Friday, September 23, 2016

LP Review: "Into The Catacomb Abyss" by Unearthed Elf

Into The Catacomb Abyss
Think back to 1995ish.

In many ways the world was very different back then, but one thing was similar.

There were solo artists coming out of the woodwork then. Ozzy, Ace Frehley, Dave Grohl had just released a solo album under the moniker of Foo Fighters.

Now, solo acts are most definitely a thing. Some people, myself included, will tell you that Ace Frehley and Ozzy Osbourne have yet to improve upon the body of work they created in their original bands.

As a solo musician, Ozzy succeeds on every possible level. In my critical opinion, it's because he only plays his part and barely writes honestly. The musicians write and play. Ace Frehley, these days, likes to have his fingers all over the tracks.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Concert Review: September Mourning at Fubar in St. Louis September 14, 2016 -Photos and words by Danny Nichols

Rock music has a long and proud tradition of being a visual medium as much a sonic one.  The Alice Cooper Band became as notorious for the drama unfolding on stage as they were their songs.  KISS took over the world by taking this to the next level.  King Diamond, Slipknot, Gwar, WASP, and a billion other bands soon followed the blue print.  

A band can, and maybe should, look different than their audience, be surrounded in mystique and offer a show beyond just the notes they play.  Music is entertainment and any steps taken to enhance this entertainment are welcome.

At some point, most notably during the emergence of grunge in the early 90s, the idea gained currency if a band had any sort of costumes or a stage show, it was to be viewed as a gimmick intended to distract the audience from the band’s lack of quality.  To many, rock-n-roll was either music or theater, but could not be both.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Album Review: "You're Doin' Great! (For the Record)" by Bong Mountain

This debut from Bong Mountain, the 4-man band out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, has the clean and polished sounds of a third of fourth offering.

Almost two years in the making, You're Doing Great! (For the Record) defies genre definition, gifting us with the sounds of rock, alt-pop, and punk, sometimes all in the same song.

Comprised of crisp guitar riffs, speedy drum beats, crunchy vocals and a fun bass line that guides you but never overpowers.

 Bong Mountain presents a the kind of sound you hope to find whether driving around town, skateboarding through the park, or fishing off the pier. It's imminently listenable, sometimes fist-pumping rock & roll, others smooth and soothing, in only the way sweet reverb can be after a long day.

LP Review: "Delirious Excursion" by Darkrypt

Delirious Excursion
Historically speaking, music has been traditionally segregated among races, nationalities, and creeds.

Frankly, this is not a concept that's easy to understand for this blogger.

Let's get in the Wayback Machine all the way to 1986 when the Beastie Boys were unleashing Licensed To Ill on Def Jam Records, owned by Rick Rubin and Russell Simmons.

They had the first major hip-hop album to hit Number One on the Billboard Charts. The Beastie Boys of course, were a former punk band peopled with Jewish New Yorkers...some of whom then transitioned to Buddhism.

Like The Run DMC version of Walk This Way released just months previous, they added colors to the palette for that genre of music. Well, what about going back even further to the Yardbirds playing 12 bar blues...a band that gave birth to Cream and Led Zeppelin. Again...palettes were expanded.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Concert Review: Huntress at Fubar in St. Louis September 14, 2016 -photos and review by Danny Nichols

A lot has changed since I first heard “Eight of Swords” in early 2012 and instantly fell head over heels in love with the band Huntress.  Their debut album Spell Eater is a masterpiece of dark pagan metal, which is very reminiscent of classic Mercyful Fate.  

Jill Janus had somehow mastered the four octave vocal style of the previously believed inimitable King Diamond.  The riffs carry all the precision and power of thrash metal, with a clear black metal influence. The subject matter drew heavily from Janus’ deep connection with and knowledge of witchcraft. 

Subsequent albums Starbound Beast and Static have moved a little away from the Mercyful Fate sound, and closer to a darkened power metal.  Comparisons in their sound now could be drawn to bands like Hammerfall and Helloween, except still uniquely harkening back to classic first wave black metal and early thrash metal.  Lyrically, while still maintaining a foothold in the world of the occult, Huntress shifted focus first to a metaphorical fascination with celestial matters and then with an exploration of mental distress.  

Monday, September 19, 2016

EP Review: "Voces de la Tierra Dormida" by HEID

Voces de la Tierra Dormida
One thing that I don't really do is Folk Metal.

There have been a great many times that people have told me about this Finnish band or that Norwegian band and you're not metal if you can't get into folk metal.

Ok, that last bit may not be totally true.

For all of my consternation regarding checking boxes, it would seem that folk metal would be right up my alley, but hearing the other instruments tend to, well put me off.

Even black metal's keyboards tend to get me a bit edgy, but King Diamond using harpsichords...totally find.

This is a very strange way to be, but back to the point, Folk Metal has never really felt like metal to me, but some oddly updated folk music from back in the day...waaaay back in the day.

Friday, September 16, 2016

LP Review: "Vexamen" by Verberis

Heavy metal has long been considered darker than most other forms of music.

There's something about the pounding drums and the a-melodic singing that has raised the hackles of the outsiders. Those of us inside the circle can feel the power these things provide.

But what happens when the music grows darker and the lights grow dim?

On on and on this race has gone.

Once upon a time metal was melodic and progressive. Iron Maiden were the standard bearers for many years.

It's not uncommon for death metal bands to claim fandom of horror movies which helps to explain their music, but how many of their songs actually feel like a slasher flick?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Album Review: "Promised Land" by Smokey Fingers

Promised Land
The sounds of Southern Rock are historically heard from the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers Band, and Molly Hatchet so it came as some surprise to hear a similar sound from a band out of Northern Italy. 

Five years after a successful debut, Smokey Fingers has refined their sound while still paying homage to those vintage greats and stands shoulder to shoulder with the newer alt-rockers of today with their latest offering, Promised Land.

Right from the start, with Black Madame's driving, twangy lead guitar and scratchy, straight-forward vocals and Rattlesnake Trail's pedal steel, Smokey Fingers gives the listener a home-style feeling of sipping a cold beer on the front porch with your boots up on the railing. Their sound is gravelly yet comfortable and makes you want to hit the highway and see the back roads and taverns of the land.

LP Review: "Soul For Sale" by Sires

Soul For Sale
What makes a good first impression?

How do you introduce yourself to someone new for the very first time?

Is it your firm handshake or your perfectly coiffed pompadour? Maybe your chin is covered in a moss like beard of which General Tecumsah Sherman would envy.

Meeting a new band for the first time is rather similar to a first date or a job interview. Both parties are looking for something. The band and the listener are looking to form some sort of new relationship.

Glacially Musical is proud to consider the debut release of Waterloo, IA's Sires, Soul For Sale. My first impression of this band was from a bearded photo. As someone who cannot grow a beard, it caught my attention.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Album Review: "Midnight Chaser" by Liquid Steel

In the late seventies and early eighties a new sound emerged from Great Britain, which built tremendously upon the foundations established by Black Sabbath and borrowed heavily from the energy and enthusiasm of punk rock. Unlike their forefathers in Sabbath these bands largely steered away from lyrical content about despair, depression, doom and the devil, and instead wrote songs about fantasy, mythology or history. 

They were also different from punk rock due to a focus on musicianship, often with long epic songs, full of operatic vocals and searing guitar solos.  This sound gained momentum within the British Isles and then hit the shores of the United States like a hurricane, earning the movement the name of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM).  Spearheading this invasion were bands such as Raven, Samson, Angel Witch, Girlschool, Saxon,Venom, Rainbow and most significantly Def Leppard and Iron Maiden.

As the popularity grew, and the sound expanded to dozens of other countries and hundreds of other bands, the moniker of NWOBHM gave way to the simpler, but still accurate description of power metal, spawning such noteworthy acts as Dio, Sabaton, Hammerfall, Accept, Helloween, Kamelot, Armored Saint, and Manowar.

Monday, September 12, 2016

LP Review: "Paths" by Lord Almighty

It's been a bit, but upon hearing someone saying that new music was terrible...I knew that something had to be done.

So, a link was sent to a really great band that had released an album of stuff that was pretty reminiscent of the 70's.

This gentleman wasn't on the train because  he felt he'd heard all of that before. It should be mentioned that this was on a pretty big heritage band's discussion boards.

It was disappointing.

But here we are and there is new music on the horizon. Looking back at my formative years, all music was neatly cordoned off from the other types of music. Metal has gone a long way on this front....

It would have been inconceivable to think that music would have morphed into this multi-headed hydra which we have now.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Interview: S.N.A.F.U. "Our Drummer Is Actually An Amazing Guitar Player"

There are a lot of bands in this world that straddle genres.

Many others completely defy convention.

S.N.A.F.U. is a bit more like the latter. In a former life they were a punk band. As they continued to playing and playing together, the band became something more than that. Looking back at old school thrash metal, the obvious choice would be to point at Metallica or Slayer.

Those two acts epitomized the fusion of punk and metal creating thrash, but S.N.A.F.U., isn't much like them either, though their genesis was strikingly similar.

When they were in the friendly confines of the lounge at Fubar, we talked the state of the world over a Rolling Rock Pint. Also, S.N.A.F.U. played at FUBAR...get it?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

LP Review: "Welcome To Fat City" by Crobot

Welcome To Fat City
It's been a few years, but on a hot sweaty night, my introduction to Crobot was made.

Without realizing what was to come for me, the bassist and I had a very nice conversation as I was waiting to interview Rex Brown and cover the show.

Well, their show was the stuff of legend for a band that was the first one the bill.

Years later, describing their music to people who aren't familiar is still difficult.

There's a lot to like about our friends from Pottsville, PA. They're the hardest working band out there today. They tour constantly. It's a mystery how they even had time to write this album much less record it!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Album Review: "Into the Void" by Infinite Earths

In all the universe there may be nothing more unequivocally awesome than heavy metal music.  The only thing which even comes close is comic books.  Fortunately the two worlds sometimes merge, although not nearly often enough.

Thus, I was drawn in by a  band called Infinite Earths (as I assume the name harkens to the classic DC comics storyline "Crisis on Infinite Earths"). 

When I read the band bio and learned the album is a soundtrack to vocalist Josh Mazzora's H.P. Lovecraft inspired comic book, I was automatically enamored with the band before hearing a single note. 

My expectations for this album were similar to stepping into the theater to see Star Wars Episode I.  Happily, unlike that fateful day in 1999 when midiclorians spoiled my stew, "Into the Void" has met my lofty expectations.  It is brilliant album which contains all the virtuosic guitar playing of technical death metal with blast beat drumming and a vocal delivery which hovers within the glorious realm of black metal.