kirk winstein

Album Review: “Dream In Motion” by Kirk Windstein

Heavy metal luminary Kirk Windstein has spent the last 35 years gracing the world with the heaviest, crushing, earth splitting, melancholic metal on the planet as founder and front man of Crowbar. His aptly titled solo debut, Dream In Motion, retains the sorrowful, downbeat spirit of Crowbar, but with a varied musical soundscape. The title track and initial single commences the record with Kirk’s signature sludge guitar riffs accompanied with pounding drums and bass. An ode to his life and career, “Dream In Motion” is a declaration of perseverance and dedication. It is a story of a man that has seen it all and knows that there is more to come. The grooving midsection and crunching guitar riffs reaffirm why Kirk’s music has stood the test of time.

“Hollow Dying Man” is a desolate, eerie number with gloomy riffs that one would expect to hear at a funeral procession. This melancholic feeling remains throughout the album. “Once Again” is notable for its jazzy percussion, which strangely complements the hazy, weeping guitars on the track. “The World You Know” is another dirge with a depressing, overwhelming riff that feels like a looming black cloud. Despite the despondent music, Kirk urges one to live on, in hopes of a better tomorrow. “Necropolis,” features a strumming guitar that sounds like tears hitting the ground. The mournful guitar keys accentuate the feeling of sadness and misery on this track. The album concludes with a cover of “Aqualung” by Jethro Tull and a personal favorite song of mine. Crowbar has played this song live, but never recorded it for an album. Kirk and company cover the song superbly, especially during the acoustic part of the song. A song about homeless man without hope, the lyricist encourages Aqualung to carry on. It is a fitting end to an album created by a man that refuses to give up.

Dream In Motion is not a Crowbar album by another name. There are heavy parts on the record, but it focuses more on mood than loud guitars. Crowbar has several songs in its discography that are soft, psychedelic and unorthodox (Odd Fellows Rest, Amaranthine to name a couple). Thus, Dream is not an album out of left field, as Crowbar fans are familiar with Kirk’s softer material. That feeling of hopelessness and isolation disrupted by but a scintilla of optimism is also present on this record. Heaviness is not just about volume, but feeling and Kirk masters that emotion as he’s mastered the riff.

Dream In Motion is a very strong effort that will satisfy Crowbar fans who have followed Kirk on his amazing journey. The fact that Crowbar are recording a new album this year and Kirk is back in Down is proof positive that the dream continues.

Check out Crowbar’s website for tour dates and merch:

http://www.crowbarnola.com/

CD Review: EYEHATEGOD by EYEHATEGOD

Review by David Feltman

 

After four albums, four years of silence, and the death of drummer Joey LaCaze, the progenitors of southern sludge seemed finished. The members had moved on to such successful side projects as Down, Superjoint Ritual, Corrections House, Arson Anthem and the EYEHATEGOD lite Outlaw Order. And while every project the individual band members have worked on in the down time has ranged from enjoyable to remarkable, old school southern metal fans held little faith the classic band would ever reunite for another release.

 

Enter EYEHATEGOD. Apropos of its self-title, the band is as guttural, grating and gradual as ever. The entire album is colored by a fuzzy feedback that fills every track. Jimmy Bower’s riffs are loud and bluesy and when Mike IX screeches, “It takes a life of its own,” on “Parish Motel Sickness” you can feel his vocals come from the darkest pit of his gut. EYEHATEGOD has grown more aggressive since its last time out. In fact, the single “Agitation! Propaganda!” feels as if it was written by a much younger band.

 

Every bit of death, addiction and homelessness the band has faced since its formation comes to bear on the new LP. It’s an angry album, but the band has channeled that anger into something forceful and provocative. There’s no trace of the intellectual headiness of Corrections House or the crusty whiplash punk of Arson Anthem, this is solely an EYEHATEGOD album. This isn’t just a return to form; this is a welcome back home.

CD Review: Down – IV Part 2

 

CD Review: Down – IV Part 2

 

downalbum2014ivpart2Review by David Feltman

 

Maybe it’s just side project fatigue. Phil Anselmo has a new record label and an amazing new solo act. Jimmy Bower has a new Eyehategod album (the first in four years) nearing its release date. And though by no means greenhorns, newly joined members Bobby Landgraf of Honky and Patrick Bruders of Outlaw Order, Crowbar and Goatwhore have definitely changed the dynamic of the band. Pepper Keenan is the only original member giving Down his full attention. Whatever the reason or the context, Down IV Part 2 is just as just as loose and lazy as its predecessor.

 

The second half to 2012’s Purple EP is chock-a-block with classic riffs and devilish solo work, but the sound is bright and tinny. All the content for a good album (or half an album) is present and all of these songs are beastly when played live opening night in Birmingham. But the EP is largely maligned by faults in production and editing. Songs that start off heavy quickly loose steam and deliciously sleazy riffs are derailed by Anselmo’s phoned-in wails and grunts. IV Part 2 is deprived of the bottom end “oomph” you’d expect from a super group of southern metal gods. It’s neither as tightly composed as NOLA nor as explosive as the solo work with The Illegals.

 

Like II, many of the songs on Part 2 are borderline classic/hard rock rather than true metal, but that’s by design. Tracks like “Conjure” and “Bacchanalia” both capture the spirit of Sabbath worship that informs IV as a whole. These songs are nothing short of sexy, even if both tracks fall apart at the end. It’s evident Down is attempting to pay homage to the doom-addled forefathers of the southern metal sound, but the band is at its best when it focuses on its own sound. While IV Part 2 is a decent album, it’s ultimately more satisfying to go back and listen to those classic bands Down is emulating (Black Sabbath, Trouble, St. Vitus, Witchfinder General, Pentagram…) rather than to enjoy the tribute Down is offering.

The Revolver Golden Gods Tour opens with impressively heavy bill in Iron City

Zakk Wylde Black Label Society at Iron City Bham. Photo by Shawn Evans for SkullsNBones.com. Used with permission

Zakk Wylde Black Label Society at Iron City Bham. Photo by Shawn Evans for SkullsNBones.com. Photo used with permission

Visit SkullsNBones.com for full concert photo gallery by Shawn Evans!

**Also Metal Mark McPheeters interview with Jimmy Bower of Down

 

The Revolver Golden Gods Tour opens with impressively heavy bill in Iron City

 

Review by David Feltman

 

BIRMINGHAM–The Revolver Golden Gods Tour boasts an impressively heavy bill with enough variety to intrigue most metal fans. And the sold out show certainly attracted a broad spectrum of fans to Iron City on May 2nd. Kids in makeup and dyed hair stood alongside grizzled, leather-clad bikers in a line that wrapped around the block.

 

The doors opened at 7:30 pm, and by 7:50 pm, as people were still funneling into the venue, Butcher Babies had already played and left the stage. The quick show was a disappointment for those interested in enjoying what is normally a visceral performance. While the band’s thrashy nu-metal (or “neo thrash”) tendencies aren’t particularly appealing, the band’s energy on stage is irresistible. Butcher Babies exploits a simple but effective gimmick, having its two attractive, half-naked and gore-covered vocalists jump around the stage and scream their heads off. Heidi Shepherd and Carla Harvey are magnetic personalities in spite of the trashy concept, and their dynamic vocals are the bedrock of the band. The duo dominated the little space allotted them on stage amid the covered Black Label gear, but most concertgoers had only just glimpsed them before the band departed the stage.

 

The setup time for Devil You Know took longer than Butcher Babies entire set. The newly formed super group, comprised of members from Killswitch Engage, Fear Factory and All Shall Perish, is probably the least known member on the bill. But the band’s pedigree is certainly enough of a draw. Sadly, Devil You Know’s brand of metalcore sounded as dated and derivative as the Butcher Babies neo thrash, but the band lacked the spectacle or the enthusiasm on stage to make the lackluster performance forgivable. Howard Jones did little more to stir the ambivalent crowd than walk in circles and clap his hand in the air a couple of times. The performance got progressively worse with off key harmonies and dull riffs, but was mercifully brief.

 

Phil Anselmo, front man of Down, preaches to the crowd opening night in Birmigham May 2. Photo by Shawn Evans for SkullsNBones.com

Phil Anselmo, front man of Down, preaches to the crowd opening night in Birmigham May 2. Photo by Shawn Evans for SkullsNBones.com. Used with permission

 

Down came next and, ever the consummate front man, Phil Anselmo, expertly broke the lull left by Devil You Know. Anselmo’s rapport with his fans is something to be envied; in just a matter of moments he had the crowd at his command. When he trotted out favorites like “Witchtripper” and “Bury Me in Smoke,” Iron City erupted. The lethargic audience was suddenly a whirlwind of fights, moshes, crowd surfers and weed smoke, as if Anselmo’s mere presence was enough to incite a riot. Security guards were taxed during the performance, constantly lunging in and out of the crowd to quell violence and cart off stage hoppers.

 

Where Down invoked frenzy, Black Label Society invoked awe. Zakk Wylde’s appearance caused the audience to fall silent and push as tightly as possible along the foot of the stage. Reminiscent of Iron Maiden’s live show, the band broke out smoke machines and colored lights forming pentagrams around Wylde, while the band played as long and has hard as they wanted on any given song. Wylde would jam on a song an extra four or five minutes, but at the first sign of fatigue from his fans he would deftly change gears and pull the audience back in. It was apparent the other bands on the bill were rushed off, Down was only allotted 40 minutes, so Black Label Society could stretch out and deliver a headliner worthy performance.

 

Despite its inadequate beginning, The Golden Gods Tour delivered on the back end. The twin powerhouses of Down and Black Label Society wiped away any disappointment from the opening acts and sent fans home well-sated on it’s metal smorgasbord. For anyone that likes heavy music served slow and sleazy, this is a tour you should not miss.