The Merchant’s Turntable – Track 1
So, here we are, folks. A new reoccurring blog, this time music based. With that in mind – as well as the fact that I am new to the KR team, and you don’t quite know me yet – I thought an introduction would be due before I dive right in.
Under my real name (Aiden Merchant is a pseudonym!), I have been working in and writing for the music industry since 2008. I have been published internationally for more than a decade, showing up in the likes of Alternative Press, Outburn Magazine, Hails & Horns (RIP), and more. Though I have decreased my presence in that community greatly over the last five years, I do still write for two magazines (one of which was just named). As a result, I receive music promos weeks or months prior to release dates. Here, I will only cover music that I am allowed to at the time – meaning, it’s something now available or going to be available within a week – as well as promote upcoming releases I cannot yet review but have already heard (in other words, hype them up for a future Turntable blog that will actually review them).
I also want to put this bit of information out there to you all: I will cover a VARIETY of genres and subgenres. I realize this is a horror website, and as such it may be expected that I will only cover metal and maybe punk. However, I listen to just about everything (except country and rap, unless it’s been hybrid with rock or metal). I could cover both Carnifex and City & Colour in the same post, for example. If you don’t know how different those two bands are, give them a spin.
Well, I think that’s good enough for now. Let’s jump right in, shall we?
Various Artists – Punk Goes Acoustic Vol.3 // Fearless Records // 10 out of 10 // File Under: Acoustic
Featuring acoustic renditions of songs by Set It Off, Mayday Parade, Dance Gavin Dance, Underoath, and more, the latest volume of Punk Goes… is just as good as ever. Now, I’m a sucker for acoustic music, so this compilation was a no-brainer for me. “Story of My Bros” is the first time Dance Gavin Dance has released an acoustic recording, and it works wonderfully (despite the complexities you often find in their music). Better yet, quite a few of the bands here have chosen to rebirth classics instead of covering their current material. This includes Circa Survive (“Act Appalled”), Taking Back Sunday (“A Decade Under the Influence”), and Underoath (“A Boy Brushed Red Living in Black and White”). My only complaint is when there’s a track lacking an actual acoustic guitar, like “Come Out to LA” by Don Broco. This generally happens at least once on these compilations, so it was expected. Otherwise, this is a winner for fans of acoustic renditions.
Wolves at the Gate – Eclipse // Solid State Records // 8.5 out of 10 // File Under: Christian Metal
Following the recent double release of Demon Hunter, Wolves at the Gate have returned with their own twist on the genre. Slightly faster and more contemporarily animated than their competitors, WatG nail the formula from start to finish. However, Eclipse doesn’t do anything different from the band’s previous work, which can be a bummer for some. There may not be any evolution to be heard, but they do have this sound downright. “The Sea In Between” is especially hard-hitting and memorable.
Crown the Empire – Sudden Sky // Rise Records // 9 out of 10 // File Under: Ambient Screamo
On their last release, Crown the Empire changed their sound up quite a bit, trading the explosive energy of their early material and instead going for something more techno-fused and rock-based. While Sudden Sky continues this to some degree, it also brings back some of those fevered elements of the band’s past. As a result, this collection has a fucking pulse on it. Several more songs would have been nice – there’s essentially only 9, and 4 of them had been previously released as singles earlier this year – but Sudden Sky shows the band moving back in the right direction.
Sum 41 – Order in Decline // Hopeless Records // 9 out of 10 // File Under: Punk Rock
It’s nice when a band of your youth makes a comeback after years of faltering. This was the case with 13 Voices in 2016; Sum 41 returned to the scene strong with an album leaning heavily on 80s metal and punk as influence. Order in Decline takes it to the next level, once again proving Sum 41 has something to say worth hearing. “The People Vs…” is probably the closest we’ll come to the band’s early work, but at least this new chapter in their career is one of extreme promise. I’ll take another helping of Sum 41, waiter. Thanks again.
Motionless in White – Disguise // Fearless Records // 8.5 out of 10 // File Under: Gothic Metalcore
On their last outing, MiW felt like they were trying too hard to be Marilyn Manson. With Disguise, the band seems to have realized this mistake and returned to leaning on their heavier elements. Though the sung sections are still very much reminiscent of that gothic-metal icon, their breakdowns are wonderfully gritty and full of rage. If you prefer anthems, look no further than “Another Life” (goddamn); if overwhelming power is more your thing, then turn up “Broadcasting from Beyond” – it has an awesome Rob Zombie sound that I just couldn’t forget.
Northlane – Alien // UNFD // Release: August 2, 2019 // File Under: Techno-fused Metalcore
I’ve only skipped around this one a bit, but if “4D” is any indication of what we’ll get with the latest Northlane release, then count me in. So far, there have been a couple of singles released, including the frantic sounding “Talking Heads” and more even-set “Bloodline.”
*Check out “Talking Heads” here:
Blink-182 – NINE // Columbia Records // Release: September 20, 2019 // File Under: Pop Punk
When Blink-182 made their return with California, they replaced Tom DeLonge with Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba. Although I always loved Tom’s voice, I was happy to hear Skiba would be taking his place. California (which was essentially a double album, released in two full-length parts) was much better than anything the band had put out in years. Now, they’re back for more, supposedly with multiple releases for 2019 (one being NINE, and possibly an EP as well before the end of the year). In the last few months, we’ve heard several new songs, all of which have been cool and inviting. Count me in.
*Check out “Happy Days” here:
Wage War – Pressure // Fearless Records // Release: August 30, 2019 // File Under: Metalcore
I have only listened to half this album so far, but it sounds like an expected follow-up to Deadweight. Wage War mixes brutality with melody (a common design, but attractive nevertheless), and it would seem Pressure is no different. Seeing as I enjoyed Deadweight, I will definitely look forward to covering their new release in the coming month.
*Check out “Who I Am” here:
Oh, Sleeper – Blood, Unbowed // Solid State Records // Release: Out Now // File Under: Christian Metal
It’s been almost a decade since we had a new OS record, so fans were hyped to hear that the band was finally coming back. Now, this album is already available (somehow, it slipped right past me this month), but I’m covering it in Previews because I have only heard a couple singles thus far. Both “The Summit” and “Two Ships” were surprisingly slow and tame, but powerful, nevertheless. I would hope that with an album cover so awesomely sick as this, OS would be tearing shit up (which is not what we really hear here); I hope the full product is actually blistering and chaotic.
*Check out “Two Ships” here:
Also Stream This New Music:
Asking Alexandria – “Violence”
The All-American Rejects – “Gen Why? (DGAF)”
Knocked Loose – “Trapped in the Grasp of a Memory”
Fit for an Autopsy – “Mirrors”
Korn – “You’ll Never Find Me”
Volbeat – “Cheapside Sloggers”
Aiden Merchant is an independent author, working under various pseudonyms. He writes horror, suspense, drama, science fiction, fantasy, and whatever else fuels him on any given day. He currently has one collection of short stories available (Dead As Soon As Born).
His next story collection, KILL FOR THEM, will release in September. Before 2019 ends, there will also be some Kindle Singles along the way.
Under his real name, Aiden has been a music journalist since 2008, appearing in such international articles as Alternative Press and Outburn Magazine. Though his days of hitting the road for shows and festivals has since passed, music is still a passion of his that taught him how to write in a critical manner. Reviewing stories is still new to him, but he is very much interested in developing a style of his own.
Aiden is a father of one, married, and living in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee (USA). He is originally from further north, as is his wife. He loves to write, read, and explore the outdoors.
Dead As Soon As Born
There is evil inside us all, and no one lives forever.
In this debut collection of short stories from Aiden Merchant, you will bear witness to murderers, monsters, and other horrors.