Posts Tagged ‘Chris Ayers’

Green Jellÿ – Musick to Insult Your Intelligence By

In a visual comparison, both Gwar and Green Jellÿ wear elaborately goofy costumes onstage (Gwar actually taught Green Jellÿ how to make their own latex costumes). Musically, the bands share the comedy shtick, though as Gwar leans toward metal, Green Jellÿ seem satisfied to play loud punk rock. The biggest difference is that Gwar has […]

Alice in Chains – Black Gives Way to Blue

After one spin of the new Alice in Chains album, it’s screamingly apparent that our dearly departed Layne Staley did not quite make this band—guitarist Jerry Cantrell did. However, none of Cantrell’s numerous post-AIC solo tunes seriously gelled with fans, either. But there are two truisms evident in each note of Black Gives Way to […]

XXX Maniak / Coffins – The Cracks of Doom

A solid split of goregrind and deathdoom, The Cracks of Doom features two proponents of the extreme underground: Philadelphia’s XXX Maniak and Japan’s Coffins. The half-hour album is split evenly between the two bands; XXX Maniak boast twenty brief cuts between fifteen and sixty seconds, totaling the first fifteen minutes, while Coffins handle two epic […]

Hammers of Misfortune – Fields/Church of Broken Glass

Practically every progressive rock band wants to record their own version of Tales from Topographic Oceans, the 1974 double album that was praised—or vilified, depending on the listener’s caprice—as Yes’ finest hour (and twenty minutes) of prog-indulgence. The fact that Yes weathered the loss of keyboardist nonpareil Rick Wakeman after its release and still came […]

Guapo – Elixirs

Nothing has been heard from the Guapo camp since 2005’s Black Oni on Ipecac Records and founding member Matt Thompson’s untimely departure from the fold. The remaining duo of keyboardist Daniel O’Sullivan (who now assumes all guitars and bass from Thompson’s vacancy) and drummer David Smith take up the helm of this UK-based experimental, mostly […]

Phobia – 22 Random Acts of Violence

Melding the grind worlds of Brutal Truth and Napalm Death, Orange County’s Phobia still sounds better than most modern grind bands—and ten times better than any crust of yore. The raw and muddy production values of early Terrorizer, Napalm Death, and Carcass doesn’t follow Phobia and their revolving roster, this time tapping Intronaut drummer Danny […]

Beehoover – Heavy Zooo

Following in the mold of metal duos Black Cobra and Early Man, German doom deuce Beehoover offers colossal slabs of metal from bassist Ingmar Petersen and drummer Claus-Peter Hamisch. As the rhythm section of doom rockers Voodooshock (who reportedly parted ways with Petersen and Hamisch), they channeled ’70s-era Black Sabbath into Wall of Sleep-like compositions. […]

Founding drummer of Rush dies at 55

For my 13th birthday, my best friend John Doyle gave me a vinyl copy of Rush’s Moving Pictures. Being a very young drummer myself, this album of course changed my life, as I began my lifelong Rush obsession on that humid July afternoon. Quickly buying up their back catalog, I had a special affinity for […]

New England Metalfest, er, happened.

They took my pens. While being re-admitted for Day 2 of the 10th annual New England Hardcore & Metal Festival at the Palladium in Worcester, Mass., the frisker at the door takes my ballpoint pen and black Sharpie out of my pack and unceremoniously throws them away. “Hey, are you serious?!?” I state. “Yeah, they […]

5ive – Hesperus

For those fans too ADD to sit through any previous albums by 5ive, these Boston psych-drone warriors return with their most accessible and arguably their best album yet. Hesperus is the band’s first long-player since 2001’s Telestic Disfracture, with two EPs (2002’s The Hemophiliac Dream and 2004’s Versus) and a solo project (guitarist Ben Carr’s […]

Nadja – Skin Turns to Glass

Prolific is a word that’s often used to describe the Toronto-based experi-metal duo Nadja, as they’ve released over a dozen recordings in the past two years. How many of them are worth a listen is another story, but Aidan Baker (guitars, vocals, woodwinds, drum machines) and Leah Buckareff (bass, vocals) dip into their past on […]

Brant Bjork and the Bros – Somera Sól

Brant Bjork has always exhibited a trademark laidback attitude about rock music, having first cut his teeth in the mega-influential stoner-rock icons Kyuss, then departing that success to join the looser but no less phenomenal Fu Manchu. With a slew of formidable solo records, Bjork now gathers Kyuss alum Alfredo Hernández on drums, Cortez on […]

Consular – Don’t Cross the Swine

Miami’s Consular must hail from the swampiest sections of the Everglades, for their molasses-slinging hurricane of sludge begins with the typical scavenging of spare chords from Grief, Eyehategod, Iron Monkey, and the like. But this four-piece stops there, adding instead more melody without detracting from the sheer density of their sound. Their debut Don’t Cross […]

