A Second Look

A Second Look: Trivium

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There are times that when a band first comes on the scene people tend to be very cynical. Especially when the band is made up of teenagers. About 12 years ago, Trivium was thrust onto the heavy music scene, and was met with mixed thoughts. These kids could play their instruments and shred, but that wasn’t enough for most people. Trivium’s first couple albums Ember To Inferno, Ascendancy, and The Crusade, were barely showing the full potential of what the band could be. I first took notice of Trivium when Ascendancy came out. I bought the album and enjoyed it for what it was, a solid piece of metal, that played off the “metalcore” genre that was big at the time. I saw them twice on that cycle, and they did put on a great live show, and were very gracious and humble guys. When it came to The Crusade, I didn’t bother with it. It didn’t seem to have a sense of real depth, and it lacked a real direction of what the band was. Fast forward a few years, to a night when I was searching for something to listen to, and out of the corner of my eye, I saw Trivium had put out a new album. So naturally I was curious to see and hear what they had become, and I was genuinely intrigued with what the band had become. For the first time I really thought that Trivium had come into their own.

I took the time to go back to all the albums I missed, and I have to say, since their album Shogun, Trivium has really found their sound, and honed their songwriting craft by leaps and bound. Shogun, was thrashy and heavy, with moments of melody that didn’t let it get too extreme. The follow up the very epic In Waves, is an album that really took it up a notch. You can really hear the amount of work and passion in this album. The next album Vengeance Falls, is somewhat of an experimental album for the band. They chose to work with David Draiman of Disturbed (who is a big fan of Trivium), and the results of their work turned out to be quite interesting. The vocals on the album featured a more dramatic singing approach, which seemed to have given singer/guitarist Matt Heafy, better control and understanding of what to do. Their latest album and the one that got me to listen to them again, Silence in the Snow, is everything you would hope the band could evolve into. The songwriting, playing style, vocals, lyrics and all around performance, shows a band that has really come into their own.

Trivium has defied the critics and have finally matured into a band that can really deliver. Not that they couldn’t before, but with anything, time and growth can make things that much better. I highly recommend taking a second look at Trivium.

 

Shogun:

 

In Waves:

 

Vengeance Falls:

 

Silence In The Snow:

Second Chance Albums: Metallica- Load

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In every bands career there are times when the band changes things up and tries to take a chance and expand upon what they’ve already done. Sometimes this works out great, and other times it seriously backfires. In 1996, coming off the monster success of their “Black Album,” Metallica shocked their fans and released “Load.” Granted Load came in at number one on the billboard charts, it seemed to have left many of Metallica’s fans wondering what the hell is going on with the band. Gone was the band’s trademark thrash metal style and instead of that, the style was replaced with a more blues centered structure. The speed and complexity that the fans had grown to love was entirely disregarded on Load.I still remember seeing the video for “Until It Sleeps,” wondering what happened to Metallica.  I was one of those fans that was left scratching their head as to why Metallica would do this. Then as the years went on and I experienced more of what life has to offer, I took another listen to Load. What I found was an album that was ahead of it’s time. This was Metallica being vulnerable and laying it all out there. This is a great example of a band growing up and stepping outside their comfort zone. It is also an album that takes on a different meaning once you’ve lived life a bit. One of the best songs Metallica has ever written appears on Load. That song is “Bleeding Me.” The lyrics alone are enough to resonate deep. The music is solemn and moody, allowing all the emotions to flow with the song. Other songs like “Until It Sleeps,” “Hero Of The Day,” “Ain’t My Bitch,” “King Nothing,” and “The Outlaw Torn,” are steeped deep in misery and toil. The entirety of Load is astounding. There might be a song here and there that seems out of place but this album is a true gem. There is something about this album that, like a fine wine or a really good scotch only gets better with age.

Load wasn’t right for the time it was released. The fans still wanted more heavy from the band, and were caught completely off guard by this. This record is an exceptionally underrated metal/hard rock experience that takes the band’s music into entirely new territories.  Load is an excellent album with great songwriting and a high level of diversity. Giving something for everyone. Sure it’ll never top what Ride The Lightning, Master Of Puppets, And Justice For All and The “Black” Album are, but it’s definitely an album worthy of your time and patience. Give it another chance and you’ll see what I mean. Leave all your preconceived notions about Metallica at the door when you listen to this album.

 

Metallica- Load:

 

Metallica- Bleeding Me (S & M Version):

 

 

A Second Look: Baroness

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There are times when I hear a band at first and write them off for sounding too much like another band I really enjoy. Over the years I’ve come to the realization that in doing so I’ve missed out on a lot of great music when it first arrived. When I first heard Baroness right after they released the Red Album, I totally passed them off as a Mastodon wannabe band. Even going as far as calling them Mastodon Light. Then something in my head changed when they released their follow up The Blue Album. They finally developed a blend of influences to make it their own. Then as bands do they progressed and created a double album of everything they enjoy. A lot of fans dropped them when they released the Yellow and Green album, due to its more laid back nature and mellowness. Yet for myself, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it made me really start to love Baroness. Now in 2015, the band are gearing up to release their newest album The Purple Album. Following a huge ordeal with a bus accident a few years back, it took time for the guys in the band to get back in the swing of things and work thorough all of the pain and agony they endured. Recently, they released the first single from the new album entitled “Chlorine & Wine.” It’s an epic of sorts that tells a story of what they all went through during their time away from music. If this is an inclination of what is to come for Baroness, I’d say they are truly paving their own path and making something they truly believe in.

Chlorine and Wine:

Making of Purple Part1:

Yellow and Green Album:

The Blue Album:

The Red Album:

https://www.facebook.com/YourBaroness

http://yourbaroness.com/

Why Metallica’s Death Magnetic Deserves Another Listen

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Since the release of the “Black” album most Metallica fans have written off anything they have put out. The “purists” claim they haven’t put out anything good since …And Justice For All. For arguments sake, there are some really great songs that the band has written but as far as albums they really haven’t been able to capture much since after Justice. Though in 2008, Metallica released their first new album since the very disappointing St. Anger. This album was a throw back of sorts to what made Metallica great in the 80’s. And one of the biggest improvements was getting rid of working with Bob Rock. When Death Magnetic was released, it debuted at number one but has lots of people saying that the recording and mixing was terrible. Part of the problem was working with Rick Rubin. Granted he can at times bring out the best in bands to deliver great albums, his ear for compressing things is terrible. The album itself if mixed too loud leaving many listeners disgruntled. Barring all that listening to the album as a whole and taking it all in, Metallica delivered just what people wanted. A hard, fast, crushing album. Lyrically it’s more mature. Songs like “All Nightmare Long,” “Cyanide,” “The End Of The Line,” the great instrumental “Suicide and Redemption,” really capture that old school vibe. James Hetfield really took stock of where he was at in life  and went for it lyrically. Sure there are moments where it seems a little post rehabesque, but it’s undoubtably a Hetfield lyric. Kirk Hammet’s solo’s are classic. Lars is actually playing with passion again. Robert Trujilo’s bass (even with it being mixed low) is better than anything Jason Newsted ever did. These songs live are brutal. I’ve heard a majority of these songs played live and they kill. If you have a moment look up any of the songs from this album and you’ll see what I mean. Metallica are one of those bands who take chances and do what they want. It might not always be what the fans expect the Load and Reload albums come to mind. Death Magnetic is the album that should have come after …And Justice For All. Give it another shot and you’ll see what I mean.

By: Brian Lacy

A Second Look: 10 Years

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It’s often easy to dismiss bands you hear on the radio. Most are just plain generic bands with no substance or truth behind them. For every 10 of those types of bands there is usually 1 in the bunch that really stands out, and defies those standards mentioned above. One of those bands is 10 Years. 10 Years was initially formed in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1999. In 2005 they released their major label debut, The Autumn Effect. The songs “Wasteland” and “Through The Iris” were released as singles and garnered solid radio play. During the album cycle for their debut, they toured with Korn, Sevendust, Deftones, Mudvayne and others. The follow up Division was released in 2008. This album has a different feel to it. Rick Parasher (Pearl Jam Ten) was chosen to produce this album. Some of the members of the band have gone on to say that this was a very difficult album to make, hence the name of the album. Songs like “Beautiful,” So Long, Goodbye,” “Actions and Motives,” are all standouts amongst others like “All Your Lies,” and “Focus” which was co-written by Dean DeLeo of Stone Temple Pilots. Touring saw 10 Years share the stage with  Sevendust, Chevelle, and was apart of the 2008 Projekt Revolution tour. For their third album Feeding The Wolves, Howard Benson was picked to produce (on a personal note, I think Howard Benson’s production is too polished and clean, taking away from the raw feeling of the band). During recording, the band went back and forth between putting on live shows and working on the album. During this time, they debuted a few new songs live, including “Dead in the Water”, “Now is the Time”, and the new album’s first single “Shoot It Out.” Other standouts from the album include “Fix Me” and the epic closer “Fade Into (The Ocean).” When it came time to write a new album, 10 Years had announced that they were leaving their label to become independent again. The result was Minus The Machine, which was their most organic album since The Autumn EffectIt was released on August 7, 2012 through their own independent label called Palehorse Records. Songs such as “Minus The Machine,” “Backlash,” “Knives,” and “Forever Fields (Sowing Season)” are all standouts from the album.  The bands live show has always been full of great energy and true emotion. Listening to singer Jesse Hasek, you can hear in his voice that the words really mean something. Guitar wise Ryan “Tater” Johnson has great ability to play heavy and delicate songs without overplaying. Lewis Cosby plays the bass with enough force to make the low end shine and it balances extremely well with Brian Vodinh’s powerful drums. 

10 Years is the real deal. They aren’t your typical radio friendly band. If you wrote them off, give them another listen. They really are a gem amongst a sea of nothings.

 

The Autumn Effect:

 

Division:

 

Feeding The Wolves:

 

Minus The Machine:

 

http://10yearsmusic.com/

https://www.facebook.com/10yearsmusic

 

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