Thursday, January 29, 2015

Music Video Round Up For January 29th, 2015

Going through my playlist at the end of a work week is like the toast to the weekend; especially when you have been gone away on vacation for the past week with no contact with the outside world.  YouTube playlists and subscriptions coming out my ears so sometimes it's rather hard to follow each upload unless doing a round up such as this.  I hope this will make the starting of your weekend energetic, whether you are going into work or escaping from it.

Apologies in advance for those who loathe my video articles but there are just too many great clips out there to ignore.  So if you do not have the bandwidth to watch this video, then too bad!  Hahaha just kidding.

So for the slower connections just load the article, go for a coffee/glass of water, return, play and enjoy!  This will surely be one of my playlists for the end of the work day and hopefully doesn't keep your eyes glued to the screen for too long.  Cheers and happy Friday!

*Please click on the hyperlinks of each video to find out more about the artist and album releases.*

AWOLNATION – Hollow Moon:

AWOLNATION's newest album "Run" will be released on March 17th, 2015 via Red Bull Records.

Halestorm - Apocalyptic:

"Apocalyptic" is taken from Halestorm's upcoming album "Into the Wild Life", which will be released on April 7th, 2015 via Atlantic Records.

Painted Faces - Anymore:

"Anymore" is taken from Painted Faces' latest EP "The Vinyl Signs", which was released in September, 2014.

Naive Thieves - Sold Short:

"Sold Short" is taken from Naive Thieves latest album "Vamonos", which was released in April, 2014 via Equal Vision Records.

Wovenwar - Death to Rights:

"Death to Rights" is taken from Wovenwar's self-titled debut album titled "Wovenwar", which was released on August 5th, 2014 via Metal Blade Records.

Periphery - Alpha:

"Alpha" is taken from Periphery's latest double album "Juggernaut", which was released on January 27th, 2015 via Distort Entertainment/Sumerian Records.

Down - We Knew Him Well:

"We Knew Him Well" comes from Down's latest EP "Down IV – Part II", which was released on May 13th, 2014 via Down Records.

Cancer Bats - True Zero:

"True Zero" is taken from the Cancer Bats upcoming album "Searching For Zero", which will be released on March 10th, 2015 via BMG Rights Management (under exclusive license to Dine Alone Records).

Avatar - Vultures Fly:

"Vultures Fly" is taken from Avatar's latest album "Hail The Apocalypse", which was released on May 13, 2014 via GAIN Music Entertainment & Entertainment One.

Attila - Hate Me:

"Hate Me" is taken from Attila's latest album "Guilty Pleasure", which was released on November 24th, 2014  via Artery Recordings, Razor & Tie.

Gideon - Survive (feat. Caleb Shomo):

"Survive" is taken from Gideon's 2014 album "Calloused", which was released on October 14th, 2014 via Facedown Records.

The Agonist - My Witness, Your Victim:

"My Witness, Your Victim" is taken from The Agonist's upcoming album "Eye of Providence", which will be released on February 23rd, 2015 via Century Media Records.

Born from Ashes - Greater Souls:


Another bulk of videos like last week's round up.  This week is Papa Roach doing a couple acoustic renditions of some popular tracks.

Papa Roach - Leader of the Broken Hearts (Live Acoustic @ YouTube Space New York):

Papa Roach - Scars (Live Acoustic @ YouTube Space New York):

Papa Roach - Face Everything and Rise (Live Acoustic @ YouTube Space New York):

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Full Album Stream: Darkest Hour - Darkest Hour

So one of the newest sections I created was "Full Album Streams".  Not only did this gave folks something to listen to when they are cruising the site (being that the original intention of this site was to acts as a hub to explore), but also a chance for people to explore new artists, new genres, and new albums before deciding to purchase them (also from links on AFGM's site).

Full album streams seem to be a new fad that a lot of internet savvy people are jumping on.  It can be in the form of a Soundcloud widget, a YouTube playlist, or even a single YouTube video.  This often gives record labels a chance to promote new artists and for people to subscribe to their social media pages.  So hopefully this provides you access to some new music, bands, and/or artists.  Cheers!

PS - Feel free to send us an email if you have any albums you think you should be on this list or a new one coming out we missed.  We're always listening!

(Artwork by AFGM.  Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Darkest Hour is a five piece group hailing from Washington, DC.  Formed back in 1995, this marks the group's first record release through Sumerian Records.  The self-titled album "Darkest Hour" was released on August 5th, 2014.  For their eighth studio record, Darkest Hour consists of:

John Henry – vocals | Mike "Lonestar" Carrigan – guitar | Mike Schleibaum – guitar 
Aaron Deal – bass | Travis Orbin – drums

(Album artwork courtesy of Darkest Hour and Sumerian Records)

1. Wasteland*
2. Rapture in Exile
3. The Misery We Make*
4. Infinite Eyes
5. Futurist*
6. The Great Oppressor
7. Anti-Axis
8. By the Starlight*
9. Lost for Life
10. The Goddess Figure
11. Beneath The Blackening Sky
12. Hypatia Rising
13. Departure

(* = AFGM recommendations)

"Fuck waiting around to die!" This is our first impression from the newest album from Melodic Death Metal/Metalcore band DARKEST HOUR, their first album with Sumerian Records, their self titled album and possibly their strongest album to date. DARKEST HOUR are in the right mind set with this album, the "dudes" really know what their doing and its time for everyone to pick up their album. -Metal Temple

Music Releases For January 27th, 2015

And here we go yet again.  My day job (as usual and expected) has me keeping busy during the day which forced me to miss a few days on the new album releases.  I got to be honest... I did not do my homework ahead of time for this week's releases.  If so, I would have know that artists like Gov't Mule, Jamie Cullum, and Level 10 would be dropping new material!  I kept a close eye on my normal heavy bands like Periphery, Tear Out The Heart, and Eisbrecher, but I was equally disappointed in myself considering I am a big fan of Gov't Mule and Jamie Cullum.

Anywho, what's done is done and hopefully you folks can make your way down (or up) to your local record store.  If it's too cold (friggen Canadian weather) or too far away, then be sure to order from an online retailer.  If digital is more your thing then be sure to purchase from a trusted digital source.  Cheers and have a great week!

(Kenny G - Brazilian Nights)

Starting with melodious sounds of “Bossa Antigua,” the ten-song set is a mixture of classics and Kenny G originals. Writing five of the ten tracks with longtime collaborator (and co-producer) Walter Afanasieff, the veteran performer plays alto, tenor and soprano sax and dazzles on such cuts as “Bossa Real, ”the gently pulsating “April Rain,” and the relaxed yet dramatic flair of the title cut. -Concord Music Group

(George Ezra - Wanted On Voyage)

The astounding thing is, there is always room for one more take on everything that has been done to death: the crime novel, the romantic comedy, the sandwich, the singer-songwriter. You might think fanbases (and their spending power) are finite things, but success is more like the internet: it doesn't really ever fill up.

He packs a Harry Potter scar and a set of songs that navigates the cusp where breezy folk-pop – the stuff of lucrative ad syncs – tips over into someone getting murdered scuba diving off the north coast of Belgium. -The Guardian

(Gov't Mule featuring John Scofield - Sco-Mule)

Sco-Mule isn't a jazz album by any standard definition; it rocks way too hard for that. Still, with Scofield's intuitive way of taking the music ever so slightly out, only to bring it back in again with the kind of effortless aplomb he's developed in a career now entering its fifth decade as the guitarist moves into his mid- sixties, Sco-Mule ain't your typical jam band album either. Instead, it sits somewhere in-between, with everyone forgetting about artificial delineation. Sco- Mule is, quite simply, great songs played by a terrific group that may have been performing live for the first time, but was already imbued with a profound connection that went deeper and broader than any one genre. -All About Jazz

(Jamie Cullum - Interlude)

Cullum’s voice is older now, but it’s smooth, it’s husky, and it’s actually rather sexy. As you listen to the album you have an image of Cullum on stage – think Ronnie Scott’s – jamming, snapping his fingers along, playful and full of charm as the jazz band play throughout. The album has everything jazz you need – there are the smoky jazz tunes such as ‘Interlude’, ‘Walkin ‘ and ‘My One And Only Love’. ‘Do You Not Know?’ has an earthy feel to it, and ‘Don’t Be Misunderstood’ is soulful.

His interpretative skills are impressive, as he demonstrates with each song, particularly on ‘The Seers Tower,’ and ‘The Ballad of Hollis Brown’ where he modernises this classic by adding in a touch of Bob Dylan and thus puts his stamp on the tracks. -SoSo Gay

(I Am They - I Am They)

One listen of I Am They’s debut reveals a band that’s fully functional but not hitting on all cylinders. The songwriting is good enough for a debut, but it’s not at all surprising, and the album doesn’t dig too deep overall. The good news is that they’re a talented band that already possess the tools for creative success. With tightened up songwriting and less focus on the well-worn contemporary path, I Am They can create something all their own and truly memorable. For now, I Am They’s debut uncovers plenty of holes that experience, and a matured approach, can surely help to fill. -Jesus Freak Hideout

(Twiztid - The Darkness)

While they have gone in a dark direction before, this album speaks volumes for just how Twiztid these two can get! They decided to drop the more “mainstream” sound that they had started to turn towards on their last 2 EPs for old-school beats, incredibly raw raps and lyrics that will make your skin crawl… yet make you truly think about the world. The Darkness is not for the faint of heart… this album is the darkest, realest and most thought-provoking rap album of 2015 without a doubt. With tracks like “In Hell” which deals with the subject of Madrox dying and being trapped in hell, followed by “Back to Hell” that speaks of how Monoxide saved him but all he wants to do is return to hell because the world has become such a horrible place. It gets pitch black as you go farther into the album and the band even recommends that you wear a blindfold as you listen to the album from front to back. This is an album that is void of all subliminal messages, it’s an album that doesn’t rely on radio play, an album that is truly worthy of many plays. From the dope beats to the dark lyrics, the production and even the new elements (there’s some symphonic parts if you listen closely)… it doesn’t try to distract you from how deep it is. Very few rap groups ever attempt this method and even fewer have done it successfully. Say what you will but Twiztid has been making underground rap for many, many years and I’m entirely certain they won’t be disappearing any time soon. -New Transcendence

(Archive - Restriction)

In Restriction, Archive have created an album that does a fine job of representing their eclectic ethos, but this eclecticism also leads the album to occasionally touch on the edge of incoherence. Because of this, Restriction may not be a strong enough album to see Archive break into the UK mainstream just yet. It looks like they’ll be holding on to that “big in Europe” tag for a while longer. -The Line of Best Fit

(Papa Roach - F.E.A.R.)

The angsty sound that Roach do so well is a prime element of 'F.E.A.R' and, mixed with catchy riffs, thunderous bass lines and heavy drums as well as the occasional House-style synth, the album is a statement that Papa Roach are ready to take on the big league and come out on top.

However, there's always a difficult decision for bands that have been around for a long while to make; whether to upset their die-hard fans and create something completely different or remain the same and stay stagnant. But 'F.E.A.R' seems to be a nice middle ground, mixing the new and the old and creating a balance that many bands would be jealous of. -Contact Music

(Periphery - Juggernaut: Alpha)

(Periphery - Juggernaut: Omega)

AFGM: Periphery - Juggernaut

I don’t want my talk of clean vocals to water down the absolute heavy voraciousness of these albums; check out songs like “MK Ultra” (Alpha) and “The Bad Thing” (Omega).There are some really rocking space-jazz type songs that will actually make the prognerds wanna break shit and mosh. Some of my favorite songs are the “Alpha”, “Rainbow Gravity”, “Four Lights”, and “Omega”.Never has a band both intrigued, frustrated and made me hungry to see them live like the two new albums from the Maryland sextet Periphery. January 27th will give you all the chance to hear the entire album for yourself and you will be impressed. -Rock Revolt Magazine

(Tear Out The Heart - Dead. Everywhere)

...when you play metalcore like Tear Out The Heart do, you have set yourself apart from every other metalcore band out there. Upon first listen, these guys don’t. You know where every song is going to go, and you know that the verses are going to be heavy and the choruses will be clean. You know the entire formula after the first song. The guitars usually harmonize with each other. There’s a breakdown after the second chorus. You’ve heard the whole thing before.

However, if you listen closely, you start to hear why this album works.

All metalcore has hooks, those parts that will get stuck in your head and not leave, even under duress. Dead, Everywhere has hooks and then some. Bassist/clean singer Isaac Etter’s voice has no discernible trace of Auto-Tune, and you can clearly hear the strain of hitting the notes he sings. While the vocal melodies seem to be a bit repetitive, they’re still catchy as shit. -Skulls N Bones

(Sweet & Lynch - Only To Rise)

It’s obvious from the moment the music begins that Only To Rise is going to be something special. Michael Sweet and George Lynch are both on fire as they play and sing through 12 tracks of auditory nirvana. From the opening track, “The Wish”, to the album’s final track, “Only To Rise”, both of these icons of rock bring their A-game. James Lomenzo (Bass – White Lion, Megadeth) and Brian Tichy (Drums – Whitesnake, Ozzy, Foreigner) also do a great job in the bass and drum department. And together, this band knock it out of the park! -Christian Review

(Level 10 - Chapter One)

On paper Chapter One should be just about the greatest Melodic/Power Metal album ever. In reality it’s a really good album that at the end of the day isn’t equal to the sum of its parts. As good as it is to have these stellar performers in one place, the songwriting – good as it is – perhaps isn’t up to the task. Yes, Chapter One is a completely enjoyable album and one that grabs your interest throughout, but there are no instant classics here that you know you’ll be listening to a decade later, like you do with Allen-Lande songs like “Another Battle” and “The Revenge” or Primal Fear’s “Face the Emptiness” and “Fighting the Darkness.” Again, this is a really strong album, and there’s no way fans of melodic metal aren’t going to bang heads to songs like “Blasphemy” and “Cry No More.” Level 10 just doesn’t live up to the admittedly high expectations a lineup like this brings. -Hard Rock Haven

(John Lande & Trond Holter - Dracula: Swing of Death)

Vocalist Jorn Lande delivers his most encompassing work to date as the voice of Vlad Dracul, aka Vlad the Impaler. Trond Holter offers up some of the most addictive and memorable riffs and solos, which play perfectly into the songs’ storylines. Holter also serves as the pianist for the record. The female vocals for the voice of the character Mina/Lucy, are performed with flair and precision by Norwegian singer Lena Fløitmoen. Bernt Jansen (bass) and Per Morten Bergseth (drums) serve as the rhythm section for this intriguingly dark and exciting journey. -Metalholic

(Eisbrecher - Schock)

It’s hard to characterize this record in one word: it's heavy, even aggressive, but at the same time lyrical and touching, devoted to rage and despair, sarcasm and provocation, supplemented with hard riffs and presented in the typical style of EISBRECHER. Anyway if we have to characterize the album then this is rock, filled with senses, symbols, and ready to go beyond the creative boundaries of the band, inviting listeners to join this musical journey. The album opens with ‘Volle Kraft voraus’, a powerful anthem revealing its main question: “Can your hope be a rescue?” Dense, strong, but melodic guitars leave no doubt - EISBRECHER will break not only the walls, but also the ice in the heart of every listener, proclaiming significantly “Your peace will not set you free”. And we understand that, as long as there is a dream burning inside, it’s impossible to resist – full speed ahead then! -Reflections of Darkness

Full Album Stream: ERRA - Moments of Clarity [EP]

So one of the newest sections I created was "Full Album Streams".  Not only did this gave folks something to listen to when they are cruising the site (being that the original intention of this site was to acts as a hub to explore), but also a chance for people to explore new artists, new genres, and new albums before deciding to purchase them (also from links on AFGM's site).

Full album streams seem to be a new fad that a lot of internet savvy people are jumping on.  It can be in the form of a Soundcloud widget, a YouTube playlist, or even a single YouTube video.  This often gives record labels a chance to promote new artists and for people to subscribe to their social media pages.  So hopefully this provides you access to some new music, bands, and/or artists.  Cheers!

PS - Feel free to send us an email if you have any albums you think you should be on this list or a new one coming out we missed.  We're always listening!

(Artwork by AFGM.  Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

ERRA is a four-piece progressive metalcore group based out of Birmingham, Alabama.  Forming in 2009, they have recently signed with Sumerian Records and released their debut EP titled "Moments of Clarity", which was released on November 10th, 2014.  The band currently consists of:

Ian Eubanks- Vocals | Jesse Cash- Guitar/Vocals | Alex Ballew- Drums | Sean Price - Bass

(Album artwork courtesy of ERRA and Sumerian Records)

1. Dreamcatcher*
2. Warrior
3. Lights City*
4. Our Translucent Forever
5. Moments of Clarity

(* = AFGM recommendations)

"There's no doubt this is among the most anticipated underground metalcore releases this year. This is especially true for our followers, who claimed ERRA as their champion is last year's Metal Madness. ERRA have been steadily traveling the road to metallic glory, putting out a number of releases since their inception in 2009 (not to mention their run under the moniker of By Blood And Iron). This venture to success has been paved with a sweet, Progressive Metalcore sound capable of flawlessly blending supreme heaviness with a melodic approach. But the real cherry on top has always been the band's musical aptitude." -The Circle Pit

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Songs of Anarchy: Volume I

So this morning I opted for something a little more mellow as I usually do on my morning bus rides in.  Like I've stated before, there is a time and place for everything.  Most of my heavy metal mornings consist of a TGIF moment or a day that breaks from my norm.  This however was my normal routine type day and as usual I'm 1/2 asleep when riding the TTC.  So I digressed...

Today's choice was "Songs of Anarchy: Music from Sons of Anarchy Seasons 1–4".  While being a big fan of the show (and yes, I understand as a consumer that this not what a real biker gang looks and acts like), I never fully appreciated the music that goes along with it.  I think it was my own omission though as I focused on plot development rather than other variables like music.  So I finally had the chance to throw this album on y playlist this morning and was very surprised with the outcome.

Not only do you get the classic introduction music of the show (created and performed by Curtis Stigers) called "This Life".  If you don't believe me, then take comfort in knowing that his theme song was Emmy nominated and ASCAP award winning.  And funny enough, Curtis is known for his jazz and saxophone work.  Who would have thought?!

What happened to be my favourite selection in the album was the few tracks to follow.  Katey Sagal is also quite the vocalist and is featured a few times in the series (makes sense since her husband Kurt Sutter is the creator of the show).  Songs like "Son of a Preacher Man" and "Bird on the Wire" make for some spectacular add-ons, while other tracks like "Forever Young" (Audra Mae and the Forest Rangers) and "Fortunate Son" (Lyle Workman and the Forest Rangers) gave me a permanent smile the way down.  Hell, "Forever Young" even gave the energy to pick up my acoustic when I get home and give it a shot.

"Featuring music from the first four seasons of the FX original series Sons of Anarchy, this album pulls some of the best music composed for the show into one collection. Including the show’s theme, “This Life,” as well as country-fried covers of “Gimme Shelter” and “House of the Rising Son,” the soundtrack captures the gritty vibe of the show, which follows the exploits of a rough-and-tumble motorcycle club in Northern California. Fans of the show will especially want to check out the covers of “Bird on a Wire” and “Son of a Preacher Man,” which feature cast member Katey Sagal on vocals. Definitely a great collection of tunes for your next journey on the open road." -All Music

Quick side note.  Shout out to Canadian metal band Anvil for picking up a track on the album.  Nice to see any extra Canadian exposure in music!  So here is the track listing of the album.  It was released on November 29th, 2011 via Columbia Records.

(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

1. This Life
2. Son Of A Preacher Man
3. Forever Young
4. John The Revelator
5. Fortunate Son
6. Slip Kid
7. Girl From The North Country
8. Someday Never Comes
9. Gimme Shelter
10. Bird On A Wire
11. Hey Hey, My My
12. What A Wonderful World
13. Los Tiempos Van Cambiando (The Times They Are A-Changin')
14. Strange Fruit
15. House Of The Rising Sun

So if you feel inclined to check out the album, I highly recommend it for a morning where you've got an hour or so to kill.  There are tons of great artists (like Anvil, Franky Perez of Scars on Broadway, Lions, Alison Mosshart of The Kills/The Dead Weather) contributing to the cause and hopefully will gear you up for Volume II...which will be next on my list.

Another side note, in case anyone was overly impressed with the album, The Forest Rangers (aka the band behind the SoA music) have an album in the works and crowdfunded throughout the fall and winter of 2014.  You can still pre-order the album through their crowdfunding site.