Blazon Stone – War of the Roses

Blazon Stone is not a difficult band to figure out. If you like the blazing intro, “Born to be Wild”, (shoot, if you like the first fifteen seconds) you’ll like the rest of the album. This is the formula the band will follow for the rest of the album. The pace will remain at the exact same zesty gallop. The song structures almost never change. The lyrics will not get better. This album has no surprises. They’re such a Running Wild clone that they’ve taken their name from one of their albums. It’s nothing a power metal fan hasn’t heard hundreds of times before. And none of that matters one bit, because the riffs are that good.

PHOTOS: Animals As Leaders, Intervals, Plini—November 16th, 2016 @ The Commodore, Vancouver, BC & November 25th, 2016 @ Bottom Lounge, Chicago, IL

Washington D.C.’s purveyors of instrumental djent, Animals As Leaders, have vigorously toured across Europe and North America in 2016 to not merely sharpen their prowess on stage, but to promote their then-upcoming release of their latest record, The Madness of Many. The Madness of Many “shows promise and potential for…

Hey! Listen To VIRTA!

Though I dislike making sweeping musical generalizations here, I’m going to start off this post with a couple of them. If it can be said that many of the breakout acts in American jazz in recent years can be described as being heavily-indebted to hip-hop, r&b, and adjacent genres (think BADBADNOTGOOD, Kamasi Washington, Thundercat, and more), then a lot of the more impactful jazz exports from Europe, particularly northern Europe, have seemingly been more indebted to influences from the electronic/IDM sphere, post-rock, and more. You have the likes of GoGo Penguin in England, who have certainly been pushing the definition of what jazz really is with their blend of acoustic jazz instrumentation and influences with more classical-style playing and heavy electronic influences. Norway’s Jaga Jazzist is, of course, the current reigning champion of blending jazz with electronic music (from IDM to synthwave and more), post-rock, krautrock, and far more. And to that list of great European bands finding new and interesting ways to explore the world of jazz fusion you can now add Finland’s VIRTA, whose sophomore album Hurmos is one of the more unexpected and brilliant albums I’ve heard this year.