Reviews June 2005


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


AMORA SAVANT -- The Immaculate Misconception (CD / Volatile Productions)

I don't know, after thousands of MetalCore bands coming up with more or less interesting records over the last few years I am really not that enthusiastic about this sound anymore. I mean I just don't see the need for countless bands mixing Hardcore and Metal. The only difference I often see is which band is more ripped off, In Flames or At the Gates. So I was not very enthusiastic when I read in the info sheet that Amora Savant from the US would play MetalCore. But - surprise, surprise - "The immaculate misconception" is no standard MetalCore record. In fact It's quite entertaining and I have the impression that this band really tries to come up with something original within the boundaries of this genre. Amora Savant are way more complex than other bands playing this music and even though I sometimes have problems with bands that sound too complex, the six songs on here sound refreshing and original. This EP is probably nothing for those who still want to hear the next As I Lay Dying, Heaven Shall Burn, Killswitch Engage or whatever band. All others should take a listen or check out or (Stefan)



THE ANTI-DOCTRINE -- A Worldwide Elite And Its Downfall (CD / Eat The Beat Records)

Even though I usually don't give a damn about chaotic music (apologies to bands like Converge; I think you're really good musicians and all, I just don't get into you at all), the situation is quite a bit different with The Anti-Doctrine. Even though the music is anything but easy to digest, this band manages to write SONGS and not just fragments of music added together but in the end leaving just chaos. Their first full length is a big step forward after last year's "Patterns of liquid red" EP. "A worldwide elite..." is complex, heavy, and definitely no easy listening, but it's impressive to hear how these guys know how to handle their instruments and nevertheless manage to write, well, songs. Somehow the vocals remind me to those of "Evil" Chuck (r.i.p.) on Death's "The sound of perseverance", and everyone into the more complex side of (Nu-) Metal should check out this band. Definitely no record that I will listen to without end, but from time to time it's pretty cool. (Stefan)



Balatonizer -- Occlused In Ottusity (CD / This Dark Reign Recordings)

Balatonizer from Italy remind me of three bands: Nasum, Cannibal Corpse and Obituary. Nasum because of the music which is pure fuckin' Grindcore, sometimes technical, but mostly a full speed ahead blast. Cannibal Corpse because of the vocals that could be described as a mixture of Chris Barnes and George "Corpsegrinder" Fisher. And finally Obituary because Balatonizer don't have lyrics. Instead, the singer just growls and screams something that fits to the music. Even though I never was that much into Grindcore - apart from Terrorizer/Nausea (gods!), early Carcass, early Napalm Death, Repulsion (gods!!) and the aforementioned Nasum - I think these 32 songs (playing time 25 minutes, any questions?) are pretty cool and can easily compete with their international Grindcore colleagues. "Scacciatieista" contains a soundtrack sample from my favourite movie ever, "The good, the bad and the ugly" and this is reason enough for me to like this record. Balatonizer don't have a drummer, but the guitarist Marco is responsible for the drum programming, and this turns out surprisingly well. In most cases you can easily hear that a drum computer is at work, but not here. Enough said, every Grindhead should pick up this record. I only wonder that I didn't hear from this band earlier as they were already formed way back in 1997... By the way, "Occlused in Ottusity" was released back in 2003, but as Mario send me the record a couple of weeks ago I don't have a problem with reviewing it anyway. Comes with a bonus video clip which is pretty professional. (Stefan)



BROKEN BONES -- Time For Anger, Not Justice (CD / Dr. Strange Records)

What do you expect from a band called Broken Bones that comes from the UK, has song titles like "War is war", "Systematic abuse" or No-one survives" and has members with names like Quiv, Oddy and Bones (wasn't this guy in Discharge?) among their ranks? Right, Mid Western Emo in the vein of bands like The Get Up Kids. I'm not quite sure, but I think you might have recognized by now that I wasn't quite honest when it comes to the band's music. Of course Broken Bones are a full on Punk/Crust outfit and their latest release could be described as a mixture of bands like old Discharge (of course), Negative Approach and mid 80s Broken Bones. Yeah, this band has been around for quite a while and this is their newest output. I'm not that much into this kind of music, so I can't/won't tell you anything quite appropriate except that the production is cool and the songs are powerful (even though I miss a second guitar at times). The first 2.000 copies come with two re-recorded classics ("Decapitated" and "F.O.A.D.") while the vinyl version is limited to 1.200 hand numbered copies that come in a hand silk screened sleeve. So all you Crusties out there get your hands off the beer bottles, your asses from the place in front of the supermarket and get this album. (Stefan)



THE COMEDOWN -- Cat Of The Year (CD / DIY)

I was quite surprised to see a new output from The Comedown in my mailbox because their self titled debut was put out by the band in the summer of 2004. No year has passed since four new songs find their way into your stereo. The Comedown describe their sound as Alternative Rock, and I think this definition is quite ok, even though the guitars sound thicker than those of other alternative bands. The vocals remind me to The Get Up Kids at times, but they are a bit quiet in my opinion. Compared to last year's full length this EP is another step forward for The Comedown, so get in touch with them through (Stefan)



DAYS IN GRIEF -- Behind The Curtain Of A Modern Tomorrow (CD / Eat The Beat Music)

I hope the guys in Days in Grief won't set my car on fire, but "Behind the curtain of a modern tomorrow" has Thrice written all over the place. I mean, really, the second album by this Cologne based four piece reminds me totally to the second Thrice album "The illusion of safety". Don't get me wrong, I love Thrice and this record in particular, so I also like Days in Grief very much. And I don't think it is bad to feel influenced by certain bands/records. Because it's obvious that 90% of the music that's released today is more or less open influenced by music that has been done before. So I'm the last to judge Days in Grief. "Behind the curtain..." indeed is a great record: Metal influenced guitar harmonies meet Hardcore breakdowns, clean and screaming vocals can be found next to each other and piano parts are heard here and there. Fortunately Days in Grief don't get on my nerves as the vast majority of all those Thursday clones around, but I really dig this album and after I read on the official Thrice site that the next album might include Jazz influences (oh no, the last time I heard something like that and was completely disappointed in the end was in 1992 when Pestilence came up with "Spheres" which totally sucked in my opinion) I'm glad about "Behind the curtain..." By the way, the record was produced by Siggi Bemm at Woodhouse Studios, so expect some major crunch and a cool sound on this one. (Stefan)



DRIVING THE SALT / STATIC 84 -- Freedom Is A Road Seldom Traveled By The Multitude (Split CD / Striving For Togetherness Records)

Cool, new songs from Germany's Driving the Salt after their great debut album which came out last year. Even more cool: Static 84 are back! These dudes were around from 1997 to 2001 and sadly split up shortly after the release of their debut album "The servants are rising". But after their buddies from My Hero Died Today decided to do a reunion show they asked Static 84 to join forces, and from there on everything just evolved. But read for yourself the liner notes in the booklet written by Oise from Static 84 which are quite interesting. Each band contributed three songs for this split release, and it's just honest Hardcore that you can hear from both teams. No MetalCore, no Tough Guy Mosh, just plain Hardcore. Thank God. Go! (Stefan)




GOREROTTED -- A New Dawn For The Dead (CD ( Metal Blade Records)

GOREROTTED from England is one of those bands that I know by name but never felt the urge of listening to one of their records. “A New Dawn For The Dead” is the band´s third album and it is supposed to be darker and more technical than the previous ones. Anyway, I expected a mixture of Death Metal and Grind and it is exactly what I got. The album starts quite impressive with “…And Everything Went Black” but the other 8 songs are not really my cup of tea and just couldn´t get my undivided attention: Some blasts here and a moshpart there, some cookie-monster vocals and other vocals (By the way: Is it one singer???) that sound like a catfight. The songs are not bad but on the other hand it´s also not the stuff that makes you want to smash your head in. You can hear that the band really tried to create some diverse and technical songs but unfortunately the band just can´t keep the level that they reach with “…And Everything Went Black”. So this is just another average DeathGrind release in my eyes but those of you who might dig a more Grindcore oriented version of Cannibal Corpse should give “A New Dawn For The Dead” a chance. (Tobi)



IRA -- The Body And The Soil (CD / Go Kart Records)

To call Ira "easy listening" would be not just a slight misinterpretation of their sound. Out of the ashes of German Grindcore band Blindspot a.d. Ira rose to the light (or into the dark?). "The body and the soil" is totally intriguing and completely above your average listening experience. Heavy guitar sounds (wall of sound is no exaggeration here) meet melancholic melodies and desperate vocals and form menacing, frantic soundcapes that can perhaps be compared to bands like Neurosis. But even though this is their debut album, Ira are very outstanding and have a unique sound that you really should check out. Once you started listening to the songs you will be mesmerized. Some of the songs are over 9 minutes long ("Disappear" clocks in at over 15 minutes!) and are all linked by short instrumental interludes. There are also some quieter parts on "The body and the soil" (e.g. "You're living all over me") and to sum it up, this is a must have! (Stefan)



KIDS GO FREE -- Dobra (CD / Sanjam Recordings)

Kids Go Free come from Spain and "Dobra" is their third full length. It is also the second album that Yann from Sanjam Records sent me (thanks pal!), and after the cool record from Seanews I was quite curious how Kids Go Free would sound like. And I like this band even more than Seanews. Unlike their country mates Standstill, Kids Go Free manage to write good songs and not just complex parts added to one another. Maybe I'm not making many friends by saying this, but I honestly never cared much about Standstill. Anyway, this is no Standstill review after all, so let's go back to Kids Go Free. Yann had told me before that they could be compared to bands like Engine Down or the almighty Texas is the Reason. And I think that really isn't too far fetched. Ok, Texas is the Reason is one of those bands that were absolutely groundbreaking when they were around, so obviously it's kinda hard for any band to come up with outstanding stuff like that. But I really like "Dobra" a lot and everyone into the Deep Elm sound should check out this record (which has a nice packaging by the way). (Stefan)



KOGO -- Combat School (CD / My Favourite Toy)

Wasn't Combat School a computer game in the 80s? And if so, why do I remember that? Didn't I have any friends back then so that I was sitting in front of the computer all the time? Well, that cannot be the case as I got a computer rather late and was mainly listening to music to kill time. Anyway, back to Kogo. This four piece from Stockholm, Sweden, presents with "Combat school" their first full length after the 2003 EP called "B music". How could I describe Kogo? Imagine mixture of Indie and Rock with the focus on the more rocking elements, walls of sound ("Square") next to driving songs ("Big but too small"). I expected something MathCore like (don't ask me why), and I'm glad I was mistaken. Kogo makes me pogo (ok ok, this joke was so bad I am ashamed myself). (Stefan)



NO USE FOR A NAME -- Keep Them Confused (CD / Fat Wreck Chords)

I can clearly remember the first time I listened to No Use For A Name. It was back when "Leche con carne" came out (I guess that was in 1994) and I ordered the CD directly from Fat Wreck Chords in San Francisco along with a NUFAN shirt even though I hadn't heard a single note of this band before. Back then I was totally into all those MelodyCore bands, so I liked "Leche con carne" a lot, especially "Justified black eye" and "Soulmate" were (and still are) totally great songs. After that I bought the previous record "The daily grind" as well, but somehow kinda lost track of the band afterwards. I gave "Making friends" probably only one or two listens, but then it was time for "More betterness". This album was just perfect. NUFAN had just found the right mixture of mid tempo songs and fast songs, but despite their early songs, these tracks were fast but not TOO fast. I hope you know what I mean by that... Well the next record "Hard rock bottom" again passed me by unheard, and so did their live record. Anyway, now it's time for "Keep them confused", and along with "More betterness" (and some songs from "Leche con carne") this is my favourite NUFAN record. I mean, sure, there's nothing totally new to be found on here, but hey, does one really expect and want that? I don't think so. Once again you find great mid tempo songs next to fast songs (as I said before, just the right tempo, i.e. not too fast). And yet there are some novelties just like "Divine let down" (great song!) which features electronic elements and acoustic guitars and reminds me to Tony Sly's solo stuff or Tony's vocals which are much more melodic than before. Sometimes I feel reminded to The Ataris "So long Astoria" (just check out "Slowly fading fast"). It's good to see that NUFAN are still around and are still able to write great songs. Get this! (Stefan)



OWN -- The Nuremberg Trials (CD / DIY)

Ok, what's this? When I listened to Own's first 11 song album (which they put out on their own) I honestly didn't like it at all and quickly put it on the shelf. After a while I decided to give it another try, mainly because I thought that the artwork and layout of the booklet is kinda cool and looks like that these guys put a lot of effort into the whole thing. And even though Own's version of Hardcore is sometimes too complex and hectic for me I have to admit that at least they try to come up with something refreshing. So you'll find fast parts next to hectic and break-ridden parts and distorted vocals all over the place. What I like about this album compared to other noisy bands/releases is that the guitar sound is down tuned and quite fat. So all of you people out there into the more noisy kind of Hardcore, check out this band through or (Stefan)



RANDY'S RIPCORD -- Love (CD ( Go Kart Records)

Yeah, this record rocks from beginning to end and back again! Randy's Ripcord is a three piece from Hamburg, Germany, and delivers awesome melodic Punk Rock in the veins of Screeching Weasel or The Muffs. Randy's Ripcord consist of Linda on guitar and vocals, Ines on Bass and vocals and Knut on drums and with two girls in the band I wouldn't be surprised if there would be comparisons with Riot Grrrrl of the early 90s. Randy's Ripcord gout together in 2001, recorded their demo EP in July of 2003 and another demo in 2004. It was the latter demo that got them the deal with Go Kart Records and brought you "Love", their first album that features 12 songs (over 36 minutes playing time) full of melodic, straight in-your-face Punk Rock. I really like this album a lot and wonder where I can meet girls that play such cool music. (Stefan)



