Deaf Club just released an unrelenting force of nature with their album, Productive Disruption. The band features Justin Pearson (The Locust, Dead Cross, Planet B), Brian Amalfitano (ACxDC), Scott Osment (Weak Flesh), Jason Klein (Run With The Hunted), and Tommy Meehan (The Manx, Chum Out!) and their savage sound comes with a blastbeat-centric hardcore punk assault channeling crust, thrash, and grind with a touch of metal. Productive Disruption, was was recorded by Alex Estrada and Tommy Meehan and they captured the true essence of the band, raw, live and uncompromising. There is real sense or urgency when listening to this album. The intensity and passion delivered with the performances of each member proves that this isn’t for the weak hearted. The songs are written and played at breakneck speed but, with the right amount of space between to catch your breath before the onslaught continues. To accompany the release of the album the band performed the whole thing live and when you watch it, the energy radiating from the screen will start pumping your blood faster and the next thing you know a full on mosh pit will erupt from your seat. Deaf Club have started 2022 album releases off with an utter bashing to your head in a total good way!
A band like Failure doesn’t come around too often. Ever since their inception, they have been pushing the boundaries of rock music. It’s been talked about for years now how much of an influential masterpiece their third album, Fantastic Planet is. That album is truly the new Velvet Underground and Nico. Just like with The Velvet’s anyone who has picked up a copy of Fantastic Planet has inevitably started a band. But that’s not what this is all about. Instead let us focus on the fact that Failure have released their third new album since their return in 2014 and this one is without a doubt in line with the great albums they have produced. Wild Type Droid is out now and it’s absolutely stunning.
Wild Type Droid fits in its own part of Failure lore. As much as it fits within the “space rock” spectrum, this one hits differently. Firstly the music on this record is a bit more rhythmic and complex. The crisp production courtesy of Ken Andrews is superb. Every nuance that should be heard is making for one hell of a listening experience. The performances from all three members especially drummer Kellii Scott is astonishing. There’s almost this whole other level that Ken, Greg and Kellii went to with this one. Painting vivid pictures with the lyrics and melodies along with music that creates a truly whimsical feeling makes Wild Type Droid an album that stands out. The way the album starts, flows, and ends is something special on its own. It’s one of those that you feel compelled to start again as soon as it is over.
This year has already given us so many great albums and Failure’s Wild Type Droid is right there amongst those (Quicksand’s Distant Populations, Every Time I Die’s Radical, Genghis Tron’s Dream Weapon to name a few). For a band that’s technically been around for over 30 years there is no stopping Failure. If anything it’s as though the reunion only made then stronger and reinvigorated. There is no substitute for Failure. Other’s have tried to capture what they do but, if it’s not Ken, Greg and Kellii, it’s just going to sound like an imposter. Cheers to Failure for yet another triumphant album. Personally, I can’t wait to hear these songs live. It’s going to be out of this world good!
Radical is one hell of a way to describe the new Every Time I Die album of the same name. Throughout their career, Every Time I Die have continued to get better and better with each release. Like a fine wine or scotch, the older these guys get, the more ferocious and unrelenting they get. This being the band’s ninth studio album, the absolute urgency felt throughout the album is unparalleled. To top it all off too, there are 16 blistering tracks on this one and the moment it ends, you are compelled to start it over.
Tracks 1-16 are phenomenal. The riffs, beats, bass lines, vocals, lyrics, and melodies are some of the best ETID have come up with. There are moments throughout the album that hark back to previous albums like The Big Dirty and Hot Damn but, there is no denying that these new songs push through what they’ve done in the past. I could go through the album track by track but as I’ve said many times before, that would just ruin it for you, the listener. Instead what I will do is say that there isn’t one track on this album that doesn’t belong or feels out of place. The poetic nature and introspective lyrics of singer Keith Buckley are striking and vulnerable in a different way than on Low Teens. His ability to tell stories and make you think while at the same time rocking out is something that not many people can do. Then you put that together with the crushing riffs of Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley plus the pummeling rhythm section of Steve Micciche and Clayton “Goose” Holyoak and you have the recipe for one of the best bands of the century. Radical also features guest appearances by Josh Scogin from ’68 and Andy Hull from Manchester Orchestra, adding another color to these songs. To top it all off is the stunning production from Will Putney (who also helmed Low Teens).
This album is one that will hold up for years to come. Their ability to expand their sound and take risks only make this album stronger. There is a polarizing sensibility to the record but also a delicate tinge that allows the listener to really soak it all in. You’d think that after over 20 years of being a band and all the miles on the road that they’d slow down but, you’re totally wrong. There is no stopping Every Time I Die and Radical proves that!
As far back as I can remember I’ve had a disdain for pop music. There way it’s all manufactured and put together really drives me nuts, especially in the last 20 years. The word artist gets used way too much in pop music when these people are glorified performers rather than true artists. Though, along the way, there are a few that have been able to carve their own paths and stray away from the generic norms of the pop world. A couple years back my friend played a song for me without telling me anything about it. After the song was over, I quite intrigued by it. The song was “Nightmare” by Halsey and it was great. There was something different about her and I had to know more. Fast forward to now and the release of her new album, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, and now I can’t get enough.
If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is a tour de force of an album. Having Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross producing and at the helm, has escalated Halsey into a whole other realm. In a recent interview, Halsey had mentioned that working with Trent Reznor had been a dream of hers for years. Speaking on the direction of the album, Halsey said, “I wanted really cinematic sort of, not horror specifically, but kind of just really unsettling production.” Working with Trent and Atticus has brought in a real element of danger into the fold and genre bending to the pop world. When you listen to this album, you can hear Halsey in her natural element.
This album is unique in that there is not really any “hits” on it. There are catchy chorus’s and elements that are hooks but, it’s definitely not what you expect. There is an intensity and vulnerability throughout the album that radiates and burns ever so bright. Each song brings has it’s own identity. The deep exploratory personal lyrics permeate throughout. The conceptual elements of the album tie it all together in a way that most pop “artists” would shy away from but not Halsey. Instead, this is a head first dive into the psyche and realizations of someone who has finally found a sense of bliss and happiness through all the madness. The gothic undertones along with industrial tinges, atmospheric sounds, mixed with live instrumentation (something that is greatly missing from pop music) and soaring raw vocals, makes for one hell of a listening experience. There are so many songs on this album that I enjoy. At the moment, “Tradition,” “Easier Than Lying,” “You Asked For This,” “Honey,” “I’m Not A Woman. I’m A God,” and “The Lighthouse” are my favorite tracks. I would go in depth on them but, as I’ve said on other reviews, I don’t want to give or take anything away from your own listening experience.
If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is one of the best albums of 2021. It offers something new in a genre that has grown stale, boring and predictable. By having Trent and Atticus come aboard and direct this album and bring out all these things to the pop world, will hopefully shift a change for the good. The production is similar in some spots to Trent and Atticus’s How To Destroy Angels project as well as incorporating elements they’ve learned from their film scoring career. The album also features some real heavy hitters like Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters (plays on Honey), Lindsay Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac (plays on Darling) Dave Sitek from TV On The Radio (plays on You Asked For This), and Pino Paladino (plays on Lilith). Halsey has made an album that not only can she be proud of but, can look back 20 years from now and it will be looked at as a game changer for pop music. If more pop artists were like Halsey and were willing to try new things outside the box and show this side of themselves, there could be a whole new revolution within pop music.
Quicksand have been one of the most underrated bands out there for so many years. Their 90’s output of the albums Slip and Manic Compression have become staples for bands and their inspiration/influences. The sound and style that Quicksand created has been often copied as well. A couple years back, Quicksand released their first new album in many years with Interiors. That album was an interesting look into where the band was at that point after being away for some time. Now though, Quicksand is roaring back with their new album, Distant Populations. This might very well be the best Quicksand has ever sounded too.
The moment the album starts you are totally pulled in. There isn’t a song on this album that feels out of place. The flow of the songs on the album is perfect. The moment the album ends, you immediately want to start it over. That’s how good this is. There isn’t a song on here that you will skip. Songs like “Inversion,” “Colossus,” “Phase 90,” “Missle Command,” and “The Philosopher” have been my favorite tracks so far. This album packs some of the best songs Quicksand have ever written. Sonically, dynamically, lyrically, Distant Populations is a beast of an album. This album is 11 songs of unrelenting pounding rock music. The production by Will Yip (Nothing, Circa Survive) is top notch. He really nailed the classic tones and gives it enough of an added oomph to really bring these new songs to life. The mix by Josh Wilbur absolutely bangs! This album too, I have to say, is the follow up to Manic Compression we’ve been waiting for.
Like a fine wine or scotch, Quicksand only gets better with age. The songs from their past are gems and the songs they have released now are just as good. There is also a maturity to this album that shines bright. The songs on this, like the others are deeply introspective and current. The lyrics on the album as explained by frontman Walter Schreifels said, “Everyone is, on the one hand, so connected with each other, and on the other hand, is so far apart. We’re checking out each other’s social media and we know what everybody’s doing. But when we’re sitting in the same room together, we’re looking at our phones.” The societal impact of how we live our lives topped off with the pandemic sure made for some great material. Quicksand have made an impact over the years but, with Distant Populations, they have truly cemented their place!
There are some bands out there that are very meticulous and worth the wait. One such band is Bossk. Throughout their career, Bossk has developed a cult following within the Post-Metal genre and has carved their own spot among their peers. Their new album, Migration, is a post-metal, cinematic and ferocious gem. The layers and textures found throughout the album expand with each listen. There is so much to this album that you will be wanting to hit the start button all over again once it’s over.
The album brings together different elements that when fused together makes for one hell of a great listen. One of my favorite things about this album is the atmospheric approach to the songs. It’s experimental and psychedelic at the same time. The push and pull of tension found in the post-metal genre is beyond strong on this release. Each moment captivates your senses and draws you in more and more. I could go on and on about the each song but, as I’ve said in other reviews, that would just take away from the element of surprise. The production on Migration is superb. The synths shine and cut through in a way that is almost haunting. The rumble of the low end and drums makes your blood flow faster and your heart pound harder. The riffs are crunchy and crisp. On the songs with vocals, even the different vocalists help to propel these songs into another dimension.
Bossk have truly created a masterpiece of an album with Migration. There is a real ebb and flow that captures you from the first note. To be able to capture these sounds and feelings makes Migration a truly remarkable album. An album like this has the ability to bring in other listeners from different genres and expand the minds of them. The richness of Migration is on full display with each song. It’s almost like they transcended while making this album which makes the future is very bright for Bossk. Serious contention for Album Of The Year is strong with this one.
The many sub-genres of rock music are quite fun to delve into. There are certain ones that definitely take some interesting turns and leave you intrigued. Sludge and Stoner metal are two of my favorite sub-genres. Over the years there have been a few bands that have taken the a chance within those genres and explored them deeper. One such band that I’ve been fond of is Red Fang. Since I heard their album, 2011’s Murder The Mountains, I’ve been very interested in what they do on each album. Now in 2021, Red Fang have released their new album, Arrows, and it’s one hell of a ride.
Arrows is a very complete album chock full of great riffs and rhythms. The experimentation on this one shines quite bright too. Rather than rely on the same old tones and sounds that their peers have exhausted, the members of Red Fang meticulously crafted these songs to stand out on their own merit. This album sounds and feels a bit darker than previous albums. There are elements of punk and hardcore that peak out at times giving a new dimension to shift towards. The melodic sensibilities found on these songs are quite strong too. A lot of the times with sludge/stoner metal things get lost among all the fuzz and distortion but, one thing Red Fang has always done is make sure there is room for the melodic. Songs like “Arrows,” “Unreal Estate,” “My Disaster,” and “Anodyne” are my favorites so far, with the latter being one of the best songs the band has ever written.
Arrows is a very strong album. The experimentation works and takes things to another level. This is one of those examples of a band evolving in the right way without leaving their roots behind. The one thing I found a little eh about the album is the production and mix. At times the rumble of the bass and distorted guitars take over too much drowning out the drums but, in a way, it all makes sense. Live though, these songs will be on a whole other level. If you are out there looking for something a little out of left field, than Red Fang’s, Arrows, is the album for you.
Comeback albums are not easy to make. Well they are but, to make an album that stands out and reaches new heights is a whole other level. After many years away (a decade to be exact), Genghis Tron have returned with their new album, Dream Weapon.
Dream Weapon is an album that will leave you with your mind blown. The surreal textures that accompany this album make for a very introspective and psychedelic listening experience. Throughout the very expansive 8 song album that is Dream Weapon, there are a plethora of new and exciting auditory elements to enjoy. The rhythmic punches of percussion are expansive and compliment the synth heavy tracks. Hypnotic is a great way to describe this album. The lush layers and sound design are hypnotic and trippy. I could elaborate on the amazingness of each song but, that would ruin this album for you. Instead I will say that Dream Weapon is epic beyond proportions. The moment the album starts, you are immediately drawn in.
Genghis Tron have made 2021’s first truly masterful album. The core of Hamilton Jordan and Michael Sochynsky is astounding. The additions of vocalist Tony Wolski and drummer Nick Yacyshyn are impecable. Throughout Dream Weapon, there is a calming sense that feels tranquil and invigorating. When concerts come back, I can’t wait to go see Genghis Tron destroy venues with these new songs. I have a feeling these songs live are going to be other worldly. Do yourself a favor and spend some time with this album. It’ll make 2021 feel right!
Tonic Immobility is Tomahawk’s first album in 8 years and the end result is something quite intriguing. Adding to the already well established hard rock sound they’ve developed since their debut, Tonic Immobility is one of if not the most diverse album this group has released thus far. There’s something more to this album than the previous one, 2013’s Oddfellows. This album expands on what you’ve heard before and adds some very interesting new curveballs.
As much as people love Mike Patton and his vocal deliveries, the real star on this album is the band. Bassist Trevor Dunn, drummer John Stainer and guitarist Duane Denison have really crafted songs that transcend genres and boundaries alike. The textures on the album along with the riffs and rhythms create a sonic adventure with the icing on the cake being Patton. You can hear all the different sonic waves on songs like “Recoil” and “Sidewinder.” You still have the vintage sound fans of this band have come to enjoy like “Business Casual.” Then you can’t forget how the album starts off with the assault of “Shhh” and “Valentine Shine” which adds a thrash element to the vocals. One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Doomsday Fatigue.” I’m not going to say anything about this one as I’d much rather hear what you think about this one.
Tomahawk delivers the goods on this album. There is plenty for longtime fans of the band to enjoy. If you are a new fan too, this album is a nice way to get into the band. I still will always have a fondness for their first two albums. I even had the pleasure of seeing Tomahawk open for Tool back in 2001. That’s where I really began to develop my appreciation for them. I will say too that it’s very awesome to hear Duane, Trevor, John and Mike all back together again and make an album like this. These guys are too talented to stay in one lane. Tonic Immobility is a strong album and a very welcome return!
Rob Zombie has done it. He’s come out with a new album that is an absolutely killer. It’s been a long time since I’ve said those words but, I full stand by them. On his seventh solo studio album, The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy, Zombie and company have created an album that not only will we the appetite of long time fans but, also those that have been chomping at the bit for a return to the classic White Zombie sound. This is without a doubt the strongest solo album he’s put out since, dare I say his first. Armed with 17 tracks on this album (there are a few interludes that accompany the flow), Rob along with longtime guitarist John 5 have crafted some pretty awesome songs that will no doubt be bangers live but, will also become classic Zombie songs.
I usually like to do a track by track breakdown but, I really don’t want to give away the awesomeness that is this album. The first single “The Triumph Of King Freak (A Crypt Of Preservation And Superstition)” totally caught me off guard the first time I heard it and immediately played it again. This track is superb and a great way to kick things off. It’s even got a bit of the classic White Zombie feel to it. Other stellar tracks on the album include “The Ballad Of Sleazy Rider,” “Shadow Of The Cemetery Man,” “The Eternal Struggles Of The Howling Man,” “The Satanic Rites Of Blacula,” and the album closer “Crow Killer Blues.” There are a few songs though, that are out of left field and bring in some really cool new vibes to Zombie’s classic sound. Those songs are “Boom-Boom-Boom,” “Get Loose,” and “18th Century Cannibals, Excitable Morlocks And A One-Way Ticket On The Ghost Train.” These three songs will make you want to press play again and turn up the volume. Even the interludes are interesting and complimentary. My favorite one is a bit of an interesting one. “The Much Talked Of Metamorphosis” is a stunning piece of music.
The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy is one of the best albums Rob Zombie has been involved in. I was a big White Zombie fan back in the day. I have for the most part always enjoyed his solo albums but, this one, this is the one that needs to be listened to closely by everyone who has ever been a fan of either White Zombie or Rob solo. Month’s back, guitarist John 5 said something in an interview that this album was the best one Rob has done. And he is 100% correct. It’s quite refreshing too that this album has so much to offer. Musically it’s on another level than the other solo albums. Lyrically, Rob stepped up his game a bit and wrote some pretty intriguing and crowd pleasing lyrics. The production is crisp and fits the vibe to a tee. To say this is a good album is an understatement. This is a terrific album and one that Rob and everyone involved with it should be proud of. It’s been a long while since I’ve been to a Rob Zombie concert (think the last time I saw him was 2007?) but, I will most certainly go see him live to hear songs from this album played. What a great return album. Go do yourself a favor and take a listen to this one. You’ll thank me later!
Overall Rating: A
Rob Zombie- The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy: