Victory Season EP

Victory Season is the new project from Randy Cooper, the guitarist who was a founding member of the Texas Hippie Coalition – a band who specialized in their own brutal “red dirt metal” sound. Victory Season continues that path, their sound described as a southern hybrid mix of Mötley Crüe meets Pantera. I don’t know about you, but that description pulled me immediately – that’s a perfect mix. The band features Randy Cooper on guitars, Aaron “Ash” Starr on vocals, and a father / son duo on bass and drums – Duane Connaughton on bass and Tor Connaughton on drums. The band’s debut EP is an absolute killer statement of intent.

The EP kicks off with Light it Up – which has a brutal thrash vibe and doom-laden vocals that call to mind what a bastard child of the Seattle scene and Pantera would sound like. Absolutely brilliant, in other words. Be Kind recalls those halcyon days of the late 80’s metal scene. In fact, I can just envision this tune being played on MTV (remember when they played videos??). This song features Gary Jefferies helping the band out and it is an exercise in perfection. Strong melodies, laid back lyrics hinting at the good old days, and just has that “it” quality. A killer guitar solo caps the whole thing off. The acoustic workout Burn Tonight segues into the closer, Ghost Dance. This last song really encapsulates everything that the band excels at – uncompromising riffs, strong melodies, and impassioned vocals. A perfect way to close things out.

You can follow the band here. Keep an eye on their tour schedule to see if they are playing in a town near you – I know I’m hoping they make their way up to the Pacific Northwest.

Verdict: Stunning Debut

For Fans of: Pantera, Skid Row, Ozzy Osbourne, Mötley Crüe, Hellyeah


  1. Light it Up
  2. Don’tread
  3. Cumin’ Home
  4. Be Kind (featuring Gary Jefferies)
  5. Burn Tonight
  6. Ghost Dance

Not My Master – Disobey

Not My Master hail from El Paso, TX and play what they have dubbed “Texas Metal”. An unholy alliance of the best traits from Celtic Frost (or even Hellhammer) and Pantera, the band excels in extreme metal.  The band features Chris Kidwell on vocals, Chelo Styles on guitar, Rudy Barajas on bass, and Charlie Gonzalez on drums. The band has played festivals and shows throughout Texas, honing their live show – culminating in a highly desired date in March opening up for Vince Neil (Motley Crüe). What I love about Not My Master – and you might too – is that the band navigates melody and aggression in equal measures. Not unlike Metallica’s misunderstood masterpiece, St. Anger (yes, I’m serious). Thrash, melody, and catharsis comfortably co-exist here. Disobey is the band’s first release. It is a statement of intent – as an EP, it hints at greatness. The future is bright for Not My Master.

Acadence sets the tone for the release – sludgy guitars that would sound out-of-place in Seattle, military drums, and barked / howling vocals. It pummels and delights. Where’s God Now is slightly less aggressive but no less dark in tone. Lyrically, the band is on fire “angry voices / mindless choices” culminating in a question that has haunted mankind forever. It’s a an insight into darkness and musically thrilling. Morning Star starts off as the least aggressive tune thus far before exploding in a noisy maelstrom. How the Gods Kill is a cover of the famous Danzig tune. It is a nice moment of familiarity – a nod to influences as well as a showcase for Chris Kidwell’s vocal chops. It is a highlight on an EP full of them. In fact, Glenn Danzig’s words can kind of sum up the feel of the EP “If you feel alive / In a darkened room / Do you know the name / Of your solitude”.

You can follow the band on the Social Network and get the latest happenings here. Not My Master is an exciting new metal band that is worthy of your time and attention.

Verdict: Aggressive Debut

For Fans of: Pantera, Metallica, Danzig, Celtic Frost, Lamb of God


  1. Acadence
  2. Revenge
  3. Where’s God Now
  4. Morning Star
  5. Lies
  6. How the Gods Kill
  7. Consume

Downfall 2012 – We Welcome The Pain

Do you remember the mid to late 90’s when nu metal became the dominant sound of the airwaves? The music scene was struggling to find the next big thing in the wake of grunge, and the angst of nu metal became the next big thing. The debut album by Downfall 2012 would fit right into that sound – a nice mix of angst, aggression, and slower moments. Downfall 2012 have made an impression on the national scene, having shared the stage with Alice Cooper, Twisted Sister, and many others. The band hails from Houston, TX and has won multiple “Texas Buzz” awards. We Welcome The Pain is the band’s 2017 offering, a compilation of reworked older tunes alongside new songs.

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Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Brothers of the Sonic Cloth

Brothers of the Sonic Cloth

In the summer of 2013 I had the opportunity to meet up with some friends and attend the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee celebration in the Georgetown area of Seattle. I certainly made note of a few artists that I absolutely had to see – J. Mascis, Father John Misty, Mudhoney, among others – but it was the artists I had no preconceived notions of that left me stunned and bewildered (except for Mudhoney – I’m still riding on that obsession). I strolled over to the Elysian Stage, oblivious to the bodyguards turning people away from the gate. A tap on the shoulder later, and I was enjoying the set from Brothers of the Sonic Cloth from outside of the filled to capacity main viewing area – along with hundreds of other folks who were lined up in the street and on the hills bordering the I-5 freeway. What we were treated to was a grunge doom metal set that delivered in spades.

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Moby – Come On Baby


Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

When you think of Moby, you probably think of radio friendly electronic music. Or perhaps Eminem dissing him in his 2002 hit single Without Me (side note, part of the diss related to Moby’s age at the time which was 36. Em’s in his 40’s now. Time’s a bitch, eh Marshall?). You could think these things and you wouldn’t be wrong. If you came across Moby in the mid 90’s though, you’d be thrown into quite a bit of confusion. Fresh off 3 electronic albums released from 1992 to 1995 that were starting to make Moby a household name he decided to throw a curveball. Feeling disillusioned by the lack of positive press, Moby released a punk rock album in 1996. Animal Rights might be the most misunderstood album of the 90’s – confrontational punk / metal tunes mixed with soothing ambient instrumentals, it was confounding. It also almost destroyed Moby’s career (we all know he recovered beyond his wildest dreams). Personally, it is my favorite record that Moby has ever released. The 1st single was a cover of Mission of Burma’s That’s When I Reach For My Revolver which received a bit of radio play. The 2nd single was Come On Baby – a slab of electronic punk metal. You’ve never really heard Moby like this before – and probably never will again. Guitars rage, sound f/x overwhelm and Moby shouts lines like “Love myself with a broken-hearted love / What I never saw what do I care? / You don’t want a sick celebration love / Think about a broken time was soulless”. The single was released in late 1996 and was backed by a death metal version of Devo’s Whip It (yes, I’m serious). By 1997 Moby was back to making electronic music almost exclusively (save for the odd Joy Division cover here and there) and would hit mainstream success in 1999. Some might look back on the Animal Rights punk rock experiment as a failure – I look on it as a glorious experiment that is still exhilarating 19 years later.

The Barmines – There’s Never Any Romance


Brotherly love – I’m from the city that promotes it, but it isn’t always the easiest thing to live by. My brother and I are 3 years apart, which can be brutal during the teenage years. We had our moments of not getting along, though I’ll feign amnesia when asked if fists were ever raised. 15 years later we are worlds apart in New Zealand and Washington State. Pacific is the gulf between us. So it goes. In music, we’ve had the Gallagher brothers (Oasis), the brothers Gibb (Bee Gees), the Robinson brothers (The Black Crowes), among others. Sibling rivalry or sibling camaraderie? It doesn’t really matter as long as the music inspires. The Barmines are a new band out of Leeds, England composed of 2 sets of siblings. A potentially volatile mix, their debut EP is a masterful debut.

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White Lion – Lonely Nights

white lion

Attack of the Killer Track! is a series that explores tracks from artists from a variety of genres. Some of the tracks were singles, some of them were obscure b-sides or long forgotten album tracks. One thing is certain – all of them are killer tracks.

I first bought White Lion’s Pride album at the Willow Grove Mall in Willow Grove, PA (on the site of the old Willow Grove Park) in 1987 or possibly 1988. The album had a few pop metal songs on the radio and on the surface seemed very much of the time period. Little did I know that this album was actually White Lion’s 2nd record and would enchant me for the next 25 years and counting (the 1st, Fight to Survive, is a much harder edged speed metal masterpiece from 1984). Digging beneath the pop metal surface, the album featured amazing guitar work from Vito Bratta, world-weary lyrics & vocals from Mike Tramp, and a solid rhythm section (Greg D’Angelo on drums, James LoMenzo on bass). “Lonely Nights” in particular has always called out to me as a “forgotten classic” and would appeal to any fan of music, not just those who enjoy hard rock / heavy metal. The song begins with acoustic guitar with a slight classical influence (surely indebted to the great Yngwie Malmsteen). The band kicks in with a harder edge than you might remember from White Lion. Tramp’s vocals are emotional and evocative leading up to the stunning chorus. It almost reminds me of Del Shannon’s 1961 hit “Runaway” married to a darker pop metal song, the atmosphere is very similar. The guitar solo from Vito Bratta is breathtaking in the way skill is married to emotion. Mike Tramp went on to lead Freak of Nature, lead a solo career, and reform White Lion with new members. Vito Bratta dropped out of the music industry to care for his parents while D’Angelo and LoMenzo have performed with such luminaries as Zakk Wylde, Megadeth, David Lee Roth, and Ace Frehley. I love all the other projects (especially Mike Tramp’s solo tribute to Ronnie James Dio from 2010), but for me the original White Lion was such a special project. You might find yourself blown away by the atmosphere in this song as Mike Tramp sings these lyrics:

The little girl standing in the rain
On the corner of 42nd street
And she’s all alone on the bad side of town
Cause there was a little boy
That she loved with all her heart
But he’s far away with another girl
Now she’s searching for a friend
Just to hold her when she cries

In her lonely nights, lonely nights
Where no one seems to care