Obituary – Obituary CD Review


Overkill: The Grinding Wheel – CD Review

What can be said about a band like Overkill that hasn’t already been said? They are among the pioneers of Thrash Metal, always consistent with their musical style, and show no signs of slowing down. The band’s latest album is entitled The Grinding Wheel and displays once again, these old school Thrashers still got it, and got it good.

With the bulk of the writing being done by bass extraordinaire D.D. Verni and lead singer Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth, it’s a little amazing this writing duo never run out of solid Thrash riffs. I mean really think about it, The Grinding Wheel is Overkill’s 18th studio release and their sound is still lively and as fresh ever.
As much as I enjoyed Overkill’s 2014 release White Devil Armory, I’m pretty sure The Grinding Wheel tops it. The combination of the rhythms, Bobby’s voice and production make this album sound old school and new all at once. As Thrashy as this album is, it’s also super clean sounding and here are a few prime examples that stood out to me.
Right off the bat starting with track one “Mean Green Killing Machine” we get a killer intro of drums followed by that traditional Overkill guitar tone and D.D.’s bass rumbling. The intro builds up slowly and then the payoff, a true Thrashers dream, a rhythm that should instantly turn any floor into a sweet circle pit. What I truly enjoyed about this tune is towards the middle of the song, there is a little slow down and we hear a lower toned Bobby sing in a range not normally associated with him. That slow down is followed by another build up and paying that off with some on point guitar solos towards the back half of the song. “Mean Green Killing Machine” is solid track and battling for my favorite on this album.
The very next track is called “Goddamn Trouble” and it is just downright fun. This particular tune struck me having a Southern tone or influence. Sort of odd that’s what I heard knowing darn well these Thrash veterans are straight New Jersey boys. Anyhow, the riffs and rhythm section hold the fort down with a steady energetic groove that every Headbanger wants from his Thrash music.
Moving on to track seven “Come Heavy” is possibly the most “commercial” sounding song on this record. It’s not super Thrashy, but it is heavy as hell. D.D.’s bass lines are really amazing on this track. If you are a fan of bass players like yours truly, you will appreciate this track. There is really steady drumming done on this track as well as some really neat guitar solos. Not the truest Thrash tune on this record but it’s one of my favorites.
What I enjoyed about Overkill’s record The Grinding Wheel most was there were moments where I could have sworn I was back in 1987, when Thrash was king. The Grinding Wheel has everything you want in an Overkill album, or any album. Great riffs, Bobby’s vocals are on point and really good writing. The new material should be most excellent live when their tour starts this month. You should buy this album and a ticket to the show, you won’t regret it.

Gene A. Gaona

Six Feet Under: Torment – CD Review

What can this humble reviewer say, I’m a Chris Barnes fan, and it’s not the popular opinion of the Metal community but Six Feet Under is my favorite band he has ever fronted. So as I waited for the bands twelfth studio release entitled Torment, I was really looking for something, and special is what I got.

 The first thing that stood out to me on this new record Torment was it had an incredible old school Six Feet Under feel to it, but with a ton of new found energy. Chris Barnes sounds amazing on this record, almost rejuvenated. Add Chris’s vocals in with Jeff Hughell’s ruthless riffs and heavy grooves we all have come to know and love from SFU, you really got something. Did I mention we have a new member playing on this album? Marco Pitruzzella is a one man wrecking crew behind the drum kit. Marco’s drumming style fits right in to with Six Feet Under like a hand to glove, a great addition to one of my favorite bands.

Trying to pick out a few of my favorite tracks on Torment was a little more difficult than usual because there seems to be an abundance of killer material on here. So here are a few that I found it necessary to talk about.

One of the first songs that grabbed me was the second track called “Exploratory Homicide.” If you like your Death Metal at a frantic, yet steady pace, this is a song for you. The drumming is out of control in the best way possible. The guitar and bass riffs keeping pace with the drums is a perfect blend of Death Metal goodness.

Moving on to track four “Schizomaniac,” this song embodies Six Feet Under perfectly; it has what you want in your Death Metal. Blistering Death Metal blast beats, big heavy grooves, and a nice little “slower” section. “Schizomaniac” changes speeds perfectly and is a really well produced song.

“Slaughtered As They Slept” is the seventh track on Torment and possibly my favorite. This song starts out sounding dark, heavy and evil as hell. And then around the one minute mark something happens, it absolutely makes me want to destroy and kill everything in my sight (minus the wife and kids of course). This brutal riffs kicks in followed by some flowing lyrics that sound ridiculously perfect together. “Schizomaniac” is an instant Six Feet Under classic and in my opinion should make the live rotation when they are on tour.

Since I have gotten a little older I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes blast beats can be a little overwhelming. But if you arrange them with outstanding slower riffs and deep grooves, it can be a perfect marriage. This Metal fan is of the opinion that Torment is one of the most brutal, heavy and fun releases I have heard in a long time. Now Brother Chris get the boys together and get down to Nor Cal, we await the return of the mighty Six Feet Under live!

  Gene A. Gaona

Final Drive: Dig Deeper

With a singular focus on getting asses out of seats, southern groove thrashers FINAL DRIVE deliver blunt force hell raisin’ beer drinkin’ F*CK YEAH metal with the arrival of their new release, Dig Deeper. Set for official release on February 3, 2017 Dig Deeper signifies the evolution of FINAL DRIVE as it takes daring new approaches and include new collaborations that have yielded their most impressive and powerful music yet.

Continue reading “Final Drive: Dig Deeper”

Sepultura: Machine Messiah (Nuclear Blast)

Class is eternal and metal is forever. The road to heavy music glory is littered with the shattered corpses of those that didn’t have the strength to complete the journey. But true masters always win through, and Sepultura have long since earned their status as legends of the metal world. In 2017, they return with more fire in their collective belly than ever before. Machine Messiah is coming…

As an old school Sepultura fan and a man who has the bands iconic “S” design tattooed on his forearm, I’m always weary about new releases from the band and with good reason. I have heard enough post Max and Igor Cavalera Sepultura to know nothing has really stuck out to me, until now.

Sepultura’s latest release “Machine Messiah” has plenty of material and sounds that span a lot of genres of Metal, and maybe I’m getting soft in my old age but there are some tracks on this album I really enjoyed the first time through. Here are a few highlights and tracks that stuck out to me.

“I Am The Enemy” in particular has a frantic pace, Eloy Casagrande’s drums are solid and Andreas Kisser’s guitar leads really pop. This song is the closest thing old school Sepultura fans will relate to in my humble opinion, aggressive and straight to the point.

“Iceberg Dances” is possibly my favorite. This one is an instrumental and a pretty neat little jam session. It finds a really nice balance of progressive, thrash and south of the border acoustic. I know, sounds like a lot to take in, but it works for this song. The fun part of this with all its twists and turns musically for me was following around Paulo Jr’s bass lines. Well played Paulo, well played.

“Sworn Oath” starts out nice with a real melodic feel to it, and before you know it POW, it’s almost like Nightwish, Slayer, and Pantera had a baby. It made me think of Nightwish because of its big production sound and the use of synthesizers….yes synthesizers. I thought of Slayer because when the riff starts it’s dark, evil and dirty sounding, a real treat to the ears. And finally Pantera, forgive me for saying this but Derrick Green’s vocals along with the riffs has a real “Cowboys From Hell” feel to it.

I try to be brutally honest and speak from the heart, that’s what I do. “Machine Messiah” isn’t going to be for everybody, it’s all over the map musically and metalheads like consistency. Times change, people change, music changes, and this isn’t “Arise” or “Beneath the Remains,” this is the latest release from Sepultura called “Machine Messiah,” and it’s a pretty good album.

Gene A. Gaona

Solitude – Reach for the Sky – Music Review

Going in to this review of SOLITUDE’s album entitled “Reach for the Sky” released in North America through the Test Your Metal Records label I had no expectations because I knew little to nothing of this band hailing from Tokyo, Japan. Turns out I was pleasantly surprised and it’s a solid Metal album with a ton of classic influences.

SOLITUDE was formed in 1996 as I before mentioned in Tokyo by members Takamasa “Mad” Ohuchi on Drums, Toru Nishida on Bass, Akira Sugiuchi on Vocals and Shingo Ida on Guitars. Their previous releases were all through the Japanese label Spiritual Beast which distributes throughout the Orient such classic metal from artists such as RAVEN, DIAMOND HEAD also AGENT STEEL and include SOLITUDE’s 2001’s “Virtual Image”, 2009’s “Brave the Storm” and a 2015 previous release of this album “Reach for the Sky”

solitude-1

With a North American release date of November 25th a few things were made very clear to me after a few listens that these dudes from Japan can jam. I couldn’t help but hear the influences of Saxon, Motorhead and maybe even some Accept and definitely Iron Maiden.

The first tack is called “Venoms Angel” and it starts off with a nice mellow acoustic intro followed by a really  thrashy build up with the double bass drums leading you in to a classic heavy metal rhythm like the days of old. “Venoms Angel”was a great way to start off this album because the riffs are good enough to hook any young or old school metal head.

The title track “Reach for the Sky” is a little bit slower paced but really hit home and it took me a bit to figure out why. The guitars are on fire on this song with really broad sweeping solos and solid rhythms backing them up. I enjoyed this track a lot and it finally clicked why it sounded so good, “Reach for the Sky” is a song that could have been released on any number of classic Iron Maiden albums. It has that classic Maiden sound, the tones, the feel and the arrangement are all thee. (Notice I didn’t mention the vocals….keep reading)

My favorite track from this album is “You Got My Mind”. Akira Sugiuchi vocals are in the same vein as the late great Lemmy Killmister and the majority of this song has Motorhead’s finger print all over it. Akira sounds so close to Lemmy especially on this track it is ridiculous, and the drums have a real Phil “Philthy” Animal energy to them. If you took an average metal fan and played this song for them and asked the question “who is this” 9 out of 10 would probably say Motorhead, it is that good. This song also has a few unexpected time changes in it which once again have a real Maiden anthem feel to it.

SOLITUDE is a really solid metal band and “Reach for the Sky” is a well produced album. Listening to new music or albums can be hard at times for people like me; we all get stuck in our ways and tend to close our minds to anything new. But an album like “Reach for the Sky” has something so familiar about it your ears and brain forget you’re listening to something new. It has been a long time since I could sit and listen to a new album from an unfamiliar artist in its entirety and enjoy it, until now. Congratulations to SOLITUDE and their album “Reach for the Sky”, you have made it into my music rotation. Really good stuff guys! **Gene A. Gaona**

Superjoint- Caught Up In The Gears Of Application

I’m in the minority of people who think Superjoint is Philip H. Anselmo’s best band to date, yes even better than Pantera.  This Philip fronted band had me at the first chords of the original groups initial offering in 2002  “Use Once and Destroy” and followed that up on 2003’s release named “A Lethal Dose of American Hatred”. So here we are now in 2016 on the eve of Superjoint’s new release “Caught Up In The Gears Of Application” with a new line up, no Ritual in the name and very high expectations.

With a line up consisting of founders Philip H. Anselmo, Jimmy Bower (Down, Eyehategod), Kevin Bond (Christ Inversion, Artimus Pyledriver) being joined by drummer Jose “Blue” Gonzalez (Warbeast, Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals) and bassist Stephen Taylor (Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals, Woven Hand, 16 Horse Power) this group picks up where the initial band left off 13 years ago.

Right out of the gate the first track entitled Today and Tomorrow comes out swinging. This heavy groove based song is a stop and go of heaviness. With a healthy supply of “F” bombs in the chorus the best way to sum up this track is angry.

superjoint-1

Jumping ahead to track 4 the title track Caught Up In The Gears Of Application, this song is pure old school sounding Superjoint. After a minute or so of being pummeled by Jimmy and Kevin with some really fast riffs it breaks down and in comes some great “dirty” sounding Southern style Metal grooves. The combination of Blue and Stephen on the slower parts of this song are some of the best grooves I have heard in a long time. This track is a perfect blend of speed and heaviness.

Track 7 is called Asshole and it is my favorite. To me this song is a perfect Superjoint song and I have already put it up  with some of my favorite previous releases. Heavy, groovy, crunchy and powerful, this song has it all. If you like a good old fashion circle pit with multiple gears, this is the song for you.

Having listened to this album probably ten times in the last twenty four hours a few things really stand out to me. “Caught Up In The Gears Of Application” has a heavy punk influence mixed with a Southern Metal sound. Philip H. Anselmo gruff vocals are still one of the best in metal period. Jimmy and Kevin’s guitars are steady and consistent and have just enough twang on them you can practically smell the swamps of Louisiana. And finally I’m a sucker for a good rhythm section, it’s the back bone to any great sound and Blue and Stephen are pure Metal magic together on this album.

“Caught Up In The Gears Of Application” is a really solid mix of different sounds, speeds and influences and has a little bit of everything for everyone. As a fan of Philip and any incarnation of this band, I can say wholeheartedly my high expectations have been met and I can’t wait for these Dudes to get on the road and support their latest release live.  (Multiple Nor Cal stops would be nice!)

Superjoint will bring their venom to the stage for their official record release show on November 12th, 2016 in Dallas, their only US appearance of the year. Tickets are on sale now!
11/12/2016 Gas Monkey Live! – Dallas, TX w/ Tombs, Warbeast, Wolvhammer, Protest [tickets]

  Gene A Gaona