The Escape EngineThe Escape Engine
Celebrity Role Model

Fidelity Records (2003)

Celebrity Role Model is an album that is easily judged at first listen to be a bad Mars Volta rip off. The release by the New Jersey quintet is harsh on the ears, mainly because of the vocal stylings of Dom Lettera. I swear to Christ I’d rather hear fingernails scraping a chalkboard than be subjected to his tone-deaf singing voice and horrific lyrics.

Mediocre drum loops on ‘The Curse (the gift and…)’ and “Weapon of Choice “ further hinder any listening enjoyment of The Escape Engine. The most redeeming quality of this band is guitarist George Leontaris, who has toured with the likes of The Atari’s and Beefcake, but the simple melody lines and lack of groove keep this album from achieving any sonic continuity or flow. A major tune-up is in order for The Escape Engine if they are ever realize any dreams of stardom.

-Rhiannon Dillon

what youll find inside
Stephen Romano Interview
Room 710
Road to Rock Stardom
Red Eyed Fly
Fall Fashion Gala
Lance's Comix
Wendy's WWAD
Remember the Movies
Grub - Guide
Off the Street
Chump Change
Usual Crew

Primordial Undermind Thin Shells of RevolutionPrimordial Undermind Thin Shells of Revolution
Emperor Jones (2003)

The soundtrack to the definitive stream of conscious sci-fi reality bending drug-addled tour de cyber-ego novel.

The story unfolds as our heroine, the Princess x-17 is taken to a secret government installation, where she is subjected to the Flaming Lizard Inauguration. As she hallucinates, she recalls a song from her childhood in the net, a haunting western ballad originally written for colonists on the moons of Jupiter. She is dropped into the desert, forced to survive off scrub brush and the rare lizard, while her brain scrambles frantically to solve the puzzle of the meaning of existence. As the night noises become menacing, she stumbles across the voodoo dance rituals of the serpent cult. Wildly, she asks herself, what would Oscillitron 6-5000 do? Unwittingly speaking the ancient and sacred code, a key in a door between realities is turned, and in steps Buddy Holly, miraculously rescued just seconds from a fiery death. Love is instantaneous and the two prove that, indeed, kinky sex does make the world go round.

Brilliantly conceptualized and beautifully rendered, Thin Shells of Revolution is a seamless montage of varying atmospheres. Played live in the studio but remarkably crisp, Shells takes the listener on a roller-coaster tour of the esoteric, keeping things interesting at all times. What more could you ask from a project that employs a triwave picogenerator, a jew’s harp and a wall socket?

Get it, love it, write your own epic to it.

–Trevor Wallace

Nile In Their Darkened ShrinesNile In Their Darkened Shrines
Relapse Records (2003)

Death Metal is to Heavy Metal as slaves are to Pharaohs. All work in the shadow of omniscient rule. As I see it, Heavy Metal broke into the world and left soiled spandex, the term “headbanger”, and black long sleeve shirts. In the aftermath the true got tricky, built on the technical side, picked up the tempo, tipped the hat to the Masters and moved on; all in the back lot behind the pyramid. Many fans followed along and enjoyed the brilliance of the guys who developed a concept and backed it with music, whether it was Deicide’s Satanic shock or Cannibal Corpse’s gore, King Diamond’s “plays” or Megadeth’s Vic Rattlehead. Nile has come lately with their own spin: Egyptology Metal. It works too.

In Their Darkened Shrines is their latest full length, number three, and the sound just keeps becoming more perfected. On “Shrines” the music is intense. It’s death metal that delves into blast beats from the Grindcore scene. Simultaneously, there’s complex riffage that seems to come about after a few listens. Nile’s albums, “Shrines” included, are by far some of the most captivating metal around. The album is virtually seamless; a segued whole piece that takes the listener through an Egyptian adventure. It’s like being on the Nile and floating past the sounds of doom horns and men preparing for war. Parts that sound like soundtracks from the Ten Commandments have me in my living room waiting for Yule Brenner to watch his water turn to blood. “Shrines” is successful in blending wrist breaking beats and ambulance chasing tempo changes with the Arabian mode of music (i.e. the Powerslave sound). This album without the accompanying themes that set the mood of Ra’s wrath would be downright too much. Like a preschooler riding a bull, the attention wouldn’t hold on.

“Shrines” is straight up sweet. Nile is a perfect example of how concept and roots should be married, in a arcophagus with a curse.

-Kevin Stack

Rockland Eagles Rock! Fight! Win!Rockland Eagles Rock! Fight! Win!
Mudflap Records (2003)

So the alumni of the Rockland High School for the Mentally Challenged and Spastic have put out a record (do they even call them that anymore, or has the term gone the way of the dodo?). Good for them. Somewhere, Daniel Johnston smiles, though he’s not quite sure why.

All kidding aside, the Eagles first full-length should go down as one of the funnest releases of the year. A seriously rocking disc that refuses to take itself seriously, Rock! Fight! Win! pulls no punches sonically or production wise. The band often sound as though they should be part of Ozzfest, and at other times, they more resemble Fang, who, I believe, would thumb their noses at such an organized brouhaha. Fang never had the twin leads of “Billy” Chris Burns and Andy Thomas (a.k.a. Alabama Thunder Pants), however. These guys could possibly be the local equivalent of AC/DC, juiced up on Tequila and cocaine, pureed in the blender that Austin often can be, and spit out to gel sufficiently to Cool.

The normally soft spoken Mark Hutchins comes off like a deranged Lemmy; the lyrics range from the innocent to the profane, a litany of pop culture (Steve Austin), drug culture (Crack Drive, High On the Hog), biker/truck driver/drag racer culture (Nassau Coliseum, Easy Rider), some perhaps autobiographical tidbits (I am a Rocket) and the splendor that is all things Rock (see: the whole damn album).

A seriously fun, rocking disc guaranteed to give your next drag strip riot the edge it has thus far been lacking.

–Trevor Wallace

Significant Digits Bird Significant Digits Bird
Man Made Productions (2003)

The first time you listen to this album you may be asking yourself, what is this? Listen to it a few times and it still isn’t obvious. It can’t be classified. Original music mixed with fun and energy is a rare find, but one can find it on the Significant Digits new album.

These Austin locales have a unique sound, sometimes sounding like old 70s rock, other times they come off as punk, and they even manage to toss some country into the mix. Each song really gives off a different class of music. Who cares about what type of music it is, as long as it sounds good it shouldn’t matter. “Calm”, the fourth song on the album really made me sit up and take notice of this band. This song provides listeners with some exceptional guitar music. They really let the guitar shine in this song and it totally steals the show. The next song on the album, “Blue to Grey” sounds completely different. In this song they introduce a male vocalist, and the contrast between the male and female vocals gives them an entertaining new sound.

The country tracks, “Poor Hat” and “Throw Away Day” really threw me for a loop at first. Do they really fit all the energetic guitar playing that proceeds and follows them? But after listening to this album a couple of times these songs actually grew on me and I realized they fit so perfectly on this album. It made me feel as if I was on a tour of Texas music, past, present, and future. This album definitely deals out a distinctly different blend of original tunes. I would suggest it to anyone who isn’t afraid to venture out of their own musical boundaries.

-Misty Sweet


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