Tag Archives: Album Review

Lianne La Havas – “BLOOD” Review

Lianne La Havas – Blood
Genre: Soul / Pop

Label: Warner Bros. Records

Lianne La Haves is a s(h)inger-s(h)ongwriter from London, who has managed to turn her soft and powerful range – along with her fingerpicked guitar – into a signature sound in the overlapping world of soul and pop. She made her first big impression on the world (me being one of them) with her single Forget, which was a refreshing pop track thanks to its witty and stinging lyrics, playful timing and raw instrumentation. It was the most infectious, gimmick-free single I’d heard on the radio in years. Literally.  Continue reading

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So Stressed - The Unlawful Trade Of Greco-Roman ArtSo Stressed – The Unlawful Trade Of Greco-Roman Art
Genre: Noise Rock / Experimental

Label: Honor Press

I won’t regurgitate too much about what I mentioned in my review of their last album, but So Stressed are a chaotic and noisy three-piece from Sacramento, California. Needless to say, their debut “Attracted To Open Mouths” made it into my top picks of 2014 and is still something I regularly listen to thanks to its seamless changes from pure noise and aggression to some of the catchiest choruses I’ve heard in a long, long time. However, things have changed in So Stressed’s sound since then…  Continue reading

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Intensive Square – “ANYTHING THAT MOVES” Review

I know that my links to reviews on other websites don’t seem to get viewed much, but this time I urge anyone who sees this to check out my review of Wales’ own Intensive Square’s debut album “Anything That Moves” here. This album has been a long time coming and fully deserves your attention and ears when it comes out on the 29th June, via Black Bow Records. The thing is an absolute monster in the tech metal realm. Plus, you can’t go wrong with some Zorn-esque sax too.

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Pig Destroyer – “BOOK BURNER” Review

Pig Destroyer – Book Burner
Genre: Grindcore

Label: Relapse Records

Five years. Five long years. Five long years waiting for a new Pig Destroyer album, the time has passed slowly, almost painfully, spent wondering just when Scott Hull will bring the guys back together, give noisegrinders Agoraphobic Nosebleed a rest and concentrate on one of his more serious projects. It’s October in 2012, the boys are back.  Continue reading

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Hazel – “ARE YOU GOING TO EAT THAT?” Quick Throwback Review!

Hazel – Are You Going To Eat That?
Genre:  Grunge/Alternative Rock

Label: Sub Pop

Hazel were a grunge band that received mild success during the early and mid-nineties, having been signed on by the titan grunge and noise rock label Sub Pop, yet never quite reaching the level of fame as their fellow label mates Nirvana and Mudhoney. The now defunct four-piece were made up of Pete Krebs on guitar and vocals, Brady Smith on bass, Jody Bleyle on drums and vocals and Fred Nemo as… well… their dancer. While their sound is affiliated to the famous grunge scene of the 90’s, to say they were a carbon copy of so many popular bands of the time would be false.

Mixing the quirkiness and use of male/female vocals of The Pixies, the simple yet catchy riffs of Nirvana and the general atmosphere of Dinosaur Jr., it seems the band were far from wanting to fit in or to be a household name. And so “Are You Going To Eat That?” was their second and final album while the band was in motion. Just reaching over 34-minutes long, it feels no longer than 20-minutes due to thirteen tracks that rarely reach beyond the three-minute mark, often fast-paced and constantly changing.

Opening track Lazy H. opens the album in a full-frontal, lethargic riffs and the duo-vocals of Jody Beyle’s and Pete Krebs leave an instant impression – the former feeling soothing and seductive while the latter gives a more baritone and supportive motion. Then Green Eyes embodies the ethnics of grunge, but the build of a soft punk approach, with a fairly speedy tempo of simple punk-influenced riffs and lyrics of heartbreak and memories. You can’t help but close your eyes and bob your head.

Ascension has a more straight-foward punk sound, but lathered in feelings of lethargy despite Krebs’s vocals being more forward. The following track Quick Jerk opens with a moody chugged riff, but giving away to a smooth and slightly playful pop-rock leads. Bleyle’s vocals particularly stand out in the track, especially over the surf-rock reminiscent drums – the combination of the two proving to be an addictive solution to hear.

This album is a gem that’s almost criminally overlooked. While, and rightly so, the 90’s will be remembered for such bands such as Nirvana and The Pixies, it seems a shame that Hazel never really got the recognition they deserved. If you love The Pixies or simply need to find quirky yet catchy 90’s rock sounds, then this album, and the band in general, is definitely for you. Just ridiculously simple and catchy rock.

Favourite tracks: Green Eyes, Quick Jerk, Ascension.

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Chelsea Wolfe – Unknown Rooms: A Collection Of Acoustic Songs
Genre: Acoustic/Folk

Label: Sargent House Records

Chelsea Wolfe, for those new to her, is a largely independent folk singer-songwriter from California who makes her trademark sound by blending her largely acoustic feel with elements from the likes of drone, doom, punk and even black metal. Her 2011 release “Ἀποκάλυψις” (Apocalypse) featured some tracks with occasional haunting shrieks and screams, along with drone-laden outros, and her 2010 release “The Grime And The Glow” even had greatly distorted moments often heard in noise-rock. Continue reading

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Ufomammut – “Oro: Opus Alter” Quick Review

Ufomammut – Oro: Opus Alter
Genre: Doom Metal/Psychedelic

Label: Neurot Recordings

The mighty Ufomammut are a psychedelic and experimental doom trio from Italy, known for their long and spacious jams. If you’re not familiar with the band, just imagine the progressiveness of Pink Floyd mixed with the riff worship of Neurosis and Electric Wizard and so you have Ufomammut – who have been active since the early 2000’s. Vocals are usually pretty sparse throughout the band’s discography too; and then usually in forms of atmospheric screams. Continue reading

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Cattle Decapitation – “Monolith of Inhumanity” Quick Review

Cattle Decapitation – Monolith Of Inhumanity
Genre: Grindcore/Brutal Death Metal

Label: Metal Blade

Cattle Decapitation are a technical four-piece from California, whose brutal and vivid music lives up to the name. Over the course of the band’s formation, the lyrical themes have consistently focused on man’s effects on wildlife and nature in a misanthropic light, often placing humans into the animal’s perspective to exemplify the negative results. They also focus on religion in the least complimentary way possible as well.

So, “Monolith Of Inhumanity” is their seventh album release, their fifth on the Metal Blade label, and this release is ridiculously heavy. Although the band is known for it’s extreme style and constantly changing between the face-scraping blastbeats, sweeps and riffs and the death metal breakdowns, this album is definitely a step towards a more hectic sound than the last album “The Harvest Floor”. The production is a lot better too, and makes the layers a lot more distinctive.

Dead Set On Suicide, the second track on the album, opens up with these blistering blastbeats before this short bass break which follows with the whole band jumping back in furiously. It’s also the first time we hear a new type of vocal from Travis Ryan that’s really manic and pained – you can’t help wonder just how he manages to cope with the constant changes. Then there are these insane double-kick breakdowns that just sounds like jackhammer sped up and being flicked on and off. Needless to say, this track is a personal highlight.

The following track, A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat, also uses the new type of vocal in the oddly catchy chorus, which consists of ” A living, breathing piece of defecating meat / Two-legged massacre expressing glands in heat”. You can’t help feel like you’re on trial and being accused of some unspeakable crime by a demon god – which is probably the intent.

Sixth track Projectile Ovulation opens up with an almost old-school death metal riff, and seems a lot more straight-forward than previous tracks yet still remains ridiculously heavy, especially during moments of Travis’s guttural growls and belches.

The Monolith has a creeping sensation, mainly consisting of a clean guitar with ambient ‘booms’ and crackles of fire – almost resonant of Nine Inch Nails’s instrumental Help Me I Am In Hell. This leads up to final track Kingdom Of Tyrants, which progresses through so many stages that it really does feel like an emotional climax at times when switching between fast and slow tempos, almost orchestral at times with the interplay between the vocals and instrumentation.

To put it simply: “Monolith Of Inhumanity” is a completely brutal and relentless album, focusing less on atmosphere and more on action. While this album is completely uninviting for anyone seeking melodic and beautiful textures, this is definitely for those who like their metal punishing, violent and unpredictable. A must for grind fans.

Favourite tracks: Dead Set On Suicide, A Living, Breathing Piece Of Defecating Meat, Kingdom Of Tyrants.

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Joey Bada$$ – “1999” Review

Joey Bada$$ – 1999
Genre – Hip-hop

Label: Self-released

Joey Bada$$ is a 17-year-old Brooklyn MC, and “1999” is his largely anticipated debut mixtape, after releasing several tracks here and there over the past couple of months. He’s also part of the Pro Era (Progressive Era) collective of MCs and producers. One of the main things that becomes so obvious when listening to Joey Bada$$ is that he’s incredibly aware for his age, both socially and musically. Continue reading

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