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.


TWELVE NOON ‘Saints And Sinners’ Review; Official Video

TWELVE NOON
Saints And Sinners – CD//DD
Eclipse Records – Release Date: June 9th, 2017
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

From Steel City, USA comes one of the more invigorating albums I have been privy to streaming via a promo recently. The band is freshly formed one in some sense of the word, a quintet amassed not that long ago in 2015 by members Rob Heil (gtrst.) and Michael Loew (vox). Twelve Noon rounded out their roster with guitarist John Devlin, bassist Tim Clark and drummer Justin Runkel and believe it or not, began as a cover band. Feeling the fire burning to write and create their own original music after a song or two placed in their covers sets got tremendous receptions, that is exactly what they did. Soon, the band caught the attention and ears of producer Bobby Balow and fast forward to now, they sit poised to unleash ‘Saints And Sinners‘ via Eclipse Records on June 9th.

On said album, Twelve Noon truly wear a variety of musical hats so to speak, meaning they cover a lot of territory in their music. Blending elements of razor sharp heavy metal with those of hard rock, nu metal, alt. rock and even some melodic, more contemporary moments, the guys meld it all into this powerful recorded statement. It’s like a rollercoaster running at top speed, it hits twists, turns and curves with seemingly reckless abandon but truth is, there’s a method to the madness. A course laid out, a path being traveled and it is most definitely a ride you should get your ass on and buckle in to.

Things tear right off the line with the groove-laden stomp of ‘Change My Ways‘, a chunky, heavy riffer that chugs forward with pure determination. Aggressive music and vocals drive things onward and then abruptly relent to some incredible choruses laden with infectious melody. At one point things go unhinged with some scathing vocal deliveries while the music itself remains a bit laid back with a bluesy swagger. With the bar set, things quickly detour into the unexpected, solid, emotionally poignant ‘Breaking Down‘. Everything is dialed back on this track, keeping it all tight-knit while the drumming especially stood out to me on this one. The amps are cranked up and the attitude set loose on the album’s title track, ‘Saints And Sinners‘, next. A mid tempo pace pushes the song on with some pure rock fueling, catchy hooks and choruses, an infectious and addictive track for sure.

In fact, those very same qualities permeate all of the ten songs here and regardless if you’re a metalhead or a mainstream rock fan, there’s something for you to enjoy here. From the ballad-esque ‘Hope In Tragedy‘ to the acoustic-tinged southern rock of ‘Carry On‘, the song that Guns & Roses never wrote but should have, it’s all here. Maybe the darkly-hued aggro-styling of ‘No Way Out‘ (video streaming below) or the even darker tainted ‘Bottom Of A Bottle‘ is what you need. Then there’s always the album-closing ass kick that is the apprpriately titled ‘The End‘, a track that is quickly becoming my own personal favorite. Not to mention the nice double bass drum kicks rippling throughout the cut at times or the simmering guitar leads/solos.

Yep, Saints And Sinners is a nice breath of freshly metalized modern hard rock, one that I hear varied influences contained within. Moments of 80’s rock to the nu movement of the Nineties or the alternative constructs of more recent years, you hear it all at times. After all, isn’t time what this band and their official label debut here are all about? So, you know what time it is..or you’d better because, if not, then make the time Twelve Noon all the time by checking this superb album out as soon as possible.

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker