good tiger a head full of moonlight

Album Review: Good Tiger – A Head Full Of Moonlight

“Don’t compare them to The Safety Fire. Don’t compare them to any of their prior projects…” I thought after repeated listens. But it was too late. It was unavoidable for the time being.

Hard rockers Good Tiger are a collection of talented musicians that have lost their places in previous and defunct bands. The collaboration, having formed earlier this year and relying on an Indiegogo campaign to release their first album, consists of ex-TesseracT vocalist Elliot Coleman, ex-The Safety Fire guitarists Derya Nagle and Joaquine Ardiles, ex-The Faceless drummer Alex Rudinger, and bassist Morgan Sinclair. A successful fundraiser that ended after just days should only prove the popularity of this band and the desire of fans to hear new music. Residing somewhere between rock and metal, even given the moniker of “progressive” (which I will touch on later), Good Tiger has released their debut album “A Head Full Of Moonlight” last Friday, a collection of nine songs full of spunk, energy, and potential. But how does it fare against what each member has released in the past?Read More »

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Album Review: Godsticks – Emergence

Hard rockers Godsticks are a rising band within the progressive rock scene. Having only heard of them thanks to their relation to The Aristocrats and The Pineapple Thief, I was overwhelmed upon my first listen of their upcoming album “Emergence.” With assertive and heavy rhythms, booming bass and intricate drum work, I was blown away by the sheer power and skill of the band. If they haven’t reached superstar status from the progressive rock community yet, they will surely receive the recognition they deserve with “Emergence.”Read More »

Album Review: Disturbed – Immortalized

Four years in waiting, fans of nu-metal band Disturbed have been left in anticipation wondering where their beloved band went. About a month ago, Disturbed surprised everyone, announcing they returned from their hiatus and will be releasing their next album this Friday (08/21). Luckily, they made their upcoming album “Immortalized” available to stream prior to its release, allowing me the opportunity to share my thoughts of the album. Let’s just say the wait was well worth it for dedicated fans. As for the casual listener, well…Read More »

john lancaster a penchant for hell on earth

Album Review: John Lancaster – A Penchant for Hell on Earth

Before I proceed with this review, I wanted to say one thing: Bandcamp is an amazing site! I have found so many artists and bands through them, and have been able to share some great music to others simply from searching by the genre. Using Bandcamp, I was recommended this next album, and immediately fell in love with it. A mix of hard rock, alternative rock, and even grunge rock, John Lancaster is a talented artist, providing some original and heavy rock music to spice up your life.Read More »

Concert Review: Nine Inch Nails / Soundgarden / Cold Cave

This past week, I was able to see two bands whom I’ve listened to for some time, but have never seen live: Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails. I found both of them long after their most celebrated albums, but have enjoyed listening to both their older works and newer releases.

When I found out that this concert would be held at Sleep Train Amphitheater (AKA Cricket Amphitheater, AKA Coors Amphitheater), I was a little worried. Only attending one prior concert there, I was not a fan of the seating arrangement, as the closest seats are still far away from the stage. Nevertheless, I was excited to go with my good friend Jules (from “2 Nerds and a Dude”) and his family, who happened to be major Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden fans.

The opening act was a duo called Cold Cave. Having learned that the prior opening act disbanded months before the tour started, I was not expecting anything great out of this band, thinking both headliners were eager to just fill the spot with anyone willing. Hanging outside the theater, my friends and I started hearing decent music come from the stage. Thinking it was just the pre-concert music that every venue plays, we slowly made our way to our seats, only to find out the opening band actually started. Overall, I was quite pleased with the band. Having never heard of them before, they performed very well, and had some pretty cool video effects behind them. The sound was more synth-pop and indie than I imagined, but could easily be used as background music at work. An unexpected surprise to the start of this concert.

Just as nightfall started, Soundgarden graced the stage. Playing to a nearly sold-out crowd, I was more impressed with the crowd reaction to Soundgarden than I was with Nine Inch Nails. Many fans around me screamed the lyrics to favorites like “Black Hole Sun” and “Jesus Christ Pose,” while more of the fans were in a stupor when watching Nine Inch Nails and not moving from their seats. Chris Cornell had an amazing voice as always, Kim Thayil played tremendous solos throughout the set, while Matt Cameron and Ben Shepherd were amazing on drums and bass. There was a variety of effects, ranging from different types of lighting to a large video screen displaying some socio-political and religious emblems. The set was much more proggy than I expected, since I don’t consider Soundgarden a progressive rock band by any means. Several songs contained extended solos and bridge sections, while the last song was drawn out an extra few minutes, as each member left the stage one by one. I loved their stage presence and performance, and enjoyed listening to their greatest hits.

Nine Inch Nails
Photo by Kenny Norton

After some time, the crowd started to scream again. Looking at the stage, I saw Trent Reznor come onto the stage by himself with one light focused on him. For some time prior to this concert, Jules, being the ultimate Nine Inch Nails fan, had told me all the crazy effects and stage performances they have done. I was surprised to see such a simple start to their set, but was not disappointed in the end. The remaining members slowly trickled into their first song “Copy of A,” and only then did the vibe feel right. Nine Inch Nails went on to play many songs, mostly from their earlier records like “Pretty Hate Machine” and “Broken” (the only part of their discography that I don’t know too well). Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed this concert. What I liked most about their set was the member of the band that I least expected: their drummer Ilan Rubin, who happens to be a San Diegan. His performance was simply outstanding. I have never seen a drummer so technical, yet so accurate live. I would love to see them again just to see that drummer again. In the encore, the band came back to perform one of my favorite songs by them, “Hurt.” With such a depressing video display behind them, I nearly cried as he sang the chorus:

“And you could have it all / My empire of dirt / I will let you down / I will make you hurt.”

This concert was a lot of fun. While both bands celebrated their 20th anniversaries of their greatest albums, each band was able to mix in some other material. The opening act was listenable, which has become a rarity nowadays. There were many special effects during each performance despite the outdoor venue. Sleep Train Amphitheater redeemed itself in this concert, and now I am willing to give the venue another chance.