Ray Van Horn, Jr. is a veteran entertainment journalist whose writing and live photography has been featured in Blabbermouth.net, Dee Snider’s House of Hair Online, Fangoria.com, Horror News.net, About.com Heavy Metal, MetalManiacs, New Noise, Music Dish, AMP, Hails & Horns, Unrestrained,Noisecreep, Impose, Pit, The Big Takeover.com, Rough Edge.com, Pitriff and others. His blog The Metal Minute won a “Best Personal Blog” award in 2009 from Metal Hammer magazine and he wrote and produced his own hard rock e-zine, Retaliate.

He has contributed essays to UK author Neil Daniels’ Iron Maiden and ZZ Top biographies. Ray’s fiction has been published in various periodicals and anthologies, including his flash fiction piece “Off the Record” for Akashic Books’ “Mondays Are Murder” noir series. His recent short stories “Before the Ball” and “Widow” were featured in subsequent editions of Alex S. Johnson’s Axes of Evil anthologies. Ray wrote serialized original superhero fiction for Cyber Age Adventures and five of those stories appear in the anthology Playing Solitaire. He was the winner of Quantum Muse’s fiction contest in 1999.

Ray is a former NHL game analyst for The Hockey Nut and one-time host of the forum “Comic Books” at ReadWave. He has done beat reporting, photography and lifestyle articles for Metromix, an affiliate of The Baltimore Sun, Carroll Magazine, The Northern News and The Emmitsburg Dispatch.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Most "Blab" Worthy Album of the Prior Month

Having come to the end of another round of reviews for Blabbermouth this past month, out of the twenty completed, I hit a stride of fascinating and wonderful albums, all in a row.  The new Earth Crisis album Salvation of Innocents reclaims their mantle as American hardcore sovereigns and the pro-animal rights icons have a tie-in comic book to boast, Liberator, as well.  You know that strikes my fancy off-the-bat.  Then there's sludge mongers Kyng, who are right there along with Red Fang as the most exciting thing in American metal these days with their latest album, Burn the Serum.  Veteran German prog-thrashers Mekong Delta continue to impress as the years roll on with their latest mind-melting slab, In a Mirror Darkly.

However, the album that devastated me last month was Philadelphia noise punkers Nothing and their astonishing homage to My Bloody Valentine, Guilty of Everything.  A snippet of that review:

"If you think Philadelphia’s NOTHING sounds more than a bit like MY BLOODY VALENTINE, it’s no coincidence.  Founding member Domenic Palermo (vocals/guitars) has quite a sordid story to tell, which includes MY BLOODY VALENTINE’s “Loveless” album as its hypothetical soundtrack.  Prior to forming NOTHING, Palermo haunted the tough streets of Kensington, Philadelphia, at one time running drugs and guns while performing in hardcore acts XO SKELETON and HORROR SHOW.  Eventually crime caught up with Palermo, as he served time in prison on an aggravated assault and attempted murder charge following a knife fight.  Judging by the cathartic brilliance of NOTHING’s debut album “Guilty of Everything,” Palermo found introspection which leads to an emotive last grasp at music upon his re-entry into society.

While “Guilty of Everything” is hardly a metal album from the metal-minded Relapse Records, it is a stunning, American punk-minded interpretation of MY BLOODY VALENTINE.  “Guilty of Everything” is a stark, ether-filled shoegazing experience based on genuine feelings and angst, the way emo should have been following RITES OF SPRING eons ago.  What Domenic Palermo and his NOTHING tribe have accomplished on “Guilty of Everything” is delivering a soul-scarred sound of penance.  It’s elegant even with its frequent slow processes and distortion yowls; even more so, because NOTHING reaches out to a desperate audience, mutually in need of empathy and acceptance. 

Sin comes to bathe in the font of NOTHING’s sonic fineries and their breathy, collapsing vocal swells.  While much of this album carries a beleaguered feeling of remorse, the contrasting upbeat title track wraps the album with a full sense of closure.  As “Guilty of Everything” opens with the frail and soul-torn murmurs of “Hymn to the Pillory,” the distortion plugs grow denser on the sullen yet melodic “Dig.”  With each successive bar of “Dig,” the heavy drags are brought to a climax with heaped-on guitar parts that add to its evocative allure."
Stay tuned for the full review in due time at Blabbermouth. 

                 Listenin' to:  Pink Floyd - Dark Side of the Moon

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