WHAT'S IT TO YA
What is there to say about Snew? They are the quintessential shit kicker band. There's several out there. There's bands like Broken Teeth, Rhinobucket and American Dog to name a few. Then, there's Snew. Snew has been kicking around for a few years now, growing a couple fans at a time but making an impact independently with a level of persistence that only guys that are truly dedicated to their craft can appreciate. Given that life forces me to be wedged in with a lot of image conscious, douchey modern metal/post hardcore bands that would never understand this level of commitment, I'm always one to give a DIY band like Snew every chance. Thankfully, they have proven the musical chops once again to warrant some attention from not only me, but the hard rock community at large. WHAT'S IT TO YOU feels just like the boot hitting your ass when you were a teenager telling your dad that you couldn't do something because it was too hard.
It's been a decade of growth, development, change and experimentation for the guys in Pennsylvania's Icarus Witch. The band that exists today simply would not have written albums like CAPTURE THE MAGIC or SONGS FOR THE LOST. Being completely honest, it just seems like a completely new band. Not only has this band gone through numerous member changes (I think they are the modern day Spinal Tap as I believe they are on drummer #5), but those new members have all instilled creative changes to where the music is different from what was first experienced. If your first taste of Icarus Witch is RISE, you would never suspect that this was once a traditional metal/power metal band only a few years ago. That said, it's doubtful you'd be disappointed either.
Chris Robinson Brotherhood
BIG MOON RITUAL
Man, oh man. Sometimes I hear music that really, really makes me question my decision of 1986 to just quit smoking pot. I've never lied to anyone about it. I loved smoking pot - everything about it. I loved the buzz. I loved the warm, bubbly feeling as you let it find its way through your lungs while you held it in before that euphoric release that was, generally, followed by a soft giggle of the purest enjoyment. I loved the relaxing serenity it can put your mind into, specifically if you had just the right music playing while you enjoyed passing a joint around a campfire or mixing in pipe hits when you grew tired of drinking beer by the six pack. Yes, I do miss smoking pot, but thankfully I am one of those rare breed that still enjoys the best pot smoking music while being completely herb free!
It's been five years since Rush unleashed their SNAKES AND ARROWS release, and to be honest, it's been longer still since they put out a release that was truly great. Like most of their material outside of the 80s, SNAKES AND ARROWS was a little better than competent classic progressive hard rock. For the diehards, always being good but not great leaves them wondering when the next great release will emerge. For those that are just fans in passing (like this guy), the thought of a new release generates very little in the way of expectation.
The road to success, or even survival, for any band is a difficult one. For a band like Mnemic, that's never found a way to break through in the United States for a wide assortment of reasons, it can be even that much harder. For every band, from the smallest local band to Metallica or Aerosmith, there always seems to come a point where the band is tested to decide if they should move forward or pack it in.
That time seemingly came for Mnemic following the release of their SONS OF THE SYSTEM release. It was at this point that 3/5 of the band turned over. This left the band's lone original member Mircea Gabriel Eftemie with a decision - continue Mnemic which has always shown the potential but has never broken through on the biggest stage, or call it a day and try something else. According to Eftemie, there really was no decision like this to be made. Mnemic found new members and went about the business of recording their latest release, MNEMESIS. As he explained to PITRIFF recently, the turnover of members did present it's own set of challenges, but never so much so that he ever considered putting an end to Mnemic. Here's the conversation:
Creating the magical moment in a band's history can certainly be a blessing. it can also be a curse though. Throughout the history of recorded music, most long term bands have created their "epic moment", and then followed it up (generally unsuccessfully) for the next several decades trying to recapture that moment once again. While I'm sure people will question the band's apex moment, I'll state that ENDLESS PAIN (and specifically the brilliant track "Flag Of Hate") was Kreator's grandest moment. While they have been one of the more excellent thrash bands since then, they never really lived up to that album...until 2009's HORDES OF CHAOS. There was a level of brilliance with that release that most didn't think these guys had anymore. That was the blessing.
BLACK THRONE OF ALL CREATION
Holy Suffocation, is this a tribute band? Actually, it's not. Dehuman is a Belgian death metal band that claims themselves to be an "old school death metal" band, and they are certainly right on the mark with that. BLACK THRONE OF ALL CREATION certainly could have done well in 1996 or so...long before this genre was uprooted and bastardized by all the influence of Metalcore to ruin future generations of sonic death.
While I appreciate the old school sound that Dehuman has, they unfortunately sound like they might have recorded with gear that hasn't been updated since the '90s as well.
FEW AGAINST MANY
I know I wasn't alone in worrying that guitarist Gus G. joining Ozzy would ruin Firewind. Sure, we all get that it's a great move for Gus. Further, we also understand that it is an unbelievable opportunity that that has propelled every other guitarist except Joe Holmes to stardom. In short, we get why Gus did it. That said though, Firewind has been, along with Primal Fear, the most consistently great power metal band of the last decade. Seeing it become a part time project behind a very high profile gig could have spelled disaster.
Thankfully though, this has not happened. While it's not the best album Firewind has ever done, FEW AGAINST MANY is very much in tune with the greatness of previous efforts and continues to show development of the band as songwriters. To say the least, FEW AGAINST MANY kicks ass in the tradition the band had previously established.