Extended Play: FLESH TO ASHES Self-titled

Flesh to Ashes is an up-and-coming death metal band out of Escanaba, MI! Following their most recent video release track “Hell Catcher” is their very first self-titled EP release!

This release contains three tracks of face-melting brutality! Starting with ‘Ass Casket’ (that’s not a typo, haha!); it starts with the bass setting a solid foundation for the rest of the track, and honestly the album over all. ‘Hell Catcher’ has all those nasty, teeth-grinding riffs that you love, and the classic death metal vocals bring all the brutality! Finishing out this release is ‘Impending Doom’, which is more relatable now than ever it would seem. All jokes aside, this is a hard and heavy metal slow jam, and is my personal favorite of this release. Something about it hits just right, and you’ll know what I mean when you check it our for yourself!

This EP is hard, heavy, and just what the doctor ordered for times like these! This self-titled release is available now! Follow Flesh to Ashes online HERE!

-Emily Mae
Edited by Samantha Crocker

Extended Play: LUNAR MOTH Self Titled

Lunar Moth is a three-piece doomy, garage-rock band from Madison, WI. Their latest self-titled EP release was recorded at Fuzztapes Studios and mixed and mastered to keep true to their raw but defined sound. Originally intended for cassette release only, as it’s the perfect fit for their retro sound, it was also released digitally for those of us who are missing a cassette player in our lives (which is unfortunate for those who don’t own one if we are being honest). You can purchase this release digitally HERE!

This four-track EP is packed full of sludgy riffs, spacey vocals, fuzzy bass, and hard-hitting drums. It’s been 50 years since 1969, and there seems to be a retro-revolution on the rise! Doom bands have been brining back the groove all over the globe and creating a movement far and wide! Lunar Moth is a great example of what is coming out of this movement. Combining everything we love about the 1960-1970 songs of groovy-witchcraft and bringing it to life with modern twists and turns.

Track Listing
1. Abecedarian
2. Fever Brain
3. Inner Demons
4. Red Room Mistress

I recently saw Lunar Moth perform for the first time at the Waupaca, WI. battle of the bands (held at Schueller’s Great Exspechtations, which we proudly also sponsored) competition and was captivated by the energy they brought to the stage. I knew right away that I had to include them in a line up of our own- which happened to fall perfectly in place! Be sure to catch Lunar Moth live at our upcoming Halloween show October 19th at the SV2- Moon Doom Ritual; which also includes performances by the bands Twichard, Beetlegork, and is headlined by Chicago doom band legend Black Road!

Follow Lunar Moth Online below!
Instagram
Facebook

-Emily Mae
Edited by Samantha Crocker

Extended Play: TOXIC RUIN- ‘Mortal Insolence’

Hello again local readers and music lovers! Oh baby, do we have a sweet ass EP Release for you this time! Sheboygan based monsters of thrash Toxic Ruin have come out with their 4 track EP Mortal Insolence which is following their first album release Subterranean Terror. This album was a breath of fresh air for the local Wisconsin scene. After adding guitarists Jake and Blake, this was a firm lineup change with Stephen stepping up with slamming vocals; a whole new rage took the vocal spot! Toxic Ruin is now on a whole new level of amazing!

Building a great anticipation with their intro, it’s just a smack in the face! The first track “Mental Atrophy” instantly assures me that I am in for a treat! There is a new subtle dynamic that they have latched onto that I am really digging.

Toxic Ruin has everything their sound had before, but there’s a sprinkle of an almost melodic death metal touch added to the inner workings of their composition, definitely held together stronger than ever by the relationship between Stephen (bass, vocals) and Dave (drums). First of all Dave, as far as I’m concerned, is one of the leaders in our scene. Some of the best drummers I have known look up to his style and professionalism. As for Stephen, his voice has added new depths of passion and reality to who they are as a band, and what it is they have to say.

Don’t worry, in the second track “Tyrannical Demise” their is no shortage of compliments for the guitarists Jake and Blake. As a lover of damn near all thrash has to offer, I can say these two bring their f*cking ‘A’-game; especially when it comes to groove, technicality, and composition of this track as a whole. The progression of this song is nothing I’ve heard come out of Toxic Ruin before, and I love it!

AND THAT F*CKING TONE!!!!

Now, this next track was the first released single of the EP- “Insolent Obsession.” I’ve heard this song performed live and I had the fortune of shouting along to it at the top of my lungs! This song has the catchiest hooks I have ever heard come out of a Wisconsin local band yet! Calling all 6/8 fans-pulling back into that refrain and giving me the chills!

Finally, they cover a song that I have loved since I discovered metal-Death’s “Crystal Mountain” has never been honored better! This is something you just have to jam at full blast and scream your heart out! It will make you feel like you’ve traveled back to the first time this killer tune hits your ears!

100%- these dudes are a f*cking force to be reckoned with. I honestly believe that the ones out there that truly want to ‘get to the top’ without ill-intention and without any ill-will to others will definitely reach great success. Toxic Ruin is the best testament to just that, and this release proves to us all that hard work and true passion go miles for yourself as well as others!

Thank you all for reading, and please do yourselves a favor and check out Toxic Ruin for yourselves in the links below! Be safe out there and thrash fast!

Mortal Insolence is available HERE!

Mortal Insolence track list
1.Mental Atrophy
2. Tyrannical Demise
3. Insolent Obsession
4. Crystal Mountain (Death Cover)

Line Up
Jacob Baneck: Guitar
Blake Toltzmann: Guitar
David Miller: Drums
Stephen Behrendt: Bass/Vocals

Check out TOXIC RUIN Online
Facebook
Bandcamp

Mitchel Fulcer
Edited by Samantha Crocker

EXTENDED PLAY: Mega Colossus Fifth Studio Record, ‘V’

I was immediately enamored with Mega Colossus when I saw them for the first time last year at Mad With Power Fest in Madison. When they announced a new EP was coming soon a couple of months ago, I couldn’t resist contacting them to review it!

Hailing from the barbaric hills of Raleigh, North Carolina, this five-piece self-proclaimed adventure-metal band is influenced by other such power rockers such as Dio, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Scorpions.

They just announced that their fifth recorded work, titled “V,” will be making its debut on February 8th, 2019. The new record is currently available for pre-order NOW on iTunes, Google Play, Bandcamp and of course for vinyl and CD as well. (You can pre-order through their Kickstarter HERE.)

Without further ado, here is our review!

Track 1: Kaiju King

Right off the bat, you feel yourself immediately start this melodic journey by being thrust into a Japanese monster movie, and you are the king of the monsters!

Death has come to Tokyo!”

This monster is powerful. It towers over the large booming city of Tokyo. It is unstoppable, just as this driving, pulsing riff implies. I’d love to see this monster take a good swing at Godzilla and knock him flat.

Track 2: Atlas

The world on my shoulders, I stand tall
Unfaltered by the woes of man.
Alone with the struggle, I am
Atlas!”

In Greek mythology, Atlas was one of the Titans that ended up bearing the curse of holding up the universe after the ten-year battle known as Titanomachy, during which the Titans fought the Olympians. He is the symbol of endurance and strength, and this song does a brilliant narrative on his behalf by mirroring his fight and struggle. Condemned to be the sole being to rest the entire cosmos literally on his shoulders, he proves that he is, and will always be, a Titan.

Track 3: Bug Hunt

“Guns on mechanical arms
Kill with ease
But keep your shotgun handy
For close encounters.”

This is quite a song–and by that I mean this is a song about blindly following orders from an army (with the biggest guns). What is this army fighting? I’m glad you asked.

Well, it seems that Mega Colossus has discovered some planet somewhere far further than the government will let us civilians see; and that planet is infested with large, dangerous…bugs.

I’ve never heard a song about hunting bugs that I’ve jammed out to so much. Frankly, I never thought I’d be saying those words in a sentence together either.

That being said, on my list of songs about bugs, this definitely takes the top spot.

Track 4: Navigator

“No time to spare
We’ll get you there
These human ways are ours to dare
Navigator!”

This is one hell of a cruising-down-the-road-in-a-90-degree-humid-summer-night song. Where do you want to go? Where will you end up? The answers wait, the choice is yours. Get going.

Track 5: The Mountain That Rides (Live at Local 506)

Whoa! Is this an Iron Maiden song I’m not familiar with?? Honestly, I had to google “the mountain that rides iron maiden” to make sure this wasn’t a cover. Nope, Google confirmed that this is 100% pure, unfiltered Mega Colossus. This song is like getting whipped in the back of the head with the butt of a sword handle–but, like… in a good way!

Track 6: Sea of Stars (Live at Local 506)

“Here now we brave the lands and sea
For fortune thrills and wine
Desiring only to be free
Partners in heroic deeds and crimes..”

When I say this is an EPIC of a song, I mean epic like the freaking Iliad by Homer.

What a journey Mega Colossus lays out before us. The sea is made of stars, and the stars create a sea, where the possibilities are endless. If your spirit is thirsty enough for adventure and your mind is strong and willing, you must sail forth and embrace the new direction the universe has thrown you into.

I don’t know about you, but I NEED to get my hands on one of these vinyls when they become available! Trust me, you’re going to want to grab this record as soon as it debuts, you will not be disappointed. Prepare for a legendary quest with the warriors in the army of Mega Colossus at your side, and don’t forget: Raise your hammer high!

Connect with Mega Colossus:
Facebook
Meltedfaces.com
Youtube

-Cat Sullivan
Edited by Samantha Crocker

Extended Play: JINJER-‘Micro’

Mitchel here again with another tasty EP release! This time for my favorite band on earth- JINJER! Following their most recent release, King of Everything in 2016 is their latest and most anticipated EP release-Micro.  Although EP’s are not typically my favored type of releases, I could NOT pass this up! Not to mention that what Jinjer brings to the table with their killer performance, this album was as full as the day is long! (That’s a thing right?) So, without further adieu- let’s rock Micro!

Kicking that door right down with “Ape”! That signature bass pop brings everything into high gear! The relentless vocal pattern and rhythmic foundation during the verse is a force to be reckoned with! I’m feeling a stronger connection to this EP right away between the music and the musicians. The transition from the slower and “prettier” tones added extra power to the outro. This track references the consistency between old world man and modern man and was very intriguing. “Dreadful Moments” is more progressively technical but never loses its swing! The drummer really understands how to give the guitar just enough space to pop when they need to. DAMN! The energy of this track just keeps flowing! The ambient lead licks add a great touch as well and I also really dug the blues-like tones the vocals pull out of this song. It adds quite they dynamic, as well as, again, allowing the heavy riffs to crush the ending with a chilling spoken word-PERFECT!

Track 3-“Teacher, Teacher” reflects Tatiana’s obvious hip-hop influences. There is a sinister character that gives it a traumatic identity. Possibly a story of personal experience or trauma? The lyrical content stands straight up using excellent word choice. The chorus has an amazing and natural flow also; going from innocent to furious at the drop of a hat. This song has a pure passion behind it that until now I honestly only hear it from bands like Gojira and Sylosis.    Jinjer are officially THE masters of groove metal-I’m calling it now!

“Perennial” has a very alluring intro that leads you in with hair-raising chords and bone-chilling phrases; followed by an eye-opening pulse that will make you kick a hole through the floor. The full progression through the slightly mainstream refrain, and back into the heaviest riff I’ve heard in years-it’s pure F*CKIN’ GOLD! I enjoy how they save the climax for last; most bands will fall back into another chorus or verse. They say what they need to and let it be. This track is definitely my favorite on Micro! It really hits the mark for me in my current phase as a musician, and to me, that speaks volumes.

The final track “Micro” I did NOT expect this at all. Just a Cajun box, the bass, and a few bells to add some texture. I can’t get enough! This is a bold move that I think more bands should follow the lead on. This was a leap way outside the box that shows you a bit more about the foundations of Jinjer and where the heart is at. I also find it very compelling that they titled this release after this track (or perhaps it was vice-versa) but either way, it was an inspiring ending to and inspirational album. A great way to leave the listener wanting more, while also providing closure to this chapter.

Well, Holy Shit! Me being a previous fan besides, I honestly feel like this is the most diverse and unique album I have heard in years! I didnt want to miss a second of this and I can’t wait for what they come up with next! It was my honro to review this album. Thanks for reading and as always- THRASH FAST!

Track List for Micro
1.  Ape
2.   Dreadful Moments
3.   Teacher, Teacher!
4.   Perennial
5.   Micro

Label- Napalm Records

Line Up for Jinjer
Tatiana Shmailyuk – vocals
Roman Ibramkhalilov – guitars
Eugene Kostyuk – bass
Vladislav Ulasevish – drums

To keep up on JINJER check out the link below!
Facebook

-Mitchel Fulcer
Edited by Samantha Crocker 

Extended Play: OF BRIGHTER SKIES-‘Nowhere Kids’

Of Brighter Skies is a pop-punk band based out of Madison, WI. and in November 2018, they released their EP for “Nowhere Kids.”

Poetic, full of heart, well-articulated, and just deceivingly fun is how I would describe Of Brighter Skies, and this five-track EP captures that masterfully. Whether it’s a good or bad thing, they remind me of the pop-punk bands I got hooked on in middle school, in the early 2000s. They say the music you listen to during those formative middle school years is pretty much where you tend to stay from there on out, so to me, this was a nostalgic sound that was a breath of fresh air, and I was hooked again.

Track 1: Sweater Weather

“Why is it always snowing outside of my car?/ It’s always so cloudy I can’t see the stars/ I’ve heard stories about all the Midwest summers, and the fires that always seem to keep me together/ But the forecast is calling for more than sweater weather.”

If this isn’t the absolute pop-punk anthem for Wisconsin, I just don’t know what is. This song makes me picture myself behind the wheel of my crappy Craigslist Cavalier, driving without a care on I-39 heading back north to my hometown. Windows down, wayfarer sunglasses on, Of Brighter Skies blasting through my speakers, and I don’t even care that the douchebag in front of me didn’t use his turn signal to jump in front of me. The air is humid and hot, but the breeze is calming, and I brought a sweater just in case it gets chilly when the sun goes down (spoiler alert: It will. It always freaking does even on 90 degree days).

“Anywhere else is better than here/ They say the grass is always greener/ This winter got the best of me/ You can tell by my demeanor.”

Yeah. Winter sucks. These guys definitely know Wisconsin. Yet for some reason, we keep hanging around this little Midwest hole. And those who get out? Most of them end up back here. Sure the grass is always greener, but home is home even when it chills you to the bone, and summer always comes sooner or later (usually later).

Track 2: Way Back When

“Take me back to way back when/ where all the things that were left unsaid/ didn’t mean anything/ to anyone but me/ Take me back to simple days/ where the biggest plans we ever made/ was playing in the backyard with the ones we called our friends/ yeah way back when”

I think, no matter what genre you tend to lean into, everyone has or has had moments in their life that can relate to this song, especially the chorus. I’m gonna say it, and I know everyone can agree with me: BEING AN ADULT SUCKS.

“I didn’t think about our future/ or the things we haven’t done/ we just lived in the moment until our time was gone”

I think if we all had a chance to be taken back to “way back when” things were simple, when nothing mattered, when the days were long, and in a good way, most of us would take it. This song captures that feeling perfectly to me.

