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Thread: Album Reviews

  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    I think ya mean In Rock there, bin. Believe it or not, when Gillan first left, the band asked Paul Rogers to sing for Purple, but he declined.

    I agree with the assessment of Coverdale. His singing on those three DP albums was quite good, but the lyrics were downright boneheaded and cliche-filled in places. Glenn Hughes' singing on those records was outstanding ("This Time Around", "Gettin' Tighter"), and his voice paired with Coverdale's (as on "Sail Away" from Burn or "Lady Double Dealer" from Stormbringer) was really cool. Too bad he usually resorted to yelping and screaming onstage.
    Paul Rogers, to me, isn't much of a singer. Never was.

    Coverdale singing boneheaded, cliche-filled lyrics? Shit, the man has made a CAREER of that! GREAT rock voice, though.

    Would have to agree with Hughes being utterly annoying onstage when he was a member of DP. Watching the DP MKIII 1974 California Jam show, Hughes becomes tiresome rather quickly.
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  3. #122
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Would have to agree with Hughes being utterly annoying onstage when he was a member of DP. Watching the DP MKIII 1974 California Jam show, Hughes becomes tiresome rather quickly.
    Sadly, things only got worse once Blackmore left and Bolin (and his drug problems) came on board. The band were absolutely awful live, as many of the bootleg titles from the time (Numb In Japan, In Deep Grief, Crisis What Crisis, Come Taste The End, Last Straw) and concert reviews (Melody Maker, March 12, 1976) attest. Here is a link to the band's final show, which by most reports was a complete disaster: The End Of Deep Purple

    WARNING: This really sucks...

    Last edited by chefcraig; 12-18-2010 at 09:20 PM.
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  4. #123
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    whoop!
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  5. #124
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    Sadly, things only got worse once Blackmore left and Bolin (and his drug problems) came on board. The band were absolutely awful live, as many of the bootleg titles from the time (Numb In Japan, In Deep Grief, Crisis What Crisis, Come Taste The End, Last Straw) and concert reviews (Melody Maker, March 12, 1976) attest. Here is a link to the band's final show, which by most reports was a complete disaster: The End Of Deep Purple

    WARNING: This really sucks...

    Bolin had quite a bit of talent going for him, but his fairly brief stint with DP wasn't really representative of the best he had to offer... at least not in terms of live performances, with that MKIV Japan stuff being abysmal. Had seen what little footage there was of that particular show before, and it was pretty bad...one suspects that Lord and Paice stuck around that long just for the money, while Hughes and Bolin were dulling their talents with heavy drug use...sad, really.

  6. #125
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    English People just do not know what to do with blues.
    Last edited by SunisinuS; 12-19-2010 at 12:02 AM. Reason: Don't Tread On Me.
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  7. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    Sadly, things only got worse once Blackmore left and Bolin (and his drug problems) came on board. The band were absolutely awful live, as many of the bootleg titles from the time (Numb In Japan, In Deep Grief, Crisis What Crisis, Come Taste The End, Last Straw) and concert reviews (Melody Maker, March 12, 1976) attest. Here is a link to the band's final show, which by most reports was a complete disaster: The End Of Deep Purple

    WARNING: This really sucks...

    Wow. Now THOSE are some uncomplimentary titles.
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  8. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    I think ya mean In Rock there, bin.
    Doh! Yes, yes I do.

    Oh man, I can't believe I fucked that up.....
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  9. #128
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    Iron Maiden - The Final Frontier.

    You have to admire Maiden's refusal to become a heritage act. Whilst most bands their age trot out a by-the-numbers album before touring the same old setlist, Maiden's continued commitment to push the boundaries of their sound and really tour a new album is refreshing. Listening to 'The Final Frontier', you are left in no doubt that these six guys are still very, very passionate about making music - you are also crucially aware that they are smart enough to evolve, realizing that it would be fruitless to attempt to compete with their mid-20's selves, and that the only way forward really is progression. Indeed, 'prog' really is the word here - in many ways 'The Final Frontier' is the next logical step of Dickinson-era mark II, with the songs being even more epic and expansive than at any other time in the band's career. Less metallic that 'A Matter Of Life And Death' or 'Dance Of Death', Maiden here teeter on becoming the Rush of heavy metal, making albums uniquely their own within a sound that is nonetheless unwaveringly distinct.

    It's a very good record, but that shouldn't surprise us. Well written, beautifully played, and passionate. And yet, it's a difficult album to love. Part of the problem is that for all the aim here was to be progressive, that aim has been achieved at the expense of the 'edit' button. Some of the songs feel long for the sake of it: album closer 'Where The Wild Thing's Are' does not contain enough ideas to warrant 11 minutes; and the series of drum loops, riffs and doodles that make up the first 4 and a half minutes of the album sound like a bunch of middle aged men masturbating in a room. Nevertheless, when it works it really works. On songs where the band push far beyond their heavy metal roots and incorporate elements of 70s prog ('Isle of Avalon', 'Talisman' and 'Starblind' being the best examples), Maiden achieve moments of hypnotic beauty which are truly moving. Largely moving away from themes of war which had dogged previous albums, Dickinson has more scope to show the range of emotions he can command as a singer, with 'Coming Home' being a particuarly heartfelt example, and something which the band have never really attempted in the past.

    It's a shame, then, that much of this ingenuity is marred by moments of mediocrity. 'The Alchemist' and 'El Dorado' are not bad songs by any means, but they do feel like vintage Maiden fodder, an attempt to placate Maiden die-hards rather than fully indulging themselves in the prog-rock record you sense they'd really like to make. The result is an album which feels unsteady and of-balance, where previous effort 'A Matter Of Life And Death' felt like a unified vision. Perhaps these uncomfortable niggles are the natural result of experimentation. They shouldn't dent our admiration for a band which refuses to rest on its laurels. Once the archetypal Heavy Metal band, Maiden have evolved into something much, much more. Prepared to challenge their fanbase as much as themselves, 'The Final Frontier' remains a fascinating journey and an absorbing listen.

  10. #129
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    Parkway Drive - Deep Blue.

