Archive for November, 2011

Thrash and Burn Review

Posted in Concert Reviews on November 28, 2011 by lukesreviews1014

On Saturday, I traversed up to Allentown to the Crocodile Rock in order to see some of the hottest bands in deathcore all on one stage. This is the third annual Thrash and Burn tour and the tour has already witnessed some big names acts appear on this tour (i.e. Born of Osiris, Asking Alexandria, Dying Fetus, and Devildriver just to names a few) carrying on the tradition we now have Winds of Plague headlining this current tour. Unfortunately, I promised you guys an interview with Winds of Plague and due to some last minute time changes and further complications, I was not able to meet up with the band for my interview. However, if you stay tuned, I’ll post a little photo diary of the great pictures I got sometime later today. So I’m very sorry, but theres no Winds of Plague interview. I won’t be mad if you leave now, but if you stay, I’ll review the whole day.

After a long drive I finally got to the venue, but had to hassle some of the people at the front desk because my name didn’t appear on the guest/ photo list and soI had to get that sorted out. Luckily that was taken care of with plenty of time for me to see some really shitty bands perform on the main stage before the show really got started. I didn’t catch the names because they weren’t worth the trouble of memorizing the names. So we’ll skip that and go directly to the official opening band for this tour,Volumes. I saw Volumes in late September when their album “Via” dropped and they put on a great show. Unfortunately, this show was not as good as when I saw them the last time, but that is only because the band was missing on of their two singers (he was on a plane somewhere to get back surgery), so that being said, the band were good, but it was still lacking overall and it wasn’t their fault so you can’t really blame them. I think their one singer did a great job actually of taking on both singing roles. Seriously, though I highly recommend checking this band out if you’re into Born of Osiris, After the Burial, or Veil of Maya.

Following Volumes we have Like Moths to Flames. If you read my preview/review of their cd, I mentioned that the band are decent, but it’ll be their live show that sways me and i’ll tell you, they swayed me. They had a really strong, tight groove going and sonically, the band sounded great which says a lot because the sound system at the Croc Rock sucks. The new songs sounded really great live and I can definitely see this band being a possibility for a tour like the All Stars tour (same with Volumes). Following LMTF we have In the Midst of Lions who were slightly disappointing. I thought vocally, their singer was really weak and wasn’t hitting the really deep growls that you hear on record. I also thought that the singer was just trying to be Matty Montgomery from For Today. I understand that In the Midst of Lions are religious and everything, but after one of their songs, the singer whipped out a quick speech about god and everything and it sounded exactly like a little stage rap i heard at a For Today show. Even when you hear this band one the record, before they were really deathcore, but now that For Today are huge, this band are changing slightly to sound more like For Today. Just be yourselves guys.

Now this next band have never failed in my opinion. I’ve seen Upon a Burning Body three times and every time they bring it harder than any band on the bill. Now, because here were so many bands on this bill, the show started early in the afternoon and every band only really got 30 minutes of play time and it seemed that Upon A Burning Body’s set was over as quickly as it began. Nevertheless there wasn’t a dull second during the show. No news on the new record and they didn’t play any new songs, which is slightly odd, but i’m sure the album will be great and the band will only get bigger. I honestly think that this band are capable of headlining shows like this easily just playing songs of their one record and I think they could do it for years and you’d never get tired of the show.

The next band was For the Fallen Dreams and i missed a good chunk of their show because I was out trying to figure out the whole Winds of Plague interview drama, but the parts that I heard were good. Same thing goes for how I feel about LMTF really. I think this band could easily be on the bill for All Stars 2012 o something like that. They’re only getting bigger and they’re most recent album is a really strong record.

Our next band up was just bad…As Blood Runs Black…where to begin with this band. First off they wasted half of their set trying to fix something on the drumset and their drummer was just getting frustrated and kicking his drums and acting like a crybaby so some of the other band members and crew members were trying to fix it. The bass player was also hanging out on the side trying to rush the sound guy while he was doing soundcheck because the band wasted half their set time dealing with their pouty drummer. So not only is their drummer a dick, but so is their bass player apparently. Once the band got started, everything just fell apart really. First off they band sounded nothing really like on the record. I’ll give them to BOTD and blame the sound system of the venue because it is a half assed system. During the show though, you could tell there was some sort of power struggle, featuring the singer, lead guitar player (who was a real shredder by the way) and the bass player. The singer and guitar player had a fair amount of shining in the limelight and sharing that, but the bass player was just trying to wedge himself every where the singer was and get as much attention as the singer. He made the band look really sloppy and mediocre and the band are better than that. The drummer…being the cry baby that he is made no attempt of hiding his mistakes, and throughout the entire show was just shaking his head and looking pissed off because of his mistakes….he must make a lot of mistakes. He’s also really only capable of doing blast beats and double bass runs…for all those drummers out there, you’ll know what i mean when I say that he was “one of those drummers”. It was all just unprofessional for lack of a better word.

