Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Scandroid - "Monochrome"



Scandroid - Monochrome
2017, Fixt

1. 2518
2. Afterglow
3. Rendezvous
4. Thriller
5. Oblivia
6. Monochrome
7. The Force Theme
8. Future Bloodline
9. A Thousand Years
10. On The Face Of The Deep
11. The Veil
12. Searching For a Lost Horizon
13. Thriller (PYLOT Remix)

Scandroid's debut made my top picks list of 2016 last year. It was such a surprise - something I didn't even know I wanted until I really listened to it. I'm happy that Scandroid is not just a one-off project for Klayton. Speaking of which - he has been a busy little bee. Barely a year after the first Scandroid platter comes, Monochrome. Not much has changed in a year. Klayton still delivers genuine 80's synth aesthetics combined with catchy melodies and hooks. It's one of those rare instances when saying "it's more of the same" is actually a good thing. Make no mistake, Monochrome doesn't throw the listener any curve balls or surprises, but that is totally okay. Well... maybe one curve ball with "The Force Theme" which is a Star Wars cover. There's also a infectious cover of "Thriller." I love it (my whole family loves it), but I'm not gonna lie - no one can match Vincent Price for the voice over. Other than that... it's more Scandroid. And who wouldn't want more Scandroid? Everyone. Everyone should want more Scandroid.  In fact, if Klayton wanted to do yearly installments of Scandroid I would not mind a bit.

Useless Fact: I guess there is a story that ties the two Scandroid albums together about an android and his girlfriendroid. I think. I'm not really sure about the specifics.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Consecrator - "Image of Deception"



Consecrator - "Image of Deception"
2017, Roxx Productions/No Life Til Metal

1. Submission
2. Image of Deception
3. Mindlessly Betrayed
4. Vision Ignored
5. Sayings of the Wise
6. Free From Death
7. Meaningless (2005 Recording)
8. Make Me Laugh (Demo)
9. Satan Lies (Demo)
10. Saving Song (Demo)
11. Messiah Calls (Demo)
12. Troubled Years (Demo)
13. Cast Out (Demo)

Consecrator is remembered, if they are remembered at all, for the stellar track "Free From Death" which appeared on the REX compilation, Demolition. It was a bright spot on that comp for sure (though come to think of it, that whole comp was made up of bright spots!). Years ago I saw that Consecrator had released their demo material and I was elated...then sad because I couldn't get it. It had been long out of print by the time I discovered its existence. Thankfully Roxx and No Life Til Metal have reissued it. If you liked "Free From Death" then... yeah... you'll dig Image of Deception. The sound is sort of a combination of Extraction-era Believer and Testimony-era Sacrament. It's new but still has a really familiar vibe - nostalgic in the best way possible. It takes me back to heydays of Christian thrash and borrowing rare demos from friends and This Prophecy magazine. Good stuff. It's a real shame they never got that contract because I think had the potential to be heavy hitters. I'm really hoping this reissue is successful. Maybe it can springboard into something new...

Useless Fact: Conscrator was originally known as Sacrament but had to change their name because... well... Sacrament.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Dynamic Twins - "40 Days In The Wilderness"



Dynamic Twins - 40 Days In The Wilderness
1995, Brainstorm

1. Forget About Your Troubles
2. Who R U
3. It's About Time
4. Reap What You Sow
5. Global
6. The Story
7. Get On Down
8. Will You Still?
9. Back To The Garden
10. Ready
11. Overcomer
12. Are You With Me?

So let's get this out of the way first, "Forget About Your Troubles" reminded me a lot of Coolio's "Fantastic Voyage." A Lot. From the beats to the chorus. I was a little wary at first that they guys would just chase trends for the entire album. Thankfully, while 40 Days definitely sounds like mid-90's hip-hop, it still manages to be fun and entertaining. Some fans say this is the group's best album but I think I probably prefer the first two over this one. Though, again, this one is no slouch. I like some of the shorter tracks the best ("Reap What You Sow," for example). There are some skits sprinkled in here and there two about the Twins being "lost in the wilderness" for real. I'm surprised the skits weren't given their own track numbers. Not much else to say, really. If you like D2, you'll like this no question.

Useless Fact: LPG provides some raps on here. He also performed on S.F.C.'s Illumination. I wonder if he ever got to do his own solo record? Oh well... too lazy to Google it today.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Living Colour - "Shade"



Living Colour - Shade
2017, Megaforce

1. Freedom of Expression (F.O.X.)
2. Preachin' Blues
3. Come On
4. Program
5. Who Shot Ya?
6. Always Wrong
7. Blak Out
8. Pattern In Time
9. Who's That?
10. Glass Teeth
11. Invisible
12. Inner City Blues
13. Two Sides

I mostly remember Living Colour from their stint in the 80's that began with the single "Cult of Personality." I loved that song. Still do. I also remember my dad watching the music video with me. He thought they were saying "culture personality" and then had to give me a lecture about why the band was a bunch of degenerates and blah, blah, blah. That was my dad for you. Anyway, recently Facebook was like, "Hey Old Man, remember Living Colour? Well... they have a new album out. And it's really good!" And lo and behold - Facebook was right on both counts. Shade really is good. It's heavier than I remember Vivid being (but that was years ago). What I like is the variety. This is one of those albums that has a lot of influences but is still very cohesive. So you'll have some blues numbers ("Preachin' Blues," "Who's That"), some funk ("Blak Out"), some hip-hop ("Who Shot Ya?" - which is a cover, I think), and some plain old rock/metal ("Pattern In Time," "Glass Teeth"). There's also a cool rock cover of "Inner City Blues." All this variety is tied together by solid instrumentation (it's mostly hard rock, venturing into metal sometimes) with good hooks. Vernon Reid is a guitar hero in every sense of the word and Corey Glover's vocals are still on point after all these years. Doug Wimbash (bass) and Will Calhoun (drums) carry the rhythm with style and finesse. This album was a delightful surprise that I wasn't expecting and worth checking out - especially if you forgot about them after "Cult of Personality."

Useless Fact: The video for "Who Shot Ya?" features photos of people who have died from gun violence from recently headliners like Trayvon Martin to people like JFK and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Deliverance - "The Subversive Kind"



Deliverance - The Subversive Kind
2017, 3Frogz/Roxx Productions

1. Bring 'Em Down
2. Concept of the Other
3. Center of it All
4. The Black Hand
5. Epilogue
6. Listen Closely
7. The Subversive Kind
8. The Fold

Welp...

No one should be whining about how the new Deliverance isn't heavy enough. 'Cause, dang. I don't think it's a stretch to say that this is probably the band's heaviest album - and I include Greetings of Death and What a Joke in that statement. Jimmy has assembled a crack team of thrash specialists from the old guard. Jim Chaffin and Greg Minier (formerly of the Crucified) are manning the drums and lead guitar, respectively. Victor Macias (ex-Tourniquet) is on bass. Greg Rogers has even been enlisted for live shows and such. Did I mention this is heavy? Those who've been pining for the old thrash/speed metal days should be overjoyed. The songs are fast and furious and Jimmy's vocals are the harshest they've ever been. The focus here seems to be a little less on intricate thrash riffs in favor of sheer power and passion a la Sepultura. Not to say that there aren't cool riffs here because there definitely are it's just that you won't hear a more technical riff like, for example, "Solitude" or "Flesh and Blood." Again, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Take "Center of it All" - a blazing thrash tune that won me over with its sheer ferocity. "The Black Hand" has a cool little intro before blasting off at a breakneck pace. The title track echoes "Weapons of our Warfare" a bit in the beginning while being one of the more "melodic" tracks on the album. I put "melodic" in quotes because, as I've said, speed and power are the name of the game here. Songs are very focused here. They have a job to do (namely, kick your head in) and they bust in, do that, and get out. So there's no acoustic interludes or extended classical guitar passages. Also... I think there's a little bit of punk attitude in here too, just a touch, to make things interesting. One of the things that I really like about this album is that even though it's a brief eight tracks long (about a half hour running time), there's still a lot of meat here. I've listened to it several times and I still don't feel like I've got all it has to give. That's quite impressive considering the length. As one of the backers I am quite pleased with the finished product and I can't imagine anyone who was a fan of the band's earlier material wouldn't be pleased as well.

So it seems like Jimmy just can't release anything without some controversy. People complained about the cover. I'm not sure why... I guess it made them feel weird feelings and they just couldn't handle that. Then people where complaining because they thought the album was already out. As of this writing it is not. The only reason why I have it (just the mp3s too, not the physical CD) is because I was a backer. It seems like when it comes to Deliverance people just lose their minds or something.

Useless Fact: There were originally supposed to be ten tracks on the album (one was a cover), they decided to leave the cover off. Then it went down to eight. Not lying... I'd still like to hear those other two songs.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Blamed - "21"



The Blamed - 21
1994, Tooth & Nail

1. Abuse
2. Help Yourself
3. Testimony
4. Drunk
5. Separation
6. A State of...
7. From Me To You
8. Rainbow
9. 3 A.M.
10. God Is Alive
11. Walkabout
12. The Ballad of the Blamed

This album is one of those treasures from the early days of Tooth & Nail... before they got all corporate and everything. The Blamed are raw and gritty punk rock with little polish. The production is similarly rough but in this case it actually helps the music. There's a definite Crucified vibe here but that's probably because Jim Chaffin is the drummer. I'm not sure it quite reaches the heights of some of the Crashdog albums in terms of genuine punk - but it's a good, fun album with some good hooks. "The Ballad of the Blamed" is an interesting song in that it's this melodic, acoustic number that really shows that the band has some genuine chops when it comes to their instruments. They released a second album called Frail but for some reason I never liked it.

Useless Fact: The Blamed contributed a song to the Sweet Family Music Stryper "tribute" comp.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Undercover - "Forum"



Undercover - Forum
1994, Brainstorm

1. Spill
2. The Moon and the Blue Around
3. Forum (Lullaby)
4. Symbol
5. Carmenita
6. Whoa, Nelly
7. Pocket Full of Money
8. The Overlook (Hosanna)
9. (Tell Me) Everything About You
10. Union

I remember getting Forum from Arrowhead Christian Bookstore. Back in the day Arrowhead (which was about an hour away from my town), was like a Mecca for music - second only to Kingdom Bound. Their selection was a lot bigger than my hometown store and so I was always excited to go there. This time however, I either had everything there or there just wasn't anything new - except Forum - which I wasn't wild about. I remember how disappointed I was at the selection that day. It was also really warm that year for fall and that made me mad too because I get mad about stupid things.

You can probably guess how this review is going to go at this point. Originally, I wasn't thrilled with this album. Except "Spill" and "The Moon and the Blue Around" which is... I don't know what style it is but I loved it then and I love it now. The rest of the album is pretty diverse with a lot of acoustic songs and some country influences. We've also got an electric version of "Symbol" from the Brow Beat compilation. So yeah... I like it a lot better now except "Whoa, Nelly" which I still don't care for but I couldn't really tell you why.

Useless Fact: I believe this was the band's last album. They came out with another one called I Rose Falling but I've heard it's not that good.