In the current issue of Decibel (#44, Iron Maiden cover), I’ve done the “Throw Me a Frickin’ Bone!” column, which reviews demos and unsigned records. Some of them are actually good. The two of note this time are by Howl and Mendozza. Both are hairy and sound like it. (One of my non-metalhead friends read the column, after which she turned to me and asked, “What is ‘beard metal’?” It was so cute.)

Howl – And the Gnawing…
Mendozza – The Rise of the Piscean

Howl hail from Providence, RI, and remind me a little of Lair of the Minotaur, but with more color. Dig that half-speed Slayer riff in the middle of “And the Gnawing…”! This June, these dudes and dudette will play at Indiana’s Dude Fest, which really should be called Beard Fest. Also hirsute and heavy are Vancouver’s Mendozza, who drop an absolutely nasty wah-wah workout in “The Rise of the Piscean.” The criss-crossing bluesy leads are pure Sabbath, and pure awesomeness. Somehow this band ended up on the Underworld: Evolution soundtrack next to Atreyu and My Chemical Romance – WTF?!