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At No End – Urban Holocaust

At No End - Urban Holocaust CD cover

With a booming swell, “United We Fight” starts off the disc with the sledgehammer to the skull brutality that has made At No End a staple of the Cleveland hardcore scene for half a decade. “Scumbag” may be a bit more measured, with its staccato chorus, and tracks like “Bring the Beast” and “Destroyer” may feature a somewhat heavier bottom end, but tracks like “Strength is Pain”, “unleashed” and “The Hard Life” make it clear that this is straight-up no frills hardcore. Tracks like “Rise” and “Let it Burn” show that same love of grand, anthemic choruses that just beg for you to scream along with.

That’s not to say that all of the songs sound the same. Tracks like “Outta My Way” feature a thrashier sound, with some guttural backing vocals. Plus, while the guys in At No End certainly haven’t mellowed, their songwriting has matured over the years – as we all do. Their music is a living, breathing evolving thing, which keeps it that much fresher and more relevant than a lot of what’s out there. Tracks like “Bullet” and the title track veer away from the standard lyrical fare of the hardcore scene in favor of focusing on the bigger, more important questions and the uglier side of all that unfixed rage.

At No End continue their rise from the ashes of the Cleveland hardcore scene. This is just the latest in their string of efforts to breathe, stuff, kick and slap life back into the urban holocaust that is Cleveland’s dying scene.

-Late

Urban Holocaust

Rating by Larry McCloskey: 4.0 stars
****

Festinate – self-titled

Festinate CD cover

Festinate blast their way through the door with “The Humanix”, setting the stage for what is to follow throughout the rest of their self-titled disc. What is to follow is a scathing mix of power metal chords delivered with the rapidfire staccato of the thrash scene. The mix may seem an odd one at first. Many of the chords throughout the disc are definitely from the power metal school but they steer clear of the power metal progressions and opt for blunt, thrashy riffs instead.

While the disc may open with a crisp mix of clean and harsh vocals that immediately makes the listener think “power metal”, “Lies in Weight” immediately follows that with smashing breakdowns taken straight from the likes of Exodus and Nuclear Assault. Similarly, “Megabomb” is a thrashing beast of a track that is as simple as it is brutal. “No Light” is a bit more textured, though, steering closer to the European thrash sound of acts like Helloween.

“Thrymheim” may be the best way to examine the disc as a whole. The track harkens back to that same European thrash sound, with thickly layered guitars practically oozing over top of machine gun drumming, disappearing in to a haunting instrumental trek into a second onslaught, which features vocalist Ryan Boehm moving back and forth between the guttural and sublime extremes of his range.

Overall, Festinate plumb the depths of the metal scene and offer up a taste of an awful lot of what it has to offer and they do it in pretty short order, with five blistering tracks that showcase a lot more depth than others have shown with more prolific efforts.

-Late

Festinate

Rating by Larry McCloskey: 4.5 stars
****1/2

Upon A Burning Body- The World Is Ours

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY!!!! With these four words, Upon A Burning Body greets you and welcomes you to a journey of brutality at its finest. If you are at all a fan of the whole metalcore genre, The World Is Ours is going to be an album that’s right up your alley.

Right out of the gate, you will notice the raw energy that UABB brings on The World Is Ours. HAving got the priviledge of being able to see them live, I can honestly say that what they bring in a live show is dead on with the album, and vice-versa. Musically, it’s pretty amazing how talented UABB is as a whole. The amazing riffs, the machine gun precision of the drums, the deep bass sounds, this band has everything you could ask for.

Lyrically, vocalist Danny Leal nails it. As A band, the whole Al Pacino character theme of the album is a huge risk. But UABB makes it work great. If you think about it, how many of Pacino’s characters in his movies are good guys? Exactly. And that’s the point of view that Leal writes from, and it works beautifully.

This is a great album put out by an honest, hard-working band. It’s not completely original in terms of sound, but that said, these guys know how to just rock out. If you like your music loud, abrasive, and over the top, you have it here. Fans of Unearth, August Burns Red, and The Black Dahlia Murder will find this an enjoyable listen. Check it out and get ready to pound your chest and bang your head, because Upon A Burning Body are gonna make sure that happens

Deftones- Diamond Eyes

It’s been awhile since we have heard anything new from the Deftones. 2006 to be exact. In fact, since their first album, Adrenaline, rolled out in 1995, we have only got 5 other albums, something somewhat rare in today’s music scene where some bands put out something new seemingly just to put it out.

Deftones new album, Diamond Eyes, follows closer in the footsteps of the band’s 2003 self titled release. The band’s 2006 Saturday Night Wrist album was well documented as nearly being the downfall of the entire band. It didn’t come out to the great reviews the bands previous recordings did. Not that Saturday Night Wristwas horrible by any means; it was just a totally different sound. But that’s one great thing about the Deftones. You can’t pigeonhole them. You can’t say they’re metal, nu-metal, experimental, etc. They just roll a lot of things together. One second, you may have guitars chugging along and singer Chino Moreno screaming his head off, and the next thing you know, you have an almost quiet feel to everything, an almost ambient sound going on. That’s one thing I have always respected about this band. They do what they want, on their terms.

Diamond Eyes sees the Deftones for the first time without bassist Chi Cheng, who was seriously injured in an auto accident in November 2008. Former Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega jumped on board as the band’s bassist, and does a great job smoothing the transition.

Diamond Eyes starts out with the title track, and if you know the band at all, it kinda takes you back to some of their earlier days. Musically and vocally, you get that old feel, kind of like something off of Around The Fur. “Royal”, “Cmnd/Ctrl”, and “Rocket Skates” also give you that huge, wave of sound feeling. “Prince”, “Sextape”, and “This Place Is Death” seem to follow on the more ambient trail that some of the recent Deftones records have seen.

The Deftones, in my opinion, are one of those bands that you either like or you hate. You either get the sound, or you just think that it’s dumb and it sucks. I, for one, tend to be in the group that considers the band quite good. I don’t think that you can have the longevity that the Deftones have had as a band, still going strong after 15 plus years, and not be doing something right. And these guys have a rabid fan base, as I still probably have dents in my head from shows over the years to prove.

Diamond Eyes falls somewhere nicely in the top three Deftones albums made. Is it the best? I don’t think so. Is it the worst? Certainly not. If you are a fan of the Deftones, you’ll like this one a lot.

Matt White

As I Lay Dying – The Powerless Rise

The Powerless Rise by As I Lay Dying

As I Lay Dying comes back at us full force with their own version of some in your face metalcore, and trust me, these guys know how to bring it. The Powerless Rise, AILD’s fourth record on Metal Blade Records, sees Tim Lambesis and company coming at you in a way that not many Christian bands can. They don’t preach at you. And they certainly don’t make you feel like you are sitting in the local church.

The Powerless Rise lets you know that life is full of deception, discontent, and negativity, just to name a few. But it also gives you that glimmer of hope, albeit in a screaming, growling manner that any true metalhead will enjoy.

If track titles such as “Beyond Our Suffering”, “Anger and Apathy”, “Condemned”, and “Upside Down Kingdom” don’t give you a taste of what’s to come on the disc, then lyrics like ‘In my convictions I’ve found my own grave, but amongst the dead we all fade away,’ off of “Anodyne Sea” or ‘In looking to the end we’ve lost sight of where to begin,’ from “Without Conclusion” give you a bit of an idea of what to expect.

Musically, AILD is awesome in the sense that they don’t try too hard. By that I mean they don’t try to reinvent the wheel. They break your head open when it needs to be done, and they know when to let up and take the more melodic approach when the moment calls for it. And there are more than enough solos and double pedal drumming to bang your skull to.

So to wrap it up, if you’re a fan of As I Lay Dying, you’ll only continue to like them even more after listening to The Powerless Rise. If you’ve never listened to them before, do yourself a favor and grab this disc and don’t turn it off for a long time.

 

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