album review

One thing we rarely see in music is a band that knows when to hang it up. Virtually every band that we will ever love ends only after they have beaten the horse to death, tarnishing their good name with an extra decade of sub-par albums and tours. It's rare for anyone in a creative field to know when their talents are slipping, or to tell when the public no longer wants them around. Every musician who enjoys being on the stage has an ego complex to some degree, and with that comes a need for the spotlight, and an inability to give it up.

By and large, anyone who has listened to a guitar album knows that there’s a certain acceptance bound into the very act of listening; that the ‘songs’ on the record will not be so much songs in the traditional sense, but rather long stretches of creative fretwork and mixing that makes something resembling a high-class tech demonstration crossed with an introspective poetry reading.

A few weeks ago, I noted that I found it interesting how extreme metal and folk music had found themselves intertwined. The combination of the two elements doesn't make a lot of sense, but yet the folk-influenced versions of extreme sounds are usually far more preferable than there more traditional colleagues. The introduction of new and unusual instruments does something that I think is of vital importance to extreme metal, something I find is sorely lacking in almost everything that falls under that umbrella; diversity.

What would a heavy metal album be without some crazy sub-genre label? Nu metal, alternative metal, metalcore, latin metal - these are just some of the genres used to describe New Jersey band Ill Nino. I'm going to use one word to describe their newest record; intense.

Ill Nino has just released their latest album titled "Till Death, La Familia". As I mentioned, their sound has been described as "Latin Metal" which intrigued me to say the least. This record is heavy on the heavy with some spectacular Latin percussion throughout.

I've had a love/hate relationship with Fozzy, ever since they ditched the cover band gimmick and started writing their own material. With each passing album, I've seen a band that knows how to write some solid melodic rock/metal, but can't keep their focus all the way through. “All The Remains” had some great tracks, but ventured off into unnecessary rap metal. They then ventured off into unnecessary prog, and more beat-driven music, all of which brought down the solid songs that made up the majority of the records.

When I reviewed Blues Pills' “Devil Man” EP last year, I came away from it thinking that they were a rock band that needed to rock less. That sounds odd, but it was their softer songs that floored me, that made me take notice that they were a band with massive potential. There was something special in that sound, something that wasn't captured by their heavier numbers. I feared that they were going to insist on proving their rock credentials, thereby holding themselves back from greatness. For once in my life, I'm happy to say I was wrong.

Resurrection is a funny concept and particularly ironic for a band with ‘Judas’ in the name. The idea of coming back from the dead is a totally alien concept in the general human condition, but in music it happens frequently and with reckless abandon. A veritable arsenal of artists have proclaimed their retirement only to find after a short time that the heart still burns with passion for the music, or as cynics suggest, the wallet still burns through dollars.

I listen to a lot of different kinds of music. When it comes to metal, I tend to lean more toward thrash especially if it has a Southern flavor to it. This week's band is not what you would call traditional thrash and it certainly doesn't have a Southern flavor. Boneyard is the band, "Fear Of A Zombie Planet" is the title of the album and grindcore is the name of the game.

Recently, I was embroiled in a debate over the nature of progressive metal. What was at the heart of the discussion was the old schism between prog and Prog, a distinction that has never been fully sorted out. When spoken, and without the capitalization made apparent, we could be talking about music that either attempts to circumvent traditional structures by exploring musical boundaries, or music that is fully dedicated to playing technically challenging material. Both claim the mantle of progressive, but my mind can only legitimately give the title to one of them.

When one thinks of Australian metal or rock, invariably AC/DC and Jet are the stereotype. Airbourne and some others are in there too, but everybody at this point knows exactly what’s being talked about. So when Envenomed was reportedly a melodic thrash act from the continent down under, there was a certain amount of cynicism that was probably to be expected. Why break the stereotype now, it’s been working so well?