METAL & HARD ROCK (ALBUM REVIEWS):

1349 "Beyond The Apocolypse"
http://www.legion1349.com

Chilly old school black metal that'll bury you up to your neck and blow fire in your face. This is the ugly kind of stuff that you heard in the beginning of the movement like Mayhem, but with even more of a fanatical drive. The drumming is so precise and clear here, I had to check to see if it was a machine. It's really just bad-ass one upping. Nobody is re-inventing the wheel here, but they are making a bigger, badder, uglier wheel that is going to be the talk of the town once word gets out about this monstrosity. When your parents get hold of your 1349 CD, It's going to be trouble. [CHC]

AZRAEL "Into Shadows Act II"

I'm hearing buzzwords like "post modern black metal" and "Avant-Garde black metal." That's what I like to hear. When you pop the CD into the tray and hit play, the evidence is right there. It starts with a nice solo acoustic guitar passage which leads into an epic sounding chilly black metal blast. I'm enjoying the interludes and nice extras thrown into the songs to give them character. A lot of these songs are well over 10 minutes, and none are under 6 minutes. This is chilly stuff, and it satisfies my sweet-tooth for something exotic and beautiful as well as deadly and ferocious. [CHC]

CADAVER "Necrosis"
http://www.cadaverinc.com

This sounds very raw for technical death metal. Sounds like a live, one take recording without much distortion or filtering at all. The vocals sound clean-ish, the guitars sing clearly, even the drums sound like they are in the same room with you. No awards here for original lyrics or anything like that. This might be your cup of tea (blood) if you are into a proficient death metal band that sounds very natural and unrefined. I'll bet that these guys can copy this sound perfectly in concert. It's kind of growing on me. I'm just not used to such an honest sound I guess. [CHC]

CORETEZ is comprised of ex-members of Ill Nino and Gargantua Soul. Guitars, gravestones, sore throats, talent, aggression, and metal. These are what come to my mind at the sound of CORETEZ. It's laughable how "huge" their sound is. Whenever you can combine raw aggression with stirring melodies, you have a winner. Most bands try, and fail miserably, to pull off the outspread-metal motif. If CORETEZ managed to hit radio, forget about it. Their discs would sell out faster than Craig The Pornstar! Within this "4-Song Demo" lies the textbook formula for success; the breakout single (6 Chamber), the follow-up mellow tune (Excuses), the 3rd single with incredibly catchy vocal patterns (Last Thing), and the brutal throwback tune - something to keep the metalheads hooked (Eyes). This is yet another band who bridges the gap between old school "heavy" and new school "heavy." You'll see kids, as well as older dudes at the shows, and in the stores, digging it. The guitars and drums sound fantastic, the production is top notch! The bridge in "6 Chamber" is so blazin' yo, further proof that Marc is the greatest guitarist in the world. [Crimson Man]

FLAT EARTH SOCIETY "Promotional CD"
http://www.flatearthsociety.com

FLAT EARTH SOCIETY is a New Jersey hardcore band hailing from the side of New York City and you can tell. Remember back in the day when hardcore had a more punkish influence to it? That's what you have here. Good old NYHC influenced old school hardcore. Along the lines of the many greats i.e. Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front, Biohazard, etc. Everything seems to fit very well with the musicianship. All the players seem to know what they're trying to accomplish in the band. And for that FLAT EARTH SOCIETY gets a thumbs up on my side. Enough said! [Dr. Deth]

FORCE OF NATURE "Sick, Warped & Twisted"
http://www.forceofnaturerocks.com

Another good Philadelphia band mixing all forms of metal together to create their own sound. But after the first track, the only problem is they don't have anything to keep you interested fully. The music is more alternative metal with a rock influence. I'm not sure if I like this or not. Maybe with better production there could be something to catch my ear. But for now I'm not interested. Judge for yourself. [Dr. Deth]
Melodic Death Metal from Finland is the tag line from RiseStar Promotions, and it fits. I have never really been a big fan of death metal, however I must admit that KILL THE ROMANCE does the task well. Perfecting the low growl scream and matching it with fast paced guitar, bass and drums, I could actually really get into this CD. The four song sampler/demo CD seems to give a terrific insight into what the band is capable of. They blend death metal style music with growling yet harmonic and melodic vocals with just the right amount of draw from the depths of Ville Hovi’s (vocals) lungs to produce a sound that is heavy yet melodic and tolerable. Tomi Luoma and Antti Kokkonen blend their guitar work brilliantly to provide in your face riffs. Add to that the drumbeats of Mika Tantu and bass work of Raimo Posti and here you have a terrific metal experience. [Michele Palulis]

LEVIATHAN "Tentacles Of Whorror"

Traditional black metal that scores tons of points for the fantastic sound quality - I mean the hate and spite rings so clear from this disc you can almost hear it before you press play. It's better than being in the room with your own satanic blood orgy. The vocals are especially crisp and sharp on this thing. They screech right through like demonic possession. This is truly hideous stuff that borrows from the past both in form and concept, but also forges ahead into the future by elevating the form to truly more gruesome heights (or lows as it may be…It's a compliment!) Track 2 sent shudders down my spine when it went from a barrage of gristly massacre music to a slow windy ambient ending. Truly awe inspiring. [CHC]

LOSS "No Sanity Left" (Promo 2004)
http://www.risestar.cl - info@risestar.cl

Three song promos are geared to giving an insight into what the band is capable of doing. In this case LOSS seems to be capable of a lot of things. For one, they're loud, heavy and very extreme - the way most music these days seems to be - but they're also dynamic in a unique sense. I find most bands in the extreme metal genres tend to loose my interest because their music is too repeatitive and they blast through songs so fast you generally don't know what hit you. Not LOSS, they have a way of breaking up their music, even in the slightest of ways, like mini pauses in between their vocals to allow the drums and guitars to break through. Their music breathes, unlike a lot of their competitors in this genre of music. They have amazing guitar solos (as seen in the track "No God Worth") which I think they should bring out more often. They have a lot of showy potential that they could capatiolize on to enhance their music even more. I can imagine their live shows flooring metalheads around the globe. They're definitely a band to keep your eyes on if you enjoy the louder, aggressive, extreme side of music. [Wednesday Elektra]

MOXLEY "Hardcore" (Demo)
http://www.moxleyfu.com

Hailing from the city of brotherly love comes MOXLEY. A metal hardcore based band with enough anger to piss off an entire state. The 4th track on this disc entitled "Fuck You All" is exactly what MOXLEY is trying to tell everyone. They combine really good hardcore metal grooves with intense vocals that kind of remind me of Soulfly, NJ Bloodline, meets Gorman Prophecy. There is a really good mix of influences to the band though. Track # 5 entitled "SLUT" starts off with a clean part that comes in with the same pace riff but a lot heavier - it adds a good sound for the ending track of the CD. The production isn't that bad. With a couple more years of being together, I can see them actually doing something with what they have going on, if they keep it together. The musicianship is pretty damn good too. The drums are in perfect time which is always a plus and the guitar riffs with the bass makes it a solid fit. But lack of guitar solos kind of get me down a little. There is one, but it doesn't really hit home the way it should. But if you are looking for an up and coming band that will keep you moving, please check out MOXLEY and judge for yourself. They deserve it. [Dr. Deth]

NECRODEMON "Allegiance To The End"
http://www.necrodemon.com - avernus999@hotmail.com

Ah, finally a metal band with diversity - it's not the same boring note and riff played over and over again. NECRODEMON actually has dynamic vocals, drums, guitars, and bass lines in their music - though I think they could use a wee bit MORE bass to really get on my good list. The music sounds a bit hollow and unlevel, but most metal on the extreme side has a tendency to be this way - it's hard to get that right touch and pitch of equality between the vocals and various instruments. I think they did a decent job with this album. Its not an album you'd catch me listening to all the time - only because I'm not really into this style of metal (a mixture of "core", death, black, brutal, etc.) yet, I do find it a good album to have in my collection. It really stands out from the rest of the metal legions as being truely "different" - which for hardcore metalheads set in their ways of how metal should truely sound - you guys probably won't appreciate this album much! For the rest that are open-minded towards metal, this should be a good CD to have in your collection for when you get bored with everything else out there. [Wednesday Elektra]

