Archive for April, 2012

All of a Kind

Posted in AHP/Local Bands on April 29, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Wow. Just wow. Thats all that really needs to be said about this next band (which also hail from New Jersey).

All of a Kind are really a one of a kind. Their music is pop/rock but they sound like awesomeness baked into a cake. Some of their songs remind me of Dispatch if Dispatch did this type of music. This is the first band that I’ve come across that’s had a full album to show off. After listening to the album, I was absolutely blown away. It’s a beautiful masterpiece of well written songs, brilliant harmonies, and sensational singing. If i didn’t know any better I’d say that these guys were music majors.

The album opens up with “Rosas”, a song that features some really nice A Capella before diving into the an unforgettable drum beat and then the album just takes off from there. I don’t know why I keep making this connection, but the chorus of this song really reminds me of “The General” by Dispatch. Anywho, the rest of the album just gets better from there on out. There’s one point in a song where no one is playing at all and it’s just Chris (the singer) and he’s absolutely wailing it like Robert Plant in a Zeppelin tune. Overall their album, “Tired Times for Relevance” is brilliant. The production is as solid as the playing. It’s really good stuff that ALL OF YOU NEED TO CHECK OUT!!!

Right as I was about to write this review, I get an email from Chris telling me he just posted links to a covers EP that his band did.  The songs they covered are all diverse and far removed from what they normally do with their music. They covered “5 O’Clock” by T-Pain, “Grand Theft Autumn” by Fall out Boy and “(You Drive Me) Crazy” by Brittany Spears.  If you want my opinion on covers, you can look at my review on the new Counting Crows album, but overall, if the band are able to make it their own and still sound good and relevant, then it works for me. That being said, they totally nailed these covers. My favorite part is during the Fall out Boy tune, where they take the final chorus up a fifth. It sounds awesome.

Bottom line, you guys have to check this band out. As long as you’re a fan of music, then you’ll love this band. You can check out their facebook page or some of these other links that i have so generously posted below because I know how lazy people are:

These guys are looking for some summer dates so please help them out.

Luke Helker


War of Ages: Return to Life

Posted in Album Reviews on April 29, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Represent Pennsylvania Yo!!

Arguably one of (if not) the best christian metalcore band around right now, War of Ages have just released another magnificent record. Return to Life is definitely going to be a fan favorite. When they released the first single, “Redeemer”, I knew this was going to be something well worth listening to. Now that I’ve heard the full album I think it’s AMAZING!

I’m not religious at all and the idea of christian metal music may strike people as being an oxymoron, but when I hear bands like these guys, Demon Hunter, For Today, and I the Breather, I can’t help but feeling some sort of spiritual connection. They’re all just sooooo good.

There’s nothing new really going know with how War of Ages sound and what they do on record, but that’s totally ok. I don’t think we would want it any other way with them. When you’ve got songs like “Redeemer”, “Psalms”, “Fallen Idol” and “Silent Night”, I think fans will be just fine with this record.

Because I’m not terribly religious and not the best authority on what religious music is all about, I asked my friend Billy Wilson, a die-hard War of Ages and metal fan like myself,  his opinion on the new War of Ages record. He said:

“It makes my nipples hard and gives me a boner all at once.”

He also said, “War of Ages’ songwriting just keeps getting better and more mature. I can’t wait to see them keep growing.”

I think both responses sum up the album in a nutshell quite well.

If you read my review on Demon Hunter’s new album, I said that that was another really strong christian metalcore album and worthy of being in my top 20, well now that I’ve heard this album, it looks like my top 20 is going to be filled with these bands tis year. War of Ages, Demon Hunter, and I the Breather have all released really strong records this year and I’m sure For Today will follow through as well. This is going to make this year a really tough year to list.

Luke Helker

Cancer Bats: Dead Set on Living

Posted in Album Reviews on April 28, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

This is the newest release from Canadian hardcore band, Cancer Bats.

I’ve always been a fan of this band ever since I found out about them although their first two albums always felt like the band were bridesmaids and not the bride, if that makes sense. Then Bears, Mayors, Scraps, and Bones came out and that changed everything. That album was one of the best records of 2010 and finally established Cancer Bats for what they are as a band. This new album isn’t as good in my opinion, but its still a close second.

Liam of Cancer Bats stated that this album is more “upbeat’ than Bears, Mayors, Scraps, and Bones and I can totally agree with that. For a band that’s more inspired by bands like Fleet Foxes rather than contemporary hardcore bands, there’s a lot going on this record. I’ve always thought the hardest thing about most hardcore bands is getting the gnarly-ness and ferocity of their live shows on record. Cancer Bats did it before with Bears… and I’d say they did it again with Dead Set on Living.

The two singles on this album, “Road Sick” and “Old Blood” are some of the best songs this band had written even though I’d say “Road Sick” is one of the weaker songs on this record. But, as always, there are so many more great songs to go crazy over. The opening track “RATS”, which features Rob Urbinati of Sacrfice on it, is a real fist-pumper of a tune. “Bastards” and “Breathe Armageddon” are also huge tunes!!

About a week ago, Cancer Bats did one of the most metal things you could ever do. They played six shows in london in one day, but here’s the catch! If you googlemaps London, the venues they played make the shape of a pentagram!! You can’t get much more metal than that?!?!

