Tag Archives: Song Review

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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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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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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Lights Re-arranges Her Hit 2011 Album, ‘Siberia’ with new Album ‘Siberia Acoustic’

In 2011 Lights released her second studio album, Siberia which was a very dirty and dark electronic influenced record with some great tracks that were produced by Tawgs Salter and Canadian electronic band Holy Fuck. In summer of 2012 Lights announced via twitter that she was re-recording and re-arranging songs from Siberia. Now we have the finished product and we are impressed.

The re-recording features 10 tracks and includes contributions from Coeur de Pirate, Owl City and Max Kerman from Arkells. The songs on the album have been tastefully re-arranged and feature great performances by Lights who sounds excellent vocally. Some songs feature great string arrangements while others feature a more atmospheric vibe, but Lights and her acoustic guitar are ever-present.

Key tracks on the collection are “Banner” which is the first track on Siberia Acoustic. Honestly this song lyrically works better in this type of acoustic arrangement especially because of the potency of the lyrics.  Another key track is my favorite from the original, “Toes.” The new arrangement of “Toes” definitely catches the listener’s attention with the very down-trodden arpeggiated  notes that leads into a nicely strummed chorus. But vocally is where the track really catches your attention especially during the chorus section. “And Counting…” is my favorite track though. Its haunting piano part mixed with Lights’ spectacular vocals is just a winning combination.

Siberia Acoustic is a great album which stands next to the original work, Siberia, and makes its own unique statement.

-B. Harlow

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Johnzo West ‘Glory’

About a year ago Musically Diversified did an artist profile on singer/songwriter Johnzo West. Since then West has been very working on his own solo album and performing live with Billy Ray Cyrus. We recently got the opportunity to take a listen to West’s latest album, and we were blown away with the ten tracks he presents on Glory, which was released in February.

Glory is a great collection of songs that show West’s skills on guitar and vocals. The album starts off with a song entitled “Don’t Leave Me Hangin’” which is a track that starts off nicely with some great guitar work, but is definitely carried by a great vocal performance by West. The song really takes off during the chorus sections and is especially good during the wah drenched guitar solo. The next song is called “The Shallows” which is a track that has been re-worked from West’s 2008 release Bring On The Burden. It’s a great song that features a soulful performance from West on vocals.

“Heart of Stone” is another great track on the record. The lyrics tell a great story and the accompaniment suites the lyrics perfectly.  “Tell Your Mother” is the next track and this song has a very country feel, especially the drums which keep a steady beat that keeps the country time while the guitars slide in and out. West’s vocal fit perfectly over this track.

“The Constant” is the next track on the album, and it has a great funky feel from the beginning. The bass, guitars, and drums instantly catch your attention, and you get to the chorus and West’s vocals take over. “On My Way” is a great track that is an old school rocker and features great guitar work throughout. Lyrically it tells a great story too.

“The Good Fight” is probably my favorite track from West. Lyrically and musically it just works, and makes a very enjoyable listening experience for anyone involved. Arrangement wise the piano and guitar work excellently.

Glory is a great collection of tracks. Be sure to take a listen HERE

-B. Harlow

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Where Did Wolfmother Go? An Update on Andrew Stockdale’s Latest Project!

When I first heard Wolfmother I knew that they were going to be big, and they were. In fact many of their songs ended up in movies and other strange places. But since the band finish recording and touring behind their record, Cosmic Egg not much has been heard from the band besides that they were working on a new record, but things were not as great as they use to be in the Wolfmother camp, as there was a new line up.

On 6 March 2013, Wolfmother’s front-man Andrew Stockdale announced that he would be releasing the album the new band was working on under his own name.  He then went on and described the album as “a different trip now.” Stockdale later announced via Facebook that Wolfmother was on hiatus, and that the band would now become his solo project.

We now know that the EP will be released April 26th and will be titled Keep Moving. We’ve also heard some of the new music, and it grooves. It has a solid beat and has this unexplainable swagger that hasn’t really been prevalent in the music world since the Stones and Zeppelin. In fact one of the tracks, “Long Way To Go” sounds like  The Black Keys, The Stones, Wolfmother, and The Jackson 5 had a mysterious love child.

I’m excited to hear this release and you should be too!

-B. Harlow

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Stone Sour Release The Second Part of Their Saga, ‘House Of Gold & Bones pt. 2’

On April 9th Stone Sour will release the second part of their saga House Of Gold & Bones pt. 2 via  Roadrunner Records. The album package comes in two parts; these pieces will combine to make the House Of Gold & Bones. The band will also be releasing four comic books that will go along with the double album. Eventually singer Corey Taylor wants to turn the concept into a film, but that will be a little further down the line.

House Of Gold & Bones pt. 2 is a very different album from the first album. In fact it shows a very different side of the band which is more ethereal and shows the band’s terrific ability in arrangement. This is shown well on the album’s first track “Red City” which starts out with Taylor on vocals only accompanied by piano. The track eventually gets drums, a grinding bass, and very spacey synth and guitar parts. Then the whole band comes in full force. This is a huge surprise because it all of a sudden turns from this nice composition into a brutally heavy metal song in a matter of seconds. This track then fades into some weird sound effects, but then the listener get introduced to the next song “Black John” which is reminiscent of Stone Sour’s regular sound, but definitely features more of Jim Root and Josh Rand’s excellent guitar playing.

