We have one more selection of this year's albums, and it's from a DJ based out in the US; Chicago to be specific. We asked Roalt at Mental Meltdown for his view of the US Underground scene...
Recently, I was invited to do an occasional piece for Pandemonium Club UK and as an introductory piece, I have decided that I’d tell you a little about me, followed by a review of my top 3 albums that were released in 2013.
My show, running from 2004 to 2005, was originally called “The Edge Of Psychosis”, and focused on independent and/or unsigned Rock and Metal acts. It was a brief stint and, as life got in the way, I took an indefinite hiatus.
Fast forward to January 2013 and I had been asked to come back several times by the Internet Radio network I was a member of. I declined all invitations, but a bug bit me soon after and I had the need to delve back into the madness that is independent metal! So, I re-joined Osprey as a DJ, with only the prospect of doing a 1 hour segment every month; week 2 came and I wanted to do it again.
12 months later and, with a 1 and a half month hiatus, I returned with a new outlook. I had done 3 seasons up til September 2013, and in January I will be starting the next year with a slightly different format on Osprey Radio Network.
Mental Meltdown Radio will be back – bigger and stronger than before – to feed people the underground metal they crave!
Now, on to my faves from this year….
Lowside - Lowside
This album, for all respects, was a huge surprise for me. Former bassist of Lillian Axe, Darrin Delatte, takes over lead guitars, and Ron Taylor (Also formerly of Lillian Axe) take a new tone in this debut album. Seemingly inspired by a mix of classic rock and modern metal, they delve into the darker sound, with an upbeat tempo.
Good Reason has gripped me in a way I can hardly explain, but I’ll try… Lyrically engaging on a level that in no way expresses rage but is still excited, with heavy classic but low toned guitar riffs, you are taken to a place where the frustration of dealing with someone else’s ridiculous issues takes place.
Here And Now is, all about living in the here and now. Don’t worry about the past – it’s gone. The future isn’t here yet. Stop griping about what you don’t have, and be happy with what you have. Also very busy musically, not quite as low-toned, it’s modern + classic, with a bit of post-hair metal feel.
Numb has a unique ability to both musically and lyrically convey the feeling that you’re just sick from the things you desire, and want to do SOMETHING, ANYthing, to drown it away.
All in all, this album is worth it’s VERY fair price. You won’t be disappointed!
Beyond Threshold - Who We Are
Who We Are is one of those albums that’s very hard to pick apart and choose one piece over another. Also, not quite subgenre specific, this album is a definitive metal piece, with melodic ballad sounds intertwined. Each track has its own merit, and can very well stand on its own as a piece of art. Each track has a good balance of melodic metal and in your face, hard-hitting, straight-forward-metal.
The Struggle is a bit reminiscent of the always-busy and punchy sound of the likes of Pantera. It has a rhythm that makes you want to stand up, kick your seat back away from you, and start moshing. This song never gives up, but all throughout, it’s hard but melodic at the same time.
Overthrown is, on the other hand, as close to 'progressive' as this album gets. The track builds rather fast into a double-bass drum thump and growling vocals, and fades into several different rhythms before suddenly dropping into a melodic ballad sound. Then, it slowly builds back up to a medium pace, with a very nice let off at the end. The song progresses in such a manner it all comes together rather well and natural.
This album is definitely worth a listen for anyone who loves metal, no matter the genre.
3Fold Pain - 3Fold Pain
As I was doing some browsing around on YouTube for videos from Beyond Threshold, I came across a metal video that was on the page for the management for Beyond Threshold for 3Fold Pain’s “Don’t Trust Them”. I was so blown away, that I immediately purchased the CD without even considering getting it from the management to play on my show (I did ask for the permissions, though). The track starts off with a dark, melodic riff, slowly building to a heavier play on a melodic tone. Kept dark throughout, it reverts back to the mellow beginning a couple of times. Then, in an very unexpected twist, it gets the in-your-face yelling and punch we all love! The tail end drops into the same mellow melody that’s laced throughout the entire track. A masterpiece, to say the least!
What I Want begins with a sound that’s reminiscent of how KoRn may sound if they were progressive metal. It builds into what is a very natural progression, with the summit at the end being a very busy sound, laced with much double bass drums. This album is another that one can’t just have one song from, you need it all.
3Fold Pain is a gem that’s very rare, and is a safe bet for anyone who loves modern metal. There is no “underground” sound here, this album is primed and polished – ready for primetime.
Mental Meltdown! Radio will be starting a whole new season, beginning on the first Sunday of January. Listen Live at 7PM EST on Osprey Radio Network. Podcasts will be posted by Monday night (visit Mental Meltdown homepage for subscription info).
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Article written by Roalt at Mental Meltdown, December 2013