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24.6.08

Silver Jews – Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea


Silver Jews have often been dubbed as a Pavement side-project because of the involvement of both Stephen Malkmus and Bob Nastanovich but in fact the band was founded by David Berman back in 1989 before Pavement. And on the band’s sixth album “Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea” none of the Pavement musicians are present.

This doesn’t make the album any less attractive, as Berman’s witty lyrics are still intact along with his brand of countrified indie rock. Well, actually it’s not that easy to be classified. On opener “What Is Not But Could Be If” Berman sounds like he’s possessed by the ghost of Johnny Cash which goes well with the alternative pop leanings of “My Pillow Is A Threshold”. But then there’s also the Caribbean-influenced “Candy Jail” or the party atmosphere complete with a ship’s horn and seagulls of “Party Barge”.

This album comes with a chord chart because according to Berman ‘anyone can play these songs”. Well, I might be able to play them but I know for damn sure I will never be able to write songs like this.
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.dragcity.com
http://www.silverjews.net

Less Than Jake – GNV FLA


For Less Than Jake “GNV FLA” is a return to their old sound, hence the reference to their hometown where it all began for these guys. It basically means more horns and more rock and just doing what they want to do without making any compromises. Coincidentally – or not - this album also is the first to be released on their very own label Sleep It Off Records, on which they recently re-released a couple of their older albums.

There’s a lot of energy and speed present on these 15 songs and while a couple of songs truly stand out, it all tends to sound a little alike after a while. I’m not saying “GNV FLA” isn’t a solid Less Than Jake albums that longtime fans will love, I just think it would’ve benefited from a more stringent selection policy. If they would’ve simply cut a couple of tracks and only kept the ones with the ├╝bercatchy choruses and horns like “Does The Lion City Still Roar?” and “Settling Son”, I would’ve liked “GNV FLA” even better!
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.sleepitoffrecords.com
http://www.cookingvinyl.com
http://www.lessthanjake.com

Santogold – S/T



An album that doesn’t sound like everything else out there? Music that’s actually refreshing? Who the fuck is gonna believe me when I write that? But in Santogold’s case it’s actually true. This lady might look and sound cute on some of the songs of her solo debut (“Lights Out”), on others she sounds like someone you do not want to mess with (“Unstoppable”). With a mixture of punk, dub, dancehall, rock, new wave and 80ies pop sounds, Santogold managed to throw together an irresistible album.

One listen to “L.E.S. Artistes” and you’ll be won over while “I’m A Lady” sounds like Blondie covering a Pixies song. It simply is that catchy. On the other end of the musical spectrum is M.I.A. and yes, on a song like “Creator” it makes sense to compare the two of them. While there may seem to be a huge distance between the Pixies and M.I.A., Santi White’s greatest strength lies in being able to cover that much ground effortlessly and – even more important – without sounding forced while still ending up with a whole bunch of catchy songs.

Yup, I’m a Santogold fan from now on and her eponymous album is sure to be played a lot at my house this summer! Make sure you don’t miss her at the Pukkelpop festival this summer. Now, if you’ll excuse me I need to listen to “My Superman” again!
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.lizardkingrecords.net
http://www.myspace.com/santogold

Shai Hulud – Misanthropy Pure


Shai Hulud is probably one of the most influential metalcore bands around and while contemporaries such as Poison The Well and Cave In have either changed their style or called it a day, Shai Hulud simply keeps plowing on, doing what they do best. Sure, we had to wait for five years for the follow-up to “That Within Blood Ill-Tempered” but listening to their excellent brand of melodic and highly technical metalcore, I’d say it was well worth the wait.

From the sound of it you’d say these guys have been together forever but Shai Hulud has been known for its line-up changes alsmost as much as for their music. And that’s no different this time around with the departure of vocalist Geert Van Der Velde. His replacement – Matt Mazzali - however makes Shai Hulud sound even more like the band they used to be when Chad Gilbert was still among its ranks. And it’s good to hear these guys still know how to inject a song with some killer riffage (“Venomspreader”) or weave melody together with intense and discordant parts with one well-placed breakdown. Absolute highlight of the album? The 3-part closer “Cold Lord Quietus”, which is one of the most impressive things Shai Hulud has ever recorded. Good to have you back again!
Score: 9 out of 10
http://www.metalblade.de
http://www.hulud.com

Modena City Ramblers – Bella Ciao



The subtitle of “Bella Ciao” pretty much says it all… here’s an Italian troupe that plays ‘Italian combat folk for the masses’. And they play it well. Enticing folk music with a bit of ska and a wide array of instruments. Mostly acoutisc guitars but there’s also room for bouzouki, whistle, trumpet, mandolin and so on. Apparently all of the musicians are multi-instrumentalists which should make their live show only more energetic. Their version of “Bella Ciao”, a song that held the Partisans warm in the winter of 1944-45, is one of the most exciting songs I’ve heard in a while and I’m pretty sure that if these guys were from Brighton, they would be called The Levellers.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.leechredda.com

Skarface – Longlife Legendary Bastards



French ska outfit Skarface are back for another round! When singing in English, the accent is still terrible but when in French, I can enjoy their modern take on ska. Not too unlike from what the Planet Smashers are doing… plenty of horns, organs and downstroking (not to be confused with stroking yourself down there). Decent album but it doesn’t add a lot of new things to the band’s back catalog of 226 original songs.
Score: 6 out of 10
http://www.leechredda.com
http://pagespro-orange.fr/manfred.rude/

Wonderfools – Too Late To Die Young


Norway’s Wonderfools have already been going at it for a couple of years and have just delivered a new album entitled “Too Late To Die Young”. I think it’s supposed to be catchy poppunk but it isn’t doing much of anything for me. It all sounds a little too formulaic, sappy and uninspired to get me interested. Kinda like listening to a Turbonegro coverband who don’t get the joke.
Score: 4 out of 10
http://www.wildkingdom.se

Fallen From The Sky – Tonight We Radiate



Fallen From The Sky has been around since 2002 yet “Tonight We Radiate” is only their debut full-length. They sure have taken their sweet time honing their skills but it was well worth the wait because “Tonight We Radiate” is a damn impressive debut.

With a sound that holds its own between Rise Against and a more hardcore version of Hot Water Music, songs like “Skeletons” or “” sit extremely well with me. There are some less inspired moments to be found throughout “Tonight We Radiate” (like the last part of “Out Of Control”), but it’s nothing that can’t be fixed on future releases that I’m already looking forward to hearing. Check this out if you’re into honest, hard-hitting music with great gritty vocals!
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.eulogyrecordings.com

The Gutter Twins – Saturnalia



What do you get when you put Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan together in the studio? It has to be something amazing, right? Because we all still cherish Dulli for everything he did in Afghan Whigs and is still doing with his Twilight Singers. That mix of rock, soul and the white man’s blues is still haunting me in my dreams. And then there’s Mark Lanegan, a man with a unique voice who first made waves with Screaming Trees and who has since worked with well… pretty much everyone.

So what do you get when you put Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan together in the studio? You get a masterpiece called “Saturnalia” on which the pleading voice of Dulli that always borders on being out of key completely and totally intertwines with Lanegan’s warm and deep voice. It’s a rare case where 1 plus 1 equals 3. Whether they’re backed up by loud guitars (“Idle Hands”), soulful Rhodes sounds (“Who Will Lead Us?”) or an acoustic melody, Lanegan and Dulli manage to lift each other up to reach new heights on every single song.

So what is it you need to do when Greg Dulli and Mark Lanegan are in the studio together? Pick up whatever it is they recorded because it’s gonna be brilliantly melancholic. Or melancholic brilliance. Whichever way suits you best, just make sure you don’t miss out on “Saturnalia”.
Score: 9.5 out of 10
http://www.subpop.com

Anti-Flag - The Bright Lights Of America


You gotta hand it to Anti-Flag... since signing to a major, these political punks haven't changed a bit. It's commendable to say the least. But unfortunately that's also the biggest flaw of "The Bright Lights of America". On their eigth album, the band is still doing the exact same thing... playing catchy punkrock songs with rallying cries galore. The good intentions are there for all to see but truly exciting songs are a little less visible. The album is off to a good start though with "Good And Ready" and "Vices" but there's simply too much room for filler on "The Bright Lights Of America". Even David Bowie producer Tony Visconti can't hide that by adding touches of harmonica ("Go West") or a brass section ("Shadow Of The Dead").
Score: 6 out of 10
http://www.rcarecords.com
http://www.anti-flag.com

The Cab - Whisper War



Seems like every single band that gets signed to Decaydance gets hyped before the ink has even dried on their contract. Latest example is Las Vegas' The Cab who have just released their debut album "Whisper War". And with a dozen of poprock songs that sound like they were written with TRL in the back of their mind, they will most likely have no problem living up to the hype. Expect tons of danceable beats, slick melodies and boyband vocals. Hasn't got much of anything to do with punk but hey, even I can't get the chorus of "One Of Those Nights" or "I'll Run" out of my head and I guess that's saying something.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.decaydance.com

American Princes - Other People



From Little Rock, Arkansas comes American Princes. Whereas they sounded more like the Pixies on their previous album "Less And Less", this time around it's time for a trip back to the eighties. You can hear echoes of early The Cure on "Son Of California" or Tom Petty and R.E.M. in various other songs. They sound like they're trying to rub shoulders with The Killers in yet another track.

