Archive for March, 2014

March 27, 2014

Album 0444: Dream Theater – Images And Words

DreamTheater-ImagesAndWords

Release Date: 1992
Genre: Progressive Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Pull Me Under (08:14)
2. Another Day (04:23)
3. Take The Time (08:21)
4. Surrounded (05:30)
5. Metropolis Part I: The Miracle And The Sleeper (09:32)
6. Under A Glass Moon (07:03)
7. Wait For Sleep (02:32)
8. Learning To Live (11:30)

Total Length: 57:06

Pull Me Under is a quintessential Dream Theater song. It’s got some heaviness to it, it’s clearly progressive, and hits the right melodic notes to strike heavy chords in a person. Each instrument stands out and is fantastic to listen to, and the lyrics are fairly poetic. The song flows insanely well, and never feels boring at any point. Another Day is a fairly decent ballad, I still can’t really get into it even to this day though. The cheesy as hell sax solo and late 80s style production just kill it.

Take The Time is pretty great for most of its run, it gets into some weird bits and is definitely one of the more progressive songs on the album. I never really think of it first when thinking of songs from the album, but it is definitely solid. Surrounded starts off as a simple ballad, but quickly becomes much more. It took me a while to come around on the song, but I find it a joy to listen to these days.

Metropolis Part I: The Miracle And The Sleeper is definitely the most ‘out there’ song on the album, where the band goes full tilt into whatever they feel like doing at any moment, especially in the big instrumental section, featuring a great bass solo. Under A Glass Moon is fantastic as well. I love that all the songs on here have their own edge and textures do them, it really helps someone new to the album separate them, but they are also still clearly from the same album.

Wait For Sleep is a brief but nice, quiet song. Powered just by piano, strings, and James LaBrie’s voice, it’s a beautiful little track. It also serves as an intro to the final track. Learning To Live is a hell of a song as well, big and covers a lot of ground. It’s not my favorite on here, but I can’t deny it being a great track. This album is just super, super solid. I have some minor issues with it, but that’s all they are.

Final Rating: 9.5/10

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March 26, 2014

Album 0443: Richard Gibbs – Battlestar Galactica Miniseries Original Soundtrack

RichardGibbs-BSGM

Release Date: 2004
Genre: Soundtrack

Tracklisting:

1. Are You Alive?/Battlestar Galactica Main Title (05:33)
2. Goodbye, Baby (02:30)
3. Starbuck Buck Buck (01:55)
4. To Kiss Or Not To Kiss (02:47)
5. Six Sex (01:54)
6. Deep Sixed (02:03)
7. The Day Comes (01:12)
8. Counterattack (02:46)
9. Cylons Fire (01:41)
10. A Call To Arms (01:07)
11. Apollo To The Rescue (02:01)
12. Launch Vipers (04:32)
13. Seal The Bulkheads (02:16)
14. The Lottery Ticket (03:11)
15. Eighty-Five Dead (01:36)
16. Inbound (01:29)
17. Apollo Is Gone/Starbuck Returns (02:23)
18. The Storm And The Dead (02:47)
19. Thousands Left Behind (02:15)
20. Silica Pathways (03:36)
21. Reunited (02:00)
22. The Sense Of Six (03:08)
23. Starbuck’s Recon (01:14)
24. Battle (07:46)
25. Good Night (02:43)
26. By Your Command (01:59)

Total Length: 01:08:24

Are You Alive? basically serves as the basis for the main theme of the whole series, it’s pretty evocative. Battlestar Galactica Main Title lays a lot of those seeds as well, it’s got a great host of good melodies and emotions. Goodbye, Baby carries on some of the themes, and is pretty great. Starbuck Buck Buck is annoying, and a perfect example of why I didn’t like her character at first. This is like a discarded Sphongle track.

To Kiss Or Not To Kiss has some of those same bits, but uses them to much greater effect. Six Sex isn’t much on its own. Deep Sixed isn’t either, but it is definitely creepy. The Day Comes doesn’t work on its own. Counterattack is cool. Cylons Fire is kind of freaky at points. A Call To Arms and Apollo To The Rescue just kind of go by unceremoniously. Launch Vipers has some somewhat neat bits in it.

Seal The Bulkheads is fine. The Lottery Ticket is depressing, but it’s meant to be that way. Eighty-Five Dead is sad as well. Inbound is forgettable. Apollo Is Gone/Starbuck Returns is great, I love that bell type sound. The Storm And The Dead is alright. Thousands Left Behind sounds kind of generic, but good. Silica Pathways is okay. Reunited is fairly nice.

The Sense Of Six goes back to that main bell rhythm, and it’s got a great buildup. Battle is kind of long and boring, but it works. Good Night is great, I love that melody. By Your Command brings everything full circle in a fairly good way. I tend to prefer some of the melodies and themes from the full series, but a lot of that was built on the ground work here. This is solid, and works well in context, and Richard Gibbs was a member of Boingo so he at least gets some points from that.

Final Rating: 5/10

March 19, 2014

Album 0442: Obtained Enslavement – The Shepherd And The Hounds Of Hell

ObtainedEnslavement-TSATHOH

Release Date: 2000
Genre: Black Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Scrolls Of The Shadowland (04:46)
2. Ride The Whore (04:29)
3. Lucifer’s Lament (06:06)
4. Millenium Beast (Awaiting The Feast) (05:54)
5. Stepping Over Angels (05:39)
6. The Shepherd And The Hounds Of Hell (07:24)
7. Utopia Obtained (06:29)

Total Length: 40:46

Scrolls Of The Shadowland has a tremendous intro, and the nice clean production is refreshing to hear. The band presents some great and monstrous riffs, and keeps you on your toes. There’s also some clean vocals, which are neat and didn’t really show up in the other album I heard by this band. The bridge takes on a neoclassical stance, but the vocals are odd and don’t really help. The song finishes well though.

Ride The Whore is solid as well, lots of great riffs and again I like that it keeps changing pace throughout, and not in an annoying way. Lucifer’s Lament is great as well, even if it does a few weird things. There’s like a stop-start vocal section that doesn’t work, it goes on too long in the stop part. Cool song otherwise though. Millenium Beast (Awaiting The Feast) has some fantastic fast bits, and also a great slower section with good clean vocals.

Stepping Over Angels has an amazing opening, and the rest of the song is great as well. The Shepherd And The Hounds Of Hell has a slower start, but it’s a good kind of slow. The song may be the tiniest bit long for me, but it’s still wonderful. Utopia Obtained is overall a faster song, but that’s to be expected. It’s not as diverse as the previous track, but still great. A solid end to the album, and this band’s career. It was their last album, by the way. It also definitely grew on me from the first time I heard it, and this band is up there for me now as far as the genre goes.

Final Rating: 8/10

March 10, 2014

Album 0441: Frostmoon – Tordenkrig

Frostmoon-Tordenkrig

Release Date: 1999
Genre: Black/Folk Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Skogsrøst (03:46)
2. Vikingmakt (04:02)
3. Iskaldt Raseri (00:50)
4. Norgesriket Hylles (03:55)
5. Hersker Av Mørket (05:24)
6. For All Tid (04:15)
7. A Funeral Memorial (03:18)
8. Behind The Snowcovered Mountains (00:52)
9. Attack Of The Northern Frostwinds (04:34)
10. Black Bestial Funeral (03:10)

Total Length: 34:05

Skogsrøst has a cool intro, and despite the sudden change in timbre, the rest of the song is cool and I kind of like how it sounds, it’s a subtle type of lo-fi. The vocals work well, and it’s just solid stuff. Vikingmakt has a big folk influence, including some cool (muted) choral vocals and more traditional folk guitar leads. Iskaldt Raseri is a tiny little track and I don’t really get why it exists. It doesn’t do anything abstract enough to justify being so short.

Norgesriket Hylles has some clean vocals appearing here for the first time which adds a new flair. Hersker Av Mørket kind of has two halves two it. The first is more like the other tracks on here, while the second half is more of an instrumental and really cool. For All Tid is a bit slower and tries to builds its pace more, but it’s not quite as good as some of the other tracks on here, for me.

A Funeral Memorial is fantastic though. This song makes me wonder why it took me so long to come around on this album. It really wasn’t until today that I really got it. Behind The Snowcovered Mountains is just a short piano piece, it’s kind of nice. Attack Of The Northern Frostwinds is a pretty good track. Black Bestial Funeral ends things in an okay way, it’s on the more average end of songs. This is a cool little album, and sadly their only release. Supposedly the band got back together seven years ago, but that doesn’t seem to have gone anywhere.

Final Rating: 8/10

March 9, 2014

Album 0440: Less Than Jake – Pezcore

Less_Than_Jake-Pezcore-Frontal

Release Date: 1995
Genre: Ska/Punk

Tracklisting:

1. Liquor Store (02:44)
2. My Very Own Flag (02:47)
3. Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts (02:57)
4. Big (03:06)
5. Shotgun (02:57)
6. Black Coffee (02:26)
7. Throw The Brick (02:11)
8. Growing Up On A Couch (02:32)
9. Blindsided (02:54)
10. Downbeat (02:12)
11. Jen Doesn’t Like Me Anymore (02:57)
12. Out Of The Crowd (02:32)
13. Robo (01:36)
14. Where In The Hell Is Mike Sinkovich? (02:13)
15. Process (02:42)
16. Three Quarts Drunk (02:08)
17. Boomtown (02:45)
18. Short On Ideas (01:48)
19. One Last Cigarette/Laverne & Shirley (04:37)

Total Length: 50:02

Liquor Store is one of the band’s most classic songs, and a fantastic start to the album. It’s super catchy and gets stuck in your head. My Very Own Flag is also a great little piece, with an emotional element attached and even an ‘arena rock’ segment. Johnny Quest Thinks We’re Sellouts is one of the highlights of the album as well, it’s incredibly memorable and has a ridiculously good intro. I love this song.

Big is decent, but noticeably less interesting and even the band themselves don’t seem as invested. It is one of their earliest songs though, so I can forgive some issues with it in that sense. Shotgun doesn’t really stand out too much, except for the bridge which is this deal with the horns that they never really revisited, ever. It reminds me of early RxB oddly. Black Coffee doesn’t have any real redeeming qualities though.

Throw The Brick was apparently written in the studio, which is amazing since the whole album was recorded in 19 hours. It’s a fun, simple song that I’ve always been fond of. Growing Up On A Couch is a neat song, but the second track does almost everything it does even better. Blindsided is fairly fun, it’s oddly a bit too long which usually isn’t an issue on this album. Downbeat is almost good, but the rhythms are kind of ‘off’ for me.

Jen Doesn’t Like Me Anymore is another really classic track from the band, it gets stuck in your head easily, and it and track three were redone on the band’s next album. Out Of The Crowd has some fun moments in it. Robo isn’t very good, sadly, because it’s at least got a cool title. Where In The Hell Is Mike Sinkovich? is great, I’ve always liked this one. Process is decent, it doesn’t really stand out.

Three Quarts Drunk bores be until the last 20 seconds or so when things pick up and then the song’s over. Boomtown is great, another simple song I love. Short On Ideas isn’t my favorite, but I like that it doesn’t really end, it just leads directly into One Last Cigarette, which is a pretty good ending track. There’s a hidden track of the band playing the theme from Laverne & Shirley which is kind of funny. This is a solid starting album for the band, even if there are a few duds.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

March 7, 2014

Album 0439: Morbid Angel – Altars Of Madness

MorbidAngel-AltarsOfMadness

Release Date: 1989
Genre: Death Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Immortal Rites (04:04)
2. Suffocation (03:15)
3. Visions From The Dark Side (04:10)
4. Maze Of Torment (04:25)
5. Lord Of All Fevers & Plague (03:26)
6. Chapel Of Ghouls (04:58)
7. Bleed For The Devil (02:23)
8. Damnation (04:10)
9. Blasphemy (03:32)
10. Evil Spells (04:12)
11. Maze Of Torment (remixed) (04:24)
12. Chapel Of Ghouls (remixed) (04:56)
13. Blasphemy (remixed) (03:26)

Total Length: 51:21

Immortal Rites is a fantastic song that makes this album start running. It has a weird but memorable intro, some great riffs, and even hints at a symphonic death metal fusion that didn’t really get explored by them or other bands until later. The vocals aren’t my favorite, but they work fine. Suffocation is solid as well, but nothing stands out as much as the previous song. Visions From The Dark Side has some great riffs as well, though I wish the few seconds at the end could have been expanded on more.

Maze Of Torment doesn’t really stand out, it’s just fairly good. Lord Of All Fevers & Plague has some great riffs and rhythms, it’s a fun song. Chapel OF Ghouls is pretty great because honestly I find the lyrics humorous and the song has good riffs. Bleed For The Devil is decent, but doesn’t set itself apart. Damnation is much the same. I want to find joy in these songs, but all I find are some good riffs that satiate me for a short while.

