Average Rating: 3.37
Rating Variance: 0.41
Objectivity Score: 78% (Well Balanced)
Sort by: Rating | Release Date | Rating Date | Name5.0 classicA Perfect Circle Thirteenth StepAPC's magnum opus, without a doubt. A staggeringly brilliant (both lyrically and musically) concept album on a theme that's pretty much relatable for anyone. This was truly an example of the band's evolution (not to say that Mer De Noms wasn't phenomenal as well) and a damn shame they decided to exit with E-Motive instead of another real studio album. One can only hope the teasing rumours from Maynard about the band getting back together are true. This album is responsible for helping to shape my musical tastes and the overall way I listened to music and looked at composition, and still gets rocked pretty hard some 6-7 years later. Black Sabbath Black SabbathA classic heavy metal prototype and a ridiculous debut outing for a ridiculously influential band. Black Sabbath helped to pave metal's way, and for that this album reserves a special place in my library. There is, of course, the actual tunes that take place on such a recording. Everything here is classic Sabbath, and the tracks themselves have a flow and feel that stands above a great deal of imotators and general music to boot. Excellent musicianship and innovative ideas make this album a classic.Black Sabbath Sabbath Bloody SabbathHard not to be redundant covering this album by this point, but Sabbath Bloody Sabbath definitely holds up as one of the band's finest Ozzy-era offerings. With a load of fan favourites (Sabbath Bloody Sabbath, Spiral Architect, A National Acrobat, Sabbra Caddabra) and tracks like Looking for Today, Killing Yourself to Live, and Who Are You? marking some nice stylistic changes in the band's music. (not that they weren't already flirting with these changes on previous albums) The gorgeous instrumental Fluff is also an album stand-out, as no other Sabbath instrumental seems to possess the same quality to detail and layers as it. Overall, this one warrants multiple plays and has been able to stand up still as a great listen over 35 years after its recording. Bob Marley and The Wailers ExodusOne of Bob Marley & the Wailers finest moments, and a defining album for roots reggae music. Exodus truly captures the spirit of Bob Marley, with the surrounding story of his attempted assassination and following concert performance become the stuff of music legend. For anyone looking to get into this artist aside from his greatest hits compilation, this is the place to start. The music and overall feel of the album is undescribeable, and should definitely hold a place amongst all music fans libraries.Cynic FocusFaith No More Angel DustFaith No More The Real ThingIn Flames The Jester RaceMichael Jackson ThrillerPink Floyd The Dark Side of the MoonPink Floyd AnimalsJust before the band turned sour... this album is a brilliant concept record, has some powerful lyrics, and some incredible musicianship from all members of the band. This is the last truly great Floyd record with the four-man lineup.Pink Floyd Wish You Were HerePink Floyd The WallRage Against the Machine Rage Against the MachineOne of the most influential and standout debuts of the 1990's into the 2000's. Rage Against the Machine was the band at it's very finest; not that they peaked here necessarily, but this is possibly their finest example of work. Nothing can match the emotional output on this record. Sublime SublimeThere isn't much that I can say about this record that isn't a repetition of others like myself. This music made a pretty big impact on my life and listening habits to boot, and the songs on it are genious in my opinion. There will be no other Sublime, and no other records like this one. It's truely sad that the band's finest hour would also be their last, and this self-titled mainstream debut will go down as one of the major defining records of the 90's. Sublime 40 Oz. to FreedomI would have loved to write up a review for this album, as its one of my all time favourites, but there really isn't too much that I can say about it that wouldn't be redundant of other reviews. All I can say is that this album launched a sound that (at least for me) defines not only a decade, but holds a timeline all its own. Tool LateralusPretty much (though arguably) Tool's magnum opus, Lateralus is a ridiculous display of the band's collective talents and sprawling intellectualism weaved throughout pounding, twisting hard-rock. A revealing album into the band's true sound, this is a solid evolution from the ground-breaking Aniema. The second in a line of Tool's solid work, Lateralus requires some attention and multiple listens to fully understand, but is well worth the effort in the end. 4.5 superbA Perfect Circle Mer de NomsAgalloch The MantleThere is something so special, encompassing and unique about Agalloch's second full-length effort, The Mantle. A pretty far cry from the band's original black/folk metal roots, this does show heavy signs of evolution and experimentation, while still managing to retain the original roots of the band's music. Combining elements of folk, black metal, doom metal, death metal, and ambiant music Agalloch creates a niche in the musical world all their own. The Mantle is perhaps this band's magnum opus (at least up to this point) and greatly broadened my musical tastes and opinions. For a highly impactful record and enlightening musical experience, Agalloch's "The Mantle" may take a few spins to really delve into, but you'll really be glad you did in the end. Agalloch Pale FolkloreA fantastic debut full-length from a mind-blowing band. Pale Folklore builds from the style Agalloch had been working at since their early demos, with everything culminating nicely on this offering. This paves the way for the groundbreaking "The Mantle", and showcases some of the more black metal influences the band has in their repitoire. Alan Menken Little Shop of Horrors OSTAlice In Chains Jar of FliesMy favourite Alice in Chains record, this EP made a pretty big impact on the bands overall direction, and really shows that they're capable of stepping outside their sound to explore new realms. Acoustic music really works for this band, and this seemed like Alice at her most productive. Anathema We're Here Because We're HereAnathemaís first studio offering in the last seven years is a pretty startling display of what this band can accomplish when firing on all creative cylinders. Though the band has been consistently honing their craft since making the shift from a death/doom metal band to a full-fledge progressive rock unit, something about ďWeíre Here Because Weíre HereĒ screams focus. The tracks here flow pretty damn smoothly with each other, offering up a full album of music rather than some scattered songs, and the quality of musicianship on each is a marked improvement from the albumís predecessor ďA Natural DisasterĒ. At timeís channeling Porcupine Tree, and others just holding their own with a unique sound, the choices made for this record Ė even down to HIMís Ville Valoís guest vocals - were all the right ones.Astra The Black ChordAt the Drive-In Relationship of CommandWhile usually finding the hardcore/punk qualities of certain bands less than charming, Relationship of Command immediately introduced me to this band (if you don't count the Volta connection) and I immediately fell in love with it. An eclectic blend of post-hardcore and myriad other styles come together to create an interesting snapshot in sound at the turn of the century. Be'lakor The Frail TideIn the continuingly stale state that (sadly) the melodic death metal genre has undergone in recent years, there have been the odd glimmer of hope here and there, keeping the faith of the sub-genres many fans. Austrailia's Be'lakor is one of these shining gems, offering up a somewhat refreshing take on the melo-death sound. These guys still seem pretty rooted in the Gothenburg style, but they have a nice progressive touch that plays nicely with their fondness for acoustic passages. This bares similarities to bands like Dark Tranquility and even Opeth and Agalloch, though don't let that misguide you. This band is melodic death, but they do it with their own small sense of individuality, and you gotta respect that.
The Frail Tide is a pretty damn ridiculous debut outing by a band that's sure to follow through on the promise they've showed thus far. Be'lakor Stone's ReachBetween The Buried And Me AlaskaA pretty stunning record, this one has a little bit of everything mashed together in some heathen form of heavy metal. It's a pretty interesting combination of styles, and to a fan of music in general (especially ones who lean towards metal a little) this is a must-listen. Some highlights are the title-track, All Bodies, Selkies: The Endless Obsession, Autodidact, and Laser Speed. Between The Buried And Me ColorsBig Country The CrossingA criminally overlooked band outside of the 1980ís, Scotland/Englandís Big Country are one stellar rock outfit. Admittedly, I never wouldíve found this band without Rock Bandís choice to use ďIn a Big CountryĒ, a track thatís awesomeness sent me immediately running for the rest of the record. By combining elements of their native land in the use of Scottish instrumental influences, the bands formula for merging this with a rock sound that was big in their 1980ís make for some rather infectious tracksBlack Sabbath ParanoidHard to not give this one the classic status as well, seeing as it is pretty much a near perfect metal blue-print album. Nevertheless, for me personally there were some slightly and barely noticeable weaknesses (see the redundancy of the classic Iron Man and the drone of Electric Funeral). This album has a near seamless flow that captivates its listeners almost 40 years after its release. There truly were no others like Black Sabbath, and the collective genious of their music should speak for itself. Black Sabbath Master of RealityBlind Melon Blind MelonA powerfully underrated debut by a powerful underrated band. The story behind this and the band is well known by fans and general listeners, so I won't rehash it. For any lover of 90's music, jam rock, or just a positive sound in general, this album is highly recommended.Blind Melon SoupThis record just makes me sad that this incarnation of the band (IE Shannon Hoon) weren't able to record their magnum opus. I get the sense with this album and their self-titled (both albums I've rated 4.5) that there was just that little something missing, keeping them from being true, full-blown classics. I still view this one as a 90's classic forsure, though there are about 2 or 3 tracks on this one that prevent it from rising to the top of the ratings pile. Camel MirageWith Camel's second offering, the band undoubtedly started to let their true nature shine through their recordings, though one could argue the strength comparisons between this disc and their self-titled debut a year earlier. Whereas this album seems less random with the bands influences - something that often attributes them to beginning their progressive days - it seems to lack a certain level of direction that "Camel" possessed. Despite the first discs meandering stylistic changes, there was definitely a bigger picture going on. The sprawling progressiveness of "Mirage" is definitely a fun listen, though somewhat harder to grasp than the prior disc. To me this definitely isn't the pinnicle of the bands sound, or even the true starting point of that sound. However, for an album that was released just a year after the debut offering, there is a lot to be said for the mere 5 tracks that make it up. "Nimrodel" and "Lady Fantasy" are definitely classic prog epics and should be listened to with great care. The addition of some filler like SuperTwister is a bit of a piss off considering the album's length, but Camel is forgiven. Camel CamelControl Denied The Fragile Art of ExistenceIt's unfortunately that there would be no follow-up to Control Denied's debut masterpiece (and a greater tragedy that frontman for Death and mastermind behind this band, Chuck Schuldiner would surcome to cancer related illness). In his final offering, Chuck attempts a more power-metal style, in the vein of Europe's metal sound. The result is a merging of the classic jazz-infused Death sound with the creme of the crop in power metal stylings. Chuck really managed to pull this one off, if you haven't discovered this gem yet, I highly recommend you do. Cynic Traced in AirDan Swano MoontowerDark Tranquillity Damage DonePart of a string of excellent melodic death metal records put out by Dark Tranquillity, Damage Done seems like the most concise example of the band's work up to this album's point. The songs are catchy, full of great melo-death riffs, and don't get much longer than 4:30 minutes or so, leaving a sense of flow to the disc. Definitely a good place to start if you're thinking about checking these guys out. Dark Tranquillity The GalleryThis is a clear stepping stone in Dark Tranquillity's history, but for some reason without the full development that the band would achieve on future releases, this one comes up a little flat to me after repeated listens. I'll agree with this album's review in the fact that this album helped shift my musical focus in terms of how death metal could be constructed. I do disagree with the overall rating it gets compared to other discs though, as it seems a tad undeserving with the lack of staying power it posesses.Death The Sound of PerseveranceDeath SymbolicDisarmonia Mundi NebulariumWow, can't believe this hasn't seen any love here. This is a pretty damn intense album, and somewhat addictive at that. Just when a track seems to be entering a mundane loop, it breaks free of its cycle and shows a lot of signs of progression. This was before Bjorn joined the band, and should definitely not be over-looked. For you Soilwork haters, this might be the DM album for you. Review to come shortly, not coming along very well at the moment. Eluveitie SpiritEnslaved RIITIIRFrank Zappa ApostropheFrank Zappa Hot RatsFrank Zappa The Grand WazooIn Flames ClaymanIn Flames WhoracleIn Mourning MonolithIn Vain MantraIron Maiden PowerslaveIron Maiden The Number of the BeastIron Maiden Iron MaidenIron Maiden Brave New WorldAlthough I was somewhat albe to get behind the replacement vocals of Blaze Bailey, there was no doubt I was longing for Bruce to come back. When Maiden announced this, it seemed like a good move; when the band put out their next offering, Brave New World, the results really set in. What was produced was one of Iron Maiden's most consisent releases, putting forth a quality and energy not heard often since the days of Number of the Beast and Powerslave. Though I've been a fan of virtually every one of this band's albums, this was a real turning point for the band, and definitely helped them to gain popularity and remain active for (at least) another decade of music. Jethro Tull AqualungKalmah They Will ReturnProbably Kalmah's magnum opus (at least with their current 5 records), They Will Return is truly the band at their finest. Every track here is spot on and the record virtually defines the bands sound itself. Though I find this band to be pretty consistent with their material, this record seems to possess a certain spirit or energy that the others lack in one way or another. Definitely the place to start with this band, it'll have you hooked. King Crimson In the Court of the Crimson KingMastodon RemissionMastodon LeviathanMastodon Blood MountainA culmination of Mastodon's work from Remission and Leviathan, 2006's Blood Mountain showcases the band's ability to step outside the realm of progressive sludge music. Showing off some serious skills, Blood Mountain is hope that this band and metal in general is getting better. Mastodon The HunterNovembre The BlueOpeth OrchidThough perhaps lacking that little something that would've pushed this album past a 4.5 and into the realms of (more) excellence, Orchid serves as an incredible launching ground for Opeth's specific style of work. These are the less than humble beginnings for the progressive death metal pioneers, and though more of the focus remains on the death aspects of the music, there are still hints of the influences that would come to dominate Opeth's later body of work.Opeth Still LifeThis is really the sum of the bands music by this point in their career. With their fourth offering, Opeth manages to reach new heights, giving this album a classic status. Though the majority of this bands work is pretty incredible, Still Life comes together in all places and creates one of the bands masterpieces in the process. Opeth MorningriseDespite Orchid's greatness and launching grounds, Morningrise is where Opeth's music really started making a connection with me on a level other than head-bangery. There was grace amongst the brutality, and the music felt like it was actually bringing me to another place; listening was an experience, not just a hobby. This one took me a little longer to get into fully (I found myself particularly attached to The Night and the Silent Water and To Bid You Farewell) compared to albums like Blackwater Park and Damnation. Still, the album wormed its way deep, and eventually the record unfolded itself, presenting to me the greatness and complexity of this band's music. Opeth Blackwater ParkOpeth DeliveranceProbably better represented with a vote of 4.2 or so, this album took a little while to grow on me, but when it did, it fully rooted. The production (from Porcupine Tree's Steven Wilson) is excellent again, following his stint on Blackwater Park. Wilson also provides backing vocals on the album, which are suited so well with Akerfeldt's its a shame they don't sing together often. This and its sister album Damnation are in the top 3 Opeth recordings for me personally, don't miss this. Opeth DamnationSo now we know that not only is Opeth a ridiculous progressive death metal band, but they also make for a pretty ridiculous progressive rock outfit too. This album is what got me into the band, and led to my massive appreciation for this band's talents and variety of musical influences. Though this one lacks the powerful agressive riffs that have come to be a staple for the band, this lighter side is nonetheless a powerful piece in the band's discography.Opeth My Arms, Your HearseOpeth Ghost ReveriesOpeth WatershedDespite the rumours and speculation that surrounded this album, this really couldn't have turned out any better. This sounds like a rejuvenated Opeth; the new guitar fits perfectly, drums aren't quite Martin Lopez but they do a fantastic job filling in, and the new focus on more keyboards in their music works surprisingly well. This isn't to say that every Opeth fan will like this: I've run into a few die-hards that aren't a fan of the frequent keyboard sections alone. Nevertheless, I think this record more than speaks for the fact that this band isn't slowing down, and at least has a couple more left in them. Pink Floyd The Division BellDivision Bell was a return to form (as much as possible) for Pink Floyd after the Waters dominated "The Final Cut" and psuedo Gilmour solo outing "A Momentary Lapse of Reason". The remaining members of the band came together to get a somewhat classic sound to emerge again. Though it might not be exactly what fans wanted, this is the strongest of the albums to not feature the classic line-up.Porcupine Tree Stupid DreamPorcupine Tree DeadwingPure Reason Revolution The Dark ThirdBorrowing themes from an obvious influence in Pink Floyd, followed-up with more modern tinges like Porcupine Tree or Riverside, Pure Reason Revolution puts a fantastic spin on modern progressive music. This isn't to say the band is throwing in new ideas for the genre, but mostly that they're capable of keeping these ideas from growing stale. There is almost a sense of accessibility that is void from other prog records that makes The Dark Third such a listenable record. The approach is pretty damn easy on the ears, though there isn't too much sacrificed that fans of progressive music are going to feel alienated from listening. Definitely one of the most interesting bands in their field today. Queens of the Stone Age Songs for the DeafRage Against the Machine The Battle of Los AngelesRage Against the Machine RenegadesRush Moving PicturesRush 2112Rush SignalsRush HemispheresRush Clockwork AngelsRx Bandits MandalaA stunning/startling display of musicianship and the ability to grow within ones own music are probably the easiest ways to describe the latest offering from the once third-wave ska outfit Rx Bandits. Over the years the band has come to flirt with various musical styles to shape something truly their own. With ...and the Battle Begun it was almost at its height of interplay; then along came Mandala. This disc is absoultely superb, and if it doesn't hit ya right away, just give it a little time and she'll throw you a lot back. Very, very impressed with the direction this band is taking. Santana AbraxasSilversun Pickups SwoonFinding it initially hard to get into the first time around, this one leeched its way into my ears with a ferocity I haven't experienced in some time. In other words, the album steadily started to blow me away in virtually every aspect of it. There's a really nice production style going on here, and the album as a whole gives off a really big, vibrant sound. On top of that it seems to convey it's power on an emotional level, and has some pretty interesting lyrical matter to be interpretted. All in all, this was a real gem of the last year, I'm sorry I didn't get into it sooner. (Edit: After beating this thing to death for months, it hasn't lost a drop of appeal...this things a monster)The Devin Townsend Project KiA nice return to form for Townsend, and a good start to his forth-coming mini-onslaught of albums to be. The chilled out atmosphere to the majority of the record plays nicely with Devy's skill, both musically and for composing. There's also a nice blend of soft and heavy here, which is why I don't understand the overstatement of it's calm presence. Nevertheless, the album's quite enjoyable, and a possible front-runner a top record of the year (in some form of media or another).The Devin Townsend Project DeconstructionThe Devin Townsend Project GhostThe Doors The DoorsThe Mars Volta De-Loused in the ComatoriumDespite an incredible amount of time spent trying to get into this band, I just apparently hadn't been looking in the right place. Everything finally clicked for me with this album, and I have a new found respect for this band's talents. There is such an eclectic variety of influences throughout the record, tied together by an interesting back-story/album concept. Though fairly sporadic in nature, the disc couples this with moments of beauty that's surprising to find in this style of music. Definitely worth checking this one out. Tool AenimaThis one marks a key transistion in the band's sound and is their first truly great album. The first time I heard this it broadened my musical horizon's in a pretty vast way, and the feeling's been hard to shake more than 10 years after. Their blend of progressive music with a hard-rock/metal edge becomes a signature sound for the band on this record. The lyrical/musical themes of consciousness, the philisophical and the metaphysical are all heavily developed by the quartet (this time with new bassist Justin Chancellor). Aniema has countless fantastic Tool songs and is definitely a smart place to start for someone looking to get into this band. There really isn't much else I can say about this disc: the reviews here have said it all over and over again, and the music speaks for itself.4.0 excellentAfter The Burial RareformPutting a unique spin on traditional metalcore by throwing in technical and progressive elements, After the Burial's newest offering, Rareform showcases diversity and evolution in the band's musical style. This is a pretty interesting listen, a few weak spots along the way but all in all a pretty strong record. There's a certain brutallity that combines well with parts marred by a lack of melody, creating a pretty fierce attack in the procress. I'm looking forward to more things to come from these guys, they seem to be on the right track. Agalloch Ashes Against the GrainDespite still containing better music than most for that year, I personally found Agalloch's latest installment to be their weakest full-length offering (by a little bit) so far. This was still above all else an Agalloch record, though as a whole I wasn't really grabbed onto as with prior releases. Only real compliant would be the album's closing track, a collection of noise that serves as a disappointing conclusion. Agalloch Marrow of the SpiritAge of Silence AccelerationAlice In Chains DirtA pretty groundbreaking album for the 90's, Alice in Chains started to get ontop of their game with Dirt. There was a nice mix of styles, subtlely worked into the band's metal/grunge hybrid, and signs that the band's skills were being taken to another level. As far as the three full-length albums go, this one is arguably the strongest, and showcases the angst of Staley's addiction - something that really worms its way throughout the duration of Dirt. Alice In Chains Alice in ChainsPerhaps not the band's best album, but the self-titled really does stand up as being a better record than Facelift, and is a nice transition from Dirt in my opinion. It's good to hear Cantrell's metal influences coming back, but with Staley keeping his vocal melodies and hooks. Even in their final offering, the band showcases their ability to make grungy musical magic.Amon Amarth Versus the WorldAs this album's review states, this band seems incapable of making bad material. Versus the World is another example of the band's progression and consistency. Amon Amarth just seems to get better, even if some of the riffs have a bit of a recycled feel to them at times. This bit of redundancy happens in music and especially in metal and is probably the only flaw on this disc. Amon Amarth With Oden on Our SideIt's a tough call between With Odin on Our Side or Amon Amarth's latest, Twilight of the Thunder God as to which is a more compelling album. They both are definitely epic - as per usual Amon Amarth format - though both these discs seem to possess a soundscape all their own, distinquishing them from the band's prior outings. Ever since Veruses the World, the band seemed to be stuck in a bit of a redundant style.
Fate of Norns helped to begin the ushering in of change, though it didn't fully start to enshrowed the band's sound until this point. The album is catchy, full of classic death metal riffs, and packs just the right amount of melody to give it some staying power. This one is definitely worth checking out for the fan or casual metal listener. Amon Amarth Twilight of the Thunder GodAmon Amarth Surtur RisingAnimals as Leaders WeightlessArcturus The Sham MirrorsArcturus La Masquerade InfernaleAtheist Unquestionable PresenceBaroness Red AlbumBaroness Blue RecordThough still an interesting band in the metal vain, progressive sludge metallers (sorry) seem to have lost a bit of step from their debut Red Album to this sophomore follow-up. That isn?t to say there are more than enough moments to keep a fan interested, but more that this one lacks that certain punch its predecessor held so strongly. Perhaps the departure of former lead guitarist Brian Blickle did more than a little bit to throw the band?s chemistry off balance, something that definitely came out in some of these tracks. There just seems to be an overall lack of focus in comparison to their first record, though I suppose the listener should try to treat both releases very different. I?d still recommend starting with the Red Album or even digging back a little farther and checking out the band?s early EPs. Baroness Yellow and GreenBen Harper Fight For Your MindBetween The Buried And Me The Parallax II: Future SequenceSounding like the most concise and entertaining recording since the bands heyday (arguably Alaska/Colors era) The Parallax II feels much less like the second part to the fun but confusing EP and more like a step back in the right direction. Honestly, this band has never followed a particular set of rules, and as time goes on their stray farther and farther from the convention, seemingly hellbent on squeezing in every possible influence that crosses the members' minds. But even amid all the stops, starts, changing signatures and proggier-than-prog mentality, this band is back to their entertaining ways, and that's a good thing. For what it's worth, this is my 1000th album rating on here Big Wreck In Loving Memory OfBlack Mountain Black MountainAn excellent debut from a pretty refreshing new(ish) talent. The blend of styles in this band's music should please a variety of listeners, while maintaining a throwback to the classic rock/metal eras of Sabbath and Deep Purple. Black Sabbath Vol. 4Perhaps lacking a bit of the punch of the bands debut and sophomore outing, Vol. 4 has its own subtlties that make it worth repeaded listens. There seems to be more hints of experimentation with the sound the band had developed on their last three albums, though this should be pretty natural for a group putting out those four records within a span of three years. Regadless of a split in opinion on the total cohesion of this record, it remains home to several Sabbath classics.Black Sabbath 13Blackfield Blackfield III find the sophomore follow-up slightly more entertaining than its predecessor for some reason. I realize the material on both discs is pretty similar, and that this one doesn't do anything to break any new ground for the "band"...still, there's something about the long-play experience of this one that seems to be more flowing than Blackfield I. This is a decent little side-project, apparently with another one to come sometime in the future. r(The opinions expressed above are no longer the expressed opinons of this user at this place in time, therefore a rating change is due, and no new sounoff shall be posted. That is all.)Blue Oyster Cult Fire of Unknown OriginCake Comfort EagleCamel RajazCamel NudeAfter a bit of stumbling with past records, Camel's first outing in the 80's would be 1981's Nude, a concept album revolving around the true story of a Japanese WWII soldier stranded on an island for several decades and ignorant to the fact the war is long over. The album is a touching, proggy return to form in some ways for the band, and in others shows another phase in their evolution with the heavy reliance on synths. Childish Gambino CampChildren of Bodom Hate Crew DeathrollCity and Colour Bring Me Your LoveDallas Green's follow-up to Sometimes further expands on his particular style of acoustic ballads, this time adding much more instrumentation to the equation than with the previous outing. For this reason as well as a huge step forward in song compositions, the disc easily surpasses his debut. This was a surprising listen, but definitely worth the time.Classified Hand Shakes and Middle FingersClutch Blast TyrantCradle of Filth Cruelty and the BeastCrash Test Dummies God Shuffled His FeetCurtis Mayfield Super FlyCypress Hill IVDan Swano OdysseyDark Tranquillity CharacterDark Tranquillity HavenDark Tranquillity ProjectorDespite the obvious departure from their previous outings, Dark Tranquillity still offers up their classic melo-death sound with Projector. By this point in the band's career it is only natural to try and start experimenting...the result was this album. Stanne's vocal versatility reminds me of Akerfelts, and the added keyboard sections here make this album flow nicely. Definitely an underrated DT album, this would actually be a good place to start for beginnings looking to check these guys out.Death Individual Thought PatternsDepeche Mode ViolatorDethklok Dethalbum IIIDevin Townsend TerriaDimmu Borgir Enthrone Darkness TriumphantDimmu Borgir's third full-length offering shows some intense signs of growth, while managing to showcase a sturdy foundation built upon Black metal. This is a much more symphonic approach to the conventional black metal sound, but also a much more accessible one. For this reason, this style and album alike have been heavily criticised, as is the popular theme when an underground sound starts to make its way to the mainstream audiance. There is little wonder why this record was so successful for Dimmu Borgir, as the majority of its tracks are melodic, catchy, brutal, and gorgeous all at the same time. Despite claims of selling out, this is an incredibly strong addition to Dimmu's discography, and a really good place to start for someone looking to get into this band. dredg LeitmotifA pretty ridiculous way to start a career, nothing else should really be expected from dredg. Leitmotif is a broad, yet accessible vision of the band's music at perhaps their truest form. Not to say this record is the band's best offering, but it's definitely a close contender.dredg El CieloI think I might be one of the few around here that liked Leitmotif a little bit better than El Cielo (I'd give this a 3.9 if I could). Not gonna take anything anyway from this record because it's classic dredg, but for whatever reason it doesn't hit me as hard. Nevertheless, El Cielo is a flowing piece of progressive alt-rock and one of the band's finer moments. Easy Star All Stars Dub Side of the MoonThis was a very well done tribute, re-created by a pool of talented muscians and given a tasty reggae spin on the sound. The Easy Star All Stars do such a good job here its pretty easy to lose yourself in the album. These guys are definitely fans of the original, and that shines through their music. Easy Star All Stars Dubber Side of the MoonRetouching upon their past tribute (and relative success in the process) New York-based reggae/dub collective Easy Star All-Stars once again cover Pink Floyd's classic album "Dark Side of the Moon" in its entirety. Obviously this is no real new ground, as it is both a cover album, as well as the second effort at it by some of the same musicians. This time around, some new players add their own spins to the classic tracks, while some effects are retained from the original Dub Side of the Moon release. All in all another enjoyable listen for any fan of Pink Floyd and reggae music. Edge of Sanity CrimsonEdge of Sanity Purgatory AfterglowEllie Goulding Bright LightsEluveitie VenEluveitie starts their career in full-force with this ridiculously good debut EP. The band style is a combination of traditional Celtic music blended seamlessly with the Gothenburg melodic death metal sound. This startlingly blend is reminicent of SuidAkrA's sound, though probably a little more refined (at least apparently refined much quicker). Regardless of comparisons, this EP definitely will leave fans of the sound incredibly hungry for more. Enslaved Axioma Ethica OdiniYet another impressive outing from progressive black metallers Enslaved, showcasing the bands ability to grow and unwillingness to allow their sound to stagnate. Probably the most progressive influenced of the band's work, Axioma Ethica Odini is a staggering display of modernized black metal and experimentation, putting the band on a path that transcends the bonds of tradtional death/black metal. Fair to Midland Fables From a MayflyFair to Midland Arrows and AnchorsFarmakon RobinWow, another ridiculously underrated album from a ridiculously underrated band. The comparisons to Opeth really seem to prevent listeners from enjoying this band, which goes so far beyond the realm of "Opeth clone" its disgusting. Since when did a band being able to replicate Opeth's sound (well, I might add) a bad thing? Seems like the type of characteristic this site would clamour to, but sputnik's full of surprises. Robin builds off the incredible debut from these guys, and takes the progressive metal thing to another place.Frank Zappa Zoot AlluresFrank Zappa Waka/JawakaFreak Kitchen Spanking HourGentle Giant Acquiring The TasteThis one takes a considerable amount of time and patience to get into for some, and for others that are more fans of the avant-garde side of progressive rock music, this should feel just about right. Gentle Giant's sophomore offering, Acquiring the Taste, will require you to do just that. This isn't for the faint of heart, but the pay off after repeated listens is pretty fantastic. I definitely wouldn't start here if you're trying to get into this band, though most of their work isn't the easiest to jump right on into. The self-titled would probably be a better way to go, or even Free Hand. Regardless of how you come to Acquiring the Taste, though, this is definitely a record that belongs in all progressive catalogues. Gentle Giant Gentle GiantA pretty refreshing progressive unit, Gentle Giants self-titled debut should probably be listened to a few times before judgement starts to get passed on it. It definitely helps to let this one soak in, as there is a lot hidden amongst the music waiting to be discovered with each listen. Gojira L'Enfant SauvageGordian Knot Gordian KnotGordian Knot EmergentI Mother Earth Scenery & FishIkuinen Kaamos ClosureA pretty nice find from Sputnik, one of the band's that makes me glad I joined this site. Though their are obvious comparisons to Opeth, I like the way these guys put their music together, separating themselves from "clone" status pretty nicely. It's a shame this band has been marred by trouble, and that this downloadable EP is the first format I'm hearing them in, but I'm one my way to listen to their full-length, and hopefully there is more to come from these Fins. In Flames ColonyIn Mourning Shrouded DivineMuch too worthy to be passed off as an Opeth clone, In Mourning are probably the most refreshing progressive death act in the last couple years. There is no doubt that there are similarities between the band and Opeth, and that's probably not going to stop, since each band's music is pretty heavily rooted in progressive death metal and progressive rock (typically 70's influenced). It's more in the way that these guys put it all together that made them jump at me the way they did. Always nice to find hopeful new bands with solid debut offerings...hope they keep the good tunes comin'. In Vain The Latter RainIn Vain AEnigmaIntronaut Habitual LevitationsFeeling like arguably the band's most focused work, elements of Intronaut's back catelogue can be found throughout Habitual Levitations. Though some fans are undoubted put off by a seemingly new embracing of cleaner vocals, it could also be seen as a refreshing take on an already honed sound. Iron Maiden Dance of DeathThe recurring musical ideas that envelop this album help to keep it in my memory. Their is a nice level of consistency here, even for Maiden, and for some reason I found this and Brave New World to be amongst the bands best work. This one is definitely worth a listen, but if you're looking to get into this band, please start with some of their earlier records.Iron Maiden Somewhere in TimeA damn fine outing from a ridiculously influential band. Iron Maiden's output up to this point continues to be hard-hitting and consistently solid, with little changing to the formula for 1986's Somewhere In Time. With the additional of keys/synths to the band's music, they truly embraced the 80's full-force, but it fit the melodies of their music perfectly. Iron Maiden Piece of MindIron Maiden KillersIron Maiden Fear of the DarkIron Maiden The X FactorDespite the heavy criticism this album receives for consisting of the departure of Dickinson and the entrance of vocalist Blaze Bailey, fans should try to remember that what makes Iron Maiden so incredible is the musicians behind it: this means the instrumentalists rather than a heavy focus on the singer. Let's be honest here anyway, Blaze desperately tries to pull off a Dickenson-esqe vocal style, and though he isn't able to get as high, it definitely does the job for a Maiden release. As a band, Maiden has only sounded tighter on their classic releases. Virtually every track here has something enjoyable for the average Maiden fan, and the band even tries to explore a few new signatures/composition structures. My main complaint here would be that the album lacks a flowing feel that Iron Maiden has come to make signature to their sound. Aside from the odd meandering track, however, this is a powerfully underrated disc. Iron Maiden Seventh Son of a Seventh SonOne of Maiden's finest outings, this one's at least in their top 5. There is a consistent feel to this disc, and it just seems to get better after each listen. Not a weak song on here, and for Maiden a pretty refreshing sound overall.Isis Wavering RadiantBy far Isis' best offering. This takes everything the band was trying to accomplish and finally pulls it off. The Absence of Truth was pretty good, but this builds off that so much more. This one's definitely gonna be in contention for best metal album of 09. Jethro Tull Thick as a BrickJoe Satriani Super ColossalJoy Division CloserJustin Timberlake The 20/20 Experiencek-os Joyful RebellionMy first flirtation with K-os' sound, but after getting infected by the odd radio/Much Music burst, I figured it was about time to see why my subconscious just couldn't seem to shake the man. I suppose I've always been a curious of Canadian hip-hop, always wondering if one from my home-land can pull it off in style. Now, K-os is definitely not the only Canadian rapper with this ability, but he does it with such effortless style. His unconventional approach to hiphop music (see the slew of random instrumentation that graces this LP) is fantastically accessible to fans of various off-shoots of alternative music. The fact that we're hearing real instruments may not be new, but the arsenel K-os decides to despence with on Joyful Rebellion is more than electic, it's just plain smart and creative musicianship. This is a pretty stellar place to start if someone's curious about K-os' music, and a fantastic disc, though the quality dip during the last 3 tracks or so is pretty disappointing considering the strength of the rest of the album. Kalmah SwamplordKalmah For The RevolutionIf it weren't for the meandering nature of this one it could have easily scored a higher rating. The music on here is tight and very reminiscent of the Swamplord/They Will Return days, with a bit of the Black Waltz influence. The majority of the tracks come at you hard, are entertaining, and feel like something any fan of melodic death metal would readily embrace. How this has gotten so much hate on this site is really beyond me.Kanye West My Beautiful Dark Twisted FantasyKatatonia Viva EmptinessKatatonia Last Fair Deal Gone DownKatatonia Dead End KingsKvelertak MeirLed Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IIILed Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IVLed Zeppelin Led Zeppelin IILed Zeppelin Physical GraffitiLed Zeppelin In Through the Out DoorLed Zeppelin Houses of the HolyMad Season AboveMastodon Crack the SkyeThough at the moment probably my least favourite delivery from this band, Crack the Skye is in no means a weak record. Personally, I found that the album lacked the flow of the other records, but the tracks came off as great individually. This album has a feel that takes some time to grow on you and really show its true colours. Another great job from metals current golden-boys.Matisyahu Shake Off the Dust...AriseMatisyahu Youthmaudlin of the Well Part the SecondMy buddy's been trying to get me into this band for quite some time, and I would give it my all but nothing really stuck. I decided with the release of their newest disc that I would once again give them an honest go. This time, everything finally clicked into place, and I heard what I had been missing for the past few years. This really is a great place to start with this band, as this record feels the most accessible. Maudlin is not for the musically faint at heart, but they are definitely worth your time if you can give them some of yours. Megadeth Countdown to ExtinctionMetallica Kill 'Em AllMinus the Bear Highly Refined PiratesMinus the Bear Planet of IceArguably the bands magnum opus, Planet of Ice further expands on the band's musical stylings. The album is a catchy, fun listen, but never loses the same quirky sense of musicianship these guys seem to possess. After a release like this, the mark has been set high by these guys for a follow-up, but it sounds like they're probably up to the task. Moby PlayMoth Endlessly In MotionMr. Bungle CaliforniaMy Morning Jacket It Still MovesNahemah A New ConstellationNecrophagist Onset of PutrefactionNevermore Dreaming Neon BlackNevermore Dead Heart In A Dead WorldThis is my favourite Nevermore release. That's a tough call to make considering this band's consistency, but I find that overall atmosphere and power of these songs as a group or stand-alones carries the album to another level for the band. It may be because I'm a bigger fan of the older material, but for me this was the magum opus (so far) and a mark that seems to be looked back upon with each subsequent offering. Nevermore NevermoreNevermore is a pretty impressive debut, and showcases the material and sound that the band would come to build on. The vocals are a little raw at times, but Dane's brilliance is still there, and at points it's hard to believe this is Jeff Loomis' first album with some of the intense solo/shredding he's able to pull off. All around this stacks up pretty closely to other Nevermore albums, although perhaps not quite there with the classics. Nonetheless, the album is intense and shouldn't be ignored by any fan of the band. Nightingale The Breathing ShadowMaybe itís the time of year Ė the increasingly desolate landscapes of barren trees, grey skies, and a generally bleak atmosphere Ė or maybe itís just the polished, trademark production style of Dan Swanoís that seems to make everything he touches turn to gold; itís probably a combination of factors, including a late introduction to the man and his body of work. What the reason, that Swano sound has got me hungry for more, and seemingly everything I hear coming from the manís studio sounds ridiculously refreshing. Now, Danís work with Edge of Sanity cements him nicely with the progressive-death crowd, and his solo work (hear Moontower) should easily make him a pillar in the prog-metal community. Attempting to find a vessel for his dabbling within the gothic rock/metal genre finds Swano under the guise of Nightingale, at the time of this albumís release, a solo Swano show. The disc is polished to such a sheen that it isnít too much, though can be sonically over-powering. What really stands out about the disc is the consistency of the material on it; Danís attention to detail is ever-present on the album, throwing it elements of the genres heís already had his hand in, creating something rather unique. Donít let the gothic label chase you off from this; youíll find only clean vocals from Swano, which admittedly suit the goth sound quite well, but never lean the record too much in that direction. Nine Inch Nails The Downward SpiralNine Inch Nails Hesitation MarksTrent Reznor's most complete and entertaining release in probably over a decade, parts of Hesitation Marks harken back to the band's hayday's of the 90s. This album seems to cover all the ends of the spectrum for NIN fans, including influences from throughout their discography.Nirvana MTV Unplugged in New YorkNirvana NevermindNovembre Novembrine WaltzAnother stellar outing from progressive death/doom metallers Novembre. This one shows a little more straying towards albums to come (ie. Materia) with the further involvement of clean vocals, though these are still well balanced by death growls and black metalish shrieks. The music is gracefully forceful, atmospheric, and pretty damn addictive. This one seems to go a little more unnoticed in the band's discography, but it should definitely be heard by any fan of the band/this style of progressive metal.Novembre Arte NovecentoThis one doesn't have a review yet, but it will soon enough. This is probably one of Novembre's more underrated albums, since its follower, Classica would become a staple amongst the bands work. This is just a fantastic record that oozes all the bands musical trademarks, while showing off a bit of a different side at the same time. I recommend this to any fans of progressive death/doom/metal (either clean or death vocals) or fans of metal done a little differently. Also, to existing fans that may not have heard this one, do that now. Omnium Gatherum New World ShadowsOmnium Gatherum BeyondFeeling like easily their most accomplished and focused work to date, Omnium Gatherum?s 5th full-length offering, Beyond, is a monster of a record and a must have treat for fans of melodic death metal. This band ? who refers to their style as Life and Death Metal ? has always had a unique and particular approach to melodic death metal, giving them more than enough of an identity to stand above the legion of peers within the genre. It?s hard to find a track here that isn?t entertaining, and each offers up enough individualism to stand strongly on their own. The real beauty of this record is the sum of its parts though, with all tracks coming together to form a beast of a metal album and one with a nice, uniform feel. If the band was floundering in its past release or two, they?ve come back stronger than ever, and hopefully can continue to expand on their niche within the genre. Peter Tosh Legalize ItPink Floyd MeddleGiven the band's previous offerings, Meddle has the most "Floydy" feel to it, giving its listeners a little taste of things to come. Despite the criticisms of tracks like San Tropez and especially Seamus, these songs become rather endearing to the avid Floyd fan, and the record's stronger songs (see One of These Days, Fearless, and Echoes) are more than epic enough to make up for any weaknesses. There is a certain charm to Meddle that isn't found on the band's later recordings, despite their greatness. This one should definitely not be overlooked or attributed only as a hardcore listeners album.Pink Floyd The Final CutDispite being viewed as more of a Roger Waters solo outing than a Pink Floyd record (with good reason) this is still a solid disc regardless. The Final Cut still possesses enough atmosphere for a Floyd album, and it's only major flaw (despite the collapse that would come during and after its recording) being that Gilmour's vocals are far too excluded... oh yeah, and that Rick Wright was completely excluded... Pink Floyd Obscured by CloudsPorcupine Tree In AbsentiaPorno For Pyros Good God's UrgeGood God's Urge would cement this band's sound and further distance them from merely a spin-off of Janes Addiction. With a style that meshed the bugeoning 90's alternative sound with touches of prog and an ultimately experimental approach to song-writing. Building off their unique approach to the 90's scene, it's unfortunate that Good God's Urge was the last we'd hear from this band. Definitely not an album to let fly under your radar. Primus Tales from the PunchbowlPrimus AntipopLes Claypool was the among the first to proclaim that the band felt like it was running out of creative steam, after running the gauntlet of influences and mashing them all together on sixth (including this one) studio offerings. What more could a band as offbeat and far-reaching as Primus really do, aside from continuing to release what would seem like the same record over and over again? This quandary seemed a major cause in the group?s self-imposed hiatus that followed shortly after the release/promotion of this album, as the musicians themselves just felt out of ideas. While some would argue that they clearly hear this lack of new ideas or freshness on 1999s Antipop, multiple listens reveal a disc quite on par with some of Primus? finest. The first impression the album can give is one of a worn out band in desperate need of a break; further listen should reveal musicians still on the top of their game, and still miles ahead of their peers. Primus Sailing the Seas of CheesePrince Purple RainProtest The Hero KeziaRage Against the Machine Evil EmpireRammstein HerzeleidAn excellent debut from a solid band. Despite the fact that "Du Hast" put them on the international stage, this disc is consistently catchy and brutal at the same time, and a good starting point for someone looking to get into the band. Rammstein Reise, ReiseProbably the most consistent Rammstein record (at the point of its release) since the band's debut offering, Reise, Reise is a nice addition to the band's already pretty consistent discography. This album showcases a bit more exploration in the bands original design, something pretty refreshing at this point. There are a lot of catchy tracks here, compared to one more maybe two that are skippable (see Morgenstern). Aside from this little side-step Reise, Reise is a fun listen and a good effort from these guys.Red Hot Chili Peppers Blood Sugar Sex MagikThe band's breakout effort, this solidified fans already flocking and definitely paved the way for a multitude more. There are some big songs here, bookened by classic examples of this diverse unit.Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium ArcadiumIt's really hard not to find listenable material on this double-disc, and if you're a RHCP fan this must feel like their magnum opus. There is without a doubt some filler on the album (there are 28 songs kickin' around here...) but for the most part the songs are catchy and well-constructed in typical Pepper's fashion. Riverside Out of MyselfRosetta The Galilean SatellitesThis has an innovative feel to it (despite the fact that this isn't the first band to travel down this musical road) and a presence all it's own that seems to captivate. These songs are truly epic sounding, and any fan of the experimental metal genre would be missing out hard by not checking out this record/band. Rush A Farewell to KingsMy only beef with this prog-rock era Rush album is it's length, as I wished there were more on the disc to listen to. Other than that the balance of shorter, radio-friendly tracks with the longer, proggy epics is down well on the arrangement, making the disc have a more flowing vibe to it. This is definitely one of the band's finest in this pre-synth era, arguably with Hemispheres and perhaps another...Rush Permanent WavesRush Hold Your FireThis is possibly one of Rush's top five records, and definitely a standout amongst their 80's archive. There is a bit more experimentation here, but it fits the bands sound tremendously. Though there is an 80's presence throughout the record, it somehow seems to transcend the general cheesey quality of the eras music and really makes it work for them. This album seems to be greatly over-looked when people look for new Rush albums to check out amongst their vast array...this one should definitely not be missed.Rush CounterpartsProbably the best offering from Rush's current alternative/rock phase, this was also pretty much the first, as Roll the Bones still possessed some of the elements from 80's era Rush. Counterparts is a solid outing by the trio, with a myriad of great tracks a few good, there isn't much to disappoint here. Rush Grace Under PressureSantana SantanaShpongle Ineffable Mysteries from ShponglelandSilversun Pickups CarnavasSimon and Garfunkel Sounds of SilenceSkyfire Timeless DepartureA fantastic debut for a fantastic melodic death metal band with a multitude of influences. Skyfire is pretty similar to other acts out there in some ways, which can be a bit off putting when only giving them the time of a half song or song at best. Listening further will prove pretty beneficial for an melodeath fan, as there are neoclassical riffs, technical moments, guitar medleys, and more piano/keys than you can shake a...stick at.Skyfire Mind RevolutionMind Revolution picks up where the band's debut, Timeless Departure left off. The stylistic direction really takes off as the band masters their sound. This is a refreshing take on the traditional Melo-Death sound and anything but a clone band. Skyfire SpectralSpectral continues the progression of Skyfire's music, and hits the mark in a big way for the third time in a row. This band's sound is a real refreshment to the Melodic Death metal sound. This album continues to merge elements of extreme power metal, symphonic black metal, neo-classical metal, and some others as well. Their fourth album should be pretty ridiculous.Slightly Stoopid Closer To The SunSoilwork The Chainheart MachineSoilwork The Living InfiniteWhile initially seeming like a total failure in the making, Bjorn and co. really pulled out all the stops in a triumphant return to the world of quality Melodic Death Metal. Soilwork's first double album, there is a plethora of great songs on each disc, with far less filler than anyone could've expected from a double album, never mind one within this genre. The band seems to have new life breathed into them here, promising at least a couple more records released in Soilwork's lifetime. Sole and the Skyrider Band PlastiqueSpinal Tap This Is Spinal TapSublime Robbin' the HoodSublime's second offering isn't exactly their best outing, but this definitely has a place amongst the hearts of fans of the band. Though there is a lot of filler on the album, there are also quite a few gems that would become more or less staples: Greatest Hits, Saw Red, Pool Shark, Steppin' Razor, Lincoln Highway Dub, S.T.P., and Boss D.J. are all more than solid Sublime tunes that are able to keep this record a float. There is also some nice dub work from the band, and it's pretty impressive that this was recording with less than modest equipment in a basement/home-studio setting. SuidAkrA CaledoniaI found this band by accident, and I'm extremely glad I did. This is right up my alley (Irish/Scottish heritage) and my favourite sub-genre of metal is Melodic Death... so yeah...bag pipes and death growls . This is a solid example of this band's work, although possibly a little heavier on the celtic influences because of the album's concept. This band is pretty underrated and I suggest any fan of melodeath to look into this one. SuidAkrA The ArcanumSince reviewing this band seems to generate little to no interest, I guess I won't waste my time bothering with another one. That's unfortunate (at least the fact that no one else has reviewed this, and it has a single rating aside from mine), since this is probably the best album by SuidAkrA by the point of its release, and the band themselves are a ridiculously underrated melodic death metal unit. Not hearing this is your loss, and this album was my gain. The Arcanum builds from the band's previous THREE albums (Lays From Afar fails to be included on this site) and showcases the most celtic influence so far. A solid release in the ever-stagnating pool of melo-death. SuidAkrA Auld Lang SyneTemple of the Dog Temple of the DogTenacious D The Pick of DestinyWildly entertaining, this soundtrack for the film of the same name, but the band of virtually the same name is a definite must have for a fan of the movie. This brings back a comedic approach to a rock-opera themed movie, and it was done perfectly. This really shows off the serious skills these two have despite being weaved throughout crude comedic lyrics. Albums with this kind of balance are pretty rare finds, I recommend watching this movie and getting this soundtrack. Terry Reid Seed of MemoryThe Aggrolites The AggrolitesThe Allman Brothers Band Brothers and SistersDespite being the home of Guitar Hero epic instrumental endeavour "Jessica", The Allman Brothers Band's Brother's & Sisters (stay with me...) is one of those seminal classic rock records that seems to fly more and more under the radar with every passing decade. There are definitely things to pick on with this record - the album's short length mainly - but the good out shines the bad here. The band's southern-tinged blues rock worked wonders when they were on their game, and they were definitely tight here. I'm surprised there isn't a review for this one, hopefully I'll gather some more info and listens to this one and try to tackle that if it goes untouched.The Devin Townsend Band Accelerated EvolutionThe Devin Townsend Project AddictedThe Devin Townsend Project EpicloudThe Doors Strange DaysAn often powerfully under-appreciated offering from The Doors, Strange Days is no less consistent and magical than its sibling records. This has probably some of the most experimental moments for Doors' music, as well as possessing some memorable fan favourites in People are Strange, Love Me Two Times, and the epic When the Music's Over. Though often skipped in favour of other outings, this album will become the avid Doors' listeners best friend over time. The Lonely Island The Wack AlbumThe Mars Volta The Bedlam in GoliathThe Mars Volta NoctourniquetAfter a bit of a lull with Amputechture and Octehedron, The Mars Volta finally sound like a band that's enjoying recording again. This doesn't quite get back to the days of Deloused, but it does harken back to the latter days, when the band still had a little bit of focus to their music. The Offspring SmashThe Samuel Jackson Five Easily MisunderstoodThe Samuel Jackson Five The Samuel Jackson FiveThe band's best effort since Easily Misunderstood, this long-awaited outing from jazz/prog/rock quintet Samuel Jackson Five is another example of how talented (if not under appreciated) this band is. The Smashing Pumpkins Mellon Collie and the Infinite SadnessTherapy? TroublegumTool 10,000 DaysPerhaps viewed in a bit of a disappointing light given high expectations after the ground-breaking Lateralus, Tool's fourth offering, 10,000 Days doesn't really tread any new surface, but still hits the mark pretty hard. There are a few seemingly recycled riffs now and then, and this doesn't quite spark the interest that other releases from these guys have - again, probably influenced by expectation. Spawning several singles and a Grammy win, 10,000 Days just may symbolize how far the band has come in 15 years. Constantly cracking the mainstream without truly selling out, the latest from Tool is sure to please fans after the intially album-shock wears off. Ubiquitous Synergy Seeker Welding the C:/Wintersun WintersunCan't figure out why it took me so long to check this band out. This was a pretty refreshing find in the metal realm, so I'd recommend this to most metal fans. With the inclusion of melodic, folk, and power metal influences, there almost is something for every metal fan. This was a solid release, though a few scattered moments kept this from being a 4.5 or even a classic. There is so much potential here though, so I'm axiously anticipating their next offering. Wu-Tang Clan Wu-Tang Forever3.5 great2Pac Me Against the World2Pac All Eyez on MeWith Rap's first double-album, there are bound to be a few filler tracks kicking around. However, for the most part, Shakur's All Eyez on Me does a fantastic job of using Pac's obviously angry lyrics and coupling them with playable, groovy beats. The production on this is excellent, and this double holds a fair number of 2Pacs classics. 311 From ChaosThough I find this record doesn't really fully pick up until its latter half, this is probably one of the better 311 records. Despite being a fan of the band's music I've found most of their efforts somewhat inconsistent. This, fortunately, does not play into that aspect, avoiding it for the most part. There are enough strong tracks here to put forth a solid offering, so this may be a good place to start for new 311 listeners. 311 Don't Tread On MePerhaps it's the reminents of the 311 fan in me still lingering somewhere, but I thought this was a pretty well done record. 311 has always been able to throw in something a little different to keep from sounding like any other third-wave ska/punk unit. These guys have been doing their thing pretty well for a while now, and I have to admit I am looking forward to whatever's supposed to come out this year. A Tribe Called Quest The Low End TheoryAfter The Burial Forging A Future SelfAfter The Burial In DreamsAgalloch From Which of This OakThough my mp3 for Wilderness is pretty messed up, this EP/demo is a nice addition for Agalloch's fanbase and somewhat pivitol step in their progression. Though their later work would come to differ pretty extremely from some of this work, their predisposition towards the avant-garde is still present in their earliest offerings.Agalloch The WhiteA pretty graceful EP from a band that never ceases to amaze me. The quality of the recordings/song structures here are excellent, and the folk feel is a nice change from the usual dark metal sound the band puts out (though this really isn't that far a cry for their sound). Overall, the White EP is both a great addition for fans, and a nice place for new ones to get started. Aghora AghoraAghora's music is a pretty intense blend of jazz/progressive influenced metal, along with a clean female vocalist. This nice blend, however, seems to work much better for the band on their sophomore follow up than here. I can't understand why the record with Reinhert and Malone wouldn't stand up to be the better of the two, but the first vocalist really gets to me. Her voice is a bit too operatic, to the point of excessiveness. There are some solid songs on here, but the album really doesn't impress or stick to me like Formless does. Aghora FormlessThis was a pretty refreshing find, and being a big fan of Cynic I liked the backstory this band came with. The clean female vocals do get to me after a while, but their inclusion was a nice choice I think in keeping with a new idea. For some reason or another I find this album seems to weaken a bit towards the end, though I'm still definitely getting my hands on their first. Alexisonfire AlexisonfireA pretty damn fine debut offering from this Canadian quintet. Fusing elements of hardcore, metalcore, emo, thrash - the list goes on - Alexisonfire emerge as one of the major players on the Post Hardcore scene. Though future cd's get a little more accessible/radio-friendly (despite this on receiving airplay) this is probably the band at their rawest and in truest form. Alice In Chains FaceliftAlice In Chains MTV UnpluggedAlice In Chains Black Gives Way to BlueAlice In Chains The Devil Put Dinosaurs HereAll That Remains This Darkened HeartAll That Remains The Fall of IdealsAmon Amarth Fate of NornsAmon Amarth Deceiver of the GodsAnd So I Watch You From Afar And So I Watch You From AfarAnd So I Watch You From Afar All Hail Bright FuturesAndrew Lloyd Webber Jesus Christ Superstar: Original CastAngelo Badalamenti Twin PeaksAntoine Dufour DevelopmentApocalyptica ReflectionsApocalyptica CultDefinitely the first release by these guys that I could really get in to. I'll excuse the first disc since it was just a bunch of Metallica covers, but even the second didn't seem that well executed, despite offering up some new influences and some original material. But here, the band's first foray into an all original material studio recording, Apocalyptica finds their most interesting and enthralling music come to fruition. Arcade Fire FuneralAshes Divide Keep Telling Myself It's AlrightFormer Tool, Nine Inch Nails, etc. (the list goes on) guitar-tech and founding member of A Perfect Circle (alongside Tool‚Äôs Maynard James Keenan), multi-instrumentalist Billy Howerdel showcases his own musical vision with his solo project Ashes Divide. As a major driving force behind APC, Howerdel‚Äôs Keep Telling Myself Its Alright sees remnants of his past outfit (still technically only on hiatus) in the general soundscape of the disc. This isn‚Äôt without good reason, as former A Perfect Circle band-mates Josh Freese (drums) and Paz Lechantin (has writing credits on several tracks, believed to have recorded bass for the album) contribute to Howerdel‚Äôs songs; Maynard‚Äôs son Devo also makes an appearance on the record, playing the cello. So far the young album has spawned the single ‚ÄúThe Stone‚ÄĚ, and put out a video to support it. This isn‚Äôt the strongest track on the record, as something like ‚ÄúDenial Waits‚ÄĚ seems like a catchier exhibition.
Though the project doesn‚Äôt seem to have the force behind it that A Perfect Circle did, Billy‚Äôs solo work may yet live up to the commercial success of the former. Regardless, he‚Äôs been able to put forth his own work, and with it seemingly honest and whole-hearted approach.Astra The WeirdingAt the Drive-In In/Casino/OutAt The Gates Slaughter of the SoulAWOLNATION Back From EarthBe'lakor Of Breath and BoneBeastie Boys Paul's BoutiqueBeck Odelay!Bedouin Soundclash Sounding A MosaicBedouin Soundclash Root FireBetween The Buried And Me The Great MisdirectNot exactly a far cry from Colours (not that that's a bad thing by any means) The Great Misdirect finds BtBaM somewhat building on their sound (is that even possible anymore?). Regardless, they've put forth another fantastic record, though at points it seems to meander and I question some of the lengths of the songs. Still, this is a nice addition to the band's discography. Rating: 3.8/5Big Sugar HeatedBlack Sabbath Never Say Die!I thought this was a nice return to roots for the band, reminded me of the sound they had in their self-titled through SBS era. It's a damn shame that this would be the last with Ozzy and then a downward spiral of member losses, but nevertheless, the experimentation the band incorporates on the album was a positive step towards making another slew of great records. It's too bad they never hard the chance.Black Sabbath SabotageBlind Melon NicoBloodhound Gang Hefty FineBlue Oyster Cult Blue Oyster CultBlue Oyster Cult Secret TreatiesBob Marley and The Wailers Catch A FireProbably one of the better modern Wailer's outings, and sadly their last before Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer departed for their own solo careers. I find Marley's compositions much more listenable than the other two's, but the chemistry these musicians had as a unit is undeniable. Bob Marley and The Wailers Natty DreadThe first true outing as Bob Marley & the Wailers, this album doesn't disappoint with the transistion. I'll admit after looking so hard for the source of a studio version of "No Woman, No Cry" but it turns out the live rendition is much better and recognizable. There are some definitely must listens on here for Marley fans, mainly "Lively Up Yourself", "Them Belly Full", "Rebel Music" and the title-track. This one should definitely be heard and a needs a review...Bob Marley and The Wailers KayaThough this record holds a fair number of recognizable Marley favourites, as well as a much needed more peaceful atmosphere, I can't help but feel like something is missing here. Kaya just seems to fall a little short of being a truly great record, though there aren't many weak spots here to complain about. Bob Marley and The Wailers SurvivalBob Marley and The Wailers UprisingBob Marley and The Wailers ConfrontationBorknagar The Olden DomainCake Fashion NuggetCamel The Snow GooseThis should be the third album on here, as it was the bands third... guess it needs a bit of clean up, and definitely a review. This is a pretty good album, there isn't many memorable tracks here, as its entirely instrumental and meant as a concept album. I don't see how this is supposedly the easiest of the band's work to get into, but there you have it. If you're going to start anywhere with this band you might as well start with their debut or Mirage, at least get the vocal and true instrumental experience. The only thing that really pushes this record past being just good is the seamless flow of the tracks and the decent concept behind it. Camel BreathlessAfter a few hiccups within their discography, Camel brings it back together with 1978's Breathless, another example of the band attempting to merge a commercial appeal to their signature sound. The part that works for this album, is unlike its predecessors, the commercial aspects remain in the background for the most part, leaving the band's style at the forefront. Be it the fan-favourite "Echoes" or the just plain upbeat "Down on the Farm", this disc should have something for every Camel fan and 70's prog fan alike. Camel A Nod and A WinkCarcass HeartworkCarcass SwansongRaw, influential, innovative, brutally straight-forward, and a blueprint for "Death'n'Roll". These guys helped to form/shape genres, and are sorely missed in the metal game. Carcass Surgical SteelCeremonial Oath CarpetA pinoeering Melodic Death Metal record/band, and a forerunning for the founding In Flames line-up. This disc is a necessity both to the genre and to any fan of melodic death metal in general.Childish Gambino CuldesacChildish Gambino RoyaltyThe Royalty Mixtape sees Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) continuing to grow as an artist/rapper, picking up more and more big names to accompany him each time out. While not as hard hitting as his Camp studio album, this mixtape is more than entertaining, and shouldn't be missed, even if it's to check out Tina Fey rapping...Children of Bodom Follow the ReaperChildren of Bodom Something WildChildren of Bodom HatebreederIt still doesn't feel quite there yet for that Children of Bodom sound (though I also think this one can't replicate the sound of the previous outing too...) when it comes to their second offering in Hatebreeder. Classical riffs are littered amongst the record, and it does scream classic Bodom in many spots, but overall it seesm to be lacking that a certain punch that I seemed to find on Hate Crew and Rollow the Reaper. Still a pretty damn solid record, and a band with a pretty neat sound.Children of Bodom Relentless Reckless ForeverChimp Spanner At the Dream's EdgeCKY Infiltrate Destroy RebuildCKY Carver CityClassified Boy-Cott-In the IndustryDespite this being Classified's 10th album, this is probably one of the better places to start with this artist. I was surprised that an East-coast Canadian rapper was actually this good, with beats to match. I guess there's a fair bit of hate out there for him, but failing to read or understand it, it's flown under my radar. This is pretty good hip-hop from some national talent. Cradle of Filth MidianThis is probably the most accessibly work the band has put out, and they've managed to accomplish this without really sacrificing any of their key features. The album is still extreme metal, a chaotic mixture of brutal guitars and drums, screeching or doom-laden vocals, and a harmony of various keys and strings. This album feels the most complete and thought through of all the bands work I've heard. The overall quality here is definitely above the majority of this band's work, and if you're looking to try to get into them, this would be a good place to start. Aside from the poor decision of including "Santanic Mantra", the majority of the tracks here are top-notch. Cradle of Filth Dusk... and Her EmbraceProbably one of Cradle's finest outings, Dusk...and Her Embrace is one of the albums that helped define this band's sound. This album has a feeling like no other Cradle of Filth I've heard, as something on the disc just seems tighter then everything else they've put out. Cradle of Filth Vempire or Dark Fairytales in PhallusteiWow, this was a pretty surprising listen. It might be a little sad that probably the best thing I've heard from Cradle is this EP...I'm still desperately (for reasons that are beyond my comprehension) trying to get into this band, but their strength seems to lay in their past forsure. Still have to check out Midian, but this has the strongest feel of their earlier material, perhaps comparable in quality to Dusk...and Her Embrace.Cult of Luna VertikalCynic Carbon-Based AnatomyCypress Hill Black SundayDanger Mouse The Grey AlbumDark Tranquillity The Mind's IDark Tranquillity We Are the VoidAmongst a slue of disappointing, yet highly anticipated metal releases within the last few months, Dark Tranquillityís We Are the Void seems to tower above the rest (at least for the time being). The veteran melodic death metallers have crafted a better record than predecessor Fiction, using an approach that resembles a culmination of the bandís various stages throughout their career. There is no doubt that this record puts forth a greater focus on keys than some fans may be used to, but they work so well with the dark and gloomy DT riffs itís almost hard to imagine the band without them. This is far from a perfect record or even amongst the bandís better outings, but itís definitely a big step in the right direction, and shows that theyíre not too set in their ways to experiment a bit without ruining their sound. Dark Tranquillity Zero DistanceDark Tranquillity ConstructDeadmau5 Random Album TitleDeath Spiritual HealingDeath HumanA great pioneering record from a pioneering band. Human shows signs of technical metal as well as jazz incorporated into Death's speacial brand of metal. This is a creative take on the Death Metal genre, and borrows some talents from fellow metal pioneers Cynic. Deftones Diamond EyesDeftones Koi No YokanDethklok The DethalbumDethklok Dethalbum IIDevin Townsend Ocean Machine: BiomechDiabolical Masquerade NightworkDiabolical Masquerade Deaths DesignDespite taking criticism for involving unnecessary recording and formatting structures - and possibly for good reason - this album is a pretty intense listen. It's hard not to get sucked into it and find yourself stuck wanting to hear some more. It's an interesting, even if unnecessary idea, and there are some pretty neat concepts put forth. Part of this rating goes to the over all structure of the record and compositions, like it or hate it. Diabolical Masquerade The Phantom LodgeDire Straits Brothers in ArmsAfter a period of somewhat subpar recordings from Dire Straits Ė mostly in the midst of constant membership changes and frontman Mark Knoflerís solo-career Ė the band returns to the form of the first couple outings, chalking up an impressive playlist on their classic Brothers In Arms. Spawning some of the groupís most memorable tracks Ė Money for Nothing, Walk of Life, So Far Away, and Brothers In Arms Ė itís hard for a classic rock fan to not have heard of this record. Though itís true the bandís style has been constantly evolving since its inception, Brothers In Arms feels the most reminiscent in musical spirit to the bandís self-titled debut; there is little question as to why it is the bandís most popular and best-selling record. Dire Straits Dire StraitsDisarmonia Mundi Fragments Of D-GenerationEnter Bjorn Strid into the history of Disarmonia Mundi. This would be the trend for the band for this record and its follow-up Mind Tricks, though shortly after that they would finally start to scale back on Speed's contributions. Nonetheless, his vocal work here isn't too shabby, and the album mixes in some nice electronic or synthy moments very well. Though this band seems to have strayed from a true Melodic Death format, this crossbred sound still manages to work for them. Hoping for brighter things in the future.Dispatch Bang BangI was glad I found this (through the site). I'm a big fan of jam bands and music from the 90's and this has everything rolled into one. Excellent musicianship, an eclectic mix of styles, and an overall fun approach/listen make this worthy of it's status as Sputniks #2 album for 2000. Dr. Dre 2001dredg Catch Without Armsdredg The Pariah, The Parrot, The DelusionDub Trio Another Sound Is DyingEasy Star All Stars Until That DayA pretty solid offering from the Easy Stars, even if it's just in the form of an EP. This is the first and only original material recorded by the band, so that carries a bit of weight alone. It's nice to hear the band's talent outside of covering other's band's albums. The fact that the songs are pretty solid reggae/dub compositions makes this disc definitely worth a listen. Easy Star All Stars Easy Star's Lonely Hearts Dub BandEdge of Sanity Crimson IIEluveitie SlaniaWith Eluveitie's second full-length, the band has refined their sound a little more, this time putting a bit more emphasis on the Gothenburg sound, though never putting their Celtic roots in the background. The production value on this disc also seems a lot more polished and refined than the band's previous work, which is probably due to Nuclear Blast signing them. This is an excellent band and I see good things in their future...refreshing melodic death Eluveitie Evocation I: The Arcane DominionEluveitie Everything Remains As It Never WasDespite really getting into this band when I first stumbled across them, I canít help but feel theyíve started to carve themselves a little niche that seems a little too comfortable. Their latest offering, Everything Remains As It Never Was doesnít do anything new as far as this band is concerned, instead relying on rehashing previous material to a point of somewhat redundancy. This isnít to say that this is a bad record though; there is still a hell of a lot that would keep an Eluveitie fan listening or appeal to a new-comer. Still, given the immense amount of promise this band seemed to have behind them, itís a little sad to see them starting to go stale so fast. I'd give 'er a 3.3/5.Eminem The Slim Shady LPEminem RecoveryEnslaved IsaAlways a fun listen from these guys. Enslaved is one of the few black metal bands I can truely get into. Their progressive touches do so much for the black metal style, making their sound a little more accessible to the listener. Isa shows some excellent composition skills and a sense of experimentation that Enslaved seems to generally incorporate into their sound. Enslaved RuunEnslaved VertebraeThis is a pretty mind-blowing record, not what I expected it to be but I'm pleasantly surprised with the outcome. Like others have mentioned, some comparisons to Floyd, Opeth, etc...A lot of layers here, a lot to take in, but overall a pretty intense record. I haven't really heard much else by Enslaved, just odds and ends, and I know the rest is different, but this alone will have me checking out everything else they have. Enslaved The Sleeping GodsEsbjorn Svensson Trio When Everyone Has GoneEsbjorn Svensson Trio Seven Days of FallingEsbjorn Svensson Trio From Gagarin's Point Of ViewFaith No More King for a Day... Fool for a LifetimePerhaps marred by the lack of enthusiastic riffing from Jim Martin or the chance that by this point in their career the band was starting to suffer the symptoms of in-fighting and attempting to stay fresh and experimental, King for a Day is synonomous with the decline of Faith No More for me. This is far from a bad record, just that it seemed to usher in a different spirit of the band that was a little far from the Real Thing and Angel Dust days. The diversity and experimental side of the band is still present, and there are still a fair share of great FNM tunes to make this more than listenable. (3.4/5)Farmakon A Warm GlimpseYet another one that needs a review (hopefully coming sooner than later). This band is so beyond the Opeth clone thing that too many people are missing out on a ridiculously talented band. The differences are more than minor here, and they make for great listening.
Freak Kitchen MoveFreak Kitchen OrganicFreak Kitchen Freak KitchenFreak Kitchen Land of the FreaksGentle Giant Three FriendsGentle Giant In a Glass HouseGentle Giant Free HandI guess this was the band's best commercial outing, and it's also a damn fine record aside. Though I prefer the band's self-titled debut from the stuff I've heard, this is still more than strong enough to keep me interested and searching for more Gentle Giant.Gnarls Barkley St. ElsewhereDefinitely more concise than their latest effort, and a hell of a lot more listener friendly I found. The replay value on this is still pretty high for myself anyway, which is decent for a random record that found it's way into my collection. It's also pretty good for a strange amalgamation of sounds lilke GB puts out to hang around this long, so props to St. Elsewhere. This one had its own atmosphere to it, fantastic stuff. Gojira The Way of All FleshWith the end of 2008 culminating in a round of above average metal releases (see After the Burial, In Mourning, Ikuinen Kaamos, etc.) we see another pretty stellar metal offering, this time in the form of France's Gojira. The band's thrashy approach to the genre is off-set by their repeated explorations into off time signatures, less than metal topics (ranging from social dynamics to environmentalism) and obvious influence from genres outside of the metalic spectrum. The band still seems to have a bit of work to do before pulling together their magnum opus, but they do create a refreshing spin on their style of music, something metal has been getting better with lately. Hawkwind In Search Of SpaceHIM Love MetalPerhaps costing myself whatever bit of credibility I may have had on this site, I actually was pretty big into this band (along with the CKY crew and vids) when I was younger, and this band (alongside CKY - the band, that is) have always held a bit of a place in my library as a guilty pleasure. With Love Metal, despite naming their album after a retarded moniker developed for the band's music, it was almost a culmination of what they had been working at with Razorblade and Brilliant Shadows. There are more than a handful of good songs on here, and in the odd moment of weakness I still find myself rockin' the Sacrament or Funeral of Hearts now and then. Everything after this point for the band, however, is open for justifiable criticism.HORSE the band Desperate LivingIced Earth Burnt OfferingsIced Earth Iced EarthIkuinen Kaamos The ForlornProbably the only band I've discovered soley because of random reading on this site, Ikuinen Kaamos is a pretty ridiculous progressive death metal band in a similar vein as Opeth, though distinctly different. It is perhaps this lumping in with Opeth that does this band the most injustice...there is definitely more here than another Opeth clone. While The Forlorn lacks much of the jazzy elements seen in other prog-death units, there is a definite love for 70's prog elements and folk movements. There is something almost refreshing in the style that Kaamos plays in, and I can't think of a least deserving band to go through the misfortunes they have as of late. This is an impressive debut offering, but really leaves the listener wondering just how impressive a follow-up would have been, had it been released in its entirety. Ikuinen Kaamos Fall of IconsIllscarlett EPdemicIn Flames Reroute to RemainIn Flames SubterraneanIn Flames Black-Ash InheritanceA pretty nifty little EP...despite Gyroscope coming from the upcoming (to this EP's date) Whoracle, and the live version of Behind Space sounds downright awful, it actually manages to measure up quite well. Gyroscope is a pretty wicked song from the In Flames catalouge anyway, so its inclusion isn't hard to deal with, especially given that it hadn't been released until this point. Goliaths Disarm Their Davids is one of those tracks you wonder why was left off a studio album, and the acoustic medley brings together a few classics (Dead Eternity, Artifacts of the Black Rain, and Jotun) in a pretty neat little acoustical mashup. All in all this was a pretty worthwhile EP from the band's glory days. In Mourning The Weight of OceansIncubus A Crow Left of the Murder...Incubus Morning ViewIntronaut PrehistoricismsIron Maiden A Matter of Life and DeathIsis In the Absence of TruthHaving only heard this and Oceanic, I can safely say this is more of what I expected based off all the hype I'd been hearing about these guys. This release seemed a lot tighter to me, and had a lot more melodic hooks to keep me interested. There was also a pretty nice flow to this record, though there are only about 3 or 4 tracks that really stand out for me. In this vein of music I still prefer Rosetta, but if this album is any indication of Isis's future, I'll be all ears.James Brown Sex MachineJay-Z The Black AlbumJethro Tull A Passion PlayDespite itís rather long-winded format (not a first for the band) Jethro Tullís 1973 offering A Passion Play can be a bit tough to wrap your ears around, but if youíre a fan of the progressive rock genre and embrace the style set forth in the late 60s Ė early 70s, this one should be a bit of a treat in the long run. Though not quite as concise as the bandís other 2-track album Thick As a Brick, there is still more than enough Tull here to entertain. Admittedly, there are a lot of seemingly nonsensical passages, as theyíre generally necessary to bridge to another point in the track. The track lengths Ė 23 and 22 minutes respectively Ė are a tad foreboding, but the albumís proggy nature helps to keep things moving along. To aid this, there are some points in each track that can more or less be listened to individually without taking too much away from the overall projection. Jethro Tull Minstrel in the GalleryJethro Tull Songs from the WoodJimmy Cliff The Harder They ComeA pretty solid collective of early reggae, compiling some of the greats who went unnoticed before reggae and the Wailers blew up. While Jimmy Cliff is responsible for the record, it's important to note that this is a soundtrack album to the film of the same name, and showcases many more artists than Cliff. The Maytals, Desmond Dekker, and the Melodians all contribute to the album with fantastic reggae songs. Joe Satriani Strange Beautiful MusicJoy Division Unknown PleasuresKalmah The Black WaltzKatatonia Brave Murder DayKatatonia The Great Cold DistanceKatatonia Night Is the New DayKayo Dot HubardoKings of Leon Only By The NightKings of Leon continue to improve their particular breed of laid back southern-tinged rock with their latest instalment. This sites review sums up the album best, but to reiterate, vocalist Caleb Followill's voice has improved tremendously, and the entire band itself seems to be embracing an sense of orginality. This disc is definitely a step in the right direction, and the potential of the this unit just got greater.Kings of Leon Come Around SundownKings of Leon have slowly been paving the way for their brand of slightly southern-tinged rock music, apparently with their sights becoming focused on breaking into the mainstream market. This mission was undeniably accomplished with the bandís immensely popular 2008 airwaves dominator Only By the Night. Spawning multiple singles and generating great interest for the band, it may have been difficult to figure out where to go from that point. Does a band now go back to their humble, less popular roots? Rather, does the unit aim to keep their relevance at its highest point by repeating a successful formula at the risk of fan-alienation and critic panning? I suppose to really properly answer these questions one either has to be a devout follower of the band, or look past the record for what it really is. Avoiding both these pit-falls, this listener has found that Kings of Leon have perhaps found a happy medium, retaining that southern twang without risking their radio-potential. Donít get me wrong; this can be pretty frustrating considering some of the material the band has put out in the past. Still, the first half of the album goes full-steam ahead, and while there is a bit of a quality drop on the latter half, Kings of Leon seem to have found a comfortably niche that isnít completely against nature. Led Zeppelin Led ZeppelinLed Zeppelin PresenceLong Beach Dub Allstars Right BackLong Beach Dub Allstars Wonders of the WorldPerhaps a little weaker than their debut effort, I still found the final chapter to this band to be pretty entertaining. A lot of people seem put off by the band because of the remaining Sublime members participation in another band that is ska/reggae. The truth is, this band does have a slightly different vibe going on, and therefore is worth checking out for any fan of third wave ska. This is more punk and dub oriented than the hodgepodge of styles you'll find on a Sublime album, so don't come into this expecting that. Machinae Supremacy Redeemer (Underground Edition)Machinae Supremacy captivated a lot of listeners with their "Sid" metal sound, and granted, it was a pretty innovative addition to the metal realm. I can't help but feel, however, that this band's gimmick grows tiresome upon repetition (I'll cite this album and a lot of their downloads) and that unfortunately they didn't seem to be able to build upon the strengths of this disc when it came to their next outing. I was a big fan of the way this band went about releasing their music and making it available as easily and freely as they did online. They're a clever act and hopefully they find the creativity bug bitting them in the ass more sooner than later. (Rating: 3.3/5)Manic Street Preachers Everything Must GoMegadeth Rust in PeaceMegadeth YouthanasiaA pretty solid effort from Megadeth here, although I found listening to a bunch of their stuff one after another recently has left the band with a rather over-used/recycled sound. This tries to lean a little more towards melody and songs you might hear getting some minor radio play, which apparently the producer was going for. Though this style works for Megadeth, and even taking away the raw thrashy edge normally present worked - be it at the expense of some mediocre songs. There is easily enough material to make this a keeper amongst fans/non-fans alike, though it's definitely not Megadeth's finest hour. Megadeth Peace Sells... but Who's Buying?Megadeth Killing Is My Business...Megadeth The World Needs a HeroThis one could possibly be my favourite Megadeth recordÖI know thatíll incur some of the wraith of the Rust in Peace loyalists, and I love that one too, but for a modern take on a progressive thrash sound, The World Needs a Hero is consistently well done. There are some moments that are obviously weaker than others, which brings this disc down a peg or two, but when all is said and done, you canít really tell this was a thrash record done in the new Millennium. Meshuggah Destroy Erase ImproveMeshuggah obZenMeshuggah KolossMethod Man and Redman Blackout!Mew No More StoriesMinus the Bear This is What I Know About Being GiganticA rather impressive and foretelling debut from Minus the Bear, this EP has a foreshadowing effect of things to come from the band, alongside from pretty strong tracks (Pantsuit... Uggghhh, Lemurs, Man, Lemurs, Potatoe Juice and Liquid Bread). Minus the Bear OmniMinus the Bear Infinity OverheadModest Mouse The Moon & AntarcticaI bought this one on a whim, since I liked the majority of Good News... and my buddy was telling me this was his favourite. It actually turned out to be a good risk, because this is a pretty great CD. I like the density and layering of it, really well done in that sense. Dispite the lack of catchy single style tunes, this one feels best when listened to as a whole or at least in clusters.Modest Mouse Good News For People Who Love Bad NewsMors Principium Est The UnbornMors Principium Est Liberation = TerminationMother Love Bone AppleItís hard to really point a finger at what makes Mother Love Bone so appealing (at least to this listener). Personally, I seem to have a bit of a thing for this 90ís era alternative stuff, and another thing with enigmatic front-men that seem to fade far before their prime. I suppose these would be two good reasons to give this band some thought, but there seems like a little more to it than that.
The band was briefly apart of Seattleís grunge scene before singer/pianist Andrew Wood went the way of his peers and overdosed, leaving the band to form various off shoots in its wake (Pearl Jam and Mudhoney anyone?) Despite often coming off like a bit of a GíníR clone, with Woods high vocals and the bands dirty rock vibe. However, there was something in Woods delivery, in the bandís ability to take a straight up rock song and meander into a brooding interlude seemingly out of nowhere. It was Woodís more than evident emotive vocal style and whimsical lyrics, all the while coupled with an often overlooked skill on the piano. There may not be enough material from this band to reach cult status, but in Apple, the bandís only full-length offering, the spirit of Wood and his band are perfectly capsulated.
Mumford and Sons Sigh No MoreWhat seems to stand Mumford & Sonsí music Ė a hybrid of folk and indie-rock (with a touch of a Celtic influence?) Ė above a slew of imitators is how endearing the record can become to its listener. Though itíll probably take a few listens for this one to start to sink in, I found it making an almost immediate impact on me, a listener who generally is put off by this style of music. There are some definite stand-outs Ė The Cave and Little Lion Man being some of the stronger points on the record Ė and whatís nice about the rest of the album is the majority doesnít have that Ďfillerí feeling. Sure, there are going to be some tracks you just canít get into; but as a whole, I think the average listener of rock tunes should be able to get at least a little something out of this one. I look forward to this bandís future, as they definitely seem like theyíll be a promising act. My Morning Jacket ZNahemah The Second PhilosophyNahemahís second full-length outing, appropriately titled The Second Philosophy, is a pretty good bridge-point between the bandís debut and their groundbreaking latest installment (if you exclude the first independent release) though it does seem to flounder a bit in the wake of transition. While the band, at this point, continued to produce progressive-laden death metal, they seemed hell-bent on maintaining a sense of originality. What this translates into is initially presented as a bit of a mess of genres lumped together; as a whole the album lacks the cohesion of A New Constellation and unfortunately suffers a bit because of that. Still, this album is admittedly a pretty significant grower and shouldnít be judged too harshly until multiple listens are given. The bandís use of a saxophone in their compositions is a pretty refreshing spin on the progressive-death style, and surprisingly works quite well with Nahemahís penchant for ambiance. Nahemah ChrysalisNecrophagist EpitaphNevermore The Politics of EcstasyA great follow up to the bands self-titled debut, this showcases a bit more of the stylistic change in musical direction the band would undertake. Some of Danes' vocals on this album are up there with his best, and Loomis' instrumental shows another side to his player as well. Nevermore This Godless EndeavorNightrage Wearing a Martyrs CrownBoasting a claim like this album is going to bring fans back to the glory days of Gothenburg and the melodic death metal scene is never a good way to start off a record, but after a few spins of this one, they sorta did...
I'm new to Nightrage, so this one may not be the best interpretation for a newcomer. But I am no newcomer to the melodeath genre, and I gotta say that Wearing a Martyr's Crown actually does sound like the good ol' days of the Gothenburg scene. This is far from flawless though, given the somewhat iffy production quality and overall mixing of the record. Still, this one should play out as a pretty enjoyable listen for fans of the genre. Nine Inch Nails The FragileA pretty sprawling concept from Trent, The Fragile seemed to validate to critics what fans were already hearing in Nine Inch Nail's music. There a sense of maturity here, even if it is slight, and that translates into some pretty strong and emotional tracks here. That being said, this is a double album and unfortunately falls into that more than occasional pitfull of redundancy. There's jsut a lot of tracks here, so they're bound to start sounding a little bland and overdone at certain points. However, there always seems to be a well done, fresh track waiting around the corner to keep the album's momentum going. Simply for the fact that there is a lot happening on the double-disc, I find this to be just a little less focused than The Downward Spiral. Still, a decade later this one still has some ass-kicking power left in it. Nine Inch Nails Pretty Hate MachineDefinintely an impressive debut from Trent, launching NIN into the world in a fully danceable blast. Pretty Hate Machine showcases the beginnings of Reznor's work and where the evolution all started. Defintely a chunk of strong tracks here, it's an entertaining listen, though a little redundant, but still a wicked record.Nine Inch Nails With TeethNine Inch Nails BrokenNorther Mirror of MadnessNorther Death UnlimitedNovembre ClassicaNovembre Wish I Could Dream It Again...Oasis (What's the Story) Morning Glory?Omnium Gatherum Spirits And August LightA ridiculously talented melodic death metal band. I'm surprised there isn't more info kickin' around this site about them/their albums. Omnium Gatherum Stuck on Snakes WayOmnium Gatherum The RedshiftOpeth HeritagePantera Cowboys from HellPantera Vulgar Display of PowerPassenger PassengerPearl Jam TenPepper In With The OldRivaling the band's debut (Kona Town) as Pepper's most solid outing to the date of its recording, In With the Old is a good blend of ska, rock, reggae and punk. Attempting to follow in the footsteps made by Sublime, Pepper do a nice job at providing fun, easy listening music. Pestilence SpheresPhish FarmhousePhish A Picture of NectarPhish The Story of the GhostPink Floyd The Piper at the Gates of DawnPink Floyd Atom Heart MotherDespite not quite being up to par with a lot of Floyd's other material, after a while Atom Heart Mother definitely has a habit of growing on you. The three seperate pieces by Waters, Wright, and Gilmour respectively that serve as the middle to the two longer tracks that bookend them are great looks at their individual capabilities, and make for pretty great Floyd songs. Alan's Pyschedelic Breakfast and Atom Heart Mother both showcase the band's progressive nature pretty well, both giving listeners a taste of their previous work as well as things to come. Pink Floyd A Saucerful of SecretsPink Floyd A Momentary Lapse of ReasonPink Floyd RelicsPorcupine Tree Fear of a Blank PlanetPorcupine Tree Nil RecurringPorno For Pyros Porno For PyrosIt's really a shame that this endeavor from Janes' drummer and frontman didn't last longer than its two studio offerings, since the strength of the material easily rivalled anything Janes Addiction had managed to pull off in their up and down career. Utilizing a more progressive and experimental approach to the alternative rock that was surrounding the time-period, Porno for Pyros managed to carve their own unique spin on the genre. Perhaps a little less concise than their follow-up "Good God's Urge", the band's self-titled debut is a more than enjoyable listen and a good piece of the alt-rock puzzle. Priestess Prior to the FirePrimus The Brown AlbumPrimus Frizzle FryPrimus Pork SodaProtest The Hero FortressBeautifully chaotic: this record has a little bit of everything, and really does a nice job at building off the blue-prints laid out on Protest's debut outing 'Kezia'. There are a lot of standout moments here, an interesting concept, and a myriad of musical styles. Protest The Hero ScurrilousPure Reason Revolution Amor Vincit OmniaThis is definitely a positive step in the evolution of PRR's music. It's pretty daring, but not at all out of character for the band's style, so this seems to work really well. It also just seems to get better after repeated listens, which is always a good sign for an album. Glad to see this progressive unit is on the right track and not fading into boring obscurity along with many of their peers.Radiohead Kid AI'm diggin' this band's ability to evolve while staying ever in the mainstream spotlight (without having to sacrifice artistic integrity at that). I'm still not completely sold that this band is the next big thing out there, though their musicianship is undenibly good. I'm still looking for that album to break through to a 4 or higher, though the few I've gotten so far are growers and that time may come. Radiohead OK ComputerRadiohead In RainbowsRammstein MutterRammstein SehnsuchtRammstein Liebe Ist F√ľr Alle DaThough not as strong as some of the band's work from their heyday, it's pretty amazing how little the band's 2009 offering strays from the traditional Rammstein sound. There are a few moments that sound like things they've never done (or at least not to this extent) namely on "Fr?ng In Paris", "Mehr", and "Roter Sand". These tracks only build on the quality of the album, however, finding Rammstein reaching out (however slightly) to new sounds and hitting their mark perfectly. I wasn't sure quite what to expect with this one, and though I wasn't totally blown away with it, I was pleasantly surprised at this band's consistency and their loyalty to their sound. Red Hot Chili Peppers By the WayRed Hot Chili Peppers CalifornicationA pretty damn impressive return for a band plagued by addictions and revolving guitar players. It's nice to have Frusciante back in the fold, as the chemistry for the disc is a pleasant return to form. Californication isn't a perfect record and does have a few filler tracks in the mix, but its strength as a whole is what seems to really make it work. This just seems like an album these guys really enjoyed doing. Red Hot Chili Peppers I'm with YouRichard Wright Broken ChinaRishloo EidolonRosetta A Determinism of MoralityRush Vapor TrailsDespite this being smack in the middle of a series of Rush records that ended up being my least favourites by the band, something about Vapor Trails stood out to me. Perhaps it was because for that tour, I attended my first concert. Then again, I saw Snakes & Arrows live and it didn't really do much more for the album...so here we are. Vapor Trails is in the 90's alternative rock vein, though Rush never really loses their unique feel. There are some obvious filler tracks on here, which probably gets to me the most, but there are enough solid tracks to keep this as a repeated listener, at least for a little while. Rush Power WindowsPerhaps the weakest from Rush's 80's output, Power Windows lacks the first-listen catchiness that its predecessors possessed. However, the record may make up for this upon multiple listens, seemingly more complex and dense rather than the initial baron, sparse feeling these tracks tend to put off. These are the radio favourites, but this album no doubt has a place in many fans hearts and collections alike. Rush Roll the BonesThough I seem to find myself becoming more and more partial to the 80's style of Rush, there is still a place in my heart for 90's Rush. Roll the Bones was the beginning of that transition, moving away from synth-heavy songs and putting the focus more on the guitar and convential instrumentation. This style definitely still works for Rush, though it does feel a little more mundane at times. I still find this release incredibly enjoyable, though I find it hard to not enjoy an album from these guys. With some standouts like Dreamline, Neurotica, Roll the Bones, and Where's My Thing? make the disc pretty memorable amongst fans, and should be a pretty easy listen for new comers. Rush PrestoPerhaps often cast in a negative light due to being one of Rush's weaker 80's offerings, Presto has the distinctive mark where the band began to phase out their heavy synth approach. Despite containing "filler", I find these songs are still pretty consistent, and possessing the band's favourite song (The Pass) adds a bit of personal feel to the record. Presto also sees the band using conventional piano in a few tracks, which fits their sound well. Rush Snakes & ArrowsDespite being initially disappointed by this release, I think if any Rush fan gives it more than a couple spins it'll set its hooks in 'ya eventually. After numerous listens and hearing the album live on its tour, the full scope of this record finally hit home to me. The differences between this and other rock-based Rush albums are subtle but vast, and there seems to be a pretty big emotional connection. Ramblings aside, the music on this disc is another fine example of a legendary act. Rx Bandits ...And the Battle BegunBy far the band's strongest outing to date, the Rx Bandits really shine like never before on ...And the Battle Begun. Great production, a tight (and live) rhythm section, diverse influences, and a much stronger output on keys make this album a really fun listen. Hopefully these guys keep going in this vein, they could be a force to be reckoned with on the ska scene. Samael PassageScar Symmetry Pitch Black ProgressBit of foot-in-mouth from my last soundoff, but I've re-evaluated this band's sound. There is a sense of improvement on parts of the follow up, 'Pitch Black Progress'. There are hints that they're moving in the right direction (though their latest doesn't seem to hold true to that) and unfortunately again the album is made by Christians vocals, which are now gone from the band, and from some stunning duel guitar work. Scientist Rids the World of the Curse of the VampiresScientist Scientist Meets the Space InvadersSilverchair Young ModernSilversun Pickups SeasickSilversun Pickups Neck of the WoodsWhile finding both the band's previous releases pretty striking in sound, Neck of the Woods almost feels like a step back from previous awesomeness. While possibly a slightly deeper outing then its predecessors (though that may be a tough task to accomplish) the overall impact after four or five listens comes off a little disappointing considering how much hope I had for this album. Hopefully the depth of the record will translate into a grower after giving it a little time to sink in. Skyfire EsotericSleep Sleep's Holy MountainSlightly Stoopid Everything You NeedThis is a nice and laid back listen, and Slightly Stoopid has proven to me that despite their early connection with Brad, their not another band amongst a legion of Sublime imitators. There is something fresh and original about the way these guys compose their music, and from what I've heard of the band so far (roughly just two and a half cd's) they possess a lot of promise. While I don't know if I enjoy this one quite as much as Closer to the Sun, though it does seem to have an ability to grow on you. The obscure choice in cover songs is also a refreshing change for third-wave ska bands. Slipknot SlipknotThis was a pretty good effort from Slipknot and helped solidify a legion of fans along with it. This was fresh and the sound has an ability to take you back to the days you used to listen to it. There are a fair bit of good songs on here, unfortunately the quality of the band's work would arguably tapper off after this one.Snot Get SomeAlthough this isn't the most fantastic thing ever recorded, Snot created a sound all their own, unfortuantely cut tragically short by the death of their lead singer. I'm surprised no one has review this album and will have to get to it when I have some time. This was a pretty underated band for the time, considering the amount of nonsense coming out, this was sort of cool nonsense Soen CognitiveSoilwork Steelbath SuicideDespite being a brief debut, Soilwork's Steelbath Suicide introduced the world to a new melodic death metal sound, and a band that looked like they would offer up the next wave. This is a pretty impressive debut outing, and showcases the harder period of Soilwork music, though still loaded with melody. I find other works like Predator's Portrait better albums as a whole, but over the years this one has definitely grown on me. Soilwork A Predator's PortraitSoilwork Natural Born ChaosThis one shows Soilwork trying things a little on the accessibility angle, with their songs a little more stripped down and a little easier on the bugeoning metal-listeners ears. For that I can give this record some props, and there are definitely a few gems here (hear: Follow the Hollow, As We Speak, the title-track, Song of the Damned...) to keep the average fan happy. This seemed to be precede the start of a wave of polarization for Soilwork's followers, though luckily this record doesn't pray folly to that too much. I'd give 'er a 3.3/5Soilwork The Panic BroadcastSolstafir KoldSoundgarden King AnimalAdmittedly, I was never the biggest fan of Soundgarden. Despite loving the music of the 90s (and still do), I found Chris Cornell and company off-putting for whatever reason. Sure, the odd song or two was entertaining, but all in all I didn?t find much special about the band. Fast forward to 2012, a time when bands from the grunge-era seem to be making another go of things for whatever reason (those who managed to survive the decade, that is) and Soundgarden, while a little late to the party, is right alongside their peers in releasing new material. What?s most surprising here is that while most modern releases from bands that haven?t been around for more than a decade have more of a nostalgic feel to them, King Animal has a refreshing quality to it. It almost sounds like the band is truly excited at the notion of playing together again, and have come rejuvenated rather than lazily slapping tracks together. While more time is needed to go through the band?s back catalogue, I would think most fans of this band would be happy with what this album has to offer. Staylefish Colour By NumbersStone Temple Pilots PurpleStorm Corrosion Storm CorrosionStrapping Young Lad AlienSublime Second Hand SmokeThough essentially made up of reused and retouched tracks, along with a few rarities that were never released, Second Hand Smoke is the last chance at new material for fans of Sublime. There are actually quite a few songs that could go down as fan favourites on here, begging the question why were they never used. Regardless of your take on this record, this is one of the last steps from a remarkable band, and I'm sure it'll have a cult-status amongst the Sublime fan-base. SuidAkrA Emprise to AvalonA pretty good progression from their last couple outings, though no real new ground is broken here. I do like the fact that the piano seems to be creeping into their work at this point, which really compliments a lot of their music. SuidAkrA Lupine EssenceTenacious D Tenacious DThis band comes off a lot less serious than their composing skills. There are a lot of really well thought out structures and cool riffs on here, even if they are grouped with crude, strange and humourous lyrics. Black and Gass are a fresh music/comedy team that seem to only get better with every release they put out. Tenacious D Rize of the FenixThe Aggrolites Reggae Hit LAThe Allman Brothers Band Eat a PeachThe Allman Brothers Band Idlewild SouthThe Allman Brothers Band The Allman Brothers BandThe Beatles RevolverThe Company Band The Company BandThe Cure DisintegrationA wicked recording from goth-rock/post-punks favourite sons. The Cure really hit their dark, brooding stride in terms of sound with this one. Though I'm not nearly as familair with their entire body of work, this seems to bear the representation of this band that I've come to know. I'm not sure if this is the best place to start for someone getting into this band, but I'm definitely looking for more after this. The Devin Townsend Band SynchestraWith his eponymous band?s second release, Devin Townsend and company put forth an expectedly strong effort with 2006?s Synchestra. As with the abundance of his solo material, the compositions here are laden with happy tones, mixed superbly in trademark interplay with Townsend?s unique sound. The album opens with ?Let It Roll?, exploring a much lighter melody-space even for Townsend?s solo material, and does a good job at setting the pace of diversity for the rest of the record. Despite only spawning the single ?Vampira?, the album has its share of highlights ? its ability to seamlessly segue its tracks into each other, giving the overall piece the appearance of a single musical movement. Notable tracks on the album include ?Triumph?, ?Gaia?, and ?Sunset?. The latter is a prime example of Townsend?s use of happier yet still darkish melodies, with it?s intricate but delicate piano-line and gorgeous atmosphere.
The Doors Morrison HotelAfter a bit of a stutter-step with The Soft Parade, the Doors jump back into their traditional sound with 1970's Morrison Hotel. The material on the record more closely resembles the bands first three discs, and would probably appeal to any fan of the Doors music pretty quickly. If you're going to start anywhere, though, start with the classic The Doors and work your way up from there. The Doors Waiting for the SunDespite perhaps lacking a bit of the punch provided by the band's first two outings from 1967, The Doors' third studio effort, 1968's Waiting for the Sun is no less a stellar offering. Given the fact that by this point the band had put out three albums in two years, and the fact that the material on said discs were highly consistent, this is a feat by itself. This album would be the bands only number one record, and about half of it offers itself to classic fan-favourites.The Doors L.A. WomanThe Duskfall The Dying Wonders of the WorldItís unfortunate that melodic death metallers The Duskfall were never able to truly find their sound until theyíd decided to call it quits as a unit and release one last hurrah under their former banner. The bandís first three releases found them repeating stagnant melodic death formulas - in a rather uninspired manner Ė seemingly churning out repetitive tunes for the sake of getting paid to make metal. With each release, there seemed to be a sense of growth, be it generally small and somewhat unnoticeable; though they couldnít shake the archaic sounds of their melo-death forefathers, there seemed to be a growing sense that they at least had to try. With the bandís final outing, 2007ís The Dying Wonders of the World, there was a much more forceful attempt at change. The general architecture of that Gothenburg sound was still there, but now there at least seemed to be a bit of a personal touch added from the band. Even if the touch wasnít all that personal, the members of The Duskfall had at least finally learned to embrace the sound, to shape it into something that fit them more comfortably. The Fall of Troy DoppelgangerThe Lonely Island Turtleneck and ChainThe Mars Volta TremulantThe Mars Volta Frances the MuteThe Morningside Moving Crosscurrent of TimeThe Police SynchronicityThe Samuel Jackson Five Goodbye Melody MountainThe Sheepdogs Learn and BurnThe Verve Urban HymnsThe Verveís breakout record, 1997s Urban Hymns, is a beautifully produced, lush, staggeringly potent offering of the 90s alternative rock sound. While some may steer clear of this record due to the massive amount of play the controversial hit Bitter Sweet Symphony generated upon its release (and still to this day), that would be a large mistake to fans of the era. While The Verve pack as much alt-rock goodness as possible on this album, itís the combination of that sound, the bandís attention to detail and some really wicked production that makes this somewhat of a monster. There are far too many songs to do a track-by-track for Urban Hymns, and the album feels best played with the sum of its parts (or at least with a few of its tracks coupled together). Them Crooked Vultures Them Crooked VulturesA pretty nifty debut from some of modern rock and classic rocks major players. This one pretty much sounded like a mashup of old and new approaches to rock music, with the obvious Zeppelin influence throughout. This was pretty enjoyable and hopefully they'll move on to bigger and better things with their next. One thing I'd definitely like to see with this band is more of their rhythm section and a little less Homme.Therapy? Infernal LoveNever shy to explore any variety of musical influences that seem intrigue the members of Therapy?, the band's 3rd major label outing continues to build on an already eclectic sound. Featuring more diversity in their musical instrumentation (mainly in the use of the cello along with some pretty gnarly sounding saxophones) Therapy finds a way to seemlessly blend the new with the old, maintaining a heavy reliance on punk and alternative sensabilities. Threat Signal Under ReprisalThough often pandered as a clone of various bands from a few of metal's various sub-genres, Threat Signal creates a sound all their own, even if they do sound like a few familiar acts in the process. The fact that they're able to merge these styles so flawlessly is where the draw to the music is, and instead of being dissected and passed off, should rather be listened to more carefully. This is a bit of gem, something somewhat interesting; even if you consider this nothing more than Metalcore, this is definitely the cream of the metalcore crop. Tom Petty Full Moon FeverTomahawk Mit GasThough pretty far from my favourite Mike Patton project, Tomahawk seems to give him the hard-rock outlet with a more straight up delivery that his career had been lacking. This isn't nearly as diverse as Faith No More, so don't listen to this disc with that in mind. Instead, try to take it for what it is: a hard rock band that just happens to have prolific frontman Mike Patton in it. No expectations, just solid tunes. Tool UndertowUndertow continues the transistion and evolution of Tool's sound, bridging the gap nicely from the Opiate EP. There is a lot more progression and flirtation with different time-signatures here, something that the band would obviously come to embrace in their future. This one is pretty memorable for the song "Sober", which is still a pretty solid song in the band's repitoire and probably the closest thing to the modern Tool sound on this record. Other highlights (Bottom, 4 Degrees, etc..) just make this a stronger disc than the band's last effort, and shows that they were well on their way to making waves within the music scene.Tool OpiateThis is an interesting part of Tool's discography simply because it's a decent departure from the sound they'd develop in their future recordings. There is less of a progressive aspect to this EP, though the style is still present in some form or another, and there seems a greater emphasis on the metal sound. These roles would be reversed soon in Tool's overall direction, so it's sort of refreshing to come back to Opiate now and then. Ulver BergtattWishbone Ash ArgusAdmittedly, I would have never have stumbled across this album, or really even this band, had it not been for some random quote from Iron Maiden bassist Steve Harris I read somewhere on the net. Citing the album as a major influence on both him and the early sound of Iron Maiden (mainly the duel guitars) as well as definitive prog-rock record, I felt compelled to check this out. rArgus is pretty damn entertaining, though I find the album's first two tracks contain the most "steam" before slowly fizzling out throughout the rest of the record. The basslines more than hold their own on this record, making all instruments stand out in their respective fields. While not a ground-breaking progressive record, it's an experience to hear the pioneering of the dueling guitars that have come to dominate so much rock and metal.Witch WitchWoods of Ypres Woods V: Grey Skies & Electric LightWu-Tang Clan Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers)ZX Spectrum Human HerdZX Spectrum Alms EP3.0 good311 Universal PulseAeon Spoke Aeon SpokeDespite bascially being the same record with a couple songs interchaged (7 of the 10 from the band's debut make it on this "follow-up") there is a pleasant change between the two discs from Aeon Spoke. This time around there is a greater sense of polish and attention to detail. The songs are slightly revamped, which is definitely a good thing, and the production level seems to be higher on this disc. It's definitely a step in the right direction, but I still can't help but feel like my expectations were royally let down. Agalloch Of Stone, Wind, And PillorThis band is amazing, though this EP isn't quite up to their usual standards. I find a lot of the material here either decent or average (for the band) and nothing really grabs me in the way The Mantle or tracks from Pale Folklore managed to. Personally, the most interesting song was the band's cover of Sol Invictus' "Kneel to the Cross". Akercocke AntichristDespite rejecting this album upon first listen, I've found it to be one that grows on you...or at least it grew on me after a couple spins. There are definitely some pretty dazzling moments (especially on Dark Inside) and this band does show a lot of different influences merged with their harsher death metal roots. I'm not sure how fast I'll run out to check out more of these guys, but there is definitely something more to this band then meets first listen. Alexisonfire Watch Out!This is still pretty entertaining, though it definitely lacks a lot of the energy that made their self-titled such a worthwhile listen. This is a Dallas heavy album, perhaps cashing in on his voice, or perhaps the music simply evovled in that direction. Regardless of the arguments for the scream to clean ratios on this disc, the three vocalists are able to mesh into each others respective realms to create a pretty nice sense of harmony on a lot of these tracks. Alexisonfire CrisisA few tracks on here save this from being pretty average, given the standards these guys set for themselves with their Self-titled and to a lesser extent Watch Out!. There are some good moments on here and as a whole this is a decent record, I just remember it feeling a lot more powerful when it first came out, the spell seems to have been lifted. Alexisonfire Old Crows / Young CardinalsAlice In Chains SapThis EP serves as a nice transition point from the band's first outing and the albums that would come to follow. Acoustic music meshes so well with these guys, and through this EP it would become a pretty integral part of Alice in Chains' over all sound. The inclusion of probably one of the band's most avant-garde compositions in "Love Song" is a nice stray from conventional Alice. Amon Amarth The AvengerAmon Amarth Sorrow Throughout the Nine WorldsA raw prototype for the music Amon Amarth would come to perfect, this EP/MCD really doesn't have the interesting and intriging moments that the band's full-lengths would possess, though this EP was a necessary step within the development of their sound. Amon Amarth Once Sent from the Golden HallAnathema JudgementAnathema EternityAnathema HindsightThis isn't too shabby, Anathema added some nice touches to some tracks, others seem too sparse. The major flaw on this record is that a lot of the material seems to lose its original feel; a big downside if you're looking for a rehashed version of your favourite song. All in all if you're a fan of this band you'll probably enjoy the offering, though I'd definitely start somewhere else if you're curious in hearing what these guys are all about.Anathema Weather SystemsAgreed with this album's review; the disc is a pretty record, with beautiful changes and melodies throughout, but it feels like it's lacking that substance from its predecessor. It's pretty clear by this point what direction Anathema is heading in, and they really do wear this style well. A much more emotional record this time out, Weather Systems may drive off some fans of the band who have been waning since the last few records, but any listeners who's a fan of the change in sound should eat this record up. And So I Watch You From Afar GangsAnimal Collective Merriweather Post PavilionAnimal Collective Fall Be KindApocalyptica Plays Metallica by Four CellosApocalyptica Inquisition SymphonyApocalyptica 7th SymphonyArsis A Celebration of GuiltFor whatever reason this thing hit me pretty hard the first few times I heard it, but after a few spins, I found it getting kind of stale a little too quickly. There were definitely some standout moments on the disc, and it showcases a melodic technical death sound pretty well, though I can't help but feel like it fell a little short. I'm still curious enough to check out other work by these guys, as this definitely held some promise. I did have a bit of a beef with the production and the way they went about mixing the CD, really hoping they cleaned that up after this release. Audioslave AudioslaveBaroness SecondBaroness FirstBeck Sea ChangeSea Change represents Beck?s interpretation of the loss of a relationship. Now this may sound like a discouraging concept, given the depressing nature of the subject matter. Beck, however, seems to transform this pain into an ethereal, atmospheric journey from one end of the break-up spectrum to the other. This isn?t to say there aren?t some somewhat melancholy moments, or even sad ones for that matter, on the record. The positive undertones definitely out-weigh the negativity usually associated with breaking up with a long time partner. Not your usual Beck, but it?s nice to see this more down to earth side of him. Bedouin Soundclash Light the HorizonThough its minimalistic approach my initially deter steadfast Soundclash fans, the bandís fourth full-length LP, Light the Horizon is an album that seems to yield more to its listener upon repetition. While the absence of the bands former drummer does make a slight alteration to the overall rhythm of the band, this, for the most part, seems like a blessing in disguise; new-comer Sekou Lumumba is more than an adequate replacement, and even seems far more technical and creative. Granted, the record feels much more like a Jay Malinowski outing, finding bassist Eon Sinclairís lines either overly simplified or downgraded to more of a background noise to what makes for a mellow-atmosphere sound. On the whole the overall product still feels weaker than the bandís breakout record, Sounding a Mosaic; that being said, however, this still has more of a growth potential than the previous outing in 2007ís Street Gospels. If fans will take anything from this disc, it should be that the band, though suffering from a bit of a stutter-step, does seem committed to the growth and progression of their overall sound; hopefully this works out for the best for both band and fan alike. Between The Buried And Me The Parallax: Hypersleep DialoguesBlack Mountain In the FutureBlack Sabbath Technical EcstasyGiven this bands ridiculous output by this point in their career, it should have been pretty obvious that an album like Technical Ecstasy would finally be churned out. The bands work ethic was pretty unparalled during these early days, so the fact that they dropped the ball after releasing a myriad of incredibly strong recordings is pretty easily forgivable. Still, the question must be asked, how did it come to this? How did such a talentedly focused band lose their way with this album. Sure, we heard the rumblings in Sabotage, but it was nothing like this. The record seems to shuffle from track to track, meandering along like some confused animal, never really finding its place. This has got to be my least favourite Ozzy-era Sabbath offering by far. Black Sabbath Heaven and HellOn Black Sabbathís first outing without iconic frontman Ozzy Osbourne, the band seemed to begin to truly lose itself. Iím not getting into the Ozzy Era Vs. Dio Era Sabbath battle as I personally think the bands material within each of these periods pretty much answers the debate by itself. It does, however, appear that Dio had more of a negative impact on the new recording rather than positive (in respects to the way classic Sabbath had sounded) and ultimately seems to have helped steer the record into a straighter -styled rock ní roll record. I donít want to speak ill of the dead, and this is my first true foray outside of the classic-era Sabbath album, but if this is what the future of the band ended up sounding like, I might just do myself the favor and ignore the rest. Really the instrumentation has got to come down to those who actually played those instruments, and while the likes of Ward and Butler were struggling with their own demons and personal issues, I suppose it was Iommiís show to run by this point. Overall, I give this slightly above average, so a generous three shows up...Blackfield BlackfieldBlackfield Welcome To My DNABlind Melon For My FriendsDespite the wannabe Shannon vocals going on here, the instrumental band should be given some props for this one, they still sound as tight as ever, though they obviously could never be the same band. Now with Travis being kicked out of the band, I would assume the band's future is up in the air, though a search for a new vocalist isn't an impossibility. This album isn't all band, and even some of Travis' Shannon impersonations weren't too shabby.Blue October The AnswersBlue October's debut showcases an alt-rock sound that relies heavily on the violin element to set themselves apart from their peers. This method is more than effect, giving the band a definite edge over the myriad other "alternative rock" bands out their that would otherwise sound similar. Finding at least half the disc entertaining, this debut gives me enough reason to really delve into this band; worth at least a few listens, and the band, despite leaning a little heavy on the emotive side, is worth checking out. Blue Oyster Cult Agents Of FortuneBob Marley and The Wailers African HerbsmanThis is a pretty decent collection of Wailers songs that were big in Jamaica but hadn't really be exposed to the European or North American markets yet. It's just a compiliation though, and the vast majority of these songs can be found on other recordings either by the Wailers unit or by Bob Marley & the Wailers. Still, some of these are in their original form before they were later rerecorded by Marley's second incarnation. Bob Marley and The Wailers Burnin'Wow, no review for this one yet? I guess it's only been out for 35 years. A pretty nice outing for the Wailers...yes, that WAILERS, this was before Livingston and Tosh had left, and before the unit was renamed Bob Marley & the Wailers. Since they recorded under this name, it seems appropriate for that unit to have their own band page, but I guess that's too confusing for sputnik.
Anyway, the album has some memorable hits on it (I Shot the Sheriff, Get Up, Stand Up, Duppy Conqueror...) and is good launching ground into the more mainstream Marley music that would come to follow. It's nice to hear the additions of other song-writers on these early recordings, although I still find myself partial to Marley's compositions. Still, while the original Wailers were still a whole, they definitely brought their own brand of sound to the recordings.
Oh excellent, thanks for taking my review down cause your system didn't work. Bob Marley and The Wailers Rastaman VibrationBob Marley and The Wailers Soul RebelsA classic WAILERS release (before Marley, Tosh, and Livingston left the act was officially known as The Wailers; only when Bob began to outshine the other two did they go solo, opening the doors for the second incarnation, Bob Marley and the Wailers). While not quite as soulful or powerful as Catch a Fire or Burnin', Soul Rebels showcases the impeccable harmonization of the original three legends. Boy Hits Car Boy Hits CarBurst Lazarus BirdThereís just something about this band I canít get into. I dig that theyíre pretty damn talented musicians, and they definitely have a pretty slick chemistry amongst them. There was a lot of this record I found really enjoyable, then just some that left me scratching my head. Admittedly this is my first attempt at trying Burst out, so maybe I shouldíve started somewhere else and worked my way to this. That isnít to say this is hard stuff to wrap your head aroundÖthere just feels like thereís something missing with this disc. Bush The Sea of MemoriesSeemingly finding a way to replicate their past sound, Bush returns with Sea of Memories, an album that, upon first listen is somewhat entertaining. At first, nostelgia seemed to set in and this record seemed to offer more than it actually was; unfortunately, multiple plays are not a big friend of Sea of Memories, exposing weaknesses or filler tracks along the way. This record isn't a total loss though, with a few good tracks kicking around and will no doubt still be able to please the average Bush fan still hanging around. Cake Pressure ChiefConsidering Cake's streak of well rounded records (see Fashion Nugget, Prolonging the Magic, Comfort Eagle) the note the band left off on with their studio work is a bit perplexing. There isn't really a different approach to this record, but the end result feels mundane and lackluster. The band's previous outing, Comfort Eagle, seemed like the defining measure of Cake's sound. Why they choose to leave off studio work with a less than inspirational offering comes off a bit like a slap in the face when pouring over the band's discography. (Rating: 2.8/3)Cake Prolonging The MagicCake B-Sides And RaritiesCake Showroom Of CompassionCakeís long-awaited 6th studio offering, Showroom of Compassion, may be a bit of an unfortunately surprise for long-time fans of the band who were eager to see which direction they would take after a 6-7 year break from recording. The results arenít all that unexpected: the usual stuff found in most Cake recipes (sorry) is all here, and still being done pretty well. That may be the problem with the record, however, since it leaves a pretty stale sound in the listener's ear. There are definitely some good tracks on here, but as a whole the album feels more like another B-sides offering than something the band had been working at for some time. There is still promise for this bandís particularly quirky style of alternative rock, but it seems like theyíll have to start progressing at least a little bit if they hope to stay somewhat relative in another decade of activity. Camel MoonmadnessCamel Stationary TravellerCamel Rain DancesCamel I Can See Your House From HereSigh...sadly another little bump along the road of Camel. I Can See Your House From Here isn't a bad record, it's just that after the dynamic duo release (sorry) of the bands self-titled debut and Mirage, it's hard to not compare every other outing to its predecessors. There are definitely some tunes that save this record (see the upbeat Hymn to Her and the epic closer Ice) and an overall feel of solid musicianship and song-writing. It's just that this record (like a few before it) has a bit of a wandering feel to it, while the band - or Andrew Latimar - was trying to figure out the right path for Camel. Camel Dust and DreamsCamel Harbour of TearsUsing a rather grand/epic platform (once again) Camel returns with Harbour of Tears. A concept record, this is another Camel album dotted with short tracks serving as bumpers between tracks, all telling the story of an Irish familyís split whilst some members chose to go to America to try a better life. Itís a pretty straightforward concept, which helps the record from being bogged down by convoluted plotlines that hurt the flow of the music rather than help it. Though at times the album may look like a lot of effort to get into Ė mainly the albumís closer may seem like a dauntingly progressive track with its 23:00 minute running time. This, however, is really more or an illusion, as the track itself (musically, anyway) runs for just over eight minutes or so, leaving the remaining time filled with the sounds of rolling waves, some silence, then more waves. Admittedly, this is a relaxing section at the very least, and it does have some bearing on the albumís overall concept. Still, the musical part of the track seems to stop short, leaving this listener feeling a little underwhelmed. On the whole, Camel does another nice job piecing together a concept record, and show why they were no real slouches at it. There are enough entertaining moments here that are able to hold their own ground, without needing the backing of the rest of the record for them to really work. There is a sense of urgency here Ė Iím not sure if this could lie in the career or personal realm of any of the band members Ė but with their career started to come to a halt, I was hoping for just a little more out of this one. Chevelle Sci-Fi CrimesChildren of Bodom Are You Dead Yet?Chimp Spanner All Roads Lead HereCity and Colour Little HellCKY Volume 1CKY's a band that's good at what they do. The music doesn't take itself seriously and neither does the band. This is good for the hooky guitar riffs and almost story-teller lyrics, and is a nice bridge to their future, more 'refined' work. CKY An Answer Can Be FoundCoheed and Cambria The Second Stage Turbine BladeConverge Axe to FallCradle of Filth NymphetamineCradle of Filth ThornographyCynic Re-TracedCypress Hill Till Death Do Us PartCypress Hill Stoned RaidersDark Tranquillity Skydancer/Of Chaos And Eternal NightDark Tranquillity FictionDark Tranquillity Exposures: In Retrospect And DenialDark Tranquillity SkydancerDavid Gilmour On An IslandI have to admit if it wasn't for my Pink Floyd/Dave Gilmour fanboyism, this one would be getting an average rating. I found this album tended to drag on and bore me quite a bit, though it did have a few good moments here and there. Since I'm a sucker for Gilmour's tone, I dig a lot of the sound, but this one really fell short of my expectations...can't seem to get into his solo work, though There's No Way Out of Here is a pretty nifty tune.David Lynch Crazy Clown TimeDeath LeprosyDemons and Wizards Touched by the Crimson KingDemons and Wizards Demons & WizardsDepeche Mode Songs of Faith and DevotionDevin Townsend InfinityDevin Townsend PhysicistOne of Townsend's early solo agressive works, full of even more distortion than usual, fast tempos, quick, almost inaudible vocals, and a nice, processed feel to it. The album isn't bad - it offers up some highlights with "Kingdom" and "Planet Rain" but seems to fall short considering the amount of tracks to work with. The music seems to come together in a messy, angry pile that just doesn't seem to sit well with Devy's trademark sound. I know the distortion is a key part of said sound, but this is more than a little over the top. Definitely not one of my favourite Townsend records, but I'd still give this one a 2.8/2.9). Devin Townsend Ziltoid the OmniscientDespite the less than positive review this one got (that seemed to have more then its fair share of shee...followers) I was able to come out with some entertainment value with this record. To say that hearing this even once is a waste of time is a foolish statement and probably not very well thought out. Any Townsend fan would at least give this a go, and no doubt find elements they loved from his other records scattered throughout the chaos here. I'm not sure I get the response to this record...it's definitely not the most fantastic thing he's recorded, but it also isn't all that far off from a lot of his other work. Seems like an odd choice to pick on, but I guess even Devy isn't safe from pompous reviewers.Dimmu Borgir For All TidThough I can hear what a lot of fans get out of this album, personally, I enjoy the band post-sell-out. I guess to say with Entrone Darkness Triumphant and on, though I'm trying to further explore their earlier works. As a whole I really only found a couple songs that worked for me, otherwise I wasn't all that interested with the listen. This was decent, but below my expectations.Dimmu Borgir Puritanical Euphoric MisanthropiaDire Straits Love Over GoldDespite keeping things slightly fresh by churning out their most progressive rock-oriented album, Dire Straits 4th studio outing doesn't really see the band showing any signs of momentum, instead allowing Knofler to let the same solos keep flowing, backing long-winded, uninteresting songs. This is understandable considering this was Knofler's band by this point, but the extended songs and accompying structure do little to showcase the artists writing talents. Much of the melodies heard here feel forced, with a lot of the passages coming off messy rather than with the true progressive spirit in mind. Given the band's provoking debut, the output thereafter was sadly disappointing. (Rating: 2.8/5) Dire Straits Communiqu√©Dire Straits On Every StreetServing as Dire Straits sixth and final studio outing, On Every Street does a pretty decent job of summing up the highlights of a successful music career. Admittedly, it doesnít have the same personal impact that its predecessor Brothers in Arms possessed for me, but there is a sort of quiet gracefulness about the way the album closes the bands career out. Itís nice to hear the ever-present twang of Mark Knoflerís guitar, a signature that surely stands out in the majority of classic rock circles. The band penned some fantastic songs, and though like most of their peers fell victim to the classic band in-fighting that would cause a revolving door of musicians, never fully lost their step to the point of obscurity. Dire Straits will always come up when talking about some of classic rock musicís greatest moments. DJ Champion Chill'em AllDMX It's Dark and Hell Is HotDon't Look Back BrighterE.S. Posthumus UnearthedWhile finding some entertainment in their cinematic style, E.S Posthumus' debut outing, Unearthed will no doubt have some parts that please and others that somewhat bore. A predisposition towards instrumental music will be a huge help with digesting this album, and it definitely leaves the listener hoping for bigger things to come from the band. Easy Star All Stars ThrillahA worthy and well-executed tribute to a legendary album, the Easy Star All Stars get back to what made them successful, covering the works of other artists with a heavy reggae/dub twist. While making a career out of other people's music is probably not the best way to gain respect, this band has carved out a pretty devoted following thanks to their attention to detail and preservation of the original material their paying homage to. Easy Star All Stars First LightA valiant effort, but this collective's real talents lie in masterful covers of wicked albums done in a reggae style. Edge of Sanity InfernalInfernal serves as the beginning of the end of Edge of Sanity as a band, ushering in the era of solo-Swano recordings and eventually the retiring of the bandís name altogether. Apparently marred by creative differences between frontman Dan Swano and guitarist Andreas Axelsson, the tracks sort of reflect that environment, adding up for one of the more inconsistent recordings since the bands inception. Though this is still an Edge of Sanity recording Ė and really not that shabby of one when all is said and done Ė there is that uneasy feeling that something is not quite right; itís unfortunate that this atmosphere was translated onto what can pretty much be considered as the ďbandsĒ final recording, though in terms of the bands overall progression, is still a pretty interesting listen. Edge of Sanity The Spectral SorrowsEllie Goulding HalcyonWhile a major draw for listeners here is the more mature, darker sound that breaks from her sun-soaked pop sound on Lights, I actually prefer her debut to this one. Some of the tracks feel too gimmicky in comparison, and while I can see the overly upbeat stuff getting annoying, some of this has a similar effect. Goulding is still a great talent and will be fun to watch in the future.Eluveitie HelvetiosWhile still managing to offer up some pretty badass riffage, celtic-metallers Eluveitie seem to find themselves struggling a bit to breath new life into their particular sound. One can't help upon hearing this record that they've heard it before, with redundancy starting to become a mainstay for the band. This isn't to say Eluveitie is necessarily stuck so early into their career, but evolution of their musical style may be a must for the continuance of their survival. Eluvium CopiaI can see why this is so enjoyed, but I just don't think it's my style, which probably prevented me from really getting behind this. There are a few stand out tracks that really peaked my interest to actually get this disc, and it is quite soothing and calming...definitely good if you're in the mood for something like that. My only beef with the record is that perhaps while striving for consistency here, the result became redundancy.Emery ...In Shallow Seas We SailEminem RelapseThis one takes a few spins to get a real feel of it, though its definitely not in league with some of Em's earlier work. There are some top-notch tracks on this, but there is far too much filler (due to the unnecessary amount of tracks on the disc).Enya EnyaEsbjorn Svensson Trio Plays MonkThe trio's redention of several Thelonius Monk compositions, the Esbjorn Svensson Trio continues to make popular jazz music more popular. I don't find this outing as personable (for obvious reasons) as the band's other original work, though they do put a nice spin on this music, and create an interest in me to check out more of Monk myself. This bands uncanny ability of bringing this style of music to a younger generation is what got me into listening to jazz music to begin with, and despite their now defunct status, continues to do so to this day. It was a tradegy when Svensson died, and the Trio's music is still some of the most ridiculous modern jazz I've had the pleasure of listening to.Esbjorn Svensson Trio E.S.T. Live '95Esbjorn Svensson Trio Winter in VeniceFaith No More Album of the YearFaith No More Introduce YourselfFaith No More We Care a LotDespite a personal distaste for the vocal styles/persona of former frontman Chuck Mosley, there can be a little credit thrown in We Care A Lot's direction. These props would mainly be the band's instrumental sound, which roughly mirrors the signature sound they'd come to perfect a few discs down the road. There are a few catchy songs on here - see "The Jungle", "Pills For Breakfast", "As the Worm Turns", and "Arabian Disco" - all possessing the signature guitar and bass dynamic, alongside the brooding keyboard layers. This should not be overlooked by fans of FNM simply for Mosley's sake. The music here really is pretty infectious, despite probably being the band's worst offering. Foster The People TorchesFrank Zappa Lumpy GravyLumpy Gravy serves as Zappa's first solo musical outlet, along with bridging the gap between his work with The Mothers of Invention rather seamlessly. The album isn't a heavy one - it counts in at approximately 31 minutes and 40 seconds and only consists of two tracks. Each of these tracks, entitled Lumpy Gravy, Part 1 and 2, is accompanied by a series of sub-track titles that help navigate the song. These sub-titles are pretty useless here though, and they do little towards the navigation of this pretty unaccessible material. Lumpy Gravy, Part 1 is really the only piece worth listening to, as it consists of almost entirely music and omits the nonsensical noise and speech. If you've come across this one and couldn't get into it, don't stop here, Zappa only gets so much better his discography goes on. (Rating: 2.9/5)Frank Zappa Chunga\'s RevengeFrank Zappa Studio TanFreak Kitchen Dead Soul MenFreak Kitchen AppetizerNot a shabby offering from Freak Kitchen, but also not the place I'd get started if you're interested in checking out this band. The follow-up Spanking Hour is definitely a better representation of the band's sound, though this does in fact serve as an "Appetizer", giving us a slight taste of things to come. (Overall rating 2.9/5)fun. Aim and IgniteFun.ís debut outing is really just that: a fun listen, full of whimsical hooks and over-the-top pop melodies. Personally, this just wasnít my cup of tea. Itís rare that I can see why so many would find such enjoyment from a disc I just cannot get into. I realize what this one has to offer, just fail to appreciate it I suppose. Not being a big fan of the indie/pop style, this may just have not been the right sound for me; Iíd really recommend anyone checking this out, as it seems pretty easy for most to get into. Gene Krupa Gene Krupa Big Band: Drummer ManStylistically Gene Krupa's drumming showcases the early rumblings of a myriad of rock and metal drummers to follow, as future generations picking up the sticks actively sought to emulate the man. Though drumming prodominantly in jazz and swing outlets, Krupa's bombastic and highly charasmatic style looked almost out of place in his days; the theatrical approach is one that can be easily recognized in a variety of modern drummers today. Gentle Giant OctopusGotye Making MirrorsGuns N' Roses Chinese DemocracyGym Class Heroes The Papercut ChroniclesHIM Razorblade RomanceHIM Deep Shadows and Brilliant HighlightsHORSE the band R. BorlaxHORSE the band PizzaIce Cube AmeriKKKa's Most WantedIced Earth The Dark SagaIll Scarlett All Day With ItIll Scarlett Clearly in Another Fine MessAhh, before illScarlett became a little more than wasted potential. This one was independantly released by the band and sold at shows in their local Hamilton area after performances. This has pretty solid production given all the circumstances, and is a blue-print for the band's future outings...in fact many songs find themselves on other releases by the band - a couple live, a couple acoustic - (a bit of a lazy trend they'd come to fall into). This is a pretty fun listen, has the spirit that the band seemed to be all about before they started getting their lame videos on Much Music. I'd give this one a 3.2/3.3.In Flames Soundtrack to Your EscapeThis is where In Flames really started to slip for me (and I'm sure more than a few other fans) and started their downward spiral. Whereas elements of the band's future style were bleeding through in bits of Clayman and more noticeably Reroute to Remain, they've taken the spotlight for Soundtrack. There are definitely some good tracks on here though, something that should still keep a fan happy after the last few records the band has put out. Still, there's something sad about this disc, and knowing that a little bit of In Flames seemed to end with it. In Flames Lunar StrainA pretty impressive debut (despite my confusion with Staines vocal sound here) for a pretty ridiculous (at one point...) band. Lunar Strain is probably the furtherest from the classic melodic death metal In Flames, but it does showcase a few things to come, as the roots are definitely there. In Flames Come ClarityIn Flames A Sense of PurposeDespite the negative feedback this one got, I don't think there's a question that it's a step in the right direction compared to Come Clarity. The band's change, it's time to either deal with it or just move on.In Flames Sounds of a Playground FadingIncubus Make YourselfIncubus S.C.I.E.N.C.E.Incubus If Not Now, When?Iron Maiden No Prayer for the DyingI'll agree with the staff reviewer in saying this album seemed to lack considerable focus given Maiden's pretty consistent output up to this point. That being said, this is far from a bad record, and probably gets a lot of slack simply for being in the same catalouge of other Iron Maiden classics. There are some memorable moments where it seems the band is throwing off stale shackles, though the album does have its fair share of riff-recycling. Though it doesn't leave nearly as great an impact as its predecessors, No Prayer for the Dying is still a better record than a lot of bands are able to put out. Iron Maiden Virtual XIPerhaps due to a heavy pro-Maiden bias, or the fact that one day I finally got over the spite I some how was feeling towards replacement vocalist Blaze Baily, this album - as with the previous - is still a fun listen for me. I don't see how other fans of the band can't recognize all the classic Maiden elements. This album still has a lot of great songs on it, and I think Blaze does a great job covering for Dickinson. My only major beef with his vocals/lyrics (though I'm not sure if he'd be responsible for this or if Steve Harris would...) would be the constant repetition of the tracks' chorus or main hook. It tends to get more then annoying after a while, and sorta showcases Baily's weaknesses. This record shouldn't be ignored by fans or aspiring fans of this band, though its urgency for listening is much lower then its bretheren.Isis OceanicContrary to popular opinion on Sputnik, I found this release a little too sprawling for my tastes, even for Isis. If I were planning on going this atmospheric route I'd take a band like Rosetta anyday. I've still yet to hear their latest in its entirety but from what I've heard so far it seems to be one of the band's better outings. This is definitely entertaining, though I'm not sure how much staying power this'll have after a few listens to be honest. Jeff Bridges Jeff BridgesJeff Loomis Zero Order PhaseThe debut solo outing from Nevermore guitarist/composer Jeff Loomis, Zero Order Phase offers up enough shredding and ambiant melody to keep any fan of his band happy. There is no doubt that Loomis possesses a style all his own, and those who have already come to embrace this will surely enjoy this record. As with most instrumental offerings there are a few stale moments here, but the disc has more than enough brightspots to keep the listener interested throughout. Jerry Cantrell Degradation TripKalmah SwampsongThere was something unsettling about this release: be it the fact that the band's sound naturally had to change a bit becoming a realization, or just that Kalmah wasn't sounding as sweet as they once had. With their first two releases, I was nothing but impressed, with They Will Return becoming one of my favourite melodic death metal releases. However, with Swampsong, there seems to be so much energy missing from the disc. Maybe its just the reality of the bands material becoming more stale with the output of three discs in four years. This isn't to say this disc is all bad, as there are still some gems hidden along the bumpy road. Upon the first listen or two this album is pretty entertaining, but after listening to this band for a few years and getting to know their releases better, this one just comes up flat. A little more than disappointing given the first two discs, but there is definitely still promise in the band's music. Kalmah 12 GaugePerhaps it's my growing tastes within the genre, but I've found Kalmah getting into an increasingly uncomfortable niche with their last three albums or so. Whereas I felt For the Revolution was a bit of a return to form of the band's early days, this latest offering feels redudant. That isn't to say there really is anything wrong with this disc, or that it really sounds all that different from For the Revolution or The Black Waltz. The problem seems to be that Kalmah have found a formula they feel comfortable repeating continuously, and it feels like it's taken them as far as they can go with it. Kanye West The College DropoutKatatonia Tonight's DecisionKatatonia Discouraged OnesThough this record marked a change in musical direction that I would come to enjoy much more than their previous, I actually find this record to be the band's most mediocre. Perhaps this can be chalked up to Renkse finding his new voice and the rest of the band building around that. Either way, something about the majority of these tracks feel flat and more emotionless than future releases. Katatonia For Funerals To Come...Katatonia Jhva Elohim Meth...The RevivalKatatonia Tonight's MusicKing Crimson LizardTaking a decent step in another direction, moving a bit further away from the sounds comprising In the Court of the Crimson King, Lizard is a jazz-soaked trip with plenty of prog to stay relevant in the scene ? even if it was more in the vein of their peers than some newfound sound. This is still an entertaining record, though more so in certain areas than others. What?s left is an effect of scattered songs, giving the record a wandering feel/sound. More sporadically composed than its predecessors ? which should be saying something ? Lizard feels like a more forgettable record in a pretty legendary discography. King Crimson In the Wake of PoseidonKlone Black DaysBand names usually do little in describing the sound of their creators, but in french prog-metaller's Klone case, it does a little too good a job in summing up their creative output. The idea that the band's name is a spin on the fact that they sound like a great deal of other bands may be intriguing to fans of those particular bands. What "Black Days" offers up, however, is a bunch of rehashed ideas from various progressive/metal records. Perhaps the biggest shame here is that the band is actually quite talented...had they not decided to sound a little like Tool, a little like Fair to Midland, with a little bit of Gojira and Meshuggah(?) thrown in, and instead attempted to tread some sort of original path, things could've been really promising. All in all, the record is pretty forgettable, if not slightly entertaining for perhaps a listen or two. (2.8/5). Korn Follow the LeaderLed Zeppelin CodaLimp Bizkit Significant OtherLiquid Tension Experiment Liquid Tension ExperimentMeh, this is one of those experiments that never really seemed to pay out, given the players involved in the project. I don't find a lot of difference between either of the group's work, and despite the obvious talents that are flowing throughout this disc, it just seems like over the top cheese - over the top cheese that has already been done to death. I guess I'm not as big on the instrumental scene or Dream Theater as this disc would have hoped, but I really didn't get anything out of this band at all, Part I or II. (Rating: 2.8/5....I'm gonna be genorious with this one)Los Lobos How Will The Wolf Survive?Mastodon LifesbloodCompared to each of their full-lengths, this EP really doesn't do anything for me as a big fan of the band, aside mark the place where such a great and modernly innovative band started its journey. There isn't much of the standard Mastodon feel behind these songs, though they do showcase the beginnings of some of the band's trademarks. Mastodon Call of the MastodonLike the review for this one says, this is a nice look into the beginnings of Mastodon. There are some entertaining tracks thrown ontop of their Lifesblood EP, and as a whole packaging this is a pretty solid release. Matisyahu LightMatisyahu Spark SeekerIt feels like too long since Matisyahu soared at the top of his game, with his first pair of releases, Shake Off the Dust and Youth feeling like refreshing reggae that reinvigorated the genre. After these mind-blowing performances, it seemed as if Matthew Miller lost some of his root sound and opted for a more polished, studio-magic vibe. rWhile some of this is probably due to the fact that his original backing band is no longer in the picture, fans can only hope that Light and Spark were just a few minor blips on the radar of an otherwise promising career. (Rating: 2.9/5)Matt Mays + El Torpedo Matt Mays + El TorpedoMegadeth Cryptic WritingsThough there are a few obvious weak spots on the album, the overall flow really seems to pick up in the second half. There are a few brightspots for song gems in Trust and She-Wolf, and some pretty gnarly solos. Overall not the finest outing from these guys, but a decent listen nonetheless.Megadeth So Far, So Good...So What!This one probably sounds worse than it actually is, simply because it was riding on the tremendously popular Peace Sells. Given the overall power of that record, this one seems to fall a little flat (though Into the Lungs of Hell and In My Darkest Hour are pretty nice standouts). Overall this was a bit of a stutter-step for the band during their early period, probably caught in a bit of a idea loop until Rust In Peace would follow. (2.9/5)Melvins BullheadMetallica Beyond MagneticWhile this one will still leave most fans pining for the long lost days of Metallica, this EP is a pretty decent entry in the new era discography of the band. The tracks try their best to harken back to the band's thrash metal roots, and actually does a decent job meshing with the bands evolved sound. If anything, the EP should instill a little more hope in the struggling Metallica fan. MGMT Oracular SpectacularMichael Hedges Aerial BoundariesThough the record should be given props for innovating this genre, and Michael Hedges was a ridiculous talent, I can't help but feel there is something missing on this album. Perhaps being a fan of his contemporary Antoine Dafour's playing marrs this record a bit, but all in all it should be checked out.Mike Doughty Haughty MelodicMinus the Bear Menos El OsoWhile Minus the Bears sound is undenably infectious, they seem to lack that certain something I was expecting after hearing the odd song here and there and being blown away by the sound some years back. Now that I've finally gotten around to really checking this band out, I'm finding that although - at least this release - is an enjoyable record, though it doesn't leave anything that really sticks with me. There is no track that just possesses me, forcing me to play it over and over again until I bleed it dry. Instead there is a collection of tracks, each with their own strengths and weaknesses, but something that does create a feeling of 'whole'; perhaps that was the idea behind this one all along...Minus the Bear Hold Me DownMoonspell IrreligiousThis is probably the best work from this band, seemed like after their first two outings they started to lose steam and get stuck into a repetitive groove for a while. "Opium" and "Awake" are pretty catchy tracks, but all in all this isn't Doom Metal's finest act. Moonspell Sin/PecadoMors Principium Est InhumanityMother Love Bone ShineIf not for anything else, this should be heard for Chloe Dancer/Crown of Thorns; the song is a fantastic example of the band's range and emotive style. Though Crown of Thorns can be heard on the band's full-length Apple, Chloe Dancer is a really beautiful example of the late Andrew Wood's talents as a singer, song-writer and pianist. Muse Black Holes and RevelationsPossesses a decent chunk of pretty stellar synth-rocky tracks that keep the rest of the album from growing stagnant. Can't help getting the feeling from listening that this could've been something a little more, but ultimately fell short of that mark. Nevertheless, this is the album that first got my attention from this band, and it gives me faith that they're capably of really catching me. Nachtmystium Assassins: Black Meddle Pt.1Though I find black metal generally off-putting in its finest forms, Nachtmystium's latest offering (and Sputnik's current whipping boy) Assassins, is a refreshing spin with some highlight worthy influences, mainly focusing on psychedelic elements. The band's greatest downfall on this record is their tendency to drone on far too long on tracks (see Pink Floyd, a trait later damned by Roger Waters himself) and lose focus for the most part. There still is enough here to keep a listener interested, provided they're not a black-metal purist that can't stand the sound of something other than raw, distorted muffles from the guitar and blast-beats from the drums. Nelly Furtado LooseNeurosis Times of GraceNeutral Milk Hotel In the Aeroplane Over the SeaNevermore Enemies Of RealityNevermore In MemoryAnother great outing from a fantastic band. Nevermore continues to blow me away with whatever they come out with, and this EP is no exception. This is a little gem for those who have already played the hell outta the studio disc and are in anxious anticipation for the next one. Nevermore The Obsidian ConspiracyNine Inch Nails Year ZeroNine Inch Nails The SlipNo Made Sense The Epillanic ChoragiIn keeping with a progressive (death?) metal (see Opeth) vibe, No Made Sense's debut is filled with drawn out passages ala classic progressive rock, resulting in songs that are ultimately longer than they should be. There is still a lot to be said for this band: the are obviously a technically capable group, while also being no slouches in the song-writing department. rThere really isn't any new ground being tread here, as this is really a pretty formulaic progressive death outing. Still, it's nice to see there are still some bands like this around, keeping the genre going, and actually doing so in a respectable fashion. Norther Dreams of Endless WarNorther Till Death Unites UsNorther NNovembre MateriaThroughout this band's disography they haven't failed to keep me listening, and Materia is really no exception. I do find this to be their least entertaining (and in many ways their worst) record to date, though it's still better than a myriad of clones. I appreciate the progressive rock style the band tried to incorporate, but since they'd been doing this in their past for some time, I found the intervals we were getting to be enough. This was just a brief stutter-step for me though, as Blue came along and reclaimed their glory. Om Conference of the BirdsOm God is GoodOmnium Gatherum Years in WasteOmnium Gatherum sophomore offering does a pretty good job to iron out the kinks in the band's sound. That being said, it's really not all that impressive of an outing, and upon repeated listen it tends to lose a lot of its luster. The band's vocalist would be replaced after this album, probably a good move given his rather raw and untalented approach to death vocals. All in all, Years in Waste has some impressive moments and is worth a listen, though it won't be quite the same for fans of the OG's newer sound. One Day As A Lion One Day As A LionPain Of Salvation BePeeping Tom Peeping TomPelican PelicanPepper Give'n ItPepper's debut outing (either a demo or the band's first studio disc, depending how you're counting) is actually one of the band's strongest efforts. Despite the disc's rough production edges and a bit of meandering, stylistically speaking, this is one of Pepper's more ska oriented discs, rather than the output of watered down poppy songs they'd go on to release. This one, similarily to Kona Town or In With the Old, would be the cds to most resemble the ska/reggae moniker.Periphery PeripheryWhile definitely offering up some promising ideas on their debut, Periphery find themselves struggling to move past a barrier seemingly put up by the band's intent on calling back to a metalcore/post-hardcore influence. What you get with this self-titled is not a complete package, but rather the hope that there will be greater things to come in this band's future. Some more than competent musicianship makes up for the misdirection in the majority of this album?s tracks, but overall the vocals here are a matter of taste (or maybe just more than enough plays to get used to them). All in all, I?ll be checking out the one these guys just released (Periphery II?) mainly out of curiosity, and the aforementioned hope I managed to squeeze out of this one. While this really is more deserving of a 2.8 or so, I'll round up because I like a few of the riffs on here.Phish Lawn BoyPhish JuntaPhish HoistPhish RiftPhish Billy BreathesPhish PhishPhish The Siket DiscPink Floyd UmmagummaPink Floyd MoreThough probably best suited for die-hard Floyd fans, More - the band's first soundtrack outing - is a disc that definitely has the ability to grow on you. I've admitedly exhausted Pink Floyd's catalouge, but despite some of the wandering this album does, it can actually be pretty accessibly through some of its tracks. Pink Floyd 1967: The First Three SinglesPorcupine Tree SignifyPorcupine Tree Lightbulb SunWhile Lightbulb Sun has a bit of a weaker feel as a whole package than a decent chunk of others within the bandís discography, there are definitely some key moments in the Porcupine Tree song catalogue. The title-track is a pretty decent opener, and songs like ďLast Chance to Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is RecycledĒ, ďThe Rest Will FlowĒ, ďHatesongĒ, and to some ďRussia on IceĒ keep this thing from collecting too much dust. The moodís expressed throughout run a pretty good range, so at the very least there should be a bit of something for everyone here. Porcupine Tree Up the DownstairMarred by a period of less interest and revolving/non-existent band members, Porcupine Tree's Up the Downstair appears to be the band's first attempt at a more accessible sound and style. While holding fast to their progressive/psychedelic roots, there are more melodies and hooks here, making for much more catchy material. Steven Wilson's presence is still quite thick here (though that never really changes) and virtually everything you're hearing comes from his mind. Nevertheless, this is still a pretty interesting outing from a very intriguing band. Perhaps not the best place to start listening, but definitely worth a stop once you get a feel for them. Porcupine Tree The Sky Moves SidewaysThis album has a collectively bigger feel than any of the previous outings, and more of a feeling of a whole unit coming together. With Porcupine Tree being an official band by this point, it's pretty clear that the members behind Wilson bring more to the table than just the ability to play an instrument. Broad, sprawling, and pretty intense at times, The Sky Moves Sideways is a pretty solid outing.Porcupine Tree Yellow Hedgerow DreamscapeDefinitely a decent release for fans who enjoy the more psychedelic side of Wilson's composing, though still really just a must own for hardcore fans. With the beauty of the internet coming through, however, this one is worth checking out if only in downloaded format. Wilson's work before forming the actual band was always good, but seems to be lacking something for someone who enjoys the cohesive unit instead of the soloist. Porcupine Tree The IncidentPure Reason Revolution Hammer & AnvilThe jump modern progressive-rockers Pure Reason Revolution made between the darling days of their debut The Dark Third and 2009ís Amor Vincit Omnia to the bandís 2010 follow-up Hammer and Anvil will undoubtedly be a bit startling to fans of the unit. Embracing a heavily electronic presence, there are moments on this disc where the band is unrecognizable from their former selves. The stylistic changes are admirable, as the band obviously wants their sound to grow and evolve with modern music rather than stagnate with the sounds of the past. Still, instead of feeling comfortably meshed into the bandís progressive sound, the electronic vibe seems to permeate the overall output, leaving very little prog-rock in the traditional sense. The album is far from a bad listen; it will probably take a couple spins or more to get a decent handle on the new sound, but the direction is still promising. Hopefully this new flirtation with experimentation (too much?) will lead to a symbiotic relationship between the 70ís Ėinfluenced prog and the modern influenced electronica. Queens of the Stone Age Era VulgarisPerhaps not this band's finest outing, but there still feels like there is enough here for at least a couple listen-throughs. I've never really been into this band, and admittedly I thought "Make It Wit Cho" was a pretty catchy song so I decided to get the rest of this. Being somewhat new to this band (aside from singles) I thought this was pretty listenable and depicted Holmes apparent inspiration from driving through California pretty well; maybe this just takes a couple listens to get a grip on.Radiohead The BendsRadiohead The King of LimbsRaintime Tales from SadnessRaintime Flies and LiesA somewhat refreshing spin on the standard gothenburg metal sound (with some heavy power metal influence); pretty decent death/clean vocals, nice (although abundant) use of synthesizers, and an altogether polished metal album.Rammstein RosenrotThere is undoubtedly something missing from Rammstein's most recent offering, Rosenrot. Unfortuantely for the band's music, that something is hard to put a finger on. That might be due to the band's consistency. Rammstein has released four pretty solid records prior to this one, while still remaining catchy yet true to their sound. Maybe their classic sound has finally worn off by round five, and as a result we get displays like "Te Quiero Puta!" as a desperate attempt at something different. In the end this may not be the stellar release fans were hoping for, but there are still a decent number of tracks that are worthy of a few listens. The slower and softer "Spring" and "Stirb Nicht Vor Mir" (respectively) are nice additions to the album, while the first single "Benzin" is semi-hard driving and alright for a couple plays. There are more misses here than hits, so its easy to see where the criticism comes from, but it's still a fun listen at least one time through.Ramones Rocket to RussiaRancid ...And Out Come the WolvesRed Sparowes Every Red Heart Shines Toward The Red...Riverside Second Life SyndromeRiverside Rapid Eye MovementRiversideís debut outing, Out of Myself, was a pretty refreshing prog-rock record, even if they didnít really tread on any new ground in the process. The bandís overall approach, while a little Porcupine Tree in delivery, was well recorded, produced, and the musicians had the necessary skill to pull the music off as an enjoyable listen, rather than a droning bore. As the band continued to nurture their sound they seemed to lose the enthusiastic feel that came off their first album, unable to transition this to their sophomore effort. While Second Life Syndrome was not a bad album, it seemed to possess more of a bleak undertone, with the overall delivery coming off a bit less inspired than their previous attempt. On 2007ís Rapid Eye Movement, Riverside seems to be finding a bit of that enthusiasm again, producing a lusher, more melodic recording. Still, as a whole, the experience still lacks that certain punch that the band managed to deliver with their debut album. There is always hints of continuing progress though, so itís hard to fault this band for much or to truly be disappointed with this, even if it is more of a casual listen. Rosetta Wake/LiftGiven how much praise I gave their debut, this one disappointed me a fair bit. Too much ambiance/random noise for my tastes, but when there's music, it's pretty great. A decent offering, but I still have faith their next will be better.Rush Caress of SteelRush Fly by NightDespite possessing the awful title-track and some pretty untrained vocals from Geddy, this album is the turning point for Rush's music. The addition of drummer Neil Peart was undescribeable for the band's overall success and compositions, and the progressive undertone of the album should sit nicely with that era of Rush fans. This one takes a few spins for it to grow on you, but there are some classic Rush moments on it.Rush RushRush Test for EchoAs the primary review for this album states, on Test for Echo Rush seems to find themselves without a true sense of direction. One can forgive the album's slightly off-putting feel and atmosphere due to the transition still in place from 80's to 90's era Rush. This isn't too say this is an awful recording, since most of what Rush does still sounds better then the vast majority of their modern peers. Still, it is a bit disppointing for a release from a trio with such high calibre. Thoughout the album's meandering path there are a few gems though, namely the title-track, Driven, and Resist - perhaps Totem out of genorousity. Aside from this tracks, however, there just isn't anything strong enough to drive the songs all the way home (at least with this listener). Sad to say this is probably in my 5 least favourite Rush discs, though it's still a decent record nonetheless.Russian Circles EnterRx Bandits ProgressStill in the midst of their transition from full-out ska band to a sort of progressive hybrid of varying influences, Progress shows just that in the Rx Bandits sound. The vast majority of the record is still heavily dominated by traditional ska influences, though the seeds of the bandís future sound is definitely planted on tracks like Analog Boy or In All Rwandaís Glory. In many ways the album plays out like a concept record, highlighting the progress (or better, the lack there of) of the global society up to the point of the new millennium (the album was released in 2001), focusing on the genocide in Rwanda as well as other social turmoil across the planet. Though lyrically more loose than a typical concept album, Progress keeps the common theme of social injustice and inequality in an age where things should have moved a little further along in terms of, well, progress. In sum, fans of the bandís older work will still get a lot out of this record, though those just discovering the band via their last couple of outings might be a little disappointed. Sam Roberts Band Chemical CityScar Symmetry Symmetric In DesignNote: I give this a 'good' rating rather than a 'great' because of the wasted potential used.
That being said, Scar Symmetry's debut outing is a pretty decent offering to fans of the Melodic Death Metal genre, and maybe a good starting point for listeners trying to get into the style. However, this is far from a great example of the style, but rather a mirror of it. The band's greatest asset here is in vocalist Christian and his rather versatile melodeath voice. The use of backing sythnesizers is a pretty nice touch, but there is a sense on this disc that it could have been so much more. Unfortunately, I think this is probably there best outing to date, and now they've lost Christian...poor band, had so much promise. Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet Savvy Show StoppersVirtually a showcase of older material that served as the majority of the theme music for the Canadian sketch comedy show The Kids in the Hall. This is a pretty great collection of short, guitar-twangy tracks that'll definitely please the nostelgic KITH fan, as well as be appreciated by fans of instrumental music with a somewhat relaxed, almost surfy vibe to it. Silversun Pickups PikulSilvertide Show and TellPretty generic approach to the rock style, but it's kind of nice to hear it around again. These guys completely blew me away when I saw them with VH, bought their cd shortly afterwards. I could see this music getting brushed off by a lot of people but I think the beauty of it is in the live performance.Sinergy Beware The HeavensSkyfire Fractal EPThough it feels like theyíre stretching past their once-comfortable realm, Skyfireís Fractal EP was at the very least, a nice Ďgiftí for fans who were still anxious to hear new material from the band. The bandís gift for combining a multitude of heavy metalís sub-genres is ever-present, offering fans a sign that the band was still capable of putting out good material. Featuring three new tracks and one from their upcoming album, Fractal serves as a home for some unreleased material Skyfire fans probably wouldnít have had the pleasure of hearing. Slightly Stoopid Slightly Not Stoned Enough To Eat Breakfast Yet StThough this band got pretty damn redundant after Closer to the Sun, this amalgamation of a previous EP and some unreleased material serves as a better reminder to what this band could have been then their most recent offering, Chronchitis. Whereas the newest disc suffers from extreme repetition, this collection at least makes an attempt at mixing things up a bit. Still, it's sad to see the lost potential that this acoustic/punk/reggae/ska outfit possesses, though there may still be some hope for future recordings.Slightly Stoopid Top Of The WorldSlipknot IowaSlipknot's last good album with their original style; their root's swangsong. After this one Corey and Jim started to branch out with side-projects, followed by other members, and the whole unit sorta fell apart for a while. When they came back (Subliminal Verses) it was easy to see just how much of an impact Taylor was having on the band's direction... as for this newest release...I dunno.Snot Strait UpSoilwork Stabbing the DramaSoilwork Figure Number FiveSoilwork Sworn to a Great DivideSonata Arctica EclipticaSoul Asylum Grave Dancers UnionSoul Coughing Irresistable BlissOne of those quirky alt-rock bands of the 90's (see Faith No More, Blind Melon...), Soul Coughing combined a multitude of musical backgrounds into one meandering sound. The band seemed to go through a different transition with each of their three recordings, and as this is my first taste of SC, I can't comment on where exactly this album fits in. Irresistible Bliss runs the gamit of jazz, soul, avant-garde and the traditional 90's alt-sound. Though this doesn't exactly make for easy listening, I think this is one of those bands that sticks with you once they manage to get under your skin.Soundtrack South Park (Original Soundtrack)Soundtrack God of War III: Blood & Metal EPThis was surprisingly entertaining considering a video game was the source of inspiration (alongside some coin I'm sure) with a couple pleasant surprises. Though I was expecting more of a metally tune from Opeth, I was really pleased with the overall result; sort of like a jam session vibe goin' on there. Killswitch and Dream Theater tune out some decent tunes, and the EP helps serve as a introduction to the likes of Taking Dawn, Mutiny Within, and The Turtlenecks to a good chunk of the EP's listeners. Steven Wilson InsurgentesThough the typical Steven Wilson quality is littered across this record, overall it falls short of my expectations. Personally I'd rather take his compositions in the Porcupine Tree format, where I feel he's best suited. This is a decent outing, however, and still worth a listen.Streetlight Manifesto Everything Goes NumbThis is a pretty refreshing take on third-wave ska music, with a heavy emphasis on the horn section (with four of the band's seven members on various horns). With this sound present the music is pretty upbeat and positive, and this works well for the band. The vocals are more than a little annoying, which unfortunately takes a lot away from the listening experience for me. Despite once being a pretty big fan of ska music, and despite the fact that I actually found this record to be pretty good, I believe my love affair with the genre is over. Sublime Acoustic: Bradley Nowell & FriendsI'm a retardedly big fan of Sublime, and Brad Nowell is one of my musical heroes, despite the rating I give this album. My major beef with Sublime's legacy is that Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh are extremely overshadowed as the remaining 2/3 of the music makers. This record is a bare, stripped down outing with mainly Brad on his acoustic. This is good for fans since it offers up a bit of a bare look at the song composition of fan favourites and helps to showcase Brad's voice yet again. The lack of performance from other band members is frustrating, but this last look at "new" material is all we have, and it should be cherished in its own right for that. Subway Mirror WisepopeSuidAkrA CrogachtNot quite the follow-up to Caledonia we were promised, this one still has enough of the Celtic influence to warrant a better record than the likes of Command to Charge, but there still feels like much is missing from band with a lot of potential. Perhaps it's that other bands have come to try the Celtic-influence thing (see Eluveitie) and are doing it better. For whatever reason, I found this one ultimately disappointing, though not a bad album. It's just that the regression this band already experienced, only to reclaim their glory with an album then throw it back away is somewhat tragic. There still seems to be a few records left in these guys, and hopefully before they're through they'll return to form. (Rating: 3.2/5)Swans White Light From the Mouth of InfinityThe Allman Brothers Band Win, Lose or DrawThe Antlers HospiceThe Beach Boys Pet SoundsThe Beatles A Hard Day's NightThe Beatles Help!The Beatles With the BeatlesThe Beatles Beatles for SaleWhile ultimately reeking of their pop era, in terms of their earlier records, Beatles for Sale at least manages to show a few scarce examples of the darker tinges that would show up on preceding records. Really getting into this one will probably come down to which type of Beatles fan you are: a fan of the classic pop days, a fan of the psychedelic era, or straight up hardcore fan that doesnít give a damn what time period it came out of, providing John, Paul, George, and Ringo are playing the music. These latter fans will no doubt get the most out of this record (as they probably do with all Beatles albums) but personally, as a fan of some of the work they did after this one, it just wasnít jiving for me personally. Still, if youíre into your classic rock history, it wonít hurt to give this one a couple of spins. The Coral The CoralThe Doors The Soft ParadeDespite striking gold with their previous three recordings, The Doors find their experimental outing, The Soft Parade flying under most of the radars of their fans and critics alike. The disc is far from bad...it just doesn't possess any of the punch that was littered across The Doors or Strange Days. Since the band already had a bit of tendency to put experiemental pieces into their classic rock sound, some of the horn sections here can be a little off-putting. All-in-all this record has a bit of a lazy feeling to it for whatever reason, and if you're looking to get into these guys, start with their earlier work.The Duskfall FrailtyThe Flatliners Destroy To CreateI'm sorta surprised that this one hasn't gotten a review yet, since this is clearly the better of the two records by this band. I'm personally not going to bother because I don't know how much I could really say about this disc that would be worth a thorough read. "Destroy To Create" is a definite step in the right direction for this band and their debut, as it contains all the elements they claim to be about: punk rock and ska. Since almost all of this (save their single) would be lost on their sophomore follow-up, fans should take as much from this disc as they can. It's mildly entertaining with some catchy songs, although it really isn't anything special to the genre. The Grateful Dead American BeautyThe Lonely Island IncredibadThis is in a similar vein as Tenacious D's stuff, which I also enjoyed. These guys seem to have a sense of musicianship (or at least the help of someone who does) so that helps make these songs worth playing more than once. I was actually surprised by this, it was a pretty decent first outing. The CD doesn't seem to pack as much of a punch without the videos, though I guess the bonus DVD will have to be enough. All in all a good comedic offering from some funny guys. The Mars Volta AmputechtureIn the bands seemingly hellbent desire to remain as musically diverse as possible, The Mars Volta have started to become almost redundant in their style. It feels like the band got everything they need to say (musically) on their first record, then restated it on the second. With Amputechture, there is a sense of chaos (more than usual for this band) that comes off pretty messy and sporadic then previous efforts. The Mars Volta OctahedronThe Mothers of Invention We're Only In It For The MoneyThe Mothers of Invention Freak Out!The Mothers of Invention Absolutely FreeThe Mothers of Invention Just Another Band from L.A.The Notorious B.I.G. Ready to DieThe Nova Echo VoyagerThe Samuel Jackson Five Sea Sides and ElsewhereI ended up finding this EP on a random whim, but was pretty pleased that I had. Still anxiously awaiting a new release from this band, I figured a bit of B-side/rarity stuff might tide me over in the meantime. For 5 tracks, there really arenít many (if any) disappointing moments on here, and the Unimog demo and short but sweet Them Trees are pretty slick tracks considering where they wound up. Tokyo Police Club ChampHailing from surrounding areas around me and having a buddy who really got into the band from the get go (alongside meeting them to boot) Tokyo Police Club was around me in some form or another from almost their inception. For whatever reason, I found the band pretty much annoying trendy rock with that nasal-vocal quality that just wasnít for me. My friend tried and tried to get me into the band, but it was to no avail. A lot of time had passed, and so had my interest in even trash-talking this band. That was, until I was out for a late night drive, switched it to the EDGE and heard something that really caught my attention. This song had all the markings of a modern, trendy band trying to get heard on the radio; the thing was, they were pulling it off in a way that was giving me a reason to nod my headÖa rare occurrence indeed. For whatever reason, I managed to space on the song and it was lost to me, until a friend and I heard it come up again, he too finding it rather interesting as well. Our research led to the surprise that it was a track from Tokyo Police Club (heíd be pushed hard by the same friend of mine to get into the band, but just couldnít get past their overall sound). This track, Bambi, helped to open up our collective minds, if only for a little bit.rNow, neither of us is closed minded when it comes to music by any means Ė this stuff just isnít typically for us. I canít say that this album totally pushed me past the point of acceptance, but it definitely opened me up a little bit; as a whole this record has a pretty fun atmosphere, which is ultimately how it should be listened to.Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn The TorpedoesIt's not hard to see why this was Petty & the Heartbreakers breakthrough album, as it's the most musically consistent of the band's first three outings. Here we finally are subjected to the fully worked out sound of the Heartbreakers, something that would only progress with future releases, but never lose its trademark. With a few major highlights like Refugee and Don't Do Me Like That, there is far less filler here than on previous works, which is definitely a good thing. Still not their best record though, despite its rating here. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers You're Gonna Get It!A definite collective step-up from the band's debut self-titled outing. You're Gonna Get It sees Petty and the Heartbreakers cutting their teeth and shaping their classic sound. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Hard PromisesTom Petty and the Heartbreakers Long After DarkTool SalivalA little compilation put together for the fans, Salival actually has a few decent odds and ends on it. Some of the live tracks (despite being pretty spot on and intense) don't really do it for me as much as the studio versions, and seem like the weak spots here. The cover of Led Zeppelin's "No Quarter" is a pretty amazing rendition, and a surprising one coming from Tool. Another cover, Justin's old band Peach and their song "You Lied" is a standout as well. The only other real offering worth bothering with more than once though is "Maynard's Dick", which showcases some non-Tool moments from the band. This is better for a fan's collection than anything, but really not worth the price they're generally going for. Tortoise Beacons of AncestorshipTrans-Siberian Orchestra Beethoven's Last NightTV on the Radio Return to Cookie MountainUnified Theory Unified TheoryVampire Weekend Vampire WeekendVampire Weekend ContraWhite Zombie La Sexorcisto-Devil Music Vol. 1Wintersun Time ILeaving large gaps between album releases is always risky business for any band, regardless of how well established they might be. Within a half decade or more (as is often the case) tastes can change wildly between listeners, with some finding it hard to relive a musical part of their life that may feel like forever ago. The more hardcore fans, on the other hand, may have used this time away from their favourite band to build up hype, while relying on a back catalogue, constantly putting more stock on those records. In short, when the time finally comes, it can be hard to live up to all the expectations the listen may have created by this point.rThis was the problem with epic/extreme metal band Wintersun, taking 8 years (with a series of promised dates and push-backs) between their self-titled debut (a ridiculously awesome piece) and the sophomore effort, Time I. Perhaps I?ve fallen to the hype-train I so often try to avoid, but this album just seems to lack the punch of its predecessor. The obvious Japanese influences feel forced and out of place, as do most of the tracks here. The end result here isn?t something awful; as far as symphonic metal goes, this is right on par with the rest of them. The problem is, this album could?ve been so much farther beyond its peers, but instead comes off as a pretty forgettable release. rWU LYF Go Tell Fire to the MountainWyclef Jean MasqueradeA relatively good recording with notable rough spots. There are some pretty emotional tracks on here as far as 'Clef goes, although there is some more than noticeable filler. Zwan Mary Star Of The SeaZX Spectrum Optimistic Views EPThis pretty much follows in the same vein as the last demo, just with a lot less songs. The quality sounds like it's getting better though, and I think these guys are getting close to signing a record deal which should see more material coming sometime in the distant future.2.5 average311 UplifterDespite giving this one repeated listens and trying to be as open minded as possible, I can't help but feel like this was somewhat of another wasted out from 311. I wasn't really expecting a whole lot more than this mind you, but some where deep down I guess I hoped they'd rise above. There are some decent moments here, and the record drips positivity from every crack, so it's not all bad...it's just not really all that good either. A Perfect Circle eMOTIVeAeon Spoke Above the Buried CryAgalloch Tomorrow Will Never ComeThough this band is anything but, this "EP" (just two songs, one of which is a reworked version of A Celebration for the Death of Man) is pretty average. There just isn't a whole lot to this to really make it worth more than a collectable or to throw on a computer. Its material purpose is unknown to me. All That Remains For We Are ManySeemingly taking all the good things that transcended the bandís first pair of recordings that produced that breakout third offering, The Fall of Ideals, metalcore outfit All That Remains continues on a disappointing path of mediocrity. With death vocals/growls, fierce soloing and attention to melody and harmony thrust firmly in the background of the bandís compositions, much of what made this band seem like a promising breakout from the traditional restraints of the floundering metalcore genre feels lost in translation. Perhaps with a goal towards a more radio-friendly, mainstream take on their prior sound, the results feels rather alienating to fans that have followed the band through changes in style and lineup problems. Amon Amarth The CrusherI only give this album an average rating because by this point, the band's music had become pretty stale. There were a few expections here and there on this album, but more or less this feels too much like Versus the World or The Avenger for me to pay much other attention to outside a couple listens. Thank god the band (somewhat) broke out of this little repeticious slump.Amon Amarth Thor AriseNot even a soundoff for this poor thing, eh. Amon Amarth's unreleased demo, Thor Arise is really more of a collector's item (in the form of the Viking Edition of Versus the World) to the hardcore fan than something enjoyable to listen to. The main reason for this is the horrid production quality, supposedly the reason this wasn't released in the first place. So to no fault of the band's, this gives us an early insight into the compositions of Amon Amarth. Angels and Airwaves We Don't Need to WhisperThis one somehow slipped in as a guilty pleasure of mine, and despite efforts to break these ties, repeated listens just won't let me for whatever reason. There are a couple good songs on here, the rest are range from decent to average to weak/filler. For what it's worth, this may be more of an easy listener than the band's follow-up.Angels and Airwaves I-EmpireArcadia So Red the RoseArms ARMSAvenged Sevenfold Waking the FallenBeck Golden FeelingsThough average by no means, this one just gets a little too wacky and a little underwhelming on the musical side of things. These songs definitely paved the way for Beck's future quirkiness, though I have to admit his next couple that came out after this seemed much more focused; granted, the musician was still trying to find his voice at this stage in the game. I'd throw 'er a 2.7, if such measures could be taken. Beck The InformationBen Harper Both Sides of the GunDespite possessing two discs, these act more or less as a vessel for a lot of filler. That isn't to say there aren't good tracks on this release, just that they are far surpassed by the mundane. There isn't much new ground tred here, though Ben seems more fond of a funky feel to his songs this time around. Definitely not my favourite Harper outing, I wouldn't start here if you're looking to check him out. Between The Buried And Me The Anatomy OfBloodbath Breeding DeathBlue Oyster Cult Tyranny And MutationBlues Traveler ¬°Bastardos!I guess I should have left out the first upside-down explanation point...
This one was a bit of a miss for a band that is usually pretty damn stellar. These guys have a lot of variety and a generally upbeat vibe going on, so if you haven't heard of them, you should probably give them a spin. I just wouldn't start here, there isn't anything too fantastic, with the only real standouts being "Amber Awaits" and "The Children of the Night".Boy Hits Car The PassageBoy Hits Car My AnimalCake Motorcade Of GenerosityDespite Cake's versatility being a key factor in gaining my interest as a listener, something about their debut outing just doesn't do it for me. Perhaps it's the over indulgence with the country themes/influences, or the lack of some of my other favourite elements that seem to make Cake, well, Cake. I can really only walk away enjoying 'Jolene' again and again, as for whatever reason that song jumps off the album at me. Camel The Single FactorDespite an understandable notion that the album was titled The Single Factor due to frontman and founder Andy Latimerís constant quest for commercial appeal, Camelís 9th studio record was named for Latimerís presence as soul founding member. In a revolving door system of band-mates, Latimer found it difficult to hold onto the same musicians for more than a few albumís at a time. This would go on to affect the bandís overall sound, though not so greatly as to completely alienate the sound. The result here is an incredibly watered-down record that seems to find Andy without any inspiration at all. This wouldnít be the first time that Camel would fall flat, and being a band with their kind of discography, these things are often natural. Perhaps better suited to the die-hard Camel fan, those looking to discover the band for the first time should avoid this like the plague. (Rating: 2.7/5. I apologize for this aborted review turned soundoff)Children of Bodom Trashed, Lost & StrungoutChildren of Bodom BlooddrunkCradle of Filth Total Fucking DarknessDespite being a point that helped launch Cradle's career, the Total Fucking Darkness EP is a pretty average rendition of their music and music to come. This release does have a much more black metal feel to it, so I suppose the terrible production is forgiveable, though it certainly doesn't help these songs take flight. Obviously not the band's finest hour, but a stepping stone nonetheless.Cradle of Filth Bitter Suites to SuccubiDanzig DanzigDark Tranquillity A Closer EndTake this one for what it is: an unauthorized gathering of bonus tracks and some live odds and ends from various points in DT's discography. There isn't much new here to the die-hard Tranq fan, which will probably be the only people checking this one out, so overall it doesn't win many points. For the sake of compiling these bonus tracks for those who may not have heard, however, is a decent idea and I'll throw some props in that direction for the idea. Dark Tranquillity Enter Suicidal AngelsDimmu Borgir Godless Savage GardenDire Straits Making MoviesDire Straits ExtendedancEPlaydredg Chuckles & Mr. SqueezyDropkick Murphys The Warrior's CodeEdge of Sanity CrypticWhen frontman and founder (and progressive metal legend) Dan Swano left Edge of Sanity following the release of 1997ís Infernal, paving the way for the perpetual demise of the band. Understandably suffering heavily due to the loss of the dynamic and multi-talented Swano, Edge of Sanity attempted to carry on, quickly releasing 1998ís Cryptic. While the album tries to retain as much of the previous band as possible, itís clear where the new de facto leader in guitarist Andreas Axelssonís influences were set, and where Swano had influenced the sound of the band in the past. That divide proved to show fans more than enough that without Dan Swano, Edge of Sanity was more or less done as an active band. Possessing a couple of decent tracks, Cryptic could be easily mistaken for any other generic metal bandís offering, and remains largely forgotten in the bandís catalogue. Edge of Sanity UnorthodoxWhile breaking absolutely no ground in the world of death metal, Unorthodox is an early indication of the direction this band was heading in, soon to take their place as leaders in the progressive death metal movement. rUnless you're looking for some run of the mill, old-school death metal, or are just a really die-hard fan, this album won't do much for you aside from help chart a band's evolution. (Rating: 2.7/5)Eyes Adrift Eyes AdriftIf you're a fan of the Meat Puppets, Nirvana, or Sublime and are salavating at the idea of members of each in a trio together, let me stop you right there... Eyes Adrift, the one-off project from Curt Kirkwood of Meat Puppets, Krist Novelselic from Nirvana and Bud Gaugh from Sublime is a nice reminder of the 90's post-grunge sound...but that's about it. As far as the music is concerned, this is a pretty average outing by three musicians that could've done a bit better.Fair to Midland The Carbon Copy Silver LiningFilter Short BusFireball Ministry The Second Great AwakeningFreak Kitchen Junk ToothEssentially a bunch of demos and unused tracks, this ones alright for an avid fan or someone who really enjoys the band and has been through their regular discography too many times already. There are a few hidden gems here, "Forgive Me, I am Swedish", "Middle Class Panic" and "Probably Not" that make it somewhat worth while, but there isn't enough here to justify a higher rating...maybe somewhere around a 2.7. Gentleman Another IntensityIt almost seems like something fresh when Gentleman sings, despite taking obvious nods from Bob Marley and other prominent reggae artists. This is my first real foray into a Gentleman record, and though I wasn't really pleased with the out-come, I have faith that some of his earlier, less poppy-produced stuff (if this even exists?) would be up my alley, but this isn't really much more than average reggae/pop. (Rating: 2.6/5)Gnarls Barkley The Odd CoupleGreen Carnation Hallucinations of DespairGreen Carnations '91 debut demo is more than a far cry off from the progressive rock/metal band they would come to grow into. Starting in 1990, the band suffered a pretty quick lineup shuffle, resulting in the formation of another band and a 10 year hiatus before recording their official studio debut. It's pretty clear that in the beginning stages of the band, the direction was not all that entirely clear. This demo consists of 8 run-of-the-mill, poorly produced death metal tracks, and makes for a pretty uninspired listen for fans of the genre. Gym Class Heroes As Cruel As School ChildrenHave A Nice Life VoidsHIM Greatest Love Songs Vol. 666Hole Celebrity SkinIll Scarlett EPdemicIllscarlett All Day With ItIn Flames TriggerIncubus Light GrenadesJane's Addiction StraysJay-Z and Kanye West Watch the ThroneJustin Timberlake FutureSex/LoveSoundsI'll start off by saying this record somewhat pleasantly surprised, and I'd give it something more of a 2.8 or 2.9/5 if such ratings were possible here. I'd avoiding this one for a while, despite having slowly developed some respect for JT as an artist. Finally checking it out, there are definitely some entertaining moments here. I can't say I walked away with a lot of songs I'm going to be listening to endlessly for months to come, but I do have some hope that this guy's going to put out an album I can completely dig one day. Katatonia My TwinKatatonia Saw You DrownWith just a pair of songs from probably my least favourite Katatonia album, and a couple tracks not featured on Discourged Ones, this is a relatively weak EP. There isn't much to the track "Quiet World", and the only point of interest to "Scarlet Heavens" is that fact that it sounds very uncharacteristically Katatonia. Katatonia Teargas EPKillswitch Engage The End of HeartacheKylesa To Walk A Middle CourseKylesa KylesaAfter a pretty steady hype-train on these guys, I found this release pretty disappointing. The band's perchant for combining multiple influences and coming up with some pretty neat moments of melody isn't lost in this first listen, but at best simply gives hope to better things to come in the future. Though I couldn't really get much out of this one, there's definitely still enough put forth to give interest enough to check out more. (Rating: 2.8/5)Limblifter LimblifterThis album has a feel of a poster child for wasted potential in the 90's alternative game. Limblifter bring something to the table that should've helped them garner more of a following, rather than fly under the radar for the attention of their peers. This album feels like it just falls short of being something better, which sums up the band in its own right. It's a fun listen, but its average 90's alternative at best on this debut.Live Secret SamadhiSecret Samadi has a feeling of a band that enjoyed much radio-friendly made possible success with Throwing Copper, and wanted to prove they could do something deeper and darker. While the latter may be fitting for some of the albums melody, the record really isn't all that deep (Ed's lyrics seem to take a serious downturn here). This album still had it's chance at radio-play and accessibility in that respect with songs like Lakini's Juice and Turn My Head, but failed to make good on them. Lakini's Juice made me go out and by this when it came out in 97, though I was and still am pretty disappointed with the remainder of the album. Matisyahu Shattered EPBeen through this a few times now, can't say I like what I hear. I've been waiting a while for the follow up to Youth, but this is pretty far from what I expected. Overall a pretty surprisingly disappointing outing for Matisyahu.Megadeth Hidden TreasuresAn average release from Megadeth with the honours of their one and only EP. This is a hodge-podge of soundtrack recordings and cover songs, and feels as such. There isn't much to this EP, though the band makes a good effort with their cover of Sabbath's "Paranoid". Megadeth RiskI do commend the band's efforts for mixing things up a bit on this album. Let me stat for the record that my rating has absolutely nothing to do with Megadeth mixing up their sound format...I think that was a really good idea on their part, and more artists who find themselves in a similarly stagnating pool of recycled music should try it. The unfortuantely thing is that the idea is only good in concept here, as Megadeth is never really able to pull off what they seem to be going for. It almost has a half-assed vibe to it, so much room for potential but failing to put it to use. MGMT CongratulationsIn attempting to discard the success that their debut Orcular Spectacular brought them, the band's focus now seems to be on NOT getting singles played, and rather that the album works as a whole. This idea would be respectable, if the album actually could pull that feat off. Really, this feels like a rag-tag collection of songs that don't fit together in any way I can decifer. I get that artists can get overwhelmed by sudden success, but this attempt to thoart their previous good fortune seems extremely confusing and made for a pretty disappointing listen. I'm sure that this process of alienating their fanbase will show them who their really fans were - those who stuck around - if that's really worth something. (2.7/5)Misfits American PsychoMoonspell WolfheartMudvayne Lost and FoundMy Dying Bride Turn Loose the SwansI got into some of their later albums when I was younger and then forgot about them as I got out for metal a bit for a while. As I crawled back to the genre (and it's spawn off sub-genres) my interest was peaked in band's I'd only heard bits and pieces of...unfortunately the list of music to look into - both of metal variety and other - was far superior to the constrants of my time. Eventually have doing some reading on a band I'd gotten into (Anathema) I figured I should finally come back and give these guys a shout. This album isn't what I liked about the band's sound. I can see maybe why fans would be into it, but personally it sounds too droning to be a good doom album for me. That might sound like a hypocritical statement, but I think it just doesn't have enough versatility on it that would seem to come with later records. There are some interesting ideas laid down here though. Nachtmystium Instinct: DecayThough this was a pretty intriguing side of Black Metal and quite possibly the most I can really stand at one time, but overall even Instinct: Decay's little psychedelic and progressive quirks weren't enough to save the album from having an awfully droning feel. I found that after several spins this disc really doesn't have much staying power with me, though there is a little interest to check out some of their other work...alas, I had heard this was their magnum opus. There are some definite highlights and this is good for a couple songs, but really not too much more here.Oakley Hall Second GuessingOpeth BurdenOrphaned Land SaharaThis isn't to say that the band or their music is untalented and unoriginal, because this album is neither of those things. However, there seemed to be something powerfully lacking on this record that kept it from attaining a much higher place in my ears. It feels like there is a lot of potential coming from this band, I just feel like a lot was wasted with this debut. Perhaps I just started listening to this unit in the wrong place, and will check elsewhere in their discography.Pain Of Salvation ScarsickPepper Pink Crustaceans and Good VibrationsSorta surprised this one hasn't been reviewed yet, but I don't think I'd be the best person for the job. I liked what I heard from this band's early material, but with their latest releases (namely No Shame, their B-side/rarities compiliation, and this one) Pepper seems to have lost their trademark energy. This one seems the fartherest stretch from the band's roots...not that a band shouldn't grow, but this just really isn't ska/reggae anymore. This just really feels like Pepper watered-down, and makes for a pretty stale record in my opinion. I do hear these guys make up for it live though, and would love to check them out. Pink Floyd A Collection of Great Dance SongsPink Mountaintops Axis of EvolI'm a fan of McBean's work with Black Mountain, so I assumed this would have similiar payoffs. It was...er, not for me we'll say. I found this really underproduced (not that much money should have been dropped into it in the first place) and pretty lackluster overall. I'm not really sure what McBean was attempting with this side-project, as it's not all that entirely different from his previous work, just a lot worse. There are definitely some elements not found in Black Mountain, but there's really probably a good reason for that, as the result is Axis of Evol...Porcupine Tree On the Sunday of LifeDue to being compiled of tracks a hardcore fan of this "band" (at the point of this recording) from albums undoubtedly already heard, On the Sunday of Life... seems somewhat pointless. It has to get some points for helping launch Porcupine Tree into a real band, instead of Wilson running the show single-handedly. Most of the stuff here is recycled, and therefore the listen isn't too spectacular. Porcupine Tree MetanoiaThis has a few neat moments of ambiances with some pyschedelic influence, as well as a bit of prog to it, but that doesn't make this a worthy purchase. Metanoia is best in the hands of a collector or hadcore fan of the band, as similar (and better) music can be found on numourous other compilations. Given the total output this group has amassed, this one seems a little unnecessary. Porcupine Tree InsignificanceThere's a couple decent tracks on here, but given the amount of volume this band already has in their back catalogue, another B-side outing seems rather unnessary. This one would have worked if they'd cut out some of the weaker moments and kept it a B-side EP...here's to capitalism I suppose.Porcupine Tree Staircase InfinitiesRadiohead AmnesiacI hate to jump at the cliche with this album by saying it really does sound like a b-sides record, but the truth hurts. Everything seems to add up in that direction, and the overall quality of the record itself speaks volumes. Compared to it's past two predessors (hell, even three) it lacks that characteristic punch and seems to have a lazy quality about it. Aside from the generic Pablo Honey, this is up there for works Radiohead for me. Radiohead Pablo HoneyRadiohead Hail to the ThiefRush FeedbackThis one's just meh for me. Surprising as I love every other album they've put out, but this one just doesn't do it for me. I find Summertime Blues pretty annoying, despite the obvious impressive musicianship taking place. They do a pretty stand-up job on all their covers (though I find For What It's Worth a little disappointing) there just isn't enough here to grab me personally. I can see the diehard Rush fan wanting to own this, but as one myself maybe this one just comes down to a matter of personal preference. It might not help that I'm not a particularly big fan of any of the original songs (save the mentioned For What It's Worth) either. Crossroads is a pretty strong exception, as it displays Lifesson's skills pretty blatently.Satyricon VolcanoSatyricon Nemesis DivinaThough I probably won't listen to this again, it was a pretty vast and intense listen. This band seems to throw in some un conventional styles to the genre which is a draw to them, but not coming from a big black metal background as a whole this wasn't up my alley... I can see it being reveared in the black metal community forsure though. Sentenced FrozenI understand this only has a few ratings, but wow is it ever overrated. Admittedly I've known about Sentenced for some time, but only decided to give getting into them another shot after the recent passing of their guitarist. I will say that I enjoyed the guitar work on this album, both rhythm and lead. The rest of this disc, however, I found to be an incredible disappointment. At times it felt like I was listening to a slightly harder version of H.I.M., and no doom/melodic death elements could be found. There is something to this record, but unfortunately it falls short of meeting any decent expectations...the vocals here do a great dealing in ruining the rest of the record.Seventh Void Heaven is GoneDespite this albums good intentions, it falls somewhat flat in its doom-laden rock category. There are a few moments where the band seems to shine, leaving hope that if there is a follow-up it could be much better. The band's overall sound seems like mash up of certain Sabbath riffs with the harder moments of Alice in Chains (though the vocals here need a lot more work to fit the latters). It's doomy, crunchy, and I could see this appealing to fans of Type O' Negative and the doom rock genre in general, though it will probably be harder for the casual listen to get into. There's definintely some nice guitar work that keeps this album moving, but sadly there's a lot of repetition throughout the music. The last track on this one is pretty damn ballin', though.
I still appreciate the free cd Sputnik, definitely cool to be able to check out this band legitimatelyShe Wants Revenge She Wants RevengeSinergy Suicide By My SideThe band started to fade out at this point it seemed, as far as their creativity. I admittedly got into this band because of Roope and Alexi, but there were a few elements to the music at the time that drew me in. The band's debut was a fresh take on power metal in a modern era. Unfortunately, the band was never able to shift past this sound, continuously churning out similar songs. There are minor highlights (Written in Stone?) but other than that one can only hope the long-awaited fourth album will be better. Skindred BabylonSometimes you want something to be a reality so badly, you can almost see it in your horizon. In the case of a metal-head and huge fan of reggae (I know, bit of a contradiction), this horizon finally shone through a cloud of genre merges, just not as brightly as I'd hoped. Skindred's debut offering is a pretty messing combination of the two styles (with some heavy punk doses) and seems to do little for the "genre" other than prove that it just doesn't work. There are a few hidden moments on this disc where something actually comes together, but 8/10 tracks are pretty useless. Perhaps there is hope for this band and style, although it just seems too unlikely. Still, props to Skindred for attempting such a volatile combination of sounds. Skindred Shark Bites And Dog FightsAs a young stoner, I often had long discussions with friends over the possible hybrid of a heavy metal and reggae fusion. Seeing as these were both my favourite genres at the time, the prospect of putting them both together just seemed good sense. Discussions quickly warranted the paradox of metalís aggression and reggaeís laid-back good nature and their ability to coexist in the same realm without sounding completely ridiculous. After Iíd long abandoned the dream of hearing such a sound, a buddy who had been involved in the previous discussions told me about Skindred. He cautioned that they were far from the best thing around, but if my curiosity still needed to be satisfied, I should give them a spin. Iíve looked into the bandís material for a few years now, always casually Iíll admit, and still cannot find something endearing about their music. It was disappointing to truly experience the failure that came at the culmination of metal and reggaeís, but one has to experience the atrocity for themselves. This band obviously has some sort of following, but any reggae aspects come off as more of a gimmick (mainly playing off the lead vocalistís heritage) and underneath Skindred is little more than another nu-metal act. Slightly Stoopid ChronchitisAhh, how sad it is when I band finally begins to reach their potential, then simply gets stuck in the same old groove. This was the case with Sublime rip-off band Slightly Stoopid, and their lastest full-length offering Cronchitius. Despite having a retarded name that even fellow pot-heads find offensive, the music here is pretty much the album Closer to the Sun rehashed about 17 times. This is sadly the bands most generic release, and those looking to check out Slightly Stoopid are best to start (and stay with) Closer to the Sun, or even the bands EP/rareites compilation that would come shortly after this piece of tripe.Slipknot Vol. 3: (The Subliminal Verses)Slipknot All Hope Is GoneThough it does display a (very) few moments of decent music, Slipknot's latest effort - dubbed by the band to be it's most decisive work to date... - seems like little more than the typical nu-metal churned out time and time again. If anything, it seems to mark a bit of a regression in the band's musical direction.Sonata Arctica SilenceSonata Arctica UniaStone Sour Stone SourI loved and bought this when i was a little younger and musically unstable...but looking back (and listening) this is really nothing more than average. That probably isn't a surprise to anyone on this site, but I'm surprised by it's overall rating of 3.5. I can safely walk away with 2-3 tracks from this disc (Get Inside, Bother, Take a Number)? but it's "consistency" gets the better of it, creating a redundant, over-marketed sound. This was an alright listen, but seemed to tear down what Slipknot was doing at the time, which was actually considerably better.Stone Sour Come What(ever) MaySublime with Rome Yours TrulyDistinguishing Sublime with Rome from the legacy left behind in the band?s original incarnation ? three records that have long transcended cult-favourite status ? when frontman Brad Nowell died will undoubtedly be the biggest pitfall facing the legions of fans that both cringed and perked their ears at the possibility of this album. On Yours Truly, you find three musicians (alongside some session helpers) putting out a decent third-wave ska record; unfortunately, it never really goes any farther than that, and it?s not the late 90?s anymore. That means pulling off this stale, almost forced sound comes off as somewhat confusing. Even the basslines and drum beats are a far cry from what the musicians playing the instruments used to sound like. There seems to be an overall lack of creativity here, but rather a rehashing of other decent ska units (see Slightly Stoopid, Pepper, etc.) which leaves the ?Sublime? moniker all the more confusing. All that seemed to make Sublime what they were ? that hodge-podge of musical ideas coming together to create a sound that didn?t fit anything, let alone clear definition. It?s understandable that Wilson and Gaugh would want to use the name they?d played under for decades and was as much theirs as it was Nowell?s; it ?s just sad to see that flag flying over a record that sounds like a couple of guys just going through the motions. SuidAkrA Signs of the FallenSuidAkrA Command To ChargeThis would get a review if it offered up a little more in the way of interesting material. On the band's filth studio outing, they find themselves straying more and more from the celtic side of their music and further embracing the melodic death metal sound from Gothenburg. Though the change might sound decent to metal heads on paper, it results in another mundane, clone-feeling melodeath album. They've truly joined their peeprs with this one, but not for the better. It's fortunate this would be a small stutter-step before the band regained their Celtic ground on the follow-up Caledonia. The Aggrolites Rugged RoadTravelling down the trodden path of familiarity, reggae unit The Aggrolites take things safe by continuing to offer up essentially the same record for the last three studio outings. While the band, whose sound stems from a throwback to classic reggae and the production sound it utilized has never been an act to really push the envelope, though after a pair of records that couldíve been mirror images of each other, the shtick is getting a little frustrating to fans. Consistency is definitely the key to this bands success, but if theyíre not careful they could find their sound more pigeon-holed than it already is. The Allman Brothers Band Enlightened RoguesAfter a myriad of successful albums - both commercially and critically - the Allman Brothers Band was due for a flop by 1979. This came in the form of Enlightened Rogues, which settled back into a blues-dominated formula and redundant musical tactics. There isn't much of interest on this record - pretty surprising given the bands tenacious history - save perhaps the drawn out instrumental "Pegasus" and a soundtrack staple in "Just Ain't Easy". The Beatles Please Please MeThe Coral Magic & MedicineThe Duskfall SourceThe Mothers of Invention Cruising with Ruben & the JetsThe Red Chord Fed Through the Teeth MachineThe Used The UsedThreat Signal VigilanceWhen Threat Signal burst out of a virtually nonexistent metal scene in the filth that comes to mind when hearing Hamilton, Ontario and into a position to start getting signed to labels and finding themselves supporting some of their musical idols in the process, it was pretty exciting for Canadian metal fans, especially those of us born in that area, to see some of the boys making it out into the big world of melodic death metal. The bandís first release was a pretty stellar combination of various influences of the band, resulting in pretty entertaining metal music; unfortunately, shortly after this release, the majority of the band (in fact, all but vocalist Jon Howard remain from the original lineup) decided they couldnít work with their singer or something in that vein and moved on. While the vocals were a nice draw to this first record, the instrumentation was what I was really in it for. Upon these events unfolding, I figured the band was done (for me anyway) and I would go on my continuous search for new music all the same. This would not be the case, as three years later the band come back with ďVigilanceĒ, comprised of (obviously) completely new members (minus the aforementioned vocalist), but retaining much of the sound of the debut outing. While this might sound pretty good at first, really it adds up to a different group of musicians attempting to replicate the hodgepodge ďThreat Signal soundĒ. The record isnít a total waste of time, as a few tracks should manage to entertain at least fans of the bandís work, but a listener canít help but sigh at another example of band chemistry that just canít quite stick. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Tom Petty and the HeartbreakersThank god Petty and the Heartbreakers got better after this album. The songs here (save Break Down and American Girl) are rather generic songs with country/rock undertones. I found this band's debut offering hard to get into and void of the Petty music I love aside from the previously mentioned tracks. I love Petty and the Heartbreakers, I just don't think this debut is a good example of the band's sound. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Into The Great Wide OpenI dont remember rating this at all...chaulkin this one up to a glitch, leavin for the time being since i can't remove my rating, this isn't my representation of the album, I'll be back with an actual ratingTom Petty and the Heartbreakers MojoTool 72826This isn't more than a few songs that would end up showing up on future recordings - in better format and structure - though the EP does have a certain charm for being the foundation for Tool's recordings. I can't see much purpose to this other than for hardcore fans to have in their collection, though this band does have a fair number of them. Trivium AscendancyUbiquitous Synergy Seeker QuestamationUrkraft Eternal Cosmic SlaughterVAST Visual Audio Sensory TheaterDespite being musically decent, this album is pretty average overall, or perhaps just too generic. There are obvious influences coming from bands like Porcupine Tree, Nine Inch Nails, and Radiohead, but these influences only marr the overall sound of the album. Instead of coming together to harmonize within VAST's experience, VAST instead sounds like a poorly rehashed version of the previously mentioned artists. Hopefully they were able to break from these chains for their follow-up disc. Witch ParalyzedPerhaps fearing the pigeon-hole that generally befalls bands that sound similar to Witch, the unit abandons some of their fuzz and Sabbath-inspired riffs for more of a crusty, punk sound. The departure really isnít all that extreme, but for this listener, that fuzzy charm seems much more absent here than on the previous record. The band retains their somewhat doomy atmosphere, but in the process seem to lose their ability to compose good songs. There is some material here that should keep fans at least a little pacified, but there are enough tracks that almost seem intentionally redundant/annoying. I guess I just failed to see the big picture with Witch and their sophomore effort; perhaps having a little too high hopes didnít help things either. I still have faith in this bandís ability to create music more true to their debut record, but weíll have to wait to find out. Wolfmother WolfmotherWyclef Jean The Carnival Volume II (Memoirs of an Immigrant)2.0 poor2Pac Loyal To The GameBedouin Soundclash Where Have the Songs Played Gone To?A sadly forgettable album, Iím still talking to fans of the band that had no idea this was released. Feeling more like unwanted B-sides than an EP of proper Bedouin Soundclash songs, Where Have All the Songs Played Gone To? continues an unfortunate trend of Jay Malinowski-dominated music. With far too much focus put on minimalistic song-writing and recording techniques and less of a creative impact from its rhythm section, this EP is another piece in the puzzle of a band that used to play reggae-oriented music. Bon Iver For Emma, Forever AgoDespite its rave reviews, this album was completely lost on me. I found the disc boring and derivitive, which I know would be the counterpoint to the main feelings of the album for everyone else. To me this just feels too stripped down, and the fact that the guy spent 4 months in a cabin while recording does not make this album deep for me. I came into expecting just that, something deep and provacitive, something that would maintain my interest. Instead, I didn't find anything deep that I could grasp onto and nothing memorable was to be found. I could see some people getting something out of this album, but I still fail to see the praise behind For Emma.Chris Cornell ScreamSo, is Cornell trying to bring sexy back? That's the impression that this Timbaland collab gives off. I wouldn't call Scream a case of Chris taking a dump on his legacy, but rather his legacy taking a dump on this album. Lets face it: we remember this man as a major player in the alt-rock/grunge phase of the 90's and he's been semi-relevant ever since. This just isn't an album for typical Chris Cornell fans. I'll admit that the majority of these beats are pretty repeticious and Cornell's voice (to me) is not well-suited for hip-hop music. Still, I hate to rag on the guy for making an album that wasn't a carbon-copy of his previous work, and you can't fault him for trying something new...or is that exactly what we're doing here? I don't agree with the album, but I do think she's getting a little more slack than she deserves, and I'm pretty sure this could find a fanbase somewhere.Converge No HeroesCradle of Filth Godspeed on the Devil's ThunderEminem InfiniteGary Jules Trading Snakeoil For WolfticketsGeto Boys The FoundationDespite the hooks present in "G Code" and "Nothin' to Show", the Geto Boys have more or less proven that they have lost whatever drive they once possessed, instead relying on their already succured status in the game to churn out another sub-par hiphop record. Karl Wolf Bite the BulletSaturated with danceable grooves and cheesey lyrics, Wolf's sophomore offering should have been everything a pop-addict could have wanted. Unfortunately, the success of his "Africa" single was made off another artist, and is really the only thing to warrant a listeners attention on the disc. The Lebanese-Canadian attempts to showcase his roots slightly in his music, but the ethnicity is far too watered down by (poorly) attempted Justin Timberlake hooks. Kylesa Time Will Fuse Its WorthMegadeth The System Has FailedMoonspell MemorialThis one has a feel similiar to the lastest offering, but just not quite as trashy. By this point it feels like Moonspell have either lost it or are just churning out the same mind-numbing goth rock at the listeners expense. This was just a boring album, a boring listen, and a disappointment considering past material from these guys. Moonspell Night EternalMy Dying Bride Like Gods of the SunFirst off, I'm not a fan of this band (despite, to my credit, repeated attempts to try to be) and this rating could be subject to change, as I may decide to come back to this album one day. I enjoy some aspects of the doom genre, but being more on the Anathema side of things, this band's sound is a little too off-putting. The drone and gloom of it all just doesn't do it for me, and the riffs are far too repeticious. There are a few decent moments here, but this just isn't my bag. Pepper No ShameOf all Pepper's recordings, No Shame is by far the weakest. Of all names to pick for an album, this one is the furtherest from its moniker...there's no feeling here, no catchy songs, an overall lifeless feel, and a horrible flow interupted by poorly done skits. This one gets such a low rating simply since it feels like the band just gave up here and forced out another record. For 18 tracks, this one misleads listeners with the promise of a miriad of good tune possibilities. Samhain November-Coming-FireThe Flatliners The Great AwakeThis one was really disappointing as I held high expectations for it after hearing the single "This Respirator". I was a fan of this style of ska/punk, and hoped to hear some more of the same. What followed was a overall bland, generic feeling for 99% of the record. There is one good song (see above) and another one or two listenable ones (Mastering the World's Smallest Violin, KHTDR). I suppose my opinion is jaded based on why I went looking into this band in the first place, as the only songs I like are linked to the ska influence. From what I'd heard about this band, I expected a much heavier skay presence, and as a result this one fell flat for me. If what you're looking for is punk music, this may be a good place - I'm not as familiar with the genre as I am others - to look into. I'm still going to look into this band's first recording, as I hear that's where they peaked sadly, but I'll only leave with one or two songs from this listen. The Offspring Rise and Fall, Rage and GraceThe Used In Love and DeathAfter two releases, any potential this band had at stepping slightly outside their mainstream emo/pop-punk boundaries has all but died. Seemingly incapable of releasing anything other than an average record, The Used are another example of wasted talent in an over saturated market. The Velvet Underground The Velvet Underground & NicoThis one just wasn't for me. I tried to get into this band/record, but I'm lost as to how it gathered so much popularity and influence. I respect what they've done for the band's that I do enjoy who cite the VU as an influence, but that's where my respect stops.
There is some minor enjoyment in the musicianship, but here Reed's vocals sound bland and like a Dylan rip-off, and Nico's are just horrendous. Tonic Lemon ParadeTrivium The CrusadeYoung Buck Buck the WorldYoung Jeezy Let's Get It: Thug Motivation 1011.5 very poorBon Iver Blood BankOnce again I'm lost on the appeal of Bon Iver. After finding great disappointment in his debut full-length, I thought there was hope with the Blood Bank track and following EP. The title-track is decent and Baby is alright...the other two songs are pretty stripped down awfulness.HIM Dark LightArguably the turning point in an already questionable career, Dark Light found even die-hard fans of the band finding themselves more and more alienated from this point on. Things had been getting weaker and weaker as the band progressed, and their image was more than tiresome far beyond this album. Still, something about this feels like they've finally decided to settle on medicority and are never going to attempt to attain something greater. 1.0 awfulBilly Talent Billy TalentGreen Day American IdiotGreen Day 21st Century BreakdownWell, let us prepare for the radio-onslaught this album will bring. That being said, this album wasn't actually as bad as I was expecting it to be. It's still not good, just not 100% terrible. These guys definitely have their formula down, still writing catchy little hooks that'll set deep into their awaiting fanbase. Don't let this fool you, however, as this is virtually the same thing they've already pulled on with their listeners. While I can give them slight credit for trying the rock-opera thing, they're simply rehasing their own ideas, actually ripping themselves off in the process. There are a couple songs that are maybe worth two or three plays, but for the general intelligent music fan, there isn't a whole lot here to warrant all its hype.
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