PLAINS OF OBLIVION
It didn't seem like a coincidence that after the critical praise Jeff Loomis received from his last release, ZERO ORDER PHASE, that he left his main project Nevermore shortly afterward. Admittedly, I have no idea how the story goes. I don't know if Loomis was unhappy in Nevermore and was feeling out his options outside of the project, or if he just did a solo album and saw he could have success outside of the band. To be fair, it might just have all fallen into place without either of those two scenarios playing out. Whatever the case, Loomis left Nevermore a while ago, and now that puts all the pressure on his latest album, PLAINS OF OBLIVION, to launch his new career past the great band he was once a member of.
Stick To Your Guns
For all the hype surrounding the whole “Post Hardcore” scene, there are a collection of up and coming bands that I just don’t get. Stick To Your Guns are one such band. There’s all kinds of hype on this band, but for my money I’ll take the original, Hatebreed, over anything these guys are doing. Listening to DIAMOND, you get a solid dose of their Hatebreed wannabe music with bits of modern vocals thrown in for good measure. To say it’s not working here is an understatement. DIAMOND just isn’t very good.
While the last 10+ years have seen a gluttony of garbage when it comes to newer, modern metal bands, there have been a few that have continually stood above the fray musically. God Forbid is definitely one of them. Their intensity combined with their brutality in the live setting has made them one of the most universally recognized great bands out there…even if they don’t sell a lot of records. Albums like EARTHSBLOOD and IV: CONSTITUTION OF TREASON were some of the best this genre has offered up. It wasn’t enough though for former founding member Dallas Coyle, who left the band in 2009 and left a lot of people wondering what the future would hold for them.
Modern Day Escape
UNDER THE GUN
With so much focus on the current demise of hard rock and heavy metal today (and yes, this focus is justified for the most part), it seems that people are missing a lot of bands that are creating quality music these days. How could you not? It's easy to become very disenfranchised with an entire genre of music when it's flagship band is an uncreative band like Nickelback. Still, there are bands that are creating highly interesting, powerful hard rock that should be getting a lot more attention. One such band is Modern Day Escape. While the band seemed to find their audience with well conceived videos and decent songs with their last effort, HOUSE OF RATS, they have clearly defined their sound while stepping up their song and lyric writing with their latest, UNDER THE GUN. In all avenues, UNDER THE GUN features a tighter, more cohesive Modern Day Escape than we saw previously.
Some albums are just meant to be kept for personal use. I can always appreciate when a band wants to branch out and try something different. Sometimes, it’s a cool little gem for fans. As an example, I very much like Aerosmith’s HONKIN’ ON BOBO release where they stretched themselves by doing an album of Blues sub-standards. The obvious marker for a successful stretch outward would be Tesla’s FIVE MAN ACOUSTICAL JAM. The difference between those bands and a band like Ektomorf is pretty clear though. Those bands had an established audience. Maybe they do somewhere else, but Ektomorf doesn’t mean a whole lot to metal audiences here in the States. I like them a lot, personally, but I’m one person. In fact, the sad truth is that if you played a single song frrom Ektomorf’s back catalog for most fans, they would think it’s Soulfly.