Sunday, November 16, 2014

Amaranthe - "Massive Addictive"

Amaranthe - Massive Addictive
2014, Spinefarm

1. Dynamite
2. Drop Dead Cynical
3. Trinity
4. Massive Addictive
5. Digital World
6. True
7. Unreal
8. Over and Done
9. Danger Zone
10. Skyline
11. An Ordinary Abnormality
12. Exhale

Imagine my surprise when I found out Amaranthe was releasing a new album this year. I'd only just gotten into The Nexus earlier this spring. Amaranthe is one of those bands whose music instantly puts me in a good mood. Massive Addictive continues the metal/pop/dance fusion with plenty of high energy, upbeat songs. However, while the pace on the last album seldom let up, the band slows things down ever so slightly and lets the songs breath a little. There are a lot more mid-paced songs here - the first single, "Drop Dead Cyincal" and the title track being a perfect examples. With the slower pace comes a lot more variety and creativity I think. Not to say the band has gone soft - far from it. It's just not a non-stop high speed train to the end of the disc anymore. My biggest complaint is the song lengths. Most are just over three minutes and some have enough life that they could linger a bit longer. Amaranthe seems to be getting some traction in the U.S. now having opened up for Within Temptation. I hope they catch on here in a big way because they're a great band.

Useless Fact: They've switched growlers but I can't remember the name of the old one, nor the new one. Also, I think "Unreal" is a song about soccer.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Weezer - "Everything Will Be Alright In The End"

Weezer - Everything Will Be Alright In The End
2014, Universal

1. Ain't Got Nobody
2. Back to the Shack
3. Eulogy For a Rock Band
4. Lonely Girl
5. I've Had it Up to Here
6. The British Are Coming
7. Da Vinci
8. Go Away
9. Cleopatra
10. Foolish Father
11. The Futurescope Trilogy
          a. The Waste Lands
          b. Anonymous
          c. Return to Ithaka

I was pretty much done with Weezer after Raditude. A lot of people were. Raditude was such a light inconsequential album. There was one good song that I remember and the rest was just filler and fluff. Shortly thereafter they released Hurley which I didn't even bother to investigate. I was justified in doing so by the reviews which amount to, "not as bad as Raditude." I'd written off Weezer as a band who'd never make another good album again. However, a couple months ago a Rolling Stone article passed before my eyes announcing Weezer's new album and their "return to their roots." I usually roll my eyes at this because waning bands have a tendency to say this whenever a new album comes out. It's usually all smoke and mirrors and the band makes whatever album they feel like. I did hold a cautious hope that maybe this time was true...

Then I heard, "Back to the Shack." A song were Rivers Cuomo pretty much states outright that, "Yeah, all those albums weren't very good because I was trying to be world famous." "Back to the Shack" was a fun song and my hope for a good album burned brighter. It also takes a a certain kind of person to write an apology song like that. Now that I've digested this album for almost a month do I have good news or bad news?

Good news. Great news. Everything Will Be Alirght In The End is a fantastic album. It does represent a return to their roots in some aspects. "Ain't Got Nobody" sounds like it could have come from Pinkerton and "Lonely Girl" echoes the thick chords and down picking that characterized a lot of the Blue Album. I think the thing that really makes this a good album, aside from some of the best songs the band has put out in fifteen years or so, is the energy. There's so much infectious energy here! You can tell the band decided that, successful or no, they would put out the absolute best album they could without worrying about the charts. Heck, they've even got an epic closing track ("The Futurescope Trilogy") that's dang near progressive. I kind of like seeing that side of them. Welcome back, Weezer! We missed you!

Useless Fact: "The British Are Coming" is about the American Revolution. No, really. I guess they wanted to write an Iron Maiden song in Weezer style!

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Five Years of Adam's Ipod!

Holy Cow!

Has it really been five years? Here's a video of me rambling on about it! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - "Hypnotic Eye"

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers - Hypnotic Eye
2014, Warner Bros.

1. American Dream Plan B
2. Fault Lines
3. Red River
4. Full Grown Boy
5. All You Can Carry
6. Power Drunk
7. Forgotten Man
8. Sins of My Youth
9. U Get Me High
10. Burnt Out Town
11. Shadow People

I wasn't quite as impressed with the one Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers album I have (as opposed to just Tom Petty himself) and at first I thought the same was going to be true with Hypnotic Eye. My first listen was kind of... underwhelming. However, it soon grew on me and I really enjoy it. It's not anything ground-breaking that's for sure, but I think that's part of its charm. Tom Petty is always reliable. I don't think he's capable of doing anything "bad" per se. That's what this album is - simple, unpretentious rock n' roll. It tastes great and goes down smooth.

Useless Fact: I don't really have any obscure Tom Petty trivia, unfortunately. I think he's a White personality-type... if you're familiar with the Hartman color code of personality.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Blood Stain Child - "Epsilon"

Blood Stain Child - Epsilon
2011, Coroner

1. Sirius VI
2. Forever Free
3. Stargazer
4. S.O.P.H.I.A.
5. Unlimited Alchemist
6. Electricity
7. Eternal
8. Moon Light Wave
9. Dedicated to Violator
10. Merry-Go-Round
11. La+
12. Sai-Ka-No
Bonus Track
13. Royal Sky

So yeah... that is some swell cover art isn't it? Good grief. I don't know who the artist is but this is amazing. Definitely among my favorite pieces in the vault. The music rocks too. It's "Japanese trance metal" - at least I think that's the official designation. Basically it's a combination of electronic dance music and metal not unlike Amaranthe. While Amaranthe is more on the pop/commercial spectrum, Blood Stain Child is more on the metal side. There's also a lot more growling. Probably won't surprise anyone to say that I really enjoy this style of music, and this band in particular. I think I could do with a little less emo/hardcore growls and more singing here though. For example, "Stargazer" has nary a growl and is one of my favorite songs.

Useless Fact: I think this band started out as more death metal in style.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Jacob's Trouble - "Jacob's Trouble"

Jacob's Trouble - Jacob's Trouble
1993, Frontline

1. Wild, Wild Ride
2. Lovehouse
3. Desiree
4. This Moment
5. It's a Boy's, Boy's, Boy's, Boy's World
6. Best Part of Me
7. Time Bomb
8. Better Part of Me
9. Tears of an Angel
10. Lovin' Kindness
11. Way of the Cross

Back in the day I had a friend in my youth group who loved this band. Of course, she was a big fan of the Monkees as well. Jacob's Trouble's first few albums were kind of Monkee-esque (or so I hear) and that's probably why she was so rabid for them. I was never a huge fan and I'm not sure what possessed me to buy this self-titled album other than I was at Kingdom Bound and had money burning a hole in my pocket. This album actually represents a shift in their sound to more of a modern (at the time) alternative rock sound. I'd say it's not unlike Uthanda's first album. Despite never being a huge fan I really dug this album at the time and, being inspired to buy it by the band's appearance on Frontline Rewind, really dig it now. I don't think I'll every explore the band's back catalog but I do love this one.

Useless Fact: When I opened up my CD I found that there was still a little Compassion International ad flyer stuck in there. That was the big thing then - to sponsor a need child through them. My mom did it... sponsored one kid for years and years until she grew up and didn't need it anymore. That's how cool my mom is. Anyway, a lot of Christian artists got involved - in the advertising anyway. I remember ads featuring Phil Keaggy and Cindy Morgan to name a couple.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Knott, Michael - "Strip Cycle"

Knott, Michael - Strip Cycle
1996, Tooth & Nail

1. Sugar Mama
2. Tattoo
3. Rockstars on H
4. Transistor Sister
5. Light My Fuse
6. Burnin' On Fire
7. Bad Check
8. Milk & Peas
9. Supergirl
10. Everything
11. Am I Winnin' Somthing?
12. Too Long
13. Denial

Okay, so I guess I am a Mike Knott person after all because I seem to like the stuff I find. Strip Cycle is no different. It's an all acoustic rock album with catchy tunes and the poignant lyrics Knott is known for. Much cello is present as well, which is never bad. I can't believe this actually came out on Tooth & Nail. Were they like... sick or something? I mean, Mike Knott is an established artist with a history and everything. A bit different from the dorky kids and their punk and hardcore that pretty much made up the T&N line up back in the day (Starflyer 59 notwithstanding).

Useless Fact: I don't know if the "H" in "Rockstars on H" is censored on purpose or what. Probably, knowing how weird we Christians can be about nonsense like that. It stands for "heroine" by the way. I believe the song also appeared on an Aunt Bettys album.