Any post that sucks

Axel Rudi Pell – Game of Sins

Axel Rudi Pell – Game of Sins


Banal without a cause, this album is beyond a disappointment. Just two albums after the great Circle of the Oath and the Axel Rudi Pell band are pushing the boundaries of stupidity.

The problem lies solely in the songwriting, all done by Pell himself. Most riffs are wholesale recycled from previous albums, but even more unsettling are the beyond infantile lyrics. If “Feel the flames from the muffler/They are born to be free” makes you wince, then you’ll dry heave over “I don’t want to cry/When I don’t want to die/’Till the world says goodbye.” When the most enjoyable song on your heavy metal album is a live version of “All Along the Watch Tower,” then you’re really fucking up.

Based on my listen, I think I figured out Pell’s songwriting process. Axel quickly deletes the vocal track from every song off his previous album and bam, there’s the music. Then, using the dictionary of Most Obnoxious Cliched Phrases That No Writer Should Ever Use, he goes to work. After seconds of careful planning, he’s got the chorus for his hot new ballad, “Whatever It Takes”: “selling like hot cakes/so let’s raise the stakes/for goodness sakes/whatever it takes.”

It’s a huge shame, because there’s a lot of talented musicians here and a decent enough production to back them up. Johnny Gioeli’s vocals are uniformly epic, and the bluesier Axel’s solos get the better, but if Axel really thinks he can get away with writing material this dreadful, then he can cry, die, and say goodbye, in that order.




Born in the frigid Yukon, Sanktuary had blessed us three years ago with Something Fierce. Now as of January 22nd, 2016, we can listen to Sanktuary’s pleasing thrash metal and punk vibes explore current topics such as the polar vortex.

What could strike you right away is the first track, Space Race, sounds like it came right off of Fresh Fruit for Rotting Vegetables. Chris Hadfield would be proud of this in-your-face anthemic tongue-in-cheek stab at international politics. If only Jello Biafra would brave Winter’s Doom and head up to -30 centigrade weather to record something classic and timeless instead of… what was that thing he did last year?

Contemporary titles, such as Vermin Lord, give us insight into the exciting life in modern day Canada. With concerns of “numbers growing fast,” perhaps these metal heads might want to consider less infested areas, such as Alberta. Vermin Lord as a track might actually be the most memorable musically as well, with lyrics bouncing around like an angsty troll singing a hop-scotch chant at break neck speed. The ostinato guitar riff is extremely catchy.

The rest of the album is as sonically varied as thrash can get. Sanktuary lays it all out for their fans, whom they refer to as skanks. Winter’s Doom as a whole is a fast paced and emotionally driven politically biting metal release from that country in the north. “Think for yourself.” is currently hosting the full album for online skeptics.

Megadeth – Dystopia

junkheadv1tmbFebruary 4th, 2016

Thrash metal dreams come true on Dystopia, an album of blistering syncopation, driving tempos, and tight song structures. Much of it recalls Megadeth’s best work, except now there are less hooks to go around. The lack of pop appeal is obviously calculated, serving to rinse out the trashy REO Speedwagonery of their 2013 MegaShit Super Collider. Although the ballad “Poisonous Shadows” gets all Celine Dion with strings and pianos, “Fatal Illusion”, “Lying in State”, and everything else hold the intensity for the other forty minutes.

While Dave Mustaine could write the book on thrashing in your fifties, his lyrics are becoming a concern. The Fear cover that caps the album is telling: Lee Ving’s right-wing, xenophobic jokery is easily integrated into Mustaine’s bleak vision of the real world. His fear of foreigners on “The Threat is Real” makes him sound more Bill O’Reilly, but the general end-of-democracy vibe is definitely fear-mongering Alex Jones style.

Regardless of skewed politics, Dystopia has a certain level of authenticity most metal lacks. Kiko Louriero and Mustaine’s lead/rhythm interplay is the real deal, the songs have a focused, singular sound, and you know Mustaine’s lyrics are a real slice of him. Mustaine’s already got my vote for best punk lyric of 2016: “You’re bad/You’re bad for my health/You Make Me Sick/You Prick”.



Cauldron – In Ruin

junkheadv1tmbFebruary 4th, 2016

Cauldron – In Ruin


Retro reverberation will set you free, and there’s plenty of it on In Ruin. While most ’80s bands soaked everything in layers of reverb to give it an arena-ready quality, Cauldron do it for the sake of sonic appeal. The vocals are absolutely delicious, but the drum sound deserves some sort of special commendation, so I  made this:

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The snare hit in particular sounds like an echo from metal’s past, a time where every riff or neo-mystical lyric felt larger than life. Actually, metal’s alleged glory years were filled with garbage, whether it was desperate pop crossover attempts or too many tinny ballads. If anything, Cauldron does such a great job idealizing old school heavy metal that you’ll forget how bad a lot of it actually was.

By stripping away the crap of old school metal throughout In Ruin, songs can be broken into two categories: chuggers and thrashers. The chuggers like “Empress” and “Hold Your Fire” are where everything smokes, with whiny vocals brooding over gargantuan riffs. “Delusive Serenade”, the only instrumental, might be the best track, starting soft and eventually pulverizing the listener with massive layers of power chords and solos. The thrashers don’t have the same impact, but you’ll bang your head until it falls off anyway.

In your last moments as you look up at your decapitated body spurting blood out of the big hole in your neck, you’ll look back on In Ruin as January 2016’s best heavy metal album. Your severed head will roll over to your old record collection and start chewing up all your less good Ozzy and Saint Vitus albums while your body will keep it’s fingers crossed that Cauldron won’t have another four year layover between albums.





Released yesterday, the 17th, according to their bandcamp, The Blue Rider, assumed to be named for being from Denver, Co, released Year of the Horse, is a psychedelic, what the kids call surf, rock album.

Year of the Horse features super overdrive, reverb on everything, and upbeat rock beats. Surf rock has been making a resurgence since it was born and died in the 60’s and this album is a refreshing sample of what is possible with it.

Although the material is pretty straightforward the theme of the album sticks to country icons and ideas. I guess they do not have monkies (properly spelled “monkeys”) in the Rockies.
Refreshing is a big thing with me. That is pretty much the only quality I look for in music but is that not the only thing anyone looks for in music? I do not think anyone has ever said, “I need to listen to something boring and stale.” Stiff, maybe. Old, maybe. Classic, maybe. But a stiff old classic can still be refreshing like a mixed drink or a Chess Records single.

The good news is that you can buy this album digitally if you are into that kinda thing. Once again, bandcamp says “pre-order” even though it is now the next day. According to their facebook, the group economically pressed 20 vinyls so getting a physical copy will be tough.

There is a lot of good music coming out and I am happy that a rock album got to make it in the mix. Get ready for some punk, punk metal, metal, and more metal for the rest of January.




Week one of Music reviews. I listened to a lot of metal this week. It was hard to listen to anything else because it seems as if metal is the only thing that comes out the first week of the year. Let me rephrase this in a more ornamental way: Metal is the only good thing I have heard all week long. I would like it if a good rock album came out this last week, but I did not hear it if it did.

David Bowie released his final album before passing away this past week end. Many people say things like, “Lazarus was his final good-bye to his fans,” but it could have been anything because you and everyone you know can die at any second. If I released an album and then died, then that album would be my final good-bye to my fans.

My least favorite part about this last week in music is I asked people last week as a conversation starter if they were going to get the new David Bowie album, Blackstar. (insert soon-to-be-everywhere emoticon of a star, but black) Last week no one could name a David Bowie song or knew what kind of music he made, or could name an album, or anything David Bowie did. Today, all anyone did was say, “David Bowie was the most influential musician of the last century.” Whatever, media savvy America. Whatever. David Bowie, just like every other famous artist, worth more dead than alive. Great job again, media. Dying is a fail-safe way to increase the value and fan base of your art work.

My favorite part of the last week in new music was Primal Fear. Their new album, Rulebreaker, has a cool track on it called “We walk without fear.” The first track is kind of cool, too, but really, I just listen to “We walk without fear” over and over. It starts of with this super corny early 2000’s Hollywood Epic Trailer style attempt at symphonic metal, but then instantly abandons it and goes into 10 more minutes of decent metal. I am not a metal head. The only reason I appreciate metal is because I like guitar work and music in general. The structure and variety is good and strong and the song is ambiguous and open ended, like a good metal song should be. It does have this crumby low budget choir-ah intro plugin quality effect that permeates the whole track, but is quite enough to be ignored. Also, lots of church bells. Church bells are something you can not apparently have enough of in metal. The more the better. Be careful not to max it out too much early on in the track or else there will not be anywhere else to go later on. The whole album is good, though. I encourage you to check it out if you are wondering what all the kids are listening to. (that is going to be my lingo of choice for the album of the week.)

I only listened to about 15 albums, and most were okay. That was a reoccurring theme. OKAY. The rock all totally sucked. It was all over produced and emotionless. Since when was rock supposed to be emotionless? That is the whole point of rock. Power chord, back beat, emotion. Some of it was so bad it made it onto my “Albums so bad they’re good” list. The other terrible part is how produced sounding everything is. You really can produce garbage of enough quality to sell it. There was a popular “hip-hop” album that was so bad the tracks were just spin offs or blatant rip offs of popular party rap songs from the last ten years. It was sickening because every song was carbon copied and the production quality was fantastic. There was one track with this dude who made a barking sound with his voice that made me want to find him and punch his throat.

Anyway, I am still listening to more albums from the first week but am trying really hard to find something new in the world of rock, since that is basically all I care about. Techno would be nice, too.

See you, Spaceman. Or is it Spaceboy? Is there a Spacekid?