Metal Blade

The Ocean – Heliocentric

This is an album that should truly be admired for its intelligent design. The band might get comparisons to Between The Buried and Me and I would agree with that except for the fact the The Ocean surpassed BTBAM in cohesive songwriting two albums ago. It’s a shame the scene kids won’t “get it”

Amon Amarth/Eluveitie/Holy Grail @ Odeon, Saskatoon, SK, April 16, 2010

As opposed to the combination of muscle and nuance that Eluveitie excels at live, Amon Amarth is always strictly about brute force. No frills at all, just five guys taking the stage and hammering out an hour and a half’s worth of rousing tunes. Led by the gregarious, downright jolly Johan Hegg, the band hunkered down and regaled the hot, sweaty crowd with a considerably longer set than their first North American tour, which was certainly a nice touch.

Bison BC – Dark Ages

A lot of bands attempting to pull off the same thing simply wind up sounding too eclectic to get anything of substance across. But Dark Ages, varied though it is in influence, is still a focused and precise monster, and it’s likely to be another one of those records that will wind up on many a Best-Of list come year’s end.

Jay Gorania’s SXSW 2010 – Part 1

Austin’s 6th Street area is the performance location for much of the musical side of South by Southwest—a massive interactive, film and music conference and festival. Historically, unsigned bands came to get noticed by suit ’n tie record label reps; however as it has evolved, signed underground and mainstream bands have dominated showcases, and schmoozin’ and boozin’ is underway as backroom deals and negotiation unfolds. Hell, it’s gotten to the point that Metallica played last year.

Jay Gorania recaps his take on this year’s SXSW Music Festival. In this first entry, he reviews the Relapse Records showcase as well as sets by Torche, Goes Cube and Goatwhore.

Trouble: Plastic Green Head (reissue)

Boasting the most robust guitar tone of the band’s career, Trouble shifted to a riff-heavy approach and embraced the almighty groove. Trouble did not abandon its zeal for all things 70s so much as it reconciled this enthusiasm with a straight-up metallic punch. However, what truly allowed Plastic Green Head to stand out was its songwriting.

Metal Blade CMW Showcase @ Bovine Sex Club, Toronto ON, March 12, 2010

On Friday, March 12th, Metal Blade Records put on a showcase of their Canadian talent during Canadian Music Week in Toronto. The list of bands was exciting: Assassinate the Following, Toronto locals Starring Janet Leigh, Aeternam from Quebec, Titan (also from Toronto), Barn Burner and the almighty Bison B.C. This was looking like a good night of bands, some I had seen before and some I was unfamiliar with. Where was this taking place you might ask? The Bovine Sex club.

Six Feet Under – Graveyard Classics III

The concept of the covers album is a risky one. Nothing wrong with slapping one on as a B-side or extra track. But to propose a whole album of covers often begs the question, “What? Have they run out of their own material already?” When you decide to make the cover album an ongoing series, you run the risk of self-parody; Six Feet Under are getting dangerously close to that point with Graveyard Classics III.