Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Between the Buried and Me "Automata I" Review

          Fans got quite a shock earlier at the beginning of 2018 when Between the Buried and Me announced this year they would release not one, but two albums, appropriately titled “Automata I” and “Automata II”. The later of which is set to be released March 9th through the long standing Sumerian Records, a label renowned for its roster. With “Automata I” being so close to release, it's time we delve in and discover what's to come!

Automata I” kicks off with the first single from the album, “Condemned to the Gallows”. If somehow you missed it (click here for the song) the track is instantly catchy. With a softer intro to ease you into the punishing Progressive Death Metal that's on its way. The first half of the album with what you’ve heard in “Condemned to the Gallows” is pretty similar, Extreme Metal at some of is finest, the first half specifically is much closer to the early days of BTBAM with few and far between exceptions.

If you're more attuned with the band's more recent release “Coma Ecliptic”, you'll appreciate the track “Millions”, which has a much softer and more Jazz oriented sound to it. “Millions” has a very consistent sound, letting the vocals push it along with the only main changes being the switch from clean to distorted guitar, if you're just getting into BTBAM because you're a fan of Sumerian’s roster, this might be a good place to start. Personally, I think “Millions” will be a song best experienced in a live setting, having band and fans alike singing along to the chorus “Millions fly overhead…” but we will have to wait for the band's upcoming headliner in March to figure out for sure.

          “Gold Distance”, which is a short instrumental track, and “Blot” close out the first part of “Automata” and instantly you get introduced to what is probably the heaviest track on the record. “Blot” is one of those songs where you realise that BTBAM listen to what their fans have been saying, the song is much more along the lines of what you would hear from “Colors” and the earlier albums from BTBAM. Maintaining heavy and progressive riffs from beginning to end, the song refuses to back down right to the end and based on the ending you can tell that the album will lead directly into “Automata II” without the skip of a beat. Until then, the album loops back to the beginning and you can enjoy it all again.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Live Report: Johnny Nocash and The Celtic Outlaws, The Anti-Queens. Hairy Holler and Zack Powers at The Coalition

Written by: Bas Majzoub

        This was going to be a good night; Johnny Nocash and The Celtic Outlaws are a hot new band releasing their first EP, and they are supported and by the always fun local favorites, The Anti-Queens.

        The Coalition T.O is a good venue, and the show was well organized by the band themselves, without the use of a local promoter; there was a drink special at the bar, and all of the band’s merch was marked down to a measly $5.

        Tonight on the bill are Zack Powers, Hairy Holler, The Anti-Queens, and Johnny Nocash and The Celtic Outlaws.

        Zack Powers:
        Those guys sounded great, the musicianship was there, as it was clear they had a strong handle on their respective instruments. The songs are upbeat and fun rock ‘n roll swing, with pop culture (“Army of Darkness”) and world music (Greek inspired “Miserlou”) influences. The front-man Zack Powers is energetic on stage, however I get the feeling he’s holding back and is still a little shy; it could be a symptom of their youth, however the rest of the band, despite being excellent musicians, seemed awkward on stage, and the fact that they were all dressed like nerds didn’t help. I look forward to seeing these guys grow.

        Hairy Holler:
        I’ve heard of this band, though I’ve never heard them, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Besides the usual guitar bass and drums, the band also sported a sax (with a pedal-board), a fiddle, and a washboard! The saxophone player donned himself as The Punisher, and the whole band looked huge, and so did the music. You can’t help but have a good time with their brand of big-band rock ‘n roll, especially when they’re up there dancing and having a blast. One thing about this band is how strong they are vocally; everybody can sing very well, and they all posses big voices, and when they all chorus up, the building almost shakes! It must be tough having so many members, so their passion must be exuberant, and it shows.

        The Anti-Queens:
        I’ve seen this Thrashy Punk band before, and their energy is as advertised. Good simple songs, well executed with a fun somewhat choreographed live show. They looked like rock-stars, dressed and acted the part. While the rest of the band was having fun on stage, the drummer was keeping it together, pulling in solid tom beats, and was rock steady. They finish the show knees up on the bass drum, guitars pointed to the ceiling, they nail the ending. This band would benefit from a banner, the chemistry and music are there, so is the attitude, a banner would help further their memorability.

        Johnny Nocash and The Celtic Outlaws:
        The place is packed and abuzz, intro music barely starts, and on appears the black quilt donning front-man, strumming his acoustic guitar, followed by the band, and the party is here. They’re all dressed like outlaw rock-stars, leather vests and string ties, big beards and tattoos. It was impressive to hear how similar (see: identical) their live sound is to their album. Beat for beat, yes, though also the overall sound as well, with a signature electric guitar sound by Memphis Raines playing a sweet sounding Fender Stratocaster. Not to put down the great job the rest of the bands on the bill did, though it needs to be said, the drum sound, and behind the kit, the performance itself, was a class higher than the very competent rest. The band has its sound figured out, and is clearly well rehearsed, and that fact naturally frees the band leader to interact with the receptive and interacting crowd. Given the band’s ‘excuse me, I love you, but go fuck yourself’ attitude, there’s a certain irony to the audience interaction I think. It’s all in great fun, as it was cool to see a lady get invited onto the stage and sing along; she passionately gave it her cringe worthy best, and rocked out on stage. The band did two encores, and subtly once again showcased their professionalism, with every band member on the same page, immaculately delivering their big or, just as importantly, their smaller parts.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Johnny Nocash and The Celtic Outlaws "Johnny Nocash and The Celtic Outlaws" EP Review

        Johnny Nocash and The Celtic Outlaws, a hard hitting, folk based band. I hesitate to refer to this as Country, because when you think of country we all think of the same thing. This isn't your standard, modern day, radio country music, this is more along the lines of what Charlie Daniel and, of course, Mr. Cash were doing back in the day. This self titled release is still a good listen, it's still a good sing along in most cases and songs like “Love Song” and “Dying Day” are so full of energy it'll get you dancing and moving around.

        It became obvious very quickly, Johnny Nocash and The Celtic Outlaws don't exactly care about who likes their music, it's very clear that this was what they want to hear and if you like it, good for you. To be fair, those are the best releases, don't try to appease everyone else. Musically, you have songs like “Dagger Road” which is a little slower, a little more emotional and a little more like Johnny Cash. It's a song that tells a story and demands your full attention and it's a song that uses the instrumentals to push along the vocals and help put emphasis on the words. On the other hand we have songs like the aforementioned “Dying Day” which is a high energy track that even features a solid guitar solo, while the song is still primarily vocal focused, the instrumentals are used in conjunction with the vocals to keep the energy high and get the body moving instead of being used essentially as background for the vocals.

        Country/Folk Rockers Johnny Nocash and The Celtic Outlaws’ new self titled release is a gritty rockers dream and a new country fans nightmare. No filter and no holding back, if you're offended by “bad words” and the idea of drinking till your liver shuts down, this probably isn't the album for you. If you're a fan of gritty and high energy music or music with meaning and emotion, Johnny Nocash and The Celtic Outlaws just released an EP that you should absolutely check out!

Monday, January 15, 2018

Bloodshot Dawn Announces Canadian Tour with Aepoch

        UK Death Metal monsters, Bloodshot Dawn, will be embarking on a two week cross Canada Tour in support of their new album "Reanimation" released on January 12th, 2018. Kicking off on April 17th in Quebec and running until May 1st in Calgary, Bloodshot Dawn will be tearing up Canada with support coming from Cambridge, Ontario Technical Death Metallers Aepoch who will be releasing their debut full length album in April.

        Aepoch Guitarist Kyle Edissi says: "We are extremely honoured to be apart of Bloodshot Dawn's first ever Canadian tour! Both bands will have killer sets that you won't want to miss! See you in the pit!"

        Bloodshot Dawn's own Josh McMorran says: "We are honoured to be touring Canada! As Morgan's home country this makes it our 2nd home."

        Needless to say, this may be a one time chance to see this tour come through, tickets will be available through your usual outlets and through most the venues themselves. Bloodshot Dawn and Aepoch are kicking off 2018 with some good old Death Metal!

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Top 10 Albums of 2017

               Hello everyone, Welcome to Five Magics Music's top 10 albums from the past year of 2017. With so many great records being released this past year, much like most years, it was a tough decision, but we got there so without any further hesitation here is the top 10 albums from 2017!

10. Slave One – “An Abstract and Metaphorical Approach to Deceit” – Dolorem Records

                This was an incredibly surprising release to me. Death Metal is always kind of touchy when it comes to checking out new bands, there are far too many that follow the same copy and paste formula with a slightly different sound and expect to make it to the size that Cannibal Corpse or Obituary have reached. Slave One though, have a different tone to them. This is a band that knows how to take the formula and shake it up, “An Abstract and Metaphorical Approach to Deceit” deserves it’s spot on this list solely for the balls it took to include a Death Metal cover of Dimmu Borgir’sBlessings Upon the Throne of Tyranny” which brought a breath of life back to a dormant and momentarily stale band.

check out our review of the album

North American Cover
European Cover

9. Kreator – “Gods of Violence” – Nuclear Blast Records

                I’m sick of hearing “there were no good Thrash metal albums this year” when the year kicked off with probably one of the best Thrash Metal albums out there. Kreator has a little bit of.. let’s say numbness, with song of their past albums, while “Phantom Antichrist” stood as an anthem to me when it came it “Gods of Violence” brought back the extremity and intensity of Kreator for me. Songs like the title track “Gods of Violence” and “Satan Is Real” have become synonymous with the band at this point while the album continues to create more anthems with “Hail to the Hordes”.

8. Warbringer – “Woe to the Vanquished” – Napalm Records

                So again, how were there no good Thrash Metal albums this year? Warbringer dropped this monster “Woe to the Vanquished” and it is straight to the point. The biggest draw I find in Warbringer is the war focused lyrics, war, having always been an interest of mine, it entices me. With some of the most intense Thrash Metal songs you’ll hear this year like “Shellfire” and “Descending Blade” along side the heavier and slower tracks “Spectral Asylum” and the epic “When the Guns Fell Silent” there was just too much to miss on this latest record for any real Thrash Metal fan.

check out our review of the album

7. Astaroth Incarnate – “Omnipotence – The Infinite Darkness” – CDN Records

                Black Metal and Death Metal have always gone hand in hand, but none more than the first EP released from Toronto’s Astraroth Incarnate. Compared to the bands original demo, it is night and day the change in maturity in this band, the vocals sound less demonic as a turn but come out much more frightening in the end and with tracks like “Curse of the Black Plague” blasting you away alongside “Unfleshed” and “Re-Creation” this was a release that should have made it into the collections of any Black Metal band.

check out our review of the album

6. Aborted – “Bathos” – Century Media

                Another EP release, Aborted dropped “Bathos” and fans were stoked, best thing about Aborted is their consistency with music, releasing stuff far more often than most bands do and the quality of the music is always outstanding and nothings shows this better than this release. Consisting solely of two tracks, it’s an EP you can listen to on repeat for hours, there is so much packed into the two songs that thinking about it, it should be an overabundance, but instead comes out as the essential mix of Grindcore and Death Metal that most bands miss the mark on.

check out our review of the album

5. Alestorm - “No Grave But the Sea” – Napalm Records
                The pirate based Power/Folk Metal band are back with another set of tales upon the high sea. “No Grave But the Sea” is simply a whole lot of fun, everyone who knows the band knows they don’t take themselves too seriously, that being said, each of the musicians take the music itself seriously. Tracks like the heavier “Alestorm” which consists mostly of keyboardist Elliot Vernon’s harsh vocals and the softer “Fucked With An Anchor” which, while it sounds like it should have the harsher vocals, is actually more of a ballad, show off that the band cares about the music, the lyrical content itself may be silly but the songs are very well written. As much as some of you may like the most extreme of the extreme, this is the kind of music that’s fun to drink and enjoy yourself to.

Check out our review of the album
Check our our interview with Chris Bowes

4. Trilateral - “Elliptic Orbits” – Independent Release
                Jazz infused Technical Death Metal band Trilateral dropped an incredible album pretty close to the beginning of the year. This twelve track release should be enough for anyone looking for the more Technical side of things to get their rocks off. Songs like “Whalefall” and “Nomad” are the real standouts, pulling the entire things together, the jazz influence comes through incredibly blatantly and it’s actually the real draw the album has, most Tech Death bands hide the more jazzy tone underneath the insanity, but much like Beyond Creation, Trilateral put it upfront on display.

Check out our review of the album

3. Unbowed – "Through Endless Tides" – Independent Release

                This is a band I’ve had a soft spot for ever since I saw them for the first time back in 2014 opening for Battlecross, Unbowed have always been the kind of band to drop an album unlike anything they’ve done before, every single release has become more expansive and intense than what came before it. The original “Unbowed” EP was a Blackened Death Metal release along the vein of Behemoth, then came “Collapse the World” which incorporated a more Melodic side and “Dogma” to infuse it with a bit more of Symphonic element. “Through Endless Tides” is the next heir to the throne for Unbowed infusing a more modern sounds, I hesitate to consider it a “Metalcore” sound, but it’s not completely off the mark. Becoming much more focused on the overall sound and quality, not to say the quality of anything in the past was bad by any means, the focus became the end product this time around instead of what more can be added into the music and much like Metalcore which is a genre that seems to always have incredible production compared to its more extreme counterparts, it made Unbowed’s latest release sound HUGE and gave the band the last push it needed to find the key sound it deserves. Through 4 releases and a lot of hard work on the bands side, “Through Endless Tides” is the end product they deserve and it’s hard to imagine how they’ll step up from here.

2. Carach Angren – Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten – Season of Mist Records
                The latest story from Carach Angren is one of the harder ones to follow, not in a bad way. The past releases from Carach Angren have become a little less on the nose with the story they write, “Where the Corpses Sink Forever” was a split up story that crafted an overarching story and “This Is No Fairytale” was one you had to read a little more into for the full story. Carach Angren have figured out how to make more diverse stories and less obvious stories, “Dance and Laugh Amongst the Rotten” follows the trend, based around Ouija boards and possession, you’re introduced to our main antagonist Charlie. Things continue to get strange as we discuss the strange “Blood Queen” and “Pitch Black Box” are outstanding tracks but the album ends on a high note with “Three Times Lightning Strikes”. Carach Angren get better with each release, the struggle is getting gathering the story at this point, it gives the album replay ability, makes it easy to listen to over and over again.

1. Artificial Brain – “Infrared Horizon” – Profound Lore Records

                While these have been in no particular order, Artificial Brain’sInfrared Horizon” is easily my favourite album of 2017. This monster of a Death Metal album takes you on a Sci-fi journey though the post-apocalypse, I would say it’s a pretty safe bet that the character on the cover would be our narrator. While the music itself may be incredible, that isn’t the stand out factor, that honour is for the lyrics, throughout the album there is a conversation happening, the narrator has dialogue. This is such a unique thing to concept albums and while I’m not 100% sure his classifies as a concept album it already makes me excited for the third album from Artificial Brain.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Allegaeon "Animate" Single Review

        For anyone who paid attention to Allegaeon's latest release "Proponent For Sentience", you would have recognised a well known Canadian band was covered at the end of the album. Rush's "Subdivisions" is a widely unrecognized and underappreciated song from the band's massive discography, but there is another track that is probably even more off the radar. This time around Allegaeon are taking a stab at "Animate" from the 1993 album "Counterparts".

        From beginning to end this is a very faithful cover, Rush is a band that's hard to nail and still make it your own, Allegaeon take what Rush had done to begin with make it a bit it more Hard Rock (this barely breaks into Metal territory, which is actually good) while in the original version the song was a fairly soft piece, Geddy Lee's voice was a bit more sing-song in it than his regular tone in some more recognisable songs, Allegaeon stuck true to this while maintaining the faintest bit of aggression in the vocals. Instrumentally, this version covers the same idea, add some distortion and play a little faster, but all around very faithful.

        Allegaeon won't be back in the studio until March 2018 to record their follow up to "Proponent of Sentience" but for the time being, they'll be gracing you with this digital single on 1.6.18 definitely check it out if you're a Rush fan, or even if you have no idea who Rush is and you just liked the "Subdivisions" cover!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Drop Oblivion "Damaged Goods" Single Review

It's been a busy time, we've been slacking on reviews and we're sorry. We are back though, with lots of stuff in the works including a rather big and probably unexpected review coming tomorrow. Today though, we are talking about a band that reached out recently to get our opinion on their new track "Damaged Goods". The band in question is Drop Oblivion, a new Melodic Death Metal band out to find their feet with this track, so lets get in there and check it out!

        Instantly, "Damaged Goods" gives you the full Melodic Death Metal experience. The intro isn't anything to extraordinary, but gives you the taste for blood. The vocals, once they kick in take on an almost Blackened Death approach. I am personally a fan of the vocals, they're strong and match the tone and pace of the song incredibly well, which is where a lot of Melodic Metal falls short. Front to back, musically "Damaged Goods" is a great piece of work, but there are a couple of complaints to note. First of all, the drums and bass are mixed so low that one is inaudible and the other is almost there (in sure you can guess which is which). The other is the fact that Drop Oblivion uses symphonics in the music, now that isn't the complaint as I love symphonic Metal, Drop Oblivion seem almost intimidated to make the commitment to having the symphonic element in the music with, yet again, it being mixed so low is just sounds like filler to the music itself. The vocals are high above everything else with the rest of the instrumentals fighting for second place.

        I'm a big fan of Drop Oblivion's single and you will absolutely be seeing a review of a full release when the time comes, the music itself is great and these guys know what they're doing and while the aforementioned complaints do take away from the sound a little bit, "Damaged Goods" is still a killer piece of Melodic Death Metal anyone should check out!