Rick's Mailbox Volume XVI: Throw Me a Party, Bitches!

Posted 06/06/2010 06:35AM by Rick Gebhardt as Rick's Discoveries
06/06/2010 06:35AM

Being an editor here at Decoy, I get a fair amount of mail from bands, labels, PR companies, and other random sources. Most of the mail comes in the form of packages containing CDs for bands that want reviews, coverage, or just a mention somewhere in some publication to get their name out. It would be impossible for us to review every album submitted to us, and I think many bands know that, but I sometimes feel guilty letting things slip through the cracks, especially since people no doubt went out of their way to send something my way for consideration by Decoy. In the spirit of trying to get the word out there for artists who might otherwise not get much coverage elsewhere, let’s dig into my mailbox and see what interesting submissions have come through lately.

Driven FearSociety’s Finest?

This is an EP that will brutalize you if you give it a chance. Driven Fear are intense as all get out and are not afraid to give you hardcore that will break you. Imagine an amalgamation of the attitude of Down to Nothing with the approach and sound of Raised Fist… and then slam your face into a wall. It’s tough to find hardcore bands that are intense without sounding cliché or generic so it’s an extra special treat to get to hear a band like Driven Fear. (artist website)


Time Has ComeDisaster Zone

Breakdown-core has become a genre with way too many bands in it, all sounding pretty similar. Time Has Come are yet another member of this horribly simplistic genre, sounding like one more Emmure or Bury Your Dead clone. If you enjoy listening to Lifefuiner or need something loud, bludgeoning, and simple to listen to in the weight room, Disaster Zone will be a good fit for you… or else you can probably just move along. (artist website)


Birch BookA Hand Full of Days

I’m not usually a big folk fan, but Birch Book’s brand of psychedelic and bohemian influenced folk is hard not to be captivated by. Utilizing sparse arrangements that focus on the interplay between the guitars and lead vocalist B’ee’s voice, you’ll be entranced by Birch Book’s dark contemporary folk. Many of the songs have a ghost town atmosphere and a rough, worn edge. Your attention will rarely waver as you listen to this album. (artist website)


My Silent BraveryAre You Prepared?

My Silent Bravery is a mish-mash of everything you can imagine in the modern pop-rock genre. Some tracks are drenched in keyboards, others have programmed drums and auto-tuned vocals, while others swim around in R&B tinged indie rock. Despite the use of all of these big ticket items, a lot of the time the album feels like it is lacking heart. The songs are executed well and definitely have some appeal, but they sometimes feel empty and manufactured. The best moments, though, are definitely when the band experiments with the use of funk-styled bass guitar lines and flow, but these times are not always prominent. (artist website)


Child BiteThe Living Breathing Organ Summer

Where oh where do some bands come up with the ideas for the songs they write? Child Bite want to be the next big avant-garde indie rock band, but instead The Living Breathing Organ Summer is a very discordant mix of elements that don’t necessarily belong together. The indie rock and post-punk elements of the band aren’t all that bad on their own. However, when you add in the odd organ playing found on most of the songs, lead singer Shawn Knight’s odd vocals (which sound like a mix of Man Man and Clutch), and the sometimes spastic guitar outburst, you get songs that feel quirky more so in a weird way than an endearing way. (artist website)


Drowned SorrowFittings at the Coffin Shop

This album caught me a little off guard. Instead of falling into the trappings of so many modern metal and metalcore clichés, Drowned Sorrow sound decidedly “classic” sounding, if classic means 90’s metal and metalcore. There are moments that are reminiscent of early Zao and Strongarm while you may also hear the slight creeping early career Every Time I Die influence. It’s refreshing to hear a band not concerned with keeping up with what is trendy and instead putting out music that interests them. The only area where this band could use work is the vocal department. Dan Roberts is very much a capable vocalist, but there are more than a few times where his voice doesn’t quite match the music. (artist website)


Manrock Manrock

Oh man, who wants some dirty, southern rock? Because that’s what Manrock give you. Mixing together healthy doses of Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Down, AC/DC, and Every Time I Die, this self titled album is the prime soundtrack to a hazy night out at a dive bar where the rock is blasting, the boys are shooting pool, and everyone is slamming a PBR. These guys just want to rock your socks off, so why not let ‘em? (artist website)


Astronaut DownMoths to the Flame

Prog rock fans can be extremely fickle and often have preconceived notions of what to expect from the genre. Astronaut Down have their feet firmly planted in the prog rock genre, but they also add a little post-metal crunch every now and again and also bust out into some decidedly early career Dredg inspired moments. This actually leads to a very potent mix that lends itself to being appealing to a large swath of music fans. I was very pleasantly surprised by Moths to the Flame and hope it catapults the band forward. (artist website)


Quack QuackSlow as an Eyeball

There’s quirky and then there’s quirky. This definitely falls into the latter of the two. More than half of this album’s runtime I was found scratching my head wondering what the hell the band was doing. Having songs based around the combination of drums, keyboards, and bass leads to an already odd sound, but when you take that groundwork and have each of those instruments sometimes doing things that don’t necessarily feel like they go together is jarring. Honestly, a lot of the songs felt like they should be the soundtrack to some sort of avant-garde porno from the late 80’s. (artist website)


Breathing BlueBreathing Blue

Cookie cutter pop rock may do it for some, but not for those with a discerning ear. Breathing Blue are competent pop-rockers, but they don’t do anything that’s going to help them pull away from the myriad of other similar bands vying for the same audience’s attention. There’s nothing wrong from a technical standpoint with this self-titled EP, but there’s nothing that stands out either. It’s just there… which I suppose is probably good enough for some. (artist website)


Rick Gebhardt
Age: 34

At least half of this batch is quality and deserves your time to listen to. I'm really into Driven Fear, Manrock, and Astronaut Down.


Zach Roth
Age: 27
Fishers, Indiana

I'm excited to hear a bunch of this stuff.

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Jake Oliver
Age: 27

Rick, great call with Manrock. Love 'em.

Age: 23

Really into Driven Fear.

Bill Lohr
Age: 31
Lehigh Valley, PA

DRIVEN FEAR RULES HARD.Been into those guys for a little bit now. Nice to see you post a good hardcore band, Rick.
ManRock is rad too. Never heard of 'em before this, thank you sir.


Hey Rick, I saw Driven Fear supporting Toe to Toe a couple of years ago and they blew me away. I had to pick up that EP. They sorta remind me of an Australian Comeback Kid. You really should do yourself a favour and check out their new LP that came out a couple of months ago called 'Contender'. It rips!