Tears For Fear / Rule The World : The Greatest Hits

Rule The World: The Greatest Hits

Tears for Fears are an English pop rock band formed in Bath in 1981 by Roland Orzabal and Curt Smith. Founded after the dissolution of their first band, the mod-influenced Graduate, they were initially associated with the new wave synthesiser bands of the early 1980s but later branched out into mainstream rock and pop, which led to international chart success. They were part of the MTV-driven Second British Invasion of the US.

Their debut album, The Hurting, released in 1983, reached number one on the UK Albums Chart, while their second album, Songs from the Big Chair, released in 1985, reached number one on the US Billboard 200, achieving multi-platinum status in both the UK and the US. Their second album contained two Billboard Hot 100 number ones: “Shout” and “Everybody Wants to Rule the World“‘, the latter winning the Brit Award for Best British Single in 1986.

Smith and Orzabal parted company in 1991, after the release of their third platinum-selling album The Seeds of Love (1989), though Orzabal retained the Tears for Fears name throughout the remainder of the 1990s. The duo re-formed in 2000 and released an album of new material, Everybody Loves a Happy Ending, in 2004. Since 2013, the duo have been working on their seventh album. Tears for Fears have sold over 30 million albums worldwide

The Analysis—-

Everybody Wants To Rule The World—-It is always interesting to look back at the music that helped to form your teen years and see how it stands the test of time in your adult brain. I was disappointed at yet another Greatest Hits record from this band…but it is always nice to hear the classics again. This track is monstrous…melodic and really does manage to stand the test of time. The two voices when joined together are a force. Roland has that remarkable upper register. The synth drive of the song screams 80’s…it is brilliant.

Shout [7″ Edit]—-Laden with every trademark gimmick of classic 80’s pop music, this song..in it’s heyday was an absolute monster. I assure you….it still plays with exquisite flavor in 2017. That classic vocal…the long notes from Roland that adds depths of emotion to the song…still can give you goosebumps even now. This is a remarkable reminder of why the 80’s still live on with a bit of success.

 

I Love You, But I’m Lost—-One of the new offerings that are offered on this release. I listen to this very carefully…looking for the magic that served as the propulsion for the band in the early years. The sound at the onset is dense, giving way to a synth laden happiness that captures my attention. The vocal is a bit odd for me….they sound more like MGMT to me. the chorus is not the huge affair I expected…but the track does not let me down. There is a catchy element to the song that makes me smile somewhere inside my self…I don’t profess pure love…but I don’t hate it either.

Mad World—-I think the key elements of this track were meant to burrow into your cerebellum and just stay there. this is a recipe laden pop song that hits a perfect 10 on every mark. The jungle drums…the static synth line…the guitar line…the beautiful and perfectly clear vocal…the intermittent horns….how can you go wrong here. This is, for me. pure pop perfection.

Sowing the Seeds Of Love—-This for me, was one of the best tracks the band ever produced. the track shows a progression of sound…while still retaining the trademarks that made the band a huge hit. The slight psychedelic feel of the song propelled them further…while the vocal harmonies were stronger and more intact than ever. The horns at the end of the track were incredible. This is a pure masterpiece…a song I never really ever tire of hearing.

 

Advice For The Young At Heart—-I remember when I first heard this song, I though maybe i was hearing a new song from Icehouse or Icicle Works….I was surprised. This is wonderfully layered with that magic emotion the band was able to produce…as well as a chorus that will live with you…even twenty plus years on. This still sounds great…still sounds important as ever…and still plays in my brain like the very first time. Those voices…it’s like magic.

Head Over Heels—-Perhaps the biggest selling single for the band…and the one that sent them way over the top in the 80’s and the video driven world, this still plays as well as it did from day one. The vocals are so strong…the way the band plays off of each other is just pure magic…there is an almost pulley system between the two….where the voice and the guitar strive to be the best. The synth lines are so strong…producing a magical melody that will never leave you alone…this was a pure magical time.

Woman In Chains [feat. Oleta Adams]—-Funny to hear this song with the climate of the nation today. It seems right in line with all of the stuff that seems t be going on. And the vocal guest from the fantastic Oleta Adams is literally heartbreaking and wrenching. This is timely…and should be played everywhere. the soaring vocals give me goosebumps…this is brilliant…way before it’s time.

Change [Radio Edit]—-Another one of those tracks that carries so many familiar sounds of the times. At certain times, the synth line sounds like a pure rip off of Rio from Duran Duran…..but the vocal kicks in and you know this is classic. The long drawn out vocal sounds from Roland gives the song a remarkable emotional quality….even while the instrumentation plays right up in the front of the song. This is brilliant.

Stay—-The second of the two new tracks on this compilation, I find this rather flat and a bit uninspired for my ears. The trademark sounds of the band seem to be largely missing…where is the play of the back and forth between the members. The vocal sounds almost foreign to me….I really do not like this very much….but I’m still glad to have it.

Pale Shelter [2nd US Version]—-This has that nice synth driven sound that is actually aided by the guitar base of the song. I love the vocal…even though it seems almost hollow in this mix. The voice is one of the key elements of this band…and the way they play back and forth with each other. I wonder what would have happened if a band like INXS would have recorded this…..wow….

Mothers Talk [US Remix]—-This has never been a very favorite track of mine….it seemed like the band was really coming apart during this period…adding all kinds of back drop vocals…nor heavy guitars and a distant between Kurt and Roland…you could smell the dissonance between the two here.

Break It Down Again—-Perhaps one of the most aggressive sounding tracks from the band, it is remarkable in melody and truism. The band offers a new bolder sound…but still managed to keep the base of the sound in the song at the same time. this has a nice anthemic quality to it. I really still love hearing this track. Really a nice memory.

I Believe—-Ghostly and full of a magical sadness that still can raise the hairs on your arms, the vocal is so pre and without any effect. The instrumentation has a slight underlying jazz edge to it that lulls you into the lyric of the track…this is so nice to hear….a magical moment.

Raoul And the Kings Of Spain—-Never a favorite track of mine…..I found nothing that was released around this particular period…out side of Sowing that appealed to me. This is so noisy and unorganized to be…like a smash and haberdasher track to satisfy an obligation….ummm….no……

Closet Thing To Heaven—-Again, there are certain elements of this track i really like. but the band seems to have lost a bit of direction here. The sound…the huge sound they always managed to produce…seems to be missing. The chorus is very nice…but the drums are too loud…the vocal sounds a bit weird as well. I like the melody…but where is the key element we love…the back and forth of the vocal and the guitar…..this is not a favorite….

**** out of 5

 

 

 

 

 

Monaco / Music For Pleasure

Music for Pleasure

Monaco was a side project of New Order bassist Peter Hook. Together with David Potts, the only remaining member of Revenge, the band was formed in 1995. The group is best known for the 1997 single “What Do You Want From Me?” and the album from which it was taken, Music for Pleasure, which sold over half a million copies. Hook and Potts currently perform together in Peter Hook and The Light.

The Analysis—-

What Do You Want From Me?—-Of course, I have to admit that the entire reason I fell in love with this band was because it sounded like New Order. There was nothing new from the band and I took it as a substitute. But after numerous listens, you realize the genius of the band…the vocal harmonies, the incredible contagious hooks. The bass is there of course…but the pop fundamentals are incredible…this is a brilliant track…fitting in with the Brit-pop crowd with no problem.

Shine—-Literally, still after all of this time….this song still takes my breath away. At the time this was released….things going on in my life..I felt this track was written just for me. The Hook bass line is present but understated at times…the synth line is magical…the vocal a near Bernard copycat…this still can make me tear up…this is a magical moment for me. The emotional vocal delivery tears my heart out…wow!

Sweet Lips—-The intro to the track is an airy Dance Floor stomper complete with a female singer in the back drop taking things to an even higher level. The unity of voices come together to make it a quasi Gospel stomp through feel good dance floor music. Hook gives the baritone vocal while Potts keeps things light with his magical voice…and then it all comes together to make it a joyous  ‘Come To Jesus’ track that still makes me smile.

Buzz Gum—-The intro to the song sounds like a soundtrack and then becomes a huge Oasis sounding track that somehow manages to still give me goosebumps. The wall of sound is incredible..the Brit pop sound is in place…the feel of the 90’s is everywhere. This is the best song Oasis never sang. The instrumentation is fantastic…Potts sounds so comfortable…this is just wonderful. My God when that trumpet plays at the end…..I’m done!

Blue—-Incredibly beautiful strings open the track…followed by a miraculous lonely vocal from Potts that seems to dig right into my soul. The huge swells of music are just incredible…I sit back and wonder what history would have looked like if New Order had recorded these songs…it would have been historic. This is the saddest and most uplifting track I have heard in years…it reeks of emotion….sadness and the positive. Just a miracle.

