FAMOUS UNDERGROUND – New Album Review: “Leaves No Room Or Reason For Disappointment”

By Carl Begai

Being the first to embrace an original band with a unique vision takes balls, because doing so is an exercise in uncertainty and fear of “What will everyone else think?” Famous Underground is that road test, you’re the deer in their headlights, and the impact is a skull-rattling reminder that a stand-alone identity in the here and now overshadows past glories and current blood-sucking music industry trends.


Or, if you prefer your promo without the formality, Famous Underground is one of those present day rarities that defies being dumped in the genre box. Fangs and all. A cross between Guns N’ Roses when they were mean (Appetite For Destruction) and latter-day non-suck Metallica (‘Sad But True’, ‘King Nothing’), Famous Underground is a heady mix of ’80s attitude and ’90s grit with former Slik Toxik frontman Nick Walsh at the helm. The man’s voice is still a big fuckin’ deal some 20 years on since ‘Helluvatime’ – a bigger deal, actually – and the songwriting is darker with more muscle behind it; a lot less hit-and-miss compared to the Slik days. Continue reading FAMOUS UNDERGROUND – New Album Review: “Leaves No Room Or Reason For Disappointment”

THE NEW BLACK – Building Happy Zombies

By Carl Begai

For a band that was spawned during a metal festival drinking binge, The New Black have pounded out an impressive stretch of road. The January 2009 release of their self-titled debut album gave the band legs, enabling them to do the festival circuit and put together short but effective tours with bands in a similar small-time boat. Topping this off were select support shows with high profile acts such as cult-fave German countrymen J.B.O. and the larger-than-life AC/DC. On the eve of the release of The New Black’s second record, II: Better In Black, guitarist / co-founder Christof Leim – who pulls double duty as the guitarist for veteran rockers Sinner – looks back on the band’s achievements and freely admits he’s surprised at how things have played out. Not that he was placing bets on things going to hell before they could get to Round 2, but the logistics of keeping the band up and running are anything but simple.

“The surprise started before the first album was out. We never had auditions, we never worked out way through dozens of people to find the right line-up. Reactions to The New Black have been pretty good and we’ve worked a lot as a live band without rehearsing because it’s just not possible. Preparation for studio time was done on the fly, basically, so the surprise started early for me. It’s not a project anymore, it’s our main band.” Continue reading THE NEW BLACK – Building Happy Zombies

SCARLET SINS – Let Us Prey (Chapter 4)

(Chapter 1)
(Chapter 2)
(Chapter 3)

scarletcriswaterChapter 4 – Cris

For guitarist Cristina Bishop, the road that led to the creation of Scarlet Sins began with the tragic death of her best friend. Partners in crime from the age of six, their sudden and senseless parting in 2003 changed Bishop’s priorities and her views on life. Working through her grief she found a sense of purpose in music. Acting on it helped her to cope with the pain, and has brought her farther than she expected.

“You know when you’re finished school and you’re ready to take on the world, and the world shits on your head and tells you to wake up? It was kind of that moment for me,” says Bishop, having made peace on some level with the sad turn of events. “It was one of those moments where I though ‘Fuck, what am I doing with my life? I don’t want to waste it partying…’ At the same time I was grieving so hard and I didn’t have anyone to talk to who had been through something like that. I just got deeper into the music and started writing, and all these songs kept coming out. That’s basically the first album (laughs).”
Continue reading SCARLET SINS – Let Us Prey (Chapter 4)