Reviews August 2004


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


AMON AMARTH – Fate Of Norns (Metal Blade)

“Versus The World” was one hell of an album and the question was: Will AMON AMARTH be able to keep that level with “Fate Of Norns”? They are, although there´s no second “Death In Fire” on the album which was the ultimate Death Metal anthem in 2002 (at least in my eyes). But every single one of the eight new songs is of such high quality that the lack of a real hit doesn´t matter at all. After listening to “Fate Of Norns” several times I think that “An Ancient Sign Of Coming Storn” and “Once Sealed In Blood” are closest to what one would say to be the outstanding songs of the album. Musicwise nothing much has changed since “Versus The World”: The songs are all midtempo, very melodic and sometimes even majestic. The intensity of the songs sometimes reminds me of the mighty Bolt Thrower which is a big compliment in my eyes. All in all I guess no one who likes “Versus The World” will be disappointed. It seems like AMON AMARTH are absolutely unable to release a really bad album. Get this when it comes out on September 6th! (Tobi)



A STEP APART – Demo 2004

It´s a shame that European oldschool bands still don’t get the attention in the scene that they deserve. Especially the American scene is still fixated on its own bands and doesn´t realize what´s happening beyond. Bands like Mainstrike, Reaching Forward, Eyeball or Pointing Finger – to mention only a few – make it clear that the European scene doesn´t need to hide behind better known so-called American legends. Especially the Netherlands have been good ground for promising Youth Crew bands in the last few years and A STEP APART are yet another example to proof that. Everything about this demo screams “Oldschool”, starting with the fact that it´s released on tape. The music is that kind of aggressive, fast oldschool Straight Edge Hardcore I will never get enough of. I guess you all know what I´m talking about so I don´t have to mention any comparisons. The artwork is pretty cool (also oldschool as fuck) and includes the lyrics and the sound is very good although the recording could be a bit louder. If you like the Crucial Response releases you can´t go wrong with ordering this demo! Get it! Contact:



BRAINLESS WANKERS -- Consider yourself Rocked (CD / Rockhit Records)

Usually I'm not that much into Punk bands that add a horn section to their sound, because I prefer listening to either Punk bands or Ska bands, with the exception of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones who really convinced me on their records. But bands like the Voodoo Glow Skulls don't do anything for me, but let's not talk too much about other bands but rather about the Brainless Wankers from Berlin, Germany. Fortunately these guys focus on the more Punk sound, and even though there are horns etc. on this record, too, it amazingly doesn't get on my nerves. Maybe it's because the songs are cool and not as hectic as the ones of The Voodoo GLow Skulls. Furthermore the Brainless Wankers have some really cool titles like "Weapons of mass distraction", "(It is gonna be) All riot", "Buffy the empire slayer" that put a smile on my face and a very cool song called "Copy and paste" that more or less overtly steals some famous Punk lyrics and changes them a bit. Indeed a cool idea I think. The music is melodic, midtempo Punk Rock with the aforementioned horns and even though this must suck I'm sure the Brainless Wankers have to face the comparison with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones. But come on, that's ok, right? On this CD there's also some CD ROM stuff such as a video for "(It is gonna be) All riot" (quite funny!), some pics etc. Entertaining! (Stefan)



THE BRIGGS -- Leaving The Ways (CD / Sideonedummy Records)

The Briggs come up their debut six song EP (a full length is scheduled for earl next year) and these young guys (their average age is just slightly over 20!) should appeal to everyone into singalong Streetpunk. Many bands in that genre are just plan boring to me, but The Briggs are really cool I think. Joe Gittleman, the bassist from the Mighty Mighty Bosstones apparently thought the same as he produced this EP and also did the bass for this recording as The Briggs' previous bass player left respectively was kicked out of the band. "Leaving the ways" reminds me to Rancid at times (but which band in the Streetpunk genre isn't influenced by the forerunners of that sound?), and some of you might already know them from their contribution to the Vans Warped Tour 2004 compilation. Oh yeah, The Briggs will play this year's Warped Tour, so catch them if you have the chance. (Stefan)



CALL ME LIGHTNING -- The Trouble We're In (CD / Revelation Records)

Finally I found a new record by Revelation Records in my mail! The last one I got was probably the Curl Up And Die disc and that was DEFINITELY some time ago! But honestly I was a bit doubtful before I listened to Call Me Lightning, because the info says that the band was "conceived after a lifetime of listening to too much of The Minutemen, not enough of The Birthday Party and just enough Led Zeppelin. You know, especially the latter mentioned Led Zep are truly one of those bands I absolutely can't stand at all. Maybe that's because of the fact that some people I can't stand are totally into Led Zeppelin, but that doesn't belong here and fortunately Call Me Lightning are NOT sounding like Jimmy Page etc. (well, there's the beginning of "Asses to ashes" which I pretend I didn't hear). Instead, they come up with a really rocking album that sometimes reminds me to bands like The (International) Noise Conspiracy and The Hives when it comes to the vocals and the guitars. Maybe you won't find a song as catchy as "Hate to say I told you so" from The Hives on "The trouble we're in", but the songs make you move anyway. Damn, these vocals truly remind me to those of TINC! The booklet doesn't feature any lyrics at all but depicts strange but nice paintings instead. Of course a band like Call Me Lightning is miles away from the classic Revelation stuff of the late 80s/early and mid 90s, but it's without a doubt something cool to listen to and worth your attention. (Stefan)



CATARACT – With Triumph Comes Loss (CD / MetalBlade)

And I thought it just couldn’t get any better… In my eyes “Antigone” and “The Oncoming Storm” are milestones in Metalcore, but “With Triumph Comes Loss” is even beyond that! This album is just incredible! I don´t hesitate one second to compare CATARCT´s third album to Slayer´s “Reign In Blood”. Of course, not everything on this record sounds like Slayer – we get the typical shouting/screaming and Tough Guy-Moshparts - , but it´s obvious that “Reign In Blood” had a strong influence on the songwriting for “With Triumph Comes Loss”. Just listen to “As We Speak” and I´m sure you´ll know what I mean. I could write on for ages but to put a long story short: Every single song on this album is a killer and if you like “Reign In Blood” (I know, we all do!) and think that The Haunted are the nowadays´ better Slayer there´s really no reason that should keep you from getting this masterpiece. I repeat: You MUST buy this! “With Triumph Comes Loss” will be released on September 6th. (Tobi)



xDEATHSTARx -- The Triumph (CD / Life Sentence Records)

One of the guys of xDeathstarx who's depicted in the booklet has probably the biggest X I ever saw on one's hand. This and the name of the band makes it pretty obvious that this band from Southern California isn't all that much into Emo and lyrics about crying because it is raining outside. xDeathstarx means some serious kick-ass Hardcore in the vein of bands like Hatebreed and some Metal influences that can be seen mainly in the fast parts (and I really mean FAST!) on songs like "Die to remian" or "Bullet", and I can clearly imagine that a show of this band is not that much different from a war zone, maybe with the difference that you have the chance to get out of a war zone alive. xDeathstarx has four (!) singers amongst them which reminded me to Path of Resistance, and hey, maybe this all-star outfit had an influence on these guy, too? After their 2003 demo and their contribution to the "Rise up" compilation on Porcell's Fight Fire With Fire Records, "The triumph" is their debut and it's one of the most brutal albums I've heard in a while, but all in all it could have been a bit more diverse. But if you're looking for some utter brutality, then check out "The triumph". It doesn't get much more brutal than that. (Stefan)



DISTRICT -- Don't Mess With The Hard Punx (CD / People Like You Records)

Even though District are around for quite a few years now - remember their split LP with Bad News from 1998? - it's this year's August 16th that sees the release of their debut full length after some EPs and the current "My babies number" 7" on People Like You Records. Lead singer Marc Ader is also doing the vocals and handling the guitar in The Revolvers while guitarist Pascal Briggs is the vocalist of Public Toys. But enough namedropping here, let's got straight to the music on "Don't mess with the hard Punx": For the most part I'd say they can be compared to English Punk bands like the Buzzcocks mixed with some Street Punk a la Dropkick Murphy's (listen to "Pop stars") without that whole bagpipe stuff that mostly gets on my nerves. And even though I'm not the biggest fan of English Punk (in fact I can't stand most of today's bands into that sound) I find District cool in a way (songs like "My babeez number" are really nice). I guess they're better than a host of other similar acts, so why not giving them a chance? (Stefan)



THE HEAVILS – Heavilution (CD / Metal Blade)

The bandinfo describes the sound of THE HEAVILS as somewhere between System Of A Down and Static X. I sure know System Of A Down but I´m not very familiar with what Static X is about. But it might be of some help for you to imagine what “Heavilution” sounds like. When I listened to the first two songs I put THE HEAVILS somewhere near Thrash Metal. But with the following titletrack all that was blown to shit and the tracks “Reflection” and “Sinking Time” also go in a totally different direction. So what I can say is that “Heavilution” offers a lot of variety and it´s not one of those albums where everything is predictable and everybody knows what´s up next. I can´t help it, but when listening to “Heavilution” I get that “Early 90s” feeling. That may sound like “Heavilution” has nothing new to offer and that we´ve heard it all before, but that´s not the case. It´s just that a song like “Heavilution” reminds me of the Crossover-style that was popular these days, although it doesn´t sound like Faith No More or the likes. As I said before some tracks sound like some kind of Thrash Metal like e.g. Pantera on “Cowboys From Hell”, other songs have some slight C.O.C. “Blind”-era influences and all that mixed up with Nu Metal riffs and effects. To put it short: Maybe the bandinfo is right. I can´t tell because I don´t know Static X too well. So I´d say “Heavilution” is a sure shot for those who are into the aforementioned bands. By the way: I still don´t get it why bands still put 20 minutes of noise or nonsense at the end of their record. That´s just annoying although nobody´s forced to listen to that stuff. "Heavilution" will be out August 23rd. (Tobi)



IMPIOUS – Hellucinate (Metal Blade)

Until I got this CD I only knew IMPIOUS by name but never felt the urge to buy one of their records. On October 4th IMPIOUS will be releasing their fourth full length entitled “Hellucinate” and after listening to the album several times I have to admit that ignoring this band has been a mistake. “Hellucinate” contains 10 tracks of brutal yet melodic Death/Thrash Metal in the vein of Dew-Scented or The Haunted, all packed in a modern recording that sounds like somewhere between the last releases of In Flames and Paradis Lost. My favourite track on the album is “Toxic Paranoia” which sums up everything IMPIOUS is about: Melodic guitars that sound like Amon Amarth on 45 rpm, the whole variety of speed and all the brutality it needs to put “Hellucinate” on a level with the aforementioned Dew-Scented. The most outstanding song surely is “Suicide Park” with over 9 minutes full of symphonic elements bedded in a Edge Of Sanity-like guitar work (“Purgatory Afterglow”-era). You see, I´m pretty impressed and surprised and I think I´ll be looking out for IMPIOUS´ previous releases. Highly recommended! (Tobi)



IN BATTLE – Welcome To The Battlefield (Cold/Metal Blade)

IN BATTLE started in the mid-90s playing Black Metal in its purest form. Usually that´s not a very good start to get my attention because I don´t get along too well with Black Metal. But with several line-up changes IN BATTLE changed their sound into Death/Thrash Metal and signed a contract with Cold/Metal Blade records. So here they are presenting their third full-length which has been produced by Erik Rutan (Hate Eternal, Ex-Morbid Angel) in Tampa , Florida . This might give you a hint about what we´re dealing with: High Speed Death Metal, in my eyes quite technical guitar work and a drummer who really loves to play his doublebass! The sound is quite clean and diverse so you can make out all the details this album has to offer. I can´t tell anything about the lyrics but since the record is called “Welcome To The Battlefield” and in regard of the artwork – which, by the way, is pretty boring – I think we´re lucky that you can´t understand a word the singer is growling. All in all, musically “Welcome To The Battlefield” is a solid release but nothing special. Imagine a mixture of Vital Remains, Hate Eternal and maybe a little bit Deicide and if that makes you drool over your shoes go ahead and give “Welcome To The Battlefield” a try when it comes out on September 20th. (Tobi)



INTERNAL AFFAIRS – This Is For You… (CD / Malfunction)

This CD includes all the previous recordings of this L.A. band which are the demo, the „Casualty Of The Core“ 7´ and the songs from the split 7´ with Allegiance. That makes 21 songs of fast, energetic Hardcore that sure will appeal to all Youth Crew devotees and I guess even those people who prefer the early eighties style. The sound is raw yet not cheap and one really gets the energy that is set free. Especially my favourite track, “Come Get It”, offers everything I expect from a good Hardcore song: Speed, singalongs and the rage that makes us going off. Of course, again some will say, that this is nothing new and they´ve heard it all before. But I mean, this is just plain Hardcore and its variety is limited. But as long as there´s bands like Internal Affairs, Allegiance and all the others that just keep the enthusiasm I´ll stick to this kind of music. Others can go listening to Converge or Dillinger Escape Plan. (Tobi)