    This is a moment in which lots of movements chrystalize into a whole. Fans of contemporary heavy music will not find anything particuarly innovative here, but Parway Drive are nevertheless separated from the pack by two things. Firstly, the sheer sincerity of the band's delivery - their is no contrived angst of trendy self-pity here, just an uncomfortable undercurrent of rage. Secondly, and more significantly, Parkway Drive have absorbed lots of elements of extreme music over the past 5 years into a unified vision: thick grooves, beatdowns, blast beats and metalcore are rolled into one ungodly beast of a sound. It is for that reason that everyone else is going to have to up their game. This Australian band have given us an album of the year candidate, and a record as vibrant and well produced as anything which the US could offer (including Lamb of God or Devildriver.)

    Not a chirpy record by any means, it remains an oddly uplifting listen. The rhythms here are infectious, driving songs like 'Wreckade' and 'Sleepwalker' to allow Parway Drive to combine the best bits of extreme metal into something more accessible than their contempories. The variety in the shades of aggression is commendable. 'Pressures' is an anthem for bleak times, whilst 'Alone', with its crooked melody and jagged riff, is a truly inspired modern classic. Sure, you've heard much of this before. But Parkway Drive do it more powerfully than most: unlike most of their contempories, they are prepared to be silent virtuosos, giving them songs more energy and groove precisely because they don't overplay. It leaves the songs to exist as a collection of raw nerves. Indeed, whilst this certainly isn't for the faint hearted, it is metal at its most earnest and honest, a group of men who live for every tortured note of the music which they play. With beautiful artwork, heartfelt songs and an impassioned delivery, they really are the band who have come from nowhere to light up the centre stage this year. This is a twisted concoction of beautiful agony.

  11. #130
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    From the vaults: AC/DC - Let There Be Rock (1977)

    I've got to level with ya: this is the reason I'm here. It was this record - played to me by my dad at 8 years old - that hooked me on hard rock, and 20 years later I've never looked back. What has surprised me more and more over those 20 years, however, is how this record is treated by other rockers. Not ignored so much as under-appreciated, it holds a place much lower in the hearts of 'DC fans than 'Powerage', 'Highway To Hell' or 'Back In Black'. But if the latter two records are celebrated for their hits, hooks and infectious choruses, for me it is the pre-Mutt Lange records where 'DC really stood out. Have AC/DC ever sounded rawer than they do on these 8 songs? From the title-track's supercharged rawk, a clarion call to rockers everywhere; the cheeky sleeze of 'Go Down', the band's ode to fellatio and Bon Scott at his salacious best; or the sheer abandon of groupie shagging 'Whole Lot of Rosie', a song so wanton the medium really does equally the message; this is a pure unadulated joy of a record.

    It is also one which contains some forgotten moments. 'Overdose', with its delicate intro and bad-boy in love lyrics, is a charmer of a song, and the wild blues of 'Bad Boy Boogie' and jagged cynicism of 'Dog Eat Dog' are tunes many bands would give their right nuts to write. Is this the superlative AC/DC record? No, but it is the most powerful. The sound of a band still growing, 'Let There Be Rock' bursts with infectious enthusiasm, drips sin, and contains Angus's finest collection of solos. Much, much more than a stepping-stone in the band's rise to world domination.

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    Suicide Silence - No Time To Bleed

    This is a 37 minute nightmare of a death metal record. Bleak, and crushingly aggressive. A twisted mesh of screams, growls, blast-beats, and schizophrenic songs wrapped around demented time changes and tortured riffs, this is extreme by any measure. And yet, what surprises most about the album's opener 'Wake Up' is how oddly catchy it is. Not hooky, but catchy. This song - with it's harrowingly sparse solo - also introduces us to how intelliegent this band is. On 'Something Inside' we are treated to a claustrophobic take on self doubt and religious affiliation, a take far beyond the generic anti-Christian sentiments of many Death Metal bands. Indeed, this is a genre in which it is easy to sound generic, but Suicide Silence make a sound very much their own. 'Lifted' is classic thrash put through a blender, whilst 'Smoke' and 'Wasted' sound like Fear Factory being tortured. This is a punishing listen, but with so much crammed into these songs it is rarely a draining one. A very good record, Suicide Silence nonetheless have a startling one in them. Learning to push their innovations would be rewarding. The sparse and harrowing instrumental '...And Then She Bleeds' - demonstrates that this is a band at its best in the slower tempos, and learning to mix such parts into their dementia would really allow this band to separate themselves from the pack.

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    From the vaults: The Almighty - Crank (1994)

    "I've got everything that I need to be free, I've got masturbation and cable TV". Witty, weary and aggressively despondant, the throwaway charm of that lyric is typical of the attitude brimming from this album. The sound of punk and metal smashing into each other, 'Crank' combined the thoughtful, anti-establishment cynicism of the former and life-affirming, aimless rebellion of the latter in perfect measure. Whilst the bands earlier records had seen them dreaming of Sunset Strip from drizzly Scotland, things changed with 1993's 'Powertrip'. Bigger, darker and grizzlier, their sound was part Warrior Soul, part New Model Army and part Motorhead, and its crushed. 'Crank' took things a stage further. From the crushing riff of 'Wrench', the jack-hammer punk fury of 'Ultraviolent' and 'Welcome to Defiance', and cynical metallic crunch of 'Sorry For Nothing' and 'Way Beyond Belief', this was a band which combined tort riffs, poetically defiant lyrics, and vocals which were rasped and spat into a real pitbull of an album. They should have been huge - as huge as this record sounded.

  14. #133
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    Quote Originally Posted by binnie View Post
    From the vaults: Rainbow - Straight Between The Eyes (1982)

    Joe Lynn Turner era Rainbow was a long way from that of Ronnie James Dio, epic soundscapes being eschewed in favour of pop senibilities, and in truth this is a record more of its time than timeless. It remains undervalued, however, and should not be dismissed as AOR, even if the band do come close on 'Stone Cold.' What we have here, rather, is a solid Heavy Metal record. 'Death Alley Driver' is a straight out rocker delivered at piledriver pace which comes on like a motherfucker, even if it does suffer by comparison with 'Highway Star'; and 'Tite Squeeze' sees Richie Blackmore and Roger Glover return to the funk-soul of their Deep Purple heyday. In the annals of rock history, Joe Lynn Turner is not accorded the place he deserves as singer: a master of diction, he puts in a remarkable performance here and if his lyrics suffer from cliche, his delivery on the emotive croon of 'Tearin' Out My Heart' is world class. Blackmore, as expected, is on fire and his sultry riffs even carry filler like 'Power' and 'Rock Fever'. Drenched in a crisp and clear production, the songs suffer from a sheen which burries their blues influences far below the surface and have meant that it hasn't aged well. That being said, it deserves a place in any classic rock collection - closing with 'Eyes of Fire', awash with eastern orchestratin and the bombast of '80s rock, this was the sound of a band still fire much of fire if not quite 'Rising.'
    Have always thought the solo in Stone Cold was totally brilliant, and the song has a great brooding quality to it. Certainly more commercial than the RJD era to be sure (and on the whole the album probably isn't even the best that the JLT albums have to offer), but also demonstrates that commercial rock doesn't have to be mindless by default. Whatever shortcomings the record had in terms of production or rigidity of performances were more than compensated for live. Great drumming.

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  16. #134
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    Quote Originally Posted by binnie View Post
    From the vaults: The Almighty - Crank (1994)

    "I've got everything that I need to be free, I've got masturbation and cable TV". Witty, weary and aggressively despondant, the throwaway charm of that lyric is typical of the attitude brimming from this album. The sound of punk and metal smashing into each other, 'Crank' combined the thoughtful, anti-establishment cynicism of the former and life-affirming, aimless rebellion of the latter in perfect measure. Whilst the bands earlier records had seen them dreaming of Sunset Strip from drizzly Scotland, things changed with 1993's 'Powertrip'. Bigger, darker and grizzlier, their sound was part Warrior Soul, part New Model Army and part Motorhead, and its crushed. 'Crank' took things a stage further. From the crushing riff of 'Wrench', the jack-hammer punk fury of 'Ultraviolent' and 'Welcome to Defiance', and cynical metallic crunch of 'Sorry For Nothing' and 'Way Beyond Belief', this was a band which combined tort riffs, poetically defiant lyrics, and vocals which were rasped and spat into a real pitbull of an album. They should have been huge - as huge as this record sounded.
    I'm confused by this, I know music is subjective and so forth but I really don't get this one.

    I'm listening to Wrench at the moment in case something changed in the couple of years from when I saw them and sorry but what?

    Musically, melodically, rhythmically, technically, lyrically???

    I wouldn't be posting this if I didn't respect your opinion and I do fear I'm just being jealous as a contemporary but I really really don't get it.


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  18. #135
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    Well, music is subjective as you say.

    My tastes lie with the heavier end of things, and Wrench plays straight into that. It is crushingly heavy, a I love the riff. It's pretty much a pissed off anthem of defiance isn't it? I would also add that I can't think of another band that sounds anything like that. Most of all, however, it's always been the intensity and sincerity of Warwick's delivery that sold that album for me - he always sounded like he meant it.

    For me, whilst 'Blood, Fire & Love' and 'Soul Destruction' were interesting records, the band sounded like they wanted to be an American band at that point. It was only really on 'Powertrip' and 'Crank' that they evolved into something wholly their own.

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    Tokyo Dragons - Hot Nuts (2007)

    People often bemoan the absence of contemporary feel good rock bands. Well, here is one. This is a lot of fun. Punchy riffs, belting solos, 4/4 rythms and big choruses. A real retro record, even the production borrows from 1973. 'On Your Marks' sounds like a more masculine Kiss, whilst 'Keeping the Wolf from the Door' has a NWOBHM vibe about it. Thin Lizzy melodies abound, as do AC/DC riffs. The songs here are about hard times and the hard women who caused them, and the ethos is to party your troubles away - in short, it's all BIG DUMB FUN. This type of music is deceptively easy to do badly. Sure, there's not much in the way of variety, nor much finesse, and the Tokyo Dragons are a long, long way from emulating their idols. But you can't over analyze music like this: it is what it is. Come summer time, this disc would be one of your stereo's best friends.

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    From the vaults: Firebird - Firebird (2000)

    This record hearks back to primitive times. A time before metal, a time when even Zeppelin were baby legends. The vibe here is easy and tripped out, a peaceful and sombre laid back rock album which bleeds the late '60s. Hell, they even cover Steve Winwood's 'Stranger To Himself.' Hammond organs and blues riffs abound, musical experimentation and jamming are celebrated, and the whole thing sounds effortless. It is a surprise, then, to learn that this was a band fronted by former Napalm Death and Carcass man Bill Steer. His soulful vocals and rich, melodic guitar ooze over this record - this is a guy who can really play, and the understated nature of his style on this album is a long way from the more showy and loud displays typical of his Death Metal heyday. Yet this was no middle aged spread. The funk of 'One Trick Pony' and 'Torn Down' are infectious in its crisp vibrancy; and the sunburnt rock of 'Raise a Smile' is joyful in its cool. Is it perfect? No - your attention will wander due to the lack of variety. But if you're the sort of person who thought that music died when the hard rock of the '70s gave way to the indolent bombast of the '80s, then this will be right up your street. Toke up, kick back and float way.

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    Nevermore - The Obsidian Conspiracy

    More ultra-complex power metal. Reveling in classic metal dressed in modern trimmings, fans of the band will be pleased to know that they once again deliver the goods: tight precision riffing, incredible drumming and Jeff Loomis remarkable shredding are all in evidence as expected. A couple of things separate this record from Nevermore's back catalogue, however. Firstly, Andy Sneap's mix makes their sound more crisp and powerful than in the past. Secondly, and more significantly, the band is prepared to explore its melodic side, injecting darker atmospherics into their traditional sound. The result is a little more variety than in the past, with Priest-like power ballad 'Shes Comes In Colours' injecting a surprising burst of emotion into theit ususal gun-metal grey. That's not to say they've gone soft. 'The Termination Proclamation' is rivetted with precise bludgeon, whilst 'Your Poison Throne' and 'Without Morals' wouldn't have been out place of the more recent Megadeth records. It's all powerful, heavy stuff, utterly compelling at times - on 'And the Maiden Spoke' the band show the new wave of thrash bands how speed is really done. The problem - and its one common to Nevermore records - is that it's all a little overthought. Not contrived by any means, but you never get the impression that this is a band wholly in the movement or prepared to lose themselves in expression. Warrel Dane's vocals, for example, err on the side of melodrama when he is aiming for sincere, a trait which mars otherwise inventive moments like 'The Blue Marble and the New Soul.' Like Annihilater - surely Nevermore's closest musical brethren - this is a band which, for all their grasping, will never quite attain the level of the top tier. They come close here, though, really, really close.

  22. #139
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    From the vaults: Anthrax - Sound of the White Noise (1993)

    The Joey Belladonna era of Anthrax may have spawned the albums regarded as 'classics', but to these ears the band always packed more of punch with John Bush at the mic. His rasping layrnx and lower range was less complicated, sitting better with the bands hulking, muscular riffage than Belladonna's siren wail. And on Bush's first record, Anthrax hit their creative peak, absorbing their influences into a whole that was utterly vibrant in its potency. An album that still stands up today, there was a real sense of purpose about the band. Progressing from 1990's 'Persistence of Time', which had seen the band eschewing their comic book schidc in favour of darker hues, producer Dave Jerden (Alice In Chains) opened the band up to darker tones. This record is a sonic treat: incredibly well produced, it nevertheless continued to capture the live feel of the band as a living, feeding beast, a feat due largely to the sheer incessantness of Charlie Benante's drumming. But it's the songwriting which really endures. Tunes like 'This Is Not An Exit' and '1000 Points of Hate' were thrash, but not as we had known it. Opener 'Potter's Field' builds around double bass-drum patterns, getting faster ans faster in a wave of torrents which crescendo; whilst the Hetfield-esque crunch of 'Only' and 'Packaged Rebellion' showed that band could write hooks as big as their riffs; and ballad 'Black Lodge' saw the band embracing a more emotive side. An album can could stand and trade with anything produced by the 'Big Four', this should have been hailed as a classic, a real landmark in metal. But history is often cruel. It was all downhill after this for Anthrax - lead guitar player Dan Spitz bailed, leaving the band to limp on incomplete; record company difficulties saw next album 'Stomp....' largely un-promoted, and crowds dwindle. It seemed that the bands career took a turn as dark as their sound.

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    From the vaults: Slash's Snakepit - Ain't Life Grand (2000)

    To call the first Slash's Snakepit album - It's Five O'Clock Somewhere - patchy would be charitable. The product of boredom rather than inspiration, it was a stop-gap project for the rest of Guns'N'Roses whilst Axl wrestled with his neurosis. Whilst certainly not as high profile, 2000's 'Ain't Life Grand' was a much more efforfescent record. The Guns bandmates and close friends were gone, and Slash had replaced them with a bunch of rock 'n' roll desparados. Much more than a bone-headed rock record, this was the work of a band: tight, ambitious and passionately delivered. Rod Jackson's crooned vocals, deeper than you'd expect from a rock singer, added tone and texture to the tunes, and Jack Douglas' production allowed the songs to crackle and fire. The harmonies and rhythms permitted the songs to pulsate with sublties, allowing the band's screaching blues licks and bittersweat songs caked in the dirt of hedonism to feel alive. Aided by the talents of Johny Griparic, this was Slash's best collection of songs since 'Appetite For Destruction', and arguably the best collection of solos he's ever laid down. Unlike most 'guitar player goes solo' records, however, he never allows the solos to overwhelm, and the songs are never excuses for fret workouts. Nor is this purely an exercise in Aerosmith-retroism. 'Shine' and 'Truth' are classic rock for the 21st century, whilst 'Life's Sweet Drug' and 'Been There Lately' are nitro blues with villainous intent. Riff smashes into riff, aggression pours into bombast, and abandon rules. It's not all testerone, however. The broken waltz of 'Back to the Moment' is a ballad of the finest order, and the big band of the title track only serves to underline that this was an album with serious intent, and one deserving of greater fan-fare than it achieved upon release. Loud, rude, dirty and mean.

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    Bigelf - Cheat The Gallows

    Weird and wonderful cinematic soundscapes from the masters of pomp rock. Imagine late '60s Brit rock, full of quirky melodrama for the sake of it, or White Zombie if they'd been obsessed with glam rather than horror. This is rock 'n' roll augmented and animated by orchestras, horns, samples and all sorts of weirdness, but welded together by huge riffs and poisonous melodies. It's all delicately balanced. The sort of pomp that T-Rex did with aplomb only more colourful in its idiosyncracies, with 'The Evils of Rock ' n' Roll' and 'The Game' sounding like Tim Burton humping Les Paul. From the rock 'n' roll circus of opener 'Greatest Show On Earth', through the Pete Townsend eerieness of 'No Parachute' this is a joyous ghost-ride of a record, and unlike anything you'll hear again. There's not a dull or wasted moment, and for all its contrived oddness this feels so beautfiully authentic.

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    From the vaults: Guns 'N' Roses - Use Your Illusions I & II (1991)

    Twenty years? Twenty fucking years! Has it really been that long since 'The Most Dangerous Band In the World' released two of the most diverse and baffling albums in rock history. In many ways, these albums marked the point at which the baddest band in rock 'n' roll became the most bloated. These records were a long, long way from the sleeze-ridden, animalistic rock 'n' roll apocalypse that was 'Appetite For Destruction' - an album which was infectious in its debauchery. If the muse of 'Appetite...' was Johnny Thunders, then on '...Illusions' it proved to be Elton John, Freddie Mercury and The Stones who were vying for inspirational control, with the band striving to be bigger if not necessarily badder.

    At times, it's utterly compelling. Opener 'Right Next Door To Hell' displayed the brand of schizo punk that GNR did so perfectly: tortured blues riffs, booming drums and screaching vocals, this was the band at its angriest and most in your face. Matched by the punk/metal/Aerosmith hybrid of 'Garden of Eden' and the venom of 'Perfect Crime' this material marked a band that was sleazy, certainly, but this was a band much darker than their sunset strip peers. When coupled with the pitbull misogony of 'You Could Be Mine' (on '....II'), part of the listener feels that had the band made a single disc of material as viscious as this GNR would not only have had a much stronger legacy to their name, but might have proven that their was plenty of life left in rock 'n' roll to all of those kids who were waiting for the Seatle sound.

    Sadly, however, such gems were coupled with moments of decided mediocrity. The tuneless 'Don't Damn Me' lacks charisma. Their pompous cover of Dylan's 'Knockin' On Heaven's Door' only suceeds in making a shit song shitter. 'Back Off Bitch' is void of the tongue-in-cheek misogony that made much of the strip's sexism palatable, whilst 'Bad Apples' has 'B-Side' written all over it. Worst of all was 'Get In the Ring', a puerille profanity filled 'call out' to the journalists who had mis-represented the band which backfired massively: not only leaving the band looking like they were having a hissy-fit, it also features some of the most embarassing tough-guy talk you'll ever hear. The less said about the techno-wankery of 'My World', the better.

    It's odd then that band could produce moments of such sophistication. 'Estranged' may be the finest composition they ever recorded. A moving and haunting lament for a relationship gone awry, it was a power-ballad without the cheese and the sign of a band more than capable of maturing into something powerfully adult. It is also, in the opinion of this reviewer, Slash's finest playing. Equally dazzling is 'Coma', 10 minutes of melodrama utterly captivating in its scope. A huge rock 'n' roll circus of a song structured around Slash's hulking riff, this is almost an opera tracing Axl's floating in and out of consciousness, and one which culminates in an adrenalin filled, scuzzy, rage-driven implosion. This was a band pushing the template of hard rock. That innovation was captured in Axl's maturation as a lyricist, tackling theme's and concepts far beyond the 'sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll' template.

    It wasn't all a departure from the past, however. 'Bad Obsession' pre-dated 'Appetite...' and it's drugged-out debachery would have fitted perfectly on the older record. Similarly, the cold menace of 'Double Talkin' Jive' - beautifully offset by Slash's closing classical guitar solo - was the mark of a band who really didn't give a fuck, and was wholly in their element. 'Pretty Tied Up' was equally in the same vein as their 'Appetite....' era, but marked a band much more comfortable in expanding its musical pallette; and on the rolling riff of 'Locomotive', the band captured a groove that was truly nasty.

    Ultimately, 'Use Your Illusions' proved to be a mis-mass. On the one hand, they are drenched in the band's potential, and contain some of their finest moments. On the other, these records were so broad in their sound-scape, so unfocussed in their direction, that they held a mirror up to the reality of the situation - the egos here were tearing the band in too many directions. 'November Rain' is everything that 'Appetite' wasn't - tepid, soft, over-cooked and pompous and in many ways it encapsulated the feel of a band who's vision result in an album so expansive that it tumbled down on its own edifice. Izzy, in particualr, sounds like he's performing on a different record. Perhaps, however, it's him that sums up the moment best: 'Once there was this rock 'n' roll band rolling down the street/ Time went by and it became a joke.'

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    Had both albums been pared down and condensed into one record, it would have been one killer follow-up to Appetite.

    It really wouldn't have been too hard to do, as both releases contained a significant amount of tunes that , if not quite filler, were half-realized song ideas that were stylistically different solely for the sake of being different. These tunes would have perhaps been best served being left off the release and worked on a bit more.

    I suppose considering the runaway success of Appetite the fact that their next proper studio release (am putting Lies to one side as more of a time-marking venture) ended up being so bloated and confused wasn't all that shocking. GnR as a band basically behaved like most poor people do when they win the lottery, in that they went off the deep end.

    There's good stuff to be found on both releases. However, neither of them have the start-to-finish excellence that Appetite did. The Illusions albums are only excellent in spots, and much of that I put down to the band just overindulging while simultaneously disintegrating into the Axl Rose Show, coupled with a record company that wasn't gonna say no to anything [ GnR ] wanted to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Had both albums been pared down and condensed into one record, it would have been one killer follow-up to Appetite.

    It really wouldn't have been too hard to do...
    Apparently, someone at the record company agreed, so in 1998 this condensed, single CD version of the album was released.



    1. "Live and Let Die" (Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney) – 3:04
    2. "Don't Cry" (original) (Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin) – 4:44
    3. "You Ain't the First" (Izzy Stradlin) – 2:36
    4. "November Rain" (Rose) – 8:57
    5. "The Garden" (Rose, West Arkeen, Del James) – 5:22
    * Featuring Alice Cooper
    6. "Dead Horse" (Rose) – 4:17
    7. "Civil War" (Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin) – 7:42
    8. "14 Years" (Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin) – 4:21
    9. "Yesterdays" (Axl Rose, Arkeen, James, Billy McCloud) – 3:16
    10. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (Bob Dylan) – 5:20
    11. "Estranged" (Axl Rose) – 9:23
    12. "Don't Cry" (alternate lyrics) (Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin) – 4:43
    Last edited by chefcraig; 01-16-2011 at 08:54 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by binnie View Post
    'Estranged' may be the finest composition they ever recorded. A moving and haunting lament for a relationship gone awry, it was a power-ballad without the cheese and the sign of a band more than capable of maturing into something powerfully adult. It is also, in the opinion of this reviewer, Slash's finest playing.
    Estranged is Guns n Roses's Stairway To Heaven, IMO...a very underrated song.
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    The Defiled - Grave Times

    Scuzzy guitars, industrial noise and double bass drums are all part of the make up of this band's heavily processed sound. Cosmetically, it's schlock rock of the Alice Cooper ilk; in reality theses goths play metal with a hint of nu - think Rob Zombie with no sense of humour. The problem is that the band think that they're being novel, when in reality their eccentricities are contrived. Strip away the production trappings and what you have here is a meat and potatos screamo band: the songs are structured around growled verses and melodic choruses. That in itself is no bad thing, but you can't help thinking they'd have made a much more satisfying record if they'd just followed their instincts - as they do on the rather excellent 'Black Death' and 'The Ill Disposed' - rather than shoe-horning in all the extras. Indeed, there is a lot going on in these songs and they feel busy, a factor which makes them hard to absorb and harder to remember. But you can't fault their delivery: this band is heavy but with a real warmth and charisma. They are also a lot more fun than they're contemporaries, and realize that you don't have to be over earnest to be really good. Simplfying things next time round might see them deliver the goods.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chefcraig View Post
    Apparently, someone at the record company agreed, so in 1998 this condensed, single CD version of the album was released.



