Archive for October, 2011

Iced Earth / Dystopia

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on 3000000010-04:00 12 by marky7235

DystopiaDystopia is the tenth studio album from American heavy metal band Iced Earth. Released on October 17th, 2011, it’s the bands first album with new vocalist Stu Block, after former vocalist Matt Barlow left the band for a second time on August 6th, 2011.[2] While not a concept album, many of the albums songs are inspired by dystopian themes and movies, such as V for Vendetta, Dark City, Soylent Green, and Equilibrium.[3] Two of the albums songs (“Dystopia” and “Tragedy and Triumph”) also feature the return of the “Something Wicked” -storyline from previous albums Something Wicked This Way Comes, Overture of the Wicked, Framing Armageddon and The Crucible of Man.

The Analysis:

Dystopia—-True to form and progressive from the very first notes of the song, this is classic Iced Earth. The tempo of the music leaves you on the edge of your seat as you await the entrance of the vocal over the overblown guitar work. Once the vocal enters the track you are left with a huge warm feeling…like coming home after being gone for a very long time…this is an excellent beginning to what is sure to be an epic journey!!!!

Anthem—-Does this guy remind you of classic Hetfield at times or what??? The screams are exquisite…but the clean vocal is just classic heavy metal!!! The onset of this is incredible…there is a slight doom filled aura to the track…while still remaining magically progressive….leaving you thirsty. When the song finally opens up, it is huge…beyond belief. I still think of classic Metallica every time I listen to this release….this is dark…but magically bright…progressive Metal is alive and well!!!

Boiling Point—-Right out of the gate, the progressive speed is overwhelming. You could not ask for more effort from this classic and long-standing band…when the vocal reaches the fever pitch you know that Iced Earth is right back where it belongs…this is incredible…..Ripper who? This is both brutal and beautiful…a classic masterpiece that already has becoming one of my favorites!!!

V—-Beginning a bit calmer, there is no lack of intensity to be found however. The darkness that the band manages to transpose is a new thing for me…I love this new direction…the production on this release is so fantastic…you can hear every single note of every single instrument that is playing. The vocal overdubs or the backdrop vocals add so much to the song…it becomes a huge marching anthem that sticks in your brain and refuses to leave you alone. This is magnificent…a huge release…hoping this elevates the band to a new level here in the US!!!

Anguish Of Youth—-With a nice acoustic introduction, the song is ushered in by a really nice vocal delivery. This is fantastic….the waves that are produced by the instrumentation makes me smile even though the song is pretty dark. The track does open up and is a huge song by the time it all comes to an end…again making me think of where metallica should be right now…this is moody and full of emotional sweeps….just what the Dr. ordered!

Dark City—-Right from the onset, this has a really nice tone to the song….the leads are incredible. The vocal changes shape and delivers a shock to the system…the range is incredible…alternating between a deep mellow delivery to a pitched scream that would make and Metal singer green with envy. This is incredible…another really favorite track of mine from this release…this is a no brainer….CLASSIC!!!! Freakin’ huge riffs……:)

Equilibrium—-Delivered from the onset with a classic driving riff, I can only imagine how a song like this will play live and set a stadium on fire. the vocal is still classic Hetfield/Mustaine…..delivering up the concrete evidence that Metal is alive and well in 2011. This is just fantastic….I guess I’m slow…I have been hit and miss with this band, but maybe it is time for me to pay closer attention…..I freakin’ love this CD!!!

Days Of Rage—-Full of speed and energy, this makes me think of classic stuff from the mid 80’s. Less orchestrated than the past and full of straight up Metal, I can not call this release progressive…this is Metal at its finest and is not to be denied. In fact, this track has a bit of a thrash/anger edge to it that just made me smile…this is incredible!

End Of Innocence—-Fail….really not a favorite of mine, although the track does open up a bit…this is way to predictable to find favor with me.

Tragedy And Triumph—-Clocking in at an impressive almost 7 minutes, you would expect nothing less than a huge epic intro to end this phenomenal release. This is brilliant…delivered with an incredible marching drum beat and a guitar delivery that just builds layer upon layer…leaving you as the intro to the CD began……drooling for the vocal that closes the deal. the song has some really great mood changes….taking you on a pretty wide-ranging journey…the end result is a CD that just lays the groundwork for the future with this new vocalist and direction…can’t wait for more…..hurry guys!!!

