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Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

New Music Alert: English Oldies

It’s becoming increasingly more common these days that I find new music through TikTok. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is. Just the other day, I was scrolling through videos and heard a song that almost sounded familiar. I found the name of the song and realized it was the sample for “Ghost Town” by Kanye. The song is called “Take Me For a Little While” and sounds like something straight from the 50s. In fact, I fell in love with the whole album after just one run through. It’s actually a collaboration between The Royal Jesters, Dimas III, and Joe Jama. Each song off of this album is so heartfelt and raw. If I were to ever make a movie about two lovers in the late 50s, I would fill the thing with songs from English Oldies. Even the album cover, which shows The Royal Jesters playing in front of a crowded ballroom, suits the music perfectly. 

I’m not entirely sure as to what the backstory to this album is. The Royal Jesters was a West Texas band from 1958 that advertised Mexican-American civil rights, but I can’t find much about Dimas III or Joe Jama. My favorite three tracks from this album are definitely “Take Me For a Little While,” “Let’s Kiss and Make Up,” and “I’m So Sorry.” However, there are 28 tracks on this album, so I’m sure there’s got to be some more good ones in there. 

Hope you guys enjoy the tunes, 
-The DJ Formerly Known as Chippypants

Categories
Classic Album Review

Retro Review: A Charlie Brown Christmas Soundtrack

ALBUM: “A Charlie Brown Christmas TV Soundtrack” by Vince Guaraldi Trio

RELEASE YEAR: 1965

LABEL: Concord Music Group

RATING: 100000/10

BEST TRACKS: “Linus and Lucy,” “Christmas Time Is Here” and “Skating”

FCC: Clean

With the holiday season finally upon us, I thought I’d highlight the best wintertime song collection ever made. There exists no cozier Christmas album than Vince Guaraldi’s soundtrack for “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Many of my own childhood Christmases were spent decorating the tree while “My Little Drum” played in the background. It makes me want to curl up on the couch with a blanket, a nice book, and a cup of hot tea.

Vince Guaraldi, a pianist from San Francisco, along with bassist Fred Marshall and drummer Jerry Granelli captured the hearts of audiences far and wide with their jazz ensemble for the beloved Peanuts movie. While many of the songs are remakes of Christmas classics, like “O Tannenbaum” and “Christmas Time is Here,” they included original tracks too; the lighthearted grooves of “Linus and Lucy” and “Skating” reveal the tender feelings that the holidays can bring. I love how he used a children’s choir in many of the songs to capture the childlike wonder of Christmastime.

What makes this album special is how accurately it reflects the mixed emotions that surround Christmastime. I thought this was fantastic considering how Charlie Brown, the unfortunate, old soul that he is, struggles with “the Christmas Spirit” throughout the whole movie. Each song holds both the joy of childhood holiday memories and the sadness that can accompany Christmas in adulthood. It reaches across age boundaries and is still enjoyed today, 55 years later.

Need a bit of holiday cheer and cozy comfort? Give it a listen!

– DJ Butter

Categories
Classic Album Review

Retro Review: Electric Mud – Muddy Waters

ALBUM: “Electric Mud” by Muddy Waters

RELEASE YEAR: 1968

LABEL: Chess Records

RATING: 9/10

BEST TRACKS: “I Just Want to Make Love to You,” “Mannish Boy” and “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man”

FCC: Clean

“Electric Mud” is my all-time favorite album from Muddy Waters, probably because I’m such a sucker for the reverb of an electric guitar. Though it’s only eight songs long, “Electric Mud” is a fantastic example of how the blues and rock meshed in the 1960s. Most of the songs are remakes of his famous classics, such as “Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Mannish Boy” and “The Same Thing,” only twinged with the sludgy feel of psychedelic rock.

The 50s and early 60s proved to be the heyday for Waters, but he saw a decline in popularity as his record label began to fail and the British blues scene took over in the late 60s (ironically, many of the hard rock artists from the UK took bits from Muddy Waters’ work to further their own.) In a last-ditch attempt to capture the hearts of younger audiences, Waters joined forces with band members of the Rotary Connection to create “Electric Mud.” Disappointed in its mixture of psychedelic rock and the blues, classic blues artists disapproved of the album. Muddy Waters himself wasn’t fond of the album because he felt he couldn’t perform it live.

Despite the somewhat negative history behind “Electric Mud,” it helped put him back on the map. After his label, Chess Records, fell, Waters was able to go on and produce some of his most influential work throughout the 70s.

This album holds a special place in my heart because it made me realize how impactful Muddy Waters was on the rock scene in the 60s and 70s. Jimi Hendrix openly covered Waters’ work in both his live and studio sessions. The track “You Need Love” was the bones of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love.” The Rolling Stones even got their name from Waters’ song “Rollin’ Stone.”

All in all, “Electric Mud” is a fantastic album for anyone interested in rock and blues history. Give it a listen!

– DJ Butter

Categories
Classic Album Review

Classic Review: Jimi Hendrix’s “Are You Experienced”

ALBUM: “Are You Experienced” by The Jimi Hendrix Experience

RELEASE YEAR: 1967

LABEL: Experience Hendrix LLC, Sony Music Entertainment

RATING: 10/10

BEST TRACKS: “Love or Confusion,” “Purple Haze” and “Foxey Lady”

FCC: Clean

There exist few better guitarists than Jimi Hendrix, the god of heavy rock himself. Along with being a fantastic solo musician, Hendrix had a band of his own, comprised of Noel Redding on bass and Mitch Mitchell on drums. “Are You Experienced” was their debut album, filled with some of the most influential songs in rock history. This album really shows off Hendrix’s seemingly impossible talent on the electric guitar along with his signature bluesy howl. “Are You Experienced” is the perfect combination of heavy rock, psychedelic music, and the blues.

Though many know Jimi solely for his guitar skills, he was also a fantastic poet and songwriter. Filled with lyrics that are simultaneously hallucinogenic, dreamy, and wanton, the instrumentals pair perfectly with the poetry that Hendrix so beautifully wrote.

The range on this album is incredible. From the classic hard rock anthem “Purple Haze,” to the upbeat “51st Anniversary,” to the sludgy psychedelia of “Third Stone from the Sun,” to the dreamy ballad “May This Be Love,” Jimi showcases his talent for performing music of all feelings.

My two personal favorites off the album are “Foxey Lady” and “Love or Confusion,” simply because the riffs are unmatched. You can really feel the passion behind his playing and singing, which I think the latter of the two people don’t give him enough credit for. The album was, and still remains to this day, an amazing feat of psychedelic, experimental rock.

Tune in!

– DJ Butter

Categories
Classic Album Review

Album of the Week: Obituary – The End Complete (1992)

In a word, MASTERPIECE! The Death Metal masters of Doom, Obituary, released their best selling album of all time on April 21, 1992 – The End Complete. While the band’s first two records (1989’s Slowly We Rot, and 1990’s Cause of Death) have their most iconic songs, it is the third album where we find the sound, tuning, style, sludge grooves, and raspy gutterals that have made Obituary, literally, world famous. Over 550,000 copies of this album have been sold world wide. 

When I was little, my first memory of Obituary was when my dad (“The O.G. Metalhead”) was playing Rotting Ways off of this album, and all I could say was, “this is scary!” All of their music has that creepy, eerie, horror vibe. Its like my love for horror movies, only its horror music. And The End Complete capitalizes on that darkness to deliver a truly horrifying 36 minutes and 17 seconds. 

You will not find the usual lyrical content, here, that is the norm for Death Metal. Here, are the roars, screeches, shrieks, gurgles and pure agony as only John Tardy (vocals) can deliver. Layered behind, within, above, and below is the rhythmic hauntings of Trevor Perez (guitar), Allen West (lead guitar), and Frank Watkins (Bass). And the bruising beatings of Donald Tardy (drums) completes the terror. Interestingly, none of Obituary’s albums have warning labels, because there is no cussing or “controversial content.” This, Butcher Crew, is simply the sound of sheer horror! 

The Track Listing will give you a taste of what’s to come:

  1. I’m in Pain
  2. Back to One
  3. Dead Silence
  4. In the End of Life
  5. Sickness
  6. Corrosive
  7. Killing Time
  8. The End Complete
  9. Rotting Ways

Favorite Songs: I’m in Pain ; Sickness ; Rotting Ways

Rating: 10/10!! An Absolute Masterpiece! 

Bonus – Iconic Obituary songs for your enjoyment:

Slowly We Rot ; Intoxicated ; Chopped In Half ; Cause of Death ; Back From the Dead ;

Contrast the Dead ; Redneck Stomp

What are some of your favorite songs off of “The End Complete?”

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

Categories
Band/Artist Profile Classic Album Review

New Music Alert: Mamalarky

Warning, warning, the music you are about to hear may cause ambient waves of tranquility and soothe the inner tension in your soul. 

It’s time for another album review. This week we have a self-titled album by Mamalarky, a new band from Austin, Texas. Quite honestly, I listened to the first track on the album and already knew that this was going to be a hit. For a little bit of comparison, Mamalarky sounds like a sister band to Crumb. A concert with the two of them would be mind-blowing and would probably send my mind to another planet. On their website, Mamarky describes themselves as “down to water your houseplants while you’re out of town and plot an elaborate revenge on your high school bully. Mamalarky is a campfire song for American Idol rejects and a somber soundtrack for the months leading up to your next breakup. They are exactly what you’d expect in an increasingly sentient robot’s dream journal.” Honestly, I couldn’t have put it better myself. 

My favorite songs from the album include “You Make Me Smile,” “Schism Trek,” “Drugstore Model,” and “Don’t Laugh at Me.” The thing I love about listening to their music is that the vibe does not change with the tempo of the music. While some songs may be much slower than others, it still holds the exact same energy as the fast paced songs, making listening to the album all the way through much easier. Mamalarky’s music is reminiscent of a walk on the beach at night or sitting on a porch while listening to a gentle rain. It’s tender, soothing, and ambient, and makes for a great addition to any playlist. 

Hope you guys enjoy the music
-The DJ Formerly Known as “Chippypants”

Categories
Classic Album Review

The Saw’s Classic Cuts: Pantera – Vulgar Display of Power (1992)

It may come as a bit of a surprise to many but, Vulgar Display of Power is Pantera’s sixth studio album. Released on February 25, 1992, it is the second Pantera Album from Atco Records (Cowboys From Hell was the first), and the second record that featured the new Pantera sound. The four previous releases featured a very different, Glam Rock sounding Pantera. In fact, the great “Dimebag” Darrell (R.I.P.) used to be know as “Diamond” Darrell before the band’s evolution to pure Heavy Metal!

The goal of Vulgar Display of Power was to be the heaviest album ever, and at that time, it just may have been! Pantera took the notions of violence and anger and translated them into site and sound as never before. Not only Phil Anselmo’s  lyrics in songs like “Mouth for War,” “F****** Hostile,” “Walk,” and “By Demons Be Driven;” but the power of harnessed chaos in Dime’s guitar riffs, Rex’s crushing bass, and Vinnie Paul’s (R.I.P.) thunderous drum playing. Their live shows are legendary, bosting the largest circle pits of the era. The explosive band caused every crowd in every city to explode in a chain reaction.

The title of the album is taken from the 1973 movie, The Exorcist (a great movie, BTW!). The album cover is of a man being punched in the face. Classic! It is an illustration of what this record does to the listener.

Vulgar Display of Power has been dubbed “one of the most influential Heavy Metal albums of the 1990s.” Another critic commented that it “is one of the most satisfying Heavy Metal records since Metallica’s early-80s cult days.” The record has been listed in the “1001 records you must hear before you die.” Everyone agreed that Pantera was “head and shoulders” above everyone else. In 2017, Rolling Stone ranked Vulgar Display of Power as 10th on their list of the “100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time.”

Pantera was the perfect storm of a band – all four members were the best of their craft – that created the perfect storm of a record – a pure ass-whoopin’!

Favorite songs: A New Level; Walk; This Love

Rating: 10/10!! A must-have for the lover of raw metal power!

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

Categories
Classic Album Review

Album of the Week: VLITMAS – Something Wicked Marches In (2019)

I must admit, this record (and band) snuck up on me like a haymaker sucker-punch! Released on March 29, 2019 (Season of Mist), Something Wicked Marches In is the debut album from (the “Super Group”) Vltimas. Though the sound of the record is very well mixed and produced, the FEEL of the record is very much old school Death Metal; and you already know The Saw loves some old school Death Metal!

So, first, we must talk about the band. Vlitmas is a three-piece, which is hard to believe when you hear it, but understandable when you consider who these three are. David Vincent (ex-Morbid Angel) is known around the world as a premiere vocalist and bass player. His work on the early Morbid Angel records helped set the pace and style of Death Metal. His vocals are a combination of gutteral and lofty clean. He really has a beautiful voice (in either fashion) and his delivery is near perfection in style and material. Vincent is from Texas (and he stereotypically looks the part!), but sings with a European accent. His song writing is always impeccable; dark and eerie, but on time.

Rune “Blasphemer” Eriksen (ex-Mayhem) is the masterful Black Metal guitarist from Portugal who set the standard for how his genre’s music should sound. His style, therefore, is less about power chords and breakdowns and more about fast picked tremolo melodies and harmonies, and you already know I love some harmony! He really gives the band a dark feel, but at the same time, his tone almost makes you feel like your floating through time.

Flo Menier (Cryptopsy) is the legendary Canadian drummer that wrote the book on blast-beats, laying the groundwork for what would become Technical Death Metal. He is easily one of the best Tech-Death drummers in the world. His long history of drumming could be studied in the universities! Is style is very smooth, though extremely fast; with off tempo changes, he really powers the sound of every song forward as he sets the pace.

When you bring these three monumental styles together,you get Something Wicked Marches In. Every single song on this record is a literal masterpiece. The record definitely has an early Morbid Angel time-change stamp to it. Each song floats along on Vincent’s awesome vocal style and his brutal bass playing. All the while, Eriksen’s ever changing riffs of melody and harmony fill out the space; adding a thickness that you rarely find in a three-piece band. And his talent gives you something more to this than revisiting Morbid Angel’s past. Flo drives this devilish machine forward, on every song, with his trademark change-ups – blast-beats and lightning double base, and smooth symbol/tom combinations. Nothing about this album feels forced, and never does it seem like Vlitmas is trying too hard. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The three masters blend their respective styles together in a way that has never been done. In a time in Metal history when Death Metal morphed into Tech-Death, Slam, Deathcore, etc (all of which I love!), Something Wicked Marches In is pure Death Metal, perfectly done so as to be a modern masterpiece.

Song List:

  1. Something Wicked Marches In
  2. Praevalidus
  3. Total Destroy
  4. Monolilith
  5. Truth and Consequence
  6. Last Ones Alive Win Nothing
  7. Everlasting
  8. Diabolic Est Sanguis
  9. Marching On

Favorite Songs: I’m telling you, every song is an individual masterpiece! “Monolilith” and “Last Ones Alive Win Nothing” are at the top for me.

Rating: 10/10!! Best of 2019!

Have you listened to this album? What do you think? What’s your favorite song?

Stay Metal,

THE SAW

Categories
Classic Album Review

Classic Album Review: Return to the 36 Chambers: the Dirty Version by Ol’ Dirty Bastard

ALBUM: “Return to 36 Chambers: the Dirty Version” by Ol’ Dirty Bastard

RELEASE YEAR: 1995

LABEL: Elecktra Records

BEST TRACKS: “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” “Brooklyn Zoo,” “Raw Hide,” “Don’t U Know”

FCC: Every track

For the uninitiated, Ol’ Dirty Bastard was one of the founding members of the legendary group Wu-Tang Clan, and indisputably the most eccentric. RZA was the mastermind behind the group’s mythos (and not to mention their beats), GZA was philosopher, and Raekwon was the chef, but ODB was definitely the wild card. His erratic life in the public eye – from dozens of run-ins with the law, to riding in a limo to cash a welfare check, to escaping rehab – served only to feed into his image as hip-hop’s drunken uncle.

But I am not here to discuss his fame – or infamy – depending on who you ask. Let’s talk about his presence on the mic.

Fortunately, ODB’s vocal performances were just crazy enough to stand up to his life outside of the booth. Nowhere is this more apparent than on his debut solo album, Return to the 36 Chambers: the Dirty Version, released in 1995. From the very first track – which is one of the best intro skits on any hip-hop album – Ol’ Dirty Bastard is characterized as a larger-than-life figure that spends just as much time on wax rambling half-coherently as he does rapping. If he isn’t doing either of those things, he’s singing with a one-of-a-kind delivery that mixes feverish yelping with warbled vibrato. This complements his uncanny ability to switch his emotional tone instantly, which ranges from drunken sorrow to unhinged lunacy. The only thing that can balance out ODB’s volatility is the RZA’s calculated production. Throughout the album, he combines samples from soul, funk, and English-dubbed kung-fu films to create a variety of grimy beats.

On Return to the 36 Chambers: the Dirty Version, Ol’ Dirty Bastard makes it clear that he has no interest in sounding like other artists. With his unmistakable voice and idiosyncratic personality, he was truly in a lane of his own, or as Method Man put it: there ain’t no father to his style. This album is a must listen for any hip-hop fan, and an experience in and of itself.

– DJ Mango

Categories
Classic Album Review

Album of the Week: Boundaries – Hartford County Misery (2017)

This album right here…. IS ICONIC!!! By far one of my favorite albums of all-time. I literally listen to this album every day. IT IS THAT GOOD. The riffs on this album are just so damn heavy and choppy. I can’t get enough of it. I love the way this band will start off on a dark, heavy, and chunky riff and then SLOW DOWN THE RIFF TO MAKE IT EVEN CHUNKIER AND HEAVIER. That right there is the sauce. I will never get tired of listening to this album. 

Hartford County Misery kicks off strong with the song Reign of Pain, that sets the overall theme and vibe for the album. I am so happy they started off this album with this song. It keeps you coming back for more. This record is filled with anger, passion, power, and punishment. It hits home with these themes because these are things we feel every single day, week after week, on repeat. Boundaries combined conventional, traditional metalcore with an infusion of heavy-hardcore intensity and beatdowns. I can already see the mosh pit getting violent when listening to this album. 

Hartford County Misery is a masterpiece that displays ignorant aggression. There is literally NO REASON for the band to pop off the way they did, but I am sure glad they did. It’s seven tracks are filled with storytelling, catchiness, and insanity. I am absolutely in love with this album. Boundaries combines several styles of -core and metallic influences to make something gritty and nostalgic sound and feel new. This album is a great for anyone who are fans of hardcore, metalcore, and deathcore. There is something for everybody on this record! 

Favorite Songs:

Felicia, Reign of Pain, Sour Mouth, and Seizin’ the Demon. 

I would put every song as my favorite, but that defeats the purpose. 

Rating:

10/10!!!! 

What is your favorite song off of Hartford County Misery? 

Stay Metal, 

THE SAW