Friday, November 30, 2012

Titans Eve - Life Apocalypse

Even though they're Canadian, Titan's Eve, and their Life Apocalypse, play German/ Japanese-technology-style thrash metal: a product done more efficiently, more Zen, than anything before it-- and completely without originality. This is a product, make no mistake-- but it is a superior product; from production, to recording, to delivery.... This is the 72-inch flatscreen to your parents' cathode-ray tube monster.

Allow me to expand this. It does most thrash metal a service, particularly American varieties, and of these particularly the recent rethrash, to not think of it purely as music, but also as sport.

Just as you wouldn't criticize a long-distance runner or a long jumper for their lack of variety in technique ("He just puts one foot in front of the other as fast as possible," or "She just jumps super high in the air-- SEEN IT!"), don't criticize most thrash because there's very little original about it.

Hell, Vio-lence is probably my favorite thrash band of all time, and "Kill on Command" my favorite song of theirs, but there's pretty much nothing original going on there, and that was in 1988-- just a robust athleticism and great enthusiasm about their neck-snapping tempos and dental-work-melting shifts, twists and turns.

Such is the case with Titan's Eve.

"Destined to Die" stomps hard and ugily (that's an adjective), forebeat and tribal drums shaking your (and presumably their) colon, but then the chorus comes up and sounds almost like heavier Keel or Helix, of all things. It's some catchy shit, though, and it's refreshing to see a modern band that can so clearly write a song-- however fast it goes by.

Each tune here follows this blueprint; there's not a particular weak point on the album, aside from the instrumentals (I'm generally not a fan of them in bands that usually have a singer, for some reasons); give em a hear. Give 'em a listen. I bet something on Life Apocalypse grabs you-- and you, it.



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Mighty High needs you!

Some of you may know this already but Mighty High's rehearsal room at the South Sound in Brooklyn was devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Basically everything in the attached photo is gone. Luckily, most of the guitars you see were in a different location but the drums, PA system, amplifiers, speaker cabinets, etc were submerged in toxic salt water from the Gowanus Canal. Many items were either vintage or custom built and cannot be easily replaced. We are not covered by insurance and not eligible for relief from FEMA. The cost to replace/repair these items is staggering.

We have two shows scheduled in December in Brooklyn to try and raise some funds. Here's the info if you can attend, we'd love to see you. We'll have shirts, vinyl, CD's and posters for sale at both shows.

Saturday December 1 at the Grand Victory 10PM
Friday December 14 at Trash Bar 10PM

If you want to buy a copy of our new album Legalize Tre Bags or any of our previous releases, please visit our label Ripple Music. They have a lot of other great bands (Poobah, Mos Generator, Stone Axe, etc)


Wight - Through The Woods Into Deep Water

What's that old saying again? "Never judge a book by it's cover". Well I fell flat on my face hard with that when it came to Through The Woods Into Deep Water. First off the album cover reminded me so much of Masters Of Reality's debut cd and then when I checked out the booklet big black metal vibes hit me...all before I had even listened to it. When I finally did this German trio smashed my face in and annihilated me for my ignorance by displaying super heavy power doom-blues. There's no other way to describe their music, well other than it is bloody fantastic!

From the moment opener Kiss Your Friends Goodbye gets it all started  until the very end with the title track Wight simply pummels me with their heaviness and excellent musicianship. Subtleties are out the window and they go straight for the throat. Don't get me wrong, it's not all lead-heavy. Check out the instrumental piece Halfway To Infinity which in all it's delicacy and beauty gives me a breather and a quick chance to recuperate before the next bulldozing session kicks in.

Another interesting and appealing part of Wight's music is their desire to spice things up. By that I mean they are not afraid to bring in an unorthodox instrument into some songs...the sax, well unorthodox in this type of music. Bass player Peter-Philipp Schierhorn handles this and although he is not a virtuoso sax player, the way he plays it and when he plays it works out so well. It brings a brief jazzy touch to the music and puts it into a whole different dimension.

I have already mentioned the influence of blues in their music and that is mainly apparent with Peter-Philipp Schierhorn - bass guitar, sax and vocals - and Michael Kluck - drums and percussion. No matter how heavy the music gets most of the songs have a distinct foundation in the blues and that is because of the rhythm section. Both musicians are very innovative still they keep the rhythm bluesy and I love it. Frontman Rene Hoffman - vocals, guitar, organ and harp - adds more of the doom to the fray. Although there's an aura of blues around him as well and he likes to venture off on awesome solo excursions.

