Artist Spotlight – COLD REVIVE

Cold Revive is on a roll. Over the past few months, the Fresno, California-based rock band released two songs and have been interviewed on two radio programs (one local and another in Chicago) to promote their music. Now they’re back in the studio working on new songs, which they’ll be releasing soon. I had the good fortune of discovering them when they followed me on Twitter, and quickly became a big fan – not only because of their great music, but also because I was impressed by the band members themselves. Despite their badass rocker image, they’re actually genuine, down-to-earth guys. If the kindness they’ve shown me is any indication, it’s clear they appreciate and support their fans, which is a significant part of being a successful band at the end of the day. One of their main goals is to connect even more with their fans – to touch their lives in a positive way with their music.

Cold Revive

Cold Revive consists of Brent Stevens (vocals), Jason Fischer (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Gentky Vang (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Chase Hagerman (drums, keyboards, backing vocals).  All are seasoned musicians who’ve been previously involved with other bands and music projects. Jason and Brent actually met on Craigslist when each was interested in connecting with other musicians who might be interested in forming a band. Inspired by bands they both loved such as Nirvana, Foo Fighters, Hinder, Three Days Grace, Buckcherry and Korn, they joined forces in early 2016 and formed Cold Revive. Subsequently, Gentky and Chase came on board to complete the band lineup.

Like many hard rock bands these days, Cold Revive’s hard rock sound draws from alt-rock, punk, metal and grunge influences. Brent is especially fond of Halloween, horror films and such, so his dark lyrics reflect that.

The band’s first single “Sik’ Hellish Us,” is a dark and brooding hard rock song about being trapped in a toxic relationship you’re unable to break free of. Sinister guitars and heavy bass set an ominous tone, then a slow, thunderous drumbeat adds tremendous power to the track, which rises in intensity as the song progresses. Brent’s gritty vocals are delivered with a menacing vulnerability as he snarls “I’ve made my bed in hell, now I need to lie in it, ’cause it serves me well. As you held me there, my heart’s not escaping.

Diary” is an even darker song about finding a significant other’s diary after their suicide, and discovering how much your actions hurt them. The lyrics are gut-wrenching: “What I read on that page, tore me down I saw my own mistakes. All the pain I caused you is insane…   Suicide drove our love to an end. Those words killed us, was I always to blame? I’m so sorry!” The song has a Buckcherry vibe in both music and tone. Brent’s raw, heartfelt vocals match the emotional intensity of the gnashing guitars and aggressive percussion, making for an emotionally-charged song.

Here’s a live acoustic performance of “Diary” that isn’t quite as intense or sorrowful.

Cold Revive will be releasing their two new singles “Twisted Fright” and “Cold Dark Coma” in the next month or so. In the meantime, connect with them on Facebook and  Twitter, and stream their music on Reverbnation.  Subscribe to their YouTube channel for their videos and band updates.

Their music is not yet available for purchase, but I will update this post when it is.

Song Review: RAVENSCROFT – “The Chase”

Orange County, California band Ravenscroft have been thrilling fans for quite some time with their incredibly dynamic hard-hitting rock. Drawing upon influences from some of their favorite rock bands, including Godsmack, Iron Maiden, Shinedown, Metallica, Guns’n’Roses, Black Sabbath, Megadeth, Pearl Jam, Audioslave and Deep Purple, among others, Ravenscroft melds 60’s psychedelic/acid rock, 70’s and 80’s metal, and 90’s grunge to create their own melodic alternative metal/hard rock sound. Making all this heavy noise are Ralph Buso (Vocals), Brett ‘Octane’ Gorke (Guitars), Devin Baker (Bass) and Pat Magrath (Drums).

Ravenscroft

The guys just released a fantastic new single “The Chase” and it’s a three and half minute long full-frontal assault of heavy metal power. Gorke lives up to his nickname ‘Octane’, setting fire with blistering, metallic guitar riffs that shred, snarl and distort from start to finish. This man can play guitar! Baker’s thunderous bass adds incredible heft to the track, while Magrath pounds the hell out of his drum kit, the two of them conspiring to blow out the speakers.

With his gritty, impassioned vocals, Buso practically screams the lyrics that speak to not wasting precious time chasing hopeless causes and living a dishonest existence, instead focusing on what’s real and attainable:

Don’t waste your time, fighting life, chasing love. Don’t waste your tears, on the fears, up above./ Don’t Waste your life, telling lies, acting up. Word to the wise, in due time, it catches up.”

The lyric “Look to the light of the rising sun” may be a metaphor, symbolized by the Shogun warrior battle scenes artfully depicted in the fascinating video.

To learn more about Ravenscroft, check out their Website, and connect with them on Facebook / Twitter / Instagram.

Stream their music:  Spotify /  Google Play /  YouTube /  Pandora /  Reverbnation

Purchase it:  iTunes / Amazon

Song Review: AGONY IN THE GARDEN – “Falling in Reverse”

Last September, I reviewed the fantastic song “Obsolete” by Dayton, Ohio-based rock metal band Agony In The Garden (which you can read here).  Today – March 10, 2017 – they dropped their wonderful new single “Falling in Reverse.” It’s their first single released under their new label Spectra Music Group. To recap, Agony in the Garden is comprised of singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mack Perry, drummer Bobby Milton and guitarist Michael Greer.

agony-in-the-garden

“Falling in Reverse” is a slight departure from the hard-driving rock feel of “Obsolete,” though it still contains a lot of the raw power that is part of the band’s signature music style. A mournful but beautiful strummed guitar riff introduces the track, then light percussion enters the picture, along with Perry’s emotional vocals. The intensity of the instrumentals and Perry’s vocals ramp up 45 seconds in, giving the track a decidedly harder edge before calming down 20 seconds later, only to ramp back up at 1:35. The shredded guitars and heavy, buzzing bass are impressive, giving the track a gritty, yet highly melodic sound. It’s a great single.

As with other Agony songs, this track’s lyrics are deeply compelling. “Falling in Reverse” seems – to me at least – to be about feeling helpless and adrift, searching for truth and meaning in one’s life but not ever quite getting there. “Now we’ve seen this game before and I wonder what it’s for?/This thing called life/Always searching, in reverse.

Connect with Agony in the Garden by checking out their website, and following them on  Twitter,  Facebook and Instagram. Stream their music on Spotify and Google play, and purchase on itunes, Amazon and other online music sites.

Artist Spotlight on L.A. band SIFTING

I recently had the pleasure of being introduced to the fantastic metal rock band Sifting by fellow blogger LIFELIFETHRUMUSIC. Currently based in Hollywood, California, Sifting was originally formed in Caracas, Venezuela in 2010 by singer/songwriter Eduardo Osuna Gil. The band started recording their first songs in 2011 around the time the band Bullet for My Valentine chose them to open a concert in Caracas. Their debut single “All the Hated” was released that year on the famous line-up of games ROCK BAND® for the main gaming consoles worldwide. Their first album, also called All The Hated, was released in 2013 after Gil relocated to Los Angeles and reformed the band with new members Chris Eklund on lead guitar, Victor Ladines on bass and Abelardo Bolano on drums.

In a great interview with LIVELIFETHRUMUSIC (which you can read here) Eduardo discussed the origin of the band’s name: “Sifting is a word that gives meaning to the action of purifying, separating and cleaning things in order to get the best of them. This project uses this theory, always seeking to purify every aspect of what we are as a band, improving each day as musicians, as a group, as a part of society. In every lyric, arrangement and performance of our music we always seek to leave a message that teaches and encourages our followers and fans to improve and evolve every day, trying to make a real positive contribution to our environment.

sifting

The band’s music is characterized by complex, highly melodic arrangements with outstanding intricate guitar work, strong, driving beats and powerful vocals – all of which I love. Their excellent debut single “All the Hated” has all those ingredients in spades.

In 2015, the band released a 3-track EP Blurry Paintings, which includes the monumental track “Alone,” an eight-minute long tour de force. As beautifully articulated by Gil, the song is “packed with all kinds of emotions and transitions, progressive instrumentals, huge solos, incredible synths and orchestra arrangements, and thoughtful lyrics.” The song is literally a rock symphony. Eklund’s guitar solo midway through the song is breathtaking, and Bolano’s drums practically blow out the speakers. The compelling lyrics speak of man’s destructive instincts: “It’s so irrational to lead Mankind into its bitter end / And they still won’t listen / We won’t be forgiven / We’ve been left alone…

Sifting has been recording new songs for their upcoming album Not From Here that they expect to release in early 2017.  Three tracks that have already been finished are “Nothing But Us”, the title song “Not From Here,” and “Gloom.”  “Nothing But Us” bursts open with Gil’s aggressive vocals and furious guitars riffs set to heavy percussion. The powerful lyrics speak to standing one’s ground and staying true to oneself, not allowing others to push you around or make you into something you’re not: “I know the things they think about me / Though the words hurt, I don’t care / Go on push me around now, you can’t bring me down.

“Not From Here” is another epic song, with over six minutes of thunderous guitar riffs, pummeling bass and strong drums. At times, the highly complex guitars remind me a bit of the legendary band Boston. Gil’s raw vocals snarl and scream, backed by his band members’ soaring choruses.  This is an awesome track.

Their latest track “Gloom” is a lovely, bittersweet rock ballad about the heartache and feelings of rejection when a former love doesn’t want to continue the relationship. The great guitar riffs in the song have a bit of a Journey vibe, and Gil’s heartfelt vocals convey a deep sadness.

Sifting is a really talented group of musicians, and I look forward to their upcoming album Not From Here. To learn more about the band, check out their website and follow them on Twitter,  Facebook and Instagram. Steam their music on Spotify, and purchase on iTunes or Amazon.

Song Review: Agony In The Garden – “Obsolete”

Dayton, Ohio has produced quite an array of important and influential artists and bands over the years, spanning a broad spectrum of music genres. Some of the notable ones include funk/R&B greats The Ohio Players & Lakeside, rocker Rick Derringer, hip-hop band Zapp, dance-pop singer CeCe Peniston, alt-rock band Guided By Voices, pop-punk band Hawthorne Heights, and metalcore bands Twelve Tribes and Devil Wears Prada. Now let me introduce another band to rise from the Dayton music scene: rock metal band Agony In The Garden.

As they explain in their bio, Agony in the Garden’s music “honors those who would challenge the sun. Though our overture reflects the eternal dream, the sleeper has awakened. As we bore witness to this paradox the logic is ill refute.” Their music style fuses rock, metal and blues to create a powerful wall of sound that grabs hold of and engulfs the listener in a realm of blazing guitars, massive synth chords and sharp percussion. Their poetic song lyrics are always compelling and socially relevant.

Agony In The Garden started out as a concept band, with singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mack Perry as the solo artist writing and recording all the music. He released a debut four-song EP Where Olympus Dwells in May 2015, receiving critical acclaim and earning a growing legion of fans. Drummer Bobby Milton and guitarist Michael Greer joined the band in July 2016, and they are now working on a new album tentatively named Second Light, and set for release in Fall 2016.

agony-in-the-garden

The first single to be released is “Obsolete,” a sonically hard-hitting metal rock tune that dazes the senses. The song opens with a delicate, crystalline guitar solo, then erupts into a rich stew of snarling, swirling guitars, and pummeling bass.  Assertive drums keep the hard-driving beat moving forward, but never overpower the phenomenal heavily-textured guitars and Perry’s raw, impassioned vocals. Finally, demons expunged and both singer and listener spent, the song closes with a repeat of the gentle guitar riff.

The powerful lyrics speak to the sins of mankind and his impermanence on this earth. The end will come for us all as we cast away our demons (sins), breaking free of our physical selves and ascend to an afterlife. “Burning flames will shatter/in a world made of stone. Hear the dying children’s laughter/in a hell so new it’s old. Darkened sacred waters/Go on and fill them with your name. You can rise above the wreckage/go on and rise above your mortal chains. Throw your demon into the sun, ’til it’s done. Throw your demon, one by one into the sun.

For a background reference of the band’s music, here’s the video for their excellent 2015 single “Where Olympus Dwells.” It’s a provocative commentary on poverty and homelessness that intertwines beautiful scenery with startling images of the homeless and disasters – both natural and political – that contribute to the homeless epidemic. The song has been chosen to be featured on the soundtrack of the new Ugandan Action Cinema film Precision: The Child Drug Trafficking.

I must make note that, from our conversations by e-mail and Twitter messaging, Mack Perry is one of the most gracious and respectful musicians I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with. So support his band by checking out their website and following on Twitter and Facebook. Stream their music on Spotify and Soundcloud, and purchase on itunes, Amazon and other online music sites.