A couple of bands that I have heard of recently, though I haven’t heard enough of them to really make claims about their greatness: Room 13 and The Showdown (those are links where you can actually hear some of the music, though neither appear to be “official websites).
The Showdown’s song Head Down has been getting some airplay on Sirius Satellite, and unlike most new music out, it hasn’t been getting beaten to death with a 4x an hour rotation. In fact I only hear the song once every few days, and when I hear it, it always leaves me wanting to hear another song. It is not nearly as heavy as most of the music that I like, but the guitar is awesome and the songs are short and to the point. They hit me sort of like Nickelback did; I never dreamed of buying their album, but when I found that I was turning up my radio for 5 different Nickelback songs (I didn’t know what songs Nickelback did at the time) I went ahead and got the album. This is the same way. I wouldn’t have imagined that I would actually be buying the album, but I have the available songs (from their website) on my mp3 player, and I find that I crank it up when they come on. Unfortunately, I have yet to see the album in stores, and my mp3 downloading service of choice doesn’t have either of their albums available yet. Definitely a release that I am looking forward to.
Also to note, The Showdown has a cover of the song Carry on Wayward Son on one of their albums. If you have been to my site when I was talking about music, you likely know that I generally despise remakes of classic songs. As it stands, I think only Disturbed’s song Land of Confusion has actually gotten a thumb’s up from me as far as remakes go. The Showdown’s is falling into that territory as well. It is impossible to quantify why I think this remake is alright while I think others are crap, it is totally subjective. If I can listen to it without thinking that someone, somewhere is crying about their song being destroyed OR if they take a song that I didn’t really like and make me listen to it, thumbs up. This one is a bit of both. They didn’t destroy the source material Evanescence style, they didn’t remake an 80’s synth hit Marilyn Manson style, they took a song that was great a couple of decades ago and made it sound current again. Which, when I think about it, is basically the same reason I liked Land of Confusion.
Room 13 is the latest band of Aliester Wytch. He was the lead guitarist for Eisenblakk when I got to know Dwight (the singer) back in the nineties. Aliester is the reason I really started playing guitar. Well, I played guitar before I met him, but he is the reason I started trying to learn how to play well. I started playing Jackson Charvel guitars because of him (I still do to this day, though I also play a Jackson Kelly for ease of fretting in the second octave), I started using guitar picks that were in excess of 1.2 millimeters because of him (most people call them bass picks when they see them, since not a lot of guitarists use picks so thick. You break a lot more strings with thicker picks, but the attack comes through a lot more with a thicker pick -it is like hitting a piano key harder; with a thin pick, it is only going to hit so hard before the pick bends, with a thick pick, it is like hitting the string with a brick. It never bends, so the harder you hit, the louder it gets. Not sure if this is why he used the picks, but that is why I continue to use them.), I idolized him as a musician. I always enjoyed his solo albums more than the Eisenblakk albums though, because I loved his voice, and he didn’t sing on Eisenblakk’s albums (except backing vocals). It is only fitting that he is the singer for the new band.
I haven’t heard enough of Room 13’s music yet to say whether it is something that will be in my mp3 rotation a year from now, but I figured I would throw out a link. Now if I could just convince Aliester to remake his songs Evil Speak and Vampire Lust, then it would surely be there (his solo albums were done in a home studio, and left a lot of room for improvement on recording and mixing -probably a limitation of the hardware at his disposal). I have to admit that nostalgia is probably playing at least a bit of a role in listening to the new work, but check it out anyway, for the voice if nothing else.
And speaking of voices…
Megadeth‘s new album, United Abominations is releasing on the 15th of May. I have heard a couple of tracks from the new album. Gears of War and Sleepwalker are exactly the kind of in-your-face shredding that the last two bands I talked about aren’t. A double-bassed, double-picking frenzy that makes you want to beat your dog. Of course as a rational adult, I don’t beat my dog; I pretend my car is a tank and take on all comers!
I was really stoked about Megadeth’s last album, but kind of soured to the preachy, Creed-like lyrics of a couple of the songs. This album has (at least the songs I have heard) gotten away from that. Of course I know that if you know anything about Metal, you already have this release date circled on your calendar. In fact I had no intention of mentioning it at all… Until my inner voice started calling me a pussy for posting about a couple of bands that do not actually “make my ears bleed”.
Now if my inner voice is done measuring his figurative penis, I am going to get back to listening to The Showdown -as my pc is the only place I can until such time as I find the album in stores.