Disc Reviews

by Max Ink Staff Writers


Mo', Keb' - Live and Mo

Mo', Keb' - Live and Mo

Mo', Keb'

Album title: Live and Mo
By John Noyd
Posted: Nov 2009
Label: Yolabelle International
(2430) Page Views

Never one to sit back and rest on his laurels, contemporary bluesman, occasional actor and three-time Grammy winner Keb’ Mo’ launches his first self-produced indie album in conjunction with a coast to coast American tour and a newly designed website. A tasty sample of K.M’s current output, “Live,” features six live performances and four new studio recordings for an excellent overview of hand-picked gems highlighting a song-writer whose roots are in the blues but who subtly colors his songs with pop, gospel and funk influences. Welcoming and sympathetic, open-hearted and socially conscious, Mo’s laid-back enlightenment hides its pains and struggles deep inside hope and encouragement, making a gentle, soothing sound that uplifts and comforts. K.M. brings his band to Milwaukee’s Northern Lights Theater Nov. 14th.

Read More...


Dethklok - Dethalbum II

Dethklok - Dethalbum II

Dethklok

Album title: Dethalbum II
By Chris Fox
Posted: Oct 2009
Label: Turner Music Publishing
(2630) Page Views

DETHKLOK is everything that metal should be. Loud, fast and larger than life. Epic song titles like “Bloodlines” and “The Gears” really say it all for this animated quintet. This album is the sophomore production for Brendon Small and Gene Hoglan and they have been able to deliver. With season three of Metalocalypse, the animated series following Dethklok, on the horizon, this album makes the mouths of many serious and satirical metal fans water. The music is heavy and brutal, but the guitar work melding almost seamlessly with the percussion is what makes this music so good. Tight, bottom heavy, and simply epic. Fans of heavy music of all genres, whether they enjoy the cartoon or not, will thoroughly enjoy this overpowering monster of an album.

Read More...


The Motherhive Syndicate - Negative Spaces

The Motherhive Syndicate - Negative Spaces

The Motherhive Syndicate

Album title: Negative Spaces
By Chris Fox
Posted: Oct 2009
Label: Self Released
(2913) Page Views

With a sound the resembles a mix of modern hard rock and the classic days of heavy metal with just a touch of bluesy funk, THE MOTHERHIVE SYNDICATE delivers headbanging drive and emotion for 58 minutes on their album, “Negative Spaces.” Soaring vocals with just enough grit, and a guitar that rides that fine line between rhythm and shred are the carrying sounds of this album. Turning down the treble, reveals the solid percussion and groovy bass lines that really drive this music. Clearly drawing on influences from all over the musical world, these guys are a Madison band to be watched.

Read More...


Frehley, Ace - Anomaly

Frehley, Ace - Anomaly

Frehley, Ace

Album title: Anomaly
By Sal Serio
Posted: Oct 2009
Label: Bronx Born Records
(2813) Page Views

After a 20 year absence, “Space” Ace Frehley is back with a new solo album! ‘Anomaly’s Sept. 15 release date marks three years since the notorious drinker has been clean and sober. Some artists lose their edge once they’ve cleaned up their act, but Frehley is back with a vengeance.

This CD just screams ROCK ‘N ROLL with the levels hitting red while Ace and band take no prisoners! The primary musical purveyors here are just the spaceman and longtime drummer Anton Fig with contributions from members of Ace’s 2008 touring band, Anthony Esposito, Derrick Hawkins, and Scot Coogan.

‘Anomaly’s first single is the appropriately titled “Outer Space” which ought to be hitting the playlist hard on hard rock radio around the world… it’s brutal! The endearing thing here is a balls-out new-rock mentality mixing with the poppy metal songwriting that Frehley has always been known for, providing the perfect spacewalk from the past to the present.

My personal faves from ‘Anomaly’ are the instrumental-heavy cuts “Space Bear”, “Genghis Kahn”, and “Fractured Quantum”, ripe with Ace’s trademark string bending acrobatics… stuff we know to expect from the spaceman, like toggle switch stutter and blistering triplets. However, there are also plenty of subtleties and acoustic moments within. Ace is back and I told you so!

Read More...


