Junkowl’s Debut LP Is One Of This Year’s Most Unique New Hard Rock & Metal Albums

Courtesy: Asher Media Relations

Up-and-coming hard rock band Junkowl has made quite the name for itself since its formation in 2017.  Only two years after it got its start, the band won a competition earning itself a spot on the lineup for the 2019 Heavy Montreal Festival.  The annual two-day festival is Canada’s most renowned heavy music events.  This year, it was set to feature performances from the likes of Sepultura, Rammstein, and Deftones, just to name a few of the big names on the bill.  Thanks to COVID-19 the festival was postponed until next summer.  In past years, the festival has welcomed other major name acts, such as Slipknot, Overkill, and Rob Zombie.  Getting back on the subject, that Junkowl has been invited to perform at the renowned festival speaks volumes about its own reputation and talent.  Late last month, the band set out to keep its name growing when it released its debut album Making Out With My Death.  The 10-song record is a strong debut for the band.  That is due in part to its musical arrangements, which will be addressed shortly.  The album’s lyrical content also plays into its presentation, and will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  When it is considered along with the album’s overall content, all three elements join to make the record a very powerful debut from Junkowl that hard rock and metal fans will agree is worth hearing at least once.

Junkow’s debut album Making Out With My Death is a powerful new offering from the independent hard rock band.  That is due in part to the record’s musical arrangements.  The album’s overall musical content exhibits a variety of influences throughout the course of its 34-minute run time.  Right from the album’s outset, audiences get a hint of a Tool influence in ‘Snakecharmer.’  Roughly a minute into the song, that influence gives way to something much heavier yet still very melodic in its own right in the vein of Dry Kill Logic, 36 Crazyfists, and All Hail The Yeti.  The fire in the song’s arrangement plays directly into the song’s lyrical arrangement, which is just as powerful in its own right and will be addressed a little later.  Front man Jesse Frechette’s screams work with each of his band mates – Dom Labrie (drums), Marco Larosa (guitar), and Samuel Matte (bass) – to make this arrangement a massively impacting first impression from the band and an equally impacting way to introduce audiences to the band.

The album’s sound changes distinctly in its second offering, ‘Quarantine Us All.’  This song’s arrangement is sort of a hybrid metal/punk approach that while it exhibits the noted influences in its own right, it also presents a stylistic approach that can be compared somewhat to Motorhead and various sludge metal bands.  That sounds like quite the odd combination of styles mixed into one, but the hybrid works surprisingly well here.  It will keep listeners engaged just as much as the album’s opener.  As the album makes its way into its third song, ‘Shake Me,’ it moves more into an aggro-rock style approach, showing once again, the variety of stylistic approaches taken in the album’s musical arrangements.  The sludge metal sound is even more prominent in the album’s fourth song, ‘Dead Hooker,’ while the Tool influence returns in the album’s midpoint, ‘Little Scum.’  Larosa’s guitar line and Labrie’s work behind the kit is reminiscent of the arrangement at the center of Tool’s song ‘Lateralus.’  Now it should be stressed that even with the similarity there, Junkowl’s arrangement is not entirely identical.  It holds its own identity.  So the band is to be commended for that.  What’s more, the Tool influence is only temporary once again in this case.  It eventually gives way to something much heavier roughly a minute into the song.  The duality of that approach, along with Frechette’s distinct vocal delivery style, makes this song just as unique as the rest of the album’s arrangements.  It’s just one more way in which the album’s musical content proves so important.

As the album enters its second half, the band opts for a more Depeche Mode-influenced work in ‘Crawling Up My Feet.’  What’s interesting here is that the manner in which the arrangement builds up conjures thoughts more of Marilyn Manson’s take on the song than Depeche Mode’s original composition.  The heaviness carries listeners on through the rest of the album from this point, letting up little if any, even in the album’s closer.  By the time the record ends, listeners will know they have experienced a unique overall hard rock presentation that will leave them wholly fulfilled even though the record’s run time comes in at just over half an hour.  It leaves listeners feeling like they have gotten the fullest offering from the band, at least musically speaking.  To that end, there is no doubt as to the importance of this album’s musical content.  The whole of the album’s musical content shows without doubt, its importance to the album’s overall presentation.  It is just one reason that hard rock and metal fans will want to hear this album at least once.  Its lyrical content plays its own part into its presentation, too.

The lyrical content that is featured throughout Making Out With My Death is just as heavy as its musical counterpart.  The album’s overall lyrical content is so heavy because it delves into some topics and possible topics that many acts (regardless of genre) are afraid to touch.  Case in point is the content featured in ‘Relapse.’  The song seemingly addresses someone trying to get over drug addiction, and does so in a very unafraid fashion.  This is inferred as Frechette screams in the song’s lead verse, I can’t come down/No, I can’t come down/I can’t come down/No, I can’t come down/*** damn, I’m finally free/Not too much left in me/Scrap of integrity/Too blurry, I can’t see/Breathe still, let go/Broken, I know/Think I might last/Hold tight, relapse/The bottle hits my lip/How easy I forget/Cocaine and cigarettes/Making out with my death.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “No, I can’t come down/Aching to break away/Oh, I am nothing but a stain/A lump of coal in your veins/I’ll only bring you pain/Breathe still, let go/Broken, I know/Think I might last Hold tight, relapse.”  The song’s chorus finds its subject screaming, almost painfully, “I can’t seem to come down.”  The pain that the subject is dealing with emotionally and physically is translated so well through this simple statement and its pairing with the song’s musical arrangement.  All thing considered here, no doubt is left as to the song’s lyrical topic.  What’s more the way in which the topic was approached adds to its strength.  It is just one way in which the album’s lyrical content proves so important to the record’s overall presentation.  The lyrical content (and its presentation) in the album’s opener, ‘ Snakecharmer’ is another key example of what makes the album’s lyrical content stand out.

‘Snakecharmer’ comes across as a song that addresses a situation involving domestic abuse and possibly that as a result of some mental disease that ends very badly.  The song opens with the subject stating, ‘Yeah/She’s sleeping in my bed/She knows every word that I’ve ever said/I breathe her in/She spits me out/Death echoes silent inside her mouth/Tell me this/Is your love worth bleeding, darling?/Or are you just another succubus?/Either way, I’m not sorry.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “I swear I tried one thousand times to rip this demon from my mind/No matter how hard I scream/I still see her in my dreams/Tell me this, Is your love worth bleeding, darling?/Or are you just another succubus?/Either way, I’m not sorry/Kill, Fuck Blow your brains out/ Blow my brains out.”  As already noted, this story does not have a happy ending.  That mention of “I tried one thousand times to rip this demon from my mind” could allude to the subject dealing with the issue of fighting his own inner concerns, whether brought on by drugs or just mental instability.  That battle ultimately did not end well, as the song hints.  Again, this is a very difficult issue that while more acts are tackling, few are handling it in the fashion in which Junkowl did.  Keeping that in mind, it is another key point in addressing the album’s lyrical content, and not the last of the album’s most notable lyrical entries, too.  ‘Sickness Lives’ is another notable lyrical presentation to address.

‘Sickness Lives’ stands out lyrically because it, too, seems to take on the issue of addiction and dependency, too.  This is inferred as Frechette notes in the song’s lead verse, ““I’m sick of living dead in this prison/Wake up, fuck the system/Laughing alone in madness/Drinking away the sadness/Living dead in this prison/Wake up, fuck the system/Strung out on medication/What an abomination/I feel it growing inside/Petrified, paralyzed/It’s eating me alive.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “I don’t want to be sober/Every day I’m growing colder/My heart’s become so heavy/Where is the end? Will someone tell me?/Screaming to block out the sound/This place is a fucking letdown/If I die before I wake, I pray with me this world I’ll take/I feel it growing inside Petrified, paralyzed/It’s eating me alive, down to the bone.”  Once again, here audiences are presented with what come across as a song that has to do with addiction.  The very mention of “Strung out on medication/What an abomination/I feel it growing inside” points to someone dealing with perhaps becoming addicted to certain medications, and the result thereof.  It is a powerful line that along with the rest of the song’s content, makes for its own very heavy statement that is sure to leave a lasting impact on listeners.  Keeping that in mind along with the other noted lyrical content and that lyrical content not noted (and the impact of each song), the whole leaves no doubt that this record’s lyrical content is just as powerful as its musical arrangements.  While the album’s overall content does a lot to make it appealing to audiences, it is just a portion of what makes the album worth hearing.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.

The sequencing used in the presentation of Making Out With My Death is just as important as its content to examine in looking at the album in whole.  The record’s sequencing keeps its energy stable and solid from start to end.  It has already been pointed out that the album opens with a very foreboding, Tool-esque sound that quickly gives way to something completely different and fiery.  As the album progresses, that fire never burns out, either.  It smolders at some points, but wastes little time burning bright again, keeping the album’s intensity at its height throughout.  By the time the record ends, listeners will know they have experienced something that is one of the most unique hard rock and metal (and independent) albums of the year.

Junkowl’s debut album Making Out With My Death is a powerful first offering from the independent hard rock band.  Its musical arrangements join influences from a variety of bands that make the songs in themselves and from one to the next, powerful just from this aspect.  The record’s lyrical themes are just as heavy as its musical content, as noted.  Its sequencing puts the finishing touch to its presentation.  Each noted item is important in its own way.  All things considered, they make the album a work that bodes well for Junkowl’s future.  Making Out With My Death is available now.

More information on Junkowl’s new album is available along with all of the band’s latest news at:

 

Websitehttp://www.junkowlmtl.com

Facebookhttp://www.facebook.com/junkowlband

 

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Am I Dead Yet? Proves The Independent Music Realm Is Alive With Talent

Courtesy: Wire-Sound

The United Kingdom has, for decades, offered the music industry so many great musical acts.  From The Beatles and The Rolling Stones to Motorhead and Judas Priest to David Bowie and Pink Floyd and others, the list of great bands is almost endless.  For all of the great acts that have come from the United Kingdom, it has also produced a variety of noteworthy independent acts throughout the years.  Late this past April Am I Dead Yet? added itself to that list of notable indie UK acts with its debut self-titled album.  The 11-song, 47-minute album is an interesting record whose musical arrangements will appeal to fans of David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Gary Numan and even Pink Floyd while its lyrical content will appeal to an even wider array of listeners.  That is proven early on in the form of the song ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’  It will be addressed shortly.  ‘People Are Dangerous’ uses its music and lyrics to show just as much as ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth’ to help show what makes this record stand out.  It will be addressed a little later.  ‘Futuristic Paranoia,’ which immediately follows ‘People Are Dangerous,’ is yet another example of what makes Am I Dead Yet? stand out as one of this year’s most notable indie music acts.  When it is considered along with the likes of ‘Loneliness,’ ‘Thanks For Sharing’ and ‘Leaving Me Behind,’ – three more of the album’s featured songs – the album becomes that much more impressive.  When all of these songs are considered with the five remaining songs not noted here, the whole of Am I Dead Yet? becomes a record that reminds people the independent music world is just as alive (bad pun fully intended) as the mainstream realm with great acts.

Am I Dead Yet?’s debut self-titled album is one of the most surprising albums of 2019.  It is a record that proves, over the course of its 47-minute run time, that the independent music realm is just as alive with talent as the mainstream realm.  That is proven in part early on in the album’s run in the form of ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’  The song’s musical arrangement is one part of what makes it such an interesting offering.  The use of the keyboards, the gong, guitars and general production generates a sound and feeling in the arrangement that conjures thoughts of some of David Bowie’s best works.  One could even argue a comparison to some of Depeche Mode’s best works, too.  That is not a bad thing, either.  It is an amalgam that translates quite well even with its melancholic feeling.  That melancholic feeling is important to note because it is in such stark contrast to the song’s lyrical content, which seems actually quite uplifting.

The song’s lead verse reads, “Britain’s got talent/You bet the f*** it has/But it’s not on a game show/On the pages of a sad celebrity mag/Laugh now/For one day, we’ll be in control, oh yeah/It’s coming up from the sewers and the cracks in the walls/Lost souls/Tired of it all/weirdos…queers in padded cells/We salute you/The anti-heroes/Dream out loud/For all that you’re worth/The meek shall inherit the Earth, my friend/The meek shall inherit the Earth.”  The song continues in its second verse, which reads, “If they say they want it enough/Will they deserve it?/Not in a million years/Fame ain’t easy…not even if you cry me a river of tears/Laugh  now, for one day/We’ll be in control, oh yeah/And we won’t have even earned it from the school/Where they teach you to rock and roll.”  This is a full-on message of hope and empowerment.  It is using a timeless adage to remind listeners that hope is possible.  It empowers those people who have felt themselves the dregs of society, but who are in fact the underdogs who so deservedly will one day in fact inherit the earth.  That positive message, set against the melancholic vibe to make that lyrical message that much more impacting.  The arrangement’s sound and feel will connect with listeners because it touches on the feelings and emotions of said listeners.  The positive message reminds listeners that something good is out there. The whole of that pairing makes this song one of the most notable songs featured in this record.  Of course it is just one of the album’s most notable works.  ‘People Are Dangerous’ is just as notable as ‘Meek Shall Inherit The Earth.’

‘People Are Dangerous’ in part because of its musical arrangement, which is centered around its infectious bluesy guitar riff and percussion.  The noted guitar riff almost immediately conjures thoughts of Depeche Mode and Pink Floyd.  The use of the Latin percussion and tympani adds even more to that feeling.  The chorus advances that sound even more, with the end result being an arrangement that is yet another powerful example of what makes AIDY? such a surprisingly enjoyable album.  The song’s musical side is just one part of what makes it stand out.  Its lyrical side is just as impacting as its musical side.  The song’s lead verse reads, “We’re all wounded creatures with stories to tell/Under the influence/Under the spell/Walkin’ the line between serenity and sorrow/We self medicate for a better tomorrow/Out in the cold try to weather the storm/Stokin’ the fire to keep us all warm/People are dangerous/They’ll promise you the Earth/They’ll wound you with their words/And hit where it hurts/They’ll spin you around/And lift you up high/And bring you to the ground/In the blink of an eye.”  The song’s second verse reads, “Now here are we?/Still chasin’ our dreams/Living a nightmare…Holdin’ on tight/We’ve hit rock bottom/It comes through fear/Of being forgotten/Dictating direction by building more walls/If we stand together/We can watch them all fall/People are dangerous/They’ll promise you the Earth/they’ll wound you with their words/They’ll hit where it hurts/They’ll spin you around/Lift you up high/And bring you to the ground/In the blink of an eye/Stop pretending everything’s alright/Have you the heart for the fight?/Better to die on your own two feet/Than to live life on your knees.”  In reading this, it becomes clear that this song’s lyrical content is a social commentary.  It is a commentary about what has happened to society and what we as a people are doing to ourselves and to one another.  This wording is an original take on a familiar trope that will certainly keep listeners engaged in its own right.  Add that to the maintained engagement and entertainment that the song’s musical arrangement, and the end result is a song that is instantly one of this record’s most memorable works.  It is not the last of the album’s most memorable and notable songs, either.  ‘Futuristic Paranoia’ is yet another of the record’s truly memorable and notable works.

‘Futuristic Paranoia’ conjures thoughts of Gary Numan’s most recent albums right from its outset in terms of its arrangement.  That is due to the use of its electronics and its Middle Eastern elements.  The vocals and the rest of the arrangement’s elements add to that comparison even more.  What is important to note here is that while the comparison to Gary Numan’s work can be made here, it cannot be said that this arrangement is a blatant rip-off of his work.  The two are just stylistically similar, is all, and that is a very good thing here.  While the song’s musical arrangement clearly does a lot to make it engaging and entertaining, it is only one part of the song.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to its whole as its musical material.

The lead verse in this song states, “When you think you’re alone, remember they’ll be watching you/Wherever you are, night or day/When the nightmare comes and you are shaking in the dead of night/Nothing makes it go away/It’s just your average, ordinary futuristic paranoia.”  The second verse follows, “When the voices in your head get fearless and come out to play…deep down they speak the truth/When the strange bacterial shapes and the screen begin their merry dance/Your world goes pixilated/It’s not use/It’s just your average ordinary futuristic paranoia.”  This one is deep, needless to say.  It’s as if the group is saying that so much of what we think is in our heads and we have to remind ourselves of this.  Yet again, that is just this critic’s own take on this.  It could be totally wrong.  Hopefully even if it is wrong, it is somewhere in the proverbial ballpark.  That aside, the fact that this deep content will certainly generate a lot of interest and conversation among listeners proves why this song stands out.  The addition of that noted musical content to the lyrics makes the song stand out even more.  All things considered, they make ‘Futuristic Paranoia’ a work that is certain to be a fan favorite both on record and live.  Keeping this in mind, when this song is considered alongside the other songs noted here – both of which will be fan favorites in their own right – they show collectively what makes Am I Dead Yet? a pleasant surprise for every music lover.  When those songs are set alongside the likes of ‘Loneliness,’ ‘Thanks For Sharing’ and ‘Leaving Me Behind,’ – three more of the album’s featured songs – the album becomes that much more impressive.  When that group is considered along with the rest of the songs not directly addressed here, the whole of the record becomes a presentation that proves proudly that the independent music industry – even overseas – is just as alive with talent as America’s independent music realm.

Am I Dead Yet?’s debut self-titled full-length studio recording is a surprisingly entertaining first effort from the UK-based group.  Its musical arrangements take the best elements of so many of the group’s more well-known mainstream counterparts for a whole that is entirely original.  Sure, the comparisons are there, but none of the arrangements just rip-off the songs from the already noted counterparts.  The record’s lyrical content is just as surprisingly engaging and entertaining as its musical content.  All things considered, they make Am I Dead Yet? one of the most surprisingly enjoyable records of 2019, and more proof that the independent music industry in whole is alive and well with plenty of talent.  More information on Am I Dead Yet? is available online now along with all of Am I Dead Yet?’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.amideadyet.co.uk

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/aidyband

 

 

 

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ASHRR Debuts ‘Medicine Man’ Video

Courtesy: TAG Publicity

Independent electronic music act ASHRR is giving audiences their first preview of its forthcoming debut EP.

The group — Steven Davis (vocals), Josh Charles and Ethan Allen — debuted the EP’s lead single, ‘Medicine Man’ this past February.  Its debut was followed up with the premiere of the song’s companion video on May 8 via New Noise magazine.  The song’s musical arrangement has led it to be likened to works from Nine Inch Nails, Depeche Mode and David Bowie (from his Nine Inch Nails influenced days).  That is clear in the brooding keyboard arrangement and Davis’ equally brooding vocal delivery.

Lyrically, the song is rather cryptic, with the song’s subject seemingly singing about being all that another wants.  He sings, “If you want a revelation to wake your soul/If you want a demonstration, just let me know/Hey, hey, lay your worry down.  Whatever you crave, I’ve got lying around/I’ve got your cure/I’m your everything man/I’m your medicine man, I’m your medicine man/Hey, hey what you waiting on/Just gotta call on me and it won’t be long/I’m your everything man, I’m your medicine man.”  To this it, the song comes across as a rather dark work.  Now in what fashion this is intended to be interpreted is left to that interpretation, as no explanation behind the lyrics has been offered.

‘Medicine Man’ can be downloaded via iTunes and streamed via Spotify.  More information on ‘Medicine Man’ is available online along with all of ASHRR’s latest news and more at:

 

Website: http://www.ashrrmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ashrrmusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ashrrmusic

 

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Blaqk Audio’s New LP Is A “Bright” New Record

Courtesy: Superball Music

AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget have hit the switch yet again on the way back machine and taken audiences once more back to the heyday of the techno boom with the new Blaqk Audio record, “Bright Black Heaven.”  This album takes listeners even deeper into the electronic influences of both men with tracks the likes of ‘Faith Healer’, ‘Everybody’s Friends’, and ‘Bliss.’ 

‘Faith Healer’ is a blatant throwback to Depeche Mode.  Even the vocals are eerily similar to that of Depeche Mode’s front man Dave Gahan.  While it’s a blatant throwback to Depeche Mode, the keyboard parts actually throw in a more twenty-first century touch with their effects, bridging that generational gap and bringing the two together for what is the album’s first really catchy track.

‘Everybody’s Friends’ is another high point to “Bright Black Heaven.”   While the song is lyrically steeped in the standard topic of relationships, it’s the music that really stands out.  This song is an instant club hit.  It would have just as popular in the 80’s thanks to its keyboard work.  The real surprise of the song is that as catchy as it is, it would be interesting to hear a remix of this song.  A remix might actually be that much catchier.  Much the same could be said of ‘Bliss.’  But instead of mixing older techno and new, this song instead favors more of the newer sound, showing growth from the duo’s debut album, “Cex Cells.”  Hearing this track and comparing it to work from “Cex Cells” it would be no surprise to see this duo out on tour with the likes of Linkin Park or even collaborating with them at one point or another.

Speaking of touring, no dates are currently listed.  But fans can get all the latest tour dates when they come along by going online to http://www.blaqkaudio.com, http://www.facebook.com/blaqkaudio, http://twitter.com/realblaqkaudio, and http://www.youtube.com/blaqkaudioofficial.  The duo’s new album, “Bright Black Heaven” is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online via iTunes at http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/blaqk-audio/id258737071

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