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H2O "Don't Forget Your Roots" cover
Gallows "Gallows"
Bridge 9 Records
Rating: 8

Whether this is your first experience with Gallows or you've been with them from the beginning, you should be able to appreciate how solid this album is and how catchy it is for a raw sounding punk rock album. These songs come off more as anthems than individual songs, really.

Let's assume that you've managed not to hear Gallows, even though they were on Warped Tour and even did a European tour with Rage Against The Machine, as well as countless other shows and tours. First off, don't let the tour with RATM fool you. While they share some lyrical similarities, they sound nothing alike. Gallows is definitely a punk rock band with emphasis on the "rock". The reason I said the songs were more like 'anthems' earlier is because they have these amazing, well-placed, Hot Water Music-style gang vocals in nearly every song. The overall stripped down sound is fun and intense and could easily appeal to anyone that likes aggressive music. Even though vocalist Frank Carter left the band, former Alexisonfire guitarist, Wade MacNeil is a great addition. His voice is throaty and sounds like he's just ripping his vocal cords apart.

I've been listening to this album for a while now and it's flown by. It doesn't hit a point where a few songs are boring or different enough to make the listener lose interest. They maintain the same intensity throughout all 11 tracks.

-Dana White

   
H2O "Don't Forget Your Roots" cover
Paul Newman And The Ride Home "The Importance Of Being Ernest Hemingway"
Independent release
Rating: 6

Paul Newman And The Rides is a folk-punk band from Baltimore, MD. Their bio on their Bandcamp page says, "Ukulele on a street corner. Fast forward. Five guys in a basement. Fast forward. Five guys in your basement." I love that. It really does describe their history very well, minus all the details.

The songs are simple both in style and recording. They're fun and easy to listen to. "Folk-punk" is exactly what you think it is, too; folky sounding acoustic punk. They're good without being great but I definitely like them. I have no idea why I have to listen to a dude peeing at the end of track 3 though. You can download the entire release for whatever you'd like to donate on their Bandcamp page.

-Dana White

   
H2O "Don't Forget Your Roots" cover
The Greatcoats "Find Someone Else"
Independent release
Rating: 7

Solid, mid-paced rock with good hooks. Certain aspects reminds me of late seventies hard rock such as the crunchy, yet understated, guitar riffs and big drum sound, but "Find Someone Else" has many elements of modern rock as well. I like the vocal lines, both lead and back-up, in the title track "Find Someone Else." Good lyrics in this one also: "When you're the best thing happening to yourself, you've got to find someone else." Ha - too true. Some nice guitar work here as well. This was a three song EP download, so the snap-shot of The Greatcoats I got was limited, but bottom line is they're a solid band, with sweet vocals and a rockin' sound. I enjoyed this EP and you can download it on their website, or check the Greatcoats out on Facebook.

-Chris D'Alessand​ro

   
H2O "Don't Forget Your Roots" cover
The Muggs "Born Ugly"
Independent release
Rating: 5

This is Led Zeppelin, Mountain, and Black Sabbath inspired hard rock. Yep. It has a few decent riffs, but nothing I haven't heard a thousand times before. The vocals are sort of a mix between Geddy Lee and Ozzy, but the music doesn't have enough energy to get me going.

It sort of revs up but never gets anywhere. Better choices for this genre are Monster Magnet or, of course, the mighty Cathedral.

-Chris D'Alessand​ro

   
H2O "Don't Forget Your Roots" cover
The Alligators "Time's Up, You're Dead"
Bridge 9 Records
Rating: 5

Upon first listening to The Alligators, there's no doubt that Roger Miret (Agnostic Front) is singing. And, while it's not as obvious, it's no surprise to find out that Rich, Steve and Barret, from Insted, are also involved. This is straight up hardcore punk, full of rage and right in your face as close as it can get. A lot of the 16 songs on this album clock in at around a minute or less. The longest song is 1 minute and 21 seconds long. The second longest song is only that long because they go into this weird, out of place, tribal sounding thing that reminds me of some of the stuff I've heard Sepultura do in the past.

Overall, this is decent. The only thing that sets it apart from the crowd is Miret's voice. Some of the lyrics don't really come off the way that I think they were intended to. They just seem like something that would've been written by someone much younger with a little less experience under their belt. That being said, I still enjoy this but it won't be in constant rotation on my playlist.

-Dave Stevenson

   
H2O "Don't Forget Your Roots" cover
Dead Swans "Anxiety And Everything Else"
Bridge 9 Records
Rating: 10

The first time I ever heard Dead Swans was on their split with Architects UK. Both bands blew me away and I've been hooked since.

