Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Kill Ritual, With Karma Like This They Have Killed It

Karma Machine - With the opening pinch harmonics the guitars take flight at a speed which you can feel the wind in your hair and bugs smacking your face. This is the type of metal that employs not just fiery playing but also groove and dynamics. The guitars in tandem with the pummeling of the drum kit hit you ears like a fright train rolling flat out. Vocal work is a bit reminiscent of late eights work. Lyrics ring through clearly and are preformed with a fair amount of well controlled vibrato. While there no notes are sung high as the stratosphere the melody obtains a masculine tone without sounding like a pissed off Cookie Monster or Tasmanian Devil. Lead guitar work is full with dynamics that employ blistering runs and a fair dose of soulful bends. One of my favorite tracks was "The Enemy Inside" the opening guitar tones reminded me of Soudgarden's "Jesus Christ Pose". There is much mastery in each song that will make even the most tart fly into full blown air guitar with head-banging in toe. Shifting gears Kill Ritual slow down the tempo on the track "The Key". I would have liked to hear the bass guitar a tad higher in the mix. It shines a bit but when the guys rev back up it dissolves into the background. Kill Ritual is the type of band you listen to when want to get pumped up, but don't want to listen to music that just sounds like a bunch marbles in a metal garbage can rolling down a hill. With such a heavy groove factor present in songs like "Karma Machine" I am reminded of a Pantera but with a two guitar attack. One thing that puts this band over the top is the excellent drum work. There are actually many passages where the percussion work give the guitar deftness a run for its money. I don't think that there is one inch of the kit that isn't utilized. The texture is very intricate. The opening interplay on "My Green Room" feels confusing and uncomfortable and as the tension peaks the track evolves and unfolds as an absolute sonic onslaught. It's rare for an instrumental track to catch my ear and hold my attention, but Kill Ritual create a visceral song that cuts without vocals. Throughout this release there are plenty of hard-hitting moments, but one that stands out is ”Land of the Dead". Sometimes you just hear a song and like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix you go " WHOA!" It's got that kind of heavy factor. Rounding out the set with "The Cameras Eye" Kill Ritual throw in some shimmering acoustics and while they mellow for a pause he guys prove they know how to rock and groove in any texture. I would recommend this release to anyone that likes Hard Rock or Heavy Metal. Cranking Karma Machine to 11 I hope it will be paid back sevenfold so that this is just the beginning of what we are to hear from Kill Ritual. 


Music Reviews

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Acidic, Burning to Your Core With a Solid Set of Songs

Creatures - With thick tripped out synths raging in my ears I find myself slipping down a hole into the world of Acidic. If you ever thought that the world depicted in Alice in Wonderland was a bit tame then this might be the album for you, because this is far from tame. On tracks like “Beatness” you will find yourself surrounded by the pulsing percussion and immersed in sonic enlightenment that urge the body to move. The guys show that they have more than just motives to trip you out. On “Beautiful” Acidic lay down a solid Pop-Rock cut that will make any head bounce and sway. What holds Acid together is great songwriting grounded in solid vocal performances. As harmonies soar to the stars to become stars themselves this album delivers song after song. Guitar work, wether it be gentle acoustic or raging electric lay textures that prove to be an additional dimension to the music that reveals true passion. In tracks like “Chicago” you find a grinding bass that will have all the women glistening like its summer in 90% humidity. As the opening chords of “Miles From Home” bounce off my walls I hear a true down-to-earth quality from authentic souls. You can almost feel like you are in the room with them sitting on the couch as the story unfolds. Acidic are sure to burn to the core of your brain and will have you humming their songs over and over again. As song after song click off the record I hear tasteful playing from each member. Even the drum work wether it be heavy handed pounding to light latin percussion play to the track. Never does any one facet of Acidic override the others. Each composition is well balanced, firing on all cylinders. From strait-out rockers like “My Town” and “Rad” to more experimental numbers like “Pop 2” Acidic delivers great songs covered in razor sharp hooks. I would recommend this release to those that like Pop, Rock, Alternative and even Hard Rock. Acidic have truly produced a set of creatures here that will entice the mind.

Music Reviews

Heather Hatch, From the Heart of an Angel?

“For Him”:  With an opening acoustic guitar I feel like I am walking down a dirt road with all possibilities open. The notes ring like freedom in my mind which make me feel highly optimistic. Like angels coming down to earth a chorus of sweet female voices sooth my ears. With a longing to feel at home in the love of another, this track will wrap you like a warm blanket on a cold winter day. Heather has created a song that has no undoubtedly poured directly from her soul. Baring all that she has for the world to see without excess of electronic studio wizardry takes an immense amount of courage. Her heart shines like the sun and provides a light to any lost in the land of passion. I would recommend this track to those that like Pop, Folk, Americana and Country. “For Him” has true crossover appeal. It will be hard to refuse the urge to listen again and again, and to wish that this song was written for you. 


Music Reviews

Crooked Eye Tommy, Floating Like a Butterfly With the Bite of a Snake

Butterflies and Snakes: From the opening guitar whine you can almost smell the smoke in the air and half dried beer under your stomping feet. It will be as if you are transported to the coolest blues joint unknown to the tourists with you sitting front and center. Laying down true blues swagger Crooked Eye Tommy serve up a piping hot dish of sizzling guitar, grooving bass and filling drums. The vocal prowess on display has the ability weave stories from the heart through this beautiful tapestry of sound. Every element sits right in the pocket so everyone has the room to breathe and leave your ears full bliss. This release is a true smorgasbord for the ears. Wether it is the ebb and flow of sax work to the tender notes of an organ, the backing players swing with each song like a man kisses a long lost love. Front and center though is the singing strings of the guitar. Phrasing sounds as if it was literally plugged into a heart that has seen life and felt true passion. This collection has plenty of gems. The jangling swagger on “Love Divine” will make you want to dance. The humor in the harsh reality of “Mad and Disgusted” will crack smile on any face. You will find that Crooked Eye Tommy is no one trick pony. With a slight down shift they slide into a country vibe while still retaining their passionate groove. I would definitely recommend this to anyone that likes the blues, but the song composition is strong enough that I could see the lovers of rock, country and pop music enjoying this album as well. So wether you  love the beauty of a butterfly or the bite of a snake check out this release and you’ll find something that will satisfy that blues fix. 

Music Reviews

From the Balcony, Traveling With a EP That Cuts

The release, “Blank Screen & Razor Blade” has a collection of songs that will let you slide into your subconsciousness with nothing to fear. The vocal approach reminds me of a laid back folk singer. He has the right amount of soul and grind in his voice that will sooth your ears, but let you know that you are dealing with an artist on the edge. Acoustic guitar work has a snap to it that allows the notes to cut through the mix. You’ll feel like you are sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to see which way each song will turn. The electric guitar weaves a soothing melody through each song. Bending funky leads will have the curmudgeons in any smoke filled room tapping their feet. The bass lines bounce and shake like a summer skirt out on the town for the night. The drum work holds things together rather well and does well to accent the groove in each number of this set. My personal favorite is the sizzling slide of "I've Got a Pretty Woman". With a touch more grind on the lead guitar you almost envision a femme fatale spinning in her high heels to the point every man in the room is sweat soaked. If you like blues, the vibe of cool jazz or pop rock that sparks the heart I would recommend to you this “Blank Screen & Razor Blade” for it will cut deep into your soul and have you spaced out for hours. 

Music Reviews

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Taking Submissions Again

Alright, autumn is right around the corner, so I am preparing to fire back up and start writing reviews again. I am going to be changing up how I do things a bit. Nothing, major but I will but I am hoping that this will help curb my brain fry, maybe, here it goes. 

1. I will still review anything, yes anything. Video taped performances to the usual studio recordings, and if I happen to be in your area and I can fit it into my schedule to come out I have no problem reviewing live performances, but keep in mind I live in the boonies. The odds that I would live close to a venue you might be playing would be the same odds as winning the lottery, probably worse.

That said, if  you send me something and I cannot hear all the elements well, I will be upfront and polite. I think that this has happened only like once though. I understand that not everyone has access to top recording equipment. I won’t rip you to shreds if that guitar tone ain’t “just right”.

2. I want all submissions emailed to me. I used to take submissions via links, emails and mail in’s but it gets too confusing on who came in first. Please note I still will essentially work first come first serve. In addition I have extremely limited time in my office where I write. I have a job and a family that begs for my attention all the time. If I have your work emailed to me I can take it on the go and listen to it anywhere. 

As an artist myself I understand that you put a lot of time into your work, and so I often will want to listen multiple times to a piece before writing. If I lived in an area where was great coverage for cell service it wouldn’t be so bad. I live in the sticks, so do me a favor and if you have something you want a review for then email it to me. If you have an album of material you can use free services like Dropbox or We Transfer to get it to me. 

Email your info and material to: 

3. I used to work exclusively first come first serve. It was great and fair but it got really hard on me. See in the beginning I got mostly singles. It was great it allowed me to work fast and the mix was awesome, but over time I got more and more albums. I would go into my office to write, and I would almost hear and smell my brain frying. I try to work as fast as possible. I don’t feel its fair for you to wait months to get a response. Plus, I don’t really like listening to something just once or scanning tracks to review an album. You live making them so I want to dig deep and swim around in your world before I decide what I think and then write. 

Personally no one buys albums anymore, or its rather rare. The days when a person would save the cash, run to the record store on Friday to buy a release and spend the next few weeks absorbing it is gone. I, an amateur writer myself though get it. You can’t always say what you want to say in one song. Sometimes it takes a whole album to get that out. I respect that, so I still review albums.

The strategy I have devised is that I am going to have two categories, singles and albums. Basically I am going to bounce back and forth. I will still review first come first serve but I am going to be bouncing back and forth, an album and then probably a 2 or 3 singles then another album. Now if say I don’t have any singles come in, which is freakishly rare, I will just take breaks and keep going. I realize that maybe you don’t care or don’t understand but I have had some get rather pushy on when their release will be covered. Trust me, I will get to you as fast as I can. I work very transparent and very honest. If you have a question then ask. 

3. I will still charge no money. I will accept no money. Don’t try and offer me money thinking it will get you a better review. I know there are many out there that charge for reviews, I don’t. The only thing I will accept is hard copies or merchandise if you want to send them. I don’t resell or anything I collect because I love music and artists that take the time to put art into this tangled world of ours. Actually the biggest thing you can do for me is share the blog link to the article I write for you as much as possible. There are some tiny ads on my blog and that is they ONLY way I make revenue, so in theory the more views my blog get the more money I am supposed to make. 

4. I brag, if you send me something that blows my socks off, or happens to hit me in the right place at the right time then I will share with my friends. All articles will be posted on my blog, Facebook page and your profile if provided. However I have a friends that I love to share music with. I am not majorly connected. I am no guru or info hub, but if something hits me and rings my bell I have been known to reach out to my friends say, “Hey check this out you might want to play this or share it as well.”

5. Thank you. Thanks for taking the time to put art out into this world. I feel humbled that so many have wanted me to write a review for them. I am no one special, I am just a guy in a room that loves music and likes to share it with the world. So grab that instrument, mic and recorder and do what you do. Play, write and record as long as you possibly can. Research, learn and push yourself and your art to absolute limit. Don’t listen to the naysayers. Don’t listen to the critics that just rip art to shreds. Don’t stop, don’t ever look back but do take care of yourself. Your voice and your art is important and does have a place in this world. 


Music Reivews