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

Nightwish / Decades

Decades

Nightwish is a symphonic metal band from KiteeFinland. The band was formed in 1996 by lead songwriter and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen, guitarist Emppu Vuorinen, and former lead singer Tarja Turunen. The band soon picked up drummer Jukka Nevalainen, and then bassist Sami Vänskä after the release of their debut album, Angels Fall First (1997). In 2001, Vänskä was replaced by Marco Hietala, who also took over the male vocalist role previously filled by Holopainen or guest singers.

Although Nightwish have been prominent in their home country since Angels Fall First, they did not achieve worldwide fame until the release of the albums Oceanborn (1998), Wishmaster (2000) and Century Child (2002). Their 2004 album, Once, has sold more than one million copies and was the band’s breakthrough in the United States. Their biggest US hit single, “Wish I Had an Angel” (2004), received MTV airplay and was included on three US film soundtracks to promote their North American tour. The band produced three more singles and two music videos for Once, as well as a re-recording of “Sleeping Sun” for the “Best of Nightwish” compilation album, Highest Hopes (2005), before Turunen’s dismissal in October 2005. Her last performance with Nightwish was during a concert recorded for the live album/DVD End of an Era. After the concert, the other members informed Turunen with an open letter that she was no longer a member of Nightwish.

In May 2007, Nightwish announced Anette Olzon as Turunen’s replacement. That September, the band released their sixth album, Dark Passion Play, which has sold almost 2 million copies. The album’s lead single, “Amaranth“, became one of Nightwish’s most successful in Europe. The supporting tour, one of the band’s largest, started on October 6, 2007 and ended on September 19, 2009. The band released an EP/live album, Made in Hong Kong (And in Various Other Places), in March 2009 as a CD/DVD, and their seventh studio album, Imaginaerum, was released globally on various days in late 2011/early 2012.

On October 1, 2012, Nightwish announced that they had parted ways with Olzon and would be finishing the tour with ReVamp and former After Forever vocalist Floor JansenIn October 2013, Nightwish made Jansen and longtime session uillean pipes player Troy Donockley permanent members of the band, and they were featured in the acclaimed album Endless Forms Most Beautiful, released on March 27, 2015.

Nightwish is the third-best-selling band and musical entity in Finland with certified sales of nearly 900,000 certifiedcopies. The group is also the most successful Finnish band worldwide, selling more than 9 million records and receiving more than 60 gold and platinum awards, having released five Number 1 albums and thirteen Number 1 singles.

Decades is the seventh compilation album from Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish, and contains remastered versions of the original material. It was released on March 9, 2018, which is the same day that they began touring for the Decades: World Tour.

The Analysis—-

The Greatest Show On Earth—-Wow….what can you really say about this epic piece of music? Please note that this ‘song’ clocks in at a whopping 24 minutes in length and plays like a modern day symphony piece. This has complete movements and moods….as the music takes you through a complete set of emotions. The strings and the urgent pace of the underlying music is just fantastic. The song truly plays like a movie soundtrack to me. The vocal that finally erupts at about 6 minutes is not as you would expect if you are a follower of the band…although it does clear and becomes much more clear and epic as it continues. The song…once you get to the meat of the damn thing is addictive as hell. The nice mix between the clean and the rougher vocals keeps your attention. This is epic-ally brilliant.

Elan—-With a brilliant and immediately recognizable intro, the flute that begins the entire thing is just perfect. There is a wonderful mix of metal and beauty all mixed in here together. You would never think such a thing would work…but it does…and brilliantly well. The vocal wraps around your head…while the music gives you a huge energetic boost. This is masterful.

