Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Gamut - music giveaways tonight!!!

The Gamut is back again, and also back are the giveaways!  I've got a CD copy of Rehumanize's "Resident Apostasy" album, a furious collection of grindcore!  Also in the giveaway tonight is a fun little cassette-only EP by Swine Suicide!  You don't want to miss out on the giveaways, so tune in at 9 PM EST and listen in via !

Tonight's playlist!
A Hill To Die Upon - Adept In Divinity (Black/Death Metal)
Angelica - Walkin' In Faith (Commercial Metal)
Terraphobia - Soldiers of the New Millennium (Extreme Thrash Metal)
AD - Progress (Progressive Rock)
One-21 - Individuals (Punk)
GeistkrieG - Spiral of War (Black Metal)
Docile - Closed Eyes, Opened Arms (Melodic Death Metal)
Teramaze - Once Lost (Progressive Metal)
Forsaken - Dominaeon (Doom Metal)
Nothing's Sacred - The Price Paid In Blood (Grindcore)
Hero - Gasoline (Metal)
Once Nothing - Gunfire Is the Sound Of Freedom (Southern Metalcore)
Swine Suicide - Abolishing the Foundations of Hell (Black Metal) - Cassette Giveaway!!!
Hundredth - Caving (Hardcore/Metalcore)
Havitance - Burial (Thrash Metal)
Circle of Dust - Course Of Ruin (Industrial)
The Throes - Grieve (Alternative Rock)
Our Fathers Were Blind - Banner Bedsheets (Screamo)
Magdalen - Sad Sister Alchemy (Bluesy Hard Rock)
Discern - Grace (Death Metal)
Zaxas - Revolving Door (Power Metal)
The Prayer Chain - Sky High (Alternative)
Trytan - Genesis (Progressive Metal)
Rehumanize - Psychopharmacologist (Grindcore) - CD Giveaway!!!
Audiovision - You Are the Reason (Melodic Metal)
Wrench In the Works - Project AK-47 (Metalcore)
Halcyon Way - Revolution Is Now (Progressive Metal)
Arnion - Obtenetration (Thrash MEtal)
Eowyn - Crashing (Female-fronted Modern Heavy Rock)
Mirror of Dead Faces - The Horde of Swine (Death Metal)
Reflescent Tide - Gluepot (Alternative Rock)
Thresher - Raptor (Thrash Metal)
How To Avoid Art - Control (Industrial)
XT - Carry On (Commercial Metal)
Seventy Sevens - Flowers In the Sand (Alternative Rock)
Oh, Sleeper - To Flagship (Metalcore)
Inevitable End - Dreamsight Synopsis (Technical Death Metal)

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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Album of the Moment - Voivod's self-titled release

When key members of a band leave the fold, it often throws off the group dynamic.  Some bands pick right up and continue on as if nothing had happened.  Others take their art in a new direction or explorer other avenues.  If that key member returns, it's often easy for the band to fall right back into things the way they were prior to that member leaving, in part because there is an established base to cull from.  Voivod suffered a loss when original bassist Jean-Yves "Blacky" Thériault left, but it was the departure of original vocalist Denis "Snake" Belanger that changed things for them, seemingly forever.  They recruited bassist/vocalist Eric Forest and backtracked to a progressive and aggressive thrash sound, much like what they had pioneered on their 1st 3 releases.  After 2 albums and a couple compilations and live releases with Eric, the band regrouped with "Snake" and began writing new material again.  On bass came none other than former Metallica bassist Jason "Jasonic" Newstead.  With this eponymous release, the band reverts to their previously explored spacey prog-metal sound they were using prior to Belanger's original departure.

Musically and sonically, this has a lot in common with the last 3 Belanger titles: the incomparable "Nothingface" (arguably the band's high water mark, and my personal favorite), "Angel Rat" (a somewhat blatant attempt at mainstream acceptance, though on the band's own terms), and the highly sci-fi themed "The Outer Limits".  This release has a bit of the "earthy" production feel of "Angel Rat", but the sci-fi themes are reminiscent of "The Outer Limits" quite a bit, and songs like "The Multiverse" and "Divine Sun" reflect some of the more obtuse science fiction of "Nothingface" from a lyrical and musical perspective.  None of the material here is as immediately memorable or accessible as the 3 records it is seemingly inspired by, though repeated listens reveal a strong comeback effort on the part of the band.  All band members are in fine form here, though guitarist Denis "Piggy" D'Amour (RIP) relies a bit less on the jazz-inspired chords and winding riffs as he used to, making the record a bit more palatable to those less inclined to spin "Nothingface" or "Dimension Hatross" on a regular basis.  Drummer Michael "Away" Langevin" echoes his work on "Nothingface" quite a bit here with similar patterns and rolls, though not in an overtly self-plagiaristic way.  "Jasonic" is solid on bass, though he does nothing too complex, but then Piggy's riffs don't give him a whole lot to work with in terms of harmonic interplay.  "Snake" sounds great after his 10-year hiatus with the band, though I think a bit more melody in his vocal lines would have been welcome with this material.  When he was more a-melodic on earlier material, there was more fire and it was more interesting.  Anyone who listened to his last 3 albums with the band knows he has a good singing voice, especially evident on "The Outer Limits", so hearing him go back a bit is a minor disappointment.  Otherwise, he is solid here, if perhaps a bit to forward in the mix.

The thing that is frustrating about the album at first blush is that it starts out kind of boring - "Gasmask Revival" and "Facing Up" aren't exactly going to light the world on fire, and it's a bit of a mystery as to why they chose those to open the album, other than perhaps putting the more immediate material up-front.  "Blame Us" begins to pick up a bit more of the band's signature spacey sound, and by the time you get to "Rebel Robot" and "The Multiverse", Voivod fans should begin to feel right at home.  The album continues to progress from there and becomes more interesting with "Divine Sun" and "Reactor".  The album culminates in the final track, the album's single "We Carry On" which makes a partial return to the more muscular and straightforward sound of the first couple tracks, but retaining some of the more "Voivodian" personality of the rest of the material.  As some reviews I've read have mentioned, the album is perhaps a bit overlong.  I think if they had trimmed the 1st 2 tracks out and kept the rest it might have been a stronger album.

All things said and done, this is a solid outing from a band many had left for dead after Eric's departure, and a good return to form.  It's not their strongest release, and ultimately may not equal the quality of "Dimension Hatross" through "The Outer Limits" on every level, but there's enough to love  here that the Voivod faithful like myself should find sufficiently attractive.  I would consider this a workmanlike album from a group who payed their dues and never quite broke out the way that they were predicted to, and certainly not in the way they deserved to.  If you're a fan of Voivod's more progressive leanings, this is an album you'll want to at least hear, if not add to your collection.

The Gamut - tonight's playlist!!!

I don't have much in the way of new music tonight, except for a song by a band who's elusive 2nd album I've been trying to get for the last 15 years - Decision D's "Moratoria" album!  In addition, tons of great tracks in the show!  I've really tried to mix it up tonight, so tune in at 9 PM EST and listen in via !

Tonight's playlist!
Crush the Enemy - Dawn of the Deadbeat (Hardcore/Crossover)
Under Command - Cut Too Deep (Hard Rock/Metal)
Bloodline Severed - Coalition (Melodic Extreme Metal)
Paradox - Meet the King (Classic Metal)
Martyrs Shrine - Valley of Darkness (Death Metal)
Grave Robber - Paranormal Activity (Horror Punk)
Blood Covenant - Fall Babylon (Black MEtal)
Crossforce - Tomorrow Will Come (Classic Metal)
The Scurvies - Gunpowder (Punk)
In the Midst of Lions - Released (Deathcore)
Soul-Junk - (mem) sweeter than honey (Indie Rock)
Disaffection - Cerebral Nightmare (Thrash Metal)
The Sacrificed - Falling (Progressive Power Metal) - The Gamut debut!
xDeathstarx - Decline of the Western Civilization (Metalcore)
Daniel Amos - Through the Speakers (New Wave/Rock)
The Way Sect Bloom - Humanness (Industrial)
Berith - Evanescent From the Treaty (Death/Black Metal)
Angelica - Danger Zone (Commercial Metal)
Unveiled - Contagious (Female-fronted Modern Heavy Rock)
These 5 Down - Enslaved (Nu-Metal)
Templar - Black Scar (Modern Metal)
Orphan Project - Empty Me (Progressive Hard Rock)
LSU - Storm at Sea (Alternative)
Majestic Vanguard - Emotions of a Picture (Power Metal)
Decision D - Devoted (Technical Thrash Metal) - The Gamut debut!
Monolith - Reject the Counterfeit (Symphonic Extreme Metal)
Frost Like Ashes - Nightfalls' Cold Kiss (Black MEtal)
Arsenal - The Valley (Female-fronted Commercial Metal)
Liberty n Justice - Stretch Armstrong (Hard Rock/Metal) - The Gamut debut!
The Right Wing Conspiracy - School of Depravity (Grindcore)
Hgouls - Depiction Unto Grief (Instrumental Black Metal)
Edge of Eternity - Unholy (Female-fronted Metal)
Hands - The Helix (Progressive Post-Hardcore)
Vision - Standing On the Rock (Classic Rock)
Seventh Avenue - Brighter Than the Sun (Power Metal)
Undercover - Darkest Hour (80s Rock)
oraVita - Licht (Female-fronted Indie Rock)
Datum Point - This Is What I Live For (Groove Metal)

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