Following that we have Chelsea Grin. I can’t fucking stand this band and everybody’s getting their dicks wet for them and Asking Alexandria and I can’t even begin to describe why i can’t stand them so much (i’ll make a separate post of just ranting on about bands I hate). However, I will be kind and say that Chelsea Grin had the best stage show of the night. The lighting rig at the Croc Rock is just as elementary as their sound set up and so Chelsea Grin were smart and brought their own red, blues and strobes. When the band played it was truly just a visual assault. It made the band look much cooler than they are, but they’re singer…I swear he is just making up babble and screaming it into the mic for 40 minutes…and they get to be second headliners!? They were close to the bottom of the bill of the All Stars Tour and Bamboozle (Upon a Burning Body went AFTER Chelsea Grin at Bamboozle), put out a shitty record to support their shitty live performances and they get to be second headliners. I love the logic there.

Finally, we have Winds of Plague who, like Upon a Burning Body, never fail in my opinion. Instead of a good light show though, the band brought smoke machines and had them running throughout the show, so it made it hard to get some good pics, but I digress. My only real complaint was that the band got virtually the same amount of time as every other band. They have enough music to easily do an hour show seeing as they’re HEADLINING but they only played for about 40minutes making the show end at 10. If you saw the bands warped tour performances, the setlist of songs was the same just  scrambled a little. They even brought out the singer of Volumes (the one not getting back surgery) to come out and help sing the final song (“Reloaded”). Not the best show I’ve seen by them, but it was still a great show all in all.

So yeah, a bit divided, but the show had many high points despite its many low points. As some parting advice, please try and stay away from the Crocodile Rock. The venue is very poorly run, the sound system is sub par and the lights are no better. You’re better off seeing the same show somewhere else like the Starland Ballroom or the Trocadero. Stay tuned and stay posted.

Luke Helker

Thrash and Burn Preview/ Album reviews

Posted in Album Reviews on November 26, 2011 by lukesreviews1014

This is something of a combination piece. I’ll start off briefly reviewing the most recent albums from both Like Moths to Flames and In the Midst of Lions an seeing as both bands are on the bill for the Thrash and Burn tour and since i’m going to the show up in Allentown tomorrow, I’d figure i’d attach a preview of what’s going to go down tomorrow. I hope you enjoy it and keep an eye out for my reviews of the show and hopefully i’ll be able to add whatever interview i’m able to get with Winds of Plague onto the page (my video interview with Cale Gontier from Art of Dying didn’t seem to work so hopefully i’ll be able to figure it out this time around. SO, without further adeiu, keep reading and enjoy the reviews.

Like Moths to Flames – When we don’t Exist

This is actually the first full length release for this metalcore band from Columbus Ohio. It’s been a very stagnant year for metalcore, with bands only releasing sub-par albums, but Like Moths to Flames have been able to capture the basic essence of metalcore’s structure (growling verses and clean melodic choruses) but add in a hardcore crunch that has come to become a really popular template for bands nowadays. This band aren’t really crossing any boundaries and certainly aren’t doing anything revolutionary or spectacular, but i can see why people like them and they do have some really strong songs and I expect a lot of goof things from them if their first album is as good as this.

If anything the band are just another band floating in the sea of drowning bands all trying to compete with each other in order stay alive by making their music heavier or adding in more breakdowns, but what we really are bands with more integrity and talent like Counterparts, Lower Than Atlantis, We Came as Romans, etc. These are the bands that have built themselves life boats an are making their way to shore.

No I don’t want people to think that I don’t like this band. I quite enjoy listening to this band and this new album has a lot of really strong moments (the live show tomorrow will really determine the bands potential and how far they’ll be able to manage, but we’ll talk about that later). That being said, we just have to enjoy what they’ve released so far and wait with bated breath to see where their future takes them. (Standout songs: “The Worst in Me”, “Faithlessly Living”. For fans of: )

In the Midst of Lions – Shadows

Unlike Like Moths to Flames, In the Midst of Lions are much heavier and more on the deathcore side of metal music. This band have also been around much longer than LMTF and have been able to refine their sound to the point of prominence making this the third full length release from this christian deathcore band.

Also unlike LMTF, metalcore has had a stagnant year, but 2011 has proven to be quite a good year for deathcore bands. That being said thoiugh I don’t think this album would size up fairly against some of the  other deathcore albums being put out this year. Although then again maybe i’m wrong this band haven’t hit me compared to other people. I mean, the band are pretty high up on the bill for the Thrash and Burn tour, so that must prove that they’re a respectable prospect, but maybe their live show will change my mind (there’s so many variable to consider, it’s confusing sometimes).

The record itself i alright. I like it better than thew last two releases from this band, but then again, it hasn’t changed much, just gotten a little more refined, which is good. Anywho, check the band out if you’re a fan of Crimson Armada or Molotov Solution. Good stuff and i look forward to seeing them tomorrow. (Standout tracks: “False Idols”, “Take Your Place”. For fans of: Sleeping Giant or Crimson Armada”)

Thrash and Burn Preview:

After winning the little “opening-band-contest” that was held upon the announcement of this tour, technical deathcore band Volumes very deservedly will be the opening band for this years tour. Their first full length release Via is extremely good and I highly recommend everyone to check this band out.

Immediately following Volumes will be Like Moths to Flames and In the Midst of Lions. You already know how I kinda feel about these band. They’re average bands in two increasingly  sub-average, overrated subgenres. But they’re songs are decent and as long ad they’re alright live, then I’ll continue to pay attention.

It now pleases me to say that Upon a Burning Body are also on this bill, though disappointedly not as high as I would like, but because they currently only have one album out (not for long), they can only be so high on a bill. I’m so proud of this band though. There really is nothing you can teach this band that they dont’ already know. They have the full package and I can’t tell you how excited I am for their next record. Tis band are easily the best deathcore band out there and if you don’t agree with me then you clearly don’t like music.

For the Fallen Dreams are the next band on the bill and while they aren’t as heavy as some of the other bands on the bill, they’re still creating a lot of buzz and rightfully so because they’re a really strong band and the album they released earlier this year is fantastic. Another band that I seriously recommend getting on board with because I predict much bigger and better things to come from this band.

These next two bands kinda bug me, and it’s not just because I’m not huge fans of the bands, but I really don’t think that As Blood Runs Black and Chelsea Grin should be this high on the bill. I mean, i get it because the Thrash and Burn tour has always showcased the hottest deathcore bands in America and both As Blood Runs Black and Chelsea Grin are popular bands in this scene. As Blood Runs Black I can tolerate being that high, but Chelsea Grin went from being on the low end of both Bamboozle and the All Stars Tour bills, put on very poor live performances for only sub-par albums, and yet are the second headliner for a tour like this?? Maybe i’m wrong (i know I’m not), but maybe this band have something i just don’t see. I’ve never been truly impressed before, so I doubt they’ll sway me tomorrow.

And last but certainly not least, I’m also very proud to see Winds of Plague headline this years Thrash and Burn Tour. I remember first hearing about this band from my buddy Steve, who said that the band were alright, but after purchasing the record, and listening to it, I really started to love this band and while I don’t feel that they’ve been able to top that first record, their second and third records are filled with great songs around to really get the crowd going. After seeing the band a few times (and even being fortunate enough to have caught a pick at one of their earlier shows), I know that this band will put a great headlining show and will definitely be the highlight of the night (Plus their keyboard player is hot as hell so you can’t go wrong there lol).

And so keep a lookout for further reviews of the show itself. I should also be interviewing Winds of Plague and hopefully I’ll be able to tackle my technical difficulties and allow you all to view everything. Til then, take it easy.

Luke Helker

Disturbed: The Lost Children

Posted in Album Reviews on November 11, 2011 by lukesreviews1014

For the first time in Disturbed history, the band have released a B-Sides album featuring 16 songs that have been previously unreleased until now (with the exception of a few if you’ve been paying attention to the band’s history, which I have). I’m guessing that since the band announced over the summer that they were going on an indefinite hiatus, this B-Sides album is a little good-bye present for us. This also may be seen as cleaning the slate somewhat, possibly getting everything they’ve ever written together out in the open for us to have because they’re never going to reform again or because they want to wipe the slate clean and come back stronger than ever whenever they do reform (if they do). Either way, we’re just going to have to wait.

Either way, since its a B-Sides album, it’s kinda tricky to do a proper review on it seeing as there’s no consistent direction other than the fact that they’re all songs that weren’t good enough for the album. If you’re a big fan of the band or a collector of sorts (like me), you might like having this for the sake of having these buried treasures. The songs themselves are alright. Obviously there isn’t a song on the album that could really compete with the likes of “Animal”, “Inside the Fire”, “Stricken” and all the other greatest Disturbed’s hits. “Hell” is a good tune and I was a fan of “This Moment” and “Two Worlds” among others. There’s obviously no surprises on this album, you know exactly what you’re going to get, it’s just not as good as the other things.

There are only two songs that I’m aware of on this album that were technically released prior to this B-Sides album. The first one being the band’s cover of Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight”, which is the last song on the album. It was released as a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Asylum along with a few live tracks. Personally, the cover itself is not bad, but the fucking drum solo in the very beginning o the track makes NO FUCKING SENSE!!! Mike goes crazy and crazy for like ten relentless seconds, pauses, then goes into the the simple beat that kicks of the song. REALLY?? WHY??? As a drummer, I can’t listen to it, because it pisses me off to no end. Seriously, check it out and you’ll understand it.

The other track is a song called “3”. During the production of Asylum, the band were following the trials of three men who were all connected with a huge murder (I might be wrong on some information so don’t quote me on all this) and somehow either were acquitted or received a very light sentence, or something like that was outrageous. The song is basically about how they think the legal system in this country is really screwed up and giving their two cents on these particular gentlemen in context of the U.S. legal system. It was streamed on their website for a while, and so I figured it would have been put on Asylum, but it wasn’t and I forgot about the song until i noticed it on the track list for this album. Just thought you might enjoy that little story for your fountain of useless knowledge. Apart from that, I’m pretty sure every other track has never been  released prior to this B-Sides album.

Anyway, if you’re  a fan, I think you’d enjoy some bits and pieces on this album. If you never liked Disturbed then I don’t recommend listening to it because theres nothing here that would convert you into a lifetime fan. Other than that there isn’t much more to add to this review other than I hope this isn’t the last thing we get from Disturbed. I hope we get at least one more album and I hope the band go out as strong as when they arrived.

Take Care,

Luke Helker

A Plea for Purging: The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging

Posted in Album Reviews on November 9, 2011 by lukesreviews1014

This is the fourth and latest release form Nashville metalcore band A Plea For Purging and even though I don’t think their album title is very appropriate seeing as they’ve been only around for about six years (I feel like a title like that would be better for a greatest hits album from a band who have been going around for at least ten years), this is probably my favorite thing this band have done. They take a lot of risks and experiment with their sound a little more and it really pays off because sonically, it sounds like a herd of elephants coming through the speakers and musicall,y the songs are very well written and thought out as opposed to just straight shot out of the canon.

It seems like this band must never sleep because even though they aren’t touring as expansively as some other bands, they still have a full schedule and are able to really work hard and put out records a little of a year apart. It seems like only a few months ago I heard The Marriage if Heaven and Hell for the first time (which came out in July 0f 2010 and Depravity was March 0f 2009). Much like Devildriver you can tell that this band are really in it for the long haul and are willing to work hard to get there. They don’t mess around when it comes to writing songs and again, similar to Devildriver, A Plea For Purging release albums very quickly. Something like this may be seen as risky because you never know if that gives the band enough time to really fine tune everything and make the best possible record you can, but A Plea for Purging have only gotten better in my opinion (much like Devildriver). The only problem I forsee is that at some point, you might not strike gold. Using Devildriver for the last time, Devildriver only got better from ther first self titled album to their fourth album (Pray for Villians). Unfortunately the bands most recent release, Beast, just wasn’t as good as Pray for Villians (granted that was such a high benchmark). If i were to make a prediction, I think the next album by this band will be the one to really break the mold and make them a bigger name. However, I also think that whatever albums follows the next, might not be as good. Sometimes you just work yourself to the point where the songs you write just aren’t that good. It happens and its ok as long as the songs are still good enough to satisfy our desires for said band.

As for the album, like i said before, I think it’s their best yet. Well thought out and done very well. The past albums had a lot of screaming vocals just plowing through with breakdowns and theres still a lot of that here, but I think there’s a bit more clean, melodic vocals on this record. The song “Skin and Bones” is literally all clean vocals, and you know what, it’s a great song. Not the best, but it’s still very strong. There are a few complaints I have about the record though. Production wise its very heavy but there are a few points where i felt like it was clipping a bit when the band went into some breakdowns. I don’t know if thats what they wanted to do, but every now and then I felt like there were some silly little mistakes that  should have been addressed. Theres also a lot of fuzz box and Mushroomhead style effects all over the album, which is cool. I don’t care either way, I just thought you should know since you might buy the record. Also, I’m kinda mad about this, but they’re totally trying to cash into this whole “American Djent” craze and rip of Meshuggah’s guitar tone. I just feel like Djent kinda killed itself in a way when everyone tried doing what Periphery did. Some were already doing stuff similar and by default were categorized into that label, but aren’t ripping anyone off…but i digree. I’m not going to rant about Djent…not yet anyway.

Back to A Plea for Purging…yeah I thought it was a good record. Despite some of the criticisms I mentioned earlier, I feel it’s definitely the best thing the band have done thus far and I look forward to maybe seeing their name on a tour coming around near home. Right now, I believe they are touring with Take it Back!, No Bragging Rights and Gideon, all of which are decent bands that you would like if you’re a fan of this band. So that’s it from me for now. GO check this band out, they’re really solid and everything they’ve done is absolutely killer.

Enjoy 😉

Luke Helker