**** 1/2 out of 5

Erasure / Tomorrow’s World

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , , , , on 2600000010-04:00 12 by marky7235

Tomorrow's World

Tomorrow’s World is the fourteenth studio album by English synthpop duo Erasure. The album was released through Mute Records[2] on 3 October 2011 in the UK, and 11 October 2011 in North America.[3]

Tomorrow’s World was written in New York, London, and at Vince Clarke’s cabin studio in Maine, between January and June 2011, following Erasure’s short break, which found Andy Bell recording and releasing his second solo album Non-Stop, and Vince Clarke reuniting with former Yazoo partner Alison Moyet for the Reconnected tour. Clarke used his vintage collection of analog synths for the final touches. All songs are written by Bell and Clarke.[2]

The album was produced by Frankmusik and mixed by Rob Orton, who has previously remixed other well-known electronic artists such as Lady Gaga and Pet Shop Boys.

The first single from the album was “When I Start To (Break It All Down)”, which was released on 23 September 2011.[4] It received its first UK airplay on BBC Radio 2’s Ken Bruce show.

The Analysis:

Be With You—-Despite the time-lapse and the separate projects this duo are involved in, it is obvious from the first listen that this is a partnership that separation cannot separate. This is a lead off track that makes you feel comfortable and warm all over…as if the band has never been apart. Andy delivers vocals that are classic and the synth power of Clarke is in full form. This is a masterpiece of a track!

Fill Us With Fire—-Reminding me at the onset of a track that belonged on the Erasure release, the tempo magically changes when Bell open his mouth. this is driving and full of the classic dance.disco sounds that made this band HUGE. The sound is a bit more sedate and matches the lower register that Andy has taken on, but still manages to maintain the magic that this band has always had. this is perhaps one of the best Erasure releases in the past 10 years….very nice!!! And this will play live like magic!

You’ve Got To Save Me Right Now—-Vince Clarke has the magical ability to wrap his driving synth around the vocal of Andy Bell in a masterful way…much like he did with the blues driven vocal of Moyet. This is a surprisingly wonderful song….not one of my favorites. but it manages to break up the release with a fantastic differential that is always needed…..great production I think!

What Will I Say When You’re Gone?—-Another of those tracks that you wonder how this duo manages to create into a masterpiece so well…the synths are unique and all over the place while Bell delivers a rather sedate vocal…but when it comes together it is a landscape of emotions and energy. The bombast flows in and out…quiet at times and very loud at others…all the whole delivering a melody that sticks in your brain and refuses to leave you alone…yuet another masterful and unforgettable Erasure track!

A Whole Lotta Love Run Riot—-Kudos for the title of the song alone!!!! This is a building track that comes from the quiet and seems to get bigger and bigger…this is phenomenal and remains one of my favorite tracks on this release…if this does not remind you of the old days, there is something wrong with your memory. Bell has never sounded better and the driving synths from Clarke reminds you that he is true to his sound and vision and that it has never diminished from the Depeche days…..this is fantastic!

I Lose Myself—-This is another of those songs that seems to be built around the sometimes blues vocal tones that Bell manages to deliver ala Moyet. How funny for this band to even mention something about Rock N’ Roll……this is layered and full of deep house sounds that you have not heard from this band in quite sometime…a true return to form, it is nice to know that despite his status Bell has managed to keep his voice….I am still amazed that he tours the way he does…makes me feel a bit inadequate!!!

When I Start To [Break It All Down]—-From the very onset of this single, the lead off from this release, you know that this is a true return to fame. There is no doubt that this duo is very in tune with each other. Bell delivers a vocal that is as good as anything on chorus or other ensuing release. The falsetto is very much in tact as to where it was 10 or 15 years ago….this is magnificent and could not be a better lead off single!!!

Then I Go Twisting—-Once again, from the very onset, Clarke makes himself heard loud and clear. There may be talk of sickness of Techno…but the sound is very much alive and delivered with finesse. Andy says he does not want to let us down….and he does not! This is high energy that allows for both an emotional feel and a dance floor stomper that will play very well tomorrow or in 10 years from now…..a classic that I appreciate now…some might appreciate later!!! Tremendous!

Just When I Thought It Was Ending—-Ending this rather short release…clocking in at just 31 minutes, Bell delivers a more sedate a deeper tone to his voice. The emotive quality is pretty fantastic though…there are some fantastic overlays that make me smile…reminding me of some of the glory days. This will play so well live with the entourage of live singers that the band manages to carry with them…a nice cool down track, this is perfect!

