Archive for the Review Category

Review: Clutch – Earth Rocker

Posted in Review with tags , , on March 7, 2013 by heavyuberalles

earthrocker

On March 19th, the 10th studio album by the formidable Clutch will hit the shelves in the US. (there really aren’t many actual “shelves” left to hit, are there? That’s a lament for another time.) While their style has morphed since their debut album in 1993, they have always remained true to themselves and stayed distinctly “Clutch”, which happens to be the most common answer given by fans when asked to describe their music.

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Review: Orange Goblin – A Eulogy For The Damned

Posted in Review on May 17, 2012 by heavyuberalles

Sometimes, when you look at and listen to the progression of a band over the years, it can bring about emotions of sincere love or intense hatred, depending on if the band has changed their sound over the years or remained true to a certain style. Some bands, like Slayer and Motorhead rarely deviate from their formula, and the fans love and depend on that consistency. Other bands, like Metallica, have waxed and waned, evolving and searching for new directions in their music.

Every now and then, a band adjusts their sound just enough to catapult them through the invisible barrier between good and great, and that is exactly what the UK’s Orange Goblin has done on their latest album, A Eulogy for the Damned.

Earlier Orange Goblin albums had a perfect mixture of Black Sabbath heaviness mixed with a spacy, psychedelic sound. As they evolved, they got less trippy and more heavy, favoring a heavy, murky stoner metal sound. Eulogy is a varied mix of styles, from heavy stoner, to blues to deep southern rock (some of these songs have a strong Skynyrd influence to them), while still strongly holding on to the band’s identity.

The first thing that is evident is the production of this album. Crisp, clean production, and for the first time singer Ben Ward’s vocals have been clearly brought to the forefront, where on previous albums his voice seems to have gotten lost at times through the heavy fuzz of the music. With topical song that touch on horror (Red Tide Rising, The Fog), faith and self-destruction (Save Me From Myself), bikers (The Filthy and the Few), and drugs (Acid Trial), to name a few.

Red Tide Rising starts the album off with a horrifying tale of Cthulu, and was a great choice for the first single released from Eulogy. Death of Aquarius is a heavy, churning bombast that picks up steam like a downhill locomotive. One song I can’t quite put into words is the last song, the title track of the album. It starts somber, with low, clean vocals, and picks up the tempo as it goes, and ends with what can be described as an emotional, uplifting jam at the end, almost bringing to mind the moving finale of the Skynyrd classic Freebird.

The songs are well-constructed, and I can’t go without mentioning one of the stars of this album: the incredible riffs. These are by far some of the catchiest riffs that OG has ever churned out, and some of these will sink their teeth in and get stuck in your head for days.This is not an album you will get tired of quickly. Quite the opposite – you will have this one if your rotation for a while.

If Eulogy For The Damned is any indicator of what is to come in the future of Orange Goblin, then you can count on hearing a lot more about these guys in the near future.

You can stream the entire album for free (and purchase it) at Candlelight Records’ Bandcamp page here.

Review: Sepultura – Kairos

Posted in Review on February 2, 2012 by heavyuberalles

This review is a fairly strange one for me. I do realize that Kairos came out 7 months ago, so it’s not exactly timely. I accept that. The thing is, I have been a Sepultura fan since 1989, when I first heard Beneath the Remains. Songs like Inner Self and Mass Hypnosis grabbed me instantly, and wouldn’t let go…until 1996.

In 1996, while touring for the Roots album, Max Cavalera left Sepultura amid huge internal strife within the band, following the firing of their manager (Max’s wife Gloria) and the murder of his stepson Dana. Shortly thereafter, Max returned with Soulfly (a band I instantly loved and have ever since), and Sepultura continued on with Cleveland, Ohio singer Derrick Green. Sepultura…without Max? Inconceivable. I heard one verse of the song “Choke” from Against, the first album with Derrick singing, and I was done. Never even gave it a chance. It Wasn’t Sepultura without Max, and that was that.

So here I sit years later, and six Sepultura albums, seven Soulfly albums (Enslaved comes out in March 2012), and two Cavalera Conspiracy albums later. I finally wonder if I am over being childish and will give Sepultura a chance to stand on its own, without Max and Igor Cavalera. So I give their latest release, Kairos, a good listen or two.

The first thing I notice on the album is the constant through every Sepultura album, and that is Andreas Kisser’s tight, machine-gun riffs prevalent in every song.

The mix could have used more bass, in my opinion.You feel the rumble underneath, but the bass sound is just not as pronounced as it could have (should have) been. Derrick Green’s vocals and presence are the real highlight here. With a higher-pitched wail than Max, he stands on his own as Derrick, not “Derrick as Max”.

Some of the stronger tracks on Kairos are Mask (my favorite off the album), Born Strong, and the bonus track Point of No Return. The covers of Ministry’s Just One Fix (pretty solid cover) and Prodigy’s Firestarter (slightly different heavier spin on the song) are interesting inclusions on the album.

Overall, Kairos is a pretty solid effort, and has given me the inspiration to check out earlier Derrick Green-era Sepultura. I will never be able to compare it to the Max-era Sepultura (that music is too ingrained on my heart to like this version of Sepultura more), but judged on its own, not in comparison, it is definitely metal worth listening to.

Review: King Giant – Dismal Hollow

Posted in Review on January 18, 2012 by heavyuberalles

 

In 2009, King Giant released Southern Darkness, a heavy, stoner-doom smothered album full of tales of whiskey, murder, guns and motorcycles. Live show after live show around the DC/MD/VA area saw the band picking up steam and the crowds growing larger and larger.

Fast-forward to 2012.

The quintet from Pimmit Hills, VA are back with their latest effort, Dismal Hollow. Rather than just picking up where they left off in 2009, KG has kept the core of its heavy sound and expanded on it, adding more complexity to their songs and exploring new areas, both vocally and musically.

Dismal Hollow opens with a sonic boom, the first single, Appomattox. A churning, powerful tale of the Civil War, (“If blood was money, the soil would be wealthy…”). The album continues with dark tales of murder, booze and the open road. Other standouts on the album are the groove-heavy Tale of Mathias, the story of a woman turning the tables on her abusive husband. The sludgy, chunky riff of 6 O’Clock Swill WILL be resonating in your head for hours, maybe even days after listening. The Fog takes us down deeper into the Dismal Hollow of Appalachia with an ode to moonshiners. The song rolls into your ears and pores just like a fog, then builds up to crescendo upon crescendo to a huge high-octane finish that stops on a dime.

Something worth noting is the length of the songs on Dismal Hollow. only 2 of the 8 songs are under the 5 minute mark, and rather than drone on, its gives life to the songs and allows them to spread their wings and tell the tale. The songwriting has continued in the KG tradition of musical storytelling rather than just a song for a song’s sake. King Giant have truly established themselves as modern-day metal bards, spinning southern yarns that paint a vivid picture of the story that they are telling, and using power and restraint equally to evoke the appropriate emotion to tell the tales.

This review would be incomplete without talking about the individual parts of the whole. The dual-guitars of Todd Ingram and David Kowalski perfectly compliment and contrast each other, zooming along in unison until breaking away for lead breaks and rhythm lines that work together like opposing gears of a Swiss watch.

Photo by Puck

The rhythm section of Floyd Walters III on bass and Brooks on drums give the low end the punch and girth to support the songs, and the production on the album highlights the low sound beautifully. Finally, Dave Hammerly’s vocals are the angry snarl he is known for, but reaching new powerful heights unheard before, being unleashed at just the right moments as if stomping on the gas pedal.

King Giant have reached a new level and really knocked one out of the park with Dismal Hollow. Do yourself a favor and get this one, especially on vinyl (you can order the album here). These songs were meant to be heard live. If they hit your town (or anywhere remotely close), do not miss them – you will regret it. It all begins with the album release show at Jaxx in Springfield, VA this Saturday, 1/21.

Here is the video for the first single from Dismal Hollow, Appomattox.

Band Site: www.kinggiant.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kinggiantband

Merch: http://www.kinggiant.bigcartel.com/

Movie Review – God Bless Ozzy Osbourne

Posted in Review on August 29, 2011 by heavyuberalles

  I just got back from seeing the new documentary God Bless Ozzy Osbourne in Fairfax, and I was not disappointed.

The film, produced by Ozzy’s son Jack Osbourne, was a pretty honest look at Ozzy’s life, and, according to Jack, tells more about John Osbourne than Ozzy Osbourne.

The film is intercut between the present day Ozzy, with family and on tour, and then telling about his past with Black Sabbath and branching out on his own.

One of the most telling parts of the film is when they talk about their time on MTV’s show The Osbournes. They said what hurt the family the most is that Ozzy was pretty much at an all-time low with drugs and alcohol, and through the wonders of the editing room, kept only the footage that was goofy or funny, with Ozzy mumbling and stumbling around in a haze. Watching the current interviews you really can see the difference between “The Osbournes” Ozzy and “clean and sober Ozzy”.

Heartfelt and honest, the film covered the good, the bad and the ugly of Ozzy’s life and career, with Ozzy at times being his own worst critic. One part especially touching is when the family talks about Ozzy ‘s inspiration and motivation to get sober was his own son getting sober.

The film also interviews many of his bandmates from both Black Sabbath and his solo band, and other musical noteworthies that were either a first-hand witness to the insanity (Tommy Lee had the whole theater rolling) or were deeply influenced by Ozzy. The interviews didn’t hold back, and this was definitely not made to prop Oz up on a pedestal, but more to show the hows and whys of his personal downward spiral.

Another in a line of recent rock documentaries that are just getting better and better, God Bless Ozzy Osbourne is definitely worth a watch for any Ozzy or metal fan.

*God Bless Ozzy Osbourne comes out on dvd & Blu-Ray on November 15th. Pre-order it here.