Sunday, September 30, 2012

Woods Of Ypres - "Woods III: The Deepest Roots & Darkest Blues" Review!!

It's now time for our 39th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and this month, we're looking at defunct local blackened doom metal standouts Woods of Ypres' third album "Woods III: The Deepest Roots & Darkest Blues"! Released on January 3rd, 2008, this album was recorded at Obsidian Sound Studios & Chemical Sound Studios in Toronto in 2006 & 2007, and it was their last black metal-centric studio album, their last studio album released through Krankenhaus Records, & their last album before relocating to Sault Ste. Marie. On this CD, Woods of Ypres were represented by the late David Gold on vocals, guitar, and drums, alongside producer Dan Hulse on bass & backing vocals, and "Woods II" returnee Jessica Rose on the keyboard. Though currently not in print, "W3" can be purchased officially through iTunes at this location, and CD copies of the album are fairly easy to track down online! There might be some local copies floating around too, and while it can be found online in various free forms (each song title below is linked to a YouTube upload of it), I'd still pick the CD up to support David's memory & the band's work!

Note as well that this will be our last review of a Woods of Ypres studio album (as we've already reviewed the other 4), but we should begin reviewing their singles & compilations next year. With 15 songs clocking in at over 72 minutes of music, this could be a long one, so let's begin with the opening track!

"Woods III" opens with the album's single "The Northern Cold", which opens with sounds of nature and the forest before launching into a guitar and keyboard intro which leads into harsh black metal vocals and a quickening pace and solidly fast drumming. Oddly starting with the chorus first before any verses, we get a nice mix of David's clean vocals and Dan's backing death growls conveying well the love of the northern cold and why exactly David feels at home there. The balance of singing styles is really well done, and the backing music is catchy and mixes melodic styling and heavy riffs & drumming really well! That said, the keyboards aren't too clear on heavier stretches, and the lack of a guitar solo is disappointing (as it will be on the rest of the CD), but "The Northern Cold" is a great & catchy black metal song that feels like a natural extension of Woods of Ypres' early roots in the genre, while also hinting at their doom metal future in many ways, so this is a solid start to their third album!

Second on the CD is "Iron Grudge", which starts off in very heavy fashion with very fast and brutal black metal riffing and drumming, and it shows Woods of Ypres in very brutal fashion with some welcome orchestral elements thrown in! Lyrically referring to holding an "iron grudge" against an unnamed opposer, this song feels like something that might have been on "Against the Seasons" had David been the band's frontman at the time, judging by it's extra melody and shorter length, and as it's a straightforward black metal song, there's no clean vocals to be found. That said, "Iron Grudge" does feel repetitive after a while, and a guitar solo or a softer section would have helped to break it up. As well, the vocals are a bit too quiet, but this is an effectively brutal black metal song that fans of Woods of Ypres' early output should eat up!

Song #3 is "Your Ontario Town Is A Burial Ground", which is arguably the most popular song locally from "W3", despite it's lyrical content alluding to Sault Ste. Marie as one of many northern "burial grounds" that some dislike or aspire to leave. The truth and real feelings behind the song can be debated, but the song's entertainment value can't be, in my opinion! Aside from a late harshly-sung verse & some backing growls, this song is largely done cleanly & resembles a sped up version of Woods of Ypres' later releases, with a slower intro, melodic guitar & keyboard melodies, and deep clean vocals that show David's improving range nicely! "Your Ontario Town..." is helped by being very catchy and easy to get into & sing along with, and while it's not overly heavy, the feelings & themes ring a bell and do keep my attention! Dan's bass work stands out as well, and while it's not a terribly risky song, it's easy to see why "Your Ontario Town..." was the only "W3" song to survive in the band's 2010-2011 setlists, given it's catchy heaviness & interesting messages!

Fourth on "The Deepest Roots..." is "Through Chaos & Solitude I Came...", another heavy black metal number that does hint in atmosphere and clean vocals to their later doom material! Lyrically alluding to life on the road and David's connection to black metal & the north, this feels more like what "Iron Grudge" should have with a more broken up and melodic take on black metal, and the band are firing on most cylinders here! David's singing & drumming are as good as you'd expect at this point, and Dan's bass work is heavy and low to go with everything, and my only real musical quibble (guitar solos aside) is that Jessica should have been a bit louder here. Still, this is one of the early highlights on "Woods III", and it blends Woods of Ypres' old & new styles really well!

That's followed by "Years of Silence (and the Private Joke)", a song which seems to allude to the breakdown of a relationship & how only they knew that they'd become the joke in question. Building gradually into a very melodic (but up-tempo) metal song, with David singing at different tempos and emotional levels, only minimally using black metal influences. While different from it's surrounding tracks, the members are playing at a high level with nice melodies and solid keyboard work, and it has an oddly happy mood at points, so it works on that basis! That said, if you're looking for a heavier and more brutal song, this isn't it. Sixth is "Distractions of Living Alone", a 6 minute+ black metal number about the somewhat grim thought processes and feelings developed from living alone. A very slowly paced first half alludes to future output musically, before increasing in heaviness and black metal intensity midway through, before changing back to a slower (if more epic) closing stretch, which helps this song not drag despite it's length. This is a very well done and thought out song by all members, and it does have a lonely vibe to it, with a sound that should appeal to all eras of Woods of Ypres fans, even if it's not the most positive song!

The seventh & eighth songs are "Deepest Roots: The Belief That All Is Lost" & "Darkest Blues: The Relief That Nothing Can Be Done", which are essentially one long 7 minute track about mortality & how life would exist without you, with other intriguing northern elements. Despite being broken in two parts, like the opening songs on "Against the Seasons", I think it'd be best to review them as one complete song. Abruptly beginning with black metal vocals and a slow swinging melody, the pace slowly builds to a soft clean section that seems too timid for the genre, before reverting to the earlier feel. The "Deepest Roots" section, barely 2:12 in length, doesn't stand on it's own well as more than an intro, but things pick up greatly in the "Darkest Blues" portion, unleashing into a black metal fury with plenty of aggression and great bass work and blasting drums! The choruses are really catchy, and Jessica's keyboard parts really add to the atmosphere of "Darkest Blues", including a solo-ish section late, which I welcome! The last 40 seconds or so take on a dirge-like doomy quality, which add a nice ending to this 7 minute epic, which covered a lot of ground! You guys are best served to listen to these tracks together, but split up, "Deepest Roots" doesn't stand on it's own compared to "Darkest Blues" and it's brutal intensity.

Next on "Woods III" is "The Thrill of the Struggle", which seems to be about striving to live and move on despite a breakup of a relationship, and embracing the related challenges. It leads from a soft guitar intro into a black metal fury with nicely audible keyboard accompaniment and suitably aggressive singing! The choruses are promising and have a nice hook, but the vocals strike me as too layered into the music. The song is great for fans of Woods of Ypres' black metal era, but the vocals are inconsistent late, with too loud backing vocals and way too low clean singing on the first "Brutal North" section, but the music is at a high level throughout, and the drumming and riffs are great as I'd expect! Never boring, "The Thrill of the Struggle" is an well done black metal song with great lyrics, but if only the vocals stayed consistent throughout! Tenth is "December in Windsor", a song that alludes to flashbacks to an event in David's life in Windsor in December 2002, and what it helped lead to years later. A melodic and softer song, it feels almost like a more developed version of  "Shedding the Deadwood" from "Woods II", and it has that folkier feel while integrating some heaviness in the backing music. Short enough to not get repetitive, this song succeeds at it's aims, and it's got a laid back (yet serious) feel that works, but black metal fans may not get it.

