If you enjoy(ed) Aversionline, please check out No Echo, a new music site I co-run. Updated daily.

Good song, stupid lyrics…

Posted on Thursday, July 26th, 2007 @ 3:32pm » permalink

In Flames "Minus"

…on a butterfly I ride…

Seriously? On a butterfly? Really? Best you could do?

And this isn't even the only In Flames song to mention butterflies!? Sheesh…

"Chocolate Rain" = pure gold.

Posted on Tuesday, July 24th, 2007 @ 8:50am » permalink

Apparently this is "old news", but I'm always extremely "behind the times" with all of these little "internet phenomenons", so I was just exposed to the glorious might of Tay Zonday yesterday. And yes, I'm fucking sold…

There's also a mildly amusing spoof here (for some reason "The rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain…" killed me), and another totally classic gem here (ignore the text, it's stupid, but the music is spot on amazing).

So bad, yet soooooo fuckin' good, ha, ha…

Holy Terror… uhhh… Monday… sort of…

Posted on Monday, July 23rd, 2007 @ 9:22am » permalink

Someone posted a comment the other day asking me to "do one more review about everything Integrity released throughout the years", which I most definitely do not have time to do (plus, I've already done plenty of gushing about the supreme mastery of Integrity, some of which can still be read here), but I was planning on posting these somewhat "rare" (or at least "songs that a lot of people aren't familiar with") Integrity tracks anyway, so… now's as good a time as any, I suppose.

When I was younger I always loved split 7"s. The format was cool, the whole notion of one band on side A and another on side B was cool… I dunno, I just dug 'em. But nowadays? Not so much. I mean, besides the fact that vinyl's a pain in the ass to listen to (I can't even remember the last time I listened to a 7" unless I was digitizing it, and I'm generally too busy/lazy to even do that these days), it sucks when awesome songs are relegated to 10-minute vinyl EP's or (if you're lucky) collection CD's as opposed to actually appearing on proper albums or whatever. And these two songs absolutely fall into that category:

Integrity "ATF Assault"*
(Ripped from the "Taste of Every Sin" CD. Originally appeared on the split 7" with Hatebreed under the title of "BATF Would Be Proud" in 1995.)

Integrity "Divinity in Exile"
(Ripped from the "Victory Singles Volume 3" CD. Originally appeared on the split 7" with Lockweld in 1998.)

Yet another reason why I'm loving the whole iPod thing is that now I can listen to these songs regularly and integrate them into the rest of my Integrity rotation, instead of (in the case of the latter) having to skip through a bunch of weak tracks by bands like Electric Frankenstein and shit to get to the good stuff, ha, ha…

*This is the real (or perhaps "trve", if you will) "ATF Assault". As mentioned here in the past, the track titled "ATF Assault" on "Seasons in the Size of Days" is actually a song called "All is Lost", which – if memory serves – originally appeared on the "Compilation for Atonement" 7".

Dan Swanö was always a complete and total musical genius…

Posted on Thursday, July 19th, 2007 @ 10:44am » permalink

Speechless. There are literally no words…

Holy shit…

Posted on Wednesday, July 18th, 2007 @ 9:56am » permalink

Thanks for all the comments, I'm blown away. Very much appreciated. I'm not gonna let the site die yet. I'll figure something out. Things'll probably just start working a little differently around here soon (yet again). Just got the reference master for my next Due Process release, so that's helping to keep me psyched about something. It's gonna be Lash Out's unreleased "The Judas Breed" album from 1998 with bonus tracks from the split 7" with Burst and "The Unloved & Hated" 7" sessions (which includes some additional unreleased tracks). Lash Out fucking rules.

Thanks again.

