Friday, September 23, 2016

Blind Guardian and Grave Digger in Omaha: September 22, 2016

Last night, my wife and I attended the Blind Guardian concert in Omaha at the Waiting Room Lounge, a venue I have not previously been to.  Grave Digger was opening, so it was sure to be a fun night of German heavy metal.  The Waiting Room is a fairly small venue.  It is a bar that happens to have a stage area and a floor in front.  We found some seats at a table that had been moved to the back of the floor area.

Grave Digger was the first to take the stage and they played a blistering 45 minute set.  They are looking somewhat worse for wear, still dressing as they would have during the 1980's, but with graying and balding hair.  But they still sounded damn good.  I am not completely familiar with Grave Digger's catalogue, I only have one of their albums, but I did recognize one of the songs they played, which was my favorite off of the album I own, "Ballad of a Hangman".  Many of the other songs played had me convinced that I needed to check out more of their output.  Singer Chris Boltendahl was definitely charismatic and kept the crowd in it throughout the entire show.  All in all, it was a very impressive show for a band that has been around for more than three decades at this point.

Blind Guardian was up next, playing a track I had not heard before, though it would be the only one the entire show.  Afterwards, they played the enormously popular "Welcome to Dying", followed by the rollicking "Nightfall".  Blind Guardian has always had some rather unique lyrical themes for metal, and the next song "Fly" certainly qualified.  Only Blind Guardian can write a song about Peter Pan and make it sound metal as fuck.  After that, the band played the entirety of the album Imaginations from the Other Side, which was always my favorite of their albums.  They sounded just as good live as the album did, and that album is over 20 years old, which is incredible.  They closed the set after finishing up with the album, and then it was encore time and Blind Guardian delivered.  They started off with "Sacred Worlds", the best song off of their last album.  Later they performed the acoustic "Bard's Song-In the Forest" with the crowd singing along before closing the show out for real with "Mirror Mirror".  The band really did sound like they were 20 years younger, and singer Hansi Kursch still has the dynamic range that has become one of the key components of the band's sound.

This was my first time seeing a power metal band in concert.  Blind Guardian is of course one of the greatest power metal bands in history.  This was apparently their first concert in Nebraska, and the crowd was really involved.  Hopefully this will spread and more groups will make it over here.

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Guns 'N Roses and Alice in Chains in Kansas City: 6/29/16

No, Guns 'N Roses does not really belong on this blog.  They are not a metal band after all, but they were heavily influential in helping to lead me to metal.  My older brother was a big fan of the band and had their first four albums.  In those days, the band was everywhere.  "Welcome to the Jungle", "Paradise City", and "Sweet Child O' Mine" were already massive hits and the band was striking it big with the hits from the two Use Your Illusion albums.  I have always enjoyed their music, though never quite enough to pick up any of the albums.

It was not my idea to go to this concert.  My wife has been slowly converting into a hard rock fan and has developed a particular fondness for attending concerts.  We have been to a number of concerts over the last year or so, many of which she wanted to attend.  I was okay with the idea of going since it was mostly a reunion for the band.  Slash, Dizzy Reed, and Duff McKagan re-joined the band with Axl Rose.  Richard Fortus had been with the band since 2002 and Frank Ferrer since 2006.  They also featured a second keyboard player Melissa Reese.  So, much of the band from the height of their popularity was back.  So that was enough to make me at least somewhat interested, though it was still my wife's idea to go to it.  Now, when it was announced that Alice in Chains would open for them, I was fully on board.

Well it turned out that we missed most of the Alice in Chains set.  Getting to Arrowhead Stadium in the first place proved to be a debacle.  Traffic was terrible and they were doing some inexplicable things with the entrances to the parking lot.  After that, we had to walk all the way around the stadium to get to the right gate, then wait in line for 20 minutes to get in.  Finally, we were on our way to our seats on the third level, only to find that we were bumped up to the third row of the floor seating area, right behind a kid that looked like a teen-aged Axl Rose, complete with long stringy hair and red bandanna.  Which was great, but meant we had to turn back around and head all the way down.  It just goes to show you should never pay full-price for the best seats.  This is the second time we have been moved up considerably.  By the time we finally got to our seats, Alice in Chains was playing "Rooster".  And then, they were done.  We heard bits and pieces of them playing "Down in a Hole" and "Would?", but that was it.  It was horribly disappointing.

