500 Word Review: Jeff Caudill “Voice/Wishing Well”

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For those who might not be familiar with Jeff Caudill, he is the frontman for the notable punk band, Gameface.  Singing for the band since the early 90s, and also being apart of the group, Your Favorite Trainwreck, since 2012, Caudill has established himself as an accomplished artist within the punk scene for decades.  However, it’s the recent release of two tracks as a solo artist that has caught my attention.  The tracks “Voice” and “Wishing Well”, which are Sense Field and Black Sabbath covers, have been recorded to fit the style of Caudill’s solo material with all proceeds earned from the two singles being donated to the family of Jon Bunch.

Photo by Todd Fixler

After listening to the 2 song project entirely, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the instrumental tracks embodying a soothing and well recorded sound.  The vocals from Caudill himself are very clear in quality and intertwine well with these superb instrumental tracks.  Starting with “Voice”, in Jeff Caudill’s version of the song, the track starts off very bland, but begins to steadily improve as Jeff fleshes out the track further and further. The use of multiple electric and acoustic guitar tracks, keyboard, bass, and percussion tracks, and even doubled tracked vocal sections that slowly emerge as the song progresses truly strengthens the song. In a similar way to how Sense Field originally recorded the track, Caudill starts off with only a handful of individual tracks and builds upon this base gradually as the song goes on.  Even though Caudill’s version is very similar to Sense Field’s original recording, I actually like Jeff’s version a little better, as it is able to embody the distinct power that the original track features without bombarding the listener with noise.  The use of varying acoustic instruments and better recorded vocals give it a more fuller sound that is not heard on the original version. Essentially, “Voice” is a song that starts off simplistic and gradually adds different parts brick by brick until you hear the true, full sounding composition.

“Wishing Well”, the Jeff Caudill version that is, starts off in a very similar way that “Voice” does.  An intricately strummed acoustic guitar matched with a vocal track, that I have mixed opinions about, are the only two instruments heard when we initially hear the first few measures of the song. “Wishing Well” also fits “Voice’s” structure of gradually adding parts, but instead of constantly adding more layers of instrumentation, “Wishing Well” adds a single piano track, a single percussion track, and only double tracks the vocals in sections where Jeff sees that it is necessary to fit the delivery of the specific lines sung. The rhythmic flow of the song itself and the calm, melodic guitar riffs give the song a dreamy sound that I really enjoy in “Wishing Well” that also reminds me of mid to late 90s Bush material. This is slightly different from “Voice”, which has more of an upbeat, sing-a-long structure that is also something I’m fond of.  When comparing Jeff’s version to the original Black Sabbath track, it’s clear that the two versions are polar opposites, as the Black Sabbath recording is more harsh and in your face, and at some points, even reminds me of Creedence Clearwater Revival, which is fairly odd considering this song was written by one of the first metal bands to exist.  There are some notable similarities, however, as the chorus in Jeff Caudill’s version matches the melodic, close to anthem sounding, structure heard in the original and each version features a powerful delivery of the meaningful lyrics that make up “Wishing Well”.

Even though I am really not a huge fan of the vocal melodies heard on these two songs, how Jeff uses the powerful lyricism in the original tracks to relate to his personal life is fantastic and helps explain why he chose to cover these two tracks.  The purpose behind this project is to pay tribute to Jeff’s late friend, Jon Bunch, who was the vocalist of Sense Field.  After his death last year, Jeff Caudill has put together these two songs, which lyrically are dedicated to him, in order to pay tribute to the singer and close friend while also donating the profits made to Bunch’s family.  Hearing the somber, sincere sadness in his voice mix with the powerful lyricism in both “Voice” and “Wishing Well” elevates this project to something truly memorable.  Lyrics like “And I want to hear it again that it’s going to be all right” and “Look in the water, tell me what do you see reflections of the love you give to me” truly resonate with the listener and help connect with the emotions Jeff is expressing in these two tracks.

Overall, while I was not a huge fan of the overall sound of the covers, their meaning and how they were recorded are truly phenomenal.  I give the project a 7.5/10 and highly suggest that you take 6 min out of you day to listen to and appreciate this release from Jeff Caudill.  The songs are attached below and check back in later this week for more reviews due out very soon!

 

“Voice”:

“Wishing Well”:

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Vinyl and Cassette News: Between The Buried And Me Release 7″ Record For Their Cover Of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”

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In case you missed it, last month Between The Buried And Me announced that they would be releasing their cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” on 7″ vinyl.  The record, which has the track “Vertical Beta 461” on the b-side and is also their version of Paul Waggoner’s “Boot Dagger Boogie”, is the latest vinyl release from the North Carolina based prog metal band.  The EP was first released as one of the items received from buying a VIP ticket to one of the shows on the Between The Buried And Me and Devin Townsend tour.  The latest BTBAM project has since been released to the public, and can now be purchased on vinyl.

After listening to the two tracks I can actually say that I enjoyed the cover EP.  Usually I am not a fan of covers of any Queen songs, but BTBAM did a great job of mixing in their signature sound to write this cover that I actually found it to be pretty enjoyable.  Also, if you didn’t know that “Vertical Beta 461″ was a reworked version of a Paul Waggoner song, then it would be easy to think that this track is a brand new Between The Buried And Me song.  The instrumentation and vocals heard on this cover are so similar to the unique song structure and sound heard on past BTBAM projects that its hard to distinguish that they didn’t actually write this song.  In conclusion, both of these tracks are great and I highly encourage picking up a copy of this 7″!

The link to purchase the vinyl 7″ is attached below with the stream of the EP.  If you are unfamiliar with BTBAM I definitely recommend listening to literally anything from their discography.  Between The Buried And Me is one of the great modern progressive metal acts and if you like any artists in the prog metal scene, then you need to give Between The Buried And Me a listen.  As stated in earlier blogs, a ton of posts for vinyl and cassette news will be released this week so be sure to check in frequently for more updates about vinyl and cassette releases!

BTBAM 7”:

Between the Buried and Me – Bohemian Rhapsody 7" Vinyl

“Bohemian Rhapsody” Cover:

“Vertical Beta 461”:

500 Word Review: “Nails/Full of Hell Split EP”

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Recently, grindcore and powerviolence legends, Nails and Full of Hell, released a split EP together.  The split EP is the first release since Nails’ “hiatus” and is also the follow up to their amazing full length record, “You Will Never Be One Of Us”, which was released earlier this year.  Ever since this split EP was announced I have been extremely excited to hear it, despite the fact that I had never heard of Full of Hell before.  I was also especially excited to review this project since I have never reviewed a split EP before or any project from either group!  The split EP itself features one song from Nails titled, “No Longer Under Your Control”, and two songs from Full of Hell titled, “Thy Radiant Garrote Exposed” and “Bez Bolu”.  However, even before hearing a single track from the split, I was almost certain that this would be one of the best EPs I listen to this year.

If you know anything about grindcore, especially the two artists featured on this split, then you will not be surprised to see how short this split EP is.  With a total playing time of just short of 4.5 minutes, the Nails/Full of Hell split EP is one of the shortest split EPs I have ever heard and will easily be the shortest release you hear all year.  And again, if you are familiar with grindcore, then you know that the short compositions are chaotic and intense to say the least.  However, this split between Nails and Full of Hell is far more than just chaotic, it is unrelenting, brutal grindcore and powerviolence from start to finish that perfectly fits the gorgeous EP artwork.  When listening to the sole Nails track on the split EP, “No Longer Under Your Control”, it is clear that the songwriting heard is very similar to their previous album, “You Will Never Be One Of Us”, with only a few exceptions that allow the split to differ from the 2016 full length release.  For example, “No Longer Under Your Control” is slightly less aggressive than “YWNBOOU” and is also more melodic with some riffing mixed in with heavy chugging sections, that happen to be a staple for “YWNBOOU”.  The vocals, lyrics, and solo heard on “No Longer Under Your Control”, however, are practically identical to what is heard on the 2016 full length release, which is actually a good thing.  The only negative aspect heard on this Nails track is the production quality.  The production quality is muddy, and by being slightly worse than what is heard on “YWNBOOU”, it fails to correctly exemplify the brutal, raw sound that makes Nails’ music great.  However, this production quality does not take away from the fact that this track is absolutely stellar!

As I mentioned earlier, I did not know anything about Full of Hell prior to this release.  After listening to the split 7 times through I am extremely glad Full of Hell was included in this split because I have really enjoyed their two tracks on the release, “Thy Radiant Garrote Exposed” and “Bez Bolu”.  Like Nails’ sole track, these two tracks are short, fast aggressive, and hard-hitting, addictive grindcore songs.  The sludgy, overall production and tone heard on the guitar and bass tracks accompanied by perfectly mixed vocals result in two phenomenal tracks by Full of Hell.  In fact, these songs are so well written and well recorded that I actually might like these songs more than the sole Nails track heard on this split!  I plan on checking out more of Full of Hell’s discography and if the rest of their material sounds like the songs on this split then I could definitely become a fan of them!

In conclusion, this a great split by Nails and Full of Hell.  In fact, this split EP gives Nails the potential to become the first band/artist to have both an EP and an album make it onto the EPs of the Year list and the Albums of the Year list on Erik’s Album Reviews in the same year.  The aggressive, chaotic sound heard throughout the release is near perfect grindcore that is brief yet masterful, and above all, unfathomably brutal that leaves the listener feeling like they got hit by a bus. I give the Nails/Full of Hell split EP a 9.0/10 and you need to give less than 5 minutes of your time to listen to and truly experience this remarkable split EP, regardless of your opinion on grindcore and this form of extreme music.  I’ve attached the soundcloud stream of the split EP, along with where to order the 7″ vinyl, below for anyone who wants to give it a listen and I’ve also posted the original post I wrote when Nails and Full of Hell first announced the release.  We’ll have a lot more reviews to post in the upcoming weeks so make sure to check back into the site to see what we review next!

Split EP Announcement:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/10/12/breaking-news-nails-will-release-a-split-7-with-full-of-hell-this-december/

Split EP on Vinyl:

Nails / Full Of Hell "Split"

Full Split EP Stream:

Breaking News: Speak The Truth…Even If Your Voice Shakes Release First Single

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For those who didn’t hear, Buddy Nielson of Senses Fail and the majority of the members of Finch recently joined together to make a post-hardcore band that, in their words, “sounds like 2002”.  All members of this new supergroup come from bands that were groundbreaking groups in the early 2000’s emo and post-hardcore genres.  Because of this, they have decided to unite to help recreate that sound while also adding more modern post-hardcore as well.

The group officially came together earlier this year when, according to Buddy, a tour between Finch and Senses Fail fell through.  Because of this, Finch members reached out to Buddy, and asked if he would want to form a side project group called “Speak The Truth…Even If Your Voice Shakes”.  Neilson himself had never been in a serious, established band besides his own Senses Fail, so due to the interest of actually doing a side project, “Speak The Truth…” was born.

The band have released their first single ever called, “Crash My Car”.  The song is very catchy, but to me lacks the ability to be an instant classic, unlike older Senses Fail and Finch material.  I do believe, however that this band will eventually release material to that caliber, but for now this is a great musical debut.  You can pre-order their first vinyl release, a 7″ featuring “Crash My Car” and another single to be released later, below at the Bad Timing Records pre-order page, however the rarest variant has already sold out.  Also check out their first music video below and get stoked for all that “Speak The Truth…” has to offer in the near future!

7″ Pre-Order:

http://badtimingrecords.limitedrun.com/products/580084-speak-the-truth-even-if-your-voice-shakes-self-titled-7

“Crash My Car” Music Video:

Breaking News: Nails Will Release a Split 7″ With Full of Hell This December

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After releasing what will probably be one of the greatest albums of 2016, “You Will Never Be One Of Us”, and quickly following that with a statement saying they would be going on an “extended hiatus”, Nails has now announced they will be releasing a split 7″ with Full of Hell on December 2nd.  The band did not release an update as to whether the hiatus is over or not, but they have released the artwork for this split and it is mesmerizing to say the least.  It is obvious that this release will be amazing, and could possibly make Nails the first group ever to have both an album and an EP featured on our Albums and EPs of the year posts.  Pre-orders and track previews are not yet live, but when they do get released to the public we’ll be the first to share them with you!  In the meantime check out “You Will Never Be One Of Us” and pick up Full of Hell’s discography for free at their bandcamp page and enjoy some amazing modern grindcore!

https://fullofhell.bandcamp.com/album/amber-mote-in-the-black-vault