Archive for July, 2011

Mayhem Festival Preview

Posted in Album Reviews on July 30, 2011 by lukesreviews1014

On Sunday I’m going to be going to the fourth annual Mayhem festival. Before i dive into my two cents on the bands, let me rant on about this whole billing in general. For most of you who are reading this then you will most likely be aware of every band on the festival bill this year and have you’re own opinions. Let me just shed light on the Main stage headliners: Trivium, Megadeth, Godsmack, and Disturbed (in order from earliest to latest).

Now, i think this whole festival billing in general is both good and bad. I think it’s good because Mayhem is really the only festival that can bring in four completely different bands that you wouldn’t normally see on the same stage together, let alone the same bill in general. So i think it’s great because it’s a whole collection of bands that i’ve never seen, but have always wanted to see, but wouldn’t be able to see on the same stage together on any other circumstances. It’s bad though because Disturbed headlined the very first Mayhem fest and the only other repeat that Mayhem had was Five Finger Death Punch when they moved from side stages on the first Mayhem Fest to opening up the Main stage on the third Mayhem Fest. Godsmack came out with The oracle in early 2010 and weren’t really heard from much since then. Megadeth and Trivium are great draws actually because they have new albums out or have new albums on the way, both of which are very strong and promising. If you ask me though, it all just seems like a very safe and because there are so many other better options in my opinion (Devildriver, Children of Bodom, Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for my Valentine come to mind and if it weren’t for the Uproar tour, A7X and BFMV most likely would’ve been on the bill) I just feel slightly scared that Mayhem are running out of ideas on getting brilliant bookings. It’s scary because Mayhem pretty much replaced Ozzfest, which became stagnant after more than 10 years of being the main metal festival for America. But now, a billing like this would suggest that Mayhem as almost became stagnant about as soon as it began, which would really be horrible and depressing because when it comes to Metal festivals, America sucks at it.
Anyway, now on to the band specifics:
Red Fang – Don’t need them I only know one person who actually genuinely likes this band and i’m sorry, but you don’t need another half assed retro rock hard band. Listen to The sword because they do what Red Fang are trying to do much better. Same with Wolfmother and The Almost
Kingdom of Sorrow – I don’t have anything really against it, it’s just not my favorite. I’d rather see them with Hatebreed and Crowbar.
Straight Line Stitch – Again, some people love them, i’m just not a fan at all. Maybe their live show will sway me. Everyone also says that their chick singer is hot, but i’m not so sure on that one.
Unearth – I’ve heard nothing but great things about them in terms of their live show so i’m actually quite excited to see them and maybe i’ll be converted and be a bigger fan than i already am.
All Shall Perish – One of two deathcore-ish type bands on this years booking and they’re quite good at what they do. I’ve never been a huge fan of the band, but they have some really good strong moments and I hope they translate well live.
Suicide Silence – First of all, get back Tanner. Second, I’m seriously looking forward to this band because i’m a big fan of this band. I just hope they don’t play too too many of the newer songs. As long as they pull off “No Pity for a Coward” i’ll be a happy camper.
In Flames – I’ve got nothing else nice to say to you guys because i’ve been trying to stick up for you but you aren’t giving me any more reasons to defend you so you better write another reroute to remain or just pack it in, because let’s face it, no one needs any more of what In Flames is offering, which is depressing me to say, but it’s true. Look back at my album review of their new album for more opinions.
Machine Head – Even  though i think they’re being cheated by being on a side stage and not the main stage, i’m sooooo looking forward to this band. The Blackening was the closest thing to another Master of Puppets and the band itself are so close to taking the torch from Metallica, i just hope they do with their new album. Sooooo looking forward to Machine-Fucking-Head!
Trivium – Great band. I have no complaints from them. Just as long as they don’t play much from The Crusade. I’m really looking forward to their new album as well. In Waves is a great tune and i hope they play that song live.
Megadeth – I love Megadeth and i’ll be glad to see them with almost the original lineup. I’m sue Dave isn’t too happy about being second banana to Godsmack and Disturbed, but that just means that they better bring it so that everyone doesn’t stop talking about their show.
Godsmack – I’ve been trying to see this band for a while back in their prime and i was almost afraid i wouldn’t get to see them, but now i can and i can’t wait for their greatest hits. However, if they don’t do their monumental drum battle then i’m going to be sooooo pissed, it’ll ruin my whole day…not really because i’m sure they will do it.
Disturbed – Same thing as Godsmack in that i’m going to be able to see all of their greatest hits and go crazy for every second of it and most likely see some of the newer songs that aren’t terrible. Also i’m happy to finally see them before the go on extended hiatus and possibly pack it in, so i’m happy for that.
There you have it folks, stay tuned for my review of the show coming up on either Monday or Tuesday. Stay tuned and keep on rocking.
Luke Helker
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Warped Tour REVIEW

