Argus – From Fields Of Fire (Cruz Del Sur Music)

Pennsylvania’s Argus stormed onto the underground metal scene with their twin guitar-driven, doom-tinged, working class metal sound. Releasing a self-recorded demo in early 2007 on John Brenner’s (Revelation/Against Nature) DIY label, Bland Hand Records, the band was roundly welcomed by the metal community at home as well as abroad and established its foundation amongst friends/fans within the scene. With this initial momentum, the band created a buzz that was only solidified by their punishing live performances.

Epic heavy metal is hard to execute without sounding repetitive. Sometimes your harmonies and melodies don’t carry much substance. Sometimes the lyrics are not to the caliber of the song titles. In the case of “From Fields Of Fire” by Argus, That is not at all the case. This album has everything that a great heavy metal album needs. Great vocal work that projects the epic feel of the album. the twin guitar harmonies are executed very well. The guitar work on this album reminds me of Dave Murray or maybe Janick Gers from Iron Maiden. The classic heavy metal sound never goes away on this album. I appreciate how the bass is turned up and it goes with the harmony of the guitars.

My favorite song on the album is “Devils Of Your Time”. I like the heavy harmony as well as the vivid songwriting. The songwriting and guitar work really made this album great. There lyrics do not seem to reflect something historic or something based off a story or a piece of writing. It seems to be based more from personal feelings and experiences with different emotions that make for a more personal experience to the listener. I am impressed by this brand of heavy metal. The song “No Right To Grieve” has a doomy, dark feel to it which compliments the epic songwriting on the rest of the album. “From Fields Of Fire” is filled with emotion and a traditional heavy sound that does not dissipate. 9/10


Author: Aldo Guzman

Retortion Terror​/​Invidiosus – Split (Horror Pain Gore Death Productions)

Not many grind splits have been released lately, especially not something as aggressive and unique as this. Retortion Terror has guitar work i have not heard before in a grind album. There are lots of surprising solos. Of course a grind album has to be brief, but there is a lot to be told in by this band. I love the imagery and the vocals. It has a mincy feel to it. I would very much like to see this band live, grind needs to come back like this.

Invidious really caught me by surprise. The death metal- like grind vocals set the pace for how the rest of the songs flow together. This band has the ability to piss me off but in a good way. ​Invidiosus is probably one of my favorite bands now. This split really left me wanting more and i know that with time they will only continue to improve their sound. The only thing this split is missing is more time. That is the frustrating thing about grindcore, you start getting excited about listening to it and 9 minutes later it is over. My favorite song on the album is “From The 16th Floor” it showcases everything grind should be. I has the mincy guitar/ drum work and the sharp and violent vocals that stand out. Hopefully there is more from these bands in the future. 9/10


Author: Aldo Guzman

Fu Manchu – Clone of the Universe (At The Dojo)

Southern Californian hard-rock legends Fu Manchu released their 12th studio album, Clone of the Universe, on February 9th, 2018 via their own label At The Dojo Records. Their record is their first in 4 years, following the 2014 release of Gigantoid. The band will be playing 2 album release shows in Southern California before hitting the road in Europe in March of 2018 and returning to the US in May of 2018. Additional 2018 shows will be announced in the coming months.

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You want the neck brace now or later? Because after listening to Fu Manchu’s 12th album, “Clone of the Universe” you’re gonna need one. Fuzzed out guitar riff after fuzzed out guitar riff, actually audible bass guitar, and vocals that fit the sound perfectly, you can actually smell the weed smoke billowing up from the crowd. The album’s opener “Intelligent Worship” kicks things off and let’s everybody know that this band has pretty much perfected the stoner rock sound.

This album really has something for everyone, “Don’t Panic”, the albums 3rd track has a much faster tempo to it, while the song “Nowhere Left To Hide” slows it down a bit to let you exhale that 4th bong hit. The albums closer “II Mostro Atomico” which translates to The Atomic Monster, clocks in at 18 minutes long. Yeah I know. An 18 minute song! Fuck that. I thought the same thing. But this song is absolutely killer! This is a musical direction Fu Manchu has not really explored before. This song really showcases Fu Manchu’s ability to really go outside their comfort zone and try something different. Plus it has a guest appearance from Alex Lifeson of Rush.

