Black Heart Saints (EP-2014)


Josh Ross – Vocals
Mark Sean – Guitar
EJ Laurel – Bass
Nathan Flores – Drums

I have been waiting to get my hands on this one for about two months now.

To start with, I am going to take a quote from the film, “Friday After Next”.. paraphrased.

This music is so damned good, it makes you wanna slap yo mama!

Black Heart Saints is a breath of fresh air inside of the already convoluted and surfeit music scene of Austin, Texas.

This four song gem was worth the sacrifice as well as the money. Their music matches their frenzied stage show. In which many people have come to me and have described it in their own words.

“Touch The Sky” is one song that you will listen to, and you will not be able to sit still. It summons every fiber of your being to get up and move. “Wasting Away” will also get your head banging, your pulse pounding, and your blood flowing.

After exploding on to the scene from SXSW Festival in 2014, Black Heart Saints has been polishing their musical reputation ever since, opening for top name bands.

Honestly… what more could you want in a band that is making its way to the top, and taking no prisoners?? This is a ride you wanna get in on.

After recently playing with Texas legends Dangerous Toys in 2015 and ORGY during the first weekend of 2016, Black Heart Saints is finding its fan base growing in a rapid explosion. Their music matches their energy and the band is no joke. Top notch serious musicians wanting to get their message out to the world and taking everyone in one at a time.

This EP earns a 4 out of 4 Black Hearts. ♥♥♥♥

If you wanna get to rockin’ or if you really want something to fill your eyes for a live performance. Black Heart Saints is the band for you!!!!


Snake Skin Prison: Lakota (EP- 2015)



Matt Ballengee- Guitars/Vocals
Keith Ploeger- Bass Guitar/Vocals
Marc Coronado- Drums

Austin based trio, Snake Skin Prison, has a brand new surprise for you rough walkin’, hard talkin’, stiff drinkin’ hooligans out there.

Although this is one of the smallest EPs that I have ever seen (three tracks in total) I bring a guarantee that you will not be sorry. The only thing you’ll want… is more. Thankfully, this Austin band is active and will be seen playing live still. They’ve not gone into hiding with their recordings and they are definitely not stagnant. Instead, the SSP train is running off the tracks and into your mama’s face!

“House Of No Regrets” has this slow/hard/soft/heavy feel to it. It is comparable to GWAR’s  masterpiece of “The Road Behind.” Whether you cry or lift your lighter into the air, this beginning track sets a tone for the other two.

“Bury Me In The Mountain” and “Farther” you will have to hear for yourself. I mean, I can’t give it ALL away. Support your local music, people!!!!!!!!!!!

Although I will say that “Bury Me In The Mountain” will soon become a staple for SSP fans, and maybe have an honored and constant presence on the song list for live shows.

This EP is 9.75 out of 10.


Vanessa Del Fierro: Pistolas Y Leyendas (2015)


Guest Musicians:
Robert Casillas: Accordion, Bass, Harp
Jose Perez: Drums
William Carlton Galvez: Vihuela, Guitarrón, Violin
Haydn Vitera: Electric Guitar, Violin
Julian Gamez Arizola: Vihuela, Guitara on “Mexican Train”
David Ortiz: Trumpet
Mariah Del Fierro: Vocal Intro for “The Llorona”

I had the very distinct pleasure and honor of receiving an invitation to a CD Listening Party for Vanessa Del Fierro as she released her latest work. Being that it was by invitation only, I figured that this was going to be vastly impressive.

I have known Vanessa Del Fierro for over a year now. I knew she was very talented, but I would honestly have no real clue as to how true that would be.

When I had returned home from the listening party, I took advantage to listen to the physical copy of the album that she graciously signed with sincerity and admiration.

I have heard  the song, “Maldito Pistolero” before as she has performed it live. But a studio recorded version of it, I had not heard. I was just as impressed, if not even more.

You don’t necessarily need to know Spanish to enjoy this album. Some knowledge of it is going to be helpful to understand the lyrics, but it is not needed for the overall enjoyment of this record. Music speaks a universal language that enters into our very soul.

My own knowledge of the Spanish language is faulty at best, but I still believe that for the universal music lovers in the world that this is definitely an album that is a must have for 2015.

Del Fierro’s vocals are an absolute joy upon the ears. Her range goes farther than the imagination and the power and conviction behind them are nothing short of excellence.

From mariachi style to the music in the Latin culture and back again, “Pistola Y Leyendas” reaches out and connects with one and with all. No matter where they come from or their background. There is something on this album fitting for everyone.

Other personal favorites are “Mi Novio Pancho Villa”, “Runaway Campesino”, and “The Llorona.”

If “Runaway Campesino” does not get your body in motion and your booty a-shakin’, then you are at a loss.

“The Llorona” of course is about the legend of “La Llorona” which is a predominant legend, mostly throughout Texas. But in other places as well.

This song is very beautiful and at the same time very haunting. It causes the hairs on my body to stand on end and goosebumps all over.

But as I said earlier, my personal champion of the record is “Maldito Pistolero”… which gives me that shock wave of fervor and sense crawling up and down my spine and all the way inside my brain to where my eyes produce tears. (I proved that to be true at the listening party as I was caught in public while I wept.)

And in this opinion, the album can be played at just about any event or function for everyone to enjoy and have a great time. This will definitely be played at some parties in the coming years.

The album is available on Google Play and iTunes.

I score this 99 out of 100.  I am sure that it will be your favorite as well. Whether you live and breathe in the culture or just love the expansion of music genres, this is definitely a hit.

Vanessa Del Fierro has one awesome music career. Hopefully one day someone will see or hear her and take her to the top of the mountain because that’s where she belongs.

Download here:

Pistolas Y Leyendas

Fear Control: The Monster (EP-2015)


Fear Control:
Kash Sarkaria – Rhythm Guitar/Vocals
Frankie Rodriguez- Lead Guitar
Angel Costilla- Bass Guitar
Stan “669” Petraitis- Drums

Austin, Texas local band, Fear Control, just released their sophomore EP “The Monster” a few days ago. Their CD Release Party was held at the Dirty Dog Bar with high and esteemed honors from their peers and to great fan response.

Fear Control does thrash metal right. Presented in its original TRUE and undiluted form. From their heart racing, pulse stomping tracks of  “Masks” and “Until The Suffering” all the way to the end.

Party and alcohol enthusiasts now have their own anthem with “Texas Tea” as the lyrics commence with the encouragement of “Chug! Chug! Chug!”, and why not??? Fear Control is all about being with your best friends and ultimately just having a good time.

Hardcore, face melting, pit moshing, head-banging good time.

Any self respecting metal fan (particularly if they enjoy thrash) would do well to add this album to their collection.

If you are in the central Texas area, find your way to one of their live shows. The atmosphere explodes with this album being played fucking raw and live.

Fear Control is soon to go on the road, destroying the path to the West Coast and back. Check their website for more information on when and where they will be playing soon as well as information to get their EP and purchase some of their merchandise which is hot off the presses. Even delight in one of their many social media websites.


One-Eyed Doll: Witches (2015)


Kimberly Freeman- Guitar, Banjo, Lead Vocals
Jason “Junior” Rufus Sewell- Drums, Bass, Synths, Organ, Mandolin Backing Vocals, “Ember” sermon

The album “Witches” by One-Eyed Doll was released on the 24th of March. One-Eyed Doll also currently supporting the album with a cross-country tour through May 2015.

I had the opportunity to catch them at the Heart of Texas Rockfest 2015 during the SXSW Music Festival as they swept through the state and across the southern United States. I was fortunate enough to land my hands on the album days before the official release. So to bring home a physical copy of the album was quite the treat. And I’ve been deeply involved with it for the last week and more.

Most recently I took the album with me at an excursion to the grocery store. Plugged into my ears, I listened intently as I browsed up and down the aisles. Being there long enough for me to go through the album in its entirety, twice. Needless to say, it is the only thing I’ve listened to since then.

The complexity of the album grows with each track through the conceptual idea of telling the story of the Salem Witchcraft Hysteria that actually took place in Salem, Massachusetts in 1692.

I even love the fact that the tracks are listed on the back of the CD cover in Roman numerals. Eleven tracks in total. 43 minutes in length. Exactly 43 minutes.

I did read in another article/interview that Kimberly Freeman mentioned that the lyrics are based on historic research from what was saved in Salem, as well as her own point of view from each person that was involved in the hysteria.

The first track “Ember” begins with this somber feeling which transports you back into 17th Century Colonial-American period. A preacher’s voice can be heard victimizing its congregation that the Devil is in fact real.

As it builds and continues right into the second track “Prayer” which takes on a tone of its own. A chilling account of the different main characters of the story being told, with their so-called prayers as they suffer from the situation that has befallen them. The screaming and snarling heard vocally gets your blood pumping and it blows your mind to what it had to be like for the children of Salem to have “suffered” what they went through.

(Personally though, I would like to know if they did or did not sample a part of Walt Disney’s “Snow White” for a line or two behind the music. I could be way off.)

“Black In The Rye” brings One-Eyed Doll back to their usual metal sound. The interesting bit would be the theory of the rye being diseased by something called “Ergot” which has the same properties as the drug LSD. They lived off their land, and the theory could be that the crops were suffering this disease and it could give an explanation as to why the children of Salem were going through their fits of insanity and bewitching. An interesting theory indeed. This track is currently being played live on stage during their current tour.

“More Weight” taken from the actual words of one of the many who were executed for witchcraft. Giles Corey however was pressed to death, having stones laid upon his body until his body was crushed by the weight, rather than hanged like the others. Instead of confessing as his accusers were wanting, he insisted more weight of stones be pressed against him until he finally perished.

So far this is my favorite track on the album. As well as bits from “Prayer.” I find the lyrics to “Prayer” incorporating the different point of views to be totally haunted. Again with “Stillness” the lyrical content has successfully either caused tears to come forth or send shivers up my spine and literally cause me to fall to the floor… of which I am certain that if the 17th Century Puritan ministers would have seen it, would have thought that “I” was bewitched.

Other tracks give off this kind of Blues feeling with the prominent instrument being a banjo. Tracks such as “Remember” and “Stillness” show off the refulgent and undeniable talent of the duo. ONEEYEDDOLL_color1_resized

Kimberly Freeman’s vocals are spot on and both nostalgic and memorable. Captivating, strong, and very lethal in a sense to be able to tell the story of the entire album track by track. Knowing that “Junior” is basically the band’s “Jack of All Trades” when it comes to musical abilities. He includes his majestic music playing many instruments on the album.

The idea of having a concept album works! With each track like its own chapter of the story, you’re transported away with pleasing music and astonishing story telling by Kimberly Freeman. You spend all of those 43 minutes immersed in your own mind wondering what it would have been like to have been alive during all of the events that took place.

I personally believe that this album will be raising awareness to the story told. A story that is sadly and unfortunately no longer told in schools today, but was in fact discussed during my school days as a youth. Once a person listens to this album, it will cause Internet searches to rise in numbers so that they could earn more information of what honestly happened.

The album is a definite must have. I would score it an actual 103 out of 100, due to the chills and scares it gave me while listening to it sincerely the first time. The tears, the shivers, and the wondering.

Plus, there is no other feeling like getting chills up and down your spine when you listen to music, getting goosebumps, and having the strongest desire to weep while you’re in the bread aisle of the local grocery store.

So whether you are interested in the history of the Salem Witch Trials or just a fan of good music, then don’t hesitate and buy the album. It can be purchased by Standby Records.

You simply cannot pass this album by.