Anyway, you catch my drift... there's been a ton of other bands that have been doing the same thing before American Princes. But that doesn't make "Other People" a bad album. Far from it actually. Vocalist David Slade does a great job of writing catchy songs along with the rest of the band (with new bandmember Will Boyd on keyboard/guitar) and producer Chuck Brody (Wu-Tang Clan, Peter Bjorn and John) gives the band a shiny yet naked sound that suits them just fine.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.yeproc.com

19.6.08

G.G. Elvis and the T.C.P. Band interview


Elvis is alive and kicking and brutally mutilating his own songs along with the T.C.P. band. Need proof? Check out G.G. Elvis' debut album "Back From The Dead" which is out now on Mental Records. Here's an email interview we did with Has Been Elvis, Boobie Ho-Tep and Elvis Vicious!

PRT: Who are you and what is your favourite Elvis anecdote??
Has Been Elvis, “Keep the change”

I’m Mallory Jean Barrett, aka Boobie Ho-Tep. I took my name from the movie, Bubba Ho-Tep, where Bruce Campbell plays Elvis in a retirement home, kung-fu fighting an ancient Egyptian mummy. I’m not really sure there is a true Elvis anecdote that can beat a mummy sucking the souls of elderly Texans out their anuses.

I'm Vicious - the most Vicious - Viciousy - the Viciousiest - uh well, just Vicious, Elvis Vicious. As for your second question - Peanut Butter & Banana sandwiches are a cure for everything.

PRT: How on earth did you come up with the idea of starting a punkrock Elvis cover band and the different impersonations?
Elvis Vicious: As a result of a shattered psyche from way too many pharmaceuticals causing multiple personalities to splinter off and do ... what else? START A BAND!!! (or: Blame Larry!)

Has Been Elvis: Tony and I (Elvis Of Nazareth) were doing a tribute to long hair bands and at our rehearsal I stopped playing the drums and looked to the sky……… and then it hit me like a giant donut, what if we played all Elvis music and changed it to punk. The look has evolved from simple to complex costumes and air-soft sticker guns ect. ect. The shows are going to get more elaborate and funnier.

PRT: After just three rehearsals, you already played at the Punk Rock Bowling Tournament and got offered a deal with Mental Records. How serious are you guys about GG Elvis?
Has Been Elvis: You keep up the great questions and I gonna send over a gold Cadillac to the station. I keep seeing the group doing a “Got Milk “ ad or late night talk shows or maybe a great spot in feature films (David Lynch or of that nature) Lots of “Schtich

Elvis Vicious: As serious as a heart attack... while sittin' on the shitter.

PRT: I can imagine a lot of people in the punk scene eating this up but have you already had a lot of reactions from huge Elvis fans? Do they like you guys or think you deserve to choke in your next cheeseburger?
Has Been Elvis: A lot of people from young to elderly, stay at shows to see what we are going to do next. Most people can’t believe during the show, GG Elvis grinding naked on the stage, and want to get a little closer to see what little Elvis look’s like. Also, don’t forget to look for “Celebrity Testicle”.

Elvis Vicious: They love us so much they wanted to feed us, they threw tomatoes at us.

PRT: Your debut “Back from the Dead” comes out in a month... what should people expect exactly?
Elvis Vicious: Exactly? Expect a small round shiny disc (officially called a "Compact Disc") enclosed in a square flat plastic box (officially called a "Jewel Case") accompanied by brightly colored paper printed with pictures and words (officially called "Liner Notes")

Has Been Elvis: The craziest idea I think I’ve seen in a while for tribute groups. The music is so tight and creative, that I think it will grow on the fans. We took old punk tunes and mixed them in with the “Kings” music and you get GG Elvis and the TCP band. The DVD that is in limited supply, will have you on the floor saying things like, “I can’t believe I just saw “Celebrity testicle” and things like “the outtakes are more hilarious that the mocumentary.

PRT: How hard was it to find classic punk songs that went well with Elvis songs?
Elvis Vicious: That's what she said...

Has Been Elvis: I don’t know how to put this…………….Most fans do not know it………… The king was the first punk rocker! All punk songs fit the Kings music, period.

PRT: There is a terrible picture in the booklet somewhere that comes with a ‘scratch & sniff’ thingy. Am I right to be scared to death to actually scratch & sniff?
Boobie Ho-Tep: When I found out about the scratch n’ sniff, I was afraid… very afraid… I knew if I asked what to expect, I wouldn’t get a straight answer, so you don’t get one either…

Has Been Elvis: No way, go for it, if you get one ….sniff it I say.

Elvis Vicious: Scared you ASSked? I RECTUM I can ANALyse your question, you lil sly sphinxter: be afraid, be very afraid.

PRT: On the DVD there is a part without music. Apparently it had something to do with the sync rights to the music. What exactly happened there? Don’t they have a sense of humour at the Elvis Estate?
Has Been Elvis: No. This was news to our ears too. Our label did everything right to keep an artist / label relationship positive and do the right thing in regards to royalties with the estate. We do not have the recourses yet to afford that kind of financial hit to the label and at some time soon we will make better and crazier videos to come.

Elvis Vicious: A sense of humor? That's hard to say - have you seen Pricilla lately? She's got so much botox pumped into her ya can't tell if she's smilin' or frownin'.

PRT: I read somewhere that before GG Elvis was born, there was also a band called The Cock Rockers... is something ever gonna happen with that as well?
Has Been Elvis: I don’t recall.

Elvis Vicious: Refer to Colonel Parker

PRT: What is one thing you’d definitely like to achieve with GG Elvis before he leaves the building again? And is it true you’re already planning a second album
Has Been Elvis: World domination with comedy, and fun tunes we all can relate to. Yes this is true Connie, we are in gear for a new idea I am not at liberty to discuss at this time.

Boobie Ho-Tep: My goal is to offend or amuse Elvis out of hiding. I was a member of the Church of the Risen Elvis until I found out that his life insurance has yet to be cashed out. Suspicious minds? Not really. No way would someone have overlooked something as large as a life insurance check.

Elvis Vicious: I'd like to achieve a hard-on, but all the opiates in my system prevent that - not that I'd be able to see it anyway! The last time was when Ann Margaret mistook my weenie for the gear shift filming the car scene in Viva Las Vegas.

PRT: You’re planning a European tour in September (please don’t skip Belgium!). What exactly should I expect from a GG Elvis show? Does everyone need to shake those hips before being allowed to go into the venue?
Has Been Elvis: Shake your money maker I say! Come to the show and I personally guarantee you will have a great time and won’t leave disappointed.

Elvis Vicious: Expect 5 old sweaty fat guys playin' rock & roll. Secondly, shake at your own risk, if ya wanna break a hip - oh wait, that's us guys.

Boobie Ho-Tep: At minimum, full frontal nudity. It’s enough to shock an American audience, and I’m not sure yet what GG will have to stick up his ass in Europe in order to get that kind of reaction. Swivelling hips is not a requirement, but a sense of humour is recommended.

PRT: What would be the perfect way for GG Elvis to go and what would his last words be?
Has Been Elvis: After world domination, he will just shack up with Kenny Rogers in Hawaii on a private island and tell stories to the locals.

Boobie Ho-Tep: Duh, fighting an ancient Egyptian mummy, while vocalizing the sound effects, like “pow” “smack” and “crack”. In fact, I think it would be a most honourable death and we should begin planning our farewell tour in Egypt. Thank you, thank you very much…….

18.6.08

Alkaline Trio – Agony & Irony


I remember when I first heard “Good Mourning” and thought it wasn’t as good as “From Here To Infirmary”. Boy, was I wrong! And then the same thing happened again with “Crimson”, which eventually became one of my all-time favorite albums. And now there’s “Agony & Irony” and once again it took a while to grow on me. But now I can’t seem to stop playing the album.

As far as I’m concerned “Agony & Irony” is as good an Alkaline Trio album as any of their other releases. They’ve pretty much perfected their dark brand of poppunk as can be heard on songs like “Help Me” and “I Found A Way”. Dan Adriano takes the lead a little less (only 3 out of 10 songs) but both him and Matt Skiba are a pleasure to listen to as they crank out one hook-filled song after the other. And as a fan there really isn’t much more you can ask for, right?
Score: 9 out of 10
http://www.v2music.com
http://www.alkalinetrio.com

Means – To Keep Me From Sinking


If it was me I would’ve just called the album “Paddle”, which is what I do to keep me from sinking when in the water. What Means does to keep themselves afloat amidst all the other metalcore bands out there? Record another album that sounds like a lot of the other bands out there. Is that the smartest move they could’ve made? Probably not.

To be completely honest, Means does sound a little better than some others out there. For one thing they have a great drive to their tunes and don’t try to sound any tuffer than they really are. Another thing I really dig are the clean vocals, which are excellent punkrock vocals. Would love to hear more of those on their next album!

Other than that… you’ve heard this kinda metalcore like a zillion times before and I’ve written it all a zillion times already… shall we just call it a day then? Yeah, let’s.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.facedownrecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/means_music

Six Reasons To Kill – Another Horizon


“Another Horizon” is my first encounter with Germany’s Six Reasons To Kill and I have to say it’s a rather nice encounter. Okay, they’re not quite the only band out there doing the whole metalcore thing with additional death metal influences but they’re doing a pretty good job nonetheless.

The guitars shred nicely with some cool solos here and there, the vocalist knows how to handle himself and drummer Florian is banging away nicely at the drums. It doesn’t really surprise anywhere (or it would have to be the Judas Priest-like shriek in the middle of “On This Battlefield”) but fans of Soilwork and Raunchy will probably eat this up.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.bastardized.net
http://www.sixreasonstokill.de

Keep Of Kalessin – Kolossus


After their 2006 success with “Armada”, Norway’s Keep Of Kalessin did a lot of touring with the likes of Satyricon, Exodus, Hypocrisy, Carpathian Forest and Enslaved. I bet it won them even more black little souls who were all expecting the follow-up album to be equally good. And while “Kolossus” is no “Armada”, Keep Of Kalessin once again does a great job of mixing black metal with some thrash and death thrown in.

While it all sounds great and these guys are pretty technically skilled (everything was recorded live in the studio in one take), it is still ‘just” another black metal album, complete with all of the genre’s limitations. The band does its best by using more melodic parts but in the end it sounds the same like a thousand other black metal albums that came before “Kolossus” despite the bio sheet’s claim that “Kolossus” will have a huge impact on the whole metal scene. Yeah, we’ll see about that.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.indierec.no
http://www.keepofkalessin.no

Walls Of Jericho – Redemption EP


Walls Of Jericho teams up with Slipknot/Stone Sour’s Corey Taylor for this digital EP and pulls a “Hero” out of their pockets. Remember that song from the Spider-Man soundtrack that showed a completely different side of Taylor who previously just made a lot of noise while running around the stage with a bunch of masked lunatics?

Same thing here… vocalist Candace left her screaming voice at home and goes for some decent clean vocals, while the rest of the band tones it down as well and gets a shitload of string arrangements thrown in their face. It kinda works but I don’t see the point of a metalcore band wanting to sound like Evanescence. And I never thought I’d say this but Evanescence does it better. And why anyone woud think the world needs another cover of “House Of The Rising Sun” is completely beyond me!

Later this year there will be a new ‘regular’ release coming out by Walls Of Jericho... let’s hope Candace is screaming her lungs out again then with the rest of the band shredding away!
Score: 5.5 out of 10
http://www.trustkill.com
http://www.spv.de
http://www.wallsofjericho.tv

Foxboro Hot Tubs – Stop Drop And Roll!!!


As everyone probably knows by now, Foxboro Hot Tubs is a Green Day side-project. This means that “Stop Drop And Roll” is NOT a new Green Day album. Hence, the name Foxboro Hot Tubs on the cover. So don’t bitch about how you don’t like the new Green Day sound! I can’t believe how many idiots I’ve heard going on about that on various messageboards.

This is simply Green Day’s way of having a good time and paying tribute to 60s garagerock bands and acts like The Stooges and The Ramones. It’s the complete opposite of original but damn, it’s a fun album! Just check out that organ in “” or listen to “Alligator” which sounds a lot like The Kinks. Great summer album!
Score: 7.5 out of 10
Jingle town records
http://www.foxborohottubs.com

Apocalypse Now – Empires Fall


In Dutch we have an expression that could be translated as a fit of French rage… yes, it’s a dumb expression but it applies very well to Apocalypse Now, a couple of metalcore-playing French dudes that seem very angry with the state of the world.

“Empires Fall” is filled with jackhammer drums and earthquake-inducing shredding but I doubt any empires will fall over this disc. It’s all very well done, nicely executed with solos and gang vocals aplenty. So it’s not like they have to bend over and get spanked by their American brethren. But they don’t outshine them either. They will probably get plenty of chances to open for all the big bands when they breeze through France but based solely on “Empires Fall”, that’s probably as far as it’ll go.
Score: 6.5 out of 10
http://www.gsrmusic.com

17.6.08

Five.Bolt.Main – Complete 2CD/DVD


After Flaw, was dropped from Universal in 2004, Chris Volz teamed up with a bunch of other dudes to form Five.Bolt.Main. After 7 months they already secured a deal with Rock Ridge and released “Venting”. One month later three of the guys left the band, supposedly because of Volz’ alcohol and drug abuse. After recruiting a bunch of new guys (after all the show must go on), Volz soldiered on and released a live album which was recorded in the band’s homestate of Kentucky. I’m not sure what happened then but the band broke up so now it’s time for THE complete discography containgin both the debut album and the live album. Plus it comes with a DVD with no less than 2 music videos and some stuff about Volz.

Seriously, “Venting” is a pretty good album if you’re into the whole Flaw/Creed/Drowning Pool sound but this release here seems kinda pointless considering the debut came out just three years ago! Score’s just for “Venting”…
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.rockridgemusic.com

Blacklisted – Heavier Than Heaven Lonelier Than God


What the fuck happened? Was there like a secret convention where all the great hardcore bands gathered and decided 2008 was gonna be the year where they flooded the scene with one amazing album after the other? I mean, come on! We’re barely halfway there and I’ve already got enough albums to be fairly sure that it’s gonna be one helluva lengthy end of the year list! And thanks to Blacklisted I’ve got yet another title to add with “Heavier Than Heaven Lonelier Than God”.

Anyway, these guys have never stopped amazing me and seem to grow still with every release they put out. Which makes every new release their best work so far. Which is something every band says about their latest album but only in rare cases like Blacklisted’s is this actually true. This time around Kurt Ballou made it the band’s best-sounding album which probably doesn’t hurt things either. But it’s not just that… I love how everything sounds so damn gritty. Or how they don’t fuck around but get right to the point instead in under two minutes. Or how yes, this is as hardcore as it gets but then again, it’s more. Or how intense these guys sound. And damn, check out those vocals! They shred all the way yet somehow still have bits of melody in them.

Nuff said, if you’re into hardcore you need to own this!
Score: 9.5 out of 10
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.myspace.com/blacklisted

V/A - The T4 Project


Punk music has always revolved around unity, inspiring one another and doing things your own way. Something that seems to have been forgotten a long time ago if you look at all the closeminded people roaming around the scene. But what happens when someone called Shannon Saint Ryan has an idea of a story-based concept album and is willing to sacrifice 2,5 years to make that idea reality? Well, The T4 Project is what happens and it combines all of the ideas I mentioned above in one bigass, kickass project.

Bringing together members from acts such as Bad Religion, Pennywise, Buzzcocks, Circle Jerks, Subhumans, Strung Out and a handful of others, The T4 Project isn’t so much a supergroup as it is a collaboration within a community that is closely knit together. To get the gist of the story, I suggest you pick up the album and listen to it while reading the 24-page booklet that comes with it. But I can tell you that the story contains a message that deserves to be heard.

Same thing goes for the music, because even if you don’t care about anything I wrote in the preceding paragraphs, this album is filled with some really good tunes that will appeal to every punkrock kid out there.
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.mentalrecords.net

Killing The Dream – Fractures


If you listen to “Fractures”, you’ll hear a band that is once more outdoing itself. Killing The Dream’s previous album “In Place Apart” was already amazing but with “Fractures” they’ve definitely earned a spot on the list of hardcore’s finest bands around. Vocalist Eli sounds as blistering as ever while screaming “It´s not depression for depression´s sake, or desperation for a song. This is every day. This is all I know“ in the opening song and he brings at as sincere as anything else you’ve ever heard. In the meantime the rest of the band is busy laying down some melodic yet incredibly aggressive hardcore tunes with plenty of breakdowns and singalongs. It’s that combination that makes this album lethal.

If you are into acts such as Bane or Comeback Kid, look no further and pick up “Fractures” because they are without a doubt one of the most intense and energetic hardcore bands around at the moment.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.deathwishinc.com
http://www.killingthedream.com

V/A – Punk Goes Crunk


The latest installment in Fearless’ Punk Goes something series is called “Punk Goes Crunk”. On it you’ll hear a bunch of well- and lesser-known or even completely unknown (who the fuck is Person L?) bands butcher or nail a variety of hiphop songs.

Set Your Goals gets this album going with their hilarious version of “Put Yo Hood Up” and Forever The Sickest Kids made the already catchy “Men In Black” even catchier. The album closes off even stronger with Hot Rod Circuit, Lorene Drive and New Found Glory respectively covering “Gin And Juice”, “Hey Ya” and “Tennessee”.

So we’re off to a good start and we’ve got a solid ending. It’s the inbetween songs that had me wondering if there’s really any need for this album thanks to weak contributions by My American Heart and Emanuel. Oh, and let’s not forget The Devil Wears Prada who prove that you can turn anything into a terriby mediocre metalcore song, even a Big Tymers original. As for Scary Kids Scaring Kids and their abundant use of the word nigger… it’s just funny. Even when you’re not wearing a white sheet on over your head or burning crosses in people’s frontyards.

