Category Archives: Metal

Album Review: SACK – Ripper

Party thrash punkers SACK rip so hard that I got Covid when I saw them live.

No seriously, they played Cleveland at the end of June at a local BBQ joint/bar/venue and I went with a few pals. Two days later, I tested positive for that stupid bastard virus and was knocked off my ass for a week. Totally worth it though, it was one of the better shows I went to this year.

Disclaimer: Not everyone who sees this band is guaranteed to contract a virus.

SACK hails from the Denver area and honestly have had changes in their lineup since they started making music in the early 2000s, but have always entertained the hell out of me.

Currently, Kody of The Lillingtons and Teenage Bottlerocket fronts the band along with a couple of dudes from Peru, some gym teacher, and apparently a local electrician.

Ripper is a 12 song banger of sorts that was recorded at The Blasting Room and released earlier this year on Red Scare Records. This album is for the drunks, the punks, some more drunks, and anyone looking to just rock the hell out. From start to finish, Ripper absolutely slays, slaps, shreds…shit like that.

“I Hate The Beach Boys” has zero love for that surfer boy band your mom and grandma probably batted lashes at in their younger years. The distaste for the band is evident with Kody just screaming out reasons why he hates them.

“The Return of Mr. Bong” is definitely to be adored by all the stoner heavy metal lovers. Clearly a tale of a party encounter with a superior water pipe taking on everyone.

True story real quick: I was driving somewhere with my windows down blasting “I Tried Suicide” recently and stopped at a light and looked over just in time to see that the song offended another driver enough to make a face of disapproval while rolling up their window. This song is about ending it all with no buffer.

“I Used to Give a Shit” has been my theme song lately. All about not caring and just living life sometimes is the best logic to carry in this day and age. Take it from SACK, caring is stupid.

“Night Shift” for whatever reason reminded me of something that should have been playing in Repo Man when Otto and Bud were driving around L.A.

I loved “The Thesis”, even if it was just a complete train wreck that clocked in at 0:43. I guess I just appreciated the raw, insanity of the track. I could see it as paying homage to a few 80s punk acts.

“Turf War” was upbeat, but clearly tied gangs maintaining their hood. I kind of wish SACK did a music video for this one. It could be like Warriors meet Grand Theft Auto or some bullshit like that.

Ripper was just that when describing the sound held within the album. I literally listened to this for weeks on end over and over. It is fun, raw, and just aimed at having a good time. Sure, if you like Teenage Bottlerocket you will likely be into these dudes especially since “Headbanger” was originally a SACK track. Kody really gives it his all with this band vocally and there is no doubt about that.

Also if you like Guttermouth, FEAR, or even Zeke, chances are you will eat up SACK. Yes, I wrote that on purpose.

No LP yet for Ripper (hint hint), but the album is out all all $treaming $iteS or you can snag a CD from Red Scare if you still rock that compact disc life.

If SACK happens to play a show by you, go. Seeing Kody try and pound a 12-pack during their set was impressive as hell. Just make sure you let the man hit the bathroom after because chances are, he is going to need to relieve himself after that feat.

Album Review: The Decayed – Corrupt Politicians Will Never Set You Free

I am probably a little overdue for a review, so allow me to take a few moments to talk about a ripper of an album that was sent to me a couple months back by Jake from The Decayed .

I promise y’all it was listened to upon release, the delay on my end came from carving out some time to talk about it.

Hailing from South Chicago, The Decayed manage to smash punk and thrash together making for a unique, full of angst listen. The foursome are working class dudes with vocal opinions and zero filter. Their debut Corrupt Politician Will Set You Free dropped almost a year to the day, so apologies on my end for the delay of this post.

The album cover clearly has a They Live feel with a money-hungry politician surrounded by brute force that more than compensates for the album’s title. Before even listening to this, I had a feeling it was going to have tons of raw energy.

“Piece By Piece” had me slightly nervous that the back was nothing more than a Jackyl spinoff with the chainsaw, but boy I was dead wrong. These dudes just jumped right into it and got to business. Think street punk mixed with thrash and a steady bass lick keeping it all together.

“Abandon Hope” was the prominent song off this album with a powerful metal / punk collaboration enjoyable throughout. Loved the riffs on this one that tore into solitude and escape.

“Desolate” to me is what Bleeding Through would have sounded like if they skipped the metalcore and fell towards hardcore. This was a brutal track all surrounding gut feelings about propaganda and failed states.

Sounding like and angry early AFI sans emotion came “A Fire Inside”. I laugh about this one because it was not until a few minutes into writing that comparison did I line up that AFI is abbreviation for, yeah, you guessed it. Coincidence? Perhaps. The track is a good listen.

“The Old & The Dead” easily was one of my choice cuts all in thanks to angry old man punk with Matt Fremon-like bass playing. This song isn’t cookie-cutter at all and just blatantly tells you how it is and I for one appreciated the hell out of it.

“One Last Ride” was a working class, do-or-die punk rock track. I have to hand it to them, hearing “I got a perfect view of heaven from my front row seat in hell” was quite appealing to me. This wasn’t a happy-ending by any means and was more so a vision of extremities when all else is lost.

The Decayed are on the same page as Anti-Flag but far heavier. If you carry the same ideals and need something to just get your blood pumping as you question this reality built around, I’d consider checking out Corrupt Politicians Will Never Set You Free. If you are on the other side of the tracks, I hope this offends the shit out of you.

The debut was pressed on a black & white splatter LP which just looks awesome and sounds amazing when played loud. You can snag one for yourself on their Bandcamp page. It is also steaming on all of those platforms that will never pay artists what they truly deserve, except for Bandcamp. Here, I will make it easy on you, check them out:

BHP Best Of 2021 List

Oh look, the year is about up already. Guess that means it is time to drop my fav releases of yet another messed up year.

The good news about 2021 is that I went to exactly one show, but it was a great show with amazing humans all around.

Anyways, I am busy as shit with the paying gig and that dad life, so I am going to try and keep things short and sweet this year. With any luck, I will add to this some content on why these hit me the most. To be continued I suppose.

Check out the albums in no particular order that caught my attention throughout the year:

BHP BEST OF 2021 LIST

Turnstyle – Glow On

Heart Attack Man – Thoughtz & Prayerz

Lars Fredericksen – To Victory

One Step Closer – This Place You know

Johnny Dynamite and the Bloodsuckers – Sleeveless

Kali Masi – [Laughs]

Haunt – Beautiful Distraction

Neighborhood Brats – Confines of Life

Shitty Neighbors – People I Know

Heart & Lung – Twistin’ The Knife Away

Joystick – I Can’t Take It Anymore

Descendents – 9th & Walnut

Jeff Rosenstock – SKA DREAM

Lucero – When You Found Me

Jonathan Richman – Want To Visit My Inner House?

Sincere Engineer – Bless My Psyche

Juice Newson – Suburban Soul

Needles//Pins – Self-Titled

Brain Cave – Log World

Section H8 – Welcome to the Nightmare

Fiddlehead – Between The Richness

Bands: Thanks for doing what you do.

Labels & Promoters: Thanks for helping out the bands to their thing and release their music be it physical or digital and for supporting them while trying to tour in these most uncertain times. Also, thanks for the consideration when pimping them out. I am a lucky guy for this opportunity.

Finally: Thanks to YOU (yes, you). If you are even looking at this. I struggle every year if I want to keep blogging, and honestly I figure if someone out there can take some time to log in and look, then I can at least try and do my thing.

Here’s to 2022. See y’all soon.

Album Review: Haunt – Beautiful Distraction

I learned of Haunt about a year ago thanks to Bandcamp and absolutely adore the galvanizing 80s metal style. They are without a doubt one of the more exciting bands to emerge in recent years all thanks to catchy as hell songs that are full of riffs and guitar solos a plenty.

Formed by Trevor William Church, Haunt is more or less a solo project that started back in 2017. Hearing his rigorous anthems could fool anyone easily into thinking he’s been around for decades. With a style similar to bands like Helloween, Iron Maiden, and even early Anthrax, Haunt isn’t a modern day cookie-cutter rock band or gimmicky at all. Honestly, Haunt could easily be mistaken for being part of the original NWOBHM era and Church’s dedication and style is a proper resurgence to be taken seriously.

With that said, there is some history behind the creator of Haunt. Church is the man behind Beastmaker and once played in An Angle, a 2000s indie/pop band on Drive-Thru Records. If you can recall either band’s sound, boy are you in for a treat because Haunt sounds nothing like them.

Church himself is a busy man. Not only does he rock the title husband and father, but he currently plays in two other bands aside from Haunt. When not recording new tunes, he is revisiting old ones and perfecting his style for the sake of the art.

Fun fact, his father is renowned bassist Bill Church who played in Montrose and with Sammy Hagar.

Beautiful Distraction is the band’s sixth full-length album and is slated to drop April 2nd under Church’s own label Church Recordings. With just one guest guitarist who supplied some solos, Church wrote and performed all of the songs, recorded, mixed, and mastered it and also had every involvement of manufacturing and marketing. This is beyond a one man show.

As much as I have loved the last couple Haunt albums, this one is an absolute ripper. There is so much energy packed into just over 38 minutes that it is almost unfair it did not last longer.

Staring things off was album title track “Beautiful Distraction” and all I could think about was how the singing style complimented a young Claudio Sanchez from Coheed & Cambria. I totally got sucked into this song and it made for a strong ass opening track. The solos at the end were to die for. Loved this song a ton.

When Church started to tear it up in “In Our Dreams,” all I could do was sit back and enjoy the ride. “Fortune’s Wheel” again had this progressive metal feel to it that was all too enjoyable.

The reworked “Fool’s Paradise” was a hell of a journey to listen to. The keys at the start key things feeling a tad retro, but then Church did what he does best and tore it up on a few occasions. This was a fun one with riffs galore.

“Hearts On Fire” was another re-recorded full-forced rager that never held up once. I adored the keys buried behind the brutal guitar playing and furious drumming and favor this way more than the original.

Church has some serious talent when it comes to creating tunes from start to finish and this album continued to prove it. There was not one dull moment in Beautiful Distraction and nothing sounded recycled, repeated, or cheesy for that matter.

As someone who usually finds themselves hanging out in the punk rock genre, Haunt has dropped one of my favorite albums of the year easily. This band is not to be overlooked at all and is guaranteed to entertain.

Listen below, to some of Haunt’s older tunes, snag your copy though Bandcamp and enjoy.

Preorders for Beautiful Distraction go live this Friday.

Album Review: Western Addiction – Frail Bray

Perhaps the hardest sounding band on the Fat Wreck Chords roster -sorry Me First and the Gimme Gimmes-  Western Addiction is back with an all new album and it freaking shreds.  I think the best thing about this is that we only had to wait 3 years for them to pump out more tunes.

Featuring veteran punks, some of who were perviously Fat staff, Western Addiction are not your ordinary punk band.  It’s their sounds of punk, melodic hardcore, and even doses of metal that make this band so unique and just badass.

Hailing from San Francisco, this is the band’s third release and was produced by Jack Shirley who, if you know the name, has helped with more than a few amazing releases.

Starting off the album was “The Leopard and the Juniper”, a precise, methodical hard track that clearly wasn’t just thrown together overnight.  The lyrics are out of this world, or at least dimension, and carry well with the brutal guitar playing.

“They Burned Our Paintings’ was just insane.  Based off true events, this track recalled the demise of masterpieces without stepping away from the canvas.  I loved the lyrics: “You can burn our paintings. We’ll dream a thousand more. Each one more coercive than before”.  I just could sense the passion and willingness to fight for creation on this track.

There was something about “Lurchers” that had me thinking about Dave Mustaine often.  This track honestly could have passed for a Megadeth track and I do not mean that in a bad way at all.  Of course at the end of the track Jason Hall makes a grunt that solidified my notion.

“Rose’s Hammer I” and “Rose’s Hammer II” clearly were about the perils of motherhood.  I have to credit Hall and crew for taking a personal approach on their beliefs and putting it to music.  Once I learned that Hall’s wife is a doula, it made even more sense.  Both tracks are a clear tribute to bringing in life and she who is responsible for it.

“Wildflowers of Italy” was probably my favorite track on the album with a more of a 80s/90s metal feel.  Far from cheesy, this track just spoke to me for some reason.  I loved the shift of the track when the piano just busted in making for a great listen most likely because it reminded me of some classic TSOL.

“Deranged By Grief” closed the album down with an almost haunting start that just shifted into an all out assault.  Tracks like this are why I adore this band.

I’ve listened to Frail Bray a few times now, and my god, it just keeps getting better with each listen.  I’m sure I have said that about other albums in the past, but this really hold true.  They seemingly touch on so many decades of punk/metal/hardcore without intention and I think that’s what makes them so unique.