Tag Archives: album

Norma Jean – Wrongdoers (Review)

NJ

http://www.facebook.com/normajean

Record Label: Razor & Tie Records

Release Date: August 6, 2013

Reviewed By: Patrick McQuaid

The past few years have not been kind to metalcore fans. Momentous metalcore bands such as Underoath, Bleeding Through, and The Chariot have called it quits (or are in the process of quitting) and worse is, the genre is beginning to become overcrowded with bland, cliche, and contrived artists. Well, Norma Jean’s Wrongdoers is here to punch you in the stomach and tell you to stop worrying about the fate of metalcore. It’s been three years since Meridional and Norma Jean have kept busy creating one of their finest, most memorable albums yet. Dare I say it, Wrongdoers may very well be a masterpiece

The opening track “Hive Minds” slowly builds with a bedlam of static and electronic beeping before erupting into a groovy bass riff courtesy of John Finnegan. Few bands can pull off an introduction track that is six minutes and forty seconds long, but Norma Jean do it with finesse and ease, while effortlessly transitioning the listener to the audio assault that is “If You’ve Got It At Five, Then You Got It At Fifty.”

Wrongdoers is full of excellent transitions that provide the album with a sense of cohesion, even when Norma Jean inject some variety into the mix. Look no further than the one-two punch that is “Sword In Mouth, Fire Eyes” and “Afterhour Animals” for a prime example. Taken separately “Afterhour Animals” would seem out of place, but when combined with “Sword In Mouth, Fire Eyes” the effect is chilling to the bone. It is subtle moments like these that propel Wrongdoers from being great, to being a masterpiece of the band’s craft.

Norma Jean’s craft is their excellent instrumentation, which shines throughout Wrongdoers. “The Potter Has No Hands,” has this shrilling guitar that enhances the verse, sounding like something Tom Morello would write if he were ever in a metalcore band. The title track “Wrongdoers” shows off Clayton Holyoak’s exceptional drumming proving the former Fear Before member makes an excellent addition to Norma Jean. While the fourteen minute closer is a showcase for Brandon Cory Putnams vocal ability.

Wrongdoers could be recommended alone for the sheer amount of energy and emotion present in this album. However, it is the bands superb instrumentation, masterful transitions, and the albums sense of cohesion that propel the album from great, to must hear. While pretty damn near flawless, the album takes a few listens to really digest, and begs to be listened to all the way through. Albeit the minor shortcoming, Wrongdoers is Norma Jean giving it all they have. It is the band with a gun to their head with the assailant demanding they deliver their finest effort, and they delivered.

OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10

Norma Jean is:

Chris Day – Guitar

Cory Brandan – Vocals

Jeff Hickey – Guitar

Clayton “Goose” Holyoak – Drums

John Finnegan- Bass

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Goodmorning, Gorgeous – Capstone EP (Review)

GMG

Record Label: N/A

Release Date: September 3rd, 2013

Reviewed By: Alex Maimone

I was, very recently, introduced to Goodmorning, Gorgeous. Instantly, I was amazed by how fantastic instrumentally and vocally they are. For not being signed, this band comes in hard and leaves with a bang!

“Capstone” is a brilliant piece of work. From the first track to the last, you just want to break everything around you. It’s so incredibly heavy and melodic all-together that you just simply can’t turn it off. Since I received this EP it has been on repeat.
Literally, everything on this EP mixes so well together. It’s as if they have been a band for over a decade.

The amazing guitar riffs and solos, really heavy high and low screams, and the consistent powerful sound of the drum kit, it all feels so overwhelming but just to the extent to where you want to instantly run to a show and watch these guys play live. It’s very rare that I instantly fall in love with a band, but with them I truly didn’t have a choice.

The first track “Filth” starts off slow and calming with some guitar then rapid drum rolls kick in and it just instantly gets heavy, it’s honestly such a smooth transition. Each song progresses in a different way which is why this album stands out. There is so much diversity and originality that’s hard to find in bands these days.

My personal favorite off the EP is “In Us We Trust”. The song is just extremely powerful in meaning and comes in so strong. The end chant “Through all of the pain and all of the lies, I hope you know I took control of my life” really hits home and send a message that many can understand and truly feel.

