Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Enter Animosity...This band from San Francisco, California have been playing Deathcore since 2000, when Deathcore was a wee tot. They are probably credited as one of the founding bands of Deathcore. In fact, when they were recorded their first album, Shut It Down, in 2003, a few of Animosity's members were 15 at the time. Over the course of nine years, they have improved immensely from their first outing, culminating in their third and last album, Animal.
Animosity has reached new technical levels with this album, possibly rivaling the Red Chord's (another exceptional Deathcore band, might I add. Guy Kozowyk lends his ferocious vocals in the finale, A Passionate Journey) level of technicality. Their song structure holds a wonderful amount of riffs, constant rhythm changes, and subtle tempo shifts. The guitarists execute awesome technical riffs without reaching wank levels. The drums are very chaotic, always mixing it the rhythms. He never relies on blast beats, unlike some Deathcore drummers out there, and can actually perform excellent fills while still maintaining the beat and overall speed of the song. The vocals are exceptional and varied, ranging from a mid-ranged growl to a low guttering growl to a hardcore type yell. I cannot say anything about the bass. They seem to be inaudible in the mix (I may be wrong, of course). Sad, considering the amount of technical ability Evan Brewer has as seen here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8e8qXxwDu8 I should mention that Kurt Ballou, of Converge fame, handled the production job of this album and he did not disappoint.
Unfortunately, Animosity broke up in late 2009. Honestly, I think Animosity barely pushed their limits with this release. If they had continued making music along the vein of this album, they would have taken the Metal world by storm and show that not all Deathcore bands suck. But, I guess we should take what we have and appreciate it, considering how bad Deathcore bands can be.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
"Now that I've said the name Stravinsky three times, I do believe I ought to get to the review. Well, I must say that there are many great versions and different interpretations of Petruchka and The Rite of Spring, Stravinsky's two greatest ballets. And though many come close, none quite match Stravinsky's own interpretations of his own works. For one, no other conductor (except for perhaps Leonard Bernstein) could conduct this music quite as intensely. Stravinsky wrings out every last ounce of emotion and passion from the orchestra. Never before or since has there been anybody who could conduct the music as rythmically precise as Stravinsky. Pierre Boulez comes the closest, but he's not quite there. Stravinsky's sense of rhythym is a bit more precise and as a result the interpretation is sharper and more incisive(as it was meant to be). Another interesting fact about the recording is that the music is played much more playfully than under the baton of most other conductors, who play these pieces as if they suffered from Wagnerian heaviness. It is rather refreshing to hear the music played in a 20th century, not over romanticized, fashion. The sound quality is also quite good, and excellent considering that these are recordings from the 60s. I must say the only drawback that this album suffers from is the fact that Stravinsky's revised score for the Rite of Spring is used rather than the full original version. It's not much different, but if you know the ballet you'll notice. Not to say you won't enjoy it, because quite simply, this is one of the best Stravinsky recordings available. The Petrouchka is especially amazing and extremeley catchy. This is a great CD. Enough Said. "
Friday, November 19, 2010
You might be thinking 'why are you posting this? You're ruining the quality of the blog with this Metalcore tripe, shit for brains.' Even though Johnny Truant follows the modern conventions of Metalcore i.e. clean melodic singing, shrieked vocals reminiscent of banshees, twin guitar melodies, and the infamous chug-chug, one note breakdowns...But fret not...this is not your usual 'boy band, pussy sounding, Gothenburg wannabe, generic song-structure, breakdown filled' Metalcore band. In fact, this band doesn't even possess any of the generic traits that gives Metalcore a bad name. The clean melodic vocals actually sounds like the vocalist isn't a whiny cunt. The shrieks are raspy, aggressive, passionate, and might be considered memorable. Occasionally, the vocalist uses low, guttural growls that are reminiscent of Death Metal, but are light enough to fit with the music. Guitar melodies aren't used frequently here. Instead, hard, driving, chaotic riffs are abundant here, with the occasional melodies integrated into the songs professionally. The guitar timbres actually have some of the fuzziness used in Hardcore Punk, but still retain that metallic feel. The rhythms actually change here, and drastically might I add. The drummer is not slacker. You can detect the progressive influences in him. He actually plays like he cares for his drumming chops, playing with variety, focus, and precision instead of falling back on breakdown styled drumming that plagues many Metalcore drummers. And the breakdowns aren't half bad. Surprisingly good actually, since they don't just thrown them into the song at any random moment and are placed perfectly.
