Sunday, March 1, 2009

Black Trip - Firewind

I have to admit I’m a bit letdown. This three songer was co-produced with ex-Manowar, current Holy Hell drummer Rhino so I guess I expected more. Now the problems here aren’t Rhino’s fault of course, nor is it lack of talent. It is, however, lack of imagination in lyrics, presentation and style.

Nothing is delivered here that you can’t get from any other of the power/death metal albums already in your collection. Other than the guitar solos nothing says, "hey, look at me." This isn’t to say that Firewind isn’t worth your time, it’s just not as exciting or intresting as all the bands who have done this before and done it better. The lyrics are in the vein of Manowar, yet Blacktrip fail to manifest charisma levels anywhere near Manowar to pull it off. They are striving to be epic (a respectable noble effort to be sure), but the end result comes across as superficial and naive; and that is why listeners are not going to be convinced.

Black Trip need to find a new songwriting angle (or angles), write better lyrics and find a better vocalist before they are ready to take the world by storm and compete with all the other bands who are doing the exact same thing.

This review is a bit harsh, but I look forward to hearing what progress Black Trip makes in the future; as despite their current shortcomings they do have the potential for true metal greatness. They just need to heed the aforementioned suggestions, gain some more life experience, throw out the ‘paint-by-number subconscious templates’ and play from their hearts.

Schmitt Stash - 3 Song Sampler

I picked up this cd demo sampler at Mayo Park during the 2008 Blue Oyster Cult outdoor concert that these guys opened up for. Basically, it’s damn good 70’s influenced rock from some Rochester, MN highschoolers. Yes, 70’s based rock from teenagers!!! Hear it for yourself at:

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Dread Veil - Beyond Control EP

You look to the left, you look to the right. You turn around and look behind you sure that something is watching. Something is. Only your inside it. Swallowed whole when you pressed the play button on your compact disc player, you no longer are where you were and there’s no going back.

You’ve left the reality of the mundane world in a flash of bluish gray smoke and a sentient purple mist has infiltrated your awareness. Almost immediately you sense the power here is as old as time. In fact, it is the power to make, change or undo reality. It is the power of all powers. And it is Metal.

As your mind digests this newfound intuition you soon realize that your not alone. Gruff lyrical thoughts reverberate throughout the surreal soundscape bringing various matters of concern to your attention as you begin to walk this shifting and barbed melodic path. There is no need to wonder where these words of introspective observation come from; just listen and take heed as you traverse the five tracks of mosh-worthy knowledge.

Walk. Run. Stand still. It doesn’t matter; the elaborate gothic vista of moody metal that surrounds you moves at it’s own pace in accordance to it’s own iron will. Lurking riffs shuffle quickly along occasionally springing out at you with tidings to headbang to. And bang your head you do. You don’t dare not to.

Gazing upwards, you scout out riffs rising up from the Valley of Occulted Lows and watch them as they ascend yet even higher - up into the Mountains of Melodic Mystery where delicate self-aware melodies are just as dangerous as they are beautiful. Totally awed, you continue to view the elaborate dance of dark and light in all its brutal glory. Your only regret is that, like all journeys, this one must end. However, you smile to yourself when you realize you can press the play button on your CD player all over again.

When all is said and done, your friends won’t know what bechanced you. Let them be enraptured in curiousness. For soon, they will hear about this Beyond Control EP themselves and gladly pitch-fork over their hard-worked earnings for it. Then they can take their own odyssey into the welcoming abyss of the shrouded atmospheric thunderdoom that is Dread Veil.

Track List
1. Syndrome
2. Deceiver Betrayer
3. October Falls
4. Defiance
5. Beyond Control

Current Lineup
Joe Waller - guitar, vocals
Chelsi Igel - keyboards
Jason Hickman - vocals
Charles Tune - bass
Shawn Grim - drums

Find out more about Dread Veil at:
You can also read an interview with the band at:

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Visideon - “Ghost” single

The warmth of Kat’s soft soulful voice floating above a mellow classically orientated piano line leads off this song of gratifying contrasts. All in all, ascending and descending spirals of balladic melody interweave with morose metallic crunch, Kat’s serenading narrative counterpointed by periodic death-rasp phonations. A unique spectrum of style maybe but it works and works well. I picked up this CD-single free at the 2008 Flight of the Valkyries festival and after the first listen I regretted not purchasing Dark Angel, their debut album (damn budget); which was also available at the FOTV where they performed with considerable metallic finese (click link above to find documentary photographic evidence of said performance). Dark Angel is available for $10 on their website.

Band Line up:
Justy Kastanos - drums, backup vox
Aaron Hahn - guitar, backup vox
Katrina Litz - vocals and keyboards
Andy Bosscher - bass

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Cwn Annwn - Blood of the Djinn EP

I’ve listened to this EP while reading a Spiderman graphic novel. I’ve listened to this EP while eating shrimp and pineapple pizza. I’ve listened to this EP while doing household chores. I’ve listened to this EP while working on my website and writing e-mails. I’ve listened to this EP while reading Classic Rock Magazine. I’ve listened to this EP in a mad dash for work. I’ve also listened to this EP while laying on the sofa with a blanket pulled over my head. And finally I’ve listened to this EP while reading the very impressive press kit. And damn, I’m wowed.

I’ve seen the band perform at Station 4 before and knew they were musically amazing. However, I thought their name (pronounced Coon-uh-noon, think ‘racoons at noon’ as a memory aid) was not a wise choice only because I could never remember how to pronounce it even after I was told and so I came up with memory aid I just mentioned.

Anyway, what really blows me away is the addition of ex-Vile Red singer Julie Schultz. She couldn’t be more perfect for the band and their unique introspective blend of classic metal styles. Her voice is a super smooth blend of charisma, mystery and sublime mystical presence. A surefire win all around so let’s hope they stick with this line-up that also features Jake Stone (drums), Neil James (guitar/vox), Mike Strohkirch (bass/vox) and Harry Rostovtsev (guitars).

As far as the production goes: it is about the best you can expect from a self-financed release, and doesn’t detract from the songwriting at all. Personally, more often than not, I would rather listen to underground sounding releases like
Blood of the Djinn than to the slicked up over mixed affairs of major labels. If you like the NWOBHM era of metal and love the sound of a fantastic female voice you are not going to want to miss this. Get it now.

Previous releases include a 3 song demo (Sept. 2003) and the full-length The Method of Murder.

Insurrect - 4 song sampler

I got a copy of this thanks to StuperDave. \m/ The band advertise themselves as the “heavy hook of the twin cities.” The description fits well. They are heavy and powerful and quick to get to the point with a groove that will undoubtedly hook you if you are into bands like Corrosion of Conformity, Pantera and Down. I’ve seen them play before so I know they’ve got more pounding material than the 4 songs on this sampler. Track listing: 1. Pain 2. Hate 3. Mighty 4. Slam.

Gabriel and Thee Apocalypse - 1 Track CD Demo

From the Twin Cities area comes modern goth laden metal darkness with strong charismatic female vox. This song was decently recorded for such a young band; however, I can’t tell you the name of the track because it doesn’t say anywhere. Nor is there any contact/ordering info (????). Ultimately there is a lot of potential here, let’s see if they can capitalize on it.