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.

Seasons of the Wolf - Sampler

Make way for the advance of four stealthy tracks of dark and eiree gothic metal: Victim of Darkness, Lost in Hell, Quilex and Wings of Doom. Very original, very mysterious and possibly very dangerous. Listen to at risk of personal transformation. Remember, once heard, can never be unheard.

Schizopathic - Demo Volume 1

I’m biased. I’ve known most of these guys for awhile and have even jammed with Scott, Cole and Garth at open jams. That said, I really dig their debut 4 song demo. Angry riffs combine with stinging leads, a driving rhythm section and Schizoholic vocalizations to give you a case of headbanging Schizopathic glee. Can’t wait to hear "Psycho Trip" and "False Glory," two of my favorite Schizo songs, on a recording.

Since this blurb of a review was originally published, Schizopathic have released their album Grain of Sanity and won the first round in the Gorilla Battle of the Bands. See photo review of a fairly recent Schizopathic show here. The photo above features Garth Lee on the left and Mike Liebenow on the right playing at the House of Rock in Eau Claire.