June 4th, 2012 Reviews

American Sharks – Weedwizard 7"

I am sorry to say this is one that fell between the cracks. I do not know much about them, but American Sharks are from Austin, Texas and they play some stoner doom rock on this two-song 7-incher. They sent it to me on vinyl, and since I only have a turntable at home I kept waiting for a chance to spin it at home, and eventually it fell off my radar. I finally got around to it this weekend, only to discover, to my chagrin, a download code for the digital version while reading the liner notes. Sorry guys, better late than never right?

I listened to both songs several times on the turntable and am playing them over and over again now on my phone. I love both of these songs, “XVI” and “Indian Man.” This is how this style of music should sound. “XVI” gives a nod to Sabbath with the riffs, but there is a punk flavor too. “Indian Man” sounds a little tighter and has even more punk energy. These songs are simple, well constructed, catchy and infectious. Please tell me there is an album in the works because I would buy that in a second.

Check out the video for “Indian Man” on YouTube.

Angel Grave - Ostendere Vestibulum

Angel Grave is an unsigned progressive death metal band from the Chicagoland area and “Ostendere Vestibulum” is their first EP. These guys look really young, but they do not sound it. I do not know if this was recorded in a basement, garage or a small studio, but it was recorded pretty well regardless. It has a very lo-fi sound in that it does not have the solid chunk of a big time production, but there are a lot of death metal albums out there that do not sound half this good in terms of clarity and separation, so kudos on sound quality guys.

Progressive death metal. That means we have lots of guitar shredding and harsh vocals, as well as poppin’ bass and jazz interludes. I think I would prefer they drop the more overt prog elements and stick with the death metal, but hey, it does not sound bad. The vocals have an early Chuck Schuldiner rawness combined with maybe a little Warbringer that I am digging quite a lot. The twelve minute “Organic Algorithms” goes a little off the ranch, particularly with the clean vocals. I think if they ease back on the prog a smidge, and stick with the metal, they could go places. Relatively speaking, anyway, since metal in America is about as lucrative as starting a website that reviews metal music…well hopefully slightly more so than that.

Entropy - E3

Entropy is a Toronto metal band getting ready to release their third album, “E3.” It looks like it has been awhile since the first two albums, but they seem to still be in good form. I do not know what they have been up to, if anything, since their last album in 1995, but they are certainly back with a vengeance.

“E3” is an old-school thrash and groove style album that at times brings to mind Forbidden’s “Forbidden Evil” sound. That was one of my favorite albums back in the day, so that can only be a good thing. Entropy’s singer, Ger, has a great voice, and much like Russ Anderson, he can hit some seriously high notes. The musicianship on “E3” is top notch and the production sounds really good too. These songs make me want to come out of pit retirement and mosh things up. These days I am more of a desk-jockey headbanger, so probably a more accurate statement would be to say this album is wearing out the springs in my chair from all the desk-banging. Hmmm, that sounds slightly naughty.

Anyway, the point is I really dig this band. Check out the track “Succubus” below, and if you happen to be in or around the Toronto area, check out their album release party at Hard Luck Bar on June 23rd.

Psychopathic Daze - Psychopathic Daze

Psychopathic Daze is another unsigned band from the Chicago area, and here we have their self-titled debut. Generally, when something is labeled metalcore I pre-judge that it is going to suck. Psychopathic Daze is also dubbed groove metal, and I think that is their saving grace. Musically this is a step beyond the tired conventions of metalcore. The harsh vocals style used certainly is reminiscent of metalcore, but you know, it works with hardcore or death metal just as easily.

The music is pretty tight and the production fairly slick. The songwriting is there too. My only complaint, and a minor one at that, is the vocals could use a little variety. It sounds like he must be using some kind of distortion effect on his vocals, and while that gives them an edge, it also sort of dulls out the highs and lows into one bland middle range. I think he would sound more dynamic if he sang “clean” harsh vocals.

On the whole, this is a very respectable release. Check these guys out on YouTube below.