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

CD Review: Burn The Priest “Legion: XX”

“Legion: XX”
Burn The Priest
Epic Records
Tracks: 10

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

RIAA-certified, Billboard chart-topping, five-time Grammy nominated Richmond, VA band Lamb of God are pleased to release their highly-anticipated full-length covers album as Burn The Priest, “Legion: XX”, via Epic Records. The album is a collection of songs reflecting the greatness of the classic punk, hardcore, crossover and noise artists that influenced the band in their formative years.

The wait is finally over for fans of Lamb of God’s previous incarnation Burn The Priest .To celebrate the bands twentieth anniversary the guys have united under their previous moniker to release a special album of cover songs which pay homage to the groups punk/metal upbringings. Titled “Legion: XX” the album is a roller coaster ride of aggression and attitude which over the course of ten tracks paints a vivid picture of the members early influences. Tracks like “Inherit The Earth”, “Kerosene” and, “I Against I” are everything you would expect from the Virginia based metalers as they provide an invigorating spin on classic numbers while staying true to the original incarnations of each song.

Though the songs contained on “Legion: XX” might not be as well know by someone from outside the punk and metal genres the track listing for this release provided a fun listen that is unique and personal to the band themselves. This fact provides a fresh listening experience for fans of Lamb of God/Burn The Priest and it caused me to go back and listening to the original recordings. During my trip down memory lane it was fun to compare and contrast each version of the songs especial “Jesus Built My Hotrod” and “Kill Yourself”. Yes it would have been cool to have included one or two new original songs from BTP however, beggars can’t be choosers as there is definitely enough killer material contained on this release to keep even the most rabid fans at bay for the albums brief thirty eight minute run time.

Track Listing:
1.) Inherit The Earth (The Accused)
2.) Honey Bucket (Melvins)
3.) Kerosene (Big Black)
4.) Kill Yourself (S.O.D.)
5.) I Against I (Bad Brains)
6.) Axis Rot (Siliang Laos)
7.) Jesus Built My Hotrod (Ministry)
8.) One Voice (Agnostic Front)
9.) Dine Alone (Quicksand)
10.) We Gotta Know (Cro-Mags)

 

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CD Review: A Perfect Circle “Eat The Elephant”

A Perfect Circle
Eat The Elephant
Producer: Dave Sardy, Billy Howerdel, Maynard James Keenan
Original Release Date: April 20, 2018
Number of Discs: 1
Length: 57:07
Label: BMG

Our Score: 5 out of 5 stars

As a fan of lifetime fan of “A Perfect Circle”, I have been waiting for the band’s fourth album to be released for the last fourteen years. The band started as a side project for Tool front man Maynard James Keenan but has always seems to stay relevant over the years. I think that it is because their music is very real and the lyrics brings up some major social, political and religious issues that it resonates with fans. I will go into it more below but this is an album that has built up for years. It is not going to win you over in one quick distracted listen. If you give this album a chance and really listen to it without distractions it is pretty freaking amazing and I can’t get enough of it! You can tell this was a real labor of love from the band and hardcore fans should dig it!

I spend a lot of time on the computer and listening to music with my Amazon Echo, so one day last Fall, I asked to listen to Tool to my surprise I found no Tool music is available streaming anywhere at the time, so A Perfect Circle quickly came into my head. Once I started listening, I came across a new song called “The Doomed”, I believe this was in October/November of 2017 and I was immediately taken back to old school A Perfect Circle. I loved this track and I listened to it A LOT over the last few months. Then in January, another single dropped called “Disillusioned” and it was even better than the first followed by next month with “TalkTalk” that was released in February 2018. We are talking three hit singles here before the album was even released. So I feel like I have been in love with these new tracks for months now and I only have been enjoying the album more and more with easy listen.

I feel like “Eat the Elephant” works best when played through in one sitting. I feel like the songs wind and connect together in a way that makes the who listening experience very exciting. I can’t explain in words just how much I love the song “Disillusioned”. It is honestly one of my favorite songs currently. The lyrics “Time to put the silicon obsession down…Take a look around, find a way in the silence”. I just have to stop everything and listen when this song comes on. “The Contrarian” is also a real shocker. What a surprise following up track! I also need to give props to the fourth single that was released before the album was released “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish”, it is such a hot track. I love the way it doesn’t let you take a breathe in. It just is perfect and really different from the rest.

