Align with Double Experience

Everyone could use a little experience, but double is even better! That’s what has drawn me time and time again to the Canadian duo who call themselves Double Experience, a band who embraces its nerdy side and has built a following with songs about games and pop culture. And now, after a string of stand-alone singles, they’re back for more with their first concept album, Alignments.

We are so proud to reveal our new album, “Alignments”. As our first concept album, we’ve arranged it into 3 separate parts (Neutral, Good, and Evil) to demonstrate its underlying story. The first EP is available to stream on Nov 15 and includes the debut single, “New Me”.

1. Perish Song
2. New Me
3. Something’s Got to Give
4. Ghost in the Machine
5. My List
6. Your Biggest Fan
7. Born For It
8. So Dumb
9. The Imp
10. Alignments

In the RPG that is your life, who holds the dice? When thoughts and prayers are as disposable as this week’s pop culture, where are the lines between reality and fiction drawn? Is this state of disarray all according to someone’s plan? We can assure you that the soundtrack to these end times is kick-ass, but we’re dying to know…

What’s. Your. Alignment?

Alignments consists of three EPs, released over time. You can start your adventure now by streaming Neutral, and pre-ordering a copy of Alignments right here!


 
For more on Double Experience, visit:
Official Website | Facebook | Twitter | Youtube | Bandcamp | Apple Music | Spotify

‘For The Demented’ by Annihilator

Canada’s thrash mastermind, Jeff Waters, is back again with Annihilator’s 16th studio album, For The Demented. Without attempting to imitate past work, but with a desire to recapture the “thrash-meets-melody” aspect that die-hard Annihilator fans love, Waters brought bassist Rich Hinks to the writing table. Hinks, a long-time Annihilator fan himself, was able to weigh in on riffs and song ideas, helping Jeff discard those that just didn’t belong. This resulted in 10 tracks, focused around the theme of the human mind and “all of its glory, complexity, diversity, weaknesses and insanity!”

Following up their last studio album, 2015’s Suicide Society, the new album continues the trend of Waters role as vocalist, which began on that previous album following the departure of long-time singer, Dave Padden. However, unlike the last LP, Waters has made an effort to avoid letting too much of his metal fandom show through in his vocals, noting in interviews that Suicide Society saw him displaying quite a few Hetfield- and Mustaine-isms. The new album, he says, harkens back to the 1995 release, King Of The Kill (which saw him as lead vocalist), as he once again tries to bring his own voice to the music. I suppose your enjoyment of this release (and the last one), will largely depend on whether you like his voice. While certainly not possessing a range akin to a Halford or a Dickinson, Waters carries himself admirably, with the ability to handle the spectrum of soft to aggressive, as well as Annihilator’s tendency to fluctuate from serious to silly, without missing a beat. I mean, it’s not often you hear a song about cannibalism which provides you condiment recommendations.

You may also be interested in our 2015 interview with Jeff Waters:
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

While one of the key selling points on any album is the vocal performance, I find most fans are more concerned with what’s going on musically. In this case: “Is it thrash?” After all, the trailer that came out for the album in late September had that word plastered all over it. And the answer to that is by and large, yes. Tracks like, “Twisted Lobotomy,” with its rapid fire riffs; “One To Kill,” which has a pace greatly reminiscent of “King Of The Kill”; and “For The Demented,” a mid-tempo rallying cry for metalhead culture, are great examples of what people can expect from this album – though by no means an exhaustive list. “Pieces Of You,” the cannibal’s ballad; “The Way,” a thrash-punk-12-bar-blues amalgamation; and the bi-polar thrash-funk closer, “Not All There,” show Annihilator going out on a limb. But I feel this plays excellently with the theme of the album, the human mind in all of its diversity and insanity, and the fact that this group of individuals are talented enough to pull each of these added styles off so convincingly is a testament to the band.

I was reading a fan review of a separate Annihilator release not too long ago, and he pointed out that you either love their music, or you don’t. With 16 studio albums under their belt, unless you’re only just discovering them, you’ve probably already made up your mind whether this album is worth your time or not. So this review is really for those who are just now discovering the band. If you like thrash metal, and you can appreciate a little diversity thrown into an otherwise hard-hitting release, you should absolutely pick up this album. I really loved Suicide Society, and I believe I love For The Demented even more. In the words of the title track: “highly recommended.”

Purchase For The Demented.

For more on Annihilator, visit:
Official Website
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CD Review: “Spüken” by Ninjaspy

 

Before I even knew their name, I found myself dumbfounded and adoring that Vancouver threesome known as Ninjaspy.  By mere happenstance, I witnessed them in concert and reveled at the tumultuous exhibition.  Here were three men, producing a monstrous sound, hurtling around the stage like crash test dummies.  I was sure of some horrible collision.  Yet, despite the energy that exploded from the stage, each man was in full control of the situation and his own musical prowess.  At the end of that concert, I went home and bought every piece of music the group had yet released.  To my delight, a new album is on the horizon for Ninjaspy: Spüken becomes available April 14.

Ninjaspy self-describe as “three blood brothers in a hook-laden metal fusion fist fight to the death,” and honestly, that’s not too far off.  When the word ‘fusion’ gets thrown around, it’s not always clear what is meant.  Most bands I know take fusion to mean possessing an element of jazz in their playing, and I can certainly think of at least one moment on this disc featuring a lounge-jazz respite.  However, given their back-catalog, as well as their live show, that fusion seems to more predominantly feature metal mixed with reggae!  An odd combination, to be sure, as metal is often viewed as technical and exact, while reggae brings to mind a laid-back attitude and a certain level of looseness. But Ninjaspy combine these two elements surprisingly well, keeping the listener fully engaged with this merger within their songs.

Spüken is Ninjaspy’s second full-length release, but third overall, coming after their debut, Pi Nature [LP, 2007], and later No Kata [EP, 2013].  It’s been quite a wait for their hungry fans, but this has given the group time to dial in the ten songs featured on this album to their liking.  The opening track, and lead single, “Speak,” is a great characterization of the rest of the album.  It can be loud and boisterous, but it has no issue backing down to allow the dynamics of low and high to truly shine.  And of course, all the songs feature an underbelly of groove for good measure.  I’m sure some of you are worried about exactly how much metal there is in this metal-reggae fusion.  Rest assured, Spüken leans for the most part into the metal spectrum, which just a touch of the other thrown in for flair.  In fact, it dials back the reggae significantly from what was witnessed on former releases, a little to my disappointment, as I felt some of the excursions from the metal realm could have been pressed a little further before returning to the brutality.

I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent with this release thus far.  So many of the songs have a special little something that makes them stick in my mind, whether it is the endless and circular lick from “Brother Man,” the funk-filled “Jump Ya Bones,” or the ethereal-turned-energetic “Azaria” (also available in an acoustic version).  Perhaps my favorite song in terms of sheer contrast and dynamics is “What!!,” a track that begins so seriously and erupts into one of the kookiest choruses I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing.  While I’d highly recommend starting with Pi Nature and working your way forward to Spüken, simply to make sure you don’t miss out on treasures like “Hit By A Cement Mixer,” “Out Of Tampons,” and “Skaingkh (The Skank),” you honestly can’t go wrong here.  Spüken is a metal powerhouse, carefully crafted and expertly executed, quite unlike any reggae-infused album you’ve heard before.

 
For more on Ninjaspy, visit:
Official Website
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CD Review: “Five” by The Agonist

The Agonist stay on the deathcore path with its newest release, Five. The band’s brand of melodic deathcore is contrived at this point with the group opting to play by the numbers. The opening song “The Moment” is equal parts deathcore with a slight symphonic influence. Frontwoman Viky Psarakis’s vocals shift from growling and guttural to clean. “The Anchor and the Sail” is thrashy before breaking down in to conventional hardcore territory. The guitar work on this track is impressive, but we have heard it before. There are some solid tracks though like “The Ocean” with its tribal drumbeat that sounds like a hunting party running through a jungle. The haunting acoustic guitar and piano on “The Raven Eyes” complement Vicky’s jazzy singing. There is also the short orchestral instrumental “The Wake” with its weeping strings and tranquil flute. The displaced black metal on “The Resurrection” is notable for its cold dissonant riffs and blast beats. Unfortunately, the band regresses in to metalcore territory, thus ruining what could have been a brutal track.

