Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Word Alive - Deceiver (2010)

Enjoy Track Number 1: The Hounds Of Anubis.

I didn't know what to expect going into this album, I really liked The Word Alive's self titled EP (or demo or whatever It was), but I found Empire EP to be a tad lacking. While Empire was musically cleaner and polished, it lacked the intensity that seemed to ooze out of the Self Titled. I figured The Word Alive would be one of those bands that were going to water down their sound for the sake of accessibility, I should've known better. As if to dispel any doubts people might have had against them, Deciever starts off with a bang. The first track, The Hounds Of Anubi, starts off sounding like The Word Alive I know and love, and then it gets so much better. This band has grown in leaps and bounds since their last release. The first thing to instantly catch my attention was the synths…I don't remember The Word Alive having a keyboardist, if they did it was really downplayed. Synths play a key part in just about every song on Deceiver, and they're good enough to stand toe to toe with acts like Arsonists Get All The Girls. The second thing that made my jaw drop was the structural complexity and diversity of this album. Deceiver is much more progressive than anything the band has released to date. They take Progressive Metalcore, splice it with Emocore, throw a dash of Math in there to make the heavy parts heavier and to give the melodic segments a little extra oomph, then sprinkle on influences from a number of genres ranging from dubstep to grindcore. The last thing that made me do a double take was the production quality of this album. They went through this one with a fine tooth comb to make every second of this album the best it could be. This is one of those albums where you can hear how much work was put into even the smallest details, and it definitely pays off. This is one of the best releases I've heard this year. If you fancy yourself a fan of music, definitely check this album out, I guarantee it'll be worth your time.

Download HERE!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Stand Before The Firing Squad - Noise Machine (2006)

New Addition! I'll be posting one song from the album at the top of the blog from now on. This little delight is The Shadow's Whisperer.

I'm starting to realize I review a disproportionate amount of Mathcore albums, but how can I not when they're all so good? Noise Machine is no exception. Unlike SBTFS' first release, which was very straightforward mathcore album, Noise Machine finds itself neck deep in experimental influences. The first track goes back and forth between intense mathcore goodness and jazzy prog rock segments. The prog segments change up often enough and use enough different sounds/textures to keep your attention throughout. A big problem I have with Experimental Mathcore is when bands get too caught up in a jazzy piece or some other experimental concept and they end up becoming repetitive or uninteresting. Stand Before the Firing Squad knows not to cross that line, they make sure to always have something changing to grab your attention. The next track is more akin to post rock in nature, and the track after that (titled "Lord Have Mercy") is just….well, I don't know if you can call it a song. It's spoken word with different background noises, distortions, echoes and whatnot all being carried forward by a quite drum beat. Usually I can't get into tracks like that, but there's something about the delivery of this one that compels me to press the back button once it's finished. The rest of the album keeps up this pattern, one song will be a grueling mathcore shred sesh, the next will be an alluring medley of jazz/prog/post-rock. Sometimes the band will switch band and forth from heavy to jazzy multiple times a song, like flicking a light switch on and off really quick. Around halfway through the album something changes, the line between the heavy and the experimental begins to blur, what were once two distinctly different things start to combine into one sound."The Bad Heart Ruse" is a great example of this, it's heavy, off timed, and abrasive but there's clear prog-rock influences in the guitar work. The closing track, "The Shadow's Whisperer", is the perfect ending to this album. All the concepts that were touched on throughout the CD are fully flushed out here. This song is just four minutes of prog rock/jazz fusing with intense mathcore in a way that only Stand Before the Firing Squad could pull off. All in all this is a solid Experimental Mathcore album. It can be really experimental without coming off as pretentious, it can flush out it's ideas without getting lost in them, and in doing so is able to keep the listeners attention easily, a problem a lot of bands of this genre face. If you're a fan of this kinda music you're gonna love this one. If you like heavy music but haven't treaded into these experimental waters just yet, this album would serve as a nice introduction. The thing about Experimental Mathcore is that although a lot of the bands follow similar formulas when it comes to songwriting, the ingredients they use, their influences, are all different. What you end up with is a similar end product with its own unique flavor. It's really a shame that more people don't know about these guys, they're relatively unheard of (which is where I come in…heh) and presumed broken up, since no one's heard a peep out of them in the last few years. It's a shame this band never got the notoriety it deserved, Stand Before The Firing Squad could have been one of the powerhouses of the genre if they got the attention they deserved. Andd that about wraps up this review….Oh! One other thing this band does that deserves mentioning is they named a song "13th Song". It's not the thirteenth song on the album, but when you look at the bands discography on iTunes, it's the 13th song on the list. It might not have anything to do with the music, but that got a chuckle outta me, not gonna lie.

Andy McKee - Art Of Motion

I Was Going to Write a Review for this, but I'm just gonna let Andy show you himself why you NEED this album.

Yeah, I Thought So.
Download HERE!!!

Doin' It For The Shorties! #2 - Stand Before the Firing Squad - Electric Narcoleptic (2005)

Okay, before I start, does anyone know how to copy or save album covers off of It's the only place that had the cover to this and I couldn't use it...

Yay it's EP review time!, 'cause who really has the attention span to listen to full albums anyway? Stand Before The Firing Squad pack enough into 4 songs that an entire album isn't even necessary. In case you weren't able to figure it out from their band name, these guys are really, really heavy. More specifically, they play that style of controlled chaos so appropriately dubbed Mathcore. Electric Narcoleptic is the band's Debut release, and they really hit the ground running. Electric Narcoleptic clocks in just under 10 minutes long, 10 minutes of nonstop, in your face, lightning fast brutality. A few years ago I heard a saying that I think holds true for bands of all genres:"First, you define your genre, then you defy it." Virtually every band, especially in the mathcore scene, seems to abide by this rule. A Bands first release is a chance to show off what they can do, to strut their stuff so to speak. They follow the structure of their genre so that they can be easily comparable to those that came before them, this way listeners can easily judge if a band is worth their time or not. If a band is only mediocre when it comes to what has already been done by other bands, then you can't really expect much else from them. Those that successfully 'defined' their genre will inevitably begin to incorporate different influences into their music, and before you know it they begin to branch off from their base genre, they 'defy' it so to speak. HORSE the Band and Minus the Bear are two perfect examples of this, both of them started off by seemingly perfecting their respective genres, and every release since then has shown clear and distinguishable growth from the release before it. On the other end of the spectrum, there are also those bands that are purebreads when it comes to their genres. Bands like Everytime I Die and Converge have spent their entire career's perfecting hardcore, rather than altering their sound they release album after album, each structurally very similar to eachother but each so good in their own right that their sound doesn't get stale or tired. It takes a whole different kind of creativity to be able to do the same thing for a decade and never have it get old. Most bands fall somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, but uh, yeah, I'm getting way off topic, I gotta finish this review.(and these EP reviews were supposed to be the quick ones >_>) This EP follows the definition of mathcore to a tee. Let's review chapter by chapter: nonstop intensity start to finish? Check. Atypical rhythms? Check. Changing time signatures up mid song just to switch back almost immediately? Check. Oddly timed breakdowns? Check plus. Yep Stand Before The Firing Squad passes their test with flying colors. The only time you're ears'll get a chance to rest is during the occasional movie quote, which I'm pretty sure are all from Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. Now that I think about it, Why hasn't anyone used Fear and Loathing quotes before? Hunter S. Thompson was like mathcore personified…

Download HERE!!!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fizzy DINo POp - The Land Before Time (2007)

Here's "Porom Is Silly", my favorite track off the album ^_^

A lot can change in 2 years time. In 2009 Fizzy DINo POp released Hello Party! A free Single which had 3 very catchy electronica/pop songs for your listening delight. Those songs sounded so complete that you would think the band was at it for years, but if you just backtracked two years prior Fizzy DINo POp was delivering their own brand of spastic Cybergrind, complete with blast beats and all. The Land Before Time show's off Fizzy's ability to combine enticing 8-bit melody with harsh distorted screams and can change pace so abruptly that you'll be taken off guard even after multiple listen throughs. The majority of the album is carried by nifty synth melodies played either instrumentally or layered with harsh/distorted screams. Most of the time the two work together perfectly, but there are times on the album where they clash in a way that just sounds…well…bad, to put it bluntly. While the majority of the album follows this formula, the few times where the music is interrupted to give you a few seconds of lightning fast brutality are what will leave a lasting impression, and are why you'll come back for more. Even if you don't give this album you're full attention, after one listen through I guarantee you the phrase "Build A Dino" will make you flinch. To sum things up, if you're a fan of Cybergrind then I would definitely check this album out, the songs on it that stand out are good enough to warrant multiple listens. If you're not a fan of Cybergrind, or have no idea what Cybergrind is, I would pass this one up for now. While I wouldn't exactly call this album 'Great' by any standard, there is such a shortage of good Cybergrind that even 'decent' is worth checking out. The two biggest highlights definitely have to be "Porom Is Silly!" and "Kitty Kat Keychain". Give those two a little extra attention.

Download HERE!!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Trash Talk - Eyes and Nines (2010)

Ah, a new Trash Talk album, it sounds….very similar to Trash Talks other releases. Not that that's their fault or anything, there's really not too much stylistic leeway to try different things in a genre like Thrash Hardcore, and to Trash Talk's effort they really do just about all they could to keep this Release fresh and unique. Thrash is just one of those things that varies person to person. Those who love it LOVE it, those who don't….don't. When I'm in the mood to hear those punkish heavy riffs and that steady 1-2 drumbeat then Trash Talk is definitely at the top of the list, but after about…10 minutes or so it starts to wear on me and I feel like I'm listening to the same 30 seconds of music over and over and over again. Now I'm sure there's some people out there who think I'm an idiot or that I don't get what makes Thrash so awesome, but the bottom line is that I just don't find it all that appealing, I can "appreciate" it for what it is, but It's just not for me. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a chance yourself, for what it is, it's really good.

Find Out For Yourself

Download HERE!!!

The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza - Danza III: A Series of Unfortunate Events (2010)

The Extravaganza coming through in a big way with their third full length "Danza III: A Series of Unfortunate Events". Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza is probably the heaviest Mathcore band currently making music. If you fancy yourself a fan of Mathcore, Grindcore, or Hardcore in any shape or form, then what are you doing not already listening to Danza? That being said, if you're a fan of Danza than this album is pretty much exactly what you expected. From start to finish they're in your face beating you over the head with their trademark blazing fast, ultra-brutal brand of heavy. No tricks, no gimmicks, they don't need 'em. Honestly if you've never heard this band before I don't know what you could compare them too, the best I can come up with is a heavier, more technical See You Next Tuesday, but like I said earlier if you're going to download this album you shouldn't need anyone to tell you what Danza sounds like. If you like heavy music in any form, pick up this album, you'll love it. It's pretty much guaranteed, I mean, It's Danza….

It's Danza.

Download HERE!!!

Doin' It For The Shorties! #1 - Fizzy DINo POp - Hello Party!

Well this is something new that I've decided to do here on the ol' blog. Once a week I'll be reviewing an EP, Single, Demo, you know, one of the lil guys. Let's start things off with a bang! An explosion of electronic glory that is Fizzy DINo POp's 2009 single, "Hello Party!" This bad boy is 3 songs (4 if you count the remix (I don't)) of some of the best 8-bit electronica/pop I've heard in quite a while. Japan's always got a habit of taking what America's done and pushing it to the extreme. They did it with technology, they did it with comics, they sure as hell did it with game shows, and yes, they do it with music too. Anyone who's spent his fair share of time on the internet is sure to have heard of J-Pop, or Japanese Pop for those of you who who're abbreviation impaired. Brands like "J-Pop" exist to show people that this is different than 'regular' pop, like it's a cheap imitation or knock off or something. Fizzy DINo POp prove with Hello Party! that they can play ball with the big kids, they take that "J" prefix and stomp it into the curb. "Space", the opening track, sounds reminiscent of acts like Justice, but after 30 seconds of listening you'll never make that comparison again. Fizzy DINo POp groove circles around Justice, combining upbeat dancey melodies with crystal castle-esque 8-bit samples and spacey, drawn out, trancelike vocals to create a sound all their own. They would sound just as natural playing a show with Daft Punk as they would on your local top 20 radio station. The only problem I have with this single is that the first track is by far the best. After an intro like "Space" you would expect to be blown away by the title track, but it falls just a little short of expectations. That's not to say it's by any means bad, but let's just say that "Space" would have been a much more appropriate title for this release.

