Tag Archives: Real Music

Trivium Release Their Sixth Album, ‘Vengeance Falls’

Trivium released their sixth album last week, and let me tell you it is a great piece of work from top to bottom. It’s no secret I’m a huge Trivium fan, as I’ve seen them live multiple times and met them on many occasions too. So obviously I wanted to take some time with this record before I reviewed it that way I could form an opinion that was unbiased. That being said I will say that this is one of Trivium’s best records and stands next to  2011’s In Waves, 2008’s Shogun, and 2005’s Ascendancy nicely. The album was produced by David Draiman from Disturbed and Device, and let me tell you he did an excellent job on the production.

The record starts off with the track, “Brave This Storm” which starts with a heavy riff that leads into a more groove oriented riff. This leads nicely into the verse which is sung in a very rhythmic way by Matt Heafy which is definitely a different approach. The chorus then comes in, and this is done in a much more typical way than Heafy’s verse which was rhythmic opposed to flowing. The title track “Vengance Falls” is up next and this track is interesting as you can see the band is further experimenting with layered vocal harmonies, and the guitar playing displayed by Heafy and Corey Beaulieu is excellent. As always Nick Augusto and Paolo Gregoletto are locked on and go beyond the call of duty.

The album’s first video single was up next and this song is entitled “Strife,” and is one of my favorite tracks on the album. The song starts with this riff that is not the most technical, but gets the job done, and sets the ground for the epic riff that ensues. This leads into the verse section which is another interesting vocal performance not typical to Trivium’s music, but it works nicely with the lyrical subject. The verse also features some nice bass playing by none other than Mister Paolo Gregoletto. The chorus comes in next and vocally and instrumentally I love the chorus. Next up is “No Way To Heal” which is another spectacular track that is typical of Trivium, and is one of the best one the album. Again the chorus on this track is excellent.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is the sixth track, “At the End of This War” which starts of with a nice acoustic intro which then blasts off into a full-bore metal track. Heafy’s vocals on this track are also different from what I’ve heard from him.  “Through Blood and Dirt and Bone” is another track where I think the band realized that they love writing music with interesting rhythms.

The ninth track on the album, “Incineration: The Broken World” is one of my favorite tracks on the record, as the band shows their amazing musical skills, especially Gregoletto who put down an awesome bass solo. The Album concludes with the great track “Wake (The End Is Nigh)” which is my favorite on the album as I think it is a great showcase to the bands versatility both musically, and it shows throughout the track, as Augusto, Beaulieu, Heafy, and Gregeletto put down great performances.

Vengeance Falls is a great record that I believe shows the bands great capabilities as musicians, and I can honestly say that I enjoyed this next evolution of the band.

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Album Review: The Devil Wears Prada ‘8:18’

One of the best bands to hit the scene in recent year are, The Devil Wears Prada. The band is set to release their fifth studio album 8:18. 8:18 is the long-awaited follow-up to 2011’s full length effort by the band, Dead Throne and 2010’s masterful, Zombie EP. This album picks up were those to works left off, and continues to push the boundaries of what this band is capable of doing. The sound is dark and more mature, and we guarantee you’re in for a great ride from track one through thirteen.

8:18 starts off with the slow-moving synth driven intro to the track “Gloom.” However “Gloom” picks up it’s pace at the 50 second mark when the band comes in and provides a bruising intro. “Gloom” almost seems like a mission statement from the band, telling the listener what they have in store for the rest of the album. The drums, guitars, synth, and vocals work well on this track. The next riff that will hit you is the intro to the second track “Rumors” which is a bruising riff, but it slows downs in the verse which is atmospheric, but we hear the first hint of melody in this tracks chorus.

“First Sight” is the third track on the record, and it hits you like a brick wall from the beginning, but then as the track moves on you hear the song grow into this melodic juggernaut in the chorus. The stand out of this track however are the guitars which are tight, but leave enough room in the mix for the track to breathe.

The next track that caught my attention was the album’s title track, 8:18 which has a beautiful clean intro which is interrupted by vocalist Mike Hranica’s primal screams. The next track that really grabbed me was “Care More” which is a real departure for the band which is awesome. They really mixed it up with this one showing what they can do both vocally and with arranging.

Next thing you know theirs a bell chiming and this signals the intro to the track, “Martyrs” which was one of the first tracks that fans got to hear from this record. This track is great and is a real throw back to the Dead Throne sound that I and TDWP fans love. “Black and Blue” starts with an ominous intro that sends the message that mayhem is about to unfold, and it does and this mayhem continues throughout the rest of the record concluding with the thirteenth and final track, “ In Heart.”

Overall I believe that 8:18 is the next step in The Devil Wears Prada’s evolution. This record is excellent. One of the best metal records of the year.

-B. Harlow

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Nile Rodgers: Musical Innovator and Cultural Icon

I was listening to the radio a couple of days ago and I heard a song from Daft Punk’s latest album, Random Access Memories. The track was called “Get Lucky” and features vocals from Pharell and Nile Rodgers on guitar. When the D.J. came back on he told the listeners what they had heard, and he said that was Daft Punk featuring Pharell, but forgot about the guess spot by Nile Rodgers. This angered me because Nile Rodgers is one of my favorite musicians of all time, as well as one of my favorite producers of all time. Not only is Rodgers one of the best guitar players for what he plays, but for what he doesn’t, he picks just the right notes to make the song sound amazing. He also defined the sound of pop music in the 80’s. He is the man who made this hits. You may not know his name, but you definitely know one of his songs.

Rodgers is a New York native and got his start playing studio sessions with other musicians. He eventually left the studio and started playing shows with the house band of the Apollo Theater where he played with such notable acts as   Aretha Franklin, Ben E. King, and Parliament Funkadelic.

Nile Rodgers and Bernard EdwardsAt age 18 Rodgers met Bernard Edwards who would become his main collaborator. In 1973 New York City had a big hit with “I’m Doing Fine Now,” Edwards would get a job as the band leader and asked Rodgers to be the group’s guitarist. They would become known as The Big Apple Band, and were billed as New York City and The Big Apple Band. Rodgers and Edwards had found their own groove and formed the band, Chic which would inspire Rodgers to write “Everybody Dance” and many more hits including, “Freak out” and “Good Times.” “Good Times” was a huge hit and important to the hip-hop world as Edward’s bass line was sampled in the first multiple-platinum Hip-Hop single “Rappers Delight” by the Sugar Hill Gang.

In the 80’s the disco fell out of favor, as the “Disco Sucks” trend became the mindset of the music listening public. Chic had been grouped in with this, even though they weren’t disco. To add to this, the music business was going through a huge change. But there was a bright light for the two collaborators, as Diana Ross had committed to working with Rodgers and Edwards on her album, Diana. Rodgers and Edwards wrote and produced the album, and it would go on to 6 million copies. Rodgers and Edwards would go on to work hard on another Chic album, but the band dissolved. Rodgers and Edwards eventually would cut their ties due to drugs.

Rodgers would go on to release a solo album which received a less than favorable response from the public, but did garner a very good opinion from famous art rocker, David Bowie. Bowie would meet Rodgers and invite him to his house in Switzerland where they worked on what would be the track, “Lets Dance.” It would go on to be David Bowie’s biggest selling album. Let’s Dance had several hit singles including “China Girl”, “Modern Love” and the title track, “Let’s Dance.” The album also was a stepping stone for the young, Stevie Ray Vaughn. The album gave Rodgers the production credibility he needed and he continued work with some of the best artists of the day. Rodgers produced the single “Original Sin” by INXS, and would go on to work Duran Duran worked extensively with Rodgers after he remixed their largest selling hit single, “The Reflex.”

One of the crowning achievements was when Rodgers decided to take a risk with a young artist who went by the name, Madonna. With Madonna, Rodgers struck gold upon the release of her album, Like a Virgin; which featured the hits, “Material Girl” and the album’s title track, “Like a Virgin.” The album would go on to sell 21 million copies world-wide. This would give Rodgers the credibility.

During the 80’s, Rodger’s resume would grow significantly working on albums with Jeff Beck, Thompson Twins, Mick Jagger, Steve Winwood, and records for Cyndi Lauper, and a couple of soundtracks with Genesis madman Peter Gabriel.

In 1992 Chic got back together, and went back on the road, and that’s when drugs and alcohol caught up with him, but nile rodgersit wouldn’t be till 1994 that he’d enter rehab. In 1996 Chic and Rodgers came to Japan to play a show to celebrate Rodger’s career, and after the show Edwards would be found dead in his Hotel room. He had died from pneumonia. Shoot forward 17 years Rodgers is immersed in many projects including touring with a new Chic line-up, and playing his vast discography and letting artists sample bits of his vast catalogue. Rodgers also survived a really aggressive form of prostate cancer.

Rodgers is one of the best musicians of all time. It is truly criminal how many people don’t know who he is, as he is a legend of epic proportions. Not only has he produced some of the greatest artists of all time, but he single-handedly shaped the sound of 80’s pop music and influenced numerous musicians in various genres.  We need to recognize Rodgers for the influence he has had on our culture.

-B. Harlow

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Avenged Sevenfold’s New Track “Hail To The King”

Avenged Sevenfold are one of the biggest Metal bands of this generation, and have been since their 2005 album City of Evil where the band moved away from their Metalcore roots and moved to a more pure sound reminiscent of a Guns n’ Roses and Metallica hybrid. The band will be releasing their sixth album Hail to The King in August. Hail to the King will be the first album with new drummer Arin Ilejay who joined the band as a touring drummer in 2011 before becoming an official member in 2013.

Well now you can add another  couple bands that this band has taken influence from, and they are AC/DC and Iron Maiden. The intro to this song this sounds like AC/DC’s “Thunder Struck.” But this new track sounds like Maiden throughout the guitars yet has an Avenged Sevenfold feel due to the vocals provided by M. Shadows. who sounds excellent. This track moves at a steady clip, but could have been brought up several BPM. The guitar playing by Synyster Gates and Zacky Vengance is excellent. Lyrically M. Shadows is on par with many other metal vocalists and lyricists and this song has a very mature feel to it.

I can’t wait to see if this album will be good, or if it will be sub-par. The last album was spectacular, but 2007’s self titled was a pure flop.

-B. Harlow

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NEVER SAY DIE: Black Sabbath Return With First Album Featuring Ozzy Osbourne in 35 Years, ’13’

Black Sabbath. These two words say so much. They conjure images of Ozzy Osbourne peace signs swinging in the air hoping up and down like a coked up Richard Nixon. Of Tony Iommi standing in place playing the evilest riffs that can be conjured. And Geezer Butler, whose bass tone and style is the gold standard for all of heavy metal.  These three titans have come together with the help of producer, Rick Rubin to release their first new album in 35 years, 13.

13 starts off with the ominous opening riff to the album’s first track “End of The Beginning.”    “End of The Beginning” has a very slow ominous feel to it that is very reminiscent of the band’s eponymous song “Black Sabbath.”  The song eventually picks up and the listener gets bludgeoned by another one of Iommi’s signature riffs.

13’s second track is entitled “God is Dead?” which starts off with a slow instrumental section that sets the mood for the song. This then gets interrupted by another one of Tony Iommi’s signature riffs. You can hear how tight the band is on this riff especially bassist Geezer Butler and session drummer, Brad Wilk. The slow meandering riff comes back again and with it we hear Ozzy’s vocals which sound excellent. Rick Rubin did a great job polishing Ozzy’s voice on this song, as it is spotless in performance. Butler’s bass is super punchy during the verse too, which gives the song a certain movement that is different from Iommi’s guitar playing which is very smooth. The chorus comes in and this is when we hear Black Sabbath as it is meant to be heard with extremely loud riffs. Around the 5:55 the song hits a bridge and this is by far my favorite song as it fits in with the band’s older material like “Hole in the Sky.”

“Loner” is the next track on the album, which is a track about pure alienation, which lyrically is interesting because many of Sabbath’s early songs were about that same topic. The riff in this song is very standard and simple, but it gets the job done.  But where the song really is stunning is towards the middle where it slows down for a short period, but then the band kicks in, and they’re full speed.

“Zeitgeist” is the albums fourth track, and is one of my favorite tracks on the record. The song has a great feel reminiscent of their great track, “Planet Caravan.”  It’s a beautiful track, and Rubin did a great job on the mixing allotting each instrument the correct space in the mix. If there’s anything that would be the polar opposite of “Zeitgeist” it would be the next track, “Age of Reason” which is a riff driven track about the end of the world, but what I love about it is it’s riff which sounds like a number of my favorite Black Sabbath songs got shoved into a blender, and the end result was this track. Tony Iommi’s guitar playing is also something that should be noted, as he provides a very heavy mechanical feel, but still makes the track groove. Wilk’s drumming is also great on this track.

“Live Forever” is another one of those tracks that you just want to bang your head to. The riff has so much groove. It’s a tremendous song, and the lyrics on the track are spectacular too. “Damaged Soul” is the seventh track on the album, and this song sounds like it came straight from 1971. The production on this song isn’t as spectacular as the rest of the album, but the unpolished feel adds to the rustic and true image that Black Sabbath has always portrayed.

“Dear Father” is the last track on the album, and this song is as heavy, as anything I’ve heard even though it’s a slower song in parts, I would say it’s one of the heaviest tracks I’ve ever heard. I love it.

13 is a collection of eight great tracks that bring one back to the 70’s. Rick Rubin said he wanted the album to sound contemporary, but also have a vintage feel, and with this record he definitely captured that vibe. Sabbath is back!

-B. Harlow

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Quick Artist Profile: Graham Dechter

Born into a musical family it was no surprise Graham Dechter went into music. His mother, Maureen came from musical theater and his father, Brad is an orchestrated and composer who has worked on 250 film scores and arranged pieces for many famous artists including Johnny Mathis and Barbra Streisand. He credits his parents for exposing him to the music that he eventually would later work with, jazz. But Dechter did not start out playing jazz, originally Dechter’s muse was classical music which he also composed.  This changed however when Dechter met with bassist Marshall Hawkins who exposed him to improvisation, and thus directed the young musician towards playing jazz. In 2005 and at age 19 Dechter was invited to join the Clayton-Hamilton Jazz Orchestra and has been touring with them since, as well as working on sessions, and playing with many singers and musicians including working on Michael Bublé’s, Christmas.

Along with being a fantastic studio musician, Dechter is also a solo artist that has put out two fantastic records. His first record was released in 2009 and featured many great tracks that feature his smooth sounding swing based leads it also featured the tremendous bass playing of John Clayton. Dechter’s second album featured the same smooth playing that will make him a force to be reckoned with within the guitar community.

-B. Harlow

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Quick Artist Profile: Modern Baseball

Modern Baseball is a Philadelphia based band that originated in Maryland. The group was founded in 2011 and consists of Brendan Lukens, Jacob Ewald, Ian Farmer, and Sean Huber. Their influences are very interesting, and include Brand New, Gaslight Anthem, Motion City Soundtrack, and Say Anything.

Modern Baseball put out their first record, Sports in late 2012. The record which consists of 12 tracks is a great listen and provides an enjoyable listening experience, as the tracks go together nicely, and fit together seamlessly. The album was Recorded over a series of late nights at Drexel University’s free studio and  was released by Lame-O Records, and is available for streaming.

Be sure to check out Modern Baseball, I think you’ll enjoy their music and its unique sound.

-B. Harlow

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August Burns Red Release New Track, “Spirit Breaker”

August Burns Red have been pushing metalcore’s boundaries for the last ten years, and in that time have released four spectacular albums of original content. The band is now ready to release their fifth studio album, Rescue & Restore, which was produced by Carson Slovak and Grant McFarland, and will be released on June 25th via Solid State Records.

Yesterday the band released a new track from the upcoming album entitled, “Spirit Breaker.” This track starts off with a slow instrumental, but you are then the full band kicks in, and then you get the full picture of the music at hand. The lyrics in this are very well thought out, especially the spoken word part provided by Jake Luhrs. The excellent guitar playing of both Brent Rambler and JB Brubaker is also represented well on this track, as it shows an excellent level of virtuosity especially when it comes to the spoken word part.

Overall this entire track is just a great performance by the band. Be sure to check this song out and the album out when it is released.

-B. Harlow

Listen HERE

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John Fogerty Releases Collection of Re-Recorded Classics with Great collaborations

If there was a man who summed up the perfect mix of grit and charm it was definitely Creedence Clearwater Revival’s John Fogerty. Fogerty’s voice and lyrics summed up a whole generation;s feelings, and have resonated throughout the ages, and now at age of 68 Fogerty has released a collection of some of his most known tunes re-recorded with some of today’s biggest artists spanning many genres and sub-genres. Some guests include: Foo Fighters, Jennifer Hudson, and Kid Rock. The album was  released on May 28, 2013 Fogerty’s 68th birthday, and is a fitting celebration of Fogerty’s back catalogue.

The first track of Wrote a Song for Everyone is a re-recording of CCR’s most famous song and politically driven song, “Fortunate Son” and it features a great collaboration with Dave Grohl and the rest of the Foo Fighters. It’s great to hear a more modern recording of this song, but the lyrics are still accurate as the day they were written.  Keith Urban provides a great performance on the next track, “Almost Saturday Night” which is a more obscure song, but was perfect for both Urban and Fogerty, as their voices synced in a very cohesive manner.  “Lodi” is the third track on the record, and this is where Fogerty’s two sons, Shane and Tyler, come into the picture, and they provide great performances.

One of the album’s two new songs was up next, and I found this song, “Mystic Highway” to be a great track, not only is it classic Fogerty, but it also feels very modern, and sing songish. It may be campy, but it works.

Zac Brown Band makes an appearance on the album’s rendition of “Bad Moon Rising.” The band’s music works perfectly when it comes to the track, as it’s a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. Musically ZBB holds up their end well, while Fogerty does his thing perfectly on guitar and vocals. Arrangement wise the song is excellent, and exceedingly fresh. “Born on The Bayou” featuring Kid Rock was the next track that I fell in love with. Kid Rock’s voice works so well in the country rock genre, and also compliments Fogerty’s voice with stylistic ease.

Wrote A Song For Everyone is a hybrid greatest hits and tribute album that works great. Fogerty picked artists that complimented his talents, and added a new twist to the record. The dude Abides.

-B. Harlow

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Megadeth Release New Song “Kingmaker”

Megadeth have just released the latest track from their forthcoming album, Super Collider. Super Collider will be the bands second studio album with original bassist and founding member, David Ellefson. The record will also be the first on Mustaine’s new label, Tradecraft which is in an imprint on Universal Records and will be released June 4th.  The song which is entitled “King Maker,” runs at about four minutes.

Musically, “King Maker” is very reminiscent of old school Megadeth circa Countdown to Extinction, but it also has a modern feel and sounds like it could go on the band’s 2008 release, Endgame. I particularly enjoyed Mustaine’s vocals throughout the track as he delivers verse after verse with his signature snarl.  Ellefson’s bass sounds tight and hold Chris Broderick and Mustaine’s riffs together sonically. Shawn Drover’s drums also sound tight especially the double bass which he implements subtly and with masterful ease.

-B. Harlow


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