Thursday, February 16, 2017

One Bad Pig - "Love You To Death"



One Bad Pig - Love You To Death
2016, Porky's Demise

1. Love You To Death
2. What Does the Fool Say?
3. The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes, and the Pride of Life
4. Get Your Hands Dirty (ft. Les Carlson)
5. Footwashin'
6. Sunday Skool Rawk
7. Teenage Royalty
8. Heads Will Roll
9. It's Not Pig Latin (Itsay Otnay)
10. Judgement Stick
11. Straitjacket
12. Ben Moors
13. Red, White, or Blue (Color Me)
14. Tumbleweed
15. OMG

So you're looking at this probably wondering the same thing I wondered when I say it: Who the heck is Mitch Connell?! Answer: someone with more disposable income than me! But seriously, this was a Kickstarter funded album and one of the rewards was to have the donor's name on the cover. So there it is! Mitch Connell! Question is, of course, after all these years does the pig still have much of an oink left? Yeah... pretty much I'd say. In terms of style it's pretty similar to what the guys were doing in their heyday. Of note is the cover of The 77's "The Lust, the Flesh, the Eyes, and the Pride of Life" and the medley of Sunday school tunes - "Sunday Skool Rawk." Also, Les Carlson lends some guest vocals to "Get Your Hands Dirty" and his vocals are always great. Though I confess this one had to grow on me a little and I only really "got it" the other day listening to it at work. Also, I know that another Kickstarter reward was to have a song written for you, but "Ben Moors" is definitely the weakest song here. Other than that I think if you like OBP, you'll like this though I don't think it reaches quite the legendary heights of their past discography.

Useless Fact: Just a heads up, "OMG" stands for On a Mission from God... y'know... in case that was gonna keep you up at night.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

HammerFall - "Built To Last"



HammerFall - Built To Last
2016, Napalm

1. Bring It!
2. Hammer High
3. The Sacred Vow
4. Dethrone and Defy
5. Twilight Princess
6. Stormbreaker
7. Built To Last
8. The Star of Home
9. New Breed
10. Second To None

Hammerfall kind of remind me of a metal version of AC/DC or Enya - performers that know their thing and pretty much stick to it. There is nothing wrong with this, especially if it keeps resulting in good music. Built To Last is straight-up, no nonsense, traditional heavy metal. If you like heavy metal and/or Hammerfall, you'll like this. Though I think I might slightly prefer the previous album over this one.

Useless Fact: Is "Twilight Princess" a Zelda reference? I don't know... I'm going to say it is even though the lyrics don't have anything to do with the game.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Petra - "Beyond Belief"



Petra - Beyond Belief
1990, Word

1. Armed and Dangerous
2. I Am on the Rock
3. Creed
4. Beyond Belief
5. Love
6. Underground
7. Seen and Not Heard
8. Last Daze
9. What's In a Name
10. Prayer

Beyond Belief is, without a doubt, Petra's biggest, most successful album. This was the peak of the John Schlitt years, for sure. It's a monster album and it still holds up today. Heck, even the theology holds up today (except for maybe "Underground"). It's a classic, hard rock masterpiece and there's not much else to say about it. I loved it then, I still love it today.

So I've talked about the Beyond Belief video and poked fun at it for they guy going on the missions trip and it's the best thing ever and blah blah blah. I guess there's a little bit more to the movie than that. The kid's friend gets in a wreck, he has a crisis of faith, resolves it... THEN the missions trip. Anyway, I haven't watched the entire movie in years, this was gleaned from the music videos I pulled up on You Tube one night.

Useless Fact: During this time, drummer Louie Weaver had this thing with Mickey Mouse. It was on his clothes, his drums... he always had something Mickey Mouse around. I have no idea why. Anyone know?

Monday, January 30, 2017

The Old Man's Temporary Insanity!

For those who may not know, my You Tube channel will be winding down due to my change of employment. That's okay though! I'm not sad or disappointed. I kind of always wanted to do that and I did it and that's great. However, I need to do something else with the free time that I have.

So...

I'm starting a podcast! It's called The Old Man's Temporary Insanity and it will (for a little while at least) focus on Christian music and pop culture from the late 80's and early 90's. I figured since I can't do videos and vlogs anymore, I'd do this! Episodes will be coming out every Thursday!

So do yourself a favor and check out my podcast:

The Old Man's Temporary Insanity.

Maschine - "Naturalis"



Maschine - Naturalis
2016, Inside Out

1. Resistance
2. Night and Day
3. Make Believe
4. Hidden in Plain Sight
5. A New Reality
6. Megacyma
Bonus Tracks
7. Eyes, Pt. 2 (Live)
8. Rubidium (Live)

You might remember way back in 2013, I gave Maschine's debut, Rubidium a spot on my top picks of the year. I didn't even know the band was putting out a new album until a few weeks before it was released. I am so on top of things these days! Anyway, Naturalis is pretty much a fine continuation of what the band started with their debut. It's funny, two of the complaints I had with the first album were kind of addressed on this one. The vocalist doesn't seem like he's trying to sound all gravelly or tough, he just sings. Also, the lyrics have changed from relationships to natural disasters and war stories. Definitely more epic than before. If you want more music like the first album but with a little more polish, then this album does the trick.

Useless Fact: "Megacyma" is about the Japanese tsunami from a few years ago.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

The Genesis Project - "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway"



Genesis - The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
1974/2007, Virgin

DISC ONE:
1. The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
2. Fly on a Windshield
3. Broadway Melody of 1974
4. Cuckoo Cocoon
5. In the Cage
6. The Grand Parade of Lifeless Packaging
7. Back in N.Y.C.
8. Hairless Heart
9. Counting Out Time
10. Carpet Crawlers
11. The Chamber of 32 Doors

DISC TWO:
1. Lilywhite Lilith
2. The Waiting Room
3. Anyway
4. Here Comes the Supernatural Anaesthetist
5. The Lamia
6. Silent Sorrow in Empty Boats
7. The Colony of Slippermen
8. Ravine
9. The Light Dies Down On Broadway
10. Riding the Scree
11. In the Rapids
12. it. 

Finally.

We’ve finally reached the end of our tour. It’s fitting that we end on this particular album as I think it’s the band’s biggest, most ambitious release. There was so much weight on this album that it nearly broke the band. From what I’ve read about the making of Lamb, everyone was miserable. Peter Gabriel, whose surreal and trippy story drives the music forward, quit while it was being written and recorded (he returned to finish when a deal fell through). Other members were going through divorces and what not. It was a tumultuous time for Genesis. If you’ll remember I remarked at length about the relaxed vibe of A Trick of the Tail. No wonder! This album takes itself pretty seriously. Peter Gabriel is at his most obtuse and pretentious. He had to have left after this album because I don’t know what he would have done with himself he continued on. This is truly the apex of the “aggressively intellectual” (to borrow a phrase from Jeremy Parrish), incarnation of the band.

Speaking of pretentious and obtuse, let’s recap the story shall we? After several listens and some research I think I finally have a grasp on what was going on. Keep in mind this is the actual story. I am not making any of this up…
               
Rael is a Puerto-Rican street kid living in New York City. One day he sees a lamb lie down on Broadway. Literally. Kind of surprising to start it out like that, but there it is. Rael notices a dark cloud over the city that turns into a giant movie screen looking thing and absorbs him. He wakes up in a cave, encased in a strange sort of cocoon. Then he finds himself in a cage…somehow. He sees his brother John whom he begs for help. John refuses and leaves him. John gets out of the cage somehow and finds himself in some sort of factory – a factory which makes people. He experiences several flashbacks from his life which end with a vision of him having his “hairless heart” cut out. He then comes to a giant spiral stair case which people are crawling up.

At the top is a room with thirty-two doors, one of which will lead back out. Rael meets a woman who helps him find the right door and he leaves the chamber. Then he meets Death. Death doesn’t kill him, mind you, he just says “hi” I guess? Rael then finds himself in a cave with three snake-like creatures called Lamia. He has sex with them (because why not, I mean really, when are you ever going to have the chance to have sex with snake women?). They bite him and when they taste his blood, it kills them. He then decides (and remember I am still not making this up) to eat their dead bodies because I guess he forgot to pack a sack lunch on this little psychedelic road-trip. 

Does this make you hot? 

He leaves the cave to find a colony of “Slippermen.” Slippermen are deformed humans covered in tumorous lumps. Rael finds that he has turned into a Slipperman, as have all who’ve shagged and eaten the Lamias. I guess it was quite the fad for a bit there. He finds his brother, John (now also a slipperman, because of course he is). They find out the only way to turn back to normal is to visit Doktor Dyper and…wait for it…be castrated. They agree to this far more quickly than you’d think.

