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)

The Little Known Divide: Scene vs. Hardcore

If you look like this, you are part of the scene. No questions.

The doors are about to open up and there is a line of folks all the way down the side of the building. Kids are waiting to get in dressed in their slip ons, tight skinny jeans, straightened hair, and their Blessthefall, The Devil Wears Prada, and Miss May I T-Shirts. Others are dressed in cargo shorts, sport long unkempt hair, and an As I Lay Dying large T-Shirt. Last but not least, we have the Hardcore Tough Guys in their mesh shorts, bro mosh basketball jerseys, and angry future hardcore pit demeanor. All the necessary pieces of this year’s Thrash And Burn Tour

(Quick Note: When I talk about “hardcore” music, I’m referring to what the “hardcore” bands of today identify themselves, not old hardcore like Hatebreed and Bleeding Through. )

It’s quite common for there to be excited chat ranging from high expectations for a band, to the hate for all the “scene fags” in and around the venue.  Well what is a scene kid/fag ? There is a wikihow related to it, in-depth google searches, and various sites such as “yourscenesucks” that poke fun at the various scenes out there in the music world.

Lately, we’ve seen alot of anger by some in the metal/hardcore world with the “scene fans” that now populate Warped Tour, Cornerstone, and other major music Festivals and Tours. Even Mayhem fest attracted it’s fair share of scene kids with the prominence of bands like Norma Jean and Atreyu who played the fest this year. As some people know, this has been going on since metal started, but I believe it may be intensifying somewhat.  Drop a name like “Senses Fail or Silverstein” to give people an idea of what bands you like during a certain show can sometimes get a prompt “F*ck you!” from bystanders.  Some people, I suppose, don’t have open minds when it comes to listening to more then one kind of metal, and it’s not like I dropped a cursed name like the Jonas Brothers in the conversation.

Sunday was another big show at a the Cofee House in Dekalb. Whitechapel, Impending Doom, Miss May I, Oceano, and I Declare War had their fans there in force. I was too stupid to buy tickets online and found out that they were sold out, so on my way out, I was fortunate enough to hear the remarks of your typical hardcore kid who saw my shirt and remarked “Aw The Devil Wears Prada. Thats f*cking cute.” I said in response when I walked past him, “Hey, they are a good band.” 

The quick memory of this little encounter has gotten me thinking though. I’m somewhat afraid to proudly wear my TDWP shirts at shows with bands like Oceano, Whitechapel, Emmure, Suicide Silence, and the other hardcore/deathcore bands out there.

Toward the end of Whitechapel’s set, I saw a kid stumble out of the venue bleeding from several places in the head. It was like a B movie, except the paper towels, ice, and blood dripping onto the ground below him were very real. His shirt “Feed Christians To The Lions”, pretty much summed up what had happened to him.

Looking at his situation and comparing it a possible future one of mine got me thinking. If he got smashed up this bad, imagine what would have happened to me with my “cute” TDWP shirt. I may have to avoid certain parts of the pit, or the pit in general for bands like Whitechapel if I want my face to stay intact, while sporting any sort of shirt which could be even remotely considered to be the wrong hate scene.

It’s not as if I pulled an Eric Douglas and gave Justin Bieber haters/metal loving f*ck heads 14 days to take down their “hater” sites, groups, pages, ect. I love and respect metal in all of it’s forms, but it seems that a serious gap is taking place.

The attitude that seems to be taking over mainstream hardcore is troubling, and I’m not some sort of Christcore kid. I understand wanting to get physical and go nuts during a heavy as hell breakdown, but the desire to smash someone’s face in?

These creatures gather at Emmure shows.

More and more places are banning moshing in any form and even innocent commonplace activities such as crowd-surfing. I’m not going to bash anyone for hardcore dancing. If people want to get into a pit and all do some hardcore dancing, I’m all for it. If someone goes in and gets crushed, they understood the risk of going in, and paid the price. But the kids that go full speed into nearby bystanders with their windmills and spin kicks are the reason for metal and hardcore giving terrible impressions to onlookers.

Apparently one can’t like several different kinds of metal and be openly proud of it, without some repercussions, which shows what the scene has become.  I hate to say it but im starting to realize why some of the metal head kids despise the hardcore ones, and it’s not because of the hardcore dancing.

Whenever I ask hardcore and metal fans why they hate scene kids, I never really get an answer, and when I do it usually consist of something along the lines of, “They think their bands are good and/or are more talented then the bands I think are good and/or talented.”

We are all vastly aware of the difference in opinion in the metal world over what some people consider talent, Between The Buried And Me, and what some people don’t, Emmure.  Talent is a very subjective thing. I wont say that a band isn’t talented. It takes a slight bit of talent after all to make music. While I love TDWP and think they are very talented, I personally won’t put down and demean someone else’s band and tell them that their band isn’t nearly as talented as the ones I prefer.

While we all may have a disagreement over the levels of talent invloved, I believe we all might be better off if we hesitate a bit and lay down the hate for WCAR, Attack Attack!, and I See Stars. Sure they arent the most talented bands out there, but I think they are catchy as hell.  I even prefer listening to them over BTBAM, but don’t get me wrong, BTBAM is an incredible band with alot of talent. I just don’t dig them as much.

Yea, there are plenty of these at hardcore shows.

To sum it up:  There are always differences in perceived talent. We may not really like it or dig it very much, but let’s at least try to hesitate a bit before we say a band sucks and start a brawl. (You might want to be careful around people when you demean their bands and tell them they suck.)  Lets remember that people enjoy various forms of metal, and some prefer not to listen to more then metalcore or deathcore. I like listening from everything from TDWP, TAS, AILD, Underoath, WCAR, Veil Of Maya, ABR, and everything in between, so please, don’t hate me too much.

If you insist on ripping bands and saying they suck, well by all means, feel free. Some bands do suck, and it’s better to let them know that, so that just perhaps, they can improve. (Which might not be possible for bands like Attack Attack depending on your perception of their music.)

If you really need to some hating, please direct it toward someone who may be deserving, that is if 4chan lets him live in peace. For now, forget your hatred of crabcore, and our shared dislike for Brokencyde. Below is a video of that poor, yet stupid and foolish kid who has now pissed off 4chan, and declared war on metal fans giving them a deadline to submit to his wishes.

 The comments on this video are horrible, yet hysterical. I suggest reading them, it will be worth it. (He will probably never show his face around any sort of metal show. I wouldn’t want to be him and thrown into a pit.)



Questions? Comments? Death threats? Feedback is not only welcome, but encouraged.

Another Hidden Gem: Seasons

Seasons

Some of you may be a bit sick of the cool 20-30 second string of riffs, a breakdown, a few more sweeps, and riffs, a breakdown, and yet another few sweeps that sound thrown in just before another breakdown. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE a good breakdown, but sometimes they can feel so overused that you just don’t get as pumped up from them as you have in the past.

There are some bands out there that mix in breakdowns quite well, but either you already know about them, and/or you haven’t been able to find any new ones. Well, take some time from your usual web surfing, facebook commenting, and constant checking to see if there have been any new leaks of Underoath and/or A Day To Remember, and check out rather incredible sounding band from Toledo, Ohio called Seasons.

Seaons is a melodic hardcore band, but a standout one, which if you listen to the 7 track EP the have, you will find out exactly why that is. This self-titled EP makes for a great listen, and a bit of a change of pace if you’ve been listening to  I suggest that you listen from the intro all the way to Paper Boats. You will get the most enjoyment out of this EP by listening to it from start to finish, something that should tell you something about the musical composition and writing style of this band.

All you need to do to get lured into listening to the rest of this EP is to listen to the intro and you’ll be hooked. It will satisfy you much better then a Snickers, and that’s no lie. Don’t take my word for it though. Listen to it yourself so that you can give yourself the experience of a beautiful sound which you have previously and unknowingly deprived yourself of.

