Albums/EPs

ALBUM: Coheed & Cambria – Year Of The Black Rainbow

Release Date: April 13th, 2010
Label: Columbia
Website: www.coheedandcambria.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/coheedandcambria

Rating:

Comic and novels hybridised into rock music isn’t that much of an abnormality these days, and infact helps to bring ideas for songs and albums and act as a sort of soundtrack to accompany such literature. Coheed & Cambria are one of such aforementioned acts, releasing albums in chapters of vocalist Claudio Sanchez‘s novel The Armory Wars. Progressive? Yes. Enjoyable? Meh, for the most part.

‘Year Of The Black Rainbow’ comes across as a very dismal and depressing title for an album, and acts as the very first musical chapter of The Armory Wars, with chapters 2 – 5 already been recorded and released this could admittedly be the last outing for Coheed & Cambria… but could also just be a reason to birth another novel.

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ALBUM: Bullet For My Valentine – Fever

Release Date: April 26th, 2010
Label: Jive Records
Website: www.bulletformyvalentine.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/bulletformyvalentine

Rating:

Metal is a strange beast. At the same time both an entrenched institution and an escapist counterculture, it thrives off it’s own in-house nostalgic dogma, traditions and conventions whilst demanding a sense of progression and competitive camaraderie from its artists and followers alike.

Wales’ finest Bullet For My Valentine have forged a career through an understanding and awareness of their genre, that coupled with shades of that ever-so-accessible Cardiff sound has fired them to both commercial success and accusations of generica. ‘Fever’ is no different. For the initiated and interested it’s another effort built on the thrash of old and the post-hardcore revived riff metal of now. Those not so sold on the idea will find the same band that released the unintentionally comic deadpan seriousness of ‘Scream Aim Fire’.

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ALBUM: Duck Duck Goose – Off Yourself

Release Date: April 20th, 2010
Label: Unsigned
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/duckduckgoose

Rating:

With Blood Brothers defunct, Fear Before not shaking anywhere near as oddly as they used to and The Murder Of Rosa Luxembourg all but a faint speck lost to the dust clouds of the near past, who can you turn to for a dose of melodic, spazzed-up hardcore fit for LSD trips on spinning teacups rides? Duck Duck Goose are your new sheet of blotting paper.

Take this band at name value at your peril or open wide for one almighty sucker-punch to the chops. ‘Off Yourself’ is a work of addled over excitement and attention shredding joy made by men of demented intentions and crazy eyed abandon. With their snarling bass lines, meandering, jazzed up guitars, pounding drums and howling, wailing yelps and screams, Duck Duck Goose spit out round after round of spectacularly unstable hardcore that takes a bite at anything put in front of it. The entire track listing drips with more reckless energy than a fired up hooker stuffed full of Semtex and chilli powder.

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ALBUM: Stone Temple Pilots – Stone Temple Pilots

Release Date: May 21st, 2010
Label: Atlantic
Website: www.stonetemplepilots.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/stonetemplepilots

Rating:

So Stone Temple Pilots are back! After losing their lead singer to the Prison system for a while and then Velvet Revolver, it’s easy to say that a lot have of fans have been waiting for this album for a good while now. A band that have never really stuck head first as one of the veterans of hard rock despite their great influence on today’s modern acts, Stone Temple Pilots‘ self-titled effort is one that shows rightfully that musical ability doesn’t decline with age.

Getting straight to business with ‘Between The Lines’ this is a great piece of hard rock tuneage to head bang and air guitar to! This is pretty much the recurring theme of the album, but it still has plenty of things to offer us, such as with ‘Huckleberry Dichotomy’ adding a huge slice of country music with some resonator guitars makes it one of the best songs on the album.

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EP: Hello Mexico – Five Twenty Seven

Release Date: June 7th, 2010
Label: Unsigned
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/hellomexico

Rating:

Containing members hailing from both London and Iceland, a country whose entire population is smaller than the UK’s aforementioned capital city, Hello Mexico would need to travel some way to deliver their band name’s welcome message in person.

‘Five Twenty Seven’ moves the band onwards from their debut EP released solely digitally in October of last year and into calmer, melodic waters. It’s a shift that fails to remove the ambition from their expansive pop-rock, instead adding a sharp focus on easy to grasp, accessibility.

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ALBUM: Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles II

Release Date: April 23rd, 2010
Label: Fiction
Website: www.crystalcastles.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/crystalcastles

Rating:

Despite the fact that at times the also self-titled debut album from Canadian experimental duo Crystal Castles was pulsating, shocking and just generally enjoyable, there are bad memories attached to their name: the emergence of the ridiculous “nu-rave” scene. The neon paint, the glowsticks, public schoolboys revelling in ecstasy, while being all alternative by shaving the side of their hair and talking about unicorns. The explosion of teen TV show Skins (which Crystal Castles even appeared on) was the pinnacle of a time when many of my peers became complete morons, and the likes of Klaxons, Foals, Digitalism, Shitdisco and Crystal Castles soundtracked it all.

Two or three years later however thankfully, people have somewhat seen sense and the likes of Crystal Castles have to follow up their hallucinogen induced success with another album. So while the harshness of Alice Glass‘ vocals and the suddenness of some of the keyboard and synth work remain the same, the album has some pop sensibilities and some moments of beauty too.

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ALBUM: Lady Gaga – The Remix

Release Date: May 10th, 2010
Label: Polydor
Website: www.ladygaga.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/ladygaga

Rating:

Lady Gaga is a very clever woman, through releasing her new remix compilation album, originally titled ‘The Remix’, she’s technically managed to sell the same album three times in a very short space of time. Some versions of ‘The Fame Monster’ sold previous album ‘The Fame’ along with it, and now ‘The Remix’ is all those exact same songs mixed up a bit.

Remix albums are generally great flops, whether that’s down to poor remixes or each song not blending with the next consistently enough and making it sound all shoddy and jagged from start to finish. ‘The Remix’ is inflicted slightly with the former, but thankfully not with the latter, and manages to keep a clear and consistent run through.

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ALBUM: Kids In Glass Houses – Dirt

Release Date: March 29th, 2010
Label: Roadrunner Records
Website: www.kidsinglasshouses.com
MySpace: www.myspace.com/kidsinglasshouses

Rating:

Forget male vocal choirs, the dominant sound emanating from the welsh valleys in recent years has been post-hardcore pop acts hoping to emulate the mainstream success achieved by Lostprophets and Funeral For A Friend. Kids In Glass Houses are no different. ‘Dirt’ is an album that seeks to continue this burgeoning tradition by following in their countrymen’s footsteps step by step.

Following on from 2008’s well-received debut ‘Smart Casual’, the band have toned down the harder, riffed up moments of their first release in favour of a more inflated take on their tamer, commercial pop-rock side. ‘Dirt’ is built around the vocal talents and lyrical hooks of Aled Phillips, who plays the role of the rasping and wailing, girl friendly focal point as needed. Behind the front man is a band that’s shed whatever bite and venom they may have had in exchange for a far more rounded and generic sound. The results are effective if unspectacular. This is Kids In Glass Houses consolidating their position and playing it safe with a batch of songs ready for the radio and tweenager bedroom walls across the land.

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EP: Dreamer – To Be Heard Above The Noise

Release Date: June 1st, 2010
Label: Unsigned
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/dreamerflorida

Rating:

Dreamer are roughly as original as their name. A name shared with purveyors of Welsh new-wave, Canadian christian-metal, gothic rock from Indonesia, and many more acts who never thought to check that the name they christened their band wasn’t already taken. The only thing more recycled than their name is their paltry style of adolescent heart-wrench rock, whose primary purpose is to provide solace space for 15-year-old boys spilled-milk-blubbering as the sun goes down on their latest two month MySpace fling.

The vocals are nondescript. Some of the melodies they competently carry are solid if unimaginative (e.g. ‘Sever The Ties’ and ‘The Sun’), the lyrics have been written with a rhyming dictionary (“I’ve been thinkin’, what got me in this mess? / ’cause I’ve been trying to speak but not confess”, gross), and they do that irritating, infinitely overused vocal gesture of dipping a tone at the end of every damn note to feign distress. The screaming is also missing something, lacking emotional credibility.

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ALBUM: Annotations Of An Autopsy – The Reign Of Darkness

Release Date: January 18th, 2010
Label: Nuclear Blast/Siege Of Amidia
Website: None available
MySpace: www.myspace.com/annotationsofanautopsy

Rating:

Deathcore being my least favourite genre of all time, being presented with Annotations Of An Autopsy I was slightly dubious over how I might react to it, though was pleasantly surprised to find they are in fact now just a death metal band, which is a good thing.

So this album starts out quite promisingly, ‘In Snakes I Bathe’ being the first ‘proper’ track of the record; fast, heavy and all around pretty competent musicianship all around. However, the next few tracks really don’t change much from this.

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