Jagged Vision – Death Is This World

Palm-mutted riffing with arpeggios is a good way to open an album. Cue Jagged Vision's "Betrayer." Song one deftly slices pleasantly adrenalized riffing between the melodic and the metallic. Before it ends, the song will have at times sounded like conventional metal, something almost eastern-infused, and, finally, warm hardcore with a hook. That … [Read more...]

Juggernaut – Overlooked EP

Juggernaut's sound won me over immediately. So straightforward and mean. Just listen to "Deeper," the first track on the band's latest EP, Overlooked. The song starts with a few brooding, reluctant notes. Then the other instruments join in, and the momentum builds. Fifty-five seconds in, the reluctance is gone and you are faced with heavy, stomping … [Read more...]

Vile Display of Humanity – Vile Display of Humanity

The members of the thrash metal/punk rock band Vile Display of Humanity are originally from Chicago, Illinois, but they moved to Seattle, Washington to have a fresh go at it, unleashing their 20-track, 100% DIY, self-titled album this past spring.  Like minds Doug Mitchell (vocals), Jake Youngberg (vocals, guitar), David Foster (lead guitar), Marty … [Read more...]

Far Beyond The Sunrise – S/T EP

Far Beyond The Sunrise released its full-length album, Oppressor, in 2014. Now comes a self-titled five-track EP from the band. This Bellmawr, New Jersey five-piece band play big-money metalcore. Far Beyond The Sunrise has high production values. Kick drums punctuate all five songs in thick, black ink. The crisp guitar distortion on the low end … [Read more...]

Bastards – Ethos EP

This Denver-based hardcore band Bastards debuts with Ethos and I am struck by how rhythmic this youthful-sounding EP is. Anchored by a very practiced and synced bass guitar and drums set-up, songs march into breakdowns at every other turn. But this isn't mathcore. The frequent rhythm changes rarely interrupt the pace and momentum of the music. … [Read more...]

Bleak/Sovereign – split EP

Although the implosion is impressive, "Princip" turns into an overlong event marked by heavy dust and smoke. After the song's obligatory creepy opening audio clip, harmonics herald a wrecking ball of distortion on a Kong-stomp beat. Once this song's initial metal-breakdown business wears thin, we hear some variations and another audio clip. Then … [Read more...]

When Cities Sleep – What Lies Lay Between Us

On first listen, my gut said this is an over-produced mess. And, yes, the five-piece band named When Cities Sleep throws a lot at you with the eight songs on What Lies Lay Between Us, but parts of the album's production demonstrate fine attention to detail. For example, on track 4, "Life And Lies," the synth accompaniment to the guitar during the … [Read more...]

Hombre Malo – Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath

That's Oslo-based four-piece Hombre Malo rattling the windows with “Persistent Murmur of Words of Wrath.” The seven songs on this band's sophomore album plunge forward with the grunge-inflected insistence of The Melvins channeled through the pummeling modus operandi of Unsane. Their music is sludgy, abrasive, and satisfyingly good. The first … [Read more...]

Book: No Slam Dancing, No Stage Diving, No Spikes: An Oral History of the Legendary City Gardens

Through numerous interviews and entertaining details, Amy Yates Wuelfing and Steve DiLodovico have brought to life the history of the storied music club City Gardens, which existed in the ‘middle of nowhere’ in New Jersey in the 1980s to mid-1990s.  This “cement box” (description courtesy of Mickey Ween) located in Trenton hosted a veritable Who’s … [Read more...]

Iceage – You’re Nothing

It's a classic coming of age story. Four teenage friends from Copenhagen, Denmark form a band. They can't play their instruments all too well, but are damn well angry enough to try. Angry about what, you may ask. There might be a number of reasons, but what better way to propagate anger than in the form of a punk band? The group, calling themselves … [Read more...]