Album Review

Album Review: Converge- The Dusk In Us

20914672_10155707071995929_3606089976438198356_n.jpg

Five years have come and gone since Converge‘s last epic album All We Love We Leave Behind. In those five years, there seems to be no signs of any member of Converge losing their “edge” or desire to push themselves creatively. On their new album The Dusk In Us, Converge takes a bunch of stylistic chances and they all pay off. For a band that has constantly set the bar for this style of music, it definitely doesn’t come as a shock that they are willing to experiment musically, vocally and lyrically to make the best album they can.

The moment the album begins with “A Single Tear” it shows that there are no signs of Converge slowing down. The riff alone will cause you to stir and move. There are songs on the album that are reminiscent of classic style Converge like “Eye Of The Quarrel,” “Under Duress,” “Broken By Light,” and “Cannibals.” Then there are some truly epic songs like “I Can Tell You About Pain,” the title track “The Dusk In Us.” The more experimental songs like “Murk and Marrow,” and especially “Thousands Of Miles Between Us,”  and closing song “Reptilian,” show that Converge still has grown over the years but also they have a maturity about them that is often overlooked.

Converge has always done things their way and it’s because of that, that they are highly regarded as highly influential and originators of this style of heavy music. Vocalist/lyricist Jacob Bannon has really spread his wings on this album. Lyrically this is some of his best work and vocally he shows he’s got more that just a guttural scream. Guitarist Kurt Ballou continues to impress with his unique style and impactful riffage. Drummer Ben Koller is an absolute beast and he is fully unleashed on this album. Finally bassist Nate Newton has really come into his own and is showcased more on this album. By Nate adding vocals to the songs, it makes them stand out and his own playing has never sounded better.

The Dusk In Us is one of the best pieces of work Converge has put out. It’s pretty crazy to think that as these guys get older they only get better. Something else about this album that is quite interesting is that Converge still has songs left over that didn’t make the album. One of those songs “Eve” is probably one of the best songs the band has ever written. Do yourself a favor and delve into The Dusk In Us and explore a side of you that you didn’t think existed. You will be quite surprised with how much you enjoy this.

Overall Rating: A

 

Converge- The Dusk In Us:

 

Converge- Eve:

Advertisements

Album Review: 10 Years- (how to live) As Ghosts

10yearshowtolivecd.jpg

Since 2005 I’ve been a fan of the band 10 Years. Their major label debut, The Autumn Effect, was quite an album and set a standard for the band. Over the years through various incarnations of the band, albums and producers, 10 Years consistently put out albums, some of which were rather good (Division and Minus The Machine) and some albums that seemed to fall short of what they could have been (Feeding The Wolves and From Birth To Burial). Now on their eighth album, 10 Years have found the spark again and have delivered an album just as impactful as The Autumn Effect. (how to live) As Ghosts is a tremendous melodic rock album and the album the band needed to make. Working with famed producer Nick Raskulinecz (Alice In Chains, Deftones, Foo Fighters), got the band back on track and the songs really shine because of it as does the entire sound of the album.

One of the things that has always stood out to me about 10 Years is singer/lyricist Jesse Hasek. He has a way with melodies and a knack for writing lyrics that are not just thought provoking but also tug at your heart strings. You can hear that in songs like “The Messenger,” “Burnout,” “Ghosts,” “Phantoms (which is my favorite song on the album as of this writing),” “Vampires,” “Halos,” and the closer “Insomnia.” Something else that stands out about this album is the return of guitarist Matt Wantland who left the band after the album Division. With Wantland and guitarist (and former drummer) Brian Vodinh, they have written heavy yet catchy riffs that stand out among all their albums. Also included as a bonus track is a cover of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box.” This mid tempo cover is delicate and beautiful. It’s almost haunting in the way it was arranged. It’s definitely a cover worth checking out!

10 Years aren’t the type of band that is reinventing the wheel. Instead they do rock music the justice it deserves and add the right amount of melody and aggression to be impactful. (How to live) As Ghosts is the perfect return to form for 10 Years and gives hope for the future of the band.

Overall Rating: B+

10 Years- (how to live) As Ghosts:

 

 

Album Review: LA Guns- The Missing Peace

18881750_1905063626427911_3400391662580870925_n.jpg

The comeback album is one of the hardest albums to make. There are so many variables that go with it that sometimes the pressure leads to a very underwhelming effort. That is not the case though for L.A. Guns. When it was announced that singer Phil Lewis and guitarist Tracii Guns were getting back together, it was met with joy and excitement. These two are and were what made L.A. Guns such a great band. Now 15 years later after taking time apart from one another, they are back with an album that not only rocks but reinvigorates their careers.

The Missing Peace is everything a rock album should be. It’s filled with great heavy rock songs, a few mid tempo bluesy jams, and of course that song that tugs at your heart strings. Not only does Phil Lewis sound great on the album as well as live (I saw L.A. Guns a few months back) but the words and melodies he brings to Tracii’s songs is impeccable. “It’s All The Same To Me” starts the album off and you know that you are in for a treat as the songs goes on. Other stand outs include “Speed,” “A Drop Of Bleach,” “Sticky Fingers,” “Christine,” “Don’t Bring A Knife To A Gunfight,” “The Floods The Fault Of The Rain,” “The Devil Made Me Do It,” “The Missing Peace,” and “Gave It All Away.”

The combination of Phil and Tracii is like Mick and Keith or Plant and Page. There is just something special about when these two are together. They play off each other so well. It’s refreshing to hear them back together and putting out quality songs like the ones on The Missing Peace. They aren’t trying to bring back the 80’s instead they are putting out a great rock album that the world needs. Fans of them from back in the day will absolutely love this record and newer fans will gravitate to it as well. Something else that stands out on this album is the other guys in the band. Drummer Shane Fitzgibbons, bassist Johnny Martin and guitarist Michael Grant bring the extra juice and flair that makes this band special.

Do yourself a favor and give this album a listen then go buy it and see them live.

Overall Rating: 9/10

 

L.A. Guns- The Missing Peace:

 

Upcoming Tour Dates:

22519168_1965316903735916_1224717660416436782_n.jpg

Album Review: Foo Fighters- Concrete and Gold

FOO_CG_1200X1200_a9ad7406-53ab-4548-a10d-ede5e1553765_1024x1024.png

Redemption is the first word that comes to mind when talking about the new Foo Fighters album Concrete and Gold. The follow up to the highly disappointing Sonic Highways is everything you’d want in a Foo Fighters album. It has the rock, the great mid tempo songs, and the delicate melodies that we’ve all grown to love and enjoy in a Foo’s album. Concrete and Gold is also seething in inspiration from 70’s rock bands and their albums from that era. Dave Grohl and company deliver the goods and then some. From the riffs, melodies, and all around vibe this album emits, you are in for quite a treat.

As “T-Shirt” begins the album in a way that is reminiscent of “Doll” from The Colour and The Shape, the way the song flows perfectly into the high energy “Run” is undeniable. Not to mention that “Run” is the classic Foo’s song that was very much needed. Plus the video is hilarious. “Make It Right” is a solid mid tempo song that fits in the sequence of the album and also features guest vocals from Justin Timberlake. “The Sky Is A Neighborhood” will be a classic for the band, no doubt about it. Everything about this song is great. “La Dee Da” is one of my favorite songs on the album. The fuzzy bass line (courtesy of the underrated Nate Mendel) that starts the song immediately grabs your attention and the rest of the song rocks your socks off. Allison Mosshart from The Kills guests on this song as well as “The Sky Is A Neighborhood.” Saxophone player Dave Koz lends his sax talents to the song as well. “Dirty Water” is one of those Foo’s songs with delicate melodies and a softer vibe. It’s another one of those songs that in the context of the album it really fits but as a stand alone song, not so much. “Arrows” is one of those songs that really emits the 70’s sound. The guitar work on this song from Chris Shiflett is stellar. The entire band sounds amazing on this song. “Happily Ever After (Zero Hour) seems a little out of place at first listen but, as you keep listening to the album, this song really grows on you especially because of the lyrics. “Sunday Rain” is another of my favorite songs on the record. This song features drummer Taylor Hawkins on lead vocals and he sounds absolutely great. It’s a great change of pace for the band plus this song just rocks. Paul McCartney plays drums on this song too. There is a cool funk vibe on this song that plays into my thought’s of the 70’s influence but, there is also a kind of George Harrison element to it as well from his All Things Must Pass solo album (an album that is truly a masterpiece… George was the most talented Beatle… I dare you to challenge me on that!). Keyboardist Rami Jaffee really shines on this song as well. His contributions to the song really bring out the “vibe.” “The Line” is a classic Foo’s rock song but with a more melodic twist. Having three guitarists in the band really shows on this song. You can really hear each of Dave’s, Chris’s and Pat’s style and tone on this song. Closing out the album is the title track “Concrete and Gold.” This song oozes Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath.  Not only is this song a great closer but, it’s also epic in the way it plays out and makes you feel. Surprisingly the “choir like” vocals are provided by Boyz II Men’s Shawn Stockman, and it fits perfectly.

Concrete and Gold is the album the Foo Fighters not only needed to make but also an album the rock world needs. Dave Grohl proves that he is one of this generations best songwriters and the entire band, Taylor, Chris, Nate, Pat and Rami play their asses off on the record. Besides One By One and Wasting Light, I’d dare say this is the most complete Foo Fighters record they have ever released. Thank you Foo Fighters for this album and redeeming yourselves and then some. I can’t wait to hear these songs live. Rock isn’t dead. In fact it’s beyond alive and well!

Overall Rating: A

 

Foo Fighters- Concrete and Gold:

 

 

Album Review: Brand New- Science Fiction

BrandNewScienceFiction.jpg

When bands take their time to come out with a new album, that album is then dealt an extreme amount of anticipation along with high expectations. Most of the time though, the end result is pretty bland and disappointing. That is not the case though with the new album entitled Science Fiction by Brand New. Instead, this album lives up to every expectation you’d expect from the band and then some. Brand New has never been a band to repeat themselves, which makes their catalog one that stands out among their peers. Science Fiction is the long awaited follow up to 2009’s Daisy. It’s also been announced that this will be Brand New’s final album. Since it’s release, Science Fiction debuted at number one on the billboard charts. A first for the band and a welcome surprise to all.

The album itself is a deep reflection of life and all the emotions we go through. Back in 2006 when The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me was released, Brand New set a blueprint as to what “emo” albums should be. On Science Fiction, the depth that they reached on The Devil and God is summoned once again, with a delicate and soothing yet dynamic approach. From the moment the first song “Lift Me Up” kicks in, there is a real sense of calm that descends upon the listener. As the album continues songs like ” Can’t Get It Out,”  and “Could Never Be Heaven,”  really hit at the heart strings. “Same Logic/Teeth (which is my favorite track on the album as of this writing),”  adds to their repertoire of classic songs. “Out Of Mana (one/if not the “heaviest” song on the album),” and “In The Water” almost transcend the genre. “No Control” is a mid tempo song that is very sincere. “451” is a cool bluesy song. It reminds me of a song that The Black Keys wish they could write. Closing out the album is “Batter Up” one of the best songs Brand New has ever written. Not only is it a solemn song but, it’s also a great farewell to a very influential and inspirational career.

Bands like Brand New don’t come around that often. Their ability to take their time and put out an album when the time is right and they feel the songs/album is done is almost unheard of these days. Their artistic integrity and songwriting prowess really shows on their sleeves with Science Fiction. Something else that gets overlooked with Brand New is the musicianship of all the members. Each person in this band has a place and plays their instruments with the exact feel needed to make the songs the best they can be. If this is really their “swan song,” then they really hit the mark and are giving you every ounce of themselves on this album. Science Fiction is definitely making the top ten albums of the year.

Overall Rating= A

 

Brand New- Science Fiction:

 

 

Album Review: Dead Cross- Dead Cross

zzdcst.jpg

It’s not everyday that a project lives up to the hype these days. In fact, the majority of “new and exciting” projects fall flat and leave you with nothing but a feeling of disappointment. That is not true though of the new band Dead Cross. The band was originally formed in 2015 by drummer Dave Lombardo (Slayer & Fantomas), bassist Justin Pearson (The Locust, Head Wound City, Retox), guitarist Michael Crain (Retox), and on vocals Gabe Serbian (The Locust, Head Wound City, Retox), the latter though was replaced by the legendary Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas, etc).

Let me just cut to the chase. The debut self titled album from Dead Cross is, 10 songs and about 30 minutes of blistering hardcore punk rock that will leave you one, wanting more, two, wondering where this style of vocals Mike Patton has been for the longest time, three, damn… Dave Lombardo really is the soul of Slayer, and four, Justin and Mike have really outdone themselves in bringing back a sound that has been often copied and tired but not really done right. There are moments that really bring out the Mike Patton we all know and love, from the time he spent with The Dillinger Escape Plan, when they made Irony Is A Dead Scene. Songs like “Seizure and Desist,” “Idiopathic,” and “The Future Has Been Canceled,”  really show that side of Mike. The rest of the album is full of Hardcore Punk meets Fantomas and a bit of Mr. Bungle. Other tracks like “Obedience School,” Shillelagh,” “Divine Filth,” “Grave Slave,” and “Gag Reflex,” are beyond stand out songs. The sheer magnitude of force that pummels through those songs and the rest, provided by Dave, Michael, and Justin, is astonishing. One other gem on the album is the cover of the Bauhaus classic, Bela Lugosi’s Dead. Just listen to the whole album and you’ll hear the greatness

Dead Cross is the type of band that is needed for today. In the age we are in and with what is going on, this is the type of energy that can help. The combination of Dave Lombardo and Mike Patton is always welcome and appreciated. The inclusion of Justin and Michael, really brings out something special in those two. I truly hope that Dead Cross is a band that will stay for some time. I’d really love to hear this band develop and become something kids can get inspiration and influence from.

Overall Rating= A

 

Seizure & Desist:

 

Grave Slave:

 

Obedience School:

 

PRE-ORDER THE ALBUM HERE (Album is out August 4th):

 

 

Album Review: Less Art- Strangled Light

a1133095067_10.jpg

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.

 

Overall Rating: A

 

Less Art- Strangled Light: