was likely a reaction to working on non-aggressive music for such a concentrated period. As these songs started to form, the ominous nature of that original poem came to mind.”  He continues, “In many ways it embodied the character of what we were all creating together. For me, Umbra Vitae is darkly confrontational and my own internal struggles are nested within each song. At this point in my life it is of the utmost importance to use this art and music as the vehicle for a healthy purge of emotion. By design, even in something this intense, there is righteous intent to be a better human through the process of creating it.” Umbra Vitae definitely is a band to look out for and hopefully will continue as time goes on.

 

Umbra Vitae is:
Jacob Bannon: Vocals, Lyrics (Converge, Wear Your Wounds, Blood From the Soul)
Mike McKenzie: Guitars, Vocals (The Red Chord, Wear Your Wounds, Stomach Earth)
Sean Martin: Guitars, Vocals (ex-Hatebreed, Wear Your Wounds, Twitching Tongues)
Greg Weeks: Bass (The Red Chord, Labor Hex, etc)
Jon Rice: Drums (ex-Job for a Cowboy, Uncle Acid, etc)

Umbra Vitae- Return To Zero:

 

 

 

New Release: Nine Inch Nails- Ghosts V: Together & Ghosts VI: Locusts

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Today, saw a surprise release of two new Ghosts albums from Nine Inch Nails. In a statement released by Trent and Atticus, they had this to say about the release.

“FRIENDS-

WEIRD TIMES INDEED…

AS THE NEWS SEEMS TO TURN EVER MORE GRIM BY THE HOUR, WE’VE FOUND OURSELVES VACILLATING WILDLY BETWEEN FEELING LIKE THERE MAY BE HOPE AT TIMES TO UTTER DESPAIR – OFTEN CHANGING MINUTE TO MINUTE. ALTHOUGH EACH OF US DEFINE OURSELVES AS ANTISOCIAL-TYPES WHO PREFER BEING ON OUR OWN, THIS SITUATION HAS REALLY MADE US APPRECIATE THE POWER AND NEED FOR CONNECTION.

MUSIC – WHETHER LISTENING TO IT, THINKING ABOUT IT OR CREATING IT – HAS ALWAYS BEEN THE THING THAT HELPED US GET THROUGH ANYTHING – GOOD OR BAD. WITH THAT IN MIND, WE DECIDED TO BURN THE MIDNIGHT OIL AND COMPLETE THESE NEW GHOSTS RECORDS AS A MEANS OF STAYING SOMEWHAT SANE.

GHOSTS V: TOGETHER IS FOR WHEN THINGS SEEM LIKE IT MIGHT ALL BE OKAY, AND GHOSTS VI: LOCUSTS… WELL, YOU’LL FIGURE IT OUT.

IT MADE US FEEL BETTER TO MAKE THESE AND IT FEELS GOOD TO SHARE THEM. MUSIC HAS ALWAYS HAD A WAY OF MAKING US FEEL A LITTLE LESS ALONE IN THE WORLD… AND HOPEFULLY IT DOES FOR YOU, TOO. REMEMBER, EVERYONE IS IN THIS THING TOGETHER AND THIS TOO SHALL PASS.

WE LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING YOU AGAIN SOON.
BE SMART AND SAFE AND TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER.

WITH LOVE,
TRENT & ATTICUS

 

DOWNLOAD LINK: https://store.nin.com/products/ghosts-digital-download

 

Nine Inch Nails- Ghosts V: Together & Ghosts VI: Locusts:

 

Ultimate Set List: Down

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2020 marks the 25th anniversary of Down’s first album, NOLA. It’s one of those albums that is remarkable and special. Not only has it held up over the years, it’s been hailed as a classic these days, and to be honest, I can see why. Give it a listen and you’ll hear and see why. And now here we are, and the members of Down are gearing up to celebrate that album with some scattered live shows. So, of course, I got to thinking, what would I really want to hear live, if I could choose. Well, here you go. Pulling songs from all their albums, I’ve created my Ultimate Set List for Down.

 

Guideline 1: What line up of the band would it be

Guideline 2: Where would you want to see the show

Guideline 3: maximum 25 songs (In order of how the set should go)

Lineup: Philip H. Anselmo, Pepper Keenan, Kirk Windstein, Jimmy Bower, Rex Brown

Venue: Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles

Set List:

01) Lysergik Funeral Procession
02) Ghosts Along The Mississippi
03) Hail The Leaf
04) Conjure
05) N.O.D.
06) The Curse
07) Beautifully Depressed
08) Temptation’s Wings
09) New Orleans Is A Dying Whore
10) Pillars Of Eternity
11) Rehab
12) Jail
13) Learn From This Mistake
14) Eyes Of The South
15) Losing All
16) In The Thrall Of It All
17) Beneath The Tides
18) Nothing In Return (Walk Away)

Encore:
19) Lifer
20) Stone The Crow
21) Bury Me In Smoke

Deep Cuts: Jawbreaker- Ache

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There are always certain songs on albums that stand out. Obviously some more than others. When you put on an album, and it hits you, that moment of clarity just feels so warm and inviting. Every time I put on the Jawbreaker album, 24 Hour Revenge Therapy, I find something else to love about it even more. Lately, the song “Ache” has really been a go to song for me when I put that album on. It’s such a great song and as a deep cut on the album, it’s truly a standout. Both musically and lyrically, it’s a great example of the dynamic depth of what Jawbreaker is so good at.

 

Jawbreaker- Ache (from 24 Hour Revenge Therapy):

 

Live Review: The Cult at Greek Theatre

 

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There are always certain bands that when they release new music or come through town I get excited about. The Cult is one of those bands. Ever since I was a little kid and heard “Fire Woman” back in 1987, I’ve been hooked. So, when it was announced that The Cult would be celebrating the 30 year anniversary of the album that got me into them, Sonic Temple, I knew that I had to be there.

Surrounded by the clear skies on a perfect Southern California evening, tucked in the hills at the legendary Greek Theater, The Cult took the stage at 9pm and rocked the house for the next 90 mins. The opening notes of “Sun King” rang through ever so brightly and the roar of the crowd was invigorating as the band kept the rock going with songs like “New York City,” “Automatic Blues,” “American Horse,” “Soul Asylum,” and “Sweet Soul Sister.” I have to say one of the highlights of the night for me was when they played my favorite song off Sonic Temple, “Edie (Ciao Baby).” When they played that, I got chills and was singing at the top of my lungs. What a great song. “Fire Woman” was the last part of the Sonic Temple portion of the show. When they played that, the crowd rose to their feet, danced and sang along like it was 1987 all over again. It was quite a sight to see. For the second part of their set, they stuck to older material along with a couple songs “Rise” and “American Gothic” from their very great 2001 comeback album, Beyond Good and Evil. Even “Spiritwalker” from the bands debut album, Dreamtime was played and it sounded like great and fresh, even with it being almost 40 years old. Of course when “She Sells Sanctuary” was played the crowd again was in full force. Their encore set was badass as well. “Wild Flower,” “Rain,” and “Love Removal Machine” sounded amazing. Ian still has the mystical rock star swagger he’s had since the beginning. You could tell he was feeding off the energy and really giving it his all the whole show. Billy Duffy was ripping it up on his guitar and wailed out on some pretty sweet solos. When it was all over, I really wished they kept playing for at least another hour.

Opening the night was Vowws, a band that should be on everyone’s radar. Their short yet sweet set was superb. They had the right energy and songs to kick off the show. Those that were there early enough to witness this great band were truly in luck. This two piece band played and sounded like they have a full band accompanying them. The bands dreamy synthpop sound mixed with the perfect gothic/industrial undertones, makes Vowws a perfect band for today’s musical climate.  I can’t wait to see them in a small club but, for my first experience seeing them, their performance was understated and quite interesting to watch as they were drenched in sunlight.

Also performing this evening was Zola Jesus and Prayers. Zola Jesus was interesting but, really didn’t do anything for me. I could sense that this wasn’t the right setting to see a band like this. You can tell that there is something more to this band but it needs the right place and vibe to really come to life. Prayers on the other hand… maybe it’s because I’m older and don’t get it or maybe it really wasn’t good. Either way, they didn’t really do anything for me. After they were done I told my friend I was with that Vowws should have been at that spot. Granted this is just my opinion, and I saw a lot of people there that were psyched on Prayers but, for me, that’s a big no.

