Thursday, July 30, 2015

Vile Display Of Humanity-Vile Display Of Humanity

Forever Autumn Records
2015


Born in Chicago, IL in the summer of 2007 (with Seattle, Wash. serving as their current base of operations) Vile Display of Humanity is a socially-active & politically-charged thrash-punk band that is lead by Doug Mitchell and (at least on this 20-track album!) rounded out by David Foster (lead guitar), Jake Youngberg (vocals, guitar), Marty Petric (bass), and Aaron Hatch (drums). Heavily influenced by bands like The Exploited, Leftover Crack, The Misfits, Born Against, M.D.C. and Discharge, Vile Display Of Humanity approaches life with a D.I.Y. mentality in mind and that includes this self-titled album which was recorded on guitarist David Foster's laptop! Despite how that sounds, "Vile Display Of Humanity" is actually a solid release through and through and there is hardly a sour note to be found on this hardcore-leaning follow-up to 2013's "Beaten, Bandaged, & Ready". It should go without saying (as I do this same rant over and over!), but this kind of socially-conscious "crossover" is sorely missed in this day and age. There are hardly any group's left these days that know how to properly merge the meatiness of punk and hardcore with a proper message and that makes this highly pissed-off recording all the more comforting to this old punk/metal rocker. As the album also comes armed with some seriously sick raw metal riffs and it boasts a bottom-end heaviness that would make Motörhead's Lemmy smile in delight there is more than enough heavy metal love to go around when it comes to this buzz-worthy release! So, whether you are a punk or a headbanger (or somewhere in between like yours truly!) there is something here to enjoy! Just released this past May, "Vile Display Of Humanity" should pick up steam as more people start to hear about it and for the sake of our all too boring and tragically predicable scene I really do hope that is the case.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Clouds Taste Satanic-Your Doom Has Come

Kinda Like Music Inc.
2015

Last year Brooklyn, New York's Clouds Taste Satanic treated us to the excellent "To Sleep Beyond The Earth". A devilishly delicious combination of doom metal and post-rock, "To Sleep Beyond The Earth" proved to be a fantastic debut outing for this skilled instrumental act and it was justifiably meet with high-praise from critics and fans. Now Clouds Taste Satanic (Because...you know...why not?) are back for round two with the forthcoming "Your Doom Has Come". It drops in September and this wicked slab of heavy (and once more quite versatile!) post-rock/doom metal builds on the foundation of album number two while adding in a few more twists and turns! Formed in 2013, Clouds Taste Satanic has steadily improved with each passing year, but this new album really finds the four-piece making the leap from the side-show to the evening's main event! Once likened to Sleep and other similar-themed stoner rock/doom metal bands, Clouds Taste Satanic has developed a key sound and it's one that should be experienced by stoners and doomsters alike. You can find out more about this quartet by heading here.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Free Metal Monday: Beastmaker-Beastmaker

Self-Release/Independent
2015

Beastmaker is a heavy rock/doom metal band that worships at the alter of Black Sabbath. Despite sounding incredibly British in nature this psychedelically-enhanced trio actually calls Fresno, California home with the name- your-own-price "Beastmaker" looking as if it's the group's sole release to date. With only three tracks in all (incl. the strong opener "Eyes Are Watching"), "Beastmaker" is admittedly a short affair, but it's a lite firecracker all the same! You can find the band on Facebook by heading here.

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Sunday, July 26, 2015

Alan Mair-"Stairway to Hell" Single



IKA Records
2015

With a due date of August 24th, "Stairway to Hell" is the second single from Alan Mair's forthcoming solo album, "Field of One". As a one-time member of The Beatstalkers and The Only Ones*, Alan Mair is already well-known for his ability to create sonically exciting rock and roll and this new single is no exception! It serves as the follow up to his first single "Four Winds" and finds this spunky lead singer joining up with Zal Cleminson (guitars) and Ted McKenna (drums) of the Alex Harvey Band for some good old fashioned garage rock and roll! Written and produced by Mair himself, "Stairway to Hell" also features backing vocals from Emily Wright and while I could try to break down all the groovy goodness of this fun rock number I'd be better off just pointing all of you towards the video below so that you can hear it for yourself! So, sit back, crack this one up and prepare to fall in love with rock and roll all over again!! You can thank me later....



*Scotland’s first ever pop superstars, The Beatstalkers were lovingly dubbed the Scottish Beatles!
Meanwhile The Only Ones gave us the wonderful garage rock/new wave classic "Another Girl Another Planet". This (danceable) hit appears on numerous punk/new wave collections and is well worth hunting for!! 

