NECRO SHOCK RADIO – 4-1-2017

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APRIL 1, 2017

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Music Review: PAYABLE ON DEATH – The Warriors EP

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payable on death - the warriors ep
PAYABLE ON DEATH
The Warriors EP
Tooth & Nail
1998

Okay, first question- why was this released on Tooth & Nail? Are they in cahoots with Atlantic Records, where the band was signed before releasing this EP? Alright, yeah, that was two questions…

The Warriors E. P. was released in 1998, after the band was signed to Atlantic Records to go on and become one of the biggest crossover acts to emerge from the Christian underground music scene. This, I guess, was to keep the P. O. D. fans sedated while they waited for their major-label to drop the next year. What’s found on here are a couple of new cuts, and a couple of re-recorded cuts, interspersed with filler.

The CD starts off with a scratchy record vibe, then the Louisiana accordions kick in. Cool concept, as the pops and crackle sounds in between songs give it an older feel. Up next is an early version of their mega-hit “Southtown”, which, despite all the over saturation when it was finally released as a single, is a heavy treat, up there with fist-bangers like Kid Rock’s “Bawitabaw”. Nice and raw. Next is a re-recorded version of “Breathe Babylon”. Longtime P. O. D. fans will recognize this song as originally off of 1996’s Brown on Rescue Records. It’s an okay cut, not too heavy, but funk-based. Next is a minute-and-forty-two second acoustic guitar interlude of sorts, which leads into “Draw The Line”, one of my favorite classic P. O. D. songs from their 1994 indie Snuff The Punk, here re-recorded to clearer clarity than the muddled original. Good cut. After that is another re-recorded song from Brown- “Full Color”, made better and harder than the 1996 version. The ending track, “Sabbath”, is another instrumental, heavy, ending with a sample of a rainstorm.

Production wise, compared to their two independent albums, there’s no comparison. The Warriors E. P. blows those two out of the water (though they’ve been re-released after Fundamental Elements Of Southtown with cleaned up production, possibly to capitalize on the mainstream success of the band). Lyrically, they’re all very Christ-centric, especially the re-recordings. Very short, and very nice E. P. that would go on to mainstream stardom…and be put in Dial-The-Truth’s crosshairs.

Music Review: EVERY DAY LIFE – Every Day Life

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EVERY DAY LIFE - Every Day Life
EVERY DAY LIFE (EDL)
Every Day Life
Independent
2001

After releasing a more modern rock flavored album on the great conceptual misfire that was KMG Records, California rapcore veterans Every Day Life broke free of the label and went back to doing what they do best…ripping off Rage Against The Machine. Which, considering they’ve been doing this for about as long as the better-known (and overrated) P. O. D., isn’t necessarily a bad thing, depending on where your musical sensibilities lie.

Actually, Every Day Life is one of the few nu metal CDs I listen to on a regular basis, along with the first two from EDL. The reason is simple- EDL isn’t a bandwagon jumper that popped up out of nowhere after P. O. D. made it big. They’ve been doing this for a while, and the sound is impressive enough for me to notice. It’s brutal, it’s gutsy, and it’s genuine. Honestly, all of you who’re into Pillar, P. O. D., and all the other Christian rapcore artists, you owe it to yourself to check out this CD. You mindless poser…

Music Review: EVERY DAY LIFE – American Standard

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EVERYDAY LIFE - American Standard
EVERY DAY LIFE
American Standard
Alarma Records
1997

It’s a shame, that Every Day Life (aka EDL) didn’t gain the same kind of popularity Payable On Death (aka P. O. D.) managed to finagle, both in the Christian and mainstream markets. Not that I’m surprised, really. The claims of Rage Against The Machine rip-off were abundant, sure. But reading a past article where vocalist Tedd Cookerly mentioned that they were unaware of Rage at the time the band was put together, and were operating as such before Rage Against The Machine got big, so I’ve pretty much cut ’em some slack in that department. Besides, even if they did start off to blatantly rip off this style of rapcore, Every Day Life doesn’t suck at it.

The band’s second album, American Standard, continues with the caustic rapcore sound from their first album. Only here the sound is much bigger, harder, and definitely angrier. Tight, heavy, with a very decent production makes the music on American Standard snarl beautifully.

Lyrically, Every Day Life continue with their stark social commentary unabated. They have a talent for cutting directly to the crux of things, no sugar coating or gloss, which is something I can definitely get behind; for that I applaud the band. Drug abuse, date rape, alcoholism, social injustice, the downward spiral of the Christian culture…not your usual rainbows-sunshine-and butterflies type stuff. Which, sadly, is what kept them from the greatness I feel they should have gotten.

American Standard is a great album. Angry, controversial, unsafe…it flies in the face of everything American Christianity is, and for that I applaud loudly.

Music Review: EAST WEST – The Light In Guinevere’s Garden

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EAST WEST - The Light In Guinevere's Garden

EAST WEST
The Light In Guinevere’s Garden
Sony
2001

There is a difference between rapcore and nu metal. The differences are subtle, but they’re there. Without delving too much into detail, East West’s mainstream label debut, The Light In Guinevere’s Garden, is nu metal, having more in common with Static X and Drowning Pool than Limp Bizket and P. O. D. Yes, there’s rapping, but that’s only a minor inclusion to the music. There’s the multi-layered production, the primal rhythmic playing, and melodic vocals and rage vocals complementing each other. Overall, this is a surprisingly solid release, for any fan of nu metal looking for something less dreary than Disturbed, Linkin Park and any other copycat band…

Music Review: XL & DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR – Sodom & America

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xl & death before dishonor - sodom & america
XL & DEATH BEFORE DISHONOR
Sodom & America
Brainstorm
1993

Think the Crucified with a rapper. This isn’t some simple sounds-like description: XL & DBD really is the Crucified with a rap artist on lead vocals. Thus making ‘Sodom And America’ the earliest rapcore hybrid on the CCM market.

What sets ‘Sodom And America’ apart from the current glut of other acts these days is the fact that it’s a true hybrid: a punk thrash band collaborating with a rapper, instead of a band searching for a certain sound. XL & DBD would be what Ice T’s side band Body Count was like, had Body Count actually been good instead of a pathetic novelty act. While I’m not a big fan of rapcore in general, what I am a fan of is a good guitar groove. And good guitar grooves is what ‘Sodom And America’ is chock full of. Good, thick and meaty grooves melded with some infectious rapping from XL (and sometimes Mark Solomon), and rather militant lyrics swarming together for a good solid listen straight through. And the sound doesn’t seem to get monotonous, just…good. And since I’m in the habit of mentioning my choice cuts from CDs, the ones on ‘Sodom And America’ are “Brother To The Saboteur”, “Sodom And America”, “Kiss Of Chaos” (that one’s extra dark, I love it), “Death Before Dishonor”, “Die (That Settles It)”, “Woman” and “Afrocka”.

I’d wager a bet that most fans of Limp Bizkit would get into this recording. Belly up, boys. . .

Music Review: BRIDE – Fist Full Of Bees

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bride fist full of bees
BRIDE
Fist Full Of Bees
Absolute
2001

I understand that those who grew up in the ’90s have a way different concept of metal than those of us who hit puberty in the 80s, and knowing that some people discovered Bride around either Drop or The Jesus Experience, when they were all “modern rock”. Of course, Fist Full Of Bees is going to seem like a drastic switch of style. That’s nothing new, actually. You see, I remember the Snakes In The Playground Bride. Even that, there are more fans that remember the glam metal Live To Die-era Bride of the mid-80s.

That said, I understand the inclination to slag Bride as trend jumpers instead of musical innovators. The past fifteen years or so, they seem to release albums stylized as pop music culture dictates, and at the time this CD was released, it seemed they were riding out the rapcore / nu metal wave. I understand the need to experiment and grow as musicians, but to latch on to the current trend and downplay, almost denounce what you’ve done before is detrimental to credibility.

Not that there’s nothing positive to say about Fist Full Of Bees. The music is well-produced, as well, and the band seems to have a good grasp on the style. To be fair, Dale Thompson doesn’t rap throughout the entire thing (then again, he doesn’t wail like I remember him doing), and when he does, it’s actually a bit decent. The album does have a good groove to it, with the guitars and rhythm handled very well. And, for their credit, the guys haven’t backed down from their lyrical stance, still being the same thought-provoking and intelligent lyrics found on any Bride album, 1986 to now. Although, with Dale Thompson’s recent switch to Universalism, I would caution on the side of discernment when reading them, even though there’s nothing blatant involving its doctrines…

Would I personally listen to Fist Full Of Bees? Not often. I might pop it in once in a while, just for something different. Would I encourage those who’s exposure to metal has been a little more recent, to bands like Kid Rock, P. O. D., Limp Bizquick and Korn? Sure. Enjoy. Just don’t start whining like I do when the next Bride offering turns out to be way different than this…