JUPITER JONES -- Raum Um Raum (CD / Go Kart Records)

When it comes to the best info sheet I've ever seen, it must be the one that came along the "Raum um Raum" record from Jupiter Jones, no doubt about that! Instead of just sending out one sheet of paper with more or less useful information, Jupiter Jones created some kind of beautifully crafted fanzine with pictures, biography, discography, lyrics etc. etc. As well as the split CD with Springtime (review see somewhere else on these pages), "Raum um Raum" comes out on the band's own label Matilda's Records and I have the impression that these guys really live for the music. And as the music on "Raum um Raum" is so cool, please support Jupiter Jones! You get over 46 minutes of fantastic music in the vein of bands like Hot Water Music (the vocals) mixed with Indie bands like Kettcar on a very, very high level. Some songs feature some very cool samples as an introduction, the production is killer and the songs are so diverse and outstanding you won't believe this is a rather new band. And also the lyrics are cool, and I think that's really not that easy because they're written and sung in German. Melodies, energy, variety - it's all here. I think Jupiter Jones just made a new friend with "Raum um Raum" and you definitely have to check out this excellent band, they rule! (Stefan)



ONE FINE DAY -- Faster Than The World (CD / Rockhit Records)

I knew that I would like this band even before I put their debut album in my player. Why, well one look at the thanks list was enough. There I found two of my all time heroes with whom I grew up with: Bud Spencer and Terence Hill. I don't know if our readers in the US know these two dudes, but let me say that this duo delivered in the 70s and 80s some of the best and funny movies ever (in my eyes). And people who like these films as well can't be wrong. One Fine Day come from the Northern part of Germany and "Faster than the world" is their first strike, and boy, it's a pretty fine one. This record should be interesting for everyone into bands like Thursday and The Ataris, because One Fine Day really sound like a mixture of those bands/styles: You have the Thursday-like parts on songs like "Roll the dice", you have The Ataris inspired parts e.g. on "Snip and sneak". The more I listen to "Faster than the world" the more I get the impression that the parts reminding to The Ataris are prevailing, but One Fine Day add more elements from different styles to their sound (which results for example in a song like "Sticks and stone" which basically is a pure melodic rock song (and in my opinion the weakest song on the album)), so instead of just trying to copy other bands they are truly attempting to come up with something of their own, and considering this is their debut, they are already on the right path. Keep up the good work, guys! (Stefan)



ON WHEN READY -- Fueled (CD / Redfield Records)

Together with their label mates Fire in the Attic, On When Ready is another promising German band and "Fueled" is their second full length after last year's "Try harder". If you don't know their debut you should in any case check out "Fueled" because it's a very nice album. The music can be described as melodic, intense and emotional, with both clear and screaming vocals. But don't expect something in the vein of bands like Thrice or Thursday (Emo mixed with Metal riffs) but something more Indie-sounding instead. Sometimes the intensity of the songs reminds me to old Boy Sets Fire and as everyone is into that sound people should give On When Ready a try. If you preferred old Boy Sets Fire and think their new songs are a bit too "smooth" this is for you. No need to say more, go check 'em out and rock along! (Stefan)



PAINT THE TOWN RED -- Pt. II: Home Is Where The Hate Is (CD / Join the Team Player Records)

After the cool split CD with label mates Rise and Fall, Munich's very own gang Paint The Town Red are back with their second full length "Pt. II: Home is where the hate is". Already the debut was well received by fans and critics alike, and not much will change with the second album apart from the fact that even more people should get into them because PTTR kick ass! They started out as an energetic Hardcore band in the vein of bands like Unbroken and Bane and their sound and live shows are really Hardcore and not just some kind of fashion show. "Home is where the hate is" features totally cool and aggressive Hardcore tunes, mostly in mid tempo with some faster outbreaks. The title track features guest vocals by Stuttgart's very own Jogges Sidekick by the way. Marco, the singer, runs Join The Team Player Records and Avocado Booking while guitarist Christoph is the main man behind Let It Burn Records. If you know these labels you will agree with me  that these guys are heavily involved in today's Hardcore scene and not just one of those "here today, gone tomorrow" bands. The words "honesty" and "deidication" come to my mind. PTTR recently added Marco from Munich's indie outfit Flyswatter on guitar and Nanouk (ex-Costas Cake House) on drums (who resides in my former hometown Karlsruhe, cheers mate!) and with a strong release like their second album (which comes with a somber yet beautiful layout) they should take over the scene by storm. (Stefan)



