Archive for June, 2010

Iron Maiden/Brave New World

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 300000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Brave New World

Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band from Leyton in east London, formed in 1975. The band are directed by founder, bassist and songwriter Steve Harris. Since their inception, the group has released a collective total of thirty albums: fourteen studio albums; seven live albums; four EPs; and five compilations.

Pioneers of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, Iron Maiden achieved success during the early 1980s and, after several lineup changes, the band went on to release a series of platinum and gold albums. These include the US platinum-selling landmarks The Number of the Beast in 1982, Piece of Mind in 1983, Powerslave in 1984, the acclaimed live album Live After Death in 1985, Somewhere in Time in 1986, and Seventh Son of a Seventh Son in 1988. Their second most recent studio effort, A Matter of Life and Death, was released in 2006 and peaked at number nine on the Billboard 200 and at number 4 in the UK and is also one of the few rock albums to be certified platinum in India. Their newest album, The Final Frontier, will be released on August 16, 2010.[1]

As one of the most successful heavy metal bands in history, Iron Maiden have sold over 75 million records under EMI and a total of over 100 million records worldwide with almost no radio or television support.[2][3][4][5] The band won the Ivor Novello Award for international achievement in 2002,[6] and were also inducted into the Hollywood RockWalk in Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, California during their United States tour in 2005. As of October 2009, the band has played just over 2000 live shows during their career. For the past 30 years, the band has been supported by their famous mascot, “Eddie the Head“, who has appeared on almost all of their album and single covers, as well their live shows.

Brave New World is the twelfth studio album by Iron Maiden, released on 30 May 2000 (see 2000 in music). It marked the return of longtime lead singer Bruce Dickinson (who left in 1993) and guitarist Adrian Smith (who left in 1990) to the band. It was also the band’s first studio recording with three guitar players, as Janick Gers stayed with the band after Smith’s return.

The album art and title song are references to the novel of the same name written by Aldous Huxley. The upper half of the album art was done by Derek Riggs, and is the last new artwork done by Riggs to be used on an Iron Maiden release. The bottom half was done by digital artist Steve Stone. Similarly, the line ‘Brave new world’ is repeated in the pre-chorus in an earlier song by the band, “Stranger in a Strange Land“, from Somewhere In Time. Vocalist Bruce Dickinson calls this his favorite album, replacing Piece of Mind.

The songs “The Wicker Man” and “Out of the Silent Planet” were both released as singles. “The Wicker Man” was released in the U.S as a promo single with extra vocals in the chorus.

Brave New World Tour was the tour supporting the album. During the tour, the show in Rock in Rio was released as a live album.

Brave New World peaked at the seventh spot of the United Kingdom charts, and has since been certified Gold.[2] In the United States, it debuted at 39th of the Billboard 200,[3] and sold over 307,000 copies. [Wikipedia]

The Wicker Man—-Beginning in classic old school Maiden style, you have a nice intro from Harris and Co. that builds to allow the entrance for Dickinson’s vocal. hearing him back in the band was like a dream come true and this recording is like he had never left and the Blaze era was simply a memory. The classic and familiar Harris style is all over the song and delivers exactly what you would expect. Although Bruce sings in a lower tone, when the band comes together on the chorus this is like the old days…this is incredible.

Ghost Of The Navigator—-This has that wonderful build up that that band like to put at the beginning of its songs, the anticipation that makes you crazy as you wait for the entire band to enter and blow your brains out. You are rewarded greatly on this opus of a song..when Bruce enters with his vocal you will find a huge smile on your face…the vocal is stellar as his tone is much more familiar and the drums literally blow you away. The down shift of the bass is masterful and the chug, chug, chug of the music is so welcome it becomes like your favorite pair of socks. This is wonderful, classic and necessary!!!

Brave New World—-With a wonderful guitar intro that builds the anticipation, you will not be disappointed when the song finally kicks into high gear. The lyrics are intense and the opening vocal is almost pretty…you know that this is not to last and you are right…when the song goes to full throttle, you just sit back and wonder how you ever got along without the classic Maiden line-up. Bruce delivers a vocal that is as stellar as the old days, pushing his chords to hit notes he never really visited in his solo career. Again. the drums on this track are stellar and Harris wields his bass like a weapon…consuming anything that gets in the way of his riffs. This is fantastic!!!

Blood Brothers—-With a wonderful bass line intro and what sounds like some strings running underneath, you just know that this will be yet another epic song. Dickinson enters a bit more sedate as the song builds the anticipation and almost makes you salivate. The vocal kicks into a nice range, but it is nothing compared to the early vocal histrionics that Dickinson used to display. None the less, this is loaded with the classic sound and a band that sounds like it never spent a day apart…welcome to the fold!

The Mercenary—-One of the shortest songs on the release, at 4 1/2 minutes, the band gets busy right away. No interludes or build ups, the music begins with the first second of silence. The drums are so forward in the mix, they threaten to explode your forehead. Bruce delivers a vocal that is full of urgency and vehemence. This is stellar…powerful, fast and with that familiar smile inducing Maiden sound!!!

Dream Of Mirrors—-Clocking in at almost 10 minutes, the intro to the track is non existent…the vocal and the bass begin at the first second of silence…the slow and ambient intro follows the blast of sound…just enough to put you off-balance and pay close attention. Bruce delivers a vocal that is relaxed and introspective at the onset, the lyrics full of mysticism and evil if that is how you choose to perceive it. This is magical….the classic Maiden sound rides underneath all of the slow playing. when the song begins to open up, it becomes one of the largest songs that Maiden has ever recorded. The Dickinson wail is in full effect even if he does sound a bit strained. This is wonderful…there are all kinds of musical swings and moods…the vocal loud and quiet all culminating in a magnificent Maiden classic that will live for years to come. This is pure magic…abscence makes the heart grow fonder!

The Fallen Angel—-I’m telling you, despite what anyone says….Nicko is one of the best drummers in modern age Metal ever!!! These drums on this release are incredible. The bass of Harris is predictable and as you would expect and demand. Bruce enters with his vocal..sounding a bit strained but familiar and welcome as always. This is stellar…huge in sound, energetic and containing every maiden trick in the book. Magnificent!!!

The Nomad—-I can’t quite tell you why, but this song remains one of my favorite tracks on this release…clocking in at over 9 minutes in length, there is something about this vocal that just makes me boil over with pleasure. This is remarkable!! This has a nice downshift delivery in the bass that automatically catches your attention. The music is all over the place but the guitars land directly in the center of your face, smacking you around like a bar fight. The bass is stellar and the drums are magnificent. this is Bruce circa 1983 when he propelled the pace of the band. This is incredible…I have never heard this live…it would be interesting to see how this transports to the stage….none the less, I have this and have turned to it over and over and over and over!!! Definitely one of my top 20 Maiden singles. This is freakin’ brilliant!!!

Out Of the Silent Planet—-Beginning with that classic Maiden build up, the song is slow to kick into high gear, but you have the nice contrast of the bass and the lead guitar to capture your attention for a time. Bruce enters with a nice vocal that is bolstered by a choir of voices thanks to the band. When the band does kick into gear, it is with that familiar Maiden sound that has led them for over 30 years…if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. This sounds much more like a Dickinson solo track that a Maiden track, but none the less it works masterfully. This is hyper, bass driven and accented by one of the best drummers around. This is excellent!!!

The Thin Line Between Love And Hate—-Beginning with a remarkable deep sound, this is the first track from this band I have heard in quite sometime that does not immediately give away who they are. By the second or third bar, the music is more familiar but delivered a bit harder and edgier. This is nice, but it lacks the familiar and expected sound. this is much more guitar aggeressive…the bass sitting in the backdrop a bit. The drums are huge and Dickinson delivers a vocal that sounds at times much more Nu-Metal than you would expect…but when he hits some of those notes, I find myself surprised that he can still do that. This is different, but still really nice!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

 

Scissor Sisters/Night Work

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 300000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Night Work

The Scissor Sisters are an American band that formed in 2001. Their style draws from disco, glam rock, pop and the club scene of New York City.

The group consists of vocalists Jake Shears and Ana Matronic, multi-instrumentalist Babydaddy, lead guitar/bassist, Del Marquis, and drummer Randy Real (who joined in replacement of Paddy Boom) and their name is taken from a sexual position between women called tribadism.[1] While experiencing only limited mainstream success in their homeland of the United States, the band has been hugely successful in Europe, Canada, Australia, and particularly the United Kingdom, where they have achieved a number of chart hits, with their debut album becoming best-selling album of 2004 in the UK. Their single “I Don’t Feel Like Dancin’” was the fourth best-selling single in the UK in 2006 and stayed in the UK top 40 for 27 weeks.

Night Work is the third studio album by American band Scissor Sisters, it was released on June 28, 2010. The album was preceded by the release of lead single, “Fire With Fire” on June 20. [Wikipedia]

Night Work—-As you would expect, this release begins in the pure Disco style that this band is known for. The synths are incredibly energetic and the lyrics are sexually charged in the direction of the Club underground. Jake sounds better than ever and there are some remarkable harmonies on this track. The chorus is a huge, floor stomping affair that has me sweating all over. This is a FINE return to form.

Whole New Way—-From the onset, this track has a remarkable three beat that is as close to straight Reggae as you can get in the dance world. Jake has dropped the ultra high falsetto for a more accessible tone that plays much better than some of the earlier tracks. This has 1984 written all over it…classic dance floor…classic homo rock…..classic Scissor Sisters!!!

Fire With Fire—-This lead off single begins rather sedate, coming off like a classic Billy Joel or Elton John track…who would have thunk it? This is magnificent…this ballad still has a remarkable energy and really shows off the more introspective side of the band that is in complete contrast to other material on this and earlier releases. This is fantastic…really a favorite!

Any Which Way—-Returning to full on Disco mode, this sounds like a classic updated Moroder sound that is accompanied by the more familiar strains of Jake’s ultra high falsetto. The beats are classic 1970’s mirror ball synths. the energy is pure sex…the song drips with lust and the lyrics only help the vision. Wonderful!

Harder You Get—-This is more updated with a sound I often refer to as New Millenium Disco….the synth beats are delicious and deep in sound..reeking of Back Room sex and disturbia. The vocal is almost unrecognizable…you would never get this was the Sisters! This is huge fun, a bit sleazy and something you can groove your ass off to.

Running Out—-Melding in from the previous song seamlessly, this has a nice rhythm that fits the backdrop synths perfectly. This borders on 80’s New Wave….and I mean that in only the best way. The vocal is deeper, but the lyrics are catchy as hell and the beat of the song is constantly progressing without really changing the tempo…remarkable!

Something Like This—-This is nice, but you find yourself missing that high falsetto a bit as the songs all begin to sound to similar after a bit. This has a nice robotic delivery that saves it from obscurity. This is a big song only because of the nice mechanical beats that drive the tempo and energy of the song. The falsetto is here and there and that is when the song is at it’s best.

Skin This Cat—-Wow…this is nice….the 80’s overtone reminds you that Jake has been hanging out in Berlin…this has that sound all over it. The vocal is almost all female…with a few others in the backdrop…this comes together with the help of the synth line to become a really great, poppy track that would make a really great video. Nice!!!

Skin Tight—-This is rather odd…..two Dance Ballads on one release is rather interesting. The song manages to pick up some speed and becomes much larger than it began. The track grows and grows on you as it progresses and the remarkable fact is that when Jake sings in a lower register he at times sounds incredibly like Elton. This is fantastic…one of my favorite tracks on this release, played on the right radio this could become huge!

Sex And Violence—-This is much deeper and ambient than most of the things on this release. The synths manage to be upbeat and poppy….the vocal is again a deeper version of the Jake we have known in the past. The result is a lot more conveyed emotion and expression. This is really fun…the backdrop beats propel the song at a remarkable pace…this is another favorite!!!  Top Notch!!!

Night Life—-Beginning rather sedate with some atmosphere, the beat builds slowly and finds the vocals again delivered in a fun higher tone that at times is like the old days and when lowered sounds like many of the generic synth pop bands of the 80’s. This is fun, energetic and at times rather frenetic! I love this CD!!!

Invisible Light—-This again, begins with lots of swirls and musical emotions…the main synth line slowly approaches from the background until it takes on the pace and level of the track. Jake again sings in a deeper tone that reminds me of Ultravox or one of those British bands circa 1985. This is really nice….the chorus enters and makes this song a literal masterpiece. I could not ask for more..I like that the overt sex has been turned down a bit and emotion seems to control the direction of the song. Really stellar!!!

****1/2 out of 5

Yaz/Upstairs At Eric’s

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 280000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Upstairs at Erics

Yazoo (known as Yaz in the U.S.) are an English synthpop duo from Basildon, Essex. They had a number of top ten hits in the British charts in the early 1980s. Formed in late 1981 by former Depeche Mode songwriter Vince Clarke (synthesizer) and English singer Alison Moyet (vocals), Yazoo were signed to Mute Records in the United Kingdom and (as “Yaz”) to Sire Records in the United States.

Yazoo’s debut single “Only You” backed with “Situation,” was released on 15 March 1982 and rose to number two in the UK charts. Yazoo released two successful studio albums, Upstairs at Eric’s in 1982 and You and Me Both in 1983. Shortly after, Moyet and Clarke decided to break up. Moyet pursued a solo career while Clarke went on to form Erasure, another synth pop duo. Yazoo temporarily reunited in 2008 with a tour in Europe and the United States and the release of a four-disc box set.

Though short-lived, Yazoo continues to influence and inspire many of today’s bands, including LCD Soundsystem, Shiny Toy Guns, Blaqk Audio,[1] Hercules and Love Affair,[2] La Roux, and Gil Mantera’s Party Dream.

Upstairs at Eric’s (1982) is Yazoo‘s first album produced by the band and E.C. Radcliffe with assistance from Daniel Miller. It reached # 2 in UK and # 92 in US. It was later released as an audio CD in October 25, 1990.

The album is an influential synth pop release which did much to establish the link between American-style R&B and European electronica, a marriage which defined much of the Top 40 throughout the 1980s. The album, named after the duo’s living space in producer Eric Radcliffe‘s home during the recording, contains two classic singles: “Don’t Go” and the ballad “Only You“. {Wikipedia}

Don’t Go—-One of this duo’s most popular singles, the track combines the remarkable synth rhythms of Clarke set with the bluesy vocal style of Moyet crashing together to create a dance floor smash that is still played in clubs all over the world. The production quality and the instrumentation is so much better on this release than the first Depeche mode release…masterminded by Clarke. This sounds so fresh and new in 2010, it makes me wonder if we have rally progressed that much. It is also remarkable to me how much Moyet sounds like future Clarke vocalist Andy Bell at times. This is truly a piece of history.

Too Pieces—-This contains the remarkable melancholy synth sounds that Clarke has managed to produce for many years now. the vocal is huge and overlayed…the production is top notch…the emotion that Moyet displays with her voice, set to the moody synth lines come together and crash in this huge and orgasmic sound that still 20 some years later makes my teary eyed and smiling. Incredible!

Bad Connection—-This is wonderful…the Clarke produced synth lines have a nice funk sound to them that fits Moyet’s vocal wonderfully. this has an almost retro Girl group sound to it thanks to the vocal overlays and studio magic. this is pure pop perfection. this was a short-lived project, but groundbreaking and earth shattering for a lonely boy in love with synth pop.

I Before E Except After C—-With a remarkable vocal intro that is spoken by Clarke, this is rather odd but none the less charming. this is full of reverb, echo and machine manipulations that bring wonderment to me even now….taking a whole 2 minutes for the song to really take shape, this is a nice adventure in synth pop that attempted to sound like Pink Floyd…interesting but rather odd…still, it only shows the true genius of Clarke!

