The Stage: The Almas + Supports

On August 31st, after my trip down to Chicago, I rested up and headed out to Phatheadz in Green Bay, WI. The bands of interest were Inferred, Bourbon House, and The Almas. After spending a night with doom bands, I was ready for some soulful rock n’ roll.

The evening began with Inferred, who played a variety of cover tunes to get your jam on. I was quite impressed to hear that their drummer was only 16 years of age; it will be interesting to see what the future holds for him, as well as the others.

Next in line was Bourbon House. My first time seeing them was recently at Project Mayhem and I was taken back by their soulful performance. I just had to catch them again since they were so close to home this time around. Their performance was just as amazing as I remembered it to be. The sound at Phatheadz was great and the stage was quite beautiful! Check out the performance of Bourbon House HERE!

After having some downtime to chat and catch up with everyone at the show, it was time to see The Almas. This was just the first of many stops on their upcoming tour and my very fist time seeing them perform, so I was eager to see what they would bring to the stage.

When I got to talking with them, they informed me that they had a big 2 month tour ahead and were heading out right after this performance. They said Phatheadz was their first stop, simply because it was their favorite venue to play, which I thought was pretty cool of them. They told me about many stops they were looking forward to, one of them being the Whiskey A Go-Go in California. You can find their other tour dates HERE! The Almas rocked the house, so to speak, and it was great to be a part of their first night of the tour! Check out their live performance below!

Another amazing evening in the books for the Green Bay area music scene. I have to say I am never disappointed with any show I catch in that area. Thank you to the Phatheadz staff for all your hard work and I can’t wait to return there in the future!

Don Niesen

Photo/video by Don Niesen
Photos/video Edited by Emily Mae

Article Edited by Samantha Crocker

Album Review: CANDLEMASS ‘The Door to Doom’

Doom metal pioneers Candlemass have taken the metal world by storm with their 12th album, The Door to Doom. Released on February 22nd, through Napalm Records, it is their first album in over three decades to feature the band’s original vocalist, Johan Längqvist. Throughout the years, Candlemass have proven to hold consistency in their music, and subsequently their fan base, without sounding formulaic or overdone. The Door to Doom stays true to that statement, and its gloomy, dark atmosphere proves that Candlemass is a force to be reckoned with.

Right from the first track ‘Splendor Demon Majesty,’ the songs are noticeably reminiscent of the classic, old-school Candlemass that everyone knows and loves. The music itself is flawless, with guest work by Tony Iommi on the third track, ‘Astorolus – The Great Octopus.’ Additionally, Länqvist’s vocal work is remarkable; his powerful, distinct voice soaring overtop the heavy riffage of Lars Johansson and Mats Bjorkman. If there were a definition of what doom metal should be, ‘The Door to Doom’ would be it.

Formed in 1984 in Stockholm, Sweden, Candlemass is often credited as the originators of the doom metal genre, with albums such as Epicus Doomicus Metallicus and Nightfall being ranked among the greatest doom metal records of all time. Their unique blend of darkness and melody is one that is easily recognizable and often imitated. As they are currently embarking on a tour of Europe, they show no signs of letting up on their reign of darkness and doom.

All in all, Candlemass’ 12th full length album is masterfully composed, dark, and promising. ‘The Door to Doom’ has successfully captured all of the things that make doom metal great, and therefore will be remembered for what it is – a truly amazing piece of work.

Tracklist
1. Splendor Demon Majesty
2. Under the Ocean
3. Astorolus-the Great Octopus
4. Bridge of Tte Blind
5. Death’s Wheel
6. Black Trinity
7. House of Doom
8. The Omega Circle

Line Up
Mats Levén, Mats “Mappe” Björkman
Lars Johansson, Leif Edling
Jan Lindh
Per Wiberg

Label
Napalm Records

Follow Candlemass online HERE

– Zach Schmitt
Edited by Samantha Crocker

One Night Stand: INTOXICATED RAGE-‘Political Warfare’

INTOXICATED RAGE is one of the leading lights of the New England heavy metal scene. Influenced by Metallica, Pantera, Slayer, Motorhead, and Black Sabbath; Intoxicated Rage has released their newest single ‘Political Warfare’ which is packed with attitude from start to finish!

