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

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

CD Review: Bad Religion “Age of Unreason”

“Age of Unreason”

Bad Religion

Epitaph

Producer: Carlos de la Garza

Tracks: 14

Our Score: 4 out of 5 Stars

Punk Rock God Fathers Bad Religion have just released their seventeenth studio album titled “Age of Unreason” The album is being released vie Epitaph Records and features 14 brand new tracks which were produced by Carlos de la Garza. This is the bands first release since 2013’s “True North” marking the longest gap between albums in the bands history.  “Age of Reason” is also the first album to feature guitarist Mike Dimkich and drummer Jamie Miller.

Bad Religion is a band that holds a special place in my musical heart as they were one of the first punk bands me and my friends really got into. 1994’s “Stranger Than Fiction” was often the soundtrack to our skateboard adventures as were many of the bands subsequent releases. Needless to say the bands activity has been on my radar for quite some time so when it was finally announced that “Age of Reason” was going to be released after a seven year recording hiatus the album quickly moved to the top of my listening queue. Tracks such as “My Sanity”, “The Age of Reason” and “The Old Regime” are classic BR through in through as all three feature the bands signature fast paced drumming, intermittent guitar soloing  topped off by vocalist Greg Graffin’s thought provoking lyrics. Songs such as “Lose Your Head”, “Candidate” and “Downfall” show the band stretching their legs a little bit as they experiment with a variety of beats and tones giving the album a nice balance of familiarity and freshness.
 
From beginning to end I found Bad Religion’s “Age of Reason” to be a fun and energetic listen. Even after a couple of consecutive listens  I still found myself going back and listening to some of the previously noted tracks as I just couldn’t get enough. Does the release have the rawness of albums like “Suffer” or “No Control”?  Not so much. However, the band, its fans and the world as a whole are in a completely different place than they were in the late eighties and early nineties. “Age of Reason” is classic Bad Religion with a modern twist which listeners new both new and old will enjoy time and time again.

TRACK LISTING

1.) Chaos From Within

2.) My Sanity

3.) Do The Paranoid Style

4.) The Approach

5.) Lose Your Head

6.) End of History

7.) The Age of Unreason

8.) Candidate

9.) Faces of Grief

10.) Old Regime

11.) Big Black Dog

12.) Downfall

13.) Since Now

14.) What Tomorrow Brings

CD Review: Dead Kennedys “DK 40”

“DK 40”

Dead Kennedys

Manifesto Records

3 Discs

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Out of the hundreds of punk bands that emerged from the late ’70s punk scene, only about a dozen or so have achieved iconic status four decades later. One of those was the Dead Kennedys. The DKs embodied the spirit of punk from the get-go. Their very name was a shocking reminder of the collapse of the American Dream. Then again, the name would be nothing if the Dead Kennedys didn’t have the goods to back it up. The band’s latest offering titled “DK 40” is a three-CD live collection featuring three different performances from the early 1980’s. The collection is being released via Manifesto Records and offers the aural evidence that the Dead Kennedys were one of the most potent punk bands — period.  It features the band serving up amped-up live versions of all their classic tracks, free from the constraints of the recording studio.

If you never had the chance to catch Dead Kennedy’s with the classic lineup of Klaus Flouride, East Bay Ray, D.H. Peligro and Jello Biafra then now is your chance. The newly released “DK 40” provides listeners with three different live performances from 1982 and 1985. All the bands staple songs are here including “Kill The Poor”, “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”, “Chemical Warfare” and of course “Holiday in Cambodia”. Disc 1 and 2 include performances from the bands 1982 European tour and feature similar track listings however Disc 3 showcases the band in their home city of San Francisco in mid 1985. This disc was probably my favorite of the three as it featured a wider variety of material than the previous two discs including songs like “Hellnation”, “Jock O Rama” and “MTV Get off The Air”.

