Search Results for "Album Review"

Album Review: Novelists – “Souvenirs”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, October 7, 2015 at 7:38 AM (PST)

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Novelists from Paris are not a tribute band to the works of Sartre or -even better- Boris Vian (who once devoted much of a book to describing a piano that could make specialty cocktails depending on what notes you played). No, the young group are a progressive metalcore band full of attack, djent and busy guitar parts, albeit with some solid melodic parts to set them apart from the bands who only scream over this style. I will go on the record and say it is not my favorite sub genre of metal as I find regionalism tends to go by the wayside and make many of these bands near indistinguishable regardless of country of origin (Exist Immortal, Rise Of Doom, We Came As Romans all kind of sound more or less the same to me despite being good at what they do). Heck, even black metal really has many bands that adhere to form. My bias works in the band’s favor here as Novelists still have a lot to grab ahold of the listener’s ears (even a primarily stoner rock fan like me).

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Album Review: Queensrÿche – “Condition Human”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 11:11 AM (PST)

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The only way it could be more apparent at this point that losing Geoff Tate
was the best career saving decision Queensryche ever made was if the current
line up performed some Frequency Unknown songs in the set and did a better
job at those as well. Understand that every time I have to write something
like that about Tate-ryche and the fall from grace of one of metal’s once
towering voices, a little part of the kid in me who fell in love with every
track on Empire dies. But the new band have made me believe again, along wth
many others. Geoff Tate is grasping at straws with his distastefully named
Operation: Mindcrime band, a move that cheapens the iconic album’s brand more
than a new Queensryche line up that kicks ass and has a classic sound ever
could.

And I feel for Tate. It’s gotta hurt. But make no mistake…Condition Human is hands down the best Queensryche album in
20+ years, the best since Promised Land by far and the first to finally once
and for all make you say ,“Chris DeGarmo who”?

To be fair, I liked moments of Tribe and even Dedicated To Chaos had a few late Tate great moments where his better character shone through like “Get Started” which sounds a little like Pearl Jam doing a mid tempo Queensryche song but was fun. But the “we don’t suffer fools” lyric from that song and “Time to change the view” line turned out to fit Tate the best.

Read on BELOW.

Album Review: Once Human – “The Life I Remember”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 at 8:17 AM (PST)

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Logan Madder will always hold a place in the heart of any metal fan who has ever been in the midst of a “Davidian” riff onslaught, but the producer and guitarist is much more than that. Returning to the stage after a decade plus, Madder has re-emerged with a strong new group Once Human.

I’m a fan of some of Madder’s production with especially Gojira and less so with Five Finger Death Punch, if more so because the band annoy me than any fault in the production. Once Human, however, it feels like Madder pulled out all the stops to assert his new group is the bomb. He did a good job. The title track in particular is enough to make any fan of this kind of alt metal/crossover thrash salivate. From the roared vocals of Lauren Hart, which recall Tarrie B at her most unhinged married to some real hooks, a dry and punishing amped up drum attack from secret weapon Dillon Trollope and groove metal power to make the 90’s blush, the band are nonetheless not a throwback. There is plenty of studio wizardry and unexpected textural twists, dives and especially cool spacious elements in the guitars to contrast the heaviest moments.

Pick up a copy HERE.

“Time Of The Disease” is powerful groove metal, ballistic bass, a slick solo and augmented by awesome string and vocal patterns like something from a gothic horror movie before major melodeath kicks in. Hart’s voice has a particular low end to her scream not heard this effectively since Karyn Crisis. “I Am War” is another highlight, a war march intro with cooed vocals that gets more uneasy as the band build the 1:52 track from a dreary military march through a dollhouse nightmare like soldiers and Marilyn Manson-esque circus outcasts had a party.

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Review: Corrections House – “Know How To Carry A Whip”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 at 9:00 AM (PST)

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Corrections House don’t care about your feelings.

“Go back from whence you came and tie your shoes correctly this time”.

