5 More Album Reviews

Goatwhore: Carving Out the Eyes of God
4 out of 5

Sick Music
3.5 out of 5

Texas Hippie Coalition: Pride of Texas
4 out of 5

Fleshgod Apocalypse: Oracles
4.5 out of 5

Hatebreed: For the Lions
3 out of 5

Advertisements

Scoring 14 Albums Bought in 2009

In reverse-chronological order:

Kylesa: Static Tensions
4 out of 5

Mantic Ritual: Executioner
3.5 out of 5

Mastodon: Crack the Skye
4.5 out of 5

Volbeat: Guitar Gangsters & Cadillac Blood
4 out of 5

Lamb of God: Wrath
4 out of 5

The Gaslight Anthem: The ’59 Sound
3 out of 5

Sylosis: Conclusion of an Age
4 out of 5

The Prodigy: Invaders Must Die
3 out of 5

Kings of Leon: Only by the Night
4.5 out of 5

Arise and Ruin: Night Storms Hailfire
4 out of 5

The Bakerton Group: El Rojo
3.5 out of 5

Lily Allen: It’s Not Me, It’s You
3 out of 5

Sepultura: A-lex
2.5 out of 5

Devian: God to the Ill-Fated
3.5 out of 5

2008 Music: The Best & All the Rest

The only album to get 4.5 out of 5 is:

Volbeat: Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil

There were 9 albums which earned 4 out of 5 to round out the top 10 this year:

Ringworm: The Venomous Grand Design

Master: Slaves to Society

Left Lane Cruiser: Bring Yo’ Ass to the Table

36 Crazyfists: The Tide and Its Takers

Divine Heresy: Bleed the Fifth

Testament: The Formation of Damnation

Soulfly: Conquer

Ashes Divide: Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright

Devian: Ninewinged Serpent

The rest:

3.5 out of 5
Unearth: The March
Resurrection: Mistaken for Dead
Mt. Helium: Faces
Krisiun: Southern Storm
Ill Niño: Enigma
Heaven Shall Burn: Iconoclast
Facebreaker: Dead, Rotten and Hungry
Cavalera Conspiracy: Inflikted

3 out of 5
The Sword: Gods of the Earth
Slipknot: All Hope is Gone
Scar Symmetry: Holographic Universe
Rise Against: Appeal to Reason
Opeth: Watershed
Gojira: The Way of All Flesh
Filter: Anthems for the Damned
Enemy of the Sun: Shadows
Bullet for My Valentine: Scream Aim Fire

2.5 out of 5
Puddle of Mudd: Famous
Death Angel: Killing Season

2 out of 5
Me First and the Gimme Gimmes: Have Another Ball
Byzantine: Oblivion Beckons

By far the worst album of the year 1.5 out of 5 goes to:
Meshuggah: ObZen

Succinct Reviews of 5 Albums


Krisiun: Southern Storm
(web, wiki, myspace)
Brazilian death metal
Tight, thick and brutal. More for death metal fans than those of a Cavalera.
3.5

Rise Against: Appeal to Reason
(web, wiki, myspace)
Socially-conscious punk
Good radio-friendly punk that’s nowhere near as awesome as previous 2 releases.
3

Unearth: The March
(web, wiki, myspace)
American metalcore
Good for genre purists. Unmistakeable Killswitch influence.
3.5

Master: Slaves to Society
(web, wiki, myspace)
Throwback death metal
Crappy production on this re-release adds to sheer kick-ass-ocity of this album.
4

Gojira: The Way of All Flesh
(web, wiki, myspace)
Prog/death metal
Very double-kick-tastic, suffers from breakdowns. Some of the downtempo parts are laborious.
3

Volbeat: Rock the Rebel/Metal the Devil

VolbeatWebsite
Wikipedia
Myspace

A couple of weeks ago, Gregg sent me a link; it was a Volbeat video on YouTube. Upon primary inspection, I was confused.

I immediately recognized this tune as a blatant Johnny Cash rip-off. It was obviously a cover of “Folsom Prison Blues”, but without being a cover; it was a Volbeat original. With the knee-jerk “rip-off” judgment in mind, was this all very weird? Or, was it all completely awesome?

I bought the album to find out.

