The Sounds Of The Underground @ Starland Ballroom (7/2/2005)

Logo - SOTU

Artist: Lamb Of God, Clutch
Venue: Starland Ballroom (Sayreville, NJ)
Opener: The Red Chord, Devil Driver, A Life Once Lost, All That Remains, Madball, High on Fire, Strapping Young Lad, Throwdown, Every Time I Die, Norma Jean, GWAR, Opeth, Chimaira, Poison the Well, Unearth, From Autumn to Ashes
Label: Various Labels
Date: 7/2/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal

The Sounds Of The Underground Tour for 2005 rolled into the parking area of The Starland Ballroom today and it was truly a day to be reckoned with. This tour has been steamrolling venues recently and how can a Festival that brings you 18 of the hardest bands around do any less. Some listed shows had 22 groups but due to some scheduling conflicts we would have 18 at our day. Given the fact that this would prove to be one of the hotter days of the Summer I was quite happy with the 18. My overall plan for the day was to absorb as much of the bands as possible, with particular focus on some that I have either never seen, or had wanted to see once again. As the sun blazed above us The Red Chord began their set. I was still on the very long entry line in and as a result basically heard more than saw this Metal Blade Records band. I do feel that they were better live than on the CD that I own. Devil Driver came up almost immediately and were excellent. This band features Dez formerly of Coal Chamber and I most definitely want to see them perform again.
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W.A.S.P. @ Starland Ballroom (7/15/2005)

Logo - WASP

Artist: W.A.S.P.
Venue: Starland Ballroom (Sayreville, NJ)
Opener: L.A. Guns, Stephen Pearcy, Metal Church
Label: Sanctuary Records
Date: 7/15/2005
Genre: Heavy Metal

The event was called “The American Metal Blast” tour and this pretty much on target for it was that and so much more. I was fortunate to be able to review this show not only as a Metal Journalist but also as a fan of all of these bands. W.A.S.P. in particular has held a high ranking in my list of favorite bands to see live and when you add three other quality groups to the bill – you know the show was going to be great all around. The setting would be The Starland Ballroom, where most recently I attended the Sounds Of The Underground show and the Anthrax reunion. While I am already a fan of this place I have to say that this is a great venue to see a group like W.A.S.P. It is roomy enough to cater to their visual nature and you are able to follow the action from any vantage point in the club. For me that is an incredible plus.
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“Disclaimer II” by Seether

Artist: Seether
Title: “Disclaimer II”
Label: Wind-Up Records
Release Date: 6/15/2004
Genre: Hard Rock
Rating: 8/10

Originally released in 2002, Wind-Up Records has re-issued the debut CD from Seether but with a whole lot of added songs and videos. The first 12 tracks are the original release and with this edition you will find 20 tracks now. On first listen you will find that Seether shows themselves to be a band who had a lot of different influences to their sound. As I listened to “Disclaimer II”, I detected traces of Nirvana, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains and even a few others. Singer Shaun Morgan certainly leans towards a Kurt Cobain style with his singing and this is not a bad thing for a couple of reasons. These bands no longer perform and it’s great to have a group come in and deliver the music with similar style and feel. There is a chance that some listeners will simply pass over this CD as it has so many of these varied sounds in it and fear that perhaps it is a mere cloning of styles . I say to those people that they are doing themselves a tremendous disservice and this should be looked into.
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“The Punisher: The Album” by Various Artists

Artist: Various Artists
Title: “The Punisher” – The Album
Label: Wind-Up Records
Release Date: 2004
Genre: Alternative
Rating: 7/10

Wind-Up Records takes their next foray into the soundtrack from the next superhero adaptation to the big screen and with the music featured on “The Punisher” we get a good sampling of some of the best that is up and coming on this label. “Daredevil” was the first time that they gave this a shot and it did some chat-topping by launching the career of Evanescence. This band became the biggest Artist on the label outside of Creed. I venture to guess that due to “The Punisher” being a darker and edgier film that this was the reasoning for so much of the CD being on the heavier side. Artists such as Hatebreed and Damageplan are proof positive of this. While “Daredevil” gave us Evanescence; “The Punisher” instead gives us the newest work from Amy Lee who recorded her track with Seether, and Ben Moody who performs his very Evanescence like composition with Jason “Gong” Jones. These tracks make me wonder what the new Evanescence CD will be like as well as increase my curiosity into Moody’s solo effort.
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“Far From The Sun” by Amorphis

Artist: Amorphis
Title: “Far From The Sun”
Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Release Date: 2004
Style: Heavy Metal
Rating: 8/10

With each release Amorphis continues to grow in both a musical and creative manner. “Far From The Sun” is the newest proof of this as with this CD the band has given us something very different from their usual or expected fare. As many fans probably know the band takes their name from the word “amorphous” which means something that holds no shape or form. On “Far From The Sun” the group shows just how profound this term can be when applied to a musical sense. It is interesting to see this Finnish act that have been held in such high regard take such a different step with this particular record. On one hand I was very impressed because the music simply flowed across the entire CD. With many other Finnish bands delivering blistering Power Metal nowadays I felt Amorphis was showing that they no longer need to press that course. It’s time for them to influence future generation of Metal fans.
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Where Heavy Music & Pop Culture Collide

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