Fear Factory

Fear Factory is set to release a new album on August 7, 2015. If the rest of the album is like the teaser track released via YouTube today, it’s going to be one of their best.

The lyric video uses cold, stark, robotic imagery with graphical display of the lyrics. The lyrics to Soul Hacker are typical of Fear Factory and can be taken to mean multiple things on many levels – a statement on the government, the religious takeover of governments the world over (overt & covert), and even to the young, a statement of independence against indoctrination by parental forces and educational institutions.

Burton C Bell’s voice has not wavered in its power over the years, which is, to me, amazing given some little tour habits he is known to have (at least in the early days). The song begs to be cranked up to maximum volume so that in envelopes you fully in aural sensory overload.

I can’t wait for the rest.

Watch, Sing, Repeat: 

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Holy Mother of Satan! 184 free tracks from Relapse

25 Years Relapse Records Sampler

Relapse Records, one of the premier metal labels out there (imho), is celebrating 25 years. They are offering a sampler of 184 tracks for free. However, there is a donate option. I threw them $5 from via my PayPal account, just to help support the musicians out there on the record, but if you are on a budget, you can just put in 0 and it will let you download the zip file. There is a flac option for the audiophile conscious out there. I chose the mp3.

Here’s the link: 25 Years

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The hoodie bill

Posting this here since there is a claim that the text has been deleted from the oklegislature.gov site. It could be the time of day since Oklahoma legal record servers tend to update at 20:00 CT give or take on a nightly basis.

This has gotten a lot of press. Here is the original link to the rtf file on the ok.gov bill search site: Oklahoma SB13 2015 Regular Session.
Or here is a pdf conversion of that file that you can access 24 hrs a day.

This may be of concern to touring bands – while there is on stage exceptions written in the new added language (strike out are proposed deletions, underlines are new text, no mark up is existing law) – if one of my musician friends of this blog is arrested for some piddly crime like smoking a joint – we still have some of the harshest marijuana laws in the nation – they could tack this on. Fines range from $50 to $500, if convicted.

Be wary of laws like this that the media are seizing on. Do your homework before commenting publicly. And these things are usually designed to distract from the real issues in society and facing governments.

(In my test preview, the first link did not work, but as I mentioned it could be the time of day/night. The pdf works.)

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godhead – The Shadow Realigned

30 Reviews in 30 Days: #17

godhead - The Shadow Realigned cover

godhead – The Shadow Realigned

godhead – The Shadow Realigned

Warrior Records, 29 April 2014.

Shifting gears a bit to do something that arrived in my inbox a few days ago. A preorder allowed me early access to the mp3 album. But first a bit of history, I first met Jason Charles Miller (as he goes by now in his solo career) when he melted my soul with his silky voice in the band Blind. I saw them live at a club in Wichita, Kansas that went by Rock something (not the Rock Island). It was in a strip mall and I have long since killed the brain cell that filed away the full name of the club. Anyway. I bought the cassette and am surprised that I have not wore that thing out. Later I was contacted by his booking agent at the time to book his new project, godhead. I got their promo material and booked them at Kirby’s Too. We’ve been in contact off and on over the years. I grew excited when they were taken under Marilyn Manson’s wing and gained some commercial success. Then, Jason went solo and alt country. But I still can’t get away from drowning in his voice. Needless to say I was skeptical at first when they said an album was coming out. I was thinking just straight up reissue when I heard it was the Shadow Line, then it became clear to me that this was a remix, hence, Realigned. This is a cold review – I am hearing these for the first time and you are reading my first impressions:
1. The Gift (Robotic Beehive Remix) – A more haunting version.
2. Through the Cracks (Sweet Kill Remix) – Ready for pop radio with an 80’s modern rock influence in the overall feel.
3. Unrequited (Ben Moody Remix) – Reminds me of the Cure, New Order, Depeche Mode on many levels in the opening sequence. And more the Cure in the delivery of the lyrical delivery of Jason Charles Miller in this version. A worthy remix of the original that I have adored since I first laid my ears and brain on it.
4. Hey You (Ginormous Remix) – The undergroove that is the remix here sounds like it could easily be in a TV show or video game, more so the TV show once you add the lyrics, “Hey you, what do you want me to do?” Paging the CW, Julie Plec.
5. Trapped in Your Lies (NeonGenesis Remix) – Hardcore dance mix? This one is trying too hard. It barely resembles the original. I love the original and some things that beautiful should not be fucked with this much.
6. Inside Your World (Dark Moon Remix) – Cold, stark, heavy industrial. I like the treatment this one got.
7. Goodbye (Khursor Remix) – Oh, the way a breakup song should be, full of venom and spit. Really captures the bird as one walks into a crowded city busy street – the bird flashed at the one who likely deserved it from the mood of the lyrics, delivered still hauntingly perfect by Miller.
8. Another Day (Shoks Other Way Remix) – Another walk away song. This is the next chapter from “Goodbye” but this is about starting over and gets a more upbeat mix that could be a righteous industrial, dance club floor burner. Come on everybody now, raise your arms in praise and clap your hands.
9. Once Before (Arritmic Remix) – Another upbeat dance mix. Damn, I like this treatment. I can see using this in playlists, CD mixes (if I ever burn one of those again).
10. Push (Creature Remix) – This partly feels like an old 80’s video game, a feel of a cross between something like Pole Position and Defender or Galaga. It’s fun, a bit gritty, and slightly sexy.
11. Your End of Days (Jamison Boaz Remix) – Darkly delivered Beatles-esque in the chorus, especially. Are we sure Yoko Ono did not get ahold of this? Seriously, though, I dig it.
12. Fall Down (Joe Bishara Remix) – A mid-80’s radio pop treatment, that feels updated. The least crunchy remix so far of the album.
13. Unrequited (Team Cybergeist Remix) – A faster version of the original. It’s different than the other treatment this song gets, but I do like them both.
14. Trapped in Your Lies (Psyclon Nine Remix) – Now, as I said, beauty shouldn’t be fucked with – this is a good fuck. A darkly delicious stark dirty version of the original. The mix made it sound like you are hearing it through an echo chamber or being blasted through a club wall – a metaphorical box given walls in the sound. You can fuck with beauty if you do it right.
15. To Heal – The first new godhead song in about six years. Other reviewers have said that it is a dig from the archives. It is classic godhead sound, and while it’s good, I can hear why it may not have made the cut onto the albums of yore. It’s an album track, perhaps at the end, a plea – “All I want is to heal.”
16. God of Thunder (Kiss cover) – The last two tracks of this realignment are covers from two of their influences. Why this song? Were they just screwing around in studio during their reunion and this is what emerged? It’s not bad, and Jason (if indeed it is Jason) growling shows versatility in his voice. But if he sang this way all the time, he would still have the vocal chops 20 years later.
17. Never Let Me Down Again (Depeche Mode cover) – Depeche Mode’s influence is more evident throughout godhead’s overall body of work. This treatment is a good homage to Depeche Mode. I’m more likely to hit the skip track button past “God of Thunder” to this track when listening to the album as a whole in the car and crank this one up. Placing this track here as it fades out serves to end the album on a more upbeat note.

Overall, there are a lot more tracks that I like than dislike at first blush. The weakest remix track in my opinion is the NeonGenesis version of “Trapped in Your Lies.” Despite that, I still give this:

5 out of 5 PBR Pint Rating and not just because I love Jason’s voice and overall body of work. As of this writing, the official godhead page on Facebook only has 6365 Likes which is way too few for the quality of music they have released over the years. Please seek out this album, and seek out their back catalog. It will be well worth your time.

Listening notes: Cold listening, using the mp3 version unzipped to my hard drive on my Samsung NP300 laptop and those Emerson earbuds. I do have the physical copy, signed by Jason (thank you). No, I’m not sharing or posting up the mp3’s anywhere for you to steal. Support underground DIY music and buy the thing yourself. I hear it will be distro’ed by Best Buy, too, but just use the link above and cut out a middle man.

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Soulfly – Prophecy

30 Reviews in 30 Days: #16

Soulfly - Prophecy album cover

Soulfly Prophecy

Roadrunner, 30 March 2004. Producer, Max Cavalera.

1. Prophecy – We slam into all that is Max Cavalera and his metal genius with the title track.
2. Living Sacrifice –
3. Execution Style – Noodling guitar with an almost electronic sound in the bridge.
4. Defeat U
5. Mars – At the midway point we have a breakdown and flamenco style acoustic guitar is heard over drums and the bass, playing slightly behind the beat. Jazz influence is heavy in the song at this point. You almost want to hear brush work on the drums, but you don’t.
6. I believe – Max professes his Catholic faith in this track, more so here lyrically than in any other of the tracks.
7. Moses – The influence of Max being based in Pheonix Arizona is evident in the beginning of this track with Mexican ska funk here. It’s not something you think of when you think of sounds coming out of Brazil, where he was born and raised.
8. Born Again Anarchist –
9. Porrada
10. In the Meantime
11. Soulfly IV – Brazilian jazz.
12. Wings – A soulful mellow jazz tune with female vocals by Pearl. Then at the halfway point of the track, we apparrently go to New Orleans with some oompah, brass heavy jazz that might be heard at a funeral procession in the French Quarter. Then at the 5:13 mark approximately, we go into a new age/classical mood that fades into the end of the album.

Overall, this is not one I reach for on a regular basis when I want to listen to Soulfly. If I have not made a comment on the track above, it just means that it did not strike me in anyway. Musically, it is a great album, and genre wise it is all over the place, showcasing Max’s influences and creativity. It is well strung together, but I am put off a bit by the lyrical content. I don’t want to be preached at when I listen to music unless I am in a house of worship. When I think of Soulfly, I want hard hitting, in your face stuff, with a tribal punch. I respect the music and craftsmanship on this album, so I can still give it:

Rating: 4 out of 5 PBR Pints

Listening notes: Sony Vaio laptop at work with Dragon 180W speakers running out the headphone jack.

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Corrosion of Conformity – Deliverance

30 Reviews in 30 Days: #15

COC - Deliverance album cover

Corrosion of Conformity Deliverance

Columbia, 27 September 1994. John Custer, producer.

I had the pleasure of seeing COC back in my Wichita daze in 1994 (could have been 1995) when they toured in support of this album. I only managed to get Woody Weatherman’s (guitar) signature on the liner notes after the show at the Rock Island. Always have dug COC after I heard them the first time. They are in a stoner groove type of hard rock, heavy metal, with Lynyrd Skynyrd influence rife in the riffage. A lot of their songs could be considered radio friendly, with minor editing for the uptight parents/FCC.

1. Heaven’s Not Overflowing – A strong track for the opening song.
2. Albatross – One of the singles off the album. Pepper Keenan’s chops are soulfully on display in this track.
3. Clean my Wounds – If the last track was just a single, this track is the definitive hit that is still played on hard rock and classic rock radio on a steady rotation. The lyrics speak to a universal plea for forgiveness to either a higher power or fellow (wo)mankind. I may be a self-professed atheist and certainly in the agnostic category when this song came out, but the line, “Help me Jesus, help me clean my wounds. He said I cannot heal that kind.” Powerful stuff that spoke to me and I still find myself singing the chorus at the top of my lungs with the stereo cranked as high as it will go when it comes on.
4. Without Wings – Begins with an acoustic guitar with the quality and still you would find in the finished Spanish flamenco players, but at a mellower speed. The song is an instrumental, a quiet lullaby that begs meditation or even snuggling with the one you are begging forgiveness from per the prior song.
5. Broken Man – We reenter the crunch zone with a heavy, drop D groove, that invites undulation of the body.
6. Senor Limpio – ZZ Top style simple blues backbeat.
7. Mano de Mono – Again, we have the display of the guitar picking, clean and stark in the intro with a underlay of a keyboard that evokes a sad or reflective TV movie scene. We shift to electric, and this instrumental serves as a bridge into the next track.
8. Seven Days – A sound similar to “Albatross” and “Clean my Wounds” with a rolling riffage and Pepper’s beautiful voice.
9. #2121313 – Another instrumental tracking only 1:02 that could easily be used in a movie, but not really mellow, but more doom and gloom.
10. My Grain – But then we get into a more upbeat driving down the backroads, drunk, with the wind in your hair type of song. Screechy on the lyrics, but the delivery fits.
11. Deliverance – A swipe at where the thought process in America was headed. No deliverance for the stupid. Gotta love the lyrics in the title track. Skynyrd/ZZ Top feel with the bluesy groove and riffs. My only beef with this track is the ending – it just stops cold. Hmm. Perhaps that’s on purpose given the content of the lyrics?
12. Shake Like You – This is the starkest, most blunt transition between tracks as we move from the abrupt ending of “Deliverance” to this song. There is a lot of vocal effects on this track.
13. Shelter – But we move back to clean lyrics with this acoustic outing. The slide guitar gives it a cross over ability to country rock.
14. Pearls before Swine – We end the album with another plea for forgiveness that begins with acoustically, but builds to a nice crescendo as we move through the lyrical content.

5 out of 5 PBR Pint Rating

Listening notes: Sony Vaio laptop at work with Dragon 180W speakers running out the headphone jack. Though, through the years, I’ve listened to this album at varous times and states of inebriation. It shall remain on a rotation pile.

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Drown – Kerosene (CD Single)

30 Reviews in 30 Days: #14

It’s late and I’m still playing catch up on my pacing, hence the short EP’s I’ve been reviewing.

Drown – Kerosene

Slipdisc, 1999.

I got my hands on this, don’t know from where or why, but it was at just the right time in my life. I was just getting more into the Chicago Fire soccer team, and well what better than a song that rocks and talks about burning shit down. The lyrics of the song spoke to me personally, as I grew up on a farm, knew that small town mentality well. And it speaks to me even more so given my current living situation. “Never anything to do in this town . . . probably come to die in this town . . .”
Comments on the versions:
1. Radio version – this is the track that finds its way onto mix CD’s and playlists in mp3 format as I drive to Fire matches and tailgate with my car stereo cranked.
2. Mi Vida Loca Vercion – Lyrics are sung in Spanish, otherwise it is essentially the same mix.
3. 1605 All-Star Version – We light a match. A mellow beginning, then into the radio version with some extra sampling and guest vocals.
4. Album version – A dirtier version in the intro than the radio version. It’s the version that I tend to forget when doing mixes. This version has more crunch, like a crackling fuse about to ignite. “Set me on Fire!”
5. Something to Do – A total industrial breakdown additional jam that is a nice addition to this CD single. Jazz backbeats add to the groove as the vocalist looks for something to do. As the music fades, I have always wanted this CD-single to end with an explosion, but it doesn’t, so there ya go.

I must say that suicide is not the way to go, nor is taking out others with you as you do so, especially the latter. But despite what the image of the chorus implies, I love this song. The pace and rhythm of the lyrics, however, do not work as well when sung in Spanish. Still, it gets:
5 out of 5 PBR Pint Rating
Bottoms up!

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