Sound Strider - Sound Strider Strides Into The Past Review

Sound Strider reminds me a lot of those awesome, late-90’s electronic artists like The Propellerheads, old-school Chemical Brothers and even UFO to a lesser extent. Sam Waks, the genius behind Sound Strider is delivering eclectic and audibly-exciting electronic tracks utilizing various sound clips that recall sci-fi silliness of yesteryear, with a message that translates to today pretty remarkably.

“The Stakes” is one of those wildly eclectic tracks that brings a ton of influences to the forefront of what Sound Strider is trying to accomplish. I’m a sucker for what Sound Strider’s doing, so “The Stakes” almost functions as a love letter to the electronic music I grew up listening to. I absolutely love it. The best thing about the album is that each track brings something fresh to the mix, with some having a more hip-hop vibe than others. “The Stakes” though, is pure electronica, with a lighter rhythm.

Dec
04
2013
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Norine Braun - Look Into "The Eye Of The Heart", For It Looks Also Into Thee Review

Straight out of Vancouver comes Norine Braun, a bluesy artist with a siren’s voice. To say I could listen to Braun sing all day would be an understatement. There’s a kind of raw power to her soulful voice. She even nails melodic bits throughout the album that recall artists like KD Lang and Stevie Nicks, perhaps with a strong dash of Melissa Etheridge. I really took to this album straight away. Great stuff.

“Lightning Strikes Twice” makes use of Braun’s incredibly sexy vocal ability while also delivering a driving, almost badass track. “Conventus” is a track that has some major KD Lang vibes coursing through it, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Unless you dislike KD Lang, in which case, you’re a silly goose. It picks up about two-thirds the way through, becoming a fun, almost beachy, folk-y track. Really schizophrenic, but in a great way.

Nov
30
2013
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Marla Mase - Speak Up For "Speak" Review

Speak by Marla Mase (backed by the Tomás Doncker Band is a strong album that immediately draws comparisons to the works of Hole, Veruca Salt or The Breeders albeit with a slightly heavier tone. I was reminded quite a bit of that mid-90’s ultra-aggro flannel rock. Bands like Brother Cane or early Alice in Chains without the ugly bite of some of their more well-known tracks.

“Piece of Peace” is a high-energy, aggressive track talking about the notions of human demands. “So what’s stoppin’ us?” Mase intones while discussing the needs of humanity. As a kind of anthem in these post-Occupy years, “Piece of Peace” really works. It strikes an angry chord but really is more a call to action that should speak to the budding revolutionary within all of us.

Nov
20
2013
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Monks of Mellonwah - "Afraid To Die" Should Have Some Shirley Bassey Back Up Review

Oddly enough, Monks of Mellonwah’s album Afraid to Die calls to mind images of James Bond-ian adventures. The lead track, “Afraid To Die,” has all the orchestral beats that your standard Bond film theme song would have, but is far better than recent title tracks for flicks like Quantum of Solace or Skyfall. I can easily envision Daniel Craig mowing dudes down with CQC moves and firing a Walther PPK while Monks of Mellonwah blares over the soundtrack.

Nov
20
2013
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Tomas Doncker Band - Funk Lives on in "Power of the Trinity" Review

Exploding with a sound reminiscent of classic 70’s funk, the Thomas Doncker Band’s latest, Power of the Trinity … A Slight Return (The Global Soul MixTape Vol. 1) is a powerful and soulful album. “Brooklyn2Ethiopia” is a track that recalls artists like Donovan, Fela Kuti and Marvin Gaye. It’s got a vibe that would seem right at home if released forty years ago. That might sound like a slight, however; it’s a way to say that the track is timeless. It certainly captures the vibrancy of New York, with a wailing, almost police cruiser siren punctuating pieces of the track.

Nov
09
2013
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Nobody's Sheriff - Boxing the Compass Review

The first song on Boxing the Compass from New Jersey’s Nobody’s Sheriff, gives you a taste of exactly what you're about to hear during the course of the ten tracks on the album. The bluesy song titled “Like the Elephants Do,” is a serious tale about a serious medical condition, but the lyrics are smart and playful and the shared vocals of TJ Pederson and his younger sister Tess give the song a dynamic quality. It’s a great tune that sets the band’s self-released debut album off on the right foot.

Oct
09
2013
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Fear Factory - The Industrialist Review

Industrial metal band Fear Factory is back with another release, The Industrialist. Much like their previous album, Mechanize, The Industrialist takes the band's music and futuristic story telling to the next level. The new album features a story much like their 1999 concept album Obsolete. The futuristic science fiction story, which is presented in the CD booklet, follows the main character, known as "The Industrialist." The music for The Industrialist is brilliant and brutal, which is more or less what you expect from Fear Factory. There was once again a line up change for the band's newest release and the only members involved with this outing are vocalist Burton C. Bell and Dino Cazares on guitars. The drum and bass tracks are programed and arranged. Despite lacking musicians, the album does not lack any of its Fear Factory potency.

Nov
01
2012
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Digital Summer - Breaking Point Review

Every once in a while, a band will come on to the music scene and become a huge success in a short amount of time. One of those bands is Digital Summer, an aggressive modern rock group out of Phoenix, Arizona. The band has had a string of tours recently with the likes of Sevendust, Disturbed, Godsmack and Alice In Chains - just to name a few. Four of the band's singles, "Whatever It Takes," "Disconnect," "Just Run," and "Hostage," are being played regularly on major radio stations across the country. Along with all of this, one of the main things that I find most impressive about Digital Summer are the band member's interesting backgrounds. Vocalist Kyle Winterstein is a firefighter and paramedic. His brother, Ian Winterstein, is not only the guitarist for the group but is also a paramedic. The bassist, Anthony Hernandez, is currently getting his business degree in marketing. Ben Anderson, the drummer, is both a studio engineer and a drum instructor.

Aug
24
2012
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Blind Guardian - 28 Years of Blind Guardian Collected on "Memories of a Time to Come" Review

"Best of" albums come out a lot in this day and age. Some bands release a greatest hits collection that serves as the only album you will ever need from them; while on the other hand, a lot of times bands will release a "best of" album that doesn't do their music justice. German power metal legends Blind Guardian have recently released their huge "best of" album, Memories Of A Time To Come. Released earlier this year in Europe and finally four months later in the U.S., Memories Of A Time To Come takes a look at Blind Guardian's past and features a collection of some of their best songs, at least according to them. The album is available in several formats, such as the two and three CD versions in Europe and the two disc version here in the States (though the 3 disc version can be bought at iTunes or imported via Amazon). Though the album is labeled as a "best of," it is actually more of a collection of songs that have been remixed and rerecorded. The third disc, however, is filled with demos spanning Blind Guardian's career. I highly recommend finding a physical copy of the CD for the booklet that comes with it alone. It's filled with band photos and liner notes of how and why the featured songs appeared on Memories Of A Time To Come.

Aug
22
2012
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Downtread - Stand Your Ground Review

If you are looking for an in your face hard rock/metal experience, then look no further than the Minneapolis based band Downtread. This band fits the bill with their latest release, Stand Your Ground. Downtread was formed in 2007 and released their debut album, titled 144, in 2010. Downtread can be thought of as an 80's style hair metal band with a bite. They bring a newer edge to the hair metal scene; featuring in your face guitar riffs and solos from three guitarists - Teddy Gordon, Marc Paradise, and Brett Petrusek. This is some of the best guitar work that I have heard from the hard rock genre in years. The riffs are fast paced and just screaming to be blasted out of your speakers. The guitars are bound together with the aggressive metal drumming of Eric Domagall and bassist Robert Berg. Brett Petrusek is also the vocalist, bringing out a clean but aggressive style of singing to the mix.

Aug
03
2012
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