Gloomball Shows Impressive Growth On Its Sophomore LP

Courtesy:  Steamhammer/SPV

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV

German-based hard rock band Gloomball has made quite a bit of “noise” with its new album The Quiet Monster ever since the album was released late last month.  The follow-to the band’s 2013 debut LP The Distance, the band’s latest opus is one of this year’s best new albums in the hard rock/metal category.  While it is only available in its physical form overseas, audiences in America and elsewhere can download the album now via iTunes at https://itunes.apple.com/gw/album/the-quiet-monster/id968831621.  In hearing the twelve total tracks that make up the album, listeners around the world will agree that this is an album that every member of the Metal Nation worldwide should have on his or her playlist this year whether in physical or digital format.  The album’s lead single ‘Straight To Hell’ proves this all by itself.  Of course it isn’t the album’s only song, nor is it the only song that proves the album’s value to the metal legions, either.  ‘Monster,’ the album’s first full length song is just as solid an example of what makes The Quiet Monster such an outstanding work from Gloomball.  The band even boasts an instantly radio ready piece that would fit in perfectly on any mainstream American rock radio station in the form of ‘One More Day’ for those wanting something slightly less intense.  All three of the tracks noted here prove in their own way just how much Gloomball has grown since the release of its debut record only two years ago.  They are not the only tracks that display that growth, either.  There are plenty of others that exhibit that growth, too including: ‘Sullen Eyes,’ ‘Blood Red World,’ and ‘(Don’t) Surrender’ just to name a few.  Whether for any of those tracks, for the ones more directly noted, or those not noted here, it can be said of The Quiet Monster in whole this record shows so much growth from the members of Gloomball.  And it is that growth that makes The Quiet Monster one of this year’s best new albums in the realm of hard rock and metal.

Only two years have passed since Gloomball released its debut album The Distance in 2013.  In that short span of time, the members of this German-based Quintet have honed their talents quite a bit.  That is evident throughout the course of the band’s new album The Quiet Monster.  This twelve track, fifty-minute album boasts so many impressive songs that are just as good as anything churned out by the likes of Hellyeah, Sevendust, and other major American hard rock acts over the years.  That being the case, it makes one wonder why the album would only be released in its physical form overseas while audiences elsewhere can allegedly only get it digitally.  The reason for that is anyone’s guess.  That aside, there is a lot to like about The Quiet Monster including its lead single, ‘Straight To Hell.’  This full-throttle song was a great choice to re-introduce the band to its fans and to introduce the band to its new fans for the first time.  Musically speaking, the combined talents of guitarists Bjorn Daigger and Jossi Lenk, and drummer Danny Jo Hofmann give the song something akin to the classic Gothenburg sound made so popular by the likes of Soilwork, In Flames, and others of that ilk over the past decade or so.  Hofmann’s solid time keeping balanced with his ability to switch his cymbal hits to either side of the beat is an impressive feat.  It is impressive because of how easy it is to get lost trying to make such transitions while trying to maintain the song’s tempo at the same time.  From one drummer to another, Hofmann is to be applauded for such talent.  On the song’s lyrical side, ‘Straight To Hell’ shows itself to be one of those songs to which so many people can relate.  Front man Alen Ljubic sings about a person that is never happy, no matter what and the frustrations of dealing with said person.  He sings directly to said subject in the song’s opening verse, “Wait/Again, I warned you not to cross my line/Why/Don’t you understand me/I/I played it fair/There’s no way/You can’t deny/Your/Your bluff is called/But there is no way out.”  His subject goes on to go toe-to-toe with that negative individual in the second verse singing, “Burn/You’re one of those who are never satisfied/Why/Do you always force me/Lies/All I hear from you are god&@^! Lies/You/You’ve gone too far/But there is no way out.”  Such lyrics are needless to say, a rather forceful indictment.  Ljubic comes across as saying to the intended target, “I gave you fair warning.  I tried to spell it out in no uncertain terms so that it would be clear to you.  You’re such a fake, pessimistic person and I called your bluff.  So now you’ve got nowhere to turn and no lies left to tell.”  That is of course only this critic’s interpretation of this song.  It could be entirely wrong.  Hopefully it’s more right than wrong.  Regardless, the combination of the song’s lyrics and its music together gives it one heck of a punch.  That punch in question makes clear why it was chosen to be not only one of the album’s representative works, but its lead representative work.

‘Straight To Hell’ is one of the best of the best from The Quiet Monster.  The seemingly Gothenburg-influenced sound of the song’s musical side coupled with its no nonsense lyrics make it a song to which every member of the Metal Nation worldwide will relate.  Because they will be able to relate to its lyrics and enjoy its musical side too, it makes sense that it was chosen as the album’s lead single.  It is not the only song that could be used to represent The Quiet Monster.  ‘Monster’ is the album’s first full length song.  And it is just as viable a representative song for this record, too.  Just as with ‘Straight To Hell,’ ‘Monster’ is a high-energy piece that will have any member of the Metal Nation worldwide putting his or her horns high with pride.  Its full throttle sound, driven mostly by the dual guitar attack of Bjorn Daigger and Jossi Lenk, stands out from that of ‘Straight To Hell.’  The sound on this song is more comparable to that of Hellyeah, Adrenaline Mob, Five Finger Death Punch, and certain other well-known names from the hard rock realm here in America.  On the song’s lyrical side, it is sure to interest audiences just as much.  That’s because of its seeming metaphorical language.  Ljubic sings in the song’s opening verse, “Wake up/Time to feed them all/They’ve been cravin’ for your soul since the day you were born…how could anyone on Earth be so f****** blind.”  He goes on to sing in the chorus, “Light the world up/Feed the monster/I will never break/And I know I can take this monster/Time to man up/Kill the monster/Higher than the sky/I’m gonna fly for real.”  The tone of the song’s lyrics comes across as being rather positive, despite the song’s title.  There’s almost a sense of overcoming one’s inner metaphorical monster and being better than what people want a person to be.  Again, that interpretation could be completely incorrect.  Hopefully it is at least somewhere in the ballpark.  That aside, the overall positive theme of overcoming and pushing on in itself more than shows it to be another standout addition to The Quiet Monster and one more way in which The Quiet Monster proves to be one of the best of this year’s hard rock and metal crop.

Both ‘Straight To Hell’ and ‘Monster’ are key additions to Gloomball’s new album.  They both exhibit in their own way just how much the band’s members have grown both by themselves and as a unit.  As audiences can hear, in comparison to the band’s 2013 debut The Distance, this album feels much more focused.  That is just from the album’s first two songs, too.  That focus is exhibited well throughout the rest of the album, too.  Perhaps one of the clearest examples of that focus comes in the form of ‘One More Day.’  This song is heavy in its own right.  But it shows a softer side to the band, too.  The song’s more reserved sound makes it a perfect fit for any mainstream American rock radio station.  With any luck, some brave program director out there will read this and take a chance on this song (or any of the other outstanding songs that make up the album’s body), too.  Musically speaking, the comparison to the likes of Five Finger Death Punch and certain other bands is clearly evident.  Lyrically, it is the standard song centered on a broken relationship.  The delivery of the lyrics against the song’s musical side actually makes the whole thing surprisingly catchy.  Ljubin sings of the lost love, “Awake/But it’s like shoving needles in my eyes/Estranged/Can’t control the void you left behind/One day/It’s all I ask/To see you one more time/We never cared/Never cared at all/All I ask for is one more day/Cause the lies we’ll never tell/Escape this prison cell/All I ask for is one more day/Is to find peace inside this hell/Locked inside this hell.”  The rest of the song continues in much the same fashion in terms of its lyrics.  While the song does continue on in similar fashion, lyrically speaking, it never really reaches the level of cheese that so many American rock bands are capable of reaching (and in many cases do reach).  That it doesn’t sink to that level and that it stands out so blatantly against the album’s other, higher-energy songs is exactly why this song serves as such an excellent example of what Gloomball has to offer audiences on this, its sophomore album.  It is one more example of just how much Gloomball has grown collectively as a band since the release of its debut album two years ago.  And together with the likes of ‘Monster’ and ‘Straight to Hell,’ that growth is made even clearer.  Such clarity and focus exhibited throughout the album’s body shows once more exactly why The Quiet Monster is one of the best of this year’s crop of new hard rock and metal albums.

