HE IS ME – Cleansing

He Is Me is a collaboration between Portland-based songwriter and musician/producer Casey Braunger and Calgary, AB based songwriter/vocalist Steve Moore. Casey and Steve first collaborated on a 2001 track called “Silencer”. Fast forward to 2016, when Casey reached out to Steve about guest vocals on a new song, Steve liked it so much that they decided to form a new project.

This fourth single that they have released is a down tempo, electronic/industrial song that has angst, anger and enough edge to grab you and pull your ears into the swirling morass that they have concocted. The vocals and subtle at times, but then they turn savage and the song goes into a pounding drill into your soul. The guys have come up with a song that takes a little from here and there and makes it into something that you will want to replay over and over again.

This certainly hits the right buttons and makes me anxious to hear what they will come out with in the future. Stop being a tease and get a whole album out already!

Also posted on: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/05/he-is-me-cleansing-single.html

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TOKYO BLADE: Knights Of The Blade: 4 Disc Box Set

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Tokyo Blade originally formed in 1982, releasing their self-titled debut in 1983. They formed around guitarist Andy Boulton, he was joined on their debut by Alan Marsh on lead vocals, John Wiggins on guitar, Andy Robbins on bass and Steve Pierce on drums, making a significant impact on the burgeoning NWOBHM scene that had been popularized by Iron Maiden, Saxon, Tygers Of Pan Tang and Def Leppard, as well as finding support in the pages of Kerrang! magazine. This release consists of a four Disc box set of their first three albums, many rare EPs, singles and non-album cuts from the early 1980s, including tracks from “The Cave Sessions”, “Undercover Honeymoon” 12”, “Midnight Rendezvous” EP and “Madame Guillotine” EP. Featuring lengthy and detailed liner notes from note NWOBHM and Tokyo Blade expert John Tucker

Tokyo Blade issued their debut recording in 1983, which was self-titled in the United Kingdom, and titled Midnight Rendezvous everywhere else. The album is classic metal with high-pitched vocals that aren’t too far into the stratosphere like some bands, they are a nice mix of highs and mid-level, the guitar rips throughout the album, the drumming is powerful, and the bass is heavy. The band really sounds like they were having a great time n the studio making this album, with youthful exuberance just dripping from the songs. The songs are catchy and should have been playing out of everyone’s speakers loud. I really liked “Powergame,” “Break The Chains, ” Killer City,” “Liar,” and “Sunrise In Tokyo.” For a first album, you don’t get much better than this.

The Night Of The Blade album arrived a year later, Andy Wrighton having replaced Robbins while Marsh had also left the band. The band was trying to find a new singer for their tour and got lucky with what was supposed to be the temporary throat of Vicki James Wright, but they decided to keep him as singer for the next album. His vocals were a bit more commercial sounding, but the songs were still hard and heavy. Again, the band played tight and really matured since their first album. Songs “Someone To Love,” “Night Of The Blade,” the killer “Rock Me To The Limit,” “Love Struck,” and the more commercial sounding “Lightning Strikes (Straight Through the Heart),” stand out after all of these years.

Blackhearts & Jaded Spades retains the power and singer from the previous album and sounds a bit more polished, but not wimpy. You could hear the band moving towards the huge American market with the added keyboards and more melody than on previous albums. Who can blame them? The market in America was something that pretty much every band wanted to break in and tour and be played on MTV during this period. The hard and heavy stuff was more on underground radio and bands knew where the money was; playing more melodic, adding a touch of keyboards and making the band more in tune with the big bands at the time like Iron Maiden, and Motley Crue. “Dirty Faced Angels,” “Make It Through The Night,” “Always,” are a trio of killer songs, “Loving You Is An Easy Thing To Do” is a blues based track that has a fantastic groove and should have been huge on the radio, “Undercover Honeymoon” gets things back a little heavier, then you get the power ballad “You Are The Heart,” which I could see being thrown in the mix at a high school dance back then, “Blackhearts And Jaded Spades,” “Tough Guys Tumble” get the hard rocking going again, until you come to another power ballad, “Dancing In Blue Moonlight,” which now starts to be a little much, and happily, they end the album with two blistering songs “Playroom Of Poison Dreams,” and “Monkeys Blood.” Not perfect, but still a great album that has more than enough metal to make you happy.

The fourth CD is a nineteen track collection of the band’s singles and EPs.  All of these songs were previously issued on the band’s various reissues, and it’s great to have them all together on a separate disc. This ably illustrates the musical evolution Tokyo Blade underwent from the start of the career, until their third album. Going from a harder sounding band to a more slick and commercial sound, while still retaining the great songs and playing that made you pick up the first album.

With the great liner notes, replica album sleeves and the fantastic music on the four discs, you really can’t go wrong with this purchase. The band definitely is on fire on these albums and even though they still are putting out albums now, the young, hard-edged sound of their hunger is a treasure to behold.

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http://www.tokyoblade.com/

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MATT CHANWAY: Self-titled

Coming from the death metal band Assimilation, Vancouver, BC’s Matt Chanway has his debut self-titled solo record out now that has hints of his day-job band in it. The one major difference between the two projects is that this solo album is all instrumental.

I will be honest, instrumental albums are far from my favorite things to listen to, mostly because I love hearing vocals, something to grab a hold of and keep my interest throughout, but with that said, I did still enjoy this album. This is a bit more in the progressive sound, but still straight up metal, no Pink Floyd noodling here, plus no guitar wankering like Malmsteen. Each track on here ranges from roughly six to eight minutes in length and has enough changes in the songs to keep things sounding fresh and interesting. The added drums (drum machine) and bass really help to keep things flowing and giving the album a depth and thickness. All of the playing is tight and extremely focused with the songs not going on for too long or becoming boring. You can hear the love of playing the guitar that emanates from the fingers of this extremely talented player with song after song of thrills and heavy shredding. I actually liked all the songs the same on this release, mostly because they were tight, heavy, interesting and energetic, and without a vocalist that sometimes can ruin a good album with weak or over-the-top histrionics.

Yes, I did enjoy an instrumental album, luckily the technicality wasn’t overbearing, the songs were engrossing, and the guitar was played with heart and pure talent. This is not an album just for shredders, it’s for anyone who wants an album of great metal that will get your head banging and wear your air guitar out.

Also posted on: http://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/03/matt-chanway-self-titled.html

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http://mattchanwayguitar.com/

https://mattchanway.bandcamp.com/releases

STERILE JETS: No Gods No Loss

The band featuring singer/guitarist Robert Bly Moore, singer/bass player Wm. Partnoff and drummer GS Bean is a true democracy. They compose and arrange every song to bring out its best elements, delving deeply into punk, post rock, jazz and metal, with stimulating side trips into rockabilly, grunge and even pop. The noisy songs are very similar to what SST Records was putting out in the mid ’80s after they went away from straight punk rock and into more avant-garde music.

The songs are pure noise-filled hellions that challenge the listener with a complete lack of clarity and clean sounds, instead you get an album of intensity and insanity that nowadays is so refreshing since no one really does this anymore. You have touches of John Lydon, Cheech Marin doing his Alice Bowie character, and Jello Biafra in the singing with the inflections that are sometimes all in the same song. The anger and bitterness are like a kick in the groin throughout and really adds to the filthiness of the mix. “Piss On Your God” is a swirling tempest that grabs you and won’t let you go, not that you would want it to because it’s one hell of a ride and one of the greatest songs on here. The playing is sloppy, the vocals are crazed, noise, noise, noise, and the band playing like they are trying to destroy their instruments just make for a debauched and amazing journey.

Put this album on and piss off your family, open your windows and piss off the neighbors, but you will love every second of it, both the music and making people crazy. This kids is what punk rock was blending with back in the old days and very few managed to get it as right as these guys do.

Also posted on: https://ripplemusic.blogspot.com/2017/04/sterile-jets-no-gods-no-loss.html

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THOR: Keep The Dogs Away: Deluxe

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Thor started out as a concept band in 1973. They used the names “Thor,” “Centaur” and “Mikl Body Rock.” These entities were the brainchild of Jon Mikl Thor, a vocalist, musician and body building champion who won titles such as Mr. USA and Mr. Canada. He decided to combine muscle with music and in 1977, they released their debut album Keep the Dogs Away.

This is a remastered and greatly expanded version of that debut album, one that I remember seeing not long after it came out in a record store and bought it because it looked cool, at least to a younger me, and my mom loved body builders and Dobermans. I took it home, showed my mom who loved the cover, loved the cover…she really did, and put it on. It was a bit lighter in the metal, but still had a cool hard rock sound that we both liked a lot. The title track really stuck in my head, from then until I got this CD and heard it again. My mom owned a sub store called Trudy’s Subs and she put that poster up in her store, lots of people bought food there, so I’m sure she helped sell a few copies of the album with her poster placement. So now I sit and listen to the album again after all these years and I’m surprised that it still sounds good, a bit of the times, but still has the hooks and the fun that carries it. I was really surprised at the bonus songs the most. If you just listen to the regular album, it’s full of catchy hard rock, but the bonus songs are a mix of glam rock and punky new wave. I loved the bonus disc so much because it gave me a new side of Thor that I never knew and these songs are amazing. The playing is tight, it sounds like everyone was having fun and the songs could fool people into thinking that they were underground hits back in the old days…lol. The remastering is fantastic with the sound being clear, and clean, the booklet has pictures from when the album came out, information about the album and…a reproduction of the poster that captured my mom so long ago. Not only do you get two CDs, but you get a DVD with a concert from 1980 that is fun to watch. How can you go wrong?

I really am happy that this has been released again, and with so much added to it, giving everyone a chance to see where Thor came from. This brought back great memories for me, hopefully if you are a fan, it will for you as well, and if you are trying just curious, grab this one today! This is a thunder-god that will slay you with melody, not lightning…thank Odin for that!

https://www.facebook.com/THOR.Official.Page

https://thormusic.bandcamp.com/album/keep-the-dogs-away

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FALLEN ASUNDER: Self-titled

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Fallen Asunder is a music project between two friends since childhood, Ryan Batturs on vocals and guitar and Josh Weaver on lead guitar, who grew up playing music together. They are based out of Lancaster Pa, and have influences in the rock and metal such as Bullet for My Valentine, Killswitch, Dream Theater, HIM, and Goo Goo Dolls.

Opening track “The World and Fate” has a killer guitar intro and shows a lot of energy to start off the album. “Our Ghosts” starts off with great guitar playing that turns from gentle playing to hard rocking in a few seconds and the band just blazes on this track. “Meant For So Much More” is a blistering song that charges ahead at full power and grabs you along for the ride. “Silent Lies” is another hard rocking song that keeps the pace going strong, especially with the screamed vocals that put force so much emotion. “Lost In The Rain” is a song that is more in the hard rock / AOR vein that really stands out. Last song “Blinded Eyes” ends the album with a killer track, showing that the band will rock out till the very end.

The tight and blistering guitar playing is a definite standout, and made the greatest impression on me, so much that I grabbed my air guitar and played along with them the best that I could. This shows a lot of potential and talent and will be a band that I will be keeping my eyes and ears on in the future.

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https://fallenasunder.bandcamp.com/releases

THE DONNAS: Spend The Night

Spend the Night is the fifth studio album and major label debut by The Donnas, originally released in 2002 on Atlantic Records. It was the band’s first charting record on the Billboard Hot 200, peaking at #62, and features their most successful single, “Take It Off,” which peaked at #19 on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. Cherry Red Records has remastered the album and added five bonus tracks: “Hyperactive,” “Rock ‘N’ Roll Machine,” “Mama’s Boy,” “Play My Game” and “Backstage,” the latter taken from the soundtrack to the remake of the movie Freaky Friday.

Of course being a male and loving hard-hitting music, such as punk, metal and hard rock, as well as four attractive women in the band, (oh Maya!), I was already a fan when this originally came out and was looking forward to it. It was a bit different from their older albums, a touch of gloss here, a bit more rock, less punk, but all in all, I really liked it a lot. Now we have the re-release with added songs and I like it as much, if not just a bit more than I did at first. I haven’t listened to it in a while, so it was great to hear the album again, and rock out to the tracks that I remembered and loved from the past. The extra tracks from soundtracks and b-sides is a cool bonus since I now don’t have to buy a few soundtracks that I would have had to buy just for their song being on it. The booklet is a great touch, giving you background about the band and the process of putting this out back in 2002. The band plays tight and the vibe is hard rock with touches of metal and punk, but with enough gloss to make it shine, not overpower the songs and the playing. It has a sameness throughout, but again, not in a bad way, the way a Ramones/AC/DC/Joan Jett album has a sound that carries the entire album and makes you instantly recognize them. A feeling of familiarity and warmth that you crave and love.

The great sound, the added tracks, and the booklet make this a definite buy, as well as it just being a damn good album too. I really wish that they would get back into the studio and give us a new album, the world isn’t the same without them. In the mean time, put this on, crank it up and spend the night with them, they might scare you a bit, but oh, what a night indeed.

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