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Brainstorm – Scary Creatures

Beginning with an orchestral style intro and after the rest of track one, Brainstorm decides to make music starting on track two. Seeming to focus on lyrical content and audible quality, Scary Creatures as an album has some advantages over traditional power metal. One, the singer, Andy B Franck, manages to sound like he is continuously straining himself in a pleasant manner. One bored with typical arena or castrato style singing might prefer the change in aural scenery.

Another quality to set it apart is momentum. The music really propels the listener with hooks, licks, and nice arena drums making it very dance-able. Scary Creatures always hides interesting and unusual sonic effects in the company of an ever changing atmosphere.

“We Are…” is a track full of disturbing fascinations, among them a huge variety of musical influences in a five and a half minute track, and the feeling Franck is part of a gang of people following you around waiting to commit arson, a crime I’ll never understand. There is a slow part where Franck and a echo-y child attempt to reassure you they are not, in fact, bad guys, and are no longer interested in burning you.

There seems to be a very good balance of singing, soloing, chugging, and bridge. Every song seems to have equal amount of each sprinkled into the same bridge song form. “Twisted Ways,” seems to be a good example of this and also features Franck trying to pop his head off.

Like all power metal the guitars might be a little too polished for some, but the fun vocals can bring Brainstorm back down to a listenable level. Also, there seems to be one of those piano things on track 7, “Caressed by the Blackness,” you know, the badly played ones.

You can get this on gold vinyl, presumably if you live in Germany.

Against – Emerger

Couldn't find an image of the band.

junkheadv1tmbAgainst – Emerger

English is the universal language of metal. Even the most anti-establishment bands will pander to Anglo audiences, which makes this album peculiar. While the band name and album title are both clearly English, all the song titles and lyrics are in Spanish. Are they selling out, or are they keeping it real in Argentina? Are they incapable of pronouncing words correctly? Either way, something’s a little off about the whole thing.

Music alone, Against sounds a lot like Metallica. The singer has a Hetfield growl most of the time, and as in Justice, songs are six minute plus epics with complex compositions. Most of the time they keep the thrash torch burning in songs like “Canibal” and “Voluntad”, but there’s occasionally a dull alt-metal radio slow whiny part feel, specifically on “Sucubo”. It’s a dead ringer for Faith No More and it’s a little too jarring of a switch.

That’s Against’s problem: they flip-flop just enough to be annoying. English presentation with fully Spanish everything else? Metallica clonery with a hint of shitty System of a Down wankery? Pick one and stop surprising me so damn much.


DIIV – Is the Is Are

This band sucks.

junkheadv1tmbDIIV – Is the Is Are

Boring garbage. This album wants to be post-punk goodness, and instead it’s putting me to sleep. It’s one in the afternoon, I’m drinking my tea, feeling great, then I put this crap on.

Seventeen songs, all exactly the same. Inoffensive steady rock beats, guitar parts taken directly from The Cure, and dull girly-man vocals for over an hour. Evidently the recording of this album was plagued with drug abuse and run ins with the law, which unfortunately didn’t help to make their music any more interesting. Also, a lot of the Wikipedia article on the album is spent discussing the band’s Krautrock influence, but if they actually ever heard a Brainticket, Can, or Amon Duul record, they might have been inclined to be remotely creative.

Honestly, the entire wiki must have been written and sourced by the lead singer, Zachary Cole Smith. He spends so much time dick sucking his own creative vision that Zach might as well pull out his spine and pelvis and do the actual deed himself. I won’t ever service him like that. All Mr. Smith makes me want to do is put my jammies on, cuddle with my favorite stuffed animal, and pass out.




ayholev1tmbEcliptica – Ecliptified

Earlier last month I was browsing some new music for 2016 when I became discouraged for the lack of rock and roll. I began to sample albums with one specific qualification: good name. That is when I found Ecliptica’s newest album, the aptly named, Ecliptified.Ecliptified is a hard rock album with good track titles as well, such as “Road to Nowhere,” “One for Rock ‘n’ Roll,” and the power ballad “No Surrender.” Every song is high energy and most are almost uncomfortably fast and about living the rock ‘n’ roll life.

The speed is counterbalanced by the slowey’s like the flagrantly long “Need Your Love,” which could have been just the chorus over and over for five and a half minutes. It even sounds like the male lead vocalist, Tom Tieber, wanted to keep going. Sometimes you need to know when to put down the pencil and cut the track. The other slowey to avoid is the penultimate track, “For Good,” which is a giant crescendo with an ambient drum track thrown in. Another track to avoid is their newest single, “Round ‘n’ Round.” One might assume that the entire song is about pole dancing at the most boring dive in Vienna.

Female vocalist, Sandra Urbanek, has a motif going throughout most of the album where she sort of gargles as she sings. I am personally not a big fan but it seems to be well done. In contrast, Tieber seems to stick to arena rock singing with a little impatience.