The Quiet Monster exhibits a noticeable growth from Gloomball in comparison to its 2013 debut record The Distance. From the album’s lead single ‘Straight to Hell’ to its opening number ‘Monster’ to its fully radio ready song ‘One More Day,’ the growth exhibited in these three songs alone shows clearly how far Gloomball has come in just two years. They are not the only tracks that display that growth, either.  There are plenty of other songs on this disc that exhibit that growth, too including: ‘Sullen Eyes,’ ‘Blood Red World,’ and ‘(Don’t) Surrender’ just to name a few.  Whether for any of those tracks, for the ones more directly noted, or those not noted here, it can be said of The Quiet Monster in whole this record shows so much growth from the members of Gloomball.  And it is that growth that makes The Quiet Monster one of this year’s best new albums in the realm of hard rock and metal. The Quiet Monster is available now in stores overseas and online via iTunes everywhere else at https://itunes.apple.com/gw/album/the-quiet-monster/id968831621. The band is currently touring in support of its new album and fans can check out all of the band’s upcoming tour dates online now along with the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.gloomball.com

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

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Atlanta Based Hard Rock Band As Raucous And Irreverent As Ever On Its Latest LP

Courtesy:  Steamhammer/SPV Records

Courtesy: Steamhammer/SPV Records

Nashville Pussy front man Blaine Cartwright and his wife Ruyter Suys (pronounced Rider Sighs) have spent nearly two decades making hard rock for the masses.  While the husband and wife duo have largely stayed just under the radar that whole time.  That hasn’t deterred them, either.  The pair (with their latest band mates) is set to release the band’s sixth full length studio release later this month. Up The Dosage is scheduled to be released Tuesday, January 21st via Steamhammer/SPV Records.  And it goes without saying that this new record shows Cartwright and company have not lost any steam over the course of their careers.

It goes without saying that Up The Dosage is a fitting title for the latest release from Blaine Cartwright and company.  The band has continued on this record, its long-standing tradition of crafting some of the most raucous and irreverent rock songs that the music world has ever heard.  The album’s opener, ‘Everybody’s Fault But Mine’ is a prime example of this.  Musically speaking, its sound is similar to bands the likes of Fireball Ministry, Black Stone Cherry and others of that ilk.  Its lyrical side makes it even more enjoyable.  It comes across lyrically as a proverbial middle finger to all those that would want to blame others for their problems.  Imagine Hatebreed’s ‘Defeatist’ only aimed in a different musical direction.  Audiences will hear that for themselves as Cartwright sings, “If you see me coming/You’d best get out of my way/Cause I don’t wanna know you/You’ll just lead me astray/If the world comes crashing down/I’ve left it far behind/If I don’t make it to the top/It’s everybody’s fault but mine.”  If indeed Cartwright and company were intending a certain sharp commentary with this song, then message well received.  There are people everywhere like the individual portrayed in this song.  They are the typical “oh-woe-is-me” type that refuses to stand up and take responsibility for their own actions and the results of said actions.  Considering the history of Nashville Pussy, this is the perfect re-introduction for fans of the band that are more familiar with its material.  On the other hand, it is just as welcome an introduction for anyone that might be less familiar with the band’s catalogue.  And it’s only one of so many stand out songs that the band shares on this record.

If ‘Everybody’s Fault But Mine’ doesn’t grab audiences right off the bat, then the adrenaline-fueled song that follows definitely will prove the band’s reputation.  That song is ‘Rub it to Death.’  Musically speaking, this is a song that bears quite the Motorhead style influence.  Lyrically, it is everything that has made certain groups hate rock and roll since its early days. There is mention of both sex and drugs throughout the song that comes in at just under three minutes.  Of course so much of said material is so explicit that it can’t be reprinted here.  That content aside, ‘Rub it to Death’ is still another great addition to this record when one puts the song’s high-energy musical side next to the more adult lyrical themes.  Simply put, it’s a good fit for anyone that is a fan of Hank III.

The energy and themes established early on in Up The Dosage barely lets up as the band makes its way through the course of the thirteen tracks that comprise the album’s standard edition.  On a side note, the album will also be available in an extended edition that includes two bonus tracks.  The one time when things take a different direction–albeit a slight one at best–is on the album’s shortest song, ‘Taking It Easy.’  The song comes in at just under a single minute.  To be more precise, it clocks in at just forty-seven seconds long.  Things take a different turn here primarily in that Cartwright’s wife takes over vocal duties.  And instead of singing about sex, drugs, and rock and roll, she sings about taking a break from said topics.  She sings, “What are y’all doing on a Saturday night/I’d rather be sleeping than getting in a fight…you rock it all over like a heavy metal beast/You know you got’s to/takin’ it/takin’ it easy.”  The real irony of the song is that for a song that is about…well…taking it easy, it is quite the adrenaline-fueled anthem.  That juxtaposition alone makes it well worth the listen.  Add in the fact that it is able to say so much and make such a hard-hitting impact in such a short span of time, and audiences get a song that is far less simple than it seems on the surface.  It’s one more of so many songs that audiences new and old will appreciate on this album.

Fans overseas will get to hear even more of the band’s music beginning at the end of the month when it kicks off its European tour.  The first date on that tour is Thursday, January 30th at Le Forum in Vauxreal, France.  The latest list of the band’s tour dates is available on the band’s official website, http://www.nashvillepussy.com.  Fans can also keep up with the band via Facebook and Twitter at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Nashville-Pussy/13091707669 and http://twitter.com/bashfulpuppy.

The Final Revolution Is The First Great Hard Rock/Metal Album Of 2014

Courtesy:  SPV/Steamhammer Records

Courtesy: SPV/Steamhammer Records

The Final Revolution, the latest release from veteran New York based hardcore band Pro-Pain, is the first great hard rock record of 2014. The band’s album, its fourteenth, displays a band that shows no sign of stopping, despite its title. The album dozen tracks total just over half an hour. Yes that’s short. But in that time, the band—Gary Meskil (vocals/bass), Adam Phillips (Lead Guitar), Marshall Stephens (Rhythm Guitar), and Jonas Sanders (drums)—offers its fans a collection of songs that will hit them like a musical megaton bomb. It all starts with the relentless ‘Deathwish.’ Meskil and company grab listeners by the ear from the opening moments of this speed/thrash metal style song and refuse to let go even after the song’s end.  Considering that this band has been running full steam since 1991, the merciless metal onslaught of this song as an opener is quite the re-introduction for Meskil and company.  The official video for the song is available online now at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2tEetO2eSU.

This critic has already noted that the members of Pro-Pain refuse to back down at any point in the band’s new album. Every song on this new record will have purist metal heads proudly raising their horns high.  ‘One Shot, One Kill’, the album’s second song exhibits this quite well.  It is just as brutal as ‘Deathwish.’  As brutal as it is, it doesn’t have the same speed/thrash metal style sound.  This song’s style is more straight hardcore. All four of the band’s members work with the same precision in this song, as the military figures that don the album. One can so easily see this being a fan favorite both on record and live. It would be so easy to see fans singing along, fists pumping in the air as Meskil and company scream, “One shot/One kill” in the song’s bridge and final moments. Guitarist Adam Phillips shines in the bridge as he drives through his solo. He shows that he is no lightweight. Listeners will note that Phillips’ solo is akin to the style of Arch Enemy’s Michael Amott and Slipknot’s own Mick Thompson.  And it isn’t the only spot on this album in which he and his fellow musicians so expertly exhibit their talents, either.

One more example of what makes The Final Revolution such a strong new album from Pro-Pain is the full on anthem that is ‘Want Some?’  Meskil screams in this song, “Can you see the hate and pain in my eyes/The way they seem to cut through you/The wrath of a billion tortured souls/Will come crashing down through/This God forsaken place called Earth/And leave a voice so well-deserved/In this life you get what you give/So listen up/For if you want some/You better come quick/And come clean/Before reality hits you like a brick.”  He leaves absolutely no question as to what he is saying here.  He doesn’t stop here, writing in the song’s second verse, “I don’t give a f*** what was said/I listen to the voices in my head/Before I take note of what you say/On this particular s***** day/Division has reached a feverous pitch/And in the end, we won’t be missed…”  This is full on defiance in every sense of the word.  The outright defiance mixed with the song’s pummeling musical side makes this song one of the highest of highs on The Final Revolution.  And it would again be no surprise if it becomes a fan favorite for this reason both in on record in a live setting.  The same can be said of the other songs noted in this review.  Fans will get to hear each of these songs and all of the album’s others when it drops on January 21st, 2014.  The band is currently touring Europe in support of its upcoming album.  More tour dates are planned.  Fans can keep up with all of the latest tour updates, news, and more from Pro-Pain while they await the album’s release on the band’s official website and Facebook pages at http://www.pro-pain.com and https://www.facebook.com/pages/PRO-PAIN-OFFICIAL-PAGE/215861125115781.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.