Monday, June 30, 2014

Giant Sleep - S/T

Giant Sleep concocts a mind tingling blend of proto-metal laced vocals and progressive stoner rock riffs. Dead Memories kicks things off with an enormous lead with building aggression partnered with spaced out guitars and vocals regurgitated like a Glenn Danzig chorus line after a couple packs of unfiltered cigarettes. I say that in the classiest way it can be interpreted. Not a fan of Danzig? It doesn't matter. It was just a comparison and I wouldn't say the album overall sounds like Danzig as it's not in the same ball park let alone even playing in the same league. It is however good enough to fill a ball park in an imaginary world where good music sells out stadiums unlike the current industry’s state of affairs.

While listening through the album on multiple takes I couldn't help but kick myself for not jumping all over this one sooner. I mean it's only been out for a month or so and I kicked down cash for a 'name your price' price tag so I obviously liked it, but it's one of those that likely came around the same time as 12 other albums and it just sort of got lost in the shuffle. Anyway, it is found now and I am listening again and dumbfounded. Their bandcamp says for fans of Monster Magnet, Tool, QOTSA, King Crimson, Amplifier, and Pink Floyd. I myself am fans of those bands and even if I wasn't I can't find a reason why I wouldn't like Giant Sleep. It doesn't sound really like any of those bands but contains traces of their sounds sketched within their own unique mural of progressive rock. The progressiveness is apparent yet I wouldn't coin this as progressive metal or rock like say Amplifier or King Crimson. If anything it's got a Toolish vibe with more of a Monster Magnet space factor sprinkled in.

The fact that Giant Sleep was released on bandcamp on 4/20 gives the stoner metal community something to cough over on top of the fact that it contains a multitude of some of the most wicked psychedelic stoner riffs I've heard all year. Just listen to the instrumental song 7 Argos and tell me that isn't a cool ass riff. Immediately after that, the album floats into my favorite song on the album with a mellow blues based rocking masterpiece titled Another Adventure. Vocals moan a deep sultry swagger underlain with an electrifying atmosphere of eerie riffs and vivid textures. The album has an almost NWOBHM ring to it, but without the classic high pitched euro vocal register. Sort of similar to what studio band 'Dawnbringer' sounds like. Giant Sleep is a superb stoner metal take on classic progressive metal. I dig it, I recommend it and I'll be revisiting this one for months to come.  Keep your eyes and ears out for these guys going forward. Don’t know what their plans are but this album indicates they have potential worthy of your attention.

-The Huntsman

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Zoetrope's A Life of Crime, Holocross' Holocross and CJSS' Praise The Loud

So-- let me tell you a story....

A story of a teenage metalhead, and this-- of some many, many years ago.

My family lived in, we'll say, Location X. My dad's family, however, was from Location Y. Periodically, about once a year, we'd go to visit his parents in Y.

It was a long drive. To pass the time (especially as I hit 12 and/or 13 and got really into metal), I brought a Walkman (look it up, kids) and a pseudo-leather case that held 10 cassettes for said Sony device.

During the trip, there was an obvious halfway point-- said point contained a Jerry's restaurant, and a video game arcade that had both Space Harrier and Dragon's Lair.
One one trip, probably around 1987, I brought my pseudo-leather cassette holder with my Walkman into said arcade (after having slaughtered a Jerry's hamburger, two orders of french fries and two desert orders-- I was a fat kid); I played Galaga, Ms. Pac-Man, and finally Dragon's Lair (which was insanely hard, ending faster than fast), coupled with Space Harrier.

I ended up tired. We were nearly 100 miles away (in the family Taurus station wagon, you see), when I actually noticed that I'd left behind my cassettes.

By the time we got back to said spot, the cassettes were long long LONG gone.

Over the next few years, I managed to get 7 of the 10 cassettes back (often in CD or MP3)-- but three eluded me. Three held my interest as nearly mythical albums that I'd failed to find.

Three that were, in retrospect, the personification of the metal god, whatever his name, in cassette/ CD form (you know how you exaggerate your memories).

Three that were missing-- up 'til recently [Over 20 Goddamned years!]

God bless the internet.

God bless piracy.

The long-missing trio were, obvies by now, Cincinnati's CJSS and their Praise the Loud, Chicago's Zoetrope and A Life of Crime, and Ohio's Holocross and their self-titled work.
CJSS' Praise the Loud is actually now on iTunes, but both Holocross and Zoetrope's master works are only available when pirated, e.g., via

I'm not suggesting you do anything; I'm not advocating a course of action for you-- I'm  just saying.

Highlights here: "Out of Control," "Land of the Free," and "Praise the Loud," though pretty much any track on here works-- CJSS was the combination of musician's last names
Chastain, Jenkins, Skimmerhorn, and Sharpe-- the "Chastain" being one David T. Chastain, a lesser-known guitar hero of some repute. Proof that you can actually write good songs that are based on very-difficult-to-play main riffs.

Regarding Zoetrope (pronounced zoey-trope or, if you're wicked into phonetics: ˈzəʊɪˌtrəʊp )

I saw their drummer/ vocalist, Barry Stern, live in 1991-- when he was playing drums for Trouble (who were opening for Savatage) and their Rick Rubin-produced masterpiece. He was truly great.

Zoetrope, meanwhile, was his neglected baby. A Life of Crime came out on Combat records and cassettes (remember Combat?)-- and it was Punk speed and attitude + metal fury and detuned power. It equalled pure awesome.

Opener "Detention" sports a main riff that was, weirdly, the same first riff-ever that I "wrote" back in the '80s-- and there's not a bad track on here (although the lyrics from "Promiscuity" are pretty laughable)-- highlights are "Unbridled Energy," and "Hard to Survive."

Holocross, on Holocross, sound like Repulsion playing Raven or Anvil. I'm actually a little surprised that this one has held up as well as it did-- I remember thinking, as a teenager, that this one seemed a little over the top. And yet it seems absolutely understated, listening to it now (minus the super-high Halford yelps that periodically pop up). Also, the guitar tone is sick (very, very '80s: "scooped" with all the mids gone, and just the highs and the lows present). Highlights: "Warpath," and "Ptomaine."

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Indie Rock Band Provides Accompanying Music for Serialized Adventure Story, "the Ruins of Tropicalia"

A pulpy, novel-length story released for free in a series of installments, “The Ruins of Tropicalia”, is accompanied by new music by The Amends.
  • "The Ruins of Tropicalia” provides a new twist on an existing genre. The story, released in series of installments each week June 24th through August 28th 2014, features a unique tale based on the accounts of a trip involving conjurers, terrorists, reality stars, spies, soldiers, and internet billionaires. In addition to the written work, which is available in several formats for easy accessibility, the indie rock band The Amends is providing eight new singles as part of each installment’s release—all new music from 2014.

Accessible from Kindle devices/apps and e-readers compatible with EPUB or PDF formats, readers can conveniently take their exploration of Tropicalia and discovery of The Amends newly-released singles on the go. The story explores a mass Disappearance in the 21st century, a civilization few remember ever existed, and an endandered global future. Combining various narratives of a 2014 trip to a remote Central American peninsula along with free rock music, “The Ruins of Tropicalia” has something to offer everyone.

The website for “The Ruins of Tropicalia” features each installment/episode of the story, along with the accompanying music provided by The Amends. Curated by Tyler Taylor, band member for The Amends and Tropicalia trip-goer, the website provides all content free of cost throughout the entire launch timeframe—June 24th through August 28th, 2014. Hoping to provide interesting and collaborative work that tickles the senses of readers/listeners everywhere, Taylor, Drew Weikart and the rest of The Amends are excited to release their new 2014 singles in this uniquely conceptualized way. To learn more about “The Ruins ofo Tropicalia”, indie rock band “The Amends”, or to sign up for reminders for the 6/24 release, visit today or check out the promotional YouTube trailer at

Tyler Taylor /

Main Site: (mobile app to be released mid-June)
The Amends:

Justin Dzuban - Shakedown

What do you get when you cross Johnny Cash with Mark Knopfler?

Justin Dzuban.

Dzuban is a singer/songwriter/guitarist who hails from the American Heartland - Delaware, Ohio, just 20 miles north of Columbus.  His full length album, Shakedown, is scheduled for release on June 17, 2014.  Two words - get it.

I was fortunate enough to have received an advance copy of the album.  Even before the album's official release the tracks "Trouble" and "Shakedown" are offered as free downloads (in .wav file form) on Dzuban's website  Download them.  The release is a breath of fresh air, brushed with a hint of nostalgia and awash with great songwriting and musicianship.  It is self-produced and self-mixed, and is Dzuban's second studio album. 

The arrangements are simple, the sound is multi-layered, driven by an organic, soulful passion where the spaces between the notes have as much meaning as the notes themselves. Justin used old equipment and techniques to keep it simple and true. He called upon close friends to perform arrangements and contribute to selected tracks. There is twang and a tinge of country.  It is rock 'n roll.  It is Americana.  It feels like home.

Shakedown consists of ten tracks.  Here is what you can expect from the two that are free to download.  In my humble opinion they are not even the best cuts on this upcoming release.  However, they are incredible in their own right.  I have simply listed the remainder of the tracks.

 1. Trouble:  Johnny Cash's ghost haunts this song.  Dzuban's promotional material says it: 

". . . is dosed in thick Nashville syrup, reflecting on the days of Outlaw country when Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings were dominating the scene. It showcases Justin’s baritone voice revealing his deeper range, driven by a shuffle beat, echoed by haunting yet beautiful female back up vocals, a wurlitzer electric piano arranged across a smooth but moderately driven Gretsch Hollow body electric guitar (used throughout the record) contributing to the subtle 60’s and 70’s classic rock style. "

I could not have said it any better.
2. Shakedown: This is a country gospel rocker that evokes Dire Straits.  Dzuban explains it:

". . . utilizes the Wurlitzer electric piano and a hammond organ setting the stage for a rocking Americana track that grooves through the chorus with soulful female back up vocals and a foot tapping melody. Within the song there is a sensibility that finds the track, like many throughout the album, consistently alive and astonishingly modern. The chorus bounces with the beat, layers of country-gospel vocals rise up and fill in the space where Justin’s deep warmth fades into silence. The restorative power that Justin draws from traditional sources is most apparent throughout the slow groove of this reflective single.

What he said.

3. Lies And Prostitution
4. Where Are We Going
5. Into The Night
6. Windy Beach City
7. Have I Ever Told You
8. In The Streets
9. The Last Goodbye
10. Find Yourself Again

This is a throwback album.  It would feel right at home in the mid-1970's.  Then, again, so would I.

- Old School

Friday, June 27, 2014

EYEHATEGOD: Louisiana Loudsmiths Announce July Dates With Iron Reagan

Following a successful live US invasion with Ringworm and Enabler, Louisiana loudsmiths, EYEHATEGOD, will take to the streets again next month on a brief but mutinous rash of live takeovers with Iron Reagan, Vektor and Strong Intention. Slated to erupt in Washington DC on July 10th, the band will level stages in six cities, the run coming to a close in Brooklyn, New York at Acheron. Additionally, EYEHATEGOD will make an appearance at this year's edition of the Housecore Horror Film Fest in Austin in October with further live infiltrations to be announced in the weeks to come.   

EYEHATEGOD continues to tour in support of their chart-toppling, self-titled new studio offering, their first in nearly 15 years. Released on May 27th via Housecore, the record continues to reap praise and widespread "fuck-yeahs" from fans and media both Stateside and beyond. Gushes Pitchfork in an 8/10 rating of the record, "After fourteen years, they've come out swinging, armed with yet another of their often-renewed leases on life and still spoiling for a fight. That Eyehategod exists at all is a miracle in and of itself, but the fact that it is so damn great is simply extraordinary." Adds Stereoboard, "Eyehategod is a vitriolic demonstration of everything that made this band so great in the first place. There are brilliant riffs, moments of barely contained aural violence and, most memorably of all, the ever-distinctive vocals of Mike IX Williams... worthy addition to the band's already impenetrable legacy."

If you missed it, check out the band's video for "Medicine Noose," via Revolver Magazine at THIS LOCATION along with some words from Williams about the track.

In less positive news, EYEHATEGOD's van was broken into while onstage on Wednesday, June 18th in St. Louis, Missouri. Various electronics as well as guitarist Brian Patton's computer bag containing all of his earnings from the tour to that point were stolen. Police reports have been filed however if anyone has any information or wishes to help, please contact

w/ Iron Reagan, Vektor, Strong Intention
7/10/2014 The Pinch - Washington, DC [info]
7/11/2014 Simons 677 - Providence, RI [info]
7/12/2014 Bogies - Albany, NY [info]
7/13/2014 Depot - York, PA [info]
7/14/2014 Ballroom At Outer Space - Hamden, CT [info]
7/15/2014 Acheron - Brooklyn, NY [info]
End Tour
10/23/2014 -10/26/2014 Housecore Horror Film Fest @ Emo's - Austin, TX [info
Eyehategod is available via Housecore Records at THIS LOCATION. 

"...a stomping and venomous set of eleven tracks that reignite the band's amazing propensity for down-trodden, electric blues." - Noisey

"...their most entertaining release since 1996's Dopesick...urgent and raw, as if the band hasn't aged a day." - Consequence Of Sound

"To say that this album is 'a triumphant return,' or 'the album we've all been waiting for' are elephantine understatements. This album holds its own against some of the best of their canon and that alone makes it one of the best metal albums you'll hear this year." - Metal Insider

A Ripple Conversation With Joe Satriani

Thanks Mr. Satriani for taking the time to answer my email questions.
Your book was an incredible read into your mind. As a guitarist myself, I found the tone and flow of the book concerning equipment and studio experiences, to be priceless.

1. Your book covers a lot of the guitars and effects you used during album sessions. Do you keep a diary or a log of what you're playing on a particular song? And if not how do you remember all of it?

    …I do keep notes from my all my sessions, some more complete than others. My tech Mike Manning keeps a running gear journal as well. At the end of a recording cycle he hands the book to me and I often review, update and condense the info for future reference.

2. Naturally as a musician you love all of what you create but are there one or two songs that you simply “love to play” live more than the others?

      …Right now, anything from the new record “Unstoppable Momentum” is the most exciting to play for me, especially the title track. But, I love playing every song in set, it’s a joy and a privilege really.

3. I love how the book flows between your mind and what people around you were observing. Was this your idea?

     …It was writer Jake Brown who came up with the book’s original concept. Later in the process as I was turning the interview transcripts into a “first person” narrative Jake kept the book on track and guided me through his editing.

4. On That Metal Show you unveiled the box set “Head” with the removable sunglasses to access your entire catalog on usb. What was your initial reaction when they came to you with that idea?

         …The people at Legacy still insist it was my idea! Either way, it turned out great. My co-producer and mastering engineer John Cuniberti was eager to re-master the catalog and restore the recordings to their original glory. He did all the work. I just listened and approved each record as they were finished. At 96k/24bit the music sounds the best it ever has.

5. I saw the unstoppable Momentum tour in Boston. Besides the incredible music there were some killer visuals. How involved are you with those visuals? Are they your ideas or does someone else present them to you?

     …My lighting director Alastair Bramall-Watson is a genius! He was able to utilize my drawings and make them flow dynamically for the show’s projections, blending them with video content we would acquire as the tour progressed. Using a projection system allowed us great flexibility in adapting the show to different sized venues around the world.

6. In terms of technology, where do you see the art of guitar playing going in the next twenty years? We already have ipads that simulate the strings and holograms that can bring back dead musicians to the stage again. Do you see the future as less human and more mechanical in terms of performance or will we always have that human guitar interface?

     …Guitar playing will always be about fingers on strings. Look at how technology advancements changed photography, our phones are now digital cameras right out of science fiction yet mostly what we do with them is take “selfies”, pictures of our faces and bodies, etc…

7. I learned in the book that you initially had no idea who the silver surfer was. Are you a fan of comics now and if so who, besides the silver surfer, is your favorite?

       …I like story telling, and comics tell stories in a compelling way. Guitarist Ned Evett and I have been developing a script with my music and artwork that we hope to be a digital animation series based on a guitar playing sci-fi hero. So, yes, I am a fan of the genre!

8. Craziest thing that ever happened to you on the road?

        …Getting forced off-stage at gunpoint by the Malaysian army in Kuala Lumpur stands out in my mind as one of those crazy moments you don’t easily forget!

7.  I think Chickenfoot is a killer band. When you write songs with Sammy Hagar do you feel like o.k. I have to hold back on the solo or do you never hold back? How do you approach writing songs for Chickenfoot as opposed to writing songs for your own solo albums?

            I have to leave space for Sammy primarily, and then Mike and Chad to add their own personalities. They don’t want to hear a JS solo song with little spaces for them to add their bits, they want to occupy as much creative room as I do, so, in that regard we have to share equally in the final recording.

8. Lastly, the book is a great read and a tribute to a life dedicated to your guitar and your creative spirit. Any regrets. Looking back?

         When I’m in a reflective mood I sometimes think I should have spent less time practicing alone in my room and more time with friends, family and lovers. I should have taken more chances in my career. I never should have sold that guitar…etc… But, really, no. No regrets!


Thursday, June 26, 2014

Blackwülf - Mind Traveler

Is it possible to conduct a review without using the word "riff" or "Sabbath? Likely depending on what type of music you're investigating. In Blackwülf's case, if you take the previous sentence out I get dang close but can't help giving into the temptation of using one of them.

Blackwülf has a mildly less theatrical Sabbath buzz and a fuzzed down thrashy Megadeth wale, with the sinister energy of both. As much as I hate pulling the Sabbath Comparison Card I unintentionally end up yanking it out with bands like this that no doubt exhibits a modest resemblance other than the "black" aspect of the name. Speaking of, is black the most overused color in the band name roster or what? On the other hand you could just as easily juke towards a Motorhead juxtaposition with Blackwülf's scorching debut. Alex Cunningham’s punky vocals bellow gravelly with ominous intent as Pete Holme’s stoned out guitars thrash at a biker party pace much like any given Lemmy school night.

The 1-2 punch of "Royal Pine" / "Thunderwitch" stir together a slowed down Slayer meets Cryptic Writings era Megadeth thrash attack while the next two songs bring more of a retro stoner-punk flair. The overall album vibe could be summed up by the chorus line from the song, "(un)Frozen in Time". Classic metal crunch dripping with modern rock flavor as if it was frozen during the 70's, aged like whiskey and thawed out over a tire fire, funneled through a beer bong and straight into an outdoor mosh pit.

Comparisons are subjective to a degree but I still got a faint nostalgia on a few songs worthy of a Sabbath mention and intended as a baseline to spark attention. I may have failed at withholding the ‘Sabbath’ comparison, and it's definitely a lot more subtle than many bands accused of the copycat crime, but I did manage to abstain from worshiping the almighty ‘riff’, other than its use here and at the beginning. And make no mistake Mind Traveler is not short in the ‘r’ word department. I just got tired of saying it in every single review. It’s a great word, just a personal observation in general that I felt I needed to bring to light.  Either way, whether your mind is set on rock, metal, thrash, or punk Blackwülf travel full spectrum on their debut Mind Traveler. Give them some bandcamp love and let us know what you think. We always enjoy feedback.

-The Huntsman

A Ripple Conversation with Adam Savage, guitarist Mongrel

When I was a kid, growing up in a house with Cat Stevens, Neil Diamond,
and Simon and Garfunkel, the first time I ever heard Kiss's "Detroit Rock
City," it was a moment of musical epiphany. It was just so vicious,
aggressive and mean. It changed the way I listened to music. I've had a
few minor epiphany's since then, when you come across a band that just
brings something new and revolutionary to your ears.

What have been your musical epiphany moments?

For me the first major one was Guns N' Roses and seeing the videos for
"Welcome to the Jungle" and "Sweet Child of Mine" -  it was those videos
that made me realize that I    HAD to play guitar and needed to do this. 
Other ones for me since then were the first time I heard Pearl Jam,
Slipknot, NWA... but my discovery of Guns N' Roses was a life changing

Talk to us about the song-writing process for you. What comes first, the
idea? A riff? The lyrics? How does it all fall into place?

For me, it all depends on the song. Sometimes I'll have a lyrical idea
that comes to me and it'll inspire a riff / chord progression, sometimes
I'll come up with a riff / progression and realize it makes me think of
lyrics I had written a while back or that Jess had sent me... on the new
EP "Evolution"  Blue came in with the main riff for "Over and Over" and I
had a chorus and lyrics for it,  for "Consumed" I had the music and
remembered a set of lyrics that Jess had sent me that would work with it.
With Jess (vocals), Blue (bass), and Hoagie (drums) all a part of the
writing process; which is something that wasn't always the case with past
line-ups of the band. it's started mixing things up a bit, but in a good
way. It really just is song by song now how it comes together

Who has influenced you the most?

Musically,  Slash/ Guns N' Roses was definitely the biggest influence,
other big ones would be old Metallica, Pearl Jam, Tony Iommi / Black
Sabbath, Sex Pistols... those would be the early and critical ones I

Where do you look for continuing inspiration? New ideas, new motivation?

Since then I still go to artists like Public Enemy, System of a Down, Dead
Boys, Fear Factory, Alice in Chains, Hole, NIN, Amen, Slipknot, Trashlight
Vision, Black Flag, old Marilyn Manson, The Doors, Mother Love Bone, The
Cult...The Bronx, Barb Wired Dolls  I've been super into some UK bands
over the past year... Dogstate & Fuckshovel have been heavy rotation for
me.   I think society and life provides lots of things to be inspired by
whether positively or negatively and sometimes it hits hard enough that
you just need to get it out whether that's musically or lyrically.

We're all a product of our environment. Tell us about the band's hometown
and how that reflects in the music?

We're all from different places and all still live in different places.
The bassist and I live like 15 minutes apart but we're both about an hour
from Jess and Hoagie so we really don't have a "hometown" per-say... it's
more like several towns in a couple of states to be precise.  Personally I
grew up in a small suburban town with little to do and no real way to go
see live music much growing up. Music was the escape/dream/vision of a
more fun existence. Growing up the expectation was to dress "preppy" or be
athletic, etc and being into and dressing the part of a "metal head"
definitely caused for some prejudicial treatment at school and in town but
I guess that just made it more attractive to me in its own way. So in that
sense it furthered the refusal to conform, to fit the mold, etc. It was
always more important to be yourself and prove the haters and doubters

Where'd the band name come from?

When I started the band with our original singer back in 2003 the idea was
to start an aggressive band rooted in rock but where we could bring in
whatever styles or influences we wanted as long as at the end of the day
it was a good song.  We wanted a name that really incorporated that and
when Matt (Rowe) brought up "Mongrel" it was perfect... a mixed breed, it
had the somewhat aggressive connotation to it in the name, the dog imagery
built right in... it was perfect.  When Matt stepped down in early 2004 he
gave his blessings to keep the name and keep it going and it has ever

You have one chance, what movie are you going to write the soundtrack for?

I suck at being given a topic and told to write about it as far as songs
go actually but I guess I'd say our stuff would fit well for something on
the order of a Crow or Fight Club type movie in that at the end of the day
it's all about the state of the world and the human condition/experience.

You now write for a music publication (The Ripple Effect?).  You're going
to write a 1,000 word essay on one song. Which would it be and why?

Hmm... I'd probably go with Mother Love Bone "Chloe Dancer/Crown of
Thorns" - there's just so much to it lyrically to discuss, or "The End"
from The Doors.  Something about the Mother Love Bone song is just so
beautiful and tragic that it gives me chills sometimes.

What is you musical intention? What are you trying to express or get your
audience to feel?

My intention is to get our music to as many people as possible to find
those who "get" what we're doing and will be a part of this with us. We're
trying to build a bit of a community with what we do, to give a sense of
belonging to the disenfranchised, empowerment to the beaten down, and that
each of us can make a difference in our own way.

Come on, share with us a couple of your great, Spinal Tap, rock and roll

Hah hah.  I've had a drummer quit on the way to the studio cause they
couldn't find parking and it was raining.  A singer that went completely
AWOL for like 2 months, who came back and I then had sing a song I wrote
about them cause I was pissed off about them pulling that shit.  I've
fallen off a speaker and ended up with a Les Paul shaped bruise across my
torso including bruised ribs... I am grateful though for the lower cut
away in the Les Paul design, that could have been even worse!  ( LOL )

Tell us about playing live and the live experience for you and for your fans?

Playing live is the best. It's therapy, it's where you get to let out your
demons and frustrations, where you get to have that connection with the
audience, when it's a good show there's nothing better than that energy
exchange and connection with the people there, people singing along,
having fun, and all of us getting out what we need to. There's definitely
something amazing about it. Beyond that the shows are a great experience
just getting to hang out with everyone. Seeing friendships and
relationships develop out of the social piece of our shows. It's pretty
amazing in that regard too. We're really lucky that we seem to attract
some really awesome people who are genuinely good people and to see the
connections with us in the band and with the other fans develop and expand
is always a great feeling for us as well.

What makes a great song?

Magic ?  Different things, a good chorus/vocal hook, the right
riffs/chords, something people can sing-a-long with and that gets stuck in
their heads and something that people can relate to or connect with on
some level whether it's more of an intellectual connection like our songs
"Zombies of War" or "West Memphis Hell" or deeply personal level such as
"Revisionist" or "Consumed".

Tell us about the first song you ever wrote?

I'm sure it was pretty awful. I honestly don't know what it was in
particular but I have recordings from my first band back in high school
and the song writing still had a ways to go we'll say.

What piece of your music are particularly proud of?

I'm really proud of the new EP as a whole... I think "Consumed" on the new
cd is one of my all time favorites of my stuff.  "No Gods, No Masters" was
one of the first songs ever done in Mongrel but it still gets such a great
crowd response and sing a long that it's our anthem of sorts and you can't
argue with a singing crowd so that has to be on the list too.

Who today, writes great songs? Who just kicks your ass? Why?

The Bronx, Dogstate, Pearl Jam, - it's all just there. the riffs, the
vocals, and the honesty of it, there's a purity there that comes through
and just works and the more you listen to them, the more you love them.
They're great live too which means a lot to me (well I haven't seen
Dogstate live yet but i'm going to presume they are amazing live too).

Vinyl, CD, or digital? What's your format of choice?

I'm a cd person by preference, I like vinyl but I listen to most of my
music in the car so I need portable. Mp3s are convenient and I listen to
them a lot but I do prefer the tangible nature of cds.

Whiskey or beer?  And defend your choice

I really never developed a taste for beer so I'd have to say whiskey. We
actually have a sponsorship from Cabin Fever Maple Whiskey...that stuff is
pretty amazing, though I always crave pancakes afterwords...

We, at the Ripple Effect, are constantly looking for new music. What's
your home town, and when we get there, what's the best record store to
lose ourselves in?

The only one really still out this way is Newbury Comics. It's a regional
chain but they're pretty good. Up in Maine and parts of NH you'll find
Bull Moose Music as well. I actually end up doing most of my music buying
online, it's really the only way to get a lot of the more obscure, indie,
or harder to find stuff.

What's next for the band?

Well we're looking forward to seeing how the new cd "Evolution" goes over
with everyone. We've got a few music videos in the works with the first
one out in time for the June 3rd release date of "Evolution", ideally get
over to the UK at some point, and we're already starting to write for the
next cd so there's always something going on and in the works here!

Any final comments or thoughts you'd like to share with our readers, the

Thanks for reading, I hope you'll check out the new cd "Evolution" - we're
really excited about it and proud of how it came out so we hope you'll
give it a listen and enjoy it too. We love hearing from people so please
hit us up and say hi on our twitter, facebook, instagram, etc and we'll be
sure to get back to you.  We're all about the interaction with people so
please don't be shy.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

YOB: Doom Metal Trio Announces Mammoth UK/European Tour In Support Of Clearing The Path To Ascend

Long-running Oregon doom metal conjurors and recent Neurot signees, YOB, will embark upon a massive overseas trek this Fall. Slated to commence on September 3rd, 2014 in Utrecht, the Netherlands, the band will levy their cathartic riff rituals upon twenty-eight cities, the tour coming to a close on October 11th, 2014 at Desertfest in Antwerp, Belgium. YOB will be joined by Little Rock doom bringers, Pallbearer.

The tour coincides with the release of the trio's long-awaiting new full-length, Clearing The Path To Ascend. Recorded at Gung Ho Studio in Eugene, notorious for its reserve of vintage equipment, alongside longtime collaborator/iconic sound-sage Billy Barnett, and mastered by Brad Boatright (Sleep, Beastmilk, Nails) at Audiosiege Engineering, the four tracks comprising Clearing The Path To Ascend don't simply offer a vacuous glimpse into the already riff-soaked doom genre; these songs demand the tandem attention of mind, body, and soul, etching a mark across a sound that finds YOB as formidable as they've ever been. True ascension requires a destruction of those barriers that prevent any movement forward. Unsurprisingly, YOB pummels any and all of these obstacles with absolute authority, clearing the way for a genuinely visceral listening experience and climbing upward into a realm that sets the band in a heavy metal place that has been and will always remain wholly their own.