These guys are from Denmark, and they defy categorization. It’s 50s-style rockabilly metal with vocals that ooze the essences of Elvis and Misfits-era Glenn Danzig singing fucked-up, broken English & Danish lyrics, with thrash speed, groove-metal swagger, hardcore breakdowns, and “3-chords and out” punk… all rolled into one. And the production is outstanding.

Verdict: It’s completely awesome.

4.5

Scar Symmetry: Holographic Universe

Scar SymmetryWebsite
Wikipedia
Myspace

This album represents progressive, melodic Swedish death metal, with “death” barely applicable.
This album invents Death Metal Lite with half the calories, half the taste, and half the greasy, unhealthy shit people love.
This album is sometimes brutal.
This album is sometimes catchy.
This album is sometimes too tame.
This album spotlights some really good riffs.
This album features painfully protracted guitar solos.
This album is a bit gotheatrical for my taste at times.
This album is tightly-played and over-produced.
This album is perfect for those who prefer a kinder, gentler metal.

3

Slipknot: All Hope is Gone

SlipknotWebsite
Wikipedia
Myspace

I gave their previous album a 7 out of 10. This review is for the special edition release, which includes 3 bonus tracks.

In an online interview that I read at some point, on some website, somewhere in the ether, lead singer Corey Taylor explains the album title (paraphrased): “All hope is gone… like any hope you [the fans] have of figuring us out is gone.”

Let me help those having trouble: Various songs off previous 3 Slipknot (and 2 Stone Sour) albums, reheated, reshuffled & recorded.

I’m not saying it’s a bad album. It’s as good as you would expect from a collection of dudes my age who come from Iowa. While their technical & musical chops are still evident, they’ve been sapped of the originality that initially drew me in, and made me a fan.

3

Opeth: Watershed

WatershedWebsite
Wikipedia
Myspace

I gave their previous album, “Ghost Reveries”, an 8 out of 10. This review is for the special edition release, which includes 3 additional songs, 2 of which are covers of songs I’ve never heard before. Code word: Roxette. WTF?!

Opeth are: Theatrical death metal. Meandering prog metal. Dangerously close to “experimental”, which isn’t necessarily the best direction for a band. Furious death metal yields to acoustic ballad. Beautiful crooning gives way to explosive, dirty groove death. These unexpected transitions take a while to manifest; most songs are at least 7 minutes long.

It’s all quite operatic. But, it’s an acquired taste… one I’m not sure I fully buy into yet. I was ready to try after “Ghost Reveries”, but not so much anymore.

3

Soulfly: Conquer

ConquerWebsite
Wikipedia
Myspace

I gave their previous album, “Dark Ages”, an 8 out of 10. This review is for the digipak which includes 5 additional tracks, 2 of which are live from a show in Poland, and 2 are covers of Marilyn Manson’s “Beautiful People” and Bad Brains’ “Sailin’ On”.

The first song, “Blood Fire War Hate”, features guest vocals by David Vincent. I would like to take this opportunity to remind you that Morbid Angel fucking sucks. But don’t hold it against this release.

The production on this album is superb. Thick black tar blasting breakneck thrash out of your speakers like a fire hose. Artificial harmonics abound, and these guys aren’t afraid of a guitar solo, which seems to have recently fallen out of style.

Cavalera slips a few eclectic elements into the release including a reggae-inspired outro, and a bit that sounds as if it came from Istanbul. Despite their contrast with the gestalt album’s chugging brutality, none of these seems out of place.

There are a couple of weak tunes on this album, but overall it kicks serious ass. One final note: The live version of “Jumpdafuckup/Bring It” is one of the best live tracks I’ve ever heard. It’s fast and thumpy, followed by a slower reggae interlude, and ends in a manner that’d violently eviscerate pop music fans everywhere. It begs to be played on constant repeat at deafening volume.

4

Me First and the Gimme Gimmes: Have Another Ball

Website
Wikipedia
Myspace

I’ve been an evangelical fan of the Gimme Gimmes for a long time, thanks to Joe Darin’s recommendation back in the day.

Same ol’ schtick. Punk-style covers of old 60s and 70s tunes. Unlike the majority of their previous releases… they sound like they’re not even trying on this one. Maybe it’s because I’m not as familiar with the songs covered on the release, but it just sounds like they phoned it in.

Their show we saw at Black Cat is among my all-time favorites. This album is not. I’m somewhat heartbroken.

2