Posts Tagged ‘ rock ’

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


Review: New Found Glory, “Not Without A Fight”

New Found Glory, Not Without A FightAfter twelve years, most bands are either thinking of ending their careers or still trying to make hits that they know people (and their fans) will buy. New Found Glory has enough of a fan base that despite the album leaking months before the release date, thousands upon thousands bought the album on its street date. As a new fan to the band, I wasn’t sure what all the hype was about until I looked these guys up. This band has been around for just over a decade and is still churning out records left and right, touring relentlessly and hitting up festivals over the summers as always. So the question comes down to this: does New Found Glory still have it?

First off, let me just say that records after a greatest hits album can sometimes be rough on an artist. Fans can be ruthless, asking for old sounds in a new world, especially when a band has been around for 12 years like NFG. Going back with Mark Hoppus as their producer for Not Without a Fight, he’s gone on record to say that the band has felt much different, “bearing a whole new enthusiasm about music.” Evidence of this is seen on the album’s lead single, “Listen To Your Friends”, a straight pop/punk song that showcases all the band’s talents vocally, lyrically, and musically. It’s probably one of the best tracks on the record, which makes it seem fitting that they picked it for the first single. Many songs showcase teenage and young love, including the surefire hit “47”, in which features the chorus of, “I called 46 times, and you answered on the 47th”. The band seems big on keeping kids enthused about sticking with their friends, since many of the songs seem to talk about a break up and then friends coming to help out. This is a definitely positive message that kids can pick up from this band, which shines light in so many dark places.

Steady beats and raw guitars abound on tracks like “Don’t Let Her Pull You Down” and “Tangled Up”, and pretty soon after only a brief 17 minutes, you’re already half way through the album. Sad to say, the album goes quite quickly after the sixth track as well, but the songs are still just as good as the first half. “Reasons” boasts an acoustic guitar over a punk-flavored chorus to make a decent ballad, and probably has the best vocals from lead singer Jordan Pudnik on the record. Overall, Not Without A Fight showcases some excellent tracks from the veteran band, and proves they’re around for the long run, kind of like their friends MxPx, who seem to also have been around for ever and a day. This band isn’t going anywhere yet, watch out.

Star Rating: 4 out of 5

Review: Red, “Innocence & Instinct”

Red, "Innocence & Instinct"Red came onto the scene in 2006 with their debut record, End of Silence. Immediately they were likened to the sound of Linkin Park, save for their tendency to stay away from the rap-rock hybrid sound. The band achieved monumental success with plenty of hits from that record, and were revered for their use of violins mixed in with a hard-hitting rock sound. Through excessive touring and a re-release of their debut, the band saw their fan base grow largely, and now in 2009, the band has released their highly-anticipated second album, Innocence & Instinct. Lyrically, the album features songs of dark places and the light that can be found in Christ, and never leaves the listener lost in the darkness it ventures into.

Aiming to be a concept record of the fight inside of each Christian, the record significantly tones down the hard rock edge that made their debut so successful. Much of the record is almost a rehashing of what the first record was: hard rock guitars mixed with epic violin sounds, and simplistic lyrics that a first time listener can pick up easily. This process is repeated, almost to a T on songs like the first single, “Death of Me”. The sophomore record sees the band take what they were known for, for the past three years, and reduce it to a mainstream CCM feel. Sadly, this seems to be the trend for groups that garner a large amount of success as soon as they debut. Where the band would have normally screamed or turned the guitars up louder, the lead vocalist holds back his talent and the music is turned down.

The album isn’t a total loss, of course. The songs have the CCM rock sound, but some tracks tend to be harder than the usual songs we’ve come to be used to on the radio. More tracks, such as “Never Be The Same” incorporate acoustic guitar which wasn’t heard on their debut except for on some of the piano based songs. It adds a more stripped down feel of Red that many fans will embrace and find a love for, certainly. One other thing that makes this album a bit more worth it is the bonus tracks on the iTunes version. If you’re one of those people that still goes out and buys the physical CD, you’re in luck, as these extra tracks are available online for $.99 downloads. Bonus track “Overtake You” is another hard track that is more like something you’d hear from their debut, yet has some elements that show improvement. I wish there had been more tracks like “Overtake You” on the whole of the album, as it would have made the record better as a whole.

Overall, Innocence & Instinct will impress and satisfy fans who have been waiting three years for new material from the Dove Award winners. The record features enough CCM material that the radio stations will be spinning this one more than their debut, and we’ll have to wait and see if the band turns up the volume again on their next release.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

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