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Demos, Volume IV

By Jason Savage, Pure Rock Patroller
Friday, March 29, 2002 @ 12:03 AM


Explore The Fourth Volume Of O

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Full Draw
Changes

I received this demo quite a while ago and it’s found a permanent home in my CD player. In fact, I’ve delayed reviewing it for over a year now. It doesn’t have that demo feel because it was very professionally produced and has ten tracks. Full Draw is one of those awesome bands that have a way of pulling out many emotions in their listeners.

Formed in early 1998, Full Draw has been busy playing throughout the Detroit area, garnering a strong cult following. Utilizing several different influences, their brand of classic hard rock is timeless in this world of rap-crap and poseurs. It’s no wonder the record labels have yet to discover them. After several line-up changes, only two original members remain that were responsible for this excellent CD: singer JD Dotson and drummer Ron Regan.

Full Draw doesn’t need a gimmick to bring their infectious brand of hard rock to the masses. They provide a solid musical foundation based upon honesty and hard work, two important qualities missing from today’s one-album wonders brought to you by the marketing geniuses at the labels.

I love each and every song on this work of art, so a track-by-track breakdown wouldn’t be in order. I will say this: Full Draw can kick your ass with killer guitar licks on songs such as “Scream & Shout,” “Dangerous,” and my favorite rocker “Changes,” or evoke emotional outbursts on power ballads such as “Carry on,” “After All,” and my favorite ballad “Everytime I Look In Your Eyes.” They also use some cool blues riffing in “Stay for the Night.”

Vocalist JD has a very unique range that is so original I can’t put it to words. He can rock your ass off one minute and the next minute, have your lady crying with a tear jerking power ballad, while Ron provides very solid drumming without missing a beat. I look forward to hearing what the new lineup has to offer in the coming months. I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Overall, this is far and away my CD pick for the year. If I owned a record label, Full Draw would be my first signing. Go to their website and purchase this immediately!!!

Current Full Draw members: Ron Regan; drums/backing vocals, JD Dotson; lead vocals, Rob Dockery; lead guitar, John Pascarella; bass and Joe Wurmer; keyboards.

Check em’ out at FullDrawRocks.com

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Biastfear
All Angels Scream

Biastfear is one of those rare bands that exude tremendous creativity and originality. It’s no wonder they are unsigned, they don’t come close to sounding like anyone else! Therefore, record labels must be scared to sign these surefire moneymakers. I realize this is a bold statement on my part but I’m not known for my shyness. Obviously from my tone, you have figured out that I really dig this band. Now let me tell you why.

Forged in the current metal hotbed known as Cleveland, home to up-and-comers Sw1tched, Mushroomhead, Chimaira and a host of others, Biastfear melds several stylings that most wouldn’t dare to put in the same room. The most prominent factor is vocalist Crystal Murphy. From the first notes of “In Throughout,” I am left in a state of confusion. Imagine what would happen if you were at a metal concert and this band comes out playing some crunching guitars, sounds normal so far right? Now what if this beautiful R&B diva walks out on stage and begins singing in this sexy, soul-drenched voice? Would you run for cover? I think not! I was entranced to say the least. Crystal’s range is incredible allowing her to scorch and sooth all in the same breath.

Described by industry insiders as “Heavy-Hop,” Biastfear have single-handedly combined two VERY different styles, creating a unique elixir indeed. All Angels Scream consists of thirteen mind-bending tracks that are guaranteed to take you somewhere you’ve never been. Musically, it’s best described as Fear Factory meets Sevendust, even a hint of Soulfly, especially when using tribal drums.

Overall this CD kicked ass! I will warn you ahead of time it took more than one spin to get me hooked. There are a couple of tracks where Crystal raps and I’m not a big fan of this. Since this isn’t my field of expertise I couldn’t accurately compare her to anyone. Maybe Queen Latifah? Biastfear also cover the Beastie Boys tune, “No Sleep Til’ Brooklyn,” replacing Brooklyn with Cleveland. “Shattered” is one my favorite tracks and the guitars smoke to say the least. Other standouts are “Don’t You,” and “Honest.” Believe me when I say this isn’t rap-metal and buy this CD immediately!

Biastfear is: Crystal Murphy: vocals, Ron Brinker: guitars/programming/backing vocals, Rob Schultz: bass/backing vocals and David Breda: drums/backing vocals.

Check em’ out at: Biastfear.com

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Scott Mosher
Virtuality

Raleigh, NC native Scott Mosher has created an awesome industrial soundscape entitled “Virtuality.” When I first received this album, I was immediately impressed with the CD art depicting dark pollution spewing forth from smokestacks amidst a spectrum of color set in a hazy futuristic world. Labeled as “ambient, neo-progressive cyber rock,” I found this work very intriguing and far from cursory.

There are twelve tracks, each carefully constructed and thought-provoking. Vocals are provided by Todd Corsa, who sounds like Geddy Lee from Rush. So much so that I thought it was Geddy. Only six tracks have singing at all. The others are instrumentals that put you in a trance and take your mind on the trip of a lifetime through a haunting yet beautiful ride into deep space. Scott makes extensive use of keyboards and programming that would put most prog masters to shame. There is an over the top guitar solo on “A Season of Fire,” that is very reminiscent of Queensryche as are many of the solos. I’d try to compare this to other prog music but am not schooled enough to give a fair analysis. Maybe Dream Theater, Rush or Floyd. The music is very mood orientated. I felt like I was in a science fiction thriller like Blade Runner or Escape from New York, running for my life from unseen evil forces hot in pursuit. I faced fear, excitement and even relaxation as I floated aimlessly on this adrenalin laced acid trip.

Overall, this is some excellent music. To categorize it as metal would probably be an injustice because it is so much more. If you don’t mind seven-minute songs and minimal vocal contributions in an electronic “mindfield,” than Virtuality is right up your alley. It is the epitome of progressive rock.

Check it out at: TheAmbientMind.com

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Seasons of The Wolf
Nocturnal Revelation
(Earth Mother Music)

Seasons of The Wolf (SOTW) are a five-piece, Tampa Bay-area metal outfit. Formed back in 1988, SOTW have embraced an old school sound and have taken it to the next level. With two previous releases: 1996’s self-titled and 1999’s Lost in Hell, SOTW has just unleashed Nocturnal Revelation, their third effort. Their bio was dead-on describing their sound as: “Progressive, Gothic, New Age Metal.” Earning comparisons to metal heavyweights such as Iron Maiden, Savatage, Dream Theater, DIO, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Deep Purple and even Pink Floyd, SOTW manage to set themselves apart. They provide an old school foundation that is currently gaining a newfound momentum.

SOTW combines several genres living life as a metal vagabond. They have taken the best of all worlds and create a very intense and haunting metal opera. Part speed metal, part gothic and part prog with very distinctive new age keyboard sounds, SOTW takes the listener on a journey into the mind. Vocalist Wes Edward Waddell is a twisted hybrid of Udo Dirkschneider (Accept) and Rob Halford that bodes well with this type of epic metal. I can honestly say I loved this CD all the way through. The Doors-like keyboards on the title-track were a nice touch as were the plethora of guitar solos provided by Barry “Skullywolf” Waddell.

This was definitely one of the best metal albums I have ever heard. A true classic, in every sense of the word. The bravura was mind-boggling without being condescending. SOTW kicks serious ass, but they are unsigned and need your help. Go to http://www.sotwmetal.com and buy this CD. It is well worth it!

Seasons of The Wolf is: Barry “Skullywolf” Waddell: guitar/backing vocals, Wes Edward Waddell: lead vocals, Chris Whitford: bass, Dennis “Samurai” Ristow: keyboards/backing vocals and Wayne Hoefle: drums.

Check em’ out at: SOTWmetal.com

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Smoke
Self-Titled Demo

Smoke drifted together in LA sometime in the mid 90’s. Their bio wasn’t real clear on this. It did say that singer/guitarist Mark Star was once in a band called Thunderfuck 69. I actually had read some pretty good press on these guys so I knew I had to check em’ out myself. On to the music…

When this three-song demo arrived I couldn’t contain myself. I knew they were “stoner rock” and I am really starting to like this genre. From the first notes of “Double Zero” I am faced with the stereotypical Black Sabbath comparison. They employ those dark, grungy chords that Iommi made famous. It also sounds like Monster Magnet in parts, mainly the chorus. Mark’s vocal prowess falls somewhere in between Dave Wyndorf and Glenn Danzig, especially Dave on track two “The Moth.”

This is your basic bong-pulling-fuzzy-psychedelic-muddy-stoner-rock band and it’s all good. Highly recommended while riding the magic carpet. Pass the sweet leaf!

Smoke is: Mark Star: vocals/guitar, Yosh: bass and Danny Foronda on drums.

Check em’ out at: Smoke-rock.com

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