Album Review: Slipknot “.5: The Gray Chapter”

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(PCM) Words can not even begin to express the joy that overcame us when news was first announced that a new album from Iowa rockers Slipknot was on the way and we were even more thrilled to get an early listen to “.5: The Gray Chapter” prior to its’ official release!

Back in May, Slipknot front-man Corey Taylor was roasted by his peers during the Roast on the Range w/ Corey Taylor which was the kick-off to the epic rock festival Rock On The Range. We had caught up with Taylor on the red carpet and were the first to bring you the news about just what “.5: The Gray Chapter” was going to sound like!  Taylor told us that “People are going to lose their minds when they hear it” and we absolutely couldn’t agree more!

“.5: The Gray Chapter is the perfect blend of both the brutality of Slipknot’s early album “Iowa”, but at the same time beautifully sonic and melodic like “Vol. 3″.

It is no shock that  the tragic passing of Slipknot bassist and songwriter Paul Gray is a centralized theme of sorts throughout the album and it is quite evident that the band has poured all of the pain, anger and sadness straight into the vein of many tracks found on the new album. It is full of both intensity and raw emotion and certainly some of Slipknot’s best work to date.

Tracks such as “Skeptic”, “The Negative One”, “Killpop” and “Custer” take the listener on a fascinating musical journey and one that truly speaks to the soul. Musically speaking the band has pushed their limits to places one never would have thought they could have achieve. The songs that truly hone in on the loss of Gray the most would be both “Skeptic” and “Nomadic”, however the gorgeous ballad “Goodbye” seems a fitting farewell as well.

Many fans did not believe that we would ever see another Slipknot album, but the band has truly outdone themselves with “.5: The Gray Chapter” and come out sounding (and appearing) as re-energized as ever! Being able to take their pain and angst over the loss of their fallen bandmate, the band was able to channel it into one of the most brilliant albums to be release this year.

We could go on and on about the many reasons we have fallen in love with “.5: The Gray Chapter”, but we feel that it is best experienced by listening for yourself. With this release, Slipknot further cement the fact that rock is far from dead, so get out there and support this absolutely stellar release.

Also, be sure to catch Slipknot live if you have the chance!  The band will be performing unique sets each night of KNOTFEST this coming weekend in San Bernadino, CA that will feature brand new music, as well as, an entirely new stage set up and experience.

Also, performing at KNOTFEST is Danzig, Five Finger Death Punch, Volbeat, Of Mice & Men, Anthrax and dozens more!

Slipknot also hits the road for a co-headlining tour with KORN that will be making its’ way across the U.S!

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Buzzworthy Band The Fletchers Release Brand-New Tunes!

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It’s been three years since Heroes of Gravity, The Fletcher’s third album soared up the college radio charts.The New Jersey-based indie band’s latest CD, Reset the Dial, is now available and highly recommended.

At times, the songs really rock and other times the band will change gears into a more emotional, intelligent and stirring direction. While the group has clearly evolved and matured since their earlier releases, this record is a testament that their rebellious Jersey attitude is still alive and well, even if it’s well hidden at times.

The band released records each year since their formation back in 2008. While working on their recently released fourth album, the guys took more time than usual and focused on creating a record on their own terms. After several listens, I must agree, mission accomplished!

Lead singer Gary Kaplan had this to say… “Three years has offered the time to play and work out the songs that make up Reset the Dial, and over that time we’ve continued to develop as a band. I, for one, am a lot more confident,” said Kaplan. “There’s more range to the vocals, and overall more textured sound. We weren’t afraid to be too sweet. We weren’t afraid of being dark. We’ve really painted pictures that tell stories with these song, and we feel good about this chapter.”

This is a record full of passion and honesty, delivered with warm vocals, outstanding musicianship and sincerity.

The Fletchers are what rock-n-roll is meant to be; harnessed emotion, tons of energy and songs that resonate in your head and heart after one listen. Do yourself a favor and catch this band live in Jersey, NYC or Philly.

Gary Kaplan – Lead Vocals & Guitar
Dan Coffey – Bass & Backing Vocals
Cliff Heaton – Drums & Backing Vocals
Rob Freda – Guitar & Backing Vocals

To keep up-to-date with The Fletchers please visit:

www.thefletchersmusic.com

https://www.youtube.com/user/seriousmachines/videos

http://www.reverbnation.com/thefletchersmusic

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Finch Drop New Album! Exclusive Interview!

Finch1(PCM) Finch has just released their first full length album in nine years titled “Back To Oblivion” and without a doubt the band has truly outdone themselves with this brilliant release.

After listening to the album it is quite apparent that the band has pushed themselves above and beyond and what I love is that they are truly not afraid to take some risks with their music.

“Back To Oblivion” is a true statement to the band’s longevity and certainly showcased a deeper and more matured side to the band.

Recently we were able to catch up with Finch guitarist Alex Linares to discuss the band’s new album, touring plans, musical history and more!

We were certainly sure that the band was more than excited to get this highly anticipated album into the hand of listeners. Alex comments “Yeah, it felt like it was taking forever. It was finished a couple of months ago and I am so anxious for people to hear it”.

With this being the band’s first full length album in nine years were were curious about any challenges they may have faced in the studio. Alex tell us “Probably just writing together again. It has been almost ten years since we all sat down to write a whole album together. Before we split up, we tried to write a record and came up with nothing worthy of a third full-length record, but with this album it took about a year of us writing in secret. We were doing all these anniversary shows for the 10th anniversary of “What Is To Burn”, but we were always secretly working on the new material. We just didn’t want to announce it at that point”.

When speaking about tracks on the new album that can definite the mentality in the studio, Alex reveals “We worked really quickly and it was sort of over before it began, but I don’t know if there is really one song that captures the tone of us recording. I think maybe it would be “New Wave”, it is the last song on the record and it was one that was wholly created in the studio. Normally during the recording process each person records their parts separately and they are all put together, however for that song we were all in the studio together, at the same time, working on it, and we created it together. I think that might be an example of the new Finch where we are a bit more united”.

With “Back To Oblivion” Finch were definitely not afraid to experiment some with their sound and create a very unique new album. Alex says that he is “crossing my fingers and toes” that the fans take to it more than they did “Say Hello To Sunshine”. He felt that “Sunshine” caught most people off guard, although some people did love it.

Alex goes on to say ” I have ADD in the studio and I feel it is important for us to keep challenging ourselves with every record, so that will keep us all interested”.

“Two Guns To The Temple” is the first single off of “Back To Oblivion” and we were curious to know what led to the band’s decision for that track in particular to become the single and also if they ever get a feeling about a song and then are surprised by what the fans happen to gravitate towards. Alex comments ” I don’t even pretend to know which song should become the single, usually I’m like ‘Yes, that’s the one’ and the record label and manager types are like “You’re f**king crazy, dude … it’s five and half minutes and you don’t get to the chorus for three and half, so that doesn’t work’! The lead off single was really “Anywhere But Here” as the internet single and fit a little more into the traditional single format.”.

We also spoke in-depth about many of the changes that have taken place within the music industry over the years. Alex reveals ” Five years ago I didn’t want anything to do with a label, but I think how they function now, it makes sense, it works and we are more comfortable with it. So far, Razor & Tie has been a really good home for us. They have not made any sort of ridiculous demands that we have had to deal with from label in the past. They seem to really respect their artists and that is genuinely what artist really want … to be respected.

We also spoke about the up rise of social media and Alex commented “As much as social networks give you access to the band in ways that you or I didn’t have twenty years ago, I mean you had to buy Hit Parader if there was a cool picture of Marilyn Manson or Jonathan Davis in there, now you have this inside peek. You get to see backstage and see how boring it really is (laughs), I think it is kind of good and kind of not good sometimes. It takes some of mystery away.

He goes on to say “When I was thirteen, Korn was my favorite band ever and this last tour we were on tour in Australia and they were on it and seeing Jonathan Davis, like romp around backstage, he looked like the most mega-geek and that’s probably what most people involved with social networks these days really think about the artist’s they see. They take backstage photos and they are just sitting there with a book, reading or something. It’s like someone explaining how the magic trick works and it’s a f**king bummer!”

Currently the band is gearing up for a headlining tour run with Maps & Atlases that is set to begin in a few weeks. Alex also told us that there is some talk about the band headed back to England and some other parts of Europe as well and plan for non-stop touring for the next year and half of so in support of the record.

We mentioned to Alex that it would have to be difficult for the band to craft a set list each night and he replied “The only hard part is not wanting to put too much new material in there. I want to go out and play the new record from beginning to end but I know that would greatly annoy most people that paid for a ticket so I think we will play a good mix of both old and newer material”.

