Review Rundown: Evans Blue, Gothkill, Rell Big Fish, Four Year Strong, Dredg

Evans Blue – ‘Evans Blue’ (Sounds & Sights): When Dave Williams passed away, Drowning Pool should’ve changed their name, so too should Evans Blue have when former lead singer Kevin Matisyn exited the fold last year. New singer Dave Chandler does an admirable job filling in, but mostly has this eponymous release sounding more like Three Days Grace than Evans Blue. The hooks are still tight and the melodies are still grandiose but this release is a bit too run-of-the-mill and generic. It should provide a nostalgic feel for children of turn of the century nu-metal era. (
Grade: B
Go Download: ‘Sick of It’

Reel Big Fish – ‘Live! In Concert! (Rock Ridge Music): If you even needed solid proof that Reel Big Fish are six dudes who know how to have fun then go out and grab yourself a copy of their new ‘Live! In Concert!’ DVD. Filmed at the start of the ‘Fame, Fortune and Fornication’ tour in Anaheim, CA, ‘Live! In Concert!’ is a 20 song party full of every Reel Big Fish song we have come to know and love, like ‘Sell Out,’ ‘She Has a Girlfriend Now,’ and ‘Beer.’ The boys also spice things up a bit by tossing cover after cover, featuring Poison’s ‘Nothing But a Good Time,’ ‘Lita Ford’s ‘Kiss Me Deadly’ and of course, A-Ha’s ‘Take On Me.’ Not only is it the hilarious interaction between the band and crowd, but also their stage antics, like synchronized dance moves, redoing the guitar solo of ‘Don’t Start a Band’ because singer/guitarist Aaron Barrett stated he messed it up and claiming they are the masters of every musical genre, performing the track ‘S.R.’ a handful times in reggae, death metal, punk, disco, country/western, emo and blues.
Grade: A

Gothkill (Wild Eye Releasing): With one viewing of horror/comedy Gothkill, it’s easy to see why this is a revered underground cult -type movie. The movie features a number of known performance artists including Flambeaux, Erica Giovinazzo, Eve Blackwater, Anastasia Andino, Tom "Misfit" Velez and Michael Day. While Mistress Juliya appears for more a cameo than anything, she adds something special to the movie in her portrayal of a devil girl, and Flambeaux is excellent in the lead role of banished and executed former priest Nicholas Dread. The plot is pretty transparent and predictable but that all adds to the charm and fun of the movie itself, one that has spawned countless midnight showings and fan participation. If you are looking for a low budget horror movie that will make you laugh more than cringe, grab a copy of Gothkill. (
Grade: C

Four Year Strong – ‘Explains It All’ (I Surrender Music): From the songs down to the album title itself, Four Year Strong pay respect to the 90’s, ‘Explains It All’ being an obvious ode to the much loved Clarissa Explains It All, which if you’re sitting there claiming you’ve never seen it or heard of it, you’re lying. Talk about making a cover song your own - a breakdown and double bass outro to No Doubt’s ‘Spiderwebs?’ Amazing. The addition of Gym Class Heroes frontman Travis McCoy to the bands take on Sugar Ray’s radio mainstay ‘Fly’ make the effort nothing short of excellent and the band also somehow manages to add a bit of pep to Nirvana’s dreary ‘In Bloom.’ Not all of the covers work out so well (see ‘So Much for the Afterglow’ & ‘Ironic), but regardless, the bands latest, a collection of upbeat cover songs from the afore mentioned era is an album deserving of a listen. (
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Semi-Charmed Life’

Dredg – ‘The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion’ (Ohlone Recordings/Independent Label Group): Dredg have always had a keen knack for penning atmospheric jams full of rich textures and soaring melodies, something they do all too well on this record, although the Los Gatos, California band opt for more conventional song structures this time around. From the opening movements of ‘Pariah,’ the listener is immersed into a beautiful journey complete with brilliant stops along the way, like ‘Ireland’ and ‘Information.’ Dredg has yet to release a bad album in their career so what makes you think they would start now? (
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Ireland’