My Walden—-With a huge almost pop inspired intro, the guitars sing in an upward arc that sucks your brain in from the first note. The music settle to allow for the vocal….and then comes right back at you as the chorus smacks your forehead and settles in for a day or so. This recipe works so well…..Tarja was brilliant…..and continues to be so.
Storytime—-Airy and wonderfully constructed, the keyboard ushers in guitars and drums that take the song to a faster and bit heavier sound. The music stays strong despite the entrance of the ‘pretty’ vocal…..the song still comes across as muscular and driving. The voice just soars with a melody of the chorus that is instantly devoured. the strings are incredible…perfectly mixed with huge guitars to create a curtain that you have never seen hanging before…..just brilliant.
I Want My Tears Back—-With Tuomas offering the entrance vocal, the music has a slight bagpipe sound to it that is accessible and addictive. Sometimes the vocal is almost too pretty…..suffering at time like Kate Bush did on some of her recordings. The chorus is huge…full of muscular crashes and guitars and more vocals from Tuomas. This is brilliant when they combine the voices…something I wish they did more often in the early days.
Amaranth—-What can I say about this track that I have not already said. It has had a long life…and still stands the test of time for me. The vocal is so strong and well delivered…matched perfectly with the aggression of the guitars. The combination that this band managed to develop is just remarkable. This is a track that will always be a favorite of mine…especially when the vocal switch happens and the tracks takes on an even more meal direction…this is magical.
The Poet And The Pendulum—-Seeming to meld from the previous track, this is epic in scope and length…..at over 13 minutes long. The track is layered and full of movements that lull you into a dreamy state as you find it easy to become one with the song. This is remarkably well done. I love the swells of the strings…the urgency of the music….the epic soundtrack feel to the symphonic feel. This is brilliance on a piece of plastic to enjoy forever. I love this band.
Nemo—-Another instantly recognizable tracks that will live for a very long time. The voice is like no other…delivered with beauty and practice….the ability to wrap itself around aggression but still remain beautiful is simply amazing. Even though there is all this stuff happening in the backdrop of the song….the voice literally rides on top of everything and remains true…crystal clear and full of beauty. What a band!
Wish I Had An Angel—-Perhaps the most ‘famous’ Nightwish song, this never gets old or sounds aged. I literally love this track to death. This was my introduction to the band and I have never stopped collecting them since then This strikes a chord with me. It combines beauty and power magically well….and still plays like it is brand new to me. A perfect blend of vocals with Tuomas adding in a rougher edge to the song….allows it to become huge. This is brilliant.
Ghost Love Score—-Brilliant in scope…a nice jaunty and masterful intro full of bright strings and swells……matched by a muscular guitar delivery creates a perfect storm. The song takes a nice turn…becoming a bit more metal before falling away for the almost too sweet vocal. But the chorus…a band effort….escalates the song to new highs again. This is fabulous.
Slaying The Dreamer—-Much more Metal right at the onset, this is big and a bit boisterous for this entity. The vocal is even lacking that pretty edge…sounding a bit more aggressive and driving. This is fantastic….the moods come and go…..but you never lose the urgency of the song. This is really nice…I love the great guitars. Tuomas makes this a great freakin track
End Of All Hope—-Beginning like a huge epic symphony movement of voices and sounds, the guitars enter and turn the track into a literal masterpiece. Again, sometimes the voice is almost too pretty for the huge and muscular delivery from the band…but somehow, they always manage to settle things out in the aftermath and deliver a masterpiece of a song. This is a well oiled machine that never seems to fail.
10th Man Down—-Creaking ship sounds and atmosphere take you right into the heart of the song. The music builds slowly…giving you a sense of anticipation….and the entire thing becomes the rhythmic Metal kind of thing. I don’t really care for the vocal here….but it is passable. The chorus vocal is almost drowned out by the aggressive music…perhaps a production misstep…..but still great none the less.
The Kingsslayer —-A nice return to the epic and huge Nightwish sound, the guitars are literally blazing on this joint. There is an urgency and speed to the music that is perfect for me. Even the vocal comes at you as if in an emergency situation. This is a huge song….delivered with perfection and emotion that keeps you on the edge of your seat with energy. Wonderful.
Dead Boy’s Poem—-I hate to say it…but I have to…..there is nothing about this track that inspires or moves me. I’m not really even sure why it is on here…this is not a shining moment for the band…in mu opinion….I remain unmoved.
Gethsemane—-Blazing back with this keyboard heavy track, there is a perfect combination between the keys and the guitars….with the vocal soaring over your head. Again…there is a nice urgency and muscularity to the song….it is full of driving riffs and excellent drums. a perfect storm once again blows from the homeland.
Devil & The Deep Dark Ocean—-Large in sound and filled with driving drums that are just incredible. The male vocal that begins the entire thing is in such sharp contrast that it puts me off a bit. I’m really not into the evil sound of the vocal…it puts me off a bit…sounds more like German Industrial than my beloved band.
Sacrament Of Wilderness—-Here we have a ice return to the more familiar……upfront keyboards and incredible drums…..a huge guitar line that drives the song to new heights…..a vocal that literally soars above your head….it all comes together to create an epic composition….and there I go….in love once again.
Sleeping Sun—-Beautifully constructed and moody, I love this. The vocal is so well delivered…filling you with epic emotions. there is a nice double tracking on the voice that gives the song an even more full bodied sound. This is really nice…..the swells of music suck you into a daze that allows you to daydream and catch every single word at the same time.
Elevenpath—-Beginning a bit dark and mysterious, the song becomes epic with huge guitars and barely a string or oboe to be heard. The vocal…delivered in a deeper tone is really nice…this plays like some huge fairy tale that takes place in the deep forest……oh those foreigners….lol.
The Carpenter—-This takes a bit to get used to…but settles into your brain with remarkable ease. The blend of voices add a new dimension to the song….the low male vocal sounds like an Alternative band from the 90’s…the the chorus hits and everything opens up….this is perfect.
Nightwish [Demo]—-For a demo, it is apparent the vision of the band and of Toumas was clear….because of course he is the true leader of the band without any doubt. the stripped down feel is very nice and leaves me only wanting even more new materail from the band. This has been an epic journey for me….I remain…truly in love with this band.
*****out of 5

Ministry / AmeriKKKant

AmeriKKKant

Ministry is an American industrial metal band, founded in 1981 by Al Jourgensen in Chicago, Illinois. Originally a synth-pop outfit, Ministry shifted its style to become one of the pioneers of industrial metal in the mid-to-late 1980s. The band’s lineup has gone through many changes throughout its history, with Jourgensen remaining the only constant as the band’s main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist. Notable musicians who have contributed to the band’s studio or live activities include Paul BarkerMartin AtkinsBill RieflinChris ConnellyNivek OgreMike ScacciaRey WashamPaul RavenTommy VictorJason ChristopherTony CamposMonte PittmanBurton C. Bell and DJ Swamp.

Ministry found mainstream success in the late 1980s and early 1990s with three of their studio albums: The Land of Rape and Honey(1988), The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989) and Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs (1992), with the former of the two certified gold and the latter certified platinum by the RIAA. The 1996 follow-up album, Filth Pig, was also critically acclaimed but did not repeat the success of its predecessors; the album did, however, earn Ministry its highest chart position on the Billboard 200, peaking at number nineteen. The band has been nominated for six Grammy Awards, and performed at several notable music festivals, including participating in the second annual Lollapalooza tour in 1992 and co-headlining Big Day Out in 1995.

Ministry was dissolved in 2008 after 27 years of recording and performing, and Jourgensen had since stated that they would never reunite. However, the band announced a reunion in August 2011, and has released three more studio albums since then: Relapse(2012), From Beer to Eternity (2013) and AmeriKKKant (2018).

AmeriKKKant is the fourteenth studio album by industrial metal band Ministry, which was released on March 9, 2018. It is their first release on Nuclear Blast, and marked the longest gap between studio albums in the group’s entire career; at five years, following From Beer to Eternity (2013). AmeriKKKant is also the first Ministry album without guitarist Mike Scaccia since The Last Sucker (2007); Scaccia died in 2012 but appeared posthumously on From Beer to Eternity.

The Analysis—-

I Know Words—-Would you expect anything less than a Trump sample to open this release…of course not. Al remains as outspoken and political as ever. This is a clear poke at the disaster presidency that America finds itself involved in. This is a bit sparse as far as instrumentation goes…..perhaps setting the mood for the onslaught to come. The vocal samples are wonderfully done and intermixed to form full radical sentences….Brilliant!

Twilight Zone—-With even more trump vocal samples, the music is a bit beefier here and filled with a bit more urgency. While noisy and erratic, this still lacks a bit of power for me. Al finally makes a vocal appearance….sounding less maniacal and a bit pushed to the back of the mix. This does have that nice genuine Industrial sound of days gone by…all in all…not to bad. The point is being made!

Victims Of A Clown—-Melding from the previous track seamlessly, this begins a bit sedate and with strains of Circus music…get the message? Clocking in at over 8 minutes, this takes a very long time to get started. Once the bass heavy music kicks in, the song takes a really nice shape. The lack of urgency on this release is very noticeable though….it used to be Al would rant solid for an entire hour on a release…this just seems a bit uninspired. The ‘chorus’ is nice and muscular….and tings get a bit damn noisy for a bit….like the old days.

Tv 5/4 Chan—-This brief 40 second interlude is a barrage of gunshots, TV sound bites and serves to usher in….

We’re Tired Of It—-This is more like what I have been waiting for on this release….a huge barrage of urgency….aggression and released energy set to a blistering pace. The vocal is louder and more up front….everything smacks you right in the face. The growls and yells are classic…I really needed this.

Wargasm—-Layered once again with sound bite samples and almost undistinguished vocals, the track clears up a bit to allow for the vocal. Burton C. Bell adds vocals to the chorus ala Fear Factory style…giving the album at this point a much needed breath of fresh air. This is a favorite of mine..if just for the clear and concise chorus vocal alone.

Antifa—-Powerful and featuring a driving bass line, this is another favorite track of mine. This again, takes me back to the glory days of the band when they were kings of the Industrial 90’s. This is thick…dense and has a pulsating programmed line that really comes alive in the second bar….driving the song to a new height. This is really nice. A brilliant track…though the vocals still seem really buried underneath everything.

Game Over—-After the previous track, this comes across as a ghost of a song at the onset. There is a nice melody line that travels through the song and makes it a bit more accessible. Of course, the song is full of soundbites from various generals…..and of course THE DONALD…..the layers of music that float over the melody line is pretty unique…..I don’t hate this.

AmeriKKKa—-Ending this release with a track that begins sounding more like a metal song, there are some nice elements along the way. I wish Al had more presence of mind to move his vocals up in these tracks…it sounds like he phoned in everything instead of actually participated. I like the slow, plodding sabbath style bass line…..it gives the track a doom filled atmosphere that appeals to me.

*** 1/2 out of 5

 

Editors / Violence

Violence

Editors are an English rock band, formed in 2002 in Birmingham. Previously known as PilotThe Pride and Snowfield, the band currently consists of Tom Smith (lead vocals, guitar, piano), Russell Leetch (bass guitar, synthesizer, backing vocals), Ed Lay (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Justin Lockey (lead guitar), and Elliott Williams (keys, synthesizers, guitars, and backing vocals).

Editors have so far released two platinum studio albums, and six in total, with several million combined sales. Their debut album The Back Room was released in 2005. It contained the hits “Munich” and “Blood” and the following year received a Mercury Prize nomination.

Their follow-up album An End Has a Start went to number 1 in the UK Album Chart in June 2007 and earned the band a Brit Awards nomination for best British Band. It also spawned another Top 10 hit single, “Smokers Outside the Hospital Doors“. The band’s third album, In This Light and on This Evening, was released in October 2009 and went straight to number 1 in the UK Album Chart. The band released their fourth studio album, The Weight of Your Love, in July 2013, followed by self-produced In Dream in October 2015.

Alongside their critical acclaim and strong success in the charts, Editors have consistently enjoyed sold-out tours and numerous headlining festival slots. Their brand of dark indie rock is commonly compared to the sound of bands such as Echo & the BunnymenJoy DivisionInterpolThe Chameleons and U2.

Violence is the sixth studio album from British recording group Editors. It was released on 9 March 2018 by PIAS Recordings.

The Analysis—-

Cold—-Full of atmosphere, the music wraps around the vocal remarkably well. This sounds so much like Ian McCullough, I had to double check the release title! The song becomes a bit more full bodied…but the underlying density stays puts and leaves you feeling sad and elated at the same moment. This is incredible.

Hallelujah [So Low]—-Shedding the more familiar sound of the previous track, this has a nice electronic edge to it that gives a full bodied and electric feel to the song. The noise becomes incredible during the second bar…a huge barrage of sound that threatens your headphones…then settles and returns again. A nice unexpected surprise here.

 

Violence—-A slight ambiance to the intro….the vocal is a nice mix of Ian and Bono…..perfectly in sync with the music and the instrumental mood. Delivering some sharp burst of noise here and there, the quality of the song still remains intact. This is dark…but not as dark as Editors of yesteryear. I still manage to fully embrace every release from these blokes though.

Darkness At The Door—-Again, there is a level of layered noise…but a jangly U2 style music that still remains accessible to long time fans. The vocal seems pushed to the back of the song…I would have preferred it much more i the front of the mix. I don’t dislike this release……but it seems a bit uninspired to me standing next to previous releases.

Nothingness—-A bit more sedate and still, the vocal again brings Ian to my mind and makes me really miss Echo And The Bunnymen. This has a really nice sound to it….perhaps my favorite track thus far…it is full of angst….hurt and melancholy…as well as a powerful accessible instrumentation. I really like this.

Magazine—-Atmospheric and a bit odd at the onset, I keep waiting for the song to truly develop…..as the chorus opens up…it does. The song becomes larger and more accessible….full of a rhythmic line that sucks me in. The vocal…still a bit removed from the front of the song still manages to be powerful. This is nice.

No Sound But The Wind—-Now this…..this takes me back to the beginning sounds of the band when they first began. This is remarkably stark and naked….stripped down and allowing the emotional music and vocal to form the song without a bunch of extra additives. This is just brilliant…a true masterpiece of a song.

Counting Spooks—-Layered and delivered exquisitely, this is again….a song that puts me right where I wanted to be when hearing this release. This is incredible…reminding me of when this band first hit my ears. This is brilliant….I love the consistent sound…all of that earlier noise was not necessary.

Belong—-An odd….drip drip drip of an intro, the beginning of the song is naked and stripped bare of effects and consistent instrumentation. The vocal is deeper and darker….strings wrap around it and show promise of the dark epic qualities of the track. This is classic sounding Editors…I love the naked and vulnerable sound of the whole thing. As the song develops….it becomes a bit noisier and a bit convoluted…but over all this is fantastic. A huge sad affair.

**** out of 5

Judas Priest / Firepower

Firepower

Firepower is the 18th studio album by British heavy metal band Judas Priest. It is the first studio album since 1988’s Ram It Down to be produced by Tom Allom, and the first one with Andy Sneap as co-producer. Music videos were made for “Lightning Strike” and “Spectre”.

The Analysis—-

Firepower—-A pure classic introduction here, carrying the trademark Priest sound in every single note. The guitars are blistering and the drums sound better than I have heard in years. What can be said about Halford and his vocal…this is a 66 yr. old man who defies age and ability. I have not heard him sound this powerful since Painkiller….this is just brilliant!

