Chuck Schuldiner Project

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Twingiant - Devil Down

Twingiant is the kind of sludy and powerful rock band who use heavy vibes along with chunky grooves to put out something that gets to the heart of the listener and proves that this brand of riff driven rock and roll will never die. As I sit here, a couple of spins deep I'm realizing that this band is far more than just a rock band though. They communicate a whole vibe that is entirely their own, setting them in place as a truly great act. When you dig into their new record Devil Down there is no denying that they create a distinctly dark flavor that makes them particularly inspirational.

While the songs are primarily instrumental the touches of vocals that do come in here and there provide a tasty dose of true grit to the brutal realities painted by the music. As you get into the lush soundscapes with their rolling hills and distinctly interesting melodic lines you start to get an impression of a greater narrative. There is something inherently bombastic about the heaviest grooves on a song like Through the Motions as you shift from solo to solo, with a vaguely threatening riff simmering underneath all the while. Devil Down has clear and tasty flavors that come with every song, yet all fitting within a general atmosphere that defines the crucial vibe, making this band truly iconoclastic.

Digging into Devi l Down is an interesting journey, and while this isn't neccesarily a fun record, it's definitely a cool one to dog in too. It explores a slightly darker side of the human psyche and encourages the listener to examine him or herself. Twingiant are clearly very talented musicians, and as they get a better sense for their burgeoning talents I think they could go far. It may seem a bit alien at first, but the deeper you go down this rabbit hole, the farther you find it extends. So go forth, explore, and embrace the almighty magic of Devil Down

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Monday, November 24, 2014

Betoken - Beyond Redemption

Betoken is an interesting symphonic metal band from Italy. They feature an eight (!) person lineup and a sound that relies heavily on male vocals, yet with no growls. Already they're walking a couple lines that most of their peers might never touch on. Their is a certain sense of novelty, especially when a band has three full time vocalists like Betoken do. It leads to a layered sound with the ability to take on a distinctly different flavor for each verse. Their music is tightly polished and interesting to listen to, making Beyond Redemption a wonderful addition to the bands discography.

The inherently proggy elements of Betoken help to make them a little more interesting and create a serious musicians interest, but I think the band really gets going when they incorporate all three vocalists. They have a very distinct line up and when they use it to its full potential the band does some things I've never heard before. Any time that we are treated to a male/female duet I get goosebumps, it's a pity it doesn't happen more often. As is though, Betoken quickly prove their dominance as musicians and leave you begging for more. These guys have been at it for years and they really know how to craft a tight song to say the least.

When the songs really let the layers seep in and the vocal lines flourish, Betoken show that they are a truly special band. There is a lot of interesting stuff to dig in to here and this album is certainly worth a few listens. Betoken understand what symphonic is all about and their lush sounds will capture your imagination. Sure at times they seep into more traditional ideas, but as is, they've got so much cool stuff going on you can forgive a few slightly stagnant passages. A band with clear passion and dedication, Beyond Redemption has inspired me to check out the rest of this bands discography!

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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Bloodshot Dawn - Demons

Melodeath is one of those genres that played a crucial role in the early years of death metal but now seems all but died out. So when a band comes out who manage to play melodeath at a high level and get the listener excited for the future of the genre. Demons is one such a record that proves this type of music still has a lot to be said. Bloodshot Dawn understand the fundamental nature of melodic death metal and their tightly honed attack is one that few will forget. Billed by Metalsucks as 'melodeath done right' the future seems bright for these guys.

The thing is, Bloodshot Dawn have a very distinct quality to their riffs that I think gives them a distinct flavor few of their peers can compare too. These are songs that rage and rip, tearing apart the listener as they sit, beat into submission by a delicious release that you will spin time and time again. The fact of the matter is that Bloodshot Dawn have been able to put out a release that outdoes the latest At The Gates album by leaps and bounds. This is an album that hearkens back to the grand old days of melodeath but also points at something greater. There is a wonderful sense of drama and bombast here and I think that is a crucial element that keeps me coming back.

At the end of the day, Bloodshot Dawn are going to keep your head banging and body rocking because they are top notch songwriters who have managed to put out an album that is incredibly engaging. Without a dull moment Demons will prove to you that Bloodshot Dawn are perhaps one of the most crucial metal bands to watch in 2014. Though they're still a cult act now, I think it's only a matter of time before they burst out and get the mainstream recognition and praise that they so richly deserve.

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Wind Rose - Wardens of the West Wind

Power metal has always been a hit or miss deal with me, in the sense that some of the bands' efforts to make epic compositions often work against themselves. This is especially the case if the production value of the recordings are unable to keep up with a bands' ambition. With the Italian Power Metal outfit Wind Rose and their sophomore album however, I am glad to say that these issues are nowhere to be found.
Having been joined by musician and producer Cristiano Bertocchi (Labyrinth) for bass duties, Wind Rose entered the studio to create an album that has little to envy from some of the genres' long-running heavyweights in terms of composition and production.

The band plays a form of symphonic power metal inspired by the likes of Gamma Ray and Blind Guardian, mixed with some folk metal elements that remind me of Ensiferum and Wintersun to some extent. The guitars mostly serve as a rhythm instrument that adds a heavy low end to the compositions, leaving the lead instrumental duties to the synths and orchestrations. We can appreciate the bands' focus on atmosphere and composition rather than flashy musicianship. There really isn't any instrument that sticks out in the songwriting, as every idea seems to have been perfectly integrated to serve the overall atmosphere and composition.  Every song has a nice progression that always pushes the compositions forward to keep things interesting. The vocal melodies handled by the very talented Francesco Cavalieri are supported by choir chants that further add to the catchiness and epic feel of the songs.
What we get from Wind Rose is a sophomore album that is well paced, well-orchestrated and superbly produced, an album. Wether you're a hardcore power metal aficionado or only an occasionnal listener of the genre like I am, this album is sure to strike a chord in the hearts of any heavy metal fan. Be sure to watch out for this band, as this release constitutes yet another reason to believe that we'll be hearing more from them in the future!
Be sure to check it out!

Wardens Of The West Wind
Scarlet Records 
Release: 17 February 2015

Official Website
Scarlet Records

Wake The Beast, Fisthammer, Eye of the Destroyer and Curse of Samsara at Freddy's Tavern & Grille

It's been a while since I went to shows two nights in a row, and after tonight I regret not having done it more. With the chance to see four top notch bands, I had a good time exploring a new venue that certainly seems like a fitting place to put on this kind music. A true dive bar, Freddy's Tavern & Grille is the kind of place that seems meant for the underground, regulars coming in and enjoying their beers while a handful of death metal maniacs come out to listen to some of the regions most exciting heavy acts.

First to play was Wake The Beast. They have a rather chuggy death metal sound that uses a lot of powerful grooves to things going. When they really hit their rhythm things started to get a little crazy. While there wasn't enough of a crowd for anything moshwise, I get the sense that people were starting to fall into the grooves and have an appreciation for the raw and beautiful heaviness that Wake The Beast deliver. This is the kind of thing that pounds its way into your skull and refuses to come out. They provided a fitting start to a wholly satisfying evening of death metal and sonic destruction.

Fisthammer, the Philadelphia death metallers, were up next, and for me, they stole the show. This was my second time seeing the band and they put together something truly special. Far more tight with their new bassist after a short East Coast tour I get the sense that Fisthammer are now ready to start a meteoric rise. The bands singer and guitarist Max Svalgard injected a fresh sensibility to the sound with a variety of vocal stylings to keep things interesting. Fisthammer are an exciting band to watch live and they are only getting tighter with time. With a couple of big gigs up ahead of them, I'm excited to hear what they come up with next!

When Eye of the Destroyer came on I wasn't sure what to expect. I had talked to them earlier and they seemed like cool dudes, but death metal shows at dive bars can be hit an miss. Fortunately, Eye of the Destroyer were a clear hit. With chunky riffs and a lead singer who had a wonderfully lively stage presence, Eye of the Destroyer brought forth an unholy energy that got people smiling and feeling the magical vibes that only this type of music can create. These guys know what they are doing live and are a pleasure to listen to. With a new album release only weeks away, it seems like its time for them to reach the next level.

The final act was Curse of Samsara playing one of their final shows before their mainman moves to California to restart the band from there. They played a very tight set of thrashy death metal with all sorts of technical fills. These guys are solid performers too the guitarists in particular seemed to really get in to the wonderful aggressiveness of the sound. Though the singer came off as jaded, they were able to win the hearts of the few who remained to watch them. Their is a sort of sad beauty to this kind of event, a band who have existed for years are about to come to an end, and I feel honored to have gotten to partake in their legend.

As I write this my eyelids feel like lead, and I still need to shower before I sleep. Yet it's nights like this that make metal life worth living for me. As I stood outside, stamping my feet to keep warm and watching Fisthammer's gear while they loaded out, I realized that this is what I live for. I'm not going to grow up and get a real job, no, instead I'll spend my evenings with great bands like these in fun little dive bars, reveling in the magic of something that our parents could never understand. This is what rock and roll is all about, and by God is it good.

Find the bands on Facebook!

Wake The Beast:


Eye of the Destroyer:

Curse of Samsara: