Thursday, July 27, 2017

the Mentors : "the Illuminaughty"

I hope these guys are not playing shirtless in hoods now that they are old and gray. The problem here is that El Duce is dead. So replacing him is problematic despite the fact the bassist and guitarist are still in the band. For guys who have been playing since 1976, I expect a little more prowess when it comes to playing their instruments. The production is punk like in it's careless attitude. It's hard to imagine that this was once considered heavy metal. In 2017 as song like "Good In Bed" comes across as being kind of juvenile. The only redeeming quality it that I think in theory we need rape rock since, the world these days is too full of politically correct bullshit. Lyrically your average trap rap pushes the boundaries more than "More than Your Mouth Can Hold" . If the vocals are not slathered in effects, they are more spoken and pretty terrible.

"Keep Your Bitch" under control is just a message that gangsta or as the kids say today trap rap pumps out all the time, so the shock value of what they do just isn't there. The groove to this song sounds like old guys playing in the basement trying to learn "Mississippi Queen". But aside from the amateur solos this song is better than most so far. "Grab Her By the Pussy" is an ode to Donald Trump. The lyrics are more about Billy Bush. "The Sluts Are Back " is almost laughable, which is the value of the album. I would put it on for my friends to laugh at how stupid it is. The first song where the guitars are trying to write and actual song is "Lovin You  Really Sucks" . The singer makes one of his first attempts at singing. The main problem is the phrasing of the lyrics is awkward, which is strange considering he is a drummer. He does take on a lower more growled tone for "King of the Castle" obviously a feminist anthem. There is a more punk feel to "Get Down and Fuck". If the Ramones were retarded old men they might have written "Do You When I Wanna" The intro to "Screwin In the Church" makes it seem like they were trying to write a real song , until the vocals come in a fuck things up.Then they go into more of a Stooges like thing for "Watch Her Naked" . They try to actually sing more on the chorus. Overall this album only has a few moments , most of the songs just sound amatuer and from some one who is considered a cult classic , we should expect more from them or they should never try to do this without El Duce, which might be the more reasonable option. I'll give this a 4.


Make Them Suffer : " Worlds Apart"

Death Core or Metal core or whatever the kids are calling it these days is not typically my thing. It tends to be masturbatory and only focuses on aggression, basically today's version of mall metal. So I was surprise when the first track off this Australian band's new album caught my attention. They have a more organic feel. I understand why purists of the genre might not find them heavy enough, but I think that is there saving grace. The fact the clean vocals are female give this another dimension. I think what they do right is make heavy another color to make music with rather than the totality of what they do. Not to say they are not heavy in a metallic sense. The have gruff vocals that are screamed a forceful hardcore like manner. Not quite a death metal growl, that tends to come at the end of phrases. "Grinding Teeth" kinds breezed past me and didn't keep my attention after the melodic guitar intro as it went into the chugging and seemed like nu-metal. The songs begin working off more of a formula once we get to "Vortex". "Fire Works" might be more screamed but where the song goes finds a similar path though the melodies in the previous song are stronger.

The do develop more of a groove for "Power Overwhelming" . The more 90's metal thing occurs on "Midnight Run". I think this is because the way the male vocals are phrased in the verses come too close to rapping. It's not Bio-Hazard bad, but seems more focused on getting a pit going. The guitar do some clever tricks and their drummer is pounding it into the pocket, but that is what comes with the job description ,so I am not going to praise someone for something they should be doing in the first place. What I want to hear is what makes you stand out from the rest. "Dead Plains" is a pretty solid song for what it is. It is more on the death metal side. Then there is more of Myspace era core on the last song. I can hear where these guys step into more of a Dark Tranquility place, if we are talking about the Swedish band's more recent work.

I'll give this album a 7.5 , it's pretty decent for what it is and the most listenable album I have heard recently from this sort of thing.The reason it didn't score higher , for all it's strengths like the stellar production is what it is just isn't my thing so I don't think I would get much play out of this. If this is your thing you will probably round it up to an 8.

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Arcade Fire : "Everything Now"

When Kiss went into a disco phase it brought out a side of the band that churned out some of their best songs ever. This might not be the case with the new Arcade Fire. The title track feels like their take on "Disco Queen" mixed with the mid-80's solo work of Paul McCartney. I don't hear the soaring yearning I prefer coming from them, but people change and don't create from the same emotional state so I am trying to be open minded here.The disco continues on "Signs of Life" this time the Disco ball is shining brighter on this fact as the vocal are more rapped. In all fairness they have always been influenced by the Talking Heads so this song has that vibe coupled with maybe the verses of "Rapture". "Creature Comfort" is the first song that really grabs me and finds the band blending their new evolved sound with the band I used to like. This one has a strong groove and biting lyrics.

While quirky "Peter Pan" doesn't hold up in terms of hooky melodies and over song dynamics as the previous songs. "Chemistry" kinds grooves it's way out of the previous song. The there is the frantic almost punk like tone of "Infinite Content". There are some cools sounds at work here, but the pace is easy for them to get lost. Electric blue focuses on the female voice and a more disco programmed drum machine carrying the groove with vocals heavily effect and more of an ethereal gliding to how they fall over the music. . There is a more restrained groove that might bring to mind some of the Rolling Stones more disco moments. The mix on this album is weird and it can really be heard on this song as if there was ever a time to bring the bass up in the mix it would be on "Good God Damn". I think the disco groove to "Put Your Money on Me" works better as the vocals are more locked into the dynamic tension of the song.

Things mellow out more for "We Don't Deserve Love" . The mood here is more akin to what the War On Drugs does if you subtract the guitar solos and let the vocals wuss out a little more. The build gets more interesting and goes off into a more familiar soaring dynamic for them. The refrain of "Everything Now" takes the album out on a very tepid note. I'll round this album down to a 7.5 as there are some good songs, but it doesn't have much in the way of balls to it , and in their own right Arcade Fire once had the emotional depth to compensate for what they lack in terms of sonic heft. Here there feelings check in would have them at a little detached.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Dead Cross : "s/t"

Mike Patton and Dave Lombardo have teamed up with members of the Locust and Retox for what is darker than I hoped, though still coated in a great deal of noise. It's eerie and angular in the same way Sleepy Time Gorilla Museum was. The songs are typically compressed into under four minutes.You can hear the grind core influence of the Locust on " Divine Filth", despite Mike Patton's vocals still bringing a little more melody even on the more punk inspired sections. Though the chaos ins out more on "Grave Slave". The production finds the distortion jagged , mixed with a claustrophobic tension. You might wonder what the difference between this and Tomahawk is. Well that is easy. This is darker and heavier than Tomahawk. There are some moments that are more blatantly metal than others. "Gag Reflex" is more metal than not.  

"Idiopathic"  rides the line between chaos and a song that makes sense. They launch in more of a thrashing speed for "Obedience School" . I expect a little more from Lombardo when it comes to playing at this intensity, and it sounds like it could be anyone behind the kit. The sound of dial up internet starts off "Seizure and Desist". Patton trades off screams, squeals and singing. "Shilelagh" finds him doing more angry punk ranting.  This almost sounds like a more feral version of "King For A Days" harder rocking moments. This metallic punk temper tantrum continues on " the Future Has Been Cancelled".  As far as songwriting goes while Patton has an abundance of energy, I don't think the melodies that do show up are really his most thoughtful or strongest work.

The reckless spastic moments that have the most in common with grind core are not the album's strongest points and keep it from being a solid piece of work so on sheer merits of the darker tone and covering Bauhaus I will round this up to an 8, but considering the level of talent present here I think expecting more is ok.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Ded : "Mis-An-Thrope"

It's a crazy though that new nu-metal is being created in 2017. The first song almost makes you ready to write these guys off as wanting to be Slipknot. While this is not untrue, these guys are actually not half band and write some decent songs. Sure there are the chanted temper tantrum vocals and the rap elements on the first single "Anti-Everything" bring to mind Linkin Park and Limp Bizkit depending on where you are at in the song. It still somehow manages to work even though it is a little on the radio side of the equation so not as heavy as most of the bands we review who refer to themselves as metal. "Dead to Me' gets mired in the kinda of watered down screaming metal that nu-metal eventually defaulted to.The lyrics revert to just telling people to fuck off in various ways. Slipknot thing seems to be the more dominate motivation for the kind of music they are trying to make. Granted they don't have a bunch of extra clowns beating on things, so some of the clutter and density is not there.

The more Linkin Park like " is one of the more well written songs despite it's more pop tinged leanings when it comes to the hooks. Linkin Park always struck me as being a boy band with guitars, and this is not that blatant. "Disassociate" works better for me as the hip-hop accents and almost grunge like vocals on the chorus don''t sound just like some other band from the Hot-topic and allows me to hear who these guys actually are. "Rope" finds them trying to bring the noise to a more Slip-knot like magnitude. The sung vocals are a little more original than how we have heard them used earlier in the album though comparisons could be drawn to Breaking Benjamin.The hip hop moments work better than when they are overtly angry and angst ridden. The whole I am about to have a nervous breakdown vocal just sounds dated and silly. "Hate Me" has a more sing song chorus that sounds almost like a nursery rhyme. Then they fall back into the more pummeling Slipknot thing with the chant for you to cut them off at the knees.

