Sunday, February 9, 2014

No Warning - Resurrection Of The Wolf

No Warning
Resurrection Of The Wolf
Bad Actor Records

After an eight-year-long hiatus, Toronto's No Warning returns with a new 7" of hard-hitting, pit-friendly hardcore. No Warning originally existed from 1998-2005. The band issued two EPs and two LPs during its initial run. What happened in the early 2000s that spelled doom for this band? That would be an attempt at selling out.

In the two years after the release of No Warning's classic album Ill Blood, the band signed with SUM 41's producer and with LINKIN PARK's management. The band recorded a far more radio-friendly record titled Suffer, Survive and played on the Projekt Revolution tour with KORN, SNOOP DOGG, and LESS THAN JAKE.

...And then it was over. The members of No Warning couldn't agree on a career path. Some of them wanted to return to the band's old hardcore sound. The others wanted to keep pursuing the modern rock sound. In late 2005, the members of No Warning went their separate ways, most notably with vocalist Ben Cook joining FUCKED UP and guitarist Jared Posner joining TERROR.

I suppose eight years is how long it took for No Warning to return to its old sound but that's exactly what happened last year. The band recorded one new song "Resurrection Of The Wolf" along with a cover of "Bloodsucker" by VIOLENT MINDS. A two-song 7" was released on Cook's Bad Actor Records; and all was right with the universe once again.

The band members have declared that there will be no live shows, essentially reducing No Warning to a studio project, but that's okay. No Warning's members are in no hurry to leave their currently successful bands. Cook put it best when he said, "I have no interest playing live. I don't want dudes yelling in my face or jumping on me."

On a personal note, No Warning is of great interest to me because they opened one of the best shows I've ever seen. It was Thanksgiving weekend in 2004 and HATEBREED, TERROR, FULL BLOWN CHAOS, and NO WARNING played Club Tundra (formerly and currently known as Lost Horizons) in Syracuse, NY. It was the second most violent show I've ever seen. I counted somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 ejections and four arrests throughout the course of the evening. It was a good time for the whole family.

No Warning was cool then and the band still rules. If you like rock music at all, you're going to love this.


Saturday, February 8, 2014

New Lows - Harvest Of The Carcass

New Lows
Harvest Of The Carcass
Deathwish Inc.

Back in 2004, Arrested Development came on the same night and time as Desperate Housewives. Although AxDx was the superior show, Wisteria Lane won the ratings war. What does this have to do with anything? Well, Boston's own New Lows got "Arrested Development-ed" in 2011. Let me explain.

In 2011, New Lows issued its debut LP Harvest Of The Carcass through respected metalcore label Deathwish Inc. Although billed as BOLT THROWER influenced (it's not), Harvest Of The Carcass does feature an enraged yet enjoyable combination of East Coast beatdown hardcore and Cleveland hatecore. Imagine a mix of RINGWORM and OVERCAST. Sounds awesome, right? That's what I thought too. I'm not sure if New Lows or if Deathwish Inc. dreamt up that Bolt Thrower garbage but it did the band no favors. If New Lows sounds like anybody, the band sounds like DIECAST. The marketing machine runs off the road once again.

Anyway, my first exposure to New Lows came when the band opened for Ringworm at Red7 back in 2011. Having never heard them before that night, I was thoroughly impressed. New Lows had good songs and a good live show. For a brief moment, it appeared to me as though New Lows may become some manner of "buzz band" and be off to bigger and better things. Yes, it appeared that way but then something happened.

What happened was NAILS played after New Lows and before Ringworm. I was in the same situation with Nails, not being familiar with the band, but the setlist was essentially all of the Unsilent Death album. Nails had successfully stolen the show. Nails was the Desperate Housewives to New Lows's Arrested Development. Since 2011, Nails has eclipsed New Lows in every way measurable yet New Lows is a strong band. I thought that New Lows would have a higher profile in the metal world by now but it seems that the band has been forgotten. If not forgotten, New Lows is largely going unnoticed in the metal community.

This needs to change. Harvest Of the Carcass is a powerful record and New Lows has new material on the way later this year. Get on board now before your friends and coworkers are all rocking hundreds of dollars worth of New Lows merch, just like your friends and coworkers do with Nails right now.


Thursday, February 6, 2014

Yuck - Glow & Behold

Glow & Behold
Fat Possum

I meant to have more records posted by now but I've been having one software issue after another lately. Today, it was YouTube. After hours of wrestling with HTML code and other internet shittiness, the problems are fixed. This is the test video. Glow & Behold by Yuck was yet another promo/preview album that popped up in Ye Olde Inbox. I have no investment in this record. In fact, I didn't particularly care for it. It's well played, mellowish whatever. You my dig it. That's why I used it as a guinea pig.

Through the remainder of the month, the record reviews will continue as normal but change is coming this Spring. In the meantime...


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Taproot - Welcome


This is the second portion of our "What If...?" game with the Ann Arbor, MI rock band Taproot. Please click here if you missed the first part.

Welcome is Taproot's second major label album. It is the band's best selling album and its only gold record (as of Feb. 2014). Welcome contains the band's breakout hit "Poem" as well as the moderate radio hit "Mine." In fact, "Poem" was such a smash that it finished fifth on the Bllboard 2002 Mainstream Rock Singles chart. A third single, "Art" was scheduled for a video shoot and a CD/7" release but the project was curiously scrapped at the last minute by Atlantic Records; echoing fan and media speculation that the label was holding the band back.

This is a further extension of Taproot's record company problems that I voiced last week. Gift was rushed to retail in order meet an arbitrary corporate deadline. The promotion of Welcome was mismanaged. I'll explore the mismanagement of Taproot next week when I combine Gift and Welcome into a single LP. I intend to prove that, had Atlantic Records not put the screws to Taproot, a hypothetical single LP would have been a massive hit instead of the two existing LPs being moderate hits.

In the meantime, let's find out why signing with major labels is bad news. Unsigned musicians out there reading this: you need to pay close attention.

It all started with a guy named David Benveniste. He founded (and still owns) the Velvet Hammer Music and Management Group. The company was founded in 1997 so that Benveniste could focus his energies on getting his first client SYSTEM OF A DOWN signed to Columbia Records. Velvet Hammer entered into a joint venture with both Atlantic and Columbia which would funnel Velvet Hammer clients into major label record deals. During the period of 1997-2004, Velvet Hammer guided not only System of a Down but MUDVAYNE, THE DEFTONES, ONE REPBUBLIC, POISON THE WELL, GRATITUDE, and TAPROOT to stardom. It was that final signing that proved to be the sticky wicket.

The year before Benveniste and Velvet Hammer crossed paths with Taproot in 1999, Fred Durst and Flip Records had already offered them a deal. Now remember, this is 1998 and Taproot formed in 1997. You'd think that an unsigned band that's only been around for a year would jump at pretty much anything offered to them but Taproot dragged its feet. What gives?

What gives is that Taproot spent a sizeable portion of 1998 opening for System of a Down around the Midwest. Through System of a Down, Benveniste signed Taproot to Velvet Hammer and, through Velvet Hammer, Atlantic snaked Taproot right from under the noses of Flip Records. This enraged Durst to the point of leaving a hateful voicemail for Taproot vocalist Stephen Richards. The voicemail trashed Taproot, Benveniste, and Atlantic Records while Durst threatens to sabotage Taproot's career.

Hell, why am I typing this? The internet exists. Here's the actual voicemail:

While this makes for great "behind the scenes" stories, the harsh reality is that Taproot was a victim of its manager's success. During the years when the band was firing all cylinders (not that Taproot sucks now, they don't, but the band was in such a groove during the early 2000s that it could do no wrong), Taproot didn't score as big of a hit as its fellow Velvet Hammer clients. Taproot went gold when everyone else went platinum and the band got lost in the shuffle.

The band would release one more album on Atlantic before moving on to Victory Records. It's worth noting that Taproot regained its prominence in the modern rock world after switching to a smaller label that was emotionally invested in the band as well as financially.

So, that's the story of Taproot's wild ride in Hollywood. Tune in next week when we conclude the Taproot series. Please enjoy the promo video for "Poem" followed by the full album stream of Welcome.