Kurt Ballou

Album Review: Cult Leader- A Patient Man

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Ever since I saw Cult Leader live, I’ve been impressed. The night I saw them, they were on tour with The Dillinger Escape Plan on their final US tour. The moment they took the stage, you could tell that there was more to this band than just being a heavy band. As they tore through their set that night, I was hypnotized by their magnitude of volume, precision, and pure passion for what they created. Needless to say, I was at their merch table right after their set to buy their album Lightless Walk. That album has been in constant rotation since I procured it over two years ago.

Cult Leader have returned with a new album entitled A Patient Man, and if you are a fan, you’ve been waiting patiently for the next chapter of the band. The wait for this album was immensely worth it. A Patient Man is not for the faint or weak of heart. This album is dark but there is an element of optimism to it. From the moment “I Am Healed” kicks off the album, you best buckle up because this album is going to take you on a ride. “Curse Of Satisfaction” keeps up with the pummeling nature of the album. “Isolation in the Land of Milk and Honey” is one of the most brutal and honest songs on the record. It’s a very introspective song with lyrics and parts that really strike a chord within. “To Achlys” might just be one of the most epic songs of 2018. It’s a welcome departure for the band. Though if you’ve been listening to Cult Leader for some time, you could tell that they were expanding and evolving into a differing style like this. “A World Of Joy” continues on the epic path and could quite possibly be one of if not the best song on the album. “Craft of Mourning” brings the album back to the heavy with a crushing attack. “Share My Pain” is one of those songs that shows the band incorporating a “groove” element to their repertoire. This song stands out not just because of the groove but because of the personal approach. “Aurum Reclusa” is as Cult Leader as it gets. This song harks back a bit to the Gaza days. The title track “A Patient Man” is another epic. This one, like “To Achlys” is deep and introspective only on this track there is a bit more “hope.” Closing out the album is “The Broken Right Hand of God.” This track is a great summation of what A Patient Man is. It’s brooding with heaviness, epic moments and full of heart.

Cult Leader have carved out a niche amongst their peers. They have evolved past the norm of just being a heavy band. Each member of the band has made significant contributions to make A Patient Man something special. Musically, Casey Hansen, Sam Richards and Mike Mason have created a sonic style that (as I’ve mentioned before) is hypnotic and heavy at the same time. Vocalist Anthony Lucero, really grew not only as a lyricist but as a vocalist. His sort of crooning on some of these songs really, gives off a personal touch. And Kurt Ballou’s production work is outstanding. He really helped to deliver the sound this album needed. The jump from Lightless Walk to A Patient Man is quite astounding. To be able to still maintain your roots and come away with a piece of work like this is something to really be proud of. I can just imagine the live set in a club being something I will and others in attendance will remember emphatically. Thank you Cult Leader for understanding and not being afraid to go after what moves you. Music is art and it’s a wonderful thing. When you can find the right members to balance the vision, great things like A Patient Man happen.

 

Overall Rating: 9/10
Cult Leader- A Patient Man:

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Album Review: Baptists- Beacon Of Faith

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It’s been four years since Baptists have released a new album. Now in 2018, they have put out one of the best heavy albums of the year. The sheer intensity that is emitted from the 13 songs on Beacon Of Faith is astonishing. Chock full of gritty riffs and pummeling rhythms, Baptists have indeed developed their signature sound and left a permanent mark in hardcore/metal music.

The album doesn’t stray far from the bands metallic hardcore roots. What it does have though is more space and vibes as the songs go on. There is a real sense of warmth to this album even with the aggressive and uncompromising nature of the material. Songs like “Worse Than Hate,” “Beacon Of Faith,” “Gift Taker,” “Vicarious Trauma,” and “Bevel Down” showcase the grit and prowess that Baptists do oh so well. Then there are songs like “Indigo Child” and “Eulogy Template” that take what they do and expand it to almost epic proportions.

Beacon of Faith is an album that will cement Baptists as a force to be reckoned with. This album has the feel of a steel toed boot to the throat that won’t let go.

 

Baptists- Beacon Of Faith:

You Might Have Missed: The Armed

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Since the beginning of Audioeclectica, I’ve been able to share so many different bands with you all from all sorts of genres. And now I present to you The Armed. Based out of Detroit, The Armed have taken hardcore, punk, metal, ambience, and electronics to a whole other realm. The band have released 3 EP’s, 1 live album and 1 full length so far and are gearing up to release their second album Only Love on April 27. The new album was produced by Kurt Ballou and features Converge/Mutoid Man drummer extraordinaire Ben Koller. The first song released from Only Love, is called Witness and it will pummel your speakers and might cause an impromptu mosh pit. Check it out!

 

The Armed- Witness:

 

The Armed- Untitled (Debut Album):

 

The Armed- Spreading Joy EP:

 

The Armed- Young & Beautiful EP:

 

The Armed- Common Enemies EP:

 

 

Album Review: Converge- The Dusk In Us

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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:

Album Rank: Converge

Converge_Logo.jpg Over the years, Converge has established themselves as an influential and underrated band. Musically, they are powerful and enigmatic. Vocally and lyrically they are passionate and ferocious. The entire package of the band is approached with a “take no prisoners” type of attitude and it shows in every album they’ve released. Converge are also one of the few bands that seem to get better and better as time goes on just like a fine wine. Recently, Converge released two new songs to wet the appetite of their fans and those two songs are full of what you’d want from Converge. So, with all that in mind here is a ranking of their albums from not their best to the best.

 

Halo In A Haystack:

 

Petitioning The Empty Sky:

 

When Forever Comes Crashing:

 

No Heroes:

 

You Fail Me:

 

All We Love We Leave Behind:

 

Axe To Fall:

 

Jane Doe:

New Release: Converge- I Can Tell You About Pain 7″

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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!

 

Converge- I Can Tell You About Pain:

 

Converge- Eve:

Album Review: Darkest Hour- Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora

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I will be the first to admit that after the past two albums Darkest Hour released, (The Human Romance and their Self Titled album) I had lost interest. The line up changes and musical shift that was happening really just wasn’t cutting it for me. But now on their ninth studio album, Darkest Hour has found their way back to what made them great. I’ve always regarded the band as a very underrated treasure. Musically they combine all the elements I enjoy from punk, thrash and Swedish melodic death metal. On this new album Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora, Darkest Hour have cemented themselves as a force to be reckoned within the heavy music circles.

The moment the first song “Knife In The Safe Room” begins, you know that you are in for a treat. Every single song on this album is something special. In particular ” Timeless Numbers,” “None Of This Is The Truth,” “The Flesh and the Flowers of Death,” “Those Who Survived,” “Enter Oblivion,” “In The Name of Us All,” and closer “Beneath It Sleeps.” Guitarists Mike Schleibaum and Michael “Lonestar” Carrigan have never sounded better together. Along with the input and contributions of former member Kris Norris, the guitar work on this album is what fans have been wanting for years. Drummer Travis Orbin and bassist Aaron Deal have finally hit their stride as a rhythm section. As much as I miss Ryan and Paul in the band, if this is the direction Travis and Aaron are going to go, I’m more than satisfied. Vocalist John Henry has really stepped up his game lyrically and vocally. Personally I think this is the best he has sounded since Undoing Ruin.

The choice to work with producer Kurt Ballou was a great choice. Kurt was really able to dial in on the tones needed to make this a special album. In fact this album is one of the best I’ve heard Kurt produce and record outside of Converge, since High On Fire’s De Vermis Mysteriis. Armed with this album and a renewed sense of purpose, Darkest Hour are roaring back with a no holds barred approach. Godless Prophets & The Migrant Flora is an album that will be looked back up in the bands catalog as a standout. The band should be really proud of what they have created. I as a fan, am really stoked on this album. This is everything that Darkest Hour should be.

Overall Rating: A

 

The Making of the Album: