Reviews October 2004


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



ANDTHEWINNERIS -- The Punch And Judy Show (CD / Rockhit Records)

Finally after two EPs, two split EPs and one Japan/US only album the first full length of Andthewinneris is finally out on Rockhit Records and fans of bands like The Ataris or the Donots can stop reading and storm the next record store because "The Punch and Judy Show" is the real deal for them. Oh, did I forgot to mention that I also love this sound and therefore I would have run to the next store to get this album, too,  if Olli would not have sent it to me already (thanks mate!)? Seriously, this record is amazing. 12 songs of catchy, melodic Power Pop / Pop Punk that easily can compete with more known bands. Just listen to a song like "Ice cream is not my final answer" and you wanna put on your shorts and a shirt again, just perfect. Sometimes I also feel reminded to early Ambrose. Everything's right here, the artwork (nice digipack by the way), the production, the song titles (Yep, important, too. Just look at Caliban and their mostly stupid titles). Unfortunately the lyrics are not included so I guess I'd have to check their website to find out what "All this was funny until she did the same thing to me" is about. I'll just stop here, get this masterpiece, and help this band avoiding the last song to come true: "We're looking for an all-time low in popularity here". (Stefan)



THE ANTI DOCTRINE -- Patterns Of Liquid Red (CD / Eat The Beat Music)

I had not heard from this German band before I found their eight track EP (considering its playing time some bands would have made a full length out of the songs) in my mail, but I was curious to listen to them as the info spoke of a mixture of Thrash and Death Metal merged with the aggression of Hard- and Grindcore. Apart from the fact that I can't make out any Grindcore influences, the description given is quite fitting, even though the sound of The Anti Doctrine is mostly based on grooving Thrash Metal I'd say. But there are also some fast parts (e.g. on "Beneath broken silence") which are excellent and in my opinion could have been more dominant on "Patterns of liquid red". Apart from that, this EP is quite a fine start for this band. In the past The Anti Doctrine toured with bands like Slipknot (!) and Soulfly, so I could imagine some of you might have already heard them (even though they were playing under the moniker Straight back then). If not, take a listen if you're into groovy Thrash in the vein of bands like Machine Head (but more pissed) etc. (Stefan)



CAEDES -- Promo 2004 (CD)

Caedes is a young band from Germany and if their three song promo (demo?) would have come as a cassette version it would remind me even more to the early 90s when I was tape trading a lot. I mean when I put the CD in my player and the first song started I had exactly the same feeling than 15 years ago when I listened to some obscure Death Metal demos from all over the world, recorded by bands that later would become well known in the scene or that (unfortunately) would disappear without a trace. The sound is pretty basic and rough, but cool. The info said that the music could be described as New School Hardcore or Metalcore, but because of the sound it sounds very much like old school Death Metal even though the songs are not very fast and really more into New School Hardcore mixed with some Metal. Hey, they lyrics are in German, but honestly you won't notice must of the time, haha. Their singer screams his lungs out and the three songs (10:45 minutes in total) are pretty entertaining. A promising start (well, not really a start as this is the band's second demo) and if you want to get in touch with them, here's their address: (Stefan)



DOWNGRADED -- Confessions (CD)

Downgraded was formed way back in 1995 (!) and come from a town not that far away from where I grew up. However, I've never heard of them of the single members. Anyway, here's their second release after their 4 song EP "New sun rising" they put out in 2000 on their own. "Confessions" contains six songs, was produced by themselves and is also put out on their own again. Having that in mind I think the result is pretty respectable concerning the artwork, layout etc. Of course the production is not as fat as by an "established" but good if you keep in mind that this is basically a demo. The music is harder to describe I think. It's basically Hardcore, but sometimes I feel reminded to Korn because of the bass sound. Also bands like Soulfly come to my mind at times when it comes to the vocals and the groove. No fast parts but mostly mid tempo and groovy with unfortunately just average vocals in my opinion. All in all I think it's an ok release. Contact: (Stefan)



THE LONESOME DRAGSTRIPPERS -- Pro Modified (CD / Part Records)

Two of the three members of the Lonesome Dragstrippers played in Germany's Baffdecks, and even though I'm not too familiar with latter band I still have in mind that Baffdecks sounded quite different than the Dragstrippers who play Punk'n'Rockabilly. Their debut demo earned good reviews and so Part Records picked them up and released that demo under the name "Pro modified". Of course you can also hear on the six songs the typical Stand Up Bass and find ingredients like cars, flames and white trash Rock'n'Roll. To be honest, this is not exactly the kind of sound I listen to on a regular basis, so I can't say if it's good or bad. But everyone who's into that music is invited to check out the Lonesome Dragstrippers on CD as well as during one of their numerous appearances on stage. (Stefan)



ENDSTAND – Burning Bridges (CD / Day After Records)

I didn´t care too much about Finland´s ENDSTAND till I finally got myself up to download some mp3s. And what can I say? I was floored! I mean, I didn´t run out of the house to buy all their albums at once but I've been waiting on coals for the the release of their newest album called “Burning Bridges”. In the reviews I read before the release the album was compared to The Hope Conspiracy´s “Endnote”. And I have to agree with that although “Burning Bridges” is less “noisy” and has a more obvious Rock-influence. The sound is extremely powerful and the singer´s aggressive voice could easily be a part of every band that takes good care of their tough guy image. “Burning Bridges” is one of my personal highlights this year and I can only recommend this album. I´ve ignored ENDSTAND for much too long. (Tobi)



FALL OF SERENITY -- Royal Killing (CD / Metal Age Productions)

Even though the name Fall of Serenity was familiar to me (probably because of the split with Heaven Shall Burn from a few years back) I actually had not heard the band's music before. So their second album "Royal killing" marks Fall of Serenity's debut appearance in my CD player, and boy, this album rules! I expected another MetalCore album, and as there are tons of MetalCore bands around there these days I have to admit that I'm a bit reluctant to that sound. I mean who needs 100 Heaven Shall Burn clones anyway? So I was positively surprised to find out that Fall of Serenity (great name by the way) play pure Death Metal. Apart from some clean vocals (fortunately only rarely to be heard) this is old school Death Metal the way I like it: Fast, great vocals, cool mid tempo parts, twin guitar attacks etc. Just listen to the title track which is a perfect example of the band's sound and a fine tune to kick off your day with. There are also some melodic parts on the album that sometimes remind me to older In Flames (e.g. on "Falling apart", including female vocals if I'm correct?), but the overall sound is just brutal Death Metal in the Swedish way. Mix Unanimated, old Edge of Sanity, Thrash riffing and add a huge dose of originality and you have Fall of Serenity. As I said, I'm very surprised, but Fall of Serenity deserve to get your fullest attention because they're great. Support!! (Stefan)



GOD DETHRONED – The Lair Of The White Worm (CD / MetalBlade)

The title track of their last album “Into The Lungs Of Hell” is classic and my personal God Dethroned favourite. It was quite slow and very melodic compared to their other material. So I was hoping that God Dethroned would follow that path with their new album. But they don´t! They even got faster! But on the other hand every single song has at least one riff or guitar solo that offer some individual harmonies and therefore won´t leave your memories after you listened to them about three times. And I mean that as a compliment as in my eyes this is the best a song has to offer. As long as it doesn´t get boring with further listening. But that´s not the case, trust me. The singer somehow reminds me of Kreator´s Mille on a Black Metal trip and could be more growling. But that´s nearly everything I have to complain about. A very decent release! Favorites: “Arch Enemy Spain” and “Sigma Enigma”. Release date: 15.11.2004. (Tobi)



HOT WATER MUSIC – The New What Next (CD / Epitaph Records))