Lightning Strikes—-With another powerful intro, the band is off and running with a rhythmic driving guitar line that makes the track sound monstrous. The trademark vocal…full of screeching overdubs is just incredible. Faulkner has added a new life and dimension to the band and it is all over tracks like these. Halford always amazes…..there is nothing weak about this….not one note is out of place.

 

Evil Never Dies—-With a more classic 80’s sound to the intro, Priest refuses to deliver even one weak track on this release. Halford delivers a vocal that seems a bit more comfortable as it begins….but develops into a slight demonic scream. The twin guitar sound is huge and boisterous. This is just classic in every sense of the word. There is even a slight bluesy feel to the track….really nice.

Never The Heroes—-A staccato and almost airy intro slowly introduces a wall of guitar sound that is dense and complicated.  The drums are so present on this release…..and Halford, despite his powerful vocal…allows every member of the band to shine in their own right. The chorus is a huge addictive thing that is built for huge arena shows and a sing a long from the crowd. Fantastic!

Necromancer—-Bolstered by the huge wall of guitar sound, the band is playing blistering fast and so incredibly tight. This has a nice slight evil twist to it….made even more intense by the fantastic double tracking that Halford manages to produce in the studio. This is just classic in every sense of the word. Priest has not sounded this good in years.

Children Of The Sun—-A higher tuned guitar intro and a slow plodding pace at the onset you are set up for the Nostradamus type vocal from Halford that is delivered here. The amazing thing…you can catch every single word that Halford passes along to you. The chorus finds either band participation or a perfectly back tracked vocal that makes the song even larger. This has moodiness…power…melancholy and aggression. Perfect.

Guardians—-A nice surprise as a gentle piano/keyboard ushers in the song….filled with an airy atmosphere that is layered with moodiness and beauty. The guitars…in the backdrop soar with beauty and the drums usher in….

Rising From The Ruins—-Still carrying some of the moodiness from the guardian interlude, this again reminds me of something from Nostradamus….An album that I literally adore. I love when Halford sings in that dramatic quasi-theatrical style. This is powerful….musically dense…vocally sonic.

Flame Thrower—-Returning to full on blistering Metal that is slight in blues…full of powerful guitar chords and led behind the scenes by incredible drumming. Halford sounds incredible…singing in an acceptable lower range that is still full of power and vitality. The ability of this band to still deliver after all of these years is literally amazing. I am stunned by this release!

Spectre—-Somewhat of an odd intro, quickly falls away to the classic powerhouse sound of the Priest machine. The guitars…down-tuned a bit…are just a literal wall of powerful sound. Halford enunciates every single word in a classic well delivered vocal style. I love everything about this. Atmospheric in a sense…full of power in another.

Traitors Gate—-Slowing things down…allowing for a bit of a respite…excellent song placement….the song quickly sheds it’s mellow sound and becomes a huge devouring serpent head that wants to snap your neck. The guitars are blistering…full of sharp blasts that just swallow you up. The drums gallop as fast as the vocal lines from Halford. The chorus, addictive as hell will live in your head for days. just remarkable.

No Surrender—-What can I say…..this finds a perfect place on this release…delivering a modern yet somehow classic Priest sound. This is as sing a long as anything Priest has ever released. The crowds will go wild for this track….the remarkable melody line is unforgettable and wraps around the front of your brain. Halford hits some exquisite notes that will live forever.

Lone Wolf—-Dense and thick at the very onset, this becomes a huge guitar swaying bluesy affair that is classic. Halford delivers line after line of lyrics that are understandable and crystal clear. This is remarkable…the quality as the release continues just seems to get better and better. This is terrific.

Sea Of Red—-Ending this release…far to soon, the Priest machine gives us a thoughtful track that just leaves you wanting more and more. Halford delivers a mournful vocal that leaves you sad and full of a melancholy. The theatrical quality of his vocal….it is just incredible. The chorus of the song is HUGE and will play live so very well. This should be single material…it will play well on any Modern-Rock radio station. The Priest is BACK!!!!

***** out of 5