Friday, March 18, 2011

March 2011 album reviews

Sun Mar 20, 2011 11:08 am

Defeater - Empty Days & Sleepless Nights CD 2011

Just got into this band a few months ago, and I've been feasting on their debut and Lost Ground EP ever since. Well low and behold they have brand new album out and I'm still in the middle of loving up their previous work...I love when that happens! Defeater play a style of Melodic down to earth Hardcore that might be reminiscent of a more "Hardcore" leaning La Dispute. Musically they are very desperate and depressive sounding, with throaty screamed vocals that are rife with struggle and anguish and minor key riffs that make you want to fall on the floor in anger and frustration and cry your eyes out. Yeah, very emotive stuff. Lyrically and emotionally they really embody a lot of what lower class America deals with on a day to day basis with both introspective and extrovertive worries. The 64 page booklet mirrors the forlorn tenor the band implements as its brimming with b/w images of lonely gray landscapes and old downtrodden structures. Defeater have blown up rapidly over the past year but they are a hard working band and have the sound of a group of seasoned musicians that have been honing their craft years longer than they've actually been around. They definitely deserve the enthusiastic praise. But they also have a knack for writing these little stories of passion and sadness that are wrapped up in catchy, soulful tunes that people seem to relate to. I know I do, that's why I dig the band! Defeater excels at writing lyrics that are well thought out and actually mean something...relateable stuff that hits close to home. The last 4 songs on the album show a different more delicate side to the band offering modern folksy songs. They are actually really well written and produced and don't sound kitchy in the least. And as good as these folk songs are I hope they don't don't loose sight and go all acoustic on us cause it's their impassioned Hardcore side that we all love with and that's undoubtedly where their biggest strength lies!


Sat Mar 26, 2011 11:04 am

This Town Needs Guns - Animals CD 2008

This Town Needs Guns play a soft and complex style of Math Rock that sounds like they graduated from the Emo/Indie school of Kinsella songcraft. Some are calling this style 'Math Pop' which I guess is appropriate. The music is just as complex as it is hooky and beautiful. Often times taking on a somber and longing tone, but never sounding downright depressive and's more charming and bitter sweet than anything. The music coasts along with skittery guitar arpeggios played with keen discipline and precision. All the while the rhythm section keeping up and providing a restless and challenging backdrop for the guitars to dance upon with spider like melodies. The syncopation and constant tricky time signatures sound natural and aren't jarring in the least, and for the trained ear in both Prog and Emo like me, music of this nature sounds absolutely prefect and complimentary. The vocals are of the soft and occasionally sharp, high end Emo variety with a touch of an English accent. The formula on this album might run a bit samey after a while, personally I don't mind it and find enough distinction and busy activity within each song that I never find myself bored. Minus the Bear might also be launching point for TTNG's influences but really something like King Crimson's 80s era might seem more prevalent. Although I'm not sure if these youngsters are familiar with Mr Fripp and his groundbreaking works in Progressive Pop music recorded nearly 30 years prior. But in this day and age of easy access to music I'd think a band like TTNG are most likely aware of KC and would assemble influences from "Discipline" to American Football. While Math Rock (and twinkly, complex Post-Rock) isn't anything new it seems like there are a fair amount of bands in the past few years that are forging an even poppier brand of this; TTNG are at the top of this list, as well as Six Gallery, Maps and Atlases and Colour, to name a few. And then you also have more Emo side of this with bands like Algernon Cadwallader and that new breed of complex and screechy twinkle daddies. Whatever the case is I love this stuff and just cant get enough, keep em coming!


Sat Apr 02, 2011 11:59 am

Mayhem - Ordo Ad Chao CD 2007

I honestly haven't paid much attention to Mayhem since "Wolf's Laid Abyss" and have pretty much been one of those "it isn't Mayhem if there is no Euronymous" dudes. I thought "Grand Declaration of War" was lame never thought there would be any reason to pay attention to Mayhem ever after. We'll low and behold in the new decade I hear "Ordo Ad Chao" shown to me by a friend, and I was completely mind boggled how much of a regressive/progressive left turn this album was from the avant-Metal mess that was GDoW. I wish I could have been present when Hellhammer and the boys were figuring out the direction for this new Mayhem album. It would appear that they decided to make an album that focuses in on bent unkeyed melodies, long held notes, strange silences and a muffled production that magnifies the drone and unique tones the band aims for. The guitarist Blasphemer opts out of the flashy guitar riffs that he is most known for and enacts a discipline upon himself concentrating less on stand-out melodies, but more on harmonic subtlety allowing the guitar to be become a part of the greater atmospheric whole. Hellhammer shows off his musical chops as ever before, but he also has great restraint when necessary and during the slower moments showcases some amazing beats, that can be both minimal and complex adding just the right amount of embellishment at just the right moment, something that a drummer with lesser skill and experience wouldn't have been able to pull off as well as he did. There is even a peculiar method in how they manipulate the volume on this album. Just check the song "A Wise Birthgiver" in which the undulating volume is used to great effect making the piece sound as if it's on the verge of fading in and out of existence. Masterful stuff indeed!...this entire album when listened to with great concentration is certainly a hallucinatory experience. To top it off they bring back Attila Csihar, who gives one of the best vocal performances of his career. His snarls, growls, whispered gurgles, moans, howlings and screeches are played like an unorthodox instrument bestowing the album with some sort of alien narrative. This tuned out to be a love-it-or-hate it album amongst fans. For me personally, this was an easy pill for me to swallow and it really should be for any Black Metal fan who are used to experimentation that goes beyond just noodly riffing, and Proggy tendencies. To me Black Metal has always been the most erratic forms of Metal, therefor there is still uncharted areas to explore and you never know what people of progressive mind and experimental spirit are going to come up with next, whether it'd be from young restless souls or even veterans from the genre who have a keen sense of where it's been where it should go next...which was unashamedly on display with the career risking album we have here, Ordo Ad Chao!


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