Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

CD Review: Vultures? – Wake EP

Posted: September 9, 2012 by Windsor Zene in CDs, Reviews

Vultures? is a band that has been around in various forms since the dawn of time. Their current line up features Anderson Lunau undertaking bass and lead vocal responsibilities, guitars handled by Jeff Riley and Andy Langmuir, and Scott Warren on drum duty and backing vocals. In the local scene, these guys are known for a number of different things.  Riley recently made his debut at part of Poughboy, in their most recent show at Villains. Anderson was part of the notable Golden Hands Before God…, and Scott is known for his skills as an engineer, running Rockerie Records, from whence came last summer’s Vultures? release The Deuce EP, as well as his recent epic, Hate Letter, the first release of Scott’s solo project, This Is War (which also includes guest appearances from the rest of the band).  Now the boys are back with their newest EP, and one to actually be released on a physical medium, Wake. This EP clocks in at just under twenty minutes, contains four songs, and a wide variety of sounds.

The disc opens with Brain Jail, which startled me a bit at first. I’m used to these guys being a bit rougher, but this song strikes me as a groovy, flowing, and more progressive than usual track. The vocals are mixed a bit farther back than is generally found in their tunes, but to some great effect, reinforcing the emotions already dripping off Anderson’s vocals.

Beverley starts off as more of a slow-jam, very slouchy, and would fit well into a sleazy, smoke-filled lounge. It oozes along in a slow yet definite build, with a sound like The Eagles meeting The Mars Volta for a long night of dope-smoking, jamming, and looking back at failed relationships. This one gets stuck in my head.

The third one that I can’t decide on. I either love it or hate it. Maybe both at the same time. Entitled Kobe, Don’t Be Rapin’,I like to believe it’s about zombies, and taking this line out of context will reinforce that opinion; “There’s only grey matter I wanna take/This matter in my own hands, you could make me a man”.

But even aside from that, it’s an interesting little ditty. After the first two being more ambient and experimental, we bust into a song that could easily belong to any of the numerous boy pop-rock bands that plague the top forty airwaves.  The song feels happy; the vocals waver pleasingly; the entire thing is catchy as fuck. But then you pay some attention to the lyrics, and the prominence of creepy under-age stalking in complete paradox to the light-hearted tone weirds me out. Still, this song contains my absolute favourite part of the entire EP. About three-quarters of the way through we stumble upon some beautifully executed guitar, nice and clean sounding, backing Anderson up as he completely nails his lines. Utterly unexpected, and wholly pleasant.

Then it’s time to disco, apparently. Control is something I was entirely unprepared for. If someone were to get up and dance to this, I don’t think I could even blame them. And That is not a normal statement for a Vultures? track. But still, it’s fun, the lyrics are a tad dark, and there are some awesome tones; typical traits of the band. I particularly loved the ambience on the chorus vocals.

Overall? I liked it. A lot. The songs were great, the sound of the entire thing didn’t make my ears bleed, and in every song I caught something that made me want to re-listen to figure out what it was. I love when that happens. 4.5/5. Loss of half a point for the music breaking my computer.

Catch Vultures? This Saturday, September 15th when they take part in the fourth annual Phog Phest on the corner of University and Victoria. They go on at 7:55, and will hopefully have the EP available for purchase. Tickets are $15, available from the band or Phog Lounge (157 University Ave. W.). 

They’ll also be hanging out on The Windsor Scene from 5 until 5:30 pm on Wednesday, September 12th, only on CJAM 99.1 FM. Listen in for an exclusive interview, and a chance to hear all the tracks off of Wake.

 

 

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CD Review: Against All Evil – Against All Evil

Posted: August 2, 2012 by Windsor Zene in CDs, Reviews

In addition to strong metal and folk scenes, Windsor has a fair number of radio-ready pop-rock bands, and another one is getting ready to join their ranks.

Against All Evil have already proven themselves capable of a solid live show, despite debuting only a short while ago, but now they are gearing up to release their first EP and music video, with the hopes of taking their band to the next level.

