Posts Tagged ‘metal’

Cycle

Birth death renewal and I can’t breathe

I’ve lost my light I dropped my torch inside

This vacant

Tunnel

I search for trouble

Cause at least then I would feel something

Inside

I’ve looked for years

With empty eyes

What’s dark in me won’t you

Illumine

It’s all my fault we all lose our way

Stretch out your hands and keep the wraiths at bay

I

Can’t

Find my way through this damned labyrinth

I’m

Running out of thread

I

Won’t

Find my way I’ll say the Hell with it

I’m on the verge of giving in

I’ve tried it all

Chased vanity

I’ve looked for calm

But it always strays (tossed by the waves)

It’s not my fault that you’ve lost your way

Stretch out your hands and keep the demons at bay

I

Can’t

Find my way through this damned labyrinth

I’m

Running out of thread

I

Won’t

Find my way I’ll say the Hell with it

I’m on the verge of giving in

I hope someone up there

Can save me

That’s what everybody says

I plead are you up there

So save me

I need to pray for someone else

Save me

(These are lyrics to a heavy metal song I’m recording)

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It was announced recently that the metal core outfit known as Underoath is no longer a Christian band. This shocked the Hell out of many, myself included, but it only took a trip through the rest of their albums for me to realize they’ve been wrestling with the issue for a long time (especially in the last one “Disambiguation”) – discs riddled with doubt and uncertainty, even from the beginning.

While their new record, “Erase Me” does explore issues of questioning (in ways that outdo both Bring Me the Horizon and Marilyn Manson), it is far from blasphemous. There are enough “God save me” references to satisfy any Christian…or, better put, any hopeful spiritual person…There’s a lot on this disc that Fundamentalists would have a big problem with. But that’s rock and roll. That’s art. And though I believe in Jesus Christ as my savior, I am still happy to call this album the best set of songs I have heard since 2010 (Danger Days….).

There is so much raw authenticity to this disc…whether it’s Spencer’s chaotic vocals digging deep into the subject of depression, Aaron’s beautiful vocals that sound like fucking harmonies even when there’s only one vocal track, Chris’ innovative keyboards that can go from Skrillex to Beetheoven at the drop of a hat, Grant’s chugging bass lines that practically break the windows of my car, or Tim and James’ relentless guitars that go from mellifluous harmony to relentless assault within the span of a second.

This is CLASSIC Underoath. The darkness of Define the Great Line, the rawness of Lost in the Sound of Separation, the experimental tones of Disambiguation, and the heartfelt honesty of They’re Only Chasing Safety (Oath abandoned the black metal of Cries of the Past days long ago…but, surprisingly, this shit has the energy of that disc as well…fast, double bass, metal riffs, and less focused, more cathartic screams in some places). The best description I can think of for this album is that it’s like They’re Only Chasing Safety, but more mature, and way, way heavier. Digitized intros and bridges, industrial drum beats with just enough metal to assault the ears, beautiful clean vocals, and heavy screams that put all other “screamers” to shame –

this is Underoath.

This is the band that created the metal core genre…perhaps not literally, but definitely in that the style they created is what everyone else followed. So many bands reap the benefits from the ingenuity of Underoath (and I love them, and none are by any means ripoffs, but it’s true…Underoath are like the Beatles of metal core) – Memphis Mayfire, Blessthefall, Escape the Fate (some of it), Alesana, A Skylit Drive, Bring Me the Horizon, and so many more.

What’s crazy though is how DIFFERENT this effort manages to be while still remaining true to the style of what came before it. There are BALLADS now, along with punk rock (In Motion). “No Frame” is the most innovative thing I have ever heard from Underoath…it still sounds like them, but they have literally never written a song like this one before – the only thing I can compare it to is some of the spacey stuff from Thirty Seconds to Mars, but BETTER. And it’s not just this song – so much of this record is experimental, and while we’ve heard similar sounds before, it still pulls off the feeling of being fresh and unique.

I literally find no fault whatsoever with this album. It is perfect from start to finish.

This isn’t Avenged Sevenfold’s best album. That honor will always be held by City of Evil (one long guitar solo) and, to some extent, Nightmare. 

But it’s their smartest, most ambitious, and most unique album to date. Think “The Wall” by Pink Floyd…but metal.

It’s a concept album, centering around the ideas of artificial intelligence and the implications its misuse has on humanity. Sort of like the Matrix, but less sci-fi and more genuinely scientific. This was the first thing that surprised me about the record. I never would have guessed that these metal giants would make a disc based Around scientific philosophy. Computers become the new God of society, people replace their body parts with mechanical implants so much that they aren’t human anymore, and the world gets destroyed. In my mind, this record is even an allegory for Facebook, social media, and the internet in general taking over the souls of the human race. I don’t really despise social media – but I do think our obsession with it is a bit excessive.

You would think with this concept that the album would sound digital and electronic – and once again, A7x surprise us by making it sound like their older metal core efforts, particularly on tracks 2-5. Instead of going full on 80s metal like they did on their last record, the disappointing “Hail to the King”, the band seems to have gotten back to their roots. It’s a blend of City of Evil and Waking the Fallen, especially where the guitar riffs are concerned. And while it doesn’t sound electronic, it certainly sounds cosmic. You feel like your up in the stars when you listen to it, and the cover art is a very clever play on their beloved logo, the death bat. Stars make up the skull and lightning energy makes up the wings, as you can see for yourself. 

The chorus on “Paradigm” hits mercilessly hard with speed and melody, the riffs on “Sunny Disposition” explode in your face (there’s a really pretty melody in there though at a few points), and “God Damn” combines black metal tremolo picking and drums with clean vocals to a very pleasing effect. 

The final track, “Exit” is primarily instrumental with smart time changes that go on for over ten minutes. There’s more music than lyrics on this one, but when those vocals come your ears will be blown away. This song is basically a narrative for the creation of our universe, the “Big Bang”, and it’s quite possibly the group’s most innovative song. Famed cosmologist Neil Degrasse Tyson even does a spoken word part at the end which he apparently wrote specifically for this album. I wouldn’t have ever pictured him working with a hard rock band, so this was another surprise. 

Yes, the album is full of surprises. It recaptures the brutal sound of their older albums while still remaining fresh and new to the listener. 

The only two problems I have with the disc are M. Shadows’ vocals and Synyster Gate’s guitar playing. Don’t get me wrong – both musicians still sound excellent and totally professional, but their work on this one just doesn’t capture me in the same way their previous material always did.

I award this album a 4 out of 5. If you love metal, go listen to it. Like, right now. 

I’m reviewing this like I would review a full album, but I’m keeping in mind the fact that it isn’t one. It’s a collection of demos and scrapped tracks from my all time favorite disc, “The Black Parade” by My Chemical Romance, released for the tenth anniversary of the original as “Living With Ghosts”.

First off, that’s a nice title. A fitting one. Since the band is broken up (but I believe they will reform again in 2019, and I do have an actual logical reason for assuming that), the songs on this disc make one feel that they are listening to echoes or specters of a band long gone. They also help us to see some of the creative process that went into the finished album from ’06. Raw sound, voices of the band members heard speaking about the songs at the end of some of the tracks, and a really rough, unfinished feel to it make this a disc well worth the money, but perhaps for diehard fans only. With the exception of four songs, nothing on the album is really new or spectacular. But it certainly is special.

“The Five of Us Are Dying” is an early version of “Welcome to the Black Parade”, written between “Bullets” and “Revenge”. The chorus isn’t nearly as powerful as it is on “Parade”, but the rest of this song is just as good as the finished track. The bridge/solo sounds even more like “Queen” than usual, and that’s awesome for those of us who love Brian May (and Ray Toro, obviously – my favorite guitar player).

“Kill All Your Friends (demo)” the second song on the album, really threw me off. It’s interesting, but it’s just bad compared to the polished version of the song released in ’06. This is obviously a demo played long before the full song was fleshed out – but you can still feel it gestating into what it would eventually become.

With “Party at the End of the World”, things start to get more interesting. Still raw, still a demo, but never heard before by any fan as it was never officially released until now. I bet I would have liked the “Kill All Your Friends” demo better if I hadn’t ever heard the actual finished version. But “Party” has really nice guitar, a pretty cool chorus, and Gerard’s voice somehow seeming more chaotic than usual. Not as good as usual, but hey, it’s still Gerard, so still great.

I don’t have much to say about the “Mama” demo. It’s much closer to the finished version than the other demos are. Some lyrics and vocal melodies are different, but it’s pretty much the same instrumentally, except for the third section of the bridge. It stays quiet from “If you could write me a letter” all the way up to “We’re damned after all”, and it makes the song sound quite different from the version I’ve always loved. It’s fascinating hearing a track like this and getting a view into the innumerable decisions and changes a band has to make during its writing process.

“My Way Home Through You” is also pretty close to the finished version…and I love that song, so even though the vocals aren’t quite as good as the real version, I still love this one.

“Not That Kinda Girl” is the first of the four songs on this disc that really stand out. One of the catchiest choruses I’ve ever heard, well written and hilarious lyrics (they obviously didn’t write the ones I’m about to cite, but here’s the funny part – “these boots are made for walking and that’s just what they’ll do” – I’m serious. Hearing part of that old song in a hard rock style is a real treat) such as “everybody’s talkin bout the way you cut your hair – I could give a fuck” make this one of the coolest MCR tracks I’ve ever heard. And the drums were eventually used for the song “Gun” on their “Conventional Weapons” album. Again, it’s awesome to know more about their writing process.

“House of Wolves version 1” is incredibly somber, in the vein of “Cancer” or even the songs on “Revenge”. Other than actually having the words “house of wolves” in the song, I’m not really sure how this one has anything to do with the finished Black Parade version, but I’m probably overlooking the connection due to not being able to discern a lot of the lyrics. “Version 2” follows “Version 1”, and it’s basically just a fun demo of the Black Parade version.

“Emily” is just beautiful. I know it’s fictional and somehow originally fit into the Black Parade story arc, but I can’t help but think about my daughter when I hear it. I’m always paranoid for my family’s safety, and this kind of stuff really moves me. It has heart wrenching lyrics, passionate vocals, well played guitar, and a fantastic drumbeat. Seriously, Bob Bryar, bravo.

The “Disenchanted” demo sounds completely different from the real version, and I feel the same way about it as I do the other demos. Good, special, but not spectacular like the end product.

Finally, we come to “All the Angels”. For the first time ever, MCR reminds me of U2, in a very good way. With angels, Catholic imagery, and people dying in hospitals, this song would have fit nicely on the real Black Parade album. The narrative within the lyrics is just as powerful as was for me on the full album when I was a teenager. It might have sounded random, but I think it would have really paid off as a hidden track, perhaps right before “Blood”, or even before “Famous Last Words”. Would have given the CD a Pink Floyd impression, a la “The Wall”. MCR is usually so bombastic and nihilistic, but for this song, the simple things are what stand out. When Gerard sings “ooo-ooo-ooo”(no, not like a ghost or something – it’s actually quite melodic), it literally gives me chills.

So how do I rate the tenth anniversary demos? 8 out of 10. I would have given it 7 had it not been for the near perfection of “Not that kinda girl”, “Emily”, “House of Wolves version 1”, and “All the Angels”. And I actually probably would have given the cd a 9 or a 10 if I hadn’t ever heard the finished version of the demos released in 2006 with the greatest rock concept record of all time.

Buy this album, or at least listen to it on YouTube. It’s no Parade, but it certainly is a fitting tenth anniversary bonus disc.

You can also read my Review for the full Black Parade album, which was one of the first posts I made on this blog.

If anyone on here enjoys rock music, then please check out my solo music project Cathartic Catapult

The first few songs are demos from my upcoming album, “Daybreak”, and all the songs starting with “Little Ant” are from my 2010 solo album called “Your Evil Broken World”

If you like Marilyn Manson, My Chemical Romance, Avenged Sevenfold, Green Day, or The Rocket Summer, then I believe you may enjoy my music as those are my main influences. I would call my genre simply, “rock”, but there’s a lot of metal in there as well as a good deal of melodic singing. Thank you!

I believe I have previously mentioned that certain albums/bands remind me of the foods I was consuming when I first received their sonic magic into my ear drums. Well, the “shock rocker” Marilyn Manson will always remind me of meatloaf. My mother made it for me when I first discovered his eat me drink me album through his MySpace page. It never ceases to amaze me how fitting that is….meatloaf and Marilyn Manson. This is because, no matter what your opinion of his controversial band may be, it cannot be denied that it consists of SUBSTANCE, RICHNESS, MEAT (the obvious depth of his lyrics and imagery as well as a disgusting incident with a fan that he recalled in his autobiography), LIFE, SACRIFICE, and blood. This probably sounds silly so I may as well move on to the review itself (but not before explaining one more thing about the meat/Manson connection, also found in his autobiography: a quote placed directly before chapter 13 by Roland Barthes: steak is at the heart of meat, it is meat in its purest state; and whoever partakes of it assimilates a bull like strength. The prestige of steak evidently derives from its quasi-rawness. In it, blood is visible, natural, dense, at once compact and section. One can well imagine the ambrosia of the ancients as this kind of heavy substance which dwindles under one’s teeth in such a way as to make one keenly aware at the same time of its original strength and of its aptitude to flow into the very blood of man). Anyway, if you are still reading this, then you are most likely a fan of Marilyn Manson, and most of you would agree with me that the highlight of the groups career was between his very first record  and his sixth(the golden age of grotesque). Many believe that he became “calm” after golden age due to the change in his lyrics from the point of view of an irredeemable monster to a human being full of regret. I myself did not mind this soft side at all, as eat me drink, the album following golden age, is the one I enjoy the most(holy wood is the most well made, but I just like eat me drink me more). But fans were given a taste of the old psychotic Marilyn Manson in his album released before the pale emperor, born villain, which sounded like a blend of antichrist superstar and mechanical animals. Well, for those of you seeking out “hardcore”, this newest album only has one song that can be considered heavy in my opinion (deep six). But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t over the top, vicious, and nasty like his earlier works. It’s got everything that made us love Manson in the first place, but with a new twist: blues rock. Yes, Marilyn Manson has become a blues band, from the guitars to the drums to the vocals. And it sounds amazing. Think about it…rock and roll originally began with the blues anyway. So what Manson has done with this record is, as usual, quite intelligent. But what many fail to realize is that although mr warner(Manson Himself) is the primary factor of the band’s imagery and success, most of the songs were written musically by his band mates. In the past, twiggy ramirez(real name jeordie white) has written some of the coolest bass grooves and guitar licks of rock and roll, but this time around the music was composed by Tyler bates, writer of the score to the new guardians of the Galaxy film. I have yet to see this movie, but from his jangly guitar riffs and funky basslines in the pale emperor it is obvious that he is a very talented musician. As for Manson himself, his blues infused voice has never sounded better. It is still very eery and the lyrics are of course loaded with violence, profanity, and negativity, but the way he sings against the awesome sounding instruments provides for a surpringly upbeat rock record. This isn’t the old Marilyn Manson, but I believe diehard fans will still find it to be a good listen. Critics love it, calling it the best album produced by Manson in over a decade, and I have to agree with them. But I will go a step further. Eat me drink me is still my favorite, but the pale emperor is actually a very close second; even better than holy wood and mechanical animals. And, if you are a Manson fan, you know that that is a huge deal. Very huge. Long live the real king of rock. Ten out of ten stars