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Demos, Volume V

By Jason Savage, Pure Rock Patroller
Tuesday, August 13, 2002 @ 0:42 AM


Explore The Fifth Volume Of Ov

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First off, I wanted to apologize for not getting some reviews up sooner. I intended to make this a monthly installment, but as you can see, it has been a few. I have lots of demos left to review in the coming months but am still accepting more. E-mail me at jason_savage@hotmail.com for address info. I want to thank the bands that have sent me their demo and all the readers that may have discovered a new band at this forum. Especially those of you that have helped support these local acts by seeing them live, buying their CDs and swag. Together we can decide what bands we want to hear and not leave it up to a bunch of clueless record label execs!! Thank you very much.

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Drill 187
The Faceless Majority

North Carolina’s Drill 187 have been cranking out volatile metal for a few years now unbeknownst to the seemingly deaf indie and major label A&R guys. Why else would a band with songs as strong as these not have a label yet? If their name sounds familiar, it’s most likely because of the intense buzz working its way via word of mouth through the metal masses nationwide.

Last year I had the opportunity to review both their six song and four song demos and had figured this was their year to be jamming on the second stage at Ozzfest. When I heard their first full length was complete, I was wet with anticipation. When the disc arrived I was completely blown away. The Faceless Majority contains twelve searing tracks that melted my speakers into a waxy globular mound. Two of these appeared on their first demo and were remixed (“187” and “Mankind”), while all four songs from their second demo were here too, including the anthemic pit starter “Despise (Snakebite, Syphon and Run).”

The six new tracks took Drill 187 to another level of heaviness that the old tunes hadn’t quite reached. This progression is very evident on the opener; “Scrape It Off,” which recently appeared on a compilation CD with a handful of signed acts. Pretty impressive for an unknown quartet from the Tar Heel state. Vocalist Jason Lilley showcases his range as they try their hand at a power ballad entitled “Shine.” This isn’t your traditional sappy love oozing lyrical charade. Shine casts a much darker shadow like Pantera’s “Cemetery Gates.” Jason and guitarist/backing vox Jason Ussery combine for some truly haunting harmonies. My twisted mind hears a strange combination of Slaughter meets the Bee Gees amidst a very apocalyptic soundscape with some Manson style riffing. Trust me when I say it’s very cool and very heavy.

Other new offerings include the thrashy “Identity One,” the Anti-Christ-era Manson dirge of “My Damnation,” the infectious grooves of “Lethal” and the White Zombie-meets-Metallica closer, “Fallen.” Overall, this of one of the BEST CDs I have ever heard. It is strong from start to finish and will not disappoint. Jason U’s shredding solos and chords dominate and are complemented nicely by drummer Greg Evans and bassist Matt Frederick. Drill 187 successfully blends a variety of influences to create a sound that is still surprisingly all their own!

Drill 187 is: Jason Lilley; Vocals, Jason Ussery; Guitar/backing vocals, Matt Frederick; Bass, Greg Evans; Drums

Check em’ out at: Drill187.com.

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Two Hit Creeper
The Stepchildren’s Twisted Circus Metal (2002 Demo)

This So Cal quartet started out as a Philadelphia duo before bringing their warped carnival metal to the left coast. I managed to get my hands on their first four-song demo entitled The Stepchildren’s Twisted Circus Metal. I also checked out their new three-song demo produced by Soulfly’s drummer Roy Mayorga.

STCM melds bizarre accordion arrangements, heavy muddy chords and Michael’s insane asylum-escapee growls, screams and rants. This music is not for the faint of heart. It is dark, and at times, downright frightening. It made me feel like I was being chased through the dark hallway maze of an asylum during a storm after a power outage by a knife-wielding clown on crack that wants my soul. I can honestly say I have NEVER heard anything quite like this.

The second demo finds Michael’s vocal barrage equally twisted but more defined. It still keeps this creepy carnival rolling. James and his dark chords create some sick sounds and the addition of a rhythm section adds some great depth. The bass lines remind me of Korn, maybe because ex-bassist Alan Mendoza, who played on this demo, was trained by Korn guitarist, Munky.

Overall, I really liked these two demos. There are some truly psychotic noises leaked out on this CD, but well worth the price of admission. If you missed them on their recent Van’s Warped Tour stint, check out their website for more sideshow madness near you.

Two Hit Creeper is: Michael; Vocals/Accordion, James; Guitar (7 string), Dino Guerrero; Drums and new Bassist Paul Wizikowski

Check em’ out at: TwoHitCreeper.com.

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Warhead
(Untitled Demo)

The Internet is full of bands called Warhead. There was the one from Germany formed in 1993, one from New York, another one from who-knows-where that plays Metallica and Megadeth covers, and yet another one hailing from the Twin cities that plays speed/death metal (formed in 1989). The Warhead I am reviewing resides in Florida and sent me their three-song demo.

I have to admit I really liked this demo. The music was well produced and didn’t sound like a demo, and the vocals were clean albeit muddy, but very cool with decent harmonies. I would have to say it is borderline stoner rock with a Southern edge. It sounded very familiar to me… maybe Sevendust meets Monster Magnet. Nothing groundbreaking, but worth checking out all the same. I would be willing to bet that a name change will be in order if these guys ever intend to further their career. I have no bio info on them but you can check em’ out at: Warhead1.com. They also have MP3’s at: Artists.mp3s.com.

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7th Heaven
Faces Time Replaces
(NTD Records)

7th Heaven is one of the most famous bands most of us have never heard of,including me. Their bio is littered with glowing tidbits of praise such as: formed 15 years ago in Chicago, have recorded over 500 songs, appeared on Jenny Jones six times in 2000 and 2001, videos aired on MTV and VH1, sold over 4,000 copies of Faces Time Replaces… the list goes on and on. So why aren’t these guys signed? Let’s find out shall we? /p> From the opening chords of “Gonna Break,” I was very impressed. 7th Heaven blends several genres that present a CD of true vision. Faces Time Replaces utilizes metal, hard rock, industrial, hip-hop beats and grooves and electronica for a very cool musical buffet. Vocalist Tony Di Giulio reminds me of Dee Snider with a pinch of Trent Reznor for lack of a better comparison. You really have to listen to him and make your own judgment.

The two pronged guitar attack cuts nicely through the bleeps and blurbs and makes for a strange hybrid that you can mosh and dance to in unison. What did you say, women dancing in the pit? Now this I’d like to see! 7th Heaven have tremendous crossover ability that can tap the veins of many styles. Maybe that’s why they haven’t gotten bigger. They are heavy enough to be metal, but too heavy for the picky dance club scene. There is great potential here and for those open-minded souls among us, these guys will rock your world. If you fit this category, or if you like NIN, Stabbing Westward, Godhead, even Twisted Sister fans, go to their website and taste what they have to offer. You WON’T be sorry!

7th Heaven is: Tony Di Giulio; lead vocals, Richard Hofherr; guitars, keyboards, back-up vocals, Nick Cox; guitars, back-up vocals, Danny Weymouth; bass and back-up vocals, Dan Miller; drums.

Check em’ out at: 7thHeavenBand.com.

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Mudslinger
Cover the Sun

Oakland’s Mudslinger assaulted me with a brutal speed-meets-death metal barrage. This is your typical mother’s death metal, using the standard weapons of choice in this genre: fast guitars, deep doomy bass lines, machine gun drums and a vocalist that sounds like he’s biting apart a glass bottle of 151 Bacardi rum with a match between his teeth. Vocal terrorist Juan Urteaga does make use of several noises including the growl, scream, belch, insane whisper and the gothic deep throat, which does set him apart from the usual gallery. There are some interesting monk-like chants on “Lambs,” but otherwise this doesn’t do much for me. If you like singers you can’t understand, Mudslinger will be right up your alley. They remind me of old school death bands such as Deicide, Napalm Death or Cannibal Corpse. The music is very powerful and the musicians are very good at their craft, but as usual I cannot get past the vocals that sound like Satan taking a dump!

Mudslinger is: Juan Urteaga; vocals, Dave Couch; guitars, Lars Von Lowen; bass and Ronn Pifer; drums

Check em’ out at: Mudslinger1.com.

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Purgation
Realm of the Dead

The Louisiana bayou has spit up yet another stoner metal band from its muddy innards. This three-man power group calls Kenner, LA home and they spew forth some righteous smoke rock. Vocalist/bassist/guitarist Ronnie Griffin has a unique Southern fried wail that has hints of John Fogerty and Neil Young. His style melts into the fuzzy guitar tones and pounding drums like a grilled cheese sandwich as it drips outta the bread. Now that’s your brain on drugs, my friends! Track three called “Slumber” uses some faster riffing that will definitely give your buzz a second wind, but manages to come full circle with a trippy Iommi-style solo.

Overall, this is one of those CDs every stoner or stoner metal fan should add to their collection. Purgation does some killer shredding and time changes that make the listen even better. Smoke em’ if ya got em’ and check out their MP3s at: MP3.com.

Purgation is: Ronnie Griffin; vocals/guitar/bass, Peppy Ruiz; drums and Jerry Allnet on lead guitar.

Check em’ out at: Purgation.com.

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Check out Jason Savage's last installment, Demos, Volume IV.



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