Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ton "Bow Down to Extinction" 2015 Ossuary Industries

One of my favorite bands from my region of the US is the brutal death metal band Ton from Canton/Akron, OH. I've been friends with the members of this band for years, and have been in bands with all of them. When they reunited, I was ecstatic, knowing that new music from this band would be worth the wait. That wait is over, and the new music has arrived. Their new effort, Bow Down to Extinction, is one of the heaviest records I've heard in a long time. Bludgeoning and brutal from start to finish, this is what I consider to be their pinnacle achievement, although I'm very, very fond of the early demo material. Their sound is unique, with wild arrangements and sick vocals throughout, but never losing a human quality that thrives off the feel of the music. In other words, flow, aggression, and emotion aren't lost in the flurry of notes as happens with so many other death metal bands. The most striking aspect is that it feels like old Ton from 15 years ago, even if there are a few new tricks on display. Jeff Shepler's vocals shine on this, his low growls being nasty as ever, and the bass work is, as always, perfection. Dan Gates and Kevin Kraft also excel, turning out flawless performances, grinding ears into worthless stumps by the time the album ceases to play. This album is a real landmark in the band's musical progression, and I can only imagine what they will accomplish if another album sees the light. Every serious fan of brutal music should find themselves a copy of this, and re-discover a band that was doing brutality right from day one.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Sawyer Family "Self Titled" 2015 Ghost Owl Records

I am going to state now that I am biased in the positive toward this band.  My own band has played with them twice.  I'm quite fond of the guys, as happens when you share a stage and you click. However, I am objective enough to commence reviewing the new record.  If you're not familiar with this band, imagine what you'd hear if a crooning old-timey rock and roll band from the dawn of the genre had been smoking tons of dope with Mercyful Fate, listening to Sabbath.  It's really the only way I can put it.  I expected greatness when I played the disc, but I got so much more than what I planned.  Naturally, as a singer, I focus on the vocals first.  Wonderful dark harmonies, emotive lines, even full blown falsetto screams at a point or two, but all the while paying attention to let that music breathe.  And why wouldn't you let it breathe when it's this good?  The different soundscapes that show up in the music add a creepiness and a surreal quality that permeates the whole record perfectly and not only produces the same vibe the bands puts out live, but adds to the songwriting.  I feel like I'm listening to a musical story.  This is a band that crosses genres to produce something truly original and well played.  The music feels very, very underground, and I love it.  It remains metal enough for the elitist in me to be satisfied, being very heavy at times, and the soaring melodies and dark, droning sections allow the mood to be very flexible and it leaves the listener constantly entertained by all the changes.  The band has an incredible range of composition, and it's all executed wondrously.  I have kept track of these boys between visits to my area of Ohio, and I will continue to do so.  This album easily makes my top 20 of all time, and has easily made it into my top 5 of 2015.  Truly original, and there is nothing else like it.

My favorites: Pouring, Blooditorial, Monochrome, My Wake (Intro).