Month: March 2014

Album Debate: A Perfect Circle: Mer De Noms vs Thirteenth Step

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During the year 2000 the world was presented with A Perfect Circle. Their debut album Mer De Noms was released to great fanfare and critical acclaim. Mer De Noms also featured a rebirth of sorts to what had been missing for quite sometime, making a cohesive album. Songs such as “Judith,” “The Hollow,” “Magdalena,” “3 Libras,” “Rose,” and “Thinking Of You” all were such standout tracks that left a lasting impact. There were a couple songs (“Thomas” and “Over”) that were out of place on their own but in the context of the album as a whole they fit. The first half of the album really shines but tends to drift and fall away towards the end. Production wise it is above superb.

In 2003 A Perfect Circle released Thirteenth Step. This album marked a growth and departure from the more polished sound of their previous album. It seemed that Maynard’s time back in Tool in between albums gave him new perspective on the direction on which to write for A Perfect Circle. The thematic tone of the album provided quite a distinctive backdrop for how the music sounded, was produced and how the songs were placed in the album. Songs such as “Weak and Powerless,” The Noose (my personal favorite),” “Blue,” “The Outsider,” and “Pet” again can stand out on their own, but really hit home more in the album as a whole. Production wise there is a more raw feel to it. It almost helps get under your skin faster and sink in.

Both records are totally different but all the while great in their own right. I lean more towards Thirteenth Step.

Where do you stand?

 

By: Brian Lacy

Band Of The Week: Destroy Judas

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Creating something epic is no easy task. The dedication it takes to create music with so many moving parts and to be able to connect the lyrics to match is over whelming at times. Luckily there are a few bands that have been able to do that and make it look easy, Neurosis and Isis for example. Destroy Judas is one of those bands. Combining their influences of doom metal, ambient noise, and crust punk, they have created a very deep and thought evoking band. Their debut Wake is full of just what I described. At times it might be construed as depressing but in the most positive of ways. There is a connection between the music and lyrics that really sits well beneath your skin. The drums and bass create a rhythmic foundation that sways and can be earth shattering. The guitars can go from the most subtle sounds to pummeling. The ambient touches really add a dark element that is mixed in perfectly. Vocally the prowess of the growls and soft cleans help guide along the epic nature. The four tracks on the album are all in that vein and unrelenting. The journey that Destroy Judas takes you on is powerful and epic.

 

http://destroyjudas.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/destroyjudas

20th Anniversary of: Bush Sixteen Stone

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1994 was such a great year for music. So many amazing albums were released. Nine Inch Nails- The Downward Spiral, Soundgarden- Superunkown, Alice In Chains -Jar Of Flies, Failure- Magnified, Sunny Day Real Estate- Diary, Stone Temple Pilots- Purple, Pearl Jam- Vitalogy just to name a few. There was another album that was released at this time as well by a group of lads from England called Bush. In late 1994 their debut album Sixteen Stone was released. Despite the criticism of critics, and the constant comparisons to Nirvana, Bush were able to carve out their own piece of the pie. Sixteen Stone had great songs and not just the singles. Leading off the album is “Everything Zen” a track full of loud guitars and memorable hooks. Following was “Swim” and “Bomb” both of these songs blend melodies with loud distortion making them 2 of the best deep cuts on the album. “Little Things” and the very successful “Comedown” had the loud, melody, and then some. The song “Body” has a sweet opening that ventures into the blues territory then bursts into what Bush does so well. Next is the great “Machine Head.” The riff for that is extremely memorable as is the sing along. “Testosterone” and “Monkey” are good songs but definitely not part of the stand out nature of the album, though “Monkey” has a great guitar outro. “Glycerine” however is a stand out. This vulnerable songs strips the band down to make all take notice. The use of strings on the song as well really help to embrace the purity of the song. Closing out the album is “Alien” a truly overlooked track on an album full of great songs. I’ve always stopped the album there and never really bothered to listen to “X-girlfriend,” though its a short little diddy, it just never interested me that much.

Gavin Rossdale has the ability to write really interesting and thought provoking songs. Sometimes his lyrics are a bit out there but it gets the job done. Nigel Pulsford brought a nice tone to the group guitar wise but was always the more boring of them when you’d watch them live. Dave Parsons brought intensity to his bass playing and had a strong way of cutting through the distortion. Robin Goodridge played the drums like he was on a mission to really hammer home the beat. Sixteen Stone still holds up to this day. A couple years back Bush reconvened with Gavin and Robin and two others Chris Traynor (who previously played with the band when Nigel couldn’t tour) and Corey Britz, and released a new album The Sea Of Memories. Their latest release was a solid album that found Gavin and company ready to capture what was once theirs.

 

 

By: Brian Lacy

Op Ed #1: Guilty Pleasures or just what you enjoy

When did it become so wrong to enjoy other type of music? In Europe, it is more than ok to listen to the most extreme metal then move on to top 40 type music. In America it is frowned upon however. What happened to the appreciation of a well written song no matter the genre? Does it really matter if there is more of a pop sensibility to it or a commercial aspect? Sure in the elitist circles that is very true, but it really shouldn’t matter. There are bands out there that really do suck and don’t fall into what I’m writing about here. I’m seriously talking about the appreciation for putting forth the effort to craft a song and make it good no matter what genre it’s classified in. We all have these “guilty pleasures” but should we really feel ashamed? NO! of course not. I’m sure that at times many of you look through your collection of music be it records, cd’s, itunes, and think “why do I have this?” or “what was I thinking when I was younger?” There is no reason to be ashamed of your music taste. You like what you like. There are so many people that are so concerned with staying within the confines of their genres that they hold them ever so sacred. And anything that isn’t what they are into is disregarded as total nonsense.

Music is supposed to be freeing and a way to express yourself. There are many different entities that are out there that ruin the purity of music and really make it all about image and what’s “hot.” That is what should be shameful. The Hot Topics of the world. Those types of places make these manufactured pop (wannabe rock bands) sensations bigger than the bands that are talented and have substance.

I for one am not ashamed to enjoy what I like. There are albums out there that in normal circumstances I wouldn’t buy, but if the song comes on I’ll listen to it, or even if I happen to own it I’ll throw it on and simply enjoy.

 

By: Brian Lacy

A Second Look: Sevendust

 

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For many years Sevendust has been one of the hardest working bands in the hard rock community. Their energetic live shows, constant presence on the road, and solid songwriting have gone noticed but not by the masses as one would think. Formed in Atlanta in 1994 by Vince Hornsby (bass), Morgan Rose (drums), John Connelly (guitar), Clint Lowrey (guitar) and Lajon Witherspoon (vocals), Sevendust have released 10 albums in their career. Their self titled debut featuring songs, “Black,” “Bitch,” and “My Ruin” was a heavy forceful record, that would help to leave their mark on the scene. Their follow up Home featuring “Denial” “Waffle” and “Bender” (featuring Chino Moreno of Deftones) brought even more attention to what Sevendust was doing. On their next release Animosity, their ability as songwriters got even better and they created a gem of an album. Songs like “Praise,” “Trust,” “Live Again,” “Shine,” “Follow (Featuring Aaron Lewis of Staind),” and the ballad “Angel’s Son” which is dedicated to Lynn Strait of Snot. Their next album Seasons was a bit of a departure from their more raw sound and more so in to a produced cleaner sound. While the songs are strong the production of the album does tend to take away from what could’ve been a really great album. After the release of the album Clint Lowery left that band to focus on other musical endeavors. Over the next few years Sevendust kept at what they have done, and release albums and continue to rock stages with former Snot guitarist Sonny Mayo now in the band. Though the albums they wrote without Clint tended to fall flat, there were still some bright spots amongst it all. Then in 2008 Clint returned to the fold and brought a reinvigorated focus back to the band. The end result was a fantastic album entitled Cold Day Memory, which combined the intensity of Animosity and their first album, only sounding older (in a good way). Stand out tracks featuring “Unraveling,” “Forever Dead,” “Splinter,” and “The End Is Coming,” brought back the signature Sevendust sound the fans had been wanting. Their next album Black Out The Sun continued with their revitalized nature and delivered a more raw sounding album.

Sevendust has always been a heavy rock band, though they happen to come out at the height of “Nu Metal,” one can argue that they are not to be lumped in to that sub genre. Their is something to be said for a band to really put their all into everything they do. If you’ve seen them live you know what I mean. Vocally they are one of the strongest. Lajon has a very unique and soulful voice that reflects the lyrics beautifully,, and Clint when he chimes in has the ability to take the melody into a darker nature with more of a baritone feel, plus Morgan and his shouting and screaming really creates a trifecta of blistering vocals. Guitar wise Clint and John can shred but they seemed  to restrain themselves on earlier releases, on their last two albums though their progress as players really show through. Vince has a very loose bass sound that fits right in the pocket of the rhythm of how Morgan swings and beats his drums.

Give them another listen and you might be surprised that you missed out on something. Sevendust are currently getting ready to release an acoustic album featuring old songs redone and new jams that are sure to be fan favorites.

 

Albums to check out: Animostiy, Cold Day Memory, Home, Black Out The Sun, Sevendust

 

SVNDST

 

 

 

 

http://www.sevendust.com/

By: Brian Lacy

Band Of The Week: City Of Ships

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In this quiet resurgence of artistic rock that we are currently in, a lot of previous overlooked bands (Failure, Hum, Shiner, etc) are finally getting their due and have influenced countless new bands. Now enter City Of Ships into the fold. Having been around awhile and making a mark for themselves, their blend of hard rock and post hardcore is undeniable and captivating. As a three piece that packs this much of a punch is spectacular. Their last album Minor World (released by Translation Loss) is 10 songs deep of nothing but raw emotion, and well thought out melodies. Songs like “Clotilde” “Low Countries” and “Chainman” are heavy and have melody running through it constantly. Currently City of Ships are working on their new album to be released in 2014.

https://www.facebook.com/cityofships

http://cityofships.bandcamp.com/

By: Brian Lacy