Monday, March 19, 2018

Skeletal Remains "Devouring Mortality"

    A rising force in the death metal community, Skeletal Remains is a band focused on bringing destructive and apocalyptic sounding music to the ravenous extreme metal fans around the world. Their new album, “Devouring Mortality,” is yet another example as to why these guys really do know how to create some vicious old school death metal.

    The Southern California based band first came to my attention with the release of their 2015 album, “Condemned to Misery,” which is their second full-length album. After listening to that album I then decided to check out their 2012 debut album, “Beyond the Flesh.” I respect the band’s passion for old school death metal and you can hear on, “Condemned to Misery,” a band that works unbelievably hard to come up with very solid extreme sounding tunes.

    For the their third full-length album, “Devouring Mortality,” the band continues to fire on all cylinders with eleven brutal cuts of corpse splitting death metal. The opening track, “Ripperology,” is a true behemoth of old school death metal and contains some sinister sounding riffs. I thought the lead guitar playing was also exceptionally executed throughout the song. There are leads that reminded me of classic material from bands such as Death and Pestilence. Another area that stood out was the drumming and I thought the mixing of the drums was very well done on this entire album.

    Track number two, “Seismic Abyss,” is a crushing piece of music sending seismic shocks throughout the body making you want to feverishly bang your head to the malevolent sounds. The song’s ferocious tone and the band's tight overall sound is what I believe allows Skeletal Remains to really standout when pertaining to their style of old school death metal. Songs like “Catastrophic Retribution” and, “Torture Labyrinth,” are extremely well recorded and demonstrate a group of musicians who know how to hammer out some monstrous sounding compositions.

    Other songs I want to mention are, “Parasitic Horrors,” “Mortal Decimation,” and “Reanimating Pathogen.” Once again the riffs convey such a bellicose and aggressive sound that captures your attention right away. I felt like the guitar playing, the drumming, the bass playing and the vocal delivery, work together in such perfect synchronicity. The entire album flows with an extreme synergy and the songwriting is without question some of the best new death metal you will find around.

    In the end, Skeletal Remains did not disappoint and in my opinion created their strongest release to date. In the extreme metal world some bands just don’t seem to get the sound right and the songs seem to fall flat, however, that is not the case with Skeletal Remains. Plus it helps when you have the legendary Dan Swanö doing the mixing and mastering. He did a great job capturing Skeletal Remains utterly vicious and brutal sound, so I hope the band continues to work with him and future releases. If you want solid old school death metal I highly recommend this album, because this is the type of death metal you want in your life. Unlike those death metal bands that are really metalcore, but the band members are all huffing paint thinner so they think they're a death metal band. Don’t huff paint thinner kids! Listen to Skeletal Remains instead!

Check out Skeletal Remains "Seismic Abyss" :

Skeletal Remains FB:

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Old Tower "Stellary Wisdom"

   Conjured in some remote location by a musician shrouded in mystery, Old Tower's, “Stellary Wisdom,” is a soundtrack into a shadowy realm where ancient castle ruins stand tall amongst hidden landscapes lost in time and space.

    The mastermind behind Old Tower known as, “The Specter,” is an artist who has become well regarded in the old-school dungeon synth community. I still remember when I first heard Old Tower’s, “Ruination, the New Dawn Cometh.” The track was an emotional sounding odyssey of captivating dungeon synth with a magnificent overall atmosphere.

    “Stellary Wisdom,” once again demonstrates Old Tower’s distinct and mysterious dungeon synth talents. I feel like what the iconic dungeon synth artist Mortiis established with the landmark album, “Født Till a Herske,” Old Tower continues by crafting even more mesmerizing sounding compositions. Also, the music on, “Stellary Wisdom,” is extremely well recorded and the album’s overall production is flawless in my opinion.

    The album features two brilliant compositions that both happen to last around fifteen minutes. “Deep Within My Somber Castle Halls,” is the album’s opening track which begins with a powerful presence of synth and establishes a very melancholy atmosphere. You feel as though you are traveling through an isolated mountain fortress far away from the modern world. I find the music to be very therapeutic and helps clear my mind. If you enjoy classic dungeon synth music with a strong ambience you will truly enjoy this track.

    The second track which is the title track off the album, slowly builds up with a more ambient celestial sounding style. For me the recording conjured up mental pictures of an endless black sky leading toward an abyss beyond Earth and into another dimension. The Specter seems to be a master of recording and his ability to convey such vivid emotional sounds throughout the composition is rather impressive. I also liked the dynamics of this piece and felt like there were some moments of unpredictability that kept me paying full attention to every sound coming through my speakers.

    I believe, “Stellary Wisdom, “ is not just the strongest dungeon synth album to come out in the past few years, but the album is also one of the strongest and most well produced albums to come out this year so far. For fans of early Mortiis and dark ambient dungeon synth, I think Old Tower is a power rising from the darkness that you need to check out. I highly recommend going back and checking out the band’s previous releases as well as this new one. Sometimes when you need a break from the chaotic modern world, the sounds of dungeon synth can be a great escape and Old Tower provides a great sanctuary for those looking to escape.

Preview the entire album below. Also subscribe to The Dungeon Synth Archives on Youtube. The person who runs that channel has some great bands to check out:

Link to Old Tower's bandcamp. Physical copies of the album are available. (Already have mine!) :

Monday, February 26, 2018

Review: Mournful Cries “Thy Horror Come”

   Prepare to the light those ritual candles, pull out the occult books and turn the stereo up to full volume, as Mournful Cries shall be the soundtrack to your ceremony of unholy doom. The bands new EP, “Thy Horror Come,” reaches across the reverb filled valleys and takes you on a journey through mountainous riff landscapes where giants dwell wearing Sleep and Saint Vitus t-shirts.

     Having known the guys in Mournful Cries for a decent amount of time now, I am starting to hear their sound truly take on a unique and distinct form. What started out as friends jamming on some Sabbath like sounding riffs has evolved into a vehicle of unapologetic doom. The trio from Santa Rosa, CA keeps hammering out killer riffs while crafting some strong pieces of music. I thought the songwriting and presentation of the songs on the new EP really stood out. Also, the band’s overall energy was perfectly captured on both tracks.

    In my opinion, Mournful Cries excels the most when pertaining to their riff crafting abilities. When guitarist Luis Olguin lays down a wicked sounding riff, both drummer Alex Hernandez and bassist Matt Lasserre follow along with a powerful rhythmic backbone. Luis is able to strike these simple yet heavy chord progressions out and ultimately construct a mushroom cloud of distorted sounding terror that seeps through your speakers.

    The two songs, “Hallowed Tomb” and “Witches Herbs,” are well written tracks and bring to the table a massive helping of bone chilling doom. Compared to your stereotypical doom metal bands, Mournful Cries is focused on trying to create a solid musical foundation and sound that can be explored further. The thirteen plus minute song, “Witches Herbs,” demonstrates a band that can take a simple riff and expand on the idea for a long period of time yet not lose the listener’s interest. I thought that the other track, “Hallowed Tomb,” contained a very horror like atmosphere which reminded me of material from Electric Wizard and Cathedral. Plus the beginning riff has that Iommi like flare and then explodes into a massive jam of relentless sounding attitude from each musician.

    I look forward to what the band has coming up for doom fanatics in the future and I believe they are making strides in the right direction. They just need to continue hammering out those riffs and seeing where they can take their ideas. Also, I recommend taking their time and making sure the overall recording captures what they are truly wanting to express. Don’t feel like you need to release something just to release something. There are too many bands like that around right now and the quality of music has suffered at the hands of people making mediocre recordings. I believe in the end that Mournful Cries has the passion and inner spirit to unleash a killer doom album. “Thy Horror Come,” is the perfect starting point to set course and aim for that ultimate killer album of monumental doom. Definitely check it out!

Check out the EP below:

Mournful Cries FB Page:

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Rob “the metal guy” vs. Antifa Part 3: The SJW Apocalypse

    I could have sworn that I wrote an article last year expressing my disgust of Antifa after shutting down the Marduk show in Oakland. Before that article I am pretty sure that I wrote an article about them ruining Graveland’s festival appearance in Montreal. Does it ever end with these assholes?

    It seems to me that this is an ongoing battle and I don't understand how Antifa keeps getting away with their SJW crusades against black metal bands. These people twist facts, make irrational claims and pretty much shutdown anything that they believe is promoting Nazism. I swear they act more like Nazis than anyone else on this planet!

    The story going around this time is that the Norwegian back metal band, TAAKE, had their New York show cancelled thanks to Antifa pressuring the venue to pull the plug on the show. The venue released a statement I read saying they were cancelling the show due to the fact that they promote a safe space for people at their shows and the concert conflicted with that belief. In my opinion the reason was complete garbage and we all know that the venue did it because they were afraid of Antifa showing up and causing problems. Just another venue that could not standup for freedom of speech and decided to give into this terror groups demands.

    As of recent though the news that I found out yesterday which really prompted me to write this article is that the artist, King Dude, who was the opener for TAAKE on this tour, decided to drop off the tour because of the controversy. Plus, he does not want to be around an environment that promotes hate, yet he still claims to be a satanist. In the end, he too is a spineless humanoid who is trying to appease the SJW types. Instead of standing up for the band that was allowing him to open for them, he has shown his true cowardly colors and should have never been given the chance to open for TAAKE to begin with.

    Okay, maybe I should discuss the reasons why TAAKE is being labelled a “Nazi” band just to shutdown all the braindead Antifa trolls. In 2007 during one of their shows in Germany, longtime member and really the main guy behind TAAKE, Hoest, appeared on stage with a swastika painted on his chest along with an upside down cross. Now in Germany it is illegal to display the swastika and the band was forced to cancel the remainder of their shows in Germany. Hoest denies that he did it trying to glorifying Nazism and instead was using it as shock value and as extreme symbolism for an extreme form of music.

    What most people keep missing in all these arguments about bands being supposed Nazis is that sometimes using Nazi imagery is to add shock value to the music and performance. Extreme music since its roots has been controversial and different topics about evil have been explored in different ways. You cannot censor extreme music, because that opens the gates to more possible censorship of artists. People need to also understand that if you don’t agree with it, you don’t have to support the artist, but that does not mean you can prevent others from supporting that artist.

    Once again, Antifa is creating a more fascist environment by forcing the cancellation of concerts in America. Also, people like King Dude remind us that instead of thinking about freedom of speech, people only think for themselves and show their true colors when faced with protecting extreme music. I will be honest and say that I am not a die hard TAAKE fan, however, the reason I wanted to write this article is that I understand the frustration when it comes to a band you enjoy having their show cancelled and getting exaggerated accusations thrown at them. When it happened to one of my favorite bands, Graveland, I instantly started writing my first article about Antifa and their complete stupidity as an organization.

    In conclusion, this must stop! We as extreme music fans need to standup for artists and protect freedom of speech and artistic expression. Venue owners must tell Antifa to screw off and not bow down to their terroristic threats. We shall avoid the SJW Apocalypse and we shall feel free to enjoy our black metal concerts without fear of cancellation!

Monday, February 19, 2018

Tri-Valley Music Venues: A Tale of Struggle and Nonexistence

Somewhere in Dublin, CA

    Containing the cities of Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Dublin and Danville, the
Tri-Valley is a massive region located in the Bay Area. With such a massive population many have asked the question, why are there so few music venues? …If any for that matter…

    In this article I am going to offer my thoughts as to why there are not a lot of venues in this area, but I want to begin by pointing out there is no definite reason. I think there are multiple reasons and people can make the case for more than one. After connecting and meeting some musicians from this area over the years, I do not think that it because there are no musical acts in the area.

    There is definitely a desire for more music venues and a chance for up and coming bands to play shows. Most of the time the only option is to play in major cities like San Francisco and Oakland. Those cities already have a large amount of bands competing to play the venues available to them, so for a band in the Tri-Valley you are already facing a real uphill battle when it comes to getting a show.

    One reason as to why there are not many music venues in the Tri-Valley Area is quite simple to point out, and that is that it is an expensive area to live in. Property values are ridiculously high and leases are set at such a high rate that turnover is extremely high. If you were to open a venue in one of these cities you would need to be booking shows where you are constantly getting a return, because once your expenses start overshadowing your profits, you are pretty much toast.

    I am a resident of San Ramon and have seen over the last seventeen years living here numerous businesses go under due to the rise in rents. At one time San Ramon had a Warehouse Records, however, with economic factors like Amazon and iTunes along with the lease in the shopping center going up, they were not able to survive. Another interesting point to bring up about the shopping center where Warehouse Records was located in, is that for years numbers business have come and gone with the only main staple being Starbucks and Petco.

    Another reason why cities in the Tri-Valley do not have music venues is that the people who run these cities are corrupt pieces of human garbage only willing to okay development projects for new homes and apartments. Yes, supply and demand would say that with people wanting to live in the area you will have a need for housing, but I tend to notice the amount of new developments is ludicrous. In the end, you know these city council members are getting kickbacks from the developers. I look at Dublin and can tell that the city council is addicted to the offers made by major developers, because over half that city is and endless sea of apartments and condos! 

    The final reason as to why there are so few music venues in the region is that people create this preconceived notion that having a music venue will bring out trouble. These cities want to portrait a certain image and you know hosting potential punk, metal and rock shows might challenge their perfect little world. This is what sort of happened to the Cactus Club in San Jose, CA. I watched a documentary about this historic music venue and one reason why it was struggling in the end was that the city felt like troublemakers were coming through due to the music venue.

    This is a sad misconception, because if we really stop and think about it, a music venue can take kids with nothing to do off the streets and give them an environment to feel safe in. Having kids on the streets with nothing to do actually increase the chances of crime and dangerous behavior. I have always felt like the argument that a music venue would create more crime is just pure ignorance. Crime and the history of why crime increases is more complex and cities should think about that before making weak accusations against music venues.

    In the end, I write this article with the hope of getting more people to become aware of the insufficient number of the music venues in the Tri-Valley. I hope to also inspire people to take action and come up with solutions to this problem. Of course, it will require tackling difficult factors such as the economic factor and the city council factor, but if people are passionate about live music I believe the fight may be worth it. I am optimistic and hope that we can getting something going, so please either share this article, or reach out through the R & R Rocks Facebook Page and see how you can help spread the word about the fight to build a strong music scene in this area.

R & R Rocks Facebook Page:

Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: Putrid & Pathetic Split Release "Devorando Carne Divina"

    Teaming up for an unholy assault upon the world, Putrid and Pathetic look to unleash extreme apocalyptic chaos with the release of, “Devorando Carne Divina.” The split features eight tracks of vicious blackened death metal that shall slam through your speakers with behemoth unapologetic force powerful enough to demolish Vatican City.

    I am quite familiar with Putrid since I have been reviewing their releases for a couple years now. The Lima, Peru based band blends black metal and death metal to create some blasphemous sounding extreme music. The raw sound that they conjure up is in my opinion very bold and instantly grabs your attention.

    Putrid offers four killer songs on this split and they once again establish themselves as a strong up and coming force in the extreme metal world. The first song, “We are the Cult of Cain,” pulls listeners into an abysmal world of crushing guitars and decimating drums. Adding to the already destructive sounding mix, the insidious growls provide by the band’s vocalist inject a truly sinister touch. The second track, “The Great Serpent Await Us,” begins with a burst of feedback and then explodes into another tornado of musical insanity.

    The third song by Putrid, “The Age of a Lower Race,” is a juggernaut of pulverizing noise terror. I am instantly drawn to the gruesome sounding riffs and all around diabolic verses. Putrid’s last song on the split, “The Curse!!,” is a cover that was originally recorded by the band Slaughter (Not the annoying hair metal band Slaughter). I thought it was a good cover and I like how Putrid added their distinct take on it instead of just copying the original song note for note.

   The other band featured on this split is the Canadian blackened death metal act, Pathetic, and this was my first introduction to them. I must say that Pathetic is a solid act and one I shall definitely keep an eye on as well as go back and listen to their previous recordings. The band delivers such unforgiving and aggressive tracks of bombastic sounding blackened death metal. The vocalist has an incredible growl that stands out during their tracks and provides vivid lyrical delivery.
    Pathetic’s four songs on this split had me constantly headbanging and reveling in the extreme excess of morbid brutality. “Bataclan” is an assault of distorted hell and I could not believe how well the guitar and bass sound was captured. You definitely get a punch right to the gut when this band hammers out their riffs. “Cannibal Fuck Fest,” is a gory cut of music that reminds me of classic Impetigo with its burst of vile sounding intensity.

    Probably my favorite song on this split is, “Army of God,” and one I think Pathetic did a stellar job writing. The song exposes the disgusting religious fanatics who are part of that Christian terror group and contains some ultra killer riffs. I also really liked the drumming and felt like the song’s overall structure was very well composed. Their final song, “The 12 Kings of Hell (Boleskine),” maintains the band’s monstrous style of blackened death and simply does not disappoint.

    In the end, if you enjoy blistering blackened death metal then you need to check out this split and start paying attention to what Putrid and Pathetic are doing. Whoever came up with the idea of bringing these two bands together is a genius, because their styles really do compliment each other. Easily one of the best splits I have heard in a few years, so really check it out and support the bands!

Check out the split via the band's Bandcamps :

Putrid :

Pathetic :

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Project Pain "Brothers in Blood"

    Project Pain is band that continues to crank out wicked thrash music with each new album. I have been reviewing releases from this band since their 2012 debut album, “I Have Sinned.” Over the years I have witnessed them maintain a solid presence in the world of thrash metal by not compromising and constantly cranking out some killer thrash riffs.

    The Netherlands based band does not deviate from their previous releases with, “Brothers in Blood,” which is their third full-length album. Project Pain’s sound stays true to that old school thrash mentality and I like how they focus on coming up with solid kick ass thrash riffs. There are so many bands trying to be Slayer knockoffs that I like when I band focuses on coming up with their own unique thrash sound instead of being just another copycat.

    “Brothers in Blood,” contains ten aggressive tracks that are guaranteed to make you want to bang your head and jump into the pit. The opening song, “Primator,” unleashes a tsunami of merciless riffs and skull crushing drum parts. Overall I liked the sound of the song and I felt like the production was executed extremely well. This might be the best produced and recorded Project Pain album to date. Song number two, “Final March,” is a piece of music that throws you into a chaotic battle field of vicious distortion that has you locked-in until the song finishes.

    I really like the intensity that Project Pain delivers with this album and song number three, “Silent Invader,” is an adrenaline pumping melee of thrash. The band’s guitarists throws in some tasty licks and his solos get the job done. Tracks four and five, “Eternal Flames” and Decay,” maintain a bellicose tone and keep the thrash assault going strong.

    The final half of the album is really no different from the first half, because Project Pain does not stop hammering out their brand of unforgiving thrash metal. The instrumental piece, “Fueled by Fear,” I thought was a creative way to set up the next song, “Driven by Hate.” There are some well written bass parts and the guitar parts really capture your attention. The final song, “I Don’t Give a Fuck,” I think was the best choice to end the album. The song’s pissed off sounding theme and blitzkrieg of riffs once again shows Project Pain’s ability to write some killer thrash music.

    As I stated earlier, this is quite possibly the best sounding Project Pain release I have heard reviewed and I can hear the band pushing themselves to write even more aggressive and explosive sounding pieces thrash metal. After hearing what they did with this album I shall be looking forward to hearing how they can expand from here. If you enjoy thrash metal that gives you a rush of intense headbanging, then you will want to check this album out right away!

Project Pain "Silent Invader" :

Project Pain FB Page: