Thursday, November 26, 2015

I'm very excited to be writing for Metal Bandcamp, in addition to the reviews I write for Heavy Metal. Here's the latest Metal Bandcamp review of a fantastic band, Magic Circle.

Composed of veterans from a slew of well-regarded Boston hardcore bands, Magic Circle are about as unlikely a doom band as you can imagine. They’re also not terribly visible. There’s no Facebook page or dedicated Bandcamp page (you can find some info on their website and the 20 Buck Spin Bandcamp page), and they don’t seem to play live very often. Any publicity about Magic Circle is almost entirely word-of-mouth from dedicated doom fans and blogs. After gaining a lot of underground attention with their 2013 self-titled debut album, they’ve just released Journey Blind on 20 Buck Spin. Read the full review here.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Castle, Bedowyn, Irata and Caustic Casanova

Caustic Casanova




Here are a few photos from the Castle/Bedowyn/Irata/Caustic Casanova show at The Maywood on Nov. 21. I had to miss Castle the last time they were here, so I was interested in seeing them again. Honestly, though, I was most looking forward to both Bedowyn and Irata, both of whom have released stellar albums this year. It's really exciting to have two bands of this quality in North Carolina. It was also good to see Irata in fine form again after illness caused them to cancel their last tour. Here's video of "Keepers Maker." See more photos on the Flickr page

Also, looks like I'm back on Youtube!

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Photos of Alcest and Emma Ruth Rundle

After the great camera fiasco of Hopscotch, I finally bit the bullet and bought a Nikon D7100. The Alcest show last Thursday (Oct. 15) at Kings was my first chance to try it out, and I was pretty happy with the results, except that I accidentally deleted several photos -- the best ones of Alcest -- before they downloaded to my computer. A lesson to be learned for next time.

Boston industrial-prog trio InAeona opened the show, and won over the small crowd with a very enthusiastic performance. Singer-songwriter Emma Ruth Rundle was next. She's been compared to Chelsea Wolfe, and she actually toured with Wolfe and Russian Circles with her band, Marriages. I imagined her as Feist's dreamy, introspective little sister. Her duet with Alcest's Neige was one of the evening's highlights for me.

I admit to not knowing as much about Alcest as I should. I missed them the last time they were at Kings. But listening to their dreamy, swirling melodies was one of the most uplifting experiences I've had in a while, so I'm going to make sure to get to know them better.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Photos from Chaosmic, Mountain Thrower and Freedom Hawk


Mountain Thrower 

Freedom Hawk 

Last Friday I checked out Raleigh progressive-metal band Chaosmic (reviewed here) during the Rabbit Hole FX pedal release party at the Maywood. Chaosmic bass player Adam Cohen is one of the company's owners. I liked the album a lot, but was pretty blown away by their live set. Singer Aulden Smith has a fantastic voice and is a pretty dramatic frontman to boot. Next up were Wilmington's Mountain Thrower, who were less heavy and more retro-bluesy. The evening ended with a fine set from Virginia rockers Freedom Hawk, whose latest album "Into Your Mind" was one of my favorite albums of the summer.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

New Music: New Light Choir

Nearly two years in the making, "Volume II" by Raleigh duo New Light Choir just might be the most surprising and difficult to categorize release of the year. Right now it's a studio-only project, the brainchild of guitarist/singer John Niffenegger and drummer Chris Dalton (Goner), two guys who are true music geeks (that's a compliment) and whose musical tastes are extremely varied. Chris in particular is a devoted Carcass fanatic whose favorite album is Kate Bush's "The Hounds of Love." Musically New Light Choir leans a little more toward NWOBHM and early Scorpions, with some blackened touches here and there. Vocally, John sings desperate, gloomy lyrics in a pure, clean voice. The band has been compared to early Rush multiple times. I think they can also be compared to a slightly poppier Dawnbringer. "Volume II" was released in August on Germany's High Roller Records, and they've received a lot of good press from Europe. I'm curious to see if they do flesh out the band and actually start playing live! Check out their Bandcamp here. Standout tracks are "Violet Skies (From the Ashes)," "July Sky" and "December Flying."