Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Omnislash “Metalliation Revengeance (Slash ’em All)”

Band photo

“Conceived when the mighty cock of heavy metal spilled its unholy seed into an active volcano”, or so the legend goes as to the origins of Baltimore-based power-thrash band Omnislash. Quite a descriptive account at any rate, the band defines themselves as “historical power thrash”, or good-old fashioned heavy metal for those of you who aren't exactly sure what all these labels mean.

After winning over audiences across Maryland and beyond with their debut album in 2015, Omnislash is back with a second offering titled Slash ’em All, which promises to be just as brutal as the first record. The music is fun, and you can tell the band is all about having a good time and never taking themselves too seriously.

Proof of that is in the band's new video for the track “Metalliation Revengeance (Slash ’em All)”, a 7-minute throwback to the good old days of MTV (they even use the same white font that famously bookended the videos, letting the viewer know what they were watching). The video is filmed at a restaurant in the Baltimore area called Crabtowne, U.S.A.; and we start off with a bad-ass metal dude slowly walking into the diner as ominous-sounding music plays in the background. He enters a rec room area, where there are wall-to-wall old-school arcade video games, pinball machines, and everything else that sparks the nostalgia of an ’80s kid. Amid the beeps and whistles of the machines, he approaches one of them, opens a flask, and starts drinking his booze through a crazy straw. He puts a quarter into the machine and proceeds to get his game on.

The graphics are pure ’80s cheesy goodness as we see that the video game is the same title as the song. The hilarity ensues when there is a jolt of electricity, and the entire band shows up as an electronic video game theme plays in the background. Soon the band jumps in and starts playing. From there it cuts to live shots of Omnislash playing onstage to an enthusiastic crowd. This is some awesome power metal (with some funky bass to boot). Back at Crabtowne, the guys in the band are riding the little electric ponies and go-karts, dancing around the room, while the bad-ass metal dude at the video game machine continues drinking his booze, completely unfazed by the shenanigans taking place. One of the guys plays his guitar solo on the toilet. Props to the drummer, who is wearing an old-school Legend of Zelda t-shirt! Back to the live shots; the band has a very enthusiastic mosh pit! These guys look like they are fun to hang out with, but at the end of the video, the guy with the booze doesn't seem very impressed with all of this. He actually wants his quarter back!

For more information on Omnislash, visit their official website.

Special thanks to Jeremy Phoenix.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Insatia “Memory of a Sapphire”

Photo credit: Sean Mundy

As much as I enjoy scoping out new talent from different parts of the world for this feature each week, I especially love to shine a spotlight on rising stars from my own home country as well. Another rare pleasure is to review a band who are my friends as well.

This week, I get to do all three by reviewing the latest video from Insatia, the Canadian-American symphonic metal powerhouse fronted by the lovely (and super-talented) Zoë Federoff. I have known Zoë since before she joined Insatia, so I know she is not just talented, but a genuinely good person who would much prefer to let her music speak for itself—not to be viewed as some rock star, but as a regular gal who has the good fortune to live her dreams. But she has also used her music to do good; calling attention to causes that are dear to her heart, and actively involving herself in numerous musical projects and charity work. She takes the high praise she receives in stride, and is as generous with giving compliments as she is in receiving them. A down-to-earth mom with a penchant for chai tea, Zoë is the farthest thing from a “diva” as you will ever find, on this scene or any other.

After over 3 years since bursting onto the scene with their debut album Asylum Denied, Insatia's star has steadily been rising; opening for respected bands on the scene such as Delain, Xandria, and the queen of metal herself, Doro Pesch. The band has also seen a lot of changes, with Zoë's personal growth and musical maturity leading the way. Still determined to keep this a band that celebrates the friendly alliance between the U.S. and Canada, Insatia merges the heat of Tucson with the cold of Montreal to produce not just a diamond in the rough, but...well, a sapphire.

Fans have waited a long time for Phoenix Aflame, the highly-anticipated follow-up to their 2013 debut, and let me just say that they will not be disappointed! Insatia's brand of symphonic metal is something that very few other bands in the genre can claim: it is as catchy and hooky as a rock song, but with all the sweeping grandeur and elegance that you come to expect from a symphonic metal band, all within the span of 4 minutes.

The band's choice for their first video, “Memory of a Sapphire” (which features a guest appearance by ex-Arch Enemy guitarist Chris Amott), captures this perfectly. A lone sapphire is shown on the floor, as Zoë walks to it, picks it up, and looks at it for a moment. The quiet is just long enough so that the heavy riffs jolt you, and then Zoë goes from contemplative silence to headbanging all over the place! The entire band is rocking out: bassist Dave Ablaze is swirling his bass around his neck, as hair goes whipping around. If you are not instantly committing the earworm of a chorus to memory, or at least aren't singing along with Zoë's line, “memory of a sapphi-iii-irrre”, then you are just too cool for me; because I had this song stuck in my head after one listen!

The video itself is very straightforward with not many frills: Zoë is wearing a nice blue dress, while the rest of the band is dressed in black, or black-and-white. It consists mostly of performance shots, cutting occasionally to Zoë pondering over her sapphire. Perhaps there is meaning behind this, but the video itself does not tell. The most we see of the titular character is at the end of the video, where it is left where it was originally found, spinning like a top.

For more information on Insatia, visit their official website.

Special thanks to Zoë Federoff and Dave Ablaze.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Aggronymph “I Want You”

Band photo

One of my favorite newer bands on the scene right now, Aggronymph has a new video out and I can't wait to review it!

As I have written in past reviews, this band has a diverse sound to them, merging together all these different styles and fitting them together in such a wonderful way.

In the video for “I Want You”, there are some similarities to their previous video, “Moonlight”. There are shots of the band's hometown of Yichang, China (which has some very lovely scenery, I might add!). This time, there is daytime footage including the band's vocalist, Elain. She looks sad and pensive, matching the mood of the song as she walks down the city streets all alone. As evening comes, we see Elain among the busy city nightlife; sitting alone in a coffee shop, wandering aimlessly through shops, up stairs and down sidewalks, in the futile attempt to ease her loneliness. The video ends with Elain running through an empty field, as an aerial shot pans away to show the lone figure amidst the world that is still moving along.

For more information on Aggronymph, visit the band's official Facebook page.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Hump Day Hot Ticket: Caligatum “Dante”

Band photo

Normally each week, I try to share a video that is fairly “hot off the presses”, or recent enough to check out while it is still new; but every now and again a video will come my way that has been out for a while, that I just have to share anyway.

Opening for bands such as Rhapsody and Dark Moor in their native México, Guadalajara's Caligatum is moving up the ranks in their local metal scene. Citing bands such as Tristania and Draconian as their musical influences, Caligatum's gothic sound and imagery really comes through in the video for their song “Dante”, which was released last year.

The video starts with a full moon and dark clouds, as a woman sits in a candle-lit room, looking over old papers with ancient writing, as a black cat curls up at her feet. The band plays in a dim setting with very minimal lighting. The woman is seen carrying some sort of cauldron, and again reading tarot cards. The exchange of “beauty and the beast” vocals between vocalist Arianna Dheva (who is rocking a very cool-looking headdress!) and the guttural male voice of guitarist Robert Noir is accompanied by imagery of the video's main female character standing in the middle of a pentagram, casting a spell. The video continues to alternate between shots of the band, and the woman standing in the mist, chanting her spell. A man shows up with a giant snake at one point, and things involving this invocation seem to take a bad turn from there! I won't give away the ending, but perhaps the phrase “be careful what you wish for” might come to mind.

For more information on Caligatum, visit their official website.

Special thanks to Demas Miller.