Like I mentioned above, even though this is their first album release in fourteen years, the band feels like they haven’t missed a beat. When I shuffle all tracks from this band the new ones fit perfect in with the old. “Eat the Elephant” dates back to as early as 2008. You can tell it was a slow working progress but if you are a longtime fan of Maynard James Keenan, (me personally since 1995), we are trained to expect to have to wait for great things. I can say that I have never been disappointed with a Tool or A Perfect Circle album. This time around unlike with 2004’s “Emotive”, where Billy Howerdel had step into lead vocals for most of the album, this time Keenan performed all vocal parts and also wrote all lyrics.

Since we are a little late to reviewing this album, it has since debuted at number 3 on the US Billboard 200 chart, which is the band’s fourth album to debut in the top 4. A Perfect Circle may not be for everyone but I feel like it’s music stands out from everyone else and is not afraid to be different or to try something new. If you are lucky the band might be coming to a city near you with their accompanying tour throughout 2018, including North American dates in May, October, and November, and European dates in June and December. I have seen them live in the early 2000’s and it was definitely an experience. I can’t wait to see how these new tracks work live. Very excited for this album and for this upcoming tour. “Eat the Elephant” is a must have for A Perfect Circle fans! Definitely worth the wait! Now Maynard, get your ass in gear please on the new Tool album 😉

Track Listing:
1. Eat The Elephant
2. Disillusioned
3. The Contrarian
4. The Doomed
5. So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish
6. TalkTalk
7. By And Down The River
8. Delicious
9. DLB
10. Hourglass
11. Feathers
12. Get The Lead Out

CD Review: “This is Jerry Pearce”

 

My first concert was February14, 1977 at the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, Florida.  The performer?  None other than the King himself, Elvis Aron Presley.  Not a bad start, wouldn’t you agree?

Since then I’ve been fortunate to see many of the people whose work defined the Great American Songbook.  Frank Sinatra.  Sammy Davis, Jr.  Wayne Newton.  Barbra Streisand.  Johnny Mathis.  All masters at their craft and several of them no longer with us.  If you feel the void I sometimes do, I would like to suggest the vocal stylings of one Jerry Pearce.

His latest CD, entitled “This is Jerry Pearce,” is a beautiful trip down memory lane.  Accompanied by the Alan McPike Trio, Pearce puts his own signature on such classics as “Always,” “From Here to Eternity” and, one of my all time favorites, “Fly Me to the Moon.”  He also tackles lesser known songs, like “Watch What Happens” and “Girl Talk.”  In all, there are (10) selections on this disc, and all of them are trips down memory lane.  (No, I’m not THAT old, but this is the music my mother played when I was growing up).

 

If you’re interested in learning more about Jerry, or would like to order one of his many CDs, click HERE

You can read my recent interview with Jerry HERE

 

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CD Review: The Lawrence Arms “We Are The Champions Of The World”

“We Are The Champions of the World”
The Lawrence Arms
Fat Wreck Chords
Tracks: 29

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The Lawrence Arms have scoured their entire discography including their releases on Asian Man Records, Epitaph Records, and FAT to bring listeners “We Are The Champions Of The World”. The album serves as both a retrospective and an introduction to the Chicago institution with the track-list being handpicked by the bassist/vocalist Brendan Kelly, guitarist/vocalist Chris McCaughan, and drummer Neil Hennessy. The 29 track release,(which include 5 never before release tracks from the 2006 “Oh! Calcutta!” sessions) showcases how these three friends went from making gritty, lo-fi records to becoming some of the sharpest songwriters in all of punk.

Even before hitting play I knew my ears were going to be in for a treat as the albums expansive 29 track listing combines selected tracks from the bands 6 studio albums. What makes this release really unique is that it combines songs from albums which weren’t all released by just one label giving the listener a true look/listen into the bands nearly 20 year career. Though I was partial to tracks like “100 Resolutions”, “Beautiful Things” and “Brick Wall Views” which feature guitarist Chris McCaughan on lead vocals, Bassist Brendan Kelly had a fair share of tracks like “The Ramblin’ Boys of Pleasure” and “Like A Record Player” which did a great job showcasing his gruff almost Lars Frederickson like vocals. Having two lead vocalists can sometimes hinder a bands performance and impact an albums sound however Kelly’s grittiness and McCaughan’s melodic delivery go together almost perfectly. For a great example of this check out the tracks “Quincentuple Your Money” and “You are Here”.

It doesn’t matter if you are a long time fan of The Lawrence Arms or just checking them out for the first time as “We Are The Champions of the World” is a great collections of songs which offers a little something for everyone. For new comers the albums first twenty four songs will quickly get you up to speed while the albums five unreleased songs including the band’s latest single “Warped Summer Extravaganza (Turbo Excellent)” will help quench the thirst of the more seasoned fans and even though I would have liked to have heard some new material aside from some unreleased demos I still think the release is a solid addition to any punk rock music library.

Track Listing:
1. On with the Show
2. Great Lakes/Great Escapes
3. Alert the Audience!
4. 100 Resolutions
5. The Devil’s Takin’ Names
6. Beautiful Things
7. Quincentuple Your Money
8. The Slowest Drink at the Saddest Bar on the Snowiest Day in the Greatest City
9. Are You There Margaret? It’s Me, God.
10. Right as Rain Part 2
11. Seventeener (17th and 37th)
12. Chapter 13: The Hero Appears
13. The Ramblin’ Boys of Pleasure
14. Light Breathing (Me and Martha Plimpton in a Fancy Elevator)
15. Like a Record Player
16. You are Here
17. Boatless Booze Cruise Part 1
18. Brick Wall Views
19. Sixteen Hours
20. Turnstiles
21. An Evening of Extraordinary Circumstance
22. The Northside, the L&L and Any Number of Crappy Apartments
23. Porno & Snuff Films
24. Demons
25. The Rabbit and the Rooster
26. Catalog
27. Black Snow
28. Laugh Out Loud
29. Warped Summer Extravaganza (Turbo Excellent)

 

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CD Review: Brian Fallon “Sleepwalkers”

“Sleepwalkers”
Brian Fallon
Island Records
Producer: Ted Hutt
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Gaslight Anthem front man Brian Fallon is back with a brand new solo album titled “Sleepwalkers”. The twelve track album is being released via Island Records as was produced by Ted Hutt. As the follow up to Fallon’s 2016 solo debut “Painkillers”, “Sleepwalkers” continues on with the front mans raspy, old timey style long time fans have come to love.

Two parts Dylan and two parts Springsteen is how I like to best describe Brian Fallon’s music. “Sleepwalkers” fits that description perfectly as the albums twelve tracks blend the singer/songwriters love of folk and rock into one unique package. Much like Fallon’s previous works “Sleepwalkers” paints a lyrical picture of classic Americana elements as tracks like “Forget Me Not” and “Neptune” talk about lost love and missed opportunity while being sung against robust, upbeat instrumentation while, tracks like “Etta James” and “See You on the Other Side” feature a more scaled back folk like style which nicely showcases Fallon’s vocal style. Probably my favorite track off the album was the Clash esque “Come Wander with Me” which comes complete with a quasi reggae beat, a catchy chorus and, a line taken from the Clash’s song “Bank Robber” acting as the cherry on top of a proverbial music sundae.

“Sleepwalkers” might not be as strong of a release as its predecessor or when compared to some of Fallon’s previous other works however, the album certainly shows progression. As an artist Brian Fallon is not afraid to brave new ground or try things out of his comfort zone and his latest release is a testament to that. If you are looking for a nice mixture of poppy infused rock with classic folk elements then “Sleepwalkers” is the album for you.

