V/A Ursa Major
By Marcus Pan
I almost booted this from the review
schedule because it is, well, a bit black metalish. But it's tracks by groups
like A New January, CEOXiME and Flood Damage that made me change my mind enough
to not do so. There's some here that would fall better in a metal review
magazine, but we'll give it a go because we have been known to occasionally
wander into other genres.
Made in Canada, Ursa Major is a compilation made by
Inner Venus, complete with a jacket that talks about all of the eighteen bands
showcased. It's put together quite well, very professional, and I give a thumbs
up to the production staff. Since it's a compilation, we talk about the
Flood Damage Turn On the Ugly Lights
Very dark, black metalish in a way, laced with raunchy guitar licks and fat
back mic'ed drums. It's electronic lacing to the metallic riff work makes this
cross genres into the realm of Ministry-like industrial music as well. And not
Reducer Back Bone
bitch rock 'n roll in the vein of Hole or a heavier Letters To Cleo. Not quite
Legends-centric in its format, but for those that like this sort of
dirty-girl-yell-at-me-until-I-cream thing, rock on.
Casting Method Gods 'N Monsters
Heavy metal. Pure and simple. Tool, Metallica...you get the image. Is it
good? Well...it's a bit standard, but the slap-pop bass isn't half bad at all.
Otherwise, a little dirtier than KRock, but otherwise same same.
CEOXiME Stop In Your Tracks
inclusion of a track by Detroit's CEOXiME outfit is probably the reason why I
received this compilation in my mailbox for review (from DEC if memory serves).
An interesting segue from the thrash of Casting Method to the floaty synthetics
of Stop In Your Tracks. A sliding bass groove anchors the track while
the synth melodies swirl above. A bit minimal, but cute...picks up a
static-laden approach near the end as it grates to a stop.
Fade is a good follow
to the previous CEOXiME track as it blows up on you with windy synthetics and
the sultry vocals of Melissa Benerakis. But it quickly surprises you with very
heavy guitar work with the continuing brilliant and bright keyboard melodies.
This is one of the highlights of Ursa Major. The only thing holding Q
back from stardom is that it's a bitch to search for them on the web.
looking at the band photo in the liner notes of Ursa Major, Bottomfeeder
seem to be an eight person band. I don't know for sure, since the notes on the
band themselves are nothing more than binary digits with the occasional kewlio
word thrown in (i.e. evolution, armageddon, etc.). Hypochondria is a
very garage sounding outfit a dark metal / thrash core sound with your
standard screaming, power chords, etc. The sudden shift into a softer setting
comes out silly.
Trak Addikt Nothing's There
down and infusing a swirly-yet-guitarish 311 sound, Trak Addikt aren't half bad
at all. Switching between heavy riff-laced choruses and lighter progressive
lyrical sections, their blending of heavier metal-industrial sounds with
electro-pop styles and in your face rap-like vocals create a very interesting
We suddenly find
ourselves being crooned to by Ogden, who seem out of place following the
smattering of electro, metal and industrial metal that preceded them. That's
not to say that Dictionary is a bad track it's actually not bad
at all. A very shoegazery feel, pack yourself a few joints in the cig. pack and
Killing the Messenger Less Chat
Feel good rocker foursome Killing the Messenger, complete with
Metallica-like logo, join us with their interestingly titled Less
More Hat single. They have an expectantly similar sound, as well,
which is quite do remarking strongly on Garage Days gone by.
Bunny Five Coat Sweet Honesty
are a bitchy female band and one of the few tracks off of Ursa Major
that I tried adding to the upcoming Legends Net.Radio playlist (unfortunately,
they never got back to me). Simplistic but catchy, Ericas lead vocals
rasp the lyrics at you in true femme fatale manner. Web: www.bunnyfivecoat.com
Lots of angry
chicks on this compilation. This time we have Rachel Cassady, sounding very
much like Janice Joplin with a heavier background, crooning Aborist. Its
not bad, but a little standard all around, really. From Rachels
leather pants, to the band name Motorpsychos, to the common riffs and chord
progressions on Aborist.
Despite Best Intentions Sketching Picasos
Trying to keep it a little interesting, Despite Best
Intentions mix up time signatures often and come out sounding curiously like a
cross between the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Primus. Unfortunately, Sketching
Picasos Skull suffers from too many rhythm changes and instead of
coming out like a solid song is instead split apart and non-cohesive. The
production leaves a bit to be desired as well.
The Bully Cats Asphyxiation
being a sometime fatal way of jerking off, asphyxiation is now a song title as
well. I assumed The Bully Cats were a bit rockabilly when I saw their name, but
they dont look it. Nor do they sound it. Their curiously interesting use
of fake addresses and website URL (i.e. 666 Hell Mother Fucker Ave.) comes out
like mommys little boy threw a temper tantrum than anything else.
Im unimpressed both aesthetically and musically.
Yigga Digga Black
well-produced metal strains find their way onto track 14 of Ursa Major.
Yigga Digga was at first guessed at to be a drum n bass outfit due to
their name, but it turns out yigga digga is actually the sound you
make when trying to describe a guitar riff. So yes
n roll. Stoner rock in fact, and good enough to be picked up soon for a
full release. Solid production, solid riffwork, solid playing, tight
musicianship. I say YD should drop a line to Meteor City Records and get
something out there.
Invizable Munkee Slave of the New World
At first glance, what we have here is your Trent Reznor clone. A tortured
soul seeking his escape through music. Also extremely out of place on Ursa
Major following the long period of heavy metal and rock n roll. He
does have an interesting take on electro-pop though, creating a laid back chill
out tune with Slave of the New World. He tends to mix it up strongly
with a lot of misplaced samples that tend to break the song up a bit too much
but not as badly as some of the sample jockeys Ive heard in my
A New January Outburn
name I recognize! Outburn is also a track youll find on the
upcoming Legends Net.Radio play list as well. ANJ show serious improvement over
past releases, and have gotten heavier, grittier, edgier and much more
interesting. Nice work from this foursome.
Less than 24 hours
ago, I was playing Half-Life against Legends producer, the Mean Little
Man. Needless to say I pretty much kicked his ass all over the deathmatch
boards. But that has nothing to do with the track Halflife from Hypoid,
of course. Berend Nieuwstraten III is the brains behind Hypoid, and this
one of his many projects is his industrial-techno outfit. Its not
bad, but it just doesnt grab you too much.
Black Moth Super Rainbow The Magical Butterfly
An attempt at winning the most fucked up band name,
Im sure, Black Moth Super Rainbows The Magical Butterfly Net
closes Ursa Major. Short, slow, brooding and minimal. A little too
minimal, but it closes Ursa Major in a nice way.