Review of Mongrel's "Reclamation" LP
By L. White
Female fronted in your face hard music is starting to make a splash lately, and no one has a better grip on the wheel than punk/metal band Mongrel with their latest release Reclamation. Right from the start with the first track Bored To Death, Jessica Sierra jumps right in your face, and doesn't back off for a second, all the way through to the final track No Gods No Masters. With crunchy blazing guitar riffs from Adam Savage that swirl around every growl, the music is just as in your face as Jess' lyrics. The beat driven styles of Dave Kazuciewicz on skins just thump with that edge of insanity that makes you not be able to sit still. Which has continued with the skins of current drummer Mike "Hogie" Hogan. Though the band has introduced a few new bassists since recording, Christopher "Rev" Fitzpatrick was the grit and soul when recording this masterpiece album. Most prevalent on the track Tarnished Halo, the bass line just drives the track right to the bone. Which has been also accomplished by former bassist Micah Maltais, and current long-term fill-in bassist Michael Mariano when playing live shows.
Hailed as one of New England's hardest working bands by many, Mongrel pulled out no stops with this collection of music. In searching for something to be critical about, you just find yourself rocking out to every track on Reclamation. Definitely being a band that most thrives in live settings, this collection of songs deliver a hard edge that just seems to never quit. The only critical thing that can be said is that you are left wanting to hear more when done. The production on the whole album is top notch and puts Mongrel on that tier of artist that is usually only found in signed big label talent.
Overall, if you are looking for hard rock, punk, metal that is in your face from start to finish, Reclamation is a very viable CD to go with. Each track screams out in it's own way that Mongrel is on the map and looking to take on whatever comes their way. Reclamation by Mongrel is by far one of the best albums to come out in 2012 and has already had it's share of acclaim from all over the music industry, that just keeps growing into the monster that represents what Mongrel is all about. This band is taking no prisoners with their latest release, and only looks to grow even more through the ceiling they have already crashed through.
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Review of The Hollow Glow EP
By Tracie Lovett
For B's RSM Promotions
Ben Carroll was tired of the “politics” of the music industry, the broken promises and lies and feeling like
his “place” in the world was non-existent. During his band Ra’s hiatus, he made a move to Maine. But during
this time, something happened, an awakening of sorts and this led to the forming of The Hollow Glow. It
was a long two year process filled with the ups and downs of forming a band and making sure the dynamics
of the members involved clicked. Judging by their music, it was a process that was well worth it.
Ben’s vocals are solid. Every song has great hooks and captivating melodies. Each song took me into a
different mind scenario, put me in a different place. I caught myself tapping my foot along with each song.
As a whole, lyrics are raw but honest. The lyrics mesh with the melodies of the individuality of each song.
I watched several videos of them performing live, and their energy on stage draws you in to their music
and it matches their hard and edgy songs as well as the more mellow and energizing songs. That is
something that I do not see a lot of anymore.
There were a couple of tracks off their EP, The Hollow Glow, that have really stood out to me
and I have found myself hitting repeat when I listen to them. The entire EP was produced well and
most definitely showcased the talents and hard work of not only the musicians on an individual level but
the band as a whole.
The first song, “Doom”, is a song that I feel is commercial ready. I am ready to hear this song on the radio.
Great hooks, amazing vocals, awesome melody are always key things for me to want to listen to a song
repetitively, but if it makes me want to get up and dance, then
that’s a selling point for me. I could definitely see this song, 15-20 years from now, being covered by
local bands as a “classic”.
The second song, “Crazy like you read About”, has proved to be one of my favorites. I
catch myself constantly singing the lyrics to this song. It is definitely a catchy song.
The third song, “Just a Dream”, has a harder rock edge that makes you want to bang the air drums or play
air guitar. The sound was a bit sassy, lyrics were sarcastic towards how we treat life. Life is just a dream
and don’t take it too seriously.
The Hollow Glow, hailing out of Portland, ME, is a rock/alternative rock band. They released their first
self-titled EP, The Hollow Glow, on October 2, 2012. The band members are Ben Carroll (vocals/lead
guitar), Tom Connors (bass/back vocals), and Travis Barton (drums/back vocals). These three musicians,
together, have created a powerhouse trio with rock solid tunes. They are definitely a band to keep your
Overall, The Hollow Glow EP is well worth a listen several times over and is sure to put The Hollow Glow on
the map in every way that is right.
Review of The Graceful Slicks Demo
By L. White
With a great sound musically, The Graceful Slicks three track demo cannot be generalized in just one or two genres. With elements of shoe gaze and new wave psychedelic rock, the music of each instrument twirls around each other in every way that is pleasing to the ear. With Railroad, the track begins bass driven, but then guitars seem to take hold and lead the way around the percussion. Never really with one instrument taking the full spotlight, The Graceful Slicks showcase each instrument to meld a sound that wouldn't sound right with any part taken out. The lyrics of each track are very nicely written, unfortunately the vocals need some work in some pitch areas. This can be said of the first two tracks, Railroad and Teacher. Although with the track Blood Red Hair, the melding of more than one vocalist, adds a new dimension that fits more appropriately to what The Graceful Slicks sound seems to be about. With Railroad, there are various parts where the pitch is off a bit, that slightly takes away from the amazing artistry in the music they accompany. With Teacher, the vocalist seems to be lacking confidence in his singing, which takes conviction away from the lyrics. This is disheartening in both cases, because the music is superb, and the lyrics are written quite nicely. Looking at this demo as a starting ground, The Graceful Slicks are definitely on the right track. Even with the criticism spoken of, the demo is very enjoyable, and would best be heard in a live setting. Maybe just being a rough demo, the vocals could just be touched up by some production, and a little more confidence. That being said, The Graceful Slicks have still delivered some fine music that will have many wanting to hear them play live.
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Review of Cryptic Calling Debut EP
By L. White
There has been a recent trend lately in the realm of hard rock music in the USA lately. That being that it has found it's way, and made a home in the capitol of country music. Yes, Nashville has seen a rise in great music, and banjo's have nothing to do with it. This is the case with hard rock band Cryptic Calling.
With the newly released debut EP by Cryptic Calling comes a refreshing sound from the home of country music. The self-titled EP is a long awaited release from fans of the hard rock band. Is it worth the wait? Let's find out.
The track "Otiose" draws you right in with the blazing guitar and lead vocals of James Robbins, driving percussion of Shea Shankle and beat driven bass of Clay Zimmerman. The metaphoric lyrics speaking on a family member who has constantly done wrong, with broken promises. To finally have the whole family turned against them. Amazing lyrics that are driven home with the emotion filled vocals of Robbins. Otiose being a rather old fashioned term for not serving any useful purpose. A great track indeed on so many different levels.
The track "Shattered Dreams" is more of a ballad, and a very good one at that. A song of a love that is in some sort of limbo. Whether it be from a death, or debilitating illness or injury is left up for interpretation by the listener. Robbins delivers on all levels helping you feel the anguish in his lyrics at the situation being sung about. The music accompanying just intensifies that with every crescendo and drop.
The same can be said about the other three tracks all dealing with lost love. Whether being friend, family or lover. All the tracks delivered with a strong emotion of loss on every level. With the music being just as emotionally charged as the lyrics, Cryptic Calling has delivered a concept EP that is masterfully produced and recorded. The long wait for fans was well worth it. Also sure to bring new fans from afar, as they put Nashville on the map once again in music for more than just country music.
Overall, the debut EP from Cryptic Calling is very enjoyable. Production value is superb and delivers a great sound that is sure to have old and new fans alike awaiting their next release with much anticipation. Also having many desire to see Cryptic Calling in a live setting playing these tracks. Already making a name for themselves in the local music scenes of Tennessee, watch for this band to rise in acclaim nationally and even internationally in the near future. Embodying that "It" factor that many strive for, but fall short of. Cryptic Calling has arrived.
Visit Cryptic Calling on Facebook here:
Review of Barley Station's "After All" LP
By Ryan Chilton
From the first lines of the album, “Thirteen steps to the gallows/These are the roads that I take” you can tell that the members of Barley Station have done some living. The album, After All, is a 12-song collection of emotions: love, loss, hope, and heartbreak. The honesty in the songwriting blends perfectly with the layers of deft musicianship to form a solid, accessible album.
