Singled Out is our weekly column to round-up the singles and new tracks from the past week dropped by bands we cover. Consider this our weekly mix to help keep you all on top of the latest releases from across the metallic and progressive spectrums. Read past entries here , and go on ahead below to get Singled Out! Coheed and Cambria – “Eraser” Coheed’s use of a chunky, hyper-distorted guitar tone and their trademark enthusiasm are in full swing here. The “Gravity’s Union”-esque tone in the intro quickly gives way to Claudio Sanchez’s trademarked high-pitched croon and a chorus that shows off the band at their jangliest and most poppy. Despite the defiantly malign undertone, the upbeat drive of this track is incredibly hard to resist; it’s hard to resist a smile when listening to “Eraser”. The whole song reeks of the band’s typical sickly-sweet vibe, the tangy tones of modern alternative rock splashed with the emotive and lush sound of Mars Volta-style prog. It’s a potent combination, and it’s served the band well in the past. We’ll see how it serves them on The Color Before The Sun come October 16th, but seeing as this is Coheed, I can guarantee it’ll be somewhere between amazing and fucking godly. -Simon Handmaker Driftoff – “Dying Light” We’ve often been highly skeptical of supergroups on this blog. That’s why it’s refreshing to hear a collaboration between giants of a certain sub-genre sound so damn cohesive and self-aware. Driftoff combines talent from Junius , Rosetta and City of Ships , all names that are downright seminal in their own fields. The first taste of this heady brew is “Dying Light” and it’s a perfect introduction into the post-punk/hardcore that is Driftoff’s measure. Let us skip over the obviously delicious guitars and drums and focus on the vocals. Put briefly, they are outstanding. Merging the two different styles that are most often heard in this sort of music, they draw on both harsher, raspier sounds that hark to mother-band Rosetta while the more emotional vocals are firmly grounded in the history of the scene. Long story short, this is both new and traditional, fresh and yet wholly recognizable. Get excited for this release. -Eden Kupermintz The Faceless – “The Spiraling Void” After a period of silence and line-up shuffles, out of nowhere, The Faceless are back! As one of the more visible and accessible bands in technical death metal, them putting out new music is always worth watching. This time, they’re back with The Spiraling Void , and it’s such a warm, welcoming feeling to hear the trademark Michael Keene riffing again. Going back to elements of their older sounds and retooling them to create this new tune, the band sound reinvigorated. They’ve brought back the slight Cynic influence from Akeldama , and the more progressive leaning sound from Autotheism ; and the end result is something instantly recognizable as The Faceless. Original singer Derek Rydquist is back, and Justin McKinney of The Zenith Passage is now also on guitar duties. It makes a lot of sense to have Justin on board, as his band is also influenced in turn by The Faceless. Michael Keene’s vocoder cleans from Akeldama are back, the extended solo sections over arpeggios from Autotheism are back, and Planetary Duality ‘s riff style is all over. Basically, The Faceless are back in full force. While they haven’t officially announced a new album, they’re touring with new material so this can only mean one thing. We’ll get our faces shredded off. -Noyan Tokgozoglu Megadeth – “Fatal Illusion” When the years go by and the dust settles, there will be many questions asked about our times: why were there so many wars? Why did it take them so long to go to space? Space is freaking awesome! One of these questions will undoubtedly be: why did Megadeth make more than two or three albums? They clearly ran out of ideas years before they finally took a bow. Don’t believe me that this will be the case? All you need to be convinced is to listen to “Fatal Illusion”, given that the track name itself hasn’t put you to sleep already. If the soporific name wasn’t enough, one listen to the track should be. It has zero new ideas: the guitars are all where you expect them, the pointless shredding follows and above it all is crowned the voice of the man, the ego, the washed out, Dave Mustaine. That is, if you can find it below all the effects and layers they’ve put on it to hide the fact that the man just can’t sing any more. To be sure, he surrounds himself with talented musicians, he always has, but as always he completely under utilizes them. Whatever shine this man’s name once had has disappeared, the glamor is gone and all that’s left is a boring rivet in the already collapsing machine that is “old school thrash”. -Eden Kupermintz Mestis – “Pura Vida” Javier Reyes is rather underrated, but I guess that can happen when you’re the second guitarist in a band where the primary guitarist is one of the most famed one of recent years. This should only be a testament to Javier himself though, as it means he’s up to par. His solo project Mestis had an EP a few years ago, and it was just delightful. Combining Latin and jazz elements with the groovier aspects of the Animals As Leaders sound, the record left many wanting for more. Well, fret not (pun intended), as there’s new Mestis material! It’s still chock full of that relaxing-yet-engaging sound. For “Pura Vida,” Javier has recruited Mario and Erick from fellow guitar-and-chill band Chon , and the combination works well. The track is a bit more mellow and melancholic than the Mestis usual (though admittedly we have a very small sample size to discern the Mestis sound), but that is most likely due to the Chon influence. Either way, this makes us only more excited for Polysemy , the next Mestis outing, which is coming out on the 6th of November. -Noyan Tokgozoglu Revenge – “Wolf Slave Protocol” As I mentioned in my Starter Kit for Bestial Black Metal , Canadian-based Revenge are not only my personal favorite band in the subgenre, but the current poster-boys for anyone wishing to point out why the style is so viciously primal in the best way possible. As the band gears up for their latest, Hemingway-esque titled album Behold.Total.Rejection , they have released the savagely titled lead single “Wolf Slave Protocol (Choose Your Side),” and while claiming that a band is going through the motions may seem like a critique, in the case of Revenge, “going the motions” translates to eviscerating everyone in a one-inch radius. Every instrument blares in a flurry of sound and aggression that initially startles and then commands complete attention. People can may question the quality of this single and Revenge in general, and that is ok; we are all allowed to be wrong about some things. But not a single person can dispute the fact that Revenge is one of the most sonically violent band operating today, and this single both proves that assertion and should stoke anyone keen to truly abrasive metal. -Scott Murphy
Posts Tagged ‘trademark’
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
Epitaph Bad Religion are to punk rock what Iron Maiden are to heavy metal. Along with both groups brandishing unparalleled quality within their genres in over three-decade-long discographies, both Bad Religion and Iron Maiden are storytellers at heart who paint vivid visual pictures through their music. Fans are able to immerse themselves into the worlds birthed by Bad Religion with even greater intensity than their own personal realities, which is a testament to how many pairs of eyes Bad Religion are able to lend their fans for short bursts of multidimensional insight. ‘True North’ refers to the most perfect precision of one’s own moral compass, a theme that repeats itself in different forms throughout the band’s new album of that name. As Bad Religion’s socio-political foundation remains steady and without a crack, the band bursts into the album’s title track with a distinct old-school sound. ‘True North’ is an example of a perfect Bad Religion song: short and concise with profound lyrics topped off by a power chorus harnessing their trademark multipart vocal harmonies. The infinite perfection theme of one’s moral compass starts with the declaration of “ Keep searching ’til the end ” within the album’s opening track. The thesis continues into the standout anthem ‘Robin Hood in Reverse,’ which addresses the controversial laws that gift corporations the same rights as singular human begins. The line, “ Here’s the church, there’s the steeple / Open up the doors, corporations and people / Wait, what did he say? / What the f— did he say? ” forcefully tackles the subject of greed, which resonates further in ‘Land of Endless Greed’ and ‘Dept. of False Hope.’ ‘True North’ gets increasingly personal while orating topics such as the individual’s own conscience in ‘Popular Consensus’ and ‘In Their Hearts is Right,’ the latter of which seems to challenge the religious argument that the moral compass is directed by God rather than natural instinct. Bad Religion’s scientific and secular views are carried further by vocalist Greg Graffin in ‘Crisis Time’ with the lyric, “ Keep yourself in line / There’s no design .” Musically, ‘True North’ bears Bad Religion’s classic stamp, so expect no shock or surprise in the construction of the record. They’ve still got those rich vocal harmonies, guitar leads with plenty of distorted bends and choruses that will get stuck in your head for days. The album will fulfill both casual listeners and those searching for lyrical wisdom while clutching a notebook and magnifying glass, which has been Bad Religion’s M.O. for well over 30 years. ‘True North’ isn’t just another notch on Bad Religion’s bedpost. Much like their 2010 LP, ‘The Dissent of Man,’ their latest album is masterfully directed and offers a wealth of depth along with a spotlit entrance for both longtime fans and curious newcomers.
Megaforce Anthrax have just unleashed the first track from their upcoming EP, ‘Anthems.’ The thrash legends have compiled six cover songs along with two versions of the band’s ‘Worship Music’ track ‘Crawl,’ but this cover of Rush ‘s ‘Anthem’ is perfectly fitting as the first to be released by the group, as it is the EP’s namesake. Along with Anthrax’s new version of ‘Anthem,’ the soon-to-be-released EP will include covers of Thin Lizzy’s ‘Jailbreak,’ AC/DC’s ‘TNT,’ Cheap Trick’s ‘Big Eyes,’ Boston’s ‘Smokin” and Journey’s ‘Keep on Runnin’.’ The upcoming 2013 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees of Rush are one of Anthrax’s biggest influences, as drummer Charlie Benante tells Rolling Stone . “When I was first learning to play drums, I would strap on my headphones, play along with [Rush’s live album All the World’s a Stage] and be transformed,” Benante describes. “I remember talking with Cliff [Burton] and Kirk [Hammett of Metallica] back when we first met, and we all agreed how much of an influence Rush was on all of us. I don’t [know] if you would hear anything that sounds like Rush in Anthrax’s music, but the passion, the drive, the musicianship and the appreciation is all there.” Both Anthrax and Rush fans have something unique to hear with this ‘Anthem’ cover, as Anthrax throw their trademark thrash spin on the prog classic. To hear Anthrax’s version of ‘Anthem,’ check out the track via the link to Rolling Stone below. [button href=”http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/anthrax-pay-tribute-to-rush-with-anthem-song-premiere-20130118″ title=”Listen to Anthrax’s Cover of ‘Anthem’ at RollingStone.com” align=”center”]
Epitaph Records Converge have just released their greatest achievement since 2001′s ‘Jane Doe,’ and yes, the levity of that claim is understandably huge. ‘Jane Doe’ is almost universally praised as one of the most important, if not the most important extreme record of the 2000s thus far, so with our claim set in stone, here’s the case to back it up. Converge have been on an unparalleled hot streak when it comes to the albums they’ve released throughout their career. ‘Petitioning the Empty Sky,’ although considered as more of a compilation, powerfully issued an open challenge to what a hardcore band could achieve creatively, and as ‘Jane Doe’ hit the shelves in 2001, the barriers violently shattered. Since ‘Jane Doe,’ Converge have released three additional full-length masterpieces, ‘You Fail Me’ (2004), ‘No Heroes’ (2006) and ‘Axe to Fall’ (2009), but ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ evokes something more visceral. No matter what styles of metal Converge have integrated into their works, even if the band seems to defy all established genres at times, they have always been both adamant and proud to keep their ‘hardcore’ identity. Although that rationale has gone over the head of many listeners, ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ shines a massive spotlight on the hardcore element of Converge, while continuing to remain highly experimental. New tracks ‘Trespasses’ and ‘Sparrow’s Fall’ are fundamentally hardcore punk songs, which will surely lead to dozens of broken teeth and busted lips if played live. ‘Vicious Muse’ even begins with a poppy Ramones-like drumbeat, though Ben Koller continues to deliver utterly stupefying and rabid drum parts. Guitarist and producer Kurt Ballou lends his trademark touch to ‘All We Love We Leave Behind,’ with the chaotic sound of the album complementing its musicianship perfectly. Along with his monogram spastic tapping style and sluggish, twisted breakdowns, Ballou delivers a … dare we say … gorgeous performance in ‘Coral Blue’ — the album’s standout track. ‘Coral Blue’ is the only Converge song in recent history that could be easily mistaken as the product of another band, as it courses through the same vein as Isis or even Baroness. Yet another change fans will surely notice is that there are no guest vocalists within ‘All We Love We Leave Behind.’ Converge have a rich history of collaboration, but the lack thereof may have directed the band to focus not only on their internal chemistry as a four-man unit, but possibly on the group’s foundation as a predominantly hardcore outfit. Although their past guest vocal spots have added a lot to past recordings, Jacob Bannon’s unmistakable squawks, along with backing help from Ballou and bassist Nate Newton, keep the album sounding full and sturdy. ‘All We Love We Leave Behind’ continues the band’s tradition of recording albums that sound like Converge, but not the Converge you’ve already heard. This record is essential listening (especially if you buy the deluxe edition with three extra songs), and will surely go down as one of 2012′s greatest sonic achievements. [button href=”http://loudwire.com/converge-fault-and-fracture-top-21st-century-metal-songs/” title=”Next: Converge – Top Metal Songs of the 21st Century” align=”center”]