Mastodon

Mastodon – Blood Mountain (c) 2006 Warner Bros. RecordsMastodon, “Blood Mountain;” Scaling the peak. Approximately one minute into Mastodon’s third full length release, “Blood Mountain,” one gets the feeling they aren’t exactly listening to just any old record. From every riff, every transition or seeming lack thereof to every�beat, bass swirl and drum�fill to the�ever changing vocal styles of both Troy Sanders and Brent Hinds, (not to mention guests Scott Kelly of Neurosis and Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age) all the way down to the immpeccable guitar tones and drum sounds, this is a release to be taken seriously. And that is no accident. Mastodon have themselves claimed this as their greatest work to date, and while they have cultivated a loyal following thus far, they clearly had intentions of raising their proverbial bar, dare I say at the risk of alienating some entry-level fans. At times quite heady, filled with complex timing, intricate guitar work, blazing drums, highly unique lyrics dealing with myriad fantastical creatures and adventures sung in interesting ways,�and even a few “what the hell what was THAT!?” noises, Blood Mountain is certainly a couple of things. First, a finely crafted work of art by highly skilled individuals. Second, one intense son-of-a-bitchin’ ride. Never a dull moment, never a predictable one. As a side-note, upon waiting for the hidden track to kick in, a discussion about how Rob Halford is the most badass gay guy on Earth fired up. Just as I made my final�note about how even the most jock-esque dudes fail to stack up to his merits, Mastodon appeared once more, simply to laugh at my point. -Nick McGarvey�

Slayer – Christ Illusion

Slayer – Christ Illusion (c)2006 Warner Bros. RecordsThere are 2 types of people in the world, the people that think Slayer rules, and the people that suck. With over 2 decades of butality under their collective belts, Slayer, unlike so many other bands, has not lost its diabolical touch. Slayer will still frighten the crap out of the feint of heart with all their music and If anything, Christ Illusion is their strongest material in a decade. It is umistakably signature sounding and that is just how it should be. I’m impressed by the bands ability to keep things fresh while at the same time keeping consistent. The one thing I do notice about how Slayer has progressed over time is that they are so much tighter as a unit now. Go out tomorrow and get Christ Illusion and play it loud. Personal favorites include Jihad and the scathingly satirical Supremist.

The Defilers

The Defilers – Metal Mountains (c) 2005 Dry Run RecordsStraight outta motherfucking Louisville! The Defilers pack the power of the Cult, Kiss, Clutch, Black Sabbath and Zeke into one sweet rock and roll cavalcade. "Metal Mountains" presents 9 tracks of progressive metallic indie-like rock without the pretension. Basically what we got here is heavy rock and roll. It seems that if all things must run the viscous circle, a resurrection of early 70's power rock is way low on the list of evils. The one downfall to "Metal Mountains" (at least for me), some of the track are just way too damn long. But you should determine your own attention span. None the less, If you like to rock and you like to crank it really freakin' loud, then by all means head to the Metal Mountains!

thelastplaceyoulook

thelastplaceyoulook – The Lies We Tell Ourselves (c) 2005 thelastplaceyoulook"The Lies We Tell Ourselves" is the newest EP from Houston's own thelastplaceyoulook. the 5 tracks bristle w/ emotion and rock sweet rock. Most folks would probably consider them to be "Screamo" (for the laymen, screamo is heavy emotional music w/ often gutteral and growling death metal like vocals. I mean they really let you feel the pain man.) despite the moniker, thelastplaceyoulook is much more articulate vocally. Don't get me wrong, there is some angst going on there, but we're not looking at Napalm Death or anything. I'm personally not a major fan of the genre, but the songs here are well executed and produced and the press kit that I was sent was phenomenal. just for the record though, you fellas may want to save a few bucks on the press kit and go w/ a simple black and white 1-sheet. I suspect most people gloss over the material and then send it to file 13. Incidentally, when I saw this picture, I went out and got some Shiner Bock. Tasty Stuff. But enough of the rambling, thelastblaceyoulook kicks down a metallic emo assault to the senses. If that is your cup o' tea, head over to www.interpunk.com to pick up a copy of "The Lies We Tell Ourselves".

Scars of Tomorrow

Scars of Tomorrow – The Beginning of (c) 2006 Thorp RecordsSubmitted for your approval, the brutal hardcore metal sounds of Scars of Tomorrow. “The Beginning of” is an all out aggressive assault of the early years of Scars of Tomorrow. The new release re-surfaces out-of-print material from the band’s pre Victory era. Much of the CD has a tendency to be too melodic and too metal for my tastes. Not to say it is a bad release, cause it ain’t. It’s that I hung up the strictly metal hat many moons ago. Combing Crunching guitars, pounding drums, growling vox, thundering bass and layer on the harmonics and melodic guitar lines and you’ve got yourself the beginning of Scars of Tomorrow.

Stereotactic

Stereotactic – The Dawning  © 2005 Avebury Records Stereotactic, hailing from the dusty desert plains of Bakersfield, CA –home to the likes of Buck Owens, Korn and Philo Beddoe–is a 4 piece emo/metal band with a remarkable facsimile like quality. The Dawning is the bands first full length after their regionally successful self-released EP. Sadly it boils down to the pop-emo-metal that I just can't stand. I forced myself to listen to about half of the CD before I wanted to rip it out of the player and smash the crap out of it. Though the band has reasonable musicianship, the talent falls upon deaf ears. The basic principle being, "Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should." The songs are all fully geared for the sterile sanitized realm of commercial rock radio and are comprised of pretty much all the things you've heard before–The crap I don't want to hear again.

Priapism

Priapism – Last Stand (EP) 2005 1332 RecordsWith intensity and urgency Priapism’s Last Stand blasts out at you from the speakers with metal-laden insurgency. Hailing from a seemingly odd location for this type of aggressive metal, Boise, Idaho’s Priapism puts it out there in such a way to convince you that Boise may not be the north western cow town that you’d probably expect.Last Stand is reminiscent of the hardcore metal onslaught of bands such as All Out War and Premonitions of War (war seems to be a binding thematic element here) Priapism offers a bit more diversity than that however with Clutch like breakdowns and a lot of Slayer influenced progressions. Musically the EP pounds and shreds, and for the most part I don’t have any complaints. I do however always make a point of contention with growling death metal vocals. That sort of thing ain’t my cup of tea. Fortunately much of the vox are done in a more intelligible hardcore friendly way.Aside from that, 3 of the 4 tracks clock in over 3 minutes with the average being approximately 3.8 minutes. My short attention span just can’t keep up. Barring any of my personally perceived down falls, Priapism seems to be a pretty promising new band.http://myspace.com/priapismusic-Jerry Actually

Between The Buried and Me – The Silent Circus

(c) 2003 Victory Records

Rating: ★★★★½

Between the Buried and Me has struck me to be one of the most intriguing bands that I have come across. This five piece band out of NC has shown a refreshing side of the “metalcore” scene. They express their diversity in many ways throughout the entire album that can send you on an emotional rollercoaster. “Lost Perfection” starts you off with countless mathematically sequenced rhythms leave you begging for more. From Clutch to Six Feet Under riffs you never lose interest on what the band is revealing to you. From there you get about half way into the album and it takes a heart felt anthem feeling with some ambient guitar tones, completely different from what the album began with. Lead singer Tommy Rogers continues to show his varied singing attributes throughout the clean softer part of the album. You get an abrupt awakening when “Ad a dglgmut” opens up, and the album continues its precise placement of speedy “riffery” to the end. This CD has not left my stereo yet….

Fulcrum