Barley station exists somewhere between genres, finding a sweet spot between rock, country, folk and even classic pop. They lend a Midwestern charm to each song. Listening brings up old memories and stirs familiar emotions. Its easy to feel what these guys are feeling. This is not, however, a “lay back in wallow in my pain” album. Barley Station is just as comfortable with the railroad rhythms of “I Found You” as the lament “Can’t Sleep for Venus.”
Overall, this is a solid album by very capable musicians. Their website refers to them as an “emerging” band. It is a good bet that this record will broaden their horizons. Listening to it feels like getting lost on Missouri back roads, and enjoying every minute.
Review of Trademark Experience "Too Strange To Live, Too Rare To Die" LP
By L. White
With catchy beats and synthesized rhythm, Trademark Experience offers a great dance club album with Too Strange To Live, Too Rare To Die. The first of three studio albums by solo artist Thomas Mulherin that offers elements of funk, pop, hip-hop and a splattering of many other genres of music including some disco vibes.
On the second track "Ecstacy" Trademark Experience brings things more to current styles of R&B dance hits. A basic beat and rhythm with some added synthesized touches lets Thomas put the focus more on his great vocal abilities. Very well produced by Jim Conway with aptly placed breaks and hooks. The song is very catchy and would definitely be an instant dance club hit.
On the sixth track "Psychedelic", Mulherin's main lyrics has a sound that reminds you of Digital Underground somewhat, but with more of a dance feel. With background vocals in the chorus by KTA adding a nice touch. A perfect track to play at any house party, that also would be a hit at hip-hop clubs. Still having the synthesized rhythm behind it, Trademark stays true to his core of sound.
The seventh track "Can't Get You Out of My Head" is reminiscent of Rick James music, but with Gap Band vocals. Mixing early funk with some R&B and soul genres. A nice touch fusing older 70's sounding rhythm with 80's and 90's vocals. The opening synthesizer is a little basic and not too original, but when the beat and lyrics kick in the track takes it's shape and gets you on your feet ready to dance.
The ninth track on the LP "Losing My Mind" offers more of an electronic dance groove to it. The rap parts halfway through the track have a little bit of an out of place feel to it, with the rhyme being softly sung, which somewhat fits in line with the overall feel of the track, but just has the element of feeling out of place a bit. The vocals and rhythm seem to be more behind the beat rather than even or over it.
The tenth track "Co-Star" adds in a more 90's fuse of Hip-Hop and R&B feel, but still keeps the dance feel to it. Mulherin gives more range to his voice on this track with heartfelt feeling and conviction. Great pitch at all the right spots with the added spoken word type of hip-hop rhyming, yet staying in line with the groove of the music.
On the sixth track "Psychedelic", Mulherin's main lyrics has a sound that reminds you of Digital Underground somewhat, but with more of a dance feel. With background vocals in the chorus by KTA adding a nice touch. A perfect track to play at any house party, that also would be a hit at hip-hop clubs. Still having the synthesized rhythm behind it, Trademark stays true to his core of sound.
With the final track "Reach For The Sky", Trademark showcases his rhyming skills throughout the track. With a soft but quick flow, Mulherin doesn't overpower the music wih his lyrics, yet stays tight with the flow of music. Perfect pitch and production values went into this track and it shines in his delivery and flow. Clearly the best of the hip-hop tracks Trademark offers on this multi-genre LP.
Overall Too Strange To Live, Too Rare To Die is very enjoyable. Mainly seen as a dance offering, this LP delivers on so many different levels. With a few minor touch-ups on just one or two tracks, the album as a whole could be released as an instant classic. Bringing forth many different types of dance with several different genres represented, Trademark has fused some old classic styles with modern day vibes. The seventh track is set apart with it's old funk style that doesn't really reappear on the album again. Which would have been nice to hear a little bit more of, but Too Strange To Live, Too Rare To Die still delivers a very nice sound and groove to it. Sure to be mark a spot on the charts for Trademark Experience. Having old fans and new, eagerly awaiting the next offering from this very gifted artist.
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Review of The Anix "Sleepwalker"
By L. White
When it comes to Grunge Electro Rock, it is either hit or miss with most bands. You either nail it and come out on top with great material, or it sounds like a bunch of noise all set together trying to pass off as music. In the case of The Anix with their full-length release "Sleepwalker", the band has definitely nailed it. From first receiving their double-disc album, I was immediately impressed with the production and content of the packaging. Very professional and not an expense spared. I could tell instantly that this was a hard working band that wanted nothing but the best to come from their art. It continued to shine right through with the music. From the writing, to recording, mixing and mastering. I was very impressed with all of it.
Jumping both feet into the music, I was grabbed right away by the opening track "Enemy Eyes". The intro licks leading up to Brandon Smith's vocals were masterful and stay through the song leading up to the synth that adds in a nice texture, but not making it sound manufactured. This track had me envisioning a stadium show with a laser extravaganza, immediately having me want to see this band live.
The second track, "Warning Signs", offers a little something different, in way of a forbidden love ballad. With superb music placement and vocal range, helping you feel the emotions that Brandon is belting out. I soon found myself delightfully surprised, as each track offered something a bit different than the prior. Showing the bands versatility in this very specific genre of music. Something a lot of other bands have trouble doing, without sounding like the same manufactured music dubbed over and either sped up or slowed down. The Anix make each song unique in it's own right, yet not taking away from their core sound as a whole.
As I stated, this is a double-disc offering from The Anix. The second disc being named "Remixes + Oddities". I was extremely delighted to hear the first track being a cover of "Burn" by The Cure. As I was frequently reminded of The Cure listening to the first disc. Hearing subtle influence both in Brandon's vocals and in some of the music done by Brandon (guitar, bass, keyboards), Logan Smith (drums) and Chris Dinger (guitar). Their cover of "Burn" was done very nicely, adding their own touch to an already great song. Also featuring another project of Brandon Smith on this cover , was Apoptygma Berzerk. Showing yet more versatility to an already accomplished artist in Brandon Smith.
I found this offering from The Anix purely delightful and refreshing. Though dubbed Grunge Electro Rock, the classification of genre should not have this band pigeon-holed to only lovers of synth styled music. They offer a new perspective, with a wide range and a sound pleasing to the ears that helps you feel the music. The emotion and work gone into this music offering is simply remarkable. All centered around the great music that The Anix are indeed in full supply of. I enjoyed both the 12-track SleepWalker and the bonus 9-track disc of Remixes + Oddities. With two cover songs on the latter. "Burn", as mentioned, and "Cry Little Sister" by Gerard Mcmann, which was also very pleasing lending their own unique style to a great track.
Sleepwalker is positively a genius offering from The Anix that will surely put them more on the map that they have already been discovered on. Being named Sunset Island Music's Band of the Week, and getting air-play on radio stations/shows around the world. The Anix are finding that their sound is definitely a hit in the music world. Sleepwalker had me wanting to hear more from the band, and had me checking their touring schedule. I fully recommend Sleepwalker to lovers of Grunge Electro Rock, but also to just pure lovers of emotion filled music with a purpose. The hard work and diligence shines through in every aspect of the band with this double-disc set. Showing that unless everything is perfect, the band will not be done. This offering, in my eyes, is definitely perfect.
Visit The Anix on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/theanix
Review of Coreena's "The 5th Element" EP
By Gilbert Lachance
for B's RSM Promotions
Coreena was born and raised on the northwest coast of America. In Seattle, precisely. Singing came to her at a very early age. Around 8 years old she began to write songs. She did a few high school musicals before going to Berklee in Boston. Her first EP was titled ‘’Emotions’’, which received good reviews.
When we listen to her most recent EP, ‘’The 5th element’’, her jazz inspiration is apparent in her ambient creations. Which gives to the result, an awesome mix that you don’t want to listen to only once. The 5thelement and Belong are among the strongest efforts on this EP, though all 5 of them are worth a listen.Coreena has a very beautiful voice that you don’t get tired of. She is comparible to Dead Can Dance’s Lisa Gerrard or Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser. With a similar kind of angelic voice. The only criticism I could say about her songs is that they are too short. Because you get inside her world very fast and you would like more of it. The longest track is 3:27 and it does pass very fast. I can’t wait to hear more of her music.Coreena plays live concerts. So if you get the chance to see her, don’t miss the opportunity. With this EP she has solidified her mark as an up and coming artist to keep an eye on.
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Review of Shadowplay "Visions" LP
Every band strives for that timeless hit. That track, or tracks, that will last longer than a fad, but for an endless period of time. Some come close, or have one track that fits the mold. With "Visions", the New Jersey rockers Shadowplay have managed to put together a collection of timeless hits. With elements of classic rock from the 60's and 70's, modern styles of the 80's and 90's and exuberance and youth of the 21st century, these young artists have got something all should be aware of. A sound that can easily live in any of the rock eras stated.
Visions has a collection of songs that vary in styles and realms of rock music. But have a core that can truly only be called Shadowplay music. With feeling and emotion driven lyrics. front-man Andrew Corkery exudes rock star with his stage presence while belting out such tracks like "Dark Hour" and "Like a Phoenix". With a style that is much more aged than his 20 years. With a sound reminiscent of Ian Astbury (The Cult) and a great range, he brings the listener into the journey each track tells a story of. With Phoenix Holden's axe grinding out such masterful solos and riffs, twisting around the beat bass driven music of Tim Bear, John Sellers and Ed Flynn respectively. Together, all encompass the sound that makes Shadowplay sound so well beyond their years.
Though most of the tracks from "Visions" are much older than the album which debuted first from the bands website through free stream on Halloween 2012, this collection of songs is now ready to take on a life of their own as it is released as a whole. With much fanfare from around the world, each track has found a home in every listener. Not set out as a concept album, each of the tracks seems to tell a story from each of the band members that may vary from one another. Set on by the dynamic of Shadowplay themselves, this collection of tracks is fitting for the band as a first release. It truly encompasses the sound the band wish to bring about as their own. With touches of familiarity, yet a new sound that can only be described as Shadowplay music. From the opening track Dystopia, as the albums introduction, to the finale of Ides of March, whether planned or not, Visions tells the story of Shadowplay the band. Adding in that timeless tag to the album, this band has arrived, and it's Visions is only the first step.
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"Sky is High"
By L. White
With a great southern stoner grunge metal sound, Concrete Sun's debut album "Sky is High" brings you the power riff, in your face rock sound. Hailing out of Novi Sad, Serbia which is not commonly known to bring about the sounds of southern U.S. metal. Concrete Sun have captured the true essence of what stoner grunge metal music is all about. With the first track, "Just a Beginning", the band jumps right into it with the power riffs, being bass driven by Stevan Fujto. Add the classic metal riffs from Mijatovic Bojan and Zivkovic Budimir, accompanied by the beat of Topic Milos' skins, and the horns go up as the pits surely form at any live show. Cerovina Strahinja comes in with his gritty voice, belting out the start to this track with conviction in every lyric. The song is a great beginning to the album as Cerovina belts out about how he is on the path to rocking the crowd with this first offering from Concrete Sun. Adding in some background screamo for emphasis, they have definitely captured the listener appreciated metal that is sweeping the music world as of late.
With the second track, "Euphoria", the band seems to grow even heavier in it's sound. With the classic build-up, beat driven with slashing axes and screamo/grit mixed yell, Concrete Sun have chosen their track order on this album wisely. With a great guitar solo by Bojan at about the 3 minute mark of "Euphoria", one can only imagine the severity of the damage being done in the mosh pits at a live show.
On the third track, "Last Man Under the Sun", Cerovina shows his diverse range even more as the song begins in ballad form. As a sort of break from the madness of hair flying head banging, this track offers the listener a different softer side to the band with it's melody and harmonizing. Bringing the crowd to bearing lighters and hands in the air. A very good touch to what is surely a crowd pleasing show. Bringing that classic metal feel back from the 1980's in a way that doesn't seem to mimic, but to compliment their predecessors of that era.
The track "D.A.N.U.B.E." offers what is the best that Concrete Sun has to offer crowds in a live setting. Seen as the band's crowd favorite after watching some live footage of Concrete Sun, this track embodies the horns up head down beat stomping of a live metal show. One envisions the hands high clapping through the intro to the belted "Yeah", where they course into the meat of the song. With a great rhythm riff and blazing leads behind the belting of Cerovina, one cannot truly jam out to "D.A.N.U.B.E." without appreciating the in your face feel of Concrete Sun.
The entire offering of "Sky is High" is a masterful blend of old school metal with a southern stoner grunge feel. Truly meant for the lovers of metal in it's true form of blazing guitars and powerful vocals. Not over complicated with synthesized extras that so many bands seem to try and overindulge in, Concrete Sun has given a message to the metal world with "Sky is High". That metal is best served up the way it has always been intended. Simply put, in your face with controlled madness and eviscerating the synthesized additives. Five guys with their instruments and a purpose. That purpose being, Metal with an attitude.
Visit Concrete Sun on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/concrete.sun
Review of Tall Dark Stranger's "There It Is" LP
By Ryan Chilton
For B's RSM Promotions
The nom de guerre “Tall Dark Stranger” evokes mystery and intrigue. You wonder if this person is a drifter, a person on the run, or a person that danger follows closely. All those elements are on display in Tall Dark Stranger’s “There it is”. The 11-song set opens with the guitar anthem “Psychic Surgery”, a song about flirtation with a vague source of danger and temptation. The song is laden with crunchy guitars and purposefully mysterious lyrics that leave you wondering what the singer is searching for, and if he even knows. It leaves the mind to wonder, and wander, about the various possibilities of unfulfillment the singer is struggling with.
The album adds to the intrigue by taking a turn from the cutting guitar rock with the next three songs that feature more 80’s style rhythms and arrangements. The album keeps adding unexpected elements, switching styles throughout. Tall Dark Stranger could just as easily be call “Jack of All Trades.” There is no settling for predetermined genres or styles, just an artist who presents a different side of himself at every chance. This album could be labeled unfocused by some, but that’s part of its charm. Listeners will never be bored. It is the definition of an artist being unencumbered by genres and fitting into a specific shape. Tall Dark Stranger truly made a gritty, powerful and rocking album and said “There It Is.”
Overall, the album has some great guitar work, spot on vocals, and heartfelt lyrics. The album is loaded with quirky word choices and vivid imagery. A quick glance through the song titles and you will find “Psychic Surgery”, “Solar System”, “Watery Hands”, and “Center of the Universe.” High points on the album are Psychic Surgery and the ballad White Gold.
Review of Beyond Violet
by L. White
In traversing the globe to find great music, one must open their minds as well as their ears if you truly want to find the very best music gems hidden amongst the plethora of hopefuls in the wide spectrum of genres of music. One of those hidden gems is how I would describe Beyond Violet. Listed as Rock/Goth/Pop in the genre sense, this band delivers a sound that I was not capable of really pinning down to a specific, or even three genres.
For instance, on the track "Beyond the Fire", the music is driven by the drums of Merlijn. With Roxane's dark and melodic harmonizing of heartfelt lyrics. Backed by a blazing guitar with hooks and leads winding around every word. Adding solos swirling around the bass beating of Chiara and dept fingers on the keys of Ilona's keyboard. All together a spectacular journey down the rabbit's hole of the story they so masterfully tell.
All band members have extensive backgrounds in every aspect of music, from concept, to writing, to recording and most of all mastering the sound that is Beyond Violet. On the track "Cupid", the band starts the song with a very heavy lick and beat. Adding just another touch to their diverse sound. Roxane comes in with the dark Gothic appeal to her voice range that gets low and sharp then high and equally as sharp. The timing is impeccable as the synthesized keys of Ilona come in giving it that Ministry feel of Industrial metal, but then disappear as if just a hint of something yet different. All driven by a subtle bass-line that comes in and out at all the right moments.
Beyond Violet have set the scales very high with their composition and arrangements in their music style. Having some background in music myself, I was invisioning the band through the writing process and found myself very impressed with the way they go about creating their art of music. Doing extensive background on the band, I found a very hard working band that really takes the creative level to all new highs. It shows in the music they create together. As the finished product is very melodic, very technical, but then also sounding so simple and basic, even though I know it is not in the least. That they make their sound seem easy, and it is actually the exact opposite. That is a genuinely creative genius point that is commonly referred to as the "IT" factor. Beyond Violet definitely possess this in every sense. They not only have studied music in it's many forms and concepts, but have mastered the art that they bring forth with each track.
With the track "Cybercherry", they manage to squeeze in so many different styles of music, yet not stray from the core of what Beyond Violet showcase as their sound. It doesn't sound muddied with too much, and captures the essence of what the band tries to put forth. With that dark Gothic harmony, and industrial feel at times, it is a refreshing sound with that added touch of genius that draws you in. Willing you to feel the passion in Roxane's melodies. A perfect choice to make their official video for, as I found it the epitome of what Beyond Violet had to deliver for a sound.
I fully enjoyed the music of Beyond Violet and look forward to their full-length release later in 2012. This is a highly technical band that makes it all seem easy, as their talents and knowledge of music lets the songs flow from them freely and keep the listener entranced in the stories of their songs. A hidden gem indeed, but soon to be hidden no more as they take the music world by storm.
Visit Beyond Violet on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/BeyondViolet
Review of noise "Divided" LP
By L. White
When traversing the globe in seek of great music, one does not stumble into Iceland too often. This is not the case today, as the music of alternative rock band noise has jumped into the spotlight. The recently released "Divided" offers a new look into what the alternative rock genre has to offer. Lending a much harder edge to the blazing guitars of Einar Vilberg and Stefan Vilberg than what has typically been classified as "alternative rock". Maybe dubbing the music of noise as alternative metal. No matter the classification of genre, the music of noise has definitely arrived on the music scene to much acclaim.
The first track, "A Stab in the Dark" starts off with licks that seem pretty basic in alternative rock, until the drums come in and the crossover happens to bring a much heavier feel. Catching the listener a little off guard, but in all the ways that are good in music. With a great guitar solo at the 2:07 mark of the track by Einar, who also does the vocals for noise, the whole song screams out to be seen in live performance. Being beat and bass driven by the skins of Thorvaldur and bass of Stefan Vilberg, the track is just one level of great music offered on this ten track LP.
On the second track, "Voice Inside", the band come right in blazing with the heavy guitars and beat to keep the metal appeal blasting through the listeners ears. The feeling behind the vocals deliver to give you the full body mind and spirit of the lyrical content. As with every track on "Divided", the song writing is masterful and is delivered by Einar with emotion driven ranges that make you not just jam out to the music, but feel the story being told by noise. Storied lyrics seem to be a growing trend among rock artists as of late, and noise have definitely mastered this very cherished aspect of their music. Offering more than just mindless words played to heavy licks and hooks. Rather actually having some meaning behind the music that the band represents.
On the title track, "Divided", whether intended or not, you can hear an almost tribute to a very famous lick in the 80's hair metal realm. The main lick rhythm sounds eerily close to Motley Crue "Looks That Kill", with maybe one bar changed. It makes the listener feel as though the track is somehow familiar, yet even if never hearing the song before. A great touch, whether intended or not, to an already well liked LP.
As a whole, the "Divided" LP is very enjoyable and represents the sound and feel that noise is offering to the music world. The production of the LP is solid and shows the versatility of the band, as they are an Independent band with brothers Einar and Stefan listed as sole producers. Not surprisingly the band was named Sunset Island Music Band of the Week and has quickly risen up the charts ever since. With much acclaim from many within the industry in many different countries, the music of noise has not just put them on the map, but shined a musical light on Iceland itself.
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Review of The X Discography
By Gilbert Lachance
The X, an Italian duo formed in early 2011 by Luca Ascari and Stephanie Lapertosa. Even though The X is a recent project, both members of the band are not new to the music industry.
Stephanie began as a soprano at school in 1988, then directed her attention to jazz, which shows in some of the songs that The X have composed. In 2010 she released her first solo album, ‘’Dreaming Is Also Fly’’. With The X, she brings a captivating voice which plunges the listener into a dreamy mood.
Luca Ascari is the composer, arranger and musician of the band. His career in music began in the 1980’s, but really took off in the 1990’s when he began a project with a new band named Segura Coisa, by trying to merge the original spirit of tribal rhythms from African sounds with those of northeastern Brazilian. Around 2000, in turned his research with solo projects more oriented toward jungle, drum’n’bass, electro, etc., with a project called Khallàs, in which he was singing in Italian. Finally, The X began in 2011 with a first album called ``Marie: The Dark Age of Reason``.
I had only heard about The X recently, and didn’t take the time to really explore their music. So to complete a thorough review, I received 4 folders containing lots of music of varied styles. One, containing different collaborations with many artists. Two, the new album, "Transmutation". Another containing remixes made by Black Project. With the final containing tracks made in collaboration with Ul2raviolet. Already being familiar with Ul2raviolet through his collaboration with Delta Pavonis.
The first batch, the single tracks & collaborations, contains the most varied types of music. The jazz orientation of Stephanie shines in these songs, especially in
"Boom Bop", "You’re So Light" and "Diamonds Ecstasy". The latter being one of the best of everything I have heard from The X. A song using snippets from the James Bond movies. Another great one is the remix by Black Project of "Six Feet Under". A track that is more dance floor oriented, but very effective. Where "Changing With a Little Shot" is a quiet song, perfect around a martini with Stephanie’s voice twirling around your senses.
Transmutation, as said earlier, is the most recent EP put forth by The X. The ambient sound of The X is very apparent in this album. All 6 Tracks from this EP are excellent. They made me think a bit about The Orb at times. Especially on the track "A Wrong Cluster of Truth". the track "Sonogram" and the fore-mentioned "A Wrong Cluster of Truth" are not to be missed. Shining as the best tracks on an already well received EP.
The Black Project remix tracks, are remixes of tracks from Transmutation. Black Project gave them the techno dance treatment. For some it works fine, but for others like "A Wrong Cluster of Truth (Hardstyle remix)", I would definitely prefer the original version. Really an ear of the beholder remix there. Then on the track "Russian Dolls", the remix works wonderfully and adds a new dimension to an already good track." The Womb Beat Refixx" is another example of this.
The last folder contains the album "Luminescence", made with Ul2raviolet. As Ul2raviolet does the same type of ambient music as The X, this collaboration is top notch. "The Womb Beat" is really sounding like the best of The Orb’s music, and it’s quite a compliment to say that with conviction. "Mechagism (Interstellar hypnosis)" is one of the best tracks. With another version of this track surfacing on the Square Peg in a Round Hole vol. 3 Compilation, just out a few weeks ago. "Solidarity" has separate versions, one ambient and the other a drum and bass track. Both done well in their own right. The best of this bunch, are by far "The Womb Beat" and "Sonogram", which is more rhythmic.
All in all, The X are very varied in styles of music. Going from ambient jazz to techno to deep ambient. If you like to discover new bands this one is a must hear. If you take the time to have a listen, you’re in for quite a nice journey in sound.
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Review of Bradykynin's Self-Titled LP
By L. White
With so much rock music coming out of New Jersey, it is refreshing to have a new sound arrive on the scene. That is what Bradykynin offers with their new self-titled LP. Listed as Trip-Hop, Indie, Drone Rock, Bradykynin is actually harder to describe when trying to just pick a genre or three. With an almost classic Pink Floyd sound at times on tracks like "Receptor". Then more of an Alternative rock sound with tracks such as "Iwatamoto" that can also be described as New Wave at times. As has become quite popular lately with many artists, Bradykynin pushes the barriers of being labeled with a specific genre. This can only be a plus in today's world of music, as music lovers tend to look for that "something different" factor in the bands they follow.
Bradykynin are a three-piece band, but their music sounds like there is definitely more than three members. With Lew Confrancesco on lead vocals and bass, Mike Cairoli on guitar and Brian Csencsits on drums, Bradykynin has emerged with a mellow sound that also makes you want to move. A great contradiction in sounds, as you can listen while relaxing on a long car ride, or while hosting a house party. They have managed to create a sound that eclipses time with this self-titled LP. At some points sounding very much like an old classic rock song from the 70's, while maintaining a firm grasp on a more contemporary level. This fusion of sounds also makes it very hard to classify the band to specific group of genres, never mind just one. As some may describe it as a fresh new sound with a nostalgic vibe, Bradykynin brings a new element to the table with this album.
Overall, the self-titled Bradynynin LP is a very enjoyable one. The song writing is superb, the musical arrangement is perfect and put all together Bradykynin leaves you wanting to hear more. Whether you are wanting to just mellow out or get the party started, they offer both sides of the coin with the sound they bring forth. Seeing bands emerge that are hard to categorize is hard enough. This band has that element in full stride, as well as contradicting emotions emitted from just listening to their music. Any number of oxymoron phrases could be used. For this album, the best way to describe it is something refreshingly new from yesteryear.
The blending of genres is sure to have Bradykynin gaining many fans from different backgrounds, with many different likes in styles of music. If this album describes the sound of Bradykynin music, then this is definitely a band to keep an ear out for.
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Review of Mike Grosshandler "Blue Skies Black" LP
By L. White
Solo artists seem to be coming out of the woodwork lately, and sounding pretty good at that. Thus is the case with guitarist for Upstate NY bands "The Velmas" and "Above The Flood" , Mike Grosshandler. Juggling roles in two bands, this hard working artist found the time to release a full-length album of his own titled "Blue Skies Black". His first solo release since 2004 which, aside from drums, a horn on one track ("Drive Me") and guest vocals on another ("Status Quo"), Mike has written, performed, engineered and produced it all himself. Voted by a readers poll in Metroland as "Best Local Solo Musician" and "Best Local Producer", Mike Grosshandler has already seen acclaim for this full-length album.
Delving right into the music, on the title track, "Blue Skies Black", he starts out with his axe, paving the way with a nice rhythm. Vocals on the track are smooth and reminiscent of a softer side of David Grohl. Very catchy with a solid beat, nice melody and perfectly placed solo.
On every track, Grosshandler showcases his great guitar playing and his soulful voice. With great pitch on belted vocals and excellent range with softer melodic tones. Adding feeling to the storied lyrics that helps the listener relate and connect to the path the whole album takes them on. None better than on the third track, "Nothing Much", where Mike seems to emit emotion and heartfelt feeling in his vocals. With a great solo bridge at the 2:25 mark of the track, lending the listener a retrospective moment to soak in the dream being chased.
On the track "Drops" he showcases some great keyboard playing with a violin overtone and xylophone symbolizing the tears of realization at the wrong caused from a lost love. Leaving the interpretation up to the listener of the songs meaning being of a lost love, or the singers quest for acceptance and self-exploration. Grosshandlers song writing is masterful and introspective, letting the wall crash down and giving one a look inside the feelings and thoughts of an artist who is seeking out the answers to his own path.
The same could be said about the final track, "Without You". The emotions come clearly through with the music arrangements and vocals. Clearly a song of missing a love from afar, or lost all together. Again, leaving that interpretation up to the listener.
Overall "Blue Skies Black" is a very entertaining and enjoyable release by Mike Grosshandler. Very well written, arranged, performed and produced. Showcasing the many talents of a very gifted artist. Grosshandler is definitely a musician to keep an eye on, whether it be in a band role or as a solo artist. "Blue Skies Black" offers that Foo Fighters sound, but with a slightly softer edge to it. Not to be so much compared, but offering his own style and distinction. Mike Grosshandler has hit a home run with this release and leaves you wanting to hear more. A concept that every artist should strive for and aim towards, he has completely nailed it.
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Review of Sunside "Forever, Whenever"
By L. White
Picture driving through the winding valley of a cavernous mountain range in a red convertible sports car. Wind blowing through your hair, trees flying by on either side with the fresh smells of a recent rain in the air. Skies brilliantly blue without a cloud in sight. A perfect afternoon, without a care in the world. This is all I could imagine while listening to the full-length CD by Sunside, "Forever, Whenever". A soundtrack to a great day pondering what might be around the next turn, but knowing that it is all going to be alright. When I first received the CD, I looked a little into the band and was quite surprised to find that Sunside is comprised of just two members. Upon further digging, I found that not only do Zac and Mark write all music and lyrics for every song on the album, but they also do all of the singing and playing of instruments as well. Very intrigued, I delved right into the music itself. On the first track, "B-Side Girl", I was instantly pleased with the catchy beat and steady rhythm of the song. A tale about chasing after the girl who never gets the spotlight and is always against the grain. The obscure reference to the track on the other side of the single that gets all the airplay and fame. The music was well put together and mastered wonderfully. A cleverly written song with hidden meaning, whether intended or not. I jumped right on to the next track, "Discount on Distances", and was equally impressed with it's production and likability. Catchy beats that swirl around corners, like the winding roads through that valley. With the steady rhythm of the engine of the convertible in perfect timing with the lyrics and core of the track. As each track unfurled a new road to take me on, I found myself genuinely impressed in the whole of this CD. Even more impressed that the group was comprised of just two individuals. Zac and Mark, both stemming from separate backgrounds, musically and geographically, have come together to form a great sound with Sunside. This first offering by the duo, is nothing shy of genius. As it traverses the Pop-Rock and light Alt.Rock genres so masterfully, it carves out their own little notch in the music community. The writing of the songs, from reading the lyrics while I listened, I found was very precise and to the point. Never adding too much, and leaving full meaning of each track up to the mind of the listener. With this, relating to the lyrics is made easy for fans of several different genres of music. The one track, that made my journey with Sunside complete, fittingly was the final track, "Dark Song". A ballad of a lost heart is how I envisioned the song. A great searching for a lost soul, that is feverishly missed. Something everyone can relate to in one form or another. Whether a passed friend or relative, or just that love that got away. The vocals really shine through on this track, as I could feel the angst the song conveyed. Every track on this CD helps you feel what the song is setting forth lyrically. A masterful talent lost on today's Pop artists. The album is never too much like the "bubblegum" Pop of the teen craze, but rather a heartfelt rendering of what story each track tells. Music pitched perfectly to both Zac and Mark's voices in such a great way, as to assume it is one voice with slight change. These two artists definitely were suited to become one musically, as each compliments the other in ways that only typically happen among siblings. That they both found each other to collaborate and become Sunside is a blessing to music lovers that crave good Pop Rock/Power-Pop/Shoegaze music. Both coming from other projects to work together was a brilliant step forward for two very gifted and talented writer/musicians.Overall I found this first full-length release from Sunside very enjoyable and delightful to the ears. Like the cool breeze that you get from that long winding road through the valley, with the wind whispering through your hair. I am very much looking forward to future trips that Sunside will offer to the music world, and hope to once again get lost in the joys of music. Whether out on the road, or home alone, the music of "Forever, Whenever" took me away to places that only smiles can abound. I fully recommend this CD to all who enjoy good music put forth by hard working talented writer/musicians. Just press play, and let Sunside take you on a drive through the mountains on a beautiful day.
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Review of The Mouth of Ghosts' "When the Sun Sets" EP
By L. White
The music world is a vast exploration of genres and sounds that cover every spectrum in the realm of taste. That being said, a new brand is on the horizon, that many are trying to explore but not finding exactly that right formula to accomplish this feat. With London based band The Mouth of Ghosts, this is not the case. With their current release, "When the Sun Sets" 5-song EP, The Mouth of Ghosts offer the music world a new sound that sounds eerily familiar but hard to describe. With elements of Trip-Hop, Atmospheric Chamber Music, Alternative Rock and any mixture of other genres from across the wide spectrum, The Mouth of Ghosts fuse their sound to create music that you can feel deep emotions from.
Fronted by the vocals of Alla Seydalieva , with an almost dark Gothic feel at times. The storied lyrics are laid out with her enchanting voice with meaning and emotions that run deep from within. Alla's range is spectacular in offering the listener a journey each track takes you on. Cresting high octaves and belting soulful rhythm, with silent whispers added in for depth and symmetry that slice across the music with ease. With added psychedelic electronics that never overpower the music, but add that hidden element that swirl around the lyrics and instruments.
On the title track of the EP, the guitar of Simon Langford leads the way into the journey. "When the Sun Sets" then is bass and beat driven by the bass of Marco Italia and skins of Phil Page on drums. With the atmosphere of Valerie Deniz synthesizer and background vocals added in for perfect texture. The bridge offers a breather for a moment that leaves the listener in a trance feeling every emotion that the track offers with it's many elements. A song that seems so familiar, yet so different at the same time. Reminiscent of a mixture of Portishead fused with Mazzy Star, but with their own added touch to make it all their own, The Mouth of Ghosts have created a great anthem to emotion fueled music.
On the track "Patient" the guitars are more prevalent, bringing that Gothic style of Alla's lyrics more to the forefront. With the slight synthesized back whistle mimicking the range of her crests and dives in the choruses of the track, Valerie is masterful in just adding in a hint of her own voice as well. Simon twists his axe around every word so good that you feel anguish in ways that many songs fail at in trying to create emotion with an instrument. "Patient" is a powerful song full of emotion on every level of loss and despair. The listener feels the pain and sees the disparage of one lost without a way to seek solace in the only one who can save them.
The EP also offers a great cover of the Deftones classic "Digital Bath", that adds in some texture of their own. The added touch actually makes the original sound like it is missing something. A masterful feat that actually creates a feeling that the cover is actually the original. Definitely the highest of compliments one can pay to a song by another artist. Especially when covering a song with vocals of the opposite sex. This song was done to perfection, making it their own in every way, yet paying tribute to the original by making it sound even better.
Overall, The Mouth of Ghosts have set the bar very high in their sound for themselves. "When the Sun Sets" is a remarkable offering to the music world that will surely take the band to many new highs. The five tracks are all pleasing and entertaining in their own specific ways, giving the world a familiar, yet new brand of music that many in the industry should take note of. The Mouth of Ghosts have arrived on the scene, and they don't look to be going anywhere but to the top of the charts. Fully recommended with a five star appeal, "When the Sun Sets" can be aired to many a different genre specific ear. Leaving you wishing only for one thing, more from The Mouth of Ghosts.
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Review of Midnight Mosaic
By L. White
Matching the look of each member to the next of this 5 piece band from New Brunswick, New Jersey, the music of Midnight Mosaic is very diverse indeed in sound from track to track. Listed as Indie/Rock leaves much open for interpretation, and Midnight Mosaic does not simplify it at all with the varies in styles of music. With some tracks sounding like a high tempo ska/rock mixture, while others deliver a heavier guitar based rock sound. Then adding in some pop rock and soft rock led by the keys of a delightful piano. Midnight Mosaic is yet another of the growing list of bands that one cannot pin down to one, two or even three genres.
On the track "My Fair Lady" they begin the song with the synthesized keyboard of Harrisyn Hartt that fades into a nice riff from Trent Carters axe. Adding a nice bass-line from Gil T. Brown and all tied together with the skins of Animal "AJ" Jones. The vocals of A.T. Hunte come in and swirl all around the music perfectly with just the right pitch and vocal range. A track the band just released in time for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
On the track "11th Hour" MidMo starts off with a hard edged riff from Carter that has the song feeling more from the 90's alternative realm. A nice touch, considering the remainder of the song then sounds more like a ska track without the horns. Hunte shows a wider range in his vocals on this track as he belts many of the lyrics for emphasis. With maybe slight pitch issues at a couple of different parts. But overall sounding real good and not really noticeable to the average music fan. In mid song, you can hear the slight synthesized rhythm from Hartts keyboard that adds in a great touch. Not too much, but just enough to add a bit of texture to the track.
On "Masochist Me (Heartbreak mix)" the track starts off with a sweet sounding piano by Hartt, that remains through the whole track. Dubbed as the bands ballad song, the vocal range of Hunte is very wide on this track. Soft at the right times, with great pitch at the belted parts and even some growled words for emphasis. This track even adds some rhythm and blues feel to it, with soul and feeling. Quite fitting for a ballad in every way.
On the track "Victorious" the band surprises yet again adding in some jazz and folk rock sound to their ever growing list of genres touched upon. With a soft drum line in the beginning and increasing over the course of the song. AJ shows off his own diversity not really sticking to the traditional drums line of average rock bands. By the end of the track is where the higher tempo of a ska band comes into play. With the lyrics sounding almost Caribbean at times, it makes you wonder just how many different styles of music are represented by Midnight Mosaic.
Overall, MidMo is a highly enjoyable band. Their diverse sounds, just like their diverse styles and looks, add a new dimension to music today. As they touch upon so many different sounds and genres, one could only imagine the diverse look of the audiences at their live shows. Giving a taste to each different type of music lover out there, they transcend the name that genre feel to all new levels. The band plays well off of one another and feed off of each others energy. Not really having one aspect of their sound shine through like many other multi-genre bands, they will surely bring a new element to reach for in todays music. With a little something for everybody, Midnight Mosaic are sure to be around for a while and is surely a band to be watched, and heard, over the next few years.
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Review of Subject ID
By L. White
With a bit of a pop/folk sound, Subject ID is hard to pin down to just a traditional genre. With elements of Sublime and then some Violent Femmes they traverse a wide spectrum of sound. At times sounding quite brilliant lyrically, but then maybe a little goofy, as on the track "The Tree Song". Showing some great writing skills on tracks like "Stalker" and "Cycle Stays the Same", with great metaphors and with the vocals just complimenting the messages of each track.
On "Stalker", the track starts off with a great bass-line by Anthony DeDominicis and Taylor Kitchen, and remains bass and beat driven by Anthony, Taylor and skins of Levi Kertesz. With two bass players with the same sort of rhythm, Anthony also plays some guitar on the various tracks of Subject ID, they offer a great sound. All in sync and playing off of each other, the band works very well together to give the full feeling of what Subject ID brings to the table.
On the track "Wooden Strings" you get more of an acoustic folk sound. With a bit of Violent Femmes sound, that David Mercante offers on each track with his vocal range. At about the 1:50 mark, the tempo of the track speeds up with a nice bridge that offers up a solo of sorts that is simple, but compliments the track. Actually bringing to mind a classic rock feel to it at times.
The band offers a swingy pop rock and folk based sound and is quite pleasing to the ear. It is actually very interesting that in listing their personal influences, they did not list such bands as the Violent Femmes, Sublime or B52's. Maybe not so much the B52's exuberance and tempo, but you can definitely hear some influence in there. With the vocals mainly sounding like Gordon Gano, but with Mercante's own style adding a softer feel to it.
Overall, Subject ID is a great band with their own sound, no matter who their influences may be, or who they may resemble. Unable to really nail down their sound to one, or even two, specific genres, as has become customary lately with many bands. They offer a feel good sound even when touching on not so feel good topics. With not sticking to traditional ways of band members roles in the band, they open up doors for themselves where many other bands may stay stuck in one particular sound. With three of the band members listed as singing vocals, two band members listed on guitars, bass and even percussion, it leaves much more room for exploration for different sounds and techniques. Each of these tracks offers the sound that is Subject ID, with Mercante doing the bulk of the lead singing, you definitely know each track is from the same band. What the future holds for Subject ID, is all completely up to the band as they evolve and change their styles, yet always sticking to the same core of their true sound. No matter what style they settle on, or even if they keep changing it up, Subject ID is a band to keep an eye on.
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Review of Volary "Out of Shadows" LP
By L. White
With a mixture of Shirley Manson and Gwen Stefani at times, Volary offers a very catchy melodic sound with "Out Of Shadows". Listed as Indie Pop in the genre realm, Volary offers more than just a casual pop album. The song writing on the entire LP is masterful in arousing emotions in the listener. From the very first track "Die A Little More", the music captures you first with a catchy rhythm and groove that swirl around the poetic verses of Volary's lyrics. Adding in a soft violin/cello to add texture to the emotion the track emits. Searching for something to fill the void from within, calling out to anyone who can understand the demons she is trying to escape that are caused by the loneliness she feels.
The second track, "That Girl", is more of a pop rock song that shows the more vulnerable envious side of a girl wishing to be stronger in choices and in life. A song young listeners can relate to on the level of wishing they had the greener grass from the other side of the fence. Not so much using metaphors as being straight on with her wants and wishes. Looking at the one with the perfect looks, confidence and desire from others. Wishing she could be more like her, both inside and out, because she feels unrest in her own life.
On the third track, "Blackbird Fly", Volary adds a nice classical touch in the beginning. With the intro sounding as though a vinyl record has been put on tap, and then the acoustics with the opening picks of the guitar sound almost classical Spanish opera. Then reverting back to a modern indie acoustic vibe. Volary's voice then swirls all around the rhythm of the music perfectly. The bridge halfway through the track is like a roadside resting spot on a drive through the mountains where you look at the view around you and appreciate it's beauty. This track shines almost the brightest on "Out Of Shadows", as it showcases the many levels of depth behind the vocal range of Volary.
