Reviews October 2003
ABLAZE -- 666 Drinks Till Death (CD / Waggle-Daggle Promotion)
Ablaze from Germany were formed in the year 2000 and regarding the name it's quite easy to guess what kind of sound they're playing: Punk'n'Roll with some Stoner Rock influences. "666 drinks till death" is their second album, but as I don't know the debut I can't tell you what has changed (or what hasn't changed after all). All in all I would say that this is an ok release, nothing that blows me away or something but quite entertaining. You can hear that this is a pretty young band that is still trying to find their own way, but using violins on some songs is a step in the right direction I think to stand out from the average. "Give up hope" is a real cool rocker with a pretty nice chorus, so to sum it up I'd say that this is nothing outstanding but fun anyway.
A CASE OF GRENADA -- The Evidence (CD / Redfield Records)
When I first read the info that came along with this album I was a bit suspicious because A Case Of Grenada were compared to bands like Jr. Ewing or Zarathustra and I'm always a bit reluctant to that so called Chaos-Core or Screamo. But fortunately A Case Of Grenadae are not as hectic and chaotic as some of those bands that really get on my nerves. Ok, indeed there are some complex parts on "The evidence", but not in a way that you wonder where the song has gone to. Most of the time it's rocking yet brutal music with a voice that reminds me to some New School bands or to Refused at times. These four German guys spent six weeks in the studio to record their debut and the result turned out to be pretty good as the sound is tight as hell. A Case Of Grenadae are pretty furious on stage I could imagine, so go check them out when they come to a club near you.
AGAINST ME! -- As The Eternal Cowboy (CD / Fat Wreck Chords)
AMICAL -- Fill In The Blanks (CD / My Favourite Toy)
INTEGRITY -- To Die For (CD EP/ Deathwish Records)
I guess no one will doubt the fact that Integrity is one of the most legendary outfits in the Hardcore scene. Not only have they been around for 15 years now, but they also were one of the first acts to have dsMetal influences in their songs. To my shame I have to admit that I didn't follow Integrity's career as a whole, so I can't quite compare their actual effort "To die for" with their previous releases. Therefore here's just a plain description of the eight songs (22 minutes) that can be found on this MCD (considering that many bands offer a full length with the same playing time it's value for money, isn't it?). My first impression was: Great stuff! And nothing has changed since my first listen. Integrity play brutal Hardcore with lots of Metal riffs (for example the intro to "Dreams bleed on" shows some Slayer influences or "Nothing left") and also some Tough Guy parts (just keep on listening to "Dreams bleed on") with insane vocals by Dwid on top of it all. But unlike Hatebreed or other bands alike Integrity are combining way more different styles in their songs which is really cool. "To die for" comes with an enhanced part featuring a video which is spanning their entire career and a nice cover art that was done by J.Bannon (Converge, Cave In, Poison the Well etc.), so there's really no excuse why not getting this fuckin' brutal killer! And after all construction gloves still kick ass!
KILLTIME -- Monsters Behind The Screen (CD / Winged Skull Records)
KITSHICKERS -- Armée De L'Air (From The Known To The Unknown) (CD / Winged Skull Records)
ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES -- Stevie / Jackson (7"s / No Idea Records/ Jade Tree Records)
As usual Me First and the Gimme Gimmes release some 7"s after a full length record (this time "Take a break") and once again it's on two different labels, this time Jade Tree ("Jackson") and No Idea ("Stevie"). It's always funny to see those crazy cover artworks, but the one of "Stevie" is one of the most ridiculous ones they had so far. Truly insane. Did people really walk around that way and not get arrested?! I doubt that. And another thing is still the same with these two 7"s: Two songs, one of them not on the album. Once more I think that the unreleased songs for the 7"s are some of the best tracks they ever recorded, just think about "Country roads" from "Denver" or "The boxer" from "Garf". On "Stevie" you can hear "Isn't she lovely" from the album as well as "I just called to say I love you", and believe me, this latter song is fantatstic. "Jackson" features they already known "I'll be there" plus "Ben", both originally done by Michael Jackson. Everyone into this band and the 7"s must have these two new ones, too, but better hurry up 'cause they're pretty limited (and in the case of "Stevie" on coloured wax!).
ONE MAN AND HIS DROID -- Party-People (CD / Defiance Records)
One Man And His Droid's "Party-people" is the latest release from Defiance Records and like most of the records they put out it's another fine one. One Man And His Droid come from Germany, have a permanent keyboard player among their ranks and recorded this album in Spain with the help of Holger Koch (Pale) who was also responsible for the cover art and layout. As I knew One Man And His Droid before only by name I was quite curious what to expect, and as I said I liked what I discovered. Even though One Man And His Droid play more complex music, they don't make to mistake to write songs that end up in pure chaos. Just listen to the sixth track on "Party-people" which is a beautiful ballad that only features acoustic guitars and strings (and vocals of course) and that could also have been on a Get Up Kids record (of course I mean an old GUK album when they were still good, hehe). One Man And His Droid mix various styles as post Hardcore, Indie, Emo, Rock and electronic parts (track number 7 which is all electronic but nevertheless fitting into the album as a whole perfectly), sometimes reminding me to Rival Schools (the music) and Piebald (the vocals), but with lots of originality. I repeat myself, but I like this record and I suggest you check it out.
REBELS OF THE NEON GOD -- s/t (CD / DIY)
I already received this CD quite a while ago but didn't find the time to write a proper review, and I apologize for that. I early 2002 four Italian dudes came together through the mutual love for bands like Breach, Aphex Twin, Fugazi or Cult of Luna. They recorded three songs for this self titled EP (over 20 minutes playing time!) in April 2003 and put it out themselves, always trying to promote their sound live. Judging from their influences you can't expect anything in the vein of easy listening here but rather dark, heavy and complex songs with electronic parts here and there which create a pretty cool atmosphere (just listen to "God... forget me"). I think you could mostly compare them to the aforementioned Breach when it comes to the dark atmosphere and insanity that lurks in their songs, so all of you still mourning the loss of Breach should take a listen to Rebels Of The Neon God. By the way, they're still searching for a permanent member to handle the electronic parts of their songs, so everyone who feels inspired by the bands mentioned above should get in touch with them. Those of you who just want to get in touch with them or want to get ahold of this EP, visit www.rebelsoftheneongod.it
THE SKULLS -- The Golden Age Of Piracy (CD / Dr. Strange Records)
The Skulls are currently on tour over here in Europe and they're one of the oldest Punk bands around. Formed in 1977 they belonged to the first wave of Punk bands emerging from LA. But unlike other bands of that period The Skulls remained pretty underground in a genre that was underground, too. Over the next two decades not much could be heard of vocalist Billy Bones, the only remaining original member of The Skulls. Every now and then he would appear back on the surface to show the world that the band was not completely dead. But it was not before the late 90s when Billy Bones made The Skulls a "real band" again. After participating in several tribute albums and their 2002 record "Therapy for the shy" The Skulls are back with their new album "The golden age of piracy" on Dr. Strange Records. Once again they play melodic Southern California Punk Rock in the vein of the 1977 sound. I was pretty surprised to see that even though Billy Bones is the only remaining original member he's not participating in the songwriting which is done by the other members. But anyway, 14 songs can be found on here and everyone into this kind of sound will like them for sure.
SLAPSHOT -- Digital Warfare (CD / I Scream Records)
If there's one band around that truly deserves the label "Old School" it's definitely Slapshot. I mean they've been around since 1985 and even though they were some longer breaks here and there and a couple of line up changes, the two founding members Mark McKaye and Jack "Choke" Kelly are still here kicking everyone's ass. Slapshot never were the most skilled band or a band with extremely diverse songs but the sheer brutality of their songs is still there after all this time. Just listen to "Identity" on their latest record "Digital warfare" which is pure hate filled Old School Hardcore mayhem with tons of back ups and slowdowns. That's the way Hardcore was meant to be! Their previous records were released on all kinds of labels, but finally Slapshot found a new home on I Scream Records from Belgium while Bridge 9 takes care of the record in the States. Even though Choke pretty much looks like Udo Dirkschneider from Accept (sorry dude, but that's the truth) his vocals are still one of the typical trademarks for Slapshot as they can easily be distinguished from all other Hardcore voices. If I'm not completely wrong, "Wasted time" is a re-recorded version of an old Last Rights song (the band Choke was in before he formed Slapshot) and it's a total killer, "Digital warfare" comes with a cool cover and booklet (unfortunately without lyrics) and a cover of the Minor Threat classiv "Straight Edge". Do I really have to say more to convince you that this is a killer album? So turn off your computer, buy this record, see them live and believe me, Slapshot kick ass!
STRENGTH APPROACH -- The Fall Through My Eyes (CD EP)
Italy's Old School powerhouse Strength Approach are back and they're stronger than ever! In my eyes "The fall through my eyes" is their finest effort to date, because Strength Approach use more and more rocking elements in their sound. Just listen to the great title track or "Open letter to the one I loved" which both are mid tempo anthems. But don't worry, Strength Approach didn't change their well known style (they've been around since 1996) completely, because you can still find cool Youth Crew smashers on here. As I said, they expanded their sound a bit and I think they did very well. I'm looking very forward to the upcoming full length which should kick ass. In the meantime check out this cool EP.