Friday, March 30, 2012

A Life Once Lost Update

The last few years have been full of ups and downs and plenty of rumours when it comes to American metal band A Life Once Lost who haven't released an album since 2007! I can hardly believe that! Last year they also lost original member and guitarist Rob Carpenter as well as long time drummer Justin Graves. Many had speculated that the band had broken up due to a lack of touring and for goodness sakes... they STILL don't even have a proper Facebook page... geez! Well in the past few months we've started to get some updates from the ALOL camp so here's the round-up.

1) January 2011 --> Justin Graves (drummer since 1999) leaves band to pursue other endevours. 
2) November 2011 --> Rob Carpenter (guitarist since 1999) leaves band to focus on family.
3) April 2011 --> Justin Course is added to the band as the new drummer
4) March 2012 --> A Life Once Lost set to record new album in April 2012. To be released later this year on Seasons of the Mist label.
5) June 2012 --> Mini tour with Black Sheep Wall. Dates below:

6/23 Richmond, VA @ Kingdom
6/24 Washington, DC @ DC9
6/25 New York, NY @ Lit Lounge
6/26 Boston, MA @ Great Scott
6/27 Keene, NH @ The Railroad Tavern
6/28 Rochester, NY @ The Dubland Underground
6/29 Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Roboto Project

Glad to see this band has picked themselves up and gotten back into the swing of things. They put out some of the best and most progressive metal in the 2000s that has influenced countless acts. I saw them at Sounds of the Underground and remember them putting on a such a solid show, especially vocally. Can't wait to hear some new tunes.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

The All Stars 2012 Line-Up

The All Stars Tour 2012 has finally announced it's official line-up after weeks of speculation. Apparently there are still a few special guests to be announced for certain dates but here are all the main acts:

Suicide Silence
Unearth (select dates)
Dance Gavin Dance (select dates)
The Word Alive
I See Stars
A Skylit Drive
Winds of Plague
Stick To Your Guns
For The Fallen Dreams
Stray From The Path
Make Me Famous
Betraying the Martyrs
Obey the Brave

I'm especially excited to have Canada's own Obey The Brave as the opening act although I find it sad that Stray From The Path isn't considered more of a headlining act. Oh well, fuck it. As for I See Stars and A Skylit Drive I just think... why? why? why? Personally Make Me Famous is one of the worst bands out there right now... like Design The Skyline bad. Surprised they're not on here. But I'm not 14 anymore so I guess that's why I don't understand. Dates will be announced in April.

New Video Alert: Tides Of Virtue - "Broken Walls"

New video for "Broken Walls" from British metalcore act Tides Of Virtue.
This is an up-and-coming act from Essex and they done quite a bit of touring recently over Europe. While the video is nothing extraordinary and it's certainly not reinventing the wheel as they say, I dig the song and hope to hear more from them in the coming month. Gives me some old Parkway Drive vibes which is harder and harder to find these days in the ever changing metal scene. 7/10.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Album Review: Meshuggah - Koloss

I like to imagine that if Godzilla had a soundtrack to his crushing Japan, it would be Meshuggah's seventh and newest album, Koloss. No album could deliver the same sense of impending doom for the terrified people of the collapsing city or be more fitting for the 100 meter-tall monster as his lumbering rampage tears down skyscrapers and crushes civilians underfoot than Koloss.

Koloss is their most atmospheric album to date. It's as dark and thick as molasses, but every bit as harsh and biting as a face full of riot-grade pepper spray. When they promised us 'dark and sinister' by God, did they ever deliver. One important thing to note is that this is not another rhythmically technical mindfuck like Nothing. Nor does it feature the physically demanding playing styles the likes of which made obZen the ferocious back breaker of an album that it was.

Furthermore, this is not the album does not follow the djent format or sound that they have been credited in recent years with creating. It is almost as if they wanted to separate themselves from bands like Periphery or Animals As Leaders, who have warped a straightforward brand of heavy technical music and transformed it into some sort of core-fusion featuring bands that sound absolutely nothing like Meshuggah who somehow looped them in with the whole lot. Or, it could have been just another creative leap like Catch 33 or I. Regardless, the album does not sound like djent, but what's important is that it DOES sound like Meshuggah.

