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

 

Gary Numan / Savage [Songs From A Broken World]

Savage (Songs from a Broken World)

Savage (Songs from a Broken World) is the twenty-first studio album by English musician Gary Numan. The album was first announced to be a part of a fan-backed Pledge Music Campaign on 12 November 2015.  As of May 2017, the campaign has reached 245% of its intended 100% goal. Gary initially intended Savage to have a 2016 release, but was delayed to the second half of 2017. As of 20 May 2017, mastering of the album has been completed as announced on Numan’s official Twitter account. The lead single, “My Name Is Ruin”, was released on 5 July 2017, followed by second single “What God Intended” on 4 August 2017 and third single “And It All Began with You” on 21 August 2017.

Savage (Songs from a Broken World) is a concept album centered around the blending of Western and Eastern cultures in a post-apocalyptic world that has become desertified as a result of global warming. “The songs are about the things that people do in such a harsh and terrifying environment,” Numan stated in an interview. “It’s about a desperate need to survive and they do awful things in order to do so, and some are haunted by what they’ve done. That desire to be forgiven, along with some discovered remnants of an old religious book, ultimately encourages religion to resurface, and it really goes downhill from there.”

The Analysis—-

Ghost Nation—-From the opening strains of the intro, I can feel my pulse race and the excitement level rise in my entire being. The layers of dark sounds hit me from every direction….although the sound is familiar it also manages to sound fresh and new with an intensity not felt in a while. Numan enters with his vocal…delivered in a slight higher pitch but still filled with the emotive whine that makes him a master of conveyance. The hook of the chorus is addictive and beautiful…threatening to live in your brain for days to come. Powerful…muscular yet incredibly beautiful.

Bed Of Thorns—-Again, familiar but fresh with added sounds and effects. The song has a nice mellow Middle Eastern flair to it that lulls you into the center of the sound of the song. Swirls of atmosphere make me feel so sad but exhilarated. Numan almost whispers his intro vocal….making everything sound more desperate and important. Then again, the hook of the chorus sweeps you up in this grand swirl of feelings and urgency. Numan delivers a stellar….emotional laden vocal that really makes you feel a desperation. This is brilliant.

My Name Is Ruin—-The lead-off single to this release offers a stellar guest vocal from Numan’s daughter Persia…..the incredible track was a brilliant choice. Much of the music is familiar territory…but it is still welcome and manages to sound fresh. Too my ears, this track has Fenton written all over it. That classic Numan whine that makes him so addictive is in fantastic form…intermixed with the croon from Persia adds up to a triumphant and incredible journey for the ears. There is not one misstep with this song….it is classic….and fresh….

 

The End Of All Things—-Atmospheric and delivered like an apocalyptic soundtrack o f doom, the sounds are fresh….full of synth strings and a sad vocal that emotes a sadness and desperation to the condition of mankind. The picture that the voice and the lyric paints is so dark and melancholy…it draws you into a whole new level of the understanding of desperation. Although the chorus is strong and contagious, it is the vocal that makes it magical….Numan has a voice that wraps around each word.

And It All Began With You—-Continuing in the full blown Soundtrack feel of the release, The higher synth tones give a brightness that rides over the dense underbelly of the song. The swirls of beautifully landscaped music bring you to a level of sadness and understanding….and when Numan sings….he delivers another wallop of intensity to the song. This is brilliantly constructed…..delivered and performed….I could never ask for anything more than this release has delivered.

When The World Comes Apart—-From the onset, the music has a slight aggression to it….but is interrupted by a string sound and then returned to an Industrial play land of driving synth. Numan enters with his vocal….fitting each word perfectly with each break in the beat and rhythm. This is spectacular. Again….we return to the incredibly addictive chorus that sucks you in and knocks you on your ass….living with the words and the tune in your cerebellum for hours after the first listen……it returns and ebbs but seems to come back to play in my brain even louder each time. This is wonderful!

Mercy—-I’ve read many people’s comments that this is a favorite track off this release. The dark and plodding intro to the song fits almost perfectly in the realm of the order of the record. The creaking and intense dark synth’s are accented by a reverberating echo to the vocal…giving the song a huge and full sound. The voice is so masterful….Numan sounds ageless with every word…making me pull out every recording he has made and allow it to become this month’s religion. There are ZERO missteps on this release.

What God Intended—-Seeming to meld right from the previous track, the swirls of synth lines and slight Eastern sounds draw me in right from the start. Numan almost begs as he seems to sing from the perspective of the Earth to the listener. This is music for a generation of believers and new styled Numanoids. The desperation in the music and the vocal is delivered in a fantastic manner……I just love this man!

Pray For The Pain You Serve—-I love the slight swirl of musical flavor that introduces the track…..then being hit with the escalating synth line that stays in one place even though it strains to rise up. Numan delivers his whine better than I have heard in years…..urgent and in need of attention. This is bright…new and different…..a favorite track of mine from this release.

Broken—-Ending way too soon, this track ushers out the journey with the same poignancy as it all began with. Delivered musically in pure Soundtrack style, the music literally wraps itself around your head and leaves you sad and yearning for more from the genius that is Numan. You can almost see the demise of the world through the swirls of music and the beautifully delivered string qualities of the song. The Industrial leaning become heavier mid song…..but the sadness pervades even accentuated with the intro of the vocal…..a delivered line after line of regret and warning to anyone who will listen. This is a literal masterpiece of a record!

***** out of 5

 

Nine Inch Nails / Add Violence [EP]

Add Violence [Explicit]

Add Violence is an extended play by American industrial rock band Nine Inch Nails. It was released digitally on July 19, 2017, two days ahead of its scheduled release date, under Trent Reznor‘s label The Null Corporation. It will be followed by the release of a physical component the week of August 8 and a CD release on September 1. A vinyl release was also announced with no release date set. This marks the second EP in a proposed trilogy following the 2016 release of Not the Actual Events. The final EP of the series is expected to be released before the end of 2017.

The album was announced on July 13, 2017, and the lead single “Less Than” and an accompanying music video directed by Brook Linder were released online. On July 18, “This Isn’t the Place” was released with an accompanying music video directed by Alex Lieu.

The Analysis—-

Less Than—-Right from the opening notes, this plays as one of the most accessible NIN tracks in recent memory.  The music is reminiscent of the early days of the band….the remarkable melody is addictive as hell. Reznor still maintains an edge an an anger, this is remarkable all the way around.

The Lovers—-Melding directly from the previous track, the blips and beeps are accompanied by a whispered, distant vocal. This track is markedly darker and sparse. Reznor sings with a tortured voice that leaves me a bit sad and introspective. The emotions displayed are remarkable. A really great track.

This Isn’t The Place—-Again, a moody and dark atmospheric intro. The sparse music plays like a movie soundtrack song. The slow plodding music fills you with some anticipation as you wonder where this is all going. The tortured vocal finally enters at the two minute mark and leaves me somewhat uninspired and unimpressed.

Not Anymore—-A bit more of a jaunty intro dissolves into a pleasant static noise that reminds me of the old days. Reznor delivers a vocal that lies underneath all of the noise. The music is super aggressive and still manages to be pretty accessible and pleasant to listen to. A favorite track of mine….layer of sound stacked on layer of sound…..fantastic!

The Background World—-Clocking in a over 11 minutes in length, this takes you on a journey all of its own. Trent sounds like a youngster…..his voice has not aged a bit. The level of emotion is as strong as the first note on the debut album….none of the purpose has been lost. The strains of slight orchestration that rides underneath the machines give the song a very full sound. The melody line is addictive and pleasant…..adding to the listening pleasure. The vocal comes in and out….fading behind the beats than stepping forward again. As I said…this is a journey in its own right. The track eventually dissolves into an unsustainable wall of white noise and distortion that leaves a sour taste in your mouth…..but you know to expect this from Trent.

**** out of 5

 

The Jesus And Mary Chain / Damage And Joy

Damage And Joy

The Jesus and Mary Chain are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in East Kilbride in 1983. The band revolves around the songwriting partnership of brothers Jim and William Reid. After signing to independent label Creation Records, they released their first single “Upside Down” in 1984. Their debut album Psychocandy was released to critical acclaim in 1985 on major label WEA. The band went on to release five more studio albums before disbanding in 1999.

Damage and Joy is the seventh studio album by Scottish alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain. It was released on 24 March 2017 by ADA and Warner Music Group. It is the group’s first album in 19 years, and marks their first collaboration with producer Youth.

Some of the songs had appeared previously in a different form – “Song For A Secret” and “Amputation” had been released by Jim Reid – the latter as a solo single in 2007 under the title “Dead End Kids”, “Can’t Stop The Rock” was previously released by Jim and William Reid’s sister Linda under the stage name Sister Vanilla, and “The Two Of Us”, “Get On Home” and “Facing Up To The Facts” were previously released in a different form by Freeheat, a band which Jim Reid formed during the band’s hiatus, following the split after the release of the album Munki in 1998.

The Analysis—-

Amputation—-It seems almost impossible that at this point in my life I am privileged to be awarded the release of one more JAMC release. How wonderful to hear the conjoined sounds of the Reid Brothers coming together again…like they had never left me. This is not aggressive as many previous tracks…but the familiarity of it all is remarkable and distinctive. This is brilliant!

War On Peace—-Wonderfully brilliant from the very first strains of the song. This would have fir perfectly on the Stoned And Dethroned release…..you can almost hear Mazzy singing in the backdrop. This has an underlying fuzziness that is so comforting…and over the top the ageless Reid vocal. This is stark and quite simply beautiful. The end of the song is a triumph as the mayhem threatens you with sounds of days past….but remains remarkably in control.

All Things Pass—-Fuzzy and filled with a nice sense of static, the deep bass line sounds right off of an early New Order release. The melody line enters….masterful drums and that incredible voice follows. The pace of the song is so 80’s inspired and pleasant….I just want to wring my hands with sheer joy. This is a huge, addictive track…..I love this.

Always Sad—-Jingly and remarkable in the ability to sound both new and throwback at the same time. this is so addictive….it will urge you to replay over and over….the female vocal that joins in incredible…..and you will have this is your head for a long time after just one listen. This is straight out of the 90’s Lollapalooza era…….just fuckin; brilliant!!!!

Song For A Secret—-Again…..stepping right off the mood of Stoned And Dethroned, the female vocal sounds just like Mazzy…..making me want to dig that release from the crates for another grand listen. This is so fresh…..yet so retro and familiar…so new….but incredibly comfortable. This is just a truly fantastic record!!!

The Two Of Us—-With a nice feedback filled intro like the old days, the song erupts into an almost sunny feeling track that makes you smile inwardly with the sheer pleasure and pleasantness of the whole damn thing. the constant female vocal that runs through the songs adds so much more depth to the feel of the record. I love this as much as Stoned And Dethroned…this is a brilliant return.

Los Feliz [Blues And Greens]—-Lush and melancholy right from the onset, this track is stripped and bare. Reid enters with his vocal….sounding like a ghost whispering from the dark of feelings never expressed before. The slight jaunt to the guitar gives the song just the right needed touch of life……even riding over the sometimes sarcastic nature of the chorus……just fantastic…….like they were never gone.

Mood Rider—-Dense and layered with a sense of darkness at the onset, the guitar truly enters into the fray and lightens the track a bit. Reid slowly sings with a sadness and the fuzz in the underbelly gives this an almost staid funeral feel to the march of the music. This is just brilliant….my God I love this record!

Presidici [Et Chapaquiditch]—-Addictive and filled with a guitar jangle at the onset, the sunny feel of the song belies the rather dark lyrics that form the track. This is a petty ironic American story from a bunch of Scots….but it is filled with irony and almost gets a grin out of me. The music is so addictive and pleasant…this is so wonderful…..I freak in feel like I’m in heaven!!!

Get On Home—-Again, filled with a sound that is very 90’s Alternative music, you can tell that this has been kicked around for a time. The Reid Brothers seem to have found a sense of humor and a talent for irony….but this is still a great song…..stacks up perfectly with the catalog. Without a doubt……musically the noisiest song on the release thus far.

Facing Up To The Facts—-Magnificent in construction and delivery, the lyrics are fantastic……”I hate my brother and he hates me……that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” Just brilliant…..the Reid Brothers facing up to the facts!!!!

Simian Split—-The oddest musical introduction and the most disturbing lyrics of the record. I understand this is all about irony and sarcasm…..but some things you leave alone. This is my least favorite track on the record….but musically one of the most diverse and experimental.

Black And Blues—-Acoustic in nature and accompanied by a damn pleasant vocal…..again with the female vocal that adds and rounds out the sound so incredibly well. I am hopelessly in love with this record…I can’t describe the joy…elation and pleasure at hearing this……I will return easily over and over and over.

Can’t Stop The Rock—-Rounding out the release without ever losing integrity or grit, this will be a release I re-visit on a regular basis…..filled with memories…a fresh perspective and a vigor that sounds like it was never displaced by anger, I truly hope there is more still to come. A Brilliant Release!!!!

***** out of 5

 

 

 

Depeche Mode / Spirit [Deluxe Edition]

Spirit [Explicit]

Depeche Mode /dˌpɛʃˈmd/ are an English electronic band that formed in 1980 in Basildon, Essex. The group consists of founders Dave Gahan (lead vocals, occasional songwriter since 2005), Martin Gore (guitar, keyboards, vocals, main songwriter since 1982), and Andy Fletcher (keyboards, bass guitar). Depeche Mode released their debut album Speak & Spell in 1981, bringing the band onto the British new wave scene. Original band member Vince Clarke (keyboards, guitar, main songwriter from 1980 to 1981), left the band after the release of the album, leaving the band as a trio to record A Broken Frame, released the following year. Gore took over the lead songwriting duties and, later in 1982, Alan Wilder (keyboards, drums, bass guitar, occasional songwriter) officially joined the band to fill Clarke’s spot, establishing a line up that would continue for the next 13 years. Depeche Mode have been a trio again since 1995, when Wilder left.

The band’s last albums of the 1980s, Black Celebration and Music for the Masses, established them as a dominant force on the mainstream electronic music scene. A highlight of this era was the band’s concert at the Pasadena Rose Bowl, where they drew a crowd in excess of 70,000 people. In the new decade, Depeche Mode released Violator, a mainstream success. The subsequent album, Songs of Faith and Devotion, and the supporting Devotional Tour exacerbated tensions within the band to the point where Alan Wilder quit in 1995, leading to intense media and fan speculation that the band would split. Now a trio once again, the band released Ultra in 1997, recorded at the height of Gahan’s near-fatal drug abuse, Gore’s alcoholism and seizures, and Fletcher’s depression. The release of Exciter confirmed Depeche Mode’s willingness to remain together, the subsequent, and very successful, Exciter Tour being their first tour in support of an original album in eight years since the Devotional Tour, although the band had toured in 1998 to support The Singles 86–98 compilation album.

Depeche Mode have had 50 songs in the UK Singles Chart and thirteen top 10 albums in the UK chart; they have sold over 100 million records worldwide.

Spirit is the fourteenth studio album by the English electronic music band Depeche Mode, released on 17 March 2017 through Columbia Records. It was preceded by the single “Where’s the Revolution“.  Spirit is the band’s second album released under Columbia. Depeche Mode recorded it with new producer James Ford.

The Analysis—-

Going Backwards—-With trepidation and excitement, I hit the play button on a long awaited release. The opening strains are very guitar based….little in the way of swirls and synths until the song progresses. Dave Gahan enters with his trademark baritone and gives the song a very bleak feel….aided by the darker than dark lyrics and general lack of optimism. The song speaks vividly to the current times wonderfully well….a nice beginning.

Where’s The Revolution?—-The first proper release from the album, this lead off single is not much brighter in terms of musical landscape or lyrical content. The familiar Depeche Mode synth sounds are here…the gentle ‘creaking’ found in many of their songs. Gahan spreads his words out in long wails……then the song opens up with a huge anthemic chorus that inspires and begs people to pay attention to the things going on around them. This is fantastic…..the train is coming…..get on board!!!

The Worst Crime—-Keyboard based with a gentle and sad vocal at the onset, the musical landscape sounds bleak and naked. The feeling of the song is so stark and lacking any defining synth line…instead the music produces a thick, dark and lonely fog for you to dig your way out of…..not a favorite track…the plodding goes on a bit to long.

