Clutch – Book of Bad Decisions (Weathermaker Music)

Maryland’s Clutch, return to the recorded music scene, with their twelveth album, “Book Of Bad Decisions”. The fourth being, on their own label, imprint Weathermaker Music.
With fifteen tracks of bluesy, funky stoner rock, Clutch serves us up a platter of juicy goodness. With a wide array of instruments, ranging from Hammond B3 organs, vibraphones, saxophones to trumpets and trombones. It appears, that the band is taking us on a not too distant, trip through time with their Americana hard rockin’ sound.
On a “A Good Fire” vocalist and occasional guitarist Neil Fallon takes an almost Volbeatesque vocal approach to the bass heavy groove that carries on in the fine tradition of the Clutch that we all have grown to love.

Nothing More Takeover at Cargo Concert Hall in Reno 7/23/18

Nothing More headlined Cargo Concert Hall at the Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno Monday night, supporting their album, The Stories We Tell Ourselves. Nothing More performed with Bad Wolves and Eyes Set to Kill on an off-night from their current tour with Breaking Benjamin and Five Finger Death Punch.

Eyes Set To Kill did a great job warming up the crowd. Everyone was discussing how nice it was to see a female-fronted band on the bill. Bad Wolves was next, and burst out with insane amounts of energy, strobe lights, and personality. Bad Wolves fully-engaged their fans, and never stood still, which was challenging for photographers, as vocalist Tommy Vext only slowed briefly to perform the Diamante duet, “Hear Me Now”, which they ended with a big kiss. They closed their set having fans light up the venue with cell lights (and lighters) and sing along to their hit cover, The Cranberries’ “Zombie.” Tommy vowed to stay until he met every last fan, rather than charge for V.I.P. packages, and the crowd immediately migrated toward their merch to meet him between sets. They killed it, and we cannot wait to see them perform at Aftershock 2018 in October.

By the time Bad Wolves finished, from the front of the hall to the back wall, the venue was packed with fans eagerly anticipating Nothing More’s performance. They charged out of the gate, opening with fan-favorite “Do You Really Want It?”, and the crowd responded, loudly finishing the song for them in unison. For “Just Say When”, the crowd took the opportunity to relax, breathe, and sing along to the mellow, beautiful, acoustic Billboard single that vocalist Jonny wrote about his ex. At one point, he asked who had a Jenny in their life, and the crowd erupted with approval as they launched into “Jenny”. Nothing More whipped out a bass contraption that spins and rotates as Jonny, bassist Daniel, and guitarist Mark all performed a spectacular three-person bass solo. In addition, the three performed an acrobatic drum solo, which showcased their diversity, musicianship, and extraordinary talent.

Toward the end of “This Is The Time”, Jonny rocketed into the air, as he began manning the digital effects atop the massive Scorpion Tail, a 400-pound, 14-foot tall contraption that Daniel conceived and built from scrap metal and auto and motorcycle salvage parts. Jonny had a wild ride, as they went into a cover of Skrillex’s “First of the Year”. Fans surged forward, and started falling over the barrier into the photo pit, and we were asked to exit the pit for our safety; the Cargo security staff were pros, handled it, and kept everyone safe for the duration. I have a new favorite band to photograph, and cannot wait until they return to the area once again, as Nothing More always delivers a mesmerizing performance from start to finish.

Nothing More is:
Jonny Hawkins – Vocals
Daniel Oliver – Bass
Mark Vollelunga – Guitar
Ben Anderson – Drums

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Pictures and words courtesy of Jennifer Black @ Black J Photo

Glanville – First Blood (Fat & Holy Records)

Formed by childhood friends Philipp Michel and René Hofmann, Glanville is a brand new heavy rock band from Germany. Having played in groups like Wight, Foh, The Earwix and Milking the Goatmachine, Hofmann and Michel are experienced musicians and quickly wrote some songs that demanded to be played by a real and full-grown band in front of a crowd.

The search for the right partners took more than a year, but finally the line-up was completed with the entrance of Peter-Philipp Schierhorn (Fallen Tyrant) on bass, Thomas Hoffmann (Bushfire) on drums, and Chris West (Trippy Wicked, Stubb and Landskap) on second guitar.

Looks like heavy metal is still very much alive. I don’t mean the classic metal bands putting out material. Don’t get me wrong, i love when Maiden or Priest come out with new material, but what about new bands making heavy metal in 2018? German heavy rockers Glanville have shown that they got what it takes to carry the heavy metal torch. First blood has managed to bring a fresh sound to the table, and its pretty damn good. The cover art itself makes me want to listen to it. Right away the opening track “God is Dead”, pulls me in. First, because of the name of the song. Secondly because of the killer riffs and amazing vocal work. The flexibility of the vocal range is impeccable. The way the music carries its melodies with the guitar and the bass of the drums gives it that classic, yet unique heavy sound. Its as if I’m hearing the riffs from Adrian Smith from Iron Maiden.

There is a similar sound in the riffs that brings you back to the heavy metal days. I love the polished sound of the bass as well. This is truly something you would show someone that says dumb shit like “heavy metal is dead” or “ Its all dad metal”. Glanville have shown on EVERY song on this album that heavy metal is very much alive. There is honestly not one song that I don’t enjoy on here. My favorite song on the album is “Durga The Great”. The best way I can describe this song is…well imagine that Ronnie James Dio did vocals for Iron Maiden. Its a pretty big thing to compare Glanville to Maiden and Dio, but honestly they executed everything to perfection on their debut. I am going to spend my money on this band’s music. I advise you all do the same. 9.5/10

God Is Dead
Dancing On Fire
Durga The Great
Demons
Time To Go

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Author: AJ Guzman

Gruesome – Twisted Prayers (Relapse Records)

“Twisted Prayers” is GRUESOME’s second full length release and wherever the hell Chuck Schuldiner is, he has this thing on full blast and is throwing up the horns. If you think this band is simply a Death tribute band, a Death cover band, or a gimmick band, you are really missing out on some really good death metal. Gruesome not only pays homage to Chuck Schuldiner and Death by keeping the attitude, the riffs, the overall old school death metal vibe, but they do it really really fucking good.

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Dimmu Borgir – Eonian (Nuclear Blast Records)

Aww, DIMMU BORGIR. The band that divides the black metal fan base like Donald Trump has divided America, have released their latest magnum opus “Eonian”. After “Abrahadabra”, I was really expecting something similar. I couldn’t have been more wrong. While the aforementioned album was just bland and boring, this album is the complete antithesis of that album. Black metal “pursists” are going to hate “Eonian”, and that’s too bad, because they are missing out on one hell of an album.

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Velo Misere – Genealogía del Eterno Desasosiego (Hexencave Productions)

Velo Misere is formed by five black metal devotees who have been active during the last decade, manifestly or anonymously, in several bands within the Spanish underground metal scene. They debuted in 2017 with their first demo ‘Compendio de Trágicos Presagios’ and this year they’ve completed their second work, a four track EP that was released on May 1st by Hexencave Productions in CD format and Humanity’s Plague Productions on cassette.

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An Evening With John 5 In Sacramento, California – April 15th, 2018

On April 15th 2018 John 5 returned to Sacramento accompanied by supporting act Hero Jr. This was my second time seeing John 5. The first time was in 2015 on a headlining tour with Doyle. The show took place at Harlows. Right away you can see the dedication of the fan base as it was raining lightly but that did not stop people from standing in line. It amazes me that a performer such as John 5 can bring an amazing musical experience without any vocals. The show was amazing as always, filled with many surprises. Hero Jr. was a refreshing new take on rock n roll with some growls mixed into the high points of the songs. They are a 4 piece hard rock outfit from Indiana. I was very curious as to what their sound was going to be because very rarely do I discover a new rock n roll band. Especially one that is original and brings a totally new sound to the cemented rock genre. About 40 seconds into their first song the whole crowd was moving and bobbing their heads. The guitar work was amazing. Fast licks and a range of vocal work. A lot of groove and a lot of talent. I was glad that this was the only band that opened for John 5 as we got to see a lot of great material from Hero Jr.

John 5 came out in a slow foggy atmosphere, which quickly turned into a battle of shredding. Its as if he tries to top himself every time. There was a few slow songs which showcased his more personal side to the music and complimented the shredding of the whole show. It was a beautiful performance. The highlight of the night was special guest, Slayer/Exodus guitarist Gary Holt joining John 5 for an amazing cover of Enter Sandman. It was amazing to see that in such a small venue. Truly powerful the way the entire crowd sang along to it. Personally i lost my voice after that. John 5 then closed the set with a beautiful medley of songs. Everything from Iron Maiden to Van Halen. It was great seeing everyone enjoy the music and live in the moment. There was a special encore of John 5 performing the Rage Against The Machine classic “Killing In The Name Of”, and then of course his cover of beat it by Michael Jackson. We were all left wanting more. Visually and musically an amazing show. John 5 always delivers. No filler, all talent.

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Author: AJ Guzman