When the dust settles from listening to this new record, you won’t know if you have PTSD, are inspired or are a masochist.

Industrial influenced metal and punk has really made something of a tiny yet formidable comeback via acts like the brilliant UK act Hateful Abandon, France’s Crown, the doomy studio project Culted and the U.S.A.’s own vital, machine building, pacifist madman Author & Punisher or my pal Jay Gambit’s Crowhurst.

Even Nergal has been getting into Youth Code and it’s a good time to feel bleak and alive. Circle Of Animals was a cool record and even Ministry has had some solid late career surprises amidst their more speed metal direction, Theologian and Prurient thrill but the genre was mostly wheezing on paint fumes compared to other styles like thrash, death and metalcore which the public has clamored for more recently. That said, this shit is never gonna become standard mall kid fare, ever. Not unless Bladerunner ever really arrives in full.

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Album Review: Slayer – “Repentless”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 8:55 AM (PST)

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I have not really been able to stomach most of the reviews or negative attitudes towards the current incarnation of Slayer since Jeff H. died. Do you really think Hanneman would want us all turning on the band he was in for so many years? I can’t blame Araya for singing “Pissing match of egos” on the thrash-tastic title track of this latest entry into the band’s storied discography. Personally I think people are really easily swayed by band wagons these days and you get a few trolls or bad reviews up and running and suddenly no one thinks for themselves.

“We’re killing ourselves a little more everyday!,” Araya also screams on the title track.

I’ve written for other sights about how I prefer Katy Perry to Taylor Swift any day, but essentially at the end of the day it is about personalities. Pop music is mainly written by three or four people! Wake up! We are part of a still thriving underground and it is weak that Mayhem Fest had low turn out this year just because a more commercial band like A7X wasn’t headlining. But below the surface of the mainstream all we get is a sea of fucking arguing.

While Kerry King’s comments about the Mayhem Fest this year divided some fans, the infighting in the metal scene could also be pointed right back at plenty of more closed minded Slayer fans who will only accept the classic line up. I love the current Slayer and think they did as great a job as humanly possible with Paul and Gary. Really, could anyone be as good replacements for Dave and Jeff as these cats? They’ve been killing it live and both are classic members of the thrash pantheon in their own rights. Paul even arguably played on Slayer’s arguably MOST classic record GOD HATES US ALL since the early days!

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Album Review: Draconian – “Sovran”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Thursday, September 17, 2015 at 7:58 AM (PST)

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Along with Paradise Lost’s fantastic The Plague Within, this has been a victorious year for gloom and doom. Sweden’s veteran beauty and the beast doomers Draconian have made a masterful new record Sovran (pre-order HERE!) that has had fans counting down the days. Pleased to report it should exhalt the group to new heights in the scene, a real modern victory. The My Dying Bride and older Katatonia comparisons might still rear up hear and there, but the band are also their own and deserve a look without comparative filters.

“Heavy Lies The Crown” alone as a single would have critics gushing, myself included. Thankfully we have nine songs nearly as glorious and dark, like spilled wine and hopes running through the fingers and down a pale arm as it drops a glass mixed with poison. No song is below the six minute mark, though each is like a movie unto itself yet adding to this whole experience. “The Marriage of Attaris” has a bold poetic monologue intro before the simply soul stirring voice of Heike Langhans. Heike really asserts herself subtly and beautifully on this record and should be more than embraced by longtime fans at this point. Anders Jacobsson retains a growl that sounds truly fierce and lonely yet strong, while the band’s relentless forward marching doom is as natural as wood rotting in the forest or dark growth and shadow reclaiming a scorched Earth.

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Album Review: Soilwork – “The Ride Majestic”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, August 31, 2015 at 3:13 PM (PST)

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In Daniel Barenboim’s Music Quickens Time a passage popped out to me this morning:

Another inevitable constraint on free thought is the attempt to facilitate the condition of human existence by constructing a system of belief that renders the act of questioning futile.

Wow. That statement could apply to social conditioning as well as, heck, the entire careers of Soilwork (and definitely In Flames)! A lot of the Swedish bands built their cities on rock n roll only to be turned on by some fans later for expanding their horizons (aka adding more melody or technical/progressive passages).

“Death In General”, the third track on Soilwork’s 10th (!!) studio album The Ride Majestic, is just the latest proof that Soilwork are capable of so much more than just a Steelbath Suicide solution.

Pre-Order HERE.

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Album Review: Ramming Speed – “No Epitaphs”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, August 24, 2015 at 11:27 AM (PST)

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East Coast smashers Ramming Speed are one of the more chaotic, thrashy bands
around, like their label mates Exmortus often sounding like one big evil as
fuck party. Ramming Speed have really dogged it out to get to album number
three and have a lot of cred in the crust punk scene as well. They just seem
like an awesome band and can really play a good, rough around the edges more
punky version of thrash.

Full review BELOW.

He Whose Ox Is Gored – “The Camel, The Lion, The Child”.

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, August 19, 2015 at 7:40 PM (PST)

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Well, here we are. How do I even start a review for a record this rewarding? How about by demanding you pre-order it HERE. No better compliment?

I am gonna blame Lisa Mungo from Seattle’s He Whose Ox Is Gored for almost single handedly getting me back into proggy/post-rock stuff as well as, incidentally, Stephen Brodsky’s music. I’d written Lisa a few weeks back introducing myself and asking a question and then started listening to HWOIG’s older stuff more thuroughly than I had in the past. Now I am so hooked!

As the band are touring with Mutoid Man and that Bleeder record of theirs also blew me away and has a similar workmanlike chopping drum attack paired with busy but also at times spacious guitars, I soon found myself diving into old Brodsky classics like Cave In’s Jupiter for the first time in years. God, most music really fucking sucks now compared to that stuff, doesn’t it? I mean, I am a super positive guy unless you really piss me off, but woah.

The Camel, The Lion, The Child has a (very) few rougher patches here and there but  they only add to the striving humanity of this future classic. “Oathbreaker” recalls Game of Thrones as filtered through new wave hell metal, at least in my mind. Bells toll and the anticipation building hi hat simmers nerves. The cool time signatures, vox roaring at 3:41 like dub music weaving in and out plus synths equals an amazing listen. Think post-metal sci-fi meets Chicago noise or 90’s rock completely disassembled but with screams ala Botch and occasional pretty vocals, as members alternate. “Omega” (premiered HERE at Cvlt Nation) could teach some of the Between The Buried And Me wanna bes a thing or two about feel, as like Prosthetic trio InAeona or Junius the bigger feelings evoked don’t depend on overplaying. Yawning void is actually a thing on some of these tracks.

For more see BELOW.

Album Review: Dead Letter Circus – “Aesthesis”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, August 4, 2015 at 10:42 AM (PST)

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Pre order HERE.

“And I hope that one day I will see you again”. This plaintive lyric opens Dead Letter Circus’s masterful new album Aesthesis. Kim Benzie’s distinct voice is a proud flag the Brisbane band rallies around with colorful and spacious hard rock that wastes absolutely zero time trying to fit into a box of preconceptions.

Life is a varied experience and thank God. I am a huge Max Cavalera fan but was dismayed to read an old quote recently I’d never seen where he called Killswitch Engage “gay”. Even more than the lazy use of that word I was much more bothered by the inference that Killswitch acted “like U2 on stage” as Cavalera said in, I think, like 2008 when Howard Jones was in the band. Perhaps it was bitterness for Sepultura doing an awesome “Bullet The Blue Sky” cover post-Max, but the Brazilian metal greats comments just rang as senseless to me. Every Soulfly record has had guests of different stripes from the very melodic Chino Moreno to Fred Durst! I know Max is a Bob Marley fan. Let’s try and be more open minded again in metal and hard rock.

Look, I like Possessed as much (and maybe more) than many people. That said, who are we trying to prove things too? Ten death metal or throwback thrash fans who only support narrow definitions instead of achievement and risk? With no melodic elements in metal there is no Fear Factory, no Iced Earth, so many good bands. One of my photographers today is shooting Deftones/Incubus for us and I’m thrilled that package tour is luring back some hard rock fans. Ticket sales are down across the board. Forward thinking bands like The Safety Fire are breaking up. Mayhem Fest just fell apart, tragically.

This is not a time for closing doors on each other.

“Yeah dude, but is the record good”? Yes. Dare I say, Hell fuckin’ yes?!

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: BTBAM – “Coma Ecliptic”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Sunday, July 19, 2015 at 2:32 PM (PST)

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Between The Buried and me are in a great phase right now, already respected
and with several classics under their belt, more plenty of “prove your mettle”
tours under their belts and a reputation up there with the best. BTBAM, with
Coma Ecliptic, step out of the shadow of Parallax and into their most concise
yet still deftly ambitious work ever. Alaska had heart and showed promise and
other moments like The Great Misdirect (a personal favorite) showed BTBAM were
unafraid to reinvent themselves or push at their corners with a flare akin to
Wilco, Mastodon, Candiria, Radiohead- bands with the hunger. Parallax is a
Crack The Skye or Dark Side of the Moon moment in BTBAM’s history, but not
their last hurrah.

“The Coma Machine” is perhaps my fave statement from the group yet as it is
really air tight even though lengthy and full of movement. Perhaps it is the
Scrooge-like theme of a man looking back on memories within each track, but
entire journey is impossible to miss. If you skip a track, like Cynic’s Kindly
Bent To Free Us, you’ll likely be compelled to go back and hear what you
missed. And with good cause, as “Memory Palace” alone is several awesome movements.

More BELOW.

Album Review: Watertank – “Destination Unknown”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Wednesday, July 15, 2015 at 10:21 AM (PST)

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If you want a record that will shock you with amazing audio, bold arrangements and huge, huge, huge guitar riffs very much like the bold melody Torche and Aftertaste-era Helmet had a baby shower in some Quicksand…need I go on? Watertank from France are fucking awesome, the kind of band where if you saw them blow the roof off a small club it would probably change your life. Throw on Destination Unknown and leap into your supressed dreams. “Automatic Reset” hammers into the record triumphantly, up there with some of the best of Failure or Filter and other bands who aren’t afaid of melody but can be unapologetically heavy at times to the surprise of some people who underestimate them, compared to say, death metal.

“Fever” is a barelling post-punk charge, enough room for mosh pit elbows and ass shaking. They kind of remind me of Paw a little bit too or the band Sleeppers. France has been my go to zone for saving myself from insanity for about a decade now when it comes to keeping faith that some countries give a shit about real music. I’ve worked a long time with uber prestigious taste makers and rad folks noisemag.net and they always support real, cool shit like this or KEN mode, bands who have chops, underground grit and working class roots. Watertank or many of the Throatruiner bands of the moment, for example (I know that’s Belgium), could school most American bands who are distracted by the dumbest fucking shit trends. I wanna hear the Life & Times meets Rush-like intro to “Last_Lost Hope” spread out across the heads of a vast crowd. These guys prove indie and post-hardcore or groove and metal can be friends.

“Surrender” reminds us to “Never say never…”, and this band sound like true believers.

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Album Review: Veil Of Maya – “Matriarch”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Saturday, July 4, 2015 at 9:35 AM (PST)

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Matriarch is certainly a big statement for Veil Of Maya. New singer. Clean vocals. The amazing guitar-tistry of Mark Okubo. Like most of their records, there are moments of sheer brilliance that make it worth purchasing. Other sections however are kind of aimless or more textural than servicing the “song”. I remember Okubo once saying he didn’t like Jane’s Addiction in an interview, which bummed me out cuz they feature such great guitar skills but also can always deliver a solid song as well. Sometimes less is more.
Then again, with Veil of Maya you have room for many layers or approaches under one band name, parting the veils to keep searching for what it all means.

Without a doubt Veil seem re-energized, though I’d really rather hear them with less compressed sounding production. It’s just a tad too slick and not enough bass, though the guitar tones at times get fuckin’ glorious on the proggier, walky Okubo lines.

Vocals in Veil were always the weakest part. It happens a lot in newer tech or proggy or metalcore bands, vocals secondary to the complexity of arrangements in both depth and scope. Pop culture references abound in some of these bands or names from TV shows. Within The Ruins did a great job on their last record but it wasn’t so blatant. Though serviceable, Matriarch aims to focus on female power symobls and matriarchs in society but they should’ve pointed to Malala instead of, I dunno, fake movie and show characters.
Don’t get me wrong. These guys often really slay at times.

Read more BELOW.

Album Review: The Devil Wears Prada – “Space” EP

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Tuesday, June 30, 2015 at 7:19 PM (PST)

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I love that The Devil Wears Prada always make me reasses intial impressions on repeat listens, at least since their early days. Prada have subtly tweaked their sound in ways fans have accepted more than, say, Job For A Cowboy with each release. It’s hard to pin how some bands can be succesful at this with fans while others aren’t as embraced.

I like that TDWP “never sounded quite like this” each time, while still retaining trademark elements, dissonance, screaming, some catchy
hooks for the new school emocore kids and weird textures. The Chariot was another band that managed to evolve really distinctively, whereas while the new JFAC proggier direction yielded some cool results, you’d be hard pressed to peg it as the band you knew even an album ago.

Prada meanwhile have been perfecting their approach with each release since Dead Throne. Their themed Zombie EP is a well loved “aww shit” classic to many of their fans, some of their heaviest yet well developed tunes. I like the idea of themed concept EPs a bit more than stringing a story through many albums ala Coheed, for example. I mean, it’s cool to follow a lengthy intertwined tale as in King Diamond’s Them and Conspiracy albums, but then you have the cases of Geoff Tate from Queensryche calling his post-Queensryche band Operation: Mindcrime or Metallica’s “Unforgiven pt. 15″…and that gets to be painfully desperate, grasping at the last straws of a once glorious concept. Prada have decided to put more substance in their albums both long and short, with consistently superior long players and EPs with short little punch to the gut/head concepts that are easy to participate in with enthusiasm for a bit before moving on to the next material.

Full review BELOW.

DVD Review: Black Veil Brides – “Alive And Burning”

Posted by Morgan Ywain Evans on Monday, June 29, 2015 at 9:50 PM (PST)

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Alive and Burning is everything a Black Veil fan could want in a DVD
experience. Great audio, an extensive booklet and pro footage of BVB ripping
through a lengthy set in November of 2014 at Los Angeles’ Wiltern Theatre. The
band have come a long way since vocalist Andy Biersack used to sleep in his
car. Right from the opener “Heart Of Fire”, you know why Avenged Sevenfold
need to watch their backs. This band right now could blow them off the stage,
and I’m not even an Avenged hater.

The hard working, hard rock tradition loving band that people either love or
hate threaten snobs who just don’t get where these dudes are coming from or
like the aesthetic, but in reality Black Veil are right up there with some of
the best 80’s bands. They are certainly light years better than a plethora of
compressed emo vocal bands all trying to grasp at pubescence with high pitched
vocals while also trying to sound tough and screamo-core or the distended anus
of most deathcore mouth fart vocals and floppy breakdowns these days.

Watching this DVD is exciting, fans are stoked, rock n roll is alive, the band
have sick gear and Andy is using his real, God given voice to kick ass. The
band have on stage fortitude and a killer energy exhange with fans many
numbskulls could learn from if they could stop automatically associating glam
or death rock with Mall metal trends. Personally I love when I see some
younger kid with a Heartogram or a Black Veil T Shirt, because it isn’t fake
music.

Click HERE for more.