by Noobhammer on Jul.05, 2010, under Chainsaw
Hello, The Noobhammer here to give you his weekly thoughts of metal, be it new reviews, startling news, or just whatever is on his mind. This is the first post of my round table, and many of you are probably thinking, “Hey Noobhammer, this seems awfully similar to ‘Cannibal’s Corner.’” Well, it is, but it isn’t. Yes, this is an opinion blog, and we both may discuss what the other has said or written, by mine has a completely different feel to it. While Cannibal Cory’s may seem like a trip down to the basement with your good old friend Sweettooth, the homicidal clown that you love, mine is more of a gathering around a round table where we discuss magic…and dragons….yeah….
ANYWAYS! My first topic is a counterpoint to Cannibal Cory’s idea about Borknagar’s latest album, Universal.
First off, I have to disagree with my good friend Cannibal Cory. While he says that this album does not deliver the punch, I have to disagree. While the guitars may not be as intense as other black metal bands, Borknagar is not your typical black metal band. I have been listening to this band since Quintessence, and the mix of clean vocals with the harsh vocals is what really gives this band their edge. It has been four years since their acoustic album and six years since their last album proper, and this latest album is a return to form of sorts for the band. It flows very similar to their classic album Empiricism. Their music flows along the same lines as Emperor’s later work, and, as such, mixes brutality and beauty, which is what makes this album bloody fantastic. Yes, I do enjoy some of the heavier tracks, but sometimes, just like Swallow The Sun and Katatonia, the slower songs can be heavier and more brutal than the faster songs. So while this album may not appeal to everyone, fans of Emperor’s last album as well as black metal fans who love a little bit of clean vocals will love this album.
Let us continue onward with some album reviews for albums that came out this past month. Starting with Sabaton’s Coat of Arms:
Sabaton return with another album chock full of inspiring music about various battles throughout history. First off, let me say that when you first listen to this album, you will have trouble putting it down for a few days. The songs are very catchy, and the choruses just make you want to raise your fist in the air and charge along the battlefield with the soldiers who fight in the song. By far, though, the opening track is the strongest song on the album. “Coat of Arms” opens up with a synth playing softly before the drums and guitars kick in and instantly make your head bang and foot tap. There are some songs, though sad in nature, will still make you feel powerful, like “Final Solution,” which describes prisoners’ feelings as they are walking through the gates of Aushwitz. It’s hard to say how long these guys will be around for though, because there are only so many battles you can sing about, and a lot of their songs vary little. Despite this fact, they can still write catchy songs that have us hooked.
Rhapsody of Fire return with their first album in four years, and it is a return for glory for the band. After being forced to change their name due to a lawsuit, their previous album, Triumph of Agony, was a big disappointment for me, especially because I am a HUGE Rhapsody fan. This latest album showcases the guitars more than the symphony. Some may see it as a response to the big hit of Dragonforce; I see it as a return to their glory days of the emerald sword. Few bands can compose and move us as well as Rhapsody of Fire can. From the moment you here Christopher Lee (Yes, the Christopher Lee who played Sauraman in The Lord of The Rings movies) give his introduction to “the mighty, immortal warriors, RHAPSODY!” you will have a grin on your face and horns raised in the air. I won’t lie to you, I’ve had this album on repeat since I got it. It makes me want to get on the back of my epic gold dragon, unsheathe my broadsword, and ride into battle with my comrades by my side as we search for the crystal of power. It is a truly epic album, and one that all power metal fans should get. LONG LIVE RHAPSODY!!
FINALLY! The new Nevermore album, The Obsidian Conspiracy, has finally been released. It has taken them five years, and, Odin, it was rough, I almost gave up on them. However, the band surprised me by releasing, not only a new album, but one hell of a new album. Seriously, this album is nearly flawless. The guitars have taken a backseat to Warrel Dane’s vocals, but that does not mean that the guitar shredding we love from this band is gone. No, rather it means that we get a great balance of both. For the first time since Dead Heart In A Dead World, I have been able to sing along with every song on the album. The songs are short but catchy, and their hooks just sink into you, and you will be humming the choruses to the songs all day. It’s hard to explain in words how this album is, but I will say this: it is now a close contender for my album of the year, and Aealo by Rotting Christ is one hell of an album to top.
Well, that’s all I have for this week. Keep tunin’ in to Chainsaw Rock on WKNC 88.1, and be sure to prepare for the Newrockalypse this week as I will be playing songs from all the albums mentioned here. Keep the horns rising brothers and sisters.
by Katie Hill on Jun.23, 2010, under Chainsaw
|#1||NEVERMORE||The Obsidian Conspiracy||Century Media|
|#2||NACHTMYSTIUM||Addicts: Black Meddle Pt. II||Century Media|
|#4||AEON||Path of Fire||Metal Blade|
|#5||EXODUS||Exhibit B: The Human Condition||Nuclear Blast|
|#6||AVANTASIA||The Wicked Symphony||AFM|
|#7||TAROT||Gravity of Light||Nuclear Blast|
|#8||FREEDOM CALL||Legend of the Shadowking||Steamhammer|
|#10||THIS OR THE APOCALYPSE||Haunt What’s Left||Good Fight|
I know it’s sad, the prospect of the end of my first year as a DJ coming to a close. But for those of you that don’t know, it is exam week this and next week, followed by that thing called summer. Summer is an exciting season, where I meet relatives and they ask me how stuff at the station goes. I tell them, and then they usually ask if I have ever actually eaten a human. Hah, the nerve!
Anyways, Chainsaw will be alive during this summer, so just because this is my last farewell for the Spring of 2010 doesn’t mean you have to stop listening in. Seriously, when people start ignoring Chainsaw, stuff like in Figure 1 starts to happen. Keep listening to your dose of Rotting Christ, old-school Dimmu Borgir, Goatwhore, Cannibal Corpse, Belphegor, and by listening to Lucretia, Mistress of Destruction‘s, show. Seriously, I may wreck the human body to splinters… er, with splinters, but she will tear down the walls of your house. Noobhammer‘s 2.0 version of his show is definitely a good tune-in as well.
For those that have been consistently reading these blog posts, I provide you with another comic! I know it’s been a while, but it’s either that or concert gore. And I figured concert gore was exciting. Now, I ran into a bit of trouble with this week’s comic and I’m sure you’ll see why. Just remember: offended people tend to have more tender meat. And everyone likes tender meat.
Question of the Week: “How could I be as cool as Noobhammer?”
“I would play Dungeons and Dragons.” -9th Priest
“I’d grab a foam sword and sing while drinking ale!” -Cannibal Cory
When I come back, I hope your limbs will have regenerated, intestines scabbed over, eyeballs re-socketed themselves, tongue stub re-grown, undisembowled, stitches sewn properly, and bones set straight all so another enjoyable round of shows can begin in the Fall of 2010!
The heavyweight band is back with their latest album, and I won’t try to sweeten any of what I have to say about Borknagar‘s latest. There are times when it really does take a knife to the intestines and lets out that nice fine ooze, but I felt that for much of the album I had to repeatedly dive headfirst into any bricks I came across. And if you didn’t know, there’s a mighty ton of bricks here at N.C. State.
I’m sure my colleague and fellow metalhead-in-crime Noobhammer wouldn’t object to calling this piece of work “progressive” in some way, but I’m not a man of labels. I just know that past Havoc and Reason, the guitars aren’t grinding my elbows to dust. Once I even took a flier from those folks on campus gathering attention for their cause by handing out dead tree pulp just so I could papercut my tongue with a pentagram
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate how they give those cuddly-type of music people their teddy bears and skin-moisturizing lotion, and I thoroughly enjoy black metal artists, but by the end I feel like this is a softer “Aealo” from Rotting Christ. Rotting Christ delivers the rot, Borknagar does not.
Now the Amon Amarth concert this past Tuesday was quite disembowling– or satisfying in layman’s terms. The first band to play was Pandah, and they did a good job getting the crowd worked up on chewing through their own cheeks. They were a refreshing mix of deathly speed and blackened keyboard gore. Next to play was Holy Grail, remnants of 80′s speed metal both in sound and the singer’s tight pants. His shrill was fierce, and we all enjoyed the feeling of leeches feasting from within our ear canal.
Both bands’ styles, however, stood at a contrast to Týr and Amon Amarth. Their songs, based upon Nordic mythology and Scandinavian tales of viking warriors led some in the crowd to produce hammers and bash people’s skulls inside out. Many wound up with a Hammer Smashed Face.
Týr did not disappoint, playing beloveds such as By The Sword In My Hand, Hail To The Hammer, and By The Light Of The Northern Star. Their stage presence was a nice menacing beast through which many lost pints of blood, fluids, and bile. By the time Amon Amarth arrived, the concrete floor was coated with a nice slippery mix of stomach acid, disfigured severed limbs, and organs. Nothing like free food.
Amon Amarth brought quite a light show with them, causing peoples’ eyes to become hyperactive and either explode or pop out and dangle by that stretchy optic nerve. They opened with Twilight Of The Thunder God, where fans immediately lost all sense of self and began destroying each other in a mosh pit of flying gore. Johan, the singer, kept repeating between songs about how rockin’ the people of Raleigh were. If only he could see the floor, where half the crowd was scattered about.
They wound up playing many bloody songs such as Tattered Banners and Bloody Flags, The Fate Of Norns, Down The Slopes Of Death, Cry Of The Black Birds, Under The Northern Star, Live For The Kill, and Guardians Of Asgaard to just name a few. Their destructive power, the packed venue, and the madness-inducing lights created an environment where it was impossible to not headbang and give Johan the horns. I could keep on describing the concert, but instead have a look (that is, if you’ve got eyes to spare at the moment) at the concert pictures. A picture is worth a thousand words, but these blurry pictures are worth the wading through pools of excrement and gore.
I’m putting off my review of Borknagar‘s latest album until next week, as the Cannibal Corpse concert at Volume 11 yesterday was total face-smashing. The pure brutal assault of the Lecherous Nocturne, Diabolic, Skeletonwitch, and Cannibal Corpse lineup left my neck hanging by a string, my eye bruised from crowd surfers, my ears ringing from pure shredding, and my mind liquefying with an excellent show.
Lecherous Nocturne started off the night with some great grinding, the kind of teeth-on-chalkboard sensation that makes you realize the only thing you can do is keep on knocking your head against the stage floor in rhythm. At one point the band offered the most dominant person in a pit a copy of their latest album. I watched as fellow metalhead bashed into more metalheads, listening to the soothing sound of bone hitting bone and the growls of encouragement. They were good at turning model citizens into flying guided missiles.
It’s sad that 1349 is stuck in Europe due to some visa issues, but Diabolic was a solid substitute that did not leave me wanting to kick a door with a toothpick under my toenail, which is how I usually handle things that are not brütal enough. The old school sound was perfect for preparing us for the maggots feasting on our guts that would be disemboweled by Cannibal Corpse‘s earlier works.
Skeletonwitch hit the stage, and the crowd went bloodthirsty. People were squeezed so close to the stage that their eyes burst into white liquid, causing them to jump on stage and then back into the crowd. It seemed to rain frenzied metalheads, putting shoes into people’s noses with a bloody cracking sound and knees thudding against unlucky crowd members’ thick skulls. People ravaged so much in the Skeletonwitch set that people spontaneously combusted into bloody chunks. Some people may have helped themselves to a mid show snack.
In the end, though, it was Cannibal Corpse that devoured the crowd. They played songs from albums across the entire timeline. the exact order is a blur since that part of my brain got lobotomized at some point in the show, but I remember them starting with Scalding Hail. From that point on the brütality pulverized my legs, neck, and brain. Priests of Sodom, The Wretched Spawn, Evisceration Plague, They Deserve To Die all brought on the horns. They ended with a personal favorite of mine: Stripped, Raped and Strangled. I left the concert fully satisfied and limbless, earless, eyeless, with the stench of a thousand decomposing fellow fans around me. I think that my arms fought off their chainsaw of a grinding gory song, with my arms losing. My legs still seem to be MIA, though I don’t think I’ll need them anytime soon.
With that, I leave you more images of the concert!
I know exactly what you’re thinking, you brutal metal freaks out there. What the heck should you expect from the inaugural post by Cannibal Cory? Well I’m here to firstly warn those weak of heart and easily disturbed to look elsewhere. The following just might, maybe, cause a heart attack – especially if the idea of gore like Scattered Remains, Splattered Brains makes you want to heave your ripening meal all over the keyboard.
To start, I’ve thoroughly been enjoying waking up to the sound of Arkaik‘s debut album “Reflections Within Dissonance.” Let me be the first to tell you that there’s nothing quite like waking up headbanging, pumped with fresh glass scraping my inner eardrum. I’m not a man of genres – in this day and age it can mean a gruesome, bloody death (preferably by Beheading and Burning, but fingernail removal is fine too) — so know that the bloodier my descriptions are, the higher the recommendation is.
The title track Reflections Within Dissonance definitely rips your intestines out via bellybutton by sheer force once it lulls you into a false sense of “I’m only gonna lose a leg listening to this one.” They keep grinding at your teeth with a sander up until about halfway, when they break it all down and cause your gums to bleed. In fact, they manage to do a great job of balancing shredding your arms with a cheese grater and shattering your ears with an icepick and technicality all the way to the end.
Another one of my personal favorites, Obscured Luminosity, keeps things more in the technical realm compared to other songs, meaning each brutal stroke of the guitar and pounding of the bass pedal is like a sledgehammer to a kneecap. When it does get brutal, they’re merely taking a table saw to your jaw. The ultimate climax comes when the bassist decides that the table saw isn’t enough and rips a short — but eyeball popping — solo. After that, you’ll never look at the album in the same way again.
Then there’s Elegy for the Disillusioned, where you feel like there’s wave after wave of sewing needles being shot at your face. They keep the thrashing and breakdowns transitioning so rapidly smooth you won’t even notice you’re being swept away by a tidal wave made of acid – be sure to hang on to your skin.
There you have it – it’s up to you to decide whether you can go without a couple spare limbs for a while. Overall, the album gets a gore cleanup rating of an hour and a half in my book. Still a couple of stains that won’t come out of the carpet, but I don’t mind the maggots.
Now, for the question of the week: “If you could go to any concert, and could time travel, what would it be?” Three people replied with their responses:
“Dude, if I could time travel I’d go to the future and watch Dethklok destroy everything!” – DJ Nick
“I’d have Overkill and Kreator start the concert, then have Motörhead and Manowar. Even though it’s pretty much impossible.” - Metal Commander
“If I could choose… it would be Nile.” – 9th Priest
There you have it, cannibals. Check out the next show to hear the question of the week, and come back to read a review of Borknagar‘s “Universal”. You might even get lucky and see pictures of the Cannibal Corpse concert at Volume 11! To end on a lighter note, I leave you with this:
by Noobhammer on Mar.31, 2010, under Chainsaw
Cynic will release a new EP titled Re-Traced on May 18 that I and I know many other prog fans have been looking forward to. Ever since the release of Traced In Air, we the fans have been eagerly awaiting to see what these masterminds have planned for us. While the EP will not consist of new work, it will have four of the best songs re-imagined by the band, as well as one new track. I got to hear this one track live, and I instantly fell in love with it. The song was “Wheels Within Wheels”, and it is an epic spiraling song of beauty with guitars and drums woven together to make a tapestry you can lose yourself in. Cynic only seems to be getting better with each album, and they are turning out to be one of the most creative bands to tour and release music. They constantly evolve and don’t let the idea of genre force them to write music they don’t want to. I cannot wait for this EP to come out, and I certainly cannot wait for the new full length to come out. Let us just hope we don’t have to wait another 15 years for a new album. I have included at the bottom, fan footage taken of their new song. I apologize for the sound quality, but thanks to MetalInjection.com for having a good version, because apparently mine is to big of a file size.
by Noobhammer on Mar.08, 2010, under Chainsaw
Aealo is a Greek word meaning thrashing, catastrophe, or destruction. That is exactly what Rotting Christ’s latest album does — it destroys. However, it does so in a beautiful way. It may crush you and pummel you, but it will find a way to lift you up with its guitar melodies.
I have always been a fan of Rotting Christ, and I enjoy all of their albums. Though the band may be as old as I am, this hasn’t stopped them from progressing and defining itself with each new album. “Aealo” is no exception to that rule.
Every song on the album is an entity of its own, bringing in so many elements from past albums as well as adding new elements at the same time. It’s hard to pick just one song on this album because each one is that good, able to stand on its own. You could randomly pick any song on the album and you would still leave it on repeat. What makes this album really standout is that it incorporates Mediterranean influences into the songs, such as Greek chants, and Greek melodies played on guitars. I want to pick out songs for someone interested to listen to, but I cannot, because they are all equally as impressive. If I had to rate this album, I couldn’t because it is that well done. Sakis has written some of his best riffs to date, and Themis performs some of his best drumming on this album.
To use a quote I saw from Sakis in an interview with blistering.com, “This album is Hellenic, it is Greek.” And maybe that is what makes this album so amazing. There is no question — I believe I have already found my album of the year, maybe even of the decade. I cannot tell you how much I recommend this album to anybody who enjoys metal, or who wishes to expand their music library and tastes. From the opening chants to the closing riffs, you will be blown away by this album. The members of Rotting Christ are true defenders of metal, and keep the banner of not only the left hand path raised high, but also the banner of metal, and this album shows that.
The following are the top 10 albums played on WKNC’S Chainsaw format over the past week, compiled by Chainsaw Music Director Jonathan Newman:
1. High on Fire – Snakes for the Divine
2. Overkill – Ironbound
3. Ihsahn – After
4. Devin Townsend Project – Addicted
5. Droids Attack – Must Destroy
6. Wrath And Rapture – Wrath And Rapture
7. Anima – Enter the Killzone
8. Sovereign Strength – Reflections
9. Heathen – The Evolution of Chaos
10. Close Your Eyes – We Will Overcome
88.1 WKNC Pick of the Week 2/25
Wrath and Rapture
What happens when you combine power metal with black metal? You get Wrath and Rapture, a Carolina band from Winston-Salem. Though what may seem like an odd combination, actually works quite well. Though the vocals made it sound evil, I still couldn’t help but raise my fist during the bridges because they reminded me so much of power metal, that it brought a smile to my face. Never before have I smiled while listening to black metal. However, the style of music is not the only thing that makes me smile, but the talent that these Carolina boys have with their instruments.
When the CD first opens we have a keyboard intro which reminds me so much of Rhapsody its not even funny, yet it still has you bobbing your head along with it and then just as it slows down to the ubiquitous sound of thunder, a evil voice prepares you for what is to come, but nothing can prepare you for the kick in the teeth that is “The Dirge of Fallen Heroes”. With a powerful guitar and gutteral vocals it prepares you for a black metalness, but then suddenly throws in a power metal keyboard riff which confuses you yet mesmerizes you at the same time. Then the song takes a huge leg left into technical black metal and beats you down. “Disbodiment” mixes about 5 different genres together in one song, but while this may seem disorienting, it actually works quite well and makes one of the most memorable songs in the album due to its sheer chaos. The next three songs are all instrumental that all bleed into one song before beating you in ears with a sonic blast with “A Breathtaking Tragedy”, a straightforward black-core song. Nothing too fancy about it, but it shows that a band can take many different paths and not just have to stick to only one genre. However, besides “Dirge” one of my favorite songs on the whole album is “Cosmic Wasteland” because it sounds like Sonata Arctica and The Faceless wrote and performed the song. I could just picture a knight riding a robot dragon across the cosmos while the song was playing. Very epic.
The only problem with this album is all the instrumentals. There are ten songs on here, and yet half of them are instrumentals and one is a cover song. That doesn’t leave much original material, and this could have made a good EP, as the whole album is only 30 minutes long. It’s still a great release though, and I look forward to see what they put out next.
by DJ Ones on Dec.24, 2009, under Chainsaw
Over the past couple of weeks a very interesting story has developed coming out of England. First let’s get started through giving you a little bit of back story.
For the past couple of years, the winner of the popular British music show “The X Factor,” has gone on to getting the number one selling single the week of Christmas which sets it to the top of the “Christmas Number One Singles Chart” in England. In 2005, X Factor winner Shayne Ward, had the number one Christmas single. In 2006, winner Leona Lewis, made it to the top. When 2007 rolled around, winner Leon Jackson had the number one single. This trend continued in 2008 when Alexandra Burke made it to “Christmas Number One” (which the number one Christmas single is referred to as).
Then the followers of Rage Against the Machine took notice, and they weren’t going to take this anymore.
The campaign initially took place at a completely grassroots level as member Tom Morello explained, “We were followers in this campaign, we tried to lend some wind to its sails, but it began at a completely grassroots level without the band’s involvement.” In describing how he was first introduced to what the fans were attempting to do he said, “The campaign first came to my attention a couple of weeks ago when some friends of mine in the UK emailed me about it. I checked it out online and as it began to gain momentum I realized what a potentially historic moment it could be – and the band knew that we needed to throw our weight behind it.”
The premise seemed simple enough, get the popular 1992 track by Rage Against the Machine, “Killing in the Name” to Christmas Number One and defeat 2009 X-Factor winner, Joe McElderry.
The fans and the band started pushing all their weight behind this one goal. The Facebook page in support of the campaign gained thousands of followers, and the band used the force of other social networking sites like Twitter in their effort to make it to Christmas Number One. Tom Morello went on to post things like, “Attention Freedom Fighters! RAGE VS. X-FACTOR WILL BE DECIDED BY SATURDAY’S SALES. Spread the word! Knock on doors! Host downloading parties! Knock over ladies buying X-factor! The clock is ticking. And if ‘Killing In The Name’ is number one WE ARE COMING. And it will be the victory party to end all victory parties.”
Judge of The X-Factor Simon Cowell went on to say that the campaign was “stupid”, “cynical”, and “very Scrooge”.
The time for pushing and selling the single had finally ended on December 19th. The result came in. Joe McElderry’s cover of The Climb totaled 450,000 sales. “Killing in the Name” sold 50,000 more. Rage Against the Machine and their group of dedicated fans had won.
Morello would go on to say, “Make no mistake about it, this was a political act! This was an entire nation delivering a stinging slap of rejection to the whole notion of pre-fabricated pop ruling the charts. And Rage’s victory over The X Factor was an act of God. That the bad winter weather came in, keeping people away from stores and made it more of a fair fight, because we didn’t have hard copies in stories. When Paul McCartney (who endorsed the act by Rage Against the Machine earlier)and Mother Nature agree on something it’s going to be unstoppable!”
He would then proudly say, “Rage Against The Machine was built for moments like this,” Morello followed up, “That historic chart upset the other night is one we’re very proud to have been a part of, but more proud that it showed that people uniting in solidarity can do anything. That’s the lasting message from this. It went from being ‘let’s kick The X Factor off the top of the charts’ to a real people’s movement and, in the future, the energy behind it can be used for other social justice causes and not just chart-topping.”
The band is planning to take the stage early next year in a celebration of winning Christmas Number One in both the UK and the United States.
After a strong campaign by fans and by the band, Rage Against the Machine proved that this Christmas Number One was going to be one to remember.
by Noobhammer on Dec.23, 2009, under Chainsaw
There are many great metal albums that were released in the decade known as the 1990s. However when you ask many metal heads to name some of their favorite albums, and what they think some of the best ones are, you generally hear the same albums listed. Generally the albums mentioned are Death’s Human, Sepultura’s Arise, Carcass’ Heartwork, Megadeth’s Rust In Peace, Cannibal Corpse’s Tomb of the Mutilated, Slayer’s South of Heaven, Blind Guardian’s Nightfall In Middle-Earth, Iced Earth’s Burnt Offerings and many many more. Now don’t get me wrong, these are all great albums and I enjoy them every time I listen to them. However everyone I talk to about this always seems to leave out one album, and not even mention it. Or if I do mention it, will say that they have not listened to it. This album is Strapping Young Lad’s City.
This is one hell of an album, and quite possibly one of the best albums of the 90s. Every song on this album flows perfectly, and Devin’s rage is controlled, but at the same time wild and untamed. From the opening bells of “Velvet Kevorkian”, we are set up to some of the most intense 40 minutes I have ever listened to. As soon as Devin kicks in screaming “HEY! I WANT TO BE WHERE THE ACTION IS!!”, we get a picture of the rage that Devin has pent up and he wants to release on us. With his tirade on how fucked up we are, and how much our society is pissing him off, we then get sucked into the vortex of “All Hail The New Flesh” with swirling guitars falling out as he wails into our ears with a piercing scream before telling us to go fuck ourselves. With blistering guitars and drums just pelting us sonically we are then thrown to the ground to be kicked in the stomach by “Oh My Fucking God”.
This song adds to the one-two punch that goes with the song before it. With the sound byte saying how they can’t fail, the drums suddenly kick in with a brutal solo, until Devin screams and his wall of sound comes in and blows us away with his guitars. A nonsensical tirade of words that are nigh untelligable until he gets to the chorus screaming “OH MY FUCKING GOD!!” Until it suddenly cuts off and leaves us with “Detox” and quite possibly the catchiest song on the album. This song showcases perfectly all of Devin’s abilities. From his brutality to his ability to express his pain while still being heavy as hell. A catchy riff, and catchy lyrics make this a catchily brutal song.
As soon as the song quietly goes away, “Home Nucleonics” blows you away with a wail and blistering guitar wall. Belting to us about how we have failed as a society. With stop and go riffs, the song feels like it is picking you up and slamming you on the ground with its sonic assault. Constantly beating you until it dissolves into all the members of the bands screaming madly, fading into to “AAA” which is a catchy song about Devin’s various addictions, slowly building up intensity until it hits you square in the face with its chorus screaming “NO ONE! NO ONE FUCKS WITH ME!!”. “Underneath The Waves” then blasts us in the face with double bass pedals and Devin taunting us with his voice repeating “on and on”. Until kicking in with the signature wall of sound and Devin singing about how he’s tired of the shit of world, making this not only intense sonically, but also vocally. After this song, the album begins to slow down it’s sonic intensity for a more brooding intensity.
“Room 429″ is a cover of a Cop Shoot Cop song. It’s very dark and very mid tempo, but it still has all the intensity of the earlier tracks. How dark and empty the city is, how we go through the motions of life. “Spirituality” is the final track of the album, with layers and layers of guitars stacked upon each other. This sheer heaviness of the stacked guitar tracks just seem to pile up on you, putting all the wait of city on you, making you feel overwhelmed. Which is the purpose of this album, to make you feel insignificant and tiny. That you are really nothing in this world, an insignificant speck in the grand scheme of things.
All these songs are catchy and instantly memorable. As soon as you hear one of these songs, you will be humming along with it, singing along with it, or just going buck wild. It is a classic album, and it should be remembered as one of the best albums of the 90s, if not one of the best metal albums ever made.
by Noobhammer on Dec.21, 2009, under Chainsaw
Greetings metal community, the Noobhammer here again with my top 10 albums which smashed open the gates of Hell with a hammer full of steel. This was no easy choice mind you. In a year where I almost went broke trying to buy all the good albums this year, it was not easy to pick my favorites. It was like trying to pick which video games you would save in a burning fire. That being said, here are my picks for a year during which some of the best albums came out.
10. God Forbid - Earthsblood
It’s hard to describe God Forbid. They are one of those really unique metalcore bands. I thought it would be almost impossible to top the juggernaut that is Constitution of Treason, but these guys did it, and with gusto. A truly remarkable band, who can only go anywhere but higher as they show the metalcore scene how to write an album.
9. Swallow The Sun – New Moon
Words can’t even begin to describe the feeling I got when i first heard that riff and that melancholic voice whisper those words in my ear, just before everything kicks in and blows you away. Another brilliant album from these Finns who have perfectly blended melodic death metal and doom metal, and even now on this latest album, incorporated some black metal. With guitars that seem to wail in the night, it seems that these guys could swallow the sun with their music.
8. Epica – Design Your Universe
Epica didn’t really impress me too much with their last album. Don’t get me wrong, it was good, but just not great. Their latest album however is a totally different story . This album, and god I hate to have to use this, is epic. It is truly a work to behold. With powerful and blazing guitars and drums, mixed with the death vocals and Simone’s gorgeous voice, makes this one hell of an album.
7. Insomnium – Across The Dark
I had never heard of these guys before this album, and they won me over instantly with their brand of doom metal. The guitars and keyboard just meld together perfectly and just wash over you in a wave of sound. When you add the singer’s voice his mix of clean vox and growls, just makes this album catchy but also heavy as hell. The riffs are easy to comprehend, but the layers to them speak volumes about the music.
6. HORSE The Band - Desperate Living
Once again, another album that thoroughly surprised me. I was disappointed after their last album, but this one totally makes up for it. All the emotion that was lacking on the last one, is back on here in full force. All these songs seep with the struggle of touring and keeping a band together. A great evolution that keeps them true to their roots while evolving at the same time. A gem, and perfect album that describes emotions we all go through.
5. Pelican – What We All Come To Need
This album is a true piece of musical art. From the crunchy guitar riffs to the melodic bridges, even to the vocalist on the last track. This album is musical bliss where we can sit back and just relax enjoy what is running through our ears. The biggest surprise though was the vocalist on the last track, showing that this band can do more than just write crunchy guitar riffs.
4. Between The Buried And Me – The Great Misdirect
Maybe I’m biased because these boys are from North Carolina. No matter what you think about the band, you cannot deny that these boys can play their instruments. Returning again with another technical masterpiece, the boys in BTBAM raise the bar for musicianship and song composition. Once again this album is essentially one long song, pushing the band even farther into prog, Rush-esque realms.
3. Isis – Wavering Radiant
Goddamn. That is all that I can say about this album. It is a brilliant piece of work, sublimely beautiful yet at the same time crushingly heavy. These boys can write some damn fine music which border on the serene then immediately shift to crushing steel hammers. Aaron Turner has outdone himself again with his latest album, and I cannot wait to hear what they do next.
2. Mastodon – Crack The Skye
This was a very close contender for album of the year. The work that the band put in this album is staggering. All the songs held within the album are masterpieces in their own right. They are beautiful and moving and just downright amazing. Every song being dedicated to Dailor’s late sister. It is a truly fantastic album that is worthy of all it’s recognition.
THIS IS IT!!! MY ALBUM OF THE YEAR!!! IT IS……
1. Devin Townsend Project – Addicted
My god. Seriously. This album is essentially crack in music form. I have barely stopped listening ever since I got it. Devin Townsend is a god. He is once of the greatest musicians to ever live. His sheer musicianship as well as his ability as a lyricist allows him to write some of the best albums ever. Be they in Strapping Young Lad, or even his solo band, The Devin Townsend Project. His greatness cannot be denied, and this album fully showcases all his abilities, from his rage to his serenity. It is the work of a world class musician, and one who is not afraid to embrace his emotions, nor to experiment with sounds and different ways of making music. That is why this is my metal album of the year.
Jesu – Opiate Sun
This is the only time I have done a honorable mention. I couldn’t include it on the list because it is only an EP, so it’s not technically an album. However this is one stunning piece of work. The guitars drone out Justin Broadrick’s voice so it barely audible, but it makes clear all the pain that he sings about, making this a very emotional album that seeps with pain, and makes me excited to hear his next full release.
The Devin Townsend Project
Album – Addicted
By Johnathan Newman
Devin Townsend is a god in the world of music.
He has had a music career spanning 24 albums, first beginning with his vocal work for Steve Vai on his “Sex and Religion” album in 1993. He has released albums under his own name, as well as with his band Strapping Young Lad. Having disbanded both bands, he took some time off to discover his roots and sober up. During this period of soul-searching, he wrote 60 or so songs, each with four distinct styles of music. He decided to create a four album series, under the moniker of the Devin Townsend Project, and came back with the very deep and very heavy “Ki” album, which was the first album, and also set the stage for what was to come. Six moths later, he released “Addicted,” which is a return to form of sorts, with more accessible songs.
“Addicted” starts out with a simple but heavy riff and the lines “Hey! You’re awake,” possibly an allusion that his last album put some people to sleep, which keeps in with the tongue-in-cheek lyrics you normally find in his songs. But under these normally silly lyrics, there is a deeper message of the pain and power drugs and alcohol had on him. The songs on this album may be heavier, but they also have a poppy feel to them as well, a very pop-metal album if you will, which is probably why these heavier lyrics could not be taken as seriously. But it’s hard to miss the point when you hear a slow riff, with Devin wailing “I don’t want to save my soul now. I don’t want to lose control. And even if it takes a lifetime to learn … I’ll learn.” It’s very melancholic, showing us he’ll try to write sober music, but it still is catchy. But really, the crown jewels of the album are the last three songs, “The Way Home!” “Numbered!” and “Awake!”
My favorite track, and quite possibly one of the catchiest and most beautiful songs ever written, “The Way Home!” starts off soft with a whisper, slowly building power and rescinding into a powerful and moving track about wasting time being high. “Numbered!” opens with vocalist Anneke van Giersbergen singing slowly and beautifully about how we are numbered over a heavy guitar riff, with the song building then suddenly dropping off to a cappella of herself. This leaves us with the track “Awake!” which opens with the same opening line as the first song. The song sends us on a trip of all of his musical styles, until finally climaxing the whole album into a slow descent into tranquility after a heavy section very reminiscent of “Strapping Young Lad,” making this seriously one of the best albums of 2009 and one of the best Devin Townsend albums to be put alongside “Ocean Machine: Biomech” and “Accelerated Evolution.” This album will have you addicted.
Alice In Chains brings back old sound
“Hope, a new beginning. Time, time to start living, like just before we died.” The opening riff, and line of the first new Alice In Chains album in 14 years does just that. It gives us hope that this 90s grunge band can move on after the death of vocalist Layne Stayley. This album is very nostalgic, bringing me back to the days when grunge ruled the music scene. Yet this is not just a simple grunge album — it is so much more. It shows us that a band can evolve and still keep the sound that made them famous. It shows us that we can fall in love with a band all over again. The first song of Black Gives Way to Blue, is quite possibly one of the most moving songs on the album, explaining essentially that this album is not the band you knew back then, but is a whole new beast. This song shows us we can have trust in them, to know that even though they can’t go back to where they started from, the same feelings that helped make their earlier music is still there. Hearing Jerry Cantrell’s voice and guitar work, mixed along with new vocalist William Duvall, who seems to channel Stayley’s voice, is a very haunting experience. Yet we never really get to hear much of the new vocalist, since he is mixed down a lot in most of the songs on the album. Yet when we do get to hear him sing, like on the song “Last of My Kind,” we see that he is truly a powerful vocalist, whose emotion seeps into every word that he sings.
While most of the songs on the album are heavy and very reminiscent of the old grunge scene, one of the best songs on the album is the acoustic track, “Your Decision.” It is a very mellow and very beautiful piece of song writing. Its lyrics can only be a tribute to Layne, as we hear Jerry mournfully sing lines such as “to feel the pain that spurs you on.” While this song may be one of the best, the track that is getting the most airplay, “Check My Brain,” is one of the weakest songs on the album, as it seems to be made just for radio play. It just seems out of place, having a semi-upbeat song on a dark album like this.
Despite all my praise for this album, it does have some faults. Not all the songs are stellar, and not all the fans of its earlier work will like the new Alice in Chains. I really wanted to hear more of the new vocalist, but he was mixed down in a lot of the songs, so we primarily hear Cantrell’s voice. Overall, I still loved this album and can’t wait for the next one, where I’m sure they will grow even more.