Huntress Leads A Festive Metal Assault

Forget about hiring a sad party clown like Chuggo and get yourself Huntress for you next birthday bash!
(L to R: Guitarist Eli Santana, bassist Eric Harris, and vocalist Jill Janus)

The night of October 26 was somewhat eventful and also capped off Ugh Metal’s busy month. The night before, the overlord and founder of LA based metal site Metal Assault, Andrew Bansal celebrated his birthday back in his city’s home base. Bansal was a bro and decided that a one-and-done shindig was simply not enough and decided to extend his birthday festivities into the Brick By Brick with Huntress. Talk about better to give than to receive, eh? So on that note, the night bolstered a great lineup that attracted any metalhead.

The night kicked off with a band that Ugh Metal has seen once before back in the summer, the metal upstart Meltdown. The Klown felt pretty stoked to see these paisas from Tijuana once again. Much like the last time, they delivered a solid opening for the night’s festivities. Even their warm-ups are awesome as hell, it even fooled The Klown into thinking the show was officially in full gear…again, till he caught.

Vocalist Ian Roa and bassist Daniel Cázares of Meltdown taking everyone above and beyond in Andrew Bansal’s birthday bash.

The Klown likes to assume that that’s a good way to market yourself in case you’re shy or if you have curious attendees wondering what the band is selling. The collective began strongly and immediately emphasized the spirit of the old school heavy metal that are synonymous with the likes of the legendary Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Accept.

One of the songs that the collective treated us in the beginning was “The Final Chapter.” The frontman/guitarist Ian “El Pelosauve” Roa tapped into his inner Niklas Isfeldt of Dream Evil for some grandiose high power metal vocals. Although this time Roa didn’t have to endure technical difficulties and do a quick stand up routine, he still did his job as a frontman. Roa hyped the present crowd, invited them to get near the stage for a closer look, and was thankful to the early birds. The appreciation fest would not end there.

Roa gave a quick shout out to the birthday man, himself. He called Bansal up and performed a modified version of “Las Mañanitas” as he walked towards the stage to give his thanks, greetings, and acknowledgement to all. The band continued the festivities with “Kill The Night” and featured some pretty bitchin’ guitar licks, and sweet drumming from Alfredo “El Peligroso” Acuña.

Ian Roa is just helping his buddy tune his guitar 😀

The night finished with “The Living Dead” where Roa really stood out, ran around like a madman on stage, and was very interactive with everyone. Hell, the Klown even got in on that action when Roa hijacked Acuña’s high hat and ran around with a drumstick to make sure that everyone, including yours truly, hit it before their time was up.

After Meltdown cooled off, Malison took the stage to resume this jamboree. Malison should be familiar with y’all if you keep up with Ugh Metal. Aside from the name being tossed around a couple times prior, this would mark their second appearance in Ugh Metal. The trio from Oceanside became a quartet for that night’s festivities.

Malison charging the night some more!
(L to R: Guitarist Mario Lovio, bassist/vocalist Steven Rondina and guest guitarist Danny Fang)

Unlike last time, however, the band took in the services of Nightshadow’s Danny Fang as an additional guitarist to add some extra twang into the mix. The locals kicked off their performance with “Seeker” which featured Mario Lovio and Fang’s guitar skills. The collective also premiered songs that were new to most attendees and shared classic songs with their loyal supporters.

From their batch of hits were “Death Crawlers” and “Nightmare: Pursuit” which do justice to the power metal genre, and have a bit of a signature twist from Malison. “Beyond The Sun” is still great to hear especially because it was upbeat, and highlighted Steven Rodina’s vocals and bass.

Go Steven Go!

Speaking of Rodina, he’d keep the crowd riled up and controlled through his charisma, jokes and humility. Much like Meltdown, he extended his gratitude and wished Bansal a happy birthday. The band closed out with their theme song “Malison” which featured Lovio’s multiple solos and tradeoffs with Fang. Malison, just like last time, stood and delivered strongly and left fans satisfied, and gained more followers that night.

As the locals vacated the stage, the all female quartet from across the pond took the stage. “What are you talking about Klown?” He is talking about JOANovARC, plebian! Just like the historical figure that they named themselves after, they came and conquered. It is worth noting that this was their first time in the U.S. and had a mini tour. The best part of that deal is that we, as in those who went AND the Klown, were fortunate to be present for it.

Bow down to JOANovARC!
(L to R: Rhythm guitarist/vocalist Laura Ozholl, vocalist/bassist Sam Walker, and lead guitarist/backing vocals Shelley Walker )

San Diego also happened to be the final stop of their tour. With all that to digest, the hard rock group began their siege and broke in the crowd with some songs from their 2016 debut LP (Ride Of Your Life) such as “This Way.” During this performance, Lead vocalist/bassist Sam Walker, and rhythm guitarist/vox Laura Ozholl released their voices to the masses.

It would be a disservice if the Klown didn’t talk about lead guitarist/backup-vox Shelley Walker. This woman was a spectacle because she wasn’t simply rocking out and dishing out guitar solos, the guitarist got the crowd moving by engaging them. In fact, some audience members that began to trickle in caught a glimpse of Shelley doing her thing and she would introduced the band to fans that were fashionably late. They also treated us to a feel good anthem called “Seeds Of Summer.” This was perfect because most times in San Diego we don’t even know when summer officially ends.

Shelley Walker of JOANovARC kicking ass and being outstandingly awesome!

The collective busted out a new song that night but, unfortunately, yours truly didn’t get the name of it. Still was catchy as hell though and featured all the stringed women singing together making their hard rock song into a harmonic and melodic one. The quartet dedicated “Girls Wanna Rock” to the other ladies that were present and also treated everyone to their catchy ode to the land of the rising sun with “Say Sayonara.”

JOANovARC were quite the display and even though they’re not “metal” enough for the elitists and staunch, they provided a nice change of pace you didn’t know you wanted. In fact, most peeps that saw these women present had a smile on their face like the drummer Debbie Wildish.

Deborah Wildish, badass drummer by night and Colgate poster child by day!

As mother England’s hidden gem cleared, the stage was being set for the hunt. A face that Ugh Metal and San Diego is familiar with, Eli Santana, stepped out alongside the other members of Huntress and began to shred away. As guitarist Blake Meahl and Santana shredded, the femme fatale known as Jill Janus came out and graced everyone with her presence before letting out some powerful alto-soprano vocals for the start of “Sorrow.”