Honestly, I’m completely amazed by this EP and already can’t wait to hear more from these guys. If they are in your area, I truly advise you go check them out because they definitely deserve all the support they can get. “Capstone” shouldn’t be the last we hear from Goodmorning, Gorgeous. I expect big things from this Texas based band!

OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10

Goodmorning, Gorgeous is:

Drew Buckner – Vocals

John Michael Perez – Vocals/Rhythm Guitar

Matthew Guajardo – Lead Guitar

Jordan Brown – Bass Guitar

Lee Wall – Drums

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Shreddy Krueger – The Grieving (Review)

SK
Record Label: Invogue Records

Release Date: September 3rd, 2013

Reviewed By: Alex Maimone

Shreddy Krueger has never been a band I have gone out of my way to listen to. I love their label “Invogue Records” but this band has never stood out to be very spectacular in my eyes. Their new album “The Grieving” was released yesterday, actually.

At first listen, I was like “whoa this is actually really good!” As I continued, I soon came to realize how insanely similar each of the songs sounded to each other. I love breakdowns as much as the next guy, but this band milks it ridiculously. Almost every single song starts out with loads of chugs and then progresses into a chorus with some clean vocals, which then leads back to another breakdown. The repetitiveness of the album is fairly noticeable by just the normal listener.

The clean vocals in the album are pretty great, to be honest. Dude definitely has some sweet pipes. The instrumentals just over-power his voice to the point where he sounds like a whisper, at times. Production played a huge key in this album. Joey Sturgis, mastered the album but did not produce it, which I feel caused some problems. I never see faults in Sturgis’ work; he’s a fantastic producer for this scene.

The song that really stood out greatly, written and produced, was “Empress”. The song takes a different start with a Pop-Punk feel to the instrumentals and some calming but strong cleans. As I mentioned before, this man can sing. If he was maybe in a different genre, he’d really stand out. The screams and rough sounding instruments just take his voice away and makes the album ten times less enjoyable.

Lyrically, “The Grieving” is pretty well written. Haven’t really found any mishaps in the lyrics and that’s great. I always love when a band can actually write substantial and meaningful lyrics to their music.

It’s definitely not the worst album of the year but it’s nowhere close to being in the Top 10. It’s extremely generic and lacks complete diversity. Honestly without the clean vocals, I feel like they wouldn’t have gotten signed to Invogue.

I will not rule them out fully, they still have other releases to catch my interest, but I will not be listening to “The Grieving” any time soon.

OVERALL RATING: 5.5/10

Shreddy Krueger is:

Jordan Chase – vocals

David Ecker – guitar

Tristan Rattink – bass guitar

Ryan Loerke – drums

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Asking Alexandria – From Death To Destiny (Review)

AA
Record Label: Sumerian Records

Release Date: August 6th, 2013

Reviewed By: Alex Maimone

What can I say about From Death to Destiny? Well first off, it’s the third full-length Asking Alexandria has released on Sumerian Records. Old school metal vocals with the sweet mix of well-written guitar riffs, it’s fantastic. You can definitely say this isn’t the same Asking Alexandria we have heard throughout the years, but it definitely works.

They have taken an original Rock approach instead of the Post-Hardcore feel they had previously. I personally believe they have found the sound that fits best for them. Even though, I particularly am a huge fan of Stand up and Scream, I mean who isn’t? But, Danny has finally found a style that fits his voice properly and it’s a masterpiece.

The first track “Don’t Pray For Me” starts out with a melodic, dark sounding intro. This is not something new from Asking Alexandria but we all know they thrive when it comes to their synth work. It’s still as great as it has always been. Leading on, each song progresses into heavy screams with classic style rock/metal clean vocals. The same song “The Death Of Me” which received a music video, is quite heavy. One of the heaviest on the entire album in fact, and it pulls you straight in and leaves you head-banging and singing along throughout. Quite frankly, almost the entire album keeps you locked down, begging for more.

Honestly, I had extreme doubts about this at first, considering how strongly I loved the past two full lengths. They definitely created a work of art that will keep me jamming for weeks!

Don’t get me wrong though, I do find minor flaws in the album. Unfortunately, some of the songs seem to follow the same pattern, which can be quite irritating at times. Also, you can easily tell how Danny has had major voice changes since their first album released in 2009. But, if you’re a hardcore AA fan it honestly should not bother you and you’ll love this album as much as the rest.

OVERALL RATING: 8.0/10

Asking Alexandria is:

Danny Worsnop – lead vocals, keyboards, programming

Ben Bruce – lead guitar, programming, backing vocals

Cameron Liddell – rhythm guitar

James Cassells – drums

Sam Bettley – bass guitar

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Avenged Sevenfold – Hail To The King (Review)

AS

http://www.facebook.com/avengedsevenfold

Record Label: Warner Bros. Records

Release Date: August 27th, 2013

Reviewed By: Michael Thomas

Every now and again heavy metal music needs a new generation of superstars, another adrenaline fuelled shot to the arm, another hard kick up the arse. Avenged Sevenfold could well be that shot the industry needs, and if their latest instalment Hail To The King is anything to go by, they are well on their way for world domination.

Recent interviews suggest the band are willing to be as big as their heroes Metallica, Guns N Roses, Iron Maiden, and Pantera. A few years ago many people would have laughed at such a comment, however if record sales are anything to go by, that spotlight on the main stage may not be as far away as they think.

Following 2010′s Nightmare album, Hail To The King sounds absolutely huge. The album opens with the tolling of a church bell not so dissimilar from that on the debut Black Sabbath album. Salutes to Metallica’s black album can be heard in the crushing track This Means War, whilst fans of Megadeth will enjoy familiar musical phrasing in Heretic.

The album ploughs on through the Guns N Roses-esque Doing Time and a song that could be Iron Maiden at the height of their career in Coming Home. The influences are pretty shameful at points, but at least the inspiration is that of heavy metal legends.

The title track takes you on journeys through medieval wastelands and stone clad corridors. Requiem features a slightly dark and all together satanic influence and sounds like a completely new territory for Avenged. Separating the heavy tracks on the album is the power ballad Crimson Day, a song begging to receive music video treatment

OVERALL RATING: 7.0/10

Avenged Sevenfold is:

M. Shadows – lead vocals

Zacky Vengeance – rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Synyster Gates – lead guitar, backing vocals

Johnny Christ – bass guitar, backing vocals

Arin Ilejay – drums

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Dead Like You – This Is Never EP (Review)

DLY

http://www.facebook.com/deadlikeyouband

Record Label: None

Release Date: May 4, 2013

Reviewed By: Mario Yanez

Introducing, Dead Like You. A group not concerned about genre’s, or scenes, or anything superficial really, who’s ultimate motive is to make their own music the way they want to make it.

Consisting of past members of both Upon A Burning Body and Lonestar Driveby, Dead Like You definitely wouldn’t be considered “new” to the scene. Members in the band know what it’s like to start from the bottom, and to work their way to where they are now. Having no fear of hard work, the band has released their own EP and has played alongside many major label bands.

When you do decide to listen to the This Is Never EP, the first single you’ll come across is “Secrets”. Taking the road less traveled, Dead Like You incorporates a sort of rap/hip hop feel with some of their verses. Screaming the words, “So fake, I can hardly wait, for the time and place, to slap the shit grin off of your face”, Dead Like You makes a statement towards all of the two faced people in the world and tells them to keep away.

The EP’s title track, “This Is Never”, brings a steady hardcore beat, intense and brilliant screams, unparalleled clean vocals, and a sick breakdown that’ll make the HxC Gods smile.

With a breath of fresh air, Dead Like You pulls out energy, passion, experience, talent, and originality and throws it all on the table. And if you happen to catch them at a live show, you’ll see that their performance is just as solid as their EP. I’m going to personally rate this EP a solid 8.5 due to the fact that they’re material is original, strong, and has potential to move forward from this point on.

Here’s to the future, Dead Like You.

OVERALL RATING: 8.5/10

Dead Like You is:

Birdy Gonzales – Vocals

Josh Paccione – Guitar

Miggy Sanchez – Bass/Clean Vocals

Ramon Villarreal: Drums

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Born Of Osiris – Tomorrow We Die ∆live (Review)

BOO

http://www.facebook.com/bornofosiris

Record Label: Sumerian Records

Release Date: August 23, 2013

Reviewed By: Shaine Medvid

Born of Osiris is a death core (metalcore and death metal) band from Chicago, Illinois.
They have two previous full length albums which are, A Higher Place(2009), and The Discovery(2011).