    1. "Live and Let Die" (Paul McCartney, Linda McCartney) – 3:04
    2. "Don't Cry" (original) (Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin) – 4:44
    3. "You Ain't the First" (Izzy Stradlin) – 2:36
    4. "November Rain" (Rose) – 8:57
    5. "The Garden" (Rose, West Arkeen, Del James) – 5:22
    * Featuring Alice Cooper
    6. "Dead Horse" (Rose) – 4:17
    7. "Civil War" (Rose, Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin) – 7:42
    8. "14 Years" (Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin) – 4:21
    9. "Yesterdays" (Axl Rose, Arkeen, James, Billy McCloud) – 3:16
    10. "Knockin' on Heaven's Door" (Bob Dylan) – 5:20
    11. "Estranged" (Axl Rose) – 9:23
    12. "Don't Cry" (alternate lyrics) (Axl Rose, Izzy Stradlin) – 4:43
    Not the tracks I would have picked, but the idea is a good one.

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    From the vaults: Thin Lizzy - Thin Lizzy (1971)

    This album must have sounded odd in 1971: an irish, part funk, part folk, part rock, part hippie band. It sounds even weirder 40 years on, largely because we now know the snarling, anthemic, riff-fueled rock'n'roll monster that Thin Lizzy evolved into. In truth, its that late seventies legacy that has often left Lizzy's earlier work overlooked. But the pre- Gorham and Robertson era had its merits. No duel guitar melodies or shred fests, certainly, but plenty of the other things that made Lizzy special - melody, harmony and soul. Much of the time, those qualities are exercised on tunes which are barely heavy rock: 'Diddy Levine' is half acoustic, half funky rock, its expansive, almost meandering passages anouncing that even on their debut Lizzy would march only to their own time. The ballad 'Eire' twinkles into life, whilst the lyrical 'Honesty is No Excuse' is restrained - almost easy - in its vibe. On songs like these and opener 'The Friendly Ranger at Clontarf Castle' it is Lynott's vocal that stands out. Effortlessly mature at a young age, it is a rich, creamy voice spiced with bourbon and tenderness, a mile away from the histrionics of most rock'n'wailers. If there was anything that pointed toward the future, its 'Look What the Wind Blew In', the most hard-rockking piece here built round a chopping riff, solid groove and a Lynott vocal peppered with a roar and witticisms.

    Lizzy made many mistakes here: there are too many ideas, something which lessens the whole. Brian Downey - later one of rock's most astute drummers - over fills hopelessly much of the time, and the jammed, instinctual style so typical of the era did not suit the Lizzy boys well. But you have to admire the ambition, if this was the sound of a band reaching but not quite taking hold. But the embers on genius on display here are worthy of being cherished. This is certainly not one of the records that Lizzy will be remembered for - but that is not to say that is not worth remembering.

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    Saint Jude - Diary of a Soul Fiend

    They say that the Black Crowes are shuttin' up shop - welcome to your new favourite store. This is rhythm and blues with bounce, groove and soul, a fluid and bittersweet blues which could warm to cockles on any day. The sound of a band on the run, a band who have earned everything they have - you can almost smell every toilet they've played and feel the pain of playing to half filled bars. The vibe is crusty, the songs warn in and charismatic, perfectly crafted but delivered without polish. Singer Lynne Jackaman is part Janis, part Stevie and part Ann, and these songs pulsate around her voice, a voice which is filled with the longing that keeps us alive. 'Down and Out' is an acoustic lament oozing with emotion, whilst 'Parallel Life' and 'Southern Belles' are rock tunes which really celebrate the joy of being here and in the now. Great music is something we feel as much as hear - and here is a band that will make you shake your ass, drown your sorrows and cry your eyes out in the space on an album.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Terry View Post
    Had both albums been pared down and condensed into one record, it would have been one killer follow-up to Appetite.

    It really wouldn't have been too hard to do, as both releases contained a significant amount of tunes that , if not quite filler, were half-realized song ideas that were stylistically different solely for the sake of being different. These tunes would have perhaps been best served being left off the release and worked on a bit more.

    I suppose considering the runaway success of Appetite the fact that their next proper studio release (am putting Lies to one side as more of a time-marking venture) ended up being so bloated and confused wasn't all that shocking. GnR as a band basically behaved like most poor people do when they win the lottery, in that they went off the deep end.

    There's good stuff to be found on both releases. However, neither of them have the start-to-finish excellence that Appetite did. The Illusions albums are only excellent in spots, and much of that I put down to the band just overindulging while simultaneously disintegrating into the Axl Rose Show, coupled with a record company that wasn't gonna say no to anything [ GnR ] wanted to do.
    I agree but in hindsight they did the right thing for themselves.

    I don't know the figures involved but most bands make little from their first album and even one that sold in the numbers that Appetite did probably wouldn't set you up for life especially if you have some expensive bad habits. The band was never going to last more than a few years so it did make sense to throw as much out there as quick as possible before it all fell to bits. If they had held back most of those songs they would either never have been recorded or they would be all over the internet at this point anyway effectively royalty free.

    That said there is a fair amount of shit on those albums, enough to stop me listening to them more than a dozen or so times. I thought You Could be Mine was pretty average too as the first single; arguably not good enough to even make a filler on Appetite. Back then though I was going through a less settled lifestyle so I only had them on cassette tape which didn't work so well having to fuck around fast forwarding through utter garbage like Get In the Ring. Nowadays you would just delete out the shit. Actually now I think about it I may go back and have a listen...
    Last edited by Seshmeister; 01-31-2011 at 10:48 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FORD View Post
    Is Grant Hart the only drummer who can actually sing while he's playing the drums. Seems that most of the drummers who they decide they want to sing (Ringo Starr/Phil Collins/Don Henley/Dave Grohl/etc) end up not doing both at the same time.
    peter criss of kiss on "black diamond", "hooligan", "baby driver", "nothin' to lose", and several other kiss klassicks!
    or how about roger taylor from queen on "i'm in love with my car"?
    Last edited by ace diamond; 02-01-2011 at 02:34 AM. Reason: 0fromg0fromgD8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Seshmeister View Post
    I agree but in hindsight they did the right thing for themselves.

    I don't know the figures involved but most bands make little from their first album and even one that sold in the numbers that Appetite did probably wouldn't set you up for life especially if you have some expensive bad habits. The band was never going to last more than a few years so it did make sense to throw as much out there as quick as possible before it all fell to bits. If they had held back most of those songs they would either never have been recorded or they would be all over the internet at this point anyway effectively royalty free.

    That said there is a fair amount of shit on those albums, enough to stop me listening to them more than a dozen or so times. I thought You Could be Mine was pretty average too as the first single; arguably not good enough to even make a filler on Appetite. Back then though I was going through a less settled lifestyle so I only had them on cassette tape which didn't work so well having to fuck around fast forwarding through utter garbage like Get In the Ring. Nowadays you would just delete out the shit. Actually now I think about it I may go back and have a listen...
    'You Could Be Mine' average? It's so visceral, the sort of plain nasty music that Guns did so well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by binnie View Post
    'You Could Be Mine' average? It's so visceral, the sort of plain nasty music that Guns did so well.
    "With your bitchslap rappin' and your cocaine tongue, you get nothin' done......darlin', you could be mine!"
    great fucking line right there!

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    Anathema - We're Here Because We're Here

    Anathema are a band of many sounds. Beginning life on the cusp of death metal, they have passed through gothic soundscapes into the warmer hues of folk drenched rock. Never really achieving commercial success (despite critical acclaim), they are a band which deserve to be treasured by more metalheads - the antithesis of banality, of trend driven gimmicks, they are a band for whom every note counts. Indeed, in many respects this is everything that metal is traditionally not: intimate, vulnerable and understated, Anathema are all the more powerful for it. They consciously shy-away from the histrionics and let the songs do the talking. And talk they do - poetic, delicate songs shimmer on the breath of longing and the pangs of memory. This is music you feel as much as hear. 'Thin Air' is a heartfelt love song, tender and beautiful in its yearning - devoid of anything saccarhine, the swirling loops of guitar which engulf theis song are captivating and heark back to a time where bands prided themselves of producing crafted songs rather than simply being progressive. The quietly epic 'A Single Mistake' washes over the listener, ascending to a simply glorious riff at its close; 'Universal' is symphonic, culminating in a swirl of chords and riffage which is almost as powerful as music can be. Porcupine tree's Steve Wilson has done a remarksable job on the mix, leaving ballad 'Dreaming Light' gently kissed with orchestration where it could easily have been played up and sentimental. Sombre and sparse, Anathema will certainly not be for everyone - but it is a cold person who not be moved by this.

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    From the vaults: Judas Priest - Point of Entry (1981)

    Sandwiched between two classics - 'British Steel' and 'Screaming For Vengeance' - this is an album that has not faired well in fans' affections. Possessing neither the metallic grandeur of '...Steel' or the aggression 'Screaming...' it is an album in need of an identity. Indeed, it is not so much that the songs here are weak, it is that they don't gell into an album, which leaves the record feeling purposeless - a problem exaccerbated by the rather timid production. Despite all of this, there are certainly some gems here: 'Solar Angels', with its choppy guitar riff and twisted vocal line, is unlike any other Priest tune; 'Desert Plains' features one of Halford's most emotive vocal, a performance which gives the song a delicate, almost brooding quality; and 'Turning Circles' is drenched in bluesy tones more in keeping with '70s Priest than then slicker beast they evolved into in the '80s. There are certainly some bannana skins - 'Hot Rockin' and 'You Say Yes' try to capture a party-hard vibe that the band never mananged to pull off convincingly, and sit uncomfortably alongside the anthemic 'Heading out To The Highway', whilst 'Don't Go' is light on ideas. It's a confused, often restrained affair, but beneath the problems lie a cluster of remarkable songs which remind us how inventive Priest could be at their best.

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    Meshuggah - Obzen (2008)

    It is difficult to describe Meshuggah to someone who has never heard them. 'Epileptic' is the only term I can think of: their songs contort, spasm and seizure; frantic and frenetic, they also gripping, tort, and exercise an impossible hold. Gargantuan downtuned riffs are layered over the oddest time signatures conceivable, whilst lyrics about man's dislocation in the post-modern world are roared over the top. They exist, therefore, as something of a paradox: a band which is at once fiercely intelligent and bludgeoningly brutal, they are certainly one to be avoided by people who think that music exists to soothe.

    Essentially, all of the developments in extreme metal - thrash, death, grind - are processed through jazz arrangements, an approach perfectly captured here on 'The Spiteful Snake'. But for all of the ferocity, there is remarkable variety in Meshuggah's approach. Opener 'Combustion', for example, is heavily indebted to thrash, whilst 'Electric Red' is a slower, more discordant beating of a song. Indeed, despite taking an approach to songwriting which is barren of hooks, sentiment or warmth, there are some moments of pure beauty here. Combining this with their status as one of the heaviest bands ever to have existed - 'Bleed' sounds like Wagner jamming on Sepultura - is a staggering achievement, and even those who don't enjoy Meshuggah would have to respect them. 'Obzen' takes the band into a more song-based approach than previous two records 'I' and 'Catch-33', which saw them at their most expansive. Purists would probably not rank it alongside their masterpieces - 'Chaosphere' and 'Destroy, Erase, Rewind' - but any standard, Meshuggah continue to push the boundaries not just of metal, but of music more generally.