Decapitado - Autowriter

Decapitado - Autowriter

Decapitado

Album title: Autowriter
By Jeff Muendel
Posted: Oct 2009
Label: Self Released
(2857) Page Views

Decapitado members describe themselves as “chaos controlled with razor-sharp precision,” and that is quite accurate. The punk band’s instrumentation is telling as well, with singer and bassist Daniel Kubinski (once the frontman of the legendary Die Kreuzen) playing 5-string bass and guitarist Andy Skeels playing 7-string guitar. In other words, they like to play it low and dirty.

Decapitado’s new 7” vinyl release (red vinyl, to be specific, and that’s cool in and of itself) is a two-song affair with “Autowriter” on one side and “Muzzle” on the other. The songs are grinding and apocalyptic, but as the band claims, there is in some way a meticulous nature to them as well. That may, indeed, be the primary draw of the music: within the growls and guttural mayhem of overdriven amplifiers and hard-pounded drums is a certain correctness, an emotional ambush, that is altogether human.

Read More...


Black Label Society - Skullage

Black Label Society - Skullage

Black Label Society

Album title: Skullage
By Jeff Muendel
Posted: Sep 2009
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
(3005) Page Views

Black Label Society frontman Zakk Wylde, who came to fame with Ozzy Osbourne, has spent the last twenty years establishing himself as not only a guitar icon, but also songwriter. Studying at the alter of Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen, and Randy Rhoads, Wylde is now revered by the latest wave of metal guitarists. His solo group, Black Label Society, has released a greatest hits package called “Skullage” that includes both a DVD and CD. It should be noted (as it was in the press release) that Skullage rhymes with collage; it is not pronounced “skull-idge” (I had it wrong).

The CD portion includes a cross-section of some of the best BLS tracks, including “13 Years of Grief,” “Doomsday Jesus,” and “New Religion.” The DVD is a mash-up of material that includes various live sets (including acoustic versions of “The Blessed Hellride,” “Spoke In The Wheel,” and “Stillborn”), Interviews with Zakk and the band, and some very cool music videos. This package makes a great stand-alone document of Black Label Society thus far and showcases the Zakk Wylde as both a performer and songwriter. The 115-minute DVD and individual CD are also available separately.

Read More...


John Herdt & Wally Z - Shadow Fades Away

John Herdt & Wally Z - Shadow Fades Away

John Herdt & Wally Z

Album title: Shadow Fades Away
By Sal Serio
Posted: Jul 2009
Label: Rampant Squid
(4654) Page Views

Colorado guitarist John Herdt and Canadian drummer Wally Z smoke the sophomore slump, really raising the bar a couple notches on their new Rampant Squid release “Shadow Fades Away”.

The feel of summer breezes, cruisin’ with the top down. Flying at hyper speeds. An old west gold rush blush. These were all thoughts that popped up listening to this mother of invention… spawning imagination. Inspiring transportation.

This is an invigorating journey, accompanied by a swaggering soundtrack of genre jumping cerebral progressive hard rock. The trip will take you to a place called “Licorice”, with it’s gun slinging riffs… Herdt’s guitars blazing like a frontier showdown in an old California settlement like a scene right from the disc’s cover.

Excuse the mess, but on track seven’s voyage you might breathe in a little “Rock Dust”. Wally singing some inspired words penned by his wife Lee here, with lyrics that don’t distract from the complexities of the instrumentation. Instead, color the songs with intrigue. Phrases like “Jump into the fog of the night” and “Sparks of technicolor shower down on me” make visions bloom onto the dense aural landscape.

I deem this CD experience the best “staycation” of the Summer!

Read More...


Sonic Youth - The Eternal

Sonic Youth - The Eternal

Sonic Youth

Album title: The Eternal
By John Noyd
Posted: Jul 2009
Label: Matador Records
(2661) Page Views

Last month, Metric’s Emily Haines proclaimed to a sold-out show in Chicago, “Kim Gordon’s a genuine rock star Kim doesn’t make me want to be her - she makes me want to be a better me.” Pioneering legends/role models, Kim and company may not be as youthful as they once were, but are as sonic as ever. Their sixteen release, “Eternal,” stands as a testament to their outstanding legacy as Zen masters of post-punk fun; aping art-school lyrics, cathartic guitars and voodoo grooviness in a penetrating retrospect of evolving styles that morph from syrupy ghostliness to grinding cacophony. A catalogue of psychedelic cool erupting into impetuous adventures, “Eternal,” encapsulates a timelessly gritty hipness. A phenomenal live act, Sonic Youth visit Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater July 20th.

