It’s the beginning of 2023 and already a hard hitting banger of a release has been unleashed upon us! Arc Angles, one of my favorite bands I’ve championed since I started Audioeclectica have a new EP out called Daisy. It’s an unrelenting, pummeling force to be reckoned with. The in your face attitude that kicks in immediately will not only draw you in but might cause you to flip your desk or table and scream in a very therapeutic way.
The five songs on this absolutely direct and immediate release will stay with you for quite some time. The lyrics are thought provoking and interesting. The topics explored come with a depth and substance that many bands today, especially in the mainstream fail to recognize. Musically, there’s so much to delve into. Whether it be the odd time signatures, odd tunings, interesting melodies or the crisp and punch to the face mix (courtesy of Jawbox’s J. Robbins), the way everything comes together on Daisy is explosive as it is complex.
Arc Angles are a band that have taken the time to craft songs that play off their vast influences and have then created a sound that shines on it’s own merit. The way the record flows takes you on path that expands your mind both lyrically and musically. I love to hear a band challenge their listener to find little nuances in what they create to make the listening experience that much more special. Ever since I first heard these guys, it’s been a pleasure to listen to them evolve and further push the boundaries of what they are capable of. If this is the way we are going to start 2023 with, then I dare the rest of the music world to keep up with this!
The art of the album has been lost in recent years. Everyone seems so focused on the “single” that the lost art of making an actual album has sort of gone by the wayside. That’s not the case for the band and album I’m about to talk about. You’ve heard me talk a lot about Centershift in the past year and rightfully so. This band is making strides to not only become one of your favorites but, also took the time to really make an album that from start to finish you feel it all. Every ounce of emotion poured into one fantastical ride through the trials and tribulations of life and this is only their first full length album. Centershift’s debut album, A Different Shade Of Color marks a triumphant return of making great albums.
The release of A Different Shade Of Color was put out in parts/EP’s in order to get parts of the story a little at a time and make you wonder where the next part will take you. The first seven songs present a very raw and emotional context to where the story takes you. Starting with “9” the story begins with a revelation of one’s self and the search for a new discovery but, before that can fully happen, the whole story must be told. As “My Own World” starts to take shape, you the listener start to get immersed into what is happening. As the album continues and flows, more of the story comes out as songs like “Dry Well, “Tell Me,” “Couldn’t Tell,” and “Kingdoms” all fit a balance that have a fury to them that while still melodic, brings out a heaviness both lyrically and musically that grabs you and sinks it’s claws in. With those claws sharply dug in, the journey continues with a bit of an epiphany with the song “And So.” This track leads you down another interesting road as the story unwinds a bit and goes through all the phases one might go through when dealing with a volitile situation or grief. The stages you go through during those times come out quite present on songs like “From Where We Are,” “Falling Into,” “Arise,” and the very deep and dark “Everything And Nothing,” The latter being quite the mini epic that will give you chills in a way that you can only feel by listening. Rounding out this chapter is “What If” a song that leaves you with a question while at the same time sets up the final chapter. “After All” kicks off the third act and signals the change and the light starts to shine a bit brighter. While “1014” delivers a bit of a kick to the head of positivity that reminds you to let the past go and enjoy the life and light that has begun. “Here Like Always” is one of those songs that gives you hope but also has a sensitivity to it that shines like the sun finally coming out after a cloudy day. The ending song of the album “Fade Away” brings it all together, recapping the whole journey but instead of falling backwards and back into the dark, the fading away into the light brings that new joy and life that “9” brought about to start the whole album off.
A Different Shade Of Color is an album not just for 2022 it’s one of those albums that is much needed in today’s musical world. The way this album flows and hits you is spine tingling and eye opening. The album provides hope and choices without the sense of giving up. Singer/Guitarist Jasan Radford’s voice is still top notch and the way he delivers the lyrics are astounding. The clarity and enunciation of the words make them stand out when it matters most. Guitarist Ryan Shane Stuber adds so much texture and balance to the songs with his style of playing. And the rhythm section of bassist Ted Wenri and drummer(s) Stefan Storace (and Michael Tarabotto who plays on certain songs) is thunderous and shattering without being too overtaking of the delicate melodies that ring throughout the songs. Also, having Jim Wirt (Incubus, Onesidezero, Fiona Apple) behind the boards and producing this album definitely helped to keep it as real and raw as possible.
I highly recommend this album to anyone and everyone. There are so many different moments and songs on the album that you will love instantly and others that will sneak up on you and hit you like a ton of bricks. One thing is for certain, Centershift made one of the most honest and pure albums of 2022. Over the past weekend as well, Centershift celebrated the release of the album with a Live Stream event. The concert was full of energy and excitement. The way the 4 of them connect on stage and throughout the songs shows that the chemistry between them is in full effect. I personally love the way that you can listen to the songs on the album and feel one way about them, then when you hear these songs live, they take on a new life. If you haven’t seen Centershift yet, that’s something else I strongly suggest you do! Cheers to Centershift on one hell of an album. One that not only they can stand tall and be proud of but, for those of us that long for an actual album that start to finish connects!
A little over a month ago I introduced you to the band Faetooth. Their first single off their debut album “Echolalia” had just been released and what a treat that was. Now here we are on release day of their album Remnants Of The Vessel and HOLY HELL… What a debut record it is. The band is self-described as “fairy-doom” and it is most definitely a best of both worlds description. One one hand you have this thunderous and hard charging sound and on the other is this more delicate and dreamy style that echoes in the shoegaze realm with lush textures and soothing melodies and the occasional roar. Remnants of the Vessel is one of those debuts you will be talking about for some time.
Throughout the albums ten songs, you quickly realize that there is more to this band than meets the eye. The way the album flows it has a bit of a Neurosis vibe meets Chelsea Wolfe. The dark shrouded elements mixed with the glistening brightness adds to the tension of theses songs. When you listen you get pulled into quite a trance as the music guides and then the vocals and lyrics hit you. Something else about the way this album grabs you is the way Faetooth sinks their teeth into you bit by bit. When “that moment” comes, not only do they go in for the kill but they leave nothing left once they are done. Songs like “Echolalia,” “La Sorciere,” “Remains,” “Discarnate” and closing track “Saturn Devouring His Son” leave you utterly breathless. The sheer brute force that drives this album is on another level all together.
The musicianship among the four members is astounding. This band can not only play, they sure know how to write a song. I’m personally quite impressed that this is their debut album. After listening you’d think they’d been around for at least a few records. Faetooth are definitely not your run of the mill doom band. There is so much more and the deeper you delve into this album, the more you crave it.
Faetooth are without a doubt a band to watch out for. It’s been a minute since I’ve heard a debut album of this quality and precision. Do yourself a favor and sit down with this album and let it take you over. You won’t be sorry at the end. In fact, you are more likely to want to start it over once you reach the end because you are hooked and want more!
The new album by Dead Cross is one twisted and interesting ride. Made during a very turbulent time not just in the world but also personally for a couple of the members. Guitarist Michael Crain was diagnosed with cancer and progressing through chemotherapy while laying down his guitar lines. Singer Mike Patton developed severe agoraphobia and a bit of a drinking problem. That though didn’t interfere with Dead Cross delivering this thought provoking and pummeling record.
Their first output was a band finding their niche within all the genres and subgenres. This new album is a lot more focused and driven to make your head explode. Dead Cross II is more than just a blast of energy. It’s subject matter and lyrical approach does make you a bit more intrigued and you tend to listen a bit closer. It’s definitely an album that grows on you with each listen. The songs are more intricate and complex than the first album and I have to say too that having Justin Pearson’s vocals on more tracks adds a bit more “charm” to the album as a whole.
Through the nine songs and 35 minutes of this album you get an onslaught of brutality but with tinges of some fun things you’ll pick up on as you listen closely. One of my favorite tracks on the record is “Christian Missle Crisis.” This one has Justin on lead vocals and DAMN, this one goes HARD! Having the different vocal takes this song to a whole other level. Yes Patton is Patton but at times it’s too much Patton and you start to crave a bit more variety and that’s what makes Justin Pearson’s vocals stand out. Plus his delivery on this song is impeccable. My other favorite song on the album is “Reign Of Error.” Once you hear this one, you’ll understand why.
