CD of the Month:

CD of the Month > click for more information

Our sponsor:

Sponsor 1

Zijn nieuwe boek:





Reviews 2000, part I


The Underdog Conspiracy - The Underdog Conspiracy, Enrichement Records

This punkband from Kansas City opens the album with Alone that goes at a frenzied pace. The bassist plays his own role now and then instead of just obediently following the chord structures. Imagine Shorthanded but played a little faster and nastier. The music is not only fast but also melodic. Their singer is singing with a sandpaper throat. My favorite song is perhaps Walking Away. The last track contains a discussion sample about Agent Orange (a chemical weapon used in the Vietnam war), a couple of other samples and a different kind of song from the band played live in the studio. The production is good. Sometimes I hear ideas that sound familiar to me and I'm sure they've picked up some of them from other artists. Great band nevertheless. Available through The Underdog Conspiracy.

Sanctifica - Spirit Of Purity, Little Rose Productions

On this eight song album you can hear fast, atmospheric black metal. The atmosphere is created by brooding keyboard sounds while the guitars try to add aggression with biting tones. The guitars are not always played as typical black metal. The keyboards sometimes remind me of Veni Domine, like in the titletrack. Not all the stuff here is fast and aggressive as the band slows down now and then for midtempo parts or doomier stuff. The vocals are hissing screams that turn into deep growls at times. One of the better songs is The Wanderer where the guitarwork is at its best and you can hear a wailing hard rock singer, Per Hagström, do some guest vocals along with Sanctifica's hissing monster Hubertus Liljegren. An interesting album from this Swedish band. Only the moods could be a bit darker to my idea.

Tinnitus - Veritas, Independent

Tinnitus is a Finnish four-piece that delivered this CD with three death metal songs. The songs have a variety of sounds and influences including acoustic parts and neatly played guitar solos. Both the guitarist and the drummer are working hard to get the songs rolling. There's talent in the band which perhaps is displayed best in Crucified. The sound quality could be a little better, though it's not bad. Personally I think this band could do well but on this disc they add nothing that really surprises me.

Galactic Cowboys - Let It Go, Metal Blade Records

What we've got here is the swansong of a phenomenal band from Houston, USA. The Title is Let It Go. An appropriate title for such an album and the cover shows a black-and-white photo of a sad looking boy holding three full color balloons in his right hand. The back of the CD shows the boy painted in full screaming colors. He just released the balloons and he's going nuts with the tongue out of his mouth (what a tongue! That would even make Gene Simmons jealous!). Perhaps this is the way the Cowboys feel about their decision to disband: Sad before doing so and feeling the release and go crazy about it after it, as if it's a relief. On Let It Go you can hear Jerry Gaskill (of King's X) as a guest-drummer on ten of the songs. The other drum-parts were taken care of by Wally Farkas, Ben Huggins and another guest: Nano Jones. Just like previous albums this album contains quality metallic rock-songs with thoughtful lyrics and harmonic vocals. That's not surprising me anymore. What is surprising is the variety this time, including a fully acoustic song (Ordinary) and an aggressive hard hitter entitled Internalize. Overall I think this album is smoother than the others. It's not as raw edged as the older stuff. The disbanding is sung about in songs like The Record Ends and Swimming In December: "Eleven years of wonder; I never figured out; The one who knows the score; But I'm not playing anymore." A great band passed away. Hats and baseball caps off! 

Oil - Refine, Kaluboné Records

This is the new CD of the band that features Ron Rinehart, formerly of speedmetal monsters Dark Angel. Refine contains ten uncompromising heavy thrash tunes. Don't expect fast stuff as Oil focuses on heavy plodding riffs and the characteristic roughness in the voice of Ron. He sounds raw, almost snarling, and yet some of his screams are quite high. The songs feature guitar-solos while the band toils on. The music is heavy but sometimes it could be more speedy to my idea as all the songs are midtempo. Conclusion: This band is as harsh as rough oil.

