CD Reviews – Jan 2023

TEEN TOWN – A MONTH OF SUNDAYS (no label) Since 2017, young Williamsport-based trio Teen Town – named after a popular 1970s jazz fusion number by Weather Report – has been spreading their adventurous brand of jazz fusion to audiences throughout central Pennsylvania and beyond; performing at numerous regional jazz festivals and showcase events, and opening shows for Sheila E., the Victor Wooten Trio, the Tierney Sutton Band and more. Their instrumental debut album, A Month of Sundays, introduces listeners to Teen Town’s adventurous brand of music. Comprised of bassist Gabriel Severn, drummer Logan Bedard and keyboardist Connor Rohrer, Teen Town fearlessly explores improvisational jazz fusion frontiers over the album’s eight tracks, as they mix flavors of smooth jazz, contemporary jazz, funk, rock, world rhythms and more. All three musicians display amazing skill on their respective instruments, fearlessly embarking on complex song arrangements, intricate chord and rhythm structures, shifting musical terrains and more. The album starts out upbeat with “Stand Buyers,” which establishes a funk-driven melody that veers into a dreamy midsection where Gabriel tests the cosmos with his bass talents. Guest sax player Kyle Schroeder adds flavor to “Beyond Control,” which evolves into an adventurous arrangement with various chord and tempo shifts and turns; eventually leading into a rowdy homestretch where Logan cuts loose on his drum kit. Conner’s keys establish the initial melody on “Self Defense,” before Gabriel and Logan take the tune into an adventurous rhythmic side journey. Establishing a milder tone, the title track “A Month of Sundays” sets a smooth melodic backdrop for several solo displays, including tasty guitar solo work from guest Joseph Yun. Gabriel’s prominent creeping bass line anchors the interestingly-titled “Shower Plug,” while Logan’s busy rhythm sets the backdrop for more instrumental exploration on “Freedomland.” Teen Town stretches out on the ambitious 10-minute excursion “Venture,” before Connor’s punchy piano theme sets the course for the album’s finale, “Coda!” Teen Town’s busy musicianship and creative arrangements keep this album interesting and moving from start to end, with all three musicians producing jaw-dropping flourishes along the way. Produced, mixed and mastered by George Graham and engineered by Richard Rupert at Green Valley Recording Studio in Hughesville, this album sparkles from start to finish, sounding clean, bright and balanced along the way. Jazz connoisseurs and newbies should find plenty to celebrate on A Month of Sundays, as Teen Town’s dazzling talents carry the day and provide an exhilarating listening experience. (The digital album can be obtained through Teen Town’s Bandcamp page, or through Gabriel Severn’s website,

BURN THE MARTYR – BLASPHEMY (Monnster Records) Surfacing from the York area over the past four years, Burn The Martyr is establishing themselves as a capable modern heavy metal force, evidenced by their first full-length album, Blasphemy. Comprised of singer and guitarist Corey Burnard, bassist Kayden Monn, drummer Mark Koncki and guitarist Perry Monn; Burn The Martyr establishes a Black Sabbath and Pantera-rooted power metal sound over Blasphemy’s ten tracks. Throttling, full-force rhythms, tenacious guitar riffs and solos, and Corey’s vocal snarl define Burn The Martyr’s musical turf, as the group crafts tough, concise and to-the-point songs. The group’s songs explore the border lines between good and evil, absolution and damnation. The album-opener “Contrition” sets the table as a bold, barreling rocker about facing consequences for one’s actions; followed by the dark and gloomy title track “Blasphemy,” about the social tug-of-war between good and evil. Burn The Martyr warns against trespassers on the stern “Beware the Beast,” as well as rising evil forces on “From Hell.” Evil’s control of the mind informs the words of the rumbling assault “The Hatred,” while “Of Misery” analyzes pain and anguish. The brash “No More Heroes” offers social commentary about the troubling state of the nation, and the pounding album-closer “Sentenced to Suffer” dishes out punishment for evil deeds. Burn The Martyr’s presentation is powerful and unrelenting; the group’s wall of power metal thunder is steady and consistent, and Corey’s coarse growl effectively sells the group’s dark lyrical themes. Engineered, mixed and mastered by Perry Monn, Blasphemy sounds consistently rugged, balanced and full from start to end, and gives Burn The Martyr’s attack full sharpness and edge. Blasphemy is a solid, strong full-length debut that establishes Burn The Martyr as a rising original metal force worthy of your attention. (The album can be accessed or obtained through online platforms.)