• Music + Me + 2007 + Top 20 Albums + Me + Music + Awesome

    Gen 14 2008, 3:13

    2007 was a good year for music. It wasn't an incredible year that makes me believe that music just can't get any better than it is now (probably because [aritst]Kayo Dot didn't release anything, hehe), but it was just a really good, solid year. That being said, here are my 20 favorites, in order from good to greatest.

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    20. Deathspell Omega - Fas – Ite, Maledicti, in Ignem Aeternum



    This is probably some of the most toneless and heavy black metal that I have ever heard. At all the blasting parts, it seems so busy, chaotic, jumbled, and incredibly difficult to discern what exactly is going on and the notes which are being played, more so than most metal. However, after various listens, I came to the conclusion that it’s the contrast of those parts with their strange avant-doom (someone please tell me a better way to describe it) breaks that make this album so…intense, dark, and ferocious. Also, as with a lot of metal on the heavier side of the spectrum, there are many little parts that catch my ear and stand out, making this album so worth sitting through.

    19. El-P – I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead



    This album is bleaker than a walk through a hard section of New York on a rainy day. Rap was something I always imagined to be for the sake of fun, but some of these songs are so depressing/dark that it’s nearly painful (in a good way, though). El-P pulls off songs about prison and hard city life in a unique and fresh manner, which is quite a commendable accomplishment for an MC. His flow is definitely my least favorite part of this album, but the beats completely redeem any problems I have with it. Not to mention, guest appearances by numerous musicians/rappers (The Mars Volta, Cat Power, Aesop Rock) is a big plus.

    18. Radiohead – In Rainbows



    Before this release, my only experience with Radiohead was Kid A, which I find to be exceptional but rarely find the desire to listen to. This album doesn’t quite meet those standards. The first half of the album is stellar, but after that it seems to really drop in quality. I know that they’ve already released two electronica(?) albums, but I really wish that Thom and company would expand more on the sound heard in songs like “15 Step”. It’s easily the strongest and catchiest aspect of the band, and starting the album with a tease like that and then following with their good-but-not-great alternative rock side is a little disappointing. This is a good album, but at the same time, predictable, and definitely not as great as many hipsters would like to claim.

    17. The Pax Cecilia – Blessed Be the Bonds



    The Pax Cecilia is an awesome screamo turned avant-post-metal outfit that offered (or maybe still offers, check their website to find out) their album for free to anyone who wanted a copy…and I mean, an actual copy, with ace packaging and all. I like free stuff, so I got it without really knowing what to expect, but it was a very pleasant surprise. One thing that is clear about this band is that their direction is very unclear. All the elements are present, but are constructed in an awkward manner. Some songs are really slow and have a neat classical feel to them, some of them remind me of Isis with strings, and some of them (the last one specifically) remind me of Tool at their slower moments. All of these sides are pretty great, but the album has a feel of disunity that it can’t quite shake. However, I definitely look forward to where this band goes in the future.

    16. Becoming the Archetype – The Physics of Fire



    This is an album that, at first listen, I was positive that it would be in my top five, if not number one. It was just so…epic and powerful, to be brief. However, after more and more listens, I have to agree with those who say that the progressive qualities of the band almost…weaken them. What’s worse, it seems a little tacked on. Becoming the Archetype was never a cookie-cutter hardcore band to begin with, but there’s something about the new and old sounds that doesn’t mix completely, and they still seem to be trying to figure out exactly what band they want to be. Maybe I’m wrong and they’re quite sure of themselves, and there are still many things to enjoy about this band. Alex’s solos and clean vocals are a great addition, and there are still heavy as balls moments that will simply destroy you. A pretty dang good album, just not exactly what I expected from this band.

    15. The Dear Hunter – Act II: The Meaning of, and All Things Regarding Ms. Leading



    I love Casey Crescendo’s song-writing abilities, and the way he so carefully layers strings and other instruments with the traditional rock instrument set-up, creating some really awesome, catchy progressive pop/indie-rock. However, this album does have one major flaw: it’s simply too long. It starts off with so much energy and lift that when I first listened, I seriously could not believe how good it was. Unfortunately, my instincts were right, and it drops in quality and memorable song-writing after about five songs in. There are definitely some memorable tracks that follow, such as “Red Hands”, “Smiling Swine”, and “Blood of the Rose”, but they are buried in songs that while good, are considerably skippable. I understand that this is a concept album, which makes it difficult for the artist to cut anything out or render something as filler, but clocking in at nearly 80 minutes, it definitely could have been shorter. All that being said, it’s still a great album, just a little inconsistent.

    14. Fair to Midland – Fables from a Mayfly: What I Tell You Three Times is True



    This album is catchier than that new sweater you got that always seems to pick-up animal hair no matter what you do, only in a good way. Alright, terrible similes aside, Fair to Midland does an incredible job on this album of just making really good rock songs, with awesome guitar lines/riffs, beautiful piano melodies, and Darroh’s incredible vocals, which range from really low to, well, really high, and then some almost nu-metal harsh vocals in between (don’t worry, the latter is only really in one song, and even then, it’s awesome). At first, this album sounded pretty repetitious, but after listening to it quite a few times, the songs begin to separate, you remember the distinct melodies and lyrics (which are incredibly fun to sing-along to, by the way), and that’s when this album truly gains the great replay value it has.

