Archive for February, 2014

February 28, 2014

Album 0436: They Might Be Giants – No!

TheyMightBeGiants-No

Release Date: 2002
Genre: Alternative Rock/Kids Music

Tracklisting:

1. Fibber Island (02:11)
2. Four Of Two (02:18)
3. Robot Parade (01:22)
4. No! (01:30)
5. Where Do They Make Balloons? (02:41)
6. In The Middle, In The Middle, In The Middle (01:15)
7. Violin (02:27)
8. John Lee Supertaster (02:00)
9. The Edison Museum (02:03)
10. The House At The Top Of The Tree (02:30)
11. Clap Your Hands (01:22)
12. I Am Not Your Broom (01:04)
13. Wake Up Call (01:10)
14. I Am A Grocery Bag (00:34)
15. Lazyhead And Sleepybones (03:28)
16. Bed Bed Bed (03:12)
17. Sleepwalkers (02:40)

Total Length: 33:48

Fibber Island is a wonderful little song to start this album with. This is the band’s first attempt at an album directed towards kids, with kid friendly lyrics and morals. This song has fun lyrics about lying and some interesting arrangements. Four Of Two is a play on telling time and puns, it’s fairly fun. Robot Parade is weird to me because the backing music reminds me of the music for the show Community, but the vocals are all distorted and saying weird things about robots.

No! is a great little track, and the most moral laden song on the album. Where Do They Make Balloons? is a neat idea but the song just kind of bores me. In The Middle, In The Middle, In The Middle is amazing, in an odd way. It feels like a song Moral Orel and the shows that parodied, and I really like this singer. Violin is quite strange and I don’t understand it. It doesn’t seem to be teaching anything, or saying anything at all.

John Lee Supertaster is kind of fun but I don’t really like the pseudo-funk sound. The Edison Museum is kind of neat but the music annoys me too much. The House At The Top Of The Tree is really fun though, I love the rhythm of the whole song and the building feeling. Clap Your Hands is decent, but I don’t really care for it in any way. I Am Not Your Broom might be the best song on here, if only for the first half of the song.

Wake Up Call is kind of strange, and I want to like it but just can’t. I Am A Grocery Bag is almost neat, but eh. Lazyhead And Sleepybones is kind of nice, but not well executed compared to the idea of it. Bed Bed Bed has a cool rhythm to it. Sleepwalkers is fairly nice, though other bands have done tracks like it better. This album is kind of like these last few tracks, mostly good ideas with low levels of execution. I want to love it, even though I’m not the target audience, but it’s just not there.

Final Rating: 7/10

February 27, 2014

Album 0435: Catamenia – Location: COLD

Catamenia-LocationCOLD

Release Date: 2006
Genre: Melodic Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Tribe Of Eternity (05:20)
2. Gallery Of Fear (04:37)
3. Coldbound (05:16)
4. Tuhat Vuotta (04:15)
5. Closed Gates Of Hope (04:34)
6. Zero Gravity (04:41)
7. Location: COLD (05:33)
8. The Day When The Sun Faded Away (05:17)
9. Expect No Mercy (04:28)
10. I Wanna Be Somebody (03:11)

Total Length: 47:13

Tribe Of Eternity is a hell of a song to start off with, featuring a blistering riff and unforgettable chorus. Just plain fantastic. Gallery Of Fear is great as well, and has a bit more influence from the keyboards too. Coldbound is fun and even the generic bridge pleases my ears. This is simply upbeat in a weird way. Tuhat Vuotta is great as well, I love the mixture of vocals on it, you can pick out different voices or let the full mix wash over you.

Closed Gates Of Hope has this in the chorus as well, it’s a frantic song that does its job spectacularly well. Zero Gravity doesn’t offer anything special, it’s just a nice, solid track. Location: COLD is great too, again I love the use of vocals. The Day When The Sun Faded Away has this too, though it’s not quite as strong a song.

Expect No Mercy is pretty awesome, it’s kind of a ‘tougher’ song than the others. I Wanna Be Somebody is a cover of W.A.S.P. and it’s kind of fun. It’s not great, but the chorus is weird simply because it is a cover, in that way. I enjoy this album, but it’s not quite up to this mysterious level that I unfortunately can’t describe. It doesn’t beg me to listen to it over and over.