Blasphemy continues this trend of staying the course. Evil Spells has a few neat moments in it, I suppose. The last three tracks are remixed versions, using all the same tracks and such. They don’t sound entirely different, but the drums are a bit cleaner and more present, and some things like the solos in certain tracks are louder. It’s kind of neat to hear, but not enough of a difference to really pay a whole lot of attention to. This album is just plain solid. It doesn’t grip me, but I can’t dislike it, it’s not bad.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

March 4, 2014

Album 0438: Insomnium – Since The Day It All Came Down

Insomnium Since The Day It All Came Down

Release Date: 2004
Genre: Melodic Death Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Nocturne (01:58)
2. The Day It All Came Down (04:56)
3. Daughter Of The Moon (06:10)
4. The Moment Of Reckoning (05:46)
5. Bereavement (04:16)
6. Under The Plaintive Sky (04:10)
7. Resonance (02:30)
8. Death Walked The Earth (05:09)
9. Disengagement (08:39)
10. Closing Words (04:26)
11. Song Of The Forlorn Son (05:45)

Total Length: 53:45

Nocturne is a pretty effective intro, I’m a huge sucker for dark, creepy pianos. The Day It All Came Down has some cool bits in it, but this whole band and album feels like it’s missing something. It’s not on the level of the previous album, but it’s the same basic idea. They have neat concepts, but self contain it and it all feels similar to each other and never goes anywhere. Daughter Of The Moon is much the same.

These tracks could be switched around with each other at no real cost to the album. There’s almost no ebb and flow here. The Moment Of Reckoning continues on this path of blandness. Bereavement offers nothing new. Under The Plaintive Sky just turns my brain off. As in I literally can’t remember anything about it while it plays. Resonance is more of an intro track, kind of an acoustic musing that is at least kind of something different.

Death Walked The Earth has some fairly good moments, that again could have been used way more effectively by other bands. It also sounds really weird when it switches to the clean/acoustic part, like the mastering engineer couldn’t figure out what to do with it. Disengagement tries to be a ‘bigger’ song by changing things up multiple times throughout its run, but it just doesn’t work. Closing Words is bland as hell. Song Of The Forlorn Son doesn’t do anything at all. I want to like these guys’ style, but it’s just not clear what exactly they want from me. I’m probably spouting nonsense, but it’s hard to make clear why this just sits there like a dead fish.

Final Rating: 5/10

March 3, 2014

Album 0437: Firewind – Days Of Defiance

Firewind-DaysOfDefiance

Release Date: 2010
Genre: Power Metal

Tracklisting:

1. The Ark Of Lies (04:44)
2. World On Fire (04:38)
3. Chariot (04:38)
4. Embrace The Sun (04:05)
5. The Departure (00:44)
6. Heading For The Dawn (04:00)
7. Broken (03:24)
8. Cold As Ice (04:34)
9. Kill In The Name Of Love (04:27)
10. SKG (05:19)
11. Losing Faith (04:11)
12. The Yearning (04:53)
13. When All Is Said And Done (05:08)
14. Wild Rose (04:25)
15. Ride To The Rainbow’s End (04:32)
16. Breaking The Law (02:38)

Total Length: 01:06:20

The Ark Of Lies is a decent intro song with a decent intro of its own. It has a fairly nice chorus, and I like some of the guitar bits going on in the background. World On Fire is an okay track, and kind of exemplifies this whole album. It’s nothing you can hate, it’s just very baseline and almost boring. Chariot is much the same as well. Embrace The Sun is almost neat as well, these songs just need an extra flair, another songwriter to weigh in on them.

The Departure is basically an intro, it’s kind of nice. Heading For The Dawn is an above average song for the band, but I still forget everything about it the moment it is over. Broken is kind of their attempt at a ballad, but again it falls short. Cold As Ice basically sounds like a lesser song from Dream Evil’s first album, so Gus G is kind of ripping himself off here, which is why this is probably the best song on the album.

Kill In The Name Of Love is pretty boring, to be honest. SKG is an instrumental and one of the better tracks for it, it actually has some memorable bits. Losing Faith is fairly decent, it at least has a catchy hook. The Yearning doesn’t set itself apart in any real way though. When All Is Said And Done is kind of neat though, it has a couple moments that would be great in other songs. Wild Rose is completely unimaginative, same thing with Ride To The Rainbow’s End. Judas Priest originally did Breaking The Law and the cover here is decent but definitely lesser than the original. Firewind is a band that I don’t think will ever captivate me.

Final Rating: 6/10