Archive for October, 2013

October 28, 2013

Album 0374: Amesoeurs – Amesoeurs

Amesoeurs-Amesoeurs

Release Date: 2009
Genre: Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Gas In Veins (05:10)
2. Les Ruches Malades (The Sick Hives) (04:19)
3. Heurt (Collision) (06:01)
4. Recueillement (Meditation) (07:01)
5. Faux Semblants (Sham) (04:21)
6. I XIII V XIX XV V XXI XVIII XIX – IX XIX – IV V I IV (01:41)
7. Trouble (Éveils Infâmes) (Disrupt (Famous Awakenings)) (04:49)
8. Video Girl (04:11)
9. La Reine Trayeuse (The Queen Milkmaid) (05:32)
10. Amesoeurs (Soulmates) (04:03)
11. Au Crépuscule De Nos Réves (At The Twilight Of Our Dreams) (11:17)

Total Length: 58:27

Gas In Veins is a fantastic opening track, with building moments that almost capsize in their weight. It works wonderfully. Les Ruches Malades has more of a shoe-gazing quality, and it’s kind of upbeat, at least to my ears. It’s quite evocative and I suppose while simple, has clear melodies that capture you and grab you by the ear. Heurt is similar if not a bit heavier, but she switches to some harsh vocals at a few points too. Just a bit more aggressive of a song overall.

Recueillement has a nice opening and is the first full fledged use of harsh vocals. They work pretty well and convey the emotion they need to. The song is maybe just a tad long but pretty good. Faux Semblants is more like the second track and quite enjoyable. I XIII V XIX XV V XXI XVIII XIX – IX XIX – IV V I IV basically means Amesoeurs Is Dead and is a nice, haunting interlude. I really like it and it comes at a great point to break up the other tracks.

Trouble (Éveils Infâmes) is the most black metal like song on here. The riffs are pretty powerful and everything just sounds harshly pleasant. Video Girl is great as well, more of the shoe-gaze vibe in this one. La Reine Trayeuse is okay, probably the least consistent song so far. It only has one moment that really stands out. Amesouers is probably the best track though. It takes everything great about their shoe-gaze sound and amplifies, I’m not sure I could ever tire of it.

Au Crépuscule De Nos Réves is a nice mixture of types, but doesn’t feel cohesive enough for me. Maybe I just feel that way because it just doesn’t compare to the previous track. The main part of the song stops at just before six minutes, kind of non-triumphantly. After a few minutes of silence, there is an industrial type instrumental that plays for a few minutes. It kind of comes out of nowhere and doesn’t mesh with anything else on the album. The album has a few faults, but I can look past most of them, it just oozes atmosphere and I love listening to most of it.

Final Rating: 8/10

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October 27, 2013

Album 0373: Amorphis – Silent Waters

Amorphis-SilentWaters

Release Date: 2007
Genre: Progressive Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Weaving The Incantation (04:57)
2. A Servant (03:55)
3. Silent Waters (04:50)
4. Towards And Against (04:59)
5. I Of Crimson Blood (05:05)
6. Her Alone (06:02)
7. Enigma (03:35)
8. Shaman (04:56)
9. The White Swan (04:50)
10. Black River (03:49)
11. Sign (04:34)

Total Length: 51:32

Weaving The Incantation has a tremendous opening riff, it completely bashes your head in, in a good way. The mixture of vocals and the prominence of acoustic guitars also make for some really nice soundscapes through the song. Just plain fantastic. A Servant has some cool riffs and moments, but nothing really spectacular. Silent Waters has the same issue. I enjoy listening to it but then it’s hard to remember it once it’s over.

Towards And Against at least has a very cool intro leading into an amazing riff. That pretty much carries the song. I Of Crimson Blood is fairly good but has that same issue of being a bit forgettable. I wish I could say something better about them, I really do enjoy the songs but unlike the album before this, the songs don’t urge me to come back. Her Alone is much the same as the others, though this is the longest track on the album and doesn’t really deserve the length.

Engima is a nice little song, but the same thing applies as most of the other tracks. Shaman is another song that’s too long. This is not a problem they had on the album before this one. The White Swan is more of the same. Black River is a bit calmer, at least for the first half, but it’s still not enough to set it apart. Sign closes out the album in a basic way. I really want to love this album but it is just not clicking. There is nothing outright bad on here, it’s just sort of good/bland.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

October 25, 2013

Album 0372: Wuthering Heights – Far From The Madding Crowd

WutheringHeights-FarFromTheMaddingCrowd

Release Date: 2004
Genre: Power/Folk Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Gather Ye Wild (01:47)
2. The Road Goes Ever On (07:52)
3. Tree (05:06)
4. Longing For The Woods: I. The Wild Children (05:37)
5. Highland Winds (06:58)
6. Longing For The Woods: II. The Ring Of Fire (06:17)
7. The Bollard (03:32)
8. Bad Hobbits Die Hard (03:24)
9. Longing For The Woods: III. Herne’s Prophecy (08:41)
10. Land Of Olden Glory (06:22)
11. Lament For Lorien (05:55)
12. The Tapdancer/Gather Ye Wild (Reprise) (04:08)

Total Length: 01:05:40

Gather Ye Wild starts with one of the few tracks that sound good when played on bagpipes, before becoming a slightly more generic but still good symphonic opening. The Road Goes Ever On has an amazing intro and leads itself into a fantastic rest of the song as well. The verses are catchy, the chorus begs you to sing along, and the overall feeling just gets you pumped. The ending is somber and beautiful too, just an amazing song overall.

Tree has some fairly cool riffs and even cooler lyrics. I just highly enjoy the layered vocals and overall flow of the song, as stilted as it is at times. The Longing For The Woods saga or whatever begins with The Wild Children. The opening guitar bits are pretty neat, if generic. The rest of the song is a smooth ride through awesome melodies and riffs though. Highland Winds of course takes on that highland vibe, maybe not as well as it could, but I like the effort. I really like the character presented here, and I can’t help but sing along. The last minute I feel is just too much, kind of goes on too long for me. Not a huge deal though.

The Ring Of Fire continues the Longing trilogy, it’s not as good as the other parts, but still a solid song through and through. The Bollard is more of a ballad. It’s actually a cover, and quite a good one at that. I get really into it. Bad Hobbits Die Hard is a fast and hard instrumental. Just a nice collection of riffs and solos. The Longing trilogy caps off with Herne’s Prophecy, the longest portion. It brings back riffs and melodies from the previous parts while being its own thing, it’s pretty great.

Land Of Olden Glory is pretty fantastic, it just does everything right for me. Lament For Lorien manages to be even better though. Probably the most Tolkien of lyrics past the second song, it caps off the regular album beautifully. I love the atmosphere it presents. The Tapdancer/Gather Ye Wild (Reprise) is a bonus track, a mostly solo guitar thing. The first three minutes are fun, but the last bit, the reprise, is too guitar wanky for me. Too much Hendrix playing the national anthem for my taste. This album is overall amazing though, not a single bad song.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

October 24, 2013

Album 0371: Tortoise – Millions Now Living Will Never Die

Tortoise-MNLWND

Release Date: 1996
Genre: Post Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Djed (20:57)
2. Glass Museum (05:29)
3. A Survey (02:52)
4. The Taut And Tame (05:02)
5. Dear Grandma And Grandpa (02:50)
6. Along The Banks Of Rivers (05:52)

Total Length: 43:02

Djed is, for me, the centerpiece of the album. It wouldn’t be worth half its weight without this track. The opening is calm, it draws you in to the atmosphere. Like walking through door after door until you’re firmly in dreamland. The second section where the drums come in is a bit more upbeat, probably the closest the song gets to a traditional song. The next ten minutes are so are just pretty much fantastic, and does a few different things while keeping the hypnotic abilities of post rock. The last couple minutes sound a bit more like a hip hop backing track, but it’s not bad enough to bring down the whole quality of the song as there are references to the rest of the track in it.

Glass Museum is pretty cool, I really enjoy the percussion and there is a nice buildup in the track. A Survey is more like a solo bass track and pretty enjoyable if a bit repetitive. The Taut And Tame is a neat idea but kind of stretched thin for me. Just goes on a bit too long with no real payoff. Dear Grandma And Grandpa has some okay ideas but I find the track a bit boring. Along The Banks Of Rivers has some similarities with a film soundtrack, and that makes me like it just for that, oddly. Like I said, I wouldn’t listen to this album very often if it weren’t for the first track. It’s just so good.

Final Rating: 8/10

October 23, 2013

Album 0370: Emperor – Prometheus: The Discipline Of Fire And Demise

Emperor - Prometheus The Discipline Of Fire Demise - Front

Release Date: 2001
Genre: Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. The Eruption (06:29)
2. Depraved (06:32)
3. Empty (04:16)
4. The Prophet (05:41)
5. The Tongue Of Fire (07:11)
6. In The Wordless Chamber (05:13)
7. Grey (05:06)
8. He Who Sought The Fire (05:29)
9. Thorns On My Grave (05:56)

Total Length: 51:51

The Eruption has a fitting intro, it’s dark and creepy. When the song gets going, I feel a riff or two leaves something to be desired but overall it’s a strong showing. It feels all over the place and is hard for me to ‘picture’ in my head but I like it while it’s on. Depraved is more of the same, nothing really catches my ear. In one and out the other. Empty is a step up though, it’s a lot more digestible and has moments that stick with you.

The Prophet is a solid song, I can’t say anything bad about it necessarily. The Tongue Of Fire is much the same, except it gets the distinction of being the longest track yet, and so seems proportionally a bit more boring. In The Wordless Chamber has some fantastic moments, it really embraces the symphonic elements more than some of the other tracks have. Grey is another track that raises the bar some. It’s highly enjoyable.

He Who Sought The Fire is fairly good as well. This last section of the album knocks it most of the way out of the park at least. Thorns On My Grave is kind of more nuts and crazy than some of the other tracks, and the symphonic parts are quite nice. The song does do what some of the others don’t, it gets stuck in my head after it’s over. This album is pretty dense and I still don’t fully understand it. While it does get better on repeated listens, I think there are some issues with it that I will never fully get over.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

October 22, 2013

Album 0369: Spock’s Beard – V

Spock'sBeard-V

Release Date: 2000
Genre: Progressive Rock

Tracklisting:

1. At The End Of The Day (16:28)
2. Revelation (06:05)
3. Thoughts (Part II) (04:39)
4. All On A Sunday (04:04)
5. Goodbye To Yesterday (04:40)
6. The Great Nothing

    I. From Nowhere
    II. One Note
    III. Come Up Breathing
    IV. Submerged
    V. Missed Your Calling
    VI. The Great Nothing (27:03)

Total Length: 01:03:00

At The End Of The Day is a massive start to the album, with some interesting instrument choices to compliment vibe the song is trying to push. The build up of the melodies and the band getting more and more into it over the first couple minutes is quite catchy. The whole song changes tone and style a few times throughout, but always goes back to that main melody. It’s a great song that absolutely deserves its length.

Revelation is quite intriguing. The verses sound as if he’s in a more subdued mood, almost scared. The chorus though is more angry, and the contrast works well for me. Very memorable song when all is said and done. Thoughts (Part II) has a ton of great moments in it, it’s a really complex song for its relatively shorter length, compared to some of the other tracks on the album. Quite enjoyable overall. All On A Sunday was the single for the album, which kind of feels odd saying about this band. It definitely has that feeling to it though. I like it, but not as much as some of the other tracks.

Goodbye To Yesterday is quite nice too. The title of the song, when sung, gets completely stuck in my head. The Great Nothing has a big opening in it, and it’s so freaking good. This instrumental section comprises From Nowhere, and it’s good on its own and as the intro. One Note is very nice and calm. Come Up Breathing is a bigger section that is all over the place, and is pretty great. One of my favorite moments is when the bass goes nuts suddenly and a bunch of weird noises are thrown in. It’s jarring but works. Submerged and Missed Your Calling keep everything going, and it’s all very good. The Great Nothing brings everything back around, reprising the second section to cap things off. This song is big and beautiful, not quite as catchy as some others with this length that I’ve heard, but still very nice. This album eventually caught hold of me and is extremely pleasurable to listen through.

Final Rating: 8/10

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October 19, 2013

Album 0368: The Aquabats! – The Return Of The Aquabats!

TheAquabats-TheReturnOfTheAquabats

Release Date: 1995
Genre: Ska/Punk

Tracklisting:

1. Playdough! (03:40)
2. Martian Girl! (03:46)
3. Ska Robot Army! (02:12)
4. Idiot Box! (02:12)
5. Pinch And Roll! (04:21)
6. Tarantula! (03:43)
7. Marshmallow Man! (02:58)
8. Aquabat March! (03:14)
9. CD Repo Man! (03:17)
10. It’s Crazy, Man! (05:06)

Total Length: 34:29

Playdough! is an amazing track for the band even this early in their career. It plays on nostalgia and is just overall fun. It gets stuck in my head quite easily and the arrangement is actually pretty mature. Martian Girl! is great as well, I still really enjoy it. The lyrics are a ton of fun, and the chorus is just plain great. Ska Robot Army! is a couple of good ideas and that’s about it. Never been one of my favorite songs.

Idiot Box! kind of goes right against the first song in a sense, but it still plays on those same ideas and it’s a fun track. Pinch And Roll! is kind of a dirtier song than the band would do not, and kind of too long but it’s neat. Tarantula! is a bit long as well but it’s nice that they were trying something different here. Marshmallow Man! is probably my least favorite track on here, I only really like the bridge in it.

Aquabat March! has a memorable hornline, and it kind of shows how they felt and is in line with even what they’re doing today. CD Repo Man! is a fun idea and completely outdated now of course. Doesn’t stop it from being an entertaining song. It’s Crazy, Man! is a lot of fun, I kind of wish they could have revisited it at some point. There is a small gap of silence and a dumb hidden bit too. I enjoy this little album, but it’s kind of useless. Three out of the four best songs got redone on the next album, and so why not just listen to them there?

Final Rating: 7/10

October 18, 2013

Album 0367: The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – Ska-Core, The Devil, And More

themightymightybosstonesskacorethedevilandmore

Release Date: 1993
Genre: Ska/Punk/Hardcore

Tracklisting:

1. Someday I Suppose (03:27)
2. Think Again (01:57)
3. Lights Out (00:51)
4. Police Beat (02:10)
5. Simmer Down (03:35)
6. Drugs And Kittens/I’ll Drink To That/Howwhywuz Howwhyam (38:44)

Total Length: 50:43

Someday I Suppose is one of the band’s most well known songs, and was rerecorded on a later album. That version is a bit more polished and I prefer it, but the song in any form is fantastic. I’m not sure how you could dislike this. Think Again was originally by Minor Threat, and it’s more of a hardcore track. It’s decent, but honestly does nothing for me. Lights Out was by Angry Samoans and it is awesome. Just a fast little catchy song.

Police Beat is a cover of SSD, it’s heavy and I don’t really enjoy it. Simmer Down was by The Wailers, it’s more a reggae track and it is fantastic. It gets stuck in my head incredibly easy and I love the rhythms in it. The last few tracks are live and of varying quality. Drugs And Kittens and I’ll Drink To That are both decent but kind of boring in all honesty. Then there is over 25 minutes of silence, accounting for the absurd track length. Howwhywuz Howwhyam is a lot of fun though. Really there’s only one or two songs I come back to this EP for, and that’s not enough to save it.

Final Rating: 6/10

October 17, 2013

Album 0366: Ronald Jenkees – Disorganized Fun

RonaldJenkees-DisorganizedFun

Release Date: 2009
Genre: Electronic

Tracklisting:

1. Disorganized Fun (04:12)
2. Fifteen Fifty (04:36)
3. Guitar Sound (07:03)
4. Synth One (03:23)
5. Throwing Fire (04:55)
6. Minimal MC (02:45)
7. Stay Crunchy (04:09)
8. Inverted Mean (04:05)
9. Outer Space (05:05)
10. Let’s Ride (03:06)
11. It’s Getting Rowdy (03:16)

Total Length: 46:34

Disorganized Fun is an upbeat, fun song that keeps driving forward and never lets up. Pretty much what you would hope for on an opening track. Fifteen Fifty slows things down some but is kind of boring at times. There are some neat ideas, but it feels too much like he’s letting the keyboard play itself instead of the other way around. Guitar Sound has a dumb title that seems like a working title that never got changed. The music though is pretty good and stays consistent yet changing throughout.

Synth One has the same title issue, and isn’t as good of a song. Throwing Fire is a decent track, it’s length is a bit too much though. Minimal MC is boring to be honest, at least it’s shorter. Stay Crunchy has some nice moments at least, and puts the album back on track momentarily. Inverted Mean has some neat ideas in it but they honestly aren’t expressed well. Personally I think the issue is that this track was probably meant to be the backing for a rap track.

Outer Space is nice. Let’s Ride is goddamn terrible. This man should never rap again. It sounds like crap and the lyrics are bullshit lies and the most generic crap I’ve ever heard. It’s Getting Rowdy of course has to be a rap as well, and it’s even worse. How did this man think these were okay to release? These two tracks bring the whole damn album down. I was ambivalent to good on the rest of it, but these two are so bad it makes me not want to listen to anything else he does.

Final Rating: 6/10

October 16, 2013

Album 0365: Kiuas – The Spirit Of Ukko

Kiuas-TheSpiritOfUkko

Release Date: 2005
Genre: Power Metal/Melodeath

Tracklisting:

1. The Spirit Of Ukko (05:52)
2. On Winds Of Death We Ride (04:22)
3. No More Sleep For Me (04:06)
4. Warrior Soul (05:49)
5. Until We Reach The Shore (04:28)
6. Across The Snows (05:59)
7. Thorns Of A Black Rose (04:49)
8. And The North Star Cried (06:59)

Total Length: 42:23

The Spirit Of Ukko has an amazing amount of riffs in the intro that completely catch your attention. The vocals are a bit out of place in my opinion, but they still work fine and the music continues to be awesome. The song hits a good stride in the last few minutes as well, the chorus kind of catches my breath at one point. On Winds Of Death We Ride is great as well, just wholly catchy and fun. The chorus especially can get stuck in my head.

No More Sleep For Me is cool too, just a solid song. It’s a bit slower but works good. Warrior Soul doesn’t entirely set itself apart but works really well. Until We Reach The Shore kind of adds some new elements and is entirely enjoyable. Across The Snows has a great intro, very Wintersun-y. I really enjoy the mixture of styles here, this band is like Nevermore but European instead of American.

Thorns Of A Black Rose takes a few different directions and is overall pretty fun. And The North Star Cried doesn’t work quite as well, the stop-start riffs kind of kill the momentum for me. This is an album that gets better each listen as you find new things to listen for, though.

Final Rating: 7.5/10