Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Seven Against Thebes “Art of Deception”

Seven Against Thebes (also referred to as 7AT) is a 4 piece Hard Rock band from the Pacific Northwest. More specifically, the band makes its home in Seattle, Washington. Seven Against Thebes consists of band members: Rusty Hoyle (vocals), Cyrus Rhodes (guitars), Bruce Burgess (drums), Mr. Black (bass). 
This band of musicians takes their name from the play entitled Seven Against Thebes, a play which featured seven captains who were given the duty of attacking the gates of the city of Thebes in an effort to bring the city down.

The band, which takes its name from this play, creates their music by blending together styles of Rock and Roll to produce a sound that would fall into the Progressive Rock genre. Combining influences from bands such as Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Soundgarden and Tool, the band incorporates other influences as well to help add even more depth to their music. Having already released a self-titled release and an EP entitled Equilibrium, Seven Against Thebes now returns with a new thirteen-track album entitled Art of Deception.

The album of Art of Deception from Seven Against Thebes begins with the track “MMXXII”. This track is strictly instrumental and features very strong guitar playing on the part of Cyrus Rhodes. The results of the blending of two separate guitar riffs in the song create a sound that is almost as strong as any Heavy Metal playing.

Once the instrumental track of “MMXXII” comes to an end, the track segues into the second track of “’Til Death Do Us Part”. The track segues out of a track with only the sound of a guitar into a track that begins with the sound of the pounding of the drums by drummer Bruce Burgess. When the rest of the band joins in, the song takes on a rather energetic pace. The guitars on the track bring to mind the double axe attack style of playing from bands like Metallica which gives the track an almost Heavy Metal-like feel. “’Til Death Do Us Part” is a strong track and kicks off the Art of Deception with plenty of energy. 

With the track “Killing Time,” the band takes a more Modern Rock approach to their music. The song falls more into an Alternative Rock feel than the Progressive Rock approach that is found on both “’Til Death Do Us Part” and the next track on the release, “Collision Course”. “Killing Time” features a musical delivery as well as a vocal delivery by singer Rusty Hoyle that takes the band’s music back almost thirty years. You could easily imagine the song being played on Alternative Rock stations in the nineties. If you were a fan of music back then, “Killing Time” will satisfy your craving for that style.

One of the more unusual tracks on the album of Art of Deception from Seven Against Thebes is the track “Mastervision”. The track begins with the bass guitar from Mr. Black. With this track, the instrument takes on a different feel as it sounds as if it has been fed through a distortion pedal. That distortion of the bass gives the track a slight Industrial feel. That Industrial feel to the music helps add to the Alternative Rock feel to the music. The track features a slightly slow pace to the music; although, the track still contains a driving feel to the music. While the music at the beginning of the track does contain a slightly different feel than most of the other tracks on the release, that sound leads into one of the most interesting moments on the release.

Yet another track that falls into the “unusual” category would be the very next song entitled “Ashes 2 Ashes”. First, the track features the sound of white noise in the background that adds texture to the track from the very beginning of the song. Aside from that white noise, one of the most unusual features of the song is the use of the bass as the main instrument of the track. And while it is the bass that runs through the entire song that the listener focuses on, the bass is also used sparingly, with a much lower note count than one would expect for a lead instrument. The minimalistic use of the bass creates a style that keeps the listener awaiting the next note as the guitar on the track does one thing- it gives the track texture. The track comes across as a song that feels like a laidback Industrial Rock song.

The title track of the album comes very late in the tracklist. Much like the track “’Til Death Do Us Part” from early in the release, “Art of Deception” is another track that contains a musical approach that brings to mind the Speed Metal style that has been such a staple in the musical delivery of Metallica. “Art of Deception” contains the same type of sound that the early stuff from Metallica had.

“Art of Deception” segues into the last track of the release called “Yama” much the way the album’s very first track of “MMXXII” segued into the song “’Til Death Do Us Part” to begin the release. The beginning seconds of the track feature an over-amplified and over-reverbed echo. That echo leads into a song that features a sound that feels like a combination of The Cure and Nine Inch Nails. The track’s Industrial feel of the music and the lyrical content truly give off the impression that the band was heavily influenced by Trent Reznor. In fact, the final line of “I’d Rather Die Upon My Feet Than Live Upon My Knees” definitely has the dark feel of Reznor’s lyrics.

Art of Deception from Seven Against Thebes is a track that contains many different musical styles and directions within its songs. For those music listeners who find themselves wishing for music that bring back the sound of early Alternative Rock, Heavy Metal, and even Industrial Rock, this release is just for you.     

 

While the band Seven Against Thebes is somewhat a mystery of sorts as very little information exists, you can find their profile on Spotify and on Sonicbids

To purchase a copy of Art of Deception from Seven Against Thebes, click on the album cover below:

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Jupiter in Velvet “Beautiful New Day”

In order to make an impact in music, sometimes you have to make a move. That move might actually be just what you need to jump start your career. That is just what happened when an artist known as Jupiter in Velvet left the United States for new horizons over in the UK. Once overseas, the singer-songwriter started incorporating influences he had yet to use in his previous songs that had been written while he had been associated with bands back in the United States. That new, more rounded feel to the music helped to influence the songs that can be found on Jupiter in Velvet’s new. That album is entitled Beautiful New Day.

Beautiful New Day by Jupiter in Velvet begins with the track “Heavy Like a Brick”. Like the title of the track suggests, the song starts the newest album from the UK-based band off with a sound that is hard, musically-speaking. The Hard Rock track features a buzz guitar that helps to create that hardness in the music. The vocals for the track evoke the sound of Marc Bolan of T-Rex fame. What the track comes off feeling like is a combination of T-Rex and Queens of the Stone Age. The heaviness of QOTSA and the lighter approach of T-Rex balance each other out to create the feel of the track.

The album continues with the song “Can’t Get it Right”. The track blends together two different styles of music into one song. Part of the music seems to come from the Power Rock era of music from the eighties while it also seems to contain some influence from David Bowie. Together, the two styles of music combine to create a track that is undeniably Rock and Roll.

Jupiter in Velvet’s new album continues with the track “Monsters”. With this track, the music takes on a slightly unique feel. It doesn’t really fall into any specific category as far as Rock and Roll is concerned. The reason for that is because the track seems to contain some Glam Rock influence as well as a good deal of New Wave influence as well. One particular New Wave influence that comes through on the track is from the band Duran Duran. The blending of the two influences on the track sets the track in a rather retro sound but not to the point where it feels out of place in today’s music industry. After all, bands like The Killers (which is one of Jupiter in Velvet’s modern influences) draw their sound from the bands from the past.

The sound and feel of the music change on the track “Metanoia”. Where the previous tracks contained an electric quality to the music, “Metanoia” finds Jupiter in Velvet creating a track with an acoustic feel to the music. And while the acoustic guitar is a large part to the music on the song, the track also contains a powerful beat with a strong groove to it as well as a bassline that adds to the groove provided by the drums. Add in electric guitars to add the depth to the music and what is created is a track that would have been right at home within the music that was on the radio during the time of the New Wave era. Not necessarily New Wave itself, “Metanoia” would have fit right in with the music at that time.

The next track on the album is where the release gets its name. It’s also one of the more unusual tracks on the album. “The Day I Fell from the Stars” combines a strong Alternative Rock backbone with a slight orchestra feel that comes courtesy of keyboards on the track. The title of the track comes from the refrain where lyrics are sung that call for a “beautiful new day”. The majority of the song contains an unmistakable Alternative Rock feel to it that brings to mind band likes Soundgarden who add a great deal of energy to their songs. While the Alternative Rock influence comes from Soundgarden and other bands from the nineties, the aforementioned orchestral approach in the background of the track brings to mind songs from Electric Light Orchestra, and with Jupiter in Velvet now being situated over in the United Kingdom, the inclusion of ELO as an influence should not be much of a surprise.

While most of the previous tracks are largely influenced by the sound and style of Alternative Rock, the next track on the release takes a different approach. The song “U Can’t Beat Me” finds Jupiter in Velvet’s style changing a bit as the track takes on more of a New Wave/Glam Rock approach. In fact, the sound of the electronic claps on the track bring to mind music from the eighties, which adds to the eighties feel on the track. The track ultimately makes the listener think of a lost track from the likes of the Massachusettes-based group The J. Geils Band. 

One track that appears rather late on the Beautiful New Day release by Jupiter in Velvet is “Kiss the Flame”. The track begins with the sound of the bass and soon finds the electric guitar joining in before the rest of the instrumentation helps to set the track in motion. Like much of the earlier parts of Beautiful New Day by Jupiter in Velvet, the music of the track features a strong retro feel to it. The track features a strong guitar part as that particular guitar comes with a strong amount of reverb to it. That beginning of the track features a somewhat low-key feel to it; at the very least, that section is low-key when compared to the rest of the track. Eventually, the music segues to a much harder, driving pace. With everything that helps to create the song, “Kiss the Flame” ends up being one of the strongest, standout tracks on the album.

Beautiful New Day, the new release by Jupiter in Velvet, is an album that features music that uses influences from many different genres of modern-day Rock and Roll. Even with the inclusion of older styles like New Wave or Glam Rock, the resulting songs on the album are strong and Beautiful New Day by Jupiter in Velvet come across as fresh because of the inclusion of both the older and newer influences at the same time.

 

To check out the music Jupiter in Velvet, check out the song “Kiss the Flame“. 

For more information, check out Jupiter in Velvet’s PR Firm, Whiplash PR. Click on the logo below to visit their site. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To check out the Beautiful New Day release by Jupiter in Velvet, click on the album cover below: 

 

Categories
Artists and Bands Live Rock and Roll

SOUNDGARDEN ANNOUNCE UK TOUR DATES IN SEPTEMBER

(Press Release)
SOUNDGARDEN
ANNOUNCE UK TOUR DATES IN SEPTEMBER 
NEW REPACKAGED ALBUM ‘KING ANIMAL PLUS’

                                               

Monday 20th May – Legendary rock band Soundgarden today announced they will release a brand new repackaged edition of ‘King Animal’, their critically acclaimed album released in November last year. Out on 2nd September 2013, ‘King Animal Plus’ features 5 exclusive live tracks recorded at the Wiltern Theatre in Los Angeles and 1 acoustic track recorded at radio station 89X CIMX in Detroit. ‘King Animal Plus’ will be available as an exclusive pre-order bundle from 22nd May.
The band have also announced further European dates and are set to kick off proceedings on September 4th in Helsinki, performing at the Hartwall Arena before taking in Stockholm, Oslo, Copenhagen, Berlin, Amsterdam, Manchester, Birmingham, Dublin and London. Soundgarden tickets go on-sale 9am on Friday 24th May and are available from www.livenation.co.uk or www.ticketmaster.co.uk  
 
One of the forefathers of the legendary Seattle alternative rock scene in the 90s, Soundgarden released ‘King Animal’, their sixth studio album and their first in 15 years, to widespread critical acclaim in November 2012.
 
The September shows follow the band’s high profile return to European stages last summer including their much-lauded performances at Download Festival and Hard Rock Calling in the UK.
 
With over 21 million records sold worldwide and 2 GRAMMY ® awards to their name, Soundgarden along with their contemporaries, forged a new musical movement which became a global phenomenon, undoubtedly leaving a lasting impact on wider popular culture. Now, with their first collection of new songs since the 1990’s, the September tour is set to be one of the most highly anticipated live events of the Autumn – marking the start of an incredibly exciting new chapter for the band and their fans.              
 
Soundgarden Tour Dates:
            September 13, Manchester – O2 Apollo
              September 14,Birmingham – O2 Academy
              September 16, – Ireland, Dublin       O2
                 September 18, London – O2 Brixton Academy

 

Categories
Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Cast Iron Crow “First Edition”

The world of rock is in for a real treat on November 8th, as another debut album is due for release. Pardon me, I just used the word ‘another’ and this album is a far cry from that.

The album in question is First Edition by Cast Iron Crow. This stunning band is blasting its way out of Hayward in the San Francisco Bay area. The amalgamation of its four musicians has created a stunning grunge/alt rock band whose sound demands attention.

Categories
Artists and Bands

Live Photo Essay: Chris Cornell

Chris Cornell
Queen Elizabeth Theatre
Toronto, Ontario
April 20, 2011

Quite possibly the coolest voice ever to emerge from the heavy music scene of the 90’s or dare I say EVER, Chris Cornell pulled up a stump in Toronto, and just let us have it straight up. As a HUGE Soundgarden fan I instantly was taken by Cornell’s singing, songwriting and choice of band mates.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a fan of watchin some guy sit there and strum on an acoustic guitar. I have even gone so far as to say I can’t stand acoustic guitars and that’s just something that started as a kid and never changed. That’s not to say I hate anyone strapped into an acoustic guitar cuz when I let myself go and just listen to a lone fucker strummin his heart out with no band, no bells and no whistles, I usually find talent and appreciation within the scene I am taking in. But we’re talking about Chris Cornell here. Because he is my absolute favourite singer, I figured I’d go see what he can do when he’s all by himself.

Categories
Artists and Bands

Hot Hot Heat get candid and explain what rock and roll is all about, and how it got effed up

You may not know it yet, but Hot Hot Heat might just be the band that saves Canada’s rock scene. The group’s latest record, Future Breeds, hit shelves (physical and virtual) on June 8th, and proved that the darlings of rock have done it again. First appearing on British Columbia’s music scene in 1999, Hot Hot Heat may have gone through a lot of changes over the years, but one constant has always been their signature quirkiness, stellar musicianship and intoxicating sounds.

I had the chance to sit down with drummer Paul Hawley and bassist Luke Paquin at Toronto’s Red Bull Headquarters during the NXNE festival, as Hot Hot Heat prepped for an exclusive performance at the intimate, loft-style locale. What follows is not a typical Q&A interview, but rather an open conversation that allows one to gain a glimpse into what Hot Hot Heat is all about, and what the band members’ personalities are truly like.

Luke: Once you hit play [on your recorder], I’ll get serious so …

Paul: Well, if you hit play we’re going to hear some other interview you did.

Me: You’ll probably hear Alice Cooper then.

Luke: What, today? Where? Was it a phoner?

Me: Yeah, he apparently doesn’t like to do interviews in person.

Paul: Really? I don’t like to do them on the phone. I like to do them in person, but I’m also like, half his age.

Luke: Well, the thing about Alice Cooper is; he’s a pretty big deal.

Categories
Artists and Bands

Crash Kings on fear of guitars, touring with Stone Temple Pilots and, most importantly, eating your vegetables!

Brothers Tony (vocals and keyboard) and Mike Beliveau (bass), along with drummer Jason Morris, are the trio behind Los Angeles’ Crash Kings. Although they’ve just released their self-titled debut, Crash Kings have already scored tours with the likes of Chris Cornell, Stone Temple Pilots, The Bravery, and Rooney and next on the bill is a tour with Australian rockers, Jet. Mike took some time out of their action-packed schedule to answer some of our questions.

Q: I’m loving the blend of big, classic rock sounds with modern rock sensibility on the new album – what sort of musical influences led you to create this sound?

A: We are pretty rooted in classic rock, as well as some jazz and grunge. The Beatles, Zeppelin, Queen, Frank Sinatra, Herbie Hancock, Miles Davis, Brad Meldau, Buddy Rich, Soundgarden, STP, Supergrass …

Q: Even more amazing to me is that there’s no guitar on this record. You’ve somehow made an arena rock record with just keyboards, bass, and drums – how did you do it?

A: The piano is a huge instrument with an enormous sound, if you play it a certain way.  The goal was to have the piano sound as big as two guitars, but with more clarity. Add in some bi-amped bass with fuzz and you can cover a wide frequency spectrum. Then sprinkle some massive hard-hitting drums in the mix and you get a lot of sound. Then it’s all about trying to write some good songs and rocking out on stage.