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By Rick Polo (Editor-in-Chief)

By the late 90s, the promising musical landscape that was “Alternative Rock” took a dramatic turn into strange, unsettling territory. And there was none more unsettling than that of Nu Metal.

This hybrid genre, comprised of post-Thrash groove metal, alternative rock and rap/hip-hop, left a very bad taste in the mouth of 90s alternative audiences. The decade that saw the rise and mainstream success of acts as influential and diverse as Jane’s Addiction, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Nine Inch Nails, Kyuss, Smashing Pumpkins and Nirvana to name a few, fizzled out into an instantly nostalgic radio-rock wasteland.

Enter Nu Metal: A bastardized version of alternative metal which filled the gap between Electronica and third generation post-grunge.

Looking back, rock music was almost just as much an integral part of rap and hip-hop at its inception as anything else. DJs lifted just as many samples from 70s hard rock as they did from funk and soul. The idea of a slick, repetitive guitar riff under and funky beat was undeniably infectious, as proven on Run DMC’s rendition of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way:” The first major hybrid hit. Also, in the late 70s, punk and hip-hop were akin to one another, speaking socio-political truths to disenfranchised youth.

By the early 90s alternative scene, acts like Faith No More and Rage Against the Machine had emerged. With their aggressive heavy metal guitar overtop deep grooves and rap-like vocals, new audiences flocked. With the former taking it to experimental and avant-garde territories and the latter taking on a punk rock-esque political platform, the musical marriage undeniably made sense. By the mid-90s, angst-driven metal-ish acts like KoRn, Deftones and Limp Bizkit ushered in and solidified the sound of Nu Metal, taking the groove and hip-hop influence even further, with downtuned, bass-like riffs, screamed/growled vocals and later introduced a Turntable-spinning DJ as a predominant instrumentalist.

In its humble beginnings, the genre seemed just as promising as any of Lollapalooza-era offshoots. However, by the time of its peak mainstream accessibility, it failed to capture the admiration of either heavy metal or rap audiences. It instead found it’s niche in (predominantly) white suburban teen angst. The fashion choices of this scene are perhaps cringe-worthy enough (baggy clothes, overly-abundant accessories, poorly spiked hair), but what about the music itself? Here is a look at some of the best and worst the Nu Metal scene had to offer…

 

THE BEST

Incubus_make_yourself

IncubusMake Yourself 1999

Of all the acts from this scene, Incubus may have been the most musically diverse, and certainly had the best vocalist; Brandon Boyd. The album features signature scratching and rapped vocals, however, they are used sparingly and actually add quite a bit of flavor in contrast to Boyd’s impressive vocal range. Lyrically, the album isn’t as angst-y as most of its contemporaries either, and instead takes turns into the philosophical and ethereal. The album as a whole has more in common with post-grunge than KoRn. One could argue that if the scratches and raps weren’t present, it’d work as a decent Stone Temple Pilots record. The band would eventually abandon the signature Nu Metal sounds all together on future releases and explore more alt-rock territory on later releases.  Overall, Make Yourself holds up rather well almost two decades later.

Slipknot_-_Slipknot2

SlipknotSlipknot 1999

Perhaps the most aggressive and extreme of their contemporaries, Slipknot drove deeper and darker than your average teen angst Nu Metal act. The fact that they wore unique masks and dressed in post-dystopian-like jumpsuits worked as both a gimmick and the most initially intriguing aspect of the band. The music was ugly, and sounded just a bit more demented than the rest of the crop. Slipknot incorporated elements of Industrial, Thrash and Death Metal, along with distorted turntables, horror film samples and hard-edge rapped vocals (possible influence on Tech N9ne?). Their chugging guitars were not far off from those of Ministry. They would eventually go darker and heavier on their follow-up Iowa, before teaming with Rick Rubin for  more crossover appeal on 2004’s Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses. Still, their debut stands out like a severed head in a period of mostly dormant heavy metal.

