“Hellectric” by Bronx Casket Company

Artist: Bronx Casket Company
Title: “Hellectric”
Label: Candlelight Records
Release Date: 10/18/2005
Genre: Gothic Metal
Rating: 7.5/10

When you think of a band that combines the talents of Overkill’s D.D. Verni and Tim Mallare as well as the guitar work of Jack Frost you envision some stellar Power Thrash Metal band to be result of the teamwork. However when you add the keyboards of Charlie Calv and vocalist Spy (Myke Hideous of Misfits/Empire Hideous) you get something entirely different. Instead of raging thrash or things along those lines you find this release to be more in tune with Gothic Metal. I liked this change for it added the level of interest to these players’ collaborations and did not give me “Seven Witches 2” or “Overkill 2”. However one of the main points that stand out very early in this release is the dead-on sound of Type-O-Negative. This caught me off guard as it was not only in some of the vocal tones that Spy offered but also the feel of the overall groove especially in the area of keyboards and guitars. Type-O-Negative was known for certain feels during their songs and their music is something that many have missed while the band works on new material. This void made the CD a welcome listen but it was also because this was something that was totally unexpected from Verni and Frost. The BCC does maintain a level of heaviness throughout the album but they do not take the levels of heaviness up to the notch that TON does insofar as high speed riffing. This heavy groove comes through most prominently on the songs “Little Dead Girl”, “Everything I Got” and “Dream Of Angels” among the others and I have to say that these became my favorites right off the bat. With the song “Sherimoon” the band delivers a sense of Rob Zombie under the Gothic grind that is laid down and there is a quirky little instrumental which employs some of “The Munsters” theme. They perform a cover of the Lynryd Skynryd classic “Free Bird” and while it’s given a Gothic twist that works I am not sure how this will be received by the larger public. There are some songs that should not be changed and I think most will agree that this is one of them. The band does a nice job of it and I am sure it was more an homage than anything else.

I have to say that I enjoyed this record as a whole and I really think fans of Type-O-Negative and music that falls into this specific genre will go for it as well. Perhaps it was those similarities that I spoke of that made this win me over so quickly but perhaps it was also the fact that I enjoy the musical output of Verni and Frost in their other bands. I like to give quality side-projects a thumbs-up when it is deserved. In a time when so much crap is issued it is nice to see something that is worthwhile and fun come from several standouts in the industry. Give it a listen I think you will be caught as well.

Track List:
1. Little Dead Girl
2. Everything I Got
3. Dream Of Angels
4. Sherimoon
5. Bleed With Me
6. Motocrypt
7. Let My People Go
8. Free Bird
9. In My Skin
10. Can’t Stop The Rain
11. Mortician’s Lullaby
12. Live For Death

Official Web site: www.BronxCasketCo.com

“Voice Of Wilderness” by Korpiklaani

Artist: Korpiklaani
Title: “Voice Of Wilderness”
Label: Napalm Records
Release Date: 4/5/2005
Genre: Folk Metal
Rating: 8/10

Folk Metal was something entirely new to me and only recently had caught my attention when I heard the music of Finntroll. When a writing colleague suggested that I should also give a listen to Korpiklaani I decided to give it a sample. As I began to play “Voice Of Wilderness” I pretty much expected something like Finntroll or an exact replica of their style. However, I can inform you that this Finnish band handles this genre with a different and more accessible feel than Finntroll puts forward. Korpiklaani has more band members and as a result are able to give you a fuller and more authentic Folk sound. This is done by having full-time players who utilize more Folk oriented instruments like the accordion and flutes alongside various percussive devices. Can you recall the last time that you heard an accordion was a prevalent instrument in Heavy Metal music? There is a good chance you haven’t until now and I am very happy to report that the group uses all of these added pieces to a degree of success. At eight core members the band certainly has a full lineup which is made up of Jonne (vocals, guitar), Hittavainen (violin, jouhilkko, flutes), Matson (drums), Ali (percussion), Honka (guitars), Arto (bass), Cane (guitars), and Juho (accordion). This mass amount of players takes traditional Finnish Folk melodies and combines them with a great blend of Heavy Metal music. The efforts are nothing short of incredible and just go to show you how any different directions Metal music can be set in. Korpiklaani music makes you feel as though you are enjoying tales and ale with Friends at some outdoor celebration while the band jams in the background.
Continue reading “Voice Of Wilderness” by Korpiklaani

“R30” by Rush

Artist: Rush
Title: “R30”
Label: Zoe Records
Release Date: 11/22/2005
Genre: Progressive Rock
Rating: 9/10

In celebration of their 30th Year Anniversary World Tour Rush has given us a comprehensive DVD to commemorate the occasion. As a long time fan of the music of Rush I was very happy to know that this was being released. It comes in two different versions with one being the Deluxe Edition that comes with a lot of cool things and a Standard Edition for those that simply want the basics. This review is of the Deluxe Edition and when you open a copy you will forget that a standard one even is available. The package comes with two DVD’s and the first is the entire 30th Anniversary Concert that was performed. They ever included the amusing segments that featured comedian Jerry Stiller. Rush has always been a band that in addition to their creativity made sure to showcase their sense of humor in stuff like this so it was nice to find that it was not edited out. If you were lucky enough to see this concert you have probably already stopped reading and placed an order for the DVD. If not, and you wished you had gone to the show this DVD should at least ease some amount of the pain you feel from not getting tickets. The concert portion is over 2 hours long and stands at about 27 songs with some being spread out in Medley’s. One such piece is the opening overture that covered the group’s earliest work and was done instrumentally on this tour. I enjoyed seeing this material presented in this new and different fashion and I think most of the Rush fans got a charge out of this. In addition to the 30th Year being celebrated the group was also featuring tracks from their latest album. Entitled “Feedback” this CD was all cover material that the group had enjoyed in their youth. It was very interesting to see the band perform both “Crossroads” and “The Seeker” I have to admit. The entire concert was a great experience and was different enough from their last DVD “Rush In Rio” for fans that feel buying two concert performances in a row is excessive. Despite their stellar level of musicianship I think most will agree that they are not the most visual band however this show was shot very well with a lot of incredible angles of everyone as they play. This is a great aspect when it comes to the always amazing drum solo executed by Neil Peart. The Deluxe DVD includes a 2 CD audio companion of this concert which allows you to take the band with you on those road trips and always have the concert at your disposal. The CD does not come in the standard edition.
Continue reading “R30” by Rush

“Showtime” (DVD) by UFO

Artist: UFO
Title: Showtime
Label: SPV Records
Release Date: 11/8/2005
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

The music of UFO has long been a reference point in many of the popular Hard Rock and Metal band histories and you read about this in interview after interview. This might be the case because the band is perhaps one of the best Hard Rock acts to have ever come around and the fact that they still perform today is a statement on its own. For many years legendary guitarist Michael Schenker was a part of the band but through it all the signature bluesy voice of Phil Mogg gave this band the consistency that it still holds strong to this day. After years of lineup changes the band now finds three core original members (Phil Mogg, Pete Way and Paul Raymond) and the addition of dynamic players to round out the lineup. On guitar is Vinnie Moore who is a legend in his own right and admits an inspiration from Schenker as do most guitarists. The drumming is adeptly handled by Jason Bonham, son of the one and only John Bonham. Many will state that this is the strongest lineup that the band has had since the days that Schenker a member. The double DVD Set brings you to the front row for a performance the band did in Wilhelmshaven Germany at the club “Pumpverk”. All around 2004 the group was supporting their SPV Records release “You Are Here”. There is a lot to enjoy on this straight live shoot and USA fans who got to see the band will appreciate the fact that they finally are able to see Pete Way perform. The reason for Pete’s absence in the States was due to some VISA problems and as a result he had to remain in England. In his place for those shows was bassist Barry Sparks who seemed to fit right in very well.
Continue reading “Showtime” (DVD) by UFO

“Dark Light” by HIM

Artist: H.I.M.
Title: “Dark Light”
Label: Sire Records
Release Date: 9/27/2005
Genre: Gothic/Melodic Metal
Rating: 7/10

Finland’s H.I.M. certainly seem to be making a dent in the American music world and this is no surprise when one considers the overall appeal and quality of some of their songs. Thanks to the efforts of MTV’s Bam Marguera the bands logo or “Heartagram” is no longer a mysterious image as he showcases it regularly on his program “Viva LaBam”. Though the band has been around for some ten years it was only recently that the American listener was able to purchase their music domestically and now with the release of “Dark Light” this growing audience got to experience a brand new album on its actual release date. The last two albums that surfaced early this year in “Love Metal” and “Deep Shadows and Brilliant Highlights” were already a couple of years old yet despite this fact the concert appearances of the group sold out very quickly. As I listened to “Dark Light” I found it continuing along in the same fashion as “Love Metal” with a strong influence of “Razorblade Romance” (two records which I enjoy very much). Lead singer Ville Vallo has found a formula that works and while labeled “Love” or Gothic Metal” the whole of H.I.M music leans more towards that which was influenced by Eighties New Wave such as Billy Idol, Depeche Mode or The Cure. The Gothic label was most likely due to their names acronym of “His Infernal Majesty” as it held a sense of darkness to it as do most things Goth. The band seldom uses the log version and very simply goes by H.I.M. these days. This fact combined with the subject matter of love and death that continually play in the same yard during their music makes you conclude that this might have been the root cause of the label. However the more you listen to the band the more you will find that is it pure and simple good Melodic Hard Rock.
Continue reading “Dark Light” by HIM

Where Heavy Music & Pop Culture Collide

%d bloggers like this: