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)

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


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.