METZ – Strange Peace
Strange Peace sadly lacks the fire of other noise acts such as Whores and Pissed Jeans, but this is not to say it is an awful album. It’s good for what it is, and when Metz are on point, they sound unstoppable. But when they are not playing to their strength, Metz sadly loses a step or two and the album is top heavy with numbers which I keep skipping upon repeated listens. Hopefully they will prove me wrong, I really want them to do so, as they have some great songs on this album. If you listen to “Drained Lake” and “Mess of Wires” and not want to jump around, then I think your dead inside. I wanted to love everything on Strange Peace, but sadly only a decent album and not a great record.
6 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it's not quite there.
Top track – Drained Lake
Akercocke – Renaissance in Extremis
Renaissance in Extremis is Akercocke’s first album in ten years since The Antichrist, which is a long time for any band, especially for a Black/Death metal act who have always been flirting with progressive metal. Renaissance in Extremis is a solid return, anything which has the name Akercocke is always something I will want to hear. It needs a tad more speed in places for my own tastes of the genre, but it still sounds harsh as hell, good to have the boys back.
7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out
Top track – Familiar Ghosts
King Capisce – Memento Mori
I have listened to a lot of progressive rock, metal and jazz in 2017, more than I would usually listen to, but I have to admit that Memento Mori by King Capisce is a late contender for best Prog album of 2017. With its feet firmly in both the jazz and progressive field, combining the lunatic fringes of both and making a riches tapestry of noise and sound. They are breathing takingly beautiful, but it's incredibly aggressive as well, so tread carefully dead reader.
8 out of ten – Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my time, money and heart
Top track – Once We Were Wild
Mr. Big – Defying Gravity
Defying Gravity is a classic rock album designed to get Mr. Big out on the road, without trying to hurt their legacy at the same time. Whilst I could never criticise Mr. Big as artists, I can honestly say that they have released better records. It just seems to be a little lacking when there was once excitement, classic rock is not exactly rocket science. So, whilst it isn’t their best record by a long shot, but it is listenable and will be received well by their fanbase. It's sadly just an average rock album, instead of a good one.
5 out of ten – Not for everyone, but played well
Top track – Mean to Me
OTHERKIN – OK
Otherkin are an indie-punk band from Dublin, Ireland, who I recently saw on tour with InHeaven. OK contains lighter versions of the songs I saw performed by OTHERKIN that night, as they had more of a kick in the live environment. On record, they come across as the snot-nosed younger brother of the Strokes with a singer who gives a shit, with a bit of fire in their belly and this is a really good album. It might not sparkle in some way, but that is not always what you want. Sometimes, you just want an album that sounds like the band is having fun. This is one of those records, there is more than enough on here to warrant further listens.
7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out.
Top track – Razorhead
William Patrick Corgan – Ogilala
The fact that the lead singer of The Smashing Pumpkins has released an acoustic album is not a surprise to anyone, the fact he is using his full name makes a lot of sense, working with Rick Rubin’s is not that big of a leap of the imagination either to be honest. If you have heard any of the gentler sounds of SP, then you will know what to expect here, it is heartfelt, emotionally vulnerable and beautiful. It sometimes goes on a bit too long, but it's also on point at time. The biggest surprise thought is not from Mr Corgan, no it is the fact that thankfully, Rick Rubin has not destroyed this album unlike his last few production jobs. He has lets the songs flow naturally, giving them a warmth and a fragile feeling, this is one of his best production job in years. It is a good album, however whilst it's not one I would return to that often, it's also not one I would shun either.
7.5 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out.
Top track – The Spaniards
We Came as Romans – Cold Like War
Cold Like War is a modern piece of Hardcore, one which mixes clean vocals and screamo vocals, dynamic guitars, weird electronica and it sort of ends up feeling like a louder version of old school Linkin Park. If you’re into the genre, you will love it; if not, it’ll leave you colder than a night in the coffin. Sorry to We Came as Romans, there is not for me (but it is not the worst thing I have heard).
2 out of ten – If only there was some quality control
Top track – Two Hands
Liam Gallagher – As You Were
Pointless, absolutely pointless, this is as dull as anything he released with Beady Eye and the latter days of Oasis. There, I have done my review, can people please stop asking for this.
0 out of ten – This is proof there is not a God
Top track – none of them.
Roger Waters – Is This the Life We Really Want?
Is This the Life We Really Want? is the first solo outing from Roger Waters in twenty-five years, it finds him in a foul mood to be honest, which is when Roger Waters tends to be at his most interesting. It’s message of “anti-everything” is one that speaks in the purest form of protest that the man can achieve. This is my favourite Waters’ outing since The Final Cut (I know that is technically a Pink Floyd outing, but it's essentially is a Waters solo album), there is something fascinating about protest Waters, this album is a reminder that the anger in this man is far from fading.
7 out of ten – This is good and worth checking out
Top track – The Last Refugee
Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down
Heaven Upside Down is a cynical record for me, you do not know what is truth and what is fiction, there is no dividing line with Marilyn Manson these days and that makes it an album that I admire, but I do not love. He is trying so hard to be the shock artist of old, but that is not cutting it in 2017 the same way that it did in the 90’s. Times have changed and so has the world, it will take a lot more than slagging off the bible and politicians to make me (and humanity as a whole) quake with fear. However, it does have some good tunes, something that has always been the case with Marilyn Manson. Heaven Upside Down is not a mediocre record, but it feels like an attempt to reclaim past glories. It ultimately trying too hard to replicate an anger which is not the same from an older man and ultimately, it still feels contrived. Manson has clearly done everything in his life, who knew that his mid-life crisis would sound rather tame in comparison to other works.
6.5 out of ten – Now I see where you were going, but it's not quite there
Top track - Saturnalia