Darkest Hour "Deliver Us" CD

Posted on Friday, July 13th, 2007 @ 9:26am » permalink

Darkest Hour - Deliver UsWell, I've gotta say, while I've never been a particularly huge fan of Darkest Hour, I am a fan, and I have been following their work for over seven years now. That being said, I'm still shocked at just how much I enjoy "Deliver Us" (once more on Victory Records). Whereas "Undoing Ruin" was in fact the band's strongest work at the time, it was so painfully over-hyped by the label that it's a shame they didn't reserve all that hype for this album, because this is the one, man. Within one complete listen it's clear that this is definitely Darkest Hour's finest work to date, and another relatively huge progression. In some ways they've perhaps moved closer back towards the straight melodic Swedish death metal style (granted they're absolutely still pushing those boundaries and continuing to develop their own take on it), but holy fuck are they doing it so right these days. I mean, the songwriting, man! Seriously… sooo much better! I've listened to this thing every day since it showed up in the mail, and I don't do that very often at all. But they've finally reached a point where they can fuse all of their influences together in a way that comes across as cohesive, and the general sense of energy is very well-paced and memorable – with loads of killer riffs, surprisingly forceful melodies (the trademark of the melodic Swedish niche at its best, of course), a few sleek acoustic passages, and increasingly tangible vocal performances. They're also continuing to let Kris Norris go apeshit with the completely ripping (though well-mapped out) solos, though Mike Schleibaum also contributes a handful of his own. I don't know, there's so much more I should say, but the music speaks for itself in my opinion. It's pretty damn rare for a band to continue getting better and better with each record at the point of, what… their sixth album now!? But Darkest Hour's done it, and that's fucking impressive. There are seriously some excellent fuckin' songs on this thing. "Fire in the Sky" is total gold. Awesome. Check these jams out:

Darkest Hour "Fire in the Sky"
Darkest Hour "Demon(s)"

I'm very pleasantly surprised by this one, so I'm truly curious to see where the future will lead the band now. Make the grab if you like what you hear:

@ Victory Records
@ The End Records

The Heartburns and Flippin' Beans…

Posted on Thursday, July 12th, 2007 @ 8:45am » permalink

The Heartburns - Fucked Up in a Bad WayAmongst the latest from the mighty Full House Records, "Fucked Up in a Bad Way" is not at all another crushing blow of brutal Finnish metalcore, but instead an equally killer slab of super catchy pop-punk fuckin' rock from The Heartburns, who plow through 10 tracks in less than 18 minutes and certainly leave me wanting more. I'd say their brand of raw yet tightly performed punk is probably influenced by different niches driven by the Ramones and Screeching Weasel in terms of utilizing almost nothing but straightforward power chords and quick little melodic leads with occasional breaks into more of a rocked out vibe over sick, roaming bass runs that definitely add some punch and help keep things sounding energetic. It's not particularly original, and the recording could use a slight hint of cleaning up in terms of keeping the lightly rough textures from clipping in the mix, but none of that really matters in the long run because every single fucking song on this album is a keeper. Seriously, only one song tops two minutes and they just blaze on through without a pause, so I'm loving this shit, and I'm really surprised by just how catchy and memorable each track is. Being such a massive fan of the label's heavier side I sort of expected to dislike this band, but thankfully that's not the case at all. Great work…

The Heartburns "Outta Here"

Full House Records fuckin' rules, so show your support and pick this up if you dig what you're hearing:

@ Interpunk

Flippin' Beans - Everything's Fine... Act Brave and DieAlso new from Full House Records, and in a somewhat similar (though more "polished") pop-punk style, is "Everything's Fine… Act Brave and Die", the latest from Flippin' Beans. These guys have a little bit more of a Bad Religion-ish kind of thing going on (musically and, to some degree, lyrically as well), though the material lacks the super clean and clear recording quality. I don't particularly think that matters overall, but I do think a slightly more rounded out set of tones would benefit the overall impact of this record. There's a weird kind of diversity happening too, seeing as there are a couple of heavier riffs that creep into place now and then, but there are also some "poppier" little areas more reminiscent of a Blink-182 style or something (but I actually really like Blink-182 so I'm not downing Flippin' Beans in that regard at all). I could definitely do without the unexpected ska-isms of "Destroy" and "Pissed in the Eye" (though the latter's a little more tolerable), but I think the real issue is that the band needs to do a little more work on fusing their interests cohesively. When they set aside the almost overly staccato chord progressions and farther outside influences and just unleash the catchiest or most fluid output they're at their best, and that's something to consider for the future. This is another one that I didn't expect to enjoy very much, and though it's not as consistently energetic or memorable as The Heartburns, as far as pop-punk goes there's still some solid work to be encountered here.

Flippin' Beans "Weight of the World"
Flippin' Beans "Kids Are United"

As above, make the grab if this is your thing:

@ Interpunk

Manes "How the World Came to an End" CD

Posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2007 @ 7:22am » permalink

Manes - How the World Came to an EndWith "How the World Came to an End" (on Candlelight Records), the long-awaited follow-up to the absolutely brilliant "Vilosophe", boundary-less Norwegian experimentalists Manes continue their Ulver-esque transformation away from any semblance to metal – or even traditional "rock" music of any sort – much less the primitive black metal from which the band was first birthed. Building up and out from the foundation of "Vilosophe", this material is even more avant-garde and electronic-based, from its arrays of glitchy electronics and pounding, industrialized percussive characteristics to lushly textured melodies swirling around and surrounding throbbing basslines and droning guitar work with various forms of nice, flowing singing from a number of different contributors – not to mention several guest vocal spots from obscure hip-hop artists. And when concrete riffs and loose references to "catchy" songwriting elements do start to present themselves (check the impeccable "Nobody Wants the Truth", especially) there are still so many different influences and little twists and turns happening that nothing is able to come across as too stripped down or simplistic, so… there's definitely a hell of a lot going on here, and it can certainly be attributed to a very intricate and patient artistic vision. It's important to note that they don't lose focus or take things over the top, however. The album contains 10 tracks in just about 45 minutes, so there's a sense of control and cohesion that keeps things interesting and consistent without lacking variety or dynamics. It's definitely not overkill, and it's great that such considerations have obviously been given thought here. I think "Vilosophe" was a stronger album when all is said and done, but there's some beautiful work amongst these tracks (and honestly the hip-hop elements are actually really fucking cool), and I'm still a huge fan of this most respectable outfit. Very cool, and certainly something different from the norm, which is always nice…

Manes "Nobody Wants the Truth"
Manes "Deeprooted"

As always, make the purchase if this is something that interests you:

@ Candlelight Records
@ The End Records

Holy Roman Empire "The Longue Durée" CD

Posted on Tuesday, July 10th, 2007 @ 8:56am » permalink

Holy Roman Empire - The Longue DuréePrior to popping this disc in for the first time I knew absolutely nothing about Holy Roman Empire and I didn't really care for the band name, so I didn't think I was going to like 'em (yes, I know it's stupid, but if I don't like a band name, I often assume I won't like the band either). Oops. 'Cause I like it. I wouldn't have expected relatively catchy and forceful female-fronted emo/indie/post-hardcore (or whatever the hell you want to call it, I don't care) from an album released by Hewhocorrupts Inc. (nor from a band whose members have also performed in The Hope Conspiracy, Shai Hulud, The Suicide File, and Arma Angelus, among numerous others), but I must commend their diversity, as that is indeed what makes up the band's debut full-length, "The Longue Durée". Original? Not exactly, and as is often the case these days I could do without some of those tired "post-rock" guitar textures that pop up from time to time, but for the most part the songs revolve around lush clean passages and chilled out atmospheres contrasted by punchy, energetic bursts of distortion, and I can definitely hang with that stuff. On rare occasion the vocals sound almost too insanely pristine and polished for this kind of thing, but she's got such a great fuckin' voice, and when the choruses hit the mark her talents absolutely pay off. There are definitely a few little lulls in the songwriting throughout the album where the energy and "catchiness factor" drop off for a bit, so there's a little room for improvement in terms of balancing those elements out (Or perhaps 12 tracks in 42 minutes is ever so slightly much?), but overall they pull it off. I was definitely pleasantly surprised by this one, and that's always a cool experience. Not bad at all…

Holy Roman Empire "Undeserving You"
Holy Roman Empire "Take it Outside"

Buy it if you like it:

@ Hewhocorrupts Inc.

To the Lions "Baptism of Fire" CD

Posted on Monday, July 9th, 2007 @ 9:19am » permalink

To the Lions - Baptism of FireFuck yes. Best hardcore record of 2007 thus far? Quite possibly. When I heard the first demo from To the Lions last year I was way into it, and "Baptism of Fire", their debut full-length on Goodfellow Records, picks up right there and takes things even further by improving upon the punchiness of the recording quality and giving everything that extra little kick in the ass… which makes for a fucking killer half-hour of straight up, pissed off metallic hardcore. As you'd probably expect, the songwriting's based more around that 90's style of chunky, midpaced power chords and sick breakdowns with just the right balance of speed and energy to keep things sounding more furious and in your face than "moshy", though there are little bits and pieces of loose melody and metal-based flourishes floating around that do lend a "contemporary" edge to the material. I can still hear a bit of a Ringworm connection happening (especially vocally, and these vocals are fuckin' great) in terms of that whole Clevo style, and I'll never fucking complain about that, but as straightforward as this album is there's still more to it than that, so I don't want to sell the band short with those types of comparisons at all. Though, yes, apocalyptic lyrics do make appearances as well:

And so it begins, it's kill or be killed. Bring forth the hellfire, revealing our weakness, as we turn against ourselves. Is it too late to see that we are living in an end prophecy? I never knew it would come to this. Our time is up. I never knew we would die like this. The nightmare begins. All hope abandoned, no innocent bystanders. Too deep, there's no turning back. Sinking deeper and deeper into our punishment, ruin, and oblivion. In this final hour, it's kill or be killed. It's here, it's real, and we won't wake up from this. The nightmare begins.

I don't know, man… it's just fucking solid, heavy hardcore that possesses the kind of songwriting force that gets your blood boiling and makes you want to destroy. Who doesn't love that? I for one think that such traits are all too rare these days, so I'm very enthusiastically amped on this band. No doubt.

To the Lions "Born to Die"
To the Lions "Ten/Fifteen"

Most definitely fucking recommended, so you know what to do:

@ Goodfellow Records
@ RevHQ

Shining "V: Halmstad (Niklas Angående Niklas)" CD

Posted on Friday, July 6th, 2007 @ 8:30am » permalink

Shining - V: Halmstad (Niklas Angående Niklas)After much "controversy" – including a temporary breakup and the alleged "disappearance" of frontman Kvarforth – peculiar Swedish black metal tyrants Shining have completely reinvented the band on their fifth album, "Halmstad (Niklas Angående Niklas)", to the point where this is not something that I would refer to as a "black metal" album at all. And it would seem that the transformation should be credited in large part (if not entirely) to Kvarforth himself, as the booklet clearly states that "Shining is Niklas Kvarforth", while the rest of the band is referred to as simply "the toolbox". Whatever the case, and however you'd care to classify the results, this is the band's finest work to date, and will most definitely be among the best albums of 2007. While many of the band's past efforts have been excellent in their own ways, there's just no debating the fact that this is Shining's most emotionally gripping and atmospheric work thus far – from the gorgeous acoustic passages to the absolutely fucking brilliant solos, which are beautifully melodic and shockingly well arranged. Various snippets of piano, strings, and spoken samples also add to the tortured and depressing aura of the album as a whole, so… there's a lot to take in, and it all comes as quite a shock considering the almost complete stylistic shift it represents against the band's past. I mean, aside from certain characteristics of the maniacal vocal performance and bits and pieces of the acoustic work, there are absolutely no ties to black metal here. The recording is totally ace with a killer bass presence and a super crisp mix, and that definitely amps up the heaviness factor when it comes to the riffs that posses that dark, moody sort of Katatonia-esque quality – as well as some of the subtly doomier excursions. But you can't compare this album to anything else that's out there when all is said and done. The band's newfound sense of diversity and experimentation brings a few loose parallels to mind, but this is most definitely a beast of its own. I really wish I could read Swedish so that I'd have any clue as to the quality/contents of the lyrics, but oh well! I'm not even gonna bother continuing to try to describe this shit. It's fuckin' excellent, so just check it out for yourself and be the judge. I'm blown away.

Shining "Låt Oss Ta Allt Från Varandra"

Seriously. Awesome. 100% recommended on every level. Make the grab if you agree:

@ The End Records

Hard Response "Hostile Environment" CD

Posted on Thursday, July 5th, 2007 @ 9:10am » permalink

Hard Response - Hostile EnvironmentHard Response is probably best known for their early appearances on the "East Coast Assault" and "Philly Dust Krew" compilations (on the latter of which sandwiched between the almighty Starkweather and All Out War), though their perfectly solid sole full-length, "Single Bullet Theory", was released by Gain Ground Records in 1996. And now, more than 10 years later, they're back with this self-released follow-up, "Hostile Environment", where three out of five original members (joined by two "new guys") crank out nine tracks (plus an unlisted re-recording of the awesome "His Shame" from their debut) of crunchy yet slightly atypical metallic hardcore that, as expected, has more in common with that sorely missed 90's era from which the band was born. I don't recall "Single Bullet Theory" having been particularly well-promoted in its day, but some of that might have been because it simply wasn't nearly as heavy and in your face as most of the bands that Gain Ground was known for working with (Fury of Five, Neglect, Next Step Up, etc.), which may have worked to Hard Response's disadvantage at the time, as they were exploring a more midpaced and rocked out direction that was openly melodic and quite different from the norm. Traces of that sort of thing are still present amidst some of the more carefully executed grooves and melodic attributes herein, but to be honest with you this is a more streamlined affair that tosses in just a hint more speed (and therefore energy), more heaviness, and more of an occasional old school hardcore undercurrent that keeps the band sounding full and aggressive without losing their identity or resorting to any of the genre's most generic trappings. There are still a ton of different influences floating around, but for the most part the songwriting's on the mark and can actually get pretty damn memorable at its best. Nice recording, too. Crisp and clear, with a decent bass presence and an even mix across the board. The only minor setback is the packaging, which leaves a little to be desired in that there's only a one-card insert with some recording credits and such: No lyrics, etc. They do include the lyrics and some brief liner notes on their website, which is cool, but in this day and age it almost defeats the purpose of pressing up a CD if you're going to leave that kind of content out of the booklet, doesn't it? No big deal, though. Check this shit out and see what you think. If you happen to have heard "Single Bullet Theory" (which I always thought was a really cool album), don't let that determine your opinions of this material, because it's a little more in line with the kind of thing they were doing on their demo, with only smatterings of the more melodic and rocked out snippets blended in:

Hard Response "Right Through Me"
Hard Response "Seven Ways"

If you dig what you hear, do as the band says: "Support hardcore music and buy this CD." It's the least you can do, especially since you can download everything else they've done on their website (Awesome!). Get to it:

@ Hard Response

108 "A New Beat From a Dead Heart" CD

Posted on Tuesday, July 3rd, 2007 @ 8:41am » permalink

108 - A New Beat From a Dead HeartTo start with, a few quick facts about "A New Beat From a Dead Heart", the first proper full-length release of the 108 reunion (released by Deathwish):

• This shit is harsh! Expect gratingly caustic and noisy riffs aplenty.

• They've certainly not abandoned their penchant for no-nonsense lyrics:

I dream of a world where I can love you, where I can feel you, where I can know you, without having to own you, without having to hate you, without having to fuck you… fuck you in more ways than one. I dream of a world where a smile isn't a rare gift, and where sadness isn't a curse, and where the two together make life worth living. Where we aren't forced to validate every feeling we encounter, and where such feelings bring a new beat from a dead heart…

• And as expected, with Kurt Ballou at the helm, the band sounds better than ever.

So, yeah, I just want to make the point right up front that this is a very good album (especially given the hesitancy that often comes alongside reunion albums), and one that does not see the band making any oddball shifts in style or whatever, because, well… you know, I do have minor little complaints. I guess in many ways I'm just bummed that the two best songs from their most recent demo ("Strength or Fear?" and "(Walk?) Their Path") are damn near the only tracks that weren't re-recorded for the album, which means that – much like "Threefold Misery" before it – the songs herein simply tend to lack the energy of "Holyname" or the sheer fucking power of "Songs of Separation". It would seem that the band has simply moved on from that time towards this increasingly angular and chaotic attack (think scathing, noise rock-infused hardcore meets later Black Flag with extra "skronk" and somehow even more mangled riffs strewn about), and that's totally fine, because like I said, this is a very good album… I guess I was just hoping for a little bit more of that early diversity, force, and energy since a couple of tracks on the demo revisited those days. But they tear straight through 13 tracks in less than 35 minutes and never look back (so that "energy" does rear its head on a few welcomed occasions), the recording is great, the lyrics and packaging add to the overall aesthetic, etc. I'm sure there are some people who are gonna totally flip for this album and possibly even find it to be the band's best yet, it's just a matter of personal taste. So… I personally wouldn't go there, but I'm damn sure still on board as a longtime fan, and will certainly continue looking forward to hearing the continued efforts of their reunion. No doubt.

108 "Guilt"
108 "Our Kind"

Pick it up if you like what you hear:

@ Deathwish