Sepultura_-_Roots

SepulturaRoots 1996

Is it fair to label Sepultura a Nu Metal band? Absolutely not. The Brazilian quartet took Thrash metal into exciting new places in the early 90s with albums like Chaos A.D., and also made a name for themselves as an early Death Metal act in the late 80s. So what happened? Finding influence in their native Brazilian and African percussion-heavy “roots,” and looking to emerging acts like KoRn and Deftones, they teamed with producer Ross Robinson for something new and heavy. Robinson’s signature sound saw the band eliminating almost all high-end from their guitar sound, trading leads and guitar solos for low, downtuned riffage. For what it was, and when it was, its the perfect marriage of old and new school heavy metal. Both new and old fans embraced this momentary direction. Frontman Mx Cavalera would eventually abandon Sepultura entirely to go in a complete Nu Metal direction with his next, and currently still-running band, Soulfly.

Korn-Korn

KoRn KoRn 1994

It’s almost hard to believe this album came out at a time when Nirvana, Soundgarden and Smashing Pumpkins were dominating the rock landscape. The sound was at least three or four years ahead of its time, and no one sounded like KoRn before KoRn. Their decision to utilize (then-cutting edge) seven-string guitars and tune them a whole step lower, was something unheard of even in the deepest corners of extreme metal. Their riffs steered far away from traditional heavy metal by sounding more percussive, with all instruments locked into a tight, heavy groove. In ’94, Death Metal was still a very underground phenomenon, and this was the heaviest thing to alt-rock audiences since Pantera. As a result, it spawned a new approach to metal which would come to the forefront in the late 90s and early 00s.

Deftones_-_Around_the_Fur

DeftonesAround the Fur 1997

With their sophomore release, Deftones took the rough edges of their debut, 1995’s , smoothed out some, and sharpened others. The vocals, although still mostly screamed, had just enough accessibility to lift the song to higher levels when needed, without losing any edge. The riffs were still very grove-heavy, but stronger. The main difference between Around the Fur and Adrenaline was that the band learned when to hold back before exploding, giving these tracks a truly powerful impact. There are hints, albeit few and far between, of the Post-Punk and Shoegaze avenues the band would eventually take. However, Around the Fur is probably the most artistic record of the Nu Metal era.

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System of a DownToxicity 2001

Toxictiy was undobtedly a powerful nail in the coffin of Nu Metal. Sure, the band played low-tuned groove-riffs with the occasional growled vocal. But of any of their contemporaries, System of a Down took note from the genre’s most high-profile inspirations; Faith No More and Rage Against the Machine. The spastic outbursts and odd time signatures clearly harkens back to the best days of Faith No More and Mr. Bungle, while their socio-political overtone is of the strongest since the heyday of Rage. The middle-eastern influences and overall quirkiness also set the band light years apart. Toxicity is often referred to as an essential metal record.

Honorable Mentions:

Soulfly – Soulfly

KoRn – Follow the Leader

Stuck Mojo – Stuck Mojo

System of a Down – System of a Down

 

THE WORST

Korn_-_Take_a_Look_in_the_Mirror

KoRnTake A Look In the Mirror 2003

By 2003, KoRn were basically the lone survivors, smoldering in the rubble of Nu Metal. And they weren’t in the best of shape either. After failing to find a groove or produce anything new or interesting for several years, Take A Look In the Mirror sounded like a tired reflection of the innovative sound the band became known for, only worse. The lyrics are angry for the sake of being angry, and cheesy to the point of no return. The riffs sound like uninspired rehashes of earlier work. The inclusion of rapper Nas on a track sounds like a failed attempt to recapture the magic of earlier collaborations with Ice Cube. Although the band would try their hand at more electronic and Industrial sounds on future releases to mixed results, this album will forever serve as a glimpse at the end of an era.

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EvanescenceFallen 2003

Evanescence attempted to trick many a young pre-teen and teen girl that their generic, commercial brand of post-grunge Nu Metal was hip and Goth. Shame on them! Although singer Amy Lee has an impressive vocal range, the overuse her high-pitched soprano overtop cheesy, formulaic riffs doesn’t do much other than tire the listener. The fact that Fallen saw much mainstream success at the beginning of the decline of the music industry is also a testament of what the record industry was pushing on the masses during its last breaths. The band declined after this release.