    13. Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank



    Another rockin’ album from a good ole’ rockin’ band. This album, however, adds a whole lot more dancey elements…maybe not in the traditional sense, but listen to songs like “Dashboard” or “We’ve Got Everything” and tell me if you didn’t just get up and dance. If the answer is no, you’re probably paralyzed. It’s a huge contrast from the more folky, raw sound of three guys rocking out that Modest Mouse used to be, but I welcome this change, as it’s both catchy and, well, different. Not to mention, they still keep up the older sound on excellent tracks such as “Parting of the Sensory”…maybe not as much as myself and other fans had hoped, but it’s there, and the balance of these two dimensions is what makes this album so fun and just awesome.

    12. Explosions in the Sky – All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone



    This is just a great album from a great post-rock band. While bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Sigur Ros focus on the more textural and ambient side of the genre, Explosions in the Sky focuses mainly (or it would seem on this album) on creating beautiful, shape-shifting, rocky, epic songs with incredible builds and breathtaking climaxes. “The Birth and Death of a Day” gets the album off to a perfect start, and seems like the catchiest and overall best song on the album at first listen, but as you continue through the album, it takes on an incredible feeling of loneliness, which is surprisingly comforting. I still think I prefer bands like Yndi Halda and Godspeed You! to Explosions, but they still cannot match the rockin’ side of the post-rock genre that Explosions in the Sky pulls off so well, especially on this album. Excellent stuff.

    11. Sleepytime Gorilla Museum – In Glorious Times



    Sleepytime is just plain weird, and this album proves that to be quite true. It starts off with the slow moving yet building “The Companions”, and like this track, the album crawls on, slowly progressing and yet keeping you entertained for every second of it. “Helpless Corpses Enactment” follows with a much more fast paced, heavy edge, but that isn’t really seen much again for the rest of the album. Strangest is the track “The Greenless Wreath”, where Nils slowly crawls through his vocals over top of a cacophony of strings and guitars, giving off an incredibly chilling feel. Unfortunately, this album suffers from little replay value. This is sad, as it is a rewarding listen, but the replay value of it all is next to nothing.

    10. Ulver – Shadows of the Sun



    This is such an excellent and chill album, and listening to it whilst drifting off into sleep is one of the most pleasant experiences in the world. It begins with “Eos”, a simple song based completely off of held out synth notes, with violins slowly entering and Garm singing “The sun is far away…it goes in circles…” almost in a soft, low whisper. It then moves to the second track, “All the Love”, where drums are added (and present for most of the album) and a beautiful monolith of piano and stings take over. One member has stated that he took a year off to study classical music prior to this release, and you can really tell. Most surprising is a Black Sabbath cover, which, while sounding incredibly odd for a band like Ulver, fits very well with this album. I can really this holding up after dozens of listens.

    9. Thrice – The Alchemy Index: Volume I + II - Fire & Water



    I really like Vheissu, and while I hate to say it, I really think it pales in comparison to these two joint EP’s. The fire disc is as ferocious and crushing as it needs to be, and the heavy moments top just about anything of it’s sort on Vheissu. What is the most rewarding about this release, however, is the water disc. Dustin has an amazing voice, and it really shows as he sings overtop an orchestra of soft keyboards, creating a beautiful oceanic setting. Most remarkable of all is how close Thrice gets to actually sounding like fire and water should sound, chaotic and peaceful. I look forward to Earth and Air with little patience.

    8. The Shins – Wincing the Night Away



    This dreamy slab of rock took me awhile to really get into it, but once I did, I found it an enthralling experience A lot of the tracks have a really sleepy feel to it, which I love, but the best thing about this album is how thick and textural it is when it needs to be, and at the same time, it can be very thin and simplistic. This album also sees The Shins trying a few new tricks, such as the trip-hop beat in Sealegs, which might I add, is one of the better songs off of this disc. A nice mix of folk, indie rock, and commendable experimentation makes this a top ten album for 2007.

    7. Kiss Kiss – Reality vs. The Optimist



    Kiss Kiss is just a straight-up, awesome indie rock band. They remind me a bit of Cursive, but while Cursive is sitting around with his friends discussing deep issues such as the church and the emotional pains of divorce, Kiss Kiss is the cheery little sibling who is just more fun to hang around. The strings are the high point of this album, but the rest of the band isn’t left on the backburner. In addition, the vocals are beautiful and in songs like “Vagabond”, absolutely crushing. One of my biggest complaints is that this album really could be longer, as with such talented musicians and song-writers, 30 minutes is just too much of a tease, but it doesn’t become a really big issue. That said, they should be releasing a new album of some sort sometime this year (I hope), and if it’s as good as this and maybe a little more lengthy, it’ll be a major contender for the top spot.

    6. Aesop Rock – None Shall Pass



    Aesop Rock is excellent, and embodies everything I enjoy about rap—catchy and creative beats with good instrumentation, and a memorable and unorthodox flow. I’m not sure if the beats are all just samples and programming or if a lot of them, such as the guitar, horns and stand-up bass, are raw recordings, but if it’s the latter, then this album has some incredible musicianship packed into it. His flow is unlike anything I’ve ever heard, and that along with his thoughtful, intelligent (and sometimes nerdy) lyrics make this the best experience I’ve ever had with the genre. That being said, I haven’t listened to a lot of non-commercial rap, so that may take away from the validity of the statement, but I would easily recommend this to anyone with even the slightest interest in good hip-hop.

    5. Cephalic Carnage – Xenosapien



    Cephalic Carnage are masters of all things heavy, and they’ve done nothing but improved their sound on this release. A melting pot of death metal, grindcore, and doom, this album is quite a behemoth. Their previous two efforts were both excellent, but had some pretty prominent flaws, such as a poor use (and sometimes no use at all) of repetition, and hit-or-miss riffage. This time, the riffs are at their best (which is also helped by superb mixing), and repetition is used to it’s full potential to create some catchy and head-banging songs. Basically, this is the most enjoyable and technically proficient album Cephalic Carnage has crafted, and really my go-to album if I want something just plain heavy.

    4. As Cities Burn – Come Now Sleep



    After “Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest”, which was a triumph of emotive hardcore, As Cities Burn lost their vocalist and decided to disband. However, due an outcry of fans, they decided to continue without the presence of T.J., a seemingly daunting task. However, what resulted was even better than their previous album, but at the same time, completely different. Gone are the heavy breakdowns and nearly constant harsh vocals, and taking their place is a slew of atmospheric, chilled-out post-hardcore with a beautiful bluesy sound and the most honest lyrics I have ever heard in a “Christian” band. Cody was apparently dealing with a lot of doubt in God and rejection of standards of “Christian” thinking, and it’s something that I can relate to more than most artists. Because of this, Come Now Sleep holds a close place in my heart.

    3. The Dillinger Escape Plan – Ire Works



    The magnum opus of Dillinger's career. Here they successfully mix everything that was great about their previous releases, and some how manage to improve on every bit of it. The heavy, tech-metal moments are up to par with 90% of Calculating Infinity, and I all the pop tracks are more enjoyable than any off of Miss Machine. But what is even better is here we see Dillinger do the above, while still adding more freshness to the mix. Strange glitchy electronica can be heard on quite a few tracks, not to mention the last track, which has a pretty extensive jazzy section that will get your toe tapping in less than one measure. What's bad about this album? Some could complain that a few riffs sound recycled. I honestly don't hear this at all, except for one riff on Black Bubblegum which sounds like a slowed-down section of "When Good Dogs...", but it really isn't close enough to bother me at all. All fellating aside, this album lives up to its name with intense and wrathful tracks, but there's so much more beyond that. People will look for reasons to hate it, but after dozens of listens, it's beyond anything this band has ever accomplished.

    2. Kaddisfly – Set Sail the Prairie



    There’s just something about this album that I absolutely love. It’s really long…probably even painfully long if you haven’t given it enough time to settle. But there’s just something about the atmosphere it creates, the beautiful and poppy guitar melodies, and the breathtaking vocals of Christopher Ruff. He has an incredible range and can get higher than you’d believe without sounding the least bit “whiney” or clichéd. I also love how varied the guitar work is. Some moments sound really smooth and poppy, some sound really jazzy, and in some songs it almost sounds sludgy, such as the epic Snowflakes. This right here is simply a great, large helping of modern prog-pop.

    1. Between the Buried and Me – Colors



    I’m still not sure if I enjoy this as much as Alaska, but I’m pretty certain that it’s a better album overall. I’m sure you, the reader, have already heard about how brilliant this band is, mixing progressive rock, jazz, and hell, even some country into their own brew of technical metalcore, so I’ll spare you more ranting. I believe this album to be brilliantly constructed and executed, and the prowess of the music itself justifies any complaints of the pretentiousness behind it. Colors is, plain and simple, one of the best metal albums I have ever heard—and that’s saying a lot.

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    There you are. Tell me what you agree/disagree with, or if I missed your favorite...keep in mind, there are a lot of albums I have yet to hear.
  • Disappointment of the Year (so far) Award

    Lug 13 2007, 16:18

    Ion Dissonance is easily my favorite band of all time. I very much enjoy the older days of The Dillinger Escape Plan, The End, and other such monikers...but frankly, Ion Dissonance just pummels me with the power that few other bands have. The slew of blisteringly heavy and dissonant guitars with technical flare is something I absolutely could not get enough of on their first two releases...so I couldn't wait for their third release due out this year...

    Ion Dissonance - Minus the Herd (2007)




    Well, first of all, our post-Solace relationship got off on a bad foot, considering that Gab left last summer. His chaotic highs and mids are, in my opinion, one of the elements of this band that made them so chaotic and powerful in their first two releases, and even while his voice didn't always sound great, it always captured a very dark and intense mood. And then he left. Needless to say, I wasn't sure if I should really expect anything from this band any longer...but then I realized, the blistering guitars, pummeling drums, and catchy bass will still be present, so I shouldn't get my hopes down.

    Well, I probably still should have expected the worst. Then I'd be at least a little surprised and pleased with this release. The vocals aren't HORRIBLE, but they're nothing up to the quality of the last two releases, and it gives the music a much different feel. However, the most notable difference is the shift of the music to a more rhythm-based sound. The guitars, while still a little technical, have switched to a more "chuggah-chuggah-chug" tough-guy metal sound than the wildly fast sound of the last two releases. The fastest moments on this album are about on tempo with some of the slower pieces on Solace. I think I would be able to enjoy this a little more with Gab's vocals, and I think I would also be able to enjoy the new kid's vocals with the music of the last two releases, but both the music and vocals shifting at the same time was just too much.