All in all though it was a great night. The Cult are still badasses. Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy are one of the best songwriting tandems. If you haven’t checked out their last couple albums, Choice Of Weapon and Hidden City, you are missing out. Those are 2 of the best rock albums in the last 10 years. I’d also like to acknowledge the fact that John Tempesta has been killing it behind the drums for The Cult. He’s such a great and versatile drummer and a great addition to The Cult’s sound. If you haven’t check out the Testament album, Low, and you’ll really get to hear how good of a drummer John is. Also Damon Fox on keys and backing vocals along with Grant Fitzpatrick on bass and backing vocals as well, really compliment Ian, Billy and John perfectly. Do yourself a favor when The Cult comes through your town and go see them. You’ll for sure have a great rocking time.

The Cult Setlist:

01) Sun King
02) New York City
03) Automatic Blues
04) Sweet Soul Sister
05) American Horse
06) Soul Asylum
07) Edie (Ciao Baby)
08) Fire Woman
09) Rise
10) American Gothic
11) Spiritwalker
12) The Phoenix
13) She Sells Sanctuary

Encore:

14) Wild Flower
15) Rain
16) Love Removal Machine

Guest Vocalist: Liam Gallagher

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For over 25 years, Liam Gallagher has been one of the best voices in rock music. I’d also say he’s one of the best singers in that time as well. His style of singing is uniquely him while taking cues from the likes of John Lennon and John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten). Over the years, Liam hasn’t lent his vocals to many other bands but, on the ones he has, he’s given those songs a different feel. Here are the songs Liam has guested on over the years.

 

The Prodigy- Shoot Down (from Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned):

 


The Verve- Come On (from Urban Hymns):

 


Echo & The Bunnymen- Nothing Lasts Forvever (from Evergreen):

 


Death In Vegas- Scorpio Rising (from Satan’s Circus Vol. 2):

 

Guest Guitarist: Stephen Carpenter of Deftones

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There are many guitarists out there that have such a signature sound that, when you hear it you know just who is playing. Deftones guitarist Stephen Carpenter is one of those guitarists. His style is undeniable and it works across many different bands and their material. So, with that in mind, here are a few of the jams Stephen has lent his playing to over the years.

 

Will Haven- El Sol (from Muerte):

 

 
Chimaira- Rizzo (from Pass Out Of Existence):

 

 
Linkin Park- By Myslf (from Reanimation):

 

 
Non-Phixion- The CIA Is Trying To Kill Me (from The Future Is Now):

 

 
Far- Savory (Jawbox Cover…. from Soon):

 

 
Tech N9ne- If I Could (from All 6’s and 7’s):

 

Anticipated Albums: Mark Morton- Anesthetic

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Lamb of God guitarist Mark Morton is preparing to release his debut solo album March 1, 2019. This is an album that Mark has been working on for a while. In a recent interview Mark went on to say “This album wasn’t a concerted effort to start something outside Lamb of God,” he explains. “Music is always in my head, and until I write and record it, it’s stuck there. But once I record it, it’s out. It’s a catharsis, more for my own sanity.” So needless to say, this album is full of variety and riffs galore. The album features Mark playing all the guitars with guest accompaniment from the likes of Roy Mayorga, David Ellefson, Ray Luzier, Paolo Gregoletto, Alex Bent, Mike Inez, Jean-Paul Gaster, Steve Gorman, Marc Ford, Yanni Papadopoulos, and Chris Brooks rounding out the band. Anesthetic sure seems like a beast of an album. Two songs have been released already “The Truth Is Dead” featuring Arch Enemy’s Alissa White- Gluz and Mark’s Lamb of God mate Randy Blyth, and “Cross Off” which features the late Chester Bennington of Linkin Park.

 

The Truth Is Dead w/ Randy Blyth and Alissa White- Gluz:

 

 

Cross Off w/ Chester Bennington:

 

 

 

ANESTHETIC TRACK LISTING:
1. “Cross Off” (feat. Chester Bennington)
2. “Sworn Apart” (feat. Jacoby Shaddix)
3. “Axis”  (feat. Mark Lanegan)
4. “The Never” (feat. Chuck Billy + Jake Oni)
5. “Save Defiance” (feat. Myles Kennedy)
6. “Blur” (feat. Mark Morales)
7. “Back From The Dead” (feat. Josh Todd)
8. “Reveal” (feat. Naeemah Maddox)
9. “Imaginary Days”
10. “The Truth Is Dead” (feat. Randy Blythe + Alissa White-Gluz)