Posted in Concert Reviews on July 22, 2011 by lukesreviews1014

Yesterday my friends and I traveled over to Camden to spend the day at the Warped Tour in the Susquehanna Bank Center. It’s needless to say that we all had a great time seeing some of the bands we love and finding out about some other bands that we never heard before. Even though the weather was relentless and brutal, claiming about 81 victims ( no one died as far as i know, but many were medi-vacked to the hospital within the festival), everyone had the time of their lives, listening to great music and partying like the end of the world. So without further delay, let’s get started:

After epically failing our tailgate and waiting in line for an hour in the heat, we went in at 11:00am and made out way to the main stage immediately so that we could get a good spot for Attack Attack!. Attack Attack! came on at noon and played a brilliant 40 minute set containing such hits as “Sexual Man Chocolate”, “Stick Stickly”, “A for Andrew”, “Smokahontas”, and many more. Their singer came on waving the American flag and when the band struck the first chord, fake money with the bands name printed on it fell from the rafters. For the full forty minutes, lots of people probably wasted all of their energy jumping and pushing and moshing around to this band, which is great because i thought the band were spot on. The clean vocals, which are normally kinda poppy and vocoder-y on the record, but surprisingly sounded less poppy than on the record. Some of my friends disagreed with me, but that what just my personal opinion. All in all, great way to kick off the day. Just what we needed.

Afterwards we all kinda split up and got separated while the crowd was dispersing from Attack Attack’s show. My buddy Steve and I checked out some of the merch tents, got some things from the Winds of Plague tent, and went inside the main stage theater to meet up with some other friends. Now for those of you that are familiar with this particular venue, the “main” -main stage was split into two smaller stages for smaller bands. While chilling a little in the shade and I caught the last half of Every Avenue‘s set. I haven’t payed attention to this band for awhile and after seeing their show I can see that i wasn’t really missing much. I’m not a fan of their new songs and i didn’t think that their singer really sounded any good. The songs from the first album that they played were pretty good, but it was all just kind of an ok set.

Following Every Avenue was this band that I never heard of called Street Dogs. Street Dogs are an Irish punk band similar to Flogging Molly or Enter the Haggis, another band marrying celtic folk music with English punk, but what i liked about this band were that some of the songs they were playing sounded like what Flogging Molly should have done instead of going the direction they did for the Speed of darkness album.  Really a solid band and the only band that i saw that i’ve never heard of before…and actually liked it. Throughout the day I saw bits and pieces of The Aggrolites and Blood on the Dance Floor. The Aggrolites are some reggae band and I just didn’t buy into it at all. They’re just some american pot heads trying to be the next Slightly Stoopid or something and Blood on the Dance Floor dress looked like early Motley crue and Black Veil Brides and played horrible dance beats underneath piss-poor songs. sure they were energetic, but they had nothing to carry them in terms of songs and music besides the same generic dance beat for every tune.

At 3:00 I went over to the Advent tent by myself to check out The Word Alive. I’ve been a fan of this band for awhile and I love their Deceiver album, but fuck me they really brought it. They are one of those bands that sound amazingly better live than on the album, which i feel is harder nowadays because of the way dub-step and all of those technical bells and whistles that are being incorporated into hardcore music. Playing such hits as “Hands of Anubis”, “Like Father Like Son”, and “2012”, the band were spot on and the crowd were going apeshit for them. Easily one of the biggest pits of the day was during this band’s performance. After the third song, the singer did something i’ve never seen before ever out of my 4 years of frequent gigging. He brought out a deck for a skateboard and gave it one fan in the audience who he felt was most deserving of it. i expect big things from this band to come and I implore all of you who are unaware of this band  to check them out. They are for fans of In Fear and Faith, Woe is Me, or even heavier music like For Today or Within the Ruins. This band do an amazing job of marrying post-hardcore with technical death metal. it may sound odd, but they have lots of beat downs, killer double bass runs, shredding guitars as opposed to mainly just power chords, and a singer who can sing hardcore and even get a great death metal scream in there. Truly a great band.

Following The Word Alive were We Came As Romans, another band that i’m a big fan of and have been following them for a while. I have to say though I was not terribly impressed. Honestly, i think they sounded better on the record than live, which is really disappointing because i was soooo looking forward to getting down for “To move on is to Grow”. My problem was that the clean vocals were too poppy than on the record, but the heavy vocals were a little heavier, which isn’t terrible, but still, it just didn’t sound like them almost. Besides missing Abandon all Ships, this was a the big disappointment for me of the day.

After We Came as Romans came Enter Shikari, a british band that have mastered blending in hardcore and dub-step better than anyone thus far. Now I’m somewhat alone when i say that i’m a big fan of this band because what they’re doing is a little before it’s time and not many people are catching on or fully embracing what this band are doing, but this band are the future of hardcore music, mark my words. I thought they were amazing, even though my friends all disagreed with me. I only saw the first half of their set though because i was walking around and trying to meet up with people who i had met earlier that day (by the way, i’d like to give a shout-out to my new friend Sarah. We actually ended up hanging out for a majority of the afternoon just talking, laughing, listening to great bands and having a good time). So I ended up missing the last half of Enter Shikari, but made it back in time to see the last half of Of Mice and Men. If you recall my preview special i talked about how i was never a huge fan about this band. Thats all changed after seeing them live. Especially the songs form the new album. Wow, what i great and strong band after only two albums. The crowd was similar to that of The Word Alive’s crowd, very amped up and very crazy, crowd surfing for every song and moshing all the time. Following Of Mice and Men came Set Your Goals, one of the lighter bands on this particular stage, but heavier than most of the pop-punk bands that were on the tour, a style of music thats starting to come out of the woodwork dubbed “Melodic Hardcore”. The only other band that as that sound is Four Year Strong. Both bands also have two singers that do clean vocals. Set Your Goals put on a great and energetic show, acting like hyperactive monkeys, but for me personally, I haven’t been a big fan since their first album “Mutiny”, but I’m definitely going to have to check them out again after seeing their show.

After all of that, i parted ways with my new friend, Sarah, who went to go check out The Devil Wears Prada, while met my friends down in the pit and hot ready for the chaos that would soon enfold. That right, Winds of Plague came on and rocked harder than any other band on that particular stage in my opinion. Maybe it’s just because my friends and I are huge fas of this band, but they were probably my favorite band of the night. The crowd though wasn’t terribly big like most other bands, mainly because people wanted to get good seats for A Day To Remember, who came on after The Devil wears Prada. Opening up with their new anthem, “Refined in the Fire”, the band played every classic song from their newest album as well as their first album. At the end the drummer though his drum stick in our direction and it landed just short of my friend Steve who had to get the security guard to pick it up for him. Obviously, that was Steve’s highlight of the day. The singer, Johnny Plague also met some fans by the railing to shake hands and chat, which i absolutely love about this band. They are easily the most intimidating-looking band, but the nicest guys in the world. My friends and I  got pictures with Johnny and had some things signed. Truly a highlight for everyone.

