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I first came across Last Red Ransom at the Wingmen Motorcycle club, where I was running sound for their show. I didn’t really know what to expect, as I had only heard demos from the internet at the time (Their debut: “Sleep Well Sweet Vanity). It’s safe to say, that I was completely blown away.

At the time, they were mixing electronic music, with bouts of guitar heavy rock. With dual vocalists Andrew Saint Woods, and C.K. Woods. They rounded out the live band with drummer Lance Adair, and bassist Zakk Morrow. They put on quite a show, and left a definite impression.

Just around the time I started wondering “What the hell are they up to?” I got a message from Andrew asking for this review. I quickly obliged.

The sound has changed a good bit, and for the better. It seems the band has taken some cues from Depeche Mode and Massive Attack for “Snubnose”. Not to mention Sneaker Pimps, Portishead, Hooverphonic, NIN and a whole myriad of gothic/industrial influences. They manage to take so many of these sounds, and make them fresh with their own spin.

The album kicks off with “The Electric Sky”, a great intro to what you are about to get yourself into. It’s a wild ride from here on out folks, strap in. “The Electric Sky” is almost a mantra, with repeating lyrics, and an infectious keyboard melody. Theres elements of all kinds of genres mixed together in this one song. You have Trance beats that lead to dubstep breakdowns. This is a continuing trend throughout the entire album. LRR doesn’t stick to one sound for very long.

“Burning Buildings” is a solid masterpiece. It’s brooding, and builds to a ridiculously catchy chorus. Youll be hearing the words ” I think I love you too much…” long after you hear the song. Hell, I’ve had it on constant rotation on my personal music playlist.

The albums flows nicely, and gone are most of the guitar driven elements of their previous sound. Not to say that the guitar is absent. But it takes a backseat on “Snubnose”. Gone too are the screaming vocals. Personally, I love what they have done here, and it seems like a natural progression from their other effort “Lanterns”.

Another stand out track on “Snubnose” for me is “The House”. Once again we have another melody that follows you, with a huge chorus that contrasts with the sparse verses. C.K ‘s voice really shines on this track. This song is just screaming for a remix, and I am sure there will be a few in the future.

“Welcome to America” is pretty straight forward with it’s tongue in cheek lyrics. It’s hugely atmospheric with a piano driving the main melody of the song. The NIN influence stands out here the most. The twist being Andrew’s solo, almost spoken vocals.

I was expecting a great album from LRR, but I didn’t know that I was going to be getting something so somber, and diverse. They cover a lot of sonic ground, while still retaining a signature sound that doesn’t sound contrived or forced. I especially love the way that the tracks “Giants” “The Living Trust” and “Etch” all seem to flow as one entity. I didn’t get to ask Andrew if this was a concept album, and meant to flow that way. But if it is, then you guys nailed it.

Al of the songs share an airy, melancholic vibe. The songs interweave and have a thematic, soundtrack quality to them. The lyrics are just vague enough for you to take your own interpretation of their meanings, and I personally love that quality in any band. There is an overall sexiness to their sonic landscapes that adds to the feeling that this is a soundtrack to an event left unknown to the listener. You don’t really hear much music being made like this these days, and while the style that LRR has undertaken can seem nostalgic, it remains independent from it’s more obvious influences.

I have an early copy of the album, so I cant really comment on the production. Andrew literally sent me an updated version of a song 24 hours after sending the original. The album already sounds great, so I can only imagine what it will end up sounding like once it has it’s ‘finishing touches”.

“Snubnose” is slated for release this month. Keep up with the links below for dates!

You can check out Last Red Ransom on their websitehttp://www.lastredransom.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/LAST-RED-RANSOM

Fishtooth- First EP Review

Posted: September 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

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Fishtooth is a heavy band that had kind of a rocky start. Their first line up had a frontman, and they were a four piece. I had the chance to play a few shows along side of them during that era. They were an okay band. Im only being honest when I say that they were unremarkable, and easily forgettable. But they were nice guys, and they were always down to fill out a bill when another band was needed for a show. I always felt like they were holding back with their sound.

Fast forward a little bit, and we have the departure of their frontman. Now most bands would seek out a new singer, and keep on the same path they had set themselves upon from the get-go. However, Fishtooth decided to remain a three piece and start sharing vocal duties. Remember how I said it seemed like they were holding back? Well they certainly were. As a three piece they came back, and started again with the Pour Larry’s battle of the bands this past year. And whoa…..what a change.

Fishtooth’s EP really tries to capture their new live sound. It’s groove heavy rock, with well crafted song structures. A far cry from when they started out. They take a lot of cues from nu-metal, but also from modern rock bands as well. It’s a good blend of things that sound familiar, but with their own spin on it. You can hear their influences as they take a lot of pointers from bands like Staind, System of a Down,Tool, Chevelle, Lamb Of God, and Korn.

The EP opens with “Self Entitled” which happens to be the stand out song for me, personally. It has a Chevelle vibe, weaving clean melodic parts with all out chaos in between. It’s heavy as hell, with downtuned guitars and brutal vocals. Like i said, this is definitely my favorite track, and a great album opener.

The other track that I really dig is “Existence”. It’s a fast paced burner, with a killer guitar riff. The chorus of the song really hits hard and is extremely catchy.

The thing with having more than one vocalist, is that it has to be cohesive. Mastodon manages to pull this off flawlessly, as everyone in that band seem to work as a unit. Fishtooth are on their way to pulling off the same thing. The switching between vocalists never seems forced, and they work well in tandem. Even though their styles are different entirely. One being more of a hardcore “yell” (think Slayer) and another with melodic singing that veers right into all out Metal screaming, The switch offs work really well, and keep the songs interesting. The song “Vyktum” really shows this off.

I always hate to call out an individual member of the band, but in this case I have to. The drumming on this album is SUPERB. 

Not to say that the bass and guitars are lacking in any way. Everyone in the band carries their own weight, but for me….the drums really stand out. There’s some really great double bass beats, and when the whole band locks into that groove, things get HEAVY. This EP isn’t when I first noticed this, however. It was when I saw them live that I noticed their breakdowns with double bass grooves that just about punches you in the chest. Thankfully, they don’t use this trick in every song. It’s used sparingly, so whether you’re listening to the EP, or watching them at a live show you are constantly wondering “When is another heavy part coming?”. This is a good thing, because I think if they relied solely on breakdown heaviness, the music would get really boring, really quick.

I know Im reviewing an album here, but I have to say that if you really want to enjoy Fishtooth, their live show is where it’s at. The EP captures a lot of that energy that they have live, but certainly not all of it. I can even honestly say, that I think these songs sound tighter live, than they do on recording!

All in all, Fishtooth is a band that rose like a Phoenix from the ashes, and came out on top. I’m really interested in what they are going to do next. There is really only one tiny gripe I have and that is the lyrics are very straight forward. But that’s really the only thing I can say negatively about the EP. These guys could have easily thrown in the towel with the departure of their vocalist. But the fact that they not only stuck together, but managed to improve their sound and evolve…..well that says a lot.

You can catch them live in Statesboro:

Sincision – Statesboro, GA Metal

Enterprise Earth – Spokone, WA Deathcore

Awaken The Dawn – Savannah, GA Deathcore

Fishtooth – Savannah, GA Metal

Wednesday, September 9, 2015 @ Bigshow’s.
200 Lanier Dr. Statesboro, GA.

All Ages. $5. 7:00 PM.
More info at www.coastalrocksavannah.com

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Oh no, this is a serious read. No snarky comments or album reviews. Just real talk. Prepare yourself.

Justin Lowe was the guitarist for the popular metal band After The Burial. Lowe had a paranoid breakdown earlier this year, where he had woven an elaborate conspiracy against him, that involved his record label, friends, family and band mates. He stated that the people that were after him were “above law enforcement” and that some unknown entity wanted him dead. After his bout of psychosis, he moved back to Wisconsin with his family, and began undergoing treatment. Unfortunately, he was found dead on July 21 on a hiking path, with injuries consistent with a fall….or possibly a jump. We will never know what happened for sure in his final hours. Conspiracy theorists out there of course have their own opinions, but the reality of the situation is probably that he killed himself.  It has been insinuated that he was previously on meds, but quit taking them. Justin was only 32. We lost a great musician to something that may have been preventable.

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Mental Illness is a real problem, although it is often not treated that way. I feel like Im coming out of the closet or something… but I also suffer from problems. That’s why Justin’s story hit me so hard. I keep it pretty hush hush, but that’s what a lot of us do. This is extremely bad behavior that usually leads you to a path of isolation. In the therapy world, that is a huge no-no. Isolation, and hiding your illness only sends you down a lonely path.

I have OCD ( not the funny, “Im going to clean your house” joke of what OCD is) and from that OCD stems panic attacks and bouts of unreality. The disassociative feeling of unreality can almost be like an out-of-body experience. You feel like nothing is real, you are confused and completely impaired. Youre dizzy, you lose motor skills. These bouts can go on for minutes or hours. For over a year, I believed that it was something physiological. I have had every test in the books, and all have came out normal for my physical body. Physically, Im healthy as a horse. I absolutely denied the idea of having any mental issues. I didn’t want to be medicated. But I have weaned off of meds twice now and both to the same effect..constant obsessive thoughts and panic attacks. I still don’t understand the ins and outs of the disease. I still have a hard time accepting what has happened to me. I hate it. I hate that my body and mind have turned against me. I feel weak.

The wrong medications can send me into a psychosis, and the whole thing has made me seem like a hypochondriac. Ive missed work and social functions.  And unmedicated….I can barely leave the house. On a good day, it sucks. On a bad day, it’s a full-on nightmare.

Most music I write now, is about this struggle with myself.

But as I said, it can be hard to get help. It is even harder to get the RIGHT help. If you know someone who is suffering, but you don’t have any issues yourself, you would be surprised at the amount of bullshit you have to face when it comes to our healthcare system and society. Lets point a few of those out:

1. It is hard to get help, and get people to take you seriously.

Your general practitioner isn’t equipped to handle mental issues. If you go to the ER, they treat your acute symptoms and send you home. An appointment for a psychiatrist can be set up, but as a new patient, it could take months to get down to the bottom of the issue. Most doctors are willing to write you off pretty quick, and some even have the nerve to decide you are faking. Especially with panic attacks, which are controlled by benzodiazapines like Xanax and Klonopin. Both are popular for being used in recreation and abuse. Unfortunately, these drugs are they only thing that are going to help you in some cases. My personal case is extreme, and I have to have specific meds. It has been over a year, and I am still trying new things all the time to subside my symptoms.

Just about the only way to get help from a hospital is to get a “10-13”, which is basically telling the doctor that you are suicidal. They then will send you to a mental facility that will began some treatment. The typical stay is 5-7 days at these facilities, and while you may get better, it could also make you worse. But then again, this isnt a magic bullet. Psychiatry is roulette when it comes to meds. You try one thing, and if it doesn’t work, you try another. All the while, you suffer from your symptoms-sometimes made worse by new medications. It’s easy for desperation to set in, and the light at the end of the tunnel disappears.

When that desperation sets in, youll do anything to try and find an answer or to find help. Most people with mental illness have multiple trips to doctors and the Emergency room. Once again, what seems irrational to you, is reality to someone else.

2. You learn who really cares about you.

Of course, once stricken with illness, you become very selfish. You want to get better. It becomes the “me show” for a while. It’s not because you cant understand what your friends and loved ones are going through, you just cant handle it. You cant deal with any other problems. Having a solid support system is invaluable. But even still, they will have a tough time understanding what you are going through. They can get frustrated when they cant “fix you”. They can get frustrated at your irrational actions. But these actions arent irrational to you. The things Justin Lowe said and did seem insane, and he was mocked when it broke on the internet (his manifesto). But that wasn’t irrational to him at all. That was reality for him. That’s the thing that your family and friends will not understand…your augmented reality. They cannot possibly put themselves into the frame of your psychosis. It’s not like having the flu, where your family and friends can sympathize. They know what it’s like to have the flu. They dont know what a psychotic episode feels like.

It’s easy to get frustrated with someone with an illness you cant understand. But if you are a friend or family member of someone who has even a minor issue, know how important you are to their stability.

3. Mental illness is often not treated as an illness.

People realize when you have a disease, that there isnt much you can do about it. Let’s take cancer for example. You have cancer, and there’s nothing you can do but be treated, and be supported.Or when you have an infection. You can take your pain meds and get better over time. But since mental illness isnt a tangible thing like cancer or infections, it isn’t treated the same way. Mental illness is a disease. It’s chemical. The same as any other sickness. Addiction is often treated with stigma as well. Mental illness and addiction can often be viewed as weakness, a lack of will power. I assure you, it’s not. Some of the people I have met in group therapy are the strongest individuals I have ever met. Even the people that relapse in addiction. Or the people that live without mental issues for years, and suddenly they come back. These people are strong, because they recognize they have a problem, and are willing to take steps to get better.

4. ” I hope you can get back to being your old self again soon”

You hear this a lot. Everyone in my therapy group has heard this at least once. The fact is, there is no “old you” to go back to anymore. You have been changed forever by your illness. The trauma has changed you. The illness has changed you. The best anyone can hope for is to be “better”. The old you is gone, and friends and family have to understand this. But more importantly, YOU have to understand this. You have to live with the reality that you may be medicated forever. You have to realize that if youre and addict, then you are forever. You brain chemistry is changed. It is an unrealistic goal to think that you will one day be “just like you used to be”. Never pressure someone with an illness with saying something like this.

5. Now that you’re crazy…..

You get treated differently at the doctor’s office. Once you have mental illness on your chart, any time you come in with a pain issue, or another physiological issue you may get wrote off quickly. The doctors may chalk it up to your mental illness or addiction. You can always go in and lie….say that you are no longer on psych meds. But then you may be prescribed something that reacts to your meds, and now your in a whole different type of hell. People treat you differently too. Sometimes, they don’t really see that they are treating you differently, but they are. It’s a stigma you will have to deal with, but the only thing you can do is be assertive, and vigilant.

6. Self Medicating

I have ran into plenty of people that do this. They use alcohol, pot, black market script pills…anything they can get their hands on. This is an awful idea. It’s easy to fall into this routine of abuse, because in the short term, it DOES make you feel better. But it doesn’t address the issues you may have, only therapy and a doctor’s diagnosis can do that. Self medication also comes from the first thing I mentioned in this article. Its hard to get help. But you are fighting fire with fire when you self medicate. You probably make your symptoms worse.

None of this is easy. Not for you, or the people around you. But I hope this article can raise awareness. Both to the afflicted and to the people that are close to them.

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BY: CHRIS HORTON

Take what you expect from a local metal band, and throw it off a fucking overpass.

Solomon’s Ghost is relatively new on the Savannah metal scene, and recently have been the “scourge of Statesboro”, tearing it up with fellow metal acts Awaken The Dawn, Pridemeat, Sincision at Big Show’s..

I’ve had the chance to check them out live, so hearing how their material transfers to recording has been a real experience.

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Yes, it sounds exactly how it looks. This pic. All the metal.

It’s hard to sum up their sound, because it covers a lot…and I mean a LOT of different ground. There is groove metal, blast beats, clean melodic parts, and all out thrash. But there is a softer side, that focuses solely on melody. There is also the element of of prog-rock thrown in there, just to mix things up even more. The proggier moments are really where this group shines. Every now and then they break into some really great off-time riffage that still retains a groove. And thank Odin, it never becomes anything like the trendy Djent bands that are a dime a dozen in recent years. Their version of prog never achieves that polished, played-out, fake sound that seems to permeate the metal world these days (Emmure, anyone?). “Singularity” stays gritty and real. I have to add: to be such a brutal metal act, they aren’t afraid to write great melodic guitar parts that sound very emotional. At least once in every song, I say to myself: ” Huh…thats a really pretty riff. What a change up”. Solomon’s Ghost will keep you on your toes.

Hearing Chike’s growling over beautiful melodic chording is very refreshing to hear (The song “The Life Directive” is a great example of this).

I can hear a lot of influence from modern metal, like Born of Osiris, Tesseract…etc. But luckily, they manage to break the modern metal mold with a few secret weapons they have on their front-line.
One of those secret weapons is Chike Onyiliogw’s abilities as a death metal vocalist. He mixes it up between screeches and low growls and never wavers. His brutal vocal skills sit very well in the mix of down-tuned guitars. While he has his own style, the closest person I would use to compare him to would be Travis Ryan from Cattle Decapitation. *Editors note: I consider this a huge compliment, as Travis is one of my favorite metal vocalists of all time. For this being an early effort, I can see Chike’s style progressing, and getting even more diverse in the future. He is a natural, and already has great technique.

So what is the second secret weapon? They have a second vocalist in guitarist Josh Cook. Josh’s voice is literally the opposite of Chike’s. He does clean, spacey, reverb-laden melodic singing. These parts sometimes start off a song, and then turns into something brutal when Chike kicks in. If you check out one of my favorite tracks on the album, “What Lies”, you’ll find that the song starts with a pretty, clean guitar part, and Josh singing. But it soon turns into utter brutality, with some of the heaviest riffs you hear on the whole album. Josh’s style reminds me very much of Opeth, when it comes to his clean passages and vocal style. He has a great range, and his style fits the songs well.

Now with a genre-bending style like this, you probably think that it can easily get out of hand… and sound forced. Or maybe sound like two bands? But it seems that Solomon’s Ghost has managed to almost merge the sounds into one cohesive sound. I’m not here to kiss anyone’s ass…so I don’t feel bad in saying that they haven’t quite perfected the combo of the two sounds. But in the places they nail it, it sounds flawless. I think it best fits, when the two vocalists work in tandem. This of course, is just my opinion.

The production through the album is top-notch. I listened to it through my studio monitors, and they don’t lie. The bass and drums are held down solidly by James Stallings and Drew Purvis. The rhythm section can make or break a metal band, but these guys are spot on. The double bass kicks are used tastefully, and you can tell that Drew has studied some Chris Adler-style chops in his drumming.

The twin guitar assault of Josh Cook and Stephen Mosely never lets up, and you can tell who is playing each part since their styles are dramatically different, in my opinion as a guitarist.

There are some standout tracks for me. “One Million Faces” is a real journey. It covers a lot of style and ground, and listening to all of the changes keeps you excited: “Whats coming next?”. It also ends with one ridiculously heavy riff!

The title track, “Singularity” is probably the biggest departure from the rest of the album, in terms of style and sound. It is just absolutely massive, and has several “sections”. One of them, towards the end of this ten minute epic is actually reminiscent of Pink Floyd. I shit you not. That is, right before it goes back into a heavy as hell single note grind.

So check the album out. You can get it on itunes, cdbaby, or check it out on soundcloud. This is a must-have for any Savannah metal fan. I am definitely going to keep my eye on these guys, as they progress, I think they are going to do some REALLY interesting stuff in the future.

*Editors Note: I want a fucking t-shirt.

But better yet, why don’t you check them out live? Here are some of their upcoming shows, and let me warn you: They are playing with some GREAT bands that you don’t want to miss!

July 18, 2015  
Solomon’s Ghost, Pridemeat, Sincision, The Abominable Beard

Saturday, July 18, 2015
@ Dollhouse Productions.
980 Industry Dr. Savannah, GA. Ages 21+. $5. 7:30 PM.

July 24, 2015  
“BURGER JOINT RITUAL” with:
Solomon’s Ghost, Me and The Trinity, The Apprehended, Awaken the Dawn, Midwayer

Friday, July 24, 2015
@ Bigshow’s Burgers and Bar
200 Lanier Dr. Statesboro, GA. All Ages. $4. 7:00 PM.

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Clandestiny: The Journey Aum

Posted: July 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

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BY: Chris Horton

In two days, “The Journey of Aum” will be hitting the internet….

If you are new to the sounds of Matt Duplessie, then you are in for a real treat. Matt is a multi-instrumentalist that not only writes all of his own music, but records and produces most of it alone as well. He has been a part of many musical projects over the years, and I have had the chance to work with him before, as well as be his friend. I’m lucky to know him, and always love the positivity he exudes.

That being said, this review has no bias. Just my honest opinions.

Matt believes that music can be trans-formative, and healing. I tend to agree. The great luthier, Paul Reed Smith says: “When you are sitting there… playing guitar, you are in no pain. You are in your own world. Music is a natural drug…a painkiller!”

I think Paul and Matt share the same sentiments.

Matt is also a rather dapper looking dude, photogenic, with a sense of style that most of us cant pull off:
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For that reason, he is a bastard.

But seriously…

Matt Duplessie has been recording under the moniker “Clandestiny” for quite a while. He had just finished his first full album when he moved to Savannah from Ohio, and has since reinvented himself many times. From dark and brooding soundscapes, to delicate acoustic songs, chants, or even wailing guitars…. Matt always seems to have something new up his sleeve.

When Matt first described “The Journey Aum” to me, I was thinking that this was going to be a foray into “world” music, which unfortunately, usually has more misses than hits. I’m delighted to say that Matt does not disappoint with this new effort.

Firstly, this is an album to be listened to all at once. There are no “singles” or anything of the sort. The whole album is flows together, and some tracks stand out more than others (more about that later). I recommend putting on some headphones, and just relaxing. That’s how I first took it in. The soundscapes have very sparse vocals, and much of the vocals are used as atmospheric effect. The album truly is a “journey”. As you listen to it, you go through different styles of music, but more importantly different moods. Matt has always leaned towards the melancholic side of melody, and there is plenty of that on “Journey”. But there are certainly lighter moments as well.

There are tracks like “Galactus” that sound like they could be a part of a movie soundtrack. This is the aspect of the album I really love. This album is a “life soundtrack”. It’s pretty safe to say, that this is my favorite track on the album. It has beats and an atmosphere that remind me of the electronic group Orbital, and it is full of emotion.

“Raising the Djed” is another standout track. It has a great pulsing beat, and some really amazing vintage synth sounds. This could easily be a Depeche Mode song. But just when you think you have it figured out, there is a breakdown with eerie flute melodies. The huge electro soundscape that was built at the beginning of the song, is broken down into a minimum. It becomes almost haunting. Like I said, Matt has some tricks up his sleeve.

This whole album is a huge departure from Matt’s previous effort “Songs of Light” (The title track of that album, I’ve shown to so many people, and I listen to it myself a lot. Check it out on his bandcamp site at the bottom of this article). There are elements of every Clandestiny album on “Journey”, but this is meant to be enjoyed as a whole more than any of the other albums. It truly takes you on a sonic journey with ups, downs and in-betweens. No track really feels like “filler”, however some do feel like a lead-in to the next track. No sounds were wasted.
The next time I listen to this album, I think I will put in a favorite movie of mine (Like Donnie Darko) and let Matt’s album play in the background, with the TV on mute. I absolutely love that “Journey” could be the soundtrack to many things: a movie, a happy day in your life, a breakup, a reunion, a birth, a death, or just hanging out at the beach. It is more than a collection of songs. It is a fully realized piece of art.
I usually reserve the last paragraph of the write-ups for criticism. But I cant think of any! Minus a few places where I think the production/mixing is lacking (a matter of taste, being a producer myself). And while you may think this type of music isn’t for you, you might surprise yourself by checking it out.

I am always excited to see what new musical territory Matt explores next, and see how he will once again re-invent the Clandestiny project.

The Jouney of Aum comes out in TWO DAYS! Make sure to check it out!

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BY: Chris Horton (Regional badass)

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Let me preface this by saying that while I am a fan of the band, I am being completely unbiased.

Although I have been waiting for this shit to drop. Kudos to whomever came up with the title as well.
That being said, this is one hell of an effort from Pridemeat. Many of these songs, I’ve heard live or on demos, but to hear them fully produced, really changes the dynamics. Sadly this album is a goodbye to their extremely talented drummer Josh. But man, what a way to go out.

As a producer myself, I think about how hard it would be to capture a band like Pridemeat. I mean, the album breaks into literal chaos at several points, but then pulls you back to the groove. Nick and Gurt’s twin tuned down guitars are refreshing to hear used in a way that doesn’t involve poly-rhythmic nonsense using only the top string. * Editors note: we all know the word for this genre of music, but I wont say it. because its a dirty word. The “d” word.

They are accomplished players that use a lot of classic metal licks, and harmonies. There is plenty of melody in the chaos, and well thought out chord progressions, Not to mention, well placed lead work. William holds down the low end on bass with precision, and groove. No cheesy synths, or songs about outer space. This is fucking METAL. 

The whole album is relentless. Blast beats, grooves, death metal influences, metalcore, doom. It never lets up, and remains diverse. They cover all the bases of heaviness. There’s something in this album for just about any extreme metal fan, whether you have been a metal head for 20 years, or you just got into the scene. While Pridemeat still sounds fresh, it also bridges the gap with a plethora of stylistic choices that harkens back to Exodus and Iron Maiden (especially some of the guitar harmonies). This album could’ve came out yesterday, or 20 years ago. That really says something. It says that their style is timeless.

There are some stand out tracks though, for me.

“Wall of Souls” and “The Greatest Empire” really stick out to me. You can tell these are fully realized songs, that have great well-thought out riffs with a lot of emotion behind them. “The Greatest Empire” also has a breakdown at the end, that made me want to go out and break some shit. I didn’t. But I almost did.

“By the Hand of The Dark King” is also a stand out track for me, and reminds me of some of my favorite metal songs. Literally every part of the song is awesome, and has what I think is the “star” guitar solo of the album. The melody is so emotional for a song that obviously prides itself on being heavy/brutal as fuck. Dare I say…it sounds very tasteful.

Tony has proven to be a versatile vocalist, and has a rather diverse range. We hear everything from screeches, to all out hardcore growl. Never really getting into full guttural territory. The fact that he switches it up constantly,keeps the tracks flowing and interesting throughout the album. There are no vocal effects or distortion to make his voice sound grittier. He pulls this off live, and in the studio. Each song tells a story, and if you know how to listen to metal, you can get most of the lyrics.

But….

I’m not here to kiss anyone’s ass, and with that being said…

While the production value is pretty high for a local band (David Cooke really went above and beyond with this one). I cant help but compare it to the the intensity of their live show. That intensity seems to be replaced with focus. Being a producer myself, you usually get one or the other on a recording…raw intensity or precise focus. Pridemeat seems to have chosen the latter. This is a minor complaint. So just know that if you hear the album, it is much more intense when preformed live.

Pridemeat has their own style, without a doubt. But I also cant think of Pridemeat without thinking of Cradle of Filth’s first few albums. A lot of that has to do with Tony’s vocal style. While he has come into his own and has gained respect for his abilities, its obvious where a lot of his influence lies. Some of the riffs delve into the same territory as well. But being a huge fan of the “Scourge of England”, I might be reading too much into it. * Editors note: I literally worshiped C.O.F in high school. Nerd. But I also hear Job For A Cowboy, Cattle Decapitation, and many other influences too. None of this is a bad thing. Just observation. Hell, I played it for a buddy of mine and he immediately mentioned ZAO. It’s all subjective.

With all of that being said, I absolutely cannot wait to see what comes next from Pridemeat. I know this album was a long time coming, and they have played shows tirelessly to get their name out there. The hard work has paid off, as they have made an excellent album, and earned a reputation locally that makes me smile every time I’m out and mention them to peers. Most people agree, that they are on the forefront of the “newish” Savannah metal scene.

I personally cannot wait to see what they conjure up from the abyss as a follow-up to “Wet Hot American Slaughter”. I look forward to seeing them progress as a band, and continue to scare the shit out of unassuming passerbys. You can get the album in the link below.

Tony, Gurt, Nick…..I want a fucking t-shirt BTW. Just saying….:)

GO GET THIS SHIT RIGHT NOW OR YOU SUCK:
http://pridemeat.bandcamp.com/album/wet-hot-american-slaughter

By: Christopher Horton

2013-Pablo-and-Britt_CapturingSavannah_DeSotoHilton_HarborViewRoom_March131-2-940x564

Savannah is a tiny town. I say this from experience in places like Columbus, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. We are a wee little town. Chances are, if you are in the music biz in any capacity you know everyone by one degree of separation. That’s a tight knit group. If you know me, for instance, you are one step away from like 30 bands, a couple promoters in three states, a couple of music instructors, a producer, a studio owner, and a radio personality.

That’s a small town for you, though.

I have been at this shit for 20 years. 20 long years of shitty gigs, great gigs, festival shows, drug problems, drinking problems, recording albums, promoting shows, helping bands, teaching guitar, making contacts, going on little tours, playing open mics, dealing with A&R guys, making merch, setting up shows for venues, selling merch…..

Name it. I’ve done it in this industry.

So I came up with a rather short list of what you should do, as a local artist or band in such a small place. I understand that if you come from rural Iowa, Savannah seems huge. I assure you, its not. And worse yet, it is a rumor-controlled scene. Which is why….

1. Never talk shit about another band. Ever. Never……ever.

This is a sure fire way to ostracize yourself. You want to be the band that never gets booked? Then talk shit about a band that you played with, or saw live at a show. Once again, everyone knows everyone. You will get caught, and then you will be shunned. People will pelt you with salad ingredients like in the dark ages.

2. Better yet, never talk to shit to anyone.

Just a good rule to live by. Dick.

3. Treat your fellow musicians with respect, regardless of who they are. In fact, go out of your way to be friendly and helpful.

A couple of years ago, I answered an ad on craigslist that simply asked “What is the rock scene like in Savannah?“. I didn’t know who posted the article, but I figured if it was someone that wanted to move here, I would write them a short note and tell them why its cool to live here and be a musician. We sent emails back and forth a few times, and finally met up to have a beer in person. That person turned out to be Garrett Deming from Broken Glow, before they officially moved here. Which in my opinion, is one of the best rock bands around. He and Paul also supported IAMSOUND (my band) and played shows with us. I will be producing their album this summer and we have all become great friends.

Same goes for my friend Ryan, who had just moved here from Detroit with his wife, and was working out at the beach at The Rock House, several years ago. The band I was in at the time, Habitat Noise played there a lot. We all hung out there together, had good times. Always nice to the people at the Rock House, I have never had a problem getting a paying show there. Ryan turned out to work in radio, and is not only a good friend, but a great ally to have in the music scene that I try very hard to support. We share a common goal for Savannah, for the scene. We want everyone here to prosper. And we have a great time doing things like Rock camp, and The Battle of the Bands together. Not to mention spreading the word about bands and shows every way we can. I almost look to Ryan as a mentor sometimes, and as inspiration for our little scene when I feel like everything here sucks. * Editors note: If you are reading this, Ryan, don’t get a big head and shit. Plenty of people think you’re a dick. :)

Or John from J&S Guitarworks. Three years ago…..My guitar was fucked up, and I took it to him after being screwed over by another luthier. After a two hour conversation about guitar nerd shit, we finally agreed on a fair price to fix my favorite guitar. I have learned a whole lot about guitars, either just by hanging out, or by watching John work on his customer’s instruments.Turns out he is not only a great friend, but the best instrument repair guy around. He has always been fair with me, and even filled in on guitar in IAMSOUND for a while. We constantly exchange favors. He is now in the recently signed band Honestlie, working on their first album. 

There’s so many more examples. But those are two that stick out because they are people I recently been around. I’m not saying be cool to people so you can use them later. That’s not ethical. I’m saying you should be cool to everyone NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE. You may be invaluable to them, or vice versa. If you want a scene to work, you have to be able to move through all the cliques, and be helpful to everyone-in turn they help you.

Once again, you never know who you are meeting in such a small town. Could be your new best friend, your new band member, your new mentor, a talented album producer, a promoter….you don’t know.

Point is: You never know what contact you may be making, or who you may be talking to. So always be…..wait. That’s my next rule….

4. Always be professional and friendly.
When you are out buying groceries. When you are mowing the lawn. When you are having a beer by yourself after work. While you are using the bathroom. EVERYWHERE. You need to always have your game face on.

Have some business cards made. They are cheap. have your bands weblinks on the card and your phone number. Have merch at your show. No matter how small. Even if it is home-made stuff. Even if it’s origami frogs with your band’s name on it. Be like a fucking Boy scout. Always be prepared.

Be enthusiastic about everyone you meet. Be genuine. If you are not genuinely a nice person-a people person, with good work ethics and morals, then this is not the business for you. Get out now. 

I repeat: If you dont live and breathe the music business, quit now. It is more than just making music and playing shows.

Really, you will fail. Being fake will get you nowhere. Even Nickleback is genuine about their goals and aspirations. They wanted to sell out big time. They did. Don’t be something you’re not.

You will also fail if you think it’s time to start living the “rock lifestyle”. This includes drinking and drugs. You do not play better when you’ve “had a few”. Fact: You play shittier. You also come across as unprofessional. The chances of you being an asshole also increases by 90% if you are intoxicated at an event. We once fired a drummer that after a show, that was so trashed that he fell off a bar stool onto a concrete floor. Not only endangering himself, and putting the bar at an insurance risk….but most of all…he looked liked a total tool. That’s not funny or cool.

Be pro with the other bands you are playing with, even if you don’t care for their music. You don’t have to like their music, the crowd does. I have played with plenty of bands who played music I didn’t like. Guess what? They were nice dudes/gals, and we had a good time hanging out at the venue.

Be pro with promoters/venue owners. These people can make or break you. You never know how much sway a promoter has in a town. And if you piss off a venue owner, you may never play there again. Easy ways to piss these types of people off:

  • Cancel a gig at short notice
  • Talk shit about them to other people
  • Talk shit about them on social media
  • Get wasted before you play, and then play a shitty show
  • Feel entitled to certain things like food, a bar tab
  • Asking for more money than you and the promoter/venue agreed on
  • Asking for money if money wasnt discussed
  • Bringing a shitty draw, or worse yet: excuses for a shitty draw
  • Not listening to the sound guy, its his/her stage
  • Spending zero time promoting the show. You should be blowing up social media, calling friends, etc.
  • Not following up with a “Thank You”.

It sounds all very elementary, but I have seen some seriously bad behavior not only from local bands in Savannah, but from touring acts as well. Lastly…..

5. Quit playing every fucking day. Really.
Really. There’s a lot of you fuckers out there that are guilty of this. Your show should be an EVENT. It should be something big and interesting, a big deal. It’s hard for your show to be a successful EVENT if you just played two other shows this week. Once again guys, this is a small town. You have a limited audience, whether it is a bigger venue or if it is a house show….it’s downright disrespectful to overplay. It screws over the venues, the promoters, but most of all… IT SCREWS YOU OVER. Example:

Two of my favorite bands are Dillinger Escape Plan, and Every Time I Die. If they had a show here on Friday, I would go and be excited as hell. I would be over the moon!
But wait…they are playing Monday night too….HELL yeah! I will see them again!! I’M so excited!

Oh…they are playing again on Thursday. I think I am going to skip this one. I mean, shit….I just saw them do the same show twice in a row. I don’t care how much I like a band, I’m not going to see them over and over.

The same goes for your local band. No one wants to see you over and over. More so actually, because you are not famous. So if you play a show on Friday night downtown, don’t play another one on Saturday…downtown. It’s a dick move that doesn’t benefit anyone.

So that’s it….sounds easy right? Get to it, Savannah.