Archive for January, 2013

Holy Grail: Ride the Void

Posted in Album Reviews on January 31, 2013 by lukesreviews1014

This is the second album from power metal newcomers, Holy Grail. Formed out of the ashes of White Wizard, Holy Grail have been starting to make a new name for themselves. Combining old school metal with some death modern death metal riffs with power metal aesthetics on top, Holy Grail are Nuclear Blast’s new rising band.

Now I’m admittedly not a terribly big power metal fan and the way this band was described to me initially didn’t really do anything for me, but something made me give them a chance either way and I ended up not hating them. They’re certainly not reinventing the wheel or doing anything extraordinary, they just had a decent debut record and I liked it.

This new record just doesn’t really seem to do anything for me though for some reason. I think it’s another decent record from them and I think real fans of this band will enjoy this new album, but it didn’t quite grab me like the last album. One reason might be because I thought the stylistic power metal vocals aren’t as soaring on this record as much, but are still just as strong as ever. I also wasn’t really hooked by any of the choruses which is a hallmark of almost all power metal bands. I only listened to the album twice through, but you would think I’d still be hooked at least during the first listen.

This new album seems a lot more straightforward and the guitars are soling a lot more it seems. Overall the band is very reminiscent of Saxon’s music and it’s very clear to pick up on that listening to them. They’re music is very well balanced between the old school and the new school in terms of riffs and solos. There’s also more deathmetal growls from Santana on this record (not Carlos Santana, Eli Santana; guitar).

Again, I can’t quite say why I don’t particularly care for it other than I just wasn’t wowed by it. Maybe seeing the band live might make it all click, but i don’t plan on seeing them in the future haha.

Luke Helker

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Dropkick Murphys: Signed and Sealed in Blood

Posted in Album Reviews on January 27, 2013 by lukesreviews1014

Kicking off 2013 with a bang, we have the newest album from Boston’s finest: Dropkick Murphys! The Celt-Punks have just released their eighth studio record entitled Signed and Sealed in Blood. It’s evident in this record that the band have gotten really comfortable with their musical formula that has been solidified since 2005’s The Warrior’s Code and have not strayed far from said formula. There is little that separates this album from the other two albums in between. I prefer this album to 2011’s Going out in Style, but think that The Warrior’s Code and The Meanest of Times are better (The latter of which id the band’s best album thus far in my opinion).

The album kicks off with off with “The Boys are Back”, one of the many anthemic songs to add to their catalog and a fitting song indeed considering how I found Going out in Style to be kinda dull and unmemorable, and this new record is much stronger in that aspect. Songs on this album like “The Battle Rages On” and “Burn” also tread down past roads and are reminiscent of much older songs, while “Rose Tattoo” is a little new. It’s a mid tempo song clocking in at over five minutes, which is unlike most of Dropkick’s music, however I think “Rose Tattoo” is one of the best song’s the band has ever written.

Other than a festive, Christmas-themed song that accurately describes how everyone views their family around the holidays (“The Season’s Upon Us”), there aren’t any other truly stand-out tracks. I really liked “The Prisoner’s Song”, “Out on the Town” and “Out of Our Heads” and again I think this album is another strong addition to their catalog and I think fans both old and new with greatly enjoy this record.

Dropkick Murphys are currently on tour in Europe, but will be in North American in February and March. You can also catch Celt-Punk colleagues Flogging Molly on tour in North America currently as well. Both bands are arguably some of the best live bands around nowadays and you’re guaranteed a good time if you see the live. It’s a shame they aren’t touring together because that’s when all hell breaks loose. Oh well, next time.

Luke Helker

Top 5 Bands to look for in 2013!

Posted in Lists on January 2, 2013 by lukesreviews1014

I know it’s on the second day of the new year, but it’s already time to think about what 2013 has to offer us and what bands will make waves in their respective scene. This is a brief little list I created of five brand new bands that may make some summer festival appearances o release new promising music to keep you good folks interested.

1. Swarm of Arrows – Swarm of Arrows is sludge-doom band from Philadelphia that released their first, full-length album The Great Seekers of Lesser Life earlier in 2012. Fans of Mastodon and High on Fire will certainly be attracted to bone-crushing riffs, gut-wrenching vocals and stampeding drums. They’ve been gaining a lot of attention in the greater Philadelphia area and even some European attention, but they need your help to broaden that audience. You can find more information here: http://www.facebook.com/SwarmOfArrows.

2. Ryan Tennis – Tennis is a singer/songwriter based out of Philadelphia and has been making music and spreading his music around the area for the past few years. The release of his newest album Pack Light But Bring Everything, should hopefully help him garner more attention elsewhere. Again he needs your help to increase his fanbase and make him a bigger name. From personal experience, I’ve seen him live three different times and I think he is absolutely great. His songs are fantastic and they are well written for both solo and full ensemble performances.

3. Karybdis – London’s newest metal band will hopefully be able to make some waves in 2013. They released their debut album, From the Depths, out in 2012,  which gained them some initial attention and I think this band already started pushing the boundaries of metal and has the potential to grow even more. They have a few European gigs lined up and I’m sure more will crop up, but if you’re  fan of just metal in general, you need to get on board with this band. (http://www.facebook.com/Karybdis.band)

4. Just Like Vinyl – This is the new band by Thomas Erak, whose original post hardcore band, The Fall of Troy, was pivotal for that particular genre. Just Like Vinyl sounds nothing like The Fall of Troy despite the fact that Erak has resumed the role of vocalist/guitar player, which is refreshing overall in my opinion and every  bit as good as the Fall of Troy in its own little way. They released their first full length album, Black Mass, last year to some critical praise throughout and hopefully we’ll be able to see more of them this year as a result of that.

5. Chelsea Grin – Not a relatively new band like these past four that I mentioned, however the band has seen a new change of direction worth noting. Jason Richardson, formerly of Born of Osiris has since moved on to Chelsea Grin and the band have since released a new EP entitled Evolve. In my opinion, aside from the die-hard circle of fans that have been with Chelsea Grin from the beginning, not a lot of people were really turned on by this band and I don’t think they’ve necessarily improved over the years since their debut EP, but Jason’s arrival has seen the band making some progress musically. It’s obviously all thanks to Jason though because Evolve is not a bad EP at all, which is hard for me to admit, because I have some persona animosity towards Chelsea Grin. But I think the band will still carry on as always and may even get bigger and a result of this new change of direction, which begs the question, what will become of Born of Osiris? They have since gotten a new guitarist who toured with the band all of last summer, but Jason was a key songwriting element in the band. I’m not sure about the rest of the band’s contributions, but this next Born of Osiris album is crucial, but thats another discussion in and of itself.

There you go, let’s see what these bands make of 2013 and let’s see what everyone else has in store for us.

Luke Helker