Monthly Archives: April 2013

Quick Artist Profile: War of Ages

War of Ages is a great metalcore band that has been putting out music since their inception in 2002. Through many member changes the lineup has stayed consistently strong and produced great music. The band presently consists of vocalist Leroy Hamp, lead guitarist Steve Brown, rhythm guitarist Jack Daniels, bassist Mark Randazzo, and drummer Alex Hamp. Of this line-up only Hamp and Brown are original members,

War of Ages formed during the summer of 2002 in Erie, Pennsylvania. During their early years they went by the name of Point Zero, but would change it to War of Ages when they released their 2005 album of the same title, War of Ages.  The following year the band released their album Pride of the Wicked. This was followed by Fire from the Tomb  a re-recording of the bands first album and was released in 2007.  2008 saw another new album from the band this one was entitled Arise and Conquer which was followed by 2010’s Eternal which charted on the Billboard 200. In 2012 the band released their newest record to date, Return to Life.This album also charted.

War of Ages is a great band and I suggest you give them a listen.

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Johnzo West ‘Glory’

About a year ago Musically Diversified did an artist profile on singer/songwriter Johnzo West. Since then West has been very working on his own solo album and performing live with Billy Ray Cyrus. We recently got the opportunity to take a listen to West’s latest album, and we were blown away with the ten tracks he presents on Glory, which was released in February.

Glory is a great collection of songs that show West’s skills on guitar and vocals. The album starts off with a song entitled “Don’t Leave Me Hangin’” which is a track that starts off nicely with some great guitar work, but is definitely carried by a great vocal performance by West. The song really takes off during the chorus sections and is especially good during the wah drenched guitar solo. The next song is called “The Shallows” which is a track that has been re-worked from West’s 2008 release Bring On The Burden. It’s a great song that features a soulful performance from West on vocals.

“Heart of Stone” is another great track on the record. The lyrics tell a great story and the accompaniment suites the lyrics perfectly.  “Tell Your Mother” is the next track and this song has a very country feel, especially the drums which keep a steady beat that keeps the country time while the guitars slide in and out. West’s vocal fit perfectly over this track.

“The Constant” is the next track on the album, and it has a great funky feel from the beginning. The bass, guitars, and drums instantly catch your attention, and you get to the chorus and West’s vocals take over. “On My Way” is a great track that is an old school rocker and features great guitar work throughout. Lyrically it tells a great story too.

“The Good Fight” is probably my favorite track from West. Lyrically and musically it just works, and makes a very enjoyable listening experience for anyone involved. Arrangement wise the piano and guitar work excellently.

Glory is a great collection of tracks. Be sure to take a listen HERE

-B. Harlow

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Snoop Lion?

During the late summer of 2012 Snoop introduced a new stage name, Snoop Lion. He tells the story that when he was in Jamaica working on a new album that he went  to meet with Jamaicans and was rechristened Snoop Lion by a Rastafarian priest. Snoop then declared himself the reincarnation of Bob Marley who passed away in 1981, but Snoop was born in 1971, so the jury is still out on that part of the story.  He says the reason was partially due to not liking the violence in hip hop, and wanting provide the world light.

The album starts off with a track called “Rebel Way” which starts off with a monologue that may explain the Dogg Father’s transformation into Snoop Lion. “There’s so much death, there’s so much destruction, there’s so much mayhem, and there’s so much misunderstanding in music. We’re losing so many great musicians and we don’t love them while they’re here. And I want to be loved while I’m here, and the only way to get love is to give love,”  a very touching monologue which really is the mission statement behind Reincarnation. The song itself is a solid track consisting of well thought out lyrics and a steady back beat which carries the song.

When you think you’re getting into the record and believing the whole reggae thing the second track, “Here Comes The King” kicks in and you hear one of the most annoying things and that is the Major-Lazer tag. This ruined the song for me as it didn’t make the song feel like an authentic reggae track. The next track that comes up, “Lighters Up” makes up for it. It’s a great track that talks about unity and getting high together.

One of the best songs on the album is entitled “So Long.” It’s a strong track with a solid beat, but it doesn’t stray much from the traditional reggae sound which makes the track perfect. The song also has very good lyrics that are very potent and deserve the listener’s ears and undivided attention. Another track that is very lyrically strong is the sixth track “No Guns Allowed” which is a relevant song with all the violence in our world today. The lyrics of the track feature many interesting lines like the first verse which states “Money makes a man, and that’s a crime/If we all were rich we’d spend more time/With our daughters and sons their losing their minds.” This is a very touching lyric considering the events of last December at Sandy Hook Elementary School and all the other violence that happens on the streets.  The song also features Snoop’s daughter, Cori B, harmonizing nicely throughout. It also features a great verse from Drake.

The next song that is definitely worth a listen is Snoop’s collaboration with Miley Cyrus, “Ashtrays and Heartbreaks.” This song is great especially Snoop’s verse, but what carries the song is Cyrus’ slightly processed voice.

Overall I think this album has some great cuts. I think this change to Snoop Lion will be a good thing for everyone’s favorite from Long Beach.

-B. Harlow

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Anthrax, Hatebreed, and others Bring The Noise on Night One of New England Metal and Hardcore Festival XV

On Friday I made my way to the Palladium in Worcester, MA expecting an amazing show put on by Scott Lee. Lee and his crew have been putting on New England Metal and Hardcore Festival for 15 years and this year they had one of their best line-ups. On Friday alone they had Great bands like Anthrax, Hatebreed, Every Time I Die, Exodus, Shadows Fall, and many more.

Brian I entered the palladium around five o’clock for Shadow Fall’s set. The band started off with their song “The Light that Blinds” which is one of my favorite songs from the band. It definitely shows off the excellent musicianship of the band. The band then played “Idiot Box,” and that pleased the crowd even more. When the band finished the song lead vocalist Brian Fair addressed their hometown crowd and proceeded to talk about the events of the week in Boston and Watertown. He then dedicated the next song, “Weight of the World” to Boston which was an awesome gesture. The band then launched into another one of their best songs, “King of Nothing” off of their album Retribution, this was another great crowd pleaser. The band continued playing the rest of their set which was topped off by their song, “War” a song whose lyrics were penned by Bob Marley and adapted for a more metal sounding song, but the message remains the same.

I then walked around the venue to check out all the vendors that were at the palladium, but returned to watch thrash metal legends Exodus’ set. When the lights dimmed and the intro to “The Ballad of Leonard and Charles” you knew the Palladium was about to become a thrash paradise. In front of me appeared Gary Holt who was ready to thrash.  The band was tight and played some of their best and classic material including “Piranha,” “Bonded By Blood,” and “The Toxic Waltz.” It was my first time seeing Exodus, and I have to say I was blown away by the thrash metal masters.

Next up was Every Time I Die who came on right at about 8:00. They also played a killer set and gave the Palladium a healthy dose of hardcore. They even through in some metal too by playing a Pantera medley. The band played some of their best songs including some of personal favorites, the band seemed in tip-top shape including Singer Keith Buckley who puts on a great performance.

Hatebreed was up next, and what more can we say about Jamey Jasta and crew, but that they deliver a great show every time you see them. The band started off with one of their best songs, “To The Threshold,” and from then on they never let go of the solid grasp they had on the Palladium playing some of their best material including “  In Ashes They Shall Reap,” “Puritan,” and “Destroy Everything”

IMG_1021Headlining the festival night one was Anthrax who played, an amazing set that consisted of them playing the entirety of the thrash metal classic, Among The Living. The band started off with the great title track off of the album, “Among The Living.” It brought the  Palladium’s energy up another notch. This lead perfectly into the album’s second track “Caught In a Mosh,” which is a staple of the bands regular show. The band then played another classic from the album, “I Am the Law” which went over great with the crowd especially when Joey Belladonna dedicated it to the Boston Police Department. They then played  “Efilnikufesin (N.F.L.)” and “A Skeleton in the Closet” which rapped up part one of Among The Living. They launched Into a killer cover of “March of The S.O.D.”

The stage went black until the stage was lit up again when the intro music to “In The End” came on along with two large banners of Dimebag Darrel and Ronnie James Dio two fallen metal heroes who the song is dedicated to. The band sounded tight on this song and pulled off a great tribute to the two fallen musicians. The band then played a cover of AC/DC’s “T.N.T.” which went over great with the audience who were chanting along to the signature riff. The band then played “Madhouse” off of their record Spreading The Disease.

The band then continued into the second half of the album Among the Living by playing another  classic “Indians” which included the infamous call for a Wardance! by Scott Ian which is a call for a giant Circle pit. The band then played their cover of Joe Jackson’s “Got The Time.”

The band then came out for their encore which included the song “Imitation of Life” which was followed by the band’s rap flavored song “I’m the Man” and the band concluded their set with “Anti-Social” which was an awesome way to end the set.

-B. Harlow

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Black Sabbath Release First Song With Ozzy Osbourne on Vocals Since 1978! Our Review of “God Is Dead?”

Black Sabbath have released “God is Dead?” which is the band’s first single off their reunion album 13, which will be released June 11th. It is also the first song the band has released with original front-man Ozzy Osbourne since 1978’s Never Say Die, the bands final album with the classic line-up. It is also the first song we’ve heard with the band’s new drummer, Brad Wilk (Rage Against The Machine.)

“God is Dead?” starts off with a slow instrumental section that sets the mood for the song. This then gets interrupted by one of Tony Iommi’s signature riffs. You can hear how tight the band is on this riff especially bassist Geezer Butler and Wilk. The slow meandering riff comes back again and with it we hear Ozzy’s vocals which sound excellent. Rick Rubin did a great job polishing Ozzy’s voice on this song, as it is spotless in performance. Butler’s bass is super punchy during the verse too which gives the song a certain movement that is different from Iommi’s guitar playing which is very smooth. The chorus comes in and this is when we hear Black Sabbath as it is meant to be heard with loud riffs. Around the 5:55 the song hits a bridge and this is by far my favorite song as it fits in with the band’s older material like “Hole In the Sky.”

All in all “God is Dead?” is a great track which is very modern sounding yet would fit in with Black Sabbath’s earlier material.  Be sure to check this song! You can Pre-order 13 here and get an instant download of the song of the new track!

B. Harlow

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Can Fall Out Boy Save Rock & Roll?

Save Rock & Roll is a very ambitious title for an album, and I’m not really  sure Fall Out Boy came close to doing that, but they did put together an interesting album with some great songs including a collaboration with Elton John  on the album’s title track. To me this album is more of a statement that says Fall Out Boy is back and is going to be bigger than ever, but at a cost.

The album starts out with a track called “The Pheonix” which starts off with an interesting orchestral part that was unexpected when first listening to the album. Patrick Stump’s vocals come in over the accompaniment, and then the chorus comes in and you really get an idea about the album. It’s all about big choruses. Next up is the album’s first single “My Songs Know What You Did in The Dark (Light Em’ Up)”  which is a very annoying song because of the mix. If the guitars were further up in the mix the song would have sounded a hell of a lot better, but the drums and sampling overpower the guitar.

The next track on the album is entitled “Alone Together.” I actually liked this song due to the arrangement, and songwriting. Musically it flows very well, but the lyrics are what bring the song above the level of a typical pop song. This song is followed by “Where Did The Party Go” which has an intro featuring the much improved bass playing of Pete Wentz. The track is very narrative when it comes to lyrics, and this story really carries the song, as there is nothing substantial music wise on this track.

One of my favorite tracks on the record is the song “Just One Yesterday” which features British songstress, Foxes. The song is very well written and is also arranged well. The song is also mixed well especially when Foxes and Stump are singing together. It’s a fantastic track that will definitely do well if it were to be released as a single. It is followed nicely by “The Might Fall” which features rapper, Big Sean. This song features a highly tampered with drum track, but also feature a great riff from Trohman, and it is the first time you hear Trohman’s guitar up in the mix.

The next track to take note of is the band’s collaboration with Courtney Love, “Rat A Tat” which starts off when Love says “It’s Courtney Bitch.” This track is an all-around fun track which mixes the bands old sound with their newer over-produced tone. Love’s rawness adds a lot to the track, but I definitely think its Wentz’s bass that drives the track.

My favorite track on the album is the last track, “Save Rock and Roll” which is a collaboration with the legendary, Elton John. This song blew me away, and is definitely the only song on the album that is going to matter five years from now. The band comes together perfectly on the track, and even the sampling works well, but what brings this track over the top are Elton John’s amazing vocals.

Will this album save Rock and Roll? The answer is no. But this is a good album featuring some excellent songs. If Fall Out Boy were to make an album that were to save Rock and Roll they’d definitely have to take a hint from Trohman and drummer Andy Hurley’s side project The Damned things and play some damn riffs.

-B. Harlow

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Ghost B.C.’s Second Satanic Opus ‘Infestissumam’

Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the hard rock and heavy metal world you know that one of the hottest bands out is the Swedish cult metal favorites, Ghost B.C. Ghost B.C. is a masked band featuring  a singer who goes by the name of Papa Emeritus, and a band of ghouls. The band released their debut album in 2010 entitled, Opus Eponymous, which made the band an instant hit among metal listeners looking for something different. Ghost B.C. also got high-profile endorsements from people in the metal scene including Metallica’s James Hetfield and Down front-man  Phil Anselmo. The band also got to play onstage with Down at Download 2011. The band released a stream of their new album Infestissumam this week, and we got to take a listen and needless to say we were impressed by the offering which will be released next Tuesday.

The album starts out with the title track “Infestissumam” which starts off with a choral arrangement that leads into a heavy rock song. This is a great intro track especially, as it sets the tone for the rest of the album. It also leads nicely into the next track, “Per Aspera ad Inferi” which is stylistically similar to their first release, Opus Eponymous. The track moves nicely into the album’s first single, “Secular Haze.” “Secular Haze” is another great track from the band he song starts with an organ riff that sounds like it would be played at a carnival from your worst nightmare. It is soon joined by drums and guitar. Eventually the vocals join, but around the 1:34 mark the song gets very melodic within the music and vocals. Around the 3:15 mark there is a great musical interlude which ends in another verse, which then goes into another chorus, but with this chorus the song ends. This was definitely my favorite track on the album.

“Jigolo Har Megiddo” is the fourth track on the new album, and this track is really cool, as it is a real change-up. It has a real pop feel, but definitely feels like it’s a pop song that would be featured in a haunted house. The next song on the album is “Ghuleh / Zombie Queen,” this song is another favorite from the record because stylistically it is very dark, but has a very 70’s vibe to it. It almost sounds like what would happen if Blue Oyster Cult and Pink Floyd had a musical love child.

“Year Zero” is another track from the album that I really enjoyed. I particularly enjoyed the intro which is capella, and very staccato this lead into a riff that to me, said a lot for such a simple riff. The vocals came in next and this is when the track started to take off especially the chorus which reminded me of early solo Ozzy musically, but vocally it reminded me a lot of King Diamond.

The next track that caught my attention was “Depth of Satan’s Eyes” which is a very doom metal sounding track. I quite enjoyed it though do the riff that was pumping and steady. The final track on the album is titled, “Monstrance Clock” it is a great song especially the guitars thorough out the song and the synth solo.

Infestissumam comes out this coming Tuesday, April 16. You can pre-order it here, and stream the entire album here!

-B. Harlow

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My Take on Brad Paisley’s “Accidentally Racist”

First of all I’d like to state that I feel music should have a message. I would also like to state that I like music that has a political message, but to me Brad Paisley’s “Accidentally Racist” ft. L.L. Cool J. makes a very akward statement. At first I thought this was comedy, but then I thought that it was probably a publicity stunt to promote Paisley’s new album, Wheelhouse which came out yesterday.

Here’s an honest review of the song. It’s a flop. It’s a terrible attempt at a political song based on history. The lyrics of the song are tacky.  “To the man that waited on me at the Starbucks down on Main, I hope you understand / When I put on that t-shirt, the only thing I meant to say is I’m a Skynyrd fan.”  Come on Paisley. What is that? Pure shit. LL Cool J’s lyrics aren’t any better like when he says  “RIP Robert E. Lee but I’ve gotta thank Abraham Lincoln for freeing me, know what I mean.” Another verse that is all together strange.

All in all a weird song.

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A Closer Look At Tyler, The Creator’s New Album ‘Wolf’

Tyler, the Creator is one of the strangest artists one will ever encounter in the rap game. In fact you never know what is going to come out of the 22-year-old M.C.’s mouth, and this is why many people gravitate to the rapper. There is no exception to this rule when it comes to his third album, Wolf. Wolf is a strange collection of treats that was produced by Tyler, The Creator himself. The album also features guest spots from The Frank Ocean, Mike G, Domo Genesis, Left Brain, Hodgy Beats, Pharrell, Casey Veggies and Erykah Badu.

Wolf starts out innocently enough with the smoothish introduction to the title track, “WOLF,” but this smooth listening vibe gets turned over when the listener hears the word ‘Fuck.’ Tyler then goes into a verse, and we get to hear a little conversation between two of Tyler’s alter-ego’s, Sam and Wolf. This leads into the track “Jamba” which is an interesting track featuring Hodgy Beats. Next up is the track “Cowboy” which is one of my favorite tracks on the album because we hear Tyler’s dark and thematic lyrics throughout his narrative verses.

“Akward” is the fourth track on the album. This track has a definite 90’s hip hop feel that I really enjoyed.  “Domo23” is the next track, and this is another one of my favorite tracks on the album due to Tyler’s tight and rhythmic rhyme scheme. Tyler’s voice is angry, and in this track we get to hear about Tyler’s recurring topic of getting at a house. I also enjoyed Tyler’s diss about One Direction.

“Answer” is a strange track that I didn’t get, and I didn’t really know why it’s on the record. But then I heard Tyler’s verse, but then I learned that this is a song about Tyler’s  baggage with his father. The next track on the album is called “Slater” which features Frank Ocean who I’m not really a fan of, so obviously I started on the wrong foot with this song, but I realized I was right Frank Ocean’s part was just like an annoying voice over. The next track I really took note of was “Pigs” which I related to lyrically, sort of. Or at least till he talked about starting riots.

“Rusty” is another must listen to track on the record. The first verse which is provided by Domo Genisis is tight, and that is all we can ask. Right? Tyler then comes in with a verse that I loved because lyrically I could really relate to it.

Earlier I stated that Tyler, the Creator is one of the strangest artists one will ever encounter in the rap game, and that you never know what is going to come out of the 22-year-old M.C.’s mouth. Wolf continues this unpredictable nature in grand fashion. I definitely think you should check this album out!

-B. Harlow

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Where Did Wolfmother Go? An Update on Andrew Stockdale’s Latest Project!

When I first heard Wolfmother I knew that they were going to be big, and they were. In fact many of their songs ended up in movies and other strange places. But since the band finish recording and touring behind their record, Cosmic Egg not much has been heard from the band besides that they were working on a new record, but things were not as great as they use to be in the Wolfmother camp, as there was a new line up.

On 6 March 2013, Wolfmother’s front-man Andrew Stockdale announced that he would be releasing the album the new band was working on under his own name.  He then went on and described the album as “a different trip now.” Stockdale later announced via Facebook that Wolfmother was on hiatus, and that the band would now become his solo project.

We now know that the EP will be released April 26th and will be titled Keep Moving. We’ve also heard some of the new music, and it grooves. It has a solid beat and has this unexplainable swagger that hasn’t really been prevalent in the music world since the Stones and Zeppelin. In fact one of the tracks, “Long Way To Go” sounds like  The Black Keys, The Stones, Wolfmother, and The Jackson 5 had a mysterious love child.

I’m excited to hear this release and you should be too!

-B. Harlow

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