DARK ROOTS OF EARTH
Without question, Testament is one of my favorite bands of all time. In my mind, they really are yet to do a bad album, even in the wake of health scares, hiatuses and a seemingly endless see of lineup changes. While they have missed the mark on occasion (ELECTRIC CROWN, DEMONIC), their bad albums are still a quality listen! As for their great ones, well they are as good or better than anything in the history of Thrash Metal. A few years ago, they stormed back onto the metal scene with the brilliant release THE FORMATION OF DAMNATION, and for that reason alone, expectations were sky high for this new disc. For the most part, they deliver once again...although without the immediate punch that past records have featured from the opening seconds of a listen.
YELLOW & GREEN
While the Red and Blue albums certainly shimmered with moments of grand brilliance, the masterful Yellow & Green is Baroness' most complete majestic offering to date. Filled with melodious surprises the new platter is genius from alpha to omega — no small feat considering its 1.2 hour play time spread over 18 disparate yet somehow analogous sonic puzzle pieces.
Where Baroness rise above their peers is in their expert use of dynamics. The band's best trick is an uncanny ability to lull listeners into a hypnotic state with delicate droning passages only to boisterously break trance an instant later with a wall of fuzzed out intellectual cacophony.
Hard work and determination can always pay off, if there's talent to match it. That is clearly the case with Crucified Barbara. These classic rock ladies have worked tirelessly for over a decade; self financing their work, their tours, their promotion and their lives all the while growing stronger and stronger as a band over the years. With the release of their MIDNIGHT CHASE recording, the band finally gets rewarded for all their hard work. Now signed with metal powerhouse label Nuclear Blast, Crucified Barbara sees the opportunity staring them in the face, and there's no stopping them now from grabbing at metal's proverbial brass ring. PITRIFF caught up with Mia Coldheart of the band to talk about all the things going on with them - both past and present. Here's what Mia had to say!
A GIRL CALLED CERVEZA
As a thrash fan, I always try to give all these bands the benefit of the doubt. Tankard is one of those bands that has just never done enough to grab me though. I don't know why. I don't know if it's the silly imagery, or the fact that they really don't write much more than silly, frat boy thrashers or what, but for whatever reason, this band has never caught fire with me.
A GIRL CALLED CERVEZA doesn't change that one iota. Listening to this release does pretty much what every Tankard release does to me - it forces me to think about a lot of better bands of the same genre and wish that I was listening to them instead of Tankard. Songs like "Witch Hunt" are a prime example. Technically, all the elements of a good thrasher are there, but the riffs just sound tired, as do the vocals of Andreas Geremia. For me, Geremia is a big part of the problem. His mish mosh vocals just don't have the fire of a Blitz Ellsworth, Tom Araya or even a Rob Dukes for that matter. They just lay there over song after song, which makes a full trip through A GIRL CALLED CERVEZA a struggle of epic proportion.
As a fan of Linkin Park, the last few years have been pretty rough sailing. The albums have gotten progressively worse, to the point where a good many fans have jumped off the bandwagon for good. For some reason, I continue to stay interested in what they are doing. That said though, I do so not expecting much good at all out of LIVING THINGS.
Still, the band has surprised me here. While they no longer sound, at all, like the band that recorded HYBRID THEORY or METEORA, they have progessed their experimental side from the last two releases and found some decent ground to work from. In a lot of ways, LIVING THINGS reminds me of Nine Inch Nails' YEAR ZERO album from a decade ago. What I mean by that is there are enough elements of the music to let you know that it's the same band, but the sound and experimentation has transformed the band almost completely away from their original, core sound.
We're on a little Hiatus until July 9th. No time to write right now. We'll be back with a shitload of new stuff at that point!
ANGER DENIAL ACCEPTANCE
I'm a guy that pretty much accepted, but never really liked, a whole lot of that late 90s/early 2000s brand of metal that was inspired by the success of Slipknot but really took dramatic steps toward being a more sterile version of that exciting band. That said though, one band that I truly did enjoy immensely was Spineshank. Their STRICTLY DIESEL release was an impressive collection of polished, angry modern metal that should have stood as the blueprint of how to move the genre along. It didn't though, as the masses gravitated more to the Killswitch Engage sound than what Spineshank had to offer. They continued on, but the albums got weaker and weaker as they came along...eventually leading to the band breaking up.
WHAT'S IT TO YA
What is there to say about Snew? They are the quintessential shit kicker band. There's several out there. There's bands like Broken Teeth, Rhinobucket and American Dog to name a few. Then, there's Snew. Snew has been kicking around for a few years now, growing a couple fans at a time but making an impact independently with a level of persistence that only guys that are truly dedicated to their craft can appreciate. Given that life forces me to be wedged in with a lot of image conscious, douchey modern metal/post hardcore bands that would never understand this level of commitment, I'm always one to give a DIY band like Snew every chance. Thankfully, they have proven the musical chops once again to warrant some attention from not only me, but the hard rock community at large. WHAT'S IT TO YOU feels just like the boot hitting your ass when you were a teenager telling your dad that you couldn't do something because it was too hard.