Read More...


Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels

Great Lake Swimmers - Lost Channels

Great Lake Swimmers

Album title: Lost Channels
By Cactus Joe
Posted: Jul 2009
Label: Nettwerk Records
(2965) Page Views

“Lost Channels” is the fourth album by Canadian indie folk rockers GREAT LAKE SWIMMERS, whose band name is based on Marilyn Bell, the first person to swim across Lake Ontario 55 years ago. The record was composed and recorded in the historic Thousand Islands region of the St. Lawrence River between the United States and Canada.

The folksy indie pop is cerebral and emotional, conveying plenty of night skies, howling winds, and raging rivers in almost every song. Lead singer Tony Dekker’s melancholy, quasi-Celtic lyrics are complimented by his penchant for recording in old churches, community halls, abandoned grain silos and other rural locations. The vocals are bathed in natural reverb and enriched by the historical contexts of many of the songs. 

The song to sample is “Pulling on a Line.” The entire album is available for download in iTunes for just $4.

Read More...


Black Water Rising - Black Water Rising

Black Water Rising - Black Water Rising

Black Water Rising

Album title: Black Water Rising
By Chris Fox
Posted: May 2009
Label: Self Released
(12636) Page Views

Southern fried metal. Listening to the self-title album from BLACK WATER RISING really gives the feeling of the dirty south. These guys are letting it all hang out with shredding guitar solos and slinky riffs that give that Skynyrd feel. The aggressiveness of the vocals really give the album that full sound. Bluesy, distorted guitars and gritty vocals promoting unity and protesting injustices keeps this album moving. Songs like “Rise” really push the go big or go home mentality that these metal heads are promoting. A finite mixture of ZZ Top, Hellyeah, and Skynyrd makes these guys a unique southern blend of heavy metal.

Read More...


Hebron - Resurrection

Hebron - Resurrection

Hebron

Album title: Resurrection
By Chris Fox
Posted: May 2009
Label: Misfortune Records
(2740) Page Views

These Fort Atkinson natives have outdone themselves with an album that will tear your face off and hand it back to you. Throw Slayer, Testament, and a touch of epicness from In Flames into a blender from hell and you have the sound of HEBRON. Relentless guitars and clanking thrash drums will keep even the most avid metal enthusiast on their toes. Showing off their broad metal influences with every track without losing their personal voice, HEBRON strives to find the darker reaches of the musical world. Riffy and in-your-face; the intensity of this album just builds until the title track, “Resurrection,” where time changes, double kicks, and a roaring voice will leave you out cold.

Read More...


Rush - Snakes & Arrows Live DVD

Rush - Snakes & Arrows Live DVD

Rush

Album title: Snakes & Arrows Live DVD
By Jeff Muendel
Posted: May 2009
Label: Anthem Entertainment
(2349) Page Views

Most of this three-disc DVD set was taped during two performances in Holland at the end of 2007. Rush has always been a good band, though they are perhaps a little less energetic on the stage these days than in decades past simply due to age. The DVDs nonetheless finds the legendary group in good musical form, doing a nice mix of classic Rush material along with nine new songs from their Snakes & Arrows CD released the same year.

The first two discs contain the 2007 concert footage. The third disc, entitled “Oh Atlanta! The Authorized Bootlegs,” is a collection of live tracks recorded throughout 2008. While the concert footage is good, these snippets may be better. The classic “2112/The Temples Of Syrinx” is perhaps the best performance the DVD set has to offer. Or, perhaps, it is simply a reflection of how good the material was on the 2112 album, released in 1976. Indeed, it was the seventies that saw Rush release their best work, and it would be nice to see them concentrate more on that era. While they get kudos for continuing to release new material, and it is certainly more fulfilling for them, the new material pales in comparison to their classic period.

If you are Rush fan, then Snakes & Arrows Live will be needed for your collection. If, however, you are a fan of hard rock with only a passing interest in Rush, the emphasis on late-period hits and new material along with the less-than-energetic stage presence may disappoint relative to the price of admission.

Read More...

View More

Viewing Page 36 - of 41

‹ First  < 34 35 36 37 38 >  Last ›