Final Rating: 8/10

February 26, 2014

Album 0434: Katatonia – Brave Murder Day

katatonia_brave_murder_day

Release Date: 1996
Genre: Death/Doom Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Brave (10:16)
2. Murder (04:54)
3. Day (04:28)
4. Rainroom (06:32)
5. 12 (08:18)
6. Endtime (06:45)

Total Length: 41:14

Brave starts off with some fantastic riffs and vocals by Mikael Akerfeldt. It’s kind of beautiful. The whole song is full of these really, it’s great. Murder continues this on with more great vocals and a creepy atmosphere. Solid track. Day is nice, it’s even creepier though I feel the rhythm never quit makes sense to me. It’s a softer song though, and stands out for that.

Rainroom gets right back into the heavy fold, it’s quite a good track. 12 is a big song akin to the first track and just features so much cool stuff in it. Endtime is a big song as well, quite enjoyable. Very few bits of these songs really keep me coming back over and over, but it’s always great to listen to.

Final Rating: 8/10

February 25, 2014

Album 0433: Danny Elfman – The Frighteners Original Soundtrack

DannyElfman-TheFrighteners

Release Date: 1996
Genre: Soundtrack

Tracklisting:

1. Intro/Titles (05:45)
2. The Lads (02:04)
3. Polttergeists (02:11)
4. Victim #38 (01:54)
5. Who’s Next? (01:46)
6. The Garden (03:09)
7. Chilly (01:30)
8. Time (04:49)
9. Patty’s Place (02:14)
10. Flashbacks (01:10)
11. Patty Attack (03:07)
12. Frank’s Wife (00:53)
13. Doom (03:11)
14. Heaven (01:45)

Total Length: 35:27

Intro/Titles is kind of the highlight of this whole record for me. It covers all the main themes, and has all the nice little Elfman flairs scattered throughout. Just plain enjoyable. The Lads has a bit of pep to its step, the arrangement is kind of the highlight here. Poltergeists doesn’t work as well here outside of the film. Victim #38 is kind of creepy yet somber. Who’s Next? is a decent enough piece.

The Garden seems to crib a bit from some of Elfman’s previous scores, and it’s alright. Chilly actually feels like the Coraline soundtrack, except that was way later, and another composer. Time is a big old piece and has some neat things in it. Patty’s Place is fairly creepy. Flashbacks just doesn’t do anything.

Patty Attack is kind of heavier and big. Frank’s Wife is just a whatever track, honestly. Doom has some cool moments in it though. Heaven is okay. I like this movie, but this isn’t one of his stronger soundtracks. It kind of takes more of a backseat approach.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

February 24, 2014

Album 0432: Why? – Eskimo Snow

Why-EskimoSnow

Release Date: 2009
Genre: Indie Rock

Tracklisting:

1. These Hands (01:46)
2. January Twenty Something (02:24)
3. Against Me (05:12)
4. Even The Good Wood Gone (04:19)
5. Into The Shadows Of My Embrace (04:35)
6. One Rose (03:53)
7. On Rose Walk, Insomniac (02:08)
8. Berkeley By Hearseback (03:40)
9. This Blackest Purse (05:16)
10. Eskimo Snow (02:29)

Total Length: 35:44

These Hands is a nice intro, and it still makes these guys sound like an alternate/mature They Might Be Giants. I just really love the arrangement here. January Twenty Something kind of loses all of its forward momentum in the chorus, but it’s still fairly nice. Against Me is pretty great, I especially love when some of the synth sounds come in and it’s just this bevy of beautiful textures. Just solid all around.

Even The Good Wood Gone has some fun moments as well, though it does that same thing where everything slows down suddenly and kills the pace. I really love the acoustic guitar and piano though. Into The Shadows Of My Embrace has a ton of cool stuff too, this band loves their bell sounds and I can’t help but agree with them. One Rose is a bit slow but overall good, and I can’t help but love that they put in a direct reference to a song from their previous album.

On Rose Walk, Insomniac is kind of short and fast, and unbelievably good. Too good almost. Berkeley By Hearseback is a bit of a step down, but still very solid. This Blackest Purse is much the same, it doesn’t really stick with me. Eskimo Snow is slower and soft, it’s pretty nice. I like it a bit more when these guys are upbeat, but they do all sorts of moods well. This is way more of a solid album for them, they seem to get better each time.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

Tags: ,
February 22, 2014

Album 0431: Sonata Arctica – Stones Grow Her Name

Sonata-Arctica-Stones-Grow-Her-Name-Artwork

Release Date: 2012
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful) (03:24)
2. Shitload Of Money (04:52)
3. Losing My Insanity (04:03)
4. Somewhere Close To You (04:14)
5. I Have A Right (04:48)
6. Alone In Heaven (04:32)
7. The Day (04:15)
8. Cinderblox (04:04)
9. Don’t Be Mean (03:18)
10. Wildfire, Part II: One With The Mountain (07:54)
11. Wildfire, Part III: Wildfire Town, Population 0 (07:57)
12. Tonight I Dance Alone (03:27)

Total Length: 56:45

Only The Broken Hearts (Make You Beautiful) starts the album fairly well, with a cheesy and nearly-generic song. The vocals save it though, and it is pretty catchy. Shitload Of Money is just bland and boring. It’s just vulgar for no reason from a band that never does that, and is basically a straight up rock song that offers nothing interesting. Losing My Insanity on the other hand is fun and an interesting blend of this newer style with the fast pace from their older albums.

Somewhere Close To You has some weird tendencies in it, but the band’s style does shine through and I still really like it. I Have A Right is the same deal, the atmosphere and Tony Kakko’s voice make this song very cool. I just don’t like the guitars, oddly. Alone In Heaven is a really standard ballad, the band can output much better than this. The Day can qualify as that type of song as well, but it’s way better. It has a cheesy intro, but it’s so worth it later on in the song in the prechorus. There’s even a mini Queen bit, just fantastic.

Cinderblox is awesome, screw anyone that says otherwise. The banjo is great and the song is just fun as hell. Don’t Be Mean is a decent, slower track, but it just kind of kills the pace. Wildfire, Part II: One With The Mountain has a neat intro, but the bit with the modulated voice and solo drum set is always tough to listen to. The actual song following that is great, it’s kind of progressive and a good show for the band. Wildfire, Part III: Wildfire Town, Population 0 is heavier while still progressive, and outstanding as well, outside of the ending. Tonight I Dance Alone is completely boring, one of their worst bonus tracks. This album has some standout moments, but they don’t have the magic they used to.

Final Rating: 7/10

February 20, 2014

Album 0430: Rhapsody Of Fire – Dawn Of Victory

Rhapsody-DawnOfVictory

Release Date: 2000
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Lux Triumphans (02:00)
2. Dawn Of Victory (04:47)
3. Triumph For My Magic Steel (05:47)
4. The Village Of Dwarves (03:52)
5. Dargor, Shadowlord Of The Black Mountain (04:48)
6. The Bloody Rage Of The Titans (06:23)
7. Holy Thunderforce (04:22)
8. Trolls In The Dark (02:32)
9. The Last Winged Unicorn (05:44)
10. The Mighty Ride Of The Firelord (09:17)
11. Guardians (04:23)
12. The Mighty Ride Of The Firelord (edited) (04:48)
13. Holy Thunderforce (alternate mix) (04:21)
14. Triumph For My Magic Steel (alternate mix) (05:46)

Total Length: 01:08:50

Lux Triumphans begins with more of their terrible voiceovers from this era. It’s so bad. The rest of the song is like their other intros though, it’s pretty solid. Dawn Of Victory shows a maturation of the band’s sound even further from their last album. It’s pure, fast metal but with the cinematic qualities that they love. Triumph For My Magic Steel is pretty great, though I never really pay full attention to it.

The Village Of Dwarves is a change of pace, it’s a bit more atmospheric and slower paced. It really plays up the fantasy aspect more than almost any other track on here, I really like it. Dargor, Shadowlord Of The Black Mountain is great, though I kind of prefer the longer pace of the extended version featured on another record. The Bloody Rage Of The Titans cranks up the cinematic factor, and I love the instrumental break in it.

Holy Thunderforce is the first song I ever heard by this band, and I still love it. It’s pitch perfect. Trolls In The Dark is just a super fun instrumental, I love the little bits they throw in to it. The Last Winged Unicorn has some great moments in it, but it’s a song I’ve never really loved. The Mighty Ride Of The Firelord is a bigger song, it’s fantastic. It’s one of those songs that just is always fun to listen to, one of the first from this band that really caught my attention.

Guardians is a Helloween cover, it’s a bit more straight forward than their own stuff, but they do it really well, and it’s just too fun. The edited version of The Mighty Ride Of The Firelord keeps some of the bits I like, but strips the epic feel of it. The alternate mix tracks are cool, but it’s kind of hard to notice a difference to be honest. They still sound great. This whole album is solid, even if I feel like it stagnates at some bits, it’s still at a solid plateau.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

February 17, 2014

Album 0429: Borknagar – Quintessence

Borknagar-Quintessence

Release Date: 2000
Genre: Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Rivalry Of Phantoms (04:36)
2. The Presence Is Ominous (04:55)
3. Ruins Of The Future (04:55)
4. Colossus (04:28)
5. Inner Landscape (02:51)
6. Invincible (04:25)
7. Icon Dreams (04:33)
8. Genesis Torn (05:15)
9. Embers (01:26)
10. Revolt (06:05)

Total Length: 43:28

Rivalry Of Phantoms doesn’t even hesitate before blasting into its opening, and it’s fairly good. This album was intended to be more straight forward than what the band had done before, so ICS Vortex kind of subdues his vocals here, but they still pop out. The Presence Is Ominous lets those shine through more, and I enjoy it much more than the opener. Ruins Of The Future is pretty solid as well, and covers a couple different tempos throughout. It’s a neat variety.

Colossus has some good moments as well, but nothing I really love. Inner Landscape is a short instrumental, more of an interlude. It’s got some cool keyboard stuff in it. Invincible has some neat things going on, but unfortunately these songs don’t grip me. They don’t urge me to come back around and listen again once they’re over. Icon Dreams has this same issue, but it has more clean ICS vocal goodness.

Genesis Torn has some very cool bits as well, especially near the end. Embers is kind of a prelude to the last track, it’s a really basic instrumental. I’m not too fond of it. Revolt starts off well, but goes on a bit long. I wish I liked this more, and this band in general more, but it’s just not my style. It doesn’t focus on the things that I prefer, but not everything can be a winner.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

February 13, 2014

Album 0428: Metallica – Master Of Puppets

Metallica-Master-of-Puppets

Release Date: 1986
Genre: Thrash Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Battery (05:14)
2. Master Of Puppets (08:38)
3. The Thing That Should Not Be (06:39)
4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) (06:30)
5. Disposable Heroes (08:18)
6. Leper Messiah (05:44)
7. Orion (08:29)
8. Damage, Inc. (05:30)

Total Length: 55:01

Battery begins this monster of an album with a gorgeous usage of acoustic guitars before getting into a really powerful riff that alternates between galloping and doing some other odd things. Just a very strong song to start this album with, the chorus is a highlight too. Master Of Puppets is a classic track, with an opening riff that anyone playing guitar tries at some point. Some times I think this song is a bit too long, but I never really get bored during it. Just a pleasant mix of all sorts of things.

The Thing That Should Not Be is probably my least favorite song on here, it’s just kind of odd at parts. Mostly I’m not fond of the solo and the last couple minutes. Welcome Home (Sanitarium) is a bit slower paced and I certainly like it more than the previous track. It focuses more on the melody and is dark in a good. Disposable Heroes is also unnecessarily long and a little bit boring to me. The only thing that really sticks with me is the guitar lead after the prechorus.

Leper Messiah is also slightly uninteresting to me. It’s hard to place into words, but it just plain doesn’t catch me. Orion is a big instrumental track. It’s got a ton of great riffs and moments on it, and kind of stands out. Damage, Inc. is probably the fastest song on the album after the atmospheric intro. It doesn’t pull any punches in any way and it is pretty fantastic. It’s a good end to this classic album. I can’t admit to liking all of it, but none of it truly bothers me.

Final Rating: 8/10

February 12, 2014

Album 0427: Disillusion – Back To Times Of Splendor

Disillusion-BackToTimesOfSplendor

Release Date: 2004
Genre: Progressive Metal

Tracklisting:

1. …And The Mirror Cracked (08:28)
2. Fall (04:54)
3. Alone I Stand In Fires (06:53)
4. Back To Times Of Splendor (14:39)
5. A Day By The Lake (04:54)
6. The Sleep Of Restless Hours (17:03)

Total Length: 56:50

…And The Mirror Cracked is a monster of a song, though admittedly on an album filled with behemoths. The riffs are immediately gripping, I love the fast pace and different sections through the whole song, and I don’t think I’d be able to gush on the vocals here enough. Fall is a great, shorter song as well. This one is highly reminiscent of the material the band presented on their EP before this album. It’s just a great mixture of progressive material through the lens of extreme metal.

Alone I Stand In Fires isn’t quite as invigorating as the previous tracks, but still a very solid song. Back To Times Of Splendor is a big piece. I really love the symphonic intro, and the song keeps building and going in different directions. It’s hard to describe, but I am never at any point bored in this humongous track. I really like the opening theme coming back as well, and the only part I could say anything negative about is the fastest section. It’s a short one, but the mastering meant that overall that part feels lower in volume to the rest of it.

A Day By The Lake is laid back and has these repeating guitars throughout that are fairly neat. It feels like more of an intro to the last track than its own piece. The Sleep Of Restless Hours is enormous, starting with an acoustic guitar to build things up. We get some amazing stuff here, it’s really tough to describe. I could probably describe this section by section, but it’s not really in me right now. Just know that it’s amazing and entirely worth checking out, this whole album is.

Final Rating: 9.5/10