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    From the vaults: Alabama Thunderpussy - Fulton Hill (2004)

    It is - without question - the greatest band name EVER. Anyone thinking that it is a moniker for a band of light-hearted party rockers will quickly find themselves deafened, however, by this heady mix of earthy stoner, doom and Southern rock. This is primitive, anvil beaten metal which exists as the antithesis of today's digitally manipulated high production 'rock' music. At almost 70 minutes, the mesh of wailing guitars, concrete mixer bass and raw vocals is an intense and daunting listen, and you can't help thinking that some editing with the principle of 'less is more' would have strengthed the whole ('Infested' and 'Alone Again' feel half-formed.) But there is plenty to love here. Opening instrumental 'Such Is Life' is an ominous swampy brew which quickly gives way to 'R.R.C.C's' amphetemine driven Molly Hatchet menace. 'Lunar Eclipse' is heavy sludge, southern rock filtered through Sabbath and for much of the time the 'live' fell of the production adds to the sense of snarling, gnarly songs so raw they are almost jammed out. And yet, its an oddly imbalanced affair. 'Do Not' - an acoustic lament - and 'Three Stars' - a heartfelt ode to sadness - seem out of place with all of the muscularity on display, and seem to be indicative of a band which , whilst oozing with ideas, was still struggling to find itself. Strangely enough, however, it is these idiosyncracies which make this work - when the band ironed the creases out of its sound on their much more conventional follow up ('Open Fire') they delivered a much more prosaic affair. Raw worked for them: as straight-forward as it is sincere, this is an album bubbling with imperfections and littered with gems.

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    Wolfmother – Cosmic Egg

    If Wolfmother’s debut record was built on Zeppelin, then ‘Cosmic Egg’ has been erected on more diverse influences, albeit ones that are limited to the 1970s. Here we get warts and all stoner rock, expansive spacey meanderings, and shades of prog. This record got kicked all over the place upon its release, perhaps because in the wake of The White Stripes and the 1000 copyists who followed the industry were growing weary of retro-rock. It’s a long way from the bombast of their debut, and you get a sense that Andrew Stockdale may have been taken himself a little too seriously – driving for epic on ‘Violence of the Sun’, we are presented with a spaced-out rumble which sounds like something dying. Slowly. ‘White Feather’ aims for Bowie but only succeeds in hitting awkward. There is also plenty of rubble cluttering up the bigger ideas: ‘Far Away’ is 2D and ‘New Moon Rising’ is, for all the effects, pedestrian. But there are some staggering moments here. ’10,000 Feet’ is sci-fi space-rock with a crushing riff, channelling the spirit of the late ‘60s with an air of glorious pomp. The prog-leanings of the title-track is captivating, whilst the epic vocal and pretty arrangement of ‘In The Morning’ leaves you wishing that more bands would make rock ‘n’ roll like this. You’ve got to hope that this is a transition record – it may not rawk as hard as their debut, and much of the experimentation here is in desperate need of direction, but Wolfmother can sustain the symphonic weight of their most captivating moments, they might just make an album which proves the critics wrong.

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    Audrey Horne – Audrey Horne

    Album no. 3 for these Norweigan post-grungers. For a band comprising of former members of Enslaved and Gorgoroth, it is odd to find them so at home delivering music of a more melodic ilk, and this self-titled effort doesn’t diverge too far from their traditional formula of Alice In Chains meeting the heavier end of Soundgarden. On full tilt, they have always been a hulking leviathan of a band – crooned vocals sweep over layers of chunky, fat riffs in a richly melodic sound that is both dense and accessible. Godsmack would kill to sound this good. There is much to love here: the jilted refrain of ‘Firehouse’, with its sinewy guitars, channels Sabbath-Bloody-Sabbath; the razor sharp riffage of ‘Blaze of Ashes’ is the sort of classic rock UFO would be proud of; and ‘Charon’ is the brooding sound that Ozzy has been searching for since the mid-90s. In this respect, Audrey Horne deliver the goods. The problem here, however, is that they’ve lost their je ne sais qua. Their first two records – ‘Le Fol’ and ‘No Hey Banda’ – were notable for being adventurous: progressive interludes made the songs twist and writhe, injecting sparkle into what could so easily have been just another post-grunge band wallowing in self-pity. On this album, however, they’ve stripped the songs back – the result may be a more direct affair, but is also more prosaic. That’s a real shame, because Audrey Horne have long been one of rock’s best kept secrets. Here, they’ve passed from a sprawling, tortured Life Of Agony to become a more muted, conservative Velvet Revolver. Shame.

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    From the vaults: Every Time I Die – The Big Dirty (2007)

    “Our orbits are collapsing upon themselves. We’re retreating into the vogue where we’re sucking the blood from the necks of guitars” (Depressionista.)

    Fucking hell! That’s quite a lyric, and one typical of this motley crew of misfits who stand apart from their peers for a number of reasons: passion, fun and spirit. In a world awash with emo-platitudes and metalcore washouts, it is utterly refreshing to blast a record that is 36 minutes of rock ’n’ roll battery, and to experience a band who understands that to make a record that is fun need not mean sacrificing depth or emotion. This really is how rock ‘n’ roll should sound in the 21st century. Part metal, part punk, part hardcore and dipped in southern rock, ETID play like this is the last moment they’ll ever be able to. Sounding somewhere between Sick Of It All at their most bruising and a more fun Bronx, this is music played with passion, devoid of frills and unflinchingly articulate. ‘No Son Of Mine’ is built around 2 jabbing riffs and a myriad of time changes, whilst ‘Leatherneck’ channels Glassjaw at their most vulnerable. That’s quite a contrast of styles, but ones which ETID make quintessentially their own. For all the brutality of ‘Rendez-Voodoo’ and ‘Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Battery’, or the wrenching fury of ‘A Gentleman’s Sport’, we get the pure piss ‘n’ vinegar rock ‘n’ roll of ‘Werewolf.’ The songs here could be so easily be a disaster: gripped with ADHD, they flip over, twist around and spasm in and out of shape, and it is a testament to the band’s song-writing abilities that they hold all of the ideas and energies on display here together in huge hooks and choruses. They’re angry, but accessible; intelligent, but direct. Where so much heavy music today prides itself on painting only from a palette of grey, ETID make music that is technicolour. They are uplifting and life-affirming in a bleak age of despair. We NEED bands like this.

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