Archive for August, 2014

August 15, 2014

Album 0462: Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

ArcadeFire-TheSuburbs

Release Date: 2010
Genre: Indie Rock

Tracklisting:

1. The Suburbs (05:15)
2. Ready To Start (04:16)
3. Modern Man (04:40)
4. Rococo (03:57)
5. Empty Room (02:52)
6. City With No Children (03:12)
7. Half Light I (04:14)
8. Half Light II (No Celebration) (04:27)
9. Suburban War (04:45)
10. Month Of May (03:51)
11. Wasted Hours (03:21)
12. Deep Blue (04:28)
13. We Used To Wait (05:01)
14. Sprawl I (Flatland) (02:54)
15. Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) (05:26)
16. The Suburbs (Continued) (01:28)
17. Culture War (05:24)
18. Speaking In Tongues (03:52)
19. Wasted Hours (A Life That We Can Live) (04:26)

Total Length: 01:17:47

The Suburbs starts with a sound that has become all too familiar. A positive-feeling beat, some piano, and acoustic guitar behind it all. It’s kind of standard now, even if it does sound somewhat nice. The vocals are pretty boring though, like there’s no energy. The song just kind of plods on until it ends, being pleasant but unrewarding. Ready To Start is a much better track, like the album itself wasn’t ready to start until this track (I bet plenty other people have said this line). The vocals are more energetic as well, and there is an atmosphere akin to The Protomen that is nice to hear.

Modern Man is pretty good as well, and continues on the lyrical theme that is all-present on this album, about modern conveniences and the way things used to be, but also set in the future. I’m not big on lyrics in general, but these work pretty well. Rococo is pretty fantastic simply for the little Zappa-esque melody in the chorus. It’s so catchy and incredible to hear that it saves the song from being boring single-handedly. The instrumentation is pretty cool as well.

Empty Room has a few faults in it, but not enough that I can overlook what is there. It brings in a much needed variation to the vocals and gives the song a bunch of life from it. City With No Children however goes the opposite direction. The music is boring, and the vocals go back to being lifeless. Half Light I is basically a big long intro for the next track, but it’s not bad. I like the guitar and the slight climb the song has. Half Light II (No Celebration) is nice but it feels like more of a collection than a song. As in, it doesn’t feel as if there’s a point once it’s over.

Suburban War is kind of boring until the last minute or so, that bit I do enjoy. Month Of May is absolute trash. I can’t stand it. Some of the same complaints as before, but now with a loud, generic guitar riff over the whole thing repeatedly. Wasted Hours is nice and has this ‘homey’ feel, like being somewhere you haven’t been in years. Deep Blue has some neat bits to it, but it takes a while to get there. I wish it were better. We Used To Wait is fairly good, and again the song gets best right at the end. It’s not like I don’t want them to have climaxes, but to introduce the most interesting elements at the end makes me hate listening to the first 3/4 of the song.

Sprawl I (Flatland) is decent but kind of boring. It’s kind of shocking then, that Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains) is far and away the best track on the album. It’s catchy, upbeat, with somewhat ambiguous lyrics. It’s mood screams like it’s out of the 80s, but it could have only been done in modern times. It’s still got the band’s style, and is not just a pop song. It’s beautiful and it surprises me every time I hear it with the rest of the album preceeding it. The Suburbs (Continued) however is one of the worst tracks on here. Sure, it’s short but I’m bored ten seconds in.

Culture War falls into the same trap as before. The first few minutes are boring, and they do themselves a disservice in my opinion for not letting the song feel fuller. Speaking In Tongues is a bonus track, and to me it is quite boring. To associate this song with Talking Heads in anyway is a crime, even though there are other parts of this album where I wouldn’t have minded that connection. Wasted Hours (A Life That We Can Live) is an extended version of the track from before. The new ending is cool, but nothing I miss and regret them taking out from the standard product.

Final Rating: 7/10

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August 7, 2014

Album 0461: Helheim – Kaoskult

Helheim - Kaoskult

Release Date: 2008
Genre: Black/Folk Metal

Tracklisting:

1. Det Norrøne Alter (05:19)
2. Northern Forces (04:17)
3. Om Smerte Og Liv (07:32)
4. Om Tilblivelsen Fra Gapende Tomhet (03:31)
5. Helheim 6 (02:50)
6. Åndevind (06:07)
7. Symboler Bakover Og Fremover (03:07)
8. Altered Through Ages, Constant In Time (03:25)
9. Svart Seid (04:45)

Total Length: 40:51

Det Norrøne Alter has a fantastic opening that wastes no time. The dark atmosphere is presented immediately and the slow moving pace is perfect. Things pick about a third of the way through and there are great varied vocals and some good riffs. The bit at the end with the organ is fantastic. Northern Forces features a very cool riff to start things off and is just a solid song overall. Om Smerte Og Live is good as well, though it doesn’t justify its length too well. It kind of kills the pace of the album for me a little bit.

Om Tilblivelsen Fra Gapende Tomhet is a fast song with some nice points to it. I can’t say I love it, but I enjoy it. Helheim 6 is kind of an ongoing series on their albums, dark instrumental pieces. It’s a nice break at least. Åndevind has some fine moments to it but I find myself getting bored by this point in the album. It just doesn’t engage me. Symboler Bakover Og Fremover does a little bit better job on that front, I do really like the chorus.

Altered Through Ages, Constant In Time is pretty solid throughout. Again at this point though, just kinda waiting for the album to end. Svart Seid just doesn’t offer anything new to the table. I enjoy listening to this album, but after the first two songs it really loses me and I just can’t focus on it.

Final Rating: 6/10

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August 3, 2014

Album 0460: Dream Theater – When Dream And Day Unite Demos 1987-1989

DreamTheater-WhenDreamAndDayUniteDemos

Release Date: 2004
Genre: Progressive Metal

Tracklisting:

DISC ONE

1. Afterlife (05:23)
2. The Killing Hand

    I. The Observance
    II. Ancient Renewal
    III. The Stray Seed
    IV. Thorns
    V. Exodus (08:06)

3. The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun (07:25)
4. Ytse Jam (05:54)
5. Cry For Freedom (06:46)
6. Resurrection Of Ernie (06:45)
7. Drum Solo (01:53)
8. A Fortune In Lies (04:31)
9. Only A Matter Of Time (06:27)
10. A Fortunes In Lies (05:22)
11. Afterlife (05:41)
12. The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun (07:29)

DISC TWO

1. A Fortune In Lies (05:21)
2. Afterlife (05:41)
3. Ytse Jam (05:52)
4. Only A Matter Of Time (06:52)
5. The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun (07:36)
6. The Killing Hand

    I. The Observance
    II. Ancient Renewal
    III. The Stray Seed
    IV. Thorns
    V. Exodus (08:26)

7. Light Fuse And Get Away (07:54)
8. To Live Forever (04:29)
9. Mission: Impossible (01:26)
10. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End (06:14)
11. O Holy Night (04:11)
12. A Vision ’89 (08:32)
13. Studio Chatter (02:10)

Total Length: 02:26:27

The first batch of songs are the band’s instrumental demos from 1987 when I believe they were first signed on to a record deal. The recording quality is quite rough, but the main melody comes through and each section of the band gets shown off well. There are no vocals here, as they were between singers at the time. Afterlife sounds good and the same as it usually does. The Killing Hand has some bits that are normally hard to hear because they are covered by vocals, but it still shines honestly.

The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun is actually really cool on its own, and I kind of like it better without the awkward vocals. Kind of wish this song got more attention. Ytse Jam doesn’t present anything different without vocals since it’s never had them, but this version doesn’t offer anything new anyway. Cry For Freedom has a neat part in the middle but isn’t too great otherwise. Resurrection Of Ernie has a terrible opening line and the rest of the song doesn’t do too well either.

Drum Solo is pretty amateur and not fun at all. A Fortune In Lies has always been a good track with great riffs. Only A Matter Of Time is solid as well, and caps off the early instrumental demos. Now we go back to A Fortune In Lies in the same year but with Charlie singing along. He seems to be the focus here, showcasing his skills. Afterlife works well as usual. The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun has a much more refined intro, and the song keeps growing on me.

Disc two begins with the pre-production demos from the band’s first album. It’s basically the whole album here in slightly rougher form, and changing out one song. A Fortune In Lies is still the same. Afterlife is fine to be honest. Ytse Jam has no noticeable differences I can recognize. Only A Matter Of Time has cool vocals this time around. The Ones Who Help To Set The Sun is fine here too, still growing on me. The Killing Hand doesn’t have its acoustic intro yet, but is otherwise the same to the final version. Great track.

Light Fuse And Get Away actually doesn’t have any vocals, I suppose they hadn’t been written yet. I definitely like the song though I think it’s a bit wasteful, the first few minutes are unnecessary. To Live Forever has never appealed to me. It’s a pleasant song, but I’m always bored by it. The last batch of tracks are demos the band recorded around Christmas of 1988. Their cover of Mission: Impossible is a fun little piece. Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight/The End from the end of Abbey Road is cool in theory, but I don’t like how it sounds here.

O Holy Night is boring to me honestly, they don’t add anything that hasn’t been done a thousand times. A Vision ’89 isn’t too great either, especially the last few minutes. Studio Chatter is quite terrible, it is not enjoyable at any point. I really don’t see myself coming back to this entire collection of tracks, there’s nothing that stands out or is unique about any of the tracks. It’s just a novelty/piece of history.

Final Rating: 5.5/10