Review: Acaro – “The Disease of Fear” (DIY)

I was really excited to get my hands on a copy of ACARO’s new album. They are one of the top three metal bands in all of Boston and have been steadily rising over time. There are many great bands in our scene, but only a few who have the complete package like ACARO does. Having seen them live many times I knew they had the talent to turn in a great record, but my ears were not prepared at all for how big they stepped up here.

Right out of the gate blistering guitars and sick vocals come soaring out of the speakers.“The Disease of Fear” naturally encompasses the sound of the album and it is a beast of a title track. Growled hardcore vocals, sick beats, melodic guitars and technical virtuosity are the highlights of the song and their style as a whole. Vocalist Chris Harrell is downright inspirational with his delivery and seems to know just when to kick it up a notch and accent a part for effect. Harmonized guitars and machine gun-like drumming are also found here in great supply. Blazing fast, “This Treachery” has as much in common with the best of modern metal as it does with Gothenburg guitar theatrics. Harrell’s deep gravely register sends the track into death metal territory, but the band is mainly thrash and modern hardcore at heart. The chorus of the song is huge and will be a hit live when it down shifts into its cool, power-groove swing. Both Felipe Roa on lead guitar and his counter part Chris Leblanc turn out one great riff after another and Roa’s soloing is upper echelon in terms of talent and style.

Salvations’ End” finds the band in an even more hostile mood than before with tremendous chord progressions and drummer Jason Fitzgerald‘s amazing stick work. Roa adds another solo break to die for and is a throwback to the soulful lead playing from a generation of shredders of yesteryear. “Throne of Blood” is the most brutal track on the record and had me moshing around by myself in my apartment to the beat. Another killer song with everything you want from a modern band. It’s great when a band is more than the sum of its influences and actually creates some fresh new sounds instead of copying. “Becoming the Process” is next and just a catchy and heavy as the previous track. One great thing about Harrell as a vocalist is that you can understand his lyrics no matter if he is screaming, growling or singing. Among the top individual performances on the album is bassist Kevin Smith’s performance on this track. He adds weight and color to the low end and it is great to hear such a fine player really make use of his opportunities to shine. Overall there is not a weak link to be found here at all. ACARO really serves up well-crafted music at a top level of musicianship. This album is sure to make many end of year lists.

RATING: 9.5 / 10
By: Keith “Keefy” Chachkes
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Review: Motherboar – “Raise the Death Toll” (Witch Trial Records)

One of the rising bands in the stacked to-the-brim Boston metal scene is MOTHERBOAR. They have been voted best metal band in Boston several times since Raise the Death Toll was released and they are now generally thought of in the upper echelon of this area. Revisiting this awesome record now after years of seeing how far they’ve come is very gratifying to me.

Opening up with the sinister and heavy “Ode to Swine” the band manages to distill most of their influences into a three minute masterpiece. Sludge-y riffs and punishing beats make up their style with occasional bursts of thrash, doom and modern metal. The track starts off all slow and groovy with a hypnotic bass line courtesy of Joe Grotto. His brother Benny provides the beats and really pushes the envelope from behind the kit. Singer Kenny Irwin screams like an angrier, long-lost cousin of CLUTCH frontman Neal Fallon. His powerful, howling voice leads the charge on every track. The title track is next and is akin to MOTORHEAD on a crack binge with plenty of head-nodding beats and old-school gang vocals for the most discerning heavy music fan. When the song breaks down to a slower pace, it definitely has elements of DOWN style chug in it. Kicking back into high gear the song has loads of major thrash riffage to make this such a fun track to jam out to. It’s an absolute killer live too.

Aside from the great vocalist and the killer rhythm section, what really sets MOTHERBOAR apart from their peers are two sick guitarists in the form of Brian Connor and Andrew Doherty. They have learned the secret of other bands like THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN and MASTODON (two other influences I hear) on how to intertwine guitar parts that are both brutal and intricate at the same time. It’s a skill that is learned and earned so take note all you fledgling axe-wielders! “Get Inside” is a good example of this with riffs that crunch and lock in tight when they need to, but also split up and meet up again later like old friends. This song also sports another rocking breakdown that will make you want to throw the horns, drink beers and mosh. The ending transforms into a giant, crazy rave up/burn out. “Thundadome” is next and the bands’ trademark fantastic lyrics are a real standout here. There is also some more dizzying guitar chunk, some fabulous harmonized guitars, neat counterpoint from the bass and a terrific guitar solo to go totally nuts to. “Imperial Lagerblayde” and “Dead by Dawn” (not the DEICIDE song) offers up more of the same aural carnage and swampy-grooves as the earlier tracks do. Final track “Terrordactyl” might still be the best song of the bands’ career to this day. It has all of the elements of a great modern metal song in terms of great musical proficiency and over the top, cave- man heaviosity. As the final lyric repeats “All hail the Terrordactyl” and I will add to that all hail MOTHERBOAR! You can pick up this must have record direct from the band at

RATING: 9 / 10
By: Keith “Keefy” Chachkes
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