This week’s metal blog features a quick interview with Salt Lake locals Muckracker, a rundown of this week’s metal happenings, some blog exclusive reviews and a couple of super-short quickie reviews.
Kick off your weekend early at Burt's tonight with Wizardrifle, Laughter and Oldtimer punching the volume up a few notches. $7 gets you in, tunes underway around 9:30 p.m.
Or, if you need some ‘80s hair metal to spark your fancy, head on down to Club Vegas and witness The Bullet Boys with Aerial, Heartbreak Hangover and Shadow. Tickets are $15, music underway around 8:30 p.m.
On Saturday night, Club Vegas hosts locals Reaction Effect, Alias Code, I Eclipse and Embers of Yddrasil. $5 in advance, $7 at the door. Tunes underway 8:00 p.m.
Hit up Club Vegas again on Tuesday night to see headliners Silent Civilian, which includes the former vocalist of Spineshank, with Dying Euforia, Downfall, Arsenic Addiction and Motorman. Tickets are $10 in advance, music underway at 8 p.m.
SLUG: How would you best describe the sound of your band to someone who has never heard it before?
Muckraker: Doom metal, heavily influenced by Black Sabbath but ranging from Soundgarden to High on Fire
SLUG: Do you have any recorded material available to buy/purchase/listen to? If so, where can people pick it up/hear it? Do you have any recording plans?
Muckraker: We just released our first self-titled CD. [It was] recorded at Man vs. Music studios by Mike Sasich of the local legends Thunderfist. The disc will soon be available at Raunch and the Heavy Metal Shop
SLUG: What is the mental mindset of your band? Basically, what is your band trying to convey to listeners?
Muckraker: We want to convey the classic sounds of Sabbath, Motorhead, Deep Purple, and Blue Cheer, but without sounding like a throwback retro band. There's also a thrash element that seems to surface as well.
SLUG: How do you feel about being part of the metal scene of Utah? If there’s anything you’d like to see change in the local “scene” what would it be?
Muckraker: We are proud that metal in general seems to be alive and well these days rather than [how] it's been in the past. Although every scene has their elitists, it seems SLC's metal scene is pretty diverse and accepting of all metal, from bands that keep a "classic" sound like Killbot and Toxic Dose to bands that are on the cusp of grindcore and even punk like The Desolate and All Systems Fail.
SLUG: What do you think makes your band unique not just to locals, but the metal scene entirely?
Muckraker: I think we have a sound, but it's not formulated so much that all songs sound similar. We are veterans of the scene, and I think that comes through rather than sounding like "the flavor of the week"! We are a three-piece that sounds BIG, and it comes through on our recording and live. I also think that Muckraker is a band you'd find in all metalheads’ collections. We appeal to extreme metalheads as [well as] to older metalheads bred on Maiden, Priest and (early) Metallica.
SLUG: If there is anything else you’d like to add, consider this question a free-for-all, soapbox or whatever else you’d like to say.
Muckraker: For what it's worth Muckraker is nowhere near political or "world changing" with our lyrical subject. Just like all good metal we sing about death, destruction, post apocalypse, the macabre, sci-fi, fantasy.
Season of Mist
Benighted = Aborted + Circle of Dead Children + Desecration
France’s Benighted have become a recent obsession of mine; I snagged their previous album released in 2007, Icon, a few months back and was hooked. I immediately went back through the band’s albums I could get my brutal death metal-lusting hands on and found a brutal death metal band that manages to keep its core sound and brutality but mix things up with every album. Asylum Cave is no exception to the band opening new channels of earnest audio pain. Icon was very much an album rooted in distinctively brutal death metal, with some hints at slam DM, meaning the grooves flowed frequently. Asylum Cave is the most grindcore the band has ever sounded, as making the album’s speed and ferocity that much more intense. There isn’t a bad track on this album. This strikes that violent brutal music-loving nerve to any maniacal music fan. There are also some brutal face-pounding prevalent riffs some fantastic soloing hiding amongst the albums cuts. Asylum Cave doesn’t get old, it only gets better; the production is near perfection, the clarity of riffs, bass, drums, vocals is astounding and just makes things that much more violently and gloriously distorted. There’s a big beastly, gnarly bear in this Asylum Cave one that even Chuck Norris couldn’t take down on his best day. –Bryer Wharton
The Great Mass
Season of Mist
Scepticflesh = Rotting Christ + Hollenthon + Dimmu Borgir + Nightfall
This is one gratuitously grand, beautiful, monolithic piece of music. Greek-bred Septicflesh have been honing their craft for almost 20 years now; granted, they took a reprieve from crafting music from 2003 to 2007, but they hit the metal scene hard with their 2008 return album Communion; this latest offering, The Great Mass, continues where the last album left off thematically, but musically the songs’ creativity have morphed into pure perfection. Scepticflesh have never been the typical death metal band, utilizing atmosphere with keyboards, orchestrations and depths upon depths of guitar, vocal and songwriting variations. Once the opening track “The Vampire from Nazareth,” hits, you’re stuck—jaw dropped—head tightly clung in a vice-grip. The only bad thing about The Great Mass is that it ends. The production is absolutely flawless; there are so many bands that attempt to incorporate orchestration into their music to give it that grandeur sweeping and massive feel, like Dimmu Borgir’s attempts as of late, but Dimmu and the others like them often fall flat. Not Septicflesh, not this album—the orchestration mixed with harsh-to-melodic guitar-riffing will strike awe in listeners with every returned listen. I’d challenge this to be compared to some highly renowned classical compositions. There is nothing like The Great Mass in metal—grasp it, embrace it and most of all, be taken to realms you’ve never experienced before. –Bryer Wharton
Power Quest = Stratovarius + Journey + stinky stinky cheese
I guess if you’re an uber-power metal fan you may get some enjoyment out of the UK’s Power Quest fifth full-length. This release sees the band with a completely new line-up aside from the keyboardist and principle songwriter. Blood Alliance is overly drenched in 80s-70s sounding keys and lots of vocal crooning . The guitars, which are supposed to pack the punch in most power metal, don’t crunch. There’s nothing really memorable on this other than fantastically cheesy songs. I have my power metal vices, but less than halfway through I was screaming for this cheesy love fest of annoying songs and paint-by-numbers melodies to be over. –Bryer Wharton
Sons of Seasons
Sons of Seasons = Brainstorm + Symphorce + Epica
The second album from German symphonic prog/power metal crew Sons of Seasons includes some serious talent. The bands lineup includes Henning Basse on vocals, notably of respected German heavy metal acts Metalium and Brainstorm, as well as guitarist and keyboardist Oliver Palotai, who’s done time in Kamelot, Circle II Circle, Doro, Blaze and Epica. There’s quite a bit of song variety, from simple ballads to heavy crunchers. While it’s not all catchy and worth repeat listens, there are some decent tracks for fans of the genre. –Bryer Wharton