Neurosis is one of my all time favorite bands. They are legends and their influence stretches across many genres. They are also one of those bands that has always stuck to their guns and made the albums that they wanted to, without compromising their artistic integrity. Since their inception, Neurosis have released 11 full length studio albums, all of which deserve your attention. Here are their albums ranked from not the best to the best.
In this day and age, electronic music has really taken over. The one thing with so much electronic music is, most people don’t know how to do it right. Enter 20SIX HUNDRED. Darren Jones has taken his love of electronic/synth music and created a soundscape rather than just beats. His ability to create a “score” rather than the same repetitive sounds is impressive and feels natural and not forced. Do you remember the John Carpenter films and the music that accompanied them? That’s what this reminds me of. Among the John Carpenter influence, there is also a bit of a video game sound too, that makes this a bit more cinematic. 20SIX HUNDRED is the perfect soundtrack for today’s electronic crowd. You can also pre-order the new album, The Cold Rise From Sleep, on vinyl by Darren over at Sofa King Vinyl.
There is something to be said for taking the time away from a main project and really letting yourself get fully immersed in something new. The members of Less Art have done just that and have made an album that stands out among all the other work they’ve done and then some. Their debut album Strangled Light is a fully inspired and influenced album. Riley and Ed Breckinridge of Thrice, Jon Howell and Ian Miller of Kowloon Walled City and on vocals Mike Minnick of Curl Up and Die have paid their respects to their influences but, taken that and turned it into something all their own.
Throughout the 9 song album, Less Art lay the foundation for heaviness and maturity. Each song feels like they spent the time to really hone in on a vibe and feeling. With each listen, you tend to pick up on a different emotion that puts you in a different headspace, in a good way. The moment the first song “Optimism As Survival” begins, the shivers begin up your spine. There is also a brutality to the album that is carried over from their main bands. When you listen to songs like “Diana The Huntress,” “Mood 7 Mind Destroyer: Guilt,” Pessimism As Denial,” and “Crushed Out” you can really hear their hardcore roots show through. Then there are songs like “Wandering Ghost,” “Shapeshifter,” What Is In It Man?,” and the closer “Strangled Light” that really show who Less Art really are. Their sheer knack to remain heavy but, at the same time vulnerable is what makes them special.
Something really intriguing about Less Art is, Ed Breckinridge is playing guitar rather than bass (as he does in Thrice) on the album. This move has really allowed him to shine as a player and writer. And with him and guitarist Jon Howell, they play off each other in a way that fits the feel of the song. The rhythm section of Riley Breckinridge and Ian Miller builds on the mold of great post-hardcore duo’s. Vocally, the emotion, pain, thoughts and ideas of Mike Minnick are beyond stellar.
Less Art’s Strangled Light, is an album that is very much needed. There is a sense of hope to these songs that when you grab a hold of, you won’t let go.
Today, Converge premiered two new tracks online from their upcoming 7″ single,“I Can Tell You About Pain” The two songs released “I Can Tell You About Pain” and “Eve” are pretty classic sounding Converge. “Eve” is one of the most epic songs the band has put out. It almost could have been on Axe To Fall, with the vibe that it puts out. You can also pre-order the 7″ edition of the aforementioned EP via deathwishinc.com. There are still plans for Converge to release a new album later this year. In the meantime, check out the two new songs below!
How do you keep people’s attention these days when everything is so “instant?” Well, Trent Reznor has figured out a way to keep himself busy and creative. Rather than release a full length album, Trent has broken up the album format with a series of 3 EP’s. The first EP, Not The Actual Events was released late last year and set a tone of what was to come. The sounds permeating through combine lots of synths, ambience, new wave and industrial. In a way, Trent has pushed the boundaries towards a more stripped down “post-industrial” sound. The new EP, Add Violence, is chock full of intelligent and dark laden vibes that will make you feel like you are riding a huge wave into an abyss.
The first track “Less Than,” is a perfect way to open the EP and grab your attention. The song itself has a bit of a Pretty Hate Machine meets Hesitation Marks sound, giving you that “full circle” approach to where Trent is at in his musical journey. From there the EP takes a left turn and moves in a very Bowie-esque way. “The Lovers” and “This Isn’t The Place,” really show the love Trent has for Bowie in the way the music is delivered and the way the vocals are performed. There is definitely inspiration on these songs from David Bowie’s final album Blackstar. “Not Anymore” takes you on a sharp right turn from there and thrusts you into a reverb saturated, dark synth, almost classic angsty Nine Inch Nails song. Closing out the EP is “The Background World,” an almost 12 minute song that is layered with multitudes of sounds and synths that have an almost Massive Attack sort of feel to it.
Add Violence is Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross doing what they do best, and that is all you could ever ask for. Their work together over the years has truly become intriguing and thought provoking. The scores they have done for different films seems to have really inspired them both to see where they can take Nine Inch Nails. These 3 EP’s are not only the logical step for Trent and Nine Inch Nails but, also seems to be a new model for releasing music.
This piece has taken me a while to write. Not because I was extremely influenced or inspired by Chester but rather, because I’ve never looked at Linkin Park other than a great marketed band. Throughout the past couple days since the news broke of Chester’s suicide, I took some time to really delve into Linkin Park and see if there was something I missed. That’s not what this piece is about though. Chester was a guy who put himself out there and that alone stands for something. There are so many people out there that shit on him and the band but, those are the people that never put themselves out there and tried.
Chester was a guy like many of us out there that has struggled with depression, addiction and other demons. Sure he was a celebrity but, that doesn’t change the fact that he was a person just like the rest of us. He suffered for many years with many ups and downs. He laid it all out there with his words and voice. Listening to their songs, you can really hear it in his performance. His desperation and suffering really showed through as the band continued on their journey. Not everyone is going to like the next thing a band does but, sometimes that doesn’t really matter. It’s about where you are in life and how you can continue to better yourself. Recently, Chester took a lot of the criticism of his bands new album One More Light very personally. The comments sections on the internet were full of disgusting negativity about the direction of the album. Chester directly addressed a lot of these critiques and it really got to him. Chester and Chris Cornell were also very good friends, so I’m sure he was struggling to come to terms with Chris’s death as well. It doesn’t matter how deep you try to bury the feelings you don’t want to feel, they tend to always come back and pick at you little by little in some way.
I’ve been deeply affected by other deaths in my life and this one has slowly crept in there. My wife was a big Linkin Park fan way back when, and I’ve seen her take this pretty hard. It’s never easy to lose someone that you are connected to on a specific wavelength. The power of music really does help save lives.
You don’t have to be a fan to feel the pain and anguish others are going through. I truly hope that those out there that are suffering and in need of help, can get it. Mental health isn’t a subject that should be brushed over. People need to really pay attention to what is happening. Take the time to show you care, and that you are there for those that you know are having a hard time.
A Place For My Head:
Faint (I’ve always thought this video was awesome):
It’s been a few days since I finally saw the great Helms Alee, and I can’t stop listening to them. They are one of the best and underrated bands I’ve heard in a long time. Formed in Seattle in 2007, Ben Verellen (guitar/vocals), Dana James (bass/vocals), and Hozoji Matheson-Margullis (drums/vocals), have created music that borders on doom, post hardcore, a dash a sludge and a pinch of alternative rock. In my live review of them I mentioned that they sound a bit like if Siamese Dream era Pumpkins and Self titled era Alice In Chains had a kid and that kid met up with a kid from Doom and post-hardcore parents, you’d get Helms Alee. Among the remarkable things about Helms Alee is their ability to create such powerful music. Thanks to Ben Verellen’s, Verellen Amplifiers, the sound that permeates from the speakers on your stereo and at the venue, transcends the normal. Since 2007, Helms Alee has released 4 full length albums along with 5 EP’s/Splits. Each album has built upon their previous work to create something remarkable and everlasting. Helms Alee are a band not just for today but, for generations to come.
Trent Reznor promised more new Nine Inch Nails music this year and he didn’t disappoint. The new upcoming EP is entitled ADD VIOLENCE and the first single from that is called “Less Than.” What a great song. It contains elements of Pretty Hate Machine and Hesitation Marks, making this a full circle track.
I can’t wait for the whole EP which, will be released July 21!!!
I’m sure you can tell that I’m really stoked on Less Art. Their debut album Strangled Light can’t arrive soon enough. Today, a new song “Diana The Huntress” was released. This track is another great representation of what the band has to offer. This explosive song features guest vocals from Meghan O’Neill-Pennie (Super Unison ex-Punch), which helps to add another layer of urgency to the screams of vocalist Mike Minnick. To pre-order Less Art’s debut album click HERE.
Let me set the tone for the evening. It was a perfect Southern California evening. The weather was perfect and the mood was meant for music that would knock your socks off. It also seems that Downtown Los Angeles is fast becoming the place for rock/metal bands to play. Last night was worth the trip for sure.
Kicking off the night was the very alluring Mustard Gas & Roses. Their brand of doom metal set the standard for the evening. This Los Angeles based four piece is the perfect band to get you in the mood for a night of great music. They are cinematic and proficient in their performance. I’ve been hearing about this band for a little bit now and they were everything I thought they would be.
Next up was Helms Alee. This band left me absolutely breathless. I’ve been meaning to go see them live for some time and I finally had my chance and WOW. Their blistering set was visceral and inspiring. The magnitude of tone they delivered from their drums, bass and guitars made it seem like they were playing an arena. I’m always intrigued by melody and even with their doom approach, the melody was not lost. With all three members doing vocals, that really gives a whole different dynamic to their style of music, There were times during their set that they reminded me a bit of Siamese Dream era Smashing Pumpkins and self titled era Alice In Chains but with a bit of doom to it. Helms Alee is the type of band that releases great albums but, in order to fully grasp the greatness of this band, you NEED TO SEE THEM LIVE.
The main event of the evening was Mutoid Man. They are another band that I’ve been really wanting to see live. Their albums are stellar and the fact that drummer Ben Koller and singer/guitarist Stephen Brodsky were finally able to get together and form a band makes me extra happy, being as I’m a HUGE fan of Cave In and I really dig on Converge. The addition of bassist Nick Cageao adds a whole other layer and dimension of heavy to the band. Mutoid Man really knows how to deliver a great night of riffs, pummeling drums, jokes, and great performances. Like Helms Alee, Mutoid Man puts out great albums but, it’s really best to go see them live. Their set featured songs from both their full length albums (Bleeder and War Moans) along with songs from their debut EP. They drove the crowd into a frenzy, with a perfect mosh pit as well. My friend and I couldn’t resist joining in on the pit fun, as we moshed our way to the front of the venue.
What a great night for a show. Three great bands on one bill to make it known that heavy music is alive and well along with the take no prisoners approach. I highly recommend you all taking the time to go see them live and give a listen to these three great bands albums. You will not only thank me later but, you’ll feel compelled to go buy their albums.