Archive for alternative metal music

Greg Hampton Of The New Czars – A Metal Odyssey Interview And Overview!

Posted in Guitar, guitarists, Hard Rock, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, progressive rock, rock and roll, rock music, rock music interviews, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

GREG HAMPTON – What makes “the complete package” when it comes to being a musician? Everyone and their second cousin’s extended family would have a different answer for that. My answer is to look at Greg Hampton, the founder, lead vocalist, songwriter and guitarist for The New Czars. Trust me, I’ve probably left out many more Rockin’ hats that Greg wears in directing The New Czars to their Hard Rock heights… he is all about “hands on” with an old school work ethic, approach and mindset.

To incorporate relevance into a modern Hard Rock sound, while weaving a bit of experimentation into his music, Greg Hampton has seemed to tap into a realm of Heavy Music that has for too long been “the best kept secret” in the Rock Music world. Where the likes of King Crimson, RUSHNine Inch Nails and Tool (to name a few) have led the way and reaped the rewards for exemplary dives into Progressive, Industrial, Alternative and Experimental Heaviness, there are those “other” musicians and bands that have followed with the same attention to detail towards the Avant-garde. Greg Hampton and his band, The New Czars, are carrying that exploratory tradition onward, to shatter the normalcy that seems to blanket the Rock Music that has invaded our mainstream and subconscious.

The New Czars debut album, Doomsday Revolution, (Samson Records), was released on September 14, 2010… to an enthusiastic response amongst critics from the mainstream to the underground. I certainly applauded the diverse approach to what Greg Hampton set out to accomplish on Doomsday Revolution, the combination of music influences from Industrial to Funk are evident and transforms into what I would convey as… Hard Rock Cool and Hard Rock new… 2010 style.

Doomsday Revolution is sold just about anywhere… from itunes to Amazon. After The New Czars introduced the world to Doomsday Revolution, Greg Hampton wasn’t about to sit idle… it’s just not his style or character. I even question if Greg could spell the word idle… he’s that loyal and enthusiastic about the music he loves. Greg was soon busy on compiling and writing songs for the forthcoming EP from The New Czars, titled: Mining The Ruins. This EP is scheduled for a November 30, 2010 release.

On September 22, 2010, I received a very special surprise in my email inbox… an mp3 sent by Greg Hampton, it was his cover song of the ultra classic – Hey Joe. Now, you can either “cover” a song or you can cover a song while adding that “extra special” Rock ‘N’ Roll dust to it. Greg Hampton obviously had a jar full of special Rock ‘N’ Roll dust, just waiting for his cover of Hey Joe. I can remember vividly, the first time I listened to this mp3, on my computer that night. Honestly, I was stunned. Greg’s vocals were unreal… no, his guitar licks were unreal… no, it was both.

Greg was never trying to sound like or remotely copy the late and legendary Jimi Hendrix… Greg was only paying tribute to a Rock Star who started it all for the Hard Rock and arguably, the Heavy Metal movement, as we all know and love it today. As Greg expressed to me, “I have been a lifelong fan of Jimi Hendrix. With the fortieth anniversary of Jimi Hendrix’s passing approaching, I’ve been listening to a lot of his music. I wanted to do something to commemorate Jimi Hendrix on this important anniversary, through song. This cover of Hey Joe I’ve been working on for quite some time and I am very proud of it. I hope the fans will appreciate this cover of Hey Joe and like it as much as I do.”

Greg decided to give the “world premiere” of his cover of Hey Joe to Metal Odyssey… and on September 26, 2010, this amazing song was available for the world to hear. Metal Odyssey will forever cherish this moment… I can’t state just how honored I felt to have Greg put his cover of Hey Joe in my hands first. (Metal ostrich bumps moment, whoa). Greg played all instruments on Hey Joe, with the exception of drums. Chris Collier, (The New Czars alumni and multi-instrumentalist), was the drummer.

For those of you who may have missed out on hearing this ultra-terrific cover of Hey Joe, please feel free to click on the very large header below. I have a suspicion you might dig it:

World EXCLUSIVE Premiere – The Jimi Hendrix Experience “HEY JOE” Is Covered By THE NEW CZARS! LISTEN HERE FIRST!

Another exciting and historic Rock Music project that Greg Hampton has been working on, is his upcoming Tommy Bolin “Tribute” album he’s co-producing with Warren Haynes, along with associate producer/mixer Fabrizio Grossi. Once again, it is the genuine excitement and infectious urgency, in the voice of Greg, that let’s me know just how much he loves Rock ‘N’ Roll… and his allegiance to the late and great Tommy Bolin. If you’re to measure a man’s character, based on the number of his friends, well, the list below tells all about Greg Hampton.

Here is a rundown, of the beyond fabulous Rock musicians that have already completed sessions or are committed to this Tommy Bolin “Tribute” album: Steve Lukather, Warren Haynes, Brad Whitford, Nels Cline, Glenn Hughes, Oz Noy, John Scofield, Prairie Prince, Slash, Billy Gibbons, Ben Harper, Tom Morello, Derek Trucks, Steve Morse, John Scofield and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez. I do apologize, if I missed any names here… this is as up to the minute as I have available.

By now, you should agree that Greg Hampton is a veteran of the Rock Music industry. Working alongside the likes of Alice Cooper, he wrote songs and played lead guitar for 2008’s Along Came A Spider. To say that Greg Hampton holds the deepest respect and admiration for the legendary Alice Cooper is factual. Just the tone in Greg’s voice alone, when he speaks of Alice Cooper, tells the whole story. Greg speaks of not just writing songs for Alice Cooper. As I’ve interpreted it, from our conversations, he speaks of creating works of art for him. One listen to Along Came A Spider and you probably will agree. I know I sure do.

In October of 2009, Lita Ford returned, only this time there was some wickedness involved… Lita’s Wicked Wonderland album that is. Lita Ford had not released a studio album since 1995’s Black, regardless if you loved or hated Wicked Wonderland, the real Queen of American Hard Rock and Heavy Metal was back. Greg Hampton co-produced, mixed and played a variety of instruments for Wicked Wonderland.

As Greg has reflected on his working on the Wicked Wonderland album, he has done so with the upmost pride in it’s music that he helped create. Certainly, there have been some critics that have put down this album since it’s release, thus pushing Greg Hampton’s buttons. It is understandable, this album Greg Hampton worked tirelessly on, any album that has his signature on it he rightfully should defend. I’ve told Greg, it’s all a matter of personal interpretation, that music is art and open to critiques. I just hope Greg can forgive me, for my not liking Wicked Wonderland.

In 2007, Greg Hampton put together an “All-Star” band if you will, of musicians who seem to carry the same open mindedness to music exploration as he. Enter… Science Faxtion. Greg Hampton provides guitar and vocals, with Buckethead, Brian “Brain” Mantia, Tobe “Tobotius” Donohue and of course, Bootsy Collins. In October of 2008, they released Living On Another Frequency.

Of course, there are many other projects (both past and present) that Greg Hampton has been involved with as both a musician and producer. I’ve attempted to cover some of Greg’s works above, to give you a better insight and understanding of this tremendously skilled musician. In the past couple of months, I am very appreciative to have spoken with Greg Hampton, on many occasions. Greg’s candor and friendly approach to conversation does not get taken for granted by me… I’ve really enjoyed and appreciated speaking to him. Here is what Greg had to say, with some questions I asked of him:

Stone: Doomsday Revolution, your debut album with The New Czars, describe how excited and proud you are of this album… as you rightfully should be.

Greg: Very pleased! I went in with no set of rules. Be it good, bad or indifferent, people can perceive this album the way they want. I’m happy with it. I do hope people dig it still! Going in there were no pre-conceptions or guidelines. I’ve already had a little criticism about this album having uninspired lyrics.

Stone: What? Uninspired lyrics? Are you kidding me?

Greg: You know what, I have to please me first. At the end of the day, I’ve learned not to get too caught up in the reviews. I used to want to search out the guy and kick his ass but I’ve matured and I’m not like that anymore.

Stone: Is there a significant meaning in your band being named The New Czars?

Greg: No, not really. I was stuck in traffic, on Sunset Boulevard, on a Friday night and this band name just popped into my head! This album is a changing of the guard, musically, I guess. It has Metal and Progressive elements… and we’re all pretty good players doing it!

Stone: The more I listen to your vocals, which I admire, the more I hear some Ian Gillan influence. Am I off track, right on or kind of close in my opinion?

Greg: I’m more influenced by Glenn Hughes. Glenn is a great friend of mine. He came in to sing on a Tommy Bolin tribute album we’re doing. I’ve known Glenn for years. I had Trapeze albums when I was like, twelve or fifteen years old! One of my most favorite Glenn Hughes album is “Soul Mover”, Dave Navarro and Chad Smith played on it. It’s too bad more people don’t know about this record, it’s probably over their heads or something.

Stone: What is your idea or prediction of a Doomsday Revolution?

Greg: Well, I mean, the irony is my birthday is on December twenty first, it lands on the end of the world. As I blow out the candles, we’ll wait and see if we all implode! (laughs)

Stone: (laughs)

Greg: There’s a lot of conceptual things coming out. I’ve been researching and reading about more things, all of the elements I take in have opened my mind. “Doomsday Revolution” is no conceptual album though.

Stone: What motivated you to write “Why Do U Have 2 Lie”?

Greg: My good friend Billy Bob Thornton, he made a movie called “Daddy and Them”. It was an autobiographical situation about his life, a story that Billy told me about, it was about recollections of Billy’s life. That’s all I have to say about it really, I can’t elaborate any further.

Stone: “Brush With The Devil” takes me on an old school ride which I don’t mind taking. Was there an old school intent here, on your part?

Greg: I don’t know, in the early ’80’s, it was Pop stuff for me. My influence lies in the ’70’s, with the Beatles, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Aerosmith. This song has an interesting meter and chord progression, I had to deliberate as how to sing it, with the melody over it and the chorus over it. It was a challenge.

Stone: “Time Stops” has many cool elements going on and is my favorite song on Doomsday Revolution. Which song is your personal favorite?

Greg: I like so many of them, “Crotch Critters”, “Don’t Watch Me”, “Time Stops” and “Why Do U Have 2 Lie”. The bridge on this song I could never get a handle on. I had the basic chords down. Paul came in and seemed to gel it all together. The initial verse came together on the piano, then I worked with the electric sitar for the basic elemental music. It’s hard to know! I wrote 25 songs, recorded nine or ten instrumentals, with another two or three vocal songs and two instrumentals on the digital bundle. Plus there are remixes on the digital bundle too. There are so many songs I like.

Stone: It’s understandable, Greg.

Greg: I can’t approach my music like when I write for Alice Cooper or Lita Ford, it just doesn’t make sense. They are different types of music. The instrumental things I really enjoy, it brings me thinking about Rush, I’m a big fan of Rush. I love the counter melodies Rush played. You know, I listen to the songs and re-learn my vocal bits. It’s a challenge singing on some of these songs! It’s the heat of the moment on recording them. I really do like neurodelica, it’s a crimsonesque (King Crimson like) instrumental. It’s not even on the record, it’s on the digital bundle.

Stone: Between Paul (Ill), David (Moreno) and yourself, there is a cornucopia of music styles you all are very well versed at playing. Can “Doomsday Revolution” be considered the consensus favorite style of music you guys really want to play?

Greg: There are so many different and eclectic musical variables in this new album. There are influences from Nine Inch Nails, the Beatles, some Jeff Beck fusion, Rush, King Crimson, Reggae and Funk. The song “Doomsday Revolution” has a funky Rock thing going on. I’m into too many types of music to be narrowing it down to what I play. When I’m driving the car, it could be Jimi Hendrix and Rammstein that I’m listening to! “Time Stops” has a Steely Dan-ish vibe happening with the verses and sitar parts. After “Time Stops” the songs get a little heavier though.

Stone: Having been influenced by King Crimson, describe how you felt having Adrian Belew contribute to “Doomsday Revolution”?

Greg: I always wanted to work with Adrian. Yet, I’m a huge fan of Rush too! I always liked Adrian’s solo stuff, I dug it all my life. I’ve always had a Beatles influence too. It’s more of a broad based influence with Adrian, he is a multi-instrumentalist like me. Adrian and King Crimson have held a depth of broad based musicianship over the years and that’s incredible. Adrian made me feel good that he compared our stuff to Nine Inch Nails and heavier King Crimson. Adrian is a great human being and an amazing singer too.

Stone: Being a multi-music talent, what is your favorite instrument to play and why?

Greg: Probably guitar. Right now, there are four sitting around me. It’s an immediate thing, I turn on my little amp on my desk and start writing and jamming.

Metal Odyssey Note: (Greg now picks up one of his guitars and breaks out into the opening riff from Alice Cooper’s – “Vengeance Is Mine”… and it kicks ass too).

Greg: “Vengeance Is Mine”… I wrote this song for Alice Cooper’s Along “Came A Spider” album. I never played that riff in my life, then one morning, with no coffee and barely awake, that riff just popped in my head as I was halfway down the stairs. This riff was of the instant gratification variety, I had three cups of coffee and finished the whole thing! All the main music was written and done before I recorded with Alice Cooper for “Along Came A Spider”. Most of the guitar parts I never changed a note. That album is all basically from the original first take. Don’t screw with it if it’s already good, why reinvent it?

Stone: That makes sense to me.

Greg: When Alice asked me what I had for “Along Came A Spider”, I had “Vengeance Is Mine” first. Eric Singer came over to my house and I played it for him, he said, “that’s the song man”! Eric played the drum fills, we did two takes on drums and then Eric walked out the door to tour Australia with KISS. Things went so well with it because I’ve known Eric since ’88, so I can communicate with him. I spent fifteen or sixteen hours of tracking this entire song, (“Vengeance Is Mine”), Alice’s vocals, mixing and everything else.

Stone: Wow, Greg. Most people would never know just how much time is spent in making a song, let alone an entire album.

Greg: I know.

Stone: What was it like to record with Alice Cooper on “Along Came A Spider”?

Greg: I’ve been a huge fan of his since I was a kid. Alice is the greatest guy and his stories are great! After so many years and probably thirty albums or so, there are so many stories. It was a gratifying and defining sort of experience for me. I wanted to deliver and I did. Rick Derringer and Pat Travers were big influences on me, so working with these guys over the years along with Alice… it’s check it off my bucket list so to speak! Alice would produce me! Danny Saber, Alice and I wrote all the songs for “Along Came A Spider”. Alice is a true professional and a legend. His memory retention of what he just sang is astounding! He’s a brilliant guy and a wonderful human being.

Stone: Does Alice Cooper belong in The Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame?

Greg: That’s a criminal thing, really. There wouldn’t be a lot of these people in the industry without Alice Cooper. It’s just stupid and ridiculous that he’s not in there. Obviously, somebody in that committee over there has it out for him. It’s embarrassing to all of us in this business and it’s pathetic. You would think that someone on that committee would have the balls to do the right thing. It’s such a political mess going on with that place.

* For more info on The New Czars, just click on the link below:

THE NEW CZARS – myspace music

The New Czars

From left to right: Paul Ill (bass), Greg Hampton (guitar), David “Chilli” Moreno (drums)

LONG LIVE GREG HAMPTON & THE NEW CZARS.

Thank You, Greg.

Stone.

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WHITE ZOMBIE “Make Them Die Slowly” – Reflecting On A 1989 CD I Can’t Part With

Posted in alternative metal music, Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, rock and roll, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 3, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

WHITE ZOMBIE – Released back in good ‘ol 1989, Make Them Die Slowly was the second full-length album from White Zombie, (the first full-length being Soul Crusher, released in 1987). The late ’80’s was an ultra-terrific time for Heavy Metal, only the “wave of glory” of commercial acceptance and attention was starting to drift swiftly towards the Grunge movement, by 1990. White Zombie came upon the scene in ’87 with their brand of Noise Rock, eventually indulging into various music styles, while still keeping the heaviness intact. Industrial, Groove, Funk and Heavy Metal were Metal styles that White Zombie incorporated together all so well. Many articles and Rock historians also refer White Zombie to the Post-Thrash genre as well.

I can openly admit, that this Make Them Die Slowly CD has been in my possession since it’s 1989 release and I cannot part with it. The first reason for this is I really, really, dig this White Zombie album and band. Even in it’s unpolished grandeur, this is White Zombie breaking down some serious status quo. This band was where it all began for Rob Zombie! The second reason is, it is out of print. My original 1989 CD version of Make Them Die Slowly is selling for $169.88 (U.S. funds) as a “used” copy on Amazon.com… and there is currently only “one” for sale there! Whoa, baby, whoa.

There is a 1993 reissue version of Make Them Die Slowly for sale on Amazon.com, selling for $99.99 as “new” and $16.99 as “used”, all in U.S. funds. That is a dramatic drop in the selling price, when comparing the “used” version from 1989 to that of the 1993 reissue. In all Metal honesty, I was not aware of the “actual” value of my CD discussed here, not until today. I always knew it was an original pressing from 1989 and the value would be a bit high… only this is far out amazing to me! In hindsight, I wish I had purchased a dozen copies or more of Make Them Die Slowly back in ’89!

My cousin Randy is to blame for my buying this White Zombie CD back in ’89. He used to manage a combination collectibles and record store that was very, very cool. I would go there just about every day for a number of years, from the mid ’80’s right up to the mid ’90’s. I would cash my paycheck at this store… leaving with enough money to buy beer and gas. The rest of my hard earned loot would go into buying CD’s, tapes, vinyl, sports cards and comics. Those were the days… I know. I no longer buy sports cards or comics, just in case you were wondering.

Randy would always have his finger on “the pulse” of Rock ‘N’ Roll and Heavy Metal. If there was a new and cool band to check out… Randy knew about ’em. There was that one visit to his store, where he had Make Them Die Slowly on display… and Randy wasn’t talking me out of buying it. Thanks Randy! Man, this cool cousin of mine had landed me some fine picture discs of Metallica, Iron Maiden and Motorhead too. Many bands he steered into the direction of my ears… Fight is one that stands out, back in ’93. When Rob Halford left Judas Priest, whoa… that was a big deal back then. Randy is still alive and doing just fine… just in case you are wondering.

When I first listened to Make Them Die Slowly, I realized rather quickly that White Zombie was not the stereotypical ’80’s Arena Rock or Heavy Metal Band. Rather, White Zombie was a band totally different from what I was used to hearing… this band wasn’t Thrash, Traditional Metal, NWOBHM or straight up Hard Rock. This White Zombie band caught me off guard and I initially liked what I was listening to. Sure, this band was “different”, only they were not lean on the heavy side of the Metal aisle and the vocals of Rob Zombie sounded too fiendishly bizarre for me to pass over.

Back in ’89, I felt like I stumbled on some “underground” band that not many people knew about. I never gave it a second thought, as to White Zombie becoming anything special anyhow. Listening to what I liked was the main priority then, as it is now. This White Zombie album was never going to be exalted as a masterpiece, no way. The production across the board is raw and steely on Make Them Die Slowly, arguably an album of demos… not anywhere near the overall sound and production that their 1992 studio album La Sexorcisto: Devil Music, Vol. 1 would radiate. (That album is a multi-million unit seller and still makes my prehistoric stereo speakers smoke).

In the midst of all the styles of Heavy Music that White Zombie seemed to tap into, there is always that “sliver” of Punk that I seem to catch onto with their music. Acid Flesh may have it’s non-stop groove and sparse funkiness about it, still it walks a fine line with the Punk flirtation. The same can be said for Power Hungry, only the guitar licks are crunchy enough to make any Punk comparison an extremely mild one. “Demonspeed” carries such a raw atmosphere of sound, it isn’t far fetched to think it’s a live recording during the first half minute it plays. If there is one constant to be heard on this album, it’s that this White Zombie band played with a fiery enthusiasm that my ears cannot dismiss away. “Demonspeed” is one Heavy mutha’ of a song and is my favorite on this album.

Revenge is fueled with enough kick ass, thunder-stomp Metal that it is dizzying. The repeated riff that gives Revenge it’s Metal bite, is extremely close to that of Tony Iommi’s signature riff from Zero The Hero, heard on the 1983 Black Sabbath album – Born Again. Godslayer plays at 7:14 long and is the “epic” on this album. Rob Zombie’s vocals on Godslayer gives way to the notion that maybe he was a fan of Glenn Danzig. I never picked up on the vocal similarities between Rob Zombie and Glenn Danzig, while listening to Godslayer so many years ago. This is the only song where I feel any vocal similarities between these two Metal heavyweights exists. I’m certain though, that it is all coincidental anyways. Maybe.

The overall Heavy Groove and styles that Make Them Die Slowly breathes was another solid building block towards the Metal that Rob Zombie was to eventually release as a solo superstar. Truthfully, listening to this White Zombie album is like listening to the Rob Zombie blueprint and dancing skeletons to his future. To usher in the ’90’s with a band as heavily diverse as White Zombie, probably means more to me now than it did then. I never cared to figure out really, the “fad” sound of any decade. White Zombie was no fad… this was as legit of a Heavy Band as any genre could grasp.

As I look back on the doorstep to the ’90’s, White Zombie was the band that snuck in through the front door and made themselves very comfortable in the hearts, minds and ears of more than just this Metalhead. This is “one of those” Metal albums that I appreciate more in 2010 than I probably did back in ’89. Maybe my growing appreciation lies in the fact, that White Zombie made me realize that it was cool to diversify the Metal menu, having me look upon them now, over two decades later, as Metal innovators.

WHITE ZOMBIE as they appeared on Make Them Die Slowly:

* Note: In doing my Metal research, I have read that John Ricci did not play guitar on Make Them Die Slowly. However, John Ricci is in the group photo found in the liner notes of this CD, with his name appearing below him. I have come across, through Metal research, that John Ricci left White Zombie the day Make Them Die Slowly was completed… due to having Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. I am going with that he played guitar on this album… unless a credible source “close” to the recording of this album can tell me otherwise.

Rob Zombie – vocals

John Ricci – guitar

Ivan DePrume – drums

Sean Yseult – bass guitar

Track Listing For Make Them Die Slowly:

DEMONSPEED

DISASTER BLASTER

MURDERWORLD

REVENGE

ACID FLESH

POWER HUNGRY

GODSLAYER

* More Metal research about Make Them Die Slowly, revealed the following: that “some” CD’s were released with the printing on the liner notes “spine” being incorrect. The “incorrect” spelling or error is: Let Them Die Slowly appears on the spine. “Let” and not “Make” is the error. My CD version has this error on the liner notes spine… take a look at the pic below to see for yourself:

As you can also see from the above pic, Rob Zombie is one damn cool illustrator!

* Make Them Die Slowly was produced by Bill Laswell

* Make Them Die Slowly was originally released in 1989, on Caroline.

* As stated in the liner notes: All Lyrics – Rob Zombie, All Music – White Zombie and All Illustrations – Rob Zombie.

* The liner notes show “one” Special Thanks, it goes to… Rock & Punk Legend… Iggy Pop.

Here is the White Zombie band photo that is in the liner notes.

From left to right: Ivan DePrume, John Ricci, Sean Yseult and Rob Zombie.

Here is an illustration that is in the liner notes, drawn by Rob Zombie:

The above illustration has the words: “Bite Down Sucker” in top right corner. “Hell” is spelled out on the fist of the monster dude.

LONG LIVE THE ROCK ‘N’ ROLL OF WHITE ZOMBIE!

Stone.

THE NEW CZARS “DOOMSDAY REVOLUTION” – AN INDUSTRIOUS & CREATIVE APPROACH TO ROCK MUSIC DIVERSITY

Posted in Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, hard rock songs, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, heavy metal news, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on September 8, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

THE NEW CZARS – Releasing on September 14, 2010, on Samson Records, is Doomsday Revolution, the debut album from The New Czars, which electrifies with an approach to making diverse and Heavy Music coexist together. To say that Doomsday Revolution is a storm cloud of Modern Rock/Hard Rock can be another way to describe this album. When a new Hard Rock or Heavy Metal band dares to be original, it’s like an anomaly these days. Doomsday Revolution does mix it up well with moments of Hard, Heavy and Industrial Rock. The New Czars take their mixed bag of music experience and do deliver a debut album that steers away from any same old mentality.

The New Czars do dare and succeed to set themselves away from the rest of the pack and that alone deserves a hell raising horns to the air. Regardless if The New Czars are a new band unto the world of Heavy Music, these are seasoned and talented musicians all the same. Greg Hampton, is no stranger to the Rock Music industry. Greg is the lead vocalist, guitarist, songwriter, lyricist and producer for Doomsday Revolution and he comes packing with impressive Rock ‘N’ Roll credentials. With wearing so many “hats” in getting this album to it’s final pressing, I can only marvel at the true spirit of Rock ‘N’ Roll Greg Hampton possesses.

Greg Hampton was a lead guitarist and songwriter for Alice Cooper’s concept album Along Came A Spider, as well as playing bass and keyboards amongst a variety of other things, on this macabre masterpiece from 2008. Greg also co-produced, mixed and played various instruments on Lita Ford’s 2009 comeback album – Wicked Wonderland. Greg, as with his band mates Paul Ill (bass) and David “Chilli” Moreno (drums), sound as if they have been doing this gig together for quite some time… only this is their debut album and three is not a crowd.

Let’s throw in the fact that a Rock Music legend, the likes of Adrian Belew of King Crimson fame, lends contributions to Doomsday Revolution on guitar and the credibility factor and peer respect for The New Czars only becomes more admirably real. It’s the blue collar and do-it-yourself Rock musicians that give rise to and/or expand on a non-trendy sound and vision, in which they want to share with the rest of the Rock community. Greg and his band The New Czars are doing just that with Doomsday Revolution, without any flirtation with the flavor of the month society.

Doomsday Revolution unwraps it’s heavy side with the Industrial edginess from Keep On Goin’. The hardened vocals and guitar licks of Greg Hampton simultaneously keeps this song moving at an addicting tempo. If this opening track is any indication of the music prowess that The New Czars are intending on releasing unto thine ears… then one best get ready. There are so many more muscular riffs, leads and solos to follow from Greg’s guitar throughout this album. No song style on Doomsday Revolution is immune from the imagination of his guitar playing. Confessions takes right over where keep on goin’ left off, with an almost maddeningly loud vibe that rises from this song. I envision a full scale implosion of my decades old stereo speakers, at any moment, while this song is being cranked to high.

The New Czars are not all about full-throttle and face to the pavement heaviness on Doomsday Revolution. Why Do U Have 2 Lie exhibits Greg Hampton vocally toning things down, amidst a mid-tempo Hard Rock swirl of sound. The old adage of “less is more” holds true with the lyrics of Why Do U Have 2 Lie, showing lyrics can be emotional and smart by not saying too much. Time Stops is an unexpected surprise on this album. Another mid-tempo ballad, Greg Hampton proves he can croon with a David Coverdale like accessibility. Melodic and hooky, Time Stops also incorporates a sitar for some Eastern World ambiance. The guitar solo more than helps Time Stops to stray away from feeling like a ballad, which is just another amazing musical element to an already amazing song.

Don’t Watch Me showcases some exemplary drumming from David “Chilli” Moreno, with spastic drum fills that coincide perfectly to this song’s anxiety filled lyrics. Greg Hampton let’s it all loose vocally, making Don’t Watch Me sound as an angst filled memoir from a paranoid soul. What separates Greg Hampton from being just another Heavy Music vocalist is his ability to adapt to a song’s theme, turning on and off degrees of emotion in his voice, in such a fantastic way it’s borderline uncanny.

The title track, Doomsday Revolution takes no prisoners with it’s Hard and Heavy Industrial mayhem, which comes across as The New Czars answer to their version of an anthem. Trust me, the chorus on Doomsday Revolution alone is enough to get the adrenaline pumping up the psyche-out meter. Only Dreaming is another ballad stopover, this time around the tempo is slow and unsuspectingly alluring. Greg Hampton could very well shun off the Hard Rock & Metal Gods and make his fortune as an unplugged crooner… only this is a musician who seems to revel in his Rock ‘N’ Roll diversity more than anything else and revel he should.

With 16 songs to digest on Doomsday Revolution, there are no dull moments. How could there be with such a fortified stack of diverse songs such as this? Be it Industrial, Rock, Hard Rock or slivers of Traditional Metal, you will hear it on this album. Just don’t stray too far away… for the Alternative and Electronica bug will be poking you on the back from the likes of Funky Detour. Yes… there is a “Funky” vibe happening within this song that sneaks and swirls it’s way through with subtle ease.

Obviously, I walk away with the impression that Greg Hampton strategically sandwiched himself between two skillful and time tested players in bass guitarist Paul Ill and drummer David “Chilli” Moreno. As it is in the world of professional sports teams… your only as good as your players and The New Czars have come to play.

I can’t resist to mention, that to my Metal ears, I can hear somewhat of an Ian Gillian poise and swagger in the vocals of Greg Hampton. A personal interpretation to the fullest extent of course, so convict me for being a lifelong fan of quality Rock vocalists and hearing what I do. I conclude, that after several thorough listens to Doomsday Revolution, I feel compelled to put Greg Hampton on the list of today’s current quality vocalists. To overlook Greg’s guitar play would be a travesty… really, he is that good.

If ever there was a surefire flag bearer for Music Appreciation 101, then it is Greg Hampton and his band The New Czars. Don’t be afraid to take chances, is what we are all taught from an early age. Greg Hampton has taken many very cool chances with Doomsday Revolution and from the sounds of it, he has come away unscathed. The totality of musicianship from The New Czars Greg Hampton, David “Chilli” Moreno and Paul Ill have left an undeniable impression on my ears, an impression that won’t evaporate for me anytime soon.

Fans of Industrial Rock/Hard Rock, Progressive Rock genres and Modern Hard Rock/Metal should strongly consider picking up Doomsday Revolution. Guitar enthusiasts are urged to take an earful of what Greg Hampton is playing on this album. Old School Metalheads who are looking for an alternative to single-based genres should be forewarned: you might just get hooked on what this album is all about.

* For more info on The New Czars, just click on the link below:

THE NEW CZARS – myspace music

From left to right: Paul Ill, Greg Hampton and David “Chilli” Moreno.

The New Czars:

Greg Hampton – vocals & guitar

Paul Ill – bass

David “Chilli” Moreno – drums

* Adrian Belew (King Crimson) – contributing guitarist & Rock legend

Track Listing For Doomsday Revolution:

keep on goin’

confessions

desperate

why do u have 2 lie

don’t watch Me

Time stops

brush with the devil

so sure

abstract prague

crashed

doomsday revolution

only dreaming

Tell Me

had 2 do it

funky detour

crotch critters


THE NEW CZARS… A WHOLE NEW BREED OF ROCK.

Stone.

KARNIVOOL – “SOUND AWAKE” IS A KALEIDOSCOPE OF PROGRESSIVE & HEAVY ROCK

Posted in alternative rock music, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, metal odyssey, Music, progressive metal music, progressive rock music, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

KARNIVOOL – Released on February 16, 2010, on Sony Music Entertainment, Sound Awake has already achieved Gold Certification in Australia, (Karnivool’s home country). Following their impressive and progressively hard & heavy album debut Themata from 2005, Karnivool has shown their fans and the music world they are not about to be stamped out by any sophomore jinx. If life is about taking chances, then Karnivool has inadvertently self inflicted themselves as being risk takers in the vast world of Heavy Music. A Progressive and Alternative sound can be a make or break proposition, when a band wants to embark on the Hard Rock and Heavy Metal Universe. Karnivool has not only embarked with their Themata release from 2005, they have now forged their very own identity and placement, among the Progressive and Alternative Heavy Music battalion with Sound Awake.

Sound Awake opens up with Simple Boy, immediately setting the table for what Karnivool is serving one’s ears. Layered with exquisite guitars, the breakdowns are smart and intensely interesting. Throw in the buzzing sound of a bee and Simple Boy is just the beginning of this Heavy Progressive mind buffet. Ian Kenny on lead vocals resonates, hitting some high pitches that are Arena quality. Set Fire To The Hive showcases vocal and sound effects to heighten the modernism that this song permeates. Karnivool never loses sight of their musical heaviness on Set Fire To The Hive, while delivering an upper cut to the chin with their multi-layered progressive attack.

The Medicine Wears Off times out at 1:50, quite contrary to any Old School Progressive standards. Just bear in mind, this is not about sticking to convention with Sound Awake, a strong musical characteristic that Karnivool bestows is diversity and The Medicine Wears Off mellows down the pace with this semi-surreal song. Illumine can and rightfully should be a standout song on this album. The consistent up-tempo combined with it’s overall melodic vibe, makes Illumine a song that’s incredibly memorable. To label Illumine a hit is non-essential, this song is a star amongst many on Sound Awake.

Deadman is one of two songs on Sound Awake that has a running time of over ten minutes. This is what Progressive Rock is about, the song. If one is looking for the mind journey experience with Karnivool, thou shall not be disappointed with Deadman. Lyrically complete as it is musically precise, Deadman leads with it’s formidable and Alternative vocal presence courtesy of Ian Kenny, which fuses so well with the abstract sound and feel of it’s hard edged music. The abrupt climax to Deadman only exemplifies the artistic style that Karnivool has established for themselves as a band. Listening to Deadman makes me truly realize that Karnivool is all about music and all about the song.

To mention Deadman and not acknowledge the other ten minute-plus epic would be a travesty. Change is a song that develops itself into an array of musical doors that keep opening around me, inviting me in and weaving it’s Progressive signatures, in a manner that is embracingly captivating to my senses. It is very easy to wander off into a kaleidoscope of musical thoughts while listening to Change, an all natural affect that I am more than willing to experience again and again. In it’s totality, Sound Awake is a Progressive Kaleidoscope of songs, just waiting to be heard by anyone who loves music… period.

The musicians of Karnivool are obviously incredibly astute, with an awareness for capturing the nuances of their instruments in their most enhanced state, coupled with the almost sense of urgency to articulate the music as if it is fine art. Has Karnivool broken any new ground in this ever changing landscape of Progressive Rock genres? I can confidently say yes, with their uniqueness being highlighted by their musical and vocal diversity. Karnivool is not a band concentrating on making the hit single. Instead, Karnivool obviously has succeeded at making a complete album of richly written songs, which only reflects on their being a highly talented band that shall continue to rise. Please excuse me now… Sound Awake beckons me to listen once again.

KARNIVOOL IS:

Drew Goddard – guitar

Ian Kenny – vocals

Jon Stockman – bass

Mark Hosking – guitar

Steve Judd – drums

Track Listing For Sound Awake:

Simple Boy

Goliath

New Day

Set Fire To The Hive

Umbra

All I Know

The Medicine Wears Off

The Caudal Lure

Illumine

Deadman

Change

* Check out the music video for Set Fire To The Hive:

* For more info on KARNIVOOL, just click on the links below!

KARNIVOOL – MySpace Music Page

KARNIVOOL – Official Website

YouTube

Stone.

KORN – “KORN III REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE” ALBUM COVER ART AND TRACK LISTING REVEALED!

Posted in alternative metal bands, alternative metal music, alternative rock music, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, heavy metal news, metal odyssey, Music, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 15, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

KORN – RoadRunner Records revealed on Friday, May 14, 2010, via their website, the new album artwork for KORN III Remember Who You Are, along with the track listing. KORN III Remember Who You Are will be the ninth studio release from this legendary Nu Metal/Alternative Metal giant. Call it what you will… KORN is still heavy and the Heavy Metal world only gets more muscle bound by their return… in my Metal opinion. Check out the track listing for KORN III Remember Who You Are below! Also, the new album cover is really chilling… whoa. Leave it to KORN to get into the issues of our society once again! What do you think of this album cover? I’ll tell you right now… it creeps the hell out of me. This album cover speaks volumes for what currently is a societal evil that exists and lurks today, an evil that the world can live without. What else can I say, really, that’s my honest Metal opinion. Leave a comment and get it off your Metal chest!

Track Listing For KORN III Remember Who You Are:

Uber Time

Oildale (Leave Me Alone)

Pop A Pill

Fear Is A Place To Live

Move On

Lead The Parade

Let The Guilt Go

The Past

Never Around

Are You Ready To Live?

Holding All These Lies

KORN IS:

Jonathan Davis – vocals

James “Munky” Shaffer – guitar

Reginald “Fieldy” Arvizu – bass guitar

Ray Luzier – drums

* For more info on KORN, click here: KORN – Official Website

* For more info on RoadRunner Records, click here: ROADRUNNER RECORDS

KORN III Remember Who You Are is to be released on July 13, 2010, on RoadRunner Records.

Stone.

POP EVIL & CHARM CITY DEVILS CONCERT REVIEW: CROCODILE ROCK, ALLENTOWN, PA, MARCH 26, 2010

Posted in Hard Rock, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, Heavy Metal, heavy metal albums, heavy metal bands, heavy metal music, heavy metal news, metal odyssey, Music, rock & roll, rock 'n' roll, rock and roll, rock concerts, rock music, rock music news with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 12, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

POP EVIL – When Metal buddy Ryo Vie over at The Rock and Roll Guru had emailed me, asking if I was interested in going to the Pop Evil and Charm City Devils concert, at Crocodile Rock in Allentown, PA… two Metal thoughts quickly crossed my Metal mind: 1. Cool, I like Charm City Devils very much, 2. Pop who? In the grand Metal scheme of things, it really is impossible to have a pulse on each and every Rock, Hard Rock and Heavy Metal band out there. Throw in the other genres and I’m playing Metal catch up like my cat chasing his tail. I have procrastinated in blabbing about this concert in detail, I did blurb a thought on this night back on March 27, 2010, still, the boss here at Metal Odyssey, (me), says it’s cool. Best damned boss I’ve ever worked for.

I need to clear something up here… Allentown, PA, F’n ROCKS. Why you ask? Well, the Crocodile Rock is one good reason. Anyone and everyone from KITTIE to JACKYL with the MISFITS in between comes here. Add in The Great Allentown Fair, (this year RUSH is scheduled!) and it’s can’t miss! Plus, you have the annual MUSIKFEST in our neighboring city of Bethlehem, PA which boasts a bevy of incredible bands of all genres. So… enjoy the Billy Joel classic – Allentown, just understand that it is not a dying city or area of the country. Good people, good music, great place to live and work.

Oh, yeah, back to the Pop Evil concert review. Many times, when I am introduced or stumble upon a new and/or younger band, I feel like that Burl Ives Snowman from the iconic Christmas Special Classic created by Rankin/Bass Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer. I believe that pudgy little snowman stated, during this Christmas Special… “ah, youth”. That thought crosses my Metal mind more often now, than during any other time in my Metal life. I’m NOT old, plus I do still look up to patriarchs of Rock and Metal like… Lemmy, Ozzy and Ronnie James Dio, like a little kid with a runny nose. Burl Ives… his music and voice will forever be timeless.

As Ryo and I drove up to Crocodile Rock, I was able to pull a “U” turn on the one-way and get a MINT parking spot right across the street from the front door! That’s Metal. Crocodile Rock is a fairly large club, a restaurant is located in the front, with a pool table and plenty of reminders that you are in a blue collar sanctuary. Once you enter the doors to the concert area, there are two large bars and plenty of standing room. Crocodile Rock can accommodate many patrons… that exact amount I won’t try to guess. There had to be at least a couple hundred people there to see Pop Evil and Charm City Devils. If I’m wrong with that figure, who cares.

Ryo and I bullshitted and had a few beers while we listened to Charm City Devils. Again, I really like Charm City Devils, Ryo doesn’t care for them too much… it’s alright though, ’cause eventually, one day, I’ll make him into a Cannibal Corpse fan. John Allen, (singer, songwriter and founding member) of Charm City Devils is as legitimate a front man for a Hard Rock band as any. I still say, if Charm City Devils was around in the late ’80’s, they would probably be filling arenas. Those were the days. Overall, Charm City Devils ROCKED, I know I blabbed that before, yet it is my Metal opinion and I’m sticking to it. I would without doubt, go see Charm City Devils again… and again. John Allen worked the crowd pretty good and the band was solid.

You see, when I go to a concert, I don’t write down the songs that the bands played. Why you ask? Well, once a couple of beers gets into my system… I’m just not interested in holding a pen and paper. I WANNA GET MY EARS ROCKED! Let’s just say, Charm City Devils played songs from their debut album Let’s Rock-N-Roll, with the title track being my highlight of seeing them live.

Step up onto the stage… POP EVIL. Ah, youth. Leigh Kakaty, the lead singer for POP EVIL, was animated, energetic, enthusiastic, dynamic and just DAMN GOOD. As a front man, Leigh is probably one of the biggest stars in the waiting when it comes to Rock and Hard Rock. Aw, heck, Leigh gave these POP EVIL songs an added boost of psyche-you-out fuel during the entire set. Metal be thy name. POP EVIL is Heavy Music diversity personified. From Rock to Heavy Metal, add in the Alternative and Funk ingredients to their musical recipe too. Whoa… I had a real great time watching these guys called POP EVIL. This band had the crowd in front of the stage in their very own, spellbound euphoria.

Matt DiRito on bass worked the stage like a seasoned Heavy Metal veteran, he has all the classic moves and poses patented… he can back up his swagger with his playing. Dave Grahs and Tony Greve made for a terrific exchange of guitar licks, real pro’s. Dylan Allison on drums made an impression on me too… no showboating… just playing with real emotion. Not to stray off into the corn dog field of dreams here… yet, POP EVIL is one mighty cool and Heavy band. Greatness is being sown here with POP EVIL… if an opportunity comes your way to see this band, grab ahold of it and experience this band LIVE.

* A Metal kudos goes out to POP EVIL for acknowledging their music heroes during their live set… one in particular is the late Dimebag Darrell Abbott of the mightily incredible – PANTERA. Leigh Kakaty had the crowd in a Metal frenzy upon his tribute to Dimebag… then when POP EVIL broke into WALK from PANTERA… it was Metal euphoria for me. To hear a live band such as POP EVIL, pay tribute to such an important Metal band and song, made me realize that the genres of Heavy Music are in good hands for years to come.

Ah, youth. Ah, POP EVIL. I’ve jumped on board for the ride… and I’m not getting off.

* For more info on POP EVIL, click here: POP EVIL – Official Website

* For more info on Charm City Devils, click here: Charm City Devils – Official Website

* For more info on Crocodile Rock, click here: Crocodile Rock

* POP EVIL was supporting their album lipstick on the mirror, released back on August 12, 2008, on Universal Republic Records.

* Charm City Devils was supporting their album Let’s Rock-N-Roll, released on May 26, 2009, on Eleven Seven Music.


Thanks Ryo, I’m now a POP EVIL fan.

Stone.

AIDEN “RAIN IN HELL” EP – FEATURES MISFITS AND BILLY IDOL COVERS

Posted in alternative rock bands, alternative rock music, gothic metal bands, gothic metal music, hard rock albums, hard rock bands, hard rock music, horror punk, metal music, metal odyssey, Music, punk rock music, rock & roll, rock and roll, rock music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 24, 2010 by Metal Odyssey

AIDEN – released the EP, Rain In Hell on October 31, 2006, on Victory Records. Rain In Hell is a CD/DVD, with 6 songs on the CD. I have always taken a liking to Aiden, they exhibit a menagerie of genres with their music… in essence, Aiden is a Heavy Alternative Rock Band, in my Metal opinion. When Rain In Hell was released, I was thrilled to see they covered a classic Misfits song – Die Die My Darling. Of course the original Misfits version of Die Die My Darling can never be topped, still Aiden does a respectable job at covering this song. The all encompassing Punk and raw sound, with attitude, is captured by Aiden, giving credibility to the reason they covered Die Die My Darling in the first place.

Aiden can take a Metal bow for their cover of White Wedding, the incredibly famous Post Punk meets New Wave song, written and recorded by the legendary Billy Idol. White Wedding first appeared on Billy Idol’s 1982 debut and self titled album. Aiden does not try to reinvent the Rock ‘N’ Roll wheel with their cover version of White Wedding, the tempo is stepped up a bit with Aiden’s trademark angst, otherwise it’s an alternate listen that won me over the very first time it invaded my ears.

I have to give Aiden credit for tackling both a Misfits and Billy Idol song to cover. To point at both of these cover songs as feature tracks on Rain In Hell is not a falsehood. WiL Francis on lead vocals comes across with Punk Rock legitimacy on the cover songs, making them all the more a credible listen.

There are four other songs on this Rain In Hell EP that are Aiden originals. A Candlelight (Intro) is a melancholy and flat out spooky song that runs as an instrumental for the first half of the song, with thunder and lightning atmospherics added in, a chilling theme it is… then WiL Francis steps in with Gothic illuminated vocals, with the lyrical theme about lighting candles and showing the world were all lined up to die, backed up with a Horror Punk chorus chant. Hey, this Aiden CD isn’t called Rain In Hell for nothing!

Silent Eyes is an acoustic song that visits the world of extreme depression and complete despair. If you are not familiar with this song, it is not one that you want to play loud, on your first date… you will probably scare away any potential long lasting or even short lasting relationship! Aw, heck, what am I saying? I’m the dude that adores Death Metal and Black Metal… this song lyrically is no stranger to my extreme listening ears. At the end of the Metal day, I like the acoustic guitar paired up with WiL Francis’s emotion filled and alternative laced vocals.

We Sleep Forever exemplifies the melodic side of Aiden, while being hard around the edges. The breakdown midway only seems to accentuate this songs lyrical theme of what I interpret as suicide… whether it’s emotional or physical. Aiden touches on the human side of emotion and despair, of a more extreme and delicate topic with We Sleep Forever.

The bonus DVD proves to be just that, with the following footage:

These songs were filmed live at House Of Blues in Chicago, IL, during the Never Sleep Again Tour in December of 2006: Knife Blood Nightmare, The Last Sunrise, Die Romantic, I Set My Friends On Fire, World By Storm.

Three music video’s included are: Knife Blood Nightmare, The Last Sunrise and Die Romantic. Four live video’s included are: The Last Sunrise, Die Romantic, Unbreakable and I Set My Friends On Fire.

Aiden, as they appeared on Rain In Hell:

WiL Francis – lead vocals, piano

Angel Ibarra – lead guitar, backing vocals

Nick Wiggins – bass, backing vocals

Jake Davison – drums & percussion

Jake Wambold – rhythm guitar, backing vocals

Stone.

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