CD Review: TAKE TWO “We Aren’t Big”

“We Aren’t Big”

Take Two

Tracks: 9

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Punk rockers from upstate New York, Take Two have unleashed a brand new album “We Aren’t Big” upon the world. The album (the band’s 4th release) stampedes onto the scene like a mohawk clad rhinoceros whose metallic punk riffs run you over while the catchy choruses bring you back for another beating. From the vintage comic book cover art, to the New Found Glory and Descendents influences, “We Aren’t Big” screams PUNK ROCK! directly in your face.

Featuring nine raging tracks with a little something for everyone, I found “Hearts Will Remain” to be the stand out hit on the album. Its a classic pop punk track with a chorus capable of getting stuck in your head for eons. 90’s and early 2000’s fans of the genre will definitely approve. Going a little deeper thought provoking tracks like “Shots & Scars”, as well as “Red Eye”, are also solid stand outs as both recount tales of the road and the determination of a band never willing to give up. Now if you’re more in the mood for lights out, fist pumping mosh pits, look no further than “Burner” as nonstop head-banging will certainly ensue as the track closes out with a mega mosh riff which beckons a bloodbath of furious spinning back kicks and seismic circle pit activity measurable by the Fujita scale.

Take Two’s influences certainly shine through, making for a familiar listen However, the new territory the group covers brightens up an otherwise usual punk-fare. The metal riffs and intricate drum fills are a welcome flourish not to mention the heavier vocals and powerful choruses. Much of the album will inspire car ride sing along’s, as well as the previously stated mosh pits and neck cramps. Listening I couldn’t help but reminisce of said trips, beers with friends, and the girl at the rock show.

If you’re a fan of old school pop punk sing along’s, but also smashing beer cans on your forehead before jumpin’ in the pit, “We Aren’t Big” is a must for you! Every track brings something different to the table by mixing what you already love about punk with something new and fresh. The sky is the limit for the ambitious Take Two and I’m eager to see what they come up with next.

Track Listing:

1.) Lock Up

2.) Delf

3.) Shots and Scars

4.) Day Dreaming

5.) Red Eye

6.) Fall

7.) Hearts Will Remain

8.) Nothing to Lose

9.) Burner

Head over to Officialtaketwo.com for links to download “We Aren’t Big”

Album Review: ASH “Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years of Ash”

“Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years of Ash”

Ash

BMG

Tracks: 22/2 LP’s

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In celebration of their 25th anniversary Irish rockers Ash have released a 22 song retrospective of the bands career thus far. “Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years of Ash” was compiled by the band themselves and features various songs from the groups eight studio albums along with one newly released track titled “Darkest Hour of the Night”. Since debuting in 1994 the band which has consisted of Tim Wheeler, Mark Hamilton, Rick McMurray and Charlotte Hatherley have turned out a catchy stream of garage/alternative rock earning them praises and recognition from all over the globe.

Having first heard of Ash back in the late 90’s amidst bands like Pavement, Blur and Weezer I never really got into the band aside from the songs “Kung Fu” and “Jack Names the Planets” which were featured in a couple popular movies from that time. Thankfully now with the release of “Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years of Ash” I was able to go back and discover some really great songs I inadvertently skipped over during their initial release. Tracks like “Girl From Mars”, “Burn Baby Burn” and “Shining Light” we definite highlights that had me reminiscing about my late teen years. Being this release was compiled by the band themselves it gave the album a more person feel as knowing that this wasn’t just another stock label compilation gave it extra value along with some great songs that may otherwise have been over looked without the bands input.  

The 2 LP set that we checked out had really great packaging which was printed on high quality card stock and included heavy weight sleeves for each record that featured additional photos and stories from the each era of the band. Though no remastering/mixing was noted each song had a bright mix which really stood out and the inclusion of the band’s latest single “Darkest hour of the Night” was a solid choice giving fans just a taste of the bands latest works. Available in a variety of formats including limited edition lenticular vinyl and a special 3 CD that includes an 18 track rarities CD. Needless to say there are plenty of ways to get your hands on this and we strongly encourage you to do so as “Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years of Ash” is a fresh breath of nostalgia that has been long overdue.

Track Listing:

Side A

1.) A Life Less Ordinary

2.) Arcadia

3.) Darkest Hour of the Night

4.) Kung Fu

5.) Cocoon

6.) You Can’t Have It All

Side B

1.) Girl From Mars

2.) Wildsurf

3.) Shining Light

4.) Starcrossed

5.) Buzzkill

6.) Goldfinger

Side C

1.) Burnbaby

2.) Dare to Dream

3.) Annabel

4.) Machinery

5.) Sometimes

Side D

1.) Oh Yeah

2.) Angel Interceptor

3.) Jesus Says

4.) Orpheus

5.) Jack Names the Planets

CD Review: Agnostic Front “Get Loud”

“Get Loud”

Agnostic Front

Nuclear Blast Records

Tracks: 14

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Agnostic Front is back with a brand new studio album simply titled “Get Loud”. The album which is being released via Nuclear Blast Records features 14 gut crushing tracks that are nothing short of classic hardcore. Picking up where 2015’s “The American Dream Died” left off “Get Loud” comes in hard and fast leaving a giant sized boot print on your senses.

Written after the release of Ian McFarland’s 2017 Documentary “The God Fathers of Hardcore” which depicts members of the band recounting there nearly 40 year career. “Get Loud” could serve as the perfect soundtrack to that film by solidifying where the band is today in 2019. Tracks like “Spray Painted Walls”, “Dead Silence” and “In My Blood” showcase a more modern metal/hardcore sound while tracks like “Anti Social”, “Attention” and “Pull The Trigger” contain that classic hardcore sound which blasted out of places like CBGB’s and the A7 during the gritty pre-Giuliani era New York City. Easily my favorite track of the album is “I Remember” which details the bond between front-man Roger Miret and guitarist Vinnie Stigma. The band recently released a really cool video for this song as well that’s packed with lots a vintage footage and photos.  

Clocking in at a swift thirty minutes, “Get Loud” wastes no time getting in and out. From a performance stand point each member of Agnostic Front brings their A game which smacks you upside the head leaving a mark on your senses. “Get Loud” offers something for the old school and new school hardcore fans making for a solid edition to your music collection.

Track Listing:

1.) Spray Painted Walls

2.) Anti Social

3.) Get Loud

4.) Conquer And Divide

5.) I Remember

6.) Dead Silence

7.) AF Stomp

8.) Urban Decay

9.) Snitches Get Stitches

10.) Isolated

11.) In My Blood

12.) Attention

13.) Pull the Trigger

14.) Devastated

Album Review: “Motorhead ’79”

Motörhead ‘79”

Motörhead

BMG

7 LP’s/ 1-45

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

The “Motörhead ’79” campaign celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the incredible Overkill and Bomber albums with fantastic new deluxe editions, both as hardbound book-packs in two CD and triple LP format; featuring previously unheard concerts from the ’79 tours, interviews and many unseen photos created with the full cooperation and involvement of the estates of Ian “Lemmy” Kilmister, “Fast” Eddie Clarke and Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor.

Over the past few years there have been a number of Motörhead releases honoring the career of “The Worlds Loudest Band”. The latest and possibly largest to date pays homage to the year 1979 when the band released not one but two studio albums “Overkill” and “Bomber”. To recognize this rare accomplishment BMG have compiled a box set like no other. The LP version of the release comes housed in a black biker jacket box which houses both 1979 studio albums, 2 never before heard live albums titled “Good and Loud” Live at Aylesbury Friars and “Sharpshooter” Live at Le Mans, a10 song LP of 1979 outtakes/B-sides and rarities titled “The Rest of ‘79”.

That’s not all though! You also get a reproduction 40 page magazine of corresponding photos of from the era, a reproduction “Bomber” tour program, an “Overkill” Sheet Music book, a 5 pin badge set and if that’s still not enough a “No Class” seven-inch complete with gatefold art. Each LP sounds great as they all have been pressed on 180-gram vinyl and with the reissued “Overkill” and “Bomber” albums being mastered at half speed directly from the original tape. There was just so much to look at and listen to as I merely scratched the surface on my first handful of listens. From studio tracks like “Overkill”, “Damage Case”, “Metropolis”, “Stone Dead Forever” and “Bomber” to live versions of “Motörhead”, “White Line Fever” and “Train Kept A-Rollin” it was impossible to appreciate everything without devoting several or more hours to this package.

I love when bands and labels put together packages that not only are appealing sonically but visually as well. No expense seemed to be spared with “Motörhead ‘79”. From the heavy grade vinyl and rich sound production to the beautifully recreated photos and artwork that adorn not only the album sleeves but the included books, pins and packaging everything you get in this release is top notch. With the holidays right around the corner this is the perfect gift for the music lover on your list. Be prepared though as this thing is heavy both literally and figuratively!

