The free CDs that come with magazines such as Rock Sound, Metal Hammer, Kerrang! Etc are usually very hit and miss. Thankfully, I’ve scored more home runs than own goals (this makes no sense) with them, although they aren’t all without their faults. For example, Kerrang! Make the obvious faux pas in constantly rotating the same 15 bands on every CD they give away (Aiden, Bullet For My Valentine, My Chemical Romance, etc.) and always include the most predictable and obvious tracks. I remember this “punk’ compilation they gave away once – it made me want to take a hammer to the face of whoever compiled that piece of un-imaginable shite.
Metal Hammer sometimes hit the mark, but with the plethora of black metal that exists out there, it soon blends into one meaningless dirge of who can wank a guitar off quicker, whilst someone tries to vomit up his pancreas and gargle battery acid at the same time.
The Rock Sound CDs do the most justice really, being a more all-round magazine, they would – not content to pigeonhole its audience with “kiddie-metal’ (Kerrang!) or repetitive dirge (Metal Hammer) it encompasses a wide array of bands like the wings of a roc (a giant, mythical bird for those of you saying ‘wuuuh?’).
Therefore, this new feature will examine my findings from this month’s Sound Check CD. Read onÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â¦
Madina Lake – Again and Again
For the love of Christ, a foul ball straight away. Lowest common denominator pop rock that becomes the new definition to the words “this is fucking appalling.’
New Found Glory – The Promise
Dashboard frontman Chris Carrabba joins NFG on this offering, but you can barely tell. A pop-punk cover of “The Promise‘ featured at the end of ‘nothing happens for 90 minutes’ movie, Napoleon Dynamite. Proof that the original should not be tampered with.
Tombs – Hallways of the Always
The vocals (which are reminiscent of someone being murdered) are somewhat lost beneath the layers of rippling sound, but this is a groovy-slab of metal and the best track so far.
Blacktusk – End of Days
10 points for the name and song title alone. Duelling vocals in the form of harsh throaty roars and high screams, backed by colossal riffage and low-end bass howls – stunning.
Bison – Wartime
Black Flag- inspired hardcore rock and roll that seems to have an air of Fu Manchu about it and the party nature of Municipal Waste. Great fast-slow dynamics and gang-chant vocals in the song’s breakdown.
Black Mountain – Stormy High
A wailing choir, backing some nice competent rock, that morphs into floatly keyboard atmospherics and warm, rich vocals – think Neil Young, but a bit heavier (no, not in weight.)
Foxy Shazam! – Red Cape Diver
Innuendo? Probably. Piano-led rock bonkers from Foxy Shazam – boisterous in some places and pretty average in others compared to the stuff on their debut, but still miles better than Madina sodding Lake.
Stolen Babies – Awful Fall
Fellow KIF writer Jason will probably love Stolen Babies; their quirky, electronic-Dresden Dolls metal is right up his street, even on the wailing out of control bit at the end. However, it left me cold and frankly bored to tears.
God Fires Man – Dark
Sounding similar to his former band Instruction, Arty Shephard’s mob deliver a fine slice of passionate, gritty rock that shows his serious and spiteful side still exists. Promising stuff from a band who are half of hardcore-homos, Gay For Johnny Depp!
The Don Ramos Players – All Cats Are Grey
Ex-TwoFold and Howard’s Alias men form Don Ramos, coming across as a more powerful and anthemic Hot Water Music. Fast, noisy and throaty punk rock – just what the UK scene needs! My cat wasn’t grey though, he was brown with black bits.
Shipwreck A.D. – Ascent
Bridge 9 sounding hardcore that literally does nothing for me. Whilst it contains many competent areas traditionally associated with this genre, it falls flatter than a witch’s tit.
Charlottefield – Snakes
Charlottefield obviously went to the Jehu school of guitar-twiddling as exhibited on ‘Snakes.’ Lurching, post-punk fury that delights and surprises the listener. Recommended.
My Ruin – Ready For Blood
Dreadful vocals – I’m sorry but this is barely listenable. It’s like one of those really 5th rate metal bands you hear in pubs that do Pantera covers for half their set and claim to be ‘really unique.’ Urgh. Nice guitar solo though.
Lavotchkin – Cholera
Superbly pissed-off noise merchants Lavotchkin tear through 83 seconds or pure rage without stopping for breath. Essential, if you dig Converge, Johnny Truant, being killed in alleyways.
Volition – Do What Thou Wilt
High-end shrieks that meld with gargling burps, backed up by plodding backwards sounding math-metal ends this Sound Check CD in a less than positive light. One for the serial killers!
(See throughout the article, I’m not writing them out again.)
By Ross Macdonald