Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Earth Crisis - To The Death

In my few day hiatus away from blogging, I enjoyed my anniversary, gave my brain some time to thing and digest. Returning, I decided to take on something closer to me. Earth Crisis after years of being apart have gotten back together, and of course when I heard that, I was pumped. Being from Syracuse, and a strong believer in what the band believes in as well, this is something I just needed to do.

This more than likely is going to be a short review, I don't have a lot to say about the album. Well, that is a lie, I have a lot to say, but no words to form what I want to say.

From the start, the album promises powerful vocal overhaul, a bit more vicious compared to older Earth Crisis. It also promises strong instrumentals and a dynamic that you just could not find from anywhere else besides those tormented souls that have to reside in Syracuse, NY.

In Syracuse, the majority of us like a few things. We like our hardcore loud, we like our brotherhood, and those who are edge are very proud to be. Even if someone else is not edge, our brotherhood and sisterhoods bring us together for the love of hardcore and doing something that we believe, not only in this moment, but forever will be important, and a great way to send a message.

Earth Crisis once again hits on this album with all of that. Powerful vocals and brutal instrumentals continuously have you rocking and thrashing about. Some of the lyrics portray the straight edge and vegan life style, yet is not overwhelming and "do this or you fucking suck" type of song.

I love the intro to the song that says "The weapons of drugs and dealers kill more in months and weeks than Al-Quida victims, for the cartel's greed", this is simply a great lead into a great edge song. This song actually makes me feel proud to be who I am, and where I come from. Just a great song with a great message. Imagine one song saying everything you want to about the wrongs of society and drug use, etc. This song does that for me, and it should open up your eyes too.

All in all, this album delivers the whole way through, and you just need to listen to it to be able to appreciate it.

Album: 9 out of 10 zings.

Message to Band: Keep it up, seriously. You are the only reason that makes it cool to be from Syracuse, fuck the orangemen.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

All American Rejects: "When the World Comes Down"

For as long as I can remember, I have always been an AAR fan. In 2003, when I first heard their Self-Titled album, I was enthralled. The catchy tunes and the beautifully constructed lyrics and instrumentals, amazing. So lets start there, shall we?

The self-titled album held such classics as "Paper Heart" and "Swing Swing". This was the first dose of music from this band that America was subjected to. Needless to say that it was very well picked up by a mass public, as it hit the radio soon after. The songs may have been a bit "choppy" with lyrics and instruments, but their idea was there, and very well put together, and loved by many, including myself.

It seemed like for two years or so after that release, they toured but kept low and wrote another album as well. Until in 2005 when "Move Along" came out. This album was powerful and again had very well put ideas together. From the lyrics to the instrumentals, the album progressed and flowed together a bit better than their previous self-titled album. This album gave us such songs as "Move Along" and "Dirty Little Secret". Once again, AAR hit with catchy lyrics and a great tune for everyone to rock out to.

Now, when I heard that AAR was releasing an album around the same time FOB was releasing their new album, I was kind of worried that FOB's release would have sheltered AAR from getting their album in the light as much as it may deserve. I remember thinking that people would just listen to FOB's and not AAR.

When I first picked up "When the World Comes Down", I hadn't even listened to a single from the album yet, so I wasn't knowing what to expect. But the opening track "I Wanna" just sucked me in from the beginning. "Falling Apart" and "Damn Girl" deliver the same catchy tune and lyrical type that I was used to, be even showed more progression since their previous album "Move Along".

I can admit, I love "Gives You Hell", the first single from the album. It is very catchy, very great tune, and a song lyrically I think all of us can identify with at some point or another. The next two songs "Mona Lisa" and "Breakin" kind of tone the album down a little, but still keep it catchy, and give the album a little bit of a darker feeling, more emotion seems to flow through these songs.

"Another Heart Calls" is in my opinion one of the best ballads ever written, it is right up there with "If It Means A Lot To You" by A Day To Remember. The lyrics and emotion flow from both the male and female voice in this song, and give it a very connective feeling. I even found a video on youtube of two girls singing along in their bedroom to the song, absolutely loved it!

To sum up the rest of the album, it is a bit toned down from the first half. The songs are still good, but make me want to get up and boogey less. The album never really loses its touch on reality or on the emotions that the band portrays in each of its songs since the beginning.

