Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Reviews: American Standards "Still Life"

By: Garviel Loken

Clocking in at less than twenty minutes, the seven tracks of "Still Life" by American Standards are a breath of fresh air for those in the hardcore scene who are suffocating from boredom and apathy. Unlike many bands in this genre that re-hash the same old ideas or rely on technique alone to stay relevant, American Standards has cleverly sidestepped these pitfalls. Bridging the gap between late 90s hardcore and the modern era of metal, "Still Life" rings true on all fronts.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reviews: Territory "Sic Semper Tyrannis"

By: Garviel Loken

This crusty hardcore group from Tucson brings the straight goods to your ears in the true spirit of that genre: No frills or fancy gimmicks, but a knockout right hook to the face. Featuring thought provoking front cover artwork and nine tracks of angry, barking attitude, Territory's "Sic Semper Tyrannis" record sits comfortably alongside the best purveyors of modern crust and hardcore.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Reviews: Cave Dweller "Terra Incognita"

By: Garviel Loken

On their first musical offering to the world at large, Cave Dweller have thrown down a mighty challenge to the Arizona heavy music scene. Clocking in at just under thirty minutes, the six tracks of "Terra Incognita" erupt with a venomous intensity that could burn the world to cinders if it was somehow able to escape the confines of compact disc imprisonment. Everyone take note, this band clearly means business and now has the proof to back it up.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Reviews: Twingiant "Mass Driver"

By: Garviel Loken

Dense, warm, and full of sheer power, the debut full length by this Phoenix outfit is a real gem of sludge metal, but so much more as well. With a healthy swagger and a plethora of musical ideas, "Mass Driver" saunters out of the speakers as if it were ripping a hole through space and time from some alternate dimension. The sounds command you to pay attention and to join the trip down the proverbial rabbit hole. Having seen these guys use the term "space hobo" in relation to their music, this listener must agree that those words are an apt fit for the band. It conjures up the image of galactic hitchhikers that jump from ship to ship, maybe looking for home or just a new place to crash. What can be better than that?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Reviews: Flying Donkey Punch "Lumps To The Head"

By: Garviel Loken

Eschewing fancy arrangements and all the frills, Flying Donkey Punch comes at you with both crusty fists clenched and ready to swing. Grind, punk, and a little bit of death-tinged thrash metal make up the potent mixture that is "Lumps To The Head", a twelve track audio brickbat that honors the days of real punk rock, when it was dangerous, dirty, and completely raw. Those with faint hearts or think that hardcore started out 10 years ago, please go away.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Reviews: Ladybird "Demo EP"

By: Garviel Loken

Sporting more fuzz than a yeti in the mountains, Ladybird's demo offering is a hefty slab of lo-fi doom that worships at the temple of drone. Consisting of three tracks, the demo delivers over twenty-six minutes of ponderous riffs that surf the audio void while buzzing like a thousand stoned bees singing a Black Sabbath tune underwater. Hands down, this is perfect music for sitting back and tuning out the world for awhile.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Driving Force: Dave Carroll (Southwest Terror Fest, Diseased Reason)

By: Salvia Hex

We had a chance to sit down with Dave Carroll, guitar wizard of Diseased Reason and Inoculara and one of the driving forces behind the Southwest Terror Fest, a fully DIY undertaking, booked by musicians, for musicians. Keep reading for some insight into the fest, it's origins and Dave's issues with Danish midgets...

Monday, September 10, 2012

Reviews: North "The Great Silence"

By: Garviel Loken

Once in a while a record comes along that utterly captivates the senses and draws listeners across the musical event horizon, crushing the current paradigm and ushering in a new standard. This rare feat has been accomplished by North on their stunning new record, "The Great Silence". Elementary and complex at the same time, this album is a true artistic statement that transcends any easy classification.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reviews: Bloody Corpse Dismemberment "Gutfuck"

By: Garviel Loken

Dirty, nasty, and completely raw, Bloody Corpse Dismemberment certainly does not hold back the punches on their new record. If you have a pacemaker or other serious medical condition, you are advised to not listen to this music, it may translate you to the great beyond prematurely. That being said, the rest of you gather around the campfire so we can get down to hammering brass tacks into your faces.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Reviews: Anakim "Waking Giants"

By: Garviel Loken

Eighteen minutes may not seem like much when speaking in terms of music these days, considering that a lot of bands are writing single songs that are in the ten minute plus range, but Tucson's Anakim have forged an initial offering that makes every second count and more. The four tracks of "Waking Giants" showcase an impressive array of sounds that make it very difficult to place their music in any one area of the musical spectrum. In fact, after repeated listens, what they sound like is quite bewildering, albeit in a good way.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Reviews: Inoculara "Ouranophobia"

By: Garviel Loken

They say things lurk in the dank grottoes of the earth and hide behind curtains of mist deep within the forest, just out of sight and waiting to prey upon the unsuspecting. These tales seem to be more than mere legends after listening to the newest release by Tucson's Inoculara. The music presented here is utterly nasty, evil, and overflowing with spite.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Reviews: Lurid State "Dissenter"

By: Garviel Loken

Beginning with an ominous dirge and warnings of martial law, the new effort from Lurid State quickly proceeds to wire and detonate a dirty bomb of modern metal with blast pressure that gives you no choice but to nod your head. Make no mistake about the tag "modern," this isn't another bland and mediocre whatevercore record by a fifth rate clone band, but a great example of what happens when a band takes the elements of this subgenre and creates something solid.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Reviews: Lago "Marianas"

By: Garviel Loken

Where the paths of old school death metal and modern death metal intersect in the hottest part of the infernal regions, you will find the hyrbid creature known as Lago. This is no conjecture or idle speculation, but established fact. Not convinced? Well, sit your heretical ass down and listen to the "Marianas EP" for proof.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Driving Force: Craig Artz (Gridlokt, A Fall To Break, Xenocode Studio)

By: Salvia Hex

In this installment of Driving Force, we sit down and talk with Craig Artz, the main man and driving force behind numerous Tucson bands like Gridlokt, A Fall To Break, Answer To None and Xenocide Digital Recordings.

Craig has been ensconced in the Tucson music scene for the better part of 15 years now. He spent many of these years as the creative and motivational force behind Gridlokt, a band that toured extensively throughout the western states and opened shows for some heavy hitters in the industry like Superjoint Rutual and Devildriver. Gridlokt recently got back together for a reunion show this January, proving once again that they can sell out any venue they're booked, and that they haven't lost a beat in their time off.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Reviews: Seas Will Rise "Disease Is Our Refrain"

By: Garviel Loken

When you mix up and ingest too many kinds of hard liquor, you can find yourself praying for death the next morning as you suffer the consequences of your debauchery. This too applies to some albums, where bands fail to write good songs and try to cram in disproportional amounts of stylistic changes into the mix. This creates a quantity over quality scenario and what you get is a jumbled up piece of crap that leaves the listener feeling cheated and wanting to throw the music onto the ash heap of history. Thankfully, Seas Will Rise avoids this pitfall by a very wide margin on their new album, "Disease is Our Refrain".

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Upcoming Shows: April/May/June 2012

As usual, there are tons of great shows coming through Arizona this spring. Make sure you get out of the house and hit one of these shows. Being there is the best kind of support!

The great shows all kick off with the ethereal Alcest at The Rogue in Phoenix on April 16th.

Stand With Fists is doing an underground glow show at The Runway in Tucson on April 19th. This show is being done in concordance with an industrial artist, so expect the unexpected.

Then of course that weekend is every stoner's favorite holiday. As such, there are plenty of 420 themed shows to go around. First up is Lethal Dosage's 420 Fest at The Rock in Tucson on April 20th.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Reviews: Rituals "Rituals"

By: Salvia Hex

Our Moon is steadily moving away from planet Earth. Every year it gets an inch or two farther away from us. At some point in the distant future it will completely escape the gravitational bonds of Earth and will slip away into the cold reaches of our solar system, tumbling out of even the sun's grasp in the heliosphere, until it breaks through the stagnation zone that encompasses our galaxy, fading away in the frigid emptiness of the the universe at large.

Science will tell you that this is because the Earth is so much larger than the Moon, that over the ages the Earth has slowly locked the Moon into it's orbit through it's greater size and gravity, and because of the tidal forces created by these two stellar masses, the Earth is now actually pushing the Moon farther from us through tidal bulges that form as the Moon crosses over the oceans as we slumber.

Science is wrong.

The real reason is Rituals.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Driving Force: Wayne Rudell (Powered Wig Machine)

By: Walter Kovacs

After a small hiatus, Driving Force is back. For this installation of Driving Force, we have an interview with undoubtedly one of the best band out of southeastern Arizona, Powered Wig Machine.

Their infectious blend of hard stoner-rock with a heavy metal chaser is habit forming. Some describe their music as being a fluid mix of Clutch, Queens Of The Stone Age, and Kyuss. If I had to compare them to a mixed drink, I would say that they would be akin to something like a Sazarac, big flavor with a strong powerful kick, a little spice and flair, and a whole lot of satisfying smoothness.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reviews: TOAD "Rotten Tide"

By: Garviel Loken

Analog tape? Songs tracked live? Vintage gear? TOAD answers definitively yes on "Rotten Tide," a ripping and infectious album that won't leave your memory anytime soon. It is impossible to pause this album, the devil or some lesser demon just won't let you walk away from experiencing the complete work. Besides, before you know it, the music ends. In less than twenty-two minutes spread across five songs, this unholy creation of sound releases all the foul things that dwell in the dark spaces and casts them upon your ears.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Reviews: Methra "EP"

By: Garviel Loken

In a world of ten minute songs with constant tempo changes and staccato, off kilter time signatures, it is a nice thing to settle down with some music that eschews the polished veneer and delivers the bare bones. The newest Methra EP certainly does this, and no better phrase than "straight forward" can be found to describe what is contained in these five songs. So if you don't like to rock out to the not so delicate sounds of doom and sludge, please stop reading this review, dab some angel dust onto your eyes, and go party on with your speed metal. Now, where were we...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

On The Road: Winter/Spring 2012

Some of Arizona's heaviest bands will be touring across the United States this spring. Be sure to get your ass off the couch and check some of these guys out. You will not be disappointed.

Seas Will Rise: Facebook

3/2: Las Vegas, NV - Yayo's Tacos
3/3: Salt Lake City, UT - Raunch Records
3/4: Idaho Falls, ID - The Wax House
3/5: Portland, OR - The Know
3/6: Portland, OR - The North Hole
3/7: Santa Rosa, CA - The Transient Lounge
3/8: TBA
3/9: Los Angeles, CA - BIP

Video: Rituals "It Was All Very Sudden"

This is the first video released from Rituals brand new self titled album that is due to be released in March. We will be featuring an review of this entire album right here on the Axe in the coming days. Rituals is one of Arizona's finest bands, bringing us their own brand of desert doom, a many layered masterpiece of emotion and angst. Don't miss out on this band!

Driving Force: David Rodgers (Godhunter)

by: Walter Kovacs

For this installment of Driving Force, I present an interview with David Rodgers.

David is a guitarist and vocalist for the band Godhunter. Godhunter has been a seminal force in the Tucson metal scene for a few years now. Despite some line-up changes, this last year has seen a lot of action for the band. Within this last year they have released their first record, a split 10” with Tucson’s own Methra, as well as the new devastatingly heavy recording “Wolves." Godhunter is a band that is not afraid to piss people off and push the boundaries of heavy music.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Reviews: Godhunter "Wolves"

By: Luther Von Fuzz

I had the chance to sit down and listen to the new release "Wolves" by the Tucson Sludge/Doom band Godhunter. "Wolves" is an elevated saga of fire-eating doom, Philistine in its riffs, and merciless to your ears with astonishing heaviness. The sophomore album is a stalwart follow-up to the "Teargas EP." The album has great "flow" and bang-up production.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Video: Landmine Marathon "Beaten And Left Blind"

Check out the new video from one of Arizona's heaviest bands, Landmine Marathon. The video was directed by the amazing Raul Varela, drummer for the might Impaled from Oakland, California. Keep an eye out for more videos in upcoming months from more Arizona bands.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Reviews: Vektor "Outer Isolation"

By: Garviel Loken

Now here is an album where the cover art doesn't do much justice for the music that accompanies it. There's too much similarity between it and so many other 80s thrash record covers; plus the Voivod like font of the band name is an eyesore, but having raged about it for exactly forty-five words, the griping budget has been practically exhausted. To use an old, but apt in this instance, cliché: don't judge a book by its cover.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Driving Force: Carlos Arzate (American Android)

By: Walter Kovacs

American Android is a very powerful hard rock band from Tucson, Arizona. They are a no-frills band that has deep commitments towards social change and self-empowerment.  They have self-released two great albums Silent Partner in 2008 & Reconciliation in 2010.

I just watched them perform at Plush, at a packed show they did with The Life and the Times and The Vases. Not only is their music infectious, I seriously believe that they have one of the best rhythm sections in the southwest, between Oscar Acedo (ex-Gat-Rot) and Matthew Shepard. Their music is very powerful and dynamic. Sort of like if you strapped a Harley-Davidson engine on an Incubus chassis, while driving down Soundgarden Boulevard, listening to Bulls On Parade by Rage Against The Machine. Their lyrical approach is so beautifully harmonized that sometimes it feels as if their songs of protest and resistance are more like ballads then anthems of discontent. 
I asked lead vocalist/guitarist Carlos Arzate to answer a few questions about his music and songwriting.

What would you say gives/gave you inspiration when you are/were writing music?

I feel like inspiration will spasm out of you involuntarily.  It's beyond your control and you essentially become a vessel for the transmission of what becomes the song and message. More generally a broad worldview also plays a role in some of our socio-political themed music. “Make Him Speak” was written about torture (water-boarding specifically) and the music is designed to paint the picture of such a brutal act.  The lyrics are the voices of justification. For example: "get that man off of his feet the doctor says he's good for more, the water's gonna make him speak."  In the end inspiration is unsustainable so making the most of it when she comes is crucial to the life of a project.

Driving Force: Kevin Ryan & Phillip Holman (Lariats)

By: Walter Kovacs

In this edition of Driving Force we have a double shot of rock for you. Representing the Tucson band Lariats we have Kevin Ryan and Phil Holman.

LARIATS consists of an indestructible line-up of rock and roll veterans. They are not afraid of defying odds and fighting the good fight, all in the name of kicking ass, breaking hearts and drinking beer. They have a great sound that I think is somewhere in-between Defeater and AC-DC. It is fun, passionate and sincere. I had to steal the following description directly from them to accurately describe them, because it is so great:

“LARIATS is comprised of rock and roll's redshirts. They've taken bumps and bruises in pursuit of their passion. Constantly coming back for more. In previous lives, the members of LARIATS have cut their teeth playing everything from house party's and basements to warped tour and world tours. They've seen trends and band-mates come and go. They've been stabbed in the back, heckled, weathered the storm of bad press and even worse reviews. In spite of time and distance, obligation and responsibility, the LARIATS boys have come together to write heartfelt, earnest rock and roll. They have stuck it out to write their swansong. The band is forged by fire and friendship. LARIATS are unstoppable. They are carefree and in love. LARIATS is made up of Kevin, Cody, Steve, William, and Philip Patrick. They've been in other bands. They've probably played with your band at some point in the past 15 years. LARIATS will soon be your favorite band.” 

Check out the two songs they just finished recording at: http://lariats.bandcamp.com/

Monday, January 16, 2012

Driving Force: Zack Hansen (North)

by Walter Kovacs

In this installment of Driving Force, we talk with Zack Hansen.

Zack is the drummer for the band North. North is a band who has a sound that is difficult to categorize. It might be said that the roots of their music lays somewhere in-between the atmospheric heaviness of bands like Explosions In The Sky and the metallic discord of A Storm of Light. They are a devastatingly brilliant band that has released three albums since their inception in 2005.

Their last recording, 2008’s What You Were was met with great acclaim. It was even included in Decibel Magazine's top 40 albums of the year for 2008.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Interview: Nate Garrett (TOAD)

Photo by Cody Walker

AoC: Today we're sitting down with Nate Garret, recently of Phoenix based TOAD, formerly of the mighty Queen Beast from Arkansas. Tell a little about you and what you do, Nate. Anything interesting besides being in a series of kickass bands?

NG: Well, I moved here from Arkansas to study audio engineering. I went to California for a couple months after I finished the program to try and get into the audio "industry" or whatever. Decided pretty quickly I didn't want to have anything to do with it. There's some cool folks involved in recording music nowadays but the vast majority of the people drawn to the business wouldn't be worth my piss if they were on fire. I basically wanted to murder everyone the whole time I was in that nightmarish place, so I came back. Serendipity/synchronicity kicked in and I happened to return to Phoenix the same day TOAD's guitar player Danny quit. I was a fan and good buds with the dudes so it just made sense to everyone that I replace him. Now I'm tryin' to figure out how to eat just like everybody else. So yeah, fuck California.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Driving Force: Jeremy Talley (The Bled)

By: Walter Kovacs

The roots of inspiration manifest themselves in so many different ways. And when it comes to songwriting that spark can ignite at just about anytime.

In order to better understand the mindset and background of a band, what better way to gain insight into that process then to ask those band members about what they find influential? I asked several members of bands with ties to Arizona about what inspires them to write music, and to share some insight into their creative process.

Over the next few weeks we will post a different interview featuring some of Arizona’s most outstanding musicians.

The first posting in this segment will be from Jeremy Tally. Jeremy has been in several amazing bands with ties to Tucson. Over the years he has been the driving force behind several amazing bands, including Scathe and Bury Me Standing. Most notably he has been the guitarist for The Bled. Over the course of a decade, they released four full-length albums, two split releases, and two EP's, and changed the face of hardcore.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Witnessed: Red Fang, Vanish Twin & Godhunter at Club Congress on 12/6/11

By: Luther Von Fuzz

On Dec 6th, I had the pleasure of witnessing a great night of metal at the infamous Club Congress. As I walked up the street to the Congress during my two block walk from my car, I could hear the distant unmistakable grungy rumble of Godhunter calling out to the passersby like a swan song as an escape from the chilling winter air. With eight dollar tickets and the advertised “truckloads of Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR)” it had the ingredients of a great night.