Thursday, May 3, 2012

Stick To Your Guns - Diamond (2012)

1. "Diamond"  2.25
2. "Against Them All"  3:18
3. "Such Pain"  2:38
4. "The Bond"  2:37
5. "We Still Believe"  3:34
6. "Ring Loud (Last Hope)"  2:59
7. "Empty Heads"  2:55
8. "Beyond The Sun"  4:17
9. "Life In A Box”  1:29
10. "Bringing You Down"  3:52
11. "D(i am)ond"  1:45
12. "Built Upon The Sand"  2:44
13. "Just Like Me"  3:03
(Genre – Hardocre)
(Label – Sumerian Records)


  Stick To Your Guns is one of these bands that despite their honest and straightforward style they have managed to be unique, recognizable and have their own sound. And it's amazing how they remain loyal to their genre and they still manage to attract a wide audience. It only remains to be seen if "Diamond" keeps that tendency alive. 

  I can't really hide my excitement  about this album. I'm trying to find words that don't praise the album much, but i'm having major difficulties. This album simply KICKS ASS. By hearing song #1 you are overwhelmed by this powerful feeling like you are walking into huge throne room. The passion this guy sings this album's songs including the one mentioned,  is admirable. The lyrics are heartfelt and never do they try to get across a message in an extreme way, fact that is an example to be followed by other bands with religious or anthropological lyrical concepts.Overall, the lyrical quality and creativity sure is there.

  Taking a look at the music, there are no bad songs in this album. Seriously, there aren't. While there are some more memorable such as "Against Them All" And "We Still believe"  There are catchy tunes that are well done like "Bringing You Down " and "Beyond The Sun". There are uptempo songs like "Empty Heads" or "Built Upon Sand (which reminds me a lot of Comeback Kid) and even a song that just makes you stand in awe in "Ring Loud". Everything is played as should without over the top performances from any band member, and that works great giving meaning to the word "band". The mix is outstanding and helps a lot tapping the potential each and every song in this album has, while giving the instruments just enough space to give their individual flavor to the songs. I just couldn't catch my self being bored while listening to it.  It's raw when it needs to be. It's aggressive when it needs to be, it's melodic when it needs to be, and it sure as hell can get catchy at certain points. All in good balance, and all well done.

  If you're a fan of the band or/and this genre you wont be disappointed. If not, the chances of becoming a fan after listening to this album are too damn high, such as the awesomeness factor of this record. I have to repeat, pay attention to the lyrics and the messages they try to get across. It's fuckin great work. Diamond is a proper name for this album.  It's a must have for fans of the genre.
Go hit Sumerian Records and buy a copy!
Notable Songs : Against The World, We Still Believe, Ring Loud (Last Hope)   

8 1/2 /10

Monday, April 23, 2012

Emmure - Slave To The Game (2012)

1. "Insert Coin"   0:30
2. "Protoman"  3:17
3. "She Gave Her Heart To Deadpool"  2:47
4. "I Am Onslaught"  3:01
5. "Bison Diaries"  2:44
6. "Poltergeist"  0:57
7. "Crossover Attack"  3:14
8. "Umar Dumps Dormammu"  2:48
9. "Blackheart Reigns”  2:59
10. "MDMA"  3:27
11. "War Begins With You"  2:53
12. "A.I."  3:19
(Genre –Hardcore/Deathcore)
(Label – Victory Records)


  Say what you want about Emmure, you probably wont say anything I haven't already said so. The binary code guitar tabs, the nonexistent lyrical depth, Palmeri's obsession with his ex girlfriends and no matter if you hate Emmure or not, those jokes are there for a reason. BUT Emmure have built up a huge fanbase over the years that is consistent and supportive. This fanbase is also there a for a reason. They have put out some pretty solid albums on their early discography. Therefore Emmure has ended up being one of the most controversial bands in their scene. And this album doesn't help clearing the situation up at all if you ask me.

  My expectations after the previous album were not high. I was disappointed by the lack of consistency they showed on Speaker Of The Dead. Most songs were 1-2 minutes long and they were boring and uninteresting, so I expected the same shit here. Lets see If Slave To The Game proved me wrong.

  So after the "Insert Coin" intro that is pretty self explanatory, Protoman kicks In. OK, if you are a Fear Factory fan, you all had the same reaction as me, lets face it. BUT, if you can get out of you mind that you're listening to Shock's groovy rip off, it is a pretty solid track and a great album opener. so automatically and spontaneously, without you ever realizing it, your expectations are restored.
In this album Emmure give you what they always did so far. Groove, chug breakdowns then more groove and more chug breakdowns. Mark Castillo's addition (ex-Bury Your Dead, Between The Buried and Me) helped a lot in the endeavor of making that recipe successful once again, but that wasn't enough. Most of the songs are generic and shallow (although shallow is a word usually connected with Emmure's lyrics) and downtuning the guitars even more wasn't the brightest move because the riffs now sound muddy compared to all the previous albums and it really didn't give massiveness to the guitars or anything. Lets talk about the chug breakdowns. They do use them a lot. And I mean, A LOT. I know this is Emmure and that's to be expected from them, but you can't bypass the fact it gets really frustrating cause there are songs in this album that had potential such as "Crossover Attack"  and "War Begins With You" but those fuckin chug breakdowns keep popping up to the point it becomes annoying. Seriously, if I had to take a tequila shot each time I wrote down the word "Chug" and "Breakdown" In the notes I kept for that review, I would be wasted by track #7. Also, the pitch shift pedal on guitars (check Pantera's  "Becoming" to get a hint on what that is) is also used alot . Boy do they love that one. As a guitarist, I love that effect too, but Emmure fucking squeezes the shit out of it on this album. Now that's not necessarily bad, but I think it tends to become a bit overused with each album they put out. The vocals are typical Palmeri vocals whatever that means. Personally I like 'em. They don't display the amount of emotion they used to but they are still pretty solid. The drumming is as good as it gets in an Emmure record. All I can say is that Mark Castillo proves his reputation once more. They lyrics are pretty ummm "basic" but definitely improved.
Despite the overall genericness this album features, there are some pretty bright moments like "I am Onslaught" which is amazing, and "MDMA" which had me shouting "YES, FUCKIN FINALLY". The reason was it reminds me of good ol' Emmure's moledic songs like "Chicago's Finest" "Don't Be One" "Sleeping Princess In Devil's Castle" etc. This song Is an oasis in this record which had Frankie finally put some emotion in his vocals.

  Overall this album has no terrible songs like the previous one had, but most of them lie in mediocrity, excluding the ones I mentioned earlier. And unfortunately It did not prove me wrong. I love to hate Emmure, but I just can't. I want them to put out albums like the first two again because I enjoyed those. With Slave To The Game, they go even further from sounding like the fist albums and they seem to begin coming short on ideas. This album had potential. Unfortunately that potential never really tapped. Hopefully these guys will get back on track and shut some trash-talking mouths, including mine.
Notable Songs : Protoman, I Am Onslaught, MDMA   


Monday, April 16, 2012

MyChildren MyBride - MyChildren MyBride (2012)

1. "Morpheus (Intro)"   1:35
2. "On Wings Of Integrity Pt.II"  2:47
3. "Anathema"  4:21
4. "God Of Nothing"  4.16
5. "The Endless"  4.46
6. "SAMCRO"  3.42
7. "Dreamcatchers"  3.51
8. "Black Cloud"  3.32
9. "Hell Or High Water”  3.27
10. "Observer"  3.24
11. "No One Listens, No One Cares" 3.51
(Genre –Metalcore)
(Label – Solid State Records)

  "Keep it simple, Keep it fresh". If I had to give a motto to describe what MyChildren MyBride tried to do on this album, that would be it. In a period where metalcore bands tend to over-complicate things with super technical guitar riffs, odd time signatures, electro-techno-dubstep parts, MyChildren MyBride take a turn in the other direction. Raw, honest metalcore. Is that enough to make a good record though?

  You don't have to go late into the album to figure out what you're getting into. The obvious and first thing to notice is the band's change of style since the first album. Their first release was fast and melodic while this one is a lot more hardcore influenced. You get constant The Ghost Inside hints, lots and lots of 2-step riffs, catchy gang chant choruses and of course, a shitload of breakdowns. Now don't get me wrong, the breakdowns are good, but they seem overused, kinda forced and sometimes out of place.
This album has some pretty strong moments like "Anathema" or "Black Cloud". some pretty catchy tunes like "SAMCRO" or "No One Listens, No One Cares" then some downtempo songs like "The Endless" and "God Of Nothing" where they seem to experiment a bit with the vocals ending up sounding like Jonathan Davis(!). To my surprise it seems to work quite well.
While this release has some pretty strong moments and good songs, it always feels it's a step back from where the band wanted it to be. By trying to make their style more simple and straightforward, they walked into a trap where they started lacking originality. SAMCRO could be a "The Ghost Inside" song
while almost every song in the album reminds you of another band's style. The only things that stand out and make this band recognizable on this album are the vocals and the album production. Both amazing in their way. The production made by "Machine" who has a ton of successful works under his belt and "MyChildren MyBride" is no different, while the vocals are passionate and well performed. The guitarwork and drumwork is quite simple, by they serve their purpose , keeping the album groovy and giving space to the vocals where needed.
  Overall this is not a bad album. If you invest your time in it, it wont let you down and some of the songs included, you'll love. To its credit, it's safe to say it's a grower or at least it worked as a grower for me . But it always seems to lack something, the originality and personality is just not there, some of the songs are catchy but not catchy enough. Some parts are memorable, but not memorable enough.  It's just another decent metalcore record. If that's what has been missing from your ears lately, I would suggest checking it out.
Notable Songs : Anathema, The Endless,
No One Listens No One Cares    


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Slice The Cake - The Man With No Face (2012)

1. "Intro"   1:36
2. "Rational Thinking, Logical
 Future"  2:23
3. "City Of Ghosts"  4:06
4. "Time Unwinding"  5:39
5. "Of Gallows"  7:56
6. "As Written In Pnakotus"  5:59
7. "Promethean"  5:56
8. "Equilibrium"  6:16
9. "The Chasm”  5:32
10. "The Man With No Face"  21:08

(Genre –Progressive Death Metal/Deathcore)
(Label – Unsigned)

  Remember that little deathcore band back in 2010, with the silly little name and the kinda generic sounding EP? Doesn’t matter actually.  You won’t even care about what the band has put out before or if the name sounds childish after you feast your ears with this album.
  Slice The Cake is a band consisted of 3 members which live in three different countries. Jonas Johansson (Guitars, Programming & Production) from Sweden, Gareth Edwards (Vocals) from England and Jack Richardson (Bass) from Australia. Not impressed? Well if you get to listen to the job they’ve done on this album while living so far apart, you will be. This record is just incredible on every level, either it’s from a compositional creativity, musicianship, or mix and production standpoint.
  I don’t want to talk about the album track by track because I see it as a 67min long song, so I will try to sum up my impressions keeping track references to a minimum.
  The general tone of the album is aggressive, melodic and really fast, with lots of orchestral parts. All of the songs have something to say and they sound like they were written to succeed one another. You meet so many cinematic elements in it, It keeps giving you the impression it was written to accompany a spectacle of some kind. The vocals are great. Both growls and cleans (that can be heard on some songs) are just breathtaking. The growls remind me a bit of Phil Bozeman, while the cleans have an Akerfeldt/Tom Giles tone to them but without ever being overused, like everything on this album.  The drum programming is top notch and they did a pretty good job of making it sound as less VSTish as possible. To be fair though, there are some moments were the album tends to tire ears that are not used in technical music or long songs, but it’s also one of these albums that the longer you listen to it, the more you get into it, and you can’t tell which part was the one to wear out your patience back at your first listens.
  The style sounds like a mixture of Between The Buried And Me, Opeth’s heavy parts and add to that some of The Contortionist’s flavor. Now that’s some pretty good bands to get influenced by. But even some of those huge bands would be jealous of the awesomeness this album radiates.
  Now, let’s talk about track #10.  I know I said I would try to keep the track references to a minimum, but this track deserves to be an exception. “The Man Without A Face” is the best +20min metal song I’ve ever heard. And that beats some serious competition in Meshuggah’s “I” and Dream Theater’s “A Change Of Seasons”. It’s so well written, it doesn’t fail to be interesting for a second, it combines all the elements that were previously heard on the album, only it’s like this song is a tale on its own. Even if you never had the patience to listen to a song that long, this one defies that fact and you will find yourself being let on its flow. There couldn’t be a better way to close an album with almost no flaws, than giving you a song with none.
  An early candidate for “album of the year”? Sure as hell is. And if a certain 5 member Swedish band, named after the Hebrew word for “Crazy” didn’t put out the album they did, I would go ahead and dub it the album of the year right now. It’s that fuckin good.
Be sure to pay a visit to the band’s site and buy this album. It’s only 11$ and we need bands like them to keep making music, amazing music that is.
  Notable Songs : The Man With No Face, Of Gallows, City Of Ghosts

 9 1/2/10

Monday, April 2, 2012

Impending Doom - Baptized In Filth (2012)

1. "Murderer"   4:22
2. "For the Wicked"   3:33
3. "Chaos: Reborn"   3:55
4. "Deceiver"   3:36
5. "Falling Away"   3:41
6. "Absolute Horror"   1:56
7. "Angry Letters to God"   3:11
8. "Baptized in Filth"   2:28
9. "My Light Unseen" (feat. Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter)” 3:42
10. "Death. Ascension. Resurrection." 4:11
 (Genre – Deathcore/Metalcore)
 (Label – E1 Records)

  When I heard that Californian Christian deathcorers Impending Doom have a new record in the works, to be honest I wasn’t all that fired up about it. I thought their previous album “There Will Be Violence” was a step back from the two releases before that, and I expected more of the same. Well 30 seconds into the record, and I looked like the cereal guy sketch when he saw the development of the celebrities he predicted that “they’ll never have a boyfriend”. Aggressive, fast and groovy all mixed up to give you an album that grabs you by the balls from the first seconds.
  First thing you notice on the beginning seconds of the album is the mix. The mix and production is phenomenal to say the least.  Credits go to Andreas Lars Magnusson for the amazing work. He is also known for his work on The Black Dahlia Murder’s Miasma. Everything is so tight and well-balanced it makes this record an ear candy.  If you studied something regarding sound engineering or music technology like I did, you have to stand in awe in the overall quality of the guy’s work.

  The album kicks off with “Murderer” which sets the tone for the rest of the record perfectly. Exploding beats, amazing riffage, groovy, fast aggressive, all the things you meet later in the album summed up in one song. The follow up, “For The Wicked” reveals two things. A) Brook Reeve’s vocals have improved insanely over the years, and that is made perfectly clear at the moment you listen to them B) The lyrical direction is not gonna be the “you can have your beliefs, I can have mine” kind of thing in this album. No, they’re like “fuck this shit, you’re not gonna be a Christian? You are gonna die a horrible death and your soul is gonna be raped in the afterlife”. I think that’s the darkest aspect of this album, maybe the band as a whole. They’re like the Gorgoroth of Christians. Religiously extreme lyrics .whether they were christian or anti christian themed, were never my thing.
  Next three songs “Chaos Reborn” “Deceiver” and “Falling Away” gives you more of what you got so far, although the emphasis moves progressively after each song on  the groove.
   After “Absolute Horror”, a 2 minute interlude, comes “Angry Letters To God”. Ok, this song is some groovy shit. If you are to listen to this album/song in a place where headbanging isn’t acceptable behavior is suggest you don’t, cause you’ll probably end up having to deal with weirded up looks from people around you. It’s the highlight of the record and my personal favorite. The self-titled track is oddly the weakest in the album but still a great tune that ties up great with the rest of the songs. And so we reach “My Light Unseen” which is a surprise the band had in stores for the listeners… This song brings to mind early 00’s NWOAHM ballads… Only difference is that 80% of them were shitty and generic while Impending Doom’s tune is awesome for what it represents… The guest vocals from Ryan Clark of Demon Hunter fit perfectly in the song which makes it a very pleasant surprise and a great mellow spot in an album that is in your face from the first second in. The album closes with “Death, Ascension, Resurrection” which gets to show you how much more metalcore influenced the band got after their second release. A great song to conclude the album.

  This album is a 35 minute adrenaline rush. The mix/production, the individual performance of each band member, the amazing energy, all add up to make the best Impending Doom record so far. If you’re a fan of the genre I would definitely suggest checking it out, and if you can even afford to, you’d be doing yourself a favor by buying it.

Notable Songs : Murderer, Angry Letters to God, My Light Unseen. 

8 1/2 /10

Welcome - Introduction

Hello and welcome to my blog.

  Before I post my first review, I thought I should make a small introduction to what this blog is all about and what to expect from it.
This is something i wanted to do for a few years now, but i never really had the time, the mindset or the knowledge to go ahead with it. I can definitely say the first two traits are there now, I don't really know about the third because you can never know enough stuff to claim possession of musical knowledge in my opinion.

Now i wanna go ahead and make some things clear about this blog so that people know what to expect when they come here.
-This isn't a blog just about hardcore and it's sub-genres. There are gonna be metal or other genre reviews every now and then if I find a record that deserves to be an exception and make it on here.
-This isn't a professional review portal. This is clearly amateur work and as much as I want to take what I do here seriously and give it my best, I believe it will be quite obvious this is the work of a non-professional.
-Make this blog interactive. Speak out. Give me your thoughts on the reviews or the albums. Make requests and send me stuff you want to see reviewed. Even bad bands. Especially bad bands actually. Bad music makes for funny reviews.

If you took the time to read this then you know what this blog is all about.

First review coming up :)