Bat Chain Puller “The Anatomy of Thera Macula” Album Review + Stream…

Bat Chain Puller

The Anatomy of Thera Macula – CD // DD

Mesolithic Records – released July 1st, 2017

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

 

Lineup:
Bill Wyant – Guitar, Vocals
Jed Guthrie – Bass
Dennis Flynn – Drums

Tracklist:

  1. Perversions of the Anti-Ego 03:59
  2. On Pilot Wave 05:07
  3. Ostrich 06:38
  4. Nothing Is, But What is Not? 10:27
  5. The Anatomy of Thera Macula 11:04
  6. Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder 06:31
  7. Neon Spiral Hydra 10:57
  8. Glory Whole 05:46

 

 

Review:
Bat Chain Puller are fuzzy Stoner Rock group from Bloomington, Illinois. I use the adjective fuzzy because; as they explain it themselves, [We are] “Specializing in fine handcrafted metal that is fuzzy […] even before you bake…” (From their Facebook page). Their name is likely in reference to the album(s) by Captain Beefheart. The band have two previous releases; the first being a studio album from 2012, “One Million Tomorrows” and the second being a single (that is the first track off of this album with an altered time from 2016,) “Perversions of the Anti-Ego

I could not find any direct pictures that the cover is made of. I am guessing that it takes place in either World War II or after some nuclear fallout. I say WWII because of the gas mask the model is wearing and because the background looks European. (Which leads into…)

Track-by-track Breakdown:

Track 1. “Perversions of the Anti-Ego” – This is the single that was released a year before the album came out. It is Black Label Society-ish sounding; slow, it keeps the same tempo for most of the song until the last few seconds where they pick it up barely and once they hit the last note it fades out.

Track 2. “On Pilot Wave” (Favorite track) – I will elaborate more below but I feel that this should have been the single they chose from the album. It is Bush-ish sounding; abstract sounding lyrics, changing tempos, pseudo-Grunge aggression and a good rhythm.

Track 3. “Ostrich” – This is the song where you hear the bass guitar the most and it is what makes me enjoy it. This track is more of a Black Sabbath/Bush hybrid; strange lyrics, the bass keeps the track moving (along with the drums of course)

Track 4. “Nothing Is, But What is Not?”/Track 5. “The Anatomy of Thera Macula”(Best tracks) – These tracks go back and forth between all of their influences. There are brief points of Metal throughout both with points of Progressive Rock and Stoner Rock.  Thera Macula most likely refers to one of the dark spots on Jupiter’s moon Europa. Which just happens to relate back to the cover, because; “Thera Macula is a region of likely active chaos” and that is what the cover and even points of these songs include.

Band Logo

Track 6. “Absinthe Makes the Heart Grow Fonder” (Heaviest song) – This is a close second favorite song. It goes between Bush style lyrics and modern (1990’s-2000’s) radio metal music. The repeating riff and how the guitar is the fade out at the end.

Track 7. “Neon Spiral Hydra” – This is a close relative of tracks 4 and 5 but different enough to where it doesn’t fit into the one song scheme. The song is very close to newer Alice in Chains.

Track 8. “Glory Whole” – Very Alice in Chains with hints of Layne Staley vocals. The way the vocals are layered is reminiscent of how AIC do theirs.

Bill Wyant’s vocals remind me of a strange mix between Zakk Wylde (Black Label Society and Ozzy Osbourne) and Gavin Rossdale (Bush). The music itself is a strange mix of newer Black Sabbath, the William DuVall lead Alice in Chains, Black Label Society and Bush and often the music styles come together and move apart song to song.

The drumming is the highlight of the album to me. Strangely enough; this album reminds me of Bless the Martyr Kiss the Child by Norma Jean, but a softer Rock version. Even though I feel the album has more of a Metal feel than a Rock feel. Tracks 4 and 5 serve best as one track. In these two the band creates a world that showcases their influences and shows the talent that they have as composers. Other than the 10 minute plus tracks this is a good biker album. Tracks 4, 5, 6, and 8 are the highlights.

If there is anything to complain about it is that it’s not heavy enough! At some points when they are building the soundscapes, I kept expecting some rapid fire drums or a speedy guitar solo, they teased it a little bit. Also “On a Pilot Wave” should have been the single, even if it would have to be shortened for radio play. (But these are personal gripes, not a musical one.)