They will probably instantly remind you of The Ghost Inside (TGI) , but they are, in fact, much more melodic then TGI. Their riffs are a thing of wonder.

I guarantee you when you listen to this EP, there will be a track that you’re listening to in which you’ll hear this brilliance of Seaon’s ambient compositions and you’ll be driven to rewind the track a bit, or put it on repeat. Once such song I would mention would be “Above The Water”, which has an ambient ending you won’t soon forget.

Their instrumental track as well as their intro really show what kind of talent these guys have.  These tracks just arent thrown together and placed in the album for a “cool instrumental interlude.” In fact, there is alot of work put these parts, which will be perfectly evident to you when you listen to this EP.

I highly suggest this EP for a refreshing breather. I suggest a bonfire, a smoke, a comfy yard chair, and a beer as the perfect setting to enjoy Seasons. You can get their EP at mediafire through ILikedYouBetterDead

I attribute my discovery of this band to TheJeffRoutzahn who made a youtube review of the band which has some further information about the EP and its composition. It is posted below. I highly recommend watching it.

Finally: Melodic Hardcore out of Chicago that doesn’t suck!

                     Glaciers: Melodic Hardcore in the Chicagoland area at its finest.

 

Do good things ever come out of Northwest Illinois/Chicago anymore? Many of us here are worn down by a continued bombardment of things such as high taxes, fleeing businesses, corrupt politicians, insane regulations, and expensive permits needed to change a piece of your toilet or even build a doghouse! (Yea, you need a 70$ permit to build a doghouse here. I’m not joking unfortunately.)

Well, some thing good and refreshing has just came roaring out of nowhere into the metal scene here. Glaciers, a band that has seemingly come out of nowhere possesses some serious musical talent and potential that will shock those of us in the area. I really didn’t think that there was anything this good around. Well, it’s good to be wrong. It really is.

Your probably asking yourself, “Glaciers, who is that?”  Before you dare to even think it, no, this isn’t
some crappy wannabe highschool band who listen to BMTH and have decided to try and startup a band that sounds like them. 

No, these guys are made up of members from previous bands in the past and have really brought that experience to fruition.  See for yourself and give the two songs they have posted up a listen. In fact, I had been thinking of doing a post about these guys a few days ago regarding their potential and downright incredible music.

 Apparently I’m not the only one who noticed that potential as they just got signed TODAY to some sort of management deal with Outerloop Management. (Misery Signals, Periphery, Oceano) This means that you can expect these guys to get on some good shows and really gain some exposure, which they fully deserve.

 I had never heard of the band until a close friend mentioned that they had been uploaded onto ILikedYouBetterDead and that they were from the Chicago area.  To sum it up,  he recommended that I check them out. I did and was shocked when I realized that there was nothing this good in the hardcore scene in the Chicago area. 

From what I can tell, they got off to a very good start. Their first show was back in July on the 10th and they played with For The Fallen Dreams and Legend.  That right there is a show that most bands dream of playing for their debut show.

Now let’s put this into perspective. Some band that has been around since maybe late May, has barely 27k plays on their myspace page and a very small amount of facebook plays manages to get the attention of Outerloop Management and sign a management deal with them in barely six months time.  Wow are these guys going places already. How did all of this happen so quickly?

It happened because of the incredible sound, talent, and potential of this band that has gained enough awareness for Outerloop to pick up on these guys. I’m really impressed with what this band has done in the short time it’s existed and I’ll tell you what;  I guarantee you that these guys, at their current pace, will be signed to a record label much sooner then you think.

 I won’t bore you with technical details regarding their guitar riffs, breakdowns, ect, but what I will say is that their best song off their EP is easily “Orchids”  It has a beginning so epic and melodic in nature that it rivals songs like “Walk Away From The World” by The Ghost Inside or “Last Dying Breath” and “In Sincerity” by For The Fallen Dreams

You can download their EP at mediafire. I urge you to buy the EP the moment it comes out. I certainly will. (I RARELY buy EP’s or CDs of any sort from Local bands unless I believe it to absolutely be worth the money.)

I plan on posting more information on these guys when it becomes available to me. As far as I know Misery Signals and Oceano posted up some stuff regarding Glaciers on their facebook which got Glaciers some attention. I’m still wondering how they attracted the attention Outerloop Management

A local metal show: Some Bands Surprise, Some Really Suck.

Swing State 10/9/10

The local music scene on Saturday, October 9th presented us with the following bands that the local metal scene from the following has to offer:

Attempt To Fail

Attempt To Fail kicked off the night with their first live show ever and proved to be a welcomed surprise, something that always makes a show better then expected. 

They bring a different feel, finally, to the local metal scene.  This feel is most specifically not even close to anything metalcore, hardcore, deathcore, or anything “core” for that matter. As a band their genre is hard to classify, but they are most definitely a kind of alternative metal, with somewhat of a funk twist to them because of their drummer’s style.  They also have a bit of a Rage Against the Machine feel, but have a very distinct sound of their own which is very melodic in nature, yet pretty damn catchy for a metal band.

 There was a few screams in some of the songs, but they are specifically well placed and usually only consist of word or two.  They have yelling vocals and before you think it, those yelling vocals sound nothing like Ollie Sykes from BMTH. Also included was some rap style vocals, as well as David’s backup vocals which were on and clean sounding. (Oh, and no, they dont sound anything like Limp Bizkit.)

I did detect some surprising and well timed blast beats in some of the heavier parts of the song, which were yet another impressive mix by the drummer who distinctly gives this band their unique feel. Lyrically their songs have some obvious philosophical bents to them, something that is surprising in the metal scene, which unfortunately is dominated by relationship themed lyrics.

Solos. Solos. Even though I despise solos,  the ones that they did have was catchy enough to the point that it blended well with the song rather then sounding like it was thrown in, which really surprises me.

Their best song was easily their last song “Suffer-cate”, which had a bit more of a melodic feel to it, but “Shits and Giggles” is another one that deserves a mention. It even included a well timed breakdown at the end.  Before I sum this up, let me bring it up one last time,  the talent and ability of their drummer is something that should be pointed out as he gives this band their unique feel.

If your looking for a different feeling metal then the accustomed “core” kind that most of us are used to, check these guys out. Their current recordings on their myspace are from Swing State, so dont judge them by that.
Go out and see them, its worth your time.

Dead Men Tell No Tales

While plenty of us aren’t lucky enough to be surrounded by the incredible metal scene in Australia, we can score some luck, or Providence for us Calvinists in hearing a band from the area that doesn’t suck.

Wow.  Who would have that thought that a unique fresh breath in the post-hardcore metal scene is possible, especially in Illinois?  It’s nice to be surprised and not in a disappointing way, and you can thank “Dead Men Tell No Tales” for that.

This band is impressive to the ear. While their stage presence isn’t anything special, their sound is. They have a good screamer who seems to be able to vary his range, something that their studio recordings dont reflect.  Their guitarist does backup vocals, although he does them so much, that I wouldn’t call him a backup vocalist. He actually had a good voice for having to yell into the microphone, and the harmonization of vocals that did frequently occur was bloody good.

You can also detect a tad bit of a southern metal influence in their music although its not as apparent or dominant in their music like it is for bands like Norma Jean or Every Time I Die. They were a bit too post-hardcore/alternative rock for that.

Okay, now for the pump information. The breakdowns were for the most part quite fast, but very well done. They didn’t feel as if they were just thrown in there, they actually were well placed, flowed, and melded into the songs.

Their drummer has some serious talent, and good equipment too, something most local bands dont usually have. It was too bad that they werent able to mike their bass drum at all, though the venue can be blamed for that.

Oh and for a fun pic: 

He’s certainly having a good time.

 Of Apollo

Wow, what potential! A wonderkid band in the works? Untapped, youthful potential like Our Last Night and a Texas In July possessed and still do?

Hell no, this band is as generic as they come. Yet another highschool wannabe deathcore band who thinks doing some ambient riffs and then throwing in a breakdown somehow constitutes a well written song. Well, It doesnt.

 You could almost hear their attempt to have a Misery Signals/For The Fallen Dreams feel and sound, but coming up short. Don’t take my word for it though. Check out the crappy recordings on their myspace. It is literally the most original and unique well done “stuff” you have ever heard.

The band hails from Wisconsin, which shouldn’t surprise us. Seriously, how many good bands have come out of the metal scene in nearby Wisconsin in the last 5 years?

Their drummer was the only thing that was just a bit refreshing, as his style was actually somewhat unique and caught me eye. This bands needs to work ALOT more on their live sound, because if they don’t, they wont be around for very long. It won’t take too long for one of the members to drift into reality and think to themselves, “Wow, we suck.”

Could they get worse? Sigh, yes. The breakdowns  had a very generic sound to them. They sounded like something that was just thrown into to pump up the kids with 1 inch gauges and a weaknesss for anything with a double bass kick that you couldn’t hear.  Not only that, but it sounded like they had one single breakdown which they played for each song without variation. 

The one redeeming quality of this band was that some of their more melodic riffs at certain points were perfectly timed with the screaming, something I didnt expect from this band considering how bad they were. No, there were no more redeeming qualities besides this final point: In the music world, there is always hope for a band, or at least we hope there might be.

(P.S. I might seem a bit harsh, but I try not to cushion the facts)

An Acoustic Night at Swing State

 Most people might not know it, but Lake County does have more then just a hip hop scene. A grow number of acoustic acts are either coming through or forming in the area and Friday night is an example of this up and coming scene. (Possibly revise?)

At a dimly lit and buzzing Swing State on Friday night, Everything Between. They are an the aspiring acoustic band whose members consist of duo Cat the singer, and Elliot the guitarist, who hail from Mundelein highschool. Their opening acoustic act kicked off the start of the night’s live music with their first ever show.

Initial impressions are that Everything Between are a band best enjoyed after a breakup. One can listen to them and imagine watching a TV episode where a couple have just had a breakup and one of them is walking alone on a street. Their songs feel somewhat depressing, but nevertheless are reasonably well composed.

I recommend the ultimate listening situation for them to be sometime during the winter, next to a fireplace, and sitting in a comfy chair staring at the wall wondering why your life sucks. (too harsh?)

Don’t get me wrong though, they have talent for their age, as well as potential. Cat is by no means Taylor Swift, but she does have a wonderful voice though that has a “sweet” kind of “aww” feel to it  Her voice has potential to be one of a successful American Idol contestant, although I would recommend singing lessons as they would help her improve her lack of ability to hit high notes.  I am very impressed with her voice considering she hasn’t had any voice lessons.

Their best song was, and not surprisingly fan favorite, is “Yesterday’s Impression.”  Don’t pay attention to their song titles as they usually have nothing to do with the song. All of their songs are about relationships, something that shouldn’t surprise anyone considering the writers are in high school.

This is definitely a band which is worth hearing though, and I stress their live performance which sounds much better then any of their recordings which dont do Cat’s voice justice.   (3/5)


Raine Richards & Mark Mandeville

They are both independent folk artists who have each released their own solo records and are touring together. For the show they shared the stage and did sing together for certain songs. (Some songs were sung by only one of them.)

My initial impression is that these two are a hidden gem. I’ve never heard of either of them before, but I’m glad I did now. They are signed to a record label, but probably one most of us haven’t heard of called nobodysfavoriterecords,  Both their voices have a folk and country feel to it, but in harmony they have a sound which would put most folk acts to shame, and I completely mean that.  Mark’s voice in particular astounding. I wasn’t expecting it to be as good as it was.

 Both of these folks are older musicians, and their songs lyrics cover a wide variety of all things in life. Their live sound was incredible. They sounded like something off a perfected, mixed, and edited soundtrack.

I’ve never been this impressed with an act in the indie/folk/country genre that has performed at Swing State. This is hand’s down the best non metal act that I have ever seen at Swing State, as well as the best Folk act I’ve ever seen anywhere. You could have taken their live sound tonight and stuck it on a soundtrack without any editing whatsoever. They were that incredible. 

Their act which was well time out included a banjo, flute, harmonica, and acoustic guitars. There were no messups of anytime, and Rainne’s voice had an impressive range that at no time sounded off key, and most of all, her voice was something you could easily just stick in any genre. It had a unique, yet excellent sound of its own that was pleasurable to listen to.

Simply put, this may be one of the best acts that Swing State has seen all year. Check out each of their albums and listen to ’em while relaxing next to a fire. They will put you at ease and will improve the mood and atmosphere of your day.

(If your dying for dual vocal songs, these guys will not disappoint.)  (5/5)

New Chiodos – ” Illuminaudio” Puts Fears to Rest.

     Chiodos: Illuminaudio

 

Illuminaudio

Alot of Chiodos fan’s and listener’s feared that Chiodos was most likely done, and would do nothing but go downhill after the departure of Craig Owens and the talent that he offered the band with his whiny vocals and high pitched shrieks. To all the doubters, haters, and nay sayers this album through its incredible nature loudly proclaims: “**** you!

Even I wont diminish the effect that the departure of a vocalist (of any sort) has upon a band. Usually, a band will go downhill, occasionally at rollercoaster speeds. Examples of this would include:

  1. Casey Calvert from Hawthorne Heights (Even for you haters, admit it, their first two albums weren’t bad)
  2. Kevin from Four Letter Lie, now a member of A Day To Remember.  Four Letter Lie absolutely sucks now, both live and studio wise. They are yet another band that tried to change style to accommodate for Kevin’s departure and miserably failed at it.
  3. Attack Attack! I know there are plenty of Austin Carylile haters out there, but let’s face it, Attack Attack was much better when he was with them, both studio and live wise. His replacement has a bad live scream and is one reason why their new album just doesn’t come close.

To make matters worse the departure of Derrick Frost back in May 2010 due to his inability to get along with Owens made things look even bleaker. Many considered Frost an essential part of the band and many worried that the band would lose it’s unique sound with both his and Owen’s departure.

Lucky for us, Frost’s replacement, Tanner Wayne, (Formerly of Underminded and Scary Kids Scaring Kids) has proven himself capable with this new album just as  Owen’s replacement Brandon Bolmer (Yesterdays Rising) has.

Let me throw this out there; the replacement of Craig Owens by Bolmer was the best thing that could have ever happened to Chiodos. Don’t believe me? Listen to All’s Well That End’s Well and Bone Palace Ballet and then listen to Illuminaudio. The difference should be fairly obvious, as well as the musical improvement.

Gone are the whiny vocals of Owen which have been replaced with the still higher pitched, but excellent sounding vocals of Bolmer. While Owens screams weren’t horrible necessarily, Bolmer’s screaming in this album is outstanding.

Imagine yourself as a child who has been finally convinced that monster’s don’t exist, but suddenly has a face-to-face encounter with:

Brian Peppers                                Barbarra Streisand                                         Henry Waxman

 

        Yes, he actually looks like this.

 

Then imagine them screaming like Bolmer in songs such as Modern Hair Wolf, Stratovolcano Mouth, and Those Who Slay Together Stay Together.  Just sit back, listen to the songs, and imagine the effect. Yea, that’s right. Simply put; his screams are bloody intense. Unfortunately Owens never had anything like that in his arsenal.

This album has one of the best “complete flows” I’ve ever heard.  It not only keeps the crazy time signatures and style which has made Chiodos unique but contains a melodic flow to almost every song as well as a catchy feel. It has everything you’ve loved about Chiodos, except much more.

Scream placement in this album is very note worthy. They seem to be placed in parts of songs where they will have the most impact, and I really mean that. (Brandon’s style of screaming is one reason for the screams having the impact they do.) The breakdowns in this album are very very well done and fit perfectly where they are placed, something that can’t necessarily be said of past Chiodos work.

