Echo & The Bunnymen / Nothing Lasts Forever

Nothing Lasts Forever

Echo & the Bunnymen are an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1978. The original line-up consisted of vocalist Ian McCulloch, guitarist Will Sergeant and bassist Les Pattinson, supplemented by a drum machine. By 1980, Pete de Freitas joined as the band’s drummer.

Their 1980 debut album, Crocodiles, went into the top 20 of the UK Albums Chart. After releasing their second album, Heaven Up Here, in 1981, the band’s cult status was followed by mainstream success in 1983, when they scored a UK Top 10 hit with “The Cutter“, and the album which the song came from, Porcupine, hit number 2 in the UK. Ocean Rain (1984), continued the band’s UK chart success, and has since been regarded as one of the landmark releases of the post-punk movement, with the single “The Killing Moon“.

After releasing a self-titled album in 1987, the next year, McCulloch left the band and was replaced by former St. Vitus Dance singer Noel Burke. In 1989, de Freitas was killed in a motorcycle accident. After working together as Electrafixion, McCulloch and Sergeant regrouped with Pattinson in 1997 and returned as Echo & the Bunnymen, before Pattinson’s departure in 1998. The band has been touring since, releasing several albums since the late 1990s, to varying degrees of success.

The Analysis—-

Going Up—-The brilliance of this band live can not be denied. The sound is perfect and the delivery is the best record in the universe. Ian sounds just remarkable. The post-punk energy on this song is addictive…..the music seems to play in a land by itself…..and Ian still seems to sing to himself. This is brilliant.

With A Hip—-Melding from the previous track, this introduction of the band on stage is seamless. Ian sounds like a man half his age. The voice and the powerful band are just incredible. This is a throw back release that sounds like it was recorded yesterday. I love this band!

Stormy Weather—-This is just fuckin magical. Bright and shiny pop music that shines like the sun on a bright sandy beach…allowing you to lose hours at a time daydreaming of a perfect life and a shiny bright future. Ian sounds magical…..wishing I could go back in time and change some things. This was a magical moment in my history for me.

Show Of Strength—-Rapidly going from one song directly to the next, time never diminishes the magic of the music or the time it was produced. For a live recording, the sound is bright and shiny…truly a stellar performance. Ian sounds like a man half his age….it never gets old. This is magical for me.

Bring On The Dancing Horses—-Such a classic track…..full of every 80’s sound you could imagine. The slow and smooth vocal delivery from Ian s literally priceless. The sound here is a bit muddled….but it rises above and lives in your head for days after you hear it. This was a priceless time…..I thank Ian and Co. for such great memories.

 

The Disease—-Whispering at the onset…..and then the magic clear vocal from Ian…..it still lulls me into a kind of daydream…this is just literal magic. The almost spoken word delivery can be heard….but you hear the audience too…..we know every word. This was a pure genius of a band. A wonderful time full of memories and positive thoughts for the future.

Scissors In The Sand—–Coming alive in a raucous almost punk delivery, Ian is almost drowned out by the instrumentation…but that is ok…because the energy is so damn contagious and catchy. This is a bookmark for me…..a nice cross of what was….and what was to come.

All That Jazz—-Ian has such a fantastic accent when he sings/talks through his songs. This is a bit muddled in sound….but it is the energy of the delivery that is contagious. The drums are fantastic….the guitars right in your face. This is fantastic!

The Back Of Love—-The sound here is so crowded, it is hard to even catch one particular sound….but that is the price of live recordings sometimes. Ian seems pushed way to the back of everything…..but I will take it for posterity…lol

The Killing Moon—-A true classic. Sounding like yesterday. the recording and delivery is wonderful. I feel the smile start inside and I can;t stop it from spreading as Ian sings…and indeed, that is the power of music. This is so magical and well done…I have no complaints.

 

In The Margins—-A steady guitar hum soars through the song…..takin some of the brightness from the song. But once Ian opens up his mouth….you are again transported to a different place and a different feeling about life. I have such good memoies…they all come back alive….in the margins.

Never Stop—-This is a bit jaunty and fun……the sound although muddled still comes through. The bright keyboard sounds shine through Will’s guitar chords…..it all seems to create a perfect storm.

Villers Terrace—-Such a dirty production sound takes away from the ‘wonderfulness’ of the song a bit….but Ian still shines through with his vocal….at times it is too deep….but live is live.

Of A Life—-Such a classic Echo sound on this song….the sound that really fefined them and made them a stellar part of the Brit movement. Ian sings in a rather joyful way that sucks me right in….I love the memory of the song more than the song itself…if that makes sense. Brilliant!

Rescue—-a classic echo song that sounds even more powerful live. Ian sings in a rather cocky way that makes my inner self smile….I love this trip down memory lane. The chorus never fails to inspire….and the crowd singing along makes it awesome.

The Cutter—-One of the all time stellar hits, this still plays so well in my brain. This was the beginning of so many things…Alternative….Goth…..Mopey Rock……and to this day still defines and out defines all definitions of culture.

Nothing Lasts Forever—-Such a brilliant and poignant song…..this cannot be described by me….because it surpasses all definitions. The sentiment and the vocal literally takes you to another place….This is brilliant…..a band that will live forever.

Lips Like Sugar—-Perhaps the song that defined these iconic lads…..I can’t find joyous enough words to describe my elation. This is the soundtrack of my youth….and my hope for the future.

Ocean Rain—-A fantastic and apt closer, I could not ask for anything more……beautiful…..stark……boisterous and joyous….everything I needed today.

***** out of 5

Stryper / God Damn Evil

God Damn Evil

Stryper is an American Christian metal band from Orange County, California. The group’s lineup consists of Michael Sweet(lead vocals, guitar), Oz Fox (guitar), Perry Richardson (bass guitar), and Robert Sweet (drums).

Formed in 1983 as Roxx Regime, the band soon changed their musical message to reflect their Christian beliefs, and the band’s name was also changed to Stryper. They went on to become the first overtly Christian heavy metal band to gain acceptance in the mainstream. In 1983, they signed with major label Enigma Records and released their debut album The Yellow and Black Attack. In the mid-1980s, Stryper enjoyed their most successful period beginning with the release of To Hell with the Devil, which achieved platinum sales status. Stryper went on to release two more gold albums before disbanding in 1992. In 2003, Stryper came out of retirement for a reunion tour and subsequently signed a multi-album contract with Big3 Records in 2005. In 2013 they signed a multi-album deal with Frontiers Records, and have released Second Coming, which includes 14 re-recorded songs from their first three albums and an album, No More Hell to Pay, released on November 5, 2013, and Fallen on October 16, 2015

God Damn Evil is the seventeenth release and twelfth studio album by Christian metal band Stryper, produced by frontman Michael Sweet and released in April 11, 2018.

The Analysis—-

Take It To The Cross—-If you have followed this somewhat iconic band at all, you pretty much no what to expect. I guess my initial and enduring attraction to this band was not necessarily the message…but the voice and the talent of the band. I love how tight they play….and it has not changed in all of these years. The message is the same…but so is the voice and the energy…..very nostalgic…..amazing how well Sweet’s voice has held up. I don’t really care for this chorus…but the multi vocal track is nice.

Sorry—-Fairly sdate at the onset, it seems like production turned down the volume on the whole damn thing. Sweet comes out of the dark with a nice strong and soaring vocal. The chorus is damn addictive…..it sucks you in whether you buy into the message or not. I like the slight blues tinge as well…this is nice.

Lost—-To be honest with you….this reminds me of something that would have fir on Styx Paradise Theater record…the vocal is overly operatic and Broadway tinged. The music is sedate and predictable. Sweet does really scream sometimes…which really pleases me. But this all seems very contrived and theatrical.

God Damn Evil—-A return to a bluesier sound and some incredible vocals, this is like being transported back to 1984. The message remains strong….but the delivery makes it worth listening to over and over again. This is directly sent to our current times and turmoil. I rather like this song…..the delivery is key!

You Don’t Even Know Me—-Classic 80’s riffs open this track….and some fantastic drums! The music reminds me of classic Queensryche at times…..the vocal is a bit off for me at times though. I love the energy of the chorus….this saves the song from becoming obscure.

The Valley—-Fantastic drums and short sharp guitar bursts kick off the track. Sweet enters and sounds so fresh and young with his vocal….you catch every word and the chorus sucks you in. The soaring quality of his voice is remarkable….I love how effortless his vocal sounds. The marching instrumentation makes the song feel huge.

Sea Of Thieves—-At this point of the release, the album begins to suffer from a very same-like quality….everything blends from the previous song…making it seem like a long drawn out operetta. There needs a ballad here or there…or some variety.

Beautiful—-Offering a bit of differential musical delivery, the drums are just stellar here. The guitars are in perfect unison. The vocal sounds a bit to theatrical….but it is passable. Will I listen to this release on a regular basis….no….not even once in a while…I prefer the classic releases.

Can’t Live Without Your Love—-Finally we get a bit of diversity….the song is delivered nicely…..but nothing stands out as fantastic. The chorus IS huge….but it is replayed and over done. I wish there was a little bit more variety.

Own Up—-Nothing new here……at this point it all seems like one long song…..when boredom sets in so quickly that is not a good sign. This sounds like I backed up 6 songs and am going through the same thing again.

The Devil Doesn’t Live Here—-A bit more power Metal to end the release, the message returns. The music is faster and more varied…..the drums are huge. The voice soars and the song has a nice catchy element to it. I like this.

