Friday, January 27, 2012
Like an enraged, bloodthirsty demon breaking out of the depths of the netherworld, the fourth record from Phoenix based Landmine Marathon spits in your face, rends your flesh to tatters, and then tosses your broken corpse into the dirty darkness of a back alley on the wrong side of town. All within 8 tracks that span just over 29 minutes, they get the job done and then walk away, satiated by the tasty morsel made of your soul.
From the opening guitar squeals of Three Snake Leaves to the final slow burning fury of Morbidity, Landmine Marathon deploy their fearsome arsenal of thrash, grind, and death in a relentless charge to smash your ears. Leading this all or nothing attack is the formidable voice of Grace Perry with all the accustomed spite and vitriol she is known for. She sounds like she MEANS it and at any moment may jump out of the stereo and stabs you in the throat with a rusty knife. Let us not forget about the rest of the band though, for as powerful as the vocals are the music behind them deserves just as much credit. Guitarists Ryan Butler and Dylan Thomas, bassist Matt Martinez, and drummer Andy York are one hell of a tight unit throughout the churning cacophony of the songs.
For one, Beaten and Left Blind is a great example. The song gallops into existence and breaks down into a mid paced groove (check out the monster riff at 1:40) with a guitar solo before lurching back into a frenzied tempo at the end. Opener Three Snake Leaves delivers another crushing moment at 2 1/2 minutes in, while Knife from My Sleeve breaks up the album's overall lightning pace with a slow, dirge like beginning. These various formulas, rather than a single formula that plagues a lot of metal records, are good to hear. No time is wasted, no arrangement is over embellished, and the music is compact and clenched into a fist for easy swinging. Additionally, the raw, not too polished sound of the recording adds to the character of the music. Recorded at Arcane Digital (Guitarist Ryan Butler's own studio,) the music has an organic sound; it’s not weighed down by layers of effects or other studio foppery. The sharp, thick, and brutal guitar tone absolutely slays, but it or any other instrument doesn't drown out the rest of the band. It seems a novel thing these days to find metal recordings that don't sound robotic and cold, so extra points go to this band for eschewing the fakeness of the modern sound.
So where does this band fit into the bigger picture? While their sound is not innovative or ground breaking, Landmine Marathon is very good at what they do, and have been out touring the national scene for some time now. Their ferocious live shows are highly recommended, and at one of them you will find the true magic of the band. The records are heavy, but the live shows multiply this many times over. One should take care though, as through a CD you can listen and be safe, but in the actual presence of Grace Perry, you might actually get punched, spit on, or given a good scare if you get too close.
In conclusion, throw our your death core and generic modern death metal records and go pick up Gallows by Landmine Marathon and enjoy the straight goods from this band who understands the music they are playing and has real passion for it, rather than the flavor of the weak.
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 3:04 PM
Now here is an album where the cover art doesn't do much justice for the music that accompanies it. There's too much similarity between it and so many other 80s thrash record covers; plus the Voivod like font of the band name is an eyesore, but having raged about it for exactly forty-five words, the griping budget has been practically exhausted. To use an old, but apt in this instance, cliché: don't judge a book by its cover.
Vektor delivers in the area that matters most, the music itself. A fifty-two minute construct of progressive thrash and death that at times recalls the glory days of bands such as Death, Kreator, and Voivod, Outer Isolation is not an easy beast to tag, catalog, and put in a box. Like a shape shifting and hyper intelligent virus that is constantly mutating and becoming exponentially stronger, the songs unfold with impressive displays of musicianship and songwriting acumen. Songs such as Venus Project and the title track showcase a wide range of tempos and stylistic changes, including galloping thrash riffs that descend flawlessly into jazzy prog dirges or melodic and emotive interludes.
These mad scientists expertly splice just about every subgenre of metal together on Outer Isolation, and it’s a trip to hear a black metal riff right next to a guitar part best described as old school hardcore. Just as remarkable and a great credit to them as songwriters, this band will throw a great verse or bridge at you, and then not repeat it at all for the rest of the song, when a million other bands would have built the entire song around such a part and played it to death. Vektor is confidently upping the ante within each piece of music, seemingly challenging themselves as well as the listener.
Despite its kaleidoscopic nature, the album maintains a cohesive and relentless pace throughout its length, and never suffers the mid-album loss of momentum that has been the death knell of many a record. Having only one song fewer than five minutes long and several as long as eight to ten minutes, there isn't any fluff or needless noodling.
Every note seems to fit precisely to form an undisputed example of how focused and well performed progressive metal is still a force that commands attention.
Indeed, some are paying attention in the case of Vektor, who have delivered an album worthy of being called an opus. Numerous record stores where this reviewer resides have been sold out of this album for a few weeks, and there doesn't appear to be any end of praise for this record in other critical venues. Many thought they could not top or make anything on the level of their previous effort, the incredible Black Future album, but Outer Isolation goes to toe to toe with that accomplishment and can stand proud beside it.
In conclusion, Vektor has once again shown they are a dedicated, hard working band that can deliver metal that is both bold and unconventional, but also appealing to many different fans across the metal spectrum.
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 2:55 PM
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
Join us for special listening party for the upcoming Mark Lanegan Band "Blues Funeral" album at ZIA Tempe on Thursday, January 26th at 7PM! Be the first to hear the new album and stop by for a chance to win a Vinyl test pressing of the new album at the party! We'll also have a very limited amount of autographed 7" singles to give away when you pre-order the new album at ZIA!
Mark Lanegan "Blues Funeral" on sale February 7th at all ZIA Records locations!
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 9:45 AM
Thursday, January 12, 2012
ZIA Records is happy to announce that we will be releasing the 6th volume of our "You Heard Us Back When" Local Music Compilation series in 2012! We are now taking music submissions from Local Artists and Bands from the Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tucson areas to be included on this year's compilation!
To submit your music for this year's compilation, you can drop off a CD of your music at any of our 8 ZIA Record Exchange location between now and Friday, March 9, 2012! Music submissions must be on CD format or MP3 file. If you are submitting a CD, you must complete a Sumbission form and include with your CD. If you are submitting MP3 files,the tracks can be sent via email to email@example.com with a completed submission form. Download, print and bring the submission form along with a CD of your music to any ZIA Records location!
Submission form here!
Forms will also be available at every store location for you to fill out if needed.
The compilation will be available and on sale at all ZIA Records locations for National Record Store Day, Saturday, April 21st, 2012!
Get your band heard! Have fun! ZIA loves you!
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 3:56 PM
(SPECIAL 2-DISC DELUXE EDITION)
Produced and mixed by C-Ron from Chandler
Mastered by Mary Awesomehausen from The Compound
It is becoming more of a pattern for us. With relative frequency, when someone inquires about a new release, we must ask them, “Which version would you prefer?” Many of the albums and films that are released today are issued in a variety of formats and configurations. Some people look at this as an added incentive to make a purchase: “This CD comes with a DVD and smells like cinnamon toast!” Others look at it as an added irritation: “I didn't know that picking this album up was going to be like choosing an insurance plan.”
When we were asked to compile a list of our favorites from 2011, I was pretty excited, since this turned out to be a great year for me as far as music went. It meant even more considering how many people did not feel the same way (that would mean that I must have lucked out). However, I am not sure that I even SAW ten movies this year, so I knew that the “flick” portion of my list would be a complete failure. I found myself wishing that I could turn in multiple lists of music instead, which brought about the idea of presenting an alternate version. I did not want to disregard instruction, but with consideration of what I mentioned in the first paragraph, it made a lot of sense to go with that idea. This is my eighth list for Zia. It is also my most creative entry. In fact, this is the one that I am the proudest of. So, which version would you prefer?
C-RON'S “TOP 10 ALBUMS OF 2011”
(SPECIAL 2-DISC DELUXE EDITION)
Disc 1 (“Top 10 Albums Of 2011”)
Hammers Of Misfortune “17th Street”
Anthrax “Worship Music”
Devin Townsend Project “Deconstruction”
Primordial “Redemption At The Puritan's Hand”
Pentagram “Last Rites”
Today Is The Day “Pain Is A Warning”
Disc 2 (The Extras)
Alternate mix of “Top 10 Albums Of 2011”
Mastodon “The Hunter”
Blood Ceremony “Living With The Ancients”
Graveyard “Hisingen Blues”
Ghost Brigade “Until Fear No Longer Defines Us”
Steven Wilson “Grace For Drowning”
Samael “Lux Mundi”
Wolves In The Throne Room “Celestial Lineage”
Electric Wizard “Black Masses”
Motörhead “The Wörld Is Yours”
from the sessions for “Top 10 Albums Of 2010”
Slough Feg “The Animal Spirits”
Sabbath Assembly “Restored To One”
Live in Cleveland
Rush “Time Machine Live In Cleveland”
Interview with John Cobbett
Making of the “Lemmy” documentary
Trailer for Orphaned Land's “The Road To OR-Shalem”
The “Top 10 Films Of 2011”
Will only be available in the upcoming “Ultimate Super-Extra-Definitive 2 CD + 4 LP + 2 DVD/BLU-RAY Collector's Edition" which will include:
a sticker, a laminate, a rub-on tattoo,
a pair of 3-D glasses,
a hardcover book, a signed photo,
a keyring, a bottle opener, a shot glass,
a lighter, an air freshener,
an invalid lottery ticket from 1994,
a scratch-'n'-sniff poster of Chad Kroeger
and 24 slices of Swiss cheese
(release date not yet confirmed).
I would also like to point out 40 Watt Sun's “The Inside Room,” which I discovered after my list was finalized and received by HQ. Just as how I would have included the Slough Feg and Sabbath Assembly releases in my 2010 list if I had known about them beforehand, this album would have been added into this one. Also, enjoy 2012. You will have much to choose from.
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 9:27 AM
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Join ZIA Records for a special Authority Zero "Less Rhythm More Booze" CD/DVD release party on Monday, January 30th at The Roxy in Scottsdale! Stop by any Valley ZIA location, pre-order the new Authority Zero album and get a FREE wristband to the release party and meet the band! Meet and greet starts at 6PM and is all ages, performance starting at 7PM and is 21 and over only.
Make sure to visit any Valley ZIA to pre-order and get your wristband now before they're all gone!
Posted by Zia Records Blogs at 1:25 PM