Archive for April, 2014

April 14, 2014

Album 0450: Iron Maiden – Piece Of Mind

IronMaiden-PieceOfMind

Release Date: 1983
Genre: Heavy Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Where Eagles Dare (06:13)
2. Revelations (06:49)
3. Flight Of Icarus (03:50)
4. Die With Your Boots On (05:26)
5. The Trooper (04:12)
6. Still Life (04:56)
7. Quest For Fire (03:42)
8. Sun And Steel (03:27)
9. To Tame A Land (07:26)
10. I’ve Got The Fire (02:39)
11. Cross-Eyed Mary (03:54)

Total Length: 52:34

Where Eagles Dare is a tremendous start to the album, with some awesome riffs and rhythms. I can’t imagine hearing this when it first came out. Fantastic track. Revelations takes things at a slower pace, and has a lot of fantastic bits in it. I really like the section with the acoustic guitars, for instance. Flight Of Icarus has an amazing chorus that pushes the whole song along, because the verses surely don’t. Very solid track though.

Die With Your Boots On is a classic song, but in all honesty, it’s just cheesy and makes me laugh. I think there’s a fine song in here, but when those backing vocals come in during the chorus it just ruins everything the song was trying up to that point. The Trooper is amazing though, it’s one of the songs that best represents the band. It’s fun, upbeat, and catchy, while still providing a good range between melody and instrumental fire. Still Life starts with a strange backwards vocal deal, but the song has some elements/hints of the band adding more progressive elements to their songs. Very cool track.

Quest For Fire kind of does nothing for me. It’s a fine song, but it doesn’t really hold up compared to some of the others on here. Sun And Steel has some neat rhythms but is otherwise entirely forgettable. To Tame A Land is another track where they seem to be flexing some prog muscles, and while it’s not my favorite on here it’s still a hell of a song. It also ends the standard album on a good note.

I’ve Got The Fire was originally by Montrose, and under the title I Got The Fire. The song is decent but feels really lackluster on its own and as something the band would perform. Probably just because it’s a product of another time. Cross-Eyed Mary is a Jethro Tull track, and well more suited for the band. They put their own touch on it really well and it’s a lot of fun. The whole album is still odd to get into, just due to not being that into the band as well as odd little tics like the chorus in track four. Otherwise, it’s kind of a joyous metal album, which might sound odd to some.

Final Rating: 8/10

April 10, 2014

Album 0449: Yes – Close To The Edge

Yes-CloseToTheEdge

Release Date: 1972
Genre: Progressive Rock

Tracklisting:

1. Close To The Edge

    I. The Solid Time Of Change
    II. Total Mass Retain
    III. I Get Up, I Get Down
    IV. Seasons Of Man (18:43)

2. And You And I
    I. Cord Of Life
    II. Eclipse
    III. The Preacher, The Teacher
    IV. Apocalypse (10:09)

3. Siberian Khatru (09:01)
4. America (single edit) (04:13)
5. Total Mass Retain (03:21)
6. And You And I
    I. Cord Of Life
    II. Eclipse
    III. The Preacher, The Teacher
    IV. Apocalypse (alternative version) (10:18)

7. Siberia (studio run through) (09:20)

Total Length: 01:05:04

Close To The Edge is an epic song that begins and takes up a huge chunk of the album. The Solid Time Of Change begins this piece with some craziness, as all the instruments kind of go off and do their own thing until it all comes back down to earth. It brings us into the main theme of the track, and I quite like it. Total Mass Retain is a fun section of the track, and I’ll speak more on it later. I Get Up, I Get Down is probably the coolest and most progressive section. The song slows way down, and we get some neat atmosphere building. Things really come to a head when a huge church organ comes in. It sounds cacophonous at first, but the melody comes through and it’s quite gorgeous. Seasons Of Man ends this whole track well, and it makes for a great, epic song.

And You And I is by far my favorite song on here though. After a little bit of musing, Cord Of Life begins this track with a buildup to a fantastic melody. The section ends with the main phrase coming out, and it gets stuck in my head so easily. Eclipse is kind of out there, but it’s still fantastic. The Preacher, The Teacher continues being great, and has so many bits that stick with me. Apocalypse ends things well, and it makes for a song I won’t get tired of listening to for a very long time.

Siberian Khatru is kind of a jam song, though it’s highly structured. I haven’t fallen in love with it, at least in comparison to the reverence the song gets. It’s kind of a nuts song with a ton of cool stuff in it, but it hasn’t really gripped me. Doesn’t stop me from appreciating it. America is a cover that they did elsewhere, and this is actually the edited down version. The original was over ten minutes long, so this one I think loses a lot and until I found that out I couldn’t figure out why they would make the song like this.

Total Mass Retain is the section from the opening track edited and put out as a single, though rearranged a bit to have a new intro and uses some other bits from the rest of the track. It actually kind of holds up well on its own, though it’s for sure not my preferred way to listen to it. The alternative version of And You And I has a fair amount of differences, it’s kind of rougher and the keyboards are different. It’s not as polished as the final version, but the magic of the song is still there, frankly. Siberia is a run-through of the similarly titled song in the studio. It’s as rough as the track before it, but again still has all of the great qualities of the final version. I like this album more each time I hear it, more specifically referring to the main three tracks. It kind of breezes by and is a joy to listen to.

Final Rating: 8.5/10

April 8, 2014

Album 0448: Atheist – Jupiter

Atheist-Jupiter

Release Date: 2010
Genre: Technical Death Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Second To Sun (04:02)
2. Fictitious Glide (04:51)
3. Fraudulent Cloth (03:22)
4. Live And Live Again (03:37)
5. Faux King Christ (04:00)
6. Tortoise The Titan (03:38)
7. When The Beast (04:55)
8. Third Person (04:08)

Total Length: 32:32

Second To Sun has some cool vocal moments and riffs, but it never gels together for me into a cohesive whole. The song just kind of goes and then ends, or at least that’s how my brain interprets it. Fictitious Glide is much the same, honestly. It’s even less interesting than the first track to be honest. Fraudulent Cloth is a little better but still unimaginative. For me, the album actually starts on the next track.

Live And Live Again is by far the best song on here. It explores some things the band hadn’t explored before, and the riffs and rhythms are fantastic. The guitars in the chorus especially stick with me, and the vocals only cement it. Faux King Christ is a decent song once you get past the childish pun. It holds up fairly well. Tortoise The Titan really does nothing for me, it’s just bland and ‘there.’

When The Beast has more interesting bits to it, mostly with the guitars. If they explored stuff like this and track four more, I would have greatly enjoyed this album. Third Person has a few memorable moments to it, but I don’t love it. This band isn’t my favorite, and while some of their stuff is great I also can’t say that I put a lot of pressure on this first album in nearly two decades. I tried to listen to it on its own, but even then it doesn’t really get there.

Final Rating: 6/10

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April 7, 2014

Album 0447: Bomb The Music Industry! – To Leave Or Die In Long Island

BTMI-TLODILI

Release Date: 2005
Genre: Ska/Punk/Hardcore

Tracklisting:

1. Happy Anterrabae Day!!! (02:58)
2. Congratulations, John, On Joining Every Time I Die (02:36)
3. Showerbeers! (00:54)
4. Stand There Until You’re Sober (04:14)
5. Dude, Get With The Program (04:18)
6. Bomb The Music Industry! (And Action Action) (And Refused) (And Born Against) Are Fucking Dead (02:46)
7. Brian Wilson Says SMiLE! (A.K.A. Beard Of Defiance) (03:13)
8. Syke! Life Is Awesome! (03:59)

Total Length: 24:58

Happy Anterrabae Day!!! has an amazing intro that builds up the excitement for this whole little release and the song by itself. It’s fast and fun, and has cool, somewhat uplifting lyrics. Just a ton of fun. Congratulations, John, On Joining Every Time I Die is a ton of fun as well, even if Jeff Rosenstock is making fun of something that ended up not happening, but the slights against the band in the title are neat.

Showerbeers! is a short as hell track, and not really my style. It’s more happy hardcore but doesn’t do anything for me. Stand There Until You’re Sober is slower and kind of depressive, but it works well. Kind of fun to sing along to as well. Dude, Get With The Program is much more upbeat and a fantastic song. Bomb The Music Industry! (And Action Action) (And Refused) (And Born Against) Are Fucking Dead has the most ska influence on here, and while the vocals aren’t as clear on the other tracks, the happiness comes through loud and clear.

Brian Wilson Says SMiLE! (A.K.A. Beard Of Defiance) goes all over the place, and while there are definitely some bits about it that don’t tickle me, it’s not a bad song at all. Syke! Life Is Awesome! has a fake-out intro and is a ridiculously cool track. They kind of pull out all the stops here. It’s a great way to cap off this mini-album, and it’s still one of my favorite releases, even if that feels odd to say.

