Dirtbag Block of Rock (Cryptic Memoirs)

Dirtbag Smitty and Jeremy discuss the modern struggle of holding a band together, recording for the first time, as well as Dirtbag and Cryptic Memoirs stoking people by keeping their beers cold at Knotfest 2015.

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Never Buried – song review

I first spoke with Jeff Jones via the Dirtbag Clothing facebook page. He mentioned Never Buried was currently writing some killer new music in the studio. That’s what all of us musicians think while we are diligently chipping away at our art and craft under the microscope. Its all killer to us, but what will the fans think?

It was unusually warm in San Diego the morning Jeff sent me a new track titled Novocaine. I put my extremely hard and uncomfortable apple earbuds in and opened the sound-cloud link at 7am as I waited for the metropolitan trolley to take me to jury duty.

I pushed play on my phone and was immediately and delightfully greeted by a tightly knit, heavy and riffing guitar, something similar to Killswitch Engage. I’m ok with this because KSE is a favorite band of mine, one of many. The entire instrumental arsenal of Never Buried sonically punches the listener in the face at 0:11seconds with a mean and definitive groove transitioned by synchronized and punchy footwork including cymbal chokes.

The crunchy, gritty, and aired out vocals of singer Chris Frost enter at 0:34 seconds; a modern metal track standard. Heavy and to the point, Chris Frost drives the point home during the verses and gives the listener a melodic hook during the choruses all while keeping it heavy and hooky.
There I am standing a few feet from the trolley tracks staring at the sun getting higher in the sky and warmer on my face, bobbing my head and tapping my foot to the full, layered and rhythmic guitar tones Novocaine has to offer. The trolley pulls in front of me and the door opens. I step onboard and sit down in the seat, just as Novocaine enters the bridge of the song. Good timing too. I had to tame myself a bit at this point because I wanted to air drum, and scream, and play air guitar right in the other passengers’ faces; but I held back.

I enjoyed the bridge, clearly designed to take me away for a bit using clean and full guitars with a little grit for texture to get the job done. The drums slow the groove and the clean frosty vocals come back melodically singing and building into a monster scream. This transitioned my attention into a smooth and smoking guitar solo lasting until the music breaks and the carved out throaty bass guitar introduces me to the final portion of the song. I don’t know if the band did this on purpose but I feel like every band member got a bit of the spotlight during the bridge. Good sharing kids.

The band digs in during the heavier ending of Novocaine. The energy feels like they are giving it everything they have together, united in aggressive groove, looking at the light at the end of the Novocaine tunnel. This is where the percussion section of Never Buried gets a special shout out. Specifically for a great performance song wide and the energy that is delivered on the way out the door with intricate double bass work and snare shots for days.

This is a great song. The groove of this song is nothing new, but makes me want to hit repeat. I am curious to see if these guys can reproduce the same sound live, but most importantly, the same energy? I expect to hear some good things in 2016 from Never Buried. If you are ever in the South Texas area… please check these guys out http://www.facebook.com/NeverBuried. I would easily pay $20 to hear this band in its full glory with a beer in my hand or from the pit, whichever you fancy. It’s official. My brain has been numbed by a special type of Novocaine; the Never Buried kind.

NOVOCAINE song click here

Dirtbag Smitty (4 out of 5 horns)
4-of-5-Horns

SEPARATION OF SANITY – song review

Ladies and gentlemen, I would like to present to you the aggro and articulate 5-piece metal and punk act hailing from Portland, OR: Separation of Sanity (S.O.S).

I received a digital press package from Jason X (Vocals) within 24 hours of requesting it. I think I like these guys already; they mean business and were prepared. Like momma always said, never judge a book by its cover, but I have been fooled before and momma sure didn’t raise a fool. Are these dudes the real deal, I thought to myself? The press package I received was neatly organized; the files labeled in such a way that allowed me to cruise seamlessly through the works of Separation of Sanity.

The band has produced a new LP, titled The Crucible, due to be released on 3/17/16. I am here to tell you about their awesome new single; Armed. One of two tracks being released as singles off of the album; the other being Drift.

Listening to Armed once through my desktop speakers prompted me to immediately load it into ProTools and listen on my studio monitors. On the first pass, I noticed an awesome compliment of bass and guitar work during the verses specifically starting at :21. Along with the guitar overdub parts during the verses, I truly enjoyed the way the three layers intertwined, locking me into some sort of Separation of Sanity sleeper hold- all while preparing me for the chorus. It is here that Mr. X. himself lets loose his aggressive delivery while maintaining some personality and a nice overall gritty vocal tone.

I got the hint that Jason possibly used a dynamic microphone for tracking. SM58? SM7B with a Cloud Lifter, perhaps? Whatever it was complimented both his grit and delivery, as well as the genre.

The rhythm section, backed by Jackson Coffey and his click-killing percussive energy, blended beautifully throughout the entire song. The toms were wet and meaty during the more rhythmic parts, and his drums cut through the mix seamlessly when required. I do feel that the mix lacked a bit of low end, possibly from the kick and bass mix. Perhaps a little more massaging of the bass tone next time. Of course I am a bass player and am bias.

Speaking of bass- apparently, there is a human named Ivar Forkbeard that plays the bass in S.O.S. Yes, Ivar Forkbeard. The bass work, with the groove and flow in the verses was as entertaining and impacting as his name, the bass run at 1:50 was sweet too. At 1:58 my ears truly wanted to snack on some sort of modified repeat of that 1:50 bass run but momma always yells at me when I want snacks…

Speaking of snacks.. if you, the reader would like to hear some new heavy music, please, for God’s sake, take your ear over to facebook.com/separationofsanity and give them a like. Also, this St. Patrick’s Day, go and spend a few bucks on your copy of “The Crucible”, a sweet record that will keep those heavy metal and rock n roll cravings satisfied. Snack metal is my favorite kind of metal. I can’t wait to play a show with these dudes and also see what they blossom into.

Dirtbag Smitty – Grade: (4 out of 5 horns)
4-of-5-Horns