Are you familiar with the Corrosion Of Conformity song "Diablo Boulevard" off of their "America's Volume Dealer" album? Well, the subject of this week's review is familiar with it. In fact, they liked the song so much they named their band Diablo Blvd. On a related note, "Diablo Boulevard" is actually a very good C.O.C. song. You should check it out. But enough about the song... on to the band.
Diablo Blvd is a group that formed in 2005 and they have just released their third full length EP titled "Follow The Deadlights".
Many, many years ago when I was just a budding metal-head, my band of choice was Iron Maiden. I had not yet developed an ear or a liking for metal other than Iron Maiden with the possible exception of Black Sabbath but, even then, it was Paranoid and not much else. Then, one day, my buddy Rod introduced me to Venom's "Welcome To Hell" album and, frankly, it scared the crap out of me.
Never before had I been exposed to something so brutal, so heavy, so demonic. I had no interest in it. I was content to listen to the first four Iron Maiden records and go about my business.
Happy new year, friends. I hope you had a chance to check out the list of my top 10 favorite metal albums from 2014. If not, I recommend you find it and read it. If you already have then you may recall that one of the bands at the top was a group called Calabrese.
Generally speaking, I am not a fan of top ten lists but my pals here at Bloody Good Horror have been doing them around this time of year for a while so I figured, "what the hell". There are rules, though. All albums must be original studio releases from the year that was 2014. No live albums, no cover albums and no re-releases. And, to streamline things, I will limit my list to those metal albums I've reviewed this year. Lastly, this list is comprised of the ten best albums as I see them. Your list may be (and probably is) different.
As we approach the end of another calendar year I find myself asking reflective questions... is it time to change my impossibly high standards and the inevitable disappointment that goes along with them to something more realistic? Do I expect too much from people? Should I just be happy with what I have or should I continue to strive for more? Is "good enough" really good enough? And what about all this new music I've been hearing?
So, I'm sitting in my favorite chair with a turkey sandwich in one hand and a fresh cup of coffee in the other. The album I'm reviewing this week begins to play on the hi-fi. It starts off innocuously enough with your standard thrash guitar beginning. I take a bite of my sandwich. The song kind of sounds like something Testament or Death Angel might have done back in the day. Then, 48 seconds into the album, it snaps into some killer NYC hardcore straight outta 1993. Was I shocked? Indeed. I nearly dropped my turkey sandwich.
You know, there was a time when beards were a rarity in the world of heavy metal music. Lots of hair, leather and spikes but facial hair was pretty hard to come by back in the day. Scott Ian of Anthrax developed some impressive chin whiskers and Kerry King of Slayer grew himself a mighty goatee. Nowadays, a formidable beard goes part and parcel with the heaviest of heavy metal and helping to sustain that trend is UK band Krokodil, who's modus operandi is "mostly beards and riffs".
Here's a question... what if, instead of Ian Gillan, Black Sabbath had replaced Ronnie James Dio with a female singer? And not just any female singer. A female singer with power and soul who really knew how to belt out a lyric.
I think we have our found our answer in the form of the band Avatarium.
Avatarium is from the country that never seems to be short on new and interesting metal acts, Sweden. Hailing from Stockholm, they bring with them a sound that's part metal, part blues and a whole lot of intensity from vocalist Jennie-Ann Smith.
Few names are as immediately recognizable in the world of metal as that of Max Cavalera; founding member and former frontman for metal giants Sepultura, founder of the Brazillian flavored metal group Soulfly and now, after reuniting with his brother, former Sepultura drummer Iggor Cavalera, face of Cavalera Conspiracy. If you're a fan of brutal, in your face, unapologetic metal, Max and Iggor are here to provide it with the latest release from Cavalera Conspiracy, "Pandemonium".
How many metal shows have you been to where the opening act was solid but not inspiring? I've found myself in this situation more times than I care to remember. I am a supporter of music in all it's forms and I give due credit to any band that has made it far enough to have an album released and go on tour. It's their chance to show the audience what they can do. When the opening act comes on, I'm rooting for them. I WANT them to inspire me. I WANT them to succeed.