Cranely Gardens “House of Decay” Album Review + Stream…

CRANELY GARDENS

House of Decay – CD // Digital Download

Independent – Released – Aug 11 2017

Reviewed by Mike Hackenschmidt

 

Line Up:
Chaz Macklin / Vocals
Randy Mac / Guitars
Joe Fedele / Guitars
Alex Niszczak / Bass
Victor Figueroa / Drums

Review:
Cranely Gardens are a metalcore/deathcore 5 piece from New Jersey who has shared the stage with several well-known acts such as Carnifex and Whitechapel. House of Decay is Cranely Gardens’ 2nd EP. With 7 tracks House of Decay is only 27 minutes long. However, even though it’s short, the band managed to find space for five guest musicians on the album.

 

 

This is something I’ve seen recently; a small band getting someone a bit more famous to guest on their album. Of course, the fans of the more famous person find out and then they have to hear what their metal hero has been working on, which results in them finding the new band. In turn, fans of Cranely Gardens might also go out and find out who some of these folks are and check out their work as well. Unfortunately, Cranely Gardens picked a few people with pretty generic names plus a couple fairly obscure musicians but did not reference their guest’s previous work in the promo package, nor anywhere I could find on the internet. So for everyone’s benefit, I did some digging and here’s my best guess as to who these folks are. Pardon me if I’m not correct.

Chad Ruhlig – Vocalist – For the Fallen Dreams & LGND

Dan Watson – Vocalist – I have to guess this is the Dan Watson (Ex Infant Annihilator) of Enterprise Earth, Faith in Convergence, and Mire Lore. It could also be Dan Watson, vocalist & bassist of Bunk Dope, Hyborian Rage, & Truculence. Both seem to fit the interests of the Cranely but I’d lean towards the former vs the latter. Fans of either Dan should check out the album and see which Dan it is. I honestly can’t tell you. Maybe you can tell me?

Sims Cashion – Who the fuck is Sims Cashion? I guess CG decided to share the wealth and put a lesser known musician on their album as well to help him gain some interest. So for all my digging I could only find one Sims Cashion. ANYWHERE. He seems to be a guitarist and does some videos on YouTube. He also sells guitar lesson packs on Bandcamp.

Will Ramos – Another obscure name. My best searching came up with a Will Ramos who describes himself as “Former guy who yells at Secrets Don’t Sleep.” Tough his former band only has 1500 FB followers; this Will Ramos is from Jersey so he seems to fit.

Josh Frazier – They really made me dig deep on this one. There’s a Josh Frazier in Beyond the Shore from Kentucky who have an album out on Metal Blade Records. I’m leaning towards this Josh. In 2015, Beyond the Shore were auditioning for a new vocalist. They chose Josh and put his audition for the band up on YouTube for your inspection. I think I can hear him on Rapture.

Sorry for the aside, but it was necessary to adequately describe House of Decay.

Band Logo

The album opens with “Muswell Hill” which seems to be a news report about Muswell Hill killer, Dennis Nilsen ending with about 8 seconds of guitar that leads directly into “History of a Drowning Boy”, a track heavy in core screaming which features the aforementioned Will Ramos. Lyrically, there’s little doubt this track is about Nilsen. Slow paced with a low rhythm, periodic high notes are sprinkled through the track which speeds up through the chorus. I’ll admit here that at this point I was hoping House of Decay would turn out to be a concept album. Unfortunately, this appears to be the last reference to Nilsen on the album. Regardless, though I doubt the decision was made for the laughs. Conversely, I find the use of guest musicians on the album mildly comedic. See, Nilsen was lonely so he lured people to his house and killed them so they would stay. Maybe Cranely Gardens was lonely? Someone please check that these 5 guys are OK! Nilsen killed 6 before he was discovered.

House of Decay continues with “Seven Faces” (featuring Chad Ruhlig) and “Savages” (featuring Dan Watson). Both are heavy tracks with relatively well-known names picking up the helper on the vocals. There’s something about Savages that just stands out for me. Regardless, both tracks adequately display Cranely Gardens’ influences, which they list as “deathcore, metalcore, the new wave of American heavy metal, black, death, thrash and nu-metal” on their Facebook page.

“Rapture”, I think, is where they get the most out of any of their guests. I like the way the vocals come together in a manner that could not be done with one person. Sure, this makes Rapture more difficult to play live, since Frazier will rarely be there with them. However, for the album it’s a great piece.

House of Decay is closed out by “Carry the Earth” and “The Challenger”. These appear to have no guest musicians but there’s no indication that I can find about which track(s) the one, the only, Sims Cashion contributes on. Maybe he’s on one of these two, no clue. “The Challenger” has a doomish feel to it without losing the core. It’s kind of an interesting clash of styles worth hearing. Lyrically, this piece matches both so I suspect a lot of thought was put into this one.

Band Pic

In closing, House of Decay is a hard and heavy blend of several different genres with a mix of lyrical themes. To someone casually stopping by, House of Decay might seem to lack variety from track to track. In this respect, I feel this piece is something that requires more time and attention in order to appreciate. In 2017, finding fans with the time and mental & concentration abilities to appreciate this style could turn out to be Cranely Gardens’ biggest challenge. Even I, an avid reviewer of music guiltily lumped a few tracks together for expedience.  If you’re up for the challenge, dig in and find all the subtleties I missed or didn’t list.


Monster Magnet Monday “Mastermind” Limited Edition + Videos + Review…

Monster Magnet

Mastermind Limited Edition + 2 Bonus Tracks – Released October 25th, 2010

Napalm Records – Vinyl // CD // DD

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

 

Space Rock Voodoo

In the years leading up to “Mastermind” “Monster Magnet” had transformed into a 5 member outfit with the addition of Phil Caivano on guitar to give the band a more dynamic range in sound. They also went from  Atpeek Music to A&M Records where they went Gold in the US with their 1998 album “Powertrip”,  moved to “SPV” then in 2009 signed with “Napalm Records” then released “Mastermind”  in 2010.  Lead guitarist Ed Mundell parted ways after 18 years with the band “to collaborate with other musicians and Producers”, forming The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic. Following their European tour replacing him was Garrett Sweeny.

monstermagnet band pic_Mastermind

For some a review of  Monster Magnets 8th album “Mastermind” might be kinda old hat. But for me and anyone else who has never listened to it, “Mastermind” is brand new. Having never heard it I chose to do this review just so I could have an excuse to listen to it when we came up with our nifty Monster Magnetic Monday Idea.

What came to my mind when I first listened to this is when it had been made Monster Magnet had been together for 20 years when most bands are lucky if they manage two albums. Like many bands that last that long they have managed to keep their core sound that makes them the band they are but change with the times. Unlike Superjudge and earlier albums “Mastermind” has a bluesy feel to it musically and lyrically with more mature subject matter. All in all a solid album. Some the songs I like most are ‘Bored with Sorcery’, ‘Gods and Punks,’ ‘Mastermind,’ ‘100 Million Miles,’ ‘Time Machine’ and ‘Ghost Story.’

Limited Edition Track Listing:

  1. “Hallucination Bomb” – 5:27
  2. “Bored with Sorcery” – 4:02
  3. “Dig That Hole” (Wyndorf, Phil Caivano) – 5:34
  4. “Gods and Punks” – 5:32
  5. “The Titan Who Cried Like a Baby” – 3:36
  6. “Mastermind” – 5:08
  7. “100 Million Miles” – 5:01
  8. “Perish in Fire” – 4:42
  9. “Time Machine” – 5:30
  10. “When the Planes Fall from the Sky” – 5:46
  11. “Ghost Story” – 5:20
  12. “All Outta Nothin'” – 4:29
  13. “Watch Me Fade” (Bonus Track) – 3:05
  14. “Fuzz Pig” (Bonus Track) – 3:13

Line Up for Mastermind:
Dave Wyndorf- Guitar, Vocals
Philip Caivano – Guitar
Ed Mundell-Guitar
Bob Pantella – Drums
Jim Baglino – Bass

For Fans of:  Fu Manchu, White Zombie, Masters of Reality, VAST, Queens of the Stone Age, Rob Zombie, Biohazard, Trouble, Danzig, Burning Brides


Monster Magnet – Superjudge Review + Videos + More…

Monster Magnet Monday – Part 2

Superjudge – Vinyl // CD // DD

Originally Released on A&M Records – April 6th, 1993

Re-Released (Import Deluxe Edition) – February 19, 2016

Reviewed by Terry “The Ancient One” Cuyler

Superjudge Line Up:
Dave Wyndorf – vocals, rhythm guitar (1989–present)
Ed Mundell – lead guitar (1992–2010)
Jon Kleiman – drums (1991–2001)
Joe Calandra – bass guitar (1991–2001)

Deluxe Edition – Import

Disc: 1

  1. Cyclops Revolution
  2. Twin Earth
  3. Superjudge
  4. Cage Around the Sun
  5. Elephant Bell
  6. Dinosaur Vacume
  7. Evil (Is Going on)
  8. Stadium
  9. Face Down
  10. Brainstorm
  11. Black Balloon

Disc: 2

  1. Unsolid
  2. Medicine
  3. Nod Scene
  4. Superjudge
  5. Dinosaur
  6. Superjudge
  7. Freak Shop
  8. Murder
  9. Intro
  10. Snake Dance
  11. Twin Earth
  12. Nod Scene
  13. Evil

 

“Back from Venus For The Cyclops Revolution”

 

Formed in Red Bank New Jersey Monster Magnet has gone through several line up changes since it was founded by Dave Wyndorf Vox//guitar, John McBain guitar and Tim Cronin Vox // drums. Rather than write several pages about the bands history I am going leave learning the bands full history up to you, the fan.  It is out there and not hard to find. In 1992 when the band Monster Magnet (named after a Wham-O toy Dave Wyndorf loved playing with as a child) released its second album Superjudge, Monster Magnet was:  Dave Wyndorf -Vox//rhythm guitar,  Ed Mundell- lead guitar, Jon Kleiman – drums, and Joe Calandra – bass guitar.

Band Pic_1992_SuperjudgeCirca 1992 from  left to right Jon Kleiman, Dave Wyndorf, Ed Mundell, Joe Calandra

 

Eons ago or that’s how it feels sometime when I was a soldier and, though the Army had shaved my head and put me in a uniform, they didn’t really change me. I just let them think they did. I was still me and still a metal-head. Joining the military and being stationed in Germany put some cash in my pocket and got me exposed to stuff I had never heard before.
At the time metal seemed to be on the down turn as MTV claimed Generation X was going bat shit crazy for grunge. Thankfully Germany had a roaring metal scene and the metal fans that packed the clubs to hear their favorite underground bands and didn’t care what MTV had to say. Which is why Monster Magnet blew up in Germany more they did in the United States.  It also helped their the band’s first full length, cult classic, “Spine of God” on longstanding German label Glitterhouse Records.

 

 

Unfamiliar with Monster Magnet at the time I recall finding their album Superjudge in my local PX (Post Exchange) and thinking with a cover and name like that this has potential to rock and it did just that. When I returned to my Barracks and put the CD into my stereo I was blown away by something that sounded like 60’s Psychedelic rock gone metal. While I’d heard some far out stuff, Monster Magnet was unlike any metal band I had heard before. Listening was like swimming in a sonic ocean as the band fearlessly used sound rather than stick to the tried trued and tested metal riffs. Among the songs that most impressed me were ‘Cyclops Revolution,’  ‘Superjudge,’ ‘Cage Around The Sun,’ ‘Dinosaur Vacume’ and the band’s covers of Hawkwind’s ‘Brainstorm.’

 

 

Current Line Up:
Dave Wyndorf – vocals, rhythm guitar (1989–present)
Phil Caivano – rhythm guitar, lead guitar (1998–present)
Bob Pantella – drums (2004–present)
Garrett Sweeny – lead guitar (2010–present)
Chris Kosnik – bass guitar (2013-present)


Monster Magnet – Powertrip Album Review + Videos…

Monster Magnet Monday – Part 1

Powertrip – Vinyl // CD // DD

A&M Records – Released June 16th, 1998

**Currently Available on Napalm Records**

Reviewed by Santiago “Chags” Gutierrez

 

Line Up for Powertrip:
Dave Wyndorf – vocals, guitar
Ed Mundell – guitar
Philip Caivano – guitar
Joe Calandra – bass
Jon Kleiman – drums

 

Tracklist:
“Crop Circle” – 5:32
“Powertrip” – 3:31
“Space Lord” – 5:55
“Temple of Your Dreams” – 4:35
“Bummer” – 7:35
“Baby Götterdämmerung” – 3:09
“19 Witches” – 4:02
“3rd Eye Landslide” – 5:10
“See You in Hell” – 4:05
“Tractor” – 3:26
“Atomic Clock” – 5:06
“Goliath and the Vampires” – 4:13
“Your Lies Become You” – 4:18

 

By the time 1998 came along, Monster Magnet had steadily been producing and improving upon their brand of stoner/space/psych/hard rock for eight years. After two EP’s and three full length releases, Monster Magnet had solidified themselves as a top act in the hard rock scene. Following the momentum gathered from their amazing Dopes to Infinity album, Powertrip, their fourth full length, saw Monster Magnet firing on all cylinders and at the top of their game. Songs suddenly started appearing throughout pop culture. Talladega Nights using “Spacelord” on their soundtrack, for example.

Written mostly in Las Vegas, in a relatively short amount of time, Powertrip benefited with a more consistent feel despite bridging the diversity of the stoner heaviness found on Spine of God, the psychedelic flow of Superjudge, and the more metal sounding Dopes to Infinity. The track list flows smoothly from one style to another. The first four tracks: ‘Crop Circles,’ ‘Powertrip,’ ‘Spacelord’ and ‘Temple of Your Dreams’ blast out of the gate with their trademark heavy riffs. Dave Wyndorf’s rhythms fitting in perfectly with Ed Mundell’s leads, which here, solidified his role as a premier guitarist in the genre. ‘Bummer’ transitions the album into the more hypnotic, psychedelic tunes of ‘Baby Gotterdammerung,’ ’19 Witches’ and ‘3rd Eye Landslide.’ The importance of Joe Calandra (bass) and Jon Kleiman (drums) cannot be understated, as they provide a solid rhythmic backbone throughout the whole ride.

 

‘See You in Hell’ was inspired by a bus ride Wyndorf took from New York City to New Jersey when some fellow passengers told him that they killed their baby and buried it somewhere in the New Jersey Meadowlands.  Shocked, Wyndorf got out of the bus. One can’t help but wonder what kind of other horror stories are out there among us.  ‘Tractor’ and ‘Atomic Clock’ continue the return of the heavier tunes before the album closes out with the subdued tones of ‘Goliath and the Vampires’ and ‘Your Lies Become You.’  All throughout, Wyndorf’s quirky lyrics are open to interpretation. His writing style being a staple throughout their entire lyrical output. On the surface seemingly having no cohesion or focus, but once you delve deeper into his prose, you start to realize that some grey matter is required to take in the full effect of what he is attempting to convey. Powertrip mostly deals with what Wyndorf observed while in Las Vegas, yet it is written in ways that could apply to everyday life in general.

