Friday, July 3, 2015


If Pink Floyd and The Mars Volta had a baby, and that baby grew up listening to heavy metal and punk, and then formed a rock band, that band would be The Grand Astoria.  Speaking of the Mars Volta, Kamille Sharipodinov reminds me of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez in terms of both his creativity and the frequency with which he produces truly new music.
If you are really paying attention you will not be able to turn this masterpiece off, and will have to agree that although there is no proper category for this music, it is undeniably heavy.  The Grand Astoria has Led-Zeppelin-like importance for me in terms of how they have altered my perspective on heavy music, and I consider them one of the best rock bands of all time. Here is “Curse of the Ninth”, a tribute to the myth that a classical musical composer’s ninth symphony would end up being their last.  

Think you know what to expect from The Grand Astoria?  Download their Black Flag tribute album for free here:
You can read Kamille's story of his admiration for Greg Ginn and how he came to be a fan of Black Flag.
The Grand Astoria is:
Kamille Sharapodinov - vocals, guitars, korg monotron 
Danila Danilov - vocals, flute, tambourine, korg ms2000 
Eugene Trukhin - bass 
Denis Kirillov - rhodes piano, clavia nordstage, steinway & sons piano 
Ravil Azizov - clarinet 
Alexey Nikiforov - trumpet 
Valery Dudik - saxophone 
Kirill Serov - percussion 
Alexander Filippov - drums 
Sophia Miroedova - artwork 
Alexander Karelin - mixing and mastering 

Back next weekend:  Happy Fourth!  -ULTRA

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Lamb of God drop new video for OVERLORD

Randy sings clean on Overlord!?!?

Lamb of God are on a roll, dropping their third video for the upcoming "VII: Sturm Und Drang". The big shocker of this track, Randy actually sings clean. What will fans have to say about this? They will most likely pitch a huge fit. What are my thoughts? I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it but I'm a strong supporter of the band and all for band's branching out. After a few more listens I may be able to make up my mind on it. For now, enjoy something new.

Preorder "VII: Sturm Und Drang":

I enjoy it. Just surmising based on the first three tracks I've heard that this album could be conceptual in an abstract way. It may be about the introspective thoughts we as fans assume were going through frontman Randall Blythe's head while he was stationed in a cell during the much reported about court case over the death of a fan. It could be about accountability and how easy we take life for granted. It could be about a band creating art based on what they've gone through the past few years. It could be about exercising demons of old and flaying the skin of what we as fans expect of our metal gods. Look forward to hearing the entirety of the album when it's released later this year.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Act of Defiance featuring former Megadeth members release new video

ACT OF DEFIANCE make bold statement with their new track "Throwback"

For a band with a chock full of talent, this is how you come out of the gates and reintroduce yourself. Alongside former Megadeth members, Shawn Drover & Chris Broderick comes kickass Shadows Fall bassist Matt Bachand and a re-energized Scar the Martyr frontman Henry Derek to show their current and former bandmates a true "Act of Defiance". Drover and Broderick were essential members of the Megadeth lineup and this song clearly shows that there was a whole lot left in the tank when they departed. The band definitely has a heavier sound than what I'm used to hearing on the last three Megadeth albums and vocalist Derek is a completely different type of vocalist. This is a fresh start that sounds like it's moving in the right direction for all members involved. Time will only tell if this is a temporary stopover for Bachand who is set to rejoin Shadows Fall on a few upcoming dates. As a fan of Bachand's playing and singing I'm happy to hear that he is still doing what he loves and is able to branch out on a project just as his fellow Shadows Fall bandmate Jonathan Donais has done with Anthrax. Stay tuned to hear more from the band when they release their debut on Metalblade records.

Saturday, June 27, 2015


Just felt like going old-school.  If you're old like me, you're gonna say "Love that tune .. haven't heard that one in forever!"  If you're young and you know these tunes, you know your rock.  In any event, enjoy these treasures from rock history:

The Scorpions' "Sails of Charon".featuring Ulrich Jon Roth.  Uli was a true Hendrix worshipper; even having a relationship with Monika Dannemann, Jimi's last girlfriend.  The Scorpions were still awesome after Uli, but were definitely an entirely different product after he left the band.  This track is Uli's most well-known with the band.

Next, Rainbow with "Kill The King."  This album ("Long Live Rock'n'Roll"), is one of the best rock albums ever recorded.  Possibly my favorite Ronnie James Dio album as well. Every tune on this album is a classic, but I think this track is my favorite.  
Ritchie Blackmore had turned in another masterpiece with his distinctive sound. 

Tear him down!....Got to take his crown!!!!

Ultra Out

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Armored Saint - Wind Hands Down - a reluctant review

Armored Saint
Win Hands Down

  This entire album as hard as it tries, can't get out of it's own way. The subject matter throughout the disc is a hindrance. Reflecting back on the past and trying to shed some extra pounds (yep, "Muscle Memory") does not conjure up anything the band's long time fans really want to think of when they are trying to forget their own problems. Seriously most of us are in our forties now and are trying to deal with the national phenomena called the "Dad Bod" craze. Do we need our metal heroes reminding us how shitty it is to age out of our leather vests and start worrying about how we're gonna pay this months family dental bills?
  The album has a limited amount of highlights. The opening track, "Win Hands Down", has something to offer to the old school fans. It's signature Armored Saint, nothing too deep but it thrashes enough to perk up your ears. John Bush is still one of my favorite metal vocalists. This album does not diminish the strength and range of his voice. The lyrics and songwriting do the real damage here.
   Seriously Bush was the quintessential frontman of Anthrax during their most potent years. Watching his career devolve into to "old man" rock territory is disheartening. The lyrics for "DIVE" and "UP YOURS" are some of the worst I've ever heard in my entire life. I know Bush spent some time writing songs for commercials in his hiatus but did he have to carry over this stream of consciousness schlocky bullshit to his real passion. Who vetted the lyrics for That Was Then, Way Back When - "got all my pictures strewn across facebook, wanna be liked in a desperate way"....that's a big no no... I don't care who you are, if you throw in a pop culture term that will easily be dated in a few years when something new comes around and makes that reference look old as fuck, you're dead in the water. This type of writing is found throughout the entire album and stinks of a band trying to sound relevant in the eyes of a younger fan base. The few times the band musically experiment like "In A Instant" where the band breaks up the monotony with acoustic guitars are too few and far between. That song specifically sounds up to par with the legacy of the band. It's fully flushed out and since it's inspired by the Boston Marathon tragedy in an abstract way it really stands out. Win Hands Down really makes me wish Bush was still with Anthrax. Their last album wasn't great but at least it provided something really meaty for a journeyman like Belladonna to put his chompers into. This smacks of a band who really wanted to put out a new record but the ideas were just not there.
   I hate to score albums or give them a grade. Sadly as an old school fan I'm disappointed, the tracks on this not only make the band sound old but I feel like I've developed new frown lines in reviewing this.
..... I now need a "perfect chair to park my derriere and stare out the window and see the world moving along"......yes lyrics from "DIVE"... I know.

Video of Superjoint Ritual playing their first Hellfest

 Superjoint Ritual at Hellfest

Superjoint Ritual announced earlier this year that they would be embarking on a tour, their first in many years. This time around they got to play their first European performance at this year's Hellfest on June 21st. Below is fan footage of that performance. They sound brutal!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Dez Cadena departs the Misfits!

Dez Cadena has departed the Misfits in a unceremonious way, through facebook.
“not with the Misfits anymore,”- Cadena via Facebook post
He was the first to announce his departure via the social media site recently. Jerry Only's son is reportedly taking over his duties on guitar. The fun fact that most fans don't even realize is that Cadena's tenure with the band since he joined in 2000 makes him the longest running guitarist in the band's history. That's right even longer than Only's own iconic brother Doyle. Does this leave open even more space for a REUNION discussion? Has Dez really jumped into a time machine and taken over the role of a throwback catcher for the Yankees? Time will only tell.

New Disturbed video/ aint half bad

The Vengeful One

So I guess this means Disturbed is back from a four year hiatus. New video, new song and a future album on the way. SO what does that mean to a non fan like me. I gave it a listen. The song isn't half bad. The mascot for the band, this creature with the glowing eyes and a hooded jacket reminds me of Iron Maiden's Eddie. I don't mind it. The video itself looks like some type of neo Ralph Bakshi animation. The video looks to be about a vengeful entity sent from god on a motorbike to destroy "big brother" and return the minds of "mericans" to their normal god fearing state of being. I've always had a problem with frontman Dave Draiman's stage demeanor and how he conducts a concert like he's some type of priest or preacher. I find it kinda hoaky and too theatrical for this heavy rock material the band plays. I wouldn't necessarily call the band metal. More like jock rock. Anyways, the band's new material isn't breaking ground but it's not really sounding like their early stuff, which was the last time I took the time to listen to them. I also don't miss the chimp sounding vocals he used to carry on with. All in all, if you're a Disturbed fan, you're probably gonna lose your shit for it. If you are barely a listener of the band, it makes for good background music while you're at work bloggin......

Caricature - Shadows CD release and review day!

Shadows (Maxi Single)

As soon as I heard the single, "Shadows", I preordered this maxi single.  While it's very rare these days for me to pre order anything since everything seems to float by my desk before release day, I just had to support such a solid project. First off "Shadows" kicks ass. Secondly getting to know Caricature main man Joseph Spiller over the past year via social media, I've been fortunate to learn first hand about the man's great character and his devotion to creating incredible music. This Shadows maxi single is one of the highlights of my metal listening year. Back to front, as I've said before, you will enjoy the hell out of these four tracks. Caricature hit on so many levels it's crazy!

Let's start off with track 1, "Shadows', it shreds your face off from jumpstreet and then throws at you a mix of clean and well timed vocals that are completely inspired. The musicianship is top notch, the mixing and production is excellent. (Check out Evan Sammon's drumming on the video below this review to see what I'm talking about.) The killer solo by Omer Avni cements the track as a metal track of high quality and the performance by Spiller on the majority of the instruments used on this track is mind blowing.

Track 2, "Current State of Affairs", man, this hits my nerve the way Pantera first did in the early nineties (I'm sure Joseph is laughing at me right now). This is the heavy shit, the spoken word interludes pump your ass up while the primal concrete sludge pouring from the speakers will bend and break your head banging vertebrae. I'm loving this straight up intensity, the bass, drums and hammering guitars combined with the death rattle gurgle of the's a winner!

Track 3, "Leave it", it's a breath of fresh air, it's like bringing your head up after a deep dive. It's a catchy tune and it brings to mind the feelings I had when I first heard Open Hand's "The Dream" album. The percussion on this along with that cool underlying "Pink Floydy" synth effect that comes in about half way through is beautiful. The song rises throughout and is a great song to put on the radio while you're driving the backroads of some sleepy hamlet town.

Track 4, "Saviors II(Oscar Nilsson Version)", this is a killer tune. Love the contrast between the opening clean vocals and the dirgey chorus mixed along with the atmospheric instrumentation. Spiller's vocal range is out of this world! Hear that high note he hits, I've only heard something like that on a Coheed and Cambria record. (Check out Oscar Nillson's video of him performing the track below.)

and then, that's it...I need more....Spiller and company, bring me more.....I guess I'll have to wait til the upcoming LP, "The Fiction We've Become" comes out. Buy this maxi single, it's one of the best purchases I've made all year.