Reviews, interviews, articles, and other blather about music from the mind of Yugoboy

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Deathrite - Revelation of Chaos

Revelation of Chaos

    German death metal band Death Rite brings a doom-influence to their grind and dirge that makes the guitar and bass work very enjoyable.  The vocals are delivered in the typical death metal incoherent growl, although occasionally vocalist Tony screws up and a phrase or two is delivered intelligibly (this is the second band I've reviewed today that insists on only using first names).
    The guitarist Andy and bassist Martin have their work cut out for themselves keeping up with the tempo changes delivered by drummer Beff.  Beff switches from funereal dirge to rabbit-heartbeat in a flash.  The faster passages accompany the vocals, while the slower ones allow the musicians to strut their considerable talents.  Deathrite seems to be one of the few death metal bands that don't hide underdeveloped skills or a lack of talent behind growls, distortion and speed.  These guys have talent and just happen to also play a pretty decent brand of death metal.  All the songs come across differently, while maintaining an undeniable doom and death sound.
    Far from breaking the mold, however, Deathrite keeps up the death metal elements throughout the entire album experience, from the black and white cover with the dripping, almost fuzzy logo to the thoroughly cheerful song titles like "Determinate to Rot," "Salute to Death," "Mayhem Remains," and the optimistic and sunshiny "Infernal Domination."  Seriously, one of these days, I'd like a death metal album to be just as loud and obnoxious, but be all kittens and bunnies and sunshine and rainbows.  Minds would be blown everywhere.
    Anyway, Revelation of Chaos is one of the better death metal albums I've heard in a while.  It still hasn't made me a superfan of the genre, but this album at least shows off talent, an ability to really write good music and a willingness to let the listeners enjoy the guys and their skills.  It's not a full-on assault pummeling us about the ears, it's good music for death metal fans.

Gardens - Death in the Family

Death in the Family

    Gardens' commitment to music excellence reveals itself early with the Death in the Family's first track, almost a minute and a half of the kind of classical guitar work that Metallica uses to open the song "One" with.  Fortunately, the "Inside a Bad Dream," the second track, and first with vocals does not disappoint the expectation built up by intro, pounding out a loud bit of alternative/power punk that matches the intensity of the song I expected after that intro.
    Gardens can't commit to a particular sound, which is nice.  The third track, "Keeping My Distance" slows the tempo down more than a little bit, and delivers a heartfelt four minutes about something I couldn't tell because the vocals are so mixed into the sound and drowned out a bit by the stereotypical distortion applies to every string played in this track.
    Of the remaining nine songs on Death in the Family, the majority are significantly slow and ethereal as to be almost beautiful.  They're fine songs and do the job of seeming to be deep and important and having something to say.  The few more up-tempo tracks, such as "I'm Not Here" are much more listenable, and come closer to fulfilling the expectations set by the first two tunes.  The album ends with "Architect," a song that starts slow and mellow like the majority of the album before hitting the gas about half-way through and becoming much more engaging and power-punk song, closing out twelve tracks of fine musicianship.
    Gardens Death in the Family has at least one song everyone in the family who isn't a hip-hop/top-40 fan will enjoy.  The album does trend closer to the slower, more measured and quiet style than the few power-punk tunes, but those few liven up the album and proved to be much more enjoyable to me.

Grieved - Samaritans


    Sweden-based heavy metal quartet Grieved's new album Samaritans opens with a nicely classic doom metal instrumental before becoming a black-doom metal album of some skill and lots of screaming vocals.  Various descriptions have them as a hardcore punk band and a dark metal outfit.  Their guitar skills and the interludes come across too well-performed and produced to really keep them in the punk genre.  I love punk, but this ain't it.  It's metal, straight up.  The one place where the band keeps a fairly punk mindset is in the credits.  On-line I had a beast of a time finding out who did what in the band, as all I can find is a list of four first names, who I'm assuming at the quartet in question: Tobias, Marcus, Felix and William.  Most metal bands don't keep this level of democratic moderation beyond the demo-tape stage.
    When the screaming stops and the band isn't hitting turbo to keep up with that intensity, the band fairly mellows into full-on dirge doom sounds.  During the portions of the tunes where singing is taking place, the band turns the speed up, not to speed metal tempo, but certainly into death metal territory.
    Their style allows each track to stand on its own and have a distinct sound.  This places them above a number of more traditional death metal acts whose every song sounds similar, however, the incoherence of the vocals keeps Samaritans from really elevating into that second tier of real excellence, where Exodus, Tempest and other loud acts live, with lyrics that can be sung along to.  This is straight-up head-banging mosh fuel, and does a good job of that.
    Despite a track list eight songs long, Samaritans probably gets categorized as an EP, if only because the total run time is closer to fifteen minutes than an hour.  It's understandable, given the intensity of the music and the toll the effort must take on the body.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Stolas - Allomaternal


The word "progressive" gets thrown around a lot to describe musicians who focus more on skill and talent over speed, volume or stagecraft.  When both Queensryche and Periphery are progressive then the label, as descriptor of sound and style, doesn't help much.  Las Vegas-based Stolas creates progressive metal more in the Periphery vein than in the Queensryche oeuvre.  The opening minute of the album's first (and title) track strongly suggest the listener is in for an airy new age ambiance experience, floating on classical guitar and a soprano's vocals.
. . . and then they lay the hammer down, switching gears faster than a middle-school girl changes moods, pounding out the heaviest of modern metal, shrieking vocals - courtesy of vocalist s Jason Weiche and Carlos Marquez - and all.  Then, about two thirds of the way through  the song, they switch up to a Faith No More funk metal interlude.
For the remainder of Allomaternal Stolas leaves no doubt that they crank out metal, metal and more metal.  What is in doubt is what kind of metal is coming at you next.  The second song, "Proving Grounds," backs off the balls to the wall metal to provide a more melodic song with some genuinely slow passages.  Jason Weiche and Sergio Medina's guitar work on this album is off the chain crazy good, and super creative.  There's never a dull moment, because predicting the next thing you're going to hear is nearly impossible.
For example, "Claw Point" starts with the extreme modern metal Stolas already demonstrated on "Allomaternal" before reverting to a dual classical guitar and lofty vocals bridge to the next passage.  Over three minutes into the song, even bassist RJ Reynolds gets to get into the act with a terrific little solo, a treat he offered again with a drum and bass duet shortly after the four minute mark.
"Solunar," the fourth song, starts out Numetal before going all the way classical/ethereal and then coming back to the progressive loud standard that, by this point in the album has become the normal resting point for Stolas' style.  From this very metal midpoint, they burst into almost death metal frenzy or classical/new age quiet, and sometimes both, before returning to the progressive metal middle again.
When I say the rest of the album progresses in this manner, this in no way indicates some sort of repetitiveness.  Stolas maintains an ADHD level of non-commitment to a style throughout Allomaternal, never allowing the listener a dull moment.
Allomaternal is a spectacular album, and certainly something any genuine fan of heavy metal should be buying, downloading and adding to their regular rotation.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Ramming Speed - No Epitaphs

Ramming Speed
No Epitaphs

Ramming Speed, an appropriate appellation for this outfit, cranks out some truly tasty thrash tracks instrumentally reminiscent of the best of the late 80s and early 90s.  The guitars crunch and munch their way through the eleven tracks of No Epitaphs sounding for all the world like the love children of Slayer, Metallica, Annihilator and Laaz Rockit.  Only when the singer contributes his incoherency does the album break down.
Seriously, the instrumental riffage of the guitars, bass and double-bass attack drums feels as fresh and awesome as the first time I cracked the plastic wrap of M.O.D. or Anthrax.  These guys can easily stand on their own in any battle of the bands with any of the major or minor metal outfits.  The guitars get solos to go along with their rhythm, and anyone who's read my reviews knows that's a big ol's plus in my world.  The drumming is fast and furious without being a straight-up meth trip; the tempo and variety show Jonah Livingston's talent as much as his ability to keep time with a hummingbird.  Ben Powell's bass keeps up and doesn't interfere; it contributes without distraction, but the contribution is as important as anything else anyone else in the group does.  Just because Kallen Bliss and Snake Chuffskin (that has got to be a stage name) shine brilliantly out front as guitarists, and Livingston kills it on drums, doesn't mean that Powell could be easily replaced.  This is a tightly-wrapped whole that needs his excellence.
The vocals seem to fit the music, but the incoherency of the singing detracts from the awesomeness of the rest of the album.  I can't get past it, unfortunately.  Exodus, Megadeth, Metal Church and the other founding gods of thrash didn't just shove metal beyond the doom of the 70s and the glam of the 80s.  They all had something to say and made sure you could hear it.  The back of the throat scratchy caterwauling of Peter Gallagher contributes very little to the record except to keep it from being an instrumentally virtuoso performance.  I can see my self listening to this record a few more times, but it won't ever enter my regular rotation because of this, and it's a damn shame, because this record - aside from the vocals - is among the best of the year.  I cannot say enough good stuff about the musical side of this band and album, because this is a superior collection.
That said, I gotta say, my best friend in high school will love this record.  He early on embraced vocalists like this, and the subsequent black metal movement that followed.  He, and those of you like him, will be all over this album and will be telling me how full of crap I am.  You'll all be wrong, but you'll still love this disc.

Every Hour Kills - EHK EP

Every Hour Kills EP

                Nu Metal never sounded better than this.  Existing somewhere near the intersection of Linkin Park, Godsmack, Puddle of Mudd and Disturbed, Every Hour Kills manages a sound at once moshable and beautiful.  All the guitars, percussion and bass a fierce metal-heat could beg for coexists quite awesomely next to some really effective electronic/digital elements on this five-song eponymously titled EP.
                During the opening strains of "Chosen," a synthesizer rains a few bars down as effectively as anything Styx ever put out.  The song changes texture at a few seconds in as the crunchy guitars announce that no, this isn't going to be anything like Styx; it’s gonna be way louder.  The tempo picks up tremendously and all doubt as to the nature of Every Hour Kills flies out the window, and the metal cred is established.
                "Deliver Us," the second track recalls Godsmack and Disturbed pretty effectively without losing the sense of identity a good touring band needs to break through.  "SaviourS" and "Almost Human," the EP's third and fifth songs reflect this sound and feel pretty well - high-quality digital-infused metal that doesn't fall prey to the excesses of death metal vocals.
                The fourth track, "One Reason" fits very nicely among the other tunes, but does feel a bit different; slightly slower and more reflective, but not ballad-slow.  It's a nice change of pace without being a change in quality or sound.

                If you enjoy or enjoyed Godsmack, Hybrid/Meteora-era Linkin Park, Puddle of Mudd or Disturbed, Every Hour Kills will meet every demand and make you very happy.  This is a really good EP, don't miss it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Myrkur - M


The opening strains of MYRKUR's latest M, feature some awesomely beautiful and soaring vocals.  When the band swings into gear, the power metal riffs just feel "right" alongside the haunting soprano.  This full-length album grows from the unique creative vision of Amalie Braun, the only credited member of Myrkur.  Amalie decided to use those two really spectacular and beautiful elements and toss in some black metal tracks and vocals here and there.  I avoided using the term "junking it all up" because I'm sure the Braun and their fans don't see it that way, but to my ears, that's what those vocals do.  M is about 85% awesome and 15% black/speed metal getting in the way of perfection.
Braun sings in Danish or some other Nordic/Scandanavian language, so singing along is generally an exercise in following the syllables, but as a "soundtrack to your life" ambiance album, this is pretty good.  You get the calm piano & soprano, you get the interstitial metal riffs and you occasionally get the ear-bleeding black metal waking you right up if the pretty parts put you to sleep.
My favorite parts of this collection are when the power metal and the soprano singer(s) combine as on "Dybt i Skoven" (see what I mean about the language?)  The lead and rhythm guitars work really well with bass and percussion and the singer to make some really nice melodic metal.
This album feels almost like Braun cannot decide on what kind of music to create, so she just decided to do them all at one point or another, either as songs or song portions.  She's skilled, but I'm not sure what the whole point of this record is aside from some sort of Viking musical experiment.  Give it an on-line listen before buying, because I really don't know who is going to like it, but people will definitely love it.  If you love metal, you might be one of them.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Mrs. Skannotto with The Meg Williams Trio, The Dirty Pennies, The Action, and the Sexy Teenagers - November 20, 2015 - Concert Review

Mrs. Skannotto Concert - Buta Pub 11/20

     The Meg Williams Trio opened up the night's proceedings with a nice little acoustic set. Meg Williams as guitarist/vocalist and did a really nice job, while her trumpeter performed well in support. The percussion guy made the most of his busker-like set-up (check out the pix to see what I mean.) As singer/songwriter Meg Williams creates music on the enjoyable and tuneful end of jazz, and did a good job of playing the unsuspecting diners out the door before the punk and ska acts blew the batter off their fish fries.

     The Dirty Pennies, a blues/rock duo on drums and guitar played some killer tunes that genuinely didn't miss a bassist. For two dudes, they make a lot of noise. Terrific noise, and thoroughly enjoyable noise, but a lot of noise nonetheless. The lack of a third guy might limit them a bit to a certain sound, but a remarkably enjoyable and consistent sound embedded with a healthy dose of George Thorogood, which can never ever be a bad thing.  PIX

     The Action followed up bringing energetic and fun ska tunes to the party. These five dudes from Syracuse know how to churn out the catchy whimsical side of ska. Their sound is all crank all the time, and should not be missed by anyone even remotely interested in ska. They also managed to make the most of an incredibly limited stage space, turning in a most energetic performance.  PIX coming soon.

     Separating the two ska bands, punk rockers Sexy Teenagers cranked out their proprietary blend of party punk. Featuring an extraordinarily animated performance style combined with good music and sophomoric lyrics Sexy Teenagers are a local favorite with the kind of punk rockers who have good jobs and own homes. Aside from some truly offensive lyrics, these guys can shred the heck out of a stage. Beware the Sexy Teenagers headache, derived from the volume, the force and the headbanging.  PIX coming soon.

     Of course Mrs.Skannotto killed it when they got on stage. These guys are consumate and experienced pros. Along with pumping out great tunes, they know how to grab their audience. Their highly anticipated next album has been ready to drop for a while now, but behind the scenes "stuff" has prevented them from getting it out, although the current release date is inFebruary. So, they keep building interest by playing the new tunes at live shows, and tonight was no different. A solid third or more of their set this show was new tunes, and they seem to be as awesome as their history indicates they would be. Mrs. Skannotto kicks out terrific old-school ska while bringing new elements, including some neat effects with the guitarist's wawa pedal.  PIX coming soon.

     Mrs. Skannotto tells me they're planning a number of these shows around town, inviting friends and making new ones through invitations. Keep an eye out for these guys to play anywhere near you. The shows are fun, fun, fun and you will get your money's worth.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Maruta - Remain Dystopian

Remain Dystopian

For the last half-hour Maruta’s Remain Dystopian assaulted my ears with a sustained attack consisting of a rather unique speed- and black- metal combination that managed to convince me each song was its own unique entity but without my being able to articulate exactly what each song was about or how it is different from the others on the disc.  One or two songs’ tempo slows down a bit and the non-death metal vocalist can be almost heard almost clearly.
The majority of Remain Dystopian consists of short song after short song (under two minutes in length) featuring decent rhythm guitar and bass support combined with death metal growls and drumming fueled by speed.  I suppose, with a lyric sheet and more patience, this album could grow on me.  The talents of guitarist Eduardo Borja, guitarist/bassist Mauro Cordoba and drummer Daniel Morris shine pretty effectively at various times throughout the album, and Mitchell Luna’s vocals suit the music perfectly.  Even considering the issues behind the vocals that define the death metal sound, this album’s mixing muddied the vocals too much.  The times when Luna switched up the vocals to a more understandable screaming were even more overwhelmed by the music.  This kind of mixing I expect at a dive bar show, not a finished album.
For those inclined to liking speed and death metal, may I recommend Remain Dystopian to you.  For the rest of us, it really is what it is, and if you don’t already like it, this won’t convert you.

Exmortus - For the Horde 7"

For the Horde 7”

                With a death metal name like Exmortus, going in I figured I knew what to expect.  The name’s the only death metal part of the band, and thank God for that.  These guys get thrash right, with a very Annihilator-esque sound, very welcome in these days of power punk and death metal.
                “For the Horde” features the same driving guitars and rhythm attack as all the classic thrash bands ever did, complete with the growly-yet-coherent vocals favored by Annihilator and other acts that weren’t willing to all the way to the grumbling incoherence of death metal.  It opens with the most Mettalica-ish guitar-based opening before being joined by Conan Moreno’s snarling vocals.  This marriage of sounds brings one back a long ways - if one can remember as far back as me – to the joy of discovering a new band as great as the bands you loved.
                The B-side tune covers Yngwie Malmsteen’s “As Above, So Below.”  Covering, as it does, one of thrash metal’s favorite tropes of death and the undead and the sinister side of mysticism, the track holds up well, and guitarists Moreno and David Rivera hold their own on a tune penned by one of the 1980s’ most gifted metal guitarists, and the solo embedded in the center of this tune kicks some righteous ass.
                The whole enterprise would fall apart without the gifted support of bassist Michael Cosio and Mario Moreno (cousin to vocalist/guitarist Conan) on drums.  Based on these two tunes alone (and it’s all I’ve got to go on right now) I sincerely hope Exmortus gifts the world with more, much more of this pure thrashy excellence.

Sianvar - Sianvar EP

Sianvar EP

                Sianvar’s five-song eponymously titled EP features some of the more innovative progressive metal I’ve heard in a while.  Suffused with time-changes, texture out the wazoo, and more mood-swings than a sorority at the end of the birth control cycle, Sianvar capably manages to make what has all the elements of a train wreck into a fine collection of tight tracks.
                As “Chest Pressure” opens, the tone of the collection is both set and defied.  It takes nearly a full minute for the heavy metal elements of Sianvar to emerge.  Feeling both derivative and innovative, Sianvar brings serious chops and creative genius to bear and by the end of “Chest Pressure,” well… if you don’t love this band, you don’t love guitar virtuoso heavy metal.
                Following up that massive introduction, “Sick Machine” has all the elements of a nu metal tour de force except the keyboards and rap.  This is solid guitar, bass and drums metal and Sianvar carries it off very well.
                The guitar riffage opening “Your Tongue Ties” sets the stage perfectly for Donovan Melero’s vocals to unify the whole.  Without the lyrics (which don’t really matter) the whole edifice would crash in a mélange of musicians going all jazzically off into their own directions.  Those musicians bring the ass-kicking skill set that we associate with the best sort of prog metal, and at times their virtuosity threatens to overwhelm the project.  Fortunately, Joe Arrington on drums helps guitarists Will Swan and Sergio Medina and bassist Michael Franzino stay on track to gift us songs like the epic “Your Tongue Ties.”
                Bringing the tempo back under control, “Virtual Vain” starts off with some nice slow bits in which Melero gets to carry the band on his voice before the others just flat out assert their talents with traded solos and sonic collisions.  “Virtual Vain” alternates between these extremes, from the contemplative singing over classical guitar styling to the head-banging audio mash-up of everyone bringing their A-game at once.
                “Substance Sequence” fittingly closes out the set as diversely and skillfully as the rest of the EP, keeping the tone solid, talented and progressive and unfailingly awesome.  Every song sounds the same, yet owns its own space and doesn’t sound the same.  It’s a tone thing more than a sound thing.
                If your idea of heavy metal is simply speed, volume and vocals that sound like a vomiting tiger, Sianvar isn’t for you.  If your appreciation of metal has enough room for Rush, Primus, Faith No More, early Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Felix Martin, you are going to LOVE this EP and wish it were an LP.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Jeffrey Foucalt - Salt As Wolves

Jeffrey Foucalt
Salt as Wolves

                Following one of the most somnolescent songs I’ve heard in a long while, Jeffrey Foucalt’s Salt As Wolves develops into a very enjoyable country/folk album in the John Mellencamp vein (fortunately, not in the recent and execrable “John Deere 3:16 style… jeez does that song suck.)  Solid yet simple guitar work, basic drum and bass time-keeping and a mature, slightly raspy singer combine to deliver twelve tunes with more real country in them than the entire Country Top 40 you’ll hear on any contemporary country station in any urban center in America.
                While my own personal tastes run to a more up-tempo style of music, I totally dig what Foucalt is trying to do here.  Presenting us with a roots-based country album really highlights the garish un-rooted and derivative nature of the current crop of country music stars.
                As mentioned in the intro, the opening track, “Des Moines” could put a platoon of seventh grade ADD sufferers to sleep.  However, “Rico” and “I Left This Town” pick up the pace, to where “I Left This Town” could easily become a minor radio hit.  “I Love You (and You are a Fool)” drops the energy back down to Quaaludes level, and most of the rest of the album remains at somewhere along the slow ambling pace reminiscent of some of the more bluesy country tunes of the late 60s and early 70s.

                This is not the album for late-night drives in the country – you’ll fall asleep and drive into a cow.  This is perfect, however, for an afternoon drinking beer and sitting around doing as little as possible as the sun bakes you to a crisp.  If the slower side of Mel Tillis, Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Conway Twitty appeal to you, you’ll enjoy this music.  If your enjoyment of country music doesn’t go much further back than Garth Brooks… don’t bother unless you’re willing to hear what real country music should sound like.

Luna Aura - Supernova

Luna Aura

                The “Pop” in Pop Music stands for Popular.  This designation supposedly describes a fact about the music; namely, that it’s popular.  However, to my mind Pop Music also describes a genre - an inclusive genre that covers significant chunks of the R&B scene, as well as pieces of electronic music, alternative stuff and whatever else label executives think will stick to the charts and make them rich and influential.  The poppiest of Pop Music wriggles its way into the collective subconscious becoming earworms that drive the sanest among us mildly loopy.
                Luna Aura’s recent EP Supernova comes across emphatically as electronic Pop, but fails to develop a single earworm that would make any of the four tracks overly memorable.  Far from being a criticism, this observation means that Supernova is as enjoyable a collection of Pop tunes as I’ve encountered in quite a while - enjoyable, but not very memorable.
                I’m not sure there’s a single “real” instrument during the less than twenty minutes it takes to listen to the five songs.  This reliance on electronica helps, rather than hinders the experience, as there’s no real competition for your attention, and you can enjoy Luna’s earnest singing.  Aura tries hard to bring sultry to the experience, and at times seems to succeed, but at other times simply comes across as earnest.  If the lyrics focused less on relationships and more on serious topics, she could carry off some real meaning.
                Opening the EP, “Like You” could be an 80s paean to love and monogamy if the tempo picked up just a bit.  If released thirty years ago, I could easily see this one being the slow dance at hundreds of proms across the country.  “Gravity” establishes the tempo “Like You” could have benefitted from, and proceeds to add a metric ton of layers of vocals and digital effects.  This tune should be the first tune for strippers everywhere, what with the beat changes, strong female vocals and passionate lyrics.  “Dancing With Your Ghost” struts its way into your ears next.  This one smells strongly of mid-80s female-lead R&B acts.  By the mid-late 80s R&B music had largely abandoned the B (Blues) and focused heavily on the R (Rhythm).  If an album skewed too strongly to torch songs and slow tunes, you could be sure it always had at least one radio-friendly up-tempo tune, and this one could easily replace any of dozens.  “Supernova,” another up-tempo Pop track, features a bit more female rap verses and digital wizardry than “Dancing With Your Ghost” or your average 80s female act that made it to the radio would have done.  “Trigger” closes out the collection, returning to the more sultry and earnest style featured in “Gravity” and “Dancing With Your Ghost.”

                As a “Pop” record, Luna Aura’s Supernova isn’t a horrible collection of digital junk whose sole purpose is to dig it way into our brains and leave tracks that’ll make us nuts in the weeks and months to come.  No, it’s an enjoyable set of love songs that would be great for background music in a movie’s love scene or on your next date.  The music’s fun and enjoyable without being distracting or depressing.  Should Luna Aura ever decide to go more political with her lyrics, they could easily open for U2 and have a decent career as college-radio staples.  If she worked on developing more earworm-y tunes, she could be a one-hit wonder, or better.  For now, she’s pretty good (seriously, try this record the next time you go out and park with your date at a scenic overlook… you’ll be doing yourself a big big favor.)

Home Movies - Hell

Home Movies

The appeal of power punk continues its angsty march through youth culture with the release of Hell by Home Movies.  LA-based Home Movies travels well-trodden ground in a most enjoyable fashion, demonstrating a general commitment to high musical skills while remaining firmly in the pop punk tradition of fuzzy guitars, flatly inflected vocals, and quality rhythm.
Title and opening track “Hell” starts out pounding its way into a three-minute diatribe against the kinds of things we never have control over, firmly establishing the band’s cred as a power-punk outfit before stretching their legs a tiny bit with track two.
Home Movies allows “Faith and Folly” to travel its own path, frequently abandoning the continuous wall of sound most power punk bands feel is a necessary component to their styling.  The track remains firmly pop punk, but opens out the sound to more variety than we’ve come to expect from a typical genre band.  The tempo slows down a bit at first, but the back two-thirds crunch out the power punk that dominates the EP’s sound.
“The Will of Fire” returns to straight-up power punk and relationship whining.  This track is the most pedestrian and typical of all of Hell’s tunes so the smart move was to bury it in the middle of the four superior tracks.
The EP’s penultimate track, “The Winds” qualifies as a power punk power ballad, slowing down the tempo and giving us an acoustical journey through the mourning of a relationship.  Even if the lyrics lack some originality, the music comes across as heartfelt and a nice change of pace we don’t normally find on a pop punk album or EP.  The best news is that this isn’t treacly pap like the last 80s power ballad movement became.
Capping the five tunes is “Fickle,” another fast-paced power punk track.  However, “Fickle” feels the most radio-friendly, with its really excessively catchy melody, its slower-tempo bridge and slow fade ending.

Home Movies’ Hell EP serves up a meat and potatoes power punk meal with a couple non-traditional sides to show a bit more range than a typical power-punk outfit.  If you’re into the power punk thing you’ll enjoy these five tunes.