Reviews November 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)



DRIVING THE SALT -- The Ghosts Stopped Watching (CD / Striving For Togetherness Records)

Coming soon!





RED BLOOD HANDS -- In The Space Of Seven Breaths (CD / Bloody Tears Collective/Riot Records)

I wonder how many cool bands come from Italy these days. After Evolution So Far Red Blood Hands are another fine example of how vital and blossoming the Italian Hardcore scene is. Red Blood Hands mix Hardcore and Metal, but don't be afraid, there not one of those unoriginal MetalCore bands. Don't get me wrong, I really like some MetalCore bands like Heaven Shall Burn (of course), Cataract or Fall of Serenity, but many bands are just boring in my eyes. Anyway, back to Red Blood Hands who play more New School influenced Hardcore that was could also have been recorded in the mid 90s and more than once they remind me to Mornig Again even though they don't have that many Slayer influences, hehe... Formed in 2000, they put out their first album called "8 spots on a white mind" on various DIY labels, and now, two years later, their second album "In the space of seven breaths" is unleashed. And even though there are only seven songs on it (playing time 25 minutes) this record is cool. The songs were recorded at Alpha Omega Studios with Ale Azzali (Cataract, Dark Day Dungeon) and once again they are being released on two small labels. Support is required and support is deserved. Go check them out. (Stefan)



STREET DOGS -- Tales Of Mass Deception (CD / Bass Tracks Records)

Funny, even before I heard one single note of the Street Dogs I had a certain sound in mind. And after having listened to this four song EP I proudly can say that I wasn't wrong one single inch. The Street Dogs from Boston play Streetpunk, and even they're one of the very few bands in that genre that I like very much. The first two songs "In defense of Dorchester" and "Tale of mass deception" are from the forthcoming full length "Back to the world" and without exaggeration they totally rule. While "In defense of..." is a melodic rocker, "Tale of..." is much more folk inspired. No wonder, singer Mike McColgan was in the Dropkick Murphys before he left the band in 1999 to become a firefighter. In 2002 he formed the Street Dogs (including former members of The Bruisers, Roger Miret and the Disasters and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones) and they put out their debut "Savin Hill" the same year. Two of the songs from that debut can be found on "Tales of mass deception" as well, one being "Borstal breakout" by Sham 69. Even though these songs are all great, this EP is kinda superfluous as the old songs were already featured on the debut and the two new songs will be on the upcoming record (or maybe it's just a promotional release?!). Additionally, no lyrics are included and the booklet sucks. Therefore I think you should wait for the full length that comes out in January 2005. I guess this EP was only made to have a release out for the tour with Flogging Molly this fall. To sum it up: Great band, great songs, unnecessary EP. (Stefan)



STRUNG OUT -- Exile In Oblivion (CD / Fat Wreck Chords)

Even though Strung Out are one of the longest running bands on Fat Wreck Chords, I never paid them too much attention in the past. Well, with "Exile in oblivion" that's definitely gonna change 'cause this album is truly great. Produced by Matt Hynde (Slayer, Hatebreed, Sum 41), the latest full length not only offers a brilliant sound but also great songs. It's not the typical Southern California Punk Rock I expected but much more diverse. Of course you'll find lots of melodies on "Exile in oblivion", but the overall atmosphere of the tracks is quite melancholic and sometimes reminds me to late Thrice. But it wouldn't be just to compare Strung Out with other bands, because this record is really like a healthy dose of fresh air. "Exile in oblivion" comes with a great artwork and layout (and some really innovative booklet) done by singer Jason Cruz who also was responsible for the art on Strung Out's "Live in a dive". Songs I especially like are "Blueprint", "Katatonia" and "Swan dive", and I urgently ask you to check out this masterpiece. (Stefan)



TOXIC NARCOTIC -- Shoot People, Not Dope (CD / Rodent Popsicle Records)

After the split EP with Misery, "Shoot people, not dope" (title of the month) is the latest outburst by Toxic Narcotic, this time on the band's own label Rodent Popsicle Records. Five songs in 13 minutes can be found on this EP which makes it quite clear that Toxic Narcotic didn't change for a more melodic sound. Hell no, they're still the same, as crazy as ever and as fast and hard as a train out of control. Originally they were supposed to come over to Europe this winter for the first time in three years, but unfortunately the tour was cancelled. One more reason why you should grab this EP. It is also available on vinyl, so get that version. Toxic Bill was so cool to send me both the CD and the vinyl, thanks mate! Get this. (Stefan)



