Alterbeast- Feast

The tech death freaks have returned with a sophomore release that may have just topped their debut Immortal.  Now if you have the cash to buy a watered down coffee, you can buy your favorite bands music to keep them up and running especially if it’s direct not through a label…..don’t be a jerk. Now with my artistic point of view “buy your music” rant out of the way lets get to some killer technical death metal.

The Alterbeast gentlemen are based out of California signed on Unique Leader records.  Feast was just released today February 23rd 2018.  I heard it on the way into work today, on the way back home and another spin through since I got home…..and I’ve heard the lead single “Apex Night Eclipse” a handful of times since its release not too long ago. I think it’s safe to say I’ve had enough time to digest this monstrous album and been listening to it today in my travels on repeat with nothing else getting in its ferocious way.  Immortal was an impressive debut, but honestly have to say Feast is equally or just as impressive.

For the extreme fans you will notice right away 1 of the 9 tracks is not an original…….yes, they covered DISSECTION! And good grief did they slay it……stereotypically speaking lots of new bands don’t always credit past artists/bands but this is awesome to see for a new band to the music scene.  They covered “Where Dead Angels Lie” that would have definitely made the Dissection guys very happy.

Fretboard wise……these guys make me want to put down a guitar. They seriously have obnoxiously amazing guitar work.  There are parts of their songs that actually hold a groove but honestly half the time they’re ripping super quick licks on super quick speed. It’s like they would rather be all over the guitar rather than hold a groove just LISTENING to their songs makes my hands hurt as a fellow guitarist. The whole album is a relentless onslaught of heaviness and over the top technicality that you just can not possibly get bored at all.  They definitely have overdone themselves on this release without a doubt.

 

They are currently on a killer tour to support Feast….if they are coming to your town don’t skip out on them.  They had the amazing Kennedy Veil support them through the 20th of February……Inferi is another great technical band you should listen to on this tour through the 16th of March.  And yes, the mighty Grindmother is the opening act all tour long who is that badass Canadian grandma that yells about what pisses her off in 1 minute grind core offerings.

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Now you can’t always go through a technical or progressive album without some form of experimentation.  To cleanse your palettes there are a few moments where there are clean keyboard melodies at points throughout a few of the the songs which is a nice changeup.

Over the years as a guitarist I had learned to appreciate the rhythm sections of bands more and more especially my latter years as I have done some (not fully but still getting there) growing up musically expanding my tastes.  Their drummer is a serious nut job and I also don’t mean that in a negative manner same for calling them freaks they are out of this world talented.  There’s many sections where their drummer is blasting then plays these super fast fills on the toms like it’s just another day in the office.  There’s many great drum sections throughout the album that add a ton of flavor to this great record.

I was already convinced when “Apex Night Eclipse” was released that this would be a top record of the new year.  It is not even March yet, and I totally feel not much if anything could weaken this beast (terrible pun!).  The only two that most likely won’t disappoint and rival this are the upcoming offerings from Beyond Creation and Obscura which are two of the best technical death metal bands…..absolutely great company for a newer tech band to be in company with,

Trust me on this one…..stop reading this article and just go buy it.  Put in many hours at work and buy the crap out of their merchandise and get the album.  These guys deserve to be at the top tier of the technical music world especially with this record.

Feast your ears on yesterday’s early full album stream from Decibel Magazine.  Glad to say I own this record with a huge smile.  Then go buy it damnit!

 

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Al Joseph Instrumental Extraordinaire

 

I found Al Joseph on the internet looking for new music last year……and I must say I was in awe, and still am.  He is not only a shredder, but has lots of feel and some mood changes in his music.  He also uses electronics occasionally to spice up his music.  His second solo album “All Of Creation” was just released last year.

According to his Facebook profile:

“Music transcends the need for words when the story lies deep within the instrumental movements themselves.”

Al Joseph was born in Highland Park, IL the first son of a Southern Caribbean father and Southern Baptist mother. When he was seven, the family moved to Scranton, PA where Al’s musical prowess began to emerge. His Dad, Al Sr., brought home a drum set so Al and his two younger brothers could begin their education in the musical traditions of their culture. With what would become a characteristic demonstration of natural talent combined with dedication and commitment, Al diligently practiced for hours upon hours every day. Motivated out of desperation, Al’s father Al Sr. presented him with his first student guitar and the rest, is History.

