Search for the Hidden Gem (2011 – vol# 8)

Written by on October 20, 2011 in Music Reviews, October 20, 2011 - Comments Off on Search for the Hidden Gem (2011 – vol# 8)

Search For The Hidden GemThe spooky season is upon us, and it’s time for all the little ghosts and goblins to wander the neighborhood knocking on doors 4 and 5 blocks over seeking a candy reward – “trick or treat!”  Everyone be safe, have fun, and kids, don’t forget Dad has a sweet tooth for Reese’s peanut butter cups.

Ana Kefr

“The Burial Tree (II)”
Style (Death Metal / Progressive)

I dig the textured picture on the cover of a gentleman in a dark overcoat and hat under a lone tree in a field looking off into the distance.  It’s dark and moody and fits quite nicely with the title, but sadly this is the best thing about this CD.  If I was a betting person I’d have bet this was going to be an indie / singer songwriter type band.  And I would have been pissed off if that’s what I was looking forward to after spending $15.99 at the record store because there’s nothing like being blindsided by progressive death metal with repetitive, incoherent howler monkey vocals.  This is why iTunes reigns supreme over the whole record store buying experience, and why old timers like Bon Jovi are upset with iTunes.  Packaging plays an important part in selling music and this one is way off base.  It’s sad when the best part is the cover and musically it’s impossible to find anything redeeming.  What should be consistent with this musical genre (the hardcore pit rhythms) is sadly missing.  What there is though are progressive tangents written to imply music composition, but unfortunately these tangents completely destroy the goal – keeping the mosh pit moshin’.  When I listen to this genre of music I don’t want my headbanging interrupted by poorly written, ill placed, watered down Avenge Sevenfold’esque chords and vocals that aren’t good.

Rating 1 (only because of the cover)

Jay Gordon’s Blues Venom

“No Cure”
Style (Blues)

What really caught my ear with this blues CD is how each studio recorded song has the heart and soul of the live show.  I’ve never seen Gordon’s live show but each time I’ve played through this disc I can feel the heat from the stage lights; I can visualize the cigarette smoke rhythmically gyrating seductively in the spot light; I can feel the stretch of every note squeezed out of the guitar strings until they snap from red hot finger picking; my hearing is dialed into the rough grizzled vocals; and I feel energized.  Jay Gordon’s new CD includes 10 new tracks and 3 bonus tracks (two of which are in fact live tracks from another CD) that simply get the job done.  It’s great to hear a contemporary blues artist who’s been at this for awhile and knows how to write and perform good music.

Rating 4 (well done)


Death Dealers
Style (Hardcore)

A young band out of Sweden banging out super charged aggressive rhythms and pulse pounding beats, that though residing within the hardcore genre, at times possesses anthem quality most noticeable in songs like “No Guts, No Glory,” “The Ivory Tower,” and “From the Depths of Hell.”  I can’t remember the last hardcore band I’ve heard with anthem quality so these lads are onto something.  Vocally it’s got the typical hardcore yelling/howler monkey style in a slightly higher pitch, but also some sung lyrics (a hardcore version of what Linkin Park does) offering up a little breather and really adding a killer quality to the songs.  Musically, there is absolutely no breather.  What I’m really jacked up about is how each song goes from zero to 100mph and never lets up off the gas.  I’m a bit too old for the mosh pit, or at least that’s what my knees and ribs tell me, but I still get excited by hard rockin’ songs with a driving beat specifically suited to the pit, songs that have all the necessary components to keep the pit cycloning throughout the entire set.  These are 12 tracks that will kick your ass and are written exceptionally well.

Rating 4 ½ (Hidden Gem)

Rusty Eye

Style (Horror / Metal / Rock)

If for some strange reason my alt needle point class at Hilga’s House of Points gets canceled Saturday night and I end up strapped to the rack in a gothic underground club sipping a blood colored beer, I sure hope this isn’t the house band, the warm-up band, or even the juke box band, because if so I’m yelling the safety word and heading to Denny’s for the 2-4-6-8 special.  YIKES!  Clearly this is what comes to fruition when “artists” possess disposable income, questionable skills, and a narcissistic need to carve out their place in the pond.  Stepping back though, maybe I’m being a bit harsh.  I mean it’s not a bad CD if I overlook Miss Randall’s horrifically out of tune vocalizations and that I think what she’s doing is an insult to the word tune.  Luckily Miss Randall is a more interesting drummer than singer, so there’s something else to fall back on if American Idol doesn’t come calling.  And I guess it’s not a bad CD if I enjoyed the accompanying hardcore sandpaper growlings of Mr.Rust, which aren’t any better but at least are in tune.  Now that I’m thinking about it, maybe this pairing of Mr. and Miss can make it as contestants on VH1 Rock & Roll Band Camp if they channeled Journey’s sage advice, “don’t stop believing.”  And I guess the CD might not be as terrible as it sounds if I were a fan of production mixes dragged through the mud slathered with too much bottom end inappropriately matched to these adorably gruesome 13 gems.  And finally, it can’t be all bad if the rhythms and song structure make me feel like I’m being chased by a zombie with a limp and a peg leg (different legs too) but the damn peg keeps coming off.  Kinda sad and pathetic, and I feel bad for laughing.  Hurry and put your leg back on Mr.Zombie, I’ll wait!

Rating 1 (if this is “wizardry” like the bio states, than Harry Potter is Amish)