Exclusive Artist Review: No Sky Can Blind Us – “This Is Not For You” Anthology Single

Written, performed and recorded in November 2020 for National Solo Album Month, “This Is Not For You” is a sprawling and ambitious debut affair from No Sky Can Blind Us, an experimental project by West of House singer Erick Bieger. The 34-minute song is broken down into nine movements and a coda, and is to be considered an album unto itself. Loosely inspired by the novel “House of Leaves” by Mark Z. Danielewski, “This Is Not For You” seeks to capture the internal chaotic struggle of mental illness, specifically schizophrenia – a theme which runs through every note and lyric. It’s designed to be intentionally jarring, genre hopping from brutal extremes to droning ambient beauty, and taking the listener through their own journey of peace and chaos.

Bieger’s debut solo effort is a standout of its calibre. Starting off with a hyper EDM intro and merging into a multifaceted and multilayered metal signature sound, every sequence of this anthology track leads into something more progressive as the duration of the song plays out. The musicianship factors are heavily apparent in every measure and really showcases the versatility and creativity of the artistic merit. The performance and production value parallels each other perfectly and really encapsulates an atmospheric aura that gives this project the authenticity it truly conveys. Bieger brings forth a visceral take on several metal sub genres from symphonic metal to black metal and really diversifies the approach with cleverly executed production techniques and atmospheric textures that add the multi layers in all the right places. This anthology is doused with raw talent, unsurpassed originality and deserves undivided attention from start to finish.

The staying power is very real and this is also the type of project you can listen to uninterrupted. No skipping sequences necessary. Prepare to get your mind blown. “This Is Not For You” releases on April 3rd and will be available on several digital music streaming platforms. Keep your eyes (and ears) open.


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Exclusive Artist Review: Todd Underwood – “Upside Down” Album/LP

Very few artists have the veteran musicianship that Todd Underwood possesses. A man of many genres, many bands over the years, sports radio, music on Dog Whisperer and a long successful career for the past 38 years, the Prescott, Arizona-based artist hits the peak of his game with his 13-track juggernaut ‘Upside Down’.

An album about unimaginable hardships and losses, this futuristic and progressive record breathes new life into the early-mid 2000s Emo/Alt-Indie sensibilities and truly encapsulates a signature sound that is versatile and crafty. If you’re a fan of groups like Circa Survive, Story of the Year, The Used, Knuckle Puck and Taking Back Sunday’s earlier records, then this album will be a new refreshing favorite that is bound to be added to your playlists in no time. Opening title track “Upside Down” is hauntingly visceral and introduces a modern twist to the Emo genre that is diligently executed. From atmospheric dueling guitars to high range vocal harmonies, this song sets the tone for what’s to come throughout the record’s duration. Jumping into “It’s My Fault”, this track enters into a heavier territory and makes excellent use of three part vocal harmonies topped off with smooth bass lines and overall a very tight-knit rhythm section.

Anchor single “Tell Me It Will Be Okay” is a brilliantly progressive song with fascinating chord progressions and vocal melodies. This track in particular has a math-rock feel with Jimmy Eat World vibes that really stands on its own as a track that has great balance and composure when it comes to originality and familiarity. “Love Like That” has an insatiable groove with a southern guitar riff that jams and slams away with absolute precision in its calibre. However, it’s the song “Merry-Go-Round of Pain” that reaches the next level of heavy. With down tuned riffs, intricate bass measures and Todd‘s futuristic vocal harmony style, this song is definitely one of the many standouts on this record.

This album is jam packed with atmospheric guitar leads, visceral vocal harmonies, powerfully clever lyrics and a signature style that has originality at its forefront and top notch production value in its entirety. It has many modern textures that are effective and utilized in all the right places to make this the gem it really is. But it also has older Alt/Indie elements that truly compliment the overall sensibilities that Todd Underwood conjures up. If you molded into the early-mid 2000s Warped Tour and Drive-Thru Records scene, then this record will be one of your favorites.

This is definitely one of the best records you’ll run into for 2021 and will definitely entice you to delve into Todd Underwood‘s career and discography. ‘Upside Down’ is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms. This is a must-hear on all counts.


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Exclusive Review: In Your Grave – “Enemy Lines” EP

When it comes to an in-your-face hard hitting rhythm section, blistering guitars and brutal vocals reminiscent of Phil Bozeman similarities, that’s when you know you have something truly special. And that my friends, is Utah County ball busters In Your Grave. A band that not only formed throughout many other members from their respective scene, but a perfect one at that. As far as we see it – these guys are an absolute all star lineup. And amazingly, have only been active for just a year. That’s why our ears couldn’t quite believe what we were hearing.

Looking for heavy? Check. Looking for crushing drum grooves? Check. Blend in some seriously high gained, crisp guitar tones, bone crushing bass parts and fire breathing screams, and In Your Grave is in your radar. Enemy Lines, which just recently released on December 20th, is comprised of five strongly put-together tracks from ridiculously talented band members that delve into heavy territories that draw the perfect line between metal radio rock stations and a stylization that just might make it too brutal. And trust me, that’s a compliment. Intro tracks like “Mushroom Cloud” instantly give you that goosebumpy vibe of just where this track is gonna lead. Its drawn out build up is ominous, visceral and truly encompasses an aura of both curiosity and anticipation at the same time. And by the time the vocals burst in, both ends provide that satisfactory – we are going for a ride and it’s one that is not going to be slowing down anytime soon.

Subsequent tracks like “MKultra” and title track “Enemy Lines” use similar formulas but actually do more in solidifying their signature sound than anything. The pounding rhythm section really carries the band forward and assists with providing that brutality a band like In Your Grave has manifested into; except this time a lot more versatility, multifaceted vocal deliveries and guitar chord techniques have been implemented, adding to the ingredients that have already given this band their own calibre among other bands with a similar aura. But make no mistake – these guys have something going just for them, and will be a very tough act to follow after shows.

Last two tracks “Foundations” and “Establishment” are personal favorites for sure. From anvil-hitting tempo changes, synth parallels and all around additional elements, these two hit just as hard and also add levels of intrigue we hoped to hear at some point. First of all, everyone loves a furious breakdown, and these closing tracks have plenty of that. Secondly, guitar intros on tracks like closer “Establishment” is the kind of garnishment that could easily throw this record into whole new levels; and it does. What begins may end differently but everything in between ties it all together – just like this entire EP does. It’s a brutal set of 5 tracks that grab you by the throat and refuse to let go.

It’s been quite some time since we have actually run into an album like Enemy Lines, but once you take a listen yourself, that same blown-away feeling will commence. It may not be heavy enough for White Chapel, but definitely surpasses Killswitch Engage easily; even though I love both of those bands. You will not be disappointed with In Your Grave and you’ll be kicking yourself in the ass for not discovering them earlier. You can pick up a copy of the EP on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, and any other digital music streaming platforms.


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