Dapper Dan Man…

February 23, 2009

Defcon 4 – The Bad Road

Filed under: StonerRock.com,Writing — gazzabazza @ 11:32 AM

Playing metal with heavy sludge influences will inevitably bring comparisons to a certain seminal New Orleans band – slow, grimy music ridden with misery and frustration. This Boston group definitely invokes them, particularly the first part. The singer almost brings Mike William’s sick vocals to mind but doesn’t quite have as much of his bile spewing wretchedness and anger. He does still bring enough to make their sophomore album the uneasy listening experience that it should be. The Bad Road consists in large parts of torturous sludge but also has a few unexpected twists, like the jarring, angular noise rock of bands like Botch and the legendary Unsane, along with a few nods to their label chief’s own band, Today is the Day.

The album is split into four acts, each with several different titles, and over 22 minutes Defcon 4 venture effortlessly from each s t y l e in each segment. After the first act’s slow, doomy section, they venture into strange rhythmic drumming that is at first a tad disorientating, especially after the simplistic initial sludge groove, but once you get used to it, the section blends in very well and there is no doubt about the skill here. All the s t y l es that are blended into this brief album seem to be there for a reason, from the hardcore punk speed and the rock ’n’ roll guitar shredding in “Act II…” to the off-kilter rhythms interspersed throughout the album.

Those into this kind of music will now that it’s not to be listened to at the wrong time, since The Bad Road definitely does not carry any feel good elements. Even the guitar carries a certain dissonant and sombre tone, but you could do worse then adding Defcon 4 to your collection.

To read this review on StonerRock.com, click here, and check out some of the other reviews on the site as well.

Advertisements

February 16, 2009

Book Review: 50/50 – Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance by Dean Karnazes (with Matt Fitzgerald)

Filed under: books,Review,Writing — gazzabazza @ 12:46 PM
Tags: , ,

Men’s Fitness has already, in previous articles, proclaimed the author to be the fittest man alive. You might start thinking in the same vein even before you’ve read the whole title of his book, 50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance. Indeed, it is enough to hear about his exploits as a regular participant in ultra marathons in every single climate on several continents to realise that Dean Karnazes is a man whose interest in running goes far beyond just regular fitness. He deals in human stamina at its most extreme form.

Most of us who have an interest in running as a form of exercise and way of improving our health will know how hobbled and worn out one can feel after a very long run. Karnazes, on the other hand, decides to challenge himself by attempting to run, as expressed, 50 consecutive marathons, in 50 cities, in 50 different states. In this book he chronicles his entire project, from birth of the idea to its completion.

The company that sponsors him decides to make the project much larger in scope which turns Karnazes’s idea into a national interest but with this comes responsibility and, lest we forget, problems. It goes without saying that completing 50 official marathon runs requires a great deal of logistical planning.

50/50 and its clear prose style takes us through the entire eventful journey, marathon by marathon, and it makes for a very compelling read. Interest by the public to meet the man undertaking this project is larger than expected and after some initial problems with the post-marathon events being far too chaotic, things start to run a bit smoother.

One gets to like Dean Karnazes more and more for each chapter of his book. He doesn’t complain about the problems he encounters throughout, but merely chronicles them and it’s hard to find faults with a guy who has his own non-profit organisation that encourages kids to become physically active and takes time out after a gruelling run to interact with fans.

With 50/50 he tries to show the average runner how to be a better athlete and recover more quickly but he also wants to encourage other people to start running. This is where the book’s appeal lies – you don’t have to be a runner to like it. He isn’t trying to turn most people into super-endurance athletes, but fitness is important to Karnazes and he just hopes that people will try to become more active after reading 50/50.

In fact, you are more likely to get something out of the reading experience if you want to get started but not sure where to begin and are looking for some inspiration. The book is chock full of practical advice and training regimens for the beginner and tips on how to try and motivate your self.

50/50: Secrets I Learned Running 50 Marathons in 50 Days and How You Too Can Achieve Super Endurance is a compelling enough read to succeed in maybe inspiring some people. I won’t give away too much of the ending but the aftermath of Dean’s voyage has him doing something on a whim that shows that he isn’t like most athletes.

A book review published on Blogcritics. A good, interesting read about a different kind of athlete. I believe this book will inspire people to get more active- maybe not to the same extent as the subject of the book- and to be healthier.
Read it on Blogcritics here.  Dean Karnazes’s personal site is here.

Get reading.

The Devil Rides Out – Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3 review

Filed under: Music,Review,StonerRock.com,Writing — gazzabazza @ 12:37 PM
Tags: ,

Being named after an occult novel and a 60’s horror film one would expect this lot to produce some raucous sounds, and that is what the Perth, Australia collective offers.

What they have done here is released three EP installments, with six songs on each, and listening to them in chronological order, you start to view it as a chronicle of a band’s development. Not so much in terms of different music peering through on the recordings, but of subtle nuances like song writing, pacing, and production values that improve from the first to the last album. The music is soulful and blues-colored rock ’n’ roll that would fit quite nicely as a soundtrack to a biker movie with hairy reprobates swigging bourbon and riding choppers in between sessions of vandalism.

The Devil Rides Out is heavily 70’s influenced, as is expected, but the group owes more to the driving riffage and blues rhythms of yore than anything sludgy, slow, and doomy. Imagine a band that is the sum of ZZ Top, AC/DC, Led Zep, Miller High Life, sunshine, sideburns, and convertibles and you will come pretty close to physically defining The Devil Rides Out. A modern contemporary band like Clutch minus the jazz noodling can also be heard here, particularly in the vocal performance which on a few occasions brings to mind Neill Fallon’s more throaty wails. Vocalist Joey K’s singing is quite impressive throughout, as his voice is deep, rich and expressive.

Of the three recordings, Volume II is the most blues-rich EP, where the simple and choppy riffs and slower songs are at the forefront. With the third and final installment, you hear the band at its most comfortable. The slow blues is still there, but the focus lies more on the faster, high-octane tunes. It also benefits from a far better production sound than on the previous two mini-albums.

As is probably clear by now, the expectation should not be aimed at hearing originality here, but if you, like me, have a fondness for this kind of music then all three sessions by The Devil Rides Out will provide satisfaction.

I’m back after a short hiatus due to a busy work schedule- This review was published on StonerRock.com

Click here to read it on the site and here for the band’s Myspace page.

Blog at WordPress.com.