Album: 8 out of 10 zings

Message to Band: I completely respect how you have gone about your "fame" or music business. I actually like how you seem to disappear for a few years and keep low, something that a lot of people seem to forget, and stay in the light for too long, and it makes them weird. Keep up the amazing tunes!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Burden of a Day: Oneonethousand

So, my wife being from Southwest Florida, I have always been into finding bands from the Tampa Bay/Sarasota area. One day my search brought me to a Christian metal/hardcore band called Burden of a Day. I loved their EP, and followed them closely. After only about 2 months of listening to them, I read that they were writing a new album, so again, I kept a close eye on this.

The first song off the album, "Remember", was released as a single on their myspace. I noticed right off the bat that there was more singing in this album, and the vocals were a lot more crisp and clear. Nothing to complain about, his voice is a very nice asset to the band's sound. The instrumentals still sounded strong in this single, as well as the screams.

When the album was first available, I immediately downloaded it. I have to start off by saying, they very smartly and artistically mixed their screams and clean vocals. The clean vocals gives songs a bit of a poppy feeling to it, and makes the songs a bit more catchy than their previous EP had sounded.

Clean vocals on this album remind me a bit of Bedlight for Blueeyes, and I thought that their vocals were amazing as well. Not whiney, not too deep, and certainly doesn't sound like the vocalist is struggling to make his pitch.

The scream vocals on this album remind me a bit of The Devil Wears Prada and A Static Lullaby. Once again a band hits another good note and has their rough vocals easily understood. I cannot tell you how much I it when I cannot understand screams.

Lyrically, this album is a hit. I don't find it hard at all to connect with what the band is trying to convey or say in the songs. Instrumentally, this album is clean and has some very interesting riffs in it.

This album is one in which I do not skip and tracks, and once again I have found an album hard to rate portion by portion or song by song. The whole album delivers and I urge you to listen. If you like to sing along to your music, if you like to thrash, if you like to just jam out, if you like gang chants, I HIGHLY recommend this album.

Album: 9 out of 10 zings

Message to Band: Keep on progressing as a band, and find the sound you like, or you have in mind. Personally, I am a big fan of Christian harcore/metal, so please keep up the good tunes, and you'll go places.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Vanna gives A New Hope

The way I found out about Vanna was actually boredom with the music I currently had in my music library. I was at Best Buy and just decided that I needed some new music, and I wanted to try and listen to a new band. When I usually did this, I started at A and made my way towards Z. This day however I went from Z to A, and Vanna was not all to far in. Their release from Epitaph "The Search Party Never Came" had a "comparable to bands like" sticker on it, and Every Time I Die was on there, along with some other bands I liked, so I decided to check it out.

I got into my car, and listened to the whole cd on the ride home. I was not sure what to make out of it, since they had quite a different sound. After a while, the cd grew on me immensely and I knew that I loved Vanna.

When their second CD curses was released, I was enthralled that they were releasing new music. "Curses" was an ok album, I was not swept off my feet by it, but I liked it. I found myself singing random parts of some songs and having them stuck in my head like "I don't wanna see you fall apart..." -continues to sing-. my favorite part of the whole album was actually the intro to the album.

Now...when I heard that Vanna was releasing even more music, I was kind of undecided as to whether or not I was going to check it out. I was a huge fan of "The Search Party Never Came" and didn't care all too much for "Curses", but nevertheless, I picked up the album.

"A New Hope" has been in regular circulation into my car's cd player ever since I have first gotten the album. I love the intro song, and the mix of screams and vocals are the most well mixed out of all their albums. There are only 2 songs in which I usually skip which are tracks 5 and 8.

A lot of these songs are catchy. You can understand his screams as well, which I find to be a very important of heavier music that has screaming, be it screamo, hardcore, metal, etc. The singing voice is also very enjoyable. I can garuntee that if you give this album a listen, you will definitely enjoy the lyrics, and find yourself singing them regularly.

Honestly, I know in my previous blogs I try to review album song by song, or portions of album in chunks. However with this album I can't do such a thing. The album remains strong throughout the playout of the tracks. Each track delivers powerful and mindblowing vocals, through screams and sings.

Album: 8 out of 10 zings.

