Pauly B.

Pauly B.

             Orinoco, a metal band from Joliet, IL, recently released an EP that has been nourishing my brain.  Every once in a while, especially when it gets dark and cold, I need something to wake me up; something to shake me up and get my blood pumping.  From the moment I pressed play on Orinoco’s new EP –Nihilism (December 2017) - that is exactly what happened. 


At times I find myself gravitating toward music that is heavy and hostile, but with a purpose, a reason for being angry.  Wrongful authority, mistreatment and oppression, those kinds of things get my blood boiling.  Orinoco’s self-defined “brutal sound that blends breakdowns with death metal riffs and fast thrash” taps into that for me.


The first song on the EP, Kill the Creator, starts off full force and lets you know exactly what’s to come.  The tight, aggressive picking pattern in the intro, met precisely by the killer drum attack found throughout all three songs on Nihilism, sets the tone for the lyrics that follow: 


“People put here we are forced to trust…no longer will we be silenced…Now is our time to take back what is ours…and become the new power”


I love the guitar tone on the EP and there are many interesting riffs and melodies throughout.  The verse riff in Kill the Creatoris powerful with a dissonant, suspended sounding chord,whichreally helps build the tension, before the vocals kick in and provide a release.  There is also a tasteful solo that sounds great and fits the song well. 


The vocals themselves are diverse and full of energy and attitude.  No one part stands out or sounds better than another, but if I had to choose between a very heavy deep growl, a kind of talking - effectively calling attention to and asking for action in the face of threat and injustice –and a kind of aggressive, almost character driven, angst ridden snarl, I’d go with the latter.  It just perfectly fits the music and is delivered with such gusto.


The second song, Griffin, starts with a frenetic riff and then adds in some harmonized guitar work.  Done very effectively, this is accompanied by some terrific drumming.  The drumming throughout this album is really top notch, with lots of fills and detailed footwork.


The songkicks off with a cool heavy riff and then a great melody line that leads into the verse.  The vocals again are perfect, maniacally aggressive, and the rapid picking variations and steady riffhelp create a buzzing energy with great tone and clarity.  There is also a cool heavy section right before another solid solo.


The last song, Raised by the Stars, starts with a cool snare and guitar accompaniment, hits on a wicked little guitar run, and then breaks into straight chunk. 


“LIVE, living on the edge!!!”


There is a really cool hammer-on type lick in the verse, and then a story of alien invasion. 


“Shelter, they will consume us all…they have come to kill us all”


While it may seem like impending doom, the message I took away from this was, “We will show them who–we–are!”  In other words, we’re taking no shit!  It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, “We will not give up without a fight!”


This song has my favorite solo on the EP, and it also has its own nicely crafted lyric video on YouTube.


Overall, Nihilism is a three-song powder keg.  As the song goes, Orinoco has definitely shown us who they are.  Now it’s up to you to get their EP on the band's bandcamp and check them out at one of their upcoming shows!.


- Pauly B.


Orinoco Is:

Anthony Guardiola - Vocals
Chris Galindo - Guitar
Cody Kehn - Drums
Melissa Nestor - Bass



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Watch Raised By The Stars  lyric Video here

Oct 09

Genotype - "G.E.3"

              Genotype’s third album, G.E.3, is like an otherworldly musical adventure.  It picks you up in the middle of a dissonant riff and transports you onto a high-tech craft hurtling through the cosmos on a dangerous, but important mission.  The guiding force behind this interstellar journey is the one and only Charlie Esposito.  Charlie does not get the kind of recognition he deserves for being a thoughtful and gifted musician.  He is exceptional!  He is not only master of the riff, songwriter, and programmer, but he is also the recording engineer for the album.  There is a lot going on with every song on G.E.3, and the clarity and tone of everything throughout - including the skillful use of sounds and effects to accent and enhance different sections and transitions - is fantastic.


If anyone can stand alongside Charlie and help drive the ship, it’s Shaun Combee on guitar and Justin Krotz on bass.  There are a number of intricate riffs on this album and they come at you fast.  Shaun not only plays them meticulously, but he brings his personalityand enthusiasm to them, intensifying the overall dynamic of the song.  Laying down the low end and bringing the heavy when it’s needed, which is always, Justin stands toe-to-toe, adding depth and weight, and has a number of killer bass lines that demand attention.


If they are the driving force, then the ship is being powered by the highly esteemed Remington Roberts on drums.  Remington’s drum attack is both detailed and almost machine like in its precision.  His footwork is spectacular and his varied rhythms and fills on the rest of the kit are well thought out and executed to perfection.  While highly aggressive, there is also a lot of finesse on this album and some very tasteful and dynamic sections.


      Still, every ship needs a captain and commander – someone people can look to, to lead the charge.  Kadie Kirby is that captivating force. Her tone is very versatile and can be almost delicate and inviting, and yet vicious and hostile.  Soothing like a warm embrace, her clean tone phrasing and style can almost sound like a mythical kind of siren, calling out to draw you in, draw you closer.  Then, just when everything seems peaceful and serene, she strikes out and thrashestoward you, tearing at you like an aggravated force of nature.  It’s when she’s singing like this that the band, to me, is at their best, mostly because they’re at their heaviest, but I also just think her tone is phenomenal – really one of the best I’ve heard!If you have not seen Genotype live, it can be amusing.  You can see in the crowd some of the people that are new to Genotype, and when Kadie steps to the front of the stage, they see this petite little thing and don’t know what to expect.  In fact, some of them have a look like they don’t expect much.  And then it begins.  And you can see it on their faces.  Holy shit!  This girl is a bad ass!  And it’s true.  She is.  She is the perfect commander and chief ofG.E.3.


In the end, this album makes me think and really have to be mindful to take it all in.  I feel like I’m listening to intelligence personified through music.  Like I’m in some kind of sci-fi thriller, but I’m just along for the ride, so I get to sit back and take it all in while the pros do their job. 


There really is everything I look for in a great album.  There is what I refer to as “bounce” and killer riffage on songs like Cyberfi and Silence.  In fact Silence is one of my favorite songs on the album with an incredible amount of power and energy.  It has a cool synth riff to begin with and then at one point it’s like a molecular generator on the ship has been hit and there’s a pulsating power surge that’s out of control.  It’s riveting!


    There are also a couple of nice surprises and some interesting sections that really help create the overall mood and dynamic of the album.  Although you may be familiar with Genotype having a slower song in the mix, it’s still a departure within the context of G.E.3.  Lightworker is that song on this album.  Again, the clean tone and vocal phrasing is interesting and unique and there are some really nice vocal harmonies on the recording.  Combined with the melodic, acoustic guitar work and tastefully placed drums, this song almost puts you in a trance.  Then,The Dreamstarts with a whisper and synth, and although you know it’s coming, just like in a good thriller, you still jump when the vocals tear through the veil and lash out at you.  


In Synastrythe bass really comes through and Temple of Saturn has a cool trippy break down.  The biggest surprise on the album to meis, Praeteritus.  While it is definitely still Genotype, it took on more of a techno kind of feel and reminded me of being at a rave.  That got me to thinking that this intelligent life form that is G.E.3 would look amazingly well played at some sort of edgy fashion show on a stage alongside the runway, or at some kind of intergalactic sci-fi comic con.  It may seem crazy, but that would definitely be out of this world!


   All joking aside, Genotype's G.E.3 (released on October 13th, 2017) is a must listen.  A must own.  On top of their game, Genotype definitely brings it!


- Pauly B.



Genotype Is:

Kadie- Vocals
Charlie- Guitars/Programming
Shaun - Guitars
Justin - Bass Guitars

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             Consume the Divide (CTD) is a professional metal band from Chicago, IL.  While they have had their share of change since the band’s inception in 2012 (most recently adding Ryan Dickinson – formerly of Psychopathic Daze – on guitar) CTD has remained a force to be reckoned with – and in many ways has only managed to get better.  While challenging at times, staying true to their vision and persevering has paid off in a big way with the release of, “A Passed Life” (2017).


I recently had the opportunity to listen to the five song EP in detail and was thoroughly impressed from the get go.


              The first song I listened to was,Tooth and Nail.  I immediately felt like I was on some sort of twisted ride.  It picked me up and throttled me into a world that has been beautifully crafted, yet has a sickness that permeates it all.  As the song developed, it was like being shown the inside of a well-established, but still underground revolutionary mindset that’s ready to jump out and rip somebody’s throat out…”Revenge is a dish that’s best served on ice!”


Next came, Crossing the Line.  Pure energy – it made me want to jump out of my seat and start moshing.  It begins with a tight, chunky rhythm and when the vocals come in it goes into full crush mode.  The vocals by the way were amazing.  Fully utilizing both vocalists with complex melodies and harmonies is dare I say, fun to listen to.  Really, they’re so well done that it’s hard not to smile – even with the very serious message, “Now we rise to take our place…to take what’s rightfully ours!”


             The Masked One pays tribute to fallen friend and brother - Ray Rivera (as does the title of the EP - “A Passed Life”).  With lyrics like, “You are gone, but never forgotten!”… ”You’re an angel now, watching over me”… and “You are the masked one.  This one’s for you Ray!” you can sense the tremendous amount of respect they are trying to convey.  I must admit, however, that while I really liked the first two-thirds of the song, it was the last third that resonated with me.  I love it when heavy bands can break it down and play with an almost classical kind of finesse.  The contrast to me is very powerful.  This song does it beautifully, almost as if they were trying to reach out and make contact with their friend through the music. There was a whole different ethereal type of feeling that really added to the overall dynamic of the band.


When Serenity started, I found myself sitting back, arms crossed, wondering what would be next.  The songs were really good up to that point, and I was a little unsure if they would all be so good (Okay, I admit I had already heard the band and knew I liked them, so I wasn’t all that concerned.).  Anyway, any hint of uncertainty was quickly put to rest.  Another thing I really like about bands is when their songs don’t kind of all sound the same after a while.  Consume the Divide didn’t let me down.  The music, three guitars, bass and drums, came through as usual, creating an intricate web of musical textures.  The thing that was different about this one was that it took the vocals in a new direction and showed off the vocal versatility of the band – and the effective use of two vocalists; each of them doing their own thing – and kicking ass along the way!  I could have easily left off with the song’s last lyric, “Grant me serenity and take me away!” and have been happy.


But there was one more song!


             Ghost – well Ghost took the vocals and added a whole new twist.  Along with Serenity, this song had a melodic quality that stayed true to the band’s essence, but had a “crossover, radio friendly” type appeal.  Don’t kid yourself though.  The music was slamming!  The vocals were on point!  The song itself was well written (as were all of the others)!  I even liked the broken glass sounding effect at the beginning of the song.


Look, I don’t say this lightly.   If I don’t having anything nice to say, I don’t say anything at all (at least I try).  The whole “Passed Life” album was outstanding!  This band definitely has something going on.They are polished.  They are professional.  They are ready to break and should be playing major venuesto large crowds.


             In fact, they seem to be on the right track.  You can see them this weekend, Saturday, September 9th, as part of – The Revival (Yorkville, IL) - three days of musical mayhem!



*  “A Passed Life” was recorded by Nick Nativo (Oceano) at the Nook studio.


- Pauly B.



Consume The Divide Is: 

Joe - Vocals / Heavy
Jeff - Bass
Aaron-Guitar/Clean vocals
Colin- Guitar/Clean vocals


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           Prison City Brigade ( is a punk rock band based out of Joliet, IL.   While the band has been around since 2014, it took its name from the fact that Joliet – also known as “Prison City” - once held a maximum security correctional facility (considered by many now to be haunted).


Since their inception, Prison City Brigade has been hard at work staking its claim in the Chicagoland music scene.  With an aggressive, heavy-hitting style that blends all things punk, the band has set out to represent “the outcasts, dysfunctional, broken, abused, and rebellious”among us.  In doing so, Prison City Brigade has seen their fan base continue to grow throughout the Midwest and beyond.


               The band, now consisting of Eddie Cavanaugh (reminiscent of classic hardcore punkers) on vocals, Brandon Rivette and Tom Cappos on guitar, Rob Roman on bass, and Andrew Molloy on drums, recently put out a full length CD called, War on Boredom (2017).Equal parts dark, playful sarcasm (Prehistoric Wordplay, Octocock, Meet Me by the Stairs, Dad?, and Shitty Presents) and in-your-face aggressiveness (Man Up, Take Back Your Scene, Gas Leak, Get Famous First, and Give ‘Em Hell), the songs are all well written and performed with the energy that helps define the genre.  There are also a couple of more “mainstream” songs (Mixed Signals, and the bands “anthem” We Are the Brigade) that help to round out the sound, while still keeping the band’s edgy appeal. 


The CD, available at Amazon, iTunes, and streaming online, stays true to punk rock form, as over half of its twelve tracks come in at under two minutes in length.  While this may seem short to some, it in no way diminishes from the message they are trying to get across, which can be summed up in the following lyrics:  “Gotta get a move-on, gotta get out, gotta get away from this”…”We are the brigade!”


You can catch the brigade(playing these songs and others) on Saturday, August 5th at the 4th Annual Free Punkfest 2017(Cool Music Stop - Harvard, IL) or Sunday, August 6th at The Lemonade Stand Charity Show(The Forge - Joliet, IL).All proceeds from the charity show will go toward helping homeless children – donations accepted.


 *  Paige Kelly, originally of Bumsy and The Moochers, also plays bass on the CD and her vocals are featured on the song, Shitty Presents


- Pauly B



Prison City Brigade Is:

Eddie Cavanaugh -Vocals
Brandon Rivette -Guitar
Tom Cappos -Guitar
Rob Roman -Bass
Andrew Molloy -Drums


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          Self-proclaimed “politically charged & socially conscious Chicago based punk rockers”, Voice of Addiction (V.o.A.), are ready to hit the road to promote their new full-length CD, “The Lost Art of Empathy”.  With six official releases now and over 1,200 shows under their belt, V.o.A. is a seasoned band that has managed to keep their edge.  In fact, the edge may be sharper than ever, and “The Lost Art of Empathy” is ready to pierce the airwaves.


The first thing to notice about the CD is the production quality.  With interesting rhythms, melodies, and harmonies throughout, Mr. Precision at Bombshelter Recording Studio has managed to capture every note with clarity and full-bodied flavor.  Produced by V.o.A., Mr. Precision, and Wrecking Ball Production, the CD has a visually striking cover, which depicts the tone of the songs contained within, and includes a six-panel eco jacket with lyrics.


          As for the songs themselves, they are everything a (punk) rock fan could ask for – and more.  With Dennis Tynan on drums, Jake Smith on guitar and backup vocals, Ian Tomele on bass, vocals, and acoustic guitar, and Luke Ostojic providing backup vocal support, V.o.A. provides us with twelve songs of mind opening political and social exploration.  As primary songwriter Ian Tomele has expressed in the past, the band’s goal is to put difficult topics out on the table.  It’s not that they want to tell people what to think, but just get them thinking.


The songs all have a great story telling quality, and Ian’s vocal delivery is both diverse and in your face.  From the story of the struggles living in the rustbelt, to the highs and lows of traveling across the country as a touring band, songs one through twelve carry some common themes, while still managing to give us something different with each and every track.


          Aside from the gritty, versatile vocal delivery, Ian also supplies the classic thunderous punk rock bass tone that is a staple of the genre.   On guitar, Jake graces us with an array of interesting chord choices and helps create the mood with a collection of unique melodies.  With his precise, heavy hitting drum technique, Dennis helps generate the energy and keeps things hurtling along until the final track, which is an acoustic offering performed by Ian on guitar and vox.  Some of the guitar work on the album creates a kind of dissonance, but when the next section comes along and everything gets locked backed together, the tension is relieved and a wall of heavy aggressiveness takes over, providing an almost thrash like quality at times.  

It’s not easy for a full-length CD to hold someone’s attention all the way through on the first listening, but “The Lost Art of Empathy” has managed to do just that.

After listening through a few times, here are some notes on each of the tracks:


        1. “Rustbelt”

Starts with some slower raspy chords with a slight melancholy feel, then almost immediately the classic punchy punk bass tone kicks in, followed by some dynamic guitar harmonics.  The song begins to swell like a great punk rock song should and takes off.

The lyrics carry some of the common themes found throughout…

 “They stole our money and our trust”

“Nothing ever seems to go our way, just slave, to the grave…got to work to the day I die, gotta work just to survive”



  1. “Dead By Dawn”

 Tight, heavy rhythm section packed with energy and emotion.  Such full dynamic sound for three people – four including the extra backup vocals.

 Interesting background vocals, timed just right, multi-dimensional.

Sounds sing-songy in the best way possible, but the lyrics are none too happy.

The spirit of sticking together, having someone/something to be a part of.


“It gets so dark, before the dawn”

“It’s been a struggle and a strife, I fight for breath every night”

“Without each other we’d come undone”


Some punk rock vocalists come across as whiney, but one thing I love is the presentation of the lyrics.  Great raw, punk rock “balladeering” - then the three-part chorus enters!!! Interesting melodies and harmonies



  1. “Unity”

If “Dead by Dawn” was a bit haunting, “Unity” comes out cranking with rage and angst.  One of my favorite parts is right after the first chorus.  I admit, one of my favorite things is a great punk rock breakdown (although some will say punk rock doesn’t have break downs – I disagree), and the bass tone is perfect.


Has common theme of sticking together, having hope


“Because I still believe, that with unity, everything can be achieved”


  1. “Petty Schemes”

Don’t follow the traditional path - Starts with a slow, fat bass riff, interesting guitar melody.  Verse vocals are again more sing-songy, and the guitar melody helps to create an interesting, dare I say jazzy feel.  Helps to give every song on this album a different twist, while remaining true to the theme.



“Can smell it on your breath, the desperation of petty schemes…Destroy our dreams, with your petty schemes, tearing at the seams”

Ends with Ian screaming – “fading away!”


  1. “Corporate Pariah”

Starts out like a great punk rock ballad, telling a story…


“We gave everything until we died”

“Only looking for some traction, a reaction to the blank expression on your face”


Ska-like verses


Contains CD title lyric – “The Lost Art Of Empathy”

“False Messiah,” “Corporate Pariah,” “Global Tragedy”


“We bought your soul – it’s all coming down, tonight”


  1. Lockwood”

Uplifting, soaring guitar riff – “Let’s go!”


Reminiscing about the good old days

“We were just having fun, until it all came undone”


“You gotta sing it like you mean it” – love this line


So we raise our glass up to the sky…

Punk rock heroes never – punk rock heroes never die!”


  1. “I Can’t Breathe”

One of the heavier songs on the album.  I especially like the riff right after – “Did you feel the blast?” 


Song serves to express the feeling that we’re headed on a crash course for doom and destruction…“The city isn’t safe” – I can’t breath…We can’t breathe (common theme throughout)


  1. “Everything Must Go”

In your face vocals mixed with an interesting guitar texture


“Destroy the future for the young. With these poison clouds, where can we run?”


First song with a guitar solo of sorts (not too common in punk rock) - acts as an outro


  1. “Ad Nauseum”

So much of the same old nonsense that


“There’s nothing left to believe”


  1. “Eviction Notice”

Starts with an intricate, fat bass line and then hits a dissonant chord before hurtling into the verse with the drums driving the song.  Chunky, almost thrash like bridge section


“The machine, the one that destroys everything”


  1. “Alcorn Queen”

Starts with a kind of off time guitar riff before the bass takes hold and vocals kick in  Second glimpse of a guitar solo


  1. “Are We Even Human Anymore?”

Once again proves singing chops with a heartfelt story - cleaner vocals, though still with a bit of rasp


Acoustic offering telling the story of touring across the country and ends with a glimmer of hope


“These are our songs, of defeat and revolution and the strength to carry on.”  “Where we all belong.” “We’ll all die in this together.”  “But if we do, make it through…”


          Although a few days away from official release, this is a great CD and would be well worth the effort to check it out.  In fact, if you are interested and can make it out, you can catch their CD release show at Cobra Lounge in Chicago on Sunday, July 16th.  The show starts at 7:00 pm, and they will be playing with - Johnny Automatic, Kodakrome, and Headspins.   The band will be giving away FREE cd's of the new full-length to all whom attend as a thank you to the fans for the continued support over all these years.




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Wrecking Ball Production