Archive for December, 2012

December 31, 2012

Album 0204: Danny Elfman – Back To School Original Soundtrack

DannyElfman-BTS

Release Date: 1986
Genre: Soundtrack

Tracklisting:

1. Overture (02:13)
2. Do Not Go Gently… (01:08)
3. The Brawl (00:52)
4. Action Medley (01:29)
5. Classroom Secretary (01:02)
6. Triple Lindy (02:04)
7. Love Suite (02:29)
8. Study Montage (02:01)

Total Length: 13:18

There is obviously more music in the film, but this little half-soundtrack is all that I can find. Overture is fantastic, it’s classic Elfman with instruments he wasn’t using too often at the time. Do Not Go Gently… is a nice little track that builds up. The Brawl sounds like a cartoon, it’s pretty fun. Action Medley is an okay little background piece. Classroom Secretary isn’t too notable.

Triple Lindy actually kind of reminds me of E.T., it’s a nice little track. Love Suite doesn’t really work too well on its own. Study Montage kind of redoes the overture, it’s still neat though. This is just a nice little slice of Danny’s early film career, and how brilliant it could be even then. The overture can get stuck in my head like nobody’s business.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

December 30, 2012

Album 0203: The Dear Hunter – Act II: The Meaning Of & All Things Regarding Ms. Leading

TheDearHunter-ActIITheMeaningofAllThingsRegardingMs.Leading_original

Release Date: 2007
Genre: Progressive Rock

Tracklisting:

1. The Death And The Berth (00:38)
2. The Procession (04:59)
3. The Lake And The River (09:30)
4. The Oracles On The Delphi Express (04:18)
5. The Church And The Dime (04:58)
6. The Bitter Suite

    I. Meeting Ms. Leading
    II. Through The Dime (06:07)

7. The Bitter Suite: III. Embrace (07:46)
8. Smiling Swine (04:45)
9. Evicted (03:45)
10. Blood Of The Rose (03:49)
11. Red Hands (06:08)
12. Where The Road Parts (04:30)
13. Dear Ms. Leading (04:28)
14. Black Sandy Beaches (04:13)
15. Vital Vessel Vindicates (07:09)

Total Length: 01:17:04

The Death And The Berth is a nice intro, showcasing the bigger budget and scope of this album, it kind of sounds like the start of a movie. The Procession is pretty great. It has a fantastic chorus, and while some other songs on the album may outclass it this is still a good start for the album. The Lake And The River is a bigger song and it is fantastic for the whole run. I love all the instruments used and the arrangements. It’s so good that I don’t even mind the slightly hardcore influenced vocals in the slower part.

The Oracles On The Delphi Express is a ton of fun, I absolutely love the playful atmosphere on this track. The Church And The Dime is a bit more emotional, and once again I have to praise the arrangement. I love that little woodblock sound. The Bitter Suite begins with Meeting Ms. Leading, a very good first half of the song. Through The Dime is where the song really picks up, and the vocals here is one of my favorite moments on the album, it’s so amazing and again the arrangement makes it shine. Embrace is also great, but my least favorite bit of the suite. Still a fantastic song though.

Smiling Swine brings back some of the fun, the chorus is amazing and I love the guitars in this song so much. It gives me a bit of Queen vibe in fact. Evicted is also great, the chorus stands out in particular. Blood Of The Rose slows things down a bit, and the strings work wonders in presenting the atmosphere here. Fantastic little track. Red Hands is a brilliant little song, simply because the melodies get stuck in your head and I’ll find myself humming/singing them days later.

Where The Road Parts is sadly a bit forgettable, but still enjoyable to listen through. Dear Ms. Leading has an intro that is reminiscent of the battle theme of Chrono Cross, but then calms down a bit and is overall a very strong song. Black Sandy Beaches has some fantastic vocal moments that again get stuck in my head. Vital Vessel Vindicates is pretty great on its own, then it references the band’s first album and it hits amazing level. This is an amazing album that I can’t say enough words about it. There’s a low bit here or there, but the rest of the album surely makes up for it.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

December 29, 2012

Album 0202: Younger Brother – The Last Days Of Gravity

YoungerBrother-TLDOG

Release Date: 2007
Genre: Psytrance/Downtempo

Tracklisting:

1. Happy Pills (08:47)
2. All I Want (09:04)
3. Elephant Machine (06:20)
4. Your Friends Are Scary (06:39)
5. I Am A Freak (08:58)
6. Ribbon On A Branch (07:47)
7. Sleepwalker Part One (06:16)
8. Sleepwalker Part Two (06:00)
9. Psychic Gibbon (07:31)

Total Length: 01:07:22

This whole album was kind of a shock to me. I was introduced to this duo/band with their 2011 album, which featured more of a pop tinge with shorter tracks. This album has more in common with one of the creator’s other projects, Shpongle, than it does with Younger Brother’s later album. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I do love change and evolution in a group’s sound most of the time. Happy Pills is a great start to the album, with a recurring melody utilizing bells to tie the song together. It’s a very relaxing nine minutes.

All I Want has a decent sample in the intro, and once it gets going it actually briefly reminds me of Pink Floyd. Good track overall, the vocals work fairly well. Elephant Machine isn’t quite up to the par of the last two tracks, but still is an enjoyable song. Your Friends Are Scary is a pretty good piece with some nice atmospheric moments. I Am A Freak is fairly good, and pleasant to listen to but doesn’t catch me like a couple of the earlier tracks.

Ribbon On A Branch does have the most in common with the material on Vaccine, and I highly enjoy it for the reason, though the last few minutes feel a bit stretched out. Sleepwalker Part One reminds me of a Thy Catafalque song actually, it’s pretty great. Sleepwalker Part Two doesn’t live up to part one, but it is still a fine track. Psychic Gibbon is a good ending for the album, though once again the last few minutes don’t quite need to be as long as they are. This is a fairly good album, I can’t really say I enjoy it more than Vaccine but it certainly stands up fine on its own.

Final Rating: 8/10

December 28, 2012

Album 0201: Reverend Bizarre – In The Rectory Of The Bizarre Reverend

ReverendBizarre-INTOTBR

Release Date: 2002
Genre: Doom Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Burn In Hell! (08:53)
2. In The Rectory (13:11)
3. The Hour Of Death (11:48)
4. Sodoma Sunrise (13:29)
5. Doomsower (05:38)
6. Cirith Ungol (21:10)

Total Length: 01:14:08

Burn In Hell! is a fantastic opening track. The lengthy riff is great, and the vocals work wonderfully. In The Rectory slows things down even more, it has a few faster moments and has a cool guitar solo and even incorporates some organ. Pretty good song as well. The Hour Of Death is a bit better in my opinion, great songs all around so far though. I even like the sample usage.

Sodoma Sunrise is a really great track, I enjoy it the whole way through. Doomsower tries to be a bit faster, and even incorporates some harsh vocals but I’m not totally feeling it. Cirith Ungol really takes its time and it’s fairly relaxing, but not at all my favorite song on here. This is a pretty good album in the end, but I am still trying to get into doom metal more, it hasn’t quite clicked 100% for me yet, and so I can’t really think of too much to say here. Short review for a long album.

Final Rating: 8/10

December 27, 2012

101-200 Retrospective

Another 100 albums down. This time I only missed some time here and there, usually on busy days or when I was away on a trip. Let’s do the stats first.

Number of artists: 92 (not counting the appreciable amount of artists on the Zelda album though)
Number of tracks: 1115
Total length: 88:07:39

The neatest thing there is that these 100 albums are less than 20 minutes off the length of the first 100. Kind of ridiculous there. And now once again I will do a top… however many I get to. The plan is to just list thoughts on these, and later on when I have a bigger pool I will try and cull down my absolute favorites into a certain number. Also once again, these are in alphabetical order.

1. Akercocke – Words That Go Unpsoken, Deeds That Go Undone
Akercocke-WTGUDTGU
I honestly had different expectations of this going in. I had always thought this band was straight up death metal, but it mixes a whole lot of stuff with it, and that makes this a wonderful album with lots of twists and turns.

2. Altar Of Plagues – White Tomb
AltarOfPlagues-WhiteTomb
A wonderful blend of black metal and post-rock, it is at once calm and invigorating. The slower parts drift me into a smooth land, while the heavier sections have great riffs in themselves. Just a pleasure to listen through this album.

3. Amon Amarth – Twilight Of The Thunder God
AmonAmarth-TwilightOfThethunderGod
I honestly wasn’t sure about putting this one on, but really I can only say not-so-good things about a couple of the songs, and it’s stronger than I usually think it is. Amon Amarth does keep evolving, though subtly, and I love them for it.

4. Andromeda – II = I
Andromeda-II=I
I had always thought that Andromeda strayed too far on the cheesy side of prog metal. This album certainly doesn’t relent in that category necessarily, but it is done in a pretty classy way and each song offers something interesting. It was a great surprise that now has a couple of my favorite tracks, most notably the first track on the album.

5. Bandits Of The Acoustic Revolution – A Call To Arms
bandits-of-the-acoustic-revolution-a-call-to-arms
I probably gushed enough words about this during the review, just please listen to it if you haven’t yet.

6. Between The Buried And Me – Colors
BetweentheBuriedandMe-Colors_original
I’m still not totally sold on the metalcore influences, but the rest of the album is good enough that I can overlook it. A great display here.

7. Big D And The Kids Table – Strictly Rude
BigD-StrictlyRude
15 extremely fun songs with only a couple dips in quality in them. Big D started to relax a bit here after experimenting with dub on their previous EP. Here is where the band’s quality rose extremely high for me, everything is refined, but they haven’t completely lost their edge. They can still tear down the roof if they need to.

8. Blind Guardian – Nightfall In Middle-Earth
BlindGuardianNightfallinMiddleEarth
Insanely good power metal. I love that the band really started to add some keys here, and the flow of the album is great. There is a strong reason people who don’t even like this style will point to this album as a good showing.

9. Dragonland – Under The Grey Banner
Dragonland-UnderTheGreyBanner
Another great power metal concept album, Dragonland really seemed to work on their arrangements with this album and it just shines. There is always something great going on, I love it so.

10. Eternity X – The Edge
eternity-x-the-edge-01-08-front
I’ll admit to being surprised here as well. This is very good progressive metal that, while containing plenty of cheese, has cool stuff going on past it.

11. Frank Zappa – Joe’s Garage
folder
Just a plain classic album, there is something for everyone to love. I have a few faults with it, but the highs very much outweigh the lows.

12. Freak Kitchen – Freak Kitchen
Freak Kitchen - Freak Kitchen (1998)
For years people had said great things about Freak Kitchen, but I couldn’t quite figure it out. I heard a song here or there, and it never caught me. The problem of course is that despite their focus on songwriting, they are still an album focused band, and only sitting down and listening to one gives the full experience. This album is still their most diverse, and this works largely to its benefit. While I could nitpick a couple songs, the overall album is extremely satisfying, always.

13. Mad Caddies – The Holiday Has Been Cancelled
MadCaddies-THHBC
A wonderful little EP, I don’t dislike a single song from it, and it earns a spot on this list simply for the song in the middle.

14. Mastodon – Crack The Skye
mastodon_crack_the_skye_album_cover
Mastodon managed something a bit different here, keeping their sludge atmosphere while bringing in other influences. The blend works perfectly, and it’s no wonder that this album propelled to some new heights as one of the biggest names in metal.

15. NOFX – So Long And Thanks For All The Shoes
NOFX-SLATFATS
It took me a moment to decide if I really wanted to place this on here, but it’s really tough to find a fault with this album. NOFX crafted some extremely catchy punk tunes on here, while also toying around with the ska and reggae genres and yet never got lumped in with other bands of the time. I for one never realized until listening to them that they had songs like that, which was a nice surprise and helps set them a bit apart, oddly.

16. Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party
OingoBoingo-DeadMansParty
Don’t really to go into too much detail, this is my favorite band and this is a fantastic album.

17. Om – Conference Of The Birds
Om-ConferenceOfTheBirds
I’m still getting to used to doom and doom-like material, but Om’s combination of their rhythm section and rhythmic chants works wonderfully for me. This album of 2 songs is just perfect to zone out to.

18. Pain Of Salvation – One Hour By The Concrete Lake
POS-One+Hour+By+The+Concrete+Lake
This band is almost always great, and this album is no exception.

19. Solefald – Neonism
solefald_neonism
Another album where I had no idea what I was getting into. The amount of stuff going on here is pretty amazing and I always find something new and interesting in it.

20. Star One – Space Metal
star_one_space_metal_ltd_2002
This is another album where I can nitpick, but it’s overall enjoyable and I never regret listening to it.

21. Stolen Babies – There Be Squabbles Ahead
Stolen_Babies_-_There_Be_Squabbles_Ahead
Avant-garde work at its finest. It’s unique and everything it throws into the melting pot tends to work. This album will stand the test of time, but I can’t entirely say that about the band’s other works unfortunately. Just listen to Filistata and see if you can dislike this.

22. The Devin Townsend Project – Addicted!
Folder
I think I have fully decided that of the first four DTP albums, this is probably my favorite. Its shorter lengths helps it be a bit more digestible, and every single song has something I love, culminating in one of the best songs Devin has ever wrote. The wall of sound production is also amazing, and I’ll probably be listening to this album for years to come.

23. The Devin Townsend Project – Ghost
DevinTownsendProject-Ghost
I guess to say some words about this album, it’s just brilliant to relax to and has so many neat little things going on. A wonderful experiment by Devin that I hope he incorporates more of in the future.

24. The Pigeon Detectives – Wait For Me
The_Pigeon_Detectives-Wait_For_Me-Frontal
This band on this particular album performs a type of indie rock heavily influenced by punk, giving it an edge that they softened later on and makes this album unbelievably catchy. While I have some issues with the album’s mastering, it’s obvious it was meant to be played loudly and not necessarily for the critical types of ears.

25. The Suicide Machines – Destruction By Definition
folder
On a bit of the other end from NOFX, The Suicide Machines was more known for their ska but also snuck in lots of hardcore influences. That’s at least my take on it. The band is honestly at their finest here, they’ve had a few years to hone these songs down and the production is fantastic.

26. Therion – Vovin
therion_vovin
Therion perfected their sound here, and set a pretty big standard for symphonic/operatic metal as far as I’m concerned.

27. Thy Catafalque – Rengeteg
ThyCatafalque-Rengeteg
While I listened to this second, we are following alphabetical order here. I had a bit more of an idea going into this one, but this album still definitely had some surprises for me and I’m still sort of discovering stuff each time.

28. Thy Catafalque – Róka Hasa Rádió
thy-catafalque-roka-hasa-radio-front.
I had no idea what I was getting into with this album. It is one of the few albums where I can say it had something brand new I had never heard before, and I just love it always.

29. Transatlantic – SMPT:e
transatlantic-smpte
Modern prog by the books, I can see the album/band’s faults but this is still very wonderful overall.

30. Younger Brother – Vaccine
YoungerBrother-Vaccine
When I started doing all this I of course asked for suggestions for albums. This is so far probably my favorite album of things I would have never thought to listen to without it being recommended. The pop influences put into some psychedelic electronics works incredibly well.

31. Zimmers Hole – When You Were Shouting At The Devil…
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I’ll once again say that an album surprised me, as I didn’t think that this album would be as good as it is. Devin Townsend’s production certainly helped quite a bit though.

Once again this list got bigger than I expected. Well, let’s get quickly through the Honorable Mentions and wrap this up.

1. Bibio – Hand Cranked
Bibio-HandCranked
Utterly unique and always gives me this weird nostalgic feeling, I love it but oddly couldn’t put it on the main list.

2. Borknagar – Empiricism
borknagar-empiricism
This is wonderful melodic black metal, but I just don’t quite love this album enough to get it off of the secondary list.

3. Cormorant – Dwellings
cormorant-dwellings
I want to really love this album, but I still can’t really get into the vocals or some of the production.

4. Darkestrah – Epos
Darkestrah-Epos
I figure I had to mention this great 33 minute track, it is wonderful, but something held me back, mostly the absurdly long intro and outros.

5. Fantastic Plastic Machine – Beautiful
FPM-Beautiful
This has a lot of great stuff going on, but there are a few points I don’t really enjoy. This album would at least get put here on the honorable mentions if only because of Black Dada.

6. Forest Of Fog – Rabenflug
ForestOfFog-Rabenflug
This is a very cool demo that I feel should get mentioned again. It would be very useful as an introduction to black metal.

7. Frank Zappa – Hot Rats
frankzappa-hotrats-front
While I can praise this album, it is not always my first go to choice for Zappa and I still am not the biggest jazz fusion fan. It would easily get a place here for historic significance either way though.

8. Guttermouth – Covered With Ants
Guttermouth-CWA
Like FPM, this album has a lot of high points but I can’t quite put it on the main list. Also like FPM, it gets a place on here simply because of the existence of I’m Destroying The World.

9. Kyuss – Welcome To Sky Valley
Kyuss-WelcomeToSkyValley
I certainly don’t love this album as much as some other people, for reasons I mentioned in the review. To state it plainly, the atmosphere/production annoys me to the point of me not wanting to listen to this despite knowing it is good.

10. Mad Caddies – Rock The Plank
MadCaddies-RockThePlank
I wanted to put this on the main list, but some of the lesser songs stopped me unfortunately. Still contains some of the Caddies’ best.

11. Moonsorrow – Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
Moonsorrow 2011 Varjoina Kuljemme Kuolleiden Maassa
This one was a tough decision to make. I dearly love this band but still am not familiar enough with this album to put it up higher.

12. Negură Bunget – OM
Cover
Likewise, this is a great album but not to the point where I am listening to it over and over to learn all its intricacies.

13. Nightwish – Wishmaster
Nightwish-Wishmaster
There are some wonderful songs on here, but the whole album doesn’t quite appeal to me. I tend to get quite tired of it and the last few songs simply aren’t as good as the preceding ones.

14. Obtained Enslavement – Witchcraft
Obtained-Enslavement-Witchcraft
This is very cool melodic black metal that I seem to enjoy more each time I listen to it, but again something held me back from putting it on the main list.

15. Queens Of The Stone Age – Songs For The Deaf
QueensOfTheStoneAge-SFTD
This is another bigger, more important album like Hot Rats that I wish I liked more. Some songs really can’t entirely appeal to me, but the album is definitely a good bit of fun.

16. Redemption – The Fullness Of Time
Redemption-TheFullnessOfTime
This is probably an album I haven’t given a fair shake to, it’s pretty great but doesn’t quite break my top albums (yet?).

17. Shpongle – Are You Shpongled?
Shpongle-AYS
I recognize the great parts of this album, but I have to say that I really don’t think I’m the target audience and am not quite getting the full effect.

18. Star Fucking Hipsters – From The Dumpster To The Grave
SFH-FTDTTG
This one was also oddly a tough decision. I highly enjoy most of the songs, but I can’t quite place it as one of my favorite albums.

19. The Chasm – Farseeing The Paranormal Abysm
TheChasm-FTPA
I had to put this here for mostly the same reason as Kyuss, the atmosphere really bothers me, but the songwriting is very good.

20. The Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction
TheDevinTownsendProject-Deconstruction
I would be remiss not to put the other two DTP albums on this list at least. I still love them, but their problems are a bit more apparent to me.

21. The Devin Townsend Project – Ki
devintownsend-ki
See above.

22. The Sound Of Animals Fighting – The Ocean And The Sun
TheSoundOfAnimalsFighting-TOATS
Like plenty of the others, I am highly positive of this album, but something prevents me from loving it fully. I wish I could explain myself more eloquently, but by this point I am a bit tired of typing.

23. Thrice – The Illusion Of Safety
Thrice-TheIllusionofSafety_original
This one being here is a bit easier to explain. I still kind of hate post-hardcore, it seems to try to be in both worlds at once and can’t do either very well, but I appreciate the production and some of the riffs here.

24. Turisas – Battle Metal
Turisas - Battle Metal
I’ll just reiterate what I said at the end of the review: this is a great start for this band, but not all songs on here are equal and some clearly have a bit more work to put in them and are more interesting in the end.

25. Yes – Relayer
yes-relayer-frontal
I’ll end this off with an album that I wanted to put on the main list, but just couldn’t quite because I knew that I loved other Yes albums more and it would have to be cut eventually, but it is definitely to good enough to get a mention anyhow.

Wow, definitely a bigger list than the last time. Either I wasn’t as cutthroat or there really were more great albums here, not too sure. Really this just shows me how beneficial all this is, if over half of any given amount are albums that I love. That’s at least the way it goes in the case of this hundred.

December 23, 2012

Album 0200: Oingo Boingo – Dead Man’s Party

OingoBoingo-DeadMansParty

Release Date: 1985
Genre: New Wave/Rock/Pop

Tracklisting:

1. Just Another Day (05:12)
2. Dead Man’s Party (06:22)
3. Heard Somebody Cry (04:40)
4. No One Lives Forever (04:15)
5. Stay (03:37)
6. Fool’s Paradise (04:35)
7. Help Me (03:46)
8. Same Man I Was Before (03:24)
9. Weird Science (06:09)

Total Length: 42:00

Just Another Day is a brilliant song and a fantastic introduction for this album. It’s a marked change in Boingo’s sound, while still retaining some of their own unique elements, such as the percussion. The lyrics are beautiful, and I just love everything about this song. Dead Man’s Party is one of this band’s essential songs. There is no way not to love it, the main riff is killer, the lyrics are catchy as can possibly be, and it never ever feels like its length shows. Just a perfect song all around.

Heard Somebody Cry is a change of pace, and a bit of an odd track, but also a completely natural evolution of the production type for the So-Lo album. This song is densely layered, and would be tough to accurately replicate live. All the little bits building on top of each other are great, and I really love the haunting lyrics. The chorus particularly is a thing of beauty. No One Lives Forever is an extremely fun song, again I have to praise the lyrics. Another perfect Boingo song that you can’t hate at all and oh my god that solo section.

Stay is more of a pop song, but again because it’s this band it’s still an amazing track. By now you should guess that I will again give major props to the lyrics, and the chorus is fantastic. Fool’s Paradise is a slight dip in quality, but still an overall fun song, and plenty of other bands best songs can’t even compete with this. Help Me is also a bit poppier, and honestly took me a pretty long time to get into. The first impression is that this is a ‘sellout’ track, but the song has so much good stuff going on, and one of my favorite solo sections the band has ever done.

Same Man I Was Before is like track three in that it would be tough to do live. There is a lot of stuff going on at various points, including a rare appearance by some female backup singers. Kind of an underrated song in my opinion, I really can’t help but want to sing along, and the little vocal samples in the middle of the song are very Mark Mothersbaugh. There is also kind of an Eastern flair going on that really helps set the song apart. Weird Science is probably the band’s most famous songs, which kind of annoys me. Danny Elfman even admits that the song wasn’t entirely finished, and unlike the title track of this album, these 6 minutes do feel like it considering the second half pretty much just repeats what we’ve already heard. It’s a fairly good song because I still enjoy some of the melodies, but the length and the atmosphere surrounding it turn me off. There was another song they were going to put here that I would much rather have had, but oh well. In the end, this is still an absolutely, ridiculously good album with only about two down moments.

