Category Archives: Sketches

EDITOR KEN’S TOP 10 OF 2014

highwire_top10_2014And it’s time for another Highwire Daze Top 10 List of 2014, compiled by Editor Ken.  Containing everything from the most infectious of pop punk to the nefariously evil strains of black metal and beyond, it was certainly a wild and varied year – at least when it came to what Highwire Daze Online was covering throughout the last 12 months.  All selections are in alphabetical order this year. The full length CD’s were especially difficult to compile, starting off with a list of over 70 in all!  And the EP’s definitely unveil promising artists of all genres that you should be on the lookout for in the New Year.  And now, presenting Editor Ken’s Top 10 of 2014…

The Top Ten Full Length CD’s of 2014

amberiand1Magic Forest by Amberian Dawn (Napalm Records)
The Finnish melodic symphonic metal band Amberian Dawn has released Magic Forest, one of the most spirited, enchanting albums of the year.  Featuring the participation of new vocalist Caprice and a rock solid collection of musicians, Amberian Dawn commence on the next great chapter of their brilliant career.  Highlights include the Abba-like inflections of Cherish My Memory, the sweepingly dramatic title cut Magic Forest, and the gorgeously operatic Green Eyed.  Here’s hoping Amberian Dawn make it to the States next year to present their wondrously glorious songs. (Amberian Dawn on Facebook)

arricar1Wavefunction by Arrica Rose & the …’s (pOprOck records)
With several albums and EP’s to her credit (including the Lucky EP which was on the Top 10 last year), Arrica Rose remains one of the most vastly underrated performers on the Los Angeles scene today.  Wavefunction is a stunning collection of songs, divided into two parts – one on the lively pop side and the other much darker and introspective in scope.  Love You Like That and California On Repeat should be all over the radio airwaves, which her imaginative cover of the Roy Orbison classic In Dreams will haunt you almost as much as the rendition that appeared in the movie Blue Velvet.  A vinyl release only (also on Itunes and limited edition CD).  (Arrica Rose on Facebook)

crowntheres1The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways by Crown The Empire (Rise Records)
The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways presents a future so bleak and hopeless, there is almost no redemption in store for anyone.  “I could wait in the dark for someone to come and save me,” the chorus to Initiation implores at the album’s grim beginning.  Songs such as MNSTR, Machines, and Rise Of The Runaways demonstrate the band’s exciting sense of dramatics.  And then after the bleak expulsions of The Phoenix Reborn, the grand finale ends on note of all out chaos with Johnny’s RebellionCrown The Empire remains one of the most imaginative metalcore bands on the scene today.  (Crown The Empire on Facebook)

delain1cdThe Human Contradiction by Delain (Napalm Records)
Dutch symphonic metal band Delain has unleashed an intensively dramatic album with The Human Contradiction, packed with memorable songs that will haunt your senses long after the disc spins to its staggering finale.  From “the murder of crows” presented within the epic confines of Here Come The Vultures to the unforgettable choruses found within Sing To Me and Army Of Dolls, Delain has clearly composed one of the most vibrant albums of the year.  Charlotte Wessels expressive, unforgettable vocals and the masterful work of the various musicians render this one a genre classic.  (Delain on Facebook)

downfiction1Losers & Kings by The Downtown Fiction (Fearless Records)
This certainly seems to be the year The Downtown Fiction are slated to hit the big leagues, especially if their winning sophomore release Losers & Kings is any indication of what’s in store for this band. The best pop punk summer album since Yellowcard surfed effortlessly through the streets of Ocean AvenueLosers & Kings by The Downtown Fiction presents 12 solid tracks of wildly infectious tunes. After three EP’s and a previous full length entitled Let’s Be Animals, expect this new champion to roar into the hearts and minds of many a music fan.  (The Downtown Fiction on Facebook)

foralliam2No Home by For All I Am (InVogue Records)
No Home is For All I Am’s second full length recording – and first with their new label  InVogue Records. Six Souls kicks the disc off on an overpowering note, with vocalist Aria Yava screaming “I’m fucking losing it” with a fiery intensity, and the shattering sense of urgency permeates throughout the entire recording.  As in life, there are no easy answers to the bitter problems and personal demons that consume us all. And in spite of its many bleak conclusions, No Home is a gripping auditory adventure through the turbulence of the heart and mind that is not to be missed.  (For All I Am on Facebook)

fragilem2Fragile by Midge Ure (Hypertension Music)
The vast and glorious career of Midge Ure features time spent in such notable bands as VisageUltravox and Thin Lizzy. The artist is also known for being the co-writer / producer of the Do They Know It’s Christmas? single for the Band Aid charity project with Bob Geldof in 1984.  Midge Ure also has a distinguished solo career, with Move Me being his last effort of original material released in 2001. Clearly demonstrating that all wonderful things are worth waiting for, Fragile is a fragrant bouquet of goodness that should enrapture both ardent fans and those discovering the magic that is Midge Ure for the very first time.  (Midge Ure on Facebook)

suspiriangh1Suspiria by Nightmares (Rise Records)
Based out of Atlanta, GA, Nightmares is a vibrant collective ready to break out on the national scene in a colossal way. The most exciting and imaginative release Rise Records has presented since Crown The Empire contemplated love at in the end of the world on The Fallout, Suspiria by Nightmares is a stunning debut that is not to be missed. With a lot of the songs named after legendary horror movies combined with hard hitting lyrics and spiraling melodies, Suspiria is a rocking post hardcore journey sure to dazzle the senses of even the most jaded of music critic.  (Nightmares on Facebook)

romuvos2Romuvan Dainas by Romuvos (No Colours Records)
No Colours Records is an absolute legend in the underground metal arena, with such notable acts as Graveland and Nargaroth on their notorious rooster (as well as releasing Dimmu Borgir’s landmark debut album For All Tid). Their releases are pure adventures in sound, and Romuvan Dainas by Romuvos is a stunning addition to their already impressive catalog. The mastermind behind Romuvos is Vilnius, presenting imaginative tales from the days of knighthood and other bewitching Pagan subjects.  While Viking-era Bathory and latter day Falkenbach may be cited as references, Velnias weaves his own mystical sound into the proceedings, and the results are phenomenally breathtaking.  (Romuvos on Facebook)

zgardcon1Contemplation by Zgard (Svarga Music)
There’s black metal, there’s Pagan metal, there’s epic metal – and then there’s the grand and majestic tapestries of the mighty Zgard -combining the three influences, coming up with a masterwork that is absolutely stunning to behold.  Contemplation is the fourth magnum opus presented by Zgard from the mystical and troubled Ukraine, seven absolutely visionary tracks that will set your imagination in flight. Yaromisl is the mastermind behind Zgard, and the compositions he has bestowed upon the world at large present a thrilling auditory odyssey that you’ll want to revisit time and again.  (Zgard on Facebook)

The Top Ten EP’s of 2014

definedadage1Defined by Adage (Pavement Music)
Epic hooks and soaring vocals clearly send Adage into the stratosphere and beyond.  This modern rock collective has issued the high flying Defined through Pavement Records, featuring five powerhouse tunes that should gain the band a good deal of notice above and beyond their Winston-Salem, NC hometown.  With an EP this thrilling, it should be exciting to see what sonic adventures await the listener on a full length Adage manifesto.  Fans of Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace will be over the moon when encountering what Adage has to offer the world at large.  (Adage on Facebook)

welikeyouWe Like You by Animal Cloud (Self-released EP)
Animal Cloud is certainly one of the most unique bands on the Los Angeles music scene today, featuring masked individuals delving into a sound of the future that is wondrously endearing.  Their original compositions such Future Receiver and What If are spacey and intriguing, and their haunting rendition of Angel of The Morning is sure to set your imagination in flight.  Featuring Keith Tenenbaum and Trevor Lissauer amongst its membership, Animal Cloud dares to be completely different, and the results will enrapture you like an arcane dream.  We like Animal Cloud and so will all music aficionados looking for something fun and obscure on the LA music scene.  (Animal Cloud on Facebook)

imtehonewhoI’m The One Who Changed by At Our Expense (Self-released EP)
At Our Expense is a hard working collective from the San Fernando Valley who has found themselves on national tours, and has self-released their own recordings over the last few years. Amazingly unsigned at this time, At Our Expense combines the melodies of punk punk with the vibrant intensity of post hardcore – unleashing an auditory exhibition of sound that will captivate the senses.   I’m The One Who Changed shows a band approaching the height of creative prowess, and more than ready to take it on up to the next level.  (At Our Expense on Facebook)

goldenrose1Golden by Delta Rose (Self-released EP)
What a treat it was to see a band like Delta Rose on Warped Tour a few summers ago.  Invading the Ernie Ball Stage, their rambunctious brand of rock and blues is captured perfectly on their self-released Golden EP.  From the jazzy inflections on Chew, on to the swampy overtones of One Is Too Many, and the concluding heartfelt Stones-like Ten Long Years, this Los Angeles based band present six timeless songs that will rock your world.  With a super charismatic vocalist and exceptional musicians playing songs that will remain in your head for ages, a journey on the hard rocking Delta Rose is mandatory listening for all.  (Delta Rose on Facebook)

eviloatjep1Anno. 1666 by Evil Oath (Self-released EP)
We all kneel for Satan’s arrival,” screams the opening testament on Anno. 1666 and with a line like that, you clearly understand the dark entreaties ahead.  Based out of the Nederlands,Evil Oath is a foreboding Black Metal collective ready to leave a lingering impression upon the world at large. Their combustible debut Anno.1666 has been independently released, unleashing an unholy blast of sonic devastation for all whom encounter its malevolent reveries. With the gates of hell wide open revealing such a supremely diabolic masterwork, we’re destined to hear a lot more from the depths of Evil Oath in the diabolic year ahead.  (Evil Oath on Facebook)

manmade1Undeniable EP by Man Made Machine (Self-released EP)
After one well received full-length debut album “Become” on Razor & Tie Records (produced by Chad Gray and Greg Tribbett of Mudvayne/HellYeah), Man Made Machine from Phoenix, AZ found themselves launching headfirst into DIY mode.  The result is the supremely hard hitting Undeniable EP, clearly showing a band at the height of their creative energy.  Songs such as X-Rated, Fight For You, and Bringing Hell will surely launch a whole new chapter of rocking goodness from this hard working collective.  A grand new chapter commences…  (Man Made Machine on Facebook)

postiveboard1The Positive & Negative by My Cardboard Rocket (Self-released EP)
Many actually were introduced to A.J. Garces last year, as he traveled across the country on the Summerfest Tour as a support guitarist for Keep It Cute. Now a solo project has been launched with the moniker of My Cardboard Rocket – and judging by what’s ignited on the debut EP entitled The Positive & Negative, expect Garces and his pop rocking project to shoot straight up into the stratosphere. The Positive & Negative by My Cardboard Rocket  contains five wildly infectious tunes that will remain embedded in your head long after the music spins to its grand finale.  (My Cardboard Rocket on Facebook)

rippipep1Ulvaja by Rippikoulu (Svart Records)
The prodigious Rippikoulu from Finland has been deathly silent since the 90’s, when they released two demos that shot them into an underground legend status. It’s been 21 years, but now Rippikoulu has been gloriously unearthed, and the results are absolutely staggering in scope. This is doom metal of the highest order, relentlessly bleak and morbidly beautiful. Ulvaja may only be three deep cuts of obscure melancholy running a total of 18 minutes in length, but the splendor found within these breathtaking masterworks is wondrous to behold.  (Rippikoulu on Facebook)

OpenHouseEPOpen House EP by Second To Last (True Records)
All I want is to be loved and to give love back,” is the poignant chorus on the gripping Dressed In Black – the track that kicks off the five songs on the Open House EP by Second To Last.  On the more introspective side of the pop punk spectrum, Second To Last from Lodi, CA has delivered a short yet heartfelt collection of infectious tunes. The talented trio who make up Second To Last are Tyson Evans on vocals and guitar, Mike Fairbrace on guitar and vocals, and Russell St Clair on bass. Expect this band to take off in a big and wonderful way, especially if they continue to release tunes this memorable.  (Second To Last on Facebook)

LoveIsAGameLove Is A Liar’s Game by Youth In Revolt (Outerloop Records)
The recent collaboration of Fearless Records and Outerloop Management is resulting in some promising bands well worth seeking out. The new creation known as Outerloop Records has now unleashed their next great discovery – a five piece collective known as Youth In Revolt from New Jersey. Love Is A Liar’s Game is Youth In Revolt’s debut for the label, a thunderously solid EP that should garner the band a good amount of notice. Fans of acts such as Sleeping With Sirens and Memphis May Fire are destined to encounter a new favorite when checking into what the inspiring Youth In Revolt has to offer. Expect a slamming full length from these guys in the New Year! (Youth In Revolt on Facebook)

And thus concludes another strange journey into Editor Ken’s 2014 music collection! See you all on the strange highways of 2015!

(Compilation by Ken Morton)

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A Highwire Daze Christmas on Live 365

highwiredazecropped1Presenting our Second Annual Edition of A Highwire Daze Christmas – running this year from December 1st through December 25th. Not the same overplayed standards, but songs from bands such as August Burns Red, All Time Low, Crown The Empire, The Ready Set. Metro Station, King Diamond, Halford, Lemmy from Motorhead, and so much more.

Thank you for supporting Highwire Daze Radio throughout the year. Our regular programming will resume December 26th.

Here is this year’s playlist of A Highwire Daze Christmas

A HIGHWIRE DAZE CHRISTMAS 2014

Editor Ken – Welcome to A Highwire Daze Christmas – Highwire Daze Station ID
HALFORD – Get Into The Spirit – Halford 3 Winter Songs
KING DIAMOND – No Presents for Christmas – No Presents for Christmas – Single
AUGUST BURNS RED – Dustin Davidson ID – Highwire Daze Station ID
AUGUST BURNS RED – Carol Of The Bells – August Burns Red Presents Sleddin’ Hill
ACCEPTANCE – Happy Xmas (War is Over) – Santa Cause / It’s A Punk Rock Christmas
ALL TIME LOW – Fool’s Holiday – Punk Goes Christmas
AMELY – It’s Christmas Time Again – Tis The Season To Be Fearless
ARRICA ROSE – On Christmas Night – On Christmas Night – single
PETIE PIZARRO – Please Come Home For Christmas – Please Come Home For Christmas
ARTIST VS POET – Christmas With You – Tis The Season To Be Fearless
THE SUIT – Merry Medley Mayhem – Single – Merry Medley Mayhem – Single
Book Of Love – Susan of Book Of Love Radio ID – Highwire Daze Radio ID
BOOK OF LOVE – We Three Kings – Book Of Love [Special Edition]-[Disc 2]
BALANCE PROBLEMS – Silver Bells – Christmas EP
THE READY SET – Jordan Christmas ID – Highwire Daze Tags
THE READY SET – Blizzard of ’89 (feat. Never Shout Never) – Blizzard of ’89 (feat. Never Shout Never) – Single
COREY CROWDER – Angels We Have Heard On High – X Christmas
CROWN THE EMPIRE – Andy Leo New Station ID – Highwire Daze Tags
CROWN THE EMPIRE – There Will Be No Christmas – Punk Goes Christmas
JOSH CATERER – Conroy The Gingerbread Boy – The Heart Of Christmas
DAPHNE LOVES DERBY – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – A Santa Clause 2
HEART – Here Is Christmas – Heart Presents a Lovemongers’ Christmas
Echosmith – Echosmith Station ID – Highwire Daze Station ID
ECHOSMITH – I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day – I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day – Single
KIM WILDE – Let It Snow – Wilde Winter Songbook
CHRISTA WELLS – Christa Wells Christmas ID – Highwire Daze Tags
CHRISTA WELLS – Silent Night – Before The Tree Comes Down
WEATHERSTAR – It’s Not Christmas Without You Here – Christmas Makes the Heart Grow Fonder
HOUSE OF HEROES – Christmas Morning – Hark! The House of Heroes Sing
FOGHAT – Winter Wonderland – Winter Wonderland – single
HELIX – Rudolph the Red Nodes Reindeer – Heavy Metal Christmas
FOR ALL THOSE SLEEPING – For All Those Sleeping Radio ID – Highwire Daze Tags
FOR ALL THOSE SLEEPING – Maybe This Christmas – Tis The Season To Be Fearless
THE SUIT – O Holy Night – Single
HALFORD – Christmas For Everyone – Halford 3 Winter Songs
BEN KWELLER – It Ain’t Christmas Yet – It Ain’t Christmas Yet single
HEYHIHELLO – Happy To Share – Happy To Share – single
THE READY SET – Jordan Witzigreuter Radio ID
THE READY SET – Wishlist – Regifted – Deluxe Single
JUNE – A Wonderful Christmas Time – A Santa Clause 2
Lion I Am – Lion I Am Station ID – Highwire Daze Radio ID
LION I AM – All I Want For Christmas – All I Want For Christmas – single Lemmy Kilmister, Billy F. Gibbons & Dave Grohl – Run Rudolph Run – We Wish You A Metal Xmas And A Headbanging New Year!
LITTLE RIVER BAND – We Call It Christmas – A Little River Band Christmas
GORDON LIGHTFOOT – Circle Of Steel – Sundown
MARK ROSE – It’s Cold Out There – Wonderful Trouble
NEW FOUND GLORY – Nothing For Christmas – Punk Goes Christmas
THE DOLLYROTS – I Saw Mommy Biting Santa Claus – A Dollyrots Christmas EP
Trace Cyrus Station ID – Metro Station – Highwire Daze Tags
METRO STATION – Last Christmas – Last Christmas
THE SUIT – Silent Night – Silent Night – Single
Ronnie James Dio, Tony Iommi, Rudy Sarzo, Simon Wright – God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – We Wish You A Metal Xmas And A Headbanging New Year!
SEAN MAGUIRE – It’s Always Christmas Time – Sean Maguire
SWINGING BUILDINGS – Praying For A Cheaper Christmas – Ghosts Of Christmas Past
THE BEAUTIFUL MISTAKE – A Cradle In Bethlehem – Santa Cause / It’s A Punk Rock Christmas
THE DOWNTOWN FICTION – The Downtown Fiction Christmas ID – Highwire Daze Tags
THE DOWNTOWN FICTION – Forgot It Was Christmas – The Double EP
THE MAINE – Ho Ho Hopefully – Tis The Season To Be Fearless
TRILLIT – It’s Christmas – It’s Christmas
ARRICA ROSE – Corporate Outta Xmas – Christmas Song 2013 EMMA WALLACE – Baby, It’s Cold Outside (feat. Arrica Rose) – Santa, Take the Night Off
KYLE CASTELLANI – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
The Motels – Martha Davis Station ID – Highwire Daze Tags
THE MOTELS – All I Want For Christmas Is You – All I Want For Christmas Is You
POP! FICTION – Perfect Christmas – Perfect Christmas – Single
JOE BROOKS – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas – Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas
REBEL REVIVE – Down the Chimney, Into the Pit – Single
ANBERLIN – Stephen Christian Station ID – HIghwire Daze Tags
ANBERLIN – Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) – X Christmas
THE DOLLYROTS – Because I’m Santa – A Dollyrots Christmas EP
THE ROYAL – Xmas = Forgiveness – Single
KIM WILDE – Hey Mister Snowman – Wilde Winter Songbook
REO SPEEDWAGON – Winter Wonderland – No So Silent Night
HALFORD – I Don’t Care – Halford 3 Winter Songs
Sirens & Sailors – Steve Goupil Radio Tag – Highwire Daze Tags
SIRENS & SAILORS – Grinch – Grinch Single
THE PALE FOUNTAINS – Benoit’s Christmas – Ghosts Of Christmas Past
BALANCE PROBLEMS – O Christmas Tree – Christmas EP
HOUSE OF HEROES – O Holy Night – Hark! The House of Heroes Sing
WEATHERSTAR – Shake Up Christmas – Christmas Makes the Heart Grow Fonder (A Weatherstar Holiday Collection)
Midge Ure – Midge Ure Station ID – Highwire Daze Radio
BAND AID – Do They Know It’s Christmas? – BAND AID
HEX – Hollywood In Winter – Vast Halos
GORDON LIGHTFOOT – Song for a Winter’s Night – Gord’s Gold
BACKSEAT GOODBYE – 01.01.08. – The Christmas! EP

Click the widget below and give a listen…

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Editor Ken’s Top 10 of 2013

highwire_top10_2013This was actually a difficult year to put together a Top 10 of Music.  So many good releases arrived upon the scene.  Their were thrilling comebacks such as Black Sabbath, David Bowie, and The Ocean Blue.  A ton of newer bands presented impressive debut recordings as well, some of which are featured in this list.  What is really stunning are some of the releases that did not make my Top 10 – a few which had been sure things all the way up until the last quarter of the year.  I may look on the list a year from now and wonder just what the hell I was thinking, but all in all, these are definitely bands and artists I stand by 100 percent.

This year, instead of alphabetical order, I have these albums and EP’s listed in order of preference.  13 by Black Sabbath definitely tops the list of the full length albums while Lucky by Arrica Rose defines the pure definition of timeless music from one of the most intriguing singer / songwriters on the Los Angeles music scene today.  And so here was have it, Editor Ken’s Top 10 picks of 2013…

The Top Ten Full Length CD’s of 2013

blacksabbath1313 by Black Sabbath (Vertigo/Republic Records)
The event release of the year was certainly 13 by the iconic Black Sabbath – one of the most anticipated albums of 2013 that definitely lived up to the hype. Their first studio recording since the much maligned Forbidden in 1995, 13 unleashes the intensity and finds Sabbath at the very height of their creative genius. End Of The Beginning, God Is Dead?, and Dear Father and amongst the cuts leaving lasting impressions on the listener. A staggering comeback for a band whose influences on music in general go far and wide! Original members Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi, Geezer Butler are joined by drummer Brad Wilk from Rage Against The Machine, and the result are nothing short of legendary.  (Info: http://www.blacksabbath.com/)

havnatt1Etterlatte by Havnatt (Secret Quarters)
Havnatt is the exceptional neofolk collaboration of vocalist Cecilie Langlie and guitarist Tom Simonsen, whose other heavier projects include the likes of Omit and Vagrant God. Last year, Havnatt’s superb debut Havdøgn was released through the Secret Quarters label, receiving a good deal of worldwide acclaim. Starting out as a work commissioned by the family of the late Norwegian author Tormod Skagestad, Havnatt has risen into a thriving entity well worth seeking out. Etterlatte is the name of their brand new full length, an astounding masterwork of sheer artistry once again featuring the vibrant writings of the noted Skagestad. Etterlatte is epic and ambitious, while retaining an intimacy that will sweep even the most cynical music critic off their feet and into an extraordinary state of tranquility.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/havnatt)

bowienextday1The Next Day by David Bowie (Columbia Records)
For those who thought the iconic David Bowie had retired, The Next Day proved to be a vibrant jolt to the senses. His 24th studio album shows Bowie at his most innovative and compelling. From the icy aloofness found within the dazzling The Stars Are Out Tonight, the dark and subversive title cut The Next Day, the exquisite I’d Rather Be High and beyond, Bowie has masterminded a staggering collection of sonic reveries. Repeated listening is absolutely required to fully appreciate the glorious mystique and grand artistry of The Next Day. The cover is sheer genius, the name of the album obscuring the legendary Heroes artwork. While masking triumphs of the past, Bowie turns to what’s left of the future, presenting fans with his most intriguing work since his days creating the famed Berlin trilogy with Brian Eno.  (Info: http://www.davidbowie.com/)

motorheadaftershock1Aftershock by Motörhead (UDR Music)
The almighty Motörhead saga continues with an all-out vengeance, as the legendary band strikes back with their 21st magnum opus to date entitled Aftershock. Rumbling like a tremendously lethal earthquake through your unsuspecting speakers, Aftershock is sure to be remembered as a standout amongst the already classic Motörhead albums. In a genre all of their own, Motörhead was one of the very first bands to combine metal with a punk rock aesthetic, and the years gone by only serve to make them an even more deadly assault force to be reckoned with. From the opening strains of the pulsating Heartbreaker, one finds Lemmy and Company in tiptop form, ready to grab you by the throat and toss your ass into the nearest mosh pit.  (Info: http://www.imotorhead.com/)

ultramarineUltramarine by The Ocean Blue (Korda Records)
The melancholic romanticisms of The Ocean Blue have returned after a decade of hibernation in the form of Ultramarine. America’s glorious answer to bands such as The Smiths and Echo and the Bunnymen, The Ocean Blue present spiraling melodies and sweeping lyrical sentiments that will envelope the senses. From the rocking strains of Give It A Try, the wistful Sad Night, Where Is Morning? and on, the Hershey, PA collective bestow upon the indie pop world 12 gorgeous tracks that will rapturous linger within the listener for the ages to come. A glorious return combining elements of the past while looking ahead to the future, with Ultramarine, The Ocean Blue has clearly released their most fully realized effort to date. Pure sonic bliss!  (Info: http://theoceanblue.com/)

valiskogsSkogslandskap by Vàli (Auerbach Tonträger / Prophecy Productions)
Vàli is a Norwegian composer whose instrumental folk tapestries are enchanting to behold. Relaxing and cinematic, the 15 tracks contained within send the listener on a journey through the sentimental and the obscure. A fragrant potion of acoustic guitar, keyboards and cello, the composer Vàli will sweep you off your feet, and into state of absolute bliss. Fans of acts such as Empyrium and Neun Welten are sure to delight in what Vàli has to offer, while all other adventurous music aficionados looking for a masterwork of imagination and intrigue should roam through the sonic halls of Skogslandskap as well. From the gorgeous opening strains of Nordavindens Klagesang, the Skogslandskap experience is sure to captivate the senses and set your imagination in flight.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/vali.official)

InDarknessbyAgathodaimonIn Darkness by Agathodaimon (Massacre Records)
Based out of Germany, Agathodaimon has always been known to mesh bleak artistic visions with a dynamic intensity, coming up with exquisite compositions destined to burn deep within your soul. In Darkness is their sixth glorious magnum opus, an intriguing collection of songs showing the band at the very height of their creative genius. The disc opens with the stunning refrains of In Darkness (We Shall Be Reborn), a staggering anthem that is destined to become a genre classic. I’ve Risen is glorious and haunting, a gorgeously symphonic reverie that will remain in your head for the metal ages to come. Going well beyond what is expected in the Black Metal genre, In Darkness by Agathodaimon is nothing short of a masterpiece that is sure to inspire all who encounter its richly rewarding tapestries.  (Info: http://www.agathodaimon.de/)

StrangersOnlybyMyTicketHomeStrangers Only by My Ticket Home (Rise Records)
My Ticket Home has been through dramatic changes since To Create A Cure, their standout debut for Rise Records. The band has returned with a phenomenal second effort that will enrapture many and even puzzle a more than a few longtime fans. While the metalcore underscore is apparent, on Strangers Only, My Ticket Home has taken a trip into the vast terrains of nu-metal. If this was released at the height of the genre craze, Strangers Only would be up there with album favorites by stalwarts such as Snot, Adema, even the early innovations of Korn. One listen to Strangers Only, and you’ll clearly see that My Ticket Home is fully engaged in their new found sound (which they cleverly call “puke rock”), and the results are vastly impressive. Raging tracks include Painfully Bored, Hot Soap, and Keep Alone.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/mytickethome)

trynottodestroyeverythingyoulove2Try Not To Destroy Everything You Love by An Autumn For Crippled Children (Aeternitas Tenebrarum Musicae Fundamentum)
Based out of the Netherlands, An Autumn For Crippled Children present music as intense as it is enigmatic. Try Not To Destroy Everything You Love is their fourth shimmering magnum opus, with spiraling melodies and harsh vocalizations reeling the listener in to the bleakness at hand. Those into the shoegazing tapestries of bands such as Ride and Catherine Wheel will surely thrill to the lavish soundscapes at hand while black metal enthusiasts will revel within the grim lyrical entreaties. As depressive as the title would indicate, Try Not To Destroy Everything You Love will linger within your psyche long after the disc spins to its dazzling conclusion. With breathtaking melodies and vocals that penetrate the soul, this gripping masterwork is destined to an all-out underground classic for the ages.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/pages/An-Autumn-For-Crippled-Children/108017119243983)

outcastspalisades2Outcasts by Palisades (Rise Records)
Come to me, in your time of need, when you’re all alone, and there’s no one to run to,” is the opening call to arms on Outcasts, the stunning debut full length from Palisades of New Jersey. Raising the bar tremendously on their full-length debut for Rise Records, Outcasts is an uncompromising, passionate work destined to garner the band a good deal of attention. Their previous EP I’m Not Dying Today brimmed with promise and conviction, and with Outcasts, Palisades is ready to hit the big leagues in a glorious way. Adding a decidedly electronic edge to their devastating post hardcore inflections, there is certainly a good deal to admire about the advancement of the band’s already intensive sound. A work of breathtaking proportions from a band we’ll be a hearing a lot more of in future days.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/WeArePalisades)

The Top Ten EP’s of 2013

luckyarrica1Lucky by Arrica Rose & the …’s (Poprock Records)
Arrica Rose is one of L.A.’s best kept secrets when it comes to vastly underrated singer / songwriters. And on Lucky, Ms. Rose and her band explore dream pop territory, and whisk the listener away on an intimate journey that they’ll want to revisit time and again. Whether it’s the spiraling chorus of “welcome to the future” from the magnetic I Wasn’t Done Dancing or the torchy refrains of Without My Love, Arrica Rose delivers wistful lyrics and vibrant melodies that aim straight for the heart. Why Arrica Rose isn’t a household name by now is the greatest mystery of all, but those who discover the vast treasures found within the short but very sweet Lucky will surely encounter the richest of musical rewards.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/arricarosemusic)

stardogchamp1Exhale by Stardog Champion (Self-released EP)
Longtime fans of the Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania music scene will think they have hit the mother lode of heavy rock when encountering the stunning compositions of Stardog Champion. Combine two ex-members of Breaking Benjamin with the charismatic ex-vocalist of Lifer and The Drama Club – add a kick ass drummer into the mix – and you’ve suddenly stumbled upon one of the very best rock and roll bands to come out of the States in a very long time. Exhale is their debut recording, a colossal five song EP that will leave the listener absolutely breathless. If you like inspiring rock and roll performed with passion and conviction, then Stardog Champion is sure become a massive winner in your music collection.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/stardogchampionband)

bluesbright1Bright Lights by The Blues And Greys (Wednesday Records)
The Blues And Greys is an indie rock collective from Santa Barbara, California whose soaring tunes and expressive lyrics will surely garner a good deal of notice. Fronted by the luminous vocal inflections of Lindsey Waldon, The Blues And Greys channel such classic acts as The Ocean Blue and The Cranberries, while maintaining their own unique visions with their phenomenally vibrant compositions. Bright Lights EP is a stunning introduction, consisting of five gorgeous tracks whose spiraling melodies and infectious choruses will remain in your head long after the disc spins to its conclusion. Less than 20 minutes in length, the Bright Lights EP is a striking first effort with a fascinating lead vocalist and timeless songs that are absolutely captivating.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/thebluesandgreys)

rebelreviveep3XI (Eleven) by Rebel Revive (Self-released EP)
Based out of the music metropolis known as The OC in Southern California, Rebel Revive is a pop rocking project that you’ll be hearing a lot more about in future days. The mastermind behind Rebel Revive is Matthew Lindblad, former guitarist for New Years Day (Hollywood Waste / Century Media Records). And while Rebel Revive may find themselves amongst the unsigned, do not expect that status to linger on, especially if their debut EP XI (Eleven) is indicative of things to come. Songs such as The Voices and Nameless Faceless are destined to place Rebel Revive on the radar. XI (Eleven) is a glorious debut from a massively talented artist whose timeless songs will make you fall blissfully in love with pop rock once again.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/RebelRevive)

letitunravel1Unravel by Let It Happen (InVogue Records)
Fans of Jimmy Eat World and The Starting Line need to rejoice right now, because Let It Happen has arrived onto the scene and they are on fire! With lethally heartfelt lyrics and spirited choruses, the six songs found within Unravel will surely leave an impact on all music aficionados. Unravel is Let It Happen’s debut for Invogue Records, and its destined to bring the Cincinnati, Ohio collective a good deal of attention. Their previous self-released effort It Hurts, But It’s Worth It was vastly underrated, seething with a ton of ambition and promise. Now with the dynamic Unravel, expect Let It Happen to catapult into the big leagues. Unravel only contain six songs, but may easily be counted as one of the very best pop rock releases of the year.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/LetItHappenBand)

beartoothsick2Sick by Beartooth (Red Bull Records)
After departing from the highly successful Attack Attack!, Caleb Shomo spent time battling his own personal demons as well as working on what would be the debut of a brand new entity entitled Beartooth. Sick is the debut EP from Beartooth, a wildly cathartic, deeply emotional effort that lunges straight for the throat. Defining their genre as simply “Loud,” it’s impossible not to be moved by tracks such as the hard hitting I Have A Problem and the triumphant Go Be The Voice. A powerful work from an artist who’s been through hell and back, and ready to share his visions with the world at large. It will be exciting to hear what the full length debut Disgusting will be like when unleashed sometime next year.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/BEARTOOTHband)

theillusionoftrad2The Illusion of Choice by This Romantic Tragedy (Self-released EP)
Although membership changes and record label problems have plagued This Romantic Tragedy over the years, the Las Vegas based collective relentless march on. Their follow-up to Reborn has finally been issued – entitled The Illusion of Choice, this self-released EP shows This Romantic Tragedy at the height of their artistry, presenting five post hardcore anthems destined to gain the band a good deal of attention. Clearly proving a record label need not to be a factor when presenting your work to the world at large, This Romantic Tragedy may indeed be doing it the hard way – but judging by what’s heard on The Illusion of Choice, this path just may work out best – for now at least, because indie EP’s like The Illusion of Choice are they type that get bands signed!  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/thisromantictragedy)

markroseturnaround1The Sound Of A Turnaround by Mark Rose (Self-released EP)
Best known as the front man of Spitalfield (Victory Records) for nearly a decade, singer / songwriter Mark Rose has amassed his own impressive collection of songs since the demise of his band. While most of Spitalfield’s output was fast pasted and alternative rock oriented, Rose’s solo work has been more varied and ambitious in scope. His debut full-length album Wonderful Trouble surprised many with its soulful inflections – and now on his latest EP The Sound Of A Turnaround – the artist has once again presented a sweet and vibrant musical revelation for both longtime fans and newer converts. Although The Sound Of A Turnaround is a relatively short effort, the four songs contained within are destined to leave a lasting impression upon the romantics and dreamers wandering the great big world.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/markrosemusic)

pretendersonelast1Pretenders by One Last Look (Self-released EP)
Out of the legendary Orange County music scene emerges One Last Look, a charismatic hardcore / electronica band ready to take on the music industry by storm. Their recent Pretenders EP was produced by Drew Fulk, whose own extensive credits include the likes of Motionless In White, Secrets and At The Skylines. An impassioned work of sonic art, Pretenders is a rock solid effort destined to gain the band a good deal of attention well beyond the confines of the Orange Curtain. One Last Look may be an unsigned entity, but don’t expect that status to last for long, especially if their live shows and tremendous self-released EP are indicative of greater glories ahead. Expect to find this band signed to a label before 2014 spins to an end.  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/onelastlookband)

nightdemonep1Night Demon by Night Demon (Shadow Kingdom Records)
Based out of the Ventura, CA area, Night Demon present their own classic brand of heavy metal, in the grand tradition of Iron Maiden and Diamond Head. Their Self Titled EP was recently unleashed through Shadow Kingdom Records, a thrilling four song adventure destined to possess your soul with its sheer all-out intensity. The trio recently opened a few shows for the Diamond Head / Raven tour and has been invited to participate in the world renowned Keep It True Festival 2014 in Germany. The metal spell has been cast, and the world is now taking heed to the sonic calls of the Night Demon. It will be exciting to hear what manic rituals Night Demon has in store for us in 2014 and beyond…  (Info: https://www.facebook.com/nightdemonband)

Top 10 Songs on 2013 (in alphabetical order)

Songs can certainly change the world.  A memorable chorus can remain in your head for ages.  In this list are some of my favorite songs of 2013.  If one single piece of music can make you feel anything at all – whether it be love, hope, hate, rage – it can live within your soul for an eternity.  Here are some of the standouts of the year. In this case, they are in alphabetical order and are all worth seeking out…

swisscot15th Avenue by Aaron Shanley
(From the album: Bedroom Tapes: Swiss Cottage Teal Roses)
I stood like tourist lost on 5th Avenue, fucked up and thinking of you.” This song will rip your heart out. Irish singer / songwriter Aaron Shanley is a massive talent in the grand tradition of Elliott Smith and has recorded one of the most heart wrenching songs of the year. There is beauty is melancholy and longing.

InDarknessbyAgathodaimonIn Darkness (We Shall Be Reborn) by Agathodaimon
(From the album: In Darkness)
This is the ending – this is absolution – this is our final tomb.” Agathodaimon has unleashed a black metal classic for the ages. You’ll feel evil as hell and ready to take on the world when you encounter the track’s lethal refrains.

luckyarrica1I Wasn’t Done Dancing by Arrica Rose
(From the EP: Lucky)
Welcome to the future,” L.A. based singer / songwriter Arrica Rose sings with a sultry sense of conviction – a dream pop confection that conceals a dazzling amount of intrigue. A true stunner showing an artist at the height of her creativity.

coneyfour1Boys Club by Coney Hatch
(From the album: Four)
Live fast and you might die young. I’m born lucky, so bite your tongue.” Coney Hatch return after a lengthy absence and unleash their best album ever. Boys Club is sleaze rock in its finest hour, with monstrously catchy hooks and over the top party lyrics rendering this one a genre classic.

bowienextday1The Stars (Are Out Tonight) by David Bowie
(From the album: The Next Day)
Here they are upon the stairs, sexless and unaroused” Legendary rocker David Bowie sings about the timelessness of iconic stars and how they are perceived as immortal by us all. A song as mystical as the subject matter, this shows Bowie can still unleash the majestic hits!

echodreams1Cool Kids by Echosmith
(From the album: Talking Dreams)
I wish that I could be like the cool kids,’Cause all the cool kids, they seem to fit in.” Echosmith spent a summer on Warped Tour, and possess a endearing indie rock quality that has plenty of mass appeal. Cool Kids is a glorious pop anthem for anyone who feels decidedly awkward and unhip.

splinter1Everything Comes Down To This by Gary Numan
(From the album: Splinter (Songs From A Broken Mind)
I don’t know how this is going to end, but everything comes down to this.” Classic Gary Numan: imaginative, emotionally desolate yet hard hitting. Numan treks into NIN territory once more while retaining his own bleak enigmatic visions.

exodokim1Mexico by Hanna Kim
(From the album: Exodo)
Somebody please bring me my things, I was never meant to play dead way down low.” A inspiring song about personal liberation that will linger in your mind for the years to come. If you like Norah Jones you will love Hana Kim.

cutslike1You Dream, I’ll Drive by Little River Band
(From the album: Cuts Like A Diamond)
Someday we’re gonna blow this town, And chase that old sunset down” The band that brought us classics such as Cool Change and Lonesome Loser scores big with this wistful song for the hopeless romantic in us all.

ultramarineSad Night, Where Is Morning by The Ocean Blue
(From the album: Ultramarine)
Sad night, why don’t you speak to me? What would you say? What would you think?” Where sweet melancholia and atmospheric guitars clash with vibrant results. A mesmerizing song that will sweep the listener off their feet and into a state of pure bliss.

And thus concludes Editor Ken’s wild ride through the dirty musical highways of 2013! See you all on the web and at the shows in 2014!

(Compilation by Ken Morton)

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Highwire Daze Radio at Live 365 – Current Playlist

hdcard-300x132_2And here are the current playlists for Highwire Daze Radio.  These are continuous three hour broadcasts that will repeat at the end of each rotation.  During the day we play our Official Playlist of Metal, Metalcore, Alternative and Hard Rock (6AM – 9PM PT) – and then at Late Night we go Extreme Metal (9PM – 6AM PT).  The song order is below.

This will always be the page to check to see what we are currently playing, so be sure to book mark it.

Please join us and support this station by clicking the Widget at the bottom of the page or this direct link: http://www.live365.com/stations/highwiredaze

PLAYLIST FOR WEEK OF November 9th, 2014

THE READY SET – Jordan Witzigreuter Radio ID – Highwire Daze Tags
THE READY SET – Freakin Me Out – Bad & The Better
THE ROYAL – Bounce Back – Bounce Back – Single
SECOND TO LAST – Window Seat – Nobody Cares
LET IT HAPPEN – Losing Something – Cause + Effect
Islander – Islander Station ID – Highwire Daze Tags
ISLANDER – Coconut Dracula – Violence & Destruction
SIXX:A.M. – Stars – Modern Vintage
SLASH – World On Fire – World On Fire
CRAZY LIXX – Hell Raising Women – Crazy Lixx
Comeback Kid – Andrew Neufeld ID – Highwire Daze Tags
COMEBACK KID – Unconditional – Die Knowing
THE HISTORY OF HOPE – Mask – Mask – Single
LIKE MONROE – The Hills – Things We Speak, But Never Speak
ABANDON ALL SHIPS – Trapped – Malocchio
In Dying Arms – Orion Stephens Station ID – Highwire Daze Tags
IN DYING ARMS – Second Best – Boundaries
ONE YEAR LATER – Wander – Life Between The Lies
YOUTH IN REVOLT – There For You – Love Is A Liar’s Game
ONE SHOT THRILL – The Let Down (feat. Andy Leo of Crown the Empire) – The Let Down (feat. Andy Leo of Crown the Empire)
Midge Ure – Midge Ure Station ID – Highwire Daze Radio
MIDGE URE – Become – Fragile
SIMPLE MINDS – Midnight Walking – Big Music
INFORMATION SOCIETY – Peace And Love, Inc. – Peace And Love, Inc.
FOREIGNER – Urgent – 4
The Motels – Martha Davis Station ID – Highwire Daze Tags
THE MOTELS – Suddenly Last Summer – Little Robbers
AMBERIAN DAWN – Cherish My Memory – Magic Forest
HELIOSAGA – Scarlet Sphere – Towers In The Distance
MASTERCASTLE – The Castle – Enfer [De La Bibliothèque Nationale]
RAVEN – Raven Station ID – Highwire Daze Tags
RAVEN – Walk Through Fire – Walk Through Fire
LONEWOLF – Hordes of the Night – Cult Of Steel
VANISH – Great Collapse – Come To Wither
DIVINE ASCENSION – Crystal Tears – Liberator
FOR ALL I AM – Aria Yava Station ID – Highwire Daze Tags
FOR ALL I AM – Bad Nature – No Home
FAVORITE WEAPON – Let’s Shake On It – Sixty Saragossa
MERIDIAN – Everything That Kept Me Moving – The Awful Truth
NEW MEDICINE – Fire Up The Night – Breaking The Model
NIGHT DEMON – Night Demon Station ID – Highwire Daze Tags
NIGHT DEMON – The Chalice – NIGHT DEMON
ANTHRAX – Neon Knights – Ronnie James Dio – This Is Your Life
ACCEPT – Final Journey – Blind Rage
PALACE – Iron Horde – The 7th Steel
Outline In Color – Michael Skaggs Radio ID – Highwire Daze Tags
OUTLINE IN COLOR – Pick Your Poison – Masks
AT OUR EXPENSE – In The Heart Of August – I’m The One Who Changed
NEVADA ROSE – 609 – Paint Me In Light
HELIA – Gaia – The Great Divide
Assassins – Todd of Assassins ID – Highwire Daze Tags
ASSASSINS – In God You Trust – War of Aggression
EARLY SEASONS – Fireball – Redemption
FOCUS IN FRAME – You Live, You Learn – Restless
MERGE – Lighters – Elysion
CROWN THE EMPIRE – Andy Leo New Station ID – Highwire Daze Tags
CROWN THE EMPIRE – Bloodline – The Resistance: Rise of the Runaways
SIRENA – Perseverance – The Uncertainty of Meaning
CAPSIZE – Face First – I’ve Been Tearing Myself Apart
ALONG CAME A SPIDER – Wanderlust – Resurgence
ALIVE LIKE ME – Jairus Kersey of Alive Like Me Station ID – Highwire Daze Station ID
ALIVE LIKE ME – Searching For Endings – Only Forever
LIMITS – Surrender Your Throne – Rebirth
ALTERAS_-_Heartseeker_-_Shapeshifter
ROMUVOS – Romuvan Dainas – Romuvan Dainas

**THEN BACK TO THE TOP**

METAL OVERNIGHT PLAYLIST FOR WEEK OF November 9th, 2014

Editor Ken – Metal Overnight Preview 1 – Station Tags
ZGARD – Highlands – Contemplation
STRYVIGOR – Wherever The Stars… – Forgotten By Ages
PANYCHIDA – Dance of the Fiery Stars – Grief for an Idol
NOTHGARD – Age Of Pandora – Age Of Pandora
AMON AMARTH – Ted of Amon Amarth ID – Highwire Daze Tags
AMON AMARTH – Runes To My Memory – With Oden On Our Side
FALKENBACH – Vaer Stjernar Vaerdan – Asa (digipak)
FALCONER – Locust Swarm – Black Moon Rising
FORNICUS – We Are Sin – Storming Heaven
Editor Ken – Metal Overnight Preview 3 – Station tags
KING OF ASGARD – The Runes of Hel – Karg
KATTAH – Behind The Clay – Lapis Lazuli
TANTAL – Expectancy Pt.1 (Desert In My Soul) – Expectancy
ONSLAUGHT – Children Of The Sand – VI
NIGHT DEMON – Night Demon Station ID – Highwire Daze Tags
NIGHT DEMON – Night Demon – NIGHT DEMON
U.D.O. – Steelhammer – Steelhammer
STORMWARRIOR – Thunder & Steele – Thunder & Steele
VADER – Triumph of Death – Tibi Et Igni
Editor Ken – Editor Ken Metal Overnight 4 – Ken Tags
THUNDERWORKS – Trial Of Time – Thoughts & Thunder
VANHELGD – May The Worms Have Mercy On My Flesh – Relics Of Sulphur Salvation
WINTERFYLLETH – The Divination of Antiquity – The Divination of Antiquity
TWILIGHTFALL – The Energy Of Soul – The Energy Of Soul
VESANIA – Orion Station ID – Highwire Daze Station IDs
VESANIA – Halflight – Deus Ex Machina
PERSUADER – Son Of Sodom – The Fiction Maze
METAL INQUISITOR – Doomsday For The Heretic – Doomsday For The Heretic
KHOLD – Myr – Til Endes
Editor Ken – Editor Ken Metal Overnight 5 – Ken tags
DEATHROW – The Sentinel – The Eerie Sound Of The Slow Awakening
ANCST – Entropie – In Turmoil
ABIGOR – Temptation II – stasis – Leytmotif Luzifer
NARBELETH – Land of the Heathen – A Hatred Manifesto
RAVEN – Raven Station ID – Highwire Daze Tags
RAVEN – Trainwreck – Walk Through Fire
DEADLY CARNAGE – Dome of the Warders – Manthe
BELPHEGOR – Conjuring The Dead – Conjuring The Dead
ACCUSER – Who Pulls The Wire – Who Dominates Who 2014
ENSLAVED – Grutle of Enslaved Radio ID – Highwire Daze Tags
ENSLAVED – As Fire Swept Clean the Earth – Below The Lights
THYRIEN – Deathwish – Hymns of the Mortals – Songs from the North
THY PRIMORDIAL – Genuine Hatred – The Crowning Carnage
STIGMHATE – Ave Averno In Genesi Nema – Zodacare Od Zodameranu
Eluveitie – Ivo Henzi Station ID – Vol. 1
Eluveitie – King – Origins
HANGATYR – Eisenwald – Elemente
GRAVEBORNE – Burn the City of God – Through the Window of the Night
IMMORTAL – Damned In Black – Damned In Black

**THEN BACK TO THE TOP**

Click the widget below and give a listen…

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Highwire Daze Radio at Live 365

hdcardHighwire Daze Radio at Live 365. Still working out the kinks but here it is. Just click the link below the playlist. It takes a minute to load up…

HIGHWIRE DAZE PLAYLIST #1

This playlist runs exactly five hours in length

Love For Sale – Motorhead
Headless Cross – Black Sabbath
Outcasts – Palisades
It’s Cherried – At The Skylines
I Am A Dream – 5 Years and Counting
The Stars Are Out Tonight – David Bowie
Lovekills – Her Bright Skies
Superbadgirls – Ivan
Freaks – The Royal
A Starving Clock Comes Back For Seconds – Bruised But Not Broken
This Confession Has Meant Nothing – One Last Look
Your Love – The Outfield

Strange Highways – Dio
The Summer – Citizen
Memories Of A Broken Heart – Crown The Empire
Disconnected – Heartist
Change – John Waite
Stranger – Jefferson Starship
Age Of Ignorance – Our Last Night
Plowed – Sponge
Dead Beliefs – City In The Sea
The Earthing – Borknagar
Say Hello – Alexander
I Don’t Wanna Stop – Ozzy Osbourne

The Domnator – The Suit
See You In Hell _ Grim Reaper
Slow Dance Night – This Century
Night Owls – Little River Band
Like The King Does – Hana Kim
Decade Of A Girl – Mark Rose
The Fall – Gary Numan
We Built This City – Starship
Last of The Bohemians – The Motels
The Core Of My Existence – In Dying Arms
Blood Money – My Heart To Fear
Tectonic Plates – Cock And Swan

Magic Man – Heart
Crazy Crazy Nights – KISS
Tied To The Bells – Tuff
Walking – Animal Cloud
I Wasn’t Done Dancing – Arrica Rose
Nowhere Girl –B-Movie
So This Is Eden – Bad English
No More Words – Berlin
None Of It Matters – Black Eyes Susan
The Maze – Dokken
Var je soblesten – Havnatt
Naughty Dragon – Rondinelli

Grandis Spiritus Diavolos – Rotting Christ
Fluff by Black Sabbath
Diesel – Nude
Sad Night, Where is Morning – The Ocean Blue
It’s Your Amazing Grace – Glen Campbell
Jumper – Adaliah
Have Your Eyes Open – Christa Wells
Tell It To The Moon – Martha Davis
Surrender – Built On Secrets
Don’t Waste Your Breath – Close To Home
Shut Up Our Song Is On – Monsters Scare You
Sound Of Silence – Eternal Tears of Sorrow

FeelGood – Goldhouse
Save You -Heimdall
Define Yourself – Serianna
Metal Nation – Witch Cross
Steelhammer – U.D.O.
The Raven Ride – Empire
Nothing To Lose – Stardog Champion
One Day – Luke Potter
The Way We Fall – Tim Hatten
Unfortunate Casino – Gerry Beckley
You Dream I’ll Drive – Little River Band
Alone – The Seeking

**THEN BACK TO THE TOP**

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A Tribute to Jeff Hannemann of Slayer

Jeff Hanneman of Slayer - 2009 Mayhem Festival - Photo by: Dave from Montebello

Jeff Hanneman of Slayer – 2009 Mayhem Festival – Photo by: Dave from Montebello

Today the metal community, and the music world as a whole, has been shocked and saddened to learn about the passing of Jeff Hannemann of the mighty Slayer. A guitarist extraordinaire who has been a massive influence on musicians of various genres, Hannemann has left a staggering impact and will be missed. I remember saw them at Ozzfest and was absolutely blown away by the sheer intensity of their live performance – they kicked ass and left nothing but sonic devastation in their wake. And just to show how well their music translates, I recently reviewed an album entitled Lullaby Versions of Slayer by Twinkle Twinkle Little Rock Star – featuring some wondrously unique covers of their classic songs.  There is little doubt that if you are in a metal band and reading this, you have covered one of Slayer’s many classic songs!  Hannemann’s signature guitar playing reaches far and wide.

And who could forget their album God Hates Us All being unleashed the same day as the 9/11 tragedies? Slayer’s music has helped many get through the up and downs of our lifetimes and Hannemann’s masterful guitar playing was nothing short of mesmerizing.  Hannemann is now keeping company with Ronnie James Dio, Chuck Shuldiner, Quorthon of Bathory, and the many others who have passed before him – leaving a glorious legacy embedded within the hearts of music fans all over the world!

Here are a few tributes to Jeff Hanneman I found on Facebook from various bands…

Slayer Official Announcement:

“Slayer is devastated to inform that their bandmate and brother, Jeff Hanneman, passed away at about 11AM this morning near his Southern California home. Hanneman was in an area hospital when he suffered liver failure. He is survived by his wife Kathy, his sister Kathy and his brothers Michael and Larry, and will be sorely missed.

Our Brother Jeff Hanneman, May He Rest In Peace (1964 – 2013)”

The Tributes:

“Very sad day for the entire metal community. Our condolences to Jeff’s family and Slayer.  R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman”
Accept

“We are saddened by the news that spread like fire in the metal community. The passing of a legend – MR. Jeff Hanneman. Our hearts go out to all of Jeff’s family, friends and fans.
RIP Jeff Hanneman (January 31, 1964 – May 2, 2013)”
Ashes You Leave

“well fuck…
when I was a kid getting into metal & & punk, I got into slayer a few years before I actually got into Metallica, unlike Metallica, they kept they’re signature sound & didn’t suck. Jeff was fucking awesome. now h’s gone. kinda like another part of my teen years is gone now.
R.I.P. Jeff. you will be missed..”
Gypsy Blak of BLAK

“BROKEN HOPE is SHOCKED & SADDENED to learn that JEFF HANNEMAN of SLAYER has died!!! Rest In Peace, Jeff.
We will fucking miss this GOD of metal! #JeffHanneman #Slayer”
Broken Hope

“Rest in Peace Jeff Hanneman. Slayer in one way shape or form has and will always influence metal. We are no exception to this. We covered Angel of Death a few years back and had a great time paying respect to one of the truly legendary bands in metal. Jeff wrote Angel of Death, this one is for you brother! Respect.”
Carniflex

“Slayer is one of the few bands that all metalheads, punks, and hardcore kids can all bond on. Whether you’re a Jagermeister goon at ozzfest, a straightedge jock, spikey haired street punk, a bearded dude that got stoned and forgot how to play guitar fast, or a mullet dreaded crust punk with 5 miserable dogs, we can all agree that “Reign in Blood” is the fucking jam. Somewhere there is a circle of hell where Dio, Burton, Gar, and Hanneman are all jamming and it’s the best band you’ve never heard. Thank you Jeff Hanneman, you will be missed.”
Enabler

“RIP Jeff Hanneman of Slayer. Big loss to the metal community. You’ll be missed by many!”
Ender

“R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman. You were a big inspiration to millions and made an even bigger impact on music and the world. You will never be forgotten.”
Farewell, My Love

“Another fallen hero who had a huge influence on us in the early days. I doubt that i would be a guitarist today without Jeff and Slayer, sad.. just sad..
RIP Hanneman”
Ola of Grave

“Shocking news today as we learn that Jeff Hanneman of SLAYER has passed way , Needless to say we are very saddened by this horrible news, it is undeniable the influence that Jeff & Slayer have brought to Kataklysm , was an honor to share the stage with you Jeff..RIP “
Kataklysm

“We are speechless. This is a sad day in metal. Our love goes out to Slayer and your family. You were the man. R.I.P, Jeff Hanneman. \m/”
King Conquer

“The influence that Jeff Hanneman’s riffs had on our band are not only vital but at times obvious. This man single handedly created a way to write not only the fastest, but most evil music ever! The next Malevolent Creation album will be dedicated to this man’s memory and legacy of brutality!!! RIP Jeff Hanneman”
Malevolent Creation

“We send our condolences and deepest sympathies to the family, friends, and fans of Jeff Hanneman. Our hearts go out to his brothers in Slayer. Tonight one less star will be shining and sadly, the stage got just a little bit darker. Jeff Hanneman 1964-2013.”
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth

“Jeff Hannemann (Slayer)… One of the world best guitar player died in age of 49. our thoughts are with his friends and family. Rest in Peace and we will see us in South of Heaven!”
Mystic Prophecy

“R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman. What a fucking horrible day for metal. Thank you for the decades of inspiration. Tonight we drink in your honor…”
RattleheaD

“We are absolutely shattered about the sad, sad news coming in from the SLAYER camp…
Mr. Hannemann, may you rest peacefully in the South of Heaven.”
Sacred Steel

“RIP Jeff Hanneman. Not really the sentimental type when musicians die but everything up to and including “Divine Intervention” is fucking classic to me/us and for that alone this is a shitty day in rock/metal/music.”
Shroud Of Despondency

“We are sorry to hear about the passing of Jeff Hanneman of Slayer! Truly an inspiration to all of us! R.I.P.”
Strife

“R.I.P. Jeff Hanneman, brother in thrash.”
Testament

“Our collective hearts ache. Thank You for ALL that you did for ALL of us! Thoughts are with Jeff & his Loved Ones. Rest In Peace Mr. Jeffrey Hanneman”
Thy Will Be Done

“RIP Jeff Hanneman. A dude who contributed to writing and playing in a band that is responsible in changing the metal mind and world. All we can do now is keep pushing ourselves. Our passion is music, and music lives beyond human life so lets never forget where we came from and what we love. RIP Jeff Hanneman and long live Slayer!
Vektor

“Completely distraught with the tragic news of one of our main musical inspirations. RIP Jeff Hanneman of SLAYER.”
Warbringer

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Black Sabbath Listening Party in Hollywood

IMAG0027On April 10th at The Montalbán Theatre within the wilds of Hollywood, CA, a late afternoon listening party for the upcoming Black Sabbath album took place. An invite only for press and industry types, no cell phones or cameras were allowed at the event. This would be the public debut of the iconic band’s latest entry entitled 13, and would be a listening party for the ages.

After a brief gathering where the press was treated to Black Sabbath gems of the past, the theatre doors were opened and a short film documenting the making of 13 took place. And then it was time – a listening of the first new studio album in 35 years from the original Black Sabbath members – Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler – who were joined at the recording sessions by drummer Brad Wilk of Rage Against The Machine.

There were eight songs in total, and the audience sat transfixed the entire time as the theatre was filled with the pummeling sounds of the mighty Black Sabbath. The album opens with End Of The Beginning, an eight minute magnum opus showing a band at the very height of their musical genius. God Is Dead? was up next, another stunning Sabbath epic that was simply astounding. The one ballad on the album is entitled Zeitgeist, ominous and compelling with its sinister reveries.

13coverartLive Forever was a definitive highlight – this one could be the international call to arms for the timeless Black Sabbath and their supportive fans. The end one-two punch of Damaged Soul and Dear Father feature Black Sabbath at their heaviest and most lethal, a musical force to be reckoned with even after all of these metal years.

The mostly industry crowd applauded after each and every song, with many fearlessly banging their heads. And once the lights went up, the biggest surprise of the event occurred as Ozzy Osbourne, Tony Iommi and Geezer Butler walked onstage and thanked everyone for attending. A surreal moment to be sure, and of course not documented in pictures because cameras were not allowed into the venue. This mattered not, as Ozzy said “I hope you all enjoyed the album” with a genuine sincerity in his voice and many in the room gave the three legends a standing ovation in return.

Ozzy sounds absolutely terrific on 13 singing like a man newly possessed while Tony Iommi rips it to shreds on guitar. Geezer Butler and Brad Wilk make up the perfect rhythm section, assaulting the senses with their ultra-dynamic low-end.  13 was produced by Rick Rubin (seven-time Grammy winner, two of those as Producer of the Year), and the album will be released on Vertigo (worldwide) and Vertigo/Republic in the U.S on June 11th.  13 is Black Sabbath in their finest hour, delivering nothing short of a classic onto the world.  A glorious comeback that should darken the summer of adventurous metalheads everywhere!

The complete tracks played at the listening party were:
End Of The Beginning (8:07)
God Is Dead? (8:54)
Loner (5:06)
Zeitgeist (4:28)
Age Of Reason (7:02)
Live Forever (4:49)
Damaged Soul (7:43)
Dear Father (7:06)

(Article by Kenneth Morton)

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Highwire Daze Online selects RIITIIR by Enslaved as the Best Album of 2012

Editor Ken’s Top 10 of 2012

Highwire Daze Online selects RIITIIR by Enslaved as the Best Album of 2012

Completing this year’s Top 10 list for both the full-lengths and EP’s was more difficult than ever. With Highwire Daze continuing to be web-based only, we’ve been covering an even greater number of bands from all genres. This year, I could have easily made a Top 20, as there were so many tremendous albums that were surprisingly cut from the list that had been included for a good part of the year.

Some interesting tidbits about this compilation…

Both the Highwire Daze Album and EP of the Year are from the country of Norway – namely Enslaved and Havnatt. One band member has a project on both the Album and EP list – Orion Stephens – In Dying Arms and guest vocalist in For Fear Itself. And there is everything from folk, classic rock, post hardcore to extreme metal represented, showing yet again what a twisted musical enigma Highwire Daze has been and continues to be.

This year, legendary collective such as Heart and Asia unleashed fantastic new albums appealing to both older fans and a whole new generation of converts. Enslaved managed to top themselves yet again with the magnificent RIITIIR. New bands such as The Seeking and Crown The Empire delivered the goods as well, showing that there is a whole lot of creativity and passion in the younger collectives.  And the EP list reads like a gigantic promise for the brave future of local and international music.

Here is a sample of what Editor Ken at Highwire Daze has been overplaying this year. If you only like one style of music, these lists will definitely be puzzling and obscure. So here they are, the Top 10 CD’s and EP’s of 2012, from the mind of someone who may just listen to WAAAYYY too much music.  In alphabetical order by the way.  Read on…

The Top Ten Full Length CD’s of 2012

XXX by Asia (Frontiers Records)
XXX marks 30 massive years since the release of Asia’s first landmark album, which featured the breakout hits Heat Of The Moment and Only Time Will Tell. And with the passage of time, Asia continues to bring heat and passion into their sonic artistry. Whether it’s the powerful Tomorrow The World or the melancholic Bury Me In Willow, Asia has recorded a timeless collection of songs that truly celebrate their status as one of the most respected and revered bands on the planet. (Info: http://originalasia.com/)

The Fallout by Crown The Empire (Rise Records)
Rise Records has certainly been successful in discovering the very best of new and heavy music from around the world. Crown The Empire from Dallas, Texas is definitely the best Rise release of the year, a wildly ambitious post hardcore journey that will leave the listener reeling. From the melodramatic strains of Oh Catastrophe on, The Fallout presents a relentless metallic intensity and driving choruses that will spin maniacally in your head for ages. Crown The Empire’s music has an imagination and a sense of intrigue that is exciting to behold! (Info: http://www.facebook.com/Crowntheempire)

**HIGHWIRE DAZE ALBUM OF THE YEAR**
RIITIIR by Enslaved (Nuclear Blast Records)
Over 20 years in existence, and Enslaved has released a monumental, career-defining album with the mighty RIITIIR. Progressive metal within its finest hour, this stunning 8-song adventure in sound shows this Norwegian collective at their most ambitious. Shimmering tracks such as the epic Roots Of The Mountain and the opener Thoughts Like Hammers are nothing short of mesmerizing. Closing magnum opus Forsaken demonstrates an already innovative band pushing the boundaries of extreme metal into the stratosphere. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/enslaved)

…And Don’t Deliver Us From Evil by Forgotten Tomb (Agonia Records)
Forgotten Tomb from Italy has mastered one of the most compelling and exquisite soundscapes to be heard on the world metal arena today. Depressive, extreme, yet subversively melodic, the tapestries found within the bleak confines of the Forgotten Tomb experience will surely stun and provoke all whom encounter its thrilling sonic reverberations. Love Me Like You Love The Death and Let’s Torture Each Other are grand and glorious metal anthems for the ages. If Joy Division and Darkthrone had a bastard child, its name would be Forgotten Tomb and it’s masterwork would be …And Don’t Deliver Is For Evil. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/Official.Forgotten.Tomb)

Fanatic by Heart (Legacy Recordings)
Fanatic is the 14th studio recording by the supremely legendary Heart. Known for their slamming hits such as Magic Man and Crazy On You, Heart circa 2012 can still deliver the pulsating goods with an all-out vengeance. Mashallah is a hard rocking delight showing lead vocalist Ann Wilson at her most fierce and spellbinding. Title cut Fanatic is a frenzied kick in the head that should be a monster hit single while Dear Old America is vibrant and impassioned. Fanatic is addictive to be sure! (Info: http://www.heart-music.com)

Rivals by Her Bright Skies (Panic & Attack Records)
Her Bright Skies present a smashing combination of pop punk and post hardcore, coming up with a wildly infectious sound that should win them a whole lot of ardent fans worldwide. Based in the small town of Jönköping, Sweden, Rivals is actually the third release for the band and they are clearly headed into the big leagues with this one. Rivals features 11 exciting tracks that will instantly send the listener blissfully soaring through the wondrous melodies and intensive vocals. Top-notch tracks include Lovekills, Up & Away, and the anthem-like Working Class Punx. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/HerBrightSkiesFanPage)

Boundaries by In Dying Arms (Artery Recordings)
Boundaries by In Dying Arms is their third full length, but first as a ranking member of Artery Recordings. Heavier than hell while presenting an absolutely chilling musical atmosphere, In Dying Arms possess a thoroughly imaginative sound. Second Best, The Core Of My Existence, and the ominous GOREgeous will surely be passionately embraced by extreme music fans everywhere. Featuring the work of charismatic vocalist Orion Stephens and lethally tight musicianship, In Dying Arms is a vibrant collective whose time for success has arrived. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/indyingarms)

Folding Leaves by Message To Bears (Dead Pilot Records)
Message To Bears is the ambient folk project of multi-instrumentalist Jerome Alexander. This London based musician released Folding Leaves through Dead Pilot Records, a blissfully gorgeous collection of tunes capable of transporting the listener into the most calming and serene of destinies. From the liftoff of the picturesque Everything Was Covered In Snow to the concluding reveries of Daylight Goodbye, Message To Bears presents the musical equivalence of a warm cozy blanket on the chilliest of nights. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/messagetobears)

Yours Forever by The Seeking (Razor & Tie Records)
Pop rock inflections combined with a dynamic sense of post hardcore intensity render Yours Forever by The Seeking the debut album of 2012. So Cold, Restless, Only A Moment, Alone – the should-be hits keeps on coming. This Sacramento-based band is destined to explode all over the charts if Yours Forever is indicative of great and wondrous things to come. For such a young collective, The Seeking has definitely mastered the fine art of a perfectly crafted rock song. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/theseeking)

Neverworld’s End by Xandria (Napalm Records)
It’s been a few years since we’ve heard from the likes of the mighty Xandria, and the band now returns in a dramatic way with an album destined to become a symphonic metal classic. Xandria is sure to enchant fans of such noted entities as Nightwish and Epica. Sweeping compositions of sheer intensity include the thrilling opening cut A Prophecy Of Worlds To Fall and their dynamic single Valentine. Manuela Kraller’s voice is absolutely breathtaking and the band remains as tight and resourceful as ever. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/xandriaofficial)

The Top Ten EP’s of 2012

Infinite by For Fear Itself (Swimming With Sharks Records)
While the average age of the band may be 16, For From Itself out of Baltimore, MD manage to devastate the senses with their exhilarating music. Performing with dedication and conviction, their debut Infinite mixes in heavy breakdowns, metallic guitars, and atmosphere synth work, demonstrating a good deal of imagination and flair. One of their songs Act Of Desperation features a guest appearance by none other than Orion Stephens of In Dying Arms. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/forfearitself)

**HIGHWIRE DAZE EP OF THE YEAR**
Havdøgn by Havnatt (Secret Quarters Records)
Havnatt is a Norwegian duo writing, performing and recording dark folk music inspired by the poems of author Tormod Skagestad. Originally a privately commissioned work, Havdøgn has been released worldwide through Secret Quarters Records. Tom Simonsen plays the ominous yet striking guitar work while Cecilie Langlie’s tranquil vocals supply a sense of mystique and melancholia to the proceedings. An absolutely gorgeous effort showing that acoustic music can indeed be extraordinary and adventurous in scope. The Havnatt duo is also involved in other much heavier metal entities such as Omit and Vagrant God – all well worth seeking out. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/havnatt)

Nothing You Didn’t Deserve by Heartist (Roadrunner Records)
Based out of the legendary Los Angeles music scene, Heartist is a young band whose career is just beginning to take flight. Recently signed to Roadrunner Records, Heartist has unleashed a thunderous debut EP entitled Nothing You Didn’t Deserve. Songs such as Disconnected and the thrilling title track hit a home run with their infectious choruses mixed with some pretty brutal breakdowns. The EP serves as a tremendous introduction, with blistering songs that absolutely soar into the stratosphere. It will be exciting to see what the New Year has in store for this City Of Angels based collective. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/HeartistBand)

The Ravenous by I, Omega (Bullet Tooth Records)
I, Omega is a progressive metal quintet from the Los Angeles area musical sense of adventure compare. Within the confines of 5 songs, the collective overpowers the listener with the skilled musicianship and super intensive melodies. East Coast based label Bullet Tooth has looked to the West, signing a band whose musical ambition knows no bounds. With an EP this over-the-top promising, one could only look forward to an I, Omega full length with the greatest of anticipation. Way cool cover art too! (Info: http://www.facebook.com/Iomegaband)

Lost Between Brilliance and Insanity by My Heart To Fear (Solid State Records)
From the label that unleashed acts such as Underoath and August Burns Red onto the world metal arena arrives My Heart To Fear from Williamsport, PA. Lost Between Brilliance and Insanity is staggering in scope, featuring such persuasive songs as Blood Money and Life Under The Stairs. Follow the lyrics for maximum impact and prepare for an emotional wallop. So much passion and conviction to be found within 5 songs! A commanding introduction to a band we’ll be hearing a lot from in 2013! (Info: http://www.facebook.com/myhearttofear)

I’m Not Dying Today by Palisades (Rise Records)
Rise Records has once again discovered a new band destined to slam into the big leagues. I’m Not Dying Today by Palisades from New Jersey is an all-out triumph, containing five tracks that will make you want to take on the world. There is a profound sense of urgency to be found within songs such as Disclosure and Seamless Ending. A lively work of sonic integrity that genre fans will endlessly spin time and again, Im Not Dying Today is a significant post hardcore effort that signifies even greater glories ahead! (Info: http://www.facebook.com/WeArePalisades)

Time’s Running Out by The Relapse Symphony (Standby Records)
The infamous Sunset Strip is back with an all out vengeance, thanks to the glorious songs found within Time’s Running Out by The Relapse Symphony. The odd band out in the DC music scene, the five rockin’ anthems on their Standby Records debut are sure to enrapture pop rocking enthusiasts everywhere. Infectious beyond belief, these songs will be spinning within your feverish brain long after the disc spins to its dizzying conclusion. A guilty pleasure perhaps, but one you’ll want to revisit time and again. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/TheRelapseSymphony)

In, And Of Myself by Restless Streets (InVogue Records)
Showing that conviction and perseverance are destined to pay off, Restless Streets from Albany, New York recently found themselves signed to the InVogue Records. Unleashing a wondrously impassioned brand of metalcore with enthusiasm and precision, Restless Streets is bound to secure fans on hard rocking avenues and metallic highways throughout the world. In, And Of Myself contains such exciting tracks as the spiraling Iwantyouhome and the supremely brutal (yet deceptively titled) At The Ballet. An explosive EP that should garner the band a good deal of attention. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/RESTLESSSTREETS)

Wasteland by Sirens & Sailors (Tragic Hero Records)
Tragic Hero Records continues their winning streak on band signings with Sirens & Sailors from Rochester, NY. Wasteland is a massively heavy collection of metalcore and thrash that will stun the senses. Tunes such as You And Die and I’ve Got A Masters Degree Is Common Sense are highlights within the sailing ship of sonic artillery. Relentlessly intensive and near mesmerizing, Wasteland packs in 6 devastating tracks that will leave the listener breathless.

Here Are The Answers by Treebeard (We Are Triumphant)
Fans of Circa Survive and Dredg are sure to rejoice when encountering the soaring reveries of Treebeard. In an age where metalcore and pop-punk appears to be all the rage, Treebeard from the Columbia/Kansas City, MO area has unleashed compositions so powerful and intricate, music aficionados of all genres are sure to stand up and take notice. Pure sonic artistry from a band not afraid to be imaginative and take musical risks, expect to hear nothing short of an epic when Treebeard present their full-length some time next year. (Info: http://www.facebook.com/treebeard)

And thus concludes Editor Ken’s wild ride through the dirty musical highways of 2012! See you all on the web and at the shows in 2013!

(Compilation by Kenneth Morton)

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The Metal Goldfish of CHRYST

Editor Ken’s Top 10 of 2011

The Metal Goldfish of CHRYST

Since branching off into web exclusive mode, Highwire Daze has been able to cover more music that ever before, and has done a record number of interviews and reviews this year.  Compiling a mere Top Ten List has been especially daunting.  I can honestly say that each recording on the Full Length list are albums I will surely listen to for years to come.   The metal is out in full force this year, featuring the demented grandeur of the almighty Chryst and the journey into avant garde madness courtesy of Ebonylake.   If relaxing music is needed after a trip through the bowels of insanity, enter into the Forest Of The Soul for a picturesque acoustic journey or check out Vieo Abiungo for a wondrous neo-classical explosion of the mind.  And who can forget the legendary Glen Campbell, whose final album received rave reviews all across the planet? And if metalcore fans have not checked out Miracle At St. Anna yet, I highly recommend you do so.

The Best Of The Year EP list is an interesting entity, populated mostly with bands I feel will explode into the stratosphere in 2012.   Many on the EP list are so pop rock oriented, you would think that another entirely different journalist compiled it.   So here it is, the albums and EP’s that made 2011 so entirely memorable…

The Top Ten Full Length CD’s of 2011

PhantasmaChronica by Chryst (Omniversal Records)
From the ashes of the obscure KorovoKill one finds the grand resurrection of an entity whose newly bestowed moniker is Chryst. The masterwork of the enigmatic Dr. Chrystof Niederwieser, Chryst is avantgarde metal at its most imaginative. Flying goldfish, ominous time pieces, and men with cloudy beards are only a fraction of what this vast and mysterious wonderland of sound consists of. A challenging, unpredictable work of artistry that is sure to intrigue and confound the metal masses at large.

In Swathes Of Brooding Light by Ebonylake (Ladlo Productions)
The passages of time and the complexity of madness and despair has unleashed an extreme avant-garde metal magnum opus conceived by the mysterious Ebonylake. The murky waters and distant shores reveal a complex dementia that is sure to excite and bewilder music fans all across this dreary planet. In Swathes Of Brooding Light ponders the true depths of unadulterated insanity and is a listening experience not to be missed.

Restless In Flight by Forest Of The Soul (Bindrune Recordings)
There is magic and intrigue to be found within the timeless acoustic passages from Forest Of The Soul. Restless In Flight is sure to enchant fans of such bands as Agalloch and Anathema. Progressive and cinematic, this West Virginia based duo present rich tapestries that transport the listener through enigmatic woodlands and the most captivating of dreams. A true stunner from Bindrune Recordings.

Dead Son Rising by Gary Numan (Machine Music Ltd)
Dead Son Rising is the 16th album by the iconic Gary Numan, and is perhaps his most experimental and remote recording to date. The Fall is a true stunner with its heavy duty dance beats and grim lyrics while For The Rest Of My Life and Not The Love We Dream Of features some wondrously impassioned vocals. The perfect companion for the darkest and manic of nights. Another triumphant collaborative work of Numan and Ade Fenton.

Ghost On The Canvas by Glen Campbell (Surfdog Records)
The final work of a legendary career, Ghost On The Canvas by Glen Campbell is a deeply moving experience. Songs such as Amazing Grace, In My Arms, and Any Trouble hold up amazingly well to the Glen Campbell classics while the Paul Westerberg penned title cut will haunt your memory for decades to come. No other album this year comes remotely close to the emotional impact Ghost On The Canvas conveys.

In Abstraction by A Hope For Home (Facedown Records)
In Abstraction presents A Hope For Home in their finest hour – a thoroughly ambitious and triumphant work of sonic art that will remain in the listener’s head long after the disc spins to its riveting conclusion. The lengthy songs contained within are nothing short of masterworks. Also contained is a DVD containing introspective interviews and artistic videos of all the song. In Abstraction is absolute brilliance!

Meredead by Leaves’ Eyes (Napalm Records)
Meredead is the fourth magnum opus from Leaves’ Eyes, a symphonic metal band fronted by the lovely Liv Kristine. Just the opening track Spirit’s Masquerade is more than enough to secure grand accolades, but Sigrlinn, Velvet Heart and their stunning cover of the Mike Oldfield classic To France reinforces its sweeping epic magnificence. A wondrous odyssey of dark enchantment for the metal ages.

Shadow Country by Miracle At St. Anna (Tragic Hero Records)
Combining a ferocious brand of metalcore with the swampy sounds of the mystical South, Shadow Country by Miracle At St. Anna exudes a powerful intensity that is riveting. The vocals are passionate and ferocious, the musical soundtrack stunning and severe, with a mysterious keyboard underscore weaving its dark magic throughout the recording. Songs such as On The Reg, Moses In Agony, and Brokeback Fountain are devastating. An exhilarating grand slam debut.

The World Is Still Yawning by Vieo Abiungo (Lost Tribe Sound)
The World Is Still Yawning by Vieo Abiungo is as beautiful as it is intriguing. Classical music infused by a startling sense of ambience that achieves a sense of both sentimental daydreams and otherworldly visions. Conceived by multi-instrumentalist William Ryan Fritch, The World Is Still Yawning is ironocally titled to be sure. The various compositions will surely both enchant and mystify all adventurous musical aficionados.

Irrbloss by Yggdrasil (Grand Master Music)
A mystical journey through the Swedish folk metal underground, Irrbloss by Yggdrasil is a stunning masterwork. Fans of Moonsorrow and Thyrfing will thoroughly appreciate experiencing the magic that is Irrbloss. The sweeping choruses, traditional folk instruments, and modern metal passages are dazzling to behold. Let your imagination wander through the portals of time with this standout collection of tunes.

The Top Ten EP’s of 2011

The Raleigh Sessions by Amely (Amely Independent Records)
Amely says goodbye to their fans with The Raleigh Sessions – seven dazzling pop songs which would have made up a portion of their demo album for Fearless Records. In demo form here, the tunes nevertheless exude a sweet infectious that will tug at the heart. Also presented is a testament as to why their vocalist Petie Pizarro remains one of the most underrated vocalists of our time. So farewell Amely and hello Sovereign Soldiers.

Igniter by An Early Ending (CI/Decadent Suite Records)
Harrisburg, PA’s An Early Ending survived a devastating accident that nearly broke apart the band. Now after a brief hiatus, the band returned with a explosive new EP entitled Igniter. Mixing infectious rock melodies with hardcore and screamo inflections, the 8 songs found within are instantly memorable. With all of the exhilarating choruses and impassioned singing, Igniter is nothing short of a personal triumph.

Fail Yourself by Deserters (Rite Of Passage / Mediaskare Records)
Rock in roll is your enemy and I am your enemy!” the narrator exclaims before the Deserters EP explodes into some of the most ferocious hardcore Los Angeles currently has on tap.  Fail Yourself is a definitive success, six songs of sonic, skull crunching intensity.  Rite Of Passage / Mediaskare has signed a lot of good bands this year, and Deserters is a another great discovery for the label.  Hit the pit!

A Reason To Swim by Joe Brooks (Fantastik Music)
Major labels? Who needs them? Not singer / songwriter Joe Brooks, who reached out to his fans and gifted them all with an eloquent collection of heartfelt pop tunes entitled A Reason To Swim. Holes Inside and I Find The Light In You are vivid and moving, and should appeal to all who cherish a first-class, genuine pop song. Now left to his own devices, Brooks continues to prove he’s a massive talent on the rise to greater glories ahead.

Pseudo Romance by Kyle Castellani (Independent Release)
Formerly in Nural, vocalist Kyle Castellani has always been a powerful, highly emotive lead vocalist who always transcended the material at hand. Now on his first solo album Pseudo Romance, his expressive singing absolutely soars. Like Old Times is as haunting as it romantic while Butterflies is inviting and eloquent. Timeless and fascinating, Pseudo Romance is an impressive debut effort for a vastly underrated talent.

Of All The Beauty by My Genuine Find (Independent Release)
Those who like dance pop with a lot of heart are destined to become a big time fan of My Genuine Find. Mastermind Bobby Mares has self-released a dazzling collection of songs that will place a smile on the face of even the most jaded of music listener. The sweetest pop confections include Be Together, Heartbeat, and the hit single worthy Always You. Expect 2012 to be a huge year for My Genuine Find!

Big by PARENTZ (Chill Mega Chill Records)
Groovy and intelligent, the San Francisco based chill wave outfit PARENTZ is the brainchild of the resourceful Jeremy Sullivan. Inspired by all things Tom Hanks, Big is a wondrously infectious aural treat. Whether it’s the techno/dance title cut, the seductive Just Sayin, or the clever trip hop inflections of Back It Up, Big by PARENTZ is a astonishing breathe of fresh air in a world of musical stagnation. And always remember to “Trust the media, Trust Wikipedia…

Feel Good Now by The Ready Set (Decaydance/Warner Brothers Records)
Jordan Witzigreuter and his band The Ready Set spent an entire summer on this year’s Warped Tour, winning over fans big time and had a hit song with Love Like Woe from his debut Decaydance EP.  Their latest effort Feel Good Now is an admirable follow-up, with stand out tracks being the pop rock perfection of Operator, the driving arena rock anthem Young Forever, and the rambunctiously infectious Killer.  The Ready Set is surely headed for pop rock superstardom.

Conditions by Sleep For Sleepers (Independent Release)
Although many thought the band was in a permanent slumber, Sleep For Sleepers returned with their most powerful collection of songs to date. Conditions presents their most melodic, accessible tunes to date. Especially noteworthy is the triumphant inflections of Dark, a song with a ton of hit single potential. A reawakening for a band ready to break on through to the big leagues. A stunning comeback to be sure!

All Our Yesterdays by Verah Falls (BlkHeart Group)
Raging out of the Pacific Northwest, Verah Falls present an exhilarating brand of melodic hardcore that is sure to gain them a good deal of notice.  One of the newer signings on the fledging BlkHeart Records label, Verah Falls notable songs from their grand slam EP include Season Tickets To The Opera, Portland Stay Golden, and A Family Affair.  It will be exciting to see was 2012 has in store for these guys!

And thus concludes Editor Ken’s thoroughly schizophrenic year in music!  See you all on the radiowaves and beyond in 2012!

(Compilation by Kenneth Morton)

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Editor Ken’s Top 10 of 2010

20 Years of Highwire Daze Madness

In November, Highwire Daze celebrated an major anniversary.

20 Years!

I never thought we would make it this far.  I mean, who stays with anything for 20 years?  We may not be publishing the paper edition on a regular basis, but the website is updated several times a day.  I remember our Tripod/Geocities years when the website did not look so good.  Many thanks to Jason Mageau at Malus Clothing for bringing Highwire Daze into the 21st Century when it came to the world wide web.

There has been so many changes in the 20 years we’ve been doing this.  We have an interview resume that would rival any writer on The Rolling Stone, but that tends to happen when you’ve been around as long as we have.  A sense of irony is that a lot of our readers weren’t even born when the idea of Highwire Daze was conceived in a dark Hollywood apartment back in September of 1990.  The first issue arrived in November 1990 and here we are now, 119 paper issue and countless web posts later.

One thing I would like to do is update my column Sketches By The Editor on the 1st of every month instead of once or twice a year.  Make it more of a blog about the behind the scene happenings here at the Daze.  Expect that to start when the New Year arrives.  In the meantime, here is why we are all here – for the Annual Highwire Daze Top Ten List of 2010…

(By the way, pictured above is Issue #1 of Highwire Daze magazine dated November 1990)

The 10 CD’s of 2010

For those who think 2010 was a dismal time for music, I beg to differ!  This was the toughest compilation yet, and many I thought all year were going to make the grade on my list simply didn’t.

I have decided this year to not list runner ups, but I am doing an article for my Top Ten EP selections, because there are a lot of new bands whom I think deserve the attention.    So after a few weeks of thought and repeated listening to a lot of music that came in over the year, here is Editor Ken’s Top List of 2010…

Favorite Fix by Artist Vs Poet (Fearless Records)

One of the highlights of Warped Tour 2010 was the appearance of Artist Vs. Poet, a band that has come a long way within the past few years.  Their debut full-length Favorite Fix is jammed packed with melodic pop/punk anthems that should have been played all over the radio airwaves!  Definitely one of my favorite music fixes of the year, with top songs being Adorable, Damn Rough Night, and We’re All The Same.

The Good Years by Backseat Goodbye (Self-released CD)

Why Chad Sugg and his project Backseat Goodbye isn’t signed and as huge as acts such as Elliot Smith and The Rocket Summer is way beyond my comprehension!  There is so much heart and soul to be found within The Good Years.  A sheer triumph all around, from the dazzling melodies to the intelligent, compassionate lyrics.  This is an album about truth and discovery and is easily one of the most overlooked releases of 2010.  Poignant selections on the disc include You Are The One That Will Be By My Side, 1996, Letdown Of The Year, Moons, and the wonderfully titled Elliot Smith Is Still Alive.

Universal by Borknagar (The End Records)

What would the Black Metal incarnation of Rush sound like – maybe a bit like the mighty Borknagar from Norway.  It’s been five long years since we’ve heard from Øystein Brun, Vintersorg and the crew, but Universal was a release that was well worth the wait.  Intellectual thought and complex melodies abound, mixing the extreme with a cosmic sense of grace and wonder.  Here’s hoping Borknagar make it out here to the States for a tour in the New Year – the last time they played in the US, they were touring with Emperor and that was way too many years ago…

Circle The Wagons by Darkthrone (Peaceville Records)

Who would have even imagined that the best punk rock album of the year would have been made by a legendary Black Metal entity named Darkthrone?  Mix Motorhead with The Damned and you are only beginning to imagine the harsh and glorious compositions to be found on Circle The Wagons.  It’s light years away from their classics A Blaze In The Northern Sky and Transylvanian Hunger, but Nocturno Culto and Fenriz still manage to unleash compelling material.  Top circle pit inducing tracks include I Am The Graves Of The 80’s and These Treasures Will Never Befall You.

American Hell by Destruction Of A Rose (BlkHeart Group)

Destruction Of  A Rose may be metalcore, but these guys are absolutely metal TO the core!  Breaking out of Las Vegas in a big and glorious way, this hard working band has unleashed American Hell to an unsuspecting public at large.  The best thing about the album is that it successful captures the energy of their dynamic live shows, presenting studio cuts that are nothing short of genre classics.  Evan Foxx is one of the most charismatic frontmen on the scene today, and the musicianship found within is absolutely top notch.  Expect these guys to destroy everything in 2011 – they are fierce to the extreme!  Proof positive tracks include Suck Out The Poison, Open Your Eyes Not Your Legs, and Rise And Shine.

Axioma Ethica Odini by Enslaved (Nuclear Blast Records)

Nuclear Blast Records has released so many astounding CD’s this year – my whole list could have included all bands from the much revered metal label.  One such entity that has consistently made my Top Ten List is the mystical Enslaved from Norway.  Combining shade of Viking Metal with walls of progressive rock, Axioma Ethica Odini is an absolute stunner!  Throwing influences such as Rush and Pink Floyd into the mix, Enslaved bring a sense of adventure and intrigue to the extreme metal arena.  These guys can do no wrong!  Tracks that stun that senses include Giants, Night Sight, and The Beacon.

Mosaik by Frames (SPV/Steamhammer Records)

Have you even heard Frames?  This is a release that has surely surfaced under the radar, and it’s easily one of the most challenging, fully realized efforts of the year.  Completely instrumental and always nothing less than thrilling, shades of Kraut rock and progressive dynamics send the entire material soaring into the stratosphere.  Based out out Hanover, Germany, Frames and their masterwork Mosaik will take you on an unforgettable journey of sound that you’ll want to revisit time and again.

A Promise To Burn by Framing Hanley (Silent Majority Group)

A Promise To Burn by Framing Hanley is THE rock and roll album of the year.  A powerful collection of songs that present the rise and fall of spirit and integrity.  Emotionally intense and musically dynamic, A Promise To Burn is filled with a fiery passion and is nothing short of mesmerizing.  You Stupid Girl should have been a number one hit single for these guys and is my pic for song of the year!  Other selections that strike a persuasive note include Bittersweet Sundown, Photographs and Gasoline, The Promise and especially The Burn – where they do indeed promise to “Burn Hollywood to the ground.”  A promise thoroughly fulfilled!

Hoodoo by Krokus (Sony Music)

80’s hard rock and metal return with a screaming vengeance as the classic Krokus lineup reunites for the rollicking Hoodoo.  Easily measuring up to their trademark albums such as Headhunter and The Blitz, Hoodoo was jammed packed with fantastic tracks such as Hoodoo Woman, Rock And Roll Handshake, and Drive It In.  They even made the old chestnut Born To Be Wild sound vivid and full of fire and energy.  A blast from the past ready to leave an indelible stamp on a whole new generations of rockers!  And vocalist Marc Storace sounds in top form as does the rest of the tremendous lineup.

Ascending In Triumph by Nox Aurea (Napalm Records)

Another label who keeps the magnificent releases coming is Napalm Records.  One of the very best of the year was Nox Aurea, a doom/death metal band from Gothenburg, whose mighty anthems are staggering to behold.  Ascending In Triumph is a classic, featuring ferocious male and tender female vocal leads, meshing in with the dark melodies to create an aural experience that transcends both time and genres.  There is a dim yet powerful light to be found in even the most depressive of places, and Ascending In Triumph by Nox Aurea is a compelling experience from beginning to end.  Well worth checking into on those dark and lonely nights…

THE 10 BEST EP’s OF 2010

Let The Sun In by Aaron Shanley (Love Gum Records)

Aaron Shanley is a remarkable singer/songwriter from Ireland whose expressive voice and wondrous compositions are both stunning and melancholic.  Check out the picturesque Cotton Fields, the wistful Today I, or the ballsy rocker Anna Came Along to see just how effective and diverse Shanley’s music is.  Let The Sun In is truly indicative of greater things to come!

Hello World by Amely (Fearless Records)

One of the newer bands on the Fearless Records roster, Amely from Orlando, Florida has presented a debut EP entitled Hello World that shows a good deal of promise.  From Petie Pizarro’s strong, emotive vocals to the wildly infectious tunes, fans of bands such as Anberlin, All Time Low, and even the Goo Goo Dolls are sure to enjoy what Amely has to offer.

The Wonder EP by Backseat Goodbye (Self released EP)

Serving as a precursor to The Good Years, The Wonder EP by Backseat Goodbye was a short collection of songs that shined brightly as the New Year 2010 began.  A grand return to form for Chad Sugg, clearly demonstrating just how beautifully effective of an artist and entertainer he clearly isThe Breakfast Club was wide eyed and thoughtful with a killer “yeah yeah yeah” chorus and The Great Unknown shimmered with its sweetly sentimental lyrics and memorable melodies.

The Reckoning by Burning Twilight (BlkHeart Music Group)

The debut release for the BlkHeart Music Group, The Reckoning by Burning Twilight is a relentless assault to the sense.  Metalcore at its finest and most impassioned, song such as The Resolve Of Cowards and The Runaway are destined to gain these guys a good deal of fans.  Heavy and wildly impressively for both the band and its record label.  Definitely looking forward to a full length from this Washington state based collective.

Between The Lies by Memphis May Fire (Bullet Tooth Records)

Memphis May Fire hit a home run with Between The Lies, showing that they definitely have what it takes for a long and glorious career.  Be Careful What You Wish For is a revelation and Action/Adventure is filled with passion and conviction.  It will be exciting to hear what Memphis May Fire unleashes with their upcoming full length.  These guys burn bright and remain a music force to be reckoned with.

Anthems by Messengers (Strike First Records)

Facedown Records has presented us some truly great bands over the years.  One such collective is the mighty Messengers from Dallas, Texas, presenting thrash and hardcore metal in its finest hour.  With references ranging from Pantera to War Of Ages, Messengers is an unstoppable beast that should gain a good deal of respect and acclaim in the years to come.  A sledgehammer of a debut to be sure!

Goodbye To Sunny Skies by Mikey Sawyer (Self-released EP)

Based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma, singer/songwriter Mikey Sawyer presents music filled with passion and remarkable depth.  Amazingly unsigned for now, Sawyer’s powerful voice and deeply moving tunes are wondrously effective.  Big choruses abound, with title cut Goodbye To Sunny Skies and the introspective BeLIEve in Me timeless classics in the making.  References to Jacks Mannequin and Owl City only scratch the surface when it comes to the sheer beauty of Sawyer’s poignant songs.

Love Enough by My Genuine Find (Self-released EP)

If you like Breathe Electric and The Ready Set with a dash of The Starting Line thrown in for good measure, My Genuine Find from Las Cruces is your treasure trove of music.  Positive and memorable, sole member Bobby Mares possesses great tunes and charisma to spare.  Still self-releasing his EP’s, Love Enough‘s highlights include Gentlemen, A Lot Like Love, and 1-2-3.  A probable breakthrough for this hard working artist who may find himself being courted by record labels in no time.

The Opportunity To Be by My Ticket Home (Rise Records)

Rise Records fearlessly signs what they truly believe in, and has gained massive success with bands such as The Devil Wears Prada and Drop Dead, Gorgeous.  One of their new collectives showing a massive amount of promise is My Ticket Home from Columbus, Ohio.  The Opportunity To Be is a powerful debut from a young band destined to take the crown in 2011.  The melodic and the extreme mesh well together, with songs such as Surroundings and Desertion being sonic favorites.

What Has Been Done Will Be Done Again by Sleep For Sleepers (Self-released EP)

While the future of LA’s own Sleep For Sleepers may be in question, there is no denying the beauty and majesty of their EP What Has Been Done Will Be Done Again.  Now on their own after a partnership with Facedown/Dreamt Music, the spiritual indie rock found on their new EP is absolutely brilliant and ambitious.  The Heights We’ve Come To Fear is the most heartfelt love song of the year and Of What I Have, Let It Be Enough is a testament to ones faith that is grand and sweeping.   It is hard not to moved by the sentiments heard on this truly great EP.

In Conclusion

Well that’s 2010 in a nut shell.  Looking forward to all the great releases in the New Year.  Happy Holidays to all from the staff at Highwire Daze magazine!

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