Excelling at music, sports and academics, Al attended Penn State University where he walked on to play at the Running Back position but soon his passion for guitar won out and in his characteristic pursuit of excellence, he hung up his cleats, turned in his books, and transferred to Berkley College of Music in Boston to peruse his professional music career.Al’s quest to give a “voice” to his personal exploration and expression strained against his cultural milieu as he found resonance with Progressive Metal and inspiration from Creed, Rage Against The Machine, P.O.D, Pillar, Pantera, and Sevendust. From the lyrical texture of Jimi Hendrix, BB King, George Benson, Albert King to the overall musical prowess of Joe Satriani, John Petrucci, Andy Timmons, Steve Vai, and Greg Howe, Al formed his style and openly pays homage.

Al began his Professional Career as the lead guitarist and singer for the Progressive Metal band, “The Great Gamble”. Their debut album “Book One” caught the attention of Jan Cyrka, legendary artist and founder of Jam Track Central. Jam Track Central works with some of the world’s best guitarists and teachers to provide its members with a depth and range of guitar playing knowledge and technical understanding. The JTC catalogue includes original artist jam tracks, online lessons and full album backing packages covering many music genres including rock, metal, blues, fusion and jazz. The artists and teachers are highly respected world-renowned players including Guthrie Govan, Alex Hutchings, Andy James, Jack Thammarat, Marco Sfogli, Kiko Loureiro, Jeff Loomis and many more. After their very first meeting Jan invited Al to join the Team.In 2013 JTC released Al’s debut solo instrumental album, “Out In The Open”. Speaking to a new generation of Progressive Metal music connoisseurs, “Out In The Open”, received instant international recognition.

It did not take long for legendary Brands like Ibanez, Laney, Dunlop, Rockbox, Gruv Gear, Positive Grid, Organic Pickups and Gravity Picks to align with this new “voice” of Instrumental Rock.

In 2016 Al relocated to Los Angeles, California and began work on his second Solo Album All of Creation with JTC, which is now available on iTunes and all other platforms. Featuring some of the world’s most fierce shredders from guitar to violin, All of Creation” keeps its roots firmly planted as it intones the voice of the Millennials.

Stay “tuned” for touring dates!”

I didn’t initially read into his background beforehand as I was totally distracted by his playing. He has a great mix of influences that leave you wanting more every time you listen to his music.  Recently, Al started a band called Hyvmine.

I was also unaware he could sing as well.  If you’re familiar with Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, Joseph pays homage to his “thumping” technique on his one song Night Lights on this band play through. He has that laid back West Coast vibe of the aforementioned and also of Chon.

There are many great things to say about Al.  It’s best explained by listening to his moving music, melodies and guitar solos.

All Of Creation album stream

Al Joseph

 

 

Thoren- Brennenburg

I stumbled across this band recently and figured I’d spread the musical love about these dudes.  They’re a 3 piece instrumental groove/death metal band from Michigan. First thing that hit me is how creepy the music is and compliments the crazy album cover almost makes you feel like you’re in a legit mental institution (that’s not a diss I love music that omits unusual emotions or some sort of eeriness).  There’s some dissonance spread throughout the album and some unusual rhythms as well.  There is some Coma Cluster Void to this album the more you listen to this album….oh wait, that’s because Chris Burrows left Thoren and JOINED Coma after Brennenburg was released! Now, the rest is history.

For all the speed freaks out there….gonna have to say this album has a slower pace for the most part.  I will have to admit if you played this album on Halloween, it would fit in perfectly.  The band portrays such a dark emotion it’s like the darkness follows them.  Thoren is a breath of fresh air in the instrumental world in the sense that they’re an extreme band that also plays slower. The only two bands off the top of my head that are similar are Alluvial (Keith Merrow & Wes Hauch extravaganza) and Russian instru-death metallers Dark Matter Secret (with plenty of progressive influence as well).  There’s some great guitar work and rhythm throughout the album.  The guitar leads are very tasty, and the chemistry is undeniable between the bass and drums.

According to a recent Facebook post by the band….

“A little over a year ago Thoren released Brennenburg, our most ambitious release up to that point. Today we uploaded a new mix (thanks to the inimitable John Strieder of Magma Studios & Coma Cluster Void) of the record to our bandcamp, which you can listen to here.

If you already bought the album you can download the new mix on your bandcamp purchases page.

In other news we have a new single coming out, entitled Mauzur, (featuring Christopher Burrows on drums) that should drop in a month or so. The follow up record, entitled Gwarth, (featuring both Alex Cohen and Kenny Grohowski on drums) is tentatively scheduled to be released in the months following.

Work on the follow up to Gwarth is well under way, with writing near done and demo tracks being worked on currently. Watch this space. Thoren will be busy this year!”

So what is gathered from that message…….the follow up to Brennenburg is recorded, holy crap okay. But wait……they already have a material to the followup ready to the album that IS NOT EVEN RELEASED YET?!? Why not make it a double album? Honestly these guys rip and should be on your radar since extreme metal isn’t very notable right now in the instrumental world.  Hopefully Thoren can pave the way for more extreme bands in the instrumental realms.

Bandcamp

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Between The Planets- Of Inner Sight

Between The Planets is an instrumental band from the Czech Republic. If you checked out my best of 2017 post, you may have noticed these guys snuck on there.  They are a 3 piece band that really knows how to groove as well in the veins of Animals as Leaders more so than Meshuggah. The guitarist Martin is involved with the production and different programming they do as well in their sound.  What initially drew me to the band is their soundscape and layering.  Your average technical or prog band is generally going to overdo it technically more so than others. Between the Planets has a great understanding of melody, layering and the soundscape as a whole.  I love technicality but the last few years have appreciated songs as a whole in the sense of layering.

 

This album is well written, has plenty of nice mood changes and the use of the different keyboard/synthesizer sounds is great.  It adds to many of their parts and isn’t as flat imagining its guitars, bass and drums.  Theres plenty of melodic lines on guitar and keyboards enhance the melodies to the nth degree.  There’s all sorts of chorus, delay and reverb on the clean guitar parts the mellower sections almost remind you of Pink Floyd to a minor extent.  These guys really know how to craft a song and make it artsy, it’s very natural nothing sounds forced to me at all.

There’s sections of electronics that get thrown into this wonderful mix of art as well.  Some parts of the songs sound like they’re slightly industrial with the use of different electronic elements.  I truly can not say enough of how solid of an album this is for this trio.  My highest hope is these guys can find a good enough reach in North America to play shows here as many people know the draw and shows are much better in Europe than North America.  I definitely believe these guys deserve to be on a solid tour as an opening act that would turn heads.  There’s even saxophone parts if there wasn’t enough experimentation for you!  Don’t sleep on these guys, I really mean it.

If you happen to live in Europe especially near the Czech Republic definitely check them out. If not, that’s what youtube is for! Below are a few links to their songs, listen to the rest…..you definitely won’t regret it.

Band Members
Martin “Spacosh” Perina : music / production / recording / programming
Filip Kittnar – drums
Adam Palma – bass
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A little bit about my crazy self.

Since I wrote a welcome article, I figured I would do one mainly about myself what prog bands I’m into and what influenced me to start this shindig a bit more in-depth than what i slightly touched on in my first article.

 

I just turned 30, 3rd year homeowner and getting married at the end of July….hooray adulting. Onto the fun stuff…..I started guitar when I was around 12-13ish. My father got me going 2 years on an acoustic then switched to an electric guitar…..my first gee-tar was a Fender telecaster, a Mexican not the pricy American version. I liked how diverse it was (and still is i love ’em compared to strats yes they have great clarity and very stellar I still think teles are well rounded) and still is.  I’d like a killer strat one day but for Fenders i’m always a tele-dude.  My first guitar teacher was Mick Hayes. He’s a ridiculous blues/soul/funkish guitarist with a stellar voice who’s made an amazing name for himself.  I’ll never forget the immature preteen-teen shit he put up from me and everything he taught me.  He was in Atlanta for a bit and moved back to Buffalo for a handful of years now. Words can describe how lucky I was to learn from a local prodigy (who should be arguably playing nationwide in my opinion) although he might disagree. Paul Reed Smith is still by far my favorite company.

My father got me that tele and a fender frontman practice amp being the huge fender fan. My music and guitar/gear obsession only skyrocketed from there.  By my late teens to early 20’s I got into Dream Theater and Rush.  I only was getting into Rush’s hits before  I plunged into the rest of their catalogue.  Dream Theater I was browsing their catalogue when they released Systematic Chaos.  Some people give that record lots of crap, but honestly I think it’s pretty good…..so bah.  I dabbled into King’s X and Symphony X, still do but seldomly….maybe I should change that.  Shortly thereafter my prog/experimental journey continued to Mastodon.  Loved Blood Mountain with all of my bacon grease filled heart, and found out about them when that was released.  Heard the mighty “Blood and Thunder” but not all of Leviathan.  The Wolf is Loose caught my ear big time with that sweet rhythm on the verses and that crazy intro by one of my favorite modern prog drummers (not named Blake Richardson or Matt Gartska) Brann Dailor.  That dual solo in the middle sent me through the roof.

 

Only about 5-6 years ago I heard about the almighty King Crimson started with Lark’s Tongues thanks to Dream Theater and that crazy cover of theirs. I also have dabbled into the experimental pre-pop versions of Genesis and Yes as well in the same time fame same for Jethro Tull.  Around the same time I picked up a landmark record (of my generation at least) for cheap from that joint Circuit City before they closed….now I read they’re making a comeback? I got COLORS from Between the Buried & Me for like $6 at their closing…..and Alaska for like $10. I heard the title track and since Colors was their latest release I was like why not.  Now put into perspective I was into classic metal, I was used to singing and the heaviest voice at that point I heard was Anselmo, Robb Flynn and Jonathon Davis…..so listening to BTBAM even Randy from Lamb of God was super heavy vocally I couldn’t listen to them for long periods of time.  But fell in love with BTBAM slowly and kept with it…. now Tommy Rogers is one of my favorite vocalists of modern day music.

The first song I heard from Animals as Leaders was Wave of Babies (definitely my favorite AAL jam along with Tooth & Claw and Kascade) I forgot how I heard of them. Oddly enough, they have some happy and upbeat melodies.  I’m a very somber person, and no I’m not depressed I just can’t get into overly excited music generally to me feels like its forced.  Maybe that’s why I love minor keys and chords, dissonance and flats compared to sharps…..and dislike the major keys and chords generally.  I swear, I’m really not depressed.  Same for Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson I don’t remember how I got into him/them and the people that know me I can’t stand pop music and 99% of commercialized stuff……I’ll admit it even on the internet Steven Wilson is a damn near perfect writer and is the one artist I can enjoy even love (tell me “Postcard” from his solo career and “Lazarus” from PT aren’t amazing, I’ll debate you until the day I die!) the poppy and commercial songs he has written in his underrated yet amazing music career.  And yes haters, I did enjoy To The Bone. He did not “sell out” he constantly experiments and there were some proggy moments here and there on that album so shaddup. And yes, i can djent with the mighty Meshuggah for hours. All hail the rhythmic masters of modern extended range prog djent metal.

Now time to try not to put too many paragraphs about Opeth.  I previously stated Ghost Reveries was my first album I heard, and the Grand Conjuration video got me thinking about Opeth. That was when MTV2 had Headbanger’s Ball and would play music…..think that over for a minute.  I loved that Still Life to Ghost Reveries era in terms of their classic element of surprise from switching between singing and growling and all of their mixed styles from one section to another.  I love the dissonance of Deliverance my favorite track with about another 30 behind that song.  Ironically it’s also my favorite record they have released. And yeah, I love their last 3 albums haters.  I love extreme music, but artistically look at it from the fact Mikael has always loved classic rock and prog rock and was in his 40s when Heritage was released. I personally liked Pale Communion and Sorceress as much since they were much easier to get into initially. Opeth was always in for the shock factor the dramatic sound change from Watershed (my second favorite album tied with Ghost reveries) to Heritage. They would play their heavier offerings at rock festivals, and play a few (generally) mellower songs at metal festivals just to throw the crowd off.  One vocalist switching from guttural vocals to singing is a total different strain of your voice and when you grow older you are a lot more susceptible to losing and hurting your voice.  People act like they don’t play material from that era….on an hour set 8 songs or so about 6 are from that era whether you think his gutturals are half assed they’re still playing the tracks sometimes busting out obscure tracks occasionally from My Arms or Morningrise when they have an almost 2ish hour set (I swear i saw a setlist they posted once that had advent, karma or nectar one of those oddball songs they don’t play from that era thats not demon of the fall). It isn’t like they totally ditched that era and predominately play songs from Heritage, PC and Sorcress. I live, breathe and eat Opeth.

Now onto what motivated me to start this bad boy.  As you can tell with my half assed timeline of my 20’s….I gradually got into experimental and prog music as I grew older especially bands that add that awesome death metal element to it ;)….so it was all uphill from there. Now a lot of classic rock and metal bands Priest, Maiden, Megadeth, Sabbath, even Pantera and Slayer are like pop music to me in the sense I have gotten into the deep deep realms of death metal for a handful of years now as well.  Some people think those bands are heavy and I can roll with Dying Fetus or Ingested and be like “I’ve heard heavier”. Along with Valhalla Java (yes my favorite coffee is the blend my favorite guitarist stamped his name and approval on it NO IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ZAKK WYLDE its a damn tasty coffee my favorite player happens to endorse so BLAH!) extreme music generally helps get my groggy ass awake in the morning before work or most days.  And those bands I mentioned earlier in this paragraph yes I owe a lot to their great catalogs that got me into metal, but as talented as they were and are (to the ones still alive and playing at least) its too simple for my quest on finding technical music and more unusual and original. I can quote a decent amount of those bands lyrics rattle off song titles but honestly can say I haven’t really listened to their songs consistently in years. I listened to that stuff a lot in my teens and early 20’s maybe I got bored with it by my mid 20s maybe?  Then Dream Theater and Rush appeared on my plate and started a heavier diet of those 2 then the rest of those bands that got me into metal slowly faded in my music diet.  I’ll still listen to them occasionally but not as much as I used to.  Progressive music is not meant to be mainstream and is generally very artistic. It doesn’t have a formula it’s also very improvised when they write songs. There really isn’t a method to their madness, generally speaking.  Being such a unique genre and pretty much unattractive commercially (especially these days with short attention span who wants to sit through a 15 minute song these days considering your average person) it’s not a real recognizable style of music.  I love those obnoxious epics, it’s like 2 or 3 songs in one…..like that insane transition around the 5 minute mark of Opeth’s Hessian Peel (that’s an artistic goal of mine to write a song as odd as that one!).  It’s almost better to keep progressive style and experimental bands underground or less popular, as a lot of those casual fans in popular music would kill the greatness of the genre. Maybe prog music is kinda like a cult but not? My quest for the obscure, proggy, and unusual music seems to only grow stronger these days.

Also, I’ve been into crazy fusion artist and instrumentalists…. Al Di Meola, Holdsworth, Frank Marino and another crazy players.  Very unusual and a breath of fresh air from the usual Satriani and Vai style instrumentalists as great as those types of players are fusion and experimental prog players are a whole new level.  I’ve gotten into older jazz based on the fact i took a history of jazz class in college.  I do really like this one modern player Gilad Hekselman don’t be a slouch and listen to his music he’s an absolute jazz animal. Tosin from Animals as Leaders talked about him and I’ve been into his work so much for a few years now.  Zakk Wylde took a photo with Al di and looked up who the heck that guy was….then found out quickly. Two of my favorite players introduced me to two players equally as good as them!

Back to my musical talents as I attempt to try to end this babbling post.  I had a bunch of music I wrote in a melodic hard rock style for literally 6ish years I tried many lineups nobody committed no matter how hard I worked I had an album plus worth of material. That’s the beauty and beast of the internet….you can be judged immediately when you put stuff on it. I had some friends and session musicians help achieve my goal, thanks to everyone that did I still appreciate it to this day even if these songs died.  I have great memories and unfortunately lots of money gone yet I’m fairly proud of what I had written over 10 years ago. I had a vocalist at one point who wasn’t the greatest, so take it easy. I wrote the lyrics melodies and guitar. I had ideas for drums and bass, couldn’t play a decent enough bass yet to record and not that coordinated to drum but had an idea of what I wanted. I either couldn’t find the right artists or dumb drama occurred and couldn’t take my couple bands I had a while ago on the stage because of that kind of crap. Take it easy on me, please….lol

Open Heart Surgery

You can easily tell the typical teenage “i hate women theme” but that main riff is fairly heavy.

Keep My Eyes Open you can tell here the prog was influencing me more and more, yo.

Brick Wall this one has a special place in my life it was the first full song I wrote not just bits and pieces of a song or lyrics.

Betrayal I think this might be my best overall track lyrics energy music guitar work and my buddy Eareckson from Cain kicked ass on drums for me. We had pretty good chemistry, I must say.  Amazing drummer, he is.

New Life a short acoustic instrumental i wanted to use as my album opener.

Tribute This wasn’t recorded in a pro studio I had lyrics but didn’t get around to a pro recording. I had lyrics about deceased relatives I missed and the title is obvious it was a, well….tribute.

Star Spangled Banner A Dave with 3 or 4 Heinekens in recording the SSB on a digital portable studio. I remember how frustrated I was with slightly missing the melody being a bit sharp or a bit flat in a few parts and recording it took like 5 hours it was pretty bad. And almost having a 6 pack of Heineken made it a bit more challenging…..

I still have more completed originals, but again….haven’t found the right artists. It happens.

Again, play nice. Enjoy any of my originals or any parts. If not….oh freaking well.

A shoutout to my homies in The Metal who have been posting great slam/death metal and have read some of their stories/interviews that have in turn inspire me to start this. Thank you guys for kicking ass.

A shoutout to Distortion Overload who has a predominate rock following and some metal posts/discussions as well who inspired me to start this in the vein of how clean they keep their page and have tons of in depth discussions without people going down each other’s throats for thinking differently.  Lots of respect for these dudes check them out.

I’m out on a mission to spread the prog and experimental music, hopefully showing people more great music and discovering more on the way.  Also, hoping at the same time I can keep myself motivated to write more music.

I think I’ve babbled enough for one article hope you’ve enjoyed me ramble on about myself and how I got into the prog world and its countless sub genres.

Dave

The trainwreck that is Michael Keene.

Michael Keene of The Faceless has recently opened up about his very obvious problems with drug abuse according to this recent article on metal injection. Did it really have to be publicized? Unless you have lost all of your brain cells, all the hints the last few years have gotten bigger and bigger.  Let’s recall a bunch of those moments, shall we?

  • Cancelled string of tour dates in Australia and New Zealand last year
  • The “missing” gear that was an excuse for those cancelled shows which were possibly sold for narcotics
  • The “flight issues” causing to miss most of those shows and scheduled flights
  • Their tour manager immediately dropping out when all of that Aussie ruckus went down…….makes you scratch your head, doesn’t it?
  • Lack of a PR team on their social media, leading to constant message deleting and Keene even insulting his own fans that have purchased music and merchandise to keep his dream alive
  • Last year’s Summer Slaughter Tour…..well we can just leave it at that.
  • More lineup changes than you can even count in the band’s history
  • Speaking of lineup changes…….where the hell is their bass player? What’s with the backing bass tracks at live shows (the ones they show up to)? That’s bush league!
  • The Faceless released “Becoming A Ghost” and has upcoming tech death giants Inanimate Existence kicked off their album release tour due to false accusations of rape concluded through heresy and Keene’s distaste for their marijuana use……that reeks of irony, no?
  • The false accusations of rape were from a psychotic girl Cameron from IE grew up with who’s pulled this stunt before, and told the drummer of the Faceless then ended up kicking them off their tour
  • The fact the current drummer of the Faceless assumed that girl was telling the truth without letting Cameron initially explain his side of the story or even do some sort of research

 

So……Keene can shoot up all he wants,  smoke as much crack and drink alcohol like water but get pissy over someone’s recreational marijuana use? He takes to social media (remind yourself they have nobody running their pages, and for all you know he could have been higher than a kite) to defend every single one of those instances.  Fans including myself (now former, proudly cancelling my preorder of Becoming a Ghost and showing it on their FB page you can even look at the posts check my screenshots and I also posted a snapshot of listening to Inanimate Existence). I’m pretty sure your fans (whatever ones are left) would be furious at all of these instances of consistently missing a multitude of shows and acting like a child on social media. He isn’t a kid anymore he is in his 30’s, its time to grow up Keene.

Is this where I can throw in the dry joke about Keene of the Faceless trying to save face by admitting his problems? The sad part of this great musician’s downfall is the multitude of talent he wields but the larger ego he doesn’t care to hide.  Check out his interviews…they’re not about the band or whatever poor saps are in his “band” at that moment. It’s all ME, ME, ME. It seems to make sense why so many band members leave sooner than later and he can’t hold a lineup to save his life.

 

So, what now? He released a new album and is trying to bring back his popularity and whatever reputation he has left back to life.  Again, I doubt he’s even thinking of his current bandmates. Keene now is trying to show a mature and understanding side, vouching music being his outlet to express his struggle with drugs.  The way he has handled himself is absolutely embarrassing.

 

There’s two very obvious situations that play out.  He falls flat on his face in a pile of snow…….or he mans up and releases greater music in his newfound sobriety.  I would rather see the latter happen and Michael take charge of his life.  He could then continue to write music, show up to the shows that are booked and gain back the trust of his fans? That would take a lot of effort (including myself) to pull off such a feat and convince everyone that would be behind him.

 

Closely related to this situation is the infamous Blake Judd of his band Nachtmystium.  Blake was in a similar boat but maybe the size of his boat was the Titanic.  He not only robbed his fans of their money for his drug addictions…….but also kept their money and forgot about their orders for I don’t know….like a decade? People never got merchandise or albums they ordered for the longest time because their money was funneled to Judd’s addictions! That caught a lot of heat everywhere and turned into a mess.  The big difference here is Judd brought back his band and was very apologetic.  Unfortunately so far in Nachtmystium’s rebirth it looks like they have only been in California.  He has reached out to fans and publicly stated offering free merchandise and show entry to everyone he has wronged.  Is he perfect? Did he make a mistake? You can’t fault the guy not only apologizing but trying to right his wrongs taking the mature route.  I don’t know how successful he was in this attempt, but anyone who lived in the California area could have some merchandise or a free show entry.  I believe he also had setup an email to deal with those problems and offer refunds.  The fact of the matter of this comparison is Judd admitted his wrongdoings and tried to make it right with his fans.  Maybe Keene should take the same route, and at the same time maybe reach out to Blake and ask for advice.

 

Signed,

A former fan of The Faceless

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Squatch- Jafar’s Calamari Safari

The second album review by TMR…..is the instrumental trio from Buffalo called Squatch!  I love this band and they’re real cool dudes to boot. Wielding a very unusual, mind boggling and memorable album cover your emotions are thrown all over the place on what to expect and a crazy album title.  You already know you’re in for one hell of a ride when theres a photo of sassquatches using humans like a carousel. It’s very safe to say the cover catches your attention before you even get into the music.

Now for the music……one of the many highlights of Squatch is the undeniable chemistry of their rhythm section of their drummer Collin and bassist Erik.  There’s all sorts of slap bass throughout the album and sweet fills he jams between the thunderous drumming of Collin. The diversity of guitarist Jeremy is appealing playing heavy rhythms at one point that perfectly compliment the trio, and then the next moment seamlessly playing licks and leads smoother than butter itself.

To say there is a standout track would be an insult because honestly the whole album flows start to finish with a bunch of mood changes.  The album is clocked in under a half hour with 7 songs.

  1. The Marshall Tucker Program
  2. It All Starts With Socks
  3. Cold Bodies
  4. Pocket Full of Jebidiah
  5. Pasghetti And Beatmalls
  6. Merry Go Round
  7. Pastrami Nipples

The beautiful thing of instrumental bands is not having lyrics! Also, having random song titles that may or may not have anything to do with the theme.  I mean, these song titles make you laugh right? But then you listen to the heaviness of Squatch and it changes everything.  There are lots of unusual effects supplied by Erik and Jeremy that just totally go with the songs especially in “Pocket Full of Jebidiah”.

To label Squatch would be awfully tough.  According to their website they are a progressive hardcore band.  There are many moments throughout the record they are more than either genre.  There are some funk influences, some parts that remind you of Primus, some that are a bit laid back and cleaner and a couple punk rhythms in some of their songs.  They are a truly diverse trio that specializes in groovy rhythms, and very heavy sections as well.  The guys are not afraid to experiment and I am very excited to hear any new music they are working on and what the future holds for the guys in Squatch.

You can check out the band and their music at the following links:

Squatch website

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