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This is a big leap in growth and maturity for Balance & Composure when compared to their first full-length. It's an ambitious modern rock record at a time when ambition is the last thing one finds in harder edged music.
Vocalist/guitarist Jon Simmons leads the way with powerful, emotive singing, leaving it all out there on "Cut Me Open" and "Notice Me," two of the stronger songs on the album. Introduce your mellower-listening friends to "Tiny Raindrop," a gorgeous track that really stands out against the more aggressive 3-guitar attack of much else found here.
These guys toured with Circa Survive for their last album and seem to have picked up a few positive tricks along the way. The songs are tight but find ways to shift gears internally, which keeps things interesting. Overall, a true up & coming band that bears watching, now and in the future.
If you read a lot of rock biographies it becomes clear quite quickly which ones are going to hold your interest and which ones are just superficial schlock jobs. Peter Criss' tell-all book isn't just riveting; it rivals Motley Crue's "The Dirt" as one of the most entertaining rock bios ever written.
Gene Simmons' autobiography had its moments but the reader never felt truly invested in his personal experiences. For a guy who claims to have slept with thousands of women, including a number of celebrities, Simmons' book was really just a "tell-some," not close to a "tell-all." Ace Frehley's book was better and far more fun to read. The Spaceman came across as weird and wacky and it seemed OK that you didn't get great scoop about some of the most personal aspects of his life. Based on how loaded he frequently was, he probably couldn't remember!
In the case of Peter Criss, though, memories aren't a problem. Though he freely admits his own shortcomings, it's the devastating details he provides about his former band mates that keep the pages turning at a furious pace. Whether he's describing Simmons' hygiene issues or regaling the reader with his own questions of Paul Stanley's sexual preferences, Criss puts his thoughts out there to the point of uncomfortable hilarity. Nothing is spared -- from his own drug use to his opinion of the sexual abilities of his wives and girlfriends. It's as if he is telling his road stories to his best friend and not worrying one bit about who will be hurt by the information. Which, of course, makes for a great read.
The highs and lows of Criss' life are somewhat predictable nowadays. Many rockers from that era reached unimaginable heights only to sink to the bottom once fame and fortune disappeared. What makes this tome so much better than most is how "real" Peter Criss allows himself to be. And it's why so many people dream of rock stardom and all it entails.
Easily Bruce Dickinson's best solo album, this explosive set of songs has fiercely stood the test of time and is arguably his most consistent original recording since Iron Maiden's "Powerslave."
After tinkering with a variety of styles and musicians for most of his earlier solo work, "The Chemical Wedding" was Dickinson's second disc with Maiden partner-in-crime Adrian Smith on lead guitar and the chemistry is blazing. Dickinson is thoroughly energized here with a confidence in voice and direction not heard since his early days with Maiden. The abundance of scorching riffs will sear the skin of one's face should it be too close to the speakers.
While some of his lyrics do get weighted down in a world of swords & sorcery, Dickinson manages to avoid some of Maiden lyricst Steve Harris' excessive wordiness, leading to a smoother delivery and a less dense landscape of sound. "The Chemical Wedding" also keeps the songs at manageable lengths; this being in stark contrast to some of the complete rubbish Maiden released as they temporarily lost their way in the latter part of the 90s.
Overall, pure joy to listen to and the proper kick in the arse Dickinson managed to find before heading back to re-front one the greatest metal bands of all time.
Very rarely does a band come along and, for the most part, create its own sound. Autolux is one of those gems. Even though the world has had to wait a long time for their second proper album to be released, it is worth every delicious second now that it has arrived.
The nuances of this music grow with each listen and it's clear the time spent making it was not wasted. It's a great rock record with a soft sheen coating the surface.
Because of the rarity of his released work, guitarist/vocalist Greg Edwards doesn't get the acclaim that his former band-mate in Failure, Ken Andrews, receives. It's clear from repeated listens to "Transit Transit" that it's a shame their partnership didn't last longer than it did. This is brilliance.