One thing that’s not to be dismissed about this album is the musicianship. Michael Crain’s guitar work on this album is superb. The tones and playing are top notch. There has always been an intensity to Michael’s playing (his days in Retox come to mind) but, he definitely seems to be channeling his cancer and treatment into this one and boy, does it pack quite the punch. Dave Lombardo is crushing on this album. His versatility as a drummer is on display here and it’s awesome. Justin Pearson’s bass rips through these songs with precision and razors and his vocals!!! One more thing to add about Dead Cross II and that is the production. While the first one is a bit more “raw” this one is more focused and concise, which actually makes for a better listen through. Dead Cross II is an album for the times that is for sure. It’s got almost everything you’d want and expect from those involved in this band and when it shines it makes you want to punch through glass (in a total good way). Hooray for ). Hooray for a new and anticipated Dead Cross album. I’m sure the live show this go round (when that time comes) will be one hell of a trip!
Lamb Of God are one of those bands that when you hear them, you know it’s them. There is such a distinctive sound to them that it is quite recognizable. Throughout their career they’ve found what works for them and doesn’t. Their 2020 self titled album saw a member change and the resulting album while good was a very safe introduction to Art Cruz becoming a full time member. Now, in 2022, Lamb Of God has thrown that safeguard away and taken steps to make an album that is urgent and representative of where the band is headed. Now, I’m not saying Lamb reinvented the wheel, this is still Lamb doing Lamb but, this time, it’s different and it feels fresh and evolving.
Omens was recorded live as a band (you know the way records used to be made) and that vibe is felt through all 10 songs and 41 minutes of this pure, unapologetic and vicious album. This album definitely feels like it’s the record that they wanted to make but also had to make. The varying styles and influences heard on Omens stretches further than they have gone before. It’s more impactful and immediate than previous albums. There is a sense that everyone in the band has a say in these songs and that energy radiates through the entire album.
There are plenty of songs on Omens worth mentioning so, I will pick a few of my favorites to entice you a bit. Kicking off the album is “Nevermore” a song that is the epitome of what a Lamb Of God song is. It has everything a fan of this band loves and then some. “Vanishing” is one of those songs that shows a bit of the bands evolution sonically as the tones on this track are ripping. Not to mention that Randy’s vocals on this are damn near punishing. Track number 4 “Ditch” is my favorite on the album (as of this writing). This song is a banger through and through. It’s got this huge anthemic feel to the way the vocals are, then you add in the music which grooves but also decimates as it goes. I have a feeling that if/when this song is added to the bands set list in the future, the pits will erupt. “Gommorah” is epic and heavy. Personally, I’d have loved to hear this one go on a little longer as it shows more of the band evolving and getting more intricate in how they craft a song. This is another that needs to be added to the set list. “Grayscale” is a straight up barn burner. It’s got a total punk rock vibe to it while still being a classic Lamb song. Ending the album is “September Song” a track that is possibly one of the best the band has ever written. It’s song that is the perfect culmination of what Omens is all about. I love the dynamic shifts on this song.
Omens is Lamb Of God spreading their wings a bit more and in a very welcome way. There are always going to be the songs on the album that hark back to the “classic” sound but, now there is a better feel to the band. Art Cruz is finally able to show why he was picked to replace Chris Adler. His energy is found constantly on these songs and it’s very welcomed. Randy Blythe has not just grown as a vocalist, his screams sound great and his lyrics have reached new heights of being introspective whether personal or taking on topical subject matter. John Campbell continues to be a thunderous secret weapon of the band. His tone and style really ties it all together. Mark Morton and Willie Adler continue to be one of the best guitar duos in rock/metal. Mark seems to be even more motivated than ever to push himself to add different flairs to the songs making them memorable and crushing. All in all, Omens is a record new and old Lamb Of God fans will enjoy. The future is bright for Lamb as they continue to be torch bearers for the metal community.
