Free Legal Downloads

Both Dez and Rick Whispers have new free full length CD's available for download from their respected websites. Both got glowing reviews on this very web blog site, so you should check them out, since they're free and all, and you don't have to worry about THE MAN comin' down on you for all the downloadin'.

Dez - Plays Well With Others @ www.dezmatic.com

Rick Whispers - The Letters @ www.rickwhispers.com


Nas - Hip Hop is Dead

I was told that once I got my internet working again, I should step my review game up, so here you go. A track by track review of the new Nas record. It's probably the 78th review you've read for it, and it's still not out yet.

01.Money Over Bullshit (Prod. LES)

Nas basically says "Hi I'm Nas and I'm a pretty good rapper and if you don't like me, well you can go shit in a hat." over a really grim beat. This is a damn good way to start an album that's been hyped to the stars.

02.You Can't Kill Me (Prod. Salaam Remi)

Unfortunately, this song doesn't really keep the momentum the first one set. It's an alright song, but nothing you're going to want to go back to over and over again.

03.Carry the Tradition (Prod. Scott Storch)

Nas throws the ill subliminals on this one. It's pretty well known that Nas is a lot better when someone lights a fire under his ass, and this is no different since he can make a Scott Storch beat sound good to me, and I can't really think of another producer that annoys me more at the moment.

04.Where Are They Now (Prod. Nas & Salaam Remi)

One of the big highlights of the record. A lot of rappers do the whole "Name a lot of old rappers on a song", but not a lot get as obscure as Nas. I never though I'd hear someone mention The Skinny Boys and Fu-Schnickens in the same song. I have a feeling no one under the age of 18 will have any fucking idea of what he's talking about though.

05.Hip-Hop Is Dead (Prod. Will.I.Am)

I think if you make a record that's a lot better than one of your previous records, it's ok to use a sample from one of the few highlights of the previous record again. So I don't mind hearing the Iron Butterfly sample again, since I'll never listen to whatever record he originally sample it on. He can reuse samples from anything after Illmatic and I wouldn't notice. Oh, unless it was those annoying kids singing on that "I Am" song. Either way, this is another hit.

06.Who Killed It? (Prod. Will.I.Am)

Nas does some weird Inspector Gadget/Old Gangster Movie voice over this track and ruins the best beat on the whole god damn record. It almost works, but I don't really see the point in the dumb voice. Couldn't he just find someone who naturally talks like that? Anyway, this song is some bizarro world retelling of the birth of hip hop, I think. Honestly, I don't know what it's about. Unless it's about how Nas is a secret weirdo who likes doing bad impersonations for no real reason.

07.Black Republican (Feat. Jay-Z) (Prod. LES)

I'm not sure why Jay-Z would agree to appear on something better than anything on his entire new album. Couldn't he have used this track on his own record? Supposedly that was the deal with that "Can I Get A..." song. Ja Rule claims it was originally supposed to appear on his record but Jay knew it was going to be a hit so he took it. I guess Jay doesn't have that kind of forsight anymore. Oh well.

08.Not Going Back (Feat. Kelis) (Prod. StarGate)

This is a song about how Nas is not going back to the hood, but he still knows what's going on in the hood. This is basically what Jay Z was trying to accomplish with Kingdom Come, but it didn't really work. The beat, by Stargate, who I'm hoping is some sort of Transformer, isn't really that eventful. Nas saves this from being a disaster with the rapping.

09.Still Dreaming (Feat. Kanye West) (Prod. Kanye West)

Kanye West get's to be on every single eventful CD that come out. This is a pretty decent filler song. I have nothing more to say about it excpet Kanye West doesn't annoy me as much on this track as he usually does, so I guess that's a success.

10.Hold Down the Block (Prod. Mark Batson)

The worst song on the record. Although, if this had a hard beat behind it by someone like Diamond D, or Large Pro, or Pete Rock, it could have been the best song on the record. Mark Batson is some guy who is friends with The Dave Matthews Band, and the chorus is horrendous. I don't want to hear about The Block "being Hot" unless it's on something released on Cash Money Records in 2000.

11.Blunt Ashes (Prod. Chris Webber)

This song is like a 7.1 Pteradactyl reference away from being the best Kool Keith song not written by Kool Keith. It's weird enough because it's produced by former Michigan Fab 5 alumni Chris Webber, but Nas namedrops anyone who's name he can think of from Ava Gardner to Ennis Cosby. In true Keith form, he even mentions Roger Troutman and Zapp. I wouldn't be surprised if this sparks Keith to write an entire record dissing Nas that no one actually hears.

12.Let There Be Light (Feat. Tre Williams) (Prod. Kanye West)

This is one of those Uplifting R Kelly 'I Believe I can Fly' Positive Let's Go To Church and Testify songs. These are usually hit and miss but this one really works because Kanye threw a really good breakbeat under it. I like it, but I can see a lot of people not liking it due to the gospelness.

13.Play on Playa (Feat. Snoop Dogg) (Prod. Scott Storch)

Songs Featuring Snoop Dogg is basically an entire subgenre of rap music at this point. A subgenre I don't like. I mean, it's better than the Songs Featuring Busta Rhymes subgenre, which i completely hate, but Snoop has had the same guest verse for like 30 years now. I guess this would be a good song for the club or something, but it's not doing much for me.

14.Can't Forget About You (Feat. Chrisette Michele) (Prod. Will.I.Am)

The best beat not ruined by a funny Inspector Gadget voice on the record. I could see this song getting some commercial success since it's basically 'Unforgettable' by Nat King Cole and everyone on earth loves that song. Pluse Chrisette Michele (also on Jay-Z's 'Lost Ones') has a really nice old timey voice. I imagine this will be a single at some point if this record doesn't get buried quickly like most Def Jam releases.

15.Hustlers (Feat. The Game & Marsha Ambrosius) (Prod. Dr. Dre)

The Game just released a record that I can't ever listen to again because it makes me feel uncomfortable. It's one long love letter to Dr. Dre who doesn't even appear on the record. Surprisingly, he takes time off of hanging on Dre's dick to hang on Nas' on an actual Dre beat. That Game guy really has some issues.
He also ruins his credibility right off the bat by saying he had to choose between The Chronic and Illmatic in '95. The Chronic came out in 92, and I'd imagine you'd be thrown in jail if you were actually from California and it took you three years to buy the biggest gangsta rap album of all time.
Despite the nitpicking, The Game is still a good rapper, even if his subject matter is questionable. This is another great song. The chorus could stand to be a little less west coast generic, but whatever.

16.Hope (Acapella)

Acapella track. Make your own remix!

Overall: I can say without a doubt that this is Nas' best record since Illmatic, but outside of a few songs here and there, I haven't liked a Nas record since Illmatic. It still doesn't compare to Illmatic to me, but then again, I'd put Illmatic in my top three all time rap records.
It's definitely noticable that Nas is more inspired and focused on Hip Hop is Dead than he has been in a very long time. Even the weirder moments on Hip Hop is Dead are entertainable. It's one of the only "big" hip hop records this year to somewhat live up to the hype. I don't think it's going to be the catalyst to lyricism being the main focus of hip hop again or anything, but it's a small start.


Project Pat - Crook by Da Book: The Fed's Story

New Project Pat! New Project Pat!

I've been waiting for this release for a long while now. It's the first real HCP release since Three Six won the Oscar. There's been a lot of speculation (Well, between me and my friends) on whether or not Three 6 would be mailing it in after winning the Oscar, since they really don't have much else to accomplish.

Project Pat is the only solo Hypnotized Camp artist to actually have consistently listenable records. What a lot of people don't realize is that his last record, Layin' Da Smack Down contained a lot of the same production elements that would later make Three 6's The Most Unknown Unknowns such a big hit. So for me, this record was like watching your favorite teams pre-season game. This would give me some sort of an idea of what the upcoming Three 6 CD would sound like.

I wouldn't go as far as saying this is as good as Layin' Da Smack Down, but it's pretty great still. It's not much of a departure from the current Three 6 sound, which is definitely a good thing. The only song that isn't that great is "High Off The Ground", which is some kind of ode to Fast & Furious style extreme motorcycle riding. I hope this was for a soundtrack or something.

Outside of that, it's the same old Project Pat with the same melodic flow you can't fuck with. The stand out song would have to be "Crack A Head" that takes some weird sample of whistling and adds the best and craziest Miami Vice Cocaine synths I've ever heard to it. Since the subject matter is wanton violence, I doubt this will become a single, but it's worth a few thousand listens.

If this is any indicator, and it most likely is, the new Three 6 release should be just as strong as their last three. Especially if Lord Infamous actually makes a comeback.

The record is not officially out, but if I'm blog reviewing it, that means you can find it out there on the great old internets.


Sorry for the lack of....anything

I was missing the internet for a while. I just got it back today. Next up is a project that should last around 25 years. The top 100 Hip Hop Jamz of All Time (according to the super mysterious E.W.A. Hip Hop Preservation Society). More to come....


Host & Parasite - demo


Host & Parasite are a new band from the big city of Albany featuring dudes who were in other bands at some point in time. They play fast and noisy metallic hardcore sort of like the earlier Backstabbers Inc stuff and The Swarm before they discovered the sloooow doomy breakdown cumshot. There's also no Canadian smugness here in case that was something that kept you from listening to the Swarm.

The recording is pretty good for just a demo. The songs are very quick and to the point. There's no real bullshit to make you lose attention. I don't want to go over anyone's head, but these 4 tracks are much akin to an aural equivalent of Jacques De Baroncelli's work on films like Le Calvaire de Cimiez and Je serai seule apres minuit.

Anyway, if you're looking for something short and fast and you prefer Burger King's extreme american spin on poutine to the more authentic candian slop poutine, then you should check this out. It will only take five minutes and you can find most or all of it on myspace.

Host & Parasite on Myspace


ActionReaction - 3 is the Magic Number

[Equal Vision]

ActionReaction write real cheerful sounding pop rock, which would be a good thing if I liked real cheerul pop rock. Or maybe even if it was Swedish influenced ala ABBA or Komeda, but it's not. It's very 'Merican.

Some songs even have a little country influence, but the production is so clean that it sounds like a commercial theme for the new Roy Rogers kids meal. In fact, the entire CD kind of has a consumerist america feel to it. I can really picture myself online shopping on the GAP website in one window, with another browser window open searching for the newest scandalous pictures of Paris Hilton and Lindsey Lohan while listening to this CD. Don't get me wrong, it's really, really good for what it is, but I don't like anything that I can recognize as being influenced by country music, no matter how poppy and clinical it is. I'm also not too fond of america at the moment and I don't even like white people that much because I'm a race traitor. If you are the exact opposite of me, I implore you to buy this right now.

Betrayed - Substance

[Equal Vision]

Dudes from Champion and Carry On get together and make...umm...regular old Hardcore.

Champion and Carry On were both known for kind of pushing the envelope when it came to modern hardcore. Both bands breathed fresh air into the old school '88 style formula, but Betrayed is just kind of there. Now I guess depending on what way you look at it, it's better than guys from some bands y ou liked a lot getting together to make radio rock. Although in a way, that may show signs of "maturing", but I don't buy that shit.

On the positive side, there are a LOT less traditional sounding hardcore bands around than there were a couple years ago. So in that sense, Betrayed are doing something that will still appeal to those kids with complete Bridge 9 discographies in their record boxes. Word on the street is that this band already broke up, so there's hardly a chance of seeing this band live, but if you were into Champion or Carry On, or just regular no frills hardcore, then pick this up. For those more adventurous types looking for different styles of music, stay far away. This CD doesn't color outside of the lines at all.


108 - Creation. Sustenance. Destruction.

[Equal Vision]

I saw 108 in my junior year of high school. The show was sparsely attended and before that, I had never heard 108. In all honesty, the only song that caught my ear was 'Deathbed'. The next day of school, I asked this older kid Paul, who was already an elitist hardcore prick before the internet, if I could get a dub copy of his 108 CD so I could have that song. He told me to buy my own copy, because, as I said, he was kind of a prick. Well fuck you Paul, because now I have the entire discography and it only took me a little over 10 years to get it. Patience is a virtue you motherfucker.

This is 108's complete discography, including a song that was recorded in between 'Songs of Separation' and 'Threefold Misery', called 'Panic'. I'm not sure if this song was ever released previously to this, but it was new to me. You get everything on two discs in a beautiful package including full liner notes, song explanations and an overly complete history of the band.

For those of you newer to this here hardcore shit, I'll go over each release, because they sound different enough from each other where it may be necessary to do so.

'Holyname' is honestly, pretty non-essential. The band was still trying to 'find themselves' and it wasn't the best recording to begin with. It's best to think of it as a demo that got a bit wider of a release than most demos.

'Songs of Separation' is a 90's hardcore classic. It was slightly before the 90's mosh metal explosion, and while the music is heavy, slow and plodding, it's not exactly 'moshy'. Everything is deliberate and intense enough on here to hold up even 13 years later. There aren't a lot of discs you'll hear from the 90's that sound as passionate as this one.

'Threefold Misery' and 'Curse of Instinct' are a lot more experminetal than 'Songs..'. It might not seem that way listening to it now, but they were released smack in the middle of the whole chugga chugga Drop D phenomenon. They added a lot of elements to their perfected style on 'Songs of Separation' and pushed things even further with the intensity. It comes off a lot more chaotic and desparate than 'Songs', which had a more miserable vibe going on. This album doesn't get as much credit because it was released pretty much posthumously (This was well before file sharing so people usually got a hold of records months after their initial release) and it sounded so different compared to their peers at the time. Although I wouldn't say it's quite as essential as 'Songs of Separation', mostly because a lot of other bands came around afterward and did the same type of thing and got a lot more praise for it, but it's still music worth listening to.

The liner notes say that the song 'Panic' was from some recording sessions that got scrapped. This song sounds decent enough that I wouldn't mind hearing other songs from that recording, but I'm assuming they literally got scrapped or else they would have probably been included here.

If you're completely in the dark, the lyrics are more or less all about Krishna Consciousness, which would be a hard thing to explain within the borders of a record review. The early to mid 90's were, I guess, more accepting of such things. It's not like the lyrics are so unrelateable where they're going to fly over your head, but I imagine most young fuckers these days wouldn't be able to really understand this stuff unless Nike made a pair of Krishna Dunks. I'm not saying I'm all high and mighty. I had McDonalds for lunch today.

Either way, if you're old or new, this is highly recommended. Either as a way to have all this music in one place (and sounding great) or as a kind of history lesson for anyone who wanted to know what the 90's was like without having to ask an elitist hardcore prick like Paul. I can only hope Equal Vision will follow this up with a Shelter EVR years Discography.


Interview With Rick Whispers

I admit I'm not the best at conducting an interview, but I figured I'd gfive it a try and see how it turns out.

Rick Whispers is an up and coming rapper whom I'm also on friendly terms with, so I thought he'd be a good first interview subject. We talked about doing an interview for a million months but it finally got done via AIM (me) to Sidekick (Rick, because he's a rapper and they all have Sidekicks). I hope you enjoy the interview, and if you do something interesting, feel free to get a hold of me, and I'll interview you too. It just may take a million months. (Pictures were taken from Rick's Myspace & Website. I'm really sorry no one was credited, but you know how it is.)

Mike Dikk: Would you like to introduce yourself?

Rick Whispers: My name is Rick Whispers, I'm a rapper from Albany New York and part of a crew called Pitch Control Music

Mike Dikk: Oh, That’s good! So how did you get into the rapping?

Rick Whispers: I got into freestyling at a young age with a group of kids I went to junior high school with. From there I began forming structured songs and recording demo tapes on karaoke machines, pause tape style with the beat playing on the first deck and recording live to the 2nd deck. From there I'd sell these out of my backpack at school for 3 dollars.

Mike Dikk: Are you from a rough area Rick Whispers? Do you have street credibility?

Rick Whispers: I was born in arbor hill and then my family moved to clifton park, into a trailer park. It’s not a particularly friendly neighborhood. As for "street credibility", when it comes to "the rap" I've paid my dues by battling people, and freestyled with nearly everyone in the area at some point or another.

Mike Dikk: Paying your dues is very important these days. How did you get the name Rick Whispers? I mean it doesn't particularly rhyme well with things. It's not as good as say, Matt the Fat Rat. That name rhymes with a lot of stuff.

Rick Whispers: When I was younger a friend of mine started calling me whispers, based off Jimmy Whispers from the movie A Bronx Tale. Eventually it evolved into Rick Whispers and was catchy enough to stay on this long, who am I to dispute longevity. Rhyming is so 1999 anyways.

Mike Dikk: In case you're ever in a rut, you can use this. I wrote it for you. "My name is Rick Whispers, I like Mister Mister and that Cure album, Japanese Whispers!"

Rick Whispers: Thank you very much. I’ll need to get your publishing info before the closing of this interview.

Mike Dikk: Oh it's ok. I'm a ghostwriter. I do it for free though, because I'm a great guy. Moving on, what was the first rap record/cassette/cd you ever bought?

Rick Whispers: Dj jazzy jeff and the fresh prince’s album "and in this corner" that tape is classic to me still.

Mike Dikk: See, i figured it would have been something like that and you would have just said "i don't remember" as to not reveal your first rap tape wasn't ice cube. Good job though.

Rick Whispers: These days everyone is so stuck on shouting out artists like G Rap and Kane in their influence list but never really listened to them coming up, Jeff and Prince were dope.

Mike Dikk: So what was your worst show like? Don't even say you've never had a bad show. Everyone has a bad show where they show up and there's like one person there and there are leaks in the ceiling and what not.

Rick Whispers: Ha. I have some horror stories, I used to do house parties where the mics would cut off, people would be getting jumped in the stairways.... one show in particular though sticks out. At Saratoga Winners (club near
Albany) about 2 years ago. I had my set lined up on a cd like usual unless DJ Ipod is kicking it with me on tour, anyway... the cd started skipping mid set in front of a crowd who wasn't really excited to be there in the first place and it wouldn't stop...I had to stop the CD and tell stories, jokes, and do the rest of my set acapella. Anyone who was at this show, I love you all.

Mike Dikk: I can't even imagine what it's like to be a rapper and play Saratoga Winners, especially if it's kind of empty. It sucks enough when you're a band, but then at least you have 4 other dudes who have to suffer with you.

Rick Whispers: Acoustically speaking, the venue is anti rap.

Mike Dikk: it's anti-a lot of music…It wasn't a pay to play show was it? You’re not slumming it that hard, are you?

Rick Whispers: As per Icon The Mic King my motto is ‘fuck you pay me.’

Mike Dikk: Well good. Those shows are sad. So your new record is out. Is it MOVING UNITS???

Rick Whispers: It is doing very well, the record is called ‘Awed by the Backdrop’ which features Mac Lethal of Rhymesayers Ent., L.I.F.E. Long of Stronghold, Awar, Dezmatic and Shyste all of my crew PCM. It’s for sale at www.rickwhispers.com as well as Tower records and any digital download site you can think of... Itunes, etc.. I also released another record at the same time which is a 9 song ep titled While You Slept.

Mike Dikk: well I'm glad to hear it's doing well and you've managed to hustle your way into the digital music game. One time I read someone's shirt and it said 90% grind, 10% shine and truer words have never been spoken.

Rick Whispers: I agree.....

Mike Dikk: i have some actual serious questions...Hip Hop is kind of weird. There’s people that just want to make lots of money, then there’s underground rappers, and i never know their motives. Do you want to blow up and be on MTV and stuff or is that not for you?

Rick Whispers: You can have talent, you can be the dopest rapper ever. If you don't do things for yourself or work to accomplish things with your music, you will go nowhere. With any genre of music I've met people that wanted other people to do the work while they lay in the cut and get "famous".
It’s a tough call. When you say ‘blow up’, I believe there are different ideas of what that consists of. Do I want to be famous?? I'd be stupid to be in this business and say no to that. Why, you might ask. Simple, famous people sell records. If I could have complete creative control over my art from start to pressing of the record, and receive backing from major outlets such as MTV I'd be a liar if I said I'd turn it down.

Mike Dikk: yeah, thats a smart way to answer it, but are you happy just rapping? Like, would you feel like a failure if you don't "get famous?"

Rick Whispers: Absolutely not. If I can sell one cd, do one show where one individual from the crowd was moved or inspired by what I have to offer thru my music then I feel accomplished. No label owns my soul, this is the way I prefer it. I've turned down "deals" from labels in the past, due to the fact that nobody can look out for my career better than myself. I'm content selling cds hand to hand to true fans of hip hop. At the end of the day, I'm happy, because I love rapping/writing/performing.

Mike Dikk: You are such a standup guy Rick Whispers. I know you recently competed in the Scribble Jam MC Battle thing. I know it's not as heralded as it used to be, but what's that like? Do any big name dudes still show up for that?

Rick Whispers: Its a good time had by all. The whole crew goes out every year for the trip. The Mc battle was a good experience for me. Different rappers from all over the globe. I'd go as far as to say its one of the most prestigious battles in the world. As far as people who have gigantic fan bases for selling recorded projects, nobody like that entered this year. C Rayz Walz from stronghold gave me the best advice I've ever gotten for battling. I had an hour long talk with him about battling before I had to go on. For those of you who don't know, C Rayz beat Supernatural and is the nicest battle emcee in the game right now. Respect due. Murs was hosting the battle and he’s a good call for that. Pumpkinhead hosted the prelim battles the day before and both aforementioned artists were having a field day calling for double eliminations when both rappers were garbage. Haha. Classic.

Mike Dikk: seriously, how much of it on your part is freestyle? i've seen videos and a lot of dudes seem to be real quick thinkers, but a lot of it, like the framework has to be planned out a little before hand, right?

Rick Whispers: If you knew you were going to fight in a war, would you leave your gun at home, and just rely on your hands?

Mike Dikk: Haha good answer. That kind of stuff just seems ridiculously hard to me. I mean I forget words all the time and I have far less words to memorize than a rapper does. Do you ever forget a line on stage?

Rick Whispers: It happens to everyone from time to time, the difference is some rappers can't count bars let alone freestyle in them. It’s real hard to keep an audience from noticing if you freeze up and don't keep rapping.

Mike Dikk: That’s why famous rappers have hype men. Ok a couple quick things, and then I'm going to wrap this up. Are there any records you're listening to that you think people should check out?

Rick Whispers: Yes, check out the new Recon record, Smiff n Wessun ‘Dah Shinin’, Gym Class Heroes new album, Norma Jean ‘Bless the Martyr, Kiss the Child.’

Mike Dikk: Wow, way to ruin your street cred!!! HAHA JAY KAY!!...second to lastly, what's up with your stunna shades? Are you working on some hyphy tracks?

Rick Whispers: They keep the sun out of my eyes.

Mike Dikk: Haha, ok, do you have any shout outs or closing comments or whatever people do at the end of interviews?

Rick Whispers: Pitch Control Music, Rob Viktum, Travis from Gym Class Heroes, In Unrest, Icon the Mic King, Hangmen, Recon, and Jam Faction. Also, to anyone who has supported or will support what I do in the future, I thank you very much, without you I just talk over drums. www.myspace.com/houseofhearts www.pitchcontrolmusic.net

Mike Dikk: Thank you Rick Whispers, may all your wildest dreams and fantasies come true.

Rick Whispers on YouTube


Record Review Treasure Chest

Before there was an electronic version of Dumpin, I made a limited print version that featured all of the best negative record reviews from my days of writing for Bystander fanzine.com before they decided to go with an all gay staff, thus completely erasing me from their website all together. I mean, I'm proud of them for being so comfortable with their sexualities, but I think my reviews and columns could have stayed up.

Anyway, there are entirely too many reviews to just put right here, so click on this jump link to read all of them. I guarantee you will laugh at least seven times, unless you don't like mean-spirited humor, then I don't know about you. Please ignore all the formatting wrongdoings. I am just cut and pasting this crap from the word document it's stored in. You look like a smart cookie so I'm sure you'll manage.

Alexisonfire - Watch Out (Equal Vision)

So back in the late 80's and early 90's, most teenagers and pre-teens were into metal. If not metal, then Glam Rock, which was derived from metal, but dressed up to sell more records.

In any number of suburban high schools you would find kids wearing Metallica or Slayer shirts, or even Motley Crue and Cinderella (actually, no one really liked Cinderella) shirts. After a while, pop-metal bands started popping (excuse the pun) up. Bands like Extreme, Firehouse and Nelson. They sort of looked metal and they used a sort of metal font for their band logo, but they played really shitty music no one really liked, These bands were universally hated by metalheads and generally classified as 'girl music'. Although girls still had heavier alternatives like Warrant and Slaughter. So in actuality, they were nerdy girl music.

Astonishingly enough, this music still sold. It was something packaged as metal but without any of the danger, so parents had no problem buying their children Extreme cassettes. I'm sure a lot of kids were plenty upset when they found an Extreme cassette under the tree come Christmas time.

I'd have to wonder if there were any metalheads with foresight that really analyzed this whole pop-metal genre. I'd like to think at least a couple did. Maybe they'd say to themselves, "Hey man, this is totally going to ruin the music I love. There's a bunch of bands coming out that look metal but they're playing watered down adult contemporary rock disguised as teenage metal rebellion! This music is completely inoffensive and can be programmed immediately into regular VH1 rotation and my parents would have no problem with that! This TOTALLY blows!".

Anyhow, if Alexisonfire cut out the screamy parts and wrote better hooks and choruses, they'd be the modern underground music equivalent of Extreme.

Amber Pacific - The Possibility & The Promise (Hopeless Records)

Ok, so this just sounds like some dudes playing New Found Glory power ballads so I've technically reviewed this CD 85 times already. So instead of talking about the music, I'm going to review how fucking hot these dudes are.

I had a few pics to choose from, but I settled on the back cover insert pic.

First Guy: He is SO hot. I wold bet any amount of money he is the singer. He looks like he should be in a movie playing a young sexy surfer who is getting all naughty in bed with Lindsey Lohan or Ashlee Simpson, not wasting hsi time on underage emo skanks. He's probably left his sperm residue in the backrooms of clubs and the backseats of vans all across the country. YOU GO BOY!

Second Guy: He is the token hardcore dude. He has stretched ears, a bald head and is wearing an Alove For Enemies shirt. There is nothing hot at all about this guy. This guy is strictly on Fatty Patrol after shows. He will also mosh for your band if need be.

Third Guy: He's pretty hot. Kind of looks like a younger Sean Penn. Like, he's scrawny, but I bet he could get squirrely if the situation arose. I imagine this guy goes for the dangerous broads in the audience.

Fourth Guy: Oh man, this dude is like asian or a Pacific Islander or something. His name is DANGO. He is pretty hot if you're into that exotic look. Unfortunately, his pants are tight to the point where you can tell he has absolutely no cock at all, so he's probably more into fingerbanging the girls in the van or the band room then masturbating about it later instead of dealing with the cold shame of knowing hundreds of girls across the country know you have a 3cm penis.

Fifth Guy: He looks like a creep. Kind of like Elliott Smith, but even more like a creep. He is not dressed hip at all, and kind of looks like he would hang out with the kids in school who listened to industrial music and took black and white pictures of dead animals and played LAN games. This guy is not getting laid by anyone who is not a cutter.

Anadivine – Zoo (the militia group)

Listening to this CD is like taking a time machine five years into the future and looking at a dollar bargain bin, because shit like this will be overflowing from it.

Anadivine is yet another "emo pop punk" band that can fill an entire CD with derived and trite shit that any number of Warped Tour regulars thought up three years ago, and they do so with the greatest of ease.

There is nothing you need to hear on here that you haven't heard already. At least they didn't even bother printing out the entire lyrics, instead opting to only include select sentences from each song inside the boring CD layout. Shit music strictly for people who find their main problems revolving around Chemistry homework and finding out if Johnny Lacrosse gave them an STD.

The Aquabats! - Charge!! (Nitro)

So the internet tells me that The Aquabats used to be a ska band. Well, not anymore! I can't really blame them for abandoning ska, but transforming into a new wave punk band isn't really that much of a step up.

This CD is catchy in all the wrong ways. There's a keyboard that sounds like a toy keyboard and some guitar leads that also sound like a broken keyboard. The singer is on some B-52's shit at certain points. All of the songs are like one long hook, and if you've ever had sex, you can't cum for 3 minutes straight, so making songs that are comparative to three minute cum shots aren't fulfilling, they are agonizing and make your balls hurt.

I don't really know what else to say about this, except that it makes me feel like a teenage girl and all I want to do is stare at my perfect breasts in the mirror, and possibly circle my finger around the areola.

Avenged Sevenfold - City Of Evil (Warner Bros.)

I don't understand this new craze of irony in music. Shit like 3 Inches Of Blood and The Darkness make no sense to me. Avenged Sevenfold is no different. It's ironic metal music made by pop punk assholes and marketed to little girls who don't like metal. Fuck, there's a good chance Avenged Sevenfold will end up being the first 'metal' band they hear. What kind of horrible world are we living in?

Musically, it could be worse. I mean, don't get me wrong, this is the audio equivalent of having glass rods break off in your penis hole for an hour straight, but million dollar production will make anything sound good. For the most part, it's just tired metal riffs put together strategically by a crack team of the industry's best sales reps and A&R fuckers. Essentially, it's made so you can't hate it, because these shitsacks spent days inside of a plush office going over Power Point presentations of what does and doesn't work while eating shrimp and cavier directly out of porn stars' asses.

The problem is, if you have half a brain, this shit will make you nauseous on contact. This isn't like Nu Metal, that aped metal just enough to make it something kind of different that was uiniversally awful and universally hated by anyone that wasn't a total douche. This is metal aping metal. I know it's hard to follow, but it's just not right. It's like if McDonald's or Phillip Morris decided to buy metal. They would buy the rights to all metal and only let Avenged Sevenfold play metal from now on. It's metal in a nice, neat, non-threatening package. It's no surprise this is on Warner Bros...

If you have any type of soul or heart and you are into metal, you will have no trouble voting this as the worst CD of the year. This is way more offensive than Anal Cunt could ever hope to be.

A Wilhelm Scream - Ruiner (Nitro)

A lot of times when I stop doing reviews for a while, it's because I get stuck on a CD that i can't think of much to say about. I guess it shows how i'm not really that great of a writer. A Wilhelm Scream's 'Ruiner' isn't particularly offensive, but it's nothing I can talk about in great length and detail either.

Super slick pop punk in the vein of Against Me! Or maybe it's Strike Anywhere, or maybe it's both. Since my brain is mush and I can't think of a proper comparison, I will use examples that will only make sense to me. It's that style of Pop Punk that's much akin to Bon Jovi of the late 80's. It sucks and it's probably secretly ruining music, but you can't help but like some of it. Maybe because you're stupid or maybe because the girl in the jean jacket that sits in front of you in science class is also into it. So you might goout and buy the record and hum the songs in your head, but it might not be something you go out of your way to advertise.

What I'm trying to say is, this is a pretty solid album for what it is, but I'm not exactly sure if that's a good thing. If you find yourself buying anything on Nitro Records, this is a safe bet to pick up, since I can make it through the whole thing without vomiting.

Before Today - A Celebration of an Ending (Equal Vision)

Wow, where to begin? There are a number of reasons why this CD is bad.

Before Today do that whole pop/emo-punk/screamo thing, but it's all really boring. They all seem really capable at making good enough music to stray away from Alexisonfire levels of awfulness, but something is pulling them down. All of the tempo changes are sudden and really stupid and when they're not changing tempos, it sounds like they're lost and don't know what to do next. Basically, every single song on here sounds like a filler track for a one hit wonder type CD, but there are no hits.

The singer's vocals are so layered at some points that he sounds like a Voltron Robot with Synthesizers shoved down his throat cutting a record produced by Timbaland. It doesn't exactly make you want to rush out and see one of their live shows if they had to do all this layering to make his voice sound tolerable. It's a generic voice at that. The big New Found Glory wah-wah vocals into the skinned cat screamy vocals thing.

The most embarrassing moment on the CD however, is the last track which is an instrumental Latin influenced Jam Sesh that sounds like it could be background music for a Viagra commercial. Fuck man, it's bad and there's no need for it. I didn't get any CD art or promo pics with the CD, but I can only assume these guys have the lips and hips that sell records, because this CD is terrible and I don't even understand why EVR would release something this bad.

The only somewhat positive thing I could say is that if they cut off the bullshit instrumental track and the bullshit intro track and maybe three or four more songs, this could have made a way less weak EP. It would STILL be weak, but not as weak as it is as an LP

The Bonds - Not A Phase (TTY)

The Good: No Frills, Fingerpointing, Floorpunching Youth Crew Hardcore. The Bad: The singer has a VERY distinct French-Canadian accent. So not only are the vocals kind of...iffy, but the lyrics (which are all in English) suffer too. Not that Youth Crew Hardcore is really known for it's intelligent lyrics.

I know I'm being ignorant, and I shouldn't discriminate just because the singer has an accent, but I can throw a fucking rock out of my window and hit a decent sounding Youth Crew band in the face while they're busy practicing their GO! jumps. So, unless you're from Canada or France, you shouldn't have to tolerate the accent, unless you're into it. Then tolerate it all you want.

If you're from the French part of Canada (Quebec is where these guys are from I Believe. I think that’s French speaking Canada. I suck at geography.) and enjoy Youth Crew, then you probably already know who these guys are, but if you don't, now you do. If you're visiting French speaking Canada and you're in the mood for some Fingrpointing goodness, then you should see if these dudes are playing around your area, or you could just buy the CD and bring it back to the bath house you're staying at for the week and Floorpunch there.

Bottom Line - Eloquence (Nice Guy Records)

Damn, this is like the sissiest pop punk I have ever heard. I imagine these guys playing for a cutting edge church get together. I don't even know if these guys are guys. They sound like they could be cartoon animals trying to sell me cereal on Saturday morning. I have nothing more to say about this without a proper estrogen boost so I could relate to them on their level. Maybe I can mainline some soy products and come back and do this review when my titties start blossoming and I'm feeling...not so fresh.

Bullets And Octane - The Revelry (Criterion)

The first sentence in their bio uses the term 'major club draw', so they're already starting off with one foot in the toilet. The bio also compares them to The Misfits and Billy Idol which piqued my attention until I actually listened to the CD and found out they don't really sound ANYTHING like BIlly Idol or The Misfits. The singer sounds more like if you combined Bad Religion's vocals with the singer from Filter, and they kind of sort of tried to sound like Billy Idol every once in a while.

There are some elements of punk and rock and roll here, but it all sounds so clinical like a major label already swooped down and sucked out all the soul already, but they don't appear to be on a major label, so I guess that's what they're going for. Clinical Radio Ready Punk N Roll! Everything on here is forgettable. Quickly forgettable. There were not really any lyrics in the lyric sheet for me to comment on, so you don't even get any witty commentary on those. Strong recommendation to avoid unless you're a soccer mom looking to cut loose.

Copeland - In Motion (The Militia Group)

Bullshit music made for fake ‘Emo Rockers’ who are secretly listening to Matchbox 20. If you put this on at a picnic made up entirely of middle aged white people in Dockers and penny loafers, they would not hesitate, not even for a fucking second, to tap their feet to it. This shit will make your dick limper than muscle women having sex with scat loving furries in Star Trek outfits.

This comes with a bonus CD too, if you want to call it that. I don’t.

Every New Day - The Shadows Cast (Hand of Hope)

Every New Day play sort of modern hardcore with a few metal parts thrown in there with predominantly pop punk style vocals It sounds a lot odder than the actual delivery. All of the songs flow smoothly and nothing sounds really out of place or anything. The thing is, it's just really boring.

There's nothing really catchy or memorable about this CD. I'll give them credit for not relying on flashy gimmicks to get noticed and instead playing what I assume is what they want to play and not letting a fanbase dictate their decisions. I just don't see who this is supposed to appeal to. My only guess is people with no real hobbies. The kind of people who put music on because they can't stand to sit alone in silence.

I don't know how else to put this. I guess if hardcore music was stores in a mall, Every New Day would be Pottery Barn. Youknowwhatimsayin'?

The Fight - Nothing New Since Rock And Roll (Reposession)

The Fight are a british pop punk band in the vein of New Found Glory, Sum 41 and scores of other bands I know nothing about because I am not a 14 year old girl. They have a twist though! Their singer is female! She is also moderately attractive. Unfortunately, the vocals don't sound very female. She kind of sounds like a fat little british boy who's candy and mutton pie just got taken away from him. If this band needed a great singer with an accent, they should have tracked down the broad from Bow Wow Wow. I love her voice.

I don't have much else to say. The promo sheet is very adamant about letting you know that the dudes in New Found Glory love this band, and how there was a bidding war over them or something. I don't know. If you're looking for something that sounds like New Found Glory, but with slightly shittier music and a fat british boy singing, this could very well been the band you've been asking Santa for all year.

Forever Changed - The Need to Feel Alive (Floodgate Records)

Every time I try to concentrate on the music to this CD, I keep zoning out, imagining these guys in a music video on a mountain top wearing unbuttoned button down shirts singing all the lyrics into the sky while it's raining. Unfortunately, at least two of these guys look like they may be secret fatties, so the image is a lot less hot and steamy than you think.

This just sounds like some bullshit modern 'emo' rock where you have to be from the Deep, Deep Suburbs to be able to listen to this music correctly. This shit is like dog whistles to normal people.

If you're looking for something with less integrity than Nickelback, Forever Changed is for you. This can be your new soundtrack to your weekly shower sex sessions with the rest of the Lacrosse team

Forever is Forgotten - Dying Beautiful (Thorp)

What a silly name! Anyway, I'll overlook that. FIF play Attention Deficit Disorder Buffet Tech Metal. They manage to fit 1500 parts that have nothing to do with each other in a SIX PLUS minute song. Yeah, some of the parts are good, but they're all 4-10 seconds long! How the fuck am I supposed to enjoy them? Maybe, it's because I'm over 18 and remember a time before the internet that I can appreciate bands that can make a great metal song with only a few parts. Maybe it's because I smoke too much weed and zone out a lot and don't need shit like this killing my buzz. Either way, I DO NOT enjoy it. Stuff like this has an audience though, and they're pretty tight for what they do, so I suppose if you like Between The Buried and Me or Dillenger Escape Plan, you might be into this, but I find those bands slightly more interesting.

Another complaint would be that this CD is only three real songs. There's an intro, then the three songs, then two live songs, which are shit quality. The liner notes say they got a new vocalist and guitarist, so maybe they just wanted to put something out with the new guys on it. I don't really know.

Gatsby's American Dream - In The Land of Lost Monsters (LLR)

Let me start off by saying that this ADVANCE COPY CD comes with no less than three press things telling me how GREAT and WONDERFUL this CD is. Yet, it doesn't come with cover art or a lyric sheet. There's a tiny photocopied picture of the cover art on the KEY SELLING POINTS page though. So I guess that is supposed to suffice. Quite frankly, I hate when anything comes with three 'reminders' of how great that specific thing is. Shouldn't I be able to figure out it's great on my own?

Anyhow, Gatsby's American Dream (not surprisingly) play slow to mid-paced boring and uninteresting music that sounds like any number of Doghouse or Deep Elm bands. I guess this is what passes as post hardcore these days, but it's as far removed from post hardcore as the original post hardcore was from regular hardcore, so this is more like post-post-hardcore.

It’s not all bad though. I give credit to the singer for having a decent voice without having to layer his vocals sixteen times over, even if it sounds like he's giving me sass the entire time, he still has a decent voice. Also, the recording sounds like if they built a high budget recording studio inside of an office building and recorded inside of someone's cubicle. It really brings out the boringness. I mean this as a compliment, I swear.

The last song ('The Dragon of Pendor') picks up the pace a bit and gets a little more interesting by using a number of odd musical devices, such as a morse code signal in the background, a tambourine (I think??), swooping Flash Gordon synths and dual battling drum tracks. I think if the synths/keyboards were more prominent throughout and the band didnt have to worry about selling records, this shit might be more interesting. On the other hand, I know a few people who dig real boring shit like this, so I can respect it.

Gone Without Trace - s/t (Thorp)

Take some Hatebreed and Pantera and maybe dash a little Sepultura in there. Cover with an overall Bro-Metal sheen, and you have Gone Without Trace. It seems like I'm one of the only people on earth that viciously hates Pantera, but I can't really help it. I also hate anything that reminds me of Pantera this much. Their bio page on Thorp says it's for fans of Hatebreed (fair enough), Killswitch Engage, Lamb of God, and Norma Jean...yeah, MAYBE IF THOSE BANDS SOUNDED LIKE PANTERA!

I really don't know what to say here. It's bro-metal. Lot's of sicc mosh parts, lots of double bass, lot's of talk about "burning inside" and "tragedy" and "motherfuckers". I don't understand how stuff like this is still around. I guess it $ells Record$. I guess there's a lot of Basketball Jersey clad moshpit warriors foaming at the mouth waiting for something new to kickbox to. I'm also sure at least a couple of dudes in this band could probably beat the shit out of me, and if that made them sound any less like Pantera, I'd be all for it.

Gratitude - You're Invited (Velvet Hammer/Atlantic)

Well I guess this is a new project from The onelinedrawing guy, who was also in Far. I'm assuming this is why it's on a gigantic label. Anyhow, this is an EP that acts as a preview for their upcoming album. So I don't know if this is something you can go out and purchase or if all you peasants have to wait for the real thing.

All four songs sound like music specifically made to be worked into the background of an episode of Dawson's Creek or Seventh Heaven. After a few listens, I didn't hear anything that was really catchy to my ear, so unless the real album has some catchy tunes, I can see this band promptly getting kicked off of their label, despite the member’s credentials. Major labels will eat you alive then spit you out, leaving you cold and lonely on the streets forcing you to suck dick for meal money.

I'm sorry, I really having nothing constructive to say about music that sounds like this. If you were into Far or onelinedrawing or Dawson's Creek, you may want to check this out.

Gunmetal Grey - Solitude (Indianola Records)

Unfortunately, I threw out the bio sheet that came with this CD entirely too long ago to open with a brief little background for this band, but I do remember that they feature members of the Sacto Hoods. However, they sound nothing like them, so it shouldn't effect your purchasing decisions (like anyone buys CDs anymore).

Gunmetal Grey (which was a very popular Testors model color for painting your Dungeons & Dragons miniatures or detailing the engine for your number 28 Havoline Davey Allison replica) play nu american metal in the vein of Lamb of God, Shadows Fall and Killswitch Engage. I know that's a big shock to you, because no one is doing that these days. The worldwide scene is almost completely void of any new bands sounding like the three bands I just mentioned.

You know like two years ago, I would have never said something like "this is too mainstream for me", because that's a thing douchebags like to say, but this is really too mainstream for me. Hardcore and metal are so commercially viable right now that we are figurative minutes away from going to a VFW to see Hot Hardcore Band X set up a 'Swanson's TV Dinners Presents: HOT HARDCORE BAND X!' banner behind their drum kit. So I feel completely validated with saying this is too mainstream for me. There is no feeling to music like this. It's just real slick, somewhat listenable disposable crap. CDs like this should come with McDonalds value meals because those would be its edible equivalent.

Outside of that, this isn't insulting or anything. The music is well played and well produced. They have the hooks and the guitar wanking down. If you like all those other bands and normally find yourself in line at Ticketmaster to get tickets for your new favorite underground bands, then you should like this. I'd probably like it if I was 15 too. I mean, I liked Machinehead a lot when I was 15.

The Higher - Histrionics (Fiddler)

I'd imagine the average band member age in The Higher is hovering around 20, which is good, because they have written a pretty flawless young poontang record. Unfortunately, I am not young and I don't have a vagina, but i assure you if I did, it would be kind of moist right now.

The Higher pull out all the tried and true emo/pop/punk tricks without a hitch. Whiny tantrum vocals, clap parts, well placed robotic vocal effects, sappy lyrics, etc. The production is perfect to the point where I can't even imagine the producer is a human. I'm sure there is a machine somewhere that can polish any band and make them sound this shiny and bright.

I honestly wish I could relate so all these compliments weren't backhanded, but I totally can't. Partridge Family records are more relevant to me, and those came out before I was born. If these youngsters can pump out a record like this every other fiscal quarter, they can easily be revered as the undisputed kings of shitty music no one should listen to. Hats off to you, The Higher. I am sure there is nary a day where you don't wake up with a young woman's pubic hair stuck in your teeth.

Hoover's G-String - Elephant Parts (Red Tide Records)

This is non-threatening bar rock. They might even get the chance to play a more cutting edge rock and roll attitude type coffee house every now and then. I imagine this band (I refuse to type that fucking name again) is featured prominently in their local alternative weekly's show listing section. Playing in places like JoJos Bar & Grille along with a Nirvana tribute band called NeverBleach. Oh, they cover Bruce Springsteen too, I think just to personally annoy me and guarentee that I will fucking hate them.

I feel kind of bad, because this is just a case of the wrong type of music getting sent to the wrong kind of site. Once I completely give up on life and lose any desire to have creative and original thoughts, maybe I will then get the chance to catch these guys at a Happy Hour at O'Hoolihurleyhan's and I can sway in place while snapping my fingers.

IKILLEDTHEPROMQUEEN - When Goodbye Means Forever (Hand Of Hope)

Pretty boy mosh metal that's so unoriginal and derivative, I was seriously wondering if this was some kind of joke. There's absolutely nothing on here you haven't heard on an 18Visions or Every Time I Die record. Actually the last two songs have some sweet Randy Rhoads style guitar leads, but then again, I never paid close attention to 18Visions, so maybe they've already done that too.

The lyrics are generic. The singing and screaming is generic. The mosh parts are generic. The cover art is slightly less generic than you would imagine but it still utilizes birds and a rusty color. Here's a generic review for a generic CD: THIS CD SUCKS!

I'd really like to know if the drummer got tired playing the same exact mosh beat 463 times on one CD.

Imperial - This Grave is My Poem (Pluto Records)

I was caught off guard with this one, because the first 30 seconds of this CD are really good, then it turns into your normal gorilla stomp mosh fare, with spatterings of clean vocals and some euro metal influences.

Imperial is another case of bad christian boys playing terrifying music that will scare the devil out of any heathen. The lyrics aren't preachy or anything, although they have that same generic Conan The Barbarian delivery most of these bands utilize. Lot's of dying and crushing shit. You know how it is.

On the plus side. I like the layout a lot and it's only 6 songs so I didn't have to waste too much of my time listening to it. If you like everything I hate, you'll love this.

Last of the Famous - The Music or the Misery (456 Entertainment)

I apologize in advance for the length of this review, but listening to this made me really angry. Like the type of angry you get where you get that weird feeling in your throat and chest, and you just want to clench your teeth and punch something as hard as you can. The same kind where it's hard to verbally describe what you're feeling and if you try, a million things pour out at once, and a lot of it stops making sense. I'm trying my hardest here to not do that.

...Anyhow, did you notice the label this is on? It's not even a RECORD label, it's an ENTERTAINMENT label! That's pretty serious right there. I'm not gullible or anything and I know how getting CD's for review works. There's some douchebag PR twat surfing the internet looking for things that resemble a website that possibly have some sort of review on them. As soon as he/she finds something that falls under that category, they yell "HEY I GOT ONE!" and quickly mail out their crop of garbage CD's without once even GLANCING at the website in question.

Now if this person DID happen to look on this website, he/she would notice that there aren't any 14 year old girls here doing record reviews and they could have saved their time and money by not bothering to mail this trash to begin with. Now I know it might be asking too much, but if you're some type of PR person, PLEASE LOOK AT THE WEBSITE YOU'RE SENDING THINGS TO! Of course, if you ARE a PR person, you wouldn't be reading this anyway.

With that out of the way, The Last of the Famous play shitty pop punk reminiscent of Sum 41 and New Found Glory, except they manage to make it worse by relying on their past hardcore band status to garner attention. Ok, I think New Found Glory sucks and all, but their CD's don't come with a fucking grocery list of bands they've all been in. 90% of which sound ABSOLUTELY NOTHING like them. Their bio claims they sound like melodic hardcore and SST-style punk which is pretty much a bold faced lie. Yes, there's a couple songs on here that sort of fit the description of 'melodic hardcore' ('No game We Play', 'Fight Til I Die') but they still suck and even if we pretended they didn't, THERE'S STILL ELEVEN MORE SONGS THAT SOUND LIKE SUM 41!!

I didn't get any lyric sheet because this is an 'advance copy' (The CD is out already though, not that it should matter), but from what I can tell there's MULTIPLE songs about the singer being a little teenage punker, and even one about staying TRUE TO DA EDGE. Seriously, how old are you guys? GROW THE FUCK UP!

There's even a song ('Turn & Run') that sounds like it's about old hardcore legends SELLING OUT DA SCENE! Is this band actually writing songs taking open cracks at Porcell while he's playing guitar? What the fuck?

Yeah so this CD is total fucking garbage. I didn't even mention the cliché bullshit picture of the "young distraught girl filled with grief whilst wearing black nail polish" on the cover, or the played out album title lifted from High Fidelity, no doubt chosen to appeal to the 'teen angsty wannabe broken hearted social misfit' crowd. This is kind of where the formal review ends though. I just wanted to talk about a few things before I wrapped this up.

I'm pretty old and jaded now, and I've gotten to see things turn rotten pretty much first hand. I now get to sit around and hear bands say shit like "Hardcore has gotten so big, you just have to run with it" when they're asked about the popularization of Hardcore. You know what, fuck you. You don't 'have' to run with it. That's some shit you say to justify your fucking music video. No one is making you sign to a gigantic label and hire a booking agent. You know what though? I've stopped caring a while ago. I'm completely fine with knowing anyone involved in hardcore to this point on has a 99% chance of going crooked at some point. You have entire scenes half divided into kids worshipping the new brand of Bob Rock/Ross Robinson style Hardcore and the other half trying to rehash the 80's down to the exact week. In fact, we're so far into the 2000's there's a bunch of bands rehashing shit from the 90's now too. Given, there are about 10 kids in each scene making interesting music no one gives a fuck about until their bands are long broken up, but that's as close you can get to actual originality and innovation right now. I know there are some exceptions to the rules, but they're so few and far between they're irrelevant.

Like I said, I'm fine knowing Hardcore is nothing more than a genre of music slowly eating itself until it becomes a completely disposable genre, but it still hurts to realize that everyone involved with Hardcore before this modern era is really nothing more than a no talented uncreative hack who doesn't know what else to do except try to make a quick buck.

Liars Academy - Demons (Equal Vision)

I'm not going to beat around the bush. This CD sounds like Matchbox 20 to me. Now it may not sound exactly like them, but it's anonymous modern radio rock and if you handed me this CD and said 'Hey this is the new Matchbox 20 CD!', I really wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Don't get me wrong, Liars Academy is really good at playing this type of music, but I'm not really going to give them credit for that. I mean, most really fat people are good at eating, but no one is commending them.

The actual production reminds me a lot of a Christian rock band. Like, I've managed to catch a good number of Christian rock videos on television somehow, and they all have the same clinical, inoffensive sound. That's the same sound 'Demons' has.

I'm really not sure who this CD is aimed towards. I can't really imagine anyone besides yuppies in their late 20's or guys having a mid-life crisis that want to listen to edgy music liking this.

I'm here to help you though. If for some horrible reason you've been put under some unfortunate circumstances and have to listen to this entire CD, just imagine a music video for each song. Each video would consist of only the singer (and maybe a lone guitarist every once in a while). He'd be wearing one of those dirty brown worn in leather jackets, a white T-shirt and some tight jeans. He'd be in a number of places like dark alleyways or motel rooms or on a rooftop in the rain. He'd make a lot of overdramatic faces and gestures, like clenching both of his fists and shaking them at the sky. Now imagine the singer is also Corey Hart and due to the modern miracles of plastic surgery, he doesn't look a day older than he did in 1984. You might begin to think, "God Damn Corey Hart, I really liked 'Sunglasses at Night' and I respect your choice to make a comeback, but do you really have to do it by playing adult contemporary radio rock? I hate to say it Corey, but right now, I totally want to switch the blade on the guy in shades."

Lorene Drive - Romantic Wealth (Lobster Records)

I should have realized this was going to be all downhill after the first song, since it was just tolerable, and most normal bands trying to "make it" will put their absolute best song first. With that said, the first track is decent. Poppy post hardcore with the main selling point being a Helmet riff everyone has heard 4,000 times. After that, there's a lot of bad adult alt-rock. Kind of like the type of band that plays one of those free festivals a shitty altrock radio station will hold every year where the headliner is always some terrible one hit wonder band from five years ago. "Oh shit! Lorene Drive is playing 104.3 ROXXX fest with Dynamite Hack and Eve 6! I am SO there."

Theres some aggro parts to keep the kids interested, but it's nothing you've never heard before.The singer could also stand to stop sounding like the dude from Incubus.

This is going to suck regardless, but I would suggest taking out the aggro parts completely and trying to make some real mainstream money. Perhaps a tour with Kula Shaker or something.

Nevea Tears - Do I Have To Tell You Why I Love You (Eulogy)

Nevea Tears do the whole metal into whiny emo thing, but WITH A TWIST! They have a keyboardist that plays KRAZY TEKNO BEATZ (side note: Has Refused ever influenced any band in a POSITIVE way?)!!! This shit is TOO silly. Sadly enough, if they stuck to just the metalcore parts, they wouldn't be half bad, because their singer has a crazy sick voice. He sounds like the scariest goblin you've ever heard. For real.

Back to the CD as a whole. Most of it is totally boring. Even with all the keyboard nonsense going on. It's like after the first song they ran out of ideas and just threw together a bunch of parts they had lying around.

The production actually goes beyond the point of being good into the realm of being over-produced. There are a few parts where the keyboardist is doing like a sleazy Europop solo and I totally expected Britney Spears to come out and drop some knowledge.

Lastly, and this goes out to every band from now on. If you MUST include non-rockin' out band shots inside your CD layout, DO NOT give me the sass face. I fucking hate that to no end. Not everyone who buys your CD subscribes to Tiger Beat bro.

Over It - The Silverstrand (Lobster Records)

I wonder if the reason girls seem so much more slutty these days is because of the endless amount of these shitty emo/pop/punk bands that are polluting the malls of america with their worthless CD's. Pumping impressionable girls' heads with romanticized visions of high school relationships. You can almost hear the back row movie theater fellatio and broken condom disaster stories in these riffs. I hope you realize these boys aren't that fucking cute and these songs aren't that catchy when you're skipping 5th period to run to the Grand Union to steal a pregnancy test.

I like the band logo though.

The Reason - Ravenna (Small Man Records)

More "Indie Rock", or possibly "Screamo". For the most part it's what passes as indie rock amongst the myspace set these days, except there are a few harsher screaming parts thrown in there. My advice would be to get rid of those parts all together. I'm not saying it would be good if they did, but it would be...better at least.

The clean vocals are way too overdramatic in that temper tantrum, huffy-puffy sort of way that is the norm for these types of bands. It seriously sounds like this dude had his head shoved up someone’s ass for a long period of time and pulled it out just in time to sing, but he's still gasping for air and trying to maintain a sense of what he's doing. If you normally like this type of vocals, then don't you worry, it gets worse. On the real 'soulful' and 'from the heart' slow song ('Afterparty at the Actor's Estate'), the vocals get so overdramatic that I can't take this shit seriously at all anymore. I mean, this guy HAS to be joking.

Minus even more points because the CD came with only the back tray card (yet still managed to include a several page long bio/interview/asskissing sesh) and a little sticker telling you where you can find lyrics and cover art and what not. You have to go to the label's website and enter the media section, which requires a username and a password, so it made me feel kind of special and important, except once you get through all that bullshit, it says the lyrics to this CD ARE NOT AVAILABLE. This CD came out September 14th. You couldn't type out the fucking lyrics for me? It's been four months!

