Dayseeker Share Video for Acoustic Version of “Neon Grave” – New Acoustic Album Coming Soon


Southern California’s Dayseeker Rory Rodriguez [vocals], Gino Sgambelluri [guitar], Ramone Valerio [bass], and Zac Mayfield [drums] — recently announced their forthcoming acoustic album Replica, which arrives digitally on April 19th, 2024 and physically on June 14 via Spinefarm. Pre-orders are live at the links below. The band just dropped the video for their stripped-down and emotionally immediate version of fan fave “Neon Grave.” Watch it here.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: James LaBrie – Beautiful Shade of Grey


Having amassed a discography of over twenty albums as the lead vocalist (of which this is the fifth solely under his own name), and nearly two dozen guest appearances across a thirty year professional recording career, you could have forgiven James LaBrie for taking some overdue and well-earned time off when the 2020 Dream Theater world tour was halted. Instead, he and Eden’s Curse (whose Trinity album was adorned by his distinctive a glorious pipes) guitarist Paul Logue began trading the musical ideas that would grow into Beautiful Shade of Gray (InsideOut Music).

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Katatonia – Sanctitude


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Initially pulled together as a tour to promote Dethroned & Uncrowned (KScope), which reworked the bands 2012 album Dead End Kings (Peaceville), the Katatonia acoustic tour of 2014 took on more significance with the decisions to expand the set to a full career-retrospective, booked in cathedrals, churches and chapels, and documented via Sanctitude (KScope), a live DVD (plus audio CD version) filmed at London’s Union Chapel.

With the reverent gothic backdrop of the inside of the chapel, and accompanied on the stage only by candle light and music stands, it is not only in the re-arrangements of the music that this is a different Katatonia, with vocalist Jonas Renske and guitarist Anders “Blakkheim” Nystrom the only remaining members from the band’s “classic” line ups. Even the group for Dead End Kings has been torn apart, with Per Eriksson replaced by Bruce Soord (The Pineapple Thief) and Daniel Moilanen filling in on percussion, for the tour.

Unsurprisingly, the focus of the film is Renske and his world-weary croons and Nystrom’s and his reworked guitar lines. The addition of Soord is beneficial, as his supporting strums, softened backing vocals and supplementary keyboard work swell and embellish the Swedes delicate framing of a selection of their back catalogue.

With the bonus features of the DVD extending to an overlong and, sadly, boring interview only (which is a shame, as Nystrom in particular has a passion for the band that glimpses out of some of his answers that is untapped by the lack of interaction with a presenter), the focus of Sanctitude is the live performance. Unobtrusively filmed so as to feel as though the watcher was front row of the show, the band are sat throughout with Renske displaying dry self-deprecating wit during his low key exchanges with the audience.

While the minimal staging and direction match the stripped down songs, there is a nagging feeling that a shorter set would have made a more striking impact as several of the songs, shorn of their apparel and original guitar lines, sound too similar and at 80 minutes, attention does wander, particularly early on, and it is interesting that the set draws you in as it unfurls rather than impressing from the outset. Indeed, the opening five songs pass by pleasantly and prettily enough, nice renditions that blur together, until ‘One Year From Now’, the first real standout moment, is unveiled, showing just how well an acoustic Katatonia track can be done.

Other notable moments include ‘Sleeper’ and a dark, melancholic ‘Undo You’, while ‘Lethean’ spreads out into an introspective chorus as Renske’s Maynard-esque harmonies lilt and drift with the song. ‘Omerta’ carries a folky edge and ‘The One You Are Looking For’, complete with guest performance from Silje Wergeland (The Gathering), is an understated and sparse ending to the performance. However, the true show-stopping moment is a bare version of the rarely visited ‘Day’ from Brave Murder Day (Avantgarde), the track that first showcased the real template for the Katatonia sound.

Where Renske and Nystrom take the band next will be interesting to see, but one can’t help feeling Katatonia are better with some oomph to their songs. Not one for the casual observer, this is a release for the dedicated as Sanctitude draws a beautiful, if not fully encapsulating, end to another chapter of the bands career.

7.5/10

Katatonia on Facebook

STEVE TOVEY

 


King Buzzo – This Machine Kills Artists


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Enigmatic. Abrasive. Obtuse. Confounding. Musical genius. A creative juggernaut. There are some compliments that serve as heaps of false praise from the fakery of the music industry machine, and there are some that need to be taken to heart. When the latter is true, you know we are discussing true artists and most conventional thinking can be left at the door. Whom we are discussing is Buzz Osborne, and what we have described is his 30-plus year career making music, mostly with The Melvins. Never short on imagination, the prolific King Buzzo in this guise thrills us all these year later on his new acoustic masterwork and first true solo album, This Machine Kills Artists (Ipecac).

 

Although it may seem odd for a guy on the surface who has built a career on obnoxiously loud, often experimental, over-driven guitar work, like everything in Buzz’s story; the truth has a way of sneaking up on you. At the heart of this idea is this: a great written song will work in any musical guise, and Buzz has always been a master at song craft. These unpretentious songs are not little ditty’s to be harmonized around the campfire like ‘Kumbaya’. They are as menacing, uncomfortable, and interesting as anything in The Melvins catalog. From the lead track ‘Dark Brown Teeth’ through out the final notes, Buzz takes the listener on a journey through his mind. A scary place sometimes, true, but weirdly comforting too. Tracks like ‘Rough Democracy’, ‘Drunken Baby’ and ‘New River’ are flawlessly played. These songs are not lacking for riffs either, with a lot of baddass licks on display. When Buzz does add his backing tracks, he takes the kind of care cleverness you have come to expect from him.

 

Then let’s talk about vocals. Coming off as rough and ethereal as ever, this presentation adds a sorrowful deepness, with a triumphant delivery that will over-power you. The wistfulness of some of the lyrics like on ‘Drunken Baby’, ‘The Vulgar Joke’, ‘How I Became Offensive’, and ‘Useless King of The Punks’ may have various meanings to Buzz, but they stirred my soul listening to them.

 

There have been some similar albums like this one of quality lately, but This Machine Kills Artists has raised the bar. As he has done at every stop in his career, Buzz will continue to inspire, frighten, and change.

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9.0/10

King Buzzo on Facebook

 

KEITH (KEEFY) CHACHKES