Scum—-With a bit of a livelier synth line, Dave enters with a distorted almost Industrial style vocal that is run through a processor. the lyrical content on this entire release is very dark and intense. I wonder who this song could be directed to….this entire album has huge political overtones.

You Move—-Continuing in the same vein as the rest of this release, the strains of this song lack any real musical bright spots…the sound is very layered and dark. The chorus enters and the strains of the synth are a bit livelier…and Gahan has moved into the upper register of his voice….as the track continues it does have bright poppy moments….much needed at this point.

Cover Me—-Filled with a bleak edge to it at the onset, this is airy despite the dark feeling of the lyrics. The synth effects give off a gentle puff of fog as it enters the landscape of the song…Gahan sounds sad and tortured here. The song left me feeling sad and lonely…but somehow hopeful. Really nice.

Eternal—-This comes from the fog with an almost Church like synth line…Gahan sings almost in acapella fashion as the music is so stark and naked. The sadness and intensity of the lyrics and vocals leave me in a less than bright place in my own psyche…Not a favorite track…..a bit too intense.

Poison Heart—-I like this right from the onset…..although the music is full of plodding beats and mundane synth lines, the vocal…delivered at that higher tone gives the song a brighter feel. at some points in the song, the synth lines threaten to become a bit noisy…..how magical. A really great effort from the Kings Of Gloom!

So Much Love—-Jaunty and noisy, this is a nice surprise right out of the gate, Gahan almost struts with his vocal…I can see him now! This is a fantastic track…I predict this could be the second single. The synth lines are excellent…little blips and beeps appear from nowhere and what sounds like a female vocal on the chorus gives the song a nice body. This is a favorite…really great effort.

Poorman—-This has a nice intro sound that hearkens back to the earlier days of the band. Gahan enters again with a vocal that seem a bit manipulated as do the guitars that are heard. This speaks to poverty…the daily grind of street people and the battles they face on a regular basis. This is social awareness put to music. Brilliant.

No More [This Is The Last Time]—-Although this has a dark tone to it, the airy synth line and the big chorus line gives a remarkable life to the song…this is in contention as another single I think. Gahan sounds rested and in the best voice I have heard him in a very long time. This is a truly brilliant, classic Depeche Mode track,

Fail—-Rounding out the proper release with another stark and almost naked rack, Gahan sings in a pleasant croon that tries to belie the meaning and feel of the song. This is dark and leaves you a bit hopeless….question as you do everyday the meaning of our lives…where we have been and where we might end up, Sometimes the ‘croon’ on the vocal makes me think of classic Bowie.

Cover Me [Alt Out]—-A bit more jaunty and synth laden, this is nice. The blips and the beeps that ride over the top of the foggy synth line are really nice…gives the song a much fuller body than the original. with just wisps of the vocal on the song….this is a phenomenal instrumental journey….EXCELLENT!!!

Scum [Frenetic Mix]—-again, this track becomes much livelier in a remixed form. The synth lines like quick, sharp snaps of a whip at your backside. There are times where everything falls away and the song sounds completely naked…but over-all…I love the sound of this…stark yet powerful.

Poison Heart [Tripped Mix]—-Ominous and dense with toy piano sounds introduce the song….Gahan is back with a vocal on this remix,,,sounding even more manipulated and dense then ever. This is layered with coat after coat of the blackest paint you can find. Not a favorite track…but it is pretty true to form.

Fail [Cinematic Mix]—-Full of static and magnificent darkness, the song has these little slivers of light that magically shine through the trees in the deep woods…giving direction and hope. This is wonderfully thick with sound and reverb. A masterful remix.

So Much Love [Machine Mix]—-Again, a bit of a livelier introduction than the original…the song seems stuck on a never ending loop that takes forever to begin. slowly new sounds and wisps of vocal are introduced…but overall…the song is dense in effects and lacks a true brightness. I don’t hate this…but I would pass over it during a casual listen.

**** out of 5

 

 

 

Loudwire.com 2003 Metal Album Of The Year—-Children Of Bodom / Hate Crew Deathroll

Hate Crew Deathroll

Children of Bodom is a melodic death metal band from Espoo, Finland. Formed in 1993, the group currently consists of Alexi Laiho (vocals, lead guitar), Janne Wirman (keyboards), Henkka Seppälä (bass), Jaska Raatikainen (drums) and Daniel Freyberg (rhythm guitar). In total they have released nine studio albums, two live albums, two EPs, two compilation albums and one DVD.

The band’s third studio album, Follow the Reaper, was their first album to receive a Gold certification in Finland, and since then, all seven of the band’s studio albums have acquired the same status. In Finland, Children of Bodom has released three consecutive albums that debuted at number one on Finnish album charts, and has also seen chart positions on the United States Billboard 200.

The band has incorporated many different musical styles, leading critics and fans to label their work as melodic death metal,”extreme power metal“, thrash metalsymphonic black metal, and neoclassical metal. They are one of Finland’s best selling artists of all time with more than 250,000 records sold there alone.

Hate Crew Deathroll is the fourth album by the Finnish melodic death metal band Children of Bodom, released in 2003 under the Century Media label. The album is the final one to feature guitarist Alexander Kuoppala. It was successful both in Europe and the USA, which is demonstrated by the appearance of the “Needled 24/7” music video on MTV2‘s Headbangers Ball. “Needled 24/7” also featured on the heavy metal documentary Metal: A Headbanger’s Journey and the 2012 horror comedy video game Lollipop Chainsaw.

The Analysis—-

Needled 24/7—-Huge and blistering from the very first note, the sway back and forth of the guitar is incredible. The Speed of the onslaught makes me smile inwardly……I needed to hear this today…..the melody line that runs underneath the chaos shows a well constructed song. The vocal is not as extreme as on later releases…but the power and the brutality are in full effect. This is a huge track…loaded with the best of everything.

Sixpounder—-Walls of bass smack you right upside the head as this all begins. There is the vocal I was speaking of….brutal and literally seeping with a venom that makes your ears bleed. The aggression is huge….the bass that drives the song is incredible….but there is that magic melody line that gives everything a structure. This is extreme…in a most fantastic way!

Chokehold [Cocked N’ Loaded]—-With a nice build up to the mayhem, the song has a galloping feel that makes me feel right at home. The vocal comes at you hard…spitting right in your face with a nice mix of clean and guttural voices. This is fantastic….the entire band adds to the chorus….making it larger than life and giving it much more body. Extreme…….and fantastic!

Bodom Beach Terror—-Nice drums and sharp blast of guitars welcome you into the pit as this song takes you on a journey that travels 1000 miles an hour. Never losing the brutal feel of the music nor the structure of the melody line, the talent was written on the wall even now. This is fantastic….the chorus is built for crowd interaction….and I can feel my enthusiasm rise with every blast.

Angels Don’t Kill—-The intro is scary and sounds like a horror movie come to life…..just brilliant. The deep and dank plodding feel of the music makes the track huge. The vocal has a clarity that surprises me…..the slight guitar squeals a promise of things the band would deliver with later releases. This is a fantastic track….full of a foreboding and darkness….but still menacing and intense.

Triple Corpse Hammerblow—-That scream sets the song off to a blistering pace that is fueled by an anger and venom you can’t quite figure out. There are huge blasts…..almost orchestrated and built for audience participation. This is a favorite track of mine…I love the quasi orchestra feel fueled by keyboards…it gives it a huge feel….and the drums……my God….they are blistering.

You’re Better Off Dead—-Deeper in tone and filled with a slight bit of an angrier tone, this is none the less…extreme. The band…sounding so tight…..keeps pace with the vocal rather than vice versa. The lead guitars soar above your head and the entire band joins in on the chorus….built for an audience to lose it’s mind to. This is incredible…powerful….dark and aggressive.

Lil Bloodred Ridin Hood—-With a huge drum intro, we are soon off and running with the pack once again. the bass line and the drums are matched perfectly…while the vocal seems to swim right over all of the aggression with an added layer. This is just too good to be true….have not listened to this in a long time…too long.

Hate Crew Deathroll—-Ending the proper release with the same energy and venom that it began with, you can now pick yourself off the floor and clean up. This was just a promise of the grandiosity to come from the band….but if you need a starter kit…..pick this one!

***** out of 5

 

Loudwire.com 2001 Metal Album Of The Year—-Tool / Lateralus

Lateralus

Lateralus (/ˌlætəˈræləs/[2]) is the third studio album by American rock band Tool. It was released on May 15, 2001 through Volcano Entertainment. The album was recorded at Cello Studios in Hollywood and The Hook, Big Empty Space, and The Lodge, in North Hollywood, between October 2000 and January 2001. David Bottrill, who had produced the band’s two previous releases Ænima and Salival, produced the album along with the band. On August 23, 2005, Lateralus was released as a limited edition two-picture-disc vinyl LP in a holographic gatefold package.

The album debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling more than 555,200 copies in its first week of release. It was certified double platinum by the RIAA on August 5, 2003. On August 30, 2004, the album was certified silver by the BPI. It was also certified platinum in Australia, and double platinum in Canada. The band won the Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for the song “Schism” in 2002. Lateralus was ranked No. 123 on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame‘s “Definitive 200” list.

The Analysis—-

The Grudge—-Kicking off the release with a decidedly Prog feel, the bass heavy intro sends swirls of atmosphere around your head. The vocal enters….and then you get sharp bursts of music followed by atmosphere and then more  sharp blasts. The vocal sounds a bit tortured and filled with a desperation and hurt that is almost painful. There are huge epic moments……I like this….but I just have to admit right out…I’ve never been a big fan.

Eon Blue Apocalypse—-Jangly guitar and a instrumental swirl adds to the dankness of the record here. It is short lived and experimental in sound….one of those famed interludes.

The Patient—-There is no other word for this music than experimental and progressive. Everything seems so layered in different sounds and tones…..you never quite no where the song is going to go. The vocal is classic Alternative in sound….delivered with angst and huge flourishes of expression. I just can’t seem to find any structure to these songs…..there are some brilliant huge elements to the song…which I like. I just wish it all felt like it was meaning something to me personally.

Mantra—-Another odd little interlude that leads us towards…..

Schism—-With what seems to be the centerpiece of this release, the music has little variance from that we have heard thus far. The vocal is much more upfront in the song…with overlays that make it more textured and layered. The whole thing just takes so long to really get started and formulate for me. I don’t hate this…but I will say….Tool has never produced a song I’m in love with. Just not my band I guess….and that is why we are all different.

Parabol—-Odd at the onset and full of desolate sounds and vocals, this is rather haunting and pretty at times. I can tap into the emotional quality of the vocal and the stripped bare instrumentation….but I keep waiting for something more….but I can’t find it. Perhaps I lack taste….lol

Parabola—-And finally the song becomes alive with this built in sequel to the monotony of the previous track. This has a magic melody line that sucked me in right away…I actually rather like this….it has powerful guitars…incredible drums and still maintains the tortured vocal of the previous track. Really nice!

Ticks And Leeches—-A huge drum intro……building and building….filling me with the promise of something grand to become of all of this. The guitars are interesting and then the drums seem to explode…leading you into a journey of a vocal I have never heard from this band. this is pretty stellar…who knew Maynard had it in him to scream like that and deliver lines full of such venom. Pretty good second half of the release for me…I rather like this.

Lateralus—-Returning to the more familiar experimental sounds of earlier tracks, this song seems to take a lifetime to formulate any kind of clear direction. Suddenly huge guitars blast you and you find yourself back in a comfortable range. The vocal comes on the stage….sounding nothing like the last few tracks…..we are again sitting in Alternative-Progressive slop. This is not a favorite……there are high points….but the whole thing is too damn moody for me.

Disposition—-Sounding, at the onset, like everything else mundane on this record. Where is the energy and the vigor…this is all to flat for me…..the guitars are forever and a lifetime to get going….the drums are nowhere…the odd instrumentation rubbing on my cerebellum like a cheese grater. Please…….enough already.

Reflection—-I literally feel empty and without inspiration at this point……there is nothing here that comes close to appealing to me. I could not imagine sitting through an entire concert of this. Really…..and people simply adore this band.

Triad—-Coming back with a bit of steam after the tedious feel of the last few tracks, I still find a lack of inspiration and direction. This is just experimental noise that does nothing for me.

Faalp De Oiad—-I’m done!

**1/2 out of 5