Final Rating: 9/10

December 22, 2012

Album 0199: Mad Caddies – The Holiday Has Been Cancelled

MadCaddies-THHBC

Release Date: 2000
Genre: Ska/Punk

Tracklisting:

1. Falling Down (03:09)
2. Nobody Wins At The Laundromat (02:00)
3. Something’s Wrong At The Playground (02:10)
4. Destro (02:26)
5. S.O.S. (03:12)

Total Length: 12:56

Falling Down kicks off the album with a playful but downtrodden banjo, the band’s first hint at their evolving sound. The song is still justifiably Caddies, but it’s the little touches that set it apart, like the muted trumpet. Nobody Wins At The Laundromat is a pretty heavy song with a good chorus, but they’ve done better songs in this vein. Something’s Wrong At The Playground is so much fun and was my favorite Caddies song for a long time. Insightful lyrics, an upbeat atmosphere, you just can’t help but love it.

Destro is a fairly good song as well, nothing terribly special but I can’t really fault anything about it. S.O.S. is an ABBA cover, and the band actually plays it wonderfully. The buildup to the chorus works very well. ABBA songs seem to work well to being modified for other genres. This short EP was a great little blip in this band’s career, the only real disappointing thing about it is, well, its length. Love it.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

December 21, 2012

Album 0198: Coheed And Cambria – The Second Stage Turbine Blade

coheed_and_cambria_the_second_stage_turbine_blade_2005_retail_cd-front

Release Date: 2002
Genre: Progressive Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Second Stage Turbine Blade (00:53)
2. Time Consumer (05:42)
3. Devil In Jersey City (04:48)
4. Everything Evil (05:51)
5. Delirium Trigger (04:48)
6. Hearshot Kid Disaster (05:40)
7. 33 (03:29)
8. Junesong Provision (05:20)
9. Neverender (05:22)
10. God Send Conspirator (06:33)
11. Elf Tower New Mexico (demo) (06:04)
12. Junesong Provision (acoustic demo) (05:33)
13. Everything Evil (demo)/IRO-bot (13:38)

Total Length: 01:13:39

Second Stage Turbine Blade is a fairly nice intro track, it actually kind of sounds a bit like some Bibio stuff, it has a neat nostalgic atmosphere. Time Consumer has a great intro, and a catchy chorus, providing a strong start to the album. Devil In Jersey City is however not as good, especially the ending which strays way too far into hardcore territory for my taste. The vocals in that section are terrible. Everything Evil has some really neat moments, but honestly goes on too long overall.

Delirium Trigger is mostly good, nothing too good or bad I can say about it. Hearshot Kid Disaster has some neat moments, but contains some more terrible vocals and frankly the band is trying too hard. 33 is decent, it really doesn’t stand out at all. Junesong Provision is fairly good, about the same as the last track in all honesty. Neverender is a bit better but by this point all the songs blend together for me. I get the idea of trying to create a solid soundscape for an album, to the point that hearing just a bit of a song lets you pinpoint the band and album, but the songs need a bit more diversity.

God Send Conspirator is a pretty big improvement though, and the ending mirrors the intro which is pretty great. Elf Tower New Mexico is great, not entirely sure why it gets relegated to bonus track and one or two other songs made it on the album. The acoustic version of Junesong Provision starts with a really cool but needless Army of Darkness sample, but otherwise the song isn’t too great in this version for me. Combination of the song going on too long and the low sound quality. The demo of Everything Evil sounds pretty similar to the final version, same complaint as before though. IRO-bot is technically a hidden track that starts after about two minutes of silence. Despite being acoustic, the band seems to be taking their time a bit more, in a good way. This may have been hidden simply because it’s them trying something different, and for that reason it works. Still, I’m overall disappointed with this album and can only listen to a few songs at a time from it.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

December 20, 2012

Album 0197: Negură Bunget – OM

Cover

Release Date: 2006
Genre: Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Ceasuri Rele (Dark Hours) (03:07)
2. Ţesarul De Lumini (Weaver Of Lights) (12:48)
3. Primul OM (The First Human) (04:22)
4. Cunoașterea Tăcută (Silent Knowledge) (07:12)
5. Înarborat (Rooted) (06:22)
6. Dedesuptul (The Underneath) (06:39)
7. Norilor (Of The Clouds) (03:00)
8. De Piatră (Of Stone) (05:36)
9. Cel Din Urmã Vis (The Last Dream) (10:04)
10. Hora Soarelui (Sun’s Circle Dance) (05:56)
11. Al Doilea OM (The Second Human) (02:04)
12. Văzduh (Air) (06:04)

Total Length: 01:13:14

Ceasuri Rele is a very atmospheric intro, it works very well, and I love the rising volume during the last minute. Ţesarul De Lumini has an insanely good buildup, the song gets heavier and heavier while always keeping an air of familiarity and never straying too far from being melodic. Just a great, big song. Primul OM is another mostly atmospheric track, but with a bit more presence than the intro. The tribal horns and random percussion sounds (I can’t even figure out what to call them) are insanely cool.

Cunoașterea Tăcută wastes no time getting into the heavy stuff, and the mix of vocal types is enjoyable. The picked guitar notes halfway through is freaking awesome, and the use of folk instruments just helps add to the atmosphere. Simply a very cool song overall. Înarborat has some amazing vocal moments, and again the percussion is great. The horn or whatever at the beginning is genius as well. Dedesuptul isn’t quite as remarkable as the previous tracks, but still enjoyable, and has another really neat clean guitar section.

Norilor is a fantastic little instrumental, feels more like an orchestral piece and it is super cool. De Piatră doesn’t contain the uniqueness of the previous track, but it’s still a good song. Cel Din Urmã Vis is a larger song, I kind of feel similarly about it as I did the last track. It has some nice twists and turns but isn’t my favorite track. Hora Soarelui has an amazing main riff, and there are some woodwinds and everything is great again.

Al Doilea OM is a calm ending to the main part of the album. Just some nice low vocals to bridge things out. Văzduh is a fairly neat bonus track, doesn’t really match the greatness of the rest of the album. Overall, I still don’t fully understand all of this album, but it is a strong, unified album at least, and there is something for everyone to enjoy. I think the only thing that really puts me off is this feeling every once in a while of things being cobbled together, like they weren’t fully prepared.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

December 19, 2012

Album 0196: Forefather – The Fighting Man

Forefather-TheFightingMan

Release Date: 2000
Genre: Folk/Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. The Fighting Man (04:48)
2. A New Dawn (05:40)
3. Together They Stood (04:57)
4. For These Shores (05:37)
5. The Call To Arms (02:26)
6. Out Of Darkness (04:37)
7. The Paths Of Yesterdays (07:32)
8. The Last Battle (04:46)
9. When Our England Died (03:22)
10. Deep Into Time (re-recorded) (04:21)
11. The Fighting Man (demo) (04:40)

Total Length: 52:46

The Fighting Man is a pretty good opening track, most of the riffs are catchy, and there are a few neat vocal moments. Really my only problems with it are some of the harsh vocals and the feeling that the rhythm is a bit off. A New Dawn has a great main riff and I love the use of keyboards. Together They Stood is fairly neat, I really can’t specify too much about it of what I like, but it’s enjoyable. For These Shores at least brings back some synth sounds, though the song goes on a touch long. Nothing too bad though.

The Call To Arms serves as an interlude, being a fun but unremarkable little instrumental track. Out Of Darkness has some good moments, but otherwise is just a decent track. The Paths Of Yesterdays is pretty much the best song on here. It has a lengthier running time, and I never really get bored, and all the added bits of production are neat. The Last Battle is just decent, I really can’t say a whole lot too positive or negative about it. When Our England Died fulfills the folk portion of the album, it’s a calmer song and a highlight of the album. If the band incorporated more of this type of thing I wouldn’t mind.

Deep Into Time is from their first album and they re-recorded it in the sessions for this album I suppose. It’s a decent song, nothing special. The last track is the demo version of The Fighting Man. Pretty much exactly the same but in a lesser sound quality, really not that interesting. I wanted to like this album, but there really is something that feels off about it. Nothing ever feels natural, it feels so mechanical while having a theme and lyrics that don’t fit that at all. There are moments I enjoy, but I never really choose to listen to this.

Final Rating: 7/10