Album Review

Album Review: Halsey- If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power

Halsey: If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power Album Review | Pitchfork

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.

Overall Rating: A


Halsey- If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power:


Halsey- Nightmare:

Album Review: Quicksand- Distant Populations

Quicksand - Distant Populations | Epitaph Records

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!

Overall Rating: A


Quicksand- Distant Populations:

Album Review: Red Fang- Arrows

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.

Overall Rating: B

Red Fang- Arrows:

Album Review: Genghis Tron- Dream Weapon

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!

Overall Rating: A

Genghis Tron- Dream Weapon:

Album Review: Tomahawk- Tonic Immobility

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!

Overall Rating: B

Tomahawk- Tonic Immobility:

Album Review: Rob Zombie- The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy

Rob Zombie - The Lunar Injection Kool Aid Eclipse Conspiracy - Amazon.com  Music

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:

Album Review: Chevelle- NIRATIAS

Review: Chevelle - NIRATIAS | Sputnikmusic

Consistency in rock music is very important. A band can deviate and experiment all they want but, as long as the album or songs don’t stray too far off path their career longevity will for sure continue. Which in the case of Chevelle, consistency is one of the best words to describe them. Since their inception, each album they’ve released has been a solid rock album after another. Some have seen the band try new things and add different elements but, through and through, they’ve always delivered a solid piece of work. So, it’s no surprise that on their new album, NIRATIAS (Nothing Is Real This Is A Simulation), the band stretched their wings a bit more and fully embraced their past, present, and future on this one.

It’s a little strange to start the album off with an instrumental but, “Verruckt” is one hell of a way to start this one off. The hard charging riffs and rhythms are the perfect guide to take you to the absolute banger that is “So Long, Mother Earth.” That track needs to be a single and added to the setlist. Then “Mars Simula” hits you again and there’s nothing left to do but, turn the volume up even more. “Self Destructor” was the first single released and it’s still one hell of a track. It’s very classic “Chevelle” with a bit more of a melodic palette. “Piistol Star (Gravity Heals)” is the song Tool should have released on the snooze fest that is Fear Innoculum. This track is very heavy on the Tool influence but, it’s done in a very tasteful way that makes you wish Tool would write songs like this. “Peach” is another banger of a song and one that will and should be a live staple for years to come. “Endlessly” is an absolute standout on this album. The songwriting on this song is impeccable. Definitely pay close attention to this one. “Remember When” is another hot track on the album with great riffs and a crushing rhythm. “Ghost and Razor” is one of my favorite songs on the album. This track is so damn good. I’m not going to say anything else about this one, just listen to it! Closing out the album is the ambient/piano drive spoken word track “Lost In The Digital Woods.” This is an eerie one but, interesting. It’s a culmination of all the thematic elements that were touched upon through the lyrics and it’s a nice little coda to end things on.

NIRATIAS is one hell of a great heavy rock album. It’s got all the right parts to make this a stand out in the band’s catalog. The underlying conceptual elements on the album make the listening experience quite enjoyable. The interludes help carry the songs over and gives you a moment to reflect on the previous songs. Lyrically this is an expansive album. There’s definitely a science fiction theme to the album with all the mentions of space and time. It makes for an introspective listen and makes you think enough to put the album on again as soon as it’s over. The tones of the instruments and vocals are top notch. Chevelle really found the right producer/engineer in Joe Baressi. His ability to capture the band is astounding. There is something kind of funny about this album too. As I mentioned in the album/song description about Tool, Chevelle has always had a Tool element to their sound. This album does have some straight up moments that are right out of their playbook but, considering how underwhelming the last two Tool albums have been, hearing Chevelle rock go there on certain songs, makes up for that by miles and miles. Chevelle have said too that this is everything they could throw at an album and that it doesn’t do well, they’ll hang up this project for a while. Well, let me tell you, this is one hell of an album and they should be proud of it. It’s definitely one that will be on rotation for a long long while and will be in my top ten at the end of the year.

Overall Rating: A

Chevelle- NIRATIAS:

Album Review: Greg Puciato- Child Soldier: Creator of God

When an artist goes solo, the results can tend to be so full of expectations that, when you finally hear it, it can bit underwhelming but, that’s not the case with Greg Puciato’s solo album. What has been unleashed on this record, is an album that encapsulates every aspect of what Greg has done and unveils a few new twists and turns you might not expect. Child Soldier: Creator of God is an album that is no holds barred and lets true artistry stand out.


Through the 15 tracks and 65 minutes of this record, there is something for everyone who is a fan of Greg and what he’s done, be it in The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Black Queen or his guest appearances. Each song takes on a life of its own as well. There are times when the album feels a bit disjointed but, in actuality, it’s really not. The way the songs are placed and the flow of it, takes you, the listener, on a very distinct journey through the inner workings of what is in Greg’s mind.


Part of what makes this album stand out is the diversity of the songs. There are the moments that are ambient and etherial and then there are those that are straight up in your face hard rocking songs. There is absolutely no compromise when it comes to either of those things on this record. Just when you think it’s going to go one way, you get taken a different route and the end result is astonishing. Another thing about this album that provides a sonic punch is the use of different drummers. Having Chris Hornbrook, Ben Koller and Chris Pennie hitting the skins on this album you get a different pulse behind certain songs the provides another layer to the depth of these songs. Also worth noting is the production and mixing on this record. Nick Rowe’s production and assistance on these songs is just what was needed. And the mix by the legendary Steve Evetts is damn near flawless. You can really feel the grittiness and nuances that are meant to come across.

Having been a fan of Greg’s for quite some time, this album really showcases what a true talent he really is. Having an outlet like this and not being confined by a style or genre has really allowed Greg to find his own way. The moment you put this album on till it ends, it will engulf you with so many different feelings. I wish I could pin point certain songs for you to check out but, that wouldn’t do this album justice. It’s an album through and through. The beauty of an album like this is that there is so much to delve into. The more you listen, the more you find new things to love about it. This year has been a very interesting one for sure with so many moments that leave you shaking your head but, one thing is for sure, this album, is one of the bright spots of the whole year.

Overall Rating= A

Greg Puciato- Child Soldier: Creator Of God:


Album Review: Jesse Draxler- Reigning Cement

Reigning Cement is an artistic testament to really intriguing collaborations. This audio/visual project is definitely something that will peak your curiosity and give you chills at the same time. This project is quite interesting. Each collaborator was given the same 34 sonic elements with which to make a song. These sounds were recorded on an iPhone in an industrial area outside Jesse Draxler’s studio, compiled over a few years. Among the sounds captured: concrete saws, jackhammers, trains, trucks, building alarms, construction sites, and general noise. This is where is gets interesting.


There are 22 tracks on the album and features the likes of Chelsea Wolfe, Vowws, Greg Puciato, Jaye Jayle, and many others in the underground circles. A lot of these “songs” are pretty out there but there is a real honesty to what the end result is. Very few of these have vocals, which makes these sounds come to life even more. There’s a real eerie sense to a lot of these and it would make for some really interesting soundscapes for a horror film.

Through my listens to this album, some of the ones that really stood out to me were the ones that featured Chelsea Wolfe, Greg Puciato, Vowws, Lisa Mungo (of He Whose Ox Is Gored/Fucked & Bound), Street Sects, Dylan Walker (of Full Of Hell), and Jaye Jayle. Those tracks in particular first hit me with what they evoked and emitted. This isn’t an easy listen but, it has so much depth to it and when you mix it with the visual components, it all makes sense.


If you are looking for something out of your comfort zone and a bit artsy, this is the album for you. The more you listen, the more you get out of it. There is something new to discover with each listen. This project is a great example of how collaboration through music and art can really be impactful and everlasting. It would sure be interesting to hear these pulled off live at some point. I think that would make for one hell of a show.


Overall Rating: B+


Jesse Draxler- Reigning Cement: