Iron Age - Constant Struggle

[Youngblood Records]

This is a weird one for sure. Musically, this is an almost picture perfect Cro-Mags ripoff. To the point where, if someone told you this was a lost Cro-Mags record, you would probably believe them. Unfortunately, for someone llike me who doesn't like the Cro-Mags, there was no chance of me musically liking this, BUT conceptually, this is the most amazing hardcore release I've seen all year.

Now I know a lot of what I'm about to write may sound insulting, but I wholeheartedly mean all of it in a good way. Iron Age not only wants to sound like an 80's hardcore/crossover band, they want to BE in the 80's. Everything about the total package of this CD is completely 80's. They even have a crappy 80's guitar sound and overall dull production. If you've never seen the LP up close, please expand the picture above and take a look at that cover art! It's SO BAD! You could throw this in a dollar bin and NO ONE WOULD EVEN GLANCE AT IT! I'm assuming this is an old picture from some random book, unless the band went back in time and got a teenage Gary Gygax to draw that shit out for them.

It doesn't stop there though. The rest of the packaging is up to snuff with the cover. There's no fucking way any of this was coincidental. I have never seen a band so dedicated to emulating an old hardcore band/genre. They make every other band's commitment to rehashing tired hardcore seem half-assed remedial.

Seriously, I was programmed to never like this musically, but if you liked the Cro-Mags or likeminded music, please buy this. Fuck, buy 3 of them and give a couple to your friends. You will never find another CD released in 2006 looking and sounding 20 years old as much as 'Constant Struggle'.

Iron Age is secrelty from the 80's where there is no internet, so here is Youngblood Records on Myspace

Capital - Signal Corps

[Iron Pier]

Long Island always has an army of bands playing melodic hardcore. Capital is no different, although they go for a little more "old school" approach than usual, summoning the ghosts of Swiz and early Avail to help their cause. Actually, I bet Avail is still a band, but we can pretend they aren't just for this review.

Capital is fronted by Thomas Corrigan formerly of Silent Majority and Blood Red. I liked Silent Majority a lot so it was kind of a given I would like Capital. Corrigan has a great, distinct singing voice. The vocals are a bit more gruff on this, so it's not the same old shit from Silent Majority, which is good. You don't ever want your junk to sound exactly the same, especially if you're in a band musically similar to your past bands.

I hate using the adjective 'solid', but this is quite a solid melodic hardcore release. There's great lyrics and the music and vocals never get too nancy on you, so you can listen to this and still feel like a man. If you're into melodic hardcore, Silent Majority or Long Island, this is a sure thing for you.

Capital on Myspace


Unites States - Divorce Songs

[Iron Pier]

I could see United States easily fitting in with bands like Braid, The Promise Ring and Piebald, all before they got mega famous. United States doesn't really sound like any of those bands. If anything, they are more D.C./Fugazi influenced. I mean I could actually imagine United States fitting in with these guys on a show ten years ago. They're the type of band you would imagine got interviewed in Anti-Matter and Norm wrote something about meeting the singer in a vegetarian restaurant and how they've shared a special friendship ever since.

Lately, there's been a lot of bands really successfully aping the past. This isn't so much a band that was influenced by the post hardcore/emo of '96, but morseo a band that was influenced by the influences of the post hardcore/emo of '96. It's kind of a weird mindfuck theory, I know, but it's true.

Nonetheless, if you pick up what I'm putting down, this is a great CD. It just has this energy and genuineness about it that most bands lack. If you are a dude who grew up in the 90's wearing a sweater to shows and dating a girl with a short haircut, this CD will make you grab on to your backpack straps and sway back and forth. If you're a kid growing up right now wearing thrift store clothes even though your parents could provide you with new clothes and you're dating a girl who wears the same size jeans as you, you can erratically snap your fingers and knock your knees like Navin Johnson to this CD, and that's the beauty of it. It brings together sensitive types from all different time lines to go fly kites and write journals with each other. You can't ask for anything more.

United States on Myspace

Sinking Ships - Disconnecting

[Revelation Records]

Sinking Ships take a more melodic approach to "epic" hardcore, which was the "it" subgenre of hardcore in 2005. Just because it's melodic doesn't mean it's wimpy. They just fall closer to Verse as opposed to the miserable bastards in Modern Life is War.

They have a few songs that are a little more straightforward, which is a good thing. A lot of those epic bands don't mind meandering for an entire record. Sinking Ships is at their best when combining their more straight-laces Bane-esque approach with the melodic epic shit, like in the song "Target Practice", which is head and shoulders the best thing on here.

The lyrics are what you would expect. A lot of wanting to get out of this town and losing stuff and breaking stuff down and what not. If you are unhappy and angry with things you'll be into it.

It's good to see Revelation getting back to more umm...traditional bands. This and the EOAY CD are both solid releases from a label that had nothing that stuck out to me outside of Curl Up and Die since their Rev 100 release.

Sinking Ships on Myspace


End of a Year - Sincerely

[Revelation Records]

To paraphrase an overused hip-hop saying, End of a Year is your favorite Albany band's favorite Albany band***. They've managed to get on a solid label without doing everything you're told you need to do on the way there. They never really played the bigtime promoter shows and their local fanbase was modest at best, relegated to fellow record nerds and music geeks, just like the band themselves. Instead, they got where they are the old fashioned way. By being awesome.

End of a Year's last full length review is literally five posts down from here ,so if you're not familiar with them and want to know what they sound like, that should sum it up. In a nutshell, they do this D.C/Embrace/Fugazi worship thing that works really well for them.
Hell, the band not only wears their influences on their sleeves, they also include listening recommendations in their liner notes.

'Sincerely' is definitely not a dissapointment. It basically continues right where the first full length left off. Not much has changed since then, and that's a good thing. Pat's still writing perfect lyrics to capture the emotional problems of grown ass men (and women) and the rest of the band is still making interesting music without veering off from their original template.

If you're just discovering End of a Year, and if you're not from the Albany area, there's a good chance you are, pick this up AND their last LP, "Disappear Here". They are equally as good and there's no reason you shouldn't own one and not the other. For me personally, this is an essential record, and that right there should make you run out RIGHT NOW and buy it.

***To be fair, everyone in Albany hates each other and has chips on their shoulders, so that phrase only works if you said my band was your favorite Albany band.

End of a Year on Myspace

Solaris Earth Pipeline - Lounge Like You Mean It.


Solaris Earth Pipeline is somewhere under Underground Rap making them under-underground rap (I just made that up.) Maybe that's what the name means. Pipelines are usually underground. I'm sure I could just google it and find a logical explanation, but that's far too much work.

Anyway, SEP isn't something you're used to hearing. The rhyme patterns are pretty unorthodox, there's no hooks or choruses, the sampled beats kind of go wherever whenever. That's kind of the same way people would describe The Streets. I'm not sure if the dudes who made this CD have heard the Streets, but they probably wouldn't like the comparison, but I don't mean it in a bad way. This is like The Streets from a working class southern background instead of the working class english background. I find this much more interesting than The Streets and I can relate better to this since I'm actually a god damn 'Merican and not a Limey Brit.

Outside of The Streets comparison, this is really lo-fi hip hop. I know a lot of dudes in tight pants are making bedroom indie rock these days, but i've never heard bedroom hip-hop***. It's obviously something you're not going to shake your ass to, but that's not the appeal anyway. It's the drugged out beats and Raven's retarded stories and observations. Raven is probably the best writer I know of who isn't actually famous and it's good to see his writing skills transfer over to lyrics. What he lacks in actual "skills", (like rap "skills", not writing "skills"), he makes up for with interesting and completely unique content. This is shit you're going to have to settle down and listen to a bunch of times to really get it.

I would recommend this to any know it all assholes like myself who are always looking for something weird and unique to listen to so they can brag about it and burn copies for their friends. This is a rare gem that could end up going virtually unnoticed by basically everyone except a few lucky people, or it could be something one established hipster finds and orgasms over that would generate an instant buzz. I'm guessing it will stay under-underground, but who knows.

***To be truthful, I think this was made in a stand alone trailer. No shit!

SEP doesn't have Myspace but you can download '30 Pack' by clicking here.


Dez & Nobs - Behemoth

[Fingerprint Records]

When you're involved in a local music scene, no matter what genre, it's kind of hard to get behind your peers. You're so used to being told that local music sucks and you're only there to support the bigger touring acts that some kind of defensive mechanism kicks in where you can support other local acts, but to genuinely like them is hard. Especially in a place as small as Albany where everyone knows each other, and if they don't know each other, they're one degree separated. It's also a case of not wanting to seem like a dickrider. It's awkward to go over someone's house and hear them playing your CD, it's even more awkward for the kid playing the CD.

What I'm getting at is, "Behemoth" is a fucking genuinely awesome CD. I've had it for a couple months now and play it regularly. I probably live a mile away from one of these dudes and my good friend and fellow Bears fan (Tommy 'Blessed' Mcguire) did their cover art, but I don't care. This is something I'd burn for other people that aren't from here to show them what's up.

First off, Nobs is an amazing sample based producer. The beats are like a Best of Yo! MTV Raps vomiting in your CD player. For a more grounded point of reference, think Prince Paul on "The Cactus Album" or "Taste of Chocolate" but more boom-bap minded. Nobs definitely knows his drums, and he must have an epic record collection. He digs out a lot of great samples that have either never been used or used on a very low key level. Even the more well known samples are given a new life.

Its usually hard to tolerate a full length record these days with only one rapper and 0 guest appearances, but Dez does an excellent job of making you forget about that. He has a tight flow, and a high mastery of interesting metaphors. He's just not a brag rapper though, he's able to tell a story without any strain for interesting subject matter ('Beatrice'). He can also ride a beat perfectly, which is usually the main problem with any type of underground rap.

Also, DJ Gyro is on here cutting up some records, which is some shit that no one does mainstream wise anymore. I mean, people don't even know who DJ Scratch is anymore. That's a travesty.

In a time where rappers are making singles and not LP's, and Lil Wayne is considered a Top Ten MC, Dez & Nobs are a big breath of fresh air. Even if you've never heard of them because you're in bumfuck Iowa right now, you should look into getting this. Especially if you're missing 1991 to 1994. So far, this is on my top ten Hip Hops of the year, so I'm not bullshittin' you. Check it out for yourself:

Dez & Nobs on Myspace

The Distance - The Rise, The Fall & Everything in Between

[Abacus Records]

The Distance used to be your normal Bridge 9 styled hardcore band with some weird Locust-by-way-of Daughters sound effects parts thrown in here and there. They've now added a lot of emo-pop-punk bullshit hooks to their normal formula making a huge mess of an album. Like a 'Retarded kids in fingerpainting class' size mess.

This CD should really be an advertisement for Pro Tools. There's so many unneeded filters and plug-ins used here that I don't doubt they made some just for this record. I'm also hoping the first thing thanked in their liner notes is AutoTune.

The shitty part is, they seem more than comfortable playing fast semi-melodic hardcore. All the pop hooks are really boring or not very well written. I understand the need to make money with this hardcore shit, but at least wait until you're totally awesome at it before jumping into it. They're about a year too late for this emo-pop bandwagon anyway and would be better off going back to the lab and figuring out what the next big thing is going to be so they can get a headstart next time.

The Distance on Myspace


The Three 6 Mafia Project

Since it will be a while until I get a steady flow of stuff to review, I've decided to start a silly little project that will amuse myself and maybe three other people.

In 2006, Three 6 Mafia has not only managed to win an Oscar and sell some beats to Paris Hilton, but they also played some little girls birthday party on MTV's My Super Sweet 16 show. Needless to say, I doubt they will be this overexposed ever again. A lot of people probably don't realize that Three 6 has a very extensive back catalog. This is where I come in.

For my own personal amusement, I'm going to make an attempt to review every (relevant) Three 6 Mafia record track by track. I'll provide a synopsis and individually score each track, along with an overall score for the whole damn album. yes, this is the type of nerd shit you will only find in some dude's blog. That's why you look at blogs though. It's definitely not for the porn. Ultimately, I'd hope this would help out a new yet clueless Three 6 Mafia fan to choose which CD they should purchase (I mean, download) next, but that probably won't happen.

Each track will be rated 1 to 5. 5 Being the best. In case you're numerically challenged, I'll break down the ratings for you.

1 - Total garbage. A song you will never want to listen to. It may even be bad to the point where you want to jab at your eardrums with something sharp and possibly urine soaked.

