Welcome to Jonestown Delivers Classic Punk Rock with a Side of Heart with Their New Album #ForPunksSake, available through all streaming services on June 7th
They always say “the third time’s the charm,” right? Well, that seems to work for the local Chicago music scene with a ton of bands announcing new music this summer. The way it typically goes with a fresh, potentially band on the horizon of releasing their 1st album, fans group together to show their support.
Then there is the 2nd album which is referred to as the “sophomore slump”. A lot of musicians try to avoid this like the plague. Either your 2nd album shows growth with your music or you follow along the same path. Whatever happens, you will have critics.
If you survived the slump, you are now on your 3rd endeavor and the world is your oyster… Well, maybe… The #punkrockboys from the Windy City of Chicago Welcome to Jonestown are ready to kick local music in the ass in the nicest way possible. Their new album #ForPunksSake is classic punk with a side of honestly, hurt, romance, comedy, and the thrash we all need in our lives. (Yes, we need all of this… It is called being human…)
Let’s start off with the leadoff single “100 Bullets…” Jeremy (singer, lead guitar) seems to take a few life lessons he puts it into perspective. “100 Bullets” sounds like one hell of a night of partying with friends and that potential special someone turns out to be yet another mistake. With anyone, you make hundreds of memories yet when it all comes crashing down; it hits you. You think about all the time spent now it just seems wasted. With a catchy guitar riff reminiscent of Blink 182, Welcome to Jonestown grabs you with a catchy hook and a great lyric video.
There is something seriously awesome about the song “Sunspots,” track #8 off of #ForPunksSake. Maybe it is the haunting melody of the guitar. Perhaps it’s the headstrong bass lines provided by Matt who makes you want to dance and mosh at the same time. It could be that it’s a traditional punk rock song with some influence from Bad Religion. Burnard kicks ass as he pounds the drums with speed, unlike any other.
Ever find yourself needing to take a step back and reflect? That is “Cardiac Arrest.” Jeremy takes a chance on a stripped down, acoustic song and doesn’t disappoint. No drums. No bass. It is just a sad and truthful song pouring out one’s heart.
Other songs to love:
“Swell Up and Die…” (Lovely…)
“Another Shitty Song…” (Again…. Lovely….)
“Half of Anything…..”
So, is the third time the charm? Yes. Welcome to Jonestown shows a lot of growth while staying true to what they are about: the catchy lyrics, smooth yet playful bass lines and hard hitting drums that make them a force in the punk rock world. Jeremy, Matt, and Burnard bring their special sauce to #ForPunksSake, Make sure you give it a listen on June 7th and come out to their LP Release Party June 14th at LiveWire Lounge with Conway, OverClocked and Social Que (details here).
If every one of my favorite bands from high school got together and had a music baby, it would be After The Message. Their self-titled EP is a six-song journey through loss, heartbreak, and redemption. If you have ever been in love, then get ready to hold on for an emotional roller coaster.
The release kicks off with a ninety-second intro tune titled “Welcome To.” “Welcome To” teases your ears with a one channel riff that explodes into a heart-racing build up that is sure to get you pumped for what comes next. If I would choose any lyric to define the feel of After the Message’s EP, let it be this line from the opening track; “I won’t be the only reason for this love to stay”. This line reflects the content of what the vocalist is trying to portray throughout the album from his own viewpoint of loss.
The EP flows smoothly into “Where I Stand”. A perfect second song to get your body moving with the beat. The lyrical content helps you face the reality that things may be falling apart. Energy builds through this song, helping you feel the pain in vocalist Nick’s powerful words.
Do you know those songs that are perfect for lying in bed, with your headphones cranked up high? The lyrical content flows through your body with the pleasure of knowing someone else understands how you’re feeling. Well, the third song on After The Message is just that. “To Whom it May Concern” is about facing our demons and our reality head-on, which is never an easy feat.
The fourth song on After The Message has an almost hypnotic opening that turns into the catchiest riff on the release. “Another Shot” brings about that ecstatic feeling of hope that there might be another chance. You can hear the positivity energy coming through the vocals and upbeat instrumentals.
And now, the heartbreak song we all needed to bring forth the emotions we all feel after losing a lover. The guitar riff on “Sequential Vision” builds into a hook that captures the heavy emotions that the vocals illustrate. It’s a song everyone who has lost a loved one can connect with.
“Speakers Underground ” is another song that has me continuously bopping my head. Heavy rock riffs lift the energy of this song and tie the whole EP together. It’s a song about finding your feet underneath you again after being lost in your emotions.
The album leaves you with a positive outlook for the future, and I for one am looking forward to what the future holds for After the Message. Whether you are going through a tough heartbreak at this time or not, you will not be disappointed with After The Message. Listen to After The Message’s debut self-titled release a listen on streaming platforms starting on March 15th.
War on the Dead: More Dead from Eyes of the Living kicks off with “Count the Days,” a thrasher of a heavy metal song, complete with the dark, apocalyptic lyrics, and deep, technical instrumental you want from horror-core music. The guitar riffs throughout the song give you an excellent sense of what the rest of the album has in store.
“Run for Your Life” explores the theme of being chased by a murderer, or maybe a True-Detective-style crew of murderers. The lyrics in the chorus enforce the chaotic feeling that I assume is what it must genuinely feel like to be fleeing to safety. Once again, Mike Straiton’s guitar riffs dominate the song, turning it into a ballad of epic
“Chemical Bath” starts out with a banger of a drum riff that perfectly showcases Cliff Fritts’s
The intro to “I Am Alone” adds a synthesized element that bursts into a chant-like song that almost feels like a ritual sacrifice. Another chaotic song, “I Am Alone gives the sense of loneliness that incipient doom might cause. Perhaps this is what’s it’s like to be a mental patient (note: as I wrote that last sentence, the song ended with what sounded like an alarm and someone running down the hall in an empty psych ward).
“Dawn” offers a reprieve from the fast heavy metal in the form of an acoustic song. Tim Swisher and Chris Moore’s voices really shine through on this song. Dawn is a lot calmer than the rest of the album, even when the electric instruments and drums kick in. The song is a little more melodic than the rest of the album but doesn’t lose any of the intensity the rest of the album
For fans of in-your-face, screaming metal with impressive and catchy technical elements and a true dedication to the spirit of horror-core, War on Dead – More Dead is definitely an album you will want to put into rotation. Check out the video for Infected below. War on Dead – More Dead from Eyes of the Living is available Friday, March 15th where you stream your music!
The hypnotically melodic, gothic sound of the title track “Witch-Heart” is the perfect opening track for Arcane Ritual’s latest release, Witch-Heart. The raspy, metal vocals in the bridge contrast the lead vocals and create an unforgettable harmonic juxtaposition that powers you through the rest of the album.
“Shifting Perception” is definitely a song worth rewinding. The way the song is structured reinforces the overall theme of shifting reality throughout the song. I really appreciate the melodic structure of the vocals. Lead singer Teresa Camp has a way of using her own natural harmony to create a truly haunting sound. The riff in the middle eight murders the track with complex notes and classic tones.
The opening riff in “Elemental Flames” would fit in perfectly as the soundtrack of a horror movie where the main character is running through a forest to stumble upon a bunch of figures in black cloaks standing in a circle around a fire. The lyric, “I lose my sense of time and space,” definitely helps to support that theme, while the drums, bass and guitar offer a sense of organized chaos that works out beautifully with the rest of the song.
“Make Believe” takes the gothic sound of the album to the next level with a wide variety of dark, technical aspects that add to the sum of a really solid track. The chanting quality of the verse lyrics come off like a melodic rock and roll hymn as they infect your ears and burrow inside. Once again, the vocals come through with a ton of passion in both melody and lyrical content.
The “Long Goodbye” offers a break from the intensity of the rest of the album with slow and clean guitar to go with the almost country-like style in which the lyrics are delivered. This song is a strong ending to the album. It’s different from the rest of the songs but doesn’t distract or take anything away from the overall feeling the album spent the preceding eight tracks cultivating.
I highly recommend listening to Witch-Heart by Arcane Ritual. The whole album is an excellent showcase of the talents of each of the band members. The hard-hitting bass, powerful lyrics, high-tensity drums and familiar yet original guitar riffs all come together to make for an album that will definitely withstand the test of time whether or not you like heavy music.
Witch-Heart is available now through all streaming platforms!
I really like Slowburn’s intensely harmonic style. Everyone in the band is perfectly in sync when it comes to each piece of the instrumental and the way they offer a harmony with the lyrics, melody, and structure of each song. If you are a fan of catchy, spot-on alt-metal that offers the perfect juxtaposition of hard instrumentals and heartfelt lyrics, then you will definitely appreciate the entirety of Eos.
The title track, Eos (Arise), is an instrumental track that slowly eases you into the rest of the album. It has these great moments of build-up that propel you forward into “Choke”, “Waiting For You,” and “Wish You Well”, which, despite its seemingly well-intentioned message, doesn’t actually make you feel like the singer is offering genuine well wishes to whomever he is singing about. Around the halfway point of the album comes “Otherside”. The intro instrumental lyrics have an almost southern feel. I mean this as the best possible compliment…dude has a James-Taylor-like quality during the verses that is harmonic and pleasing to the ear. “Otherside” offers a refreshing, clean-toned break from the track’s harder predecessors. I can almost see the music video playing on MTV in the late ‘90s in my head.
Ocean Floor takes us back to the band’s heavier style. I really appreciate the body-of-water references. The lyric, “get lost with me, on the ocean floor,” in the context of “Ocean Floor” gives me the kind of chills I get when I have those dreams where I think I’m drowning but it turns out I can breathe underwater and I have an amazing adventure. I also really like the drowning imagery throughout the lyrics in the breakdown. “Ocean Floor” also wins my “Guitar Hero Trophy of the Album” award for the kickass intro riff.
In contrast to the opening track, “Eos (Repose)” takes that build-up created by Eos (Arise), and opens up the track with a hard-rock riff. The track then calms down and brings the same kind of energy the listener finds in the opening version. “Eos (Repose) works very well as a standalone track toward the end of the album as well a sister-song to Eos (Arise). Very clever track placement and excellent consistency on the part of the band and their overall vision for the album.
Firebreather is a true headbanger of a way to close out this journey of an album. At five minutes long, this song is nice and long without getting repetitive or boring at any point. I love the section of the song where the drums and bass cut out and the guitar riff starts up. The drums come back in at just the right time and the instrumental that ensues offers a lot to the discerning ear as well as those that just love hearing solid, technical guitar riffs.
Overall, I have nothing but great things to say about this album. It’s well produced, fun to listen to, and you can really hear the passion for music that each of the band members clearly has for their craft. Eos is available right now on all streaming platforms. Check it out! It’s definitely worth a listen at any time of day!
For fans of Slowburn that have been eagerly awaiting a new release, the band’s new single “Dirt” is exactly what the doctor ordered. From the opening instrumental to the very last note, “Dirt” is a true headbanger of a song that combines the heavy guitars, deep bass, pounding drums and passionate vocals that has put Slowburn on the map.
Right off the bat, the heart-pounding instrumental defines the song’s intensity. The deep, low tone of the bass, lead and rhythm guitars hit the ears with a welcomed heavy metal sound that’s equal parts catchy and technical. The drummer perfectly encapsulates the energy of each note while hitting a bass drum that slams in a heartbeat rhythm like a punch to the chest. Attached to hard-hitting, clever lyrics, the incredible vocals on “Dirt” offer the combination of rasp and melody throughout the song you expect from a Slowburn song.
Available wherever music is streamed, Slowburn’s newest single “Dirt” immediately has me aching for more new songs. I personally, cannot wait to hear what comes next from this hard rock band!
Follow the links below to hear “Dirt” by Slowburn!
“Executive Order” kicks The Disorder off with a heavy, down-tuned instrumental that’s accentuated by distorted vocal filters to give the song a well-placed sense of under-production that can really only be accomplished by good production. The vocal melody and the guitar solo in the middle eight has a true 80’s metal feel that I liken to Iron Maiden.
“Label Killer” is a very solid tribute to the practically incomparable Lane Staley of Alice In Chains. The high, raspy vocals hit hard against the heavy-metal guitar riffs and take you to a place of organized chaos. In “Label Killer,” the lead and rhythm guitar alike slam you against the walls like a mixed martial arts match. The way the song fades out at the end definitely leaves you wanting more.
Fortunately, you don’t have to wait long for more kickass music. “Loud Fighter” is a fast-paced, energetic track with a heavy and technical instrumental that had me nodding my head until my neck started hurting. The bridge in the song is worth special mention, particularly the drums and the way they drive the energy throughout.
“The View” makes me want to stick up my pointer finger and pinky and grow really long hair to shake around in a circle. Another Ozzy-, Iron Maiden-like heavy-metal track, “The View” and it’s deep feel gets inside of your chest and stays there for the entirety of the song. This was a great finale for the EP. The energy of the song is almost palpable as if it can be grabbed out of the air and plucked like an apple.
An incredibly solid release from O.D.D., The Disorder may be only four tracks long, but it is nonetheless a powerful listen. After listening to this EP, I am aching for the full release and will definitely be exploring the rest of their catalog in the meantime. The Disorder is available today for streaming on all of your favorite music platforms!
“Catching Up” is a beast of an opening track to kick off Guardsman’s new album, The Entropy Illusion – Part I. The hard-hitting instrumental and vocals are the perfect example of what the rest of the album has in store for listeners both new and old.
“Dark Days” starts out strong and hard with a heavy, metal instrumental. As advertised the song has a dark, apocalyptic feel. The second verse literally makes you feel like you’re lost in a labyrinth, trapped with some kind of shadow monster closing in on you as you run for your life (spoiler alert, the monster gets you in the end). The breakdown sections continue the dark-metal style with some extra-impressive guitar work. The song is seven and a half minutes long, but I honestly wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t happen to see the time right after the song ended.
“Live or Die (or Die to Live)” opens with a smooth and crunchy bass solo that continues into the verse. This song is extremely well produced. The guitar tone they used mixes perfectly with the lead vocals. The drums in this song are definitely the driving force behind its energy, heightening and decreasing it on the drop of a dime. The guitar solo during the bridge flows smoothly into an acoustic piece that builds up into an exciting final vocal section.
I really appreciate the way that Guardsman can conceptualize a song with our without lyrics. “Out of the Depths” makes you feel like you’re having one of those dreams in which you can breathe underwater. The song would also fit in perfectly at the end of a serious and gritty mermaid movie (like The Shape of Water or something)
“Into the Blue” is the perfect follow up to the previous song, taking you even further into the depths of the world. Combined with “Out of the Depths,” this song creates a story in which someone, as the result of a plane crash or something similar is lost at sea and drowning either literally or “in fear.” Another conceptual masterpiece completed to perfection, this song has an awesome 90’s alt-metal feel, with a straight up epic (a word I don’t throw around often) guitar solo section.
“One of the Missing opens to a haunting combination of palm muted guitar, violins and a chorus of vocals. Much like Metallica’s Four Leaf Clover, this song has a very big presence in its instrumental and melody. I hate to make the comparison in an album review (but not really), but the verses have a dark, Deathklok feel that I liken to an apocalyptic painting of a medieval battle scene with the devil laughing over it. The tempo change in the middle of the song gives it a chaotic feel that’s hard to shake. And of course, the guitar solos kick ass.
“F*&%$ the Logo, Let’s Reclaim the Erabor!” starts out with an instrumental I can only describe as “American.” Trust me, you’ll hear it too. When the distortion guitar comes in, the tone of the song changes distinctly (pun intended). This song seamlessly switches back and forth between light and dark like a DID patient that’s been triggered. “F*&%$ the Logo…” is another example of a Guardsman song that’s long, but it doesn’t matter because every second is so detailed and purposeful that any length would be acceptable.
“The Road” comes around full circle and closes out the album with a hard rock song with deep lyrics and melodies and tuned-down instruments. Once again, the drumming is definitely worth mentioning. The ways in which a drummer can affect the mood of a song is an often overlooked aspect of music in terms of its absolute importance, and Guardsman don’t disappoint, especially with “The Road.”
I really enjoyed The Entropy Illusion – Part I. Extremely well recorded, well written, well produced, and any other “well” you can think of, Guardsman fans will definitely want to give their latest release several listens. The Entropy Illusion – Part I from Guardsman is available now on spotify or wherever you stream music, and I for one, can’t wait to hear Part Deux!
After listening to their last release, I could not be happier that Slaughter Party has released an album before I could get sick of their last one (pun intended). The follow up to Psychos In Love, The After Party continues the band’s tradition of horror-core post-punk without missing a beat (pun also intended).
Buggin Out – I love the way Slaughter Party is able to make these incredibly catchy melodic songs juxtaposed by some pretty evil lyrics. “Buggin Out” is a great example, the chorus expresses a sense of longing using twisted bug metaphors. This is why I love Slaughter Party. If you didn’t listen to the lyrics in the verses you might think the song was sweet, but you would be wrong, it’s sweet in a “The Fisher King” kind of way if you can imagine a homeless psycho professing his love for the woman he’s stalking.
Son of Sam – Another perfect example of the unique ways in which Slaughter Party can make a song sound pop-punk with some of the darkest shit I’ve ever heard. The “shoot, shoot” section played throughout is reminiscent of rockabilly in the most haunting way possible.
I’ll Let You Live…JK LOL – This crooner of a song pays homage to the voyeur in all of us. The lyric “baby, I just want to squeeze you forever, ‘til your face turns blue,” reinforces my love of the way they’re able to turn a phrase. The way they sing “I’ll let you live,” is another sentiment that in any other context would seem sweet, “oh, he wants to let her do her own thing.” But when it’s Slaughter Party, my expectations are far higher, and I know better.
Stitching a Friend – Right off the bat, this song had me nodding my head with its fast pop-punk style and crunchy bass solo. This Frankenstein song is monstrous in its aggressive pace and extremely catchy chorus.
The Hitcher – The classic tale of a hitchhiking trip gone wrong, “The Hitcher” follows an unsub that drives around looking for hitchhikers to shove in his trunk and bring to his basement. This song could easily be made into a movie or an episode of Criminal Minds. As a matter of fact, I would love to give this song to a Behavioral Analysis team to see what they thought. I think they would have a field day with these guys.
Available December 8th, 2018 The After Party is another fantastic effort by the horror-core-punk trio Slaughter Party. Once again, their ability to take pop-punk styles and seamlessly combine horror themes is nothing short of impeccable. The whole album offers top-notch production quality with timeless instrumentals and lyrics fit for an Avante-Garde horror flick.