Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Diamond Plate - "Walking Backwards" from new album PULSE

I have nothing but infinite love for Diamond Plate. From the first time I was sent to review them live; it's been a total psychotic love fest. They've released their first single to the second album, Pulse. The single is entitled "Walking Backwards". It's blistering! It's a circle pit frenzy of happiness. It reminds me of Kill Em All era Metallica, early 90s Slayer, a touch of Pantera, and a whole lotta attitude. OMG! The track is just amazing. Helming vocals since the departure of "purdy haired" Jon Macak (for personal reasons) is Matt Ares. To my ears, on this track, Matt's vocals have a more gritty, more guttural tinge than Jon. It's not better, just different. A wee part of me wonders if Jon had stayed how much better the vocals would be. But I digress, the killer part of the song is, as usual, Konrad Kupiec's guitars. For someone so young, he's got a firm grasp of metal riffage! Konrad can stand toe to toe with Kirk Hammet, Marty Friedman, or Kerry King - and in some instances; blow them away! James Nicademus kills it behind the drum set. He provides a ferocity and unyielding pulse (get it... Pulse... jajajaja) to the "Walking Backwards". I touted Generation Why? as being the best album of  2011.  I am looking forward to Pulse as being the best album of 2013.

Listen to "Walking Backwards" steaming on Decibel Magazine:

Diamond Plate comments:

"During the months of recording, the album took on a life of its own.  Our goal was to capture the energy of a live band, and working with Neil gave us the freedom to create the music we've always wanted to play.  A straightforward explanation of the title 'PULSE' is that it represents music, or life, in its purest form.  The real meaning behind the album can only be discovered by the person using his/her ears."

Pulse is due to be released on August 20th in the USA via Century Media/Earache Records and on digital formats in Europe on August 19th. Definitely pick up this scorcher of an album! Pre-order Pulse now on CD in the USA at or pre-order the album on iTunes with an exclusive bonus track at  

In the meantime, If you've not gotten Generation Why? - do so now! Diamond Plate's debut album, Generation Why?, in North America at or in Europe at

Generation Why? is also available on iTunes at

Get more Diamond Plate news and info at:

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Friday, July 5, 2013

Blodig Alvor - Morkets Frembrudd

Indie Recordings gives the world at large another band to instantly fall in love with. Blodig Alvor is an up and coming band that everyone should give a listen to.  They’ve got a new album out entitled Morkets Frembrudd. OMG! The album starts out like the song "Am I Evil". If you’ve never heard the original by Diamond Head, then think of the very popular Metallica version. This means I shall like whatever comes next immensely! And I do!  

Morkets Frembrudd (the "Am I Evil" type intro) flawlessly segues into "Mr. Molotow". It’s a catchy, riff laden, old fashioned heavy metal tune. Before the song had been played a minute I was head banging along with glee. "Mr. Molotow" is gritty and groove laden. You’d expect this type of guitar banter from a band from say, Texas, but Blodig Alvor hails from the mighty shores of Norway. Blodig Alvor songs give props to some classic bands. "Start En Revolusijon" channels vintage Aerosmith riffs, think Toys in the Attic

The sweet guitar sound emanating from your speakers is courtesy of Truls Ringstad and Markus den Ouden. "Start En Revolusjon" has a wicked guitar solo near the end. Rounding out this band of talented musicians are Erland B. Andersen on bass and Rune Marius Flaathe Farstad on drums. They are as tight as any rhythm section twice their age. Everything about Blodig Alvor’s Morkets Frembrudd is refreshing and almost pure. You can hear the hunger of a young band looking to make their mark. Morkets Frembrudd as an album has no pretensions, it’s not trying to be something it’s not. It’s not trying to be the next big thing. It isn’t jumping on any bandwagons.  

Blodig Alvor is a band that puts together solid, catchy, and completely bitchin songs. The song "Blodig Alvor" is stripped down and raw. "Blodig Alvor" should be the anthem for 2013. Another song on the album is called "Svik". "Svik" is a song I desperately want to sing along to, but I don’t know any Norwegian. "Svik" has a Thin Lizzy feel to it, a type of swagger if you will. "Var Resignasjon" closes the album with a punky bass laden groove. Morkets Frembrudd is a scant twenty-eight minutes long but it packs quite a punch. Keep a look out for Blodig Alvor. I expect to hear great things about this band for years to come.


Shai Hulud - Reach Beyond the Sun

Shai Hulud! That is just happiness right there. Their new album is entitled Reach Beyond the Sun. Metal Blade dropped the album February 19th.  It was a little late for a Valentine’s Day gift, but if you truly love someone, the wait is worth it.

Reach Beyond the Sun starts out strong. "The Mean Spirits, Breathing" is a hard driving tome that sets the stage for a brutal album. If you aren’t familiar with Shai Hulud, they are a mixture between punk rock, heavy metal, and skater metal. The vocals are bombastic and in your face. This isn’t a problem as Chad Gilbert can scream with diction. You can understand clearly what he is singing about. If your eyes did a double take, you aren’t mistaken. This is the same former Shai Hulud singer Mr. Gilbert. He hasn’t been in the vocal chair for Shai Hulud in ten years but you can’t tell by his performance. His voice is as strong and forceful as ever! Chad also produced the album.

Reach Beyond the Sun is fast paced, if you blink, you might miss something special. Reach Beyond the Sun is worthy of multiple repeats. The highlight is definitely Matt Fox’s guitar work. The overall tone and compositions are just pristine. He’s joined by Matt Fletcher on bass. Fletcher’s bass adds a layer of harmony that produces a rich and full sound for all the songs.

"A Human Failing" is just an awesome song. Gobsmacking is the word I use. The opening 35 second riff moves you to the core. It has that catchy beat that a lot of pop-metal songs in the 90s had. It totally draws you in. Matt Covey’s drumming is aces. "A Human Failing" one of those songs that, if you’re a dancer, you’d pop on whilst warming up and doing mirror work. Tyce Diorio would have a field day with this song.

The album Reach Beyond the Sun is just one good song after another. "Monumental Graves" has one the most unique compositions I’ve heard in a long while. There is so much going on the harmony, melody, and in some stanzas. I could listen to just this one song over and over again and find something new with every listen.

Another stand out track is "Medicine to the Dead". It features all the former Shai Hulud vocalists: Matt Mazalli, Damien Moyal, and Geert van der Velde.  There is a feeling of inclusiveness as Reach Beyond the Sun has many other guest vocalists. Jay Pepito is on "A Human Failing", John Vigil on "If A Mountain Be My Obstacle", Louis Hernandez on "Main Into Demon". Justin Krauss, Martin Stewart, David Wood also make guest appearances on the album.  It translates to an album that you feel compelled to share with your friends. You want others to listen and enjoy Reach Beyond the Sun.

Shai Hulud’s Reach Beyond the Sun is an amazing work. You instantly like all the songs on the album and they flow beautifully into each other. Reach Beyond the Sun is only thirty-four minutes long but it’s full of musicality. It’s an album that you can put on and listen to over and over again. It’s just as fresh on the one hundredth listen as it is on the first.

Gloria Morti - Lateral Constraint

Ah Finland. How do I love thee? More and more each day as you proffer to mine listening ears your best and most talented bands that oft aurally please me. Into the churlish waters that are the musical fray, I give unto thee and thine Gloria Morti and their album Lateral Constraint on Cyclone Empire record label.

To be sure, I have no idea what Psycho is singing about on the album Lateral Constraint. I understood maybe one in four words. It was too bothersome to try to understand and it distracted from the music. I chose to treat the vocals as another instrument that adds to the polyphony.

The overall tone of Gloria Morti’s Lateral Constraint is consistency. Each song retains lots of elements of the last song. This makes Lateral Constraint flow wonderfully. Part of the consistency is the impressive drumming by Kauko Kuusisalo. Kauko is a beast! It’s like his only order was to hit these, very hard, and often. Sometimes the drumming seems as a blur, as if all the beats melt into one. He’s just that fast.

Lateral Constraint by Gloria Morti is a scrumptious blend of death metal and speed metal. It has the intensity and heaviness of death metal and the 16th notes of speed metal. The stand out is that the guitar arrangements are full of flourish.

"Hallucinations" is by far the most interesting song on the album. It combines operatic elements with a cacophonous drum sound. To wit, the drums are shrill and at odds with the death like vocals and the bleak keyboards that waft in and out of the composition. Gloria Morti threw everything into this song including the kitchen sink. "Hallucinations" is worth a few listens.

I totally dig the interplay between Juho Raiha and Eero Silvonen on guitars. At times Juho and Eero are in perfect sync. Sometimes they harmonize. Sometimes they go off on musical tangents that just make the listener go wow!

Gloria Morti’s Lateral Constraint is forty-five minutes of pure unadulterated metal. If you are a death metal aficionado definitely pick up this disk. If you hate death metal and think it droll and uninspiring, I urge you to give Lateral Constraint a listen. It will change your mind. Gloria Morti will pleasantly surprise you. 

Borg 64 - Anywhere But Here

To be honest, the only reason I decided to look at Borg 64 is because I’m a die-hard Trekkie and I figured with Borg in the name it’s gotta be good. I opened up the promo materials and saw a song entitled "Late Night at Quarks". WIN! Borg 64 are from Sweden and they’ve been absent from the musical world for about seven years. They have re-emerged with a 4 song 12 minute mind fuck entitled Anywhere But Here released on Discouraged Records.

So this big 10” starts off with this 80s type video game Tron thing happening. Then it segues into some punk rock stuff and then maybe spoken word over bass with ambient blips and bleeps. I don’t know what to make of it. There is so much happening musically you don’t know where to look. Yet all the elements in and of themselves are simple. Before I could get a handle on it I think I’m transported to a Frank Zappa / Primus type vista. Then I get biotch slapped by a scary marriage of electronica and metal. Borg 64’s Anywhere But Here is just stupid crazy. And I say that with a big ol’ smile on my face. It’s such a wide mixture of musical genres. Is that Devo I hear?

"Late Night At Quarks" didn’t disappoint. It’s part South Park, part Ministry, part Atari, all good. The 10” closes with a jaunty tome dedicated to their hometown of Lulea. The song is the most straight ahead composition of the four on Anywhere But Here. I was thoroughly entertained and enthralled by Anywhere But Here.

Anywhere But Here is not for the casual punk rock fan. Nor is it for the staunch dub step electronica fan. You have to be a special kind of crazy to like this. I am that kind of crazy. Sven Engdahl Hamilton, Fredrik “Buffy” Johansson, and Markus Wanler put together something totally cool. There is nothing quite like it on the market today.

As Angels Bleed - As Angels Bleed

Here's another contender for gothic symphonic masters. As Angels Bleed are a four piece from
Sydney, Australia. Avelina De Moray helms lead vocals. Von Lehmann is the ax-master. Frank
Marcri on drums and Jack Savage on bass rounds out the band. Believe it or not, their album As Angels Bleed was recorded at a place called Hells Gate Studio.

The opening track is very over the top. As Angels Bleed merge a Lacuna Coil sound with a Ghost presence and come up with something very kitch and instantly likable. "Sinfully Yours" is richly layered and artfully blends prog rock and metal with a more darker tongue in cheek feel. "Desire" is more hard hitting metal mixed with doomy overtures. The music in and of itself isn't your average run of the mill doom. It's more in the lyrics and imagery As Angels Bleed conjures up. For instance, "I Drown" sounds like the theme song to some awesome Canadian drama series that nobody has ever seen but uber geeks like me.

As Angels Bleed unwittingly sucks you in and holds on fast. "Driven To Flames" is another song that
moves merrily along. "Driven to Flames" has an intensity to it that makes it impossible not to get up
and dance to. Ok - the only thing I can say about "Lumiere" and "Driven To Flames" is that the music
melts. Yes, melts; it has that melting Salvador Dali feel to it. "A Love Worth Dying For" is more of a
strait ahead rock song with some choice electronica beats. It's my favourite track from the album.

As Angels Bleed have a wonderful ten minute opus entitled "Beautifully Decayed". "Beautifully
Decayed" has everything you like about the metal genre: Randy Rhodes inspired guitar solo, Black
Sabbath compositions, chunky guitar riffage, and even a nod to Judas Priest's "Painkiller". A lot of
interesting music happens in "Beautifully Decayed". It's the perfect way to end an album.

Rival Sons and Sammy Hagar ??!! oh Yesh!!!

Rival Sons have confirmed dates for a US tour, including a number of shows with rock legend Sammy Hagar  (Montrose, Van Halen, Chickenfoot).

Rival Sons will be kicking off their tour on August 20th with a number of headlining dates, and have also been invited to perform a select number of shows with one of their heroes, Sammy Hagar, on his "Four Decades of Rock" summer tour.

Rival Sons guitarist Scott Holiday comments:

"Well, we're finally hitting our homeland for a handful of tour dates.  Ask and ye shall receive!  And what a cool thing to get to go out and support a legend and super cool fella like Mr. Sammy Hagar.  I think this one's gonna be a blast!"

Sammy Hagar, himself a long-time fan of Rival Sons, comments:

"These guys are the real thing.  Their first CD was great, showing off a lot of styles from the '60s, '70s and '80s.  These boys have done their homework... now road-tested.  The Sons have made a CD (HEAD DOWN) that truly lives up to the band's name.  This is a giant step from a great previous CD... not easy.  But for those that like classic rock but are tired of the same old songs, I highly recommend this CD... and even better, go see 'em live - they deliver."

See Rival Sons on tour at the following shows:

Jun. 28 - Helsinki, Finland - Rock the Beach
Jun. 29 - St. Gallen, Switzerland - Open Air St. Gallen
Jun. 30 - Heidelberg, Germany - Karlstorbahnhof
Jul. 02 - Hengelo, Netherlands - Metropol
Jul. 03 - Haarlem, Netherlands - Patronaat
Jul. 04 - Esch Alzette, Luxembourg - Rockhal
Jul. 05 - Arras, France - Main Square Festival
Jul. 07 - Gierle, Belgium - Sjock Festival
Jul. 13 - Telluride, CO, USA - Telluride Festival
Aug. 16 - Alesund, Norway - Jugendfest
Aug. 17 - Bodo, Norway - Parkenfestival

Aug. 20 - Loveland, CO - Budweiser Events Center *
Aug. 22 - Columbia, MO - Mojo's
Aug. 23 - Chicago, IL - Charter One *
Aug. 24 - St. Paul, MN - Minnesota State Fair *
Aug. 25 - Milwaukee, WI - Rave Bar
Aug. 26 - Clarkston, MI - DTE Energy Music Theater *
Aug. 27 - Indianapolis, IN - Deluxe
Aug. 29 - Whitesburg, KY - Summit City
Aug. 30 - Nashville, TN - 3rd & Lindsley
Aug. 31 - St. Louis, MO - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater *
Sep. 04 - Paso Robles, CA - Vina Robles Amphitheatre *
Sep. 05 - Lincoln, CA - Thunder Valley Casino Resort *
Sep. 06 - Lake Tahoe, CA - Cabo Wabo
Sep. 07 - San Francisco, CA - America's Cup *

* w/ Sammy Hagar

Rival Sons' latest album, Head Down, is out now on CD and limited edition vinyl.  Get the album from the Earache Webstore in North America at or in Europe at

Head Down is available on iTunes at

Head Down is also available now in the USA via Century Media/Earache Records at

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