The eleventh track is "Trillium: The Third of Three Winters, 2004-2007", which is notable as the only recorded instrumental by Woods of Ypres for one of their album releases! A slower black metal instrumental (until the last minute), it has many swings in mood and heaviness, and it's full of great guitar riffing and soft keyboard backing, along with solid drumming and pounding bass, but it feels like a song that was intended to have vocals at one point before being removed from the final product. Still, "Trillium" is an effective instrumental that Woods of Ypres fans should readily enjoy, especially if you loved their early output! That's followed by "Song of Redemption", another ballad-esque original which is themed around an older man trying to redeem himself for past mistakes by playing a song from his youth. Like "December in Windsor", it has a laid back style without getting depressing, yet it's lyrics have a serious vibe of reflection, but unlike that song, there's more metal influences & piano audibility, with the latter half of the song building more and more while maintaining the soft feel. It's my favourite of the softer songs on "Woods III" for it's diversity and length, but if you crave harsh vocals, the drought for that continues here.

Thirteenth is "End of Tradition", which opens with Jessica playing a graceful piano opening for about 30 seconds before the full band launches into gear. Lyrically referring to cutting long-standing relationship ties (the tradition in question), the song takes on a slower but heavy vibe early before reintroducing black metal vocals and some welcome aggression and intensity with fast paced drumming, but the clean singing on this track seems tired & unenergetic. The bass work seems to blend with the music early as well, but the second half of the song is much stronger than the first half, with more variance and anger, despite the lacking clean singing. "End of Tradition" is well done, but not consistent, and I'd like to see the energy of the second half applied to the vocals and the first half to make it an album highlight. Second last on "W3" is "To Lock Eyes With A Wild Beast", a strongly worded track calling out those who falsely believe they're who they're not. Aggressive from the start with venomous harsh singing and great pounding riffs and drumming, Taking pages from their future doom sound midway through the track, this song goes through different speeds and moods to convey it's message, including some out of place clean singing & a sudden ending, but it all adds up to a brutal black metal track that should impress and get the blood boiling!

Finally on "Woods III" is "Mistakes Artists Make (The Dream Is Dead)", a seeming indictment on making it in the music industry and the errors and setbacks along the way. Opening very heavily with nice orchestral keyboard work and a black metal fury. The black metal parts are great and fit the moods of earlier songs, but with better keyboard parts (or at least louder ones), but the clean vocals sound somewhat tired again. It's odd that the album ends on such a critical note relating to the music industry, but "Mistakes Artists Make" has the requisite fury and moods to match up with earlier songs, and the soft outro helps end this album on a warm & well performed note!

So, how do I grade Woods of Ypres' third album? Well, let me just say this first: This is my favourite Woods of Ypres studio album. To me, "W3" reaches the best of both worlds, incorporating the best of Woods of Ypres' black metal beginnings and their doom metal final years, striking a generally good balance between harsh northern black metal and more melodic and intricate styles of the genre! I'm not a scholar of black metal compared to some other genres, but Woods of Ypres hit the right note here to correct many issues of their other albums, including lots of melody, few empty stretches, and not many depressing themes. For the performers themselves, David Gold was really starting to come into his own here as a clean vocalist, and his harsh singing was more refined and clear than those of his old bandmates on "Against the Seasons", while his guitar and drum work flowed really well throughout this release! Dan Hulse proved a qualified bassist (and producer) in his only Woods album appearance, with his death metal backing growls usually adding nicely to the songs, while Jessica Rose's keyboard work was very good when clearly audible, and it's a shame she didn't stick around on future releases!

That all said, there are things I'd change despite my enjoyment of "Woods III". The clean singing definitely seemed to wear out and get tired late in the album, while some of the mixes left some instruments buried amongst the other performers (especially the keyboard early on.) Largest of all to me was the lack of guitar solos, which weren't on Woods of Ypres' prior 2 albums either, but they'd have helped to put this album even further up the ladder than it is. Knowing the solos that Bryan Belleau & Joel Violette supplied on their last 2 CDs, it's fun to speculate how they'd have added to or changed the "W3" material had they played guitar solos on them. Still, this is by far my favourite Woods CD, and reflecting back on it now, it does serve as somewhat of a transitional release between the band's Southern Ontario black metal era & their Northern Ontario doom metal era. It's disappointing that this album wasn't well represented at future Woods concerts (I think only 4 songs on the CD were played live), but hopefully it and Woods of Ypres' other studio albums continue to live on in the metal community for a long time to come, and hopefully somewhere, David knows how loved and respected Woods of Ypres remain to this day!

I hope you guys liked this month's CD review at the SMS! So, what's coming up next week? I'm not sure, but of course, a new release will gain precedence. For new albums, "Dragon Joy Ride" by Haggith has been gaining the most buzz in recent weeks in terms of an imminent release, but I've heard talk from acts like The Hubbard-Menard Band across the river too, not to mention the various albums from our monthly "Where Are The New Albums?" series, so who knows what's on the horizon? If nothing new comes out by Halloween, we'll dip into the archives, but for what album? I'm leaning towards "Let The Hammers Fly" (pictured), the initial 2008 demo by defunct local hardcore quartet Detroit, as their drummer is playing in town at the end of the month (more on that in a future news post.) Things would change if something new comes out, so stay tuned to the SMS for any possible updates on our next CD review as they come in, and stay tuned for more news and notes shortly! Thanks everyone!

Friday, September 28, 2012

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Caveman Morrison), A New Woods Of Ypres Video, And Much More!!

I wasn't planning to have a new news post tonight, but we have SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for TONIGHT AND TOMORROW, so I had to rush this one! Those lead off, along with a very cool Woods of Ypres video, artists looking for bands, and some updates to one of our monthly features, so read on below for all that you need to know!

I apologize for the short notice on these concerts, but I only just heard about them tonight: Local metal cover trio Caveman Morrison will return to The Nicolet Tavern TONIGHT AND TOMORROW NIGHT! These were among the batch of new Caveman Morrison shows that were first announced a couple of weeks back, but somehow, these two slipped through the cracks when I was gathering info on them all, so I'm badly behind. I apologize for the short notice, and thanks to drummer Johnny Belanger for mentioning these on Facebook so I could cover them on here! These shows come fresh off of Caveman Morrison's successful weekend at The Rosie, and hopefully Tym and company melt many faces with their diverse crowd pleasing blend of heavy covers! Admission should be free for both tonight & tomorrow's shows, you must be 19 to attend, and a 9:30 PM start time is advertised. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! These should be some entertaining nights of metal, so head to The Nic TONIGHT OR TOMORROW to rock out with Caveman Morrison! For a preview, here's their current lineup covering an Ozzy Osbourne classic in 2010!

Next up, here's a gem of a new Woods of Ypres video that you guys might be interested in! On Wednesday, former guitarist Bryan Belleau (Gates of Winter) uploaded this video from April 2009 to his YouTube channel of he and late Woods of Ypres mainman David Gold during the writing process of "I Was Buried In Mount Pleasant Cemetery" from that year's "Woods IV: The Green Album", and it's an interesting glimpse at the beginnings of this epic doom ballad! Featuring David on the keyboard with Bryan largely off screen on guitar, it's discernible as most of the song, and the melody's there, but there are noticeable differences, including guitar riffing through the intro (which was just the piano in the final product) and a synthier keyboard tone in the first verse, but the latter chunk of the video is more faithful to what made the album. It's great to finally see this video, and it reminds me of back when David used to release vlogs and clips from Woods of Ypres recording sessions! I wonder if Bryan (or any other ex-Woods of Ypres members) have any videos like this to share? Kudos to Bryan for posting this, and definitely check it out below!

Thirdly today, here's three short notes relating to hard rock/metal musician searches on the local Musicians Wanted Facebook group from the last week or so that you guys may be interested in! As always, these are in alphabetical order by name of the inquiring musician:
  • Former Bring The Misery guitarist Daeson Lesage is looking for a singer for his new band, which are apparently influenced by Protest The Hero, Rush, and Queen, which is promising in itself! Preference is on a singer with a "clean powerful voice" & vibratos, but recent postings indicate they may have someone. Still, if you wanna try out, message Daeson at this location!
  • Former No Arrow drummer/Faithless Sin guitarist Joe Falco is looking for guitarists and/or bassists for a band he's looking to put together, with him on guitar, though indications of a genre weren't given, and I think he has a drummer already. If you're interested in trying out or jamming with Joe's planned new project, message him at this location, and let him know your musical influences!
  • Young local musician Jon Livingstone is looking for a female singer for a new rock band he's starting. Guitar playing ability is optional, and the age range would be 15-18. I have no idea if this band would be heavier or not, but if you're a teenaged girl with singing talent, shoot Jon a message at this location!

And finally, here's some updates to our monthly CD reviews at the SMS! (I should update these more, I kinda slack on them.) These are just factual edits to information on the album, for the most part, so none of these (or future CD review edits) will be editing the content of my actual review. They were products of how I felt at the time, and though I have changed views on some of them for personal and external reasons, I don't want to undergo revisionist history and change my initial impressions out of fairness from their original intention. On my reviews of Gates of Winter's debut EP & their "Lux Aeterna" album, I updated details on the albums' availability & keyboardist Brian Holmes' departure, while also restoring and changing various photos due to dead links & changed URLs on MySpace, while I made similar edits to our review of Lion Ride's EP due to their breakup, the album's changed availability, highlighted song names, and one restored photo. Finally for this first batch, I updated our review of Fitswitch's EP to freshen up notes on their then-lineup and their song "Rust Angel" being used frequently by successors Frightlight. There's much more to come, so stay tuned for future updates to the info on our monthly CD reviews!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and our review of "Woods III" this weekend! Thanks everyone!

LOCAL CONCERT ALERT (Haggith) And Weekend Concert Previews, Including The Evans Blue Show!!

It's time for this weekend's local metal & hard rock concert previews, and though the weekend itself is somewhat light, there's a huge concert event going down across the river along with a few other events (not counting any possible ones that I can't source online), so we have an extended preview of that to close this post! For now though, let's begin with a LOCAL CONCERT ALERT for Sault Ontario on Saturday!

Local grunge quartet Haggith will make their second live concert appearance in Sault Ontario TOMORROW AFTERNOON as a featured act at this year's Art Gallery of Algoma Culture Days! I apologize for the short notice, but news only came on this gig earlier this week, and I didn't wanna redundantly post the same details twice in a brief span. This event is primarily to promote artistic development and exploration, and to let local youths learn art techniques of their own, so for more details on the artistic aspects of this event, click here! That said, there will be musical entertainment from at least one band (that being Haggith), who will be playing two sets outdoors on the Sault Waterfront Boardwalk tomorrow afternoon, and though a specific location isn't advertised, I'd have to assume they'd be fairly close to the Art Gallery of Algoma at 10 East Street (near the library downtown), so aim that route if you wanna check things out! That said, Haggith will play two sets at 2:00 PM & 4:00 PM tomorrow, with two very different sets planned, as per this photo from their Facebook page, but what's in store?

Their first set will comprise of songs from their planned second album "Deuce" & a bunch of covers (including new versions of Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana, The Who, and Joe Walsh songs, among others), while their second set will see the guys play their upcoming debut album "Dragon Joy Ride" in full, along with the non-album track "Public Enemy" and what the band are calling an "extended ending" following the reprise of "Wanko". Haggith's performance will be an all ages and FREE event, with them starting at 2:00 PM and Culture Days itself beginning at 1:00 PM tomorrow. Check the above links for more details! Sounds like an entertaining event, and hopefully Haggith continue their local inroads with a successful day of music, so don't miss it! For a preview, here's Haggith covering Cheap Trick's "Reach Out" at a jam session earlier this month!

Now, we'll move to Sault Michigan for the previously announced shows of the weekend, starting with the return of Cheboygan hard rock trio Driven to the area TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! A month after last hitting St. Ignace for shows at Timmy Lee's Pub, these talented area favourites will cross the Mighty Mac once again to rock The Northern Pines Lounge at the St. Ignace Kewadin Casino for two concerts this weekend, and you know they'll have lots of entertaining hard rock covers in store for their local fans! Oddly, I haven't seen recent mentions from Driven on these shows on their online pages, but hopefully they're still on & ready to rock St. Ignace for these 21+ concerts! No cover charge is likely, and I'd expect them to be on at 10:00 PM tomorrow & Saturday. Check the above links for more details! Driven should deliver a fun weekend of hard rocking covers for their fans in St. Ignace, so consider a drive down there to see them in action, and hopefully we'll get media of them in action at some point!

Finally, it's a special and very notable hard rock concert at The Dreammaker's Theater at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino TOMORROW NIGHT, as three notable hard rock bands will rock the stage for some great causes! As you may remember, Sault Michigan students Kim Rogers and Kelsey Raffaele tragically passed away in early 2010 in separate area accidents, and four hard rock bands (Pop Evil, Evans Blue, Graveyard Tan, and locals Nixxon Dixxon) came together to play a special benefit concert in their memory that February. Over 2½ years later, Toronto hard rockers Evans Blue will return to Sault Michigan tomorrow night, this time to headline a very similar second event for the same great causes! Proceeds for this show will go towards The Kids Driving Responsibly Challenge (a group launched in Kelsey's memory to help stop texting & driving), as well as scholarships in both Kim & Kelsey's names for local students, which are great causes to help keep their memories alive and help prevent similar accidents in the future! 

For Evans Blue, this will be their first local concert appearance with current drummer Dusty Saxton (Howard Davis was on drums during their 2010 show here), but their high tempo Chevelle-ish sound (including hit songs like "Cold (But I'm Still Here)" should go over really nicely in their return, so don't miss them tomorrow night! Opening for them on their current Graveyard of Empires tour will be Ohio hard rock quintet State Your Cause, who should make a splash in their Sault Michigan debut with their melodic and diverse blend of hard rock styles! The opening band will be Detroit hard rock quintet Fifth Way, in their first local concert appearance since opening for The Gin Blossoms at The Dreammaker's Theater in April! Featuring Rudyard native Zak Stelmaszek on guitar, Fifth Way are no stranger to the Soo following a number of notable appearances at Kewadin Casino concerts, and I'd expect the same from their heavy brand of originals tomorrow as well, and yes, they'll be plugged in this time! Also, note that this will be Fifth Way's first local concert appearance with new bassist Victor Wooten, who replaced Mike McMann this summer.

This ALL AGES concert, which is being put on by Allstar Promotions in cooperation with Kewadin Cares and local radio stations Rock 101 & 99.5 Yes FM, surprisingly still has tickets on sale for the ultra cheap price of $10 from the eighth row back (center seating aside.) To buy them the usual way, click here for online purchasing, visit the Kewadin box office in person, call 1-800-KEWADIN, or visit Allstar Graphics on 822 Ashmun Street! However, like the 2010 Pop Evil-headlined concert here, local businesses have joined the cause to help this show sell out and enable local attendees (students in particular) to be able to attend, with many buying or encouraging ticket purchases just for the charitable aspect. Those who buy tickets for non-personal use have been freely distributing them to local schools and people who will want to go, with the radio stations pushing for listeners to buy or match ticket sales, with the person buying the most winning a $100 Allstar Graphics gift card. Everything starts at 7:00 PM tomorrow with Fifth Way opening the festivites, and for more details, check the above links and this brand new article from The Soo Evening News featuring info on the concert and some remarks from Zak Stelmaszek about it! (For the record, I don't know any details on any possible meet & greets, so I'd call ahead just in case.)

This sounds like another awesome concert for some great causes, and hopefully all three bands rock the house both tomorrow and in their joint Traverse City set tonight as well! Kim & Kelsey are definitely still missed locally, and if the money raised and attention given help even in a small way, then it'll all be worth it, and kudos to the bands and organizers for all they're doing! Hopefully the show will be sold out by tomorrow night, and you know we'll have all the fallout as it comes in on it! For now though, let's preview this show with Evans Blue's music video for their song "Erase My Scars", and make sure to buy/obtain your tickets for this huge concert tomorrow night!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's CD review (of Woods of Ypres' third album "Woods III: The Deepest Roots & The Darkest Blues") this weekend, along with more news and notes soon! Thanks everyone!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile: Beyond Haven

It's time for our penultimate feature post of September, and as expected, it's this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! As always, this monthly feature looks at a band that is based out of town, but happens to feature one or more past/present Sault Ste. Marie residents in any of their lineups. This month's band isn't the most well known to Saultite audiences, but they have a lot going for them, and they deserve the attention, so read on below for this month's profile, and make sure to check out our latest news post from this afternoon (featuring Buckcherry videos, Haggith videos, and updates on our recent layout edits) below this one! (Updated on November 26th, 2014)
Beyond Haven (Barrie, Ontario)

Lineup: (Saultites in RED; ex-members in italics)

Brian Vain (vocals/rhythm guitar)
Matt Davey (lead guitar)
Jeff Dumais (bass)
Dan Smethurst (drums)

Jason Graham (lead guitar)
Mark Sandy (bass)
Dan DeBiasio (drums)

Official website:
Official MySpace page:
Official Facebook page:
Official Reverbnation page:
Official SoundCloud page:
Official SignMeTo page:

Local Info: As far as I know, the only member of Beyond Haven with local ties is former lead guitarist Jason Graham, who was born and raised in Sault Ontario! Online information is in short supply about his local past before moving to Barrie, but through conversations with Frightlight guitarist Rick White, I learned that he played with Jason in local bands back in the day such as Lev-Rage and Small Town Trap, along with other Fitswitch alumni. No media of these bands are posted online that I can tell, but Rick told me that bands he and Jason were in did win some battles of the bands, which is pretty cool, and thanks again to Rick for telling me about Jason's local past!

Band Bio: Beyond Haven formed in February 2007 when childhood friends Brian Vain & Dan DeBiasio joined forces in mid-2007 as a songwriting project before enlisting Jason Grahan & Mark Sandy to complete their full lineup. From then on, they became a steadily growing sight in the Barrie hard rock scene, releasing a self titled demo in June 2008 and their debut full length album "New Era" in May 2009, while opening for major bands like Anvil, Finger Eleven, and State of Shock. After a short breakup in 2010, Brian & Jason relaunched the band later that year, finally returning to the stage in May 2011 with many new shows and recording plans, including a set opening for Finger Eleven, hopes for an upcoming tour run, and the release of their second album "Don't Back Down" in 2013, though Jason quietly left the band in October 2012. Stay tuned to band pages for continued updates as they continue to build their name in the Southern Ontario hard rock scene!

From what I've seen and heard of Beyond Haven, they definitely show a lot of talent and diversity in their hard rocking originals! Their "New Era" CD has a lot of entertaining songs that touch on both the heavy and softer aspects of their sound well, and I like seeing Brian's deeper singing applied with the sound they have on their albums! Sort of a mix of Scott Weiland and Zakk Wylde, if I had to describe it. Their old and current lineups seem to have a lot of chemistry, and Jason contributed well with heavy and melodic riffs, and some nicely played guitar solos, though their songs don't take a lot of huge risks. Songs like "Cautious Mind" & "Unchained" demonstrate their sounds really well, but they do seem like a group that might have been more timely in the 1990s (which isn't a criticism, I love 1990s music!) It's too bad Jason never brought Beyond Haven back home for a concert, but hopefully they continue to bring their grunge influenced hard rock sound to Ontario stages for a long time to come, and definitely give them a look or listen!

For media, both of Beyond Haven's full length albums are available on iTunes at this location for around $10, though I can't confirm if either is available in CD format widely at present. Their first demo is definitely out of print, but their MySpace page has all 4 tracks available to stream, so check the above links for those and more previews of the band's original songs! For videos, there are a handful of Beyond Haven videos floating around YouTube, but the best place to see them is off of frontman Brian Vain's YouTube channel, which features a decent selection of videos from both of their incarnations, including some covers and promo clips. Here's a compilation of their current lineup playing their song "Drive" at a show earlier this year, and check the above links for more on Beyond Haven!

I hope you guys liked this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile! In our last profile in this series before we update/correct the vast majority of them in November, we'll be looking at Lansing, Michigan metal quintet Genocya (featuring former Sault Michigan resident Matt Cunningham), so look out for just our seventh Sault Michigan-focused profile in this series on or around October 26th! That's all for today, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews either tomorrow or Friday! Thanks everyone!

Buckcherry & Haggith Videos, Link Changes, And SMS Layout Updates!!

Hey guys, just three notes before we begin: A., this month's Saultites In Out Of Town Bands Profile IS coming later today! B., I know a band being addressed in this post is playing downtown this weekend, but I'm gonna wait to cover it tomorrow rather than redundantly cover the same details on consecutive days. And C., while I know that a new local band named The Northern Tragedy (featuring at least one member of Changing Waves) is opening for Toronto punk band Dearly Beloved at The Rockstar Bar on October 8th, I can't confirm their genre, full lineup, or online pages yet, but if you can help fill in any blanks, let me know! Now, to today's news, including new concert videos, new songs from a local band, some link changes on the site, and just what happened to the design of the SMS yesterday, so here's what you need to know!

Four new videos of Los Angeles hard rock quintet Buckcherry's headlining concert at the Sault Ste. Marie Kewadin Casino last month are newly available online! These come from local greeting card distributor Chris Paci's YouTube channel, and though these videos come over a month since Buckcherry rocked The Dreammaker's Theater on August 17th, it's great to finally see these! The videos are of Buckcherry playing their songs "Crazy Bitch", "Lit Up" (though it's incorrectly named "Cocaine"), "It's A Party", and (as embedded below) their set openers "Tired of You" & "Rescue Me", but how's the quality? Chris was far from the stage, and his camera work is shaky, but he gets solid audio and video quality for the most part! That said, Buckcherry frontman Josh Todd still sounds patchy (especially on "Lit Up"), but the band otherwise sounds alright, and kudos again to Chris for uploading these! Check out Buckcherry playing "Tired of You" and "Rescue Me" below, and keep an eye out for future Kewadin Casino concert updates!

Next up, local grunge quartet Haggith have already began uploading studio recordings for their second album "Deuce", despite the fact that their first album "Dragon Joy Ride" isn't even out yet! That said, knowing drummer Mike Haggith's prolific solo output, I expected this fast pace, but it is giving us lots of updates! Two songs from the band's planned second album are now on their YouTube channel, including a song named "Safe on the Outside" and an untitled track. The former song features the full band (minus Caleb Cachagee) and is a lighter hard rock number, while the untitled song is essentially an acoustic Mike Haggith solo track, with him on vocals & guitar. Both succeed at their intended sounds, and they're worth checking out if you like grunge or something a little softer and quieter! As it's a fuller track with more members, I've embedded "Safe on the Outside" below, so check it out and more at the above links, and stay tuned for updates on how to get limited edition band merchandise via their Facebook page!

Now, to address why the SMS looks different, and why the right hand side of the page is blue. So, what happened? Well, in recent weeks, I'd been contemplating cleaning up and reorganizing our listings for links, features, and so on, and I found that the best way to do it would be to completely divide up the page between the Twin Saults. This way, while nothing's lost, it'll be easier to navigate the site depending on what side of the border you're on or want to read about, while also giving Sault Michigan it's own dedicated section that will give them more promotion and attention. Hence the reason why our background now fades into blue on the right, which does have a cool look to it! This includes dividing up our reviews, feature profiles, and the video bar by each of the Twin Saults, with sections geared to either side of the border now on the left or right accordingly, but existing monthly schedules will be maintained. That said, as Sault Michigan has less bands and updates than Sault Ontario generally, I stuck ambiguous links and SMS site formalities on the bottom right to try and balance things, and I want to add more to the Sault Michigan side with time, so hopefully that quest will succeed as we move forward!

I hope you guys don't mind these changes, especially if you want to easily read or focus on one side of the border, or just navigate existing posts and links easier. I want to strengthen the bonds and focus of Sault Michigan and between both cities, so hopefully doing this on the site will help to that effect! While dividing up our "Other Local Metal Links" section (relevant links that aren't bands or active venues, stores, or stations), I did do some link additions and removals, so here's some of what's different! In the "Other Sault Ontario Metal Links", I've removed local bassist Nathan Bouliane's concert promotion group Bonology Lights & Sounds and recording studio Swallows Nest Productions, along with Half Past members' concert sound company Double A Sound, and Brendan Clace's recording studio Dimension Studios, all because their existing online pages either expired or were deleted. Disappointing, especially for Dimension Studios, but hopefully all involved in the above companies stays active in local music, and stay tuned for more site updates!

That's all for now, but stay tuned tonight for this month's Saultites in Out of Town Bands Profile on Beyond Haven! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New/Old Lion Ride Videos, Haggith Updates, And More Updates!!

It's time for another post at the SMS, and today's updates aren't anything too major or groundbreaking, but all have some cool and notable stuff to discuss, so what's on tap? We've got updates to some recent monthly feature posts, a new video from a local guitarist, and some new Haggith updates, but first, here's some recently restored videos of a prominent local metal band!

First up today, I wanted to share some videos that recently returned to the internet with you guys! Fans of defunct local metal quintet Lion Ride may remember that in the late 2000s, original bassist Nathan "Lionel Itchy" Sauve had uploaded a few videos from his tenure with the band onto his YouTube channel, but in 2010, he quietly privatized them for unknown reasons. Well, luckily for Lion Ride fans, he's made them public again, so I thought I'd properly re-address them! The videos, which come from Lion Ride's 2007 glam-influenced beginnings, include three videos each from their debut concert on July 7th of that year & a later gig on December 28th, both of which took place at Foggy Notions (now Coch's Corner.) The debut concert clips, which appear to have been filmed for the 705 Video Magazine, had early studio recordings dubbed over Lion Ride playing their songs "Cocaine Crazy", "Lazer Lover", and "My Baby's Bad", while the December videos (of them playing "Cocaine Crazy", "Sneak Attack", and "Slapdance") were by a different filmer and left in the original audio.

It's great to see these videos back online, and kudos to Nathan for bringing them back for fans to check out! The videos from the second concert are of worse quality and have a further away angle, but they're nice early performances of some Lion Ride standards! The videos from their debut show are definitely of better quality (I'm curious to hear the original audio though), and it's good to hear songs like "Lazer Lover" & "My Baby's Bad" again, especially knowing that they were later phased out of Lion Ride sets. I've embedded the video of Lion Ride playing "My Baby's Bad" at their first show below, but check out the rest of the 2007 Lion Ride clips out above, and thanks again to Nathan for making these public again!

One more related note, as among Nathan's returning uploads was a video of Toronto metal project The Sexual Vigilantes (featuring Maximum RNR's Brenton Ellis & Curtis Faux) playing their original "Motorbike The Song" while opening for Lion Ride at Foggy's on December 28th. For that set, they were joined by Lion Ride members/ex-Detroit bandmates Mikey Hawdon & Mark Rand on drums and bass, and it's of decent quality & a solid glimpse at what I think was the SXVGLNTES' only local concert! We've featured it on here in the past, but check the above links to give it another look!

Next up, here's the latest updates from local grunge quartet Haggith! Firstly, we now know a bit more on their Sault Ontario debut at The Roosevelt Hotel on September 13th via some new photo uploads onto their Facebook page, so what can we confirm? Well, new bassist Caleb Cachagee did indeed play with them for their first set, and singer/guitarist Curtis McKenzie dropped the guitar to focus on singing for at least one song. As well, the full setlist from their Rosie debut was also revealed via this photo, so we now know that they played every song from their forthcoming debut album "Dragon Joy Ride" (except "Sandman"), along with non-album originals "Leon the Janitor" & "Public Enemy", and covers of Cheap Trick's "Reach Out" & The Stone Temple Pilots' "Vasoline" (the latter of which was their encore.) Solid stuff from what I can assume, but I wonder if any videos of their Rosie appearance are floating around? Also, Haggith are looking for input on what formats you'd wanna see "Dragon Joy Ride" released on, so would you want the album digitally? On CD? On cassette, even? Give feedback at this location, and stay tuned for more news and notes from them as it rolls in!

Also in the news, local guitarist/Audiofumes podcast host Mike Cliffe uploaded another new solo performance video onto his YouTube channel yesterday! Entitled "Monday Morning Mayhem", it's a 4:16 solo hard rock instrumental that thankfully has better lighting than Mike's last performance clip! Solid hard rocker with some progressive touches and nice backing instrumentation, and it feels like a song you could race cars to! Check it out below, and also be sure to check out Mike's AudioFumes podcasts as well!

And finally for today, here's some more updates to some of our monthly feature posts! In our profile of the Algoma University Battle of the Bands, I adjusted when runners up The Fury went inactive (from early 2011 to mid 2011), and in the Sault College/Scotties Tournament battle profile, I updated information on battle winners Blackwater's current status & frontman Cody McMillan's recent prominent solo work. In our YouTube Channel Profile Series, I updated our profile on Joey Beairl's YouTube channel to correct the lineup of inactive local hard rock band Unleashed (the focus of his only video), as I had incorrectly credited Eli Reilly instead of Jack Slater as their guitarist at the time of that performance (Jack was in their original lineup before Eli replaced him.) In our profile of Stillbroke's YouTube channel, I updated many references to their now inactive status, and finally, I added some Banned video links and more recent references to the profile on Ashley Traynor's YouTube channel. Our next slate of past feature post updates should be this week, so keep an eye out, and check the above links for these new updates!

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

Saturday, September 22, 2012

YouTube Channel Profile Series: soundguyjoe's Channel

It's time for this month's latest YouTube Channel Profile, and for the first time since the spring, we're looking at just one channel, but it's full of stuff! As always, this monthly feature looks at 1-3 randomly selected YouTube channels with at least a 50% concentration of local metal-relevant videos, and we're once again looking at said channel's background, videos, information, and reasons why you should check it out or subscribe. There's plenty to get to this month from a few years back in the local scene, so read on below for this month's YouTube Channel Profile! (Edited on October 16th, 2013)
soundguyjoe's Channel (

Owner: Sault Ontario native and likely Sir James Dunn graduate soundguyjoe, real name unclear (though his first name is likely Joe or something similar)

Channel Timeline: Launched on March 30th, 2007; Videos posted between then & November 2009

Channel Summary: This channel serves two distinct purposes, with soundguyjoe focusing it's uploads on local concert videos through the summer of 2008. These include two videos each of defunct local metal bands Fabio, Sindicate, and Creatures of the Night from mid-late 2000s concerts, along with two videos from Dunnplugged concert sets from the former Sir James Dunn Collegiate & Vocational School's student concert series, and one video of local punk band Free Beer (now Sarah's Valley) in 2008. However, the channel's last six videos from late 2008 & 2009 are focused on original film productions that he worked on, likely after he moved out of town & at least partially in conjunction with a college course. These include a parody "As Seen on TV" commercial, a partial adaptation of "King Lear", and a 12 minute short film named "A Trio of Treatments", among others.

Why Should You Watch: For the first nine videos, you should check them out because they offer an interesting glimpse at a few inactive local metal/punk bands, most of which are only publically visible by these uploads! Joe's video quality tended to be good or better, and there was talent visible in these bands, but it's too bad he's gotten no concert footage since 2008. That said, the original films and movies are of varying quality for acting and intent, but they tend to be well edited and produced, and they are worth checking out if you like and support independent film production! Note however that this channel has seen no new uploads in almost 3 years, in case that may change your mind on subscribing, but the channel is still sporadically used for personal needs.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out:

Fabio - Hit The Lights: The earliest videos on soundguyjoe's channel (by film date, not upload date) are these two videos of defunct local metal quartet Fabio performing at a 30 Hour Famine event at Sir James Dunn Collegiate (I think) in April 2006. The videos are of Fabio covering Megadeth's "Sweating Bullets" and (as embedded below) Metallica's "Hit The Lights", and despite generally dark lighting, the videos are of good quality with clear sound! Though Fabio have no surviving online pages, and I don't remember their full lineup, I remember them fondly from some of my earliest local metal shows, and aside from some vocal messiness on the "Sweating Bullets" cover, their talent and intensity comes through well here, especially if you love pure thrash metal!

