STICKY BOYS “This is Rock’N’Roll”

STICKY BOYS
“This Is Rock’N’Roll
(Listenable)
I don’t know if the people at Listenable have had an AC/DC epiphany but lately they seem to have gone overkill on the bluesy hardrock that AC/DC are synonymous with. Bands like ’77, My Dynamite and now Sticky Boys are proof of that. I’ve never been a big fan of AC/DC although I do appreciated the band’s 70s collection. Sticky Boys makes me think of bands like British Spider or Sweden’s Trash. Bands that had AC/DC to thank for all. Sticky Boys even sound like AC/DC to my ears. Don’t know if that is right up my alley. It feels like I’ve moved along and that I don’t really need another band that sounds like AC/DC, no matter how good they are. Anders Ekdahl

THE WAY OF PURITY “Equate”

THE WAY OF PURITY
“Equate”
(WormHoleDeath Records)
There are never any excuses for subject over matter, for image to take precedent over music, be it Rock Bitch’s liberal sex ideology, Gwar’s invasion from outer space or The Way Of Purity’s animal liberation fighters/terrorists. If that is the case then they might as well give up music all together and concentrate on the other stuff. If you hype something enough people will eventually take notice, no matter how good or bad it is. I kinda liked TWOP last album “Metalcore” even though it sounded like any other melodeath/metalcore album I’d heard up to that date. This time they have to take it one step further for me to take any sort of interest in the band. If I thought that TWOP came up rather light last time it feels like they’ve step up their game this time. That said I can’t shake the Arch Enemy feeling I got the first time around, and not because the vocalist is a woman. This was the move in the right direction I wanted to see from the band. This was as good as I expected TWOP to be. Anders Ekdahl

The Skull – interview

The Skull features original members of Trouble- vocalist Eric Wagner and drummer Jeff Oly Olson, along with longtime bassist Ron Holzner. The Skull is here to do one thing… rock you with the sounds and spirit of Trouble – past- present- future . Shan Siva feels the vibe even across the Atlantic!

1. So The Skull is 2/3 of Trouble – I guess the obvious opening question is: where does this leave Trouble LOL?!

Eric – honestly I don’t really know, I’m just having a lot of fun with The Skull cos we’ve been getting a great response and everyone is excited to hear the old songs as much as I am!

Jeff – they’re working on their new album with Kyle Thomas. I think the new record is going to be called “Hammer of Doom.”

Ron – Kyle rocks! They are in good hands…

2. What was the reason for forming The Skull – why not just rejoin Trouble?

Jeff- I would like that, but Trouble is not ready to unite yet.

Ron- we tried, but got tired of waiting. The fans want the old stuff right now so the three of us are carrying the doom torch.

Eric – they are busy with their thing I guess and we thought it would be fun to play songs we haven’t done in a long time and it seems like the fans agree!!

3. Although recognized by fans, I don’t think trouble ever got big as a doom band but recently we’ve seen a resurrection of classic US doom bands in St Vitus and even Pentagram, so is The Skull another chance to give Trouble a second chance and a fair run for its money?

Eric – that would be a bonus but I’m really just doing this because I want to and I think with the doom stuff going on I think the time is right

Ron – Trouble was one of the first and best doom bands. Actually playing doom before it was called doom, but when doom became popular, Trouble wasn’t playing it so much anymore. The Skull is our way of paying back the hardcore fans for sticking with Trouble for all these years. We have fun, they have fun, and new fans can have fun. Then if the band reunites it will be bigger than before……

4. What will The Skull be doing different from Trouble – I’m guessing from the name that you will be hopefully taking us back to your first two classic albums i.e. classic doom!

Eric – you got it. A couple of the guys never wanted to do the early stuff and I always felt that it is a part of who we are.

Ron – we will be playing mostly the first two Metal Blade records with a few choice cuts off the other records.

5. Will The Skull be only playing Trouble material or do you have your own written material (if so, what does sound like)?

Jeff – we will be playing Trouble material for the first tour, then The Skull will record an album but we have not written anything yet.

Eric – we have been talking about doing a record – I think it’s a natural progression and the real reason to be in a band in the first place

6. Is The Skull a one off project or is it intended to become a full time band? if so, would that pose any problems (legal, personal etc) with Trouble?

Eric – that is the intention and from the beginning even though we are using Trouble as a spring board I wanted The Skull to have it’s own identity which I think we have accomplished. As for the legality of it I wrote the lyrics to all those songs so I guess that would entitle me to sing them LOL!

Jeff – we definitely intend to be a full time band. I don’t see any potential legal problems else I wouldn’t do it LOL!

7. I guess the guitar work of Rick (Wartell) and Bruce (Franklin) has been intrinsic in defining trouble’s sound, so how does The Skull hope to substitute these guys in the ranks?

Jeff – we don’t intend to substitute, but it will remain heavy – it’s not a competition to us.

Eric – no one can really replace them. After all they were a huge part of who we are but we feel that Lothar (Keller) and Michael (Carpenter) will do a great job. They have been playing together for a long time and know each other well and they have nothing but respect for the band

8. In the 90s, when Trouble joined Def American, the band was almost a new band with a new sound and look, so why did the band seem to abandon doom metal – was it to capitalize on the growing grunge scene?

Ron- grunge?? Hell no. Rick Rubin tore the songs apart. He removed the doom parts and made the band rewrite the record a bit more rockin’ and less doomy. We still listen to the same music we did when we were kids, so the music that is happening at the moment would not matter to us. My cd player in the car has Sabbath, Priest, Lucifers Friend and Deep Purple in it. We do what we do, fuck the rest…..

Eric – not at all. I can’t speak for Bruce (Franklin) but as far as my lyrics go I think you need to grow as individuals and artists and all my lyrics reflected how I felt at particular moments in time

9. I’ve followed trouble over the years and it seems to me that although members come and go, it’s pretty much the same guys (compared to other bands who seem to have completely new guys who then leave and never return) – even Kyle Thomas is now back – so why is Trouble such a tight, almost extended family?

Eric – because we are like family we’re brothers and sometimes like any relationship shit happens but in the end I think we all love each other very much

Jeff – we never wanted any animosity with each other. We can’t have that with a band that has been around for over 30 years. Life is too short.

10. What has The Skull got planned for this year?

Jeff – festivals, a U.S East Coast tour this summer, European tour this fall, and writing new material.

Eric – we’re going to go out and have a great time and give the fans what they want. After all they are the reason we are still here talking about this and I can’t wait to see you all again!!!

Mekong Delta – “Intersections”

Mekong Delta – “Intersections” (Steamhammer/SPV)

These guys have always been something of an enigma right from the outset of the band (or mebbe I should say project) forming back in ’85, when they chose to keep the identities of their members a secret, not that it mattered given how many personnel have played in it (pretty much the whole German scene? – Ed). Centered around Ralf Hubert, who at the time was a sound engineer for the likes of Warlock, Living Death and Steeler, Mekong Delta’s style was essentially technical thrash but with a strong progressive element that set them apart from other technical bands like Megadeth. With a long and chequered past including a 10 year hiatus when many thought Hubert had died(!), these days they they are playing more along the lines of heavy progressive metal. Songs like ‘Sphere Eclipse’, ‘Prophecy’ and ‘The Healer’ feature clean, high end vocals, heaps of prog melody and fluid guitar work countered by heavy rhythms and especially pounding drums propelled by some fast double bass work. In many ways, Mekong Delta remind me of a heavier or fully metalized version of Rush in their New World days, so this album’s title is indeed an apt one, reflecting a complex mixture of styles and personas, yet somehow all bound by superb all around technicality.

Job For A Cowboy – “Demonocracy”

Job For A Cowboy – “Demonocracy” (Metal Blade Records)

Wow, this is quite a departure from the early ‘experimental’ metal that I remember these Arizonians for (but then only OG vocalist Jonny Davy remains from those days – Ed). On “Demonocracy” JFAC seem to be taking it more into the technical death metal area – although they still maintain a breathtaking pace LOL! Songs like ‘Fearmonger’ and ‘Nourishment Through Bloodshed’ reflect a more mature approach whereby it sounds like less of a technical jam but instead more structured where everyone is in unison to pummel you senseless rather than confuse you to the point of delirium LOL. Interestingly, if the bastardized title is anything to go by it also allows all the musicianship to be appreciated right thru to ‘The Charn”s drums whereas previously I always found the guitar work dominating the mix. On other fronts like the slow closer ‘Tarnished Gluttony’, the band even seem to stray into Crowbar like sludge territory so all in all, I would rate “Demonocracy” JFAC’s not only most complex but diverse record.

Demon Lung – “Pareidolia”

Demon Lung – “Pareidolia” EP (www.demonlungband.com)

Music to make Manson mellow – these four hippies hail from Las Vegas and have clearly spent time wandering the desert LOL. Mixing the occult rock of 60s bands like Coven with the psychedelic doom of early Black Sabbath they predictably play heavy downtuned riffs with heaps of reverb but also feature the trippy vocals of one Shanda Frederick, who seems to follow in the footsteps of similar women like Jex Thoth and Jucifer. Although only 20 minutes long, what I like about songs like ‘Sour Ground’, ‘Death Mask’ and ‘Lament Code’ is not just their authentic classic sound but that they are genuinely dark, with Frederick’s contrasting soulful voice only seeming to make them even more menacing LOL – in that respect, Demon Lung are to be feared, very feared indeed….so go make peace with your maker before this commune rolls into your town.

Deathtale – “Apocalyptic Deadline”

Deathtale – “Apocalyptic Deadline” (Terrasound Records)

It might seem like a storm in a teacup, but Austria’s Deathtale have been thru their fair share of the wars, even if it’s in a relatively small and I would imagine overlooked scene in comparison to gargantuan German neighbor. Essentially formed out of the remnants of Demolition, a relatively successful thrash band who in their time toured with the likes of Dio, Testament, Manowar, Saxon and Overkill to name but a few, Deathtale is a full on thrash affair that goosesteps in the direction of their Germanic cousins like 80s Kreator, Sodom or even the mighty Celtic Frost! Evil axe swinging riffs, brutal vocals and hammer smashing drums throw you over the battlements on aggressive songs like ‘Blood Trail’, ‘Suffering Rain’ and ‘Imagine The Pain’, which although not original, definitely rate as competent division 2 thrash.

K-Lacura – “Portraits Of The Faceless”

K-Lacura – “Portraits Of The Faceless” (www.k-lacura.co.uk)

Funky, punky and groovy metal core from the splendid Oxfordshire countryside! Reflecting typical English eccentricity, K-Lacura’s name is loosely based on a Portuguese game show of all things, but their music is something else: a whirlwind mixture of bands like Pantera, Bullet For My Valentine and Soilwork – wow! Raw, throat strained vocals, emo harmonies and a strong power groove rhythm drive songs like ‘Beneath The Buried’, ‘Receiving End Of Bullets’ and ‘Drop Down’ that put out an eclectic mix unified by the energy bursting out’ve ’em. Get ready to hit the dance floor.

Hard Riot – “Living On A Fast Lane”

Hard Riot – “Living On A Fast Lane” (Pitch Black Records)

Whoa – these guys have been listening to massive amounts of AC/DC, at least in their hard rock riffs and thumping rhythms that would leave the Young brothers beaming beetroot LOL! Anywhere else in the world and they would probably be lynched (by their guitar strings LOL – Ed) but only in Germany could this really happen cos they also add in the melodic vocals and harmonies of bands like Gotthard! It’s an interesting combination to say the least on songs like ‘Hellfire Rock, ‘Tears In The Rain’ and ‘Black Widow’, if anything answering the question of what might’ve been if AC/DC had gone with ‘regular’ rock vocals. On the other hand, Hard Riot might be one of the zillions of small town bands all looking for their 15 seconds of fame.

Amongst Carrion – “We That Should Not Be”

Amongst Carrion – “We That Should Not Be” (www.facebook.com/AmongstCarrion)

Whoaa – these Welsh devil dogs play a mean n nasty metalcore that twists into you like a knife at death strike! From AJ’s unbelievably raw vocals, AC are like a metalcore version of Lamb Of God or Whitechapel as ugly brutal riffing graced by only the subtlest of warbling melodies and a reeving rhythm churn out songs like ‘The Fear In Her Eyes’, ‘Shadows Over Me’ and ‘Painted Red’. As bleak as their name suggests, AC’s material often comes across as pitiless as nature’s own savagery, yet graced with the hope each new dawn brings.