    I'm sure that on repeated listens I'll be able to pick out some more memorable songs and some that I actually really enjoy, but for the most part, I can't help but feel let down. Don't get me wrong, this album is still an enjoyable listen, but from Ion Dissonance, I expected more than just an enjoyable listen...and maybe I expected too much.
  • I swore I wouldn't do it this year, but here it is...My Top 10 of 2006!

    Dic 25 2006, 5:00

    2006 saw a lot of new things for me. New music, new tastes, and the fall of my pirating habits (hats off, Lucas!) I swore that I wouldn't make a top ten list this year, mainly because making seven dollars an hour for about twelve or less hours a week gives me only enough new cd's that I can count them on my fingers and toes. However, when I was trying to write about this year in music (it was so excellent I had to do something), I couldn't help but start comparing the albums against each other, until this spawned. So, here you are...my top 10 of 2006.


    10. Into Eternity – “The Scattering of Ashes”



    I was really psyched for this album, mainly because I love how well this band mixes progressive, death, and power metal into one working unit on their album “Buried in Oblivion”. This album is still great, tightly knit, powerful, epic, and possibly even better written than the album prior to it, but at the same time, Into Eternity seems to have gone for a sound more death metal oriented than power/prog, which is something I frowned upon with this release. Some of the songs seem to sound incredibly, yet unintentionally similar to each other, and while they don’t bother me much, I still can’t see the “Halford highs” vocals fitting very well with this album. However, it still has some great moments, some amazing guitar chops (which is always the first thing I notice), and a new vocalist that somehow...sounds...exactly like the old dude. Recommended if you're into power or death metal.


    9. Anathallo – “Floating World”



    To be honest, Anathallo was a band that I just didn’t get at first. I don’t and never did think that they’re a rip-off of Sufjan Stevens (like my friend Jacob said, they’ve been around since before the whole Illinois craze), but I never saw anything very special in them. Their energetic moments never seemed to last long enough for me, as right when I would get into it, they would slow it down a little more again. However, after seeing them live at Purple Door Festival this year, I realized that there is so much more to them than I had initially thought. The energy, quirky-ness, and overall fun atmosphere of their live show is something that I have rarely experienced with bands of their trade. When I returned home and gave "Floating World" another listen, I realized that this album is full of beautiful melodies, haunting songs with chilling vocals, all kinds of strange random vocal arrangements as well as different percussion and horn instruments in every which direction, all unified together to form a mass of truly beautiful music. Overall, Anathallo achieves nearly everything they set out to accomplish in this album. However, my only complaint is still the lack of energy displayed in their recordings. Times that were so fun and danceable at their live show seem a lot less memorable on the album, mainly because the multiple percussion instruments that are used seem almost to be turned down to a considerably low volume in the mix. However, still a great album for indie fans.


    8. The Faceless – “Akeldama”



    Despite their seemingly un-clever (yet pretty metal) name, The Faceless is actually a brilliant band, and Akeldama is a pretty brilliant release. It’s only eight tracks (reasonably nice sized ones, but still), so it clocks in at only a little over half-an-hour. However, this might be a smart move. It’s better to be full but still a little hungry for more when done with an album than to be so stuffed with music to the point of nausea. Because of this, I have actually found myself starting the album over right after the last song…multiple times. This is very rare for me. The guitar, bass, and drum work is all stellar here. Some incredibly fast licks and riffs can be found, flawless sounding double bass (not to mention some of the best drum mixing in a metal album I’ve heard in awhile), and some really neat keyboard parts are what help this album become truly special. However, what really makes this album so special is the title track, which is a six or so minute instrumental track. It starts off with a synth voice (I don’t feel like listening and trying to type what is said here, but think Meshuggah in “Mind’s Mirrors”), and then going into a progressive metal tangent with odd-time signatures, some nice jazzy chords, and some of the best musicianship I’ve heard in a metalcore band (although it’d be safer to call them death metal than metalcore, really). Brilliant musicians, and while you can tell it’s their first full-length, it’s definitely a great album and shows much promise for The Faceless. Now they just need to set up a tour with Skinless


    7. Final Fantasy – “He Poos Clouds”



    Originally, I only bought this album because of how much I loved the title and the album art. However, I had no idea how much I would enjoy this album. It’s more-or-less orchestra driven indie music, with some interesting (and beautiful) vocals by the main singer/songwriter of the group, Owen Pallett. What I love so much about this album is how often it reminds me of show tunes, and how I almost feel like I’m watching a theatrical performance (without the snobby and sophisticated theater-goers surrounding me), which is something really unique about this band. Fun and joyful sounding at some moments (“The Pooka Sings”), and hauntingly dark and beautiful at others (“If I Were A Carp”), this album reaches a wide range of emotions and feelings, and while I’m not often in the mood for music such as this, it’s such a great listen when I am, and something that I believe all lovers of music should experience at one point or another.


    6. Protest the Hero – “Kezia”



    I have heard somewhere on the internets that this album was originally released in Canada in 2005 (once again, hats off, Lucas)…but since it didn’t see a United States release until this year, it still fits on this list. Anyways, this album is nothing short of brilliant. What I initially thought as a cool, yet fairly repetitive emotive metalcore album, I now see as one of my favorite metal releases of this year. Such an excellent blend of metal, metalcore (yes, they’re different), hardcore, punk, emo/screamo, etc. with great singing vocals (the screams are less than great, but they don’t appear very often, which is good) and some pretty intelligent sounding lyrics are all what make Protest the Hero such a special band. Another great aspect of this album is how fun it is to sing along to, most noticeably at the end of "Turn Soonest to the Sea". Moments like these make it nearly impossible to keep your mouth shut while listening to this album. Highly recommended stuff.


