Net Neutrality? COICA? Strikegently and mediafire could be doomed!

Usually I dont post about things political in nature because I suspect that most of us, like myself, listen and talk about music to get away from the real world, so to speak.  You get tired of the political BS, the promises of “change” and all the other nonsense. However, we must pay close attention nevertheless.

I however, am worried because the sites I watch, cherish, and enjoy such as Strikegently, mediafire, fastpasstv, and other are in real danger of suddenly being seized by the government at any time.  I encourage everyone to watch carefully for the signs of the government using it’s heavy hand at the bidding of certain favored parties to force ideas such as net neutrality, copyrights and piracy legislation, and the like.

Anyway to get you in the same angry mood I’m in, I suggest listening to the following Whitechapel songs while you read through the rest of this rant.

Wired posted a troubling article yesterday. Apparently the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill which allows the attorney general to “shut down websites with a court order if copyright infringement is deemed “central to the activity” of the site — regardless if the website has actually committed a crime.” 

This bill will essentially allow the Attorney General and any other over-zealous government cronies to turn off a website on the suspicion that it may have as much as a link to something that is “copyright.”  Say goodbye to Strikegently, ILYBD, mediafire, and every site with a similar nature that you have come to love.  There will be no trial and no verdict concerning the sites in question, because the Attorney General and whatever Sauron like minions he may have don’t need one in this bill.

The “Combating Online Infringment and Counterfeits Act” dubbed COICA is much scarier then any of us may realize.

 …But the law’s critics do not believe that giving the federal government the right to shut down websites at will based upon a vague and arbitrary standard of evidence, even if no law-breaking has been proved, is a particularly good idea. “

The really scary part here is the kind of track record the government holds when it comes to dealing with and/or rectifying mistakes. If you’ve mistakenly over paid in taxes, good luck getting that back. It takes months to get something as basic as a FOID card or even a reply from the government about why your 2 year old relative can’t possibly fulfill his or her mistaken jury duty summons.  If your site gets shut down by mistake, good luck getting it back on.   So for all you love and hold dear OPPOSE INTERNET CENSORSHIP and the hideous idea of government enforced NET NEUTRALITY.

You might not have anything at all illegal on your site.  You may just simply post links to material hosted elsewhere. You may however have something as innocent as a link to that youtube video of a recent concert which a record label decided to claim as copyright and find out the next morning that access to your site has been blocked and/or that your site has been shut down because of that little link.  The most interesting part is that some of our most prominent politicians have been screaming about China’s censorship, but somehow that same kind of censorship isn’t only acceptable here, but necessary. 
Does anyone actually expect this to force people to buy their music, their movies and their software? To the music industry I say this:   I for one won’t buy an album till I’ve gotten a copy of it first, listened to it, and made up my mind as to if its worth purchasing. If that privilege and advantage disappears, I for one simply won’t bother to purchase anything from the band who doesn’t have a majority of their music available for free download.

I will admit that I download alot of music and a bill like this would make it much harder for me to find free music to download.  But thats just a small concern when looking at the future. Sites that posts download links to bands such as ILYBD are the reason that I have even bothered to go to shows, to buy merch, and to go out and buy a bands album.  I know I am not the only one in this situation.

– Posted by: SyKo | 11/19/10 | 12:10 pm  On top of that, the few things I have purchased in the way of media in the last 10 years: almost everything was something I had previously seen online streamed or downloaded. I haven’t purchased any music or movies I can think of off hand IN YEARS that I didn’t check first to see if it was worth buying.”

I’ve seen some good points brought up by commenters on this story:

– “Now, on another note, WITHOUT shutting down the internet entirely, you’ll never stop people from receiving warez or .mp3s or .avis or any other file type. No one can prevent me or anyone else from receiving an encrypted, compressed file over a chat client like Skype. I have friends all over the world, and this will stop nothing. It’s not like they were going to get any money from us to begin with, so pfft at their claim of losses.”

 We aren’t China or Iran yet, but we are following them at an alarming speed with bills like this. What makes any of us think that this won’t be used in the future to shut down sites that the government doesn’t like? What makes us think they won’t simply label material on websites as “dangerous to Americans”, or my personal favorite “hate speech”?  The next Suicide Silence album for all we know could be branded hate speech

We need to fight this bill in every way possible. I hate to ask you, but please, call your senator, your congressmen, you know the drill. I plan on calling that sneaky lying Durbin myself and telling him just what I think of his “yes” vote on this.  There is a petition going around which I encourage you all to sign. (You all know how skeptical I am of anything with the word “progress” in it nowadays.

 So I encourage you to watch for the signs of the government using it’s heavy hand at the bidding of certain favored parties. Watch, cherish, and enjoy sites like Strikegently, mediafire, fastpasstv, and others, because they might suddenly be seized by the government the next day.

