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The self-titled, trashed-up, guitar-driven release from Heaven’s Basement is not the generic flavor of the month. Quite the contrary, this CD is chock full of bluesy, ballsy tunes that are extremely fun and enjoyable to listen. More often than not I find at least a couple of songs, where I hit skip, but there is no filler to be found here on this CD. As a mater of fact after a second listen through I could not find one song I liked above the rest; they are all great and beg to be played repeatedly. Each track is full of swagger and attitude and packed with sing along choruses and tons of unbelievable guitar work.

The Alternative rock scene is filled with cookie-cutter, dime-a-dozen bands that seem to be writing almost formulaic tunes; that is about to change. With the release of their six song debut EP, The Static Seas, Alt-Rockers Throwing Color are well on their way to proving that they can stand out in a genre that has become increasingly packed with watered down, ordinary, run of the mill acts.

There is an old saying that says “Never Judge a Book by its Cover.” While I must say this is usually a good practice, it is not as easy as it sounds. I am to a certain extent guilty of doing just that. Quite often I can find myself predicting what the music will be like when I pop the disc into the CD player. Not the case with Hollywood Undead. I had no idea what lay in wait for me when I first picked up a copy of the new their release, Swan Songs. All six band members adorn the front cover in various stages of face paint, masks and hoods; completely hiding their identities it was difficult to determine what I was getting into.

Upon receipt of Healing Through Fire by Orange Goblin, I looked at the cover and title and was thoroughly expecting to be writing a review on a Death metal band, especially with song titles such as “Beginners Guide To Suicide” and “Hot Knives And Open Sores.” Man, was I surprised when I popped it in my player and was greeted by good and raucous, ruff-around-the-edges, straight forward Metal. There are no pretenses here, this disc is not super polished and glossy but it seriously kicks ass.

Sliding Bend Sinister’s Stories Of Brothers, Tales Of Lovers into the car stereo, I was greeted by what’s since become one of my favourite songs of 2008. So much did I enjoy “The News” that I couldn’t actually get through the whole record on my first few attempts as I’d find myself constantly starting it over to be greeted by the chirping birds and soothing whistling that would soon explode into the Vancouver-based band’s signature piano-driven upbeat indie rock.

It’s always amazing when I get a chance to review one of the more obscure bands. They always have so much more to offer and because the bands are usually newer, they generally also have a more unique sound. Certainly some of these bands are still playing around with their sound trying to find the one that suits them best, but after listening to Fogcutter, I’m fairly confident Fiftywatthead already knows what they’re doing.

After 2 years DragonForce return with Ultra Beatdown. Well DragonForce… I hate you. I don’t want to play my guitar anymore. Seriously, how the hell do you write guitar solos that are ridiculously long, ridiculously fast, ridiculously amazing and yet make it look so easy? As you can tell by now, I actually like DragonForce and have nothing but good things to say about them.

While I can forgive Killswitch Engage for bringing Hatebreed on their latest tour, I don’t know if I can forgive them for the artwork that accompanies this album, although it should have people that think wrestling is real totally psyched. Thankfully, though, sight is not the sense to which this band is supposed to appeal, and when it comes time to make something badass come through the headphones, Killswitch deliver.

In the past few years or so, there has been an explosion of metal bands with female vocalists. Along with Within Temptation are Evanescence, Lacuna Coil, Otep, and Arch Enemy. Last May, Within Temptation actually held their first North American tour with Lacuna Coil. From the Netherlands, the Dutch band has been holding strong since 1996, and if my math is right, then that’s 11 years. Not too bad, eh? But the band hasn’t been entirely whole those 11 years. With some sacrifices, the band is left with only three members of the original line-up. Sharon del Adel (vocals), Robert Westerholt (guitar), and Jeroen van Veen (bass). Losing some of their members, the band recruited in three spectacular musicians; Ruud Adrianus Jolie (guitar), Martijn Siedenburg (keyboards), and Stephen van Hastert (drums). Without this line-up, The Heart of Everything would not sound remotely the same as it does.

Killswitch Engage… yet another Metalcore band. Now a lot of readers are probably thinking “Oh shit… not more of these bands.” Well you don’t need to be thinking that about Killswitch Engage. These guys kick ass! Straight out of Westfield, Massachusetts, this band have paved their way from that town and into the spotlight, dragging millions of fans along for the ride. Currently, the band consists of Howard Jones (Vocals), Adam Dutkiewicz (Guitar), Joel Stroelzel (Guitar), Mike D’Antonio (Bass), and Justin Foley (Drums).