Alex also reveals that one of the great inspirations for the new album was the 10th anniversary show for their seminal album “What Is To Burn”. He says ” To play the album together again was bizarrely easy and running through all the songs, it was like muscle memory. I think feeling such constant enthusiasm for my band and just constant desire for us to not go away after this tour was a great motivator to try our hand at a new record.”

Often times certain information about a band may be misconstrued or misunderstood, we asked Alex if that had ever happened with Finch. He replied “So much!  Usually everything! (laughs) I am not actually a grizzly bear, most people think I am the offspring of some great grizzly mother … that’s not true! No, I’m kidding. People come up with the wildest things and it’s ridiculous. I think the worst on is that people actually think that I’m a d**k. People will come up and talk to me and be like ‘man, we heard you were a d**k, but you’re really great’.  I appreciate that … really.”

Well, we can certainly set the record straight! He is neither bear nor d**khead! Alex along with the rest of Finch are truly great guys that have put together a truly wonderful new album that we certainly urge you all to check out!

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Album Review: Flyleaf “Between The Stars”

Between-The-Stars-640x640(PCM) Multi-platinum hard rockers Flyleaf are gearing up for the release of their fourth studio album “Between The Stars” which will be available on September 16th via Loud & Proud Records.

It is quite apparent when listening to the new album that a lot of heart and soul went into its’ creation. Flyleaf truly let it all out with this album and out of the 12 songs that make up “Between The Stars” it was difficult to find one that wasn’t up to speed.

The band made up of Kristen May (vocals), Sameer Bhatacharya (guitars), Jared Hartmann (guitars), Pat Seals (bass) and James Culpepper (drums) worked with famed producer Don Gilmore, who has worked with artist such as Pearl Jam and Linkin Park in the past.

Songs such as “Thread”, “City Kids”, and the albums closer “Home” truly showcase May’s ability as a singer. Her vocals echo so much emotion that the listener can literally feel the music when listening. While the band did not take too many risks with their signature sound on the new album, their writing has definitely stepped up quite a bit. The lyrics are both honest and emotional hitting hard at just the right moments.

It is apparent when listening to the album that Flyleaf has had quite a bit on their minds these days and releasing an album like “Between The Stars” seems like the perfect way to air out those emotions and share their thoughts and feelings with the rest of the world.

The band has the uncanny ability to create a hard and heavy album without losing a certain level of pop sensibility that is just astounding. I absolutely can’t wait to hear some of these tracks live!

On “Between The Stars” there is sure to be a track (or more) that connects emotionally with the listener and the band has done a phenomenal job with their latest effort.

“Between The Stars” track listing is as follows:

1. Set Me On Fire

2. Magnetic

3. Traitor

4. Platonic

5. Head Underwater

6. Sober Serenade

7. Thread

8. Marionette

9. Well Of Lies

10. City Kids

11. Blue Roses

12. Home

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We Are The Riot Debut New Music Video

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(PCM) Los Angeles based Hard Rock band We Are The Riot (featuring Meegs Rascon & Mikal Cox of Coal Chamber and Andy Cole ex-Static-X) have released the official music video for their track “It’s Not What You Wanted.”

“It’s Not What You Wanted” is the first release from the band’s new EP (available now), and they will be heading into the studio this November to record a full length album.

We are definitely digging the video, which was produced by Brian Cox at Digital Iris and was filmed at the Salton Sea near Palm Springs, California.

It is always a pleasure to see a music video that is put together like a mini-movie and the band has done a phenomenal job. We definitely look forward to hearing more!

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Album Review: “The Hunting Party” from Linkin Park

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(PCM) I have to say that I was absolutely giddy after listening to the new album from Linkin Park and all I will thinking while listening to “The Hunting Party” is Linkin Park is back…they are finally back! Without a doubt this is a rock record and I, for one, was thrilled to see the band ditch the overly-processed sound of their last two albums and really return to their roots.

Found within “The Hunting Party” is an absolutely stellar mix of punk, rock, rap, and heavy metal all brilliantly executed and chock full of raw power and aggression. It is truly the most in-your-face album that we have seen from Linkin Park in quite some time and after listening to the tracks that make up “The Hunting Party” you will be left with no doubt that, that aggression was more than ready to be unleashed.

The album’s opening track “Keys To The Kingdom” sears the listener with an electric jolt to the senses and nicely sets the pace for what is in-store for the rest of the album. Linkin Park started things hard and heavy with “The Hunting Party” and I was thrilled that the album never really seems to lose any steam from start to finish.

The track I am probably most impressed with is “War” where the band tackled the punk rock sound and attitude flawlessly. Another high-note from the album is the track “Mark Your Graves” where vocalist Chester Bennington truly showcases his range as a singer.

The new album also features quite a few guests which is a first for Linkin Park and they include Helmet’s Page Hamilton on “All For Nothing”, System of A Down’s Daron Malakian on “Rebellion” and Tom Morello on “Drawbar”.  All of which do a fantastic job adding in a bit of their flavor to some absolutely fantastic tracks.

It is amazing that with “The Hunting Party” being Linkin Park’s sixth studio album that the band certainly still have some surprises up their sleeves. Anyone who ever doubted that Linkin Park can still rock really needs to check out the the new album as I assure you their rock n’ roll spirit is very much alive and well. The band claimed that with “The Hunting Party” they were on the “hunt” to bring back the energy and soul to rock music. All I can say is…mission accomplished boys!  You nailed it!

Check out Linkin Park’s latest music video for “Until It’s Gone”

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Sébastien Parentin Moves Into The Limelight With New Single “We Are”!

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(PCM) Emerging France-based artist Sebastien Parentin steps into the limelight with an unmistakable aura of determination and musical prowess. His latest single “We Are” traces familiar musical structures with a technical hand to paint exhilarating atmospheric tracks, with a piano-driven tapestry and stylistic echoes to Coldplay’s earlier works.

Sebastien’s talents have landed him various achievements and well-deserved notability: he was selected as a finalist in the 2010 Artist Forum and 2012 Unsigned Only music competition, placed in the top ten for the 18th Billboard song contest, as well as in the March 2013 Songwriter Universe best song of the month.

Although graced with impeccable musical techniques, the singer-songwriter is not without a unique touch; Sebastien makes use of captivating swells and navigates through many layers of melody and harmony to communicate with his listeners. Sebastien’s vocal work also resonates a calmness: it’s controlled, cathartic, but most importantly, it complements the musical arrangements.

Keep up-to-date with Sebastien Parentin: 

http://www.reverbnation.com/sebastienparentin

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sebastien-Parentin/167448216644263

http://www.jango.com/music/Sebastien+Parentin

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Exclusive Interview With Tech N9ne

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(PCM) Tech N9ne will be releasing his Strangeulation (Collabos) LP next Tuesday, May 6 and let me just say it is nothing short of amazing. After having a chance to check out the new LP and see Tech N9ne live during his recent tour stop at the TLA in Philadelphia, PA, I feel that Tech N9ne is an absolute breath of fresh air within an industry that has gotten a bit stale. His no holds barred honesty and commentary about the industry is refreshing and it is my sincere hope that people will open up their ears and listen.

The independent rap superstar has also just dropped the first video from the Strangeulation (Collabos) LP for “Over It” which featured Ryan Bradley. The song and video for “Over It” give a glimpse of the overall concept for Strangeualtion. You can view the video here.

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The 21-cut Strangeulation features the entire Strange Music roster, including recent Strange Music signee, MURS, the independent rap pioneer who makes his first appearance on a Strange Music release since inking with the independent music titan. Since the signing, MURS and Strange Music labelmates ¡Mayday! announced they will be dropping their collaboration LP ¡MursDay! on June 10.

I recently had a chance to catch up with Tech N9ne prior to his Philadelphia concert to chat about Strangeulation, his thoughts and comment on the music industry, the up rise of social media, Google Glass and much more!  You can view our full interview below:

Videographer: Pete Towe
Photography: Mike Sievila

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Andy Grammer Debuts New Single “Back Home”

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(PCM) There is something that just warms the soul when listening to Andy Grammer’s music, so I was absolutely thrilled to learn that he has released a new single titled “Back Home”.

The new single marks the first time that we have heard new tunes from Grammer since the release of his 2011 self-titled debut album. “Back Home” is the first single off Grammer’s highly anticipated new album which is slated for release this fall.

The delightfully catchy and thought-provoking new single made its’ debut on RyanSeacrest.com and is also currently available on iTunes.

“Back Home” is certainly well on it’s way to becoming a summer anthem for 2014 and the lyrics take an indepth look at the way that life has a way of coming full-circle as the lyrics state ““It don’t matter where we go / we always find our way back home.”

Check out the lyric video below:

 

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