YOB UK/EU Tour 2014 w/ Pallbearer:
9/03/2014 Tivoli de helling - Utrecht, NL  
9/04/2014 The Fleece - Bristol, UK 
9/05/2014 Roadhouse - Manchester, UK 
9/06/2014 Audio- Glasgow, UK
9/07/2014 Brudenell Social Club - Leeds, UK
9/08/2014 The Underworld - London, UK
9/10/2014 FZW - Dortmund, DE
9/11/2014 Vera - Groningen, NL
9/12/2014 Atlas - Aarhus, DK
9/13/2014 Truckstop Alaska - Gothenburg, SE
9/14/2014 Hostsabbat @ Betong - Oslo, NO
9/16/2014 Tavastia - Helsinki, FI
9/17/2014 Slakthuset - Stockholm, SE
9/18/2014 Loppen - Copenhagen, DK
9/19/2014 Connewitz - Leipzig, DE
9/20/2014 Firlej - Wroclaw, PL
9/21/2014 Bi Nuu - Berlin, DE
9/23/2014 Klub 007 - Prague, CZ
9/24/2014 Arena - Vienna, AT
9/25/2014 PMK - Unnsbruck, AT
9/26/2014 Gaswerk - Winterthur, CH
9/29/2014 Le Romandie - Lausanne, CH
10/02/2014 Razzmatazz3 - Barcelona, ES
10/03/2014 Villamanuela - Madrid, ES
10/04/2014 Amplifest - Porto, PT
10/05/2014 ES ESonora - Erandio, ES
10/10/2014 Kyttaro Club - Athens, GR
10/11/2014 Desertfest - Antwerp, BE

Clearing The Path To Ascend will be released on September 1st, 2014 in the UK and Europe and in the US on September 2nd, 2014 via Neurot Recordings. 


Ogre - The Last Neanderthal

Finally some kind of balance has been restored in my life. After a hiatus, broken only by a couple of reunion shows, Maine's finest, Ogre, are back kicking and screaming. Whenever a band I like come back from retirement I am obviously excited but at the same time I am leery, thinking "will this be up to par with their previous releases, or will it crash and burn?" This feeling came over me regarding 'The Last Neanderthal' although I quickly learned there is absolutely nothing to be worried about. The moment the album kicks in, it's like Ogre never went away.

Full tilt and to the point, 'Nine Princes In Amber' picks up where the instrumental opener 'Shadow Earth' left off. Heavy and fast, it burrows through mountains shattering them to dust and it also shows the band still embraces their penchant for heavy 70's rock. 'Bad Trip' follows and like a bad trip the song goes through all the motions. Slow, heavy, fast, claustrophobic, brutal and schizophrenic with a dollop of Black Sabbath, it rips me apart limb by limb. Guitarist Ross Markonish is in excellent form producing a blistering solo amidst some very deft riffing. Psychedelic undertones flows through the doominess of 'Son Of Sisyphus' where bassist Ed Cunningham's voice enhances the trippiness. He sounds like the bastard child of Ozzy and Bon Scott and I love it!

'Soulless Woman' is a cover of an Ogre song! Well, this other Ogre from Idaho were active in the early 70's and although it's slightly different from the rest of the album, it fits in good and Maine-Ogre has definitely turned it into their own. Punishing excellent doom runs through 'Warpath' with drummer Will Broadbent leading the way allowing Markonish and Cunningham free reign and it's damned good. Spacey, lofty and almost southern rock in approach instrumental 'White Plume Mountain' allows you to breathe and relax for a couple of minutes until it segues into closer 'The Hermit' which keeps a slower pace akin to the previous track. However, doom creeps in gradually making it a somewhat darker tale, although Ogre actually assimilate quite a bit of psychedelica into the second half of it. The solos Ross delivers on this last song are out of this world and defintely helps to elevate 'The Last Neanderthal' to a place above the rest.

Ogre are in magificent form uopn their return having recorded a crushing monster of an album. For any band to release something like it, whether it's their debut or their fifth album, are different in the best possible way. They play in a league way ahead of the rest and set standards that few can emulate. And that's exactly where Ogre are. To come back after all these years and annihilate like they do shows that these Maine heavy-hitters are back where they belong...and I couldn't be happier!

- Swedebeast

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Meshuggah - I

I like bands I don't get. I like authors whose work I have to struggle to understand. I feel it makes me smarter in the long run to have to run, intellectually, to keep up.

Meshuggah, I feel 100%, make music specifically designed to make you have to fucking sprint to keep up.

God bless you, Swedes: bless you for not pandering to the lowest common denominator. Bless you for going straight up your own asses for the sake of the exploration of art.

Yanno, I go out of my way to find "weird," i.e., statistically anomalous music, art and literature-- I've studied Asian and African music and their use of micro-tones (i.e., notes outside the typical Western 12, i.e., the notes between The Notes), and though these can sound quite odd to my Western-trained ears, Meshuggah is much weirder.

And, even for Meshuggah, I is weird: constantly changing, many rhythms at one time (I want to be the first reviewer of Meshuggah to not use the word "polyrhythms" in the write-up), asymmetrical time signatures (e.g., 3/4 or 6/8), and so on.

It's an EP, it's 21 minutes, it's one song. It's weird as shit, but it's fascinating.


Monday, June 23, 2014

SCION TO PRESENT SLAYER'S FALL 2014 U.S. TOUR A Merciless, Head-banging Onslaught That Will Feature Special Guests Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus

When Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus played a handful of dates together this past May, every date was sold out and fans experienced a night of some of the best metal on the planet.  With reviews like "the best show in years that I've been blessed to witness," "a metalhead's dream come true," and " onslaught of heart-pounding tunes during an evening full of awesome head banging action," how could this trinity of thrash legends not join up again for a full-on road trip?  So, with Scion proudly presenting, Slayer - Kerry King/guitars, Tom Araya/bass'vocals, drummer Paul Bostaph and guitarist Gary Holt - with special guests Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus, will hit the road this fall, kicking off November 12 in Oakland, CA, playing through to December. 5 in Detroit, MI.  The confirmed itinerary is below.

Slayer fan club members are invited to take advantage of a ticket pre-sale that will begin this Wednesday, June 25 at 10AM (local time) and ends on Thursday, June 26 at 5:00PM (local time).  Fan club members will receive an email with instructions for ticket purchasing.  Tickets go on sale to the public this Friday, June 27 at 10:00AM (local time) - log onto for all ticket purchasing details.  

Said Slayer's Tom Araya, "We are way fucking excited about hitting the road again with Suicidal and Exodus.  Fucking intense.  See you in the fall."

Added Mike Muir, Suicidal Tendencies' vocalist, "Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies and Exodus, for only six shows?  They were a blast, but everyone knew that wouldn't be enough.  Now's your chance to see what everyone else was screaming about.  ST definitely can't wait 'til November to do it all again!"

"This monumental tour is a heavy metal collision of epic proportions," added Exodus vocalist Steve 'Zetro' Souza who has just rejoined the band.  "For my first tour back with Exodus, I'm beyond excited to be on the road with my brothers in true thrash metal! I'm also looking forward to meeting and hanging out with all of the fans on this heavy as hell tour."-

Confirmed dates are as follows:

12   Fox Theatre, Oakland, CA
14   The Forum, Los Angeles, CA
15   Comercia Theatre, Phoenix, AZ
17   Bricktown Events Center, Oklahoma City, OK
18   ACL Live, Austin, TX
19   Verizon Theatre, Dallas, TX
21   Hard Rock Live, Orlando, FL
22   The Tabernacle, Atlanta, GA
23   The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC
25   The Armory, Albany, NY
26   Sands Events Center, Bethlehem, PA
28   The Palladium, Worcester, MA
29   Wellmont Theatre, Montclair, NJ
30   Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, PA

 2   Agora Theatre, Cleveland, OH
 4   Egyptian Room, Indianapolis, IN
 5   The Fillmore, Detroit, MI

The Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot wrote that the five-time-nominated, two-time Grammy winning Slayer is "one of the great American rock bands of the last 30 years, forget about genre."  Their membership in "The Big Four" - Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax - the four bands that defined the thrash/metal genre - secures their place in music history.  Indeed, few bands come close to matching the intensity that Slayer brings to its live shows, having been named "Best Live Band" by numerous media outlets including Revolver, SPIN, and Metal Hammer.  With songs that mirror the turmoil and aberrations of our society - God's terrifying global genocide, the chaos of our broken political system, chemical warfare, the hideous minds of serial killers, and the way-too-close proximity of world horrors that technology has brought us, Slayer remains crushing and brutal, steadfastly refusing to cater to the Mainstream.  Slayer's founding member, guitarist Jeff Hanneman passed in 2013, and Exodus guitarist Gary Holt has been filling in since.  Paul Bostaph, Slayer's drummer from 1992 to 2001, rejoined the band on a full-time basis in 2013.  Slayer recently formed its own label imprint that will be distributed worldwide through Nuclear Blast, and plans to release a new album in early 2015.

In 1982, before Suicidal Tendencies had ever released any music, readers of the legendary Flipside fanzine voted ST "Worst band and Biggest Assholes."  When ST released its self titled album a year later, they took out a full page ad thanking everyone that voted for them and in bold letters said, "You'll be sorry!" 
 The next year Flipside put ST on the cover with the print, "Love them or hate them, they are not going away," after readers voted them "Best Band, Best new Band and Best record."
 Over the years, many controversies have surrounded the band, including being banned from playing their hometown of LA, and Tipper Gore from the PMRC trying attack the band. 
 To this day, whether it's a skater, punk, metalhead, thrasher, alternative, crossover, you'll see the ST flip hats and shirts all around the world with ST festivals as far away as Indonesia and South Korea, and touring many major festivals in Europe, South America and Asia. 
 Thirty years later, after several gold records and Grammy nominations, and world wide touring, ST is still loved and hated....and they don't give a f**k. 
 As lead singer Mike Muir said, "We're not hear to play what you like, we're hear to play what we like, hopefully you'll like it as much as we do, but Suicidal is not for everyone, so if you don't, we ain't losing any sleep over it."
 Now in 2014, Suicidal is still not going way, as the classic ST song say, "You can't bring me down"!

With a career spanning 34 years, EXODUS have not only helped shape and define the thrash metal genre for over three decades, but continually seek to raise its standards. One of the forefathers of the Bay Area scene that became known and envied throughout the world, the band's 1985 debut album, Bonded By Blood, has since become a legacy album featuring mandatory live staples such as "Strike Of The Beast," "A Lesson In Violence," and the album's title track. Formed in 1980, the band's original members included Tom Hunting on drums, Kirk Hammett (Metallica), Tim Agnello on guitars, and Carlton Melson on bass. With a line-up that has evolved throughout the years, the current incarnation of EXODUS charges into the future with returning frontman Steve "Zetro" Zousa on vocals, Gary Holt and Lee Altus on guitars, Tom Hunting on drums, and Jack Gibson on bass. In 2014, EXODUS closed the first half of the year with stellar performances at Kirk Hammett's Fear FestEvil and Rock On The Range, as well as a groundbreaking tour with fellow thrash legendsSlayer and Suicidal Tendencies. To date, EXODUS has released ten studio albums, two live albums, and one compilation. Their most recent release, Exhibit B: The Human Condition, debuted within the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart in 2010. EXODUS will release a new Andy Sneap-produced full-length album in Fall 2014 via Nuclear Blast.

Beastwars - Blood Becomes Fire

My knowledge of music from New Zealand is very limited to say the least. What little I knew is that extreme trve kvlt black metal has a stronghold there and...that's just about it. Well, it was until Bossman Racer sent Beastwars my way. First glance at the covers of their two albums, 'Beastwars' and 'Blood Becomes Fire' brought to mind modern death metal but how wrong I was! The moment 'Blood Becomes Fire' came on a really good mix of sludge, doom and metal hits my eardrums. Totally sold on these Wellingtonians is an understatement as I bang my head bloody while losing control of myself to their brutal, dark and suggestive tunes.

The first spin of 'Blood Becomes Fire' caught me off guard and all I could do was listen and be mesmerized by what I heard. That's actually not a bad thing, in fact that's how it should be listening to a great album. However, if one is supposed to write a review then this causes a dilemma, how do you snap out of the spell Beastwars cast. Since the music is this enthralling I could just go with that and say "awesomely good, buy!". But that would be taking the easy way out, so by pure will-power I re-surface in the real world and this is what I found out.

A wide-brimmed palette full of apocalyptic visions and nightmares accompanied by a powerful soundtrack of doom, metal, Killing Joke, sludge and Mark Lanegan. A rather odd amalgamation one might think but it works so well. From the brutal onslaught of 'Caul Of Time' and 'Ruins' to the eeire, haunted and hypnotic tones of 'Realms' and the amazing 'The Sleeper', Beastwars have recorded a monster of an album. Not only that, they have also managed to create a truly one-of-a-kind style. Yes, a number of their influences are present and they spice things up but the impressive part is how elegantly and easily the band are doing their own thing. That alone is commendable, so when they defy genre rules and create something so great and unique as 'Blood Becomes Fire' everyone should stand up and take notice.

Apart from the songs I have already mentioned you should of course listen to all of them, however special attention should be given to three tracks. 'Imperium' is kind of slow and entrancing at first but quickly turns into something Neurosis wish they had written. 'Rivermen' is dark, brooding and doom-sludgy where singer Matt Hyde sounds like Mark Lanegan's deranged brother...beautiful! Finally, the title track, 'Blood Becomes Fire' sees Matt back as Lanegan's crazy brother while the drums and the bass guitars acts like a heartbeat throughout. It is a slow song but builds up gradually fueling anger and frustration and it's full of awesome riffs!

I want more surprises like Beastwars, that's what makes being a metalhead all worthwhile. Hearing a band like them is like a fountain of youth for me, taking me back to a time when I had just discovered heavy music and had a seemingly bottomless well to pick and choose from. Maybe I've become more cynical and less openminded the older I've gotten, regardless, a lot of the music from genres that I like is severely uninspiring and dull. So when a gang like Beastwars comes along music has a meaning again. Fantastic waveriders, fantastic that's all I have to say!

- Swedebeast

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A Ripple Conversation with Lillian Axe/Steve Blaze

I spoke with Steve Blaze from Lillian Axe. The band has been around for a long time and even got into the Louisiana Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. We discussed the new DVD, touring plans, ghost hunting, and the longevity of a truly iconic American rock band.

What’s new with Lillian axe?

Well we just started getting back out there. We had this car wreck so it’s taken a while. It took us out for awhile. It’s like riding a bike, once you get out there it’s easy. The wreck really shook us up. A mental and physical shake up for us. We lost a lot of equipment in the accident and really shook our bass player up. He’s’s hard to get in a car right now. Gave us some time to get the “One night in the temple DVD” some more attention. We try to turn a bad situation into as much of a positive as possible. I’m just thrilled to be back playing again. It’s in my blood.

Years on the road. Do you ever get on each others nerves?

    Actually it’s kind of funny. We talk about the fact that we really don’t ever have any issues. We get along fine. No one drinks or does drugs. Our biggest concern is where we are going to eat tonight and everything else is fine. We get along really well. No issues. Which is a rarity in a band but we just have no issues.

How involved is Lillian Axe with social media?

Absolutely. We have twitter accounts. Lillian axe has two facebook accounts. We all have individual facebook accounts. We have a reverbnation page. We have a free app on Lillian that people can download for free. Gives you songs, pictures and info. We are pretty active on social media.

How did the “Convergence” box set come about?

    Well we wanted to do it and make it unique and special. Just something that we felt it was too difficult for people to find our records. Or their cassette broke. Yeah we used to be on cassette. So we felt like there was no place for people to really get the full collection. A few of our albums are very difficult to find. So I wanted a box that had everything we did inside it. 25 years of blood, sweat, and tears in one box set. It was very successful.

How long will the tour last?

Really starting in September at the end of the year. We all have other projects we are doing. I have a show. I am a TV host for a ghost hunting show. We are shooting 13 episodes in June and July so I am working on that. In the meantime I have to start working on the next studio record. So we will do a few shows here and there.

Is acting something you always wanted to do?

   Yeah you know every musician wants to be an actor and every actor wants to be a musician. So I dabbled a little. I did a no budget vampire movie down here in New Orleans once so I got the bug. Always something I wanted to do. I got involved in ghost hunting down here and I put a team together. We were approached to do a show.

How do you feel when someone uses the term “Hair” band?

   Here’s the deal. I embrace everything we ever did. Whatever people label it. The only problem with labels is it ..People just react ignorantly to labels. Some great bands came out of the 80’s and everyone had poofed up hair. That was just the style. Nowadays the kids just have no idea what the music meant back then. It’s all relative. It was a fantastic time for music. The 70’s and 80’s. The best two decades for music. Call it what you want. Lillian Axe is still around 20 or so years later. I still have long hair, some of the others do. It’s not about the hair it’s about longevity and the music.  Our society has to have a label for every little thing and we can’t just use our free minds and just let things be. Let the music do the talking. To be honest our most successful records came out in the mid 90’s during the height of the grunge period.

How are the audiences outside America?

A little less spoiled I find. They are very dedicated and more open minded. They like music. In Japan they are more tolerant of different forms.

How does the writing process work for Lillian axe?

   I demo them. I give the complete songs and then ask for changes. Then we practice them and rehearse. Some songs are created in the studio. But I always write and demo and then bring it to them.

Tube amps or solid state?

Tubes. I am endorsed by Peavey and I use all their gear. I have three custom guitar lines. I have a strictly 7 guitar, Steve blaze model. 26 frets. Amazing guitar. Through Guilford guitars I have a Blaze model and another called the redeemer. That’s all I play. Composite acoustic guitars. They are my road guitars. I use Morley wahs. T.c. electronics system.

Same set up for studio?

   We try different amps. Try all different configurations. Sometimes we run direct. Whatever works

Do you find that some songs are created for the studio that you might not be able to replicate live?

    We make the song for the record. Some songs have a lot of over dubs but we still play them live. A great example of this is queen. You listen to the studio records and they are just over the top. Then you see them live and they pull it off. That’s how we do. We keep it as real as possible. We play all our songs sometimes you adapt to the live setting. But we never write a song that we couldn't play live. It’s us. It’s all Lillian Axe

Ever get tired of playing the songs?

(laughs). I never get burnt out. The crowd energy keeps us going. We have a good time playing.
We will keep touring, making records and keep on doing what we do. There is nothing except for my heart stopping that will keep me from playing music. It’s not an easy task to do anything in life for 25 years.


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