18 November 2017

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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