Archive for the ‘ Music ’ Category

August Burns Red, Leveler

Just under two years ago Lancaster, Pennsylvania natives August Burns Red unleashed what many consider to be their best album, Constellations. Speaking as a huge fan of the record, I said many times they couldn’t top it. Constellations was nearly flawless from beginning to end, a fierce tirade through metalcore that defined the band’s career. Yet just last week, the band has released their fourth album, and Leveler seems to have surpassed the greatness that was (and still is) Constellations.  Continue reading


Albums of the Year 2010

Most of you who know me, know that I consider myself a writer. I have been in a slump since about April, and I can blame it on many things, like not having time, not having inspiration, or just a bad year. But the issue is that I haven’t taken the time to write at all. It’s not about having time, it’s about making time. So during this Christmas break, I’m going to issue my Albums of the Year, and hopefully write something about each record while at home. I’ll be releasing my list, and then talking about each record (or most of them) in the coming weeks. Hope yall enjoy it. Also look for a best new artists of 2010 post soon as well, which don’t make it into my albums of the year list because they get their own list. Continue reading

Best of 2009: Part 2, Albums of the Year

Rather than going through and commenting on my top 10, and because it was actually a good year for music overall, I decided to throw together a massive list of everything I thought was great this year. Here they are. If you want to hear more about them, let me know and I can probably tell you/write about it. Continue reading

Best Of The Year List: Part 1 – Best New Artists

Every year, I put out a top 10 list of best albums from that year. This year, I gave myself a bit more of a challenge by splitting that list into three parts: Best New Artists, Albums of the Year, and Songs of the Year. This first post (of 3) will give some brief descriptions of some of the best new artists I discovered this year. Some are very well known already, while some are virtually unheard of. Here we go:

9. The Boxer Rebellion, “Union”
– These guys popped up on iTunes pick of the week earlier this week and I downloaded their album to see what got them in that pool of talent. It turns out for a band just starting out, they have direct comparison to early Coldplay, with a more raw guitar sound. “Union” is actually their second full-length, but they are only now getting relatively noticed. While I wasn’t completely impressed with the record, it has some definite strong points and shows the band has potential.

8. The Swellers, “Ups And Downsizing”
– I heard about this band because of their inclusion to Paramore’s most recent tour, and they also are the newest signing to the Fueled By Ramen label. The guys are good friends with the members of Paramore, and for good reason, they’re equally as good musicians. Originating from Flint, Michigan, these guys have toured the country extensively already, and were introduced originally to touring audiences in 2005 on Warped Tour. Their technical second record, “Ups and Downsizing” showcases a harder punk rock sound, with accompanying vocals that fit the band very well. Look for these guys to do nothing but improve in the next few years.

7. The Dangerous Summer, “Reach For The Sun”
– Sometimes I simply download albums because the band decided on a really creative and interesting album cover. The Dangerous Summer was one of these, and this Maryland-based band impressed me just as much with their alternative rock sound. After getting signed to Hopeless Records, they released this album, “Reach For The Sun”. The best thing about these guys is that they write songs that can relate to their audience, with all the emotion and feelings that come with it. Songs like “Weathered” and “Settle Down” showcase an emotionally-driven vocalist and the music compliments it as best it can. Definitely keep an eye on these up and comers.

6. The Ascendicate, “To Die As Kings”
– New to Solidstate Records, The Ascendicate debuted earlier this year with “To Die As Kings”, which showcases a melodic hardcore sound that is hard to miss. Impressive vocals/screaming atop driving guitars and nearly biblical lyrical content, these guys are the epitome of a Christian hardcore band. Be sure to check them out, especially songs like “Fire That Kid”, and the guitar-infused onslaught of “Pride of the Brutish”.

5. Closure In Moscow, “First Temple”
– Experimentation in music can usually either be a huge success for a band or it can have devastating consequences. But when you come into the game with something new and unlike anything we’ve ever really heard before, it can bode well for that band or artist. Closure In Moscow from Australia has a certain distinct sound that can’t be really matched to anyone but a more progressive sound than that of The Mars Volta or Coheed & Cambria. “First Temple” showcases the band literally flying all over the place musically, and definitely isn’t an album to be missed. Songs like “Sweetheart” show vocalist Chris De Cinque stretching his range to nearly every octave. Don’t miss these guys.

4. I See Stars, “3-D”
– Mixing hardcore and electronica, I See Stars’ debut “3-D” proves to be an album that has been a standard nuance in current music. We can all see that electronica is making a huge comeback, with the addition of auto-tune and effects, but this band seems to do it a bit better than most. Huge breakdowns in songs like “Project Wakeup” and “The Common Hours” which are mixed with some serious screaming, running right over top a pop/punk influence, make for quite the enjoyable listening experience. Some think cheesy, some thing genius. Whatever you think, these guys are selling out shows on a regular basis. Don’t miss it.

3. And Then There Were None, “Who Speaks For Planet Earth?”
– While this is the band’s first full length album under a label, ATTWN have been around a while, but under a different style. What started out as a ferocious hardcore band with surging breakdowns has now become a quickly popular techno/rock band that showcases some of the best dance tracks ever seen in Christian music. Songs like “John Orr The Arsonist”, “Reinventing Robert Cohn” and others proves the band has staying power in their new-found home of electronica.

2. We Came As Romans, “To Plant A Seed”
– We Came As Romans is one of the newest bands on Equal Vision Records, and are another Michigan based hardcore outfit. Mixing some effects and electronic features into their hard-hitting breakdowns and screaming, the band also has some fantastic lyrics, making this one of my favorite bands this year. Brutal, yet unique in a genre that is constantly overdone, We Came As Romans has a lot going for them. “To Plant A Seed” is going to be quite a hard debut to overcome.

1. Paper Route, “Absence”
– I reviewed these guys earlier this year, and I’m still spinning their debut record, “Absence”. Electronica is back in, as I’ve said, and this is one of the bands that is pulling it off well. If you haven’t heard of them yet, get on the wagon. They’re likely going to be the next best thing, if 2009 wasn’t their year. Another plus, if you follow them on Twitter they constantly put up free downloads of remixes of their tracks done by other producers and artists. Three have been released already. Go get em.

Look soon for part 2 of my year end list, where I’ll run down the daunting task of my top 10 records of the year.

Article: Gettin’ High On Music

The BeatlesOver the past year or two, as a music critic, I have expanded the amount of music I listen to, and ultimately, my music collection. I’ve been listening to a little bit of everything over the years, but now I can especially say that I have listened to a lot of what this world has to offer, music-wise. There is still a lot that I haven’t discovered, but something I’ve begun to really dive into is the earlier decades of music, primarily listening to a lot of The Beatles, Ryan Adams (and the Cardinals), Nirvana, and others. Rather than write reviews of these artists and their many albums, I decided I would write a bit on what their music has meant to me in the past few years. Continue reading

Review: Dead By Sunrise, “Out Of Ashes”

Dead By Sunrise, "Out Of Ashes"While some of us have been eagerly awaiting the next installment to the Linkin Park saga, vocalist Chester Bennington has been playing gigs on the side with his new side-project Dead By Sunrise. Some may be familiar with Julien-K, an industrial/electronic band that got recognized on the first Transformers soundtrack a couple years ago. Basically, Dead By Sunrise is what Julien-K becomes when Chester sings lead vocals with the rest of the band. While working diligently on the next LP recording, Bennington and the boys put together their first album, titled Out of Ashes. Continue reading

Article: Eyes Set To Kill, A Breath Of Fresh Air

Eyes Set To KillRemember when we had bands that tried their hardest to sound like another band? Just one band? You had bands growing up trying to sound like Relient K, or the main influence of a band is August Burns Red, and every track you hear sounds exactly like that band? I feel like we’ve gone way past this predicament. We’ve got band’s trying to combine all of their favorite bands into a new entity, something that they will love even more, or that fans will find more interesting than the previous music.

Enter Arizona-natives Eyes Set To Kill. Ranging in styles from metalcore to screamo to alternative metal, this five-piece proves to be a mix of some very diverse acts. One minute sounding like hardcore giants As I Lay Dying, the band immediately switches to a melodic Evanescence sound. Other moments on their debut, Reach and their new album The World Outside, due out June 2, the band can have full-force hardcore in place, and you throw all of these things together to create something that some of us might ultimately deem original. Originality in hardcore and metal music is often hard to come by, and we seem to be stuck in a generation of new metal bands that constantly sound the same, even down to the same kind of melodies. Eyes Set To Kill seems to be a breath of fresh air in this time of copy-cats and rip-offs.

The band is quite unique in members, as well. With a female lead vocal who also plays lead guitar and keyboards (Alexia) and her sister (Anissa) playing bass, I have to give credit where credit is due. It isn’t easy for people of the female persuasion to make it very far in this genre, but the band has definite potential. Their new album is littered with piano interludes and fantastic instrumentation that will be a pleasing sound to anyone’s ears, right before the crunching guitars come in and assault your eardrums, like on “Risen”. The finale of their new album showcases slow piano along with beautiful lead vocals from Alexia, providing a soothing end to the onslaught that is The World Inside. It may not be the hardest thing you’ll hear all year, but talent is definitely shown throughout both albums this small band has released.

For an indie band, these guys (and girls) have quite a lot going for them. You can see them on tour this summer on the New Nu Metal Tour, featuring headliners Sky Eats Airplane, along with hardcore acts In Fear And Faith and The Word Alive. The World Inside releases June 2, 2009. Be sure to check and for more information.

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