Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Review: blessthefall - Witness (2009)

I covered blessthefall's debut back in July and might as well have given it four out of five stars. Eh, maybe four and a quarter. I praised the metalcore sound, the hard thrashing and the melodic interludes in between. The couple songs that strayed a bit away from the aggressive turned me off a little, but not enough to dissuade me from ever listening to the album again - unlike my sentiments for Finger Eleven. Those guys are just terrible.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand - Arizona's blessthefall has returned with their second album, Witness, and it starts off great. Thick riffs coupled with loud, anthem-like screams make up the intro-track '2.0,' which crossfade into 'What's Left of Me,' a song almost on par with His Last Walk's 'Message to the Unknown.' Crazy screaming side-step with clean lyrics while insane guitar picking rages in the background. The track has a kick-ass, almost dreamy bridge sequence, before predictably melting into a heavy conclusion. Kick - ass.

'To Hell & Back' is catchy with its delivery and keeps the intensity from dipping. All fans across the globe will headbang to this song simultaneously. And then the Earth will explode.

The lead single of the album, 'God Wears Gucci,' has both a head-scratching title and the makings of a great song. A catchy, melodic chorus; double-bass kicks that my stereo system would die for; amazing fret-work in the background (Frisby and Lambert have not and will not disappoint); and a great synthesis between Bokan's clean singing and fierce screams.

'Hey Baby (Here's That Song You Wanted)' is another consistently good song and the album's title track, which follows, begins with the heaviest intro on the whole disc thus far. I hearken back to when I first heard 'Guys Like You Make Us Look Bad' rock my car stereo and how my nose nearly bled all over my uniform cuz of the insanity.

'Last Ones Left' reminds me slightly of another good act, Saosin, in the song's delivery. 'Five Ninety' opens with a wicked drum-solo and 'We'll Sleep When We're Dead' uses a sort-of synth-style opening that is adds a little variety to a heavy metalcore album.

If you haven't noticed, the album is very consistent in just about all aspects. It's heavy - full of screams and double-bass kicks, and thick riffs with a lot of talented fingers maneuvering along the necks of these guitars. There might be some people docking points due to a lack of variety, but in this day and age, it's hard to be unique and try new things. If you ask me, why try something new and risk wasting time when it could be spent on something you know you like, you know other people would like. I apply that to food - and music, apparently. The formula BTF developed with their debut worked to great effect - so they're back. They crank up the intensity a little, but keep the formula almost unchanged, which shouldn't warrant any complaints. Disturbed is still the same after all these years; Slipknot has evolved into a mesh of their second and third album's, which isn't new to the ears of those who know all their work already - I could go on, but you get the idea.

I conclude by mentioning that this album is available for pre-order currently and will be available for purchase October 6th. Whether or not I get lucky and win a copy in the various contests I have entered, I will still own this CD - one way or another. If you're a metalcore fan, I suggest you follow suit.

Monday, September 14, 2009

YouTube: Murmaider II

Just a little bit ago, I created The '97 Supreme's YouTube channel. On that little strip of cyberspace, I'll be uploading music and music videos as I gather them, all to promote released or soon-to-be released material. Our premiere will be Dethklok's 'Murmaider II.'

Review: Dethklok - Dethalbum II (2009)

I haven't reviewed the debut release from pseudo-metal band Dethklok yet and for that, I apologize. But seeing as how it is the highest charted death metal album in this history of the Billboard 200 industry, I think it's a safe bet that a lot of people already know the CD kicks ass. And it does. So what should one expect from the sequel? Even more epic metal good-ness.

Dethalbum II is appropriately named. It is a sequel to the first Dethalbum in that it is heavy, heavy metal. But something I noticed off the bat was that I was hooked to this album. It is significantly heavier and I'm sure if no one knew better, they'd think the band was comprised of real people... which it is, of course, but you wouldn't think all of this originated from an animated series. At any rate, just because this music is presented via a brutal (and hilarious) cartoon doesn't mean it has to conform to the same silliness. The show is nuts in one manner while the music is nuts in its own.

Each track on this album is great. When I say great, I mean incredible. The face-melting opener 'Bloodlines' and the ear-hammering double-bass kicks of 'The Gears' is a solid an introduction as any. The music is relentless and inconceivably awesome. What I was afraid of happening was after the first few tracks, the album would fall into a sort of repetitive lethargy. But on the contrary, as the album progresses, I felt like I had to keep on listening - up until the very end. I couldn't but remember the enigmatic way in which the band enraptures the world in the animated series. They got me! They got me just the same way!

'Burn the Earth' is a solid track that must be listened to. 'Laser Cannon Deth Sentence' is heavy as hell and the way 'The Cyborg Slayers' opens reminded me of Children of Bodom for seemingly no reason.

'I Tamper with the Evidence at the Murder Site of Odin' does two thing. One: it references the All-Father of my favourite mythology and Two: it kicks my ass.

'Murmaider II: The Water God' is a highlight on the album, but keep this in mind: it's not the only one. You shouldn't reach this track until you've heard the eight before it. You'll appreciate it that much more. And if you even searched for Dethklok on the internet, you've come across 'Murmaider' and you'll instantly recognize the opening riff and even some of the lyrics as they echo the checklist from the first song. Bad-ass.

'Comet Song' comes on next to break you into even tinier pieces after 'Murmaider II's assault and 'Volcano' is a perfect closing track to this great album.

Dethklok is presented through five metal-heads in the animated series Metalocalypse but the band is comprised of three real people. These three people have created better metal than some fully staffed, full-fledged bands that may have existed longer than the series has. This is a feat and a huge accomplishment. The "band's" sound has been slightly redefined, e.g. the vocals are not as low or as growl-like as often as the first album, but these gentle expansions have allowed the music more room to grow and evolve.

You will notice a difference between Dethalbum II and the first Dethalbum - and you will love it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Review: Threat Signal - Vigilance (2009)

Threat Signal's back with their sophomore album, Vigilance, after knocking off my socks with their debut album, Under Reprisal, which I showered with praise in a review back in July. Going in with high expectations, since Under Reprisal is (in my "rational eyes" LOL) a near-perfect album, I double-clicked the first track and after a short introduction, 'Afterlife' bursts and is instantly a song I'd love to see this group perform.

I'm taken aback, though, by Howard's instant use of "clean" vocals. I go back to Under Reprisal and click 'Rational Eyes'. Screams; deeper, growling vocals; thicker riffs - what's going on here? I go back to 'Afterlife' and the changes between albums are instantly apparent. Not to say the change is bad, but it's obvious to me now that I was looking for an Under Reprisal Pt.2.

Moving on, the track has a catchy chorus and, though it's very different compared to the last album's opener, it's still a solid song. 'Through My Eyes' has more of those semi-clean vocals, but this track sounds a bit more like the Threat Signal I know and love.

'The Beginning of the End' opens with Howard's trademark scream and is a fast-paced track, and the following 'United We Stand' opens similarly, with a melodic chorus and airy-feeling vocals from Howard lifting you to a kick-ass solo that echoes the same style as Under Reprisal's 'Inane'.

'Beyond Recognition' keeps the same tempo quick, with relentless drumming and fun guitar riffs. 'Another Source of Light' throws me for a loop, though, with a solid introduction, but horrible vocals that sound nothing like Howard - more like a mix between him, a high school kid with a cold and that one dude from Linkin Park. This is only until the chorus, though, which is good. The song's conclusion is great, as well, and if it weren't for those damn verses, this song would be killer.

'Hate Machine' has a cool little riff forty seconds in, but 'Severed' sounds just like 'Hate Machine' in that both songs practically open the same. 'Lost' opens with a great acoustic piece and 'Revision' gets props for its opener, as well.

What sucks is that after a while, the album gets repetitive and I know it isn't because of the genre because I listen to a lot of liberties that're taken in heavy metal and there are many that are executed brilliantly. Under Reprisal is a prime example of that.

Basically, my expectations for Vigilance were not completely met. It's a decent album with a few good songs, but if I want Threat Signal uninterrupted and completely enjoyable, I'm going back to Under Reprisal.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Review: Crossbreed - K.E. 101 (2009)

Finally, at long last, Crossbreed's K.E. 101 has finally been released. Back in May, when I wrote the review to their debut Synthetic Divisions, I was foaming at the mouth since their next CD was supposed to release maybe a week or two later. It goes without saying that it never happened and that K.E. 101 was pushed all the way to September 15th after they went all summer announcing September 1st. But it turns out that only the CD will be released on the 15th and that the digital copy on iTunes was still on track for the 1st. So here I am with my copy of K.E. 101. So after all the waiting, ever since I fell in love with their demo of 'Nothing' back in 2007, has Crossbreed lived up to my expectations?

You bet your ass they have.

The album opens up with a crowd of fans chanting and screaming Crossbreed's name before dissolving into the first track via a sweet electronica beat. After the techno, the song unloads into the industrial metal I've been waiting for. With double bass kicks, sweet guitar riffs and awesome screams belting the song's namesake, 'Kill Everything,' I'm more psyched than ever. 'Hollow' opens strangely, with some creepy-sounding chanting, I might add, before leading into a solid track with an awesome bridge sequence.

'Nothing' has changed significantly since I found the demo years ago, but I could have been blind and not known what track I had clicked on and still recognized the song as soon as it opened up. The song is awesome. The screaming continues to be a selling point for this band. But the drum work and the guitar riffs are like fancy packaging tape on this package. It all works so well, I'm rather suspicious. More on that later...

'Emote' is worth mentioning, and 'TB Not' is a bad-ass track, as well. 'The Calling' and 'End of Days' continue the trend, being far from disappointing, but let me hit on the next song.

OK. The best part: Crossbreed actually did a cover of Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition.' I know, right? When it started playing, I about fell out of my chair laughing AKA ROFL. But it's a great cover and is very unique since it's still by a heavy industrial band. But it's still a great song and oughta be on the radio as a single.

Following 'Superstition' is 'Saints of Grey,' a song I knew was gonna kick ass after hearing it on the band's mySpace page. And guess what? I was right - it kicks ass. 'Control' slows it down a little before 'Beg' finishes the album off strong - just like how it started.

So my message to any readers: if you like Crossbreed, liked their first album, and would like to see what they have to offer this time around, do it. K.E. 101 does not disappoint. That last part applies to all who haven't heard of the band. Crossbreed has delivered a solid album with an eclectic mix of industrial metal and electronica. Florida should be proud.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Upcoming Releases: Three Days Grace - Life Starts Now (2009)

Three Days Grace's third studio album, Life Starts Now, will be released on September 22nd. Attached is the album art and track listing.

1. Bitter Taste
2. Break
3. World So Cold
4. Lost In You
5. The Good Life
6. No More
7. Last To Know
8. Someone Who Cares
9. Bully
10. Without You
11. Goin' Down
12. Life Starts Now

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Upcoming Releases: blessthefall - Witness (2009)

blessthefall's sophomore album, Witness, is prepping for an October 6th release. Attached is the album art and track listing.

  1. "2.0"
  2. "What's Left of Me"
  3. "To Hell and Back"
  4. "God Wears Gucci"
  5. "Hey Baby, Here's That Song You Wanted"
  6. "Witness"
  7. "Last Ones Left"
  8. "Five Ninety"
  9. "We'll Sleep When We're Dead"
  10. "Skinwalkers"
  11. "You Deserve Nothing and I Hope You Get Less"
  12. "Stay Still"