On the eighth track "Touched", is something yet again all different. More of a ballad with a definite soft classical feel, Volary's vocal range is superb. Pitch is precise and perfect at all the right moments. With violins and piano adding to the feeling of the deep emotions in the lyrics. Tortured in her own mind with the thoughts that bring her to desperation of acceptance. Truly the most heartfelt song on the album. Needing assurance for whats been said in her love, to curb the demons in her mind that cause doubt.
On the final track of "Out of Shadows", the listener is offered yet another different style of music. "Fame Doesn't Love You" is a blues track about an artist coping with the music world getting more bleak as age comes into play. But still persevering and moving forward with their music. Great music composition, adding in a horn and blues bass line giving the track more depth with the lyrics.
Overall, "Out Of Shadows" is a highly enjoyable album. Mixing many different genres than is stated by Volary in their description. A concept that has become quite the norm on the Indie level of music. Daring anyone, even themselves, to try and pigeonhole their sound to just one style, or even three. The song-writing is poetic and vibrant in emotion. Delivered with all of the right pitches and depth. The music composition of the entire album is fitting to each track, as Volary samples the wide spectrum of styles and genres. Volary music is for those who like to feel the music being presented. The feelings there in are up for interpretation by each listener, but it is safe to say that Volary has definitely created a masterpiece with "Out Of Shadows".
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Review of Spoken Life's "Truth Be Told" EP
By L. White
On first listening to Spoken Life's Music, the production quality is not all that great. But the lyrics and music are good. Enough to stand on their own merit depends solely on the listener. On the first track of this 6 track debut EP, "Here and Now" the lyrics of Anthony Irvin are very well written and the music being only an acoustic guitar, almost leaves you with feeling you wish you could hear this track with a beat behind it. It is a great song about a love that doesn't waver. Living in the here and now where all is good. Kind of folk meets soft rock. The guitar has a good rhythm, with some interesting breaks here and then near the chorus.
On the 2nd track "In the Moment", the guitars with a soft beat behind it sound ever pleasing to the ears. A soft breeze of an instrumental that reminds you of crashing waves against the rocks on a light warm morning. Definitely a soft rock rhythm track that would help ease the mind when unwinding from a long day.
On the 3rd track, "Remember", Irvin tells a story of a lost love that he is remembering and wondering how it all went wrong. Again, the lyrics are very well written and sung, the acoustic guitar licks are done beautifully. Still there seems it would be a plus to have a beat behind, with a bass added in for a little more texture. Even if just slightly. But the song does stand on it's own more so than on "Here and Now". Still very pleasing to the ears even being a sad song of an ended love. With an empowering message of being able to overcome and become better for having been in the love, and that he will still always be a friend for having been a part of their love.
The 4th track on the EP is "Until We Meet Again". Any listener can relate as the song tells of a lost loved one. It can be construed either by lost love or lost from losing someone close to you through death. A lovely song that touches close to home with any listener. Some of the production in this track is a little off with volumes of music placement, but doesn't affect it enough to take away from Irvin's message.
On "Signs From Above", the 5th track on the EP, Irvin offers another instrumental of just his acoustic guitar. More upbeat than the previous "In The Moment" instrumental, like a brisk walk in the park on a clear sunny day.
On the final track of the EP, "Dreamers and Believers", Irvin takes his own experience through music to offer a message of hope for all who strive to be what they wish to be. With ups and downs, his message is to persevere through it all to make your ultimate goals and dreams come to fruition. Some parts have pitch issues lyrically, but the message comes through for the listener. The music is very good, and his guitar playing is good to the message conveyed.
Overall, as a debut EP, "Truth Be Told" is a refreshingly nice offering. With some minor issues with pitch in some areas lyrically, and the production could use a little work. With being a solo independent artist "Truth Be Told" is a great starting point for Irvin and showcases his great song writing capacity. Bringing a soft rock and folk appeal, Spoken Life is definitely on the right track to making his dreams come true. It would be nice to hear tracks one, three and six done with maybe a light drumline and bassline behind it. But even without, the tracks can stand on their own merit to many a listener. Irvin shows his passion for what he writes, and as he writes in the final track, is "willing to sacrifice and lay it all on the line." He has done that with "Truth Be Told".
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Review of Aoede "Skeletons of The Muse"
By L. White
With a catchy pop feel and a nice Indie folk sound, Aoede brings her soft soothing voice to the forefront in her music. Writing everything herself, Lisa Sniderman is a very gifted artist that expresses her joy of good feeling music with every track she has to offer. On "Can't Stop the Music", the music immediately has you snapping your fingers along with her and gets you wanting to dance. It's a very catchy song with the days of the week and regular daily duties counted off in a timely manner. Easily relatable to anyone with that care-free easygoing love of music.
On "Bittersweet", she captures some soft rock appeal with the music, while singing of the trials and tribulations of a girl in transition of life in a love. Trying to stand out in the crowd by being different, but yet being the same. Keeping all of her dark secrets to herself, yet showing that she has them. Aoede's voice swirls around the beat of the song in perfect rhythm and tells the story of the "Bittersweet" complicated girl that, even though may be hard to figure out, is still loved and wanted. This song captures the teen angst in every girl at some point in their lives. Though not to be just classified to teens but in many a woman as well. Very telling and enjoyable to the ears all the while.
On "Love Proof" Aoede brings more folk sound to her voice as she twists and turns with different melodies and pitches. Showing off a very wide range, this track is very pleasing to the ears as she tells the story of a skeptical girl seeking out a true love. Wondering if she is capable of love, or just "Love Proof". In the chorus she reveals she isn't at all. That she is just skeptical of others love and the truth behind their words. The music is quite simple which adds to the vocal ability and doesn't overtake it at all. With an underlying bass line, quick strums and basic drum beat, it is perfect for the vocals to shine the way they do over the entire track.
"Fairy Tale Love" starts off bass and beat driven with some violin added in for great texture. The song begins with mentions of well known fairy tale stories of love as metaphor for what she seeks in love for herself. In this track, the music wraps around the lyrics, where it was the opposite for other tracks. A masterful feat, that should be recognized in all technical areas. Very well done and offering more emphasis on the lyrics of Aoede.
Overall, "Skeletons of The Muse" was very enjoyable. Showcasing the lyrical beauty of Lisa Sniderman's range and pitches. The song writing seemed to be mostly aimed towards females and their feelings of the heart. Every song is relatable to the listener, and offers insight into female strengths and beauty from within. The music arrangements were perfect on each track for the feeling of the lyrics. Some were quite simple, some very intricate, but all perfect for the accompanying lyrics. Listed mainly as a pop artist, you find much more depth than to just call it pop music. More on the realms of pop, folk, Indie and soft rock on some tracks. The music of Aoede is purely meant to uplift the soul and put a smile in your heart. It is no wonder that Aoede has been receiving acclaim across the board within the music industry already, because no one should be without a smile in their heart.
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Review of Lunar Dusk
By L. White
With much dark appeal, Aerial of Lunar Dusk makes his message clear to the darklings of the world that the corruptions of world governments, media and social acceptance guidelines can be challenged with a voice. Not willing to conform to the general norm of society today, Lunar Dusk speaks out through his music as a voice from the crowd of question. Fully writing, composing and recording all of his material himself, the music of Lunar Dusk sounds somewhat rough in some areas, but still offers the listener a tasteful view of todays world in the eyes of the artist. With very meaningful and challenging lyrics, Aerial has delved into the world of political view and social acceptance of the norm in a way that offers insight and has one questioning their own views on the subject matter.
On the track "Blood and Tears", the song conjures up coffee house spoken word, but in song with a dark synthesized composition. Speaking on what one could interpret as a life of trying to find the truth in how to speak your mind and find the answers to live. Aerial is very poetic in his writing lyrically. Leaving the listeners with many different interpretations of what they might come across in meanings. The music composition in this track is very fitting, with the vocals maybe needing a little bit more strength behind them. A good track, and entertaining both the mind and ear with what he brings to the table.
