“The Best Of Helix: Deep Cuts” by Helix

Artist: Helix
Title: “The Best Of Helix: Deep Cuts”
Label: EMI Music/Capitol Records
Release Date: 3/9/1999
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 4/5

Everytime I hear the band Helix I am pulled back in time to the music station U68 that I often watched during those Hard Rockin’ Eighties. This was the place where you could see Metal videos on a regular basis since MTV was not yet available everywhere, and since you could not always catch the broadcast clean – you often piled to someone’s house that could catch it. I liked it actually as there was always an interesting variety of bands to absorb and one of them that received regular rotation was Canada’s own Helix. It was a time where everyone had big hair and most people wore spandex as they visited the clubs where Hard Rock and Heavy Metal was a blossoming industry. Motley Crue and the sunset strip bands were becoming popular and while never really receiving any level of Stateside critical acclaim, Helix had a lot of fun stuff and were an energetic Hard Rock band. This CD is a great way to absorb some of the bands best music and find your memory jogged to when the industry was a lot less complex. Older listeners will remember some of these tracks fondly, such as the anthem “Rock You”, which was more a Heavy Metal Cheerleading call. Ballads were going on every jukebox and if you had a Hard Rock band you were expected to do one of these as well so Helix offered up “Deep Cuts The Knife”, which to this day remains one of my favored power ballads. They also had “Dream On” and no, I am not speaking of the Aerosmith version. It’s a song like this that makes one wonder how the band never reached a higher plateau in this region. Other selections of note on the disk are “Gimme Gimme Good Lovin’”, “Wild In The Streets”, and “The Kids Are All Shakin’”.
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“Come What (Ever) May” by Stone Sour

Artist: Stone Sour
Title: “Come What (Ever) May”
Label: Roadrunner Records
Release Date: 8/1/2006
Genre: Hard Rock/Metal
Rating: 4.5/5

Stone Sour is a band formed by Corey Taylor and James Root of the band Slipknot and before I go any further you have to know that the two groups could not be any more different from each other in terms of musical style and delivery. “Come What (Ever) May” is the bands second effort and if you have never heard them before it might surprise you as to the level of quality songs on the recording. I say this based on the fact that it is so seldom that a side-project ever really amounts to something here in the States while our European Metal scene friends end up forming projects that not only record but do international tours as well. There is certainly a lot more melody going on in this album and such a drastic change in direction from Slipknot and the key members identities, that it will most likely not an album that the fans of that band will snatch off the shelves. However despite their potential reservations it does have a strong level of appeal on a different vibe entirely – the choruses are quite catchy, and with songs like “Made Of Scars” and “Through Glass” the audience has the chance to join in on the singing. This alone reinforces the power of the tune in people’s minds and makes it all the more memorable at the end of the day. Some explicit lyrical content is present across the CD but it is not as prevalent as to make it offensive but instead seems to be used to drive the point home. The groups membership is rounded out by Joah Rand (guitar), Shawn Economaki (bass) and Roy Mayorga (drums) who pound out the heaviness necessary at times on the album as well as make this an amazing melodic Hard Rock experience at others points. There is a strong potential for hits for the band are many on it and for those that worry that its not going to be heavy at all, should listen to opener “30/30-150” and “Come What (Ever) May” since they pack a punch.
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“Organic Hallucinosis” by Decapitated

Artist: Decapitated
Title: “Organic Hallucinosis”
Label: Earache Records
Release Date: 2/7/2006
Genre: Death Metal
Rating: 4/5

Decapitated is probably one of the best purveyors of the Technical Death Metal bands around these days and it shows very well on their newest album “Organic Hallucinosis”. The band’s raised their personal bar of musical acumen with this one especially in the way the drums and guitar riffs are laid down. It’s done in such a fashion that one might assume that fans of Fear Factory will find quite a bit of their influence on this release – there is a strong industrial meets technical metal vibe that is happening on all the songs. Vocally there are some reminders of Behemoth but that is where the comparison ends. The membership roster finds Vogg (guitars), Covan (vocals), Martini (bass) and Vitek (drums) putting their all into it. The bands oldest fans might miss Sauron (vocals who left in 2005) a little bit but this is too good a release to hang on to that sort of thing. Songs like “Revelation Of Existence” and “Day 69” stuck out the most for me based on the displays of musical ability performed. Bands like Decapitated help to change the way this kind of music is accepted and make it more acceptable to greater audiences this way. This edition is a limited edition dual disc which makes it all the more appealing for the bands fans. Side one is the audio, but side two is a full concert DVD that brings a performance from B.B. King Blues Club (New York City) right into your living room. Songs featured on the DVD are as follows: three Dimensional Defect, The Fury, Nihility, Negation, Lying And Weak, Spheres Of Madness and Mother War. Filmed at one of the bands support appearances, the 35 minute set from 7-11-2005 captures the band at the best and onstage in front of an intense crowd.
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“Bloodbath And Beyond” by GWAR

Artist: GWAR
Title: “Bloodbath And Beyond”
Label: DRT Entertainment
Release Date: 6/20/2006
Genre: Heavy Metal
Rating: 2.5/5

Straight from the “GWAR-chives” comes this award-show meets career retrospective “Bloodbath And Beyond” hosted by singer Oderus Urungus (Dave Brockie) and band manager Sleazy P. Martini. The pair sits in director’s chairs ala Siskel & Ebert and line out the award that GWAR has received by showcasing various points in the bands career. While the footage is pretty dark at times it does take you back to the earliest instances of GWAR on the live stage with one of them taking you back to the bands infancy as they are hardly masked and costumed. The segments are broken down by Oderus and Sleazy and titled “That’s F**ked Up” and “Techno Destroyer” as these parts of the show over the years are highlighted. Be aware that GWAR does some pretty outrageous and disgusting things on the concert stage and most of it is unacceptable behavior in every sector of the galaxy. Yet for those who have supported the group at their shows know very well what these sections entail and I can only sum it all up under the following phrases, zombies, slaves, monsters, sex and dismemberment. Good clean fun in the world of GWAR and their fans can once again enjoy the moments of concert footage with “Scrotum Moon” and “Techno Destructo” who were only a few of the cast of characters in the GWAR ensemble outside of the musicians themselves. Not enough attention is paid to the actual characters like Jizmak and Beefcake which would have made this a little more interesting but you do see them in action along with Slymenstra Hymen, the main female character for a number of years. A lot of the footage jumps around and is at points difficult to follow. This is not actually a problem for if you see GWAR in concert there are segments of the show where you will also lose track of the goings-on. Having seen them on occasions I always wondered how they kept all the chaos together. Given this is done as a mini-movie, it ends in typical fashion with GWAR killing people in righteous vengeance for their insolence.
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Carnivore @ B.B. King Blues Club (9/6/2006)

Logo - Carnivore

Artist: Carnivore
Venue: B.B. King Blues Club (New York, NY)
Opener: unknown
Date: 9/6/2006
Label: Independent

In the days before he formed Type-O-Negative, Peter Steele was the leader of the Post-Apocalyptic Barbarians known as Carnivore. It was a band that was as brutal in sound as they were in appearance and their shows back in the Metal heyday of 1985 were described as being among the craziest to ever witness. The group was often clad in animal skins and various armor implements during their shows and at times, they even brandished weapons as well as their guitars. They would incite their fans into frenzy by throwing raw meat into the audience and even drench them with real blood (and this was not the water paint that Gwar would come to use). It was safe to assume if you attended a Carnivore show that you would remember it for a very long time. Releasing two albums on Roadrunner Records (“Carnivore” and “Retaliation” ) the band was ahead of its time with some of the most intense and brutal Thrash Metal to be heard – musically it was a mix of Thrash with Hardcore Punk meets the NWOBHM styled music you were finding at the time. The bands music was powerful and at the same time incendiary, as songs like “Angry Neurotic Catholics” and “Jesus Hitler” played upon peoples religious, political views while “Ground Zero Brooklyn”, and “Armageddon” warned of life after the Big One goes off.
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Where Heavy Music & Pop Culture Collide

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