PLAGUE OF AGONY "Demo 2004"
http://www.plagueofagony.tk

I can understand when a band first starts and they don't know how to represent their band in a professional manner. But this case, I couldn't beleive what I received in the mail from this band. First the CD was a CD-R with hand written name of band with a sharpie marker in a jewel case. No damn reading material. At leastmake something up for christs sake. That's just the start. I've been in the music business for a very long time now. When I receive stuff like this, I often wonder what people are thinking these days. I have never given a bad review yet, so PLAGUE OF AGONY has 1 up on everyone else. The vocals are that forced bad death metal voice most of the time. Other wise he "tries" to sing. The guitar riffs are very generic and his overall sound is a bore. The bass player really doesn't do anything special and the drums sound like pillows. But yet again, maybe in due time when they get a little older they might turn out better. Just not right now. [Dr. Deth]

PRO-PAIN "Fistful Of Hate"
http://www.pro-pain.org

That takes balls. The opening line of this album is "Are you sick of me yet?" These guys have been around for a long time and I'm not sick of them yet. Are they doing anything new and inventive? Maybe not. Are they still coming out with quality pit friendly hardcore metal with enough buffing bounce to make the mosh pit a dangerous place? You bet that tattooed hairy ass!! Fans should eat this up with a fever. It's really the best work that I had the pleasure to review this time around. One listen to this CD should pump you full of enough testosterone to take on the whole town. I'm paying particular attention to the track called "Godspeed." [CHC]

QUEENSRYCHE "The Art Of Live"
http://www.queensryche.com

Is it enough for you to know that this is out there or do I have to watch and describe the whole thing to you? You know who QUEENSRYCHE are and what they do. The songs on this are "Tribe," "Sign of The Times," "Open," "Losing Myself," "Desert Dance," "The Great Divide," "Rhythm Of Hope," "My Global Mind," "Roads To Madness," "Della Brown," "Breaking the Silence," "The Needle Lies," "Best I can," "Comfortably Numb," and "Won't get Fooled Again." Damn, no "Jet city Woman." Anyway, peeps write underground zines so that they don't need to re-write the same stuff about bands that have already been covered umpteen times. You know it you like QUEENSRYCHE, they are on the radio. If you really don't know, follow the hotlink to their website. [CHC]

VICIOUS CIRCLE "The Art Of Agony"
http://www.viciouscircle.tv

Well, I finally received the brand new VICIOUS CIRCLE CD, "The Art of Agony." VICIOUS CIRCLE are now signed to Neoblast Records in Canada. It's been a very long time since VICIOUS CIRCLE have been signed to any label and it's about time. "The Art of Agony" delivers everything you would ever want from a great thrash/death metal band. The vocals, guitar leads, mosh riffs, pounding drums, and a bass you can actually hear. "Live Long And Suffer," "Lord of Shit," "Phantom Pains," and "Spiritial Deformity" are by far some of my favorite tracks on the new disc. The new singer for the past 4 years Darrell Rapp is a vocal monster. The production and the packaging is way above top notch. If a bigger label picks these guys up, they will have a hit on their hands for sure in the metal community. Move over Suffocation, Deicide, and all those other bands that have had their time. Let the next metal monster VICIOUS CIRCLE take their rightful place where they should have been for many years now. They have delivered the ultimate CD for any metal band I've heard in 2004. VICIOUS CIRCLE have created a relentless attack with their unquie style. "The Art of Agony" is truely the master piece of metal geniouses. [Dr. Deth]
POP, PUNK & ROCK (ALBUM REVIEWS):

GARGANTUA SOUL (Band Review)