A short time later, G'nR took the stage to "It's So Easy", which struck me as odd.  They have the perfect opening song in their arsenal in "Welcome to the Jungle".  Fuck, it even has "Welcome" in the title.  Why is that not the opener?  I was not sure what to expect from the band honestly.  I remember Axl showing up on some awards show several years back with Buckethead as his guitarist and being utterly unimpressed.  I was pleasantly surprised at how good the band actually sounded.  Axl's voice was obviously not as powerful as it had been when he was younger, but he did sound reasonably close.  He and Slash are a little pudgy these days and look kind of ridiculous wearing the same clothing they wore when they were in their 20's, but at least their sound is reasonably close.

Guns 'N Roses played most of their biggest hits and a lot of other fan favorites as well.  They also played at least one or two songs from the maligned Chinese Democracy album, which I could have done without personally.  In looking at their catalog later, the only song that sticks out in my mind that they did not play was "Patience", which is a little too soft and slow anyway.  After playing for two hours, they seemingly closed out the show with "Night Train" only to come back and play "Don't Cry" and close things out with "Paradise City".  It was a bit of a long concert, but it was a surprisingly good show from a rejuvenated band.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

River City Rockfest: San Antonio, TX 5/29/16

I did something last weekend I swore I would never do again.  I went to an all-day, outdoor music festival in the summer.  And I did it in Texas.  Don't blame me.  Blame my wife.  She was the one that wanted to go to this festival.  She has recently become a big fan of hard rock and heavy metal from the 1980's and the Scorpions are one of her favorite bands.  I like the Scorpions as well, though not quite to her level.  So she got it in her mind that she wanted to see them in concert, but the Scorpions do not really tour much these days.  They were going to be co-headlining the River City Rockfest in San Antonio though and so an idea for a vacation was formed.  The bands at the festival were mostly more modern rock-oriented, with some over-the-hill nu metal bands, and some older metal bands as well.

After two days of driving, we arrived at San Antonio the night before the festival.  We decided to skip the first act and get some lunch before heading over.  We missed Pop Evil, a band I am not at all familiar with other than my sister-in-law's boyfriend wearing their t-shirt all the time.  We also missed Avatar and Red Sun Rising, two other bands with whom I am not familiar.  The first band we saw was DevilDriver.  I have a couple of their albums, but I did not hear any of the songs from those releases.  To be fair, with as many bands as played, most of the setlists were fairly short.  Most of the songs kind of blended together.  They were decent, but I am not as familiar with their music as I once was.  Dez sounded great, as expected though.

After DevilDriver, we did not really pay much attention to the bands for a little while, trying to track down t-shirts and water, since it was 90 degrees and humid.  We barely heard Texas Hippie Coalition or Hellyeah, though to be fair, I am not really a fan of either band.  I also saw Hellyeah last summer with Slayer and King Diamond.  The singer gave the exact same "metal saved my life" bullshit speech that he gave last year.  We did get a look at the pathetic-looking third stage which was barely large enough for an entire band to stand on and rarely had more than a handful of fans watching.  I had not heard of any of the third stage bands and did not particularly want to move around much due to the heat.  We brought lawn chairs and positioned them in an area that allowed us to see and hear the first two stages.  The bands were staggered so that there was not typically two bands playing at the same time for more than a couple of minutes.

The next band that my wife wanted to see was Sixx A.M., Nikki Sixx's band.  This was fairly typical modern hard rock with a bit of the hair band flair.  The songs were catchy enough.  I doubt I will ever really like them myself though.  On the second stage after Sixx A.M. came The Sword, who I have seen before opening for Metallica.  This is another band I have not really kept up with, though I did recognize a couple of songs.  Their particular brand of psychedelic doom metal did not really appeal to too many in the crowd.

After The Sword, we had to seek shelter from the heat for a little bit.  Besides, the next two bands were Bullet for My Valentine (who I hate), and Hatebreed (who I am mostly ambivalent towards).  There was a sideshow called Hellzaopoppin that was performing in a small indoor area with fans running.  The acts were not very exciting though, other than one man who was missing his entire lower torso.  It was amazing he was even still alive.  We hid out there for a little while until close to the time that the band I was most excited to see would be taking the stage: Megadeth.

This was my second time seeing Megadeth.  Dave Mustaine was not quite as animated onstage and a lot of his normal commentary was missing, but they still sounded good.  They played a number of classic Megadeth songs like "Hangar 18", "Peace Sells", and "Holy Wars", but they also played a number of songs from their newest album, which is a pretty good release.

Once Megadeth was done, we moved forward closer to the main stage as the Scorpions would be taking the stage after the second stage band was done.  Fine with me, as P.O.D. was never exactly one of my favorite bands, even when I did like nu-metal.  A huge crowd gathered around the stage.  Amazing that a band that has been around for nearly half a century could still gather that much of a crowd.  The Scorpions were amazing and were definitely the highlight of the day.  The fact that men in their late 60's still could play that well, in the sweltering heat of Texas, was truly mind-blowing.  They played a number of their biggest songs: "No One Like You", "Big City Nights", and "The Zoo".  They acted like they were closing their show after an hour, but it was pretty obvious they would be back to play "Rock You Like a Hurricane".  And as expected, they did return to play two more songs, starting out with "Still Loving You" and closing with their biggest hit, which we all expected.

After that, we decided to take off, missing the last two bands: Sevendust and Disturbed.  I have seen both bands when I was in college, and did not have a whole lot of desire to stick around.  It had been a long day and hot.  The last all-day music festival I attended resulted in me getting heat stroke.  I was not looking forward to that happening again.  Luckily, I stayed hydrated and survived.  My wife did too, obviously, or this would be a much different post.  I swore after that last one that I would never do this again.  But I did, and we traveled all the way to Texas in what could have been a very bad move to do so.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Amon Amarth, Entombed A.D., and Ex Mortus in Omaha: 05/09/2016

Monday was my birthday.  Luckily there happened to be a decent concert in the area so my wife had the wonderful luck to get to see a few death metal bands live at Sokol Auditorium.  Sokol is not my favorite venue since there is no seating and I generally don't like to stand for several hours on end.  But it tends to draw some decent bands.

Ex Mortus was the first band up and they ripped through a fast-paced, intense set filled with shredding guitar solos and leads and deep-throated growling vocals.  I have only heard one of this band's albums but their speed and impressive guitar work makes them a band to watch in the future.  The highlight of their set was the ripping version of "Moonlight Sonata" they played late in their time on stage.

Up next was Entombed A.D., obviously a reformation of the legendary Entombed, who were one of the leading bands in the Swedish death metal movement of the late 80's/early 90's.  Entombed's final album was the 2007 death 'n roll masterpiece Serpent Saints.  Three of the four members from that version of Entombed are currently with Entombed A.D.  The resurrected group played a number of songs from their newest album and also some classics from the Entombed era such as "Wolverine Blues", "Left Hand Path", and "Revel in Flesh".  Their classic tracks were the strongest from their set, but their other stuff was entertaining enough.  L-G Petrov looks a little rough these days, but he can still command attention from the stage.

Finally, Amon Amarth hit the stage.  True to their image, they looked like vikings and had a large viking helmet taking up much of the center of the stage.  The drum kit was stationed on top of the viking helmet.  At several moments during the show, a couple of people dressed to look like Vikings and carrying swords, helmets, shields, bows, and more took the stage.  I did not feel that was really necessary personally.  Amon Amarth delivered a strong set encompassing much of their catalog.  I have not yet heard their most recent album, but it appears to be fairly typical of Amon Amarth: mid-paced, crunching melodic death metal with deep, roaring vocals.  The only real problem with their set was that most of the songs were about the same tempo, making it a little difficult to stay interested in the show.  Some dynamics would have been welcome.  It was a very good show ultimately, but it could have been so much better.

My wife was less than impressed with it, which is not shocking.  Surprisingly she preferred Ex Mortus of the three bands.  She really hated Entombed A.D., which I found hilarious.  It was a damn good show, and a great birthday.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Ghost and Tribulation in Omaha: 4/20/16

On Wednesday, my wife and I left work a little early in order to travel to Omaha, Nebraska (about an hour and a half away) to see Ghost perform at Sokol Auditorium with Tribulation as their opening act.  Tribulation's most recent album was my Album of the Year and Ghost is coming off of a Grammy win, so I was fairly excited to see both bands.

I believe all of Tribulation's songs were off of their Children of the Night album, which really is a terrific album.  Their music was terrific, dynamic and powerful.  The band members were really into it as well, in particularly one of the two guitarists who was all over the stage, shrieking like a wild animal.  They played for about half an hour and included some of my favorite tracks from their latest album.  It was an impressive performance, though it annoyed my wife.

Ghost took the stage soon afterwards, after a long lead-up with some church choir vocal recording.  It was quite obvious that they have been building a large fan base as a large crowd gathered around the stage, many of whom were not in attendance during Tribulation's performance.  A number of people were also sporting makeup similar to Papa Emeritus.  Some were even wearing a mockup of priests' robes and collars.  One person had rubber goat horns strapped to his head.

The musicians of Ghost had their customary black robes and demon masks, concealing their identities.  Papa Emeritus emerged from the blackness shortly thereafter dressed in his customary evil pope robe and mitre.  He stayed in that costume for about the first half of the concert, but did eventually ditch the mitre and robe.  I don't know if that is normal for him, but it was hot in the auditorium.

Ghost played a good cross-section from all three of their major albums.  Of course "Cirice" was performed and drew a big applause from the crowd.  Ghost were terrific performers and Papa Emeritus was very charismatic and interesting to watch.  My wife enjoyed this concert quite a bit.  As did I.  I was somewhat skeptical at one point about seeing Ghost.  I have enjoyed their albums, though they have not been particular favorites of mine.  But they were so impressive live, that I have achieved a new appreciation for them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Grammys Still (Mostly) Suck

Well I was reasonably impressed that Ghost won the Grammy last for Best Metal Performance.  I have seen the video of their acceptance of the award and I would have liked some reaction shots from the crowd, as Ghost definitely makes an impression visually.  Their song was the only nomination that I really like all that well.  The other bands nominated were Lamb of  God, Slipknot, August Burns Red, and Sevendust, none of whom I give a fuck about.  Ghost is apparently also going on tour soon with a concert date near here, I may have to go check them out.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Black Sabbath in Omaha: January 20, 2016

Last night, as part of my Christmas present from my wife, I got to see Black Sabbath finally.  The band had announced their last tour, entitled obviously The End.  Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler, and Ozzy Osbourne all returned for the last go-around, but were accompanied by Tommy Clufetos on drums.  Black Sabbath kicked off the tour in Omaha, NE of all places, because, and I am quoting Ozzy here "why the fuck not?"

I was not sure there was going to be an opening band until someone took the stage.  That band was Rival Sons, a band I may have heard of at one point, but never really heard.  Rival Sons was sort of a 60's/70's blues rock band.  The singer was very impressive and they did have some damn catchy songs, but I was not really sure they belonged at this concert.  I would have liked to have seen Black Sabbath bring on a young metal band to showcase, rather than this type of retro rock, personally.  Nothing against the band as they were enjoyable enough.

A short while later, Black Sabbath took the stage and opened up with fittingly, "Black Sabbath".  It was pretty clear from the beginning that Ozzy was not having the best night vocally, but that did not stop him from being the consummate showman, keeping the crowd going and interacting with them frequently.  Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler on the other hand sounded terrific throughout.  Iommi proved why he is one of the greatest and most influential guitarists out there and Geezer's trademarked rumbling bass sound was impressive.

The set list was mostly culled from the band's first four albums, much more of a sendoff than a tour focusing on newer material.  In fact, only one song did not come from that era, "Dirty Women" and it was off of their seventh album Technical Ecstasy, which still featured the classic lineup.  Other than that, the band played a bevy of favorites including "Behind the Wall of Sleep", "N.I.B.", "War Pigs", "Fairies Wear Boots", "Children of the Grave", "Into the Void", "Tomorrow's Dream", and "Snowblind".  Of course "Iron Man" made an appearance and the band closed with "Paranoid", while purple confetti (the most metal of all party decorations) rained down from the rafters.  One of the highlights was "Wicked World" which featured an extended drum solo, and Clufetos is one hell of a drummer.

I was a little disappointed the band did not play any material off of Sabbath, Bloody Sabbath as that is one of my favorite albums by Black Sabbath.  As mentioned Ozzy sounded pretty bad throughout the concert, he was frequently out of tune and definitely did not have the ability to hit some of the higher notes.  He was fairly active on stage though, despite kind of shuffling around like an octogenarian.   

All in all, this was a damn good concert despite Ozzy's vocal limitations.  I am very glad I got to see them before they hung it up for good.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Top However Many Albums of 2016

This is going to be kind of an ambitious post from someone who has barely posted in the last year and a half.  Because of that, I feel like I need to cover all of the albums I have picked up over the last year.  So there will be some less than good albums covered, don't take this to be a top albums list so much as ranking all of the albums I have bought over the year.  This is going to be a long one.  Even though I have not been picking up nearly as many albums this last year, there is still a pretty hefty stack sitting on my desk.

So, without further ado, abandon all hope ye who enter:

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

R.I.P. Lemmy

I was never the biggest Motorhead fan, though I did enjoy everything I heard from them.  I just never bought too many of their albums.   That being said, their influence was undeniable.  Lemmy will be missed.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

So, My Wife Dragged Me to Two Concerts This Year...

I assume this is all in retaliation for dragging her to see Slayer.  She got us tickets to see two concerts which do sort of fit in here.  She has been going through a little bit of an 80's rock obsession, and in particular the hair bands.  I don't really get it either.

The first one came on the same night as our return from Las Vegas and was Def Leppard, Foreigner, and Night Ranger.  Going into the concert, my familiarity with the latter two bands was somewhat limited.  My mom used to listen to Night Ranger a lot, so I knew a number of songs pretty well, only one of which they actually played.  I had heard of Foreigner before, but did not really know any songs by them, or so I thought.  You see, Foreigner is mostly well-known for songs that make you stop and think "Huh.  I had no idea that was Foreigner."  Songs like "Cold as Ice", "Double Vision", "Jukebox Hero", "Head Games", "Hot-Blooded", and "I Want to Know What Love Is".  Def Leppard arrived at around the same time as the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, and did have a metal-ish album early on.  But they don't play any songs from that album because there are not any big hits there.  They played all of the songs you would expect from Def Leppard.  All told, this was not a bad concert, but I certainly would not have picked it out.

As if that was not enough, we went to see Alice Cooper and Motley Crue a couple of weeks ago.  Now this one was a little more interesting.  Alice Cooper was a big influence on other shock rock acts over the years and Motley Crue has some undeniably metal songs.  Alice Cooper was first to hit the stage and he played all of the songs you would expect from him: "No More Mr. Nice Guy", "School's Out", "Feed My Frankenstein", "Billion Dollar Babies", and "Poison".  His stage show was still very impressive despite his age.  The typical stage antics were there as well, the fencing foil with dollar bills stuck on it, the snake, the guillotine, the straitjacket, and the Frankenstein's Monster.  Motley Crue took the stage and played all of their big hits as well.  Vince Neil completely flubbed the lyrics to "Dr. Feelgood", which is one of the songs I actually really like by the band.  They did play "Shout at the Devil" and "Looks that Kill", which are also much more metallic tracks.  Tommy Lee did have a revolving drum set that moved across the auditorium on a track, often "playing" upside down.  I am not convinced he was actually playing.

The major frustrating part about the Alice Cooper/Motley Crue concert was that there was apparently a bomb threat and security (which was understaffed) was patting down everyone that came through the door.  This meant a nearly hour-and-fifteen-minute wait to get in from the time that we arrived.  Alice Cooper started his concert late and we made it just a few moments before he took the stage.  There were still a ton of people behind us that must have missed out on a lot of his show.

Neither concert was bad.  I have a new respect for Foreigner, though I am not likely to pick up any albums any time soon.  I did enjoy the show by Alice Cooper and can definitely see where groups like White Zombie, Marilyn Manson, and Gwar got their ideas.  Motley Crue sounded pretty good despite fucking up "Dr. Feelgood".  I would not have chosen to go to either concert myself, but I had a good enough time.  My wife was happier than hell and that is all that matters.  Now, next month, I will be seeing Black Sabbath.  That is one I am excited about.   

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I'm Back After a Long Hiatus

Sorry, I have been very busy with work.  I have a ton to catch up with.  Let's start with the concert I attended this summer: Slayer and King Diamond.  And Hellyeah too, but they suck.

I went to Council Bluffs, IA for the Rockstar Mayhem tour which only included the main stage bands, not a huge deal though I would not have minded seeing Jungle Rot.  Nevertheless, I was not going to pass up a chance to see King Diamond and Slayer for the first time.

I missed The Devil Wears Prada which is absolutely okay with me.  My wife and I both had to work the day of the concert and had to stop at Raising Cane's for some chicken fingers before heading to the concert.  I would not have minded missing Hellyeah either, but we managed to make it to their set.

Hellyeah was about what I expected.  The singer, previously from Mudvayne made one of those "metal saved my life" speeches which is kind of meh.  The music was pretty bland.  I have never been a big fan of Hellyeah.  I just think they are kind of boring personally.

