Sunday, December 4, 2022

Where Are The New Albums? (December 2022 Update)

After a slight delay, here's our final "Where Are The New Albums?" post of the year, where we're looking at the newest public updates on the whereabouts of upcoming albums from local metal, hard rock, and/or punk bands! This month has no removed entries, but Chase Wigmore's successfully released "We Are All Going To Die" is obviously removed from his existing write-up. Five of the seven acts below have newly updated information, as noted with the titles in italics. So, where are the new albums? Read on below to hopefully find out!

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Chase James Wigmore - The Chaotic Rite

Rumoured Songs: Multiple

Background: Ever the prolific artist & songwriter, local folk punk/extreme metal musician Chase Wigmore has been working on an extensive rock opera for years (once claimed to be a 33 part work), originally named "A Story About A Kid Named Todd". Worked on in between his other unrelated solo albums, released for sale or otherwise, Chase posted a lengthy elaboration of the rock opera earlier this year, now titled "The Chaotic Rite", outlining its concept, recording plans, and long-term release timeline. Clips of songs from the album have surfaced on his Facebook page, as well as the final artwork, while in promotion for his last release, Chase has hinted that "The Chaotic Rite" might be his final eponymous solo album.

Current Release Status: Your guess is as good as mine for when this will finally come out, but remember that Chase is very prolific and varied in his musical interests, and not every album of his has seen a formal paid release, either by finishing it's lifespan as a demo, or by being released online for free. Regardless, he has been working on the rock opera for years to ensure a quality product, so stay tuned for updates from his camp!
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Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide's fourth album

Rumoured Songs: "Lost & Found", "All Broke Down", "No Control"

Background: Local Celtic punk veterans Dustin Jones & The Rising Tide began recording sessions by October 2018 at Dustin's own Mission Control Studios, as per their Facebook page. In January 2019, the band confirmed that they were indeed recording a fourth studio album (and first since 2012), which will presumably be released through Tidal Records, and will also be their first album with second guitarist Liam Seymour & drummer Chris Johns. While "All Broke Down" was initially cited as the first single in December 2018 (source here), the first two released singles were "Lost & Found" in March 2019 & "No Control" in December 2020. Credits on the above songs' music videos note that Kyle Whittaker at Strange Pumpkin Studios in St. Catharine's is mixing the album, as he has done for multiple Tidal/Mission Control releases. Dustin posted a handful of solo songs on Tidal Records' YouTube channel in 2020, but it's not publically known whether or not they'll also be used as new Tide originals.

Current Release Status: When The Tide shared a teaser clip for "Lost & Found", they mentioned that the album was "coming soon", which doesn't tell us much, especially as the band has only posted sparingly on Facebook since the end of 2020 (in fact, they're nearing our one year's public inactivity marker). This may be partially due to fiddler Sheldon Jaaskelainen's recent out of town commitments, with Dustin focusing on Jonesy Land, The Cover-Up, and Bookclub since. Still, with recording sessions well along the way, and two music videos now public, it's likely that Dustin and company aren't early in the process, but we'll let you know if more comes out on the album!
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Fort Creek's debut EP

Rumoured Songs: "Hammer Down"

Background: Local southern/hard rock quintet Fort Creek have sporadically teased plans to record an EP since February 2020, and while the pandemic lockdowns may have gave them more time to record, they wouldn't release a sample from the sessions until almost two years later when they shared this snippet of their single "Hammer Down" their Facebook page, later posting this 72 second clip. The guys debuted it at their headlining concert at Soo Blaster in June, and have played it live regularly since, but they have yet to release any full tracks online. It's not clear if new rhythm guitarist Bill Brouillard will be part of the recordings, or if his predecessor Matt Sibilo's tracks will remain on the final product.

Current Release Status: Fort Creek originally planned to release the EP in "late summer", but their Rotaryfest Stage 1 write-up says that it will come out in "late 2022". We're there now, and the band will return from a three month hiatus next weekend, but whether the break was to work on the EP isn't publically known There are a lot of unknowns either way, especially given the 2 years of production time and that this is a band primarily known for their work on the weekend cover circuit (though some members do have experience in name original bands, especially Matt and Tony). It will be interesting to see how things develop, so stay tuned!
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Handsome Sandwich - "Deconstructed"

Rumoured Songs: "All Or Nothing", "Bitter", "No Entry", "No Idea"

Background: After taking a year+ long hiatus during the pandemic, local "no genre" band Handsome Sandwich reunited last summer with a new lineup, with Jesse Cook & Johnny Belanger now joined by singer Taylor Emlaw, guitarist Mitch Sirie, and (as of this summer) bassist Rafael Medina. Via their new Facebook page & YouTube channel, the band almost instantly began teasing a debut album (after previously being covers-only from 2017-2020), posting videos of them playing original songs. In June 2021, Handsome Sandwich revealed that the album had began pre-production, with recording at Unsalted Audio with producer Dustin Goodall. The band also confirmed in July that guest saxophonist Josh Norling will appear on their new song "No Entry". Last month, the band confirmed that the album's name was changed from "Lettuce" to "Deconstructed", and that recording sessions had wrapped, with Jordan Zadorozny set to mix the tracks at Skylark Park in Pembroke

Current Release Status: If you believe Taylor's on-stage remarks at The Soo's Got Talent in October (source here), the album is slated to be released on May 5th, an oddly specific date given the then-7 month time gap. Regardless on if that date will prove to be true, the new look band has definitely hit the ground running since resuming activity last year, and they have gotten a positive reception for the new material so far, so stay tuned for updates from Handsome Sandwich's camp when they have them!

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Mike Haggith - "All The Best In All You Do"

Rumoured Songs: "I've Seen It Before", "Twist of Fate", "If Only You Could Hear Me"

Background: During his live-streamed Facebook concert in February, local/Thompson, Manitoba alt-hard rock musician Mike Haggith revealed that he was working on his newest studio album, entitled "All The Best In All You Do". Like his other Thompson-era albums, this will have an overarching concept, this time about the transition out of depression and being manipulated by others, into a happier personal life. At the time, Mike was 35% done with the album, and he has played two new originals planned for it in live-streams and in his 2022 concerts in both Thompson and the Soo, as well as "If Only You Could Hear Me", a still-unreleased song from early in his time in Thompson. A single version of "Twist of Fate" was unveiled in July, and live videos of all three songs can be found on Mike's Facebook page and/or YouTube channel.

Current Release Status: Given Mike's day job and personal commitments, he hasn't been as active on social media in recent months, but he is playing live dates and presumably working on recording the new album where time allows. It is worth noting that Mike strongly hinted that he's moving out of Thompson in his live-streamed concert from last month, but he has yet to publically elaborate on that or how it may affect the album. Hopefully things are progressing naturally in studio, and we'll keep you posted!

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Mike McCleary - Fallout From Midnight Tides

Rumoured Songs: Unknown

Background: After taking a couple of years off from public updates on his solo music (and taking down much of his prior back catalog from streaming services), local hard rock solo musician Mike McCleary announced on his Facebook page in January that he was working on new original music. In April, Mike clarified that this would be an instrumental album (his de-listed albums all had vocals) inspired by his own curiosity and creative thinking. Mike has since posted a sampler video featuring the planned album artwork and title, and he also revealed the album's planned track structure (seven songs, three being 7+ minutes long), but has kept most specifics close to his vest.

Current Release Status: Mike was very optimistic about the album's progress, but was intentionally not putting a public timetable on when it will be completed, and things were complicated when his hard drive containing his new music crashed last month (the files still hadn't been recovered as of the 10th, and no updates have followed). Hopefully he can recover everything and that this isn't a huge bump in the road towards his new album, but we'll keep you posted when we hear more!

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The Uncanny Valley's debut album

Rumoured Songs: "The Uncanny Valley", "Glowin'", "Middle Man", “This Love is Psychedelic”, "Stuck In Rotation", “Sweet Like Sugar”, "Fumbling Through"

Background: The new classic hard rock band from 2019 Soo's Got Talent winner Adrian Sullivan, fans will have seen original material of theirs right from the start, as The Uncanny Valley debuted their own songs in their first live concert at The Canadian on New Year's Eve 2019. Live concert & jam session videos have followed on their Facebook page featuring their own material as well. After posting a teaser audio clip of "Sweet Like Sugar" in September 2020, they posted the full studio version of "Middle Man" last October, finally confirming there that they are working on their first album. The guys did record a studio version of "Stuck In Rotation" at Unsalted Audio for the Clusterfolk Music Festival and a related compilation album in April, but whether that exact recording will be included on the band's own album is unclear.

Current Release Status: No clue, which isn't helped by The Uncanny Valley's age and relatively unfamiliar profile for many readers, not to mention the complications of the pandemic, but they have played a number of local concerts in the past few months. That said, they are a talented group who seemed to be taking the right steps for the future, and hopefully more updates on The Uncanny Valley's debut album follow in some form or another when ready!

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I hope you guys liked this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post! This series should return on or around January 2nd to kick off 2023 in this series, while our next monthly feature profile will likely be this month's Defunct Local Band Profile on Saturday. That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes on the site soon! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, December 3, 2022

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Soundcheck & The Northwest), Ravencore Updates, And More!!

With some big news that I didn't want to fall by the wayside being announced today, I'm postponing this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post to tomorrow so we can dive into the news and notes, including a new music video, early details on a new local hard rock band, and leading off, LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for the holidays!

Local indie punk quintet The Northwest will end the year with a headlining concert at LopLops Lounge on Wednesday, December 28th! The post-Christmas gig will be their first live appearance since their North Bay show in October, their first on a local stage since opening for Marianas Trench in September, and their first at LopLops since the pandemic began, so in the latter case, this is definitely a long time coming, and their upbeat indie and punk originals should fit right in there at month's end! The opening band is The Gambit, who are actually the newly renamed and revived Sick Sons, the 2019-2020 punk supergroup whose last public act before last month was to cancel a planned headlining gig at LopLops in March 2020 (we all know why), though they never fully disbanded during their pandemic hiatus. A reason for their name change wasn't announced, but it is great to see The Sick Sons Gambit back after well over 2½ years!

It is worth noting that LopLops are undergoing some type of redesign, including a garage door installed on the front of the Queen Street East building and some extra interior changes, as per this SaultOnline article, though I have no clue how far along things will be come the 28th. If this is a sign towards LopLops re-opening on a pre-pandemic basis, then fantastic! This 8:00 PM and 19+ event has $20 advance tickets that you can buy through Eventbrite at the official Facebook event page (no word on in-person availability yet). The Wednesday timing isn't ideal, but if you the next day off still for the holidays, don't miss out on the punk action on the 28th, and see above for more details!

Next up, local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return to Shooters Downstairs Lounge on Saturday, December 31st as their New Year's Eve party headliners! While not yet confirmed by the venue's Facebook page (which hasn't even plugged Soundcheck's shows there this weekend), the band announced the event via this Facebook event page. 2022 is profoundly lucky to have New Year's Eve proper on a Saturday night, so Soundcheck's hard rocking array of covers should attract a sizeable audience of revelers sending out 2021 the right way! No word yet on what kind of seasonal frills to expect for the occasion, but there should be something extra beyond the band & a New Year's countdown. As such, while a cover charge hasn't been announced yet, bring cash just in case. This is obviously a 19+ event and it starts at 8:00 PM. Visit the above links for more details!

Also today, let's answer an unanswered question from our Toystock coverage: Who are Ravencore? They still don't have an online band page that I'm aware of, but they actually got spotlighted on SooToday via this article by Darren Taylor this morning, confirming some of my suspicions from personal Facebook posts. As best as I can gather, their lineup features former Suicide Kings vocalist Mike Gaetano and guitarist Mitch Sirie (last seen together when that band reunited for the 2018 Rotaryfest) alongside ex-Gnaeus bassist Matt Fronzi and former Brutally Fatal/Revolution frontman Austin McCrae on drums. The article on SooToday actually primarily deals in Mike and his 10 year old son Gavin, who joined Ravencore on stage for their live debut at The Grand Gardens North last week, taking over on drums for a cover of Weezer's "Beverly Hills" that reportedly was well received!

A couple of brief, brief videos of Ravencore's set are on personal Facebook accounts, one seeing them cover Good Charlotte's "Lifestyles Of The Rich & Famous", but neither are publically shared. The article notes that Ravencore formed shortly before band applications for Toystock began, they have been working on original songs, and that they hope to record a debut album in the spring. The article has some minor mistakes (i.e. it wasn't 11 bands in 11 hours at Toystock), but it's a nice article especially for the sake of Mike's family, and hopefully we hear more from Ravencore ahead, especially if(?) they launch an online page of some kind!

Finally for today, here's a brand new video from Sault Michigan classical metal band Theatre of Night's YouTube channel! A rendition of "Silent Night", fans will have first heard it instrumentally on their debut album "Christmas Night" over a decade ago, but this new version features singer Rachel Mender and has recently been uploaded to streaming services like YouTube Music as "Silent Night V2". The video features Rachel, guitarist Steve Giles, and keyboardist Craig Harrison (no Luke or Erik) performing individually in close, low-lit monochrome, though the performances are sometimes layered over each other or included in inset windows. This is quite a good rendition of this classic carol if you like symphonic metal, and Rachel's voice is a nice fit as you'd expect, and with cool visuals to boot, so check it out for yourselves below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post on the site next, guaranteed! Thanks everyone!

Friday, December 2, 2022

Rhythm & Brews Concert Previews, Plus New Videos From Both Sides Of The Border!!

As promised, we're wrapping up this weekend's announced hard rock concert previews today, and rounding things out are some videos from two E.U.P. bands and one solo performance clip from this side of the border. Let's stay in Michigan to start, so here's what you should know!

Local hard rock quartet Rhythm & Brews will return to The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin Casino for concerts TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! Surprisingly acknowledged on their Facebook page this week (the band often doesn't plug their shows publically there), these gigs see the Nixxon Dixxon alumni-bolstered group back at it following a show in Rudyard last week, with these being their first Rapids Lounge gigs since September. While Rhythm & Brews still don't post videos online from their shows (possibly on purpose to encourage that you actually attend in person), their talented and experienced lineup should deliver the hard rock cover goods for E.U.P. fans this weekend, so head to the Soo's Kewadin branch to see what they have in store! As usual for The Rapids Lounge, these are 9:00 PM events with no cover charges and 21+ age limits. Visit the above links for more details on this weekend's concerts!

Next up, here's a new live video of fellow local hard rock quartet Tarnished from their set opening for Steel Panther at the local Kewadin Casino's Dreammakers Theatre last week! Uploaded to their Facebook page yesterday (in between lots of photos, including one with half of Steel Panther), the video sees Tarnished playing their original/Banned carryover "Cocaine Riot" from a close but sharp angle near the stage's far left corner. While not a stationary camera, the steady view of the guys is effective (Josh being obscured acknowledged) with good use of zoom where needed. They sound good here and "Cocaine Riot" was a good choice for a hair metal show like this, so check it out for yourself below!

Also today, here's some new videos from St. Ignace metalcore quintet Heavy Lies The Crown's Facebook page in the last few days! On Monday, singer Brandon West shared a 34 second video from his personal Facebook page of him drumming, joking that he just wants to go faster and might quit singing. He drums well in the black & white clip, but it's hard to gauge how technically sound he is from the video's length. Still a fun watch! The next day, they posted a link to a campaign on Opnr to find in-demand regional bands to open for certain concerts. In this case, they're angling to open for Escape The Fate when they play in Grand Rapids on Wednesday. That doesn't leave a ton of time to garner support, but click here if you want to help the cause! Their newest two are gag videos that aren't musical at all with this one featuring guitarist Ted Olson running in a green wig.

The other clip features Brandon running at a similar angle with something to say. I feel like I'm missing important context, but fans seem to get a kick out of them! As the only new video with music is the drumming clip, I'll embed it below, but visit the above links for more from H.L.T.C.!

Let's close things up north in Sault Ontario via a new solo performance video by local folk punk/extreme metal musician Chase Wigmore! Uploaded to his Facebook page late last night, the four minute video sees him playing an acoustic guitar piece on a tight camera angle, with almost a Spanish guitar vibe alongside faint rock music in the background. Definitely not on the spectrum of genres we usually hear from him, but it's a wonderful showcase of Chase's pure guitar talent, so give it a watch below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post on the site next! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Soundcheck) And Sault Ontario Weekend Concert Previews!!

The first concert weekend of December is upon us, so let's kick off the month right! Due to the amount of shows this weekend, I'll hold the Rhythm & Brews shows in Sault Michigan for tomorrow's post, so don't worry, they are coming! Now, here's what you should know in Sault Ontario for hard rock concerts, starting with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Soundcheck will return to Shooters Downstairs Lounge for concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, the band only announced these gigs via their Facebook event page earlier today, and at press time, the venue has not confirmed the dates online. Fresh off of their return to Toystock this past weekend, TOMORROW & SATURDAY'S concerts will be Cameron, Terry, Paul (or Rob?), and Glen's first shows at the Dennis Street nightclub since a one nighter in mid-November, but it's been a wait since the summer for them to double up for a weekend at Shooters like this. Despite the late notice, hopefully Soundcheck's classic, hard rock, and country covers find solid audiences TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! These are 8:00 PM gigs with 19+ age limits and no cover. See above for more details, and here's Soundcheck live in concert earlier this year!


Next up, local funk/hard rock cover sextet The Wyld Stallyns will return to Outspoken Brewing for a concert at their Taproom TOMORROW NIGHT as previously announced, but following that, their new run of gigs on the first Friday of every month will take them back to the same venue on Friday, January 6th! The description on event posters confirms that The Stallyns have agreed to play the first Friday each month there, end date unclear, hence us listing the January gig. Last seen at The Whiskey Barrel a couple of weeks ago, the Speers & company have ingratiated themselves well with Outspoken this year, and hopefully tomorrow's show at the newly confirmed January date both go swimmingly with their hard rocking cover set! Both shows have 8:30 PM start times, 19+ age limits, and entry to the Taproom has a suggested $10 cover, though "pay what you can" is also offered. Visit the Facebook event page for more details, and here are The Wyld Stallyns live!

Now, we'll stick entirely with this weekend's hard rock concert previews by heading to Reggie's Place, where local southern hard rock trio Bone Yard will return for headlining concerts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Fresh off of their headlining duties at Toystock (fallout forthcoming), these will be Bone Yard's first shows at the Queen Street East mainstay nightclub in three weeks, and these comprise the penultimate weekend in Bone Yard's six week run of steady weekend concerts. Of those six weekend bookings, Reggie's is the only locale to be booked twice, so hopefully existing and new Boneheads alike come out for Bone Yard's southern fried hard rock covers tomorrow and/or Saturday night! As usual, expect 9:00 PM start times, no cover charges, and 19+ age limits. Visit the above links for more details, and here's Bone Yard live!

Finally for today, new local metal trio The BAG will reportedly make their public concert debuts TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT when they headline at The Esquire Club! For full disclosure, the band has not posted on their Facebook group for any reason since November 13th, and The Esquire Club still haven't acknowledged The BAG as playing this weekend, but unless given reason otherwise, we'll cover these shows as normal. After months of house/backyard parties and recording sessions towards a handful of singles on streaming platforms, this will be The BAG's first test in front of a public audience, and if you want a sampling of what Spencer, Austin, and Bradley bring to the table, check out this setlist from one of their private gigs. Their original material so far points to a solid groove/thrash metal hybrid sound, but hopefully their covers will carry them to a strong reception in the west end (assuming these are still on!)

Originally scheduled for online page-less local cover band Buzzsaw Jaw before dropping out for unannounced reasons, tomorrow & Saturday night's shows have 9:00 PM start times, no cover charges, and 19+ age limits. Visit the official Facebook event page for more details, and for a preview, here's one of two brand new songs from The BAG! Quietly posted on their YouTube channel on November 12th and recorded in their Mission Control Studio sessions in the summer, the new tracks are "Roadkill" (which is a short groove metal rocker with a nice guitar solo) and embedded below, "Get Out", a slower and thrashier track that delivers a promisingly intense sound, so definitely check both out above & berlow!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our Rhythm & Brews preview and more on the site next! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Steel Panther Concert Videos, A Full AlgomA Concert Set, And Much More!!

Before we begin today's post, I wanted to apologize for a missed concert in this past weekend's previews, as local classic/hard rock musician Tym Morrison returned to the stage for a special matinee concert on Saturday at... the Community First Curling Centre?! The gig, Tym's first since the end of his bi-weekly Shooters run, was as musical entertainment during day #2 of the Anita Boulevard curling rink's Labatt Ribeye Cashspiel tournament, but the venue never plugged Tym as the Saturday performer, and Tym only announced the gig via his Facebook event page an hour before showtime. I apologize again for missing this one, it was just on too late of notice, but I hope Tym's set was well received by music & curling fans alike!

Now, today's post is mostly devoted to recent Sault Michigan updates, plus a newly uploaded Sault Ontario concert video, but let's start across the river with the first known public video from The Dreammakers Theatre at the local Kewadin Casino this past Saturday night! From what I have heard, the concert was a hit on musical and humorous levels, so it's great to see that Steel Panther picked up where they left off here four years ago! The video comes from YouTube user splatfreak's channel in his first upload from a local event, though he has previously posted videos from concerts in northern Wisconsin. Despite the 10 minute+ runtime, this video only features one song, namely "Asian Hooker", with the first six minutes comprised of the band introducing each other as only they can.

Featuring Steel Panther's brand of 18+, sex joke-heavy adult humour in both the banter and the song (plus some Rick Allen jokes and a preceding brief Def Leppard cover), this is definitely NSFW but very fun for hair metal fans in on the gag, and underneath the comedy exterior, Steel Panther are a strong glam metal band! The video quality is quite good too, with Josh on first row, almost side-stage angle, and everything looks and sounds clear, to a point where I could even recognize some attendees! Check this out below, and hopefully more videos from the show turn up!

At press time, this was the only video from the concert that I've seen on a public source, but local openers Tarnished did post this short video onto their Facebook page a half hour before showtime, as filmed by a band associate backstage at the casino. Here, the guys give final hype for the show, noting that there were still a few tickets available, and if you didn't come out, Isaac and Josh were going to come to your place and.... well, watch the video to find out what! Amusing final push, and it sounds like the local hard rock band had a good set based on what I've heard since, so give their pre-show clip a watch below!

Also today, here's something that I apologize for forgetting to talk about on the SMS when it went live, namely a full concert set from inactive Sault Ontario doom metal trio AlgomA! This was shot during their appearance at Dank Fest, an 11 band all-ages concert marathon put on by Heavy North Entertainment at The Oddfellows Hall in April 2014, which was actually AlgomA's debut appearance at the late lamented Dennis Street venue. Uploaded to guitarist/vocalist Boyd "Darby Wigwaus" Rendell's current project Molten Imp's YouTube channel last month, the 42 minute set (eighth in the performance order) was filmed by a stationary camera behind assembled fans, so the view isn't optimal of Boyd, Kevin, and Jamie (a.k.a. Darby, Marty, and Geezer), but the sound mostly holds up! The songs performed include "Extinct Volcanoes", "Bedsores", "Electric Fence", "Phthisis", "Go On, Git!", and "Tertiary Syphillis".

Yes, only six songs, but the first two alone eat up half of the set! If you're curious, their set included all but two songs from their 2014 debut EP "Reclaimed By The Forest" plus both tracks from their 2016 split with Chronobot. The video is oddly slanted to the left (not a tilted angle, the video is skewed), and the red stage lighting can be overpowering, but AlgomA's slow, punishing ferocity is well captured, especially at this early stage of their local run, and fans are into it, even getting a few mosh pits going! Give it a look for yourselves below, and check out my review of Dank Fest in its entirety at this link, including my video of "Electric Fence"!

We'll close today back in Michigan for some of the latest from St. Ignace metalcore quintet Heavy Lies The Crown, who have been busy in studio as of late but got surprisingly busy posting videos and assorted teasers related to the sessions on their Facebook page, plus some fan engagement and meme sharing. As of November 12th, they were almost done recording two songs and were working on more riffs, so things are on their way! In their first new video of the month on the 11th, H.L.T.C. posted this 5 second clip with their duck mascot Iggy inserted into another meme, while this 7 second video of guitarist Ted Olson playing a riff through heavy video filters followed two days later. On November 21st, this video was shared to showcase the official Heavy Lies The Crown hockey jerseys that were ordered, albeit only ten, but they look sharp for hockey fans! Definite Mighty Ducks (movie) vibes from them for multiple reasons.

The buyers will look sharp in them, too bad they're limited edition! A video from singer Brandon West's Facebook page was shared yesterday featuring their song "Voices" set to that Belvedere vodka commercial with Daniel Craig, with teasers about new music ahead. Embedded below is their newest prior video that doesn't have any music to content match, namely this 19 second video from Saturday night where Brandon noted that they're "finishing off the recording (and) doing some sweet things". Time will tell where this leads, but give it and more a look above & below!

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

Monday, November 28, 2022

PROV3RB5 - "What Dreams My Come" EP Review!!

It's now time for our 161st monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, as we're taking a look at local/Toronto progressive metal trio PROV3RB5's debut EP "What Dreams May Come"! Independently released to major streaming platforms on November 1st, this short digital-only EP features instrumental versions of their first three original songs, which were previously released online with vocals from ex-singer Josh Ratliff. In this form, PROV3RB5 are represented by guitarist Benjamin Roswell and Toronto-based bassist/drummer Bryan Lee (the songs were recorded before new drummer Phil Greco joined the band), while Kevin Xiong from the Minnesota metal band Stelliferous guests on the last song. As the versions with vocals never had an album release, I'll primarily review these as instrumentals, but I will make comparisons at the end. You can hear the EP for free on Spotify, Apple Music, and Deezer (all linked at this Distrokid page).

If you want to actually buy the mp3 files, "What Dreams May Come" is on sale for $2.97 on iTunes, and now on Bandcamp for $3, so keep those options in mind also! Featuring three songs (all close in length) running for 13 minutes, let's begin this review with the opening song, "Sea of Tranquility"! After a softer guitar opening, the well layered progressive technicality is on full display, with an effective staccato riff early and some solidly crushing djent riffs at the mid-point, but this song operates on multiple effective tracks and will satiate extreme metal and prog fans! The drums are too monotone during the guitar solo (itself a little short for my liking), but as a pure showcase of Ben & Bryan's talents, this is a good introduction to what PROV3RB5 are all about!

The middle song is "Treasure Forest", whose title is a better thematic match to the song than "Sea of Tranquility" was. I do find that the first song executed its melodies and layering better, but "Treasure Forest" does have heavier moments on average, and at points, it reminds me moreso of a video game level music. Benjamin's guitar work and time signature changes are worth the price of admission alone, and the percussion does flow better down the stretch. Maybe a little too much of the twinkly ethereal parts (including the outro), but genre fans should still be into this one! The closer has PROV3RB5 & guest Kevin Xiong playing "Particles", which doesn't stray from prior formulas despite the added guitarist. This one more alternates between heavy prog metal and softer, more ambient (but drum-heavy) bridges, so for headbanging purposes, it comes and goes. When it's on though, it's very much on, especially with Bryan's bass work!

The melodies are on point throughout "Particles", so this ends things on a solid note! As for comparing these songs to the versions with Josh's singing, this style of progressive metal doesn't stick to a traditional structure for composition, so the songs don't feel empty without vocals. That said, Josh is a capable harsh vocalist with clean singing and harmonizing abilities, and while the tone of his screaming isn't my favourite, the first melody you pick up on from these songs is definitely altered when you have him featured, so in a way, these songs are new experiences with Josh, or without if you heard them first. Listen to the versions with vocals on major streaming platforms!

Overall, PROV3RB5 will definitely be worth checking out for fans of progressive metal, especially given the subgenre's shelf life for other local bands! PROV3RB5 benefited from having an established profile in the online metal community before Benjamin ever started making a local push for the project, and he and Bryan are a strong pairing with high proficiency in their instruments! While not full bore heavy on the three songs (each has ebbs and flows into softer sections), their metal credibility is readily apparent, and there's nowhere to go but up, especially given their teasers of late! I will say that, with each song hovering around 4:31, they will blur together for many listeners, especially in this instrumental form, and some extra variance would help to make them stand out, such as longer/more substantive guitar solos or more of a relentless death metal influence on some songs.

The drums were also something that could be mildly distracting based on repetitive tracks and beats, especially in the second half of songs, and again, while the lack of vocals isn't a hindrance, their inclusion dramatically changes the songs' initial perception, so keep that in mind based on what you like out of your metal. PROV3RB5 are definitely on their way though, and hopefully this EP goes some way to giving them a true foothold in the local scene, but check it out for yourself above! I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, and look for our year-ending review of Chase Wigmore's "We Are All Going To Die" on the site next month! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, November 27, 2022

YouTube Channel Profile Series: quasarwaves, These Magnificent Tentacles - Topic, and steelsour7319's Channels

Here's this month's YouTube Channel Profiles, continuing our monthly feature spotlights of YouTube channels whose content is at least half devoted to local metal, hard rock, and/or punk artists and/or concerts! As the first channel that we randomly selected only had one video, and the second only had four songs (one a re-recording) primarily from one EP, we're tripling up this month, but there's an interesting array of performances to take in, so here's what you should know! 

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Lee T Maines (http://youtube.com/quasarwaves)  

Owner: Former Gates of Winter frontman and Woods of Ypres guitarist Lee Maines

Channel Timeline: Launched on January 8th, 2010; Only surviving video posted on December 2nd, 2011

Channel Summary: As fans should remember, local progressive death metal band Gates of Winter slowly worked on a third album named "Perihelion" from their 2010 return from hiatus as a studio project through their last public activity in 2016, with most teaser clips from the sessions being taken down as the guys worked on perfecting the material. Alas, the album never came out, but one of the few surviving clips is Lee's only remaining video on his YouTube channel, where he played 51 seconds of the riff from a song tentatively named "Wormhole Mechanics" to test track mirroring. It's a shame that "Perihelion" was never finished, as Gates of Winter's pure technicality was excellent on their 2010s sample media, and Lee's in fine form here, but hopefully we'll hear completed songs in some form down the line!


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These Magnificent Tenatcles - Topic (http://youtube.com/channel/UCJIHHa1lrPJwMyCeErf9k8g)

Owner: An original member of local alternative/punk band These Magnificent Tentacles, identity unclear, though the uploaded music was from their run as a duo

Channel Timeline: Launched on March 23rd, 2022; All videos uploaded that same day

Channel Summary: This is an auto-generated YouTube channel made to host songs submitted by Brent & Steve to YouTube Music, thusly featuring their debut EP "Surfacing..." from the previous month and the original (but very similar) studio version of its opening song "The Abyss", which is actually the most viewed upload there. These Magnificent Tentacles have since expanded to a full five-piece band, but have been publically dormant for four months now, so it remains to be seen how fast they could put out new material for streaming services. Still, these are entertaining and varied songs that point to a promising future, and hopefully that will be realized in 2023!


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Steel Sour (http://youtube.com/steelsour7319)  

Owner: A member of 2018-2019 local hard rock band Steel Sour, identity unclear

Channel Timeline: Launched on May 9th, 2019; Only video uploaded that same day

Channel Summary: The official YouTube channel for this short lived group, their jam session video cover of The Tragically Hip's "New Orleans Is Sinking" was their final public act before dissolving later that year. Steel Sour featured a massive seven piece lineup (at least for this jam), including Robert Nevitt on vocals, backing vocalist Nicole Ambeault, guitarists Rick Atkins, Randy Russell, and Fred Dunn, bassist Steve Bentley (with impressive wig), and drummer James White, notably featuring multiple members of Re:Born, Lockdown, Big Mistake, and Dealing Without. Despite the manpower in this basement, the cover is lively, energetic, and doesn't feel rushed, and it's a shame that Steel Sour didn't keep going!


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I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profiles! To end 2022 in this series, we're doing multiple channels again, as the first randomly selected channel only has one video, and the second only has a handful of similar uploads. As such, we'll be looking at the channels of YouTube users AtYourC3rvix (featuring a live Uncanny Valley video) and mikemccleary3123 (featuring five original songs of his, some with accompanying videos or lyric tracks). Look for them on or around Boxing Day, nd stay tuned for more news & notes (and this month's CD review) in the coming days! Thanks everyone!