 


At the time Powertrip was released in 1998, most bands were producing albums that had more than 12 tracks on them. Quantity seemed to rule over quality. Monster Magnet was no exception to the quantity, yet their quality here never suffered. They managed to incorporate the many facets explored on previous albums to produce a truly engaging listening experience, a particularly unique journey that is curious, raving, yet most of all amusing to listen to. As mentioned on the opening track, “I got an itch in my cosmic pocket and it won’t go away.” And personally, I’m not sure I would ever want it to.

Links:
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/monstermagnet
Napalm Records – https://shop.napalmrecords.com/monster-magnet-powertrip-cd.html (Album Available here and other outlets)


New Album Review – Super Snake “Leap of Love”

SUPER SNAKE

Leap Of Love – CD / DD

Self Released – Release Date:  February 14, 2017

 

Band Members:

Pete August: Guitar
Vinnie Fiore: Drums
Jerry Jones: Vocals
Joe Laga: Guitar
Jesse Marianni: Bass, Keys

Hometown; New Jersey

Super Snake were Born in 2012 and were baptized in the waters of psyched-out post-whatever!!  “Rock ‘n’ Roll Mind Control via a mouthful of psychedelics washed down with ten beers while listening to Black Sabbath and the dirtier parts of Sonic Youth. ”

 

Band in a car

 

This being the first full length release, opener and title track ‘Leap Of Love’ sets a pace for the album that those unaware of SUPER SNAKE will have a quick idea of what they are in for with this album. Super Snake has certain flavor the band describes as “…a Ouija board chopped up into little pieces, made into kindling, stuffed into your pipe.”  This is pretty much what you get, from the first line about how ‘Sometimes they never get your name right…’ and PUNCH the double guitar assault hits and bowl is lit as the first break shifts to a dream/nightmare state as you follow the mix of cascading sounds swirling over each other until that double-six hits again. ‘Lie4U’ is the perfect 21st century anti-love song ripping forth with lyrics steeped in questioning and declaration like ‘I’d lie for you, even if you wouldn’t’ and a ghostly-mixed vocal rolling left and right as the solos whip back and forth to the end. ‘Hot Pavement’ begins with a measure of high bends and the rest hit after a measure, slower paced than we have been so far but still rolling along making your head bounce in time where ‘Spirit Cave’ has a 70’s wah-pedal rolling along with a stoner’s wet-dream of flow-along on this air stream vapor feel through the seven and a half minute ride along this tale of two. No break between, ‘Lavish Sum Of Dread’ comes in with a drum line filling the air as the perfect pace for this tale of a ‘Sunday thrill for one’ as described in what has become comfortable this voice that never quite fades out as it shifts speed and pitch. Standout ‘Sister Margaret’ wastes no time in the perfect headbanger 4/4 time signature with the mystic-sounding keys lilting between the melodies that keep winding around as so much smoke in a room surrounding the bodies bouncing along. ‘Dreamcoated’ give a quick four-click heads-up before it’s sonic blast rips the paint off the walls, ‘Too Late Who Cares’ instead is a full-on SONIC YOUTH/UNDERNEATH WHAT recipe of swirling lights melting into the walls and it makes sense. ‘Get Lost Be Mine’ has a blues-fueled bounce while ‘Cecelia’ reeks of Mississippi mud with the chugging single guitar jag. ‘Big Seize’ has a cleaner guitar tone that we tend to hear a lot out of New jersey but with a punch that is often lacking for whatever reason, switching to pure crunch across all strings as we slide onto a stellar solo that bridges the mid section across to the screams that come in and grab the frontal cortex while the drummer kicks into overdrive and everything is back to swirling together.  Next enters ‘Take My Breath’ kicks in in true psychedelic bliss, clouds of varying colors circling like so much bong smoke to the end showing a band that is ready to make a stand and have accomplished their goal with this record.

Super Snake in a live setting would have to be insane if they can deliver the intensity of each song on this record and I have no doubt that they can and MORE… buy the album, support the live venues and let’s get these guys to your town and mine!!

Links:

 

https://supersnakerock.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/supersnakerock/

Words by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr