Auditory Assault

“I asked a lot of people about this CD and got a lot of different responses, good and bad. But overall I think it is a good, hard-rocking CD, I would put it right up there with ‘Ram It Down’! It’s nice to see the guys back together!”
— Former Judas Priest front man Tim “Ripper” Owens talking about the new album.

Intro …

This week’s column was crafted while listening to Closer Than Kin’s “The Machineries of Breath” and “The Punisher” soundtrack.

Sometimes you’re in the mood for a good soundtrack … just a nice mix of, well, in this case, rock (etc.) to keep you entertained. Being a person that has no CD burner, and someone that really isn’t into making mix discs to begin with (except for my Mix of the Moment mixes found in this column – though my intention there is to turn you on to some new tracks or remind you of stuff you haven’t listened to lately), I love having a constant stream of different bands pumping through my player.

This, surprisingly (for me at least), segues quite nicely into something I’d been meaning to discuss here for a while: good soundtracks.

Roadrunner has had its hand in a couple of good ones over the past couple of years. I was a big fan of the “Freddy Vs. Jason” disc put together, featuring a bunch of good stuff form the likes of Devildriver, Nothingface, Stone Sour, Ill Nino, Slipknot (the killer, previously unreleased “Snap”) and more — a nice blend of newer hard rock, hardcore and metal acts.

Roadrunner has a hit in 2001 with a soundtrack to the niche horror movie “Faust” — a soundtrack featuring an impressive collection of the label’s back catalogue: Machine Head, Fear Factory, Sepultura, Brujeria, Type O Negative, Obituary (one of my favorite songs ever, “Chopped in Half”), Carnivore, Spineshank and more. While it’s a great collection, I personally never picked it up because I already owned all the material in it’s original form (read: the actual band releases). Still, definitely a killer album for any metal fan to pick up.

Then there’s the two “Resident Evil” soundtracks, each strong in it’s own way. In addition to solid tracks from Coal Chamber, Slipknot, Fear Factory and Static X, the first disc also featured some pretty good scores by Marilyn Manson. The second was a more eclectic mix, featuring stuff from Cradle of Filth, Devildriver, Lacuna Coil, The Used, Demonhunter and The Cure. Both are good in their own rights, though I find the mix of genres on the second soundtrack a little more interesting to listen to overall. (It doesn’t hurt to like almost every single band on the album.)

Of course, there’s the above-mentioned “Punisher” soundtrack. There’s a link back to my original review of the disc; it not quite as “metal” as the other soundtracks I’ve mentioned, but there’s a nice blend of rock music from across the scene, from Strata to Drowning Pool, plus interesting duets, both from Jerry Cantrell and Damageplan (“Ashes to Ashes”) and Seether with Amy Lee (“Broken”).

I guess the last one I’ll mention today would be the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” soundtrack, perhaps the heaviest of the bunch all round. There’s some sick tracks from Pantera, Motograter, Shadows Fall, Morbid Angel, Lamb of God and Meshuggah. I think this release was pretty much pushed to the side upon release, but out of everything I might recommend it most of all.

(Note: I just wanted to focus of the newer metal-centric soundtracks that I’ve personally picked up. Sure, I might have missed some and I’m disappointed that Roadrunner sort of took up the list, but it’s what I own. For older stuff, people always liked the “Heavy Metal” soundtrack, but I could never get into it. If memory serves, the “Bill and Ted’s Bogus Journey” soundtrack wasn’t all bad. There was some good stuff on there from Kiss and Megadeth. And there’s always a soft spot for the “Transformers” soundtrack … no big names, but some rocking music all the same … except for that Weird Al song, I hate that.)

My thoughts on Monday’s Taste of Chaos tour…

I went to the Taste of Chaos tour Monday night (in Lowell, Mass.). Foregoing an actual review of the event, I’ll offer these observations:

* It seems newer alternative rock (you know, My Chemical Romance, The Used, etc.) bands prefer to scream all lyrics instead of actually singing. This is a newer phenomenon as I saw The Used and MCR last year and it was a much better show.

* Somehow My Chemical Romance has literally exploded its fanbase since the release of the new album.

* Despite the bad weather, many people showed up.

* Despite it being a school night, a large majority of the crowd was under 16.

* A surprising number of people shop at Hot Topic

* Despite the tourmates, Killswitch Engage played one of the best sets I’ve seen them do. Must have been the hometown crowd.

* I was one of the oldest people there, barring parents with their kids.

* Young women wear their pants really low … it’s ridiculous.

* I no longer have a desire to buy stuff from the vendors.

* Did I mention how great Killswitch was?

* A Static Lullaby also kicked some serious ass.

* Food is expensive at concerts.

* I prefer outdoor venues or club/theater shows to arenas (the sound was horrendous).

* My neck is still sore from the brief amount of “headbanging” during the Killswitch set.

* Overall, a good time simply because Killswitch rocked and I didn’t hate any of the bands, except for My Chemical Romance … even though I’m a fan they just didn’t do it for me live this time around. It had also been a while since I saw a show.

In brief …

..:..Static X loses a guitarist … the hard way!..:.. Static X has parted ways with Tripp Eisen due to the guitarist’s ongoing legal problems. I’m a big fan of innocent until proven guilty, but Eisen was recently arrested in California, for allegedly meeting and sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl two months ago in New Jersey. He supposedly met the girl on the Internet, drove from Pennsylvania to meet her, and assaulted her in a shopping center in Old Bridge, New Jersey. Eisen faces a maximum of 30 years in prison if convicted on the kidnapping charge alone. Since the charges, Static X released a statement simply stating the group had parted ways with the guitarist. Friends of Eisen have come out in his defense, so we’ll just have to wait and see what becomes of this case.

..:..Nevermore in the studio..:.. I like to expose people to bands they may not have heard of. In this case, it’s Seattle’s Nevermore. The group’s “Dead Heart in a Dead World” was an excellent metal album that invoked the spirit of older Queenryche meshed with newer progressive metal. Well, the band is in the UK recording its next album, “This Godless Endeavor,” with producer Andy Sneap, the same guy that worked with the band on the “Dead Heart…” disc. Sneap has also worked with Machine Head, Killswitch Engage, Arch Enemy and Opeth. Keep an eye out for that release. And this interview with the band’s vocalist is worth a read.

..:..Coil continues..:.. I like Lacuna Coil and there hasn’t been much to report from the band’s camp lately. According to a posting over at the band’s official Web site, the group finished another recording session for the next album, due out this fall. The band absolutely blew up following the release of “Comalies” in 2002. It took a while to catch on, but sales are hovering around 200,000 in the U.S. alone. I’ve been a big fan for a long time so I’m looking forward to this one.

..:..The last Ozzfest rumor update..:.. The hardcore band Bury Your Dead has announced it scored a spot on the second stage of Ozzfest this year, adding itself to the growing list which now includes Rob Zombie, Killswitch Engage, As I Lay Dying, The Haunted and Mastodon. Hot damn, if that isn’t a killer lineup. Other names being thrown around include Mudvayne, Taproot and Static X. And of course, I’m not even touching the main stage which has been said to include Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and Anthrax’s “Among the Living” lineup, along with Megadeth (possibly) and Disturbed. The Megadeth rumors are coming from Mustaine himself. At this point, I realize that at least a couple of these bands are a given, some are most likely and some are a pipe dream. I’ll leave it to you to make such classifications. And, since I’ve been saying this from the beginning (and this is the last time I’ll bring any of this up prior to an official release which is supposed to happen mid-March), I’m hoping they’re going the whole “classics” on the Main Stage, “up-and-comers” on the second stage. And for God’s sake people, these are only rumors until otherwise noted. Stay tuned…

..:..A couple of quick tidbits..:.. Phil Anselmo is working on a new project called Body and Blood, with Crowbar’s Kirk Windstein (a former bandmate of Anselmo’s in Down) and drummer Sid Montz are involved. Windstein described the material as “super ambient, super mellow, real breathy, real melodic, real eerie, real dark. Every song is like, completely, all acoustic, clean electric, pretty laid back, great songs.” *** The Metallica documentary “Metallica: Some Kind of Monster” will premiere on VH1 on April 9 with a commercial-free prime time airing. Variety reports that the network paid a rumored half a million dollars for the exclusive four-year rights to the film. *** Finnish metal band Stratovarius will tour North America this fall. *** Korn’s cover of Public Enemy’s “Fight the Power” (also featuring Xzibit) will be released on the upcoming soundtrack for “XXX: State of the Union.”

Mix of the moment…

Here’s a little mix I put together featuring the song’s I’ve been listening to a lot lately (or songs I wish I’d be listening to more). Check one, some or all of them out … who knows, you might discover something you like or remember something you used to …

Motley Crue: “Hooligan’s Holiday” (off “Motley Crue”)
Boy Sets Fire: “Bathory’s Sainthood” (off “Tomorrow Come Today”)
Drowning Pool: “Bodies” (off “Sinner”)
Open Hand: “Trench Warfare” (off “You & Me”)
The Used: “Box Full of Sharp Objects” (off “The Used”)
Slipknot: “Disasterpiece ” (off “Iowa”)
Mudvayne: “Death Blooms” (off “L.D. 50”)
Biohazard: “Five Blocks To The Subway” (off “State of the World Address”)
Hatebreed: “Empty Promises” (off “Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire”)
Lamb of God: “Ashes Of The Wake” (off “Ashes Of The Wake”)

In closing…

Thought I’d close things off this week with my “album of the week.” I was going to go with Open Hand’s latest release, “You and Me,” which is really strong. The band took what it was doing on the first album and fused in some metal influence (almost sounding like Foo Fighters for the most part). I’m a big fan of the band and want to recommend the album … alas I’ve had it in my truck all week and haven’t had a chance to listen to it while typing (plus, I’m going to review the disc for the site and want to save what I have to say for that).

Instead, I dove head-first into the Closer Than Kin album mentioned at the top of the column. “The Machineries of Breath” is just a sick metal/hardcore album … and even listening to it so far after initial release, nothing since then has sounded quite the same. (I’m not saying this is the best metal or hardcore release to come out, but the overall sound the band creates is so good, I haven’t heard anything that matches the overall sound since then). I’m hoping the band will release something else … soon … but I haven’t been able to find any new news on the band. So, instead, I’m picking “The Machineries of Breath” as my album of the week.

And that’s that. As always, drop me a line. Until next time, I’ll be here at Inside Pulse making sure no metal news falls through the cracks.

Take it easy…

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