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Reviews in chronological order of publishing top to bottom

Dead or American - Thaumaturgy
Predestination Records
The term "genre-defying" was used in the press letter accompanying TLR!'s copy of Thaumaturgy, and this reviewer can't think of a better statement. Each song blends hardcore vocals with alternative and hard rock style instrumentals, making Dead or American's sound both unique and stirring; something all bands should aim for regardless of the flavor they play.
Thaumaturgy's ten tracks earn Dead or American their title as Scotland's "kings of post-hardcore".
Underlying each song is a dystopian vibe, which could be the goth rock style arrangements some of the songs sport. This reviewer can't quite put his finger on it, but it is liked nonetheless.
Dead or American gets 3.5 out of 5 for Thaumaturgy featuring "Rodomontade", "Creep Eastward", "A Border Crossing", "Potboiler", "Shibboleth", "Hot Shapes for Autumn", "Ne Plus Ultra"; "Vox Humana, Vox Celeste"; "St. Thomas' Well", and "Lupine Tuition".
My choice tracks being: "Creep Eastward", "Shibboleth", "Ne Plus Ultra", and "Lupine Tuition".
Dead or American is Chris Cusack on guitar and vocals, Colin Morrison on guitar and vocals, Ritchie Carlin on drums and vocals, and Peter Flett on bass.
For more info on Dead or American and Thaumaturgy check out www.predestinationrecords.com.

- Michael Meade

Loss Leader - Loss Leader
Black Metal/Electro/Ambient
Predestination Records
Loss Leader is the literal one-man-band of Joe Quimby, Loss Leader was released December 1st 2008 on Predestination Records, and is available as a digital download only.
With Loss Leader Quimby has defined a dark, melodic sound reminiscent of a cross between The Cure and Depeche Mode, with some screamo style vocals thrown in for good measure.
The eight tracks come across a little emo at points, but not enough to damage the dark morbidity it feels like Loss Leader is aiming for. Yes, the previous statement at first glance could be taken as an oxymoron, but try comparing some emo music with some truly dark tunes like Quimby has crafted here.
Loss Leader's debut features "hope was never here", "you make me sick", "poor things", "you really are just a waitress", "show us no secret", "i deliver handshakes like bombs", "speak to your lawyer", and "dark clouds over clear skies".
Loss Leader's self-titled debut gets a well earned 3.5 out of 5.
Check out www.presdestinationrecords.com and www.myspace.com/lossleaderdoom for more info, sample clips, and full downloads.
-Michael Meade

Titus Gein & Hey Enemy - titus gein VERSUS hey enemy
Predestination Records
What do you get when you mix electro and bass heavy post blues rock? Glasgow's own Titus Gein and Hey Enemy's split EP titus gein VERSUS hey enemy! Two tracks from Titus Gein head-to-head with three from Hey Enemy.
It would've been nice for the split to be equal, but regardless Titus Gein's two tracks "mechanoid" and "which is it, beastman?" are both pretty tasty bits of electro goodness. "which is it, beastman?" is the choice track for this reviewer.
Hey Enemy has a decent three track half, consisting of "ambulance chaser", "happy sanchez", and "a square go".
"ambulance chaser" gets my pick of Hey Enemy's tracks.
I'd like to give both outfits equal scores and call their face-off a tie, but Titus Gein takes it by a nose.
Titus Gein and Hey Enemy get a 3 out of 5 for their split EP.
Check them both out at www.myspace.com/titusgein and www.myspace.com/heyenemy respectively for music samples and tour dates.
- Michael Meade

Suns of Freedom - Turn Yourself On
NorthEastsector Records
Suns of Freedom are back with a vengence with Turn Yourself On! These eight tracks stand head, shoulders, and a stage above the demo Suns of Freedom sent us almost a year ago.
This Brooklyn metal band's sound has matured in a major way, their lyrics have a substance this reviewer found lacking on DEMOLISTEN; not to mention their tighter instrumentals.
Altogether Suns of Freedom pulled off a great metal album in Turn Yourself On and I commend them on it, metal has really been starting to sound alike of late and this stands out from the crowd.
Turn Yourself On is eight tracks of headbanging greatness!
"Turn Yourself On", "Cut Loose", "Demand More", "Being Human", "A3R", "Hate the World", "Swirls of Confusion", and "The Hustle" deserve the 4 out of 5 this album is getting.
Choice cuts are "Turn Yourself On" and "Being Human".
Suns of Freedom are Vocals: the Refugee, Guitar: Chris9, Drums: Big Dirty Willis, Bass: Julius Jams, Sonic Titan: Jay Rea.
- Michael Meade 

Shadows Lie - Echoes
Kira Leigh's vocals make every song a hauntingly melodic trip. Emotion fills every line in beautiful unison with the impressive instrumentals, ranging from acoustic guitars to hard rocking electric guitars and tight drums.
Peppered with a hint of electronica, making Echoes emotionally dark very nicely without crossing into emo territory.
At first glance Shadows Lie gives a gothic appearance, but upon listening the group quickly defies classifaction with each song representing many different rock elements.
Each of the fourteen tracks on Echoes runs the gauntlet of rock genres including, hard, alternative, goth, acoustic, indie, even laying down a ballad! A non-cheesy ballad in fact, which is incredible.
Alternative is definately felt the most, but that is a plus, as this reviewer wishes more alt rock was this good.
Echoes is an ambitious fourteen tracks; "Dead End", "Ghost", "Echo", "Blank", "Keep Falling Down", "Overwhelmed", "Shadows", "Invited", "Broken", "Secret", "Zoe", "Everything", "Portrait", "Flame", and an acoustic cut of "Keep Falling Down" for track fifteen.
Most up and coming bands don't go for more than eight tracks on their debut albums, of course recording costs are a completely understandable factor in that, but here at TLR! we like ambition.
Stand out tracks for me are "Dead End", "Ghost", "Echo", "Shadows", "Zoe", "Flame", and "Keep Falling Down" acoustic. 
Echoes gets an almost perfect 4.5 out of 5!
Shadows Lie is Kira Leigh - vocals and lyrics, Cary Tamura - guitars, bass, and programming. Guitars on "She Can't See Them" performed by Geoff Grayson and Cary Tamura. Additional drum programming on "Dead End" by Marco Britti.
Shadows Lie live band is Frank Grullon and Malaka De Silva on guitars, and Marco Britti on drums.
Shadows Lie will be touring extensively in 2009, check out www.shadowslie.com and www.myspace.com/wheretheshadowslie for tour dates and to give them a listen for yourself.
- Michael Meade

Stephanie White & The New Jersey Philth Harmonic -
Knee Deep InSanity
Harmonic? Definately, Philth? Perhaps, but I like it by any name. Stephanie's vocals are soulful and sensual with a strength and vulnerability to them that brings a sense of realness to the music.
Instrumentals range from a jazz soul fusion to acoustic rock, a piano ballad, and a little blues.
This eclectiveness keeps you listening and your foot tapping in time through all ten tracks of Knee Deep InSanity.
The country/bluegrass vibe you get off the guitar work on "Rogue" feels a little out of place. It's still a solid song, it's just the mood and lyrical content make you want a more bluesy guitar.
Knee Deep InSanity is "Girls Have Expenses", "Tough Enough", "Teardrops", "You're Not Alone", "Sustain", "Bogged Down", "You Won't Believe", "Here We Go Again", "Rogue", and "Did I Change You?"
This reviewer's choice songs are "Girls Have Expenses", "You're Not Alone", "Here We Go Again", and "Did I Change You?"
Stephanie White & The New Jersey Philth Harmonic get a 3.5 out of 5 for Knee Deep InSanity.
The New Jersey Philth Harmonic is Stephanie White on vocals, Robbie LaFalce on drums, acoustic guitar, percussion, and vocals; Matt "Shooby" Schoenebaum on alto and tenor sax and flute, Eric Lindberg on electric guitar and mandolin, Aleks Ozolinson keyboards, French Horn, and programming; and Chris Staranka on acoustic and electric bass.
Give them a listen for yourself and get show dates at www.myspace.com/PhilthHarmonic.
- Michael Meade

Madleaf - Sinners
Poison Tree Records

Sinners is eleven tracks of greatness! Greek rockers Madleaf have taken everything that made grunge greats like Alice in Chains, Soundgarden, and Pearl Jam legends and distilled it into a sound that is incredible.
Awesome vocals, spot on guitars, heavy bass, and perfect drums seal the deal on this album's awesomeness and lets you know these guys have earned their stripes before they even formed Madleaf.
Jim Lord (vocals) hails from Lord 13, a cult grunge-stoner rock band, George (drums) came from alternative Make-Believe, which was featured on MTV; Nick (guitars) was in the alt band Human Asteroid, and Dorian (bass) came from the metal outfits Clairvoyant and Night Guest.
Sinners features "Sinners", "Wave Girl", "The Age of Reason", "Velvet", "Feed Me", "Under My Head", the instrumental "Bliss", "Dirty Bag", "Hand You The Crown", "Space Lift", and "Into The Sun".
This reviewer's choice tracks are "Sinners", "Wave Girl", "Feed Me", and "Hand You The Crown".
This review has turned out a little short, relatively speaking, but how many times can you say how good a band is before the review becomes redundant? That being said, Madleaf gets a 4 out of 5 for Sinners.
Once again, Madleaf is Jim Lord on vocals, Nick on guitars, Dorian on bass, and George on drums.
You can check Madleaf out at any of these sites:
- Michael Meade

Slow Burning Car - Blowback
Slow Burning Records
Slow Burning Car is a one band army of musicians, making each song a new experience as band members take a revolving door approach with a different set of musicians on each song. I like that.
This also provides some great genre crossover, indie ballads ("Suddenly", "A Little Sign"), alternative style introspections of the songwriter's progress through life and love ("I Saw The Mountain", "Low"), and a song that would play out perfectly as what I'll dub a "grunge western" ("Rumbling Chief"); amongst others.
Slow Burning Car is definately a band I recommend looking up, and Blowback is an album to add to your collection.
Blowback's twelve tracks are: "King Con", "Farkytootle", "Low", "I Saw The Mountain", "Formula I", "Suddenly", "A Little Sign", "Respect", "Rumbling Chief", "First Born", "Grave" (dedicated to Mark Bavis, Ace Bailey, and the many others that lost their liveson September 11th 2001), and "Slow Burning Car".
This reviewer's choice tracks are "Farkytootle", "Low", "A Lttle Sign", and "Respect".
Slow Burning Car gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Blowback.
Slow Burning Car is Troy Spiropoulos - vocals, bass, electric and acoustic guitar, keys, piano, samples, percussion, and lead guitar; Steve Omest - lead guitar; Derek Reynolds - lead guitar; Bryan Gage - lead guitar; Tracii Guns - lead guitar; Jason Hemmens - harmonica; Heather Lodoe - viola; Julie Carpenter - violin; Eddie Estudio - saxophone; Greg St. John - backing vocals; Sheila McSherry - backing vocals; Kristin Ray - backing vocals; Mike Zimmerman - drums; Burt Malcut - engineering, production, ocals, guitar, bass, percussion.
Check Slow Burning Car out at www.slowburingcar.com and www.myspace.com/slowburningcar.
- Michael Meade

Dirty Passion - Self-Destructive/Angel
Rock/Classic Rock/Metal
The members of Dirty Passion have taken their cue from classic 1980s rockers in all but wearing spandex (I'm glad the '80s are long gone), which for this Sweden-based quartet is a good thing.
"Self-Destuctive" and "Angel" both have a highly palpable Bon Jovi circa 1985 feel to them. For some, this reviewer is sure, it would be an overwhelming feeling, but what's important is that's what works for Dirty Passion and they do it damn well.
My choice track is what would be the A-Side if vinyl was still around, "Self-Destructive".
Dirty Passion's single release Self-Destructive/Angel gets a 3 out of 5.
Dirty Passion is Emil Ekbladh on vocals,  Christopher Olsson on guitar,  Björn Wilander on bass, and Christoffer Braman on drums.

Check Dirty Passion out on Myspace at www.myspace.com/dirtypassionswe and on their website www.dirtypassion.net where they have eight other tracks to give a listen to and plenty of perfomance videos.
- Michael Meade

Combo-6 - sUNNY-eYE'D-uP
Soundwin Production
Garage-punk and electro aren't two styles you usually throw together, but Combo-6 pulls it off nicely. Add vocals that are reminiscent of Tim Armstrong without the mumble and it's all the better!
Combo-6's bass and drums need to be turned up a little, but other than that I'm not finding anything to complain about on sUNNY-eYE'D-uP.
sUNNY-eYE'D-uP's six tracks are "Panic Attack", "Interpretation Blind", "Catch zz", "Bring On The Wonder", "Oh My Dear", and "Can't Stand You".
Choice tracks are "Panic Attack" and "Can't Stand You" for their classic punk style, tone, and pacing.
Combo-6 gets a 3 out of 5 for sUNNY-eYE'D-uP.
Combo-6 is Micqel Servetus on vocals, guitar, bass, and drums. Check Comb-6 out at www.myspace.com/c6tunes.
- Michael Meade

Odd Zero - Admire The Liar
Odd Zero Records
Odd Zero is back with a new EP, Admire The Liar, and right from the beginning they up the ante. Harder, faster, and more pissed off!
You really can't help banging your head along with all six tracks! Vocals, guitars, bass, and drums sound even tighter than on their self-titled debut (which was great!). Keep an eye and both ears on Odd Zero, you won't regret it.
Admire The Liar contains the title-track, "Dirty Electricity", "Stalker Vibe", "Nervous Around Me", "Set it Down", and "Notorious".
This reviewer's top picks are "Admire The Liar", "Dirty Electricity", and "Set it Down".
Odd Zero gets another perfect score of 5 out of 5 for Admire The Liar!
Odd Zero is Mike Friedman on vocals, Tay Malloy on bass, Milton Hernandez on drums, and Mike Fujii on guitars. You can check them out on Myspace at www.myspace.com/oddzerony and on Soundclick at www.soundclick.com/oddzero.
- Michael Meade

Free Spirit - Pale Sister of Light
Rock/Classic Rock/Metal
Expressive vocals, flawless instrumentals, and progressive pacing make Pale Sister of Light a great listen! Lyrical content is downright mythological at times, and that makes this reviewer happy being a mythology and fantasy fiction buff.
Free Spirit has put together a great album of epic quest songs that are at the same time very personal journeys we all take in life. Each backed by awesome classic rock inspired guitar riffs and jamming drums!
These elements combined truly make a masterful piece of musical alchemy.
Pale Sister of Light is "Shadow of A Man", "Moonlight Ride", "Pale Sister of Light", "Heroes Don't Cry", "Radiant Light", "Cry of An Eagle", "Easy Days", "Strangers", "Until The Night", "Far Away From Heaven", and "Preacher Man".
Choice tracks are "Shadow of A Man", the title track, "Heroes Don't Cry", "Radiant Light", and "Preacher Man".
Free Spirit gets a 4.5 out of 5 for Pale Sister of Light.
Free Spirit is Sami Alho (vocals), Pasi Koivumäki (drums), (guitar), Sami Hämäläinen (bass), Marko Haapamäki (guitar), and Timo Alho (keys).
Check Free Spirit out at www.freespiritrock.com and on Myspace at www.myspace.com/freespiritrock.
- Michael Meade

Snew - Snew You
Snew Music
Snew could be summed up as Def Leppard meets Guns n Roses (before they started sucking)... but why stop there? Good vocals, tasty guitars, good basslines, and tight drums mixed with real party lyrics make one good bang your head, party all night rock album!
TLR! hasn't received any really slamming party rock for a few months, and this reviewer is glad Snew stepped up and delivered!
Now it's time to finish this review so I can jam to Snew You one more time before before my next review.
Snew You's excellent ten tracks are "Stand Up High", "Got Love", "Snew You", "She's A Real Gunslinger", "Kick Me Over", "Head Trauma", "Electric Is The Law", "Get It To Go", "Vibrator", and "Heavy Water".
Top tracks are the title track "Snew You", "She's A Real Gunslinger", "Kick Me Over", "Electric Is The Law", and "Heavy Water".
Snew's Snew You gets an enthusiastic 4 outta 5!
Snew is Curtis Don Vito (vox), Andy Lux (guitars), Cat Tate (bass), and Mark Ohrenberger (drums).
- Michael Meade

Lilith's Army - Drain Me
Indie-Go Records/Dark Sound Records
Lilith's army launches a full force kick to your head with every note of Drain Me. The UK based trio keep their sonic assault strong with hard and heavy guitar riffs, pile-driving drums, and incredible rage fueled vocals!
Lilith's Army delivers one hell of a great album, worthy of their moniker, in Drain Me. Frontwoman Sylvie Truman's growling vocals and heavy guitar pull you into the massive "fuck you" that the eight tracks, plus an acoustic cut of the title track, of Drain Me spell out.
Back all that up with a great rhythm section and you get one ballsy album, with a lot of punk attitude wrapped in garage metal, that TLR! highly recommends you check out!
Drain Me is "Sweet Nitemare", "Sick of it All", "Drain Me", "Indecision", "Favorite Sin", "Fugue", "Get Out", "The Devil Within Me", and "Drain Me" acoustic.
Recommended tracks are "Sick of it All", "Indecision", "The Devil Within Me", and the acoustic cut of "Drain Me".
Lilith"s Army gets a 4.5 out 5 for Drain Me.
Lilith's Army is Sylvie on vocals and guitar, Rob on drums, and Matt on bass guitar. Check them out at www.lilithsarmy.com and www.myspace.com/lilithsarmy.
- Michael Meade

Deluded By Lesbians - The Ignorance of being Important
Deluded By Lesbians have achieved a great vintage punk sound in their instrumentals that harken back to the early days of the Ramones and the Clash, without copying them.
Deluded By Lesbians are definately themselves in every way!
Vocal style shifts back and forth between "modern" alternative and an almost new wave/post-punk hybrid vibe, depending on the track, wich this reviewer digs.
The Ignorance of being Important is the Milano, Italy based trio's second EP. The first was 2008's The Importantance of being Ignorant.
The six track EP features "Don't Laugh For Me Argentina", "Love Is Blind", "We Don't Care", "C'mon Get In", "Rip Off My Eyes", and the band's cover of early '90s club hit "All That She Wants"; originally by Ace of Base.
Lyrics run the gauntlet from intelligent commentary on life, and problems arising from it, to bullshit that sounds like the band was hammered when they wrote them; which in the end serves up a pretty good EP.
Choice tracks are "Don't Laugh For Me Argentina", "Love Is Blind", "We Don't Care", and "All That She Wants.
Deluded By Lesbians get a 3.5 out of 5 for The Ignorance of being Important, multo bene gentlemen!
Deluded By Lesbians are Federica Knox (guitars, bass, vocals), Laura O'Clock (bass, guitars, vocals), and Lara Brixen (drums, vocals).
-Michael Meade

YesMisterBloodVessel - Racing The Relapse
It's hard on a reviewer when the band or solo artist has already summed up their work perfectly as "Nine Inch Nails meets U2 meets Filter meets The Beatles meets Nirvana". Despite the truth of that statement, and being able to hear each influence in their sound, YesMisterBloodVessel remains unmistakably YesMisterBloodVessel all the way.
Lyrically Racing The Relapse  hits hard, without pulling a punch on any of the gut wrenching emotions it conjures, but has a wit that most "fuck you, you *insert gender appropriate expletive here*" break-up and post-break-up songs lack.
The instrumental tracks ("Aries & Leo", "Reflection On The Rocks", "Racing The Relapse") are well done and a contemplative air about them, except the title track, which is very dark and primal in it's instrumentation. YesMisterBloodVessel mastermind Christian Peppas also gets applauded for being ballsy enough to have composed his title track as an instrumental piece.
Racing The Relapse is "Victim", "Aries & Leo", "Skeleton Czar", "You Will Never Know", "Reflection On The Rocks", "Relativity", "Racing The Relapse", and "Happiness For A Day".
Choice tracks: "Victim", "Skeleton Czar", "You Will Never Know", and "Reflection On The Rocks".
YesMisterBloodVessel gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Racing The Relapse.
YesMisterBloodVessel is Christian Peppas (composer, vocals, guitar, piano, synth), and guest musicians Spivac (guitars, synth, backing vocals, programming), John Ferrara (bass), Justin Ahiyon (drums), Adam Christgau (drums), Stupp (bass), and Chris Gersbeck (drums).
-Michael Meade

Saddleback Shark - The Killing System
Shredguy Records
Saddleback Shark originally released The Killing System in 1997, just as rock and metal were being forced almost underground once more by "virginal" pop princesses and limp boy bands, and 12 years later... it still kicks ass!
Remastered and released on Shredguy Records, The Killing System is what metal should be. Guitars that set fire to amps, pounding basslines, drums that hit like sledgehammers, pissed off gravely vocals... yeah, hard to find a negative anywhere in this album.
Lyrical content covers getting shafted by people and the system, government lies, and more; every line just as socially relevent today as it was in '97.
The Killing System features "Thirteen Days", "Blistered", "The Killing System", "Freedom Noose", "Infested", "Whipping Tree", "Skyrockethead", "Maximum Jet", "Am I Dead Sam", and "Staplegun".
Choice cuts are the title track, "Freedom Noose", "Whipping Tree", "Skyrockethead", and "Maximum Jet".
Saddleback Shark's The Killing System gets a thrashing 4.5 out of 5!
Saddleback Shark is Rob Johnson (guitar), Gil Graham (bass), Drew Collins (vocals), and John Homan (drums).
For more info on Saddleback Shark check out www.myspace.com/shredguyrecords.
-Michael Meade

Rob Johnson - Shredworx: The Rob Johnson Collection
Shredguy Records
There really isn't a better title for this album, Johnson is a true shred master on guitar. You want to talk guitar heroes? This guy is the real deal!
Compositions are almost symphonic in their straightforward yet complex structures. And others are simply balls to the wall headbangers, which just fine by this reviewer.
Pacing is razor sharp start to finish, in fact, I dare you to listen to Shredworx and not bang your head through all 15 tracks!
Great headbanging songs, amp melting guitar shreds, blazing speed, and full enjoyability for any metalhead! This is instrumental metal at it's finest.
Tracks off Shredworx are "Forcefield", "Guitarchitecture", "Metaphysical", "Jinxed", "Supercharged", "Gravity Pulling Me", "Seven String Rhetoric", "Divided By Three", "Relay Torque", "Soul Chuckles", "Subliminal Dream", "Instant Vibe Potion", "Dance of The Monster Gods", "End of Days", and "Blistered" (from Johnson's Saddleback Shark days).
Choice cuts: "Forcefield", "Seven String Rhetoric", "Dance of The Monster Gods", and "End of Days".
Rob Johnson gets 4 out of 5 for Shredworx: The Rob Johnson Collection.
-Michael Meade

Moth Circus

Moth Circus isn't exactly "Pamela Anderson mastubating at a freakshow" as the band's press letter promised, but they do hold your attention through this six track demo as if they were Pam Anderson...
Now what Moth Circus is, is straight up, balls to the wall rock!
Unapologetically Moth Circus hits you hard from beginning to end, and wanting more you'll be all too eager to push Play again. Hard vocals, solid guitars, hammer hit drummming, and tight basslines (though for this reviewer's tastes the bass could've used a heavier presence) combine to make Moth Circus a circus to run away with.
Composition and pacing are hard, fast, and in your face but that's how rock was meant to be.
The six tracks on this demo are "Carousel", "Death Living", "Stay Wrong", "Dark Sunshine", "Useless Until Abused", and "My Puppeteer".
Choice cuts are definately "Death Living" and "My Puppeteer".
Moth Circus gets a 3.5 out of 5 for the demo, and a 5 for the two pages of "all work and no play makes EBE a dull alien" that came with it.
Moth Circus is Norway-based four piece outfit featuring Tommy (bass, vocals), Alien Ken (guitar, vocals), Johnny (vocals, guitar), and Glenn (drums).
Check Moth Circus out at www.mothcircus.com and www.myspace.com/mothcircus.
-Michael Mead

Eryn Non Dae. - The Never Ending Whirl of Confusion
Metal Blade Records Europe
Eryn Non Dae. (formerly END.) comes on like a wrecking ball to the face, swiftly followed by a jackhammer in the back of your skull! Great instrumental precision, that rivals Avenged Sevenfold, and throat-shredding hardcore vocals pull you down into the dark depths of each song's musical violence.
Each verse is a powerhouse of vocal rage and every bar of music a shredding skullcracker.
Normally this reviewer isn't much of a fan of hardcore vocalization, but this EP was enjoyed! TLR! definately recommends Eryn Non Dae. to all metalheads.
The Never Ending Whirl of Confusion is a four track EP that features "Absolutely Nothing" (featuring Xav of JenX), "Beyond The Senses", "Desensitized", and "Enigma of The Unknown".
Now as the EP is completely sold out, the band was nice enough to send a CD-R with the EP plus two tracks ("When Time Elapses" and "The Decline and The Fall") off their new full album Hydra Lernaia. The original EP is great, but choice tracks are going to "When Time Elapses" and "The Decline and The Fall", those songs really won me over and have me looking forward to Hydra Lernaia.
The Never Ending Whirl of Confusion gets a 3 out of 5.
Eryn Non Dae. is a 5 piece band based out of Tolouse, France; and features Mathieu on vocal duty, Franck on guitar and backing vocals, Yann on guitar, Julien on drums, and Mika on bass.
Check out Eryn Non Dae. at end.1.free.fr and on Myspace at www.myspace.com/end1freefr.
-Michael Meade

Slow Burning Car - Vol. 2 - The Scattering
Slow Burning Records
Slow Burning Car is back with Vol. 2 - The Scattering and their press poster for the album is 100% correct, they have indeed refined their sound. And as a unit, Slow Burning Car is better for it. Instrumentation and composition are tighter, and as a whole this album flows much better than the band's previous release (Blowback).
Slow Burning Car explores various genres of rock, covering almost all of the rock spectrum in a mere 12 tracks. To sum it all up in a phrase, I'm impressed. Lyrically there is a wide span of subject matter, including mythological themes, science fact and fiction, evolution of oneself, "damn the man" style political commentary... again all my personal favorites in the lyric contents.
Vol. 2 - The Scattering contains "Adama", "Ghola", "Zeus", "Blowback", "In The Trees", "Marry Me", "Man In Crisis", "Call My Bluff", "Harum Scarum", "First Class", "Siren", and "Fabians Stroll".
Choice cuts are "Adama", "Ghola", "Blowback", "First Class", and "Siren".
Slow Burning Car gets a 4.5 out of 5 for Vol. 2 - The Scattering.
Slow Burning Car is Troy Spiropoulos (vocals, guitar, bass, keys, percussion, lead guitar), "Jim" Duc V. Le (lead guitar), Victor Bishop (piano, keys, backing vocals, lead vocals), Sheila McSherry (backing and lead vocals), Krista Ray (backing vocals), Mike Zimmerman (drums, backing vocals), and Burt Malcuit (engineering, production recon, lead guitar).
- Michael Meade

Pack of Wolves - Intimacy Is A Serious Danger
Pack of Wolves delivers an onslaught of raw, bloody, and biting emotion in every line of every song. The often abstract pain of grief, anger, disappointment, and conflicted love all find palpable form and expression in the lyrics and vocal delivery of Intimacy Is A Serious Danger.
Instrumental pacing cllas to mind early punk acts like The Sex Pistols and the original line-up of The Ramones.
The sound of the EP comes off a little lo-fi, but I like that, and with all the difficulties the band had to contend with over 2008, as a whole and on an individual level, they deserve a ton of accolades for recording and mixing an Ep this good in just five days!
The EP features "How Long Have I Been Fainted?", Human Remains (Wife, Mother, Woman)", "We Put The Fun In Funeral", "You're Beautiful (When I Can't See You)", and "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out".
Choice cuts are "How Long Have I Been Fainted?", "You're Beautiful (When I Can't See You)", and "There Is A Light That Never Goes Out".
Pack of Wolves gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Intimacy Is A Serious Danger.
Pack of Wolves is an Austrian four-piece band, Thomas Talger (vocals), Thomas Benke (drums), Erich Kuttnig (bass), and Stefan Benke (guitar).
Check Pack of Wolves out at packofwolvesband.com and on Myspace at www.myspace.com/thedesperatewolves.
- Michael Meade

The Absinthe Drinkers - Curiosities of the Future Gilded Age
Impurity Records
A Neo-Victorian quartet that sets poetry, modern and classic, to their own compositions... Wait! Don't walk away, it's good, I promise!
Seriously, The Absinthe Drinkers have combined great pieces with their signature sound, making for one interesting auditory trip.
Curiosities of the Future Gilded Age fits perfectly in either your indie or steampunk collection.
Composition has an indie/surf feel with a true absinthe flavor (the good stuff, not the Americanized swill you find in better liquor stores) to each note. This reviewer highly recommends The Absinthe Drinkers if you're looking to expand your listening habits with somethng new and interesting.
Please imbibe responsibly.
Track listing: "Sailor", "Archaeans", "Yellow River's Earl", "Spider Anguish", "Circe Revisited", "The Giantess and the Revenant", "No Room for Frank", "Omnibus", "The Harlot's House", "Lady Yang", "First Approach of the Sweet Spring", and "Drunken Murderer".
Choice cuts are "Sailor", "Spider Anguish", "Circe Revisited", and "Drunken Murderer".
Curiosities of the Future Gilded Age gets a 3.5 out of 5.
The Absinthe Drinkers are Chris McDonough (vocals), Robert McNaull (vocals, drums, congas, electronic and acoustic percussion), John Monge (guitar, keyboards), and Thomas Maxim Guerin (bass, keyboards).
For more of The Absinthe Drinkers check out www.theabsinthedrinkers.com and www.myspace.com/absinthedrinkers.
-Michael Meade 

Iroquois Confederacy - The Left-Handed Peace Pipe
Rock/Blues/Jam Band
Iroquois Confederacy pulls off an eclectic mix of styles in their material, throwing blues and rock in with alternative and a little grunge, sometimes all in one song. From beginning to end this approach stays fresh, even while the themes of several songs are classic blues situations and elements ("evil" women, booze, disatisfaction), the lyrics are written well in a "modern" context while retaining intelligence and wit.
Instruments are played with a deftness that lacking, even a little, would send the band down in a blaze that's nowhere near glory! Vocals sound like a raspy old school bluesman singing grunge rock, which if you think about it is pretty damn cool.
The Left-Handed Peace Pipe is "Father Media", "Friends With Benefits", "Bridges", "Cellophane Blues", "Remember", "Holy Roller Toker", "Just for Spite", "Architect of Buzz", "Wolves", "Old Joe", "King of Change", and "Silver Lined".
Choice cuts are "Cellophane Blues", "Holy Roller Toker", "Just for Spite", and "Old Joe".
Iroquois Confederacy gets a 3.5 out of 5 for The Left-Handed Peace Pipe.
Iroquoise Confederacy is a Pennsylvania-based four-piece band with Jeff Heilman (guitar, vocals), Eric Spotts (bass, vocals), Chris Underkoffler (drums), and Andy Adams (lead guitar).
For more Iroquois Confederacy check out www.iroconfed.com and www.myspace.com/iroconfed.
- Michael Meade

Fischel's Beast - Commencement
Stormspell Records
Barry Fischel, original guitarist of 80's thrash outfir Sentinel Beast, put Fischel's Beast together to release the material that meant to be Sentinel Beast's second album. Well the 20+ year wait was worth it!
Sinister guitar shredding, belted (but coherent) vocals, great thrash drumming that sports actual patterns and intricasy; beyond the machinegun repitition of most thrash and speed metal.
Now that Commencement has been released, Fischel's Beast will be working on songs that are all their own, showing they really are a different beast. This reviewer is looking forward to headbanging while next writing on Fischel's Beast. Thrash goodness of this calibre doesn't come along everyday, and certainly not with as much attention to lyrical and musical composition and arrangement.
Commencement is "Commencement/Forbidden Territories", "The Phoenix", "One Man's Cry", "Fate of Kings", and "Where Am I?"
Choice cuts are "Commencement/Forbidden Territories" and "One Man's Cry".
Commencement by Fishel's Beast gets a 4 out of 5.
Fischel's Beast is Barry Fischel (lead and rhythm guitar),Eric Mauriello (7 string bass), Ed Klinger (drums), and Anthony Cross (vocals). Commencement also features special guest Chris Caffery (Savatage/Trans-Siberian Orchestra) performing the guitar solo on "Forbidden Territories" and the first solo on "Fate of Kings".
Give Fischel's Beast a listen at www.myspace.com/fischelsbeast.
- Michael Meade

Rock Child - Ten
The ten songs on Rock Child's Ten play through telling vocalist Tat-Jane Bego's story of arrival in New York City from Europe and adapting to life in the Big Apple's entertainment scene.
Instrumentation is strong, led by Barry Fischel on guitar, too strong in the mix actually on "Blue Sky". A few times during the track I had to crank the volume just to hear Tat-Jane's vocals, but that's just a technicality, her vocals are worth the crank up to hear them. That's really the only complaint here, instruments (as stated) are great, and Tat-Jane's vocals sound like a cross between a sober Courtney Love and Björk.
Choice cuts are "WHEN SUN'S COMING DOWN" and "PIRATE LAND".
Rock Child's Ten gets a 3 out of 5.
Rock Child is Tat-Jane Bego (vocals), Barry Fischel (guitar), Lev Weinstein (drums), and Brian Haltz (bass).
- Michael Meade

Enigma Code - Between The Lines
Indie-Go Records
Mix Motorhead's driving power with the grooves of The New York Dolls and throw in some Bay Area Punk attitude and you get Enigma Code. While these influences are apparent, the band is by no means anything but their own. Instruments are tight all the way and make you want to get up and party, while the raspy vocals give a "horns up and headbanging" contrast that make you pay attention to the lyrics; yet still add to the party ready feeling.
A definate recommendation for everybody's "bands I should check out" list!
Between The Lines features:
"Know it All"
"Lies and Glory"
"Breakdown Baby"
"None so Blind"
"In Apathy"
Choice cuts are "Midnight", "Breakdown Baby", and "None so Blind".
Enigma Code gets a well earned 4.5 out of 5 for Between The Lines.
Enigma Code is Mike on vocals, Martin on guitar, Michel on bass, and Cyriel on drums. Check them out at www.myspace.com/enigmacodeuk.
- Michael Meade

Artic Music Group
Controversial and thought provoking best describe Predator's music, Damien Lee Thorr's lyrics speak about issues ranging from immigration, domestic violence, and child abuse to religious wars and prostitution to planet wide annihilation and children that get lost in the "system" among others.
Each addressed in words that make you think outside of your own experiences no matter where you place yourself on the liberal or conservative side of the divide.
This alone should garner Predator much applause before mention is even made of their musicianship. Instrumental precision is flawless and vocals are screamed with the impassioned anger of the masses that suffer these injustices in forced silence the world over.
Track list:
"Cursed (Letters From Hell)"
"Between Vengeance & Forgiveness"
"Closet Anti-Christ"
"Demon Soul"
"Die Unborn"
the instrumental "Fugue-itive"
"Lone Wolf"
"A Moment Sir..."
"In The Name of God?"
"The Border"
Choice cuts are "Between Vengeace & Forgiveness", "Closet Anti-Christ", and "In The Name of God?"
Predator's self-titled debut album gets a 5 out of 5!
Predator is Nestor Aguirre on vocals, Damien Lee Thorr on lead guitar, Chris Reiser on lead guitar (did I forget to mention the awesome dual lead guitar style Predator sports? It's incredible), Rotten Rudy Orozco on bass (Rudy, between TLR! receiving the CD for review and this review's publication, was unfortunately denied US Citizenship and was deported back to his native Nicaragua. Scott Opheila has since taken over bass), and Dan Galante on drums.  
-Michael Meade

Vastator - Hell Only Knows
Inferno Records
If you ever hear anyone comment that they're in need of some "loud and abusive tunes", send them Vastator's way! Vastator's sound is a brutal amalgamation of Judas Priest and Iron Maiden on steroids. For sheer headbangability alone Hell Only Knows is a winner, even during the lower tempo tracks you'll find the urge to bang your head.
Plus taking one this reviewer's favorite pieces from the opera Pagliacci and turning it into metal, which oddly enough I find fits said opera, as "Hellish Clown" and you can bet my attention is drawn and held. Instruments and vocals are kept tighter than a metronome from the first to last note of each song, factor in Vastator's precision and they make Mudvayne's self dubbed "math metal" look like multiples of two while they're rocking powers of twelve.
Tracks on Hell Only Knows are:
"Hellish Clown"
"Hell Only Knows"
"Inner Fury"
"Soul Of Heroes"
"Pounding Hearts"
"Evilution (The Next Step)"
"Mansion En Llamas"
"Maxima Entropia"
Choice cuts are "Hellish Clown", "Unbreakable", and "Bloodline".
Vastator gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Hell Only Knows.
The Chile-based quartet is Sr. Diaz on vocals, Felipe Hernandez on guitars, Peyote Barrera on bass, and Gerardo Barrenechea on drums and percussion. Check Vastator out at www.vastator.cl, www.myspace.com/vastatoronline, and www.inferno-records.net.
-Michael Meade

Hatestorm - Filth Purity
Black Metal
Inferno Records
Beastial growls and demonic voices guaranteed to the faint of heart nightmares for weeks, coupled with dark guitars and sinister drums pounding like legions of hellish troops show just how much Hatestorm belongs in the black metal genre.
Without hearing Filth Purity anything I say as a reviewer will hardly convey just how evily brilliant Hatestorm is... but I'll try anyway.
Hatestorm raises the bar for what this reviewer, personally, has been hearing from the black metal community of late. Concise riffs, drums that have a presence with a complexity beyond mere machine gun bursts, and an audible bass!
Track list:
"Mind Infected"
"Sickness Dictator"
"Season Merciless"
"Negative Hunger"
"Filth Purity"
"To Crave"
Choice cuts are "Filth Purity" and "To Crave".
Hatestorm gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Filth Purity.
Hatestorm is Underground on vocals, Storm on bass and vocals, Gruesome on drums and lyrics, and Dinahl on guitars.
Check the Russian four-piece out on www.hatestorm.ru and www.myspace.com/hatefulstorm.
-Michael Meade

Hellhound - Metal Fire From Hell
Inferno Records
Crazy metal maniacs is a good term for Hellhound, right out of the gate they make the listener want to get up and blitz through the streets, screaming along with each song on Metal Fire From Hell! There's more than a little 80s metal feel on some of the tracks, but it is completely forgivable, if not outright encouraged.
That being said, the Japan-based foursome keeps their vocals and instruments much tighter than many classic metal bands did; well before the advent of Metallica anyway.
In Hellhound's mission to preach the metal gospel, they certainly deliver! And better than that, you can hear that these guys really enjoy what they're doing all the way through. And speaking for myself, when you can hear the band's own enjoyment in the recording that makes it all the better.
"Metal Fire From Hell"
"Heavy Metal Highway"
"Heavy Metal Education"
"Metal Psycho"
"Change The World"
"Too Wild To Tame"
"Warriors of The Rising Sun"
Choice cuts are the title track, "Change The World", and "Warriors of The Rising Sun".
Hellhound gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Metal Fire From Hell.
Hellhound is Crossfire (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Lucifer's Heritage (lead guitar), Swordmaster (bass), and Dragonblaster (drums). Check them out at www.hellhound-japan.com and www.myspace.com/hellhoundjapanofficial.
-Michael Meade

Legions of War - Towards Death
Black Metal/Thrash
Inferno Records
Relentless is the perfect adjective to describe the sound of Legions of War, and their debut album Towards Death is the ten tracks of sonic brutality to prove it! Style lands somewhere between thrash and black metal. Instruments stay in thrash territory, while vocals drift back and forth from time to time between the two, they stay rooted in the metal side.
Legions of War maintains a smooth run with the genre hybrid all the way, instruments have a real harmony, the guitars in particular, that is quite seemless teamed with the steady hardcore vocals. Few faults are to be found in this Legion.
Track list:
"Deep In The Dark"
"Master Of The War"
"Mission To Kill"
"Ensemble Of Fear"
"Lamentation Through The Silence"
"Proclamation Of War"
"Reflections From The Past - A Soldiers Departure Pt.1"
"Dead Man Walking - A Soldiers Departure - Pt.2"
"Reapers In Command"
"The Sniper"
Choice cuts are "Reflections From The Past - A Soldiers Departure- Pt.1", "Dead Man Walking - A Soldiers Departure Pt.2", and "Reapers In Command".
Legions of War gets a 4 out of 5 for Towards Death.
Legions of War is Zyklon on lead vocals and rhythm guitar, Widowreaper on lead guitar, Hellwind on bass guitar and vocals, and C. Stalinorgel on drums.
-Michael Meade

Adrian English - A.D.D
Shredguy Records
A.D.D is precisely what you do NOT need to listen to this 16 track, hour long masterpiece of guitar shredding! English really is the mad scientist of shred, pulling off sounds with his guitar that are incredible and incredibly intricate for a single guitar, 7 string or otherwise.
This reviewer would love to see English perform live, of course for the music, but also to in real time the blinding speed the man's fingersmust move to accomplish his awesome fretwork.
If you're not a fan of progressive speed metal, then Adrian English probably isn't for you, but anyone that gives him a listen has to admit that English is a true guitar virtuoso. Skill that putsmany "big name" guitarists to shame, and the willingness to explore and innovate make Adrian English a name to be on the lookout for in the music world.
"3 Minds Of Pain (Intro)"
"Waking The Shread!"
"Taco Bell Cannon (Solo)"
"I Evolve"
"Bridges To Insanity"
"Glitch (Solo)"
"They Unravel"
"Mechanized (feat. Chris Storey of All Shall Perish guesting on outro Harmonies)"
"Me Robot Postal"
"Time Bomb!"
"Beat U Down"
"Acidic Fairytale"
"At My Graves (Acoustic slideshow)"
Choice cuts are "Skinless", "I Evolve", "Glitch", "Mechanized", and "Acidic Fairytale".
Adrian English gets 4.5 out of 5 for A.D.D.
All guitars, bass programming, and drum programming by Adrian English.
-Michael Meade

Ollipeist has made a truly awesome EP, combining elements of metal with, at times, ambient instrumentals and progressive pacing. Lyrically and melodically the songs take the listener through a journey of rage, loss, melancholy, and derangement; at the end of which you're left wanting to go further down the rabbit hole that the band has opened up.
Agressive tones meet perfectly balanced pacing, showcasing true talent in the songwriting. Also presented is Ollipeist's ability to be themselves and let their originality shine, they're happy writing and performing their own way. There's no trying to be the next Slipknot here.
Track list:
"From Within"
"Of War And Storms"
"Blinding Nether", "Agrona"
"Ballad of Violence"
"A New Beginning"
Choice cuts are "Of War And Storms", "Ballad of Violence", and "A New Beginning".
Ollipeist gets a solid 4 out of 5 for their self titled EP.
The Philipsburg, NJ-based quartet is Joshua Inglin on guitar and vocals, Brad Holdsworth on guitar, John Lynn on bass guitar, and Scott Vannatta on drums. Check Ollipeist out at www.myspace.com/ollipeistmusic, www.sonicbids.com/ollipeist, and www.jango.com/music/Ollipeist.
-Michael Meade

Mellow Down Easy - Cosmisutra
Dualtone Music Group
Mellow Down Easy's blend of country-tinged Nashville sound with indie/alt rock is not usually this reviewer's personal taste, but I think I'm coming around. Vocals and instruments pull you in and get your feet tapping in time to the music, whether it's an up tempo song or one of the band's slower, more introspective songs. The faster songs on Cosmisutra are definately fun before you can call them anything else ("She Must Be Radioactive"), while the slower songs take you inward and lead to self examination, landing on the sweeter side of bittersweet ("Long Road Now").
Blues influences can definately be heard in Mellow Down Easy's songs, which is what started winning this reviewer over to begin with, and from there it weas just a matter of enjoying the trip.
Track list:
"I Am The Universe"
"Love Money"
"Undergoing Resurrection"
"Pure Gold"
"She Must Be Radioactive"
"Long Road Now"
"Soul Full Of Holes"
"Crazy and Wicked"
"The Great Big Melancholy"
"Universe Reprise"
"A Million Pages Of Ugly Stories"
Choice cuts are "I Am The Universe", "She Must Be Radioactive", "Long Road Now", "A Million Pages Of Ugly Stories".
Mellow Down Easy gets a 4 out of 5 for Cosmisutra.
Mellow Down Easy is Andrew Adkins (guitar and vocals), Daryl Dasher (bass and vocals), and Rodney Russel (drums and percussion). Check Mellow Down Easy out at www.MellowDownEasy.com.
- Michael Meade

Circus 51
Rocky Mountain Music Group
Roadhouse rock mixed with heavy metal guitar licks will have every person listening wanting to run away with this circus. And believe me, as hackneyed as that statement might sound, it is true.
Circus 51 offers a solid rock sound built around classic rock inspired vocals, great heavy metal guitar play that calls to mind some of the best the NWOBHM and American '80s metal had to offer, driving basslines, and to call the drums "spot on" would be a gross understatement.
Bottom line is check Circus 51 out if you still like music you can rock out to, and if not then go buy some more Nickelback.
Track list:
"Fly To The Sky"
"Under The Bigtop"
"Destination To Nowhere"
 "One To Shed A Tear"
"Walk Out The Door"
"What Good Is It Doing You"
Choice cuts are "Destination To Nowhere" and "One To Shed A Tear".
Circus 51 gets a 3.5 out of 5 for their selt-titled album.
Circus 51 is Justin "Krash" Bowman (drums), Jerry Whitman (bass), and Chawn Cook (guitar and vocals).
Look them up at www.myspace.com/circus51.
- Michael Meade

Mystic Haze - Haze Days
Rock/Metal/Classic Rock
Mystic Haze has a perfect "bar band" sound to their instruments, alt rock appeal in the vocals, and lyrics that combine said styles with the introspective depth of the singer/songwriter deluge from a few years ago. That said, not every song is going to have you in a mire of deep thought, some are just straight party rock; and there's definately nothing wrong with that! There has been a real lack of fun in music for a while, of course Mystic Haze has a few pissed off songs too. Balance is the key and these guys already have the door wide open.
Haze Days does sport two covers, one from Alice Cooper ("Eighteen") and one from The Beatles ("Don't Let Me Down") respectively, but they're well chosen and well played.
Track list:
"Rollin' Smoke"
"Find The Time"
"Best Way To Lose"
"Things Remembered"
"Loaded Gun"
"To Live Another Day"
"Refill Me"
"There Will (Never Be Peace)"
"Dead Man's Road"
"Sadness To Rain"
"Don't Let Me Down"
"No Time To Get Old"
Choice cuts are "Best Way To Lose", "To Live Another Day", "There Will (Never Be Peace)", and "Dead Man's Road".
Mystic Haze gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Haze Days.
Mystic Haze is Bryan Feudale (lead guitar, lead vocals), David Feudale (bass, lead vocals, backing vocals), Jason Struble (lead and rhythm guitars), and Michael Feudale (drums and percussion).
- Michael Meade

Walter Prez and The Awesome - Good Energy
Rabbit Fever
Take some blues, a little classic rock, a bit of folk, and mix thoroughly with grunge and there you Walter Prez and The Awesome! Prez's vocals retain a nice blues/rock flavor alternating to a more folk rock style and back again for the duration of Good Energy, Maryann d'Amico, when on lead vocals ("I'm Not Gonna Be Your Witch"), keeps up very well in the same style.
Though d'Amico does have an almost punk rock edge to her voice that calls to mind an amalgamation of Patti Smith and Joan Jett.
Instruments shine combining some grunge and folk guitar elements with driving blues/rock bass and percussion. And the many guest musicians further add more good energy to Good Energy, including Sarah Yzkanin's (Dealer in Wares) great backing vocals on the title track.
Track list:
"Got To Come Out"
"Soldier of the Awesome"
"Come Into My Garden"
"Good Energy"
"Listen Sister!"
"City Boy"
"Girl of My Dreams"
"I'm Not Gonna Be Your Witch"
"Lost Johnny"
"I'm All For Real"
"Let Him Go"
"Motherless Children See a Hard Time"
"Gasoline Blues"
"Dawning of the New Age"
"More Than Enough"
"Chicken Hawk"
Choice cuts are the title track, "Gasoline Blues", "More Than Enough", and "Chick Hawk".
Walter Prez and The Awesome get an awesomely deserved 3.5 out of 5.
Walter Prez and The Awesome are Walter Prez (lead vocals, lead guitar, mandolin, banjo), Frank Baransky (bass), Ed Malaker (acoustic guitar), David Raymer (drums), and Maryann d'Amico (lead and backing vocals, tambourine).
Guest musician on Good Energy are Sarah Yzkanin (lead and backing vocals on "Good Energy), Jay Luke (backing vocals, acoustic guitar), Paul Martin (acoustic guitar, percussion), Tim Beckage (lead guitar on "Good Energy"), and Kelly Birtch (lead guitar and bass on "Singing", "I'm All For Real", "Let Him Go", "Motherless Children See a Hard Time", and "Gasoline Blues".)
For more Walter Prez and The Awesome head to www.myspace.com/walterprez.
- Michael Meade

Like The Stars - Don't Tell Secrets, I Won't Tell Lies
Powerpop/Pop Punk/Rock
Like The Stars has an alt/pop sound that lands between Yellowcard and Mayday Parade. Energy is kept upbeat for the most part, even the 5-piece New Jersey based outfit crosses over into emo territory. But with said energy levels those trips over the border hardly bring things down at all.
In a genre of music that is largely plagued by a lack of individuality in performing style, limiting removal from the the boy bands of the 1990s to only a few steps, Like The Stars have indeed crafted their own identity. One which this reviewer hopes they hold on to.
Competent and confident vocalization and instrumentation set Like The Stars apart from the herd, marking a change in powerpop bands for the better.
Track list:
"Ready Set Go!"
"Like A Bad Habit"
"I Hope You Know..."
"Hurry Up & Wait For Me"
"Hold Your Breath"
Bonus tracks:
"Feel Alive"
"Pack Your Bags"
Choice cuts are "I Hope You Know...", "Hurry Up & Wait For Me", and "Pack Your Bags".
Like The Stars gets a 3 out of 5 for their Don't Tell Secrets, I Won't Tell Lies EP.
Like The Stars is AJ Hoenings (vocals), Nick Kaelblein (guitar), Nick VanderMaas (bass), Joey Trala (drums), and Connor Appleton (guitar).
For more Like The Stars hit www.myspace.com/likethestarsnj.
- Michael Meade

Grimlord - Dolce Vita Sath-anas
Trident Harmony Promotion & Design
Tight, hard, and fast. These descriptives could apply to any myriad of dirty jokes, but suits Grimlord just as well. Guitars that shred with the fury of hell, the drums hammer relentlessly, the synth pours on the dark atmosphere like the bastard spawn of Hitchcock and Bergman, all backed and driven by the heavy bass!
Vocals turn from twisted to maniacal in a breath with the palpable anger of Disturbed and early Slipknot.
The Poland based three piece has brought to the table some of the best dark metal this reviewer has heard in a while.
Track list:
"Dolce Vita Sath-anas"
"When The Heads Are Going Down"
"Oh! My King"
"Shade Of Wrath Angels"
"Ground Zero"
"Dissolution Of Eternity"
"Ancient Land Of Ys"
"Avericious Scavenger/Panth of Lash"
"Lamentation Sword"
Choice cuts are the title track, "Dissolution of Eternity," and "Lamentation Sword."
Grimlord gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Dolce Vita Sath-anas.
Grimlord is Barth La Picard (guitars, vocals, synth), Orson (bass), and Lukass (Drumhammer).
For more Grimlord hit www.myspace.com/grimlordband and www.grimlord.eu.
- Michael Meade

The Dead End Cruisers - A Thousand Miles Of Whiskey and Sin
The Dead End Cruisers blend aspects of southern rock, rockabilly, and punk for a truely hellacious album! Punk pacing, whiskey soaked vocals, heavy guitars with a southern rock drive and rockabilly twang, while the drums and bass keep a rhythm that gets you bobbing your head before you know it.
The only complaint about A Thousand Miles Of Whiskey and Sin is it's only seven songs long. But its one hell of a ride through those seven! To sum it up, The Dead End Cruisers are what the Misfits would be if they played roadhouse rock.
Track list:
"Psycho Baby"
"Devil Eyes"
"Grave Dancin'"
"How Did I Get This Way"
"Satan's Caddy"
"My Baby's Cryin'"
"The Phantom Of Main Street"
Choice cuts are "Psycho Baby," "Satan's Caddy," and "The Phantom Of Main Street."
The Dead End Cruisers get a 4 out of 5 for A Thousand Miles Of Whiskey and Sin.
The Dead End Cruisers are Greasy Phil (lead vocals, guitar), Psycho Benny (lead guitar, vocals), Sweet Jonny (drums, vocals), and Jay Daddy (bass, vocals).
Check them out at www.myspace.com/deadec.
- Michael Meade

Destroy Nate Allen - Perfect Recipe For A Smile
Quiver Society!
Nate Allen - Don't Let This Smile Fool You
A double review on a double album from self described "interactive, sing-along, folk punkers Destroy Nate Allen. There isn't really a better description for Nate and wife Tessa's sound except fun!
As Destroy Nate Allen, Nate and Tessa explore their relationship, living together, and life in general with the funny/annoying/absurd/emotional moments that come with all of the above. Included in these experiences are Tessa singing hallelujah for Nate falling asleep so "his lips are sealed," finding compromises and learning to love (or at least tolerate) their differences, and sticking to recipes when cooking pancakes... or anything for that matter.
Nate's solo album is much more sentimental and introspective. With the exception of "Suffer," most of Don't Let This Smile Fool You is a journey through familial memories and joy in love for Tessa. All of the songs on the solo were written and recorded with Nate's great-grandfather's banjo. Which he didn't know how to play, so Nate tuned and played it like a guitar, to a decent success might this reviewer add.
Perfect Recipe For A Smile track list:
"Anchors Away"
"Turns Out You're Perfect For Me"
"Loving You"
"White Flag"
"His Lips Are Sealed Hallelujah"
"Despite It All"
"I Am Alive"
Choice cuts are "Turns Out You're Perfect For Me," "Recipe," "Loving You," and "His Lips Are Sealed Hallelujah."
The husband and wife duo of Destroy Nate Allen get a 3.5 out 5 for Perfect Recipe For A Smile.
Don't Let This Smile Fool You track list:
"Phil Collins"
"Don't Let This Smile Fool You"
"35, 35, 35"
"Guitar Strings"
"Glow In The Dark"
"How To Make A Girl Cry"
"Ain't Gonna Rain No More"
"Pardon Song"
Choice cuts are "Guitar Strings," "How To Make A Girl Cry," "Ain't Gonna Rain No More," and "Suffer."
Nate Allen gets a 3.5 out of 5 for Don't Let This Smile Fool You.
So Nate and Tessa get a combined rating of 7! A TLR first!
Nate supplies vocals and he plays guitar and banjo, Tessa also supplies vocals and plays tambourine.
Check Destroy Nate Allen and Nate's solo work out at www.destroynateallen.com, www.myspace.com/destroynateallen, and www.myspace.com/nateallenmusic.
- Michael Meade

Oak Lane - Inspired
Oak Lane's Inspired is twelve tracks of upbeat rock with a pop punk edge. Now for many, the terms "upbeat" and "pop" are red flags, but that isn't the case here. There's certainly no vintage Britney Spears bubblegum* in Oak Lane!
Vocals have a crisp and energetic powerpop feel, but Zaring brings down to a softer sensitivity when the mood of the song calls for it; an ability many vocalists don't attempt to cultivate.
Guitars and bass are sharp and tightly paced, while the drums drive the beat and hit it home awesomely.
Lyrically, Inspired stays as altruistic as it's name implies, focus is heavy on overcoming limitations, being true to oneself, the virtues of love and friendship, and controling your own life instead of being controlled.
Track list:
"Do Better"
"Held Down"
"Never Going Back"
"Nothing Clever"
"My Dear"
"Voice of a Friend"
"Forever Summertime"
"Nothing Clever (Acoustic)"
"Silver Lining"
Choice cuts are "Believe," "Never Going Back," "InsideOut," "Voice of a Friend," and "Perserveance."
Oak Lane gets a 4 out of 5 for Inspired.
Oak Lane is Joshua S. Zaring (vocals, guitars, production), Nate Bowersox (bass), and Kevin Hoffman (drums).
- Michael Meade
* "Vintage Britney Spears," there's a phrase I never thought I would ever use in my writing career, let alone my lifetime... and now I've said it twice.

Radioviolet - Just Like Yesterday
Monstersound LLC
Given a cursory listen, one might write Radioviolet off as belonging the soundtrack of a teen drama... that would be a mistake on the listener's part! Don't let the melodic rock style fool you, Just Like Yesterday is a truly deep album with soulful lyrics that actually provoke thought.
Unlike many songs out there aiming for what Radioviolet has achieved, and in that effort come off very fake and shallow.
Instruments are tight, and pacing is a perfect fit with the lyrical content of each song. Vocals keep an "adult alternative" feel for the most part, while instruments run between melodic rock (that evokes the softer, less pop oriented, non-psychedelic songs of The Beatles) to alternative and blues heavy rock and back to melodic again.
Songs revolve around looking at oneself and the world from your own perspective and not letting the opinions of others form the foundations of your observations, and answering the question we all face, "who am I?"
The songs that focus on love (new, lost, returning, and humanitarian) are modernly poetic, that is not the oxymoron some Lit majors would have you believe, in a refreshing way.
Track list:
"With Love"
"End this Game"
"Just like Yesterday"
"Like War"
"Girl Behind the Glass"
"Four Letter Word"
"Miss You"
"Black and Blue"
"Broken Phone"
"Open Book"
"End of the Beginning"
Choice cuts are "With Love", "End the Game", "Girl Behind the Glass", and "Open Book".
Radioviolet gets a solid 4 out of 5 for Just Like Yesterday.
Radioviolet on Just Like Yesterday is Michael Terpak (vocals, guitar), James Keith (bass), and Dusty Miller (drums, percussion).
Featuring Eamon Loftus (slide guitar on "Girl Behind the Glass"), Mike Ault (guitar solo on "Like War"), Bill Ruddy (guitar solo on "Open Book"), MT Terpak (keyboards), Lynette Terpak (chorus vocals on "With Love"), Laney Sullivan (chorus vocals on "With Love"), Helen Van Wagoner (chorus vocals on "With Love"), and Beth Lewis (chorus vocals on "With Love").
Radioviolet live is Michael Terpak (vocals, guitar), Marshall Cantu (lead guitar), Blake Ross (keyboards), Emmett Roth (drums), and Kyle Schmitt (bass, backing vocals).
For more Radioviolet hit www.radioviolet.com and www.myspace.com/radioviolet.
- Michael Meade

Toby Knapp - Polarizing Lines
Progressive/Black Metal/Rock
Shredguy Records
To describe Polarizing Lines, originally released in 2006, a quote from Wayne Campbell would work best; it's "something extraordinary. Something big. Something mega. Something copious. Something capacious. Something cajunga".
Each song is a dark piece of shredding awesomeness that gets you whipping out your best air guitar to jam along, if short a real guitar, regardless of where you're listening to Toby wail.
And if you happen to be a sci-fi geek as well as a metalhead, such as this reviewer, prepare to be thrown back to your favorite battles with new badass themes!
Knapp's style is tight, keeping every lick and every riff crisp. Pacing is frenetic, in the good way, but not to the point that all sense of cohesion is lost, and songs begin to sound like random riffing instead of actual compositions.
Track list:
"Polarizing Lines"
"Cosmic Conspiracy"
"Crystal Pilots"
"Wizard Archer"
"Time Collapse"
"Into The Quantum"
"Beneath The Waxen Moon"
Choice cuts are "Petrified", the title track, "Crystal Pilots", "Wizard Archer", and "Into The Quantum".
Toby Knapp gets a 4.5 out of 5 for Polarizing Lines.
All songs were written, performed, and produced by Knapp. For more of Knapp's signature sound check out www.tobyknapp.ryasrealm.com, www.myspace.com/knapptoby, and www.myspace.com/shredguyrecords. Polarizing Lines is available for purchase from Shredguy Records via www.guitar9.com.
- Michael Meade

Ataraxia hits the ground running to deliver a full force guitar slam to the skull! Slamming drums, pounding guitars, and a driving bass with hellacious vocals bring some of the heaviest metal this reviewer has heard in 2009.
Thrash elements are right in front before giving way to metal and alt, and sneak back up on the listener to throttle the senses and make Ataraxia's energy as visceral as you can get with a recording.
Some of the song structure and pacing has an Aiden feel, "Screams of Freedom" in particular from it's instrumental bridge on. Not that this is a problem, far from it, merely noteworthy.
"Break Me" leads you into the old rope-a-dope, starting out in misery and ending with a surge of anger palpable as 2X4 to the face!
Track list:
"Screams of Freedom"
"Crawl Through Knives"
"Break Me"
Choice cuts are "Preachers" and "Screams of Freedom".
Ataraxia gets a 3.5 out of 5!
Ataraxia's roster on their self titled EP is Ryan Pecca (guitar), Matt Cesari (guitar), Brandon Zemel (vocals), Steve Goldberg (drums), and Chris Weinstein (bass). Ataraxia, as of this review's posting, is seeking a lead guitarist and a rhythm guitarist.
Check Ataraxia out at www.myspace.com/ataraxia1.
- Michael Meade 

Echoes Of Fear - Forgotten Past
Harden Lacuna Coil by several degrees and crank up the badass quotient to a thousand, and in that female-fronted metal paradise you will find Echoes Of Fear. Each instrument screams out in adrenaline soaked fury!
Brian King's death grunts sound demonic, and add perfect punctuation to Melissa Evett's leading vocals. And to top that, Evett's vocals are all her's; no attempt to sound like Cristina Scabbia, Amy Lee, Simone Simons, Sharon den Adel, or Morgan Lander. Just one hundred percent Melissa, and that is a breath of fresh air.
As stated above, instruments are a perfect blend of adrenal gland fueled energy and power mixed with unbridled rage. Every note on guitars and bass, every blast of machinegun fire on the drums is visceral and felt from head to toe.
Lyrically the songs are journeys of anger, pain, despair, hatred, vengeance, and transcendence; personal and universal in the same breath.
Track list:
"Another Scar"
"Inside the Hate"
"Death Warmed Over"
"The Black Hand"
Choice cuts are "Another Scar", "Isolation", "Death Warmed Over", and "The Black Hand".
Echoes Of Fear gets a 5 out of 5 for Forgotten Past!
Echoes Of Fear is Melissa Evett (vocals), Brian King (vocals, guitar), Alvin Gatewood (guitar), Orion Mente (drums), and Dave Hammerstone (bass).
For more Echoes Of Fear check them out at www.echoesoffear.net and www.myspace.com/echoesoffear.
- Michael Meade

Shredding Across The World Volume 3
Shredguy Records
Multiple band/artist compilations are never easy to review, when they're good, and Shredding Across The World Volume 3 is no exception. The gang at Shredguy Records assembled some of the best shredheads out there to put together a Kong-sized seventeen track monster!
Each virtuoso (including Rob Johnson, Steve Bello, and Adrian English) is undoubtedly a master. The skill displayed on guitar in each song is well worth the price of admission, even if you're not a shred metal fan!
With seventeen different artists it would take far too long and become incredibly redundant to go over the technical aspects (song pacing, fret speed and accuracy, composition) of each musician's playing, afterall how many ways can one say a performance is awesome?
Track list:
"Kikakata" - Andrew Danso
"Relay Torque" - Rob Johnson
"Ignorant Bliss" - Kendall Bechtel
"Finger Fuzz 2009" - Tracy G Group
"Electric Brew" - Richard Tull
"The Pants Party" - Gary Schutt
"Don't Stop" - Dannyjoe Carter
"M-18" - Chris Lasegue
"Sidedoor Charlie" - Sean Baker Orchestra
"Golden Sun" - Jonas Tamas
"Wingsuit" - Claudio Cruz
"About To Explode" - Steve Bello
"G-Theory" - Adrian English
"Song For Chelo" - Lino
"Thoughts Of Time" - Matthew Mills
"Ascension" - Chris Sheridan
Bonus Track: "Anthem (instrumental demo version)" - Chris Storey
Choice cuts and scoring can't be applied to a collection of artists like this, it would be an insult to all involved. However, in this reviewer's opinion, Shredding Across The World Volume 3 is the best metal compilation of 2009!
For more on Shredguys Records and these artists check out their links:
- Michael Meade