On "Temple of Ishtar", Aerial takes a journey into a tortured soul of a man obsessed with the one who is not socially acceptable. Again, the vocals could be a little stronger and more in front of the music. As they seem to be not much full of confidence in his own abilities. He actually has a very good voice and should showcase it more than he does on these tracks. Choosing instead to have the music come in front a bit more than his vocals. Still all very nice to the ear and the song writing abilities clearly do shine through when you just listen to the lyrics of each track. His uses of metaphor and darkness to capture the essence of the stories being put forth by each offering are very on point, but just needing a little more conviction behind them with maybe a tad more volume on vocals.
On the track "Saturn", the beginning guitar sounds a bit Lynyrd Skynyrd, with a dark overtone of synthesized rhythm. Another poetic rendition of a mental obsession with something just out of reach. Fantasizing about that goal that is right beyond reach but surely obtainable if striving just a bit more.
Overall, the music of Lunar Dusk is entertaining to the ear, and to the mind. Feeling his points would be more taken, and absorbed better, if the artist had more confidence behind his own vocal range. Still, these tracks are deeply written and the music composition is masterful yet simple and easy on the ear. The artist is on the right track and shows his amazing song writing capabilities in every track. Very poetic and relevant to what each track conveys. After listening to the five tracks offered by Lunar Dusk, the direction of the artist is seen very clearly. When he finds that he can trust in his vocal abilities, and releases them to give each track the full life of what Lunar Dusk offers the music world, there is no telling the successes Aerial can accomplish through music. Like in the stories of some of these tracks, it seems Aerial is trying to find and reach that level in his own abilities to feel confident enough to shine upon the music world, and offer a new voice of question into all that is socially acceptable. Whether it be politics, religion or just social matter that seems to be misguided in ways that only we can change. It is good to hear a voice of question through music that makes you think of the world around you. When that voice grows the strength behind it, then the whole world will see the power that truly is Lunar Dusk music.
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Review of The Protest Self-Titled EP
By L. White
With band mate nicknames like "Shred", "Animal", "Texas Two Step", "Sludge" and "Sarge", one does not immediately envision a metal band with a mission from God. That is what Indiana based The Protest are though. Unable to really compare this band with others of the same agenda, The Protest doesn't make metal music for the mild audience. Rather, they offer crushing beats, blazing guitar riffs with hooks and leads that twist and turn around every lyric belted out with absolute fury. All encased within their message of hope and salvation. After doing extensive research on the band and their music, it is best said that The Protest strength lies in their live performances.
With this offering to the music world, The Protest self-titled EP delivers to the metal genre on every aspect musically. The first track, "Chambers" opens with a riff and beat that brings you right into the music. The lyrics of Josh "Shred" Bramlett start out melodically and twist into belted screams that never overpower the music, but rather compliment the instruments around him. Beat and bass driven by Jarob "Animal" Bramlett on skins and Chase "Sludge" Reagan on bass, the track takes you on a ride of battle between good and evil. With the good being the victor due to complete conviction in what they believe in. At the 2:30 mark of the track they feature a solo by Noah Henson of the band Pillar that is done to perfection and compliments the track ever so right.
On the track "We Will Rise", they start with a symphonic dark keyboard that leads into a great drum line intro. Then the music comes in with authority to the break where Shred comes in with his lyrics. The band has a video for this track that aptly describes its message of the odds stacked against them, but never bowing down. Offering elements of screamo at times, the vocal range of Shred is nothing shy of remarkable. The guitars of TJ "Texas Two Step" Colwell on rhythm and Adam "Sarge" Sadler on lead are precise and blazing the path of "We Will Rise". Sarge has a solo at the 3:08 mark of the track that is very good leading up to the pinnacle of the song and then blazes at the end.
On the track "Up From the Fall" the band offers up a softer side to their music. Being more of a melodic song, you immediately envision the lighters in the air of the crowd in live performance settings. The song offers advice for those who are in their down state, or in feeling of despair. With very powerful lyrics that can be felt whether into the spiritual aspect of its meaning or not. Even the music is powerful in the way it is delivered in this track. Offering a break at the 3 minute mark, that can be used to reflect on what the message of the lyrics convey.
The EP offers a cover of the very popular Phil Collins song "In the Air Tonight". They make it their own with music and beat throughout, with the lyrics staying to the original composition. Giving the track a heavier feel than the original, and adhering it to The Protest overall message, it is a very good tribute to the original.
Overall, The Protest EP is very enjoyable. Whether the listener is listening for the messages that The Protest deliver with their beliefs or not, the music of The Protest is definitely on the map. The hard rock/metal genres are a hard place to generate the message on a spiritual level which The Protest do with all of their songs. But just as said in their song "We Will Rise", no matter how the odds are stacked against them, The Protest will never back down. It is a good thing that they didn't, because this self-titled EP has definitely delivered more than just its overall message. It delivers great music to the masses that will break through many barriers set by those who do not believe.
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Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/theprotest
Review of Metasoma
By L. White
With their hard edge and sharp sound, Metasoma's music is hard to nail down to one genre. One listen to any track will leave you mesmerized by their diversity in the rock realm of sounds they have to offer the music world. On "Metal Erosion", Voytek Golbiak blazes in with his lead axe opening what can be described as crushing. The bass of Alexei Ekkel , axe of Michael Sedzielewski, skins of Vaughan Houseman then come in with a devastating crossover that would have any audience immediately on their feet with chills down their spines. This being the intro leading up to the coursing rhythm of the track, the listener is pulled right in from the start. With elements of 80's metal bands and a hint of classic rock with a kick, Metasoma offers a sound that is very unique in the realm of rock that is refreshing.
On the track "Older", the rhythm is reminiscent of older metal, with lyrics from Amro Aleks that sound like a newer cross between Fred Durst, Mike Muir and Bruce Dickinson. Offering a newer feel to a classic sound. A great sound for a live show, which is where Metasoma seem to have their strength in music. Being a hard working band that plays many live shows, one can not sit during any track the band has to offer. With their high energy and storied lyrics, any concert goer is immediately brought into the world of Metasoma music with hard edge feeling and a sound that at times seems so familiar, but just out of reach in nailing down.
Definitely being a crowd pleaser, the track "Lost My Way" is beat and bass driven with breaks and leads that take you on a ride you won't forget. With the mentioned breaks, one envisions a rest for the mosh pits for a moment, before blazing back in to get them fueled once again. A great track giving you the live feel, even if your sitting on your couch at home with headphones on. A feat that isn't very easy in today's music, Metasoma have nailed it in every aspect.
Vocalist Amro Aleks range from track to track is amazing. He can belt out the high pitched styles of the likes of Dickinson, then switch right into the grainy growls of some of today's best death metal bands. Screamo, classic rock, death metal growls, arena rock pitch, alternative feel, hardcore slices, Metasoma definitely brings the whole spectrum of sounds in each track they offer the music world. Seeing them live is how the listener is yearning upon listening to any number of songs the band have offered up. The music constantly delivers and fuels the vocal range of Aleks. The placement of bridges and hooks are perfect with the lead of Golbiak shining through at all the right moments. Never offering too much, but just enough to leave the concert goer exhausted but wanting more from the band.
Metasoma are definitely a band that exerts it's best power in a live setting. Not taking anything at all away from their studio offerings, as you would feel like you had been to a show just by putting the headphones on and closing your eyes. As each track ends, it leaves you wondering what journey the next track will lead you on. Not for the tame at heart, Metasoma are a high octane hard rock/metal band that deliver on so many levels. For the guitar enthusiast looking for great leads and hooks, Golbiak delivers to you. For the bass minded rhythm guitar lovers, Sedzielewski and Ekkel cater to you. For the blasting skin lovers of double-bass pounding beat driven music, Houseman is your god. For the lovers of multifaceted lyrics with ranges from glass shattering pitch to low growl to spoken word, Aleks comes with every range imaginable for you.
Overall, Metasoma deliver a sound that can live in any realm on the rock spectrum. Which can make their crowds at shows so diverse. With a little of everything to please all who attend. In the studio working on their full-length release, and always touring every stage they can hit, Metasoma is definitely a band to keep an eye on in the near future. Already receiving acclaim from all in the Independent music scenes, Metasoma are already on the map. Soon to be all over the map blazing a path that many are sure to try and imitate and look up to as the way great live music should be done.
Visit Metasoma on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Metasoma/147688001960438