Friday, August 28, 2015

Frist Impressions: The Rockpile

Well, it only took me eight years of living in Toronto to finally visit a hot spot for concert goers in the west end.  The Rockpile has been a staple of the hip-hop, rock, and metal community for the past five years, and seen many great artists over that time.  Giving a little bit of a history lesson, the place was named after the legendary Masonic Temple, which was formerly named Rock Pile before that.  Former owner of The Big Bop, Dominic Tassielli, decided to keep an all ages venue going long after The Big Bop closed it's doors [at Bathurst and Queen].  So Tassielli decided to move all operations to Etobicoke, including staff, and The Rockpile was born.

"I definitely did not want to bring the name the Big Bop from Queen and Bathurst over here because I really believe the name the Big Bop stays at Queen and Bathurst." -Tassielli


So the venue looks like a prison; and rightfully so.  That's the theme this place gives when you walk in.  Dark lighting (to an extent, even though new fixtures seemed to be installed), prison bars, a mugshot station, and all around, the feeling like you're in a cell.  It was quite the cool experience for a first timer such as myself.  While the concert we attended was not at full capacity (funny enough, this was a 19+ show), the place can easily fit 350+ people in the venue, along with plenty of free parking, close to transit, and a large patio.  I think the only reason I wasn't here sooner was due to proximity of my work and home (I live and work on Yonge Street).  Other than that, I would highly recommend this place for an intimate concert.

(Photo courtesy of The Rockpile)

The place seems to be constantly improving it's lighting and sound capabilities, as outlined on their website:

"We are always moving forwards, adding new lighting recently, making audio upgrades, to keep improving your show experience, as a band, or audience member.  With that has also meant getting a ton of great bands in, and always trying to land bigger and better gigs too!"

Here is a list of the gear they are currently offering bands for shows:

Mixer:
FOH Mixer Soundcraft LX-7 32x4x2
ASHLY GQX 310231 band 1/3 Octave

Effects:
2 Yamaha Rev. 500
1 Yamaha SPX 990
1 Digitech RDS 3.6 Delay

Processor:
1 Drawmer DL 441 Quad Compressor
2 DBX 1046 Quad Compressor
1 DBX 274 Quad Gate

Monitor Gear 4 mixes from FOH
2 DBX 1231 Equalizers
2 DBX 266 XL Compressor

Amplifiers:
4 Myer MSL-3 Tops
8 Eerwin Vega JE 36 Subs
6 Elite E-15 Monitors
2 E-2204 Drum Fills
5 Yorkvile Ap 4040
2 Yorkvile Ap 5040
1 Bryston 4. B

Additional P.A.:
Set up upon request
Tri-amped side folls
2 x 18", 1 x 15", 2 x horn
Bod's are made by Myer

Lighting:
Operating at FOH by DMX Lighting computer

Front Lights:
8 par 56's
6 par 64 LED can RGBW

Rear Lights:
3 par 56's 12 par 64's
9 LED bar RGB

While I did not read most of this on my first experience, I was pretty fascinated with the layout of the venue, the positioning of the stage, the location of bars, and basically anything that had to do with the operations of the venue.  Because we were there to see a  band with numerous members (Cleveland's Mushroomhead has a roster of nine members), I was curious how they would be able to fit that many instruments and members on stage.  Needless to say the band pulled it off spectacularly.


The bar staff were friendly, the security guards were firm but also had a sense of humour, and the kitchen is actually decent.  I saw a few people walking around with some edibles, even making me a little hungry.  One of the better perks of the place is the lack of outrageous beer prices.  It was not like other concert venue that charge   Being that I had many great experiences at The Big Bop, it only made sense that I would have the same kind of feeling towards this venue.  While the area is rather abandoned around The Rockpile, I feel this venue will only increase with interest as condos and other major business developments are soon to be occupying the nearby areas.

So if you haven't had the chance to check out the venue, I suggest you do.  Check out their upcoming events page and hopefully something perks your interest.

Music Video Round Up For August 28th, 2015

So for those who are new to AFGM, you have to know first that I am a avid fan of music videos.  While I spent many years in my youth glued to MuchMusic (and Much More Music) for the chance to see what bands could do for a visual art.  A lot of the bands I listened to were not only telling a story in their music, but could also be translated to their visual aspects.

Sure you get a bunch of rockers to jam in front of your TV screen sometimes does not seem that appealing.  But I think the reflection of your music videos reveal how you act/look/perform in a live atmosphere.  We are in a day and age where we can view live footage from practically any band on the planet, but for many years before that, we relied on music videos and VHS/DVD releases.

(Artwork by AFGM.  Original photo courtesy of Golden Age of Music Video)

So this my tribute to the forgotten art of music videos.  They haven't gone away like many friends and family claim, they just changed their medium.  So be sure to cruise through AFGM every once and awhile to discover some new artists, or to remind you of ones you might have forgotten.  Apologies to those who have slow bandwidth.  I suggest you load the page, grab a coffee/tea/beer, and come back to enjoy!

*Note - Be sure to click on each hyperlink to see more album information, release dates, etc.*


The Muppets - Jungle Boogie:




Slaves - Running Through The !6! With My Soul:




Sons Of Texas - Blameshift:




Wovenwar - Archers:




August Burns Red - Identity:




Parkway Drive - Crushed:




The Devil Wears Prada - Planet A:




Metal Allegiance - Dying Song:




Feed The Rhino - Featherweight:




Battlecross - Absence:




Devilment - Sanity Hits A (Perfect) Zero:




Gary Clark Jr. - The Healing (Live):




Silversun Pickups - Kissing Families (Live):




Rival Sons - Long As I Can See the Light (Live):




All Time Low - Runaways (Live):




BABYMETAL - Ijime, Dame, Zettai (Live):




Epica - The Essence Of Silence (Live):




Deadlock - Dead City Sleepers (Drum Playthrough):




Deadlock - I'm Gone (Drum Playthrough):




Art of Dying - Everything (Lyric Video):




From Ashes to New - Through It All (Lyric Video):




Gemini Syndrome - Eternity (Lyric Video):




Bring Me The Horizon - True Friends (Lyric Video):




Gloryhammer - Universe On Fire (Lyric Video):




Heart of a Coward - Turmoil I: Wolves (Lyric Video):




Fear Factory - Regenerate (Lyric Video):




Coal Chamber - Another Nail In The Coffin (Lyric Video):




coldrain - Words Of The Youth (Audio Only):

Monday, August 24, 2015

Random Music Quotes: Lanier


Music is love in search of a word. -Sidney Lanier


(Photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Full Album Stream: Phinehas - Till The End

So one of the new[er] 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)

Formed in 2001, Phinehas is a Christian (not that it makes a difference for sound anyway) metalcore four piece from La Mirada, California.  They have released three studio albums to date, and have amassed a large social media presence (55,000+ on Facebook, 6,000+ on Twitter, and 16,000+ on Instagram).  The group has gone through multiple lineup changes over the years, resulting in a long list of former members.  However, the signing to Artery Recordings has the lineup as follows:

Sean McCulloch – Vocals | Daniel Gailey – Guitar
Bryce Kelly – Bass | Lee Humerian – Drums/Vocals

I have to say without a doubt this is one of my favourite albums currently streaming at home.  The first track I listened to ("White Livered") gave me instant chills; also instantly having me turn the volume from a steady 3-4, straight to a 10.  While it was argued by a fellow musician of mine that the music seemed very compressed and digital, I counter argued that this was the very reason I was attached so quickly.  The precision may not entirely go to the band, but they've had a string of successful singles, including ones for their back catalog during their time with Red Cord Records.  With many whispers of these guys being 'the next As I Lay Dying', I can see the similarities, but also hope that they do not fall into that classification, rather than something originally on their own.

I believe the tone has kind of evolved over the years.  I would say that there’s been a couple of things that have stayed the same, as far as our mindset towards writing songs.  We’re not trying to do this proverbial topping other bands, having them top us and us trying to top other bands as far was what’s the heaviest thing you’ve ever heard in your life or anything like that.  Our main concern and main focus is just writing good songs and we want to be as creative as possible within that.  There’s been riffs in general… very guitar driven since the beginning and overall aggressive sound. -Sean McCulloch (via Metal Insider)

Their latest album, Till The End, was released on July 10th, 2015 via (newly inked partnership) Artery Recordings.  This is their third LP overall, and their first with Artery Recordings.

(Album artwork courtesy of Phinehas and Artery Recordings)

1. Dead Choir
2. White Livered* (feat. Dominic Dickinson of Affiance)
3. Truth Be Told
4. Non
5. Forever West
6. Tetelestai*
7. Coup de Grâce*
8. Omnis
9. Seven
10. Illiaster (More Than Skin)
11. Evening Grey and Morning Red
12. Moriar
13. Till the End

(* = AFGM Recommendations)

Till The End is a deft, dynamic, and definitive offering that fuses together truly blazing guitar work courtesy of Daniel and Sean's massive vocals. The melodies can soar at the right times on "Dead Choir," while rhythms and riffs jackhammer in tandem. Airy interludes like "non" heighten the exponential impact of "Forever West" and "Telestai." When you listen from top-to-bottom, hearing the inventiveness of the six-minute-plus "Seven" engages on a deeper level. Everything mounts into one final and focused fiery explosion during the title track. This is one of those game-changing albums for the scene, building a middle ground between Underøath's Define the Great Line and Killswitch Engage's The End of Heartache for a new era. -Artist Direct



Overall, the result is quite enjoyable during its run-time. “Tetelestai” is one of the better metalcore songs you’ll hear this year, and “Dead Choir” is gloriously retro. Of course, some songs blend together, and you won’t need to respin the album a million times to get what they’re doing, but Phinehas has written arguably the most competent metalcore record of 2015. They don’t elevate the game as much as they clearly have the talent to do, but it’s enjoyable nonetheless. -New Noise Magazine

Friday, August 21, 2015

Full Album Stream: The Devil Wears Prada - Space [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)

Formed in 2005, The Devil Wears Parada is a six piece metalcore group from Dayton, Ohio.  The band has maintained a consistent lineup throughout the years, with the exception of keyboardist James Baney leaving in 2012.  Since 2005, the band has achieved major success in the metal world with major albums such as With Roots Above and Branches Below, Dead Throne, and 8:18.  The group also pur forth a concept EP called Zombie, which scored them #10 on the Billboard 200, and landed them countless tours.  The current lineup consists of:

Jeremy DePoyster – Guitar | Mike Hranica – Vocals | Andy Trick – Bass
Daniel Williams – Drums | Jonathan Gering – Keyboards/Synthesizers (touring member)
Kyle Sipress – Guitar (touring member)

Their latest effort is a new six song EP titled Space, which was released on August 21st, 2015 via [newly inked deal with] Rise Records.  The EP was on the heels of a very successful tour of their previous EP Zombie.  Being that the EP was such a widely accepted album, it makes perfect sense that TDWP would embark on another concept EP with a different theme.  Comments from vocalist Mike Hranica echoes those sentiments:

"The Zombie EP was really fun to write and really a different kind of challenge, but also very rewarding. I wanted to do that again with the Space EP and kind of test my own fictional narrative lyric writing, as well as form these songs to a very specific theme towards whatever bit of space the song looks to explore." -Mike Hranica

(Album artwork courtesy of TDWP and Rise Records)

1. Planet A
2. Alien
3. Moongod
4. Interlude (Instrumental)
5. Supernova
6. Asteroid

When people hear “space,” they tend to think of astronauts, aliens and futuristic sounds with beeps, bops, and that almost atmospheric lull attached to basically every sci-fi film from the ’70s. Luckily, TDWP found a way to capture a spacey vibe without delving too deep into cliché. As The Devil Wears Prada returned for their second conceptually themed EP, they were able to perfectly capture the sound of aliens, rocket voyages, and galactic explosions in just six new tracks. -New Noise Magazine



“We wanted each song on the Space EP to have a specificity about it, to have its own identity separate from the others, to have its own sound, but still have them all united in concept.  We talked about a lot of different themes, but ‘space’ just felt right.

Making this EP was a great experience because it allowed me to open up my imagination and creativity, not to be hindered by having too much knowledge of the subject and become overly analytical, being able to write a more fictional narrative.  We really look forward to making more records like this.” -Mike Hranica

Full Album Stream: Miss May I - Deathless

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)

Hailing from Troy, Ohio, Miss May I is a five piece metalcore group signed to Rise Records.  The group formed in 2007, and have been on a steady warpath to conquer the metal world.  The group saw commercial success with the release of their sophomore album Monument, and have continued that success with subsequent releases such as At Heart, and Rise of the Lion.  The group currently consists of:

Justin Aufdemkampe – Guitar | Levi Benton – Vocals | Jerod Boyd – Drums
Ryan Neff – Bass/Vocals | B.J. Stead – Guitar

Their latest album, Deathless, was released on August 7th, 2015 via Rise Records.  The album was produced by Joey Sturgis, who has also worked with artists such as Asking Alexandria, Of Mice & Men, Emmure, We Came As Romans, The Devil Wears Prada, and many more.  Sturgis also produced the first two albums from MMI (Apologies Are for the Weak, and Monument).  The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard US Top Hard Rock Albums, and #5 on Top Rock Albums.

"This record is about how the last two years have tested us on many levels and how we have come through it all stronger and better. That's where the title comes from, because we are deathless."-Levi Benton

(Album artwork courtesy of Miss May I and Rise Records)

1. I.H.E.*
2. Trust My Heart (Never Hope to Die)
3. Psychotic Romantic
4. Deathless*
5. Bastards Left Behind
6. Arise*
7. Turn Back the Time
8. Empty Promises*
9. The Artificial
10. Born from Nothing

(* = AFGM Recommendations)

Tracks like “I.H.E.” creates a thrashy vibe broken up by an isolated guitar that slowly transitions into a solo that could carry the record alone if need be. Luckily, it isn’t the only milestone solo on the album. “Bastards Left Behind,” which serves as a nice lyrical continuation to the themes touched upon on 2012’s “Hey Mister” (At Heart), emphasizes a solid djenty riff that fades into a solo working to compliment Benton’s unclean vocals on the bridge. Layering levels like this not only exemplify the production talents of Joey Sturgis, but they add a depth to this record that was significantly absent in the more monochromatic Rise of the Lion. -New Noise Magazine



Deathless is an album that firmly fits Miss May I into many genres across the metal world. They can tour with metal elites like Trivium, Killswitch Engage and Bullet For My Valentine and still look right at home at Warped Tour. This album shows development and is the most vastly accessible body of work to date that will surely plant them even further on the popularity pedestal for modern day metal. -Back Seat Mafia