I first learned of this band a few years ago when Dave Navarro was singing their praises. What he and others saw has been quickly realized by this Arizona band, one which bucks current trends and demonstrates a keen sense of style, verve and flat out rocks.
Some early comparisons to the Mars Volta/ATDI are silly in retrospect. Sure, high-pitched vocalist Kyle Howard's aural gymnastics could share a stage with Cedric Bixler, but the band's sound is tighter while still retaining its free form nuances. There's an urgency to most of the songs that is undeniable and a welcome breath of fresh air in the current slumbering state of hard-edged music.
A key component to TSF is Sunny Davis' haunting cello playing. Don't let that last line deter you -- it's the dichotomy between the swirling guitars and Davis' string work that gives this band it's unique sound. There's carnage at work yet the underlying sounds she produces provide a comforting backdrop which allows the other band members to stretch out a little further.
For a band's debut full-length, this disc is nothing short of impressive.
Thrice appears to be in that crossroads that many bands face: Do we stay our course or do we veer in a different direction? Unfortunately, Thrice doesn't seem to be sure of which way to turn judging by all the different styles they attempt to employ on this recording.
And to make matters worse, if that isn't Skid Row's "Youth Gone Wild" on the opening track, exactly how much closer could Thrice have come if they did a cover version of it?
It is such an injustice to put a snippet of a Rolling Stone ragazine review comparing Keane to Radiohead. How out of touch can Rolling Stone be? Keane is a pleasant-sounding band, one which knows how to craft a lush pop song. They are NOT a rock band. Radiohead is a rock band. If comparisons are so important to people, try last decade's Air Supply if you want to know another band Keane may sound like....Read more
I picture Muse's Matthew Bellamy rockin' out to Radiohead, Supergrass and Coldplay, all the while trying on his old Queen concert T's. Not since Freddie Mercury has anyone attacked music with such panache!
Less cerebral than Thom Yorke and crunching harder than either Supergrass or Coldplay, Muse is a band that really hits its stride with this disc. I guess since it doesn't fit anywhere near the decrepit state of U.S. radio, it will remain Britain's best kept secret. Which is truly a shame, since songs this emotionally and physically brilliant should be unleashed upon the entire world....Read more
Appropriately, this new disc is self-titled, because as far as Deftones catalog is concerned, this one ought to be the first of their career instead of the third.
Deftones major label debut, "Around The Fur", showcased a band to watch, its changing dynamics and old school aggression provided a fresh sound for the hard rock masses. The new millenium brought the brilliant "White Pony", a surprise success on both a critical and commercial scale. Singer Chino Moreno's emotionally charged singing alternated between whispered words and throat-shredded screaming. Most impressive about the disc, though, was its variety and willingness to take chances -- a challenge many bands with less to lose rarely take.
It is with this history that anticipation ran high for the long-awaited third album from the band. For many rock bands, No. 3 is a career peak, a combination of familiar sound with the experience and confidence to branch out and improve.
Unfortunately, "Deftones" takes two steps backward instead of one step forward. Not one track sounds any different than those on "White Pony." The jarring differentiation from track to track is gone - in its place is sameness and a complete unwillingness to go further. There is no throbbing drum intro like on "Rx Queen." No delicate "Digital Bath" that separated the band from its peers.
Overall, the only unexpected outcome of this record is its level of boredom. Apparently, success is a formula too secure to mess with. Just three years after a surprisingly innovative and mesmerizing effort, Deftones appear to have decided to play it safe. The masses will line up and buy -- but what they're getting is just a copy of what they've heard before. Maybe that's good enough for them, but it's not for me....Read more
PGMG gets unfairly compared to At The Drive-In, but only so because their frenetic sound often veers on the brink of losing control - only to be reeled back in with a killer vocal melody. Vocalist Andrea Zollo might not have the fullest voice, but her insistent wailing is reminiscent of Courtney Love when Kurt was still writing her songs. "If you hate your friends..." is great hardcore punk, its throbbing bassline circa early Motley Crue when they were still young and hungry. Overall, a short but great burst of energy!...Read more