Dead Swans is a band that hits hard and doesn't stop for a second. This is still the case on "Anxiety And Everything Else". Their relentlessness never fails to make my heart pound and keep me screaming. Nicholas Worthington's vocal intensity is almost like a person who is screaming for their life with every inch of their body. There's no lack of emotion in Dead Swans.

The world hasn't seen a Dead Swans release since 2009 and they came back without losing a bit of their rage. Here's to hoping that they're going to release a bunch of new material shortly after this and tour like mad.

-Dana White

   
H2O "Don't Forget Your Roots" cover
Rome In A Day "Rise"
Independent release
Rating: 8

Washington, DC's, Rome In A Day bring a solid, hard rock, EP with melidic vocals on "Rise". The songs are tight and catchy. There are some sweet dual-leads that are reminiscent of Iron Maiden. James' vocals kind of remind me of Claudio from Coheed & Cambria or some of the poppy bands that go back and forth between heavy and clean vocals. Overall, it may not be my style of vocals but he's excellent at what he's doing. With the right exposure I can truthfully see them becoming huge.

-Dana White

   
H2O "Don't Forget Your Roots" cover
Holy Fever "Holy Fever" 7"
Lifeline Records
Rating: 9

When someone tells you the people that make up a band like Holy Fever, it immediately gets your attention. Members include Suicide File frontman Dave Weinberg (lead vocals), Malbec's Samantha Barbera (bass and vocals), Give Up The Ghost's (American Nightmare) Brian Masek (guitar), Neeraj Kane (guitar) of Hope Conspiracy and Suicide File, and The Explosion's Andrew Black (drums). Are you ready for the surprise? They're a straight up rock band.

It starts off with "Rat's Feet Over Broken Glass". It comes out fun and upbeat but you can tell that it's building toward an even more fun chorus. The chorus is indeed that. Weinberg's vocals over Barbara's sounds awesome with a gritty and smooth combination. "The Lincoln Brigade" is next up and is a bit more punk rock. It's solid riffage and strong beats, with a simple chorus, to which I would gladly jump over someone's shoulders to grab the mic and sing along. The 7" is closed out with "All That's Best Of Dark And Bright" and it rounds things out great. The entire, self-titled, 7" makes me think of bands like The Hives and The A.K.A.s and, in my opinion, that's good company to keep.

Three songs - That's what you get. It's not enough, but these songs are so catchy and fun that it's honestly very easy to put them on repeat and listen though it 2 or 3 times without hesitation. I'm really looking forward to hearing a lot more from them.

-Dana White

   
H2O "Don't Forget Your Roots" cover
H2O "Don't Forget Your Roots"
Bridge 9
Rating: 10

I don't think there's a band in the world that doesn't like playing covers. H2O decided to take it one step further and make a series of 7" records and a CD out of it. That being said, they couldn't have done a better job.

Any band playing a cover can ruin a good song. I've seen too many hardcore bands put a breakdown in the middle of a song that wasn't there before. I've seen bad musician/singers butcher amazing songs. H2O actually took every one of these songs and did a fantastic job with them. It sounds like H2O but the songs haven't been changed. It's like a punk rock history lesson from some of the nicest instructors on the planet.

It starts out with Bad Brains' "Attitude". You can't argue with that. Fast and crazy, and Toby singing a little different than I've ever heard him sing. It's great. Some of my other favorites are covers of The Descendents' "Get The Time," The Ramones' "I Wanna Live," Rancid's "Journey To The End Of The East Bay," Social Distortion's "Sick Boy," The Clash's "Train In Vain", and Sick Of It All's "Friends Like You." The entire album is excellent and an amazing amount of fun. They also do songs from 7 Seconds, Madball, Embrace, Gorilla Biscuits, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Dag Nasty, Verbal Assault, and finally close it out with hardcore greats, Warzone.

I can't finish this review without mentioning that H2O also released three 7" records just before "Don't Forget Your Roots" was released, each with 2 songs from this CD and then each with 1 exclusive song for each record. That's 3 more songs covered from Government Issue, Cro-Mags and Circle Jerks. The records are called "California," "D.C.," and "New York City" and they're totally worth the extra money.

There are a lot of bands that I really love, and H2O is one of them. I'm honestly more critical of my favorite bands than other bands and this is totally perfect, in my mind. If you ever get the chance to see H2O and talk to them, you'll be a fan for life.

-Dana White

   
Wilbur By The Sea "Wilbur By The Sea"
Independent Release
Rating: 7

Wilbur By The Sea is two things: A town in Florida and, more importantly, the musical brainchild of Sean Knisely.

This is a solid, 10 song CD of laid back, lo-fi acoustic indie rock. Elliot Smith is mentioned in the brief bio on his Bandcamp page and it's definitely worth bringing up. I have no doubt that fans of either will enjoy the other. It also reminds me a stripped down version of Eels, in a way. It could easily be good to really, really listen to but also be good to just have in the background while relaxing, because it's not over the top or demanding attention. While I generally don't listen to a lot of acoustic projects, I find myself enjoying this.

-Dana White

   
RVIVR "Belebend" cover
RVIVR "Belebend"
Yo-Yo Records
Rating: 10

The personal is political for Olympia, Washington’s RVIVR. Since their creation, RVIVR have been a band whose aim is to garner awareness about a plethora of social justice issues, from homophobia to sexism and gender identity, while creating meaningful music with catchy hooks and sing along choruses. Those issues are more present than ever on their latest 7-inch release, "Belebend," released by Yo-Yo Records in Berlin, Germany. I was fortunate enough to purchase this 7-inch at The Fest in Gainesville, Florida a few weeks ago. It was previously only available through the Yo-Yo Records website and on the bands most recent European tour. It has recently been repressed and now more widely available.

The A-side track, "Wrong Way/One Way," focuses on the struggles that many people go through when asserting who they are as a person and who may often find themselves rejecting societal categories for who they are supposed to be versus who they know themselves to be in their hearts. The song is incredibly emotional and seeing it live only amplifies the lyrical content, as is the case for all of their songs.

The B-side, "Paper Thin," is a moderately paced love song, of sorts. Sang by vocalist/guitarist Erica Freas, it strikes at the positions that people often find themselves in when involved in intimate relationships and the urgency that often comes in our lives when trying to achieve goals before time inevitably runs out.

The release itself is short, only two songs, but the content more than makes up for the brevity of the record. The band has up to this point released mainly 7-inches, with one full length in the mix as well. To me, this is the way to experience punk music, brief and to the point without any unnecessary filler.

-Derek Fulmer

   
Talk Is Cheap "The Finer Things" cover
Talk Is Cheap "The Finer Things"
Independent release
Rating: 8

It's been a long time since I've heard a band that plays pop mixed with punk mixed with hardcore and I've liked it. I think the last time was when I heard Set Your Goals first recordings.

The thing about Talk Is Cheap that really keeps anyone listening is that they stay fun all the way through this entire EP and their shows. They don't get boring with their music. Every song is upbeat, catchy, and full of parts that get stuck in your head. The first time I heard this I remembered nearly every song just from playing some shows with them. Talk Is Cheap has sounded really polished since the first time I ever saw them play. This recording took that sound and paired it up with producer Kory Gable, who did a lot with I Call Fives and This Time Next Year, and Talk Is Cheap could easily be compared to. Gable is great at what he does and it just made the songs sound even better. I really don't doubt that you'll be hearing more and more about Talk Is Cheap as the word spreads about "The Finer Things".

-Dana White

   
Dead To Me "Moscow Penny Ante"
Fat Wreck Chords
Rating: 10

Since 2006, Dead To Me have been releasing solid records with what can only be described as their own unique blend of classic punk rock blended with reggae and other various, and diverse, influences making music that is uniquely all their own. Fast forward five years, two full lengths and two EP’s later, Dead To Me have released their third full length, “Moscow Penny Ante” on Fat Wreck Chords. This album is the first full length with the new, four-piece line up, however, it is not a great departure from their former power-trio line up. It is still aggressive with socially conscious lyrical content. “Moscow Penny Ante” is a dynamic release that soars above and dives into depths not reached by this band before. Having been a fan of this band since their initial release, I feel like this album is, without a doubt, a natural progression of their stylized form of punk rock that encapsulates their influences well. Technically, this band is as good as it gets and their proficiency seeps out of every note and chord this record offers. Harmonies and melodies exist in separate yet equal spaces and work together perfectly. Dead To Me is a band who are passionate about what they sing about and clearly put it all out for their fans to see. They leave everything they have on stage after their shows and those that witness it carry their spirit with them. One listen through this record, let alone anything from their back catalog and one can easily see how their music has carried them around the globe and back again to keep doing amazing things with punk rock.

-Derek Fulmer

   
Kylesa/Victims "Split" cover
Kylesa / Victims "Split" 7", digital
Deathwish Inc.
Rating: 8

I've listened to Kylesa when it was on in the background and always liked it. I always meant to check them out and then, sadly, didn't remember to do it once I was on my computer due to 120 different things demanding my attention. That being said, this is a wonderful introduction to them. This one song along made me start digging up more and more on them. Here's the breakdown of "Pain And Suffering"... There's a 42 second sample, then a crushing sludge/hardcore/punk verse, then a sweet solo (and I usually don't like solos), a hammering ending and a 56 second sample. That basically means that this 1 minute and 45 second song sold me on this band. That's not too shabby.

Victims is another band that I had never listened to before. These guys are pretty awesome. I was talking to a friend that listens to some of the same music I do, but not a lot of it, today and described them as "It's like Motorhead got way heavier, more punk and way angrier sounding all at the same time." That's at least what I got from this song. It's excellent and seriously makes me want to start a circle pit. Yes, that might sound odd, if you really think about it, but it's true. Listen to it and tell me you don't feel the same way.

This split 7" is wrapped up with Victims doing a cover of Kylesa in their own style. It's still heavy but it's much more punk rock than before. It's also completely solid and I think would probably hold up for even a very intense Kylesa fan. But, I'm the new guy here so what do I know? I know that this stuff rules and I'm completely sold on both bands.

This was originally realeased in Europe by La Familia in 2009.

-Dana White

   
Worriers "Past Lives" cover
Worriers "Past Lives" 7"
No Idea Records
Rating: 9

The freshman effort from Brooklyn, New York, based Worriers is a strong first release with catchy choruses, driving tempos and peaceful lulls in all the right places. When coupled with anxious lyrics that tinge on desperation from time to time, it all adds up to an sub-six minute EP that leaves the listener wanting more. Regardless of this release being their first, Worriers are no strangers to writing, recording and touring, especially singer/guitarist Lauren Denizito, aka Lauren Measure. For several years she has played the same roles in The Measure [SA]. Released by the popular Gainesville outfit, No Idea Records, it is sure to become a favorite among indie-rock and punk fans alike.

The title track is a reflection on who the subject once was and the people that they were once involved with at a particular point in their life. It’s speaks about growing up and moving on and away from people and places that were once meaningful but no longer hold value. A continual theme throughout the track is that realizing that you have decided to take a different path than your peers or loved ones can be gratifying and equally difficult at the same time.

"Promise Me (You’ll Never Say That In Front of My Friends)" wrestles with encountering those who misunderstand or misinterpret someone else’s life choices. It is often that those who choose to follow a subculture are accosted by those totally outside of that subculture because it is misunderstood or misrepresented by a few of its members. This song points out that regardless of how many arguments or discussions you have with someone, they probably still wont’ get it. And that’s not to say that is isn’t possible for an outsider to understand, but it’s clearly up to the person outside of a particular subculture to reflect on their life path and the choices that lead them there. This is represented in the lyric:

"This is about the day that you gave in and chose to blindly follow all the rules that you were given. Then end result is not my fault, it’s not my problem. You’d probably have some questions if you ever stopped to ask them."

Ending this EP is the song "Deconstruction Site". This somber, more fluid piece touches on longing, (hopefully) temporary loss, and the work and time it takes to go from saying goodbye to being able to speak on a daily basis. It should be noted that when you purchase vinyl release it comes with a digital download code in which a fourth song, Made to Mend, is included which is one that I wish was on the physical release because it carries the weight of the other songs equally and adds to the depth of the EP.

Overall, I really enjoy this EP and I am sure that more time spent with it will only make me love it more. Through my first few listens, there were vocal rhythms that did not seem to fit the songs instrumental structure, but with more time they seem to be just about right. This EP is a promising start for Worriers and with the final few shows of The Measure [SA], I am happy to see its spirit carry on in new projects such as this one.

-Derek Fulmer

   
Anthrax - Worship Music
Anthrax "Worship Music"
Megaforce Records
Rating: 8.5

Anthrax has been one of my favorite bands for years. By "years" I mean "well over 15 years". Now, I don't feel like I am being truly faithful to that statement because I really wasn't a fan of any of the albums they released after "Stomp 442", which still had moments that I wasn't excited about. I never lost faith in them though.

When I started hearing some of the material that was to make up "Worship Music" I was excited to hear that a more metal, more THRASH metal, version of Anthrax was back. When I heard Joey Belladonna was back I was even more excited. After seeing them with Slayer and Megadeth last year, I was ecstatic.

"Worship Music" comes in calm with "Worship" then attacks with what might be the heaviest song Anthrax has ever recorded, "Earth On Hell". I was with a few friends when we first heard this and all of us were wide-eyed and frozen. Finally, when the bridge to the solo hit, I turned around and said "This is amazing." I felt like I did as a teenager when I first heard "State Of Euphoria". The first 3 songs really hammer at you and blew me away. From there, the album goes from being energetic to mid-tempo then back again a few times and is, overall, a great album. "Crawl" is definitely the low point of the record as a borderline ballad but I would highly recommend that anyone who is a fan of heavy music pick this up. Also, the cover of Refused "New Noise" as the hidden track is killer.

Lastly, I can't explain the use of the pentagram by Anthrax over the last few years. They've never been a Satanic band and still aren't. I get that they might not be the same guys they were in 1985 but the pentagram thing doesn't really make any sense to me. That being said, don't let it scare you away if you are a little wary of that sort of imagery.

-Dana White

   


added 09.18.11

updated 09.15.12

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