Ric “Suisyko” Dorr’s Top 25 Albums of 2017 + Links…

Ric “Suisyko” Dorr’s TOP 25 Albums of 2017

In NO particular order…

 

Matthew James & The Rust Belt Union – Impromptu Musicals For The Skeptic

https://sumppumprecords.bandcamp.com/album/impromptu-musicals-for-the-skeptic

 

Rex Brown – Smoke On This

http://rexbrown.net/

 

Egypt – Cracks And Lines

https://egypt1.bandcamp.com/

 

Electric Age – Sleep Of The Silent King

https://electricagela.bandcamp.com/album/sleep-of-the-silent-king

 

All Them Witches – Sleeping Through The War

https://allthemwitches.bandcamp.com/album/sleeping-through-the-war

 

Bask – Ramble

https://basknc.bandcamp.com/

 

Bronze – Self Titled

No link…
Dool – Here Now, There Then

https://dool-nl.bandcamp.com/album/here-now-there-then

 

Dopelord – Children Of The Haze

https://dopelord.bandcamp.com/

 

Collide – Color Of Nothing

https://collide1.bandcamp.com/

 

Fairtrade Floyd – In Money We Trust

https://fairtradefloyd.bandcamp.com/album/in-money-we-trust

 

Freedom Hawk – Sunlight (Remastered)

https://freedomhawk.bandcamp.com/album/sunlight

 

Lo-Pan – In Tensions

https://lo-pan-rock.bandcamp.com/album/in-tensions

 

Helmer – Self Titled

https://stevilhelmer.bandcamp.com/

 

Mothersloth – Moon Omen

https://mothersloth.bandcamp.com/

 

Otus – 7-38Hz

https://otus783.bandcamp.com/

 

Plainride – Return Of The Jackalope (Re-issue)

https://plainride.bandcamp.com/album/return-of-the-jackalope

 

Poste 942 – Long Play

https://poste942.bandcamp.com/album/long-play

 

Sautrus – Anthony Hill

https://sautrus.bandcamp.com/

 

Void Cruiser – Wayfarer

https://voidcruiser.bandcamp.com/album/wayfarer

 

El Colosso – Pathways

https://elcolosso.bandcamp.com/album/pathways

 

Fire Down Below – Viper, Vixen, Goddess, Saint (Re-issue)

https://firedownbelow.bandcamp.com/album/viper-vixen-goddess-saint

 

Murder Love God – The Negative (EP)

https://murderlovegod.bandcamp.com/releases

 

Savanah – The Healer

https://savanah1.bandcamp.com/

 

The Sky Is – Telepathie

https://theskyis.bandcamp.com/album/t-l-pathie

__ __ __ __ __ __ ___ __ __ ___ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ ___ __ __ ___ ___ __ __

HONORABLE MENTION Dimebag Darrell The Hits

https://www.amazon.com/Dimebag-Darrell-RSD-Record-Store-Day-Hitz-Limited/dp/B076CVWQXM/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1514655474&sr=1-1&keywords=dimebag+darrell+the+hitz

 


Andy Beresky’s Top 20 Albums of 2017 + Tip of the Cap + Disappointments + Links…

Andy “Dinger” Beresky’s Top 20 Albums, Honorable Mentions

& Biggest Disappointments of 2017

 

1. The War On Drugs – A Deeper Understanding

https://www.amazon.com/Deeper-Understanding-War-Drugs/dp/B072PT2R5P/ref=ice_ac_b_dpb?ie=UTF8&qid=1514561259&sr=8-1&keywords=the+war+on+drugs+a+deeper+understanding+vinyl

 

2. Slowdive – Slowdive

https://www.amazon.com/Slowdive/dp/B06XWNBCXG/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1514561338&sr=1-1&keywords=slowdive

 

3. Quicksand – Interiors

https://quicksandnyc.bandcamp.com/album/interiors

 

4. Converge – The Dusk In Us

https://convergecult.bandcamp.com/album/the-dusk-in-us

 

5. Pallbearer – Heartless

https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/heartless

 

6. Elder – Reflections Of A Floating World

https://beholdtheelder.bandcamp.com/album/reflections-of-a-floating-world

 

7. Father John Misty – Pure Comedy

https://fatherjohnmisty.bandcamp.com/album/pure-comedy

 

8. Junius – Eternal Rituals for the Accretion Of Light

https://junius-official.bandcamp.com/album/eternal-rituals-for-the-accretion-of-light

 

9. Unearthly Trance – Stalking The Ghost

https://unearthlytrance.bandcamp.com/album/stalking-the-ghost

 

10. Queens Of The Stone Age – Villains

https://www.amazon.com/Villains-Queens-Stone-Age/dp/B071G99QQ2/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1514562030&sr=1-1&keywords=queens+of+the+stone+age+villains

 

11. The National – Sleep Well Beast

https://www.amazon.com/Sleep-Well-Beast-National/dp/B0716RP8ZH/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1514562142&sr=1-1&keywords=the+national+sleep+well+beast

 

12. Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard

http://www.electricfuckinwizard.com/

 

13. Mastodon – Emperor Of Sand

http://www.mastodonrocks.com/

 

14. Telekinetic Yeti – Abominable

https://telekineticyeti.bandcamp.com/album/abominable

 

15. Ruby The Hatchet – Planetary Space Child

https://thehatchet.bandcamp.com/album/planetary-space-child

 

16. Kadavar – Troubled Times

http://kadavar.com/

 

17. Pink Frost – New Minds

https://pinkfrost.bandcamp.com/album/new-minds

 

18. OHHMS – The Fool

https://ohhms.bandcamp.com/album/the-fool

 

19. Ufomammut – 8

https://ufomammut.bandcamp.com/album/8-2

 

20. Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun

https://temporaryresidence.bandcamp.com/album/every-countrys-sun

 

Honorable mentions:

Vokonis – The Sunken Djinn (Nice take on Sleep inspired stoner doom with a more stripped down edge)

https://vokonis.bandcamp.com/album/the-sunken-djinn

 

Monolord – Rust (A definite step towards a more original sound)

https://monolord.bandcamp.com/

 

Poseidon – Prologue (Nice take on YOB inspired doom metal)

https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/prologue

 

Primitive Man – Caustic (This is some righteous sludge, duder)

https://primitivemandoom.bandcamp.com/album/caustic

 

Kal-El – Astrodoomeda  (Very promising stoner doom, next time, leave off the Kyuss cover!!! Sweet Lucifer His Dark Majesty, just NO!!!!)

http://www.kal-el.no/

 

Disasteroid – Screen (Haven’t had the time for a full review and super critical listening, as I got it late in the year. Promising, inventful, and deserves a mention for certain.)

https://disastroid.bandcamp.com/

 

Biggest Disappointments:

Bell Witch – Mirror Reaper ( Really? Really????  This is what everyone is going so ga-ga about? This????)

https://bellwitch.bandcamp.com/album/mirror-reaper

At The Drive In – in•ter a•li•a  (You guys may want to take a listen to those new Slowdive and Quicksand albums, and use them as references for how to produce a proper comeback album)
https://www.atthedriveinofficialmerch.com/

Fleet Foxes – Crack-up (Yeah….this is pretty underwhelming for a comeback album as well, especially given the vitality of their earlier output)
http://fleetfoxes.co/crack-up

Also pretty surprised that Ufomammut made a decent album and didn’t end up on here, as I generally reserve them a spot under Biggest Disappointments.  Their latest did not disappoint me.


Zachary “+Norway+” Turner’s Top 25 Album of 2017 + Links…

Zachary “+Norway+” Turner’s Top 25 Albums of 2017

 

In No Particular Order…

 

Hobosexual – Monolith  (Kitchentable)
(https://hobosexualmusic.bandcamp.com/album/monolith)

 

Mastodon – Cold Dark Place (Reprise Records)
(https://www.amazon.com/Cold-Dark-Place-Mastodon/dp/B074TZZLBD)

 

Björk – Utopia – (One Little Indian Records)
(https://www.amazon.com/Utopia-Bj%C3%B6rk/dp/B076V9PBST)

 

Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want? – (Columbia)
(https://www.amazon.com/This-Life-We-Really-Want/dp/B06Y4BX6FS)

 

Blondie – Pollinator  (noble id/BMG Rights Management)
(https://www.amazon.com/Pollinator-Blondie/dp/B01N9Y1DJE)

 

Evanescence – Synthesis (BMG Rights Management) 
(https://www.amazon.com/Synthesis-Evanescence/dp/B075NWMP2F)

 

Ninja Sex Party – Under the Covers Volume II  (Ninja Sex Party)
(https://ninjasexparty.bandcamp.com/album/under-the-covers-volume-ii)

 

Superfruit – Future Friends (RCA)
(https://www.amazon.com/Future-Friends-Superfruit/dp/B074M779LF)

 

Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down (Loma Vista)
(https://www.amazon.com/Heaven-Upside-Explicit-Marilyn-Manson/dp/B0757CYN8Q/ref=tmm_msc_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=)

 

Mogwai – Every Country’s Sun (Temporary Residence Limited)
(https://temporaryresidence.bandcamp.com/album/every-countrys-sun)

 

Hobo Magic – The World Today (Self Released)
(https://hobomagic.bandcamp.com/album/the-world-today)

 

Thee Oh Sees – Orc (Castle Face Records)
(https://www.amazon.com/Orc-THEE-OH-SEES/dp/B072QRNSV5)

 

The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody  (Warner Bros.)
(https://www.amazon.com/Oczy-Mlody-Explicit-Flaming-Lips/dp/B01M675GO7)

 

Electric Wizard – Wizard Bloody Wizard (Spinefarm Records)
(https://www.amazon.com/Wizard-Bloody-Electric/dp/B074V3HV2F/ref=tmm_msc_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=)

 

David Bowie – No Plan EP – (ISO)
(https://www.amazon.com/No-Plan-EP-David-Bowie/dp/B01N4WCEZN)

 

ELARA – Deli Bal – PsyKA Records
(https://psyka.bandcamp.com/album/deli-bal)

 

FrankJavCee – Vol 2.111 – Self Release
(https://frankjavcee.bandcamp.com/album/frankjavcee-vol-2111)

 

Earth Drive – Stellar Drone (Raging Planet)
(https://earthdrive.bandcamp.com/album/stellar-drone)

 

Lana Del Rey – Lust For Life (Interscope Records)
(https://www.amazon.com/Lust-Life-Lana-Del-Rey/dp/B072K3PSH6)

 

Neil Cicierega – Mouth Moods (Self Released)
(http://www.neilcic.com/mouthmoods/)

 

Steven Wilson – To the Bone (Caroline Records)
(https://www.amazon.com/Bone-Steven-Wilson/dp/B071L1B6V4/ref=tmm_msc_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1513703047&sr=8-1)

 

Tupperware Remix Party – Ladyworld  (Self Released)
(https://twrp.bandcamp.com/album/ladyworld)

 

nmesh – Pharma (Orange Milk Records)
(https://nmesh.bandcamp.com/album/pharma)

 

Jazz Spastiks – Scratch and Sniff – (Self Released)
(https://jazzspastiks.bandcamp.com/album/scratch-and-sniff)
(https://jazzspastiks.bandcamp.com/album/scratch-sniff-instrumentals)


Writer Eric Layhe Top 25 Albums of 2017 + Links…

Eric Layhe Top 25 Albums of 2017

 

1. Caligula’s Horse – In Contact (Inside Out Records)
https://caligulas-horse.backstreetmerch.com/

 

2. Pain Of Salvation – In The Passing Light Of Day (Inside Out Records)
http://painofsalvation.com/

 

3. KXM – Scatterbrain (Rat Pak Records)
https://kxmmusic.bandcamp.com/releases

 

4. In The Presence of Wolves – Of Two Minds – Stages 1 & 2 – The Ape And The Cage (Self-released)
https://inthepresenceofwolves.bandcamp.com/

 

5. The Burden Remains and The Horns Of The Seventh Seal – Touchstone (Self-released)
https://coldsmokerecording.bandcamp.com/album/touchstone

 

6. Icefish – Human Hardware (Self-released)
http://www.icefishband.com/

 

7. Pallbearer – Heartless (Profound Lore Records)
https://profoundlorerecords.bandcamp.com/album/heartless

 

8. Toehider – “GOOD.” (Birds Robe Records)
https://toehider.bandcamp.com/album/good

 

9. Nothing More – The Stories We Tell Ourselves (Eleven Seven)
http://nothingmore.net/

 

10. Mother Mars – On Lunar Highlands (Pepper Shaker Records)
https://mothermars.bandcamp.com/

 

11. Ayreon – The Source (Mascot Label Group)
http://www.arjenlucassen.com/content/

 

12. Sons Of Apollo – Psychotic Symphony (Inside Out Records)
http://www.sonsofapollo.com/

 

13. Others By No One – Book I: Dr. Breacher (Self-released)
https://othersbynoone.bandcamp.com/

 

14. Sons of Texas – Forged By Fortitude (Razor & Tie)
http://www.sonsoftexasmusic.com/

 

15. Ne Obliviscaris – Urn (Season of Mist)
https://neobliviscarissom.bandcamp.com/album/urn

 

16. Starset – Vessels (Razor & Tie)
https://merch.starsetonline.com/

 

17. Subterranean Masquerade – Vagabond (ViciSolum Records)
http://vicisolumrecords.com/album/vagabond

 

18. Leprous – Malina (Inside Out Records)
https://www.omerch.eu/shop/leprous/

 

19. Trivium – The Sin And The Sentence (Roadrunner Records)
http://store.trivium.org/

 

20. Voyager – Ghost Mile (IAV Records)
https://www.discogs.com/artist/2684097-Voyager-30

 

21. Mastodon – Emperor of Sand (Reprise Records)
http://www.mastodonrocks.com/

 

22. Alice Cooper – Paranormal (EarMusic)
http://www.alicecooper.com/shop/

 

23. Steven Wilson – To The Bone (Caroline Records)
http://www.stevenwilsonhq.com/

 

24. Big Wreck – Grace Street (ole)
https://www.bigwreckstore.com/big-wreck/music-295/big-wreck-grace-street-cd.html

 

25. 10 Years – (how to live) AS GHOSTS (Mascot Label Group)
http://10yearsmusic.com/site/


Mike Hackenschmidt’s Top 25 Albums of 2017 + Links…

Mike Hackenschmidt’s Top 25 Albums of 2017

 

1. Beast in Black – Berserker
http://www.beastinblack.com/

2. Unleash the Archers – Apex
https://unleashthearchers.bandcamp.com/album/apex

3. Stallion – For the Dead
http://www.heavymetalstallion.bigcartel.com/

4. Samael – Hegemony
https://samael.bandcamp.com/

5. Barrabus – Barrabus
https://undergrooverecords.bandcamp.com/album/barrabus

6. Elvenking – Secrets of Magick Grimoire
http://www.elvenking.net/

7. Battle Beast – Bringer of Pain
https://battlebeast.fi/music

8. Wizard – Fallen Kings
https://www.amazon.com/Fallen-Kings-Wizard/dp/B06XDH2FVB

9. Ensiferum – Two Paths
https://ensiferum.bandcamp.com/

10. Thor – Beyond the Pain Barrier
https://thormusic.bandcamp.com/album/beyond-the-pain-barrier

11. Annihilator – For the Demented
https://www.annihilatormetal.com/

12. Havok – Conformicide
http://havokband.com/

13. Tengger Cavalry – Die on My Ride
https://tenggercavalry.bandcamp.com/album/die-on-my-ride

14. Lich King – Omniclasm
http://music.lichkingmetal.com/album/the-omniclasm

15. Attic – Sanctimonius
https://attic-vanrecords.bandcamp.com/

16. Hulkoff – Kven
http://www.faravidrecordings.com/

17. White Skull – Will of the Strong
http://whiteskull.band/

18. Mokomokai – The Poison Whiptail
https://mokomokai.bandcamp.com/

19. Steel Panther – Lower the Bar
http://steelpantherrocks.com/

20. Body Count – Bloodlust
http://www.bodycountband.com/

21. Warbringer – Woe to the Vanquished
https://warbringer.bandcamp.com/album/woe-to-the-vanquished

22. Goatwhore – Vengeful Ascension
https://goatwhore.bandcamp.com/

23. SepticFlesh – Codex Omega
https://septicflesh.bandcamp.com/album/codex-omega

24. M.O.D. – Busted, Broke & American
http://www.milanomosh.com/

25. Traffic Death – Dead End
https://sumppumprecords.bandcamp.com/album/dead-end


“The Ancient One’s” Top 25 of 2017…

Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler’s
25 best albums of 2017

 

  1. Kadavar- Rough Times

http://www.nuclearblast.com/en/music/band/discography/details/4798138.2893136.rough-times.html

 

  1. Tau Cross – Pillar of Fire

https://taucross.bandcamp.com/

 

  1. PILLORIAN – Obsidian Arc

https://pillorian.bandcamp.com/album/obsidian-arc

 

  1. The Flight Of Sleipnir – Skadi

https://theflightofsleipnir.bandcamp.com/album/skadi

 

  1. Clouds Taste Satanic-The Glitter of Infinite Hell

https://cloudstastesatanic.bandcamp.com/album/the-glitter-of-infinite-hell

 

  1. Arcadea-Arcadea

https://arcadea.bandcamp.com/album/arcadea

 

  1. Mage- Green

https://mage.bandcamp.com/album/green

 

  1. Stone Lotus-Comastone

https://mage.bandcamp.com/album/green

 

  1. Thorr-Axe / Archarus-The Hobbit Split-Album

https://thorr-axe.bandcamp.com/album/thorr-axe-archarus-the-hobbit-split

 

  1. KAL-EL-Astrodoomeda

http://www.argonautarecords.com/shop/en/music-/214-kal-el-astrodoomeda-cd.html?search_query=kaL_EL&results=6

 

  1. Lich King-The Omniclasm

http://music.lichkingmetal.com/album/the-omniclasm

 

  1. Trivium-The Sin And The Sentence

http://www.trivium.org/

 

  1. Vokonis-The Sunken Djinn

https://vokonis.bandcamp.com/album/the-sunken-djinn

 

  1. Psy:code-MØRKE

https://psycode.bandcamp.com/

 

  1. Red Moon Architect-Return Of The Black Butterflies

http://bit.ly/2pU6a6l

 

  1. Temple of Void-Lords of Death

https://templeofvoid.bandcamp.com/album/lords-of-death

 

  1. Paradise Lost-Medusa

https://paradiselost2.bandcamp.com/releases

 

  1. Overkill-The Grinding Wheel

https://media.nuclearblast.de/shoplanding/2017/Overkill/the-grinding-wheel.html

 

  1. Nekromant-Snakes & Liars

https://nekromant.bandcamp.com/album/snakes-liars

 

  1. Electric Wizard-Wizard Bloody Wizard Bloody Wizard

http://www.electricfuckinwizard.com/

 

  1. Devil Electric-Devil Electric

https://devilelectric.bandcamp.com/album/devil-electric

 

  1. The Black Capes-All These Monsters

https://darktunes.bandcamp.com/album/all-these-monsters

 

  1. Mastodon-Cold Dark Place

http://www.mastodonrocks.com/

 

  1. RUBY THE HATCHET-PLANETARY SPACE CHILD

https://thehatchet.bandcamp.com/album/planetary-space-child

 

  1. The Necromancers-Servants of the Salem Girl

https://ripplemusic.bandcamp.com/album/servants-of-the-salem-girl

 


Black Space Riders Releases New EP “Amoretum Vol. 1” – New Video + Links!!

Black Space Riders

Video Feature:   Another Sort of Homecoming

Amoretum Vol. 1 – Vinyl // CD // DD

Release Date: January 26, 2018

 

 

Amoretum_Album Cover

 

 

German Riffonauts BLACK SPACE RIDERS will release new EP Amoretum Vol. 1 on January 26, 2018. The LP can be pre-ordered on all digital platforms, including Bandcamp, as well as at www.blackspaceriders.com/shop

The album flows from song to song as if from a single cast. The listener wonders after 45 minutes whether everything is really already over, and wants to go back to the beginning again immediately.

But of course everything is not over after 45 minutes in the world of BLACK SPACE RIDERS. The band also announces a second chapter for 2018 … Amoretum Vol. 2 is waiting for us, while we are looking forward to Amoretum Vol 1.

Track List:
Lovely Lovelie
Another Sort of Homecoming
Soul Shelter (Inside of Me)
Movements
Come and Follow
Friends Are Falling
Fire! Fire! (Death of a Giant)
Fellow Peacemakers

BLACK SPACE RIDERS are:
JE: Lead Vocals, Guitars, Organ, Piano, Electronics
SEB: Lead vocals, Keyboards, Electronics
C.RIP: Drums, Percussion, Didgeridoo
SLI: Guitars
SAQ: Bass Guitar
MEI: Bass Guitar

http://www.blackspaceriders.com/

Distribution partners:
Germany/Austria/Switzerland: Cargo Records

USA/ Canada:  MVD Entertainment

UK:  PHD (plastichead distribution)

BeNeLux:  Suburban records

Scandinavia: Border Music

Italy: Goodfellas


Container “Mountains of Gaia” Album Review + Stream…

 

CONTAINER

Mountains of Gaia – Limited Edition 12” Vinyl // Digital Download 

Independent: Released – March 26, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Daan – vocals
Boudewijn – bass
Rutger – guitar
Erwin – drums

Location:
Utrecht, The Netherlands

Review:
One might expect and album that opens with a piano excerpt from “Entry of the Gladiators”, more commonly known as the song they play at the circus as the clowns pile out of their tiny car and climb on their unicycles to juggle bowling pins, or break into a tumbling routine or whatever else clowns do… well you might expect an album that opens with this to be a bit of a joke.

 

 

But you’re not quite right. While Mountains of Gaia does have its fun moments, most are relegated to the opening track which is appropriately named “Circus”. Once the piano fades behind the percussion, the bass takes over, carrying the tune while distorted screams point us in a different direction. Thankfully, the screams give way to more melodic, though still filtered, singing. Really, this is where the lightheartedness goes out the window and we begin a musical adventure.

“Backstabber” takes us to a completely different locale of Container’s sound with a little 70’s Black Sabbath worship and an edge all their own. It’s a bit stoner and a bit “garage”, as they put it. It’s clear listening to the band that this was recorded in a studio, but I still think garage is a very apt term to describe a certain rawness or lack of refinement in Container’s style.

 

Band Pic

 

“Challenger” is an 8 minute, long, slow piece that musically reminds me of the Doors. Maybe Riders on the Storm or LA Woman, but then there’s some spoken word reminiscent of Rage Against the Machine, if you can imagine these two together. That’s only the first couple of minutes. It picks up with more of a Vol. 4 ambiance before slowing again to that Doors-y, wandering-through-the-dessert-on-peyote feeling with one last increase in pace to close it out.

Even though we’re only about halfway through, it’s hard now to look back and remember the silliness Mountains of Gaia opened with. The album leads us down a path of variety with different tracks blending the (aforementioned) base elements, stoner rock & “garage rock”, with a touch of post-rock, punk and hardcore. The result is an eclectic adventure that might seem to stray yet is uniquely Container. It’s almost surreal how after the 8th and final, the title track, another 8 minute opus taking us through the Mountains of Gaia until the music ends. Surreal, I mean if we decide to press play and take the trip again. We realize we’re started back at Circus. Is it a metaphor?

 

Live Band Pic

 


Matthew James and the Rust Belt Union “Impromptu Musicals for the Skeptic” Review + Album Stream…

MATTHEW JAMES
AND THE
RUST BELT UNION

Impromptu Musicals For The Skeptic – Vinyl // DD

Sump Pump Records – released September 14, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Formed:
January 11, 2016

Hometown:
Rust Belt, USA (roughly in a garage, somewhere on the east side of Des Moines, IA)

Genre:
self-described ‘Midwest Junk Soul’

Band Members:
Wrex – Drums.
Larry – Upright Bass
Nathan – Pedal Steel
Brad – Guitar
Matthew – Acoustic / vocal.

Previous Release:
“Live From The Loft” (2016)

 

 

Review:
When I hear the term ‘rust-belt’, I am immediately in mind of that region of the country that begins in western New York and traverses west through Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, ending in northern Illinois, eastern Iowa, and southeastern Wisconsin. Previously known as the industrial heartland of America, Industry has been declining in this region since the mid-20th century, leading to the unofficial labeling as the ‘Rust Belt’.

Including Detroit MI in it’s ‘snare’ that has served as home for Matthew,  a singer songwriter originally hailing from the ‘dirty mitten’, aka Michigan. He has been howling in microphones since 2000 and recording hand made lo-fi junk since 2006 with the formation of The Back Home in Michigan Band. He spent a few years touring with Rickett Pass, rambling around the country before settling in Des Moines Iowa. This album is singer Matthew James’ story of moving to Des Moines from his home of Detroit for a girl and leaving everything behind including music with his nationally touring string bands. The single “Goodbye” was written on that drive as heard in the lyrics. Matthew James & The Rust Belt Union refer to their brand of music as ‘Midwest Junk Soul’ and that description could not be more accurate.

Ten tracks that clock in at around 44 minutes.  Musically, what we are presented with here is a collection of compositions that fly up and down the proverbial scale of ‘type’ where we get everything from the elements of folk, gypsy, jazz, be-bop, country, bluegrass, blues, swing and rock to deliver what can only be described as a hybrid that could be described only as Midwest-junk-soul as they have aptly classified themselves.

Band Pic

Filled from the get-go, opener ‘Goodbye’ has each element described above in full force from the raspy vocals flavored with battery-acid, jangly acoustic in tow, great swing beat setting the pace as a soulful wail of lap-steel flows in and out of focus giving the body of this, and each track here a flavor typically kept in the background. Much as Primus brought ‘eh bass guitar to a new level having it out from the shadows, MJ&TRBU have brought this obscure-to-rock instrument to the forefront as well and it is amazing!!

‘Little Light In The Big Rust’ opens with a surf-slide tone over that acoustic guitar and slams right into the body of a song that makes you move!  Like it or not as the beat is infectiously hypnotic and keeps you in hold as Matthew sings of a “child crying and a mother trying” on top of a band that is as tight as any and doesn’t drop a note among the slyly-placed time shifts keep you wanting more. ‘Enthusiastic Apathetic’ opens with a slower, bluesy cadence as MJ’s vocal paints his picture over the band behind him and this pace fits this oratory like a glove, where ‘Left Foot Fail’ is country to the core complete with an upbeat ‘two-step’ rhythm line that pulls your boots to tap at the least along in response.

Shifting gears again with ‘Dying Dogs In South Carolina’, we are given another diatribe of wondering ‘why’, and when ‘Holidays’ kicks in with it’s faster upbeat tempo, it is right on time and lifts the mood again, even as Matthew slides forth with what must be an introspective perspective of what I can only guess to be a typical holiday for as he states that he said “We’re all going to Hell”…

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The final four tracks represent what I would hope would a block of songs played in this particular order and could very well be the perfect ‘end-piece’ for their live set. From the soft acoustic opening of ‘600 Miles’ with it’s “Cold-moon sinking” into the ‘So broke” exclamation of ‘Tough’ through the advice of ‘It’s The Kind Of Place’ that could very well be describing a day in the life and by the time closing track ‘And We Went Drinking With Ed Love!’ hits, it is the perfect wrap-up of one HELL of a story an I found myself hitting play again after the frenetic ending section to savor it all again.

If you are looking for something that is meaty and satisfying at the same time, cured with the purity of music for the sake of music and masterful storytelling hidden behind a vocal style that will make you listen harder to catch each word, THIS is the record for you. Support them live if they come to a garage / tavern / library / or any other venue near you, play it to death for everyone you know and keep it LOUD!!

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Traffic Death “Dead End” Album Review + Stream…

TRAFFIC DEATH

Dead End – Vinyl // Digital Download

Sump Pump Records – Released – Dec 10, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

Line Up:
Nate “Fetus” Phillips – Vocals
Andrew Smeltzer – Bass
Brian Greenfield – Drums
Garan Drozd – Guitars

Review:
Traffic Death is certainly an interesting band name. I figured I’d dig into this bad boy while I was stuck in the passenger seat of a large suburban-type vehicle on a long road trip as I tilted my seat back for a nap. Don’t let my nap fool you, this album is heavy as fuck – I just happen to sleep incredibly well with loud abrasive music in my ears. What I can’t sleep through is shit music. It wasn’t long before I nodded off and found myself in a very non-vanilla sex dream about Miley Cyrus that unfortunately ended too soon. Whether Traffic Death’s lullabies inspired my sweet images of leather and chains and Miley, I can’t say.

So now that I’m fully awake I’m giving Dead End a more serious listen. Traffic Death describe themselves as a “high speed, violent crossover 4 piece”. I see no reason to re-invent the wheel here as they’ve nailed their sound in six words though I will elaborate later. Near as I can tell, Dead End is their 3rd exclusive release but they also have a split release with The Lurking Corpses… whoever they are (I’m going to check them out for sure).

Dead End starts out with “Spontaneous Decomposition/Nothing to See Here” which reminds me a lot of M.O.D. and Billy Milano. I hear aggressive, thrashy, unapologetic hardcore with a touch of dark humor. However, it’s not long into this ingeniously titled tune before it steps up a notch, both musically and with the vocals leaving my comparison behind moving to a more Converge-cult sound.

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“Mandatory Sentence” opens with some seriously fun speed metal guitar work from Garan Drozd that I just was not expecting after hearing its predecessor. What comes next, though, caught me completely off guard. Nate Phillips rips a speed metal scream reminiscent of early Tom Araya. The rest of the track goes somewhere else but the change in direction is completely fluid.

I’m not going to track-by-track this album because the rest of it is more of the same. Clever and darkly comedic song titles perhaps over-use the “/” to translate multiple concepts. There’s a merge of, or shift into and out of, several styles. It seems to be random but if you go onto the band’s (hyperlinked) Facebook about page and read their influences and you know even half the bands, it all makes perfect sense.

My biggest complaint about Dead End is the fact that it’s only 24 minutes long. So even in waking, Dead End is a would-be wet dream cut entirely too short.

Additional Links:
https://sumppumprecords.bandcamp.com/album/dead-end

https://www.facebook.com/TrafficDeath/

Trafficdeath.bandcamp.com

 

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