paint splat
paint splat

2 June 2023

Reconnecting with Old Friends

Reconnecting with Old Friends

Ahhh, the pleasure of reconnecting to a once cherished blast from the past. You know the ones – records celebrated by all around you, played on loop infinitum, the ones that you know that you sweat to all and sundry that you’ll play until the day you die….and then…that next beautiful noise hits and you never hit play on your former love again. Well, here at Road Hounds we love the feelgood schmaltz of a Toy Story moment so rediscover some lost loves with us….

Spineshank – Height of Callousness

A super-charged silver bullet of aggressive songs that will get your blood flowing as if you’re engaged in a WW2 tank battle. The Height of Callousness is a mix of Metal and industrial, sprinkled with pinches of spite, paranoia and the drowning whirlpools of self-doubt.

Days of the New – Days of the New

A teenage alt-rock quartet that slams out heavy, post-grunge rock with the force of a group twice its age. Frontman Travis Meeks was only 17 at the time the group recorded its eponymous debut, but his songs are laden with heavy meaning. Days of the New isn’t a perfect album, but its best moments prove that teenagers can rock as hard, and with as much purpose, as adults.

The Union underground – An Education in Rebellion

The Union Underground released one album before disbanding: 2000’s Education in Rebellion is reminiscent of Soundgarden, Ministry, Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. Essentially 80’s Glam/Punk Metal with macho vocals, staccato riffs and Industrial effects/overdubs. Packing a sonic punch, blending guitar skronk and snarled vocals, this is music that will lead to frenetic skateboarding and headbanging.

KMFDM – Nihil

KMFDM’s seventh album, Nihil, finds the band sitting comfortably in the groove it started with 1990s Naïve. The anthemic “Juke Joint Jezebel,” with its disco-diva vocals (courtesy of Jennifer Ginsberg), remains the band’s biggest “hit” to date; it is an enduring and indispensable dancefloor favorite at goth/industrial clubs around the world. Other high points include the politically charged “Terror” and “Disobedience.”

Pride and Glory – Pride and Glory

Zakk Wylde turns in a solid debut album from his own band, Pride & Glory. Wylde’s guitar still has that Sabbath crunch, but what makes Pride & Glory so listenable is the way it is melded to the deeply Southern rock & roll of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Wylde manages to turn in a handful of well-written songs, but even when the songwriting isn’t so hot, the playing is.

Bloodsimple- Red Harvest

Made up of members of Vision of Disorder, Skrew, and Crowbar, Bloodsimple represents a lifetime’s worth of experience in heavy music. Red Harvest manages to process the best aspects of the members’ various ventures into a powerful fusion of strut and swagger, brutal precision, and bludgeoning rhythm. Opener “Ride With Me” features swaying power chords and roaring, Pantera-style vocals, setting the tone for the parade of chops-licking metal on display for the rest of the album.

Children of Bodom – Are you Dead Yet?

With the presence of brutal riffs and keyboards, Finland’s Children of Bodom sounds at times like Fear Factory fronted by a hardcore screamer, especially on their 2005 release, Are You Dead Yet? There’s an unmistakable Iron Maiden influence too, due to the guitar interplay between Laiho and Roope Latvala in “Bastards of Bodom” which brings to mind Dave Murray and Adrian Smith.

Gravity Kills – Gravity Kills

The debut effort from St. Louis industrial rockers delivers an ample mix of crunching guitars, pounding drum loops, layered synthesizers, and vocals that escalate from intense whispers to raging screams. The band’s sound closely resembles that of a handful of other industrial rock acts, due in part to the influence of co-producer John Fryer (Nine Inch Nails, Stabbing Westward, Filter, White Zombie). It succeeds in delivering a convincing sense of raw emotion and a good dose of angst-ridden metallic guitars.

Entombed – To Ride, Shoot Straight & Speak the Truth

After two label changes the band may be battered and scarred, but they’re not worn out, as this guitar-driven record proves. If anything, the turmoil has added depth to their music, making the best moments of To Ride cut deeper than before. A regression toward the onslaught of their debut album, Left Hand Path, brings an added sense of brutality to their sound.

Social Distortion – White Light, White Heat, White Trash

With White Light, White Heat, White Trash, Social Distortion made a conscious attempt to cash in on the alternative “revolution” of the early ’90s.” Underneath the layers of glossy hard rock production, the band still hold fast to some of their punk roots, and often they sound like a heavy hard rock band. The band sounds tight and muscular, but the songs would have benefited from memorable hooks.

Mordred – Fool’s Game

Mordred never managed to record a truly consistent album, but their 1989 debut, Fool’s Game, features largely decent Bay Area power metal. Two exceptions to this show the band experimenting with funk on a cover of Rick James’ “Superfreak” and the self-penned “Everyday’s a Holiday.” Meanwhile, “State of Mind” and “Spectacle of Fear” are the best examples of the band’s more mainstream power metal sound.

Warrior Soul – Last Decade Dead Century

Rebellious tracks such as “I See the Ruins,” “We Cry Out,” “Downtown,” and “Superpower Dreamland” deliver powerful, angst-ridden messages that are quite similar to those on Nevermind.  Kory Clarke’s hypnotic metal riffs and political rants were a credible match for Kurt Cobain’s inimitable pop instincts and pure punk rage.

Rival Schools – United By Fate

Rival Schools contained a who’s who of the New York post-hardcore scene, and their first full-length actually lived up to the expectations raised by their pedigree. From the opening “Travel by Telephone” to the heavy-noise breakdowns of the instrumental closer, “Hooligans for Life,” Rival Schools rarely let up on their melodic but forceful attack.

Drowning Pool – Sinner

They may have been tailor-made for the rap-core scene which had arisen out of the late ’90s, but musically they were a little better than the rest. Singer Dave Williams has really impressive vocals, which unlike many of their comrades actually shows diversity and a refreshing breadth.  Musically, Drowning Pool are a cross between Korn and Tool. The riffs on Sinner are huge, with enormous grooves and great dance parts. In fact, the track “Bodies” was written inherently to be a song to get people to dance with its line of “something’s got to give/let the bodies hit the floor.”

Jetboy – Feel The Shake

USA’s Jetboy released two albums before disbanding and reforming in 2006: their 1988 debut, Feel the Shake, is a clone of Def Leppard, Bon Jovi and AC/DC. This album is a rare gem and will take you back to a happier time. C’mon, feel the shake!

Cold – Cold

Cold’s eponymous debut is a set of harsh post-alternative metal in the vein of Korn. The group concentrates on brutal, bleak riffing, instead of tight songwriting — it’s an album about texture, where the hard-hitting, post-thrash rhythms and the group’s vaguely nihilistic undertone combine to form a scary, provocative succession of sound.

Killing Joke – Hosannas From the Basement of Hell

The animal that was reborn on their self-titled 2003 release is still snarling on the thunderous Hosannas from the Basement of Hell, an insider album that’s pointed directly at the fans. The Joke sound absolutely free here, allowing songs to stretch well past the five-minute mark. Like their great early albums, Hosannas is a sonic sledgehammer, backed up by Jaz Coleman’s inspired words. He’s given the album a narrative arc by beginning with two numbers referencing the band/fan relationship.

Prong – Beg To Differ

Prong’s once diffuse, post-hardcore rumble solidifies into a tightly disciplined thrash metal attack on their first major label release, Beg to Differ. Also a more democratic affair than later efforts, the album finds guitarist Tommy Victor and bassist Mike Kirkland alternating lead vocals as well as writing credits. Standout tracks, such as “For Dear Life,” “Steady Decline,” and “Take it in Hand,” feature dense harmonies injected with understated stabs of melody and startlingly complex time changes. The title track is perhaps the perfect example of this blend,

Ad Astra – Spiritual Beggars

More colorful and evolved but still heavy is the sound of Spiritual Beggars’ third release, Ad Astra. They successfully evolve their stoner palette from somewhere between Kyuss and Corrosion of Conformity, but with added Doors and Deep Purple. Ad Astra’s opener, “Left Brain Ambassadors,” is a hard rock juggernaut, which is largely maintained through the following 13 tracks with cunning takes on ’70s elders like Kiss on the Love Gun-influenced “Save Your Soul” and during more traditional Kyuss references like “On Dark Rivers.”