Sponsored In Part By
Dismember • Hate Campaign
Nuclear Blast Records
Dismember’s latest release is a nonstop 11-track metal monster of an album.
>From the lack of space in between tracks, the mood remains the same throughout
one of complete metal domination. Imagine Slayer meeting Hatebreed ("Questionable
Ethics") with some Pro Pain mixed in ("Mutual Animosity"), and we’ve got
a live one, folks. If you’ve lost faith in metal, this may be the pick-me-up
album you need.
The Gathering • Superheat
Century Media Records
The latest release from Holland’s The Gathering is a 10-track live disc
that chronicles the band’s 10-plus years together. A very big sound is
what you’ll find here, complete with thick guitars and a sturdy rhythm
section that complements the female lead vocal. If you’d like to hear Garbage
go a little heavier, then The Gathering is the band for you.
Brutal Truth • Goodbye Cruel World
Grindcore’s grimiest Brutal Truth make this two-disc offering their swan
song, compiling a live show with some B-sides and cover tunes that the
band had recorded through their stint. If you’re a big fan of grind, or
if you’d like to hear BT bang out some wacky covers, then pick this one
up and pay respects to a band that helped pave the way for many of the
new death metal bands you hear today.
Red Giant • Ultra-Magnetic Glowing Sound
This Cleveland, OH trio has definitely come up with the perfect title for
their latest release. This 12 track CD gives you an earful of space rock
at its finest ("1960 Starchief"), complete with Sabbath-esque attitude
and that big rock sound that bands kill for. If you dig stoner space rock
and you need a new fix, Red Giant has got whatcha need.
Three Sixes • Possession
Universal Sign Records
Three Sixes is a duo that takes their music with a full cup of evil. While
this 8-track CD’s main thrust is to mesh the brutality of Fear Factory
with the demonic flare of vintage Danzig with the tongue in cheek humor
of SOD, it accomplishes none of the above. Instead, the result sounds like
Sam Kinison rapping over some of Rob Zombie’s rejected riffs. If you like
naked girls doused in blood and your lyrical content sophomoric, then try
this on for size, otherwise throw it back, baby.
by Eric Harabadian...
Mak Wolven • American Landscape
Pinecone Productions/Serge Entertainment Group
Wolven is a songcraftsman who knows how to paint pictures with his words.
Throughout this fourteen song disc the listener is drawn in by Mak's stories
of Texas, the dignity of the American farmer, living the simple life and
time-honored tales of love. Couple these gems with some hot guitar, a crack
band and Wolven's honey-drenched baritone, and you've got all the makings
of success! New England-based Mak Wolven is an artist of the highest order,
and one would be well-served to experience this up and coming country dynamo!
Phillips, Craig and Dean • Restoration
Randy Phillips, Shawn Craig and Dan Dean are three singing pastors who
truly put their money where their "message" is. Through a collection that
spans rock, modern country, folk and dance grooves, these three lift their
voices to the Lord in a joyful noise we all can appreciate. Each track
is a potential pop Gospel classic, and Phillips, Craig and Dean exhibit
harmonies that would rival the best vocal bands such as Crosby, Stills,
Nash and Young and The Eagles. The liner notes also indicate their contributions
to helping people with AIDS and the development of a music degree scholarship
in their honor. A great sounding album from a nice group of people who
have compassion and heart.
by Tyler Moore...
Three Finger Cowboy • Hooray For Love
Three Finger Cowboy lacks nothing. They are crowd pleasers with depth.
Not only that, but they have a lot of originality. The sound is light enough
not to intrude the sensitive parts of an easy listener’s ears, but heavy
enough to appeal to the rock fans. Both their clean-cut and unpolished
guitar sounds combine with driving beats and various other effects to diversify
a central sound. The lyrics are all very positive and optimistic. The music
has a very happy and energetic feel. The melodies all have sing-along quality
and the ability to linger in your mind. Hooray For Love demonstrates
the band's ability to stay consistent and interesting. This is an album
that is missing only one thing... more.
Earfood • Tasty Treats
Tasty Treats from Earfood is generally lively. Some parts, though, almost
belong on the Tom Green Show. "Munchkin Land" is one such part.
The sound is very unique. Basically, it’s light rock with lots of guitar
usage. Although it’s lively, it’s also very dreamy. It is reminiscent of
the period of rock between disco and the British Invasion with some more
modern sounds similar to that of the Presidents of the United States of
America. This album is just fun.
G. Love & Special Sauce • Philadelphonic
Philadelphonic is made up of jazz, blues, and rap. The first time
I heard it, it didn’t exactly sound right. The more I listen, though, the
more appealing it seems. It’s not like Dr. Dre, Master P, Puffy, or any
of that, but gentler and more insightful; more thoughtful. The jazzy sound
comes a lot from the guitar and the parts it plays in the songs. The sound
stays very clean and steady. The final track, "Gimme Some Lovin’," is more
in the style of Bob Dylan and is an excellent conclusion. Philadelphonic
is one of the only recordings I have heard that can link rap and the guitar
in such a gentle and refreshing way.
Lou Bega • A Little Bit of Mambo
We all know "Mambo No. 5" ("a little bit of..."), but what else is there
to Lou Bega? There’s a taste of what could be best classified as Mambo
Rap, being seasoned with horns. "I Got A Girl" is simply a continuation
of "Mambo No. 5" except it touches on location rather than names. The theme
of the album is women and Bega’s desire for them. The songs tend to stay
quick and upbeat, keeping pace with the testosterone. The album concludes
with a salsa number, "Mambo Mambo." If you like "Mambo No. 5" and you want
something to dance to, this album is great.
by Vic Gemmingen...
Nick Gallup • Nick Gallup
Caprice International Records
On his debut CD, raspy-voiced Nick Gallup offers straight-ahead rock and
roll in the style of John Cougar and Bruce Springsteen on tracks like "Jealous
Fool" and "Shake It Up and Down."
Slink Moss • Legend
How nice is this, an eclectic collection of rock-and-pop-abilly from Slink
Moss. Highly infectious garage rock on "Good Groovin," subtle sweetness
on "Rose" and "Jane," cool spacey surf-rock on the appropriately titled
"People of a Planet Called Earth"... listening to this gem is like finding
a box of records from the '60s that would (and definitely should) have
been played as many times as "Louie, Louie." Highly recommended.
Ramiro Medina • In Pieces
Ramiro Medina has mucho charisma. He leads a great band through some very
impressive songs with a deep amount of soul. Recorded live-in-the-studio,
this is one disc where you really do feel like you’re there in the coolest
place in town. "Change" and "Beggar at Rosecrans" are incredible. Quick
description: a soulful Tom Petty crossed with Lenny Kravitz during the
"Let Love Rule" phase. Real music here, folks.
by Pam West...
Steel Pulse • Living Legacy
Tuff Gong International
It was a dark and snowy rush hour in downtown Detroit when I fumbled for
a CD in the stack of review copies I'd been sent. Imagine my sunny bliss
when I pop in a live CD from what is, in my opinion, one of the best
reggae bands in the world, Steel Pulse from the UK. You may remember
them from the 1993 Clinton Presidential Inauguration! If you like
reggae -- especially that which leans more toward progressive rock than
rap -- this CD is a must for your collection. Founding members David
Hinds (rhythm guitar and lead vocals), Selwin Brown (keyboards, vocals),
and Steve Nesbitt (drums) are backed by a phenomenal nine-piece ensemble,
performing their world-renown songs of hope, education, and activism with
pure spiritual soul.
by Mike Farley...
Dufus • This (Dufus) Revolution
This full length tape entitled This (Dufus) Revolution is easily
one of the more unique pieces of work I've heard in a while. While some
of it is difficult to follow the first time around, parts of it are so
catchy that you can't help but listen further. Then the second time around
you get the feeling this stuff borders on brilliant. The writing is really,
really good, and the band has many influences, from what I can hear, from
XTC to Queen to David Bowie to Metallica. Very interesting stuff!
Brian Curti • Piano and Beyond
Peridot Records/Caprice International Records
This CD called Piano and Beyond is aptly titled. With wonderful
piano playing and production, these songs kind of take the listener to
someplace "beyond." Reminiscent of such established artists as Yanni and
John Tesh, Brian has produced scores for TV and movies, and it's easy to
see and hear why. For those of you who listen to music to relax and have
it take you "someplace else" in thought, this record has got to be added
to your collection!
NOTE: Due to space constraints, the following reviews were not included
in the print edition of Geoff Wilbur's Renegade Newsletter.
These reviews are only available here in the online edition.
Karma To Burn • Wild Wonderful Purgatory
Karma To Burn’s latest release is pure instrumental magic, however not
in the cheesy K-Tel Compilation kind of way. Instead, the numerically named
tracks take you by the feet and sweep you away into the magical land where
stoner rock reigns supreme. This Virginia trio knows how to create mood
and atmosphere without the usage of a vocalist, no small feat especially
for a rock band. KTB is the kind of band that in one foul swoop put both
Yanni and Megadeth to shame, and if that’s not reason enough to pick up
this puppy, then what else do ya need? It rocks, go get it!!
Pegazus • Breaking The Chains
Nuclear Blast Records
Australia’s music scene is not limited to Men At Work and Silverchair anymore
folks. There’s a new kid on the block, and despite the fact that they may
have arrived in a time machine sent from 1986, Pegazus kicks some serious
ass. This quartet from down under has definitely brushed up on their Manowar
("Metal Forever"), but they’ve also got a touch of Maiden and Priest ("Chariots
Of The Gods") in them. OK, so it’s not exactly "trendy" but hey, isn’t
’80s metal retro now? If you’re a metal soldier, then this is a CD you
need in your arsenal for sure.
Chevelle • Point #1
>From the city that’s brought us The Pumpkins and Urge Overkill come a trio
that make My Three Sons look like the Stepford Children. The brother’s
Loeffler’s project is named Chevelle, and their debut 11 track CD has some
of the most honest to goodness kickass '90s rock ever heard on album. Produced
by Steve Albini, Chevelle’s influence range from the obvious by association
(Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins,) to some clever crossovers (Deftones) which
gives these guys some major fat to chew on. Chevelle also knows that throwing
in snippets of Tool ("Dos") and Hum ("Point #1") into the mix only enhances
the raw emotion of their audio onslaught. And to think these guys are all
under the legal drinking age. Nonetheless, Point #1 is an excellent
album by some new jacks that we hope don’t appear on VH1’s Behind The
Music in five years.
Enis • Songs From The Bin
7 Song CD
Enis is a NYC quartet that rumbles like thunder yet is as sublime as a
summer breeze. Their 7 song CD is a gem from start to finish, complete
with beautiful melodies on the top of intense rhythms down below a la Soundgarden
("Ripped"). However, this band offers much more than '90s grunge, like
their stalwart metal tendencies ("Rain On You") and their deep sense of
soul ("Sixth Hour Of Sobriety"). Enis is a band that can pound you into
oblivion without turning up to 10 or screaming their heads off. Rather,
they do it within the confines of well-structured, emotionally rich songwriting.
Contact these guys at www.thicksole.com and see what the fuss is all about.
Sons Of Otis • Temple Ball
Man’s Ruin Records
The Canadians get in on the stoner rock movement too, eh? Yup, that’s right,
from the Great White North come Sons Of Otis, and their 10 track space
rock meets bluesy doom opus, complete with a cover of Mountain’s classic
"Mississippi Queen," and enough sludge to stop an 18-wheel truck dead in
its tracks ("Down," "Steamroller"). This one’s a little slow going though,
folks, so if you're used to a little more uptempo stuff, be prepared to
take a quaalude vacation before popping this one in the old CD player.
Mercury • Luminary Stanzas
8 Song CD
>From Texas comes a quartet that hits with the force of a Marlboro Man stampede.
Mercury takes bits of Korn ("Coming At You"), Pearl Jam ("Whale"), and
'90s rock and comes away with a fresh new sound full of fury and vigor.
If the future sounds like this, buy a time machine now!! These guys can
not only rip your face off with an intense riff ("Caught In"), but they
can also bring you down gently with a subtle interlude ("You Know What
I Mean"). Check them out at http://www.ieweb.net/mercury.
The Obsessed • Incarnate
The influential Washington DC stoner doom trio The Obsessed have their
career chronicled in this MIA release Incarnate. The 13-track disc
highlights many of the B-sides and one-offs throughout the band’s 5-plus
year tenure, a stint that featured DC legend Wino and bass guru Scott Reeder.
Standout tracks include their covers of Eric Burdon’s "Inside Looking Out,"
and Skynyrd’s "On The Hunt" (with help from the Melvins!) If you dig Sabbath’s
grooves with punk pretense, then check out this CD for starters, and then
search for the rest of The Obsessed’s discs.
Lockup • Pleasures Pave Sewers
Nuclear Blast Records
Featuring members of metal juggernauts such as Hypocrisy, Napalm Death
and Cradle of Filth, Lockup’s debut is as star-studded as it’s brutal.
Death metal that maintains its integrity with hints of melody is extremely
rare these days, yet Lockup’s 12 track disc does just that. From blast
beat ("Delirium") to churning guitar riff ("Slow Bleed Gorgon"), this one’s
got it all, folks, and it’s all done the way death metal was meant to be
heard. If you’ve lost faith, reaffirm it with Lockup’s latest.
Toy • Magic
Toy is an ambitious project spearheaded by lead vocalist/guitarist Alice.
This 8-track disc creates atmospheres interwoven between songs and storytelling.
Adventurous and unorthodox, each of the tracks have their own distinct
feel and flavor, from Middle Eastern flair to '50s jazz noir to '90s ambiance.
To find out more about this eclectic artist, email toy@the_agora.com.
Bastards of Melody • Keep It Down
Hailing from New Jersey, post punk popsters Bastards of Melody stay true
to their name, giving us tons of melody while being... well you get the
picture. With catchy, jangly ditties ("Must Be Stoned") that seem perfect
for the background of an NBC sitcom, this NJ quartet have got their tongues
firmly in cheek and an abundance of musical chops on the table ("Born To
Raise Hell"). Perfect for the reformed body pierced/over 25 crowd, BOM
gives ya smart bursts of punk within well crafted songs. Contact them at
One4One • Seven Year Cicada
Triple Crown Records
New Jersey’s finest One4One return with 8 tracks of anger ridden, supercharged
hardcore that’s bound to make any fan of the scene stand up and take notice.
This veteran quartet have paid their dues, and yet they’ve remained intense
("Walk Away") and as current as any other hardcore band on the circuit.
If you dig the East Coast scene and need a surge of brutality, then pick
this CD up.
Bal-Sagoth • The Power Cosmic
Nuclear Blast Records
If there were to be a Manowar cartoon, then Bal-Sagoth would be the foremost
band to score it. Their latest release contains 8 tracks of pure metal
majesty, complete with spoken word interludes that sound like Charlton
Heston’s Bud commercials, over-the-top keyboard overlays and neck spraining
speed metal parts. The Power Cosmic kicks ass in a cheesy, don’t-you-dare-take-it-seriously
kind of way, but unless you’re a fantasy novel fanboy or have an intense
need to escape reality for elongated periods of time, stick to your Pantera
Control Denied • The Fragile Art of Existence
Nuclear Blast Records
Control Denied is the new project of Death founder Chuck Schudliner, and,
albeit a bit of a departure from what we’d expect from the pioneering six
stringer, The Fragile Art of Existence is an 8 track progressive
hard rock masterpiece. Meshing rapid fire guitars with odd timed drumming
and adventurous basslines ("What If...," "Cut Down") Control Denied draw
the fine line between being "too musical" (thus alienating people) and
creating melodic music for the masses without crossing it either way. If
you like Fates Warning, Queensryche, or just metal with both musicality
and muscle, then check out the latest from Control Denied.
Entombed • Black Juju
Man’s Ruin Records
Entombed is a metal band that has undergone many changes throughout their
career. Taking pages from both Metallica and Slayer, they too have decided
it’s time to punk it up and bang out an album of less '80s thrash and more
'90s raw, a la Motorhead ("Tear It Loose") and the like. The results are
a bit spotty, but there’s some good stuff on here, like the 1:11 "Satan,"
and the doomy, Sabbath-esque "Sentimental Funeral." If you’re expecting
Wolverine Blues Part 2, look elsewhere, but if you’d like to hear
a side of an underrated yet kick ass band, then check this special CD out.
Agathodaimon • A Higher Art of Rebellion
Nuclear Blast Records
Blending Gothic ambiance with death metal brutality, this German group
of musical miscreants creates a sound akin to a black metal smorgasbord.
Not as scary as say a Cradle of Filth, but while the scare factor is low,
the musicianship is top notch and the band gets extra points for spewing
forth vocal venom in both English and Romanian. If you dip into your Black
No. 1 every now and then, pick this album up.
Slydog • Slydog
Slydog is a hard rocking quartet hailing from the other city that never
sleeps, Las Vegas. And they take their hometown’s energy and put it all
into their 8-song debut CD. Taking pages from such '80s rock bands as Whitesnake
("Down To The River") Tora Tora and mainly Van Halen, Slydog’s not a thinking
man’s band, and hey, that’s OK. What they give you is some good time rock
and roll that puts you in the party mood, something many of today’s bands
really can’t achieve. And, they also know how to write some catchy hooks
and have the chops to back up their lack of substance. To find out more,
Smart Brown Handbag • Just Like Driving Backwards
In a land full of pop stars that would rather make the front page headlines
than the top slot on Billboard, it’s refreshing to see that sometimes
good pop bands with no other pretense besides the fact that they’re a damn
good pop band can shine through the usual murk. Smart Brown Handbag’s latest
is both crafty and dreamlike, much like Morrissey or even a less cheeky
Robbie Williams. Strong lyrical imagery lies among lush orchestrations
("Greetings From The Longest Weekend") likening SBH to many Brit pop outfits.
However, there’s also pieces of Joe Jackson, Michael Stipe ("I Love Everyone"),
and Elvis Costello in there, too ("Penalized"), that makes the entire 10-track
album one of the most listenable records thus far this year. If you like
your pop crisp and intelligent, then Smart Brown Handbag would be a wise
SFB • The Last Dance
SFB is a San Francisco quartet that mixes it up quite a bit on their 9
track CD The Last Dance. They can move you in the usual aggro rock
way, complete with big guitars and anguished vocals ("Nothingland"), or
they can make you move to the beat a la Trent Reznor ("When The Pain Stops").
Reminiscent of Stabbing Westward and Gravity Kills, the best thing about
SFB is they never lose sight of a melody. Even while there’s a techno beat
over a churning guitar, these guys still find time to deliver a hook that’ll
stick in your head ("Fall"). Impressive stuff for any fan of NIN, FNM,
or suped up college rock. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Deridian • Deridian
Two Headed Cow Productions
Deridian is not as much a band as it is a commune of musicians with eclectic
and varied influences and experiences that meet somewhere within the 15
tracks on their disc. Led by singer/guitarist Tristan Kromer, Deridian
uses elements of jazz, folk (matter of fact, all the instruments on the
CD except one are acoustic), rock and funk intertwined with poetic lyricism
and world beat instrumentation that creates a relaxed atmosphere. The key
to Deridian that makes this disc such a truly enjoyable listening experience
is that the music is not self-indulgent; it invites you to dance ("57 Feet"),
to sing ("Double Dip"), to rejoice ("Shanti"), in short, to participate.
If you a fan of roots rock like Dave Matthews and Phish, or if you’d like
something more earthy and spiritual, then Deridian is definitely worth
a spin. Contact them at Twoheadedcow@deridian.com.
Sinner • The Second Decade
Nuclear Blast Records
German metallers Sinner have come ten years and barely anyone in America
has noticed. Funny, because these guys sound like every '80s thrash band,
especially Megadeth ("Jump The Gun"). So, two questions -- #1: who’s ripping
off who and #2: why haven’t we heard of this metal machine? If their next
few albums are as good as this release, which is full of B-sides and rarities,
then we’ll sure to be looking towards Sinner’s third decade. Only for the
truest metal soldier.
by Tyler Moore...
Paxton • Paxton
Paxton has been described as a post punk progressive pop band. Despite
the complex title, they were the most nominated band in the 1999 GLAMA
Music Awards. Most of their sound is gently upbeat. It never lacks energy.
"The Morning Song" is hilarious, excellent for waking someone up, but probably
one of the most annoying songs to have to wake up to. Paxton has an excellent
ability at the narrative song. The sound is close to REM, John Mellencamp,
and has pieces that could represent the better rock of the eighties. Well
rounded energy focused on emotion is the best way to describe Paxton.
R. Kelly • "If I Could Turn Back the Hands of Time"
This single from the multiplatinum recording, R., is definitely
one of R. Kelly’s most powerful works. The lyrics relate the story we all
have told of wishing to have the past to do over again. The orchestration
is excellent. The song follows a slow and steady progression, each element
adding depth one instrument at a time. The way the song is constructed
and sounds leaves one believing that perhaps Kelly has drawn much of his
inspiration from Nat King Cole. The song is very easy and peaceful. It
far surpasses "I Believe I Can Fly" and leaves listeners anxious for more.
by Diane Anderson...
Soulfly • Soulfly remixed
For those of you who love Soulfly and really understand the message given
out by Max Cavalera, then you will love the new remixed version of the
Soulfly original album. Soulfly has remixed 12 songs and added one new
cut called "Soulfly (Eternal Spirit Mix)." If you saw Soulfly in concert,
then you know that Ritchie Cavalera sang "Bleed with Max." The new remix
of "Bleed" has Ritchie on vocals.
The Soulfly remix adds more of the throat-shredding screams,
haunting chants and tribal beat, that gets in to your soul and makes you
never forget about pain and the survival of Max and why Soulfly was created.
But the CD also gives you the chaos and the excitement that makes all the
fans so passionate about Soulfly. The remix of "Umbabarauma" will have
you chanting "Umbabarauma, goal man goal" all day long.
This remix comes either as a single CD or a double set, with the original
CD, plus the bonus CD. It’s a must have for all true heavy metal rockers.
P.S. Remember your tribe and God bless Dana and God be with you, Max.