Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Amplifier: " Echo Street"

The British quartet who I have heard described as "Space Rock" has just delievered a rather ambitious album of smooth Pink Floyd influenced prog. In the days before Dream Theater, the genre had a broader definition and prog was more than just an excercise in poly rythmic dexterity, bands like The Moody Blues amd Emerson Lake and Palmer, fell under this banner. This is not to say what Amplifier does is limited to looking back into retro in fact I think they can find modern peers alongside Porcupine Tree, Dredg, Anathema or Opeth's most recent work.

The opening soundscape to "the Wheel" hovers before the interstellar overdrive of the song progresses to a place where the guitars weave around the song while allowing for the vocals to breathe in the spotlight. I think once upon a time there's sections of this album that might have been classified as metal but given the extreme metal has now gone to.

The subtle vocal hooks work in conjunction with sections of guitar solos as a sonic swathe rather than chewing the scenery to the picture the band has painted. The drummer's accents lend the music more of an edge as well. The vocals are allowed the luxury of having the songs built around their melodies rather than just being the after thought for a cool riff.

The band carries enough melancholy to satisfy me and ample sense of dynamics within the varied shades of gray. Echo Street as a whole is very well produced , with an excellent attention to details in placement of everything in the mix. They have a very balanced guitar tone, their clean channels manipulate the effects well and don't sound awkward when the distortion kicks in. The guitars keep a song like "Extra Vehicular" moving when the vocals float along in languid relaxation.

The vocals are generally placed in a delicate midrange, Sel Balamir is competent, but not a belter by any means. He knows where his comfortable range is and doesn't test it's bounds,nor does shift into a more forceful rock or metal voice,which a band like Opeth does.

Amplifier does shift into a distorted punch,appealing to a rock audience rather than indie rock bands the emphasis is more on the ambiance like Sigur Rios or even Spirtiualized. The guys are swinging for the back row at the Hammersmith Oden rather going for some sort of elusive indie cred. Despite the reflective quality to the lyrical content much like post-Darkside Floyd focus is everything being big rather than trying to keep up with thrift sore irony.

Towards the albums second half their are more strummed guitar patterns with less frequent heavy accents on the distorted side of things , giving a more uniform and singular focus to those songs, with the seventies feel to the ballad, shows their more Crosby , Stills and Nash side. While those influences can be felt through out the album I think they are best tempered with their more rock sensibilities. Overall for a thinking man's prog, this album would be a great soundtrack to any pot smoking on rainy afternoon.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Summoning " Old Mornings Dawn"

Actual Occultists don't listen to much we would consider heavy , sure their are exceptions to this I cm think of a handful including my self who do listen to metal , though some top off at Nightwish or Amorphis. Most think stuff like Death in June is edgey listening and Dead Can Dance or Peter Gabriel's soundtrack to the last temptation of Christ is more standard fare though many of a more Celtic current prefer Medieval Babies or something more filking. I did a review of a Negura Bunget album for a esoteric publication as I think there might be some crossover appeal an do think the same can be said of the new Summoning.

There lyrical content is not metaphysical but more based around authors like Tolkein and Moorcock, I'm surprised the game of thrones series hasn't come up , but those books aren't as mystical in nature. These guys really rock the shire for sure. The more folk elements aren't center stage but they aren't lost in the back ground either. Programmed drum sounds have come along way as the drums don't have the stiffness you think they might have . The keyboard sounds to replicate ethnic instruments leaves them sounding a little thin but the overall effect works, in fact I think the metal elements could have been placed more forward in the mix. notice I said elements there as this really will push the definition of what a metal album is even for fans of folk metal. I think this makes this album a more intresting listen than something like Finntroll where it seems that's an afterthought.

"Flammifer" an Ambiant instrumental opening sequence so for out purposes here is the first actual song. I think this is closer to folk metal than black metal unless we are talking about certain time periods of Bathory. The ethic instrumentation works better on this song than later in the album. The guitar sound could have been e.q'ed better and production problems are the albums weak points as the songs are written with very clear vision of what is trying to be accomplished.

The quality of some of the synthetic ethic sounds gets called into question a little when " Old Mornings Dawn" opens.The earthy warmth bands who actually record these types of sounds is not here to be conveyed and leaves things a little thin. The vocals have a little more rasp to them. The song stays at an epic march, there's not a blast neat to be found on this. They do manage to get a big epic fantasy sound with what they are working with here, even as the muddied fuzz of the guitar could use some thickening. The big choral chant that comes in lends some weight to the cinematic scope they are going for. After repeat listens this one strikes me from the stand point of its arrangement as being almost dynamically flat as the song hammers away at the one thing it does.

The guitar does get cranked up on "The White Tower" though the drums do not get the same courtesy and this makes it more obvious they aren't real. The vocals are black metal in their delivery you can hear where Bathory and Ulver have come into play as influences. The keyboard melodies really sit well atop the melancholy drone of the guitar. The harsh croak almost take . In the way the guitar drones it also reminds me of the more recent releases by Burzum. I think this song could use a little dynamic variation even though the moodiness it's created it compelling, the is just a lot more of the same in the arrangement, particularly since the song clocks in at almost ten minutes.

Things stay in a similar realm of mist before the dawn on " Caradhras" where certain keyboard sounds more authentic than others ,mthe drums come in sounding like "When Doves Cry" . The vocals somehow manage to mke all this have the illusion of being cohesive. The guitar could stand to be more prominent and the bass if higher would have given more drive. The parts where the production is lacking does it a rawer more "Cvlt" sound i suppose. The song does have more ebb and flow in its arrangement than "White Tower". The big mead hall sing long that comes in during the final four minutes helps carry the song and the very fact other elements weave in and out of the songs fabric compensates.

The electronic drums show a little more heft in the very Dead Can Dance like feel to the intro to "Of Pale White Morn" which takes a more epic soundtrack turn at the two minute mark, but the drone of ambience keeps it's course.
In the what would Quorthon do column , it would be crank the bass up when the keyboards build and aggressive drumming would have aided the cause.

I'm waiting for Andrew Eldritch to come in over the keyboards of " The Wandering Fire" . This is a positive as it means it has a dark majestic nature that is almost goth. The vocals are the heaviest part this album. It's like black metal karaoke over the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. The piano intro to " Earthshine" keeps it from feeling like a continuation of the first song. What I really like about this is how the vocals flow over the music that would otherwise be almost easy listen or new age. The guitar while metal by definition is just changing on chords and not doing anything more menacing than Trans Siberian Orchestra. The vocals have a rasp to the, but aren't growled and have a lot of passion in their melody giving it almost a cure like feel.

I'm going to the Renn Fest tomorrow and you better believe this will be blaring when we roll up, but even considering the unique place this album holds on my iPod, the question is how much mileage to I think I'm going to get out of this one, so I'll round this down to an 8. Fans of folk metal might want to round this back up a point but I think for the questionable production on the guitar alone leaves an 8 as high as this album might climb and we shall see how much staying power it carries in its sheath.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Weekly Shuffle

Time to give the old iPod classic a click and see what comes up an review it...some times it's more metal than others

"Crack Rock" by Frank Ocean...well this is one of the few songs he can now get away with not having to change the verbiage of since coming out. To his credit, I rarely like any R&b that has come out post Maxwell's first album so that something, he's more experimental than you would think and has darker lyrics than say Née-Yo or who ever the flavor of the week is.A cautionary tale of crack smoking.

"I'm So Cute" by Frank Zappa...the flirtation was harder rock from Sheik Yerbouti. Of course the playing will be great even when they dumb it down. This sounds a little like Rozz Williams vocally on the part of Terry Bozzi and the riff sounds like "Bread Fan"

"Carbon Based Anatomy" By Cynic...the prog steers steer further into elf territory and further from metal but I am still looking forward to their full length follow up to Traced in Air. The vocals are ready for their close up as they step into the spotlight. The kids choir is over doing it a little, this reminds me of Mew the Icelandic band in the where are they now files. The drumming on this is so fluid it's ridiculous. I'd like a little more bass on this of course. We are getting into like Yes Travelling into space on this one.

"Barons of Suburbia" by Tori Amos...After playing Kate Bush for my girl friend she hasn't been able to listen to Tori Amos , so now it's moments like these when I get to revisit her. For her later period stuff thesis on the better side of decent, I think she is best keeping the extra instrumentation to a minimum. The bassis present but no guitar as it should be with her, almost like Ben Folds Five in that sense. The melodies all flow with the trickle of ivory as it is to be expected

"Black Smoke" by Primitive Man, oh good if Cynic was as heavy as it was going to get I would feel like a pussy. This song though is mainly a weird noisy interlude from a band that is otherwise pretty brutal.

" Dearth" by Deathspell Omega ...now we are really getting into some redemption though this is one of the bands moodier numbers not as much wild spun chaos being slung about. My French is pretty weak but he's preaching about the apocalypse to us. The bassist is the MVP here , have I already said it love it in black metal when you can hear the bass? I know I touched on it in my Woe Review, but this drives the point home.

"The Eternal" by Joy Division...and a total of zero readers are surprised that Joy Division is in my iPod . To saythis is one of their moodier numbers as well would raise the question well it depends on the mood. So I think fragile would best describe this. More electronic than the proto punk they fired off earlier on. Ian Curtis is less anxious here though I guess that didnt last. I like the piano that haunts the back ground. I think he was regretting what growing up was going to bring here. they have the bleak drone, the cold guitar , the total glum package.

"Scarecrows on a Killer Slant" by Liars...Not metal but these guys are heavy in their own weird way. This song is dissonant but bounces , there is a punk element and a electronic element like Xiu Xiu getting raped in the dirty south. The guitar could have come off of an Iceage album, though it would have been these guys influencing Iceage. Every song sounds different but holds a similar disdain.

"Show some love...tear it down" by Suicidal Tendencies...another albums that's taking me a while to get around to reviewing , I have been only digesting this one in small bite sized pieces. It's not too Infectous Groove, but still not close enough to How will I laugh tomorrow, the playing is great, Mike Muir sounds good but not depressed or angry enough. I prefer him having a trip at the brain.

"Waritorium" by Tomahawk...yep it's survived the weekly purges and looks like its going to have some staying power even though I don't play the hell out of it. Mike is doing what he does, and everyone else is falling in lime, not the best song on the album but it works for me. It has almost a Rage Against the Machine punch to it but without all the stupid rapping.

Iggy and the Stooges - " Ready to Die"

Even as strange as it for me that Mike Watt from the Minutemen/firehose is in the band I'm willing to forget the Weirdness album ever happened and accept this as part of the bands legacy just two songs in. Strangely the production on this sounds more like Iggy's solo album the Idiot , it still has a classic Stooges feel. May Ron Ashton rest in peace but James Williamson played all the guitar parts on Raw Power, which most consider to be the bands most classic work

It's opens almost where I would think the most logical point to bridge Raw Power with Instinct would be, "Burn" really blows me away as its every thing I could have wanted from the Stooges in 2013. The way Iggy's voice is blended in the mix really does it favors similar to the production on "Night Clubbing" . Williamson's guitar has the needed grit to take them back to the glory days.

There is a very Stomes swagger to "Sex and Money" but Pop's vocals never stray into Jagger territory , he has no desire to be Tina Turner and stays in his normal lurching baritone. His voice needs to gets props as it sounds timeless, the timbre similar to "Blah Blah Blah" and truth be told with his solo work I dropped off after "Naughty Little Doggie" but from what I heard he was veering into more of spoken word. well he is singing here and sounds great, he's never been a Robert Plant but oozes personality.

The opening yeah of "Job" cements it as a Stooges song. I can say the lyrics aren't as metaphoric or poetic as their earlier work, but it's the only flaw I can find so far and it's largely forgivable and on their most authentic moments a mute point. The jazz like Chaos to some of Williamson's lead help recapture the feel.

Another difference I notice from their earlier work is how restrained...or mature Pop's delivery is when you set it against the original albums when he was howling with drugged maddness. So on "Gun" it feels like a more punk version of "We didn't Start the fire" in lyrical tone, though Williamson's guitar comes to the rescue more often than not.

There are moments where it seems like a song is from one of Pop's solo albums rather than a Stooges album. Like the strummed guitar on "Unfriendly World" , which isn't a bad song, I like Iggy's delivery and the bluesy guitar. It should it be on a Stooges album?

The more metallic sound that belongs here returns with very seventies resonance to the way the guitar rings out. Though it does come closer to hard rock rather than the early punk sound of the Stooges. The solo almost has an Ace Frehley feel to it, though the Stooges did flirt with that period of glam during Raw Power, so the Detroit Rock City limits are wide open.

This vibe continues although has almost more of a Alice Cooper vibe to this ode to big tits of "DDs". Immsurprised mammeries would mystify Pop at this phase of his life, but oh well. The drums are verbs straight forward and I'm surprised how much Watt is playing with on something like this.

"Dirty Deal" has a grainy rock shuffle to it. Pop colors in the lines here,where in the past he would have blurted out his vocal take around what was going with more grunts, moans and whelp. Which I think the missing component in his delivery on something like this is their is less of an animalistic quality to his preformance.the strummed guitar returns on " Beat that Guy" his vocals take on more of the solo "Lust for Life" type croon which I think captures where he is at more closely than trying to recapture an explosiveness , when he's matured out from his primal nature. If this song was on a solo album I would like it so I have to accept it just like I accepted Candywas where he was at on Brick by Brick and for what it was in its own right was a good song. There's really rock god solo tagged onto the second half which balances out this more Tom Petty direction.

The Stooges song the blue continues on "The Departed" and while I love Nick Cave , I'm tired of hearing this Pop doing his Nick Cave when the Birthday Party would do who sets of Stooges covers, Iggy in his post Stooges days has always had a thing for old school country music, so it's bleeding over onto this album. I think his delivery shows his voices age on the more delicate attempts to deliever and think it sounds much stronger on someon the albums previous tracks.

Overall I'll give this album an 8.5 as this is the Stooges we are talking about and some of the bluesier moments should have been held back for Iggy's solo album rather than trying to marry the two. Though their are some moments which are produced or delivered vocally in manner that recalls his first two Iggy albums but of course they are classics as well so I'm fine with that, but the bar is raised pretty high. Iggy might still want to be your dog but he is clealy house trained so a little less dangerous.

Woe: "Withdrawal"

Not sure why it's taken me so long to review this one, so maybe it's needed sometime to digest. This band has big shoes to fill in following up their previous album "Quietly, Undramatically ". Three years later and that album is still in rotation. While this was once more of a solo project for Chris Grigg has certainly congealed into more of a band on what's their third full length. I guess he got pissed for the whole shoes gaze label being thrown round in reference with the last album because this one is pissed with little that could be misconstrued as post-rock...post-hardcore maybe when it comes to some of the clean vocals that still sound a litte like Cave-in to me , which I'm fine with as I use to like those guys.

The album opens with more technical guitar than previous albums, while their previous album has more of an organic warmth in the production this album is bigger and more in your face. The onset of the blasty mc nasties here carries a different delivery as Disma drummer Shawn Eldridge plays on this album. The initial impression is this going to be Krallice like Black Metal until the more hardcore influence complete with those Cave-in vocals comes in at the three minute mark. It works with what these guys do , granted I'm use to it from the last album so newcomers that are close minded Cvltists might take offense, and there is a break down of sorts and gang vocals to further set them off, but the drumming is a vast improvement and really puts what they are doing up in your grille.

On "Carried By Waves to Remorseless Shores of the Truth" we are back to a blasting drone, until a minute in the riff takes on more of a thrashing gallop. This thrashes along in an Absu like fashion, building back into a cascading blast and flowing into more of a stomp, with the vocals lowering back into the kind coarse growl I'm used to than the higher black metal screech. The guitar harmony in the last minute brings it all home rather epically.

Acoustic guitar leads into "All Bridges Burned" it finds it's self back into another rapid tempo that more warped out thrash than black metal, though the blasties don't wait long to come back into the picture. The double bass builds a case for the thrash feel underneath. I think the really sharp accents are where the guitar shines in this sort of thing. The tribal drum roll midway set against the ringing chords is what the song needs to change gears into more galloped section and the guitar solo, that sits back In the mix rather than putting the foot up onto the monitor. The lower death metal vocals give a fuller sound and keep the vocal attack varied.

This album is in someways more straight forward and has a rawer feel than "Quietly Undramatically" . The thrash groove grooves towards the beginning of " Ceaseless Jaws " are blink and they are gone flashes where the bulk of the song is forward propulsion by double bass until the the clean guitar break that is ten seconds at most before they throw you back into the storm. the drumming continues to take the overall intensity level up a notch.

There is almost a Kiss feel to the drums that open "Song of my Undoing" then the guitars take it in an eighties punk direction.the guitar give some breathing room to the clean vocals which still have that Cave-in smoothness to their croon. This alternates with the harsh vocals but doesn't come across like a cheesy Killswitch Engage game of good cop / bad cop. The guitars take on a mean chug, even though the songs stays at a mid tempo with the double bass bubbling under it.

There's a very raw almost to the point of being punk feel to the start of "Exhausted" though the double bass flourishes break it up, the song takes a dramatic turn midway through when it slows down for the guitar solo,mthats slightly more showcased than the previous one, the riff modulates into something that reminds me a little of Hot Water Music here and there and then gets angrier till the blast out.

The bass rumble , which leads into the title track and yes, this a black metal album where you can actually hear the bass the majority of the time, the bass here drives the song forward even as the guitar churn the chords ata slower pace. Their is a depressive feel to this song but it is a wide mix of emotions rather than being DSBM.

It's refreshing that when the trend in black metal is to put out albums of two twenty minute songs these guys prove that good songwriting can be more intresting and cover just as much ground and in some cases even more. I think that while some of the more blasting sections sounded similar at times overall the album goes on to rally show case why these guys are at the top of the heap when it comes to American Black Metal, they rock with as much malice in their riffs as any of their American peers while conveying a broader range of emotions than just numbing you out wights white noise of a drone. I'll give this album 9 out of 10 and highly recommend it to all metal fans not just of black metal as I think the chops and songwriting will translate across the genre lines.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Svart Crown : "Profane"

And yet another French Metal band that is serious about kicking ass. Though where most of their countrymen are more experimental these guys are fairly head first in their approach, almost to the point of where you could consider them blackened Death Metal or whatever you want to label Behemoth as, who would be the closet comparison off the bat as this album is slick with a lot of groove and hook to it. This is their third full length and features the drummer from Ortargos.

Their is a sufficient level of technicality to what they do but I don't think it becomes a futile excercise in dexterity as its blended by powerful riffs a that have room to breathe, but fans of tech death should respect what they do none the less, similar to have they have an affinity for Deathspell Omega , though this albums while the songs undergo their own metaphorphisis aren't thrashing about in as unpredictable of chaos. On "Intern.Virus.Human" there is a more modern Morbid Angel take to why they are doing , but with out all the silly electronics. This album is very well produced and has a big sound making the riffs hit the wat they need to.

Some of the chords do ring out and darken them up a bit to keep these guys from falling into the stiffness of death metal. They do take on a frontal assault with " In Utero: a Place of Hatred and threat" the groove to the dug at the two mintie mark helps transition them in a groove with a little swing to it that lubricates the guitar attack. But this is one of their weaker spot despite impressive drumming as it falls into the here's some cool riffs rather than here's a good song.

The emotive sonics they need which are much closer of a commodity for black metal than they are to death metalis pretty mucho he meat of "Until the Last Breath" this creates the kind of creepiness a band like Blut Aus Nord is known for. When they get into the slower pace stuff they tend to drone on it longer and feel less need to throw so much at you. The vocals have more emotion to their growl and even have a different timbre to them more tortured less guttural.

The title track takes on a more Morbid Angel guitar sound. It throws a storm of riffs at you in a tempestuous blast. They do relax at the minute mark and build tension. It moments like these which capture mood way better than being I the eye of their tornado. They guitars have ear for melody whether let themselves indulge this leaning. The drummer really has an ear for detail for I his fills and adds to the dynamic builds like constructing a house of cards out of razor blades.

"Therapy of Flesh" starts of very death metal. It's not until they get to the darker moodier middle section that I can form any connection to the song. It's all very well played, I think when they through to ,uh technicality into the death metal sections that it becomes mechanical. Wheni hear them make more creative music on songs like "Venomous Ritual" then it makes it hard for me to accept them as a band that would just default into big stupid death metal. When they use things like tribal drumming and moaned chants to lead into the heavy then I sit up and listen. Since "Venomous Ritual" is more of an interlude than a song it's not something I would normally like which is a testament to how well it's pulled off.

They go for the kill with out hesitation on "Asetic Purifacation" but there are some riff and vocal patterns that I find still works for me . It's not like I don't appreciate brutality. I just like to to be constructed with some artistry. Loke the ripping riff at the one minute mark, of "Revelation: Down here Stillborn where they work the best at this .so if there is an opening barrage then make it worth it, because I need pay off, you can throw a blur of riffs at me as long as its there. There is still some Morbid Angel I flue centre, though they have constructed a denser monster to ride into battle with. They hint at guitar solos frequently on this album but never commit to launching into one.

I think fans of death metal will really enjoy this one as its innovative in a normally stale genre. Of course coming for France I went into this thinking it would be more black metal than death and was mistaken , though I can still leave this album on and just let it play, I'll give this one an 8.5, while the more technical death metal elements aren't my thing I think it's constructed in a way that when I listen to the album as a whole it's smoothed over.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Shining : "One One One"

I have never made a secret that I was prejudice against this band due to the fact I liked the Swedish band who held the same name but was depressive suicidal black metal so being their fan I could not listen to a band of the same name. Only metal heads will understand this sort of retarded devotion. How ever feeling betrayed by the Swedish band's turn into Opeth like pussydom I decided to give the Norse band a shot as have been surprised . They are less mall metal than i though a more like a heavier version of muse. Though they never have claimed to be cvlt or

The other point of Intrest bout the band which helped serve as an entry point for me is the fact main man and saxophonist Jorgen Monkeby also has contributed the sax parts to Ihshan's solo albums which is the bands closest ties to black metal.

"I Won't Forget" sounds like what I had originally expected Chinese Democracy turn out like. There's a off kilter guitar that builds into a very Muse like punch before the sax of chaos stirs the pot. Monkeby's vocals fall ofme where in between singing and screaming. By its just screaming that is more thought out in its rhymthmic placing giving it the illusion it is being sung. It makes the chorus pretty catchy and I have found it stuck in my head.

Their flirtation with prog rock can be seen in the first few measures which they go into a King Crimson like roll, that is repeated at various points in the song so, they aren't just letting bloated Dream Theater part flap a out , but every thing remain tightly coiled and focused in its attack. The vocals on " the One inside" don't have the same infectious Quality as they did on the first song.

The industrial undertones flourish, much I. The same way their trapping were used by bands like Stabbing Westward in the nineties."My Dying Drive" finds a little more commitment to the industrial elements like say Static x but there's also an element that reminds me of the cock rock bands of the minties like Faster Pussycat who on their "Whipped" album dipped into some Marilyn Manson elements when grunge wiped hair metal off the map. The guitar and drum interplay retains its adventurous streak and keeps it from becoming to rock.

Monkeby comes closer to singing on "Off the Hook" and this raises the Guns N Roses comparisons again. The Muse styled syncopation still present keeps the cock rock in check and it's this blend of influences which keeps these guys inn a middle ground safe from them falling into one sub genre. I think in America this could play to their favor if they put on tour with a band with at least the clout of an Opeth, Muse has to commercial of a following whose listening habits is to mired in the mainstream for these guys.

They have one foot firmly planted in the nineties on " Black Jazz Rebels" though it comes together as something which could have emerged back in 2004. I don't think that while it tries to be anthemic in some sense this ong really plays up to the bands strength and sounds like some the Wildhearts of Therapy would have done in 96.

The sax parts are this albums strength and the intro to "How your Story ends" highlights this fact. They delve back into more genuine prog when the rest of the band falls in behind the sax. The vocals assume the more Taime Downe type of inflection, which I can live with as I like Faster Pussycat back in the day. The band goes int some impressive Mathy breaks beneath his screeching and sax solos.

The straight forwardnineites style punk metal on " The Hurting Game" doesn't play to what they do best, though it finds some breathing room on the choru only to revert back into it. There are some prog leaning that weave in and out of the shouting over these tenuous drum pattern but it isn't until the sax comes to save their asses that this really comes to together into something noteworthy. They are great players, I get the point loud and clear and earlier I. The album experienced them as not too shabby in the song writing department so not sure why the filler.

The chaos ensues for the spastic beginnings of "Walk Away" the verse seems a little loose though it congeal into the cyber rock normal feel of the what I'm assuming is the pre chorus, the song title shout must be the chorus, they try to emulate the approach that's worked really well on the first song but comes up a little flat here. Their are some Korn like children's rhymes in one part before the guitar solo, which I would like to hear these guys cut loose into a shredding solo as I suspect they are capable of it.

"Paint the Sky Black" duels between the industrial colors they paint themselves with vs the more Muse side, while the bass player and drummer indulge their prog metal leanings. I don't hear them as a jazz band really at any point on the album as all the bag of tricks pulled from are more King Crimson, though without the Fripp ambiance. On this one I find myself wanting a little more to hook me in as a listener otherwise some of it comes across in a manner that might appeal to fans of djent but other than the dexterity involved leaves me a little bored by the monotony , this isn't to say the songs don't have twists and turns. They have it in spades but to pull it all together into a working song requires melody that isn't Monkeby's forte as a singer and he chooses not to go the blatant route as a saxophonist.

I wish there was more sax on this and I think aside from the Muse comparisons, which come it the feel of some of the riffaveratherthan a shared love of Radiohead, I think overall these guys will have some appeal to a broader audience. I will round the score up to an 8 as when I was scoring this album as I went along the impressive opener could have used an extra knod, though I'm not sure how much longevity this one will have , round this down a point if you have a total aversion to mall metal and only like your Cvlt with a hipster snicker as there is nothing ironic to this as they only go big on both preformance and production.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Weekly Shuffle

I got some new stuff in my iPod this week and changed out other albums to make way for new one s so let's see what happens when I hit shuffle and start reviewing the song that pop up.

"Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now" by the Smiths, Some of the greatest lyrics set to music. "What she asked of me at the end of the day/ Caligula would have blushed" I mean come on , does it get better? The uplifting juxtaposition of Moz's mope is incredible and iconic with out as doubt and the bass line isn't too shabby either.

"My Little Universe" by Depeche Mode, Off the new Delta Machine album I recently reviewed. This little Peice of awkward glitch pop isn't the best moment on here for sure, but is less offense offensive hearing it now, the vocal layers are kinds cool toward the end little too many bleeps and bloopers. Lyrics aren't bad when I listen to certainly relatable, but I'm not taking medication.

"La Traversee" by Les Discrets...remember when shoe gaze metal almost became a thing, this album by Les Discrets certainly made a solid case for it l but backed away from the more metal elements. This song feels like Failure or Ashes Divide to me so there is more of a straightforward rock element to it. It floats with drive. No a bad characteristic in a song but far from being My Bloody Valentine, which I think the old goth/ witch house kids are beginning to adopt more of . I don't think I wan these guys to be any kre rock n roll than his the balance is achieved.

"Baal of Ekron" by Necros Chirstos , more Morbid Angle flavored death metal, though these guys take it and run with it into some particularly dark corners. There's some great guitar playing, the drumming is solid enough, intresting accents ,mother vocal deep and growling out into the underworld. I think we have all the key elements for good death metal here, is it blackend what have you, well do you consider Morbid angel black metal ...no... The there you go. The riff drag you into their murk and smother you by the end.

"When My Baby Comes" by Grinderman , o.k there's something new to my iPod, I like this better than I though I would whe this project came out I was unsure if I was ready for something that wasn't the Birthday Party or the Bad Seeds, this isn't too different than the bad seeds more liscence to be weird. Cave's narratives here are loose and groovy. I think he sings more of the new album with the Bad Seeds than this which strays into more spoken word. The music behind takes a shift into something more sonically rock, it surreal and dark so you know it gets my vote. There is a little more of a jamming out feel to some of these songs like Nick is taking to to church during Mardis Gras while you are tripping. But the build here is pretty fucking cool so. Color this one a winner.

"Undo You" by Katatonia , this last album continues to grow on me . I normally don't listen to something that is this middle of the road and almost commercial in feel but the songs have compensated for the edge they continue to loose but finding depth in other places. Jonas revists similar grounds I nhis melodies and phrasing to the point of where it's becoming easier to mimic where you think he's going , the verse I this one though there are some subtle and thoughtful moments, where you can find some honesty buried In the slick production.

" A Drug Against War" by KMFDM , Pretty awesome for the time this came out and I think it's held up well to the point of where it can be hailed as an industrial classic. Not dancey, the almost Slayer like guitar riff is stiff and militant but works like a champ in context with the rest of the song, the drum mix cold be thicker if I rally want to pick it past but when I consider when it was recorded then it makes sense.

"Mechanical Mind" by Voi Vod, The angular thrash math this once kicks off with feels very much like them despite bing devoid of Piggy. It twists and turns with cyborg sinew. Snakes voice holds up though i don't think this is his best preformance of the album. Away really takes to his drums to be his age, he is metal's most under rated drummers. This is so rare to have what is almost a comeback album by these guys sit so well against their classics.

"the Sinister Awakening" by Dimmu Borgir, In Sorte Diaboli" is a fantastic album, this is however one of those songs that I tend to overlook in favor of the other more epic numbers where Ics Vortex rides a dragon in with a yodel.the really chanted chorus is cool as is the transition back into the verse. These guys play at break neck speed but know when to go into more epic riffs, I think some of the bite on songs like this they could stand remember when they head into the studio next time as I think they have gone about as far with the symphonic thing as they can stand to go.

" Low" by Royal Thunder, This is my favorite song by these guys. The chorus slithers nicely a the whole" I know you got demons baby" line. I remember hearing the demo that came out before this e.p and it was just sabba worship so the bluesy feel captured here seems more genuine , I think going in a wanna be prog direction on someon the newer material they would do themselves a favor to remember the simmer on a song like this that works better, and whenit goes into the boogie woodie stomp at the end it works better than when they make a more conscious effort to be metal.

Friday, April 19, 2013


At this rate I can see the French one day stealing the crown from Norway in regards to innovative black metal. Aosoth continues to progress. They re what goes under the banner of orthodox black metal, which doesn't mean that they are more troo than you...though in some seem this could apply but it means the are theistic satanists, the beleif in Satan as god , or a more literal approach rather than the Lavey, you are your own god with are just secular humanists with a heavy dose of social Darwinism and cool window dressing.

With all that out Of the way sometimes this seems more like blackend deth metal Than black metal to me , it walks a pretty fine line . the title track that is ten minutes but when you have been listening to stuff like Fell Voices and Skagos ten minutes seems run of the mill. They have a more refined brutality here, the ralbum sounds great in the first song the bass is very present. the guitars have that very organic and creepy sound like Blut Aus Nord or Leviathan. the guitars are well layer and the focus isn't always on the blasting beneath it , but een when it is the throw a punch in here and there. The density and cavernous croak of the vocals feel more like death metal to me. Midway through when the song relaxes into a more ominous bath in the lake of damnation it drops down into just drums, which I could see being ritualistic in their intent. Watain feels more evil to me even after being on the cover of Revolver. This is a more laid back Satan being invoked here, though it might be a darker album than "Lawless Darkness".

They dive deeper into their abyss on "Temple of Knowledge" even though it general stays fast from the undercurrent of the drums their are dynamic variances with the tempo of the song and smartly arranged and accented. Another middle of the song break down which could be part of a larger pattern forming here occurs its less percussive but ritualistic none the less the atmosphere it creates, more meditative. Then in the last minute and a half they crawl out of their restless trance and take off into more of a gallop.

"Ritual Marks of Penitence" starts of with the ritual ambiance and swells out into a pound. One of the best guitar sounds this year, equal portions atmospheric and crunch. They know how to own the drone and create atmosphere with out having to just weird out and stray from the metal. The tribal drum break is a favorite on this album, more than often it's followed by nasty mcblasty variations. Here they sound more death metal to me but then again ost of the death metal I listen to us blackend something so the distinction can get warped with my perspective. Around the five minute mark it's begins to get too straight forward but they drop into another groove and solve that problem. This is the perfect soundtrack to the dark and rainy Friday afternoons of your life when, the fact it's the week end makes you want to gallop out of work but the gravity of depression still tugs at you. The drumming is not in a low swing at all, it's a superlative preformance , and this guy knows when to give the riffs room to breathe.

They remain relentless heralds of hell on earth with "Under the Nails and Fingertips" the chords keep ringing out with this to chilling shadow to them and the drummer reinforces the creativity he has invested itno this album.the bass reemerges to help drive the point home before they fall into the mass of blast. There are hints of chaos in their playing but they use more restraint than their countrymen in Deathspell Omega. Another mid song drum break down but this one is quick shoves into the current of the double bass that flows into the second act of this song.
By the end of the song I do begin to ponder my blast beat exhaustion I have seemed to reach as when they launch into one I am disappointed and think " oh but you are better than that. I expect so much more from you" I think with all the black metal I listen to it has me wanting To hear it employed Ina more original fashion.

"One With the Prince of a Thousand Enemies" is clear they have a defined intention of what they want to create are successful at doing so. This songs seems to take those elements and sit on them more than the other songs though there is a cool part midway through, where it breaks itno something more double bass centric and death metal in feel.
After making your way through the entire album the dissonance and darkness compensate for where melody would be, and it's often and ample substitute except for on a song like this where the more death metal undertones make it a tad claustrophobic. The broken dialogue interludes seem more like intros or outros than actual songs on their own. The samples are from horror movies one describes the crucifixion almost in an erotic bdsm manner.

I'll give this one a nine as its solid focused well executed and excels at every thing it sets out to do, the reason it's not a perfect album to me is almost more matter of personal taste, but as mentioned before some of the blaster moments felt like they were supposed to have gone into something cooler, which keeps this from being a perfect album. However much like people I can really enjoy it when I accept it for what it is.

Children of God : " We Set Fire to the Sky"

These guys manage to blend hard core with sludge and don't rip off Neurosis in the process. Like a lot of other music out there other subgenres can be tagged on to them depending on what section of what song you are on but the bottom line is they are making good music.

The first forty one seconds opens with an outburst of hardcore which is followed by the song "Awaken" whose drumming at the end could be compared to a similar break on "Enemy of the Sun" but thats pretty much where thos comparisons end, I think Converge is a better frame of reference. Though they are more poised in the shadows with none of the spastic tantrums. They give the songs room to breathe and then explode back into, the sort of dynamics I'm all about.
"Unrelenting Storm" almost seems like an extension of the previous , it like they took elements that existed in the songs end and let the next song reflect it as a movement, when "Awaken" built into its explosions this song recedes from its. It's the rapid cycle nature of this dark bi polar exploration that makes this album a compelling listen from to front to back.

There could be too many hard core elements for some diehard metal kids, but close minds will miss out. It's like this is the depressive suicidal version of hardcore. "Offer" starts with harsh heart ripping screams,that I believe more than if they employed death metal growls as I feel black metal and hardcore vocals are often capable of expressing more emotion than a gurgle or bark. The blastier sections while executed well don't do tons for the song though they are sparse.

"To the Sky" comes in two parts, the first strummed clean guitar and vocals with Ambiant noise in the back ground, while it doesn't sound like Joy Division it has that sort of feel to me. The sequel is this time they are back and out for blood, the heavier section this call and response same notes just beaten to a distorted pulp. It still keeps some of the creepy beauty intact.

It wakes back into the darkness on " Where do they go?" it's an clean minor key jangle, with the funeral croon vocals pondering before they raise into a more melodic build. There's a slight post rock feel but it's far more down trodden before it hits the gas into hardcore. Some of the hardcore riffs are of the more straightforward variety leaning towards a blasty nastiness, while they touch on sludge elements I'd say their hearts are still I the hardcore. Which there seems to be a rising trend of ex hardcore kids growing out of the breakdown and finding Nick Cave albums. These guys aren't afraid to use the drone, they let it blend them over into the more powerful sludge section in this songs second act. It also should be said that t no time do i feel like they are defaulting by the alternating vocals into the good cop/ bad cop thing , I think Becuase they steer away from what has already been done along those lines rather than the big Atreyu chorus.

There's a certain emotional flatness to the clean vocals at the beginning of "Unknown" until it makes me think this is hard core for sociopaths. The clean guitar build is really cool and effective in the transition back into the heavy.the riff at the three minute mark is a monster. The break down at the 2:25 mark is very original sounding in its execution, drop out every thing but the drums and scream has been done but it way it's layered with atmosophere takes it somewhere different. If this is in fact the new screamo then I'm o.k with it though I tout bands like. La Dispute already pave that way and this nothing like them.

I will give this a 9 out of ten, as some of the blastier hard core parts didn't sound like they were constructed with the same creativity the rest of the album was and the band already displayed to me they are capable of painting my ears with dark and beautiful pictures with more depth than blast default, I am glad I heeded Cvlt Nation's advice and finally tracked this one down. Recommend for ex hardcore kids who have crossed over to the dark side and broken edge.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Skagos: "Anarchic"

There have been a lot of sub genres thrown around in reference to the second full length by this Canadian duo, and I can sum it up all quick for you by saying there's not a lot of ground not already covered in a less long winded fashion by Alcest. I'm not sure whether two twenty minute song albums have become a thing for any sort of post whatever black metal or experimenting with black metal mean you have to drone. In truth can you write a cucking song is what needs to be asked. Are theire great songs theatre over ten minutes yes. But those same musicians can write on in a concise manner as well. The safety in this long song trend is much like a live show the listener godson a trip and forget what he heard three minutes ago because they might as well be listening to another song.

The black metal thing here is highly suspect, its more like fast Mogwai...whole cascading blast beat thing, I think there has to be more varied elements or perhaps now that it's been a thing for a while it needs to progress , may the new Deafheaven will change it up here, it just appears and isn't anything we haven't heard before, the vocal sections that are almost accapella are cool enough but like most things on this album the ideas are run into the ground. The harsh vocal are executed by the book in a midrange but don't feel angry or evil.the best part of the song is the groove the hit at the 9:45 mark. This is the sort of thing they need to develop more. It's more Agalloch in feel than some of the Wolvesinthethroneroom comparison they get, the blasty parts are the on,y place I hear that . The returned the blast seems more awkward than when they first hit, though the clean vocals layered around in help out.

Take the first side of 2112, those songs can all stand along on there own where what Skagosis strung together some cool parts they often take their time getting to them the kind of procrastination that like being in a conversation with someone who has to talk their way around to what the point is. In the first song simply the side a, the point doesn't come til past the ten minute mark, the lead into the actual song is about the span of an entire side of a Nails album. the clean vocals are cool there is more to them than the standard intone of most post rock bands who employ a similar tactic , but they aren't Alcest either.

The first 11 mins of the second song where cool furthe first three minutes then I feel the sing song chant is the invocation of boredom. There's about five mins of very minimalist ambiance which is a waste of space,this could be captured and get the same feel but with something that draws you in as you floataway. So it stays limp and they can't get it up for eighteen mintues.

Soif you are going to just have two songs make sure one of them is awesome, ormay break up these pieces see if they stand on their own because when you string the, together they are not going to be any more developed if they don't go anywhere. I'll round this down to a 4 out of ten , there is the cool accents of the heavy Part on the first song that whole section is only three minutes, so they don't know a good thing when they got it. I have their Ethan the version I got was incomplete and their was going to be a side c to this , but if it's more of the same I don't think it's going to be of much use.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Death Wolf :" 2 Black Armoured Death"

The second album from this Swedish band who boasts having the bassist of Marduk in it's ranks. They were once called Devils Whorehouse before changing their name , so from that alone there's is going to be a Misfits influence but I'd say this more often metal than not though, they do use the very straightforward version of what a suppose it a punk take on the blast beat.

The production has an odd density to, like the producer had been listening to Nails a lot , not to say it has that sort of crunch but if you told me Kurt Ballou produced this it would make sense. In some ways this comes across like a black n roll take on Life of Agony's "the River Runs Red " album as we ave goth and hardcore ,iced together though it's no the first marriage of this sort.

There is an eighties metal punk crossover element that at times brings something like D.R.I to mind, and then at others the Danzig solo years on the interlude "Luciferian Blood Covenant. The title track is certainly the main culprit in the crossover department, bordering on being flat put punk but these are metal heads trying to play punk rather than the other way around. Not as effective as Slayer's Undisputed Attitude where they flat out covered punk songs, though haven't been able to convincingly metal them selves afterward. I think "Death Wolf March" strikes a better balance. At six minutes the a heftier song than the punk bursts, it gives more breathing room to create an almost doomy feel. Though midway I found my self looking at the iPod thinking o.k they have another three minutes left what are they going to do to switch it up.

There is little more of a fifties swing to "My Little Black angel" but at the same time there's still a vikingnmetal metal under current. The vocals stay rough where I think the song could have benefitted from more finesse. The fact the solo thing in here I can't tell if it's a guitar or a synth earns them some points, though it probably a guitar with effects on it.

The punk side returns with "Malice Striker" though there are doomy metal components to it and the clean vocals while Danzig is some sense also have thatmid range King Diamond croon to them, though if any prying I would say these guys are more likely to have a Merciful Fate influence than the Kng solo, though comes across like In Soltitude. By the refrain I'm almost sure it's a merciful fate influence.

The more Danzig like power ballad "Lord of Putrefaction" goes bad cop on what I suppose is the chorus. These are the first real horro punk moments I have come across though I suppose it sussposedto be large component of what they do. The vocals finallypop out of the mix more on the bridge. They are a,it'll dry and could use some verb.

We waffle back into punk with "World Serpent" which has more of a Slayer feel to it in how the vocals are spat back at you. The execution on it is rather bland. I think on the doomed pace like "Rothenburg" is a tempo they are more comfortable with surprising considering some of their black metal roots, but you know some sounds just come across better at certain tempos than others. I think in the songwriting department more variation and dynamic within the songs would be a better move for the as I find my self getting bored midway through. The point is often belabored, shorter verses more dynamic chrouses and varied bridges...ya know the basics are things they could be fit from, with something like Marduk who can become dynamically flat I can see where this skill set was not developed.

The eighties makes a appearance with some post NWOBHM on "Darkness of Hel" that has the Diamond Head of Maiden gallop to it. The Viking blood boils here, it can't be hidden by a devil lock.The bass player wakes up and I wonder what has he been doing all album, the vocals take on more of a rasp. I think if they could blend this rather than the punk thing with the death punk vibe they would be onto something.

I finally figure out by the time we get to "Night Stalker" that the gruffness of the vocals reminds me of Primordial. This of to Richard Rameriez, comes of a little forced, the line "beating the drum for funerals to come" is well awkward. We continue on the repetitive path not the left hand me more often than not here.

Then the final nail I the coffin is "Sudden Blooletter" where I can see the sacrafice that needs to be made is this album from my iPod to make room for the other stuff I need to get to this week. I'll give this album a 6.5, there are some cool dark moods captured, if you like harder metal but find your self with a Danzig fixation give this at least another point and hunt it down. Its more often than not just not my thing, the spooky crooning I like and some of the more down trodden Life of Agony moments but all in all I don't have to have this though you might.

Meads of Asphodel "Sonderkommando"

One day I want it hear an album by these guys where they finally get the production they deserve. This album if you can believe it is even more ambitious than past efforts bringing it closer to some more along the lines of Sigh than your average black metal band. They courageously employ a wide variety of instruments which the production values showcases in varied levels of effectiveness.

The playing is not slack some of the guitar sections have roughed edges and not in the raw black metal way either where lo if production is their calling card. This album begs to be treated more along the lines of Cormorant as from the opening it delves into seventies prog rock, though more of the grooving sixties variety with winks in a more Deep Purple direction, but not to discourage fans they wind back up into heavier territory by the songs end , however better production would give the guitars more of an edge.

I suppose it's a concept album about the nazi troops who tended the furnaces. I have admired their irreverent lyrical content and attacks on the judeo roots of Christianity. Sure it's an easy target but they go about it in a manner that displays some creativity. The conceptual element sits oddly with some songs like "Wishing Well of Bones" that takes on more of a folk metal feel. The lower guttural vocals haunt the underbelly of the vocal layering and there is on riff in particular that I like but it's buried in the mix. Despite the sound of the kit the drumming is excellent. The double bass is e.q'ed on the thin side.

I begin to wonder how much lyrical fuel for the fire the topic of the Nazi ovens can have during the crackling sound effects before "Aktion T4" it has more of a Rotting Christ feel so even when they go into blast beats it never really sounds like black metal to me, some of the riffing even reminds me a tad of old Megadeth. Lots of guitar soloing on this to the point of where the riffs on this song sound like they were thinking "Now what would be a good riff to solo over".

"Silent Ghosts of Babi Yar" sounds sorta like Gwar to me , but more along the long lines of "Scum Dogs of the Universe" era. There are some very militant accents, but the verses are very straightforward. Midway into it things get more melodic and proggy. The clean vocals could be off a Solefald album, and the bass player reals starts to earn his cut here. The syncopation toward the songs final moments really works to bring it at all home.

There are odd excursions into the polka of a German parade mixed with Liabach on the interlude "Children of the Sun Wheel banner". It makes more sense than the old witch at the beginning of " Lamenting Weaver of Horror". The part to to this song opens with some intresting exploration of sound, almost post-rock guitar with metallic samples before punching into some pretty epic Viking metal. The layers of vocals reinforce comparisons to both Sigh and Rotting Christ. The blasts that come out of nowhere don't seem like they were built up to and the Wizard of Oz vocals are strangely set against it, but this song has so much going on to when the pieces to this puzzle are forced into place it's not glaringly obvious with a casual listen. There are so many component til much like Sigh you find your self liking enough to appease your ears.

"Lamenting Weaver of Horror" is over half an acted narrative of sorts and the final three minutes resemble a song, which is a lot of intro to get through to be met by some overly dramatic Therion style musical number. Tough darker and more experimental than Therion.

"Sins of the Pharaohs" is very straight forward and a return to the more Therion like feel. The clean vocals when they come in aren't as annoying as Therion's can be when they pull out the Andrew Loyd Weber and when things get proggy midway into it there is some relief, because it darkens up . The harsher vocals could stand to have more growl to them, it would help hide the accent.

"Last Train to Eden" takes two minutes to get through sound effects to establish itself as a song. The place is slowed down, but even though there are dirge like tendencies I wouldn't say it emulates what most consider doom, though it does remind me a little of the last My Dying Bride album. The more thrash riff that appears in the final three minutes is an awkward transition and a little stiff. The bass player is obvious influenced by Geezer Butler in the way he works around what's going on and his preformance really stands out on this album.

" the Hourglass of Ash" is more than likely my favorite song on the album. It has a swing to it and a sax coats the back ground to provide another layer of sound. The breaks down into polka flavored jazz in the last two minutes before being wound up into a spiraling riff that coils around the song under the female vocals which take on a dramatic almost Therion like air.

"Mussulmans Wander..." which is how I'm going to leave the title whose name is as humorous as it is long. It's weird, the chanted vocals the harmonica solo coming out of nowhere, this one really has a Sigh feel to it but set against like a Monty Python skit on goth metal. Yeah that crazy, but in a good way, though I also like Mr. Bungle so I have a high tolerance for Zappa like chaos breaking out.

"Send my Love to Maher-Shalal-hash-Baz" is more of just a soundscape jam than a song, with a narrative over it. The album as a whole feels like I took some acid while watching the History channel. This album could have benefitted from better production but midway through I stopped noticing and what they are doing began to stand on its own. I'll give this album an 8.5 out of 10 even though for me personally I'm not sure how much iPod time it will demand as dispite it's heavier leanings some of the more quirky prog diversions I find myself in cases like Solefald and Arcturus to not always be in the mood for such an aural carnival, this often applies even to Sigh who I feel is superior in creating this sort of thing with a more organic feel. I do respect and commend them for what they have crafted and think it needs to be acknowledged and fans of experimental prog metal should like this once they get past the rough shod presentation.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Depeche Mode : "Delta Machine"

I consider myself a Depeche Mode fan, as I have a long history with the band most closely associating the "Violator" album as the soundtrack to my drug summer of 1995 when I would put that album on very time I saw the sunrise and then "Ultra" was played during many a drugged haze. But it's no secret when it comes to iconic Eighties bands I favored the Cure and the Smiths, who think the bulk of their catalogue tends to hold up better. But I can hang with earlierDepeche Mode anything peppier than say "Master and Servant" I can only take it certain doses.

From Exciter on I have lost touch with the band so this was my chance to reconnect. I can say right of the bat with the opener "Welcome to my World" it sounds more streamed lined and doesn't have the depth of their darker sound. I would say this song borders on being almost minimalist. I take Gahan is still sober , though "Songs of Faith , Love and Devotion" is a very almost inspirational album when he was in the midst of his addiction. The drum programming doesn't have the thump of their nineties work. It reminds me more of Daft Punk's Tron soundtrack, though less orchestral in scope. The lyrics are mature and reflective, the vocals are plaintive not the overly emotive de
I every I normally think of Gahan

They soon return to a more familiar form on "Soft Touch/ Raw Nerve" the guitar is present, the beat are modern sounding in their pulse though still thinner and not darkly sensual in their pulse.Granted the lyrically content isn't sexual but seems like he's making comments about how someone's mental health effects him, so a group therapy session, but the beat does have a manic agitation to it.

"Broken" sounds like they are trying to recreate the feel of "Behind the Wheel" so fans looking to relive the glory days and don't notice this might really like this one. It is more of typical Gahan croon. The song works the production just gets on my nerves how thinly digital every tho sounds. Even the parts where there are real instruments are very compressed down into this. It's like all the sex was produced right of this album, though there no real fault in their writing the impact is just diminished, even when I crank my headphones to full blast.

Martin Gore's are really weird deprture on " the Child Inside" almost like David Bowie. It's a slower song even more minimally arranged and mostly filler. The beats improve on "Soothe My Soul" their is a very sterile element to the electronic nature of it but when the chorus kicks in it s tries to resurrect the sultry swing of a "Personal Jesus". Of course being older their isn't as much would searching and getting sober doesn't do rock n roll any favors as a general rule.

So the album does lack any of the rock elements the nineties material had. In the darker moments like the almost Nick Cave like tone of "Angel" still has a sputter to the beat , though the synth sounds are well placed and panned. There's a weird break where the song sounds like a golden light shines down on Gahan before it builds into a Faint like thicker synth drone.

I had already seen a live preformance of "Heaven" but I think I prefer the recorded version, I like Gore's harmonies here I think he works better in this capacity than taking the spotlight. Even though this song as a slower slink to it and in some ways reminds me of a Duran Duran ballad I like it. It feels believable and genuine to them. I'm not sure why the production comes across some much warmer and more organic here. I know it's weird I want my electronica to sound organic but I think it has and can be accomplished, in fact it works well on this song.

They go for a bluesy sound on "Goodbye" by some how end up making it sound like it could have been on Tron as well. The guitar riff doesn't do anything original until the chorus and then you can't tell if it's synth or guitar, I think they were going for an "I Feel You" thing here and it took a slightly wrong turn, not to the point of where the song as a whole doesn't work it just doesn't work as well as a Depeche Mode song should I'm sure the Killers would be proud of it but is is Depeche Mode whose work must be held to a higher standard since we know what they are capable of.

The blues continues to surface on songs like "Slow" , the lyrics are a little vapid at best here, the guitar riffs continue to sound like just stock blues they sampled. The first song on the album I found myself having to really search for a redeeming quality, I suppose Gahan'svoice sounds good here , but shouldn't it always? The cliches keep coming in the lyrical front. The fuzz of the guitar towards the end had potential but nothing to save the song.

The drone of almost Nine Inch Nails lingers in the beat to "Alone". The sounds are fuller and more improved though more digital than dusty and the melody is pretty safe and middle of the road for them. If they are relying on Gore's Harmon's to save them things like this then how much of himself was Gahan investing? There's a little more drive right from the first few measures of "Secret to the End" which I can only imagine is about Gahan's closeted lifestyle. The chorus kicks in with more flare than is generally found on the album and the guitar finally bellies up and offers something imaginative. I like the ..should have , would have been you...interplay in the vocal layering. So songs like this make me suspect of the albums moment which lean in the direction of filler when they show me. They do in fact still know what is up.

"Should have been Higher" didn't hit me off the bat, but I like the restrained tension in the verses, though the chorus dynamically doesn't smack you but I can see it growing on me and being the sound track to a vanilla sex scene that is supposed to be edgey to "Normal" people. Once again the vocal layers and harmonies come in to save the day and at least there's a dab of sex left in this machine.

Well while not their strongest song they do get points as all the blips , beeps and glitches of "My Little Universe" is experimental enough and something different sounds more like some one remixing a Depeche Mode song , so they beat the dee jays to the punch on this one.

Most of my qualms are really just in the productions and even though some moments are more inspired than others I'll still give this one an 8.5 , so weigh it against Violator which is no doubt a 10 and that should give you a rough idea what you are heading into on this, I think they might as well have a relapse when they are going back into the studio and we could get something more visceral from them.

Ken Mode : "Entrench"

When I first listened to the Canadian post-hardcore band's new album , I wished I have downloaded Depeche Mode instead of Ken Mode , but after a closer listen through headphones I have warmed up to it. Matt Bayles produced it so it sounds great and all the instruments are well played. The thick riffs start off angular but not forsaking the power to rock you for mathematics.

A lot of this sort of thing clearly has descended from Botch, yet the Rollins yell that seems to have become increasingly popular amongst the hipsters riding the line between punk and metal these days, makes some of the songs less than memorable as they have a similar cadence. Are their touches of Amp Rep era bands? Check yes so it's hipster approved and Brooklyn Vegan will give them their seal of approval. But by the time it gets around to the third song "The Promises of God" this seems like a variation of the second song, though their is a little more crunch to one riff in particular and a cool smacking punch to a bridge breakdown, but just a cool riff or two does not a good song make or make a good song for that matter, though by the end of the third song they power through to redeem themselves as the vocals butch it up into say Nails territory.

Theres a more metal take on things with the song "Daeodon" where some of the riffing is less apologetic about being into metal. Which is feeling I get that they are trying to save face with their punk friends. The chorus gets more Rollins but the almost sludgey grunge to the verses make up for it and apologies aside they are good at what they do I have no doubt they can pull all of this off as tightly at rattling volumes live which give them a stong case as a band.

The math punk flares up on "Why don't you Just Quit". Im still trying to figure out though why this album should be in my iPod instead of Pissed Jeans. It's slicker and more metal, making me curious if the whole Rollins thing is a new turn of events or if they used to sound more like Mastodon. There a melodic chord progression I like on this one but that doesn't make it a song.

There's a very Filth Pig feel to the opening of "Figure Your Life Out". The ambiance hovering over the bass line is a nice touch they need to break thing son this one up a bit. The guitar work is very fluid and I like they way they move the song along but the vocals have really begun to bore me by this point. The "this is my black hole" line works but would be more effective if this Unsane type of vocal phrasing had been more intresting. When the song congeals into a tightly chugged riff that swells up by the end it works a lot better.

The gears switch by the beginning of "Monomyth". There is some delicate post-rock guitar, which I like because I want to hear a band that has a range of dynamics to what they do. Though by the two and a half minute mark you are ready for this to go somewhere, so pacing can be an issue for these guys. When the strings come in sure it sounds good but the song still just feels like an intro. So the fact they can't blend this into their normal song framework makes this interlude a little pointless.

They crash back into a more typical form with the Convergish "Your Heartwarming Story Makes Me Sick" it shows one thing which is their heavy is not as convincing as Converge's, in fact the riffs come across as bland until the break down at the end. The post-rock guitar sound returns on "Romeo Must Never Know" the vocal whisper changes it up and the bass line reminds me of a Kylesa song, but all the above is an improvement. The drums back off and the bass takes the controls and there is almost some singing on the chorus, it's the very monotone Jesu type thing and the way the drums crash back in has a Swans feel to it making this instantly my favorite song so far. In the final three mintues they bring back the punch they have had for most of the album but I think it is more effective here and the single note stuff the guitar does is some of the best work on the album.

"the Terror Pulse" has a more muscular throb to it. The distorted bass line is thick and oozes a coat of grime over the song like a monster slug. It builds into a more predictable post-hardcore part, which I suppose could pass for a chorus. Back to the cool cool idea but when they fall after a really good song then this sort of thing feels like filler. The angry pacing builds up into a very nineties hardcore section. The last chance for them to redeem themselves lies in the hands of "No, I'm Charge" that runs along the same lines of a bass heavy distorted steamroller with the Boot Camp yell over it. There is some Mathy syncopation jammed into the corners and the guitar coasts over top but it doesn't feel like it going anywhere this album hasn't already taken us.

I'll give this album a six , there's potential and a couple stand out songs, but they don't provide enough dynamics to an album that falls upon being a one trick pony for the most part this would have been really innovative shit in the late nineties but having lived through that period already it doesn't do much more me now, how ever if you are stuck in that time period or too young to have been there then it might be worth your while as they do a good job of pulling it of but how many of these sort of bands do we need today?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fell Voices : Renum Saturni

I really like the ambiance of the previous album I heard from this California trio.

Sticking to the vast epic nature of their song writing the new album is comprised of three songs that clock in collectively at over an hour.

They take their time building into the first song. The intro is five and a half minutes before we get to the first blasts of "Dawn". While their is the hypnotic drone around the edges, in the eye of this storm is prett straight forward and raw as the production is denser but also a muddier guitar tone and the vocals even mixed further back.The modulation is slight and more felt than heard. Live if this was loud enough I imagine might come across like getting hit with the Swans wall of sound and this is something I can let drone in the back ground as I write since it doesn't demand my closest attention , but it begs the question ...What about the songs? Is it fair to even think of this in the same scope as Emperor or even Deafheaven , who create chaos but it still functions in the bounds of a song rather than as a movement. Ten minutes in and it's moving but not really going anywhere. There are very subtle shifts on more of a vibrational level than a chorus, is this blur the verse , well I'm assuming it is. Can they recreate this live and what would they be recreating is another question as there is a very in the moment organic quality to this. At the twelve minute mark we have a change, the drums are accenting the cymbals things are swelling and being stirred like a boiling broth. It takes on more of a dim shimmer than anything really black metal here, though the moment is short lived before plunged back into the frothing void. There up to this point aren't really any dynamics to speak of and the ambiance is in the punishment. The drummer begin to refocus their accents which gives it some definition. The drums roll into motion creating a swirl around the flurry that gradually seems to have notched up the intensity by the last seven minute mark. Though the final three minutes are consumed by a locust like swarm of feedback.

The vocals are pretty much an after thought like the we're on the bands previous efforts a distant howling from a far away wasteland. I doubt any real words or lyrics are present this just seems like a static layer of screaming for the sake of screaming.

The following song plots a similar course to destination unknown though takes less time getting to the blast which it hangs on for the listener is seventeen minutes into the the drone of "Emergence" something that earns a head bang takes places as they find more of a gallop before drifting off into feedback and distant howling, this is drawn out for the next two and a half minutes. The guitars do seem to have a darker tone as the album progresses, like astrommcloud getting blacker as it nears. The majority of the drone this song takes on carries a little more ferocity than the previous song.

The third song waits two minutes to develop past the ringing of delayed feedback. It simmers to life keeping with the progression of evoking a somewhat darker feeling than the rpevious song but is full blast ahead.

Often feeling dynamically flat it can be said that I can also just leave this album on and let it play. This doesn't mean the songs are necessarilly distinguishable but it all flows together like I'm listening to a more tempestuous Phillip Glass Peice . I wonder how Phillip Glass feels about black metal. Though I can listen to the album on constant repeat Becuase im a sucker for the hypnotic drone of this flavor of black metal, there is not much in the way of actually song writing , which I understand these guys are more about the sonic architecture than hooks and choruses but I feel they are capable musicians who could have taken steps forward and this feels like a lateral move the kind of uncompromising cop out Slayer makes when they pump out the same album year after year so this get a 7.5 whiles it's a captivating listen for what it is what it is could stand to be more dynamic.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Weekly Shuffle

Ok I kow the last one was on Friday but this originally was an every Wednesday thing so I a, getting back to that this week so every weds I will be clicking through the iPod and reviewing the first ten songs that pop up

"Wired" by New Model Army... I think this song really show cases what they do best. It has a punk drive but is still brooding in its melodic nature, the vocal almost feels like a Nick Cave. The bassist has skills that keep them from being punk even at their rowdiest is he weaves around the drums and guitars with artful grace.

"Children of the Sea" by Black Sabbath ...Ntil he died Dio Sabbath got a bad rap, then when he Dio every one claimed to be old school Dio fans. Ronnie is a better singer than Oxxy. Ozzy just has more manical charisma to his voice which is a Sabbath staple, but the Dio albums are still classic I think Iommk started soloing like he had something to prove and is some of his best work. The drumming is a little sluggish and the weak link. I like how dark these albums feel much darker than Mever Say Die or Technical Ectasy for sure.

" Let's not wrestle Mt. Heart Attack " by Liars ... I have a feeling this is a band a lot of you are missing out on. Sure they would be filed under experimental indie rock.Bit have enough dark weirdness to make fans of metal or goth take notice. This song has a noisy drone to it and sounds like if Radiohead decided to conduct a voodoo ritual or an indie rock take on Alice Cooper'a Black Juju.

"Epitome VIII" by Blut Aus Nord...part of their whole 777 trilogy, these guys make the black in the black metal blacker than it is metal. The drumming is really cool beaneaters the murk, with these guys I wouldn't be surprised if it was programmed. The French seem to have more dissonance more often than not amd the dissonance is what makes this song so heavy as it creeps along. The chords ring with dirty evil.

"Once upon the Cross" by Deicide ...the title track from the album I consider the bands last real moment of greatness as after this everything began to sound the same and the anger from Glen Benton began to disparate the closer he came to the day where he claims he was going to kill himself. The production on this album was great for the nineties. Their song rioting wasti notch , it was back hen death metal still retains enough thrash in it to hook you in rather than just throw a bunch of flat blasting at you.

"Inheritance" by Katatonia ... Though I like this album, this song displays how the band sifted away from metal into a weird mix of Depeche Mode like ballads by way of Opeth. The melancholy drift and the tasteful guitar work really all me on it, but Viva Emptiness is my favorite album by these guys and I wish they would have rocked out a little more on this one as having gone too far in this direction their new album suggests they might have forgotten the way back.

"Black Hands of Death" by Von...wow more metal this week. I like this album and this song in particular showsa user range of dynamics, wheni go back and listen to I can hear a ambiance I. The production that adds a cool feel to the songs hitch are pretty much straight forward, this one is more like Rotting Christ rather than their normal raw last feet, that they helped innovate . I think I owe this album more night time listens or rainy morning writing back ground plays.

" the devils hand" by Vried ...like the Von I reviewed this album. The guitar still sounds just as tight and catchy as en I first have this a shot , the bass has more of role In the mix than most black metal which could be why this almost has a thrash feel. By todays standards I think it presses the boundaries of what would be labelled black metal but it's alot of fun. The end stomp is a real head banging moment to look forward to.

"For her Light" by Feilds of the Nephillim ...they are becoming a weekly fixture, granted I have their discography on my iPod. This one has a little more melody a cool bass line that rolls around in the back ground. They have always had more of a rock feel than their other counter parts, like if the Cult got darker instead of cock rock. The guitar is taking the nineties middle ground here and not getting as metal as it some times ventures.

"100,000" by Nine Inch Nails ...Has a cool drive even if for them it's straight forward, it steers clear of so of the jazzercise they stepped into on With Teeth. Trent really weathered a lot of trends and managed to still remain relevant . The more fuzzy lo if production I think helped with this if it had been produced Ina way to try and recreate say Downward spiral then he would had come across sounding dated. So he knows what's up and doesn't make me too worried about the revamping of nine inch nails to come.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Altar of Plagues : "Teethed Glory & Injury"

Since the last Altar of Plagues album was the first review for this blog, it's like a celebration of our second annual Irish Black Metal day. Since "Mammal" these guys have really matured. They no longer write sprawling songs that all pass the ten minute mark, not to say they have done away with the drone, noise or Ambiant elects to what they do. So the rule is unless some actual music transpires I'm not counting it as a song, so we are talking some talking toward momentum here as they will play a few notes here in their to soften the sonic sting of the noise. So we are going to say that "God Alone" is the first song.

It combines a very Godflesh element with their crispy blasty mcnasties. They allow the song to collapse and the. Come back to life with a pretty mean riff. Black metal purists might resist the groove, but giving into it isn't a bad thing here. The post rock moments are still intact, they seem a little darker on this one. The clean vocal make a return appearence in the final act of the first song but attempt to a subdued chant. The mix seems way more bass heavy and the album has a more in your face boom to it.

"A Body Shrouded" smoothly slides into the song with a Russian Circles like grace under the pressure of oppression. It fluxuates from having an industrial feel and a rock feel leaving the mean snark of the vocal the only thing really black metal as the drummer sounds like he had  been taking notes from the drummer of Russian Circles.

The almost angular intro to "Burnt Year" starts a little awkwardly. Enforce they return to the black metal. The vocals takin gon more of a Mayhem like anguish to them. Chaos ensues. It ensues in a more haphazard jazz like manner than say Deathspell Omega. The momentum is lost on this one but they are at least experimenting and it comes together at the end.

A sparsely drummed chant opens " A Remedy and a Fever". The fever must be getting to them as they are very pissed until the clean vocals come in to soothe them like a ghost. I like that dynamic and it's a great use of the more melodic vocals. The industrial influence on this album is welcome but unexpected as I never heard traces of it on the last one. I mean it even gets Nine Inch Nails on this one more so than early Swans. It very dark so that wins me over . The guitar winds up and slither through the dark maze, Like roots looking for rspe in evil dead. When I say N.I.N here it's not the poppy "Closer" moments but the Ambiant sprawl with distressed edges.

"Twelve was Ruin" congeals out of the ashes of the previous song and returns to the more post rock side. The guitar takes and intresting step back to pick with more melodic intent before flexing into a stacatto pattern. The octave chords smattered with delay are nice as it soars off into a sonic cloud that rains back down on the established pattern. The lack of vocals here I think keeps it from being an outstanding song to a really cool idea leaving the screams at the end to seem like a cop out after they have done some out of the box thinking already.

The rumbling spasms that kick off "Scald Scar of Water" don't lead you to where you think you are being taken which is the theme of the album. A galloping groove storms in and builds into the dense blast. The riff morphs into a heavier cyborg. There is a sludge like element that has replaced the industrial overtones. The harsh vocals howl along with the motion. Every thing halts into just a pulse and then the clunk and bang of the electronic returning for their revenge on the post rock swell. Clean vocals drift in to haunt the back drop.

"Found , Oval and Final" is straight up industrial tinged sludgey fare that abandons it groove for the static swathes of noise and tribal convictions the drummer returns to. This does offer tension and room to breathe at the same time. I know it's a weird mix of contradictions, but these are the dynamics the have employed. The cool riff age is what makes this return , that despite all the artful leanings at the end of the day you have to rock.

The final song "Reflection Pulse Remains" returns to the Russian Circles drumming this time with a more math like guitar riff to really highlight this fact.will this open them up to a wider audience , well is post rock really stilla thing? Marketing moves aside I think they have daringly created some nic Edward textures slabs of varying degrees of heaviness. With experimentations not every step really proves the hypothesis, but the fort to branch out is there. The weird drum section I don't think makes the most sense to get to the blast beats which now seem like "oh shit wait a second aren't we supposed to be playing black metal" though there is a touch of Liturgy in the last section.

I like the direction they are headed in and I will round this up to a 9, which will go on record as the highest score you can get when so blatantly winking at the band you are taking inspiration from. Otherwise the industrial touches help the mood, could they rein it in a little sure but the songs still hold hold even in light of some of the more indulgent sections.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Ghost : " Infestissumam"

O.k I liked Ghost's first album, but it eventually wore thin as most novelties do. The guitar sound was a little bland in it's attempt to replicate a retro sound and for all the reviews trying to proclaim it was the second coming of King Diamond, the vocals were a little weak and couldn't hold a single candle to the altar of Merciful Fate or even the King's solo work which is stronger vocally up til say the Spider's Lullaby.You are talking about comparing someone who struggles to reach a meager head voice against some one who has an upper range that knocks the steeple of most cathedrals, a very weak imitation the only thing he got right was the mid range moaning croon. But with the new album the Blue Oyster Cult influence comes comes through and there's barely a shadow of King Diamond.

I skipped over the melodramatic intro piece so we are just going to take it up from the first real song " Per Aspera Ad Inferni" very mid pace middle of the road piece of seventies rock, right from the first few notes you can tell it's benefiting from a much better production value. The keys take a better placement in the mix , the bass line also gives it some heft though I'm not sure I would really qualify this song as metal.

The Keyboards take on a more Door like psychedelic circus feel on "Secular Haze". The vocals very mid range and all signs of the mournful croon smoothed out, this could almost be a Porcupine Tree song. There is a more more progressive feel here, the bass player is killing it and has the only performance that's really shining so far so this song works as a whole, There is a dramatic shift in tone by the next song " Jigolo Har Megiddo" which has a cheerful bounce to it that negates any occultic darkness they might have to get them over where their lack of heaviness fall short. This would be an upbeat happy song if it was on a Queens of the Stoneage album so here it feels like a total misstep.

Some one ordered extra cheese with this album as the next song about an incubus is a piano ballad that at best heads into Emerson Lake and Palmer territory. The keyboards which had been the albums stronger suit to this point really weigh it down in a flaccid state. Mid way through the guitar builds into a sixties surf rock thing.While picking up the pacing is an improvement it doesn't win me totally over on this one.

I guess Stevie Nicks counts as occult rock because " Year Zero" feels like "Edge of Seventeen" the song's sense of movement compensates for its lack of punch.Then comes "Body and Blood" whose the first few chords like an Alice Cooper b-side from the drunken disco years. It pretty bland affair. Are they not aware of who their audience has been up until this point? I think most metal heads are going to be hard pressed to take this one seriously.

I mean i'm really baffled by the time it rolls around to the gleeful frolic of "Idolatrine" which has a Sesame Street melody. I think they must really be going for a Muppet audience on this and have been on a steady diet of Queens of the Stoneages happier moments. At this point I'm really suffering through this one. "Depth of Satan's Eyes" is the first thing on here that really has any kinship to the first album.It's fitting all the references to shit this song has as its pretty much describing the bulk of the album.

On the closer I can hear some Alice Cooper influence in the theatrical nature. The lyrics are pretty godawful. It does have a darker creep to it than what happened earlier in the album. The guitars are pretty weak throughout. The vocal melody doesnt bring anything to thye table and to be honest i miss when he was at least reaching for his pitiful falsetto as it was at least a change from this monotonous collect of half hearted melodies.

I have to around this down to a 3 as I feel it really wasted my time and I can't wait to delete it from my Itunes, its been a while since I have been this disappointed by something, not that I had very high expectations but happy devil ballads is pretty fucking rough.


Friday, April 5, 2013

Weekly Shuffle

O.k think I fell behind on this one last week when I went to Frolicon, so for future reference the week of a convention is anything goes and set your expectations low. So here we go kids hitting shuffle mode on the old iPod and reviewing the first ten songs that pop up.

"Moonchild" by Feilds of the Nephillim ...the guitars sound great on this . Sure they are very eighties goth but that's a great sound, the bass player is getting the job done and then some and the chant of Moonchild which builds into his trademark raspy bellow has plenty of time to surf the grooves. It sounds like he was just flying off the cuff went he went into the vocal booth on this but the looseness gives it a cool feel.

"Locust Star" by Neurosis...This marks their metal peak. "Souls at zero" is a darker album but "Through Sliver and Blood" is denser and heavier as this is where the modern sludge sound really emerged from the sonic cocoon. This chorus riff is just crushing the layers of sound on this bury you in a post apocalyptic wasteland. Listen to this and then tell me how awesome you think their new album is.

"Fang" by Chelsea Wolfe...well I guess it's time for her weekly appearence on her. This is a little more minimalist but when the drums come in the keep it moving like the ghost of Portishead haunting a bathtub suicide for beneath the bloody water. I like the guitar on here though the mix is a little clanging.

"In the Springtime of his Voodoo" by Tori Amos...When this album came out I wasn't sure what to make of it but the chorus of this song sold me on it as the build is pretty powerful how it congeals from the honky Tonk clamour of the verses. The Harpiscord on this is awesome and when she plays it and the piano simultaneously it makes me recoil from my piano for about a month. It does have Stark Trek references for the geeks out there.

"This, My Porcelain Life" by Rasptutina... The vocal layers used to make me jump when they showed up on the chorus. This pretty much a perfect song and these gals are capable of writing such a thing when they aren't clowning around writing side show soundtracks. I think the lyrics are very relatable and could have been applied to most of my relationships.

"The Girls of Porn" by Mr.Bungle ...I normally am not the biggest fan of humor in music if it's from an actual band so Songify and Lonely Island are o.k Mr. Bungle has a cool charm to them that transcends this like Zappa they are the rare bird capable to pull it off. This is pretty much a fucking classic and a classic about fucking. The bassit kills it in the most legit fashion and Mike Patton almost sounds like Cameo.

"Tribute" by Tenacious D... O.k my iPod thinks its being funny. File the D along side Lonely Island and even then their albums can get a little tedious but this is a tribute to the best song in the world so it makes the cut and it can stun beasts so if you need to stun one here you go. I do concede to the fact Jack Black can actually sing, goes to show what a steady diet of Dio can do.

"Bloden Horse" by True Widow...one of those albums that comes on shuffle and I think why don't I listen to these guys more. Not there first appearence on here. They are harder than indie rock but not trying to be Queens of the Stoneage either. The sluggish drug jangle is great for anytime of day. They harken by to bands like the Catherine Wheel. There's a certain drone to this but still the sense the song is moving along and. It just static. They are touring with Baroness which is a weird match.

"Kiss" by London After Midnight... This mix is from the A Life Less Lived, goth box set. I like the way this song sways into its dance beat rather than being a slave to it. The vocals really sound great here though I am generally not wowed by them. The chorus hook is pretty song as well. The bass line is taking over where the guitar would brand makes it sound more industrial than it really is.

"the Cult of Goliath" by Darkthrone...Well glad to end it with a little metal. You know how I feel a out there black and roll years...I like them as much as their more Cvlt stuff. This song has more bit than the Reston the stuff for. This era, I like how in the vocals the last note ends in such a harsh over driven tone. It's gritty enough for punk rockers as well who I think should give this era more of a listen.