Alright folks, for me this album was a lesson in observe, analyse and learn before passing judgement. As a lifelong metalhead I should know that already but I guess I was slacking...or something. However Wight brought me back down to Earth and re-opened my eyes telling me to give things a chance. At least listen to an album once before making up my mind. In this case I'm glad these Germans did that because their album is amazing. It's one of those releases that appeals to fans of from all over the place, regardless what your musical preferences are you will like this one.


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

C.F.A. Unveil Superhero Alter Ego's in the Band's First Comic Book

Continuing along with the mindset that rock n’ roll can still be fun, C.F.A. (Cody Foster Army) and Ripple Music are proud to present:"Cody Foster Army and the Smelter's Curse", a full color, 42 page, independently released comic book chronicling the band's superhero alter ego and their exploits in the City of Destiny.

The book was written and illustrated by Tacoma artist and author, Potter, who has plans for another 2 stories to the series, and possibly even more.

The book is a fun, tongue-in-cheek story of destruction, bravery and overcoming selfishness in an unforgiving world. This comedic sci-fi superhero adventure is light-hearted entertainment the whole family can enjoy whether you have a familiarity of the band or not! 100 Limited Edition signed and hand numbered copies are being made available at select locations, while individual print copies can be ordered through the Indy Planet web site

You can purchase a digital copy for Android & iPad from Indy Planet Digital: Here

Limited Edition, signed and numbered copies will be available through the band or at the following select locations:

Rocket Records
3843 6th Avenue
Tacoma, WA 98406
(253) 756-5186

Poison Apple
907 Pacific Avenue
Tacoma, Washington 98402

Soon to be available on Kindle and other formats!


For further promotional information, please contact:

John Rancik
Ripple Music

It Came From ReverbNation #26 - Featuring Diselkopf, Elephant Listening Project, Chris Aguayo, By far & Beyond, The Zarrs, and Harmut Hillman Band

From April 4th to June 4th The Ripple Effect ran a campaign on the excellent online music website ReverbNation (  This campaign allowed any artist or band registered with ReverbNation to submit their music to The Ripple Effect for possible review on the site and airplay on The Ripple Effect radio shows.  When all was said and done we had received 4,799 submissions!  Incredible!  The purpose of this column is to highlight those artists and bands whose musical submissions I accepted as being worthy of consideration.  While these are not reviews per se, I’m going to provide a brief rundown of what to expect from each artist/band, a sample when available, and a link to check out more on their corresponding ReverbNation page.

Dieselkopf – Alright let’s get this column started the right way, with some metal!  This distortion drenched group out of Gavle, Sweden aims to pull the heartstrings of anyone into the industrial metal sound.  Their submission reeked of White Zombie, and it sounded fantastic!  The lyrical content about the corruptive force that is money didn’t hurt either.  Similar artists besides the aforementioned White Zombie include Pitchshifter, Rammstein, and Ministry.  Rock out people!

Elephant Listening Project – This San Francisco, CA quartet played a dirty trick on me.  Their submission, along with the two other songs you can listen to on their ReverbNation page, were labled demos.  With that label attached I expected to hear something rough around the edges.  When each of these songs sounded just as good as anything I’ve bought recently I was rather shocked!  Speaking of those three songs, they each offer up some serious melodic rock with nice hooks that will get stuck in your mind whether you like it or not.  Oh, did I mention that the band is made up of former members of Montrose, The Coup, The Mo’fessionals, and Chrome Johnson?  Well it is.

Song Sample – Recording Shennanigans

Chris Aguayo – This gentleman from Coplay, PA plays rock music with progressive flourishes.  He plays everything you hear on his recordings, and impressively the songs do not sound disjointed at all.  In fact, until I read that he played everything himself I would have sworn it was a full band.  Everything flows well and sounds great.  Similar artists include Muse, The Beatles, and U2.

By Far & Beyond – Being a child of the 1980s there are times when I find myself missing the sound of new wave music and synth pop.  Lucky for me there are artists like this gentleman from Portsmouth, UK who clearly feel the same way.  His submission was piano/synth driven rock at its finest.  Other songs I listened to maintained the synth-heavy nature but added other musical influences to the mix such as 90s alt rock.  Similar artists include Muse, Depeche Mode, and Anberlin.

The ZARRS – For those of you looking for a current band with that classic rock/pop rock sound this one is for you!  This six member band from London, UK sounds great and their music really backs up their claim of being “ultra-accessible”.  Similar artists include Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, The Doors, and Kasabian.

ReverbNation Page –

Hartmut Hillman Band – Waveriders, you must check out this guy’s ReverbNation page to see his photo.  He looks incredibly intense, as if he wants to dismember the photographer!  Once you’ve seen the photo you can understand why I thought I would be listening to some heavy metal.  Thus when the music began and I heard this Latin flavored jazz fusion number, my mind took a minute to connect the dots.  The bottom line is that this man from Gross-Gerau, DE is one very talented bass player!  If you need a fusion infusion in your life, and you know you do, this is where to look!  Similar artists include Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, and Marcus Miller.


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Darkness – Hot Cakes

I like albums that surprise me.  Honestly, I don’t even know why I picked this one up.  I had read something good about it, but I’ve never really followed this band and other than that big hit they had about believing in a thing called love with the singer with the freakishly high voice, I didn’t know much about them.  I don’t know how this compares to their previous work.  But I do know that this album rocks.

One of the things I really enjoy about this release is the very obvious sense of humor these guys have, much of it directed at themselves.  It’s good to see a band that doesn’t take what they do so seriously.  It’s good to remember that you’re just a rock band and you do what you do basically for the entertainment of others.  Keep it in perspective.  And that is what The Darkness does.

There are 11 tracks on this release and to my ears, they are all solid, straight ahead rockers.  Nothing fancy here, but if you want so tight rock and roll songs look no further.  The album kicks off with “Every Inch Of You”, and it gets things going with a bang.  Every other track is just a nod to good, British rock as it has been delivered to us for the last 45 years of so.  The playing is not too precise but by no means sloppy, it just has the good rock feel that gets your toes tapping and your hips moving.

The band is obviously influenced by the many bands they heard growing up and coming up.  There is even a direct reference to “Communication Breakdown” in a song lyric.  Queen are definitely an influence as well, especially in the vocal harmonies.  Some of them are so Queen-like that it made me dig out my Queen box set and listen back to some albums I haven’t visited with in quite some time.  There’s a little bit of a glam feel to some of the tracks as well, and in my opinion nobody does glam like a British band.  And again, that is a good thing. 

The drumming on this release is what really makes it.  There is incredible interplay between drums and guitar, drums and bass, and the drums are always exactly where they need to be.  Just outstanding playing throughout.  The timing is perfect and every little fill and backbeat is precisely in the right place.  If you’re going to have a solid rock album the drums have to do it, so kudos to Mr. Drummer on this one.

Don’t even hesitate, if you are at all a fan of rock n roll just go out and get this.  You will not be disappointed.  It’s not a game changer, it’s not going to solve the world’s problems, but it will make you move around and think about how wonderful it is that rock music was invented.  This certainly has to be considered a comeback album and these guys are back in a very serious way.  Despite poking fun at themselves for much of the album. 


Monday, November 26, 2012

Punk Me? Punk You! Featuring Down By Law, Police & Thieves, La Armada and the Punk 'N' Pissed Compilation

Down by Law - Champions at Heart

This is what pop punk is supposed to be!  By that I don't mean Down by Law have sold out, purchased eye-liner and gone all emo-trying-to-be-Green Day.  I mean this is punk.  Pure, vitriol, spittle and rust punk.  But it's infused with so much melody, so much variety, and so damn much passion that I find myself humming certain songs all day.  The melody to "Nothing" definitely has burned itself into my brain.  They remind me of an old Swedish punk band, The Bones, who also effortlessly blended hardcore fury with true singable-pop sensibility.  "Bullets" is just a pure charging assault of Oi! punk energy, while "New Song"  reminds the listeners that these guys have been at this game for awhile, learned a few lessons, and got no time to waste on today's wannabe punks.  Mix all that passion with the life-weary, whiskey-soaked-nicotine-sponge that is Dave Smalley's voice and I find a quasi-ballad-cum-punk attitude cut like "Knock this Town" damn affecting.
I'm not gonna pretend I know all there is to know about these guys (like it's been 9 years since their last release), I'm just gonna spout it like I hear it.  Champions at Heart is easily one of my favorite punk releases this year.  On DC Jam Records.

