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l dcef9c291bf248c98b5042bdeOn their sophomore album DISPOSING OF BETRAYERS (out September 14 via Unruly Sounds/The End Records), fellow Chicagoans THESE ARE THEY mine the rich history of Organized Crime in our city to create an album that carries with it a unique topical approach wrapped within it's brutal sonic delivery.

Tuesday, August 17 2010 00:00

APOCALYPTICA - 7th SYMPHONY (Advance Review)

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51ZKix1zQ2L. SL500 AA300 There's a part of me that still prefers the oldAPOCALYPTICA, as in the cello-playing quartet of Finnish metallers, whipping their hair around while performing covers of Metallica, Faith No More, and Pantera. That said, the current incarnation of the band still manages to delight, despite carrying a sound that doesn't quite feel like the band I initially came to enjoy - instead blending more into a "symphonic metal" realm as opposed to a unique flavor of organic sounds.

Monday, August 16 2010 00:00

STREET DOGS - Self-Titled (Advance Review)

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61ShTrGxADL. SL500 AA300 On their self-titled fifth album, Boston's STREET DOGS bring a healthy dose of punk rock fury to the masses without showing the signs of age that many bands display by album number five.

Their second release through Epitaph offshoot HELLCAT RECORDS (due out August 31, 2010) finds the band (fronted by former DROPKICK MURPHYS vocalist MIKE McCOLGAN) working a groove that in other circumstances could be considered "played-out," but here sounds completely fresh.

51MDEoRDSiL. SL500 AA300 Just a year after the release of their acclaimed self-titled debut, STREET SWEEPER SOCIAL CLUB are back with the GHETTO BLASTER EP. The duo consisting of BOOTS RILEY of THE COUP and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE guitarist TOM MORELLO once again delivers a set of infectious, funk-infused rock that should not be missed. 

Monday, August 02 2010 00:00

NORMA JEAN - MERIDIONAL (Review)

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51yybZhudEL. SL160 On their fifth studio album and first from their new home, NORMA JEAN starts to expand upon their metalcore roots for an experience that moves them into a slightly bigger world.

Released by Razor & Tie last month, MERIDIONAL is a vast improvement upon prior releases from the band, which (like many) was at risk of being lost in a sea of similar sounding acts in the metal/noise/scream-core genres. While their songwriting skills were always a slight step above many of their peers, MERIDIONAL sets them farther ahead as they've crafted bigger tunes this time around.

Monday, August 02 2010 00:00

TOADIES - FEELER (Advance Review)

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61YxwPi5ML. SL160 It's almost wrong to call this an "advance" review, seeing that the bulk of the album was written back in 1997. With leaked versions of unfinished songs floating around the 'net for years, TOADIES will finally see a proper release of their album FEELER via Kirtland Records on August 10th. For those unfamiliar, it's a tale heard time and time again: Band hits big, records sophomore album, label hates it, and onto the shelf it goes. 

Thus was the case with FEELER which was recorded to be a followup to the platinum-selling Interscope release, RUBBERNECK.

ProductofHatecovertwitterNOTE: As of 2011 - James is now managing Product of Hate. This review was written a year prior.

Early last year I headed up to Kenosha, Wisconsin to cover a record release performance from LAZARUS A.D. for their METAL BLADE debut. Beside the show being held in a surprisingly unconventional venue - an elementary school gym - the real surprise came in the form of a couple of the opening acts. DIRGE WITHIN (then simply "Dirge") who has since hit the national radar with an album out on E1, and a band called I FOR AN I.

Friday, July 23 2010 00:00

AVENGED SEVENFOLD - NIGHTMARE (Advance Review)

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99841Listening to AVENGED SEVENFOLD's NIGHTMARE, I can't help but think of the fabled story regarding AC/DC and their rebound from the death of original vocalist Bon Scott. It doesn't seem that long ago that I had to report the news that A7X drummer Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan  had passed (it was last December on a different site), and already the world will get a new album from the band next Tuesday.

Wednesday, July 21 2010 00:00

BUCKCHERRY - ALL NIGHT LONG (Advance Review)

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95buckNot long ago I was told that BUCKCHERRY was trying to take a "more positive" approach to their new album. Specifically, no "dirty words." If I were to make a bet on it, cleaning up the language sounds more like an attempt to secure front end-cap placement from those Corporate Cowboys at the #1 retailer of music - Wal-mart.
Tuesday, July 20 2010 00:00

MEGADETH - RUST IN PEACE LIVE (Advance Review)

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riplivedvdreviewIt's been a big year for nostalgia all the way around. Between all the reunions and full-album performances happening these days, it's almost getting hard to keep score. The overwhelming certainty among all the rediscovery is that there were some damn fine albums released years ago - albums that truly work best in their entirety as opposed to a couple of singles with a heavy dose of B-side material.

Tuesday, July 20 2010 00:00

CHIMAIRA - COMING ALIVE CD/DVD (Review)

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chimairadvdCleveland's CHIMAIRA have come a long way since first hitting the national radar through an appearance on the short-lived USA series FARMCLUB.com in 1999. Like many of their peers that appeared on the program (Kittie, Powerman 5000, etc.), the band has had it's share of ups-and-downs with label switches, rotating lineups, and  the rough waters of  an increasingly difficult musical climate. In the decade that has passed, Chimaira have persevered, amassing an increasingly loyal fanbase - quite evident with their annual series of hometown Christmas shows.

61GY4XAm4L. SS500 INFECTIOUS GROOVES were the soundtrack for many nights of chaos and mischief in my high school years. In fact, there was one occasion where I was asked to leave the classroom after telling a substitute teacher that my name was Aladdin Sarsippius Silamanagic Jackson the third. If you've ever listened to an Infectious Grooves album, you know exactly who I'm talking about. If not, shame on you - and for the record, I did leave the room, but never got in trouble.

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