Posts Tagged ‘Sound’

Children of Bodom – I Worship Chaos

Finnish melodeath superstars Children of Bodom have gone through several identity crises. Starting off as neoclassical melodic death metal, they had a lot of success. Their album Hatebreeder is indisputably a classic of the genre. But over time, they turned their sound into a more groove-oriented version of themselves with shred sections. This sound still had a lot of acclaim, as their fourth album Hate Crew Deathroll was also received very positively, even though some lamented the loss of their older influences. With their next few albums, they kept slightly changing their sound to be more accessible while simultaneously trying to capture their spark from their earlier days, but it never clicked, even though slog the way they had some great songs. After several disappointing albums, and the loss of famed guitarist Roope Latvala, Bodom are faced with their deciding moment. They could either pick themselves back up and make a comeback, or risk forever being written off. Thankfully, their ninth album, I Worship Chaos , is more the former than the latter. What really makes a Bodom album tick? If we’re talking post- Hate Crew, it’s basically solid grooves, chantable choruses, angry one-liners from Laiho and cheesy lead sections. Well, I Worship Chaos has got all of those covered. Each song is full of memorable little licks, be it some aggressively-nod-inducing riffs, earworm melodies or just proclamations screamed by Alexi (who sounds angrier than he has in a while). But what’s really important isn’t just that these elements are thrown in to tick boxes, it’s that they all come together in a way that makes for an enjoyable listening experience. And  that’s definitely the case here. Roope Latvala’s departure was definitely concerning as his lead playing was thought to be a big part of the band’s sound, but Alexi seems to be managing just fine without him. Perhaps the solos are a bit less intense, but there isn’t a noticeable drop in songwriting quality overall. In fact, the album feels better written than several of its predecessors. Everything is in lockstep, riffs carry tension and resolution very well between each other, and they don’t feel tired. This is an especially impressive feat if one considers the fact that melodic death metal has been around for quite a while and the template has been “figured out” long ago. Even Bodom have contributed to that process in the past, and nine albums deep into their career, it would be easy for them to feel like there’s not much left to say (in fact many though that was the case even seven albums deep into their career, so in some ways I Worship Chaos is a resurgence of quality). Sure, Alexi doesn’t sound like he feels as rife with angry creativity as he did fifteen years ago, but he sounds a lot more invigorated than he did five years ago. The benchmark for success in melodeath isn’t necessarily innovation anyway, it’s polish. And polish is in abundance on this album. It’s hard to underline in words the specific tightness that makes this album tick. This isn’t something that one can identify on paper. It’s the feeling of genuineness and effort conveyed by the tone of the writing. To the careful listener, that the songs were put together not by haphazard cobbling of ideas that were left on the drawing board after a writing session but were carefully put together to ensure every cog clicks properly with everything else, is obvious, and that is when the heart put into the album is apparent. Overall, I Worship Chaos is a polished, heartfelt album that makes it sound like Children of Bodom are enjoying their own music again; and fans should join in on that as well. The band are better than they have been for several albums, and new life has been breathed into their music. In a way, they’re back from the dead, telling us that we were wrong to write them off. ? Children of Bodom-  I Worship Chaos  gets… 4/5 -NT

Trivium – Silence In The Snow

Every Trivium release after Ascendancy has initially been met with some backlash by fans of the band. Pretty much every band by the album is solid, but every album is a departure from the previous one, so getting fixated on certain aspects of the sound of the band always leads to disappointment. That’s not to say that all criticism of their work is invalid, but there is always a yearning for older elements of the band’s sound from some. Yet, despite this, Trivium keep pushing forward, and with every album they change the shell around the core of their sound. Sometimes it works better than others, as the intricate and progressive Shogun was an absolute masterpiece, In Waves was their most diverse album, and while Vengeance Falls was met with some degree of negativity, its second half had some of the best songs they’ve ever written. Silence in the Snow  is the Florida quartet’s seventh album, and it sees them taking a different direction yet again, with a heavy bent towards traditional metal and the complete eschewing of screaming (which works out surprisingly well), and bringing back the elements of the fabled Shogun sound. And while the end result works more often than not, it’s a bit flawed. It’s hard to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of Silence in the Snow against each other, as they’re mostly disparate. The songs have structure issues, but the actual riffs that are in there are pretty great. Perhaps the easiest way to sort this out is to just lay the issues out there and let everyone sort them out for themselves. There is really one prime problem with this album, and everything else stems out from it. That problem is the reliance on choruses, or more specifically, song structures that emphasize choruses. Pretty much every song has a verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus structure. Some of the best aspects of Trivium songs are “the riffs in between”, things that lead verses into choruses, interludes, pre-solo sections, et cetera. The band not having any screaming on this album is really no issue, as there aren’t any riffs that make one go “I wish there was some screaming here”, but that’s actually the root of the issue here. It’s not that the band are no longer doing harsh vocals, it’s that they’re not writing riffs that they normally play when they’re doing harsh vocals. And while the screaming isn’t really missed, the riffing is. Further exacerbating this issue is the fact that the choruses area repeated a lot, which makes the songs feel rather simplistic and repetitive. It’s also a problem when a lot of the songs have their verses start with the “guitar plays a note or two then stops, and Matt sings over a bassline” bit, which gets old even faster. While those issues sound a bit grave, when the album works, it really works. It has some of the best lines they’ve ever written. The riffing isn’t really the focus on most of the songs, the vocals are, and the riffing just provides a backdrop for the singing. While Matt Heafy isn’t the best singer out there, he’s better than he ever was (and he doesn’t rely heavily on pitch correction either, as live videos make very evident) and he pulls off a singing-driven album well. And while the complaints about choruses being too prevalent stands, they’re damn good choruses. It’s so easy to sing-along to everything in the album, and it’s all ridiculously catchy and memorable. The heavy metal influence is prevalent mostly on a few songs, whereas the rest are Shogun-era Trivium songs with the screaming bits cut out and the choruses emphasized. That album has been the holy grail for the band’s fanbase since its release, and this album brings back pretty much every aspect of that sound minus the heavier parts. The lack of more intense riffing probably partly due to the fact that the singing is a lot more difficult than what the band has done before, and Matt has to focus on his voice, which forces him to just play basic rhythms. The band mostly cover that up with great song writing, proving their claim they’ve been making for years that it’s not about how hard the riff you play is, but how good the riff sounds. And for guitar enthusiasts, the band still have neat riffs in some of the songs, and their solos, which every song has, are some of their best. Really, how much one enjoys this album will come down to what they’ve come to expect from Trivium over the years. If their image of the band was that of a metalcore band with screaming and melodeath-esque riffing, they will probably be disappointed. But if they liked Trivium for their melodies, Matt’s singing and the memorable lines, this album contains more of those than ever. They’ve brought back some of their best songwriting elements, and while the implementation is a bit flawed due to the simplistic structure of the songs, the end result is really good and is full of stupidly catchy riffs and choruses. In ways, Silence in the Snow is the “Black Album” of Trivium’s career, as it reflects a position in their musical progression similar to how that album was situated for Metallica . And while this might (rightfully) alienate some longtime fans, it’s just a different direction and not really a bad one. The aspects that are lacking are undeniable, but what’s here is also compelling in its own right. ? Trivium –  Silence In The Snow gets… 3.5/5 -NT

Machine Head – Bloodstone & Diamonds

It’s been a turbulent three years in the metal world since Machine Head released Unto the Locust to much critical praise. We’ve seen the continued rise of djent and it’s bastardizations, deathcore’s leanings into more progressive territories, progressive metal’s leanings into softer and more introspective territories, black metal through the eyes of shoegazers, and the return of a few old school death metal bands. The late nineties saw the band conform to the sound of the times, adopting the nu-metal style introduced by bands like Rage Against the Machine , Korn , and Limp Bizkit in years prior. Luckily, the current musical climate has had no impact on Machine Head, who have chosen to pound the flag they’ve been flying since their triumphant return to form with 2004’s Through the Ashes of Empires deeper into the ground, resulting in Bloodstone & Diamonds , their latest gem and first release for Nuclear Blast . Whereas Machine Head merely flirted with orchestral arrangements in the past, opening track ‘Now We Die’ starts off with a full on string section, setting the tone for the prodigious journey that lay ahead. The return of producer Colin Richardson is immediately apparent once things kick in: buzzsaw quad-layered guitars, drums punchier than Mike Tyson, and distorted bass sitting perfectly in the mix to complement the guitars. The sonics of Unto the Locust were perfectly appropriate for most metal albums of its caliber, but Richardson’s return makes it apparent that there is an intangible magic when the two work together. This is also the first album to feature new bassist Jared MacEachern after the well publicized fallout with original bassist Adam Duce , leaving Flynn as the sole original member. The band has been fraught with lineup changes over the years, but the heart of Machine Head has always been with Flynn. By the time second track, ‘Killers and Kings,’ bulldozes it’s way through the speakers, any apprehension is completely removed. Drummer Dave McClain ’s tasteful and simple ride bell play during the choruses carries the song masterfully, and his performance throughout the album is a testament to powerful modern metal drumming. Bloodstone & Diamonds does not wear any masks, exuding an honesty lost on much of today’s metal. In Machine Head’s case, perhaps it is a continued rebellion against their “experimental” period from 1999’s The Burning Red to 2001’s Supercharger . Despite this, the band have retained the best parts of said period while keeping the foundation they built in the beginning with Burn My Eyes , and also venturing into new territory. ‘Eyes of the Dead’ is the most representative track of their career by far, and perhaps the strongest track on the album. The intro reeks of early Megadeth with the ascending tapping lick over the pulsing drums, calling to mind ‘The Conjuring’ from the classic Peace Sells…But Who’s Buying? . The verses thrash about in the melodeath way the band adopted on Through the Ashes of Empires , with a deadly infectious chorus with Flynn chanting “Murder! Murder!” and a follow-up hook worthy of the best melodic moments from The Burning Red . Add a whammy bar breakdown groove in the mid-section worthy of 1997’s The More Things Change and you have a massive recipe for success, all while not sounding the least bit derivative. From a performance aspect, this album marks some of Robb Flynn ’s most impassioned and versatile singing in years. The airy falsetto of the verses on ‘Ghosts Will Haunt My Bones’ are simultaneously sensuous and foreboding, counteracting perfectly with the bendy groove that follows. Without a doubt the biggest surprise found here is the brooding and eerie ‘Sail Into The Black’. Parts of this song reek of Ulver ’s dark ambient masterpiece Shadows Of The Sun , which is absolutely not a bad thing. Whether this is mere coincidence remains to be seen, but the drone of the baritone choir, thick and enveloping vocal harmonies, and subtle orchestral elements call the album to mind. It’s not until around the halfway mark when the trademark chainsaw guitars, distorted bass, and pounding drums kick in do we have any inkling that we’re still listening to Machine Head. While past tracks like ‘Violate’ and ‘Down to None’ extracted the sludgiest roots of the band, they have dug even deeper into the muck with the swampy ‘Beneath the Silt’. The track opens like an audio engineer’s dream, with the drums pounding out a gigantic fill that highlights the perfectly roomy mix. This is followed by possibly the lowest tuning the band have used to date, with a simple, bluesy, and filthy riff flinging gunk all over the precious and pretty melodic moments delivered on the previous six tracks. The song is not lost on melody however, with Flynn’s hypnotic falsetto covering the chuggy verse like an opiate laced wine basted over a stuffed pig. ‘Game Over’ smacks of bitterness and regret lyrically, quite obviously being an elegy to the friendship between Flynn and Duce. As Flynn cries “Another time, when music’s all we had, bonded by anger and addictions, so glad, always together, but no words are spoken, this is the sound of a friendship broken”, it’s hard to imagine it being anything but. Flynn also took to the mic in the past to deal with former guitarist Logan Mader ’s departure with the Sabbath infused ‘Devil With the King’s Card’ from The Burning Red , so this comes as no surprise. The only downside to this album is the sprinkled on patriotism of ‘In Comes the Flood’. The majority of the music is superb, with the use of orchestra in the beginning and the cascading classical melodies on the tail of the main riff. The problem is the uninspired populist ranting over the top of everything, especially the tired sounding “Wake up, America!” over a riff that drags harder than Ru Paul. Leaving this track off the album would have eschewed a perfect score. Despite this setback, Machine Head have delivered yet another classic addition to their catalog to rival and revel in the most triumphant moments of their career. ? Machine Head’s Bloodstone & Diamonds gets… 4.5/5 -DW

Mind Pulp-Mind Pulp

Self-Release/Independent 2013 A little while back I was commenting on how there are just too many new Ohio rock and metal bands to for me to stay up to date on all of them. That was when I was struggling to come up with words for The Unclean’s latest release. I’m not having that problem with the five-piece band Mind Pulp. If anything it is just that without another Ohio band (Black Valor who I have reviewed in the past as well) chances are I might not have heard of these guys. That just goes to show you that in any given area there will always be a new band left to be discovered. You just might have to either look harder or, in the case of Mind Pulp, just get lucky. Originally hailing from New Philadelphia, Ohio (yeah, I didn’t know there was a metal scene there either folks) it looks as if they’re calling Canton home these days. Even though it is the birthplace of Marilyn Manson I’m not going to hold that against these guys! Granted, Canton would seem to be more of a fit for the band anyway as their sound and style, which is reportedly influenced by the likes of Korn, Static X,? Machine Head and Mudvayne, has a real urban grit to it. Mind Pulp was formed back in 2011 and, from the very start, the band’s main focus was “to create a style of music that could be embraced by everyone no matter what their taste in music was”. I’m not sure that’s going to work so well for Mind Pulp unless your average listener’s personal tastes includes the word “heavy”. More then anything that is what Mind Pulp has going for them on this 9-track release. It should be noted that while there are 9 tracks here it’s just 30 minutes in length. So it does run more like an EP. It’s not like Mind Pulp doesn’t make the most of that short time though. “El Diablo”, “Tell Me Why” and “Blood Clot” (all three of which you can be heard on the band’s Reverbnation page) offer solid metal in the vein of both Korn and Machine Head. Their Reverbnation page also features a sweet cover of Prong’s “Snap Your Fingers, Snap Your Neck” so I’d wager that some of Prong’s heaviness has rubbed off on Mind Pulp. Of course there’s also some of Pantera’s heaviness to be found in Matt Pettit’s bass playing so you can kind of see where I’m going when I mention that Mind Pulp as that bottom-end crunch factor in their sound. As for the other four musicians there are no slouches among this bunch. Doug Wright and Nick Bonner easily handle the guitars and, on a track like the relentless “Relapse”, the solos speak volumes about the talent level of Mind Pulp.Vocalist Chad Heck and drummer Brent Mathiasas round things out and both do a pretty smashing job with things through and through. The only (minor) complaint to be found of this self-titled release is that when Chad Heck sings clean (I’m assuming he sings both clean and rough vocals) it doesn’t have quite the impact of the much more “metal” vocals. And Mind Pulp is very much a metal band as a cut like “Evil Intentions” will attest to. Sometimes when one guy tries to handle both ends of the vocal spectrum it doesn’t work so well. Vocalist Chad Heck has the rough vocals nailed down, but his clean singing could use a little tweaking. I do have to wonder though if it’s just the mix of this release that’s out of whack? Maybe he comes across better in concert? That could very well be the case as Mind Pulp has one of those sounds that must be killer to hear live. Have you ever listened to an album like that and thought to yourself? “I bet this band is heavier then hell and loud as f**k live!”? Considering how well things chug along on this disc I’m willing to wager that the real fun would be found in seeing Mind Pulp live and in living color. While checking out Mind Pulp’s Facebook page I noticed that it has pictures from their past gigs (and some “interesting” ones at that) so it looks as if a live setting might just be as good as, if not better, then this studio-release. Of course, judging by some of those live pictures posted on their Facebook page, it’s also got to be some kind of unique experience seeing them live and Lord knows I wouldn’t mind some of those “experiences” right about now!? Back to the disc we must go and, in addition to the numerous bands mentioned above, I picked up on both Dope and White Zombie so the influences are quite varied. This release would be the perfect pick me up for those who like alternative and nu metal, but straight-ahead metal heads will be able to enjoy this one as well. Should you find yourself in need of something HEAVY (and that falls within the bounds of “metal”) be sure to give Mind Pulp a chance. You might just find yourself with another fave new band! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Mind-pulp/219592814733432 http://www.reverbnation.com/mindpulp

Dave Grohl Performs With Stevie Nicks and Sound City Players on ‘Late Show With David Letterman’

CBS Dave Grohl is making the talk show rounds this week, hitting up ‘The Colbert Report’ and ‘The Late Show With David Letterman’ to discuss and promote his ‘Sound City’ documentary. After an appearance on ‘Colbert’ earlier this week, last night (Feb. 14) was Letterman’s turn. During his interview with Letterman, Grohl recalled his first experience with the Sound City studio in Los Angeles, recording Nirvana ‘s ‘Nevermind’ album there in 1991. He explained, “We booked into that studio cause it was cheap. It was $600 a day and they were sort of kind of past their prime and their heyday. In ’73, they were state of the art, brown shag carpet on the walls was cool, but by 1991 it was not. So we walked in and it was a dump. It looked like a burned out Chi-Chi’s.” However, Grohl said the sound of the studio was undeniable and they got the “big” feel they were hoping for when recording the classic ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit.’ He adds, “The 16 days we were there changed my life forever. ” In addition, Nirvana drummer-turned- Foo Fighters frontman added a performance to his ‘Letterman’ appearance, bringing out his ‘Sound City Players’ with Fleetwood Mac ‘s Stevie Nicks on vocals for ‘You Can’t Fix This’ from the film’s soundtrack. Nicks has a history with the Sound City studios as well, first meeting Mick Fleetwood there prior to she and Lindsey Buckingham joining the band. The group also recorded some of their finest music at the studio. Watch the Dave Grohl’s ‘Late Show’ Interview Watch the Sound City Players Featuring Stevie Nicks Perform ‘You Can’t Fix This’ [button href=”http://loudwire.com/dave-grohl-sound-city-players-nyc-exclusive-photo-gallery/” title=”Next: Check Out Our Photo Gallery from the Sound City Players NYC Show” align=”center”]

Dave Grohl Talks ‘Sound City’ Documentary and More on ‘The Colbert Report’

Comedy Central Dave Grohl has been all over TV recently. Supporting his new documentary, ‘Sound City,’ which chronicles the legendary albums that have been the recorded at Sound City Studios, Grohl graced ‘The Colbert Report’ stage on Feb. 13 to promote the film. Prolific musician and rock’s most lovable overachiever Dave Grohl was in New York City last night to perform with the Sound City Players, a group of musicians who have recorded at Sound City Studios, including Grohl’s Foo Fighters bandmates, Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk , Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic , Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, rock legend John Fogerty + many more. Before the NYC performance, however, Grohl stopped by ‘The Colbert Report’ for an hilarious interview with host Stephen Colbert. Having recently finished guest-hosting the E! talk show ‘Chelsea Lately’ for a week, Dave Grohl answered Colbert-esque questions such as, “You sold 30 million copies of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ alone, why not phone it in and get fat?” and “Do you think about the [‘Nevermind’] sessions now and go, ‘Why didn’t we turn up the drums?’” After naming off a litany of artists who recorded on Sound City’s board such as Rage Against the Machine, Barry White and the now-imprisoned Charles Manson, Grohl shot the funny right back at Colbert. “The first thing we had to do when we got it [the Sound City board] was open it up and scrub all the cocaine and fried chicken out of it,” Grohl joked. “And that was just Barry White!” Check out Dave Grohl’s full interview with Steven Colbert via the video player below. Dave Grohl Talks ‘Sound City’ on ‘The Colbert Report’ [button href=”http://loudwire.com/dave-grohl-explains-history-of-rock-n-roll-on-chelsea-lately/” title=”Dave Grohl Explains History of Rock ‘n’ Roll on ‘Chelsea Lately'” align=”center”]

Dave Grohl Talks ‘Sound City’ Documentary and More on ‘The Colbert Report’

Comedy Central Dave Grohl has been all over TV recently. Supporting his new documentary, ‘Sound City,’ which chronicles the legendary albums that have been the recorded at Sound City Studios, Grohl graced ‘The Colbert Report’ stage on Feb. 13 to promote the film. Prolific musician and rock’s most lovable overachiever Dave Grohl was in New York City last night to perform with the Sound City Players, a group of musicians who have recorded at Sound City Studios, including Grohl’s Foo Fighters bandmates, Rage Against the Machine drummer Brad Wilk , Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic , Fleetwood Mac singer Stevie Nicks, rock legend John Fogerty + many more. Before the NYC performance, however, Grohl stopped by ‘The Colbert Report’ for an hilarious interview with host Stephen Colbert. Having recently finished guest-hosting the E! talk show ‘Chelsea Lately’ for a week, Dave Grohl answered Colbert-esque questions such as, “You sold 30 million copies of Nirvana’s ‘Nevermind’ alone, why not phone it in and get fat?” and “Do you think about the [‘Nevermind’] sessions now and go, ‘Why didn’t we turn up the drums?’” After naming off a litany of artists who recorded on Sound City’s board such as Rage Against the Machine, Barry White and the now-imprisoned Charles Manson, Grohl shot the funny right back at Colbert. “The first thing we had to do when we got it [the Sound City board] was open it up and scrub all the cocaine and fried chicken out of it,” Grohl joked. “And that was just Barry White!” Check out Dave Grohl’s full interview with Steven Colbert via the video player below. Dave Grohl Talks ‘Sound City’ on ‘The Colbert Report’ [button href=”http://loudwire.com/dave-grohl-explains-history-of-rock-n-roll-on-chelsea-lately/” title=”Dave Grohl Explains History of Rock ‘n’ Roll on ‘Chelsea Lately'” align=”center”]

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