Crossing Rubicon | No Less Than Everything | Album Review March 2017


Crossing Rubicon | No Less Than Everything | Album Review March 2017

Label: Pavement Entertainment
Release Year: 2015
Country: USA
Genre: Progressive/Power Metal


Band Members

Scotty Anarchy – Lead Vocals
Brandi Hood – Drums/Vocals
Jeanne Sagan -Bass/Vocals
Zach Lambert – Guitar/Vocals
Jesse Near – Guitar


Contact Links 

Crossing Rubicon Official Website

Crossing Rubicon Official Facebook Page

Crossing Rubicon Official Twitter

Crossing Rubicon Official YouTube Channel


I can remember a time in the early to middle 1980’s where some very quality heavy metal bands were coming out of the New England area of the United States. Much of the bands were coming from Connecticut area. My first introduction to bands out of this area was Liege Lord in 1983. Soon after that I would discover Steel Prophet and Obsession. But in 1984 it was legendary progressive metal Fates Warning that would really put the Connecticut/New England metal scene on the global map. These bands would all share into some success throughout the rest of the 1980’s until the Seattle bands in the Pacific Northwest would alter the musical landscape for a few years to come.

While record labels and promoters were having their honeymoon with plaid clad lumberjack Grunge whores, heavy metal would suffer for a while and music that once sold out arena’s was reduced back to the nightclub scenes it seemed to of come out of just a decade before. However as many know heavy metal is extremely resilient and has proven so in its almost 50 year history. It is so resilient in fact that those bands I mentioned would recruit another generation of bands. Crossing Rubicon would be one of those bands. Here is a brief biography from their official Crossing Rubicon Facebook Page.

Crossing Rubicon began as a two-man project involving Scotty Anarchy and Pete Ahern (Red China Blue). The band enlisted our current drummer Brandi Hood shortly thereafter. Zach Lambert came on board and the group’s second guitarist. Brandi’s long-time rhythmic accomplice Jeff Diablo joined in the spring of 2010 as the groups bassist to round out the lineup. Pete stepped away from the band in the summer of 2010. Rob Dolan (ex-Dirty Blonde, ex-Hot Mess) joined to fill the lead role through four very successful shows including opening slots for In This Moment, Nonpoint, Pop Evil, and Rev Theory. In March 2011, the groups current guitarist Matt Douglas took over as the group’s permanent lead guitarist.
Success continued as the band landed opening slots for Motley Crue, Bret Michaels, and Tantric. Bassist Jeff Miles stepped away from the band in late 2013 to be replaced by the groups current bassist, Steven Riccio. Crossing Rubicon’s music is often described as a throwback to metal of the 80’s and early 90’s, as band such as Queensryche, Alice In Chains, Metallica, Judas Priest, and Iron Maiden, while having a modern rock sound.

It would be that very sound that the band would employ to forge their debut album No Less Than Everything. The band not only applies vintage heavy metal forged from the golden lineage of heavy metal but also advance the evolution of power progressive metal with very modern and relevant elements. Their music is written in such a way that it is ‘Generation Transcending’ as to not be pigeonholed to any particular generational or age demographic. They certainly have a keen and intricate sense of allow all the hallmarks of pure and true heavy metal to come through everything they write and record. Now I will proceed to do a track by track analysis and point out some highlights from every track on Crossing Rubicon’s No Less Than Everything.


Tomorrow Never Comes is a straight away guitar charged frenzy. This frenzy is backed by a very quick and precise charging rhythm section. The vocals are a hybrid of Michael Kiske meets Jon Oliva. There is almost a slight thrash metal aesthetic throughout this track. The backing vocals have some attitude behind them as well. The guitar solo’s are well balanced.

Unhinged opens up with a more tuned rhythmic section both with the bass/drum and rhythm guitar. It is a bit more distorted than the previous track however the intro serves a purpose to set up the first verse and bridge narrative. The female backing vocals add some depth to this track as well. This track just continues to build layer upon layers on heavy rhythm sections within the chord progressions.

Never Again begins with a blistering rhythmic section based around the drums. From there it is a total blister fest between chord progressions and time signatures forming some brutal passages. The heavy blast beats of the bass drums really ground and anchor this track. The guitar solo really stands out as a shred fest among this heavily rhythm based track.

The Fallen begins as a semi atmospheric ballad with a isolated guitar bass and vocal before taking off into a blistering frenzy. This track goes from more of a ballad into a anthem style track. The vocals are very warm and really play off the backbone of the rhythm section. The guitar chord progressions are a bit warmer in this song as well. The lead portion of the guitar goes into a multiple solo style progression telling almost a instrumental story narrative. The backing vocals are very spot on as well. This track ends almost like a Savatage style track.

Bittersweet Day opens up with a very groove laden rhythm section with some really intricate rhythm guitar work in perfect harmony with the bass/drum rhythm section. This track is a very gritty yet fluid track allowing the vocals to come through very crystal clear allowing the track to both breathe and tell the story of the song. The guitar solo’s remind me a lot of a Kai Hansen (Helloween era) meets Savatage’s Cris Oliva. This is one of those songs that can hold its own in any decade over the last 30 years.

Cut Deep reminds me of one of those old school hard rock tracks that may of surfaced in the late 1980’s early 1990’s. There is a certain Alice In Chains influence happening in this track with the multiple vocal harmonies. This takes nothing away from the beautiful quality of the track. I hear some KingsX and even Galactic Cowboy odd metal influence in this one. The vocals harmonies are the true highlight on Cut Deep.

Whos Gonna Save You opens up with a serious blistering rhythm section. This is beautifully followed up with some nasty yet brutal lead vocals with some blistering and brooding backing vocal harmonies. The lyrical content is spot on in harmony with the instrumental throughout the entire track. The writing was deliberately brutal on this song. Even the rhythm section and guitars are brutal with some serious teeth behind them. This is just one serious beast of a track.

Violet Carson opens up with a vocal chant like there may be a occult thing going on here. The vocal chants are layered with beautiful harmony. Soon the track takes a very dark and brutal brooding chord progression. This song really reminds me of a Mercyful Fate meets Narnia vibe in a very odd yet tasteful way. The rhythm section throughout goes in and out between a progressive and power metal time signature. Once again the guitar solos are very spot on in time and register. There is a very wicked and beautiful spoken word section in the middle of the track to help enhance the narrative of the story. The vocal chants harmonies are the true anchor on this one.

Reason To Beg opens up with a very traditional heavy metal chord progression. The rhythm section reminds me a lot of gritty sleaze rock in the vein of Dirty Looks meets Ugly Kid Joe with slight progressive power metal elements. The lyrical content is rather brutal as well.

Do We Not Bleed is one of those tracks that could of been very radio friendly in the 1980’s or early 1990’s. It is a very well written straight away heavy metal track that carries all the hallmarks of verse/bridge/chorus with a well executed guitar solo within it that is carry by a strong bass/drum rhythm section. This is a song that could also be easily adapted to video form.

Im Here is a straight up guitar and vocal oriented track. With that said it is greatly anchored by a killer rhythm section with some serious emotion within the lyrical construct. It is a very fast up tempo track that will appeal to both metal purists and progressive metal purists. The chord progressions within the guitar solos are very heavily progressive influenced along with the vocal harmonies. The vocals really hit some high points on the register.

Return To Atlantis opens up with a very unusual but welcomed ocean crashing on the shore effect. Then the track takes on a very pure progressive metal chord progression allowing the rhythm section and lyrical story to breathe while the listener digests what they are listening to. This track is really focused on the harmony between vocals and instrumental portions developing a special emotion for the audience to really absorb this. The guitar solos are arranged and executed to the point as to not take away from the obvious story narrative the band is trying to convey to their target audience.

Crossing Rubicon are definitely one of those bands that really take a little bit of influence from all eras of heavy metal and hard rock and balance them with ease. They also blend all these various forms of metal and hard rock without it sounding stale or dated. They definitely have created a sound that will not pigeonhole them into where they can play and who they can share a live bill with. It is also noted that No Less Than Everything is a ‘debut’ album. If this is a debut album I can not wait for what they will do next. They definitely have the talent and ability to created various levels to heavy metal and hard rock. For a well thought of and well written ‘debut’ I give this a 4.5/5 for the insightful effort.




Iron Maiden| The Book Of Souls | Album Review (Installment #14)


Iron Maiden | The Book Of Souls

*Writers Note* This review is dedicated to the memory of late Iron Maiden drummer
Clive Burr- (March/8th/1957-March/12th/2013) & Robin Williams – (July/21/1951-August/11/2014)

Label: Parlaphone/Sanctuary BMG
Release Year: 2015
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: NWOBHM/Heavy Melodic Metal

Band Members

Bruce Dikinson – Vocals/ Piano
Steve Harris – Bass
Dave Murray – Rhythm / Lead Guitars
Adrian Smith – Rhythm/ Lead Guitars
Janick Gers – Rhythm/ Lead Guitars
Nicko McBrian – Drums/Percussion

Iron Maiden Official Website

Iron Maiden Official Facebook

Iron Maiden Official Twitter

Iron Maiden Official Youtube Channel


2015 marks the 40th Anniversary of one of the most influential, prolific, and global heavy metal bands of all-time Iron Maiden. With very little radio and MTV video type airplay, Iron Maiden’s grassroots efforts have led the band from going to selling out arena’s of 20,000 people to major open air festivals in Rio De Janeiro Brazil where they played to almost 250,000 people.  In my 38 years in metal success has never been measured by how many hits on Billboard top 200 you have nor how many platinum albums one band can sale. It is measured more on a supply and demand basis.

 Iron Maiden have certainly made very quality music on the supply side of the business and have been rewarded richly on the demand half of the business. I can not ever remember going to a heavy metal, progressive rock or any other genre in heavy metal and hard rock where I did not see quite a few in Iron Maiden t shirts or a patch sewn to a vest of some kind.     No matter how segregated the heavy metal genre in its 30 sub-genres, Iron Maiden have been the most consistent act that both the fans and their peers in the music industry have come to agree upon. They have been the glue to hold it all together over 40 years, even more than your Sabbath’s, Zeppelin’s, Purple’s Priests and they contemporaries from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal.

Now in 2015 more than 40 years after their creation they continue to solidly their position as the band we all can agree upon and their newest album The Book Of Souls is certainly no exception to this rule. The Book Of Souls is Iron Maiden’s first ever double conceptual album and their first concept album since 1988’s Seventh Son of A Seventh Son.  The Book Of Souls also demonstrates that Iron Maiden are as tight as ever never having any writing or recording rust whatsoever.  The Book Of Souls also taps heavily into Iron Maiden’s progressive rock influences like Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, ELP, etc…  Especially with the 18+ minute epic Empire of the Clouds replacing their current record holder 1984’s 13+ minute epic , Rime of the Ancient Mariner off 1984’s Powerslave. Let’s now explore The Book Of Souls.

If Eternity Should Fail a rare killer intro with a keyboard creating an atmosphere much in the vein of early Rainbow and Tony Carey especially Stargazer. Then Bruce Dickinson’s voice perfectly compliments it with a echo effect perfectly executed by producer Kevin Shirley. Thereafter the track takes the traditional Iron Maiden galloping signature led by the very distinctive signature bass work of Steve Harris combined with the drums of Nicko McBrian. The tracks ends with a very unusual spoken word passage.

Speed Of Light fires up in the traditional Maiden/NWOBHM fashion. With killer guitar work between Dave Murray, Adrian Smith and Janick Gers, in tandem with the signature rhythm style between Harris and McBrain and Dickinson’s traditional soaring vocals Speed Of Light suffices the audio pallet of for the long time listener and introducing a new generation to the traditional Iron Maiden sound.

The Great Unknown begins rather eerie with a heavy bottom rhythm section that reminds me of earlier Maiden tracks like The Number Of The Beast, Powerslave in the like. At the 1:37 mark it kicks in with Bruce’s soaring vocals and a traditional Iron Maiden signature. Adrian Smith has some great solo work within the track.

