Blacktop Mojo: “Burn the Ships"

The newest release from Blacktop Mojo is built on a foundation of insight that reaches well beyond the years of the members who make up the band. In short; these guys are way ahead of their time. There is a well of talent, breadth of style, and influence infused into every song.

“Burn the Ships” releases on March 10th, and I had the pleasure of getting an early copy.

So, let's break it down.

The title, “Burn The Ships,” is a historical reference to the conquistador, Cortez, and references making a stand and facing the fight, knowing there’s no turning
back, and being fully committed to that realization.

The whole album feels like the work of a fully seasoned touring band. The attention to and placement of all of the little details reveal the skill and experience of a band who has been writing and doing shows for 20 years with the same lineup. The thing is, Blacktop Mojo’s only been at it for  five.

The mesh and weave of the band members become clearly evident on this album. The epic nature of songs like “Prodigal,” a song which not only plays but feels like its author languished a hundred years to get the inspiration for the lyrics.

Songs like “Sweat” display the laborious journey of not only making a record but of life's struggles. That journey is translated into music and fortified by grunge backbones that we, the listeners, can all understand. Blacktop Mojo gives us a music with far-reaching tentacles able to touch every node, invoking emotion and offering inspiration.

As an album, “Burn The Ships” is truly the work of a like-minded, harmonious, and talented group of musicians who make it obvious that they love their craft. The sync and style of the music are refreshing and on point. 

With songs like “End of Days” and “8000 Lines,” Blacktop Mojo glides with ease across the generational canvas of rock and roll. Their respect for what each member contributes is apparent and seems a part of what brings every moment and every mood to life. And, that’s just it, the album feels alive.

I admit with no shame that this album has been on repeat day after day. It is the kind of album that you will be able to listen to over and over again. Not just in the early days of ownership but in ten years, in twenty years.

Blacktop Mojo's release of “Burn The Ships” is a worthy culmination of the blood, sweat, and tears of five amazing musicians on a mission to bring passion back to rock and roll. It has quickly convinced me that this is the first "Must-Have" album of 2017.

                                                                   ~Shamas Maximus

Darkness; Ending "Unkindness of Ravens" 

You know that feeling you get... when you hear gritty rock and roll... when the distortion rings as the first lick on the strings of a guitar rings out.  Unkindness of Ravens, it's like that.

That was my constant state of existence while listening to this album. These guys have so much going on in their music, nothing is arbitrary , every sound... every note... is intentional and belongs right where they left it.

I have often said that newer artists need not be afraid to do an instrumental.. an intro or play with atmospheric measures. Darkness Ending in this regard are bold; brazen and refreshingly welcome to my ears. Every track is a journey of music with milestones of influence and skill, and they manage to make even the most mellow track feel heavy , riffs dripping with the tone and feel that tug at every rock and roller.

Darkness; Ending is definitely a rock and roller's band Bobby, Greg, Kevin, and Brandon hail from Austin Texas and you can tell they have absorbed all ,that is, one of the hottest music scenes in the U.S.

 The ethereal "Machination" is something I have missed from the 70's and 80's rock that got lost in today's translation of rock and metal. Darkness Ending make it new , like experiencing it for the first time all over again

It is easy to tell that these guys are as much in tune with each other as they are their instruments. The cohesive nature of the album would be nearly unattainable otherwise.from songs like "Telling Stories To the Dead" where even the clean opening riffs are addictive, to the Grungy heaviness of "Better Than Me" in a perfect storm of the drums and bass backbone.

Their newest single "Bullhead" is a melting pot of style and finesse in a "Sabbath meets Zakk Wylde" collision of musical giants. If I were to try and compare them to a band or cite influences, the list could go on for days... so if you are wondering about their sound.. check them out.. they sound like Darkness; Ending! All in all a band and an album for the rocker in everyone! 

If you consider yourself a rocker,Unkindness of Ravens is an album to watch for. If you are in the Austin area check them out Dec 2nd at Texas Mist, a new permenant member of the #ROTRArmy ... Darkness; Ending 

~ Shamas Maximus

From the first listen of Messer's self-titled
debut album, it is apparent that these guys have a long legacy in the making.

The first track, “
Make This Life”, is an anthem for taking hold of one's own destiny and Messer is certainly grabbing the rock 'n roll bull by the horns. The melodic march of the tune is, to say the least, infectious.

Dereak's vocal range is amazing, with the ability to scream rock at you or finesse the runs of a ballad, he can do it all. This contrast is well noted when going from the blistering vocals of “Simple Man” to the pitch-perfect vocal delivery of “Lay Down Your Heart”. A ballad destined to become legend.

Maddox and Kenn, on bass and drums respectively, lay down a titanium backbone, weaving in and out with precise contributions as team members, while pulling off stand out performances as individuals. This is especially obvious on tracks like “Save Myself” and “Everything Beautiful”.

Dual ax-men Donnie and Javier navigate each song with Swiss timing. The guitar work on this album, by itself, is amazingly diverse, but when contributed to the rest of the band's work, it shows how well these two understand the meter and the measure of great rock 'n roll. They rock every track without exception.

This eleven track masterpiece shows the depth and charisma of seasoned veterans in a band that, is bursting at the seams with talent. Incredible beyond belief, that it is their debut album. The album was mastered by Tom Baker (Papa Roach, David Bowie, Motley Crue) and mixed by Ben Grosse (Manson, Breaking Benjamin, Disturbed) and comes out April 20th.

This album joins the history of great albums of  
2018 and is a must-have for any self-respecting rocker.

Shamas Maximus

Message From Sylvia

Releasing their self-titled debut on April 7th, Message From Sylvia is poised to evolve with hard rock however it grows. The album encompasses all that the current surge of greatness in the hard rock, post metal core, and active rock scene entails. Regardless of how you slice the Rock and Roll pie, Message from Sylvia adds addictive flavor to every cross-section of modern rock. Front man Matthew Nevitt infuses raw emotion and genius into well-thought-out lyrics that keep you hanging on every yell and vocal twist. As evidenced by the diversity of his vocal prowess on the album, it seems he can sing anything. From songs like “December (Forever),” which has an active rock feel to the progressive metal feel of my current favorite track, “Embrace The Rage,” Nevitt makes this album one of the first must-haves of the year. With a flawless vocal performance on every track and the insight of great meter and poetry, Matthew Nevitt is definitely a voice (and front man) worthy of rock’s legacy. 
With Zach on drums and Isaac, on the bass, we get musical archeologists, constructing the skeleton of each song with precision and skill, offering a diversity of song structures and vivid sound. Songs like “A Victim of Yourself,” which ranges vastly from the sound of songs like “Alive” make listening to the album from beginning to end a modern roller coaster ride on the spine of rock-n-roll.
Axe master Dane is a shred master ahead of his time, laying down in-your-face riffs and melodies fit for the kings and queens of rock fandom. He can turn on a dime from an eerie light melody to the chasm of ear-splitting riffs that can shove their way into your addictions. Such nuanced and unexpected shifts can be seen on tracks like “Army of One,” which seems to me like an all-encompassing trip through the emotions of rock- n-roll. His attention to detail, timing, and rhythm makes him an axe-wielding maestro not to be missed.
This album has something for everyone and belongs in every rock lover’s collection. Check them out on Facebook @MsgFromSylvia; watch for upcoming performances near you, and go buy this debut album from a band that screams longevity in the rock-n-roll game.

                                                                ~ Shamas Maximus

Chrysalis "Reminder"

Chrysalis is a band with so much depth and talent;  "Reminder" is easily a hallmark of evidence to support that statement. There were times while listening to this album, that, I felt like there were two entire bands playing. The progressive metal feel of Billy Norris' and Jared Sturgis' rhythm march. which came across in songs like their first single, "My Eternity" is immense.

In songs like, "Atlas", their ability to slam on the brakes; only to be off at full speed in a moment, is a musical, maniacal and mathematical display of precision.

Frontman Yessi Burton lays down a vocal performance, album-wide, that sells every word with a genuine passion for words spoken and metered nuances of all out rage. He is clearly an inspired man, that makes you hang on every word said, spoken and screamed in songs like "Sleep In The Rain".

Gabe Julian and Gabe Gallego, melody masters, and representative of everything that you could want from axe men. The range of riffs and rhythms are massive. If keeping up with the brutality of the rhythm section of Chrysalis were not enough, these two pump out every range of notes from soft and gentle, shredding galore to atmospheric lapses in time and space.

"Up The Stairs" and songs like "Borrowing Distance" could be used as book ends to cap off the sick range of music that flows through what have to be two men with inspiration lists that would surprise and educate us all. In effect, "Reminder" is an album that could inspire, in every mood you could be in. This needs to be one of your first album purchases of 2017, it drops Friday, January 13th, and certainly serves as a "Reminder", that, Chrysalis has chops that come with over a decade of ass kicking. Here's to another ten.

