Friday, February 17, 2006

It's funny how hardcore, metal and punk barely get any props on the ultra-cool blogs. Must be that demographic thing with the angsty teenagers and all. Not that I listen to much of it, but hey, sometimes I do like to jump around, pounce on my bed and destroy hotel rooms. Last year's Everytime I Die record, for example, was really great for that, and these select and varied recent releases follow suit.

Small Arms Dealer: A Single Unifying Theory (Deep Elm)
release: February 7, 2006
rating: ***1/2

As I was reading through this Long Island band's info sheet, I started highlighting the one press quote. Then I realized that they were quoting ME. No kidding. It was from when I reviewed the local band's first EP for the Long Island Press. So, I may be sounding like Mick Jones sampling the Clash, but here it is: "These songs are wonderously fresh, as if it's the members' first band [ex-On the Might of Princes, Devil Himself, etc]. The lyrics, which have a foot in such disparate things as death and remaining positive, are thankfully not compromised or buried in guitar noise. Just reading the excerpts won't do justice to these punk-rock gems." So true, I agree. This full-length (on Deep Elm, rather impressive!), has more fantastic punk sing-alongs, uplifting lyrics and rocking riffs. Very few clean tracks with the "F" word, however, are gonna create a challenge for playing on my radio show. Whoops! -Kenyon


Enlow: The Recovery (Blood & Ink)
release: January 24, 2006
rating: **1/2

This Oklahoma hardcore band is probably really intense live. I can just picture them at hometown VFW hall shows swinging their guitars around and basically kicking ass. The Recovery has some wicked guitar riffs and chant-alongs. I can't say I haven't heard this all before, but their messages via song titles such as "Stand Up and Face Your Fears" and lyrics such as "We've come this far, we're not stopping now" have to count for something. -Kenyon


In Flames: Come Clarity (Ferret)
release: February 7, 2006
rating: ****

Well, I can't even believe I'm reviewing this right now. Veteran band In Flames is supposed to be melodic death metal from Sweden (melodic death metal? no way!). They may have been a lot more death metal on previous records, but this one is mostly void of it. And it's actually pretty impressive. Which means the time is right for In Flames to grab hold of a whole new crowd of kids. The campaign for this record is pretty huge, so it wouldn't surprise me if the band broke big. Hell, they even sent it to someone who doesn't otherwise cover metal. Oh..the music. Okay, I'll tell you this: old school metal guitar solos. If I had a metal show on the radio, I would totally play this. Every week. But it's more likely you'll hear this on FUSE's metal show on a Saturday night. -Kenyon

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