Entries Tagged 'Music Reviews' ↓

Music Review: The Crimson Ghosts/Die Monster Die – Sharing Prey Split

The Crimson Ghosts and Die Monster Die splitReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

Sharing Prey is a split 7″ release featuring Germany’s favorite sons The Crimson Ghosts and Utah horror punk heroes Die Monster Die. Each band contributes two songs, one original and the other a cover song by the other band. If you are one of those poor unfortunate souls that doesn’t have a record player, there is no need to worry about missing out on the cool tunes of this release. Included with this 7″ is a download code so you can terrorize your friends and family without having to wear out this sweet, sweet limited edition record. Did I mention this was a limited release? Only 666 will be pressed (333 on red vinyl for Dr. Cyclops Records in America, and 333 on white vinyl for Contralight Records in Europe).

Side A starts off The Crimson Ghosts “The Body Bag”. This is song has a huge driving bass and drum groove. When the guitars come in they are a huge wall of metallic distortion. Awesome and extremely catchy chorus that has group vocals with an overlapping gruff croon that warns us not to let out whatever is in that  body bag. “October Slowly Dying” is The Crimson Ghosts covering a Die Monster Die song. This song starts slow and sinister with gothic keyboards and romantic, sorrow-filled vocals. Just when you think this might be a dark ballad the guitars kick into full punk rock fury. The vocals keep the mournful tone but are now littered with anger.

Side B starts off with Die Monster Die’s “She Looks Like You”, which has huge metallic riffing with a heavy low end. The vocals are a mid-ranged, trembling wail guaranteed to send shivers right down your spine. “Death from Above” is a Crimson Ghosts cover and starts with some start-and-stop riffing and moves into a rousing punk stomp. Very catchy song with a great vocal performance. Let’s just say that when you put this song on you will literally be looking up to make sure that your roof isn’t starting to crumble.  If you are outside you might want to watch your surroundings as your friends, grandma and pets might start a mosh pit you weren’t expecting. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

This is sure to become a sought-after horror punk classic, not because it is a rare limited release, but because it has great songs on it. If you are a fan of either one of these bands or of horror punk in general, you should certainly get this while the getting’ is still good.

Visit The Crimson Ghosts on Myspace!

Visit Die Monster Die on Myspace!

Visit Dr. Cyclops Records’ Official Site!

Visit Contralight Records’ Official Site!

Music Review: Erase Negate Delete – Just Like This

Erase Negate Delete - Just Like ThisReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

I came across Erase Negate Delete (END) as a suggestion from cdbaby.com and  really enjoyed the sample they had up of “Only a Machine”.  Coincidently END is a side project of The Order of the Fly, who I was planning on going to see for the first time a couple weeks later. END features Ralphie Repulsive on lead vocals and a variety of instruments, along with vocal and synth contributions from J’syn Thetic, and live drums by Danny Disaster. There are also appearances by Abby Noxious, and former Order guitarist Nathan Nothing. END has some elements in common with The Order of the Fly, but is a different kind of monster that stands tall on its own. END is synth-driven, danceable death rock with heavy industrial and post punk elements.

“In Control” is a harsh throbbing and oozing soundscape of hard industrial distortion with shimmering synth. The vocals are a clear rhythmic snarl with just a slight distortion to give it a dark malicious feel.

“Only a Machine” has danceable pulsating synth with lush electronic instrumentation. This track is as good as anything on the classic Nine Inch Nails release Pretty Hate Machine, on which it would also fit stylistically. The lyrics tell of how the time clock turns a man into a machine and the loss of self that becomes a malevolent malfunctioning automaton. “Arrival of the Worms” has a massive driving beat entwined with creeping electronics. Behind the chorus is some gorgeous metal guitar lead riffing that is masterfully blended with the electronic instrumentation. The verse vocals are an anguished, teeth-baring growl, while the chorus is the melodic soulful calm before the storm. The contrast between the verse and chorus is stunning and works well with the lyrical atmosphere of the world burning to the ground and our lack of sorrow as we “hail the arrival of the worms”. “This Ceaseless Aching” starts with a buzzing robotic voice with an underlying spoken voice following the lyrics. This song is catchy and mid-tempo with upbeat melodic synthesizers. The vocals are really beautiful and properly emote the heartfelt lyrics. The echoing voices behind the chorus sound just like the obsessive voices in your head that weigh the logic and heart of feeling broken inside. “Disintegrate” starts with slow ringing keyboards and occasional buzzes of distortion. This song sounds like the desolation of post-nuclear fallout. The verse vocals are the semblance of a ghost-spoken whisper in your ear, while the chorus  sings of the last traces of hope. This song is the bitter sound of the world ending.

END has all the traditional elements of industrial but never falls into clichés and successfully incorporates the style, feel, and ideals of synth-heavy electronica, death rock and post punk. Most industrial sounds so cold and inhuman, and relies far too much on effects, distorted vocals and bizarre  lyrics. What sets END apart is that there is warmth to their sound that reminds you that there is a human running the electronic instruments. The song structures and lyrics are extremely strong, and ripe with experimentation but never getting too caught up in effects and weird sounds just for the sake of it.

Fans of Skinny Puppy and Nine Inch Nails should buy this without a second thought. If you are interested in industrial and electronic music but looking for something that will grab you by the heart and mind you should check this out.

Visit END on Myspace!

Music Review: Blitzkid – Anatomy of Reanimation Vol.1

Blitzkid - Anatomy of ReanimationReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

Anatomy of Reanimation is a collection of newly recorded versions of Blitzkid classics. To make this easy I am going to break this down into two categories of readers:

a.) You have no idea who Blitzkid is or
b.) You dig Blitzkid.

Simple right? What’s that? You think there should be a third category for people who don’t like Blitzkid? OK, here you go:

c.) Shut up and like Blitzkid already. Don’t make me beat you until you call Goolsby “daddy!”

For the uninitiated, Blitzkid is the premier and most beloved horror punk band on the scene and with good reason. Blitzkid play ferocious heart-felt driving punk combined with a sense of melody, and inklings of hardcore and 50’s rock n roll. “The Pumpkin Patch Murders” starts this album out with a metal tinged funeral stomp and moves into a soaring tale of the joys of relieving farmers of their limbs. Insanely catchy song with a great chorus and wonderful vocal performance. “These Walls” and “Nosferatu” show off the harder side of Blitzkid. While “These Walls” is tough and melodic with a frantic, guilt-ridden atmosphere to go along with the lyrics, “Nosferatu” just lets loose and goes for the throat. Here bassist and co-vocalist Argyle Goolsby does harsh pounding vocals with total hardcore recklessness. “As the Rope Bridge Sways” shakes things up and starts off with muted arpeggio guitar and a gothic western feel. The song moves into a slow grinding groove with ringing distorted guitar. The vocals here are a deep croon and really work well with setting an atmosphere for sending a man to the hangman’s noose. “Love Like Blood” is absolutely gorgeous. T.B. Monstrosity’s vocals are enough to bring the hardest punk to tears. The piano at the beginning of this song really adds character and works well with the slow muted guitar. This song quickly moves into fast punk territory but keeps the feeling of heartbreak and desperation.

If you are already a Blitzkid fan you know these songs and how good they are. I’ve heard people say that they miss the low-fi DIY punk recording style but that is not what this album is about. This album is about having the time and experience to showcase these songs so that they sound as good on record as they do live. The production on this record is much like that of the 5 Cellars Below release and if you enjoyed that album, picking this one up should be a no brainer.

Get out there and buy this record if you are into horror punk rock n’ roll. Besides a great sounding record the CD has some killer artwork by James Rowe. The back cover is highly detailed in that each song title is on a jar label where the jar contains something relating to the song.

Check out Blitzkid on Myspace!


Music Review: Static Age – Unholy Screams out of the Graves

Static Age - Unholy Screams Out of the GravesReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

Unholy Screams Out of the Graves is the new single by Germany’s Static Age. This single features four tracks all of which are very different and very cool sounding. The guitars have a hearty driving punk vibe with metallic edge. The vocals range from a low moody croon to a melodic higher register. The drums and bass fit mixed well and fit nicely with the tone and mood presented by the guitars, vocals and lyrical themes.

“Midnight at St. Claire’s” is a creepy intro with spacey atmosphere and horror movie dialogue. This leads into the next track, the single version of “Long Live the Dead.” “Long Live the Dead” has crunchy metal tinged guitars and punk ferocity. The vocals are a clear midrange croon which move into a slightly higher register for the chorus. The chorus is extremely catchy, and there is a nice echoing guitar lead break. “Scream for Me” is a slow moody stomp. The vocals work in a low groaning register that is dark and melancholy. The bass line really has a sinister snaking groove. “Dustbin” closes this single and is a fun-stomping punker. The vocals have a punk sneer, while the chorus is melodic and full of “whooahs.”

This single is very good and a worthwhile addition to any horror punk collection. If you are a fan of the Misfits or Blitzkid check these guys out, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

Visit Static Age on Myspace!

Punk Rock Benefit Two Show Report

Written by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

“It’s okay for a punk to cry”- Bobby Steele (The Undead), “Tears on a Pillow (In Amarillo)”

…and you know what? It’s okay for them to care too.

The rock n’ roll rebellion of the past somehow seems to have seeped into the mainstream and lost all its sense of danger. The 50’s rock ‘n roll scene is long forgotten and seems tame by today’s standards anyway. Led Zeppelin is trying to sell you a Cadillac. Ozzy Osbourne and his family are amusing us with their antics, while Bret Michaels is trying to find a girlfriend. So how come punk still strikes fear into just about anyone out there who isn’t a punk themselves? Why do punks still get such a bad rap? Sure there’s some cute pop punk out there, and Hot Topic has created a socially acceptable uniform of rebellion but that’s not what I mean. I’m talking about homegrown DIY punk where everything is done from the ground up.

The Punk Rock Benefit Two Show smashes just about everything people think about punk. The proceeds of this show go to help the Mariposas Foundation which helps terminally ill children and their families. This event was put together by the punk father and son team of Carlos and Chris, who you may know as a Scurvy Dad, and one of the Scurvy Kids. Who would have thought punks cared? Well after attending this show I know for a fact they do.

The second annual Punk Rock Benefit Two show, held March 15th at the D Club in Azusa, California, was an all day event starting around noon and going until about 10 at night. Just about all of my favorite Southern California bands were on the bill, and the bands I hadn’t heard were ones I wanted to check out. Plus it’s for a good cause! No way was I going to miss this. I got there right around noon, right away I noticed all the vendors. It’s not that often that I feel like a kid at a candy store but let’s just say I came home with almost a full laundry load of punk shirts. Besides merch for the bands that were going to play, there was also plenty of great DIY punk jewelry, clothing and fashion accessories. Level 27 Clothing (review) had some killer shirts along with a great zombie belt buckle. Krypta Kouture had some lovely Koffin Bows (gorgeously gothic bows with miniature hand made coffins in the middle), Koffin Flowers, animal print roses and vintage style hats. The Silent Auction was packed full of awesome punk rock memorabilia, along with great DIY paintings and handmade creations. Highlights included signed items from Jerry Only of the Misfits, The Koffin Kats, Blitzkid, a handmade watch from Cog&Sprocket Steamworks, original artwork by Ralphie Repulsive, and an LP by the Weirdos.

Usually shows with this many bands are overkill but in all honesty I wasn’t bored for a second. Very little down time between bands which was usually filled with raffles or Zombie Pin Up Girls. The raffles were generous and each winner got a variety of killer prizes such as CDs, shirts, patches, buttons, or art books. One lucky attendee even went home with a Schechter guitar. I have to say that the Lucky Betties Zombie Pin Up girls were absolutely beautiful. Even better they were some of the sweetest girls you could ever want to meet.

Now, as for the bands, in all honestly each was entertaining and fit the bill. Space and time restrictions don’t allow me to talk about each band but I will mention a few. The party really started to take off when the Scurvy Kids went on. The Scurvy Kids are a band of brothers who bust out classic punk tunes with all the ferocity and enthusiasm of youth. These three young guys (Gabriel Graves, Chris Napalm and Benny Only) really know how to command the stage and get the crowd into it. I’ve seen The Returners (review) a few times over the last several months and these guys always deliver with their punked out death rock. The Returners live set is intense and always wins over anyone who hasn’t seen them before. Demonia were without a doubt the most metal band there but are totally punk in their DIY stance and unconventional metal arrangements. Besides being melodic and heavy, their vocalist has a scream that could crack your skull. The Rhythm Coffin is a show alone in itself. Imagine that your favorite late night horror movie host has started a band that plays wild monster rock ‘n roll. The lovely Ghoulie Girls provide not only backing vocals but entertained with great dances like the tombstone twist, throwing monster heads into the audience and often allowing their tombstone fights to spill over into the audience. The Order of the Fly (Lambs in the Abattoir review, Hollow Voices of a Dead Generation review is a truly amazing band that never fails to deliver. Their sound is a toxic wasteland of metal, horror, punk and industrial. The Bitchfits, who are a female tribute to the Misfits, closed the night. The Bitchfits play hard, fast, and mean, all while looking good.

This show was a total blast, and ran quite smoothly. The crowd was enthusiastic and full of great people of all ages. Almost $3,000 was raised for the Mariposas Foundation, and 41 people signed up for the bone marrow registry.  A huge thank you to Carlos, Chris, the entire Scurvy family and crew, and all the great participants and contributors that made this event such a success.

For more info, please visit:



Music Review: Mommy S3z No – Hotwaterburnbaby

Mommy S3z No - HotwaterburnbabyReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

Mommy S3z No is a three piece from the Twin Cities of Minnesota. Musically these guys have raunchy in-your-face punk guitars, melodic bass and pounding drums that will make you think it is 1977 all over again. The vocals on this are a warbling out-of-control punk snarl that howls, shakes and breaks with attitude.

“Cannibal Girl” is a lewd bloodbath that has our victim wondering if he could get some action while he becomes dinner. The guitars here have a dirty, old school punk tone. The vocals are a sarcastic snarl with a 50’s rock ‘n roll swagger. There’s a cool slowed down guitar break where the vocals occasionally sound much like Iggy Pop. “Ghoulette” starts with a danceable bass line and builds into a catchy mid tempo horror rocker. The vocals here work in a deeper range and do a bit of a cool rock n’ roll warble. “Dead Things” shakes this album up by starting with a swampy acoustic intro that moves into sick grinding tempo. The lyrics are effectively disturbing and tell tales of dead things kept inside the singers head, under his bed, and in his shed. “Girl Problems” is my favorite track here and makes me think of Iggy Pop meeting the Angry Samoans. The guitars are classic driving 70’s punk and the vocals are delivered in a hoarse, fed up, over the top, and out of control style. “Pass Out” has a bouncy 50’s revved up rock ‘n roll rhythm and vocals delivered like a drunken punk rock David Bowie.

If you are a horror punk fan that craves the old school 70’s punk sound and attitude you might want to check this out. A little bit low-fi, a little bit lewd, a little bit bloody and a whole lot punk. Not for the faint of heart but definitely for people who like the Sex Pistols, Iggy Pop, early Clash, or Chesty Malone and the Slice ‘em Ups (review).

Visit Mommy S3z No on Myspace!

The Gateway Meat (2009)

The Gateway Meat (2009)Review by the Fiend of Grue

In 2006, the president of the United States is assassinated and while most of the population eventually settles back into their everyday life and routines, a small group of Satanists take the assassination as a sign. The leader of this satanic group, Marcus (writer/ director/producer Ron DeCaro) moves into his father’s old house along with his wife and daughter (Ron’s real life wife and daughter) who are as equally demented and murderous as he is. Marcus and his friend Roland (D. Whitney) commit a series of brutal and grisly murders in an attempt to do what Marcus’ father failed to do years ago: open the ultimate portal to hell and unleash its infernal evil upon the entire world!

The Gateway Meat begins with serving your senses a fit of chaos to feast upon; butterflies, flowers and a scenic ocean view give way to a barrage of nasty images of knives being plunged into a skull, a sharp looking razor blade splitting a tongue in two and blood being flung in every direction. Soon we see Roland wake up, snort a line of coke and then he rolls over and has a one sided conversation with a rotting corpse of a pregnant woman lying in his bed next to him! Then of course to round out this sensual assault there’s Buddy, a mentally challenged man who likes to paint and ride his bike, which he often wrecks on.

It takes a little while to figure out where things are exactly going in this film but once the blood begins to flow, it rarely, if ever, lets up. Aaron and Ben LaBonte - who were responsible for the ultra-real effects in Fred Vogel’s infamous first August Underground film (review) - take up the duties of makeup effects here and it quickly becomes apparent that they have only further honed their skills at making some of the most disturbing and eye-popping gore with a next-to-nothing budget. Impressively sick and perversely putrid, the gore is ultimately the star of the film. Richard Terassi’s Am I Evil (review) or Brian Paulin’s two outings, Bone Sickness or his new film Fetus come to mind when thinking of other recent no-budget shockers you might have seen to compare this to.

The Gateway Meat is chock full of disturbing imagery and scenes that will stick with you. One of the more shocking scenes is when the little girl (Sophie Flynn) of this satanic family goes into the bathroom where a dismembered woman is sprawled out in the bathtub. The girl goes up to her, swipes her finger in the blood, tastes it and exclaims “Yum!” Later, the girl tells her dad, “Let’s kill lots of people Daddy!” The shocks don’t stop there as later her Dad assists her in pulling the trigger of a gun, shooting a man in the head (!) and, beware all of you door-to-door religion peddlers, you will want to stay away from this household because this family takes time out of their daily satanic routines to blasphemously mock and then kill a couple of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Once again, the effects shine here, giving the film a realistic look and in the process disturbing the viewing audience. Job well done!

Even though the gore might be the star, it’s not the only good aspect to this film at all. While there are some narrative issues that could be cleared up and the pacing is slightly off at times, Ron DeCaro pulls off some very creative and ambitious camera work throughout the films short 69 minute running time. Using mirrors to pull off a scene and peculiar camera angles for others, Mr. DeCaro certainly seems to have a future in film making.

Elsewhere, the film employs an effective original score by Trevor Toscano that has vintage horror theme elements to it at times and helps ratchet up the tension in certain other scenes. It’s a shame that more DVD’s don’t have as great of a “Making of” featurette as this movie does. Very thorough and complete, you see all of the behind-the-scenes action as effects are built and tried out before filming. Ron shows you how they pulled off the scenes with little Sophie, to ensure she never once saw any gore or twisted sets, but through clever editing it makes it look like she does.

The Gateway Meat will definitely have an audience and is a fine addition to the growing underground extreme horror/gore indie scene. If you like your horror ultra gory, pummeling to the senses and unrelenting in what it shows you, then this is one to definitely check out.

Visit The Gateway Meat and For the Better of Mankind Productions online!

Watch the trailer:

Music Review: Michale Graves – Illusions Live/Viretta Park

Michale Graves Review by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

“Michale would often tell me that he felt like his set was like going to a funeral. Maybe a funeral for him, maybe it was for the fans, the songs or a ghost. I don’t know for sure what he was talking about, but I felt very differently. Each night what I saw was a celebration.”- J.V. Bastard, 2008

The quote above appears in the liner notes for the latest Michale Graves release Illusions Live/Viretta Park, and I feel that both J.V. And Michale are correct. I caught Graves acoustic twice this past year and this is exactly how those shows felt to me. These shows had an air of both sadness and joy as if we were saying goodbye to the past and to the heart break, while welcoming that we had survived the pain and loss and that our lives were opening to something new.

Illusions live is a recording that captures the beauty and despair of Michale’s acoustic sets. The recording quality of these live tracks is raw and an excellent representation of what it was like to actually be at the show. The Graves classic “Blackbird” starts this record out and rather then the catchy punk of the original, this song is stripped down to the emotion and honesty of the words and this is what this album is all about. These songs are transformed into the raw emotion that gave birth to them originally and strip away the fat. The track list for this live set is just about perfect and includes not only Michale’s solo work but also songs from his days in Graves, Gotham Rd. and the Misfits. The only song I am disappointed isn’t included is “Tell Me”.

Also included on this record is the acoustic demo Viretta Park which was recorded in Romania while Michale was working on the film Perkins 14. No idea why these tracks are called demos, the recording is crisp and clear and the songs are excellent. Besides a re-recorded acoustic version of “Blackbird” there are five new songs. My favorite of these new songs is “A Generation Coming Down” This one starts with some dark strummed acoustic guitar. The chorus is catchy and strong with vocals that really shine. The lyrics question what is going on with the world and what is going on within ourselves and if we can take it.

I am so glad that this album came out because Michale’s acoustic shows really touched me, and I can’t think of a much better souvenir then this. If you didn’t catch the shows make sure to give this a shot and listen with an open mind. Forget about the Misfits (yeah, I know it’s hard), forget everything you know about Michale Graves and let this album teach you a little bit more about the man behind all these great songs.

Visit Michale Graves’ Official Site!

Visit Michale Graves on Myspace!

Music Review: The Returners – Love Like Suicide EP

The Returners - Love Like SuicideReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

I caught The Returners opening for Gorgeous Frankenstein this past September and have to say I was impressed with their sound and the intensity of their performance. The Returners have roaring punk guitars combined with dark tones and a deathrock feel. The vocals are a clear croon with a lovely middle range tone. The drums and bass add an intense groove that really compliments the sound and style these guys have.

“We Die Alone” has crunchy rhythmic guitars. Very morose tone and feeling here that goes nicely with the lyrics. Great vocal performance that manages to croon and soar while being expressive. “Love Like Suicide” has an awesome modern death rock sound. The opening riff is slithering hard rock n’ roll that moves into a crunching rhythm. The verses has a eerie driving bass and drum riff with some occasional creepy ringing guitar. The chorus is a catchy classic punk riff. “Hybrid Fuck” is two Misfits covers combined (”Angel Fuck” and “Hybrid Moments”). Both covers keep the feel of the originals but with some subtle twists. “Angel Fuck” still has that great 50’s feel but guitars here have a more up front buzz sawing punk feel. “Hybrid Moments” is slowed down just a little and sounds great. The Returners really do the original justice as use the tones and tempos of the originals rather then just focusing on making these songs breakneck fast. “Amanda” is my favorite track on this EP and starts off with a slow grinding riff and a killer drum and bass groove before moving into a frantic 50’s style punk rock n’ roller. Really killer vocals here that are a deep croon that is really heartfelt and moving.

Awesome Love Like Suicide EP and limited to 666 copies so if you are interested in this grab it while you still can. These guys are a must see live. Really powerful set that is full of energy, plus they do a killer version of Danzig’s “Soul on Fire” that really completely reinterprets the original into another genre.

Visit The Returners on Myspace!

Visit Nothing But A Nightmare Records’ Official Site!

Music Review: The Arkhams – The Road to Arkham

The Arkhams - The Road to ArkhamReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

The Arkhams are a three piece from Queens, NY. These guys get lumped into the psychobilly genre but have a sound that is so much more. The sound here is a seamless combination of classic rock n’ roll, surf, and rockabilly with tastes of blues and garage. The guitars here are amazing. The distortion is so warm and combines wild, freak-out surf and rockabilly leads with solid rhythm. The stand up bass sound is hard and driving when it needs to be but also subtle and melodic when the song calls for it. The drums have a great groove and add a bit of swing to these songs. All three members share the vocals and do a nice of job of being melodic while still having a rough attitude about them.

“Road to Arkham” is a shimmering instrumental with buzzing surf guitar and heavy vibrato. Killer music that is dreamy but with passages that create a dark, nightmarish landscape. “Next Time You See Me” starts with a slow sinister swing. Great vocal performance with a threatening swagger that goes great with lyrics about how your next run-in with these guys might not be so pleasant. The bass really throws down a hard groove here and the guitars have a cool bouncing rhythm and hot lead breaks. “She’s Got the Power” is a catchy rockabilly flavored number with punk drive. Cool breaking vocals that go with the desperation of the lyrics about a girl who has just a little too much pull with her fella. “Hell’s Where All the Good Records Are” sounds like a 50’s rock n’ roll beach party that has been crashed by rowdy hooligans that have come to play their own revved-up devil’s surf rock ‘n roll. Really smoking song where you can almost feel the flames of hell tickle your feet with the gruff vibrato of great lines like “put your soul on  the jukebox, watch it burn to a crisp” and “you oughta see the devil’s record bins.” “I Want a Woman” has a great sleazy psychobilly sound to it where the bass really pounds and drives with  snaking in your face guitars. “Bulldog” starts with some thumping dark bass and moves into a Rockabilly swing. The vocals here are higher with some cool falsettos. The drums are extremely tight here and really, really make this song move.

I’ll make this easy, The Arkhams are fantastic. The musicianship here is really tight but still knows how to be loose and really swing. This album is destined to be an underground classic and should be in the collections of people who are into Psychobilly, Rockabilly, and Surf. If you are into any of those genres or are just looking for something with a great rock n’ roll feel check these guys out. I can’t wait to hear more from these guys.

Visit The Arkhams on Myspace!

Music Review: Under A Nightmare – Cemetery Getaway

Under a Nightmare - Cemetery GetawayReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

Cemetery Getaway is the latest release by Pennsylvania’s Under A Nightmare. These guys have been on the scene since 2002 and just keep getting better. The sound here is gritty with enough blood, guts and rock ‘n roll to give you the sweetest dreams of zombies you’ve ever had. The sound here is pretty much straight forward horror punk but what sets these guys apart is a distinct dark gothic feel that really compliments the punk sound.

“Undying” starts this off with a slow grinding stomp, creepy keyboards and atmospheric guitars. Lots of killer background “whooahhs” behind the lead vocals, which are a loose punk rock croon with a bit of a gruff snarl. This track effectively sets a dark mood for the rest of the horror to follow. “Trapped in this Skull” is my favorite track on this album. Cool fuzzed out garage rock guitar leads start this off before the song moves into moody driving horror rock ‘n roll. The vocals are really excellent here and show range along with the ability to emote. “Ghost Whispers” is pretty eerie track. The backing vocals provide a feeling of being haunted. The lead vocals are an aggressive howl, while the rhythm section pounds away. Killer dissident punk solo that has some great old school flavor. “Box of Brains” starts with some harsh discordant buzzing punk guitar. The bass and drums really provide a danceable dark groove. The vocals have a swaggering taunt that recalls a young ghoul daring you to “come and take away my brains.” Great fuzzed-out punk guitar solo here. “Sunrise is Gone” starts with some crystal sounding slightly distorted guitar that recalls that post-punk feel. Huge instrumental groove here that turns into a ferocious driving punker. “Last Lullaby” has a bit of country stomp with anguished vocals. This album closes with the title song which has buzzing distorted guitars and a nice hook. Very cool song with a stomping gothic punk feel.

This CD is worth picking up if you love horror punk rock ‘n roll. Under A Nightmare have a lot in common with the other horror bands on the scene but have a unique and sinister gothic feel to them that sets them apart. Lots of great songs here and very nice packaging for the album. The booklet is glossy with some killer and very colorful artwork, plus the lyrics are included.

Visit Under A Nightmare on Myspace!

Music Review: The Order of the Fly – Hollow Voices of a Dead Generation

The Order of the Fly - Hollow Voices of a Dead GenerationReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

Hopefully you read my review of the newest Order of the Fly release Lambs in the Abattoir and are aware of just how good this band is. While Lambs is a huge slab of metal-flavored industrial, Hollow Voices of a Dead Generation is something very different but still has similar elements. On this release, The Order of the Fly create a toxic industrial landscape that throbs and oozes with radioactive mutations of punk, hardcore and metal. The vocals are clear and showcase a variety of styles from sweet singing to the anguished screams of the damned. The guitars have harsh punk feel with the technical prowess of the best of heavy metal, while the rhythm section is tight and dynamic with a great feel. The synth and electronic elements add a morbid electronic feel and create a terrifying landscape other bands can only dream of.

An instrumental entitled “The Urge to Self Destruct Pt. 1″ starts this off with the sounds of rain and a pounding electronic drum beat. The music has a swirling ambiance with bubbling atmospheric electronics. Slight tinges of industrial experimentation litter this track. It’s absolutely beautiful piece that leads into “What Have I Done?” Musically this is complex melding of driving punk with heavy guitars and industrial atmosphere. Ralphie Repulsive’s vocals during the verse are an anguished rhythmic hardcore growl which make a nice contrast to the melodic chorus which asks “What have I done to my life?” and answers “I’ve thrown it all away.” “Breathing Liquid” has a chaotic pounding metal riff with huge drums. There is also some great distorted synthesizer that follows the guitar but occasionally jumps to the front to give this a unique and amazing sound. The vocals have a slight distortion to them and alternate between a rough growl and sweet melodic singing. “Rot” has a monstrous pulsating bass line that dominates and drives this track. The guitars are a harsh and thrashing punk rhythm. In true punk fashion this song leaves you broken and bleeding in just about a minute and a half. “Children of Nuclear Armageddon” has huge distorted guitars and snarling punk vocals that break into lovely melodic passages. The lyrics are a chilling tale of being born in the wake of nuclear fallout. “Dying Garden” starts off with Iron Maiden-esque twin guitar leads and breaks into dark breakneck hardcore verse with great contrasting dark synthesizer. The chorus is melodic and does a great job of combining the metal guitars with an electronic atmosphere. This album closes with the epic “The Urge to Self Destruct Pt. II.” This track is a beautiful and complex culmination of all the styles and influences that make The Order of the Fly such a unique and special band. The beginning of this song starts up where “Part I” left off, with swirling industrial flavored ambiance building into a cool, danceable and funky metallic guitar riff. The verse kicks in with buzzing punk guitar while vocals are clear and melodic while delivered with punk rock abandonment. The chorus slows down and allows the synth to breathe in-between the vocals and guitars.

There is not a single dull moment on this album. I could write a college thesis on the intricacies and beauty of each song but I want you to hear this with your own ears and let it wash over you so that you can decide what these songs mean to you. The lyrics for this are dark and heartfelt with equal parts brutality and beauty. This album is a true piece of art that still manages to be more punk and more metal then anything you can think of. The packaging for this CD is gorgeous and has several great pieces of art, along with the lyrics. So if you really need me to sum this up for you, here it is: The Order of the Fly are the greatest fucking band on the planet.

Visit The Order of the Fly on Myspace!

Music Review: Sono Morti – self titled

Sono MortiReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

Sono Morti is a side project of Vladimirs’ Marquis Thomas and Brian Day, who together handle the guitars and vocals on this release. The drums and bass are handled nicely by Crank, while Tim Dewar and Nathan Day provide some fine help on guitars and trumpet respectively. Now before you start thinking this is will be the roaring gothic metal horror punk that Vladimirs are known for let me tell you that this is something completely different. The idea behind this project was to create a Morricone style soundtrack (i.e. the kind of music you will hear while watching classic spaghetti westerns such as The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, or A Fistful of Dollars). While the film didn’t happen, the music did. Sono Morti has created a western gothic desert that seethes with loneliness, despair, heart break and violence.

This album starts with a sparse instrumental entitled “Tim’s Theme” that creates a dark unsettling mood that sets the tone for the entire album. “Black Robed Witness” is swaggering gallop with lovely strummed acoustic guitars and emotional deep baritone vocals. The chorus has huge orchestrated crashing drums that provide emotional anxiety to go with the sinister lyrics. Excellent interplay during the break between a violin and some classical guitar licks.  “Gallows Canyon” sounds like an experimental modern theme to a violent gun slinging Clint Eastwood classic, which leads us into “Crimson Rider.” “Crimson Rider” has the frantic building feel of an escape but with the paranoia of feeling you are actually trapped. Great driving bass line here and lots of killer lead work intertwined with an excellent chorus that breaks with the enthusiasm of cheering your favorite villain on to victory. “Written in Blood” starts with some chilling ringing guitar and slow baritone vocals that seem just almost whispered. Fantastic wild and spiraling classical lead breaks here. “Somewhere (Far Away from Here)” is absolutely my favorite song on this record. The guitars are a western strum and the vocals and lyrics just break my heart. Beautiful organ highlights the melody and adds to the loss and melancholy here.

People who want their music hard and fast with huge hooks about zombies might miss the beauty of this record. Sono Morti has created a gothic western soundtrack with all the proper elements so in place that I would love to see the film that should have been made to go along with this. Fans of Those Poor Bastards, Johnny Cash, and Nick Cave will certainly appreciate the gothic atmosphere and western flavor here. Also if you like the intensity and dramatics of old school spaghetti westerns give this a shot and I think you will be pleased.

Sono Morti on Myspace!

Vladimirs on Myspace!

Music Review: The Devil Bats – Through Hell and High Waters

The Devil Bats - Through Hell and High WatersReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

The Devil Bats have been on my radar for a long time, and you should know these guys are good, real good. The Devil Bats have the classic rock n’ roll flavor with elements of 80’s hardcore, 70’s punk and even a couple heartfelt acoustic moments. Vocalist and guitarist Rick throws down huge teeth-shaking (beware if you have fillings!!!) riffs and has a voice much like Ian Mackaye of Minor Threat with just as much passion but more melody and range. Lead guitarist Jerry lays down blazing punked out rock n’ roll leads, while the bass and drums pound, push, pummel and stomp their way right into your head.

“Accideath” starts this record out with hard driving hardcore flavored punk with absolutely smoking leads. Huge pounding rhythms drive the stake of this song right through your heart. The vocals here are a growling punk bite that still hold rhythm and melody. The closing repetition of the song title towards the end showcases a deep bellowing vocal style and cool gang shouted backing vocals. “Japan A Go Go” should be an underground classic. This song will remind you why you love rock ‘n roll so much. Though they have nothing in common stylistically this song reminds me of The Dead Boys “Sonic Reducer” because it just so balls out let it fly punk rock with soul. The pre-chorus and chorus on this are beyond catchy and should have you pumping your fist in the air no matter where you are listening to this at. “Devil Bat” starts up with a hard driving melodic bass line before a huge guitar riff kicks in. The vocals on this tracks are beautiful low range bellow with a great feel. The chorus has a classic hardcore feel but with more tuneful vocals. “Unmoved” and “Lost” show off a slower side to The Devil Bats. “Unmoved” has twinkling clean electric guitars and move into a slow grinding distorted riff. “Lost” is an acoustic goth blues flavored number. This song is stripped down to the bare soul and very moving.

This album is an iTunes exclusive and while I’m still not fully on the digital music bandwagon this one is definitely worth buying. If you wanted me to me to paraphrase what these guys sound like I would just say Minor Threat playing rock n’ roll. The Devil Bats are a no-frills, no-gimmicks punk rock group who I believe in with all my heart.

The Devil Bats on Myspace!

The Devil Bats’ Official Site!

Music Review: The Nightshift – Los Muertos

The Nightshift - Los MuertosReview by Tony - Hell Feels Like Home

The Nightshift hail from Sweden and have a straight-forward  punk rock and roll sound with a few nice surprises thrown in here and there. The guitars (provided by Mr. John Frazz) are fast and hard with huge hooks. For the most part the vocals are a melodic midrange tone with a touch of punk rock snarl but with plenty of range and variation thanks to all three members sharing lead and back up vocal duties. The bass and drums, handled respectively by Dr. Bonzzo and Sgt. Ferkovic, have a great rock ‘n roll feel and keep this album moving.

The majority of the songs on here are driving catchy rock ‘n roll with horror-themed lyrics. The best of these rock ‘n rollers is “Brainsicle.” This track starts off with catchy punk lead guitar that breaks into a crunchy stomp for the verse. The chorus is just plain killer and so catchy you won’t be able to stop yourself from singing it no matter how inappropriate of a time it might be. “Sending My Love” is strong, no gimmicks rock ‘n roll and a horror rock lost love song for the ages with lyrics like “I’m disgusted just by your smell, makes me want to send you to hell.” Plenty of great “whoooas” along with shouted group vocals, and some lovely female vocals by Sanna of The Wasted. Besides plenty of straight-forward rock ‘n roll songs there a few really surprising and cool moments here to help change up the pace, particularly “I Met Elvis in Hell.” This track starts with some jangling acoustic guitar and some 50’s style “ohhhhs” before some crushing guitars come in. The verse vocals work in a deeper register then the rest of the album and take on a nice crooning quality. “The End of the World” starts with some fine Spanish acoustic guitar that adds some different flavor and variation from the punked out horror rock ‘n roll. “The Haunting of Me” is a total blast has starts off sounding like an acoustic 1960’s love song before pushing into breakneck punk territory.

This record is a blast to listen to. The songs are catchy with humorous lyrics and just plain straight-up great, no-frills horror rock ‘n roll. I can’t think of why anyone who digs horror punk wouldn’t like this record, so get out there and give this one a shot!

Besides being available directly from Dr. Cyclops Records, you can get this digitally on iTunes, Rhapsody and Emusic.

Important Links:

The Nightshift on Myspace!

Dr. Cyclops Records’ Official Site!

Dr. Cyclops Records on Myspace!