One of the best things about writing and running Audioeclectica is when I get an album sent to me that really peaks my interest. When this happens, I tend to get quite excited and listen to the album countless times and to find all sorts of nuances that make it even better. Recently, I received the new album, Bellevue by a band from New York called The Bobby Lees and it’s absolutely fantastic. It’s one of those albums that the more you listen, the more you enjoy it.
The Bobby Lees are an unhinged band with roots in punk, alternative, garage rock and I’d even say a tinge of folk. The 13-song album, which was recorded live in-studio, was produced by Vance Powell (Jack White, Chris Stapleton, The Raconteurs) and it’s stunning. When you listen to this band you hear something pure and honest that isn’t found in much of the mainstream music you’d hear today. So much so that the band found a champion in the legendary Henry Rollins, who brought them to the attention of Ipecac Recordings where Mike Patton and Greg Werckman signed them. The Bobby Lees are a four-piece that hail from Woodstock, NY, two women (Sam on vocals/guitar and Kendall on Bass) and two guys (Macky on drums and Nicholas on guitar), Sam is the band’s driving force – the songwriter/lyricist and the guide on all things Bobby Lees. The album is incredibly personal, written after a mental break while staying close to Bellevue (she uses the title as both a geographical point and also a reflection of her state of mind at the time).
Now with all that in mind, this album is an absolute kick to the nuts and punch in the face in a totally great way. There is an urgency and ferociousness within these songs that are not only a therapeutic journey but, also one that breathes life back into rock n roll. The album is 13 songs of hard charging unapologetic rock. What they deliver in 32 minutes is astonishing. The moment this album starts you can tell you are in for something that’s quite a trip. I could go song by song but my descriptions of the songs won’t do it justice enough. You need to listen to this album! There is an intelligence to this album too. The lyrics aren’t just personal they are introspective and deep. Then you add in the raw elements of the production and the chills that run amok over you with each listen will grab you and throw you against a wall with a sense of excitement that goes back to the days of CBGB’s and the craziness that ensued there.
The Bobby Lees have released an album that in 2022 is vital and necessary. It also has something that is missing that I’ve been talking about for a while now and that is a feeling of danger. Rock music has needed an injection of danger to it for a while and The Bobby Lees have found the right vein to tap into and let their music speak for itself. Do yourself a favor and take this album on a few spins and let it take over you. It’s one hell of a treat!
Machine Head’s new album Of Kingdom And Crown is not just an achievement for the band but, for Robb Flynn on his own. After the hit and miss of Catharsis which saw the band lose half its members (the absolute greats Dave McClain and Phil Demmel, you will definitely be missed) and divide the fan base a bit, it would’ve been an easy way out to either hang up Machine Head and try something solo. Instead, Robb, who is never one to play it safe (just look to the Machine Head catalog for proof), took the time to craft an album that not only stands up to the great ones in the band’s history (Burn My Eyes and The Blackening) but, Of Kingdom And Crown takes things to a different level of epic heaviness with his first concept album. And it’s one hell of an album and ride!
Of Kingdom And Crown is an absolute vicious and and vengeful album that hits home in ways you wouldn’t expect. The concept of the album allows the listener to become one of the two characters in the story and or both depending on how you listen to the album. I stress that this is an “album” that deserves to be played as such. The concept of the album as told by Robb goes “There’s character number one, named Ares [pronounced Aries]. He loses the love of his life, Amethyst, and goes on a murderous rampage against the perpetrators who killed her. Character number two, named Eros [pronounced Arrows], he is the perpetrator, the one who killed Amethyst. He loses his mother to a drug overdose, and in his downward spiral, he becomes radicalised by this charismatic leader and he goes on his own murderous rampage. The lyrics detail how their lives intertwine.” And now that you have that in mind we can get to the songs.
The first song on the album “Slaughter The Martyr” is an absolute banger and epic! It’s a ten minute song that doesn’t feel like it’s that long. It not only introduces the listener to the characters and story, this song is seriously a beast. One of those that when played live, will no doubt be a fan favorite. “Choke On The Ashes Of Your Hate” is another classic sounding MH track. There is a serious ferociousness to this track. One of the highlights on this track is the guitar solo by Vogg. He adds his stamp to Machine Head on this song. “Become The Firestorm” continues the blazing trail that started the album. This one has some killer blast beats and guitar work that hits on that classic sound again. As the album continues, it takes a turn with “My Hands Are Empty.” This track brings in more of the “epic” feeling with the way the almost choral opening starts things off before becoming one of the more thought provoking songs on the album. The song while it fits within the realm of the story, it’s also societal commentary that fits with today quite well. The “epicness” continues with “Unhallowed.” This song has a really cool groove to it while still being a head banger. Lyrically and vocally, you can tell Robb wanted to try different things and it all works. Oh and the solos on this song… DAMN!!! This is one of my favorite songs on the record. “Kill Thy Enemies” is a straight up heavy song that brings the album’s intensity back up a bit. And then, “No Gods. No Masters” comes in and knocks your teeth out. The chorus has this catchiness to it without being tacky. I personally look forward to hearing this one live when Machine Head tours the states. “Bloodshot” is a very direct and heavy track. It’s got an almost punk rock feel to it and then breaks into a groove driven song. “Rotten” is another direct and groove heavy track only on this one it’s more anthemic. I could see this one being worked into the setlist and being a fun one to play and hear live. Closing out the album is “Arrows In Words From The Sky” as song which Robb has said “is maybe the most hopeful song we’ve ever written… even though it’s totally sad and depressing!” And he’s not wrong, the song is one hell of an end of album track. It’s everything you love about Machine Head in one song. This is my true favorite song on the album. I love everything about it. It’s one those songs that you will feel compelled to listen to again once it’s over.
Of Kingdom And Crown is not just a triumph for Machine Head but for heavy music as well. This album not only fits perfectly in the MH catalog but, to me, has set a new standard for the band moving forward. The new blood in the band seems to have reinvigorated Machine Head and Robb. The Pandemic for all the issues it caused the world, seems to have done some amazing things for bands and the material they are putting out. Machine Head should stand proud with this album. It stands up among the best of their career. This is one of those albums that you don’t want to end. It’s that good and then some!
Heavy music knows no bounds. That’s one of the many things I love about heavy music. The fact that you don’t have to work in a set of parameters to create music that is intriguing, interesting, and that will absolutely decimate everything in its way. Throughout their years, KEN Mode has carved out their own niche among their peers. They done things their own way and it’s proved to be quite successful for them. Their new album NULL, is one hell of an album. Across the 36 minutes of pure aggression, vulnerability and ferociousness, KEN Mode has delievered the goods and then some. In their 20 years together they’ve incorporated elements from punk and hardcore to noise-rock and sludge to mold into an ever evolving sound.
NULL is the bands eighth studio album and they have taken everything they’ve done before and mixed it together to create an album that not only stands on its own merit but, also pushes the band to new directions for the future to come. NULL is an album that hits on feelings of anger, frustration and anxiety and then musically will knock your teeth out with the intensity and tension all of these elements create together. The album isn’t an all out assault. There is a real natural ebb and flow created to takes the listener on quite a ride in a short amount of time. KEN Mode is a band too that is never one to do the same thing. NULL pushes the band into almost avant-garde territory without becoming an “art project” rather it’s quite thought provoking and at times violent.
NULL is an album that isn’t afraid to take chances without being too weird for the sake of being “weird.” The methodical chaos found here is pure and KEN Mode have released an album that seems like only the beginning of what else is to come. In fact, this is only part one of a two part arc. So, when we get part two of this, I would bet that all hell will break loose. In the mean time, NULL is enough to satisfy long time listeners as well as new. KEN Mode are here, armed with a vengeance and throughout this album, you will feel it all.
I’ve been searching for a band among all the modern metal bands that I can actually get into and watch develop into a monster. It’s been a long struggle but, I have finally found that band that I think can take these little wannabes and knock them on their asses. Today, Alphamega has released their first EP, Between Light And Shadow Volume I and for the 18 minutes that it lasts, it surely kicks some major ass. It’s heavy, melodic, fresh and urgent. The band has embraced their love of Swedish Melodic Death Metal (think Soilwork), American metal (Metallica) and some bits of the Mid 00’s (a la Killswitch Engage- Howard Jones Era). Combining all those elements has given Alphamega the edge they need to separate themselves from all the generic crap that is flooding the “metal markets” today.
Starting off the EP is “Sound Of Your Excuse” that out of the gate it grabs you with its melodic metallic teeth. It’s one of those songs too that when played live it goes to another level of heavy. Following that is the bands first single “No Longer Broken.” It’s a catchy tune that is a true banger and delivers a positivity that is much needed i the dark times we all live in. That chorus is such a sing a long one that you’ll be singing it by the time the second chorus comes in. “Late To The Party” is one of those songs that has the right amount of groove and the right amount of melody. Plus the little breakdown towards the end is killer. “Pariah” is the track that shows the most melodic side of the band without losing their edge.And It’s another great catchy sing along/crowd participation type of chorus. Closing out the EP is “Annihilator” the heaviest track on the album. This one is packed full of aggression and passion. You can hear it the moment this one starts all the way till the last note.
Alphamega is the read deal. There is not one ounce of gimmick with this band. Are there modern things going on sure, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that Alphamega has delivered a record that not only they can be proud of but stands out among all the modern bands that lack what they bring to the table. Plus their live show energy is something else. You have to go see them to understand what I’m talking about. Singer Adam Ryan has one hell of a voice. His passion, desire and energy is heard on each song as he delivers heart wrenching vocal performances. I like to think of him as the American Bjorn “Speed” Strid of Soilwork. Guitarist Michael Muenzer shows his skills as a talented player and riff writer. Even his solos are done in a tasteful way that have elements of 80’s metal and the 00’s metalcore era. Chrissy Warner delivers the hard pounding beats that guide these honest and powerful songs. I have to say too it’s very refreshing and great to hear live real drums on an album, especially the way records are made these days. Alphamega are here and are coming to take over. Prepare Accordingly!!!
I was not prepared for this album. The moment I put it on, I was completely taken aback by the intensity that permeated through my speakers. From that moment, I was hooked and I didn’t want it to end. There is something transcendent about this album and how it all comes together and hits you like a slew of anvils as though Wile E Coyote would be trying to catch the roadrunner. Holy Fawn have created an utter masterpiece with Dimensional Bleed and there is absolutely no denying it.
The way this album grabs you and doesn’t let go is comforting and at the same time contemplative. The way the band shifts between genres is seamless. Being able to go from metal, shoegaze, with bits of doom and ambient is purely astonishing. Then you have the vocals that sway from these delicate melodies to an outright onslaught of near black metal extremes. The songs flow perfectly into each other creating that ebb and flow that a perfect album has. There is a range of emotions (melancholy sadness, aggression, despair, and anguish) that create a whole other dimension while listening. Musically and lyrically they are both striking and can stand on their own. Dimensional Bleed is as explosive as it is ambient without compromising one for the other. Going track by track for this record, like I’ve said on others, would ruin it for you. Instead, I implore you to listen to this album start to finish and let it soak in. Then when it’s over, start it again and pick up on all the little nuances that you missed the first time.
There is a real emotion and power to Dimensional Bleed that when other bands hear this album, they will try to replicate it but, won’t be able to come close to what Holy Fawn did here. I love that Holy Fawn made an “album” and that it really takes you places. The etherial vibe from this record will stay with you even after listening. I’ve listened to this album many times through and I have to say it has become one of my favorites to listen to while I drift off to sleep. It provides quite the soundtrack to some vivid dreams and when you awake, there is a feeling that you just lived through. Thank you Holy Fawn for Dimensional Bleed. I’m completely enthralled by this and can’t stop listening! Top 5 Albums Of The Year For DAMN Sure!