Archive for June, 2013

June 30, 2013

Album 0282: Suidakra – Lays From Afar


Release Date: 1999
Genre: Folk/Melodic Death Metal


1. A Darksome Path (04:36)
2. Chants Of Lethe (04:32)
3. The Well Of Might (04:03)
4. The Hidden Quest (03:52)
5. Morrigan (03:50)
6. Peregrin (01:24)
7. Wasted Lands (04:36)
8. Strayed In Nowhere (04:20)
9. Airne (01:08)
10. Lays From Afar (04:36)
11. Foggy Dew (01:19)

Total Length: 38:15

A Darksome Path has a short atmospheric intro before breaking into a really strong riff. There are a lot of great riffs in this song, and the vocals work quite well. They’re not amazing but they are melodic enough and fit like a glove, kind of like Windir’s vocals. There is also a somewhat cheesy folk bit near the end but I kind of dig it. Chants Of Lethe has some vocals I’m not as fond of but the song is fairly good otherwise.

The Well Of Might similarly isn’t as good as the first track, but it’s not bad. The Hidden Quest features a big folk element and mostly clean vocals. Oddly I like those to be sprinkled in, they’re just not as interesting as the band’s harsh vocals. The folk stuff is nice though. Morrigan has some nice riffs in it, and I’m glad to get back to a slightly heavier fare in this song. Peregrin is a short acoustic track, it’s a nice breather I suppose.

Wasted Lands is an okay song, I like the bridge but it doesn’t seem to go on for quite long enough. Strayed In Nowhere has some nice moments, but doesn’t seem to really set itself apart. Airne is a nice little instrumental, but not really necessary. Lays From Afar is a stronger track though, I enjoy it. Foggy Dew is a short instrumental that caps off everything, it’s okay. This album starts off really well and never gets ‘bad’ but it also never really uses the goodwill from the first track to make something strong.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

June 29, 2013

Album 0281: The Muppets – The Muppets Original Soundtrack


Release Date: 2011
Genre: Soundtrack/Musical


1. The Muppet Show Theme (00:51)
2. Life’s A Happy Song (04:29)
3. Pictures In My Head (02:36)
4. Rainbow Connection (Moopets Version) (01:02)
5. Me Party (01:53)
6. Let’s Talk About Me (02:33)
7. Man Or Muppet (02:58)
8. Smells Like Teen Spirit (02:23)
9. Forget You (02:29)
10. Rainbow Connection (03:09)
11. The Whistling Caruso (01:15)
12. Life’s A Happy Song (Finale) (02:23)
13. Mahna Mahna (02:05)

Total Length: 30:06

The Muppet Show Theme is pretty obvious. A great re-recording of the classic theme song, I love it. Life’s A Happy Song is wonderful, I love how it builds up and the lyrics are still great. The only thing is I don’t entirely like including so much of the dialogue from the film in the middle, but it works as far as allowing a breath. Pictures In My Head is a fantastic song, I love Kermit sounding sad and everyone cheering him up. I’m such a child.

Rainbow Connection (Moopets Version) is a strange little version of the classic track, works better in the movie of course. Me Party is a fun song that honestly sounds better here than in the movie. Not entirely sure why, I guess because the awkward visuals in the movie kind of drags it down a bit. Let’s Talk About Me is extended from the film version, with a whole section in the middle explaining why the villain doesn’t like The Muppets which honestly should have been in the movie. It’s a fine track.

Man Or Muppet is a standout track from the movie. I love the vibe of it, and even though there is a tad too much autotune on Jason Segel I can overlook it a bit. Smells Like Teen Spirit is an a capella version of the Nirvana track, and this is also an extended version from what was seen in the film. I think this time it goes on a bit long, and Jack Black made it funnier in the movie. Forget You is a chicken version of the Cee Lo Green song, and again is extended. This is pretty fun but I don’t need this to be this long either.

Rainbow Connection is again a new, big version of the classic song. I really like this version, especially since parts of it aren’t talked over like in the film. The Whistling Caruso is a ton of fun. I love the mix of whistling and classical music. Life’s A Happy Song (Finale) touches upon the fun rhythms and lyrics of the opening track and adds in the characters from the rest of the film and works really well. Mahna Mahna is quite a well known song, and they play it wonderfully here. I really loved this movie and this soundtrack is pretty much a nice use of time, for the most part.

Final Rating: 8/10

June 28, 2013

Album 0280: Mors Principium Est – Liberation = Termination


Release Date: 2007
Genre: Melodic Death Metal


1. Orsus (00:26)
2. The Oppressed Will Rise (03:20)
3. The Animal Within (03:31)
4. Finality (03:18)
5. Cleansing Rain (04:21)
6. Forgotten (01:44)
7. Sinner’s Defeat (05:26)
8. The Distance Between (04:17)
9. It Is Done (02:50)
10. Terminal Liberation (04:17)
11. Lost Beyond Retrieval (04:45)

Total Length: 38:13

Orsus is about as decent an intro that isn’t a full blown song can be. It’s short enough where hearing it each time isn’t a bother, and simply acts as a good lead in. The Oppressed Will Rise is strong and fast. The riffs are notable and catchy and the vocals work well. The solo section is also effective, which is rare in a whole lot of metal honestly. The Animal Within starts off sounding like something off a Mortal Kombat film soundtrack, and the music builds on top of it. It works to an extent, but the song doesn’t exactly go anywhere with it and kind of stays steady.

Then we transition to Finality with a very cool riff. It’s a great song overall, I love the chorus. Cleansing Rain also has an amazing chorus, it injects that bit of emotion that I always adore. Forgotten is an instrumental track and more of an interlude. It’s sort of nice but one of those tracks that I wouldn’t exactly miss if it didn’t exist. Sinner’s Defeat is kind of a lesser track for me. It’s nice but I think it goes on too long, and just isn’t as catchy as some of the other songs.

The Distance Between unfortunately falls into the same trap. The pace is a tad slow and it drags the song down. It Is Done at least makes things a bit briefer but I’m still not too fond of it. Terminal Liberation is a bit better, and the chorus kind of sticks in your head yet I don’t like it. Lost Beyond Retrieval ends everything with an instrumental, and frankly it’s a better song than most of the last few. It has a couple different tones in it and never gets boring. Great upswing at the end. This album does start off really well but sinks down for me in the second half to just ‘decent’ melodeath.

Final Rating: 7/10

June 26, 2013

Album 0279: Imogen Heap – Speak For Yourself


Release Date: 2005
Genre: Pop


1. Headlock (03:37)
2. Goodnight And Go (03:52)
3. Have You Got It In You? (04:11)
4. Loose Ends (03:41)
5. Hide And Seek (04:29)
6. Clear The Area (04:14)
7. Daylight Robbery (03:22)
8. The Walk (05:14)
9. Just For Now (03:00)
10. I Am In Love With You (03:09)
11. Closing In (04:48)
12. The Moment I Said It (06:00)
13. Speeding Cars (03:37)
14. Can’t Take It In (04:40)

Total Length: 57:54

Note: There is a bonus instrumental version of the album (minus tracks 13 and 14, as they are bonus tracks). Hide And Seek of course would be pretty much nothing as an instrumental, so instead it’s replaced with Cumulus (04:44) which was the b-side to Hide And Seek. Cumulus is a really cool track, it reminds me of the music in the game Journey. The instrumentals are cool because for once they have actually removed all of the vocals, even the backing ones which always annoyed me when some other artists do this.

Headlock is a perfect blend of musing and pop sensibilities. There is a touch of weirdness that is kind of magical and I love her vocals. Goodnight And Go is more of a standard pop song, but it’s done incredibly well. There was definitely a period of time where I was obsessed with this song. I simply love it. Have You Got It In You? is fantastic as well. The production is fantastic on here, and everything melds together well. Again the vocals are a standout.

Loose Ends is fun, I love the intro and the rest of the song is pretty good as well. A tiny step down from the previous tracks but not by much. Hide And Seek is the big song on the album, an acapella song fused with modern production. Her voice gets its own backing but with use of synths/vocoders. I’m not entirely sure how it was done but it’s really cool. Just an insanely cool track that everyone should be familiar with.

Clear The Area is a very nice track as well. It’s catchy and my only issue with it is that I think the intro is a bit long. Daylight Robbery is sadly a track I’m not very fond of. The backing music sounds like the late 90s pop that never appealed to me. It’s kind of a wall of cheesy sound. The Walk is a good step back into good graces, I enjoy it a lot. Just For Now is fairly nice but I do kind of get bored halfway through.

I Am In Love With You has a cool yet annoying intro, but once the song gets into it I really like it. Closing In is quite a nice track as well, but I think it may just be a touch long. Not a huge complaint on it though, I never really get bored during it. The Moment I Said It is a bigger track and it does some neat things, like throwing in some samples as it builds to a climax but I don’t entirely like how long it goes on, or the 30 seconds of silence after the song ends.

Speeding Cars is good but solely on Heap’s voice and delivery. Can’t Take It In is kind of a boring track for me I suppose. I can see why it was relegated to bonus track status. This is an album that gets better with some more listens, though I will probably always have those few problems with it. Also kind of weird that Cumulus was way better than the other bonus tracks but got relegated to single b-side or on a deluxe version.

Final Rating: 8/10

June 25, 2013

Album 0278: Avenged Sevenfold – Waking The Fallen

AvengedSevenfold - WakingTheFallen

Release Date: 2003
Genre: Metalcore


1. Waking The Fallen (01:42)
2. Unholy Confessions (04:44)
3. Chapter Four (05:43)
4. Remenissions (06:07)
5. Desecrate Through Reverence (05:38)
6. Eternal Rest (05:13)
7. Second Heartbeat (07:00)
8. Radiant Eclipse (06:10)
9. I Won’t See You Tonight (Part 1) (08:58)
10. I Won’t See You Tonight (Part 2) (04:45)
11. Clairvoyant Disease (05:00)
12. And All Things Will End (07:41)

Total Length: 01:08:39

Waking The Fallen is a fairly nice intro. Melodic and not overly long or drawn out, and fits the mood of the album. Unholy Confessions is pretty solid. The opening and riffs are catchy, and the chorus works pretty well. Chapter Four is kind of a nice track but frankly gets boring. I completely lose interest like halfway and can barely remember the song after it’s over. Remenissions starts off with some cool guitar work, but has an issue that I think is quite prevalent on this album: it simply goes on too long. I get that they have ideas they want to go out, but personally I feel as if the songs go on too long.

Desecrate Through Reverence has some strange parts that I don’t really enjoy, but the chorus is decent. Eternal Rest features a couple cool vocal moments, and even some acoustic guitar. I like it pretty well. Second Heartbeat is okay, but it has that ever-present issue of being too lengthy as well. Radiant Eclipse has a neat intro, and a couple good riffs as well but it suffers the same issue as the last track, and could have some used some editing in the songwriting process.

I Won’t See You Tonight (Part 1) features some piano and vocals that are different for the album, but they are surrounded by piles of music that sounds the same as every other track on the album. I Won’t See You Tonight (Part 2) is made up of only these parts, though I’ll admit to liking some of the riffs. Clairvoyant Disease sounds like a Skillet song or some junk, just boring as crap. And All Things Will End is a strong ending track though, and I like the effect at the end, everything slowing to a crawl. In all though, I don’t entirely like this album. It’s not horrible, but I don’t like some of the things it does. It’s not bad in the background but giving it a critical listen is not a good endeavor.

Final Rating: 6/10

June 24, 2013

Album 0277: Operation Ivy – Operation Ivy

4PGFLDR.QXD (Page 1)

Release Date: 1987/1988/1989/1991
Genre: Ska Punk/Hardcore


1. Knowledge (01:42)
2. Sound System (02:14)
3. Jaded (01:51)
4. Take Warning (02:44)
5. The Crowd (02:11)
6. Bombshell (01:04)
7. Unity (02:14)
8. Vulnerability (02:00)
9. Bankshot (01:33)
10. One Of These Days (01:07)
11. Gonna Find You (01:54)
12. Bad Town (02:35)
13. Smiling (01:47)
14. Caution (01:28)
15. Freeze Up (02:20)
16. Artificial Life (02:05)
17. Room Without A Window (01:32)
18. Big City (02:17)
19. Missionary (02:07)
20. Junkie’s Runnin’ Dry (02:06)
21. Here We Go Again (02:05)
22. Hoboken (01:12)
23. Yellin’ In My Ear (01:33)
24. Sleep Long (02:08)
25. Healthy Body (01:41)
26. Officer (01:59)
27. I Got No (01:16)

Total Length: 50:47

Note: Tracks 1-19 are from the band’s 1989 album Energy. Tracks 20-25 are from the 1988 EP Hectic. Tracks 26 and 27 are from a compilation called Turn It Around! that the band was on in 1987.

Knowledge is a strong opening song with a catchy chorus. That said, it definitely presents the problems I personally have with this band’s style, namely that I’m not a huge hardcore fan. Sound System has more of a ska influence which is nice but the bridge kind of brings down the energy of the track. Jaded is a strong track though, the first that I like wholly. Take Warning is really great though. A slower track with a pretty vocal message and I like the rhythm.

The Crowd has a great chorus which in this case helps me enjoy the whole song. Bombshell is a decent little song but I don’t get much out of it. Unity is a classic song by the band, and I’ve heard it so many times in a few different versions that it’s got a place in my head. Vulnerability has a bit of emotion in it (or at least it’s more present) and I really enjoy it for that. Bankshot is mostly an instrumental, and it’s quite fun and upbeat.

One Of These Days is a cover (or rather a piece of one) and kind of odd in that respect, but kind of fun. Gonna Find You is cool. I like that it’s more about juvenile misdeeds rather than songs about fighting the authority or ‘pigs’. Bad Town has a nice use of saxophone but the lyrics are strange to me. I like the change of pace for this track. Smiling has some more lyrics that are less abrasive and it ends up being a decent song.

Caution is repetitive and I’m not a big fan of it. Freeze Up is a bit better, but I don’t care for it either way. Artificial Life is the same deal, it just means nothing to me. Room Without A Window has a cool intro, and does pretty well overall. Big City however gets back to the ‘meh’ side of things. Missionary is similar, this last section of the main album kind of ends poorly, in my opinion.

Junkie’s Runnin’ Dry has a decent chorus but that’s about the most positive thing I can say about. Here We Go Again has some neat moments in it, I don’t mind it. Hoboken has a cool vocal line that sticks with you. Yellin’ In My Ear is a fun little ska track. It’s nothing special, but it’s enjoyable. Sleep Long has a fairly good chorus, and the song works kind of well.

Healthy Body has a great chorus, and I just like the song overall. Officer is okay, the music isn’t too interesting to me. I Got No is catchy and a nice end to this compilation. In the end though, this music isn’t entirely for me. I like some of it but most of the lyrics and music is just not for me, and there is a tone or attitude about it that I don’t quite enjoy.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

June 21, 2013

Album 0276: Freak Kitchen – Spanking Hour


Release Date: 1996
Genre: Progressive Rock/Metal


1. Walls Of Stupidity (04:32)
2. Haw, Haw, Haw (04:36)
3. Jerk (04:13)
4. Taste My Fist (03:40)
5. Burning Bridges (04:14)
6. Inner Revolution (03:40)
7. Lisa (04:34)
8. Spanking Hour (04:29)
9. Proud To Be Plastic (04:39)
10. Dystopia (03:47)
11. The Bitter Season (05:40)

Total Length: 48:03

Walls Of Stupidity has awesome riffs and lyrics, and the chorus and guitar solo are great as well. Fantastic opening track. Haw, Haw, Haw is pretty heavy but the chorus is oddly upbeat and sounds like a Disney chorus. It’s a strange combo that works really well, I like this song. Jerk is fairly good, the chorus sticks with me, but that’s about all. I wouldn’t pick it before some of the other songs on here, if that explains anything at all.

Taste My Fist has a lot of fun rhythms, especially in the bridge and main riff. The lyrics are also pleasing, personally. Burning Bridges starts off sounding like a grunge song which left a sour taste, but the song ends up being really enjoyable and calming. Inner Revolution is a very good song, yet I kind of forget it once it’s over and can only sort of remember the riff. Lisa is a complete change of pace and it’s very nice. The chorus vocals really stick in my head.

Spanking Hour sadly doesn’t interest me a whole bunch. I like some moments on it but oddly it’s one of my least favorite tracks on the album. Proud To Be Plastic has some quirkiness which I love, and the chorus is simply amazing. Dystopia has amazing vocals and is simply a fantastic song. Pretty much most of the things I love from this band are on the last two tracks. The Bitter Season is fairly good but kind of a let-down after the previous songs. This is a strong, solid album with no bad points, but I don’t love it like I can with other albums.

Final Rating: 8/10

June 20, 2013

Album 0275: The Pillows – Good Dreams


Release Date: 2004
Genre: Alternative Rock/Pop


1. Xavier (02:00)
2. Walkin’ On The Spiral (03:25)
3. That Future Is Now (03:27)
4. You Stood There, Like An Angel (03:12)
5. Orange Film Garden (04:46)
6. Frontiers (02:55)
7. Lo-Fi Boy, Fighter Girl (03:01)
8. New Year’s Eve (03:41)
9. Bad Dreams (02:50)
10. Good Dreams (04:46)
11. Rosy Head (02:49)

Total Length: 36:52

Xavier opens and gets going quickly, with upbeat guitars and pretty nice vocals. Good way to start the album. Walkin’ On The Spiral is sung in Japanese for the most part, the band readily switches between both languages as necessary which is interesting. The pre-chorus and chorus on this song are great and will stick in your head for a good while. That Future Is Now isn’t quite as catchy but still an above average track.

You Stood There, Like An Angel is really great, I love the guitars and there’s a bit of emotion in the song. There’s also some neat synth use sliding in there. Orange Film Garden is the standout song for me. It’s quirky and I loved it from the first time I heard it. I still have no idea what the lyrics mean but sometimes that doesn’t matter. Frontiers is a bit of a slower track, I like it well enough but it doesn’t stick with me.

Lo-Fi Boy, Fighter Girl is a fun alternative song. The chorus is super catchy and makes the track. New Year’s Eve works pretty well for what it is. It’s a calmer song, and it serves as a nice breather. Bad Dreams is an instrumental, and a fairly good one at that. Good Dreams starts off well but I kind of get bored by the song most of the way through. Rosy Head is fun enough but again doesn’t do much for me, and the way it cuts off is slightly annoying. Also, the mastering on the entire album is a bit loud and abrasive. Despite this, I enjoy listening to this album. It’s not big or grandiose it’s simply good, clean, upbeat music.

Final Rating: 7/10

June 19, 2013

Album 0274: Catch 22 – Washed Up And Through The Ringer!


Release Date: 1999/2001
Genre: Ska/Punk


1. Straight Forward (02:03)
2. To Be Continued (01:17)
3. Sincerely Yours (01:08)
4. One Love/People Get Ready (02:42)
5. Leaving (02:16)
6. Hard To Impress (02:05)
7. American Pie (02:11)
8. What Goes Around Comes Around (live) (02:44)
9. Hard To Impress (live) (03:02)
10. It Takes Some Time (live) (03:55)
11. Arm To Arm (live) (02:29)
12. Thinking About Things (live) (02:00)
13. American Pie (live) (03:35)
14. No Love For The Roadie (07:39)
15. The Death Of My Blood Is Your Indulgence (00:49)
16. Blowin’ In The Wind/On & On & On (live) (03:46)
17. Kristina She Doesn’t Know I Exist (live) (03:02)
18. 9mm And A Three Piece Suit (live) (01:36)

Total Length: 48:20

Straight Forward starts off with a generic riff, and I kind of like the chorus. The bridge is kind of out of nowhere and not mixed very well, but I suppose it kind of works though The Planet Smashers do it better. To Be Continued is a fairly good song, and actually was continued on the band’s next album as the song Chin Up. Sincerely Yours sounds like a cut track from Alone In A Crowd, and I think that might be what it actually is but it’s unclear. It’s okay.

One Love/People Get Ready is a Bob Marley cover, though People Get Ready is actually originally by another artist. I feel like this is kind of a baseless cover. There’s no emotion in any of it and feels very by the book and useless. This album was originally an EP with four tracks released in 1999, and then later expanded in 2001, and these last few tracks were new. Leaving starts off what the original EP was, and it’s pretty basic and really doesn’t do much for me. I cannot imagine the kick in the ass this track would have given someone back when it was first released. After Keasbey Nights set the band kind of well apart from similar acts at a time, a devolution to this sound as well as a different singer makes it feel like a whole other band.

Hard To Impress was re-recorded for Alone In A Crowd and it’s obviously played better there. Still a fine song. American Pie is a cover of the classic and again it feels really by the book. Like, “Hey, let’s a do a punk cover of some classic song, that’s original!” Kind of a waste. What Goes Around Comes Around and almost all the tracks after it are live tracks, and I actually really like this song. Hard To Impress is this song again, and I still think it’s okay.

It Takes Some Time is sort of a fun song. Arm To Arm is enjoyable. Thinking About Things is fun as well. American Pie ends the first set of live tracks and you can just look at what I said about it before. No Love For The Roadie is a long-ass hip hop song that is neither interesting nor innovative. The Death Of My Blood Is Your Indulgence is a dumb short hardcore song and is honestly an embarrassment. After that we get back to a few more live tracks.

Blowin’ In The Wind doesn’t last very long, and barely works as an intro. On & On & On is a great song but this audio quality isn’t too great. I suppose it’s played somewhat well. Kristina She Doesn’t Know I Exist being on here is kind of a travesty. It’s one of the most personal songs from Keasbey Nights and they take it and cut half the song and speed it up for no reason. They also have some girl singing in the chorus which… makes zero sense. They also add some lyrics about her being a whore which is incredibly displeasing and frankly adding misogyny to the song because they just felt like it. Playing it like this is bad enough, but I have no idea why they would release it.

9mm And A Three Piece Suit is kind of fun and then the song just CUTS THE FUCK OUT. Like the song itself doesn’t finish, it just cuts in the middle of a bar. Again, who the hell thought that this was worth releasing, even as a ‘hidden’ track? I honestly never listen to this. Any decent songs were on better albums, and there is some really distasteful stuff going on here. Just plain bad.

Final Rating: 4/10

June 18, 2013

Album 0273: Negură Bunget – Vîrstele Pămîntului

negurabunget-Vîrstele Pămîntului

Release Date: 2010
Genre: Folk/Black Metal


1. Pămînt (Earth) (06:58)
2. Dacia Hiperboreană (Hyperborean Dacia) (08:52)
3. Umbra (Shadow) (03:32)
4. Ochiul Inimii (Heart’s Eye) (08:05)
5. Chei De Rouă (Fountain Of Dew) (05:51)
6. Ţara De Dincolo De Negură (The Land Beyond The Fog) (05:54)
7. Jar (Embers) (04:29)
8. Arborele Lumii (World’s Tree) (07:37)
9. Întoarcerea Amurgului (Twilight’s Return) (08:22)

Total Length: 59:40

Pămînt starts off slowly, building up the atmosphere that encompasses the whole album. The use of pan flutes is fantastic, and the only thing I can knock off this intro is some of the percussion seeming randomly placed. I don’t know what the voice over means at all but it sounds nice once it turns into more of a chant. The black metal section to finish this off is quite wonderful. Dacia Hiperboreană has a wonderful opening, it’s quite lovely. There are even what feels like some post-rock elements in this and I almost always love those in black metal.

Umbra is an instrumental, and a very good one. It kind of reminds me of a movie soundtrack a bit, I really like the percussion in it. Ochiul Inimii has a kind of creepy atmosphere and some really cool points with woodwinds. Just a very strong song. Chei De Rouă has a great mix of vocals and some fun guitar work/riffs. So far this album kind of fills a dual thing for me. I can listen intently and catch new things, but it’s also got that feeling I love where I can zone out and get lost in it during a rainy afternoon.

Ţara De Dincolo De Negură has some of that same atmosphere, there is just simply a ton of neat things going on in this track. Jar is a short instrumental but it doesn’t really work for me. It sounds nice but is unnecessary. Arborele Lumii is nearly straight up heaviness, it’s a nice change of pace of sorts, and a great song. Întoarcerea Amurgului is in the same style as the rest of the album and works well. I kind of wish the album had a slightly ‘bigger’ ending. Like I said I can get lost in this, BUT, and this is a slightly big but, there is still something about Negură Bunget that is off-putting and so I have to be in a certain mood for it.

Final Rating: 8.5/10