Monday, October 31, 2011

THROW THE FIGHT Video Shoot

Minneapolis hard rock band Throw The Fight announced today that they will be filming a live video shoot this Saturday, November 5 at the 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis from noon to 4 pm for "Not So Hollywood", the digital single now available from their upcoming new album. This will be the band's first music video, and it will be shot by acclaimed produced Scott Hansen (Otep, Alesana, A Day To Remember). The event is free and open to all ages, but donations will be accepted to help the band pay off their new self-financed record. Although noon is listed as the starting time, showing up early is probably a good idea since release forms usually need to be completed and signed at video shoots. Head over the Throw The Fight website for additional information.



Throw The Fight also performs on Friday, November 18 at First Avenue in Minneapolis as support for Puddle Of Mudd and Black Tide.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

DAWN OF VALOR EP Review

Dawn Of Valor – Immortal Flame EP
Self-released, 2011
8/10

Click picture to see more photos of Dawn Of Valor while supporting Cage on September 29, 2011 (23).

With a heavily revamped lineup, Dawn Of Valor from the Twin Cities returns with this four-song EP that establishes them as a renewed force here in the local scene. Joining guitarist John Leibel and bassist Ted Jedlicki are three new members: Jaden Adair (vocals), Andrew Johnson (guitar), and Joe Waller (drums). The band seems rejuvenated, and the overall quality of songwriting and presentation is vastly improved from last year’s self-titled EP. After a short spoken word introduction, “Lutetium” kicks into high gear with a fast introduction that leads into an Iron Maiden-sounding chorus. “Valkyrie Sky”, with its memorable melody and interesting guitar work, perhaps best showcases the capabilities of the band. The final song, “There Can Be Only One”, is a bit heavier and has some excellent solos that leave you wanting more. Dawn Of Valor has been putting a lot of work into creating an interesting twist on traditional metal, and it’s great to see the efforts bearing fruit with Immortal Flame.  They’re also the hardest working band in the area in terms of promoting their shows so I suspect that the coming year will be a good one for Dawn Of Valor.

Click to watch Dawn Of Valor perform “Valkyrie Sky” on September 29, 2011 while supporting Cage.


Dawn Of Valor performs Wednesday, November 2 at Station 4 in St. Paul as support to Blaze Bayley, and they headline The SwordLord’s 2nd Annual Christmas Concert on Saturday, December 17 with Echoterra, Minos, Alation, and Purified.










Upcoming Concert Highlights

The end of the year is bringing a lot of great shows to the Twin Cities area! Here's a list of some of the more notable shows that may have slipped under your radar. Check out the concert calendar for the complete list of upcoming shows.

The reactivated American Head Charge plays tonight, October 29 at Primetime in Burnsville, and they perform again at Crypticon on Friday, November 4.
Local heroes After The Burial headline a major tour with Veil Of Maya, Misery Signals, Within The Ruins, and Your Memorial that hits First Avenue in Minneapolis on Sunday, October 30.
Former Iron Maiden frontman Blaze Bayley brings his solo band to St. Paul at Station 4 on November 2.
Headlining acts for Crypticon are American Head Charge on November 4, and former Misfits singer Michale Graves on November 5.
Adema hits the 400 Bar in Minneapolis on November 10.
Also on November 10, Obscura, Abysmal Dawn, and Last Chance To Reason play Station 4 in St. Paul.
November 11 is the final show for local band Samsahra, whose singer will be moving to Nevada, at Ground Zero in Minneapolis
Progressive death metal icons Cynic brings 3 and Iron Thrones to Station 4 in St. Paul on November 13.
Norwegian black metal legends Mayhem return to the US for a tour with Keep Of Kalessin, Hate, Abigail Williams, and Woe that lands in St. Paul at Station 4 on November 14.
Also playing on November 14 are Puscifer (State Theatre in Minneapolis), and Guns N' Roses bassist Tommy Stinson (Fine Line Music Cafe in Minneapolis), the day after GN'R plays the Target Center in Minneapolis.
Lynch Mob plays at Neisen's in Savage on November 20.
Slipknot and Stone Sour frontman Corey Taylor brings his spoken word and acoustic act to the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on November 22.
Quiet Riot returns on November 26 at G.B. Leighton's Pickle Park in Fridley.
Kyuss Lives! and The Sword will level First Avenue in Minneapolis on November 30.
Local 80s metal heroes Gemini regroup for a show on December 2 at the Wicked Moose in Rochester.
Enuff Z'Nuff have a small run of Midwest dates that brings them to Station 4 in St. Paul on December 4.
Sevendust just announced a show at the resurrected Myth in St. Paul on December 5.
Fair To Midland bring their eclectic rock to the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis on December 13.
Local promoter The SwordLord is having his annual Christmas bash on December 17 at Station 4 in St. Paul with a powerful bill of locals bands Dawn Of Valor, Echoterra, Minos, Alation, and Purified.
Looking ahead to the new year, black metal horde from Sweden Dark Funeral returns to Station 4 in St. Paul on February 9 with Belphegor, Abigail Williams, and Gigan. Belphegor has probably cancelled due to an injury to the band's frontman.
Who saw this coming? Legendary punk band English Dogs come to Station 4 in St. Paul on February 17 with The Casualties, Toxic Holocaust, and Havok.

Crypticon Minneapolis 2011

With Halloween just around the corner, it's that time of year again for horror movie fans to gather for the 6th annual Crypticon being held at the Double Tree by Hilton in Bloomington, Minnesota on November 4–6. This event brings together movie stars, paranormal experts, special effects wizards, and music for 3 days of interactive events such as panels, a dealer room, an indie film contest, and a costume contest. The musical lineup is as follows:


Friday, November 4: American Head Charge, Wrecking Day, Impaler, Tepetricy, and Burn Fetish
Saturday, November 5: Michale Graves (ex-Misfits), Screaming Mechanical Brain, Gabriel And The Apocalypse, Pinwheel, Nuisance, and Terror Overising


These events are all ages, and the tickets for the concerts are $13 in advance, $15 at the door, and $20 for an advance two-day pass. Tickets for the festival can be purchased separately or together with the concerts. The impressive list of non-musical guests includes:


Sid Haig
Doug Bradley
Tom Towles
Camden Toy
Barbara Nedeljakova
Troy Holbrook
Alex Vincent
Joe Knetter
Sarah French
Geretta Geretta
J LaRose
Michael Bodine
Annie Wilder
Beverly Washburn

Monday, October 24, 2011

ARSIS Performs New Song In St. Paul

Rising technical metal sensations Arsis performed a new, unreleased song entitled "Sense The Shadows" at their show last week at Station 4 in St. Paul. Video of the performance is posted below; go visit my YouTube channel to see footage of the entire Arsis show as well as that of Firewind, White Wizzard, and Nightrage (one song). Arsis has previously revealed "Sense The Shadows" as one song that they are working on for their next album. It looks like we've got a lot to look forward to, and expectations will be high for the album.

Playing a new song was all the more curious because Arsis is currently out on the road with two temporary touring members, singer Mike Parks and guitarist Brandon Ellis, as replacements for the band's only consistent member, James Malone. On a side note, I was stunned at fans posting brutally negative comments directed to James on the band's Facebook page for sitting out the tour for "professional and personal reasons." Understand that playing in a death metal band doesn't pay the bills, so how anyone could blame the guy for honoring the commitment to his family or career is pathetic. Nevertheless, the band still sounded as good as ever, and Brandon Ellis is an amazing player who should be receiving offers left and right. A full report of the show will be coming in due course!

Watch Arsis perform the new song "Sense The Shadows".

Click on any picture to see more photos of Arsis (23).




Sunday, October 23, 2011

CAGE Interview: Discuss Upcoming Album Supremacy Of Steel

I had the chance to sit down with all five members of Cage on September 29, 2011 in St. Paul at Station 4 after they completed their soundcheck for that night's show. We primarily discussed their soon-to-be released sixth album, Supremacy Of Steel, that hits stores worldwide November 25, 2011. Most of our conversation made it through the final edits, except the band's thoughts on the importance of packaging of physical product in the age of digital music sales. Clips from Cage's performance that night were incorporated into the interview footage, and you can browse over to my YouTube channel to view the entire concert. If you like aggressive, full-throttled power metal and have never acquainted yourself with Cage, be sure to watch this interview.


Watch the interview with Cage.


In addition to live shots from the show (view here), I got some nice band pictures from a photoshoot—a couple of them are below. Also, don't forget about my review of the entire that was published in two parts: Cage in Part 1, and Dawn Of Valor, Minos, Eternal Voyager, Noble Beast, and Iron Finger in Part 2.




Saturday, October 22, 2011

ALATION Demo Review


Alation – Demo 2011 #2
Self-released, 2011
9/10

Click picture to see more photos of Alation performing last year (23).

I’ll keep this review of Minneapolis band Alation’s latest demo brief, since it reprises tracks previously found on two of their earlier demos from 2010 and 2011 (reviewed here and here). This demo features three songs, “Bed Of Nails”, “Abscess Of Insanity”, and “Aflame”, as new versions that have been re-recorded and/or remastered. There’s not a whole lot of difference in the songs themselves, but they definitely sound better than ever when compared to the earlier versions. “Bed Of Nails” is a fast, thrashy song that benefits most from a superior drum sound than that found on the 2010 demo. The differences on the other two songs are more subtle. “Abscess Of Insanity” has Angel singing in her rough, aggressive voice, while she mixes it up with clear singing on “Aflame”. Musically the band blends thrash with technical guitar leads to create a modern sound that any fan of extreme metal will love. Alation is one of the best local bands playing in the Twin Cities area right now, so don’t miss your chance to catch them live this weekend. While it’s nice to hear these songs with a better sound, hopefully some new songs will be released in the near future.

Click to watch Alation perform “Aflame” last year in Minneapolis.


Alation performs this Saturday, October 22 at Station 4 in St. Paul with Under Eden, Echoterra, and Minos. This is a 16+ show, doors are at 7:00, and it’s only $5.

CAGE Concert Review - Part 2 of 2


Cage, Dawn Of Valor, Minos, Eternal Voyager, Noble Beast, Iron Finger
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Station 4, St. Paul, MN
Part 2 of 2

Click on the picture to see additional photos of Iron Finger (12).

Cage’s headlining performance was covered in Part 1 of this review, so now here’s the rundown of the rest of the bill. Those arriving at the venue early were rewarded with a crushing performance by the best support band of the night, Iron Finger. Hailing from Chicago and along for the duration of this quick Midwest run with Cage, Iron Finger blew down the doors with a thick dose of groove-laden heaviosity that demands attention. Their set began with a couple instrumentals before the bass player stepped up to sing for the last three songs. Iron Finger’s stripped down approach belies the fact that there are some serious molten riffs and thoughtful soloing from guitarists Gerry Buckzo, formerly of Nomad and Cage during their earliest days, and Paul Kratky, who also plays in cult legends Slauter Xstroyes. The band is planning on incorporating a new full-time vocalist in the near future, but I thought the bass player sang just fine. He sounds a bit like Scott “Wino” Weinrich (The Obsessed) without the drama. This is trendless, heavy rock that is all too rare and that would have widespread appeal. Someone sign this band now.

Watch Iron Finger perform “Ride On”.

Watch Iron Finger perform “Nightmare”.

Watch iron Finger perform “Saviour”.

Click on the picture to see additional photos of Noble Beast (14).

Next up was Noble Beast from St. Paul, who mix up Megadeth-style technical riffs with grand melodies popularized by European power metal bands. It’s an approach that works, but the vocals put me off at times. I actually really like it when the vocalist and guitarist Rob Jalonen screams much more than his singing, not enough for to write them off, though. He and guitarist Matt Hodsdon work in tandem quite well, and the technical talents of the band are admirable. Noble Beast is certainly worth keeping an eye on as they have a lot of potential.

Watch Noble Beast perform “Master Of Depravity”. An additional Noble Beast song can also be viewed on my YouTube channel.

Click on the picture to see additional photos of Eternal Voyager (17).

Eternal Voyager then took the stage to deliver an interesting set that showcased longer songs that venture into speed-style progressive territory. Although this was his final show with the band, Hollowstone keyboardist Don brought a great element to Eternal Voyager’s sound without trying to dominate his presence. Hopefully a suitable replacement for him will be found soon. Again, the vocals were a weak spot for the band, but it’s not too much of a distraction. Eternal Voyager is one their way to forging their own unique sound, so they’re another band to check out for upcoming shows.

Watch Eternal Voyager perform “Army Of Our Lord”. “Eternal Voyager” can also be viewed on my YouTube channel.

Click on the picture to see additional photos of Minos (15).

As with Noble Beast and Eternal Voyager, I’ve never been to a show early enough to catch Minos on their many support slots so I had no idea of what to expect. Hailing from Rochester, Minnesota, Minos delivers convincing folk metal that thankfully forgoes superfluous instrumentation and childish melodies that seem to plague many bands that play in this style. I’m not a fan of much folk metal, so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed their set. The promoter of the show, The SwordLord, even got up on stage to join Minos for guest vocals as duet on “Lost River”. This is my no means my type of metal, but you have to admire what Minos is doing and they’re clearly at the top of their game.

Watch Minos perform “Lost River” with guest vocals from The SwordLord. “Skyfire” can also be viewed on my YouTube channel.

Click on the picture to see additional photos of Dawn Of Valor (23).

Dawn Of Valor was the final support band of the night, and this was the first opportunity I’ve had to see them since some major personnel changes took place earlier this year. Vocalist Jaden Adair is now fronting the band, and a new guitarist and drummer have also joined bassist Ted Jedlicki and guitarist John Leibel. The changes have done the band good, and all aspects of the band are now at a higher level. This was on display as Dawn Of Valor blitzed through all three songs from their latest EP, Immortal Flame, three more from their self-titled EP, as well as “The Metal Calling”. Jaden is an aggressive, in-your-face singer, and he brings new intensity to the band’s traditional-style power metal. These guys are probably the most active local band out promoting themselves everywhere, so the new lineup and EP should help raise Dawn Of Valor’s profile throughout the area metal scene.

Watch Dawn Of Valor perform “Valkyrie Sky”. The rest of the band’s set can be viewed on my YouTube channel.

Watch Dawn Of Valor perform “There Can Be Only One”. The rest of the band’s set can be viewed on my YouTube channel.

This was an impressive night of local talent, and band brought something different to the bill. Chicago’s Iron finger, however, stole the show with a professional-level performance and a killer sound. All of the bands are worth seeing, so be sure to give them your support at upcoming shows. Headliner Cage took the stage after Dawn Of Valor, so click here for the review of their show with plenty of pictures and complete video footage.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

CAGE Concert Review - Part 1 of 2


Cage, Dawn Of Valor, Minos, Eternal Voyager, Noble Beast, Iron Finger
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Station 4, St. Paul, MN
Part 1 of 2

Click any picture to see additional photos of Cage (27).

Power metal survivors Cage have put forth a significant effort in touring the US in the last 5–6 years, so it’s been a treat to have them here in The Cities for the third time in recent years. This show was the first of three on a short run through the Midwest as the band is gearing up for the release of their sixth album, Supremacy Of Steel.


My review of the show will be in two parts—Cage here in Part 1, to be followed soon with the supporting bands in Part 2. I also conducted an exclusive video interview with all five members of Cage before the show, and this will also be posted in the near future.

  
Having seen Cage numerous times since the early Unveiled and Astrology eras, I can state with confidence that this was the best show I’ve seen to date, and this version of the band is the most polished and technically proficient. Steve Brogden has moved bass to guitar, while Psychotic Waltz drummer Norm Leggio’s bandmate from Teabag, Pete Stone, has joined Cage on bass (I’ll have to dig out some old pictures of Norm and Pete playing in Teabag!). Leading this new lineup are original vocalist Sean Peck and guitarist Dave “Conan” Garcia. Everyone was in top form, and Cage has definitely solidified a loyal base of fans here in the Twin Cities.

Watch Cage perform “Doctor Doom” from the upcoming Supremacy Of Steel album. Visit my YouTube channel to see videos of the complete show!

Cage is pushing the upcoming Supremacy Of Steel album hard, and they ripped into five new songs this night, many played live for the first time. Selections from their last three albums, Science Of Annihilation, Hell Destroyer, and Darker Than Black, rounded out this marathon 15-song, nearly 90 minute set. New song “Bloodsteel” opened the show with a blistering scream from Sean, then they immediately launched into crowd favorite “I Am The King”. Two more new songs, “The Beast Of Bray Road” and “Doctor Doom”, also received a great response from the audience. Cage then settled into a string of familiar tunes, including fire-spitting versions of “Planet Crusher” and “Hell Destroyer”. “War Of The Undead”, another new one that was debuted in Minneapolis last year, kept the band on fire and eventually led into the set closer, “Metal Empire”, the last new track of the night which can only be described as epic. Wasting little time before returning for an encore, Cage sounded rejuvenated as they ripped into the brilliant “King Diamond” and a pounding version of “Metal Devil”. The last surprise for the night was closing affairs down with a nearly 11 minute version of “Wings Of Destruction” from Darker Than Black.

Watch Cage perform “Bloodsteel” from the upcoming Supremacy Of Steel album. Visit my YouTube channel to see videos of the complete show!

Cage once again demonstrated that they continue to be taken seriously as one of the top power metal bands in the world. Their consistency over six albums is virtually unmatched and they are a force to behold live. Incredibly, Cage continues to get better and they’ve yet to reach their creative peak. Judging from the new songs played this night, Supremacy Of Steel will leave the metal world wondering how Cage does it. “Doctor Doom”, “Metal Empire”, and “The Beast Of Bray Road” were probably my favorites. Although Cage’s past US tours have not been extensive the band is making a serious effort to penetrate more markets, so do yourself a favor and get out to see them if they come to a town near you.



Head on over to my YouTube channel to watch videos of Cage’s entire performance, and check back soon for an exclusive video interview with the entire band and Part 2 of the concert review for pictures and videos of the supporting bands Iron Finger, Dawn Of Valor, Minos, Eternal Voyager, and Noble Beast.