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Tom
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Tue May 30, 2017 9:49 pm

So kind of copying Jack's post, but seeing as I love Alestorm I thought I may as well add my review too!

ALESTORM - NO GRAVE BUT THE SEA (Deluxe Edition)

For anyone who doesn't know about Alestorm, they're a rather epic pirate metal band from Scotland and this is their 5th album. They don't take themselves too seriously and are genuinely hilarious whilst being incredibly talented musicians, just go and check out their various YouTube channels and music videos.

I won't go into each track as Jack has that covered, but this is a great new refinement of their iconic sound. Being the first album to feature Máté Bodor on guitar I'm really glad to hear his input into the music, there's definitely some epic riffs in there. The addition of some unclean vocals on their previous album courtesy of keyboard player Elliot Vernon was an inspired decision and I'm happy that this has been carried over on this new album as it really does bring a lot to their sound which has drifted into a more metalcore/death vibe compared to their earlier efforts which to me were a bit more classic power metal (which I also love).

:yikes: with an Anchor continues the tradition of having a silly song on each album, it's just epic and features some excellent usage of the English language, I'd wholeheartedly recommend that it should be in everyone's playlists for all occasions.

Of course I have the deluxe edition which comes with a whopping 10 additional songs, albeit the same songs but remixed for dogs, well worth a listen.

I look forward to their UK tour next year, it's been too long since I last saw them (2012 I think?), good memories of crowd surfing.

My rating: 9/10.
Favourite track: Alestorm - The opening guitar riff is an absolute belter, as are the death vocals. The video is epic too, go watch it.
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Tue May 30, 2017 10:21 pm

Tom wrote:
Of course I have the deluxe edition which comes with a whopping 10 additional songs, albeit the same songs but remixed for dogs, well worth a listen.


I completely forgot about this...and I think it's the best thing since sliced bread :lol
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Thu Jun 01, 2017 6:23 pm

In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3


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1. The Ring In Return
2. In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
3. Cuts Marked In The March Of Men
4. Three Evils (Embodied In Love and Shadow)
5. The Crowing
6. Blood Red Summer
7. The Camper Velourium I: Faint of Hearts
8. The Camper Velourium II: Backend of Forever
9. The Camper Velourium III: Al The Killer
10. A Favor House Atlantic
11. The Light and The Glass
12. 21:13


Coheed and Cambria's second studio album released in 2003 to critical acclaim. Since its release it has been called one of the defining albums of the "Progressive Rock" genre. In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 is another concept album, building on the universe created in Second Stage Turbine Blade. The story begins with the protagonist Claudio Kilgannon waiting outside of Newo Ikkin's house where he meets his old friend, Apollo (Newo's dog). Claudio begins to tell Apollo what has happened while he's been away.

Similar to Second Stage Turbine Blade, the album opens with a dramatic orchestral opening: The Ring In Return. Immediately you can hear how the mixing and production is much better than that of their first album - this makes for a more enjoyable listening experience. Claudio then begins to narrate his tale...

"Good Apollo, where should I begin?"

The album then launches into the title track: "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3". This song is one of the absolute favourites of fan and a live staple for the band. The chorus is probably the most iconic part of the piece: "Man your own jackhammer! Man your battlestations!" gives me chills sometimes when I listen. The guitar work is pretty impressive, but nowhere near as technical as it gets on this album. The song ends with a reprise of the chorus, which is the same amazing chorus but with even more guitars, chanting and Claudio Sanchez vocal goodness.

Following this track is probably one of the more disappointing tracks off the album "Cuts Marked In The March of Men". Some pretty good guitar work, a pretty good chorus but outstays it's welcome. Anyway, moving swiftly onto Track 4: "Three Evils (Embodied In Love and Shadow) - i.e the cheeriest song about torture you're ever going to hear. The happy, pop-esque sound of "Three Evils..." juxtaposes with some pretty dark lyricism, as a robot called Sizer is brutally beaten and torn apart for information. This song is one of the most fun tracks off this album, and the ending is definitely the highlight (where Sizer begs for his torturers to "pull the trigger" so "the nightmare stops").

After some creepy piano music "The Crowing" (my highlight of this album) begins. This song has some awesome guitar work - most technical on the album probably. The structure is almost pretty crazy, meaning it is constantly evolving throughout its duration. This song is Claudio Kilgannon discovering his destiny to destroy the keywork (the story's universe) and save his civilisation from endless dictatorship. The climax is awesome - it really turns the energy up in an already action packed song. "I fought the decisions that call and lost" is my highlight of the song, but I also love the vocal layering at the end.

The songs after "The Crowing" are probably the least exciting section of the album. It begins with “Blood Red Summer”, a fun song but ultimately one of the more forgettable tracks. It has a pretty nice riff though. Next it goes through "The Camper Velourium” suite where our protagonist hitch-hikes a lift through space from “Al”, a pilot who may or may not be insane and have a desire to murder women. “Camper Velourium III: Al The Killer” is definitely the highlight of this suite. The final track before the official finale is “A Favor House Atlantic”, another fun track with a good pace – however it’s too sweet and pop-esque for my tastes.

The finale of this album is “The Light and The Glass”, a 9 minute epic that begins quite mild but gets rather intense. This track has some impressive guitar work and the choir used creates a chilling atmosphere, and is a pretty great closer! However, this is then followed by a bonus track – 21:13. The longest track so far in the Coheed discography, this piece includes an awesome reprise of Time Consumer and IRO-bot (a hidden track from Second Stage Turbine Blade). In this song Claudio K is flashing back to the night his parents murdered their children and he came home to find his siblings dead. Of course, the highlight in this track is the Time Consumer reprise.

Overall, “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” is a solid album and definitely deserves a lot of the praise it has received since its inception. I’d say it’s probably a more consistent album than “Second Stage Turbine Blade” and certainly worth a listen. My least favourite song would have to be “A Favor House Atlantic” despite the fact it’s arguably the most known song off this album, and I think “Camper Velourium” I and II slightly slow the pacing. The guitar work in this album is definitely more complex than on “Second Stage…”, which is why tracks like “The Crowing” are still very popular in the band’s repertoire to this day. I would highly recommend this album.

If you want to have a listen to this album, probably the Title Track and “The Crowing” are the best songs to start with, they’re awesome and reflect the sort of structurally complex songs Coheed dives into in their next album.
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Thu Jun 01, 2017 10:56 pm

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Alestorm - No Grave But The Sea


Whilst the above sums up most my thoughts, I think that this is a fantastic release from the guys. It's pure stupid and it's fantastic because of it, and whilst I didn't love everything as much as the above I still think it's pretty fantastic! I can't really break down the tracks as they're all pretty awesome, albeit a bit mad!

Rating - 7/10


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Terror Jr - Bop City

1 - Little White Bars | 7/10
2 - Pray | 8/10
3 - Sugar | 9/10
4 - Come First | 8/10
5 - Say So | 8/10
6 - Super Powers | 8/10
7 - 3 Strikes | 9/10
8 - Truth | 7/10


Terror Jr is a music project consisting of producer Felix Snow, producer David "Campa" Benjamin Singer-Vine and anonymous vocalist that goes by the alias Lisa. The music they create is very experimental and unique, which goes hand in hand with the unique sound of Lisa's vocal. Bop City marks the trio's first album release and the first in a trilogy, with the sequel "Bop City 2: TerroRising" releasing June 16.

Little White Bars is a good opener, hitting you with the unique sound. This is then followed up by Pray, one of the best on the album although I must warn that the themes expressed may be inappropriate for some. Sugar comes next, one of the more unique tracks seeing a bouncy beat paired with a strong vocal from Lisa. Come First, which is arguably the most successful of the groups songs, sees Lisa being selfish (which is addressed on Bop City 2 track "Appreciation") along with a fairly simplistic yet infection backing beat. Say So is mainly lead by Lisa's incredibly unique vocal, and proves as a catchy song that's easy listening. One of the more simplistic songs is Super Powers, yet it somehow manages to keep me engaged with the message. 3 Strikes, the lead single, plays with vocals to great a highlight on the already very impressive debut. The album rounds off with Truth, the slowest song in the record. It's lyrics are probably the strongest on the album (which is the downfall for the album).

Overall, from a group who are still relatively unknown the debut album is pretty impressive and sets up for what will probably be a fantastic trilogy of albums!

Rating - 8/10
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Fri Jun 02, 2017 8:19 pm

Enter Shikari
- Take To The Skies


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This is an old album but my god is it good. Decided to give this a proper listen through again due to the band performing it in full at Slam Dunk Festival. This was the debut album from Enter Shikari, this year marks the tenth anniversary of the album being released for the British rock band. Their genre has evolved and developed over the years from the sound of this album but personally, this sound is fantastic and shows when the band perform these songs live.

I will be reviewing the version of the album with the interludes and intros. This maybe a bit biased as i am a massive fan but enjoy!



Enter Shikari

It starts out with a climatic opening building the tension and then... Bam, it kicks straight in throwing everything at the listener. It's a nice build up and a great switch to the heavy sound


Mothership

My god, this song(along with Labyrinth) are my favourites from the album. The hard hitting "Go tell all your friends, that this is the end" always stuns me, it's such a great song to hear chanting back at the band. It's such a fast hype song, it never fails to just put a smile on my face throughout the song. Even if the lyrics aren't as vast and extensive as some songs, it is very memorable and honestly see this as a fan favourite.


Anything can happen in the next half hour...

This song switches a bit between slower verses then to faster deeper sounding verses. It does switch it up a fair bit. I really enjoy the chorus in this song a lot. It's slow but the music and vocals match so well, it's really soothing.


Labyrinth

This is it, if you want a song to just be so up beat and jumpy, this is it, right here. The chorus with the electronics sound beautiful. This song just satisfies and sounds phenomenal in so many parts of this song. I personally adore the part of the song where a race commentator comes onto the vocals and commentates an imaginary race happening during the song. It's typical Enter Shikari, where the band will just add little funny moments into songs just to mix up the variety. It's got to be listened to so you can fully appreciate it.


No Sssweat

If a song to just get down to mosh/ move to is more of your ideal song. This might tickle your fancy. The beginning is perfect for all the moshers wanting a good ol' circle pit :twisted: Again this song is greatly written and performed, the ending line of the song is perfect. I recommend sticking around to hear it :lol


Today Won't Go Down In History

A more slowed down song, something which the band neglect which is very much underrated. It's slow and picks up to finish the song. The lyrics are very moving and the backings in the song sound awesome


Return to Energiser

Another hard hitting song to get down and make some room for. More slowed down chorus with some growling, it shouldn't fit but it does. The Electronic middle of the song sounds great with the vocals. There are just so many switches in this song, it's hard to keep track at times! Overall great song


Sorry You're Not A Winner

:clap: :clap: :clap:
You'll understand when you listen ;) The infamous clap clap clap song. Very heavy song worthy of such status, fast pace riffs, beats and vocals mixing growls and clean makes it such an amazing single for this album. This song would go on to be pretty much the definitive song for Enter Shikari. And it shows, it's honestly such a pleasure to listen and see performed live. This song as many other fans will say, is just awe-inspiring.


Johnny Sniper

Ah yes, Show your appreciation for Johnny Sniper! This song follows the adventures of our hero Johnny Sniper. It's mainly a softer song and the vocals fit with the on running comments made towards our hero Johnny Sniper. It has to be listened to fully appreciate (and understand) what I'm on about :lol


Adieu

The song has only recently become one of my favourites (after seeing it live). It's soothing, magical and just a solid song overall, the ending lyric is just beautiful. After hearing it live with the crowd singing it back, it just ups the amount of respect i have for the fans, the band and live music in general.


OK, Time for Plan B

One last song, the final song of the album, let's end it on a high, and boy does it. Fast riffs, battle inspired lyrics, deep growls. It's what you need to finish an Enter Shikari album. Solid song and the last minute is where it picks up the pace after a slower section and ramps it up to 11. "Let's make the earth move, Let's make the ground shake"



That's it! 10 years of Take To The Skies and it's still an album i regularly listen to, it's fantastic, i can not pick a fault with it (Maybe that the mixing and sound quality at times is not the best, but this is after all a opening album, it's to be expected).

Thank you Enter Shikari

Rating: 10/10
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Fri Jun 09, 2017 10:04 pm

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Katy Perry - Witness

1 - Witness | 9/10
2 - Hey Hey Hey | 7/10
3 - Roulette | 5/10
4 - Swish Swish (feat. Nicki Minaj) | 8/10
5 - Déjà Vu | 8/10
6 - Power | 8/10
7 - Mind Maze | 9/10
8 - Miss You More | 7/10
9 - Chained To the Rhythm (feat. Skip Marley) | 9/10
10 - Tsunami | 6/10
11 - Bon Appétit (feat. Migos) | 7/10
12 - Bigger Than Me | 6/10
13 - Save As Draft | 7/10
14 - Pendulum | 10/10
15 - Into Me You See | 7/10

[Bonus Tracks]

16 - Dance with the Devil | 8/10
17 - Act My Age | 8/10


Witness is the forth studio album by Katy Perry and it sees her take a dramatically different direction to her previous fun pop albums from the last decade, this time heading into a very dance influenced pool. The album starts with the title track "Witness" which is a very promising start to the album, with a soft and catchy song that is genuinely really quite good - nice to hum along to. Suddenly we are hit with the moody rock/dance song "Hey Hey Hey" which has potential to really impressive, unfortunately some of the lyrical content lets this down which is surprising when you consider Sia co-wrote this one. "Roulette" follows, with a retro dance beat and good vocals from Perry - however unfortunately the song never really gets off one level and so becomes boring two thirds in. After this slight blip follows "Swish Swish", sampling Fat Boy Slim with Duke Dumont production, as was as a bit of Katy Perry flair and a pretty great verse from Nicki Minaj - you've got a pretty great song! Déjà Vu was a song I wasn't too sure on initially, however after a few listens it's really a grower and is a good song to chill out to. Moving from this you hit by far the least mainstream song on the album, "Power". The song, produced by British Jack Garratt, is a strong self-empowerment anthem with some really awesome drums and unique production - distinctively Garratt. "Mind Maze" is next and recruits Purity Ring to create a pretty fantastically crafted atmospheric dance song that utilises Perry's vocals in a unique way to create a very catchy yet different song. Purity Ring also produce the first power ballad on the album, "Miss You More". This song has a similar feel to PRISIM track 'Unconditionally', and it provides a nice break from the first half of the album. The lead single, "Chained To the Rhythm" brings the album back up to speed and it's clear that it remains to be one of the best songs from the album. "Tsunami" is a funky song with a fairly simple lyric, but much like 'Déjà Vu' it is nice to listen to when chilling out. The raunchy "Bon Appétit" comes next and when you don't take it too seriously it's certainly the pop song of the album, and it really is quite a nice song to listen to for a bit of fun. "Bigger Than Me" begins promisingly however it descends into a fairly simple song before long. It is now that we find the second power balls of the album, "Save As Draft". The song is fairly nice and sincere, it also allows for Perry's vocal talent to shine. Now coming toward the end on the (standard) album I was expecting one last big hit, and I was not disappointed with "Pendulum". This song is, in my opinion, some of Perry's best work to date - it's uplifting, powerful and really a lot of fun as well. If I had to pick a stand out on the album Pendulum would be it. "Into Me You See" rounds off the standard album, and it's the only ballad on the album. Whilst it's a nice end the album on it, Pendulum would have a much more lasting impact if this rounded the album off.

The first of the bonus tracks is "Dance with the Devil", produced by Felix Snow (also in Terror Jr). His style is immediately recognisable with the slightly experimental R&B/Dance sound intertwining with Perry's vocals, offering something completely different to the rest of the album. Ending the bonus track version of the album is "Act My Age", and it's surprising that it wasn't included on the album as it offers something more closer to the style seen on PRISIM and Teenage Dream. Both the bonus songs are great dance and pop songs respectively, and it's surprising that they weren't included over songs such as Roulette.

Witness is an ambitious and fairly well crafted album that has a few missteps along the way, I appreciate the obvious effort Katy Perry has put into creating a unique and exciting new project, and I look forward to what is to come next.

Top Tracks | Pendulum, Chained To the Rhythm, Mind Maze, Power & Déjà Vu
Worst Tracks | Roulette, Bigger Than Me & Tsunami

Overall Rating | 7.5
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Thu Jun 15, 2017 11:56 pm

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Terror Jr - Bop City 2: TerroRising

1 - Caramel | 10/10
2 - Death Wish | 10/10
3 - Appreciation | 10/10
4 - Talking To Myself | 9/10
5 - Smoke | 9/10
6 - Dead Girl Walking | 9/10
7 - Sweatpants | 10/10
8 - Personal | 10/10
9 - Terrible | 10/10
10 - Heartbreaks | 6/10
11 - Souls | 8/10
12 - IDWT | 8/10
13 - Do Or Die | 9/10


Before getting into this one I'd just like to say that if you do give it a go, please be aware the lyrics and themes through this album (some of which I won't go into in the review) are very explicit and may be unsuitable for some. :)

The sequel to 'Bop City' (see above) I was hesitant about, as I wasn't sure if Terror Jr could hold a 13 song album, oh how wrong was I. The album opens with "Caramel", which primarily tackles homophobia and racism in religion and it does so incredibly well, with a fantastic ending verse from vocalist Lisa - it really is a fantastic blend of Terror's fun and bold lyrics with a serious message seamlessly weaved throughout. After this, we get greeted by the Shakespeare inspired "Death Wish". Again the lyrical content is clever and quick, something that I applaud Terror on - not to mention the fantastic production here. We then find the sequel to Bop City's 'Come First', "Appreciation". Here we see Lisa realising the selfishness expressed in Come First, and have it turned on its head with her explaining her situation and trying to show a person she does Appreciate them. It's not only smart in how it links to the previous album, but it's infection instrumental will be stuck in your for days after. The first under 2 minute song "Talking To Myself" explores the issue of being rich and lonely and it does so effectively, it also ends at the right point almost feeling like an interlude. After this we are greeted by "Smoke" which talks about needing to take risks in a relationship, otherwise "the fire stops burning, leaving smoke in the night" which is an interesting metaphor which is once again backed up by a fantastic instrumental. The next song, "Dead Girl Walking", actually takes a unique angle on an affair. Instead of the vocalist being the angry one, they are concerned about being the 'other' person. It's an interesting listen which is lead by a fairly happy instrumental, which gives the song a quirky and different vibe. "Sweatpants" focuses on a more relatable topic, being lazy and comfy. It brings us back to the more silly yet interesting side of Terror Jr and it's chorus, whilst I won't say it here, did get a laugh out of me and it's a real ear worm! "Personal" approaches the pretty cliche topic of someone changing a person for the better, however thanks to the interesting instrumentals and vocals it breathes new life into the ballad-esk topic. After the brief burst of happiness, we reach "Terrible" which sees the lead vocalist putting herself down and asking for someone to pick her up. Whilst the vocalist does finally find that person they never truly unsee themselves as "terrible" which is a refreshing, albeit sad, change from conventional songs of a similar nature. The next song, "Heartbreaks", is probably one of my least favourites here as it's slightly unnecessarily uncomfortable in its references and it really could have been better. After the slight slip, they hit back with "Souls" which is again another unique instrumental but this time the lyrical content slips a but which is disappointing after the overkill seen in 'Heartbreaks'. The penultimate song "IDWT" is a pretty predictable and standard song, and it's really not worth going into detail about as it's themes are pretty dull compared to the rest of the album. However, the finale of the album "Do Or Don't" somewhat makes up for the past 3 songs with its fantastic instrumental and more interesting lyrics, although some are questionable.

