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Happy Metal Fun Time (Chuck)

March 10, 2017

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March in Austin, Texas means only one thing, SXSW. While the rest of the country is absorbed by Spring Break or something like that, we are inundated by music industry professionals every year to do their own version of it, the gauntlet of 20 hours straight drinking, and attempting to eat one of every taco in the city appeals to all sorts of fun people from around the globe.

2017 feels different than years past, especially for the metal people who want to attend. Our genre was well represented a decade ago with day parties, night parties, overnight parties, and more parties with metal bands of all stripes, but this year it was a struggle to fill this list. Honestly, the bands I have listed here are almost EVERY noteworthy metal band playing the conference, or in town next week. Why you ask? I don’t have an answer for you really, other than this industry comes down to ROI, return on investment. Is it worth it for bands to play SXSW, and my guess the answer right now it’s not really cost effective…but with that said, maybe a little smaller, focused fest is what we all need right now!

So check out the jams and maybe see you on the streets next week, if it’s metal, I’ll be there…

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Show Of The Week

March 8, 2017

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SXSW is here!  I don’t usually do any sort of party talk here at SOTO, but I have a bash this Sunday and I want you to be there!  Once again it’s Austin Town Hall vs Side One Track One, and it’s happening at Hotel Vegas and Volstead.  Last year we had a pretty healthy lineup, but for 2017 we wrangled in a whopping 30 bands (29 from Austin, 1 from France).  It’s FREE and there’s no RSVP required.  Come at 2pm, stay to 2am.  Down below you’ll find the lineup and music for each band!  Enjoy.

PS – No bonus recommendations today.  Also, just so you know, the site will largely be in hibernation mode all next week. Film reviews will still be a go, but don’t expect much else otherwise until the festival is a wrap.

The Midnight Stroll

Weird Omen

The Digital Wild

Black Books

Hard Proof

John Wesley Coleman III

The Dizzease

Basketball Shorts

Upper Deck Pets

Growl

Tamarron

The Halfways

TRÉS OUI

A. Sinclair

Roaring Sun

The Lovely Sparrows

Pollen Rx

Mean Jolene

Grivo

Darkbird

Wild Bill and The Lost Knobs

Lola Tried

She Sir

Skin Drips

Jana Horn

Caroline Says

Julia Lucille

AMA

Mélat


Quin and Annecy – These two don’t have any music online yet, but you can check out some of Quin’s solo work here.

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In Review: SXSW Film 2015

March 26, 2015

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Now that I’ve had a few days to put the chaos of SXSW behind me, I’m ready to divulge what I thought of the ten films that I saw during the festival.  For fun, I’ve sorted them from best to worst.  Read on.

Ex Machina

As I was walking out of the Paramount a guy in front of me looked over at his friend and excitedly labeled Ex Machina as an “instant classic.”  I don’t know if I’d go that far, but it is a great film.  The directorial debut from Alex Garland (writer of 28 Days Later, Sunshine, Dredd and more) is a heady sci-fi thriller that had me engaged and on the edge of my seat right from the start.  Oscar Issac, Domhnall Gleeson and Alicia Viklander are absolutely great it, and I suspect that all of their character’s actions will be the subject of drunken debates for years to come.  I can’t wait to see Ex Machina again.

Furious 7

I’m prefacing my comments about Furious 7 by noting that I truly adore the entire Fast And Furious series.  All of the films are self-aware adrenaline rushes that aim to delight the senses, and I can’t think of a better example of escapism than what Vin Diesel and the gang have done over the years.  With all of that being said, it’s only half accurate to say that I went into Furious 7 hoping for more of the same.  Yes, I wanted the crazy car stunts, heavy handed monologues from Vin and more, but the death of Paul Walker meant that the film needed a sizable dose of sensitivity to go along with the speed, and I wanted it done right.  I wanted to see Walker honored and not just awkwardly dealt with because it had to be done.  Thankfully, all turned out well, and nothing about the film feels forced or tacked on.  It’s big and crazy (just like it should be), but then when it needs to get small and intimate, it does.  Good on director James Wan for taking what could have been a huge mess and turning it into a triumph.