PARIS IN FLAMES -- A Tribute To... (CD / I.C. Recordings)

Imagine a mixture of Waterdown, Boy Sets Fire and Pole* and you get Paris in Flames. Paris in Flames was founded in 2002 and since their inception they played with bands like Snapcase, The Hope Conspiracy and Cable Car Theory. Like Waterdown or Boy Sets Fire, these dudes mix melodic Hardcore with aggressive elements, and it's especially these aggressive parts that remind me to Germany's Pole*, in particular the screaming vocals. Some guitar solos even remind me to some early Pearl Jam, but that's probably the only thing the have in common with the Seattle Grunge band. Rather than just trying to rip off bands like Thursday (like so many bands are doing these days), Paris in Flames come up with a more diverse sound, so it's cool the Invictus Crew picked them up. By the way, Patrick W. Engel (producer of countless bands such as Heaven Shall Burn or Soulgate's Dawn) played the drums on one of the songs. A pretty good debut for this band, watch out for them. (Stefan)



PN -- The Art Of Being We (CD / Life Sentence Records)

PN is one of the oldest Hardcore bands to come out of Europe (Belgium that is) and is in existence for 12 years now. Much to my shame I have to admit that "The art of being we" is the first album I have heard from them, but after listening to it I think I should check out their older albums (four full lengths, two split CDs and one mini CD) as well. PN come up with a highly interesting mixture of Indie and - let's say - New School Hardcore. This means you can find beautiful melodies and laid back vocals next to dissonant New School riffing (Snapcase comes to my mind) and this combination works surprisingly well. Sometimes the intensity and somehow menacing atmosphere reminds me to prog gods Psychotic Waltz, and maybe I'm wrong, but just listen to the songs like "Life is killing expectations" or "Breaking the thumb" and and you get an impression of what I'm talking about. "The art of being" we is highly original and outstanding, and I wonder why this band didn't make it into my player earlier. "The art of being we" was originally released on Funtime Records and now Life Sentence Records puts it out in the US (thanks!!!), with two extra songs and a hidden track. As most of the songs were already recorded in 2002 and even 2001 I hope that new songs are on its way soon. Until then I'm gonna repeatedly listen to "The art of being we". (Stefan)



RISE AND FALL -- Hellmouth (CD / Join the Team Player Records)

Together with their label mates Paint The Town Red (with whom they recently did a split EP), Rise and Fall are one of the most promising Hardcore bands to come out of Europe (from Belgium to be precise). Their sound can be compared to bands like (old) Integrity meets Madball meets the Cro-Mags and needless to say, the songs kill. Rise and Fall rose from the ashes of Kingpin and The Deal, and for some live shows they received help from Dead Stop and Congress members. "Hellmouth" really is a hell of an album, because the production rules (no wonder, it was recorded at CCR Studios in Belgium where bands like Aborted, Liar or Congress have been before), the artwork by Dave Quiggle (All Out War, Disciple A.D. etc.) is very nice and the songs shred. If you're looking for some tight aggressive Hardcore that hits you like a punch in the face, Rise and Fall are the real deal. (Stefan)



SINCE BY MAN -- A Love Hate Relationship (CD / Revelation Records)

"A love hate relationship" is Since By Man's second release on Revelation Records after "We sing the body electric" from 2002, and compared to their debut this four song EP is a huge step forward for the Milwaukee five piece and increases the need for a new full length from these guys. I mean Since By Man still play intense Hardcore in the vein of bands like Converge, but everything is more tight, more intense, more varied (e.g.soundscapes on "Goddamnit baby this is soul") and simply better. "A love hate relationship" was produced by Paul Miner and I didn't expect that I'd be so much into it. The EP will be released on September 14th and please, do yourself a favor and get it. (Stefan)



SOMMERSET -- Say What You Want (CD / Eat The Beat Music / Pirate Records / Sony Music)

I remember that I liked Sommerset's last record "Fast cars, slow guitars" (still one of the coolest titles) a lot and when I catched them on one of their countless German shows in Karlsruhe some time back I liked them even more. Now their new album "Say what you want" is out and in my opinion it marks the highlight of the band's career. The 12 songs are just excellent. Melodic, rocking, not too mellow, sometimes with a little melancholic edge and great choruses. Sometimes I feel reminded to Alkaline Trio and also some Hot Water Music (the vocals), and I don't think Sommerset have to hide behind these names. They are the most successful Hardcore/Punk band from New Zealand and with relentless touring they deserve that position more than anyone else. The song "Inside" is going to be the (first?) single taken from "Say what you want", but I don't know if it will be available as a separate CD or if it will only be give to radio stations etc. Anyway, a video had been shot for this song and hopefully it will receive some airplay to promote this cool album. Even though "Inside" is a nice song I wonder why they chose this track as a single/video because there are even greater songs on "Say what you want". Bands like Sommerset really deserve a growing attention and a wider audience because they work hard for that (this year alone sees their third European/German tour, and remember, they're from New Zealand). Take a listen to this record, I bet you will like it. (Stefan)



TINY Y SON -- Conversation Zero (CD / RP-Punkrock)

According to their label, Tiny-Y-Son did the best record RP-Punkrock released so far. And after their label "Conversation zero" blows Strike Anywhere and Thrice away. Even though this is a really, really strong record I think it's stupid to come up with these kind of phrases, because Strike Anywhere and Thrice are bands that came up with a whole new sound and defined a whole new genre. But in most cases the bands don't write the info sheet so whatever... Apart from this info sheet "Conversation zero" is a very good Hardcore record and one of the best out of Germany ever. Sure, the music is anything but original and indeed a mixture of Strike Anywhere and Thrice, but as I love both bands Tiny-Y-Son convinced me with their six song debut EP. Imagine a Metal-like Thrice part at the beginning of each song and an ensuing high speed Strike Anywhere part with vocals resembling those of Thomas (Strike Anywhere) and you have the exact sound of Tiny-Y-Son (isn't that name taken from a Star Wars character?). As I said, not very original, but close to the class of the originals and therefore highly recommendable. (Stefan)



UNEARTH – The Oncoming Storm (CD / Metal Blade)

Holy Shit! It seems like 2004 marks the breakthrough of Metalcore. After As We Fight´s “Black Nails And Bloody Wrists” and Heaven Shall Burn with “Antigone” UNEARTH´s “The Oncoming Storm” is the third really outstanding Metalcore release this year. The debut album (after an E.P.) “Stings Of Conscience” was more than just a promising start and now – more than three years later – UNEARTH seem to be at the top of their development: The sound – which has been created by Adam Dutkiewicz (Killswitch Engage) – kicks some serious ass, the moshparts make you shred everything in sight and the guitar leads often remind of Iron Maiden and are nothing but adorable (“Zombie Autopilot”). UNEARTH are even surprising with some (not too many) clean sung parts which may be the biggest difference between “Stings Of Conscience” and “The Oncoming Storm”. If you are at least a little bit into Metalcore you must have this! So we´re waiting for the new Caliban album. I guess it´s going to be very hard for them to keep up with “Antigone”, “Black Nails And Bloody Wrists” and “The Oncoming Storm”. We´ll see. Release date: August 23rd. (Tobi)



VADER – The Beast (CD / Metal Blade)

You just know that you won´t be disappointed when getting a new VADER release! In the beginning they were said to be just another Morbid Angel-clone but more than ten years after the release of their debut album “The Ultimate Incantation” VADER are just VADER and nothing else. Sure, there are some parts where the guitar work reminds a bit of Trey Azagthoth and Peter still sounds like David Vincent on the “Domination” album, but who cares anyway? Every single band has its influences (even Morbid Angel) and nowadays you just can´t expect a band to come up with something completely new and unique. Anyway, “The Beast” is about VADER´s 56275th album and it´s without drum-wizzard Doc who had to be replaced by a guy named Daray due to medical problems. But you won´t hear any difference, the drumming is just over the top as ever! And finally the songs come with the perfect production (once again by Piotr Lukaszewski) that they deserve! Never did a VADER release sound better! And I even think the 9 songs (plus Intro) make “The Beast” their best record up to date. Songs like “Firebringer” or “I Shall Prevail” kick some serious ass! But we also get some fine melodies as in “Out Of The Deep” or “Choices” and some extraordinary speed variations in the most outstanding song of the album “The Sea Came In At Last”.  “The Beast” will be released on September 20th and a limited edition comes with a Bonus DVD, so make sure you´ll get one! (Tobi)



WITH DEAD HANDS RISING -- The Horror Grows Near (CD / Life Sentence Records)

"Five kids with short hair playing Death Metal" was the first thing that came to my mind when I listened to With Dead Hand Rising for the first time. I mean it's pure Death Metal that these guys play on "The horror grows near", there's not even a slight Hardcore influence to be found in the music (apart from some vocal lines maybe). Well for me that ain't a bad thing at all because I grew up with Death Metal and find it highly interesting that this musical style has so many friends in the Hardcore scene, too. The only comparison that comes to my mind is Enforsaken who are also completely (Death) Metal but the sound of With Dead Hands Rising is different from them anyway. After their inception in 2001 and a split with Wings of Scarlet and Tears Will Drown, With Dead Hands Rising was signed by Life Sentence Records, released "Behind inquisition" in 2003 and now this five song EP. After a few line up changes (including the addition of a technically skilled drummer) With Dead Hands Rising evolved into a more technical band and everyone into brutal yet technical and complex Death Metal should check them out. I think I'm gonna listen to some Atheist now. (Stefan)



V/A -- Welcome To Circus Punk-A-Billy (CD / Wolverine Records)

Now that's what I call a compilation: 30 bands contributing one song each, and quite a number of them is previously unreleased. As the title indicates, "Welcome to Circus Punk-A-Billy" offers you an insight look in today's Punkabilly scene, featuring the most prominent bands of this style such as Mad Sin, Nekromantix, or Kings of Nuthin' alongside more unknown band like The Astro Zombies, Cenobites, and tons more. I didn't know most of the bands on this sampler before, and I didn't listen to this sound that much in the past, but I have to say that it's pretty cool. Especially the bass is amazing on most of the songs. "Bertha Lou" from The Astro Zombies for example sounds like a hybrid of Elvis and early Misfits. Very cool! You can find bands from all over the globe on "Welcome to Circus Punk-A-Billy", from Germany, the US, France, Denmark, the UK, Brazil (!), Austria (!!), Poland (!!!) etc. I think this comp is a very good thing for starters (like me) who didn't know much about this sound before. The only thing that could be better is the booklet that is rather uninformative and could have been better. Apart from that: Coll thing. (Stefan)



V/A -- Rock Against Bush Vol. 2 (CD / Fat Wreck Chords)

The second volume of "Rock against Bush" is once again very interesting and truly value for money. As on Vol.1 you get tons of rare or unreleased tracks by some of today's best Punk and Hardcore bands plus a free DVD that features lots of information about the Bush administration (and regarding the title of this comp you won't expect some pro-Bush ramblings here, will you?), comedy pieces from Will Ferrell, Patton Oswalt and Greg Proops and finally music videos from Alkaline Trio (yeah!), Bad Religion ("Los Angeles is burning"), Flogging Molly, NOFX and Thought Riot. Vol.1 debuted at # 53 on the Billboard top 200 and scored the # 1 slot on the Billboard Indie chart. Furthermore Fat Mike did lots of interviews after the release of Vol.1, e.g. on Howard Stern (remember the song "Drugs are good", Howard's reaction towards that and NOFX' answer?), Dennis Miller live, CNN Inside Politics and ABC World News among aothers. So I'm sure Vol.2 will also gain lots of attention, and I think it's cool if you can raise political awareness through music, even in today's Punk scene nothing to be sure of. Talking about the music on here: 28 bands contributed a song, and most of them are rare and/or unreleased. Some bands wrote interesting liner notes as well, and here's a brief overview hich bands are included: Green Day (with a really cool song, I was quite saurprised), Bad Religion, Operation Ivy, The Lawrence Arms (seems these dudes are Carcass fans, hehe), Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, Only Crime, Foo Fighters, Lagwagon, Sugarcult, Rancid, Sleater Kinney, The Unseen, Yellowcard (doing a cover of Lagwagon), Dillinger Four, Jawbreaker (live), Bouncing Souls, Mad Caddies, The Dwarves, Sick of it All, No Daoubt, Useless ID, Autopilot Off, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, Donots, Hot Water Music (new song!!), Thought Riot, and No Use For A Name. Is there anything more to say? I don't think so. (Stefan)