19 November 2017

2017 Round Up Review Part 13

Welcome to a round up review!  Similar to the Round-Up posts I put up earlier in the year, I’m going to be posting some bullet point reviews, sort of akin to the one's that you get in magazines, short and to the point.  I complete my first one of these reviews around last Christmas, mainly due to the volume of albums that were still left to review at that time of year, the lack of time to review them all and this is happening for similar reasons. Basically, there is only so much time available to a one-man team, I cannot complete the full detailed blog that I usually post on here, as I need to work to feed myself, look after my lady and generally keep a roof over my head.  So, the list of albums that I want to review, promised to review, need to review has grown beyond my control.  At any given moment, it tends to hit north of 100 with ease and going forward, I will need to get that down with these sorts of blogs.  Now, I will be breaking these round ups down into batches of ten, they will be minus the normal link to purchase of stream the albums (due to space) but you will be able to find these online very easily (legal links, remember - this is not that type of blog).  I will be using the same introduction to each of these blog, if only to save more time.  Thanks for reading - Eddie.

Horrors – V



A modern take on the New Wave material originally made famous by Sir Gary Numan, V is a stunning album from the Southend-on-Sea natives.  I have not come across their work before, but I found V to be a hypnotic and brilliant record, one which gives a new take to a genre that can be handle with a little bit too much respect.  Songs like "It's A Good Life", "Ghost" and "Hologram" sound brilliant, with sweeping synths and a dark sense of the macabre.  One of the darkest synth gems to be released in 2017.

9 out of ten
Almost perect, almost....

Top track
It's A Good Life

PigsPigsPigsPigsPigsPigsPigs – Feed the Rats



Released at the beginning of 2017, Feed the Rats by North-East of England band PigsPigsPigsPigsPigsPigsPigs is something that must be heard to be believed.  If ever there was a prize for hidden gem of the year, this album would almost certainly on the shortlist.  Three tracks long and over thirty-five minutes long, Feed the Rats is a sludge/amplifier worship album that is designed to let you tune in and zone out.  It is a fantastic record; the production is huge, and it never gets old or boring.  Get this one now!

10 out of ten – This is proof there is a deity

Top track – Psychopomp

Robert Plant – Carry Flame



After the fantastic lullaby and... The Ceaseless Roar, Carry Flame is something of a disappointment.  The traveller feeling of the previous has not been brought forward to the latter, instead it has been replaced by far too many ballads for my liking.  Don’t get me wrong, Robert Plant’s vocals still sound fantastic as ever, but too much of a good thing can be a bad thing as well, especially when it comes to this record.

4 out of ten – Well, it is alright, but still.....

Top track – The May Queen

Wolves in the Throne Room – Thrice Woven



Thrice Woven might be the latest record from this group, but it does nothing to change my opinion of Black Metal legends, Wolves in the Throne Room.  Where others see genius, I see mediocrity and Thrice Woven continues that path of dull Black Metal for me sadly.  I applaud the fact that they have an organic background, I appreciate that they brought Black Metal back to the table for a lot of people, but I still find them dull.  You’re not going to like everything you hear in life, something just don’t align with your way of thinking, but this is not it for me.

2 out of ten – If only there was some quality control

Top track – Angrboda

Suffocation – ……. Of the Dark Light



Death metal legends Suffocation returned earlier this year with ……. Of the Dark Light, their first album since their 2013 Pinnacle of Bedlam.  There are no surprises here, you rarely get those with technical death metal, but you do have some sick cuts on this one, solos that sound like the rally calls of the damned and it sounds so good! 

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out

Top track – Clarity Through Deprivation

Alice Cooper – Paranormal



In the days where rock legends are sadly going behind the curtain invisible, there is a comfort to be found within a new album from a legendary star.  There is nothing on Paranormal that you have not heard before from Alice Cooper, the most amazing fact about this album is that Alice is still with us to be honest.  However, Paranormal is a great classic rock record, there is something comforting that his sound has returned to that classic sound that made his name.  This is essentially for the fans, but that is never a bad thing when it comes to Alice.

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out

Top track – Paranoiac Personality

Fever Ray – Plunge



Plunge is an album that comes eight years after Fever Ray, the debut release under the Fever Ray name by Swedish singer, Karin Elisabeth Dreijer.  It has been a long time come, some might even say too long.  For me, I am happy that it has been released at all, at one point I was sure that Fever Ray was just going to be a one-off release.  Plunge is a worthy successor, a great follow up and as dark a piece of electronica as you will find.  Its political messages, the way it deals with sexuality and the aggressive nature of the album are hard to ignore.  It is an album that is hard to ignore, but it’s also one that can only be approached from one direction.  I like it, I respect it, but much like the latest LCD Soundsystem, I don’t love it.

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out.

Top track – As Part of Us (Feat. Tami T)

Galactic Empire – Galactic Empire



A metal Star Wars album, that is right – this is an album of songs from the Star Wars series, which have been re-created as metal versions.  I am sure this has been done before, it will probably be done again. This is a novelty release at best, with limited appeal and whilst I cannot fault the players, I have a feeling this will only ever come out during a Star Wars themed night at your local rock bar.

4 out of ten – It's alright, but still.....

Top track – The Imperial March

Neck Deep – The Peace and the Panic



The Peace and the Panic is a standard Pop Punk release, songs about broken hearts, the strains of life and all done within a restricted timescale.  Whilst Neck Deep are making headlines for their live shows, this album sort of feels a little too worn, even when it’s brand new.  This is a decent sounding record, but it has a bit if a generic feeling to be honest.  Nothing amazing, but not bad either.

6 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it is not quite there.

Top track – Critical Mistake

Paradise Lost – Medusa



As Paradise Lost get older, they seem to be returning to their old ways.  Medusa retreats further to their doom roots, sounding as if the funeral is in full flow with the skies as black as thunder.  This is both a good thing and a bad thing; going back towards that earlier sound (in some peoples’ eyes) could be viewed as retreat, an admission of failure.  However, when it sounds as good as this, who really gives a fuck!  Paradise Lost are doing what they do best, massive doom metal songs which sound best when they are played as loud as possible.  Granted, it is not their most instance record, but the most you listen, the more reward it becomes.

9 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost.....

Top track – Blood & Chaos

18 November 2017

2017 Round Up Review Part 12

Welcome to a round up review!  Similar to the Round-Up posts I put up earlier in the year, I’m going to be posting some bullet point reviews, sort of akin to the one's that you get in magazines, short and to the point.  I complete my first one of these reviews around last Christmas, mainly due to the volume of albums that were still left to review at that time of year, the lack of time to review them all and this is happening for similar reasons. Basically, there is only so much time available to a one-man team, I cannot complete the full detailed blog that I usually post on here, as I need to work to feed myself, look after my lady and generally keep a roof over my head.  So, the list of albums that I want to review, promised to review, need to review has grown beyond my control.  At any given moment, it tends to hit north of 100 with ease and going forward, I will need to get that down with these sorts of blogs.  Now, I will be breaking these round ups down into batches of ten, they will be minus the normal link to purchase of stream the albums (due to space) but you will be able to find these online very easily (legal links, remember - this is not that type of blog).  I will be using the same introduction to each of these blog, if only to save more time.  Thanks for reading - Eddie.

Prong – Zero Days



Prong seem to be on a resurgence these days, coming back each year with a top draw album.  Zero Days keeps up that fine vein of form with riffs that sounds like battle cries, bass that could bring down any door and a drumming performance that is best described as manic.  It is a great metal album, nothing more and nothing less.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – Zero Days

Powerflo – Powerflo



If you like groove and rap metal, Powerflo might be one of your best albums of the last ten years.  This sounds like the band found a copy of the Judgement Night OST, and they are using this as a template for their sound.  For what it’s, they sound alright, but for me it is a sound that has been going for so many year, and this doesn’t bring anything new to the scene.

5 out of ten – Not for everyone, but played well.

Top track – Resistance

Saint Etienne – Home Counties



Home Counties is a poor record, it’s a reminder of the fate which comes to all people, that youth will one day be replaced by the desire to find danger in other ways.  So, are there any positives at the end of it all?  To be honest, not really and I take no pleasure in writing those words. Home Counties is not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination, that right is still reserved for the latest Liam Gallagher album.

2 out of ten – If only there was some quality control.

Top track – Out of my Mind

Lonely Robot – The Big Dream



Lonely Robot released one of my former colleague’s favourite albums back in 2015, with their first record Please Come Home.  Out of my Mind continues in a similar manner to its predecessor, it is a slice of modern progressive rock with all the thrills and spills of the genre.  It is a good record, but for me it feels a tad restrictive in places.  There is more to come from this act, but as of right now, it feels as if they need to let go of something, as if they are holding back.  Maybe that is what the cover is hinting at, only time will tell.

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out

Top track – Symbolic 

Prophets of Rage – Prophets of Rage



Some supergroups have a weight of expectation laid upon them which is impossible to meet, I think that’s what has happened with Prophets of Rage on their self-titled debut.  You have members of bands which have defined both rock & rap coming together, their collective fan bases are obviously gonna be expect something amazing.  Prophets of Rage could be perceived as a victim of the previous success of the band members previous projects, you might be expecting too much from it.  However, the issue with this one is that it is average, middle of the road Alternative Rock that is locked in a time warp.  The messages are on spot, the delivery is not.

4 out of ten – Well, it's alright, but still....

Top track – Hail to the Chief

Jessie Ware – Glasshouse



We find Jessie Ware in a new place with Glasshouse, a change in her family situation have given her a new perspective on life.  This is a mature third album from Ms. Ware, it feels as if the personal touch has been added to the record here and it is rather good.  This is a surprise as it has more producers and songwriters than in the average army unit.  For me, Jessie Ware has released a great pop record here, I think family life suits her, she has also bucked the trend of bad multi-producer albums! 

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – Selfish Love

Hanging Garden – I Am Becoming



Helsinki natives Hanging Garden specialise in doom laden metal, with massive riffs, OTT vocals and growls to scare the dead back to life.  There is nothing subtle about I Am Becoming, they have gone for broken with songs like “Our Dark Design” and “From Iron Shores”.  For me, it is a decent, if not spectacular doom record which have some good moments.  Sadly, it is forgettable as well, which is not what you want from a doom album.

4 out of ten – Well, it's alright, but still...

Top track – From Iron Shores

Dead Cross – Dead Cross



In the space of ten songs, which include a bizarre cover version of the Bauhaus classic “Bela Lugosi’s Dead”, Dead Cross have created a unique record, where each song is an intense rollercoaster ride which does not let up from beginning to end.  When you play Dead Cross, you play it to as a primal release that you experience with it.  Once you start with “Seizure and Desist”, it is probably best to power all the way to “Church of the Motherfucker”.  This is not to get it all over with, just because it is an album that works perfectly as a whole and not as a load of individual tracks.  Dead Cross is not the sound of a “Supergroup” – it is the sound of lunacy made flesh.  I adore it for all the right reasons and it makes me so happy when it is on, this probably tells you more about my state of mind than I care to admit.

9 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost…..

Top Track – Divine Faith

Gary Numan – Savages (Songs from a Broken World)



The older Gary Numan gets, the more relevant he becomes to modern industrial music.  For instance, the Horror’s most recent album is basically a Numan album in disguise (this is a compliment by the way).  But Mr Numan cannot be accused of resting on his laurels, if anything in recent years he has released his most amazing work.  A lot of people might go back to his early 80’s work, but it seems as if his eyes are still looking towards the horizon.  On Savages (Songs from a Broken World), the ground work which was started on Splinter (Songs from a Broken Mind) is explored in further detail, with the theme of global disaster and emotional ruin being considered.  I love “My Name is Ruin” and “What God Intended”, but I really could have named any of the tracks from this album.  Long may this rich vein of form continue for Mr. Numan!

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – My Name is Ruin

Anna of the North – Lovers



Lovers is the debut album from Norwegian Dream-pop act, Anna of the North (aka Anna Lotterud), it has been a long time coming as the first single from this album in 2016.  I have heard a lot of people raving about this, and I cannot say it’s a poor album.  However, it is not the second coming of Miike Snow in female form, it is a simple and well-crafted Dream-pop album.  However, as nice as the songs sound when they are on, I struggle to remember much about them afterwards.  For a pop album, that is worrying.  The exception to the rule is “Someone”, that song is a fantastic pop number.

6 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it's not quite there.

Top track – Someone

2017 Round Up Review Part 11

Welcome to a round up review!  Similar to the Round-Up posts I put up earlier in the year, I’m going to be posting some bullet point reviews, sort of akin to the one's that you get in magazines, short and to the point.  I complete my first one of these reviews around last Christmas, mainly due to the volume of albums that were still left to review at that time of year, the lack of time to review them all and this is happening for similar reasons. Basically, there is only so much time available to a one-man team, I cannot complete the full detailed blog that I usually post on here, as I need to work to feed myself, look after my lady and generally keep a roof over my head.  So, the list of albums that I want to review, promised to review, need to review has grown beyond my control.  At any given moment, it tends to hit north of 100 with ease and going forward, I will need to get that down with these sorts of blogs.  Now, I will be breaking these round ups down into batches of ten, they will be minus the normal link to purchase of stream the albums (due to space) but you will be able to find these online very easily (legal links, remember - this is not that type of blog).  I will be using the same introduction to each of these blog, if only to save more time.  Thanks for reading - Eddie.

Anathema – The Optimist


If you have followed Anathema from their very beginning, the fact they have finally over that last few albums became a full on progressive band is a joy to behold.  The Optimist is a continuation to Distant Satellites, taking their sound further down the road towards who knows where.  TO be honest, The Optimist feels like a journey from beginning to end, ask if you are joining in half way through a saga and then you are left at the side of the road, trying to find out what has happened.  This is a better record than Distant Satellites, almost as good as Weather Systems and it proves that Anathema are one of the best bands in the UK at the moment.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top song – Leave It Behind

With the Dead – Love from With the Dead



Picking from the devastation left after With The Dead was released, Love from With The Dead is another sonic noise attack, heavy bass’d and full of the sounds of demons and angels having a barney over your soul.  It is best played very loud and with your horns in the air.  It is also slower than a funeral march (as you would expect), with lots of moments that sound as if a drill is coming through the floor when played at the right frequency.  What a great record!

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – Egyptian Tomb

All Pigs Must Die – Hostage Animal




With all the determination of a boot to the face, continually kicking till the end of eternity, Hostage Animal is a black ball of fury and venom that does not stop from beginning to end.  All Pigs Must Die are not a subtle band, everything is at full speed, the drummer sounds like a machine and the frantic noise is spectacular.  If you’re looking for an album with some rest bite, look elsewhere.  If you’re looking for the next sonic attack to be deafening, Hostage Animal might be your cup of evil. 

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart

Top track – A Caustic Vision

Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile – Lotta Sea Lice



When two of the biggest artist in the Alternative Indie/Folk scene come together to make an album, a lot of people stop to take notice.  Courtney Barnett & Kurt Ville are not two artists I would have put together, mainly because their playing styles are a mismatch to these ears.  Ms Barnett is a ball of chaos, Mr Ville is a droning country/indie pop trailer blazer.  Bringing them together has mixed results to be honest, there is a lot of jarring moments and it does not flow that well.  I have heard a lot worst, I still think that they are both great artists, but together it does not work for me, this is not my cup of tea.

3 out of ten – It could have been a bit better.

Top track – Continental Breakfast


Grande Royale – Breaking News


Whilst this was only recorded and released in 2017, Breaking News sounds as if it was created in the 70’s and that we have unearthed a long-lost rock classic.  It’s so retro, everything sounds vintage, but it also sounds fantastic as well.  For a retro sounding record, it doesn’t have a classic sheen, and that is all down to the producer of this album.  The production job by Nicke Andersson is warm, rich and poised perfectly.  Songs like “Devil’s Place” “Got to Move” and “R’N’R Business” are hard-rock anthems for the future, they will gain notoriety and I am sure they will sound fantastic live!

9 out of ten – Almost perfect, almost….

Top track – Devil’s Place

Marty Friedman – Wall of Sound



Your ability to listen to Wall of Sound will depend on how much you love instrumental music, how much you love trash metal and how much you love guitar solos. When Marty Friedman left Megadeth, the band lost their shining light and I lost touch what Mr. Friedman was up to.  Well, he has kept on ploughing away, forging his own path and made a good career for himself in Japan.  This is his twelfth solo album (his work with Freddy Lim on Metal Clone X does not come into his solo work for me, hence why it is not the thirteenth), and it is great to hear the man play again.  Now, this album is not gonna be an easy ride for everyone, but I love the sound of this record, you can hear elements of trash, folk, Japanese heritage, classical, jazz, even a little piece that is heading in Zappa territory, this album is a great record.  Also, I do love the title, Wall of Sound, I think the connection to why should be obvious…...

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – Self Pollution.

Public Enemy – Nothing Is Quick In The Desert



You have to love a free download from a band, especially when it is the world famous Public Enemy dropping a new slab of rap.  When Nothing Is Quick In The Desert was released, it was available as a free download on Bandcamp (sadly, it has since been took down), musically it is as business as usual for Public Enemy.  They have always been one of my favourite rap acts, this album is a good edition to their back catalogue.  There is something amazing that they are still kicking out this choice cuts, even after all these years!

7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out

Top track – Yesterday Man

Public Service Broadcasting – Every Valley



Public Service Broadcasting were hoping to do for the mining communities of Wales and England what they accomplished on The Race for Space, but sadly they missed their target a little.  I am well aware this review (essentially) come down to me and my tastes, but they rely a little too much on guest vocalists on this one, where there were beautiful instrumentals with fantastic news footage (there is still a lot of that too – just not enough for me), there are other voices which do not add anything to the structure, apart from an unwelcome distraction.  The music is still good, but I wonder what it could have been.

6 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it is not quite there.

Top track – All Out

Black Country Communion – BCCIV



BCCIV is an album that some people thought would never happen at one point, what with all the in-fighting and public bitch slapping between various members of the band, but you could hear a collective sigh of relief from the classic rock community when they all made up.  BCCIV is a straight forward classic rock album, all frills, all passion and more guitar solos that an album outside of the Led Zeppelin discography should really have.  Which is not a bad thing, but this is for genre purists only, thank the deity I love this sort of stuff as well.

8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart.

Top track – Collide


The Bug & Earth – Concrete Desert

 

The combination of The Bug and Dylan Carlson of Earth is a match made in sonic heaven (or hell, depending on your point of view/religious standpoint), as they are both experts in creating music from the howling voids of noise.  This album is as enigmatic as you would expect, it is not an album to relax to, it is one to analyse, absorb and to lay yourself bare to.  Concrete Desert is constantly on attack mode, but without having to descend to frantic noises or periods of electronica mania.  As I once said when reviewing Angels and Devils by The Bug; basically, we are fucked!  Well, this is another stroke of genius/lunacy (delete as applicable) were we are all basically fucked.  You will either get this, accept it as your idol, letting it become become a focal point in your life, or curl up in a small ball for protection.  It is unmarkable genius, just pure genius.

Box of kittens – This is impossible to mark, so here is a picture of a box of kittens.


Top track – Agoraphobia

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