Sunday, November 19, 2006

Kreator- Enemy of God

Kreator- Enemy of God

There's something I want to point out: This album came out Janauary 11, 2005. That's my 20th Birthday! WHOO-HOO! I didn't even know who Kreator was then, but one listen to this album a few months later... Well, I'm getting ahead of myself.

This is a tough review to write because it's just damn close to something that doesn't seem to be explained. As I write this, it's widely is considered to be a masterpiece, and possibly the greatest Kreator album ever recorded. But why? Why is this true? Because the title track alone makes this album a must-have. What better way to kick off an album than with a thunderous assult of guitars and drums, all the while screaming "Enemy of God" at the top of every chorus? The song is even catchy, if you can believe that!

This album is mostly politcal, something not new to this German-Thrash outfit. And, yes, that was the cheesiest thing I could write, but it's 100% true, they're not afraid of political subject matter. That is plainly evident on "Suicide Terrorist" where they cut down to size the ego and ideologically behind what a suicide terrorist is and does. "Voices Of The Dead", "Impossible Brutality", and "Under A Totally Blackened Sky" deals with war, each one giving a harsh view on the futilities of it. "Murder Fantasies" is exactly as it seems; Someone dealing with their emotions on how they wish someone was dead.

I know this review is a bit thin, so let me try to explain why exactly you should get it; This album takes the same thrash metal started 20 years ago and takes it to the new millennium. The production on this album is just incredible, and the writing is top-notch. It's a remarkable experience to hear this band and this album. Admitedly, there are some moments that seem to just sit there, but the album just has a remarkable flow to it!

4.2 out of 5.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Discharge - Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing

Discharge - Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing

What makes an album perfect? What makes an album do something that no album you have experinced do to you that none other has done before? It's impossible to explain, and it's impossible to pinpoint. But in what I consider to be over 8 years of REALLY listening to music, this is the first time that instead of saying, "I Want to Do something" because of the music, I actually DID something.

If this album doesn't make you do something violent, your not human!

Hear Nothing, See Nothing, Say Nothing is as violent an album you will EVER hear! Yes, you have groups like Hatebreed, Terror, and Nile out there pushing the boundries of extrme music, but none of them have that same punch in comparisson to the rawness of this album. The riffs are simple but forceful, the drums simply just beat the living shit out of you, and the vocals simply tear your skin off! It's like going dtraight into a insanely nasty war! The lyrics are fiercly political, relying on anti-politics, anti-war, anti-human, even! It's not hard to see why this band influenced groups like Anthrax and Metallica, resulting in both doing covers from this album. The loud, distorted guitars tearing away at the world. It is simply insane.

The standout moment on this album is the combination of "Cries For Help" leading into "The Possibility of Life's Destruction". Dealing with the threat of a nuclear war, it isn't exactly cliche; Instead of some pointless drivle of a 5-minute song going on about how the world will die in a nuclear conflict, it instead uses something much more powerful! It invokes the same reaction as did Lyndon Johnson's 1964 Political Ad where the "images of a cute little girl counting daisy petals give way to those of a nuclear blast countdown in this still-haunting commercial from Lyndon Johnson." That line was taken from the AllPolitics archive on the subject, but I think it works well here. The impact is exactly the same, and that is the best example of what type of album you have.

5 out of 5. 'Nuff Said.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Metallica - Creeping Death-Jump In The Fire CD EP

Metallica - Creeping Death-Jump In The Fire CD EP

OK, this is a bit of a cheat: This isn't an album, it's 2 singles, and it's officially released as the "Creeping Death" single that happens to include the "Jump in the Fire" single. But for the sake of argument, we'll call it the "Creeping Death EP".

That said, I'm not only lucky to have this, but I'm glad I listened to it.

The average metal fan most likely owns every single Metallica album. Or, at the very least, all the one's they did up to The Black Album. We tend to take them for granted, giving them a listen once in a blue moon. It may have been the starting point for most of us, but it doesn't mean we listen to them every single day.

This EP basically reminds you why Metallica is considered legends; Because they know how to write damn good songs!

A quick listen to the opener, "Creeping Death", is refreshing; There is a warmth to the EP that you won't find on the album, one that I can't truly describe. But within the CD format of this EP, the song takes on a new life! The furious guitar intro, the venous tongue of Jame Hetfield, Lars Drums, Cliff Burton's Bass, Kirk's insane solo... They're all the hallmarks of this song.

Following up are the covers of "Am I Evil?" by Diamond Head and "Blitzkrieg" by Blitzkrieg. The recording levels of both songs differ, with the later being louder than the former. It's interesting to hear them on the EP for no other reason then to reflect upon how people 20 years ago must have felt when they heard this when it first came out. But the intensity, the skilled playing... all of it is there.

The main feeling of the entire EP is just a nice warm feeling that you wouldn't normally find on a CD. It isn't something that can be described easily; it boils down to what people must feel when they compare the sound of vinyl to CD. But this was made in a wonderful time, before when even CD's made today had the high-gloss digital-sheen. The feeling of Vinyl can be found here, and it is beautiful. By the time "Jump in the Fire" comes on, it feels like 1983 again!

The last two tracks, "Seek & Destroy" and "Phantom Lord", were alternative studio takes over-dubbed with a crowd, but they sound incredible! It's about as close to hearing a hi-fi version of them playing live in 1983 as you may get.

All in all, great EP!

4.5 out of 5!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Wednesday 13 - Fang Bang

Wednesday 13 - Fang Bang

It is incredibly safe to say that I am a fairly big fan of Wednesday 13. I started out with The Murderdolls, then I bought his Frankenstein Drag Queen from Planet 13 box set. I also have Transylvania 90210, which was his first solo album. After some 12 years of Wednesday 13 playing horror-inspired punk, ascending past The Misfits into a neon-goth quasi-S&M extravaganza, and in a good way. Unfortunately, it seems he is no longer happy just creating brilliant albums of horror-punk shtick, but he now wants to breach the mainstream. This is an odd statement to make; If you follow his career or his music, he has always had a nack for writing some incredible hooks and lyrics.

Sadly, it seems Wednesday 13 now wants the mainstream to accept him, and the result is semi-painful. He is one of those artists that tends to create the same album over and over again, but in a good way. This time, we see that he is now relying on more "easy-listening" fair than his normal punk flair; In fact, it is hard to find a single classic rock song until you reach "Till Death Do Us Party", the 9th track on the album. The album closer is a cover of "Burn The Flames" by Rocky Ericson done to a pretty nice level.

It borders on downright dull at times, with the only saving grace being Wednesday 13's lyrics. "And now we're on the run / And you know we're having so much fun / Being American werewolves in London". At least with lyrics like that you can chuckle.
2.7 out of 5.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Darkthrone - The Cult is Alive

Darkthrone - The Cult is Alive

If you read this column regularly (and I hope you do!), then you'll remember that I said that a record store liquidation can offer a chance for someone to discover bands and albums they never would normally touch. I picked this album out because someone I know fairly well from a message board had this album cover as their avatar. So seeing it in the store, I was drawn to it.

Black Metal. A genre born in England by Venom, more or less as a self-defecating joke, taken to insanely extreme and serious levels by Norwegians (for the better, I might add!), tends to get too serious at times, neglecting it's very roots. These roots include Venom, Black Sabbath, and even Blues. The Norwegian Black Metal scene has spawned an unholy union of all these, mixed in with the culture of it's surroundings. The saying is true; All art is a reflection of the times and world it is created in. Thus, a dark, foreboding genre of music is created.

I wanted to give you the history lesson because this album actually shows some respect to Venom in terms of style, and I had more fun listening to this black metal album than anything else released in the last 15 years! Yes, it is dark, it is very, as you kids say, "grimm", but it doesn't wallow around in itself. If anything, that annoys me to no end! It can be nice to get lost in an album, but not bored, and this album does nothing even close to that!

"The Cult of Goliath" instantly shows what I was talking about. To a point, I dare say there is some punk influences mixed in there (a-la Venom), continued on "Graveyard Slut", almost taking on a more Misfits-style. That is, if The Misfits played Black Metal. "Underdogs and Overlords" is more traditional Black Metal fare, the lyrics immediately taking stranglehold on the song while the guitars and drums pound away to a heavy black metal beat.. but sped up to a nice level to keep the album consistent! On the flip side, a listen to "Tyster På Gud" will make you think you just put on an album written by Black Flag.

If anything, this album shows that reinventing one's sound is not the worst thing in the world. It's hard to find many flaws in this album, although I'm sure their diehard fans who have been with them through all 11 albums will disagree. But for me this is my first album by the band and I plan on getting some of their older stuff.

This is a must-have album, and definitely one of the best black metal recordings in a long time.

4.5 out of 5!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Hanzel und Gretyl - Scheissmessiah!

Hanzel und Gretyl - Scheissmessiah!

FUKKEN UBER! If there was ever a band I was excited about because no one has heard of them, this is it! THIS is the band people need to start listening to because they just plain rock! I felt the same way about Mastodon in 2004, so that should tell you something right there! As an added bit of trivia, one of the former members of the Cycle Sluts from Hell, Venus Penis Crusher, aka Betty Kallas, is now Vas Kallas, the co-founder of the band. One listen to this album should shut down any rumors that the Sluts couldn't write a song, let alone play their instruments. But that's another day and another review.

Today, we are going to review Scheissmessiah!, which was released in 2004. Opening the album is a nice mellow track called "Lust". It mixes soothing, almost new-age sounds with a speech from some Evangelical preacher going on about hell. This, of course, is followed by "Fikk Dikk Mit Fire". This song barrels like a locomotive with pounding guitars, intense drums, and a chorus with a hook that is impossible to find anywhere else in Industrial Metal! Vas Kallas, the female singer, tears away at the track with a sample of a croud chanting behind her. It all reaches to a fantastic track, and a must-have for anyone who likes metal.

Taking a sample from "Ride of the Valkyries", "Kaiser Von Shizer" shoes what the rest of the album is; incredibly heavy industrial metal mixed in with a good sense of humor and some intense moments! The album isn't a non-stop serious-fit, nor is it a comedy disc. It's more the former than the latter, and it works to great dynamic appeal. The guitar work on this album is great and intense. The album pushes toward thrash and speed metal at times, otherwise sticking to indutrial stylings. The samples and effects are used to the same effect as the most skilled White Zombie tune. A track like "Burning Bush" is great for highlighting the humor of the band, specifically the samples of both a woman moaning and some rapper going "1,2,2,2,2,23!" On the opposite end, "Scheissway to Hell" is an example of dynamic songwriting by the band, showing a great ability of songwriting as well.

As for another headbanger, "And We Shall Purify" is definetly up there! As much as the reference is a pain to mention, yes, the band is similar to KMFDM in it's approach, but they take it to a level they can't, and that's just plain Fukken Uber Fun!

It's hard to nail down certain songs that stand out, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's an album you put on and you can enjoy it. It's not a bloated 72-minute epic, it isn't something that wallows in itself trying to find itself. It's an album that is going to make you laugh with Nazi imagey, great German lyrics, and an entertainment level that's incredibly high. Your not going to get bored and your going to agree when I say it's a great album.

4.2 out of 5!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Edguy - Rocket Ride

Edguy - Rocket Ride

It's tough to be me sometimes. Tower Records is going out of business, and since that day 2 months ago, I've been buying CD's like crazy! Hell, everything's at 30% off with an added 10% for today only, so I got about 20 for $200. Not too shabby.

If there's every a plus side to your favorite record store going under, it's this; You can take a chance and experiment with music you may never otherwise listen to. I know I wouldn't have been able to fully enjoy some artists like Black Label Society without a local store going under a while back.

But for now, we'll focus on Edguy's latest album, Rocket Ride.

It sucks.

I bought it mainly because the album looked cool as hell. Seriously, look at it! It looks like your about to get some insane album of... something! Thash metal, punk... something that will be entertaining at the very least! Instead, as I learned, Edguy is a power metal band. Formed when they were only 14 in 1995, their lead singer sounding very much like a close version of Bruce Dickenson at times.

It's not to say the album doesn't have it's moments. There's a constant feeling of an album bubbling, trying to reach a point where it can take the listener on the very "rocket ride" promised, but it never get's there. Not so much a fustrating listen then it is just a fair-day album, it is well below the level for an album I would really bother every listening to again.

2 Stars out of 5.