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Wednesday, July 14 2010 00:00

HELLYEAH - STAMPEDE (Review)

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61byrgK0cVL. SL500 AA300 I wasn't impressed with the first outing by HELLYEAH, the rock Voltron comprised of lions from PANTERA, MUDVAYNE, and NOTHINGFACE.
 
On their second album, STAMPEDE (released this week through Epic), the band improves, though sadly not enough to bring Hellyeah into the same territory of their more famous other bands.
Friday, July 09 2010 00:00

KORN III: REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE (Review)

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513qZBypbpL. SL500 AA300 I still remember seeing KORN for the first time when they were the opening act on a tour that included MEGADETH, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, and FEAR FACTORY. At the time, much of the black-shirt crowd had no idea what to make of them. Their self-titled first album was fresh onto the record store racks, and I was pretty-much hooked. The combination of Korn's bass-heavy rumble, Ross Robinson's production skills, and a slight aura of mystery were enough to rope in listeners from the darkest corners of the musical spectrum - and well beyond - to catapult the band to mainstream stardom.

Wednesday, July 07 2010 00:00

M.I.A. - MAYA aka /\/\ /\ Y /\ (Review)

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200px-M.I.A. - MayaWhen M.I.A. seemingly came out of nowhere to score pop-gold with her second album KALA in 2007, music critics nearly creamed their pants with overindulgent praise. While I enjoyed the album, I never could understand the hype around it.

On her latest album /\/\ /\ Y /\ (or simply MAYA), the multi-faceted artist has assembled a collection of barely-listenable audio diarrhea, that without the support of a major label would find itself buried alongside countless "experimental" indie noise releases.

Thursday, June 24 2010 00:00

CALL THE COPS - Self-titled (Review)

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61YBCMmF38L. SL160 There's a scene in the 1990 Renny Harlin film THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE where the title character (portrayed by the great ANDREW DICE CLAY) stumbles upon a less-than-stellar recording session where Wayne Newton (as Julian Grendel) claims that "the next big thing" is being packaged. Fairlane promptly stops the session to pull the vocalist aside, asking the unfortunate singer "What is that shit?" "You're killin' rock-n-rape-n-roll here. I mean, Keith Richards is rolling over in is grave- the friggin' guy isn't even dead yet," he explains.

Friday, June 18 2010 00:00

AUTHORITY ZERO - STORIES OF SURVIVAL (Review)

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61NRjPRDoZL. SL500 AA300 Back for their fourth studio album, Mesa, AZ's AUTHORITY ZERO carries the flag for timely and politically-charged punk rock.

Like many of their older peers (BAD RELIGION, PENNYWISE, et al), Authority Zero works an in-your-face angle with their fast and ferocious punk rock chords laying down the foundation for crystal-clear vocals that convey emotion without becoming overbearing, though they break the mold on occasion to throw in some tasty ska and reggae grooves. STORIES OF SURVIVAL continues that musical tradition, while tackling the current Global Climate from economic downfall to the state of the ever-changing music industry.

Wednesday, June 16 2010 00:00

CARDIAC ARREST - HAVEN FOR THE INSANE (Review)

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havencoverIt's not often that you can review one album by a band and then essentially apply the exact same review to their next album. In the case of CARDIAC ARREST,much of what I said regarding their excellent 2008 release CADAVEROUS PRESENCE can be applied to their latest album HAVEN FOR THE INSANE.

Wednesday, June 16 2010 00:00

EYES SET TO KILL - BROKEN FRAMES (Review)

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71EfK0hzeQL. SL160 On their third album, Phoenix band EYES SET TO KILL finds themselves at a crossroads of genre and popularity with much of the attention often falling on the looks of sisters Alexia and Anissa Rodriguez than the band's musical output. After a tumultuous few years that has seen the band burn through an almost comical number of members (around 9 currently hold the "ex-ESTK" title), EYES SET TO KILL seems to have locked in a solid lineup following the departure of Keyboardist/Scream Specialist Brandon Anderson.

Tuesday, June 15 2010 00:00

THE STEVE MILLER BAND - BINGO! (Review)

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514NOclJmbL. SL110 The opening line of THE STEVE MILLER BAND's latest bio proclaims that "The Gangster is Back!" - a statement that is much more than simple record label PR hype. On his first album since 1993's WIDE RIVER, Miller and Co. take a trip back in time to recapture the essence of Miller's time in the Chicago blues scene, and turn out a collection that makes you wonder what took them so long?

Thursday, June 10 2010 00:00

OZZY OSBOURNE - SCREAM (Album Review)

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51YEVzbt-OL. SL500 AA300 There's something to be said about going out on top, and at this point there's no guarantee that OZZY OSBOURNE will be able to pull that off. After my first listen to Ozzy's latest album SCREAM, I told the first person I spoke to afterward that the album was "pretty terrible." After listening to it again, that statement was not accurate. The album is actually pretty solid, but not for OZZY.

Tuesday, May 25 2010 00:00

SKYFORGER - KURBADS (Review)

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mainalbumkurbadsWhat's more metal than swords, cloaks, and tales of mystical beasts and legends? NOTHING.
In that, SKYFORGER is about as metal as they come. The "Latvian Pagan Metal" band brings Baltic folk music into their guitar-driven fury, creating an album worthy of a hearty mosh and the anger of an Orc. Indeed my black-shirted brothers and sisters, if Bilbo Baggins was a thrasher, KURBADS would likely be blaring from the entrance to his tree-based hut.
Monday, May 24 2010 00:00

BRAINDRILL - QUANTUM CATASTROPHE (Review)

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517u4WmvzL. SL160 There's a genre being touted as "Tech Metal" or "Technical Metal" that's being used to describe death metal bands that have some serious progressive playing skills, yet use their powers questionably. Too often "Tech Metal" can also mean "unorganized sonic babble to annoy James with." Truth is, there's only a handful of bands and players that manage to combine virtuoso playing with extreme music and make it work. Off the top, BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME, CANDIRIA, and (sometimes) BUCKETHEAD come to mind. The reason? The can actually write songs.
Monday, May 24 2010 00:00

IT'S ALIVE - HUMAN RESOURCES (Album Review)

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51wWoLsYJKL. SL160 Wind-Up Records is a label responsible for releasing a lot of shit over the course of the past decade. All of the Creed, Scott Stapp, and Alter Bridge albums, along with 12 Stones, Evanescence, and the lackluster soundtracks to DAREDEVIL, ELEKTRA, FANTASTIC 4, etc. were pumped-out by Wind-Up, marketed en masse, and gobbled up by the "Top 40" crowd. To me they were nothing more than the equivalent of emotionless audio diarrhea.
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