2 - Something you may listen to the first time over then regularly skip from there on out.

3 - A perfectly decent song, but nothing you're going to want to write a thesis on.

4 - A wonderful song that you'll put on mixtapes (or mix Ipod playlists) and tell your friends about until they're sick of hearing you talk about it.

5 - A timeless classic. Something that will be played at funerals and outer space block parties 30 years from now.

After the track ratings, I'm going to do a Total Package rating based on the same number scale. The Total Package rating is for overall qualilty of everything involved in the album. The skits, the sound quality, the sequencing, whatever. Then I'll average all that stuff out and put up the overall score. If you don't know anything about averages, doing something on a 1-5 scale means anything above a 3.5 overall score is basically essential listening.

Now a brief backstory about my life with the Three 6 Mafia:

I originally heard Three 6 in 1997. I was big into "horrorcore" at the time, and they definitely had a horrorcore name. My friend had the "World Domination" tape and I was initially not that impressed. Then I heard the Tear Da Club Up Thugs tape and I got a little more into them. A few years later "When The Smoke Clears" came out and I was totally in love.
Since then, I've been down with everything they've done. Even the old shit I wasn't too hot on to begin with. Since 'WTSC' was the first Three 6 record I liked start to finish, I've decided to start with that one. Here goes nothin'

When The Smoke Clears: Sixty 6 Sixty 1 (2000) (Loud Records)

1. Intro -
Some evil sounding bible reading. N/A

2. 44 Killers -
Just long enough to be considered a song. Every MC is on point on this one. Not to mention pretty angry about anonymous 'haters'. Chorus: "I'm 'bout ta blow da boys ass off". 4

3. Sippin' On Some Syrup (Feat. UGK & Project Pat) -
If you're reading this, you're probably well acquainted with this song. The first song about cough syrup drinking to really do damage in the mainstream. Also Three 6's first bonafide classic (Well, as far as I'm concerned.). 5

4. Weak Azz Bitch (Feat. La Chat & Project Pat) -
A nice little call and response song. They say 'Weak Ass', you say 'Bitch'. It's pretty simple once you get the hang of it. Angry rapping backed by a standard hard ass Three 6 beat. 4

5. Jus Like Us -
More anger. This one's about jealous dudes, or "Jello Ass Niggaz" according to DJ Paul. One of the great things about Three 6 is that when they fuck with synth sounds, they either sound like they could fit perfectly in the movie 'Colors' or 'Deathrace 2000'. This is one that's on the 'Colors' end of the spectrum. 4

6. I'm So Hi -
If you couldnt guess, this is another ode to drugs. They go all out on the drug songs though. The track is stupendously backed by the "hoooooo" chants from Beastie Boys' "Posse In Effect" and what sounds like a Portishead (!) sample. Chorus: 'I'm so high, all I smell like is smoke'. 5

7. Mafia Niggaz -
Pretty standard Three 6 song with a horror soul piano loop and a repeating 'Yeah Hoe!' chant. It's a great song, but nothing essential. 3

8. Hook Up with Hoes - skit. N/A

9. From Da Back -
You dealin' with some thugs who like to hit it from the back, wit no kinda strings attatched. I'm sure strippers enjoyed dancing to this in 2000. As much as I love Three 6, I really hate having to visiaulize them having sex. Except Gangsta Boo. 3

10. Fuck Y'all Hoes - It's pretty obvious Three 6 grew up on a healthy diet of wrestling. Not with each other, I mean pro wrestling WWF shit. They have a lot of menacing songs that just sound like a bunch of people fighting with crazy gang vocals thrown in for good measure. These are usually even angrier than their standard angry songs. 4

11. Where Da Cheese At -
When I was very young, there was this Little Ceasers commercial that left a pretty lasting impression on me. It had to do with a can of cheese bouncing all over a table and a black man saying "It's Cheeeeeeeeeeese!" in a very stereotypical voice. Unfortunately, this song has nothing to do with that. It's a Crunchy Black solo song, which is usually a bad thing, but the beat is scary enough to carry it beyond the point of being a decent song to an awesome song. 4

12. Tongue Ring -
Another stripper song. I think tongue rings were a little more in vogue in 2000. Thins was the follow up single to 'Syrup', but I could never get that into it. Probably because I'm not a stripper. Props to Gangsta Boo for her verse about hiding a razorblade in her mouth and slicing a dude's dick though. 3

13. Barrin' You Bitches -
This one involves getting fucked up AND fighting. Another good horror soul key sample and a sweet sputtering snare. Oh, and Lord Infamous rapping angrily at 4000 mph. 3

14. Whatcha Know (Feat. Big Gipp of Goodie Mob) -
It's kind of weird to think that Three 6 and Gnarls Barkley are only one degree separated. Actually, Three 6 has a lot of questionable cohorts, but Gnarls Barkley? Fuck. 3

15. Act Like You Know Me -
Three 6 would really appreciate it if you could point out any cowards. The little organ loop (I don't even know if that's supposed to be an organ) is pretty hypMOtizing. 3

16. Take A Bump -
I know it's normal to hear rappers talk about selling coke these days, but it was very rare six years ago to hear someone very openly talking about snorting coke in a song. This gets high marks for trailblazing. 4

17. Touched Wit It (Feat. Mr. Serv-On, Fiend & La Chat) -
In the early 00's, Three 6 made sure to work with every single southern rap clique in existence. Actually, they still do that. At this point in time, No Limit was HUGE though, so this was more of a rub for Three 6, even if it was just Mr. Serv-On from the No Limit B team. 3

18. M.E.M.P.H.I.S. (Feat. Hypnotize Camp Posse) -
The obligatory HCP cut. There's one (sometimes more) on just about every HCP related release. They're all solid, and they all usually revolve around the same 'mafia' vocal sample chant being chopped and fucked with. For some reason I feel this one is one of the better ones, if not the best. Probably because it includes Project Pat and Lord Infamous and it was before Lil Wyte was down with HCP. 4

19. Just Another Crazy Click (Feat. ICP & Twizted) -
Here's one of those songs with questionable cohorts involved. It's not as bad as it looks on paper. Honestly, Twizted don't really suck at rapping, they just choose to rap about dumb shit. The beat keeps this one from being a train wreck. Another horror soul piano keyboard loop and some ghost howls from a halloween sounds record. 3

20. Who Run It -
In case you couldn't guess, Three 6 Mafia run it. A brag track with a really epic sounding horn sample and some snappy hi-hats. There's nothing really special to report about the track, but that's why Three 6 is great. They could take a pile of shit and make a tasty shit sandwich out of it if they had to. 4

21. Put Ya Signs -
Another song seemingly inspired by pro wrestling. This one actually contains a 'fight' chant and another synth that sounds like it could have been in Nighthawks or Cobra. The 808 bounce clinches it. They were most definitely channeling Sylvester Stallone's greatest action roles when coming up with this track. 4

22. What's Next (outro) -
Obligatory plugging of CD's that probably still haven't come out yet. N/A

Total Package -
Although, they'd later prove to have more hits per album, this record quietly went platinum and contained Three 6's most consistent lineup. This is listenable from top to bottom without any skipping. It's a good srarting point if you're not too worried about mainstream hits. 5

Overall Rating: 3.8

I hate to ask for things like 'feedback'. but i'd appreciate 'feedback' before going on with the other 40 albums in the HCP collection. Thanks.


Rick Whispers - Awed by the Backdrop

[Pitch Control Music]

For those not from the Albany area, Rick Whispers is a local hip-hop artist who’s also been kicking around the local hardcore scene for a while. Awed By The Backdrop is his second full length release.

The record starts up with a nice cut and paste intro by Money Mike, which is the only track out of 17 that isn’t an official song. Rick raps with sort of high pitched whine, kind of like a white Mr. Funke from Lords of The Underground. How’s that for a left field comparison? Rick’s lyrics are filled with a lot of poetic and abstract metaphors. He doesn’t dip too far into the braggadocio/chip on my shoulder rhymes that most underground rappers are into these days. That’s not necessarily a bad thing; moreso a personal preference.

A good amount of songs deal with ladies and lady problems, which is something most of us can relate to. The lead off single “Humming in the Sun” is a good summer jam type song thanks to a funky beat provided by Mashie.

Truthfully, all the beats are pretty on point. I was actually surprised since there’s 8 producers credited on this, and usually the more producers means the more chances of some of the beats being something you’re not into or something that’s plain shitty. Khil’s heavy ‘Top Billin’-esque drums under melodic strings definitely kills
it (sorry, pun not intended. I fucking hate puns). Unfortunately, that’s Khil’s only beat on here, but I’d definitely like to hear more. Atypical’s work on “Shades” and “Umbrellas” (From the standpoint of an
onlooker, part’s 1 & 2) is definitely the standout for me. He flips a reeeeeeaallly familiar keyboard sample on both tracks. It’s actually pissing me off that I can’t figure out what the god damn fucking keyboard is from. Anyway, that’s my own problem.

Speaking of “Shades” and “Umbrellas”, these are definitely Rick’s standout tracks, lyrics and contents wise. He really shines and shows he can get serious without rapping about girls. I think most people will gravitate towards the aforementioned “Humming in the Sun” and “Oceans of Ivory” and it’s remix, but “Shades” and “Umbrellas” shouldn’t be slept on.

If you are a fan of Rhymesayers type stuff, you should check Rick out. Mac Lethal even makes an appearance on here on the track “Bottles”. Overall, Awed by the Backdrop shows that Rick is pretty comfortable with this rap shit and can only go up from here. I feel I need to give some constructive criticism since this review has been mostly objective, which totally isn’t my style. If anything, I’d say outside of getting Khil to do more shit on his next record, it wouldn’t hurt Rick if he switched his flow up here and there a little. With that
being said, this is still a completely solid record that you should check out. Especially if you’re in the Albany area since Rick is a workhouse that plays the shit out of shows all the time.

Rick Whispers on Myspace


End of a Year - Disappear Here

[OneOhFive Records]

This is End Of A Year's first official full length release and it's a great one. EOAY seemlessly mix older D.C. style "Post Hardcore" with a slight dash of 90's Midwestern emo/Post Hardcore. There's some traditional rock in there too.

One of the truly unique things about this record is that it actually SOUNDS like it could have been recorded in the early or mid 90's. I don't know if this was intentional or it just all came together like that, but the recording and mastering fit the music so well, it's uncanny. The only real clue you get that this is a recent recording is the mention of being 'online' in one of the songs.

I don't really think you would need to be a previous fan of the styles mentioned above to enjoy this. EOAY are strong enough song writers and musicians to win over anyone. What especially stands out for me is the drumming which manages to stay busy and interesting (even when the music doesn't call for it) without going too overboard. It really compliments the overall spontaneouos feel of the guitar work.

Pat, the singer has really come into his own with his vocals. On previous releases, one could describe pat's voice as 'grating' or maybe even 'shrill', but the vocals were mixed perfectly and it sounds like Pat has learned to control his voice in a way as to not annoy the listener.

The lyrics however, are what really stand out for me. I rarely mention lyrics in these reviews, which is odd for someone who's only band obligation is to write lyrics and sing them, but I've come to terms and I fully realize most hardcore and metal lyrics are underwhelming and mediocre. So I only bother to mention them if I think they're really good or completely awful. EOAY's lyrical content just blows me away.

Whether it was intentional or not, all of the lyrics manage to capture...actually 'celebrate' would be a better term, a moment in life everyone goes through where you realize that maybe screaming and yelling and fighting everyone isn't the only way to accomplish something and that maybe you need to question your own inadequacies and fears and take a step back before moving forward, while still holding on to that youthful fire. This is very apparent in songs like 'I Hate Young People....' ("I'm past the age of angst supposedly, but when I'm here I find those old feelings take hold of me") and '60 Degrees 30 Seconds After it Rains' ("You say you have reservations, well so do i, but yours are to some shitty restaurant, and ours are about how we live our shitty lives"). This is easily one of the most lyrically strong records I've ever heard come out of Albany.

In closing, I think it goes without saying that End of A Year have managed to quietly craft what is possibly the best local release of the year. Highly Recommended.

Dear Tonight - These Are Wires

[Slave Union]

If you find yourself constantly looking for meaningful and abrasive music without worrying about the pretenses and boundaries of a specific style or fashion trend, then you should just skip this review and pick up this EP right now.
Dear Tonight play raw, uncompromising music. It's hard to put your finger on a certain style. The bio sites such bands as Angel Hair, Universal Order Of Armageddon and (old) Ink & Dagger. Personally, I think they sound like the band that bridges the gap between Frail and Ink And Dagger. It's so fierce and packs so much energy that it can be placed in the "more than just music" category after only a few listens.

The powerful music is complimented fully by very meaningful and well written lyrics (and explanations in the liner notes, which weren't really needed, but it's definitely a great and appreciated touch.). Some of them are more...political than others, but it's not anything your average person can't relate to.

It's hard to believe this is Dear Tonight's first release. The bio says nothing about their ex-member status, but I would find it very hard to believe that these guys weren't doing anything else before this band. Either way, this is a brilliant release and a hard kick in the pants 'the scene' needs. Let's hope they stay together (It seems most great bands break up quickly. That's me being pessimistic) and release a full length with the same results. Highly recommended (and it's cheap too!).

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.


The Higher - Histrionics

[Fiddler Records]

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.

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.

Bear vs. Shark - Terrorhawk

[Equal Vision Records]

Imagine a world where Emo wasn't left for dead by The Kids in the late 90's. A world where hip ad execs didn't resurrect the term for a bunch of bad pop bands who had no other wagon to jump on.

In some alternate universe somewhere, where people don't care about money and hair salons, Emo was able to evolve into something....listenable. This is where Bear Vs. Shark comes from. I imagine, they got here by some real life Crisis On Infinite Earths situation. At least that's what I'd like to believe. In this day and age, it's too hard for me to swallow that they're just some dudes from Michigan with no gimmicked looks who are into playing good music and got recognized for that by a bigger record label.

Ok, that's enough with the over the top theatrics and comic nerd references. Bear Vs. Shark are a band that didn't exactly impress me with their debut. I thought the singer's voice was phenomenal, and the music was decent, but nothing memorable to me. Luckily, Terrorhawk is leaps and bounds better than their last. Everything falls perfectly into place and you can really tell they were given a good amount of time to record this. If you've never heard BVS, I'd say they're a little Emo from Days of Yore, a little Post-Hardcore, and a little crunchy Rock. They also wear their Cap'n Jazz influence on their sleeves, so if you were into that band in your more formative days and felt lost ever since all of those types of bands broke up, this is just what you should be looking for.

What really sets this band apart is the vocals. here's a little more over the top theatrics: Marc Paffi is the greatest vocalist in the indie/underground scene THIS DECADE HAS EVER BEEN PRIVILEGED TO LISTEN TO. I am totally James Lipton over this dude. I mean, anything is a relief when you sit around listening to whiny boy temper tantrum vocals constantly, but he goes above and beyond the call of duty. It's not even something I can describe. You have to EXPERIENCE it, man. Like, you can just listen to Marc Paffi, or you can HEAR Marc Paffi. You know what I'm sayin'?

Overall, this is easily the greatest emo record of the year that won't ever be classified as emo by the types of kids who listen to what is considered emo now. Definite top 5 material out of all the dreck I've been (un)fortunate to review this year. '5, 6 Kids' is the song of the summer and should be played on repeat until your shit breaks. The EVR site has it up for free download, so go hit that up, RIGHT NOW.

Alexisonfire - Watch Out

[Equal Vision Records]

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.


Dear reader,

Welcome to Dumpin.net. This is my (new) little place on the great wide information superhighway to review and discuss music. If you've accidentally stumbled onto this site, I used to do music reviews for Bystander Fanzine. I've also done reviews and worked on other things for countless print zines and since defunct websites. I've mainly done reviews on Hardcore, Metal, Punk, Indie, etc., but I hope to expand to other forms of music, since I'm kind of a hip hop nerd.

At some point, I'd like to expand this blog to more than just music reviews. I'd like to offer downloads, interviews, and other music related junk. If I turn into the internet giant I strive to become, I'll also add other writers down the road (and probably buy my own server space, so my "site" isn't just a lame re-direct to a blogspot page).

I'm posting some of the....better reviews I've done in the past to start things off. Hopefully I can get the ball rolling pretty fast and get new shit in for review A-SAP.

Thanks for your time!