Cough - Anybody Hear, Independent

Here's an independent release with the look of a signed release. The package is carried out with some thinking first and the result is simply great with a nice layout, beautiful pictures and a good-looking cover. The disc itself is enhanced featuring videos of the band, photos and more. All very good looking. And the music? I hear punk rock in a couple of songs (like Hear and Run Away). But labeling them as punk rock would do them no justice. There is punk rock energy here and at the same time the vocals sometimes have something poppy in a way you won't hear on a punk release. So, let's call it power rock with a punk twist. The quality of the songs is good. I can only wish more independent bands presented themselves as professionally as this Canadian band. They did their best to give their best. Anybody, hear!

Mortification - 10 Years Live Not Dead, Rowe Productions

To celebrate ten years Mortification Rowe Productions released this live-album. Recorded at the Blackstump Festival in Australia. The album starts with a new song entitled Dead Man Walking which is musically in the vein of Hammer Of God, the last studio-album. Some of the other ten songs on this recording are the Medley, Peace In The Galaxy, Mephibosheth and God Rulz (formerly known as The Majestic Infiltration Of Order). The CD contains 53 minutes of live-stuff and if you like Mortification this album will be really cool to have, though there are no big surprises.

Cybergrind - Transcend, Rowe Productions

Here's the current band of guitarist Michael Carlisle who was part of Mortification in their early days when the band sounded more brutal than nowadays. It seems Michael wanted to stay in the brutal vein. Though Cybergrind isn't like early Mortification at all. This certainly is extreme in terms of speed and lots of double bass. The vocals are grinding and a bit dark. The title-track is a good example. It has speedy riffs and machine-gun drumming. On Transcend you can hear a three-piece cranking out eight grindcore songs. There are a few instrumentals too but you won't hear Michael playing solos like he did in Mortification. What I miss here is information about where it was recorded, who did the production and such. This album is not outstanding but it's not bad either.

Gnashing Of Teeth - Gnashing Of Teeth, Rowe Productions

This is an American band on the Australian label Rowe Productions. Gnashing Of Teeth plays metalcore and sometimes it's closer to metal than to hardcore (Everythink) and vice versa (Fear Is The Enemy). But it's not as chaotic as other bands in this genre. This self-titled disc appears to be a re-recording of their debut-CD entitled Outer Darkness. The vocals are brutal screams and the guitars are real dirty, fat and heavy in sound (like they should). But I don't like the drum-sound here. It's too dried-out, hollow. I'm not suggesting their drummer is bad though. No, the playing on this album is not bad at all and there are all kinds of ideas which are great. The ten songs on this album are showing a band with talent. The competition is hard in this genre and that's why it's hard to convince people. Not all the songs are convincing me. Clearer structures might help as this is not as easy to digest as I would like. The band plays okay however. So, on one hand I like the band, on the other hand the songs are not always convincing me.

Horde - Hellig Usvart, Rowe Productions

This is a 1994 release that was reissued last year. This album caught some attention from extreme metal fans worldwide as it was the first black metal album with Christian lyrics that found its way into the secular market by distribution through Nuclear Blast. It has the same visual approach as other black metal releases with a capricious band-logo and a cover-picture of a graveyard at night. Musically it's fast grinding metal, machine-gun drumming, and shrieking vocal noises. Horde was a project by Anonymous which is a lyrical stab to Euronymous, one of the leading persons of the now defunct Norwegian black-metal movement once known as The Inner Circle. Hellig Usvart is a Norwegian title though Horde was from Australia. The music on this album is extreme, fast and dark like black metal was originally intended to be. The CD is especially interesting as a historical document and therefore worthy of being reissued.

Embodyment - The Narrow Scope Of Things, Solid State Records

When I started the Art For The Ears radioshow in January 1999 Embodyment's Embrace The Eternal was the first CD of the Month release. You can understand that I was anxious to hear The Narrow. I was told that it is a different disc. A change of direction like the change it was for Brett Detar moving from Zao to The Juliana Theory. Now I listen to the CD I have to admit there's truth in that. This is not the extreme metalcore quintet I heard on Embrace. In fact, there's little left of that. The Narrow shows two faces of the band. There are songs with the hoarse growling like in Pendulum and Assembly Line Humans. Still it sounds not as brutal as on Embrace. The other face is the heavy emo/postcore sounds of songs like Winter Kiss and Prelude. Evident for this change is the new singer Sean Corbray who sings, instead of the screaming and growling of the old singer. He's got a soulful voice that almost sounds gently compared to the still heavy guitars. But the guitars are not as metallic as they used to be. You might regret it but I decided to listen to the CD open-minded. With this attitude you can hear just like me a lot of beauty. It sounds more mature in songwriting than before and there's still heaviness in the new-style songs. The song that's closest to old Embodyment is Ballad (!). Personally I think the old-style songs should have been on an EP sort of thing as tribute to the past since they go a different path nowadays. I liked the metallic riffs and the creativity as captured on Embrace but I do like the maturity in songwriting of the new songs too.

Shorthanded - Forever Yours, Tooth & Nail Records

37 minutes, 15 songs, here we go: Shorthanded is an energetic trio playing pop-punk. Another one! This Bill Stevenson, Stephen Egerton and Jason Livermore produced CD shows a band that knows how to play their instruments and how to use them in creating quality songs. Sometimes their music reminds me a bit of Ghoti Hook with a hint of Element 101. And this is not girls-absorbed lyrical stuff (though some of it is). What do you think of this: "God save me from your followers and their less than winsome ways. Heavy on the talk, light on the rock." I'm sure this will raise a few eyebrows. They sound great, though there could be more variety as a lot of the songs are in the same vein. They are great yet but missing just that little extra to make them special.

3rd Root - Spirit Of Life EP, Solid State Records

Here's a heavy EP that was recorded in March 1999 but released through Solid State only recently. The heaviness can't be found in fast rhythms (it's not fast stuff), but rather in the dark, heavy, plodding  riffs. 3rd Root sounds to me like emotive hardcore played with the kind of vocalizing like the Deftones. So, the vocals are driven, slow and clear with harsh shrieking screams now and then. This you can hear in Zion, the opening-track. Spirit Of Life contains six songs which are solid though I'm still not convinced whether I really like them. I wonder if this CD will be in my CD-player very often. But this is a matter of taste. This EP is available through mail-order only.

Lengsel - Solace, Endtime Productions/Solid State Records

This Norwegian band makes extreme metal with the emphasis on Extreme. This is not clear when you listen to the title-song which starts off this album with a dark but not heavy ocean-full of noises. But then follows Revival with fast rolling double-bass, roaring guitars and a pounding bass. This must be the soundtrack of someone being in the middle of a thunderstorm, out on the sea. Lengsel is a black-metal band from Norway and not the kind that tries to be heroes of the keyboards. This is hard, extreme stuff with the focus on the guitars, drums, bass and vocals. Keyboards are only just now and then, so they don't take over. There are extremities in speed, there are dark, raging riffs, monotonously repeated at times like in Coat Of Arms and there are occasional break-downs to gather new breath for the next onslaught. The production of this album is great. Sometimes it's a bit too monotone, though there are variations. At times its excellent. You just have to sit down and listen to it as it's not easy digestible food.

AP2 - Suspension Of Disbelief, Tooth & Nail Records

AP2, formerly known as Argyle Park, is here with a new album. Suspension Of Disbelief is mainly a Level and Buka CD with two songs written by Klayton (My Sympathies and Resurrection Of The Ravens). On this CD you can hear metal, hardcore, punkrock and dance, poured over with an industrial sauce. The first track seems to start off rather mellow, though dark at the same time. But then, after more than two minutes, the distorted guitars break loose. My Sympathies is a breakbeat arrangement with Mark Salomon from Stavesacre doing some of the vocals. A fast house-beat (190 bpm) with an industrial twist to the music can be heard in Silhouette Of Rage while A New Wound seems to go along the lines of Nine Inch Nails. Resurrection Of The Ravens however is a clear dance-track. So, this album is pretty much a potpourri of styles with that industrial sauce. Some stuff I really dig.

Woodencross - XXX, Pesch Records

This is a band from Germany with a mix of ska, metal, punk and hardcore. This is immediately clear when you listen to the first track, Ghandi, with its blow-section and the heavy guitars and vocalizing in the vein of the Supertones. Real skacore. Not produced as smoothly as the Supertones but at least as enjoyable. Another heavy party-rocker is the speedy ska-song Tower. The guitars sound heavy and thick on this album like they should. Four of the songs are in the German language. Overall, I get an impression of a talented band. There's a lot of variety as other songs explore different musical areas with rapping vocals or funky rhythms. The CD ends with a hidden live-track which makes clear this band is abled to make a concert a party. If you want to hear people having a good time, listen to this song. Encore! Available through Woodencross

Eleven Hours Down - There's Hope In The Darkness, Godfather Records.

