Apr 292012

(groverXIII reviews the recently released second album by Soul Cycle, a two-man project consisting of Chris Catharsis and Mark Hawkins.)

Dawn Of The Shred. Evil Shred. The Quick And The Shred. Shred Poets Society. Better Off Shred. Shred Rising. Shred Man Walking. Shred Alive. The Shred Pool. Things To Do In Denver When You’re Shred. Shred Reckoning.

OK, I think I’m about out of “movie titles using the word ‘shred’ in place of the word ‘dead'”. I couldn’t think of a better way to start my review of the new Soul Cycle album, Soul Cycle II, which is an instrumental album full of, you guessed it, shred. Soul Cycle is the brainchild of guitar wunderkinds Chris Catharsis and Mark Hawkins, the band’s sole members; Catharsis handles writing, production, bass, and drum programming in addition to guitars, while Hawkins provides mostly guitar leads. The first Soul Cycle album (the cleverly-titled Soul Cycle) was a great collection of instrumental guitar pyrotechnics with bits of groove and, yes, a little bit of djent mixed in, and they have not deviated from that particular mix on their sophomore release.

However, in order to up the ante a bit, they went out and assembled the largest group of guest soloists I have ever seen. Seriously, this is like a combination of the Avengers and the Justice League, except instead of super heroes, this group is comprised of some of the most talented guitarists (and a couple of keyboardists) you’ve never heard of (and a few you have). To put things in perspective, I’ve compiled a list of each guitarist, along with a link to some of their work, in order of appearance: Continue reading »

Apr 072012

I had some other ideas in mind for a Saturday morning post, but I got distracted following up on recommendations from other people — so I’m going with those for now. One, two, three . . . Meankind, Soul Cycle, and Fredrik Thordendal’s Special Defects.


We’ve been keeping our eyes on this high-speed Hungarian death metal band ever since TheMadIsraeli reviewed their free EP, 22.Zero, last August (here). Back then, they had put together a speed-chess video (included with our review) for a song called “Incomprehensible Appetite”. I still love that fuckin’ video. So, naturally, I perked right up when TheMadIsraeli e-mailed me this a.m. to report that Meankind have a new video.

But before I get to that, you should know that Meankind self-released yet another free EP in January titled Live, Love, Slay, which I highly recommend. It includes a song called “Mantrap” that we featured in another post last fall, and it can be downloaded on Bandcamp. Check out Church of the Riff’s feature on that EP here. Also, while on the subject of Meankind, I’d like to plug That Devil Music, who have a recent interview with Meankind at this place. Now, onward to the video . . . Continue reading »