Message to Band: Keep up the good work. Your progession as a band has done nothing but astound me. I hope to hear more music from you guys soon, and I hope that you stay true to yourselves.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"A Shipwreck in the Sand" is More of a Salvage

Let me be the first to say, I love all Silverstein albums. However as the band has progressed, they have experimented a little more and more each album, and get a more and more definitive sound with each album produced. This band is definitely one of the best at producing what music they feel like producing, and Shane does an amazing job of writing about what he feels.

When I first heard When Broken Is Easily Fixed, it was easy to say I was in love. I believe that album did not leave my car cd player for over 2 months. Within the first week I knew every song and sang along loudly. That album seemed to fuse all aspects of music that I liked, and still do. The correct timing of screams with vocals, heavy and light riffs, etc, beautiful.

So when their next album "Discovering the Waterfont" came out, I was excited, and learned that whole album within a week as well. I can't say that the album didn't leave my cd player, but most of my favorite songs come from that album, including "Call It Karma" and "My Heroine" and for the longest time "Smile in Your Sleep" was my favorite song, until "My Heroine" grew even more on me.

Needless to say, when I found out that Arrivals and Departures was in the making, I was pumped. "If You Could See Into My Soul" was an excellent song. However, I felt like I didn't connect with a lot of songs on the album, and it made me less interested. The instrumentals on a lot of songs didn't appeal to me either. I am not saying I don't like this album, but it definitely got the least play time out of all of them.

Now, when "A Shipwreck In The Sand" was announced, again, I found myself salivating at hearing Shane boast his amazing vocals. The single "Broken Stars" was an amazing single in my opinion with some classic Silverstein signature in which the screaming is powerful and kicks in at the end, when, in my opinion, the passion of the song is strongest.

So when I first gave the album a listen, the first three songs were signature Silverstein, and I loved the guest vocals on "Vices". I was a big fan of on "18 Candles" album how Shane had WiL from Aiden guest sing in "Bleeds No More" and thought that they should definitely have more guest vocals.

Over the next couple of tracks, the album takes a little bit of a lighter turn. Still as passionate, and still sending a great message as do the other songs. Shane did a great job writing so that the emotional connection to the songs could be felt. Then, the album takes a heavy turn once again for a couple songs.

Those few songs in the middle of the album come out of no where with a powerful punch. I give a lot of credit to a band who has never really had a breakdown per-se in a song, into having two in an album. I am not saying they were very moving breakdowns, but they were good. When I first heard them, my heart lept out of my chest. I would love to see Silverstein produce a couple more heavier songs like this...maybe even a bit heavier.

The final songs in the album end the album nicely. I don't feel like there should have been more songs added, or that some songs should have been taken out. The album was the perfect length and no song made the album awkward. The album flows nicely together, and its not too heavy, its not too light, the vocals don't have "whiney" parts, nor do they have too deep of vocal parts.

This album for me, reasserted why Silverstein is my favorite band. They again showed their progression and ability to write and produce amazing music.

Album: 9 out of 10 zings.

Message to Band: Keep on doing what you're doing. I love Shane's ability to write, I respect everyone else's ability to play amazingly (Billy, Josh, Paul, Neil). Stay true to yourselves, and I will always love you guys, and so will your fans.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Punk Goes....everything

I figured this was a much needed review, as covers are a very big part of the punk/hardcore/etc industry and world.

Every Punk Goes...album has produced good covers, from Crunk, Pop, 80's 90's and yes, even Metal. I am always willing to pick up a Punk Goes... album from Fearless records, because more often than not, there is always a good listen.

Punk Goes Pop 2 is the newest release from the line of albums. I have to admit, I don't really listen to the radio all too much, so I don't even know a lot of "pop" songs I guess you could say. Most of what I do hear is from commercials, or have seen bands covering on youtube.

This album actually had a bunch of songs I already knew though. The bands range from the electronica-indie type deal, to some metal.

First off let me say that the choice of songs on here was an amazing...well...choice. My only complaint is enough with the Britney Spears covers already. Baby One More Time has been covered more times that my extended family has fingers and toes as it is. But, the cover of Toxic is quite alright. I believe its the first cover I have heard of it as well.

The only two songs I have to give a thumbs down to are Baby One More Time by August Burns Red and Icebox by There For Tomorrow. It seems August Burns Red tried a little to hard, or it just wasn't the right cover choice for them. And There For Tomorrow didn't interpret the song at all and it still sounds very R&B.

