When Sugar Ray released their breakthrough reggae-infused pop hit “Fly’’ in 1997, they were still very much a punk metal band for the most part. If you listen to any other song on Floored, then you’ll hear nothing else that resembles “Fly’’ in the slightest. The success of that single inspired the band to adopt the more mainstream approach they became known for after that, and while you could place all of their subsequent releases in the pop rock category, the truth is that no Sugar Ray album sounds the same. The beauty of Sugar Ray is that they were a band who just liked to make music, and even though their records catered for the masses during the height of their popularity, they were never without moments of unpredictability. However, before their rise to fame, they released Lemonade and Brownies in 1995, and it was pretty wild. A party-centric blend of funk metal, punk rock, soul and even a touch of country and western, with a front cover displaying a naked Nicole Eggert, the album is the very definition of mindless; however, it boasts such a carefree attitude and knack for memorable tunes that it’s pretty gosh darn irresistible as well.
It’s been a minute since our last Holy Roar Records File and even longer since I wrote one. It’s only appropriate that the post is dusted off and brought back for this. Somehow, I hadn’t covered Employed To Serve in this feature before but that HAD to change for one reason; The Warmth Of A Dying Sun releases today and is a bona fide game changer in hardcore and heavy music. You can throw Code Orange at me all you want, Employed To Serve are thee band at the forefront of genre smashing heavy music. As always, make your own damn mind up about but if you feel like you need convincing then read ahead. There will be bountiful amounts of hyperbole and fruity language – oh, and a track by track breakdown from EtS’s very own Justine Jones. Tight.
It is in this new generation of emotionally charged, horrendously heavy music where we find Portrayal of Guilt. The band, hailing from Texas, does not play in the more direct style of thrash and emo, however. Instead they opt to play a far more brutal combination, blending the hectic, crazed pace of screamo with harsh black metal. It is a frightening combination, one that draws on the emotional torment inherent in both genres, and mixes them together into a truly pained form of musical catharsis. Add to that a little bit of 90’s metalcore in the vein of Coalesce and Converge, and you have one truly hectic blend of music.
A few months ago, DispersE pretty much destroyed the entire nu-prog scene (except for a few select artists, like Plini, bless his magic hands) with their Foreword, displaying everything that is sorely lacking within the sub-genre. Nothing was more blatantly on point than its structure, a thing which most bands in the genre have completely abandoned in favor of flash. Luckily, like DispersE, some bands out there are still concerned with making actual songs. Like Soap Revelations. If the band’s name, and the comparison to DispersE and Plini, doesn’t already tell you everything that you need to know, simply head on down below to listen to “The Willow House”. All your questions will be answered promptly.
From the beginning grindcore and d-beat crust had a bond that seemed almost unbreakable. It was a beautiful bond, an everlasting one. A bond of the most steadfast kind, one built on a common devotion to total sonic assault presented always at breakneck speeds. Soon, however, this bond developed into something more. It developed into the two genres bleeding into each other, feeding off of each other, and birthing a generation of grind acts infused with heavily d-beat tendencies. And, eventually, these two styles bleeding together would lead to the birth of a new grind act, coming from New Jersey, known as Death Vacation, the crust/grind act hell bent on total sonic destruction.
Most blog readers may be at the very least familiar with the name Kamasi Washington, considering that we covered his excellent 2015 debut record The Epic for the inaugural post in our Jazz Club series and have since seen him mentioned in several posts beyond that. 2017 has thus far seen him release “Truth”,…
RVRSAL’s first release, entitled Finding it and Losing it, is exactly the kind of blend of jazz influence with a host of other flavors that is guaranteed to grab our attention, and we are very pleased to be premiering it in its entirety here!
From the first seconds of The Evening Redness, you wouldn’t be negligent in assuming that Milwaukee’s Lotus Ash have spent some time worshiping at the altar of Om. The prelude opener of “Man’s Purpose: War” kicks things off with a mystifying, monolithic chant and burly walls of wooly distorted guitars. The percolating tom work comes to full boil as things culminate in the second part of the opening duo, “But War Is God,” resembling tar in the kettle – hefty and dense, with gurgling throaty tones that parallel the vocal introduction. The organic qualities to their tone hint and anchor them to a post-metal classification, while other shades within it tell of their penchant for the doomier side of the spectrum.
Stumbling in funereal darkness, I’ve chanced upon the tomb of a long-forgotten Lord! Their only album, The Second Coming, was released in 1988. That’s a bit late for a Riffs from the Crypt post — generally, I try to reserve them for bands who had the talent to become pioneers in their respective genres (like Rat Attack), but were unable to break into the mainstream. But what’s special about Lord isn’t that they were groundbreaking in any way — rather, the reason this album deserves more attention is because it’s a culmination of everything that was good about metal in the 80’s. Nearly every song on the album seems to represent a different era of metal, from its hard rock roots to thrash metal, prog, and everything in between.
Mary Bell describe themselves as “Bikini Kill meets Dischord Records” as well as name checking Bratmobile and Sonic Youth. Though more obscure, the band could be best described as the Red Aunts plus 20 years. The big difference with Mary Bell is that while records from Bikini Kill and any number of Dischord acts practically ooze politics, Mary Bell dials up the attitude without being overtly feminist (or otherwise activist) in the way that Bikini Kill epitomized third wave feminism. There is an argument that the sheer act of being an all-female band is political unto itself, but over two decades removed from the riot grrrl movement, let’s hope the world is a better place and not do that anymore. Can we hope it no longer needs to be a “thing?” If you bring the rock, you bring the rock.