Track Listing:
1.) If Your Prayers Don’t Get to Heaven
2.) Forget Me Not
3.) Come Wander with Me
4.) Etta James
5.) Her Majesty’s Service
6.) Proof of Life
7.) Little Nightmares
8.) Sleepwalkers
9.) My Name Is the Night (Color Me Black)
10.) Neptune
11.) Watson
12.) See You on the Other Side

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CD Review: Reggie and the Full Effect “41”

“41”
Reggie and the Full Effect
Pure Records
Tracks: 14

Our Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Revered punk-rock project Reggie and the Full Effect will release their 7th studio album, “41” on February 23rd 2018 via Pure Noise Records. Serving as the solo project for Get Up Kids keyboardist James Dewees since 1998 Reggie and the Full Effect blend synth infused rhythms with a driving punk rock ferociousness which creates the perfect foundation for Dewees gravely vocal style.

With almost a five year lapse between Reggie’s 2013 release “No Country For Old Musicians” and their latest offering “41” I was quite anxious to hear what Mr. James Dewees had in-store for listeners this time around. Clocking in at 53 minutes “41” is a very deep and heartfelt album that is brimming over with emotion. Tracks like “Broke Down” and “New Years Day” hit hard lyrically as Dewees pulls directly from some very personal experiences. The album has plenty of lighter moments as well including tracks like “Karate School” the interstellar instrumental “Channing Tatum Space Rollerblading Montage Music” and “Trap(ing) Music” an industrial powered behemoth featuring James’ alter ego Klaus and Common Denominator which will surely have you chanting the comical chorus before the end of the song.

From start to finish “41” is the type of album I really enjoy listening to. From light to heavy and touching on all points in between both emotionally and stylistically “41” has something for everyone. Having listened to the album from start to finish several times over before writing this I just couldn’t and still can’t stop playing it. With 2018 just starting do yourself a favor and grab a copy of this album as I think its definitely going to be one of the bright spots in music this year.

Track Listing:
1.) IL Sniffy Incontra
2.) IL Pesce Svedese
3.) Alone Again
4.) Broke Down
5.) Heartbreak
6.) Karate School
7.) The Horrible Year
8.) New Years Day
9.) Maggie
10.) Channing Tatum Space Rollerblading Montage Music (feat: Fluxuation)
11.) You’ve Got Secrets
12.) Trap(ing) Music (feat: Common Denominator)
13.) And Next with Feeling
14.) Off Delaware

Be sure to check out our exclusive interview with James Dewees here for more info on the album.

 

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CD Review: Power Trip “Nightmare Logic”

“Nightmare Logic”
Power Trip
Southern Lord Recordings
Tracks: 8

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Texas thrash band Power Trip is back with an all new angst filled album titled “Nightmare Logic”. As the follow-up to the band’s debut 2013 album “Manifest Decimation” the 8 track sophomore effort is being released via Southern Lord Recordings and continues on where its predecessor left off as a reincarnated version of the 80’s thrash sound.

Having caught these guys one night opening for Lamb of God I was instantly hooked as the band’s sound and energy commanded your attention as it was straight up thrash ala early Overkill and Anthrax. The group’s latest album “Nightmare Logic” continues on in that vein but with an injection of modern metal flare and accoutrements. Opening up the album is the lurching “Soul Sacrifice” a track which starts of being reminiscent of early Pantera before catapulting you head first in to the thrash sonisphere. The track then gives way for probably my favorite track from the album “Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe). An infectious number with a chorus that quickly gets logged in your ear drums and with have you singing the line “Swing of the Axe” over and over again. As the album quickly progresses tracks like “Waiting Around To Die” and “If Not Us Then Who” all leave an undeniable stain on your senses as both songs feature the near perfect amount of vintage thrash DNA.

If you are a fan of the big four of thrash (Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer and Anthrax) and want to recapture the energy those bands provided with their earlier albums but, with a fresh/modern spin then the latest offering from Power Trip is sure to do the trick. First time listeners will also appreciate “Nightmare Logic” as the album is chocked full of great guitar riffs, tongue and cheek lyrics and slamming drum beats which offer repeated opportunities for solid head banging.

Track Listing:
1.) Soul Sacrifice
2.) Executioner’s Tax (Swing of the Axe)
3.) Firing Squad
4.) Nightmare Logic
5.) Waiting Around To Die
6.) Ruination
7.) If Not Us Then Who
8.) Crucifixation

CD Review: Cannibal Corpse “Red Before Black”

“Red Before Black”
Cannibal Corpse
Metal Blade Records
Producer: Erik Rutan
Tracks: 12

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Cannibal Corpse returns with their 14th full-length studio album titled “Red Before Black” an album which clearly shows the soon-to-be thirty-year death metal veterans are unstoppable! The album serves to not only to reiterate this but to once more raise the stakes, making it very clear who sets the standards when it comes to compelling music this is equally brutal and complex. With 2017 seeing a slew of stunning new releases from death metal’s old guard “Red Before Black” stands strong and is a fitting statement for a band whose career spans almost three decades.

Not for the faint of heart “Red Before Black” is the latest offering from death metal heavy weights Cannibal Corpse and much like previous releases from the Buffalo, NY natives the band burst out of the gate going directly for your face! Tracks like album opener “Only One Will Die” and “Heads Shoveled Off” feature bombastic blast beats and thunderous double bass courtesy of Mr. Paul Mazurkiewicz while tracks like “Code of the Slashers” and “Shedding My Human Skin” feature some of the most guttural, demon summoning growls by George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher. With the guitars and bass acting as the proverbial cherry on top of each of the albums 12 tracks “Red Before Black” is one of the bands strongest releases in the past 5 years.

Chances are if you are already reading this then you what Cannibal Corpse is about and are familiar with their sound. If not but, you are looking for some balls to the wall death metal then do yourself a favor and grab a copy of “Red Before Black”! As a band progresses through their career often times sounds and styles change but in the case of Cannibal Corpse the band’s latest offering is equally if not more aggressive than the band’s debut, proving that just because a band gets older doesn’t mean they have to slow down or soften up.

Track Listing:
1.) Only One Will Die
2.) Red Before Black
3.) Code of the Slashers
4.) Shedding My Human Skin
5.) Remaimed
6.) Firestorm Vengeance
7.) Heads Shoveled Off
8.) Corpus Delicti
9.) Scavenger Consuming Death
10.) In The Midst of Ruin
11.) Destroyed Without a Trace
12.) Hideous Ichor

CD Review: Motorhead “Under Cover”

“Under Cover”
Motorhead
Motorhead Music
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Despite the departure of founding member/front man Lemmy Kilmister in 2015 the legacy of the “Worlds Loudest Band” still remains. “Under Cover” the latest postmortem release from Motorhead Music is an 11 track collection of some of the bands best covers recorded between 1992 and 2015. “Under Cover” is signature Motorhead through and through with the same loud, raucous, raging rock ‘n’ roll sound that was synonymous with the band over the course of its 40 year existence.

Sure there are lots of cover albums out there but, is there a covers album done completely by Motorhead? Not until now! Taken from recordings made during the latter half of the bands career “Under Cover” is a gritty, grimy beast made up of some of rocks most notable songs performed the only way Motorhead knew how. Loud! From Judas Priest’s “Breaking the Law” and Ted Nugent’s “Cat Scratch Fever” to the unreleased version of David Bowies “Heroes” and a take no prisoners version of Metallica’s “Whiplash”. Over the course of 11 tracks listeners get an album that not only showcases Motorhead’s versatility and musicianship but listeners will also enjoy how the band added their own style while not straying too far from the originality of each track.

It doesn’t matter if you are a Motorhead fan or not as the group’s latest release is the kind of album you can throw on at a party and please just about everyone. At the core of “Under Cover” is a solid selection of songs that you can tell just by listening that the band really enjoyed. Go one louder with this release! Your ears will thank you.

Track Listing:
1.) Breaking the Law
2.) God Save the Queen
3.) Heroes
4.) Starstruck
5.) Cat Scratch Fever
6.) Jumpin’ Jack Flash
7.) Sympathy for the Devil
8.) Hellraiser
9.) Rockaway Beach
10.) Shoot’Em Down
11.) Whiplash

CD Review: Brendon Small’s “Galaktikon II: Become The Storm”

“Galaktikon II: Become The Storm”
Brendon Small
Megaforce Records
Producer: Brendon Small/Ulrich Wild
Tracks: 11

Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars

Dethklok mastermind Brendon Small returns with part two of his interstellar space saga titled “Galaktikon II: Become the Storm”. Continuing on with the space-age themes of 2012’s original “Galaktikon” album, “Become the Storm” is a heavier, darker and more brutal sound. In addition to Brendon Small and Grammy-nominated producer/engineer Ulrich Wild “Galaktikon II: Become The Storm” features the distinct rhythmic powers of drum legend Gene Hoglan and bassist extraordinaire Bryan Beller. With uncapped time and creativity on their side, the aforementioned artists have created a heavy metal opus that Dethklok fanatics will covet and newcomers will add to the top of their playlists.

After a five year wait fans of Dethklok creator Brendon Small have something new to fill their ear holes. “Galaktikon II: Become the Storm” instantly pickups up where the albums predecessor left off. From the thunderous attack of the opening track “Some Days Are For Dying” to the hauntingly eerie “The Ocean Galaktik” which features Small’s departure from his signature gritty growls to an almost crooning like style which certainly adds to the tracks uniqueness. Closing out the album were probably my two favourite tracks from the release. “Could This Be The End” is a blending of heavy metal styles which almost sums up the creators musical range in one singular track and the instrumental “Rebuilding A Planet” which is very much in the progressive style of Steve Vai or Joe Satriani but with Small’s own unique approach making for a really enjoyable listen.

“Galaktikon II: Become the Storm” is a fitting follow-up to its predecessor. The album contains ample amounts of signature Small and his assembled crew of musicians as they traverse deeper into the “Galaktikon” universe. You never know where the next track will take you as it twists and turns over the fictional universe which makes for an exciting listen defiantly worth checking out.

Track Listing:
1.) Some Days Are For Dying
2.) Icarus Six Sixty Six
3.) The Agenda
4.) The Ocean Galaktik
5.) My Name Is Murder
6.) Become The Storm
7.) Nightmare
8.) Could This Be The End
9.) To Kill A God
10.) Exitus
11.) Rebuilding A Planet

CD Review: “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder”

“Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder”
Silver Lining
4 Discs
Runtime: 271 minutes

Our score:  CD 2.5 out of 5 stars
BluRay/DVD 3.5 our of 5 stars

The ultimate heavy metal event-in-a-box is now available for fans to enjoy in the comfort of their very own home. “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” is a collection of some of the best performances from the 2016 Wacken Open Air festival held in Germany each yr. The double disc CD and DVD/BluRay features music from over 30 artists including Arch Enemy, Saxon and Bullet for My Valentine all packaged nicely in multi fold digipack.

No need for lengthy international travel or standing in a soggy bog along the European country side as “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” allows you to enjoy a majority of the Wacken Open Air festival from the safety and dryness of your own couch or recliner. Get comfortable as with a runtime of over four hours you are definitely in for a long haul especially if you plan to check it out from start to finish. If you want to skip around a little I highly recommend checking out the performances from Eluveitie, Bullet for My Valentine and Dio Disciples as they were easily my favorite. I also enjoyed the video version of this package a little more as it included in most cases a couple songs from each artist.

Invite a few friends over crack open some drinks and thrown on either the DVD/BluRay or the included audio versions of the release. Though a majority of the performances contained on the set are from European acts I wasn’t too familiar with there is still plenty of other material from bands I had heard before. Though I enjoyed seeing bands like Steel Panther and Saxon I think I had more fun checking out the bands who I hadn’t heard of because those performances were fresh and new to me. It’s always great to be exposed to new music and that’s certainly what “Live at Wacken 2016: 27 Years Faster: Harder: Louder” does. I do feel though that if you are a more casual metal fan there might not be enough familiarity included to warrant purchasing the cumbersome four disc set however, If you are a dedicated, die hard metal head that has yearned for the Wacken experience but couldn’t make the trip then this release is certainly for you as it gets you as close as you can be without actually being there.

BluRay/DVD Track Listing: Disc 1

1.) Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons- Big Mouth
2.) Profaner- Killing On Command
3.) Hamatom- Alte Liebe Rostet Nicht
4.) Auan- Pjaning Heillar Bjodar
5.) Saxon- Battering Ram
6.) Saxon- Heavy Metal Thunder
7.) Zombies Ate My Girlfriend- Appropriate Hate Crimes
8.) Vader- Triumph of Death
9.) Tsjuder- Demonic Supremacy
10.) Immolation- Despondent Souls
11.) Therapy? Screamager
12.) Michael Monroe- 78
13.) Orden Ogan- F.E.V.E.R.
14.) Orden Ogan- The Things We Believe In
15.) The Vintage Caravan- Expand Your Mind
16.) Bury Tomorrow- Man On Fire
17.) Entombed A.D.- Dead Dawn
18.) Equilibrium- But Im Auge
19.) Equilibrium- Born To Be Epic
20.) Die Krupps- Fatherland
21.) Axel Rudi Pell- Game Of Sins
22.) Axel Rudi Pell- Rock The Nation
23.) Ektomorf- Holocaust
24.) Girlschool- Take It Like a Band
25.) Lemmy- Born To Lose, Live To Win

Bluray/DVD Track Listing: Disc 2

1.) Torfrock- Trunkenbold
2.) Torfrock- PreBlufthammer B B-Bernhard
3.) Eluveitie- Tegernako
4.) Eluveitie- Havoc
5.) Bullet For My Valentine- Tears Don’t Fall
6.) Bullet For My Valentine- Waking The Demon
7.) Tarja- No Bitter End
8.) 1349- Sculptor Of Flesh
9.) Red Fang- Prehistoric Dog
10.) Unisonic- Unisonic
11.) Caliban- Paralyzed
12.) While She Sleeps- Four Walls
13.) Eskimo Callboy- Muffin Purper-Gurk
14.) Myrkur- Jeg er Guden, I er tjenerne
15.) Borknagar- Colossus
16.) Borknagar- Winter Thrice
17.) Metal Church- Gods Of Second Chance
18.) Therion- Sons Of The Sun
19.) Therion- Sons Of The Staves Of Time
20.) Steel Panther- Asian Hooker
21.) Steel Panther- Community Property
22.) Steak Number Eight- Black Eyed
23.) Triptykon- Morbid Tales
24.) Buffalo Summer- Money
25.) Barb Wire Dolls- Heart Attack
26.) Arch Enemy- War Eternal
27.) Budderside- Pain
28.) Dio Disciples- The Last In Line
29.) Dio Disciples- Stargazer

CD Track Listing: Disc 1

1.) Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons- Big Mouth
2.) Hamatom- Alte Liebe Rostet Nicht
3.) Saxon- Battering Ram
4.) Vader- Triumph Of Death
5.) Tsjuder- Demonic Supremacy
6.) Immolation- Despondent Souls
7.) Theraphy?- Screamager
8.) Michael Monroe- 78
9.) The Vintage Caravan- Expand Your Mind
10.) Bury Tomorrow- Man On Fire
11.) Entombed A.D.- Dead Dawn
12.) Equilibrium- Born To Be Epic
13.) Die Krupps- Fatherland
14.) Axel Rudi Pell- Rock The Nation
15.) Girlschool- Take It Like a Band
16.) Ektomorf- Holocaust
17.) Torfrock- PreBlufthammer B B-Bernhard
18.) Eluveitie- Havoc

CD Track Listing: Disc 2

1.) Bullet For My Valentine- Tears Don’t Fall
2.) Tarja- No Bitter End
3.) 1349- Sculptor Of Flesh
4.) Red Fang- Prehistoric Dog
5.) Unisonic- Unisonic
6.) Caliban- Paralyzed
7.) Eskimo Callboy- Muffin Purper-Gurk
8.) Borknagar- Colossus
9.) Metal Church- Gods Of Second Chance
10.) Therion- Sons Of The Staves Of Time
11.) Steel Panther- Community Property
12.) Steak Number Eight- Black Eyed
13.) Triptykon- Morbid Tales
14.) Buffalo Summer- Money
15.) Barb Wire Dolls- Heart Attack
16.) Arch Enemy- War Eternal
17.) Budderside- Pain
18.) Dio Disciples- Stargazer

 

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CD Review: Royal Blood “How Did We Get So Dark”

“How Did We Get So Dark”
Royal Blood
Warner Bros.
Tracks: 10

Our score: 2 out of 5 stars

The UK Duo Royal Blood are back with their sophomore release via Warner Bros. Records titled “How Did We Get So Dark”. As the follow up to the bands successful 2010 release “Royal Blood”, the new album features 10 fresh tracks which were produce by the band along with Tom Dalgety and Jolyon Thomas.

Having caught Royal Blood when they opened for the Foo Fighters on their “Sonic Highways” tour I was instantly amazed at the sizeable sound these two guys were able produce. Needless to say I was instantly hooked. The band’s latest offering “How Did We Get So Dark” is a bit of a departure from the group’s self-titled release as I found it lacking the punch and grittiness of its predecessor. Tracks like “How Did We Get So Dark” and “Hole On Your Heart” feature much more robust instrumentation and production which I felt took away from the group’s signature bass, drums sound scape. Thankfully tracks such as “Where Are You Now” and “Hook, Line & Sinker” brought back some of the sound that originally appealed to me.

Though not an outright bad album “How Did We Get So Dark” is not what I consider a good album either. I applaud the band for stretching their legs while trying to expand on the limited possibilities of a two member group however, I think they may have strayed a touch too far from the signature sound that put them on the map making their latest offering one I just couldn’t get in to.

Track Listing:
1.) How Did We Get So Dark
2.) Lights Out
3.) I Only Lie When I Love
4.) She’s Creeping
5.) Look Like You Know
6.) Where Are You Now
7.) Don’t Tell
8.) Hook, Line & Sinker
9.) Hole In Your Heart
10.) Sleep

CD Review: Teenage BottleRocket “Stealing The Covers”

“Stealing The Covers”
Teenage BottleRocket
Fat Wreck Chords
Tracks: 14

Our score: 4 out of 5 stars

Teenage BottleRocket’s brand new album and their return to Fat Wreck Chords is complete! “Stealing The Covers” is the latest offering from the 4 piece punk band hailing from Laramie, Wyoming. Pulled from catalogs of bands TBR has toured with over the last 17 years the groups most recent offering is a unique collection of upbeat, tongue and cheek cover tracks that follow suit with the bands previous releases.

Having first heard about the possibility of this album during last years Warped Tour I was more than ready to check it out when the opportunity arose. Right off the bat I noticed that this wasn’t going to be just another punk cover album as while looking at the albums track listing a lot of the song titles where foreign to me as were the bands who originally performed them. No matter, I forged ahead and what I ended up finding was a fun, fresh and energetic album worth listening to multiple times over. Tracks like “Back and Forth”, “Robocop Is a Halfbreed Sellout” and, “Gay Parade” had just about I look for in a solid pop-punk tune.

From humorous lyrics and subject matter to catchy sing along choruses played with a Ramones like fury Teenage Bottlerockets “Stealing The Covers” is a great listen. Don’t let the bands decision to choose more obscure tracks cloud your judgment as I found not knowing some of the music only added to the appeal of the record and gave it a freshness other cover albums lack.

Track Listing:
1. The Way I Know (Varsity Weirdos)
2. Back and Forth (Hollywood Blondes)
3. College Town (Juke)
4. Don’t Go (The Scutches)
5. Robocop Is a Halfbreed Sellout (Sprocket Nova)
6. No Hugging No Learning (HEAD)
7. Shit Fuck God Damn (Artimus Maximus)
8. Gay Parade (The Gullibles)
9. It Came from the Radio (The Blendours)
10. Alien Motion Technology (The Mugwumps)
11. Hat Nerd (The Four Eyes)
12. My Very Best (The 20Belows)
13. I Kill Butterflies (Onion Flavored Rings)
14. Why the Big Pause (The Punchlines)

 

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