All in all, the best covers are by far those by Silverstein (apologize) and A Day To Remember (Over My Head), purely for the fact that they interpret the song, change it up a little bit, but don't over do it. After all, if you are covering a song, it should be something you connect with, and not struggle with. Bayside is in a close third place to all those.

I really don't have much to say about this album, it is quite good. All I can say is give it a listen.

Album: 8 out of 10 zing.

Message to band(s): covers shouldn't sound like you struggled with them...if you hear it and it sounds like that, rethink your choice. Also don't just karaoke it either.

Monday, June 8, 2009

I Am Ghost: "Those We Leave Behind"

Ever since the release and my first discovery of this band, I have been a huge fan of their music. We Are Always Searching was an amazing first album, probably one of the most distinguished sounds I had ever heard from a newer band, especially for one of their first major releases. The music style, the exchanged between dark male voices and a beautiful female vocal with violin was the most amazing thing I had heard for a while.

When Lover's Requiem had been released, a freshman album was followed up by a very strong sophomore album. I have to say I was very pleased and very enthused with the quality of the album. The re-make of a couple songs on We Are Always Searching were very well done. The soft songs, the heavy songs, the ballads, the connective lyrics. Everything was very well put together, and yet again was another album that I did not want to skip any tracks on.

So when I heard interviews about the new album being "the darker album" and "one of the most lyrically connected" to the lead vocalist's feelings about what he has been feeling and going through in the past couple years, I was pleasantly awaiting a listen. When "Bone Garden" was released on myspace, I was very pleasantly surprised and content with what they had written and decided to release.

On first listen, I was expecting the type of intro they had, as they have used similar types of intros on their past albums. The album starts off great, with strong instrumentals and strong lyrics, and continues to stay that way throughout the entire album. The violin and key parts never conflict and create and ear-ache, mind-confusing tune. The arrangement of every song is very clear, and riffs are easily understood, as are the lyrics, even during the screams.

I agree with what was said, the lyrics portray a very dark image. Granted the fact that the instrumentals were always kind of a mix of a lot of genres, the dark guitar, almost dark metal sounding, throw a great feeling of musical confidence from the band. It almost seems effortless for them to create great songs and makes it very easy to feel like you can connect with the band.

Honestly my only knit-picking would be to give us a little more screaming, I love his passion when he screams. I also would not mind a little more double kicks on the drums. I can't complain about that all too much though, as their musical arrangement and technique is amazing for I Am Ghost.

This album is one in which I only skip a couple songs on the album. Not because they're not good songs, but because I don't connect with the lyrics. It is very rare in which I find an album where I don't skip tracks, so being that I like every song, is a good sign. I also would not mind a couple more breakdowns. I am a sucker for open-string bass riffs and slow drumming with crashes.

For the most part, I could keep listening to this album over and over, and couple probably memorize all the lyrics within a couple days if I did so. I Am Ghost is one of those bands who are just themselves, and I love them for that.

Album: 7 out of 10 zings.

Message to Band: Ignore what I say and keep doing what you're doing. Your progression into what this new album has become was amazing. I have a feeling your next album will melt my face off.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Sleeping - What it Takes...

I need to start off by saying, the whole time this album was in production and they were writing/in the studio, I was very excited. I was a huge fan of Questions and Answers, so needless to say I was greatly anticipating what The Sleeping's new album would contain.

My hopes had been supported by an amazing single release on their myspace. "Bomb the World" kept the band in check with a sound resembling Question and Answers with a little new punch to it with a little more keys involved in the song. The frenetic pace of the drums and the calm vocals at the beginning, turning into more and more power as the song continued gave me hope for the rest of the album.

So needless to say when the album was released, I was eager to give it a listen. My first impression with the first track was, I was in for a bit of of a ride. The keys were still a major part of the song (as I could tell they may have been more involved from the single they had released on myspace). However, as the tracks played on, I noticed that the keys seemed to have take predominance over the strings.

It sounds like the rhythm started to come from the keys instead of the strings, a concept in which I was not entirely going to give the cold shoulder to, after all, I am all for innovation and experimenting. However, as the album passes through track after track, the keys and guitar seem to mix, and seems to distract from the strong vocals that the singer is capable of. At some points, it almost sounds too mixed to make out a rhythm or riff at all.

It is not a totally bad review, I totally dig the slower songs, the ones that sound more like ballads. They are really well formed, and have great connecting lyrics. I do find the drumming on this album to be outstanding, even though in most parts it seems to be drowned out by the keys and "noise guitar", as I dub it when you can not distinguish between random strumming and a definitive riff.

Those instances in which I can hear distinguished riffs, and amazing keyboard parts separately and not misharmonized, I enjoy both. I also enjoy the parts in which the band allows the vocalist to showcase his rough but assertive vocals.

Although the instrumentals for the most part bother me, lyrically, this album really hits.

I have to say, I am quite disappointed with this album, although not quite as much as I could have been if there weren't a couple slower songs in which had really good lyrics.

Album: 4 out of 10 zings.

Message to band: The riffs and music stylings with "Believe What We Tell You" and "Questions and Answers" were a lot more catchy, and a lot funner to rock out to. Uncomplicate yourselves, don't focus so much on experimenting, especially through a whole album. Keep it simple, with a few complexities, and make it easy on the ears to pick up on enjoyable things.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Folie A Deux: A Madness Shared by Two

I figured I could start this blog by describing what is going to be in it, but I could not just sit and wait to start this. So on that note, lets jump right in, and I'll let you all figure it out as we go.

As you could probably guess, first up on the chopping block is the band everyone loves to hate, or hates to love, Fall Out Boy, and their most recent album "Folie A Deux"

Lets start off with the beginning, Fall Out Boy brings something very poppy and catchy, very good tune, and catchy lyrics of course. But as the album progresses it seems to lose its power, or its musical flow. The energy of the album seems to burn off in the first couple of songs, with a try for redemption, yet failed, later on.

This album yet again finds more synth and instruments that the band themselves does not even play. It reminds me a little bit of some late 80's or 90's pop rock. The instrumentals that the band does play, is greatly dumbed down, even since their last album (Infinity on High). This is not to even mention that since the first "well received" album, with each release, the instrumental playing seems to slide as well.

The lyrics take a little bit of a hit as well. It seems with more and more acceptance into public eye and "progression" as a band, their lyrics become more and more like every song on the radio and less about their joy. Many songs on this album revert to old songs and old times of being a band, and partially of how they don't seem to have liked where this is starting to veer off into.

In the early days, before the "Joe fro" and before Pete went all femme on us, there was background screaming (a lot in Take This to Your Grave, and some in FUCT), the drumming was insane, and there were fast paced guitar riffs that resembled some of their hardcore backgrounds as well. Have we all forgotten that Pete was once in a band with Tim McIlrath (lead singer of Rise Against) in which Pete was the lead vox (and yes, he scrame, check out Arma Angelus, who was also signed to an amazing record company for metal/hardcore - Eulogy Recordings).

I hate to say this, but it needs to be said. With each album, Fall Out Boy progresses and shows us great musical range, but with each album, their music is dumbed down and becomes less and less interesting to listen to. I can admit that they have catchy tunes and catchy lyrics, but it isn't an album that even if I liked one song on it greatly, that I wouldn't skip any songs. They once said in an interview on their DVD, that they were going to dress up their music, and Fall Out Boy music was always going to be Fall Out Boy music, and I have to disagree. I feel like they changed themselves for the money, and that they don't stay true to themselves.

All I can say is this, I used to love them, even designed a tattoo or two based on their lyrics. But where were you all when Fall Out Boy played with Acceptance on a nationwide tour in 2003 and entrance fees were about $8? Oh yeah, thats right, you were in 4th grade. Young ears are easily persuaded by media and peer influence.

Bands that go down this road, tire themselves out. Fall Out Boy's on stage performance looks so routine, it looks like they don't want to be there, and it looks like they don't enjoy playing many new songs from the past 2 albums. Find performances from 2003 or 2004, their attitude looks so much different. Look what happened to Good Charlotte, they were the "Fall Out Boy" when FOB was just getting started. GC got tired of how "sold out" they were and started writing songs about how they don't like where they are, and then tried to lay low.

To anyone who disagrees, to each their own, but Fall Out Boy needs to shape up and remember their roots. I have to say, when I first heard "Thriller" by them, I was excited and hoped they were going to incorporate a little more heavy riffs and everything into their music, something like Four Year Strong or New Found Glory started to do recently.

Album: 3 out of 10 zings.

Message to band: bring back some of your old roots. I think old and new fans would love to hear some pop-punk/core fusion.