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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Murder Of My Sweet-Beth Out Of Hell

Frontiers Music srl
2015

Formed in 2006 by drummer, keyboardist and producer Daniel Flore, The Murder of My Sweet is a charismatic metal band that is based in Stockholm, Sweden and well known for the stunning voice of front-woman Angelica Rylin. Back in 2012 I covered this band's wonderful sophomore album, "Bye Bye Lullaby", and now this sensational group is back with a new concept album and a new band-member in bass player Patrik Janson (Platitude). Self-described by band founder (and all-out rocker!) Daniel Flores as "an apocalyptic love story between good and evil", "Beth Out Of Hell" is both a expected return (in terms of this band's high-class cinematic heavy style and their overall top-notch ability as songwriters and performers) and an unexpected return (not only has The Murder Of My Sweet grown as a band in the songwriting department, but album number ends up being a slightly heavier and more dynamic experience!!!!). In addition to the already mentioned players, "Beth Out Of Hell" (which incidentally is a title that I flat out dig!) features the key work of guitarist Christopher Vetter (a highly-underrated musician is you ask me!) as well as voice actors and a children's choir! It works well with the band's rather distinct cinematic nature (everything from the band's name to their sound is heavily inspired by movie scores) and the (by now familiar) symphonic metal and heavy rock elements that The Murder Of My Sweet has become known for. Granted this is also a band that likes to sprinkle classic heavy metal and melodic hard rock into the mix so there is never a dull moment to be had when it comes to sitting down with this exquisite lot! With all of that in the mind here's the final score. Album number three is the album that should make people stand up and take notice of this Swedish metal band. Somehow The Murder Of My Sweet has improved upon what was already perfection and in the process they have given their fans a classic album in the making. Because of the obvious care that went into the making of this new album it is a release that is grand in scope and vision. It is all at once a thoroughly complex and technically amazing release and one that shows off this group's ability to write enchanting music. In a nutshell "Beth Out Of Hell" is a album that is chock full of style and substance and it's one of those great metal releases that should appeal to a wide range of tastes. To the band I say welcome back and congrats on this sweeping release! And to all our readers I suggest not only getting this album when it drops in August, but if you get a chance to experience this band live then by all means DO IT!



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Friday, July 24, 2015

Interview with Ken Cuccaro of Sonick Plague

Last weekend I covered the new self-titled album from thrash metal warriors Sonick Plague. Now it's my pleasure to post this interview that I had with the band's drummer, Ken Curraro. Enjoy!


Andy- First off I want to thank you for talking with us. Could you give us a brief rundown on the band? Stuff like who's who in Sonick Plague these days and what the current status of your band is.

Ken-Chuck Crilly guitar , Matt Dupre guitar , Sean Donnelly bass and vocals and Ken Cuccaro drums. Currant status is we are active and available for any occasion ...weddings, , funerals anything we're ready to roll!

Andy-Your upcoming self-titled release is a re-recorded version of your debut album. What made you decide to go that route verses just re-releasing it in a remastered form?

Ken- When we recorded the album the first time around we were on a shoe string budget and really pressed for time , the sound on the album was pretty bad and we really kinda wanted to do it the way we wanted to this time . Start over fresh kinda thing. And we don't know were the masters are.

Andy-And how did the deal with Pavement come about? 

Ken-It was all Chuck. He just has worked his ass off on this since the beginning. The Pavement guys are great; they've been extremely cool

Andy-What has the band been up to in the intervening years?

Ken- The band hasn't done anything in between. As individuals we all played in different bands. Myself I'm more of an adventure kinda of guy I did a lot of harp seal hunting, things of that nature.


Andy-Sounds like a good time to me! So, rumor has it you're working on new material. What can you share?

Ken-Yes we are working on new material but i really cant share the details with you. Top secret stuff. But between me and you its very groovy . Your pretty tricky Andy you slid that one in there and if I told you it wouldn't be a surprise!

Andy-Fair enough! Obviously a lot has happen between your first album and now. Where do you see the band fitting in these days?

Ken- Its really hard to say where we'll fit in now hopefully people will like it. We're at the mercy of the people who listen. I don't care really where they put us or what genre we get stuck in as long as they can dance to it.

Andy-Sonick Plague has it's influences and then your sound has likely influenced more than a few of today's bands. Care to drop any names for BOTH categories? Surely you must hear some bands and say "Hey, that's our sound!" . Right?

Ken-Oh man we have so many influences its crazy. Its such a broad spectrum everything from the Ramones to Englebird Humperdink . As far as bands we've influenced honestly I don"t know. I've had people tell me over the years that they've heard stuff that sounds like our riffs. That would be an honor. Although I know for certain Beyoncé has totally ripped us off. She's looking to get sued very soon. There's definitely a few out there but they'll never admit it. Honestly Andy we don't care about that stuff the only thing we give a shit about is people like you who listen to our stuff and dig it. That's it. We aint shit without all our friends out there its people like you that makes this worth it!

Andy-Frankly-speaking it's about time someone take down Beyoncé! I knew she ripped off Slayer and stole some of their classic riffs, but I didn't realize she ripped you guys off too! Unreal! Let's get back to the influences though. Who would you say influenced you as a drummer? 

Ken- Gene Krupa, my Pop loved the big band stuff and I loved the way that guy played. The drummers from that era are my favorites, I think that's why I never went to double bass I learned by listening to those guys. As far as metal guys, there some great ones out there. I always thought Charley Benante was great and Nicko Mcbrain was a huge influence. Philthy Phil Taylor, Mickey Dee is fantastic.So many great ones its tough. Some of these young dudes are amazing ,they fly!!!

Andy-Great list! OK, you've got the self-titled album and the band has new material in the works (which you won't tell me about LOL!). What else does 2015 have in store for Sonick Plague and where would you like to see all of this go? 

Ken- We'll take it as far as we can. Its really mid-aged crisis experiment.

Andy-I hear ya! Since you guys are active again what does your tour schedule look like? Any chance you'll hit Ohio? (Hint-Cleveland or Akron!) 

Ken-Oh hell ya!!!! WE LOVE OHIO. Damn man one of our favorite shows ever was there at the big club in Cincinnati with Death Angel, I think it was called Blondies. Our first tour we did Akron ,Cleveland, it was awesome!! The people there treated us like royalty. Great people man!!!! .But no schedule yet- we'll see what happens.

Andy-If and when you find out be sure to let me know so that I can post the information for our readers. Anyway, since we're talking about live shows and all that jazz what would be Sonick Plague's idea of the ultimate line-up? 

Ken-Sonick Plague- Motorhead- Ted Nugent -Sammy Hagar, STOP LAUGHING YOU BASTARD! (Editor's note: It was only the Sammy Hagar one that made me chuckle!) I just want to hang out with Sammy that guy's got it made- I got to find out how he does it. Every time I see that guy on TV he's so chilled, drinking his tequila and shit at the beach, hot chicks walkin' around eating some shrimp. Damn he's got it all figured out . And I really really want to go huntin' with the NUGE!!!

Andy-You and me both Ken! I love the NUGE and I dig hunting (even if my health keeps me from doing it anymore I'm hoping my children will pick it up). Since we're talking about other bands and artists anyway here's a good question. If you guys put together a album or EP of covers what bands/artists would you choose? 
Ken-I would love to do that. Right now we're working on "Burn" by Deep Purple but in the past we've done 'Free Bird", "Love Gun", and "Dazed and Confused" to name a few. I would personally love to do an old Aerosmith song- something from "Get Your Wings" or "Rocks". Of course, beefed up! I've always wanted to do "Won't Get Fooled Again" by the Who....but I get shot down every time.

Andy-That's too bad as I'm betting that Sonick Plague would do the song justice! Let's change gears some Ken. When your band's movie eventually comes out (And it will! I mean why wouldn't it?) who do you want to play your part? 

Ken-Marlon Brando, oh shit hes dead. I'm gonna have to go with Vince Vaughn for me, Chuck-Owen Wilson, Matt-John Heder, Sean-Gary Busey. I'm telling you seriously the story would make a great movie- its better than the music. Or we could use puppets.

Andy-Puppets might work! LOL! To tie in with the movie I see a whole line of Sonick Plague merchandise. Everything from your own brand of cereal to toilet paper! You'll be the new KISS! Are you ready for that kind of exposure? 

 Ken-Ya damn right we are but I won't be as much of a dick as Gene Simmons! I'm already thinking of my own line of back braces!! We are in the talks now with speedo, cross your heart bra company, Trojan, and working on ideas with Nike creating shoes for kids born with 2 left feet. I also would like to talk to someone from axe on creating my own scent so if you know anybody over there have them get a hold of me.

Andy-That all sounds great! How about Sonick Plague action figures?  Let's talk about it!! Besides drumming and obviously seal hunting(!) what special features would your figure come with? 

Ken-Definitely kung fu grip and specialized weapons for killing terrorists....., torches and such. Dude I'm a hill billy! I love weapons so anything we can get on that guy let's do it!

Andy-There's nothing wrong with being a country boy or your love of weapons! And with weapons in mind would you care to partake in some parting shots? I always give artists the last shot word!

Ken- In parting I'd like to thank you for your support, you have no idea how much it means to us . Seriously this whole thing started out as practicing to do a reunion show for our buddy we lost. I didn't think this many people even remembered us it's just been a damn blast to this point. As I mentioned before none of this would have been possible without the hard work from Chuck. He's been nonstop since we started. We also have some great partners with Pavement, Munzy, and Clawhammer- they've been great. I hope people that have never heard the record before will like it. And if you get any notion of stealing my ideas, me and you are gonna go Andy!!

Andy-No thanks Ken! I've seen your pictures and you're built a brick house! Meanwhile I'm built like grass hut!!!! A out of shape hut with more health problems than we have time to address in any one article! But seriously, thanks again for talking with us and best wishes for you and your great band! For all of our readers if you haven't had a chance to do it yet then be sure to check out my review of this band's bloody raw /super tasty self-titled CD. It's super solid thrash metal that is lean and mean and it can be purchased online by heading here. You can also pick up a sweet looking t-shirt to go along with this highly-recommended album so that you can represent Sonick Plague wherever you might roam! Righteous! For more information on Sonick Plague be sure to check out the band on Facebook which you can (and should) do by clicking here. And as always be sure to keep it LOUD and PROUD kids!

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

HexenHammer-Underground

Heaven and Hell Records
2015

Hailing from Columbia, Tennessee, HexenHammer (which is German for ''Malleus Maleficarum'') was a underground speed/thrash band that was active in one form or another from 1987 until at least 1992. "Underground", which is an appropriate enough title for this release given the cult-lie status of this band(!), was originally the title of a 4-track demo recording that this proto-black metal band (or would it be blackened thrash?) released in 1990. This recently-released CD collects that obscure (and highly sought-after by fans and collectors alike!) demo as well as another 4-track recording session that the band made in 1992. Unfortunately my promo copy does not include the two bonus tracks from that session, "Committed" and "The Cutting Edge", but I'm more than happy to report the great news of this re-mastered collection and in the process I'm also going to take a stab at explaining the important place that this archival set holds in the history of extreme heavy metal and proto-black metal. Re-mastered by Jamie King at The Basement Studios in Winston Salem, NC, "Underground" was culled from the best material possible. The album's disclaimer makes note of this and therefore I'm going to make note of it. After all, "Underground" was originally recorded on 4-track and from the sounds of things even that was a very humble experience! Taking that into account the music here is not bad at all and, frankly-speaking folks, I've certainly heard much worse. Hell, I'm heard some supposed modern-day recordings that are not as good as this! My guess is the only people who will complain about the sound of this collection are the sorts who like to find something to complain about anyway! No needs to name names as these people are EVERYWHERE these days and it's not going to get any better anytime soon I fear. But, I digress. We're hear to talk about HexenHammer and this (long thought lost) collection of raw speed/thrash. Lead by lead guitarist/vocalist Ronnie Dean ( a maniacal singer and musician who is the sole original member to appear on both sets of demo recordings on this collection) and (from the looks and sounds of it) originally appearing live under cover of hooded masks, HexanHammer's sound was a lightening streak of metallic frenzy across a blood-red sky! There's no other real way to describe it! While technically more thrash than death metal, HexanHammer nonetheless drew it's strength from the likes of Venom, Slayer, Bathory, (early) Celtic Frost, Death, (early) Voivod, and (early) Sepultura. Those would seem to be the key sources of influence although we can't rule out everyone from Motörhead to Pentagram either! The things is you have to remember when this band first formed and when these recordings first came out. "Underground" was originally released in 1990 after all. That was when the thrash scene was still in full-swing and bands like HexenHammer were starting to come into there own and experiment with elements like death and extreme metal. Tape trading was all the rage so it's no wonder that "Underground" gained the legendary status that it did! At the time I was still in high school and living in the small town of Mantua, Ohio. Even though I was neck deep in tape swapping and devouring anything and everything BRUTAL THRASH  (especially stuff that would have been as seemingly evil and mysterious as this lot was!) I sadly never heard of this band the first time around otherwise I would have hunted this demo down! It was only some years later I heard the rumors. Those rumors proved true as "Underground" fits that era well and for fans of the old (thrash/death metal) tape-trading days this limited-edition CD should bring back the same kind of great memories that I have! For youngsters though this collection should serve as an example of extreme metal's roots and why it's important to gather up these recordings before they are lost to time. While you can pick up the digital copy of "Underground" here I would not settle for anything less than the full-length CD with the bonus tracks. Additionally the CD features new artwork and a expanded booklet with never before seen photos! It's a fitting tribute to this cult band that for whatever reason never made it past the demo stage of it's career.

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