Gabriel as a Slipperman. Just say no to sex with lamia!

 So… (yeah, we’re not done)… they get castrated and they turn back to normal. As a consolation prize they get to keep their junk in golden tubes around their necks. As they’re traveling a raven swoops down and snatches Rael’s Testicle Tube (a great name for a band, by the by). The Raven drops it down a waterfall into a crevasse. Rael is as distraught as you imagine a man would be and begs John to help him get his balls back. John refuses. Rael chases after his babymakers and falls down into a ravine. John appears to rescue him but gets caught in the rapids. Rael goes to rescue him and pulls him onto the shore where we find out the big twist to the whole story…surprise! John is Rael! Rael is John! They’re the same person! Then they dissolve into light. The end.

Um…so, gentle reader, did that story do anything for you? Did you get the concepts? Yeah, me neither. Now I might not be telling it right, but it doesn’t matter – my opinion stands. I’m not really sure what we’re supposed to take away from this. There’s sort of an Alice In Wonderland vibe here – a connection made obvious by the Mad Hatter printed on the CDs themselves. There’s no whimsy though. It’s far too dark and sexual to just be a flight of fancy. In the end it’s like one of those dreams that feel like more than a simple dream but whose meaning remains inscrutable. If I were to guess there’s probably some point to be made about how one defines masculinity and the trouble sex can cause when carelessly pursued. Still, in the end you’re left asking yourself, what the heck did I just listen to?

And that’s really the trouble with The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. The story completely dominates the album. Despite the fact that the music was a band effort with Gabriel contributing the lyrics and story, it seems like this is a Peter Gabriel solo album. The music is good and I liked it more each time I listened to it. But there’s that disconnect… that pesky emotional disconnect that I’ve been talking about since I started this project. It’s just really hard to connect with the material sometimes because it’s so strange. There seems to be very little one can hang their emotional hat on and little in the way of relatable feelings. Even with Pink Floyd’s psychedelic concept opus, The Wall, there were themes of isolation, loneliness, and alienation that everyone could relate to. Here? Not so much.

I know it sounds like I didn’t like the album, but that’s not true. I really did like it. It stands in stark contrast to the rest of the band’s catalog as something wholly unique. I absolutely recommend it – just be aware of what you’re getting into. Besides, Mike Rutherford’s fat bass line in the title track and Steven Hackett’s beautiful guitar passages are just too good to let a little thing like Lamia sex keep you from hearing them. Give me some time and this could even rank up with Selling England and A Trick of the Tail as one of my favorite Genesis platters.

Final Score: 4 out of 5


Useless Fact: Peter Gabriel regretted his Slipperman costume because it was so bulky he had a hard time moving around and singing while wearing it.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Circle of Dust - "Machines of Our Disgrace"



Circle of Dust - Machines of Our Disgrace
2016, Fixt

1. re_Engage
2. Machines of Our Disgrace
3. Contagion
4. Embracing Entropy
5. Humanarchy
6. Signal
7. alt_Human
8. Hive Mind
9. Outside In
10. Neurachem
11 k_Os
12. Neophyte
13. Malacandra

Klayton caps of a year of Circle of Dust remasters with a brand new album. A fantastic one at that! Machines manages to combine the sounds of the old albums into a unified whole. You've got some Brainchild type moments with the title track and "Contagion," but you've also got some more Disengage moments with "Embracing Entropy" and - naturally - "Malacandra." I'm really impressed with this album and I hope this isn't the last we hear from Circle of Dust. The only reason why Scandroid beat out this album for a spot on my picks is because Scandroid had the benefit of being a delightful surprise. I kind of knew I was probably going to dig this.

One thing I noticed was the voice samples. Past Circle discs were full of random samples from television shows, movies, etc. I've noticed that the samples on this album have kind of been limited to obscure sci-fi movies. That's not a complaint by the way. I'm wondering if Klayton was a little gun-shy about using copyrighted material. Back in the day you could get away with that sort of thing, but today? Good grief... he probably had to pick some stuff that was not under copyright just to save himself some headache down the line.

Useless Fact: "Neurachem" features samples from the seminal classic, The Brain That Wouldn't Die as made popular by the best show on earth, Mystery Science Theater 3000.