**** out of 5 [For Length Only]

Coldplay / Mylo Xyloto

Posted in CD of the day, music, random, reviews with tags , , , , , , , on 2600000010-04:00 12 by marky7235

Mylo Xyloto

Mylo Xyloto (pronounced /ˈmaɪloʊ ˈzaɪlətoʊ/) is the fifth studio album by English alternative rock band Coldplay. The album was released worldwide on 24 October 2011 by EMI.[2] It was preceded by the lead single, “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall“, on 3 June 2011. Upon its release, Mylo Xyloto received mixed reviews from critics.

The Analysis:

Mylo Xyloto—-This 42 second intro is full of the lush classic Coldplay sound…..warming me and making me salivate with anticipation…..almost magical.

Hurts Like Heaven—-The first proper track on this release is nothing less than spectacular. Carrying the traditional Coldplay sound while immersing itself in a retro sounding 80’s delivery, this makes me think of The Furs without the accent. The guitar is wonderfully jangly and the drums are in the forefront of the mix…this is warm and sad at the same time…just magical.

Paradise—-Beginning with a sound more lush than a hot summer forest, there seem to be layers and layers to this track. There are strings, keyboards, electronics and the wonderful sedate voice from Martin. This is fantastic…not nearly as sedate and depressing as many of the other material from this band, there is depth to the lyrics…and they are vivid…almost making me lose myself while i am writing. This really is my favorite  Coldplay release….critics be damned!

Charlie Brown—-With varied electronic effects, this begins with a nice magical and mysterious air before opening up into a nice Alt Rock layered Coldplay track. The vocal is mixed to the very front and Chris has rarely sounded better….he keeps the overwhelming falsetto to a minimum…making the track even more accessible. This is extraordinary!

Us Against The World—-One of the few tracks on this release that actually begins with a solid guitar, the acoustics fall into place rather quickly. This is sedate and introspective…quiet and thoughtful at times and coming alive at the right and appropriate times. this is phenomenal…..I’m pretty impressed by this entire adventure!

M.M.I.X.—-Another short interlude that is layered and heavy…setting you up for…..

Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall—-The first proper released single from this CD, this is acceptable. By far the least of my favorite tracks on this release, it will be interesting how they follow this single up and with what track. The guitars are driving and the vocal is somewhat generic…this was a safe track for the band to record. there are slight electronics involved and some fantastic bass drum….the track is layered and pretty…at times a bit loud. Surprisingly the first single…next!

Major Minus—-Another track that begins with some nice guitar, the sound is a bit odd for me…like Martins vocal is pushed way to the back of the mix for the first part of the song…and then suddenly emerging out of nowhere to become the lead! The guitar is at times loud and suddenly takes on an acoustic volume…this is magical for me…I could not be happier with this release.

U’F.O.—-Returning to a full acoustic and stripped down sound, this is introspective and vivid. the words fly at you like picture after picture…the slides of life are on full display.  There is a nice lush sound to the entire damn thing…the kind of song that brings tears to your eyes at the right moment of your life…I will turn to this time and time again…there are lessons in this song.

Princess Of China [featuring Rhianna]—-Noisy and a bit bombastic, Chris sounds so level and at peace with his delivery. The driving sound of the song keeps your attention and makes you wonder what is coming next….Rhianna does not disappoint…delivering a vocal that blends with Chris in a magical way. This is stellar…if this is not a huge track for this band…well, then there is something wrong with the ears of the world!

A  Hopeful Transmission—-Another 30 second interlude that leads us into…..

Up In Flames—-Beginning heavy with an electronic feel, this is just a classic track…reminding me of both Coldplay and U2 at the same time. Even though the music is stripped down, the sound is very large and layered…providing pounds of emotion with each bar. This is simply fantastic…..

Don’t Let It Break Your Heart—-This makes me think of later day Verve right from the onset…the sound is a bit snaky and layered with attitude and emotion….the entire thing makes me a bit sad and magically smile all at the same time…exactly what music is all about!!!

Up With The Birds—-Ending the release on an incredibly sedate manner, Martin almost reminds me of a younger Roger Waters on this track…this is a missing track from The Wall!!!! Remarkably emotive and sedate with a slight movement of happiness…this is wonderful….rounding out things in a fantastic way!!!

****3/4 out of 5