You don´t expect me to lose some bad words about the new HOT WATER MUSIC album, do you? Cause I won´t do that. In one review I read that the new HOT WATER MUSIC sounded like U2?! After listening to “The New What Next” several times I really can´t see what makes someone want to say something like that. In my eyes it is the logical follow-up to “Caution”. Of course, the times when Chris and Chuck sounded like Scottish Whiskey distillers after visiting a soccer game are over. But it´s still magic when you´re listening to them on songs like “There Are Already Roses” or “My Little Monkey Wrench”. Both songs are totally in the vein of “I Was On A Mountain” from the last album and show HOT WATER MUSIC´s development to a straighter and more melodic sound. But U2??? No way! “The New What Next” may not be their best album but I´m still psyched when listening to Jason Black´s bass playing and Chris and Chuck roaring. Another great release from Florida´s finest. Did you expect anything else? (Tobi)



KENZARI'S MIDDLE KATA -- When Error Is The Idea (CD)

First off I have to apologize that it literally took me ages to review this CD (sorry Helmut!)! I still think the name of the band is quite strange and wonder what it means?! Anyway, the 8 songs of "When error is the idea" were recorded in January 2004 in the band's rehearsal room and considering this, the EP has a phenomenal sound. The four guys from the southern part of Germany come up with a cool mixture of noisy post Hardcore in the vein of bands like At The Drive-In or Refused, and some parts even remind me to the great Coheed and Cambria. For a debut this is very good and I wouldn't be surprised if Kenzari's Middle Kata would be picked up by a label in the near future. They certainly deserve your attention as they really don't have to hide behind international and already established bands. I'm positively surprised and can only advise you to get this EP. Contact: (Stefan)



LOCK AND KEY -- Pull Up The Floorboards (CD / Deep Elm Records)

After their cool "No fate" EP that came out on Deep Elm a while ago, "Pull up the floorboards" is the first full length of Lock And Key from Boston, MA. Even though there are still some similarities to Hot Water Music (especially the vocals) this band has definitely found its own style I think. It's just plain rocking music with nice melodies and laid back elements. Songs like "Process of molting" really help you through a day that is anything but good (trust me, I know what I'm talking about): "We can let it run us into the ground. Or pick up and start again. I choose to stand stronger and learn from my mistakes. Live for the moments when I can release". As they EP, "Pull up the floorboards" was produced by Ethan Dussault (Garrison, On The Might Of Princes,...) at New Alliance Studios in Boston, so you know what to expect soundwise. Man, songs like "303" or "Volatile" are amazing. Lock and Key are on a two month tour throughout the US later this year, and I wish they'd come over to Europe soon. (Stefan)



ME FIRST AND THE GIMME GIMMES -- Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah (CD / Fat Wreck Chords)

Ever since I heard Me First and the Gimme Gimmes for the very first time (this was when the second part of "Fat Music for Fat People" came out and the were featured with "Copuntry roads") I was a fan. I bought all their 7"s (only one's missing in my collection) and albums, and even though some of them were better ("Have a ball" is still my favourite) than others (I didn't like the second one that much) I always found the Gimme Gimmes an extremely entertaining. Lately I heard that a live album of the Gimme Gimmes was to come out, and I thought that this would be quite superfluous as most live albums are. Boy, how wrong I was. First: The Gimme Gimmes come up with a live album that includes 14 ALL NEW songs. Second: The record was indeed recorded at a Bar Mitzvah, and the reactions of the band and the audience are very funny. Songs covered include such hits as "Stairway to heaven" (which I can only stand in the Gimme Gimmes version), "Heart of glass" (killer!), "Come sail away", "O sole mio", "Auld lang syne", "Always on my mind" and the Jewish traditional "Hava Nagila". "Bonus tracks" are firstly "Seasons in the sun" (from the first album), sung by Jonny's uncle Roger from Paris and this version is just hilarious as Uncle Roger sings both in French and English and has absolutely NO timing at all. Secondly, there's "Sloop John B." with Jonny on drums. To top that off, there's a 12 minute enhanced part on the CD with footage from the Bar Mitzvah which is actually very funny to watch. To make a long story short: The Gimme Gimmes are back with an album full of hits in their typical sound and I'm more than pleased with that. (Stefan)



NME.MINE -- These Dreams Of Happy Endings (CD / Eat The Beat Music)

I had two associations concerning Nme.Mine before I had heard one single note of the first official EP by this band: The first: The name that reminded me to the movie of the same name (directed by Wolfgang Petersen if I'm correct and starring Dennis Quaid and Louis Gosset, Jr.). The second: The picture on the back cover that was already used on the split CD from Pointing Finger and that other Hardcore band from Norway the name of which I don't remember that now. Apart from that, "These dreams of happy endings" is the first official EP from these guys as I said, after they put out an EP on their own in 2003. It contains 8 songs and over 30 minutes of music, so I once again I think that some Hardcore bands would have made a full length and an EP out of the songs... Anyway, Nme.Mine features members of bands like Brothers Justice and Silent Green (no, not SOILENT Green) and come up with a blend of Metal, Hardcore and Rock. No real MetalCore here, but more Nu Metal like I think. That's also one thing that I don't like that much about Nu Metal and this EP as well: The clean vocals. I mean Nu Metal is okay and all, but mostly those clean vocals get on my nerves real soon. Well, that's just my humble opinion and if you're into Nu Metal this is a sure shot for you, because Nme.Mine don't need to hide behind other bands of this genre, and for a debut it's quite impressive anyway. (Stefan)



SICK OF IT ALL -- Outtakes For Outcasts (CD / Fat Wreck Chords)

Sick of it All is just amazing. Without a doubt one of the longest running Hardcore bands, and probably the hardest working. I mean it's just incredible how often Sick of it All are on tour. I saw them early this year and still after 20 years this band is so full of energy and enthusiasm that they make even the lamest crowd going nuts. And even though they've been around for this long time they're still some of the nicest guys. Anyway, enough praise, let's go to "Outtakes for outcasts" which is a compilation of rare and hard to find material covering they years 1992 - 2001. You can find songs from the "Yours truly" sessions that have been on various compilations, two Sham 69 covers from b-sides and compilations, the incredibly cool "All hell breaks loose" from the "Tribute to the Misfits" compi, "Straight ahead", a song that was originally written by their bassist Craig Setari who played in Straight Ahead (but you all know that), some songs from the "Call to arms" sessions, "86" from the "Built to last" sessions, a Hüsker Dü cover ("Target"), a Last Resort cover ("Working class kids"), two outtakes from "Live in a dive" and (finally!) "Just look around", remixed by House of Pain in 1992. Especially the last song was so sought after and in the end sees the light of day. Probably the master tapes were lost because it was taken from a bootleg cassette! Anyway, cool stuff you'll find here, I just wonder why they didn't include the songs from the Bridge 9 7". But hey, that's cool in a way for all the collectors out there. Sick of it All are Sick of it All and always will be Sick of it All. I won't get sick of them. (Stefan)



SIX FEET UNDER – Graveyard Classics 2 (CD / MetalBlade)

Oh…my…God!!!...(Struggling for words)…(Still struggling)…Errrrrrhhh…Okaaaaay, to start with something positive: “Back In Black” is a classic, no doubt about that! It was the return of AC/DC after Bon Scott died and nobody expected such a kickass album like “Back In Black”. And what does this have to do with Six Feet Under? Well, these guys of pure (poor) genius had the idea to cover “Back In Black” in its entirety. We don´t have to talk about the music itself, as SIX FEET UNDER didn´t change anything. There´s nothing original about it besides the fact, that the sound is very basic but not really Death Metal. You can get used to that. But as soon as Chris Barnes starts growling it´s all over! What the fuck? I mean, I didn´t expect him to scream like Brian Johnson, but his growling in connection with the music just sounds like some nerds making fun of non-Death Metal music. Unfortunately, this is not satire, these guys are serious! I don´t get it! Stop violating classics, get back to practice and try to do something like “Haunted” again! This is ridiculous! Anyway, if you liked their version of “TNT” storm the recordstores on October 18. (Maybe SFU should have covered some Deep Purple instead, 'cause it would have been at least funny to hear Chris Barnes growling "Child in time" - Stefan) (Tobi)



SLAPSTIX -- Promo (CD)

