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

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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

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Adversary – Singularity

(c) 2008 Trustkill Records
Rating: ★★½☆☆

What do we have here? Lots o’ metal for damn sure. Not the worst I’ve heard, but not necessarily something I’m down with. It has some decent riffage but it also has a lot of wankin emo mello crap interludes. I guess you get what you pay for huh? At any rate if you like modern metal then you’ll love the livin’ daylights out of Adversary.

–Jerry Actually

Bloodbath [The Wacken Carnage]

Bloodbath – The Wacken Carnage(c) 2008 Peaceville RecordsBloodbath is a Swedish metal supergroup of sorts consisting of members of Katatonia and Opeth. The Wacken Carnage is a live CD/DVD double set from the bands brutal performance at the 2005 Wacken Open Air Festival. What can I say other than this mother shreds. (to the extreme) Of all the metal I’ve been listening to lately, I must admit that I’m rather fond of Bloodbath. They really bring it on home. Granted, I still could sleep easier at night without the sound of vocal chords shredding. What they lack in my particular vocal preference, is more than made up for with speed and aggression. Get this set, pop in the CD or DVD and enjoy the ensuing Bloodbath.–Jerry Actually

SIX – Between the Warning and the War

SiX – Between the Warning and the War(c) 2008 1605 Records So I’ve been having an overall lack of creativity as it pertains to writing lately. This new record by SIX hasn’t helped. I’m torn. It has the goods; It is fierce and aggressive. The riffs rule. The vocals don’t suck razorblades. So then why am I uncertain about how much I do or don’t enjoy it? I don’t really know. I’m gonna go out on a limb before my coffee kicks in and say that I do in fact like the disc. After all it gets a ringing endorsement and even a guest spot from Mike Clark on track 4 “Forgiveness” and features Franki Doll on track 5 “Perfect Life”.I guess the trepidation comes in on more of a personal level. I just don’t get into the metal like I once did. But by way of an endorsement of my own, if anything were going to pull me back over to the metal side, it would be this. Between the Warning and the War nearly rekindles the spirit of old Prong for me except with a Left Coast feel. That is certainly something in the background that draws me to this disc. I guess all the vascillating aside, SIX busts with some dark aggressive music in a unique but decidedly metal vein. The more I listen to it, the more I warm to it. So this one is up in the air but I think it’ll land heads up.–Jerry Actually

Arson Anthem

Arson Anthem – S/T (c) 2007 Housecore RecordsFrom the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina arises the legacy of hardcore brutality. Mike Williams lost a lot, including his home, in the post Katrina riots. Phil Anselmo just happened to have a spare apartment. The two sat around spending hours listening to Phil’s early hardcore music collection. Throw Hank III and Collin Yeo into the equation and you’ve got Arson Anthem. The self-titled debut has eight track of old school, raw as all get out, hardcore reminiscent of bands like Negative Approach and early Agnostic Front. On top of the brutality, you can still hear the southern roots. It makes for an interesting sound, like the Allman Brothers in an alternate universe or something. My personal imaginings aside, you too can find something old in something new when you rock the paint off the sonofabitchin’ walls with Arson Anthem.–Jerry Actually

Taste of Chaos [Tour Sampler]

The Best of Taste of Chaos Two (c) 2007 Warcon Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! This CD is a freaking screamo nightmare. Almost all of the bands on here have received poor marks from !upstarter in the past. The Taste of Chaos tour is obviously not meant for me. With a band list containing: Thursday, Taking Back Sunday, Senses Fail, Emery, Evaline and more, you can totally count me out of this pity parade. There is a very marginal amount of saving grace on the two disc set. The Anit-Flag track on the first disc and on disc two a track by Gwar. The second disc is definitley the better of the two. It is both faster and more melodic, however, it is still plagued by the sore throat that appears to have taken the music world by storm. Bottom line: I think I am going to hurl.–Jerry Actually

Beneath the Sky [What Demons do to Saints]

Beneath the Sky What Demons Do To Saints (c) 2007 Victory Records Holy freakin’ anger for anger’s sake. Spooky and demonic and you can totally tell these tough guys mean business just by looking at their scary mugs. They can play fast and bust into a pick scratch and then Azreal takes over and turns it into sucking shit. I guess if what they are trying to do is piss off the parents of angsty teens, well then sir, they have succeeded. What Demon’s Do To Saints … um, I guess they’re good at what they do. Serial killers are good at what they do too, but that doesn’t mean they ought to get praise. 666 demon thumbs down. This is freakin’ awful and pointless.–Team !upstarter

Freya [Lift The Curse]

Freya – Lift The Curse (c) 2007 Victory Records Forged from the fire of Earth Crisis and blessed by the Norse Goddess of TGIF, I submit to you, Freya. Lift The Curse is the newest effort from the Syracuse band that is equal parts metal and hardcore. The structure is certainly hardcore. Some of the guitar fills and breakdowns and the vocals are definitely METAL though. I have never been a fan of really harsh vocal growlings. Freya is on the edge there. The music helps reel it back in a bit, but overall Lift the Curse is a bit too vocal crunchy for me. Freya does go and keep it short attention span friendly though, with tracks lingering around the two and a half minute mark, with the exception of the prerequisite cover of War Pigs. All in all a good release, but again I’d like to hear less growl. –Jerry Actually