Midnight—-Moyet enters with an a capella vocal that is hauntingly beautiful…the synth slowly grows and adds body to the song, but the true star of this song is the deep and soulful vocal of Moyet. Once Clarke really has a melody sound producing from his machines, I find it remarkable that Alison is able to keep her place despite the sound in the backdrop…the end result is masterful. This is intense, heartfelt and warm…full of emotions and feelings that apply to every generation.

In My Room—-This is intense…lots of sound effects and a remarkable beginning rendition of the Lord’s Prayer…the song is almost spoken…I wonder if this is Clarke speaking or someone else. This is full of all kinds of emotions and layers of feelings. This is brilliant…this is experimental and fun. Clarke and Moyet were pretty remarkable as a team. I love this…WOW!!!!

Only You—-This remains one of my favorite tracks from this band…the sound is so stark and haunting that it still has the remarkable ability to bring tears to my eyes whenever I hear it. It is obvious after listening to this release why it was not possible for Clarke to remain a part of Depeche Mode. This is far above anything that they would produce for years. The synth lines that Clarke manages to produce drip with tears and atmosphere…add the blues style vocal of Moyet and you are given a classic song that has survived 30 years and counting with the same emotive qualities. This is brilliant!

Goodbye 70’s—-Returning to the funk filled synth lines and the remarkable vocal of moyet, this is another classic synth pop classic that I still love today. An ode to the death of Disco, the duo create a huge anthem that moves away from the bass heavy sound of disco to the synth powered dance floor grooves that created as whole new generation of music. too me, this never received the attention that it should have…simply for the statement that it made. this is incredible and a subtle piece of pop history…moving from one manufactured sound to the other….wonderful!

Situation—-One of the best known singles from this duo, this is full of classic style synth grooves that still manage to fill dance floors on any given Friday or Saturday night in America. This is addictive, pleasant and damn fun. the vocal of Moyet is wonderfully understated considering the huge synth lines that Clarke produced…this is such fun you will back this up and listen again…I promise you that!

Winter Kills—-Another of those classic Clarke/Moyet collaborations that will make your heart bleed and you mind ache with memories of the past and fear of the future. The sound is so deep and intense, Clarke opting for actual piano rather than synths, moyet sounding as if she is literally devastated. This is so intense, I find it hard to get through the entire track. Just Brilliant!!!

Bring Your Love Down [Didn’t I]—-This last track is a nice return to the masterful synth pop that the band seemed to have mastered the first time they came together. This is wonderfully retro, reminding you of the very Disco that they rejected just a few songs earlier. this is full off poppers and sweaty dance floors…wild unhibited dancing and ecstatic clapping as you lose yourself in the fog and swirling lights. This is just full of wonderful memories!!!

****1/2 out of 5

Depeche Mode/Speak & Spell [Remastered]

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 280000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Speak & Spell (Remastered)

Depeche Mode (pronounced /dɛˈpɛʃ/, de-PESH) are an English electronic music band which formed in 1980, in Basildon, Essex. The group’s original line-up consisted of Dave Gahan (lead vocals), Martin Gore (keyboards, guitar, vocals, chief songwriter after 1981), Andrew Fletcher (keyboards) and Vince Clarke (keyboards, chief songwriter 1980–81). Vince Clarke left the band after the release of their 1981 debut album, Speak & Spell, and was replaced by Alan Wilder (keyboards, drums) with Gore taking over songwriting. Wilder left the band in 1995 and since then Gahan, Gore, and Fletcher have continued as a trio.

Depeche Mode have had forty-eight songs in the UK Singles Chart and #1 albums in UK, US and throughout Europe. According to EMI, Depeche Mode have sold over 100 million albums and singles worldwide[1], making them the most successful electronic band in music history.[2][3] Q Magazine calls Depeche Mode “The most popular electronic band the world has ever known”.

This was the only Depeche Mode album with Vince Clarke as a member of the band. Clarke wrote most of the songs for the band, before departing to form the synthpop duo Yazoo with Alison Moyet and later, the duo Erasure with Andy Bell.

The album is significantly lighter in tone and melody than their later work, a direction which can largely be attributed to Clarke’s writing. After he left, Martin Gore took over songwriting duties, writing almost all of the band’s material. Later albums written by him would explore darker subjects and melodies.

The album title alludes to the then-popular “Speak & Spell” electronic toy.

When interviewed by Simon Amstell for Channel 4‘s Popworld programme in 2005, Martin Gore and Andrew Fletcher both stated that the track “What’s Your Name?” was their least favourite Depeche Mode song of all time.

New Life—-Perhaps one of my favorite Depeche singles, this is strongly because of the pop sensibilities of Clarke. The heavy pop synths and the vocal harmonies are still exquisite. The masterful synth lines have Clarke written all over them…many seemingly show up in later music created by Clarke. Gahan sounds so young and vibrant…when the whole band comes together in harmony it is an ecstatic moment that lives on thanks to remastered CD’s.  This is brilliant and a hell of a lot of fun.

Puppets—-Beginning with a rather rudimentary yet charming synth line, Gahan enters with a slow and seductive vocal that brings to mind a nice cross between new Wave and club music that seems to fit the band masterfully well. the vocal has sex dripping from every line…Gahan sings in a tone that is not as deep and intense as later recordings…this was a young band finding their footing…this set a nice bar for other future recordings. Who could have imagined the band would still be on the scene 25 years later?