** out of 5

Breaking Benjamin / Ember

Ember

Breaking Benjamin is an American rock band from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, founded in 1999 by lead singer and guitarist Benjamin Burnley and drummer Jeremy Hummel. The first lineup of the band also included guitarist Aaron Fink and bassist Mark Klepaski. This lineup released two albums, Saturate (2002) and We Are Not Alone (2004), before Hummel was replaced by Chad Szeliga in 2005. The band released two more studio albums, Phobia (2006) and Dear Agony (2009), before entering an extended hiatus in early 2010 due to Burnley’s recurring illnesses.

The release of a compilation album amid the hiatus, Shallow Bay: The Best of Breaking Benjamin (2011), unauthorized by Burnley, brought about legal trouble within the band resulting in the dismissal of Fink and Klepaski. Szeliga later announced his departure in 2013 citing creative differences. Burnley remained the sole member of the band until late 2014, when the current lineup was announced, including bassist and backing vocalist Aaron Bruch, guitarist and backing vocalist Keith Wallen, guitarist Jasen Rauch, and drummer Shaun Foist. The band afterward released Dark Before Dawn (2015) and Ember (2018).

Despite significant lineup changes, the band’s musical style and lyrical content have remained consistent, with Burnley serving as the primary composer and lead vocalist since the band’s inception. The band has commonly been noted for its formulaic hard rocktendencies with angst-heavy lyrics, swelling choruses, and “crunching” guitars. In the United States alone, the band has sold more than 7 million units and yielded three RIAA-certified platinum records, two gold records, and several certified singles, including two multi-platinum, two platinum, and five gold. The band has also produced one number one record on the Billboard 200.

Ember is the sixth studio album by American rock band Breaking Benjamin, produced by lead singer and guitarist Benjamin Burnley. It was released on April 13, 2018. The first single, “Red Cold River“, was released on January 5, 2018. Four additional songs were released prior to the album’s release, including “Feed the Wolf”, “Blood”, “Psycho”, and “Save Yourself”. A music video for “Torn in Two” was released on the same day as the album.

The Analysis—-

Lyra—-Opening the release with a gentle piano interlude, you feel the power building as the song progresses….erupting into…

Feed The Wolf—–There is a remarkable comfort that comes from a very consistent band….such is Breaking Benjamin. This song is familiar and comfortable…but adds a slight aggression and brutal vocal that is a surprise. Ben has a remarkable voice and he sounds fantastic here. I love this.

Red Cold River—-With a subdued intro, the band still has that remarkable familiarity about it. When the rough vocals smack you in the face…you are sent staggering with the controlled aggression. The blend of voices here are fantastic….Ben seems to have found a magical line-up here. There is a lot of ebb and flow in the song…keeping everything interesting and magical.

 

Tourniquet—-Rather bizarre at the onset, the song develops into a trademark sounding Benjamin track. I love his voice here…there is a crunch to the way he sings sometimes that I just fall over myself for…this is a great example. This is classic Breaking Benjamin…..stands up well next to anything they have ever done.

Psycho—-Diving back head first into a more aggressive guitar sound, the bass line on this track is literally huge. The drums keep perfect pace…..add in the vocal and you are literally transported into a cold Nether-land. This is fantastic…accessible but aggressive…..perfectly delivered.

The Dark Of You—-Dark and ominous at the onset, the song provokes images in your mind’s eye magically. The vocal is smooth, sedate and full of a subtle pain. There is a beauty to this track I just adore. A beautiful dark journey in just a few minutes.

Down—-Returning to a full on onslaught of energetic guitar crunches and a powerful emotive vocal, this is the reason I love this band so much. The compositions are so consistent…..predictable…but delivered with a finesse that keeps me coming back for more. This is excellent.

Torn In Two—-Perhaps the most aggressive song on the release, from the first note, the song is relentless. Even Ben delivers a vocal that sounds a bit demented and evil….heavily dark. the song leaks a 90’s Alt-Rock feel to it….but it has quickly become one of my favorite tracks on this new release. Excellent!

Blood—-Chugging along like a steam engine, the band continues to deliver trademark guitar crunches that wrap around Ben’s vocals like a well oiled machine. This is excellent….consistent but not boring. A great mix of subtle and aggressive.

Save Yourself—-There seems to be such a new energy to the band since the members have changed. I am amazed that Ben can just keep pumping ot these epic tracks…I’m so happy he found the supporting characters to deliver his vision. This is melodic…tight and huge. I love this.

Close Your Eyes—-A really nice soaring lead guitar introduces this track….this sounds like it could have fir perfectly on the first or second release…..I think this has been around awhile…it has that sound of earlier recordings. But that is not a negative….this is brilliant!

Vega—-Ending the release, the band delivers a short but epic outro that leaves you hungry for more…..there is only hope that the wait till next time out last as long. A great release!

***** out of 5