If you are actually trying to wonder if Metalcore is worth it, I can definitely say that bands that do make Metalcore justice are the ones that you should keep.
"It's fascinating how an obscure electronica duo from Norway can promote itself so well across genres. I've seen reviews of this album not just in electronica circles but also in rock, jazz, prog, and even metal websites or magazines. It even was reviewed in Exposé, and has an entry in the GEPR, though the entry consists of a thoroughly befuddled review - sorry, Fred. Amateur Girlfriends Go Proskirt Agents garnered such high praise from such a diverse array of critics that it was recently re-released (as just Amateur Girlfriends) with bonus tracks, despite being released only three years ago or so in the first place.
So what's the big deal? This is an album chock-full of interesting and creative IDM-styled electronica: breakbeats, heavy sampling, all of it augmented with vaguely symphonic touches ("Tintinnamputation" sounds downright cinematic, even melodramatic, with what prog reviewers would call, well, "sweeping keyboard washes") that perhaps have made it more appealing to prog fans than most electronic music. There are also live instruments played here and there, most notably keys and bass, but these are not the focal point of the album. The best tracks have an almost funky aggression in the bass, such as in the opening cut; or are heavily rhythmic and propulsive and would fit in well as the soundtrack to an action-packed movie car chase scene, such as in "Treat Me Mean, I Need the Reputation."
Points of comparison might include Amon Tobin or even Thievery Corporation with a more aggressive approach. There is a strong jazz influence running through the whole affair - hence the Amon Tobin comparison - making the music altogether more accessible to non-electronica fans than similar releases. In any case, it's interesting that prog fans picked up on this kind of electronic music as opposed to the more experimental, much more rhythmically challenging (or challenged) material of, say, Autechre. I suspect the band's relentlessly effective self-promotion has had something to do with this.
Taken for what it is, this is an impressively creative album, accessible to a broad range of tastes. It does lose some steam in the second half - the first six cuts are by far the most energetic and consistently interesting. But its broad appeal is probably not unwarranted, though I still maintain that fans of musical complexity have much more intriguing options to turn to in the electronica genre."
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sunday, November 14, 2010
"I knew absolutely nothing about this band prior to listening to this album. The only reason the name was familiar was due to a remix of ‘Blue Light’ they contributed to Bloc Party’s Silent Alarm Remixed. The remix stripped the song down to its basics, focusing on Kele Okereke’s vocals and the dreamy atmosphere suggested by the keys, as opposed to the rock n’ roll crescendo found at the end of the album version. Since I probably listened to the remix more than the original track, I went into this album with moderately high hopes.
Three Fact Fader is Engineers’ second studio album, their first for Kscope. If I was looking for one word to describe this release, it would be hypnotic. This is classic dream pop, through and through, with touches of shoegaze. In the vein of The Album Leaf’s In a Safe Place, Engineers have created an album best listened to either late at night or when lost in thought. Vocally and even stylistically, I can draw a parallel to M83. Just to be sure my ears aren’t deceiving me, I can confirm the two bands do share a producer in Ken Thomas.
First track and single ‘Clean Coloured Wire’ brings thoughts of My Bloody Valentine to the forefront. The following track ‘Sometimes I Realize’ is almost uncharacteristically upbeat for the album, but it contrasts well with the other, more sombre tracks. The album is at its best when embracing the spacey atmosphere that comes with their genre, particularly on tracks like ‘Brighter As We Fall’. Tracks occasional venture into more bombastic territory, as on ‘The Fear Has Gone’. What starts as a few chords on strings swells into an explosion of sound. I’d be remiss if I didn’t reference the band’s name in some manner, but true to their title, this album feels expertly designed and crafted, not a note out of place."
My only gripes with this album would have to be the selection of beats and choruses on certain songs. After so many great songs, it would be difficult to maintain the winning streak and not make a song that isn't so great. We, Myself, and I has a hectic beat that was contributed by Broken Social Scene. While it isn't the beat itself or Shad that makes this song less than favorable in my book, it's the combination. The beat takes control of this song and we can't have that with a emcee like Shad who's lyrics must dominate in order to be used to their full effect. It makes me miss the old Shad from When This Is Over, who stuck to very simple guitar rhythms and drum patterns. The lyrical content is, as usual, very clever except for the chorus which is just a vague repetition of the word yes. The chorus on 'We Are The Ones' falls as a little cheesy. The beat brings out an illusion of serious matter, but its actually the opposite. Shad's first verse misleads the audience, but the guest appearances set everything back on path with very well written lines. "...living on a new beach and everyone here's in a two piece while my soul's bare...boobies...spelled on a calculator..." The awkwardness of this first verse makes it hilarious. The beat on 'Lucky 1's could have been better. It doesn't slide through well enough, but Shad accommodates his flow respectively and IanKamau's passionate voice adds to the soulful meaning to this track.
Although it may or may not be his best work as a whole, this is definitely another great addition to a very talented artist's discography. Shad is a master of manipulating the moods of his listener, whether he pulls you into a introspective trance, impresses with a relentless demonstration of skill, or simply humors you with his charismatic personality. However you look at this album, one thing is for certain, Shad's work is saturated with the unmistakable sense of hope the Hip-Hop culture yearns for in these modern times.
On their early albums Hades Almighty played viking black metal similar to bands like Enslaved or early Satyricon. With this release they completely change their style to where they sound nothing like they used to. On The Pulse of Decay, the band plays experimental black metal. They mix their usual black metal style with elements of industrial, ambient, and doom metal. The guitarists play a couple different styles. They're either playing the fast black metal tremolo picking, slow doom riffs, or very technical riffs. Not tech death style techincal, but technical enough for a black metal album. The bass is surprisinly audible on this album as well. This is obviously very odd for black metal and to tell you the truth I really dont know how to describe the bass very well because its usually inaudible on most albums I listen to. Drumming on this album is handled by a man named Remi Andersen and his style of drumming also not your typical black metal style. There are almost no blast beats on this album and while they are present, they're not the main style like on most black metal albums. The drumming is pretty fast, but not in the form of blast beats. While the more slow, doomy parts are going the drummer does a great job of keeping the pace of the song. This is album is also kind of melodic. Keyboards are present throughout the album, and while they're not a main focus, you can tell they are there and they keep this album feeling very melodic and not just like another black metal album.
Janto Garmanslund is the vocalist and also the bassist for Hades Almighty, and he actually sounds like a mix of the two Mayhem vocalists, but also has his own style. Sometimes he sounds like Maniac, formerly of Mayhem and sometimes he does the unique style of vocals reminiscent to Attila currently of Mayhem. He almost sounds like an exact clone of Attila at some points, which is a good thing because unlike some people, I think Attila's vocals are amazing. Also sometimes, particularly at the beginning of Vendetta Assassination, Janto does a very weird type of vocals that are best described as sqealing. Now dont think deathcore pig squealing because thats not even close to what these sound like. There's really no way to describe them because they are very unique. Also, he does some really weird laughing a couple times during some of the songs. Very creepy, but very awesome.
Sound effects are another key ingredient to making this album really good. The band uses ambient and industrial samples throughout the album and thats where those influences come from. In the middle of a couple songs the band just throws in some weird sounding ambient parts and its pretty creepy. The industrial samples usually come at the beginning of the songs before they blast off into black metal madness. The ambient and industrial parts here and there just make the album even more unique.
After the album is all said and done, you will most likely be satisfied. The only problem is that it can get a little bit repetitive and some of the riffs start to sound the same towards the end. Other than that though this album is a hidden gem in the black metal scene. Hades Almighty definitely holds their ground and they should be heard. They're right up there with bands early Norwegian black metal bands such as Gorgoroth and Immortal. Most people just havent heard of them yet. Well this is your chance. Buy this album and also their early viking black metal albums for some quality Norwegian black metal that is sadly unheard by a lot of people."
Sunday, November 7, 2010
"Wes Montgomery (1925-1968) was one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century. He took the swing sound of Charlie Christian and the gypsy jazz styling of Django Reinhardt and combined them into a unique American jazz sound. His early work would influence the two generations of jazz guitarists that would follow him.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Two of the tracks titles are named after letters which Miyazaki sent to the families of his victims:
To the family of victim Erika Nanba, Miyazaki sent a morbid postcard which had been assembled from words cut out of magazines: "Erika. Cold. Cough. Throat. Rest. Death."
To the family of Miyazakis first victim Mari Konno, he charred her remaining bones in his furnace, ground them into powder and sent them to her family in a box, along with several of her teeth, photos of her clothes and a postcard reading: "Mari. Cremated. Bones. Investigate. Prove.""