Deni Gauthier – Passenger

DeniGauthier-PassengersThis review is long over due. I didn’t mean for it to be so delayed, but life got in the way. Which is a bit ironic in that the newest offering from Deni Gauthier, Passenger, is all about life getting in the way… in beautiful ways, in sad ways, and even in tragic ways. Deni says that the music on this album is stripped down compared to past albums, and that is true. But… somehow there are still so many layers to each song. You hear different little things each time you listen. Guitar parts that you didn’t notice before, or drum fills that seem to come from nowhere. You almost feel like you are hearing a different album each time you listen. Or maybe a sequel to the last time you listened. For example, the guitar work in “Hurt Feelings” is particularly beautiful or melancholy depending on how you hear the song at any particular time. Or listen to the… I can’t quite tell.. three or four?… different guitar tones layered on top of each other in “Out of Touch Out of Luck.” Each one brings out a different listening experience depending on which layer you connect with at any given time. If you wonder why people like the 77s and Chris Taylor are taking Deni out on their tours, you should check out this album right now. Stylistically, this is acoustic/folk/americana music, a logical progression from Quiet Town, which itself began to step away from the more pop/rock music of his past work. Of course, with Deni sharing his past grunge rock demo on Instagram (BandCamp next? 🙂 ), we know the dude has a range of musical talents. Speaking of which, I should also note Deni’s talent for adding complex vocals and lyrics to his songs. “Let Me Go” has a moving and fascinating interplay between Deni’s vocal delivery and the clever lyrics. The same can be said about every song on this album. Oh, and “Dad’s Song” is a tear jerker even if you just read the words alone, but the way Deni sings it takes it to the next level. Overall, a highly recommend album for fans of deep, personal acoustic music.

[2016 Independent | Purchase:]

Infirmities – Paid In Blood

posted in: Music Review, September 2016 | 0

a0190946153_16This has been my favorite Christian Punk release since American Culture eXperiments! 8 tracks of legit Street Punk, played by real Punx, that are doing a real Street Punk ministry, and it all happens in under 8 minutes! Not a bad track on it. “Shadow Of The Cross,” with it’s haunting chorus, is my favorite on here followed by “Brood Of Vipers” and “Infirmities Anthem.” Infirmities could have come out during any period of Punk Rock and held their own. Each track blasts with a huge amount of energy, leaves you wanting more, you’ll play it twice in a row! Glad to hear good bands that are unashamed of their faith in Christ Jesus and want to share his salvation with those that need to hear it! Having finished up a recent tour with HR of Bad Brains and a new album on it’s way anytime, this is a band to keep your eye on, no doubt!

[2015 Sky Burns Black Records | Purchase:]

XL and DBD – The Offensive Truth Volume 1 and 2

posted in: Music Review, September 2016 | 0

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XL and DBD return with it’s best release to date! Sodom and America is a personal classic for me. I loved the early days of what became Rapcore – it had yet to become THE big thing, ruined by over saturation by the MTV beast. Todd Stevens is one gifted individual, handling the bulk of the instruments on the album: crazy good lead guitar work, massive rhythms, Golden Age Rap flows that remind me of Big Daddy Kane and Ice Cube, as well as great vocals and harmonies reminiscent of King’s X and Fishbone. These albums are in line and a step up from the prior XL and DBD albums! Great guest spots from Jesse Sprinkle, Jim Chaffin, Oz Fox, Jimmy Brown, Rex Carroll and more. GET BOTH ALBUMS! Each volume is as good as the other, lyrics are honest and challenging with a few fun songs for good measure. Wide range of subjects covered on here from addiction, to rape, to spiritual warfare, greed, politics, being a man, and really all these things are more linked than most tend to realize. Both albums are focused on Biblical truths. Production is huge! An excellent return, will easily be on my best of 2016 list!
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[2016 Independent | Purchase: Volume 1 and/or Volume 2]

Metanoia – Chili-Nation

posted in: Music Review, September 2016 | 0

a3786393620_16Well-produced 90’s style melodic Punk Rock. Fans of Pennywise, early Offspring, Ignite, Craig’s Brother, and Dogwood should enjoy this. These guys nail the style as good as you can. I say 90’s style, but it really is a timeless vibe of Punk. This is like the stuff I grew up on. 3 part sing along harmonies, big breakdowns, shred solos, lots of octaves on the guitars, solid musicianship, good PMA, Christ-centered lyrics. I’ll have to go back and check out their first release sometime. If I still skated, I’d rock this for a session! Ted Bond of Craig’s Brother has a guest spot. Go give it a listen at the Thumper Punk Bandcamp and see if you like it too!

[2015 Thumper Punk Records | Purchase:]

Saul of Tarsus – Road to Damascus

posted in: Music Review, September 2016 | 1

SOT_400wThis album is an onslaught of melodic riffs, blasting beats, and throat wrenching vocals. I really enjoy their use of keyboards on the opening track “Fallen.” The Jazz break in “World Flesh Devil” was reminiscent of the Refused, very cool and creative. “The Last Jihad” has an epic and memorable guitar riff that will get the kids or the kid in you in the pit! “No Treasure” is my favorite on the album, love the arrangement. Lyrics are on point, relevant, and Christ-centered. Solid release start to finish, adding a lot to the scene and the genres that Saul of Tarsus seamlessly blends together: Crust, Metal, Punk, and more!

[2015 SkyBurnsBlack Records | Purchase:]

xDEFIANTx – Fourth Plague

Cover_version1(1425x1425)_400wOn the Attack Records seems to be experts at digging up all of these old school hardcore bands. xDEFIANTx is the newest band on their roster, bring us their debut album Fourth Plague. The intensity, emotion, and energy of the old school are all here on this short album (or is it a long EP? Not sure). At times this gets close to crossover thrash, which is always a good thing in my book. Also a few hints of groove here and there, just to keep things a bit more on the interesting side. Another good entry to the On The Attack roster.

[2015 On The Attack Records | Purchase:]

Mike Indest – 45

45Mr. Indest returns with a short but sweet two song ep. Set-up just like its namesake, you have an A-side and a B-side. However, both songs are stand-outs. Indest can still write some of the catchiest thought-provoking songs out there. Songs this good should be all over the charts, but radio’s loss is your gain. Check this “single” out for free online today.

[2015 Independent | Download:]

Swinery – Swinery EP

Swinery_20FRONT900_400wSwinery produces some of the fastest death grind metal I have ever heard. There are ten songs on here, but most of them are in the 11-6 second range. Longest song is 45 seconds. Drums are so fast they must be programmed. But its not all speed and noise – “Hades” does slow things down enough to understand the words. This is specific music for extreme metalheads, but be sure to give it a chance if you like things extreme. This is about as extreme as it gets.

[2015 Sky Burns Black Records | Purchase:]

Kneel – Tales from the Secret Garden of Cobwebs and Grapevine

KneelI guess this is the season for surprising side-projects by Thumper Punk Records punk bands. This EP finds Neil Roddy from Ambassadors of Shalom veering decidedly into alt-rock territory for MMLJ Records. Most of the songs here take a serious, somber tone due to Roddy dealing with some heavy blows that life has recently dealt him. I can’t find much online to see if this is band or one-person side project, but the sound is not acoustic folk. This is full band alt-rock that reminds me of Glower at times because of how well it blends 80s and 90s alternative sounds together. Something for those looking for a new and different band to check out.

[2015 MMLJ Records | Purchase:]

JohnnyBoy – Innocent

JohnnyBoy_InnocentCoverArt1425x1425_400wJohnnyBoy is the lead singer of Thumper Punk’s  own The Way. This EP is a solo acoustic album that showcases his diversity. I’m not one to think that punk singers would be able to do acoustic albums well (even though many have)… but this is quite the impressive display of range here. Not “range” as in technical prowess necessarily, but as in the ability to stretch outside the comfort zone of your normal band. Six songs that are pretty much JohnnyBoy and his guitar (and occasional other percussion) sounding like a natural coffee house singer-songwriter.

[2015 Thumper Punk | Purchase:]