Overall, Bat Chain Puller puts on a stellar performance with “The Anatomy of Thera Macula.”  Definitely get a copy of it!  Take a listen here and buy the DD or CD

Additional Links:

https://batchainpuller.bandcamp.com/releases

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/batchainpuller

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/batchainpuller2

https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/batchainpuller3

https://www.facebook.com/pg/BCPMusic/about/?ref=page_internal

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v479/n7374/fig_tab/nature10608_F2.html?foxtrotcallback=true

https://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/europa_20111116.html


Screams of Winter “Divine Chaos” Album Review + Stream…

SCREAMS OF WINTER

Divine Chaos – EP – Digital Download

Independent – Released – Sept 1, 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Michael Scola/ Vocals
Maxwell Damske / Lead & Rhythm Guitar, Bass, Drum programming
Alex Damske / Lead Guitars

A Brief History:

Screams of Winter is a melodic death metal act hailing from Chicago, Illinois. Forming in 2004 as a middle school act, they disbanded in 2010 when they “failed to evolve musically”. (Reference their Facebook about page). Fast forward 7 years, Screams of Winter have reformed and re-recorded 5 tracks that “finally sound like what the band always wanted them to sound like”. I haven’t heard their 2006 release, which they describe as “far from listenable” but I have to say the 5 tracks schlepped up on Divine Chaos are what I want them to sound like as well.

 

 

Review:

First the cover, which I’m guessing is a depiction of Saint Peter. The gates behind the angel-like figure suggest he’s standing atop the stairway to heaven waiting to pass judgement on whoever seeks entry. He is the Devine. However, there’s also an element of space here. The planet, stars, and comets are the Chaos. Well thought out.

The album opens with ‘Mechanical Chaos’. The first minute and a half is mostly keyboard ambiance with some light percussion and the odd strum of the guitar. This is the kind of thing a band might have the Sound Man play at the start of a show to set the mood as the band enters. Sound Man or keyboardist, that is, if they had one which it appears they don’t though I believe I hear some here and there throughout the album. Guitars lead us into the tune and finally the vocals join the fray. The first thought I have is Screams of Winter sound like a cross between Children of Bodom and Arch Enemy. Michael Scola’s vocals remind me of Angela Gossow and whoever is taking the lead on the guitar shreds like Alexi, early Bodom. Upon reading their bio, I see they list In Flames as an influence and now I can hear it big time. To be clear, I’m talking early In Flames, not current In Flames. There is one low point to the song that I feel compelled to mention and that’s the clean vocals. They’re not bad; I just don’t think they fit the track. In this particular case, they remind me of Ray Alder of Fates Warning, specifically from A Pleasant Shade of Grey. While Alder is one of my favorites, unfortunately in my opinion, using them on this track takes away a bit more than it gives. And don’t get me wrong, ‘Mechanical Chaos’ is solid regardless.

‘Divine Tragedy’, track 2, opens with a super melodic riff and again I can hear that early In Flames. I love the harsh backing vocals here as they allow for a pace that couldn’t be done with a single screamer. Again though, they cut to the clean vocals which I’m not fond of. In this track, they do better suit the layout, as they come while ‘Divine Tragedy’ slows. I believe they’re inspired by God Forbid who uses clean vocals more frequently and who are also, coincidentally, listed as an influence on Screams of Winter’s “About” page. Despite my reservations, this might be my favorite on this EP.

‘Orwellian Overture’ begins with Rush-like keys which come and go throughout the track. Again with the clean vocals; but they’re growing on me. I love how they transition in and out of the melodic riffs on this track.

Scarlet Beast Promo

‘Rise of the Nephilim’ is the perfect tune for a live show. It’s got all the elements I’m looking for. It begins with a pace that’s sure to open a pit. It slows a bit after 30 seconds or so, allowing the guys who get gassed easily the opportunity to stand aside and breathe while the few psychos remaining can keep at it as the reduced pace still justifies some slamming. The backing vocals again suit the track (fry, not clean). ‘Rise of the Nephilim’ continue the tradition of sweet transitions as the guitars sustain, the drums take over for a few seconds before the soloing begins which gives way to a chant “Rise! – Rise! – Rise!”. Of course, in the live setting this is the time for crowd interaction and I have no doubt there’ll be any problems getting the fiends in the audience to chant along. Sure, the nuts in the pit will likely be gasping for breath, single fist raised to open the airways as they labor out a hoarse whisper.  Those who stand back banging their heads and fists will be sure to compensate. Once the chant ends the drums take off, a little back feed and back to the shredding… and moshing. Rise of the Nephilim maintains the pace until it closes.

Holy Lust closes out Divine Chaos with a nice slow melody that takes off unexpectedly. Again, smooth transitions bridge the gaps as the songs changes speed, from death to melodic and back again. I mention them every track as I feel transitions are key in separating the average Melodic Death Metal acts from the exceptional.

With so much going on in each track, it’s hard to notice that the earworms on Divine Chaos average almost 5 minutes each. Despite being just a 5 track EP, Divine Chaos clocks in at 29 minutes. Aside from being an amazing blend of Bodom, Arch Enemy and In Flames this album has one more feature extremely attractive feature and that’s the price. Digital download of Scream of Winter’s album (at the time of this writing) is listed on Bandcamp for $4USD. Are you kidding me? $4? I could create an endless list of trivial items people piss away more money on, sometimes on a daily basis. I’m not going to. All I’m going to say is there’s links below to 4 different ways you can buy it and Bandcamp is the cheapest.

Links:
https://www.facebook.com/screamsofwinter/

https://screamsofwinter.bandcamp.com/album/divine-chaos

https://play.google.com/…/a…/Screams_of_Winter_Divine_Chaos…

https://open.spotify.com/album/1Ei8nKuOBaKlqCpfpB40mB

https://itunes.apple.com/…/al…/divine-chaos-ep/id1278661776…


The Hong Kong Sleepover “Bolshevik Firecrackers” Review + Stream + In Case…Series Episode 2

“In Case You Missed It” Series – Episode 2

THE HONG KONG SLEEPOVER

Bolshevik Firecrackers – CD // DD

Self Released – December 7th 2013

Album Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Formed – 2007

From – Macomb, ILLINOIS USA

Current Lineup – Ted Renner – Lead Vox // Pete Thompson – Guitar & Vox // Mike Kump – Drums & Vox // Waylon Brown – Bass Guitar

Previous Releases – “Mustard” (2009) // “The Swedish Teaser” EP (2011) // “Bolshevik Firecrackers” (2013) // “Hey Santa” Single (2015)

These four guys from the Midwest have been slowly releasing tracks since shortly after they came together and state that, quote “If you put the over-produced bands of today and their mindless drones into a room and lit it on fire, the members of THE HONG KONG SLEEPOVER would be the ones standing outside drinking Miller High Life, shooting off automatic weapons and roastin’ marshmallows over those open flames. The more distorted and deranged you think we are, the closer you are to what drives us”, enquote. Quite the descriptor and citing MOTORHEAD, ANTHRAX and old school METALLICA as influences for what they do.  Combine all elements and the desired result for their live sets is to deliver that stripped-down, balls out, tour de force, honest approach to their craft and this, their latest release, “Bolshevik Firecrackers” is the result of that passion and drive.

 

Band Pic

 

Eleven songs and 44 minutes of raw, from-the-gut hard rock/metal is what lies in wait, from the loping bass intro of ‘Taste The Chain’ to the staggered drum intro to ‘Die Another Day.’  We are given all the trappings, from that ultra heavy bass line, the time-shifts from Hell, tempos and ultra-distorted guitars supporting a vocal style that tips its hat heavy to Lemmy in phrasing, tone and delivery, keeping that pure party-metal vibe running throughout. Tracks like ‘Hangman’, ‘Big John’, ‘The Ballad Of Malcom Reynolds’ and ‘Bleed To Win’ are faster romps that deliver with lyrics dripping with attitude and sneer, telling each tale with a fist gripped tight on your pulse and pulling for more.

‘356’ is even quicker with an almost DIMEBAG tone to the melody, while ‘Draw The Line’ is a good mid-tempo race across the flesh. ‘Boomstick’ is a story about the 1992 movie and Cult Classic Army of Darkness and the main character Ash Williams.  The track is a bit slower than the rest included here, but is filled with power-chords galore and a tempo that is like a freight train in how unrelenting it is for the duration, and ‘Not Enough Whiskey’ could very well have been lifted out of some old THIN LIZZY vault somewhere as the structure of the intro sounds very Irish in tone and progression, and is the quintessential drinking song.  It makes you want to raise a shot glass along with the boys, loudly singing along “Stagger, stagger, crawl, stagger, crawl, stagger drink… crawl, crawl, stagger, stagger, crawl, stagger drink!!”

 

The real standout track on this one for ME, is ‘In Nine Seconds’ for several reasons. The guitar line is unpretentious and gritty as fuck.  The tempo is nice and even, the bass line flows perfectly alongside, keeping things nice and plush in a heaviness that makes your head move involuntarily while the vocal line sounds NOTHING like the other 10 songs, so much so, I had to check for a guest vocalist in the credits. This song in particular shows that The Hong Kong Sleepover has more tricks up their collective sleeves than you might have guessed and in my opinion, shows a direction and possibility for any future releases that would serve them quite well.  Especially in a world saturated with those very cookie-cutter bands they talk about in their own description and shows that they do indeed have their OWN voice to add to the rock annals. In Case You Missed It…Get this one IMMEDIATELY, share it out and about and keep it LOUD!!