I’m always pretty stoked when I get the chance to review a metal band. In terms of contemporary music, metal sometimes seems like one of the only authentic genres. The artists tend to be less concerned with hype and superficiality and more passionate about music.
“Judgemetal” is a four piece metal band, based out of Essex, UK. Their new single, “Belong,” was just released on Hydrus Records. It’s a high quality, high energy track that doesn’t disappoint. It captures the ambiance of metal perfectly and the technical aspects of the song are all very solid. Wisely the band keeps with the traditional sound and doesn’t ruin the recording with a lot of obnoxious vocal effects (unlike so many newer artists.) What really impresses me though is the video for the song. It actually has the somewhat vintage aesthetic of a late 80’s-early 90s music video(whether intentional or not) and would not be out of place on an old episode of Headbanger’s Ball. “Belong” is a respectable release from an up and coming metal band. Expect to hear more from them in the future.
Hip hop artist “Absoloot” has delivered a new track titled “The Truth.” It’s very well produced and would be worth listening to even for the groovy musical arrangements alone. Absoloot’s pacing and tone flows well throughout. Despite the provocative title and cover, Absoloot’s political message comes across as rather nuanced, as he levels his constructive criticisms at multiple sides and doesn’t fall into the trap of cliched predictability. Regardless of your views on the state of current affairs in these tumultuous times, this is a great quality song, and the political message is conveyed in a manner that won’t rub you the wrong way if you don’t agree with parts of it. Expect this guy to continue to put out good material in the days ahead.
Gilbert Engle continues to display his music versatility and technical proficiency, the latest example to come across my desk being his 2016 “Piano Sonatas” release. These tunes maintain a feverish pace throughout and convey a lively, bright and upbeat mood. One can envision a scenario where crowds of people they are moving briskly through the sidewalks of a bustling metropolis, set to this music. “Piano Sonata 8,” one of the best tracks on the album, is an excellent example of this. All of the songs are simply numbered this way rather than given esoteric abstract titles. It gives a certain businesslike and perhaps modernist quality to the overall aesthetic. Engle delivers pure substance and never seems to rely on catchy titles or sloganeering in his work. His focus is entirely on creating the best piece of music possible. This is extremely refreshing when one considers that a good portion of contemporary music is almost entirely based around the marketing and image, with little attention paid to actual songwriting or even the music itself.
Engle’s piano handiwork is meticulously performed with an articulated precision. My favorite track is “Piano Sonata 4” I listened to several times in a row. It gave off the vibe of a hypnotic roller coaster ride with it’s teeter-totter of highs and lows and ups and downs. Even though the piano is the only instrument being used, this is by no means a somber or light album. The fast forward pacing gives these songs all the heightened energy of a downtown afternoon. It’s a terrific collection of tunes which are yet another representation of both the prolific level of output and quality that Gilbert somehow manages to maintain.
Charles Luck and Tino Red have cranked out another track. This one’s titled “Limitless: Lost in Space” and is produced by DansonnBeats. It has more of an epic feel to it, with an almost opera like, dramatic musical backing. The song takes a somewhat urgent pacing, which correlates with the tone and subject matter..(saving the world, etc.) Tino’s vocal skills come through like always as he demonstrates his usual combined rapping/singing adeptness. He also shows an uncanny ability to deliver material with class and in a unifying, elevating way. As a bonus, there’s even a slick reference to Paul McCartney and the Beatles song, “Eleanor Rigby” about a third of the way through.