Exalter – Obituary For The Living

© 2016 Transcending Obscurity

Rating: ★★★★★★★★½☆

exalter-coverOk, so funny thing. I’ve been waxing nostalgic a bit lately and listening to a lot of the 80s Thrash Metal that I grew up on. I still love it, but it kind of went away when Metallica and Megadeth got so damn popular. Well outta nowhere and into my inbox comes some brand new Thrash that sounds like it’s from the days of old. Freaking awesome! Wilder still these cats are cranking the volume and firing metal missiles from Dhaka, Bangladesh! Crazy. Oh yeah, it happens that the new album drops today.

Obituary For The Living busts it out old school correct with rampant riffs, shred solos, and guts and gristle vocals. The songs certainly run a bit longer than my more recent short attention span can contend with, but the intensity is so high that I’m not left feeling bored. I may be off base, but I can hear influences of Sacred Reich, Nuclear Assault, Exodus, Testament and the whole core sound of late 80’s Bay area (and beyond) Thrash scene.

exalter

Don’t think that this is just a rehash of yesteryear though. The songs are all legit in their own right and writhe and undulate with their own dark energy. If I weren’t sitting at a desk typing this right now, I’d be bouncing off the walls making my own circle pit with the house cats, for realz.

So if you’re a fan of the old school of thrash, do yourself (and the band) a big ol’ favor and checkout “Obituary For The Living” the brand new release from Exalter.

Cheers!
Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. Tortured Innocents
2. Surrounded by Evil
3. Sacrificial Immolation
4. Nuclear Punishment
5. Throat Cutters
6. Thrash Resurgence
7. White Phosphorus Shell

Softie

© 2012 SoftieRockMusic
Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

I’m rocking out to the new release by Wichita’s own Softie. The self-titled release jam packs 15 tracks of guitar/drum duo garage-core onto a single compact disc. The tracks are diverse in their individual manner of rocking, but all are heavy on the rock and roll and to that end, the sum becomes greater than the combined parts. And folks, you just don’t always get that kind of synergy in a duo.

At any rate, Softie has been an on again, off again band in the Wichita scene for around a decade now and while I don’t have a lot of knowledge of their earlier work, I’m digging into what they are dishing up nowadays. I also am fully aware that some of the newly recorded tracks are, in fact, old tracks.

If I had to categorize, which I often do, I’d go ahead and call the band and raw blend of metal rock with a bit of punk edge, some cattle-core and a smattering of comedy. Honestly, I could do without the latter. It feels like the comedy is thrown in as a compensation measure and frankly it is unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong, some of the songs have a comedic base and that is fine, it is the little end thought false settle that seem out of place.

Jaded perspective aside, the songs do still rock. I had the CD in my car for a few trips to work and back and I didn’t opt for another disc, nor did I switch it over to NPR, so that’s a good indicator of my true feeling. Though I may have a slight bias as I know half the band, I’d still listen to this and stop in for a live show or two if I didn’t. My arbitrary points scale may not reflect it though. I’m not a math guy though. You run the numbers.

Bottom line is a fun disc with a rocking core. Go support your local bands and buy a copy, see a show, get some merch. Hell, do it all. http://www.reverbnation.com/softie

–Jerry Actually

Hay Perro – Eastern Ideas of Death

© 2011 Hay Perro
Rating: ★★★★☆

More back than ever before, and better too even, Hay Perro resurges with a gauntlet of renaissance metal. Still from Chicago and rocking the four piece combo, Eastern Ideas of Death jams with a serious fury of doom tinged metalicious rock and roll.

The new release gives up nine tracks of Maiden/Sabbath-esque tracks that will damn near shred your face off. I think this latest effort reaps the benefit of time. The production is better and sound is much more coalesced. The trappings of Zeke are gone from this new effort replaced with a much more consistent foundation.

The funny thing is that while I re-read the review of 2008’s Summer of Destruction (EP), I am getting bits of deja vu. Their sound has definitely kept consistent over that last several year. Now in 2011, it is just that much more polished: The new razor edge of the sword lowered to impale your sniveling non-metal guts.

While the songs border on the too long side, for short attention span folks like me, they have enough musical diversity to keep things interesting. When it all boils down, the result is one strong ass rock record. I’d love to have this on vinyl, with the knobs on the stereo dimed, shaking the paint off the neighbors walls.

–Jerry Actually

Tracks:
1. The Isopod
2. Vicious Beast
3. No Visions
4. Ride the Laser
5. Homunculus
6. Blue Mother
7. Mammal Disaster
8. He’s From Norway
9. Eastern Ideas of Death

Rebuke – Wouldworks

Rating: ★★☆☆☆
(c) 2010 Kickass Records / Disconnect Records

Somewhere in Gothenburg, Sweden, there is a mad punk rock scientist toiling away in his punk rock lab. His creation? Rebuke.

The latest album from the Swedish quartet, Wouldworks, is an aggressive hybrid of the band’s varied influences. The melodic Gothenburg metal style is painted all over the California punk sound, so much so that at times it leaves you wondering if In Flames was jamming with Bad Religion with the occasional hardcore yell thrown in from time to time. With more tempo and time signature changes than Metallica’s …And Justice For All, Rebuke seems not unsure, but unwilling to settle on which direction they are heading in, with the short punk-rock-length songs (the majority of the album’s songs are under 2:30) resembling a teenager flipping between 6 different TV channels in 1 minute. Not one song of the 13 ever starts with a distinct sound and sticks to it.

Simply put, remember when you used to take a cup at the soda fountain and put some of each different flavor in it? Yeah, it’s sorta like that (and it tastes worse than you remember).

In the end, Wouldworks could have been a decent metal-tinged punk album, but just gets too mired in its own ADHD to come together.

Werewolfs – So Yeah, We’re Werewolves

(c) 2010
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆


Werewolfs ...So Yeah, We're Werewolves...…So Yeah, Were Werewolves. Just from the band name you can tell that they’re one of them overly confident metalcore band that are oh so popular right about now. From Colorado, there’s not much to know other than they had a bit of a break, then reformed late 2010. Werewolfs was released in December, and is a re-release of their Cadavers EP and also features demos from 2008.

The album opens with an intro track full of noises straight out of a horror movie sound effect library. Then the screams, on ‘Majesticadaver’, scare you out of your skin as soon as they’re registered in your brain. By screams I mean vocals, if that’s what you wanna call them. The instrumental side of it is chaotic, with pretty much no structure whatsoever. There’s a slight hint of Every Time I Die to them, only slight. Don’t get too excited.

‘Jenny From The Blockadaver (Undead Version)’ starts with the typical chugging Hardcore guitar riff, joined by electro/keyboard sounds, think Enter Shikari. There’s a very long intro- 1 minute, as opposed to none at all on the first track, but not much difference from the track before it. It’s clear now that it’s going to be hard to tell one song from the other.

Straight into the screams again on ‘Anachronisticadaver’. The feral instrumentals continue onto this one, making it hard to tell where one track ends and the next begins. ‘Sunshine Friends/ Dr. Jurassic Park (demo)’ kicks off with a deeper scream- kinda like Candace from Walls Of Jericho. Then the insane, screechy yelps re-emerge. Damn. Gang vocals are added to the mix of out of tune wailing on the chorus of, this, the first of 2008’s demo tracks on this record.

‘Majesticadaver (demo)’ sounds the same as the mastered version, just not as polished. What you’d expect from a demo. Oh, and it’s 4 seconds longer. One demo track that’s better than the mastered version (and most of the other songs for that matter), is ‘Anachronisticadaver (demo)’. It actually has some structure to it. Again with the pointless empty 1 minute intro on ‘J- Dahm’s Bromance (demo), which is a shame because it is one of the best songs on the CD. There’s a pause in the middle of it, then it starts back up again, who knows if it’s two tracks in one. ‘Scott Beowolf (demo)’, the final track, is an epic electro instrumental piece. Well, until 2 minutes in when the yells kick in. That’s all it is, yells. No words, just yelling for over a minute. And this still counts as music how exactly?

…So Yeah, to sum it up, this compilation of an EP and demo tracks is essentially 25 minutes of deranged, unsettling noise. Which is pretty much the definition of math-core. So enjoy! I suppose.

–Frankii

The Enders


Rating: ★★½☆☆
© 2010 The Enders

Here’s a five track demo by Lafayette Indiana’s The Enders; a blend of Punk and Metal and a smattering of Rock. The disc’s tracks are performed admirably by the power-trio. The band is comprised of Ben Hagood on guitar and vox, Sam Kock on bass and backing vox and Kyle Martin pulling percussion duties.

The songs, in general, are fast paced. However, the center tracks of the demo: Track 2 Martyr, Track 3 Split Decision and especially Track 4 What If I are considerably shorter and more raw sounding than the intro and outro tracks. I have it on reasonable authority that the shorter punkier sound is the more current direction of the band. I certainly approve of that. While I’m not gonna bag on the more metallic tracks, they are seriously over my three minute attention span mark.

Musically speaking the vocals remind me of a strange mix of Nuclear Assault and Sacred Reich, which is odd, but works with compact, punchy riffs and the minimalist drums. Guitar solos in some of the tracks are a bit much, but that is the anti-epic metal in me talking again. If you’re down with solos, so be it. That’s your problem.

The bottom line here is that The Enders have busted out a solid demo, but I knocked of a few points for the excesses of the first and last track in both duration and unnecessary filler. With that, the middle three tracks are like the delicious center of the tootsie-pop. So support your local Midwest punk-metal-thrash-rock bands and go see The Enders, buy this demo so they can make more music like tracks 3, 4 and 5.

A couple notes: if you have cross-fade turned on, you might want to turn it off. The tracks end and start rather abruptly. Oh, and make sure you listen all the way to the end of the final track to get the wicked sweet thrash breakdown.

–Jerry Actually

Track Listing:

1 Role Model
2 Martyr
3 Split Decision
4 What If I
5 Inkblot

The Assasinators – Weaving Spiders Come Not Here

(c) 2009 The Assasinators

The Assisantors started out in Shelton, Wa in 2004. They recorded their first album later that year, having already played with UK Subs, Agent Orange and Poison Idea to name a few. After taking a year off playing shows in ’07 and a line-up change, they officially released their debut album, Rumour Of War in 2008. They then recorded ‘Weaving Spiders Come Not Here’, with help from Mike Herrera of Christian pop-punkers MxPx. The (ever changing) line-up currently consists of Paul- Vocals, Parris- Guitar, Zebrana (of now defunct Bastard Child)- Bass, and Drew- Drums.

As soon as you press play, the impression is given that this is on the borderline of punk and metal. It’s very heavy and fast, and the guitar riffs would fit in on a metal record. Paul’s vocals would even be suited to a metal band, but there’s a snarly and in-your-face attitude to their sound, and that’s what makes them punk rock.

‘Econarchy’ is, even though it’s heavy, a middle finger in the air number, and is one of those songs that has such a ‘fuck you’ attitude, it makes you feel like you’re not punk if you don’t sing along. ‘Got A Deal WIth The FBI’ has the same effect.

There’s a bit of a political and socio-political theme to many of the songs on this album. They manage to demonstrate their opinions, on topics most of us can relate to, but aren’t pushing their beliefs onto the listener. A good example of this is ‘Welfare Checks And Balances’.

There are two covers on Weaving Spiders…, the first is GG Allin’s ‘Drink, Fight And Fuck’ a great choice, and they manage to make it work for them well. The 2nd is ‘Out Of Control’, by the legendary Rancid- a daring choice for an underground band, but they do it justice, as the heavier Rancid sound fits the Assasinators’ sound. Not quite as good as the original, but covers rarely are.

‘Badge And Gun’ and ‘Doin’ Fine’ are the punkiest tunes on the album, with their attitude and sound, and will go down brilliantly live.

The title track is the slowest, showing there’s more to them than heavy punk/metal.  This one is the closest to traditional new-school punk, and is definitely the highlight of the record.

The Assasinators have lots of potential. Expect to hear a lot more from this band in the near future, especially if they can write more songs like the title track to this impressive sophomore release.

-Frankii

The Agonist – Lullabies For The Dormant Mind

(c) 2009 Century Media Records
Rating: ½☆☆☆☆

the_agonist Imagine, if you will, that Korn went to Alice in Wonderland-land and attempted to pick a fight with the Cheshire Cat. After the fracas begins, Evanescence pops up along with Paul Gilbert and Barney from Napalm Death and everyone starts smacking each other around with guitars and vocal processors and junk. In the end everyone tires themselves out from ridiculous amount of fronting and lame-ass boredom. Nobody wins. If this CD was a joke it wouldn’t be nearly as funny as the fact that it’s not. Suffer! Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
rrrgggggggggggggggggggggggggggg
ggggggggggggggggggggg
ggggggggggggggggggggggggggghhhhhh
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (this is what it would sound like if you tried to sing along)

Jerry Actually

S.O.D. – Bigger Than The Devil

(c) 1999 Nuclear Blast Records
Rating: ★★★★½

An album 13 long fuckin’ years in the making has finally arrived, and it is, as the title claims, Bigger Than The Devil. S.O.D. is back for their first studio album in 13 years and with the full original line up to boot. I went and got this disk the day it came out, sorry it’s taken so long for the review, but the damn thing was on loan to all my friends. I popped this CD into the player as soon as I got home and it started flying out of my speakers in a full frontal assault. This my friends is what aggro hardcore is all about. I’m not going to waste my time blathering on about the might of S.O.D. or the way Billy Milano stopped a show about ten years ago so I could find my glasses in the pit. All I’m gonna say is that this album kicks your ass, go get the fucking thing or I’m sure that Sgt.. D will hunt you down and kill your lame ass!

–Jerry Actually

Zeke – Dirty Sanchez

(c)1999 – Epitaph Records
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Well, I can’t honestly say that I’m giving this CD a fair and honest review, but I’ll do my best. I actually only got to listen to the thing one time through before I had to go out of town, while which Mrs. Upstarter promptly removed the CD from the changer and as of now it is MIA. What I did gather from the listen that I got is that “Dirty Sanchez” is a bit better than the previously released “Kicked In The Teeth” Zeke has lost a little bit of that Kiss feel (not all of it, just some) and overall the songs rock pretty well. The mystery/bonus track is pretty damn funny for those of us that are old enough to remember. anyway I gave this disc a three out of a possible five on the !upstarter “UP” rating scale perhaps fair, perhaps not. At any rate not bad for a bunch of Seattle post grunge boys.

–Jerry Actually