30 March 2013

The Room - Open Fire

Ok, another request to review for a friend. However there is a difference here - one of the band members is the brother of the person who has made the request.  So, as I have told said person I will be honest here and not give praise where I do not think it is deserved or be too critical to be cool.  I will just be honest as that is what I think people who look at the blog deserve and what the band deserves as well.

The Room are from the Southeast of England; they formed in 2010 and are from the Prog rock/melodic rock side of the world.  For people that need a point of reference I would say they have a bit of some early Genesis, Marillion, the less metal part of Dream Theatre and Mostly Autumn. If you do not like your music in this sort of fashion then you might not like these guys; however you would be a fool to not listen to the band.

Firstly I would like to say that the art work is striking.  Mrs ATTIWLTMOWOS saw the cover and was very interest which never normally happens. Musically they are going down a path that is very heavily by prog bands of yester-years. But just because it has a retro feeling does not mean it is not well played and actually well produced as well. Opening with "Flesh & Bone" and ploughing straight into the fantastic "A Casual Believer" you know exactly what you’re going to get with this band - good honest prog music.  Whilst it is not ground breaking for the genre it is still a good example of a well functioning band. 

From beginning to the final note of "ICU" there is nothing to fault with this band.  They sound like an amazing unit who would be really good to see live.  All in all I cannot recommend this anymore higher, if you like prog, this band is worth checking out.

8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

You can purchase directly from the band here

You can purchase from Amazon here, but it is cheaper to go directly to the band

You can listen to on Spotify here

Converge - Jane Doe

An artist defining album.  This is how this album was introduced to me many years ago.  Now with statements like that I tend to run away in the other direction as they tend to be bollocks to be honest.  Pink Floyd was not defined by Dark Side of The Moon, Frank Zappa was not denied by Hot Rats, The Wildhearts were not defined by Earth Vs The Wildhearts. They are just moments in a career, so is Jane Doe the same for Converge or is it really the pinnacle of their collective work?

When I first heard this album I thought it started like a horse bolting out of the stables and then just plodded to a slow descent into dull nothing boredom.  This was the first reaction but I ended up with the urge that would not go away that I had to listen to it again. It tends to be a good sign when that happens.  Produced by Fred Archambalt, guitarist Kurt Ballou & vocalist Jacob Bannon this album does still start at such a frantic pace with “Concubine" which is just an extreme manic song, followed closely by "Fault and Fracture".  So far, so good.

But somewhere, the pace has to slacken - if only for the drummer - and there are still some killer moments. "Homewrecker" and the 11 minute plus title track for starters.  Yet I still have a weird feeling about this album.  Yes it is well played and sound vicious, but I have a few issues with this album.  The sequencing feels disjointed, even by hardcore albums standards.  Also I do not think this is the great hardcore changing record that everyone and their aunt define as the saviour of the genre.  Even looking back it is just a good album and they have done better before and since.

Like the emperor’s new clothes, over rated this maybe.  But it only due to the crown that sits on its head.  If you just listen to the music it is a good album, just not the greatest album that has been rested on the shoulder. Expectations can sometimes make for a recording's own worst enemy.  As I said before, good but not amaz-a-balls!

7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

You can purchase from here

You can listen to it on Spotify here

28 March 2013

Human Waste Project - e-Lux

Nu Metal was a weird little genre which took over the world for a few weeks.  The big guns were Korn, Limp Bizkit, Papa Roach, System of A Down, Coal Chamber and for some reason Staind. After this, you other big hitters were MuDvAyNe, Powerman 5000, Snot, Alien Ant Farm and finally this band - Human Waste Project.  Formed in 1993, in Europe they were loved very much, mainly due to the way Aimee Echo looked if people were honest. They only made one album which this blog is looking at.  After seeing them so many moons ago supporting Coal Chamber in a club called The Riverside in Newcastle I feel in love with them, purchased the album and at some point over the years it got lost. I recently re-purchased the album to see if age had improved or diminished the appeal of the music.  So let's see what the years have done for this.

Produced by Ross Robinson who seemed to produce everyone in Nu Metal at one point or another, this album did stand apart from the run of the mill stuff that was making the rounds.  This is not just because they had a female singer; there were a few Nu Metal bands with this type of set up.  Most it was because of the fact the music seemed to be more passionate than let's say Limp Bizkit.  The groove going through the songs is much more slower at time and seductive than anything that any of the other Nu Metal band's could do (with maybe the exception of System of A Down and Snot), they just seemed to be much more going on with this record.  The stand out tracks on this album for me are "Shine", "Hold Me Down" and "Dog" - age has not tainted this songs and they still feel as fresh as they did when they were new.

However, and this is a big however - the album is very much of its time.  I think that the band might have had a battle on their hands with Ross Robinson trying to get him to make the album the way they wanted.  Sometimes when it is in the lighter moments, he seems to loss his golden touch.  Granted when he puts on the heavy such as the beginning of Powerstrip is really good, but when they get to the chorus he seems to want everything to drown.  I have heard this song live and it sounded majestic, but on the album it is nowhere near as good.  Also, on "One Night In Spain" Mr Robinson and the band needed to get that reverb on the quieter moments sorted out. It sound like it is coming from a tunnel full of dead kittens.  The loud bits are fine, but he cannot be quiet.  It makes me wonder what the producer Flood would have made of this band - probably made them stars, but that was not to be. And thankfully these moments of poor production on the album are not too often.  But they do bring down the overall feel of the record.

This is still one of the biggest records from my youth that I have stayed away from due to the fact I did not want to ruin it by being an adult (that happened for me with the film 'The Goonies" - I am still so sad about that). Thankfully I still think it is a good record, not a great album - but it has still retained the charm of the original listens.  To hear it you will have to purchases it, but for people wanting to listen to a band that shined brightly for one glorious record it might be worth the trip.

7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

You can purchase from here

Sorry kids, no listening posts today - might be on YouTube or something like that.

25 March 2013

Unavoidable - Unavoidable

Austrian hardcore punk..... Well I will try anything once at least. Unavoidable is the band that I am listening to at this point.  Mainly because they are going to be playing the local rock bar on the night I'm going out for my birthday so I want to see what they sound like.  From what I can gather on their Facebook page this band has been going since 2002 and this is their debut which was released on 2006.  Apart from that there is little to nothing else I could tell you about them.  Zilch, nowt, sweet fanny adams, nil pwa!

What I can tell you about them music is that they are hardcore/punk and sing in English.  Even before I listened to the album from the images you can see what type of band they would be.  They are two speeds for Unavoidable - fast as hell and slow break down before it goes fast again.  The only reason these guys would have heard about an acoustic guitar is from the sketch in National Lampoon's Animal House when one is smashed against a wall.  So no ballads, nothing below 1,000,000,000,000 miles an hour and lots of shouty chorus' and empowering messages.

Well, sort of.  The music is very generic for the genre (which as a whole has not changed much since its genesis) and you are not going to find a new type of wheel changer here.  They just put their collective foot down and go for it.  Yes, it is just one head long rush from one song to another, yes it does not have an original bone in its body that they do not own to Sick Of It All, yes I could sort of live without them. However, there is something likeable about the fact they are doing what they do. They are just a good honest hardcore band and sometimes you just need a band that excites you without having to change the world.  This album is pretty good to be honest, ok it will not be one for the ages but it is one to get the pit going.  When these guys come down to my place near my birthday, I will be down the pit moshing like a good 'un.  Who have thought that the Austrians would have it in them for this type of thing....

7 out of ten - This is good and well worth a check

You can purchase from here

You can listen to it on Spotify here

Everclear - Invisible Stars

Bands are sometimes just a little too late for the initial wave of a movement, let's look at grunge. Bands such as Candlebox, Collective Souls, Bush, Toadies - for whatever their achievements of success, they were not the originals - and you can include Everclear in that list as well.  Originally formed in 1992, these guys had their biggest success in America to be honest with albums like 'Sparkle & Fade' and 'Song For An American Movie Vol 1' being their biggest hitters.  They have had a few singles in the UK top 40, but have never really been big over in the UK, which is a shame as they were a good solid band.  Originally they had sort of split up in 2003, but singer and main songwriter Alexis Alexakis decided to form a new version of Everclear and this is their first fruits since 2006.  It was released in America in 2012, but has just been released in the UK to coincide with a full UK tour.  So has time and a change of line up changed the beast?

Back in the day they were a little more rocky, never exactly an aggressive band, there was always the odd ballad/slower number which gradually increased over the years.  This album has slower feeling about it than their earlier work, but when it has its fun hat on, it is bouncy and very good indeed.  Songs such as "I Am Better Without You" remind me of the point of Everclear, the lyrics are all a little bit on the downsides (broken relationships and homes), but musically they make you want to shuffle your feet. However, for every "Falling In A Good Way", you get two slower numbers like "Volcano" and "Rocket For The Girl".  The album length is actually perfect as it is over within 37 minutes - and like bubble gum it is interesting for a while but it is not making plans to change the world anytime soon.

Should this have been a solo album?  Maybe, but Everclear was always about Alex Alexakis anyway so it does not matter who he has playing with him.  Just like Billy Corgan in the Smashing Pumpkins, it is his name.  Does it do anything good or bad for the legacy or the band?  Not really, it does add another album to the collection, but it is not exactly essential.  It is decent, well played and in some places it is very good.  But to be honest I cannot really think of anything on the album which I need to hear again.  For people who want to complete the collection only.

4.5 out of ten - Well it is alright, but still......

You can purchase from here

You can listen to it on Spotify here

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