Archive for September, 2009

AFI/Crash Love

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 300000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

AFI [A Fire Inside], are an Alternative Rock band formed in 1991. Hailing from California, the band has enjoyed a consistent line up since 1998. The band has released 7 studio full lengths over 18 years and has run the gamut from Hardcore Punk to the now favored Horror Punk. The band found huge success in 2006 with the Decemberunderground CD and now sports sales of 4 million units worldwide.

Torch Song—-The song very slowly emerges from a darkness, slowly building in intensity until it overwhelms you headphones. The tempo of the song ebbs and Davey emerges with an almost classic vocal. The song has a huge sound…sometimes the decibel level overwhelms you headphones. The band has found the key to its success and plays it for all it is worth. This is great!

Beautiful Thieves—-Nicely guitar based from the beginning, the bass guitar enters the fray and gives the song life. Davey delivers a vocal that is so nasal and snotty that you can not help but love it. The song is really well constructed with a perfect subdued refrain and a huge irresistable chorus that sucks you in….you will learn to love and embrace this track. As this song progresses, and the chorus becomes more pronounced, you are officially addicted…this will be a favorite.

End Transmission—-Beginning with an almost Cure inspired dance theme, the vocal solidifies the feeling. The song is a top 40 wannabe that appeals to audiences from every record chart. The vocal is slight in the nasal attitude, the music is acceptable enough to anyone that listens to music. The song is too formulated and ‘recipe’ driven for my taste.

Too Shy To Scream—-Bombastic in bass from the onset. the song reminds me of an old Adam Ant inspired 80’s classic. Davey delivers a vocal that is classic male/female cross of emotion and maschismo….the image he proposes is so confusing. The song as a whole is a damn catchy affair that draws you in whether you like it or not. The end of the song remains far better than the onset….wait it out.

Veronica Sawyer Smokes—-Again, the ever present Alt Rock bass line conjures up The Cure. The song opens up into a grand chorus that Robert  Smithnever quite managed to attain. The whole feeling of the song is a nice mix between sadness and gloom combined with a more than energetic guitar that will not let you quite sink to low. This is a really great song!

Okay, I Feel Better Now—-Sometimes the nasal delivery of Davey becomes tiresome…this song is a good example. The refrain of the song is too slow and drug out for my taste…..the chorus, although, is a grand affair that sucks you in and makes you wait through the drudgery until the next time around. The wait is worth it as the second chorus addicts you even more. A perfect recipe oriented song for the disenfranchised youth of today. Fantastic!!!

Medicate—-Beginning in a much more Alt rock manner, the song delivers the perfect hold over while the legions of gloomy kids await the next release from My Chemical Romance. The chorus is huge, dark and energetic…the propulsion of the song is there from the very first notes…the song ends in perfect AFI manner…this is classic…can not wait for the video.

I Am Trying Very Hard To Be Here—-Wonderfully upbeat in a musical sense,  Davey delivers vocals that are intense and dark. When the band joins in on the legion of chorus voice, you quite lose touch of the intensity of the song and you find yourself guilty enjoying the romp through Alt Rock blues. Nice!!!

Sacrilege—-Not a favorite track of mine from the onset, the song feels rushed and artificial. The musical delivery of the song is empty…there is no depth to the guitar playing at all. The chorus of voices seem flat against the bleak feel of the music…this is disappointing.

Darling. I Want To Destroy You—-This seems odd to me…at times the song seems to have 50’s overtones to me…at other times the song is pure overblown pop/emo slop. The song reeks of brilliance that was not quite garnered. The song..instead of being an inspired majestic epiphany…leaves me rather empty and aching with wanting.

Cold Hands—-WOW!!!! The musical delivery on this track nears pure metal at times and it is a surprise. The guitar delivery is pronounced and in your face all through the song…at times you wish Davey would Butch it up a little bit to the match the incredible musical delivery. This is a really great song on a musical level.

It Was Mine—-Beginning with an almost blues styled bass delivery, the song is even more dark and bass oriented that Robert Smith could conjure up. The song borders on an Alt Rock/Gloom masterpiece. The lyrics and vocals are clear and disheartening….listen to this…..you don’t need the news.

***1/2 out of 5

Hatebreed/Hatebreed

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 300000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Hatebreed are a Grammy Nominated Hardcore band from various parts of Connecticut. Formed in 1994, the band has garnered a huge fan base from constant touring and the production of quality and true studio releases. Fans of the band are doubly rewarded this year as this self-titled release marks the 2nd new CD of material from the band this year. The band released a covers CD, For The Lions [reviewed 5/18/09], in May and this follow-up to their 2007 release Supremacy on September 29. 2009.

Become The Fuse—-At once I notice the slower tempo of the trademark balls to the walls speed of the band. The musical downshift are magnificent and the drums seem to really be upfront. Jamey delivers a vocal that screams venom in every word, and the band continues to deliver a message of positivity and self-empowerment. Despite seeming musically anemic at times…it is a great start.

Not My Master—-Beginning in one headphone, the music is grand as the vocal appears in the other headphone. This song is much more familiar and organic to the band. The guitars seem slightly muted which makes me puzzled. The vocal is stellar and outstanding. The drums are very in your face but the guitars are missing their usual power.

Between Hell And A Heartbeat—-With a heavier sounding guitar, it is still the rhythm section that takes the spotlight. With a dirge beat and a deep sound at the onset, the song opens up with the vocal as the music ramps up to keep up with the social conscious vomit that spews from Jamey. This is superb metal….the guitars manage some nice highs, but they are few between. The simple fact that the word ‘love’ is uttered in a Hatebreed song is wondrous!

In Ashes They Shall Reap—-A classic Hatebreed song that will make the crowd maniacal on the tour that is sure to follow this release. The song is classic Hatebreed…one that has been lacking thus far on the release. The lyrics are self empowering and the vocals remain venomous. The guitars are much more upfront and faster…leading the song along a really nice path of pure adrenaline and power.

Hands Of A Dying Man—-This is GREAT!!!! The brutality of the track sounds much more like the ‘Breed that I love. This is superb hardcore…finally a guitar solo that is worthy of the band. The pace of this song is brutal and incredible…the fact that they can play this fast even for a time is outrageous…my new favorite song!!!

Everyone Bleeds Now—-WOW!!!! Where was this emotion and brutality for the first three songs on this release? The lyrics are delivered with a new vigor and the guitar is IN YOUR FACE!!! The lyrical content is fairly brutal…tales of facing your enemies…familiar terrotory…but delivered fresh and with renewed vigor. Wonderful…Fantastic….Brutal!!!

No Halos For The Heartless—-Seemingly more bass heavy, the song has a huge feel for the first bar. The feel has ebbs and flows throughout the song, but breaks away space for the brutal vocal. When the band adds backing vocals, the song turns into a melodic free for all. This is also bound to be a crowd favorite. Great Song!!!

Through The Thorns—-Again sounding more bass driven, make no doubt that this song will manage quite well to blow your face off. The vocals are something of awe…how can he scream like that in that tone for so long? That is ability!!! The drums and the bass guitar are heavily featured and the band comes together on words that will make the crowd scream back and mosh like the end of the world is near. WOW!!!!

Every Lasting Scar—-With a huge heavy intro, the song travels at an incredible pace. The lead guitar adds some melody that is downright addictive. Jamey enters the fray with a vocal that although brutal is a tad bit more subdued. The band again adds the sing a long chorus that will make the crowd crazy. Perhaps Jamey learned on parts of their cover record that he could sing and he actually does a little on this song. The result is brilliant.

As Damaged As Me—-Muddled at the onset, the song opens up to become one of the most brutal on the release. The music is at times so fast that there is no way you can keep up with the walls of sound. The voice is hyper and angry…ferocious and pissed…..empty and full of raw emotion. This is fantastic!!! Hear this now!!!

Words Became Untruth—-The song begins in an odd fashion but quickly opens up to be another really dense and layered music soundscape that is the perfect companion for Jamey’s vocals. The message is clear and concise, Jamey always has something pertinent to say and it pays for you to pay attention. This is really great…..I hate to reiterate, but this has become really good despite the earlier part of the release.

Undiminished—-With a deep layered intro, you can almost feel the slight tempo changes that are building up to the onslaught….instead, the song becomes a masterful metal instrumental that is quality and infectious. The song has nice down tempo, mood changes that remind you of Black Sabbath because of the level of deepness and dirge…this was a really pleasant surprise.

Merciless Tide—-Incredibly fast from the onset, the vocal enters the fray with a delivery that is all that and more. The music is at such a fast pace you have to catch your breath at times. The vocals are overlayed and delivered to fast to e studio made but rather production enhanced. None the less, the song finds the band in top form and the sound of all the instruments produce a huge wall of sound that is like family coming together at Thanksgiving. Fantastic!!!

Pollution Of The Soul—-Kudos for the song title alone!!!! The sound of the song is as intense as anything that the band has released…the energy and the urgency is unmistakable. The attack of the song is merciless and you will be exhausted by the end of it. The shifts of the music are incredible….from hyper drums to more deeper sound to a more electric feel, the song is a tour de force of sound.

Bonus Track: Escape [Diehard Edit]—-Taken from the For The Lions covers release, this is a rendition of the Metallica classic from Ride The Lightening. Aside from the cover of Hatebreederz, this was by far by favorite track on that release and I’m thrilled to hear it again and have it available on two different sources. Jasta seems to realize that he can really sing quite well and that carries over onto some of the songs on this current release. This song is the best Fear Factory impersonation I have ever heard. As for the song being remixed…that is here or there…it is a joy to hear this again. This is great!!!

****1/2 out of 5

Breaking Benjamin/Dear Agony

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 300000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Breaking Benjamin are an American Rock band from Pennsylvania. Formed in 1998, the band is led by frontman Benjamin Burnley. With a total of 4 studio releases to date, Dear Agony hit the shelves on Sept, 29th.

Fade Away—-This release pick right up from where Phobialeft off….the poweful guitar riffs and the angst ridden vocals are perfect. Ben has the uncanny ability to crunch his vocal that just pleases me and brings a smile to my face. The music is a tad bit lighter, at times the band almost seems anemic, but have no fear….the vocal is fantastic.

I Will Not Bow—-Much more aggressive from the onset, the guitars quickly subside in Breaking Benjamin style. The sound of the song is almost predictable but really pleasing to die hard fans that have certain expectations of the band. The chorus of the song has a nice ebb and flow that allows in some gutteral hollers that show the legions that Ben is as serious and tortured as we are. The drum track is very nice..powerful and in your face. The production is a little to tinny for me, the bass seems pushed way to the back, but overall the song is incredible!

Crawl—-Heavy from the onset, the guitars are much more upfront and aggressive, of course you get the trademark lull of energy that allows the somewhat introspective lyric to enter the fray. Ben delivers some from the gut hollers that give me goosebumps…the emotion and feeling is very real. The guitars swirl and crunch along with the mood swings of the song. This is really great!

Give Me A Sign—-A nice ballad delivery with a slight rock edge, the vocals are almost gentle for the first few bars of the song. The voice becomes more alive as the song continues and displays a remarkable melody that really permeates your soul as well as your brain cells. This is moving and intense and requires a few listens to really settle in your gut. The true hallmark of a great song.

Hopeless—-With the trademark grinding guitar intro that is quickly silenced with the vocal intro, the song is almost predictable. Then the chorus hits you like a brick in the face. The deep growls set with the gentler vocal is a nice contrast and the song really rocks at points of its delivery. The lyrical content is intense as always, this band does not make poppy fueled blast of sounds. Every song is a lesson in life. This is fantastic!!

What Lies Beneath—-Finally a song that leads off with a nice deep tone…the vocal is a quiet introspective delivery. The song swirls and then comes alive in a nice manner. The lyrical content is almost devastating in the level of its emotion. The feelings will pour from your pores as you listen to the anger and sadness that are delivered together and separate all in one song. Magnificent!!!

Anthem Of The Angels—-Wow….the song begins with a nice quasi-orchestrated feel that is huge in sound and atmosphere. The vocal is sedate and quiet at the onset. There seems to be some ‘electronic’ sounds going on throughout the song until the chorus comes in…the result is a grand emotional fueled extravaganza of human emotion. This band can not go wrong in my book, Wonderful…listen…again and again!

Lights Out—-Tight and heavy from the first note, the band breaks the mold of quiet and introspection to deliver balls to the walls rock edge song that conjures up the best of the bands past material. The song is aggressive and the vocal is nothing nice…no nice quiet interludes or introspective moments…the song is angry and fueled by real emotion. I could never ask for more!

Dear Agony—-Falling into comfortable patterns, the song is typical fare, but in a good way. Ben has an emotive quality that produces goosebumps and watery eyes no matter how tough you perceive yourself to be. The song has a nice pop feel to it but never loses its metal roots. This is quality music….the track is as great as The Diary Of Jane, but with more balls!!! Great!!!!

Into The Nothing—-You know at once, even if you listen o this as a complete random track the band that you are listening to. The groove of the band improves with each new song and the second half of this release is much better than the first. The first half of the CD seems to be filled with ‘pop’ styled delivery, the second half is much more nailed to the wall Alternative Rock. This is masterful and intense…the lyrics shine and the emotion of the vocal matches every word. Stellar!!!

Without You—-At the very first notes of the song, you notice the really great drum delivery of the song. The vocals of Ben are freakin’ classic ‘Benjamin’…I really love this band. The release could be a complete failure and I would probably swoon, but the result is quite the opposite. I waited a vert LONG 2 years for this and it was well worth the wait. This will be on heavy rotation in my MP3 for quite sometime. A great and masterful return.

****1/2 out of 5

Snow Patrol/Final Straw

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 280000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Snow Patrol are an Alternative Rock Band from Northern Ireland and Scotland. Formed in 1994, the band struggled through its formative years releasing 3 unsuccessful studio albums before being signed to major label Polydor. The bands first release on Polydor, Final Straw,  hit big with worldwide audiences and sold 3 million copies, the follow-up Eyes Open  fared even better with sales close to 5 million units.

How To Be Dead—-The song has an odd intro, but if you had followed the band previous this release you notice a much more layered and calm feel to the music. Lightbody delivers a vocal that makes your emotion pour from every orifice of your body. The music is uncomplicated and pleasant, the lyrical content is almost to intense to digest and you need numerous listens to take it all in. This is masterful pop/rock that bleeds feeling and emotion. I can not live without this!!!

Wow—-With yet another odd intro, it is only seconds before the song comes alive with a nice guitar delivery and a slight muted vocal. The delivery is masterful and even….the lyrics are dark and brooding. The pop hook of the song in unmistakable, the rock elements are solid and profound. This is a band that seems to have suddenly woken with a new direction and zest. The intent is clear and the delivery is freakin’ fantastic!

Gleaming Auction—-The charming accent of Lightbody is addictive and irresistable. As the chorus of the song comes alive, the overlayed vocals and the more aggressive guitar give the song a large sound that plays well in arena. The lyrical content is not everyday fare, it takes digestion and ponderance. This is a band that is at a peak…one that will continue I’m sure.

Whatever’s Left—-Lightbody delivers a vocal that is breathy and attractive…the song opens up in a huge way. the chorus becoming a grand rock fest of layered guitar and drum. The lyrics are more elementary. but Lightbody manages to insert some real humanity in his lines and the sense of desperation shines through the song. Great!

Spitting Games—-The song opens up in a magnificent fashion from the onset…the vocal is a nice heavily accented foray into yet more human emotion and despair. The accent of Lightbody only seems to accentuate the feelings that he sings of. The rock element of the song is grand in an overseas kind of way….the band is huge in their own land. This is fantastic Alt-rock that is at it’s best when you are in the mind frame for an introspective listen.

Chocolate—-beginning with an almost hyper bass guitar line and rhythm section, the song evolves into a British sounding masterpiece of Alternative pleasure. The guys over the pond know how to make grand sweeping, epic sounding songs full of real feelings and emotions. The layered sound of the music and the singular voice of Lightbody only amplifies the emotion of the lyrics. This is not a happy song, nor a sad one…but one that screams for the return of human emotion and touch. Brilliant!

Run—-Now…..this is beyond words for me. I absolutely adore this song and the ensuing video. The entire song aches with feeling and emotion and it only amplifies as it continues. The goosebumps over take my entire body and the tears spring to my eyes every single time i listen to it. I love this song with all my soul and never tire of the hook that reaches in and tears your heart out. This is brilliant, masterful and a permanent part of my history. The song just leaves me in a wilted pile of spent emotion….that is power!!!

Grazed Knees—-Acoustic and minimal in recording, the voice is tender and introspective. As the layers of vocal intensify, so do the emotions. the music is so minimal, you get to know Lightbody from the ground up and you slowly fall in love with the genius and depth of the man. This is wonderful…intense, quiet, beautiful, stark and real.

Ways & Means—-A tad more upbeat and energetic, the guitar borders on a sonic sound at times and the overall delivery allows you to know how powerful this band is as a whole. The voice is layered with overlays, but it only adds to the ghostly quality of the lyrics. This is magnificent…a damn near perfect song.

Tiny Little Fractures—-The sound of the song is huge, the instrumentation almost overwhelms and subtracts from the vocal…if nothing else, the song only proves that this band is comfortable is a small venue or a huge arena.

Somewhere A Clock Is Ticking—-More sedate and comfortable, Lightbody is joined on the song by another male vocal that plays off ofhis with wonder and ease. The song has a great drum track and the guitar really comes alive in a big, grand way at times. The song is BIG and the band does not apologize for its ability. This is really nice!!!

Same—-With a wonderful piano intro, the release is closed with an introspective and intense song that rivals anything else on the CD. The lyrical capabilities of Lightbody are incredible and the palate is ready for more lessons in love, life and loss. A wonderful journey that you will take again and again with pleasure.

***** out of 5

Kelly Clarkson/All I Ever Wanted

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 280000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Kelly Clarkson is an American Singer/Songwriter from Fort Worth, Texas. Clarkson is best known as the Season 1 winner of popular talent show American Idol. Clarkson remains the highest selling American Idol winner to date, enjoying worldwide sales of 20 million units! With 4 releases, Kelly has scored 8 top ten singles. All I Ever Wanted was released in 2009.

My Life Would Suck Without You—-The first single from Clarkson’s 4th studio release finds her doing what she does best….delivering pop/rock masterpieces with irresistable hooks and unforgettable lines. The attitude that Clarkson manages to convey through her glorious pipes is a rare and wonderful thing. This is a nice return to form after a rather lackluster previous release. Classic Clarkson!

I Do Not Hook Up—-Continuing with the successful recipe of many of Clarkson’s hits, the song has an irresistable hook that will suck you in right from the first listen. The formulated delivery of the song works very well for her and manages to keep her legions of fans happy. The song is a living video…the lyrics are that vivid and concise. A great song. 

Cry—-This song begins with a gentle string intro and more than a little Country feel. The guitar even has a slight twang to it that evokes the sadness of the lyrical content. This is masterful pop music that is catered to the under 16 crowd of mopers and awkward adolescents. Wonderfully constructed, the song is successful on all of these points.

Don’t Let Me Stop You—-Rocking harder than most of the previous tracks thus far, the voice and the attitude reminds me of Pink from the very first note. The vocal is a tad hoarse and rough, conveying the emotion of the song perfectly. This is nice, but a bit predictable.

All I Ever Wanted—-The song has an odd musical delivery, it seems to be without direction and all over the place. The chorus, which should be huge, falls flat upon delivery. Clarkson fails to deliver the momentum necessary to make the song successful. A bit of a disappointment.

Already Gone—-For me, this song has ‘hit’ written all over it. The musical landscape is nicely layered and dense, the vocal is breathy and full of hurt and emotion. The power of Clarkson’s vocals are on full display..her ability to convey emotion is in full effect. This s wonderful and a nice change after the two previous predictable tracks.

If I Can’t Have You—-The song has a huge and infectious dance groove right from the onset…the vocal is delivered in full Diva mode. The recipe is predictable, but works for Clarkson like a glove fits your hand winter after winter. This is great dance/pop that delivers a great feel and mood. Outstanding.

Save You—-Sedate and morose, the music is piano based and quiet with a nice level of gentleness. The vocals are double tracked and sound full of emotion. The song maintains a level of melancholy despite the emergence of guitar and drums…it is the piano that has the center stage throughout. This is wonderful…I can see the video already. A bona fide hit for Clarkson.

Whyyawannabringmedown—-The song has a nice intro that is power packed full of guitars and Clarkson manages to conjure up her inner ‘rock chick’ persona. The song moves at a great pace and the vocals are slightly abrasive and muted. This is a nice different track that stands out for me…there is little that this girl can not do. A pleasant surprise.

Long Shot—-Ahhh….too much of a good thing, this song struggles to rise over the mundane and predictable sound of the track. The chorus is a nice huge sounding romp through quasi-rock land, but firmly lands on its ‘pop’ butt. Uninspired and flat.

Impossible—-Nicely constructed, the song has many layer that are produced my great keyboards and machines. The piano based feel of the song works well for Clarkson and the somewhat ballad feel of the song fits her personality and pipes. The song is not a et down, but prepare yourself for a song that sounds too much like all of the others.

Ready—-Wow….from the onset, the song appears uninspired and weak. Clarkson needs to be allowed her songwriting ability more on her releases and stop relying on Clive Davis to make her recording decisions for her. This is weak and just mere filler.

I Want You—-Now, this is nice….the track relies on both instrumentation and machines and the result is fantastic. The lyrics are vivid and concise and the song delivers a catchy chorus that stays with you for quite sometime. This is wonderful!!!

If No One Will Listen—-Returning to a piano based ballad to round out the release, Clarkson has the ability to quiet her strong voice in a masterful way. This is a magna-opus that delivers emotion and hearbreak….very nice!

*** out of 5

Judas Priest/Metalogy Box Set Disc 1-4 [Disc 4]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 270000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Disc 4:

Ram It Down—-Ram It Down heralded a much more aggressive Priest than most fans were accustomed to….it fit the band very well. Halford, singing like his life depended on it, delivered vocals that were both piercing and menacing. The band was aggressive and on the edge of all out thrash…this was the sound of the band at it’s best despite all the inner turmoil. Excellent!

Heavy Metal—-Beginning with a blood thirsty guitar intro, the song slowly takes shape as the guitar wizardry takes place…the sound is bass heavy and the vocal of Halford is outstanding. When the guitar leads enter the fray, you are amazed at the full sound of the song. The song has an underlying melody that you cannot escape for quite some time and the sentiment of the song fits the band and the time.

Come And Get It—-This truly is the sound of a band at its career highpoint. The guitars take the lead and control the song, the drums are loud and done with mastery. The vocal of Halford rests comfortably between an angry edge and a great scream. The song moves at a great pace…this was way underappreciated and not played nearly often enough.

Blood Red Skies—-Without a doubt, one of my very favorite tracks this band has ever recorded. The song has some familiar strains that take you back to the Turbo release…the synth effects and the swirling atmosphere is intact. Halford delivers some vocals that will cause you goosebumps that last for three days. As the song really opens up, the metal delivery is in full force. The melody and intensity of the song is in every note. This is a huge opus that always pleases me everytime I pull it out. Halford is beyond control with his voice and the screams will pierce your brain…just what the Dr. ordered.

Painkiller—-The legions of fans had no idea that this would be the last of the recordings of the classic Priest line-up for the next 13 years, if they did perhaps they would have appreciated the evolution of the band more. This is by far the most brutal Priest on record as they tried to adjust to the changing music scene. This recording is so aggressive and fresh, you hardly recognize them as your old friends. It took sometime for this release to grow on me, but as we all know it has taken it’s place in Metal history as one of the best recordings ever made. The drum intro alone on this song makes it classic…the vocal of Halford is maniacal and almost crazy. The level of the voice is outstanding…you can not find anything weak about this track.

Between The Hammer & The Anvil—-Of course, between the hammer and the anvil you will find Metal…and that is what this song delivers. One would never know that this is the sound of a band imploding. The delivery of the entire song breathes of a new aggression and a fresh sound…one only wonders what went wrong. This is classic Priest that stands high above many songs on this collection.

A Touch Of Evil—-Indeed, the song does have a nice evil feel to it. There are some seldom heard synth effects that add atmosphere to the song, but it is the drum delivery that propels the track to incredible heights. Halford is relaxed through most of the song, but delivers some great histrionics that please the fans of his ability to let loose. The song has a darker edge to it, and the aggression is all over the song. This is fantastic!!

Metal Meltdown—-The trademark Priest guitar intro begins the song and you are amazed at the ability of the instrument and it’s player. The bass line kicks in and the song becomes truly alive in an aggressive onslaught of pure speed. Halford has some nice over layed vocals that add a huge sound to the track and pleases every fan of the band. This is perfect!!

Night Crawler—-It is hard to imagine that a band on the verge of disintegration delivered such a masterful recording, but the music stands and speaks on it’s own…the funny think, is that 13 years later the band picked right up where it left off with Angel Of Retribution. This song travels at an amazing pace and you are moved to play air guitar and pump your fists in the air. The twin guitar effect is in full display…this was a most excellent swan song.

All Guns Blazing—-Never a favorite track of mine, the song suffers from a tad bit of sameness and seems a bit uninspired. None the less, it shows off Halford at a place that he would persue with Fight, his first of solo projects. The musicianship is outstanding and has all the hallmarks of a Priest classic, it just sounds like everything else on the release.

Jugulator—-We all held our breath as we inserted the ‘New Priest’ into the player…Owens did not let us down, although he was no Halford. Tim can sing and does it damn well, but the legions of fans had very high expectations. The song begins with a very dark, machine sounding affair that takes the listener through many moods. The tone of the band seems a bit deeper and darker, perhaps to accomodate Owens more comfortable range. When Owens hits that first note, you are comfortable with the bands legacy. This release picked up where the last release left off…aggressive and dark. Fast and deep. This was a great release.

Blood Stained—-From the onset, you realize that the intro of the song sounds like most of the other tracks on this release. As the guitars open up, you are aware the band has a much deeper and dark sound than on previous records…Owens is more comfortable at lower registers and the band accommodates him in their playing. A disappointment, but still a decent track. The lyrical content is not Priest-like, sounding much more like a band without direction.

Machine Man—-More quasi-machine generated noises usher in the song and you are instantly bored with the experimentation. Where is the balls out rock and roll that we require. Even the drums seem anemic and lost…the dual guitar attack is so deep that you barely recognize the band as being THE PRIEST….not very good!!!

Feed On Me—-Again, I ask…where is the originality and the mastery of the band I loved??? It comfortably resided with the material Halford was producing….that’s where. This just never worked for me….I concentrated much more of Halford and his career after this first release by the ‘New Priest’.

**** out of 5

Judas Priest/Metalogy Box Set Disc 1-4 [Disc 3]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 250000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Disc 3:

Riding On The Wind—-Yet another Priest classic that is known by millions. A huge live crowd favorite, the son plays very well live. The song has a huge sound in the studio format…the drums are loud and in your forehead…the vocal is piercing and un relentless. The guitars attack you from all sides….this all equals a huge, unforgettable metal classic!

Bloodstone—-Yet another of the un-appreciated songs that would land on my ‘forever’ playlist, the song begins rather slow. The guitars are the star early on, and the drums enter the fray. When Rob comes on the scene, the sound of the song is already cemented and he only adds to the lines that the instruments have already set. The voice manages to hit some highs that are classic and unforgettable. This is under appreciated and under played…classic British Heavy Metal.

You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’—-Another of the worldwide known hits of the band, te sound and tone of the track is unremarkable in the realm of available Metal in the 80’s. The song does have a huge anthem like quality that you cannot escape, but the sound is too much like every other ‘big’ song that the band produced. The voice is remarkable and makes the song classic…I could never hear this again and be ok…but that is just me.

Devil’s Child—-Now, this is more like the Priest that I loved back in the day. The song has all the trademark levels of sound, but still sounds fresh and different. The guitar is more bass driven and deeper….the drums are faster and more in your face. The voice is classic Metal without being overblown and commercial. This is a great driving song that plays well in huge arenas or in your living room. Fantastic!!!

Freewheel Burnin’—-Immediately, the tone of the song is more brutal and pronounced than anything the band had produced. The guitars and drums are lightning fast and the vocal is blistering. Halford spits lyrics at the speed of sound and still retains an intensity and tone that is incredible. The screams that come from this man are almost superhuman and it is amazing to hear a really good version f this song. The intensity of the song never lets up for a moment and as it ends you are wasted in a sweaty lump. WOW!!!!

Jawbreaker—-This is yet another way underappreciated song that never fails to excite me upon the first few chords of the intro. the vocal of Halford makes the song an entity of its own…the chorus manages to become the song all on its own. The verses remain in that ultra fast delivery that would later make the band groundbreaking in the US. The guitars are almost more powerful than the voice, delivering a song all of their own….incredible!!!

The Sentinel—-A huge opus that opened many a live show also, the song gives the guitars a nice intro as Rob get ready to sing. The vocal is piercing and super-human. How a man can sing like that at an extended amount of time is amazing to me….let alone for 30 plus years. This song is classic in sound and defined mid 80’s Heavy Metal. Nice!!!

Love Bites [Live]—-Over blown and over rated, I really do not like this song. Halford seems uninspired and the track on a musical level seems to be treading water….next….

Eat Me Alive—-Much more Metal based and full in sound, Halford delivers the same elements of the previous song in a much more acceptable way. The song is overt and homosexual…everything metal wasn’t but was at a basic level. This is classic….the guitars are huge and the drums pummel your brain….give me a bottle of poppers and a dark back room and you define heaven.

Some Heads Are Gonna Roll—-The band tried to copycat all of the popular sounds of the time with this song and scored really well with most audiences. The song combines many of the 80’s Metal sounds…at the onset, the song reminds me of the Scorpions, only the vocals save the song from obscurity…never a high point with me, the song still sounds rather fresh as I listen back on it.

Rock Hard Ride Free—-Again, the song combines the pseudo Scorpions/Van Halen sounds that were so popular at the time. Only the voice saves the song from being another typical mid-80’s rock song. Halford still seems inspired despite the lackluster delivery of Tipton and Downing. The chorus is huge and made for the arena shows of the time.

Night Comes Down—-Returning to a more blues inspired delivery, the band still sounds a tad too generic for my taste. The chorus is a grand affair that will remind you of bands like Whitesnake or Dio. The guitar downshift throughout the song set for a different sound though and this makes the song special. The background vocal overlays show you that Halford can still scream with the best of them….listen for them…way in the backdrop. The production is masterful.

Turbo Lover—-Let me start by saying…no one except me liked the Turbo record….I literally adored this release. The band needed to expand and set it self apart and I think that they produced a really good record. This track, a tad bit overblown is by no means my favorite but has some really nice qualities. Halford delivers a relaxed and erotic vocal without going over the top and the band has expanded it’s base to include a more updated sound. I did not find this distasteful as so many fans did.

Private Property—-The song begins with a heavy synthesized sound, that takes nothing away from the anthemic qualities of the song. I love this song…it is full of empowerment and fit right in with the whole Beastie Boys Fight For You Right To Party theme. This song was a great pair with the next song…it all fit a thematic feel….

Parental Guidance—-Another song full of the anthem qualities at the time. The song is much more organic and electric with little of the effects that are heard throughout this release. The sing a long chorus makes for a perfect arena song and ar the time, Priest was playing huge arenas. The song has a fun almost Twisted Sister feel to it that would provide lots of fun for video afficiandos…if only!!!

Out In The Cold—-My very favorite song from the ‘Turbo’ release, and on my top ten list, I have loved this opus of a song from the very first listen. The song does have a synthesized guitar sound but the feel still remains huge and epic. You can almost see the lasers fighting through the fog as the lights swirl around the stage and catch the atmosphere. The build-up is almost too much to take as you wait for the first true metal sounds to emerge. You are not disappointed as the song opens up and becomes huge. The voice is full of emotion and feeling, the music at times reminding you of Hagar era Van Halen….this is a huge song that will sweep you up. The voice gets more and more emotive as the song continues, and you are not let down as Halford proves he still has what it takes. This is classic epic metal.

Heart Of A Lion [Demo]—-This song eventually landed on the live Halford release as a bonus track. The sound is rough and uninspired. The guitars sound foreign and the vocal is weak and not really there. A waste of space….for me.

**** out of 5

Judas Priest/Metalogy Box Set Disc 1-4 [Disc 2]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 250000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Disc 2:

Killing Machine—-With the by now familiar twin guitar attack intact, Halford enters the fray with a sexy, bluest vocal that sounds comfortable and slightly more evil than on previous tracks. The guitars sound really layered and masterful…the drums seem flat and uninspired. Although the song does not have much impact, the evolution of the band here is in full effect.

Evening Star—-Another song that seems to emerge from darkness, the beginning guitars and vocals are sedate and quiet…the vocal of Halford is excellent. By the second bar, the song seems to kick into gear although the guitars seem to be a tad bit anemic. The voice is good, but the song is flat and unispired…what is going on!!!!!????

Take On The World—-This is the Priest that i know and love…a huge sound and a chorus that makes the crowd lose it’s mind. This is another very favorite track of mine just for the anthem quality of the song. This just makes you feel good, powerful and omni everything. There is not one thing remarkable about the song, instead it is a unified joint effort that includes everyone…a really great track!!!

Delivering The Goods—-One of a string of songs that helped to establish the band a Heavy Metal Gods….The band has the trademark sound that the band would make their own. The twin guitar attack, the somewhat laid back drums and a vocal that was relaxed yet full of emotion. The song has many overtones, regardless of your orientation…it was able to appeal to everyone…great song!!!

Evil Fantasies—-Somehow this song combined enough blues base and big arena sound to sound incredibly dirty. Halford delivers lyrics that are omni-sexual and gives fodder to whomever is listening. The song is a nice Birmingham excursion into dirty bar blues…really incredible.

Hell Bent For Leather—-A key song in reaching across the pond and cementing the legacy of the band in the US. Who knows what Rob was thinking when he wrote the song, it again conjures up images that any one could relate to. The song has a familiar guitar attack, blending right in with powerhouse Iron Maiden. The song is relentless nd takes no prisoners. One of the crowds favorite at a show, it always meant the appearance of the motorcycle. The down shifting guitar solos are freakin’ outstanding.

Breaking The Law [Live]—-If you are a Priest fan that has been to many shows and listened to many records, you have a love/hate relationship with this song. On one hand, the anthem qualities of the song are immense and the sound is huge…it plays really well live and is always the recipient of great crowd reaction. On the other hand, you are like me and just plain tired of this song and are tired of hearing it…I would prefer the band to pull out something obscure and surprise me instead, Still a really great song with fantastic elements. just way over rated and played.

Living After Midnight—-Another really worn out song, this has even more anthemic qualities than the previous song. The elements of the song are classic early 80’s metal…the chugging guitars and the in your face drums. The relaxed vocal that made us afraid Halford had forgotten how to scream. A good song, but worn out.

Rapid Fire—-Now, this is what i needed. Fresh and incredibly fast, the song fits the title. The vocal is still unremarkable, but the twin guitar attack is so strong that you just give in to the landscape of the music. This was a precursor to some really great things that were to come.

Metal Gods—-In my top ten list of Priest tracks, this song still sounds fresh and innovative to me. The effects on the song are way advanced and when Halford mutters ‘Metal Gods’, there is a slight odd metallic feel to the sound that makes the song even more powerful for me. The musical elements of the song combine all the pieces that would make this band unforgettable and long in tooth. The galloping, shifting sound of the guitars make the song a huge arena masterpiece. Halford delivers lyrics that rallied the Metal legions and cemented a new nickname for him that would last for years and years. This is landmark and brilliant!

Grinder [Live]—-The crowd noise of 13,000 fans is incredible on the track. From ‘British Steel’, the band delivers a very inspired live rendition of this decidedly ‘motorcyle’ sound of an album. The vocal of Halford is a little muted, maybe because of the live element. The lyrical content is very gay…of course it meant something very different at the time. This is great.

The Rage—-With a great bass line intro and some interesting finger snapping, the song takes on a very bluesy, Birmingham sound that last through the entire track in the backdrop. The sound of the track is very large and dense, the vocal is classic. the lyrical content is almost medieval in sound. Halford hits some comfortable mid range notes that remind you of the power of his voice…it only adds to the large sound of the track.

Heading Out To The Highway—-Rounding out the top 5 lists of songs played too often on metal radio, this song has lost much of its genius for me at this point in my life. The song still hold that classic 80’s metal sound very well, it is just worn out. Halford delivers a dirty, sexy vocal that makes you pump you fists and sing along even if you don’t want to. Nice to hear once in a bit…but still tired.

Hot Rockin’ [Live]—-The sound of the crowd is overwhelming and adds to the masterful delivery of the song. Halford hits some notes that you know are for real…live everything is on display. The sound of the band is tight and practised, the guitars are overwhelming and play like a family. This is a really great rendition….better than the recorded version.

Troubleshooter—-The song has every Priest sound written all over it…every element that makes the band is rolled into this song. The guitar attack is there, with a slight blues touch…the drums are masterful and practised….the voice is clear and concise…the chorus is big and urges you to sing along…who could ask for more!?!?

Solar Angels—-This is another of the songs I would place on my ‘desert island’ Priest playlist. The vocal is overlayed and almost operatic. The sound of this song is huge…the guitars are galloping at a moderate pace, the drums in your face…special effects that are slightly distracting. But it is the emotion of Rob’s vocals that cause you to stop and play this again…this is awesome and brilliant!!

Desert Plains—-The song has a big almost AC/DC sound at the onset, but the Birmingham blues give way to the commanding vocals of Halford. The song is a huge, overtly sexual trip through the desert on a motorcycle on a 100 degree day. This is erotic and sublime, masterful and sexy, classic yet fresh!

The Helion/Electric Eye [Live]—-As any fan of the band in the 80’s knows, this was almost always an opening for the band at live shows. The combined tracks lose none of their power even now after so many listens. When the lights dimmed and you heard this music, your arms, legs and neck hairs stood at attention and you could barely control yourself. This live rendition is no more of a great excursion than the really live version. Halford delivers a vocal that is relaxed yet sonic at the same time. The sound of the band is electric and huge. Only the drums seem to lag behind. This is classic stuff.

Screaming For Vengeance—-The title track to the release that really, really cemented the band’s reputation in the US. Before there were fans, now there were legions of followers. The credit is two-fold, exactly as it should be. The vocals are incredible…the histrionics are beyond belief. The guitar and drum tracks are relentless and heavier than anything in the past. The speed of the song is incredible for the time and borders on early thrash at times. When Halford really lets loose with his scream you are shaken and pushed back  in your seat. This is brilliant!!!

****3/4 out of 5

Judas Priest/Metalogy Box Set Disc 1-4 [Disc 1]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 250000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Judas Priest are an English Heavy Metal Band from Birmingham, England. Formed in 1969, the band floundered for the early portions of their career, switching lead vocalist early on and drummers throughout the bands career. Priest, founding fathers of the British Heavy Metal scene along with Black Sabbath helped to lay the groundwork and influence for bands such as Iron Maiden, Motley Crue, Metallica and countless other bands. The band has experimented with many genres in their career including Thrash Metal, Traditional Heavy Metal and forays into Pop Metal. The band is at it’s best when doing hat they do well….delivering a powerful twin guitar attack set to the outstanding vocals of frontman Rob Halford. Halford departed Priest in 1991, to pursue numerous other career options and was replaced by Tim “Ripper” Owens in 1996. The fans clamored for the return of Halford and were rewarded when he rejoined the fold in 2003. The band has released 16 studio recordings and have sold in excess of 40 million units worldwide. This box set covers material released between 1974-2001 and is a vital part of any Priest fan’s collection.

Disc 1:

Never Satisfied—- Although remastered, the track carries the sound of classic metal in a wonderful way. The vocal of Halford is natural and easy as the guitar punch comes on like Sabbath poseurs. Not to say the track is bad…this is classic Priest and makes you appreciate how far the band has come. The promise was bright for these lads and at times Halford displays just little nuances of the vocal style he would adopt as his own. Like the age of the recording, the song caters to the Metal Maniacs with guitar solso…something rare these days even in modern metal releases.

Deceiver—-The song has a slight bar blues feel to it that is comforting and nicely aged. Halford enters the fray with a better more rounded vocal. When he sings in his upper register it is quite pleasant. The guitars are powerful and accompany Halford masterfully. When Halford open his vocal chords you still shake your head and wonder how in the world he does that. The guitar attack on this track is much more aggressive than the previous song and is a nice lesson in the evolution of a classic band that has stood the test of time. The sudden acoustic segue that ends the song is brilliant!!!

Tyrant—-Really never a favorite track of mine, there are elements that I really like. The speed and tempo of the vocal is awesome and the break in the song that allows melody is done with mastery. The song again, has some blues leanings that never really appealed to me. The double tracked vocal of Halford…singing in both a baritone and tenor is incredibly well done for the time of the recording. Really nice.

Victim Of Changes [Live]—-Perhaps one of the defining songs of the bands career, this shocked me and made me understand what this band was capable of. Oh, how I long to hear Rob do this one more time at a live show. The track is long…especially for a metal track…the moods are all over the place..and the vocal of Halford is something to be admired and applauded. The intro to the song laid the groundwork of the band’s sound that we would all come to recognize for many years to come…for a live recording, the engineering and production of the track is flawless. The crowd noise is minimal, but you can feel the live vibe all over the recording. The drums are incredible and in your face. There is NOTHING wrong with this track…and when Halford ends the track with his scream…you just shake your head and weep in your hands.

Diamonds And Rust [Live]—-An incredible live version of the Joan Baez classic, Priest gives the song so much more power and emotion through the guitar attack and incredible vocal. The song has a huge sound, the bass line present through the whole song but never drowning out the fine guitar leads. The vocal of Halford is yet another classic performance. Still doing this song live, Halford is one of the few Metal singers who can still deliver a vocal 30 years into touring that still sounds like the original. The song, live, has a great tempo and is always pleasing to hear.

Starbreaker [Live]—-With guitar effects that sound as if a space ship is landing, the band enters into a frenzied jam of galloping leads that remind you of later Priest classics. The vocal is a tad weak for me, sounding more like a bar band than an arena packer. Nonetheless, the song has a huge feel that is well received by the crowd even though the guitars seem mis matched in the mix.

Sinner—-By far one of my favorite early Priest recordings. The sound of the song is deep and has a menacing feel. The song fits into the new leather and stud clad of the band as it emerged with its own personality amidst all the other English metal bands that were appearing at the time. The vocal is a thing of beauty, as Halford proves that he is not a one note wonder. The shrieks come often and are delivered with mastery. The twin guitar attack is in full swing and gives the song a nice full feel. I assure you this song will stay with you for a while after you hear it.

Let Us Prey/Call For The Priest—-Emerging from the silence, the song has an eerie almost orchestrated intro [Let Us Prey] before it launches into the meat of the song. The setting of the mood is incredible!!!! The song has the slow build up that drives crowds wild and then just explodes with a nice level of ferocious ness. The voice is in top notch form as Halford holds his notes for a long time with little effort. The song again delivers a slight blues sound that is quite pleasing. The guitars sound like organs at times…this is really great!!!

Dissident Aggressor—-An A+ for the song title alone…how Metal is that? The song slowly emerges and takes shape….as Halford enters the fray with a scream that will break your brain apart. A classic video if you can catch it, Halford has some vocal overlays that are absolutely brilliant!!!! This only showed the promise of the band to come and the song ranks high for the pure rock element. This is awesome, the guitars are allowed to go off on blistering tangents that bring back all the best memories of 70’s arena metal. This is a classic masterpiece!

Exciter—-With a blistering drum intro, the guitar begins with a slight ane,mic sound. Even the vocal seems to be slightly muted, but the true Metal power shines through despite this. The song moves at a nice pace and you wonder how Halford manages to squeeze so many words into one sentence. The song needs some more re-mastering work, but it is classic none the less.

Beyond The Realms Of Death—-This is perhaps one of the best known songs of the early Priest catalog. The guitar delivery is a mostly acoustic delivery that is accompanied by a sad story of life without meaning. The song builds and builds…the emotional quota is immeasurable. Halford trades between his trademark yelp and serious almost beautiful baritone. The song has always been a crowd favorite and the moodiness of the lyrics and music will stay with you for some time. This is brilliant!!!

Better By You, Better Than Me—-Again delivering some nice blues stylings, the song is an almost dirty sounding foray in bar music. The vocal is relaxed and natural as Halford reverts to his comfortable and acceptable baritone. The song…never one of my favorites, has stood the test of time fairly well though. Nice to revisit, but not on my constant rotation list.

Invader—-Beginning with a classic 70’s video game sound, the guitars revert to a more traditional delivery after the first bar. Halford sings in an acceptable manner for the first portion of the song, but really opens up his throat as the song progresses. This is classic Priest that laid the architecture for the band as it evolved.

Stained Class—-An incredible title track to an incredible release, the galloping sounds of the guitars are pure English heavy Metal. The song behind the famous ‘lawsuit’, Halford does a lot of overlays on his vocal and that alone gives the song a huge sound. this is wonderful…classic Priest that shows the bands determination to deliver great Heavy Metal to fans despite the relative lack of success. The vocal histrionics are wonderful and nice to go back to over and over again.

The Green Manalishi [With The Two-Pronged Crown] [Live]—-Recorded by Early Fleetwood Macin 1970, the song has become a Priest staple ever since they re-recorded it. The band gives it a great metal makeover, and in its live incarnation sounds even more evil than it was when originally recorded. A great standout track in the bands career, they still perform it live in 2009.

****1/2 out of 5

Low/Trust

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , on 240000009-04:00 12 by marky7235

Low are an American Indie band from Duluth, Minn. Formed in 1993, the band currently consists of husband/wife founders Alan Spearhawk and Mimi Parker and Steve Garrington. The Mormon couple have two children and are the founders and spine of the band. Often cited as the leading members of the ‘slow-core’ movement, the band is known for its slow tempos and minimalist arrangements. As of late, the band has emerged with a slightly more abrasive tone. Trust was released in 2002 and was the 6th of 8 studio releases from the band.

Amazing Grace [That’s How We Sing]—-To anyone familiar with this band and the beautiful landscapes of sound they produce, the intro to this song is like a warm blanket that keeps you warm of a frigid night. The sound is heavy and plodding, the guitars are played incredibly slow…making you ache for the vocal. When the voices of the couple enter the fray, you are melted in you seat. The sound is beautiful and mystifying…the blend of the two voices would rival ANY Male/Female duo ever. Wonderful!!!

Canada—-Almost at once you recognize the shift in the sound of the band….the music is faster paced and more layered with sound. The vocal takes you back to the glory days of Neil Young, in fact the resemblance is uncanny. The guitar delivery is like nothing you had heard before on a Low release. It takes some getting used to, but the voice and the vocal harmonies are too much to resist.

Candy Girl—-Bass heavy and full of excruciating slowness, the song begins in classic and familiar fashion. As Alan enters the fray, the words are few and far between…when Mimi joins the fray, it is the perfect recipe for sheer beauty. The bass drum that marches through the song gives you the feel of a funeral march and the gentle strums on the guitar are almost hollow in sound. The song is a masterful example of why this band is loved by so many people.

Time Is The Diamond—-The vocal begins at the onset of the song and it is joined immediately by Mimi in the backdrop. This song is so minimal and bare, you wonder how they keep the tune in their head. As the song progresses, it open up a slight amount, but nothing is included to take away from the mood set at the first word of the song. This is wonderful and classic Low….I haven’t listened to this in quite some time and i am really loving it now.

Tonight—-The song, for Low, begins rather noisy. The first vocals of the song are from Mimi..this is always a treat. She has a tone that melds with the Low sound in a haunting and metallic way. The backdrop of the song is rather layered and noisy, but it all comes together to produce a masterful track.

The Lamb—-The song begins with little bits of guitars, snips of piano and huge amounts of atmosphere. The song takes quite sometime to get started, but the rewards as usual are worth the wait. You first hear strains of the dual vocal attack very far back in the mix….almost to quiet to hear. There are all kinds of things going on in this song…as Alan finally begins to sing, Mimi provides a quiet and powerful background vocal to match. This is true musical beauty.

In The Drugs—-Featuring an odd acoustic upfront guitar, the vocal is just pure and sweet. At times, Alan has a peculiar voice…when it is slow and natural like this it is beautiful. As Mimi joins in, the two come together like a true union. The chorus of the song has a bit of a melody that sucks you in and you have to play it again. This is perfect! There is even some banjo!!!! Incredible.

Last Snowstorm—-Sounding like winter, the song features a nice sleigh bell in the backdrop and an almost Christmas theme. The voices come together like nothing you can adequately describe. This song is noisier and has a huge sound…to me rather religious based, but a masterpiece in the form it is presented. This is pure magic…gosh I love these guys !!!!

John Prine—-John Prine is a well known Country guitarist. This song reminds me nothing of him…..the intro of the song is familiar and predictable Low…exactly what I require at this moment. The vocal enters and is slightly pushed to the back of the mix and with a slight reverb. The lyrical content is a personal ode to the genius of Prine, but the song as a whole stands on its own. This is classic Low…don’t skip it.

Little Argument—-The song begins with an immediate lyric. It features Alan singing at his higher range with Mimi providing a deeper and quiet backdrop. The guitar can barely be heard as the song continues. The voices have the spotlight. The song grows slightly in noise as it progresses, the layers of sound come from the dark and almost explode with a crash. This is exquisite!!!

La La Song—-Brilliant…..a tender delivery that is immediate and instantly memorable. These two rarely do wrong in my book. This is a great gentle ode that would stack up against the best that any duo could muster. The hand claps add a touch to the song and the melody is unforgettable. This is as I said….brilliant!!!

 Point Of Disgust—-Sounding as if the song was recorded on a toy piano in a bathroom, the song begins with a slightly irritating piano that slows and slows and ushers in a vocal that is unrecognizable Mimi. I do not think I have ever heard her sing in such a high voice. I much prefer the lower register. The song…rough at the onset, turns into a brilliant and melodic affair that sucks you in….as the song reverts to the more obscure sound, you find yourself enduring it to get to the melodic chorus. Nice!!!

Shots & Ladders—-Heavily layered with sound, even the vocals seem to be so. The slight reverb on the vocal makes the delivery of the two seem even larger and more upfront. The song moves with an incredible slowness that keeps you hanging on every word and every sound. This is a great finish to an outstanding release.

****1/2 out of 5