David Archuleta / The Other Side Of Down

The Other Side Of Down

David James Archuleta (born December 28, 1990) is an American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor. At ten years old, he won the children’s division of the Utah Talent Competition leading to other television singing appearances. When he was twelve years old, Archuleta became the Junior Vocal Champion on Star Search 2. In 2007, at sixteen years old, he became one of the youngest contestants on the seventh season of American Idol. In May 2008 he finished as the runner-up, receiving 44 percent of over 97 million votes.

In August 2008 Archuleta released “Crush“, the first single from his self-titled debut albumThe album, released three months later, debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 chart; it has sold over 750,000 copies in the U.S., and over 900,000 worldwide. In October 2010 he released a third album, The Other Side of Down, featuring lead single “Something ‘Bout Love“. On March 28, 2012, Archuleta left on a two-year hiatus to be a missionary of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Chile, but stated that he will continue his music career after that.[14][15] As of February 2012, Archuleta has sold 1,108,000 albums and 3,327,000 tracks in the United States.

In March 2012, Archuleta released his fourth album, Forevermore, exclusively in the Philippines. This was his first Original Pilipino Music album, composed of several covers of Filipino songs. The album was certified gold in the Philippines (10,000 units) as of June 2012. Archuleta’s fifth album, Begin, was released on August 7, 2012, in the United States. His sixth album, No Matter How Far, was released on March 26, 2013.

The Analysis—-

The Other Side Of Down—-There is something about the purity of Archuletas’ voice, combined with the syrupy pop perfection that is contained on his releases that attracts me. I love the smooth delivery…the ‘heart on my sleeve’ type of music that he delivers…combined with vocal overlays and a stellar production team…it becomes rather addictive.

Something ‘Bout Love—-Right from the very first note, you can tell this is one of those perfect recipe songs that deliver all the ingredients required to stay in your head for days and days…even if you hate it!. The chorus of this track is pure pop perfection…..containing the melody and the lyric that digs in and refuses to let go. For me, as far as pop music goes…this might be as perfect as it gets.

Elevator—-With a magical guitar intro, the voice enters with a remarkable purity and lyrics that are relate able and catchy. You can catch every word and then you are smacked in the face with the chorus that again threatens to take over your brain…waking you up in the middle of the night playing to loud in your brain. There is no denying the genius of this writing team….this guy has a perfect relationship with pop music.

Stomping The Roses—-Brilliant instrumentation that never really seems to require an actual band, this wraps itself around you and threatens to strangle your sensibilities. The strong message of empowerment is remarkable…Archuleta still delivers that boyish charm of a vocal…appearing so pure and naive. The appeal is undeniable.

Who Am I—-Although this stays in the same vein, the track still has a magical quality. David rarely veers away from the recipe that has made him successful…..meaningful lyrics and a powerhouse chorus that threatens to explode your brain. There is not a ton of substance….but there is talent…and that is important also.

Falling Stars—-Gentle and remarkably poignant, David delivers a vocal the emits emotion without even trying…he just has that talent. The breaths in between words and the falsetto words….overlay ed with double track voice makes for a huge full song. As the track opens up in the second bar…it still maintains the magic melancholy that started it all. It just all seems so damn genuine.

Parachutes And Airplanes—-Sounding as if I have heard this before at the onset, the appeal is still very present. The pure pop perfection of the music is what sucks me in and chose to review it in the first place. The mastery of the world of music production and image is a remarkable thing…add in Marketing and you have the true genius of the career of this guy. This is a wonderful journey of pop mastery.

Look Around—-For me, one of the weaker tracks on the release, I still zero in on certain aspects of the song. The overlay ed melodic vocal…the huge chorus….the simple melody and the hook that stays with you. Even at weak the song is still strong. The lyrical content…a bit juvenile…but still reeks of human emotion.

Good Place—-A perfect ballad that seems to musically wrap itself around David’s voice, the production is incredible. All of the vocal overlays makes me think how hard it must be to make a record like this…he has to record each overlay right? And then it is all played on a backtrack. This is remarkable perfect production.

Complain—-Although this track offers little new…it is the consistency that is remarkable. I love the hook of the song….with an almost underlying Country feel to the whole thing. The vocal is so pure and un-adulterated. Production tricks are not required for this…because the voice is as perfect as it sounds. Just remarkable.

Things Are Gonna Get Better—-This really did nothing for me….the music is a little weak and falls flat on my ears. But of course you have the magical chorus that again tries to FORCE you to love the song. This is not a throwaway……but not something you would listen to on a regular basis.

My Kind Of Perfect—-Ending the release with a track that moves the vocal to the very front of the mix, this shows the purity of the whole damn thing. This is simple and pure….which is what makes it so damn nice. I need to get the newer releases…..I still love that voice.

***** out of 5

 

The National / Sleep Well Beast

Sleep Well Beast

The National is an American indie rock band from CincinnatiOhio, formed in 1999. The band consists of Matt Berninger (vocals), Aaron Dessner (guitar, keyboards), Bryce Dessner (guitar), Scott Devendorf (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums).

Founded by Berninger, Aaron Dessner, and Scott and Bryan Devendorf, The National released their self-titled debut album, The National (2001), on Brassland Records, an independent record label founded by Dessner and his twin brother, Bryce Dessner. Bryce, who had assisted in recording the album, soon joined the band, participating as a full member in the recording of its follow-up, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers (2003).

Leaving behind their day jobs, the National signed with Beggars Banquet Records and released their third studio album, Alligator(2005), to widespread critical acclaim. The band’s fourth and fifth studio albums, Boxer (2007) and High Violet (2010), increased their exposure significantly. In 2013, the band released its sixth studio album, Trouble Will Find Me, which was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards. In 2017 the band released the album Sleep Well Beast.

Four of the band’s albums were included on NMEs 2013 list of the 500 greatest albums of all time

On May 11, 2017, the single, “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” was released after two days of mysterious teasers. At the same time, a new album was announced, titled Sleep Well Beast, which was released September 8, 2017. The album’s second single, “Guilty Party” was released on June 28, 2017. The band released “Carin at the Liquor Store”, the third single from the album, on August 8, 2017. On August 29, 2017, they released the four single, “Day I Die”.

The band scheduled a worldwide tour in support of the album, which began in September 2017. In August 2017, “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness” became the band’s first song to reach number one on a Billboard songs chart, reaching number one on the Adult Alternative Songs chart.

The Analysis—-

Nobody Else Will Be There—-Coming out of a darkness, the gentle intro to the song carries a heavy and forlorn sound. The vocal enters…the familiar torment of the voice very present. The whispers of gentle music seems to transport you into the deep and melancholy feel of the mood. The double track vocal is exquisite….the whispers of pain stab your heart.

Day I Die—-Delivered with a bit more urgency and Indie like feel, the vocal is just incredible. This reminds me of the best of the bands I loved in the 90’s that no one else had ever heard of. This is a much larger song in scope and sound….the instrumentation more aggressive. The drums…so important to the pace of the track are clear and up front in the mix of the song. This is exquisite.

Walk It Back—-Returning to a bit more of a plodding feel musically, the vocal enters and brings classic Leonard Cohen to my mind as it is spoken/sung all the way through like a personal poem. This is stark and naked….full of mellow feel…that at times is interspersed with a building sound from the band that magically dissolves when the vocal returns. Wonderful.

The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness—-Delivered with brilliant instrumentation, the vocal is deeper in tone…but still as lonely and forlorn as anything you will find on this release. The tones of the guitars seem brighter…and the ever present drums are again forward in the mix of the song. I love the vocal style…switching between a deep incantation to a higher addictive soar on the ‘chorus’. A magical track.

Born To Beg—-Switching to a beautiful piano introduction, the vocal begins almost immediately….sounding as lonely and haunted as ever. The premise of the song…begging for love…is portrayed immaculately well in the vocal delivery and the stark and beautiful music. This is Indie Rock at it;s best…it just does not get any better.

Turtleneck—–I have always said that song placement is everything on a record…it adds to the cohesiveness and keeps the listener from becoming bored. This track….much more aggressive and noisy is right in place…breaking up the intense mood of the record and giving you some respite from the ‘darkness’ The guitars are louder…aggressive and the vocal actually has a magical angry edge to it. Perfect.

Empire Line—-Low guitar hums and the ever present drums create a dark and solemn feel to this track as it develops. The vocal enters…..sounding morose…but somehow brighter than in earlier songs. This is a quiet introspective affair…but solid in the musicianship….the lyrics cause me to sit back and ponder meanings…but this band, as usual, is elusive in a firm song meaning.

I’ll Still Destroy You—-Right from the onset, this has an entirely different musical feel. The vocal enters and again is an almost spoken word affair…but the music never quite quits….an almost quasi-dance track in the backdrop. This is remarkable….obviously the quaint synth line is necessary here…the surprise for me is the quite proper chorus that has an addictive quality that is hard to forget. This is fantastic….one of my favorite tracks.

Guilty Party—-A staccato synth line in the back drop….entwined with a somber dark feel that overlaps everything allows for another journey into the mind of what must be a true genius. The voice is remarkable….never veering from what we expect…no histrionics….no tone changes…but somehow comforting and familiar. The entire thing is like visiting with an old friend.

Carin At The Liquor Store—-Wonderful, right from the onset. The introduction piano is just beautiful…..almost taking my breath away. The song opens up a bit by the second bar…the vocal seeming to move to the back of the music…sounding almost faint and resolute. this is beautifully constructed and delivered. Another favorite track of mine.

Dark Side Of The Gym—-Again, although stark and beautiful, the track has a hopeful feel to me. Not nearly as dense and down trodden for me, this almost sparkles to my ears. The promise to stay in love means love has been found…and that is a positive sound to me. This is remarkable. Truly a fantastic band.

Sleep Well Beast—-Rounding out the release with a return to the synth sound of a few earlier tracks, the vocal enters and just reeks of Leonard Cohen and the magical way he told stories in his vocal delivery. This is brilliant….the song….the longest on the release, is an ode to all of the bands heroes I’m sure. I wish I could understand all of the brilliance that is in the lyrics from this band….but perhaps it is all left better to interpretation. This is magical….this release is yet another triumph.

****3/4 out of 5

 

 

 

 

Pet Shop Boys / Fundamental: Further Listening 2005-2007 [2017 Remastered Version]

Fundamental: Further Listening 2005 - 2007 (2017 Remastered Version)

Fundamental is the ninth studio album by English synthpop duo Pet Shop Boys. It was released in May 2006 in the United Kingdom, Europe, Japan and Canada. It was released in late June 2006 in the United States. The album entered the UK Albums Chart at number five on 28 May 2006 (see 2006 in British music). In the US the album peaked at #150 selling 7,500 copies in its first week. As of April 2009 it had sold 46,000 copies in the US and 66,000 copies in the UK. Fundamental earned two Grammy nominations at the 2007 Grammy Awards for Best Dance/Electronic Album and Best Dance Recording with “I’m with Stupid”.

The album was produced by the Pet Shop Boys and Trevor Horn and it features eleven new Pet Shop Boys compositions, and “Numb”, written by Diane Warren (Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe originally planned to have “Numb” be one of two new tracks on PopArt, but opted instead for “Miracles” and “Flamboyant”).

The liner notes show that the album is dedicated to two executed Iranian gay teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, who were hanged on 19 July 2005. Some reports have suggested the two may have been executed for engaging in homosexual behaviour, though the official Iranian report was that they were hanged for raping a 13-year-old boy. The album was very well received by critics, some considering it to be their best album since Very, but its sales failed to improve much on the sales of their last two albums.

The Analysis—-

Disc One:

Psychological—-Of course, any fan can tell you that there is never a doubt when you hear the opening strains to a PSB track who they are….this is no exception. Lowe has his trademark sound and the vocal of Tennant can never be confused with anyone except perhaps Al Stewart. This track is magnificent….dark..and with a layer of eerie warning to it almost. But the brightness is there as well. This is wonderful.

The Sodom And Gomorrah Show—-Beginning a bit mundane, this track explodes into a huge stomper that sucks you in and encourages you to dance your ass off. The progression of the keyboard is remarkable…and the voice from Neil never seems to age. This is huge…an over-whelming chorus that elicits joy and wild abandon. A classic PSB track.

 

I Made My Excuses And Left—-Underneath all of the synth, the glam and the joyous dancing, there is always a sadness that lies underneath of the brilliance of PSB. For me…this brings it a bit more to the forefront. Neil delivers a vocal that gives me goosebumps…even still today. This has an intense lyrical line….a poignant and sad synth base….all adding up to an unforgettable journey of introspection. This is brilliant!!!

Minimal—-One of my favorite tracks on this release. I even have a software embeded single that allows you to make your own version of the song. I love the energy…the remarkable ability to match all the letters with the beats…lol. The message of the song…and the brilliant vocal…this is a standout. Such a joyful synth line.

Numb—-Penned by the famed Diane Warren, this was a perfect match for the brilliance of The Boys. This is so sad…intense…but has a joy to it I can’t explain. The huge orchestrated intro is just fantastic…..seemingly to be built around the vocal that Tennant would produce for the song. The gentle piano….not overdone…but present…adds to the sadness of the song. This is a magical moment for me in the career of The Boys….just as good if not better than October Symphony.

God Willing—-With that brilliant flowing synth line that just seems to meld right around Neil’s vocal cords, this is another song that literally defines the band, Rarely on any disc is there a single throw away track….although not lauded…..this track is phenomenal. The energy flows throughout the whole song….this is like a song from a huge soundtrack.

Luna Park—-Sounding to me, like a continuation of Numb, this is another one of those tracks that will make you sit back and reflect. The bass heavy synth line is missing…but the keyboard Orchestration guides you through the line after line of intense lyric. This is beautiful and brilliant.

I’m With Stupid—-The context of the song rumored to be about George W. and Tony Blair, you have to…at this point sit back and laugh at the British-ness of it all. Delivered with the same irony you would expect from Morrissey, this was wonderfully brilliant…still makes me chuckle.

Casanova In Hell—-Again….full of irony and classic British humor, I love this track…although I much prefer the live version on Concrete with Rupert Wainwright…..I still look back on this with fondness…just because it is so funny and so damn true!

Twentieth Century—-Returning to the classic sometimes creaking synth line of Lowe, Neil always seems to find a perfect balance for his sardonic lyric wrapped around the swirls of synths that Chris can’t help but provide. These two are a match made in heaven…this is sheer brilliance.

Indefinite Leave To Remain—-Another track that is maybe…provided to allow you another chance to look inside yourself and determine if everything is as it should be. This is a truly brilliant track….the songwriting…combined with the instrumentation…just reminds me what an unstoppable force these two are.

Integral—-An incredibly dark and timely song set to brilliant bright synth lines…just shows the contradiction of the band. Brilliant! Speaking….in my opinion of the nefarious actions that the Internet can bring…this is a very nice warning to the masses. A nice spoken word chorus that reminds me of Parinaro….this is just brilliant!

Disc Two:

Fugitive [Richard X Remix]—-I will never understand why this song was not issued on the original release or why it was not released as a single. The hyper-kinetic synth lines are fucking brilliant…everything about this track literally embodies the career of a band that has worked so hard. This is worth far ore than a B-side or casual listen…this is pure genius!

Ring Road [Demo]—-Almost an odd type of intro…the synth is almost noisy….but opens up a bit. the weird stringy style 80’s synth line does not gel with me. The bass overtakes things but Neil delivers a vocal that seems pushed to the back a bit. This is nice to own…but will never be a favorite!

The Performance Of My Life [Demo]—-Again, at the onset…I don’t gel with the off synth line…but Neil enters with a magical dead pan vocal that takes you on a magical journey. This develops a melody that is so addictive to me..it belongs on a proper release as well. This is a magical moment…I would love to see how something like this comes together between the two of them.

One-Way Street [Demo]—-Brilliant…swirling synths from the very first note. Neil delivers a higher tone that still amazes me with the ease he performs. This has a low reverberation through the underbelly of the song that is key to the sound. The chorus part of the track will live in your brain for sometime…another brilliant effort.

Girls Don’t Cry—-This track has kicked around for some time. I still believe it belonged on a proper release as well. It must be hard to decide what tracks to ‘throw away’ from the structure of an actual release. The sound of the synth line is deep and dark…the vocal is magical and soars with a brilliance only Neil can deliver…this is fantastic.

The Resurrectionist—-Brilliant!!!! A true dance floor stomper that makes me want to get up and dance with abandon. The chorus is this gigantic huge affair that lifts even the lowest spirit This is brilliant….why is this not a single? People have no idea of the genius of this duo!! That synth melody line is brilliant!

The Sodom And Gomorrah Show [Demo]—-Quite a bit more stripped down and under developed, the basic idea of the song still shines through. I feel like this really does not offer that much new as to the development of the finalized song…really just filler to me…this is basically a more naked version of the final cut.

Dancing In The Dusk [Demo]—-A bit down-tempo….nut still magical. Anytime I get to hear a bit of an unheard track from the duo is for me an adventure and pleasure. Neil actually sings at times on this track…and the vocal overlays really don’t sound like a demo….this is nice.

After The Event—-An almost horror movie piano line introduces the song…with that trademark low hum in the background that seems to travel through every song. The ‘noise’ clears for the introduction of the vocal. The song is pleasant…the delivery is stellar…the lyrics are a story….the chorus is the KEY to the entire thing…..the huge sound of it sucks my brain right in. Another winner.

The Former Enfant Terrible—-This, for me , is very reminiscent of The Sound Of An Atom Splitting. I don’t think it really offers any thing new or interesting…I could do without this….but still it is The Boys.

No Times For Tears [Orchestral Mix]—-Beautifully constructed and delivered with a vocal that I will remember for quite sometime, this is a bit of a lackluster track for me…I will accept anything the band has to offer with little criticism…but this does fall a bit flat for me.

God Willing [Original Full-length Mix ]—-Very, very, very slow intro and beginning of the track. Eventually, the sun does seem to burst through the convoluted instrumentation and the track becomes a bit livelier…but it takes a very long, tedious time. This was terrible….

I’m With Stupid [PSB Ma[xi-Mix]—-A bit more energized with the requisite DJ break points throughout the song for even longer mixing, I do like this version. The instrumentation is lively and very 90’s in sound….as said before…there are nice mixing interludes but also a healthy dose of the original vocal…this works for me.

Answer The Phone [Ringtone]—–Ok…whatever…kind of humerous

Where Are You? [Ringtone]—-People pay for this right?

Water [Ringtone]—-Bizarre……not getting it….

Numb [Single Edit]—-Really…..these ‘edits’ don’t offer much new to the die hard fan. There is little unique about this version. The harmonies seem a bit more pronounced to me….but this is just wasted space to me….

One Night—-Really nice vocally…the irritating high pitch synth line that runs through the song graciously disappears as the beautifully constructed chorus pen up and then seems to re-appear…much to my chagrin. I like the song…but the instrumentation is obnoxious. The vocal is beautifully presented.

A Certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’—-Literally brilliant from the very first note, this takes me back to the glorious 90’s period when the Boys produced dance floor classic after dance floor classic. This is just wonderfully put together…the synth is magical and modernly retro….the vocal is classic…this is a wonderful track….also on the Winner CD 5.

Transfer [Visionaire Mix]—-This, for me, has a rather dark edge to it from the very first note. the synth delivered is a flat consistent feel that is not even interrupted by the entrance of the vocal. Some beats emerge…but this snip is sad.

Integral [PSB Perfect Immaculate 7″ Mix]—-Offering little new except an abbreviated version of a masterful track, I suppose it was included to fill space. This is nice….but still offers little new to what we already knew was genius.

Integral [PSB Perfect Immaculate Mix]—-Really a DJ mix of the song that includes lots of breaks and mixing opportunities, this is not much different than the original…although it is nice to own.

****3/4 out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gene / Olympian

Olympian

Gene were an English alternative rock quartet that rose to prominence in the mid-1990s. Formed in 1993, they were popularly labelled as a Britpop band and often drew comparisons to The Smiths because of their Morrissey-esque lead singer, Martin Rossiter. Gene’s music was influenced by The JamThe SmithsThe Style Council and The Clash.

Olympian is the 1995 debut album by British guitar band Gene, released on 20 March 1995 by Costermonger Records.

It is frequently recognized as one of the crowning achievements of Britpop.

The album sound is noted for being influenced by The SmithsThe Jam & The Small Faces. Aesthetically, the album cover reminds of The Smiths’ sleeves.

The album reached number 8 in the UK albums chart, selling 70,000 copies and gaining a silver disc.

The image used for the cover is a still from Ingmar Bergman‘s The Seventh Seal.

The Analysis—-

Haunted By You—-Beginning with a decidedly British sound, this track, at the onset leads the most resemblance to legendary Morrissey. The music is large and boisterous….the lyrics are filled with an intense fervor of human emotion…even now, for me…this release sounds fresh and new and filled with a promise of things to come. This was a fantastic listen my first time…I nearly had heart failure. The quasi-rockabilly sound is remarkable…and the backdrop voices allow the song to sound huge.

Your Love, It Lies—-Martin enters with a forlorn and emotional vocal delivery that is layed over a sparse instrumentation. When the chorus enters and the band opens up….I fall in love with the energy…just as suddenly it disappears again…..a remarkable journey of moods. You can catch every single word that is sung….and the energy builds and builds…almost making me lose my mind. A wonderfully intelligent band with very introspective lyrical content.

Truth, Rest Your Head—-Gentle at the onset with a wonderful melody that plays underneath the vocal, the song slowly develops and becomes more muscular before giving up and falling melancholy again. This is a perfect recipe that works wonderfully well for this band. The chorus is contagious…melodic and energetic….making you push rewind more than once as you listen.

A Car That Sped—-Rossiter enter with his vocal laid over a beautiful piano introduction. By the time the chorus begins, the song is again an anthemic delivery of power chords and emotional energy. Martin has such an emotive voice…you catch every word…every inflection and every emotion. It is the huge chorus that attracts me so much…this is still so nice to listen back on.

Left-Handed—-Huge and driving from the very first note, the muscular music almost threatens the vocal from Martin. The song slows and allows the voice…but becomes huge and driving in a moments notice. This is really nice…showing diversity and the ability to change things up from song to song. This is a huge track.

London, Can You Wait—-Hands down, my favorite track on this release, I often pull out this CD to to listen to this song. I love the melancholy feel of the song….and the way it builds to a screaming urgency in my brain as Martin hollers…”I was having the time of my life, why did you have to die”. Just remarkable…emotional and fantastically crafted.

To The City—-With a huge drum based intro and exquisite guitars full of feed-back, Rossiter enters with his vocal pushed a bit to the back of the mix…really letting the band shine. At times, the music falls away for split seconds…but comes roaring back in a muscular and aggressive delivery. I love the little interludes and the fact that the band really gets to play…

Still Can’t Find The Phone—-Returning to the true British styling of the band, you can almost hear the accent of Rossiter as he delivers the vocals of this sparse and rather pretty song that has very dark edges in the lyrical content. The British Irony is remarkable with bands like this….you almost have to look inside the words to realize this is perhaps not the pleasant song it portrays itself to be.

Sleep Well Tonight—-With a perfect recipe of muscular chorus and introspective lyrics…combined with an addictive melody…this is another very favorite track of mine. You can’t forget the energy that the band conveys in the playing and the way the vocal gets stronger and more urgent as every thing comes together in a perfect storm. This is brilliant!

Olympian—-A beautifully arranged intro to the song allows Martin to enter with his voice…stark…beautiful and damn near pitch perfect. This is so sparse at the onset…..the song opens up slowly with a wonderful melody and a catchy addictive chorus that makes you sad and elated at the same time. I think for a debut release, this was fantastic. When that chorus builds…I just want to jump up and down in a circle….scream and die with the sadness and elation of the song. This is fabulous.

 

We’ll Find Our Own Way—-Ending the release as strong as it began, I doubt the band even cared that for me they were releasing a ground-breaking debut that would be played thousands of times. For me…this helped to kick start the Britpop thing in my brain…I listened because of The Smiths comparisons….I fell in love for the simple uniqueness of the band. This is a wonderful listen.

***** out of 5

Arch Enemy / Will To Power

Will To Power [Explicit]

Will to Power is the tenth studio album by Swedish melodic death metal band Arch Enemy, released on September 8, 2017 via Century Media Records. This is the first album to feature guitarist Jeff Loomis who joined the band in November 2014. It is also the first Arch Enemy album to feature clean singing as lead vocals

The Analysis—-

Set Flame To The Night—-Immediate and high tuned, this lends a surprisingly melodic sound that leads us directly into….

The Race—-Full brutality is unleashed….the music just covers your head with the speed and urgency. You notice a slight down tempo sound as compared to earlier releases from the band…but the vocal is as magnetic and powerful as ever….leading you to wonder how the hell this chick can sing like this. Incredible…..

Blood In The Water—–A bit watered down from what I expected from this release…as if the band has grown tired of all the brutality. The guitars are still sharp and dynamic….the drums are fantastic….but the urgency of the band seems to be lagging to me. There is a remarkable melody underneath everything that I love though.

The World Is Yours—-The guitars at the onset of this track are just magnificent….the soaring notes are exquisite. The drums pummel the way through the song…and rising above the gut vocal is an incredible soaring guitar that surprises me. This is nothing what I expected…but perhaps a new direction for the band.

The Eagle Flies Alone—-The lead off single and video for the release, the intro almost reminds me of a throwback to 80’s hair Metal style….so far, this release has failed to impress me….where is the power and the intensity? The voice is in great form….it just seems the writing is really suffering and missing. The chorus is a magnificent affair…but you can’t live off 45 seconds of a song….

Reason To Believe—-I’m not going to lie…..this was a fucking shock to my system….I don’t like this at all!!!! If I wanted an alternative Evanescence….I would have bought this….what the hell is going on….the good points of the track can never outweigh this travesty….you are not Epica…..

Murder Scene—-Huge intro……followed by a fuckin brilliant vocal….the guitars literally singe my hair…This is much more what I signed up for. What is going on with this band,,,,everything seems so inconsistent as far as the sound and the initial concept goes. This goes back to the good old days….perhaps the best track on the release.

First Day In Hell—-An odd and ‘progressive’ intro to this track leaves me shaking my head in wonderment and disappointment. This sounds like a hundred bands you can find online these days….the vocal enters and redeems the song a lot…but the music is so different for me…I’m really not putting this as something I would listen to on a regular basis. I’m upset…..

Saturine—-Where did the brutality go? This gentle sweet intro shit is ridiculous. Even when the guitars and vocals open up…I’m not even 75% convinced that the band even cares anymore. This is lacking vision….brutality,,,purpose and meaning. I can’t stand this release! If you thought all of these progressive sounds would propel you forward…..you took many steps back….

Dreams Of Retribution—-A bit better of a track for me……but this damn pervading ‘progressive’ sound keeps trying to creep in….what the hell happened to this band?

My Shadow And I—-All of this preposterous grandiosity is for the freakin birds….I find it very hard to even try to get through this disaster of a record…..who ever is making decisions for this band needs a firm shake. This is nice….for a few seconds…..but this is not the fans band….this is lackluster and uninspired.

A Fight I Must Win——Nice at certain moments……the voice sometimes gives me hope….but the swirls of nonsense in the background is ridiculous…..and the repetitive chorus……really…not enough words……horrible.

Cry Baby Attacked By Rats—-Nice and punky…..of course no one in the band wrote it…..the only track I would pay attention to twice.

* out of 5

 

 

 

 

Tom Petty / Hard Promises

Hard Promises (Remastered)

Hard Promises is the fourth album by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers released in May, 1981.

I decided to make this release my Tom Petty tribute…it was and still is my favorite release from this iconic performer. Although there were many, many great songs, for me this was a cohesive and incredibly emotional record…..so it is my choice.

The Analysis—-

The Waiting—-There is something incredibly magical about the Mike Campbell sound on the guitar. When the intro to this begins…there is no doubt what band this is. Petty delivers a vocal that is so nasally and punchy….I fall in love again every time I re-listen to this record. There is a slight urgency to the song….it moves fast and Petty seems rushed at times…but damn is it a classic!

A Woman In Love [It’s Not Me]—-Again with that trademark Heartbreakers sound! Petty delivers a nasally vocal that makes me want to tell him to open his mouth when he sings…lol. But the melody of this song….damn…it catches your brain and drags you right in…you can’t escape the lazy, bluesy feel of the track…this is exquisite.

 

Nightwatchman—-With a funky guitar delivery, the vocal still manages to shine though over the music. Mid second bar, the Campbell sound opens up the track…and then delves right into the funky free flowing delivery of the song. I love the almost ‘experimental’ sound of this track…this was all brand new to me as a Junior in High School…but I fell in love.

Something Big—-A magnificent gentle opening to the track takes you on a journey before the vocal even begins. Petty enters with his vocal…a slight echo seemingly to resonant from every word. Petty delivers a vocal that has a nice Country drawl to it that never gets old….the entire track reeks of Country…..lazy, laid back…but filled with a magical summer sunshine.

Kings Road—-Delving again into an almost Rock/Country sound, I am still amazed at how comfortable Petty sounds with the music that is being produced….no surprise considering the releases that were to follow. The guitars on this track are very big….but they never seem to overpower the vocal….this is rockabilly, rock and Country all rolled into one song.

Letting You Go—-Sounding much in the same vein as the opening track, Petty sings clearer than I had heard in quite sometime. This is a lazy….catchy…almost contagious track that lives on the remarkable chorus. This is catchy as hell…..the finest ‘mainstream’ track from Petty to date. The melody and the joined vocals give a huge 80’s feel to the song….just brilliant.

 

A Thing About You—-Instantly switching the mood and delivering  a track that screams with urgency and want, this is a favorite of mine. You notice the lack of the nasal tone on this track….Petty sings to fast to use his nose…lol. This is brilliant….strong…aggressive and delivered with an intention.

Insider ft. Stevie Nicks—-In the rock world, there are seldom to voices that blend together with the magical results of Petty and Nicks. This track is incredible…heartbreaking…..beautiful and delivered in a magical moment in the studio. This will ALWAYS remain a favorite track of mine…..above all else.

 

The Criminal Kind—-Off again in full Petty mode, this seems to hearken back to the very early days of the Heartbreaker sound. You can just see Campbell jamming on his guitar. The keyboards add a dirty kind of bluesy sound that is irresistible….a magical moment….for me, there is not one bad track on this release.

You Can Still Change Your Mind—-Incredibly poignant….perhaps my favorite Tom Petty song EVER…..this track never really truly leaves my mind…it was so relatable to me at the moment….I felt like it was a song written just for me…his is a masterpiece of a song. Brilliant….sad….touching…meaningful…..I will miss the man! And that little Nicks additive at the end…..magical!

***** out of 5

 

Cradle Of Filth / Cryptoriana-The Seductiveness Of Decay [Bonus Tracks]

Cryptoriana - The Seductiveness of Decay

Cryptoriana – The Seductiveness of Decay is the twelfth studio album by the British extreme metal band Cradle of Filth. It was released on 22 September 2017 through Nuclear Blast Records.

Dani Filth said the album “is deeply infused with Victorian gothic horror and thus the title is a reflection of that. ‘Cryptoriana’ implies the Victorians’ infatuation with the supernatural, the grave and the ghoulish. And the subtitle, ‘The Seductiveness of Decay’, further cements this attraction to death and the glittering lengthy process of self-annihilation”.

The first promotional single, “Heartbreak and Séance”, premiered alongside an accompanying music video on 11 July 2017.

The second single, “You Will Know the Lion by His Claw”, premiered together with a lyric music video on 8 August 2017.

The third single, “Achingly Beautiful” was also released in conjunction with a lyric video on 15 September. Vocalist Dani Filth stated the single “has a very old-school Cradle vibe.” and compared it to the song “A Gothic Romance” from the album Dusk and Her Embrace.

The Analysis:

Exquisite Torments Await—-The one thing you can always count on with a new Cradle release is consistency. This begins much in the vein as you would expect…orchestrated and atmospheric…interrupted by a gut wrenching scream, then the growl of Dani Filth that wanders between squeal and bark. The remarkable chorus is fantastic….with what sounds like a choir of voices and orchestration. The drumming is fantastic….and the guitars soar as well as the vocal.

Heartbreak And Seance—-The intro for this track melds from the previous track…allowing for a cohesive transition. The simple fact that Filth can still scream like this is incredible. The song moves at a blistering speed…the words come at you fast and furious with a generous amount of evil spit included. Filth sounds incredible…..but the band on this outing sounds even fresher and more driven than ever.

Achingly Beautiful—-Teasing us with a gentle instrumentation at the onset, there is only 30 seconds before all hell breaks loose and we are off and running again….trying to keep up with Dani Filth and his blistering fast lyrics. The way the vocal changes tones is amazing….from screams to growls in a split second. The addition of trademark female vocals add a depth and fullness to the song. The rhythm section of this band is ON POINT!!!! The drums are just amazing. I am falling in love with the band all over again. The toy like piano and the orchestration with the conclave of voices add a nice break in the song and make it sound literally huge.

Wester Vespertine—-Beginning slow and overblown, the band enters…sounding a little muted to me like a huge wind is blowing over them. The bass guitar is literally huge on this track…..you can feel the chug chug chug in your temples. As usual, Filth never disappoints with his vocal. The nice overdubs add another sense of harmony to the entire thing. This is fantastic! The spoken female parts of the song give it a nice demonic edge…..Happy Halloween!!!!

The Seductiveness Of Decay—-With a deeper more plodding intro, you can only guess what will occur. The song builds and builds on the bass sound…slowly adding nice guitar leads and then the bullet fast blast of the bass line. Dani again…sings so damn fast…you wonder how he can fit so many words in a single bar of music. This is aggressive and made a bit uglier by the gutter vocal…the song lightens up here and there….nice breaks in the aggression…but then enters back into the fray of mayhem. I love this track…..at the midpoint…there is a rhythm and melody that is almost addictive. At times the bass line sounds straight out of the Steve Harris playbook!!!

Vengeful Spirit —-Ha…..fool me once and all that Cradle…..this pretty interlude is all a facade…lol. Dani almost whispers in the aggressive guitar attack that emerges….and then delivers line after line of scary storybook horror stories. The band sounds so incredible to me on this release…the female vocal adds depth and body to the song…taking you to an even higher level. This is the best Cradle in quite awhile.

You Will Know The Lion By His Claw—-No gentle introductions here, this track is pretty much off and running right from the get-go. The band sounds incredible….does all this orchestrated sound come from just a keyboard…the result is huge. Filth sounds demented on this track…urging you to do unworldly things….and you just dying to comply. The bass section again….just drives the track….giving it a groove underneath everything that sucks you in. I love this….Filth can scream like a Mother Fuc&er!!!!

Death And The Maiden—-Rounding out the proper release, this track begins much with the same atmosphere as the opening track. The orchestration that introduces the song is almost bordering on beautiful. The band kicks in with the most melodic delivery of anything thus far on the record. This is remarkably intricate and almost pretty at times…the music has all of these small nuances that catch my attention. The track gives you many moods…but the vocal….delivered in a matching word for word at times sucks you right in…this is remarkable…..a really top notch release.

Bonus Tracks—-

The Night At Catafalque Manor—-Organized mayhem from the very onset, the band pummels through the intro before the addition of another blistering vocal from Filth. This song sounds…to me….literally huge! Dani, at times on this track, literally sounds possessed…aided in the backdrop by the soaring oohs of the female vocalist. This is a magical moment…well worth paying for the bonus version of this release simply for this huge, monumental masterpiece of classic sounding Cradle. When Dani adds that classic spoken word interlude…it makes me want to re-listen to everything again!

Alison Hell—-Another acoustic and gentle interlude, the bursts of power eventually over ride the beauty and transport us back to Metal Heaven. Again….I listen to this and think of Iron Maiden again. This is fantastic…the mood changes throughout the song are damn near perfect…..giving you LOTS to pay attention to. This is fantastic…..Dani finally enters and delivers a true Metal vocal….sounding as good as he did when the band first began. This is a fantastic release!

****3/4 out of 5