Jun 022012

Johari Window is a new band that kills. Comprised of vocalist/keyboardist Connor Hill, guitarists Michael Morgan and Dylan Hammond, bassist Nick Garing and drummer Chris Doty, I recently got to see them for the first time and I was impressed. These guys are young and talented and have a fat sound that would satisfy any true metalhead. It’s a hardcore, thrashy sound with a modern hint to it. The guitars were killer and I loved their tone. Finally, a band with awesome guitar tone. (I’m picky as hell about guitar tone!) The music is chock-full of intricate technical riffs that suck you in. The vocals of Connor Hill are raw and brutal. He has some serious metal vocals and does some singing, too. I love when vocalists mix it up. The screams aren’t too overboard like some metal vocals are. Right when I think the Louevil metal scene is dead, these guys show up and kick some butt. I predict good things from these guys! If you love the brutal stuff, you should check out Johari Window. I’m checking out a track called “Coup D’Etat” and it’s pretty good. I liked them live better though. The band was very tight and had a good crowd for going on first. The drummer is sick. The time for Johari Window is now and you should seek them out.

You can see JW next on July 27 at Phoenix Hill Tavern. Be there!

Jun 022012

IIatatime (pronounced two-at-a-time) is a death metal/hardcore band from Louevil with some very experienced musicians in it. Guitarists Lance Arny (Flaw) and Tim Edwards (CNWD), drummer Andy Russ (who also played guitar in Flaw) and vocalist from hell Todd Tripton (Caldera). These guys are opening for Shadows Fall at Phoenix Hill Tavern on June 2, so be there at 7 p.m. to see some seriously brutal Louevil musicians let loose. I’m listening to their new demo right now and OMG, it friggin’ wails. “Memiors” makes me wanna jump up and sidekick someone in the forehead. The guitars are super down-tuned, sludgy and fat and grinding. The chorus is awesome. The low vocals and high melodic solos cut through. I love the way Lance Arny plays guitar. He use effects to get some great classic sounds. He has done that for almost twenty years, though. He has made it an art form. I’m going to have to pay that mofo to come over here and set my guitar rig up right. I bet he would have my gear sounding unreal. The vocals of Todd Tripton are nothing like he used to do. He has improved 900%. These vocals in this music are the best he’s ever done, by far. Very good death metal vocals, indeed. You’ve heard of Pig Vocal style, right? Well Todd does that and more. He is all over the place. I’d now have to say that Todd is the “Premier Death Metal” vocalist in town. Usually death metal vocals grind on my nerves, but these are classy somehow and notes are being achieved. Lance Arny’s guitar solos work very well with the low-tuned, heavy-ass rhythms, especially the higher melodic notes over the low. The drumming of Andy Russ is sick. I always knew him as a incredibly talented guitarist, but I had no idea he was this good on drums.

I’m impressed by this recording from Earlygrace Studios. Jordan Haynes has gained a reputation for making bands sound great and he has done that for these guys. “The Dead Flamingo” is instantly grinding and killing pretty much all the way through. No pretty choruses in this one. It’s all business. The stops on guitar are cool. These are some of the lowest tuned guitars I’ve heard I think. It does have a super-fat sound. I like the slower drums with heavy riffs. Not all drums need to be 100 miles an hour! This proves that well. A good effort from a hellacious metal band from here. I think come June 2, these guys are going to rip it up when they open for internationally known metal band Shadows Fall. Don’t forget, be early for IIattatime!

Jun 022012
Malice New Breed cover

This is a special review for me, as I am one of the early LA metal scene enthusiasts and a cult follower of this legendary metal band. I used to ride around in my ’77 Camaro Rally Sport, blasting Malice throughout the neighborhood while a cloud of smoke escaped out the window. I turned those Lynyrd Skynyrd-listening fools into LA Metal aficionados.

Once upon a time in the early/mid Eighties, Malice> made some serious noise and had a formidable lineup of top-notch musicians. Unfortunately, the band failed to achieve the superstar status that other LA metal bands did, but they definitely left a mark in the metal world, a cult mark, if you will.

Malice was formed in 1981. They played the LA club scene and had a great following. playing their type of classic metal, comparable to Judas Priest. I admit I am a huge Malice fan, and have both of their full-length albums. To me, a metal authority, the two albums License To Kill and In The Beginning were two albums that should be in every oldschool metal head’s CD collection. Malice’s music is very early Eighties sounding but not in a cheesy way. They managed to bring some exceptional talent to the thriving LA metal scene in a time when most bands were all about the look rather than the music. Malice had excellent chops and wrote great songs. Guitarists Jay Reynolds (formerly with Metal Church as well) and Mick Zane were unholy on guitar and worked so well together that it almost brought tears. Their solos cut through your heart and ripped out your very soul. It was very emotional and moving playing. Malice’s singer, James Neal, was an all-out vocal god. His recorded tracks are simply unreal. Neal’s voice was super high-pitched and could reach heights other singers only wished they could achieve. Neal’s vibrato technique was superb. His voice still gives me chills twenty-seven years later.

They also were part of the first legendary Metal Massacre sampler in 1982; indeed, they were the only band with two songs included. Malice toured in the US, Canada and Europe with bands like Alice Cooper, WASP and Slayer. The band’s most memorable gig was in 1982, in Los Angeles at the Troubador Club. The support act was an unknown band called – Metallica. Talk about historic!

The Return: Malice decided to reform and cut an album with Steamhammer/SPV and bring back some true metal to the masses. They decided to re-record several tracks off the two albums, and add four new songs as well. Unfortunately James Neal was unavailable, so they enlisted former Helstar vocalist James Rivera, and former Black N’ Blue drummer Pete Holmes.

James Rivera is another vocalist who kicks much ass. I first became a fan of James Rivera when he with the band Destiny’s End. I loved his work in that band and have both albums (I wore them out!). I even traveled 100 miles to see them in Cincinnati with Iced Earth. (That was the night that I had a fist-fight with Iced Earth’s guitarist Jon Schaffer.) Destiny’s End blew the headliners away that night. Anyway, James and Destiny’s End were great people. He even hugged me when we left that night. Super cool people.

James has the high-pitched vocals that were needed to recreate some of the earlier Malice classic songs like “Godz Of Thunderz,” “Circle Of Fire” and “Against The Empire.” Not just any singer can pull off some James Neal vocals, so finding the right guy was imperative. Malice got tight again as a band and played some shows in 2011 that went very well. So they went into the studio to record New Breed Of Godz.

The result: I am excited as heck. I get to review new material that isn’t even out yet from a band I grew up to. It don’t get much better. The title song sounds great and is one of the new songs. There are some nice guitar harmonies going on in the track and Rivera sounds better than ever. The chorus reminds me of Iron Maiden a little. “Hellrider” is smokin’ too, but the effects on Rivera’s vocals seem a bit cheap-sounding and maybe a hair overdone, especially the delay. A bit to much on the repeats maybe? The music is killing though. Definitely heavier this time around.

“Against The Empire” kicks ass. I think I might blow a musical nut! Ha. Rivera is awesome on this one! Very good recreation. “Branded” is another new track. It reminds me of Destiny’s End a bit with the galloping riff. The guitar solo is wicked and has a wonderful tone with a fat chorus on it. I would have maybe ended it a bit earlier, though. Not bad, but not as good as the Eighties material. “Sinister Double” sounds decent but Rivera’s vocals on this one are throwing me and my female guest off a bit. It’s not that they are bad vocals , it’s just that I’ve listened to the original track so long that I have come to expect Neal’s ultra-highs every time. Rivera does things a bit different on this version. One of my favorites, “Circle Of Fire,” starts out with a different beginning. Once again the vocals are throwing me off. Rivera is in a lower octave than the original. I don’t like the change. You can understand the words much better with Rivera, though. The lead guitar in this wails. The music rocks. Rivera’s vocals on “Stellar Masters” is better, maybe because the notes aren’t as high. “Winds Of Death (Angel Of Light)” is a new ballad that sounds good, and so does Rivera. Great chorus and lyrics! Go James! Ha.

This is like “No Haven for The Raven” Part Two!!! Hell, yeah. I like this song the best so far of the new music. It’s not heavy but there is feeling and emotion. And that is what gets me. A memorable track. I’ll be singing this one for days I’m sure. “Air Attack” starts with an added air raid siren not on the first album. Very good! Rivera does good on this one except when he chooses to bypass the ending high notes in the verse. “Chain Gang Woman” rocks! I love how Rivera says Nasty. Cool.

I friggin’ love this song. I sometimes change the words to “Gang Bang Woman” though. Rivera does great on this one, too. This is sweet. “Slipping Through The Cracks” is a cool new track that has a “Vigilante”-type feel that I like. Every song doesn’t have to be heavy as hell. This is my second favorite new track! I like the bass-oriented grooves Mark Behn has going on. The bass stands out in this one.

“Godz Of Thunder” is the last song. The music is pounding. Good quality recording at Silver Cloud Studios in LA.

Alas, once again the vocals fall short of the original recordings. The notes in this song are not matching the originals. They are in a lower vocal range. Rivera was playing it safe. I would be too if I was expected to recreate that chit. I would be a nervous, stressed, worrying MF. But let’s be honest; listen to Malice’s “Gods Of Thunder” or “Circle Of Fire” on Youtube, and you will see that for anyone to recreate that singing accurately to the “T,” you would have to find a fifteen-year-old-boy just out of opera training school with an unreal octave range that can break glass, or put someone’s scrotum in a vise and squeeze till they hit the note. And then only maybe! As much as I love Rivera, he can only do so much these days. We Eighties rockers are getting up there in age, and 90% of the time, vocal skills go a bit downward as one ages. So considering everything I’ve said, James Rivera did an amazing job. I’ve always liked his vocals and I think it’s a great fit for Malice.

There were only a few moments when the lower octaves put a damper on my recollections.

The band sounds killer. The guitars on the album are just as expected – badass. The new additions of guitar alterations work well, so well that I am willing to drive a few hundred miles to see them live when they go on tour. I’m going to talk to their people and see if they can stop here in Louisville. I can probably get them on at the infamous Phoenix Hill Tavern. But only if my band Krosjoint opens!

New Breed Of Godz comes out June 19 in the USA. It’s already out in Europe.

Jun 022012

Thursday, July 19 at the Klipsch Music Center in Noblesville, Indiana, two titans of metal will converge upon the masses for one rare and rockin’ event.

First of all, Maiden doesn’t tour around here very much at all, if ever! If you love Maiden as much as I do, then you will bite the bullet and get your ticket to see these British metal legends in action!

The soaring vocals of Bruce Dickinson, the mean guitars of Dave Murray, Adrian Smith, and the bass god Steve Harris, and the insane drumming of Mr Nicko McBrain. How can anyone pass that up?

These guys are getting up there in years, so this might be your last opportunity to see these walking legends in action. Oh yeah, Alice Cooper is opening. Alice plays Louevil so much, maybe he should just move here. Ha. Get your tickets now! How can you not support Maiden?

Jun 022012

Do you just wuuuuuvvvv beer? I know plenty of folks who do, especially my band members in Krosjoint! Anyways, if you love beer as much as they do, then you might want to attend Phoenix Hill Tavern‘s first Annual Beerphest on July 7. It’s a plethora of beer, brewed right here in our own little hamlet, and from far beyond. Raspberry, orange, lime, ales, darks, lights, they got it all, in two ounce samples of over 100 beers from over 25 different American and foreign breweries! They also have games, live music, food trucks, and beer seminars to educate your hillbilly butts on the fine art of suds making. The Hill has a heck of a night planned for you. Buy a ticket and you get to sample a chitload of beverages. Make no mistakes, You will be hammered.

And the Hill even has a designated driver option for those who do not want to risk a DUI. Very thoughtful of the people at Phoenix Hill. A darn good idea. Tickets are $35 in advance, and $40 day of show. And an extra $20 adv/$25 day of show gets you a ride home safe, and it benefits Wayside Mission, a great organization that helps our city’s homeless.

I’m not a big drinker, but this sounds fun! I’m going to have to check this out. Can you imagine the hangover the next day?

It’s almost like when I was judge for the infamous Chili Cookoff. Seventy different types of Chili were in my innards. Double Ugh.

Jun 022012

Summer is in full swing now and things are really heating up.

Derby was a blast! I went to the Derby and lost big. I didn’t see one set of boobs. Fifty dollars to get in, and no hooters? I’m outraged. Our group did have a lot of fun, though. We saw some guy packing around a blow-up doll that he introduced as his girlfriend and some douchebags hacked up our beloved 420 bush. R.I.P.

Leaving the track after the Kentucky Derby was a nightmare! I was packed in like a sardine can, with about 200,000 people arm-to-arm. A sea of drunkards, and I was quite buzzed too! Not good at all. I was getting claustrophobic, and almost jumped the fence and said “f**k it!”

Concerts, concerts, concerts. We have a bunch of sweet concerts coming to town and the outlying regions, so if you are all about the shows then you are in luck. (see below)

The local scene seems to be doing a little bit better, too, thank god. There for a while it was positively stagnant. I recently had the distinct pleasure of being able to play the Phoenix Hill’s big Derby Eve all-night bash, outdoors, opening for national recording artists LIT, and boy, what a cool show/time that was. I have been wanting to play one of the Hill’s infamous outdoor national shows on the big stage for a long time now, and we (Year Of The Gun) finally got our chance. We had a blast rocking for 500 or 600 people, and the Lit guys and crew were very cool, indeed.

I would like to thank the Phoenix Hill Tavern for the opportunity to play such a cool and high-exposure show. It’s great that they give unsigned artists the opportunities that they do. I have seen them use Louisville talent so many times it’s uncountable. Sure, they could find other semi-nationals to open, but they give regional original musicians the chance to shine, and for that we should all be grateful. One of my bands has been trying for a while to get a national show like that, and I admit to getting frustrated seeing opportunities for national opening gigs pass us by. It’s a vicious dog-eat-dog game when it comes to opening for nationals. Bands have to be on their A- game! When it finally does come to you, you get a bit over-excited. Ha. It took a long while, but I’m quite happy with the results!

I’ve been trying to get my band in the Hard Rock Cafe too, so I contacted the guy in charge and he seems like a cool dude. Hopefully we can get in there soon. Once upon a time, I was anti-4th Street Live, but I’m older, wiser and a bit more tolerant now that I am getting up there in years. Sometimes I don’t take change very well. I admit it.

Alas, it’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. Chit or get off the pot. Times are a’changin. and we older guys gotta get with the program or end up left in the dust. I thought since my bands are comprised of a bit older Louevil musicians that maybe that was the reason we didn’t get opportunities like we would like to get.

Heck, one hater has been telling anyone who will listen to his BS that I am over the hill and way past my prime. Duh. When you hit 42 you will be past your prime too, pud.

Oh, well, everyone ages! I don’t feel 42 and that is what counts. I still feel like a horny nineteen-year-old, and I’m not giving up on my music. I urge you older rockers who love to play to NEVER give up!!

A few years back, I thought I’d never play music again, and now I’m opening for nationals and playing music that came from my heart and soul. The truth is, I would be happy playing to 20 people.

I don’t ask for much. Just a little respect and an ear to make bleed.

Nope. Sorry to all you haters, but I’ve still got some kickass music/shows left in me and I’ll be rockin’ this beeyatchee till I can’t physically do it any longer. The owner of Louisville Music News, my boss Paul Moffett, is 67, and he plays music (guitar and vocals) out every week, and does Flamenco dancing and a number of other activities. Ask him if you think people should quit jamming at an older age!!! He would probably Flamenco spin you into a speaker cabinet, and then serenade you on your way out to the ambulance on the stretcher.

Don’t mess with us older rockers:)