Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Blessed State - Demo

Blessed State is from Massachusetts and play a style of melodic punk/hardcore that is often executed by bands in the current climate.  The execution has me thinking of Dag Nasty, Swiz and possibly some Rites of Spring. 

Flanger ridden guitar takes up the front of the canvas while gruff, melodic vocals provide a nice external layer of harmony on the top.  The drums and bass play it safe, but in doing so provide a nice, solid backbone.  Lyrics seem to stick to personal self reflection and are written with a honesty that doesn't pretend to be artsy or abstract. 

Blessed State seems to have done thiings right; taking a style that hasn't been done to death and adding their own personal signature to it. Good stuff right here.

Click here to have a listen.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Distopia - Errantes En Un Mundo Dominado Por Presuntas Certezas

Distopia is a vegan straight edge band from Santiago, Chile that play a politically infused brand of raging d-beat mixed with some noisy hardcore. 

The recording quality may take a second to adjust to. Specifically, the reverb ladden snare sound is misleading at first.  Once I became acquainted with it I was able to follow the song structures and riffs a little better.

There's 5 songs here that never really take a second to slow down.  The screamed vocals and high gain guitar rip through the soundscape with blistering desperation. The subtle melodic quality to the guitar gives this an epic feel at times, in addition to the tasteful addition of discordant shreeks that emphasize some of the breakdowns.

Pretty intense stuff.  Check it out here.

All These Years and Nothing - S/T

All These Years and Nothing play a type of hardcore that reminds me of Kill Your Idols mixed with some older AFI.  They are stationed in Northwest Indiana and have an uncharacteristically positive take on life in their lyrics and approach.

There's plenty of mid tempo two step riffs in here, topped with catchy vocal anthems.  The production value and musicianship are extremely clean and tight without sounding too polished.

I caught this band at a show last week on their home turf.  The set was reinforced with some honest discussion before songs addressing issues like being a good father, confronting child molestation, preventing bullying and trying their best to have a positive impact.  A good vibe for sure.

Their record is just about to come out, but you can stream the whole thing here.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Amber - S/T

Amber comes to us from Germany and play an epic brand of heavy, yet melodic, tunes.  The band comes off sounding similar to bands like Japan's Envy but with perhaps a bit of the instrumental sensibilities of bands like Pelican or Disappearer.

There's a pretty wide range of dynamics happening here that run the gambit of ultra slow and moody to a more high powered and intense sound.  The songs are lengthy and jam packed full of peaks and valleys.  The production quality is crystal clear and gives you a nice glimpse of all the moving parts.

The focus here seems to be more on creating the intensity and mood rather than focusing on anything overly technical or intricate. They pull it off pretty well, so if this sounds like your type of flavor then you'll be eating up with a spoon.

Have a listen here.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Annie and the Bang Bang - S/T

Annie and the Bang Bang is the brain child of Annie Enneking who you may remmeber as the composer behind the "Fess Elliot:Real" record that I reviewed last year.  This self titled album features some of those same solo songs but adapted with electric guitar, bass and drums.  There's also some new additional tracks here to add to the library.

Though I was thoroughly impressed with the folk versions of some of these tunes the first time around, I have to say that the reinvention of these pieces are pretty outstanding.  There's definitely a mid 90's alternative rock sound to them, which would put this record right at home as the soundtrack to my flannel wearing younger days.

There's a still a large measure of dynamics here.  There's some upbeat tracks like "All the Girls", "Big Muff" and "Explode with Happy, Man!".  But, there's also some subdued tracks that keep things contemplative like "Billy Bones" "Go Pink" and "Dogs" (which carries a very powerful payoff featuring strong vocals and distorted guitar).  "Shake Me" incorporates the best of both worlds as the song seems to work as a constant build up piece that provokes a sort of tension.

It's hard not to compare the early versions with these new ones, however both stand on their own ground.  The haunting melody on "Dickless Boy" comes across even more powerful here with it's discordant guitar work before we seen a nice return to the subdued and effortlessly beautiful sound of "Funeral for Fun".

An impressive and well executed reworking here that is worthy of your attention.   Listen to it here.

Fox Moulder - Lethe

Fox Moulder come to use from Toronto and have fashioned a sound that seems to be heavily influenced by bands like One Eye God Prophecy and Orchid.  Dark, heavy guitars take the center stage here, backed by distorted bass and heavy cymbal wash.  The vocals come in the form a throaty shout that doesn't go to over the top, but still maintains a nice feeling of desperation fitting for the music.

For the most part the band is moving pretty fast with technical chaos throughout rapid time changes.  Though, this can slow down and getting very groove oriented, such as in the final seconds of "Hum" where the breakdown will have you thinking of a Kaospilot/Orchid sort of vibe. 

The more melodic aspects show through on a song like "Havelock" in which the guitar suspends the chaos for a while and detours into a nice waterfall of picked out chords.  Things close up with "Endless/Blameless" which seems to take all the aspects mentioned before and put them into one solid package. 

Check these guys out on their upcoming east coast tour.  Listen to the record here.

Dethroned Emperor - Moral Nihility

Dethroned Emperor debut their first full length featuring thirty songs of rapid paced death metal.  This New Brunswick, NJ based two piece keep their songs to around one minute or less, leaving little time for filler. 

As you may expect, you'll be getting some bear growled vocals on top of dark, shredding guitar.  The drums are filled with double bass and blast beats, though seem to carry a great measure of creativity in their delivery and constant variations on any given part. 

I've seen this duo pull off this sound in a live setting, so what you're hearing is what you get: a full sound with some pretty well engineered musicianship. 

Check it out here.