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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:

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Reviews and Suggestions

CD Review: Young Legionnaire “Crisis Works”

While moments on Young Legionnaire’s Crisis Works sound like an indie version of The Smashing Pumpkins meets YCNI:M, the majority of the album delivers impressive post-hardcore. On the few tracks which have more of a new wave slant, the Bloc Party influence is apparent. Overall, the guitar work is a strength on this album, which is chock-full of memorably epic solos, bridges and outros. The power and drama of Crisis Works – musically, vocally and lyrically – is what really strikes the listener.

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Live Rock and Roll Reviews and Suggestions

Voodoo Johnson tick all of the boxes, while adding a few more, with their music and live shows

Back in late August of last year Voodoo Johnson released their debut album 10,000 Horses. I have been enjoying this album an awful lot ever since getting my sticky mitts on a copy a short while ago. The heavily rocking tunes that VJ has always produced have been an aural addiction of mine from the first time that I came across them on MySpace just over two years ago, so I had been looking forwards to hearing this for some time. At times like this, I often find that in the anticipation during the wait, your imagination can often lead to disappointment once you finally get to that elusive first listen.

This was not the case with 10,000 Horses. The opening track ‘Headstone’ detonates this cluster bomb of solidly rocking tunes and nails you down, demanding your attention. It takes no prisoners from the start, as it begins with a volley of guitar, bass and drums leading into the vocals. It has a true rebellious edge. ‘Sin’ is just as hard edged and leads onto ‘Feel Karma,’ which  just tops this opening trio of tracks, as it kicks out with an unstoppable vengeance.

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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.

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Features

Live Show Review and Photo Essay: Stone Temple Pilots

Stone Temple Pilots
Sarnia Bayfest
Sarnia, Ontario
July 11, 2009

coverWhat a show this was. How ironic that the first time I was scheduled to see STP back in ’96 when they were my favourite “newer” band and opening for my favourite band of all time, Kiss, who’d just reformed for the Reunion Tour. Shortly before the show, I learned that STP was not going to be opening because, yes you guessed it, Scott was a bit of a mess and ended up in rehab. But the irony lies in that this weekend, I was to see both bands headlining, one after the other, Friday night Kiss, and Saturday night, Stone Temple Pilots.

I was SO bummed back then. I mean I was REALLY pumped to see Kiss get back together as I was always a HUGE Kiss fan, but as far as new music was concerned there was NOTHING better than Stone Temple Pilots at the time. Not for me anyway. The band itself is phenomenal. Three guys playing their asses off creating some of the best music my ears had ever got a hold of. Plus this singer who just seemed to mesh with the whole thing so perfectly with his moves, voice and style. Tunes like “Interstate Love Song”, “Big Empty”, “Dead and Bloated” and “Unglued” to name a few.. perfectly woven songs that just take you away to another world for 3 minutes and drop you safely back on the planet just in time for your next dose of reality.