Saturday, January 30, 2016

SweetKenny - "The Hitman Files" Review!!

It's now time for our 79th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and first of 2016, as we're taking a look "The Hitman Files" by Dafter, Michigan solo hard rock musician Ken Sutton, a.k.a. SweetKenny! Marking our sixth review of a SweetKenny album on the SMS, "The Hitman Files" was released on October 31st of last year, and is getting reviewed over his other three releases since last June as it's the heaviest of them. Keeping with his recent trend for his solo albums, "The Hitman Files" is an instrumental release showcasing Ken's work as a score composer, with the album as a whole themed as the backing soundtrack for an action or hitman-themed production, likely intended for a video game. Featuring Ken himself on all instruments as usual, this was recorded earlier this year at Waterfall Records, and is now on sale via SweetKenny's Bandcamp page for $12, and while it can be streamed for free there, consider buying it to support Ken's work!

Featuring 12 tracks at about 34 minutes, let's begin what should be a unique review with the first track, "The Hitman"! An ominous sounding opener, this song seems to set the mood of an introductory scene for a title character, and while the instrumentation takes a dark turn, Ken does lay down some nicely fitting guitar melodies and solos overtop of it! It's methodical and gets the job done for a score, but fans of Ken's regular songs may be wanting a more diverse track. Next is "I See You", presumably referencing when a hitman has a target in sight, and it keeps the slower, backing score vibe of the opening track, but ups the dramatic quality with a tenser feeling and a tinge of orchestration. I like this song a little more for it's ambiance, and I can see it fitting the scene I'm picturing in my head!

Third is "Cops Are All Around", which has more of an up-tempo, techno-influenced style that seems to suggest that the title is occurring in the universe of "The Hitman Files". This song has a very drum-heavy beat that actually calls to mind a tribal theme, which was presumably unintentional, and while it's my favourite of the compositions so far, it's also a little repetitive after a while. That's followed by "Armed To The Teeth", another higher energy track that seems intended for a gunfight or battle of some description. Good drum beat and some jam guitar help keep the flow here, and it doesn't grow as repetitive as some of it's predecessors, but it's not as catchy as "Cops Are All Around", and given the title, it could benefit from a faster tempo. Well composed though, as usual!

Song #5 is "Over the Top Power", which has a dark, methodic mood that feels like you're walking down a dark alley in an action film. It's an effective, if not overly long track that doesn't bear a lot of similarities with Ken's regular solo songs, but the ambiance, strong guitar melody, and catchy drum beat help make it an early favourite on this album! Then we have "The Contract", which arguably bears the most resemblance yet to SweetKenny's regular non-score albums, with his familiar guitar sound laid over a mid-tempo beat as the album's presented story continues. Well performed, and while there's no standout moment, remember that's it's intended as the backing score for a game or film. The shorter "Countdown" follows with an industrial-tinged hard rock performance that has a nice driving feel, good effects work, and an intense mood that should please fans of Ken's heavier songs,. It'd be very interesting to hear him flesh this one out with lyrics & a longer runtime!

Eighth is "Death Race", which is the longest song on "The Hitman Files", but despite the name, it's not overly aggressive or dark, instead harbouring a drum heavy rhythm. It's well composed, but it seems to loop a bit too long, and it does get repetitive by the end, but again, I have to remember that this is meant for a score and the sum of the parts, not a typical standalone song. Next is "Just Before the Kill", which is simply an ominous, dark, dirge that mostly sets the mood for a scene in the score, with the tension suggested in the title. It gets the job done for the score, but it shares little in common with most of SweetKenny's originals. "Power" follows it with a mid-tempo driving number that has a bit of an ethnic feel, and never gets too overpowering or aggressiver. It's light and listenable, and fits the score well, but one could argue that the vibe of the song doesn't suggest it's title

The penultimate song on "The Hitman Files" is "Really",  which relishes in a synth-heavy vibe that dominates the track, and is arguably the most unique song on the album. It's interesting, and reminds me a bit of "Mr. Crowley" at points, but fans of more typical SweetKenny material may not take to this one, unless you look at it as part of the score. The album comes full circle with "The Hitman: Part II", which is the shortest featured track, and while it's similar stylistically to it's first half, it's not as stylized or guitar-heavy, ending the story on a more reserved note. It's an effective closer, and wraps up an interesting album!

So, what are my final thoughts on "The Hitman Files"? Well, it's definitely one of the most unique albums I've ever reviewed on here, especially given it's intention as a score for video games or movies, and on that basis, I can definitely see what SweetKenny's going for! Since July or so, all of his new albums have been intended as scores, and while this one was picked over the others due to it's comparative heaviness, I can see it being used on a hitman-themed video game! While never too aggressive or in-your-face, it has darker, intense, and energetic songs that go along with the suggested titles, and each one is well done for what they are! Given my usual CD review experience, it's hard to judge this against anything prior that I've looked at (Haggith's "Apocalypse" albums may come the closest), so I don't feel right criticizing individual tracks is fair, as they're all pieces of a greater puzzle, and are meant to back up a main story in other media. On that basis, SweetKenny has delivered a solid score, and hopefully "The Hitman Files" and his other recent albums get used in that regard! Check it out above!

I hope you guys liked this month's CD review! So, what will be our second review of 2016 at the SMS? I have no idea at this point, but here's what our process looks like. Of course, precedence will go to a new album, and next month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post on Tuesday will outline possible releases to look for that might be next for us, so stay tuned then! Nothing imminent has been announced that I've heard yet, but you never know what might be said! An archive album would be a second order for next month if there's no major new releases that I can acquire, and while it's way too soon to guarantee anything, Haggith's "Apocalypse II" or "XIV" would be very possible as a tie-in with Project 421's concerts next month. In any event, another SweetKenny album or one of Bad Back's "VOLumes" demos would not be next, as we are not past our six month buffer period on either yet, which is in place to avoid potentially showing a bias. Stay tuned for more next month, and for more news and notes next week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 29, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Banned & 415E), SweetKenny Updates, And More!!

Today's post is largely Sault Michigan-centric, with album updates from a regional artist to touch on, and some LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for two bands in early 2016, but we also have some general updates to one of our feature series to cap things off. Now, here's what you should know!

Kewadin Casino's entertainment page has finally been updated to reflect 2016 concerts, with shows listed for The Rapids Lounge at the Soo Kewadin and The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin through late June, and there are new hard rock shows to note there! The Highway 63 shows are already known to us, but we can now confirm five new concert weekends from bands in our range, including hard rock quartet 415E, who will return to The Northern Pines Lounge in St. Ignace on February 26th & 27th, and then on April 29th & 30th! Last seen on stage during their New Year's Eve show in St. Ignace, 415E are the only St. Ignace-scheduled band so far that isn't playing at the Sault Kewadin, but if you can head down to The Northern Pines Lounge over these weekends, be ready for some Van Halen-inspired hard rock hits! There's no announced cover charge for these 21+ shows, which start at around 9:00 PM. For more details, visit the above links, and stay tuned for more from the Hubbard/Menard crew as we hear it!

The other new hard rock confirmations come from Kinross classic/hard rock trio Banned, who had announced Kewadin dates through March already via their Facebook page, but the casino confirmed a handful of shows beyond! The Traynors and Wayne will return to The Northern Pines Lounge at in St. Ignace for gigs on April 14th & 15th and then on May 13th & 14th, while they'll return to The Rapids Lounge in the Soo for the first time in three months on June 17th & 18th, so keep those dates in mind as well! Banned always stay busy, and hopefully these shows go as well as their next ones, as fans should know their talent level! Remember, we'll next see Banned within an hour of Sault Ste. Marie when they rock The Runway Bar in Hessel on February 12th, with gigs at Western U.P. Kewadin branches coming beforehand. Like with the new 415E gigs, these are 9:00 PM affairs with no announced cover charges and 21+ age limits. For more details, visit the above links, and stay tuned for more from Banned!

And just for reference, note that other new Kewadin dates belong to classic rockers Touch of Class & The Brooks Band, country artists Hawk Junction & Paul Perry, and Traverse City dance rock quartet Risque, who haven't been recent local regulars that I've seen. Note that there's nothing new from there from the recently dormant Power Slug, nor from Jeff Hudson's Traverse City-area metal bands like Peril & Scarkazm, but if/when we hear more on their next E.U.P. dates, we'll let you know!

Next up, Dafter, Michigan solo hard rock musician Ken Sutton (a.k.a. SweetKenny) has released another new album, so what should you know on it? Entitled "Only Us Left Standing", it was released to his Bandcamp page on January 11th (apologies for the delay), and it's his first album of 2016 & 16th total in his main solo series. Continuing his recent focus since the summer, this SweetKenny album is intended to be a conceptual & instrumental score that could be used in a video game, and similarly to last month's "The Walkers: Rise of the Dead", it's themed after a zombie invasion. On listening, I can confirm that it's darker and more ominous than "The Walkers", which is largely acoustic-based, but both show Ken's range! "Only Us Left Standing" is on sale for $7 via the above links, so definitely consider picking it up, especially if you like video game scores!

Now, as these are part of his main album canon, they are eligible for reviews on the site, and I'd already pencilled in a SweetKenny review for this month, so is one of these next? No, as I usually pick the heaviest album if I have multiple new releases to pick from in a band's discography, and from his most recent four (plus August's "Charlie Hidelburg: Ancient Hunter"), the heaviest is October's "The Hitman Files", which is themed like it could be in a hitman action game or movie. No word on when SweetKenny will release a traditional new solo album (last seen with June's "Fleabag Hotel"), but look for our review of "The Hitman Files" by Sunday!

Finally for today, here's some more updates to our past Battle of the Bands Rewind Profiles! In our profile of 2010's Sault College/Scotties Tournament of Heart Battle of the Bands, we restored a photo of third place finishers Sykotyk Rampage, and updated info on their recent activity, but the rest was still good. In our profile of that spring's Downtown Showdown battle, we restored two photos, added notes on runners-up The Fury's brief 2014 reunion and frontman Paul Stanghetta's never-launched successor band Keep It Lit, and clarified info on judge Len Ward. For it's section on performers' later bands, we replaced The Glass Thieves, Keep It Lit, and March Into Regression with The Apocalypse Afterparty, Infinity Grinder, and London's Five Oceans (featuring Tenagens alum Patrick Dal Cin) to keep that more current. Finally, we added references to how performers did in 2015 battles, namely SBD bassist Brad Griffith at the Speak Easy battle with Infinity Grinder, and Fury frontman Paul Stanghetta's fourth place run at the VM Radio Battle with The Apocalypse Afterparty.

Hopefully that gets these sufficiently updated, and stay tuned for updates of battles from 2012 and on next, much more news and notes in short order, plus our review of SweetKenny's "The Hitman Files"! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 28, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Stiffler's Mom, Havadder, And Mourning Wood), And Weekend Concert Previews!!

Before we get into today's weekend concert preview post, I wanted to apologize for a missed concert, as local classic/hard rock veterans Mourning Wood apparently played a one-nighter at Reggie's West (or "The Reggievelt") this past Saturday. Partly as they didn't plug it on their Facebook page until the day of, it completely slipped us by, but I should have been more alert last weekend, so our profuse apologies, and hopefully it was a great show! We'll make up for it with lots of SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS from them and others in this weekend preview post, so let's get rolling for what you should know!

Local party/hard rock cover trio Stiffler's Mom will play their first ever weekend at The Esquire Club TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the band only confirmed the gigs on their Facebook page on Saturday, though they had teased them without finite dates earlier this month as well. The shows themselves will actually end a two month break for Greg, Mike, and Jon, who have been practicing over the holidays, and it'll be interesting to hear how they do at The Esquire Club at 103 Second Line West, which only sporadically features hard rock bands. Hopefully TOMORROW & SATURDAY's shows go well for Stiffler;s Mom, and it's great to see them back out there in the new year! 10:00 PM start times are likely for these shows, which have 19+ age limits and no announced cover charges. For more details, visit the above links, and here's Stiffler's Mom live a few years back!



Next up, classic/hard rock cover veterans Havadder will return to The Rockstar Bar themselves for shows TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies again for the short notice, we only heard about these shows via the official Facebook event page on Tuesday. This weekend's shows come just three weeks after Havadder's last Rockstar Bar gigs, and they've been very familiar with this venue as of late, so be sure to check out this popular local band again TOMORROW and/or SATURDAY if you haven't been able to see them lately! As usual for Havadder's Rockstar Bar gigs, there's no announced cover charges (but bring $5 or so just in case), you must be 19 or older to attend, and while the event page lists an oddly late start time of 11:00 PM, one would assume it would start by at least 10:30 PM. Check the above links for more details, and for a preview, here's Havadder live at The Rockstar Bar earlier this month!
 


Lastly for late notice show announcements, local classic/hard rock cover quartet Mourning Wood will return to the stage with headlining dates at The Rednecks Saloon TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Once again, apologies for the short notice, the shows were only just announced via their Facebook event page yesterday. Fresh off of their Reggie's West date last week (apologies again for missing it!), this will be their first announced concert weekend of the year at the former Nicolet Tavern, unless we missed another late notice announcement. Mourning Wood have apparently learned even more songs to add to their extensive setlist, so if you've missed them at a non-Reggie's venue so far in 2016, consider a trip to Rednecks TOMORROW and/or SATURDAY for their varied and often heavy cover selection! Both shows have 10:00 PM start times, you must be 19 or older to attend, and neither has an announced age limit. Check the above links for more details, and here's Mourning Wood live at Rednecks!


 
Finally for this preview post, let's touch on shows that actually did get advance notice, as prolific local hard rock solo singer/guitarist Tym Morrison is scheduled to return to Gliss Steak & Seafood to close out another month in his ongoing weekly run there TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY! This ever-busy but very talented local favourite should deliver another solid weekend of tunes at this downtown restaurant this weekend, so if you're up for a mellower night of familiar hits, head to Gliss for one of the next three evenings! And yes, we will add Tym's February gigs at this venue when confirmed outside of his website. Each of these three Gliss shows are at 6:00 PM, have no announced cover charges, and don't have an announced age limit, but remember that this is a restaurant. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and for a preview, here's Tym live!



That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes in the coming days, plus this month's CD review! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

YouTube Channel Profile Series: bffcfka's Channel & GIWAKWA GIWAKWA

It's now time for this month's YouTube Channel Profiles, as we're back in the new year for more looks at YouTube channels that have at least a 50% base of local metal, hard rock, and/or punk videos, in order to spotlight and feature them for readers! This month's random selections netted us two channels, as the first only had one video, hence the second channel (with just two videos) to fill things out, but there's some familiar faces and interesting clips to check out, so read on for this month's YouTube profiles!
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bffcfka's Channel (http://www.youtube.com/bffcfka)

Owner: YouTube user bffcfka (identity unknown, but they were likely a student at Central Algoma Secondary School in Desbarats in the late 2000s)

Channel Timeline: Launched on August 11th, 2008; Only video posted on January 2nd, 2010

Channel Summary: The only video posted to bffcfka's channel is of early Crimson Crusade guitarist Brent Beaulieu playing a guitar riff on stage during a CASS Cafe event circa the turn of 2010. Brent had guitar talent here, and while this is a short video, it's nice to see him at work, and check out more CASS Cafe videos from this era on other YouTube channels! Also, note that this channel in particular hasn't visibly been used since this video's upload.


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GIWAKWA GIWAKWA (http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-j7LyfO3fUVmSmVF10UksQ)

Owner: A member of local death/sludge metal band Giwakwa, identity unclear (likely guitarist Chris Page or drummer Chris Thompson)

Channel Timeline: Launched on May 27th, 2012; Videos uploaded in January & March 2015

Channel Summary: The official YouTube channel for the recently dormant Giwakwa, this channel currently has two videos from their run, one from a 2013 concert and one from a jam session last year.

Why Should You Watch: It's definitely worth checking out if you're a fan of Giwakwa, particularly from their main run in mid-2013! However, this channel has not been visibly updated since these videos were posted, and it's not clear if the band is even still functioning, so keep both in mind if you're thinking about subscribing. As well, I believe the band has deleted at least one past upload on their channel.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

GIWAKWA -- ENDLESS BUMMER & IRON LUNG @ THE ROCKSTAR BOTB 2013: Giwakwa's first (and only concert) video on their channel comes from The Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands semifinals on April 17th, 2013, where they played their songs "Endless Bummer" & "Iron Lung" to close their set. Featuring their then-lineup of Chris & Chris alongside Bring The Fallen alums Josh Stephney on vocals & Nolan Rainville on bass, they finished in second place behind Josh's current band The Bear Hunters that night, but did not advance to the finals the next week. Filmed at a far angle to the stage's right, these are strongly performed songs at a neat angle, but Chris Thompson is often hard to see, and the audio can be a little tinny. Note that this is a 2015 re-upload of one of two videos posted by a separate filmer on their own YouTube channel at the time, but they later deleted both videos, and Giwakwa themselves never uploaded the first one.



GIWAKWA -- BLOOD SKIN AND SINUE -- SNEAK PEAK: Giwakwa's last major public activity to date came via this Friday the 13th video posting from March of last year, which has Chris Page & Chris Thompson jamming a new original song named "Blood, Skin, and Sinew". Notably just a duo performance (Josh & Nolan moved out of town in late 2013, and Mitch Sirie hadn't replaced either yet), it is a fast & heavy song that seems to point at a sound evolution, but it's obviously incomplete, and the camera slowly tilts upward and falls over during the recording. Hopefully this isn't the last we've seen of Giwakwa, they had a lot of promise!


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I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! Next month in this series, we'll again be looking at multiple channels due to the first randomly selected channel only having one local video, so on (or around) February 26th, we'll be looking at user ninezero's channel (featuring a Treble Charger music video),  and to fill things out, ex-Scofflaw drummer Ivan Schliska's YouTube channel (featuring a pair of videos from the Sault Michigan artist.) This should be a good one again, so watch for it next month, and stay tuned for more news and notes this week! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Project 421 & Bon Soo Updates, Plus More Updates & Notes!!

We're back with a new news post to kick off this last full week of January, so what's on tap? Some updates to one of our battle of the bands profiles, some assorted recent notes, and the latest from a new local arts podcast, but let's start with some new concert videos!

Local classic metal quintet Project 421 are the subject of some new videos that were uploaded to their Facebook page yesterday, all courtesy of their Rednecks Saloon concert on Friday! Attendee Chris Weber shot three videos at the show (and got lots of photos, albeit made black & white after the fact), and they include renditions of Black Sabbath's "N.I.B.", Kiss' "Cold Gin", and as embedded below, their first original "No One Rides For Free". Shot on a cell phone camera, the audio is scratchy, and the camera angle can be jittery, but these videos are our best look yet at the current Project 421 lineup, and you can definitely sense that they have a good grasp on these songs! The lighting isn't great though, only drummer Chris Thompson is well lit on stage. Give these a look above and below, and don't miss Project 421 at The Rockstar Bar next month!



Next up, the newest episode of the new local music/arts podcast 7L is now online via their Soundcloud page, so what should you know from it? The episode features host Teddy Syrette interviewing Bon Soo general manager Kerrie De Poli about next month's installment of our annual winter carnival, where Kerrie talks about the inception of Bon Soo, the extended 12-day lineup for this year, events to look for, how long Kerrie's been working with the festival, her background before joining Bon Soo, the merger with Passport To Unity, where to get Bon Soo buttons, and more. The episode closes with Kerrie reading a poem about Bon Soo, and Teddy singing likewise, which is a fun way to close the episode! It's good and fun promotion for this year's festival, but what do we learn about Bon Soo's concerts for this year? Only bare basics, with no visible lineup information confirmed for either The Marquee or Passport to Unity, but The Marquee will apparently be a one-night outdoor event again on Friday, February 5th at Mill Market.

The Passport To Unity multicultural festival will be at The Essar Center as usual, but now on Sunday, February 14th rather than May to fit the Bon Soo schedule. We have yet to find lineup information for either event, but when updates come out on both/either, we'll let you know! Give the new 7L episode a listen above, it's informative and worth checking out, but note that the teased acoustic punk segment is not featured, no word on if it's coming for episode #4. Stay tuned though!

Also today, here's three assorted shorter items from the last while, and as usual, these are in alphbetical order by artist name:

  • If you've seen recent personal Facebook pictures of Havadder playing a recent gig without bassist Travis Sharpe, we can confirm that the show was a private event at The Rankin Arena, and with Travis unable to make the gig, local musician Brett Gottwald filled in for him. There are some videos from the event on Facebook, but unless the band shares them publically, we won't post them here. Brett filled in well though from what I saw, and give them a watch if they pop up on your news feed!
  • Local musician Lee Catling is looking for a drummer for a Slayer tribute band that he's working on. He didn't offer any more details, but Slayer fans should be intrigued by this, so message Lee at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from yesterday if you're interested! 
  • Honest Job bassist Drew Armstrong has been added as a performer with Like a Pisces during the Nirvana tribute concert at The Gore Street Cafe on February 20th during The Fishbowl Festival's opening night, as per the Facebook event page last week. However, it should be noted that the current wording of the performers lumps The Pixo Control in as one of the main acts, rather than as defined openers, so is this going to be a collaborative show with guests coming & going between songs? We'll let you know if there's clarification!


Finally for today, here's some big updates to one of our past Battle of the Bands Rewind Profiles (which return in March!) In our profile of December 2009's Algoma University Battle of the Bands, we noted The Fury's brief 2014 reunion and RedD Monkey's hiatus & posthumous activity in the section on competitors' later work, while we replaced Keep It Lit and Giwakwa with The Apocalypse Afterparty, Infinity Grinder, and Kaepora Gaebora in the section on performers' later bands to keep that more current. Finally, the trivia section now features notes on planned judges Anthony Fabiano & Dustin Jones' later work in battles of the bands (as Griphook's drummer in Spanish and as a VM Radio Battle judge/sponsor respectively), info on how The Apocalypse Afterparty & Infinity Grinder did at the battles in March 2015, and a note on Fury frontman Paul Stanghetta's debuting band Keep It Lit, who never played after dropping out of 2013's Viva La Battle. Hopefully that's up to date now, and stay tuned for updates of battles from the early 2010s soon!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes this week! Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Highway 63 Concert Previews, Skeyes Of Seven Updates, And More!!

Barring any super-short notice concert previews, let's round out this weekend's previews to lead off this Friday morning post, but we're filling things out with lots of recent updates from a local hard rock band, and some assorted recent notes! Now, let's get this post rolling!

Sault Michigan classic/hard rock cover quartet Highway 63 will return to The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT for the first time this year! This talented and prolific local band will continue their busy year of Kewadin Casino gigs with their first Rapids Lounge shows in about two months, and if you know the guys' past work with bands like Jager and Power Slug, you'll know you're in for a solid time either night! However, I'll just note for clarification's sake that the band hasn't plugged this weekend's shows since originally announcing them a few weeks ago, but nothing indicates they're off. Of course, if you can't make it out to the Soo Kewadin this weekend, remember that Highway 63 will be back there for a weekend each month in 2016, plus St. Ignace in most months of the year. As usual for Highway 63's Kewadin shows, a 9:00 PM-ish start time, 21+ age limit, and no announced cover charges are in effect. For more details, visit the above links, and here's Highway 63 live at The Rapids Lounge last year!



Next up, local hard rock quartet Skeyes of Seven have finally confirmed that they are indeed recording their debut EP! After a number of posts showcasing recent recording sessions at Deluca Sound Productions, albeit without outright confirming that a debut release was in the works, the guys finally confirmed on their Facebook page on Wednesday that they have just one more track to record before sending the EP off to be mixed & mastered. Great to hear, and hopefully things work out so that Skeyes of Seven's EP is released successfully! Fans of Cory & Ron's old band Sense of Truth will relate to that regarding their unreleased CD. As well, Skeyes of Seven confirmed on Facebook that they have indeed parted ways with drummer John Mignacca, presumably due to his move to Sudbury last fall, which followed his only two shows with the band in mid-2015. John's a talented drummer (As It Stands fans can attest to that), and hopefully he's in another band down the line!

With John's departure, Skeyes of Seven are looking for a new drummer, and while they haven't begun an active search yet, message the band A.S.A.P. if you or someone you know are interested in trying out! For clarification, ex-drummer Jonny Amendola isn't back, despite his kit in the recent Cherry Crush jam videos still having S.O.S. drum head artwork. As for John Mignacca's participation on the Skeyes of Seven EP, he confirmed on his personal Facebook page that he did indeed provide the studio drum tracks, and you can get a preview of his work via two videos that he posted on Facebook in July, which the band subsequently shared on their own Facebook page, so what should you know on them? The clips (one seen here) are both short, and have loud steady beeps over them (presumably to keep tempo), but you do get a glimpse of John's skill, and it'll be interesting to hear more of the final product! Just have the volume up to hear his drumming, but also remember the beeps, as they may be distracting.

It's great to see Skeyes of Seven staying busy, and while they've played just four local concerts in the past four years, their talents and past band work speak for themselves, so hopefully things continue to turn upward for Cory, Al, Ron, John, and their next drummer! Check out John drumming below, see more above, and apologies for the delay on these!



Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter items from the last while, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist or station name:


  • Energy Rock Radio is coming home for a special event in July! The Castlegar, B.C.-based internet rock station (which broadcasted in the Soo from 2008-2011) will be holding a special local broadcast when station head Ryan Kaarlela comes home in July, with a special subscriber-only episode of The Rated Ryeman Show airing late that month. Great to see Ryan back home, and if you're a loyal Brew Crew member, click here for full details on how to get in on this N.R.G. homecoming broadcast!
  • Former Havadder/Inside Spiral bassist Lucas Bugyra is looking to start a new local rock band that would play older & new rock, plus some metal. He's looking for a couple of guitarists and a drummer (no word on if he's planning to sing or not), and he is hoping to give more variety at local bars via this band. If you're interested in trying out, message Luke at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from Tuesday!
  • Local drummer Trey Piraino is again looking for musicians to jam with towards forming a progressive metal band. He had posted a similar search in August 2014, but hopefully this time, he gets some traction towards a prog-metal outfit, as he does sound serious about wanting to get one going! For details, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from Wednesday!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates in the coming days! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 21, 2016

This Weekend's Sault Ontario Hard Rock Concert Previews!!

With another weekend fast approaching, let's tackle most of this weekend's hard rock and punk concert previews! For reference sake, we'll cover Highway 63's Sault Michigan shows and any late notice discoveries in our next post, so look for them then, but today's post covers announced Sault Ontario shows, including many familiar faces, so here's what you should know!

We'll start with prolific local hard rock solo artist Tym Morrison, who will continue his ongoing weekly concert arrangement at Gliss Steak & Seafood with acoustic shows TONIGHT, TOMORROW, and SATURDAY! Expect three more evenings of unplugged hard rock classics from this local favourite at The Quality Inn's downtown restaurant, and while his shows there certainly haven't been a novelty as of late, his dependable acoustic covers should get a solid reception once again this weekend! As usual for his Gliss shows, there's no announced cover charges or age limits for these 6:00 PM concerts, but again, this is a sit-down restaurant, so keep that in mind. For more details on Tym's latest matinees at Gliss, visit the official Facebook event page, and here's Tym live at The Harp during his regular run there!



Next up, local classic metal quintet Project 421 will hit The Rednecks Saloon TOMORROW NIGHT for their first ever solo concert with no extra opening or headlining acts! Their first of at least two solo concerts on their current schedule, this will see this talented outfit playing the vast majority (if not all) of the songs that they have in their repertoire, so if you love Project 421's nostalgia trip and strong skills, be at the former Nicolet Tavern tomorrow night! Remember, they'll also be playing by themselves at The Rockstar Bar on February 5th, so keep that in mind if that works better for your schedule or location. There is a 19+ age limit for this 10:00 PM concert, which has no cover charge. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! It'll be very interesting to see how Project 421 do in the realm of weekend cover bands, so be at Rednecks tomorrow for wall to wall 421 action! Here's Project 421 live in 2014!



Now, Project 421 are only playing tomorrow at The Rednecks Saloon, but bassist Daniel Horton is promoting the concert going down THIS SATURDAY NIGHT to round out the weekend, as three familiar local bands will join forces! A partial encore of a Rockstar Bar show from two weeks ago, the advertised headliners are local pop punk quartet Stereo North (in their second show of the year), alternative hard rock trio The Din (in their first show since dropping "Mike Haggith and" from their name), and funk/hard rock quartet The Elements (who have new songs in store for their first show of the year), so be sure not to miss this trifecta on Saturday night! The Elements will kick things off at 9:30 PM on Saturday, there's no cover charge, and you must be 19 or older to attend. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! There's something for everyone at Rednecks on Saturday, whether you love punk, funk, alternative, or a little of each, so keep this one in mind too, and here's Stereo North live!



Finally for today's previews, local hard rock cover quartet Griphook will make their long awaited return to the stage THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Rockstar Bar! This veteran local band took the last six months off from concerts while working on new material, and as a result, this will be their first show since Rotaryfest 2015, their first of the year, and their first at The Rockstar Bar since 2014, so this has been a long time coming! Though this is just a one-nighter (classic rockers Nikkfitt are playing there tomorrow), Griphook fans would be well served to check out Joel, Brian, Dan, and Tony's return to the stage on Saturday, especially with new songs in their set, and who knows when we'll see them next? There's no announced cover charge for Saturday night's show (but bring cash just in case), you must be 19 or older to attend, and there's a 10:00 PM start time in effect. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and don't miss Griphook's grand return this weekend! Here they are live last summer!



That's all for today, but stay tuned for more concert previews and updates in due course! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Like A Pisces), A New Local Festival, And A New Podcast!!

Today's post has some common threads in the topics, which largely devolve into word on a debuting local festival and a newer local arts podcast, but there are some extra bits to note within, including a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT and a partial band name change! Apologies for any delay in getting these on the site, but let's rectify that now and get this post underway!

Local alternative/grunge trio The Pixo Control will hit The Gore Street Cafe on Saturday, February 20th as the opening act for an apparent one-off Nirvana tribute band named Like A Pisces! The opening night of the debuting Fishbowl Festival (more on that in a second), this show coincides with what would have been late Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain's 49th birthday, and will serve as a celebration of Nirvana, 1990s grunge, new wave, and alternative music. If things are what they seem to indicate on the Facebook event page, Like A Pisces (referencing lyrics from "Heart Shaped Box") will be comprised of local musicians Mister Tahti (Honest Job), Sam Decter (Boxes of Boom), and Lauren McClure, though instrument roles aren't listed. The Pixo Control's set will be their second local appearance of the year, and I believe their first at the fast-rising Gore Street venue, so keep them in mind for next month, as they're ideal openers in terms of sound!

A $5 cover charge is in effect for this 7:00 PM concert, while there will also be packages available for all Fishbowl Festival events (which we'll get into next), and while there isn't an announced age limit, the early start time of 7:00 PM seems to hint that it may not be 19+. If we get confirmation, we'll let you know! This sounds like an intriguing concert, especially if you're a fan of Nirvana or the Seattle grunge scene, so definitely keep this show in mind as the Fishbowl Festival commences!

Now, just what exactly is The Fishbowl Festival? Announced two weeks ago, it's an intended "mid-winter festival of community, food, art, and culture" at The Gore Street Cafe, with the name likely deriving from it's scheduling from February 20th-March 20th, during stretch of the zodiac where the Pisces (or fish) sign falls. Masterminded by the aforementioned Sam Decter (a co-owner of The Gore Street Cafe), a number of varied events are planned for the month, from concerts to workshops to community meals, and Sam and the cafe/laundromat are also looking for people & artists interested in playing, hosting, or helping out with events during the Fishbowl Festival, so if you want in, click here to voice up! As of this writing, the aforementioned Like A Pisces show is the only fully confirmed event that fits our coverage on the SMS, but there are strong indications that Mike Haggith & The Din may be playing an event during the festival, possibly with Stereo North alongside. 

$25 ticket passes are available at The Gore Street Cafe which will get you free or discounted entry into all festival events, though some are already "pay what you can" deals like the venue usually offers. While this is very ambitious, it sounds like there's some fun and unique events for many different tastes in store for late February and March, with everything from a pajamas & cartoons brunch to another "really really free market" in store, so be sure to follow all of the currently announced Fishbowl Festival events at the above links, and get a hold of promoters A.S.A.P. if you want to play or put on any events of your own!

Next up, here's our long overdue look at a new local arts podcast named 7L! No word on what "7L" means yet, but this podcast was created by Pillory bassist Jordan Leach and local artist/LGBT advocate Teddy Syrette (who serves as the in-studio host), and two episodes were posted on it's Soundcloud page earlier this month, which encourage thinking outside the box as a tagline. The first episode (posted on January 7th) features Teddy talking with the aforementioned Sam Decter (who plugged the Fishbowl Festival and what would become Like A Pisces in the podcast), with an appearance by Honest Job drummer Jason Lloyd. Interesting listen, especially for fans of what Sam has been doing with The Gore Street Cafe and his own music projects, so definitely check it out! The second episode from last week fits our coverage more, as it focuses on an interview with all three members of the aforementioned Mike Haggith & The Din, so what should you know on that?

Well, in the interview, one of the first notes is that the band has officially contracted their name to simply The Din, as they're trying to carve their own identity that is separate from Mike's solo music & his prior work with the defunct band Haggith, while also noting that the simplified name rolls off the tongue easier. Makes sense for distinction and ease, and we've noted the change on the site! After that is noted, Teddy talks to The Din about how long they've been playing for, their beginnings as a looser jam outfit, their current setlist & sound, the late David Bowie's influence on the band, their opinions on the local music scene & it's evolution, where they've played in the Soo, current plans for 2016, and their advice for aspiring musicians. The episode concludes with The Din performing an acoustic version of their new original "Flux", which sounds promising and has good vocal harmonies, but the drums are a little loud in the mix.

Entertaining interview that tells us a lot about The Din's run and plans, and it has a nice loose feel, with Brandan Glew in particular giving some good and well thought answers! Check it out above, and what's in store for episode 3? If this proves to be a weekly series, it might go online tomorrow, and a recent Facebook page tease noted that it'll likely feature "some delicious acoustic punk" (Telephone & Address?) and "an exclusive Bon Soo interview" (The Marquee?) Stay tuned for more on the third episode, 7L is now in our "Other Local Metal Links", and stay tuned for weekend concert previews next! Thanks everyone!

Monday, January 18, 2016

Last Month's Poll Results & Our Newest Poll!!

It's now time to shut down last month's poll and launch out newest poll in this second post of the day so let's kick things off with last month's results! As you may remember, we posed this question to you guys last month: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk CD of 2014? We got a decent tally of 21 votes, which provided a clear result, especially in favour of one band in particular so here's the final count!

Stereo North (14 votes, 66%)
Other (3 votes, 14%)
Caroline Divine (1 vote, 5%)
Eclipse (1 vote, 5%)
Id Iota (1 vote, 5%)
Infinity Grinder (1 vote, 5%)
Faceityoureametalband (0 votes)
Leaked (0 votes)

What do you guys think? Well, it is clear that one band in particular ran away with the poll, that being local pop punk quartet Stereo North, though I will note the caveat that the band did have a campaign on their Facebook page to get votes. That being said, if I was to predict the results, I'd have had them first or second, so it doesn't look too odd! Stereo North had a strong first year, and here's hoping they hit even bigger heights as we march into 2016! As for the rest of the poll, I was a little surprised at the thin spread of votes for the other bands, particularly for Caroline Divine, but it doesn't help when a few of the bands in the poll were ones that hadn't played live last fall and weren't as fresh in the mind as others. I will apologize though for one notable missed band in the poll, as I neglected to include defunct Sault Michigan hard rockers Ten Kings, who likely missed our compiling due to their online page deletions following their breakup. Maybe they got some votes for "Other"?

There's no excuses on our end though, so I am sorry once again to their ex-members and fans! I would argue that Ten Kings were still the biggest new hard rock band of 2015 in Sault Michigan, and hopefully the guys all turn up in new bands in short order, there's talent to be had from all four!

Thanks to everyone for voting! As for this month's poll, we're keeping our "favourite _____ of 2015" polls going with this question: What was your favourite local metal, hard rock, or punk album of 2015? The past year yielded a high number of new CD and album releases from SMS-covered bands, and as usual, we're interested in learning which ones you guys liked the most, so it'll be very interesting to see the final results! Along with "Other", we have chosen 12 albums for the poll this year, with bands who released multiple solo albums in 2015 having them grouped in the same choice. Albums must have been sold or available on at least a "pay what you want" model to qualify for the poll, so bands like Sykotyk Rampage and Dullahan are absent for that reason. As well, Integrated System of Machines aren't present as I can't verify if the CD they distributed at their reunion concert in July was fully packaged and paid release or not. If it was though, our sincere apologies!

Also, note that a few albums (namely, some from Blood Shed Productions) are listed without their full title in the poll as they may be seen as offensive by some readers. Also, I do hope that bands don't hold a public campaign for votes in order their album to "win", as I'm hoping for a fair result and not a popularity contest. Now, here are your choices in this month's poll on your favourite local albums of the past year!

Bad Back - ALbums: After two quiet demo releases in late 2014, local grunge/hardcore duo Bad Back released their anticipated first full length "ALbums" (gratuitous plural intentional) to their Bandcamp page in September. Though they've been relatively quiet since, fans seemed to respond positively to this release, but were you among them?

Blood Shed Productions' Rock And/Or Roll 11-Way Split: In March, local goregrind label Blood Shed Productions put out an ambitious split CD featuring 11 bands, including four out of town acts, recent notable bands like The Apocalypse Afterparty & This Is Your Band On Drugs, the debut of Das Skalpell Kampf, and many Blood Shed veterans! The planned CD release show was cancelled, but is it your top 2015 CD?

Crucify The Whore & Scrotox's split CD: Another spring release from Blood Shed Productions was a more typical split disc (with the controversial name "Jesus Eats Human Flesh") from local goregrind solo act C.T.W. and North Bay grindcore band Scrotox, which was sold in physical copies and can be streamed on YouTube as well. Was this your favourite album of the year?

Destroilet, Jack Spades, and The Ripcordz - Fed Up! A Canadian Punk Rock Split: Arguably the highest profile new album of 2015 among local bands, punk/metal standouts Destroilet & Jack Spades joined forces with Montreal veterans The Ripcordz to put out their ambitious split "Fed Up!" featuring 4 originals and 1 cover each, and a CD release show in October to launch it! Did "Fed Up!" top last year to you?

Haggith - Apocalypse II and/or XIV: Before their presumed final breakup in the summer, local alternative hard rock quartet Haggith released their final albums in the spring, they being their concept sequel album "Apocalypse II" and their final mainline EP "XIV", which compiled their last recorded original songs. Haggith are still missed, but did they go out on a high note?

Malignant Neoplasm's 2015 releases: The cybergrind project from Crucify the Whore/Rotopsy alum Tyler Gibson put out two digital albums on Bandcamp in 2015, including "A Malignant Neoplastic Disease of the Intestines" and "Kittens Have Crusty's", whose 16 combined tracks have an average length of 34 seconds! Though an acquired taste, are you a big enough fan to vote for them over the rest?

Mike Haggith - The Warinside and/or it's promotional EPs: Hyped as his most personal release yet, ex-Haggith drummer Mike Haggith put out his newest album "The Warinside" in July with a CD release party, two digital EPs featuring advance copies of it's songs, and his biggest promotonal push yet for a solo album. Did you like "The Warrenside" and/or it'sEPs the most?

The Pixo Control - Probably Not: After a lengthy recording session and a pair of lineup changes, local alternative/grunge trio The Pixo Control put out their debut CD "Probably Not" in conjunction with two release concerts last month. The Tidal Records-released disc recieved a positve response from fans, but would you pick it as your top new album of last year?

RedD Monkey - Opus 2: Untitled: In quite possibly the most surprising local album release of 2015, defunct local/Toronto punk trio RedD Monkey posthumously released the incomplete recordings from their third and final album "Opus 2" in September, helping give fans some closure after their quiet breakup the previous year! Did this surprise final CD win to you?

Rotopsy's newest CD: Blood Shed Productions' other metal release in 2015 was their newest album (with the controversial title "Sexual Assault Rifle"), released in April with 16 songs full of minimalist goregrind intensity from Dylan & Tyler! Blood Shed loyalists ate up this release, but did you like Rotopsy's latest disc the most in this poll?

Any of SweetKenny's 2015 albums: Dafter, Michigan hard rock solo artist Kenneth Sutton kept up his prolific solo project with four new SweetKenny albums in his official canon, including "Fleabag Hotel", "Charlie Hidelburg: Ancient Hunter", "The Hitman Files", and "The Walkers: Rise of the Dead" all released last year! Did you take to any of his hard rock jams the most?

Telephone & Address - Rust Orchid: Aguably the most unique local release from a heavier or punk project in 2015, the Chris Shoust-led solo project released this instrumental album in February, which eschewed Telephone & Address' usual acoustic punk sound for an ambient experimental style. It was an interesting change of pace, but did it hit the top of your charts? 

Other: Did we miss your preferred choice in the poll? Maybe we forgot an album to include that was definitively first released in 2015? Did you prefer a free album like the recent Sykotyk Rampage "albums"? Did I.S.O.M.'s recent disc turn out to be a paid and packaged album after all? Maybe you preferred a non-local album, or one by a non-metal/punk band? If your favourite isn't a choice, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until February 18th to cast your votes, and hopefully there's a strong tally of votes for this poll, as it was quite a good year for album releases in the Soo, which will hopefully continue into the new year! Thanks everyone, and stay tuned for more news and updates soon!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Project 421), New Videos, And More Updates!!

Before we launch our new poll on the SMS, here's one more news post on this Monday morning, including some assorted recent notes, new videos from a pair of diverse local artists, and first, a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for next month! Here's what you should know!

Local classic metal quintet Project 421 will play a solo headlining concert at The Rockstar Bar on Friday, February 5th! Their second solo show without extra bands (but first at this venue), this joins their first solo gig at The Rednecks Saloon this Friday, and it will be their first at The Rockstar Bar since New Year's Eve. It remains to be seen how Project 421's first toe into the solo cover weekend waters goes, but it's good to see this popular band increasing their concert frequency, and hopefully there's a great turnout at The Rockstar Bar in two & a half weeks for their old school metal renditions! There is a $5 cover charge advertised for February 5th, you must be 19 or older to attend, and there's a 10:00 PM start time in effect. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! This should be a solid concert full of classic metal, so keep it in mind for next month, and don't miss Project 421's first solo gig at Rednecks on Friday!

Next up, here's some new video finds, including the latest from local death metal duo Brutally Fatal! The Blood Shed Productions project from Crucify The Whore and Revolution alumni had been relatively quiet since the summer, but things picked up earlier this month when they revealed on their Facebook page that they'd be recording a new EP of some type within the next two weeks. That was posted on January 7th,  but it's not publically clear if any recording sessions have begun yet. They followed that with a video upload of newly remastered versions of two songs from their 2013 release "Acidic Sky's", namely "Cold Pulse" & "Drowning In Poison", so how do they sound now? Similar but louder and cleaner, and fans should enjoy these versions! Just to clarify, remember that Brutally Fatal (then spelled with one L in "Brutaly") began as a solo project from frontman Austin McCrae, hence the minimalist bass & vocals-only sound. Check out more from Brutally Fatal above and below!



Also today, here's a new video of Leaked drummer Nic Buckner that was uploaded to Mannapool guitarist Korey Deluca's YouTube channel in October! Recorded at Deluca Sound Productions, this video is of Nic drumming along to Ryan Holliday's "Blinded" before playing a drum solo with no backing track, and he performs strongly in both settings! The description notes that Nic filmed the videos as part of an application to play with a travelling youth outreach band that would play at American schools, and while I'm unsure if he got that gig, this video is well shot and demonstrates his ability nicely! Give it a look below!



Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter items from the last while, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist or promoter name:

  • Project 421 bassist Daniel Horton is looking for 3 or 4 bands to play a Valentine's Day-themed show on Friday, February 12th (venue unclear), with preference to bands who have "some dance music or upbeat tunes", maybe even love songs. In case this will have a hard rock presence, I thought I'd mention it here, so message Daniel at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post by the Tuesday deadline if you want in, or if you want to play on any other future shows that he's working on!
  • A celebration of life concert for late That's Chester guitarist Eugene Orlando will be held at The Water Tower Pub on Thursday, March 3rd! Though advertised as being headlined by his classic rock band Agave Blue, the Facebook event page notes that it'll feature Eugene's longtime bandmate Gabe Tessaro alongside That's Chester frontman Greg Simpson in a joint acoustic set with special guests. It's odd that this tribute concert is taking place so late after Eugene's passing, but hopefully there's a huge response on March 3rd, and see above for updates as they roll in!
  • We have moved local experimental metal project The Strange Coyotes back to our inactive band links due to a year's inactivity. A throwback post aside, the band hasn't issued any public updates since December 2014, and hasn't played live since November of that year, shortly into a brief reunion. The Strange Coyotes were an entertaining band that had a lot of promise and creativity, but lineup changes and lengthy hiatuses didn't help matters. Best of luck to Chase, James, and Mike in the future, and hopefully we see them back again down the road!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more as the week progresses! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, January 17, 2016

An Inactive Punk Band, New Videos, And More Assorted Updates!!

Today's post mostly collects some assorted news and notes, including new videos from a pair of local bands who have shared drummers, but we're kicking things off with a likely inactive band. Here's what you should know!

We'll start with info on a band that we'll likely be adding to our inactive band links soon due to a year's inactivity, that being local punk trio The Northern Tragedy. Nothing regarding their status has been publically announced, but the guys last updated their Facebook page on January 23rd of last year, and they haven't played live since March 2014. Active since late 2012, The Northern Tragedy were one of the most notable punk bands of recent years in the Soo, opening for bands like The Golers, Warsenal, and Skynet during their run, along with playing at 2013's Rockstar Bar Battle of the Bands, and releasing two demo EPs. However, updates slowed down in 2014, and we've more recently seen singer/drummer Terrence Gomes in the alternative duo Infinity Grinder (who have been dormant as of late themselves.) Though their stage presences were often stiff, The Northern Tragedy had a fun modern punk sound and a lot of promise, and hopefully they re-emerge at some point! Best of luck to Terrence, Mike, and Corry in the future!

Next up, here's a new video from local hard rock quartet Skeyes of Seven, who have been busy working in studio with Deluca Sound Productions as of late! Though unlisted on YouTube, studio head Korey Deluca (Mannapool) shared it on the studio's Facebook page yesterday, so it's publically viewable through there. It's of frontman Cory Murchison tracking a verse, and while window glare gets in the way, everything sounds solid at this stage, so check it out below! For what it's worth, drummer John Mignacca moved to Sudbury last year, and it's yet to be established how that will affect Skeyes of Seven's future plans, if at all, but we'll keep you posted if something is announced!



Also today, here's some new heavier covers from a recent jam session by local pop rock veterans Cherry Crush! The band is featured in nine new videos uploaded to their YouTube channel on Thursday, and while they include covers from their usual wheelhouse (including songs by The Weeknd, The Swedish House Mafia, KC & The Sunshine Band, Wild Cherry, and Awolnation), four covers do fit what the site, including of Theory of a Deadman's "Bad Girlfriend", The Foo Fighters' "Everlong", Royal Blood's "Out Of The Black", and as embedded below, Volbeat's "Still Counting"! In the videos, Cherry Crush are represented by guitarist Jules Cote, bassist John Amendola, and his son Jonny (returning to replace Rico Calvano) on drums, with Jules on vocals for the most part (Taryn Bugyra recently left the band, so they have been looking for a new singer.) The audio is somewhat muffled on these videos, but Cherry Crush handle heavier tunes well, and it's nice to see them break them out on occasion!

Now, it's worth mentioning that Jonny's drum head (still?) displays the logo of his old band Skeyes of Seven. Has he just not updated his drum head yet, or has he returned to that band? If we get any public clarification, we'll let you know, but it's nice to see him back with Cherry Crush in any event! Give their new videos a look below, and hopefully they find a new singer in due course!



Finally for today, here's three assorted shorter items from the last while, and as usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist or website name:

  • New local metal band Debt To The Heirless have changed their name to Kaepora Gaebora, referencing the wise owl character from the Legend of Zelda video game series, as per their Facebook page yesterday. A reason for the name change wasn't announced, other than to say that the decision came as a result of their sound development & establishment of the band. The new name is somewhat out of left field, but with members of Bring The Fallen/Misery and Them in their lineup, don't bypass Kaepora Gaebora when they finally debut on stage!
  • This doesn't bear directly on local metal, hard rock, and punk news, but local news website SooToday launched a new layout and design today, which you may have already sampled on their sister sites in other cities. It'll take some getting used to, but it has a cleaner and more modern look, and things seem easy to find (including for entertainment updates), so give the new SooToday a look!
  • In a surprise find, unmastered rough mixes of the first three songs from Woods of Ypres' third album "The Deepest Roots & Darkest Blues" can be streamed on their page on the goth culture social networking site VampireFreaks! Though the page hasn't been regularly maintained by the defunct black metal band since at least 2007, the songs ("The Northern Cold", "Iron Grudge", and "Your Ontario Town Is A Burial Ground") still work perfectly, and it's interesting to hear these songs in their early unpolished form! Give them a listen above!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for last month's poll results and our new poll tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 15, 2016

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Griphook), New Videos, And More!!

I hope everyone's having a great day! For today's post, we're touching on a recent news article with a unique metal tie, a pair of new videos referencing two local acts, but first, here's a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for a veteran cover band's long awaited return to the stage!

Local hard rock cover quartet Griphook will return to the stage on Saturday, January 23rd for a headlining concert at The Rockstar Bar! After a six month stage hiatus (apparently to focus on learning new material), this talented veteran band will finally unveil the fruits of their recent labour for fans next Saturday, in what will be their first show of 2016, their first of any type since Rotaryfest last year, and their first at The Rockstar Bar since 2014! Remember, Griphook are the band featuring ex-100 Gran frontman Joel Syrette, ex-Bigsuit guitarist Brian Oja, ex-Hollow bassist Dan Beaupre, and ex-Gsis Murphy drummer Anthony Fabiano, and all have the chops for heavier material, so don't bypass them next weekend! And yes, this is a one nighter, no word on who's playing at the venue next Friday. There's a 10:00 PM start time for this concert, you must be 19 or older to attend, and there's no announced cover charge (but have cash on hand just in case.) For more details, visit the official Facebook event page!

Griphook's recent break was a little worrisome given the lack of online updates, but it's great to have the guys back at last, and hopefully 2016 is a much busier year (publically, at least) than we saw last year! Stay tuned for more from Griphook as it comes in, and don't miss their return to the stage next weekend at The Rockstar Bar!

Next up, here's the first ever music video from local goregrind solo project Crucify The Whore! Set to a new song from their upcoming CD "The Beautiful Sounds of Nature", this was uploaded to label Blood Shed Productions' YouTube channel yesterday. The song's title is what it is (and comes with the territory for C.T.W.), but the video itself isn't badly put together, featuring clips from live performances, some in-studio work, and various outside antics & camaraderie. It's short, but worth watching if you love some local goregrind, so check it out below!



Also, here's a new video of local skateboarders featuring The Pixo Control's "Scratch" as the backing audio! Uploaded by YouTube user Hooksane15 on Tuesday, this is more of a skateboarding video than anything else (compiling street footage from last year as a montage), but I thought I'd acknowledge it as it's a locally filmed and edited video, featuring boarders who you may recognize from the Tidal Records skate team, and "Scratch" fits the theme well! Give it a look below!



Finally for today, here's an overdue look at a recent SooToday article on a local artist who recently got a high profile gig with a major metal band! Last week, Wawa native and ex-Sault resident Darren Emond was interviewed for an article by SooToday's David Helwig which reveals that Darren was recently selected to draw the artwork in a forthcoming Iron Maiden comic book that will be published for their upcoming Book of Souls World Tour! I won't spoil the article proper, but it highlights the personal struggles that Darren dealt with in recent years, his path to becoming an artist, his artistic influences, and how he got the gig to work on an Iron Maiden comic (sketches of which are featured with the article.) This is an in-depth piece that nicely explores Darren's career trajectory, and if you're familiar with his art, you'll know he's a talent, as the sketches show! I don't personally know Darren, but he has a bright future ahead, so check out his SooToday article at the above links, and best of luck on the release!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more news and notes in the coming days! Thanks everyone!