Reviews February 2005


Voice of Reason, c/o Stefan Muench, Dreihalde 15, 73527 Hussenhofen, Germany



BLOOD RED THRONE -- Altered Genesis (CD / Earache Records)

When I first took a glace at this promo I expected some Grind-/NoiseCore as 99 songs are listed on the sleeve. But that's just Earache's way to prevent mp3 ripping as there are actually only 11 songs (plus intro) on "Altered Genesis". Blood Red Throne came into being when Tchort (ex-Emperor and currently in Green Carnation and Carpathian Forest) teamed up with Dod who had also been part of Satyricon's touring band and began playing... NO, not Black Metal but covers of Deicide, Death and Obituary. Some more people completed the band and in 2001 they released their debut album called "Monument of death". 2002 saw the release of the limited mini album "A taste for blood", and some time later their second full length "Affiliated with the suffering" saw the light of day. After that Blood Red Throne were picked up by Earache Records and finally their third longplayer "Altered Genesis" is out. Apart from the cover which is a total bullshit Deicide rip-off this record is really great. Fast and technical Death Metal in the American way is what Blood Red Throne have to offer, and they do it in a very cool way. Imagine a mixture of bands like Deicide, Cannibal Corpse and Hate Eternal, and you get Blood Red Throne. Not that this band offers something that had not been done before, but somehow I like this record because it's technical yet still brutal. I quit following Earache Records over ten years ago, but this record is really cool. (Stefan) 



BOYS TRY BEHEADING -- ...Someone Call The Dentist (CD)

Boys Try Beheading are from Stuttgart, Germany, the city I originally come from (well, at least close to Stuttgart) and that has one of the Hardcore scenes in Germany. That had to be said, even though Boys Try Beheading are no Hardcore band. After their debut "Leads" which came out last year, "...someone call the dentist" is another step forward for these guys. Ten songs are on this album and I would describe the sound as guitar oriented Indie / Power Pop that has both loud and quiet parts and features quite unusual elements such as Cello or Clarinet. Fortunately the music is driving and rocking and not boring like many other bands that play a similar style. The lyrics are also good, so everyone into that kind of sound get in touch with them thorugh for more info on how to order this CD. (Stefan)



BRAHMAN -- A Forlorn Hope (CD / Revelation Records)

If I am not completely wrong, Brahman is the first band ever on Revelation from Japan. According to the info sheet Brahman are one of the biggest Rock bands in Japan, and after watching the two live videos that are included on "A forlorn hope" I truly believe that: A fuckin' huge venue packed with kids all singing along and going crazy. Revelation describes Brahman's sound as a mixture or Rock/Hardcore/Pop/Emo. I think Hardcore elements can only seldom be found on here, but the music indeed should appeal to fans of melodic Emo or bands like Thursday etc.. I think this band/album is really cool and the music is definitely rocking and better than many releases I heard in the last time. I wonder if Brahman will make it in the States as you can clearly hear the singer's accent, and if I am correct some songs are sung in Japan even though the titles are in English?! Pretty cool and definitely an interesting band. (Stefan)



BROKEN STARS -- Starting With Dreams, Ending With Memories (CD / Winged Skull Records)

Hey, the bass player wears a shirt by the Alkaline Trio, so Broken Stars can't be that bad, haha! Well, the layout of "Starting with dreams,..." is really not my thing and looks rather cheap, but at least the music is nice. Melodic Punk Rock mostly played in a mid tempo and thank God no high speed MelodyCore the way all the thousands of Swedish bands played a couple of years before. Ok, some songs are faster than others, but I hope you know what I mean... I'm not sure if Broken Stars can be compared to Alkaline Trio as the info thinks they can be, but I rather think not. Not only that Alkaline Trio are outstanding and unparalleled, Broken Stars don't have these melancholic melodies. Anyway, a solid album by these guys who also play in bands like The Last Millennium Suckers or Rise Up. (Stefan)



DE-CON -- A Fallen Angel's Voice (CD)

This is one of those self-produced albums (speaking of a demo wouldn't be quite correct as there are 11 songs on the CD with a playing time of over 41 minutes) where everything's just good about. Starting with the layout, the way the band presents itself in the info sheet and finally the music of course. De-Con from Germany found together in 2001 and "A fallen angel's voice" is their second release. The five boys in De-Con play MetalCore with epic song structures, heavy mosh parts and melodic elements. You might think this is nothing new after all these bands coming up with one MetalCore album after the other. Well, of course De-Con are no "revolution" in the MetalCore genre, but the quality of the music can undoubtedly be heard and De-Con really try (and succeed!) to create something refreshing and are not just ripping off the bigger names in that genre. If you're into Metal influenced Hardcore (or Metal with some Hardcore influences), check out this album. There are some really great guitar parts on here ("Pantomime"), but there's one thing that really really gets on my nerves: The clean vocals I don't dig at all. Apart from that a very cool release. Get in touch with them through the band's website (Stefan)



DISTANCE IN EMBRACE -- The Consequence Of Illusions (CD / Cityrat Records)

When I read in the info sheet that came along with this CD that Distance in Embrace would play a mix of Emo, Hardcore and Metalcore I was like "Yawn!" I mean there are so many bands around these days that play EXACTLY this kind of music, and - sad but true - most of them sound the same and lack of originality. Well, somehow Distance in Embrace are nice. I have the impression that this band is really into what they are doing. Starting with the good layout of the CD, the sound quality and finally the songs. I mean it's kind of hard to come up with something original when a mixture of both screaming and clean vocals, heavy parts and melodic elements determine your sound. And even though Distance in Embrace don't come up with something outstanding, "The consequence of illusions" is at least solid and better than a lot of bands of this genre. They have some really cool bass and drum parts and some small Punk Rock influences on this album, and maybe that's what makes them interesting. (Stefan) 



DO ANDROIDS DREAM OF ELECTRIC SHEEP? -- Adactapreface (CD / Winged Skull Records)

If I am not completely wrong then the name of this band was taken from the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick which later became a really great movie called "Blade Runner". As all bands on Winged Skull Records, DO Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep? also come from Luxembourg, and they are without a doubt the best band I have heard so far on Winged Skull. Normally I am not too much into Screamo, but in this case it's different as this band does not come up with only some stupid chaos and noise which apparently is some kind of quality trademark for all those Screamo bands, but manages to include rocking and atmospheric elements into their sometimes, well hectic sound. There are also some melancholic and somber elements on this album (just listen to "Ignorance is bliss", which is a total killer song). Fans of Screamo bands as well as Neurosis devotees should both check out this album. And also those of you who usually can't stand this kind of music at all (like me) should take a listen. (Stefan)



GREY GOOSE -- 'Til The Medicine Takes (CD / Sounds of Subterrania)

Grey Goose were completely new to me before this record. But after listening to the song "Band of the future" I was very enthusiastic about them. Let's see: We have Kaleb Stewart (ex As Friends Rust and currently also in the Hot Water Music side project The Cro(w)s) on vocals and guitar plus Bill Clower from said Cro(w)s, Sean Atwater and Dorian Hargrove. Together these four guys play heartfelt Punk Rock with a sometimes melancholic edge, and of course you can sometimes hear out As Friends Rust or Hot Water Music during the "No division" era (still my favourite album by HWM). But the Grey Goose come up with enough originality to make me really like this record. For the record: "'Til the medicine takes" was mixed by Chris Wollard from Hot Water Music who also played guitar on "Elimination process" and comes with a damn fine artwork/packaging, so please go out and pick up this cool album (Stefan)



INTO THE MOAT – The Design (CD / MetalBlade)

Jeeeesus, what is this? Do you think Watchtower are wimps because their singer is actually singing? Do you start the day with the complete The Dillinger Escape Plan discography? Then go ahead and get “The Design”. And let me tell you: Those two bands are harmless compared to INTO THE MOAT! Being between 22 and 23 years of age these 5 kids show all those wannabe musician how to play real “Chaoscore” (Whatever!)! They sure know how to play their instruments. “The Design” is their first full-length after an EP called “Means By Which The End Is Justified” which was released in 2003 through Lovelost Records and belongs to the most extreme releases I ever listened to. For me this is just too exhausting. All these changes from blastbeats to moshparts and then some jazzy interlude inbetween seconds are too much for me. I´m old, so I need it straight and simple. Personally, I draw the line with Death´s “Individual Thought Patterns, everything else is just beyond me. As I said: If you own the complete Relapse releases and just can´t get enough of complex, sometimes even chaotic stuff, you may dig “The Design”. An interesting album but I´m too weak for it. (Tobi)



J*A*N FEAT. UDSSR -- Donde Está La Libertad? (CD EP / DIY)

J*A*N feat. UdSSR is probably one of the craziest names for a band I've ever heard, but maybe I just don't get the band's special humour?! I mean, these seven guys and one girl are from Austria, so that says enough, haha. No, just kidding, the four songs on this EP are quite interesting. Usually "interesting" in this context means "not my cup of tea", but in this case they are truly interesting because you can't quite put this band in a certain category. I mean, ok, you could call this a Ska-Punk outfit, but that wouldn't describe the band's sound correctly as the various influences are very diverse. Ska parts, Punk parts, traditional Spanish (?) folk elements, lots of work for the brass section etc. etc. I really think this is a cool EP and way better than bands like the Voodoo Glow Skulls for example (I never really understood why people liked this band so much; I mean the vocals just SUCK!), so go check 'em out. This EP really made me curious for the first full length which should come out in the near future. Until then, you can watch them on tour with WIZO. (Stefan)



KUNN AND THE MAGIC MUFFINS -- Got Ska? (CD / Winged Skull Records)

Coming soon!





LAGWAGON -- Live In A Dive (CD / Fat Wreck Chords)

Boy, I'm really feeling old. Not only that I'll become 30 next month, it seems to me like ages ago since Lagwagon's second album "Trashed" came out and I bough it right on the day of its release. I guess that was in 1994 and at that time I really was into bands like NOFX or No Use For A Name, so Lagwagon quickly caught my attention. "Trashed" rocked, the next album "Hoss" was also pretty cool, but after that I kinda lost track of the band. I mean, sure, I did notice when a new Lagwagon album came out, but never picked it up or gave it a listen. Now that I found "Live in a dive" in my mailbox I took the opportunity to listen to the Santa Barbara's finest once again. And I was a real pleasure to do so. I'm sure you are all aware of the concept of Fat Wreck's Live in a Dive series, so you can expect a great live sound and a 22 song Best of set from Lagwagon. Among those 22 tracks are some songs I'm familiar with and some that were completely new to me, and these songs are surprisingly cool. I mean you will probably know these songs better than I do, but as far as I can tell Lagwagon are no band that sounds like (insert name here), but rather is a band that can be seen as a reference for other acts. "The chemist" is a brand new song, while the classic "Mr. Coffee" from the debut album "Duh" can only be heard on the CD ROM footage (which only consists of a live performance of said song as well as a short and not too informative interview conducetd by Fat Mike himself). Plus you get the obligatory comic which makes this record nice. Good stuff and nice songs. (Stefan)




I received a lot of cool demos lately, and Mourning For Tomorrow are the next in line to come up with a really surprising yet convincing demo. Founded in 2003 these five young guys (or is it just that I am getting old?) feature Bastian on guitar who played in Shanara before, so of you might remember this band. They describe their sound as Screamo Hardcore with influences ranging from Neil Perry to Neurosis. And yes, this description is quite fitting. Two things I usually don't like in Hardcore come together on this demo: German lyrics and complexity. Don't get me wrong: I like complex elements TO A CERTAIN DEGREE but sometimes I have the impression that bands only wanna show how good they can handle their instruments and forget about the songs. Fortunately this is not the case for Mourning Again for the most part, because despite all complexity the songs have still a structure. Secondly, German lyrics. I don't mind German lyrics with certain bands, but especially in Hardcore German lyrics can be quite hard to swallow. Well, Mourning For Tomorrow's words deal with personal as well as political topics, and even though I'd prefer English lyrics (I can't actually say why, it's just that I think they fit better to the music) they're ok. Five songs can be found on this demo, and as the playing time is 28 minutes, you can imagine that these songs are pretty epic. Good stuff, check it out, but better be quick, as my copy is hand numbered, so I guess the whole thing is limited? Contact: (Stefan)



PRIMORDIAL – The Gathering Wilderness (CD / MetalBlade)

PRIMORDIAL from Ireland have been around since the late 80s and the band crossed my path every now and then but in all those years I´ve never heard a single song from them. So with their new album “The Gathering Wilderness” we have a big premiere. I can´t compare “The Gathering Wilderness” to their previous releases but I think the seven songs just stand for just about everything I expected from PRIMORDIAL after reading several articles: The music is dark and sometimes even majestic like some Amon Amarth riffs. An Irish Folk influence is always present which just underlines the darkness, so don´t expect some happy jump-around Pogues fiddling. Somehow it´s those Folk influences that remind me of the Neurosis album “Enemy Of The Sun”. I really think that this comparison isn´t too far fetched although PRIMORDIAL are less noisy and way more melodic. To be honest: I wasn´t too interested in PRIMORDIAL through all these years so I´m really surprised how good this album is. Some may say this is Pagan Metal and that´s absolutely not my kind of music but I´m sure I´ll put “The Gathering Wilderness” in my CD-player every once in a while. Go for it if you like Pagan Metal or Neurosis. (Tobi)



THE PROMISE -- Believer (CD / GSR Music)

Fuck yeah, The Promise!  Their debut album "Believer" originally came out on Indecision Records and is being re-released in Europe by GSR Music. The re-release comes with a new cover art and festures the two songs of the "My true love" 7" which came out on Deathwish Records. And even though there aren't any new songs on this disc, you all should get it if you didn't pick up the original release and the 7" so far. I mean, come on, it's The Promise! One of the best Hardcore bands around these days and fans of bands like Terror this is a must. These guys played in bands like Earth Crisis, One King Down and Another Victim before and "Believer" is pissed off, angry, hard and great. Get this! (Stefan)



RISE-UP -- Death Inside (CD / Winged Skull Records)

I was 100% sure that I would write a completely negative review for "Death inside" by Rise Up, because the layout of this CD and the band pic is so stupid. Song titles like "4 sale (F* Empty-V)", "Start ta fight", "Revenge for tha dead" or "Innit 4 friends" or the slogan on the back cover "A generation ya'll not forget" made me expect the absolute worst. In addition, the footnotes to the songs are kind of ridiculous as they really are no real explanation to the songs. Whatever, I expected another stupid Punk band singing songs against the government and dropping out of this scene in two years. Well, I don't know if the members in Rise Up are as "true" as they appear to be, but at least the music on "Death inside" is not as bad as I expected. Rise Up play melodic Hardcore/Punk that I think can be compared to bands like Pennywise. You know, that kind of sound that is not really Hardcore, but harder than all those kiddie Punk bands around. Of course the obligatory Ska parts can be found on this album, too. My words might sound all too negative, but I honestly don't like the layout of the CD. The music is nice, but the artwork and attitude somehow destroys it for me, sorry. (Stefan)



SCAR SYMMETRY – Symmetric In Design (VCD / MetalBlade)

SCAR SYMMETRY are some kind of Death Metal All Star band featuring members of bands like Altered Aeon, Unmoored, Incapacity among other with Jonas Kjellgren from Carnal Forge and Centinex being the most prominent member. The band´s intention is to create a totally new version of Death Metal. That statement is quite adventurous and actually they managed to break the limitations that exist within the Death Metal genre but in my eyes all that led to a record that just isn´t Death Metal anymore. “Symmetric In Design” starts with a pure Power Metal guitar Solo, then continues with some modern Death Metal part that culminates in a chorus with clean vocals and so on. I think you got it: The record is very diverse and will leave all of those satisfied who can imagine a mix of Strapping Young Lad/Devin Townsend, Gothenburg Death Metal and Power Metal guitar leads. In my opinion the pure Death Metal parts are really great but they´re too short and I just can´t stand those cheesy guitar solos. Not really my thing. “Symmetry In Desing” is coming out on February 7th. (Tobi)



SHAI HULUD -- A Comprehensive Retrospective Or: How We Learned To Stop Worryiing And Release Bad And Useless Recordings (CD / Revelation Records)

Yes, this is it! The definite farewell to one of the most important and influential Hardcore bands, Shai Hulud! As you all may know, the band didn't really split or, but is rather making music in the future under the new name The Warmth of Red Blood. Reason enough to say goodbye to both old and new fans with this retrospective. And even though not everything on this disc is to be listened to, it's a really great disc because of 1) the layout and 2) (most of) the music. Let's start with the cover art which features some kind of brainteaser, and a very funny one, indeed (especially regarding Jordan Cooper of Revelation Records) which was done by Dave Quiggle. The booklet features extensive liner notes by Matt Fox (I think the only one of the Hulud who was in the band from the very beginning), original singer Damien Moyal (As Friends Rust, Morning Again, Culture) and Matt Fletcher, tons of pictures, flyers, lyrics, information regarding each song etc. etc. So that's the visual side of "A comprehensive retrospective", let's go to the music. First, there are the six songs from Shai Hulud's 1996 demo with Damien on vocals which was recorded by Jeremy Staska at Studio 13, so the sound rules (and the songs, too, of course). Next we have three live cuts from 1997, including a furious cover of "Gyroscope", originally by S.F.A., and as Matt Fox writes "I have never been a huge fans of live recordings. My favourite thing about them is hearing the band's banter in-between songs." Anyway, cool live tracks. "Tracks" 10 and 11 are basically nonsense, short messages on Matt's answering machine. Hmm. Next up are four songs from the "Wharehouse practice", recorded on a crummy tape-deck in 1995. So please don't imagine a high quality recording, but something that sounds as if the songs were recorded from inside a garbage can. Anyway, quite funny at the least. This is followed by "This wake I myself have stirred", recorded on 4-track and with a poor sound quality and no vocals, but funny, too. This is ensued by three songs from Chad Gilbert's (their new singer, now in New Found Glory) first demo with Shai Hulud. Sound quality: Don't ask. But funny liner notes. "Songs" 20-24 are superfluous as they only feature solo rhythm tracks. Even though the sound quality is often not top notch, even though some "songs" are superfluous, this CD rocks. It's fine retrospective of the Hulud's early material and is worth your attention, because the demo kills. Farewell Shai Hulud! (Stefan)



SIAMESE -- Emergency Brake (CD / Frog'N Beat Records)

Puh, it's really difficult for me to write a review of "Emergency brake" by Siamese, because on the one hand I really like some of the songs on this EP (e.g. "Over and over", "Better off alone"), but on the other hand I think this band has not yet found their style 100%. I mean ok, after their inception in 2003 and their first demo following the same year it's probably too early to expect something totally outstanding, but what I am trying to say is that the four boys in Siamese should perhaps try not to include too many elements from various musical genres into their sound. Songs like the aforementioned "Over and over", "Better off alone" or "Reflection" are really nice Indie songs, but songs like the title track also feature a mixture of both screaming and melodic/clean vocals, a trademark of what is nowadays labeled as "EmoCore". Don't get me wrong, I really like Emo, and I also like some of the bands that supposedly belong to this genre (just as the almighty Thrice), but it seems to me that more and more bands are trying to incorporate these typical elements in their sound which is a bit boring after a while I think. What does that have to do with Siamese? Well, as I said, if they had only songs like "Over and over" or "Better off alone" on this EP, I'd be totally into them, but so it's more like "Good, but let's see how they evolve in the future". By the way, the vocals sometimes remind me to those of Oli Ambrose (hey man, when do you come up with some new stuff?). (Stefan)



V/A -- Leitwerk Der Modernen Idiomatik (CD / Sounds of Subterrania))

Sounds of Subterrania is a great name for a record label, they released a cool record by the Grey Goose lately (see review here) and here's a compilation put out by Sounds of Subterrania. There are 27 (!) bands/songs on it and among them are the aforementioned Grey Goose, the Hot Water Music side project Cro(w)s, Devil in Miss Jones (great opening band), Columbian Neckties, The Hara-Kee-Rees, The Dirtbombs, Frankie Stubbs (Yeah! What a great acoustic song!) just to name the most well known. Hey, "Break my heart" by Rachael Gordon is also a damn great song and the lyrics suit me just fine at the moment...The CD comes in a nice digipack and layout, and the song by Mr. Leatherface Frankie Stubbs should be reason enough to pick it up. What a masterpiece this song is. Listen to it, sing along to it, and support this label. (Stefan)