Disc Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Too Pure To Die - Confess

Too Pure To Die - Confess

Too Pure To Die

Album Title: Confess
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Trustkill Records
(1868) Page Views

Thick southern grooves with heavy fast rhythms and one hell of a growl carrying it all through, Iowa manages to deliver another powerful force to the heavy metal world.  With their title track “Confess,” TOO PURE TO DIE pushes heavy verses and catchy choruses around a forcefully distorted core that makes this album hit you square in the chest.  Percussive guitars in songs like “Saving Grace” with harmonic experimentation, like LAMB OF GOD, create a unique sound that you won’t soon forget.  A sound that is incredibly tight and heavy without forgetting the almighty riff, allowing the roaring vocals to carry you through the escapade that is a true melding of heavy metal genres. There is no denying that these guys are going to hit the culture hard, and they plan to take no prisoners.

Too Pure To Die Online
WebsiteWiki


Archer - Doomsday Profits

Archer - Doomsday Profits

Archer

Album Title: Doomsday Profits
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Duke’s Black Rose
(2158) Page Views

This album will make you want to break out your leather jacket and get a new tattoo.  Shredding, bluesy guitar with the classic heavy metal feel that makes everybody want to go out and buy a motorcycle.  Mixing the vocal styles of JUDAS PRIEST and guitar riffs like the great Toni Iomi, ARCHER manages to create a new resonance for an amazing old sound. No mega death-metal distortion here, just the hard rock overdrive that metal started with. Walking bass lines that resemble DEEP PURPLE and straight up singing rather than the contemporary screaming makes these guys a unique classic sound that has been lost in modern music. An album that will inspire guitarists and have even the most critical cynics nodding their heads.

Archer Online
Website


Pro-Pain - No End In Sight

Pro-Pain - No End In Sight

Pro-Pain

Album Title: No End In Sight
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Regain Records
(1884) Page Views

With slightly operatic vocalisms and grinding, low guitar PRO-PAIN drives through their new release “No End In Sight.” Simplicity is key with this album. The New York-based band has found an envelope of heavy grooves that act as a steady backbone for moving lyrics that are too often absent from metal. Thoughtful and complimenting, the four-piece unit knows how to articulate an entire album from beginning to end. PRO-PAIN manages to throw intense melodies into subtle leads behind a pummeling rhythm and a guttural voice creating a unique blend of what feels extremely heavy but sounds profoundly melodic. Let this album get you riled up and make you bang your head.

Pro-Pain Online
WebsiteWiki


Sonic Syndicate - Love and Other Disaster

Sonic Syndicate - Love and Other Disaster

Sonic Syndicate

Album Title: Love and Other Disaster
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Nuclear Blast America
(1610) Page Views

Sonic diversity is the key phrase when describing SONIC SYNDICATE’s new album. There is a little bit for every fashion of metal fan out there. This album is a ballad, a dark mellow piece, a heavy thrash song, an epic power metal shredder, and everything in between.  It is truly entertaining and refreshing to hear a band deliver such an array of style in their music. Perhaps it is because they are still searching for a “sound” or perhaps diversity IS their sound, either way this entire album will catch your attention. Each song sounds like an entirely new approach and it is quite revitalizing to hear so many tiny pieces come together in something so heavy. The only repetitive bit of this album is how hard it hits you in the chest. Whether you like grindcore, metalscreamo, thrash, death or any other ridiculous mixture of stupid metal genres labels, this album delivers.

Sonic Syndicate Online
Website


The Showdown - Back Breaker

The Showdown - Back Breaker

The Showdown

Album Title: Back Breaker
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Solid State Records
(4830) Page Views

Heavy. From drumming that hits on the off beats to grinding guitar and lots of squealing harmonics, THE SHOWDOWN is just heavy with their release of “Back Breaker.” These Tennessee natives stay true to their southern metal roots and supply lots of chunk that is reminiscent of bands like DEMON HUNTER with a few added tidbits. Using unique backing vocals with the grinding guitar leading the way and a thumping double kick carrying the load, these guys manage to rip your face off and hand it back to you in pieces. The epic nature of the album is only enhanced by the subtitles of each song such as “(Achilles) The Disillusionaire” and “(Infernus) You Will Move.” The legendary names support this incredibly heavy yet understandable album. That is correct, it is heavy, but you can still understand what the singer says, creating an in-your-face sound that coincides with the epic artwork on the CD.

The Showdown Online
Wiki


The Lonely Hearts - Disaster Footage at Night

The Lonely Hearts - Disaster Footage at Night

The Lonely Hearts

Album Title: Disaster Footage at Night
By Cactus Joe
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Three Ring Records
(1437) Page Views

“Disaster Footage at Night” is the second album by San Francisco folk rock duo THE LONELY HEARTS, consisting of Andre Perry and John Lindenbaum. Described as “American folk meets bedroom rock,” there is great variety on this well-produced album from the mellow to the more aggressive. Accompanied by three backing musicians, all these songs are hooky with lyrics that range from the introspective to the more storyline narrative. The track to sample before you buy is “Overpass,” which sounds like it has Neil Young singing lead vocals, and Crazy Horse-style Young is a major influence here. If you like Grandaddy or the Mountain Goats, definitely check out this album.

The Lonely Hearts Online
Website


Jeff Foxx - Jeff Foxx

Jeff Foxx - Jeff Foxx

Jeff Foxx

Album Title: Jeff Foxx
By Cactus Joe
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Self Released
(2056) Page Views

The self-titled debut album from NYC radio host and R&B bassist JEFF FOXX (session player for CHAKA KHAN, AL JARREAU, ISAAC HAYES, and ROY AYERS) offers a pleasant and soulful musical ride. It’s a funky, smooth, creamy and delicious, take-her-home-after-the-date-for-pillow-talk album. It was produced and co-written with Bernard Belle (MICHAEL JACKSON, BOBBY BROWN). “With the exception of my family, music has been my greatest joy,” Foxx said. “There are few feelings that surpass the elation that comes with providing people with a good, musical feeling.” It’s definitely an emotive album. The melodies aren’t especially hooky, but they are juicy. Song to sample before you buy: “If You Look in Your Heart” (Track 2, chill bass solo).

Jeff Foxx Online
Website


The Nuclear Children - Paint it Red

The Nuclear Children - Paint it Red

The Nuclear Children

Album Title: Paint it Red
By Cactus Joe
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Champion of the Arts Records
(1954) Page Views

THE NUCLEAR CHILDREN’s single “Paint it Red” preambles the band’s soon-to-be-released full length studio album, “Ten Sordid Tales of Schaden and Freude” (Champion of the Arts Records) due out in early 2009.  Energetic, intense, and sarcastic, the band’s sound has been compared to Modest Mouse, The Pixies, and Social Distortion. These bands are all clearly influential in “Paint it Red” as well as the B-side track “Hey Wendy.” They hail from Columbus, OH, an underrated modern-Mecca of urban retro rock. Check them out on MySpace, where you can hear the singles.

The Nuclear Children Online
Website


The Ringers - Headlocks and Highkicks

The Ringers - Headlocks and Highkicks

The Ringers

Album Title: Headlocks and Highkicks
By Cactus Joe
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Fort Mason Entertainment
(2054) Page Views

“Headlocks and Highkicks,” the second album from LA indie rockers THE RINGERS, is aptly named for its aggressive, high-energy pomp rock sound assault. Dynamic changes and bold song-writing, I give this one 4 stars and a place on my prestigious CD rack. The recording production is crisp as well. This is exactly what I look for when I seek out indie garage rock. Scope their videos on their web site…tons of fun and theatrics. I will definitely catch their show next time they pass through the Midwest.

The Ringers Online
Website


John Statz - An Evening With John Statz

John Statz - An Evening With John Statz

John Statz

Album Title: An Evening With John Statz
By Cactus Joe
Posted: Nov 2008
Label: Self Released
(3786) Page Views

“An Evening with John Statz” is the third self-produced release by Madison folk musician John Statz. It was recorded live at Uncommon Ground coffee shop in Chicago, IL, on April 22, 2008.

“I had put out two studio albums and just wanted to get a live cut of some of those songs and a few new ones,” Statz said, “I was playing Uncommon Ground on the spring tour and they always give you a live recording of what you play. So I figured it would be an easy way to get a good quality live recording.”
The live recording was mastered by Nate Edwards who recorded Statz’s first album, “Dusk Came Slow.”

“An Evening with John Statz” was recorded on the first stop of Statz’s spring 2008 tour, which speaks to the artist’s innate talent and preparation for live performances. The musicianship and sound quality are nearly flawless, with dynamic and rich equalization of the guitar and vocals, the only instruments on the recording.

“It isn’t easy to describe [Uncommon Ground] to people,” Statz said, “It is a really intimate, small room that you play in. It is just the size of a medium-sized living room. There is no stage or anything. You just kind of stand in the middle and people really have to come into the room to hear the music. It’s my favorite place to play in Chicago because it is just so intimate. It’s a live album, but you won’t hear a roaring audience or anything, because there are maybe 20 people in the room. That gives it kind of a house concert feel.”

The closeness and intimacy comes through on the recording, allowing the listener to feel the spatial relationship to the artist in both the music and the close applause of the small audience.

“I think some people, on first listen, may try to compare this with a lot of live albums with tons of clapping,” Statz said, “This gives a different perspective.”
If there is anything to be critical of here, it is only that the clarity of the recording hides nothing (as when Statz gulps water near the microphone on the recording). Occasionally Statz’s voice noticeably, albeit mildly, pushes the upper limits of his range. But when he keeps to comfortable vocal territory, the intonation is dead on.

The songs are heavily folk music influenced with a lyrical story-telling maturity. The title track from Statz’s second studio album, “Our Love Was Made for Canada,” appears on the new live album in solo acoustic format. Two songs, “Nobody Can Say We Aren’t Loyal Now” and “Best Girl of ‘16” are previously unreleased. They are themed on World War I, a period of history in which Statz has a deep intellectual interest. Also new to this album is the lighter “Ballad for V and B in 5,” a song Statz was hired to write for a wedding. The first track on the album, “A Letter from Southeast Asia,” focuses on the more recent Vietnam War and brings to mind the anti-war sentiments found in folk music of the 1960s. All of the songs on the album were written by Statz except for “Chelsea Hotel #2,” a Leonard Cohen composition.

Statz’s spring 2008 tour ended in early May, with dates in New Orleans, LA and Greenwood, MS. The track “Every Other Time” pays tribute to the victims of Hurricane Katrina and the injustices revealed during its aftermath.

The new CD is available at most Madison record stores. Statz hosts a monthly Thursday showcase at the Brink Lounge (www.thebrinklounge.com) in Madison, WI.

“It’s a monthly songwriter’s showcase I am starting,” Statz said of the gig, “I play every month and I get to book in two other acts. So it will be me, an out-of-towner, and another local.”

John Statz Online
WebsiteWiki


Steve Grimm - Keep Your Dreams Alive

Steve Grimm - Keep Your Dreams Alive

Steve Grimm

Album Title: Keep Your Dreams Alive
By Cactus Joe
Posted: Nov 2008
Label: Self Released
(2034) Page Views

STEVE GRIMM is probably best known as the front man and drummer of the infamous Milwaukee rock band BAD BOY. But he has a formidable solo career too, recently releasing eight solid rock songs on an album called “Keep Your Dreams Alive.” If you like 80s and 90s classic rock, check out this record. It’s potent.

Touring with Bad Boy, Steve had the envious privilege of sharing the stage with some of the greatest classic rock bands, including AC/DC, Journey, Fleetwood Mac, REO Speedwagon, Styx, Ted Nugent, and Alice Cooper. These influences are apparent in “Keep Your Dreams Alive.” A current-sounding production, this album still bleeds pure 80s rock-n-roll and will appeal to lovers of that genre. “Soilder [sic] (for Your Love)” is the song to preview before you buy (cdbaby.com/cd/stevegrimm) as it covers characteristic sonic territory.

Released in October 2008, the album’s title clearly reflects Steve’s continued passion for songwriting and performing. A graduate of Berklee College of Music and the University of Wisconsin, Steve has shared his veteran music wisdom teaching music in the Milwaukee Public School system for the past 12 years.  He is an active member of Sleighriders, a charity made up of performers who donate their talents and time to providing instruction and musical instruments to young music students.

Steve Grimm Online
Website


Sound And Fury - Sound And Fury

Sound And Fury - Sound And Fury

Sound And Fury

Album Title: Sound And Fury
By Chris Fox
Posted: Nov 2008
Label: Rebel Youth Records
(1636) Page Views

The album artwork alone makes this album worth purchasing. A very dark, yet refined, punk rock album. Eighties hair metal rings out in the solos and vocals as well as just a touch of southern rock. Songs like “Teenage Rampage” and “Bad Touch” will make you want to call your parents and start a political argument just to reminisce.

Sound And Fury Online
WebsiteWiki

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