July 31, 2012

Guest Blogger: MATT HINCH




Air Guitar blog has one motto that is "Sin is the subject - metal is the teacher". Interpret that as you wish. For guest blogger, Matt Hinch, metal has taught many great things as he muses over Air Guitar Blog's latest feature series, Metal and Me.

METAL AND ME ~ by Matt Hinch

When I was first put to the task of writing a piece based on the theme "Metal and Me", I will admit it felt a little daunting. I mean, metal has been such a huge part of my life for so long that deciding just where to begin was a challenge. I might as well start back in my teen years. Compared to many of my peers, I was a late addition to metaldom. I was 19 before I was labelled a metalhead. In fact, my nickname in my first year of university was Metalhead Matt. (Sometimes Marilyn Matt. I was a big Manson fan.) But we can go back a little further than that. The first CD I ever bought was Pantera's Far Beyond Driven. I bought it before I even had a CD player. A friend bought it for the Black Sabbath cover ("Planet Caravan") and hated the rest of it. He sold it to me and that got the ball rolling. Slowly but steadily I moved away from grunge, alternative and rock until I basically adopted Dee Snider's mantra, "If it's not metal, it's CRAP!"

Between those formative years and now, my tastes in metal have changed and expanded as different sources exposed me to different genres. I'd go through phases and so on but it was all just fuel for the fire. Which brings us to the present, where that fire burns hotter than ever. When I was younger, people kept telling me I would grow out of metal. It's for kids they said. They couldn't have been more wrong. I love metal more and more with each passing day. It's become an integral part of who I am, of my identity. Especially online. My Twitter handle is MetalMatt_KofN. Forum usernames, MetalMatt. Blog comments, MetalMatt. Siri calls me MetalMatt. Everything. That's how I see myself. That's how I choose to be identified. I don't even put a space between the two words because that would separate them. I don't ever want to be separated from metal.

A suitcase full of metal - Matt Hinch with his Metal belongings
Photo credit: Becky Hinch
Even in the "real world" metal follows me. Anyone who knows me, knows I'm a metalhead. Perhaps that's because I wear my passion on my sleeve. Literally. I wear a band shirt almost every day. I'm the guy with the headphones on in the grocery store. Everywhere I go, I take metal with me. As soon as I hit the bottom of the stairs every morning, I turn on the music and it stays on all day. Unless my wife asks me to turn it off. (Love you, Hunny!!) I guess that's basically how metal defines me. It's much easier for me to express that than it is for me to define metal itself. That is very much left to individual interpretation. I worked in a record store and before I got there they had AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and Rick Derringer (!!) in the metal section! No, No, and NO! I fixed that in a hurry.

Ironically, the things that I love about metal are the polar opposite of how I see myself as a person. I love that metal is loud, but I'm quiet and soft-spoken. I love the intensity and aggression in metal, but I'm laid back and shy. I love how varied, experimental and diverse metal is but I'm a non-spontaneous creature of habit and routine. But I can relate to some of the things I love most about metal. That's the passion and commitment and sense of family. Most metal bands have to scrape and claw for everything that they get and you can't do that without passion and commitment. And in my opinion, metal fans are the most passionate of all. It's that passion that binds the greater metal community together. Bands, fans, labels, promoters, writers, we can all lean on each other and support each other. Like a family. All because of a deep shared passion.

Which brings us to the question of "What do I contribute to metal?" What's my role in this big metal family of ours? I see my contributions and my role as being very similar to my role as a father. My role as a father is to be a provider and educator, someone to turn to for advice and protection. I work hard to provide my family with everything they need (84 hours this week!). I teach them and offer all the advice I can. And I will defend them to my last dying breath. If we translate that to metal, as a fan and writer, I support the bands by buying as many records as I'm able (not nearly as many as I'd like), buying merch and always paying for shows. I try and educate the fans and offer my advice on what to spend their hard-earned money on through my writing. My actual contributions in that respect may be small but that's why I do it. Metal has given so much to me, enriched my life, been there for me to lean on, and so on that writing is really the least I could do. I can only hope that through my writing, the bands that I enjoy can somehow benefit from my time and effort. Hopefully monetarily, because we all have to make a buck. But even just through encouragement and advice, or just by making their day.We could all use a little pick me up now and again, especially if you've been living in a van for three weeks, surviving on free beer and $2 burritos and "showering" with baby wipes.

So it's because of all that makes metal what it is, the energy, the emotion, the passion, the commitment, the sense of family, that as I would my own family, I will defend metal to my last dying breath. That all might sound a little over-dramatic, and I know there are all kinds of people "more metal" than me, but that's who I am, that's what I do, and that's why I do it.
- Matt Hinch

Hinch is a Father. Husband. Metal freak and blogger. Bass player and singer (sort of). Bearded. Vegetarian since Apr. '10  Contributor at Hellbound.ca

Catch Matt's feisty writing on Hellbound, musical musings on Twitter as well as his own blog Kingdom Of Noise.


July 29, 2012

This Is MY Metal Life: DYLAN ELLIS



DYLAN ELLIS


First and foremost, Dylan Ellis is a superb mentor, an excellent music producer, composer and a musician. Ellis has allowed for Air Guitar to once again pick his brains about the tough music industry, his passions and his bold decision to work with the first rock musician from Qatar. 

You hold various titles in the studio seat as a music producer, engineer, composer and even a musician. Why did you opt for such a career?

Thank you very much for keeping in contact and for supporting the bands and artists that I have worked with. Music has always been a huge part of my life; I started young and just made it a priority. By the age of 8 I had written my first song and by 12 I had made up my mind that all I wanted to do, was be surrounded by music in one way or another.
I had started playing in bands and the recording process was always a big part of that. At the time I had felt very unsatisfied with the people who were recording me, so I started small, doing some recording in my bedroom on a 4track tape recorder, and eventually a Pentium 1 computer. After doing some recordings for myself, some of my friends in other bands started asking for my help, and it just progressed from there. By the time I was 19 we had built the first of three studios. It was very basic, 1 room under my parents house drum kit and computer with a guitar amp and vocal mic. By 21 the second studio was a bit bigger with 2 rooms in a small shopping centre and by 23 the third was a 4 room professional facility. As each of these progressed new opportunities emerged to do things like scoring films, or writing jingles. It really opened up my world of experiences. By the time we sold Inner Flame Studios and moved to Dubai I had worked with over 100 bands and artists from all over the world. Invaluable experience. Music just consumed me, and I am grateful to be a part of it.

Over the years you have built up a brand for yourself in South Africa and now in the United Arab Emirates – working with various artists over the times. What advice do you have for future music producers?

Make a conscious effort to learn something new about your craft every day, and apply it. Learn how to be disciplined and efficient and most importantly stay humble.

As a central figure around artists, you have seen the good, bad and ugly while sitting in the studio seat. What are the common errors that musicians make while recording a musical release?

The biggest error is to a start recording without having a real understanding of the music business or the process of making a good record.

I have always said to bands that their first album is their learning curve. There is a level of inexperience that breeds ego, for the guys that have done it before, they know it is not easy and they come prepared and ready to work, and understand the reality of promoting an album and dealing with reviews that might not be positive.
The younger guys new to music or the recording process will often make the error of thinking that they will sell millions strait of the bat or that they are so good that they don't need to practice with a metronome or show up on time for sessions. Music is such a personal thing to the musicians making it, that they often think that it is better than it actually is -purely because it is their labour of love. The key to making a good release to make sure the songs are great, the performances on that recording are great, the sound and production value is great, and that you have a realistic budget and strategy to promote that album. If you do not have a following that warrants a full length release, don't make one. Make an EP instead. If you don't have money available and a plan to tour or promote the album or EP, don't make one.

  
Who are you working with in the studio at present and what can you tell us about Dylan Ellis’ future projects?

On The South African front, I have just finished mixing the new “Unseen Hero” EP “1986” it is a rocking EP. I think that if these guys keep going at it, they will have a good career ahead. I have also recently completed a mammoth new “HOKUM” Single called “Tin”. Look out for it, it is a beast. And I am in the pre-production phase with “Urban Vitamin” via skype and dropbox. Amazing how close the internet brings us.

On The UAE Front, I am working with Beat Antenna's front man “Neil Harrison” on his first solo release; it is a project I am very excited about. I am also half way through a new  “Behold the Locus” EP called “Amplifier” their first music video for the song “Shepherd” will be released soon. We are also half way through recording “Naser Mestarihi's” new album.

There is certain special relationship with the artists that you work with. Could you elaborate on the relationship with a band called Hokum? As well as the bold decision to work with Naser Mestarihi who is the first person to release a rock album from Qatar.

HOKUM is just a real pleasure to work with. These guys have been making great music together for a very long time, and they are always pushing creative boundaries. We started working together a few years back and as we explore their sound it just keeps taking us to new places. I am very lucky to work with them. They will work on a song for months until they feel it is in a place where they are happy with it and then they bring it to me and together we will explore the many possibilities. I recorded a lot of songs with them before I left South Africa, and now as we look at new songs Jason Jackson, (Hokum Drummer) will record them and send the raw files to me and we will discuss them and try out different ideas and send them back and forth. Every member is involved with every piece of the puzzle until we are all happy. If you like progressive rock or metal, go find these guys.

Naser Mestarihi is a guitar slinging rocker with influences like Van Halen, The Cult, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull etc. A lot of that music I enjoy personally, so it would only be natural that we would make a good fit. He called me up last year when he was looking through some producers for his full length album and we met up a few times and after lots of talks we decided to start working together. Its been a long process so far, we've been working hard on making sure that all the performances are just right. He has some great riffs, I think classic rock fans are going to enjoy this one.

Besides working with musicians, you have done a bit for films and documentaries. Could you tell us more?

That side of things started with Jingles and composing music for Radio and TV adverts. In the early days my brother needed a Jingle for a radio spot for his business and he asked me if I could do anything like that, so I thought it was worth a try and after doing that one, I started using it to look for other songwriting opportunities and they just kept coming. then I started doing composition for some advertising agencies and through them, I wrote some music for the Nashua Cape Cobras cricket team, Simba Chips, Jagermeister and Pepsi.

After a while I started looking for longer duration projects that would challenge me like film scoring. I started working with a film producer who was also a lecturer at a university in Pretoria , and he started recommending me to some of his talented students at the time like Andrew MacDonald and Jarred Sassman, and through them I did some cool short films in multiple genres. Some of them won some cool awards in various film festivals.

Most recently I have been writing music for an Iranian TV station based here in Dubai, writing the theme music for all their new TV shows. It has been great.

A busy body of note, how do you relax and what are some of your hobbies?

Unfortunately this is a sore topic at the moment. I have had very few weekends or days off this year, At the end of these projects I am going to take a few months off and just enjoy some time with my wonderful wife. My hobbies would normally include reading and painting.

As a music producer what is your take on this quote from Rick Rubin, “I don't know what makes someone hip. The goal is artist achievement and the best work we can do with no limitation.”

I think Rick Rubin has seen the great side of some classic albums. There is a reason the greats are great and that comes down to dedication to achieve excellence with the work they do. As he says “the best work we can do with no limitation” It is a great quote.

Do you have anything to add?

Just a quote that my family use. “If it is to be, it is up to me.”

Contact Dylan Ellis: [Here] and [Here] for more information!




July 26, 2012

Review: CALIBER X




Caliber X – Suburbia

German based band Caliber X is still summoning the mark of the beast with their latest release entitled Suburbia. The album spins eleven tracks of ruthless riffs, plummeting drum kicks and the signature low baritone vocals of Torsten Schramm. Released by Brett Hart Records early 2012 – Caliber X’s Suburbia is admirably produced and there is an unfailing smoky atmosphere swirling around the tracks.

The album opens with a gruelling guitar breakdown of which create a wicked rhythm. The boisterous melodies of the second track, “Suiciety” entwine to create damn good thrash riffs and the low baritone vocals give it a sprawling edge. Title track, “Suburbia”, tickles the old school blues groove but screams with powerful injustices of society. The singing on track six, “Moment to Wake-up” has a healthy dollop of verve and the bass reigns prominent – making it an astounding favourite. However, further down the track list “Epic Part One” and “Epic Part Two” are the hero tracks of Suburbia. Both tracks have high spots, meandering rhythms and a foggy distorted under-tone.


Suburbia is feisty with its machine-gun pace and the razor baritone vocals of lead singer Schramm add a fourth dimension to the music. Bass player Ole Gutmann and guitarist Bene Adenuaer strike the correct strings for the ferocious rhythm while the pots and pans player Fabian Renz give it a deadly kick!

Want a copy to listen to? Click [HERE] and [HERE] and thank me later!

They are out to get ya!




July 23, 2012

This is MY Metal Life: CRAIG HAYES




CRAIG HAYES

Craig Hayes offers an excellent primer to the good and ugly of rock journalism. His writings are superb, fluid and most importantly honest. None of that watered-down nonsense.


Let me first ask you, how did you get into music journalism?

Well, I've been scribbling things down my entire life, but a couple of years back I was diagnosed with a chronic pain condition which led me to eventually having one of those 'life's too short’ epiphanies, and I committed to writing full time. I was already writing for NZ magazines, and had a part-time music editor role, but like a gazillion other metal writers I really wanted to write for Decibel, Terrorizer and kin. I thought long and hard about if or how that could happen, realised the chances were minuscule, and just decided to plough on writing about metal regardless.

I decided to start a blog (sixnoises.com), and then contacted Hellbound about the possibility of contributing. Hellbound welcomed me aboard, that in turn gave me the confidence to approach Popmatters when I saw they were looking for writers. After writing a small piece on NZ metal for Heavymetal.about.com I began to contribute reviews there too.

Earlier his year I began writing a column for Popmatters (Ragnarök) and my workload increased drastically. I had to drop my magazine work here in NZ, which was tough decision, but I feel really lucky about how things have been developing.

Why did you get into music journalism?

I'll be honest here. I write about music because for the last decade it's been an essential outlet in maintaining my equilibrium in life. For many years I tussled with addiction and mental health issues, and it all ended up getting a bit Trainspotting/Leaving Las Vegas. Music played a huge role in piecing my life back together and I couldn't overstate its importance to me, so in many ways writing about music seems predestined.

Linked to that is my belief in the transformative possibilities inherent in music. Metal's filled with an array of mind-bending/expanding outfits, and whether that artistry is delivered in a bombastic, blackened, brutal or beautiful package, its ability to identify meaning in life is colossal—I'm just writing to reiterate that fact.

I guess there's also an element of obstinacy in my work because I'm dyslexic, and I got very tired of people telling me that I'd never be able to make it as a writer. Ultimately, I'm a hermit who happens to be a music geek, so there's really nothing else I’d rather do.

What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

I think the key attributes to remaining sane as a writer would be to do everything I don't. Get organised, eat healthy, exercise, and don't spend hours watching Iron Maiden footage and shark documentaries on YouTube when you have work due.

You are based in New Zealand (Wellington), what can you tell us about the metal scene over there that we don’t already know about?

We have a fairly extensive scene down here with a raft of fantastic bands (and some dire ones too). We're geographically isolated, but that hasn't hindered the resolve of NZ metal musicians. I think most NZ metal bands are realistic about the vagaries of the music industry and just get on doing what they do best. A DIY spirit underscores a lot of NZ metal, fans are really supportive of local acts, and I think it has its own flavour. I'd say NZ metal is grounded yet tenacious—which I think also defines the NZ music scene as a whole.

The scene is really thriving. You have bands like Ulcerate, Diocletian, Witchrist and Beastwars doing well internationally, and aside from those guys, if you want a taster, then check out: Razorwyre, Arc of Ascent, Old Loaves, Meth Drinker, Stone Angels, Vassafor, Creeping, Winter Deluge, Exordium Mors, Cobra Khan, Keretta, House of Capricorn and The Mark of Man.

At the moment you are a scribe for Popmatters.com, Hellbound.ca, HeavyMetalAbout.com, your own website Sixnoises as well as a freelance writer, what is the most brow-raising band/album that you have come across?

I'm pretty promiscuous when it comes to music, especially the experimental, eccentric and ear-splitting stuff, so I think my tolerance for weirdness is fairly skewed—I don't know if I could pin it down to a single album. Certainly, as a teenager, hearing Hellhammer, Bathory, Slayer and ilk for the first time made me raise a brow, and encountering Disembowelment really shook my expectations of how 'heavy' metal could be.

But in the contemporary realm Oranssi Pazuzu definitely fulfil my brow-raising requirements, as do Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord. Justin Broadrick and Aaron Turner's various side projects are always fascinating too. I think my go-to idiosyncratic metal bands would include Locrain, Bosse-De-Nage, Sutekh Hexen, Sunn O))), Circle of Ouroborus and Botantist—those guys all offer genuinely unconventional metal—as well as any band that resides in that noise/ambient/metal nexus.

Is it true that you briefly endeavoured to be a Rockstar?

That is entirely true. My attempt at rock 'n' roll glory lasted for around 30 minutes sometime in 1992. I can confidently report it was a staggeringly awful experience for all concerned, apart from one guy who'd spent the night huffing solvents to the point of psychosis—he seemed to enjoy himself.

Now that “Rockstardom” is over – how do you spend your free time?

Like I said, I really am a bit of a hermit. I just hang out with my family and friends. I have a seven-and-a-half-year-old son, so we do all the usual dad/son stuff like kicking a ball round, going on adventures, loading up on candy, and arguing about why he can't play with my Star Wars Lego. My partner is really into bikes so we go on bicycling jaunts about the place, and we live about one minute from the beach and an outstanding rugged coastline so we make the most of that. We don't watch television, so movie/DVD nights are a big thing in our house, and personally I'm happiest just trawling second-hand record and bookstores, and catching a gig every now and then.

Having worked in print media as an editor – what is your take on music webzines versus printed music magazines?

I'm a complete anarchist when it comes to any artistic endeavour, so I love the unbridled passion of webzines. I think everyone's opinion on music has validity, and I love the wild variances of quality and content you get with webzines. I do think people need to have realistic expectations about what they're doing with a webzine. I'm not privileging studied criticism over passion, but there's a difference between the two, and having an editorial buffer between writers and readers would really help on some webzines—but then, many others do just fine without it.

There's no doubt the rise of webzines has contributed to many print magazines folding, and that's a tragedy because along with that go hopes and livelihoods. Adaptation and survival is a cruel process, and I know from experience how tentative some magazines’ existences are. I hope the print industry finds some steady footing, because I love the tactile world of magazines, and that can never be replaced by online content or reading off electronic devices. I'd really hate to see the day when I couldn't flip open a copy of Decibel or the Wire. Magazines continue to be a huge part of my life.

If it wasn't for webzines I would never have discovered the bulk of the writers I love to read, and we wouldn't be having this conversation, because I wouldn't have read your work, and you wouldn’t have read mine. I don't think I have a concise answer for that issue really, aside from the fact that I really enjoy both, and I think they occupy very different and important roles.

At Victoria University (New Zealand), one of your majors had been philosophy. What are your philosophies of heavy metal?

That is a big question, and metal and philosophy make for great bedfellows, because both offer conflicting theories about the answers to life.

Metal is so incredibly broad that it's an endlessly fascinating philosophical mind-fuck (I'm pretty sure that's the correct academic term for it). You can look at metal through the eye of any number of critical theorists, and you can try and gauge its accent using countless theories, and you'll find entirely different and often contradictory answers about what metal 'is' every time. You can think you've got it pinned down one day, then take another peek—questioning its aesthetics, moral relativism or culture—and find all your answers negated again.

I appreciate metal for its purely visceral aspects, but I’m also fascinated about the philosophical basis of an artist’s works. Obviously, metal is more than anger, bile, devilry and buckets of gore, even if those happen to be some of its best aspects, but I guess the closest I could get to my own philosophy of metal could be crudely captured using two sets of metal lyrics.

The first is the initial question that metal has always sought to answer in its broadest terms: "What is this that stands before me?" The second defines metal's temperament: "Fuck you, I won't do what you tell me."
I think metal seeks to answer big question, while carrying an even bigger chip on its shoulder—and that's why I love it.

Do you have any albums picked out for the ‘must-have’ of 2012?

I always hum and haw about 'must-haves' and 'best-of' lists because it's all so dependent on time and place. However, going by my headspace today, I would heartily recommend:

· Panopticon—Kentucky
· Pallbearer—Pallbearer
· Samothrace— Reverence to Stone
· Horseback—Half Blood
· Dawnbringer—Into the Lair of the Sun God
· Sutekh Hexen—Larvae
· Arc of Ascent—The Higher Key
· Tragedy—Darker Days Ahead
· Locrian & Mamiffer—Bless Them that Curse You
· Connan—Monnos
· Mares of Thrace—The Pilgrimage
· Witch Mountain—Cauldron of the Wild
· Vatnett Viskar—EP
· Bosse-De-Nage—III
· Astra—The Black Chord
· Ancestors—In Dreams and Time
· Ufomammut— Oro: Opus Primum.

I could go on and on… the new Rush, Ahab, Father Befouled, and Wrathprayer albums are great. Titan's Burn is HUGE, and those Adversarial/Antediluvian and Alaric/Atriarch splits were amazing.
I think if you buy all those, and every other 2012 release from Profound Lore, Gilead Media, Dark Descent, Handmade Birds, Southern Lord and Nuclear War Now! you'll be making a good dent into 2012's must-haves. Oh, and Christian Mistress and Royal Thunder too. And… sorry.

You are a Krautrock fan – is that a reflection of your eclectic music taste?

I think so. I like a really broad range of music, and I'm open to exploring most musical avenues—aside from vacuous, mass-marketed soulless pulp. I really enjoy the contextual aspect of music; seeing how it's developed and mutated into various strains. Krautrock was huge discovery for me, and it opened up a whole new world of fringe-dwelling artists; I love that proto-electronica, experimental, and progressive and psychedelic rock world.

Krautrock is the perfect conduit into that realm, and if you're shy and a bit awkward like I am, then that insular and nerdy niche-within-a-niche vibe is the perfect place to hide away. I just love that feeling of stumbling upon under-appreciated or forgotten treasures. It's the same with metal: the more underground and obscure the better. I guess I'm looking for music that's a geeky as I feel.

Most writers eventually move into novels and biographies, do you have any plans to go in this direction?

I sure do. I have two books in various stages that I've put aside, and one other idea that I'm going pitch to a publisher here in NZ, just as soon as I can pluck up the courage.

What advice would you give to up-and-coming music journalists and are there any misconceptions of writers that you would like to dispel?

The most important lesson I have learnt in all my time writing is that it's vital you remember you're writing for an audience. Folks are busy, and time and attention spans are fleeting, so the key is to find that balance between satisfying your own creative instinct and providing an accessible piece for the reader. If you can say something in 250 words rather than 500, do it. You want to keep your readers engaged, keep it sharp and punchy—which is probably something I should have kept in mind for this interview.

You should never write solely for money or egocentric reasons, because there's little money in the writing game anyway, and conceitedness is an insult to your readers’ intelligence. Write because you want to find that perfect way to express how music makes you feel in the marrow of your bones.

I’ve written umpteen thousands of words, and I'm still not sure if I've found my voice or if my work has any personality. Writing is a continually evolving process, and ultimately the key is just to keep grafting and grafting, and to never give up. If people tell you you're wasting your time because one piece of work happens to be less than perfect, keep in mind they are completely and utterly wrong. The sharing of different perspectives and voices is what writing, and life, is all about.

Alternatively, feel free to ignore my advice and do whatever you want—it's probably best not to take advice from someone who failed all his English exams at high school anyway.
As far as misconceptions about music journalists go, they're probably all warranted in some sense. We're a wildly diverse bunch, which is perfect, because music causes wildly diverse reactions. I hope we all have a touch of the tortured artist lurking within, as that’s what turns the dull and descriptive into something altogether more lyrical.
At the end of the day, I think the most crucial piece of advice I would pass on to writers is that you if you work from home, try your utmost to get dressed before lunchtime. Because if you don't, you'll inevitably find yourself at the corner store buying cigarettes in your pyjamas at 3pm—and trust me, there's really no way you can escape that scene with your dignity intact.

Are there any last words that you would like to add?

Thank you so much for asking me to have a chat, Lav. It's such an honour to appear on your blog, and congratulations on all the success you're having with your writing. I want to send out my everlasting thanks to Hellbound, Heavymetal.about.com and Popmatters for allowing me to pollute their pages, and cheers to the writers and readers who’ve sent an encouraging word my way. I really can't underscore enough how much that means to me. 
My family and friends have been ceaselessly encouraging, enormously helpful and have put up with all my idiosyncrasies while I type away. So I’d like to send out a mighty hail to them all. And an extra special mention has to go to my partner El, who has been unwavering in her support (although, she has made some extremely disparaging remarks about Bruce Dickinson's stage attire).

Craig Hayes (Haze) can be found scribbling at:  www.popmatters.com/  www.hellbound.ca/  heavymetal.about.com/  sixnoises.com/  and on Twitter


July 11, 2012

Review: Mouthful Of Flies




MOUTHFUL OF FLIES - TEN: NEGATIVE: SIXES


Nothing beats receiving a physical album in your mailbox for review and otherwise. It’s the same elation that a kid experiences when the television controller is first discovered or that candy comes in better tastes and colours. Yip, it is that awesome!

A neatly packaged album [accompanied with a 12 page lithographic artwork booklet] arrived a month ago entitled Ten: Negative: Sixes by a British band called Mouthful of Flies. The album drips with death punching riffs, dark acoustics and monstrous vocals. That’s right, ten grinding tracks to windmill through!
As far as the history of the album is concerned, the United Kingdom based band released Ten: Negative: Sixes in 2007 (Yes, it has been a while). Mouthful of Flies garnered some positive attention through live shows and radio play – most notably Bruce Dickenson’s 6 Music Rock Show. The album still remains to be the crowning jewel of Mouthful of Flies repertoire but it is much more than that – it is demonically impressive!    

The album opens on an enigmatic and speed-fuelled track titled “Deadened Soul”. The guitars and drums are slightly reminiscent of Disturbed – it’s tight, neat and has that machine-gun prowess. The vocals are almost clean singing but remain brusque and the lyrics are righteously powerful.  The track list progresses flawlessly into another fist-pumping title, “March of The Clones” with pleasing riffs and thunderous drums. Again, the mosh-pit tendencies of the album are just amazing. Further down the album, the short track “Breeder” ropes me in with the invigorating rhythmic guitars. The breakdown is incredible and the iron-fist impelling nature of Mouthful of Flies makes this a stand-out, must hear track. 


There is no doubt that the band members are skilled and highly proficient musicians and that immediately shows throughout the album. Furthermore, Ten: Negative: Sixes is studio quality and was produced, engineered and mixed by Mouthful of Flies band members, Dean Smith and Daniel Stevenson. As far as I am concerned, there is only one track that loses edge, “Black Magick”, because the vocals remain veiled in the background of the prominent drums and guitars. The raw energy created by the instruments and aptitude of Mouthful of Flies makes the release Ten: Negative: Sixes well worth the listen! I dutifully recommend it to any traditional heavy metal fan!


Thank you to Dean Smith for sending the album! For more information about Mouthful of Flies: CLICK