Rock In The Park - Sindicate - The Trooper: The only metal concert videos here to come from a non-school event are two videos of defunct (and pageless) local metal quintet Sindicate's set at the Rock In The Park event at the Bellevue Park Bandshell on August 18th, 2007, where they joined The Unforgiven and other local metal bands for an all ages night of outdoor metal mayhem! Featuring James Green on vocals, guitarists Nick Rhodes (Creatures of the Night) and Jared Lambert, and Sarah's Valley's Ryan Gray & Keith Gagnon on bass & drums, the videos are of Sindicate covering Pantera's "Cowboys From Hell" and (embedded below) Iron Maiden's "The Trooper". The videos are well shot (even including professional looking title bugs), but the music is patchy on both, especially vocally, as James is hard to hear and doesn't really have the range to pull off either song flawlessly. The guitar work's great though, and it's nice to see these videos so long after Sindicate broke up!

KISS: Creatures Of The Night - Detroit Rock City : The most popular (and latest) metal video on Joe's channel is of defunct local Kiss tribute band Creatures of the Night playing "Detroit Rock City" at a Sir James Dunn event on February 21st, 2008! It's one of two videos from this performance online (joining a version of "Strutter"), and their lineup featured Andrew Addante on vocals & guitar, Mike Gualtieri on bass, and the aforementioned Nick Rhodes & Keith Gagnon on guitar & drums. The video quality is nice (if very blue), with a surprisingly good stage setup given the high school setting, but the band are inconsistent. Great instrumentation and knowledge of Kiss, but the vocals don't have the range or power to match up with Paul Stanley, which is a problem. Still, for a high school tribute band, Creatures of the Night did better than I would expect, and these videos show promise!

 I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Next month in this series, we'll return to a multiple channel model, as the first channel we randomly selected only had two metal videos, but what are we looking at on or around October 22nd? Next month, we'll be profiling former The Shit guitarist Austin Pine's YouTube channel (featuring two videos of them playing live covers) and the channel of YouTube user hoopy31, featuring one live video from Buckcherry's first concert here at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino, so watch out for that next month, and stay tuned for more news and notes likely tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Friday, September 21, 2012

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Powerslug), A New Local Band, And Much More!!

I wasn't anticipating having a new post tonight, but we had some big stories to get to, including SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, so I threw one together for tonight! That said, if you guys were curious, I don't think we'll encounter any cosmetic differences from what you're used to in future posts, as yesterday's looks fine despite the Blogger interface upgrades. Photos are a bit harder to fine tune the size of, but the status quo (with possible advancements) should otherwise be maintained. Now, to the news, including a band's status confirmation, updates to one of our monthly feature series, and a brand new local band page, but first, here are those new shows for THIS WEEKEND!

Sault Michigan hard rock trio Powerslug will return to the live concert stage TONIGHT & TOMORROW NIGHT! After over a month away from the stage (barring any short notice shows that slipped me by over the past month), the talented but pageless local band will bring their hard rocking sound back to The Corner Pub Bar & Grill for two shows this weekend for the first time since July! (I think.) As is often the case, I apologize for the short notice, but I only just heard about these shows via drummer Bob Helsten's personal Facebook page this evening. For the record, I don't know if Powerslug will be on The Corner Pub's outdoor patio stage or inside, especially given the rain today, but they should rock well and hard no matter what! Admission should be free for these 21+ concerts, and I'd assume 10:00 PM start times are in order. If I hear anything more, I'll let you guys know somehow! These should be fun concerts with lots of hard rocking covers to chug your mug with, so don't miss Chris, Bob, and Chris TONIGHT OR TOMORROW, and click here for the only video footage I can find of Powerslug in action!

Next up, we have a new local band to add to our Sault Ontario band links... well, they're not completely new, but they only just now have an online page, and they are local thrash trio Pillory! First visible in July via YouTube video uploads, we've already covered them on the site from their videos, but it's nice to see them start a Facebook page to keep fans updated and make new ones! Their lineup currently features singer/guitarist Robert Sartini (ex-Roadkill), guitarist Andres Duchesne (ex-Bear Hunters/Social Suicide), and drummer Bret Shuttleworth, and though specific details on them are lacking, we do know a few things! Their Facebook page features a pile of influential bands and lists them as having been started in May, and as alluded to above, they do have videos (including three original songs and a cover of Megadeth's "Hangar 18") on Robert's YouTube channel, so check them out if you wanna!

I'm very curious to see where Pillory go from here, especially if they keep on a straight thrash metal path, as we don't have a lot of thrash bands here that aren't influenced by death metal vocally. Their videos have promise, and the members are talented, but Pillory do need a bassist, better video quality, and some more seasoning, but they are off to a good start! They're now in our active Sault Ontario band links, and go check Pillory out at the above links!

That said, while we do have one new band, we also have one to move to our inactive band links, that sadly being local classic metal quartet Late & Loud. Last seen on stage three weeks ago, the Sault Humane Society Battle winners had publically declared that they were going on a hiatus and/or break after that concert, but according to a recent posting on the Musicians Wanted Facebook group, it looks to be more than that. Guitarist Brendan Christie revealed there last night that he's looking for a heavy metal/hard rock singer (no older than 40) with a really good range for upcoming band work, and in an added comment, he added that the singer wouldn't be for Late & Loud, because "we broke up." This confirms personal indications I had heard last month, but it's the first public acknowledgement that Late & Loud are done as a band beyond a hiatus. That said, I believe that the new band that Brendan is launching will feature most of the other Late & Loud members, but specifics have yet to be publically revealed. If you're a talented metal singer and would like to try out for Brendan's new band, message him at the above links or this location!

It's very disappointing to see Late & Loud end after a successful two year run, especially with the heights they hit as a band! By late last year, they had really come into their own as a classic metal band (despite the lack of a singer), and their original material and great stage presence secured them a solid fanbase & helped push them to their battle of the bands victory in their penultimate live concert! I hope this isn't an absolute goodbye, as they had so much promise and talent (including that unreleased EP), but best of luck to Brendan, Jonathan, Benn, and Josh in the future, and stay tuned for updates on the members' next musical projects!

Finally for today, here's some updates to our profiles in our Battle of the Bands Rewind Mini-Series, just to make them more accurate & current! In the profiles of the Skid Row, and Kiss Battles of the Bands, I edited the sections on newer bands with battle alumni to replace Sense of Truth guitarist Steve Myers' folk rock band Woody Sims with his newer & more active local band The Pesto Shirts. On both the 2008 Case's Music & Kiss battle profiles, I updated the current status of competitors Stillbroke (most recently Borderline Divine) to note their current inactive status, while I did the same for Late & Loud's current status on the Case's Music battle profile as well, as drummer Josh Hatherley played that one with Behind Society. Also on the Kiss Battle profile, I made a few switches to the section on newer bands with battle alumni, like replacing Lion Ride guitarist Marco Pedalino's recent punk band Brad Example & The Role Models with his current active country rock band High Road. There's more updates to come, but check the above links for the updated profiles thanks to this first batch!

That's all for tonight, but stay tuned for hopefully another news post this weekend, along with our latest YouTube Channel Profile tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Turner Up), Weekend Concert Previews, And Halloween Party Updates

Hey guys, before we get to the local metal news and notes, I just wanted to let you all know about some possible differences in our next few posts. Yesterday, the SMS' host server Blogger updated our interface and post editor to a new look that's been rolled out in recent months, and I'm still trying to get used to it and it's new look. This won't directly influence how you see the site or old posts, but this and the next few posts may look a bit different or have odd formatting until I'm used to everything, so thanks for your understanding! That said, today's post is mostly devoted this weekend's metal/hard rock concert previews, but before we jump in with that, did anyone notice mentions on Facebook of Marquette hard rockers Nudge coming back to The Satisfied Frog in Sault Michigan this weekend? Those shows (including the pre-weekend acoustic gigs) were cancelled a few days ago for unknown reasons (though the band didn't cancel them), as confirmed by frontman Danzo McCracken on our Facebook page. Disappointing, but hopefully we'll see Nudge back in the area soon! Now, to today's post, starting with LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

Sault Ontario classic hard rockers Turner Up are returning to the stage TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Almost 2 months since their latest concert (although most members have played live with Havadder in the interim), this talented local cover quintet will return to The Nicolet Tavern for the first time since early June for two shows this weekend, and it's good to see them back! Since the current version's launch last fall, Turner Up's shows have been much more spread out, so if you've missed them in recent months, keep their return to The Nic in mind this weekend! That said, the band will be without guitarist Jason Roy for these gigs due to a broken arm (get well soon, Jay!), but Turner Up have enlisted former guitarist Len Ward to fill in this weekend, which is pretty cool! Best known for his work at The Rad Zone, Len played with the first version of Turner Up from 2010 through last spring, and we'll see a reunion of 4/5ths of their late 2010-early 2011 lineup as a result. Len's a nice guy and a talented guitarist to boot, so don't miss his temporary return this weekend if you can help it!

Admission should be free for both tomorrow & Saturday's shows, you must be 19 to attend, and a 10:30 PM start time is advertised for both nights. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! These should be some fun concerts for fans of Turner Up and their classic hard rock hits, so go check them out at The Nic this weekend, and for a preview, here's the old Turner Up covering Guns N' Roses last year!

Last on the weekend schedule (barring any heavier Sault Michigan shows that I can't find info on) is the return of Caveman Morrison for a pair of concerts this weekend! Tym Morrison and company will return to The Roosevelt Hotel for their first live concerts in almost a month, so like with Turner Up, if you've missed Caveman Morrison and their heavier covers and fan favourites, you won't wanna miss their Rosie return tonight & tomorrow! Of course, these join Caveman Morrison's Halloween weekend gigs at The Nicolet Tavern and Tym's returning solo shows at new venues next month, adding to a hopefully busy fall for this high impact trio! Admission for both tomorrow & Saturday's shows should be free, with 10:00 PM start times and 19+ age limits. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page! It's always good to see Caveman Morrison tear up the local stage with their classic and newer metal covers, so go see them this weekend, and for a preview, here's their current lineup covering Ozzy Osbourne's "I Don't Know"!

Finally for today, here's the latest updates on the 7th annual Halloween Party from local singer/promoter J.D. Pearce on October 27th! First, I recently got some clarification on the identity of one of the bands playing at The Algonquin Pub that night, as the NOFX cover band named The Brews is apparently not the cover band that has played each past Halloween concert under different genres & names (last known as The 151s.) According to Facebook conversations I had with Redundant drummer Rick White, The Brews will actually be Redundant playing an all-NOFX cover set under that name for one night only. Promoters have yet to confirm this, but if true, it will mark Redundant/The Brews' second straight appearance at this Halloween event. They can pull of NOFX material from what I remember, so you punk fans should watch out for this special set on October 27th, and apologies for earlier incorrect assumptions! That said, J.D. confirmed on the Facebook event page that the third band slot is "reserved for the time being", though whether the intended band for that slot is the yearly cover band is not yet clear. If the third spot becomes vacant, preference would go to a costumed tribute band if possible, so stay tuned to the SMS & the above links for updates on that front, along with any other details on this Frightlight-headlined Halloween party!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for our next YouTube Channel Profile this weekend, and much more news and notes to come! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

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

It's time to shut down our most recent poll at the SMS and launch our newest poll, seeing as it is the 18th day of this month! With that said, we'll start with the results of last month's poll first, which posed this question to you guys: How much do you follow metal/hard rock bands & concerts in Sault Michigan & the Eastern Upper Peninsula? 19 people voted, which isn't huge, but it did give us a result spread we've never seen before to my knowledge, so thanks to you guys for voting, and here are the final results to that question!
More than or equally to the Sault Ontario metal scene (4 votes, 21%)
Casually or occasionally (4 votes, 21%)
Only for major Kewadin Casino concerts (4 votes, 21%)
Not at all (4 votes, 21%)
Just certain Sault Michigan bands/shows (3 votes, 16%)
What do you guys think? Honestly, this is hard for me to break down full opinions on, because the voting was so even on this poll. The options that favoured and didn't favour Sault Michigan awareness did jump out to an early lead though, but the middle options pulled even by the end of the voting period, leading to this dead heat, more or less. I will say that I am encouraged to see people stating that they do follow Sault Michigan (even casually), and if you wanted to generalize it, 11 of the 19 voters indicated that they do follow Sault Michigan bands & concerts beyond just major Kewadin Casino events on at least a casual basis, which is encouraging! I hope there's more integration and awareness of Sault Michigan metal and hard rock rock bands & shows by Canadian fans in the future, and I'll surely do my part to help link things more! I admit that I've had thoughts in the past about intentionally separating all posts on the SMS between each of the Twin Saults, or even starting a dedicated Sault Michigan Metal Scene site, but that way, I think it'd just reinforce the divisions that I wouldn't want to see between the Twin Saults. We're so close, and there's so much talent on both sides, so hopefully things will be further linked and cooperative as time goes on. Thanks to everyone for voting! With that said, what's this month's poll? It's somewhat of a revisit of a poll we launched on the SMS last summer, and with new band dissolutions and inactivities in the year+ since then, I wanted to explore current sentiment on this question: Which of these defunct or recently inactive bands would you most want to see hit the stage again? We got a lot of votes and solid results following our first stab at this poll in June 2011, but in our latest exploration of bands you guys would want to see return, we've expanded things a bit. Now, there's 25 choices (plus "Other"), including 15 from Sault Ontario and 10 from the Sault Michigan area (they weren't in last year's poll), and just in case you're curious, here's the criteria for poll inclusion. Each of these bands are either defunct, inactive, or have not played live in around 6 months or more, though we're only including recent bands (active in 2005 or later), just to focus on those that are fresh in the mind and more likely for a theoretical reunion concert. Also, none of these bands are studio-only projects, earlier names of active groups, or zero-vote getters from last year. And for clarification, I have not included Woods of Ypres simply because there's no realistic way that they could ever come back following David Gold's passing. If we included them, they'd have a very strong chance at winning (and deservingly so), but like last year, the poll is intended to focus on bands who could play live in the future if all the right cards were drawn, and Woods' chances are nil without David around. No disrespect or slight is intended! With that said, here are this month's choices for this poll on the bands you'd most wanna see back on stage again, and hopefully I picked a good sampling of bands! Absolute: Though most of this band's lineup has reunited in similar later bands like Riot! By Night and NoXcape, this Pickford, Michigan hard rock quartet saw the longest sustained success in their late 2000s run, which saw them play numerous concerts in the Eastern U.P. and record some well received originals in the process! Despite the closeness of the members' later groups, would an Absolute reunion be up your alley? Bad Side: After a noticeably successful run in the local & Michigan rock scenes in the 2000s, this talented blues/hard rock outfit split up in 2010, with main members Melissa Krahnke & Jason Mapes later moving out of state. With three entertaining albums and numerous high profile concerts to their credit, Bad Side left a deep mark during they heyday, but would you want to see them back on a local stage more than any other band? Bent Rollercoaster: This Eckerman, Michigan hard rock quartet made some noticeable waves in the region during their two year run in the late 2000s before going inactive in 2009. Though members have popped up in later bands like Half A Man & Hammerspace, there are Bent Rollercoaster fans who would welcome a return of their laid back and diverse hard rock sound, but are you among them? Borderline Divine/Stillbroke: Though Borderline Divine only went on hiatus in July, existing band projects & frontman Jesse Frigault's move to Alberta leave them unlikely for an imminent reunion. That said, this talented Sault Ontario metal/hard rock quartet hit many heights under both names from 2008 onward, including a battle of the bands victory & an EP release under the Stillbroke name, but would you want to see them return the most? Bring The Fallen: After a successful two year run that saw them play numerous major Sault Ontario metal shows (and win no less than three battles of the bands), Bring The Fallen sadly disbanded in the spring of 2011, though most of their members remain active in similar sounding bands. Was their brand of explosive death metal something you'd want to see back on the live concert stage? Clownsack: Ever since 2005, this Sault Michigan band of clowns have brought mayhem and funk-inspired hard rock to local stages and beyond, including the releases of two CDs! However, they haven't visibly taken the stage since 2010, and have offered few updates since their latest CD release last year, leaving their status in question somewhat. Would a return of Clownsack and their clown sauce be ideal for you as a local music fan? Detroit: This local/Toronto hardcore punk quartet featuring Lion Ride alumni (in swapped roles) tore it up in their 2008-2010 run with plenty of fast paced and brutal original songs, including the material on their two demo EPs! It should be noted that members Brenton Ellis & Curtis Faux continue to play and record very similar material in their current band Maximum RNR, but did the all local attack of Detroit leave you wanting more? Dirty Virgin: Last seen on the local stage in March, Dirty Virgin have kept their profile alive with occasional concerts in recent years, but they've still only played two public concerts since the end of 2009. Still, their blend of punk and 1980s glam metal has attracted a solid local following, and their original run in the late 2000s had many memorable moments, but do you want Dirty Virgin to return to the stage sooner rather than later? Elipzis: One of the most visible and successful Sault Michigan hard rock bands of the early 2010s, Elipzis played numerous major concerts at both local and Lower Peninsula venues before breaking up in the summer of 2011 to make way for RedStone Riot, a similar sounding Muskegon band featuring three of Elipzis' final members. That said, would you prefer Elipzis' brand of female fronted hard rock to come back to the stage? Fitswitch: The winners of this poll last year, these punk/metal mainstays rocked local concert venues with their alcohol fueled and Misfits inspired sound through 2007, and then with the occasional one off show in recent years. Though four former members play similar (and more horror-influenced) material currently as Frightlight, Fitswitch maintain a sizeable fanbase, so would you want to see them back in concert? Gates of Winter: Though still active and working on new material towards a third album (albeit slowly), Gates of Winter are approaching four years since they last played a live concert, partly due to some members living out of town. Their increasingly heavy progressive/death metal sound has attracted a huge following and major notices in the metal community in their mid-late 2000s heyday, but would you want to see them back on stage the most? Half Past: Approaching a year since their most recent concert, this Sault Ontario hard rock quartet has offered little to no updates since the first few months of 2012, with some members focusing on newer bands like Skeyes of Seven & Frightlight. Defunct or not, Half Past showed lots of talent and cohesiveness in their various incarnations, but would you welcome their hard rock covers and originals in concert once again?  Insipid Brutality: Recently visible again with a posthumous album release, this mid-late 2000s Sault Michigan death metal quintet (featuring future members of Swayze Train and Midnight Manual) were among the most brutal sights in the Eastern U.P. at the time, though only two band members currently live in the area. Does Sault Michigan need a death metal infusion thanks to an Insipid Brutality reunion? Integrated System of Machines: Though four former band members have recorded similar material in their later band End of Existence, I.S.O.M. were among the most prominent metal sights in the area in the mid-late 2000s, including some major support gigs out of town & the release of their "Apocalyptic Visions" album. Would an I.S.O.M. reunion be tops in your mind if it was up to you? Lion Ride: The writing was on the wall given the late 2011 slowdown in activity, but the local/Toronto metal quintet's mutual dissolution in February still shocked many fans, especially with the heights they collectively hit since their 2007 launch! Most of the band has stayed active in local & Southern Ontario bands since, and they didn't shut the door on a farewell concert, but would you want that more than any other band's return? Nixxon Dixxon: After a successful mid-late 2000s run in the Sault Michigan scene, including some huge opening sets at major Kewadin Casino concerts, Nixxon Dixxon dissolved in 2010, with members gradually splintering off into current acts like The London Gentlemen & The Hubbard-Menard Band. During their run though, their diverse hard rock/metal covers and entertaining originals gave them a great following, but would you want them to return? Oddfellow: One of the biggest hard rock bands in the Eastern U.P. in the 2000s, this Cedarville, Michigan quartet were highly visible thanks to the release of their only album "Go" and major concerts in the area and beyond (including a prominent placement at a 2006 battle of the bands in Detroit) through their 2008 breakup! Though the members are doing very different things now, would you be for an Oddfellow return show in the future? Renderware: Blending Tom Waits and Motorhead into their unique sound, this mid-2000s hard rock quartet attracted some positive notices with their frequent concerts and creative original material before dissolving circa 2007, with members later popping up in indie/punk bands like Talk Shit and Nebraska Arms. Renderware were popular in their day, but would you want to see them back on stage more than these other bands? Sativa Rose: Last visibly active in December, this popular classic metal outfit melted many faces with their proficient covers and originals from their 2010 debut onward, though members have since moved on to bands like The Valentine's Day Massacre and Winkstinger. Despite the lack of a singer until their final months, Sativa Rose were an entertaining and dependable band in the local scene, but are you most for them returning to live shows? SBD: An experimental grunge band featuring two former members of No Arrow, SBD had some successes (and even an album release) during their 2010 peak, though they have not played live since that year despite scattered activity and song uploads since. I heard that frontman Dann Pichette may relaunch SBD in his new home of Terrace Bay, but their local concert hiatus continues, so would you wanna see them back on stage in the Soo? Sense of Truth: One of the more prominent Sault Ontario hard rock bands in the late 2000s, Sense of Truth went from their debut battle of the bands win in 2008 to even greater success at major later concerts, along with recording sessions for an unreleased EP, before breaking up in the fall of 2011 after a lengthy inactive period. Do you miss Sense of Truth's modern hard rock sound more than any other inactive local band? Shift: A supergroup of sorts featuring Bad Side, Clownsack, Kickback, and Wild Fate alumni, Shift were a frequent sight at Sault Michigan and Upper Peninsula bars in the late 2000s with their blend of female fronted hard rock before quietly going inactive in 2010, with members moving on to newer bands like Seeking Reverence & Krosswalk. Would Shift's proficient and fun covers be welcomed back to a local stage to you? Soldiers of Misfortune: Though no online pages of theirs survive, this mid-late 2000s metal band was a favourite sight at local concerts thanks to their blistering metal covers, and though they were broken up by 2007, members can be seen frequently in newer bands like Winkstinger and Cowboys & Indians. I really miss them, but am I alone in that sentiment to see Soldiers of Misfortune return for a show down the road? State of Misery: Featuring past & present members of The Valentine's Day Massacre, Stealing Kisses, and March Into Regression, this young local death metal band melted many faces in their off & on run from 2010-2012, and opened for some major bands along the way, but their multiple breakups and quiet stretches were disappointing. Would you be for another State of Misery reunion in the future? Other: Do you have another band in mind? Did I miss your favourite inactive local band, or are you going for a non-metal act? A studio-only project? One that got no votes in last year's poll? An older band from way back in the day, like Foothill Road or Bludgeoned? If I missed the band you most want to see returning to the local concert stage, vote for "Other"! VOTE TODAY!!!! You have until October 18th to make your voices heard in this month's poll, and I hope to see a lot of votes this month, as it is a question that many local fans can concur on. Everyone has bands that they like that don't play live anymore/as much, so hopefully we get a nice sample of readership this month! That's all for now, but stay tuned for weekend concert previews and more as the weeks rolls on! Thanks everyone!