Final Rating: 8/10

April 6, 2014

Album 0446: Devin Townsend – Ocean Machine: Biomech

DevinTownsend-OceanMachine

Release Date: 1997
Genre: Progressive Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Seventh Wave (06:51)
2. Life (04:32)
3. Night (04:45)
4. Hide Nowhere (05:01)
5. Sister (02:49)
6. 3 A.M. (01:57)
7. Voices In The Fan (04:40)
8. Greetings (02:53)
9. Regulator (05:06)
10. Funeral (08:06)
11. Bastard

    I. Not One Of My Better Days
    II. The Girl From Blue City (10:17)

12. The Death Of Music (12:15)
13. Things Beyond Things (04:47)

Total Length: 01:13:58

Seventh Wave begins with some modulated talking, speaking of the earth. It’s kind of annoying on repeated listens, but at least it’s fairly short. The riff that starts up is pretty great and this is pretty solid Devy goodness. A great sound and some cool moments that stick in your head, but the best on here is yet to come. Life is more uplifting and really great. It gets caught in your head, and though I think some of the mix is a little muddled, I love the changes with the electronic backing during the verse and the guitars pounding in during the chorus. Fantastic song.

Night isn’t quite as good of a song, but it is solid in its own way. It kind of keeps consistent, when I would have preferred a bit more variety. Hide Nowhere is kind of… standard until the bridge and things start going nuts with vocals all over the place and it gets awesome. This second half brings the song up considerably. Sister is a nice little soft track, and while I like it it never really hits the spot for me.

The same can be said for 3 A.M. because while I like the atmosphere, it’s fairly forgettable. Voices In The Fan is well worth the buildup that is allowed from the breather of the previous track. The rhythm and vocals in this are amazing and just stick with me. The last bit is kind of neat too, a random use of choir vocals. Greetings works more as an extended intro for this next song, it doesn’t really set itself apart and it’s kind of forgotten when the next track starts.

Regulator is a monster of a track, even though it’s shorter by a large margin than the three tracks after it. The opening riffs build up amazingly, and the whole song just relishes on the fun. Funeral is a bit different, but just as well done a song. It’s hard to even begin to explain what this song does, but it combines the heaviness with samples looping and building and it’s just unbelievably cool.

Bastard is a large track, I don’t really know where the two sections are in relativity to each other though. It doesn’t have as many highs for me as the previous song, but it’s still a solid track. The Death Of Music is a long ambient track, moving in and out of patterns and atmospheres. The song is just a bit long, and it comes at the heel end of the album and feels like it’s dragging things out. Things Beyond Things is at least a fitting ending, the calm feelings radiating from it work really well, other than the ending, which is a random bit of screaming for no reason. This whole album has grown on me more each time, and though I tend to skip the last few tracks, the rest make up for them.

Final Rating: 8/10

April 3, 2014

Album 0445: My Dying Bride – The Dreadful Hours

MyDyingBride-TheDreadfulHours

Release Date: 2001
Genre: Doom/Death Metal

Tracklisting:

1. The Dreadful Hours (09:24)
2. The Raven And The Rose (08:13)
3. Le Figlie Della Tempesta (10:08)
4. Black Heart Romance (05:24)
5. A Cruel Taste Of Winter (07:36)
6. My Hope, The Destroyer (06:45)
7. The Deepest Of All Hearts (08:56)
8. Return To The Beautiful (14:24)

Total Length: 01:10:49

The Dreadful Hours begins with the sound of a thunderstorm and some fairly depressive guitar musings. It’s really hypnotic, honestly. We eventually switch over to a faster, heavier section more focused on the death metal aspects. It’s a bit of an awkward transition, but that’s forgotten once the great riffs start. The Raven And The Rose is just as diverse a track, and great as well. It’s a pretty cool mixture most of the time.

Le Figlie Della Tempesta has a slower intro, heavier for the most part, and a slower outro. It’s quite nice, and my favorite bit is some of the riffs in the middle. Black Heart Romance is overall more thoughtful and slower, but that doesn’t really translate well for me. It just leaves me slightly depressed and glad the song is over. A Cruel Taste Of Winter has some cool moments as well, but doesn’t hold up to the earlier tracks in my opinion.

My Hope, The Destroyer is much better, and builds really well. Great track. The Deepest Of All Hearts is solid as well. Not standout, but good. Return To The Beautiful is a huge song, and a re-recorded track from their first album. It’s got a lot of variety contained just in its own length. I can’t really connect to these songs too well, partly because they don’t really get stuck in my head. That’s not something that’s necessary, but it helps. It makes me at least want to come back and listen more and find those intricacies. I’ve found more here over time, but it’s slow going. Hopefully I’ll find more in the future.

Final Rating: 7.5/10