Thursday, July 20, 2017

Sent By Ravens - We're All Liars

Band:  Sent By Ravens
Song:  We're All Liars
Album:  Mean What You Say
Genre:  Hard Rock

One of the things that bugs me about pandering lyrics is that they don't usually have anything hard to say.  That's a bit of a generational thing to be fair.  Gen Z (about 20 and younger) all really want things to be raw and open and that's just not something that people really enjoyed as much before this.

Before I get a mountain of my church peeps linking me to all those articles I see them share about how Millennials need to stop church bashing, that's not what this post is about, even if it sounds like it.  I love most of my church community, and as such I'm more critical of things I love than I am of things I hate.  I'm human, sue me.

There's always songs here and there about not forgetting the people that you might not notice.  While I'm sure a lot of people have their eyes opened by stuff like this, there's a lot of people legitimately hurt by overly judgemental Church folks.  I for example am a 6ft tall guy with a shaved head and tattoos who wears a lot of black.  I don't get the nicest looks everywhere I go, and at this point I'm kinda resigned to it.  People don't notice subtle judgement like that though, it's just one of those things we do without really thinking about it.  I know I'm guilty of it from time to time too.

And there's a lot of songs about people doing that too.  Plenty of songs about that.  There's not as many Christian songs about it though, and that's one of the things that bugs me.  Granted, we need to display as united a front as possible and don't want to advertise we've got issues, but some people need to wake up to the fact that what seems like casual normal things to them actively push others out.

This song is about a guy who was hurt by the church.  As the song goes on the realization is made not only are people fallible, but there's accountability on both sides, yours included.

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Haste The Day - Fallen

Band:  Haste The Day
Song:  Fallen
Album:  When Everything Falls
Genre:  Hardcore

One thing that tends to drive me crazy is when Christian bands constantly pander to their audience with church phrases and sayings.  You can single bands out pretty easily that musically might stand apart, but then once the singing starts you hear those church/bible phrases that immediately label a band really harshly.

I'm not saying this is a bad thing.  The reason Christian Contemporary Music is a genre at all is because there's so many bands that do this.  It's turned it into a whole thing and it's great for people who like that.  Not me, but I'm not about to write off an entire genre because I don't like their imagery.

Here's the issue though.  When that's the only style of music available you're going to have issues.  Me for example.  If I was a new believer one thing I'd really chafe at would be a lack of music for me to get into.  Music, as I'm sure y'all might have noticed, is a big deal to me.  If I came in and found that not only am I being told I have to give up all my old music (totally separate issue there) but that all I have to replace it is Casting Crowns, Aaron Shust, and Jeremy Camp I'd have some issues to address right quick.

Just cause a band has the religious label attached to them doesn't mean they need to be less good than their secular counterpart.  I know a lot of this is because people aren't familiar with a lot of what to give people to listen to, but I'm gonna make it a minor mission to let people know where to find the good Christian Metal stuff.

If you are of a religious background and don't believe me, go ahead and check the lyrics for the songs I'm posting during this whole rant week I'm on, please.  They're all pretty solid.

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Impending Doom - Death. Ascension. Resurrection.

Band:  Impending Doom
Song:  Death. Ascension. Resurrection.
Album:  Baptised In Filth
Genre:  Deathcore

Here's the best way for a Christian band to do well though, do they know what genre they are playing?

There's a lot of Christian acts that don't know where their sound is supposed to be.  Like, I would be pissed if I went to see an Impending Doom show and it turned into a conventional worship set.  I'd love to hear it happen cause I feel like they'd have a really cool take on a lot of the music, but at the same time that's not what I paid to see.

This isn't really an issue in the Christian Metal community, but a lot of the Rock acts will sometimes slip stuff like that in.  I'm reasonably convinced that there will never really be any good Christian Rock because of stuff like this.  There's a huge difference between a whorship act and a Rock act, and those boundries need to be respected for a band to be a solid crossover.

In the Hardcore community there's basically no cares about whether a band is religious or not.  The fans are solidly of the opinion that if the music is good they'll be happy.

Look at Impending Doom again as my example.  Their lyrics are incredibly obviously religious from the very beginning, but since musically they are one of the titans of Deathcore nobody really cares.