Junk—-Not a favorite track of mine, but it fits on this release like a glove. When the synth line kicks in it gives the song a sense of purpose and you feel a bit energized. Hook and his bass line are always there…even if underneath everything that is going on. This is fantastic…I take back my earlier words. Hook has a way of playing bass like few have ever have….the melody is all formed by the deep tones…just incredible.

Billy Bones—-Introducing a slight Ambient sound, the track begins quite airy and atmospheric. Hook enters with his bass line and the Potts delivers a forlorn vocal that brings sadness and desperation to your ears. This is wonderful…placed in just the right spot to make you step back and think about things. I love this.

Happy Jack—–Easy guitar and an addictive bass line come together to produce everything that New Order were not at the time. Potts opens up his mouth and gives his best spot on Gallagher impersonation. For me, I wonder, why was this release not huge? This is a genius of an album. The melody line on this song is as brilliant as anything that was being produced at the time.

Tender—–A bit odd for me….the intro to the song did not catch at first…then the female vocal began and made me think of the other off-shoot band….The Other Two…..lol…always making comparisons right? This is pleasant…I like the feel of it…but it is not a song I turn to on a regular basis.

Sedona—-Swells of music, and the release ends as magically as it began. You can feel the anticipation building as you hear the track forming with the addition of sounds hear and there….when you get those first Hook strings you feel comfortable. The track becomes alive and makes me joyous once again….just in the literal happiness of the feel of the music. A magnificent end to a very over looked release.

*****out of 5

 

 

 

The Shamen / En-Tact

En-Tact

The Shamen (/ˈʃmɛn/SHAY-men) were a Scottish electronic dance music band, formed in 1986 in Aberdeen. The founding members are Colin Angus (born 24 August 1961), Derek McKenzie (born 27 February 1964) and Keith McKenzie (born 30 August 1961). Peter Stephenson (born 1 March 1962) joined shortly after to take over on keyboards from Angus. Several other people were later in the band. Angus then teamed up with Will Sinnott, and together they found credibility as pioneers of rock/dance crossover.

En-Tact is an album by The Shamen, released in 1990. It was the first Shamen album to feature Mr C, and the last to feature Will Sinnott (who died on 23 May 1991). It fused the band’s past psychedelic rock sounds with the rave act it became, developing a style that represented multicultural dance music.

The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

The Analysis—-

Human NRG—-This band, long forgotten by many I’m sure, still finds it’s way to my turntable on a regular basis. The hyper kinetic sound and the addictive electronic melodies were huge for during the burgeoning early House Music days….I fell in love from the first listen and have never left since…even though later material became much more ambient in nature. This track…with the high keyboard tones, the melodic vocal and the understated but hypnotic beats were trademark….classic stuff…it still plays well today.

Progen [Land Of Oz]—-Most people will immediately recognize this track as Move Any Mountain…a huge underground dance hit in the early 90’s. This is hyper kinetic…fast but with a vocal that addictive as hell. The MC that was added gives the band a depth that was missing…this is an incredible song…a footprint in musical history. I love looking back. This laid the framework for bands like Blackbox and C+C Music Factory.

Possible Worlds—-Using a brilliant vocoder before people even knew what one was, this is fantastic. With a slight ambient beat going on underneath the synth line, this is a nice cool-down track for the after party…combining dance and a chill atmosphere the title of the song says it all.

Omega Amigo—-Expanding on the quasi-ambient feel, the track opens with nice synths and a slow pace..but becomes a track that is a favorite of mine. The bass line provides a perfect trance dance rhythm that sucks me in. The vocal is just OK for me…almost too pretty for the song…but it is the music that is the star of the show. There are slight 80’s leanings to the voice that i like…this was a magical time….

Hyperreal—-Really an ambient and airy feel, the song denies the title…lol. This is perfect for those after long night parties at the crib. The vocal is much nicer on this track,,,you fall right into the trace like delivery. This release…in it’s entirety….was truly a masterpiece for the youth of the 90’s who were raving and dropping in…..still fantastic.

Lightspan—-You can almost feel the huge strobe lights and sweaty crowds as this track begins. The staccato vocal is perfect for dancing by yourself like no one cares. I love this…the ability of a band this early in the 90’s to deliver such magnificent technology is awesome. The sound and vocal snippets are perfect for mixing in and out of….just brilliant.

Make It Mine V2.5—-Yet another classic track is you ever perused the dance floors of the early 90’s, this has every fantastic element of The Shaman included on one track. The music…at times can almost come across as angry and ugly…the vocal is literally fantastic…it just seems to float over my head….a brilliant moment in music history.

 

Oxygen Restriction—-With a classic and familiar bass beat at the intro of the track, you have heard it 1000’s of times repeated on rap tracks. The song as a whole is a bit to airy and full f space for me…I was never a true ambient fan…none the less, the song placement is perfect on the record…giving you the needed variety. Really Nice!!

Evil Is Even—-A bit to spacey for my taste, the form of the song takes a very long time to appear and never really becomes much more than a wall of sound and repetitive effects….a downer for me…just not my cup of tea. The quasi African sounds are interesting….but the repetitive nature of the song continues FOREVER!!!

Human NRG [Massey]—-Not differing in a dramatic form from the original, the vocal seems much clearer but the beats sound a bit more muddled. The high tones of the synth with the slight reverb make the track a spacey kind of ordeal..I love the air that magically flows through the underbelly of the song.

Make It Mine V1.3 [Pirate Radio]—-The intro to this remix seems more updated and appealing to the ‘straight’ club crowd that was loving C+C Music Factory and classic New Order at the time. This is a long extended musical version that goes on for a very long time…with just snips of the vocal here and there…a DJ’s dream I suppose…making mixing in and out a bit easier.

Oxygen Reprise V2.0—-Not a noticeable difference in this version. I like the ‘rolling’ synth lines that appear in between the vocal…the hyper beats that play in the background but never take over the song. The vocal seems more sedate….this is preferable over the original actually.

Hear Me O My People [Orbital-Expect Delays]—-Brilliant…..the vocal snippets combined with the static synth lines is just magnificent. I love this track….really forgetting that it was on this release. The track is a huge epic sort that has all of these underlying messages of Apartheid and the urgency of freedom fighters…this is a magnificent track…the message was clear.

****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

Loudwire.com 1999 Metal Album Of The Year—-The Dillinger Escape Plan / Calculating Infinity

Calculating Infinity

The Dillinger Escape Plan (often shortened to Dillinger and abbreviated as TDEP or DEP) is an American mathcore band from Morris Plains, New Jersey. The group originated in 1997 after the disbanding of the hardcore punk band Arcane. The band’s current line-up consists of guitarists Ben Weinman, bassist Liam Wilson, vocalist Greg Puciato, drummer Billy Rymer and rhythm guitarist Kevin Antreassian. Their band name is derived from bank robber John Dillinger.

Calculating Infinity is the debut studio album by American mathcore band The Dillinger Escape Plan, released in September 1999 by Relapse Records. It showcases the band’s aggressive, technical sound and is their only full-length album to feature original vocalist Dimitri Minakakis.

The Analysis—-

Sugar Coated Sour—-Brutal from the very first second of the recording, the music is rather technical but the production has a hollow sound to it….not allowing you to really feel how large the band can sound. This is all over the place…..the music comes at you blazing fast…but the riffs seem unorganized and chaotic. I like this…but it is not something I would play regularly.

43% Burnt—-Sounding a tad bit more structured at the onset, the music is rather technical and lacking of a present bass line…the guitars are so sharp in sound and seem to come from a thousand different directions. I wish this recording sounded a bit more organized…the vocal clarity is horrible….really hard to pick up a single word. Then in the mid point of the song….you are blessed with a magical bass line….redemption!!!!

Jim Fear—-It amazes me how fast these songs start….there is NO introduction to be had….everything is off to a blistering start from the first second. The music suffers from a sameness quality….this all seems like one long song to me. I worry how this guy can continue to sing….his voice is likely to explode. There are some really nice breaks, chord changes and technical guitar playing here…..I like it….but it could become tiresome.

*#—-So…..i eat my words from the previous song’s observation…indeed, on this track there is an introduction,,,,odd and space in sound…it feels like you are listening to NASA. Swirls of atmosphere…..bass and an off ambiance I never expected. This is just plain odd.

Destro’s Secret—-Returning to the full onslaught of very aggressive Metalcore, I could not imagine what it must be like to go to a live show from this band. There are some breaks and spoken word parts that remind me of Suicidal Tendencies records in the beginning. The bass line is here….adding a groove to the song…but most of the song is full throttle mayhem.

The Running Board—-Barely a second of silence breaks these two songs from each other…it all sounds like one very long tedious track to me. There are bright spots…but this is a very difficult listen. This track has a nice quiet interlude in the center,,,adding a layer of surprise atmosphere. It is all full of surprises and acts…..you never know for sure when the curtain falls though.

Clip the Apex….Accept Instruction—-Beginning even more brutal…if that is possible, this is full of trade off vocals that add to the fullness of the song. The guitars are so blistering…..my ears feel numb. The vocal becomes really tiresome after a bit….there is no variance in the tone or mode of delivery…it is all screams…all the time.

Calculating Infinity—-Beginning with a slight funky sound to the bass line, this surprises me….I keep wondering where the track is going to go. the song…at the onset is damn pleasant and much more listenable…giving your ears and your brain a slight repite from the unceasing noise of tracks gone by. The song becomes larger as it progresses….but the speed of the song allows you to wrap your head around the music without all the screaming going on…this is really nice.

4th Grade Dropout—-And then….we are back to the onslaught of constant noise and unceasingly mayhem. It is hard to even fins a melody line in these songs…it is just pure power noise…..the guitars are technical and give some structure…but when they die away…it is just a song without comprehension.

Weekend Sex Change—-A bit more melodic at the onset, the different sounds come at you from every direction…I’m not sure where my head should be. The drums sound off kilter and the bass line in opposition to them. We have some odd effects underlying in the song…..they leave me feeling a bit disturbed. This is a very odd track….not sure what this is all about….well……consider the title….

Variations On A Cocktail Dress—-Ending the release much as it started, I must say I’m rather glad this is over. Not a band I would pay to much attention to, this is just too noisy for me in the realm of casual listening. Perhaps I need to get more pissed off…lol

** out of 5

 

 

 

Loudwire.com 1998 Metal Album Of The Year—-Death / The Sound Of Perseverance

 

 

The Sound Of Perseverance - Reissue

Death was an American death metal band from Orlando, Florida, founded in 1983 by guitarist and vocalist Chuck Schuldiner. Death is considered to be one of the most influential bands in heavy metal and a pioneering force in death metal. Its debut album, Scream Bloody Gore, has been widely regarded as the first death metal record, while the band’s driving force, Chuck Schuldiner, is acknowledged as the originator of extreme metal. Death had a revolving lineup, with Schuldiner being the sole consistent member. The group’s style also progressed, from the raw sound on its early albums to a more sophisticated one in its later stage. The band ceased to exist after Schuldiner died of brain cancer in December 2001, but remains an enduring metal brand.

The Sound of Perseverance is the seventh and final studio album by American death metal band Death, released on September 15, 1998 by Nuclear Blast. This is the only album to feature guitarist Shannon Hamm, bassist Scott Clendenin and drummer Richard Christy.

The Analysis—-

Scavenger Of Human Sorrow—-The first thing I really noticed first off with this release is the lack of the trademark deep bass tones on many bands that fall under the Death Metal moniker. The second thing of note is the incredible vocal….lacking the guttural feel of many of the Florida bands, it is easy to catch the lyrics to the song and to understand the darkness of the content. The track has nice mood swings…brutal but damn accessible to the casual listener. This is great!

Bite The Pain—- A nice dark plodding melody line opens the track,,,,but it comes alive as it progresses. The intricate bass line is incredible…really steering the song and the melody of the track. The voice is incredible….this is damn technical Metal….not your typical all out Thrash of Death screams and scary lyrics. Well formulated and played with mastery….these guys deserved to be kings.

Spirit Crusher—-Again with the incredible bass line lead in, this band has really surprised me with the incredible finesse it plays with. To think that this is my first exposure to the band is almost unthinkable…but it is true. I will be investigating them much more after this adventure. I really love the talent that is all over this record…a true mastery of the scene….they set the bar very high indeed.

Story To Tell—-Much fuller instrumentation at the onset of this track, the high soaring lead guitars are phenomenal. The heavier bass line returns as the song begins to form….but it never seems to be to heavy or overwhelming. The vocal often times makes me think of Dani Filth when he sings in a regular style tone. This track has a huge marching element to it…but then breaks magically and gives you a clear soaring guitar…just incredible.

Flesh And The Power It Holds—-Again, the song opens with a nice fuller guitar sound that seems to last longer than on previous tracks. The sound is crashing through my headphones…swirling around my head with a melody that is undeniable. The lead guitar adds to the full sound of the song…and then the drums really pick up the pace of the song. The vocal comes at you fast and filled with brutal lyrics….making me smile inside with the irony of it all. i love this stuff. Especially when it is played with mastery and talent such as this.The mid song melody break is phenomenal.