SEANEWS -- s/t (CD / Sanjam Records)

Hey, this is cool. Seanews are from Paris, France, this is their self titled first full length after a MCD and a split EP with Unlogistic. I've never heard of this band before, but I think this album (11 songs, 36:34 minutes playing time) is pretty entertaining. Imagine a mixture of Dischord bands and the mid 90s Revelation sound and you have a clue how this band sounds like. And with the new generation of Revelation bands such as Temper Temper, Pitch Black or Call Me Lightning not sounding completely different all fans of this sound should take a listen. I don't know, but sometimes the vocals remind me to Ernie of Token Entry / Black Train Jack which isn't a bad thing after all I guess... On top of that you get a good production and really cool songs, so why not checking out this nice band? (Stefan)



UNION YOUTH -- The Boring Years (CD / Eat The Beat Music)

After their debut "The royal gene" from 2002 Union Youth signed with major label East West, but due to a restructuring of that firm the band was dropped right in the middle of the recording sessions for their second full length "The boring years". Fortunately this didn't hinder the band to complete the recordings with producer Michael Ilbert who worked with bands like The Hellacopters, The Hives or the Cardigans before. Furthermore, Fireside guitarist Pelle Gunnerfeldt was responsible for the mix of the record. The result was so convincing that it didn't need much conviction for Eat the Beat Music to pick up this band. Union Youth play nice Indie Rock, but never too laid back. Most of the time you can heard shredding guitars and straight forward drums, so Union Youth cannot be compared to today's more well known Indie bands such as Bloc Party or Interpol, but draw more influences from bands of that genre that came out in the early 90s. The first single "Sweet song" is a real hit that reminds me to the best moments of Britpop and I wouldn't be surprised if this song could be heard in your favourite Indie clubs in the near future. To sum it up: "The boring years" is a really cool record and definitely worth your attention. (Stefan)



THE UNIVERSAL INDICATOR -- Grandstand Of Horror (CD / Al Piper Music)

Damn, I am sure I've heard this name before, but I honestly can't remember if I have heard some music from these guys before or if I have seen them play live. Anyway, The Universal Indicator present six songs on this EP and I would describe their sound as a mixture of driving and melodic Emo, screaming vocals and melancholic melodies. Please don't mistake this band for another Thrice or Thursday clone just because of the addition of both melodic and screaming vocals, because The Universal Indicator have really something to offer and a song like "Empire" is really, really cool. So yeah, check out this EP because it definitely deserves your attention. (Stefan)



WHITMAN -- Anhedonia Falling (CD / Sonora Records)

I immediately liked Sonora Records before I even opened the letter which included "Anhedonia falling" from Whitman because of the nice artwork on the letter itself. I had not neither heard of Sonora Records nor of Whitman before, and in all such cases I'm very excited what to expect. The first three songs of this six song EP (mind you, the playing time is over 25 minutes) were cool, but the fourth song "Moratorium" really blew me away. 8 minutes and 35 seconds of some of the most emotional music I've heard in a long time. On this song alone Whitman present all elements of their sound: Beautiful and intriguing melodies next to guitar dominated eruptions, quiet vocals intermingling with more screaming vocals. Don't get me wrong, this is not your average Screamo outfit like all those Thursday or Thrice clones out there. Instead Whitman captured lots of emotions and great moments on tape (or disc) and managed to create something really original. Just listen to the circus melodies on "The wanting", one of the most beautiful songs I've heard in a long time. Oh, I've said that before. So before I keep on repeating myself again, please check out this cool record ( (Stefan)



V/A -- This Is Indie Rock Volume 2 (CD / Deep Elm Records)

Deep Elm Records returns with the second volume of "This is Indie Rock", their newest compilation series that follows the highly acclaimed "Emo Diaries". Once again 12 young, fresh and rather unknown bands/artists get the chance to present themselves to a wider audience, and this concept of Deep Elm to bring these songs to a broader public should be truly supported. The compilation starts off with a rather strange electronic band/song called Maxel Toft, followed by the first highlight, Jena Berlin (great name by the way) from New Jersey. After that Meredith Bragg delivers a beautiful singer/songwriter piece in the vein of Kristofer Aström or Dashboard Confessional. Well I could write an article about almost every band/artist on this compilation, but as I don't have that much time I'd rather like to suggest that you go out and get this cool CD because it's really amazing to see such a wide variety of styles to be found on just one record  that can still be labeled as an Indie record. (Stefan)