The musical quality majorly affects how I judge the band.  For the most part Christian Rock can be picked out of a lineup really easily, so anything that helps separate them from the masses is a win in my book.

On the band though, they're almost done recording a new album and I'm really freaking pumped.  I have their logo tattooed into my skin, so you could say I'm a bit of a fan.  It's supposed to drop this year, so look out for an album review of that one for sure.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

Demon Hunter - Crucifix

Band:  Demon Hunter
Song:  Crucifix
Album:  True Defiance
Genre:  Metalcore

Gonna do a switch up on music for a little bit.  For the next few weeks I'm only going to post Christian artists that I find to be actually good.

I feel I have made it very clear that I generally despise Christian media since the whole trend of settling for a slightly lesser product started strong in the 80s and 90s and is only starting to change recently.

One of the criteria I judge by is whether the group is a crossover success into the secular music scene.  If a band manages to please both audiences they generally are a really solid act.  There's opinion based objections to that rule of course, but all in all it's a solid rule of thumb.

One of the things that can keep a really solid Christian artist from being a solid crossover act is how open they are about their faith.  Skillet is a solid example of stradleing the line.  Their live shows are very obviously Christian events, but their music is solidly middle of the road enough to give them a fan base that spans both sides of the line rather nicly.

After that a lot of my sentiments are more opinion based, but I'll give you one tomorrow that'll offer a different option.

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Disciple - 321

Band:  Disciple
Song:  321
Album:  Southern Hospitality
Genre:  Southern Rock

Apparently when I first started listening to Disciple I was listening to the wrong stuff.  This is the album I had access to first and honestly, I wasn't too thrilled with it.  All in all it was ok, but it didn't grab my attention the same way the other music I was given at the time was.  Demon Hunter, Haste The Day, and Impending Doom managed to majorly beat these guys out.

Now my brother is way into Disciple though and directed me toward some of their better tunes.  I'm finally actually starting to listen to them and I'm rather happy I've finally made the effort to do so.  They're a solid group that I'd advise you check out.  If you don't know where to start, check their newest album, Long Live The Rebels.

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Dethklok - Crush The Industry

Band:  Dethklok
Song:  Crush The Industry
Album:  Dethalbum III
Genre:  Death Metal

Firstly, I'm really pissed that Adult Swim didn't allow another season of Metalocalypse to be made.  I freaking loved that show and all I get is the unfinished product that it ended up being.  Still good, but also not quite completed.

But hey, musically we got 3 great albums that showcased Brendon Small's rise from just kinda caring about what he was doing to actually getting good at it and knocking the performance out of the park.  Dethalbum III was a great example of his vocal work improving from the first one especially.

Good work Brendon.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Men At Work - Down Under

Band:  Men At Work
Song:  Down Under
Album:  Business As Usual
Genre:  New Wave, Reggae Rock

While I can't really say I've ever listened to other music by these guys and actually enjoyed it, I love all the Australia in this one.

What can I say, I find stereotypes to be funny.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Stevie Stone - Get F*cked Up

Artist:  Stevie Stone
Song:  Get F*cked Up
Album:  Malta Bend
Genre:  Rap, Hip Hop
Language:  Strong

This song falls squarely in the wheelhouse of dumb music I enjoy having on in the background.  There's really nothing that appeals to me about party life, but I really do enjoy songs about it.  It's a good time, yeah?

But yeah, even though it's a straight up trash song, I really enjoy it.  Not for any good reason, but it's kinda catchy.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Lady Gaga - Applause

Artist:  Lady Gaga
Song:  Applause
Album:  ARTPOP
Genre:  Pop

There's certain things I'm done with.

I'm done working in food service.  I don't care if I end up in another retail job, but I'm done with professional kitchens.

I'm done trying to make everybody like me.  Firstly, it's impossible.  I will never make everybody like me, and trying to do that only makes me miserable.

But in an area that matters more to you guys, I'm done pretending that I don't like certain songs just because they don't fit the image I've developed for myself.  That's not to say I'm getting rid of my general "Metal Thug" aesthetic cause I still enjoy that, but I'm gonna be a lot more public about how I enjoy certain artists like Lady Gaga or Kesha.

For crying out loud, they're both straight up fantastic vocalists that a lot of people write off because of the impression they get from their stage show.

Enjoy the song, it's a solid pop tune that's easy to listen to.

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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Mudvayne - Dig

Band:  Mudvayne
Song:  Dig
Album:  L.D. 50
Genre:  Nu-Metal
Language:  Strong

Yeah, I'm gonna be honest, I totally am just using this as a last minute backup.  I really do enjoy their sound though, so I hope you like it too.  The bass is really slick, I love how slappy it is in a Nu-Metal tune.

Apologies, I don't have much to say right now, mildly tired.

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Monday, July 10, 2017

ZZ Top - She Loves My Automobile

Band:  ZZ Top
Song:  She Loves My Automobile
Album:  Deguello
Genre:  Blues Rock

While listening to Blue Öyster Cult yesterday I managed to stumble across ZZ Top somehow.  I'm mildly concerned that I'm about to go on some sort of Classic Rock run, but I feel like I'll be able to avoid that.

Here's a solid song from them that's not as popular as some of their others, which is what I'm gonna try to do for as many of the next few bands I post as possible.  It'll make me look for more obscure tunes and it'll showcase some bands lesser known tunes.  Good times.

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Sunday, July 9, 2017

Blue Öyster Cult - Transmaniacon MC

Band:  Blue Öyster Cult
Song:  Transmaniacon MC
Album:  Blue Öyster Cult
Genre:  Classic Rock

I figured I'd make my dad proud of my by actually picking a song by these guys that's lesser known.  It's also a really good track and if you haven't heard it you're really missing out on a solid piece of Rock.

Actually I forgot how much I enjoyed these guys, they're old stuff is great.  It honestly makes the point I'm about to say a little hypocritical, but I'm gonna do it anyway.

Old Rock is bad.

Some of it is good, don't get me wrong, there's a lot of old songs that hold up really well to the test of time.  On the whole though there's mountains of reasons to move on from this worship of Classic Rock as a whole.

The Beatles are one of my favorite bands to just bash for the reactions I get.  Realistically though they put out a ton of music that was on the whole, only ok.  They had some groundbreaking work, but those groundbreaking songs are the ones that are popular now.  There's so many of their tracks that I guarantee you haven't heard before, and you aren't missing anything either.  They're generic radio pop that aren't popular for a reason.

There are so many classic bands that people hold on this weird pedestal because they were famous 40 plus years ago.  Those same people will spit on new music that is similarly groundbreaking because "it's not as good as that album The Stones put out in '71" or some similar b.s. like that.  The number of times I've been told that Metal is trash because "it's just noise" is similarly infuriating, but that's a totally different problem.

When it comes right down to it, people would rather let nostalgia take over instead of acknowledging that what was great in their childhood doesn't need to be the best thing.

I'm not saying you aren't allowed to enjoy older music, that's totally fine.  But you also need to understand that just because something is new doesn't make it bad.

On that, I'm amazed at how well Blue Öyster Cult has aged for me.  Like, nobody actually does rock organ anymore, but outside of that, the vocal harmonies, and the very obviously old recording quality it's not too bad.  I've actually enjoyed listening to a bunch of their songs while I was writing this.

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Saturday, July 8, 2017

Katy Perry - Swish Swish

Artist:  Katy Perry feat. Nicki Minaj
Song:  Swish Swish
Album:  Witness
Genre:  Pop
Language:  Strong

Katy hadn't released an album since 2013 till she dropped Witness a month or so ago.  I've gotta say, there's some things I really like about it but there's just as many things that I don't care for.

Like, I won't deny that she's got a fantastic voice.  No argument here, she's great at what she does.  It's her beats that bug me though, there's a lot of music on this album that I just can't get into.  It sounds old, but instead of being old in a nifty retro way it's just dated.

This song though is quite nice.  There's some others on the album I like but off the top of my head I can't think of them.  Been a bit since I listened to it.

Hope ya like it though, is a solid tune.

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Friday, July 7, 2017

Gwar - Sick Of You

Band:  Gwar
Song:  Sick Of you
Album:  Scumdogs Of The Universe
Genre:  Thrash Metal, Hardcore Punk

Dave Brockie, better known as Oderus Urungus, frontman of Gwar, died in March of 2014 or a heroine overdose.  It was a huge hit to the metal community at the time and a lot of people still haven't gotten past it.  I"m really sad that I never got to see their show live.  They still tour now, but the show isn't nearly the same without Dave.

But hey, that doesn't mean their old music doesn't still sound great, right?  Some of their music is a little more Thrash Metal, but this song is a lot more Punk.  I love it though, it's such a fun tune.

Their mythos is kinda funny though, you can read it here.  Enjoy!

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Album Review: Stone Sour - Hydrograd

Band:  Stone Sour
Album:  Hydrograd
Genre:  Metal
Release Date:  June 30th, 2017

Well let's start out right off the bat here, Corey Taylor's voice sounds fantastic on this album.  Quitting smoking has treated him incredibly well.

Also I still dislike the greaser they picked up as the new guitarist, Christian Martucci.  Not just because he's a man who simultaneously looks like the singer from Theory Of A Deadman while also needing to let go of the 40s, but because I'm suspicious he had a hand in the butchery of the solo in their Creeping Death cover.  I understand Josh Rand is a huge fan of Metallica and I really hope he isn't the one that gave me this absolutely trash solo that just felt like it was about hitting all the notes, regardless of if they were in key or not.

That being said, this album is actually really solid.  While I enjoy the edge that Jim Root brought to the group, the difference between Slipknot and Stone Sour is a lot bigger now.  It's been pretty prominent for a while, but the early albums had a couple songs that could have been traded back and forth easily enough, and House Of Gold & Bones had one or two as well.

Listening to this album I'm kinda picking up what Corey had been hyping it as.  He was talking about how the album was "flat out Rock ‘n’ Roll in its best form", and I get that vibe from a lot of it.  There's a very different feeling to this album than there was to any of the others.  There's more songs that are low key, and there's less angry songs in general.  I mean there's some really obvious examples of solid old school SS songs, but one the whole it's just more subdued than previous work.

While I did trash on their new guitarist for that Creeping Death solo, his work on this album is pure gold.  I may not have liked a couple of the songs here and there, but I can't deny that the guitar work was amazing across the board.  The band has really hit a solid groove with this album that I was worried they wouldn't hit again.

The Tracks:

After that intro track we hit Taipei Person/Allah Tea, and while it grooves in a different way than other Stone Sour tracks of the past I can't actually say that it's bad.  It's a solid new step in their sound that actually is managing to get me excited about the band again; something I lost with the back to back cover albums.

The album starts out really strong in this way.  It's clear that they put their songs that sound more typical to their sound closer to the beginning to make sure to draw you in and "trick" you into liking the rest of the album.  Let's be real, fans are brutal when it comes to bands "having the nerve" to change their traditional sound.  I mean heck, the intro riff to the song Hydrograd even sounds similar to Absolute Zero for a second to help make that bridge feel stronger.  Not for long, but that initial walk is there for sure.

Song #3, which is actually the 5th song on the album is one I don't like as much.  I heard it as one of the singles released for the album a while ago and I gotta be honest, in my mind it sealed Stone Sour's doom to the radio rock folder of music, and that made me really sad.  Listening to it in the context of the rest of the album I know it was definitely made to be one of the radio singles, but happily, it doesn't reflect the rest of the album as a whole.

Fabuless is a very classic sound for sure.  I feel like it's a really good song to have put after Song #3 to make sure they don't lose people who are listening through the album.  The harmonies and song structure are incredibly reminiscent of House of Gold & Bones 1 & 2.  Outside of lyrical differences I could see them getting put in as one of the tracks there.

Don't get your nostalgia hats on too quick though, cause we switch back to the newer sound in The Witness Trees.  It's not the radio feel of #3, but it's not as typical a Stone Sour song as say, track 3, Knievil Has Landed.

Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I).  What a title.  Dude.  The song is ok, but also another one that's solid for radio, but not much else in my opinion.  I find it's musical theme to be a little all over the place.

Thank God It's Over is a good one though.  It's a rather straightforward tune, but not like, in a bad way.  It feels like a placeholder that's supposed to sit toward the end of the album and, go figure, that's where it sits.  For what it is, it's a good song.

St. Marie on the other hand is...  Acoustic.  Not in a good way like Bother, some of the crappy songs on Come What(ever) May, or anything like that.  It's like, a country song.  Corey's voice fits it well, but I feel like the song has no place on the album.  It could be a bonus track on some special edition, or like, just a song Corey plays on his book tours, just not here.

Mercy grants us it's aptly named mercy in getting us far away from the track that shouldn't be here.  It has that heavy bass line groove that Stone Sour uses so well and even though I'm not a huge fan of the flow of the vocals in this song it fits in with the new album's tone very well.

Whiplash Pants worried me at first with how low it starts out, but it manages to pull back into their classic heavy sound again.  It highlights something I'm really not sure of for the album though, so many of the songs have an into that I feel doesn't really fit the rest of the song.  I'm fine with contrasting intros, but there's just so many of them on this album.

That scratchy raspy lead tone on Friday Knights is dope though.  The verse pulls back down again to the clean sound, but while the song is up it holds it's own as one of my favorite tracks on the album.

Somebody Stole My Eyes is probably the angriest song on the album.  Check out the into up till about the 30 second point.  It's all go go go but then Corey says the word "stop" and it feels like the song just takes a breath.  It's so slick, just a solid piece of work in general.

When The Fever Broke is the last track and SS decides to leave you on a sad note.  The track is a little ethereal with a haunting guitar lead that kinda floats through it.  It's a really bold move to end on that I'm glad they did.  For people like me that went into the album expecting to hate it the song helps end me on a song that's a heavier dose of the new than the old, bringing the whole experience together.  The structure of the album just feels like it was leading to this point, and then it rounds off really well.

As far as angry songs go, all we really have on the album are Fabuless, Whiplash Pants, and Somebody Stole My Eyes.  Heck, they aren't even angry the whole way through like their old school angry tunes.  That's not bad since the first album was probably the only album they released that was all hard, but it's the sound I associate with them a lot.

The Wrap-up:

Long story short, I suppose if you're looking for "old" Stone Sour, you're probably gonna be disappointed.  It's not like their old stuff, this is a new face for the group.  I'm not mad though, I think this is a solid direction for them.  While I'll miss the brutal material of the first album, the edge of the concept albums, and the sheer enjoyability of Come What(ever) May, I think this is the right path for these guys to take.  It makes sense with how Corey is getting older that he wouldn't try to keep up with 2 really intense bands at once, and if he's gonna calm down somewhere it would be here.  And the most important part of that is that they didn't totally sell out to do it.

There's a few tracks I wouldn't have put on here, but as a new path for the band I guess I'm not really mad about it.  It's a package deal and, when it comes down to it, it's not all bad.  I don't even think I really missed Jim Root by the end of the album, it all worked together really well.

It's a solid album that's worth a listen, so go ahead and give it an hour of your time.

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Halestorm - Mayhem

Band:  Halestorm
Song:  Mayhem
Album:  Into The Wild Life
Genre:  Alternative Rock

Saw a cover band on the 4th that was straight up amazing.  The vocalist sounded just like Lzzy Hale and all in all they were just really freaking solid.  I look forward to catching them again for sure.

But hey, Halestorm.  Absolutely awesome band.  I don't always care for female fronted bands, but as I always say when I have one I like, this is one that breaks the mold.  Their guitar work is really surprisingly strong too.  The only thing that bums me out is that they have released some cover albums.  I love cover songs, but if a successful band does that I feel like it's just reaching.  Stone Sour released 2 of 'em right after they fired their stronger guitarist and it really sounded desperate and weak.

But hey, good song here, enjoy.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Clash - The Guns Of Brixton

Band:  The Clash
Song:  The Guns Of Brixton
Album:  London Calling
Genre:  Punk

Happy independence day to anybody reading in America right now.  I'm like, 90% sure that's all of you, but who knows.

I was really confused when I saw I had scheduled this song today.  I put it here like, 2 months ago and when I found it was next it took me a minute to remember why, then I recalled when I read what the song was about.

The song is about civil unrest in Brixton.  There were riots in the 80s, but this song does predate it slightly, reading into the discontent that was present at the time.

Have fun with the song though, the bass is fantastic.

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