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              In the midst of all the mainstream hype for top gun metal releases this year, there has been a plethora of undetected talent showing up on my radar. Somewhere below the surface, gears have been turning and a specific group of musicians have been very hard at work. A group of musicians who have taken precious time, roughly five years including the groups lengthy hiatus, to perfect and fine-tune every component for their newest ear splitting EP, Infinite III. I am speaking of none other then Chicago heavy hitters, ROOKS. Effortlessly exerting an aggressive mixture of hardcore and metal, ROOKS does not settle for average and throughout Infinite III we are constantly reminded of why these guys are in a league of their own.

Having already gained a dedicated fan base since their inception back in 2009, ROOKS had set the bar high with previous works (Infinite, Infinite II, Addition By Subtraction (EP)). I believe the fans had an idea that the Windy City quartet would make a miraculous comeback at some point, but I don’t think any of us could have predicted the massiveness of Infinite III.

                  The brand new release offers four utterly pissed off tracks, packed with “In your face” intricacies that detonate with an unrivaled execution. Straight out of the gate in track one “Mugen,” the significant sound of downtuned guitar work is emphasized over powerful percussion. A seething Eli Martinez provides such screams as if his throat is coated in barbed wire, adding to the ferocity of this release. Through unfamiliar time signatures, guitarist Jeremy Carroll and drummer Delos Germaine conceptualize a dense tone in songs like “Countermeasure” and “Swarm.” Both musicians working perfectly in sync with each other to deliver a flawless product, carrying out consistency until the very last seconds of track four, “12-1.” Infinite III is an enthusiastic release that showcases ROOKS ability to play all the various elements associated with hardcore and metal. I know without a doubt that I am not the only one who is ecstatic to see these guys back in action.


ROOKS - Infinite III  (Released September 30th, 2016)


- Sean McLennan



Delos Germaine - Drums

Jeremy Carroll - Guitar

Eli Martinez - Vocals

Miguel Amor - Bass

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              There is a world of noise that exists outside the cultural norm of metal and hard rock. A world with a surplus of electronics, bleak sounds and pulsing mechanics. A world that Joliet, Illinois natives Programmable Animal would most likely call home and in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I am referring to the world of industrial rock. With their newest EP, The New Babylon, Programmable Animal take on a form of industrial rock that broadcasts a heavily distorted and destructive ambiance that is absolutely entrancing.

From the very start of track one “Trapped,” there is a strong NIN style energy present, unfolding into melancholy inspired melodies. At this point we are introduced to the alternating vocal attack that is present throughout The New Babylon. Kristen Hodges, whom also plays bass, provides soft and ominous notes, while lead vocalist Anthony Wonaitis projects angst-ridden articulations.

                  The title track “The New Babylon,” brings on a mechanized yet intoxicating delivery that develops fluidly from soothing to aggressive. Programmable Animal use a variation of synthesizers and sounds between each track to round this release off with an unearthly atmosphere, creating an electronica wonderland so to speak.

It is easy to hear the progression of Programmable Animal from their debut release, Drepsea, to The New Babylon. They have polished their sound and sharpened their musical skills over the last five years. They have proven that they are an oddity among local acts and are able to stand apart in a field of their own. To them, music is their art form, their way of promoting freedom and a way to express themselves. Their message to expose the grotesque ways of humanity through their music will continue as long as they are in existence.


Programmable Animal - The New Babylon (EP) (Released May 25, 2016)


Sean McLennan


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Programmable Animal is:



China White-Guitar


Joe-Keys John-Drums

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