Things picked up some more when Huntress dished out their first hits from their 2012 debut studio album “Spell Eater.” Janus even ditched her fancy jacket to show how serious she was about the enchanting us.

Jill Janus of Huntress is fierce! Werk it gurl!

The night got better when Janus took a breather and announced that they would be playing a new song from an upcoming album that they’ve been working on. On that note, the band performed the ironically titled “Oh I Know It’s Bad” which can be described as a throwback to the old hard rock sounds and compositions popularized by ZZ Top and Heart.

A bit after, Janus once again took a breather and introduced a song with an anecdote and the history behind it. For those who didn’t know or weren’t aware “I Want To Fuck You To Death” was written and gifted to Janus by our patron saint of metal, Lemmy Kilmister upon a meeting that they had years back. We all enjoyed the song so much that even the birthday man graced us all at the pit and joined in the festivities. Why not? It was his shindig, damn it!

Jill Janus of Huntress raised some hell and was summoning very epic birthday wishes of the metal kind!

Before performing the rest of the set, Janus and company took the time to thank everyone and gave Bansal some birthday wishes. For those who don’t keep up with Metal Assault, Janus and Bansal have a long standing friendship so the Grand Poobah of Metal Assault wasn’t just going to get a simple “happy birthday.”  No sir, Bansal was summoned to the stage, was serenaded a metal version of “Happy Birthday,” was given a shot of some good stuff as Janus stood in front of him to cheer and shimmy, and wished him a happy birthday before pecking him on the cheek.

Huntress give the man of the hour and Metal Assault overlord, Andrew Bansal, a happy birthday wish he won’t forget!
(L to R” Guitarist Eli Santana, vocalist Jill Janus, Metal Assault overlord/birthday boy Andrew Bansal, and bassist Eric Harris )

After the Maharaja of Metal Assault departed, Huntress took it back to their debut album again by performing “Children.” Huntress capped off their performance with their most recognizable hit from the same album, “Eight Of Swords” in which Janus mesmerized everyone with her siren like screams as well as her appearance. Much like some of the songs before this one, Janus would have her signature golden blonde hair flowing like a witch harnessing some power before unleashing it to hex someone.

She put a spell on us!

After the “Eight Of Swords” was performed, the Klown witnessed an ending he’s not accustomed to seeing. Janus ordered Santana, Meahl and bassist Eric Harris to drop to the floor and give her 20 push-ups! Janus added that it should be known that “Huntress is a tough mistress and needs to keep her men in shape.” Huntress’s skinman Tyler Meahl left his kit and stage and ignored Janus’s order which she simply quipped with “Uh-oh looks like someone needs a spanking!” We all laughed, as did she and thanked us once more before taking off altogether.

Huntress 4 eva! 
(L to R: Guitarist Eli Santana, vocalist Jill Janus, bassist Eric Harris and guitarist Blake Meahl)

The Trials of December 1, 2017

Honorable Mention

ChthoniC Reveal a Revolutionary Contemporary

Depending on your feelings of ChthoniC’s discography, their hiatus is a little tricky. But for those who’re like the Klown and are a fan of the Taiwanese titans then the wait… shall continue, unless you live in Taiwan or are in the Asian continent. If you haven’t heard, ChthoniC has been busy and full of surprises. Aside from frontman Freddy Lim venturing into politics in Taiwan, the band has gotten back together and has surprised us all. First, the Klown should say that the band have teamed up with D. Randall Blythe for two big projects. On that note, Lamb Of God’s prolific frontman is starring in a comedy with the band titled Tshiong.

The other collaboration with Blythe brings us to this brief excerpt which is a brand new EP titled 失落的令旗 (The Lost Flag): Souls of the Revolution which was released through Ciong Zo Records. Now, the reason why it’s an honorable mention, the Klown has only had the chance to listen to one song “Souls of the Revolution” which was written by Blythe and Lim because so far that’s all that’s been released. The song resembled the sounds of their 2011 Takasago Army album. Unfortunately though, it’s only available in Asia at this time. No word if they plan on releasing in the West yet. Good news for those that are impatient,  there’s a way to get it here, if you really wanna bite the bullet.

Shadow Realm Give Light to Their First

If you haven’t heard of Shadow Realm that’s okay, that’s what the Klown’s services are for. The Australian quintet known as Shadow Realm has been around for a little over 5 years and has made some noise in the metal scene. Although it’s been 2 years since the band released an EP, the debut of their studio has been officially released. The name of that first album is War On The Archons and it was released independently.

The album begins with an intro with Tim Robinson’s keys and created a melancholic, and intriguing composition that resonate more with a movie and will leave you curious. The intro immediately transitions to “Satanic Twin” which gives you some progressive thrash metal. The track alone features Torsha Khan’s powerful clean vocals which had a ton of feeling to really get you invested, and are accompanied by Matt Gillick’s powerful guitar riffs and solo.

“Dead Space” features more thrash metal than prog for the most part and really highlights Pahl Hodgson’s bass,  Constantinos “Con” Koutsouliotas’s double kicks, with the addition of Gillick’s solos which resemble that of Thomas Youngblood of Kamelot. The band  adopts a power prog approach in “The Awakening” and primarily highlights Gillick and Koutsouliotas’s guitar solos and drumming prowess, respectfully. This track also contains Robinson’s keys as a foundation and the tone of the song. It is worth noting that it is the album’s longest track at 9-plus minutes.

“Moloch Domain” had Khan briefly sporting some harsh vocals to emphasize gloomy aspects of the song. This song also features  an awesome solo from Gillick that would be able to fair with that of Herman Li’s or Sam Totman’s of DragonForce. The album finishes with “Shadows From Within” which has a faster and thrash metal approach, the Klown would best describe it as if Firewind and Rush had a baby.

The song also has Hodgson’s bass stand out more and really accompany the aggressive approach of the song. This album was outta left field and fresh to hear. The band does a great job expanding and adapting sounds to their brand of power metal and can have an impression on hard power metal aficionados. You can either check these guys out on Spotify or take the plunge here.

5 Out of 6, Sign Us Up for Victory!

Malvento Breathe Some Life into their Latest

The Italian black metal quintet known as Malvento have returned with their fourth album titled Pneuma through Third-I-Rex records. Right from the beginning, the band set the mood with “Pneuma (intro)” which sounds rather ghastly and dark. It is then followed by “Notte” which sports a long beginning that resemble that of the black metal masters of horror, Carach Angren. Unlike Carach Angren, Malvento keep it tame by comparison and has bassist/vox Luigi “Zin” della Rossa showing off his soft, distorted auto tuned vocals.

“La Vita Sinistra” has the band feature some sounds similar to that of Mayhem’s Chimara album but more ambient and has their drummer 7Se7en5 adding aggressive cymbal clashing that doesn’t cause any deterrence from the song. “L’Incanto,” although ambient and more intimate thanks to the shruti box, seemed more like a Gothic metal track. This track features Gianluca Martucci of Urna and he doesn;t hold back and blends his percussion skills with Nefastus’s slow riffs.

“Vortex” takes the Industrial approach and features another guest musician Bathory Legion to do some vocal work alongside Whip’s synths and programming. Legion would once again make an appearance in the purely industrial instrumental song titled “Apuania.” “Le Danze” has the band sporting some black metal similar to that of an early Rotting Christ. The album finishes just how it began with “Il Risveglio (outro).”

Not a bad come back from the Italian five-piece, it showcased their current sounds of Industrial and black metal. The Klown definitely recommends this album for those who enjoy experimental black metal/industrial. You can get your copy here and see for yourself.

5 out of 6, Will Leave You Breathless

Judgemental Release their First

Oh look kids, the Klown found another independent release! The Klown ran into this gem and thought he’d share it with y’all. The band from Little Rock known as Judgemental has released their debut studio titled Empires Fall. The album begins with a sound bite intro titled “A Boxcar and Jug O’ Wine” which then transitions strongly into some thrash metal bliss in the form of “Desperate Plea.” “Desperate Plea” features some powerful vocals and an awesome solo from Steve Mental.

Raise your hands if you are a fan of Judas Priest! Don’t be shy now because the band taps into their inner Priest with “Breaking the Chains.” At first the Klown thought it was a cover of Dokken’s song but when he heard this song, he thought that these gents had managed to get a Priest song he’s never heard of or managed to get Rob “the Metal God” Halford as a guest vocalist. The Klown can also say the same about “Search For Self” with the difference being if Halford had become the new frontman for Pantera.

The trio taps into their inner Metallica with “Broken Angel” and much like Metallica they start off slow before turning a 180 picking up the pace to end on a high note. The difference between Metallica and Judgemental is that these guys manage to keep it in under 5 minutes proving that short is sweet and gets to the point. The album finishes with “Empires Fall” which sounded like a supped version of a Megadeth song with extra bass playing and really highlighted Brock Calvert’s drumming.

This album was a great start from the trio and really taps into the old guard’s nostalgia. The Klown would highly recommend this band if you fancy yourself a thrasher at heart. The Klown would also definitely recommend this band if you are a fan of Pantera, Judas Priest and Kreator. Lastly, you can check this latest out in Judgement’s Bandcamp to buy, listen or both!

6 out of 6 Bringing Back the Spirit of Thrash

Morbid Angel Release a New One at Long Last

The saga that was Morbid Angel has been an interesting one, to put it nicely. It’s been over 6 years since the divisive Illud Divinum Insanus was released and saw David Vincent part ways rather unceremoniously with the group. Flash forward to now and Morbid Angel has returned with Kingdoms Disdained through Silver Lining Records. The other cool thing about this brand new release, in case you didn’t check out when Morbid Angel was featured in Ugh Metal prior to this, the band brought back Steve Tucker to be at the helm.

Anyway, enough fluff and straight to the deetz! The album begins with “Piles of Little Arms.” The beginning was robust and really features Scott Fuller’s fast and powerful drumming accompanied with Trey Azagtoth’s shredding topped with Tucker’s identifiable vocals and bass. While “The Righteous Voice” and “Declaring New Law (Secret Hell)” revisit the sounds of the Heretic and feels rather appropriate given the fact that Tucker is at the helm once again. The song also transitions straight away to “Architect and Iconoclast.”

Paradigms Warped” is the song that has been representing this album for some time now. If the song doesn’t sounds familiar right off the bat, it’s because Tucker had been performing it as simply “Warped.” “The Pillars Crumbling” and For No Master” has the band sounding like a Six Feet Under song. While “From the Hand of Kings” sounded like a Cannibal Corpse song. The album caps off strongly  just how it began with “The Fall Of Idols.”

This album was great and definitely met the Klown’s expectations and anticipation. If you fancy yourself a Morbid Angel fan or claim to be a huge death metal fan, then you’d be foolish not to check this out. Lastly, you can check this album on Spotify and buy it here.

6 Out of 6, The Kings are Back!

Avatar Bring the Freak Show to San Diego

Avatar showed us how they do a freak show in Avatar Country!
(L to R: Bassist Henrik Sanderlin, drummer John Alfredsson, vocalist/ the Klown’s compadre Johannes Eckerström and guitarist Tim Öhrström)

The Ugh Metal hooligans wore their Sunday best and headed over to the carnival or should I say the freak show! For once, the divalicious duo known as Jenny Oh and the Klown were not the stars of this particular freak show but they were still giddy. Oh, you didn’t know about this spectacle? Why it was on Oct.22 at the Brick By Brick! Still not ringing a bell? Well let me enlighten you ladies and germs!

This circus was no ordinary circus and it became a reunion of a sort because it was a show in which the Klown’s former clown college buddy headlined. That’s right the Klown got to see his buddy’s budding project and his band’s name shine brightly on the marquee. You probably haven’t heard of them but they go by the name of Avatar 😉 But before the hooligans could be wowed by the eccentric quintet, their excitement was set on “Overdrive” by their local heavy metal heroes.

Jenny Oh: Man! It’s been a good year to be us! PSYCHE! It’s always great to be us especially when we get to see other First Impressions alumni in action. We were not the only gruesome twosome in da haus!

Chuggo the Klown: Minus the gruesome part, it was Tzimani. The Klown shall take his nose off for the brotherly duo. Why? Before you start prying the rhetorical question, they stepped up big time when they were called in. They surprised us all when vocalist/guitarist Eddie Vazquez announced that they were the only other band on the bill. It was their best time to shine. Kudos to you Vazquez brothers!

