USA

Vinyl review: Agoraphobic Nosebleed/The Endless Blockade split 7″

A tasty little 7″ slab o’ wax hot off the presses over at Chez Relapse, this split release features (what I assume to be) three new songs from Virginia grinders Agoraphobic Nosebleed and a handful of tracks from Toronto’s The Endless Blockade (perhaps that city’s best kept secret this side of Moe Panzer’s Deli up at Bathurst and Wilson – nah, actually way better than that).

Killswitch Engage: Turning Liquid Sugar Into Gold

Whether it’s because they have definite hardcore roots, forming as they did from the ashes of Overcast, Aftershock and, later, Blood Has Been Shed, or because they have choruses that sound more like globules of liquid sugar instead of caustic battery acid, Massachusetts’ Killswitch Engage has always had troubles being accepted by metalheads across the board. Arguments range from “they’re metalcore/screamo/not metal therefore they suck” to “they may be metal, but they suck” and other such subjectivity disguised as scene police fact. That they’ve gone ahead and managed two certified gold records in the U.S. means that the underground has yet another reason to chastise them beyond the speciousness of arguments surrounding what genre they call home.

Kevin Stewart-Panko discusses KSE’s second self-titled album and their rise to modest fame with band guitarist Joel Stroetzel.

Leeches Of Lore: s/t

Fitting eleven tracks into 52 minutes, Leeches of Lore is quite the mixed bag. It goes from fast-paced neo-thrash/NWOBHM riffing to heavy rock a la Big Business to mellow proggy noodling and Johnny Cash-era country
music—and that’s just within the first three songs!

Megadeth: Endgame

While previous efforts have been mired in attempts at being grandiose, Endgame strips away pretense…for the most-part. Omitting a few questionable moments, it still rages closer to the band’s early-’90s output than they have in years. No, it’s not an outright thrash metal masterpiece but Endgame still assures us that the important aspects of Megadeth’s personality remain intact, acting as a Jack Of All Trades by referencing high points in the band’s career.

Howl: Howl

At barely 15 minutes, it’s an all-too brief preview, but that’s all it takes to instantly establish Howl as a band to watch for in late-’09 and 2010.

Book Review: To Live Is To Die: The Life And Death Of Metallica’s Cliff Burton by Joel McIver

To think that it took 23 years for someone to come up with this brilliant notion of paying respects to Cliff Burton, the true backbone of Metallica, by providing a biography of his life is quite shocking. Seeing as metallians around the world have been mourning his passing—and the requisite downward spiral of the quartet give or take a few late-’80s releases—ever since, it’s sad something so obvious has gone under the radar for this long. Hell, even bootleg-ish videocassette Cliff ‘Em All sold boatloads…why wouldn’t this?

Oak: s/t LP

Oak’s debut 12” rumbles and crumbles like Paul Bunyon piloting a city-sized backhoe. Vocalist Jo Gonzalez mixes and mashes his vocal chords to the tune of skidding tires and large men falling down jagged canyons while the humid oppression of the guitar, bass and drums acts like the soundtrack to slow suffocation and violent digestion.

Saviours: Three 7″ Singles

Recorded as demos this past April with Scott Ecklein, the four new songs and two covers aren’t just rough around the edges; they’re positively filthy, that barely-produced sound hearkening back to the glory days of tape-trading, the bare-bones mix enhancing the fierce performances. Simply put, as solid as they were before, Saviours has never sounded this great.

Adrien Begrand reviews three brand new, limited edition 7″ singles by Bay Area metal quartet Saviours.