 If you are looking to add to your DK collection or start one then “DK 40” is a solid starting point/addition. You get all the well known material along with a spattering of lesser known tracks giving the 3 disc set a nice balance for all level of fans. Where I found the package to be a little lacking was that it featured two nights from the same tour making for some redundancies. The band did tour in 1983 and 84 so I am not sure why they chose to include two shows from 1982. On the plus side the three discs come packaged in a sleek tri-fold package with interior and disc artwork by Eric S. Goodfield and also includes a brief description of each show giving listeners just a little something extra to help celebrate the bands 40th anniversary.

Disc 1: Paradiso (December 5, 1982):

1. Moral Majority
2. Am the Owl
3. Life Sentence
4. Police Truck
5, Riot
6. Bleed For Me
7. Holiday in Cambodia
8. Let’s Lynch the Landlord
9. Chemical Warfare
10. Nazi Punks Fuck Off
11. Kill The Poor
12. We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now
13. Too Drunk To Fuck

Disc 2: Alabama Halle (December 13, 1982):

1. Skateboard Talk+Intro Noise
2. Man With The Dogs
3. Forward to Death
4. Kepone Factory
5. Life Sentence
6. Trust Your Mechanic
7, Moral Majority
8. Forest Fire
9. Winnebago Warrior
10. Police Truck
11. Bleed For Me
12. Holiday In Cambodia
13. Let’s Lynch the Landord
14. Chemical Warfare
15. Nazi Punks
16. We’ve Got A Bigger Problem Now
17. Too Drunk to Fuck
18. Kill the Poor

Disc 3: The Farm (May 25, 1985):

1. Darren’s Mom
2. Goons of Hazard
3. Hellnation
4. This Could Be Anywhere
5. Soup Is Good Food
6. Chemical Warfare
7. Macho Insecurity
8. A Growing Boy Needs His Lunch
9. Forest Fire
10. Moon Over Marin
11. Jack-O-Rama

12. Encore
13. Stars and Stripes of Corruption
14. Second Encore
15. MTV Get Off the Air
16. Holiday In Cambodia

CD Review: Megadeth “Warheads On Forheads”

“Warheads On Foreheads”

Megadeth

UMe

Tracks: 35

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

MEGADETH celebrate their 35th Anniversary with the release of Warheads On Foreheads, a 35-track, career retrospective. The anthology spans the bands entire studio recording career, from their first album “Killing Is My Business…” to their 2017 GRAMMY® Award winning release “Dystopia”. The collection of songs is available as a 3-CD set, a 4-LP set and a digital edition via UMe Recordings. A limited edition, four-LP set pressed on silver colored vinyl will be available exclusively through the band’s online store.

For those of you looking for a career spanning collection of songs from one of the Big 4 of trash look no further than the recently released “Warheads On Foreheads” collection from the one and only Megadeth. The three CD, four LP set includes all the songs Megadeth fans have come to love over the past thirty five years. Chronologically arranged Disc 1 includes songs such as “Mechanix”, “Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good” and “Holy Wars…The Punishment Due”. Disc Two includes tracks like the shred-tastic “Hangar 18” and from the bands 1992 release “Countdown to Extinction” the songs “Symphony of Destruction” and “Sweating Bullets”. Disc 3 covers the bands recordings from 1997 “Cryptic Writings” up to 2016’s “Dystopia”. Here listeners can find tracks like “Trust”, “Head Crusher” and my person favorite “Public Enemy No. 1”.
 
Production and Packaging is top notch as the 3-CD set comes packaged in a multi fold case complete with linear notes booklet. Sonically the collection features a universal mix across each of the three discs making for a great listening experience be it in the car, on your home stereo or through headphones. The piece I found lacking in this collection is there really is nothing new for longtime fans of the band. Aside from some new artwork that is it. In a career compilation such as this I would have thought including an unreleased performance video or behind the scenes footage would be a no brainer givings collectors a reason to buy the release but sadly that is not the case. If you have never bought a Megadeth album before then “Warheads on Foreheads” is the perfect pickup to get your feet wet however, unless you’re a collection completist I would skip this as it contains no new or unreleased material.  
 

3-CD TRACK LISTING

DISC 1
1. Rattlehead
2. Mechanix
3. Killing Is My Business…And Business Is Good!
4. The Conjuring
5. Wake Up Dead
6. Devils Island
7. Good Mourning / Black Friday
8. Set The World Afire
9. In My Darkest Hour
10. Holy Wars…The Punishment Due
 
DISC 2
1. Hangar 18
2. Tornado Of Souls
3. Rust In Peace…Polaris
4. Five Magics
5. Take No Prisoners
6. Skin O’ My Teeth
7. Angry Again
8. Symphony Of Destruction
9. Sweating Bullets
10. A Tout Le Monde
11. Train Of Consequences
12. Reckoning Day
 
DISC 3
1. Trust
2. She-Wolf
3. Wanderlust
4. Dread and the Fugitive Mind
5. Blackmail The Universe
6. Washington Is Next!
7. Head Crusher
8. Public Enemy No. 1
9. Kingmaker
10. The Threat Is Real
11. Poisonous Shadows
12. Death From Within
13. Dystopia

CD Review: Masked Intruder “III”

“III”

Masked Intruder

Pure Noise Records

Producers: Roger Lima/Mike Kennerty

Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Masked Intruder return with the follow up release to their 2016 EP “Love and Other Crimes” simply titled “III” the album consists of 12 brand new tracks which were produced by Roger Lima (Less Than Jake) and Mike Kennerty (All American Rejects) at The Moat House in Gainesville, FL. “III” is the bands second release and first full-length album to be released via Pure Noise Records.

Intruder Red, Yellow, Blue and Green are back terrorizing your neighborhood with their latest album “III” but, have no fear Officer Bradford is in hot pursuit attempting to retrieve your valuables. Packed full of tongue and cheek lyrics and pogo ensuing punk rhythms “III” is an enjoyable listen from beginning to end. Tracks like “No Case” and “I’m Free (At Last)” are spewing over with energy and laughable subject matter while tracks like “All Of My Love” and “Stay With Me Tonight” cover more emotional topics set perfectly against the bands signature pop-punk style.

If you had a chance to catch the band on one of their many recent tours then you already know just how fun the band is live. “III” captures that same energy and enjoyment over the course of its twelve tracks giving you that same experience listen after listen. The only thing missing is a partially dressed Officer Bradford as the colorfully masked four piece have taken their musicality to another level with their latest offering.        

Track Listing:

1.) No Case

2.) Mine All Mine

3.) All of My Love

4.) Just So You Know

5.) I’m Free (At Last)

6.) Please Come Back To Me

7.) B & E

8.) Maybe Even

9.) Not Fair

10.) Stay With Me Tonight

11.) Dream a Little Dream

12.) I’ll Be Back Again Someday

Soft Vinyl versus Sharp CD Sound: Which One is Better?

However far the modern technologies of the digital sound have gone, the vinyl recordings and CD discs don’t lose their auditory and even increase it. Many music geeks today still look for the best budget speakers for turntable or an affordable CD player. The “old school” discs fans say there is a huge difference between vinyl and CD sound.

So, the two types of recording differ from each other. They have a different way to fix and produce the sound. Actually, it is a difference between analog and digital sound. And they both have pros and cons.

Authenticity
The vinyl analog sound is the closest to the actual live perception. The vinyl records have the grooves shaped parabolically as the sound wave comes. Thus, they enable the full audio information to be fixed and reproduced. The ambient effects, the vibration of the voice, and the improvisation of the musical instrument are clearly heard and recognized.

The CD sound is the snapshot of the analog sound. The accuracy of this snapshot is measured by the number of captures per second (sampling rate) and the range of the snapshot (e.g. 16 bit, 32 bit). The digital sound takes several series of such snapshots in order to recreate the sound wave. Though the modern records have high sampling rates and accuracy, they still represent a “worked out” analog sound. So, the digital sound is a “secondary” one to the analog audio.

Noise
The vinyl records produce a mellow rich sound. Still, comparing to CDs, the tiniest damage or interference influence on the quality of the produced sound. Dust or damages can cause deviations of the sound wave and fill the silent gaps with noise. It is distinctly heard in the purely instrumental compositions. Many know the distinctive “cracking” of the vinyl records, which is a good example of such interference.

