Reviews April / March 2004



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



46 Short -- Just A Liability (CD / Go-Kart Records)

Unfortunately I have no cover or booklet in my hands, just the plain CD, so I can't tell you anything about the lyrics etc. of 46 Short. So let's go straight to the music of this US four piece. "Just a liability" contains 14 songs of US styled Punk Rock in the vein of Adolescents (even though 46 Short can't compete with the eternal catchiness of the legendary O.C. outfit), mid tempo stuff by the Circle Jerks and even FiFi. Does anyone remember FiFi, the band Pete Finestone (ex Bad Religion) and Steve Dro (ex Angry Samoans) played in about 8 years ago? You better should, because I sang in FiFi! Well, not quite, I was invited to do a song with them during their European tour in 1997 (this being a cover of the Bad Religion classic "Along the way"). Anyway, back to 46 Short: If you're into the aforementioned bands or into Southern Californian Punk Rock in general, "Just a liability" is a sure shot for you. They're melodic and and, but they're not as mellow as lots of the Pop Punk bands (don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against Pop Punk, in fact I really like some of the bands very much). See, the Circle Jerks also were melodic without being pop, right? "Just a liability" is the second full length of the band (the first on Go-Kart), so some of you might already be familiar with them. If not, check 'em out. (Stefan)



ANDLAT -- Mors Longa (CD / Hopewell Records)

Andlat is a quite new band playing Metalcore. If there weren't occasional mosh parts and a few guitar melodies similar to Disembodied, you could say that Adlant are pure Metal. Their attitude might have its roots in the Hardcore scene, but the music is totally in the vein of slow and technical Death Metal. I didn't know that there's a scene for this kinda music in Iceland (the country those five guys are coming from), but I was proven wrong as Amon Amarth played there not too long ago (supported by Adlant if I'm correct). Anyway, "Mors Longa" is anything but an original release in the field of Metalcore, yet quite entertaining and well played. And I would always prefer those guys' music to that of Björk, that's for sure. Decide for yourself if you wanna check them out. (Stefan)




ANGERCORE -- Consequences (Demo CD)

I don't know if this three song promo is for sale, because it doesn't contain any lyrics and only a one page booklet. Anyway, what I can tell you about Angercore and their music is that they formed in 2000 and after a couple of line up changes and two demos from 2002 and 2003 they come up with this three new songs. They describe their sound as Super Rock Strengthful Hardcore from Italy, but I'd rather say it's post Hardcore in the vein of bands like Quicksand mixed with Nu Metal elements similar to Linkin Park. Not really what I would call my favourite cup of tea. Nu Metal, that is. Quicksand are cool by the way. But what really surprised me is the great production. I wonder how they managed to get such a fat sound. As I said I'm not sure if they sell this CD, but if you're interested get in touch with them through or check out their website



BREAK THE SILENCE -- Near Life Experience (CD / Hopeless Records)

When I heard people say that Break The Silence would sound like a mixture of Thrice, Avenged Sevenfold and Thursday I wasn't expecting that much from "Near life experience" because there are way too many bands playing this style nowadays. Sure, those bands mentioned above are all killer, but in most cases the copies can't reach the class of the original, right? To my surprise Break The Silence are far away from just copying the forefathers of this "new" genre (never listen to other people's judgment!). Sure, you can hear on "Near life experience" a combination of both screaming and melodic vocals as well as really melodic parts among fast and energetic stuff, but nevertheless Break The Silence manage to sound quite original. I think that's mainly because of the fact that they add lots of elements of melodic Skate Punk played by bands like No Use For A Name to their sound (maybe because Dan Precision, founding member of Rise Against and 88 Fingers Louie, plays guitar in Break The Silence), and even though I don't care about Melodycore that much anymore these days I find this combination really fascinating. So you can truly say that Break The Silence take the best elements from Emo, Hardcore and Melodycore and create something fresh and new. Highly recommended and I wouldn't be surprised if these guys would become a lot more popular in the near future! The only thing that's a bit unnecessary in my eyes is the cover version of the At The Gates (!) classic "Slaughter of the soul". I mean you can't beat At The Gates, but that's really a minor complaint from my side. Get this! (Stefan)



CANNIBAL CORPSE – The Wretched Spawn (CD / Metal Blade)

I have to admit that until lately I wasn´t into CANNIBAL CORPSE at all. In the early 90s when “Butchered At Birth” and “Tomb Of The Mutilated” were released I didn´t like Chris Barnes´ voice. It always reminded me of trying to suck liquid with a straw out of an almost empty glass. Since then I never really took notice of their new releases. Now it´s 2004, I still don´t like the voice of Chris Barnes and CANNIBAL CORPSE are back with their 9th studioalbum. Some time ago I listened to the 1996 album “Vile” and was totally floored. It was the first album with George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher on vocals and from now on CANNIBAL CORPSE got better and better. So what´s left to say about “The Wretched Spawn” that hasn´t been said yet about the other albums? I never understood people talking about CANNIBAL CORPSE as “simple” Death Metal. I mean, okay, they´re not Watchtower but…hey…then what do you call Six Feet Under? At least I´m not the one who wants to sit year after year in the cellar practicing CANNIBAL CORPSE songs until my fingers bleed and not getting one single riff straight. Then there´s the cover: Again a very appetizing one, but all those who take the covers and lyrics of CANNIBAL CORPSE too serious can´t be helped. You want to know about the music, too? Oh, well, what you get is the whole variety of the CANNIBAL CORPSE universe in the vein of “Gore Obsessed” but maybe even more technical. I think that´s the best thing that coud happen. They haven´s changed their style at all which means that there´s the typical C.C.-riffing, blast after blast and mindblowing “moshparts”. CANNIBAL CORPSE`s music is just unique so I think I´ve said enough. The first edition comes with bonus DVD so just buy it! (Tobi)