Gwen Stacy Breaks Up

Well yet another good band goes down. Looks like Solid State will lose another band. I’m sad to see these guys go.  Yea a little late, but I just found out about this a few moments ago while doing some web browsing. I could speculate on various reasons, but I’ll just post up what they put on their myspace regarding the breakup:

“After six years, nineteen countries, countless US tours, two albums, and an EP, Gwen Stacy has decided call it quits. We feel like now is the best time to end the band and pursue other options and directions in life. We would like to thank everyone who has been involved with the bands career over the years. 
“There are too many people to thank everyone individually, but we would like to send a special thanks to past members TJ Sego, Cole Wallace, Bobby Oakley, Josh Rickard, Mike Bryant, and Chris Suter, our manager Mark LaFay, Carl Severson and everyone else at what was Ferret Music, Once Nothing, Life In Your Way, Poison The Well, Haste The Day, Vanna, and every other band that we’ve been able to share the road with.
“Thank you as well to anyone who came out to a show, bought a shirt or cd, sang along, let us crash on their floor, or was just supportive in any way.
“A few of the members will be starting new projects and we will be updating our pages as these projects start to unfold. We want to assure everyone that we are splitting up on good terms. We’re all excited to see what everyone has in store for their future endeavors. Be sure to keep checking back to follow up with what everyone is doing.
“Our last show will be Saturday November 20th at Rhino’s, 331 S Walnut St. Bloomington, IN. Please come out and get gross with us one final time.
Well, I am glad that the ADTR and Underoath show I went to made up for this sad news. This does get me thinking though, all good things must end. Life is short I guess.  There last show is Saturday in Indiana. Anyone interested in going? 
Anyway one of my favorite songs from Gwen Stacy from a couple years back:

Johnny Franck leaves Attack Attack!

Well, I didn’t see this coming. But then again I sometimes don’t see a lot of things coming. No homo.  I really thought the band was doing just fine, but this goes to show that you don’t always know whats going on behind the scenes since that is only made public knowledge when they want to pump up awareness for an upcoming album.

 Attack Attack! in all of its Post-Crabcore glory, as this band has been so lovingly labeled my lovers, and well mostly haters, may have been dealt a reeling blow. Johnny Franck who provided mind blowing technical guitar work and cleaned vocals auto-tuned to perfection for adoring high-school girls has decided to leave the band.  His reasons are listed in a recent news article by Alt Press (AP)  and in the you tube video made and released yesterday, so I won’t go into them.

This could be problematic as it leaves Caleb Shomo doing clean vocals as well as screaming, and not a lot of us were particular impressed by his screaming vocals which are sub-par to say the least. I’ve even heard accusations that his screams were auto-tuned on Attack Attack’s new album, but I’ll leave that up the to experts to determine.

A silver lining here is possible, although most of us wouldn’t think so, or even hope so,  for all you somewhat justified haters out there. Perhaps Caleb might stick with the clean vocals and give up the screams to someone who can actually scream well live without appearing to lose his breath or completely miss notes.  Just think of the possibilities of the band with a real screamer and not the current fat one in skinny jeans.

I know some people hope this will be the demise of Attack Attack for all the auto-tuned and generic atrocities they have committed over time, but perhaps some redemption might be possible. We or probably just me and a majority of high-school girls can hope for something good to come out of  this for Attack Attack.

Let me quickly admit it: I have a guilty weakness for old Attack Attack. It’s catchy and a great listen. No, its not the most technical thing in the world, and probably isn’t really metal, but I still like listening to it. Also they aren’t dead to me just yet. I’m willing to wait for their next album, as I know plenty of fans voiced their disapproval for their horrid attempt at a wannabe tough guy hardcore sound. If you sound good the way you play, leave it, and improvise a bit rather then changing your sound completely.

I do have this sneaking suspicion that the other band members might have something to do with Johnny leaving, as it did with Austin, but we all know Austin isn’t exactly the greatest “people” person. Anyway, I’ll let Johnny talk for himself about why he left Attack Attack!

The Halloween Show: The Oasis: The Good, The Surprising, The Bad

This little piece about the Halloween Show at The Oasis is only about a week or more late, but I blame that on Sioum and just how hard it is to describe how incredible their music is. It’s like trying to describe to a beautiful sunset without words to someone who has no clue as to what your frantic hand motions and awestruck looks are trying to communicate.  Oh, and yes, I know that new Underoath and A Day To Remember leaked, and I’m in the process of giving it and new Oceano my three step listening procedure. 
Well anyway, for the Halloween show on Saturday night, kicked off its celebration of its Halloween party with plenty of metal to dazzle those in attendance.   Participants, audience, and  the onlooker there had now been given and excuse to dress up in the sluttiest outfits possible while banging their heads, throwing their arms, and getting a few “oh”  glances in return.  Yes, how typical. 
Valiant:  (The Bad)
Hails from Rockford. I was hard pressed to  hear any of the actual vocals unfortunately which deems a fair evaluation of the band’s performance almost impossible.  I’m leaning more toward the opinion that these guys are very generic and kind of suck to be honest

Their music gives off a happy sort of feeling which leads me to suspect some Pop Punk influences, but of course comes back to mix that with the traditional angrier hardcore elements that one would expect to hear from a band in this genre. 
These guys are nothing special unfortunately. Most of their songs sounded the same, but I suspect that the inability of the sound techs contributed to this.  When you could hear the vocals, you heard the usual call to the crowd, “I want to see you go nuts!”

Well, right after this, some people did go nuts. Steve Mrozek flailed his arms and legs like a man on fire scaring nearby onlookers into keeping their distance and holding up their arms in protection. 

I would advise against seeing this band until they get their live sound till an actually acceptable level, and I’ve taken into account the incompetence of the sound people in saying this.  I honestly hope this isn’t the best the Rockford scene has to offer. 
Unoxidized (The Surprising) 

Who? At first I thought a bunch of 10 year olds had gotten up on the stage, and I thought some sort of gag thing was going to take place. No, these guys were for real.  The average age of these fellows is probably about 15.  My first impression of this band is that they had some sort of  happy 80s power metal/pop punk feel.  The power metal feel was limited to that first song of theirs though. 

The next few songs had kind of a skank punk feel to them and even included some backup vocal screams at a few certain parts.  Their set in general was composed of happy pop punk feeling songs with fast paced punk riffs that would have reminded you of early Blink 182 a bit, except more on the technical side.  

These kids were a pleasant surprise. Further, I must admit, these kids are quite good for their age. They are pretty damn good “shredders” already. I’d have to see more before I declared them child prodigies with a big future ahead, but I’m leaning in that direction. With a few more years under their belt and better equipment they could be really good. One could go as far as to say that their composition skills are pretty good considering the flow of their songs.  The normally hated and despised solos are really catchy. 

The vocals consisted primarily of the guitarist/singer who had a vocal style similar to that of  Derricky Whibbly of Sum 41, as well as a small metal element to it as well. The lyrical composition of the set doesn’t depart from the “My girlfriend broke up with me and now I’m mad and depressed” that we are used to hearing in most music nowadays, but thats’s not too surprising considering the age of the band.  

Sioum:  (The Good and Surprising)

People stood around. Kids asked “what do these guys sound like.”   Another lame instrumental band? Nope. These guys are talented.  Epic and not like Epic Movie.  Now Sioum has a pretty good reputation around the area including being Swing State veterans and instrumental experts, as well as being pretty damn good live. Well this show was no exception. 

Now its a bit different when I use the word “talent” coming from someone who doesn’t play an instrument like myself, but nevertheless this band is talented. I’m not talking about mad shredding skills either. I’m talking about excellent musical composition, good guitar work, and a flow that would make any other metal band extremely jealous.

Something I feel I should point out is that the keyboard is an important and essential part of this band, and is very well done. This was clearly demonstrated live. These guys aren’t your average instrumental trio by any means.  They drown you in emotionally and imagination driven compelling music. No, don’t associate this with emo by any means. 

What did you miss? An epic soundtrack feel for every song that left everyone nodding their head in approval and wondering where these guys have been all their lives. Sioum also brought out some older folks. Yes, old folks that were definitely above the age of 30, which we usually don’t see at any punk/metal shows.  I suppose its unfortunate, but is it our fault if anything beyond The Rolling Stones, Toto and Rick Astley is too loud, fast, and brutal for their ears? 

This band has more soundtracks in them then John Williams has left.  These guys could have been the perfect replacement to the bad musical soundpieces that plagues films like recent films such as Saw, Red, Due Date, Life As We Know it, and Secretariat.

The first part of their set made me feel like I was in an aggressive 80’s sci-fi move, but without Arnold, so no Runnin Man.  As they progressed into their set you could see yourself running for you life after being stuck into Friday the 13th with everything flashing before you, but in slow-mo. Impressed yet?

I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful their well composed melodies were. That tad heavier version of God Is An Astronaut had arrived along with all the heavy, dark forbodding, yet epic feeling riffs that I had dreamt of.   Toward the middle of the set their ambient brilliance was brought to fruition by some incredible lead ins with the guitar and keyboard working perfectly together. 

Here a few other feelings that their music gave me: 

 I was in a horrifying and creepy horror film where somebody is on the run being chased by a ruthless killer, namely me. Help. 
– I’m doing something crazy and insane in a very dangerous place. Furthermore I’m on acid, LSD, and you are coming off a high from Shrooms for the first time. To top it off, I’m not dead yet from a first time drug overdose. 
–  The last song made me imagine that I was walking through a field in a thunderstorm as the rain poured down on me. Toward the end I feel as if someone has died in front of me in slow motion during an epic battle charge into an unseen oblivion.  Yea, it felt that epic. 
As soon as their set ended their was a buzz of people talking about just how good they were. One of the best local bands I’ve heard in a long time” , said Metal lover Scotty Georgeson of Elysion Fields in his praise for Sioum.
If your looking for something with an inspiring sound to write the next Harry Potter, finish homework, or just get a taste of something that will drive your imagination wild, I highly recommend this band. Oh, and do pick up their CD. It’s worth it every penny. 
Elysion Fields: (The Good)

As usual, these guys put on a great show both in sound and performance. The only thing that dampened their set was the incompetence of the sound board fools who prevented the kick drum from actually being miked correctly messing it up and doing a disservice to the overall sound of Elysion Fields (EF) on Saturday.  Yes, yet another reason to diss The Oasis. 

Even though Elysion Fields wasn’t headlining they nevertheless, drew a crowd of their own.  They are starting to draw small crowds of their proving how good and how serious they really are. This may be due in part to the fact that this band actually does promote a great deal.

  A smoke machine complimented part of the set drawing a tad bit of attention, and a shout of “Let’s see some movement” from vocalist Tim Sheridan did just that. 

Strong vocals and a pretty damn good stage presence by lead vocalist Tim Sheridan helped to contribute further this privilege for their set.  Elysion Fields would become the first band of the night to actually get a pit started, something that is hard to do in a venue like The Oasis considering their attitude toward moshing, two-stepping, anything psychically fun.

Their set contained the familiar metalcore feel that audiences are used to, but with a catchy and technical side perfectly mixed in.  When venues can refrain and stop themselves from messing up the sound of Elysion Fields, you will hear a perfectly synced set, such as the Oasis heard on Saturday.

These guys are playing a big show tomorrow at the Clearwater theater with Arsonists Get All The Girls, And Hell Followed With, Within The Ruin, and Structures, so if your looking for metal show with a technical edge, you should be in for a treat.  

I Made You Myself:  (The Surprising)
I detect early Silverstein influences. These guys went from The Devil Wears Prada wanabees to something that gives them a unique style that I haven’t heard in any other band in the area. 
It’s a bit hard to describe what they sound like because of their style, but I’ll do my best. Think of a heavier Silverstein, with more screaming, but think of a grungier feeling Underoath as well that bombards you with a flurry of mixed vocals. 

Their sound was a bit off as well, and I believe that his is finally due to the abilities of the sound board fellows. Overall these guys had a refreshing sound that departs from the traditional breakdown formula we are used to in this scene.  Catchy choruses gave their set a great feel.   

They have an EP coming out soon, so I will have to wait before I can compare their studio work to their live shows. This is a band to keep an eye out for. 

They are definitely a band that can boast of having a unique sound in our local metal scene.  Hopefully they can continue to improve their live sound. Better equipment would aid them in attaining that sound. I’m really impressed with these guys, and I only see better things for their future. 

Looking to go to a show? Bands to avoid and Bands to fight to death to see!

Now before I begin, I consider bands to be good based on their live performance and sound, not by their genre. If they put on a good show and sounded awesome live, I’m letting you know. I’ll give you three bands in both categories that I’ve seen in the last six months. I avoid mentioning big bands like ABR, TDWP, BMTH, Underoath, ect. due the fact that a good live performance by them is usually assured.

Bands to see live: 

Those machine gun sounding double bass beats aren’t just something that is reserved for the studio. They have a loud  punch which will help to shake the room a bit each time the pedal is stomped on.  So you can count on hearing every breakdown being executed smoothly and clearly from the end of it to the beginning. What you hear on their studio albums, you will hear live. Did I mention the incredible pits that form when the first breakdown from “It’s Not Safe To Swim Today” hits? 

The clarity of their sound will make sure that each song of their set is epic. It will be so epic that it has enough possibility to bring Chuck Norris to tears.

I usually don’t expect much from bands that sound like they do, if that tells you anything. They define themselves as partycore? Well, I suppose they call themselves partycore for a very good reason; their sets feel like one hell of a party. You can expect to jump up and down, nod your head in sync with the pounding base rhythms and quick catchy guitar riffs, and to do and say crazy, insane things that you never would have thought you could.  

So plan on bringing a friend who puts “Whatever happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” as their first and foremost principle.  Plan on hearing music so catchy and an atmosphere with such a party feel to it that you that the setting in the music video of “Get Low” is a possibility. 

Don’t get too drunk either. You might forget or might not be able to remember the ridiculous amount of fun you will have at their set. Trust me, you will want to remember this. Oh, and by the way, these guys are another band which sound so much better and are so much better live then they are in the studio. 

For a moment, ignore all the hate you have for these posers, auto-tuners, and generic “crap” that this band stands for or whatever you may believe about them. Granted you have expectations that they will probably sound nothing like their studio version music.

You would be right. Asking Alexandria (AA)actually sounds better live then they do on their album. The autotune that you are used to on that album is almost unnoticeable live. Perhaps some long overdue vocal improvement has been accomplished by these fellows. 

You can expect to experience a situation that has the feel of a dark nightlife party crossed with the feel of an angry moshpit. If your a high-school guy and your single, this is also a great place to meet girls, considering they make up a substantial part of AA’s fan base. 

Below are Bands that you really dont want to see. You will be so depressed and humiliated that you won’t even have the will to demand your money back! So DONT GO!

Of Apollo:  Your in for a surprise. It’s not the kind of surprise you want to experience either. You won’t find out that cool twisting surprise that Bruce Willis is dead.  Instead you will find out just bad a wannabe Deathcore band that attempts to mix in melodic ambient riffs with breakdowns in that constant  and repetitive order truly is. 
Who is this? Its a crappy self described “melodic hardcore band”   from Wisconsin who is relatively unknown due to the fact that they suck live, have horribly written music, and  a set so boring that napping is always  imminent. Most people would consider them deathcore due to the fact that the melodic nature of their music doesnt exist. 
At the end of their set they will encourage you to buy their EP and to buy merch. Perhaps you would, if they didn’t suck so bad live.  Perhaps they could gain the possibility of “potential” if they would actually write their own music rather then trying to copy everyone elses.  Long hair and cool tatoos alone don’t make a scream any better, something you will realize in its entirety if you see this embarrassment to metal live. 
Let’s assume your a guy. You expect plenty of manliness and a bad ass performance that throws you back into the all too memorable high-school pissing contest. Your ready to start hardcore dancing and you are intent on refusing to duck, budge, or show any sign of pain to nearby observers. You are for all intensive purposes, Chuck Norris
 You’re pumped. The first song on the set starts. STOP.
You’ve been conned,duped, and mislead. These “founders of hardcore” are disappointing impostors. The harsh truth then hits you; this band live is worse then a full episode of Desperate Housewives. I mean that. It’s even worse then watching a few scant minutes of Sex And The City.  
The vocals are off. You can’t hear the majority of the drums, and you can’t hear the keyboard in the slightest. You realize you would have been better off staying at home and watching Mean Girls for the 9th time by yourself. Your manliness has taken that much of a hit. 
Let’s assume your a girl. You’ve heard Architects on their album. Century Media has reaffirmed thatArchitects is the greatest thing to come out of Britain since BMTH, so your expectations are high. The band gets up. You hear an awesome British accent and your attention is now full invested in their lead vocalist Sam Carter. 
Instead your confronted with vocals that are drowned about by a bass so loud that you thought that the neighborhood hip hop rapper wannabes had taken over the sound stage duties.  You can’t hear the clean vocals at all. Its just depressing. Sure their studio stuff sounds great, but this? 
Perhaps improvements to their live performance may be made, but do you want to take the chance of risking your money to that’s been confirmed? 

A Rewarding Show with Attila, As Blood Runs Black, Close Your Eyes, For The Fallen Dreams, and Stick To Your Guns

 It was an incredible fun show, and to be honest, I wasn’t expecting that much with only having heard Stick To Your Guns once before. Clearwater isn’t exactly my top venue of choice, but it does make for a decent pit, some great places to take pics, and most off all a kind of balcony area where older folks having just come from the bar can stare down with their jaws dropped as they observe hardcore dancers for the first time.

One further point about Clearwater is that they forget that security isnt actually supposed to grab moshers. Legally, they aren’t supposed to touch you, and that includes choke-holds and arm locks. I seriously hope that the conduct of their security doesn’t result in a lawsuit for them.  

Anyways, on to the details that at least some of you want to find out a bit more about concerning that sick and kick-ass show on October 21st, the show most of you only wish you could have gone too. Must feel like crap. 
According to their obviously factual and non-biased Facebook self Summary:
ROGUE does not just present something new, they are the future of death metal as we know it. Rogue harnesses the power of 8 string guitars to achieve the unbelievably low tuning of drop E, that’s right an entire octave below E standard tuning. The collaboration of lightening fast guitars, explosive bass thumps, ear shattering percussion, and soul reaping vocals produce Rogue’s monumentally cataclysmic sound.
Rogue redefines the limits being pushed in today’s modern death metal scene. Storming Chicago’s local underground ranks, Rogue has set their mark and is accelerating to the top. Rogue officially formed in late 2009, and is quickly being recognized as the new leaders of heavy metal. Prepare for the end. 
Um…. yea.       Not. 
Now that the joke is over, I’ll throw this out there, if your hoping for something original, catchy, and unique sounding, well… this most certainly isn’t it. But don’t worry, this band has it all; slow boring repetitive breakdowns, one kind of deep scream, songs made up of a few select palmed riffs, and a non-existent stage presence and performance to go with it.  And we wonder why the “true” metal-heads despise deathcore…
I didnt mention them in the title, because frankly, I want people to remember them for the nice people they are, not what their music actually sounds like and how bad their sets are. After an hour or two of actually trying to find this band on myspace and compare the memories of their live performance vs their studio tracks, I finally found Rogue.  
I’m going to shoot straight with you. These guys aren’t a good live band by any stretch. I understand that stage presence takes a while to build sometimes, and that it’s not always easy to pump up the crowd, but major improvements need to be made. That isn’t the only issue. Their live sound hurts the ears, and not in a good way. If you want to be The Acacia Strain, Monsters, or Demolisher wannabees, at least do it right.
I’m not alone in this “opinion” either. When their screamer asked the crowd if they wanted to hear another song, he became extremely aware of the word “No!” which echoed throughout the stage floor. Definitely not something you want to hear and see as a band on stage. But alas, the crowd is always right. 
Now, so that you all know, I love “chug” feeling music. If I’m in the mood, the heavier, the better.  If I want something technical in even the slightest way, I’ll pick another band to listen to. Does this band have potential to get better? Yes. Let’s hope they do, because right now, they give “deathcore” a bad name with their inability to play their songs live like they do in the “studio”
Oh and let me repeat this so that I can end this section on a positive note: They have potential! I’m rooting for them. 
These guys weren’t bad, and they put on a great show. Were they as good as I was expecting them to be? Nope. Were they the best band there? Nope. 
They of course saved their best and most popular song, “Song For The Broken” for last. That was a good set list choice, because it helped redeem their set as it just hadn’t been nearly as good as it could have been. Unfortunately their sound was off somewhat during the beginning part of their set, but improved toward the end. 
Their lead vocalist had to almost scream into the mike rather than use his normal voice, partly thanks to the sound techs at Clearwater. This guy has a good voice that isn’t limited to their album, something I feared wouldn’t be true seeing them live.  Of most important note is their awesome guitar jamming stances. It blew my mind. 
Who sucks? Victory Records!
Its’ too bad they are stuck on Victory Records, who had an apparent presence at the show due to their vacant truck which sat in the parking lot.  I imagine they were probably trying to catch possible “pirates” at the show who could have been doing the unthinkable: giving more attention, exposure, and free advertising to the bands there. How rude! 
Who? Yea that’s what I wondering before I saw them. I managed to listen to a few of their songs, and I wasn’t particularly impressed, though I thought some of their screaming rap vocals sounded kind of cool.  Who doesn’t love a sick and wide vocal range? Not to mention their lead vocalist  really surprised me with his range of English grammar and syntax like kung-fu skills. Yea, he’s the bomb. 
They got on stage and immediately took control. It’s almost as if they crowd exploded right into their first song, and for good reason; this band is incredibly sick live. They put on a set so impressive, I couldn’t stop bobbing my head in shock and surprise as to how good they sounded live. Hell, they sounded better live then they did on their album. 
After listening to both of their album, I gained some real appreciation for his rap-scream. It sounded just as good live, if not better, then it did on the album. You could actually clearly hear their base, a sometimes rare listening pleasure, which had this kind of bouncy yet heavy, almost Red Hot Chili Peppers’esque sound to it.
I could see why people were throwing down like they did. I wanted to, but someone had to snap the pictures and vividly imagine themselves doing some sick moves in the pit.  During one of their breakdowns, I very well could have punched someone in the face. 
This helped give the feel that there was a party going down, which was echoed by the audience as they jumped up and down,  did some rap like hand motions, and moshed and hardcore dance for the whole set.  
 A concluding wall of death not only spoke volume  for the hardcore, tank top clad tough guys with something to prove, it also resounded with everyone there, most specifically the sinister looking security fellow who looked as if he had been kicked out of a bad 90s metal band. 
I was hoping for just a bit more from these guys, but neither I nor anyone else can complain too much. Dylan sort of skipped and hopped to the front of the stage covered from the waist up with insane amount of tattoos and sick arm sleeves. His ripped pants and shirt gave the anxious onlookers the appearance that he had just been in a serious and prolonged fight with either a drugged and drunk chicken or a female hitsquad from Jersey shore that had his “Back against the wall.”  Oh yes, I’ll admit it. I’m jealous. 
 They were solid, and met almost every expectation I had. Their setlist was rewarding, even though they didn’t play some of my personal favorites. (My overall favorite from the FTFD is “In Sincerity”) Don’t worry though, they played their newest song “Strange Faces”, so if you see them, you can count on them playing it on the rest of their tours. 
There were unfortunately some things that were off, and this included bass and guitar riffs, as well as vocals.  I was disappointed when they played “Last Dying Breath.” Im an avid and proud lover of this song, and their guitarist seemed to scream it rather then loudly shout it like he does in the album version. The harmonization was off as well which really sucked. 
It would have been awesome if Jeremy Mickinnon from ADTR was there for Nightmares. The clean vocal chorus kind of sucked without them, even though Dylan Richter does hold his own when it comes to belting out some clean vocals. 
I blame the pretty well hidden mess-ups and mistakes during the set on the constant lineup changes this band has gone through. If they didn’t change bassists and guitars as fast as Tiger Woods goes through women, perhaps they might sound more solid. In fact, I’m pretty sure they’ve had a new bassist and guitarist every year since 03 or so.  
This band however does know what they are doing on stage and seem to move in cohesion, unlike some of the others bands whose members just kind of did their own thing. A few times, I almost saw some collisions, which is bad thing for a band because it implies that the band doesn’t know what they are doing on stage. 
One other thing of note. This guy must wear an incredible amount of anti-sweat speed stick or something because he never showed even the least bit of evidence of sweat. That’s right not even a bead of sweat.  Is that a good thing, or a bad thing? You decide. 
Hearing these guys made me feel like a rejected “Landmine” from Jersey Shore. They are just too epic. First off their lead singer, Sonik, looks like a Mexican carbon copy of Barack Obama, except that he is straight forward, has sick gauges, doesn’t pretend to be the new messiah that is able to prevent the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse, and keeps his promises, especially when weed is involved. 
In fact, after seeing them at this show, I’m positive that ABRB smokes more weed in a year then The Black Dahlia Murder has smoked in all of their years together as a band combined. Toward the end of their set, they made me feel stupid when the vocalist asked the crowd something like, “We’re looking for a girl called Mary Jane. If you’ve seen her, tell her to come hang with us out back.” It took me a few seconds to realize what Mary Jane was which made me feel quite stupid. 
I actually had no idea of how good these guys are.  I had dismissed these guys until I heard them, simply because I hadn’t liked them at all way back in the day when I hated any music that had screaming in it it. Yea, I know, stupid eh? I am ashamed and am at this moment hanging my head in deep and sincere shame. 
I didn’t have any particular expectations of the band, simply because I wasn’t familiar with any of their stuff for the most part. Regardless, they made me feel as if I had just taken a giant dump and was soaking in the feeling of relief.  Everything was perfect. During the 6 second blast beats in “My Fears Have Become Phobias”  the guitarists played their axes as if they were shooting a machine gun and downing some Nazi Zombies in tune with the blast beats of the drummer. Yea, it was bloody epic, and of course very memorable. 
During the last song for their set, Sonik decided to repeat the night’s earlier wall of death with one that was even more epic.  Observe the pic on the right, take it in, and be jealous since you missed this melee of crazed kids:
As they ended, they requested for a place to stay for the night. If my memory serves me right, some girl flipped out, and screamed for them to stay at her place. I’m sure her parents would just revel in thought of some weed smelling, long haired homeless looking fellows sleeping in their house. Ah, teenage fantasies. 
I’m suprised STYG headlined this tour rather then As Blood Runs Black considering just how big ABRB is in comparison to STYG.  Props to STYG though to earn the “headliner” spot. They deserve it. 
They got up on stage and through their performance they made everyone aware of how well they can work the stage. If you want some lessons, watch a vid of these guys, they are the professionals. 
Jesse Barnett literally had his veins bulging and popping out of his neck like a steroid injected weight lifting champion as  he sang and screamed into that microphone. Only half way in, he was soaked in so much sweat, it looked like had been thrown in a pool. That’s how much effort he put in each song.   This man has made B.O. not only an acceptable presence and smell at hardcore/metal shows, but rather an expected one due to his manliness
Did I mention how much crowd participation he gathered up near the front of the stage?  The guy almost makes you feel like your about to receive a sales pitch, but instead you have a mike stuck near your face and an opportunity to sing or scream into that mike. Do beware of the high five or fist pump. They become quite addictive.
If they continue to put on sick and awe inspiring shows for every venue like they did for Clearwater and during the Thrash And Burn Tour, they will continue to gather exposure in the hardcore scene. 
This show was no exception to the consistent incredible shows that they have. Everything was right on, and I mean everything. His vocals were loud enough and I can’t remember him missing or messing up on any screams or clean vocals.  
They were so good that they even won over an older looking couple in the corner next to me who had been shaking their heads in disbelief at the previous bands.
Screaming in almost any manner or amount doesn’t usually make the old folks feel comfortable. 
Whenever you go to see STYG, you come out feeling uplifted, encouraged, and ready to keep on tackling life. I can’t say that for a lot of bands such as Monsters or The Acacia Strain. Sure you may punch someone’s face in, but that’s about as much satisfaction as you will get, not to mention the numerous blows you may receive in the process to of punching said persons’s face. Oh and do leave the 15 year old’s alone in the pit. You DO NOT want their parents to show up in a fit of rage.  
This show was no exception to the consistent incredible shows that they have. Everything was right on, and I mean everything. His vocals were loud enough and I can’t remember him missing or messing up on any screams or clean vocals.  They were so good that they even won over and older looking couple in the corner next to me who had been shaking their heads in disbelief at the previous bands.  Oh and lets remember one more thing, screaming in almost any manner or amount doesn’t usually make the old folks feel comfortable. Perhaps there is hope to introduce music to the older generation besides Mic Jagger who just refuses to grow up.

A Sick Show: Close Your Eyes, Attilla, Stick To Your Guns, As Blood Runs Black and more…

Just got back from Clearwater tonight which turned out to be much better of a show then I thought it would be.  I’m too tired and in dire of need of sleep to give you all of the juicy details of the show, but rest assured, I will give you a full breakdown of what happened tomorrow in my next post.

I was so tired that I barely made it back to my campus awake. My plans for listening to some relaxing indie music, a.k.a The National, had to be ditched in favor of instead blasting “Beheading Of A King“, a new band I came across which I’ll tell you more about in the near future.

Let me just say this before I hit the sack: While Stick To Your Guns was marvelous and easily satisfied my expectations for them, Attilla blew me away. It’s nice to see a band perform and sound like them live. They made tonight a show to remember

Sleep Serapis Sleep: The Biggest Metal Band in the Chicago and Milwaukee area

Sleep Serapis Sleep probably one of the biggest bands in the Lake County and Milwaukee area, and their following and success is well deserved if you’ve taken a listen to any other stuff. What can you expect from these guys? You can expect something that is catchy, melodic,  has well placed breakdowns, contains an excellent use and placement of clean vocals, and features song writing that continually gets better.

They have a unique sound, that’s for sure, especially in the Chicago and Southern Wisconsin metal scene.  The band has a metalcore feel, but also has southern metal elements in their earlier stuff.  These guys however are definitely one of the best metal bands in the area.

I haven’t yet jumped on the Sleep Serapis Sleep (SSS) bus just yet, but I’m really getting tempted to. I caught a few of their songs at summerfest back in July at the Cool TV Rock stage. They performed well and set the tone for MMI, ABR and TDWP  who would all play on the same stage later that day.  I also saw them at Swing State where they put on a sick show there as well.

I’ve heard some mixed reviews from people concerning the band. Some people say they are just another metalcore band, and others have said they are the freshest band to our metal scene in a while.  They’ve been compared to BMTH, (Seriously how is that possible?) why I don’t know, and As Blood Runs Black, something I don’t get either. The truth is somewhere in the middle in this case.

This band “mixes” up the kind of elements in their songs very very well, and its the exact reason why for the success they are experiencing right now. I, for one, hate using the word “mix” or variations of it sometimes, especially in metal, because of what usually becomes of bands who try to to do it. Usually some kids will get together and say to themselves, “Hey lets take some deathmetal, metalcore, screamo, and maybe a bit of rock and rap and mix it all together! It will sound awesome and we will become famous!”

Well that usually never happens, because most bands who try to mix and match can’t pull it off well because they don’t possess the kind of talent, song writing ability, and time to do what A Day To Remember, Chiodos, System Of A Down, Between The Buried And Me, and others have done.

The first two SSS albums are a little bit different from each other. Their first album, Dead Man Walking (DMW) was recorded with Joey Sturgis and is pretty heavy, and some riffs in it that sound like something right out of TDWP’s Plagues. (No I’m not kidding.) The album is very unique compared to any other albums or EPs that have come out of the Milwaukee and Chicago scene in the last few years. DMW also has some southern metal elements mixed into it which leak through when you hear some of the vocals. This album is my personal favorite of the two. 

Their second album, The Dark Awakening, was actually self-produced and marks an improvement in their song writing and composition as well as their vocal ranges. It still keeps to their metalcore roots, but gets a bit heavier.  This album also keeps their tradition of well placed and written breakdowns instead of the crappy generic ones we are used to hearing in this scene.

The improved writing of the breakdowns in this album should be apparent with just a quick listen to “Explaining Sight To The Blind”  The breakdowns that you will hear are for the most part fast-paced, but are actually very very well done, so don’t worry about hearing something that overuses breakdowns, and overuses them badly. 

Their best song overall is probably “Ed Gein Just Wasn’t Comfortable In His Own Skin”, which shows some of the talent the band has as well as some of the reasons for their current following. (It also shows their ability to mix styles well.) One final note is that the release of The Dark Awakening has really shown the improvement and potential of this band, as well as giving this band a guarantee of future success.   Simply put, this is probably one of the best metal bands in our scene in the last year or two.

Rating: (5/5)