Reel Big Fish - We're Not Happy Til You're Not Happy (Jive)

It's hard to formulate sentences and paragraphs for a CD like this.. I can't take this seriously at all. It just sounds like every other Reel Big Fish song you've ever heard. If you haven't heard ska or Reel Big Fish before, just imagine listening to Radio Disney. Reel Big Fish would be the type of music they play in the background of a promo spot for some contest where you win a date with Aaron Carter or B2k.

Reel Big Fish have to be old enough to be my dads by this point. This music is for fucking toddlers. I would be surprised if anyone over the age of 8 buys this CD.

The Rescue - Phone Numbers (United Edge)

I'm going to be honest with you, dear reader. Most of the time when I get something to review and I'm really not into it, I try and find some positive things about it to point out. Not because I'm a positive guy, but I know what it's like to be in a band and have people shit on your music.The Rescue has made me change my outlook.

This CD is fucking terrible. The Rescue tries to stick every hot subgenre of hardcore into every single song. The listener is left with complete unlistenable trash. It's not even like The Rescue excel at any one of the styles of music they're playing. Everything is completely bland and generic. I'm pretty sure no one asked for a single song to comprise of pop punk, melodic hardcore, mosh metal and metalcore. Why? Because it's a stupid fucking idea.

Even though it's only an EP, this is still really hard to get through. This is music specifically made for 14 year old kids who don't know any better. Is there some sort of hidden record contract tree I don't know about? That's the only way I can even fathom this band getting one.

The Rocket Summer - Hello, Good Friend (The Militia Group)

Bright Eyes is to Connor Oberst as The Rocket Summer is to Bryce Avary. Another young super genius with an incredibly painful whitebread name playing ten dozen instruments himself and making sensitive male rock music for the masses. Bryce is a very talented and attractive young man who is fully capable of writing some catchy soft rock but even if you put aside the fact that I personally believe it's one of the worst genres of music ever, there is so much about this CD that turns me off. This dude's face is all over the CD booklet, not to mention the very uncomfortable cover shot, which makes him look like he was part of Corey Haim-Feldman's entourage back in the 80's....

Corey Haim: Hey Corey! Where is Bryce Avary? We are supposed to go shopping for new Jams and Swatches today.

Corey Feldman: I think he is over at Chad Allen's house. Danny Pintaro is having a pool party today and they were talking about hitting that up.

Corey Haim: RAD!

....Plus it sounds like there's some sort of Chipmunk filter on his voice to speed it up to make it more appealing to young girls and pedos everywhere.

I don't know. I imagine if you're a young lady who's just discovering the differences between love and sex, you might want to give this a try. Then you can give me a try. mikedikk@gmail.com hit me up on the low.

Rufio - The Comfort of Home (Nitro)

This sounds like the music I read about in AP. I bet Rufio has perfected that sound more than any band I can think of. This CD is completely uninteresting. It feels like I'm stuck inside an issue of AP. I already said that, I'm aware. Hey, here's my impression of Chandler Bing, Could the singer be any MORE of a whiny bitch? Outside of feeling like I'm stuck in an issue of AP, I also feel like I'm in that Yoplait commercial with those two annoying ladies driving in the convertible, and they're all like "This is three day weekend Good.", "This is Ani Difranco Good.", "This is sex with your own personal Mandingo Good.". Yeah, I think you know what I'm talking about. Well, this CD is "I just got thousands of tiny shards of glass blown into my penis hole with an air rifle Bad."

Scary Kids Scaring Kids - The City Sleeps In Flames (Immortal Records)

On October 11th, 1994, Immortal Records released an album that would forever change the face of aggressive music and the way people viewed it. The name of the album was "Korn", by the band "Korn". The album led the way for thousands upon thousands of shitty bands and years of depression. Fred Durst would be working at a Hot Dog stand if it wasn't for Korn and Immortal Records. That dude from Drowning Pool would still be dead, but even less people would care if it wasn't for Korn and Immortal Records. Woodstock 99 would have never happened and a handful of girls would have not been raped by bro dog mongoloids too amped up on Mountain Dew and BREAKIN STUFF if it wasn't for Korn and Immortal Records.....

Fast forward to 2005. Nu Metal is finally dead and Immortal needs a new meal ticket. Enter Scary Kids Scaring Kids. Unfortunately, they are definitely not trendsetters. Quite the opposite, actually. Mainstream 'Screamo' really hasn't had a long history (I'd say it's been something like 2002 to present), and this still manages to sound dated. This could have been a decent sized blip on the average teenage mall consumer's radar if this came out with the first crop of Thursday sound alike bands. We're almost three years removed from Thursday's highly subpar and underwhelming major label debut, and SKSK are three years removed from being relevant.

I can't even imagine the stupid kids who listen to this stupid shit regularly would fall for these guys. There are 12 year olds somewhere writing better 'screamo' than this.

Secret Lives Of The Free Masons - This Was Built To Make You Dance (Astro Magnetics)

I was secretly hoping this CD would be good because I'm getting tired of listening to crap. Well, it's not good. It's like a crash course in everything that's been bad about music over the past couple years.

Dated emo-core with tired breakdowns here and there. Some shitty pop punk hooks, semi-cute boys and a 'quirky' layout.

Since I am not even pretending to be a quality review guy anymore, I will point out my least favorite part of this band and viciously attack it: The Singer. Wow, this guys sucks. first off, he suffers from Lead Singer Disease. That's when The Singer feels the need to sing over every single fucking part of a song. This is even worse because I can't tell if he's intentionally singing badly, or if someone thought he sounded good. It's REALLY confusing. There are a few parts where he utilizes the Tim Williams VOD Wind Sucking Technique. I don't know who engineered this gem, I'm guessing some dude who has met Thursday and has hung out with them, but either way, you think they could have told the singer that it sounds really, REALLY bad when someone is audibly sucking in air between songs.

Yeah, in case I needed to clarify anymore, This is music made by dudes who definitely thought about what their first music video would look like before they even played a show.

Stalins War - Rebirth From Flames (UnFun Records)

I'd like to point out a couple things before I start the formal part of this review.

1. it seems like when an aggressive sort of band has a female singer, they get put in a separate category from aggressive bands with male singers. So it's not "great hardcore" it's "great female-fronted hardcore". I think this is bullshit. Things shouldn't be separated like that. This isn't the NBA vs. the WNBA, it's fucking music.

2. Usually when I get something horrible and I have to review it, a lot of poeple find the review pretty humorous. I'd just like everyone to know, that I don't try to be funny. I'm really temperamental, and bad music usually pisses me off, and it's not me trying to be funny, it's me being angry. With that said, I'd have to say this Stalins [sic] War CD is bad in so many unique ways that I actually enjoyed giving this a bad review.

First off, we can start with the obvious. Their own band name is grammatically incorrect. For those of you who didn't catch it, there's supposed to be an apostrophe before the last S to show that it is specifically Stalin's War and not thousands and thousands of Stalins War. My friend Scot has a theory that whatever freeware font they used for their logo didn't have punctuation keys, so when they typed it out, nothing showed up for the apostrophe and they kind of went with it from there.

After that, we have the typically generic CD layout/design with the usual choices of bad fonts and random blood splatters (I will say the black on black printing on the actual CD is pretty nice though), and of course the lyrics/words are peppered throughout with minor spelling errors.

As soon as you hit play you are greeted by the old "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled..." sample from The Usual Suspects, which may very well be the most overused sample in the history of hardcore. Later on, if that sample wasn't tired enough for you, there's the "When there's no more room in Hell..." Dawn of the Dead sample.

The actual music is along the lines of the typical Trustkill Ross Robinson inspired hardcore style. There are some Strike Anywhere parts in there too, I guess to add variety. It's terribly generic, but not the worst thing ever. The vocals, lyrics, and production are what put this disc in seriously dangerous territory though.

First off, all the music is so fucking flat sounding. You have to understand that in order for this style of 'hardcore' to work, it needs to be super slick or it just sounds like a bunch of dudes farting under some sheets. Then there are the vocals. The screaming (female-fronted) vocals are passable. Not the best, but still passable. The clean (female-fronted) vocals are an entirely different story though. I don't know what went wrong here, but they sound like they were recorded through one of those tiny microphones people had on their computers back in the late 90's. There's no layering, no effects, no nothing. The actual singing is on the level of "I really enjoy singing in the shower and I possibly hope to do Dinner Theater someday". Shit like this NEEDS something. To make it even worse, the (female-fronted) vocals are WAY up front. They completely drown out the flat music, which is sort of a good thing, because it takes your mind away from how generic it is.

The lyrics are like typical live journal posts. Not good at all. There's lots of horrid symbolism used. In one case, the same horrid symbolism is used twice in two different songs. The phrase 'We're crushing flowers at our feet' appears in the songs, 'The Still-Born Hope' and 'To Conquer and Destroy'. Seriously, what the fuck were you thinking?

If this was a demo, I'd let a lot of this slide, but this was put out by a label. Albeit, a label I've never heard of, and when I went to their site to see what other kinds of things the label has put out, the site was BROKEN. So I'm clueless.

Tip for the band: I don't know what you were thinking when you were satisfied with this recording as a final product, but if you seriously can't judge for yourself, then play it for one of your friends. If they say it's a good recording, they aren't your real friends and you should ditch them. Also if any member of your band said anything during mixing like 'The (female-fronted) vocals need to come up more' or 'There is no need to put effects on these (female-fronted) vocals' they should be kicked out immediately. With a better recording, I'm sure you can achieve your goal of being an acceptable generic modern (female-fronted) metalcore band.

Tip for the Label: Way to waste a good chunk of money. You could have probably recorded yourself setting $2,000 on fire and selling that. It would have been better than putting this CD out with your name on it. I suggest finding all remaining copies of this and burying it in the same secret landfill Atari buried all their E.T. cartridges in.

Stars Are Fallling / Skylines - Blood & Ink Split Series Vol. 1 (Blood & Ink) I'll tell you the truth. I didn't exactly have high hopes going into this review. I mean, not only is Stars Are Falling a terribly generic name, but it's a terribly generic name for 2001.

Never the less, they start off the CD with their mainstream brand of metalcore taking cues from Killswitch Engage and other bad bands no one should ever be influenced by. This is another case of a band trying to do too much. Sticking to straight metalcore and not fucking with the Whitesnake boy band parts would maybe show that you had a spine and at least half of a brain connected to it. it's all really slick and I'm sure someones parents paid for it, so I have no reason to feel guilty about being so bitter over this shitfest.

Skylines are slightly more interesting. Utilizing a more Ferret Records style approach to mainstream metalcore. At their best, they can conjur up some decent parts that would remind you of The Bled or Scarlet, but they don't last too long. The singer's screaming voice is kind of unique and the opening riff on track 2 holds your attention for a minute, but then by the end of the same track you want to hurl the disc out the window once the over the top singing and female faux opera shit starts. What the fuck is this? HOW ARE YOU GOING TO BRING THE OPERA INTO A VFW OR BASEMENT. THAT SHIT DOES NOT WORK, SO LEAVE IT OFF THE CD.

So after the one and a half tracks of OKness, this turns into a long and incredibly slow moving two song bore. I don't even know how they got away with releasing the last two songs. I am so fucking glad I am done with this CD and I never have to look at it again. Fuck.

Strength In Numbers - The Veil (Ironbound)

I like how these guys have two separate singers. Specifically because one does all the screaming Killswitch Engage parts and the other one does the singing Killswitch Engage parts. The real kick in the pants is that the singing guy can't even sing. It's like he won some contest they have for dying people so they could do something cool before they die. I wonder if when these guys play, there's all these respirators and defibrillators in the band room. Nurses Aide's all eating the deli platters and shit. Oh man, I will level will you, although that whole last part was kind of mean I had trouble writing it because I was laughing so hard.

Anyway, the singing sucks, and the music also sounds like really bad Killswitch Engage. Sometimes they feel the need to 'break the mold' and play imaginary Metallica songs, but in a way where you would be led to believe that this Imaginary Metallica were really handicapable animals and not humans in the slightest. This is a great CD to play "guess if this is a real band trying their hardest not to suck" with.

This Providence - Our Worlds Divorce (Rocketstar)


This actually wouldn't be as horrible as it is if it wasn't for the singer's generic 'wah wah' crying voice. I hate this voice. Why does every singer in this genre insist on doing it? It sounds like they have to pee really bad, but they're being forced to finish the song before then can go. Are record labels really subjecting poor pretty boy singers to such drastic torture? I sure hope not.

Anyway, this is more of the same crap. There's a couple interesting parts here and there. It sounds like maybe there's at least one person in the band that's playing this music because he actually likes it and NOT to get laid and move units. The production and 'additional instrument' (I'm not joking) work by Casey Bates is top notch. All the extra shit like a tambourine and weird synth type noises are the only thing that kept me from falling asleep. Gold star for Casey!

I guess if you or your loved ones were held at gunpoint and forced to buy one Emo Pop record this year, you should possibly consider buying This Priovidence "Our Worlds Divorce".

Trustkill Video Assault vol. 1 DVD (Trustkill)

The hardcore music video is a cruel mistress. There is only so much you can do with a hardcore video before it begins to look silly. You either get the video of spliced together show footage or the video of the band playing in some other place that isn't a club (house, basement, parking lot, etc). These 12 videos are no different.

The few times these videos stray from those formulas, it tends to be silly. See the singer from Nora lipsynching while picking rose pedals in the "I Should've Sent Flowers" video or Bleeding Through's entire "On Wings of Lead" video.

There's really no highlights on here video wise. Throwdown's "Forever" video is a take off of Fight Club and EXTREMELY homoerotic. Honestly, if there was a bathhouse scene and maybe some simulated cocksucking (aside from the obvious mic to mouth imagery) They could have had achieved a lot of crossover success.

Sadly, the only band on here that even seems comfortable being in music videos is 18 Visions. They easily have the best video on here with "You Broke Llike Glass", which you have most likely seen a hundred times anyway.

Extras are nothing special. Clips and trailers from other DVD's you don't need unless you're unable to attend shows and need to relive maximum hardcorosity on DVD format. If you like these Trustkill bands, you may want this for completionist reasons, but outside of that, I don't see the appeal to wanting to own a bunch of really mediocre videos.

Umbrellas - s/t (The Militia Group)

I'll be honest, I genuinely wanted to like this CD once I saw the layout. With it's warm pastels and rounded Arial font, it looks like a brochure for an 80's travel agency. Unfortunately the music didn't really floor me

This is a lot of slow sensitive male music with whispered vocals reminiscent to an indie rock Sade. Except I don't get a boner when I listen to Scott (Scott is the name of the singer. See, the punchline works way better if you refer to the singer by his first name.). I'm sure if this hasn't already, a song will creep up during a dramatic moment on The OC or something.

It's not entirely horrible, and you could probably get your fuck on to it. As long as it was with the girl of your dreams from high school or some other dude's wife. If you're not into fucking, this is a good tool to lull yourself to sleep while dreaming of pillow fights with giants made entirely out of Charmin.

Lastly, 'The Black Dress' is the best song on here as it combines sleepy emo pop with subtle disco claps and hi hats. Whoever came up with that idea is an incredible sensitive male.

V/A - Takeover Records 3-Way Issue 2 (Takeover)

I've finally been overcome by enough boredom to reach down in my box of craptastic review CDs to pull out some discs I've been trying to avoid since I got them. This one here is a 3 way split CD featuring Nearmiss, Reeve Oliver, and The Matches.

Nearmiss starts things off sounding like Against Me! with some other very popular band influences thrown in there. It's not the most offensive shit ever, but if all of their CD's and merch and what not fell in the ocean, I'm sure no one would really care all that much.

Reeve Oliver's first track sounds like The Foo Fighters, so I'm not even dignifying this with a full review. I'm sure there's a lot of boners out there pumped to hear there's another band that sounds like the Foo Fighters, but one is enough for me, really.

The Matches are kind of pop-tastic and remind me of what I imagine 311 sounds like right now. I don't know how true that is, but I'd put safe money on it. They offer up three songs, two of them being acoustic versions of songs they've previously released. The acoustic songs are so over dramatic and stupid. It's like the singer is having a Trent Reznor contest with himself or something.

With all that said, I think The Matches have the best chance of ending up on the Angus II soundtrack, so they win the three way battle for cheesedick supremacy. Congratulations The Matches! You guys are the least worst! Let me present you with your Grand Prize! Opening up for Crazytown on a 6 month long tour of "intimate" clubs and frat bars. Enjoy!

The Valley Arena - Take Comfort In Strangers (Astro Magnetics)

The fact that this CD is on the guy from Thursday's record label and the boring "birds on telephone wires" cover design made me think this was going to be fairly bad. Fortunately it's not the teenie bopper emo pop I was expecting.

The Valley Arena play kind of a modern style post hardcore. Most of it is kind of...not inspiring, but there are a few keepers on here. There's enough chunky angular riffing to keep me interested, but a lot of the less frantic parts fall flat. Right now, The Valley Arena represents a band that can go either way. They might learn to compromise their sound to sell more records or they might retreat to the mountains for a few months and do lots of hallucinogenic drugs and come back with a dope concept album.

I'd like to see these guys let loose on their next record and stick with the crazier side of modern post hardcore instead of the dull muddy side. Unfortunately, I'm not reviewing their future releases, and I can only say this disc is worth a listen if you're into that sort of thing. A few songs are worth more than a listen, but I'm not exactly going to hold a candlelight vigil if they fall off the face of the earth tomorrow.

Yellowcard- Where We Stand (Takeover Records)

Don't get too excited teenyboppers, this isn't a new Yellowcard record. It's actually an old one re-released. This features their original singer, which makes you wonder, who will benefit from this the most? The original singer who now has current proof that he was once in a nationally famous band, thus increasing his poon intake at least a hundredfold. PerhapsTakeover Records will benefit the most because they already released this shitburger once and just slapped some new packaging on it (Which I will admit, the packaging is pretty nice.), and tons of kids will buy it because it's Yellowcard, so they'll be seeing hella profit$$$$. I doubt the current incarnation of Yellowcard will benefit at all from this, because it's a pretty terrible CD. Sloppy 7th rate NOFX worshipping pop punk, but with violins! The violins add nothing to the music, but they do give you another thing to make fun of.

If you were some type of Yellowcard completist, you might need this, but I don't see anyone wholeheartedly liking this. Yellowcard's current fanbase doesn't want to hear shit that sounds like this or they wouldn't be listening to Yellowcard. Normal people don't want to hear shit that sounds like this because it sounds like shit.