Dreaming Of Me—-Another Clarke masterpiece that never grows old, the band still performs this song live to a huge crowd response. The sound is unmistakable…when you hear the opening synth lines of this song you instantly know who you are listening to. The vocal and lyric is a bit darker that most of the stuff on this release. The overlayed vocal or the band harmonies create this huge sound that is just wonderful…sweet memories and classic reminders of how this all started back in the early 80’s. This truly is historical!

Boys Say Go!—-This is remarkable…this has the new Wave label all over the entire damn thing. The English bands that were invading america at this time were a dime a dozen, but even this little known song belied the talent and irresistable pop sensibilities of this band. this is quaint, classy and a lot of fun. I love this stuff!!!!

No Disco—-Again, this has a rhythmic synth line that is just classic Vince Clarke. Gahan enters with a vocal that is so close to Moyet that you look at the CD cover for a moment…this could have been a huge Yaz song!!! This has all the elements of the synth blues that Clarke and Alison produced together..I can understand in a way why Vince moved on…he needed that independence to display his genius. it seemed to have worked out for everyone involved. This is brilliant!!!

What’s Your Name?—-Although this track is reportedly disliked by the majority of the band, this is catchy as hell and laden with Clarke synth lines that helped define him as a masterful songwriter. This is chessy..yes, but the harmonies are remarkable and the pop sensibility of the whole thing is undeniable!

Photographic—-The remarkable and energetic synth lines would follow the band for a few releases before they became the dark synth Goths of the world. This is remarkable if only for the vocal harmonies that are all over the song…the overlays on the voice beef up the song and give it a remarkable darker sound. Clarke again produces synth lines that are so contagious you will back this up to hear it once again…this is wonderful.

Tora! Tora! Tora!—-Although this has some really nice synth atmosphere and drum machine inspired bass, the vocal seems uninspired and the track falls flat for me. This has never been a song that I have gotten through the first few bars of…this sounds much more like Ultravox  than DM to me. This is acceptable, but not a favorite.

Big Muff—-Whatever….what the hell kind of title is that? The synths are erratic and a bit to hyper for me on this rather pop oriented record. This is ok, but really…this just misses the mark for me…..it lacks a sense of direction and is a bit to aimless for my tastes.

Any Second Now [Voices]—-This reminds me of later DM, the tone of the song is much darker, layered and intense. Gahan delivers a vocal that is sedate and introspective with some nice overlays that makes it seem as if three or four people are singing. Although this has a classic sound, the dense arrangements makes it less than accessible. This again, sounds like a Yaz song to me.

Just Can’t Get Enough—-Perhaps one of the best known DM songs and one of the most poppy, this borders on brilliant with little effort. The synth lines are huge and the whole band aids in the vocal delivery. giving the song a much larger feel. this song was pretty damn big for the band and it has the Clarke authorship all over it. This is incredible…love this and have never tired of it after all of these years. Wonderful!!!

**** out of 5

Hatebreed/Satisfaction Is The Death Of Desire

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 280000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Satisfaction Is The Death Of DesireHatebreed is an American hardcore/metalcore band from Bridgeport and New Haven, Connecticut. The band was founded in November 1994.

Satisfaction Is the Death of Desire is the first full-length album by the American hardcore band Hatebreed. It was released on November 11, 1997 through Victory Records. This was the band’s breakthrough album, with the majority of critics praising it,[1][2][3] even calling it a “hardcore classic”.[4][5] It lifted them out from the underground scene and thanks to this rise in fame they got a record deal with Universal Records.

It has taken me quite sometime to find this debut release from one of my favorite bands…I could not be more thrilled than I am at this moment.

Empty Promises—-No time for atmosphere or introductions, the music jumps off this CD and literally smacks you upside the side of your head. The vocal is less refined, but the playing was tight as hell and the lyrics were though provoking and intense. this is classic Hatebreed with a bit more of a raw feel. Fantastic!!!

Burn The Lies—-Brutal from the first second, Jamey sounds literally maniacal. This is deeper in sound and more dense than a lot of later material. this is classic hardcore…you can not escape the energy and the brutality. The songs even then still carried a powerful and positive message.

Before Dishonor—-Again, this has a nice deep sound, but the vocal and the leads are clearer and hearken to the current recording sound of the band. This is fast, layered with shout a long vocals that belie the Hardcore label and contain lyrics of empowerment and superiority through self!!! Fantastic!!!

Puritan—-This is classic Hardcore…the short and furious guitar blasts, the maniac drums and the vocal that pushes the cords to the limit are just classic in every way. This is freakin’ brilliance in less than 2 minutes. Who could ask for more?

Conceived Through An Act Of Violence—-Again, the short blast of metallic guitars, the huge drums and the underlying melody makes this band accessible to many people with varying musical tastes. This is brutal, mosh inducing and though provoking. The content is intense and delivery just as much so as well. Fantastic!!!

Afflicted Past—-This track has the wonderful sound of possession and brutality. The blast after blasts leave your temples bleeding and you mind racing with all of the words and ideas presented in a minute and a half. Jamey was born to do this kind of music…he was brilliant from the beginning and has now become a hardcore genius!!!

Prepare For War—-This actually has a nice musical introduction before the vocal slaps you in the face and rips your hair out. The rhythm section is just brilliant giving this song that sound that makes you want to hurt the person standing next to you…the bass line interlude is huge and gives the song a nice full-bodied feel. Great!!!

Not One Truth—-Beginning with a sharp drum sound, the deepness of the recording is not far behind. Jasta continues to vomit lyrics of empowerment and though provoking ideas. this is masterfully delivered with a nice sense of melody and overall brutality. The best of both words.

Betrayed By Life—-When you feel as if life has let you down, you can always turn to this band for a positive outlook on the failure of others. This has such a deep bass sound and the drums continue to propel the sound at hyper speed. This is just genius!!!

Mark My Words—-When the first note hits the speaker so does the first word…this is pretty magnificent precision for a band releasing their debut release. This really reminds me of some of the better Suicidal Tendencies songs. Fantastic….and the bass line is huge and holds the whole damn thing up in a magnificent way!!!

Last Breath—-This comes out of the dark straight for your jugular. Jasta enters with a vocal that sounds demented and driven by mania with messages of standing on your own and triumphing over all that distorts your life’s success. This is brutal, meaningful and classic hardcore. Once again, the drums are just magnificent!!!

Burial For The Living—-This song moves so fast, it is almost impossible to catch a word that is being hollered across your speakers. The energy is undeniable and the remarkable bass line propels the song…the drums are huge and superhuman. This is freakin’ genius!!! Oh….did I tell you that already?

Worlds Apart—-This has a bit of an opening atmosphere, but it takes nothing away from the ensuing madness and energy that smacks you in the face. Jasta is sounding remarkable hoarse which is rather endearing. this is layered, with bigger sounding guitar and a more clear and pronounced drum. Most excellent, this is classic Hatebreed….a true testament to sticking with what you believe in.

Driven by Suffering—-Sounding a bit more under produced than the previous song, it takes nothing away from the sound of the band. Again, Jasta delivers lyrics that are empowering and meant to make you think and re-evaluate the life you are living and how you can makes it better and more meaningful. This is just a fantastic release!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]

Moby/18

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , on 270000006UTC 12 by marky7235

18

18 is a 2002 album by electronic artist Moby. Critical response to this album was positive to mixed, with many critics feeling it was too much of a retread of his previous releases and lacked inspiration. The most successful song on the album was the single “We Are All Made of Stars”, which reached #11 on the UK charts. The album features guest appearances by Azure Ray, MC Lyte, Angie Stone, and Sinéad O’Connor. A collection of the album’s B-sides and video footage was later released a year after the album on 18 B Sides + DVD.

The album debuted at #1 in the UK (beating Queen‘s The Platinum Collection out of the top spot) and many other European countries. It also peaked at #4 in the Billboard 200. 18 earned gold and platinum awards in over 30 countries, and sold more than four million copies worldwide, which was a respectable number for an electronica album, even when its sales figure didn’t even reach the half of amounts sold by Play.

We Are All Made Of Stars—-Despite the critical response. this lead off single sounded fresh and new to me and remains a piece of musical history that I visit time and time again. The bass synths and the delivery is like nothing on the Play release…this is heartfelt and new to me. The vocal, from Moby himself is accessible and the song is pretty damn contagious. the dance floor riffs are subtle…this does not play well in a club, but as an after hours track, this is huge. This, for me. remains fantastic!

In This World—-As a New York resident, and this being his first release since 9/11, the shock and distress of this event is all over this record. You catch references in the lyrics and the music. this had a huge impact on this village resident and it is obvious on this release. This has a remarkable sample of a blues vocalist that is layered with classic moby ambient sounds…yes, this would have fit perfectly on Play, but considering the events of the past year, at the time this fit rather majestically on this release as well. When the swirling and beautiful synth line hits, you are damn near brought to tears!!!

In My Heart—-Piano heavy, this has the Moby stamp all over it…the vocal is masterful…dense and full of emotions. The deep bass beat makes this dance floor ready for those dark after hours nights. As the song opens up, it takes on an almost  orchestrated feel. This is fantastic and what i really expected from this techno God….curse the critics!!!

Great Escape—- This is full of emotive vocals and synth sounds that moby has created to resemble a full orchestra sitting in his living room. The voice set next to the pseudo violin will bring tears to your eyes…this is layered, beautiful and full of haunting words that will stick with you for days after you revisit this CD. This is timely and has the aftermath of someone who experienced 911 close up stamped all over it. Never forget this history!!!

Signs Of Love—-With Moby supplying the spoken word intro and the following vocal, this song has a slow swelling instrumental that makes your heart lonely. this is remarkably beautiful…the gentle swirls overtake your soul and remarkably bring tears to my eyes based on the beauty of the song alone. The lyrics remind me of my very own life…as I fly so high and sink so low…this is wonderfully autobiographical.

One Of These Mornings—-Again, this is full of deep synths that speak of sadness and melancholy…yes, perhaps there are samples….but to compare this to Play is out of context. the deep bass riffs that parlay the songs to CD are masterful…the swirls of synths take you to a higher place and you are left with feelings on longing and the urge to make your life a better entity. This is wonderful!!!

Another Woman—-This has almost funk overtones to it…giving you a whole different side of Moby….the deep bass is almost hypnotic as the sample is backed up and played and backed up and played over and over again…giving the song a nice shuffling sound that sucks you into the blues delivery of the vocal…this is fantastic!!!

Fireworks—-Beautifully orchestrated and layered with nice cymbals and gentle strains of techno inspired atmosphere, the song is wonderfully designed….delivered wit a sense of sadness and layers of melancholy…full of rays of sun through the New york ash that fell across the city…of survival and determination, the 9/11 apocalypse is all over this song!!!

Extreme Ways—-Moby supplies his unique vocal to this track…giving it an almost ghostly sound that fits in perfectly with the constant repetitive beat that plays in the backdrop. when Moby sings….”Oh baby…It Fell Apart, Like It Always Does….”, you feel this sentiment and it overtakes you. This is excellent.

Jam For The Ladies—-Moby delivers the old school samples with the assistance of MC Lyte and Angie Stone…this is funky and fun…a nice light moment on a release that is relatively dark and heavy. This is fun and a nice reminder of where moby really came from…the heavy sampled days of yester year. This is just about perfect.

Sunday [The Day Before My Birthday]—-Ironically enough, Sept. 11 is also Moby’s Birthday…..this song is a nice foreshadow of the disaster that was to come on what should have been a pretty wonderful day for this artist. The lyrics are heartfelt and at times wrenching. this is extraordinary….

18—-This is ambient Moby at his best….the piano deliver y is heavy and full of melacholy…the riffs seem layered in the after glow of discovering how close your life was to an end…the rays of synth shine through the dark like tiny shining seconds of hope and the promise to live as you should. The feelings that the music project are a lesson all of their own..let the detractors say what they will…this man touches my soul, my emotion and my heart….making me WANT to be a better person.

Sleep Alone—-This has an almost techno Jazz feel that sucks you in right from the start. the vocal..supplied again my Moby and some nice vocoder recording is alarmingly appropriate. This is masterful…intense, dark and desolate…yet this shines with a remarkable clarity that you will turn to over and over again. Beautiful!!!

At Least We Tried—-This is remarkable…the vocal is so bad that it becomes actually good. the strained voice sucks you in and wraps you in a blanket of emotion that is so familiar that it actually hurts your heart. this is beautifully written, masterfully delivered and really a piece of beautiful music. Don’t miss this!!!

Harbour—-Without a doubt, my favorite track from this release. This has a nice vocal from Sinead O’Connor that will rip your heart out. It is hard to believe that this whole thing was recorded on different continents…none the less the end result is perhaps the mist powerful song on this release…leading you to sadness, desolation, joy and elation. Because Music Matters!!!!

Look Back In—-Swelling from the onset with beautiful synth riffs, the song is encompassing…takin your entire soul into the ocean of sweet and relaxed sounds. This is magnificent ambient music that allows you to lose yourself totally in the sweet and seductive keyboard creations that Moby manufactures. this is a world of deep blue oceans, sweet world peace and a serene promise of the future…..if only!

Rafters—-Full of classic Moby synth riffs that hearken back to the earlier days, the bluesy female vocal allows you to daydream your way through the track and lose yourself in the dark dense clubs that you first experienced the mastery of the man. This is remarkable..it is beautiful, slightly monotounous..but remarkably fresh and exciting.

I’m Not Worried At All—-Heavy on samples. this is so bluesy that you feel as if you stepped right into a New Orleans club in the middle of a midnight jam session during Mardi Gras. This is wonderfully executed…the synth lines fir the vocal perfectly..creating a huge mural of sound and emotion..I could not think of a better way to end this release….Magnificent!!!!

****1/2 out of 5

Enigma-Love, Sensuality, Devotion: The Greatest Hits

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , on 270000006UTC 12 by marky7235

Enigma - Love Sensuality Devotion: The Greatest Hits

Enigma is an electronic musical project founded in Germany by Michael Cretu, David Fairstein and Frank Peterson in 1990. The Romanian-born Cretu conceived of the Enigma project while working in Germany, but had been based at his recording studio A.R.T. Studios in Ibiza, Spain, since the early 1990s until May 2009, where he has recorded all of Enigma’s studio releases to date. Cretu is both the composer and the producer of the project. His former wife Sandra often provided vocals on Enigma tracks. Jens Gad co-arranged and played guitar on three of the Enigma albums. Peter Cornelius also contributed to Enigma during the 1990’s.

Seven studio albums have been produced under the name of the project.

Love Sensuality Devotion: The Greatest Hits is a 2001, multi-million selling, greatest hits compilation album by the musical project, Enigma. The album, along with Love Sensuality Devotion: The Remix Collection brings a close to Michael Cretu‘s first chapter of Enigma. It contains most of Enigma’s singles and songs from 1990 to 2000.

The album takes 3 songs from the first album, MCMXC a.D., 4 songs from The Cross of Changes, 4 songs from Le Roi Est Mort, Vive Le Roi!, 5 songs from The Screen Behind the Mirror and also features a new single – “Turn Around” and its intro – “The Landing”.

Among the notable singles that were not included in the compilation album were “The Rivers of Belief“, “Out from the Deep” and “The Eyes of Truth“. The title acts as an acronym of LSD. [Wikipedia]

The Landing—-This one minute introduction sets you up for the ambient and experimental sound of the band and prepares you for….

Turn Around—-Beginning with some nice vocoder lyrics, the song prepares you even more for the experimental sounds of the band that i often refer to as classic Pink Floyd set to dance beats. this is repetive and can be monotonous at times, but the added female vocals saves many of these songs from obscurity and alienation. This is nice down tempo dance music that is perfect to end a sweaty night on the dance floor with. Almost perfect!!!

Gravity Of Love—-Wonderful….using a classic Techno riff that set the floors on fire in the early 90’s, the female vocal enters with a gentle delivery that provides lyrics that make you impassioned and introspective. This is wonderfully layered with all kinds of sounds going on underneath the basic beat of the song. It must be an incredibly tedious experience to record with this man. this song builds and builds…never losing the slight religious feel to the music that the group a]has always had. although by now the overt chants were gone, there is still an air of serenity and peace…this is incredible!!!

T.N.T For The Brain—-Melding perfectly from the previous song with zero empty space, this is like a huge cosmic experience and getting through this whole thing can sometimes be a chore, depending on your mood at the time. This has a much deeper bass beat that borders on pure House…the percussion enters and you are transported back to the time and place you first heard this band. The vocals are at times sparse and empty, the song relies on atmosphere and the result is simply magnificent. This is really nice!!!

Modern Crusaders—-Although heavy on ambience, the song has a nice bass beat that is perfect for the dance floor that remains open past the two o’clock hour. The vocal…male and almost disembodied is run through machines and robs it from a human sound…the result is incredible. this is a huge anthem that has a nice down beat feel but at times makes your hair stand up and gives you goosebumps. This is incredible…I forgot how much I really like this.

Shadows In Silence—-This is full of swirling synths and subtle forest noises that add layers and layers on the already tranquil sound of the song. The track slowly builds with energy and beats as you are lost in the gentle swirling sounds that engulf your brain…this is the best Pink Floyd you never heard…this is experimental, ambient and damn cool!

Return To Innocence—-This remains my favorite track from this band…EVER! The subtle chants that have a strong Indian, Lebanese sound are incredible…set to the bass and the entrance of the female vocal the song builds and builds until your brain and heart are in a frenzy. This is subtle energy and excitement. The lyrics are brilliant and touching. You could not ask for a better piece of music. This is freakin’ brilliant!

I Love You, I’ll Kill You—-Again, melding perfectly from the previous track, the song is very dark in nature and lyric. the sound has a remarkable European flair to it…the atmosphere is so thick you could cut it with a knife. the beats are very acceptable and there seems to be an electronic sound that resembles a harmonica giving the song a really remarkable sound. This is classic…deep, intense and ambient…this was made for those late nights of after partying!!!

Principles Of Lust—-Taken from the first release by this band, this was a pop culture phenomenon. This seems beefed up a bit from the original…adding some deeper beats that are bolstered by the subtle female vocals. the song has a nice sexy feel that encompasses you and your ears…the bass beats are heavy and the backdrop of the music…layered underneath the bass gives the song a huge feel…this is remarkable…it is amazing what you can do with a keyboard these days!!!

Sadeness Pt. I—-This is probably the best known single from this band…the song that was responsible for bringing the Gregorian chants to the public ear and creating a pop culture phenomenon. Who could forget all the ensuing releases by the monks after this became so big. This remains contagious as hell and just as catchy to boot. This is a true moment caught on CD…a movement, a cultural trend.

Silence Must Be Heard—-Heavy on bass, synth atmosphere and female vocals, the song is another excursion into the late night/early morning cool down sessions required after a long night of dancing. The song moves through many moods…from slow and subtle to huge bass beats that allow you to adjust but still keep a serene state of mind while you come down from the ecstasy.

Smell Of Desire—-This is much more in the vein of the bands earlier recordings, the subtle but remarkable synth sounds that resembles flutes and orchestration shining through with remarkable clarity. This is deep, dense and full of relaxing sounds that you can play easily on the dance floor or as background noise at a dinner party. Wonderful…truly wonderful!!!

Mea Culpa—-Another track from the first release that features the Monks in all of their glory, this is magnificent. With gentle rain falling in the backdrop, the song opens up with a bass beat and a rhythm that matches the chants perfectly. this is truly a moment of musical history that is caught, remembered and still enjoyed. Listening back to it years later, this is truly a fantastic piece of music. This guy is a genius!

Push The Limits—-This is much more reminiscent of the 90’s dance culture that was happening at the time…you have huge synth sounds, a constant bass beat and a remarkable melody that runs underneath of the whole thing. This is remarkably beautiful, danceable and huge. The wildlife sounds that lie underneath of the whole thing must have been tedious to create, but the result was incredible and unforgettable.

Beyond The Invisible—-The gentle spoken word intro is nice…the swirls of atmosphere are classic for the band. the ‘chorus’ is this wonderful gypsy inspired chanting that welcomes the intro of a male vocal that reminds me of Yes. This is remarkable…I had forgotten about this song and how damn addictive the chorus was. This is wonderful!!!

Age Of Loneliness—-This is classic mid-90’s Enigma….the band had grown from its Chant stage and moved into the more ambient style full of wailing vocals that spoke subtly of pain and heartache set to a dance beat. This is simply remarkable.

Morphing Thru Time—-This is nice…..the gentle sounds of rain that fall in the backdrop bring a sense of peace and relaxation….if there is such a thing as New Age Dance Music, I suppose this would be it. the gentle and more subtle chants are acceptable…sounding fresh rather than a rehash of earlier material. This is great!!!

The Cross Of Changes—-Ending the release with a gentle and understated track, that features actual piano lines and a nice spoken word intro, this grows larger and larger as the track continues. there seems to be an almost choir of vocals in he backdrop…giving you a lonely and downtrodden feeling. This can definitely be classified as emotional music…truly fantastic!!!

****3/4 out of 5