Here are the WKNC’s Top 10 loud rock albums reported to CMJ this week. Illustrator and film concept artist Warren Flanagan (known for his work on “X-Men: The Last Stand,” “Watchmen” and the new “Rise of the Planet of the Apes”) is the mastermind behind the amazing art on Symphony X’s Iconoclast.
|#1||Exhumed||All Guts, No Glory||Relapse|
|#2||Symphony X||Iconoclast||Nuclear Blast|
|#3||Devin Townsend Project||Deconstruction||Inside Out|
|#5||Suicide Silence||The Black Crown||Century Media|
|#6||Decapitated||Carnival Is Forever||Nuclear Blast|
|#7||August Burns Red||Leveler||Solid State|
|#8||Paper Thin Disaster||Feed The Machine||MyPixo|
|#9||Draconian||A Rose For The Apocalypse||Napalm|
|#10||Morbid Angel||Illud Divinum Insanus||Season Of Mist|
by Noobhammer on Dec.28, 2010, under Chainsaw
The Noobhammer here to post an interview I did with the great Devin Townsend Friday, December 10. Over the next few weeks, I will be posting other interviews on the blog, so here is the first of many. We discussed Ghost, Deconstruction, writing music, and much more. Enjoy!
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.