Wrapping up the evening was A Day To Remember, a band that never fail in my opinion and are always trying new and creative things to add to their shows, like inflatable heads of each band member above the main stage and t-short cannons during “All I Want”.  There were some points in the show where I noticed Jeremy 9the singer) didn’t get some of his high notes, like in “My Life for Hire” or all of his screamy bits in “2nd Sucks”, but all in all, between, seeing them at Bamboozle, at last night, This band have proven that they really are the best at what they do and that no one is anywhere near them. They only played for 45 minutes, but were able to play of the hits from  Homesick and their newest record as well as older songs like “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle”, “A Shot in the dark”, and even pulling out songs that they don’t normally play like “Heartless” from the first record. All in all it was a great performance from one of my favorite current bands. A perfect wrap up to an already perfect day.

Luke Helker

Warped Tour Preview

Posted in Album Reviews on July 20, 2011 by lukesreviews1014

Hey guys, if you’re reading this then you are most likely checking in on whats going down tomorrow at the Susquehanna Bank Center…thats right, the one and only Warped Tour has come to town once again. For those of you who don’t know much about warped Tour, it is a huge tour that showcases many up and coming punk, pop-punk, hardcore, and sometimes emo bands as well as the popular contemporaries. iwill now be going through most of the bands that are going to be at the event. I don’t know all of them so i can only really delve into the bands i’m most familiar with. Let’s begin shall we….

Main Stage:

3Oh!3 – Personally, I absolutely hate them. I think they’re talentless frat boys that just talk about partying and getting with girls. if i wanted to hear that i’d listen to Cobra Starship. I just don’t like any of their songs and i probably try and go see someone else depending on what time it all takes place.

A Day to Remember – What i said about 3Oh!3, but the exact opposite. I think ADTR are absolutely brilliant. i saw them earlier at Bamboozle and man do they put on a show. O definitely won’t miss this band and you’re crazy if you don’t see ADTR tomorrow.

Asking Alexandria – Personally, i’m on the fence with this band. I loved their first album and thought the second one was alright. I’ve also heard that this band aren’t super great live, which is slightly nerve-racking because i feel like it could go either way for this band. Hopefully they perform well so that i’m not wasting my time.

Attack Attack! – I’m very excited to see them because their self-titled album kicks ass and i hope that those songs all translate well to a live performance. I’m going to go berzerk when they play Smokahontas so stay out of my way haha

August Burns Red – I was never a big fan of this band until their newest album Leveler came out. Trust me it’s awesome, and if you’re like me and on the fence about this band, then check out Leveler, i think this band will slay it tomorrow, especially if they play Composure or Back burner.

Gym Class Heros – Ever since they ripped off Supertramp in their most popular song, whatever the fuck it’s called, i’ve always hated them and my opinion will never change.

The Devil Wears Prada – Similar to August Burns Red, i’ve never been a huge fan of this band, but then they released their Zombies EP and it’s simply brilliant! I honestly wish they just play the EP from start to finish and then i’d be good. But in all seriousness, this band are great and i’m looking forward to seeing them.

Advent Stage

Abandon All Ships – I should hate this band because of the way they use vocoders all the time, but they do it so well, i’m actually a huge fan of this band and i’ve heard good things about this band live so i’m very excited for them. i highly recommend this band if you like Asking alexandria or Attack Attack.

Black Veil Brides – Again, another band that i should absolutely hate (being the diehard metal head that i am), but this band are going to be the next My Chemical Romance. I’ve also heard very impressive things about their live show and i think they might convert some doubters.

Enter Shikari – If you like some of the bands that incorporate dub-step into their songs then i highly recommend this band because all of their songs are laced with dub-step. Think of you’re favorite band on this bill and then add dub-step to their songs, it’s most likely what Enter Shikari sound like (not too dissimilar to  Abandon All Ships).

Miss May I – One of the heavier acts on the bill, Miss May I are very heavy and actually very technical, with a drummer who could arguably rival such greats as Chris Adler of Lamb of God and Joey Joridson. The place is going to go nuts during Relentless Chaos, i can guarantee it.

Of Mice and Men – I never really got into the bands first album. It was ok, but didn’t seem too original or noteworthy, but after listening to their new album, i can see what all the fuss is about. I really want to hear more stuff from their new album live.

Set Your Goals – I haven’t really been a fan since Mutiny and thats because Mutiny was their best album…I would like to see this band, but i wouldn’t be heart broken if i missed them. I’ve heard that they put on a great show tough.

The Acacia Strain- I would go as far as to say this is the heaviest band on the bill. Their newest album was arguable one of the heaviest albums of that year, with tracks like Beast and The Hills have Eyes, this band will surely gather a heavy crowd ready to throwdown, so be prepared.

The Word Alive- One of the bands i’m looking forward to most, The Word alive are like a cross between The Devil Wears Prada and For Today (Look ’em up). This band has some killer double bass drum beats in it with some even killer songs to accompany it. I will not miss this band.

We Came As Romans – Another band i’m really looking forward to seeing. Unlike most post-hardcore bands with a scream/singer, the clean vox are too light and poppy in an annoying way. This band have lots of balls and i hope they bring it live (sorry for the possible gay joke).

Winds of Plague – Up their with Miss May I and the acacia Strain, WOP are a very heavy and very symphonic deathcore band. I actually caught a pick last time i saw them and i intend to repeat that this year. Even if you don’t like this band, i recommend checking them out because their keyboard player is the hottest chick on the entire tour (with the exception of maybe Paramore)

So thats it for the main stages. the rest of the stages feature smaller bands for the most part that i am unfamiliar with. I will however mention some of the other bands to check out:

D.R.U.G.S. – Craig owens’s (former Chiodos singer) new sideproject. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it.

Less Than Jake – They are on the main stage most days on the tour, but not the day i’m going.

Sum 41- If they play anything off the new album…leave

Dance gavin dance – I hate this band, but some of you might like them so i’ll mention them

Every Avenue – these are guys are great and deserve to be higher on the bill.

I Set My Friends On Fire – i could go either way with this band personally. Not my favorite, but i like some songs off the new album.

The Wonder Years – New-ish band to come out and they are really good. I highly recommend checking them out for fans of Set Your Goals and Fireworks

A Skylit Drive – I’m surprised that this band aren’t on a bigger stage because i think they’re bteer than the other bands on that stage even though i’m not a huge fan of the band

Woe Is Me – Normally on the advent stage, Woe is me are on a smaller stage the day i’m going, which meanbs i might not see them, which would suck because this band are fantastic!!! Proper hardcore

Other bands include: Lucero, Simple Plan, Unwritten Law, family force 5, Relient K, Blood on the dance Floor, The Human Abstract, Sharks, Motionless in White, There for Tomorrow and many many…..many more!!!

Stay tuned for a review of all of the bands i saw on this years Warped Tour.

Luke Helker

Soundgarden

Posted in Concert Reviews on July 18, 2011 by lukesreviews1014

Because i’m going to a bunch of concerts this summer, i thought it would nice to preview and review some of the shows and discuss bands on the bill etc. Anyway, this is the first of hopefully many reviews so i hope you enjoy them and bring up some insightful discussion.

Now, i went to the Soundgarden show at Festival Pier on Wed so i can’t preview it, but i can certainly review it. First lets start with the opening support band: The Mars Volta. There are a couple of bands supporting certain legs of this particular reunion tour. For example, for the first leg, Queens of the Stone Age are supporting, the next leg features The Mars Volta. Coheed and cambria pick up from there and i believe the Meatpuppets are the final support band. I actually heard rumors that Mastodon were supporting a leg of the tour, but i’m not sure that thats a credible claim. anywho:

Mars Volta-I throughly enjoyed they’re show for the most part. They started off strong for their first three songs, but then they dragged out the last two songs to fill up their 45 min set time. Thats the thing that this band does live, they take some of their songs and just expand with it live. It’s all well and good, but yawning at some parts and not all that enjoyable. However, that being said, the band were very fun to watch. The singer liked to throw up and spin the microphone stand every now and then at some of the high moments and they’re drummer is very talented, and fun to watch, ripping up that three piece kit like no other. They’re all talented musicians and actually had a strong following at this show, but might not have been everyone’s support of choice.

Soundgarden – Never better. Period. These guys are on top form and sounded better than ever. The band sounded great and Chris’s voice hasn’t changed at all. It was really great to see all of them together on one stage again and banging out those classics. Soundagrden are one of the bands that i always thought would be fun to see live, but never thought i’d get the chance. Thankfully i have and i loved every second of it. As the smell of drugs and alcohol filled the air, the band played a blistering two hour set with a four song encore. the pulled out songs that they haven’t played in years as well as playing the classics like “Spoonman”, “Black Hole Sun”, “Jesus Christ Pose”, “Rusty Cage”, “Like Suicide”, and sooooo many more. The opened with “Searching With my Good Eye Closed” and ended with “Slaves and Bulldozers”, followed by five min of extra loud feedback as Kym and ben leaned their guitars face first against they’re amps. All in all just a great show from a pivotal band of the 90s.

If anyone else was they or knows of anyone else who was there feel free to comment and/or ask questions on how i can make this review better.

Suicide Silence: The Black Crown

Posted in Album Reviews on July 18, 2011 by lukesreviews1014

This is my first post that i’m going to try and incorporate into my new blog site. This review is taken from my facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/groups/321334068952?ap=1
This is actually a really tricky one and it all kinda is up to your particular preference of this bands history. But i’ll mention more about that later. First let me preface this by saying that it is the third album by this deathcore band, but it’s the second with their newish singer. The first album, “The Cleansing” features Tanner Wommack as “co-lead vox” along with their current vocalist Mitch Lucker. I really don’t think you hear any of Mitch’s vox on “The Cleansing” so i’m not sure why it’s phrased like that. Anyway, Mitch made his debut as a singer for the bands second album, “No Time to Bleed”. He continues as lead vox for this new album as well.

Personally, i found this album to be better than “No Time to Bleed”, but nowhere near “The Cleansing”. For me, that album is it’s own thing separate from everything else, and so i hold it to a much higher standard that i don’t think the band could recreate unless Tanner came back. The way his vox are on the first record are just amazing. end of. I still think that Mitch does a great job and the band are still writing great tunes, i just wish tanner was singing them.

Now this is where the tricky part comes in. There are some people who think the exact opposite of how i feel about “The Cleansing” and think that “No Time to Bleed” is really good. In that case then those people will find this album to be better than the rest and find the band in a great progressive trend. Whichever way, both are credible and understandable, and to each his own. I’ll be interested in seeing who favors what.

Now for the album itself, it’s really interesting because it’s not very deathcore-like anymore and more death-metal-like. The songs and sound are very straight-edge, metal with obvious influences from the likes of Devildriver and lamb of God within their songs. Songs like “Slaves to Substance”. “O.C.D”, and “March to the Black Crown” are huge songs with bombastic size and killer hooks. However there are also some other songs that kinda throw you in for a loop. Songs like, “Fuck Everything”, where they spend the last minute just screaming fuck everything is kind of a turn off if you get where i’m coming from. Just do it a couple of times and move on, seriously. Also, the song “Witness the addiction” features Jon Davis of Korn as a vocalist. Now i think that this tune is great and i love it when Jon sings, but a band like Suicide Silence, who have built themselves up as a deathcore band, and then turning their sound on its side like this shouldn’t feature a vocalist like Jonathon Davis on it. It’s a little too risky for this slight-debut of a cd. Don’t get me wrong though i love how this band are always changing, but this is can be seen as a little risky, thats all.

Now i don’t want you to think that i don’t like this band/record. I think that the band are phenomenal and this is a killer record, just not as killer as The Cleansing.

Suicide Silence will be touring with such greats as Megadeth, Disturbed and Machine-fuckin-Head on the Mayhem Festival. If you don’t have tix for this event then you HAVE to and you HAVE to check this band out.