End of Level Boss – Inside the Difference Engine

Rarely does a band stack up to their ambitious bio, but UK’s End of Level Boss do in excess. Flirting with Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, Metallica, and Godflesh on their 2005 debut Prologue couldn’t even hint at what was in store for this London quartet on Inside the Difference Engine—and now, thankfully, every semblance of […]

Darsombra – Eternal Jewel

When Brian Danilowski isn’t plucking his bass in Baltimore math-metallists Trephine, he straddles the time/space continuum with his experimental/noise solo project Darsombra. 2006’s Ecdysis only hinted at what was to come from this creative soul, as the new Eternal Jewel wraps the listener around sheer volume, both layered and frayed. “Auguries” resembles a classical-styled (with […]

Raw Radar War – ==

You can take a kid out of punk, but you can’t take punk out of a kid, and Jonah Jenkins is a prime example. As the vox of some truly great Boston-based underground bands (Milligram, Miltown, and Only Living Witness to name a few), Jenkins resurfaces at the helm of Raw Radar War. The oddly-titled […]

Jordan Rudess – The Road Home

Despite most tribute albums being overblown, indulgent, and downright selfish, Dream Theater keyboardist Jordan Rudess jumps on the crowded bandwagon with his own homage to his primary influences—but the difference is The Road Home doesn’t suck…at all. Rudess chooses a varied set list and hand-picks his musician friends to pull it off correctly. Emerson, Lake […]

Cough – Kingdom EP

Predating their forthcoming debut full-length, Sigillum Luciferi on Richmond, Virginia’s Forcefield Records, is the four-song Kingdom EP by sludge monkeys Cough. Setting out to be the “loudest and heaviest band in Richmond,” this four-piece adds more depth to the subgenre alongside Cavity, Bongzilla, and Hawg Jaw. Beginning with Iron Monkey-ish feedback, “The Misanthrope” lopes along […]

Constants – The Murder of Tom Fitzgerril EP

Boston-based Constants turn in another chapter of spacey post-rock with The Murder of Tom Fitzgerril, the follow-up to their excellent 2004 debut, Nostalgia for the Future. Fans of the ambient, more mesmerizing side of Isis or even Tool will dig the band’s approach to songcrafting: cyclical, engaging chordal progressions coupled with vocal lines that complement […]

Mörglbl – Grötesk

With a weird moniker and a disturbing cover photo (three grown men dressed in knickers and plastic hats, sitting closely together on a couch in the clouds), there’s little immediate attraction to France’s Mörglbl. However, one spin of their newest platter, Grötesk, and all prog fans will be clearing their calendars to witness the band […]

Dÿse – S/T

Exile on Mainstream Records Trying desperately to be different, the dynamic Dutch duo known as Dÿse (say “DOO-zee”) have some most unusual cover art: a dead baby mouse supported by an exotic flower and lying in a bowl of milk. Their eponymous debut, however, is less singular but still captivating. Featuring members of Volt and […]

Black Hell – Deformers of the Universe

Arizona’s crippling summer heat has forged some of the underground’s most abrasive bands, including Unruh (1999’s Setting Fire to Sinking Ships on Pessimiser), Wellington (1999 split with Noothgrush on Deep Six), and Carol Ann (2003 split with Noothgrush on Catchphraze). Phoenix’s Black Hell—starring Unruh bassist Mike Bjella, Wellington guitarist Charlie Goodwin, and two Carol Ann […]

High On Fire – Death Is This Communion

San Francisco aggro-doom trio High on Fire check in with their latest, Death Is This Communion. This marks the departure of Smilin’ Joe Preston (show of hands, who didn’t see that coming?), bassist extraordinaire from Thrones, Melvins, Earth, et al. but not quite metal enough to handle such a thunderous mantle. Enter Holy Terror axeman […]

Stephen Brodsky’s Octave Museum – Stephen Brodsky’s Octave Museum

From the opening chords and snare march of “Voice Electric,” fans will realize that Cave In frontman Stephen Brodsky has hit total paydirt with this side project while his main band is on indefinite hiatus. The band’s debut album—and probably their last, since Brodsky has since moved on to front Pet Genius—is the best effort […]

31 Knots – Polemics EP & The Days and Nights of Everything Anywhere

With each successive release, Portland, Oregon’s indie-prog saviors 31 Knots veer further from their point(s) of origin. What began long ago as what seemed like Yes synthesis has become an astonishing insouciance for past influences, as the band capriciously shows their current penchant for odd electronica, loops, and samples. Repeating the EP-preceding-LP pattern for their […]