“Overkill” Track listing

1.) Overkill

2.) Stay Clean

3.) (I Won’t) Pay Your Price

4.) I’ll Be Your Sister

5.) Capricorn

6.) No Class

7.) Damage Case

8.) Tear Ya Down

9.) Metropolis

10.) Limb From Limb

“Bomber” Track Listing

1.) Dead Men Tell No Tales

2.) Lawman

3.) Sweet Revenge

4.) Sharpshooter

5.) Poison

6.) Stone Dead Forever

7.) All The Aces

8.) Step Down

9.) Talking Head

10.) Bomber

“Good ‘n’ Loud” Track Listing

1.) Overkill

2.) Stay Clean

3.) Keep Us On The Road

4.) No Class

5.) Leaving Here

6.) Iron Horse/Born to Lose

7.) Metropolis

8.) The Watcher

9.) Damage Case

10.) (I Won’t) Pay Your Price

11.) Capricorn

12.) Too Late, Too Late

13.) I’ll Be Your Sister

14.) I’m Your Witchdoctor

15.) Train Kept A-Rollin’

16.)  White Line Fever

17.) Motörhead

“Sharpshooter” Track Listing

1.) Overkill

2.) Stay Clean

3.) No Class

4.) Metropolis

5.) All The Aces

6.) Dead Men Tell No Tales

7.) I’ll Be Your Sister

8.) Lawman

9.) Too Late, Too Late

10.) Poison

11.) (I Won’t) Pay Your Price

12.) Sharpshooter

13.) Capricorn

14.) Train Kept A-Rollin’

15.) Bomber

16.) Limb From Limb

17.) White Line Fever

18.) Motörhead

“B-Sides, Rarities & Outtakes” Track Listing

1.) Too Late, Too Late

2.) Like A Nightmare

3.) Over The Top

4.) Stone Dead Forever

5.) Sharpshooter

6.) Bomber

7.) Step Down

8.) Fun On The Farm

9.) Treat Me Nice

10.) You Ain’t Gonna Live Forever

“No Class” Track Listing

1.) No Class

2.) Like A Nightmare

Album Review: Live “Throwing Copper” 25th Anniversary Edition

“Throwing Copper” 25th Anniversary Edition

Live

Radioactive/MCA/UMe

Producer: Jerry Harrison/Live

2 LP’s

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

In celebration of Live’s momentous, platinum-selling album “Throwing Copper” 25th anniversary fans can now celebrate the album that started it all for the Pennsylvania-based band via a Special Edition double LP. First released on April 26, 1994, “Throwing Copper” transformed Live into one of the most lyrically impactful and instrumentally powerful bands of the modern alternative-rock era.

In the mid to late nineties it was almost impossible to turn on the radio or MTV and not hear or see a song/video from Live and the album “Throwing Copper”. As the follow up to Live’s 1991 major label debut “Mental Jewelry”, the album was a big step for the band hailing from the small town of York, PA and would spawn two No.1 Modern Rock singles (“Lightning Crashes,” “Selling The Drama”) and since been certified 8x multiplatinum by the RIAA, selling over 8 million copies. The 25th Anniversary release of “Throwing Copper” is a fitting recognition the monumental release and comes packed in a full color, dual gatefold sleeve with linear notes and is pressed on either standard black or limited edition red and olive heavy weight vinyl. Though no remixing and mastering was done to this package you do get 3 bonus tracks “Hold Me Up”, “We Deal In Dreams” and “Susquehanna” along with the track “Horse” which was included on the original release as a hidden track.

Revisiting this album in vinyl form was really a lot of fun. It instantly conjured up memories of when I had first heard some of these songs or when I was lucky enough to catch the band on one of their many college tours. Each track offered a warm, more natural sound than what I remember hearing on my digital version so that alone was worth the listen. The addition of the three bonus tracks was also a plus especial the track “Hold Me Up” which was featured in the Kevin Smith film “Zach and Miri Make a Porno”. If you every owned this album and reluctantly sold it to one of those “cash for cd’s” music stores that used to be popular around the same time as when this album first came out then I highly recommend you grab a copy of this album on vinyl as it will surely put a smile on your face while affirming that the 90’s weren’t all bad.     

Track Listing:

Side A:

1. The Dam At Otter Creek

2. Selling The Drama

3. I Alone

4. Iris

Side B:

5. Lighting Crashes

6. Top

7. All Over You

8. Shit Towne

9. T.B.D.

Side C:

10.) Stage

11. Waitress

12. Pillar Of Davidson

13. White, Discussion

Side D:

14.) Horse (Hidden Track On Original Release)

15.) Hold Me Up (Bonus Track)

16.) We Deal In Dream (Bonus Track)

17.) Susquehanna (Bonus Track)

CD Review: Gatecreeper “Deserted”

“Deserted”
Gatecreeper
Relapse Records
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

It’s October and what better time of year to unleash a crusty death metal album upon the world? After three long years and numerous splits and EPs later, Arizona death metal band Gatecreeper return with possibly the best death metal album of 2019. Deserted, released October 4th on Relapse Records is a shear force of nature. Upon listening, the album summons desert twisters of sand and sidewinders it’s so heavy.

There should be no worry of a sophomore slump here. These guys take their art seriously and have only honed in on what makes them so great. The musicianship and songwriting has elevated to new heights on this album. Every riff soaked song is seeping with what you love about Gatecreeper, with some new elements thrown in. Songs like “Puncture Wounds” will be a welcomed breath of fresh air for those growing tired of the early-90’s era death metal revival. While tracks “Everlasting” and “Sweltering Madness” may be the best material the best has ever released. Three minutes into the former and any self-respecting metalhead is telling their friends to “shut-up and listen to this part.”

They stick to their guns on this one and stay true to the Gatecreeper formula. Yet they still manage to bring something new out of the coffin and continue to impress. All of the bands influences are on display here, granting some nostalgia to old school death metal fans. Chase Mason’s vocals are as low as ever, while his blood-curdling metal shrieks have really tightened up compared to earlier releases. Guitar riffoholics Jack Maniacky and Eric Wagner have improved their skills and completely plastered this album in thick, heavy riffs. While the rhythm section, bassist Sean Mears and drummer Matt Arrebollo, have impressively made every song on the album engaging and great for head-banging. Let’s not forget about the amazing as always Godcity mixing done by the legendary Kurt Ballou.

This album should be listened to at high volumes and while you’re punching someone in the face. It’s heavy, grimy, and sometimes slightly melodic and creepy. Everything you need in a death metal album. If you’re sleeping on this band you need to get to the nearest record store or on the internet and become the next biggest Gatecreeper fan. Death metal and the metal scene at large needs bands like this to keep putting out quality music and make us all proud to be fans of this often overlooked genre. Check out “Deserted” today and be sure to catch Gatecreeper on tour with Exhumed throughout the end of 2019

Track Listing:
1. Deserted
2. Puncture Wounds
3. From the Ashes
4. Ruthless
5. Everlasting
6. Barbaric Pleasures
7. Sweltering Madness
8. Boiled Over
9. In Chains
10. Absence of Light
11. Anxiety (Bonus Track)

CD Review: Lagwagon “Railer”

“Railer”
Lagwagon
Fat Wreck Chords
Producer: Cameron Webb
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Punk veterans Lagwagon return with a brand new studio album simply titled “Railer”. The 12 track releases which is being released via Fat Wreck Chords as was produced by Cameron Webb is the follow up to the bands 2014 release “Hang” which marked the bands return to the studio after a nine year lapse.

With nearly thirty years of being a band under their belts the members of Lagwagon which consist of vocalist Joey Cape, guitarists Chris Flippin and Chris Rest, bassist Joe Raposo and drummer Dave Raun could have easily sat back and phoned it on their latest release as they certainly have earned it. Instead the band which has been churning out albums since 1992 pulled out a shred-tastic in your face punk album that is equally fresh as it is familiar. Tracks like “Surviving California”, “Dangerous Animals” and “Bubble” showcase some impressive guitar work set against an extremely tight rhythm performance which serves as a near perfect stage for Capes signature vocals. Other notable tracks include the piano tinged “The Suffering” and “Pray For Them” and the bands take on Journey’s “Faithfully” which is the first cover to appear not as bonus material since the band included their version of the Agent Orange song “Everything Turns Gray” on 1998’s “Let’s Talk About Feelings”.

Clocking in at just less than forty minutes I was blown away with how much musicality Lagwagon packed in to this record. Listeners were given just a taste of the bands heavier side with previous releases but “Railer” rips the band-aid off as the band just goes for it. Despite the rather short run time I found myself listening to it from start to finish multiple times as there is just so much to take in and enjoy. Both long time listeners and newer fans will surely want to check out this release as it shows that just because a band has been around awhile it doesn’t have to become complacent and that music can always be taken and explored further no matter how many albums you have released prior or how many years you have been together.

Track Listing:
1.) Stealing Light
2.) Surviving California
3.) Jini
4.) Parable
5.) Dangerous Animals
6.) Bubble
7.) The Suffering
8.) Dark Matter
9.) Fan Fiction
10.) Pray For Them
11.) Auf Wiedersehen
12.) Faithfully

Album Review: Soundgarden “Louder Than Love” 35th Anniversary Collection

“Louder Than Love” 35th Anniversary Vinyl
Soundgarden
AM Records
Producer: Terry Date/Soundgarden
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Soundgarden’s 1989 release “Louder Than Love” is the latest album from the bands catalog to be included in the Seattle natives 35 year Anniversary Collection. The fifth in a series of monthly vinyl releases commemorating the bands career includes the albums original 12 tracks pressed on limited edition 180 gram colored vinyl and comes packaged in a full color sleeve with original album art.

The bands first release on a major label is a landmark point in a bands career. “Louder Than Love” captures the rawness and attitude of early Soundgarden as they transitioned from the dingy and damp clubs of Seattle to being a staple on MTV. Packed with tracks like the controversial “Hands All Over You” and “Big Dumb Sex” the album is a glimpse into an angst ridden band that is pulling out all the stops to get them to where they want to go. “Louder Than Love” is a tempo roller-coaster as songs like “Get On The Snake” and “Gun” both feature arrangements with non-traditional time structures giving the album a unique feel that doesn’t allow listeners to get very comfortable.

Like previous commemorative releases in this series the packaging and album are nice to look at but when it comes to purchase appeal outside of that there isn’t much to entice would be buyers. With the absence of any kind of bonus material, remixing or even a digital download option I really found it difficult to find value in this especially if you already own a copy. Clearly these releases are geared towards new listeners jumping on the vinyl craze. I find this to be somewhat sad as for the fans that were around during the bands initial rise there appears to be nothing new on the horizon for them to sink their musical teeth in to. If you purchased a copy of this record upon its initial release then you have everything and there is no need to purchase the re-release but, if this is an album that has been on your list to pick up and you prefer the translucent orange vinyl to the standard original pressed black then now is a great time to pick up “Louder Than Love”.

Track Listing:

Side One:
1.) Ugly Truth
2.) Hands All Over
3.) Gun
4.) Power Trip
5.) Get On The Snake
6.) Full On Kevin’s Mom

Side Two:
7.) Loud Love
8.) I Awake
9.) No Wrong No Right
10.) Uncovered
11.) Big Dumb Sex
12.) Full On (Reprise)

 

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CD Review: Steel Panther “Heavy Metal Rules”

“Heavy Metal Rules”
Steel Panther
Producer: Jay Ruston
Tracks: 10

Our Score : 2 out of 5 stars

Spandex clad Steel Panther are back with a brand new studio album titled “Heavy Metal Rules”. Released on September 27th the album features 10 tracks showcasing the band’s musical growth and is the follow up to the groups 2017 release “Lower The Bar”. The philanthropic foursome comprised of Michael Starr, Satchel, Lexxi Foxx and Stix Zadinia feels they have created the heavy metal version of a self-help manual and the ultimate party album.

Having followed Steel Panther since their early “Metal Skool” days it’s always been a laughable and fun listening experience when they release a new studio album. However over the last few years I have begun to feel as though the “gimmick” has run its course and “Heavy Metal Rules” is no exception. As I made my way through the albums ten tracks the subject matter came off as flat and extremely tired. Songs like “All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)”, “Always Gonna Be a Ho” and “Gods of Pussy” felt like regurgitated versions of songs we have heard on previous records. Don’t get me wrong each of the band members show case their impressive musicianship while producer Jay Ruston does a good job making the album sound sonically good however there just seems to be an overhanging staleness caused by the groups repetitiveness.

If you are a music listeners who needs a copy of “Heavy Metal Party” to complete your growing Steel Panther collection then my guess is you probably have already gone out and grabbed it on CD, Vinyl or Digital Download but, be prepared for the same “sex, drugs and Rock n’ Roll” parodies that have been present since 2009’s “Feel The Steel”. If that still does it for you great! Then “Heavy Metal Party” is clearly for you. However if you are like me and were hoping for something new and/or different this time around take a hard pass. Given the idea of progression might be foreign to a band whose theme is to be stuck in a bygone era it still would have been a nice thought.

Track Listing:
1.) Zebraman
2.) All I Wanna Do Is Fuck (Myself Tonight)
3.) Let’s Get High Tonight
4.) Always Gonna Be A Ho
5.) I’m Not Your Bitch
6.) Fuck Everybody
7.) Heavy Metal Rules
8.) Sneaky Little Bitch
9.) Gods of Pussy
10.) I Ain’t Buying What You’re Selling

Album Review: Soundgarden “King Animal” 35th Anniversary Vinyl

“King Animal” 35th Anniversary Vinyl

Soundgarden

Republic Records

Producer: Adam Kasper/Soundgarden

2 LP’s

Tracks: 13

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Soundgarden’s sixth and final album “King Animal” is the latest in a series in specially packaged re-releases from the platinum selling band which celebrates the groups 35 year career. Like the previous three releases from this series “King Animal” comes pressed on 180 gram colored vinyl and is packaged in full color, dual gate fold sleeves complete with album liner notes.

The final release from Soundgarden after the group’s reformation in 2010 “King Animal” picks up roughly where its predecessor “Down On The Upside” leaves off. Not it in theme but in stylistic approach as the album features a wide range of textures and sounds giving listeners a smorgasbord of musical ear candy to digest. The latest LP release comes pressed on double white/yellow marble 180 gram vinyl which gives the albums 13 tracks a balanced warmness as it plays through your speakers. Tracks like the rawkus “Non-State Actor” and the eerie “Bones of Birds” were personal highlights as were the fast paced “Attrition” and the fanatical thumping of “Eyelids Mouth”.

Being this is not the albums first vinyl treatment aside from the addition of 180 gram vinyl it doesn’t really offer anything that the previous release didn’t already provide. This seems to be a common occurrence with these anniversary releases as none of them have offered anything extra to help entice buyers to grab another copy. With the various bonus content that was made available previously from this release I think it would have been an ideal time to house it all under one nicely packed anniversary collection however, this was not the case. Don’t get me wrong re-releases can be a really cool thing and like the subsequent 3 the packaging is second to none however they really should have given fans a reason to purchase them and “King Animal” is no exception. If you have this release already you may want to skip this one however if you haven’t gotten yourself a copy and just want the core album with no fancy extras, Then grab this anniversary edition as you won’t be disappointed.   

Track Listing:

1.) Been Away Too Long

2.) Non-State Actor

3.) By Crooked Steps

4.) A Thousand Days Before

5.) Blood on the Valley Floor

6.) Bones of Birds

7.) Taree

8.) Attrition

9.) Black Saturday

10.) Halfway There

11.) Worse Dreams

12.) Eyelids Mouth

13.) Rowing

 

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CD Review: Good Riddance “Thoughts and Prayers”

“Thoughts and Prayers”

Good Riddance

Fat Wreck Chords

Producer: Bill Stevenson/Jason Livermore

Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Punk rock band Good Riddance return with their 9th studio release titled “Thoughts and Prayers”. The album is being released via Fat Wreck Chords as is the follow up to the bands 2015 release “Peace in our Time”. Produced by Bill Stevenson and Jason Livermore “Thoughts and Prayers” features twelve new tracks from the Santa Cruz, CA natives.

Since the reformation of the band in 2012 Good Riddance have forged ahead with the same fast paced ferocity that cemented them as a mainstay during the pop-punk boom of the mid 1990’s. The group’s latest album “Thoughts and Prayers” is a solid example of this as it packs a solid one, two punch of fast paced rhythms and catchy melodies. Tracks like the frenzied “Rapture” and the thought provoking “Our Great Divide” combine the bands signature sound with a fresh batch of hooky choruses that will have you singing along in no time. The track “No King but Caesar” does a great job breaking up the album as it slows the momentum just enough for the listener to catch a breath only to be sucked in seconds later as the track ends up morphing in to one of the fastest, most intense songs of the release and makes way for other upbeat numbers “Who We Are”, “Pox Americana” and “Lo Que Sucede” before coming to rest with the closing rallying cries of “Requisite Catastrophes”. 

When a band breaks up and then gets back together you never know if the same energy and cohesiveness that made the original incarnation of the band work will still remain. “Thoughts and Prayers” shows that Good Riddance have not lost a step but they have also kicked things up a notch with an album that showcases the bands progression as people and musicians. If 2015’s “Peace in our Time” record served as a reminder to who Good Riddance was during their heyday then “Thoughts and Prayers” is the road map for where the band is going next,

Track Listing:

1. Edmund Pettus Bridge
2. Rapture
3. Don’t Have Time
4. Our Great Divide
5. Wish You Well
6. Precariat
7. No King But Ceasar
8. Who We Are
9. No Safe Place
10. Pox Americana
11. Lo Que Sucede
12. Requisite Catastrophes

CD Review: “Invasion” John 5 and the Creatures

“Invasion”

John 5 and the Creatures

Producer:  Barry Pointer

Tracks: 10

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Guitarist John 5 and his band The Creatures (bassist Ian Ross, Drummer Logan Miles Nix) are back with a brand new studio album titled “Invasion”. The fourth studio release from the Los Angeles based trio features 10 tracks produced by Barry Pointer which plunge listeners head first into the twisted, musical mind of guitar virtuoso/front-man John 5.

Just when you thought guitarist John 5 had taken his unique mixture of “Hee-Haw” infused shred as far as it could possibly go the former Marilyn Manson/K.D.Lang/Rod Stewart guitarist flips the switch to show listeners that all previous accounts were just the catalyst to “Invasion”. From the eerie opening sound-scape “Invasion” to the robotic “I Am John 5” and the quirky “Zoinks” listener’s senses are put through the wringer before being pushed even further with the twang-tastic, “Howdy” and the pedal steel laden “Cactus Flower” both of which showcase 5’s strong country influences. On the back end of the album are tracks like “I Want It All” and “I Like The Funk” both of which are doused with enough funky textures and tones that they will have the one and only George Clinton scratching his head.

You don’t have to be a guitar player to enjoy the music contained on “Invasion”. From over the top molten distortion to funkified wah worbles and sparkly cleans the latest offering from John 5 and the Creatures is a hodge-podge of musical influences which explode out of your speakers with reckless abandonment. Despite “Invasion” not being the most cohesive collection of songs from the group the album does give listeners a wide pallet to choose from making it worth checking out.

Track Listing:

1.) Invasion

2.) I Am John 5

3.) Midnight Mass

4.) Zoinks!

5.) Howdy

6.) Crank It/Living With Ghosts

7.) Cactus Flower

8.) I Want It All

9.) I Like The Funk

10.) Constant Sorrow

Album Review: Soundgarden “Down On The Upside” Anniversary LP

“Down On The Upside” 35th Anniversary Vinyl

Soundgarden

AM Records

Producer: Soundgarden

Co-Producer: Adam Kasper

2 LP’s

Tracks: 16

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Soundgarden’s Platinum selling 1996 release “Down On The Upside” is the latest album from the bands catalog to be included in the Seattle natives 35 year Anniversary Collection. The third in a series of vinyl releases commemorating the bands career the 16 track, 2 LP set is being pressed on limited edition 180 gram colored vinyl and comes packaged in a full color, dual gatefold sleeve complete with album liner notes.

Though this is not the first time “Down On The Upside” has appeared on vinyl it is certainly the brightest. Right away listeners will notice the heavy weight, 180 gram, limited edition Orange and Purple marble pressings which play host to some of Sound Garden’s biggest hits of the mid 90’s. Listeners will obviously want to check out “Pretty Noose”, “Blow Up The Outside World” and “Burden In My Hand” but I also would recommend “Rhinosaur” and “Dusty” as well. Visually the release pulls out all the stops as the orange and purple vinyl feature subtle marble swirls which look really cool when spinning on your turntable. The gatefold packaging is also nicely done and is printed on heavy weight card stock fitting of a special release.

Though the album is nice to look at I found it to be pretty lax in the listening dept. The sound quality was ok but it was certainly dated and could have benefited from a remix and re-master. In 1997 the band released a greatest hits compilation including the songs “Karaoke” and “Bleed Together” which we outtakes from the “Down On The Upside” sessions however, neither of those songs were included here making for a big miss in my book. The last disappointment was the fact that no digital download codes were included thus making it slightly difficult to listen on the go. If you purchased a copy of this record upon its initial release then I say stick with that and skip over this re-release but, if this is an album that has been on your list to pick up now is a great time while it is available in a limited edition release.       

Track Listing:

1.) Pretty Noose

2.) Rhinosaur

3.) Zero Chance

4.) Dusty

5.) Ty Cobb

6.) Blow Up The Outside World

7.) Burden In My Hand

8.) Never Named

9.) Applebite

10.) Never The Machine Forever

11.) Tighter and Tighter

12.) No Attention

13.) Switch Opens

14.) Overfloater

15.) An Unkind

16.) Boot Camp

CD Review: Baroness “Gold & Grey”

“Gold & Grey”

Baroness

Abraxan Hymns

Producer: David Fridmann

Tracks: 17

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Heavy Metal band Baroness returns with their fifth studio album titled “Gold & Grey”. The album which was released on June 14th is the follow to the bands popular 2015 release “Purple”. Featuring 17 brand new tracks from the Georgia based group and produced by David Fridmann “Gold & Grey” is the first release via the bands own Abraxan Hymns label. The release is also the first to feature guitarist Gina Gleason who joined the group in 2017 after the departure of Peter Adams.

Right from the start “Gold & Grey” showcases why Baroness is at the fore front of progressive heavy metal. With tracks like “Front Toward Enemy” and “I’m Already Gone” laying the foundation in the albums opening minutes with thick over driven guitars and singer John Baizley’s signature soaring vocals listeners are quickly immersed in a bevy of sonic goodness. As the album progresses so does the diverseness of texture and tones. Tracks like “Tourniquet” and “Blankets of Ash” feature spacey vocals and layered acoustic guitars while the songs “I’d Do Anything” and “Emmett-Radiating Light” feature piano rich sound scapes which seep deep in to your inner core making for a nice mixture of dark and light.   

The latest offering from Baroness takes listeners on a musical vacation that some may never want to come back from. Brimming over with emotional subject matter and robust instrumentation “Gold & Grey” is another notch in Baroness’s musical belt. The addition of guitarist Gina Gleason I feel has really taken the band to the next level. Not only does Gleason’s playing compliment the band nicely but so do her backing vocals which compliment Baizley’s leads. Despite “Gold & Grey” having a few too many slow moments for my liking the songs that weren’t balls to the wall rockers were still enjoyable making this an album I would certainly recommend checking out.

Track Listing:

1.) Front Toward Enemy

2.) I’m Already Gone

3.) Seasons

4.) Sevens

5.) Tourniquet

6.) Anchors Lament

7.) Throw Me an Anchor

8.) I’d Do Anything

9.) Blanket of Ash

10.) Emmett- Radiating Light

11.) Cold-Blooded Angels

12.) Crooked Mile

13.) Broken Halo

14.) Can Oscura

15.) Borderlines

16.) Assault on East falls

17.) Pale Sun

Album Review: Rammstein “Untitled”

“Untitled”

Rammstein

Caroline

Producer: Olsen Involtini w/ Rammstein

2 LP’s

Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Rammstein’s long awaited seventh album is finally here! The untitled release hit the shelves in the United States on May 17 via Caroline and consists of 11 new tracks produced by Olsen Involtini and the Rammstein. The album which features the singles “Radio” and “Deutschland” is the German based bands first studio album since 2009’s “LIEBE IST FÜR ALLE DA” which peaked at number 13 on the U.S Billboard 200.

After a 10 year recording hiatus German industrialist’s Rammstein are back with a hard hitting package of 11 new songs which certainly make up for the bands extended absence. It doesn’t matter you go for the CD, Digital Download or the 2 LP version (like us) you will not be disappointed. Prior to this release I had always gotten my Rammstein fix in CD or Digital forms. Given the nature of the music I had always felt it would sound best on these formats. With untitled though I decided to give the 2 LP version of the release a try. Needless to say I was not disappointed as the vinyl delivered! The heavy weight vinyl set at 45rpm’s gives the guitars and drums a tight, robust sound that mixed nicely with the electronic and vocal elements of the record. Tracks like “Radio”, “Sex” and, “Weit Weg” are all heavy hitters that will get you moving while more subdued tracks “Was Ich Liebe” and “Hallomann” paint eerie landscapes that could easily be the soundtrack to your favorite thriller or horror film.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder and that is definitely my sentiment as it pertains to the latest offering from Rammstein. The band along with producer Olsen Involtini has put together a great sounding release that is diverse enough to allow for consecutive listens time and time again. The double LP version of the release offers a little something extra for fans as it included 6 beautiful prints of the band (one for each member) printed on high quality paper stock suitable for framing. The only negative I found was that the LP version did also contain a digital version thus making it impossible (without a second purchase) to obtain a mobile version of the album. If this is something you can do without I highly recommend the vinyl however, if you are on the go and don’t have a lot of time to sit down and listen to an album then the digital or CD version of the release will still provide you an equally enjoyable listen.  

Track Listing:

Side A

1.) Deutschland

2.) Radio

3.) Zeig Dich

Side B

1.) Auslander

2.) Sex

3.) Puppe

Side C

1.) Was Ich Liebe

2.) Diamant

3.) Weit Weg

Side D

1.) Tattoo

2.) Hallomann

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