Last month we looked at One Ton Tomatoes, Surface Below, Painted Soul, and Siva Addiction. The comments below resulted in debate regarding everything from which bands were actually worth their place in the article, to whether or not the average UG reader should be attracted to Siva Addiction's Bridgette Oliver. It's sad that bands such as Siva Addiction cannot be afforded judgement on musical output alone, but image has, and always will be a huge part of the music industry. This month's bands will be glad to be afforded your consideration, so let us proceed to the fruit of this month's crop.Light System is a band from Los Angeles, California. There is never a month that goes by when I am not contacted from a band whose residence is somewhere in California. There are many clichspreconceptions, evenabout what the typical band from California should sound like, but I don't think that Light System strays in to these preconceptions with excessive regularity. They sound almost like the Foo Fighters at times, and whatever it is that Danny, John, and Robert get up to when they jam, the product is impressive rock musicaccomplished, dynamic, and dramaticyou can't miss the spoken word during We Will Forget. It's angry, without the music reciprocating in the anger. This is music about today and about the future, and all the concerns. Another positive aspect about this music is its lack of pretension or genre affiliation, Light System has a minimalistic sound in a big, powerful way. There is purity to Danny Byrne's voice that underlies the sincerity behind this music. Indeed, the band's influences are ominously listed as The Influential'. Nevertheless, Light System deserves praise for a refusal to be brash or stereotypical; in fact, they should be applauded for their warm, if somewhat sad rock songs. This is a band with lots of great dynamics, and as a fan of the rock three-piece, I duly recommend them to those of you who want to kick back and think about what is going on in the world.Faith Buried in Flames could do with a less clichd name, but once one overlooks the first impression that Faith Buried in Flames is potentially the worst In Flames imitators ever, there is more to be found in this band's music.
Certainly there is nothing innovative here, but I feel that there is enough evidence on show for us to hope that Faith Buried in Flames has enough potential to record something evocative in the future. Much of this evidence is supplied to us in the form of To Those Who Mourned Me, a song with some gruff metal growls and mean guitar licks and tricks, including some exquisite legato work. Faith Buried in Flames is from Nebraska in the United States, and seems to be somewhat of a mainstay of the metal scene there. The band members all have previous experience in other local bands, and this experience is telling, the band's recordings adequately sharp, and the notes are struck to the pounding drums. The other positive is that To Those Who Mourned Me is a 7-minute song that isn't a pseudo-epic would be metal song of legendary status. Furthermore, Toaster Strudel provides ample head banging opportunities in abundance. The lyrics on show here are range from the atheistic to the humanist, nothing spectacular, but nothing worth excluding the band from a bit of publicity.
A Thousand Shields is an alternative rock band from Mount Airy, North Carolina. This band is far from being the finished article, often exhibiting characteristics indicative of what might be termed as inexperience. Sometimes Josiah Baker sounds like he could do with a couple of vocal lessons to help him to really discover the power behind his voice, but I like his diction and even his style. I'm by no means being condescending when I mention voice lessons. There is some inchoate talent here. Some of the lyrics can be a little clichd, and perhaps a little more work could be done there (in particular the lyrics about a black hole in someone's soul). In terms of the band's songs, one can find some joy in Ascending Contemplation, a song whose music is well suited to the lyrical content, lulling the listener into things a little. It would have been interesting had the band decided to really go for it towards the end, thus breaking the contemplation, but this is a strong track with some good keyboard/piano work on show as well. Chris Belton deserves praise for his role as the keyboard player for A Thousand Shields, his skills combining exquisitely with guitarist Wes Maines' on the eerie Why: Confusion, Denial, Rage.Hasty Boggles is a somewhat eclectic instrumental duo, formed by Kyle Schaefer and Chris Lahlouh. I love the band name, and I love their names and, on reflection, perhaps it's not a wonder that they record such peculiar Pink Floyd influences music.
It's always a challenge to describe instrumental music, but in the case of quality instrumental music, it's far easier to let it speak for itself. Fortunately, this is the case when discussing Hasty Boggles. Listen to Elysium, a Nintendo soundtrack that was never used in a game. The shimmering guitar licks and intense melodies all blend together in a magical twist, with no two songs sounding overly alike. In fact, some of this stuff is reminiscent of Satriani's work. Hasty Boggles is the highlight of this month's collection.
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