Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


When I first spun Animal last Thursday I didn't get it. I was preparing myself for a pretty heavy trip, a festival where drugs and alcohol were eschewed rather than encouraged. Something about it didn't sit right with me. Then I spun it again today and something clicked. There is a strange orchestral magic to Livingston's new record that allows it to stand tall. With its beautifully layered production and intricate sound, Animal goes beyond what many of the bands indie rock contemporaries are doing and lays the groundwork for a sound that is far more promising and epic.

Sure, there are a lot of weird touches of electronic music in here and some autotuned parts, but in all honesty, that adds to the strange beauty of this recording. The otherworldly vocal lines on tracks like Big Mouth is touching, it draws me in and touches the soul. If I was to compare these guys to any band around today I would have to draw a link with the Killers. There's the same idea of having prog rock instrumentation within an alt-rock context. That being said, there is a distinctly English touch to these guys sound which sets them apart from their peers. The music on Animal is honest, yet is done very differently than records from other nations, there is a distinct flavor that only Livingston can provide, and it shows clearly on every track of this album.

As the band eases their way through these tracks it's easy to find the beauty behind it. There is an ebb and flow to the music which transcends words and in many ways speaks to the magic of alt-rock in the twenty first century. These guys have great songwriting ideas and this makes for some singularly engaging work. The soundscapes crafted on Animal are stunning and will leave you in awe for spin after spin. Let Livingston work into your heart, you won't regret it. These guys have exciting and interesting new ideas, and after twelve years, it might just be their time to shine.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Warlord-We Die As One

We Die As One cover art

There is something strangely comforting to me about a death metal band that has been doing their thing for more than twenty tears. These English metal lords are the kind of guts who stood tall next to Bolt Thrower and maybe even Napalm Death, dealing destruction to all who came by. There is a wonderful sense of groove on their new record We Die As One, it's the sort of release that pumps through your veins and fills you up with blood, fire and steel. We Die As One is sort of the culmination of the bands travails, seeing them stand firm after years of tribulation.

I think a big part of what keeps me so interested in this record is the colossal bottom end. Try to listen to the bass riffing on tracks like Masses Gather In Masses and not want to start a circle pit. These guys go for the gut, contrasting epic guitar lines with fast and brutal riffs. The growls are wonderfully low and brutal, they give a nice old school touch to the music. The roughness that defined so much of the old school is more or less hidden though. Instead, lush production allows firm melodic lines to burgeon under a crushing attack. Warlord seem to play with a sort of confidence that only comes from being involved in this scene for years and weathering out the ebbs in the scene, allowing them to have a unique, and poignant look on the music that draws us together.

As the circle pit dies down we must take a moment to look at ourselves. Warlord seem to be showing us the darkness within and the punitive might of music that can have an almost suffocating heaviness. Spiralling solos nicely compliment blast beat riddled passages, the construction of these songs is intricate and powerful. to say the least, Warlord know what's up, and this is allowing them to bring the mosh three decades into their career. Feel the grooves and open yourself up to the deathly vibes, this is what heavy metal is all about, and the gods tell me it is good.

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Oath Of Damnation - The Descent

From down under Australia Oath of Damnation has been spawned to bring their first full length cd to take over the world. Although my knowledge in black metal has its limits, it goes far enough to realize The Descent is an album to listen to. Growls coming the depths of hell, insane blast beats and the various solo's will obliterate your speakers. The way In Damnation Memoriae and Sergius III overlaps is insane, it was perfect, no nonsense intro's, just complete annihilation and a wall of sound that won't stop hitting you.

The keys will make its way during Sergius III and through this melodic way the song comes more to life. All in all the album feels like a steamroller not planning to stop for the next 30 minutes, but through the various switches it stays exciting and for someone who isn't a black metal fan, it is very enjoyable. It's not your typical black metal band, everything is really thought-out and there are a lot of variations between the songs, the solo's together with the rhythm guitar are melodic and amazing. With the ritual and self-titled The Descent and Shroud of Spoleto they have an album to be proud of. If you're a black metal fan, be sure to give this album a listen.

Old Habits-Bury Everything

For a band that started out as a joke, Old Habits are damn tight. These crazed hardcore dudes are not the kind of band who you just listen too and then throw away. As the couple who recently got engaged during their set at This Is Hardcore would probably tell you, Old Habits are turned on to something special, something different, and perhaps something greater. This is hardcore done right, with powerful grooves and harsh vocals. It's easy to fall into the rhythms of Bury Everything because Old Habits understand what makes all us extreme music fans tick.

Simply put, while Old Habits sound strangely familiar, but they are not be trying to be formulaic, there is something about their sound that distinctly appeals to the hardcore fan in me. Every element hits just right, bopping you square on the nose before changing gears. The bands singer, Billy Hart really gets what hardcore is all about, when he spits out "This is hardcore, not Shakespeare" you realize that he's talking about a scene that truly matters to his very being. Another line that might suggest this is on the anti-poser anthem Ad Nauseum where he cries "The only place we're alive is within these halls." It's the sort of thing that speaks to the power of the genre, that it could change these men's so drastically as to affect their being, and perhaps this is what we are meant to take from Bury Everything. It's living proof of the undying power of hardcore.

Here I am, running at the mouth like the romantic I am. Yet, when faced with a record like Bury Everything can you really blame me? This is proletariat poetry, hardcore music that speaks to the heart. Old Habits are pumping out crunchy grooves and will not be stopped. Sure, Billy may think This Is Hardcore was the all time peak for this band, but I get the sense greater things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done here. So, feel the anger and the liberation within, with Bury Everything Old Habits want to tear you to pieces, and frankly, I couldn't think of a better fate.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Castle Freak

Still Rotting cover art

I met these dudes just the other night, they said they played in a band that sounded kind of like Repulsion, the name? Castle Freak. After a quick interview, I realized I had to give their music a spin and see what I could see. Now, mere seconds in to my first spin of their newest record Still Rotting I see that these guys truly understand old school death metal and their crunchy sound is the kind of thing that will tear you apart. Castle Freak are a band with powerful riffs and sick vocals. There is a real heft to the twin guitar attack, especially in the slower parts. It gives the music a sort of stomp that few bands can claim to have. Meanwhile, the vocal lines seem ripped out of the singer, as if he doesn't want to be singing, but some evil force is making him. Add in some horror inspired lyrics and you have yourself a recipe for a record that will keep you up at night, both in fear and in awe. This is heavy music that will enrage the savage beast and make him mosh until he dies. Open your heart so Castle Freak can open your head, you know you want too.

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