Thursday, July 21, 2005

American Head Charge - The Feeding (CD)

I don't know why I've held back on reviewing this CD for so long when it's one of the best overall metal albums I've heard in a long while. I guess it finally dawned on me to help spread the word of this great album since their guitarist, Bryan Ottosan passed away a few months back and it would be a great injustice to his memory if no one heard his work.
AHC first exploded onto the scene in 2001 with the release of their first major label album, The War of Art. The band were notorious trouble makers while touring, including firing blanks from a shotgun on stage during Ozzfest just to garner attention, as well as almost getting kicked off the tour for chucking "heavy objects" into the audience! But what more can you expect from a band who's founding members first met in drug rehab? Heck, even I wrote them off as being redundant, but after listening to the album a few times, it soon became one of my overall favorite albums of that year, as well as of all time! After touring in support of The War of Art, the band took a long break, including getting back into drug rehab to face their demons again.
Now, four years later, the Charge are back with a highly anticipated new album, which metal critics are raving about. While not as bulked up as TWOA was (49min as opposed to 74min!), AHC still show the same wild maniacal behavior that won the fans over. The only reason this album isn't as long as their first major release was becaue they decided to cut back on the instrumental industrial sounds that usually ran in between songs to make them sound longer.
The speed thrash industrial sound that made them what they are are still predominant here, on tracks like the opening "Loyalty", "Pledge Allegiance" and "Coward", as well as the old whisper to a scream type tracks like "Dirty" and "Erratic". Singer Martin Cock has got to be one of the best when it comes to screaming his head off to the point it sounds like he's breathing his last breath. It sounds like he's rambling incoherently at times because he just does it so well with ease. And when he SINGS on tracks like "Walk Away" and "To Be Me", you can really hear a sense of sincerety as in they are truly asking for help or understanding. "To Be Me", the album's closing track and favorite of late guitarist Bryan Ottosan, ends the album on a truely sympathetic note as you can just feel the emotion in Cock's vocals.
Overall, this album stands high, if not at the top of my list, as one of my favorite albums of the year, and I highly recommend checking it out.
Album Rating: ****1/2

- Loyalty
- Dirty
- Walk Away
- To Be Me

Monday, July 18, 2005

DevilDriver - Hold Back The Day

Dez Faffara and DevilDriver return with a highly anticipated new album entitled "The Fury of Our Maker's Hand". This firs single off the album starts off as a quiet finger plucking tune, but gradually turns into an all out metal-fest as we see the band jamming with all these psychedalic backgrounds behind them, reminiscent of the old Black Sabbath "Paranoid" video. It's actually almost just like it, save for they added some freaky elements to the backdrops like a huge pair of eyes watching the band and some scenes of the Grim Reaper. All the wild we see the now long haired Farrara and DD thrashing away as they jam. The video ends with the camera zooming out to reveal that the band were jamming in the eye (or head?) of the Grim Reaper!
This is a true headbanger's song, and a great lead track off the album which I highly recommend checking out. Review of the album itself is coming soon.
Video Rating: ****

Thursday, July 14, 2005

System of a Down - Mezmerize (CD)

I for one am mezmerized by how much this CD sucks! Someone tell me how these guys who about screaming their heads off like they had a bad case of tourrettes can sell over a million records world wide while other bands are lucky enough to even release a full length album.
Seriously, while I like the instrumental work on most of the songs, the vocals just sound so bad that is spoils the music for me. Any jackoff can scream his head off and sing off key like SOAD do here, but their not going to sell as many records and singles for some odd reason.
The last time I bought a SOAD CD (their self titled major label debut), it sucked big time and this one isn't any better. Save your cash and wait for something better. Pass on this by all means.
CD Rating: *

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Revolver Magazine's Readers Poll 2005

In the latest issue of Revolver Magazine I acquired this past weekend, they had the results of the recent 2005 reader's survey. Needless to say, the fan votings always fare better than the Editor's picks of the year. So here are the results followed by some brief comments from myself:

Best Band
1. Slipknot
2. Lamb of God
3. Slayer
4. KoRn
5. Metallica
- Revolver's meal ticket Lamb of God (is it any coincidence there's somekind of feature on them in almost EVERY issue?) take second place to Slipknot who rule the roost after a lengthy absence. Last year's winner Slayer drops to third, but that could all change next year as they have a highly anticipated new album in the works.

Best Album
1. Slipknot - Vol.3 (The Subliminal Verses)
2. Lamb of God - Ashes of the Wake
3. Shadows Fall - War Within
4. Mastadon - Leviathan
5. KoRn - Greatest Hits Vol.1
- Slipknot reign again beating out Lamb of God.

Best Song
1. Slipknot - Duality
2. Lamb of God - Laid to Rest
3. Slipknot - Vermillion Pt.2
4. Killswitch Engage - Rose of Sharyn
5. Shadows Fall - The Power of I and I

Best Live Act
1. Slipknot
2. Slayer
3. Lamb of God
4. Metallica
5. KoRn

Worst Band
1. Good Charlotte
2. Simple Plan
3. Linkin Park (Tie)
3. The Darkness (Tie)
5. The Used
- Is there really any difference between Good Charlotte and Simple Plan in the first place? The Used being on the list is a surprise since they've gotten a lot of hype.

Worst Album
1. Good Charlotte - The Chronicles of Life and Death
2. Jay-Z/Linkin Park - Collision COurse
3. Slipknot - Vol.3 (The Subliminal Verses)
4. Simple Plan - Still Not Getting Any
5. Metallica - St. Anger
- What the heck are Metallica still doing around?

Worst Song
1. Hoobastank - The Reason
2. KoRn - Word Up
3. Good Charlotte - I Just Wanna Live
4. Green Day - American Idiot (Tie)
4. Jay-Z/Linkin Park - Numb/Encore

Best Comeback
1. Judas Priest with Rob Halford
2. Motley Crue
3. Megadeth
4. Black Sabbath
5. Green Day

Best Video Game
1. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
2. Halo 2
3. Tony Hawk's Underground 2
4. Madden 2005
5. Resident Evil 4

Best New Band
1. My Chemical Romance
2. Velvet Revolver
3. DevilDriver
4. Bleeding Through
5. Mastadon
- I don't get what's so great about My Chemical Romance since they don't sound all that different from the other heavy punk bands out there.

Most Underated Band
1. Unearth
2. The Used
3. Avenged Sevenfold
4. Chimaira
5. DevilDriver (Tie)
5. Isis (Tie)
5. Mastadon (Tie)
- I'd rather see No.4 & 5 in the No.1 & 2 slot.

Most Overhyped Band
1. Linkin Park
2. Velvet Revolver
3. Slipknot
4. Metallica
5. The Used

Best Band DVD
1. Slayer - Still Reigning
2. Chimaira - The Dehumanizing Process
3. Ill Nino - Live From The Eye Of The Storm
4. Metallica - Somekind of Monster (Tie)
4. Bleeding Through - This is Live, This is Murderous (Tie)
4. Iron Maiden - Pt.1: The Early Days (Tie)

Best TV Show
1. The Family Guy
2. Battle for Ozzfest
3. MTV2 Headbanger's Ball
4. The Simpsons
5. Viva La Bam!

Best Movie
1. Napolean Dynamite
2. SAW
3. Resident Evil: Apocalypse
4. Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle
5. Somekind of Monster

Best VJ
1. Juliya Chernetsky of Uranium
2. Jamey Jasta of MTV2 Headbanger's Ball
3. George Stroumboulopoulos of Much Music

Sunday, July 03, 2005

AHC guitarist passes away

When I picked up the latest issue of Revolver magazine yesterday, I was shocked to read that American Head Charge guitarist Bryan Ottosan had passed away on 4/20/05 while on tour due to overdose of perscription drugs. He was found in his bunk on the tour bus by his band mates. Despite the heavy loss, the band will continue touring with Benji Hellberg filling in Ottosan's guitar duties.
Times have been hard for the AHC as they fell off the radar for a few years due to some unhealthy habits, but managed to rebound earlier this year with the release of their much anticipated second major label release, "The Feeding", which received rave reviews, and I myself found it to be one of the best metal releases I've heard in a while. Expect a review from me soon.

Rest in Peace, Bryan Ottosan.

*EDIT: Freaky. Just found out that Ottosan was the same age as me as we were born in the same year.