Disc Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Eye Empire - Moment of Impact

Eye Empire - Moment of Impact

Eye Empire

Album title: Moment of Impact
By Aaron Manogue
Posted: Feb 2011
Label:
(3042) Page Views

Every once in a while there comes an album, a band, a sound, that makes you take a moment to thank your respective higher power for bringing your ears such enjoyment. Well ladies and gentlemen, grab your bibles, your sacred scripts, call your priests, rabbis, or just call a friend; it’s time to give thanks for what Eye Empire has graced our rock ‘n’ roll eardrums with, in their new album, Moment of Impact.

The first track “I Pray” showcases everything the band has to offer. Donald Carpenter (Submersed) has a powerfully impressive vocal range that is clearly evident throughout the track. Carpenter’s vocal range is accompanied perfectly by B.C. Kochmit’s heavy riffs and Corey Lowery’s (both formerly of Dark New Day) whole-hearted bass. This track exclaims that Eye Empire is here, and they won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

Next comes one of the many highlights on the album, “Bull in a China Shop.” The song is extremely heavy, catchy, and kicks your ass, but most of all it’s good, hard metal. The song starts out with a recording of actor Mel Gibson’s character Riggs from Lethal Weapon screaming, “Well, what do you wanna hear man? Do you wanna hear that sometimes I think about eatin’ a bullet? Huh? Well I do!” Then Carpenter’s “hellish” metal scream begs you to get up and move, destroying everything in your path. Could a metal song have a more of a badass intro? The guitar solo in the song is extremely unique and gives us all just a taste of Kochmit’s immense talent.

“Victim” features guest vocals by Sevendust lead man Lajon Witherspoon, who is joined by fellow Sevendust member Morgan Rose.  Rose also recorded the drums on the album. This fact is one more tidbit that makes any metal fan smile.

The biggest thing that sticks out to me about Eye Empire is their extremely diverse ability to go from pure, unfiltered metal to slower songs such as “Reason,” “Feels Like I’m Falling,” and “Last One Home.” They go from kicking your ass to a bloody pulp in the mosh-pit, straight to stealing your girlfriend with a sound that you wouldn’t think could come from the same band. Their ability is evident and their potential is immeasurable. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Eye Empire.

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ill Nino - Dead New World

ill Nino - Dead New World

ill Nino

Album title: Dead New World
By Aaron Manogue
Posted: Feb 2011
Label: Victory Records
(2389) Page Views

The year 2010 has been filled with a lot of high quality albums and new music in the hard rock and metal scene. This standard was expected from the likes of Avenged Sevenfold and Deftones, but one of the most delightful surprises is the latest release Dead New World by Ill Nino. Whether you coin the band nu metal or Latin metal (to each his own), I call it purely unique ass-kicking metal.

Ill Nino has consistently been known for being one of the most unique sounds in metal with the use of Dave Chavarri and Daniel Couto’s mixture of drums and Latin percussion. This use of percussion is the epitome of a signature sound that most bands would kill for. In the album Dead New World, nothing has changed.

“God is Only for the Dead” announces loud and clear that the sextet is here to gouge your ears with metal bliss and insane energy. The addictive chorus sets the tone for the majority of the album, followed soon after by another tune you’ll have cemented in your head for days, “The Art of War.” The entire song is just plain fun to listen to and is spontaneous, yet rhythmic all the same. The guitar work by Ahrue Luster and Diego Verduzco is pristinely recognizable and furious and something any metal fan will immediately recognize and cherish.

The brightest spot on the album is the track “Mi Revolucion.” All of the ingredients that have gone into forming the masterpiece that is Ill Nino are evident.  Insane drumbeats, masterful vocals, riffs that are as hard as they are loud, all tied together with a little Latin soul.  Mix them together and you have Dead New World.

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Girl Talk - All Day

Girl Talk - All Day

Girl Talk

Album title: All Day
By John Noyd
Posted: Feb 2011
Label: Illegal Art
(2449) Page Views

A digitalized Dagwood discotheque where classic rock, R&B, and new wave craziness mingles with hip-hop, synthetic-pop and Top Forty one-hit wonders, Pittsburgh DJ and mash-up master Gregg Gillis’ latest winning surgical synergy, All Day, sandwiches hooks, beats, and soaring choruses. In doing so, they create a cluttered cultural confluence that reflects post-millennial overload onto savvy ADD fantasies. These translate the glittering litter of action-packed nostalgia into instantly irresistible dance floor fodder. Decades are compressed and trends are second-guessed as conscripted riffs jump through hoops of loops.  All the while, sorted styles get recast and rewired. Available as a free download on his label’s site, which also includes a jaw-dropping list of the artists Gillis sliced and diced, Girl Talk mixes and mashes his hyperbolic magic March 7th at Madison’s Orpheum Theater.

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20 Reasons Taken - Through This Fight

20 Reasons Taken - Through This Fight

20 Reasons Taken

Album title: Through This Fight
By Sal Serio
Posted: Feb 2011
Label: 20 Reasons Taken/Sidekick Entertainment
(2196) Page Views

Milwaukee area poppy hard-rockers, 20 Reasons Taken, have just put out their third release, Through This Fight. While the group sometimes brings a hip-hop element to their jams, this CD is all rock ‘n’ roll.

The eight songs featured define the pop-rock manifesto of concise, no-frills arrangements. Hyper-pulsed drumming and layered guitar tracks punctuate their crunchy new rock sound, which is driven by vocalist Mison Bones’ emotive singing. At times, Bones’ vocalizing brings to mind some surprising associations to the bygone pop rock/new wave era.

Bones and his three tunesmith co-conspirators take a more sensitive approach to their music via real singing (rather than screaming), intelligent and thought provoking lyrics, staccato rhythms, galloping yet shifting tempos, and tasty lead guitar fills that avoid the typical metal shredding cliché. The music still sounds tough even given the more tempered edge that their brand of hard rock displays. A solid recording, mixing, and mastering job by Whit at DNA Studios brings all of these unique qualities shimmering to the surface of Through This Fight ’s listening experience.

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Reckless Ones - Set the World on Fire

Reckless Ones - Set the World on Fire

Reckless Ones

Album title: Set the World on Fire
By Kaleb Bronson
Posted: Feb 2011
Label:
(3860) Page Views

Some may say that Rockabilly is dead, but the riotous Reckless Ones, hailing from the Twin Cities (Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN) have proven that statement wrong. Their second album release of die-hard rock ‘n’ roll and Rockabilly/Psychobilly vibes knocks out the competition with an upright-bass-left-hook.

They launched onto the Twin Cities Rockabilly scene in 2009 and have since taken control of it, packing clubs and venues while creating a wave of new bands to follow suit. After touring globally and showing the world with their name, the Reckless Ones returned to record Set the World on Fire . This is the band’s second album of Psychobilly slaughterhouse goodness. Frontman Kevin O’Leary’s 1950s styled growls penetrate and soothe throughout. Dylan Patterson’s knock-down, stand-up drum-kit slams, and Adam Boatright’s thunderously arousing upright bass gather a complete comprisal format for this trio of style, renegade pursuits, and gracious gnarls. 

Set the World on Fire starts out with a fiery inferno pushing the threesome forward, titled “Summer Streets,” which shows off the abundance of skill the band has acquired since the initial launch. The record has a structure that holds it as one piece and does not let the mind wander off of the greased societal tracks. One heavier focus the trio took on this album was the romantic approach, which dove back in time to Rockabilly. Not as many current Psychobilly bands offer this approach, but Reckless Ones do not fear the repercussions, and they shouldn’t. The gracefulness, yet rowdy-slickness of tracks such as “Country Bars,” “Nothin,’” and “Go On and Tell Her” offer a thick aspect of love, without the sloppy-seconds of sound.

As the albums progresses, the darkness settles in to shake things up a bit with “Sleepwalker,” the gratifying doom of the album. The lyrical content matches what Glenn Danzig would have offered with the Misfits during the glory days of punk rock, except Reckless Ones slow it down enough to swing to, or possibly with, a corpse. These Grimm Tales follow as the album continues, but the pace increases like “Road Warrior” straight out of the 1981 sequel to “Mad Max.”

“One Knife for You” slashes into the eardrums with a bloody splatter of celebration spread over the entire track. A slam-pit or car-hop would enjoy the quickness of this song. “What can I say I couldn’t take it anymore,” O’Leary spouts off, warning his enemies within the track, while the musical backdrop intimidates all who surround these Reckless Ones. The end of the album calms all listening to have a sit down track known as “Tender Nights,” which Carl Perkins would have appreciated in his final days. This mellowing cloud of musical sediment rains over the listeners to absorb after the album finishes.

Set the World on Fire has a sacrificial edge, perfectly puckered poise, and a grizzly growling sound straight from a 1958 Buick LeSabre. Reckless Ones have transferred sounds through many unchained musical levels, but they still remain dedicated to creating pure rock ‘n’ roll.

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Joseph Huber - Bury Me Where I Fall

Joseph Huber - Bury Me Where I Fall

Joseph Huber

Album title: Bury Me Where I Fall
By Kaleb Bronson
Posted: Jan 2011
Label:
(3618) Page Views

Mellowing his soul from the hyped engine of the .357 String Band, Joseph Huber calms his mind and tells the tales of darkness, doom, and salvation on newest LP.

Huber is known for his speed banjo skills and fireball lyrics but on this album, his first solo record, he offers a new eagle’s nest to view the world from. Bury Me Where I Fall is a digestible yet apocalyptic album of backwoods trails and the notion of life’s battlefield. Huber takes his high voltage from a ten to two and it works like clockwork. From the self-titled introduction song, “Bury Me Where I Fall” to the closing song “The Ancient Lake,” Huber keeps the level simple but offers something that most musicians no longer have: style. He offers a shovel full of dirt to throw on the walking dead, which most of humanity has become.

Like a hymnal in an abandoned church, Huber summons a soothing rapport to soothe the savage beast known as man with the lyrics “And so I go where the trees [are] like ghosts.” These lyrics from the opening track show the depth of this bearded man of mystery. As the album continues, he adds instrumental value from guitar to banjo to harmonica and beyond. This instrumentation makes it obvious that a high level of skill was bound together for the record. The darkened theme of the album opens the gates of doom and shines a small light inside so others can see through the fog. During “Bell on a Rope,” Huber shows that he will not be held down in a grave, he will pull himself from the ground and triumph above it all.

The entire album is perfectly played on a porch, fireplace, or road trip for a wandering soul of mischief. The album itself is rather quick, but it can be played on repeat for hours. His lyrics are pulled from the depths of eternity and resonate across the desolate land. The album progressively grows stronger and never gets stale.

“Downtime” is a song that is made for the American working man. The track is a tale of traveling and having the extra minutes to rethink living life. “Searching round, trying to find one goddamn familiar face,” Huber bellows with meaning. Later saying, “It’s funny how my own songs come out to haunt me.” This singer/songwriter has leveled his musical accomplishments with this album and created something to be proud of and hold above a majority of the musical realm.

“Can’t you see the Floods A-Coming” has a raw vinyl taste, like he met Robert Johnson near the crossroads of the Dockery Plantation to be transformed. Joseph Huber has gotten to a point which offers the meaning of life and tells it through a glorious soundtrack. Huber’s record is a reminder of where humans walk, where society will end up, and where music can portray existence.

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The Rolling Stones - Ladies & Gentleman, The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones - Ladies & Gentleman, The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones

Album title: Ladies & Gentleman, The Rolling Stones
By Michael Sherer
Posted: Jan 2011
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
(2116) Page Views

It’s hard to believe that the Rolling Stones have been around for 49 years. For me, they were certainly at their peak in the early ‘70s, which coincided with the era that talented guitarist Mick Taylor was with them. He joined in ‘69, replacing the recently fired Brain Jones, who shortly after being sacked drowned in his swimming pool under questionable circumstances. This was quite a tumultuous time for the band, and one which saw them mature and renew themselves.

In ‘72 they had recently released their double album “Exile On Main Street,” which was a reference to them leaving their native England to record in the south of France to avoid paying a huge tax percentage of their sizable earnings back home. They wound up recording in the basement of the home that Keith Richards was renting. They used their then new and highly coveted mobile recording console.

The footage on this finely restored and remastered DVD was filmed over four nights in Texas on their ‘72 tour to support “Exile.” It was screened in theaters in ‘74, and premiered at the most elegant and large theater in NYC, the Ziegfeld, on April 15. (Coincidentally the deadline for having U.S. taxes post dated by.)

This footage sees the Jagger swagger at his energetic and agile best. He struts, moves and dances all over the place. It’s always interesting to juxtapose this activity to that of original bassist Bill Wyman, who hardly moved at all. For the most part, the majority of the energy from the Stones emanates from Jagger, as the others can’t come close to keeping up with him, especially while being attached to their instruments.

The previous year saw them releasing what I consider their best record ever, Sticky Fingers. Horns and piano were featured on it, and that was all in tow for their ‘72 tour. It was a refreshing addition, bringing R&B elements to their rip roaring, bluesy rock & roll.

There’s some fun bonus footage included, which consists of tour rehearsal excerpts from Montreux and two interviews with Jagger. One is from ‘72, for the Britain based Old Whistle Test show. The other was filmed just last year, 38 years later.

I don’t know who came up with the slogan “The World’s Greatest Rock & Roll Band” for the Stones. Perhaps it was initially self promotion coined by themselves. Whatever the case is, this footage from ten years into their life makes this grand statement ring true. They were not too long into a new period where they had truly found and honed their own voice and visual persona. (Their beginnings found them being essentially a blues cover band.) Yet, they were still hungry, lean and mean enough to have the vigor and freshness that’s so elusive for a band that stays together for what has seemed like eternity for quite some time. Ah, to be young again…

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TACK - PORN AGAIN

TACK - PORN AGAIN

TACK

Album title: PORN AGAIN
By Geert Driver
Posted: Jan 2011
Label: Tarpit Music
(2881) Page Views

Adult film stars and rock n’ roll have gone hand in hand since the day was old. Fortunately, the cover appearance of AVN Award winner Bree Olson isn’t just a gimmick. In fact, it’s a crucial part of Tack’s follow-up to 2007’s PORN. PORN AGAIN is the result of some of Hollywood’s heaviest hitters, and Tack is their moniker. How is it that Grammy, Oscar and Emmy Awards abound for the crew yet we haven’t heard of them? You must take the trip to the underground for answers.

Tack is a dangerous band to get to know. Venice mainstays, Tack are beloved by the freaks. It stems from their inclusion in the film MODIFY and their cred in Hollywood. Tack is also loved by biker gangs and skateboarders. Now? Now Tack is loved by the adult film world. After stirring things up with adult film stars Ginger Lynn and Christie Canyon on Playboy Radio, Tack introduced themselves to a wider audience.

Despite their lack of conventional radio play, Tack has begun a movement that made stops on MTV, Playboy and everything in between. Recently Tack got “porn again” with an experimental record that sounds like Tool and Mastodon. Tack has risen to the surface with a progressive record that becomes a unique new release with its viral campaign that includes a haunting behind the scenes video featuring the beautiful Bree Olson (see YouTube: Porn Again The Trailer).

As a bonus, had the appearance of the lovely Bree Olson not been enough, the liner notes photos also showcase Olson in the same main pose with a little less on. Let’s see, a great progressive metal record, an angelic adult film starlet both clothed and topless on the record, and a US tour to follow? Nice! Get porn again!

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Monster Magnet - Mastermind

Monster Magnet - Mastermind

Monster Magnet

Album title: Mastermind
By Sal Serio
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: Napalm Records
(2636) Page Views

One of the original disciples of stoner rock, Monster Magnet has developed a unique, distinguishable sound, sort of a cosmic space-rock version of sinister pelvic-undulation-rock. Um, think Hawkwind meets Rob Zombie, okay?! The trademark Magnet sound saturates the newly released Mastermind CD, and there is not a single let-down track.

The pilot and ringleader of the Magnet space-rock circus is the infamously mustachioed Dave Wyndorf, who had some health set-backs around the time of their last CD 4-Way Diablo. Now Wyndorf is back with a vengeance, which is evident by the strength of Mastermind’s material. Tracks like “100 Million Miles” and “Gods And Punks” not only shake the rafters of the lift-off hanger, but the lyrics are equally as heavy hitting and incendiary.

It’s a shame that U.S. audiences don’t appreciate the psychedelic sludge-metal of Monster Magnet, at least not as much as European audiences do. Over the past several years the New Jersey bred band has become nearly exclusively based over the pond, where metal rules supreme. Also sad is that Mastermind marks the end of ace guitarist Ed Mundell’s tenure with the band. Both Mundell and Phil Caivano’s guitarwork shines on this latest CD, and the guitars are also more prevalent in the mix than 2007’s 4-Way Diablo release.

Serious Magnet-heads should be on the lookout for the limited edition versions of Mastermind featuring bonus tracks “Watch Me Fade” and “Fuzz Pig”, available in both vinyl and CD formats. The wonderful artwork by Ryan Clark and Dave Wyndorf at Invisible Creature is even more resplendent on the LP cover!

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All That Remains - For We Are Many

All That Remains - For We Are Many

All That Remains

Album title: For We Are Many
By Aaron Manogue
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: Razor & Tie
(2279) Page Views

Metal lovers, get ready to throw those devil horns in the air. Get ready to beat your fellow brethren into submission amidst the battlefields of the mosh pits. Get ready to have your ears melted from the inside out, all the while trying to wipe that hellish smile off your faces. All That Remains is back with their fifth album For We Are Many and are ready to prove that All That Remains is here to stay.

The band sticks true to form in their latest album. Pitch-black backdrops blended with melodic bear traps that grab a hold of you and leave you screaming for more. “Now Let Them Tremble” rips opens the album making you feel as if you’re in the middle of an army full of Satan’s own war machines preparing for war. If you can listen to this song and not feel prepared for the massacre to come, you don’t have a pulse.

Title track For We Are Many unleashes the fury that is All That Remains with lead man Philip Labonte’s signature growls and screams, accompanied by guitarists Oli Herbert and Mike Martin, who paint the dark and sadistic landscape for this impressive album. The first single off the album, “Hold On” has much of the melodic appeal that commercial success “Two Weeks” had on the band’s previous record Overcome. Expect much of the same from this single.

The guitar play by Herbert and Martin throughout the album is something that metal-shredding lovers will rejoice over and drummer Jason Costa once again shows off his incredible talent of fast-paced double bass with pinpoint precision. I said it once and I’ll say it again. All That Remains is here to say. Don’t believe me? Go and buy For We Are Many. You’ll thank me later.

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Englishman - Englishman

Englishman - Englishman

Englishman

Album title: Englishman
By John Noyd
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: Cave City
(2707) Page Views

Warm, unassuming, golden-throated pop; former Scourge of the Sea Andrew English’s fractured fables turned poignant parables make playfully plaintive, happily galloping troubaor poetry. Washed in inquisitive innocence and plummeting conundrums, the cleverly cozy, “Englishman,” shines in simple pleasures; the trim, tranquil, just-right arrangements scuttle past the ear escorting delicious tidbits of mixed metaphors, inverted clichés and subtle internal rhyme as survivor’s tales of misfit romance unfold with regal modesty and rhythmic whimsy. Serpentine sentences sung carefully, at times hesitantly, reveal pliant, riddling lyrics wrapped around sweeping sweetness that sleepily creeps from child-like keyboards to folksy dulcimer and modified autoharp to swelling strings and classical brass. Refreshingly buoyant and quietly subversive, the Kentucky native plays Madison’s Rathskellar December 4th along with Jeremiah Nelson and Matt Duncan

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Slipknot - (sic)nesses- Live at Download

Slipknot - (sic)nesses- Live at Download

Slipknot

Album title: (sic)nesses- Live at Download
By Aaron Manogue
Posted: Dec 2010
Label: Roadrunner Records
(2000) Page Views

The greatest metal band of the 21st century is at it once again with their latest concert DVD release (sic)nesses Live at Download. Available since late September, this work of art is enthralling, brilliant and surreal. Percussionist Shawn “Clown” Crahan exemplifies the DVD in one simple line; “It’s an extreme gift to be able to give the world your pain.”

The multifaceted compilation starts with a live recording of the bands 2009 performance at the hallowed grounds of Donington Park. The band drew largely from their hardcore roots, playing tracks such as “Eyeless,” “Surfacing” and “Wait and Bleed.” If you’ve never had the honor of experiencing the chaos that is a Slipknot concert, feast your eyes on the tens of thousands who enjoyed the ass kicking the nine handed them on this momentus day.

Easily the most artistic and impeccably revealing part of (sic)nesses  is the look that Clown gives fans in what is called Audible Visions of: (sic)nesses, a feature film directed by Clown himself. It delves the viewer behind the scenes during the bands tour to promote All Hope is Gone. The footage gives you a look into the soul of the beast that is Slipknot.

Perhaps the most lasting image is when vocalist Corey Taylor asks, “Where’s Paul?” Bassist Paul Gray is off screen talking to his wife and says “I love you baby, and I’ll call you after the show.” Here’s this guy, telling his family how much he loves them moments before he goes on stage before tens of thousands of fans waiting to rip each other apart. As we all know, Gray would die unexpectedly in May 2010.

This just goes to show the humanity and brotherhood of one of the greatest metal bands of all time. (sic)nesses is the closest any of us will ever get to being inside the 9, but Clown does an incredible job of portraying the band as is; crazy, deranged, but most of all, genius.

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