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Papa RoachInfest 2000

Not sure what’s worse: The fact that Papa Roach rose to fame with generic rap-rock anthems of angst at the height of the genre’s reign or that they morphed into some awkward cock rock band who still saw success after its demise. One thing is for sure: The undeniable irony. And it makes perfect sense. Infest was as whiny, angst-y, and lyrically idiotic as it got in terms of frat boy Nu Metal. With the rise of bands like Limp Bizkit, Nu Metal saw success in pop territory, and Papa Roach did well to exploit that. And, unfortunately, they still do.

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Linkin ParkHybrid Theory 2000

By the time of Linkin Park’s debut, Nu Metal was down to a science. Find a group of angry suburbanites who lived through the grunge years, were exposed to punk and Industrial but never quite got it, and who had a deep appreciation for aggro-Gangsta Rap and BAM! You have a successful Nu Metal band. Linkin Park did little, if nothing, to further the genre. Instead embodied literally all of its tacky cliches. Hybrid Theory, a massively successful record, serves as their crowning achievement. And understandably, as it represents this genre at its mainstream peak. It was possibly the biggest crossover hit, having just enough edge (in terms of Nu Metal) for the hardcore fans but enough fluff for rock and pop radio. Linkin Park would go on to attempt Electronica and more traditional radio-friendly alt-rock to moderate success, however the scars of Hybrid Theory are too deep not to notice.

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Limp BizkitChocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water 2000

Initially, Limp Bizkit seemed like a silly joke. Kind of a far-inferior version of Primus; wrought with redneck humor, but overall lacking in artistic integrity. And it was okay. They sounded like douchey frat boys and they owned it. Take into consideration some stellar musicianship, especially from guitarist Wes Borland and bassist Sam Rivers, LB might not seem so bad. It wasn’t until their third album, 2000’s Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water, that the real moronic nature of vocalist Fred Durst hit it’s all time high, or low. With jabs at pop starlets, alt-rock titans like Trent Reznor, and whoever else he didn’t like, Durst put it all on tape, ultimately embarrassing only himself. Musically, it sucks. That’s about it. Lyrically, your dog’s farts might be more profound. There are no redeeming factors here (Sorry Wes). You’re best off to just move along.

Dishonorable Mentions:

Flaw – Through the Eyes

Limp Bizkit – Results May Vary

Papa Roach – LoveHateTragedy

Dope – No Regrets

Adema – Adema

Amy Zerner and Monte Farber

Amy Zerner and Monte Farber

By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose (Social/Cultural Writer and Music/Arts Historian)

