Archive for August, 2013

August 31, 2013

Album 0335: Duke Ellington & Count Basie – First Time! The Count Meets The Duke

DukeEllingtonCountBasie-FirstTime

Release Date: 1961
Genre: Jazz

Tracklisting:

1. Battle Royal (05:37)
2. To You (03:55)
3. Take The ‘A’ Train (03:48)
4. Corner Pocket (aka Until I Met You) (04:55)
5. Wild Man (aka Wild Man Moore) (06:23)
6. Segue In C (08:22)
7. B D B (04:45)
8. Jumpin’ At The Woodside (03:14)
9. One More Once (03:27)
10. Take The ‘A’ Train (The Count Departs) (rehearsal and alternate takes) (05:51)
11. Jumpin’ At The Woodside (alternate take) (03:14)
12. B D B (alternate take) (04:30)
13. Blues In Hoss’ Flat (Blues In Frankie’s Flat) (03:14)
14. Wild Man (aka Wild Man Moore) (rehearsal and alternate takes) (05:56
15. Battle Royal (rehearsal and alternate takes) (06:32)

Total Length: 01:13:44

Battle Royal does sort of give off the vibe of dueling orchestras, so that is pretty neat. I like the variety of instruments contained in the bands. To You is more of a softer track, romantic I guess. I like it well enough but kind of get tired of it. Take The ‘A’ Train has a fun rhythm to it. Corner Pocket (aka Until I Met You) kind of has a neat vibe, I guess like a divey sort of place.

Wild Man (aka Wild Man Moore) is fairly fun. I’d offer more thoughts but I’m really not familiar with the genre, and especially can’t comment on any of the theory or anything. Segue In C is pretty nice in the same vein. B D B is alright. Jumpin’ At The Woodside is kind of fun. One More Once is upbeat as well, I like that at least. Take The ‘A’ Train (The Count Departs) eventually gets going and it’s okay.

Jumpin’ At The Woodside is still kind of nice. B D B is good as well. Blues In Hoss’ Flat (Blues In Frankie’s Flat) is kind of funky. Wild Man (aka Wild Man Moore) is a bit long here. Battle Royal is still fun. I guess right now this all blends together and while I don’t dislike it, I still don’t understand it. Maybe this is a genre more for musicians than people on the sidelines.

Final Rating: 7/10

August 30, 2013

Album 0334: Weird Al Yankovic – In 3-D

Weird_Al_Yankovic-_In_3D__Fron

Release Date: 1984
Genre: Comedy/Pop

Tracklisting:

1. Eat It (03:21)
2. Midnight Star (04:35)
3. The Brady Bunch (02:42)
4. Buy Me A Condo (03:53)
5. I Lost On Jeopardy (03:29)
6. Polkas On 45 (04:20)
7. Mr. Popeil (04:43)
8. King Of Suede (04:15)
9. That Boy Could Dance (03:35)
10. Theme From Rocky XIII (The Rye Or The Kaiser) (03:38)
11. Nature Trail To Hell (05:51)

Total Length: 44:22

Eat It kicks off the album with a fun parody of Beat It. I like the lyrics and the added sound effects, and it stays true to the original song too with a pretty great guitar solo. Midnight Star is an original track, and this is where I should note that the production is way more refined and improved over the first album. Everything sounds more mature, odd as that sounds. I like this song well enough, though it goes on a bit long.

The Brady Bunch is a Safety Dance parody, and it’s upbeat but it’s as straightforward as the original. The lyrics aren’t quite as good as some others. Buy Me A Condo is a general reggae parody, and I honestly really like it. It’s cheesy sure, but I love the little effects and I’m a weird sucker for Al’s voice. I Lost On Jeopardy is a parody of a song called Jeopardy, it’s kind of fun but the voice-over part, while cool, gets annoying after the first time you hear it.