 Five’s main flaw is the band either does too much or not enough. The band seems confused as to whether to play brutal metal or take a more commercial route with its songs. A track will start off heavy but then becomes poppy or soft. There is nothing wrong with accessible heavy music if it is played right. However, The Agonist is too ambitious on Five and the music suffers as a result.

The Agonist does not his its mark on Five. This is unfortunate as one can tell the quintet wanted to create an epic record. Still, the lack of focus on a 55 minute long album makes this a tedious listen. Fans of The Agonist may appreciate this record. However, fans of deathcore or melodic death metal may want to look elsewhere.

For news and tour dates, check out the band’s website

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CD Review: ‘Unsaved Progress’ by Double Experience

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Sometimes you encounter a band that moves you so much, you’re forced to create a really cheesy, embarrassing video in their honor!  That’s my excuse, anyway, for this video review for Unsaved Progress, the third release by Canadian nerdy neo-rockers, Double Experience, due out April 8, 2016.  Chocked with 9 tracks (plus an additional 4 if you purchase the Collector’s Edition) of stunning material, the guys have really outdone themselves.

Buy Unsaved Progress here.

For more on Double Experience, visit:
Official Website
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CD Review: ‘Stand in the Fire’ by Striker

Striker are one of numerous metal bands intent on revitalizing 80s metal. To clear things up, I greatly enjoy bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Motorhead and even Dokken. However, very few bands can capture the energy and excitement of that era without sounding stale or conventional. Striker keeps things interesting on Stand in the Fire, its fourth record. Saxophone collides with thrash on “Out for Blood” and it works fairly well. The band shows its hair metal influence on “Too Late.” The pounding beats and high pitched vocals make one want to reach for the denim jacket and Aqua Net. We have heard it all before, but some will find nostalgia in the cheesy choruses and shredding guitar solos. The title track is Accept lite thanks to the double bass and gnarly riff, but less aggressive vocals.

Striker essentially sounds like several bands througout the album. One track recalls Judas Priest, followed by Ratt then Metallica. It is not necessarily a band thing as the band is comprised of sharp musicians that have done their homework. However, this record is not something you have not heard before. This is a record that celebrates metal for metal’s sake and the band does not hide its intent. The guitar leads are amazing and there is the occasional killer riff, but really that is it.

Stand in the Fire is diverse enough to appeal to a fairly wide swath of music listeners. This includes hipsters and metalheads that prefer the “lighter” side of metal. That being said, Striker could achieve some mainstream exposure with this record. I could see this band playing on one of the many North American hard rock and metal festivals popping up. You should pick up this album if you want to hear a modern take on Eighties metal. I would rather hear the records from that decade instead.

For news and touring info, check out the band’s website: http://www.striker-metal.com/

 

Interview: Jeff Waters of Annihilator (3/3)

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Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the final segment of my interview with the wonderful Jeff Waters of Annihilator.  As you may have caught in my first, or even second, interview segment, we’re talking about the band’s new album, Suicide Society.  In my personal opinion, it is a marvelous example of modern day thrash metal with the ability to run amok every now and then with a softer, more melodic side.  But in case you’d like a second opinion, my fellow contribute Jerel Johnson has written a review of the album.  Give it a peak!

In this final segment we discuss Jeff’s time as a musician’s advocate, getting them out of crappy record deals and contracts; a spat he had with a former bandmate over the release of Annihilator’s “Ten Years In Hell” DVD; as well as delving into whether he’s ever ghost-written any pop or country tunes.  Tune in to find out!  And just a reminder that there is a convenient Table Of Contents available in the Youtube description to help you jump around.

 

Check out Annihilator on tour if you get a chance!
Annihilator - 2015 Tour


For more on Annihilator, visit:

Official Website
Buy Suicide Society from: iTunes | Amazon
Facebook – Annihilator
Facebook – Jeff Waters
Twitter

Interview: Jeff Waters of Annihilator (2/3)

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Hello again, friends and fans!  Today we continue a journey which we embarked upon last week.  Jeff Waters returns to give you further insight into the process for creating Annihilator’s new album, Suicide Society, as well as giving you his thoughts on the new Slayer and Iron Maiden albums (with a little look to the future for Judas Priest).  We discuss cookie monster vocals, as well as touch on the new(er) metal scene with artists like Trivium, Children Of Bodom, and Lamb Of God.  We round out our 20-plus min. segment by talking about the advent of digital recording and the pros and cons of being able to create songs while being thousands of miles apart.

If you haven’t done so already, check out a review of Annihilator’s new album, Suicide Society, by a fellow contributor.  The album is available now, so what are you waiting for?  Pick it up!

For more on Annihilator, visit:
Official Website
Buy Suicide Society from: iTunes | Amazon
Facebook – Annihilator
Facebook – Jeff Waters
Twitter

Interview: Jeff Waters of Annihilator (1/3)

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I’ve been a fan of Annihilator and Jeff Waters for a number of years by now.  I don’t remember precisely when I first heard the music, but it must have been just before their self-titled album arrived in 2010.  It’s safe to say then that I’ve had some time to develop a taste for this Canadian thrash band’s blend of brutality and melodic repose.  So when I heard that the group was about to release their 15th album, entitled Suicide Society on September 18, I knew I had to get my hands on it.  Though a colleague had beaten me to a review of this record, I received a great honor in the opportunity to interview Annihilator mastermind, guitarist, and now vocalist, Jeff Waters.  He’s quite a sociable fellow!

Please join me in Part 1 of my interview with Jeff (we spoke for over an hour!) as we discuss the new album; the departure of former vocalist, Dave Padden; and the development of metal through the 1990s!  There is a “Table Of Contents” in the YouTube description for those of you who wish to skip around.

 

 

For more on Annihilator, visit:
Official Website
Buy Suicide Society from: iTunes | Amazon
Facebook – Annihilator
Facebook – Jeff Waters
Twitter

EP Review: ‘Gone Too Long’ by Milo McMahon

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Fuzztones and 50s twang are prominent features of Milo McMahon’s latest EP Gone Too Long. Weighing in at only three songs, this release is just enough to tease your appetite and take you back to the meal line saying “Please sir, may I have some more?” And more is what Milo seems to have in mind, as a recent announcement suggests crowdfunding for his second full-length album may be on the way.

Due to the extremely short nature of this release, let’s break it down song by song!

“Gone Too Long:” We start off with the title track, which is vocally breathy and a bit meditative. I was honestly a bit surprised by the tune, considering other songs I’d heard such as “Big City Hustle,” the title track from Milo’s first album, are more aggressive. On the other hand, the opener here has such an airy-atmosphere that by the time the guitar solo came around it felt as though our host might be floating away.

“Come Get Me Eyes:” This is the song that sucked me in. It leads off with a funky fuzztone riff that keeps building until the vocals come in, swelling with confidence. But the stop and go chorus is what really makes this a winner, with Milo’s voice sailing upwards while the music runs beneath to catch it wherever it may land. And who doesn’t like a singable solo paired with a horn section? I know I do.

And finally, “Buyin’ A Truck:” Truly the most unusual song in terms of subject matter. “I’ve been dreaming about buying a truck and picking you up at the airport.” And yet, that may be why this is the catchiest song on Milo’s short excursion between albums; it draws you in with its unusual lyrics and then plants you down in a seat and provides a refreshing musical treat.

None of these songs will change your world, but are an excellent snack if you’re interested in a little upbeat music that you can cram into a ten minute break.

 

For more on Milo McMahon, visit:
Official Website
Purchase Gone Too Long from:  iTunes | Amazon | From The Band
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