    5. Mastodon – “Blood Mountain”



    Mastodon is a really interesting band to me. They successfully mix nearly every imaginable style of metal to fuse their own sound (except maybe breakdowns). At moments, a song might sound like thrash metal, the next moment, it's comparable to stoner metal such as Queens of the Stone Age, and often the progressive metal side of Mastodon comes out. Regardless, every song is special in it's own sense, and while some times it sounds like metal for the sake of metal, it is evident that there is a lot of thought and effort behind ever song. Some clever passages are seen, technical guitars and drums, weird computerized vocals at moments, spacey softer moments, and some really weird singing/screaming vocals that I still don’t understand why I love so much. This album is my first of Mastodon, and it’s definitely one that I can see myself appreciating awhile from now.


    4. Agalloch – “Ashes Against the Grain”



    This is my first album of Agalloch, so if you’re a die-hard fan, don’t curse me because their older albums are supposedly better. This album is a truly dark and eerie masterpiece. A great rainy/snowy/foggy day (or any weather involving precipitation, really) album, it successfully blends black metal with post-rock, sludge, and progressive metal. A lot of times I feel like I’m listening to a more atmospheric version of Opeth (can you believe it?). It’s a very slow-paced album at times, but there are some incredibly brilliant moments. The last three tracks (which is more or less one track), all starting with “Our Fortress Is Burning…” is the highlight of the album for me. It begins with the calm, instrumental “…I”, then moves seamlessly into the epic “…II – Bloodbirds”, which is probably my favorite track off of the album, mainly for it’s balance of heavy and soft moments, and for the brilliant lyrics: “The god of man is a failure. Our fortress is burning against the grain of the shattered sky. Charred birds escape from the ruins and return as cascading blood…dying bloodbirds pooling, feeding the flood…and all of our shadows are ashes against the grain.” It then ends with “…III – The Grain”, which is mostly just static and droning guitars, almost in a Sunn O))) style (but I haven’t listened to much Sun O))), so don’t slaughter me if that comparison isn’t accurate). Excellent album to fall asleep to (in a good way, though...)


    3. Disillusion – “Gloria”



    While this album is at number three, I’d have to say that it would be the most surprising album of the year for me. As some of you may know, their first full-length album “Back to Times of Splendor” is one of my favorite progressive metal albums of all time. It is full of so much emotion, so much power, such brilliant riffs and epic songs, and is very technically advanced without appearing pretentious. What is so perfect about it is it’s atmospheric, monolithic sound, which almost seems like it was written to be the soundtrack of a J.R.R. Tolkein film (lyrically and musically). However, before the release of "Gloria", it was announced that the band didn’t want to rewrite the same album. They wanted to do something different, and quote “something that we can play live as a three piece”. This frightened me a little, to be honest. However, after hearing the album, it’s definitely one of my favorites of this year (obviously). It’s definitely a huge change for the band. A lot of dance and electronic elements were added to the mix, which adds a really catchy texture to a lot of the songs. The mixing is also incredibly heavy, and seems to have almost a wall of sound at some moments (i.e. “The Black Sea” or “Gloria”). Many moments are just as powerful as the previous album, like a choir during the chorus of the title track, and a gunshot at the end of “Too Many Broken Cease Fires”. The vocals are probably the biggest change, and are very diverse. Vurtox (who now goes by his last name, Schmidt) does vocals, which range from a talk-sing, to operatic singing, to his aimless mumbling (literally…it’s the most interesting vocals I’ve heard in a long time) on “Don’t Go Any Further”. Some comparisons to Rammstein have been made, but the only place I see it is in the vocals…and I’m no a Rammstein fan, so I’ll just dismiss those comparisons politely. Anyways, if you’re interested in something really new and different, such as progressive metal with a dance/electro feel to it (I know you are!), check out this album.


    2. Converge – “No Heroes”



    I only started listening to Converge about a month ago with “Jane Doe”, and was thoroughly impressed, enough to pick up their newest, “No Heroes”. Already they’re in my top ten, after only a few weeks. This album is a beautiful blend of breakdowns with atmospheric moments, technical riffs and odd time signatures with just heavy, killer songs with powerful thrashy riffing. Converge effortlessly blends the attitude of punk with the crazy unrelenting heaviness of metal in this release, and does it pretty dang well. As Matt said earlier about Converge in one of his posts, metal, punk, hardcore and breakdowns are only used as tools to enhance their music, but yet they are never bound by any rules or limits of these things. At times, incredibly beautiful, and at other times, horrifying and brutal, to the point that I'm actually frightened to see them live (which makes me even more excited). Once you really get into Converge, they’re a perfect metal band that can transcend nearly every mood and listening preference. It’s something you truly have to experience to understand.


    1. mewithoutYou – “Brother, Sister”



    Alright, come on guys. There’s no way you could be even the least bit surprised. This is the album I have talked about constantly since it has come out, the band that climbed to number one in my charts almost immediately after the release of this album, and the band that I lamented over for days when I couldn’t get into their show because it sold out as I was waiting in line. I’ve already written about this album before, so I’ll just copy and paste what I had said earlier out of laziness…

    “I believe that it is safe to say that this album is a little more experimental than their previous works, which is almost difficult to believe at first (believe me, I know), but it's true. Additions such as Aaron's singing, which is used much more than in the preivous albums, some guest vocals by Psalters as well as Jeremy Enigk from Sunny Day Real Estate and and new instruments such as horns (featuring Anathallo!) and the harp in the last track "In a Sweater Poorly Knit". The guitar melodies, the bass rhythms, and the drum beats are what reminds me most of "Catch for Us the Foxes", and sound the most familiar in tracks like "Nice and Blue, Pt. 2", "Wolf Am I! (and Shadow)" and "C-Minor".”

    At the time when I wrote that, I hadn’t really paid much attention to lyrics quite yet. However, that is the essence of mewithoutYou. I’m still not quite sure what all “A to B: Life” is all about, since the vocals on that album are much less distinguishable. “Catch For Us the Foxes” is mainly about thoughts and contemplations of suicide, as well as the haunting of sin such as lust. “Brother, Sister” takes a new stance which I interpret as peacefulness, contentment, and loving God to the highest degree by humbling yourself before him. I’m sure that it’s much more complicated than this, but this is what I get out of the album the most. Aaron’s poetic similes and metaphors are definitely still there, and there are plenty of memorable lines, my favorites on “Orange Spider”, “A Glass Can Only Spill What It Contains”, and “In A Sweater Poorly Knit”.

    In order to keep myself from writing more, I must say this: I recommend this album to you, no matter what you listen to, no matter what you believe in, or no matter who you are. This is one of the most beautiful albums I have ever listened to, and is an album that everyone should experience. Take that from a devout metalhead.

    ________________

    Whew. Glad that's done with. Oh, and if you didn't read it all, I'll cut you. With my interknife.
  • Good thing I have self-control, or I would have killed myself!

    Nov 22 2006, 23:22

    mewithoutYou is probably one of my favorite bands at this moment, and possibly of all-time. This is easily understandable; their catchy minimalistic riffs/melodies and their atmospheric, yet energy filled punk/post-rock/post-hardcore/experimental sound, with Aaron's unique speak/sing vocals over top of it all, and the most deep and thoughtful lyrics I've ever heard to boot.

    I've already missed them three times before that I was aware of...twice at Purple Door (one time because my group had to leave early to play a show, the other because I couldn't find anywhere to sleep Friday night and was forced to go up Saturday morning), as well as once at a local club (The Chameleon Club) where they headlined with three local bands. However, when I saw they were playing in Allentown, PA with Say Anything (a band I enjoy, but don't listen to much) and two others (Forgive Durden and Piebald), I was NOT going to let anything get in my way to see them.

    Not thinking clearly, my crew and I decided not to buy tickets ahead of time...I mean, c'mon...it's Allentown, it's a large club, and regardless, while the two headlining bands (not co-headliners, but screw formalities) are fairly popular, they didn't seem like bands that would attract a sell-out crowd.

    Well...we were wrong. When we arrived, there was a line stretching down the street, around a corner, and then some. It was very...very cold...and for some reason, we knew we weren't going to get in...but we still had a glimpse of hope as the line was moving, so we waited it out. For about half an hour. In the freezing cold. Then, as the group ahead of us paid and entered, we eagerly dug into our wallets...we weren't going to waste any more time out here, we wanted in! Thats when someone said the terrible news "Sorry guys, that's it...we can't let anymore in unless they have advance tickets." This was responded by one of the staff members with "What? This place never sells out! You've got to be kidding me!" (Profanities edited out, of course). We then tried to buy tickets off of people for high prices, but no one was selling...so we left.

    And that's the story of how I almost saw mewithoutYou! Thanks for reading.
  • Just a note about my reasons for "attending" the Crossfade show...

    Nov 6 2006, 0:49

    If you look at my recent events section, you'll notice something unlikely...the band Crossfade, in particular. Personally, I don't like Crossfade. I don't really consider them remotely original in any sense. They're alright at what they do...and what they do is a radio-friendly "hard rock" sound similar to that of Three Doors Down, Creed, and other uninspiring bands.

    However, after my band (Sickness Unto Death) played the Chameleon Club in Lancaster thrice, the guy that hooks us up with shows there told us that he wants to get us in with bigger bands than just those in the local scene. As one can safetly assume, we are playing this show with Crossfade as a result of this. While we wish that we were thrown onto a show with a touring act closer to our style, we're not going to complain, as who knows what this could do for us as a band. It could create some great oportunties, and it might not...in fact, it probably won't. However, I'm just thankful to God that we have the opportunity to do something this big...to us, at least.


    ...that doesn't mean I'm ever going to like Crossfade, though.
  • (more) Praise for "Brother, Sister"!

    Ott 1 2006, 4:43

    On Friday, my preorder for the latest installment of mewithoutYou goodness arrived. I've been looking forward to this album for as long as I can remember (which somehow dates back to when I had practically all the songs on "Catch for Us the Foxes" memorized), and I was pretty psyched when it finally arrived. Anyways, here's the meat and potatoes of it.



    The album art is nothing different than their previous two releases...an artistic painting (or, this one looks almost more like a pastel sketch, but I have no clue what I'm talking about) that slightly depicts the main idea behind the lyrical content of the album (see track seven "The Sun and the Moon").

    I believe that it is safe to say that this album is a little more experimental than their previous works, which is almost difficult to believe at first (believe me, I know), but it's true. Additions such as Aaron's singing, which is used much more than in the preivous albums, and new instruments such as horns (featuring Anathallo!) and the harp in the last track "In a Sweater Poorly Knit". The guitar melodies, the bass rhytems, and the drum beats are what reminds me most of "Catch for Us the Foxes", and sound the most familiar in tracks like "Nice and Blue, Pt. 2", "Wolf Am I! (and Shadow)" and "C-Minor".

    As for the lyrical content, well...being a guitarist and avid music fan, as well as one who pays little attention to lyrics whatsoever (besides in concept albums and, well...mewithoutYou), I can't say much at this moment about my thoughts on the poetry. One thing I always love about mewithoutYou is Aaron's ability to write lines and metephors that really make me think "Wow, that is incredibly clever" and give me chills, and there are definately plenty of examples of that in this album. I'm sure by the thirtieth listen (basically, by the end of the week), I'll have most of the lyrics memorized...and then I'll be able to compare them to the previous releases.

    All in all, this album has not let me down at all. I hate to sound like a conformist as well as a broken record, but really...this cd is truly a gem. All the praises it's already recieving is well-deserved, and after only three listens (it took much longer with their previous works) I'm completely hooked and in love with mewithoutYou all over again.

    Cheers.
  • mewithoutYou's "Brother, Sister" has Parental Advisory?

    Set 21 2006, 19:22

    If you haven't seen it already...look here.

    I can't really imagine how this isn't just a big data screw up with these websites. mewithoutYou's lyrics are so spiritual and religious that it really would shock me to hear one offensive word in any of their songs, and the fact that tooth and nail would release an album with a parental advisory is completely unheard of. I'm sure that there's nothing to worry about, and I'm positive that their lyrics are just as spiritual and poetic as they were before, but this still seems really strange.

    I'm nearly positive that this is a data mistake, but I'll still be looking forward to possibly hearing mewithoutYou address the matter.
  • New Purchases.

    Set 16 2006, 3:20

    The other night I ripped my mother off of the sofa and sat her down at the computer in order to purchase some tunes for me.

    Three of them should be no surprise to you, as I just made a post a week or two ago concerning the four albums this fall I am most excited about. That's right, I ordered three of them. mewithoutYou's "Brother, Sister" appears to be a promising album for fans of the previous (raises hand), Into Eternity's "The Scattering of Ashes" sounds awesome, even based on one preview song, and He Is Legend's "Suck Out the Poision" had to be ordered, no matter how much I question whether or not I'll like it...c'mon, it's He Is Legend, so it has at least some value.

    I also ordered Pat Metheny Group's "The Way Up", as I've been really getting into jazz recently, and have completely worn out "Letter From Home". Maybe I should get a new ALAN HOLDSWORTH album, as well. Or, if you're a fan of Pat Metheny and haven't bought any of his stuff, check him out.

    The last compact disc in the purchase was Final Fantasy's "He Poos Clouds". Despite the name, Final Fantasy has little to do with the game. It's more or less indie driven symphonic music...which really interests me. Actually, what really interested me was the album name. To be honest, that's why I'm buying it. However, the song I heard at my friends house was very good and catchy, so I'm excited to see what listening pleasures this album will bring.

    Oh, and I also bought season two of LOST...that really has nothing to do with music, but it has everything to do with awesome, so I thought I'd add that in.

    Thank you, the reader, for bearing with me throught this rather bland and unorganized journal entry.
  • Autumn and It's Anticipated Releases.

    Set 3 2006, 5:34

    To be completely honest, I was pretty disappointed with 2006 in terms of good music releases. There's only been a few releases out so far this year that really caught my ear (notably Protest the Hero's "Kezia" [which I think was actually released in Canada in 2005, but only Lucas would care about that] and Anathallo's "Floating World"), and after expecting so much in the beginning of this year and finding next to nothing as quality music releases goes, I was pretty upset. However, this fall is looking to be insanely excellent. There are so many good releases soon to come that I can't even keep track of them. Let me explain further...in order of their release dates...or in order of when they come to mind.

    --


    mewithoutYou - "Brother, Sister" (September 26)
    mewithoutYou is a band that took me a while to like, and after that, just minutes to love, and mere seconds for me to lust after. Their ambient melodies with Aaron's poetic speaking voice overtop is just something that so often fits my mood. I've listened to them for years but didn't get "Catch for Us the Foxes" until early this summer, and haven't been able to stop listening since. They have moved from practically nowhere to number seven in my list, and that's pretty impressive to me.

    Needless to say, I have pretty high expectations for this album. It is said that there will be more singing vocals this time around, which is alright with me, as long as they don't completely eliminate Aaron's speaking voice (which it's obvious that they won't after a listen to the preview song "Nice and Blue, Part II"). His singing voice is a little hard to get used to on the other preview song, but at the same time, it was difficult for me to get used to his speaking voice at first listen as well, so I'm not going to write it off yet. Hopefully my expectations do not exceed the quality of this album...I don't believe that they will, though.

    --


    He Is Legend - "Suck Out the Poison" (October 3)
    He Is Legend is the one beam of light in the otherwise dark, disappointing current line-up of Solidstate records (albeit Underoath and Becoming the Archetype). They successfully combine southern rock, metal, and...well...emo (musically, not lyrically) into their interesting breed of rock music. Their debut EP (which is about as long as many artist’s full-lengths) and their full-length debut "I Am Hollywood" have been favorites of mine for the past two years, and I'm pretty excited to see what's going to happen next.

    My expectations aren't nearly as high on this album as so with mewithoutYou...which is most likely a good thing. They announced that it would be a more straight-up southern rock album this time around, which upset me a little at first, but their new song "Mushroom River" as well as the less new but probably more similar to their current sound track "Cape Fear" off of the "Black Unicorn Split EP" are pretty exciting to listen to. There is less along the lines of technical guitar work, but it's an interesting new taste, and He Is Legend pulls it off very well. However, I still don't enjoy the new sound as much as the old, but I'm pretty excited to see what the guys have in store for us...they're brilliant musicians and could probably make any genre shift they decide to make interesting enough for me to listen, even if I initially would write it off.

    --


    Into Eternity - "The Scattering of Ashes" (October 3)
    Into Eternity is probably one of my favorite progressive metal bands out there. Or one of my favorite power metal bands. Or quite possibly one of my favorite death metal bands in existence. The truth is, they do each style so well that you'd still want to shake their hands, even if they stole your television. Their aggressive breed of unique (and really, it's pretty unique) metal is something that I enjoy very much, and since I've practically worn out their two full-length albums that they've released so far, I'm ready for something new.

    There isn't a whole lot that I really have to say about this album. Well, there is...but most of it consists of "OMG I CAN'T WAIT!!"...and I'll spare you of that madness. The preview song sounds different, yet it still contains everything I love about Into Eternity. Crazy fast riffs and solos, death grunts and screams alongside three part vocal harmonies, and crazy double bass peddling to boot. It'll be one killer album, and I'll definitely have to preorder it as soon as I get a hold of my mother's credit card.

    --


    Disillusion - "Gloria" (October 20)
    Disillusion, alongside Into Eternity, is another one of my favorite progressive metal bands. Their first and only full-length album "Back to Times of Splendor" completely wowed me, even at the first listen. The monolithic sound that they composed with this album was so full of emotion and yet contained so much power as well. The death grunts are there, but they're not extreme metal grunts, but more calm, almost yelling with a little bit of a growl, so that it doesn't take away from the sound that they possess, and the singing is beautiful and operatic...yet not over-the-top at all (I'm looking at you, Nightwish).

    I really am not sure what to expect of this album. It has twice the number of songs as their previous work...which makes me wonder if they abandoned the epic extended masterpiece concept (i.e., long songs) that they had before. Also, they decided to write material that they could play live as a three-piece and not need to haul guest musicians around on tour, so I'm wondering if the full, monolithic sound will still be there this time around. Even more so, their sound is described by the band as "more modern"...which...is really open ended, but doesn't sound inviting to me. However, it is stated that members of the press who attended a special listening session were "equally surprised and amazed", so..well, I'm not sure what to think. Change is good...and while I wouldn't mind a new album that sounds incredibly similar to their previous, only with new songs, I wouldn't mind something completely new, either...and that's good, because they state on their website that it will not be part two of "Back to Times of Splendor"...we'll see how it all plays out.

    --

    Anyways, those are the four titles that I'm really excited for. I'm also pretty amped for Arsis - "United in Regret" and Pain of Salvation's "Scarsick", but I really don't know enough about either of them to say much right now. Hopefully none of these upcoming releases disappoint, and most of all, I hope that they all provide the opportunity for me to further expand my tastes if they aren't exactly what I expected.

    Cheers.
  • What? I purchased music?

    Giu 29 2006, 2:56

    As many of you who are familiar with me personally know...which is only a few people on last.fm, in that case...I'm not the biggest music buyer, right? Most of the music I listen to is either downloaded or burned from some of my good buddies who like to spoil me with illegal goods. I mean, I don't even purchase music from my favorite bands, even though I know how hard it is to get support and make it in the music industry. I've bought, like...what...one CD this year? Right?


    WRONG! It's time for a change! A reform! A practice of legally acquiring music! Last week, I ordered on amazon about the same amount of CD's I have bought in the past year...or possibly in the past two years. And needless to say, despite the fact that I just spent...a lot of my hard earned cash (and I mean hard earned...never get involved in the tourism industry), I feel very good about my purchase. I'm probably not supporting the band at all...maybe I'm supporting someone who did support the band...but regardless, what's important is that I bought them legally. I own music. Wow, what a feeling. Probably not a feeling that's worth the money, but it still feels pretty good.


    Anyways, I'm sure you're all wonder what the heck I did purchase. Four of them came today actually, which excites me quite a bit. Those four are...

    My Arms, Your Hearse
    Damnation
    Blackwater Park
    Close to the Edge

    And the CD's that are still wating to ship, or currently on their way to my humble home include:

    Orchid
    Morningrise
    Still Life
    Deliverance
    Ghost Reveries
    Bridge Across Forever


    I'm sure you're noticing a pattern in my order. Well, not so much a pattern, but a dominating artist. As you all know, Opeth is my favorite artist of all time, so I found it a must to purchase all of their great albums, and figured it's better to get it over-with early and get it done. Also, due to my recent venture into new and old progressive rock, I decided to purchase Yes's Close to the Edge, as well as a favorite by Transatlantic. All in all, I'm quite excited for the CD's to all finally arrive...then I can start thinking about what ten CD's to purchase next...