Jun 252012

(In this post, DGR reviews the debut album by The Stranded, which is available on Coroner Records.)

The Stranded are an interesting proposition from a musical standpoint. They’re a new group, formed by the two men responsible for Disarmonia Mundi, an Italian melo-death/groove metal project alongside keyboardist Allesio NeroArgento and pro skateboarder Elliot Sloan. Elliot plays guitar and bass on this record, with the two DM gentlemen (Ettore Rigotti and Claudio Ravinale) taking responsibility for the vocals, drums and guitars. You can pretty much figure out why I jumped onto this group’s bandwagon early on, considering my deep and abiding love for DM’s Isolation Game release. It has also been close to three years since that disc hit.

The story behind how this band formed has to be interesting. I wonder who contacted whom when this band was just beginning, and how Elliot found himself involved with this specific group of guys. They are still a melodeath band, but the addition of a dedicated key player has brought them closer to what most people are familiar with after listening to groups such as Dark Tranquillity. They announced their formation late last year, and for a while it was a pretty slow drip feed of information. However, we now have a full release from The Stranded, and it is interesting, to say the least.

Survivalism Boulevard is an album that ping-pongs back and forth between various styles, while still staying somewhat familiar at its core. The presence of someone new in a full keyboard position does quite a bit to change things up. Many of the hooks on this album are delivered via the keyboard, a couple of them cheesier than all get out and others fitting in perfectly with the music. They produce the strange effect of making this project sound a little less ‘mature’ (probably a poor choice of words, maybe ‘refined’?) than what the guys in The Stranded are involved in usually. Continue reading »

May 212012

This morning our buddy DemiGodRaven delivered a short round-up of new songs or videos that struck his fancy, and it came at a time when I was trying to figure out how to publicize a new song and video that I had also recently discovered. So I decided to lead with the one I found and then finish with DGR’s contributions.

FROM EXILE: “A Desperate and Willing Enslavement” Video

From Exile is an Atlanta band we’ve written about frequently at NCS. You can see a collection of all our previous features via this link. Having said that, a year has passed since our last post about the band. That time, the occasion was an amazing music video (featuring guest guitarist Emil Werstler) for a song called “A Warm Place” that appeared on Just Like You Imagined, which was a collection of Nine Inch Nails songs covered by From Exile.

Now, a year later, I’m happy to report that we have a new From Exile song called “A Desperate and Willing Enslavement” and a new music video to go along with it. The video is a live performance of the band filmed at the studios of Digital Arts Entertainment Lab on the Georgia State University campus in downtown Atlanta. It was filmed as part of a video series focusing largely on Atlanta-based bands called indieATL (check out their web site here).

From Exile is a three-guitar outfit, and on this song guitarist Eric Guenther steps up to provide lead vocals. They’re all clean, but this qualifies as an Exception to the Rule around here, not only because the vocals are quite good but also because the song itself is so damned excellent — and you can download the live track for free, on top of everything else. Continue reading »

Apr 302012

(DGR unveils for us a new song by The Stranded off their debut album Survivalism Boulevard, which will be released on July 2.)

Holy crap, I thought I was going to have children before The Stranded finally released their first sample of material. Now all I have to look forward to enjoying for the first time, alongside my by-then high school aged son, is Gojira’s Sea Shepherd EP.

Today the guys in The Stranded (well, late last night, but I’ve bitched plenty about my various night shifts) put up a notification that they had uploaded their first official release off their upcoming disc to soundcloud.  It’s been a long time coming, and if you haven’t exactly been paying the most attention to the ramblings that I submit to this site, this is likely your first chance to hear The Stranded.

Prior to this, you could’ve heard some of the Disarmonia Mundi + Friends (skateboarder Elliot Sloan and keyboardist Alessio NeroArgento) as they covered different Studio Ghibli movie theme songs on the latest Imaginary Flying Machines disc. Of course, as I said in my review there, the material on that disc likely wasn’t going to be representative of what The Stranded would eventually sound like. Hell, their current logo barely signals that either — it looks like it fell off the front of a deathcore disc. Continue reading »

Apr 132012

(I got this post by e-mail from DemiGodRaven, with this message from him: “I’m going to post about heavy metal Japanese movie theme songs. Let’s see how NCS readers handle that. Come at me, bro.” So go ahead, come at him . . .)

Holy crap, they made another one of these.

That’s literally the only way I can describe my sense of somewhat wild bewilderment at the fact that there’s another Princess Ghibli disc after the last one. Princess Ghibli is a project by Imaginary Flying Machines, a moniker taken up by a bunch of different groups in order to release a compilation of metal versions of various Studio Ghibli movie theme songs.

Studio Ghibli is a legendary animation house over in Japan. They’ve made some incredibly beautiful and incredibly popular movies over the years. In some senses they’re a cultural landmark in the same way something like Disney is over here. I studied Japanese for three years in High School (I remember fuck all, don’t ask) and that is where I was exposed to a large chunk of these songs and films.

Given Japanese artists’ usage of hair-metal and glam-metal styled music to open their various anime programs, the concept of something like this isn’t too far of a stretch. Then you actually listen to the first release and you realize the whole “this” is off-the-wall nuts. None of the groups really change their style in order to match the songs; instead, the songs are filtered through each specific band. Thus, you wind up with stuff like Claudio from Disarmonia Mundi screaming a bunch of Japanese at the top of his lungs and having at best, a very rough idea of anything that he is saying. When I interviewed him for TNOTB, he admitted to this, saying the whole project was crazy. That is why I am somewhat shocked that there is another one. Continue reading »