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Valient Thorr, Holy Grail, Royal Thunder, The Kickass

Sun. 06/17 | 7:00PM

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Valient Thorr
A quest for knowledge, quest to see / all these things inside of me / looking in, there’s something wrong / I must set out on my own If there is any hope that Rock N Roll can change the world, as Valient Thorr believe it can, people are going to have to start to get their own personal shit together first. In what could be viewed as a single handed, spur of the moment effort to wrestle the phrase “personal responsibility” back from the Right, Stranger, the new album from intergalactic Rock N Roll saviors, Valient Thorr eschews direct frontal attacks on politicians and their wars and instead focuses inward on personal decisions and ethical living in the world economy. Taking lessons from legions of like minded musicians and following the musical path Valient Thorr have traveled, Stranger broadens the boundaries of what is hard and heavy, aggressive and fierce, extending an invitation to a party to be enjoyed by the heshers, head bangers, stoner rockers, thrashers, skate punks, old schoolers and the truly hardcore. If one were to imagine hearing a palpable buzz so engaging that is has its own gravitational pull, something so strong that as one is pulled closer, the buzz becomes a throb that seemingly doubles over on itself into infinity. This is the furious sound of Valient Thorr, a band whose entire being is founded and powered on the force of one huge, mass, communal headbang that has the power to deliver a unifying moment of clarity. This may sound mystical, but in this case it is real, because as any dyed in the wool Thorrior will tell you, it is the energy of sweat soaked revelry, rather than electricity, that powers the amplifiers and drums that produce this hearty onslaught of all things future-past in the pantheon of high energy, heavy metal, ROCK n ROLL! Screeching guitar leads, low end rumble, breakneck paces and feel good shout along hooks are made to exist together, often in a single song, proving that this is the only sound possible to deliver Valient Thorr’s powerful message of positive change and transformation. Anyone that has ever sweated and headbanged can get with this. Touring relentlessly since 2001 after crash landing in the North Carolina Triangle area, a place they now call home, Valient Thorr have this year already criss-crossed the U.S. on the Volcom Tour with Mastodon, Between The Buried and Me, Baroness and are currently in the midst of a European tour that will keep them abroad through the end of July and includes festival appearances at Hellfest, Roskilde, Serengeti and Rock Im Ring, before returning stateside for a massive U.S. headline tour set to kick off in September. Produced, recorded and mixed by Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Dwarves, High On Fire, Toxic Holocaust), Stranger, set for release on September 14, 2010 is Valient Thorr’s fifth album in seven years. A considerable feat since they have been averaging close to 250 shows a year for most of this time with acts as varied as Motörhead, Joan Jett and the Black Hearts, Eagles of Death Metal, Gogol Bordello, Fu Manchu, Early Man and Skeleton Witch. To get right down to it, Stranger fuses together the roots-rock, no-bullshit beginnings of Stranded on Earth and Total Universe Man with the laser guided immediacy of Legend Of The World and the total metal shredding of Immortalizer, into one supernova burst.

Holy Grail
Straight up Heavy Metal from Pasadena, CA on Prosthetic Records.

Royal Thunder
Royal Thunder is an Atlanta based, four-piece, progressive rock/metal, alternative band founded by lead guitarist Josh Weaver in 2006. After going through some lineup changes, Mlny Parsonz (bass/vocals) joined the group in 2007. Together, the two added drummer Lee Smith whom Weaver and Parsonz had played with in a previous band, and then last but not least Josh Coleman (rhythm guitar) was added to the fold. Royal Thunder self-recorded and released a seven song EP in late 2009 before signing with renowned independent label, Relapse Records, who re-issued the EP in 2010. The band quickly gained critical praise, being described as "Led Zeppelin astride a psychedelic unicorn" by and "Black Math Horseman or Johnette Napolitano of Concrete Blonde, fronting Black Sabbath." by Brooklyn Vegan. Royal Thunder is set to release their proper full-length debut entitled 'CVI' via Relapse Records in the spring of 2011. 'CVI’ is a sultry, southern, hard rock thinker of an album that is an absolute must have for fans of the Atlanta and Savannah hard rock scenes (Mastodon, Baroness, Kylesa, Black Tusk, etc). Royal Thunder have crafted an unforgettable, truly soulful sound with 'CVI'. With a hard-hitting, hypnotic live show that is more of a ritual than a rock concert, the four piece has been capturing audiences with their passionate performances, sharing the stage with a range of artists including Scott Kelly of Neurosis, Wovenhand, Birds of Avalon, Kylesa, and many more. Keep this band on your radar in 2012 and beyond.

The Kickass
You're standing along a busy street when suddenly there is an accident, and that causes another accident, and then another, and then another. Metal is scraping, sparks are flying, people are exclaiming things but you can't make out what they are. There are colors everywhere, smells, sounds; chaos. And it is the most fun you have ever had. That is what listening to The Kickass is like. Spastically heavy guitar parts. Pounding bass riffs. Amazingly on-point drumming. Actual keyboard parts (none of that one-note-hold-it stuff here). This four-piece from Greenville, NC has been combining metal, melody, and general mind-blowing musicianship into one incredibly intricate and threatening package for five years now, marching to the beat of their own otherworldly drummer. With their first full-length album, Death Metal is for Pussies (Bifocal Media), The Kickass exhibit the ability to go back and forth between heavy driving riffs, quirky time changes, and euphoniously quiet thoughtfulness.all within the same track. And as is reflected in reviews by the likes of, Transworld Surf, and Popshot Magazine, The Kickass do indeed kick ass. In between touring constantly, the band has found time to record new songs for a split record with Continent (featuring ex-Ladderback members) to be released on Satire Records based in Japan, where they will also be touring in December of 2004. And the only thing better than listening to The Kickass is seeing them live. It is refreshing to see a band playing, really playing. Imagine watching the world collapse right in front of you and it's the most fun you've had in years. It's hard not to crack a guilty little smile every time they weave delicately between their many musical styles while never even hesitating to catch their breath. And they seem to enjoy it, which makes the whole experience remind you of why you like music in the first place.


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