After the first seconds I was sure that I was listening to some old Adolescents rehearsal tape because the first song on this three song promo is totally in the vein of songs like "Amoeba" by the O.C. legend. Of course Slapstix from Germany can't compete with the Adolescents but then again, who can? Formed in 1998 (!) here's the latest (or first?) "release" by this band. I don't know if you can actually speak of a proper release as the three songs were recorded in the band's rehearsal room and the whole thing is probably thought to be a promo thing only. As the first song was quite ok, the second one gets on my nerves pretty soon. I hate to say it, but that's mainly because of the female vocals. Don't get me wrong, I've got nothing against female vocals, but Sandra sounds like she is singing for her life. Oh, but the (male!) vocals on the last song are even worse. No no no, I don't think that I like these songs that much. The first song was quite ok though, but the rest is pretty weak. If you think I'm just dumb and wanna get in touch with the band anyway, here's the address: (Stefan)




Cool, both bands on this split recorded their four songs (which makes eight songs in total) in the same studio in Luxembourg in 2004 and put out this EP on their own. I think that's a really cool idea. Spyglass are first and they play their version of emotional Screamo with German lyrics. Not exactly what I listen to on a regular basis but I have to admit that songs like "Blick auf die Uhr" are damn strong, mixing both melodic and hectic parts. Well done, guys. Eternal Tango are also mixing melodies and aggression, have clean as well as screaming vocals and are also cool. As I said, not the kind of music I go nuts to, but somehow I like this split release a lot anyway. Maybe because I have the impression it's not just something like "Ok, let's put out a split with a boring artwork and bad music" but really heartfelt by both bands. Contact: or (Stefan)



STARMARKET -- Abandon Time (CD / Strange Fruit)

Strange Fruit Records finally inked a good distribution deal with Alive, so hopefully their records can be found in more stores in the future. The first result of this cooperation is the new Starmarket album called "Abandon time" that's out on Strange Fruit in Europe exclusively. After their last record "Song of songs", this 12 song assault is way more straight and Punkrock again. And I like it this way. The opener could not fully convince me, but "Cologne", "Redundance" or "Headfirst" (just to pick three) are great songs that won't leave your player that soon I'm sure. Starmarket succeeded in making a record that is mostly straight and rocking on the one hand but is nevertheless open for experiments like decent keyboards ("Mountain") and their typical breaks on the other. So I don't think anyone who liked Starmarket before will be disappointed by "Abandon time" and hopefully a lot new people will check out this cool Swedish act. (Stefan)



THREE MINUTE POETRY -- We're Gonna Need A Bigger Boat (CD / Eat The Beat Music)

I had heard of Three Minute Poetry before but I'm not quite sure if I had actually heard some of their music or just knew the name. Anyway, "We're gonna need a bigger boat" is the latest release by this four piece and it's really cool. Three Minute Poetry play very nice Emo influenced Powerpop in the vein of bands like the Donots, but they add more breaks and influences from other styles to their sound and therefore sound pretty original and interesting (hey, that doesn't mean that I find bands like the Donots uninteresting; in fact it's the other way round). I said that quite a lot in the last time, but once again this German band can stand the international comparison without ANY problem and really deserves your attention because the songs are great, the production rocks, and the layout is nice, too. What do you want more? If you're still not convinced, then listen to "The easy way out" and get blown away. This is it! (Stefan)



V/A -- This Is Indie Rock: The Best Bands You've Never Heard Volume 1 (CD / Deep Elm Records)

After the Emo Diaries "This is Indie Rock: The best bands you've never heard" is the newest compilation series from Deep Elm. And already the first song from The Pit That Became A Tower (from Jerusalem, Isreal) is totally cool. Indie in its purest and best form. The only band on here I knew before is Clair de Lune as they already released an album on Deep Elm, but the 11 bands were completely new to me. But the title indicates it, the best bands you've never heard. Be forewarned: If you listen to "Indie pop song" from The Blind King you can be sure that this wonderful song won't leave your head for a couple of days. Deep Elm definitely has a sense for picking just the right bands for their compilations. Also Throat and Winter In Alaska are very good. I could go on rambling about each song, but instead I think you should check out this sampler on your own because there definitely are some of the best bands you've never heard on here. (Stefan)