Personally I only listen to Born of Osiris occasionally when it pops up randomly on my ipod, but this album will easily find its way onto repeat.

There’s something about the “Tomorrow We Die Alive” album that brings a new energy and light that I’ve never seen in this band before (again just personal preference). The album “Tomorrow We Die ∆live” features 11 songs, and never gets boring. The combination of high tempo guitars, percussion, piano/synth and vocals blend together very nicely compared to what I’ve listened to before.

I’ve always been a little hesitant and judgmental listening to bands that are branded as the genre “death core”, as I expect a lot more heavier guitars and heavier/deeper screams, but when I listen to this album I don’t hear too much of that, which really surprised me.

Each song has been structured perfectly to a tee and keeps you wanting more and wondering what the next song is going to sound like and incorporate. Although I cant say Born of Osiris has worked its way into my “Top 5 favorites” it will easily be a frequently listened to album.

I rate this album an 8 out of 10 based on the song structure alone. Each song was constructed amazingly and shows the true talent and time they took in creating this album. Definitely worth a listen even if you haven’t been very fond of them in the past.

I like each song as much as the next song but my 3 recommended tracks off this album would be: Divergency, ∆bsolution, and Venge∆nce.

Enjoy!

OVERALL RATING: 8.0/10

Born of Osiris is:

Ronnie Canizaro – lead vocals

Joe Buras – keyboards, synthesizer, programming, vocals

Lee McKinney – guitars, editing, engineering

David Da Rocha – bass guitar

Cameron Losch – drums

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The Ongoing Concept – Saloon (Review)

TOC

 

http://www.facebook.com/theongoingconcept

Record Label: Solid State Records

Release Date: August 20, 2013

Reviewed By: Mario Yanez

When was the last time you listened to a clip of a metal album and thought to yourself that it could possibly be a country album that you were actually listening to? What about the last time you’re listening to the same album and you hear a banjo lick right before a very Chariot-styled breakdown? The Ongoing Concept is going to change that very quickly.

Not only does this band impress me with their originality (which they proudly boast), they showcase their personal abilities by recording and producing the album on their own (minus the drums), creating their own album art, designing their own merch, and even releasing their first EP on their own.  The band consists of four members, three of whom are brothers and the youngest of which barely at the ripe old age of 15. The fourth member being a close friend and playing bass, is equally as important as the others in the mix of elements on the album.

The band claims to want to make music not for today, nor for tomorrow, but music that’s going to considered timeless. Music that you can still jam out to on your iPod four, five, even ten years from now. And for myself personally, I’d say they’re doing a pretty good job. Only a handful of albums have made that list, one of which being Underoath’s “They’re Only Chasing Safety”, but I can definitely foresee this band possibly being on the list if they continue to grow and refine. But then again, how much closer could 3 brothers and a best friend get?

So many different styles of music overlay this album that you’ll be hearing something new on every track. Southern banjo licks and honkey tonk pianos accompany spoon clapping and raw vocals, all of which seem to be going everywhere yet somehow mix and fit so well with each other, as if you saw it coming, even though you didn’t.

Fast paced tracks such as “Like Autumn”, “Saloon”, and “Cover Girl” keep my feet tapping with and my head shaking and make the album what the band wanted it to be, fun. The slower and softer songs keep the album from being overwhelming and show that the band has way more talent than just playing guitars banging drums. And a female feature on the last track “Goodbye, So Long My Love” really takes things away and gives something to the metal heads that maybe they haven’t heard in a while.

With only one small vocal clip on “Sidelines” that I feel could have been done better, this album is near greatness, if not at least totally amazing. I’d recommend this album for someone looking for something new, something different, but something familiar at the same time and something they can blast in their speakers and play air guitar with. I’ll keep this album playing on my phone for a while.

OVERALL RATING: 9.0/10

The Ongoing Concept is:

Dawson Scholz – Guitar, Vocals

Kyle Scholz – Vocals, Keyboards

Parker Scholz – Drums

TJ Nichols – Bass

 

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