WINTER IN ALASKA -- Innocence We've Lost (CD / Viking Funeral Records)

Winter in Alaska have already been featured on "This is Indie Rock Vol.1" by Deep Elm, and as I liked their contribution a lot I was happy to see the full length in my mail which is coming out on Viking Funeral Records. And despite the label's name you won't any Pagan, Viking or Black Metal here. Instead, Wintere in Alaska, could be compared to bands like The Appleseed Cast or Elliott. And I like it very much. Maybe "Innocence we've lost" wouldn't be the right music for a bright summer day, but as it is getting dark at around 5 in the afternoon these days it's really the right kinda music for me right now. Beautiful, fragile songs, energetic outbreaks that fall back into calm, spheric sounds, electronic elements. It's a really nice release and the liner notes written by the band are some of the best I've ever read. Seems like these guys are as nice as their music, and therefore you should check out their debut. (Stefan)



YOB -- The Illusion Of Motion (CD /Metal Blade Records)

No joke: “The Illusion Of Motion” is the first Doom Metal release ever that I listened to. A few centuries ago I once owned the “Samarithan” 12´ from Candlemass, but I never listened to it. And, of course, I know bands like Saint Vitus, Solitude Aeturnus, The Hidden Hand and the likes, but only by name. So this is absolutely new ground I´m stepping on. “The Illusion Of Motion” is the third album of this Eugene , Oregon based band and it offers 4 songs in over 56 minutes. So tell me: Do you really expect me to have an attention span that enables me to stand a 26 minutes song like the title track, when I mostly listen to Straight Edge Hardcore with songs that range between 1 and 2 minutes length? But I can proudly state here that actually I listened to the whole album! To make it short: I don´t know what I´m talking about, but I´d describe YOB as somewhere between Black Sabbath and Neurosis. And as you can imagine the songs are mostly pretty sloooow. Although I´m not into this kind of music at all I think that there are some really mean and dark parts that remind me of Neurosis (like I said before) and that are really cool. Like the first few minutes of the opener “Ball Of Molten Lead”. But then the first problem sets in: The singer changes between growling and his clean voice. And that sounds like Ozzy on Helium. Another problem for me are some psychedelic influences. I never liked all that stuff with dirstortion and echos and what not. It just reminds me of dancing Hippies under the influence of LSD who are smelling colors. Anyway, so far my first experience with Doom Metal. As I said before “The Illusion Of Motion” (Cool name for a Doom Metal release!) offers some decent parts but it´s just not my cup of tea. Maybe you should give this record a chance if you´re into Sabbath and/or Neurosis. Release date: 29.11.2004. (Tobi)



V/A -- Punk Chartbusters Vol.5 (2CD / Wolverine Records)

Wow, it's already the fifth volume of Punk Chartbusters, and once again it's a double CD set (for the price of one) filled with 51 (!) bands covering recent or long forgotten chart hits. Amongst the more known bands are NOFX (unfortunately no new song, but "Champs Elysees" from...eeehhh...1998 (?) I guess), Jackass (featuring the former Bad Religion and FiFi drummer Pete Finestone (hey Pete, what's up?)), The New Wave Hookers, Radio Havanna, Die Toten Hosen (which I can't stand AT ALL; in fact I hate these guys and their crappy rock music), Snuff, Terror gruppe, or American Heartbreak. In addition there are tons of bands that I never have heard of, and while some covers are really funny, some are just dumb. Some songs that were chosen for this comp: "Beds are burning" (Midnight Oil), "As long as you love me" (by Jackass, haha), "Viva forever" (Spice girls), "I'm a believer" by Boozed featuring Ingo Donots), "White flag" (Dido), "Beautiful" (Christina Aguilera), "Come undone" (Robbie Williams), "Like a bird" (Nelly Furtado), "Right here waiting" (Richard Marx), "You keep me hanging on" (Kim Wilde) and tons more. As I said, some of the songs are funny to hear in a Punk version, but some are boring. Decide for yourself if you wanna check out the latest Punk Chartbusters. (Stefan)