"Man is the Enemy" (Self-produced; 2010)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The thing I've always liked about Canobliss is that they're a hard rock/heavy metal band that play anything from pretty decent thrash metal to gritty alternative-tinged groove to modern hard rock with sweeping choruses ... and anything in between. And they do it well.

The vocals are at times clean and at others demonic growls -- and always at the right time. The songwriting is varied and unique. You know it's the same band playing but each song sits up proud and shines on its own. And the musicianship is tight and energetic. It's impossible not to let "Man is the Enemy" into your veins and, once it's there, you'll be glad it is.

If someone put a gun to my head and forced me to make a complaint, I'd have to say that the production seems a little dry. But only a little, nothing too detrimental. Nothing to stop "Man is the Enemy" from being another terrific Canobliss CD. This band continues to produce great music and I always look forward to hearing more.

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"Psychothermia" (Self-produced; 2008)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Canobliss continue their impressive original ways with "Psychothermia," an album that grabs you instantly but that sounds like nothing you've ever heard before.

Despite the plethora of influences that appear on "Psychothermia," I'd say that ... first and foremost ... Canobliss is a metal band, and the thundering guitars and driving rhythms on the CD support that. If you're worried about modern metal sacrificing the heavy for melody, Canobliss show you it doesn't have to be that way. But they don't sacrifice melody for the heavy, either. Instead, the band manages to blend the two perfectly here, with vocalist Johan Maldonado delivering an impressive smooth-then-rough performance.

Musically, Canobliss kind of reminds me of Sepultura, in that they manage to get that complex, driving sound that fills the speakers to the brim. Canobliss doesn't get tribal, like Sepultura can, but that same complexity is there and it enhances each and every track. Kudos to each of the musicians performing here; their talent and ability to come together is nothing short of breathtaking.

Even more impressive is the fact that the band produces their own CDs, from the songwriting process through selecting and designing artwork. Not only does "Psychothermia" sound as though it were produced by a veteran, million dollar producer, its packaging looks as though it was released by a major record label, not just a band on its own.

Canobliss just keeps getting better and "Psychothermia" is easily one of their best releases yet.

Canobliss: Johan Maldonado - Vocals; Samson Pedroza - Lead Guitarist; Chenzo Vidalez - Bass; Jon Russo - Guitars; Mike Russo - Drums.

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"Liberation of Dissonance" (Self-produced; 2007)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Canobliss is one of the most original bands out there, and "Liberation of Dissonance" is more evidence of just that.

The genius of Canobliss is that the band blends all types of metal, from Slipknot's extreme fury to Disturbed's funky groove to Ministry's political anger to Judas Priest's pure metal. Unlike other bands that emulate their influences, however, Canobliss takes hints of all styles and combines them to make their own. The result is a CD with tracks that will keep you guessing while at the same time keep you rocking ... hard.

"Riot" starts things off with a slashing guitars and an almost melodic chorus. "Insurrection" takes things up a notch with a Pantera-march rhythm and growling vocals. The title track comes closest to emulating Disturbed but still maintains a life of its own. Then along comes "DIYE," which could almost be a radio hit with its rollicking rhythm and smooth vocals. 

As I said above, there's no guessing what Canobliss is going to do next on "Liberation of Dissonance." You'll get the general feel of the album from the first few tracks but from that point on you're on a journey through a variety of styles and songwriting and, for the most part, it's exhilarating. 

Those looking for a truly unique sound in modern metal need look no further than "Liberation of Dissonance."

Canobliss: Johan Maldonado - Vocals; Samson Pedroza - Lead Guitar; Jon Russo - Guitar; Chenzo Vidalez - Bass; Mike Russo - Drums.

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"Demon Angel" (Self-produced; 2004)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

The tracks on "Demon Angel" have the same pounding, heavy (but still very different) sound that one of my favorite bands, Shango, had. Sadly, I realize most of you have probably never heard of Shango and that's too bad because they were a great band. The good news is that San Diego's Canobliss appear to be set to take over where Shango left off.

"Demon Angel" is ten songs that hammer away with a throbbing heat that doesn't have to be racing along at 90 miles an hour in order to kick your ass. There's the title track with its haunting chorus, "F**k the FCC" (their asterisks, not ours), a brutal and angry tirade against government censorship, and the Rob Zombie-rhythmed "Rule the World." Track 7, "Wanted," throws you for a loop, starting out with a gentle, rolling guitar and building to a crushing jackhammer thump while "Last Breath" is a bulldozer of a track, delivering a solid wall of pure modern metal sound.

Songwriting is excellent throughout, with the band creating melodic yet monstrous tunes that you can bang your head to while you sing along.

Canobliss's "Demon Angel" is a gem and I look forward to hearing more from the band in the future. 

Canobliss: Cash Payne - vocals; Samson J. Pedroza - guitar; Chenzo Vidalez - bass; Jon Russo - guitar; Mike "Pony Boy" Russo - drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2014 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 09 Dec 2018 12:03:10 -0500.