Archives For album reviews

When being asked to choose between rock and roll and sex, Lemmy Kilmister had no trouble calling it as he saw it (I’m paraphrasing): “Well, the average show lasts about two hours, coitus could be half an hour tops…so to me it’s pretty obvious which is better, you know?” Punctuate with long puffs of cigarette smoke and long pulls at a Jack and Coke for greater effect.

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It was a wedding day whirlwind of activity. My friend Joe needed a song for the ride over to the church that would not only de-stress his bride-to-be, but also one that would psych him up for the most important day of his life. He tosses his iPod over to his best man (who is driving), points at him with a no-nonsense expression and says, “‘Back At the Funny Farm.’ Now. Go.”

[Insert joke here about how being married is like being at the funny farm here].

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“Look, if I see things as being f*cked, I’m gonna tell you they’re f*cked. I can’t sit there any say, ‘Oh, everything’s nice because I’ve got a new Porsche.” – Lemmy

1986 was such a landmark year for metal already that a new Motorhead album must have seemed like extra icing on a dense, heavy cake. But at the time, it was the first studio effort from Lemmy and friends in three years–a long time for them!

Assuming they spent all that time just drinking and writing, the effort really shows: the songs on Orgasmatron are some of the band’s finest…and angriest.

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The below is a guest review by Stryfe, who is a passionate fan of power metal and kindly offers his thoughts on the latest from Sabaton below. His first of hopefully many more to come! Enjoy!

Too Much of a Good Thing is Actually Bad

In the summer of 2012, Swedish heavy metal band Sabaton released their sixth studio album – Carolus Rex, and the listening metal world collectively took notice in awe as this group of head bangers proved that not only could they write one hell of a concept album, but they could do so while at the same time evolve and ripen their unique sound. Did I mention the group also had to replace 3/5 of their lineup in the middle of recording, and also released the record with both English and Swedish vocals? The improvements noted in Carouls Rex were a massive improvement over their 2010 release, Coat of Arms, which, while having several memorable moments, felt like a bland rehash of the band’s earlier work. Now, the bombastic ensemble returns and presents the heavy metal world with their seventh release, Heroes. Unfortunately, the new release falls short in areas similar to Coat of Arms, and leaves the listener yearning for something more.

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I have a confession to make…I was not always a fan of doom metal. Before receiving this album as a Christmas gift, I was uninterested in doom metal, believing it to be just a rehash of things that Black Sabbath and Pentagram had already done.

You can guess what my attitude was after my first listen to “Epicus Doomicus Metallicus.”

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Read Part 1 here in case you missed it.

Last week I lambasted several common approaches to album-review writing that are ineffective at describing a great record’s glory. Today in part 2, I’ll describe more about where I’m coming from when I write, as well as some prompts for your own inspiration.

I’m very fortunate that a lot of the observations I make about my favorite records just come to me while I’m listening to them (frequently, on long train rides where you can listen to the whole thing without stopping). I hardly ever struggle to write reviews, and in a way it’s already written before I set pen to paper.

But for the rest of us, here are some prompts and some common topics I like to discuss if you’re at a loss where to start:

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I could read Amazon reviews all day long.

But read them as long as I have, and you really get to separate the thoughtful, well-written reviews from the cliche’d, song-by-song breakdowns that make up many others. The really good ones read like an essay that would get printed in the album jacket on its 25th anniversary. That’s what I aim for.

Here’s where I think some aspiring reviewers get bogged down…

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Dark Tranquillity’s proper worldwide breakthrough album features a blurry red cover with Mikael Stanne doubled over in what appears to be agony. “I’m clearly trying to emote my love for the malt,” the singer jokes in the liner notes to this recently reissued version. It’s a great place to start for new Dark Tranquillity fans, as I did, and on its 10th anniversary it is still highly recommended melodic death metal.

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