You can't say enough about this band, hailing from New Haven, Connecticut, their positive energy is inimitable. I, personally, have been following them for years, and they only get better with time. G-Soul is a band that combines so many different genres into their groundbreaking style, it's hard to classify them. Tracks like "Drive" and "No Oasis" are simply AMAZING, it's a crime that they aren't signed to a major label yet. Lead singer Kris Keyes is the key member of the band, while Mark Amendola is the heart and soul of the guitar work. If you have never seen them live, unfortunately, you missed out on an incredible experience. They broke up! I know, don't get me started. G-Soul is the only band who could have multiple endorsements, appear on Much Music, play at Woodstock, be featured in a movie, play on Farmclub, have nationally distributed albums...and STILL be "underground." It doesn't matter, though. Music stands the test of time. Their landmark, top notch album "The First, The Last, The Tribe" can still be purchased along with their second album "Impact," which is fantastic in it's own right! [Crimson Man]

HUNGRY LUCY "To Kill A King"
http://www.hungrylucy.com

An inspirational tale of inner struggles, "To Kill A King" speaks though Christa Belle's beautifully melodic voice and War-N Harrison’s poignant electronic beats. HUNGRY LUCY combines pop with dark melodic storytelling while bending the rules of genre specific styled music. They blend the historical electronic styles with acoustic and piano. The haunting sound of Christa's voice is perfectly matched with the music. The CD boasts a story of a woman gaining her inner strength to leave an w partner while realizing she had the strength all along and just needed to find it within herself. Each song builds on the other yet is able to stand alone. Beautiful lyrics all around. [Michele Palulis]

LIQUID BLUE "Supernova"
http://www.liquid-blue.com

Refreshing is the one word that comes to mind after listening to this CD for nearly an hour. I've always enjoyed music fused with multiple genres of the old world traditional styles (Indian, African, etc.) mixed with what's hip now in the pop/dance charts. There's really not that many bands and/or artists that can pull it off to the extent that I truly enjoy it, but LIQUID BLUE has that magical touch that caresses my ears and makes me want to hit that repeat button over and over again. If you check out the album covers (front & back) you'll get a sense of what their music will be about with a mix 'n match set of elements and a feeling of coolness before even listening to the music. All in all, I hope this band goes far in their career, they have all the potential elements to "make it big." [Wednesday Elektra]

LITTLE MOJO "Awake and Dreaming"
http://www.littlemojoband.com

LITTLE MOJO defy their barefoot acoustic rock music with their latest professionally minded CD "Awake and Dreaming." This is one of those bands you know in your heart should be on the top of the world for everyone to gush over - they've nearly traversed it all, yet they're still pushing forward like any other underground band. What will it take for the world to open it's eyes and see this duo for all that they are? They are truly two very gifted musicians, that have toured across the States with little to no help, and write song after song, album after album of expressionistic ear grappling music. LITTLE MOJO isn't exactly the band next door, though if they were I wouldn't mind in the least bit! I could listen to this CD all day and all night long, though I do admit 5 tracks doesn't quench your thirst for more. Until the next release, expect to see LITTLE MOJO touring and playing over the airwaves across the US (and perhaps even the world!). You can always help them gain more recognition by picking up their album, requesting their tunes, and passing on the good word to your friends. LITTLE MOJO is the new wave of music, so open your ears and take a listen! [Wednesday Elektra]

L'OSTERBERG "Gasmask"

If like myself, you're a fan of punk rock and tired of these cookie-cutter boy band punk rock wannabe's give L'OSTERBERG's new CD "Gasmask" a spin. True old-school punk brimming with fast fuzzy loud power guitar and heavy distorted bottom end, reminiscent of early Stooges. Brian McMillian (guitar), Paul Venno (drums), Markii Burnaway (guitar), Pete Dekoker (bass) and John Traut (vocals) bring back a flavor of punk rock long gone in the scene today. This is no fashion statement, material off this disc is fast, raunchy and raw, meant for slam dancing, beer swilling and chair smashing. Songs "Head First", "Crucify" and "Leave I'm Alone" are packed full of punk rock piss n' vinegar, while the track "A to B" will have your petal to the metal. "Gasmask" is a CD of attitude and rebellion, two key ingredients for great punk rock. [Wayne Rivet]

THE PHARAO'S "Open Fire"
http://www.risestar.cl - info@risestar.cl

Guitars, Punk 'n' Roll vocals and more guitars, is what you'll be hearing when you pop THE PHARAO'S into your CD player. The music is a mixture of classic rock, 80's hard rock, metal and punk. Its a nice combination if you like this type of sound blaring over your speakers at high voltage levels. I found the music to be a bit repeatitive and was nearly sick of the album after the 3rd song. There's not much variation or dynamics in this album - which is what I love to hear in music - especially with the shredding guitars and high pitched snarly Lemmy (Motorhead) versus Brian Johnson (AC/DC) like vocals. If they put a few ballad tracks on this album I think it'd be better, just to show that the band has the ability to play a better assortment of sounds and styles, maybe a bit on the softer and slower side. There's not too many bands other than the Ramones that can pull of a "three chord" sounding album. There were a few good tracks, but nothing that really caught my attention, at least not this time around. Maybe I'll enjoy their next album more. [Wednesday Elektra]
EXPERIMENTAL & ELECTRONIC (ALBUM REVIEWS):

BORON JIVE LEPER "Scientific Bonanza"
http://www.infinitesector.org/boronjiveleper

When they cooked this one up in the lab, I'm sure that there were some questions about the results. It's definitely music, but it's of the oddball experimental type that defies classification and provokes further study. There are discernable rhythms made with unconventional electronic sounds, rings, tones, vocalizations, and electronic waste noise thrown into the beaker and whatever comes out when the burner is lit becomes your new entertainment. It works better on some tracks than others, but overall it's a fine listen for a lazy day. Don't worry if it seems a bit slow. That's to allow you to recover after puzzling moments. [CHC]

DIVASONIC "Birth"
http://www.divasonic.com

I dig DIVASONIC's sharp, edgy tracks! The artsy vocal patterns are interesting. It seems to be active-electronica, the kind of stuff that gets you pumped up, so you can help your ex-girlfriend move to her new apartment. The sounds are incredibly sharp, and I find myself feeling happier than I did before I'd heard them. The way she incorporates random, soft sounds such as flutes is so creative and refreshing. Even though it appears to be mainly sampling and sound effects, the song-flow screams of musicianship. DIVASONIC is comprised of one woman named Lynda Arnold, originally from Long Island. This is another album that I'm going to buy, because it's definitely a winner! DIVASONIC is planning to tour in the San Francisco Bay area, and I highly recommend checking her out if you can! [Crimson Man]
Two tracks, a total of about 10 minutes. It starts out with a low distorted voice saying "all my life I've had doubts…" and then it rolls from this guy into some pretty standard electronic music with a bit of a European flavor. I got a kick out of it. Sure, it's short and a bit tacky. Have some fun out there peeps! I'll bet these guys had a blast making this (looping "shutdown in process" at the end of the 1st song was genius!) The second song starts and stops like it is teasing you. This is a nice little trippy doodle thingy. Don't put too much thought into it. [CHC]

REGURGITRON "Experiment 11928"
http://www.regurgitron.com

I track, over 47 minutes long. This is expertly crafted noise, with a lot of dynamic movement and change, full of interesting sounds and ambiences, none too harsh, and interesting enough to listen to the whole way through in one sitting. It's not exactly alien noise or any other of the sub-genre ambiences. Its strange, but nothing quite freaky or unmanageable. I'd probably do this in a dark room, on a beanbag, with a hookah, but I don't think that setting is entirely necessary. Like the title says, it's an experiment. It works on a level that is almost pleasant, but may be difficult to explain. I guess "good" is the best word to use. There is a lot to digest in this recording. I love the diversity of sounds and their integration into a greater patchwork of artistic merit. [CHC]

WISTERIAX "Static Voyage"
http://www.wisteriax.com

Now THIS is what I really like. It is a nice piece created with cello, shortwave, loops and lots of effects. It's a little spacey, a little creepy, can be sort of harsh, but never overwhelming. Mostly it's just right on the ears (enough to tickle your neck hairs, but nothing that will short circuit your brainwave activity.) The mixing is great, with sounds traveling from one ear to the other, looping round your head, and sneaking up on you from behind. Nice work keeping the listener on his toes. Very cool!! [CHC]
HIP HOP, RAP & R&B (ALBUM REVIEWS):
This is clearly lyric based hip-hop, and their rhymes are very interesting. ACE MOB remind me of the mid-late 90's NY scene, (Eg. Wu Tang, Gza, Shyne). Good crew atmosphere with these guys, and if the vocalism was just slightly tighter, they'd be powerhouses. Their choice of samples is far less than impressive. It's one thing to sample an entire instrumental track, but "If I Ruled The World?," come on now. They should add more "hype" to their hooks and leave the lazy, sing-song melodies to the professionals. Fantastic dynamic in their voices, and the lyrics are solid, I'm very surprised at how tight they are in that respect. Not sure if they will reach mainstream success, but they seem to have their heads in the right place as far as making club/radio orientated beats. As it says on their website, they're definitely hard workers. They recently changed their name, it used to be Asidace. I could listen to these guys all day. [Crimson Man]

BIGGUP & ELIJAH "United We Stand" (CD Single)
http://www.bandeinc.com - contact@bandeinc.com

This may only be a CD single, but it holds a powerful message within it's moving Hip Hop beats and it's catchy looping hooks. As their official website states: " "United We Stand" is a testament to people of different social, religious, and educational backgrounds working together toward a positive goal." It certainly get's the picture across from the cover artwork to the lyrics within. You most definitely can't refrain yourself from bopping your head along with the catchy beats and uttering the words "United" in harmony with the backing track. If you like Hip Hop with delicate vocals and a big message, then take the time to visit their site, read their message and purchase this single. [Wednesday Elektra]

COUNTRY (ALBUM REVIEWS):

EUCLID "Carthage EP"
http://www.euclidmusic.com

I was raised on country music, and this band represents the genre very well. I love the depth and rawness of the song "Little Dove." Singer Katrina Whitney is great in her imagery. Anyone who puts vivid, true-to-life experiences in their lyrics usually hits a chord with me. The last song in particular has a bit of a dream-pop sound to it. The guitars are dark and brooding at times, but always melodic. I like the moody, foreboding feel of "Rocky Trail." Another thing that's top notch, is the honesty in the lyrics. I'm so impressed, I'm actually going to purchase EUCLID's EP. Great, sweet harmonies. In short, this type of music is at its best when it is raw and stripped down. I can picture these songs being played in an open field with nothing but a guitar and a throat. Raw is equal to "real" and it doesn‘t get better than that! [Crimson Man]
WORLD / FOLK / JAZZ / TRIBAL / TRADITIONAL (ALBUM REVIEWS):

DERRIK JORDAN "Touch The Earth"
http://www.derrikjordan.com - hilljoy@sover.net

DERRIK JORDAN is a master of blending jazzy, funk fusion, and reggae with worldly beats and concepts with concerns for the environment. His lyrics raise awareness while his music emits the energy and feeling to bring these concerns to the forefront. "Touch The Earth" has a jazzy soul meets the samba feel to it, incorporating such musical instruments as the bird whistle, triangle, piano and 12 string guitar. Jordan also incorporates spiritual tribal indigenous music into "Touch The Earth." The drumbeats mixed with the samba horns make you want to get up and shake your booty on the dance floor! [Michele Palulis]

MAYA & SAGE "Spirit Of Love"
http://www.mayasage.com - info@mayasage.com

A beautifully blended compilation of devotional chanting and spiritual songs, "Spirit of Love" is a deeply emotional CD. Listening is best done when meditating or relaxing while attempting to cleanse the inner soul. Mixing tribal-like drumming, acoustic guitar, flute and harp with Maya's beautiful vocals creates a calming inner experience, while the chanting and faster beats make you want to dance around and celebrate life. This CD boasts something for everyone and is very well blended and a terrific fusion of styles and techniques. The music alone brings out an incredible energy. Add the vocals, whether it be the melodic songs or the chanting, and you have yourself an absolutely indulgent experience that begs the ears and body to listen. [Michele Palulis]

