[Metal/Death] Cab Ride Home

I have a strong urge of listening something brutal this morning, in particular something from a band named “Cab Ride Home”. The video is a bit garbage (the audio is horrible!) but it is some good death. I let you with this video. Oh, did I mention that a certain Danica Roem is on the vocals? :p
https://youtu.be/aHvbLXyzank

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[Metal] Headbang local! Some hometown local metal albums I bought

Following my attendance of the scientific meeting in Paris, I headed back to my hometown (Strasbourg, France) for 48 hours before heading back in the US, taking advantage of an upcoming weekend to see my family.
I also took advantage for some shopping (in addition of the traditional gift shopping and souvenirs) to support the local record store (l’okaz de l’uncle Tom), one of the oldest and most favorite record store in town (that was my first experience going downtown with my brother when I was 10-11, bought my first AC/DC and ZZtop tapes from them). One of the niceties of the store is their decent selection of metal albums but what I really liked was their shelf dedicated for the local and national metal scene.
If you are a stoner, you may have heard about “Bull Terrier” that is a local stoner doom band. Not really much into stoner so I skipped it. But I found some interesting nuggets in my disc hunting.
The first was “Darkest Hours” from Khaelys, a local symphonic metal band original fronted by Kenza Rafi. This was their first of their two albums, released in 2009. I really liked it, probably because of the gothic atmosphere and the very simple but enjoying sound, not drowned over keyboards and studio processing. Although Kenza’s vocals were not the level of a mezzo-soprano, her voice remembered me a lot of the one from Jamie-Lee Smit (Azylya). Sad to also discover that the band disbanded in 2015, according to their Facebook page.

pochette_darkest_hours

The second album I purchased was “Unleash Your Wrath” by Bloody Pride, a melodic death metal band. I am not a big fan of death metal, but I enjoy some good melodic death metal from time to time. Nice album, nice tunes. The band has apparently a Bandcamp site, you should give them a try if you are looking for good French melodic death bands.
a0691128043_10

Finally, the last album was rather a compilation playing on the word “Elsass” (the name of the region as cited in the local German dialect) morphed into “Hell’s Ass”. It’s an old compilation (2005), so I assume most of the bands have likely disbanded or went into a hiatus. It is a bit of a hodge-podge of different artists and different genres, a sort of melting pot that give you a glimpse on how the local scene was vibrant back then. I wonder how the scene stands right now.

 

[Metal/Melodic Death] Exalt The Throne Last Show @ Dallas, TX (O’Rileys Bar – 07/29/2017)

We are born, we live and we die. Some people call it the circle of life. I don’t, i prefer the allusion of the thread of life metaphorized by the Ancient Greek through as the Moirai (or Fates) Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos. We exist as a thread with our beginning and our end. We cease to exist with the continuum but we remains as part of the fabric (history).
Same applies for our intellectual endeavors, scientific and artistic alike.
I have seen bands being born bringing the joy and the excitement with their innocence and novelty. I have bands that have been following me through my life, becoming a sort of travel companions through my own journey. Sadly, I also have seen bands giving their last breath and close their eyes.
The announcement of a band going into hiatus or disbanding is always a sad news to hear because you know that you will not experience anymore that auditory and visual stimuli that made them listen and like their work, over and over.
One of the band that lately gave their final curtain, their “barroud d’honneur” was Exalt The Throne (Dallas, TX). I discovered the band very recently as their supported Epica second leg North American Tour following the release of “The Quantum Enigma”. It was love at first sight because of this very interesting blend of melodic death (with high-paced guitars of Charles, Tim and Kanyon and drums) with symphonic metal (clean female vocals performed by Courtney). It was neither the former nor the latter. It was its own blend that made them unique. When the band announced their final show a month ago, it was unexpected and a very sad moment to experience.
However, I decided to drive all the way to attend their final show and have a chance to collect a last souvenir from the band. The gig was short but oh boy you could feel how the band matured over the last 18 months, refining their performance.  The band played three of their songs present in their album “Long Live the King” (“Long Live The King”; “Perpetual Agony” and “Rampant Idolatry”) and one cover from Amon Amarth (I ain’t fan of folk metal but if someone can help identify the song, I would be more than happy to update this post).

If I have to find a silver lining into this final show, I would definitely cite the first law of thermodynamics that stipulates “energy is not created nor destroyed in a closed system, it is only transformed and transferred”. Same applies to the artistic energy. It is only transformed and transferred. I wish to the band members all the best and success in their endeavors and in their personal and professional careers. The king is dead! Long live the king!

 

[Metal] Joyeuses fete du 14 Juillet, ma liste des groupes de metal Français

Since today is the French National Holiday, I wrote down the rest of this post in my native language…..that is French! Nom de Dieu!
A l’occasion de la fete de la prise de la Bastille, qui eu lieu en ce jour, j’en profite pour mettre en avant les groupes de metal français qui peuplent ma discotheque. Si vous ne trouvez point chaussure a votre taille, il y a certainement deux raisons: soit sous êtes passe en dehors de mon collimateur, soit ne j’ai point eu un effet boeuf.
Sans trainer plus, ma liste de groupes de metal français:
Adrana (Tours, France): du metal opera avec Anne derriere la voix mezzo-soprano. Du très bon calibre.
Alkemy (Genève, Suisse): un petit groupe metal sympathique venant de nos cousins Helvetes qui font pas mal de covers, avec Katia et Jess. A découvrir.
Alwaid (Lille, France): Les chti’mis connaissent leur metal et savent l’art du raffinement. Deux albums: deux styles de metal different (le premier était dans le genre atmosphérique, le deuxième bien plus power metal) mais la meme solution détonante.
Arcadia (Mulhouse, France): Une petite pousse de l’Alsace Bossue qui avait un EP assez sympa sorti l’automne dernier.
Asylum Pyre (Paris, France): Un tres bon groupe de prog/power metal de la region IDF. Surtout de plus que Oxy Heart a récemment joint le groupe.
Au Champ des Morts (Clermont-Ferrand, France): Une découverte Bandcamp de cette année avec leur premier album intitule “Dans La Joie”. Je suis pas un fan de black metal, mais il dire que ce groupe nous fourni un sacré “sweet crude” produit raffine, surtout que c’est un des quelques bandes qui chantent en Français (ca vaut le petit coup de pouce supplémentaire). A découvrir.
Azylya (Bruxelles, Belgique): Un sacre bon groupe de gothic metal venant de nos voisins belges, avec Jamie-Lee Smit au vocal.
Blazing War Machine (Marseilles, France): Si tu cherches un groupe de metal surfant dans le black melodic a la Dimmu Borgir/power metal avec une voix feminine en premiere line, voila un groupe a découvrir. Effet cathartique assure.
Bloody Melody (Tours, France): Un petit groupe de gothic metal, alternative qui avait un son bien sympa avec leur EP. Je me demande ce que mijote dans leur marmite? Ca va faire une peu plus de deux ans et pas trop entendu de nouvelles de leur part.
Dreamslave (Lyon, France): Du power metal a la Francaise, avec memes des pépites de pirate metal. A essayer.
Ethernity (Bruxelles, Belgique): Du prog metal en provenance de Belgique, un premier album vraiment sympa.
Erzebeth/ex-Darkonelly (Dijon, France): Marion a cloture son project Darkonelly et a decide de larguer les amarres vers d’autres horizons avec son nouveau projet “Erzebeth”. Si vous êtes dans l’ambience médiévales, elle tourne actuellement avec Tony tels des troubadours quelques festivaux pour animer de sa voix suave les longues nuit d’été. En parallèle, Marion a lance son projet solo sous le nom de Marion Lamita avec deux videos en ligne: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAk0Zb9lkG4 et https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gViPbhKuajI
FT-17 (Nantes, France):  Les suédois ont Sabaton, nous on a FT-17. De plus, feru de la “Der des Ders” que je suis, aux anges de la mort fut-ce. Decouvert lors de la récente campagne Bandcamp. Du très bon calibre, avec des interludes de lettres d’un poilu décrivant les quatre années de la premiere guerre mondiale.
Heonia (Lille, France): Un autre groupe des corons. Aggressif, bimodal. A essayer!
Inhepsie (Paris, France): Un autre groupe de gothic metal chantant dans la langue de Molière.
Lethian Dreams (Paris, France): La littérature française a contribue de manière importante a la vague “romantique” du XIXe siècle, qui naturellement servi de source pour le mouvement goth et bien entendu pour le doom metal. Lethian Dreams connait son doom metal et nous en démontre sa maitrise avec trois excellent albums.
Midnight Sorrow (Strasbourg, France): Yay, un groupe de metal Strasbourgeois, symphonique de plus. De quoi être un peu chauvin, surtout que leur premier album “Pick A Tale” sorti ce printemps était un très bon robuste premier album. A essayer de toute urgence!
Pray Manticore (Toulouse, France): Un groupe de death metal de la ville rose.
Pyrah (Strasbourg, France): Un autre groupe de Strasbourg, cette fois de prog metal.
Seyminhol (Metz, France): Un groupe de power metal, si vous aimez Kamelot et chercher un equivalent Français.
Veil of Mist (Reims, France): Un groupe de metal bien sympa, a découvrir.
Whyzdom (Paris, France): La creme de la creme du symphonic metal Francais. Avec Vynce Leff derriere l’instrumentation et Marie McLeod au vocal, on a un melange detonant de baroque, d’orchestration et de rugeur de metal.

 

 

 

 

 

[Metal/Arch Enemy] Leader (of the f***ing a**holes) sneak peek

Arch Enemy is teasing us today with a cover of The Shitlickers (a Swedish hardcore punk) “The Leader (Of the f***ing a**holes)” through the hands of Michael Amott and the growls of the Alissa White-Gluz. Michael already show us his broad range by playing melodic death with Carcass and with Arch Enemy and by playing some psychedelic rock/stoner with his side project The Spiritual Beggars. Now we can add into the list some hardcore punk. I personally found the cover version much more elaborated, cleaner and more aggressive than the original. Just judge by yourself. The rage and the fury!

The cover:

The original:

[Music/Metal] Happy 4th of July!

As living in the US, it is for me now part of the tradition to celebrate the 4th of July. Happy 4th of July! Time for me to share my favorite US metal bands that are in my disc library. This is my very personal list, so please don’t comment asking why I have not have a certain band in my list. There are likely two reasons: either they went under my radar or they simply did not click with me in terms of my musical taste. I have been running this redundant post for two years now, so I will spare you the blabla and let you jump to the list :). Here we go, sorted by alphabetical list:
* Aria Flame (ex-Dendura, MI) – Gothic Metal: https://www.facebook.com/ariaflameworld/
* Beyond Forgiveness (CO) – Gothic/Folk Metal. If you are looking for a US minstrels and troubadours having the vibes of medieval folk metal (something like a Blind Guardian or Haggard), this is your inn to stop on your journey: https://www.facebook.com/beyondforgivenessmetal/
* Destiny Beard (MI, PA) – Gothic Metal:https://www.facebook.com/Destinibeardmusic/
* The Ditch & The Delta (UT) – Sludge Metal: https://www.facebook.com/theditchandthedeltaslc/
* Evanescence (AR) – Gothic Rock: https://www.facebook.com/Evanescence/
* Exalt The Throne (TX) – Melodic Death, they are having their final gig on July 29th, I gonna miss them :(. https://www.facebook.com/exaltthethroneofficial/
* Faytree (GA, OH) – Melodic Death: https://www.facebook.com/faytreeband/
* In This Moment (CA) – Metalcore. Check their old stuff (first three albums), that was some promising band that unfortunately lost their vibe for few years now: https://www.facebook.com/officialinthismoment/
* Kamelot (FL) – Power Melodic Metal. Come on, should I introduce Kamelot? https://www.facebook.com/kamelotofficial/
* Mercy Isle (MI) – Gothic Metal. A very interesting US-Dutch collaboration, making them a sort of spinning free electron: https://www.facebook.com/MercyIsle/
* Metallica (CA) – Thrash Metal. Because who does not have a Metallica album in their disc library. 35 years and still running! https://www.facebook.com/Metallica/
* Midnight Eternal (NY) – Power Melodic Metal. What if Dragonforce and Nightwish had a child? Midnight Eternal would be its name: https://www.facebook.com/MidnightEternal/
* Red Beard Wall (TX) Sludge Metal. Ever wondered how doom metal would sound with a flavor of Southern music, with elements of punk and death metal? It has a name: sludge metal and my first exposure was through Red Beard Wall. It came out of nowhere like a meteor and crashed into the local metal scene in Yellow City. If you are living in the High Plains or South Plains, check them out: https://www.facebook.com/redbeardwall/
* Rozamov (MA) Sludge/Doom Metal. That was some of the best surprise this spring, allowing me to discover this sub-genre of doom metal blended with Southern tunes, punk and death metal. https://www.facebook.com/Rozamov/
* Santa Marta (UT) – Gothic Metal. The next project of Mary Zimmer (ex-Ottoman Empire/Luna Mortis, ex-The White Empress). Check it out and keep eye on it. https://www.facebook.com/SantaMartaBand/
* Scarlet Canary (CO) – Metal/Rock: https://www.facebook.com/ScarletCanary/
* Seven Kingdoms (FL) – Melodic Power Metal. There is something running in Florida water but it makes their Melodic Power Metal
* Slayer (CA) – Thrash Metal. Slayer still slaying, not even an ounce of their brutal tempo was left over the years. This is where I had to disagree on Floor Jansen, nothing beats a mosh pit or an album from Slayer as a catharsis vector. If you don’t know what to expect from Slayer, go attend one of their gigs with Lamb of God and Behemoth. Not for the choir singer though: https://www.facebook.com/slayer/
* Thyshade (CO) – Symphonic Metal. One of my discovery last winter and one of the best US soprano vocals: https://www.facebook.com/thyshadeofficial/

 

[Videogames/Metal] Brutal Legend – XB360 (80%)

Sometimes you never know what you can find in a Gamestop “dumpster” (you know the $5 or less /$20 or less games holding on some cardobard shelves). One was Brutal Legend. I had my eyes on when I have played once the demo downloaded from Xbox Live. I really liked it for two reasons:
Firstly,  it was a game heavily influenced by metal and there are very few that come in mind. I still remember the attempt of Motley Crue to cash on Crueball on Genesis (a pinball-based game, also used by Kiss in one of these PC budget games), Motorhead on Amiga/Atari ST (a beat-them up developed by Ocean somewhere in 1992) or Iron Maiden Ed Hunter featuring Eddie in a kind of “Operation Wolf” game.
Secondly,  for what seemed a cool storyline. The story features Eddie Riggs, a “roadie” setting up the stage for a rock band called Kabbage Boy, lets say Eddie is rightfully not fond of his performance. As Eddie sets stage, a element of the stage falls on directly aiming one of the band member. Eddie jumps to his rescue only to get crushed by the scenery element. Eddie wakes up in a complete strange world, directly taken from some of the best heavy metal album artworks. Here Eddie becomes an anti-hero fighting demons with his mighty axe and his guitar riffs.
After playing back-and-forth with the game during the last month, I finally finished it up tonight. There are the good, the very good and the very annoying part of the game.
The good thing about the game is its very high fidelity of the game towards the material it got inspired by. It is heavy metal at its finest with the contribution of kings of the genre   appearing as cameos such as Ozzy Osbourne (Black Sabbath/Ozzy Osbourne,appearing as the guardian of metal, the shop to go to upgrade your weapons and your car), Rob Halford (Judas Priest, posing as the Fire Baron), Lemmy Kilmister (Motorhead, the bass-playing Kill Master), Lita Ford (presented as Lita, one leader of the human resistance)……
The second good thing (if you ignore the annoying part) is this semi-open space allowing you to drive through the heavy metal hell, ramming through the wildlife and allowing you to complete some side quests and unlock some uniqueness (monuments, dragons…..) that will buildup your combat skills.
Then comes the very good part: the storyline and the damn good playlist. The storyline is simply awesome as you end up fighting hordes of glam/hair metal villains, with the stereotype of the hair metal bands that flourished in the 80s, followed by a dive into the depressive doom and gloom of gothic/doom metal genre (with some of the best enemies to fight, straight out of a Tim Burton mind) and finally a quick insight into industrial metal (at the very end). For most of these, you have a remarkable playlists of metal bands that perfectly match the missions: fighting off glam metal troops with Motley Crue “Dr. Feelgood”, only to escape the crumbling White Lion palace through the soundtrack of of the UK powermetal band Drangonforce “Through the Fire and The Flames”. Just playing this part of the game in which you are slaloming between dragons breaking bridges and blocking roads with that blowing in the background music worth its amount of pesos. It is not one, but over 100 songs in that playlist that you can play through driving in the metal Hell, something very similar to a GTA game. Some of the best and most versatile metal playlist I have ever heard into a video game: Dragonforce, Judas Priest, Motorhead, Scorpions, Motley Crue, Carcass, Dimmu Borgir, Accept, Megadeath…..
Just for that the game worth the purchase.
Now comes the very annoying part of the game: the simile-RTS game sequence. At some point in the game, you will be asked to play a sort of real-time strategy game (you know the type of Dune II, Command & Conquer, Warcraft…), in a very primitive form, using the metal as a source: The stage being your main base/barracks; the march store towers being the source of energy to harvest and troops from the basic headbangers grunt to the juggernaut unit capable to blast off towers. The idea is great, the put into practice? Meh…….it felt more than a pain than anything else as you have to go back and forth to get to the units. The other thing that also made me quit the game halfway is that mission in which you have to capture wild feral cats (looking as KISS-like panthers) by circling them with a circle of fire. The controls were just terrible and makes you really want to give up. As a sidenote, the presence of redudant sidequest (ambush enemies, defend your tower, race against the same foe) felt like a lot of deja-vu. You have to do them to gain skill points to upgrade your character but felt more a curfew than anything else (especially at a certain point of the game you have so much skill points accumulated but nowhere to redeem the upgrades).
In conclusion, if you love heavy metal and looking for a good game really doing a service  to the genre, grab a copy and play it. The game is far from perfect, there are much better adventure games and real RTS games to quench your thirst than this one. But in my opinion, this was the PERFECT metal game ever I have been playing so far and really wish someone decides to renew this experience.