Frightened Rabbit / The Winter Of Mixed Drinks

The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Frightened Rabbit are a Scottish indie rock band from Selkirk, formed in 2003. The line-up currently consists of Scott Hutchison (vocals, guitar), Grant Hutchison (drums), Billy Kennedy (guitar, bass), Andy Monaghan (guitar, keyboards), and Simon Liddell (guitar). Since 2004 the band has been based in Glasgow.[1]

Initially a solo project for vocalist and guitarist Scott Hutchison, Frightened Rabbit’s first studio album, Sing the Greys, was recorded as a duo by Hutchison and his brother Grant, and released on independent label, Hits the Fan, in 2006. The band subsequently signed to Fat Cat Records, in 2007, and became a three-piece with the addition of guitarist Billy Kennedy for its second studio album, The Midnight Organ Fight (2008). The album was released to strongly positive reviews and extensive touring, with guitarist and keyboardist Andy Monaghan joining the band to flesh-out its live performances.

The band’s third studio album, The Winter of Mixed Drinks, was released in 2010, with former Make Model guitarist Gordon Skene joining the band for its accompanying tour. Frightened Rabbit signed to Atlantic Records later that year, and issued two EPs, A Frightened Rabbit EP (2011) and State Hospital (2012), before the release of its fourth studio album, Pedestrian Verse in 2013. A critical and commercial success in the UK, the album peaked at number nine on the UK Albums Chart,[citation needed] with additional guitarist Simon Liddell joining the band on its subsequent tour.

Disillusioned from touring, Hutchison, Monaghan, and Liddell recorded a studio album without the band, entitled Owl John (2014). Gordon Skene departed from the band in early 2014, and the band recorded its fifth studio album the following year with producer Aaron Dessner (The National), in New York, with Liddell joining the band as a full contributing member.

The Analysis—-

Things—-With a beautifully textured intro spiced with slight reverb, the track has a wonderfully dark edge to it. The vocal enters….peppered with the desolate brogue that lends to the song a loneliness and incredible sadness. This is full of textured emotions…..and quickly became a favorite release of mine that i could always turn to when feeling a bit introspective. The lyrics are telling…..deep with double edge words combined with the musical haunt coming together to create a beautiful desolate landscape.

Swim Until You Can’t See Land—-Without a doubt my favorite track from this band to date. There is a certain empowering feel to the message of the lyrics and the music…..combined with a sadness that takes you to places best often not visited. This is remarkable…both in beauty and feeling. the jaunty type of guitar breaks the vocal from being to intense….but the feeling is all over the song. This is a masterpiece.

The Loneliness & The Scream—-With a slight shift of mood, the feel of the song is perfect in sequence with the previous two tracks. The vocal lends a sadness and urgency…while the music grows and grows in intensity and urgency as it evolves. This reminds me somewhat of Snow Patrol…..the huge sing a long chorus, the feel of the music that is indicative of Scotland…..the damn infectious quality of it all…..another masterpiece of a song.

The Wrestle—-Although very similar in sound, this track has a much more present vocal that is layered and textured with a sadness and intensity that is hard to explain. This is beautifully constructed….reminding me at times of Kings Of Leon……the music ebbs and flows…lending to a poignant sound that can make you sink to the floor if the mood is right. A truly masterpiece of a record, I have never found anything ever again quite like this release.

Skip The Youth—-Staying, for the most part, true to the feel of the record thus far this song finds me in a bit of a different place. The melancholy is replaced by an almost noisy introduction that grows and grows until you feel your forehead might explode. The shuffling guitar sound….combined with the ever present cymbal crashes lends to a noisy feel……and then suddenly everything drops away and allows the vocal to enter with the sad tinge to the feel. This is brilliant….taking you on a journey of sounds and feelings in about 3 minutes. Just fantastic…….I feel….I am alive!!!!

Nothing Like You—-It is really beyond my comprehension why this band is not HUGE!!!! Again sounding a lot like Kings Of Leon, the shuffling guitar sound combined with the almost pleading vocal is remarkable. When the chorus hits you….you feel a smile break out in every fiber of your body….not out of joy…but the sheer beauty of a band in their top form. This is such a great listen!!!

Man/Bag Of Sand—-A redux of Swim……this brings you right back to the mood that captured you when this journey began……brilliant and well constructed. I love this band!!!

Foot Shooter—-With an intro of lonely guitars and and a masterful guitar, the voice enters with a pained feel to it that makes you wants to lie of the floor and sob. There is a joy to the song though…the energy pervades despite the lowly feeling of the song. This is a nice mixture…much like the typical human emotion on any given day. This is real…..

Not Miserable—-Almost abrasive instrumentation ushers in a vocal that does indeed sound miserable….the loneliness in the brogue is so fascinating to me. I feel an almost indescribable pain with these songs…but it so good to feel it. This release…..6 years old now….still plays like it is brand new to my ears and my psyche. I have zero fault with anything on this release. This is beautiful emotion on public display.

Living In Colour—-At the onset, this is more jaunty and anthem laden. The entire band lends to the vocal…making this a huge sing a long track that makes you want to jump up and down and scream with joy from the energy of the whole damn thing. This is a nice change of pace…but the feel is not so different that you forget all of the beauty you have been afforded on this release thus far.

Yes, I Would—-Ending this release with bombastic drums and the onset, the sad guitar strumming is right thee in the front of your brain. The voice enters and you are left with the same aching beauty that began the entire record. This is about as pure perfect as you can get!

***** out of 5




Nine Inch Nails / Not The Actual Events

Not The Actual Events

Nine Inch Nails is the name of a music project by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, as well as the name of the band hired by them to perform songs while on tour. It is an industrial rock band, and the most recognized one since the genre was introduced. Before Ross’s inclusion in 2016, Nine Inch Nails was solely under the creative direction of Trent Reznor.

Nine Inch Nails (commonly abbreviated as NIN) was formed in Cleveland, Ohio, circa 1988, and has so far released eight full-length studio albums, twenty singles and EPs, a number of remix albums, and some live material. Reznor is the only official member and has always been solely responsible for the musical direction of the band. His lyrics are largely concerned with the exploration of the self, but with albums such as Year Zero and The Slip, the lyrical focus shifted somewhat to extrospection. Earlier NIN material was created almost entirely by Reznor, but starting with The Fragile, he began to allow for a more collaborative writing process involving other players.

After recording a new album, the assembly of a new band usually follows, along with extensive touring; the live component of Nine Inch Nails is largely considered a separate entity from NIN in the recording studio. NIN’s live shows often involve visually spectacular elements such as screens and lighting rigs, which have been used on the Self Destruct, Fragility, With Teeth Arena Tours (Fall & Spring), Performance 2007, Lights In The Sky and NIN 2013-2014 tours, and would sometimes culminate with the destruction of musical instruments.

Not The Actual Events (also known as Halo 29) is the second proper EP from Nine Inch Nails. It was released digitally on December 23, 2016, though pre-orders through allowed for a download one day early. This is the first release to include Atticus Ross as an official member of NIN.

The Analysis—-

Branches/Bones—-Beautifully noisy, it is a welcome joy to hear Trent back and sounding so driven. The music is layered upon layer, at times dissolving into just the bass synth that drives the track. Trent sounds more pissed off than I have heard him in a long tome….I can only imagine how this will play live with the visuals the band is famous for. Just brilliant….and the track quickly dissolves into…..

Dear World,—-Kicking off with a huge and familiar bass line, this has classic NIN all over it. The vocal….if it can be construed as such is mostly a spoken word rant that seems a bit nonsensical to me. It is the music and the intermittent sing song vocal from Trent that makes this a classic track that is quickly becoming a favorite track of mine. This is fantastic….abrasive yet beautiful.

She’s Gone Away—-Fully engaged in a apocalyptic musical delivery, this track is muddled and ugly. I love it. The deep intonation of Reznor’s vocal is broken by a melodic sense at times making you hurt, feel angry and impossibly alive inside. This is remarkable…I could not ask for more from this mini-offering… me so much hope and joy when contemplating the future of a band I thought had lost the drive to continue. The layers and layers of sound combine to create a huge desolate, gray landscape that makes me feel incredibly comfortable.

The Idea Of You—-You can literally feel the static and anger burst through your headphones when this track begins. again with the odd spoken word ravings of a pissed off baby boomer, perhaps Trent has once again tapped into the feeling of a nation. when the ‘chorus’ kicks in. i can feel the mosh pit going berserk and bursting apart with kept up energy. Leaving me feeling energized and hopeful despite the darkness….I can’t wait for more.

Burning Bright [Field On Fire]—-Crashing keyboards and layers upon layers of dark noise, this is pure beautiful static. Trent is way at the back of the mix of things…allowing the huge aggressive sounds to literally trample him into the ground. This is energy……that needed to be let out of the bag. Remarkably ugly…..but exquisite in beauty, when Trent allows for a ‘clean’ vocal, it is as if he re-captures that idealistic energy he found when he first began. This is just brilliant.

***** out of 5


The Stone Roses / Second Coming

Second Coming

The Stone Roses are an English rock band, formed in Manchester in 1983. They were one of the pioneering groups of the Madchester movement that was active during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The band’s most prominent lineup consists of vocalist Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Mani, and drummer Reni.

The band released their debut album, The Stone Roses, in 1989. The album was a breakthrough success for the band and garnered critical acclaim, with many critics regarding it as one of the greatest British albums ever recorded. At this time the group decided to capitalise on their success by signing to a major label. Their current record label, Silvertone, would not let them out of their contract, which led to a long legal battle that culminated with the band signing with Geffen Records in 1991. The Stone Roses then released their second album, Second Coming, which was met with mixed reviews in 1994. The group soon disbanded after several lineup changes throughout the supporting tour, which began with Reni first departing in late 1995, followed by Squire in April 1996. Brown and Mani dissolved the remains of the group in October 1996 following their appearance at Reading Festival.

Following much intensified media speculation, The Stone Roses called a press conference on 18 October 2011 to announce that the band had reunited and would perform a reunion tour of the world in 2012, including three homecoming shows in Heaton Park, Manchester.Plans to record a third album in the future were also floated. In June 2012, Chris Coghill, the writer of the new film which is set during the Stone Roses 1990 Spike Island show, revealed that the band “have at least three or four new tracks recorded”.In June 2013, a documentary about the band’s reformation directed by Shane Meadows and titled The Stone Roses: Made of Stone was released.

In 2016 they released their first new material in two decades.

The Analysis—-

Breaking Into Heaven—-Kicking off one of the most eagerly anticipated sophomore releases with one of the most climatic musical intros in modern music history, fans of The Stone Roses were indeed in heaven at the arrival of this album and first track. Full of almost ambient music with strains of the guitar mastery to emerge, this was almost a nail biting intro as we waited to see if the hype would be delivered upon. As the track finally took shape, we knew it was as it was meant to be. Ian enters with his vocal…in tune and sounding invigorated…with that classic Brit guitar lending backbone to the track. This is just epic……in every sense of the word. Just as fantastic today as it was then.

Driving South—-With a heavy and fuzzy guitar that was very reminiscent of the time of release, this is a huge track as well…full of reverb and a groove that just about defines the roses and the vibe they were masters at promoting. Ian sounds great…his phrasing was masterful and he almost speaks his way through the song…perhaps insuring that it would play better live. Sometimes Mr. Brown is just disastrous live. this plays so well in my headphones….tons of memories.

Ten Storey Love Song—-Incredibly beautiful and melodic, this can almost bring tears to your eyes with every listen. This is so beautifully constructed and huge when the chorus erupts….you just feel yourself melt into the song. This is about as brilliant as things can get.

Daybreak—-Full of nice psychedelic guitar licks and a lazy relaxed vocal, this is just wonderful. With lots of references to the old hometown of Manchester, this is really nice. The drums….although not loud and pronounced are so important to the structure of this song. This is just wonderful.

Your Star Will Shine—-Wonderfully constructed with a mix of acoustic and an underlying electricity. The build up to the track is as beautiful as the song itself. Ian Brown delivers a vocal that is so sweet and spot on that you almost melt right into the song itself. This is poetry put to music….and damn good poetry and music it is……full of a 60’s throwback sound….this is a favorite all time track of mine.

Straight To The Man—-Suffering a bit from the ‘sameness’ syndrome. this track sounds a bit to similar to everything else of the release. Full of filler doot doot doots….like there were no enough lyrics to go around. I don’t hate this….but I often skip over it.

Begging You—-Returning to a full throttle psychedelic feel. this has all the required elements. The vocal sounds a bit removed from the mi for my taste….but it still plays well despite everything. I like this….it has a nice escalating guitar driving sound……fantastic.

Tightrope—-Stripped down and full of atmosphere right from the onset, the double tracked vocal is just incredible. I love this song!!!! The melody that runs through the underbelly of this song is just incredible….the slight stripped down guitar just adds to the beauty of the song….and surprise….an is in remarkable tune and vocal finesse. The song builds and builds as it continues….leaving you in an exhausted pleasure filled heap when it ends. Just beautiful.

Good Times—-Continuing in the acoustic style of feel good music, there are nice sharp burst of guitars that eventually evolve into a nice romp through modern psychedelic rock.This track just builds and builds….adopting all of the trademark Roses sounds. Ian delivers a vocal that sounds a bit hoarse and damn charming….I love this….the song is just a feel good affair.

Tears—-Slow and melancholy again….even with some wonderful harmonica.  Ian seems to float over the top of all the instrumentation…..while the multiple strumming creates a modern landscape. This is just freakin beautiful…….making you really miss this band.

How Do You Sleep—-The incredibly melodic vocal begins almost immediately….this track. lyrically is sweet and full of wonderful sentiments….making you almost melt. When the melody of the chorus kicks in….it takes you right back to the joyous days of Sally  Cinnamon. There is nothing better than this.

Love Spreads—-Rounding out the release much as it began with a familiar psych infused guitar romp. this was the perfect swan song for the band…until as of late. There is no fault to be found with this song….classic…..fantastic and wonderfully Roses.

***** out of 5



New Order / Music Complete

Music Complete

Music Complete is the tenth studio album by the English rock band New Order. It was released on 25 September 2015 by Mute Records, their debut on the label.[4] The album features guest vocals from Elly Jackson of La Roux, Iggy Pop and Brandon Flowers.

During summer 2015, New Order promoted the album through online media, at Lollapalooza Chile with “Singularity” and “Plastic“, and half-minute snippets directly on their YouTube account. It was announced that Gillian Gilbert returned to the band, but with Tom Chapman taking Peter Hook‘s bassist role.

The album itself musically is more electronic-focused than its two predecessors, and New Order’s first of new material in a decade. The cover art was designed by long-time collaborator Peter Saville, which comprises a montage of lines with four colour schemes: red, yellow, green, and blue, which varies depending on packaging.

The Analysis—-

Restless—-I smile inwardly still at the opening strains to this song and ensuing album. It was a long time coming to the fans, and in my opinion did not suffer from the lack of Hooky on the bass…it was rather predictable and old after a bit. The vocal is outstanding…..Summer sounds re-invigorated and alive and Gilbert adds to the fullness of the track with her added vocal. This is superb….a true mastery of what this band is all about.

Singularity—-With a bit of a darker sound at the onset, this swirls around your head as you wait for the song to truly open up and take shape. The underlying fast synth line keeps the song moving at a great pace. You really don’t even miss the pronounced bass line. Summer sounds so fresh and young…like the years have refused to age him. There is a great energy to this whole song….dance floor ready and reminiscent of some of the great classic tracks from NO catalog. Just wonderful!

Plastic—-With a nice quirky synth line, the song is a nice throwback to the early singles from the band when they were just discovering the power of the dance floor. The bass line kicks in and the song takes on a shifting shape that moves you to want to jump up and down and revel in the days of your youth. Bernard delivers a vocal that is a little odd….but it melds with the music wonderfully well. I love this.

Tutti Frutti—-Jaunty, jerky and damn magnificent from the very first notes!!! This has a bit of an emptier synth line at the onset, but fills out nicely by the time the vocal enters Summer delivers a intro that almost sounds disembodied…..but that is the charm of the damn thing. This is fantastic…LeRoux adds a backdrop vocal that fills out everything. This is superb. Another favorite.

People On The High Line—-With great dance floor breaks and a slight throwback synth sound, this takes shape very nicely even as it travels from one side of your brain to the other. This has a slight shuffling synth that keeps everything sounding retro but fantastically new. I love the way this plays so well even a year later….just wonderful.

Stray Dog—-Not an entirely favorite track of mine, I still never skip over this…so there must be something about it….lol. I don’t much care for the spoken word delivery of the track….but it hearkens back to those experimentation’s the band often did. There is a nice fuzzy quality to the music i rather like…..but this still plays a bit odd for me.

Academic—-This is more straight forward in the musical delivery….more of a rock song than a synth driven masterpiece….not to say this is bad…I like the propulsion…the noise of it and the way Bernard strains his voice just a bit to get that emotional quality.

Nothing But A Fool—-A bit more sedate and with an interesting almost Joy Division style guitar at the onset, this is just masterful. allowing the synth line to slowly open up, you still keep the same dark intensity of the song…and the bass line is spot on Hooky! The vocal is beautiful and classic. This swirls around your head and lands right in the center of my forehead and stays there. Not bad!!!

Unlearn This Hatred—-I really did not care for this track when I first heard it…but it has become somewhat of a slight addiction for me since then. The dance floor bass is so heavy and propulsive you have to get up and dance like hell. This may be a bit autobiographical….but none the less….this is just wonderfully fantastic.

The Game—-Moody at the onset, this track opens up as well….becoming a synth swirling jaunt that inspires stomping and dancing with wild abandon. There are nice mood shifts in the song…allowing for a frenzy and then a built in cool down. Lots going on in the underbelly of the song….just wonderful.

Superheated—-Bringing this release to a close, this is moody and swirly right at the onset….but opens up into an 80’s inspired synth fest that makes you smile and feel happy. This is a perfect tune to leave the fans with….making me so thirsty for more I almost die from thirst. This is for me, as much a masterpiece of a record as any band can make. Let’s hope we don’t wait so long for more….but I think we may have to……

****3/4 out of 5





Steve Harris / British Lion

British Lion

British Lion is the debut solo album from Steve Harris, best known as the bassist and primary songwriter for the British heavy metal band Iron Maiden. The album was announced on 18 July 2012 and released on 24 September.

The Analysis—-

This Is My God—-A few things come to mind as soon as you press play on this release…..this is NOT Iron Maiden, this lacks the trademark Bass lines from Harris…..the vocal has a blues tinge to it…and lastly, this is cliche’ 80’s sounding Metal. Not to imply that these are bad observations, just noting that this seems a bit lackluster and uninspired from the very start. The vocal is acceptable…but the range is not shown. Towards the end of the track, you do hear some familiar bass work……but this lacks that special something.

Lost Worlds—-Packing  a bit more musical energy at the onset, the vocal enters and is delivered with the same predictable range as the prior track. This has a meatier sound…a bass crunch if you will…but it all seems a bit pretentious….as if Harris concluded that if Bruce can do solo stuff than so can I.

Karma Killer—-A really nice musical energy kicks off this track….the lead guitars never overshadowed by the bass line that lies in the background of the song. I wish we could get a bit of a vocal dissonance from this band….but the monotone vocal delivery stays in tact. This guy would be better off with an Alternative style band than a Metal band.

Us Against The World—-At the onset this track is cloaked in a mysterious sound…..the music opens up and ebbs and flows to allow for the mundane vocal. The music at times DOES have a Maiden flair…but this lacks inspiration because of the lackluster vocal. I just can’t get past the uninspiring sound of it all.

The Chosen Ones—-Really nice and metallic at the onset, this actually has some really nice energy going on here. The vocal is a bit more acceptable….it has an almost processed sound. The music saves this track…the energy and the almost wall of sound is fantastic. I rather like this song…a huge catchy chorus as well…..

A World Without Heaven—-Again, musically this track is pretty awesome…I like the retro 80’s sound of the band. The vocal enters and dashes my hopes for a song as great as the previous. This is just a boring singer….no histrionics or vocal range leaves me rather empty.

Judas—-Nice Harris bass line and some great drums usher in this track, but everything goes silent to allow for the vocal….I had such high hopes for this release but it really fell on deaf ears…including mine. The saving grace for this track is the rather catchy chorus…..really nice.

Eyes Of The Young—-This has a really contagious melody lie running through the underbelly of the song. The Harris bass line is there…but never overstated or overblown. The band all seem to get equal bearing on this release. This has a fantastic chorus…even if the vocal is exactly as everything we have heard up to now.

These Are The Hands—-Huge drums and instrumentation bring this track to life. There are actually some vocal variances on this track…a huge and welcome surprise…but you can tell from the vocal that the singer strains to even reach for other than mid range vocals. This is a letdown…but a damn catchy melody saves this from complete ruin.

The Lesson—-Closing out this release, I must admit I’m not sorry to see this almost piece of rubbish end and go back to sleep. The track is the typical requisite ballad sounding track that is standard. The vocal is flat and uninspired, while the music is almost to quiet. There are some beautiful strings on this track….but that is all the good I can add.

* out of 5


Sia / This Is Acting

This Is Acting

Sia Kate Isobelle Furler (born 18 December 1975), referred to mononymously as Sia (/ˈsə/), is an Australian singer, songwriter, record producer and video music director. She started her career as a singer in the local Adelaide acid jazz band Crisp in the mid-1990s. In 1997, when Crisp disbanded, she released her debut studio album titled OnlySee in Australia. She then moved to London, England, and provided lead vocals for the British duo Zero 7.

In 2000, Sia signed to Sony Music‘s sub-label Dance Pool and released her second studio album, Healing Is Difficult, the following year. Displeased with the promotion of the record, she signed to Go! Beat and released her third studio album, Colour the Small One, in 2004. The project struggled to connect with a mainstream audience, and so Sia relocated to New York City in 2005 and began touring across the United States. She released her fourth and fifth studio releases, Some People Have Real Problems and We Are Born, in 2008 and 2010, respectively. She then took a hiatus from performing, during which she focused on songwriting for other artists. Her catalogue includes the successful collaborations “Titanium” (with David Guetta), “Diamonds” (with Rihanna) and “Wild Ones” (with Flo Rida).

In 2014, Sia released her sixth studio album 1000 Forms of Fear, which debuted at No 1 in the U.S. Billboard 200 and generated the top-ten breakthrough single “Chandelier” and a trilogy of music videos starring child dancer Maddie Ziegler. In 2016, she released her seventh studio album This Is Acting, which spawned her first Hot 100 number one single, “Cheap Thrills“. The same year, Sia gave her Nostalgic for the Present Tour, which incorporated performance art elements. Sia has received an array of accolades, including ARIA Awards and an MTV Video Music Award.

This Is Acting is the seventh studio album by Australian singer and songwriter Sia. It was released on 29 January 2016 by Inertia, Monkey Puzzle and RCA. Mainly an electropop album, it is mostly composed of songs written by Sia for other female pop artists, but were not included on their albums. Sia described songwriting for others as “play-acting,” hence the title This Is Acting.

The Analysis—-

Birds Set Free—-A wonderful piano intro ushers in a vocal that sounds so much like Rhianna, I double checked the CD in the player. This is ghostly, layered with a sad sound that sucks me in right from the start. This is layered with beautiful melodies and a chorus that just seems to get larger and larger as it goes on. Remarkable for a lady most of us had never heard of 5 years ago. Beautiful.

Alive—-Co written by and for Adele, this was deemed a throw away track by the afore mentioned superstar. A gentle piano opens the track and you can almost hear Adele singing this song on her latest release. Sia sings in a bit of a deeper and soulful voice….reminding me of the brilliance and her scope. This is a fantastic track….and all I can say is shame on Adele…when this chorus hits you…..your heart just screams with sadness and emotion. Fantastic.

One Million Bullets—-Layered with a warm texture that almost has an underlying Country feel to it, this is classic Sia. The slow and low drawl that she uses to deliver her lines is remarkable. The static feel of the song is odd…but when the chorus opens up, you feel your heart melt with the emotional delivery of the song and the lyrics. This is fantastic.

Move Your Body—-Jaunty and full of electro styled beats, this is an odd match for Sia and her vocal…but she makes it work just fine. The chorus is a huge dance floor affair that makes you want to lose control and dance like no one in the world is watching you. This is just brilliant….the dense sound of the bass…the propulsive higher beats…and the lazy drawl of the vocal all come together to create a magnificent perfect storm.

Unstoppable—-With a nice down beat feel to the music, this is Sia at her best….when she seems to give her best Rhianna impersonation. This has heart wrenching melody lines through out the entire song…the music as well as the words make you feel the emotion and the hurt. This is not as empowering as you would expect from the song title…to me, this track is full of hurt and damage. Emotion at it’s best.

Cheap Thrills—-Sia hit No. 1 with this single and I’m sure certain people were sorry that they ‘threw’ this song away. Right from the onset, to me, this had hit written all over it. The beat is Island inspired and full of that beat that inspires you to feel summer heat even here in the dead of winter. This is a remarkable composition….we are better off with the Sia version I’m sure. Wonderful.

Reaper—-With nice electric blips and beeps, the vocal emerges and finds me feeling a bit less than inspired. I just can’t seem to get into the flow of this song, no matter how many times I listen to it. I think the chorus is very strong…but you can’t build a song on that alone…there has to be some give and take with the lines and chorus. I like the delivery…but the feel of the song leaves me a bit empty… I’m waiting for something BIGGER….

House On Fire—-Returning to a much friendlier sound for my ears, the down beat feel of the song is marvelous. The chorus of the song is just phenomenal…full on intensity and incredible emotion. I love the way her voice seems to tell a story all on its own at times…this is just a fantastic track…I love the music… matches that lazier drawl of hers. This is wonderful!

Footprints—-With a intro that already weeps with emotion, Sia enters with her proper vocal and helps you to crash to the floor in an emotional heap. There is a level of sadness and desperation to this she is pleading with you to listen and to care…this is all brought about from the quality of her vocal. This is just wonderful….I could really hear Beyonce singing this song. And collecting awards for it.

Sweet Design—-This is a bit odd for me…..another Beyonce song I bet!!! This is out of the realm of my Sia possibility. I really do not like this…the breaks are wrong for her voice…the music is wrong for her energy……

Broken Glass—-Falling back in the more familiar territory of her vocal scope and inflection, this is a really great track. The emotion is not just in the lyric…the music makes you feel every word…the swirls of slight orchestration are so large…you might find tears in your eyes by the end of this affair. This is extraordinary.

Space Between—-This is nice…at the onset sounding a bit hollow and uninspired. I would love to hear Sinead sing this song…..the feel is very much familiar to her voice. This track makes my heart ache and my feelings crash to the floor…this is intense…and beautiful. Sia is a true master of her craft.

****3/4 out of 5


Gorgoroth / Instinctus Bestialis

Instinctus Bestialis

Gorgoroth is a Norwegian black metal band based in Bergen. It was formed in 1992 by guitarist Infernus, who is also the only original member remaining, and the band have since released nine studio albums. Gorgoroth are a Satanic band and have drawn controversy due to some of their concerts, which have featured impaled sheep heads and mock crucifixions. The band is named after the dead plateau of darkness in the land of Mordor from J. R. R. Tolkien‘s fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings.

Instinctus Bestialis is the ninth full-length studio album by Norwegian black metal act Gorgoroth. It was released on June 8, 2015 by Soulseller Records. It was also released digitally, as well as on digipak CD in a limited first pressing, limited black vinyl LP and limited picture vinyl LP. It is the first album to feature vocalist Atterigner and was the last to feature bassist Bøddel, who died from cancer four months after the album’s release.

The Analysis—-

Radix Malorum—-No fancy introductions will be found on a Gorgoroth record…ever. Right out of the gate, prepare yourself to be pummeled and taken to the dark side of life. There is always a surprising melody that runs underneath all of the noise….but the songs are usually propelled by a hell fire super fast drum and a deep bass that darkens the sound. The vocal tears at your ear drums…but the melody still remains bright and propulsive. This is intense….dark and fuckin’ fantastic!

Dionysian Rite—-The vocal on this track is much more upfront in the mix of the music and seems a bit clearer and driven. The guitar squeals are incredible and the drums as always are stellar. There are chord changes and downshifts in the song that keep it interesting and prevent it from being an all out noise fest. This is remarkable musicianship. A really great song. The song becomes almost funeral at times…huge and dark like a wall of doom….just stellar.

Ad Omnipotens Aeterne Diabolus—-Coming out of the split second of silence, this song emerges as a huge atmospheric affair at the onset. The drums, although very present are even slowed a bit. And then….the track kicks in and the mayhem returns. The putrid vocals assault all of your senses…inspiring a self-power that is indescribable. The guitars provide a classic metal harmony that even includes some brighter tones and soaring riffs. The vocal rises above it all….proclaiming Satan….remarkable. I don’t take content of this music very seriously…I do love the brutality of it all though.

Come Night—-Huge drums right at the onset…followed by a fantastic soaring guitar lead that ushers in a menacing yell. The marching style of the music is a nice break from the all out wall of sound and gives the song more of a backbone. Probably one of my favorites on this release, it is accessible and a bit more mainstream for Black Metal. The drums as always, are the star of this show….matched only by the intense dark vocal that assaults. This is stellar!

Burn In His Light—-Again, the opening riffs of this track are a huge surprise…almost reminding me of early Rammstein….sounding a bit Industrial. The vocal is even reminiscent of this sound. This is probably the most accessible I have ever heard this band…there are nice musical shifts…down tempos and a re-crank of the guitars that keeps everything interesting. I really like this.The lead guitar gives a mid song solo that sounds like King Diamond….this is a pleasant surprise.

Rage—-Coming out of the silence once again with a higher tone from the guitars, this really does at times sound like a different band then we are accustomed to. The vocal is sick though…propelling the darkness at you right through the headphones. I prefer Gaal and his vocal best…but this is pretty stellar. I can almost see the bass guitar swaying back and forth to the undeniable rhythm that is on this track. Dark yet remarkably accessible.

Kala Brahman—-Darker and sounding a bit more muted than the previous few tracks, this is bass heavy and intense. The drums are just incredible….the vocal seemingly moved to the back of the music a bit. The lead guitars steer the song with a nice underlying melody that keeps everything cohesive. This is a bit different…but still dark and menacing.

Awakening—-This track surprised me….really accessible and almost mainstream in sound outside of the vocal that is laden with evil and darkness. There are nice breaks in the song and a chorus of sorts that calls to Satan…wow. The music remains dark, but there is that swaying rhythm section that keeps the song very listenable. Great end to a way too short release.

**** out of 5