Sunday, June 30, 2013

Megadeth - "Super Collider"

Megadeth - Super Collider
2013, UMe

1. Kingmaker
2. Super Collider
3. Burn!
4. Built For War
5. Off the Edge
6. Dance In the Rain
7. Beginning of Sorrow
8. The Blackest Crow
9. Forget to Remember
10. Don't Turn Your Back...
11. Cold Sweat

I was surprised by how much ire Super Collider has drawn from fans. After the title track was released people were decrying the album as a dud. A return to the pop-rock of Risk. Is that true? Let me think for a minute...uh.....NO! It's not even remotely true. While the album is a lot more melodic and diverse it's far from bubblegum. Songs like "Kingmaker," "Burn!," and "Built For War" are infectious metal tracks. Then there's "Dance In the Rain" which slows things down until blasting away at the end. It also features Disturbed's David Draimen on vocals. He's okay. He doesn't hurt the song any but I wasn't wowed. "The Blackest Crow" is also of note as it features banjo and a little (a smidgen) of country flavor. Don't get me wrong, it still rocks hard. The album closes with "Cold Sweat," a Thin Lizzy cover and one of the best tracks on the album. It almost seems like Dave Mustaine wanted to make more of a hard rock record. Except, unlike Cryptic Writings and Risk where his hand was being forced, Super Collider is pure Dave. I do like this album a lot, even if it's missing some of the furious thrash riffing Megadeth is known for. But honestly, after having consistently great albums since 2004's The System Has Failed, Dave & co. don't really owe me anything. I'm content to just sit back and enjoy whatever they create. I will admit that the album does seem a tad rushed. I think some of these songs could have used a bit more polish. A minor quibble, however. I don't know how Super Collider will stand the test of time, but for now it's definitely a fun summer listen.

Useless Fact: The band must have visited the famed Hadron Super Collider because the liner notes are filled with pictures of it. The artwork (bland cover aside) is quite beautiful.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Gama Bomb - "The Terror Tapes"

Gama Bomb - The Terror Tapes
2013, AFM

1. The Wrong Stuff
2. Legend of Speed
3. Backwards Bible
4. Beverly Hills Robocop
5. Smoke the Blow With Willem DeFoe
6. We Started The Fire
7. Terrorscope
8. Cannibals Are In The Streets (All Flesh Must Be Eaten)
9. Shitting Yourself To Live
10. Matrioska Brain
11. Metal Idiot
12. Wrecking Ball

T'was a nice surprise when I found out Gama Bomb had put out a new album. I made it a priority to pick it up, even though their last album, Tales From The Grave In Space wasn't quite as good as the last. The Terror Tapes does see a slight evolution in the band's sound, but not much. They're still all about thrash and speed but vocalist Philly Byrne had surgery for nodes on his vocal cords. Now he's not able to do the high pitched screams of albums past, but I think that's a good thing. It's forced him to be a little bit more creative and as a result does a bit more actual singing on this album. Speaking of creativity, I think these songs are a lot more memorable. They've all got a cool vocal line or riff that distinguishes each one. I still think Citizen Brain might be my favorite, The Terror Tapes is just as good.

Useless Fact: The liner notes for this album look like cassette tape instructions. Not as cool as the pulp comics, but at least we've got the lyrics which I'd rather have anyway.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Morse, Neal - "?"

Morse, Neal - ?
2005, Metal Blade

1. The Temple of the Living God
2. Another World
3. The Outsider
4. Sweet Elation
5. In The Fire
6. Solid As the Sun
7. The Glory of the Lord
8. Outside Looking In
9. 12
10. Entrance
11. Inside His Presence
12. The Temple of the Living God

I think my expectations were a little too high with this one. I've heard a lot about Neal Morse - about what a progressive rock legend he is. Most of the reviews of this CD are glowingly positive, and deservedly so. The music itself is absolutely stunning. The styles are all over the map. I can't imagine a tried and true prog-head not going ga-ga over this. Seriously. Want epic length songs? The entire album is one single track broken up into twelve movements. I think whoever was in charge of setting the track breaks didn't really know how to separate the movements because sometimes the album will be well into the next section but still listing the last track. Anyway, my problem isn't really with the music. ? just didn't engage me like I thought it would. I expected to be enthralled, enraptured. I expected to really be led into the presence of God - especially since this is a concept album about the Tabernacle, the presence of God, and Christ's fulfillment of the Law. Unfortunately, I found my mind wandering in places. I certainly enjoy what's here but it just didn't grab hold of me like I thought it would. I do plan to revisit this one but right now I'm a little disappointed.

Useless Fact: Jordan Rudess and Mike Portnoy both appear on this album.