The Red And The Black opens up with a deep heavy acoustic bass that has not been heard on recent Maiden works. The Red And The Black has elements of Rime Of The Ancient Mariner combined with Alexander The Great from Somewhere In Time. The background vocals make this one anthem in nature with a more chant like vibe employed as a instrument. The Red And The Black also contains a very heavy keyboard atmosphere that is noticeable yet subtle at the same time. This is a one of the many tracks heavily bathed in progressive rock elements incorporating certain passages that Rush and King Crimson used in the 1970’s but with a modern sensibility.

When The River Runs Deep has a blistering guitar intro. It soon has a break and goes into a heavy rhythmic section. The backing vocal adds a nice accent to the main vocal. This track is a very traditional NWOBHM with up tempo passages. It is a little on the thrash metal side in scope. There are definitely various guitar solos being trading off and on going in and out complimenting the composition perfectly.

The Book Of Souls the title track of the album begins with a sweet acoustical guitar passage with keyboards. Then the track takes a heavy rhythm turn before the keyboard once again kicks in and creates a sort of backbone for Bruce’s soaring vocals. The track has a very blistering galloping middle with some wonderful guitar solo’s

Death Or Glory carries rhythmic elements like Where Eagles Dare from 1983’s Piece Of Mind in the intro. The standard Iron Maiden signature is in full effect here in all its integrity the long time fans have come to expect. The solo’s remind me a lot of The Evil That Men Do from Seventh Son Of A Seventh Son.

Shadows Of The Valley definitely opens up as if it were a sequel to Wasted Years from Somewhere In Time. You can tell Adrian Smith is very present in the intro. After the intro the track takes a turn with elements in the vein of Fear Of The Dark album. This track has some powerful backing vocal chants as well.

Tears Of A Clown was written and inspired by the life and last days of late comedian and actor Robin Williams. Lyrically it contains elements of a person feeling isolated and lonely feeling hopeless. These emotions ultimately result into the unthinkable suicide that frankly nobody expected.

The Man Of Sorrows begins with a semi electric guitar passage almost like a solo. The guitar lays back and the vocal comes to the forefront. It has a vibe that the band may of recorded this live old school in the studio. The composition takes a progressive turn into a modern fresh yet traditional Maiden sound. The vocals and solo’s once again soar in typical Iron Maiden fashion without the appearance of sounding dated.

Empire Of The Clouds opens up with something new in the Iron Maiden arsenal that of Bruce Dickinson’s piano work. Frankly I would of never expected a straight up piano passage in a Iron Maiden song. This is a testament of the band’s growth and maturity in song writing over the oast 40 years.  Between the piano and guitar the band managed to in fact bring a orchestral element to Empire Of The Clouds.  Nicko McBrian has some very nice orchestral drum vibes that serve a more subtle melodic instrument than a percussive beat. This is also a new element for the band.  The song structure in of itself leaves the listener with anticipation of how it might sound in a live version.

Empire Of The Clouds is heavily steeped in progressive elements that are a reminder of early Yes compositions like Close to The Edge or Genesis’ Suppers Ready.  At the 8:35 mark the track settles in and takes the more traditional Iron Maiden approach yet with some heavy progressive solo’s that take the listener on a journey of musical significance. At the 10:00 mark it has another hook with a guitar solo that is followed up by a nice rhythmic balance.  About the 11:00 mark it has a beautiful keyboard synth underbelly before going into another powerful guitar solo at the 12:05 mark.  Bruce sounds just as good or better than he ever has. At the 13:00 mark it trades off from a 5/8 signature to a 4/4 running side by side of one another.  The 14:00 mark highlights the wonderful piano work of Bruce Dickinson.  Empire Of The Clouds has very lush and beautiful instrumental harmonies laced and laid perfectly throughout its 18+ minutes.

Iron Maiden certainly surprised me in more ways than one with The Book Of Souls. This is by far the most ambitious project they have ever taken on. It is also the most progressive in nature and the first ever studio double album in Iron Maiden’s 40 year history. The Book Of Souls is also the bands most mature album as well. Although rumors are spreading this could be the bands last album, I find that hard to believe due to the tightness and detail to The Book Of Souls. This gets a rating of 5/5 and in ‘heavy metal’ circles could be Album Of The Year of 2015.