Their mission statement “LET IT OUT” is heard loud and proud in this track! We are all aware of what a messed up place the world has become, but this tune makes you want to get out there and take a stand! Shredding guitar licks, thundering bass, and blasting drum beats all lead by the RAGING vocals-Intoxicated Rage ensures that you leave with an experience of head-banging, moshing, laughter, and a true understanding of full-on FUCKING RAGE!

Check out ‘Political Warfare’ below and get ready for your taste of their album, Apocalypse!

Intoxicated Rage wants you to know it’s their time to take over the scene with new, fast, head pounding and heart racing sounds. Apocalypse is about the band taking over, and Intoxicated Rage is the ‘Apocalypse’.

Follow Intoxicated Rage in the links below!
Facebook
Website

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: 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: SEVEN CITIES DEAD-‘Siren Songs Of The Apocalypse’

Hello again loyal readers and music enthusiasts! Mitchel Fulcer here with another tasty album review for you. This edition features the E.P. “Siren Songs of the Apocalypse” by the very talented, and ever-growing five-piece, Seven Cities Dead. I have had the pleasure of seeing these fellas live a couple of times, and certainly enjoyed their performance. So, I thought it would be super sweet to review their collection of tunes.

In the first track “Taste of Innocence,” the audio clip track has an intense thematic way of giving the listener an immediate feeling of an underlying dystopian theme. I also took note of the wide range of synergy between the epic riffs and aggressive vocals. It gave me a bit of a nostalgic feeling being a fan of bands like Shadows Fall, and early In Flames. It has a great way of staying catchy without churning into cheese sauce, which I find in a lot of bands in this genre.

Finally, I found the breakdown to be a f*ckin’ headbanger and didn’t want it to end.

I found “In My Own Hands” was a bit more guitar driven, revealing the perfection achieved in complementing tones with one another. There is a clear difference between the two, but they fit together seamlessly. Get them solos, boys!! The passionate backing vocals give a relatable sense of humbleness to their tracks that tells me these guys will go far.

Immediately I was digging the groove within the third track “Rising Tide.” This track definitely gives me a sense of how tight this group can be. I love the way the vocals, and guitars come in pairs. They have a wonderful way of allowing every member to have their own identity. I feel these qualities make a more authentic and professional record. Check out “Rising Tide” here:

Every fan loves a good chant, and this tune has got it! Do I smell a single?

“The Path Unknown” has a golden consistency in the lyrical content. When keeping to a theme as a band, keeping that going without saturating your songs with the same words tossed in a blender, is a difficult task. These guys, however, pull it off nicely. The solo section is on level 10! It’s my favorite part yet.

The fifth track, “Dissolution,” takes a hard-left turn with dynamic, grunge-esque angst. I thoroughly enjoy the “gross” riffs that hold perfect context with the relentless vocal pattern. I never saw this coming. That said, it was a pleasant look into the possible diversity, and future paths these guys can take.
The “riffy” technicality of the verse on their sixth track “All War Starts from Within” really hooked me. I also noticed how their drummer has a vast knowledge of his bandmates and always gives them ways to fill wide open space with individual creativity, and their afore-mentioned identity.

When all was said and done, I legitimately enjoyed this E.P. and cannot wait to see what they’re going to release in the future. They started in February of this year, and have blasted their way into a great position in the music scene. If this is what they have for a first release, Satan only knows what delicious metal they can brew for the next release.

Looking forward to next time, but until then, stay safe, and thrash fast!!!!!

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Track List: 
1.Taste of Innocence
2. In My Own Hands
3. Rising Tide
4. The Path Unknown
 5. Disillusion
 6. All War Starts from Within

Seven Cities Dead Lineup
Josh Kurtz – Vocals
Guy Smith – Guitar and Vocals
Thomas Hogue – Guitar
Josh Swart – Bass Guitar
Lucas Peters – Drums

Connect with Seven Cities Dead online
Facebook
Bandcamp

-Mitchel Fulcer
Edited by Samantha Crocker