October 31-"No Survivors"-2004

Nearly 4 years since their last studio album [and 2 years since the killer live album "Stagefright"], October 31 comes roaring back! In spite of several personal and health related catastrophes that would`ve broken a lesser being, the Heavy Metal freight train known as King Fowley just keeps on a` rollin`! With "No Survivors" the band continues in the direction King`s steered it in since Day One; straight up `eighties-styled US Metal, no apologies, no excuses, no BS! Aiding King on his quest is without a doubt the BEST line-up yet: Rhythm guitarist Jason Tedder, Drummer Dave "Scarface" Castillo, and longtime members Brian "Hellstorm" Williams on Lead Guitar and Bassist Jim Hunter. The album dives right in with the soon-to-be-classic "Powerhouse", the perfect track to kick things off and it`s "buckle yer seatbelts" time from there on! "Rivet Rat" is pure October 31 with an added touch of Thrash and soe super heavy riffage. "Commit to Sin" is another winner, with it`s early `80s` British Metal riffing and clever arrangements. The title cut is straight outta the mid `eighties` Bay Area scene. [Yes, that`s a GOOD thing!] I could go on, but with an album THIS good, it`s damn near impossible to single out a favorite. And of course in true October 31 tradition, they`ve included a classic metal cover tune. The honor this year is bestowed upon Overkills` "Wrecking Crew", and this version is just as crushing as the original! "No Survivors" is the bands` heaviest album to date, and the production here makes it their highest quality release, as well. The individual members are among the BEST in their genre, as their performance on the album makes VERY clear. And King Fowley´s delivers his most powerful vocals yet. Every note is sung like he means it, `cause he DOES! Given what he`s endured over the last year or so, what do you expect? No matter how hard you try, you will find NO ONE as passionate about, or as dedicated to Metal as King! If all US Metalheads were as devoted to the cause as this guy, Slipknot would be playing "Open Mike Nights" and REAL Metal bands like October 31 would be selling out arenas! Let`s try to make that dream a reality; buy the damn album! Let`s make sure that, when it comes to Nu Metal fakes and poseurs, there shall be "No Survivors"! Highest possible recommendation!

October 31

Titanium Black-"Bleed For You"-2004

Those of you from the Central New York area might be familiar with the names Jolly Roger and Bleed Christine; well known band through out the area in the mid to late eighties`. One of the most notable features of those bands was the prescence of vocalist Terry Michael LeRoi. After a self-imposed hiatus, Terry is back, and he`s not alone! "Bleed For You" is the debut disc for Titanium Black, Terry`s latest musical endeavor, and Terry`s announcing his "return" with a blast! "Bleed...." is 14 tracks of highly polished Hard Rock/Metal that could have been recorded in 1987, though this is HARDLY a dated, nostalgia trip. This is a MODERN album, through and through. Think Dokken, Queensryche, Judas Priest, Motley Crue with 21st century production values and you`ll get an idea of what the band is all about. Well crafted, mid-paced songs with a dark, at times almost gothic air about them. In addition to being one of the best vocalists in the business, Terry is also a fine wordsmith; you don`t feel your IQ drop when you read his lyrics! But this is no one-man-show; aiding Terry is the stellar line-up of John Matthews and Dave King on guitar, Aaron Worden on bass, and Robbie Spagnoletti on drums. And to top it all off, the album was produced by none other than the legendary Michael Wagener [Dokken, Accept, Alice Cooper, Raven, Stryper, W.A.S.P.] himself! With a combination of elements like THAT, you can`t miss. Of course, all this means NOTHING without good songs, which "Bleed For You" has in abundance! Check out cuts like "Cracks of Light", "Torn To Pieces", "Deep", among others. Sure, the Hot Topic crowd might be left scratching their heads, but who cares? If you´re a fan of good ol` fashioned melodic Heavy Rock, look no further! Great job, guys! Two horns waaaayyyyy up!!!

Titanium Black

Blastmat-"Chopping Block"-2004

The latest release from Blastmat, "Chopping Block", comes with a few changes. Ryan King replaces long-time vocalist Phil Swanson. Along with this personnel change comes a slight shift in direction, but nothing radical. Blastmat still delivers the high-powered, rocked out Metallic hardcore riffage they`re know for; this time, they`ve thrown a little Old School Punk into the mix. Don`t worry, they haven`t tried to copy the pathetic Mall Punk that Empty-Vee spews out to the masses; I`m talkin` REAL Punk. Perhaps a bit of early eighties` Hardcore, as well. Can`t go wrong with THAT combination! The album has that same overall "feel" as on their other outings, so you DEFINITELY know it`s Blastmat! Choice cuts include the title track, "Freedom or War" and "Working Class Blues" among others. So go ahead, stick yer speakers out the window and CRANK this baby! Show those drunken frat boys down the block that TRUE Punk/Hardcore is NOT Sum 41 or Disturbed! Piss off the neighbors `til they call the cops! After all, isn`t that what Rock & Roll was intended to do in the first place? A winner! [Huge, HUGE thanks to Keith for sending the disc!]

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