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27 May, 2012

Punisher (Eric Broxton) - Shattered Reflections

Punisher (Eric Broxton) - Shattered Reflections (song review) |War Zone, self-released, 2012| 4/5 rock

Eric Broxton is a musician from South Carolina who performs under the moniker of Punisher. He is also a self taught guitar player who brings his own particular techniques. Most recently, Punisher released a song entitled "Shattered Reflections" that is intriguingly kept as a melodic rock tune with professional guitar solos that give the general impression of being inspired by Joe Satriani's virtuosity.

The primary guitar solo guitar appears in the beginning of the song and repeats throughout the entire track. Instrumental choruses come next in the song structure as the guitar takes a direction that is quite characteristic for 80's rock and metal hits. Eric uses ESP guitars and bass as well as Sonar Producer software to create his interesting compositions. The arrangements that are utilized in “Shattered Reflections” are based on additional rhythm guitars and drum loops that match the entirety of the song very well.

To make this song a full sounding composition, a melodic, yet not intrusive keyboard track could be added to counterpoint the background in the verses. This technique always adds more flavor to any song and has been utilized in music by bands such as Toto, Dire Straits and Journey. This little improvement may help in mixing separate arrangements while providing underlying harmonies of synth parts that could fill in the connections between choruses and verses. This would emphasize the score and steal the listener's attention, especially in spots where the drums intensify the sound of the song. Moreover, Eric says he loves 80's-90's styles of hard rock music. So in fact, this aspect may be a good match.

"Shattered Reflections" brings with it memorable choruses and positive moods. Although the track was composed without aggressive dynamics and shredding on guitar, this is a positive aspect towards the atmosphere of the song. This short and soothing composition may be enjoyed by those listeners who are already stable in life and don't feel any burning need to reflect their frustrations through very heavy and noisy styles of music.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, May 24th, 2012)

This review on Fabryka Music Magazine
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25 May, 2012

Message To The Machine - Endlessly Copying Ourselves EP

Message To The Machine - Endlessly Copying Ourselves EP
Dark Feather Productions, 2012
Rating: 3/4

01. Psycho Bitch Commentary 03:12
02. The Engineer 02:54
03. The Long Face of Tarquin Pain 01:34
04. Endlessly Copying Ourselves 04:11
05. Your Words Make Me Sick 04:49
06. The XY Man 03:36
07. The Red Antelope 06:40

Message To The Machine is the brainchild of James Orez who established the band in England in 2009. So far it has been his solo project since he does all of the songwriting, programming, mixing and performance as well as the mastering and overall production. James is an artistically talented person who began writing poems and short stories when he was a teenager. The above experiences allowed him to utilize a variety of skills during the course of writing song lyrics when he finally organized and set up a band. Participating in a music technology course furthered his understanding of the mathematics best used to orchestrate electronic music and also trained him to recognize exceptional solutions for live studio recording techniques. Since releasing an 8 track album entitled Desensitised in 2010, he continued recording new music and eventually produced a brand new EP named Endlessly Copying Ourselves two years later.

The idea behind this release touches upon the topic of a modern human civilization, which seemingly cannot transcend itself with new ideas. This is based upon the concept that many common things we use daily, including art and music, have been long since invented and technologically improved upon to their maximum potential. Thus, human kind has begun repeating itself by re-manufacturing and copying everything like a machine programmed in a factory.

The above mentioned leitmotifs were written into the songs "Psycho Bitch Commentary" as well as "The Engineer". Both songs are noisy with distorted vocals that are interlaced with various samples and powered by mechanical rhythms. You can also hear the feel of what I would consider to be slightly 80's stylized cold wave music on this EP too. This was specifically evident in the song "Endlessly Copying Ourselves", where you can identify the melodies regardless of the integrated industrialized atmospheres. On the other hand, the title of the song "The XY Man" can be interpreted as if to emulate an anonymous John Doe as well as any random person with an unknown identity who is one of many in society, just like a cog in the machine.
The basis of this composition is rooted in a much slower tempo when held in comparison to previous songs.

This EP brings with it an experimental style of industrial music that is expressed through rather short, yet repetitive compositional aspects based on James' personal preference of samples and synthesizers. The moods of the songs are cold and dark, which may illustrate the way a machine or a cyborg could 'feel' if it were brought to life with the ability to do so. This set of songs would be a great choice for the soundtrack of a black and white animated movie that is about the life and times of a truly burnt out character.

Message To The Machine sounds like Joy Division decided to make industrial music. It's not anything that could be classified as 'easy listening' music either, but sonically it gives the listener a basic insight into the entire industrial music idea. This album appears emotional, yet dehumanized and quite depressive, although psychologically routine tasks may lead anyone into a depressed state of mind as well. If you live such a mechanized and multitasking lifestyle, it may be a good idea to listen to this EP and get the right perspective.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, +Fabryka Music Magazine, May 25, 2012)

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Desensitised (2010)

16 May, 2012

Mike Drazka - Angels Of War

Mike Drazka - Angels Of War (song review) |self-released, single, 2012| 5/5

Any music placed in video games or movies may have a better chance for exposure as well as recognition. It becomes memorable too, even though the composer stays in the shadows of the game at first. Similarly, music themes mixed with pictures and action bring far more vivid impressions in contrast to listening to a song without any additional multimedia content. Stunning, atmospheric music has enriched games such as Quake or Fallout which still inspire millions of gamers as well as fans of soundtracks, regardless of how old both of those games have become through time.

"Angels of War" is an instrumental song composed by American songwriter and self taught multi-instrumentalist Mike Drazka. He has already placed his music into various forms of visual media such as TV, radio and internet multimedia sources including Oxygen Network, News12 Networks, MSG Networks and The Motion Picture Association of America with the award winning documentary Flight 587. However, this list of successful achievements doesn't make him stop crafting the sound of his compositions even better.

This new song would be a good fit to an action movie trailer, TV series or advertisement, but placement in a video game would be an ideal match. First of all, Mike operates within several musical genres, from rock to metal through orchestral, acoustic and techno. "Angels of War" is a heavy track due to its looped guitar riffs and sampling, thus it tends to bring industrial rock and industrial metal music scenes into the limelight. Such heavy guitar driven music has been successfully utilized with a lot of video games because of fast rhythms and aggressive riffs that have the ability to change the rate of the human heartbeat so they become one with the sound (and action!). The same thing happens when music is designed to play a game of hide-and-seek with human brainwaves. For some this technique may work, for some it does not since we're talking about individual perceptions.
Additionally, the rhythm of "Angels of War" is dynamic, so it makes the song promising if geared for specific types of video games that include a lot of running and jumping or similar character action.

Secondly, the song has atmospheric parts in the background based on angel-esque voices and violins that are interlaced with the main theme. This makes the format not only accessible for use with PC, Mac, Xbox and mobile platforms, but even more types of multimedia.

Finally, the composition is short (lasts slightly over 2:30 minutes), sleek and tight, yet powerful at the same time which glues the guitar and drums together based on the overall arrangements. This molds the song into one wisely composed soundtrack.

If you are in search of hiring a sound designer to create some interesting themes for your documentaries, performances, presentations, computer or mobile video games, ads as well as multimedia website content, then you should contact Mike Drazka since his musical and technical skills seem to fit this position very well.

(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, May 15th, 2012)

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07 May, 2012

Brent Pearson - Evil Serpent

Brent Pearson - Evil Serpent |self-released, 2012| 4/5

Brent Pearson is a Canadian musician who has been writing guitar driven music for the past 21 years. His song "Evil Serpent" is an acoustic composition that would sound great played in an outdoor venue or utilized as part of a movie soundtrack. It is a good match to blues or even country genres which were inspirations to Brent since he grew up listening to these styles of music.

The songwriting aspect of "Evil Serpent" is peaceful, yet repetitive with occasional moments of silence between the choruses and verses. The counterpoint also matches the melodies very well.
When it comes to the arrangements, they have been written for acoustic guitar and vocals only. It seems that both male or female singers could perform this track either separately or as a duet without the complications that are typical when it comes to scales for different vocal ranges.

The atmosphere of the song carries loneliness, transcendence and reflection. An imaginative listener may imagine a sandy beach with a guitar player sitting there near a bonfire, surrounded by a circle of thoughtful friends spending a hot summer night together.

The composition lasts a bit over 4 minutes and seems to have been recorded live in real time without a lot of editing and mixing. Once the track is mastered and polished it may exhibit an additional depth that will make its natural beauty shine brighter. Moreover, human creativity should have no bounds, so Brent might consider experimenting with newer or older, better or even lesser known musical instruments. Additional woodwind or string type instruments could be used in this song to enrich its sound. A harmonica or tambourine would make the track sound more traditional, but on the contrary, any percussive tones added to the mix would bring more life into this track.

This song is recommended to those listeners who are not into headbanging all that much, but rather prefer to hear music for soothing their ears and souls. "Evil Serpent" it's Brent's first release to the public, but it is not yet available for purchase.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, May 2nd, 2012)

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05 May, 2012

Transparent - Bridges

Transparent - Bridges (song review) |self-released, single, 2011| 5/5

Transparent is a four-piece rock band established by relatively young musicians in New York in 2010.
“Bridges” is a single that was released in 2011 and you can tell that it is a very passionate track from the very first listen. The song which will be released on the Billboard of Pain album speaks for the musical skills of Transparent extremely well. It brings both rock, pop punk and nu metal vibes that are spiced up with professional guitar solos.
It's also always a good thing to have a skilled drummer (Jesse Sprinkle) who knows how to adjust the beat properly along with the songwriting without showing off his talents overly much. The bass lines played by James Wright are not intrusive. Rock vocals done by Matthew Sassano match this smooth composition perfectly and are very much in tune with rebellious moods. The repetitive choruses are catchy as a guitar driven rhythm (Bradley Meise, Quinten Olix) makes them memorable.

Thanks to the values I mentioned above, this is a listener-friendly track. "Bridges" sounds like it
has possible hit potential and may draw the interest of music fans who have been into bands such as Blink-182, Sum 41, Green Day, Good Charlotte, Linkin Park or The Offspring. “Bridges” is a safe track for radio stations because it's pleasant on the ears, that's for sure. This type of a song fits a mold that people have been familiar with for at least the past 8 years now. Thanks to that, it may be a welcome track on the Billboard charts someday. Additionally, a wisely made video would increase the songs popularity.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, Fabryka Magazine, April 26th, 2012)


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01 May, 2012

The Seas - A Separation

The Seas - A Separation |self-released, 2011| 4/4

01. You're the one we've been waiting for..., 02. Judas, 03. Human Condition, 04. Lost at Sea, 05. The Great Wave, 06. A Separation, 07. United / Divided, 08. Paper Moon, 09. Paper Sky, 10. Meltdown

It's quite difficult to stay neutral when a concept album in the vein of A Separation is wrapped up with such a huge emotional charge. It comes like the attraction of a first love - it opens up, steals one's soul completely, then it leaves the fragile human dry, crying for more.
What's important, A Separation is The Seas debut album. Most bands usually shape their style with time to sound their best on their 2nd or 3rd releases (unless they've quit a previous project that has already released a debut album). When listeners come across The Seas music, they cannot say "I've heard that song before" or "What was that band name?" They will simply say it's The Seas and that the band is nothing but pure talent.

Regardless of their influences (such as Nine Inch Nails and Tool) whose music has been copied by many musicians, The Seas do have a distinct, particular sound of their own and they can remain confident about it. The influence of NIN can be heard throughout Logan Powell's guitar riffs ("The Great Wave", "Paper Moon") while Jeremy Williams' bass lines as well as Rich Sester's drum beats recall the groovy, yet dark moods of Tool songs ("Judas", "Human Condition", "The Great Wave", "A Separation"). However, the closest match to their music may be a band called f.e.v.e.r. from Portugal and the sound of their 4st - Fourst album. This is mainly due to some songwriting concepts and minor similarities when it comes to atmospheres.

If you must label music, then music by The Seas has been tagged as 'industrial rock'. It may draw the attention of many listeners, however it's not the pure industrial rock we've gotten used to. The band uses samplers programmed by Rich Sester to intensify the songs. Samples fill in the background of tracks like "You're The One We've Been Waiting For...", "Paper Moon", "Paper Sky", "Lost At Sea" or "United/Divided". This post-production technique deepens the impact of the music on the listener's perception. Thanks to atmospheric and melodic compositions, the music sounds closer to alternative rock than industrial rock, however the sampling makes the overall sound comply with the second above mentioned genre as well.

The vocals give A Separation unique character. Not only will Michael Sliter's (+Michael Sliter) voice steal your attention, but it may steal your heart too. The vocals release maximum emotional impact and are passionate, yet very far from falling into the abyss of hysteria. His voice operates within a wide vocal range so that he can sing in harmony ("Human Condition", "The Great Wave", "Meltdown") as well as scream low or snarl ("A Separation", "United/Divided", "Paper Sky"), but he doesn't sing out of tune in any case. His clear, distinctive, memorable, well controlled and professional voice gives the song additional significance. Michael accents every single word and verse of the lyrics on this album. This is what makes the meaning of the music even more powerful. When he's singing, the listeners body will respond and make them feel like they want to sing along with him. It's a huge advantage to have such a voice in a guitar driven band.

There's very good collaboration between the musicians and they avoid showing off their talents in an overbearing manner. The songwriting and compositional structures aren't complicated, however they are arranged extremely well. The tracks were specifically created with each instrument in mind as though they were created for a classical orchestra and set in a manner which would feature their sounds fully and thus let them build specific moods. The band efficiently operates within the confines of both sound and silence while utilizing techniques such as muting instruments in spots where other instruments come in to take part.

Listeners may remember an instrumental track entitled "Lost At Sea" very well. The sounds of digitalized dolphin-esque voices and mysterious whispers coming as if from the depths of the sea are interlaced with waves of guitars.
"A Separation" will open you up, tear you apart, then leave you dry. It comes in silently and pleasantly with a funny disco intro, then turns into a powerful rock'n'metal composition as intense as a hurricane ripping through your soul. It is a song certain to have a huge impact on sensitive ears and wandering souls thanks to both the attractive vocals, the song structures and an overall performance.
The song "You're The One We've Been Waiting For..." is an intro to "Judas", then "Paper Moon" makes an atmospheric space for "Paper Sky" to come along next. Both are connected and cross over extremely well. Additionally, in each intro the lyrics include a verse pertaining to the previous song title. "Paper Sky" is as meaningful and recognizable for the sound of The Seas as "A Separation", and both songs should be promoted as often as possible.
Fans of melodic, yet emotional tracks may also enjoy "Meltdown" which is the track that completes this album. The first quiet seconds of "You're The One We've Been Waiting For..." are mixed very well with the song. Techniques such as this provide the listener with the most impact from this album when played in rotation.

You can't go wrong with arrangements that are crafted so well and allow the songs to be so inspiring. Each musician works hard while collaborating with the lead singer's vocals. This is what makes the songs so memorable. These intelligent and very intense rock songs contain real spirit which even the best known top Billboard songs seemingly lack these days. Music by The Seas may turn out to be timeless, leaving their sound as intriguing in 2012 as it can become 15 years from now.

This sort of music however needs a closed venue for the purpose of live shows. It might require a high end sound system to make the most out of The Seas music in a live context. Their vibe is simple, yet rich in moods and thus the silence plays a huge role in the overall song structures. Any feedback caused in a live setting due to bad wiring or microphone setups could ruin the atmospheres of the songs.

The band has been working on a new EP, but it seems this should be no problem for them to make another release that is just as good as A Separation. They shouldn't hurry with their next release either. It takes years to make meaningful music. The entire process can be compared to writing a novel that withholds a tight yet unique storyline.
A Separation could be a life changing experience, but a spiritual catharsis is guaranteed. This band deserves a lot of exposure from the music press, TV, radio as well as possibly being featured on compilations and in movies as well. Many opportunities should start dropping like rain when The Seas music goes viral. Hopefully their songs will be purchased as often as listened to.
(Katarzyna 'NINa' Górnisiewicz, +Fabryka Industrial Rock Magazine, April 17th, 2012)

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