Trainwreck

If you’ve ever seen a Judd Apatow film, then you’ve seen Trainwreck.  It’s funny, raunchy, 20 minutues too long and loaded with quotable bits.  Amy Schumer is charming and hilarious in the film, and I’ll be surprised if she doesn’t become a new go-to for female roles in comedies.  Also, LeBron James is pretty damn solid in it.  Who knew he had such good comedic timing?

Love And Mercy

Brian Wilson’s story is interesting, complicated, sad and totally not something that should be crammed into a single film.  Somehow though, Love And Mercy works.  Director Bill Pohlad wisely just shows only the necessary portions of the two most important stretches of Brian Wilson’s life, and Paul Dano and John Cusack both do a wonderful job of portraying the famed artist during those times.  I highly recommend you see it regardless of whether or not you’re a fan of Wilson.

The Final Girls

The Final Girls is a horror comedy that follows a group of friends who get sucked into their favorite slasher film and then must figure out a way to survive.  It’s super meta and very much a spiritual successor to Cabin In The Woods.  Now, just so I’m clear, I’m not saying that The Final Girls is as good as Drew Goddard’s 2012 hit.  A sizable amount of jokes miss completely and often the “world” that the characters exist in makes no sense at all, but overall it’s a fun time that will play well for those who enjoy clever horror movies.

Hello, My Name Is Doris

Hello, My Name Is Doris is about an older woman (Sally Field) who is doing her best to woo a much younger man and make up for the all the years she lost while taking care of her sick mother.  I found it to be charming, funny and heartfelt, but also too goofy for its own good.  Fortunately, Field is so great as the troubled, but tenacious Doris that you’ll probably be too caught up in rooting for her to even notice when the film tries to throw itself off the rails.

Honeytrap

Honeytrap deals with a series of unfortunate decisions made by Layla (competently played by Jessica Sula), who desperately wants to be accepted and loved.  It’s depressing.  See it only if you’re in the mood to be reminded that some people have practically no shot at a better life.

Just Jim

Directed by and starring Craig Roberts (Neighbors), Just Jim is a coming of age film that features a twisted sense of humor and interesting characters.  Check it out so that you can see Emile Hirsch in full-on bizarro mode as Jim’s mentor.

Quitters

There’s not much to like about Quitters.  The main kid (Ben Konigsberg) is quite possibly the most unlikeable character I’ve come across in a long while, and I spent much of the movie hoping he would get hit by a meteor.

Brand: A Second Coming

Brand: A Second Coming is nothing but an eternally long wad of nonsense.  I know Russell Brand said he didn’t want to show up to the SXSW premiere because he felt watching it would be “uncomfortable” for him, but I think it’s because he knew it wasn’t any good.

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5 Bands You Should See At SXSW

March 4, 2014

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For years I’ve tried to figure out the best way to preview the music part of SXSW, and I think I’ve finally got it – the less coverage the better.  I know that seems counter intuitive given the size of the festival, but let’s face it, if you’re coming then you probably already have an epic list of artists to see.  Why should I try to add 50 acts on top of that?  And what if you’re not even going to be at the damn thing?  Well then every post isn’t SXSW related and you’re not burned out on something you’re not attending.  It’s just better for all parties that I keep it short.  So, without further adieu, here are the five bands I think you should try to see at SXSW.  Enjoy.

PS – I recommend searching around Do512, Sched.org, and the SXSW page for when these bands will be playing.

THE SUFFERS

The majority of 2014 has seen me in love with Houston’s The Suffers, and SXSW will be the perfect time for you to go see exactly why I’ve been championing them so much.  They’re definitely a must-see for those of you who have ever even remotely liked any sort of soul music.

:The Suffers – Giver (Live):

EX HEX

Betsy Wright (Fire Tapes) and Laura Harris (The Aquarium) are with the great Mary Timony in Ex Hex.  I hate that Wild Flag are no more, but Ex Hex seem like a more than suitable replacement.  Also, it’s Mary Timony!  No matter the project, she deserves all of our attention.

:Ex Hex – Hot And Cold:

MAS YSA

And my wild card pick for the festival is Mas Ysa.  Admittedly, there’s an overly intimate edge to him that may not work well within the chaos and noise of SXSW, but I still want to give him a shot.  Who knows, maybe it will end up being one of those unforgettable SXSW sets.

:Mas Ysa – Shame:

ABRAM SHOOK

There are just around 100 Austin acts that I could recommend, but since it’s SXSW 2014 I figured it made the most sense to give you Abram Shook (formerly of The Great Nostalgic), the guy responsible for the local scene’s first great album of the year.  He makes the sort of pop music that’s endlessly pleasing to the ears.

:Abram Shook – Coastal:

CURTIS HARDING

I’m excited about soul music in 2014, so in addition to The Suffers, I’m also going to tell you to see Curtis Harding.  He seems like he would put out a sweaty, wild show, and that’s always a good thing to experience in the midst of SXSW.  On a side note, I love that the guy is on Burger Records, home to a zillion punk rock acts.

:Curtis Harding – Keep On Shining:

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5 Films You Should See At SXSW

March 4, 2014

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SXSW Film kicks off this Friday!  Below you’ll find THE five films that I’ll be doing my best to squeeze my way into when I’m not trying to squeeze my way into a music venue somewhere.  Oh SXSW, I love you.

THE RAID 2

There’s a lot of big movies playing the festival – The Grand Budapest Hotel, Neighbors, Chef, Veronica Mars – but the one with the most recognizable name that I can’t wait to see is actually The Raid 2.  The early reviews have been stellar, and I super eager to watch it with a crowd that will wildly cheer every time something rad happens on the screen.  The Raid 2 will screen at the Paramount on Sunday, March 9 at 9:15pm.

HELLION

Rolling with some positive Sundance buzz, Hellion features Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, just in case you forgot), Juliette Lewis, and newcomer Josh Wiggins.  It sounds as though the film could be an interesting “coming of age” type tale, and I’m admittedly a sucker for such things.  Hellion is set to screen three times at the festival.   Click here to see when/where.

God Help The Girl

Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch has put together an indie pop musical?  Yeah, as a big music nerd, that pretty much means God Help The Girl is one of those films that I have to see.  Early word has been solid.  God Help The Girl will screen at the Paramount on Saturday, March 15 at 5pm.

JOE

Joe seems oddly similar to last year’s stellar Mud (which also starred Tye Sheridan), but that isn’t fazing me one bit.  This is mostly because I’m just so damn ready to once again see a Nicolas Cage performance that isn’t instantly laughable.  Also, David Gordon Green owes me a solid for tricking me into watching the meandering Prince AvalancheJoe is set to screen twice at the festival.  Click here to see when/where.

OPEN WINDOWS

If you’re a Fantastic Fest regular (or just love Timecrimes), then you’re probably very familiar with Nacho Vigalondo.  The director has a mind that churns out some interesting stuff, and the Elijah Wood/Sasha Grey-lead Open Windows looks like it will be another one of his entertaining ridesOpen Windows is set to screen four times at the festival.  Click here to see when/where.

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Kid Congo Powers, Dance For The Dying, Lowercase Letters (Dan)

March 7, 2013

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The tidal wave that is SXSW is about to crash upon Austin. I look forward to it every Spring, but this year I’m especially excited since Side One Track One is partnering up with Pop Press International to host DC vs Austin. You’ll be there, right? A few weeks back I featured half of the bands that make of the DC side of the lineup. Below I introduce you to the other three incredible bands representing the nation’s capital.

I knew Kid Congo Powers was a member of The Gun Club and The Cramps, so I should not have been surprised when his live show at last year’s SXSW was one of my festival highlights. I dragged a bunch of friends to see him and we were all blown away. Kid is a punk rock vet and a fantastic showman. The songs he’s currently writing with his band the Pink Monkey Birds hearken to his time with those two bands with punchy drums and psychedelic speak-sing vocals. With the understanding that SXSW is a great time to see as many bands as possible, see Kid Congo Powers at least twice.

:Kid Congo Powers And The Pink Monkey Birds – At The Ruin Of Others:

Don’t let the morbid sounding name fool you, Dance For The Dying sounds more like Metric or Heart than anything goth-inspired. That said, one of their songs, Death In The Garden, is about a decomposing rat that singer M.C. Wolfe found outside her apartment. The songs on their newest EP, Puzzles for the Traveler, are a little more synth-heavy than their earlier work, but this is music that’s very true to the spirit of rock and roll.

:Dance For The Dying – El Monstro:

If you’ve read any of my past SOTO columns you know I’m all about garage rock and SXSW is where I catch as many noisy/drunk bands as I can. However, it’s important to mix things up periodically. This is where Lowercase Letters comes in, as they will provide just the change of pace I need. They’re billed as neo-soul, but it’s really straight up baby making music. Groove to them during the day and then again at night (if you’re lucky).

:Lowercase Letters – Hookup Fee:

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SXSW 2013: 5 Docs To See (Noah)

March 6, 2013

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If I was at SXSW, I’d probably stick to whatever films featured the slowest, most easily understood narrative, and the biggest explosions as there’d be such much alcohol flowing through my system that just keeping my big, beautiful peepers open would be hard enough. That said, for a few of you who are interested in subject matter aside from Spicy Coke and the occasional shot of Goldschlager, I put together a list of a few of the more interesting sounding documentaries. Surprisingly, there is very little full frontal nudity lauded in any of these film’s descriptions.

1. A Band Called Death, d. Mark Christopher Covino, Jeff Howlett

Death were the forefathers of punk, before the idea of punk was even a flicker in the eye of a bunch of leather clad skinheads getting overly sweaty. Born and bred on the mean streets of Detroit in the late-70s, Death released piercing, brilliant music that sunk beneath the surface and didn’t resurface for another 33 years. It’s the kind of story that we hear more and more of these days, but Death, with their harshly political lyrics, started something, and this doc follows that creation.

2. Our Nixon, d. Penny Lane

Nixon was a divisive figure that has been rightly smeared in the wake of his involvement, his heading even, of the Watergate scandal. Nixon wasn’t just that though, he was a charismatically environmental president, as well as an impressively intelligent one. Our Nixon follows Super-8 movies of three of Nixon’s closest aides, offering, what could amount, to a revelation of less public side of this American pariah.

3. TINY: A Story About Living Small, d. Christopher Smith, Merete Mueller

I read an article a while back about the advent of the tiny house. It’s a strange movement that reflects both the rough economic times as well as the fear of ecological reprimand. We put a lot of weight on the idea of a non-moving home in this country (regardless of the world’s nomadic past) and the tiny house questions just about all of them. TINY, questions those questions, following a handful of people who’ve decided to pack up the big life and get small.

4. Before You Know It, d. PJ Raval

Three words: gay, old, people.

5. The Network, d. Eva Orner

If you saw Control Room, the documentary of Al Jazeera and their coverage of war and terrorism, this one might be right up your alley. The story of a television network that exists in … Afghanistan. News + danger = riveting.

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SXSW 2013: 5 Films To See (Noah)

March 6, 2013

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SXSW is almost here! I can tell because every band I’ve never heard of has suddenly decided that the one time I said some other band sounded like another band that they too probably sounded like that band that the other band that had no relation them sounded like and because of that, they should probably send me a 45-page email detailing they’re sound and that they once opened up for a guy who played back-up drums for a Van Halen studio sesh. Mmmmmmm … bitter.

I won’t be in the arid plains of Austin this year but I thought I’d still open up sizable yapper and let you know a few of my thoughts on the film section of the festival. Nothing terribly heavy, just a breakdown of the five films I would see if the given the opportunity to be a part of the 2013 SXSW Festival.

No particular order, just a handful of Narrative Films I thought sounded interesting.

1. Evil Dead, d. Fede Alvarez

If you’re even slightly a movie dork, you have to be at least a bit interested in what a remake of one of the great horror films of all time might look like. From everything I’ve seen the film looks to be intensely gory, and even if it does, as the trailers hint, seem to drop most of the more comic aspects of the original, the film seems to capture the general essence of unchecked mayhem Raimi brought to his version. Do I care that Bruce Campbell isn’t playing Bruce Campbell in the film? No. Not one bit. I’m happy to see a new generation of actors and viewers alike pulled under the gore bus of a new take on this classic. If it sucks? Who gives a shit, by this point I’ve been so desensitized to the films that helped define me getting raked over the coals of big budget Hollywood, that another film on the pile won’t mean nothing.

2. Spring Breakers d. Harmony Korine

Kids was a pretty great film for me when I was 12 and eating gummy bears and riding bikes wishing I wasn’t a shy little wallflower who could barely muster a hello to the lasses in the daisy dukes. Everything else that Harmony Korine has had (aside from his strange cameo in Beautiful Losers) any sort of connection to has been totally and completely painful for me to watch. The Trashhumpers trailer, though amazing in a way that only a film called Trashhumpers can be, really dropped the cherry on the top of the “why-I-hate-Harmony-Korine” sundae with it’s painful visuals and horrible, grating sound design. That said, Spring Breakers looks downright fantastic. Take a bunch of America’s sweethearts, throw ‘em in to the terrible world of Spring Break Miami and see what happens. Sure, sure it seems gimmicky that you cast very attractive, very recognizably pure faced women in these roles, but if Korine is doing what I hope he’s doing (casting light on the secret lives of our fresh-faced daughters and sisters) it could be amazing. James Franco, you, especially in corn rows are nothing but a distraction.

3. The Lords of Salem, d. Rob Zombie

Again, Rob Zombie and I are not a match made in heaven. His style is overly stylized and I’m sort of horrified by his post-exploitation visuals. The Lords of Salem though looks, if trailers still tell the truth, pretty awesome. It seems to actually have some sort of narrative drive (not just flashing visuals, bared boobs and bad teeth) and a foreboding sense of dread (opposed to Zombie’s usual mouth-fisting of over-the-top HORROR). Good things have been circulating, and this will play fantastically to the midnight crowd.

4. The Act of Killing, d. Joshua Oppenheimer

This film is executively produced by Werner Herzog and Errol Morris. Nothing else needs to be said. If that doesn’t give you an instant tingle in your nip-nips, then you need to throw your BetaMax out the window.

5. Upstream Color, d. Shane Carruth

I know, I know – if you’re spending enough money to go nerd out on films at SXSW you already know you should get your ass in the seat for a new film by Shane Carruth. That said, it doesn’t hurt for me to remind you, again and again (check your email I just reminded you, twice). I would go but I’m still looking over the infographic that explains the time twists in Primer.

Have fun you lucky bastards. I’ll be at home, trying to emulate 6th Street in my front yard.

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Who To See At SXSW 2013

March 4, 2013

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Previewing SXSW is such an odd task.  It would take a year’s worth of daily posts to cover just the great acts playing, and I think doing a mammoth playlist that contains every SXSW artist is a waste of time.  So, today I’m keeping things clean and providing five bands that are can’t miss this year, and then I’m tossing in five local acts for those of you that aren’t based in Austin.  Enjoy.

See These 5 Bands At SXSW

MS MR

For me, MS MR are the one band that I have to see at SXSW this year.  Their 90s-influenced sound is great, and I’ve yet to come across a song of theirs that hasn’t totally won me over.  By the way, I recommend getting in line early for wherever they’re playing, as their recent placement in the season three trailer for Game Of Thrones will certainly bring out the masses.

:MS MR – Bones:

Foxygen

Foxygen have put out one of the year’s best albums, which should be reason enough for you to seek them out.  I, however, want you to do it because their current live show is so odd.  They’re a young group that haven’t quite figured out how to keep their energy (or nerves) in check, so what ends up on stage is a really interesting watch.

:Foxygen – On Blue Mountain:

Chvrches

The first couple of singles from Chvrches were met with all sorts of buzz, and now they’re positioned to use SXSW to officially blow up.  I think their live show seems like something that could be a sweeping, joyous experience, and I can’t wait to see if that’s what they deliver.

:Chvrches – The Mother We Share:

Youth Lagoon

Youth Lagoon (Trevor Powers) will probably exit SXSW with a packed bandwagon.  Wondrous Bughouse, one of the year’s most anticipated albums, will be out before the festival starts, and I really think if there’s anyone that will be able to get the crowd to be quiet and pay attention, it’s him.

:Youth Lagoon – Dropla:

Haim

This trio is rolling into SXSW with a ton of buzz due to the overwhelmingly catchy Falling.  This could make for a situation where people just impatiently wait to hear the one track, but something tells me these ladies will avoid that by delivering one awesome dance party after another.

:Haim – Falling:

See These 5 Austin Bands At SXSW

Dana Falconberry

Dana has been one of Austin’s hardest working artists for quite a while, but it wasn’t until last year’s Leelanau that she finally got everyone to really start paying attention.  If you like your folk music to be intricate, yet accessible, then I highly recommend that you make some time to see her play.

:Dana Falconberry – Lake Charlevoix:

PS – Dana is playing SOTO’s day party, DC VS Austin, at Sidebar on March 15.  I would have mentioned her here regardless of this tidbit, but I figured you should know.

The Eastern Sea

The Eastern Sea certainly took their time to get to where they are now, and that patience has worked in their favor.  Plague turned out to be a great album, and the large lineup behind frontman Matt Hines allows for a rather expansive sound in a live setting.

:The Eastern Sea – Wasn’t For Love:

Sorne

An artist in all aspects of the word, Sorne is one of Austin’s most buzzed about acts.  For proof of how enthusiastic everyone is about this guy, take a look at his Kickstarter, where he just raised over $16,000 to fund his new album.

:Sorne – Ego Altar:

A Giant Dog

I know some of you are hoping to find a way for Austin to punch you in the face, and that’s why I made sure to include A Giant Dog.  They just released the very good Bone, and their live show was meant for the chaos that often comes with SXSW.

:A Giant Dog – Teasin’ Ass Bitch:

The Couch

The Couch have been one of my favorite local acts over the last three or four months.  Their live shows are a upbeat and fun, and I really dig the pop rock sound that makes up their self titled full length (released late last year).

:The Couch – Kick The Can:

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Happy Metal Fun Time – SXSW Edition (Chuck)

March 1, 2013

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Springtime officially begins this month and we celebrate so many things, Spring Break, March Madness and for many SXSW blocks off a major portion of the calendar. In years past metal has taken a prominent role as one of the major genres at play, and this year is no exception. Though the official showcases may be a little light in the metal field, there is no shortage of the extreme to be found during the music portion of the conference.

March has also been declared Metal Month by some blogger, or website or label or something, so since my proclivity to the metal art leads me to hail to our month of metal by drinking a lot of bourbon and jager, while at the same time giving you a nice list of SXSW metal to peruse at your leisure. If you are in Austin for the conference and you want to join in the metal mayhem, be sure to see my Big List O’ Metal for the latest updates too, and maybe I’ll buy you a shot as we jam to Clutch.

:A Life Once Lost – Vulture:
:The Beards – You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man:
:Chelsea Grin – Lilith:
:Skeletonwitch – The Infernal Resurrection:
:Clutch – The Mob Goes Wild:
:Pallbearer – Devoid Of Redemption:
:Exhumed – The Matter Of Splatter:
:Orange Goblin – Red Tide Rising:
:Howl – Heavenless:
:Norma Jean – Bayonetwork:
:KEN Mode – Obeying The Iron Will:
:Mutilation Rites – Realms Of Dementia:
:Lacuna Coil – Heaven’s A Lie:

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