Archive for December, 2013

December 28, 2013

Album 0416: Forefather – Steadfast

Forefather-Steadfast (2)

Release Date: 2008
Genre: Folk Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Brunanburh (04:53)
2. Cween Of The Mark (04:25)
3. Theodish Belief (05:21)
4. Hallowed Halls (05:52)
5. Steadfast (05:07)
6. Three Great Ships (05:12)
7. Eostre (03:34)
8. Fire From The Sky (04:50)
9. Mellowing Of The Mains (05:32)
10. Wolfhead’s Tree (04:56)
11. Miri It Is (05:43)

Total Length: 55:24

Brunanburh starts off the album in a fantastic way. After not being too impressed with the first Forefather album I heard, this was a great surprise and I was glad to hear this level of quality from the band. The mix of vocals work well too, the clean being preferable to the harsh, though. Cween Of The Mark is just amazing, I simply love the guitars in it and the black metal influence shining through the whole track.

Theodish Belief is very cool as well, guitars being the highlight once again. It’s not as polished of a song, but still good. Hallowed Halls has a pretty great chorus and some neat moments otherwise as well. Steadfast has a great main riff and is just pretty solid. Three Great Ships is much the same, though I can’t talk about it too much. I just can’t enunciate about it because it doesn’t strike me enough to want to. That’s how most of this album goes, pretty nice but not enough for me to rave about.

Eostre is a very nice instrumental, a little bit slower than the other tracks and focused on some nice melody. Fire From The Sky is pretty cool, though by this point the inadequacy of the harsh vocals is starting to show more. The clean ones just completely outdo them. Mellowing Of The Mains has a few nice moments to it. Wolfhead’s Tree is the same, it doesn’t really stick with me. Miri It Is finishes things off in a fine way, of the same quality or better than the last few tracks. This album surprised me, but it’s not one I’m dying to hear again after listening to it a few times.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

December 27, 2013

Album 0415: Black Sabbath – Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

Black Sabbath - Sabbath Bloody Sabbath

Release Date: 1973
Genre: Heavy/Doom Metal/Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (05:45)
2. A National Acrobat (06:13)
3. Fluff (04:09)
4. Sabbra Cadabra (05:58)
5. Killing Yourself To Live (05:42)
6. Who Are You (04:10)
7. Looking For Today (05:02)
8. Spiral Architect (05:32)

Total Length: 42:31

Sabbath Bloody Sabbath begins with an amazing riff, and Ozzy’s vocals work quite well. It’s immediately catchy, and the contrast with the acoustic sections are great. It’s a hell of a song, and definitely shows off the heavier side of the band very well. A National Acrobat is kind of funky and pretty fun. It’s not a resounding classic, but just a solid track.

Fluff is an obvious title for this instrumental, it’s softer than most of the other output of this band for its whole length. It sounds quite beautiful though. Sabbra Cadabra is more in line with the rock of the day, with a piano break and Ozzy even sounding like some of those other singers. It’s a pretty cool song all told though. Killing Yourself To Live has a couple distinct parts to it and they are all pretty cool.

Who Are You is very synth heavy, and has a neat rhythm to it. Looking For Today just sounds like a classic rock song, in a good way. It sticks in your head, and has enough things going on to keep you interested and coming back for more. Spiral Architect is kind of a bigger song. It’s not incredibly long or varied, it’s just really solid and never boring. There are some progressive elements here that work quite well. The whole album keeps growing on me, and it’s never boring. I do think the first track is probably the best on here, but it’s not too much of a drop-off.

Final Rating: 8/10

December 26, 2013

Album 0414: Moonsorrow – Suden Uni

Moonsorrow-SudenUni

Release Date: 2001
Genre: Folk Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Ukkosenjumalan Poika (Son Of The God Of Thunder) (06:10)
2. Köyliönjärven Jäällä (Pakanavedet II) (On The Ice Of Köyliönjärvi (Pagan Waters II)) (06:30)
3. Kuin Ikuinen (As Eternal) (07:20)
4. Tuulen Koti, Aaltojen Koti (Home Of The Wind, Home Of The Waves) (04:02)
5. Pakanajuhla (Pagan Feast) (06:46)
6. 1065: Aika (1065: Time) (11:01)
7. Suden Uni (Wolf’s Dream) (01:23)
8. Tulkaapa Äijät! (Come Along, Fellows!) (03:14)

Total Length: 46:25

Ukkosenjumalan Poika doesn’t waste any time starting, and berates you with riffs throughout. The vocals work pretty well, but aren’t as endearing as they are on the band’s later albums. There is also still a heavier emphasis on the black metal parts of their sound, like in the last minute or so on this track. Köyliönjärven Jäällä (Pakanavedet II) also gets quick into the song, something the band rarely does later on. It is a fun song, and changes gears in a sense quite a few times even in the first few minutes. The only thing is that I really want to love these songs, but it’s not quite there. It’s not as polished as even their second album, let alone the behemoths past that one.

Kuin Ikuinen gives me that same feeling. Enjoyable but not memorable. I don’t find myself drawn to this album like I do their others. Tuulen Koti, Aaltojen Koti slows things down a bit in a very nice way. This instrumental does what it needs to and leaves before things get boring in any way. Pakanjuhla continues the trend of solid songs that just don’t click with me. 1065: Aika is a pretty large song, kind of a sign of things to come. It still doesn’t hit the right spot though.

Suden Uni is a short instrumental that capped off the original album. It’s atmospheric but kind of useless. Tulkaapa Äijät! was actually recorded after their second album on its own, but placed on here when this album was re-released in 2003. It’s a fast paced, fun track. It honestly kind of sounds like another band, in a way. It could be easily placed on some other folk metal act’s record and not be out of place, and so for that it is refreshing. This album is solid, but just pales knowing what the band is capable of.

Final Rating: 7/10

December 25, 2013

Album 0413: Darkthrone – Too Old Too Cold

Darkthrone-TooOldTooCold

Release Date: 2006
Genre: Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. High On Cold War (03:27)
2. Love In A Void (02:33)
3. Graveyard Slut (03:59)

Total Length: 09:59

High On Cold War shows off the band’s newer style, where they are still absolutely black metal while incorporating some styles like punk and more classic rock. It’s an interesting mix, for sure. Love In A Void in fact starts off like a punk song, it’s kind of neat. Graveyard Slut is much like the others, and to be honest it feels kind of childish. Maybe this band will impress me more on their full albums, but I’m just not getting it here.

Final Rating: 4/10

December 24, 2013

Album 0412: Kamelot – Poetry For The Poisoned

Kamelot-PoetryForThePoisoned

Release Date: 2010
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

1. The Great Pandemonium (04:22)
2. If Tomorrow Came (03:55)
3. Dear Editor (01:18)
4. The Zodiac (04:00)
5. Hunter’s Season (05:34)
6. House On A Hill (04:15)
7. Necropolis (04:18)
8. My Train Of Thoughts (04:07)
9. Seal Of Woven Years (05:12)
10. Poetry For The Poisoned, Pt. I: Incubus (2:57)
11. Poetry For The Poisoned, Pt. II: So Long (3:24)
12. Poetry For The Poisoned, Pt. III: All Is Over (1:03)
13. Poetry For The Poisoned, Pt. IV: Dissection (01:58)
14. Once Upon A Time (03:48)
15. Where The Wild Roses Grow (03:59)

Total Length: 54:09

The Great Pandemonium is a pretty solid starting track. It never really gets to the heights that I think they wanted it to, other than the last twenty seconds. Having a guest vocalist on this track does help set it apart though. If Tomorrow Came is the same deal. It feels very held back, like they were more focused on things other than making the song as invigorating as it could possibly be. Style and atmosphere came before a better arrangement.

Dear Editor almost works as a creepy intro, but the dual vocals for it are more funny than scary. When you can only clearly hear the chipmunk voice, it’s hard to take it seriously. The Zodiac is kind of nice with Jon Oliva tagging in during the chorus, but the song doesn’t really go anywhere, and it feels kind of cheap overall. Hunter’s Season also doesn’t really go anywhere. It’s longer than it needs to be, and the guest guitar solo feels useless.

House On A Hill is a softer song, a ballad with some extra vocals from Simone Simons. She helps elevate the song, but that’s not saying much. It’s very dry and basic. Necropolis is just boring. It doesn’t do anything. They have a riff, it gets repeated throughout, and that’s all there is to the song. My Train Of Thoughts has a long opening and then has the exact same issue as the previous track. The chorus is kind of catchy, but not enough.

Seal Of Woven Years is honestly one of the better songs, with catchy guitars and a few other memorable moments. Poetry For The Poisoned is a suite of tracks lasting just over nine minutes, beginning with Incubus. This track, unlike most of the album, is actually kind of fun. The last bit of it I could do without though. So Long is amazing too, with great guitars and Simone Simons returns for some great vocals. The song makes this album finally feel like it’s on the right track.

All Is Over is a fairly nice little track, nothing bad and nothing amazing. Dissection works the same, it’s a fairly decent end for this bigger song. Once Upon A Time feels like some of the band’s older works, and it has all the markings and trappings that come along with that. It’s catchy but I don’t feel I gained anything from it. Where The Wild Roses Grow is a cover of Nick Cave and it’s one of the best songs on here. Kind of telling of the overall quality on the album since it’s a cover, but that doesn’t mean I mind hearing this song. It works extremely well and I love the feel of it. The rest of the album I can mostly take it or leave it. They just didn’t have ‘it’ going on.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

December 23, 2013

Album 0411: Ragnarok – Blackdoor Miracle

Ragnarok-BlackdoorMiracle

Release Date: 2004
Genre: Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Preludium (01:55)
2. Heir Of Darkness (04:27)
3. Recreation Of The Angel (06:19)
4. Rites Of Geburah (04:30)
5. Blackdoor Miracle (04:44)
6. Murder (05:17)
7. Kneel (04:07)
8. Bless Thee For Granting Me Pain (04:14)
9. Journey From Life (06:45)

Total Length: 42:17

Preludium is a pretty awesome intro. It’s sufficiently creepy and guitar oriented, and works well on its own as well as introducing the album. Heir Of Darkness is fantastic as well, I just love how this band crafts their sound. The album cover is kind of embarrassing to be honest, but hten once I hear this music it makes it all worth it. Recreation Of The Angel is pretty solid as well. There aren’t as many great moments as the previous track or some of the later ones, and it’s fairly long, but that’s okay.

Rites Of Geburah is also not as polished as some of the other tracks on here, but fairly enjoyable. Blackdoor Miracle is a much stronger song, it takes a bit of time to get going and the riffs are great. Murder is probably the best song on here, it’s just so catchy and awesome. Just awesome. That word works. Kneel is pretty great as well. It’s kind of amazing how sold this all is. There are a few clunky moments, but it’s never insulting.

Bless Thee For Granting Me Pain is cool too, again the riffs are a highlight. The vocals on this album are quite good too, understandable and harsh and melodic. It’s a rare mixture. I also really like the production on here, it sounds like classic black metal but there is more of an emphasis on bass compared to some other acts. Journey From Life is a solid ending track with some good moments. If they had a few more songs like Murder it would be amazing, but this is still a classy album.

Final Rating: 8/10

December 22, 2013

Album 0410: Helloween – Master Of The Rings

Helloween - Master Of The Rings

Release Date: 1994
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

DISC ONE

1. Irritation (Weik Editude 112 In C) (01:16)
2. Sole Survivor (04:33)
3. Where The Rain Grows (04:47)
4. Why? (04:12)
5. Mr. Ego (Take Me Down) (07:03)
6. Perfect Gentleman (03:54)
7. The Game Is On (04:40)
8. Secret Alibi (05:50)
9. Take Me Home (04:26)
10. In The Middle Of A Heartbeat (04:30)
11. Still We Go (05:09)

DISC TWO

1. Grapowski’s Malmsuite 1001 (In D-Doll) (06:34)
2. Cold Sweat (03:48)
3. Can’t Fight Your Desire (03:45)
4. Closer To Home (08:14)
5. Silicon Dreams (04:11)
6. Star Invastion (04:49)
7. I Stole Your Love (03:21)

Total Length: 01:25:01

Irritation (Weik Editude 112 In C) begins the album with a decent symphonic intro, it’s nothing special but I guess gets to lead you into the whole. Sole Survivor is mostly fantastic, I only really take issue with the extended ending. It’s a ‘live’ ending that goes on way too long and sounds childish. Where The Rain Grows is a lot of fun, specifically in the guitar work throughout, the little bits here and there and the solo is cool.

Why? has a good chorus and fun solo section, it’s a very strong song and no surprise that it was a single. Mr. Ego (Take Me Down) is pretty cool, and bits of it stick with me. The chorus in particular pops in my head from time to time, I just can’t really figure out why the song needed to be as long as it is. It’s not too bad, but it’s kind of unnecessary. Perfect Gentleman is pretty great, I love the sunny happy feeling it gives off, even if the comedy falls a bit flat.

The Game Is On is super cheesy but I really love it. It’s a completely Nintendo inspired song, with even some little 8-bit sounds littering the song. It’s another happy song, though I’ll admit that there are some depressing connotations to part of the lyrics. Secret Alibi is amazing, it’s one of the band’s best songs, with one faulty bit. The ending fades out, and then back in, adding an extra minute to the song that really doesn’t need to be there. I don’t understand the point of it either.

Take Me Home unfortunately cuts the trend of great songs dead in its tracks. It’s a very boring song, with a crappy rock vibe that doesn’t appeal to me at all. In The Middle Of A Heartbeat is more of a ballad, and it’s a very solid song. It’s catchy and pretty. Still We Go caps off the normal album in a decent way. It has some neat moments but honestly kind of falls a bit flat. Grapowski’s Malmsuite 1001 (In D-Doll) is a fairly good instrumental piece. It doesn’t stand out to me and I usually lose interest halfway through though.

Cold Sweat is a cover of Thin Lizzy and is frankly boring in only the way that hard rock can be. It’s incredibly simplistic and does nothing for me. Can’t Fight Your Desire is kind of decent, but it’s plain why this was relegated to b-side. It’s just a one-note song that never goes anywhere. Closer To Home is a Grank Funk Railroad cover, and it’s a pretty classic song. However, I feel it goes on too long and is kind of self-indulgent.

Silicon Dreams completely confuses me. Not as a song, but because this song exists and somehow Take Me Home made the main album instead of this. The chorus is a bit weird, but the verse is really cool and inventive. Star Invasion is kind of boring though. Again, another where the selection as a b-side is obvious. I Stole Your Love is a Kiss cover and like the other hard rock cover, it’s incredibly boring to me. If we don’t count most of these bonus tracks, this is a very strong album. Like I said, if those two songs were switched, there wouldn’t be a single bad song on the main album.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

December 21, 2013

Album 0409: OSI – Re:Free

OSI-ReFree

Release Date: 2006
Genre: Progressive Rock/Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Go (Console Remix) (10:32)
2. Kicking (Kevin Moore Remix) (08:05)
3. Home Was Good (Kevin Moore Remix) (07:20)

Total Length: 25:57

These three remixes are all of songs that I love from the original album, Free. Go keeps all of the bits I love about the original song and simply expands them. Most importantly, it keeps the atmosphere and I’m never at all bored during the length of the track. Kicking does the mostly the same thing, but not as well. It’s kind of odd since this and the next are Kevin Moore’s remixes, and he’s the brains behind a lot of this project. Home Was Good is of a similar quality. It’s nice to hear but doesn’t really catch me like the first track. I’d kind of forgotten about this EP, it’s a nice addendum to the main album, and I’ll listen to it at times.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

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December 20, 2013

Album 0408: Dimmu Borgir – Death Cult Armageddon

DimmuBorgir-DeathCultArmageddon

Release Date: 2003
Genre: Melodic Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Allegiance (05:50)
2. Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse (05:18)
3. Lepers Among Us (04:44)
4. Vredesbyrd (04:44)
5. For The World To Dictate Our Death (04:47)
6. Blood Hunger Doctrine (04:40)
7. Allehelgens Død I Helveds Rike (The Death Of All Saints In The Kingdom Of Hell) (05:35)
8. Cataclysm Children (05:16)
9. Eradication Instincts Defined (07:13)
10. Unorthodox Manifesto (08:50)
11. Heavenly Perverse (06:33)
12. Satan My Master (02:16)
13. Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse (orchestral version) (05:16)
14. Eradication Instincts Defined (orchestral version) (07:26)

Total Length: 01:18:26

Allegiance starts us off in a pretty solid way. There are some great riffs here, the vocals work well, the bass is audible, and the orchestral backing adds some neat touches and variety. The song is also fairly dynamic, something we didn’t get on yesterday’s album. Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse is even better, featuring some guest and clean vocals that are both very nice additions. The variety of these add a great deal to the song, and the orchestra is even more prominent.

Lepers Among Us doesn’t quite top that, but it’s fairly decent. I at least don’t really get bored listening to it. Vredesbyrd is much the same. It’s nice to listen to, but doesn’t really grasp me. For The World To Dictate Our Death continues the trend of being fair but non-evocative. The songs don’t make me want to listen to them past the first time. Blood Hunger Doctrine has a good ending to it though.

Allehelgens Død I Helveds Rike brings back the clean vocals which is neat, but about the only notable thing about it. Cataclysm Children doesn’t even have that, it’s just an average song for the album. Eradication Instincts Defined has an amazing opening, and keeps up the pace pretty well through the track. The dance feel to it kind of breathes some much needed life into the album.

Unorthodox Manifesto is even longer than the previous track, but doesn’t do anything really inventive enough for it. Heavenly Perverse has some okay moments, but otherwise ends the regular album off in just a very plain way. Satan My Master is a Bathory cover, it’s a good, short song that is plenty of fun. The orchestral versions of the next two songs are pretty simply explained, with all of the orchestral backing soloed out. Progenies Of The Great Apocalypse and Eradication Instincts Defined both are neat to hear by themselves, but don’t really offer anything interesting worth hearing multiple times. The whole album is kind of summed up like that, to be honest.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

December 19, 2013

Album 0407: Redemption – This Mortal Coil

Redemption-ThisMortalCoil

Release Date: 2011
Genre: Progressive Metal

Tracklisting:

DISC ONE

1. Path Of The Whirlwind (05:26)
2. Blink Of An Eye (05:57)
3. No Tickets To The Funeral (06:26)
4. Dreams From The Pit (09:12)
5. Noonday Devil (05:04)
6. Let It Rain (07:22)
7. Focus (05:43)
8. Perfect (04:49)
9. Begin Again (06:12)
10. Stronger Than Death (05:29)
11. Departure Of The Pale Horse (10:15)

DISC TWO

1. Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding (10:31)
2. Jane (04:04)
3. Hold The Line (03:40)
4. Edge Of The Blade (04:36)
5. Love To Love (07:02)
6. Precious Things (07:24)

Total Length: 01:49:12

Path Of The Whirlwind starts off with catchy riffs, melodies, and solos and it’s fun to follow along the buildup and changes. The vocals work fairly well, but aren’t as interesting. The chorus wants to be more energetic but just doesn’t get there. We move right along into Blink Of An Eye, which features a few neat moments but really doesn’t catch my attention. I can’t find much of this material bad in any way, but it’s also not entirely appealing.

No Tickets To The Funeral has a good pace but it feels misshapen. There’s never any groove to the whole performance, it’s just presented as is and that’s it. I’m probably not explaining myself well, but when do I ever? Dreams From The Pit is longer but really doesn’t offer me anything. There are some nice moments I suppose, but they kind of go in one ear and out the other. Noonday Devil starts off with probably the most atmospheric and well-toned bit so far, and the song itself is one of the better ones so far.

Let It Rain is also a better song, with more dynamics to it, but still doesn’t grip me. Focus follows the same path of being sadly average and bland. Perfect continues the trend. It’s hard for me to even comment on this. Begin Again is almost good, it almost pulls me in but never makes the leap. It doesn’t feel like it’s really trying with the music. The lyrics on this album are pretty good though, they work fine.

Stronger Than Death kind of works, surprisingly. The lyrics work in tandem with the music at points, and the whole thing sounds nice. Departure Of The Pale Horse is bigger and the overall flow of the song works better. I especially enjoy the referential bit, even if it back to only just the previous song. Still not something I yearn to listen to again. The disc of covers begins with Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding, a massive Elton John song. It’s pretty classic and the band mostly plays it well, but it does feel like they oddly changed things to fit their sound. Yeah, it’s kind of what covers can do, but it doesn’t work.

Jane is a cover of Jefferson Starship and again, the guitars way drown out the keyboards. It kind of ruins the song. Hold The Line is a song I never even cared for in the first place. The band’s take on this Toto song doesn’t change my mind on that one bit. Edge Of The Blade was originally by Journey, and it’s not very good. Seriously. Love To Love is a UFO track, and probably the best song here, which sucks since it’s a cover. The Tori Amos song Precious Things finishes things off. It’s not the best ending in a sense, but I guess it wasn’t really meant to be. There are some things in it that annoy me, but they were probably already there in the original. I really wanted to like this album a lot, but it just doesn’t do it for me. Makes me sad.

Final Rating: 6/10