Track 3: Bonfires

“Whatever happened to us?/ Whatever happened to those summer nights we’d stay out till dusk/ And I miss those bonfires/ I miss the way you’d whisper in my ear and say that I’m still here/ And now I need you.”

Ah, young summer love…almost all of us have dealt with it at one point or another, no? Whether it was sneaking out late at night to get five minutes alone with your crush, or having deep and meaningful conversation with that beautiful stranger that gave you your first beer, the memory of “that summer” is tainted with both a happy nostalgia and an unrequited sadness that you don’t know if you’ll ever stop thinking about. Primarily using an acoustic guitar for this song really laid into the feeling of that happy/sad memory you’ll never be able to shake. I don’t know about you, but this song definitely brings one person to my mind without question, and I feel that if you close your eyes and just listen to the echo of that person that broke your heart and left with the changing season, you’ll relate too.

“And darling make sure/ when I’m not around/ you’ll still hear my sound through your stereo/ And make sure/ you roll the windows down/ as you parade this sound when you’re Cali-bound.”

The heartfelt chant belting the outro really put the cherry on this sundae, and if I’m being honest, it hit me in the feels and brought a tear to my eye; easily my favorite song on this record.

The season changed, and so did you, and so did they. Maybe they left because it was your fault. Maybe they left because it was theirs. Maybe they think you’re the guilty one. Maybe you’ll never know. If you’re being truthful with yourself, that person always held a special place in your heart, even now, and you hope they never forgot about you either. I don’t know about you, but this song definitely brings one person to my mind without question, and I feel that if you close your eyes and just listen to the echo of that person that broke your heart and left with the changing season, you’ll relate too.

You’re thinking of that person now, aren’t you?

Track 4: Pennsylvania’s Thinking of You

“I’ve been waiting up all night/ finding sleep is one hell of a fight/ you’re always on my mind/ and I can’t come home tonight/ and I don’t know where you are/ and all I see are stars/ I wanted to see your face/ and you said you needed/ Space”

“DAMN THIS BOY IS SAD AND NOW I’M SAD TOO.”- Me, listening to this song.

Now I’m thinking of a similar someone, although it is a different someone. This someone didn’t skitter away with the wind or the tide, but rather, I fell out of place in their life. Sometimes, shit happens, and it sucks, and in a perfect world there would be no broken hearts, no dial-tones when you desperately want to hear a voice…but we live in a far-from-perfect world. This song is here to remind you that you’re not the only broken heart in the world…but it still sucks. A lot.

Track 5: Ten Times Over

“…I know that your hands are tired, your eyes are swollen and your heart is raw from being ripped open…but your love is so pure. It resonates from a boundless ocean deep inside of you. And I’m so happy that some of it poured out to reach someone as messed up as I am.”

I admit it: I’m a sucker for spoken word, and this song starts off with a couple of lines that feel like stab wounds.

That person is gone. They are not coming back. You’re bitter, you’re hurt, you “move along because there’s nothing left to see.” You want to hate that person, and as hard as you try to hate them because it would be easier…you can’t. You’re not sure if you ever will. And the worst part? You’re somehow thankful you had any time with this person at all.

But sometimes…”Fuck you!” still rings through your head at their memory.

All in all, I hereby rate this EP 5 out of 5 stars. It took me back to “way back when” and it makes my heart feel full even though it brings back memories that are sad as well as happy. I needed this, and I look forward to more gut-wrenching pop-punk sounds from Of Brighter Skies in the future.

Connect with Of Brighter Skies online
Facebook
Youtube
Spotify
iTunes
Google Play

-Cat Sullivan
Edited by Samantha Crocker

Extended Play: DEAD EARTH Self Titled Release

Dead Earth is a metal band hailing from Cleveland, OH! They are bringing Classic Metal/ Riff Rock back to the masses!

‘Dead Earth’ is an EP full of those catchy thrash metal riffs and rhythms that you love as well as driving drums and bass! You feel that rock n’ roll spirit come to life with this release. The vocals remind me of a mix between KISS, Meatloaf, and just a hint of Alice Cooper. This EP is recorded in a way that makes it sound like you plucked it straight out of the 70’s music scene and brought it back to life. Those of you who love rock n’ roll will dig Dead Earth. Rebellious attitude, passion, and drive, “WE ARE CLEVELAND.”

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Tracks for Dead Earth
1. Steel Coffins
2. Death Ride
3. I Am Rock
4. Stand
5. Green Earth
6. Pollution

You can catch them live October 6th at Sly Fox in North Olmsted, OH. Event information HERE

Dead Earth is:
Jack Sabolich~Vocals
Eric Jankowski~Guitars
Mark Hardy~Guitars
Bob Semancik~Bass
Brian Shea~Drums


Connect with Dead Earth Online
Facebook
Reverbnation

-Emily Mae

Edited by Samantha Crocker

Extended Play: LOCUST GROVE-‘Monster EP’

Hello Music Maenics! Mitchel Fulcer here with the latest edition of Extended Play where we feature the latest in EP releases! We’re going to shift gears down to Oklahoma City, OK. Oklahoma City is the stomping grounds of the incredible hard rock/metal band- Locust Grove! These guys blew me away when I saw them come to life on stage. So, with that, here is a look at their five-song EP – ‘Monster EP.’

We start off with “Menace Of Society” The song kicks the door in with a strong rhythmic pulse, which is quickly followed by strong vocals that hook you. The lyrical content is powerful, passionate, and relatable; giving off a vibe that any headbanger can get behind. Throughout the chorus, it brings things down a bit, but never loses its attitude; the way you get drawn in by bands such as Black Label Society or Down.  The modern guitar tone mixes amazingly with the classic hard rock vibes both on and off the stage. The deep, groovy solo is a breath of fresh air for myself, who had grown up on classic rock like Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Johnson.

“Truth” is next. Right from the start of this tune, it is very driven by the drums which build you up to the neck-wrecking verse riffs and ear-hooking progressions with a sly vocal pattern. The second song shows me that Locust Grove has a firm grasp of structure and musicality. Each musician seems to have their own identity attached to their solos and general styles. The drummer and bassists foundations are rock solid through every transition to get that pulse all the way to the back of your head!

“Destroy Me” has a straightforward rock style that allows the vocals to shine. Getting down and dirty with a vocal intensity that almost forces you to sing along with that unison bending that we all crave. The dual solo cranks the tune into high tone-shredding that gets all of you guitarists there. “Life Of Mine” is a song that makes you want to start a pit. The drum fills pop out in this song just right; not too simple, not too much. I dig the way it slides from riff to riff and keeps a strong flow. They pull various emotions out of one song. The raw solo made the end of this song truly come alive!

The final track is the title track of this EP – “Monster.” This tune is my personal favorite, although every track could be a hit single on its own. Everything about this song kicks ass. Pulling back the rhythms on the verse is a well-known trick that is hard to do well; these guys make it sound easy! They sound bigger and fuller with every change and progression of their songs. Locust Grove covers a broad demographic which is vital whether you are local, underground, or all the way at the top. They hit the nail on the head in this song with a grade A chorus and a chant that gets the whole crowd going.

From beginning to end – ‘Monster EP’ has me banging my head and attempting to learn the lyrics as quickly as I can so that I can sing along as loud as I can. Nothing like a jammin’ rock/metal album to bring back that youthful energy! There’s a spark in this EP that is hard to put the finger on, but when you give it a listen, you will feel it too! I hope you dig Locust Grove as much as I do!

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Monster EP Track: 
1. Menace Of Society
2. Truth
3. Destroy Me
4. Life Of Mine
5. Monster

You can find ‘Monster EP’ HERE

Connect with Locust Grove in the links below! 
Official Site
Facebook 

-Mitchel Fulcer

Edited By Samantha Crocker