First Impressions alumni/hometown heroes Tzimani stepped up to the place and putour excitement on “Overdrive”
(L to R: Drummer Sebastian Vazquez and guitarist/frontman Eddie Vazquez)

J: Tzimani set up shop, and made that stage their biatch! Soon enough they began playing songs that were not included in their demo such as “Overdrive,” and dished out their hits “Final Hour” and “Get Me Out Of Here” which are available in their demo. These bros emitted a tremendous confidence and were still glowing from their recent inaugural American tour.

C: Right you are disgruntled one. “We Are The One” and “Endless Road” were among the new batch of songs that the Klown had the pleasure of hearing for the first time. The Klown was even surrounded by people who had never heard of this duo and talked about them right after.

“Get Me Out Of Here” said no one during Tzimani’s set!

J: Why would I be disgruntled especially after watching Tzimani?! While Eddie stirred our hearts and limbs with his vocals and riffs, drummer Sebastian Vazquez fed this vigorous set with more life causing everyone’s energy level to be on maximum “Overdrive”! *looks into non-existent camera and winks* You get it?!

Sebastian Vazquez of Tzimani charged us with tons of energy, we were more energetic than the San Onofre boobies!

(cont.): Anyway, Eddie and Sebastian turned the pit into a mini dance floor. That’s right everyone, not one metalhead was spared from the dancing bug when Tzimani was on that stage. Tzimani’s mind blowing and intoxicating performance may have ripped the fabric of time, and space, and ended too soon, but alas these gentlemen made way for your Swedish compadre’s band.

Eddie Vazquez of Tzimani giving us one last shout for their last hoorah.

C: Yeah, their performance was solid. Once again, it was great that those guys filled in when they were called up! But now the Klown must talk about a fellow clown, and the Klown’s former college roommate who happens to have a band now.

J: Good to see he kept the spirit of the circus alive by playing a lot of Swedish nursery rhymes, and old timey music IN SWEDISH! What more could we want?!

C: Well… for one a phone call. We could have pregamed before the show. The Klown and Johannes Eckerström could have had a proper reunion of the Lambda Omicron Lambda house! Two… well, the Klown can’t really think of another thing to ask for.

The Klown’s old college buddy, Johannes Eckerström and his unknown band called Avatar came to town. You heard of em?

J: Johannes is off to bigger and better things, he don’t wanna hang with you no more! After we all warmed ourselves up with these fun lil tunes, Avatar went in for the kill and started with “Hail The Apocalypse.” I was not expecting our favorite freaks to drop this hit so soon into the set. But no complaints here!

C: Up yours! Johannes and the Klown are good friends and were great frat brothers! L.O.L. fun as hell! Oh… the Klown now gets the frat motto. In these troubled times of political turmoil, Johannes offered us citizenship to Avatar Country for those worthy enough. Of course the Klown’s history will make him a first priority for Avatar Country. Luckily the requirement for this application was to join Johannes with their national anthem, “New Land.”

Our fashionable Avatar Country spirit guide.

J: SHUT UP AND TAKE MY ‘MERICANISM! I have a feeling that my citizenship will not be too  far beyond this new day and you bet I will be singing this “New Land” at the top of my lungs loudly and proudly while I start anew in Avatar Country! I shall pick a villa where “The Eagle Has Landed” and sing this popular hit too. But the ever so generous Avatar didn’t just belt out their current hits, they blasted us to the past, and unleashed more classics!

C: Either way Johannes knew the Klown well and sang one of his favorite songs, “Bloody Angel.” But the one thing that happened that totally emphasized the fun loving clown in the frat house was his love of dancing and insisted that everyone join him for the surf rock anthem “Tooth, Beak and Claw.” “Dance, San Diego, Dance!” he yelled out and man did he get what he wanted.

How could we say no to that face?

J: We were all part of a 60’s beach montage soon enough! But we were no match for Johannes in this dance contest. Avatar added a hint of darkness to this fun fest and took us out to the “Black Waltz” and also performed “Paint Me Red.” MORE CLASSICS PLS!

C: The Klown doesn’t want to admit this but Johannes honored the clownhood better than the Klown and the U.S. Prez. He donned Pagliachi’s famous garbs and made the Klown feel… feelings with “Fiddler’s Farewell.”

Johannes channelling his inner Pagliachi…no YOU are crying!

J: We were a glass case of emotions! That Pagliachi costume was MUAH! Perfection! With this outfit, Johannes managed to add a subtle touch of lightheartedness to this heartbreaking anthem. Not that he needed extra outfits, and bells and other fancy stuff to enhance his performance. Your compadre also added a lot of heart in to the “Snow Lies Red.” “I will remember you, San Diego.” He said when he finished performing this song. *Swoons* Isn’t he dreamy?

C: Of course, he would. One thing that should go without saying is when the band took a breather. The Klown’s brochacho acknowledged Ugh Metal’s city by stating that when the presales were taking place, the band was being persuaded to cancel because they had only sold 17 tickets prior to the day.

NO BOOING!

(cont.): Of course, some booed and Johannes simply halted the jeers by saying, “Why are you booing? You’re already here. There’s no point in booing when you’re already here!” He also poked fun at the fact that the show was on a Sunday night and how everyone else could be spending their time doing something else and said he would turn on some Netflix to watch Gilmore Girls.

J: I’m glad they persevered and in true San Diego fashion, the venue filled up on the day of. It is in our nature to procrastinate and to be indecisive 😉 This stop was their last headlining show till they shared the stage with In This Moment for their remaining dates. This deal was sweeter than cotton candy and tequila gummy bears combined! So with that said Avatar continued to make our blood boil with excitement with one of the most highly demanded song “For The Swarm.”

Bassist Henrik Sanderlin, vocalist/ the Klown’s compadre Johannes Eckerström, and guitarist Tim Öhrström rile up the swarm.

C: As much as the Klown has been emphasizing Johannes’s dedication to clowndom, the Klown has neglected the rest of the band who also had a huge input visually. Like the times Jonas Jarlsby kicked off some songs, did his solos or would either be face to face with Johannes, and how guitarist Tim Öhrström, bassist Henrik Sandelin and their eccentric skinsman John Alfredsson would also be playful.

J: Awww yeah! It takes a team to run a proper freak show and they did it so great especially when they all froze after finishing up a song and built the anticipation. Yes, there was plenty of giggling from our part as the quintet stood perfectly still like mannequins. Well poor Alfredsson had a mean hand cramp and discretely shook his hand as he stayed in character. Kudos to him! When these guys weren’t wowing us with their playful showmanship, they were having a lot of fun and poking fun at each other.

