Monday, January 30, 2017

Abhorrent Forest - "The End Of Life" EP Review!!

To close out the month, here's our 91st monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, and first of 2017, as we're taking a look at new local instrumental black metal project Abhorrent Forest's debut EP "The End of Life"! This EP was surprisingly released on January 9th via their Bandcamp page (in one of their first major public acts), and is also available for streaming on YouTube. Abhorrent Forest is the new solo project from ex-Despised Eyes/Death Rise guitarist Will Tholberg, who goes by the stagename Old Man Wyrn (or just "Wyrn") for this project, as also seen in the dormant black metal project Dullahan. "The End of Life" was independently recorded last year, and the album can be bought on Bandcamp using their "name your price" model, but it can also be downloaded free there if you so desire. Still, consider buying it to support Abhorrent Forest's work, especially as a new solo project in a town not heavily stacked with this genre! Running for a half hour across five songs, let's begin our review with the first track!

"The End of Life" opens with "Witness to History", which is actually the EP's shortest song despite running for just over 4 minutes. A heavy and crushing instrumental that takes influence from old school black metal, the song has a little too much cymbals during lengthy bridges, but the guitar work is solid and suits the genre, and the main riff has a catchy quality! The song and it's title are screaming for vocals though, and hopefully Wyrn looks at that for the future, but so far so good for black metal fans! "Winter Wrath" follows next, which kicks off more reserved than it's predecessor, but it does have faster stretches and will appeal to those hoping for grim and bleak metal. This song doesn't feel as polished and tight as "Witness to History" did, and it has a tendency to meander at time, but the drums are tight, and the brutality is full scale at it's peak. Solid track for fans, but I prefer the opener.

Third is "Meandering River of Fire", which is a steadier paced number that almost sounds like a black/doom metal hybrid at times, and while the song itself doesn't meander like "Winter Wrath" could, it's essence does fit the title, and it just screams even more for someone to add vocals. The song never gets too fast, but I like the guitar work especially late, and the bass suits things well also. This track gives some good visuals to suit the provided material, and it's a definite highlight of the EP so far! The penultimate track is "Hollow" (no relation to the old local metal band), which also keeps things at a medium pace, and it has a good sound that feels as dark and cold as you'd expect black metal to! That said, the song always feels like it's slowly building up towards a huge ending, but it doesn't have a true blow-off at the end that truly deviates from what came before, especially thanks to it's extremely abrupt ending. Overall though, it's an effective track with hard hitting guitar, though again here, cymbals can be overdone.

Abhorrent Forest's debut EP closes with the 11 minute long "The Void in Life", and no, the length isn't a typo! Probably the most unique aspect of this song is the usage of spoken word vocals, and while they sound sampled, I can't 100% make them or their source(s?) out, as they're buried in the music. They do help break things up a bit though, and add an eerier vibe to the song, especially earlier on when they're quieter. The song itself is more of the same black metal intensity as before, just longer and more stretched out, but it never gets too repetitive, which is a good sign! There's enough variance and tempo changes to go around, and the drum programming fits well, so this is a solid closure to this release, and believe it or not, never feels overlong!

So, what are my final thoughts on 'The End of Life"? Overall, this is a promising debut effort from Abhorrent Forest, and while it won't be all listeners' cup of tea, it is a satisfying collection of instrumental black metal that genre fans should easily take to! Old Man Wyrn came into this knowing what to play and how to approach it, and he mostly succeeded, with crushing guitar work, solid tempo changes, and nicely programmed drums uniting into some grim but entertaining instrumentals! "Meandering River of Fire" is arguably my favourite track, but there are things to look at addressing on future releases. The EP could have toned down cymbals on some tracks, "Winter Wrath" felt a little sloppy at times, and I couldn't make heads or tails of the spoken word on the closer, but on their own, those are minor. The lack of sung or screamed vocals didn't help for the imagery of some songs, either, and while they'd be an asset if used correctly, but they're not a complete necessity throughout.

Abhorrent Forest are a promising black metal project, and while we haven't heard publically from them or Wyrn since the release of this EP, hopefully they keep at it and bring more black metal to the Soo area! Buy or stream "The End of Life" at the above links! I hope you guys liked this month's "Where Are The New Albums?" post, but what's coming next month for our CD reviews? Given it's sudden online release (more on that soon), the new split vinyl EP from local doom metal trio AlgomA and Finland's Hooded Menace is very likely for February, so stay tuned for more on that soon, and keep watch for more news this week! Thanks everyone!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (K-Man & The 45s, Banned, and Gianni Gagoots), And A New Video!!

In what may be our last news post of the month, we're largely tackling LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS, including a pair of the SHORT NOTICE variety for you readers in the E.U.P., but we also have a new video find to touch on at post's end! Now, here's what you need to know!

Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock trio Banned will rock The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino for special mid-week shows THIS TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, Banned only just announced them yesterday via their Facebook page. Joining their previously announced Rapids Lounge gigs on Friday and Saturday, TUESDAY & WEDNESDAY'S shows coincide with the week's festivities surrounding the annual International 500 snowmobile race. Banned played last year's I-500 both at the outdoor beer tent and for a weekend at the casino, and while it's unusual to see them playing mid-week (let alone four nights in a five day span), don't miss the Traynors and Wayne at The Rapids Lounge TUESDAY OR WEDNESDAY NIGHT! Just for clarification, we'll preview their shows this coming weekend in our next weekend concert preview post, as they are technically a separate concert weekend with an off day prior.

Despite the mid-week scheduling & I-500 timing, these next two Banned shows are still 9:00 PM affairs with 21+ age limits and no announced cover charges. For more details on these shows and the I-500 proper, check the above links, and for a preview, here's Banned live at last year's 1-500!

Next up, here's some shows with more than a couple of days notice, starting with newer local funk/hard rock instrumental jam quintet Gianni Gagoots' first ever headlining concert, as they'll be rocking LopLops Lounge solo on Saturday, February 18th! Also making their first live appearances ever at this venue or anywhere in 2017, this will be a good chance to check out this interestingly named band's vocals-less improv hard rock in a familiar downtown setting, and with Redefined, Sailor's Tongue, and Rising Tide alumni (plus a conga player), you'll know you're not in for business as usual in three weeks time! As usual for LopLops concerts, this show has a $5 cover charge, you must be at least 19 or older to attend, and a 9:00 PM start time is advertised. If you haven't seen Gianni Gagoots live yet, circle this show on your calendars, and visit the official Facebook event page and the above links for more details!

Lastly for new concert announcements, Montreal ska-punk quintet K-Man & The 45s will be back in Sault Ontario much sooner than you think, as they are scheduled to headline at The New American Pub on Sunday, March 5th! After four straight gigs in the fall locally, this one will come at least 6 months earlier than locally usual, but if their fun ska-punk originals, exciting stage presence, and "Ska-mones" covers are any indication, local fans will welcome them back to the Soo with open arms in March! The all-local openers will include new punk/metal trio Stegadeth (in their New A debut) and new alternative hard rock quartet Bizotic (featuring Smeltzer, SBD, and Sounds From The Green Room alumni), so if you haven't seen either band in concert yet, don't miss the relatively new blood at this downtown venue in five weeks! This concert will be promoted by Six, Two, Oh., who have promoted each local K-Man concert since 2015.

A $5 cover charge is in effect for this concert, which has a 19+ age limit, and an advertised start time of 9:00 PM. It's great to see K-Man & The 45s back so soon for a fifth local concert appearance, and ska punk fans will not want to miss out on what should be a highlight of the spring concert season, so visit the official Facebook event page for all current details!

Finally for today, here's a new video of new local alternative punk quartet A Dire Setback at last month's YouTube party at The Canadian Nightclub! Uploaded by promoters Underground Empire Records' YouTube channel on December 17th (apologies for the delay), this gives us our first look at the event's complete lineup, albeit belatedly, as promoters never listed a lineup publically in the lead-up to the event proper. Truth be told, A Dire Setback's section of the video is brief, with their performance of "Kicking & Screaming" sandwiched between 11 minutes or so of rap sets each, initially from U.G.E. rappers Chuck "Lil' CZ" Charrette & Ryan "R.D." Derasp, and ending with prolific local rapper Mikey Thomas. The video quality can be a little blurry, the editor cut out a lot of fan reactions between songs, and the on-screen bug really doesn't have to be permanently on screen, but things turned out largely well overall, and everyone performs as you'd expect!

The rappers are skilled in their sound, and A Dire Setback are on point, but hopefully U.G.E. advertises the lineup better if they host a sequel event, and if you're going to brand it as a YouTube party, why not attempt a live YouTube stream of said party? Check out the full YouTube party compilation below, and A Dire Setback's performance is about 10:56 in!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for this month's CD review in all likelihood next! Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 27, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERS (Searchmont Skateapalooza & Fishbowl Festival), New Videos, And More!!

With our Sault Michigan-heavy stretch on the site seemingly past for now, we're currently in the midst of a strong run of posts with key features about Gnaeus and The Din, which speaks to how busy they've been as of late for show bookings and updates! To round things out, we have some new Facebook videos from another band and a long overdue look at a new face in the realm of band photography, but let's start with LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!

Just over a month removed from their joint LopLops Lounge concert on Boxing Day, fans can see post-punk quartet Gnaeus, alt-hard rock trio The Din, and indie rock quartet K.I.C.K. together again on February 4th (one week from Saturday) when they headline the first ever Searchmont Skateapalooza event at the Searchmont Resort! A spiritual northern sequel to last year's Go Skateboarding Day and Gnar-BQ events from promoters Tidal Records, this rare punk/hard rock show at Searchmont is part of a full day of events starting at 1:00 PM on the 4th, where local skateboarders will demonstrate their skills at the Searchmont Community Center's skate sanctuary (734 Highway 532), with games, tips, and prizes available for those inclined to get involved. The concert proper takes place at 8:00 PM over at the resort (103 Searchmont Resort Road), rather than during the skateboarding, but the nighttime setting will prove fitting to cap things off! 

No word on if the bands will be playing indoors or outdoors, but it would be neat if the latter was the case, I love the concept of outdoor winter concerts. Both the skateboarding and concert are FREE & ALL AGES, but given the potential difficulties of travelling from Searchmont, Tidal Records are providing a return bus from the resort where fans can come home at 12:00 AM at a charge of $10. This is an intriguing event that should give a unique locale to the extreme sports and music action next weekend, especially with these talented & familiar bands, so check the above links for more details, and message to reserve a seat on the return bus!

Next up, the aforementioned Din will return to The Gore Street Cafe on Friday, March 10th when they headline one of the last events of this year's second annual Fishbowl Festival! Yes, the laundromat is bringing back the month-long arts festival from early February-early March (timed with the Pisces astrological sign's duration), with an assortment of community, music, and culture events once again planned throughout the month, and it's great to see Nicole and company bring the festival back! With all the difficulties that The Gore Street Cafe had last year, this can only be a positive sign, and hopefully they see a great turnout throughout! The Din toplined an acoustic show last year (which resulted in their debut live CD), and while it's unclear if their March show will be similarly formatted, note that this venue typically hosts acoustic acts. As of this writing, no openers are confirmed, but the festival's Facebook event page notes that ex-Pixo Control frontman Mike Mikus and folk musician/promoter Jackson Reed were once planned to open.

No word yet on potential other concerts with SMS-covered bands (there were three total last year), nor on admission details, but for reference, last year saw $5 general admission for each event, or $25 for a full festival pass. The laundromat is typically ALL AGES, and shows tended to start at 7:00 PM. This should be another fun and varied arts festival on Gore Street, and there's more events to be announced, so check the above links for more on The Din's show and currently announced events, and for details on how to perform at or host your own, message!

Also today, we have a trio of new videos (albeit incomplete) from new local alt-punk quartet A Dire Setback's co-headlining set at last week's January Jam at The Canadian Nightclub! Filmed by uncredited attendees beside the stage, these are all under 2 minutes long, and include their original songs "Catastrophe", "Nightmares", and as embedded below, a song whose name I can't verify (currently posted A.D.S. songs with titles don't match.) Larry Babic's vocals can be hard to make out, and the vertical angle on "Catastrophe" is unfortunate, but these are solid videos of this promising newer band in action, so give them a look above & below!

Finally, I wanted to give a belated but very deserving acknowledgement of a relatively new face in the local photography community, namely Josh Pace, who you may have seen taking some great pictures at a few recent concerts! As far as public photos through the Josh Pace Photography Facebook page, we first were alerted to his work at last month's Guy Thiffault benefit concert at The Rockstar Bar, where Josh photographed the aforementioned A Dire Setback (pictured), Stegadeth, and AlgomA in both colour and black & white, though he sadly didn't shoot the final bands. However, Josh actually started posting concert photos in late 2015, typically of shows with AlgomA, such as that fall's Sabrina Pelchat benefit. Most recently, Josh was on hand for the aforementioned January Jam event, where he got great pictures of every band except headliners Gnaeus, but despite their absence, his photos are awesome!

Using shadows, colour, and angles very well, his work is very professional and crisp, and he looks to be a very promising addition to the local band photography circle! Also note that one shot from last weekend features A Dire Setback being interviewed by Shaw TV, so look for a feature with that in the coming weeks. Josh is planning to sell limited edition prints of the above A.D.S. photo at their next concert, and is looking to do promotional photography with bands, so visit the above links for more from Josh Pace, and his photography page is now linked in that section on the SMS! That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and notes soon! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Gnaeus & The Din), Weekend Concert Previews, And More!!

Lately, I'd have had this weekend's concert previews at least partially up by now, but with an apparent Thursday night cancellation (elaborated on later), we had wiggle room to get this up today, after this month's YouTube Channel Profile seen below this post. Tonight, we have this weekend's known hard rock and punk concert previews, plus a new cover video, so here's what you need to know!

Local alternative/hard rock trio The Din will return to LopLops Lounge for a headlining concert TOMORROW NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice,  the show was only just announced via the official Facebook event page on Monday. Just a month removed from their Boxing Day show at the same venue with KI.C.K. and Gnaeus (more on them in a second), The Din should have a solid set in store for fans at what frontman Mike Haggith calls his favourite stage, so don't miss this concert despite the late notice TOMORROW NIGHT! Two solo acoustic performers will open this show, including folk solo project Shit Creek Survivor and Stereo North frontman Andrew Pucci, both playing their first advertised shows of the year, so come early for some entertaining unplugged music! A $5 cover charge is in effect for this 19+ show, which has an advertised 9:00 PM start time. See above for more details, and here's The Din live!

Next up, local post-punk/garage rock quartet Gnaeus will themselves headline at LopLops Lounge THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Again, apologies for the short notice, the venue again only announced the show via it's own Facebook event page on Monday. Having joined The Din at this past weekend's January Jam (and on Boxing Day at LopLops), both bands find themselves back on that stage a week later at LopLops, just on concurrent days. Unlike tomorrow's event, Gnaeus' show on SATURDAY features no advertised opening bands, similarly to their Movember fundraiser there, so if you want a night of wall-to-wall Gnaeus, you know where to be this weekend! Similarly to tomorrow's Din concert, expect a 19+ age limit, $5 cover charge, and 9:00 PM start time to be in effect for SATURDAY NIGHT! Visit the above links for more details, stay tuned in the coming days for word on their and The Din's big upcoming show in February, and here's Gnaeus live!

Finally for currently known hard rock/punk previews, we have some previously announced concerts to touch on, as long-time Caveman Morrison frontman Tym Morrison is scheduled to return to Gliss Steak & Seafood TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Note that there's no advertised show tonight, as the Facebook event page doesn't acknowledge a Thursday gig at all, which would mark his third straight week of just Friday & Saturday nighters at Gliss. No word yet on if this is a permanent shift or a seasonal adjustment, but remember that Tym had been playing twice a week through June before returning to a thrice weekly schedule there. If his February-opening gigs next week don't include Thursday, we'll add them to our listings accordingly, but hopefully nothing bad happened! In any event, Tym apparently has new songs to debut in his extensive setlist tomorrow and Saturday, so keep these in mind if you're at The Quality Inn's house restaurant over the weekend!

As usual for Tym's long term arrangement at Gliss, expect 6:00 PM start times tomorrow and Saturday, and while these still don't have an announced cover charge or age limit, remember where these are being held. Visit the above links for more details, and here's Tym live!

Finally for tonight, here's a new solo cover video from former Ashes To Dust guitarist Alex Hemy's YouTube channel! It's been a long 10 months since Alex last posted a cover there, and while I don't know what took him so long, his return is welcomed! Now attending university in Southern Ontario, this cover is of Def Leppard's "Foolin'", though unlike some of his recent covers, this is more of a basic guitars-only rendition played alongside the original track. This is a solidly performed & recorded take on this hair metal classic, if a little reserved, so give it a look below, and see more from Alex above!

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

YouTube Channel Profile Series: Bryan Belleau

Before we dive into this weekend's concert previews, here is this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Yes, another year has begun for our monthly feature series on YouTube channels whose posted content is at least half made up of local metal, hard rock, or punk-relevant content, and as usual, the channels picked in this series are done at random! This month's choice was a very prominent sight in the local metal scene in the 2000s, and is still making music today, so here's what you need to know for this month's YouTube Channel Profile!
Bryan Belleau (

Owner: Gates of Winter/ex-Woods of Ypres guitarist Bryan Belleau, currently seen playing guitar with his wife Melinda, based out of Fort Nelson, British Columbia

Channel Timeline: Launched on February 23rd, 2011; Videos posted from that day through April 2014

Channel Summary: This personal use channel covers Bryan's musical career from 2008-2014 through his three primary projects during that time, including a solo performance video, four in-studio jams from Gates & Woods, five shorter non-musical clips (some from Gates of Winter's 2008 tour), live concert videos with Woods of Ypres & Melinda, and two early-2010s audio recordings with Melinda.

Why You Should Watch: Definitely check out Bryan's channel for some extended and intricate looks at Woods of Ypres during their latter locally-based era, and if you're a fan of his and Melinda's collaborative music out west, give those videos a look too! However, if you're a Gates of Winter fan, this channel is disappointingly lacking, though with the band known for focusing on newer material and rarely acknowledging old material, that may be expected. Note that Bryan deleted an older channel with more plentiful Gates material when he launched this one, so if you swore he had more Gates videos, that's where they went.

Our Recommended Videos To Check Out

Woods of Ypres Live at the Grand Theater Sault Ste Marie, 2008 11 11: Posted in July 2012, Bryan's most popular video is the one and only local concert set by the 2008 six-piece lineup of Woods of Ypres, when they headlined at The Lock City Grand Theater on November 11th to kick off that lineup's one & only tour that month. A complete absorption of Gates of Winter's then (and final?) live lineup, Woods at the time featured Bryan alongside late singer/guitarist David Gold, guitarist Lee Maines, bassist Steve Furgiuele, keyboardist Brian Holmes (now of Machines Dream), and Philadelphia-based drummer Evan Madden. The 45 minute set featured renditions of "Your Ontario Town Is A Burial Ground", followed by the entirety of "Against The Seasons: Cold Winter Songs From The Dead Summer Heat" ("Shams of Optimism", "Crossing The 45th Parallel", "The Sea of Immeasurable Loss", "A Meeting Place And Time", and "Awaiting The Inevitable"), before closing with a rare live rendition of "The Northern Cold".

Though the video can be dark, and the stationary camera's distance from the stage isn't ideal, this is still a great window into a brief but locally relevant period for "Gates of Ypres", which was notable too as Woods' last local gig before transitioning to doom metal, and the most recent public concert appearance by the four core members of Gates of Winter on stage in the same band. Three guitarists isn't overkill, Brian Holmes' keyboard work is an asset, and with only a dozen shows to this lineup's name, and just two more in the Soo in any form, don't bypass this concert set!

A Lesson of Woods 2 Songs by David Part 1: Following the posting of this video of Bryan and David Gold during the writing process for the "Woods IV" lead single "I Was Buried In Mount Pleasant Cemetery", Bryan shared 47 minutes of footage of David teaching him songs from "Pursuit of the Sun & Allure of the Earth" (a.k.a. "Woods II") circa 2009. The second part is here, but the vast majority of the video is in part 1, and it features David leading Bryan through songs on "Woods II", an album that was largely ignored in their last tours, so if you ever wanted to hear "Summer's Envy" or "Shedding the Deadwood" in the doom era, this is your best bet! These give a nice and rare glimpse into Woods of Ypres behind the scenes, and you could use these to learn some early tracks on guitar if desired!

Gates Of Winter - Rehearsal 002: Bryan's only video featuring Gates of Winter at any substantive musical level is this rehearsal clip from May 2011, where he, frontman Lee Maines, and then-keyboardist Brian Holmes (no Fuge) played an untitled instrumental alongside pre-recorded drums, as then intended for their yet-released third CD "Perihelion". The top-down view of the guys is too squished and isn't ideal, but the song sounds really promising! However, with Brian's departure, the continued release delays over the past 6 years, and the band's very quiet public status in the past year, it's anyone's guess if this particular song will even make "Perihelion" when released. Note that the description says this is for the "Gates 2 album", presumably discounting their 2005 debut demo.

I hope you guys liked this month's YouTube Channel Profile! Next month in this series, our random selection will give us multiple channels for the first time in 2017, as the first channel only had one video, and the second only had one that wasn't repeated, so we came to three, namely former local concert promoter Aisha Day's channel (featuring 1 video of Devastation of the Heavens), former Crimson Crusade frontman Devon Lucier's channel (featuring that band's only EP in two formats), and YouTube user 98Watts' channel (featuring a Treble Charger music video.) Watch for these on or around February 26th, and stay tuned for weekend concert previews next and more news soon! Thanks everyone!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Shaw TV's OnStage Premiere, Plus More New Videos!!

With our review of Saturday's January Jam now online, let's dive back into the news with an all-video showcase from four local bands, and coincidentally, three of the four played on Saturday night! These include some new assorted Facebook clips, recent live concert footage, and first, the debut content of a recent local TV debut, so here's what you should know!

As you may know, Shaw TV Sault Ste. Marie premiered a new series called OnStage this past Saturday night at 9:00 PM, and in the first episode of the planned weekly program on channel 10, the featured concert was August's CD release concert from The Din & Gnaeus at The W.W. Baldwin Auditorium at The Tech! Fans may recall Shaw TV's Christian Lemay and crew filming the show live on multiple cameras, and with music clearances and red tape out of the way, we can finally see the finished product after a 5 month wait, so what should you know? Ironically, both bands were playing at The Canadian on Saturday during the premiere, but they, you, and I can now see the full original contents via Shaw TV's YouTube channel, and kudos to them for getting these online so fast! Starting with The Din's headlining set, the local alternative/hard rock trio can be seen below playing the band Haggith's "75" (with "Leamington, Ontario" intro), then their originals "Alleyways & Apartments""In Search of the Perfect Moment", ...

..."Out Of My League", and "Remember", an abbreviated cover of Mike Haggith's solo song "Of Cars & Criminals", "Flux", Mike's own "Potato (Should've Known Better)", "The Rose", "A Drive Through The Peninsula", and for an encore, "Differences". Featuring their entire debut album plus two non-album tracks, this is a solid set of original alt-rock action, with great filming by the crew at Shaw to accentuate the scale, but at times, the audio can be slightly muffled, and The Din's covers of bands outside of Mike's career are not included. Still, this is an awesome extended look at The Din, so be sure to give it a look below!

Next up, here's the video of opening post-punk quartet Gnaeus, who were filmed first that night in their own Tech debut! Coming off of their own CD release show at the time (The Din opened for that one in return), Gnaeus mostly played tracks from "Meditations" on this August night. In order, the video features the guys playing their songs "Mountains", "Circles", "The Edge", "Exercise In Self Awareness", "Lovers", "Fire", "Electricity", and "The Sound", notably omitting "Calling Out" and "Where You're Gone" that night, while a performed Cold War Kids cover is not included in Shaw's public footage. Notably starting with Mike Haggith introducing Gnaeus and apologizing for delays (a fire alarm went off in the building before their set), this video is of comparable quality and stature to The Din's video, and given that they only covered one outside artist, it's is a fuller video for those that recall this set, so you aren't missing too much!

Solidly and reliably performed as usual, so check out Gnaeus' half of the OnStage episode below, and stay tuned for more on both bands' next concerts in the coming days, which are sooner than you may think!

Also today, here's a couple of new video finds from new local alt-punk quartet A Dire Setback, and while they also have some new videos from Saturday's January Jam concert to share, these are actually from last month's YouTube Party at The Canadian Nightclub. Guitarist Chris Nielsen's wife Heather filmed these and posted them to A.D.S.' Facebook page a few days afterward, and they include renditions of their original songs "Wasting Away" and, as embedded below, "Catastrophe". The stage set-up seems to be a little standard despite the teasers and hype for the YouTube party, but Heather had a great view of the band, who were their usual energetic selves for these solid performances! For reference sake, a banner in memoriam to late Canadian Nightclub DJ Jay Perron (who died in October) can still be seen on the back wall of the stage in these clips. Give these "new" A Dire Setback videos a look above and below, and apologies for the month's delay!

Finally, here's a trifecta of new Facebook videos from local death/thrash metal trio Pillory! At the moment, these are Facebook exclusive, and aren't on Bret's YouTube channel yet. One video features bassist Jordan Leach (in fake voices) jokingly interviewing frontman Robert Sartini, with occasional asides by drummer Bret Shuttleworth, while another shorter video features Bret getting similar questions, before turning the tables and interviewing Jordan briefly. Both are light and amusing, and give you a more casual look at the band! The other video is a sideways jam session instrumental clip, and the band seemed to acknowledge that, titling the video "Sideways, 'The Foundational Esoterica'" If that is the case, I guess I'm out of the loop for understanding the angle choice, but the performance is suitably brutal and heavy, and fans of Pillory's recent work will enjoy the metal action regardless of angle! Give them a look above & below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates as the week rolls along! Thanks everyone!

Monday, January 23, 2017

The January Jam Concert Review!!

At last, here's my review of Saturday night's January Jam concert from Live705 at The Canadian Nightclub! Good turnout, if uneven, and the venue had it's usual fine layout, with the night's three final bands all selling merchandise at the door, including brand new buttons from A Dire Setback (including some that just said "Support Local Music", which is always a good message!)

After a 15 minute delay, the opening band on Saturday was indie/acoustic trio The Autumn Roots in their first show of the year, wherein the band debuted new second guitarist Chase Wigmore (Coyote Speedfreaks), who was a former bandmate of frontman Jeremy Hannah's in The North Shore. Solid addition, and even unplugged, you got a sense of Chase's guitar abilities, and it's nice to see him back on stage! The band also parted ways with drummer Travis St. Amour last month, and have not (yet?) replaced him, though for what it's worth, the band interestingly noted that last night was their first "official" concert. Well, I saw them on Halloween, and while the lack of a drummer was noticeable, they kept things going from last fall with a solid set of folk rock originals like "The North", "Falling Down", and "The Sink". Jeremy's well-suited vocals complimented the music, he and Chase continue to mesh well on guitar, and Greg Carscadden was solid on bass, if somewhat reserved. Look for much more from The Autumn Roots in 2017!

Next up was the local debut of Ottawa electronic solo project Sleepwellcity, featuring former local punk/alternative bassist Nathan Bouliane in his long awaited homecoming. It was great to see Jonna Maximilian himself back on a local stage, but how did Sleepwellcity sound? Well, they are truly a one man band, with Nathan playing keyboard, drum machine, and bass throughout their set, not to mention utilizing a computer throughout, and also singing, so he had a lot on his plate! Nathan is multi-talented, as fans of his local and recent music will attest, but the Sleepwellcity set had some glitches. Early in the set, there was some type of computer malfunction that ground everything to a halt for a whike, and the timing and clarity of some musical elements could have been polished better. As well, vocals were very low in the mix, so it was hard to get a full idea of how he is as a singer. Sleepwellcity are an intriguing project with something of a dreamlike quality at times, and it'd be interesting to see Nathan bring this project back home!

Third was newer punk/metal trio Stegadeth in their Canadian Nightclub debut, and they continued in their upward momentum from late last year with another well received set! Along with covers of the likes of The Ramones, Blink-182, Nirvana, and their predecessor band T-Rex Manning, this power trio unveiled their first true original song, entitled "Kingdom of Ashes", which sounded good and fits in with their sound! As well, the band dedicated their cover of SNFU's "Fate" to late local punk frontman Guy Thiffault, which was a nice touch! If you saw Stegadeth at Guy's tribute show over the holidays, then you'll be glad to know that they were on form from that concert, with Tiffany Stocco gaining more confidence as a singer, Daniel MacDonald keeping the energy going on drums, and Bill Bennett delivering a forceful presence of his own (his vocals are channeling Nate Olp from Demiricous a bit, just in a punk style.) Stegadeth are building things nicely so far, and here's to more!

Fourth on the night was local alternative/hard rock trio The Din, who were still riding high from their Toronto gig a few weeks back, and they were in their usual fine form! Alongside established hits like "Potato" & "Out Of My League", The Din covered The Tragically Hip's "Blow At High Dough" and played a handful of newer songs, like "High Park" and "Suburban Dream", which got a good reception from fans, who were increasingly starting to crowd the floor by the stage. Mike Haggith continues to showcase a fine ease as frontman, and even joined fans mid-song as if often seen, while Tammy Hill and Brandan Glew handled the guitar and drums as well as you'd expect! I did notice that there wasn't as much on-stage banter as we have seen at recent Din shows, but musically, their alt-hard rock originals sounded as good as ever, and it'll be interesting to see how things shape up this year!

Co-headlining were new local punk quartet A Dire Setback in their second Canadian gig, and they delivered a fun set of their own! Showcasing a lot of energy (especially on the part of guitarist Chris Nielsen), A.D.S. played original songs like "Wasting Away" and "Kicking & Screaming" alongside their punk version of OneRepublic, and with the night's peak crowd, they played it up and delivered a solid attack of alt-punk action! Vocals could be hard to hear at times for both Chris and frontman Larry Babic, but they have a good command of the stage, as fans of members' old bands can attest, and Nick Kainula's drumming was on point as well! A Dire Setback have sure accomplished a lot in a short time, already hosting two big concerts and performing a number of originals, and if they can keep this up, they'll be a force this year!

And finally, your headliners were local post-punk/garage rock quartet Gnaeus, and despite a drop-off in crowd numbers following A Dire Setback's set, they sent remaining fans home happy with their skilled originals! Starting with an extended improvised instrumental jam, Gnaeus soon launched into established originals like "The Sound", "Electricity", and "Fire", plus a lengthy new song named "È La Vita" (Italian for "That's Life") that visibly got a good reception! Heisenberg... I mean, Aaron Alessandrini was his usually reliable self on vocals and guitar, with Brad Irwin complimenting him well on the synth, Matt Fronzi was a positive and skilled presence on bass, and Alex Proulx is fitting in more & more on drums! It's a shame that so many fans left before their set, but alas, things did get delayed a half hour from advertised set times, but if you stayed, you weren't disappointed

Overall, The January Jam was a solid concert for fans of alternative and punk music, complete with new and familiar faces in equal measure, and kudos to Live705 for putting this one on! As you no doubt noticed, Shaw TV was on hand filming bands all night for a presumed future On Stage episode and perhaps interview features, while Josh Pace Photography was on hand taking pictures of the bands, and we will give Josh a proper feature on the site in the next while, I promise! I did get photos myself, which you can see at this link or via our Facebook page, but due to a combination of those reflective paint road signs on the stage's back wall and not wanting to get in the road of the Shaw cameras, the quality of mine is mixed. As for our videos, here's The Autumn Roots playing "Means & Circumstance", Sleepwellcity playing "Bombs", Stegadeth covering The Rebel Spell's "All We Want Is To Be Left Alone", The Din playing their new song "Up In The Air", A Dire Setback playing their new original "Faded", and Gnaeus playing their new song "È La Vita"!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for more news and updates tomorrow! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, January 21, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Banned), New Videos, And Much More!!

Make it 7 in 11 for our run of posts largely geared towards the Sault Michigan area, which is very nice to see, and hopefully the E.U.P. scene continues to grow in the coming months! Today on the SMS, we're tackling some assorted recent notes, new videos from each side of the border, and first, LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS for next month, so here's what you need to know!

Kinross, Michigan classic/hard rock trio Banned will rock The Rapids Lounge at the Sault Michigan Kewadin Casino over the I-500 weekend on Friday, February 3rd & Saturday, February 4th! Announced yesterday on Banned's Facebook page (the venue has yet to publically confirm 2017 shows online), the shows are great timing to coincide with the annual snowmobile race, with Banned having also played last year at both Kewadin and inside the beer tent at the race proper, so hopefully there's some great crowds next weekend to take in Banned's varied but often heavy originals! No word yet on who'll be playing in the beer tent this year, or on if these shows will officially be a part of the annual I-500 pub crawl. Aside from the I-500 timing, next weekend's shows have 21+ age limits, no announced cover charge, and 21+ age limits. For more details, check the above links, and stay tuned for more updates on their 2017 concerts soon!

Next up, here's some new videos from Sault Ontario death/thrash metal trio Pillory! Drummer Bret Shuttleworth (under the name "Bret Martin") has launched his own YouTube channel featuring 6 Pillory videos, and while four are re-postings of videos from their Facebook page, one of those is new on either source, and there's also two exclusive concert videos too! The new clip is of a new "song" entitled "Juicebox", though the video is just of Bret playing a drum solo with his shirt over his head. Considering he's playing blind, the solo works out even better! Of the re-uploads, their drum-cam performance of their newer original "Exhaustive Incarnation" is especially worth mentioning as it's angle has been fixed (remember how it was sideways when posted on Facebook originally?) As for the concert videos, those were quietly uploaded on Halloween, as filmed by an attendee when Pillory opened for Norilsk at The Oddfellows Hall on October 28th, so what should you know on them?

The videos feature Pillory playing their originals "The Passing" and, as embedded below, "Abhorred Apprehension", but the video quality of these leaves something to be desired. The audio is alright, but the picture is grainy, the venue lighting gives odd tints with this camera, and the filmer switches from portrait to landscape view during the songs (halfway through the former, a minute into the latter.) Still, it's nice to see some new Pillory live footage, and the audio works, so give these a look above & below!

Also today, here's a new video from Sault Michigan classical metal band Theatre of Night's YouTube channel, that being a rough draft of a new original song named "Break Down These Walls". Uniquely filmed at a top-down angle with only Craig Harrison's hands showing (and shot in black and white), the song is apparently "about those you are trying so hard to help", so I'd have to assume there's a personal meaning here. The song (so far) is somewhat morose, yet also orchestral, and it's true to that side of Theatre of Night, so check it out below!

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

  • Sault Michigan concert promoters Allstar Promotions asked on their Facebook page yesterday what people thought of Orlando hard rock quartet Alter Bridge, best known for hit songs like "Isolation", "Open Your Eyes", and "Rise Today". They didn't firmly say if they were considering booking Alter Bridge for a show here or not, but it'd be huge if they did, so comment above if you're interested in voicing support! For reference, Alter Bridge are playing a couple of midwestern U.S. gigs in May.
  • Former Fitswitch/Sense of Truth bassist Curtis Beauchamp is looking for a singer for a new metal band that he's working on, and they play heavier stuff than we've previously seen him in, like All That Remains, Children of Bodom, and Trivium. It's great to see Curtis back in the scene, but if you're interested in trying out on vocals, message him at this link or via his Musicians Wanted Facebook group post from yesterday!
  • Shaw TV Sault Ste. Marie will premiere a new series TONIGHT at 9:00 PM called On Stage, which is intended to be a weekly series featuring full local concert performances. The premiere episode will feature The Din's CD release concert at The Tech on August 12th with openers Gnaeus, so if you're wondering what would become of Christian Lemay's full footage of that event, here's your answer. Ironically, the premiere comes during tonight's January Jam at The Canadian (which both The Din & Gnaeus are playing, and I'm attending), so I can't watch the premiere live, but I'll try and tape it so I can give it a review!

That's all for today, but again, I'll see you guys at The Canadian TONIGHT! Thanks everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2017

New Karstens Videos, A New Solo Cover Video, And Much More!!

Today's news post continues our recent increase in Sault Michigan-area coverage, so make that 6 posts in 10 to touch on at least 50% E.U.P. stories! Along with lots of assorted news stories and a new cover video, we have lots of new videos from a recent band discovery, so here's what you should know!

Though still lacking a formal band page, newer Sault Michigan alt-metal group The Karstens have launched their own YouTube channel! Already five videos strong and including our first public glance at original material, it's great to get so much new material so soon, but what's here? The channel includes a cover of The Animals' "We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" live at Pickles Bar & Grill in Brimley (from the same filmer of their earlier Flipper cover), a guitar-less audio recording of their original "Indian Money", and this amusing clip showcasing The Karstens working "behind the scenes" of music video shoots. Yes, I meant music videos, as they have two posted there, namely "Indian Money" in full, and as embedded below, "Dissatisfaction". The former contrasts the slower & more deliberate song with a light, tongue-in-cheek video featuring the band happily playing instruments in & outdoors, and even tracking a song with a joystick?!

As for "Dissatisfaction", it's more of a lo-fi original (the band jokingly noted that it was "recorded with a potato") and features the core three members playing outside in various locales, even if not always seemingly to the track in question, though this video's filming was the source of the "behind the scenes" clip. The Karstens' originals (as presented here, at least) lack the spontaniety and aggression of their live covers, but they're a nice change of pace and a welcome addition to the Sault Michigan-area scene, so give their new YouTube videos a look above & below!

Next up, here's the newest solo guitar cover video from Stegadeth guitarist Tiffany Stocco's YouTube channel! A cover of "Fate" by SNFU (who she has opened for with Jack Spades), the cover is visibly well performed, but the audio quality isn't great, with her playing sounding tinny through this camera. Check out Tiffany's newest cover below, and don't miss Stegadeth TOMORROW NIGHT at Live705's January Jam at The Canadian!

Finally for today, here's six assorted shorter news items from the last while, half from Sault Ontario and half from Sault Michigan! As usual, these are in alphabetical order by artist, event, or company name:

  • Local doom metal trio AlgomA acknowledged on their Facebook page on New Year's Day that their upcoming split vinyl EP with Hooded Menace has been delayed, and while they didn't elaborate on why, they did note that "2017 is going to be savage." The status also plugged an article by the metal website No Clean Singing that same day where contributor "Islander" praised the cover art and the teased songs so far, and it's worth a look in the meantime!
  • Inactive Strongs, Michigan metal solo project East Branch is back in our band links! Their Facebook page was quietly de-activated in late 2014, but it was restored and made public again earlier this month, complete with a new post linking to a song posted on YouTube in January of that year. As a result, that's not truly a "new" update, so they'll stay in our inactive band links for now, but might J.R. have some new music up his sleeves? Stay tuned!
  • In a minor update to our links section, we have changed the link for local music instruments/lessons store Grooves Music from their website (whose domain name has expired) to their Facebook page. Grooves is the only music instruments store in Sault Michigan, and one of few places there that carry local musicians' CDs, so don't miss it at 540 Ashmun Street! Also, note that Tantrym Tyme's Jacob Hotlen is teaching guitar there again.
  • Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Highway 63 clarified their break from the stage this month on their Facebook page last week, with frontman Henry Switzer (I believe) noting that the break is to allow him to heal up from a heart infarction that he had a few weeks ago. This is the first we've heard about it, but his health comes first, so hopefully he rests up and comes back even stronger next month!
  • Gates of Winter bassist Steve Furgiuele is featured in this new SooToday article by Darren Taylor about his growing culinary career and current work in Edmonton as owner of his own cured meat company Fuge Fine Meat. The article also briefly mentions his Gates of Winter work, noting that he and his wife Mariana first met because she was a Gates fan. Great read, and it's awesome to see that Steve has found so much personal success! For what it's worth, he's quoted there noting that he was in Gates of Winter. Does the past tense mean anything?
  • A third annual chili cook-off in support of the Ride For Sight blindness charity motorcycle rally will be held at The Garden River Community Centre on February 25th, but this year, Stiffler's Mom will not be the evening's musical performers for the first time. Instead, singer/drummer Greg Simpson's country cover band Bone Yard will step in, but at least Greg is still playing, and hopefully Bone Yard keep things hot like the chili next month! For reference, Redundant frontman Justin Langlois & his wife Monique are back this year among the competitors.

That's all for today, but in case there's not a new post tomorrow, we'll see you guys at The Canadian for The January Jam! Thanks everyone!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS (Mourning Wood & The 3 Day Millionaires) And Weekend Concert Previews!!

(Updated at 8:17 PM) Another weekend of concerts is nigh, so let's tackle that on this Thursday afternoon! Nothing in Sault Michigan on the hard rock side that we've heard about, but there's a nice amount in Sault Ontario, so let's kick things off with SHORT NOTICE LOCAL CONCERT ALERTS!!

Local classic/hard rock cover quartet Mourning Wood will hit the stage for the first time this year with shows at The Esquire Club TOMORROW & SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies for the short notice, we only heard about the shows via drummer Glen Thomas' personal Facebook page earlier this week, and the band has yet to acknowledge them publically. Fresh off of an extended week-long run at Reggie's Place by their new country rock side project The Jukebox Junkies (Glen & Terry alongside Lucky 13's Robin Lee), this will mark Mourning Wood's return to The Esquire Club after three months away from the Second Line West venue, though with guitarist Steven Flint on vacation, Robin will fill in on guitar, with our source for that info again being Glen's personal Facebook page.

Members have been busy in recent weeks with side projects (including Nameus/Soundcheck), but it's good to see that Mourning Wood proper are still alive and kicking, despite the lack of public notice for these gigs, not to mention Steven's absence, but don't miss out TOMORROW and/or SATURDAY! As usual for Mourning Wood dates in the area, expect 10:00 PM-ish start times, no announced cover charges, and 19+ age limits. For more details, visit the above links, and here they are live last year!

Next up, fellow local classic/hard rock cover quartet The 3 Day Millionaires will play their first show of 2017 when they return to The Rockstar Bar THIS SATURDAY NIGHT! Apologies again for the short notice, the show was only announced earlier this week via the official Facebook event page. A one nighter due to (or resulting in) tomorrow's show by classic rock veterans Obsession, this will mark The Millionaires' first show since rocking the same venue for their New Year's Eve party. This talented quartet should be in fine form to kick off the new year, so don't miss this union of Havadder, Cleveland Steamer, Sneaky Pete, and Wishbone alumni on SATURDAY! As usual for their frequent Rockstar Bar gigs, look for a 10:30 PM start time, no announced cover charge, and a 19+ age limit. See the above links for more details, and here's The 3 Day Millionaires' current lineup last fall!

Moving to previously announced concerts, prolific local singer/guitarist Tym Morrison returns to Gliss Steak & Seafood for three more solo acoustic shows in his long-term run there TOMORROW and SATURDAY! One week removed from a two-date weekend at Gliss (he got the night off on Thursday the 12th, apologies for missing that), Tym will again not be playing tonight for a second straight week, as per his personal Facebook page. Still, he should be ready and primed for another weekend of acoustic hard rock covers at The Quality Inn's house restaurant, so don't miss out on these next two matinees! As usual for Tym's lengthy arrangement at Gliss, expect 6:00 PM start times each night, no announced cover charges, and no age limits, but remember that this is a sit-down restaurant, not a typical nightclub or bar. For more details, visit the official Facebook event page, and for a preview, here's Tym live!

Finally for this weekend's known concert previews is the first big multi-band hard rock/punk show of 2017, as Live705 are hosting their second ever concert THIS SATURDAY NIGHT at The Canadian Nightclub! Now entitled "The January Jam", this show will unite 5 local bands and 1 local-featured out of town act for a night of varied original talent, much in the same vein as Live705's debut show in November, but who all is playing? In listed order on the Facebook event page (a performance order isn't public yet), bands will include local post-punk quartet Gnaeus, alternative hard rock trio The Din, Live705's flagship alt-punk quartet A Dire Setback, new acoustic/indie trio The Autumn Roots, and new punk/metal trio Stegadeth, while former local punk/alternative bassist Nathan Bouliane will bring his Ottawa electronic project Sleepwellcity home for the first time on Saturday as well. Strong lineup, including four punk or hard rock acts, so don't bypass this one!

Note that the show was moved from The Oddfellows Hall last month, presumably following A Dire Setback's well received set at The Canadian's YouTube party, while an earlier posting on A.D.S.' Facebook page noting that they were playing "pending the condition" of singer Larry Babic has had no public follow-through, so unless something new is said, don't worry. Tickets are $8 in advance at Case's Music, The Rad Zone, or through band members, while admission will jump to $10 at the door. This is a 19+ event, and doors open at 8:00 PM. For more details on what should be a great night of local music action, check the above links, and here's Gnaeus live last year!

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

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

This Month's Poll On Your Favourite New Bands Of 2016!!

After a few months' hiatus due to declining vote totals, our monthly polls are back! Well, for at least a few months, as I promised to bring them back for our "favourite _____ of the year" polls, as has been an annual tradition around here, so we'll kick off the (temporary?) return of our polls with this question: What was your favourite new local metal, hard rock, or punk band of 2016? Last year saw a sizable number of new additions to our full coverage, even if many are still going without an online page or website, and it's always interesting to see which new band comes out with the most year-end support! With that said, to be included as a choice, the band had to both debut publically AND play their first show in the 2016 calendar year. This excludes bands like Exploring Detritus (the former Kaepora Gaebora launched in 2015), Stoned Ape Evolution (who played live as early as 2014), and Kraken Mara (who have yet to play live at all), but you can vote for "Other"!!

And as usual, I ask that readers and performers not stuff the vote or launch public campaigns to drive up the tallies in favour of any specific band, as I don't intend for these polls to be popularity contests, and I hope to see something or a representative sample reflected in the totals. Now, here are your final 12 choices in the poll (plus "Other"!)

A Dire Setback: Launching alongside their own promotion agency Live705 last fall, punk quartet A Dire Setback immediately made a big impression with their self-promoted Oddfellows Hall concert in November, which they've followed with more big sets since, the next coming this Saturday! With A Fall From Innocence and State of Misery alumni within, are your A.D.S your favourite new band?

The Band Camp Rejects: A surprise debuting band at The Rednecks Saloon's relaunch party in the spring, this online page-less quartet succeeded Under The Influence to become a fan favourite sight at Toystock, Ride For ARCH, and even a solo concert or two later in the year. Featuring alumni of Mourning Wood, Havadder, and The Issues, have The Band Camp Rejects outshone other 2016 newcomers?

Bizotic: The latest to debut on stage among this month's choices, this creative quartet brought a trumpet & keytar to the fray when they opened for The OM Sound at The New American Pub on December 30th. Bizotic's experimental but heavy sound is brought to life by alumni of No Arrow, Gates of Winter, and Sounds From The Green Room, but is one show enough to put them over here?

Electric Church: This modern tribute to classic rock (Jimi Hendrix in particular) first entered our radar when they opened for The Pixo Control at last year's Sky's The Limit mental health fundraiser, and later returned to the public stage at Live705's inaugural concert. Though Electric Church are also sans a known online page, they have made positive waves since debuting, but are you among them?

Gianni Gagoots: Another very creative new band, Gianni Gagoots debuted at The New American Pub last summer when their instrumental punk and funk rock jams opened for Cocaine Moustache, and they've since followed up with more creative, conga-infused concerts that always promise something new! Featuring Redefined, Rising Tide, and Sailor's Tongue alumni, will the Gagoots win your vote?

Heavy Head: This sporadically seen quartet are definitely something of a local supergroup, with Suicide Kings, Haggith, and Winkstinger alumni uniting to play hard and pop rock covers and originals at a handful of notable concerts in early-mid 2016. Despite a mixed reception to their VM Radio Battle of the Bands set, they have loads of potential, but were they your #1 new band?

The Karstens: One of last year's more promising new heavier bands in the Sault Michigan area, online page-less quartet The Karstens were notably seen at last year's Bay Mills Bands Together fundraiser and Downtown Days, plus a well received Back Bay Grill set in between. Their Buckethead-influenced covers and unique approach are served well, but would you vote for them?

Nameus/Soundcheck: Listed under two names due to their January name change to Soundcheck, this Mourning Wood side project reunited Carbon Black's Travis Sharpe and Terry Eaton last fall in a new classic/hard rock cover act that notably pays tribute to the 1980s. No online pages or media yet from this band (or the similar new side-act The Jukebox Junkies), but did they impress you the most?

Project 906: Arguably the most visible of last year's freshman hard rock crop in Sault Michigan, Ten Kings successors Project 906 have delivered a blend of hard rock and blues to fans across the E.U.P. since debuting last March, playing many rarely covered venues in the process. Their chemistry and talents are very clear, but were they your favourite new local hard rock band of the year?

Stegadeth: Belated successors to local punk/metal favourites T-Rex Manning (and Pools of Booze), this power trio debuted at last fall's Live705 local show, and have since became a promising sight in the local scene with their hard hitting covers and one original! Also featuring Jack Spades and Stereo North alumni, fans have taken to Stegadeth in recent months, but are you among them in this poll?

The 3 Day Millionaires: Debuting in early 2016 as a Havadder side project, The 3 Day Millionaires have since carved out a nice spot for themselves in the cover bands circuit locally with their classic & hard rock renditions reliably getting a solid reception! With Turner Up, Lucky 13, Boxcar Junction, and Sneaky Pete alumni, you know the talent's there, but do The Millionaires have your vote?

Twistory: Last year's new entry in the two man metal band sweepstakes, Twistory united former Pillory bandmates Josh Amendola and Robert Sartini into a hard hitting minimalist death metal outfit, notably playing at last year's two Metal Massacre house parties before opening for Foam in June. Twistory haven't been seen since, and don't have an online page, but did you enjoy them the most?

Other: Did we miss a band you'd rather vote for? Perhaps your favourite new band of 2016 was a non-metal or hard rock band? Was there a debuting band that we forgot entirely? Would you count the former Kaepora Gaebora despite their public launch coming in 2015? If, for whatever readon, your preferred choice isn't listed above, vote for "Other"!

VOTE TODAY!! You guys have until February 18th (as usual) to cast your ballots, and hopefully the return of our polls can get higher results after our polls' hiatus, which the vote total drop indicated was very much needed. The poll widget is in the top left of the SMS main page, so vote A.S.A.P., and stay tuned for more news and concert previews soon! Thanks everyone!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Rudyard Musicians Festival Videos, Plus More From Sault Ontario!!

Before we kick things off, I wanted to acknowledge that the Sault Music News Letter Facebook page (a blues/classic rock-leaning concert calendar source) advertised a Havadder concert on December 26th at The Rockstar Bar. Neither the band nor venue ever plugged such a show, and I doubt it occurred, but if we somehow missed it, our apologies! Now, this is our 5th post in the last 7 where most content comes from the Sault Michigan area, with videos from a recent concert leading off, but we also have some new clips from this side to round things out! Now, here's what you need to know!

Remember how Rudyard, Michigan hosted a Musicians Festival at the Rudyard Township Park in August? Well, videos from the first annual event went online via their Facebook page last fall, and we only just came across them! Uploaded by an uncredited attendee, the videos (15 total, plus 2 repeated videos) confirm that the visibly well-attended festival was held indoors in a barn-styled building on the park grounds, and the performers even had a smoke machine to work with, which is a nice touch! This show was one of many recent multi-band E.U.P. events that had a lineup full of bands with minimal to zero online pages or media, but most were filmed for the channel, including the likes of Bob & Robert Malaski, Denny Verrett, Jimmy Williams, Hayley Malaska, and Traverse City's Neighbourhood Dogs, though the other videos are uncredited and often hard to discern given the portrait orientation and distance in some. That said, almost all of these videos are of country music covers, with the exception of The Neighbourhood Dogs (experimental), Hayley Malaska (pop), and the two videos below!

One video is our first public video glance at masked local metal band Stoned Ape Evolution, whose video sees them covering Megadeth's "Sweating Bullets". Musically, they sound good, especially on guitar, but the spoken word-heavy vocals don't give me enough of a gauge as to the singer's ability, though he does almost death growl at times. Perhaps the portrait orientation and smoke help continue the mystery about their identity and full sound, and it'll be interesting to see what Stoned Ape Evolution have in store for 2017, as they have promise! Give their video a look below!

The other heavier video from the Rudyard Musicians Festival page is of local hard/blues rock cover quartet Project 906 covering The Black Crowes' "Hard to Handle". Sadly on the same orientation from a further distance, the guys still sound good, and Billy Bernier sounds really good on vocals for this track! There seemed to be some timing issues late though. Check out Project 906's video below, see more of the festival's talented acts above, and click here for details on next month's initial meeting on this year's installment! And yes, the Rudyard Musicians Festival is now in our Sault Michigan festival links!

Also, here's some new Facebook videos from a pair of Sault Ontario bands, starting with a new clip from local hard rockers Skeyes of Seven! Posted to their Facebook page last week, this is of the guys covering "From Can To Can't", a Corey Taylor-sung track from the "Real to Reel" soundtrack of Dave Grohl's documentary Sound City. The video is filmed on a handicam held by frontman Cory Murchison during the performance, which isn't in full, but the band promised a commenting fan that it would be posted in full in the future in some form. Similarly to the band's quiet reveal of new guitarist Kyle Sweet last fall (who wasn't publically confirmed as a new member for months), this video features a drummer in studio that isn't identified by name. I don't know if he's a new band member or not, as guitarist Ron Baxter told me they were still looking for one after this video went online, but if we get any clarification, we'll let you know!

It's great to see a new video of Skeyes of Seven with a live drummer (permanent or not) for the first time since 2014, and with the songs from their yet-released debut EP now available to stream, hopefully a return to the stage will be close at hand too! The guys sound good on the cover too, tight and heavy, though it's a shame the video doesn't run beyond 90 seconds. Give it a look below, and see more from Skeyes of Seven at the above links, and stay tuned for updates!

Finally, local thrash/death metal trio Pillory reemerged for the first time in 2 months with three new videos on their Facebook page over the past day or so! Each is of Pillory playing an original song from a recent jam session, including this video where the camera slowly tilts it's position upward mid-song (bassist Jordan Leach fixes it), and this video which focuses on drummer Bret Shuttleworth in action, but it's sadly uploaded sideways. I know the introduction (Jordan drinking Coca Cola Life) needs the portrait orientation, but nothing else does, why not fix the angle? Embedded below is Pillory playing their song "The Passing", though like the first video, the camera angle goes awry again, this time by completely falling onto the floor late, though there's only 35 seconds left in the video anyway. Pillory sound nice and brutal in these videos, even if the camera positions aren't always ideal, so check out their newest death metal onslaughts above & below!

That's all for today, but stay tuned for much more on the site next week! Thanks everyone!