Voice Of The Soul [Instrumental]—-At the onset…intricate and really sounding quite familiar at this point in the record. The guitars seem to repeat a line that has been played over and over…and perhaps this might very well be by design. By the second bar of the song, the tone of the song changes….adding a backdrop of acoustic guitar that plays well with the electricity of the lead. This is really…dare I say…a beautiful song.

To Forgive Is To Suffer—-as a nice change, drums kick off the intro to this track and the song is off to a blistering romp after the sedate beauty of the previous instrumental. The sounds, I must say, are very familiar though. Although I love this record, it suffers from a sameness sound that you can’t escape….even the breaks and ‘movements’ in the songs seem almost predictable….but I will take this over many of the things being released today under this moniker of Death.

A Moment Of Clarity—-With a slight marching bass line that steers the track, the Maiden style galloping bass line comes and goes like magic. This is a stellar track…underneath the bass and the drums…there is a clarity with the guitars that transfix me. I really, really like this band. How did I miss this stuff first time around? Really a great listen.

***** out of 5

 

 

Loudwire.com 1997 Metal Album Of The Year—-Emperor / Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk

Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk

Emperor is a Norwegian black metal band formed in 1991, regarded as highly influential by critics and emerging black metal bands.The group split up in 2001, but reunited from 2005 to 2007 for a few festival dates and brief US tours, and again reunited in 2013 to 2014. The group was founded by Ihsahn (guitar/vocals) and Samoth (then, drums).

Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk is the second studio album by Norwegian black metal band Emperor. It was released on 8 July 1997 through Candlelight Records and Century Black.

The Analysis—-

Alsvartr [The Oath]—-Beginning with a nice melodic acoustic style guitar, the listener may very well be taken aback by the sound. It is not long before the song begins to take form with an eerie vocal incantation as the atmosphere builds and builds until you are literally breathless with anticipation. In all reality, you are being prepared for……

Ye Entrancemperium—-And now….we are off and running to pound loudly on the doors of hell. the drums are so fast and delivered at such a pace it seems to be the maddening pound of evil. The slight orchestrated feel of the song provides the melody and backbone of the song. The voice…seems under produced and pushed to the back…but sounds way better than the vocal did on Nightside . This is incredible…fast….dark and delivered with the right level of  evil.At times when the clean vocal emerges…you can almost hear a resemblance to Serj Tankian.

Thus Spake The Night Spirit—-Epic right from the first note, you can hear the quasi-orchestration from the keyboards. The death scream that serves as the introductory vocal is only eclipsed by the incredible drums that smack your head back and forth on your neck. The vocal…when it fully emerges is hard to understand….but the intent is clear…this is dark and driven by a force. I love the energy and the forbidden sound of it all.

Ensorcelled By Khaos—-No time to catch your breath, as this track kicks you in the face from the first note. The guitars sound really powerful on this….a literal huge wall of sound that creates their own landscape. The vocal seems unformulated and all over the place…but you can’t escape the majesty and mastery of the music…there are huge breaks and ebbs in the music…..and then you are lifted right back up again. Incredible.

The Loss And Curse Of Reverence—-Seeming to roll directly from the previous track, there is no room for variance or experimentation on this release….what you ordered is what you get…pure brutal Black Metal that gives your entire brain a workout. This track just seems to wrap around and attack me from every angle. The brutality is incredible…but underneath of it all is that keyboard melody line that provides the glue that gives the noises structure. This is fantastic….a favorite track from this release.

The Acclamation Of Bonds—-Very accessible at the onset, there are huge swells of keyboards to introduce the song before the drums and the vocal lead us down a dark path. The keyboards are always there though….providing the need structure to formulate the song. These are well trained musicians….never think for a moment this is just bashed out noise and screams and thus a record is made. The thought, the structure, the writing is top notch. This is a landmark recording.

With Strength I Burn—-Although thee is little new to offer in critique of this track, I can only mention that which really impresses me…..an incredible drum track….that helped set the standard for many of the bands in this genre today, a blistering vocal that impresses, and a melody line that appears…disappears….but always seems present. I love the clean vocal element of this song….it gives some variance and breaks up the monotonous feel of the record at this point. Just exquisite.

The Wanderer—-Ending the release with a slight somber and calm note, this track is full of swirling atmosphere and a certain sadness that pervades it through the entirety. Huge in grandiosity and tone…it is a fantastic closer to an incredible effort.

**** out of 5