Disc Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Evenstar - Through The Seasons

Evenstar - Through The Seasons

Evenstar

Album title: Through The Seasons
By Chris Fox
Posted: Feb 2009
Label: Boxman Records
(2280) Page Views

Defining the sound of EVENSTAR is a complex task, given their punk and alternative rock influences. These Milwaukee natives deliver a seven song modern rock saga that will keep you interested. Masterful guitar work and well-constructed songs really force you to pay attention while surrounding you with symphonious sound. You won’t find any catchy choruses or defining guitar riffs, but the melding of all the important elements create great music. The intimate feel is different than that of most punk albums, and the true emotion of the music is incredibly apparent. Showing their diversity, these guys have a finite combination of fast and slow paced songs, but the feeling remains the same; upbeat and ready to give you a story.

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Hamsa Lila - Live In Santa Cruz

Hamsa Lila - Live In Santa Cruz

Hamsa Lila

Album title: Live In Santa Cruz
By Greg Hatrumian
Posted: Feb 2009
Label: In The Pocket Records
(2139) Page Views

This generous double cd, from San Fransico-based Hamsa Lila, can rightfully claim “state of the art” status for digital recordings in both sound reproduction and live mixing. The resultant clarity of the instruments and voices, with faint echoes of audience and hall ambiance, are nothing short of stunning.

Echoes play prominently in the music of Hamsa Lila, a “trance” band delving largely into the musics of the middle east, hip-hop beats, and occasional rock rhythms for counterpoint. Coming several years on the heels of “The Gathering One,” this 2-CD set plays well over 2-1/2 hours in chronicling an evening in Santa Cruz.

The band’s name is a clue to their music: a Hamsa is an ancient amulet shared by both Arabic and Hebrew traditions used for greeting and magical protection of the five senses - in Sanskrit, it means “swan” and refers to “Divine Breath.” Lila is a night ritual of the Gnawa people of Morocco, a rich ceremony marked in the sensory realms of sound (music, song), sight (colors), smells (incense) and movement (dance).

This musical mix lets its participants enter a trance state of healing purification, and the performance of startling dances. There is no purpose in listing cd tracks, as they all flow into each other, despite rest stops in a larger gestalt picture.

The tablas, ouds, and drum kit propel the music and easily evoke images of another place and time.

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The Pale Figures - Memphis and Chicago

The Pale Figures - Memphis and Chicago

The Pale Figures

Album title: Memphis and Chicago
By Jeff Muendel
Posted: Jan 2009
Label: Peacefist Records
(2488) Page Views

The Pale Figures are a rock band featuring the song writing of Chicago-based musician Aaron Lindstrom , formerly of Madison band Cup O’ Joe, and New York-based singer/songwriter Cory Larson. Over a period of two years, Larson and Lindstrom traded music through the mail, writing music with the style and sound of Memphis music in mind. Eventually, given the historical rivalry between Chicago’s Chess Records and Memphis’s Sun Studio, The Pale Figures thought it would be interesting to contrast the Memphis sound with the Chicago sound. The result is a CD with two themes (or two sides if you’d like to revert back to the days of vinyl records) that is full of melodic, interesting songs. At times, the album is mellow even easy listening while at other times it’s quite heavy with overdriven guitars.  Yet, the album is well-balanced throughout and the metamorphosis from light to heavy is smooth. As the group is now based in Chicago, look for them to play near you throughout the Midwest.

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Pachyderm Recording Artists - So Large We Ran Out Of Room… Again

Pachyderm Recording Artists - So Large We Ran Out Of Room… Again

Pachyderm Recording Artists

Album title: So Large We Ran Out Of Room… Again
By Geert Driver
Posted: Jan 2009
Label: Self Released
(5753) Page Views

Minneapolis area Pachyderm Studio is releasing thier second compilation CD. The disc highlights the past 12 months of work done in the infamous studio since the release of its first effort in 2007. Included are bands from the entire Midwest region. Northern Room from Milwaukee opens the disc with “BlackLight”, a mainstream pop single.

Minneapolis based New Rebelution hits the Reggae button with “Grateful Dread” a thought-provoked example of how unspent potential can affect us. Mankato Jam Grass experts Useful Jenkins kick it hard with “outlaw” and The Rez represents Duluth with the hippie jam “Salvador Dali”. The compilation gets heavy with Madison’s Droids Attack, “The Cardinal and the Pachyderm” named in connection with two great regional venues.

Chicago is served up twice by Aaron Williams’ “Little Time for me” and record label considered Atypical Science’s “Seeing it everywhere”. And the journey rounds out with a track from HOME called “Long Time Ago”, a Denver based crew.

Catch the CD release party at the Cardinal Bar in Madison on Saturday, January 17th with Droids Attack, New Rebelution and Aaron Williams. The proceeds from the disc all go to support the Pachyderm Preservation Project (projectpachyderm.org), an organization founded on the basis of sustaining Old Growth Forests in Minnesota.

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Kill Junior - Confusiotomy

Kill Junior - Confusiotomy

Kill Junior

Album title: Confusiotomy
By Chris Fox
Posted: Jan 2009
Label: Self Released
(2378) Page Views

These Madison locals have developed their sound into a heavy metal punk escapade that will keep you guessing through the entire album. With melodic vocals and overdriven guitars the sound gets progressively heavier until little antics like “Track Nine” throw you off and force you to really pay attention. The unique musings of vocalist Cory Kastner (10110, Angels Or Insects) with such a heavy accompaniment create a completely unique sound that will be remembered. These guys are clearly all about simply rocking out and letting the music do the talking. Call it punk, call it metal, this is KILL JUNIOR, and their music keep your head banging. 

Catch Kill Junior live January 10th at the Cherry Lanes in Sturgeon Bay with Dichotic, January 17th at the Cruise In in Wausau with Mindgraft and Downgrade, and in Madison on January 23rd at the Annex with The Zombeatles and Mad Trucker Gone Mad.

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Static X - Cannibal Killers Live DVD/CD

Static X - Cannibal Killers Live DVD/CD

Static X

Album title: Cannibal Killers Live DVD/CD
By Chris Fox
Posted: Jan 2009
Label: Warner Brothers
(1849) Page Views

STATIC-X turns up their intense electro-driven riffs with the release of their first DVD. The Cannibal Killers Tour proved to be one of the best for the band and it shows with the production of their entire set on film. Better live than any CD can do justice, STATIC-X has recreated the concert experience that will leave any metal fan wanting more. The disc also displays the diversity of the industrial metal outfit by presenting every music video the quartet has produced, as well as a second DVD with an equally intense older show from New Years Eve of ‘97. The final icing on the cake is the CD recording from the Cannibal Killers Tour. This package will excite any metal fan and encourage you to break out “Wisconsin Death Trip” to celebrate the entire catalog of industrial grinding.

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Anna Laube - Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge

Anna Laube - Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge

Anna Laube

Album title: Pool All The Love * Pool All The Knowledge
By John Noyd
Posted: Jan 2009
Label: Self Released
(3081) Page Views

Wisconsin native and California transplant Laube spins hippie bohemia into rootin’ tootin’ riverboat galleries moseying on down through spirited Delta blues, roadhouse honky-tonk and funky finger pickin’ folk. Turning fields plowed by Michelle Shocked and Gillian Welch, Laube has a light hand that eases into each eleven tracks revealing eleven different histories anchored in an authenticity that is friendly and forgiving. Anna’s slow-burn melancholy scrapes by as much as her confident shakedowns kick off sadness’s shackles. Lanky and coltish, pan-fried pride sizzles while fleshy sessions conjure toddlin’ minstrel jazz over Cajun gospel and East Village coffee shops circa 1959. Mixed and mastered at Madison’s DNA Studios. “Pool,” is brought to fruition through the intimate support from local musicians Nick Moran, Aaron Konkol, and Scott Beardsley.

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White Zombie - Let Sleeping Corpses Lie – Box Set

White Zombie - Let Sleeping Corpses Lie – Box Set

White Zombie

Album title: Let Sleeping Corpses Lie – Box Set
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Geffen
(1775) Page Views

Take a step into the past and enjoy a hefty chunk of heavy metal history. This box set provides four amazing discs of WHITE ZOMBIE’s greatest hits and heaviest sounds. The set travels from early gems such as “Gentleman Junkie” to the thunderous wonder “More Human Than Human.” All four discs have their highlights but this set is certainly a must for any ZOMBIE fan as well as those who know very little about this cornerstone group. The exclusive DVD included is the icing on the cake featuring hours of live concert footage and every music video the band has made. If you have ever heard any song by these guys this box set is worth taking a look at.

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Slow Burning Car - Blowback

Slow Burning Car - Blowback

Slow Burning Car

Album title: Blowback
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Trifonic Laboratories
(1951) Page Views

These guys are out to simply rock, and enjoy playing their music. The album starts out with the words “Fe, fi, fo, fum” and the ridiculousness just progresses from there. Mixing punk rock ideas and vocals with folk guitar and excellent song writing creates a twelve song album that is 100% one of a kind. This album mixes both peppy and slow songs as well as both dark and upbeat lyrics creating the pleasant obscurity that is SLOW BURNING CAR. They’ll show you exactly who and what they are with no compromise. The respectable ideals and developing, progressive music really delve into a unique listening experience that with leave you both disappointed with the world and energized at the same time.

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Grails - Doomsdayer’s Holiday

Grails - Doomsdayer’s Holiday

Grails

Album title: Doomsdayer’s Holiday
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Temporary Residence
(2037) Page Views

Dark, heavy and celestial music. GRAILS has managed to take the meandering sound of groups like OPETH and mix them with eastern, folk, and blues stylings to create an entirely new sound. The album contains very little vocalization, but when they do appear, they achieve an eerie sense of omniscience and envelope the already dark wandering guitar. The real gem of this album is the sometimes subtle and often times obvious presence of Indian style sitar and chord progressions. Songs like “Doomsdayer’s Holiday” create the perfect melding of American heavy metal and classical Hindu sounds. This is an album that should be listened to from beginning to end before any judgment should be passed. The true artistry lies between the songs and the progression of the entire album.

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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
(1855) 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.

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Archer - Doomsday Profits

Archer - Doomsday Profits

Archer

Album title: Doomsday Profits
By Chris Fox
Posted: Dec 2008
Label: Duke’s Black Rose
(2142) 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.

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