It kicks off weakly with I Am Colossus and The Demon's Name Is Surveillance. They aren't the greatest songs, and I'd even go as far as to say that they are two of the worst songs Meshuggah have ever put out, but luckily the album improves drastically from there. Do Not Look Down brings us some of those good ol' djent-y grooves Meshuggah is known sowell for, and Behind The Sun starts off with eerily clean ringing guitar riffs similar to that of Dancers To A Discordant System and moves on to some pretty doom-inspired riffs. The Hurt That Finds You First is one of the thrashier numbers on this album, and almost seems like a throwback to the Destroy Erase Improve days. Marrow is my personal favourite song on Koloss, and reminds me most of a slower cut from Nothing and features both a shredding solo and a sweet little back-and-forth tapping riff that the album is more or less unfortunately devoid of. You may remember that Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion was the first song that they released for previewing purposes in early February, and it got me pretty excited for the album but it pales in comparison to the songs that follow on the album. Next to Marrow, Swarm and Demiurge are two of the strongest songs on the album, and the closest thing to previous-era Meshuggah you're going to find on this album. This brutally unforgiving album closes with The Last Vigil, which is hands down the most unearthly mellow song Meshuggah have ever written. Wholly clean and unsettling: The perfect closer for an album this dark.

Another thing to be said about Koloss is that it features vocalist, Jens Kidman's, strongest performance to date. He screams more powerfully and coherently than ever and sounds like the colossus itself, barking commands at us mortals from on high. Tomas Haake, however failed to bring the thunder he's renowned for on the drums and I found myself a little bored by his conventional approach this time around. But that is certainly not to say that he did not perform solidly.

Fans of obZen and Nothing may dismiss the importance of this album in the band's development. Even though it's slower, slightly less technical and focuses more on creating a massive sound and sinister atmosphere than it does showing off their musical prowess every second of every song (something that over their last four albums should have been proven a thousand times over and pounded into all of our heads by now anyways) the songwriting has reached an all new height.

Meshuggah have indeed outdone themselves once again, creatively. But is that to say that I would accept another Meshuggah album like this? My answer would have to be, 'no'. Why? Because it comes off a lot like the Catch 33 album did; like a concept they'd toyed around with to the point that not turning it into a full-length record no longer seemed an option, a purging of sorts. But who knows? Maybe this is what they've always wanted to sound like. And maybe Periphery and the rest of those other djent bands wanted to as well. They were just, as usual, waiting for Meshuggah to do it first.

We here at the Hardcore & Metal Times give Meshuggah's stripped-down, doom-laden masterpiece, Koloss 7.5/10

Track list:
1. I Am Colossus
2. The Demon's Name Is Surveillance
3. Do Not Look Down
4. Behind The Sun
5. The Hurt That Finds You First
6. Marrow*
7. Break Those Bones Whose Sinews Gave It Motion
8. Swarm
9. Demiurge
10. The Last Vigil

*Recommended Track

Tony Iommi Updates Us On His Cancer Treatment

Tony Iommi, Black Sabbath guitarist and arguably the most metal dude ever, has posted an update on Facebook regarding his lymphoma treatment. Judging by the tone of the message things are going well, as Iommi has finished chemotherapy and has been writing Sabbath material with his band-mates. Here's the full statement:
A little update on how it's all going:
Well, I've had the last dose of chemotherapy so hopefully my body will start to get back to normal soon, the steroids were the worse. I've now got three weeks of radiotherapy coming up which I'm told can be very tiring so we'll see.
A big thanks to Ozzy and Geezer for coming over to England, it was a big incentive for me, we managed to work most days and have some great new tracks.
And, importantly thanks again for your kind messages, hope to be seeing you soon.
- Tony
Here's hoping Tony channels the power of the metal gods for a speedy recovery, or whatever Jack Black would say...

Stick To Your Guns Acoustic Version of "We Still Believe"

Stick To Your Guns album Diamond came out today and it's awesome. But to make everything a little more awesome Sumerian has released an acoustic version of "We Still Believe" performed by front-man Jesse Barnett. Sumerian CEO Ash Avildsen released the following statement:

In an age of over-produced albums and electronic music everywhere you turn, a voice and an acoustic guitar is there to remind us that it is still the most organic thing there is. When I first heard "We Still Believe" I immediately fell in love with the song and asked Jesse to make an acoustic version. In the sense of honesty and being "real", to me there is nothing more hardcore than not hiding behind anything with the world watching you. This is a live recording/performance and I am beyond proud to have this on Sumerian Records."

Architects Debut New Song "These Colours Don't Run"

New lyric video for "These Colours Don't Run" from Architects.
This is the first single from their forthcoming album Daybreakers due out June 5th in Canada/US via Distort & Century Media. I really like the song although the video/song remind me a lot of the "Devil's Island" video/song that came out late last year. It seems like they are going for more of a Hollow Crown type sound versus The Here & Now which is alright with me! This band has once again proven to be thought provoking, heavy, and technical while keeping the message simple and clear. Can't wait for this album. 9.5/10.

Dr. Acula Headlining Canadian Tour

Dr. Acula will be doing a cross Canada tour in May and June with support from Bermuda and The Last Ten Seconds of Life. The tour does not hit the East Coast however. Dr. Acula has begun writing their follow-up to 2011's Slander and Bermuda has a new full-length coming out soon too. You can check out the dates below:

21/05/12: Windsor, ON @ Dominion House
22/05/12: Peterborough, ON @ The Historic Red Dog
23/05/12: Hamilton, ON @ Absinthe
24/05/12: Toronto, ON @ The Rockpile
25/05/12: Ottawa, ON @ The Montgomery Legion
26/05/12: Montreal, QC @ Underworld Live
27/05/12: Sudbury, ON @ The Jubilee Center
28/05/12: Thunder Bay, ON @ TBA
29/05/12: Winnipeg, MB @ TBA
30/05/12: Calgary, AB @ TBA
31/05/12: Regina, SK @ TBA
01/06/12: Edmonton, AB @ The Studio
02/06/12: Saskatoon, SK @ MazzFest
04/06/12: Vancouver, BC @ The Rickshaw

Monday, March 26, 2012

Legend Active Again: Writing/Euro Tour

It appears that Michigan metalcore act Legend are once again active. Legend hasn't toured or issued any real news since mid-2011 until recently. According to their Facebook page they are currently writing their 3rd record for Rise Records and have a European tour lined up with The Elijah, Demoraliser and Empires Fade for mid-June. It's currently unclear whether drummer Dylan Shippey is still in the group since he is now a member of For The Fallen Dreams. Looking forward to some new songs from these guys as The Pale Horse was one of my favourite albums (surprisingly) of 2011. Enjoy this out-take of Myke Terry (ex-Bury Your Dead) doing guest vocals for "Numbers" from The Pale Horse. "Are you ready for a fuckin' ham sandwitch!?"

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The Last Ten Seconds of Life: Break Stuff Cover/Free EP

The Last Ten Seconds of Life are a deathcore band from Pennsylvania and they've started to make waves in the metal scene. For three reasons:
1) They're fucking heavy and awesome
2) They're giving away their EP for Free
3) Their cover of Limp Bizkit's "Break Stuff"

If you like what you hear above check out this LINK and download their EP Warpath for free. Here is also a link to their Facebook Page. Below is their official music video for "Warpath".

Endwell Update: No Long Touring

I've been a big fan of Endwell for quite a few years, especially once their music took a darker, heavier and more politically charged direction. However, like most I began to figure that they had disbanded due to cancelled shows and a lack of updates for quite some time. It appears that is not the case though. Check out the update posted on their Facebook page this past weekend.

I'm sure everyone has noticed that things have been quiet in the ENDWELL camp lately. I felt like it was time to let you guys in on what's been going on. Around the time we started writing Punishment things started to go haywire. Danny, the only original member of the band (from 03...I joined in December 2005) decided it was time to back to school. In doing so he also decided that it was time for him to split from the band. I couldn't allow ENDWELL continue on without him, so after some lengthy discussions we decided to keep it going, even though Danny wouldn't be able to tour until he was finished with school, he and I would still be the primary songwriters for the album. We had a new found drive and passion for the material we were writing and things were going great. Once the record was done we had about 6 months off. In this time Matty (Realbad) started touring with our brothers in DEEZ NUTS. At the same time Scuzz & Pieter both started playing with THIS IS HELL. At first things were great, the guys had stuff to do in the off time and we had plans to start the touring cycle in early 2011. As that time approached it became more and more obvious that it would be impossible to maintain a healthy touring cycle while our guys were committed to other bands, and the fact of the matter is those bands had some cool offers coming in & they lost their passion for ENDWELL. The last thing we want/wanted to do is find 3 new members. On top of everything the game has changed. If you aren't consistently on tour nowadays it's nearly impossible to land a decent one. With everything up in the air and Danny having just returned from school ready to jump back into touring full time again it was a pretty miserable time for the two of us. As the months went on we tried setting up DIY tours or jumping on a few weeks here and there but it became increasingly difficult to get all our guys on the same page and available for more than 3 days at a time. Bottom line we have tried countless times in the past year and a half to get back on the road and it just was not happening. After numerous long talks with Danny we've decided that we ARE NOT breaking up the fact we might be around forever. What we have decided to do is essentially retire ENDWELL as a touring act but continue on as a studio band that plays occasional shows. As of 2012 ENDWELL is Danny Pupplo & myself, who do about 95% of the writing anyway. We'll still play shows here and there if our friends are putting some cool gigs together and we are open to any tour offers, if it’s cool and we can pull it together it’ll happen. We'd love to make it to Australia, Japan, Mexico & all the other spots we haven't had the pleasure to play yet. If you'd like to be a part of making that happen please get in touch with us through my email
      I could sit here and thank everyone we've ever known but were not nailing the coffin closed yet. Furthermore anyone who has kept up with us over the past 6 years or so is no stranger to us experimenting with different styles of music whether it be hardcore, metal, ambient, black metal, pop, rock and roll whatever. One thing I can assure you is that the progression of our material will not stop. We're going to keep getting weirder, heavier, lighter…we’re going to continue to write and play whatever the fuck we feel like writing and playing. Bringing an end to our touring career will at least give us more time and freedom to create. We plan on releasing at least one EP and possibly a full length or a collection of EP's by the end of the year. We ALSO have a new version of “Sympathy For All Sufferers” from the Revenge EP that we tracked while recording PUNISHMENT that we’ll be releasing online real soon. Other than that Danny and myself have quite a few projects in the works, separately, as well as working together. We’ve spent the last 4 months or so in the studio grinding away at these projects so we’re eager for them to see the light of day and that’s all I’m really going to say about that. Thank you for keeping up with us. We hope to see you guys in the near future, on the road, online, in your headphones or through any other new form of communication technology might muster up in the coming months.

New Video Alert: Attack Attack! - "The Motivation"

New video for "The Motivation" from Attack Attack's album This Means War via Rise Records.
I'm really sorry to bring you an Emmure video and an Attack Attack! video on the same day.. I mean it. But this is maybe the worst video I've seen in a very long time. I feel nauseated after watching it and it's shaky camera work. This Means War was a concept album about war... and this video looks more like 4 dudes lost in the woods playing paintball than anything else. I mean, it's actually really fucking stupid to the point where it's laughable. 1/10. FUCK.

New Video Alert: Emmure - "Protoman"

Emmure has debuted their music video for "Protoman" which is from their forthcoming album Slave To The Game due out April 10th via Victory Records.
I've already got my hands on a copy of this record and let's just say this video gives me about as much of a headache as does their new album. The constant strobe effects and flashy visuals could easily induce a seizure. It's almost too hard to even really see the band playing at all. This song is about video games so why not have a video shot in an arcade? Whatever, this video blows and it's sad to say that it's actually one of the better... songs on the album. The only thing I like about it is Mark Castillo's drumming style and presence. 3/10.