If you love Chiodos, get this album. If you hate Chiodos, check this album out nevertheless. You won’t be disappointed. Simply put, this album is a masterpiece.

You can listen to Chiodos new album, Illuminaudio which is still streaming in it’s entire from their myspace. You can download Illuminaudio through Mediafire courtesy of ILYBD.


Questions? Comments? Death Threats? Your feedback is encouraged and most welcome.

Clearwater Theater: The Word Alive, For Today, Bleeding Through

Clearwater Theater 9/28/10

The Word Alive
I caught the last three songs of a rather irate The Word Alive (TWA).  First off, I’ll hand it to them, nothing grows your fan base like cussing out the crowd for “being arrogant pussies”   The rant would continue with the lead vocalist going on a quick tirade about bands not wanting to come through because of the behavior of the crowd.  
Now Clearwater isn’t known for bands sounding good there, quite the opposite, in fact. However, TWA sounded better at the Clearwater theatre than they did at the Milwaukee Warped Tour. You could actually hear everything, something which is always a welcome improvement, even if the sound isn’t top quality.
For Today
For Today was next. Matty got up, pumped up the crowd and started their set. After the conclusion of their first song he gave a small quick talk about his beliefs, which he doesn’t hide. He doesn’t insult any non Christians, and he was quite humble both on stage and in a quick personal conversation I had with him after their set.
They were impressive live. They got the crowd into it, and were right on with their whole set. I was particularly impressed with how they played Devastator and how closed it sounded to the album version.The singer/guitarist was quite good and was on as well, something that I usually dont see with live bands. He didn’t sound too high pitched or screechy.
DISCLAIMER:  (Note there are plenty of metal and hardcore fans who would strongly disagree with me considering what I’m about to say about Bleeding Through)
 Bleeding Through is band that surprises me with the fact that they are still around, and not in a good way.   I won’t even mention their stage performance. I will rather point out how bad they sounded. Live they sounded almost worse then many start-up bands with nothing but high school members, horrible equipment, and a terrible live sound from cranking their guitars too loud.
Seriously how can a band be around playing live shows for 10  years and have one as bad as this? You expect a band that has been around for this long to have their live performance and sound down. I say this because bands who sound bad live usually don’t last too long.
Another unfortunate fact to point out is that literally every song they played sounded the same. Every bloody one.  Bleeding through is the reason why hardcore gets bad name for songs that “all sound the same.”
I’ve rarely been disappointed at show, as I usually have a pretty solid idea of what to expect live wise from most bands, but this was a complete shock.  I wasn’t particularly impressed with their studio generic sound, no matter how much originality its fan base claims that it somehow posesseses. So, I was hoping for a different feel from them live. Instead, they sounded even worse live. Simply put: FAIL! 
You know how you hate when a good band breaks up? Well this is horrible crappy band that needs to breakup and do hardcore a favor that should have happened a long time ago. They have inflicted pain and misery upon the ears of their unfortunate  listeners and fan base, for far too long.
 Oh, I do have one good thing to say about Bleeding Through. Their Keyboardist was hot.

My Ticket Home: What Happened?

My Ticket Home has released two new songs on their Myspace:
Desertion
Deadweight (Ft. Caleb Shomo)
Normally I’d be overjoyed, but the songs surprised me a bit, and not in a good way. This band used to have a unique feel to them in the post-hardcore genre, but then something bad happened to them.  Caleb Shomo.

Who is that?” you may ask. I’ll tell you. Caleb Shomo is the current screamer for Attack Attack. “The bad one?” Yes, the bad one. 

Caleb’s reputation for his studio scream may have provided him with incentive to go into music production. Perhaps he is aware of the very negative feedback that is becoming common after Attack Attack shows:

They suck live!

Well, to be fair, he sucks live. He’s a good guy, but the truth hurts. Anyway, he is going to producing My Ticket Home’s new album , “The Opportunity To Be”. God help us.

I am not an Attack Attack hater by any means, even though their last album is a direct result of the bad things that can happen when bands try to go all “tough guy hardcore.”  I don’t even hate their scene fan base which seems to be a close second to Justin Bieber for angry attacks on metal related youtube videos.  
Shomo is now producing their album and their two new songs posted on their myspace reflect this.  Both songs sound close to the new Attack Attack! sound. The MTH clean  vocals from before are now gone and replaced with vocals that sound almost exactly like Johnny’s vocals in the new Attack Attack! album, which to be quite frank, suck.  His massively auto-tuned vocals in Someday Came Suddenly are much better, and that should tell you something.
Something I will point out right now is that I have seen some people allege that Attack Attack actually copied My Ticket Home’s  (MTH) style and that the close friendship of the lead singers of both bands is one of the reasons behind the similar sound. In further support of that argument is the fact that Attack Attack’s self titled album came out after MTH put up their new songs on their myspace.  My argument against that is the sound of the old MTH EP vs. the sound of these two new songs produced in part by Caleb Shomo. The fact that have recently signed to Rise Records is something else to consider as well. 
To Caleb and MTH’s credit, these two new songs don’t sound overproduced, something which is becoming all too common in the overarching metal scene.
Overall their two new songs, Deadweight, and aren’t all that bad, but there is now a distinct similarity in sound to Attack Attack. Let’s hope MTH’s new album doesnt suck as bad as Attack Attack’s new one did.

Deadweight  and Desertion can be downloaded through mediafire. Their EP, Above The Great City and a relatively new single, Refuge In Purpose, can also be downloaded through mediafire.  You can download their whole new EP, The Opportunity To Be at mediafire.

Domination – 4 track release. ( A band in the St. Louis metal/hardcore scene)

Band: Domination
Genre: Hardcore/Death Metal
Label: Unsigned
Sounds Like: TAS, Monsters

RATING: (3.50/5)

So far the current songs in this Domination upload include:

1. Malevolent Decimation (Intro)
2. Reinforcements (Feat Clint from Battalion)
3. Highrise
4. This Means War

The St. Louis underground scene apparently has something new to offer the Hardcore scene by the name of band called, Domination.  While the name is incredibly original, the music isn’t anything that hardcore listeners haven’t heard before.  From the start, I’ll say this; This band is very breakdown oriented.

Easily the best band that St. Louis’s metal scene has to offer. Make sure to add these guys on MySpace and let them know what you think of the music,” according to uploader WatchMeRise on ILikedYouBetterDead.

It would be alot easier to judge this statement if I and others were more aware of the existence of metal bands in the St. Louis scene. This is the first I’ve heard.

To sum it up, the best song by far on this four track release is the song “Reinforcements”. This may be in part due to the recording quality of the song which seems to be better than the other three. This is a song which has alot of fast but heavy blast beat breakdowns mixed in throughout. There are plenty of breakdowns, but surprisingly they are not overused. The very slow breakdowns are a bit too frequent in this song though. That and I hate slow breakdowns for the most part.

Overall this song makes me want to put on a flat brimmed hat, put on a jersey, and do some cartwheels in a pit ticking off bystanders on the edge of the pit who don’t like seeing swinging arms and fists coming within inches of their faces. Well, anyway, you get the idea.

The Malevolent Decimation (Intro) sounds like well, an techie space feeling drug induced and/or dazed state up until about the last 30 seconds which is a cool sounding, but typical breakdown. The two other songs have your traditional hardcore, hit someone, feel. Think a chuggish The Acacia Strain’s Wormwood mixed with Monsters, except with more breakdowns, and usually slow Oceano type ones at that. 

If your looking for something to pump you up, workout to, or just punch your pillow to because of personal problems, give it a listen.

Listen to all four songs at their Myspace.  If you wish to download the tracks in this post, you can at mediafire. Album upload courtesy of uploader WatchMeRise at ILikedYouBetterDead on Sept. 18