You’ll have to make up your mind about this one on your own. Yes, it has a couple of decent songs and yes, it has some novelty value but there’s some shitty songs on here. Word to your mother, I’m out!
Score: 6 out of 10
http://www.fearlessrecords.com

Steve Wynn – Crossing Dragon Bridge


For “Crossing Dragon Bridge” Steve Wynn went to Ljubljana where he shacked up with Chris Eckman of Walkabouts fame. There the two of them shrunk their universe to Eckman’s home studio and recorded all of the songs with just Wynn’s voice and an acoustic guitar. Basically it’s all you need to make a great album but they didn’t stop there and made it even better by adding parts later on. And whether it’s Linda Pitmon’s voice, an eight-piece orchestra or a choir, it always fits the song perfectly.

With so many releases under his belt, you’d start to think that Wynn might be getting tired but a change of environment apparently is all the man needs to write yet another endearing batch of songs. Just give “Punching Holes In The Sky” a listen and agree with me.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.bluerose-records.com
http://www.stevewynn.net

Century – Black Ocean


Starting a band is usually simply an excuse to use copious amounts of drugs, to get laid or play music. Not so for Carson Slovak who originally started Century to hone his audio engineering and graphic design skills. As they say in ebonics: he be fucked! Because Century has grown into something of a metal monster with already three releases under their belt.

They’re back to destroy some more eardrums with the follow-up to 2006’s “Faith And Failure”. They do play metalcore but I’m not talking about the Hot Topic variety. It’s blistering metal with the occasional speed attack and breakdown. But mostly, the songs on “Black Ocean” are heavy as fuck! Think of a mix between Snapcase, early Cave In, Mastodon and Botch and you’re on the right path. It’s a lot to take in at once but you can listen to it over and over again while trying to solve the cipher in the album’s layout which will grant you access to hidden content on the album site (
http://www.blackoceanalbum.com.
Score: 7.5 out of 10
http://www.prostheticrecords.com
http://www.myspace.com/century

Bad Reaction – Had It Coming


Bad Reaction is basically one big throwback to 80ies hardcore. You know, back when bands like The Adolescents and Bad Brains called the shots. Need proof? Exhibit #1… look at the band logo and the artwork! Exhibit #2… just listen to the friggin’ album! Exhibit #3… they even cover Bad Brains’ “Pay To Cum”! Can you be more obvious? Not that it’s a bad thing because “Had It Coming” had me going (haha!) from start to finish.

“Had It Coming” combines Bad Reaction’s “The Plastic World” and “Dare To Be Dull” 7” and it blasts out of the speakers with ironic lyrics to boot. What’s not to love about this band?
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.reflectionsrecords.com

No Turning Back – Stronger


With “Holding On” Holland’s No Turning Back already dropped an impressive album but they simply keep on going and even do one better with the follow-up, “Stronger”. Not that things have changed dramatically though. No Turning Back knows where their strength lies and that’s with pure NYHC. So don’t expect any experimenting.

They did however slow down just a little bit compared to the last album and added a lot more groove. Which is never a bad thing. In my eyes this album is easily as good as anything Madball has released in the last couple of years. And if you know that I’m a big Madball fan, then I guess that’s saying something.

I’m not too keen on the artwork but fuck it, I can always simply close my eyes. Which is probably not a wise thing to doat one of their live shows because with songs like “Make It End” and “Unfair” (complete with guest vocals and a guitar solo by the guys in Cold World), they’ll turn every pit into a mass frenzy.
Score: 9 out of 10
http://www.reflectionsrecords.com
http://www.noturningback.nl

Set Your Goals – Mutiny (Deluxe Edition)


“Mutiny” already was an incredibly fun album where you could literally see the energy seap out of your stereo in some sort of liquid form. No worries though, it didn’t burn a hole in the ground Alien-style. Instead these guys’ mix of Lifetime, CIV and New Found Glory makes me feel good every single time I hear this album.

And now with the deluxe edition, there’s even more to enjoy. On the bonus disc you’ll find five demo recordings that were made shortly before the band recorded “Mutiny”. Plus you get some video footage as well. Maybe not that interesting if you already purchased the album when it first came out. But hey, it’s a nice bonus for those who haven’t. Even though I think they deserve to get your ass kicked for not already owning “Mutiny”!
Score: 9 out of 10
http://www.eulogyrecordings.com/
http://www.setyourgoals.net/

Former Cell Mates – Who’s Dead And What’s To Pay


Former Cell Mates is a relatively new band but its members have previously already spent time in Leatherface, The Golden Virgins, The Coyote Men and The Mercury League. They recorded “Who’s Dead And What’s To Pay” themselves while drunk and it sounds as if they bought their equipment with whatever cash they had left after buying all the beer they needed. Or lager as they would call it.

Miraculously though, the result is an album that sounds raw and gritty yet doesn’t have a single bad song on it. Think of a more garag-y version of Hot Water Music with some of Lucero’s country mixed in and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect of Former Cell Mates.
Score: 7 out of 10
http://www.householdnamerecords.co.uk
http://www.formercellmates.com

The Forgotten – S/T


After six years of spending their days in projects like The Transplants, Lars Frederiksen & The Bastards and The Mercy Killers and just truly living up to their name in general, The Forgotten are back with a new and self-titled album. Don’t expect anything new, just more of the same. Which in The Forgotten’s case happens to be exciting streetpunk anthems. Dunno what more I need to say here… welcome back guys!
Score: 7out of 10
http://www.tkorecords.com

Alkaline Trio – Goddamnit Redux


The re-issue of “Goddamnit” is a great way for new fans to find out how it all started for Alk 3 all those years ago. And I have to say that 10 years after its original release, this album still sounds great. It’s all a little rawer and grittier than what they’re doing now, but at the same time you’ll hear how they’re still staying true to their old sound.

As a bonus you get the four first songs the band has ever recorded. All of them are previously unreleased so that’s pretty cool. There’s also a 2-hour documentary about how the band started out featuring all the original members plus a live show of “Goddamnit” being performed by the current line-up.

With their new album “Agony & Irony” coming up soon, it’s an expensive time to be an Alk 3 fan but both releases are worth the purchase!
Score: 9 out of 10
http://www.asianmanrecords.com
http://www.alkalinetrio.com

Terror – The Damned, The Shamed


Huh? Are those clean guitars over a mellow solo that I hear in “Betrayer”? On a Terror album? Are these guys getting old? Fuck no! Because the rest of “The Damned, The Shamed” is filled with the kind of metallic riffs, double bass drums and Scott Vogel’s pissed off vocals that are the perfect companionship for when you’re slightly pissed off.

Like last week when I suddenly realised that someone who owes me money still hadn’t payed me back. I could’ve gone over to his place and get pissed off but the guy is in the army so that wouldn’t have been the best idea. Instead I cranked up the new Terror and got rid of all of my frustrations in the safety of my living room. Annoying people in the train wanna talk to me when I’m not in the mood? Crank up Terror. Telemarketer on the phone? Start shouting the lyrics to “What I Despise”…. I doubt they’ll stay on the phone for the whole 110 seconds.

“The Damned, The Shamed” isn’t a very subtle album but it does the trick just fine. If you’re into metallic hardcore, this is a no-brainer just like Terror’s previous albums.
Score: 8.5 out of 10
http://www.centurymedia.com
http://www.terrorhc.com

Sleepercar – West Texas


Sleepercar is another one of Jim Ward’s side-projects. We all know the good man from At The Drive-In and more recently, Sparta but apparently he has been working on some other songs for several years already. And I have to say I was pleasantly surprised after listening to “West Texas”. At the very least it’s a hell of a lot better than say, his collaboration with Bobby Byrd.

Now, it’s not exactly a novelty anymore when a punkrocker starts an acoustic side-project. Many have already attempted it in the past and ended up with a collection of bland and slow songs that seemed to be written that way because of the misconception that that’s what a serious singer/songwriter is supposed to sound like. But the strength of Sleepercar is that Ward maintains the energy from his At The Drive-In days. Even the slowest songs on the album like “Wednesday Nights” seemingly feed off an undercurrent of pure energy.

It’s hard to pin this one down because it has a lot of Americana and country influences but some of the songs are pure rawk while a duet with Denali’s Maura Davis (“You Should Run”) has something of a Cardigans-vibe. All of the songs have in common though that they sound amazing, proving yet again that Ward is indeed a damn fine songwriter.
Score: 8 out of 10
http://www.civildefenseleague.net/
http://www.sleepercarmusic.com

Resistance – Two Sides Of A Modern World


Grunt grunt chugga chugga rooooooooooaaaaarrrrrr blastbeat ahhhhhhhhhhhh… Resistance started out as a metalcore band that eventually turned into a full-fledged deathmetal band with just the occasional breakdown here and there to remind you where they’re coming from. Musically that is, not geographically.

It sounds kinda like HeavenShallBurn mixed in with a little bit of a Job For A Cowboy. The less appealing version that is. It’s not complete garbage, but this Belgian band does sound pretty much the same for the entire duration of “Two Sides Of A Modern World” which becomes tedious to say the least. Oh, and pig grunts belong on a farm, not a record.
Score: 5.5 out of 10
http://www.alveranrecords.com
http://www.resistanceonline.com