So with “Clone of the Universe” Fu Manchu has released an epic slab of stoner rock that really embodies everything that Fu Manchu has in their musical arsenal. The production is phenomenal, every instrument can be heard and appreciated. Nothing is buried in this record and it just comes across crystal clear.

So what do we have here? Well, we have a musical odyssey brought to us by a band in Fu Manchu that have really perfected their sound through the years. 12 albums in and they still sound as good and fresh as that Oz. of green bud you bought the other day. So i recommend going out and getting this album, kick yourself in the ass for not listening to Fu Manchu, and get on that dirty smelly tour van and enjoy the motherfucking ride.


Author: John Adams

Of Feather And Bone – Bestial Hymns Of Perversion (Profound Lore Records)

After garnering substantial praise for their long sold-out 2016 demo, OF FEATHER AND BONE returned to Goldberg Studios and recorded with Steve Goldberg (Cephalic Carnage) at the helm. The resulting album delivers a tumultuous salvo of blasting death metal; a more than thirty-two-minute exploration of the genre’s most vile tactics. Mastered by Dan Lowndes at Resonance Sound, and featuring stunning cover art courtesy of Stefan Todorovic, Bestial Hymns Of Perversion’s seven tracks of unrelenting death metal portend the destruction of the modern age.

Pulverizing their way through the dark depths of Denver, with seven delicious tracks of disastrous death metal. Starting the album off with the blast beat cacophony of “Repulsive Obscurity’ to the pinch squeal slaughter of “Lust For Torment”. “Bestial Hymns Of Perversion” slows down a bit towards the closing of “Mockery of the Ascension” before our faces are once again smashed in with “Hymn Of Perversion” With a Bolt Throwerish beatdown, this Terrorizer like combo deliver like a pizza boy to a frat house on superbowl Sunday.

OF FEATHER AND BONE is plotting live actions in support of the new album, having confirmed sets at several festivals this year. The first up is Total Death Over Mexico City On April 1st Dead Congregation, Ascended Dead, and more. June 1st will see the band at Northwest Terror Fest performing with Primitive Man, Gloam, Lago, and Mortiferum, and on June 15th OF FEATHER AND BONE will perform at Austin Terror Fest alongside Yob, 40 Watt Sun, Bell Witch, Pinkish Black, and more.

Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb at Mccormacks, Richmond Virgina

Hey it’s me Nikki Knight again with another show review. I know it’s been awhile but I will get you caught up on some of the best shows I have been at in the last few weeks. On Feb 1st 2018 I went to an awesome show with an eclectic array of artists. It was a night of debauchery and nakedness by the end of the night…well at least it was for me. I got a late start and Maximum Zero was half way done with their set. This wonderful band was all sexied up with red underwear as they played a punk songs with a funky dance melodies and with high energy. They were full of laughs and made us dance. They had great spirit and a beautiful mix of personality and vibe between the band mates. They played well together and put on a really good show during their set. Check out their Reverbnation for more information on them and give them a listen.
During intermission friends and I cooked down with already 4 shots and 4 whisky and cokes. I heard the crowed rumbling with anticipation about the next band. “As yeah I’m ready for Pissing Contest..”this shits going to be sick”..murmured a very drunk friend. This got my juices flowing and got me ready to rage in the pit. The name alone got me curious on what may happen and what their sound was going to be like. I drunkenly marched up the MCCORMACKS stairs and almost died. At that point all I can hear is the cheers in the crowd and the shred of a guitar as they warm up a bit before they started playing. The crowd was stirring with anticipation.
They began and the crowd exploded. I couldn’t help but move as fast as I could though I was drunk and couldn’t breathe. The awesomeness big their thrash sound had me head banging and moshing. I moshed to the point of exhaustion and threw up in my thankfully empty cup. I drunkenly screamed and announced the ghastly occurrence and so did the band. I should of been embarrassed but the crowd and the band made me feel accomplished for some reason. Their sound was amazing. Their powerful vocals and strong sound from the band as a whole possessed the whole crowd in wonderment. They’re definitely a band to take note of and check out. Go to their bandcamp to listen to their songs. Follow them and if you have a chance to check out one of their shows please do.

Once Pissing Contest’s set finished I quickly ran to the nearest sink and washed out my cup before returning it to the bar and deeply apologized. We got ready for the next band. Enemy Exorcism was up next and I was ready. They are a great crossover punk band that had a fun sound that kept you moving and dancing. The lead vocalist had a wonderful voice and her sparkling personality was only second to her sparkly shirt. They had a sound that just made me wanna mosh dance and smile. I was really happy to see them and I would recommend them to anyone looking for a fun time.

Finally the headlining band hit the stage and things got wild. Stop Worrying and Love The Bomb is a proto-post revival punk band that had high energy and a shipload of power. Like a bomb they exploded on stage and the strong power of the lead singer made the whole venue quake. I moshed to the point my shirt was torn off and my pants were down. That could have been the alcohol but the music made me feel strong and let me leave my inhibitions behind. They did a really awesome set and I couldn’t recommend them enough. Please check out their band camp you will not regret it.

This was a really great night, to the point I still remembered it, after being blackout drunk. This was a Between 2 Beers show and like all their shows it was amazing. If you ever in RVA please come to Mccormacks or to a B2B show. You will not regret it. Like always please stay tuned for your underground music news.

JIRM – Surge Ex Monumentis (Small Stone Records)

Very rarely does a 12 minute song fulfill all the elements required to be a great piece of music. There has to be a clear path in which the song is taking you. It is very easy for instruments to get repetitive and for the vision to be lost. When i saw that this album was clocking in at almost 70 minutes, i thought it would be hard to find the “vision” that most bands aim for. I was gravely mistaken. I don’t want to say i went into this album with a negative attitude, i simply took the album length into consideration. For the most part, albums of this length are either amazing, or they are a jumbled mess that lost its perspective way before the halfway point of the album. The album “Surge Ex Monumentis” by the Swedish band JIRM is something I was not expecting at all. The instrumental work on the album is great, musically it is amazing.

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The rhythm of the guitars and the drums lead into a groove that is brought together by the power metal type vocals. I don’t know how else to describe the vocal style. Great vocal range and a mix of high notes that are emphasized by the licks and fast tempo of the guitars. My favorite song on the album is “Tombs Arise”, It feels like a dark but exciting adventure that does not feel repetitive and it only gets more and more exciting as the tempo of the song gets higher and higher until the vocals peak which delivers a great solo and an amazing conclusion to the album.

There seems to be a lot of genuine emotion within the album that you can feel in the songwriting. It completely took me by surprise and i would love to see this band live. My only criticism with this album, would be that the vocals need to be pushed forward a little more. I would love to hear the screams and vocal range a little closer up. Other than that this is great album and i cant wait to see what this band does in the future. They nailed it in every aspect especially the guitar work and production of the overall record. 8.5/10


Author: Aldo Guzman

Xael – “Last Arbiter” (Test Your Metal Records)

The “Last Arbiter” by Xael is one of those albums you know you have heard before but not really sure where. Their influences are very prevalent, but that is not to be mistaken for a bad thing. They have mixture of deep vocal work, as well the imagery of their storytelling and skilled instrumental work, which lay out dark, brutal, and vivid imagery throughout the whole album. The concept of how the album was released is still fairly new to me, as the band chose to release 2 songs a month until the albums complete release, I think it is very important for bands to show the progress they are making to show supporting fans that they are a pivotal part in the music writing process. The opening track ” Apathy of the Immortal” is my favorite on the album. It truly has everything needed to make a great opener, as well as introduce new listeners to what the vision of what has happened to the sky ghost and his journey into the wastelands of Tymeer. It has great instrumental work, the drum work sets the pace for the timing of the melodic vocals, as well as the growls and epic solos.

Overall in this album, the melodic vocals and death growls compliment each other, which really emphasize the different parts of the story. The production on the album is something i did not expect. It really makes you feel as if you were listening to something that took place in space, in another galaxy, in another realm of death and brutality. The instrumental tracks are good mood setters during the album as they act as a display of great vocal work, and as part of the journey that you are taking through the vast wastelands of this land that is timer. The album has a lot of substance, as well as a desire to know what else is to come for the sky ghost. I am curious to see how the band Xael will follow this album as they set the bar pretty high with almost every aspect of the album. Would recommend if you ever want to take voyage to another reality beyond your mortal comprehension. 8.5/10


Author: Aldo Guzman