Friday, June 24, 2011
Terraphobia’s EVILUTION is simply full on brutal death metal. Heavy guitars, guttural vocals and enough speed to give a bullet train a run for its money. Michael Jelenic of Mortification plays all the instruments and handles the vocal duties as well.
From the opening strands of the title track through album closer Phase 6 this album is relentless. If you were a fan of the first three Mortification albums then you’ll understand musically where this album is coming from. I hear tinges of Possessed and Morbid Angel. Jelenic’s guitar playing demands your attention and I will add he’s got the chops. It’s a wonder why he’s not mentioned in the more elite musicians of our scene.
Hooks are not necessarily the aim of a good death metal album, but melodies should be. There are several here that really stand out. Soldiers of the New Millennium, False Prophet come immediately to mind. However with a track like Golgotha, that’s probably not the main point, charging like chainsaw through a wheat field this song is a killer.
The production elements are strong and powerful. A nice thick wall of sound greats the listener where everything is spaced well in the mix. Lyrically Jelenic tackles many different areas from the Crucifixion to abortion to politics, from a Christian point of view. Yet if I didn’t tell you that, you might miss it, which isn’t a bad thing.
Death Metal fans should line up in droves to grab this album. It’s that good, and you’ll play it loudly and proudly. A seven axe review should tell you what you want to know. A keeper this one is.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Broken Silence hails from Hawaii and before this disc arrived in my mailbox I can honestly tell you I don’t ever remember hearing of them before. However it seems that many others have, which has really left me on the outs as I’ve pondered how did I miss these guys back in the day.
This release by Retroactive is the first proper issue of this 13 song album here in the United States. Originally produced by David Zaffiro (at least that is what I’m deducing no official credit is listed, but in the liner notes it mentions he was working with them back at the time this album was put together 1990/1991 perhaps?)Discerning the Times is finally seeing the light of day on this side of the Pacific Ocean having first been released in Japan over 12 years ago.
With a strong metal sound that strikes me as a weird cross of Dio/Queensryche (to my ears anyway) and Holy Soldier this album is first class. The production aspects of tone quality and sound spacing are very good. The performances of this four piece metal outfit also exceed expectations.
The song structures smack of Sacred Heart era Dio and Operation Mindcrime/Empire era Ryche. The balladry type songs have a more L.A. type vibe, but this isn’t a ‘hair band’ by any stretch. With much more depth to their songwriting and arranging (courtesy of Zaffiro I’d guess) Discerning the Times is a much more satisfying listen than other albums of that era. Perhaps that’s because it’s not stuck in the clichéd trappings of that era.
No ‘rock for the rock’ lyrics here or typical three chord progressions that end on E. This was a release I had to work for and truly listen to in order to digest all that is going on. Much like an oil painting, where much can be missed on the initial viewing but after spending time processing it a deeper appreciation is found.
From Byron Jacobs’s guitar playing, the strong vocal performance of Daniel J. Ysais and solid rhythm section of Ace McFadden on drums and bass player Ric Rodeheaver these guys were the real deal. Top flight musicians who all knew there way around their prospective instruments. For you fans of metal this album features strong guitar playing with knock out vocals.
Lyrically this album is deeper than most. Spiritual issues are discussed without the four spiritual laws every 30 seconds. Personally I find this very refreshing and much more engaging.
Broken Silence, Discerning the Times is another gem of a release for Retroactive Records. Grab your leather jacket, bullet belt and make your way to the front this one is sure to please.
Many of you will remember that I actually wrote a review of LNJ’s original 5 song EP back in December of 2010. Well I guess you can’t keep a good thing down as our friends at Roxx Records in collaboration with Justin Murr have put this out on CD. (It was originally a download only).
Now not only is this available on Compact Disc, but it has been expanded with 8, yes you read that right, 8 more songs!! It’s no longer an EP, but an LP.
The guest list on this recording is as impressive as ever highlighted by Kerry Livgren of Kansas and Carmine Appice, appearing on a cover of Kansas’s Ground Zero. The full track listing is as following.
1. Say Uncle (Paul Shortino of Quiet Riot / Rough Cut, Ron Keel of Keel & Eddie Ojeda of Twisted Sister)
2. Throwing Stones (Donnie Vie of Enuff Z Nuff & JK Northrup)
3. Paige’s Song (Philip Bardowell of MAGDALEN/Unruly Child/The Beach Boys and Tony Palacios of Guardian)
4. Playing God (Terry Ilous of XYZ, Jeff Paris and Richard Kendrick of Near Life Experience)
5. Chasing A Cure (Benny Mardones, John Pine and Bill Leverty of Firehouse)
6. Black Or White (Terry Ilous of XYZ, Alton Hood of D.O.C. & JK Northrup) Originally Recorded by Michael Jackson
7. Quicksand Jesus (Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge) Originally Recorded by Skid Row
8. Snake Eat Snake ‘Electric Version’ (David Raymond Reeves & Don Webster of Neon Cross)
9. Butterface (Mark Allen Lanoue of Biloxi & Joshua Perahia of Joshua)
10. When Mullets Ruled The World (Philip Bardowell of MAGDALEN/Unruly Child/The Beach Boys)
11. Ground Zero (Kelly Keeling of Baton Rouge and Kerry Livgreen of Kansas/Protokaw & Carmine Appice
They’ve included a couple of demo tracks, which sound good in their own right.
12. "Eve" (Tommy Denander)
13. "Damascus Road" (Tommy Denander)
The newer songs I found to have a bit more hard rock edge to them. The original five tracks struck me as more commercial rock but the 8 newer songs definitely have a stronger guitar presence and that makes all the difference to these ears.
Liberty N Justice has shown that they are capable song writers and this release is no exception. There are a few cover songs, but each one has a strong message in its own right. The production values as on the previous LNJ release Light It Up is world class.
Perhaps something else that has caught my attention is that the vocal performances are stellar. In stark contrast to many vocalists in the rock scene today these guys show more grit, emotion and power while holding a melody! It’s a reminder that good vocals can make or break a song, or an album.
This disc is a must if you love commercial rock n roll like Night Ranger, Bon Jovi or Journey. The disc is being produced in limited numbers so you might not want to wait on this one. A portion of the proceeds of this release will still be donated to benefit The Epilepsy Foundation. The songs and performances are more memorable then most which is why this one gets 8 axes.