The next track on the album is called “Sadist” now this track reminded me a lot of Slayer’s “Seasons In The Abyss” due to the chord structure, but it definitely is its own song, and it is definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. The lyrics on the track are very emotional, but what I love about the track is how it is mixed with very spacey sounding guitars that almost have as much prominence as the vocals throughout the verse section. I also think this track shows off just how versatile Taylor’s voice is. We all know Taylor can scream really well, but what most people don’t realize is that he is one of the most talented singers in music today. Another thing to mention is the guitar solo which is very middle eastern sounding, and is not based in traditional metal and rock modes.

“Peckinpah” is the next track on the album, and this song is really strange. I didn’t particularly like it because I feel like it was placed wrong sequentially on the album and would do better towards the end of the album

The next track that caught my attention is called ’82 and this track had a very interesting feel to it. Vocally it tells an interesting story, but musically it is like a very heavy pop song especially with the use of the whammy or octave pedal throughout the chorus. I really liked this track and would put it up there as one of the best on the album.

“Uncanny Valley” is the next track on the album, and this track sounds like it came right out of the early 90’s. I really dug the vibe of the track especially its upbeat music.

“Blue Smoke” brings the album back down to the serious level with its orchestral and piano driven. Taylor’s vocals are interesting on this track, as they sound very filtered and almost restricted. It’s a short track, and is followed by the very interesting track, “Do Me A Favor” which is an interesting track because of the vocals are very down trodden, but the chorus sounds like an 80’s pop song.

“The Confligration” is another great song that follows the traditional ballad formula of a soft verse/ loud chorus, but I particularly like this track because Taylor’s voice makes you pay attention to his narrative, and not the simplistic accompaniment.

“The House of Golden Bones” is the final track on the record. To me this final track really packs the punch, and was what I really wanted to hear after the softer tracks. This track sounds a lot like the material on the first part of the album, but that is what makes it a fitting final track for the record.

-B. Harlow

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Killswitch Engage Re-unite with Jesse Leach and put out Fantastic New Album, ‘Disarm The Descent’

One of the biggest surprises in the music world was when former Killswitch Engage singer, Jesse Leach re-united with his former band after vocalist Howard Jones stepped down. To many in the music world it was a shock, and also a surprise as Leach and Killswitch guitarist Adam D. had a very successful side project called Times of Grace. Many also wondered what this new/old lineup of Killswitch would sound like. Well now we have our answer, and let me say, I approve. Disarm The Descent is heavy, melodic, and most importantly well thought out.  I also have to point out Adam D.’s awesome production job.

Disarm The Descent start off with a very heavy song called “ The Hell in Me.” At first I was hesitant in liking this track, but then the clean vocals came in, and that’s when the song really started to come together for me.  I would say the track is a strong opener, but very unexpected. The second track on the record is called “Beyond The Flames,” which is a track that I really enjoyed, not only is the accompaniment great, but Leach’s vocals and Adam D.’s vocals sound great. This track is followed by the very heavy, “New Awakening” which is a straight up shred fest, Adam D. and Joel Stroetzel showed their technical prowess throughout the track which was quite enjoyable.

One of the album’s stand out tracks is the fourth track, “In Due Time” which is also the album’s single. The track hooks you in with a very hooky riff,  and then Leach’s vocals come in and draw the listener in more. The chorus comes in next and this features both Leach and Adam D. on clean vocals, and they sound excellent. The track goes on, and again we see how awesome Leach’s very traditional screams mix with Adam D.’s more cookie monster sounding growls. When I was listening to “In Due Time” I  definitely thought to myself at multiple points that this song sounds like something off of Leach and Adam D’s side projects self-titled album, Times of Grace.

Next up is the truly thrash sounding track, “A Tribute To The Fallen” straight from the intro you can tell this is going to be a thrash influenced track, and it is, but it also has a very melodic chorus that loved. The song also featured a part that I thought sounded like Kirk Windstein from Crowbar singing/screaming. “Turning Point” is the next track on the album, and let me just say it was not my favorite track on the album, and felt a lot like filler, and almost like it was a recycled track.

The next track I took note of was the tenth track, “No End in Sight,” which starts off (like many of the tracks on Times of Grace’s Hymn of A Broken Man) with a spoken intro with a riff played under it. The riffing continues into a verse in Leach’s typical sing/scream voice. This is then followed by a very melodic chorus featuring Leach and Adam D. on harmonies. This leads into a more dissonant verse which adds a great deal to the musical structure, as it builds significant tension. The chorus comes in again, and this leads into the typical breakdown, but instead of just palm muted guitars, this is more of a catchier riff that I enjoyed a  lot. This is probably the second best track on the record.

Next up is the track “Always” which is a quite enjoyable song, it features a great bass intro played by Mike D’Antonio. Then the verse comes in, and this song almost is ballad like, but still remains heavy with palm muted guitars. Leach’s vocals are great on this track, and one would find this track to be a very enjoyable listening experience. This leads into the album’s closing track entitled “Time Will Not Remain which is another solid track that is very heavy.

When former Killswitch Engage singer, Jesse Leach returned to the fold, I was a little hesitant to what would come, but with the release of Disarm The Descent I can see that I had nothing to be hesitant about. Killswitch Engage is back!

-B. Harlow

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