Guitars are solid and there are some fun and easy listenin’ solos by Markus Winkler and Van Alen, whom one could assume stole the name. Roman Daucher sticks to the basics like a good drummer. Bass is played by female Austria death metal queen, Petra Schuhmayer. Girls on bass are always a good thing. There is a bass clarinet or something on “No Surrender.”

The Austrian band would like you to know that they are “Metal ‘n’ Roll.” You can listen to much of the album on the YouTuba ‘n’ Spotified while you get blinded by the sun tomorrow.

Eldamar – The Force Of The Ancient Land

Eldamar - The Force Of The Ancient Land


Ambient and black metal have had a long and storied relationship. Both are at their best when they’re largely repetitive, taking a good sound and letting it dig into your soul. Burzum’s Filosofem stretched the combination to the breaking point, making oppresive nine-minute tracks that repeated the same guitar riff and synth line throughout. It was ugly music.

In the past twenty years, some band’s like Eldamar have tried to take this ambient/black metal approach in a much more listenable direction. That isn’t to say the music isn’t challenging; fifteen minutes of the same bubbly synth line and three blistering guitar chords will ruin any bands chances of a conventional fanbase. It’s really more for the people who wish Music for Airports had a guy growling faintly in the background.

With that in mind, I recommend playing it while you do some other activity. By the time the album’s 80 minute run-time is up, you might be able to do an oil painting. Or write a novella.


Micro-Reviewery: Nekrasov, Scooter, Worry Blast, Aether


A bunch of stuff from the past few weeks that deserves no more than a brief paragraph.

Nekrasov – Negative Temple

Blorp, scream, sizzle, yowl. Power electronics mixed with the blackest black vocals bookend this release and it does nothing to expand either genre. The middle tracks are easily the best part, with barely produced traditional black metal that peels my fingernails back just enough for pleasure. If you can make this genre sound menacing in 2016, you’re doing something right. Still, there’s another wall of noise mixed in there somewhere just to remind you that Nekrasov kind of sucks.


Scooter – ACE

This driving EDM band used to be the shit, but 1996 was quite a while ago. In between popping their gerital pills, they squeeze out some moderately danceable tracks, but the vocalist sounds like he’s practically comatose. Is he unable to shout anymore? He sort of blurts out lots of raps in a slightly raised voice. Perfect for a rave hosted at your local retirement community.


Worry Blast – Hit the Gas

Do you think Back in Black is one of the greatest albums of all time? I don’t. Worry Blast obviously does. Without any of the vocal or guitar theatrics of AC/DC’s style, Hit the Gas is relegated to third-rate chauvinist rock. This wouldn’t be so bad if the songs were any good, but they aren’t. These guys can’t do anything right.


Aether -Hemelbestormer

This bruising doom metal experience frequently shifts into space territory, an approach that takes you up to the atmosphere only to pulverize you into terra firma. Track one and three are great examples of this, but two and four miss the mark by trying to stay straight instrumental doom throughout. Metal bands need to learn that slight dynamics will always make you more extreme than the dumbass who doesn’t know how to turn down the distortion.






I do not really like the first song. It might be too slow; it might be too boring; it might be trying too hard. The guitar solo in the middle is terrible. I do not have anything good to say about it except the message is clear.



Yeah, “The slate is clean/John 3:16” is definitely the grossest thing the album has to offer and it’s front and center. It definitely picks up around the third track.



The third track is good, so we are just going to skip right to it. “Two Wolves” is good because there is this reoccurring motif about two wolves inside the soul locked in a never ending feud, referring to some Native American proverb.



That’s crazy. If we’re going to keep talking about lyrics, I like the next tracks, “Cut You Loose” and “Venom”, the most. Both have a the-harsh-reality-of-being-a-Christian-in-the-modern-world feel to them. It’s great to have a band like this telling you there are challenges to the normal God is good Christian rock thing.


I agree that with what you said, however, Trashman could be the next Christian rock anthem. Campbell does not pull any punches with these rhymes.

I can’t clean up your act
I’m not a trash man or a heart attack
I got no voodoo or emergency room
To fix all the trouble that you get into
But GOD can

I just read on his lyrics page that the first track, “Break the Chains,” is actually an attempted radio edit for a 6 and a half minute epic. I kind of wish they’d left it.


For it being the only really bad song, I can’t imagine it getting better by tacking on another three minutes of chorus and solos. They also randomly play the song again at the end of the album, as though reprising it will somehow make you feel better about having to smell its stink the first time around. The last couple of tracks also feel out of place among the heavy riffing. “Glorify You” gets all power poppy out of nowhere and “The Crimson Bridge” is folky snoozer stuff.


I want to finish up talking about lyrics, but I also do not want to talk about “Weight of the World.” It is almost too cliche even for me, and since musically it seems to offer nothing I think we should skip it and move right on to Deaf Revolution.
Any thoughts on “Weight of the World?” Listening to the whole song now, the break down after the guitar solo is really cool, but then the crumby guitar comes back.


“Weight of the World” has a really cool Sabbath-sludge riff, so I can definitely stomach it.



I thought you’d like it because Campbell mentions Dio in the liner notes.



I’ve always liked the gargantuan riff type metal over the poppy polished Van Halen stuff, but most of that works really well here too. It’s funny how the whole album spans a ton of metal styles without sounding all over the place, ignoring those last two tracks I already mentioned.


The album as a whole is very pleasing. I can listen to the whole thing without skipping anything. But I would probably never drop the needle in the first or second track if vinyl ever becomes available.



There’s a hot streak from track four to track nine. It’s all tough rock with lyrics that never get too heavy-handed. Even for a man who concerns himself with secular things, it feels really honest music, which is more than you can ask from most Christian rock.
A lot of the time you just throw in a bunch of cliched garbage about Jesus and you’ve got an album for a rabid niche crowd. I can officially say that The Crimson Bridge are not posers.


Certainly not. At risk of sounding like a flip-flop, I actually think the tracks “Glorify You” and “The Crimson Bridge” are lyrically shameless and bold. I greatly appreciate Campbell’s heart rending core beliefs on those tracks.



I dunno, after being all hard for most of the album, it feels a little too soft so suddenly.



Onto the vocals.  Here is from my personal write-up:
The backup vocals are elegant and punching in a sort of devil-may-care-hair-metal-Queen-parallel-fourths-all-over-the-place way. That’s DMCHMQPFAOTP for short. The backup vocals are musically the best part of the whole album.


It’s kind of funny, I think Campbell sounds really nerdy and nasal, but he sounds super tough anyway because the music is balls to the wall.
Manilla Road is a band that has a similar vocalist sound.


Another cool thing about the vocals is the interlude at the two minute mark in Deaf Revolution, the track which we have not lyrically analyzed yet. Apparently Fernando Ramirez is the troll voice. What a great break down!



Fernando Ramirez?



That’s his name
Hey dude, we should wrap this up…
My time has come


You got big plans?



There are people in my living room



Oh wow, alright.
So I feel like I concluded a while ago by saying they aren’t posers.


That’s cool. I really think this is a killer album


The Crimson Bridge Ministry is a Christian Hard Rock project written by Greater San Diego resident, Norm Campbell.  You can hear Remnant Rock on Youtube or ask politely and Nick Campbell money and an email to receive a physical copy.



Ty Segall – Emotional Mugger

Ty Segall

Emotional Mugger is a pseudo-psychedelic rock album from the west coast singer-songwriter, Ty Segall. Emotional Mugger features a variety of super overdriven noises and 60’s reverberated nasal vocals. Production levels seem to be matching pre-protools era and it will please your woofers and tweeters to know that despite everything being overdriven the music still remains well mixed and audio quality will scale well with sound system quality.

The melodies are very catchy and the music is easy to follow. Energy is high and structure is simple and danceable. The occasional synth dots the wall of sound landscape. Every track is worth a listen including the mashup at track ten.

Lyrical content is ambiguous and almost impossible to understand anyway.

Unfortunately there isn’t much else to say about this album because the instrumentation for every song is identical. Fortunately I do not have to write any more because I can just let the album do the talking. If you are into modern psychedelic overdriven rock then this album is for you.

There’s talk of many more albums from Segall this year, however nothing is appearing on the horizon. We will have to make peace with Emotional Mugger as possibly the first and only venture in to “experimental rock” for him.
For a definition of the album title meaning visit the promotional site emotionalmugger.com

Eclipse – Runaways

Eclipse - Runaways


This new single from the literal best band in the world leaves much to be desired. After dropping my favorite album of last year, Armaggedonize, this semi-turd is what they muster for the Melodifestivalen/Eurovision Song Contest 2016.

While this would be Eclipse by the books, an epic anthem with whistle-clean production and a delicious set of vocal hooks, they make one horrible mistake: the awful opening part of the chorus. It does that horrible thing where the vocals and guitars have the same melody, like Sabbath’s “Iron Man” but infinitely more disappointing since these guys know better. Hopefully the Eurovision Song Contest is judged based on how awesome your last three albums were.

Just checked, it’s not. The best band in the world is screwed.


Bloodhound Gang – Hard-Off

Bloodhound Gang


Bloodhound Gang are stuck in a time where dick jokes were witty and hip. Not only that, but they’re also stuck in a time where pop-punk and Ace of Base were the only kind of music that mattered. If you’re wondering what time that was, it was the ’90s.

Retro ’90s is finally here, complete with references to Columbine, John Goodman, and all sorts of other crap you’ve put behind you. POGs and Beanie Babies are noticably absent, but good ol’ irony makes a comeback in “Diary of a Stranger”, a tongue-in-cheek ode to ’80s new wave that’s already been done by thousands of better musicians who don’t make four minute long diaherria jokes.

Eventually they try to make Billy Mays and Anna Nicole Smith references, but they’re still a decade too late. By the time the Beastie Boys rip-off “We’re Gonna Bring the Party to You” comes on, you’ll be telling ’90s and 2000s nostalgia to eat your shorts.