REO SPEEDWAGON: Live At Moondance Jam: CD / DVD

Broadcast on Palladia, Direct TV and VH1 Classic in early 2013, Live at Moondance Jam features a baker’s dozen classic REO SPEEDWAGON tunes. This is a review of just the audio since I never received the DVD portion.

REO SPEEDWAGON has been going strong in one form or another, with founding member and keyboardist Neal Doughty the only constant, for more than 45 years. Though their studio output of the last few decades hasn’t been prolific or as successful as their chart-topping time in the early ’80s, the band keeps on touring, mostly on the fair, festival and casino circuit.

The band is captured on a very good night with the band at top form and Kevin Cronin’s voice sounds fantastic. The first four songs are from the first side of Hi Infidelity, celebrating its 30th anniversary and for good reason, that album was huge for the band and has the most recognizable songs by the band on it, and they include for the first time ever live, the song “In Your Letter.” Basically at this point in their career you’re getting a greatest hits selection and for most people that’s all they want to hear, but one or two newer songs would have been nice. You also get to hear “Golden Country” from the band’s second album, 1972’s R.E.O./T.W.O., and “Like You Do” from the same album both recorded live for the first time. It’s also pretty cool that the band included “Ridin’ The Storm Out,” and “157 Riverside Avenue,” both recorded originally with Cronin singing. Most bands usually skip over those years altogether, but they’ve embraced those songs.

The band shows their skill at playing these songs and the love that they have for the material, as well as the love for their fans. It’s a rare treat to hear a band that still gives everything in a performance after all these years and it will definitely make fans love this band for years to come. If only I had the DVD to watch as well…oh well, maybe one day.

OUR SOULS EVOLVE: Origins: Download

Origins cover art

This metal band based in Montreal, Quebec plays a mix of ambient, Djent and metalcore that blends together a lot better than you would think. This debut EP contains eight songs, three of them instrumentals that show a ton of talent.

The band gets hings started with an instrumental intro that has a nice light ambient feel to it before blazing into “Wasteland” and getting right down to the nitty-gritty. Lots of riffing, growled vocals, and hammering drums get things going. This continues throughout the rest of the songs with the vocalist actually growling at times during songs like “Evolve” and making the album an angry, wild ride, but hold on kids because all of a sudden the band throws in some mellow playing to bring things down on the instrumental “Just A Memory.” Just as you bask in the serene sounds, the band kicks things back into high gear with the heavy-hitting “Afraid.” The album also concludes with an instrumental version of this song, while being cool, it would have been nice to have another new song instead.

Other than one tiny complaint, this was a very cool album, with tight playing, crisp production and it shows a lot of potential that I hope will be carried over to a full-length album.

xMOMOx: Stop Time And Break Out: 7″

Stop Time And Break Out cover art

xMOMOx is a Hardcore-Band from Germany, founded in 2010 by some former members of xBREED APARTx. All members of the band are vegan and straight edge.

This is some thick, angry and heavy hardcore mixed with metal that wipes clean the horizon. Where these guys go, nothing will grow, they just are a devastating force of nature that you need to hear to believe. They say that one of their major influences is CHOKEHOLD and since I’ve seen them live years ago, I can say that these guys have taken that influence to heart.

Three songs that are incredible and brutal and need to be heard to believe.

MY TURN: Dead Weight: 7”

Dead Weight 7" cover art

This hardcore band based in Athens, Greece has been together since the summer of 2010. They’ve had a few singles and an album out before this and this shows them getting tighter and better than ever.

The band just blazes on these four songs, one hitting as hard as the next, knocking you back and kicking your ass. You can hear the anger and feel the energy in these songs as soon as the first note hits. Shouted vocals, blistering guitar playing, and the bass and drums combining to give the songs a nice thickness propel this single into the realm of contained insanity.

The band just reaches out and demands your attention from start to finish. These guys devastate the weaker bands that pretend to be punk / hardcore.

GRIM GOAT: Fear Keeps Us Small: 12″

Fear Keeps Us Small cover art

GRIM GOAT is a four man band from Münster, Germany that do hardcore, mixed with punk rock melody. After the releases of their demo For Your Life, the LP Answers Follow From Questions, and tons of shows with national and international bands, they went back into the studio to lay down the heavy tracks we have on here.

Some no-frills hardcore with melodic parts that come in all the right places and it’s go-go-go with no chance of taking the foot off the accelerator. With the gruff vocals shouted at you, the crushing sound that the band puts forth and the great lyrics, this is the kind of stuff that should be on your playlist, not that over-hyped crap passed off as punk / hardcore. These guys burn through these songs and make you want to hear more and more.

Seeing these guys live would probably be incredible, but for now, this will have to do and I loved every second of it…if only they would play around where I live…sigh.

CONTRASTS: Every Second / Every Minute / Every Hour: 7″

every second / every minute / every hour cover art

CONTRASTS is a five piece hardcore band from Munich, Germany, founded early 2012 by former members of CLOSELINE and WITH OPEN ARMS. The band released a demo tape in October 2012 followed by this five song debut EP.

The EP is powerful hardcore with strong grooves, some metal and punk riffs mixed together. This has a wonderful raw energy that makes the five tracks never boring or contrived. Gruff vocals give the songs a nice angry edge and makes you want to turn this up as loud as possible and slam dance in your room.

The five songs are tight, full of energy and make you want to hear more, what more can you ask for? Go out and grab this one today!

BURNS LIKE FIRE: To The Ground: Download

BURNS LIKE FIRE is a punk rock band from Athens, Georgia, who have released an EP and a full-length prior to the release of this new EP. They play punk rock with gravelly vocals, melodically ringing guitars, killer bass and smashing drums.

The playing is a bit sloppy and the songs have some memorable hooks and luckily this isn’t that fabricated radio friendly punk rock that the kids think rocks, but doesn’t, so thumbs up for the real deal on display here. This sort of gravelly vocals and raw, rough-around-the-edges guitar melodies are exactly up my alley and the dirty production suits the songs perfectly. It gives everything an extra edge of grit and realism that pushes this into the great pile. “Jean Shorts” finds lead vocalist Web Couch in full-on throat-shredder mode, and “Abandon Ship” has wiry leads that give it a nice edge. The other songs all kick formidable ass as well.

A great taster from these guys and now I’m going to have to hunt down their previous releases…kick-ass!