This six-song self-titled collection boasts soulful lyrics backed by instrumentals that range in influence. But whether the song is based more in the pop-punk or alternative-rock category, they are all undeniably catchy. These are also some heavily polished tracks, covered in a candy-like coating that is both sweet and shiny. But for a band with heavy radio aspirations, this is probably a sensible thing to do.

I would best describe these songs at grandiose, which seems to be the aim for this collection of tracks. Mixed to a solid wall of sound, the different instruments and layers fit into a jigsaw of a mainstream record.

Against All Evil contains previous members of Radio Adelaide, Richy Nix, and Thieves in Remand, and in their short amount of time together they have already begun to create a following for themselves with commercial radio airplay and a forcible presence on Roadrunner Records’ Sign Me To site. These guys know exactly what they’re after, and are doing what they can to achieve it, which is definitely commendable. Following their release show, AAE will be participating in a battle of the bands for a lot to open for Chevelle and Evanescence, so good luck to them on that one.

Rating: 3/5

Best Song: Modern Day Spartan

Catch Against All Evil on Friday, August 3rd when they perform at The Room Nightclub (255 Ouellette) along with Intra Meridian and Shortcut to Last. Tickets are $7ADV/$10ATD, 19+ are welcome, and doors are at 9 pm. 

CD Review: Betrayer – Betrayer

Posted: July 19, 2012 by Windsor Zene in CDs, Reviews

ImageAfter a very long time in the making, Windsor’s longest-running band Betrayer has recently released their self-titled epic. And it was certainly worth the wait. Since they re-emerged onto the scene a little over a year ago, the band has been playing new tracks form the album, most notably Convicted Soul. From the first time hearing this new song, it was obvious that this new album was gonna kill.

Recorded at Spectre Sound with Glen Fricker (as most great local metal albums have been) at the time of it’s making, Norm Michaud was still on bass, but has since been replaced by Sinan Khalaf. On drums is Shawn Bastien, with Bill Lozon on guitar and vocalist/guitarist Jeff Klingbeil at the front.

From their previous recordings and numerous live shows across Southern Ontario fans were able to become familiar with Betrayer’s crisp classic-metal sound. Enthusiasts of Megadeth, and Iron Maiden certainly had nothing to complain about with these guys.

On the new CD, the band has stuck with their established sound, just shined up a bit.

Jeff’s soaring vibrato resonates across the entire album, backed by a bombardment of massive drums, bellowing bass lines, and scalding guitar riffs.

In a very smart move, the boys sent their tracks to Studio Fredman in Sweden for mixing and mastering. Handled by Henrik Udd and Fredrik Nordstrom, the songs came out well balanced and clear. A better studio could not have been chosen for this task, as these guys are behind some stellar product from the likes of In Flames, Arch Enemy, and Opeth, and Nordstrom himself is the guitarist for power metallers Dream Evil, another band who Betrayer likely takes cues from. A solid blast of sound from song to song, the heavily influenced 80’s style metal has been revamped with a modern twist thanks largely, in my opinion, to the mixing styles of those at Fredman.

While we’re on the subject of notable names connected to this album, let’s take a quick look at the album art. Relatively simple, a spider on it’s web (although why the body is not a black widow, yet the hour-glass has been used anyhow I can’t say).  However, flip open the booklet, scan down, and see… Art Direction: Hugh Syme. No big deal, he’s only done album art for Iron Maiden, Dream Theatre, Megadeth, and every Rush album since 1975. Not that this contributes to the sound of the album at all, but it’s still pretty damn awesome.

Even looking at this disc without any of the fancy names attached, it’s an awesome collection of songs. This is a band that has been working hard at perfecting their sound for sixteen years, and the maturation of the group and its music is really showing here.  For those heavy into collecting local albums, this one is a necessity. I’d say the same for those very into metal as well.

A few years back Betrayer was at the top of their game, winning numerous competitions and getting industry attention. This album has the potential to bring them back to that point, and hopefully carry them further.

Find Betrayer’s new album at Dr. Disc, on iTunes, or pick it up from the band at their next show. 

CD Review: Faithful Unto Death – Give Up, Grow Old

Posted: June 21, 2012 by Windsor Zene in CDs, Reviews

As a follow up to their 2011 release Welcome Home, local Christian Metal group Faithful Unto Death have recently released the EP Give Up, Grow Old. This four-song collection clocks in just over fourteen minutes, and holds to the sound established in their previous recordings.

The title track opens the EP on a very strong note, with vocals bordering on rap and some super bouncy instrumentals. Thick recordings of cracking drums and a guitar tone that would fit well in a prog band, the song eventually shifts into the sound of a typical hardcore song with breakdowns and gangvocals that I imagine will translate very well live.

As is true for most Faithful Unto Death Songs, the band is making a statement with Love Devoid of Feeling. “I can say I love you, but if I don’t mean it, the word still don’t make it true” is the gist of the message to this song. Very reminiscent of Hail Destroyer-era Cancer Bats, this song gets into a great chorus with super-steady blast beats, and moves into a huge an awesome crescendo near the end.

The Other Son starts off as a groovy slow-jam, with a super-clicky bass drum. When the song kicks in it’s got a definite Hawthorne Heights feel, if that band had managed to actually sound good. Awesome high, clean guitar riff coming in about halfway through, and ending on the techy, Cancer Bats style sound they established earlier.

Closing off this EP is a cover from the Swedish band Blindside. Yemkela originally appeared on the band’s fifth album, The Great Depression, which was released in 2005. Faithful Unto Death has made the song their own by bringing in their heavy and more technical sound, while keeping the same feel, arrangement, and main riffs as the original track.

Faithful Unto Death has quite a following in Windsor’s hardcore community, and based on this album it is easy to see why. They have also filled the Christian Hardcore Band category that had been empty since the demise of the fun and fast I Am The Vine a couple of years back.

Worth checking out, pick up this album when the band plays live, or for the impatient, download it from their Bandcamp page.

Video: CELLOS – Toronto

Posted: May 22, 2012 by Windsor Zene in Music Videos, Reviews

Windsor (and some would argue SouthWestern Ontarioʼs) hardest rocking band CELLOS have been busy lately. When they arenʼt blowing the helpless and unsuspecting minds of Windsorʼs downtown music scene at their usual go-to venues, such as Phog, Villains, Dugout, FM and Coach theyʼre in the studio making quality sounding recordings, pressing really cool vinyl, and now making some kick-ass music videos.

CELLOS used the song Toronto for this music video, which is definitely one of my favorite tracks off their forthcoming debut album entitled Bomb Shelter. Toronto plays off the metaphor that cities can consume you and the music really makes that metaphor believable because of CELLOSʼ signature heavy noise rock style.

The first screen of the music video starts off with a vintage ʻcoming attractionsʼ opening as if you were watching movie trailers from the 1960s. The video then gets right into the soon to be continuous opening riff and a really cool time lapse shot of the city of Toronto at night. The video then progresses into a series of live footage clips of the band playing at different venues in Windsor. Toronto was produced and shot well, the videographer really captures the image that the song portrays by editing noise and grain overtop of the footage. The rest of the video is basically just more clips of the band playing live, save for a bowling ball plowing through an old television set that has been set on fire (random, maybe. Awesome, definitely).

As fun as it was to see CELLOS playing at various venues in Windsor I found it kind of distracting to see the guitarist and vocalist Kyle with and without a full beard. My only other criticism is that it would have been cool to see footage of CELLOS actually playing in Toronto.

Overall I thought this song and video was great and I think itʼs safe to say that you can expect much more from CELLOS as they continue to progress. I give it 8 out of 10 sweltering bowling pins.

Nick

CD Review: With Glowing Hearts – Hang in There EP

Posted: May 16, 2012 by Windsor Zene in CDs, Reviews

With the recent more pronounced wave of pop punk bands playing all over the city again one might think that itʼs 2003. With Glowing Hearts is a self proclaimed Windsor Pop Punk band with attitude. This pop punk trio do not waste any time on their recent 6 track EP, entitled Hang in There. They dive right into fast riffing, snare popping, raspy vocal pop-punk awesomeness. All of the songs on this EP seem to follow a similar formula, which can usually be expected with music like this. The vocals on all of the tracks have a consistent aggressive rasp, comparable to other Windsor bands such as Shared Arms, The Nefidovs, or Orphan Choir. Not much changes to the vocals except for scattered ʻgroup vocalsʼ and various harmony with the other band members. The other instrumentation is basically just your pop punk distorted guitar, bright bass and your standard punk rock beats (The Offspring, Blink 182, Sum 41 etc.).

Itʼs hard for me not to like bands like With Glowing Hearts because they remind me of the music I listened to when I was younger, and the music that inspired the modern genre (you know, The Ramones, The Buzzcocks, Social Distortion..). What is easy, is to pick out the things in pop punk that I like and donʼt like.

To get a few criticisms out of the way, some of the things I longed for on the Hang in There EP is more experimentation. I think With Glowing Hearts chose a safe compilation of songs for this project and because they stick to a very familiar format it is easy to hear their influences without the necessary production.

I think I would have really enjoyed this EP a whole lot more if the band had spent more time producing the album. That may sound like a cheap jab because it can be expensive putting out records, but in my opinion pop punk demands a certain amount of production needed to make it easier on the ears.

What I do like about this band is their attitude, their drive to defend this genre of music and their obvious ability to play their instruments really well. If these guys continue to make music of the pop punk persuasion I would recommend collaborating with a producer/sound engineer that knows this genre really well, like Marty from SLR Studios.

I give this EP 6 out of 10 laid back sloths trying to cross the road.

Favorite tracks: Ramirez! Do Everything & Dead End Streets

– Nick 

Video: Perpetuate – Above and Beyond

Posted: May 4, 2012 by Windsor Zene in Music Videos, Reviews

Slow-mo wind mills, a blazing light show, and an awesome song have all come together in the form of Perpetuate’s music video for the song Above and Beyond from their self titled album, which was released last year.

The band had a hell of a time bringing this one to life, writing and re-writing, shooting and re-shooting… But all good things come at a price.

Here, we have the collusion of Spectre Sound’s Glenn Fricker, Adam Marz of Marz Media Productions, and the band themselves. What we’re given is an epic performance video with closeups on fretboards and faces, a video that really allows viewers to see the band in action. A great choice for those unable to actually catch the band live, this allows an insight into their always-impressive performances. Only now they’ll be expected to travel with insane light shows at all times.

Congratulations to the band and all other involved parties, this is one of the best local videos I’ve seen this year.

Seven months ago, a new band came onto the scene here in Windsor, and since then they have garnered success all across Southern Ontario.

Windsor’s folk darlings, the unquiet dead, have shared a stage with Yukon Blonde, The Schomberg Fair, and Elliot Brood, and they have even found their way into Canada’s largest music festival at Canadian Music Week.

But their crowning achievement to date is the independent release of their debut album, Tales of the Unquiet Dead Book One.  The album was recorded with Mark Plancke and Shark Tank Studios and released at The Capitol Theatre in early April.

Produced by Plancke and Daren Dobsky, one of the group’s chief songwriters, the unquiet dead present to listeners with this album a collection of short stories. The tales follow no particular theme, ranging from regret and escape to love and loss, and everything in between. But in the presentation of every song, there is always an element, often indefinable, that is undeniably creepy.

With nine members in the band, it’s safe to assume that there is going to be a lot going on all the time. But even with the layers upon layers of vocals and various instruments, the band keeps things from getting overwhelming, leaves breathing space, through some very nice attention to dynamics, panning, and frequency ranges.

The entire album is smooth and non-offensive, slipping past with silky guitar tones, velvety vocals, and polished percussion.  The actual genre of the band is difficult to pin down, as each song has it’s own unique flavour, a different bit of genre influence.

The up-beat singalong Rescue Me has some vocals that wouldn’t be out of place in an 80’s soul-pop song, While Hard Road could fit well onto the O Brother, Where Art Thou sound track, thanks to it’s heavy bluegrass sound.  For The Moon could easily be from the Adam and Kris album In The Garden, a song that it likely to cause much hand-holding and swaying in unison, while St. James The Moocher might be played in some suave martini lounge where heavy-lidded ladies rest upon the arms of tight-suited men with slicked back hair.

Best described as hauntingly beautiful, in Tales of The Unquiet Dead Book One listeners aren’t going to find tracks to break their neck or fist pump to, but they’ll find stories worth hearing presented in a way that is as timeless as it is soothing. Each time listening through this album you’re likely to walk away having picked upon some new subtlety hidden within the songs innumerable layers and folds.

Let’s rate this album two stout servings of good brandy and a bonfire by the lake at sunset. Best songs? Lord Loves A Workin Man and St. James The Moocher.

Tales of The Unquiet Dead Book One can be purchased at Dr Disc in Downtown Windsor, or online at CDBaby.com. If you’re interested in catching the unquiet dead live, they have two shows this Saturday, May 5th, one at Walkermole in Walkerville during the day, and the other at FM Lounge, Downtown, at night. 

CD Review: The STiG – This Lovely Filth EP

Posted: April 25, 2012 by Windsor Zene in CD Releases, CDs, Previews, Reviews

As happens fairly often in Windsor, a band will be officially releasing their newest piece of work via a CD release party this Friday, April 27th.  This time the band is The STiG, and this is their first official release ever, an EP entitled This Lovely Filth, which was recorded with Mark Plancke at Shark Tank Studios in March 2011.

The band takes it’s name from the British TV series Top Gear, where a masked car driver known only as The Stig tests out cars. Their style of music, though, is not the sort to make you want to drive recklessly.  The entire EP is on the slower side of things, with clean, well defined recordings and lyrics that are interesting to pay attention to. The entire thing has a distinct Blue Rodeo feel, in fact.

The theme of the album is rather dark, according to frontman Jeff Stiles, commenting on how we have replaced the word need with the word want, how we are fighting wars for nothing more than the chance to go shopping. Hence the name This Lovely Filth.

The first track, Who Are You? Features Jeff’s lethargic, laid back vocals over some groovy instrumentals. The main guitar riff is almost danceable, if taken out of context of the rest of the song, and the drums are rich, a full, close sound that provide a steady beat along with some growling bass.

Block It Out has more of a country feel to it, with Jeff’s slightly nasally vocals complimenting well a guitar tone that isn’t quite not twangy.  Great mixing, the chorus really coming together with a twinkling guitar riff coming in, and rolling drum fills tying it all together. The bridge sounds almost like a march woth Jeff’s spoken word piece over top, before moving seamlessly back into the main riff of the song.

The third song is a particularily slow one,  the head-bobbingly groovetacular No G. This one makes me imagine a high school dance, everyone swaying side to side, hands on hips and around necks as the disco ball spins…. Coming into the solo, it really wakes you up, with a big, creamy tone that stands out completely from the rest of this track.

Following the theme of dark ideas and “what has our society come to?!” we’ve got a song about internet porn. Fitting. Ask Jolene is about addressing the girl on the computer screen, thinking past the fact that she’s naked.

Closing out the album, Scarecrow puts another picture in my head. Listening to just the clean guitar guitar, I’m see the end of a 90’s romantic comedy, a slow-mo montage of the hero running to catch whoever he’s after. Pretty specific, but give it a listen and you’ll get it. Actually, bringing up the 90’s, that’s a vibe that runs through most of the disc. But in a subtle enough way as to not seem like an homage, luckily.

This Lovely Filth will see it’s official release this Friday, April 27th at FM Lounge (156 Chatham St. W.) where The STiG will be playing along with Tony Coates. Admission is free, doors open at 9 pm, with music starting around 10.

CD Review: This Is War “Hate Letter”

Posted: April 19, 2012 by Windsor Zene in CDs, Reviews

This Is War, Hate Letter (Rockerie Records)

Jamie Greer

In every music scene, there are a least a handful of hidden gems. By that I mean that there are folks whose contribution to this scene are quite often overlooked – or at least minimalized – when in fact, they’ve provided more sustenance and backbone than many of the “bigger” known acts. One of these gems is multi-instrumentalist Scott Warren.

Scott runs one of the city’s biggest sounding studios, Rockerie Records, and records many projects, both local and out of town, as well as his own projects. But that doesn’t define who Scott is. He is much more than a producer. He’s had tenures drumming for such local acts as Johnny El Camino, Somatose, Bombast and Vultures? But a drummer simply doesn’t define who Scott is. As a vocalist, he proved his chops as a more than capable backing vocalist in Vultures? and as a more than impressive front man for short lived hard rock collective Lone Locust. But a vocalist doesn’t define what Scott is.

This Is War, the one man project that has been Warren’s labour of love (or hate?) for over a year, however, does. Showcasing not only his production skills (he recorded, engineered, mixed, mastered and produced the entire project at his aforementioned Rockerie Records), his musical prowess (he played a majority of the lead vocals, drums, guitars, bass and synth tracks himself), or his songwriting (written almost entirely solo), he showcases himself. Hate Letter – his debut release under the moniker This Is War – is an emotionally revelatory concept album that strips Scott Warren to his absolute barest soul and unleashes a verbal and musical diatribe, emoting every feeling he endured throughout a failed relationship that he turned into his greatest masterpiece. Bon Iver may have written For Emma… under similar circumstances, but while Bon Iver’s “letter” sounds more like he got over it by drinking Chartreuse in a Minnesota mountain cabin, crying over Jeff Buckley bootlegs, Warren’s Hate Letter sounds more like he drowned his sorrows on a case of Jack Daniels and at least four street fights in downtown Detroit. He came out swinging and he wasn’t going to coddle the fact that this woman broke his heart. He was licking his wounds, he was tearing them off his body, one by one.

The album sounds like a mix tape you’d make in high school when a girl broke up with you. And I mean that in a good way. That sharp attack of the brain where you release that the only way to pull your sorry ass out of the gutter was to channel it all in music. Didn’t have to be your music, it just had to match up with how fucking crushed and emotionally jarbled your brain was, and pull you away and let you rage within the confines of the song. Well not only did Warren accomplish this on Hate Letter, he did it by writing all said music himself. He’s created the ultimate break up mix tape.

Once the spiraling groove of small intro opener “All By Your Loathesome (The Squatter)” ends quickly setting up the scene of the crime, the album launches into a powerhouse anthem that would have been a sure fire #1 single in the late ’90’s, “Fuck Today”. But what it commands in powerful ’90’s hooks and delivery – think a less Chris Cornell sounding Ian Thornley of Big Wreck – it manages to not sound as dated as many of those songs have ended up. The music is emotionally charged in a way that many of the 90’s alt. rock’s vapidly ignored and it carries a heavier Helmet-doing-the-Smashing-Pumpkins thing under these immense vocals and lyrics by Scott Warren. I’m not sure how a radio edit would work on a song that is so profane (“Forget Today” would only cut the nuts of the power), but this still today has the makings of a monstrous radio single.

“Great Minds and All That” – which like many of the album tracks features Vultures?, Bombast and Lone Locust co-hort Andy Langmuir on guitars – continues the vibe of the Smashing Helmet sound. And by this I mean, it sounds like the guys from Helmet trying to replicate that Billy Corgan tone and resulting in something that is hauntingly beautiful.

The first new vocalist appears on the head bobbing Soundgarden-esque “Easy Off” in the form of Grand Maris bassist/vocalist Meg Farron (although her vocals and melody are far from Soundgarden and fully compliments the words with the groove going on  behind her) and also guests another Vultures? (and Somatose bandmate) Jeff Riley on guitars.

Just as Meg’s vocals lull you into a state that perhaps Warren is getting over the emotional let down, it launches into the next big hit off the record, “Mistake From The Lake”. This thunderous assault is a no-holds barred attack as the brain launches another Jack Daniels in-fueled rager at Pogo’s. With a slight hint of Moistboyz or latter day era Faith No More or KMFDM, Warren proves on this song that he has an incredible knack for taking elements from somewhat generic or cheesy acts (such as he did in “Fuck Today”) and streamlining the best parts of them and showing them a cooler way to do it. This song would be another huge hit on modern rock or hard rock radio because, although it shares some of the appeal of bands like Disturbed or their ilk, This Is War shows that you can convey melody, hook and emotion in an industrial-hard rock anthem without sounding like you’ve spent far too much time in Hot Topic and reading your own press in Revolver Magazine.

Two alumni from Windsor’s musical terrorists Poughboy invade the next two tracks. Drummer Dave Allan (who also plays drums for Cellos and Explode When They Bloom) creates a percussive jungle of rhythm behind Warren’s Dave Mustaine-esque vocals on “The Pride of No One”, followed by Poughboy frontman Adam Craig assaulting the ears with the expectantly crude and aggressive “September’s Whore”. As the protagonist of Hate Letter continues his decent into the rage of his experience, Craig’s twisted mind and vocal attack perfectly expresses that seemingly impossible task of replicating intelligibly. Easily the least commercially accessible track on the album, but perhaps the albums most emotionally intense: this is the sonic and lyrical version of a man’s complete emotional breakdown from a breakup.

Coming out of the chaos, “Buy Gold” is lead in by beautiful guitar work from another of Warren’s longtime running partners, Anderson Lunau (Vultures?, Somatose, The Golden Hands Before God) into a somewhat mellow although upbeat number that seems to be the awakening of the broken man from his moment in the darkness, which explodes into a tale that seems to encapsulate the man’s coming to terms with his own situation. “All I’ve got is some time with a mind that’s gone wrong, am I in love with you?” Warren belows in song that brings back the sound of late 90’s industrial alt. rock like Stabbing Westward. Another song with huge anthemic potential, despite it’s short running time.

By the time “The Dead Princess Stunt Spectacular” hits you in the face, this man is clearly out for some sort of revenge. To help in this street fight, Warren brings in a couple of veterans from Windsor’s metal scene to bring some thunder. David Creed, lead vocalist for powerhouse legends Grand Maris, bassist Kyle Warren (Scott’s brother and member of Under Ruins and Lost Souls Division) and guitarist Randy Barth (Under Ruins, Black Kreek) join Scott Warren in a full on assault that sees the author release the last of his anger.

Which sets up the beauty of the melancholy found within “The Pinkest Slip”, a short heroin river ride complete with sitar, as he finally hands the emotional baggage it’s grand goodbye, it’s “pinkest slip”. The album closes with the uplifting and inspiring instrumental outro, “Know You Know Nothing” – you can practically see the smile on the man’s face as the album quietens down and finishes. A happy ending.

This Is War – Scott Warren – manage to capture something that so many bands today seem to miss the point on. An album should be an album. If you’ve got singles, put out singles. Or EP’s. But when I buy your full length album, I want every song to matter. I’ll take it that some songs may come across stronger than others, some may strike a chord more with you than others, but I don’t want any filler. I want to experience the whole album as a whole, not a series of songs you spent 10 months writing sprinkled with a couple more you wrote in 2 days to spread out the record. Hate Letter does that. Despite it having a number of ready-for-mainstream radio singles already on board, the album is a complete collection and is definitely better listened to in order – at least once. Do yourself that favour.

Last year, my favourite song of the year from a local band was “Knuckle Down” by one of Scott Warren’s projects, Vultures? And this year – after the first third of 2012 anyway – my favourite release so far is Hate Letter. Which goes to show you that sometimes even though gems may be hard to find, once you do, they shine for a very long time.