Police & Thieves - Amor Y Guerra

The best review read about Police & Thieves blitzkrieg of hardcore punk said something along the lines of; "Police & Thieves play straightforward hardcore that's a little melodic without really being melodic at all."  Brilliant summation of this reissue of blistering punk madness courtesey of Salad Days Records.   Best as I can tell, this is a compilation of all the Police & Thieves urgent 7" missives from earlier in the decade beefed up with a couple of extra "lost" tracks.   Think Dag Nasty and Verbal Assault, cause Police & Thieves burst out of the DC punk scene like mad dogs frothing at the mouth. 

If you think punk rock is supposed to bitch slap you across the face before ripping off your nutsack, this might be up your alley.

La Armada - S/T

Speaking of ripping off your ballsack!  How about ripping it off and using it like a blackjack to beat you into unconsciousness!  La Armada pick up the Latino hardcore flag previously carried by Los Crudos and Huasipungo.  They're pissed, they have capitalism in their crosshairs and they're not afraid to pull the trigger.  In fact, they'll keep on blasting until nothing is left but a rotting husk.  Powerviolence mixed with hardcore punk, buzzsaw bursts of guitar, vocals swallowed a guttural roar.  This sounds like the call for a Latin American revolution.  A touch of Agnostic Front and the fury of Bad Brains.  Intense and not for the timid.

A lyric sheet translates their hatred into English.  But you don't need to know the specifics.  Their anger comes through loud and clear in any language.  Latino hardcore fury indeed.

Punk 'N' Pissed - 100% Pure British Punk

A flat-out blast of a compilation of high energy punk courtesy of Unrepentant Records.   And I mean a blast, as in a blast of fun. Some of the cuts on here are pure treasures and definitely serve their purpose of making me want to track down more from the bands.    Tops on that list is UK Vomit, who turn in a vertiginous whirlwind of wry humor, slashing guitars, pounding skins and belched gangland vocals with their must-be-a-classic-someday ode to punk living, "Drink Fuck."  An absolute revelation of current wave British punk.  Then the band have the guts to follow it up with the country-blues swagger intro for "Eat My Hole."  Of course, the songs quickly busts into a frenzy of UK Subs-inspired punk, more fitting of the compilation, with lyrics like "You're a fucking useless wanker, and your head is full of shit/ You're a fucking useless used tampon and your head is full of shit."  Seriously, brilliant, classic stuff.

Each band gets two songs here to make an impression and several do. Citizen Keyne blasts some more trad British hardcore with a vocal nod to Ian Drury in their smash-up "Police State"   Total Bloody Chaos bring some bloody good dual spat our vocals to their hardcore mash-up "NHS Death Squads".  Far too much to go into here, but in the end, it's a spasmotic assault of 52 minutes of belch your face off hardcore. 


Drink Fuck (live)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Jowls - Cursed


The album opens with silence leading to the blood-curdling screams of Ryan Martin… and with that, the album never lets up. 

There is no singing.  There is only screaming.  Pure, unadulterated, beautiful screaming.  Surrounding the harsh vocals is a surprisingly melodic and beautiful musical arrangement.  This is a powerful trio, capable of playing the most beautiful of chords and the most brutal of noise. 

The songs just don’t let up.  It opens up with “Ruins” and the vocal and musical intensity is almost frightening.  This isn’t shred metal.  This is hardcore at its finest.  It’s relatable to a band like Every Time I Die.  It’s technical in its intelligence.  They aren’t trying to impress you with their riffage.  They are trying to touch you with their intense sound. 

The bass work is awesome.  It’s chunky and almost punkish.  It has a raw sound that many bands would kill for.  The drumming is par for the course.  It is solid and maintains the intensity throughout.  I would imagine that a live show from these guys would be an incredibly loud and intense affair.  My favorite track on the album has to be Monotoned.  It begins with a drum tag, then falls into an awesome bass riff that really gets the blood pumping.  The guitar kicks in in an unexpected way.  You usually think the guitar will follow the bass or take the lead, but it almost serves as the backing to the amazing bass line. 

This is a great feature of this band.  They are incredibly intelligent and obviously incredibly musical.  These songs are extremely short.  This is a quick listen.  But if you’re into the hard, heavy, brutal, yet beautiful, then this band is for you.  Give them a listen. 

--The Professor

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