J Tizzle: “The Chill Zone Vol 3” – The taste is smooth and distinguishable!

As living things, we need a steady supply of certain ingredients to survive. In music, the formula is undeniably similar. A song requires both rhythm and pitch. For the musically hungrier amongst us, these ingredients are not enough. We need to add extras, such as mood, atmosphere, emotion and groove. Unfortunately, even with the proper ingredients and extras the results are not always as expected. Stagnancy spreads within the craftsman, as well as a lack of skill or emotion. Luckily one, by the name of J Tizzle (Jeffery Townsend Sr.), avoids these annoying traits. Within his songbook exists all of

Heavy AmericA: “Motor Honey (Peace)” – It’s rock. Pure and simple.

A couple of years ago, the bands to emulate in modern rock were those that flooded the radios with wickedly catchy upbeat power pop tunes. Then came the neo-metal-driven climate, where even the tame end of the spectrum became heavier. On their new single, “Motor Honey (Peace)”, Boston based three piece rock group Heavy AmericA, proves themselves among the best in the alternative rock genre with a track loaded with hooks for mainstream appeal, but with an energy and drive that keeps them from sounding like mere imitators. The new release which has all the potential to climb the rock

Scotty Seed: One of the more original and thoroughly enjoyable alternative listens of the year!

Proud of his Italian heritage and his role in the LGTBQ community as a queer artist, Scotty Seed is a musician based in the East Village of New York City. Obsessed with art, including fashion and music, Scotty, originally a Jersey boy, started taking songwriting and production seriously in his twenties. Influenced by elements of industrial, pop, grunge, PC music, electronic, and screamo music, he counts artists like Crystal Castles, Marilyn Manson, Hole, David Bowie, Madonna, and Depeche Mode among his inspirations. Fighting an ongoing battle with bipolar disorder, making music provides him with an escape from his mental health

Suburbs: “Sound of the Sea” – a rewarding new project

Suburbs is an indie rock band from Scheveningen, Netherland launched in 1995. The band that has its roots in the eighties and nineties achieved national exposure when they won the national contest “De Grote Prijs van Nederland” (The Grand Prize of the Netherlands), the largest and longest-running music competition in the country.  As of the summer of 2013 Suburbs has started a new chapter. Lead singer Arie Spaans and 2 early band members set to work to bring their old sound back. The following year they started dropping singles and video clips leasing to their mini EP “Masters” in 2016.

Martone: “Erogenous Zone” keeps the adrenaline and emotions flowing!

It was 5 years ago that pop superstar, Sam Smith, stepped up to the plate and showed the world that love songs don’t have to be heteronormative to be beloved. Smith came out publicly, stating that he wanted to be clear on what his album was about. “It’s about a guy and that’s what I wanted people to know.” He was also completely aware of how important his success is to the public narrative. Hearing your humanity represented and validated by pop culture is important, and many LGBT supporting musicians have since been stepping up to share their experiences. The

Red Tan: “Don’t You Dare!” – Vocally anchored and soulful!

Red Tan is a young widow and single mom. Living in an unfamiliar environment while suffering depression and anxiety has been a challenge that she was able to put into music on her single “Don’t You Dare!” It’s an inspirational anthem meant to help others overcome their struggles and difficulties, and achieve their goals. In the meantime it has been a healing medicine for the singer-songwriter herself, helping her to become a stronger and better person. Red Tan’s ability to create deep thoughtful music, her timeless voice, and her capacity to be so introspective, makes her extremely relatable to any

Albert J: “Grow” embraces both aural diversity and true inspiration

Albert J (formerly known as f.o.c.u.s.) is an American hip-hop recording artist residing in Tampa Florida. Moving through Maryland, DC, Virginia, NC, California and now Florida, Albert J got to experience a lot of diverse music and inspirations. From bands ranging from Sigur Ros and Coldplay to Linkin Park and Incubus, as well as many Hip-Hop influences from DMX, Kid Cudi, Mos Def and Busta Rhymes, Albert J grew up with a wide palette of sound. His 3 mixtapes “Youth Religion” (Dec 2013) “Remember” (March 2014) and “YR2” (April 2015), garnered serious attention in the Hip-hop scene, finally leading up

Knarly Jones: “Redemption” takes us on an epic journey

“Redemption”, is Detroit-based EDM producer, Knarly Jones’ second drop in a series of four releases this summer, preceded by “Atonement” which was released in June. After spending time away from music to study mathematics and physics, Knarly returns to the electronic music scene with a refined cinematic style and a slew of new releases. “Redemption” combines cinematic scoring elements with classic electro-house feel and heavy drops to create a unique sound for 2019. Knarly goes into his bag of tricks and creates an enlightening, varied soundscape that unleashes bass all over your face. With all of this to dive into, it’s

Maxime: “The Honest Me Pt.1” – a unique piece of work!

Maxime Boublil was born in Paris, France, into a musical theater family. His father Alain, wrote the musical adaptation of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon, his mother was the first Cosette in Les Miserables in France. As a child Maxime played the cello and then went on to study photography Academy of Arts University in San Francisco, but he discovered what he really wanted to do, when he picked a guitar in a friend’s dorm room. After studying Music in Visual Media, Maxime went on to pursue a career as an engineer at Furstock Studios with three-time aria award-winning engineer

Absolute Doubt: “When Nightmares Become Dreams” – extreme melancholic chill!

John Francis, known by his artist name Absolute Doubt, is an up-and-coming rapper with a talent for freestyling. He works with a number of artists and producers on his latest EP “When Nightmares Become Dreams”, including Lucki, Jay Storm, and Downtime. The project imbues most of the tropes in contemporary swaggy rap music with an omnipresent breeziness that feels endemic to a luxurious daydream. The 2-song release consists of mid-tempo, gently forlorn hip-hop, padded out with New Age trap gauze. The music is pervaded by an all-embracing sonic fog. Absolute Doubt is best when he is pitted against gently fibrillating

Corners of Sanctuary: “Metal Machine” – These guys came to ROCK and it shows!

Heavy Metal band, Corners of Sanctuary, first hit the music scene in 2011. In 2012, COS quickly began to gain momentum after releasing their first full‐length album titled Breakout. Soon after, COS signed with La Mazakuata Records in Mexico, which produced 2 follow up albums; Harlequin and Axe to Grind. Additional EPs, including Epilogue, Carry the Cross, December Wind and Merry Metal Xmas, Live at the Trocadero Theater and 2015’s Prelude to War, were also released. In late 2013, COS began working with Pure Steel Records in Germany, who re‐released both Harlequin, in 2013, and Axe to Grind, in 2014. In 2015 COS signed with Metalizer Records in Germany for the release of their fourth album titled Metal Machine on October 31, 2015.

The album cover

The album cover

Corners of Sanctuary’s blend of hard rock and metal roots, coupled with their apparent mastery of modern production values, is a winning combination.  The crunchy guitar riffs grind; the bass is robust without being muddy; the drums have pop and punch while the cymbals shimmer; the vocal harmonies abound, and the guitar leads are ever-present. Sonically Frankie Cross (vocals), Sean Nelligan (drums), James Pera (bass) and Mick Michaels (guitars) deliver a very rounded offering.

COS has risen to such a high caliber of ability and have harnessed their massive capabilities in such a manner on Metal Machine” to create a sound that could quite possibly top the best classic metal music being produced by some of their peers now. These guys came to ROCK and it shows! They absolutely nail it with precision right from the title track, which follows the brief intro opener, “Turn It On”.

The guitar riffs are phenomenally orchestrated and brilliantly choreographed and are delivered with such gusto and testosterone that you know, in between all the hard work, the hurdle-hopping and obstacle conquering, these guys had a lot of fun in the studio recording tracks like the back-to-back “Like It Matters”, “Left Scarred” and “In Blood We Shall Return” – and they loved what they were doing too. The probably knew it would be this good.

The guitars  on “The Return” are simply old-school metal at its best, upgraded and tweaked, sprinkled with experience and played to perfection while the vocal changes throughout the song are to die for, and I mean repeatedly. But the best is yet to come with “Tomorrow Never Comes” and “Wrecking Ball”. Mick Michaels shows a lot of muscle in the riff department on this one, favoring us with an engaging blend of crunchy riffs, classy melody and a rich guitar tone.

Corners of Sanctuary

Corners of Sanctuary

James Pera is thumping out the bottom end, with no distracting rattle hampering the smoothness of his delivery. Sean Nelligan sounds inspired behind the kit, as each member of the band seems to be pushing one another to capture more magic. And Frankie Cross, if he hadn’t already, earns his spot with some commanding vocal performances.  This band clearly respects their foundation and is building something great upon it.

Sometimes my first impression on listening to a release of this magnitude turns out to be spot-on and then sometimes repeated play exposes weaknesses I was quick to overlook in my zeal to embrace new music. For that reason, many times I have to listen to an album for a few weeks (or even months sometimes) in order to really appreciate the greatness. I confess that my initial impression was, “Wow, this is the metal we’ve been missing.” But then a bit of skepticism began to creep in with repeated listens. After putting it away for a week and then coming back with a fresh perspective I’m ready to nail down my impressions – all of which are thankfully circling back to that all important initial impression.

Metal Machine” turns out to be an extremely gratifying collection of songs which have enough of an older vibe to make this definitely identifiable as classic metal while simultaneously bringing in some new elements that keep the album from becoming predictable. This is a substantial and savory effort and a testament to how four musicians can bring together a holistically strong metal release that anyone who loves the genre should be able to appreciate.

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