Archive for October, 2007

A7X-selfAfter the phenomenal success of Avenged Sevenfold’s 2005 album, City of Evil—which spawned the mega-hit single “Bat Country,” “Beast and the Harlot” and the GNR-style ballad, “Seize the Day”—the follow-up has a lot to live up to. City of Evil was a controversial album for longtime fans of the band, given its new style, but it was a breakthrough on so many levels, making Avenged Sevenfold a household name in rock music. Their new self-titled release follows the same path as its predecessor, but the band has trimmed things in places, making songs even more accessible, while adding new surprises at the same time. (more…)

bigelf-hexIt’s funny where life can take you. If someone had told me five years ago that I’d be listening to an album by a band named Bigelf, I would’ve laughed hysterically. And if they told me that I would be almost blown away by it, that would just be ridiculous, right? Well, it’s 2007 and the album, Hex (originally a Europe-only release in 2003), from none other than Bigelf has landed on my desk. These guys look like vampire hippies on the album sleeve and churn out a concoction of so many influences, combining it into one hell of an original sound. And yes, I’m pretty much blown away. (more…)


Marta Peterson: “Dearly Demented”

If you have not yet heard Bleeding Through’s breakthrough release, The Truth (review), what are you waiting for? The straight-edge band combines metal riffs, hardcore, punk and black metal with the keyboards of Marta, deemed “one of the hottest chicks in metal” by Revolver magazine and fans alike. The result is one of the most important and memorable hard rock recordings in recent years. The album’s success has opened doors for the band, with stints on Ozzfest, a summer tour with Marilyn Manson and Slayer, and now, an opening slot for Finnish goth metallers HIM.’s Jeff Maki sat atop a dark stairwell with Marta Peterson prior to the band’s gig at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 19, 2007 for an intimate interview. Despite her dark onstage persona, which has led many HIM fans to be creeped out and dub her a vampire, she is a normal, down-to-earth, lovely, extremely well-spoken person. The obvious questions were asked about topics such as being a female in a rock band and her cover issue of Revolver, but Jeff also got some dirt on new Bleeding Through music, the continued success of The Truth and how the band ended up opening for HIM. (more…)

bloodsimple_2007_red_harvestBloodsimple rose from the ashes of the vocalist Tim Williams and guitarist Mike Kennedy’s popular hardcore band Vision of Disorder. The band initially signed to Mudvayne vocalist Chad Grey’s label, Bullygoat Records, for the release of their debut album, A Cruel World. The album was received well but endured some criticism due to its nu-metal tendencies and lack of originality. With their sophomore release, Red Harvest, the band continues in a similar vein but begins to distance itself from nu-metal and offers a record that is heavier, yet catchier and full of variety. (more…)

helloweenYou want some high-octane power metal? You want a record filled with pounding rhythms, high-speed guitar solos and impeccable craftsmanship? Of course you do. And why do I sound like Dan Dierdorf? And why the hell am I asking you?

Anyway, Gambling with the Devil, the latest from veteran German metalheads Helloween, is full of all those things. Much like with Annihilator, this is old-fashioned “AAAAAAA!!!!!!” power metal, done by guys who know what they are doing. This kind of music may be old hat, but Helloween still makes it look good. Every track on Gambling with the Devil is big, epic and grand. Thankfully, they are interested only in rocking your fucking socks off and not slipping in a ballad. (more…)

gorefest-riseRise to Ruin, from long-running Dutch death metal band Gorefest, is as lethal of a statement in brutality as it is politically. A sample interrupts the midway point of the opener, “Revolt,” stating “Political leaders of the world were drug out of their offices and shot in the streets. This has become one of the most important days of the 21st century.” I don’t think anyone will have any questions over the band’s views on current politics after that.

Gorefest formed way back in 1991 and has released several solid death albums and built a solid fan-base across the world. They split in 1999 but reformed in 2004 and eventually released a well-received comeback album, La Muerte. The reception should only continue to grow stronger with Rise to Ruin. (more…)

skindred-rootsFronted by dreadlocked frontman Benji Webbe, formerly of Dub War, Skindred established itself with their 2002 debut, Babylon. Benji previously had mild succes with Dub War and also did backing vocals on Soulfly’s debut. But Skindred quickly became popular, spawning the radio hit “Nobody” and live anthem “Set It Off.” Just when many thought nu-metal and rap-rock were all but dead, Skindred came out with a style dubbed “ragga-metal,” which combines elements of reggae, metal, rock and punk into one hell of a party-rock sound. Fuzzy, downtuned guitars back Benji’s reggae-style vocals, meshed with enough aggression to get the adrenaline pumping. (more…)

The_69_Eyes_DevilsThough Finland’s The 69 Eyes have been around for some time, they have only recently gotten U.S. exposure, played their first show here earlier this year. Sure the band may look like Misfits wannabes, but their music is damn good. This band uses their image as a marketing tool, but its not about looks.  (more…)

Review by Greg Maki
I can’t find one thing about Seether that countless other bands don’t offer. Its dark, post-grunge sound has been done to death over the past decade or so. Yet there is something about this trio, originally from South Africa, that just works for me. I’m not an elitist. I appreciate it when a band that can hold its own at Ozzfest (Seether played the second stage in 2002) is equally comfortable in heavy rotation on rock radio. (more…)

61cBVRwDrsLReview by Greg Maki
Need a soundtrack for your Halloween party? Then might I suggest Sleaze Freak, the sophomore release from Scum of the Earth. It’s packed with heavy riffs yet sports enough grooving rhythms to keep the dance floor moving. And the lyrical content—the devil, death, murder, corpses—is season appropriate. Not a lot of deep thinking here; some of the songs make Rob Zombie’s music seem thought-provoking. (more…)

in-battle-kingdomI suppose if you want the musical equivalent to the Battle of the Bulge, the appropriately named In Battle is it. Kingdom of Fear is loud, aggressive and brutal. Usually that’s a great thing for a metal band, though a little of In Battle’s skull-crushing sound can go a long way. (more…)

Dream_Theater_-_Metropolis_Pt._2-_Scenes_from_a_MemoryBy Greg Maki
A ticking metronome.

A voice. Soft, comforting, yet firm, in control.

“Close your eyes and begin to relax.”

A hypnotherapist. He puts his subject under, leads him back through time to find a girl waiting for him.

And so begins Dream Theater’s concept album, Metropolis Pt. 2: Scenes from a Memory, a tragic yet life-affirming tale of love, betrayal, murder and reincarnation. (more…)