Bop City 2: TerroRising sees good development in minimal time from the trio, and although some of the songs toward the back end of the album get somewhat let down by poor lyrics the instrumental work throughout is utterly fantastic. It also leads me to believe Bop City 3, the finale of the trilogy, will offer something even greater. I also think the album artwork is fantastic, and I hope the third album plays on this as well!

Top Tracks | Caramel, Death Wish, Terrible, Appreciation, Personal & Sweatpants.
Worst Tracks | Heartbreaks, Souls & IDWT.

Overall Rating | 9/10
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:25 pm

I bought a bunch of albums on Bandcamp and stuff, here are some things:

Chaos Chaos - Committed to the Crime            7/10
A good EP, chilled out pop perfect for relaxing. Funky beats, beautiful vocals. Fans of Rick & Morty will recognise the song 'Can You Feel It?' which is truly the standout track.

Dance With the Dead - Near Dark           6.5/10
Some great rock inspired synthwave style instrumentals. Makes me picture grainy VHS horror films.

Sheelanagig - Baba Yaga's Ball           8/10
The Bristol folk bands follow up to Uncle Lung that I've only just gotten round to getting for some reason feels like a slight change, being more jaunty but still gets me dancing. The musicianship on show is excellent as usual and performed with a cheeky flair.

Lemon Demon - Spirit Phone           10/10
This album is permanently stuck in my brain. After repeated listens I now love every single song. Famous internet chap Neil Cicirega has outdone himself here. Twisted nerdy lyrics, odd thought provoking themes, catchy synths attacking from all directions. You can tell this prog pop creation was a labour of love and a large undertaking.

Gorillaz - Humanz             5/10
I considered rating it higher because there are a couple of songs I really love, but the rest of the album just does nothing for me. A very contemporary feel, a lot of the songs just seem to start with a beat, wander along for a bit, not go anywhere, then end. Disappointing for me as their previous albums are some of my all time favourites.
 
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Sun Sep 24, 2017 4:16 pm

These couple of albums have been getting played a lot by me over the last couple of months. It's a bit of a departure from my usual listening material, but there's is some seriously impressive singing/instrument playing and composition talent in this band.

Haim - Days Are Gone
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10/10

Haim - Something to Tell You
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10/10

Both albums are non stop greatness. Whilst both sounds very modern in their production, they also sound timeless. They remind me of Lindsey Buckingham, Stevie Nicks, Christine McVie era Fleetwood Mac a lot, that's a very good thing.

The musicality of both albums is fantastic, all three of the sisters are evidently very competent and supremely talented musicians, proficient in several instruments each. The guitar playing is sublime, and the bass has a real groove to it.

My current favourite tracks:
The Wire
If I Could Change Your Mind
My Song 5
Want You Back
Right Now
(It's quite difficult to just select favourites, they're all extremely good.)

Their music videos are also superb, generally featuring beautiful cinematography.
The video for Want You Back consists of an early morning single tracking shot along Ventura Boulevard in LA, the colours are just arghhhhhhhh, so good.
They have a live video of Right Now, shot in a recording studio, all on film, amazing to watch.

They've gone straight to the top of my "Must See Live" list.
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Sun Sep 24, 2017 10:10 pm

Haim are one of my fave bands, but they never seen to get the recognition they deserve. Glad I'm not their only fan :D
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:16 pm

Haven't done an album review in a while so thought I would review one of my most anticipated albums of this year.

Enter Shikari - The Spark

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As you can probably tell from my custom signature and avatar, I am a massive fan of the band, I've been a fan since 2015 with The Mindsweep and I've been gripped ever since. This is Enter Shikari's 5th studio album and along with their previous albums, they follow no typical genre. They are very experimental and like to push the boundaries of any genre they can get their hands on. From dance to rock, pop to Dubstep. The list goes on. This album going for a more pop feel and lighter sounding record.

I won't be reviewing each individual song but the whole album instead. This album I had a lot of hope for, I expected some heavy hitters along with some slower more heartfelt songs. This album mainly consists of the later. Apart from rabble rouser, this album is very upbeat sounding and is quite regularly played on the radio. You would think this would disappoint me? Partly it would seem. I was disappointed yes at the lack of heavy, more harder gritty songs but, truth be told. The album is solid. It's a strong album which pushes its limits and each song is as individual as ever. This is why I highly believe Enter Shikari are one of the strongest bands in the business. They can change their sound but you still tell in the songs that it's the same band you heard 3 albums ago. They leave their own little touch on the songs which is perfect. It's a solid album ranging from "Live Outside" to "An Ode to lost Jigsaw Pieces".

I really enjoyed this album, from a year which hasn't impressed me or caught my attention, it may not be perfect but this album has at least bought a bit of light to the year.

Rating: 8.5/10

Recommendations:

Live Outside
Rabble Rouser
The Revolt of the Atoms
Shining - Yoku
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:40 pm

Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory

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1. Scene One: Regression
2. Scene Two: I. Overture 1928
3. Scene Two: II. Strange Deja Vu
4. Scene Three: I. Through My Words

5. Scene Three. II. Fatal Tragedy
6. Scene Four: Beyond The Life
7. Scene Five: Through Her Eyes
8. Scene Six: Home
9. Scene Seven: I. The Dance of Eternity
10. Scene Seven: II. One Last Time
11. Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On
12. Scene Nine: Finally Free

Preface: I wrote this review back in July. I'm only now posting it because I am a master at putting off things I really should do.

Voted as the best progressive metal album of all time, and one of the most highly acclaimed albums from US prog-metal group Dream Theater, "Metropolis, Pt 2: Scenes From A Memory" is one of the most impressive albums I've ever heard. This album is a sequel to the 9 minute long "Metropolis, Pt 1: The Miracle and The Sleeper" - fleshing out a single song into a full-blown concept with an intricate storyline to match. Scenes From A Memory is somewhat unique in that almost every track flows fluidly into each other, giving a seamless listening experience that's almost like watching a play.

The experience begins with "Scene 1: Regression". This sets up the storyline, despite being unquestionably the weakest track on the record. A man named Nicholas is visiting a hypnotherapist to have his dreams analysed - he keeps seeing a woman named Victoria. Little does he know, but SPOILER ALERT Victoria is him in a past life. As he moves into a dreamlike trance, he begins to uncover her story...

The next track, "Scene Two: I. Overture 1928" provides an awesome beginning to the album. "Overture 1928" incorporates various melodies from the rest of the album. This track doesn't really include much story, it just sets up the listening experience and gives a nice sample of what the next hour of music will contain. This is probably my favourite Dream Theater overture, though I haven't got through their entire discography yet.
This is immediately followed by "Scene Two: II. Strange Deja Vu" where the character of Victoria is fully introduced. This is all seen through the eyes of Nicholas who can't make sense of what he's seeing - it's all just images and words. All he knows is something tragic happened to Victoria. Strange Deja Vu has some really awesome backing vocals, but my highlight is the bridge.

The next two tracks "Scene Three: I. Through My Words" and "Scene Three: II. Fatal Tragedy" are mostly expositional - Nicholas is starting to unravel Victoria's story. "Through My Words" is a quiet and ballad-esque track, but it's so short I think it barely qualifies as its own song! It seamlessly transitions into "Fatal Tragedy". "Fatal Tragedy" has a cool chorus and some nice solo work at the end, but it's one of the blander tracks within the album (mainly due to it being a mini "Beyond This Life").

"Scene Four: Beyond This Life" is the first 10+ minute long track on Metropolis, Pt. 2. The story begins to be fleshed out at this point - this track focuses on the police investigating the scene of Victoria's murder. It becomes evident that the killer committed suicide after killing his victim, and that the witness tried to help but failed. It is also hinted at that the murderer was in love with his victim. Later on this will be revealed as Julian, Victoria's husband. I really like the final chorus/ending of this track - it's a nice contrast of mood from the unsettling tone of the album so far. The soloing is incredibly impressive, if a little excessive.

The last part of the first act is "Scene Five: Through Her Eyes", the most gentle track on the album. The guitar work at the start is lovely. At this point in the story, Nicholas sees the gravestone of Victoria and weeps - he feels an inexplicable connection with her, but still can't figure out why. I think this track is the weaker of the two ballads on this album (the other being "The Spirit Carries On") but still beautiful. The guitar at the beginning is probably my highlight.

The album then moves into its second act (at least, it's second half). This is begun by the bombastic epic "Scene Six: Home". For a track that's nearly 13 minutes long, "Home" is incredibly well paced through interludes, solos and regular verses/choruses. "Home" is based around an exotic Indian-esque riff and features Sitar towards the beginning and the end (an interesting choice, but it works pretty well!). In this scene we discover Victoria is not really as innocent as she seems; "Home" rather explicitly shows her having an affair with her husband's brother (Edward). The chorus is definitely the best part of this track. Over more and more listens this track has become possibly my favourite due to it's awesome wah-wah pedal, powerful chorus and heaviness. Home is an absolute must listen, even if it's one of the least accessible tracks on Scenes.

"Home" segues into what I regard as the technical masterpiece of this album (even if it isn't necessarily my favourite track). "Scene Seven: I. The Dance Of Eternity" is possibly the most amazingly complex and progressive song I think I've ever heard. Within its 6 minutes "The Dance Of Eternity" features 104 time signature changes (!!!) and moves brilliantly through many motifs. This song doesn't include any vocals but has a ragtime section, a great bass solo and awe-inspiring guitar work. This song relates to Victoria being seduced by Edward and "The Dance of Eternity" being love (a callback to conclusion of "Metropolis, Pt. 1: The Miracle and The Sleeper"). 

The second part of this scene is "Scene Seven: II. One Last Time" where Victoria finally ends her affair with Edward. This track has a mournful and reflective feel plus some lovely vocals. This song ends with our protagonist Nicholas exploring a house he sees in a memory, and finally understanding what happened to Victoria. 

Possibly the most well-known track from this record is "Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On", the most beautiful ballad on this record. In my eyes, "The Spirit Carries On" takes the concept of "Through Her Eyes" and improves it through being a little heavier and lyrically stronger. "The Spirit Carries On" is Nicholas' feeling of content now he knows the truth. Specifically it focuses on him losing his fear of dying as he now realises that "Death is not the end, only a transition". The choir in this song and the extra female vocals are amazing - this song is incredibly satisfying. A little Easter egg is that it reprises the melody of "Scene One: Regression", giving the album a cyclical feel.

But just when you thought it was over... "Scene Nine: Finally Free" begins. This track was intially, to me, the highlight of the record. It begins in a very gentle, hopeful way as the hypnotist tells Nicholas to "open his eyes". But the song quickly shifts in emotion as the key becomes minor. Whistling wind and thunder are heard as the strings intensify. Suddenly, a flashback begins. The listener hears the thoughts of Edward on the night of the murder. It is revealed that Edward was the murderer - he killed both Victoria and Julian but disguised the scene as a murder-suicide. In an intense interlude, the scene of the murder is heard; screams, gunshots and one impactful line of dialogue. 
This is followed by a reprise of "One Last Time", an awesome solo before my favourite section ("as their bodies lie still"). You can really tell that this is the end of the line for the story. The scene ends with Nicholas snapping back to reality and sitting down at home with a record on. That is, until he is disturbed by someone and the record dies off into static after a scream...

"Metropolis, Pt. 2: Scenes From A Memory" is an absolute must listen for any rock, prog or metal fan. My highlight tracks are "Scene Seven: I. The Dance of Eternity", "Scene Six: Home" and "Scene Nine: Finally Free" (although I'd suggest "Scene Eight: The Spirit Carries On" or "Scene Two: I. Overture 1928" as a first track to listen to). LaBrie's vocals took a little time to grow on me, but I admire the technical complexity and melodies in the music. I'd undoubtedly give this an album a 10/10 - its a classic and hasn't aged at all in the 18 years since its release, as well as being probably my favourite Dream Theater album.


Bonus: Vinylly Free


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I acquired this album on vinyl - specifically the 2016 repress by Music On Vinyl. It's a great pressing and I'd suggest anyone considering getting this on vinyl gets it soon!

Next review will be when I have enough time to write one and enough motivation to get it posted :lol
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Fri Oct 06, 2017 7:27 pm

Tell Me You Love Me by Demi Lovato

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Track List:

Sorry Not Sorry 7/10
Tell Me You Love Me 8/10
Sexy Dirty Love 7/10
You Don't Do It For Me Anymore 9/10
Daddy Issues 9/10
Ruin The Friendship 8/10
Only Forever 10/10
Lonely ft. Lil Wayne 9/10
Cry Baby 8/10
Games 7/10
Concentrate 9/10
Hitchhiker 8/10

Deluxe:
Instruction 6/10
Sorry Not Sorry - Acoustic 7/10

Target Edition:
Smoke and Mirrors 10/10
Ready For Ya 7/10

Review:

Sorry Not Sorry: Upbeat feel-good anthem! Just makes you feel empowered and amazing with a great catchy chorus and cool verses. The highlight of this song is Demi's sustained high note in the final chorus which gets me every time I hear it!!!
Tell Me You Love Me: The title track, the anthem of the album. Its heavy beat mixed with Demi's soulful vocals make a very good track. Not one of my fdavourites but the chorus is very well produced and sounds great.
Sexy Dirty Love: This song has a completely different retro sound and Demi really explores different sounds in this modern yet old school song. Lots of fun!!
You Don't Do It For Me Anymore: One of Demi's best songs to date!!! The lyrics are phenomenal and the way she sings the chorus in her head voice is unforgettable. Demi sings about moving on from her old troubled self and how the past her does't 'do it for her anymore'. Powerful ballad still with a strong beat. Iconic!
Daddy Issues: This is a kaleidoscope of a track. The breath taking production in the chorus immerses you in Demi's vocals and story. She sings about her deep psychological issues about her past but conveys it in an incredibly fast paced and upbeat way that works perfectly. A definite favourite!!!
Ruin The Friendship: A stark contrast to the previous song, Demi uses stripped back instrumentation to sing soothingly about pursuing a relationship with a close friend. The trumpet filled laid back hook is jazzy and soulful and this track just makes you feel calm and chilled!
Only Forever: A masterpiece of a song!!! My favourite from the album!!! This ballad is insane! The shimmery production on the chorus and Demi's soft vocals create a stunning emotional song and the notes she sustains in the final chorus really are something special. Outstanding and one of her best songs ever made!
Lonely: This song is dark, urban, contemporary and so good! The chorus may be repetitive but is great and Demi's slow but deep beat really makes this track shine! It is in the top 5 for sure!
Cry Baby: The powerhouse of the album. Demi's vocals are undeniably insaaaaane. The emotion and western style beat make this song so fun yet intense and amazing!!!!
Games: Not one of my top tracks but still a really good song. It's upbeat and lively and the electronicy bouncy beat makes it really catchy and enjoyable. Strong chorus and really nice melodies.
Concentrate: WOW! This chilled guitar added with Demi's light and smooth voice really makes an immersive song which really paints a story in your head. Demi's vocals near the end are stellar and this song is slow, powerful and makes you feel good all at the same time. The lyrics are also amazing!!! Definitely worth a listen!!!
Hitchhiker: Essentially a Concentrate Part 2, a similar beat to the last track gives it a continuous flow. Demi's low notes are very strong in this track. Her use of a metaphor of a hitchhiker is clever and displays her emotions very well. Another solid and very nice track with one of the best choruses in my opinion!
Instruction: My least favourite. Although it isn't Demi's song, she is featured on it. It still makes you feel good and is an upbeat generic pop song that is cool to sing along to when it comes on the radio.
Sorry Not Sorry - Acoustic: Interesting rendition of the first track. Very enjoyable and fun and the choir in the back really adds and makes it a really good track!
Smoke and Mirrors: A competitor for favourite on the album. Demi's best lyrics yet!!!! The images and metaphors used are phenomenal and the emotional melody paired with a simple piano accompaniment make for one of the most powerful songs I've ever heard. Also the phrased A5s in the last chorus are extraordinary!!!! Just listen to it! Just do it!
Ready For Ya: Cool beat with very strong low notes. A very catchy chorus makes this a different, unique yet engaging song about Demi's feelings! Amazing track!

My Top 5:
1- Only Forever
2- Smoke and Mirrors
3- Concentrate
4- Lonely
5- You Don't Do It For Me Anymore

This is not a regular Pop album. This is a masterpiece full of Soul, RnB, Urban, and Pop songs!!! It is phenomenal and I recommend you listen to it because you will love it! Easily Demi's best album yet and if you like vocals this album will DELIVER!!!! It is packed with deep lyrics, intense beats, emotion, beautiful melodies and upbeat bangers that will have you listening on repeat for weeks!!!!
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Re: Album's You've Heard and Your Review

Sun Nov 12, 2017 8:34 pm

reputation - Taylor Swift

This is probably the most highly anticipated albums of the year, and in my opinion, it lives up to it! With this being Taylor's 6th studio album, it is definitely in a whole different league to her other albums. There are a few stand out songs, and also features a GREAT collaboration with Ed Sheeran and American-rapper Future (for those who don't know). 

The album features a very strong tracklist of 15 songs and only one collaboration within that. However, I'd say all of the songs are strong, and very good - with my personal favourites being "Dancing With Our Hands Tied", "End Game", "I Did Something Bad" and "Call It What You Want". Also for the 4 'tease' singles she released from her album are good as well, however, "Look What You Made Me Do" is overplayed and by the far the most overrated single of the album.

Track List & My Rating:

1- ...ready for it? - 8/10
2- End Game (Feat. Ed Sheeran & Future) - 9/10
3- I Did Something Bad - 10/10
4- Don't Blame Me - 7/10
5- Delicate - 6/10
6- Look What You Made Me Do - 6.5/10
7- So It Goes... - 7.5/10
8- Gorgeous - 8/10
9- Getaway Car - 7.5/10
10- King Of My Heart - 7/10
11- Dancing With Our Hands Tied - 10/10
12- Dress - 7.5/10
13- This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things - 8/10
14- Call It What You Want - 9.5/10
15- New Year's Day - 8.5/10

Overall I'd say it's a great album, and worth the long wait - however, this album will almost definitely be Marmite with everyone, so if you did like Taylors previous studio albums you'd probably like this, however, I don't like any of her other albums, apart from a few songs from "1989" and the song "Love Story". So I'd definitely recommend you give this album a try if you're on the edge about purchasing it - as its very very different from her other music! 



Also, away from the album - but still on the subject of big comebacks, I'd also STRONGLY recommend you give Eminem's new single "Walk On Water" (Feat. Beyoncé) a listen, as it's brilliant! And also much slower to his other records!
credz to sam!
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