"Inside" plays off all the conventions of nu-metal, but puts them together in a way that plays to their strength as a band and works well as a song where they might have fallen short on some of the other songs. "Beautiful" starts off with more of a ballad type thing going on without it being too Linkin Park, it's more like Staind or Cold. I think giving this album an 8.5 is fair. They are good at what they do , I just haven't listened to what they do in some time and take it about as seriously as I take Motley Crue.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Multiple Eargasms - the Weekly Shuffle

Ok we are two weeks in a row now, with this feature that has proven to be more popular than I would have imagined. I just press shuffle on my iPod and review the first ten songs that pop up. So here we go, hope this inspires masturbation and multiple eargasms. AFI- "Feed From the Floor" Danny Havok's vocals sound great hear and the bass line certainly invokes the Cure. This song stand more in the shadows of pop punk.I haven't give this album enough listens to that is one of the cool things about doing this feature is getting to dig back in an give things a second chance. Halsey- "Now or Never" The hook of this song reminds me of Ellie Goulding. I would say there is more of a hip-hop influence bubbling under the surface here than Goulding. The production certainly gives nods to hip-hop. For pop music this going to be one of the strongest albums of the year. The Smiths -Sweet and Tender Hooligan" One of the smiths more driving punk like moments. This shows how their influence touches both indie rock bands and post-bands. Moz sound great and the lyrics are as biting as anything else they have done. This is more straight forward playing than what you expect from Marr , but the bass line is killing it. the Cure- "Blood Flowers" This song is both sonically powerful and incredibly moving from an emotional perspective. I always forget how good this album was until I listen to it. It really does hold up against the rest of their work. Cocteau Twins- "Treasure Hiding" I normally dopn't think of these guys as shoe gaze , but I guess if this was the only song you heard from them it would be easy to slap that label on. Not my favorite song from this album as it lingers in the abstract for too long. Liz sounds great, but she could sing from the phone book and it would sound divine, the melody that comes in at 2:40 mark is awesome , but wish they got to the point. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum- Helpless Corpses Enactment Another bad that I am always glad to hear when they come up in shuffle as their are so chaotic that Sleepytime is not always my go to when cuing up something to listen to. This is one of their more metal moments, it's a damn shame these guys broke up, because I can't imagine what else they would have been capable of. Life of Agony - "I Regret" This band in their prime was criminally under rated. Too band when Keith's river started running red that he also forgot how he sang on this song and what about his delivery helped define this band and make them stand out from all the other bands in the 90s. This song is one of the few from the second album that sounded like it could have been on their first. 2Pac- "Only God Can Judge Me" This is not one of the strongest songs from "All Eyez On Me". It suffers a little more than some of the other songs when it comes to how the 90s production holds up today. Lyrically its a bunch of whining about how hard it is living in his shoes. The guest rap by Rappin 4 Tay is pretty terrible. Mastodon- "Clandestiny" I don't remember really being overly wowed by this song when I first got the album. It had endured in the competitive landscape of my iPod so that says something. Metal should not feel so middle of the road and this song doesn't hit me as being heavy enough to be metal despite it's guitar tones and most of the metal trappings being close to center. Cult of Youth - "Monsters" When they are in the more rambling folk punk strum they tend to sound less like Death in June. The baritone vocal is more rowdy and carefree than Death IN June, in fact I can hear fans of punk liking this more than tragic goths. Their earlier work was more filled with this kind of punk energy. Twisted Sister - "Burn in Hell" For anyone who wants to lump these guys in with the rest of the 80s hair metal I think this song sets the record straight. Not as dynamic vocally I think Twisted Sister has more in common with old Iron Maiden or Priest than they do Motley Crue. Unless we are talking about the Crue's first two albums then it does have a similar drive to it. The Cramps- "Bop Pills" This song is pretty much straight up rock in the vein of early 50's rock more than it strikes me as being rock a billy unless we are saying Jerry Lee Lewis falls into that as well. It's as song about drugs and those song are always good to party to.

Nine Inch Nails :"Add Violence"

I found their appearance on Twin Peaks to be odd and not in the manner David Lynch is normally odd. The first song is more aggressive than what we have gotten from the past few albums and has more guitar on it ,which is what I am most please with. Some of the synth sounds are purposefully retro. This sounds like Nine Inch Nails and doesn't conform to the current trends in electronic music. In some ways it reminds me of "Bite the Hand that Feeds" .  His vocals drop down to a lower whisper under the bleeps of the music twinkling above his speculations. This is more ambient and experimental than what we have heard from him in some time. I do like the chorus to this song and it does sound more like the classic era of Nine Inch Nails.

Reznor continues to lay the atmosphere on thick with "This Isn't the Place". It almost could be confused as an extension of the previous guitar into the more fragile = vocals come in. There is a more dynamic explosion that comes  from "Not Anymore". Overall this album feels  more organic as the drums on this song sound like they are being banged out on a kit. The drums go back to sounding programmed on the atmosphere thick .At 14 minutes there is some drone to it , but at two and a half minutes in the beat smooth out to provide a more substantial groove. It's Nine Inch Nails so of course the production should be stunning. The song could end at the 7 minute mark as it devolves into noise which was the purpose but we could have gotten to the point with it sooner.

As far as EPs from Reznor go the songs on here might not be as strong as what was on "Broken" but it is solid and I am glad he has gotten his edge back . It's darker and well balanced blend of atmosphere and aggressive bursts. I'll give this one a 9.5 , it will sit nicely against the rest of their catalog and is better than everything since "the Fragile" . So if you are a long time fan , you should be pleased that you are getting what we have wanted.