This is a year old hardcore album from Eleven Hours Down. The band at that time consisted of Marshall, Tracy (who produced the album) and Dave. On There's Hope...they present fifteen songs with uncompromising hardcore. The songs feature fast parts as well as slowed down stuff. In some songs there's singing together (Morning) but this doesn't sound very good, to my idea. Pure And Simple however does give a good representation of the band. Here there are those hoarse screams you hear so often on this kind of CD's. The music is good in this song. I think this is a band with perspective for the future if they have  a little more guts to doing something different, something renewing. I will not lie awake at night because of some excitement listening to this CD. But there may be hope in the darkness.

Eternal Decision - Ghost In The Machine, Godfather Records

Okay, skip the first track. It's just a silly intro. The first song, Breaking, comes next. It shows that Eternal Decision hasn't been sitting idle since the titleless album. That record featured vocals that sounded like an imitation of Metallica's James Hetfield. On this new one that's not so evident anymore. The music itself has evolved into something more mature. Still there's a slight Metallica influence but Eternal Decision stands on its own now. On Ghost In The Machine the band plays  heavy metal with some groovy rhythms (though it's not groove metal). And for the the mommas and the poppas this CD ends with a ballad.    Not all the songs keep my attention from head to tail but I do like Breaking, the alternative song Alien and Beyond with its excellent guitar-solo. This way I like them.

King's X - Please Come Home..... Mr. Bulbous, Metal Blade Records

Okay, the first time I listened to this album I had to laugh. You can hear all kinds of weird ramblings in between songs, like a few in my own language: Dutch. I'm sure some of you will freak out when they hear Achtentachtig Prachtige Grachten or Hottentottententententoonstellingen.Yes, it's Dutch! Well, I'm not reviewing those ramblings so let me introduce you to the music of Please Come Home .....Mr. Bulbous. To me King's X has always been the band that combined pop abilities with heaviness. Basically, this new album proves my idea about them. Here are nine popsongs with those well sung harmonies, dark guitar sounds and lighter moods. At moments it can be lighthearted with gently strumming of the guitar and then, like roaring thunder, there are tearing guitarsounds. This new studio-album of this three-piece offers all qualities I enjoy about great music. Don't expect it to be heavy all the time. The lighter and heavier moments go hand in hand in these songs. Expect songs to listen to and enjoy, or to sing along to. Call it heavy beauty captured in popsongs with thoughtful (though not always easy to grasp) lyrics. Favorite songs of mine are Move Me and Smudge. Compared to other albums of this band this new one is not really surprising but that means it's a good one (once again).

Purge - Purge, independent release

This independent CD contains ten songs with grooving metal that reminds me of some of Bride's material. Though this ain't fast stuff there's energy in these songs. There is solid songwriting. But the songs don't really shine as the sonic quality isn't as clear as I would like. It sounds too demo-ish. A better studio or better engineering might help because this is not a bad CD at all. Listen to songs like What You Need or Born Again to get an impression of the quality of the band. It's not impressive nor really good but what you hear is a basis for further development.

Slick Shoes - Wake Up Screaming, Tooth & Nail Records

This is the fourth CD-release of this pop-punk band. I don't know their previous albums so I can't compare. The only Slick Shoes song I've heard before is Last which appeared on the first Songs Of The Penalty Box sampler. At that time I liked the song really much. On Wake Up Screaming this band plays punk rock in the vein of MxPx. Vocally the similarities are clear. But I wouldn't go as far as to say that this is an MxPx rip-off. They didn't exactly copy. Some songs are pretty close though. Perhaps this band could work more on a sound of their own. Nevertheless, they play tight and the song-writing is good. They know how to play their instruments maniacally and that's what I like. With a little more originality their creativity might shine a little more. This is a band that will come along well in the slipstream of MxPx's success.

Off The Record - Remember When..., Tooth & Nail Records

I pop this CD into the player. I play the first cut, the title-track. What I hear? Metal! The first one and half minute really got me off track because this ain't metal! This is a punk rock band! Amazing. I really thought this was metal at first. There's a hint of hardcore now and then, reminding me of Stretch Arm Strong. Off The Record is like a punkband playing speedmetal tunes while one of their guitarists sounds like he used to play Stryper-covers for he adorns the songs with harmonic sounds and pick-slides. This all played at a frenzied pace. When hardcore and metal collide they call it metalcore. Can we then call Off The Record a metalpunk band? I don't know...I have to get used to that! Well, it's clear that there are a lot of metalsounds and ideas here. There are some solos that you'd rather expect on a rock 'n roll release. Still it's punk rock. This is a cool band to check out, not only for those into punk rock. Take for example Cheap Thrill with it's enjoyable guitar-playing that sends pleasant shivers over my back. If they can pull this off live, I think Tooth & Nail may pat themselves on their backs for signing this band. This album is really hot!

Deadlines - The Death & Life Of..., Tooth & Nail Records

Here's a spooky punkband from the Tooth & Nail roster. Imagine the band dressed in black suits with ties playing songs like Go-Go To The Graveyard, Vampires In Love and Last Nail In Your Coffin. Their singer is Shaun Coffin....And the music....Creepy! This is definitely an original band from Tooth & Nail again. Their punk rock sound is basically a mix-up of good old garage punk and rock & roll. Sometimes they remind me a bit of labelmates The Huntingtons. The majority of the songs is not fast at all and they are catchy in a way. Like the song Go-Go To The Graveyard which sticks to your mind. The originality of their sound is evident in the use of spooky organ-sounds. They spice the songs up immensely. Very tasty! On the surface this band might look  to be some horrifying entertainers only but the lyrics show more depth than just that. So check them out. The Death & Life ends with an instrumental organ-tune (though there are some horrified yells) entitled The Dark Night Of The Soul. It's played by keyboardist The Creature...Hey, I told you this is creepy! 

Element 101 - Future Plans Undecided, Tooth & Nail Records

This is a female fronted punkbank. Future Plans Undecided is their Tooth & Nail debut. The twelve songs here are poppy punkrock tunes. Vocalist Crissie Verhagen sounds a bit thin and fragile compared to the energetic beats of the drummer and the fanatic guitars. It's something I have to get into. But is has to be said that the music itself is great and when you like or get used to those fragile vocals, this punk release has a lot to offer. Some songs are very upbeat but there are several that are more like popsongs with a punkrock twist. A good example of what I mean is So Unpredictable. It has good speed but at the same time it's very poppy, very catchy. But a song like Changes Are Worth Taking is delivered very speedily, guaranteeing a mosh-fest. Another cool song is Leaving Me Before The Spring Semester (yes, they're very good at long titles!) with fast played verses and midtempo choruses that are more like modern rock. I think I have to get used to the vocals before enjoying it fully. But this sure is a healthy change to the normal male fronted punk rock diet.

Sinical Glance - Truth Or Delusion, A Rock-Opera, Independent.

This is a symphonic rock release from Holland. Truth Or Delusion is a concept-album as you may have figured out. It's telling the history of Jesus Christ who died on a cross and who's said to be risen from the grave. The band poses the question: "So what do you believe" in the title-track which ends this CD. Musically this isn't a heavy release. Only now and then you can hear some heavy guitars like in Before The Council. This song is sung from the viewpoint of one of the accusers in the death lawsuit of Jesus. Vocalist Frank Tuk sounds raw in this song. The other songs are modest with dark brooding keyboards or piano, spoken word and some electric guitars but not much of that. The singing parts are good, though the pronunciation is sometimes too Dutch. The booklet is beautifully designed with some great pictures. Personally I like the name Sinical Glance. However, the band changed it's name to the simple Troy after singer Frank left the band. I'd prefer Sinical Glance! Frank is replaced by Marrieke van Veelen. She sang the lead-vocals in Song Of Mary. If you want to get a good impression of the qualities of this band, try Arise. It has a dreamy atmosphere created by the keyboards and the long wailing guitar-solo at the end. Beautiful song. Overall, my impression of this band is good though it could have been a bit heavier to my idea. Available through Fear Dark.

Various - Shock, A Thrilling New Music Collection, Provident Music Group

Oh, this CD has a lot many hard music fans will NOT be into! It has a huge amount of pop, r 'n b and soft rock. But there are a few heavy songs so that's why I'm reviewing this for Art For The Ears. Silage is a heavy modern rock outfit with the song Original from their album Vegas Car Chasers. Good song. It gets even better (and heavier) with Every Day Life. This is solid rapcore in Sunshine, taken from Moment Of Clarity. The last song on this compilation is a grungy/modern rock track by American Made: Kick It. It has rapping voacals. These three songs are not much for a hard music fan but this is a cheap CD.

Tourniquet - Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm, Metal Blade Records

When you start this disc you might think you're listening to a funeral service. You hear a slowly murmuring church organ. But then, after ten seconds, this is brutally interrupted by an aggressive outburst of Tourniquet. And on this new album Tourniquet stands for Metal with the capital M as they go back to the sounds and ideas as captured on the Pathogenic Ocular Dissonance album. Not only because they recorded a Skeezix Part II. Like Pathogenic had part I. You experience it too in some aggressive Slayeristic riffing (in Erratic Palpitations Of The Human Spirit) as well as riffs influenced by classical music (in the instrumental Immunity Vector). This time they didn't leave out the guitar leads and there are no ballads. But there are acoustic parts and mellow moments. As usual there's variety. Take for example Luke Easter's singing. One moment he sings tenderly and the other moment he screams along the heavy riffing of Aaron Guerra. It just depends on what fits the music. There was a possibility of Ronnie James Dio doing some guest vocals but you can hear Steve Rowe (Mortification) in the titletrack instead. I wonder why Tourniquet has gone back to their early works but whatever the answer, I like this move! Microscopic View Of A Telescopic Realm has eleven songs that fill seventy minutes. So, if you've ever liked Tourniquet you just got to pick up this album. I think it's one of their best.

Project 86 - Drawing Black Lines, BEC Recordings

If you read my review of the debut-CD of this band you'll know I was quite impressed with it. When a debut is so great I always wonder whether the band's abled to prolong that high level. Well, my first impression of Drawing Black Lines is that Project 86 is on the right track again! You can hear a mix of hardcore and rapcore. But when I write that I realize that this records offers a wider variety than that. You can experience that in the frequent melodic vocals. So, it's not only vocalist Andrew screaming furiously. There are also more lighter moments as well. One of the songs (Star) is played with acoustic guitar, bass and piano with only in the begin and at the end an electric guitar weeping gently along. It's a modest song with just singing -no screaming-. But don't think this new effort is mellow all the time.Still this band offers plenty of bombastic hardcore with screaming. There's even some uptempo stuff like Set Me Up. When you're on your way home just put on this song on your Discman (or car-CDplayer) and you'll be there in no time! Or what do you think of the explosive start of A Toast To My Former Self? All examples of the hard edged rapcore/hardcore. At times I have to think of the postcore sounds of Stavesacre too. Those of you who were into the debut will find some stuff to their taste again. At the same time this is easier accessible than the debut. I think the variety is refreshing. Project 86 has once again made an astonishing great album. I can only say: Check it out!

Blindside - A Though Crushed My Mind, Day-Glo Records /Solid State Records

From the first seconds on it's clear that Blindside didn't copy their first album. The opening-track Vow Of Silence isn't about silence at all! You hear screaming hardcore with some uptempo    parts and singing part in the choruses. This album is definitely harder than their debut. Surprising is the mellow end of As YouWalk (with cellos!). So, it's not only heaviness here. My Mother's Only Son has a violin-intermezzo. One song was previously released on the third Songs From The Penalty Box sampler: King Of The Closet. I'm told this song is in rotation with MTV-Europe's Superock so do me a favor and request that song! Listen to it and you know why I like it. The combination of the energetic hardcore, the screams and the singing parts makes this song highly infectious. There are more great moments on this CD. Overall the band sounds more mature then on their first album. However, I'm not really getting into this one as much. Sometimes it bores me. But that's primarily a matter of personal taste I think.

Selfmindead - At The Barricades We Fall, Soulscape Records/Solid State Records/Sally Forth Records

Here's another Swedish hardcore product and if you listen to it, you'll know that hard is the core of their business! Just give it a listen: The screams are almost like shrieks and they are fond of playing dual tones (I mean, playing one note with two strings) which generates a dissonant effect. There is some aggressiveness in the songs though it's not fast stuff. Still the music offers a variety of sounds. Lyrically they spew out frustrations about present culture and tradition like in Burn Down The Old And Build Up Again: "Let's set this place on fire. Let's burn it down to the ground so that we can build up again.". An interesting song is Everything's Gonna Be OK which is almost like a Rolling Stones tune turned to hardcore. With this new album Selfmindead delivers a good product though not always easy digestible.

Various Artists - An Introduction To The Family, Facedown Records

This is a twenty minutes introduction to the Facedown Family. There are four hardcore bands that are being introduced. The CD kicks off with one song of the Dodgin' Bullets which is a cooperational project of members from other bands (like NIV & Shockwave). It reminds me a lot of NIV. The second band, Figure Four, is a new band that joined the Facedown Family. The two songs show a band with talent. Born Blind is the third band with two songs too. I'm told this band has former NIV members in the line-up. The first song -Relight- is high paced old school complete with gang vocals. Finally, this CD introduces to you Overcome, a hardcore band with a metallic sound that used to be on Tooth & Nail. One of their songs is from The Life Of Death album. The other one is from the new Immortal Until Their Work Is Done. This introduction will be appealing especially to the old school fanatics and those who like hardcore that dares to incorporate metal influences (but it's not metalcore).

Jacks Of All Trades - R U Ready?, Bullroser Records

This is the first release of Bullroser Records, a division of Little Rose Productions. Jacks Of All Trades is a band from Finland that brings rapcore that can be described as a cross between Rage Against The Machine and Dust Eater Dogs. All Hope Is Gone is a good example of their craft with real raps in it by J-Blast and screams by Lary who sounds identical to Dust Eater Dogs' frontman Benny Majabacka. This Benny is doing some guest vocals on this album too. You can hear his screams in The Black Sheep Tale and in the beautiful song Suffer Of Sweet J. And there is a guest role by Miika Partala of Deuteronomium in the last song too! So this album is starring other Finnish talents. JOAT's full-length album contains fifteen songs with original sounding rapcore. It's worked out enthusiastically and I think this band makes me look forward to future releases of Bullroser. R U Ready? Yes I am!

Krush - Welcome To Paradise, Independent Release

This American band is a hard rocking five-piece that exists since 1996. After the release of an EP this is their second effort. While listening to Welcome To Paradise I realize I should listen more to classic hard rock albums because I hear all kinds of influences but I can't remember all the names of the sources. Well, that makes clear that this nine-song album is of interest for fans of those old classics with bold singing, blistering guitars and a thriving rhythm-section. A song like Marilyn brings back memories of Stryper though it's done in an original way and plentyfull of leads. This song is one of my favorites. I've always been into this type of music so it's refreshing to hear this in a time when this sort of albums are scarce. The band is talented which is proved by skillful playing. Not all nine tracks are great but there's certainly stuff here that I like. If you're not into this style of music perhaps you like the hidden track which is more in the vein of punk rock, played live in studio (I think). Funny.

Betrayal - Leaving Nevermore, Black & White Records

As most of you (perhaps) haven't heard of Betrayal before, I give you a short history about the band first. It all started late eighties when Marcus Colon, Brian Meuse and Jeff Lain joined thrash-metal band Martyr. However, band-leader Dave Prado decided to move to an other part of the USA and so he took the bandname with him. The three who remained behind were joined by vocalist Chris Ackerman and guitarist Matt Maners. Thus Betrayal was formed. Two albums were made but partly due to an unfortunate car-accident in May 1993, they decided to disband. In 1999 the news reached me that Betrayal is back in the land of the living and now here's Leaving Nevermore. Basically it's Marcus Colon who pushes this. You might call this the Marcus Colon Band if you like for he's the only band-member mentioned on the CD and he wrote all the music and played most of the instruments. But don't think this album lacks variation! On the contrary, this records runs over with it. Unlike his thrashy past, the music on Leaving Nevermore contains elements of styles such as electronic, gothic and alternative rock. In some songs that's what's prominent. A song that fits this description is To Follow with only a gently echoing electric guitar and lots of keyboards thrown in. On the other hand there are heavier elements that remind me a bit of earlier Betrayal. You can hear this in a song like The Review with furious guitar-playing and a solo. But even here the modern influences are present. Overall, the music on this disc has kind of a moody atmosphere. Besides Colon, former Betrayal Matt Maners helped recording this album and Chris Duncan did guest vocals on one song. My impression of this CD is that there are many great ideas. In several songs the various elements come together to form great anthems and the more I listen to them, the more I start appreciating. Compared to the past, I say it's for eighty percent a different band. Marcus Colon plans to form a new band. So, the future will prove if this will remain the Colon Project or not. I'm interested. Available through Betrayal.

Various Artists - 2000 The Second Coming, Dwell Records

Here's another sampler that's worth checking out for all metal fans worldwide. Opposed to the Extreme Metal Sampler, this CD has more variety as it has   commercial metal tunes as well as extreme metal. My Dutch friends of Sculpture are here too and they have the honor to open this disc with Spiritual Matrix. It's good death metal. The second band is Oil with the same track as on Extreme ..., When No one Cares. Ultimatum is a great heavy metal band. To be honest, this is the first track I've heard of this band so far and I'm pleasantly surprised. The fourth band is Tyrant with melodic metal old style. It reminds of a band that I can't recall though. I like their contribution. Next comes Solace which appears to be another melodic metal band. Then follows Midnight Orchestra which is kind of gothic metal. It has some good sounds. The seventh song is from the Swedish band Sons Of Thunder which is melodic metal again but with praise type-of lyrics. Britain is on this represented through 3rd Day Rising. Their House Of Cards starts with a distorted bass that might make you think this is Die Happy. It's not like that at all but the music is good again. Lost Angel is the 9th band with melodic hardrock/metal that can be described as a cross between Stryper and Rage Of Angels. Modus Operandi leans more towards heavy metal. The vocals are screaming along. But they bring in good speed. Faithbomb is more like raw sounding thrash metal. New Zealand's Devout is death metal with a spacey production, giving their song a darker feel. Overall, this album is good. Not all songs are as great as I would like but if you listen to this sampler you'll find some gems. I can only wish there are more compilation albums like this one and the Extreme Music Sampler.

Various Artists - Extreme Music Sampler Volume 1, Cross Rhythms Music

I remember the days you had Metal compilation albums like California Metal, Underground Metal and (my favorite) Metal Mission. These days may revive again because this sampler is a good start. There are 19 tracks on it from bands worldwide (!). 1 - Tourniquet's Trivializing The Momentous, Complicating The Obvious which is one of their heaviest thrash songs. 2 - Australia's Kohllapse put their Thorn from the Distant Mind Alternative on this album. It's more in the gothic metal vein with an alternative twist. 3 - Eloi is run-of-the-mill thrash. 4 - Australia's Paramćcium presents the fat doom/death track I'm Not To Blame. 5 - Discern is fast pounding deathmetal. 6 - Narnia seems to be a more tranquil moment on this CD with good Swedish melodic metal. 7 - Indonesia is represented through Kekal with extreme fast black metal old style. 8 - Britain's own Ashen Mortality is here too with great doom metal in From The Cage. 9 - Feast Eternal appears to be death metal that reminds me of old Deuteronomium. 10 - Australia has another representative: Day Of Atonement which is death metal. 11 - Latin America is represented through the melodic death metalheads of Lament. 12 - Thrash metal band Oil with former Dark Angel Ron Rinehart comes next. 13 - Finland's Deuteronomium is here with an excellent rock 'n roll twist to the death metal sound. 14 - Their country-men of Immortal Souls come up with a blend of death metal and black metal. 15 - I'm proud my fellow Dutchmen of Sculpture are on this disc too with Death To Death. 16 - Australia is once again represented through Vomitorial Corpulence, though this is a very short track. 17 - Finland's Jacks Of All Trades delivers some Rap 'n Roll. 18 - Inversion reminds me of the album Destruction Comes of Vengeance Rising. Fast Deathmetal. 18 - Anaemia has the title-track from The Second Incarnation which is brilliant and brutal heavy metal. There are many songs on this disc that I'm into. The majority of the tracks fit in with the extreme metal niche and for fans of that, this CD is an absolute must have.