Music for Everyone review

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Review by William Dibble

Art is one of the most powerful ways for a person to express themselves. Art, and especially music, have a long tradition of being the medium through which ideals and politics are expressed to the public. Books, movies, and music always have some type of message in them, and punk rock has a long history of rebellion and politics. It is only appropriate, then, that these artists would use their voices to speak out for and fight for the civil rights of people whose rights are in very real danger right now. The ACLU has released a benefit compilation titled Music for Everyone to help raise money to fight for civil rights.

 

Music for Everyone is a collection of a wide variety of artists. Some of these, like Anti-Flag, are mainstays in the political music scene. Others are speaking up because they feel that they must. Many of these tracks are original works for this compilation, or are previously unreleased work. Some of the songs, like the opener, “Buried the Shame”, are rousing punk rock anthems that will have you recalling the heydey of the punk music scene.

 

Others, such as “Just a Man” by Taking Back Sunday, are soft, acoustic pieces. Most of the songs are themed to match the ACLU’s cause, whether they discuss discrimination, civil liberties, equality, or other issues. The collection is excellently selected. None of the songs are less than great, and it is a lot of fun to listen to. The best way to summarize this album is that it is a snapshot of modern political punk today. It spans the sound range from Potty Mouth, who is not dissimilar to The Pixies in sound, to Secret Space, which has an almost rock-ballad sound. It is definitely a punk-fan must have.

 

Proceeds from the sale go directly to helping the ACLU defend the civil rights of Americans of all kinds. Like the songs on this album, they are promoting inclusivity and liberty, in the hopes that all Americans might one day be able to enjoy the same liberties. And right now, more than ever, we need someone looking out for the rights of marginalized groups, as the current political climate at state and federal levels has shown a woeful disregard for the rights of individuals. Pick this album up today, get some great music, and help defend our liberties!

We at Fuel the Scene Magazine believe that all people should feel welcome in our society, and our music scene.

Grab the album here: https://musicforeveryone.bandcamp.com/releases

Nodachi – Beyond Death, Beyond Reason review

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Review by William Dibble of Panfocal Photography

Rising from the ashes of post-hardcore group, Greaver, Nodachi is a new entry into the NC progressive metal scene. Their first work released a short month ago, the album Beyond Death, Beyond Reason. While it only clocks in at fifteen minutes in length with five short tracks, it is certainly worth a close look. Nodachi follows in the footsteps of American Football, Youth League, and other progressive emo bands, and hails from Durham, NC.

 

The first track, “Jin-Kali, Prince of Psychology”, opens with soft, complicated, clean guitars. The drums cut in quickly. This complicated track features both heavy metal distortion and riffs, and soft, drifting melodies and cello work. It flows very naturally and beautifully, going straight into the heavier “Awakened, We Become the Blade.” Like the previous song, this one is also instrumental, but focuses on heavier guitar work, and drums as well. “Awakened” does soften towards more atmospheric sounds in places, but overall, retains the complex heaviness throughout, ending in a heavy breakdown.

 

“The Village of Echigoya” returns to the cleaner guitars and cellos of “Jin-Kali”. This track is soft and mellow throughout, sounding almost atmospheric. It would not be out of place in a movie soundtrack, to be completely honest. This just sets us up for the brutal progressive riffs of “Blood Covers the Earth, Autumn Begins.” Like “Awakened”, this is a heavier, but still very complicated and twisting, song. Mixing in the cello and clean guitars again, this one is the longest, and arguably most complex, song on the EP. It weaves from atmospheric pieces to blasting beats and riffs, with the cello singing hauntingly behind it all. It ends with a soft, droning track that carries us to the finale in “The Prince Falls, We Await the Next Harbinger.” This song, also very heavy, carries a very ominous feel with it. The omnipresent cello sounds baleful, as if it is about to attack the listener, and the song does, with a wash of heavy guitars and drums throughout several breakdowns.

 

Nodachi is a powerful entry into the melodic emo movement. If you are a person who enjoys powerful aural landscapes with no lyrics, it is definitely a musical project you should check out. The Nodachi blends Japanese cultural references, breakdowns, and cellos into one astounding project that is deserving of the time to listen to it.

 

Buy it here on Bandcamp!

SoulSeason – Wither review

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Review written by William Dibble of Panfocal Photography, photos provided by SoulSeason’s Facebook page

Chris Scott, Carl Uno, and Adam Moore come together in SoulSeason to deliver a energizing metal performance. Their new album, Wither, released just last week, and is a strong entry into the burgeoning NC metal scene. The album opens with a monologue, “Intro”, about making the choice between running and hiding, and standing to fight, which sets the scene for the rest of the album.

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“Wither” is the first actual song on the album, if you don’t count the introduction. SoulSeason pulls no punches, immediately starting with a wall-of-sound-style metal riff. The blast beats and rhythms don’t let up as the song leaps into the first verse. SoulSeason follows the metalcore traditions of mixing screams and guttural cries with clean vocals on the chorus. As demonstrated on both “Wither” and the followup, “Never Too Late to Die”, they do a good job blending the brutality of screaming with the high-note melodies of the choruses. “NTLtD” opens up with a softer rift, but is no less brutal than the prior song. The passion behind each line is apparent, even through the recordings. If “NTLtD” has one weakness, it is falling back on the other metalcore trope, of having a radio-sounding verse and guitar part, that makes its presence in a lot of other songs in the genre. It does not, however, stop this from being a killer song.

 

“New Horizons” starts out with a clean, almost acoustic guitar. This is a great backtrack, as the song is another monologue that pleads with you to take life into your own hands, and make your life, and dreams, happen. It is a great thematic tie-in to the subsequent track, “Digging Graves”, which bears trademarks and reminders of As Daylight Dies-era Killswitch Engage. This is certainly a good thing, as the song features powerful riffs, soaring vocals, and devastating screams. The similarity is carried into “The Forsaken,” with the main difference being that “The Forsaken” has a heavier emphasis on clean vocals than screams. “This Lovely Pain”, on the other hand, evokes early-era All That Remains with its instrumentation, starting with a clean guitar that persists throughout the song, even the heavier, more brutal parts. This creates a strong, but not unpleasant, dissonance in some of the screamed parts.

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By the time we reach “Born Alive”, some of the metalcore influences of the album have faded. Parts of this song sound heavily influenced by the 2000’s nu metal movement, both vocally and instrumentally. This lends the song some distinction from the rest of the album, including a heavy, crunchy bass line. The song fades into another monologue, “The Sleeper”, which is again accompanied by both acoustic and clean guitars, before finishing the album out with a slower-paced screamer, “Killing Memories”. Despite being noticeably slower in places than the other metal tracks, this song is certainly no less energetic or heavy. The album starts out strong, and finishes just as strong, making sure it won’t kill any memories of listening to it.

 

In places, the vocals sometimes run in with the instruments, but overall, the mastering is well done. It listens great on both speakers and headphones, and parts of it will make you want to get up and mosh, so be careful not to knock anything over nearby. “Digging Graves” is certainly a highlight of the album, but it is overall an excellent release. The only time it is too late to die, is if you haven’t listened to this yet.

Grab it today over at CDBaby!

DethCadence – Hellacreative

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Written by William Dibble of Panfocal Photography

Self-described as a North Carolina supergroup, and sporting a new album titled Hellacreative, DethCadence comes onto the NC metal scene making some heavy claims about their capabilities. They compare themselves to Dio, Iron Maiden, and King Diamond, so this album begins with some high expectations.

 

One of the trademarks of some of these bands was campy introduction vocals. Opening with “Project DethCadence… Initialize,” and a robotic voice with “Forbidden Seed”, DethCadence immediately begins to channel the eighties straight into this album. From the beginning, they are not lying when they make their comparisons. The song is a powerful homage to the heights of heavy metal, sounding for the most part like it could’ve come from that esteemed era.

 

“Hellacreative”, the title track, starts off with a groovy bass track, before launching into a piece reminiscent of Pantera’s more vulgar track. The chorus line is very catchy, with a hook that’ll have you wanting to sing along in seconds. After the last notes fade, we are treated to a skilled and flowing introductory solo in “Forever”. This track is softer, and draws to mind references to some of the softer tracks of bands like Iron Maiden and Metallica. These comparisons are not made lightly- this track is powerful, well balanced, and sounds absolutely excellent. It moves from here into the song “Breathe”. Featuring a recurring riff that induces a feeling of rising, this energetic piece is, as promised, very similar to Iron Maiden in some of its musical and lyrical themes. The vocals are somewhat similar to Ten Thousand Fists-era Disturbed, which is by no means an insult to the singer’s skills. This pounding track will have you singing along, “Breathe into me, release me!” by the end.

 

Track six, “Caine Mind”, has hints of Megadeth and late-era Metallica. With a combination of clean and distorted guitars, it builds anticipation up to a critical point before releasing it in a torrent of heavy metal riffs. Check yourself for increased hair length and frizziness, because this album hearkens back to the height of long-hair heavy metal. The clear, clean vocals mix well, contrasting with the heavier guitar that comes in during the chorus. Followed by “War to the Worlds”, these songs show clearly that DethCadence is in no way limited to fast-paced heavy metal anthems. “War to the World” is a fantastic metal ballad that showcases both melodic and vocal range, and a message to us about ending wars around the world.

 

If the last two songs have you feeling a bit down, the energy and power behind “Head Voices” will immediately have you moshing again. “Scattered” and “Head Voices” both are high-energy metal tracks that bring to mind the heights of King Diamond and Metallica, effortlessly blending the styles of both into new lyrics and sounds. It is appropriate, then, that the album ends with the blisteringly fast-paced “Man of War”.

 

The break of slow songs halfway through the album is an excellent choice. The album is made with top-grade production standards, and the mastering is on the spot. The drums, vocals, and other instruments never walk over one another, with each being perfectly clear at all times. DethCadence promises an album that brings back the great memories of eighties heavy metal, and they certainly deliver! Pick it up today!

Grab the album here!

Convulsions – Culture Shock review

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Review by William Dibble of Panfocal Photography

Though it has been out for some time now, we would be remiss not to mention the album Culture Shock by Convulsions. This downtempo metal piece will be sure to send you into convulsions in the mosh pit, should you give it a listen. And we mean that in the best way possible.

 

An often overlooked genre, slow-tempo death metal can be devastating and crushing, as Convulsions demonstrates on the opening track of the album, “Intolerance”. This is followed up by the dissonant riffs of “Product of the Lost”. The heavy, pulsing riffs on this track will have you wanting to stand up and stamp your feet along. Both of these songs seem to drip metal over your ears. The breakdowns on this album are absolutely superbly placed and created, seasoning the songs like a perfect amount of spice.

 

“Dilemma”, the EP’s third track, continues the aural assault. The screamed vocals, coming in at pauses in the music, are powerfully placed and well articulated. The bass in this song really stands out, giving it a very thick, heavy texture. It is unusual to hear the bass guitar so well pronounced as it is here, but it does the song wonders. “Scum Staunch” and the titular track, “Culture Shock”, are two more specimens that prove the power of the genre.

 

The EP only clocks in at five tracks, but you will end the album wondering if there’s more. It is a great album to listen to on the speakers, and will be absolutely fantastic in concert. Convulsions truly brutalizes the competition with this album, right down to expert mastering, with balanced levels that make sure you can hear every detail.

Interview with Barry Stock of THREE DAYS GRACE at Welcome to Rockville 2017

We got a chance to catch up with Barry Stock, guitarist of THREE DAYS GRACE, before their set at Welcome to Rockville in Jacksonville, FL about recording their next album, the writing process, and being “married” to songs that don’t make the cut. Watch the full video interview here or read excerpts from the transcription below.

FTS: How’s your festival been thus far?

Barry: It’s good I’m just trying to stay out of the sun and stay cool as best I can. … We’re from Canada, so we haven’t gotten used to the weather yet. We’re just starting out on some shows so we’re still trying to adapt ourselves. [laughs]

FTS: What do you think is the largest issue facing musicians starting out today?

Barry: I think it’s a tougher go than it used to be. You know, there’s not quite as much support for some of these bands as there used to be. You know, in the old days, they used to develop a lot more bands. I find today, the ones I know, the younger ones, they have to work a lot harder get their stuff out there. Obviously, with social media that helps a lot, I know that’s a big deal for them. I just think that out of the gates there’s not as much help for these young bands and it makes it a real tough go.

FTS: Do you think that social media and technology today is a help or a hindrance? 

Barry: I think if you’re a new band it’s a good thing, it’s like a tool to reach out to a lot of people. If you’re creative, like some people are, I see some extremely creative people on social media and when they use it right and everything, I see a benefit for them. Without it, I don’t know how they’d get exposure otherwise. I personally think it’s a good thing, I mean, I don’t do much social media myself, but I think it’s a great thing, especially for the younger bands… it gives them an opportunity.

FTS: With a catalog as vast as yours, what does your set for these festivals look like?

We have a lot of singles. So for us, you want people singing.  And we’re playing a lot shorter sets [at festivals] because there’s so many bands, so it’s not like our full show where we can play a bunch of neat B-sides. But for these shorter sets, we’ll usually stick to the hits we have.

FTS: What would you say is the hardest part about being on tour?

Barry: I think just the lack of sleep, maybe? We try to keep up on it as much as we can. You know, the traveling part of it. It’s hard living out of a suitcase, on planes and buses. It wears you out a little bit, but I can’t complain. Over the last year we took some time off, which has been really nice ’cause you know the last three years especially we were super busy. Since September last year, we took time off, we’ve been writing the new record, working over the winter, so everyone got some great family time.

We just have a few summer festivals, we go to Europe and Moscow, I think we go to Russia for a show with System of a Down, and as soon as we get back, we’ll go into the studio to work on the new record. So we’re hoping sometime in the fall to release that.

FTS: Are there any plans so far for singles, future music videos, other media to be released with that album?

Barry: Usually by the time we start recording is when we start piecing it all together. Like we don’t even have an album title yet! That’ll all sort of come as we start to record, and start figuring out the artwork and all of that. And so we’ll get really busy once we start doing that, then we’ll start thinking about videos and all that kind of stuff.

FTS: Are the songs usually finished when you take them into the studio to record?

Barry: You know, we all do demos and stuff—the problem with doing demos is that sometimes you get a little bit married to it. And it ends up changing sometimes. I’ve had some things that I really liked that end up getting totally changed—that’s just the way it is. It’s never really “finished” until it’s finished. Once it’s done and we put the stamp on it.

FTS: Have you ever had a favorite song that didn’t make the cut for an album?

Barry: Yeah, actually—absolutely. On the last record, we had a song that was one of my favorites and our management—you know, Cliff Burnstein—we trust him with our music a lot and we would send him stuff and he’d write little notes on it as he hears stuff. And he wrote “DNP” on the song—that means “DO NOT PURSUE,” right— [laughs]

FTS: Oh, man, stabbed right in the heart. [laughs] Do you ever return to old material?

Barry: Yeah, we do that all the time. Through our whole writing career, that happens. When we first start writing and we don’t have a lot of fresh stuff yet, we’ll always pull out some old stuff. Sometimes it doesn’t work and we’re trying to write it again five times and we’re like, “oh, that’s why we didn’t use it last time.” [laughs]

Having said that, there’s definitely some songs that made it on an album much later—beore it just wasn’t the time, I guess, but it became totally fitting for this time. And this is gonna happen on this [upcoming] record too; there’s a couple of them that we have from the last record, we re-wrote them, and they’re going to make it on this record—so that’s kinda neat.

FTS: Do you have any words of wisdom for our viewers back home?

Barry: Words of wisdom? [laughs] Keep your head up, stick on the ice!