THE CHEIFS -- Holly-West Crisis (CD / Dr. Strange Records)

Fans of Dr. Strange Records can add a new record to their collection: "Holly-West Crisis" by the Cheifs (stupid name by the way). As usual this is a compilation of early and hard to get stuff, namely the "Playgems" 7" from 1980, the "Cracks in the sidewalk" compilation songs, a song from a New Alliance comp from 1981 as well as a couple of songs that were recorded in 1982 but first saw the light of day in 1997 (!). Even though I'm doubtful if The Cheifs really influenced bands like the Adolescents or Social Distortion this is the right stuff for fans of the early stuff of those kind of bands. Any why would you spend your bucks on the over price originals if you can have all of the songs on one CD? That's what I like about the re-issues Dr. Strange puts out: In most cases it's stuff you won't find anywhere else anymore. By the way, "Holly-West Crisis" comes with a CD-ROM part including photos, flyers and a live video. Cool! (Stefan)



CROPKNOX -- Rock And Rot (CD / Punkcore Records)

To be honest, I don't care that much about today's Street Punk bands, so when I heard that Cropknox from San Francisco are labeled as such a Street Punk outfit I wasn't impressed at all. Luckily those guys are not so much in the sound played by bands such as GBH, The Business, and all those other English '77 style Punk bands that usually bore me to death. Cropknox are quite fast at times and on the other hand take influences from SoCal legends like the Adolescents. Especially those parts that sound a bit like the godfathers from Orange County are cool and make "Rock and rot" quite entertaining. Those of you into the more generic Street Punk sound (i.e. boredom) should take a listen before, all those who don't give a fuck about Street Punk in general might be surprised that they like this album. Comes with a cover from The Underdogs and a Rancid reminiscence ("Rebel youth"). (Stefan)



DESCENDENTS -- Cool To Be You (CD / Fat Wreck Chords)

After the great "'Merican" EP that came out a couple of weeks before the new full length of the mighty Descendents I was totally looking forward to "cool to be you". I mean the Descendents are the originators of the whole Pop Punk sound and since their inception in the late 1970s forefathers of a whole musical style, so I don't think anybody would expect an album that's not completely ruling. And still I was surprised after "Merican" that these guys come up with such great songs as if it would be the most normal thing in the world (well, maybe it is for them). "Here with me" from this EP is probably one of my all time fave Descendents tracks, and "Cool to be you" also comes up with some of the best songs I've heard in a long time. "Nothing with you" (already known from the EP), "She don't care", "Blast off" (another example of the typical Descendents humor; "Enjoy!" anyone?), "Cool to be you", "Dreams" or "Dry spell" just to name a few. To my surprise the three songs written by Bill Stevenson sound a bit like ALL. Maybe you think it's ridiculous to say that a song sounds more like an ALL or a Descendents songs because as you all know this is the same band except for lead singer. Anyway, I've been listening to the Descendents and ALL for about 15 years now and as the Descendents are one of my all time faves I think it's legitimate when I say this. But these songs are cool, too. I thought that the song "Thank you" from the 1996 album "Everything sucks" was written especially for me (read the lyrics!), and now it's a song like "Mass Nerder" that brings up the same feeling. What are you waiting for, get this album and worship the mighty Descendents!!! (Stefan)



DIATRIBE -- In Memory Of Tomorrow (CD / Redfield Records)

Redfield Records from Germany is well known for putting out quality stuff, so I was pleased to find this ten song debut album from Diatribe in my mailbox. Even though the band was founded back in 1996 (!) "In memory of tomorrow" is their first release being released on a label after three demos and some line up changes. I guess it's lame to say it was worth waiting, but in this case it's true. Diatribe combine both melodic and aggressive parts without sounding like another Thursday or Thrice cover band. I'd rather compare them to Refused at times, without the whole electronic stuff. Take lots of mosh parts, melodic/melancholic elements, screaming vocals and lots of energy and you can imagine how their songs sound like. You don't? Well, then go ahead and pick up this record, because I can assure you it's not your average mix of melody and aggression. I like it a lot and maybe you will, too. If not, well, not everybody can have such an exquisite musical taste as me! By the way, comes with a nice layout. (Stefan)



DIE! -- I Hope You Die (CD / Equality Records)

Question: What do you expect from a band called Die! and song titles like "Die! Anthem / I hope you die", "Skaterock days", Youth's gone thrashin'", "Your friends are shit" and a total playing time of a bit more than 10 minutes for 10 songs? Answer: Right, fast Thrashcore. Die! from Rome, Italy, features current and ex members of Italian bands Comrades, Strength Approach (yeah!) and Opposite Force and I really like their pissed off Hardcore sound because it's fresh, full of energy and lyrics like "Watching 'Ban This', still doin' old tricks, trying to repeat what I've seen on the screen. Germs in my stereo or JFA, skateboard and punk what else can I say?" speak for itself. As I have always said, bands like Die! are the soundtrack to skate to and not some stupid Hip Hop crap. Grab your board, listen to this and keep thrashin'! (Stefan)




DISMEMBER – Where Ironcrosses Grow (CD / Karmageddon Media)

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrgh (Hysterically smashing thins, running Amok, maniacal laughter…)!!! Finally!!! It´s been four years since “Hate Campaign” and here I´m holding the new DISMEMBER – album in my sweaty hands. What a divine way to start the day! And it´s absolutely what one has expected: Hardly any development, even more oldschool than “Hate Campaign” and…Sunlight Sound galore! DISMEMBER fucking rule! End! (Tobi)




DOWN AND AWAY -- Set To Blow! (CD / Rockstar Records)

"He's a tic tic timebomb set to blow when the punk rock's playing on his stereo" from the opener "Set to blow" maybe says it all. I guess I'm not the only one who felt reminded to Rancid when reading these lines. Hey, I'm not saying that Down and Away are just a Rancid copy, but take some Rancid mixed with lots of Street Punk and you can figure out how Down and Away (featuring ex-Voice of a Generation member Marcus) sound like. Compared to their first album "Who's got the deliverance" thei second strike is another step forward for the Swedish boys and proof that you don't necessarily have to come from the US to play catchy Street Punk. Down and Away have enough melodies, hooks and guts to blow many of those bands off the stage, so if you're into this kinda sound you better start supporting them now because they really deserve your attention. (Stefan)



EVERGREEN TERRACE -- Writer's Block (CD / Alveran Records)

Oh no, not another cover album. Also Evergreen Terrace come up with a record filled with cover songs. In most cases I don't give much about these kinds of records (see the Guns n'Roses tribute), but somehow Evergreen Terrace come with a really entertaining album that I enjoy very much. Maybe that's because Evergreen Terrace is such an amazing in general. On one of their previous releases these boys from Jacksonville, Florida, did a cover of the Depeche Mode classic "Enjoy the silence" (my favourite D.M. song ever if you want to know), and now they recorded nine more songs that influenced them over the past years. "Writer's block" starts with "Maniac" by Michael Sembello, and there couldn't be a better opener. Great! Next there's "Zero" by the Smashing Pumpkins, and apart from the vocals and some riffing the version from Evergreen Terrace is pretty close to the original. "Plowed" comes next from a band called Sponge. I don't know the original, so I can only say that the version here is great. Track no. 4 is "Stars" by Hum and like Sponge I haven't heard the original before. But it's a nice song. "Knowledge" by Operation Ivy is definitely a classic and almost sounds like the original version, of course with a much better version. By the way, I really liked the Green Day version of this song they did on one of their old 7"s on Lookout. Back to Evergreen Terrace: "Mad world" by Tears for Fears is coming up next and even though this song has a lot of airplay recently because it was covered by some other dude I can still listen to it without getting bored. "Mad world" is anything but boring, I'd say it's one of the highlights on here. Wow, here comes "The kids aren't alright" by The Offspring. I can clearly remember when I heard that song for the very first time. I was watching "The Faculty" in a movie theatre and this song was right at the beginning of the movie. I loved it from the very start, in my opinion it's the best song The Offspring have ever done. Again Evergreen Terrace stay very close to the original apart from the vocals. After that it's time for "Sunday bloody Sunday" from U2, and this is probably my favourite tune on "Writer's block". "Dying degree" originally came out on NOFX' 1994 album "Punk in drublic" and this version here is also close to the original without reaching its class. The last song is a new song by Evergreen Terrace called "Brave reality" and it shows clearly why these guys are getting more and more popular these days. Fuckin' great! That's all? No! There's a hidden track which is another cover, this being "Every rose has its thorn" by horrible hair spray rockers Poison. I wonder if Evergreen Terrace really feel influenced by these guys, maybe they come up on stage with spandex pants the next time, haha. Pick this album up, it's worth your attention. (Stefan)



EXTERNAL MENACE -- The Process Of Elimination (CD / Dr. Strange Records)

Alright, the Doc's coming up with a new release, this time from External Menace from Scotland. Guess what, it's a re-release, haha! But unlike other releases on Dr.Strange it's no compilation of ancient stuff from the early 80s, but a re-issue of late 90s stuff. You'll find the entire "The process of elimination" album from 1998 together with the "Seize the day" EP (1997) and the split EP with Recharge (1998). That makes 22 songs in total, so it's no easy cash-in. Even though External Menace was already formed way back in 1979 I've never heard a word of them before. Maybe part of this is due to the fact that they kinda split up in 1987 after a couple of EPs and compilation tracks. Lots of line up changes, name changes and demos followed until in 1995 they released the album "Pure Punk Rock" that was a compilation of old EPs and six new songs. It took External Menace 18 years after their inception to come up with their first proper full length record, the aforementioned "The process of elimination". And even though the music of External Menace is not my cup of tea I'm pretty impressed that they're still around and will even play their first tour in the US this summer! Oh, the music: It's UK Punk with a few Reggae-like parts ("Rude awakening"), but not in the vein of bands like the Exploited and such crap, but way more melodic yet still aggressive. I wouldn't go as far saying this is a classic reissue, but fun anyway. (Stefan)



EXTINCT -- Nobody Cares, Nobody Changes (CD / Winged Skull Records)

Winged Skull Records from Luxembourg continues their label philosophy with the signing of Extinct, which means that they're only putting out records by bands from Luxembourg. I think it's cool if a label is supporting its own scene that way. When it comes to Extinct I have to say that their debut "Nobody cares, nobody changes" is quite ok, but definitely not outstanding or original. Extinct are into Melodycore the way bands like old Millencolin or No Fun At All used to play. I think you could most likely compare them No Fun At All indeed. It's really nice and all, it just doesn't interest me that much as this sound was/is played by so many bands before. But you have to consider that these guys are between 16 and 19 years old, so this record is a good start, even though it lacks of originality. But that could come with age, so keep them in mind. (Stefan)



THE FAILURE -- ... Of Reason (CD / Meter Records)

The Failure from Canada is one of those bands I had never heard before even though they've been around for a couple of years, playing to larger audiences in Canada, supporting bands like Grade or No Means No and opening the Vans Warped Tour in the past. Having played in bands like the Everyman and Guilt Trip before, "... of reason" is the Failure's second album after their self titled debut which came out in March 2002. The first song "Greymoment" reminded me a bit to System of a Down because of the vocals, but the music couldn't be more different. The Failure are way more melodic and can be described as an Indie Punk outfit that is truly trying to come up with something original and not just copying other bands. The riffing on "Cumulo nimbus" is reminding me to the almighty Thrice but it's nevertheless not sounding like Thrice. Strange, but I guess you can't come up with an accurate description how the Failure sounds like. So why not checking the out for yourselves? Stop reading and start listening! (Stefan)



FIRE DIVINE -- It's All A Blur (CD / Deep Elm Records)

Fire Divine is a New Jersey five piece and their debut EP "It's all a blur" is one of the latest Deep Elm releases. Along with Lock and Key, Burns Out Bright and Sounds Like Violence I'd call Fire Divine the new wave of Deep Elm bands because these guys surely know how to rock. Four songs (playing time 15 minutes) are on this EP (nice layout by the way) and each of them is great. Fire Divine combine melodic and some screaming vocals with an overall melodic yet energetic sound but not necessarily in the vein of Thursday and the likes. In fact, "We ride on sunbeams" has even some Weezer influences to offer. Some of the guys in Fire Divine played in The June Spirit and A Life Once Lost and hopefully you have checked them out on the "This is how I kill my tears" compilation. If so, you know what to expect. If not, do so immediately. In both cases you will try to get "It's all a blur" as fast as possible. It's definitely worth your attention! (Stefan)



HEADS VS. BREAKERS -- Apathy Is The New Black (CD / New Day Rising Records)

After “Dearest Whomever…” by The Backup Plan this is the second release from New Day Rising Records and again they found a new band in the vein of the mighty Lifetime. “Apathy Is The New Black” is the kind of album I was hoping Saves The Day would be releasing after “Through Being Cool”. Maybe it even is the album that Lifetime never managed to record?! Just listen to “Caligynephobia”! Awesome! In this song they borrow some lyrics from another great band that go like this: "We walk the streets at night, we go where eagles dare, we pick up every movement, we pick up every stare." Quite funny, even though I'm surprised that Heads Vs. Breakers come up with this and not their label mates Where Eagles Dare. “Apathy Is The New Black” is for you if you didn´t forgive Saves The Day their development into Independent-Rock. One more thing: The playing time of this record is about 40 minutes (13 songs). I guess we all know certain (so called Hardcore-) labels who would have released an album, a 7" and a CD with these recordings. But not for the sake of money! Of course not! Just one more little thing that makes me even more enthusiastic about this promising new label. Keep up the good work! (Tobi)



HEAVEN SHALL BURN -- Antigone (CD / Century Media Records)

Coming soon!





INSTED -- Proud Youth: 1986 - 1991 (CD / Indecision Records)

Coming soon!





JAWBREAKER -- Dear You (CD Re-release / Blackball Records)

Coming soon!





KATE MOSH -- Life Is Funfair (CD / Sinnbus Records)

Lately I saw a user name on Ebay that really that made me smile. This name was Brad Moshpit. In addition to this, Chris Wollard from Hot Water Music had a project called the Sheryl Cro-Mags. Now I have "Life is funfair" before me from a German band called Kate Mosh, and I have to admit that this name made me smile, too. I thought I had heard this band before on a compilation a few years back, but obviously that was a different band, because the band I had in mind played chaotic Hardcore while this Kate Mosh is an Indie Rock outfit from Berlin. Lately I've been listening to this kind of sound more than in the past (hi Frank!), so "Life is funfair" is an album that is really worth your attention if you're into Indie. Fortunately Kate Mosh's sound is quite rocking and straight, without those pathetic elements some so-called Indie bands use. Another plus is the playing time which is over 40 minutes (14 songs), so I guess all these points are reason enough to check out this cool band. (Stefan)



THE KING -- Heart B.I.T. (CD / Hurry Up Records)

The good guys from Hurry Up! Records sent me this CD quite some time ago but I didn't find the time to review it until now. Sorry guys, my mistake! So let's see what we got here: Like their record label The King come from good old Italy and don't mistake them with that dude who was popular some years ago doing Elvis cover songs. Even though The King surely know how to rock that's probably the only connection with the fat dude from Graceland (haha, cheer up, Petra!). Maybe they named the band that way because the members of The King play(ed) in well known Italian bands like Face the Fact, The Difference (formerly known as Receipt) and Coloss. I don't know, but what I know is that "Heart B.I.T." (I don't get it, is the title supposed to be funny?) is pretty much rocking. Rock'n'Screamo as the info sheet puts it? I was uncertain when I read that because most Screamo bands plainly suck in my opinion. Sorry guys, I've got nothing against you, but this chaotic mess really gets on my nerves. Maybe I should focus on The King instead as they are far away from Screamo in my eyes. I'd rather compare them to those Swedish Rock bands like Turbonegro instead but with lots more Hardcore elements. Songs like "Born in the year 3000" start like some New School Hardcore song only to blend in something The (International) Noise Conspiracy like. The six songs on this debut EP are all rocking and fun, so give them a chance. In any case, they have way more credibility than those losers from The (International) Noise Conspiracy who talk about revolution and anarchy while signing to a major label. Forget them, here comes The King! (Stefan)



LOCK AND KEY -- No Fate (CD / Deep Elm Records)

Together with Sounds Like Violence, Burns Out Bright and Fire Divine Lock and Key is one of the latest signings of Deep Elm Records and I can only repeat myself: Each of those bands totally blew me away when I first heard them on the "This is how I kill my tears" compilation. I think Deep Elm's roster has never been stronger, and proof of this is "No fate", a seven song assault by Lock and Key. Believe me, this EP will blow you away and leave you hungry for more. The four guys have a couple of Hot Water Music records in their collection, because the sound of Lock and Key can be compared to late Hot Water Music albums. But that's far from being a bad thing, right? It's mainly the rough vocals that remind me to the Gainesville four, and even though the music has some similar elements, too, Lock and Key definitely have a sound of their own. "No fate" was recorded by Ethan Dussault (Garrison) at New Alliance in the band's hometown of Boston, Massachusetts. This EP is so fuckin' cool, so you simply have to love it. I surely do. (Stefan)



LUNARIS -- Cyclic (CD / Elitist Records)

Lunaris come from cold Norway and what else than Black Metal would you except? Well, of course Lunaris have lots of Black Metal elements in their songs, but to say they're a typical Black Metal band would do them wrong. Instead, these guys mix Black Metal, Death Metal, Power and Doom Metal as well as some parts that remind me to good old Atheist. And also the vocals are a blend of Black Metal screaming, deep Death Metal shouts and clean vocals that remind me to the legendary Solitude Aeturnus ("I.A.D."). You see, they really try to create something fresh and untypical, but maybe that's the problem for me. Call me a purist, but in most cases I prefer bands that focus on one style. Apart from the fact that I don't care that much about Black Metal or Doom (apart from the aforementioned Solitude Aeturnus) the Death Metal elements are quite cool, but I'd like Lunaris more if they'd come up with a whole album of that kind. But as they use lots of atmospheric keyboard passages on "Cyclic" I could imagine that fans of Emperor or Dimmu Borgir might find them quite interesting. For the record: "Cyclic" comes out on Earache sub label Elitist and features a whole lot of guest musicians such as Steve DiGiorgio (Sadus, Death,...), Eric Peterson (Testament), Asgeir Mickelon (Borknagar), and Steinar Sverd Johnsen (Arcturus, ex-Covenant), so all of you with black hearts (haha) can check 'em out. (Stefan)



MAROON -- Endorsed By Hate (CD / Alveran Records)

Fuck yeah, the new Maroon album is a killer! I was a bit unenthusiastic first because there are so many mediocre MetalCore album coming out these days, but Maroon proved me wrong. I guess I should have known before that these guys wouldn't let me down 'cause when I saw them play at last year's Pressure Fest they were one of the highlights in my opinion next to Heaven Shall Burn, Throwdown, Amon Amarth and Youth of Today (even though some might disagree on the last band). "Endorsed by hate" is the second full length after "Antagonist" which came out in 2002 on Catalyst Records and later got re-released by Alveran. Even though Maroon have some of the typical MetalCore elements in their songs like the heavy Mosh parts and the riffing, "Endorsed by hate" is still quite original and fresh because unlike most MetalCore bands Maroon is not just simply ripping off At the Gates along with melodic Death Metal harmonies. Instead they're more into Thrash Metal I'd say, and that's the best they could do. I mean who needs another average MetalCore band when there are bands like Heaven Shall Burn around who managed to top that style? So Maroon come up with great riffs, fast parts, Mosh elements, and a brutal singer. The only point of criticism is the cover art that I don't like that much. But that's just my opinion. Apart from that, nobody who's into brutal AND original MetalCore should miss "Endorsed by hate". (Stefan)



MARTYR AD -- On Earth As It Is In Hell (CD / Victory Records)

Coming soon!



PAINT THE TOWN RED / RISE AND FALL -- Weapons (Split CD / Join The Team Player Records)

There's only one word to describe this split EP: Killer! Rise and Fall from Belgium and Paint The Town Red from Munich (Germany) each contribute two songs and both bands totally rule. Paint The Town Red are more into mid 90s Hardcore, moshing and without compromise, maybe a bit into Unbroken meets (slower) Bane, while Rise And Fall sound like a mixture of the Cro-Mags and Hatebreed. Quite cool, don't you think? For those of you who are into namedropping, Rise And Fall consists of current and former members of The Deal, Congress, Kingpin, Spirit of Youth, Forced Hate and Vitality. I can only speak for myself and I really like this EP which should be available for a cool price so check out two of the most promising European Hardcore bands. (Stefan)




PICASTRO -- Red Your Blues (CD / Monotreme Records)

One of those bands I never have heard of before. Not only their music was unfamiliar to me, even the name of the band was completely new to me. But apparently Picastro are not totally unknown as the US version of "Red your Blues" that came out on Pehr Records is sold out. Monotreme Records laid their hands on the European release and I can only recommend to pick that album up. Even though I'm heavily into Death Metal and aggressive Hardcore, every once in a while I like some quiet stuff, too. And "Red your Blues" is indeed quiet! Sometimes I have the impression that the music of this Toronto, Canada, based six piece would make a perfect soundtrack for a movie (no wonder one of their songs was featured in the TV series "24" starring Kiefer Sutherland). Broodingly melancholic soundscapes with lots of strings (cello, violin), piano, acoustic guitars and Liz Hysen's quiet and dark vocals. The cover art is also interesting: Not that I like it that much, but it seems like handmade and individual for each copy of this album. Definitely not the right stuff to get your aggression out but nice to relax and hang out. (Stefan)



SOUNDS LIKE VIOLENCE -- The Pistol (CD / Deep Elm Records)

If you have read the review for the great latest Deep Elm compilation you already know that I was blown away by the featured new bands on one of my favourite labels. Sounds Like Violence from Sweden were one of them and impressed me a lot with their fantastic two songs. Those two, "You give me heartattacks" and "Cry oh cry" are also the first two songs on "The Pistol", a six song EP that marks the first release from Sounds Like Violence. Hopefully it's not the last thing we get to hear from them as it is amazing. Especially the vocals remind me a lot to Dinosaur Jr., but I think J. Mascis would have been proud if he had written such wonderful songs. Always driving, always energetic, always heartfelt, that's what you get from Sounds Like Violence. Some of the best melodies I've heard for quite a while and believe me, you won't get them out of your head too easily. A must have in my eyes! (Stefan)



SUMMER LEAGUE -- Supposed To Trail (CD / Equality Records)

Thanks to Equality Records from Rome, Italy, who put Hardcore from Italy back on the map with releases from Die! (see above) and Summer League. While Die! are more into Thrashcore, Summer League from Bologna are more into old school Hardcore. However, they're not your typical Youth Crew outfit. Sure, they also have fast old school parts ("Myths of youth"), backups and mosh parts, but apart from these standards they also add some melodic elements in the vein of Dag Nasty to their sound that fit in pretty good. Of course "Supposed to trail" is not an album that comes up with something completely new, but at least Summer League are trying to stick out from the average old school bands. And I think they do pretty good. By the way, there's an interesting reflection on sXe printed in the booklet that you should check out, too. (Stefan)



TEN FOOT POLE -- Subliminable Messages (CD / Go-Kart Records)

I remember attending a Ten Foot Pole some years ago at a packed club with about three hundred kids going totally nuts. Ten Foot Pole were very nice guys and I still play their old albums "Rev" and "Unleashed" from time to time. I somehow lost track of the band in the following years. I noticed the switch from Epitaph to Victory Records, but the relationship with Victory lasted only for one album. Now Go Kart Records takes care of the band and their new record "Subliminable messages" (a phrase that was coined by George W. Bush, who else?). The opening track "Wake up" is pretty untypical for Ten Foot Pole, at least I had a totally different sound in mind. So I wasn't quite sure what to make of it. I skipped to the next track and that's Ten Foot Pole in its purest form: High speed, lots of melodies, great vocals and mid tempo breakdowns. It just continues on this level with "She looks like" and "Rachel Corrie" even though these songs are more mid tempo. But the captivating vocals by Dennis Jagard are an unmistakable trademark of Ten Foot Pole. So what you have are 12 songs full of energy and... well... Ten Foot Pole. I mean the didn't change their style, but why should they if their songs sound this great? Even though the songs are highly melodic there's always kind of a melancholic feel to them. Needless to say I totally enjoy this record because it's proof that you can still come up with interesting and catchy songs in the so called MedlodyCore genre and not bore to death. Thumbs up for Ten Foot Pole. (Stefan)



TOBACCO --  Tobacco Saves Lives (CD / Rewika Records)

Come on guys, do you honestly expect a good review with such a band name from a guy who's sXe? Just kidding, even though I don't really think that tobacco saves lives, the 13 songs on the band's second full length are anything but unhealthy. In fact I think that everyone who wants to feel good should take a listen to this record. Even though it took Daniel Riedl and Zachary Johnson, the two main characters behind Tobacco, almost four years to come up with a successor to "Don't deny your weakness" from the year 2000, the wait is over and it wasn't in vain. Tobacco started as a side project of Readymade (Zachary) and Rekord (Daniel), but after the first 7" (1999) it was quite clear to the two of them that Tobacco is much more than just a side project. Written, recorded and mixed on their own in the rehearsal room of Readymade, "Tobacco saves lives" is a nice example of how Indie Pop/Rock should sound these days. Full of diversity and so many ideas you won't believe it, including some really cool Rap parts, electronic elements, cheesy synths and - above all - great songs. Not one of those acts trying to sound like everyone else, but really outstanding and fresh. If this is the "new wave" of Indie bands, then I'll be the last one not to be infected. (Stefan)



TOGETHER WE FALL -- Drowned (CD / Fallston Records)

Sorry to Bruce from Fallston Records (also the singer/guitarist in Together We Fall) who sent me this CD quite a while ago, but I wasn't able to write a review any sooner. Anyway, the eight songs on "Drowned" were already recorded way back in 2001 and back then released by RPP from Belgium. Bruce has taken over all global rights to the CD by now and hopefully this record will get more attention in the future. What you find here are tracks of New York styled Hardcore totally in the vein of bands like Madball and thankfully not that many Biohazard-like parts. This means a mixture of groovy mid tempo parts as well as faster stuff. Especially those faster parts are really cool and full of energy, so I guess it's a sure shot for everyone into this kinda sound. What you also should check out is the lyrics. Mostly being rather depressive but without losing hope. At least that's what I thought when I read them. Anyway, pretty good stuff from those four American guys, so let's mosh it up! (Stefan)



TORCH BEARER – Yersinia Pestis (Metal Blade)

Okay, this is not an easy review for me to write, even though I don´t really know why, because what we get from TORCH BEARER is nothing new at all. When I saw the artwork first I expected some True Metal stuff like Grave Digger, but don´t get fooled by that (Yeah, I know, never judge a book by its cover…). Inste(a)d (hargh hargh) of True Metal “anthems” about dragonslayers and heroic swordfights TORCH BEARER present some kind of strongly Black Metal-influenced Death Metal (or vice versa, I don´t know). As I said before, nothing new at all but you can recognize that these guys are trying to reach a certain variety within their songs. For example the song “For Advanced Closure” ranges from Cannibal Corpse-styled harmonic leads to melodic blastparts in the vein of Naglfar. Most of the time the drumming is pretty fast and straight forward but we also get some slowed down epic parts (at least I think that it´s epic). To be honest: Is this album Death or Black Metal? I don´t know. But I guess if you´re into Naglfar and Necrophobic you should try “Yersinia Pestis”. (Tobi)



THE UNFINISHED SYMPATHY -- An Investment In Logistics (CD / Strange Fruit Records)

Wow, now that's a really big surprise. Even though I already liked their debut from 2001, The Unfinished Sympathy's second full length is a real masterpiece of Indie Rock. Being one of the bigger bands in their home country Spain, I'm sure this four piece will definitely leave their mark with "An investment in logistics" in the rest of the world Well, at least in the world's Indie scene, because this record has it all, catchy melodies, straight forward rhythms, cleverly arranged songs and lots of tiny extras such as E-bow or Contra bass on some songs. Unlike so many other bands The Unfinished Sympathy are never boring but always fresh sounding. It's astonishing how these guys manage to include so many cool melody changes in one single song. No wonder they were the first band from Spain that got an invitation from legendary London DJ John Peel to record a Peel Session. Hopefully The Unfinished Sympathy will get the attention they deserve with this record, they really deserve it I can tell you. (Stefan)



VEHEMENCE – Helping The World To See (Metal Blade)

Yet another review that is not too easy for me because these guys really try to create something different and exciting by showing all the different shapes of Death Metal. So what you get is in my opinion not the average Death Metal album you get in your local recordstore by dozens. “Helping The World To See” starts off really promising with “By Your Bedside” and “Kill For God”, two songs that show the further direction: Defninitely Death Metal with influences from Hard-/Metalcore to the traditional Heavy Metal riffing (beginnign of “Kill For God”) and even some slight (!!!) Nu Metal touch. Further to mention are “You don´t have to be afraid anymore” with its piano introduction and “Alone In Your Presence”, some kind of Death Metal ballad with accoustic guitars and spoken words. You see, the songs show a great diversity of sounds without really leaving the genre limitations. The only “bad” thing about “Helping The World To See” is the fact that I´m not really getting into it. I really like the first two songs but then I catch myself thinking about other stuff and not really listening to the album (Have I heard anybody say “Background music”? Maybe.). That´s my personal impression but Fans of bands like … let´s say … the more “progressive” Edge Of Sanity should definitely take a listen. (Tobi)


VOMITORY – Primal Massacre (Metal Blade)

“Primal Massacre” is an album I was really looking forward to and my high expectations are fulfilled. VOMITORY haven´t changed at all. Their sound just punches you in the teeth and leaves you choking on your own blood. The direct and uncompromising brutality often reminds me of old Crustcore bands like early Discharge of Disgust. Just listen to “Retaliation”. Another band that comes to my mind when listening to VOMITORY is early Runemagick, but thrice as fast. As I said before nothing has changed since “Blood Rapture” and in my opinion that´s great. VOMITORY are VOMITORY. Another great release from those vikings. (Tobi)




WHERE EAGLES DARE -- To Come From Nowhere (CD / New Day Rising Records)

"I ain't no goddamn son of a bitch, you better think about it baby!" I know, I know, you are all aware of this Misfits line, but if some guys call their band Where Eagles Dare it's pretty inevitable to come up with these words, isn't it? Apart from the name there are no further similarities to the Misfits sound wise. In fact Where Eagles Dare sound like a mixture of Shai Hulud, Old School Hardcore and Stretch Armstrong. And this combination works surprisingly well as this Arizona based band offers 13 highly energetic and furious tunes on their second record after an EP that came out in 2002 on Endwell Records. The vocals sometimes remind me to those of bands like Shutdown and the music is - as I said - great. I'd love to see those guys on stage, so get your asses over here, hehe. After only three releases (apart from Where Eagles Dare those being Heads Vs. Breakers and The Backup Plan) New Day Rising Records has already become one of my favourite labels, and proof of their quality work you can hear while listening to "To come from nowhere". Get this killer! (Stefan)



V/A -- Bring You To Your Knees - A Tribute To Guns N'Roses (CD / Law Of Inertia Records)

I don't know, tribute albums are always a bit strange in my eyes. Sometimes the bands that cover their heroes are boring, and in most cases the cover songs don't reach the quality of the originals anyway. Just think about the countless Slayer tributes: Sometimes there are really cool bands involved, but none of them can compete with the mighty Slayer. This is also the case with this Guns n' Roses tribute. 14 songs by Guns n'Roses are covered and in every case I prefer the original. Not that I'm a big GNR far or something, I just think that the bands' own songs are more interesting than the covers. Sure, it's funny to hear Unearth play "It's so easy" and Break The Silence do "Nightrain", and if a band has a cover song on one of their albums that's cool, too, but I'm not sure if I really need a whole album full of cover songs (well, apart from those records by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes). Fans of the bands included can check this tribute out decide for themselves if they wanna buy it. Oh yeah, here's a list of the bands involved: Zombie Apocalypse (featuring members of Shai Hulud), Haste, Vaux (who were currently touring Europe together with Thrice), Unearth, Break The Silence, Death By Stereo, Most Precious Blood, Time in Malta, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Eighteen Visions, Every Time I Die, God Forbid, Bleeding Through and The Beautiful Mistake. Pretty impressive, don't you think? (Stefan)



V/A -- The Hope I Hide Inside - The Emo Diaries Chapter Ten (CD / Deep Elm Records)

What can I say about The Emo Diaries that hasn't already been said? I first heard about this compilation series from Deep Elm a couple of years back, and I think it was Chapter Four or Five. Since then I was always curious when a new episode came out because in most cases there were a couple of new and unknown bands that were really interesting and some of them released albums on Deep Elm later on. That was also the goal of the Emo Diaries, to introduce new bands from all over the world and give them a platform to present their music to a wider audience. In the past bands like Jimmy Eat World, Samiam, Planes Mistaken For Stars, Further Seems Forever, The Movielfe, Logh, Dear Diary and tons more appeared on the Emo Diaries, and as you can see by all these bands the term Emo was no limitation at all. No the tenth Chapter is released and it's the end of the Emo Diaries series. But what an end! Almost every band is killer, and some of my favourites are Oliver (wonderful), The Holiday Plan, Sounds Like Violence (with a songs that is not on their current EP), Bailey Drive, Lock and Key (as Sounds Like Violence with an unreleased song which is not on the EP), Lukestar and Latitude Blue. Wow, I guess I named almost every of the 12 featured bands, so you can see the last Chapter is one of the strongest ever. Get it and cheer up: The Emo Diaries may be gone, but another compilation series from Deep Elm is on its way, called "This is Indie Rock: The best bands you've never heard". (Stefan)



V/A -- Rock Against Bush Vol. 1 (CD + DVD / Fat Wreck Chords)

I think it's pretty obvious by now that Fat Mike doesn't like George Bush Jr. that much, so it's no nig surprise that Fat Wreck Chords comes up with this compilation called "Rock against Bush Vol.1". More surprising is some of the bands participating. I mean wouldn't have expected groups like Sum 41, Strung Out or The Ataris on such a compilation. There are 26 bands in total on this CD, and about 95 % of the songs are previously unreleased or hard to find just like "Baghdad" from one the very first 7"s by The Offspring. I also wouldn't have thought that the Descendents could be heard on such a compilation, because a couple of years back Bill Stevenson wrote the lines "Keep your politics out of my music". But the song "Sad state of affairs" by the Descendents is once more great. Some other of the 26 bands featured are None More Black, Alkaline Trio, Anti-Flag, The Get Up Kids (!), Ministry, Strike Anywhere, the aforementioned Ataris (with an acoustic version of the Bad Religion classic "Heaven is falling"), Pennywise, New Found Glory and of course NOFX. But there's more than music to this compilation: You'll find extensive liner notes and finally a separate DVD filled with tons of information concerning the war on Iraq, the Bush administration and four video clips by Anti-Flag, Bad Religion, Strike Anywhere (great!) and NOFX. Not your typical compilation and very interesting in any case. (Stefan)