Overall, it’s heavy, it’s brilliant, it’s catchy, and I seriously doubt you’ll hear anything else quite like this in 2012. If you’re a fan of hardcore music at all, you HAVE to check it out (although I’m sure every fan of hardcore is already well aware of what Cancer Bats are all about). It’s a fucking great record from one of Canada’s heaviest bands.

Luke Helker


Posted in AHP/Local Bands on April 28, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Born in Asia and raised by ducks, Defamation are a heavy metal band  that currently reside in Orange County and  really have a good thing going for them. They’re super tight with lots of galloping bass drums with some Avenged Sevenfold influenced guitar melodies and last, but not least, a singer to wrap it all up beautifully with his snarling vocals and impressive melodic choruses.
My personal favorite song of theirs has to be “Apotheosis” because I feel like this song best demonstrates who they are as a band.

One thing about them that really stood out to me was what they posted on their information section of their facebook page:

Our mission is to bring a message of love and to restore peace and harmony to the world through our music. We believe that a better world is worth fighting for. We have been working very hard in order to reach everyone who is willing to listen. As a band, we want to create an environment that makes our fans as much a part of our music as we are.

To me, I think that’s amazing. It’s that kind of attitude where, even if you’re not a good band, I feel like you should still go far. Fortunately, these guys have both, the right attitude and some really strong tunes to back them up. What really amazes me is that they’ve only been seriously performing and writing music since 2011! They’re really making leaps and bounds and I applaud them on their current accomplishments and their EP. Please check out their EP. It’s called The Defamation EP and you get via Soundcloud, itunes, facebook, etc. Below are some links:

Now go check them out. If you’re a fan of heavy metal like me, then there’s absolutely no reason for you not to enjoy listening to this band. Buy their EP; it’s well worth it.

Luke Helker


Posted in AHP/Local Bands on April 27, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Here we have another band from Jersey already making some waves in the punk rock community. They formed in 2009 and since then have gone to tour with the likes of New Found Glory and Crime in Stereo, two very big names in that category.

The band also recorded an EP with John Naclerio, who is known for working with Polar Bear Club, Brand New, and My Chemical Romance. If that’s not credentials for you then I don’t know what is. I mean, this band are already halfway there and with the aforementioned EP ‘Without Fear” out now for purchasing, I’d say they’re well on their way getting on some more sizable tours, venues, etc.

If you like any of the bands mentioned at all then there’s no reason not to like this band. They’ve got great songs, a great punk rock ethic meshed with the more modern deliverance of that style of music. They’d be a perfect band to enjoy in the early stages of a Warped Tour gig. They can get the crowd going and are really upbeat but can get down and dirty if they have to.

Here are a few links for you to check out. Please do because I feel like we might hear more from these guys in a few short years.

They also have a facebook page for you to check out as well. Out of all the bands so far, these guys are the only one’s who are expressing serious interest in a possible interview date. For all of you who have contacted me or haven’t contacted me yet, if you guys want interviews and the whole nine yards, i’ll do what I can to give it to you. All you gotta do is ask.

Until next time,

Luke Helker

100th Post

Posted in News on April 27, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Hey guys,

I’m pleased to say that this is my 100th post thus far. This truly a milestone for me as a writer and I thank all of you who read my reviews and such on a consistent basis. I hope you all join me on my journey as I add more posts to this site. I plan on purchasing the rights to this domain as well so “Hear Me Out” can officially be mine. Please take this time to share your own opinions on what you think about this site. What do you like/dislike about the things I say and do on this site? What would you see me write about more or less of? etc.

Please keep reading and please keep in touch

Luke Helker

Jack White: Blunderbuss

Posted in Album Reviews on April 26, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Jack White = Brilliant. Period.

This is White’s debut album as a solo artist and I gotta say it’s an excellent piece of work. Ever since the White Stripes, Jack has kinda hidden in a few other bands like The Dead Weather where the songwriting was more of a collaborative process. This is all Jack White and it’s Jack White at his finest. It’s the best thing he’s ever put his name on since The White Stripe’s 2003 release of Elephant. It’s probably his most expansive album since as well. His lyrical prowess continues to dominate the record and the musicianship and songwriting abilities of this man are nothing short of unbelievable. He really knows how to cut a person down yet build you back up again wanting more by the end of the record.

Every track is a stand out track. “Love Interruption” is the big single, but songs like “Sixteen Saltines”, “Blunderbuss” and a brilliant cover of the R&B staple “I’m Shakin” by Little Willy John. There’s a lot going on this record and it’s very dynamic and covers a lot of genres. There’s elements of country, funk, R&B, folk, alternative, and even punk. There’s also a wide array of instruments supporting this including a mandolin, steel pedal, fiddle, and much more.

That’s another thing worth talking about – his backup band or the Nashville Cats. Even though this is “Jack White” it’s not a “Jack White and friends” type of record. Everybody in the rest of the band contribute immensely to the overall sound and if you didn’t have these guys, the album would have no weight to it. There’s a lot going on and the band provide the best possible backdrop for everything that Jack White is preaching.

Overall, this record is exactly how Jack wanted it and as a fan, it’s exactly what we want. It gets stranger, yet much more fascinating as the album progresses and doesn’t hold back at all. If you like anything White has done in the past, you’ll absolutely love this. He’s not the type of person to hang around a particular musical niche for a long time, so everything is new and exciting and he never fails to be brilliant.

You can definitely expect to see this album in my Top 20 for 2012.

Luke Helker