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The Black Market
The Black Market
Price: $8.99

18 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad album, but too long, and lacking variety, July 22, 2014
This review is from: The Black Market (MP3 Music)
EDITED INTRO: I respect Rise Against to no end. 13 years ago, I was fortunate enough to see them for the first time at the record release show for The Unraveling in Chicago. At that show, Rise Against instantly became one of my favorite bands. Over the last 13 years, I've maintained my love for the band. Sure, I don't care for a song here and there, but the words "they suck", or "**** them" have NEVER come out of my mouth... or fingers.
This band put their time in with previous endeavors (88 Fingers Louie, Baxter, The Honor System, etc.), and they've earned their popularity. Their honest dudes, and deserve respect.

Now, onto the original review I submitted yesterday:

Three years ago I wrote a review of Endgame, stating that, while a good album, it fell flat compared to the band's other five releases.

The Black Market can't fall flat, because it never even gets off of the ground.
Endgame has definitely warmed up to me a bit more, but is still just an "Ok" album. At least the first handful of tracks on Endgame were pretty ace before the album dropped down to mediocre levels.

The first song on The Black Market, "The Great Die-Off", is decent, and that was a huge red flag. No other album opener from Rise Against has been "decent". "Alive and Well", "Black Masks and Gasoline", "State of the Union", "Chamber the Cartridge", "Collapse", and "Architects" are all raging, angst-filled, totally kick-a** songs that get you excited for what's to follow. "The Great Die-Off" doesn't come close at all.

First single "I Don't Wanna Be Here Anymore" is actually the best song on the album.
Second single (or song that we got to preview before the album's release), "The Eco-Terrorist In Me", got me REALLY excited the first time I heard it. "Oh, wow... there's finally going to be faster songs with Tim screaming like the old days!". This song is actually a punch in the crotch. It's a good song, don't get me wrong, but the band proved they could still write fast, Tim could scream, etc., but it doesn't even hold up that way for the entire song. It's just a tease.

I've listened to the album about a dozen times (I want to make sure I've heard something enough before I judge, especially for a band I've been a big fan of for 13 years), and something I noticed today while listening was "This song should end right here". Most of these songs are just way too long. After about 2 and a half minutes (for most of the songs), the track sounds like it should be ending, but when I look at the time on my ipod, there's still 2 minutes left. I caught myself doing that for many songs today. They're just way too drawn out, and for no real reason.

By no means is this a bad album at all... but it's, hands-down, the band's worst. It just never gets off the ground. It's not exciting. There's no real angst to be heard. The songs are too long, and the music isn't every impressive.
On a positive note to that, I don't think a single song is "bad", but none of them come close to anything from their previous six full-lengths, nor their long list of b-sides.

Maybe if I step away from it for a while, and put it back on in a few months / years, I'll hear something new that can grab me.
But right now this album will be collecting proverbial-dust.
Comment Comments (5) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 12, 2014 7:27 PM PST

The B-Sides
The B-Sides

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pointless, really, February 28, 2014
This review is from: The B-Sides (MP3 Music)
This is probably the worst "b-sides" collection I've ever owned.

For starters, only 11 songs. When I made a playlist of their b-sides last year, I think it had about 20 on there.
There are several awesome b-sides that are absent from this, and I honestly have no clue why that is.
Of the songs contained here, about half are just acoustic, recorded live on random radio shows.

I could be wrong, but this just seems like SideOneDummy wanted some cash, and the band may have had to oblige under contract.
(Add this to a two-year streak of disappointing / very bad releases from a label that used to be great)

I'm a huge fan of The Gaslight Anthem, but this is a rare "album" where I would actually advise people to "save your money".

The Hands That Thieve
The Hands That Thieve
Price: $9.49

5 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Severely underwhelming, May 3, 2013
This review is from: The Hands That Thieve (MP3 Music)
Streetlight Manifesto's previous two original full-lengths both contain several songs that are just insanely awesome. For those two albums, I was able to be blown away after just one listen of each, not to mention the hundreds of times I listened to them thereafter.
This new record is just all-around disappointing. I've listened to it all the way through about 10 times now, and there are still no songs that jump out at you. They're all extremely similar in sound and substance, and fall flat.
By no means is this a bad album, but when comparing to the band's earlier material (hell, even their covers album), it can't even come close.

Stop with the "Only buy from The Risc Store" nonsense. That entire Streetlight Manifesto Vs. Victory Records fiasco could have been totally avoided if Kalnoky wasn't acting like a stuck-up baby, and just took the high-road. I hate the label, but also have zero sympathy for Tomas Kalnoky. He brought it on himself by trash-talking the label for years while still under a legal contract. What did he think would happen? He should have kept his mouth shut until this album was released (thus, completing their contract), and then went on a feud about Victory.

All of that said, I hope at some point in the future I'll pop this album in and fall in love, but for the time being I think it's going to start collecting dust.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jun 14, 2013 3:32 PM PDT

Poorly Formed
Poorly Formed
Price: $9.99

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Greatly Performed!, March 17, 2013
This review is from: Poorly Formed (MP3 Music)
I thought their last effort (2011's Here, Under Protest) was a phenomenal album, and would be very difficult to follow.

When I first heard Poorly Formed, I definitely liked it, but didn't love it. Several days, and dozens of listens later, I will go on record saying that this is the band's absolute finest recording to date.

Of the 14 songs contained, guitarist Jack Dalrymple (One Man Army / ex-Dead To Me) co-wrote 8 of them with vocalist Johnny Bonnel. While it has been typical for guitarist Darius Koski to write the majority of their past albums, it was interesting to see how a predominantly Bonnel / Dalrymple album would end up.
The end result is so unique, at times it doesn't really even sound like Swingin' Utters. But, at the same time, it sounds exactly like them. I went in knowing that Jack wrote a lot of the music, and expected it to sound like One Man Army, but the only OMA really reminiscent of these songs is from the band's 2012 EP, She's An Alarm!.

It's definitely different than the Utters past material, but after nearly 2 months of listens (literally, I listen to the album at least once a day), I firmly believe this is Swingin' Utters' best album. This thing is pure gold. In my honest opinion, it's a perfect 10/10.

Highlights: "The Librarians Are Hiding Something", "Pour Beans", "Military Barbara Billingsley", "Poorly Formed".
Low-points: absolutely nothing. It's all gold.

Price: $8.99

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I love fun, August 5, 2012
This review is from: Comet (MP3 Music)
Been of fan of The Bouncing Souls since 1996. I've heard people trash their last few albums ("Anchors Aweigh", "The Gold Record" and "Ghosts On The Boardwalk"), but I think they've all been magnificent albums.

The Souls are one of the bands that I love with all my heart. They're positive, fun, uplifting, beautiful... they're one of a kind.

My first listen of "Comet", I will admit I was a little disappointed. I still liked the album, a LOT, but I didn't think it lived up to anything they've done in the last 10 years. However, further listens (about 45, to be exact) prove "Comet" to be a magnificent album, just like the rest of the band's catalog.

Of the 10 songs (I wish there were more), the only song I'm not crazy about is "DFA". But, hey, it's hard to make every song perfect. "DFA" is still a pretty good song, but some parts of it are a little too lame (mainly, the second verse), I just think it may have been written too fast. '

There's been a lot of criticism about "We Love Fun", and I have to defend it. The song is... FUN! It's a great sing-along, it makes you want to dance... it's a great song. Get over it.

"Ship In A Bottle", "Comet", "Static", "In Sleep"... definitely going to go down as some of the band's best songs in my book.

If you've been a fan of The Bouncing Souls before, and you're not a jaded dick, you'll enjoy this.
If you end up bitching about it, you've probably got a stick up your ass. I'm not saying it's their best album (I'd rank it in the middle of their discography), but it's still great.


2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Took some time, but I love it now., August 5, 2012
This review is from: Handwritten (MP3 Music)
ORIGINAL REVIEW: I've liked Gaslight Anthem since shortly after "Sink Or Swim" was released. Every album up to "American Slang" were dominated by absolutely beautiful songs, mixed with a few "alright" songs here and there
However, on "Handwritten", the album starts off beautiful with "45", and then drops to a line of "alright". ...and then it never gets back off of that line.
There aren't any bad songs here, but comparing anything on "Handwritten" to anything on their previous releases, nothing on this compares.

UPDATE: In the years since I wrote the original review, I've really, REALLY come around to Handwritten. I absolutely adore every single song now. Classic album from The Gaslight Anthem.


39 of 50 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a bad album, but their worst, March 19, 2011
This review is from: Endgame (MP3 Music)
When "The Unraveling" came out, I was blown away. One of the best hardcore/punk albums in my opinion. "Revolutions Per Minute" continued with greatness, with great lyrics, anger, and speed. "Siren Song..." and "The Sufferer..." were both great in their own rights, but "Appeal To Reason" is where a downward curve began. "AtR" had some kick-ass songs, but the bad songs were really bad. "Endgame"... very safe, too long, too slow.
Some pretty good songs featured here ("Architects", "Survivor Guilt", "Satellite"), but there doesn't seem to be any songs that are really great. On the other hand, no songs are really bad either. It's a very middle-of-the-road album.

I bought it, I don't regret it, but after a few songs I always just end up putting "The Unraveling" back on.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 10, 2011 9:28 AM PDT

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