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Richard Getty

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A lineup change for any band is a precarious, if not ominous, proposition. With instant skepticism from fans and critics alike, an uncertain future, not to mention the shift in the dynamic of a band’s relationship, the success of the new incarnation is anyone’s guess. We saw The Smashing Pumpkins fail miserably at realigning, The Red Hot Chili Peppers only experimented with Dave Navarro for one album and yet bands like Queens of the Stone Age and Coheed and Cambria not only embrace new membership, but have somehow…

You know when you listen to an album and every song literally blends into the other making all the songs sound the same? How much does that suck? Thankfully, for me (and you), Snatch Magnet’s 2010 release Screw, Nut & Bolt accomplishes the complete opposite.

It was the winter of 2004-05 and Gary Bettman and his band of arrogant and narrow-minded cronies locked out the NHLPA. Canadians everywhere were in a huff. What the hell were we going to do with ourselves on Saturday nights without Hockey Night in Canada? Many turned to poker. Four guys out of London Ontario, however, decided on metal. According to lead singer, Johl Fendley, Baptized in Blood was a bi-product of sheer boredom, which he attributes, on the band website, to the lack of hockey on the tube. Apparently not all was lost that winter!

Google never ceases to amaze me, it will return fifteen very different results for one word. Aside from being a very good progressive metal band, Votum, is a medication for high blood pressure that isn’t suitable for distribution in the United States. More appropriately, however, it is also a form of prayer in which an offering is made to the gods in exchange for divine favour. e.g. I swear to God I will quit (insert vice) if this article ever gets to the point.

I don’t profess to be an expert on the current state of the Seattle music scene, but I would guess it’s at least a little angry and a lot raw. Surprisingly (at least to me), the Pacific North West has managed to foster and develop SweetKiss Momma, a straight ahead Southern style blues-rock band in the vein of 70’s acts like Lynard Skynard, Foghat and Nugent.

Go fuck yourself! That’s pretty much what Black River is screaming at you throughout their 2009 release, Black ‘N Roll. This is a high tempo, amps set to 11, balls to the wall record. Although considered a metal band, the album offers more of a punk/metal fusion, reminiscent of Motorhead. And with Maciej Taff’s deep roaring vocals there’s an added darkness. With some bluesy undertones, these guys sound like they should be performing in a dingy roadhouse inhabited by the damned, reminiscent of the movie from “From Dusk Till Dawn.”

When I first sat down to review Aerith’s new Bears! EP I thought I was listening to a schizophrenic band that wasn’t sure of its identity in the rock/metal scene. It took a few listens, but there is a fluidity to this EP that you won’t catch the first time around.