King Diamond was next to the stage and they sounded amazing.  King's voice got stronger as their set rolled on and they played some great songs.  They did not play "Don't Break the Oath" to the dismay of one fan that kept screaming for them to play it.  I did enjoy the inclusion of some Mercyful Fate tracks.  The decorations were a nice touch to the stage and King made things very entertaining with his onstage antics.

I ran into Kelly from Full Metal Attorney and we spent some time catching up.  It was the first time I have actually seen him since law school.  We chatted about the bands and other concerts we have been to and laughed at my wife who was reading the first Game of Thrones book during the concert.

Slayer took the stage and played a blistering set hitting all of the typical Slayer tracks.  "Raining Blood", "Angel of Death", "South of Heaven", and "Dead Skin Mask" all were played.  I was a little disappointed about the lack of "Seasons in the Abyss" personally, but that is a bit of an oddity in the Slayer catalog.

All in all, it was a great time.  I don't get to too many concerts these days, but I had to make it for Slayer and King Diamond.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Blog Update

My plan is to get back to posting soon.  I am very sorry for bands that have sent me stuff that I have not responded to.  I will try to get to everything.

Decisions, Decisions

A couple of weeks back I missed an opportunity to see At The Gates, Pallbearer, and some other groups.  I was a little bummed by that, but it turns out there are three upcoming concerts that I would love to go see.  Unfortunately, I can't justify the expense in seeing all three so I had a decision to make.

Here are the choices:
1.  Judas Priest with Saxon.

2.  Volbeat with Anthrax and Crobot.

3.  Mayhem Fest featuring Slayer and King Diamond.

As much as I would love to see Judas Priest at some point (and I probably won't get another opportunity), I don't really care much for Saxon.  I saw Volbeat opening for Megadeth a few years back and don't care for Crobot, but Anthrax would have been interesting.  Ultimately though, Mayhem Fest was the way to go.  A lot of the other bands there are terrible, though I do enjoy Jungle Rot.  But I cannot pass up an opportunity to see both Slayer and King Diamond.  I may not have another chance to see either of them.  So I made my decision.  I will probably just show for the last two bands, have work and all that since the concert is a Tuesday and two hours from home.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Fuck the Grammys

Call it morbid curiosity.  I really do not give a fuck about the Grammys, but I find myself checking out who won the Best Metal Performance Grammy each year.  Usually I do not even see the nominees until that night, but I check it out anyway.  This year saw Tenacious D win the Grammy for Best Metal Performance for their version of Dio's classic "Last in Line".  That is fucking ridiculous.  A cover version of a song written 30 years ago by a joke band headed by actor Jack Black is not a very good representation of where metal is today.  I'm not even mad about it, the whole thing is just so ridiculous that it defies explanation.  I would prefer it if the award show would just drop the Metal Performance Grammy altogether.  They have no idea about the genre and don't seem to care.  What's the point?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Odota: Fever Marshal (2014)

Some time ago I reviewed an album by a band called Talbot.  That was a pretty interesting sludge/doom album that I really enjoyed.  I was recently contacted by the former drummer/vocalist from the Estonian band to take a look at his new project under the name Odota.  Having enjoyed Talbot, I was eager to see what Odota had to offer.

Odota is actually quite dissimilar from Talbot, which is definitely not a problem.  It was just a little surprising.  Where Talbot played murky doom metal, Odota plays sludge-laden black metal with a bit of a psychedelic tinge to it.  It is fairly similar to the terrific Silencing Machine by Nachtmystium.  The experimental elements add a lot of depth and intrigue to the otherwise straightforward black metal riffing style.  The vocals are more aggressive black metal-style rasping which fits well with the music and distinguishes it from being too much like Nachtmystium.

There are some exclusively experimental tracks here, most notably "Staked Plains", that kind of drag things down a little bit.  I don't really understand the desire to throw in mostly atonal, noise tracks onto albums, but then it is not my decision.

I'm not really sure if there is some sort of lyrical theme here or not.  I do not have any access to any lyrics sheets, but the song titles seem to lead to the conclusion that this may be a Western-themed albums.  We have words like "marshal", "horse thief", "plains", "eagle", and "rattlesnake" in each of the titles.  Kind of odd choices really.  I suspect this is the first ever Western-themed psychedelic black metal album in history.

I thought this was a pretty decent release.  It is hard not to compare it to Jarmo Nuutre's other band, and I think it falls a bit short of Talbot.  But it is a very good effort and it will be interesting to see what this band can do in the future.