A new magazine for modern grunge bands!

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Grunge Special Magazine, September 2016

It’s been almost two years since I started the blog.  I started the blog because I am a fan of grunge music and I was frustrated that bands from this genre rarely got much press.  Since I’m a writer by trade, I thought I could help fix that problem.  Along the way, I’ve found some great bands making very cool music and I’ve made some awesome new friends!

Because of the blog, I was asked to write for a brand new grunge magazine that was supposed to come out early in 2016.  It took a little bit longer than we had expected, but as of this week, the September 2016 issue of Grunge Special magazine is now out in stores.  My interview with Jason Cope of the band Pure Ed is the featured cover story and my article on the grunge scene in London (Is London the New Seattle?) is also mentioned on the cover. I’ve extremely excited about the release of this magazine!  I hope that the issue sells well and becomes a regular monthly magazine.  Even a bi-monthly or quarterly release schedule would be amazing.  So if you’re a fan of grunge music (and if you’re not, then why are you reading this?), you need to go out and pick up a copy of Grunge Special right now!

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Ganesa “Voice” single review

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Ganasa “Voice” single

Last year I did a review of the album “The First Sigh” from the band Ganesa. The band is based in Petrozavodsk, Russia and they have returned with a new single called “Voice.” The song is brutally heavy and really well crafted. My first thought is a grungy version of Black Sabbath with a more modern bass and drum sound. There are also hints of Alice in Chains in there. If this song is any indication of the direction that the band is headed, I believe their next album will be very cool! Check out “Voice” on their bandcamp page HERE.

Ava Adore “II” EP Review

Ava Adore

Ava Adore from Barcelona, Spain

Over the last few days, I’ve been introduced to several great bands from around the world. One of them is a female fronted band from Barcelona, Spain called Ava Adore. Although they mention most of the classic grunge bands as influences, their sound definitely falls towards the metal side of grunge with more similarities to bands like TAD, Gruntruck and Soundgarden than Nirvana or Pearl Jam. Their EP simply titled II rocks hard and will really get your blood pumping. Although vocalist/guitarist Paola Bailey has a great voice, she’s somewhat buried in the mix. This is something that would usually bother me, but for reasons I can’t really explain, it seems to make Ava Adore sound louder and heavier because of this mixing decision.

The EP begins with the song Nomads. It’s a heavy upbeat rocker with cool guitar hooks. The song briefly breaks down into a trippy, mellow classic rock section before crashing back into the rockin’ riffs that conclude the song.

Turning Black is next on the EP.   I could easily hear a stoner rock band performing this song. It reminds me of Black Sabbath with its slower groove, fuzzy guitars and awesome riffs. This one is probably my favorite track on the EP, but that is difficult to say because all four songs are great.

The song Hold On shows that Ava Adore is just as capable of delivering a straight-up punk tune as they are of metal riffing. The band switches up the guitar tones to a much more brash sound that works well to get across an angry, aggressive urgency. The blistering guitar solo betrays the simplicity of the song and shows that despite the punk feel, the band behind it is very skilled on their instruments.

The EP ends with How To Trust, a song somewhat similar to an upbeat Foo Fighters track. This is another song where music is more complicated than your average grunge song, once again showing that these musicians are quite capable.

My biggest complaint about the EP is that there aren’t more songs! I would love to hear a full-length album from this band. I strongly recommend checking out this bands if you like metal, heavy grunge, or classic rock.

Here’s a link to their page on bandcamp.

Ganesa “The First Sigh” album review

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Ganesa album “The First Sigh”

Although most of my reviews are for Grunge bands, Ganesa is a metal band from Petrozavodsk, Russia with some hints of grunge influence here and there. All of their song titles and album title are in Russian, so they have been translated here into English. Their album title translates to “The First Sigh.”

One thing that stands out about this album is the recording quality. The album was funded completely by the band without any record label support, yet the sound quality is superb. Every song except for one has the production quality of a major label release. The guitar tones in particular are amazing. The vocals display a wide range of emotions and volumes. Many independent bands have trouble making that kind of vocal fit into the song well, but on this album, they always fit into the song very well. If you are a fan of sludgy, brutally heavy guitars, it really doesn’t get much better than Ganesa!

The album begins with a slow, growling song called “One” which reminds me a little bit of the band Tool. The guitar parts are very cool, the vocals are passionate and the song really rocks. It’s a great opening track.

Things speed up a little bit with the next song “Poison.” This is a short song with more of a metal feel, but it’s still a very good song.

“Inhaling Pain” brings the tempo back down and offers a trippy and somewhat psychedelic vibe that makes me think a little bit of Alice In Chains if they had been around in 1968 with metal guitar tone. The bass guitarist has an opportunity to shine on this track with a very cool, busy bass guitar part. The elements combine to make “Inhaling Pain” one of the best songs on the album.

“Smeared” continues the trippy feeling started with “Inhaling Pain” but this time without the psychedelic vibe. Although very unique, there are elements of Marilyn Manson to this track – brutally heavy while making your head spin with dizzying guitar effects.

If there is a straight forward hard rock / punk song on this album, it would be “The Cult of Money.” Driving guitars and drums rev this song up about as fast as you can before it would have lost the groove. This is the kind of song I would expect to hear during a fight scene or action sequence of a movie.

“Hundreds of Days” begins with a wicked bass line and guitar feedback that instantly makes me think of White Zombie’s “Black Sunshine.” The drums keep rocking throughout the song while the guitars alternate between driving metal and haunting ethereal sounds.

There is a music video for Track 7 “Resin” to promote the album. I don’t know that “Resin” is the best song on the album or the best representation of the band. It’s a good song and it does display their ability to change direction within a song. It has an awesome bass line, very cool guitar, and is short enough that first time listeners wouldn’t be tired of the song before it’s over. For this reason, it’s probably not a bad choice for a music video, but I think several other tracks on here are actually better.

Up next is the very up-tempo and very short “Bile.” I wouldn’t say this song is punk, but it is very fast drum part that is similar to punk drumming through most of the song. Once again, the bassist is given a chance to shine with some awesome bass parts.

To my ears, “Farm” is the least impressive track on the album. There’s a cool guitar riff that happens a few times, but it doesn’t really fit with the rest of the song. The vocals don’t sound as interesting as the vocals in the other songs and it doesn’t feel like the song ends as much as just stops. The song isn’t terrible at all, but compared to the rest of the album (which is pretty damn amazing), this track doesn’t stand up to the quality of the rest.

The album closes by changing direction drastically with the song “Hell.” Musically it is a very cool, well-written song, but it seems to be a different style of music from the rest of the CD. Also, this song doesn’t sound like it was recorded in the same studio as the rest of the album. In fact, “Hell” is the only song on the album that doesn’t have professional recording quality. The song quality is much closer to what most independent bands albums’ sound like.   Maybe that’s why it’s at the end of the album.

In closing, I would say this is a great album. As I mentioned earlier, the sound quality is excellent on 90% of the songs. It really sounds professional. Additionally, the songs are more complex than most of the music out there yet the musicians’ performances are unbelievably tight.   They must practice a lot.   Personally, I think I would have enjoyed the album more if the vocals were in English. However, it didn’t take away from the music. And if I were Russian, I would probably appreciate being able to listen to such an amazing band singing in my native tongue.

If you are a fan of intricate metal, give Ganesa a listen on bandcamp.

Check Ganesa out on Facebook.