STRING PLANET "Feed Your Imagination"
http://www.stringplanet.com - stringplanet@stringplanet.com

Spicy drums jazz up the string instruments which are played together in pleasant and complimenting parts. Sounds like music that would be really nice to listen to while going for a sightseeing drive through the countryside. The music is very relaxing and soothing to the ears and the creative edginess sparks the imagination. Youthful voices sing during the songs "Hold Me In Your Heart" and "All That I Want" they sing about love in a chorus of bright warmth with lead vocals by Lauren Wood. Quite different than anything I've heard before the music is truly a unique blend of percussion and strings with sparse vocals. Bringing a bit of funk and excitement to acoustic playing the music is quite agreeable and fun. [Maria Weeks]

COMPILATIONS:

VARIOUS ARTISTS "The Iron Force: Metal Compilation Volume 1"
http://www.risestar.cl - info@risestar.cl (get your copy free by emailing compilation@risestar.cl)

I think the first track to any album, especially a compilation album, is what will keep the music listener listening. SUIDAKRA, caught my attention with their high class, entrancing, dynamic and diverse song "Trails Of Gore". The title of the song may suggest this band is in a different vein of music than what they actually protray on this compilation i.e. they're not some brutal blast-beat type of band with gutteral vocals - they're actually more melodic sounding with lots of instrumental solos. The next band NO MORE FEAR pricked my ears, I really enjoyed their track "Squall". NO MORE FEAR has a hard rock edge mixed with heavy metal stylings and retro wailing guitar riffing solos (like Guns 'N Roses with a tint of Metallica). The next batch of bands on the "Chapter 1 - The Black Legions" portion of the compilation seemed to be nothing more than your typical black and death metal bands. There weren't really any bands that caught my specific attention and I ended up cycling through them until I fell upon STEEL ATTACK in "Chapter 2 - The Iron Force". How can you not notice the intro to their song "Enslaved"? You have to stop and listen to see the out come of this one. High powered, 80's hard rock, with melodic vocals that has you guessing to whether it's a guy or a girl singing them! It was an interesting song. The remainder of the compilation was based around the 80's hard rock sounding vibe, with lots of melodic metal and a Top Gun soundtrack appeal. Not really my type of music, but nonetheless this whole compilation was very well done and had a lot of good aspects to it. I'd suggest getting your free copy, if you like a mixture of extreme heavy metal clashed with a blast from the past in hard rock music. [Wednesday Elektra]

VARIOUS ARTISTS "Unfocus To Focus"
http://www.infinitesector.org - info@infinitesector.org

This comp includes 11 bands. Some of the familiar names might be darph/nadir, Boron Jive Leper, Ellende, Photon Ghoul, Antithei, etc. The central focus of this compilation is dark ambience, and every one of the bands delivers that with skill and some degree of individual flare. Not every track is spine tingling, but they are all at least slow and strange (if not uncomfortable.) [CHC]
MAGAZINES:

QUINTESSENCE METAL WEBZINE "Fret-Essential Compilation CD #1
http://community.webtv.net/metal-essence/QUINTESSENCE2000 - metal-essence@webtv.net

15 bands playing showy instrumentals to let the axes do the talking. There's a pretty fine array of styles showcased here. Things go from neo-classical/ blues all the way to thrash/ progressive metal. There probably aren't enough adjectives to adequately describe the styles of each and every musician here. Just know that this is a string slinger's wet dream. Every immensely complicated guitar solo soars well beyond the common band's ambition. Some bands include: Michael Knight, Gashead, Rare Blend, Art Faccio, Ray DeTone, and Sean Mercer. [CHC]
CONCERTS, SHOWS & FESTIVALS:

CORETEZ (Show Review)
http://www.core-tez.com - dolabox@aol.com

Their CD is phenomenal, so I'd been waiting to see them live for weeks now. As expected, the sensation of CORETEZ's new album is matched only by their astounding live performance. They opened up with "6 Chamber," which is one of their better tracks. But then, they‘re all good! - On Tap! - Visually (not that it's important), their stage "show" is classic. You've got Marc Amendola with his wild, Mexican, guitar-slinging antics, Opus who is obviously a primo drummer, and the rest of the guys were crazy as well. The "other" guitarist played so fast it inspired me, the almighty Crimson Man, to want to play better. I like to think I know how to pick 'em when it comes to bands, and I knew from day one that these guys would be boss! To hear these songs live was nothing short of life changing. "Excuses" obviously has the catchiest melodies of the year, "Eyes" is one of the best tracks of the year. This band has light-years of talent. Between Marc, Opus, and the other guys, it's silly to even think about the level of talent overflowing from this outstanding bunch. If you think about it, you'll die, it's that simple. [Crimson Man]
MOVIE & FILM REVIEWS:

STALAG 17 (1953)
Starring: William Holden, Peter Graves, Don Taylor

A simple, yet interesting story about American soldiers who were captured by the Germans during a war, circa 1945. Roughly twenty-five soldiers are situated in a barracks to live, and as many escape plots ensue amongst them, they are betrayed by one of "their own." Someone, affectionately referred to as the "stoolie," trades secrets with the German Lieutenant and tips him off to the soldiers plans. The film is rich with various characters that the viewer may choose to identify with: A funny, lovable, big dummy named Animal; a spunky, witty New Yorker named Harry Shapiro; the token rugged, tough guy and a slow, subnormal named Joey. Solid acting and an edge-of-your-seat story line keeps this movie interesting. If you are bias towards black and white movies, let your ignorance shine. [Crimson Man]

THE TOXIC AVENGER IV: Citizen Toxie (2001)
Starring: Joe Fleishaker, Llyod Kaufman, Trent Haaga, James Gun, Gabrielle Friedman

The Toxic Avenger (Toxie), the first superhero from New Jersey, returns for the fourth installment of the B movie classic, THE TOXIC AVENGER, to mop away evil from the streets of Tromaville. This time he must face his most formidable foe, his self. The movie starts at Tromaville's School for the Very Special where Toxie and his obese sidekick, Lard Ass battle the cruel Diaper Gang. The leader of the Diaper Gang detonates a bomb, killing every "special" student in the building, and sends Toxie and two students to an alternate universe. The bomb also sent Toxie's evil counterpart, The Noxious Offender to Toxie's universe. The Toxic Avenger must find a way back to his universe and kill The Noxious Offender. Toxie always has to kill evil doers because his Tromatons give off a chemical which forces him to slay evil. Citizen Toxie features Tromaville's other superheroes: The Vibrator, The Masturbator, Dolphin Man, and Cow Man, and past Tromaville movie hero - Sergeant Kabuki Man, NYPD. Viewers may also notice metal legend Limmy Kilmister, rocker Debbie Rochon, and Adult Film mainstays Ron Jeremy (as the mayor) and Al Goldstein, and former Howard Stern character (RIP) Hank, the Angry Drunken Dwarf (as God). If "Touched By An Angel" is your favorite show, you probably shouldn't watch this movie. Gore movie fans, B movie addicts, punk rockers and death metal fans should enjoy the masturbation humor, poop humor, and graphic violence. [Ralph Rampage]

THIS IS SPINAL TAP (1984)
Staring: Michael McKean, Christopher Guest, Harry Shearer, Rob Reiner, Billy Crystal

Drop-Dead Hilarious. "This Is Spinal Tap" is one of the spiffiest comedies ever made. It was thought-up brilliantly, shot perfectly, and written exceptionally. It's the sort of flick you can watch a hundred times and it never loses it's "classic" appeal. Most importantly, the casting here was perfect! I guess that's a huge reason "Spinal Tap" is so memorable, no one could portray David St. Hubbins as genuinely as Mike McKean. Every role that guy attacks is gold. Christopher Guest is an awesome straight actor, he's hilarious, and always reminded me of Bruce Dickinson. Shearer obviously went on to play many hilarious roles. There's not much else to say about it, except to mention again that the casting was perfect, and it encompasses the meaning of paramount. [Crimson Man]