A LOOOOONG Overdue Update

•November 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Just a quick update….

It’s been nearly 5 years if not more since anyone has posted any new content here.  Aside from the comments that come through (mostly to come flog me for my Slave Raider review) there will most likely never be any new reviews on this blog.  I will not shut it down since it does attract the occasional comment, but one thing I will be doing is removing a few posts that are neither constructive or in the spirit of this once glorious and world wide sensation of a blog haha… Sorry Zach but your posts are coming down.


Review: Jeff Loomis – Zero Order Phase

•September 8, 2009 • Leave a Comment

[jwopitz’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars]

What can I say bad about this album?  Nothing.  It’s a shred head’s wet dream.  Where the likes of Jason Becker, Marty Friedman, Tony Macalpine, Vinnie Moore, etc. left off, Jeff Loomis steps in to lead the shred movement.  Yes we still have our Satriani and Vai but lately they have left me wanting more.  Loomis provides.   Okay let analyze this a bit more.

Where most of the older shred still had a prevalent sound in neo classical roots, Zero Order Phase is more like the chromatic, non-diatonic cacophony that is Nevermore’s signature sound.  There are plenty of sweep pick licks to satisfy even the most ravenous Malmsteen/Dragon Force fans.  But couple that with the ominous, grit from Loomis’ Nevermore playing and you have a truly unique shred album.  Rhythmically speaking it has plenty of disjunct, syncopated rhythms laden with plenty of tastefully done double bass pedal.

Okay I do have on complaint for this album: It makes me want to give up playing. what’s the point.  Now to the choice bits.  If you had to sample only 3 songs I would suggest:

  • Miles of Machines
  • Race Against Disaster
  • Jato Unit

Sorry this is so short of a review but I have found myself lacking the motivation to write much lately.  The bottom line is, if you like Nevermore, if you like shred ala-Cacophony then you really ought to own this album.

Up the Irons!!!!

Review: 10 albums you ought to have

•May 11, 2009 • 2 Comments

Yeah so the passion of actually writing something about music has shrivled up.  But you always have to share the love, you know?  So here is a rundown of 10 albums I have discovered over the past few years that I think you might wanna give a listen to.  And in no particular order here they are:

  1. Concealed by Augury – technical death metal with hints of Cynic, black metal influences and some kinda cool choral arrangements. Angry shit indeed!
  2. Holographic Universe by Scar Symmetry – Swedish technical melodic death metal.  Dunno, I just really like the laid back sound of this album.  The singing is alot more digestible than non-stop cookie monster vox.  I also like the lyrical content as it is on par with Cynic and Death
  3. Riders of the Plague by The Absence – Kinda a combination of Swedish technical death metal and American thrash metal.  Every song on this album is kick ass.  These guys have the sound so many wanna-be’s try to sound like.
  4. In Search of Light by Aabsinth – these guys have a sound that is very hard to describe.  Its definitely metal and sometimes they sound like the same genre as Mastodon and then sometimes they have a death metal sound.  I can’t say that I really focus on the music so much as enjoy having it in the background.
  5. Nemesis by Super Heavy Goat Ass – yeah these guys are kinda a jamming rock band with a mix of some southern rock roots.  Good shit.  And they are from Texas so I gotta love em.
  6. …And They Shall Take Up Serpents by Byzantine – angry thrash metal w/ more riffs than you can shake a stick at.   Another band I can’t really say I like from a per song basis but rather for the atmosphere.  Phil Anselmo anyone?
  7. Bullet in your Head by Made of Hate – thrash metal.  Just fun music.  When you get tired of all the brutality and technicality of day’s death metal, this is more easy going.  Not to say they aren’t technical but they have a bit of space which allows the music to breath.
  8. Planetary Duality by The Faceless – brutal technical death metal at its best.  These guys are on par with Necrophagist, Psycroptic and the like.  Who would have thought such awesome b.t.d.m. would come out of Kansas?
  9. Sumerian Daemons by Septic Flesh – These guys are alot like Augury.  They have the brutal death metal sound down but they also infuse it with sounds of choral and symphonic elements.  They have super fast and they have easy going chug metal too.
  10. At the Soundless Dawn by The Red Sparowes – all instrumental post-rock (who in the hell makes up these names for the genres?)  Anyway they sound on par with bands like Isis, Pelican and 5ive.   Its not about riffs and technicality, its about painting a picture with the music.  If you listen to nothing but metal, you ought to give these guys a listen to broaden your horizons.

I could keep going but I don’t want to burn out doing this.  Plenty of places to find these more obscure bands.  Let me know if you have a hard time finding them.

Quick Review: Chinese Democracy

•April 13, 2009 • 3 Comments

Finally acquired this album.  Let’s get to the meat of it shall we.  As a GnR album this SUCKS!!!!  Let’s face it, GnR was one part Axl and one part Slash/Duff.  Its like having the Roses without the Guns.  The Pie without the Crust.  So minus Slash’s super talented playing, you get mediocre techno-y, NIN, type crap.  Yes there is the occasional good guitar riff and some really cool solos.  But as a GnR album I was disappointed.  I expected that.

Now let’s review this as something other than a GnR album.  Its actually quite good.  This would probably have been better received by metal heads such as myself if it was labeled something like Axl Rose’s Solo Project.  Then digesting the NIN-ish techno crap is a little easier.

Let’s face it, this review is of Axl, not the band that is now GnR.  There are a few complaints I have in general barring any GnR-ish type argument.  Firstly I think Axl overdid the whiney bitch bit a tad much.  “Scraped” is a perfect example of this.   Its as if in the last 15 years he needs to assert himself as a dominant singer again.  So rather than fire off hard hitting lyrics and a great attitude (ala Welcome to the Jungle or Coma), he actually tries to be a little too melodic and too thematic (more along the lines of November Rain, uuggg).  What happens is you get alot of whiney passages where he is TRYING to sing something against a backdrop of music not in his vocabulary.  It clashes and rubs me the wrong way.  Next is Axl trying to do something nobody with a great high range should do: sing low.  Axl has the “you could be mine” low tone that does good so long as its for the most part monotone.  But stick to 3 or 4 notes.  Don’t try to actually sing dude.  It doesn’t work.  Upon first hearing Streets of Dreams I had to start ask if this was a joke.  Was he serious?  Indeed he was.  Not his best work.  He ends up sounding more like a drunk country singer trying to sing to high.  Of course the classic Axl voice is there and it works.

Ok let’s tackle the music now.  If you are expecting a pure rock/metal album, expect to be disappointed.  There are quite a few too-hip-for-you-hop type songs where they have tried to blend styles from elements of hip hop (drums mostly), casino pop (not sure how to describe this genre, just imagine a bunch of British Grifters or go watch Hustle) and some other crap that is just that:  A big mix of crap.

Don’t bother buying this one folks.  Save your good hard earned cash and buy something more relevant than 15 years too late Axl Rose.  Borrow a friend’s CD if you gotta have it.

Let’s go to the Movies

•February 16, 2009 • 2 Comments

I was flipping around around and came across a damn good movie: Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey. Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I am late for the party on most good things. So, I thought I would come here and prove that fact, yet again.

What a great movie! I was into it from beginning to end. It didn’t have that lame VH1 feel to it that I guess I have come to expect from Metal documentaries. It was very well done, smart and showed just how dedicated a fan-base this genre of music has. I was especially into the Norwegian Death Metal guys and the whole church burning thing. It was presented in a way that, I thought, showed both sides of the debate, without taking a side. Difficult to do with a topic so polarizing as Satan and burning down churches. One guy brought up how Christianity was very much forced on the people of that region so long ago. I know from my history lessons, that when that happens, the original beliefs are mostly forgotten.

I went to the site for the movie and also found this Global Metal I’m totaly excited to see this! Has anyone see it yet? Let me know, because i think it will also be great.

Review: Deviant Remorse – Sonicbids Samples

•October 27, 2008 • Leave a Comment

[jwopitz’s rating 4 out of 5]

Deviant Remorse

I got an email from these guys asking if I could review their music.  Heck yeah I said.  Deviant Remorse hails from SoCal.  Newly formed in 2008 these guys have serious chops and a pretty cool style.  Of the 4 sample tunes they provide, I can hear elements of Death (mostly because of the vocals), Testament, Overkill, Suicidal Tendencies and a few others.  These guys seem to have their roots in Trash for sure.

Check out their samples page – link (nice use of something other than myspace.  good job guys!)

the sound

One thing right off the bat that you notice is these guys gel well.  Their sound is tight and highly polished (in the home brew sense).  You’d think this was more production quality than demo quality.  The mix is just right, allowing the listener to hear everything clearly.  The bass is noteable too considering its unique sound.  The vocal stylings are varied so they will probably appeal to many tastes.

the tunes

Lying Eyes

The best song of the bunch.  The main two riffs are amazingly simple yet executed perfectly.  They blend well with the vocal cadence and makes an already punishing song even more so.  Everything about this song reminds me of Death for some reason, though it is neither that heavy nor technical.  Probably the vocal styles.  I just love anything that sounds like Chuck Schuldner.  The stop time section is brilliant.  Completely unexpected and how it is followed up by emphasizing the harmony in a brutal solo section with amazing pick slides and whammy bar effects.  Again the best song by far and some of the best home brew metal I have heard in awhile.  A must listen.

Deviant Remorse

A style smorgasbord.  There is some pretty sick soloing throughout the B section of the tune.   The guitar riffs are plenty touching upon many influences and keeping it fresh.  The main riff is great, again simple and brutal.  The second riff of the first section reminds me of something from Maiden (only a hint tho).  I do dislike the hardcore vocal styles in the first verse section.  I guess Nu-Metal or whatever the youngsters call it is just not my thing.  But don’t let that sway you from hearing the tune to the end.  A great tune overall and would not cause me to fast forward in the least bit.  The solo section is some serious hammer on/off playing combined with some simple melodies that tho simplistic is perfect for the mood of the tune.

Bathe in Blood

The opening section doesn’t really do it for me.  But after getting off to a slow start it hits a Testament-ish verse section which I love.  The biggest issue for this tune is that it speeds up and slows down too many times for the amount of variation in speed (not tempo necessarily but more like the feel).  Kinda incorporates some Nu-Metal elements I am not very fond of.  The solo section is again freaking awesome.  It hails back to old-school, hammer on/off, scalar runs you would probably have heard from early Metallica and Annihilator.  Overall a good tune.  Probably #3 for me.

Hell on Earth

Probably the most straight forward metal tune.  Kinda reminds me of (again) Annihilator and Sanctuary.  Very thematic-based solo, nothing too fancy unlike the other tunes but gets the job done.  The vocal themes are repeated too many times in the chorus section but thats a stylistic thing more than a creativity issue.  Probably my least favorite tune of the 4.

the summary

I like em and am anxious to hear more sample when they become available.  Guys, if you read this, please keep me posted.  Would I buy the album?  Yeah probably.  Would it be a frequent player or a dust collector?  Its kinda hard to tell as 2 of these tunes are awesome the other 2 are forgetable.  I think at this point it would be a frequent player and so long as newer songs stay closer to the styles of Lying Eyes and the self titled tune, it would remain so.

Up the Irons!!!!

Review: Psycroptic – Ob(servant)

•October 14, 2008 • 1 Comment

[jwopitz’s rating 5 out of 5 tasmanian devils]

Leave it to a band like to Psycroptic to bring me out of my slump and inspire me to write a post in over 2 months.  Psycroptic doesn’t disappoint for sure.

Ob(servant) is a pleasant surprise in that I happened to just stumble upon news of its release just yesterday and can’t stop listening to it.  All I can say is WOW!.  Out of the 3 albums I own, this has trumped Scepters of the Ancients.  After a slighty disappointing Alpha Breed, Psycroptic reigns in their more matured singer Jason Peppiatt all while refining and developing their already unique sound.  No longer does he sound uncontrolled and trying to stand out above the mix.  His vox are well settled into a very rich and well balanced sound.  I think I may have come to terms with Chalky leaving the band now.

Drums – somewhat subdued compared to past albums and I like it.  Not that there aren’t plenty of blast beats, constant snares, and double bass, but the drums aren’t as much in your face as they used to be.  I find myself to be at odds with other reviewers, one even stating that he foudn the drums too over the top.  Come on man, that is what Technical Death Metal is!  Again, the drums settle well into the mix.

The very interesting thing about this album is it hints at Thrash metal roots.  This is more evident in songs like Blood Stained Lineage.  I just hear all these little thrash riffs.  They may have been there all along from Scepters but I am just now noticing.  So if you enjoy Thrash then you should find yourself liking Psycroptic more and more.

Psycroptic guitars are always a constant source of inspiration for me.  Psycroptic has always been more rhythmic than solo-oriented, which is great.  Who said every metal song necessitates a solo?  Plus, for this style of music, in order to maintain that sense of brutality, having constant riffage suits Psycroptic better.  Not that they can’t solo, because believe me they can.  Anyway to the point, the guitars on Ob(serrvant) are as expected, clearly heard (great mix on this album btw), masterfully executed despite their being so technically challenging, and just bad-ass.  You don’t hear a misstep at all.  The other cool thing you don’t hear these guys do much (and still is the case) is harmonizing.  There are a few passages in “Removing the Common Bond” where they perform at their normal blistering speed, but all while harmonizing.  Amazing.

I bought this on iTunes and have to say I think Apple is starting to see the light.  They are continuing to offer up more and more DRM-free music.  Good, because that makes me more inclined to by from them.  At 256 kbps and DRM-free, you can’t go wrong getting an online version of this.  I haven’t the physical room for all the music I own so I kinda stuck in the digital format.

Rather than having me continue to spew forth my praises let me highlight a few choice tracks for you.

  • A Calculated Effort
  • Slaves of Nil
  • Horde in Devolution

Up the Irons!!!!!