APRIL ART – Single Review: “You Want it All”

April Art

April Art is an exciting and attractive alternative/modern rock band based in Geissen, Germany who formed in 2014. Comprised of Lisa-Marie Watz on vocals, Chris Bunnell on guitar, Nico Neufeld on bass, and Ben Juelg on drums, the quartet has been making a name for themselves in Central Hessen and beyond with their hard-driving melodic sound and powerful, charismatic live performances. 

They released their first singles “You Remind Me (Of the Things I Hate)” and “Comeback” in 2015, and followed in 2018 with the anthemic “We Got the Wheels”. In October 2018, they released “Not Fair”, the first single from their forthcoming debut album Rise & Fall, due for release in late April. The album was recorded at the Horus Sound Studio in Hanover and in the legendary Principal Studios, under the guidance of producers Fabio Trentini (Donots, Guano Apes) and Frank Bornemann (Scorpions). In late December, April Art dropped their second single “You Want it All“, and like “Not Fair”, it’s a monster of a tune, and a good indication that Rise & Fall is going to kick ass!

The band play their respective instruments at full throttle, immediately slamming us against the wall as they engulf us in a torrent of thunderous sound. Chris delivers intricate, jaw-dropping riffs of blistering guitar while Nico lays down a solid bedrock of pulsating bass. Ben beats his drum kit with the ferocity of a rampaging beast, skillfully holding back when necessary for greatest effect. And then there’s Lisa’s vocals – wow, this woman can sing! One moment she draws us in with her seductive croons, then hits us with a battering ram of raw, impassioned screams the next. Like all their songs, April Art keeps us fully enraptured by their exhilarating sound from start to finish. It’s a brilliant song guaranteed to raise goosebumps on any lover of rock.

The biting lyrics speak of someone who surrenders their principles and demeans themselves for material gain and power, not realizing that they’re enslaved by that which they seek:

Ain’t no kids no more
Nobody protects this open door
Living a lie right now
But the truth you can’t allow

You made it
Now you must lie in it

You want it all
But you just fall
Why can’t you see
That you’re not free, so
You want it all
But you just fall
you have agreed, yes you’ve agreed to crawl

Was it an obligation?
Or was it another temptation?
You think you’ve chosen the right way
But this is not a game we play

The fantastic video, which was filmed and edited by Ben Juelg of Loud & Proud Studios, really showcases the band’s charisma and powerful impact.

Catch April Art at one of these upcoming shows:

MAY 4              Rise & Fall Album Release Show – Geissen, Germany
MAY 25            Weil’s Rockt – Weilmünster, Germany
JUNE 15            Rock the Wolves – Wolfhalden, Switzerland
JULY 6              Erlensee Rockt Open Air Festival – Erlensee, Germany
AUGUST 2       Big Day Out Festival – Anröchte, Germany
AUGUST 10     Music Forge Festival – Gambach, Germany
SEPT 27           Papalala Festival – Treis, Germany

Connect with April Art:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify
Purchase on iTunes

THE EDGE OF REASON – Single Review: “RIVER”

TEOR2

There’s some outstanding hard rock music coming out of Germany these days. One excellent band I’ve featured on this blog is HOUNDWOLF, and another recent find is post-hardcore band The Edge Of Reason (TEOR). Founded in 2012 and based in Regensburg, TEOR combines elements of metal, hard rock and punk to create music that’s exciting and heavy. Their hard-driving rhythms, infectious melodies and meaningful lyrics are delivered with blistering riffs, dynamic percussion and the impassioned, multi-faceted vocals of charismatic band front man Ro Seven. And if all that talent weren’t enough, like HOUNDWOLF, TEOR are incredibly kind, gracious and humble guys.

In addition to Seven, the TEOR lineup includes Billy Oldboy (guitar), Alex Gorst (guitar), Dani Shorty (bass) and Niko van Laak (drums). They released their debut album Broken But Not Torn in 2017. The hard-hitting album was inspired by Seven’s personal struggles in dealing with his psychological and emotional problems, and regaining his mental health, and features 11 powerful tracks with some of the most brutally honest lyrics I’ve seen in a while.

In November, the band dropped their latest single “RIVER”, a dramatic song about obsession over another person. The band explains “‘RIVER’ describes the mental addiction to a person whose love you can never reach. On the way to affection you die of thirst, although the river full of water is so close. An inner voice does not let you get away from it. The glass on the cover artwork symbolizes the unreachable salvation you are crawling to.”

The track starts off with a distorted riff backed by pulsating synths, then erupts into a galloping rhythm of scorching guitars, deep, buzzing bass and furious hammering drums. Seven’s vocals are impressive, fervent and vulnerable one moment, then exploding into savage wails the next as he sings of his frustrating obsession that’s driving him mad:

I’m crawling to the river. I’m dying of thirst.
Cause when my love is leaving, my heart, it will burst.
Am I just an incurable mess?!
I’m crawling to the river. I’m crawling to you!
And I will drown! Drown in you!

It’s a fantastic song, and I love the video that really showcases the band’s electrifying performance.

Connect with The Edge of Reason:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud / Deezer
Purchase on iTunes / Bandcamp / Amazon

HOUNDWOLF – EP Review: “Tempted to Abuse”

Houndwolf

HOUNDWOLF is an outstanding hard rock/metal band based in Witten, Germany. Influenced by some of their favorite rock and metal bands like Metallica, Motörhead, Pantera, Slayer, Black Stone Cherry, Trivium and Black Label Society, they play melodic and aggressive metal-infused rock’n’roll, with some of the best guitar work I’ve heard from any band. Comprising HOUNDWOLF are four gracious, cool and funny guys: Milan Schloßmacher (Lead Vocals & Guitars), Tobias Maienschein (Guitar & Backings), Daniel Teuchert (Bass & Backings) and Thomas Neuhaus (Drums).

In early 2016 they released a debut 3-track EP Fast and Loose, then dropped their first studio album Beware of the Dog that November, which I reviewed in December 2017. This past April, they followed up with a new four-track EP Tempted to Abuse, serving up more of their signature aggressive, high-energy rock’n’roll. They kick things off with “Roll,” a simple but effective ode to what they do, and Milan makes sure we don’t forget it as he shouts “We are determined to rock, so you better roll!” Milan and Tobias crank out red hot riffs while Daniel lays down a solid bass line and Thomas pounds out the beat on his drum kit. They perform a studio playthrough of the song on this video, and it’s fun to get a close-up look at them playing their respective instruments.

The guys seem to channel Metallica on the hard-driving title track “Tempted to Abuse,” tearing up the airwaves with extended riffs of blistering guitar work. Milan’s raw vocals even remind me a bit of James Hetfield on this track. Dial up the volume on this banger! Next up is “The Second,” a great bluesy rock song that’s probably my favorite of the four tracks. As always, their guitar work is terrific, but what really stands out for me are Milan’s great vocals. They have just the right amount of raw power when he sings the aggressive verses, then he injects a little humor into his more spoken vocals, when we can also hear a bit of his German accent. It’s clear from his body language and facial expressions that he really gets into playing and singing, which is a joy to watch.

Pursuit of Ambiguity” is straight-up metal rock’n’roll, with rapid-tempo heavy riffs, pounding drums and tons of crashing cymbals. The guitar work in the bridge is absolute fire, and Thomas seems to beat the living hell out of his drums! These guys are amazing musicians and it’s always a pleasure listening to their dynamic rock’n’roll music. I love HOUNDWOLF!

They’ve produced several entertaining videos of themselves playing their songs, as well as some behind the scenes footage of the recording of this EP, which you can check out on their YouTube channel.

Connect with HOUNDWOLF:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

German band Atlanta Arrival Launches Charity Fundraiser Tribute Single “Colliding Stars”

Atlanta Arrival CollidingStars

German alt-rock band Atlanta Arrival has launched a charity fundraiser for their drummer Björn Mertz, who passed away after a long battle with cancer on May 17, 2018. They’ve released a new single “Colliding Stars” in his honor. Here is their statement regarding his passing and the fundraiser:

On 17th May, we had to say goodbye to our dear son, brother, uncle, friend and drummer Björn Mertz. He was a fighter and an optimist, always determined to support his beloved ones instead of burdening them with his own stroke of fate. After months of battling cancer, it seemed like a miracle when he left the hospital cancer-free at the beginning of this year – still full of enthusiasm and joy of living. He enjoyed the time with friends and family and poured all his energy into his music, his one true passion. So, after our former band The Satellite Year split up, we composed an album that was supposed to be our next project.

Björn was about to go to a health resort, so we wanted to record the songs afterwards – but as if he had had a vision, he insisted on finishing the recording of the drums before his leave. And so he did: 9 songs in only 8 hours! At this time there was no way that anybody could have known that he was already developing a number of new tumors. While his friends believed that Björn was at the health resort as planned, really he was staying at the Uniklinik Homburg, a hospital, again fighting a battle against cancer with only his family by his side – and he did fight to the last. There is no rational explanation for what had happened during the last few weeks of his life or why this even had to happen. Similarly, there are no words for the pain and grief we feel. But should pain, emptiness and misery be the only things left? He himself would not have wanted this.

Therefore, it’s the deepest wish of his family and friends that Björn’s music and with it his unique spirit live on. We finished Björn’s favourite song of the album as well as a music video and kindly ask you to donate whatever you want and can afford to give, in order to support the German Cancer Foundation.”

Here are the poignant lyrics to “Colliding Stars”:

Yesterday when you woke up
Welcomed with the kiss of night
All your pain was gently stopped
You left soundless with the light

Every day when we wake up
Not aware of what will come
Your memory will stay the same
You told us to seize the day

Every day we think of you
wondering what you’re up to
You had to go, no one to blame
You will never fade away

In the night sky there’s no light
Stars are born just to collide
We’re listening to your symphony
But in our own melody

Goodbye old friend
We’re by your side
And in the end
We’ll meet again

You can download a digital version of the song on their Bandcamp page and also have the possibility to order the single CD version of the song (limited, only 200 CDs) for 5 € (or more if you like to donate more). All profits will be fully donated.

Donation via paypal:
https://www.paypal.com/pools/c/8575pb3xy9

If you don’t like to use paypal, you can also donate via bank transfer, immediately to the bank account of the German Cancer Foundation. Please use AK49006741 as a reference.
Bank account:
Kreissparkasse Köln
IBAN DE65 3705 0299 0000 9191 91
SWIFT/BIC COKSDE 33XXX

Björn’s family, friends and band would like to thank you from the bottom of their hearts for each cent they are able to donate to the German Cancer Foundation in Björn’s name.

HOUNDWOLF – Album Review: “Beware of the Dog”

Houndwolf album cover

I turn my spotlight back to Germany, this time on HOUNDWOLF, an outstanding hard rock/metal band based in Witten. Influenced by some of their favorite rock and metal bands like Metallica, Motörhead, Pantera, Slayer, Black Stone Cherry, Trivium and Black Label Society, they play melodic and aggressive metal rock’n’roll, with some of the best guitar work I’ve heard any band play. Comprising the band are Milan Schloßmacher (Lead Vocals & Guitars), Tobias Maienschein (Guitar & Backings), Daniel Teuchert (Bass & Backings) and Thomas Neuhaus (Drums).

Houndwolf

In early 2016 HOUNDWOLF released a debut 3-track EP Fast and Loose, then dropped their first studio album Beware of the Dog that November. The album includes the original three tracks that were on the EP, plus seven new tracks. It’s a real tour-de-force, with seven tracks running more than five minutes in length. Three of them clock in at over eight minutes, with impressive extended riffs that will satisfy even the pickiest lovers of metal guitar.

The album kicks off with the rousing “The Banner of Rock’n’Roll,” establishing right up-front that this band means business about carrying the banner for rock’n’roll. To an onslaught of blazing guitars, buzzing bass and pummeling drums, Milan snarls “We have come to kick your ass, to blow your mind today! With a sound that’s razor sharp, as a steely knife” – and do they ever! Milan and Tobias lay down some formidable riffs that make for an exhilarating rock’n’roll song.

Metallica’s influence is strongly evident on many of their songs, especially the title track “Beware of the Dog,” “Paintheatre” and “Fast and Loose” – all down and dirty high-energy rock’n’roll tracks with frenetic metal guitar riffs, heavy bass lines and rapid-fire drums. “Crematories of Hell” is a moody heavy metal ballad with stunning intricate guitars that shred and wail. Milan’s smoldering, gritty vocals add to the dark feel of the track as he bitterly sings: “So you laid me down into the crematories of hell. You drained all my joy, I’m pain in a human shell.”

Die Laughin‘” is fantastic hard-driving rock at its finest, opening with a blistering extended guitar riff, backed by pounding drums and throbbing bass. After about a minute, Milan’s powerful vocals enter the proceedings as he growls: “I wanna die laughin’, with a smile on my lips,” though it sounds like he’s singing “I wanna die lovin.'” Double meaning perhaps? At four minutes, the song slows to a ballad-like interlude with beautiful guitar, then ramps back up with a return to the frenzied tempo for the remainder of the track. (HOUNDWOLF does this on several of their longer songs, giving them a monumental quality.) Milan reaffirms his intentions: “I wanna die with a smile on my face.” It’s an awesome song with stellar guitar work, and one of my favorites on the album.

Sweet Goddess of Fire” is a great hard rock song, with more amazing guitar work. Milan sings about a woman who’s definitely caught his attention: “Pretty smile, she’s not that tall. But she really is the opposite of small.

It seems the guys are saving the best for last, as the tracks get better and better as the album progresses. Another favorite of mine is the gorgeous but melancholy rock ballad “Goldminer’s Dream,” a powerful song about feeling like a failure despite working so hard, but vowing to never give up trying to achieve your dreams:

I’ve been working all day and all night long
Searching every mountain’s mine for gold
Hoping to have my work, and money making it tenfold
Cause I like the dust and I like the dirt
For I desire the end of all my indefatigable work
I have to go on as it seems
But I won’t give up, I won’t bury a goldminer’s dream
Sorry that none I brought to you was gold
Glittering emptiness is all that I hold with these shattered hands
Again I lost, Again I commit a blunder
Again I feel this pain trying to pull me under

The track starts off slowly, with beautiful strummed guitars over a solid bass line and gently tapping drums. At about 3:30 the music intensifies with stronger electric guitar and heavier drums. Milan’s vocals also rise in emotion to a grittier delivery, in tandem with the music, then all settles down at 4:50 for around 45 seconds. Everything ramps back up again to a powerful crescendo before calming back down at the end. It’s an amazing song.

Speaking of amazing, next up is “Deathtiny,” an epic work featuring jaw-dropping guitars worthy of Metallica or Slayer. It’s ironic how riffs this scorching hot can bring such chills. Milan and Tobias shred their guitars nearly to the breaking point, while Daniel lays down a mammoth bass line. Thomas attacks his drum kit like a pile driver, crashing his cymbals with all the force he can muster. The track is almost nine minutes long, but so fucking good it seems over in an instant.

Here’s a video of Daniel doing a wicked bass playthrough of the track:

The guys pull out all the stops on the autobiographical album closer “Houndwolf.” It’s a rock’n’roll head-banger, delivering a barrage of frantic metal guitar riffs, crushing bass and thunderous percussion. Milan’s gruff vocals are fierce as he sings about what they’re gonna do with their music: ” We’re Houndwolf! We’re gonna take the stage! We’re gonna bring ya into eternal rage. We’re Houndwolf! Give us your hand! We’re gonna bring ya into  a fallen land.” Take me, I’m ready to go!

Here’s a video of Milan doing a guitar playthrough of “Houndwolf.”

HOUNDWOLF play hard rock’n’roll that’s every bit as good as many of the big-name heavy metal bands, and Beware of the Dog is a superb, monumental album. They’re writing and recording new music, which should be gracing our ears in 2018.

Connect with Houndwolf:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Purchase Beware of the the Dog on itunes and other sites offering music for download or purchase.