Follow by Email

Friday, August 31, 2018

Thwart "Once Human"


Today we have a banger from Berlin, Germany. Thwart are a new female-fronted melodic thrash metal band, and their debut album "Once Human" is now available! You might be thinking: What the heck do you mean, melodic thrash? Thwart set themselves apart from the norm in metal by blending genres to create a unique sound. It has both intensely fast guitar and drum parts, and intricate melodic sections in the vein of older In Flames or At The Gates. The vocals bounce between crisp, seductive highs and dark, evil growls.

"Once Human" the title track, starts off with a low and slow build, but becomes a raging thrash tune around the 2 minute mark. Secil Sen (Vocals) comes in strong with a long and powerful scream, but establishes her prowess with sung vocals during the verse sections.

"Borders" is metalcore evolved, with complex changes and chunky guitar riffing under catchy and complex vocal melody. Philipp Reif (Drums) shines on this track, with an exceptionally timed blast beat during the build to the chorus.

"Violent Self" gives off a black metal vibe, blending dissonant riffs and more blasting with the band's thrashy forward style. It's interesting to see how different one riff can be to the next one here. One moment you're getting black metal, next it's power metal. It's blended beautifully.

"Parasite" continues the genre soup, with a cool Eastern style bending guitar riff and more fast changes between heavy growls and powerful singing. Dominik Budziak (Bass) pops out in tasteful points on this track.

"Season Of Fire" has my favorite guitar solo on the record, and by now I've learned that I should basically expect anything to happen in one of these songs... but no matter what, it's going to rock.

"Enemy" has a really cool drum segue from the intro to the verse part, and shows off Benjamin Knecht and Alexander Hagemann (Guitars) in fine form with chunky riffing and lots of melody.

"World Inside" and "To The Exit" continue the great tunes, pummeling the listener with groovy killer riffs and complex vocals.

"No Way Out" is another metalcore style thrasher, with the closest thing to a breakdown that I've heard so far. I love the way the song builds, and the emotion and power in the vocals.

"Veil Yourself" ups the ante more with a fast and very heavy set of riffs along with some of the hardest growled screaming on the record, which gives way to more beautiful memorable chorus lines.

"Apocalypse" brings back the Eastern themes with layered chants and ultra fast picking. This is the first single for the album, and has a video featured on Thwart's YouTube channel.

"Illusions" finishes off the record on an epic high, with tons of energy built into the mix.

Overall, this is an amazing debut record for Thwart. It shows that they are musically diverse and incredibly capable. The mix is world class, and everything is nice and crisp. This is an insanely talented group and they've managed to hash out their own style here by mixing so many different types of metal together. One part might be a black metal sounding blast beat, the next might be a soaring chorus. This will appeal to anyone who likes heavy music. There are parts for every type of metal head on this record, and even in each song, but it's smooth and the transitions don't sound forced. This was a long record, but it felt like each song had a story to tell and each individual track held its own. There are no short half songs here, every single one pushes up to the 5 minute mark. The band could easily pick any song off this album to make into a single or a video. It's nice to listen to a fully developed full length album in a world of EPs these days. Thwart have obviously poured great time and detail into this record, the riffs ooze feeling.

Of course, you shouldn't just take my word for it, you should really go check this album out for yourself! Support the musicians and enjoy the art!

"ONCE HUMAN"
Type: Full-length
Release date: August 11th, 2018
Label: 900243 Records DK

Tracklist:
01. Once Human (6:50)
02. Borders (5:36)
03. Violent Self (4:43)
04. Parasite (5:11)
05. Season of Fire (4:28)
06. Enemy (5:54)
07. World Inside (5:42)
08. To the Exit (4:57)
09. No Way Out (5:41)
10. Veil Yourself (5:22)
11. Apocalypse (6:04)
12. Illusions (5:26)

How to get it:

Official Website:

Facebook:

Spotify:

YouTube:

iTunes:

Amazon:

THE VERDICT:

5 out of 5 Skulls

💀💀💀💀💀

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Dementify "Dementify II"


Taking 5 Skull Reviews in a much darker direction today, after a fairly extended break from reviews that I needed. Let's see what Sofia, Bulgaria based Dementify have been up to lately.

Titled "Dementify II" this second album from the Bulgarian black metal band is dark and bleak without sacrificing sound quality. Dementify interject their heavy riffing with haunting piano melodies, as well as keyboard/organ sounds.

"Posession" shows Dementify making full use of their dynamic potential, from quiet low piano sounds to heavy harsh riffing.

"Plague" is a bit more subdued, once again featuring the piano melody. The wandering yet repetitive melody in this song reminds me of "Lux Aeterna" by Clint Mansell a bit. The rich and threatening sounds on this are somehow incredibly catchy.

Next up is "Baelfire" which comes off as a bit more upbeat, and it really showcases the singer's abilities. He sounds a tad like Marilyn Manson to me, but with a thick accent. Dementify make heavy use of the organ on this song, which features the heaviest drumming on the EP. Dementify isn't a blast beat band, but they make interesting use of heavy drums without overdoing it.

The final song on the album is called "Hanging" and it features a different spoken word style vocal over a slow and attention-grabbing piano melody. The guitar joins, creating lush soundscapes instead of a chorus.

Dementify is, to me, the result of doom and black metal mixing together. The drums plod along at a slow trudge while the guitar and piano sounds work to create tortured yet earworm-worthy sounds.

Overall, I thought the piano was a tad high in the mix, and the vocals were a little bit low, but this is a huge step in the right direction for Black Metal as a genre, which usually creates a muddy, harsh ball of sound in the midrange. "Dementify II" is obviously a well thought out collection of songs, and it put me in a somber mood.

Don't just take my word for it though, be sure to listen for yourself!!

"DEMENTIFY II"
Type: EP release
Release date: August 29, 2018
Label: Self-released

Tracklist:
01. Possession (5:14)
02. Plague (4:52)
03. Baelfire (3:52)
04. Hanging (5:03)

How to get it:

Bandcamp:

Facebook:

YouTube:

THE VERDICT:

4 out of 5 Skulls

💀💀💀💀

Sunday, August 19, 2018

5 Skull News

Hey everybody, I've been busy as heck for the last few days and haven't gotten to do all of the things that I wanted to do. This is a one person operation here, and if I take a vacation nothing gets posted. However, I am back and I wanted to tell you ladies and gentlemen about a few things.

This coming weekend is Hage Fest, it's our 11th annual show and I hope everyone can make it. Here's the flyer and the invite for those of you in the New York area:

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/events/548813985500805/



Thanks for checking it out! Underground music is awesome and we love hearing bands that create and innovate new sounds!

Here's what the labels released this week, I encourage you to check out as many as you can (There's a lot this week):

August 17, 2018

Annisokay - Arms (SharpTone)
Black Tusk - T.C.B.T. (Season Of Mist)
Carnation - Chapel Of Abhorrence (Season Of Mist)
Cemetery Urn - Barbaric Retribution (Hells Headbangers)
Defeated Sanity - Chapters Of Repugnance Reissue (Willowtip)
Doro - Forever Warriors, Forever United (Nuclear Blast)
Exocrine - Molten Giant (Unique Leader)
The Five Hundred - Bleed Red (Long Branch)
Images Of Eden - Soulrise (Pavement)
Kill Everything - Scorched Earth (Comatose)
Moonspell - Lisboa Under The Spell DVD/CD (Napalm)
Mushroomhead - Volume III DVD (Megaforce)
Primitive Man/Unearthy Trance - Split (Relapse)
Rebel Wizard - Voluptuous Worship Of Rapture and Response (Prosthetic)
Sulaco - The Prize (Translation Loss)
Trappist - Ancient Brewing Tactics (Relapse)
Uniform - The Long Walk (Sacred Bones)
Zevious - Lowlands (Nefarious)

Keep on rocking!

Monday, August 13, 2018

LooseTight "The Diner"


Let's head over to Vero Beach, Florida today and check out a fun and tasty offering from LooseTight called "The Diner" which was submitted to 5 Skull Reviews. LooseTight describe themselves as a mixture of progressive rock, funk, and jazz... but I'm also detecting a thick layer of blues influence here.

"Sliders" begins in avant-garde fashion, with flooding guitar chords and a wild Keith Moon style drum intro. The mood cools down for a moment, and the song begins properly after about 30 seconds or so. This is an upbeat, bluesy Strat-rock tune. It's packed with catchy riffs, and has a soul packed guitar solo. The vocals are thick and bluesy, reflecting the vibe of the tune beautifully. This song has a video available.

"Sidedish" shows off the band's jazzier side, turning the tempo up a bit and displaying dizzying acrobatics between the guitar hits and the drum patterns. This instrumental tune had my head spinning, especially around the 2:30 mark when the whole tune stalls for a moment and becomes basically free jazz. This is a cool track.

"Room for more" starts off like a mixture of Rage Against The Machine and The Black Keys, if that makes any sense at all. Another instrumental song, it's stacked with more chunky riffs. The ending of this song is mind boggling, with the drummer deciding to go off on his own and take a heavily syncopated solo. I love music that makes me think.

Back to the blues steeped vocals, "The Appetizer" shows off more tricky rhythm work before shifting mood entirely. Lovely and thick chords make up the bridge, and the song comes back in "Don't Fear The Reaper" fashion. This song is thinking far outside of the box.

"The Main Course" shows off the band's more progressive side as well as a little bit of funk. LooseTight aren't afraid of odd timing and wacky passages, but they manage to bring it back under control and create a song that I can still nod my head to... despite a few moments of "huh, what was that?!"

The final track on the album, "Dessert For Two" is a slower song with a clean guitar vibe. I didn't quite understand some of the note choices in the verse, but the chorus is spectacular. The song has a few breaks, in LooseTight fashion, and they create a Pink Floyd style buildup to the verse. There's also a really cool jam-style lead part at the end.

This record is awesome. It definitely shows off the raw skill of these two players, and kept me on my toes the whole time. The tones on this record are to kill for. The drums sound clean and crisp, and the guitar sounds amazing. I wasn't sure whether it was LooseTight or Stevie Ray Vaughn playing on a couple of those riffs! These guys have a forward thinking and unique sound, and I feel like I've learned something having listened to this. It's quite the mix of styles. You never know what's coming up next, it might be a chunky blues riff or it might be a drum solo. I'm also a huge fan of the song names, choosing to go for a concept on the whole record. It felt like a complete work because everything flowed beautifully and revolved around the concept of eating at a diner.

LooseTight is Nickolas Reed (Drums) and Ben Gillis (Guitar).

I'd like to thank LooseTight for submitting this great album to 5 Skull Reviews! As always, I'd also like to encourage YOU to go listen to this for yourself, and support the band!



"THE DINER"
Type: EP release
Release date: June 2, 2018
Label: Cut-N-Paste Recordings (no longer affiliated)

Tracklist:
01. Sliders (4:07)
02. Sidedish (3:28)
03. Room for more (4:57)
04. The Appetizer (3:52)
05. The Main Course (3:47)
06. Dessert for two (5:39)

How to get it:

Bandcamp:

Facebook:

YouTube:

THE VERDICT:

4 out of 5 Skulls

💀💀💀💀

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Woorms / A Hanging (SPLIT EP)


Split EPs freakin' rule. It's a great way to get the music of both bands into the hands of a wider audience, and promotes unity altogether, especially in the underground music scene. With the advent of sites like Bandcamp, and the availability of digital distribution through iTunes, Google Play, etc. you see fewer and fewer bands actually doing these split EP concepts. Underground music should not be cutthroat, but should elevate everyone that cares enough to put out quality artistic music.

Coming in from Baton Rouge and New Orleans, Louisiana, the new split EP from Woorms / A Hanging is just that: A celebration of two very different types of bands, and an elevation of both.

First up on the EP is a song from Woorms. Their contribution on the split is called "The Math Says, Yes" and it is quite the journey. The song begins at low volume, causing me to crank up my speakers. A long, slow Doom style riff builds immaculately over the course of what feels like an eternity, but which is actually about 3 minutes in real time. Just when I'm thinking about what sort of analogies to Southern Doom metal I'm going to start talking about, the riff comes to a finale and a new distinct movement begins. Vocals join in at this point, with layered yelling voices shouting along to the rhythm of this new section. After another short pause, Woorms show off an entirely different side of their band. The last section of this song oozes dissonance, reeks of mathcore, and feels like getting hit in the face with a sledgehammer. The song comes to an abrupt ending after only two verses.

Woorms is Joey Carbo (Guitars, Voice, Noise trap), John Robinson (Bass, Voice), and Aaron Polk (Drums).

Woorms is out of control. I took a listen through some of their past releases just for a reference, and I feel like "The Math Says, Yes" is probably the closest thing to a traditional style of song that they've released... and that's a stretch. This band is on the bleeding edge of experimental noise kinds of music. It won't be for everyone, but I don't think that's the point. "The Math Says, Yes" is a facetious commentary on society, a giant middle finger to the signs and the rules. This is apparent in their song structure as well as lyrics such as "The little teacher says, know!"

The rest of the EP is completely different, which is one really cool feature of the split concept. A Hanging is a wildly different style of music, while still falling under the banner of heavy. A Hanging is straightforward Hardcore Thrash. "Graft" sets up a short introduction to the band as the guitar begins and the other instruments join in fiery fashion. A Hanging showcase lower register Hardcore vocals, delivered with powerful and angry form as well as interesting and fast guitar licks. The drums are fast and direct, a sped up version of D-Beat with creative and quick fills that match up to the guitar riffs.

"Document" continues the trademark sound of A Hanging, but features cool tempo changes as chorus parts, slowing things down just a hair and providing an almost breakdown feel to the intense, fast, and short song.

The final song on the split, "Winter" has a bunch of perfectly aligned staccato notes to change parts, and is the first song on the EP to feature a guitar solo. This is another ripping fast tune, and it ends abruptly.

A Hanging is Scott "Scorilla" Walle (Guitar, Vocals), Bobby"Paranoize" Bergeron (Bass), and Billy Bones (Drums).

When people think of Hardcore Thrash crossover bands, they immediately head to NYC, Connecticut, Boston. However, as I've been able to uncover on 5 Skull Reviews, it seems like Baton Rouge / Louisiana has a formidable Hardcore following as well. Just because a band is from a certain area, doesn't mean that they're going to play the stereotypical style from that area.

I think that a show with both Woorms and A Hanging would be an interesting night. These are two very different types of bands, which could lead either to a revolving audience or a bunch of people being turned on to something that they never would have tried out before. More bands should definitely be doing these kinds of split EPs! They produced a limited run of vinyl records for this split as well. One issue with a split EP is that it's very tough to provide any type of cohesion or tell a story between more than one band. This is a collection of 4 songs that stand alone.

I would like to thank Woorms and A Hanging for submitting to 5 Skull Reviews, and encourage YOU to check out both of these skilled bands. Open your ears, and your mind!



WOORMS / A HANGING (SPLIT 7" EP)
Type: Split EP release
Release date: June 26th, 2018
Label: Self-released

Tracklist:
01. The Math Says, Yes (5:02)
02. Graft (1:22)
03. Document (1:18)
04. Winter (1:37)

How to get it:

Bandcamp:

WOORMS:

Facebook:

Bandcamp:

A HANGING:

Facebook:

Bandcamp:

ReverbNation:

THE VERDICT:

4 out of 5 Skulls

💀💀💀💀

Saturday, August 11, 2018

5 Skull News

Hello Skulls,

It's been a busy week for me, and I've been trying to get to as many reviews as I can. I celebrated my wedding anniversary with my wonderful wife on Wednesday, so I took one day off from writing. This resulted in a flood of new emails and lots more music to check out!

As you browse through the reviews on this blog, please consider supporting the artists. These ladies and gentlemen work so hard to make fresh sounds for you to enjoy. Without the innovation and creativity of the underground music scene, all the popular music would sound the same. So please elevate the artists that you enjoy.

Bands, if you're so inclined, I would like to give blanket permission for anyone to use any quote of mine that appears on this blog for any reason whatsoever. I've had a couple bands ask if they could use my quotes for their press kit; if it helps I'd be flattered.

This blog is getting bigger. Traffic here has been somewhat impressive for me. I don't really know what to expect launching into this project, but it's been a lot of fun so far and I don't see any reason to stop any time soon. My somewhat vague analytics gives me a snapshot of where the traffic comes from, and we've already seen Skulls from all over the globe stopping by. Thank you for supporting underground music.

Here's what the labels are releasing this week:

August 10, 2018

Aethereus - Absentia (The Artisan Era)
Airrace - Untold Stories (Frontiers)
Dropout Kings - AudioDope (Napalm)
Enuff Z'Nuff - Diamond Boy (Frontiers)
Haunt - Burst Into Flame (Shadow Kingdom)
Mad Max - 35 (SPV/Steamhammer)
Massive Wagons - Under No Illusion (Earache)
Nachash - Phantasmal Trinity (Shadow Kingdom)
Night Demon - Live Darkness (Shadow Kingdom/Century Media)
Primal Fear - Apocalpyse (Frontiers)
Sinsaenum - Repulsion (earMusic)
The Spirit - Sounds From The Vortex (Nuclear Blast)
Van Canto - Trust In Rust (Napalm)
Various Artists - It Came From The Abyss (Volume 1) (Dark Operative)
Witchfyre - Grimorium Verum (Fighter)

I would like to encourage you to check out as many of these as you can! Thank you so much for your continued readership, and keep it fresh!

As always, if you think there's something that I absolutely MUST hear, you can send links with fresh songs (6 months or newer) over to hageentertainment@gmail.com

Thank you for checking out 5 Skull Reviews!

So This Is How It Ends "D(r)EAD"


Syracuse, New York based Deathcore band So This Is How It Ends just released their new EP, "D(r)EAD" on Friday, August 10th and it is insane.

Using 8 strings, John Richardson and Brandon Tredo (Guitars) show the Metal world just how low they can go with their new EP. 8 string guitars are incredibly versatile, capable of extending range to hit notes that are outside of the normal spectrum of possibility with standard guitars. In the case of So This Is How It Ends, they're going for the heart-shattering heavy sound of extreme low tuning.

"Downfall" starts off with creepy guitar effects and some backmasking before launching the listener headfirst into a sonic assault. Taylor Porter (Drums) sounds massive here, establishing the downtempo but incredibly heavy sound that will dominate this fresh new release. This shorter introductory track serves to set the mood perfectly; this is a dark and dominating sound. Giuseppe Cuozzo (Vocals) introduces his style on this song, and although the track itself is short it feels well written and complete.

The title track "D(r)EAD" begins with a dissonant and shivering guitar, before introducing more of Cuozzo's higher register vocals. His style is mature and developed, yet overflowing with rage and regret. I hesitate to call his style angsty, because despite lyrics like "Grief consumes all of me," they're delivered in a violent fashion. His vocals are often backed with a much lower layered growl.

"Question" delves deep into the mind of the major depressed subject, "I feel like I've done nothing
But eat, sleep, and dig my grave." This song continues the intense heavy low sound that the band has established, and really focuses on delivering the lyrical message.

My favorite song on the EP, "Empty" contains more interesting dissonant guitars, and features a unique breakdown section where the entire band is mired in a fog of reverb before coming back to the present and powerful sound that's been captured immaculately thus far.

The 5th and final track, "Undone" wraps the EP release in a wonderfully dreadful bow, beginning and ending with more unsettling backwards guitars. It even offers some semblance of hope at the end; "I still try to find a way to survive." Cuozzo's deathcore highs are impressive on this finale.

The recording is top notch on this album. One of the trickiest challenges when using extended low guitars is how to differentiate the bass tones from the lowest notes on the guitar. It can be tough to pick Chandler Porter (Bass) out of this mix. However, the extremely dark and low feeling on this EP is thick and tough. No one instrument jumps up as a standout, there are no traditional solos here, instead they all work together to serve up an unhealthy amount of heavy to the listener.

The crazy low 8 string tones reminds me of the first time I heard Black Tongue. However, I think that the songwriting here is much stronger and cohesive, and although they do use it, the band doesn't rely too heavily on long open notes just for the sake of being low.

This is a really creative offering of the dark arts, and I think that you Skulls will enjoy it. However, don't take my word for it! YOU need to go check out So This Is How It Ends for yourself! Congratulations to the band for their release of "D(r)EAD" and best wishes from 5 Skull Reviews!


"D(r)EAD"
Type: EP release
Release date: August 10th, 2018
Label: Self-released
Art: Scott Garland

Tracklist:
01. Downfall (2:34)
02. D(r)EAD (3:02)
03. Question (2:28)
04. Empty (4:06)
05. Undone (3:04)

How to get it:

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/Sothisishowitends/

Bandcamp:
https://sothisishowitends.bandcamp.com/

Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/EAD-Explicit-This-How-Ends/dp/B07G7JGFBH

THE VERDICT:

5 out of 5 Skulls

💀💀💀💀💀

Friday, August 10, 2018

Anarchy Lace "Dark Mazes"


It's time once again to turn up the speakers, fellow Skulls! Submitting from Sacramento, California, Anarchy Lace is here to rock your face with their fun, energetic blend of Southern and Punk rock styles. Their 6 track EP "Dark Mazes" was submitted to 5 Skull Reviews and will be given the full treatment!

An official release date was not given on this EP. I went digging, and found a mention in their bio section on ReverbNation stating that this was released in August of 2017, which would move this out of the fresh category, being a year old. However, I'm not sure if there was a delay. Being an underground band that does everything themselves is difficult and with multiple social media platforms to control on top of having to cough up cash up front for every aspect of writing, rehearsal, recording, release, and promotion... I get it. We're going to go ahead and give the "Dark Mazes" EP a pass here on 5 Skull Reviews. Not sure if fresh but I won't hold it against them.

Anarchy Lace has a purposeful and crisp, yet obviously Punk sound. They list Social Distortion as one of their bigger influences, and that influence makes sense. These songs are obviously crafted with care, but it still has that middle fingers up attitude.

"Circus Of Lies" almost has a Suicidal Tendencies feel to it, starting off with one hard panned guitar and the whole band joining to fill out the riff. Lena Campbell (Vocals) begins singing by following the guitar riff melodically. Campbell's voice and seemingly nonchalant attitude reminds me instantly of Donita Sparks (L7), and I love it. James Cundiff and George "The Butcher" Bogue (Guitars) have this song slam packed with style, showing off multiple solos instead of the traditional chorus song structure. It's all verses and solos here.

"Love Rage Chaos" starts off slowly, with Josh "The Missing Element" Collinson (Bass) lulling the listener with the melody before smacking them over the head with angry punk rock. Gang vocals are a strong feature on this song, and Campbell's vocal style is much more aggressive. "Don't hate me for my honesty or for my bigger balls" proclaims Campbell. She's on a war path, and doesn't care who gets in her way! This is my favorite song on the EP and Campbell's best performance.

"Demon Seed" features a snarling male vocal, after a cool snare build in from Aaron "BRZRKR" Haakenson (Drums). Another gang vocal is strong here, chanting the haunting melody that's been introduced by the guitar. Campbell joins the band again for a third part, before everything starts over. This is the longest song on the EP due to its multiple distinct movements that repeat.

The title track, "Dark Mazes" is really where the Southern rock style influence is apparent. The intro especially has a blues heavy Southern stomp to it. Campbell sings this one, delivering many verses with her straightforward style.

"Sweet Dance" features more of a duet style, with the male vocal trading lines with Campbell. This also features a flashy long form guitar solo.

The final track on the EP, "America, America" shows off more Southern rock influence. This is a play on patriotism, including a reciting of the Pledge Of Allegiance. The founding of the United States and their expansion West was a bloody story, and Anarchy Lace say with this song that America will face judgement. This is a longer tune as well, but keeps a steady pace throughout with an interesting solo section.

Anarchy Lace and their "Dark Mazes" EP is a fun listen for those who appreciate well written punk rock tunes. Lena Campbell's voice and style of following the guitar melody isn't going to be for everyone, and the distinct lack of any real chorus parts is an obvious deviation from the norm. However, those who dare to be different are the trailblazers of rock and should be celebrated. I really dig the guitars in this band. I would say that the recording quality on this EP is quite good, and I enjoyed the mix because I can hear the guitars, drums, and vocals well.

You should NOT take my word for it! The only way to truly know if you enjoy the band Anarchy Lace is by going and listening for yourself! The band has a couple shows coming up opening for Flaw and Stryper, so if you're in the Sacramento, California area you should definitely consider supporting your local music and getting your ticket. Thank you to Anarchy Lace for submitting to 5 Skull Reviews, may you find great success and send us some more fresh music very soon!

UPDATE: I was contacted by the band, and added 2 songs to the end of the review. I was also informed that prior to joining this band, Lena Campbell had never performed as a singer before. Kudos to her for sticking with it and again thank you to Anarchy Lace!


"DARK MAZES"
Type: EP release
Release date: August 2017 (?)
Label: Self-released

Tracklist:
01. Circus Of Lies (3:40)
02. Love Rage Chaos (2:29)
03. Demon Seed (6:42)
04. Dark Mazes (4:26)
05. Sweet Dance (3:04)
06. America, America (6:08)

How to get it:

Official website:
https://anarchylaceband.com

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/AnarchyLace

ReverbNation:
https://www.reverbnation.com/anarchylace

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCT1QDCkVL0Bq18pTTq942Wg

THE VERDICT:

3 out of 5 Skulls

💀💀💀

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Event Horizon "Cyclical Design" (VIDEO)


The Tenth Law of Karma states that "history repeats itself until we learn the lessons that we need to change our path." In the case of the new video "Cyclical Design" by New Orleans, Louisiana based Event Horizon, you're going to want to learn how to hit that repeat button.

Founded in 2016, Event Horizon is gaining notoriety for thinking outside the circular shaped cookie container, choosing to eschew your grandmother's sewing supplies and reaching for a different, modern sound.

"Cyclical Design" gets right to the point, after about 5 seconds of ambient build. Taking cues from Metalcore, "Cyclical Design" shows off a range of vocal styles. Beginning with gang-vocal style singing, the catchiness of the chorus part is established immediately. The intro section gives the listener a tiny taste of the hook, before launching headfirst into the first verse.

The verses are delivered in a more aggressive fashion, but the well enunciated lyrics are easily understandable to even the slightly heavy-adjusted Skull. For me, the song tells the familiar tale of being locked in circular thinking, when analysis paralysis prevents an outcome or decision. Changes in parts are accented with short breaks frequently, emphasizing their dramatic flair. The choruses are set into distinct pre-chorus and proper chorus sections, the former featuring cleaner, subdued delivery and the latter a more robust and unleashed sound.

Event Horizon fills this song with unique sounds, while Djent-style low guitars hold rhythm with the drums. Where sometimes Djent can be laborious to listen to, various electronic sounds and pinch harmonics make this a layered and fun experience. The recording quality on this song is A++ top tier. They've really pulled out every modern recording trick on this one, with panning effects, compression, and dramatic fades prevalent throughout the song.

The video production is obviously well thought out here, switching shots frequently and featuring a cool moving crystal effect that comes into view at various points. The whole video is very dark, however, and the only face that I see in focus is that of the lead singer. I believe that this style of shot was probably intentional but it's not what I would choose when asking for a video shoot.

This song is solid as a single and shows off that this band is capable of a variety of tones and dynamics. I'm certainly curious to find out more about this band, including a proper listen to their previous "S.O.S." EP. Gary Smiley, Brennan Wynn, Jarrad Hebert, Julian McCarthy, and Ricky Morales are Event Horizon.

AND NOW the part of the review you've all been waiting for... the part where I tell YOU to check out the video and the band for yourself instead of just reading about it! Many thanks to Event Horizon for submitting this single to 5 Skull Reviews!



"CYCLICAL DESIGN"
Type: Released single
Release date: August 1st, 2018
Label: From The Depths Entertainment
Filmed by: Jordan Scott
Directed by: Zack Keel


How to get it:

YouTube:
https://www.youtube.com/eventhorizonnola

Facebook:
https://facebook.com/eventhorizonnola

Instagram:
https://instagram.com/event_horizonnola

Twitter:
https://twitter.com/eventhorizonla

Spotify:
Hyperurl.co/sosspotify

Itunes:
Hyperurl.co/sositunes

Official Website:
https://www.eventhorizon2018.net/music

THE VERDICT:

4 out of 5 Skulls

💀💀💀💀

Monday, August 6, 2018

Rose Dickeson "Kintsugi"


It's a rainy summer afternoon here at 5 Skull Reviews headquarters, and I couldn't dream of a more fitting soundtrack. Submitting from Port Saint Lucie, Florida; indie duo Rose Dickeson is a refreshing change of pace in my inbox.

Featuring the sweet and lovable styling of Ariel Rosario (Vocals / Piano) and the tempered yet funky percussion of Chris Dickeson (Drums), Rose Dickeson is a combination of their last names and a pure wholesome expression of their passion for music.

"Rise Up" builds to an uplifting message, as the slow chords become a fun melody and the drums kick in to reinforce. "There's days when we all feel this way," for sure, but we can all use a little positivity and "rise up straight to the top."

"Broken" is a sadder tune, one of only a couple notably sad songs on this 12 track full-length album. It describes a tough breakup and the feelings of betrayal and sadness that resulted. This song is incredibly relatable as well. I believe that everyone has, at some point, met someone who turned out to be different in the end. The interesting use of percussion and acoustic guitar really adds to the production of this emotional tune.

The emotional journey of Rose Dickeson continues over the next few songs, with the upbeat healing of "Fine" and the slow but closure-providing forgiveness of "All The Funny Things."

Life has a beautiful way of resolving in circles, and when one door closes sometimes others may open. A hard breakup can give way to a new relationship. The album moves on with the happy and upbeat "20" with a piano riff that reminds me a bit of the famous "Heart And Soul" duet to start off. This would be a great song for a wedding playlist!

The title track, "Kintsugi" is a glorious summation of this intimate story, including sections of spoken word and a mighty build toward the later half of the song.

"Drummer Boy" is another fun song, resolving the story that was started off in "20" and showing the light and love in this wonderfully matched pair.

The hits just keep on coming with "Amber Eyes," "Unbreakable," and "Lately" rounding out the explanation of the story of Rose Dickeson and how they came to be. These songs are very personal and detailed, and are guaranteed to tug at the heart strings of the listener.

"Monster" is the final traditional track on the album, and it is the other sad song. I might even be convinced to call this song upset, with an accusatory tone throughout. "What kind of man are you? A monster in disguise." The feel of the song is slow and haunting, featuring layered vocal harmonies.

The final track on "Kintsugi" is an acoustic version of "Broken" which features only Rosario's vocals and piano. This stripped down and soulful version is a nice bonus track but it ends the album on a somber note.

I love the comforting feeling that this music gave me today. Rose Dickeson is adorably enjoyable, sweet and pure. This is what I imagine a picnic date would sound like. The sound quality is clean and professional without coming off as big budget or effects-heavy. I feel like this album is a great representation of what you're going to get if you walk into a coffee shop or a diner and hear these two playing on a nice afternoon on the coast.

This is a drastic departure from the types of music that I normally listen to. I feel strange giving this soft of a record a Skull rating, but it must be done. I would, however, like to encourage YOU to chill out a bit and listen to some Rose Dickeson to take the edge off. Many thank yous to them for submitting to 5 Skull Reviews, as out of character as this may seem. Have a wonderful time!


"KINTSUGI"
Type: Full-length
Release date: Upcoming, digital preview released July 11th, 2018
Label: Self-released

Tracklist:
01. Rise Up (3:13)
02. Broken (4:11)
03. Fine (3:45)
04. All The Funny Things (3:00)
05. Funny (2:55)
06. Kintsugi (3:36)
07. Drummer Boy (3:34)
08. Amber Eyes (3:02)
09. Unbreakable (3:56)
10. Lately (3:22)
11. Monster (4:07)
12. Broken (Acoustic) (4:34)

How to get it:

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/rosedickesonmusic/

Soundcloud:
https://soundcloud.com/rosedickeson

THE VERDICT:

4 out of 5 Skulls

💀💀💀💀

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Raise The Death Toll "Penthouse Of A Thousand Corpses"


Fellow Skulls, gather round and hear the terrifying tale of Raise The Death Toll, a Brutal Death Metal band from New Orleans, Louisiana. Stepping into "Penthouse Of A Thousand Corpses," the debut EP from Raise The Death Toll, is a truly brutal experience for only the hardest and heaviest of Skulls.

"Penthouse Of A Thousand Corpses" is 6 tracks, and features a couple of high profile guest performances. Recorded, mixed, and mastered entirely by the band, Raise The Death Toll show their innovation and drive to succeed in a difficult modern music landscape.

The first track "The End" is a short intro track featuring the infamous Jim Jones sample. I feel like this sample in particular is a little overdone in metal in general, but I do want to thank the band for not blowing my speakers out on the first notes. This is an eerie way to ease into the ridiculous brutality that follows.

The title track "Penthouse Of A Thousand Corpses" turns the brutality all the way up to 11. Featuring Philip "Brawla" Dussor's (Vocals) deranged lyrics and intense lows, this song is purely unsettling. Fans of Devourment or Abominable Putridity will understand and appreciate what's going on here, but the Brutal Death Metal genre as a whole is definitely not for the casual metal listener.

Raise The Death Toll is only officially 3 people. Dussor handles vocal duties while all the rest is handled by his band mates Gavin Brehm (Programming / Bass / Guitars) and Christopher Stoufflet (Guitars). The band chose to program the drums instead of using a drummer in studio. For this style of metal it makes sense. A live drummer is going to have a tough time with the precise nature of the music and the speed / endurance that's required to play it.

"The Omen Of Disaster" is the band's chosen single off the EP, and it features Mark Hunter (Chimaira) as a guest. The song plays out in two distinct movements; the Omen itself, "The Goat, The Lion, The Serpent" ... and then the Disaster, finishing off with an awful death, "Razor-wire Round Your Neck." Raise The Death Toll have blended the parts well here, and the distinct change in movements signals the shift for Hunter's verse part.

"Cannibalistic Chivalry" has a more traditional Death Metal feel to the guitar part, with single note fast picking dominating the verse. However, the song also contains a heavy slam section. This is a technical and fun song, and of course it's also about murder. The line "My Hunger Grows As I Feast On The Meat Of Rotting Love" stuck out to me as a dominant indicator of the song's content. This is my favorite track on the EP because I love the main guitar riff.

"The Lakeshore Strangler" is another guest feature track, with Rick Pinto (Boy Eats Girl) providing some Australian Deathcore influence. These vocals blend together wonderfully here, trading off lines between highs and lows. Pinto is famous for doing just this with his project already, and this song shows off multiple vocal techniques. There's even a short pig squeal crammed into this track.

The final track "The Hermit Homicides" is the longest song on the EP and it seems to end around the 3 minute mark, but comes back swinging for more with a low and slow banger of a riff. This is a great track lyrically, about a psychotic person who hears voices and follows their instructions to murder children.

"Penthouse Of A Thousand Corpses" is an insane, murder filled rampage of sound. This EP is the stuff of nightmares. For only 3 people, this band has managed to create a wonderfully brutal piece of art here. The sound quality is great, and the mix is nice and clear. These guys have clearly spent time and money to develop the right equipment to even record this EP by themselves.

SO my fellow Skulls, do you think you're heavy enough to survive? The only way you'll really know for sure is if YOU go check out the band for yourself! Click the links! Major kudos to Raise The Death Toll for submitting to 5 Skull Reviews!

"PENTHOUSE OF A THOUSAND CORPSES"
Type: EP release
Release date: July 25th, 2018
Label: Self-released

Tracklist:
01. The End (1:06)
02. Penthouse Of A Thousand Corpses (3:18)
03. The Omen Of Disaster (feat. Mark Hunter Of Chimaira) (4:31)
04. Cannibalistic Chivalry (3:38)
05. The Lakeshore Strangler (feat. Rick Pinto of Boy Eats Girl) (4:17)
06. The Hermit Homicides (5:01)

How to get it:

Facebook:

Bandcamp:

THE VERDICT:

4 out of 5 Skulls

💀💀💀💀

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Skooma "Seven Foot Death"


"STOP! You have committed crimes against Skyrim and her people. What say you in your defense?"

Columbia, Missouri is where the Doom band Skooma calls home. Their fresh full-length release "Seven Foot Death" just came out today on digital outlets, just in time for you to trip out and melt into a puddle for the weekend. Skooma, for anyone who may not know, is a reference in the Elder Scrolls games, and is portrayed as a powerful drug. Drug reference band names tend to get labeled specifically as Stoner Metal, but share similar sonic qualities with Doom metal bands such as Electric Wizard and Sleep. With Skooma, the songs seem to focus more on the fantasy aspect of the genre but the tempos change mid song, so the line gets a little blurry here.

"Seven Foot Death" has 7 fresh tracks, and this band doesn't seem too concerned with the length of their songs. There are a couple of shorter tracks, and a couple that come in closer to the 7 minute mark. This record is more about telling stories, and letting each riff fully develop.

"Transmutations" begins the record with Chris McEuen (Guitars / Vocals) lulling the listener with instrumental riffing before opening up a high and mighty guitar solo which sets the tone of the record beautifully. "Vermin" shows the band's darker side, and introduces the audience to McEuen's low and raw vocal style. This is a shorter song, but unlocks the riff's full potential before coming to a close.

"VVitchburner" is the album's first traditional format song, and it shows off the band's Doom abilities. Drake Deems (Drums) sets a moderately fast tempo on this track, which develops into a powerful display of heavy riffing.

"Blind Wizard" hits the listener on the head, with the slow and low guitar chords blending in with Joseph "Sherpa" Hodges' (Bass) strings in magically enthralling fashion. Deems' drumming changes between slow and tempered to fast and fun whenever it feels right.

"Spider Queen" and "Tree Of Might" continue the tradition of the low and slow, but the band writes in changes just before things get too creepy. Sometimes Doom has a tendency to drone on for too long, but Skooma are masters of timing things just right. The album finishes off with "Priestess Of The Moon" which is another slightly quicker paced track, with a unique and interesting guitar solo break in the middle.

The production of the record is enjoyable. All of the instruments are loud enough, and the unmistakable fog of Doom style recordings hangs thick on each track. This is more of a raw style recording, a representation of what you're going to get at the live show, as is typically the standard for the genre. The tones are beefy and the vocals are generally thick. Some of the screams are thin, but they add to the energy of the album. These songs all have a fantastic build to them. Skooma will feel right at home to listeners of The Sword when they share the stage at Rose Music Hall on October 1st, 2018.

As always, I urge YOU to check out Skooma for yourself! Show them some love for releasing their full length record, and pick up "Seven Foot Death" right away!


"SEVEN FOOT DEATH"
Type: Full-length
Release date: August 4th, 2018
Label: Self-released
Artwork: David Paul Seymour

Tracklist:
01. Transmutations (2:15)
02. Vermin (2:12)
03. VVitchburner (5:19)
04. Blind Wizard (6:06)
05. Spider Queen (6:53)
06. Tree of Might (6:36)
07. Priestess of the Moon (4:53)

How to get it:

Facebook:
https://www.facebook.com/SkoomaDoom/

Bandcamp:
https://skoomadoom.bandcamp.com

THE VERDICT:

4 out of 5 Skulls

💀💀💀💀

9Slug "Echoes Of Resolve"


Heading back to Baton Rouge, Louisiana now for a tune from 9Slug, the first single from their upcoming record "9Slug III: Walls Of Hypocrisy." The band was originally active from 2003-2007, releasing two records and playing out heavily until they went on extended hiatus. That hiatus lasted 7 years, and they're just now getting ready to release another record. Patience and perseverance have paid off for 9Slug as they get ready to release the full album.

This single has been released for 2 months now, so it still makes the 5 Skull fresh deadline. However, with the release date of the full album still upcoming, "9Slug III: Walls Of Hypocrisy" as a whole is still so fresh, you can't quite take it out of the oven just yet. 9Slug were gracious enough to offer a spoonful of this new album though, and it's rather delightful.

So what are some images that come to mind when we think about a metal band from Southern Louisiana? For me, I immediately jump to Down and Crowbar as being the ambassadors of the regional sound. I adore the sludge metal sound, and I find that 9Slug has found their own way to embrace that style of music while evolving it enough to make it unique.

"Echoes Of Resolve" starts off with some sludging panned trickery by David Boley (Guitar). Scarlett (Bass) and Kelly Davis (Drums) build in and the main riff starts off trudging. Jaide Templet (Vocals) comes in harsh and high for the verse part here. Just when I'm wondering if this song is going to be a basic sludge metal example, the chorus comes in with awesome power. The vocal style changes over to clean but still dark and distinguished, and the guitar shows off some interesting changes. Davis even throws in a tasty fill on the drums. The parts turn around again, and Boley gives a reserved but tasteful guitar solo. Templet finishes his track with a wild extended scream, showing his impressive vocal ability.

This record is obviously a labor of love for 9Slug, and the writing on this track is solid. I do feel like the sound quality of the overall mix could have been a little better, but with an independent release the band has to work within the confines of a limited budget. It could be that the mix that I heard was compressed for size as well. I feel like these guys would be a lot of fun to hang out with at a live show. Fans of the dirty southern sludge metal sound will get into 9Slug. Friends who are in the area can catch them sharing a stage with Mushroomhead in New Orleans on August 26th, 2018.

Of course, you know what I'm going to say to end this review... YOU need to check this band out for yourself! Don't take my word for it, I'm just some guy! Click the links and give it up for 9Slug for submitting to 5 Skull Reviews!


"ECHOES OF RESOLVE"
Type: Released single
Release date: June 4th, 2018
Label: Self-released

How to get it:

Facebook:

Bandcamp:

ReverbNation:

THE VERDICT:

3 out of 5 Skulls

💀💀💀