For over 30 years, Amy Zerner and Monte Farber have been creative forces in the arts and New Age worlds. Visual and fashion artist, Zerner and writer, Farber joined forces and began creating artistic spiritual items with their company, “The Enchanted World of Amy Zerner and Monte Farber.”
The husband and wife team forged their start with several artistic and fashion inspired tarot and divination systems. With Zerner at the helm of art and art direction, and Farber the wise words man, writing the council for their decks’ books they have become a well recognized and sought after team to not only collect from but to obtain readings from as well. Many people can benefit from their wisdom and insight. In terms of the way Farber words the systems, he speaks as someone who has indeed felt the full gambit of the human condition and he applies this insight into each interpretation of every corresponding tarot or oracle card.
Farber’s Karma Cards, published in 1988, feature astrological insights into a person’s natal birth chart and can also be read as divination by pulling cards to form sentences which give cosmic advice about how to manifest destiny.
1990’s Enchanted Tarot features traditional tarot card images and meanings. The surreal symbolism was done with embroidery/tapestries… something that had not yet been one in other systems. It was also the first effort in their line, which set the tone for the rest of their products.
In 1997, their Zerner-Farber deck was published and while it also used the embroidery/tapestries format, the symbolism delved into a wider cultural and visual perspective, especially with the use of more fantastical and whimsical interpretations that would still further their trademark of surreal and otherworldliness for which their company is aptly named.
2006 brought another such deck from the couple but with a specific theme: Love. In The True Love Tarot, Farber asks the reader such questions as, “what is love in a broad sense? What is self love?” etc. With Farber’s guidance the reader can begin to answer these questions, which must be asked and meditated upon before finding true love with another person.
Still other oracle decks such as The Relationship Deck (for all kinds of relationships) and The Healing Deck, dig even further into such topics and are meant mostly for both meditation and inspiration. As Farber states on the packs they are “little reminders” for a spiritual season or place a person might be in at that time.
Those still interested in deeper experiences can order private readings as well, private tarot/divination or astrological such as birth charts and relationships analyses are available through Farber’s website, http://montefarber.com/. There are a number of specific types of readings to choose from each emphasizing a particular aspect in a person’s life journey. In addition, they often conduct live readings, such as at conventions with their own systems.
So many people have found some amazing spiritual tidbits from these two and not surprisingly they have become a widely recognized name in the new age sections of bookstores and metaphysical shops over the last few decades. In addition to their website where they have been selling art, decks and readings, they are recently also now presenting their new storefront in East Hampton, NY. They have indeed found a true mode of living their lives through both the deeper meaning and everyday mundane lives of their business.
In fact, Farber’s motto is: “Make your life a work of art and your art a work of life.”
This past year, Zerner has also become an even more accomplished fashion designer in New York. Her spiritually inspired couture, jewelry and fashion pieces are now for sale at Bergdorf’s New York and on her website,http://amyzerner.com/, while Farber also maintains their blog on their website, http://www.theenchantedworld.com. They both continue their journey making their art to inspire and uplift in uncertain times.
An inspiring couple, Zerner and Farber live a rich life as artists both separately and together. Do visit their websites this holiday and fine some truly unique gifts of insight and inspiration this holiday season!
“Karma Cards,” c. 1988
Art by Amy Zerner, Words by Monte Farber
“The Enchanted Tarot,” c. 1990
Art/Embroidery by Amy Zerner, Words by Monte Farber
“The Zerner-Farber Tarot,” c. 1997
Art/Sewing/Embroidery by Amy Zerner, Words by Monte Farber
“The True Love Tarot,” c. 2006
Art/Sewing/Embroidery by Amy Zerner, Words by Monte Farber
Amy Zerner’s Zodiac Jewelry Collection at Bergdorf’s, c. 2014
Designs by Amy Zerner
Amy Zerner’s Jacket Collection at Amy Zerner Couture, c. 2014
Designs/Sewing/Embroidery by Amy Zerner

 

Mark Lanegan

Mark Lanegan

Grunge’s Unsung Hero Still Going Strong

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Behemoth, circa 2009.

Behemoth, circa 2009.

By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose (Social/Cultural Writer and Music/Arts Historian)

As many bands throughout Europe began to be more and more influence by Scandinavian Black Metal one of those pocket regions that rose to this movement was the Slavic regions.

Indeed there was an almost camaraderie between the two regions at least musically and they often respected and acknowledged each other’s influence on each other. Fenriz, the drummer for Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone, said on the band’s MySpace that the Master’s Hammer debut LP Ritual from 1991 “is actually the first Norwegian black metal album, even though they are from Czechoslovakia.”

Although the Slavic bands would general employ a quality that would eventually be known as yet another subgenre that is still flourishing to this day: Blackened Death. It was perhaps a combination of Czech Republic’s Torr (http://www.metal-archives.com/bands/T%C3%B6rr/4399) formed in the 80’s and Poland’s Vader and the original elements of Scandinavian black metal’s originators that influenced the early influential bands such as Master’s Hammer and Root.

Both Master’s Hammer and Root said Bathory heavily influenced them. In addition, Master’s Hammer was also influenced the by the extremely technical aspects which Carl Czerny and Giuseppe Verdi which employed in their compositional styles. Master’s Hammer enjoys a reputation among of the most respected metal acts as composers. Such influences among these early bands would lead to the orchestral metal influences in this region just as it did in Scandinavia.

Artwork on records became quite distinctive (and often unusual) in this region. One of the first contributions in this scene actually came from Master’s Hammer vocalist František Štorm, who did the artwork for Root’s first single, “7 černých jezdců / 666,” and their first full length, Zjevení. These and their later albums reached to other parts of Europe, namely to Portugal where the very successful Moonspell is from. They were greatly influenced by them. Root was indeed an early prominent band and was active until only about a few years ago.

In fact, many bands from this region enjoyed a longevity that unfortunately the Scandinavian black metal scene did not. Many are still currently active. One example that also has a great fan base to this day and who also solidified in 1991, is Behemoth from Poland. Their early works were demos on the small Polish label, Pagan Records but later came full length, Sventevith (Storming Near the Baltic) in 1995.

A year later, they recorded their second album Grom: A stellar example of Black Metal in its starkest form, it is often the most overlooked Behemoth record. The album hits upon themes not dissimilar to Viking Metal with titles such as, “The Dark Forest (Cast Me Your Spell)” and “Spellcraft and Heathendom,” lead singer Nergal seems to be tapping into his own interest in paganism as Quorthon of Bathory did before him. There are decided Black and Viking Metal influences and the record (from 1996) sounds much older but the influences they took from all those elements and what Vader started in the 80’s, Master’s Hammer and Root in the early 90’s is how Slavic Blackened Death would become completely developed.

Grom as well as other early Behemoth records were unique and ethereal, but Grom was especially important, as it was a pivot between applying what they knew black metal as and the band’s starting to experiment with their own takes of it. Tracks with very madrigal style female and children’s vocals and purely Polish lyrics became something of an archaic harkening to Slavic lands in Ancient and Medieval times.

As Behemoth went on to be the most notable band from the Slavic region to refine the blackened death genre, we must not forget the bands a long the way from other regions that were influential such as Akercocke, Belphegor, and Sacramentum. However, Behemoth became more political and critical of Catholicism in their native Poland just as Quorthon was in Sweden and they are still going strong with many of these sentiments as well as thought provoking lyrical themes of many kinds in addition to exploring different subgenres of metal. On their new album, The Satanist (that we reviewed in March) they seem going back in time by using older methods and songwriting styles just as the bands of the early Slavic scene had done before them. It is good to know your musical history.

All of the aforementioned bands as well as some of the lesser known independent acts (which I unfortunately cannot decipher enough of the languages to adequately add to this article with accuracy.) But they all seem to all be going strong – Many since the 80’s. Which is an interesting contrast compared to much of the Scandinavian Metal scene where tragedy abounds. Maybe they applied their own cultural takes on Black Metal and instead of “praising Satan” they embraced Vampirism or perhaps they found a better balance with religious assimilations of their Slavic paganism and Christianity that the some of the Scandinavians did not. (At least not among the hype of the crowds.)

All in all, I find the music of these regions and the blackened death subgenre, genuine and both dark and ethereal… Very interesting music. Please check it out.

In addition to my Picks of the Week (from June 2014) leading to this article Here is a list of picks (as chronological as possible) for your enjoyment!

Vader – Dark Age

Törr – Kladivo na čarodějnice

Master’s Hammer – Ritual Full LP

Master’s Hammer – Až já budu v hrobě hníti…

Root – Píseň pro Satana

Behemoth – The Dark Forest (Cast Me Your Spell)

Behemoth – Alas, Lord is Upon Me

Törr – Encyclopaedia Metallum: The Metal Archives

www.metal-archives.com

 

King Buzzo

King Buzzo Goes Solo: An Interview with Buzz Osbourne

IN THIS ISSUE:

Music

Ms. Rose

Scene

Poetry

 

Quorthon with Bathory, circa 1988.

Quorthon with Bathory, circa 1988.

By Jennifer Elizabeth Rose (Social/Cultural Writer and Music/Arts Historian)

After Trad/Doom and NWOBHM really laid down their roots, some sub-genres began to form in the 80’s. Most commonly brought to mind are death and thrash metal but it was with the term “Black Metal” that British band Venom gave us which helped form a more descriptive concept of what was to happen next.

Some of the early bands which really helped shape Venom’s new term/sound were Hellhammer and Celtic Frost (Swiss) and especially, Bathory (Swedish) With this arsenal of influences, new bands were then inspired, namely in the Scandinavian lands into the 90’s and the infamous Norwegian Black Metal movement came about including MayhemEmperorDarkthroneImmortal and controversial to this day, Burzum. These are the most pivotal in the phenomenon which in turn inspired the rest of the world to turn to black metal and then begat scenes throughout Europe and America, though usually they still had the predominant aforementioned death or thrash overtones. (Death SSMercyful FateBlasphemyMorbid Angel, SabbatRootMaster’s Hammer and Rotting Christ are prime examples.)

Since it is arguable among some passionate fans who is really the first Black Metal band, (many say Venom since they coined the term) it is perhaps most reasonable to mention the aforementioned bands first, from the region that fostered it to its “blackest.” And to examine why this occurred. Though in fact, many artists are/were nihilists or misanthropic at worst, satanic references abound in black metal lyrics, themes and supposed activities.

Aside from the infamous murders, suicides and church burnings, it is interesting to note that Quorthon, lead singer and lyricist of Bathory, a hallmark black metal band, eventually swore off these so-called satanic themes which came to originally define Black Metal and its lyrical content. And it was around this time (in the 90’s) when he rediscovered Viking and Norse mythologies and from then on embraced his country’s Pagan roots which led to the rise of yet another sub genre, Viking metal. Was he put off by his brethren’s behaviors? Did he truly have a deep experience with Norse paganism? It is difficult to say, but oddly even though it would seem that he as a leader in black metal his statements were taken out of context and other artists would go on to burn churches and do away with anything that was seemingly not of Scandinavian roots.

This is officially when Black and Viking Metal were divided in two… Oddly with Quorthon as a king of both realms.

However, also at this time, within the second wave of black metal artists who were already long standing and still performing had to contend with additional contemporaries such as Enslaved and Carpathian Forest who went on to embrace even more extreme theatrics. But it was Norwegian act, Gorgoroth, that became the ultimate visual culmination of the genre and seemed to outdo even their predecessors. It would seem that there was nothing left to do but get back to the music.

Up to this point black metal was typically under produced, lo fi and somewhat hard to come by – especially in other countries. Therefore, the performances, the shows, complete with corpse paint and hell fire was what grabbed fans. By the 2000’s, however artists such as Dimmu Borgir basically made Black Metal more of a “norm.” Interestingly enough, it was because of their theatrics. But with that they added symphonic elements to the music and really made it a more complicated genre which developed and that many finally had accessibility to. Such music was made more common perhaps because they adopted a more polished version of the sound. (As with many other types of music). It is not to say that such acts lack substance but rather that they simply put such music into a sort of limelight for many listeners, in their regions of the world and most notably into the ears of American teenagers who before maybe only knew of a few bands).

While this was indeed influential, it in a way marked the end of Black Metal being the original Scandinavian phenomena that it was. And up to now other places in Europe developed more cohesive pockets of their own attempts at the genre. In France, there was a group know as Les Légions Noires which included artists: MütiilationVlad Tepes, Belketre and Torgeist. In neighboring Belgium, there were acts such as Ancient Rites which split a disc with the perhaps more well known, Enthroned. Bands emerged in the US such as Black Funeral and Judas Iscariot alongside any other metal genre. And still as always, back to metal’s birthplace, England with the most famous example of all these: Cradle of Filth.

A place that really put black metal back on the radar in one particular pocket is the Slavic lands. However, yet another subgenre would occur with their own interpretations of it, which would develop with the term blackened death metal and along with their own paganism, Slavic Metal. Stay tuned.

In addition to the some of the Black Metal classics that I chose for Picks of the Week, here is another list of picks for your consideration.

Interview with Bathory’s Quorthon

 BathoryEnter the Eternal Fire from Under the Sign of the Black Mark

 

 GorgorothOf Ice and Movement

 

BurzumFallen-Jeg Faller

 

Dimmu BorgirProgenies of the Great Apocalypse

 

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By Frank Myers (Opinion Nation)

Another month in the books and a few of the shows that rocked my May to tell you about. So, I caught a few shows this past month, not quite as many as I’d of like to have made it out to, but the ones I did see I am very glad I caught. The music scene is pushing right along and taking no prisoners on it’s path . I am glad to see so many of the local bands putting in so much effort and time to keep the scene moving forward. A huge shoutout as well to all the touring bands that grace our stages throughout the year, greatly appreciated.

So, I kicked my month of music off one hell of a rock and roll party people!!! May started for me with The Spastic Hearts, The Idle Shades, and Voice of Addiction from Chicago. This show was a masterpiece of rock at its finest. The bands all pulled in a great turn out and Cedars provided the perfect venue for the show. The sound was on the money, the beers were cold and so was the bottle of Champagne I drank. The Turbo Lovers were billed to play but due to last minute circumstances were forced to back out, and they were missed on stage, but the Idle Shades stepped up and did their thing.

Big thank you to those guys, always willing to step up and lend a helping bass riff, drum beat, and kick ass song when needed. Voice of Addiction had an amazing set as well and had the crowd enjoying themselves. Also, a great group of guys off stage as well, would love to see them back in Youngstown in the future.

Then the Spastic Hearts owned the crowd and the stage as always, drawing everyone in with eyes I tell you!! But, seriously the music definitely speaks for itself with that band.

Cedars strikes yet again in May with another great show for everybody. This time it was Baroque Monody, Harnessing the Sun, and Pilot the Mind. Another great crowd, and just an all around good time. Harnessing the Sun started things off and rocked the stage with their own brand of rock and roll. Always looking so intent on mastering their set, while at the same time just having a great time up their performing for the fans. They were great as always.

Then Pilot the Mind played and drew a nice size crowd. The gave their version of a rock show and killed it. Keeping the momentum that Harnessing The Sun started going throughout their set.

Last that night was Baroque Monody, who just keeps getting better with every set. They played their hearts out and showed no problem taking the crowd for a journey with lyrics that give the feeling of personal situations and struggles in life. It is dark but at the same time just helps take your mind on a great rock and roll rollercoaster. The set was great, the whole night was amazing.

Chippers jumped into the ring with a great show of their own, featuring Deaf Eyes, New Diaries, Amnesty for Astronauts, Baroque Monody, and Token. I caught Deaf Eyes from about the middle to end of their set and thought they were pretty good. Didn’t get enough of it to give it a fair review unfortunately. Hopefully catch them in the near future though. Next up was New Diaries, whom did not exactly appeal to my taste in music. They did have a nice crowd of fans who were very much into what they were doing. They put on a strong set and stayed pretty steady in their style and performance. Kudos to them on that!! Keep up the hard work. Then Baroque Monody took stage. They did not let minor sound issues prevent them from giving 100% and doing what they needed to do to keep the crowd into the music.

Next was Amnesty for Astronauts, who bring an energy all their own to the stage and have a very care free, lets have a good time attitude. They too experienced some technical difficulties with the sound, but they kept the momentum, belting out the lyrics and keeping the energy thriving in that bar!! Unfortunately do to a prior engagement I did not get to catch any of Token’s set, I hope to also catch them very soon at another show.

All in all, despite the police presence on the roads due to it being a holiday weekend and the heat in the bar the crowd showed up and the bands rocked! The end of May I caught a bit of the Guilty Pleasures set at the boxcar lounge. My first time in the Boxcar Lounge located at the B&O station, nice little place I must say. The Guilty Pleasures were very entertaining as always and the crowd was into it. Never a bad night with these guys and gal playing. Definitely have to check them out some time. Well, just like May this is the end of this months recap. Hope you all enjoy and I hope to see you all out at future shows supporting the local scene !! Bands and venues included.

Off!

Veteran Punks get Off! on ‘Wasted Years’

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