By Carl Begai
Over the last couple months I’ve been subjected to some unsigned bands that have done a great job of knocking me on my ass. Call this Round 1 of what will hopefully be an ongoing column on this site assuming the music continues to grab my attention as these folks have. Read on if yer curious….
Over The Coals out of Vancouver have started make a buzz outside of their regular haunts thanks to the video for the song ‘My Worth’, a track taken from a forthcoming EP. It’s my understanding that they used to have a male singer – YouTube footage supports this – but the addition of one Susie Myers seems to have been the clincher in terms of solidifying the band’s sound. First thing that came to mind when I heard ’em…. it sounds like Strapping Young Lad and My Ruin had a baby. Must be a West Coast thing. It’s impossible to judge them on one song, of chorus, but I like the sound of serious potential
Check out Over The Coals on Facebook here. The video for ‘My Worth’ can be found here. Continue Reading
By Carl Begai
In 1986, the Sacramento-based band Tesla released their blues-based shred rock debut, Mechanical Resonance. Stamped at the bottom of the liner notes were the words “No Machines” placed above a graphic of piano keys with a line through it. It was the band’s response to the pop-happy ‘80s’ love affair with sickly sweet keyboard pre-sets that had infected the realms of rock and metal. As if the Max Factor-sponsored glam movement wasn’t bad enough, the instrument that Deep Purple legend Jon Lord made respectable had become the musical equivalent of a chick flick. Thus, keyboards and their players in general were saddled with a reputation for softening up a band’s potential backbone-of-steel sound and / or being completely dispensable. In the world of soaring vocals, screaming guitars, crushing bass and tribal drums, anyone caught behind a Korg was often considered “just a keyboard player” with nothing special to offer. Things have since changed, with the likes of Janne Wirman (Children Of Bodom) and Jens Johansson (Stratovarius) re-establishing the instrument’s credibility, and Nightwish owing their millions-sold existence to the almighty keys.
In the case of Finnish bashers Battlelore, the soft spoken Maria Honkanen is responsible for filling out the band’s trademark Tolkien-inspired sound. In many cases it’s her contributions that carry the songs without dulling her bandmates’ fangs. A member since the band’s late ’90s inception, it’s safe to say Battlelore would be a much different animal without her. Continue Reading