Polkas On 45 is Al’s first polka mega-medley, and there are too many songs to list them all. It’s just a really fun track and I always love the polkas. Mr. Popeil is a pastiche of the B-52s and has some fun moments in it. King Of Suede is a parody of King of Pain, it’s decent. That Boy Could Dance is the second original song on here, and I think it’s pretty boring. Kind of disappointing.

Theme From Rocky XIII (The Rye Or The Kaiser) is an obvious parody, and it’s played pretty well but frankly at this point I get tired of the song after like a minute and a half. Nature Trail To Hell is the final original track, and it’s long and sort of boring too. Not really sure what it was going for. Other than these last few tracks I was really enjoying the album though. Again, it’s a big step up from his first.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

August 29, 2013

Album 0333: The Receiving End Of Sirens – The Receiving End Of Sirens

The Receiving End of Sirens

Release Date: 2004
Genre: Post-punk/Rock

Tracklisting:

1. The War Of All Against All (04:05)
2. Transition One (03:25)
3. The Art Of Subversion (03:12)
4. Transition Two (02:04)
5. Dead Men Tell No Tales (04:14)

Total Length: 17:00

The War Of All Against All is a pretty solid track. The ending comes a bit quick, but that’s not a huge deal considering the quality of the track otherwise. The chorus especially finds a notch in my head and makes home in there. Transition One is a decent interlude, it works well enough but the electronic drums are kind of loud and jarring. The Art Of Subversion is a fairly good track, but not too memorable.

Transition Two is a much better interlude with better drums and some haunting ‘aahs’. Dead Men Tell No Tales has some neat things going on but otherwise it’s nothing special. This EP is more of a hopeful thing for me, a band laying out what they want to do and it’s communicated fairly well here. Maybe there could have been slightly better execution, mostly in the songwriting, but it is how it is.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

August 28, 2013

Album 0332: Death – Symbolic

Death-Symbolic

Release Date: 1995
Genre: Death Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Symbolic (06:33)
2. Zero Tolerance (04:49)
3. Empty Words (06:22)
4. Sacred Serenity (04:27)
5. 1,000 Eyes (04:29)
6. Without Judgement (05:28)
7. Crystal Mountain (05:07)
8. Misanthrope (05:04)
9. Perennial Quest (08:21)
10. Symbolic Acts (demo) (05:56)
11. Zero Tolerance (demo) (04:11)
12. Crystal Mountain (demo) (04:25)
13. Misanthrope (demo) (05:41)
14. Symbolic Acts (4-track demo) (05:56)

Total Length: 01:16:50

Symbolic is a fantastic start to the album, all of the riffs and tempo changes here are amazing. There is not a single boring moment in the song, and it’s fantastic how much is packed into its runtime. I could even say that there is a combination of types of metal in this track, with some moments resembling power metal. Zero Tolerance is great as well, not quite as catchy as the first track but pretty solid. I don’t normally notice the lyrics but the chorus at least sticks in me.

Empty Words is a fine track as well, but these are big songs and it can be tough to get a good grasp on them. Sacred Serenity has some cool riffs in it, but that kind of goes without saying. Otherwise, it’s not quite as notable as the other tracks. 1,000 Eyes is simply fantastic, everything on it works well. Without Judgement is in the same vein, it’s kind of a pinnacle of this type of death metal.

Crystal Mountain is amazing as well, with the best chorus on here, as well as a neat acoustic bit. Just an amazing track. Misanthrope is completely on point as well, very strong track. Perennial Quest is the biggest track on here, it’s quite catchy in the chorus and the ending is calm and nice. Symbolic Acts is a rough sounding demo without any vocals, and it still sounds neat. Zero Tolerance does as well, again the only thing missing is the vocals.

Crystal Mountain is played a bit faster which is kind of neat. Misanthrope works okay in this setting. Symbolic Acts this time around is a 4-track demo, with vocals. The only thing that’s weird is very sharp editing between sections, but it makes sense for a demo for a song they weren’t wholly familiar with yet. This album is pretty fantastic, no song is really weak and others get better each time I hear them.

Final Rating: 9/10

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August 25, 2013

Album 0331: Hanni El Khatib – Will The Guns Come Out

HanniElKhatib-WTGCO

Release Date: 2011
Genre: Rock

1. Will The Guns Come Out (01:26)
2. Build, Destroy, Rebuild (02:58)
3. Fuck It, You Win (03:11)
4. Dead Wrong (03:28)
5. Come Alive (02:35)
6. Loved One (02:38)
7. Heartbreak Hotel (03:12)
8. Wait Wait Wait (03:57)
9. Garbage City (03:54)
10. You Rascal You (02:21)
11. I Got A Thing (02:00)

Total Length: 31:40

Will The Guns Come Out is an odd opening track, with some musing on a toy piano and random percussion behind Khatib singing with some clapping to provide the rhythm. It repeats the main line a bunch and is alright, but honestly out of place on the whole album. Build, Destroy, Rebuild sounds like a throwback to the burgeoning of rock and roll, and really the whole album kind of pays tribute to that sound. The song works well enough but seems reliant on small things a bit much.

Fuck It, You Win has a stronger riff and overall cooler sound. I like the vibe here though he seems to be going for some shock value in the title and lyrics. Dead Wrong seems to borrow more of a doo-wop influence and is definitely the best track yet. I love the various guitars and what they do and the backing vocals are super cool. Come Alive is sort of fun, but it doesn’t really gain traction and get going until the end, and then it’s done.

Loved One is reliant on its main riff, and that’s a new idea but for me it makes for a boring few minutes. Heartbreak Hotel is frankly kind of awesome. It gives off this creepy feeling and I love what it does. Wait Wait Wait and the previous track are pretty acoustic based, and this one uses it greatly, it’s kind of beautiful. Garbage City is kind of nice but also slightly boring at the same time.

You Rascal You is oddly kind of funky, and it’s a solid track to bring us into the endgame. I Got A Thing is simple and that’s about it. It does what it wants to do but it’s quickly over. I appreciate what I think this album was kind of going for, while recognizing that it’s not really for me. There’s some stuff here I’d love to see more of but I’m sure that’s probably not going to happen.

Final Rating: 7/10

August 24, 2013

Album 0330: Link 80 – Killing Katie

Link80-KillingKatie

Release Date: 1999
Genre: Ska/Punk

Tracklisting:

1. Better Than Shit (02:24)
2. Packing Up (03:00)
3. No Such Thing (01:41)
4. Kind Of… (02:10)
5. The Truth Of It (01:45)
6. El Stupido (No Quiero Vomitar) (01:06)
7. Nothing Left (01:45)
8. For What It’s Worth (02:23)
9. Termination (Live at 924 Gilman Street) (01:41)
10. Blank Mind (Live at 924 Gilman Street) (01:35)
11. Teenage Fuckup (Live at 924 Gilman Street) (01:08)

Total Length: 20:38

Better Than Shit has a really generic, useless sample to kick things off and the song itself is kind of boring and generic too. Just kind of plays and then I forget about it. Packing Up sounds like a couple other bands from this time, but nowhere near as good. Suicide Machines come to mind as pulling off this sound a lot better. No Such Thing has some good ideas but doesn’t execute them well. Everything just feels loose here.

Kind Of… is about the only good song so far. The looseness is still there but at least there are some catchy moments in it. The Truth Of It seems to be trying for a skacore sound but I don’t think it works. El Stupido (No Quiero Vomitar) is kind of annoying to me, I just don’t really get it. Nothing Left is a decent punk song though. I just don’t like the tone of this album.

For What It’s Worth starts off with a poorly executed sample, in choice and editing, and I even like the sample. The song is a cover of Buffalo Springfield and it’s a pretty classic song, and I really hate this version. Like, it’s pretty bad to get a complete negative reaction out of me. This is the same type of thing that I disliked about Snowing, it’s clearly a bunch of college-age guys doing something and they’re like, “Yeah this would be cool” and it’s not, at all.

Termination starts the bout of live tracks. Surprise surprise, they’re recorded poorly and the band are pretty annoying between songs. This song is boring, welp. Blank Mind is too, this just isn’t for me. The band can be good, but this album is just plain not. Teenage Fuckup just sounds like a bunch of noise, sadly. I listened to this a few times to try and see if I was missing something, but I think it’s a lost cause.

Final Rating: 4/10

August 23, 2013

Album 0329: Stillhet – Dømt At Have Sit Liv Forbudt

stillhet-domt_at_have_sit_liv_forbrudt-(ep)-no-2007-front

Release Date: 2007
Genre: Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Intro (01:46)
2. Rovmord (04:42)
3. Hatets Energi (04:02)
4. Vemod Og Skam (06:36)
5. Den Ugudelige (04:59)

Total Length: 22:06

The Intro is super atmospheric and creepy. Kind of sounds a bit like the Wrong Turn 2 soundtrack except a bit less annoying. Rovmord has some pretty awesome riffs and the vocals work well. It’s just really solid black metal. Hatets Energi is great as well. One cool thing here is that you can actually make out the bass. Doesn’t usually happen in this genre, which yeah I know gets joked about pretty often.

Vemod Og Skam is fantastic as well, other than when everything drops out to just a single guitar for a moment. It’s kind of jarring. Den Ugudelige is pretty great as well. This is a solid little EP, there’s nothing bad on here. The only thing I don’t like about is that this is pretty much the band’s only release aside from two demos. Wish they could put out some more stuff.

Final Rating: 8/10

August 22, 2013

Album 0328: The Forces Of Evil – Friend Or FOE?

TheForcesOfEvil-FriendOrFoe

Release Date: 2003
Genre: Ska/Punk

Tracklisting:

1. Angry Anthem (02:53)
2. Go To Hell (02:49)
3. My Life (02:50)
4. Dance The Night Away (02:51)
5. Vague Love Song (02:29)
6. Hey! Woo! Yea! (02:22)
7. Mistake (02:58)
8. Worst Day (03:47)
9. Maybe I’m Wrong (03:21)
10. Independent (02:45)
11. Fight (02:40)

Total Length: 31:44

Angry Anthem has a loud but catchy intro, and the lyrics are standard fare if you remember that this is an offshoot of Reel Big Fish. The chorus is simple and full of expletives and it’s great. Go To Hell continues in the same lyrical theme, it’s pretty fantastic. It gets stuck in my head super easy. My Life is fun as well, with the lyrics again being the highlight. The songs are somewhat simple but they’re so fun.

Dance The Night Away is a Van Halen cover and I’m probably biased but this version is probably better. The original was kind of soft for Van Halen. I also like the faster pace on this version. Vague Love Song is kind of a weird one for me, but I really like it. The lyrics aren’t anywhere near as angry as the other tracks, but still insanely catchy. Hey! Woo! Yea! is mostly instrumental, with the only lyrics being those in the title. It’s fun but one of the lesser tracks on here.

Mistake is more like a pop track so it stands out in that way. I like it well enough. Worst Day is in a similar vein, there just hasn’t been a bad track yet. They are all pretty catchy. Maybe I’m Wrong has a fun intro, and the lyrics are the usual semi-depressive fare. Independent is kind of mean in a way I don’t like, but it is also sort of funny, and of course it’s catchy.

Fight is a fantastic song, but suffers from having a completely different production from the entire rest of the album. It’s really jarring and doesn’t sound good. Despite that, I love the track and this album. It’s short and fun and upbeat, despite the lyrics. Since this band is no longer I’m still holding out hope that RBF will play some of the material live.

Final Rating: 8/10

August 21, 2013

Album 0327: Masterplan – Masterplan

masterplan-masterplan-front

Release Date: 2003
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Spirit Never Die (05:27)
2. Enlighten Me (04:38)
3. Kind Hearted Light (04:26)
4. Crystal Light (05:17)
5. Soulburn (06:16)
6. Heroes (03:34)
7. Sail On (04:38)
8. Into The Light (04:10)
9. Crawling From Hell (04:13)
10. Bleeding Eyes (05:41)
11. When Love Comes Close (04:08)

Total Length: 52:27

Spirit Never Die may possibly be the best song on here, so it’s both good and disappointing that it starts off the album. The intro is memorable, and the verse is fantastic and catchy, kind of Freak Kitchen-like. The chorus is semi-generic power metal but works fine. Enlighten Me is still good, it just has some qualities I don’t entirely enjoy. It gets some influence from where I can’t really tell, but some bits just annoy me.

Kind Hearted Light is a better song though, the hook is catchy as hell. The verse is kind of boring, more so than some that Stratovarius has done. Really enjoyable song other than that. Crystal Night is pretty cool as well, though I think the song could have been edited down a tiny bit as well. Nothing major though. Soulburn is a bit more ballad-y. It takes its time and focuses more on the emotions and I like it a whole lot.

Heroes is super upbeat and fun, kind of the baseline of what you’d hope from a power metal song. Sail On is as well, it’s very good. Into The Light has a very Zeppelin intro in my opinion, it gives me this weird nostalgic vibe. The chorus is great though. Crawling From Hell again has some minor annoyances but is a fun song overall. Bleeding Eyes has a cool vibe. I like how there’s isn’t really any homogenizing on this album, it always keeps things varied. When Love Comes Close isn’t great, but it’s still nice. This album is still not one I’d say I love, but it grows on me more each time.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

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August 20, 2013

Album 0326: Symphony X – Iconoclast

Booklet 16 Seiten - Maße.qxd

Release Date: 2011
Genre: Progressive Metal

Tracklisting:

DISC ONE

1. Iconoclast (10:51)
2. The End Of Innocence (05:27)
3. Dehumanized (06:48)
4. Bastards Of The Machine (04:56)
5. Heretic (06:25)
6. Children Of A Faceless God (06:21)
7. When All Is Lost (09:10)

DISC TWO

1. Electric Messiah (06:14)
2. Prometheus (I Am Alive) (06:47)
3. Light Up The Night (05:04)
4. The Lords Of Chaos (06:10)
5. Reign In Madness (08:38)

Total Length: 01:22:49

Iconoclast has a completely mesmerizing intro for the first few minutes, it kind of works as a prelude for the whole album. The song never gets boring at any point, all the riffs are solid and the chorus is catchy as hell. An insanely strong song to start off with here, the band is completely on point. The End Of Innocence is great as well, I’d have to say the best part here is the chorus. The rest is good too, but the chorus/song title sticks with me.

Dehumanized has some very cheesy lyrics, but then again almost everything this band does qualifies as ‘cheesy’. I love the use of piano in here and everything works pretty well. Bastards Of The Machine has a lot of cool guitar stuff going on here. Just a fun, fast-paced song. Heretic has a shaky start for me, but it ends up being of pretty similar quality to the other tracks, where I like it but don’t love all of it.

Children Of A Faceless God continues that same trend. I can’t say the songs are bad, they just tend to sound similar. I’ve always thought this band was much better at their larger songs anyhow. This is exampled pretty well in When All Is Lost which seems to borrow some ideas from their previous ‘epic’ songs. The build-ups and changes throughout the track are fantastic and I just love the whole feeling of it. Despite the last track on here being the closer according to the band, this one kind of fits better to me.

Electric Messiah gets back on that trend of the songs though. It’s cool but could easily be switched out with a few other songs on here. Prometheus (I Am Alive) continues on in the same manner. The chorus is nice but it’s about the only thing that’s memorable. Light Up The Night at least has a cool solo section to break this little bit of monotony.

The Lords Of Chaos is the last of these types of tracks thankfully. The chorus is good, even though I think it’s a bit slow and too old-school. Reign In Madness has an intro that gives me some Crimson II vibes, and overall is a pretty good song because they play around with things a bit more. But in the end, I just can’t give this album high praise. There’s nothing bad on here but only a few tracks stand out.

Final Rating: 7.5/10