                                                          ~ Shamas Maximus

Check out the video for "Make This Life"

Dates with Shallow Side
Wednesday - 4/18/2018 - Jacks Bar and Grill  San Antonio
Thursday - 4/19/2018 - Sidewinder Austin TX
Friday - 4/20/2018 - Trees Dallas TX
Saturday - 4/21/2018 - Satellite Bar – Houston, TX
Sunday - 4/22/2018 - Olde Towne Tavern – Slidell, TX
Wednesday - 4/25/2018 - Ashley Street Station - Valdosta GA
Thursday - 4/26/2018 - The Warrior – Tallahassee, FL
Friday - 4/27/2018 - Working - Tampa, FL
Saturday - 4/28/2018 - Southside - Naples, FL
Sunday - 4/29/2018 – On Hold - Orlando FL
Wednesday - 5/2/2018 - Masquerade – Atlanta, GA
Thursday - 5/3/2018 - Sidetracks Music Hall – Huntsville, AL  
Friday - 5/4/2018 - The Warehouse – Clarksville, TN
Saturday - 5/5/2018 – The Warehouse – Clarksville, TN
Wednesday - 5/9/2018 - The Bourbon Hall - Louisville KY  
Thursday - 5/10/2018 - Amici's – Concord, NC
Friday - 5/11/2018  - Hobo’s Nightlife – Statesville, NC
Saturday - 5/12/2018 – GroundZero - Spartanburg SC
Saturday - 5/19/2018 - Pit Stop Bar and Grill - North Richland Hills,

Connect with Messer:
Pledge Music Campaign:
Official website: 

iTunes Pre-order:
Google Play Pre-order:



Kaleido – Experience

On May 19th an album will be released like no other in recent memory. After listening to the album over and over again I am still at a loss for which song is my favorite. I am finding it very enjoyable, and keep returning to, the Detroit-based
, Kaleido's upcoming release, Experience.

Christina Chriss is filled with so much talent in not only her vocal skills but in the delivery, meter, and lyrical content. She exudes a powerhouse female front persona the likes we have not seen since the early days of No Doubt or the power of Shirley Manson of Garbage, and the rest of the band floats across the scales in the fashion of 311, Sublime, and even hints of Mother Love Bone.

Joey Fava on drums and Cody Morales on bass lay down a stellar backbone framework of pure driving rock and roll. Some of the tracks have a distinct southern California vibe, in the vein of Incubus and Red Hot Chili Peppers, with a modern hard driving feel. Truly, a talented duo who work well off each other and that feeds into how well the rest of the band come together as one as evidenced by their latest single “Die Tryin'”

Ronnie Rosolino and Zach Bolling on guitars scream across some tracks like “Blue Collar Delight”, while meticulously weaving in and out of the backbone on others like “Trouble In Paradise”.
As a band, the members of Kaleido are very in tune with what they want to accomplish, very comfortable with their sound. This maiden voyage is a genre masterpiece that will definitely stand alone as a unique, refreshing piece of 2017 rock and roll album history.
You can pre-order the album on the band's site and I suggest you do, because, while bands like this are rare to come around. I have a feeling they will be around for years to come.


                                                 ~Shamas Maximus

Zero Theorem

In a purposeful drift, between the pathways of hard rock and metal, Zero Theorem is slicing their way, in a ninja-like show of laser focus through the highways and byways of killer rock.

Their forthcoming EP, Ataraxis, is a bountiful haven of excellence in entertaining, energizing and perfectly performed rock.

The EP was produced by the amazing Kane Churko, who is known for his work with Five Finger Death Punch, In This Moment and Papa Roach.

The first release “Area” rips onto the scene with nuances of everything that is great about hard rock and metal.
The track is an excellent showcase of the range of Caesar's vocal capabilities, as well as, the passion he puts into the delivery and creation of his lyrics.

The band does not rely on passion alone, all members are intelligent thinkers who understand the balance of professionalism juxtaposed 
to a lightheartedself-image.

Max is a maniacal shredding genius who also happens to understand the depths of rhythmic and often 
flowing changeups with nodes of progressive influence.

Eloy and Jake create a structure like no other in a bounding display of solidarity,
skill, and
teamwork. Astounding on every track, and hits a personal favorite peak on the track “Rorschach”, truly a march of perfection.

This EP will not disappoint rock and metal fans alike. With so much depth packed into each song, it is evident that we will see much more from Zero Theorem for years to come

The EP drops May 4th make sure you 
get your very own copy. These guys are the real deal, and Ataraxis will take you to a place of blissful rock 'n roll euphoria.

​Shamas Maximus

One Less Reason "The Memories Uninvited"

This album is described by Cris Brown as the culmination of his aspirations for the band One Less Reason. I'd say he had high expectations , and hit the mark directly.

The Memories Uninvited is an epic journey through the gauntlet of Active and Hard rock that should not be overlooked or dismissed. It should be delved into over and over again and absorbed at every turn and every word of every song.

The album provides a clear look into the southern influenced life of rockers in a down to earth ,earnest and believable journey through rock and roll in a melting pot of emotions and proclamations.

From the first track released "Break Me" and it's "out of the gate" pace and lyrical angst to the soft melodic and meaningful "Sometimes" , Cris Brown and company hit every high point of emotion and skill that creates an album of pure rock bliss filled with wisdom of lyrics and harmony of soul. As I listened to the album I was blown away , track after track , by perfection in arrangement and masterful turn of phrase. It is clear that Cris Brown had a lot on his mind while writing this album and invested a lot of ,both life experiences and his creative emotions into this album. It is an album of love, and life lived.

Cris sings it like a man in love with his life and his passions. Every track on this album is a masterpiece, we will all have our favorite tracks , my personal is "Time", with "Where Were You" as a very close second, but I truly loved every song on the album.

The album hit streets August 19th on all platforms.Go get the album today and find your favorite track. "The Memories Uninvited" , by One Less Reason is sure to be a purchase without buyer's remorse.

                                                            ~Shamas Maximus

Psycle : Surfaces

Psycle is a high energy four-piece rock band based out of Providence, Rhode Island, with a passion for great rock and live performance. Their latest EP “Surfaces” is a four track journey across the scope of rock and roll that showcases the range of the band as a whole and the path carved out as individuals.
This EP screams and begs to be performed live with every note and every sound. The members are big on creating music that translates beyond the studio with the same fervor that inspired them to create in the first place. This fact is especially evident in the clean and honest vocals of Seth Salois the band's front-man. His fierce vocal delivery gains the listener's attention immediately, regardless, if you are hearing him for the first time or are a returning fan.
With lyrical magic on every track, Seth is adept and spins a story that everyone can relate to and is memorable. In the day and age of vocal manipulation, the refreshing part of Seth's performance and style is that you can expect to hear the same thing when you see them live and watch every word and sound performed with skill.

From the empowering message in “Face The Fire” to the rolling and wide-ranging “The Road I'm On” , shred master Joe Nicolazzo trades licks with Seth and navigates the entire rock genre with twists and turns of a truly motivated soul.

The band's madman on the skins is JaySpyne. Jay is a fountain of precision and timing worthy of a Swiss watchmaker. Jay carefully sections out each part of each song with skill and nuance at every percussive turn. His performance on “Break” has me “Air-Drumming” every time!
Bassist Mike Kaz, adds just the right elements to form one hell of a backbone and steps out big on the bass-driven track “Long Way Down”, proving that he is no slacker and worthy of the ruling class in the world of bass.

All in all, this EP reflects a group that is passionate about their craft and their fans. It is sure to become a classic and is currently a beacon of things to come from one of the Eastcoast's finest rock acts.

                                           ~ Shamas Maximus

Death Division "Angels Of The Black Dawn Part One"

From the first note; of the first song, it is apparent to even the casual hard rock and metal fan, these guys know what the hell they are doing.

"Angels Of The Black Dawn Part One" is the latest offering from the Gigantour and FearfestEvil alumni; Death Division. Frontman Sean De La Tour makes up one third of a three man hit squad, including pros Jerry Montano (HellYeah, Danzig,The Deadlights, Nothingface) and Alex Rivas and the result is and extreme mixture of rock and metal that does not dissappoint.

From the moment you hear the addictive riffs and powerful lyrics of their current single "The Truth " you know this EP was born of an industry wisdom that is a rare find. "Angels Of The Black Dawn Part One" is perfectly at home, as well as, innovative, in todays hard rock and metal scene and runs the gambit of the metal genre. The EP travels with the precision and poise of an acrobat along the edge of Hard rock , earning the self description of "Extreme Hard Rock" with ease.

If music were food, Death Division surely is one of the new hot shot chefs of the industry , cooking up satisfying lyrics and riffs that stick with you long after you reluctantly turn off your mp3 player. Since it's release I have countlessly caught myself singing and or humming "The Truth" and after hearing the rest of the EP, I an finding more and more addictictive riffs, melodies and lyrical gold that keeps me coming back for more. With songs like "Dead Hereos" raging inside of my head long after hearing it to the contrast of "In Loving Memory" , "Angels Of The Black Dawn Part One" is truly the complete package and is not to be missed; it makes it's debut June 24th and will have an exclusive airing in full on The SHow! with yours truly the day before it's release on the 23rd of June. This is one you will be replaying over and over.

-Shamas Maximus