The CDs have tiny grooves that don’t let get through even the dust. They can suffer from major damage only. These records don’t lose their properties and accuracy of performance over time. That makes them a good keeper of the recorded audio.

Additional Equipment
The vinyl record player produces analog sound — the one humans can hear. However, the signal is quite weak and the audio is very low. In order to boost the signal and make it audible, the amplifier is applied. Some turntables already have the built-in preamp, so you can enjoy the sound right away without plugging it into the external amplifier.

The CD player (as well as DVD one) also needs an amplifier. However, before sending the signal to the amplifier, CD/DVD player must first convert the digital sound into an analog one. Upon that, it can be boosted by the amplifier and you can enjoy your audio record.

CD Review: Teenage Bottlerocket “Stay Rad”

“Stay Rad”

Teenage Bottlerocket

Fat Wreck Chords

Producer: Andrew Berlin

Tracks: 14

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Formed in Wyoming in 2000, Teenage Bottlerocket were rad when they released their debut album, “Another Way”, in 2003 and almost two decades – as the title of this eighth studio album suggests – they remain just as rad. Following on from 2017’s “Stealing The Covers” these 14 short, snappy and stylish punk songs are centered around the songwriting chops of guitarists/vocalists Ray Carlisle and Kody Templeman and overflow with Teenage Bottlerocket’s typical mix of humor and poignancy, silliness and melancholy.  “Stay Rad” is being released via Fat Wreck Chords and was produced by Andrew Berlin and is the first album of original material that the band – completed with bassist Miguel Chen and drummer Darren Chewka following the death of former drummer and Ray’s twin brother Brandon in 2015.

When you think of Wyoming you don’t often think of punk rock however since the early 2000’s Teenage Bottlerocket have been trying their darnedest to change that. The band’s latest release “Stay Rad” is a fast past 14 track rocker reminiscent of early Ramones albums. Songs like the albums opener “You Don’t Get the Joke” and “Anti-Social Media” hit society right between the eyes with their tongue and cheek lyrics about the need to fit in and social media addiction while tracks like “Everything to Me” and “Little Kid” go deeper emotionally discussing the bond between father and son and the loss of a loved one. While the subject matter varies in seriousness one thing that is consistent is the band’s blistering pace. The albums fourteen tracks clock in at just over thirty minutes wasting no time with drawn out interludes or repetitiveness

From beginning to end “Stay Rad” offers listeners a high energy, fast paced album that is really enjoyable. Even the albums more serious moments are set to catchy beats which do a great job balancing things out while not taking away from the sons meaning. The guys in Teenage Bottlerocket really brought it with their latest offering so do yourself a favor and pickup a copy.

Track Listing:

1.) You Don’t Get the Joke

2.) Death Kart

3.) Everything to Me

4.) I Wanna Be a Dog

5.) Night of Knuckleheads

6.) Creature From the Black Metal Lagoon

7.) Anti-Social media

8.) Wild Hair (Across My Ass)

9.) The First Time That I Did Acid Was The Last Time That I Did Acid

10.) I Want to Kill Clint Carlin

11.) I’ll Kill You Tomorrow

12.) Stupid Song

13.) Little Kid

14.) I Never Knew

CD Review: Mark Morton “Anesthetic”

“Anesthetic”

Mark Morton

Spinefarm Records

Tracks: 10

Our Score: 3 out of 5 Stars

“Anesthetic” is the debut solo offering from Lamb of God Guitarist Mark Morton. The album which features 10 tracks from Morton and a who’s who list of top rock and metal musicians is being released via WPP/Spinefarm Records and while the album certainly has plenty of heavy moments it also shines the light on other aspects of the Grammy Nominated guitarist playing which listeners will surely enjoy.