Ladies and gentlemen, our heroes have returned again!…Well actually they were SD virgins 😉

C: Well… it “Smells Like a Freak Show.” At least that’s what the fellow clown said before performing. The Klown became a little self-conscious regarding that because he swears he showered before going to the show. Good to know that Johannes still practices the teaching of Pennywise and busted out the red balloons. The Klown envies his piousness. The best part was when we got a little bit of the Blues that night.

The Klown is overjoyed to see his buddy Johannes Eckerström praise IT!

J: Stick ‘em up for “Black Water”! This was a showdown we were waiting for a long time son. Avatar’s show of oddities was to die for and was the hottest and most underrated show this year but their faithful legion showed up threefold that night despite of the pessimistic presale numbers.

C: It’s a great thing that that didn’t stop the band in general. In fact, we received the best news of the night. That news was that of Johannes announcing that they would be returning with more acts next time. He liked what he saw, we impressed him, and he said that we could all brag about the time we saw them before they did when they return because we’re Californians and love that hipster shit. He’s not half wrong.

This article is not all about Johannes, its about Avatar’s timeless friendship and the Klown’s delusional one.
(Guitarist Jonas Jarlsby, vocalist/the Klown’s “compadre” Johannes Eckerström and guitarist Tim Öhrström)

C (cont.):It was great seeing these guys and, as if it hasn’t been emphasized enough, this was one hell of a show. For those who pondered, you missed out on a great show. All we can do is cross our finger and look out to for the next time the freak show lands again. As for the Klown, he just wishes Johannes would have had the time to catch up a bit and is looking forwards to Avatar Country this January!

Fin

The Trials of Nov. 24, 2017

Honorable Mention: The Adicts Show Us A Different Side In Latest 

ANOTHER record that slipped our buttery fingers! GAH! And a high profile one too! How could we neglect our favorite jokers?! That’s okay, we make mistakes or 10 but we are only human, humans that couldn’t wait for this record. The Adicts debut their latest  And It Was So! on Nov.17 under the the Nuclear Blast Records. That’s right, you’d know if you kept up with the interwebs. How was that so? Well not even Nuclear Blast could resist these jolly fellows.

The Adicts start this newest festivity with their hit “Picture The Scene,” which never gets old and show you their classic cheery selves. The super catchy “If You Want It” will give you the dancing bug while “Fucked Up World,” and “Gimme Something To Do” crank up the subtle punky angst they’re so great at!

These seasoned eccentric punkers take a different turn in the lovelorn wild child “Love Sick Baby” and “Deja Vu” because they possess a slow burning sensual 80’s Iggy Pop vibe. Keith “Monkey” Warren switches his upbeat vocals to a devious baritone who is just waiting to wow you a different way. It was a very pleasant surprise, more of this!   And It Was So! is more brazen than their previous albums which gives me more reasons to be exciting…especially because they use naughty words! Tee hee! Listen to the whole album on Spotify and get your copy here!

6 Out 6, And it was whoa!

**NOW BACK TO YOUR REGULAR PRE-GAMING!..I mean programming**

Taake Reigns With ‘Kong Vinter’

Winter is finally here! And she has brought to us Taake’s highly anticipated album Kong Vinter which was released via Dark Essence Records. Just ‘cause us ‘Mericans didn’t have the chance to see the legendary Taake this year, it doesn’t mean they were sitting around doing nothing. Aside from hitting up the rest of the world, they were hard at work producing this jewel. But does this jewel shine brightly? Buckle up, ‘cause here we go!

Taake will induce nostalgia to trves with that raw intro riff in “Sverdets Vei” which is followed by their first single “Inntrenger,” which is still exciting to hear and will make you dive head first in to the rest of this album. “Huset I Havet” will give you all the right chills and thrills not just because of the atmospheric howling and growling but because Hoest creates a barrage of instrumentals that blend in so great, they’ll blow you away.

The predominantly instrumental “Maanebrent” treads carefully allowing Hoest’s musical prowess to shine brighter than the metaphorical sunlit snow. If you are still itching for the best of all worlds, the final 10 minute track “Fra Bjoergegrend Mot Glemselen” is the cure. It has everything you see, black metal magick, snow, Hoest’s signature vocals and an amazing musical ensemble.

Taake’s latest gets in touch with a magick much stronger than Santa and Merlin’s. Kong Vinter reaches out for an ancient spirituality and it achieves this transcendence that includes the listener. Am I being too extra? You be the judge and listen to the album on Spotify and you if you decide to pledge your sword for Taake, get your copy here.

6 out of 6, Long live the ‘Kong’!

Wulfband Start A Dance Revolution With Latest

Wulfband are back to rescue you from perpetual boredom with their sophomore album Revolter released via Progress Productions. Wulfband will release die hunden and get your blood pumping with “Lass Die Hunden Los” and their hit “Full Frontal Sabotage.” Theses naughty lil rascals will make you wanna join this dance party AND liven up your dance party.

Wha? You can’t be tired already! This dancy revolution is just getting started and I guarantee you that “Kaos MF” will not only make you want to chant the awesome chorus but it will also keep you in a dance trance. BUT WAIT! There’s more! There’s another anthem in this album that is also an EBM ode called “Das Ist Musik” which is a track that will perfectly compliment your black light body paint. If you haven’t got any go ahead and buy some, I’ll wait.

While you were gone soothing your body paint needs, the Swedish duo made sure the party didn’t end just there and dropped a bomb ass track called “Kpt. Kaboom.” This Captain is far more powerful than any bombs and farts combined and will blow listeners away. “Total” is playful as hell, its bursting with a calculated rhythm while “Basta” and “Platzmachen” have off the chart energy, they can power up a whole city! AND definitely beats our hellhound Brydoh in this category of steady momentum!

Revolter is not only a party animal but it is also the life of the party, and is guaranteed to show you a great time. Like most wild childs, this light hearted album is the cool cyber goth friend you know you’re gonna have a fun and crazy night with. Wild rave stories, here I come! You can binge on this album on Spotify and snag the album here to compliment your glow sticks and cyber goth mask.

6 out of 6, DANCE PUPPETS DANCE! *Does the cabbage patch dance with glow sticks*

Anguis Dei Will Open Many Doors With Debut EP

The elusive Ur Èmdr Oervn, the mastermind of the AAAA collective (Arkha Sva, Avsolutized, Ahpdegma), debuts the EP titled Ad Portas Serpentium for his fourth project in this invasion of A’s called Anguis Dei. The four track EP slammed open that Porta via Svart Records and it’s on a campaign to convert new fans.

Anguis Dei start off with the cinematic black metal hymn “Maythorns over Uroboros” which might have some casual metalheads feel as if they are listening to a more extreme Cradle of Filth song but with thicker vocals from Oervn. This first track will lure you deeper in to this gateway where you will find the right balance between theatrics and aggression. Staying on the COF-esque role is “Angela Krudeliis Ambitiosa Nokturniis” which continues to sound like a rougher rendition of Filth, you bet we’re still lapping this EP up!

Anguis Dei adds a touch of elegance with the piano dominated instrumental piece “Origin.” This track is fit for any gothic horror story and slowly snowballs before flinging you in to “The Lionel.” Though there is no “smooth” transition per se, but the sudden and brutal commencement of this track works so well AND Oervn bellows out a high pitch battle cry Filth would be proud of. There is no in between here!

In this new project, Ur Èmdr Oervn offers a dramatic and structured new saga that not only balances his black metal roots with extreme gothic metal but is also bursting with a hunger to explore musically. Are you excited yet? The J-Ohster sure is if it wasn’t too obvi by now! You can listen to EP on Spotify and get your copy here.

6 Out of 6, HODOR!

KMFDM Are Back For More

Lucia Cifarelli and Sasha Konietzko of KMFDM giving us more reasons to say “Hell Yeah”

We are still riding high on our Industrial craving and needless to say that KMFDM hit the spot. We slapped on our cyber goth masks in hopes of being cool and headed down to the San Diego House of Blues on Oct.20 for this affair. Yes KMFDM may have been the name shining brightly in the marquee but this night was filled with another legend and a big surprise!

Eager fans were waiting to throw their horns up in the air and give in to the neon lights of this bash but KMFDM threw a pleasant curve ball by having their merch man Andrew “Ocelot” Lindsley open the show with his rhymes. That’s right, expect the unexpected kids! Ocelot rapped under his crew Distorted Crown and with their booing and bitching, most attendees welcomed the performance after the “WTF” factor faded. It was a pleasant surprised and a nice change of pace.

Some audience members morphed in to insufferable children. Even during the brief booing (I’m looking at you, whining man child behind us), Lindsley carried on with his passionate performance like a true professional. Ocelot trolled the haters and asked the crowd “How many of you are pissed that you’re at a rap show?” he asked while he kept his amusement at bay.

Ocelot of Distorted Crown ignoring his haters and carrying on with the show like true G!

The rapper interwove powerful political messages and social issues we are facing today, and denounced white supremacy before kindly giving them a big “Fuck You” while raising his middle finger in the air, everyone else followed. Who knew middle fingers would be raised for a positive message? ‘Cause fuck those putos! Though Ocelot was not on the bill, it was a sobering and pleasant surprise. Loosen up people!

Once Ocelot was done stirring the pot, we got weird with OhGr. For those that are not familiar with this act let me just say that front man Kevin Ogilvie…WHOOPS! I mean Nivek Ogre, is an eccentric artist that sometimes keeps himself busy with his other little known industrial band called Skinny Puppy. Not sure if you’ve heard of it? You have?! Well we’re off to a good start then!

Ogre lets his hair down in OhGr and created a magnetic mystique about him along with his lively counterparts. This intrigue was cranked to the max with the otherworldly and contagious “maJik” not just because the song has a Lynchian vibe but also because Ogre became a mystery man. The frontman dawned a featureless mask as he performed the song before he stopped teasing our brown nosing happy asses and removed it. After the big reveal, Ogre stared out at the crowd with a seemingly stone face but anyone could see the mischief bubbling beneath the surface.

Nivek Ogre of OhGr showing his fans he’s #1

Ogre continued to give us more Lynchian trips with “Eyecandy” and even dedicated a song to the Ugh Metal fools. That’s right, Ohgr knows us and loves us so much, he sang one of many theme songs our theme song “Nitwitz.” GAHH! Okay maybe he didn’t actually dedicate it to us but if we had a soundtrack, you bet this song would be there. If our hellhounds had a personal soundtrack, they would have “Dog” in their soundtrack because we know that song would play when they are up to no good! And we HAD to have our dose of “Water” and “Devil.” YUMM!!

Ogre is a master of this artistic craft not just because of his impressive repertoire but because he knows how to reel in fans and casual viewers alike. Ogre pulls you in with his subtle interpretive dancing, his playful interactions, and his theatrical gestures. He even adopted a papier-mâché spider-stick thing a fan handed to him! No word when these two will be hitting the road to officially celebrate the papier-mâché’s addition. Anyway, for those that have not seen OhGr in action, you are missing out.

Ogre shows off their latest member!

We loosened up with OhGr and were limber enough to shake our bootys to KMFDM! The metaphorical neon carpet was rolled out for the legendary industrial band as the grandiose intro to “D.I.Y” filled the venue. The silhouettes of founder/vocalist Sascha Konietzko and vocalist Lucia Cifarelli were the shadowy beacons in the light. Together, they scanned the sea of eager fans while they stood with regality and authority. Konietzko and Cifarelli were ready to give us the long awaited sermon we’ve been aching for and commanded us to let our “Freak Flag” fly!

Did we want more KMFDM?! “Hell Yeah” we did! Did we get more?! “Hell Yeah!” And that song is exactly what we got which was just as empowering as it was in their latest record. Wut? You didn’t know they still pumped out music?! No prob, casual listeners here’s a shameless self promo and check out what we thought about it here. Because we are morbid mofos KMFDM dedicated “Glam, Glitz, Guts & Gore” while Cifarelli nursed our broken hearts with “Murder My Heart.”

Sascha Konietzko and Lucia Cifarelli of KMFDM encouraging us to let our “Freak Flags” fly!

It wouldn’t be a KMFDM show without their classics! And so they delivered “WWIII,” unloaded “Stray Bullet,” gave us “A Drug Against War,” and capped off the night strongly with “Hau Ruck.” Konietzko and Cifarelli’s switch offs were done so great. Konietzko sung every song with a contagious jurisdiction and when he wasn’t taking over vocals, he kept watch over his mixing board while combing the crowd with a cigarette in his mouth.

Cifarelli was a living magnet and could effortlessly catch anyone’s eye.  When the frontwoman wasn’t taking over with her melodic vocals and occasional growls, she was dancing and prowling and posing all over the stage. Lest we forget their touring guitarist Andee Blacksugar who was pouring all his riffy sugar on us! KMFDM are still loud and proud and are vibrant than ever. They are still an unstoppable industrial powerhouse, and will probably still be shouting their anthems even after WWIII happens and even after the Mecha-bigfoots take over.

Andee Blacksugar poured lots o’ sugar on us 😉

The Trials of Nov.17, 2017

Godflesh Strip Down In  ‘Post Self’

Godflesh’s  Post Self  (Avalanche Records) is ready to take you to a deeper and darker extremity. Don’t bother with those flashlights! We don’t need ‘em where we’re going. The album starts off with the ambient single “Post Self” which is a great start in this Lynchian album. Oh yes, I think I will be using the term “Lynchian,” a lot and not just here but in other stuff and its valid ‘cause it’s in the world renowned J-Ohster Dictionary.

Like I mentioned earlier, “Mirror Of Finite Light” is a great build up and ambient AF. This track serves as a great precursor to the subtly cinematic and instrumental tracks in this album such as “Be God,” and “Mortality Sorrow.” “Parasite,” shows us its slimy little fangs and is ready to drag us in to the creepy looking lab where this evil morsel fled from with “No Body.” In the tracks I just mentioned, Justin K. Broderick shows us just how guttural his growls can get!

Bassist/ programmer G.C. Green continues to adds the right amount of suspense with his mixing board and adds an extra heaviness with his bass. This suspenseful album is filled with more mystery, instrumentals and dread than the previous album. This is a psychological thriller we all want to star in! Get your copy here and you can listen to the whole album in Spotify.

6 out of 6, Thrilling

Coraxo Burns Brightly With ‘Sol’ 

Finland shows that Gothenburg isn’t the only place that can make great melodic death metal just take a look at Coraxo. The duo gives us plenty of light with their sophomore album Sol via Snow Wave Records where they add drops of different elements.

The album starts strongly with “Of Stars Reborn” where Finnish saxophonist Ilkka Ferm lends his skills, which not only blends in wonderfully with this track but it also enhances the dramatic element in this song.  “Helios” will make you do a double take and wonder if you’re listening to a Dark Tranquility track, wait till you hear the nice breakdown from guitarist/vocalist/programmer Tomi Toivonen. The aggression level is cranked up in “Sacrifices Made” where Toivonen busts out a thicker growl that blends in great with his riffs and Ville Vistbacka’s drumming.

Coraxo produced a strong album that is sure to keep you replaying this album. With each time you hit that “play” button, you will find a new song to love and dive deeper into their storytelling. You can check out the album in their Bandcamp and buy it there too!

6 out 6, Shines brighter than a diamond

Electric Wizard Have A ‘Bloody’ Good Album

Electric Wizard wants to paralyze you with their latest bloody good offering titled Wizard Bloody Wizard via Spinefarm Records. Even though doom season (AKA October) left us too soon, it doesn’t mean we can’t sprinkle a little bit of doominess to this season of awkward family gatherings!

“Necromania” bares a devious little smirk that is sure to set the fire in your loins on fire, hell any hippy sex cult would approve. You WILL “Hear The Sirens Scream” because the catchy and contagious riffs will have the power to lure any unsuspecting listener in to the arms of Electric Wizard. The quartet cranked up the doom in the last songs such as “Wicked Caresses” and “The Reaper.”

The very last track of this album “Mourning Of The Magicians” is fit for any badass funeral procession. I got to say this final 11 minute track is my favorite song of this album not just because Jus Oborn gave us a badass and empowering chorus “I’ll see you in hell,” but because it the band showcases their talent. YOU HAVE TO LISTEN TO IT! This album is dripping with a good amount of doom to keep you coming back for more. You can listen to the whole album on Spotify and get your copy here.

5 Out 6, Bloody Good!

**Uh Oh! The Klown has thrown in his two cents on…**

Cavalera Conspiracy Give Fans Reason with Latest

For those that are like the Klown and worship the ground Max Cavalera stands and walk on, then this is one of the best news this year. The Klown had the chance to see Roots be played in its entirety with the current Cavalera Conspiracy lineup, then the ever benevolent god that Max is would announce a new Cavalera Conspiracy album.

Flash forward to now and the release of Psychosis through Napalm Records finally arrived. Immediately, the album opens powerfully with “Insane” which gives you a full dose of fast-paced groove/thrash metal. Also worth noting that this album had a wide array of special guest starting with Mixhell ,which is the stage name of Max’s son Iggor, and Laima Leyton who worked on its intro. “Terror Tactics” feature a bit of Industrial influences mixed with the groove and thrash sounds that Max is known to have and includes an awesome solo by Marc Rizzo.

“Spectral War” has a lot more Industrial influences in the beginning and in between thanks to the programming and synths applied by Dominick Fernow of Vatican Shadow. Fernow would once again make a reappearance with “Hellfire” and “Excruciating.”  “Hellfire” was completely Industrial like Nailbomb and also featured Godflesh’s Justin Broadrick, while “Excruciating” featured guest vocals from Liquid Metal’s DJ Jose Mangin, and “Crom” was like “Terror Tactics” but with guest vocals from Jason Tarpey and Roki Abdelaziz.

“Judas Pariah” featured some ambient, hard groove and Christian Cavalera on the hurdy-gurdy. The Klown assures you that it’s an actual musical instrument with a funny sounding name. Meanwhile “Psychosis” just gives you a song that is nothing but instrumentals of the groove and thrash variety. If you haven’t caught on, the Klown nearly talked about the whole album. Although the previous was quiet and felt lackluster to a lot, this album will immediately remind everyone that even the best have bad days. You can get this album at the Cavalera’s Bandcamp.

6 out of 6, The Cavalera’s are Back!

Gojira Returns and Delivers

Gojira made the Observatory explode!

For those who went to the sold out Metallica show back on August 6, you saw Gojira as the opener of that night and you welcomed them ridiculously well. The Klown and the rest of Ugh Metal didn’t go and thought that that would be the end of the French titans’ time in America’s Finest City. However, Pennywise and the metal gods smiled upon this fat Pagliachi’s misery and turned his frown upside down!

When Gojira announced their second leg, San Diego was named as one of their final stops of their tour. The Klown rejoiced some more when it was announced that the North Park Observatory would be the venue of choice and it would take place on October 19. Naturally, Ugh Metal was ecstatic for two reasons. Number one, it was in our neck of the woods and two, they brought Code Orange with them.

Code Orange? More like Code red ’cause they were on fire!!!

Unless you have been living under a rock, Code Orange changed to code white-hot ever since they released their breakthrough Forever this year which you can check out the review here. The Klown was surely excited when he found out that he was going to get a second chance on catching this group live since he couldn’t make the trip to Santa Ana earlier in the year. The band opened strongly and kept it “Real.”

The minute Joe Goldman’s strong bass strums combined with Jami Morgan’s double kicks and drumming, Eric Balderose and Reba Meyer’s powerful guitar twangs, had the trickling crowd moving faster towards the stage. The Klown had never seen Code Orange and was amazed to see that Morgan was the frontman.

Of course not all credit can go to the drumming frontman, the Klown would be doing a disservice to the sole power femme of the group. Meyer’s voice was infectious and had a lot of feeling to fit the theme of the song, which complimented Goldman’s erratic motions. Goldman bounced around the stage, interacted with his bandmates, and fueled the performance with more energy because who else will show you how to throw down!? Meyers shined even more when she took over for one of the most recognizable hits of the album “Bleeding in the Blur.”

Reba Meyer of Code Orange could soothe and detonate any bomb!

The collective slightly toned it  down with the performance of “Spy,” which had Morgan demanding a circle pit and also had Meyer and Goldman show off their physical performances making  them a spectacle throughout their entire set. This band was a treat to see and totally showed everyone  why they are the hottest commodity and closed their show-stealing set with the soothing “dream2.” The Klown can say this confidently, if you have the opportunity to see these guys do so they are worth your time and ears.

As the Code broke away from the stage, the proverbial torch would be passed on to the Floridian stoner/sludge quartet Torche. The band kicked off their set with the one of their mellowed out anthem “Minions.” They continued their melodious set by playing a slow version of their hit song “Loose Men.” The band went more on the stoner hard rock when they performed “Reverse Inverted” and had Jonathan Nuñez busting out some solos of his own.

Torche doesn’t need to ask to light our fire.

Not far behind from the spotlight, bassist Eric Hernandez showcased some skills of his own and even interacted with the fans by the rails and the rest of the members of the band. The quartet played other calming but hard songs such as “Charge of the Brown Recluse” and their bonus song from the deluxe edition of their 2015 release Restarter, “Harmonslaught.” The band ended their set with “Tarpit Carnivore” from their 2007 EP In Return.

Although Torche played a solid performance the Klown feels like they should have opened and use the fire in their name to spark the night. Don’t take the Klown’s words the wrong way! He enjoyed the set very much and saw why Torche has a strong following. However, by comparison to Code Orange’s adrenaline soaked opening, it left the Klown feeling a bit languid and not just because of all the crap he consumed earlier in the day.

Bassist Jonathan Nuñez  and guitarist/back up vocalist  Eric Hernandez of Torche added fuel to this fire.

After we brushed off the good stuff that Torche lit for us, the night reignited for one of the best things to ever come out of France aside from great champagne, baguettes and bitchin’ cheese. The name Gojira should immediately ring a bell to any and all metalheads. Once Mario Duplantier climbed into his kit and began to perform, the rest of the French quartet dove right in and began with “Only Pain.”

The Observatory’s crowd erupted a lot faster than this review’s publication. The crowd roared, they headbanged with their horns held up high, and had a pit going before the Klown even knew it. It is worth noting that that same day was frontman/rhythm guitarist Joe Duplantier’s birthday. Talk about better to give than to receive, is the Klown right or what?

Birthday boy Joe Duplantier demanding his cake!

The collective revisited the famous album with the whales which you could say that Shamu wasn’t the only to be called “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe” especially once he jumped into the pit like a Sea World performing orca. *wink* Of course, before the Klown knew it, lead guitarist Christian Andreu alongside the birthday man started the infamous opening riffs to the band’s recent mega-hit “Stranded” and “The Cell.”

One word of warning though for the Klown’s peeps that are prone to seizures and similar disorders, a handful of their performances had a lot of strobe light action. The Klown felt like the paparazzi had finally caught the Klown doing something appropriate. The Klown cares enough to say that, if the opportunity presents itself enjoy at your own risk.

The Klown felt like it was his birthday the moment Gojira played some of the Klown’s all-time favorite songs such as “Backbone” and “L’Enfant Sauvage.” Aside from a killer performance by the Duplantiers and Andreu, the bassist Jean-Michel Labadie made sure that he would stand out just as much by trading places with Andreu. The bassist interacted with both Duplantiers and the crowd near the guardrail.

Bassist Jean-Michel Labadie was a social butterfly around the stage before jumping off the platform while frontman/guitarist Joe Duplantier basked in his birthday wishes.

The band also applied air cannons for some added effects to their performance of the songs. The Klown was also surprised but ridiculously pleased to hear “Terra Inc.” and “Remembrance” which come from their 2003 The Link album. During the brief break that the stringed performers had, Mario went full force by doing a drum solo and showed us why he was deserving of multiple best drummer awards this year.

After Mario showed off his drumming prowess, the rest of the collective rejoined him on the stage, and continued with the soothing prog song “The Shooting Star,” and  “The Gift of Guilt.” Before the mighty Gojira cleared the stage they treated us to an encore in the form of “Toxic Garbage Island” and another of the Klown’s favorite’s, “Vacuity” from their 2008 release The Way of All Flesh. Now if Randy Blythe would have been there outta nowhere to do “Adoration For None,” it would have been the ultimate send off. The Klown is sure that he’s not alone in that sentiment.

Gojira delivering a mind blowing performance of epic proportions!

For those who didn’t get the chance to catch these gents the first time with Metallica, it was truly a redemption. The Klown has been a huge Gojira fan ever since he listened to their 2001 debut Terra Incognita and hoped to see them at least once in his hometown. For the locals who are like the Klown probably hoped for the same and got their wish that October night.

For those who have heard a couple of their hits, received a bit more exposure to some of their musical arsenal and in a grandiose fashion. The Klown still can’t help but still take his nose off and raise his glass to Code Orange for a stellar opening. With all that said, the Klown can only say merci beaucoup et jusqu’à la prochaine fois messieurs!

Presented By Jenny Oh and Chuggo the Klown