Archive for May, 2013

May 30, 2013

Album 0268: Dark Moor – Tarot


Release Date: 2007
Genre: Power Metal


1. The Magician (01:29)
2. The Chariot (04:23)
3. The Star (04:29)
4. Wheel Of Fortune (03:59)
5. The Emperor (04:09)
6. Devil In The Tower (07:51)
7. Death (05:00)
8. Lovers (04:06)
9. The Hanged Man (05:31)
10. The Moon (11:31)
11. Mozart’s March (02:40)
12. The Fool (04:12)

Total Length: 59:21

Wow, just look at that album cover. No shame, hmm? The Magician is kind of a generic keyboard intro. There are some good qualities to it but otherwise I feel like I’ve heard it plenty of times. The Chariot has a cool intro but I can’t stand the pseudo drum-and-bass feel during some of the verses. The chorus is kind of neat. There are also some hints of harsh vocals near the end, but usually they are pushed back other than one point I can remember on this album. The Star has a cheesy opening and the chorus is again the standout moment here.

Wheel Of Fortune sounds like a Kalmah opening which would have been a bit preferable to this band. I do feel like this band got a good amount of influence from Kamelot though. The song works well especially going back into the main melody after the chorus. The Emperor has some neat ideas but it begins a trend that comes up throughout that I don’t enjoy: repetitiveness. The opening lines are cool and give off a neat neo-classical vibe, but when they get repeated over and over throughout the song you get tired of it. There is also a brief bit of harsh vocals but they must not have been confident in them because they are mixed ridiculously low compared to the vocals before and after them. There are some other neat synth moments in the song too.

Devil In The Tower takes that repetitiveness to the nth degree in the middle of the song. The beginning is some cool neo-classical stuff with vocals that actually better the song instead of bringing it down for once. Halfway through the backing music stops and we get a cool multi-layered vocal section. It sounds certainly cool but it never adds on to the more than two or three sections of vocals, I mean Queen did more intricate stuff with like an eight track tape machine. It feels a tiny bit long because of that, but overall a neat idea. The ending of the song brings things together fairly well.

Death starts off a little boring, but once the instrumental section starts the song takes off and the ending brings it together pretty well. Lovers is the obligatory, slightly softer song. This song is decent but wholly unnecessary and I tend to forget it as soon as it’s over. The Hanged Man is another track that I could do it without. It just doesn’t do a whole ton for me. The Moon is the big piece of the album, taking from certain Beethoven works throughout the track. The first half of this song is pretty entertaining, and then we drop everything for a rendition of Moonlight Sonata. It does once again repeat itself for a bit near the end but I still quite like it.

The two bonus tracks start with Mozart’s March, basically just the band having fun and playing some Mozart in their own way. The Fool is a decent, generic song. It’s easy to see why it got relegated to bonus track. This album was a bit refreshing when I first heard it but its flaws are fairly easy to see. I think this band has good ideas but just don’t take any extra steps, but this is coming from a place of some ignorance.

Final Rating: 7/10

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May 28, 2013

Album 0267: Strapping Young Lad – Alien


Release Date: 2005
Genre: Extreme Metal


1. Imperial (02:18)
2. Skeksis (06:43)
3. Shitstorm (04:23)
4. Love? (04:53)
5. Shine (05:14)
6. We Ride (02:38)
7. Possessions (04:13)
8. Two Weeks (03:29)
9. Thalamus (03:58)
10. Zen (05:03)
11. Info Dump (11:56)

Total Length: 54:45

Imperial pulls no punches. There are no slow buildups like some other Strapping Young Lad albums. This starts and almost never stops. The song has some neat vocal moments, but is ultimately just a lead-in. Skeksis starts off strangely for me. The first two minutes are an intro in itself, and after having a two-minute intro track as well it feels like it takes too long to get to the meat of the song. Once it does reach that point I love it. There are layered vocals by Devin that are incredible as well as some cool percussion stuff going on and weird little bits like horn blasts.

Shitstorm was a song I wanted to love simply because of the name. I still really like it but it’s oddly not as intense as I think it could be. Make no mistakes, it is pretty relentless but not completely living up to its name. Love? is a good track. I can see why it was picked as the single for the album, even though it’s not my favorite on here. The chorus is a bit catchy. Shine has some neat things in it but it semi-forgettable for me. This is about the point in the album where fatigue starts to set in, personally. The tracks have been non-stop with no change of the pace the whole time.

We Ride is fast as crap and a bit better than the last few tracks for me. The guitar solos are kind of neat. Possessions turns down the tempo just a bit and gets a bit more varied in what it does. I really enjoy the… kids chorus (I think) in the chorus. Just cool stuff all over this track. Two Weeks finally gives us the first calm moment in the album, only thirty minutes in! It’s quite beautiful in fact. Thalamus holds onto this upswing in good feelings by being something more like the opening tracks on Deconstruction. It’s pretty neat.

Zen has a cool ass intro and is just a really strong ending to the album. This last set of tracks is quite something in all honesty. Info Dump is sort of a codex (I believe I’m using that correctly). I don’t consider it part of the album in reality, it’s just something that plays once the songs are over. It’s basically static and random noises that build up to a heaviness that is supposed to represent how Devin felt when he stopped taking his bipolar medication. Just not really worth listening to for me at least. Like I’ve hinted at, this album’s structure just doesn’t get me to listen to it often. Ear fatigue sets in after a while and that kills the entire thing. There are still some really great tracks and moments but as an album it falls a tiny bit flat.

Final Rating: 7/10

May 25, 2013

Album 0266: Franz Ferdinand – Walk Away


Release Date: 2005
Genre: Indie Rock


1. Sexy Boy (03:41)

Total Length: 03:41

As per usual when I cover a single, I excise any tracks that are exactly the same as they are on the main album. This leaves the b-side Sexy Boy, a cover of Air, which drips atmosphere but isn’t too interesting a song to me. It kind of has a Bob Dylan vibe in the vocals and the song sort of doesn’t know what it wants to be, in my opinion. The biggest problem is that it’s not really doing what I like this band for, and so just isn’t for me. It’s also very repetitive.

Final Rating: 5/10

May 23, 2013

Album 0265: Sigh – In Somniphobia


Release Date: 2012
Genre: Avant-garde Black Metal


1. Purgatorium (04:49)
2. The Transfiguration Fear (04:51)
3. Lucid Nightmares: I. Opening Theme: Lucid Nightmare (01:59)
4. Lucid Nightmares: II. Somniphobia (07:34)
5. Lucid Nightmares: III. L’Excommunication A Minuit (05:39)
6. Lucid Nightmares: IV. Amnesia (08:10)
7. Lucid Nightmares: V. Far Beneath The In-Between (07:10)
8. Lucid Nightmares: VI. Amongst The Phantoms Of Abandoned Tumbrils (09:31)
9. Lucid Nightmares: VII. Ending Theme: Continuum (01:42)
10. Fall To The Thrall (05:18)
11. Equale

    I. Prelude
    II. Fugato
    III. Coda (08:01)

Total Length: 01:04:43

Purgatorium is a monster of an opening track. It starts quickly, the chorus is catchy as can be, and all the little variations the song takes are great. Sigh again take a slightly different approach with this album, and this song pretty much shows what you’re getting from this album. The Transfiguration Fear is also quite strong. I love the group vocals on the chorus with the percussion behind it, as well as the synths throughout the track. On top of all that there is a saxophone solo in the song which is just the coolest thing whenever it pops up in black metal. The ending of the track also feels like a black metal western with the whistling and ‘ooh’ed vocals.

The majority of the album is the track Lucid Nightmares, split into seven parts with a running time of nearly 42 minutes. Opening Theme: Lucid Nightmare sounds like a creepy film soundtrack, and the voiceover is the lead singer from Meads Of Asphodel. It’s a decent start to this section of the album. Somniphobia is hard to describe, there is so many neat things happening in it. One of my favorite moments is a bit that sounds like a demented circus. The last few minutes are more of a transition using samples, still a fun song.

L’Excommunication A Minuit has some neat riffs and other strange parts, like a funk guitar going on in the left channel throughout the song. Again the last few minutes are samples. This section isn’t quite as good as the ones surrounding it, but it works fine. Amnesia kind of takes a jazzy tone which is really cool. Basically this whole suite is great. Far Beneath The In-Between is amazing, I love the sense of fun that is in it mixed with the feelings of despair that the whole suite kind of entails. This latest listen was also where I realized that the saxophone player is now a main member of the band, which explains why he’s all over these tracks.

Amongst The Phantoms Of Abandoned Tumbrils is a bit darker overall than the previous track, and the guest singer on this one (same as the narrator from part one) helps drive that point home. I love that the song climaxes with repeated callings of “bring out your dead”. Ending Theme: Continuum again sounds like a film soundtrack, though more modern than the opening. Fall To The Thrall is more like the first two songs way back at the beginning of the album, it’s catchy and fun.

Equale is a larger single song to end everything. The Prelude starts off sounding like Santana or some such, it’s a bit weird. Fugato is very cool, the chorus sticks with me and the use of piano and acoustic guitar with the harsh vocals is really interesting. Coda kind of sounds like the other slower parts of the album, but it’s not bad. Overall this album kicks you in the pants from the word go and still has room to grow as you start to get familiar with it, and it’s always enjoyable to listen through.

Final Rating: 9/10