From full on in your face metal to hip-hop tinged southern rock and all points in between the soft spoken guitarist Mark Morton appears to hold nothing back on his debut release. Pulling from a list of top players including Mike Inez of Alice in Chains, Ray Luzier of Korn and Dave Ellefson of Megadeth “Anesthetic” takes listeners on a stylistic roller coaster ride deserving of multiple listens. The album opens with the track “Cross Off” featuring deceased Linkin Park front man Chester Bennington on vocals. Easily one of the heavier tracks on the record the song explodes like a shotgun blast setting the stage for what is to come. “Axis” the third track on the record taps into Morton’s love of hip-hop as its repetitive beat lays the foundation for a raspy vocal performance courtesy of Screaming Trees front-man Mark Lanegan while Morton showcases a slew of southern rock like riffs that would make Lynyrd Skynyrd very proud. “Anesthetic” is not just all heavy guitar riffs and double bass drums fills as the song “Reveal” gives listens something quite different from the albums other 9 tracks. Featuring Brooklyn based guitarist/vocalist Naeemah Maddox “Reveal” is a multi-layered blues/rock track complete with Stevie Ray Vaughn like solo acting as the icing on the cake.  

Fans of Mark Morton or any of the other guests who appear on “Anesthetic” will definatley want to give this record a listen.  The albums solid performances and top notch production make for a great listening experience that can be enjoyed time and time again as the albums diverse textures and styles will appeal to a wide variety of listeners.

Track Listing:

1.) Cross Off (Featuring Chester Bennington)

2.) Sworn Apart (Featuring Jacoby Shaddix)

3.) Axis (Featuring Mark Lanegan)

4.) The Never (Featuring Chuck Billy and Jake Oni)

5.) Save Defiance (Featuring Myles Kennedy)

6.) Blur (Featuring Mark Morales)

7.) Back From The Dead (Featuring Josh Todd)

8.) Reveal (Featuring Naeemah Maddox)

9.) Imaginary Days

10.) Truth Is Death (Featuring Randy Blythe and Alissa White-Gluz)

CD Review: Weezer “The Teal Album”

“The Teal Album”
Weezer
Crush Music/ Atlantic Records
Tracks: 10

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Throughout a sold out amphitheater tour in summer 2018, Weezer began working covers into their set, ranging from “Take On Me” by a-ha to “Happy Together” by The Turtles, in addition to their massive cover of “Africa” by Toto, which became a viral and radio sensation upon its release earlier that year. Given the tremendous response to these songs at the shows, the band was inspired to put together a covers album — and thus WEEZER (THE TEAL ALBUM) WAS BORN!

Surely a high light for anyone who attended Weezer’s summer tour which featured the band intermingling their own list of hit songs with classic rock staples such as Black Sabbath “Paranoid” and the new wave esque “Take On Me” all set against a bombastic stage show complete with fire, lights and a boat…Yes a boat! Well for fans that really enjoyed the live experience of those songs they now have the chance to own what is being dubbed “The Teal Album”. The album features all the covers heard on this summer’s tour in studio form along with a handful of other songs that will take listeners back to their younger years. From The Eurythmics hit “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This) and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” to TLC’s “No Scrubs” the ten song collection covers a number of musical era’s and genres. Though I would have liked the band to put a little bit more of their own spin on the tracks instead of sticking to the songs original sound they album was still an enjoyable listen.

If you were the guy or girl who couldn’t go with your friends to see Weezer when they were in town who in turn got stuck listening to all the stories about what you missed, you can now get somewhat caught up and at least hear the music. Weezer’s “The Teal Album” is a solid listen and the perfect album to tide you over until the March release of the bands new studio album (queue the Spinal Tap jokes) “The Black Album” which we be released March 1st followed by a Co-headlining tour with The Pixies starting March 8th in Louisville, KY.

Track Listing:
1.) Africa
2.) Everybody Wants to Rule the World
3.) Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
4.) Take On Me
5.) Happy Together
6.) Paranoid
7.) Mr. Blue Sky
8.) No Scrubs
9.) Billie Jean
10.) Stand By Me

CD Review: Emigrate “A Million Degrees”

“A Million Degrees”
Emigrate
Spinefarm Records
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

“A Million Degrees” is the latest offering from Rammstein guitarist Richard Z. Kruspe’s side project Emigrate. The band which released its self titled debut in 2007 and, the follow up “Silent So Long” in 2014 features with Kruspe, Olsen Involtini, Arnaud Giroux, Mikko Sirén, Margaux Bossieux and drummer Joe Letz . Released via Spinefarm Records “A Million Degrees” is an industrial tinged rocker consisting of 11 tracks with guest performances from the likes of Rammstein’s Till Lindemann & Billy Talent’s Benjamin Kowalewicz.

The latest offering from Emigrate is a mixture of familiar industrial textures and freshly infused rock rhythms which produce an album worthy of repeated listening. Much like its predecessors “A Million Degrees” follows suit with catchy vocal hooks, crunchy guitars and bombastic beats that will rattle your inner most core from start to finish. Tracks like the fast paced, thumping “1234” which features Billy Talent vocalist Benjamin Kowalewicz and the synth filled ballad esque “You Are So Beautiful” were personal favorites of mine as was pinch harmonic filled opener “War” and the call and response filled “Spitfire”. Over the albums eleven track, forty five minute run-time Kruspe and company give listeners a wide range of sound scapes and instrumentation that is familiar enough to draw you in and new enough to keep you listening. Die hard Rammstein fans will be happy to know that you even get a guest appearance by Kruspe’s cohort Till Lindemann on the anthemic “Let’s Go” which has the two trading vocals lines back and forth before joining in together later on in the song. Having been a fan since the mid-nineties this fact alone was enough to peak my initial interest.

Fans of Richard Z’s previous works will clearly already have this on their radar however, if you are just more of a casual listener of either Rammstein or Emigrate I strongly urge you to give “A Million Degrees” a listen. Kruspe appears to have really settled into his dual role in the group and together they have crafted an album that provides listeners with an album that runs the gamut of musical styles which can be listened to time and time again.

Track Listing:
1.) War
2.) 1234 feat. Benjamin Kowalewicz
3.) A Million Degrees
4.) Lead You On feat. Margaux Bossieux
5.) You Are OS Beautiful
6.) Hide and Seek
7.) We Are Together
8.) Let’s Go feat. Till Lindemann
9.) I’m Not Afraid
10.) Spitfire
11.) Eyes Fade Away

CD Review: Atreyu “In Our Wake”

“In Our Wake”
Atreyu
Spinefarm Records
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Metalcore mavens Atreyu have returned with a brand new full length studio album titled “In Our Wake” The album is being released via Spinefarm Records and includes 12 tracks from the So-Cal natives. “In Our Wake” is the bands seventh studio release and the follow up to the 2015 album “Long Live” which peaked at No. 26 on the Billboard 200.

Since the bands return from a self imposed hiatus Atreyu have produced a continuous stream of melodic infused metal which can be describes as two parts metalcore and two parts post-hardcore and they further cement this statement with their latest offering “In Our Wake” from tracks like the anthemic opener “In Our Wake” to the thunderous, angst filled “Nothing Will Ever Change” the band showcases the numerous facets of their signature sound which they first debuted in 2002 with the release of “Suicide Notes and Butterfly Kisses”. The band continues to incorporate more and more electronic elements into their sound and tracks like “Blind Deaf & Dumb” and the somber “Terrified” are fitting examples. Another highlight of the album is its closing track “Super Hero” which features guest appearance from Avenged Sevenfold front man M. Shadows and Underoath’s Aaron Gillespie.

Atreyu fans will certainly want to add “in Our Wake” to their collection as nearly every song on the album has potential to dominate the charts and your playlist and even though I found the use of gang vocals to bit a excessive (almost every track features some form of this) each songs performance seems to have been carefully crafted and arranged as the album has a solid flow and unique textures providing an enjoyable listen time and time again.

Track Listing:
1.) In Our Wake
2.) House of Gold
3.) The Time Is Now
4.) Nothing Will Ever Change
5.) Blind Deaf & Dumb
6.) Terrified
7.) Safety Pin
8.) IntoThe Open
9.) Paper Castle
10.) No Control
11.) Anger Left Behind
12.) Super Hero

CD Review: Behemoth “I Love You at Your Darkest”

“I Love You at Your Darkest”
Behemoth
Metal Blade Records
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Black Metal heavy weights Behemoth have just released their 11th studio album titled “I Love You at Your Darkest” via Metal Blade Records. The album is the bands first studio release in four years and features 12 uniquely crafted tracks from the Gdansk natives who have been churning out their own signature blend of black metal since the early nineties. Vocalist/guitarist Nergal has stated that “It doesn’t get more blasphemous than this.” a claim which could be very, very true.

When a band like Behemoth and you releases an album titled “The Satanist” it might cause some to wonder if a black metal band can go much further than that. After listening to the twelve tracks which make up “I Love You at Your Darkest” I can tell you that the members of Behemoth (Nergal, Orion and Inferno) have not only matched the power and impact of their previous release but they may have found a way to take things one step further. The band is no stranger to controversy and in a recent press release Nergal talked about the album’s title, “It’s a verse from the Bible, It’s actually a quote from Jesus Christ himself”. For Behemoth to use it as the basis of our record, it’s sacrilege to the extreme.” Combine the back story of the title with the bands darkly colored fury and sleek production and you get tracks like the blast beat driven “Wolves ov Siberia” the haunting epic esque “Havohej Pantocrator” and my two personal favorites “Rom 5:8” and the droning riff driven “Bartzabel” which despite being lighter than the albums other eleven tracks still packs a punch and breaks up the release nicely.

“I Love You at Your Darkest” offers listeners more than just your run of the mill guttural vocals, down tuned guitars and obligatory blast beats. The band instead uses those techniques as a foundation to craft much more vast sonic landscapes that will appeal listeners time and time again. Even after a couple listens I still wanted to hear more. Albums that are able to keep a listeners attention time and time again are few and far between and Behemoth have packed each of the albums twelve songs with enough texture and instrumentation to keep your ears busy for a very long time.

Track Listing:
1.) Solve
2.) Wolves ov Siberia
3.) God = Dog
4.) Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica
5.) Bartzabel
6.) If Crucifixion Was Not Enough…
7.) Angelvs XIII
8.) Sabbath Mater
9.) Havohej Pantocrator
10.) Rom 5:8
11.) We Are the Next 1000 Years
12.) Coagvla

CD Review: Down By Law “All In”

“All In”
Down By Law
Kung Fu/Cleopatra Records
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Punk rock staples Down By Law are back with a brand new studio album simply titled “All In”. The 11 track album is the bands first studio release in five years and features the group’s classic 90’s lineup of Dave Smalley, Sam Williams, John DiMambro convening for the first time in almost twenty years along with drummer Jack Criswell. “All In” will also be the bands first release since joining Kung Fu/Cleopatra records.

If you grew up in the reemergence of punk rock in the 1990’s like me then you most definitely are aware of Down By Law. With classic albums such as “Punkrockacademyfightsong” and “All Scratched Up” solidifying the bands place in the punk ethos long ago the group’s latest release “All In” continues to build on the bands thirty plus year career. The album is a blending of familiarity and freshness that both fans new and old will enjoy. From tracks like “Boredom” and “Undone” which feature thumping four on the floor rhythms to the Echo laden “Infatuation” and, the haunting closing track “Dear Fate” which at the start creeps along like a low lying fog before a perfectly timed solo helps transition to a slightly more upbeat back end which seemed to serve as the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel for the songs subject matter.

The reuniting of Down By Law’s classic lineup is on display from beginning to end with “All In” and they more than deliver! From catchy lyrics to upbeat instrumentation the group provides listeners with an album that is new and different while still retaining the elements which endeared them to fans over thirty years ago. No fancy studio tricks or filler tracks here. Down By Law brings it on “All In”.

Track Listing:
1.) Aperture
2.) Boredom
3.) Rebrand It
4.) Carousel
5.) End of Rhyme
6.) Undone
7.) Then and Tomorrow
8.) Infatuation
9.) Ride
10.) Mannequin
11.) Dear Fate