Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Words of Farewell (Melodic Death Metal) - 'The Black Wild Yonder' CD Review (AFM Records)

German death metal band Words of Farwell dropped their sophomore disc, The Black Wild Yonder, earlier this year and this disc is one of the more intriguing albums that I’ve listened to in a long time. With some past reviews, I’ve started to feel like I’ve ‘been there / done that’ after listening to too many bands that want to sound just like (i.e.) Black Sabbath, play generic crush-and-grind generic death metal, etc. Words of Farewell play aggressive, yet very melodic, death metal with a very light symphonic touch thrown in the mix.

Words of Farewell formed in the German Ruhr District in early 2007. After releasing some very limited edition early recordings, the band signed AFM Records, who released the band’s debut disc, Immersion, in 2012. Immersion was recorded at Metallurgy Studios to which the band returned to in mid-2013 to record their follow-up, The Black Wild Yonder.

The eleven tracks on this new disc run for 60 minutes and each of these songs combines immediately noticeable clean, melodic guitar lines with atmospheric synths and swirling keyboards that underlay the guitar riffs, sometime rising to the surface to provide a transitional bridge. The underlying musical elements are dissonant and almost prog/classical in nature but The Black Wild Yonder is a long way from being a prog album as each song contains aggressive, buzzsaw guitar riffs and vocalist Alexander Otto adds in hoarse but very understandable growled vocals. Crystal-clear production highlights the combined light and dark elements within the band’s sound.

One of the nice thing about this disc is that all of the songs ‘go somewhere’ – the builds lead to an explosion of sound and the slow passages give the listener a brief respite. While the band doesn’t stray from their core sound of combining melody and atmosphere with dissonance and aggression, each songs has unique flourishes and melodies that allow it to stand on its own. One of the strongest tracks on the disc is “Damaged Beyond Repair”. This song starts out with atmospheric and dark keyboards to which an intricate percussion and bass line is added before the song kicks into high gear. Mid-song, Words of Farewell add to the atmospheric by briefly stopping their sonic attack for whispered vocals over a light piano.

Words of Farewell

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Pilgrim (Doom Metal) - Play The Acheron in Brooklyn on June 25th Along with London Doom Metalers Age of Taurus [Metal Blade / Rise Above Records]

Pilgrim (Rhode Island Doom) - Play The Acheron in Brooklyn Along with London Doom Metalers Age of Taurus [Metal Blade]
Rhode Island's Pilgrim released their second disc, II: Void Worship, in April on Metal Blade and the band is coming into town next Wednesday for a show at The Acheron with like-minded doom metalers Age of Taurus (Rise Above Records).

Metal Blade describes Pilgrim's new disc as: "eight new epic tracks laden with tales of sword and sorcery, death, doom and destruction. Recorded at Moonlight Mile Recording by audio mastermind Mike Moebius, II: Void Worship delivers an absolutely unrivaled quality of tone and heaviness that many critics felt their original effort Misery Wizard had lacked. The band takes a new approach to their song writing, replacing meditated, repetitive hypnosis-inducing dirges with more calculated and demented powerhouse riffs. They build, shape, and climb into frenzied climaxes and fade into sweet sonic releases, molding perfectly crafted rock songs into twisting spires of evil doom metal masterpieces. It is obvious that Pilgrim has matured, both musically and as individuals, in their past two years of global conquest."

For the show at The Acheron, Pilgrim and Age of Taurus are playing with the two-piece dirge/drone band Holly Hunt and gritty Brooklyn noise-makers BLACKOUT (as in blackout drunk).  Tickets are $10 and doors are at 8PM.

Pilgrim (band)

Sinbreed - 'Shadows' CD Review (German Power Metal - AFM Records)

Sinbreed - 'Shadows' CD Review (German Power Metal - AFM Records)
Sinbreed, a five-piece German power metal outfit, released its sophomore disc, Shadows, earlier this year on AFM Records. The phase ‘German power metal’ tells you almost everything you need to know – Sinbreed’s music is a mix of speed and power metal that is powered by two lead guitarists that alternate between NWOBHM soaring leads and shredding riffs, double-bass pounding speed metal drumming, gritty vocals and melodic, anthemic choruses. It should come as no surprise that Sinbreed includes Frederik Ehmke and Marcus Siepen from Blind Guardian along with vocalist Herbie Langhans, from the like-minded band Seventh Avenue.

The majority of the songs come pummeling out of the gate and the disc doesn’t stray far from its aggressive core. While a number of power metal bands seem to prefer vocalist with a high-pitched scream, Herbie Langhans is a growler (rather than a screamer) and his muscular, raspy vocals are comparable to Udo or Buce Dickinson at their lower ranges or current Accept vocalist Mark Tornillo.

Give a listen to “Bleed” (below) as this is a good indication of the sound of the rest of the disc. This isn’t to say that the disc sounds one dimensional as most of the songs clock in around the five minute mark which gives the band ample opportunity to vary the structures within each of the songs. The only deviation from this core sound is on “Broken Wings”, where the band uses an acoustic guitar intro and outro to bookend this seven minute number.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Living Colour - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 6/1/14

I really hadn't kept up with Living Colour since the 90's until seeing them earlier this month at City Winery.  While Living Colour had only broken up for five years (1995 - 2000), they haven't been as much in the public eye as they were during their initial run (when they opened for the Stones and made numerous late night TV appearances).  With the show at City Winery, Living Colour proved hands-down that they are every bit as relevant today as they were back in their original run and the band is a long way away from playing the reunion circuit.

Living Colour - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 6/1/14

The one thing that seems to happen with musicians as they get old is that they slow down...but this hasn't happened to Living Colour.  Vernon Reid is still the guitar player's guitar player and Corey Glover's voice may even be better than it was on those early albums.  One example of this was a ballsy rendition of "Amazing Grace" which was the lead-in into "Open Letter (to a Landlord)" and Glover pulled this intro off with pitch-perfect ease.  I saw Doug Wimbish play with Tackhead in the late 80's and he and Dave Allen (Go4 / Shriekback / Low Pop Suicide) still have to be two of the best bass players that I've ever seen.  Wimbish worked more sounds out of his bass than I thought imaginable and jumped into the floor section for an extended jam (which included stopping by my table to jam with the table's water bottle).  Glover, who always seemed so serious in the 80's, was clearly enjoying himself this night.  He was also in the crowd and stopped to pose for a selfie with one patron.

Living Colour - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 6/1/14

 I wasn't able to snag a copy of the band's set list but the set included covers of James Brown's "Sex Machine", MC5's "Kick Out the Jams" and The Clash's "Should I Stay or Should I Go" in addition to staples like "Memories Can't Wait" and "Cult of Personality" (which was one of the encores).  I don't know whether the band played any new songs but they announced that they are working on a new album (their first since 2009's The Chair in the Doorway) which will be out this fall.

Living Colour - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 6/1/14

Living Colour - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 6/1/14

Living Colour - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 6/1/14

Living Colour - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 6/1/14

Living Colour - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 6/1/14

Living Colour - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 6/1/14

Living Colour - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 6/1/14

Living Colour - Live Photos from City Winery, NYC 6/1/14

Living Colour's next local show is at NJPAC Theater Square on August 21st.  This is a free show that starts at 5PM and Danielia Cotton opens.

Living Colour

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Midnight High (high-energy power trio) Announce Show at Slake NYC on June 21st

Midnight High (high-energy rock) Announce Show at Slake NYC on June 21st
Midnight High is a high energy rock band from Astoria, NY. Live performance is their forte, with a strong take-no-prisoners attitude on stage . The music is heavy, but with a distinct groove. All three guys are heavily influenced by classic rock, as well as 90's metal and grunge. They bring the best of both worlds, the old, and the new, and their sound has been compared to Pink Floyd and Alice In Chains simultaneously.

The band released their debut CD earlier this year which RevolutionThreeSixty.Com described as drawing "inspiration from classic rock n' roll, reggae and urban hip-hop". Midnight High are curating and headlining a show next Saturday night at Slake NYC (251 W. 30th Street) and hand-picked the lineup of Sadek (7:15PM) - rapid fire hip hop artist, Sibling (8PM) - Jazz meets hip hop, Saint Rocco (8:45PM) - lyric focused groove punk and Miladic MC (9:30PM) - cerebral hip hop artist.

Midnight High goes on at 10:15PM and tickets are $10.

Midnight High

Sunday, June 08, 2014

The Midnight Moan (Old School R&B) Announce Record Release Show at Arlene's Grocery on June 14th (Produced by Eddy Offoed [Yes, ELP])

The Midnight Moan just did an interview with PensEyeView.com that provides a great introduction to the band. Snippets from the interview are below...

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you think makes you stand out from others in your genre?

The Midnight Moan (MM): The sort of music that was around before computers had to win at everything. Rock and roll. A lot of guitars. We sing songs about love and lonesomeness. The things that keep us up at night. As far as standing out above others, I’m 6’4” so I’m probably taller than others in our genre.

PEV: Tell us about your recent release, Comes In Phases.

MM: It’s very straightforward rock (I wasn’t kidding about it all being major chords). But there’s a lot of variety to keep it interesting. It’s rare that people listen to full albums but we wanted to make one that holds up song to song. The kind of thing you could put on late at night and play all the way through. It has some country, blues and New Orleans influence. We got a smoking sax solo from Tom “Bones” Malone of the original Saturday Night Live band [editor's note: and the Blues Brothers] on one song. Brian Mitchell, who played a lot with Levon Helm over the years, contributed a killer piano part on a tune. It’s good drinking music.

The Midnight Moan are playing a record release show for their debut disc, Comes in Phases, at Arlene's Grocery on June 14th. Doors at 8PM, show at 11PM and tickets are $10.

The Midnight Moan

Saturday, June 07, 2014

The Shilohs (Vancouver Jangle-Pop) Play Glasslands on July 23rd along with The Fresh and Onlys

STREAM: The Shilohs - "Student of Nature"

The Shilohs (Vancouver Jangle-Pop) Play Glasslands on July 23rd along with The Fresh and Onlys
The Shilohs are a rock band in the timeless sense of the term. They consist of four friends who play tight and tuneful pop, harmonizing sweetly and delivering their songs with to-the-point sincerity.

Johnny Payne (vocals/guitar), Mike Komaszczuk (vocals/guitar), Daniel Colussi (vocals/bass) and Ben Frey (drums) met while playing in various bands in Vancouver, BC, and they formed The Shilohs in 2008. “We formed with the concept of being a band that writes short, snappy pop songs,” Colussi remembers. “In Vancouver at the time, there were lots of stoner rock bands. We wanted to be different.” The band obviously hit their mark as Spin called the band's debut a “delicious bit of Big Star-informed, Feelies-indebted pop”. Now, a little more than a year later, The Shilohs are back, touring behind their self-titled sophomore album (Light Organ Records).

The Shilohs' North American tour takes them to Glasslands on Wednesday, July 23rd and the band is playing alongside San Francisco's "new garage rock" band The Fresh and Onlys. For anyone not familiar with The Fresh and Onlys, The New York Times is streaming the band's new single "House of Spirits". Tickets are $12 in advance and $14 DOS.

July 10 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios
July 11 – Vancouver, BC – Electric Owl
July 12 – Seattle, WA – Chop Suey
July 15 – Minneapolis, MN – Triple Rock
July 16 – Chicago, IL – Empty Bottle
July 17 – Detroit, MI – The Loving Touch
July 18 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern
July 19 – Montreal, QC – La Vitrola
July 21 – Boston, MA – Great Scott
July 22 – Philadelphia, PA – Boot & Saddle
July 23 – Brooklyn, NY – Glasslands
July 24 – Washington, DC - DC9
July 25 – Chapel Hill, NC – Local 506
July 26 – Atlanta, GA – 529
July 29 – Kansas City, MO – Czar Bar
July 31 – Denver, CO – Hi Dive

The Shilohs

Arcade Fire Bring Ian McCulloch Onstage in London for Cover of "The Cutter"

Arcade Fire Bring Ian McCulloch Onstage in London for Cover of "The Cutter"
I haven't spent enough time with Arcade Fire's music to really have a strong opinion of the band one way or another but I had to shake my head after hearing the stories that there were a number of Craigsist posting for the band's 2007 show at Judson Memorial Church soliciting sex for tickets. With a proposition like that, you have to wonder who is more crazier/desperate - the poster or anyone who responded.

While front man Win Butler may be a "a f*cking rock star", you have to give the band props for bringing Echo and the Bunnymen front man Ian McCulloch onstage with them for a dead-on cover of the Bunneymen's 1983 hit "The Cutter".

Arcade Fire are in town in August for three nights at Barclay's Center and their run of shows starts August 22nd. Tickets are still available and range from $38.70 to $82.60.

Arcade Fire