Download HERE!!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

La Dispute/Touché Amore - Searching For A Pulse/The Worth Of The World

Oh my, the new split between La Dispute and their slightly more aggressive older brothers Touché Amore. I'd be lying if I said I haven't been looking forward to this one. I'm sure everyone has a song that reverberates deep within themselves every time they hear it. That song that once it hits their ears their mind darts back to a particular place or a particular moment in time. Every song on La Dispute's full length hit me with that sort of impact. Needless to say I've more or less put the band on a pedestal since first hearing that album, in my mind they could do no wrong. This split is the first release from the band since their full length, and I've been anxious to see what the band has left up their sleeves, since it seemed like they threw all their cards down on the table with their last album. The first track on the split "How I Feel" showed that lyricist Jordan Dryer is not out of material just yet. The song goes into new philosophical and emotional territory for the band. For those of us keeping track, the Albert Camus quote used in the song "six" begins to show its influence on Dryer's perspective of the world. I have a feeling they're next album is going to be an expansion of those ideas. The main idea behind the split can be summed up in climax of the song, when the music breaks and Dryer cries out his exalted question in a desperate plea to reason with the world: "Don't we all just die?" Oh yes, the futility of human life and the they're struggle to gain monetary worth which is ultimately meaningless in the end, and despite knowing this truth mankind chooses to live in denial of that fact, each and every person feigning ignorance of what their final outcome will be. That certainly seems like the direction Dryer is heading in going into they're next full length. Their other song on the split, Titled "Why It Scares Me", is clearly a reaction to the thoughts presented in the first track. He sees the world as superficial and a façade, and he's scared that there's nothing else to it than that. Could it be that just because you know the truth, there is no other alternative than to just live the lie? Damn, you could fill textbooks going into the philosophical questions La Dispute can bring up in just 6 minutes of yelling. You might've noticed I haven't mentioned the music itself yet, well it's no secret that La Disputes lyricism is its strongest weapon, the band are the ones who deliver the perfect atmosphere for Dryer's message, accenting his tortured monologue perfectly so as to deliver the greatest impact possible. Musically La Dispute isn't a heavy band, they deliver that feeling of heaviness not through crushing guitars, but by delivering Dryer's message to us exactly as it feels to him. A silver tongue, a hurt voice, and instrumentation orchestrated to deliver the emotional subtext of the words being spoken, La Dispute is heavy because they're the voice of reason in a world run by chaos. Ah, I seem to have forgotten Touché Amore. Well, they did a great job, these are probably two of the best songs they've ever recorded, it's unfortunate for them that they have to be paired next to La Dispute. Compared to La Dispute Touché Amore's attempt to convey the same messages comes off as….I guess insincere would be the best way to put it. But hey, what can you expect when following one of the greatest lyricists of our generation.

Download HERE!!!

Me and Him Call It Us - Loss (2007)

Now here's something you don't see every day, an emotionally charged Math/Grind band. I'm not the type of person to look up the lyrics to a song, if the vocals are so indecipherable that I can't understand them then I don't think you should take them into context as part of the music. However, this guys tone makes it come across pretty clear that he's hurt, upset, frustrated, angry, and every other negative emotion one can emit through gasping screams. For brief moments here and there this album can almost sound reminiscent of Saetia. Things like ambient instrumentals or slow paced, tortured vocals add a depth to the music that accents the brutally fast paced and intense sound of the rest of the album well. This band will go from chaotic and spastic blast beats, only to be interrupted by the lead singer releasing all his agony and pain in one long, tortured scream, ending it in a crushing breakdown to emphasize the release of this pent up rage. To sum things up: Me and Him Call It Us is Mathcore for screamo fans. If you're all about brutally fast/technical music, I would pass these guys up. If you're library holds bands Like Saetia, La Dispute, Pianos Become the Teeth, as well as bands like Dillinger Escape Plan and See You Next Tuesday, Definitely give these guys a listen. Songs to look out for: Encirclement of The Dancing Scarecrows, My Heart Beats In Blast Beats, and Innocent Bystanders Watched In Horror as Peter Jennings Drew His Murder Weapon.

Download HERE!!!

I Shot the Duck Hunt Dog - The Sounds Of End Game

First thoughts upon listening to this album? Hell yeah! This is how chiptune/nintendocore should be done! Like all good Chiptune, this album is incredibly upbeat, written practically all in eighth and sixteenth notes. By getting rid of the guitars and relying solely on squares, triangles, and pulse waves I Shot the Duck Hunt Dog was able to discover something that really sets this release apart from their previous ones. They discovered if you make heavy music using only synths and a drum machine, the result is heaviness without the heavy. A large portion of people find heavy music inaccessible, whether it be the screaming vocals or the abrasive sound of the guitars, they're just turned off to the whole concept. But it's not the music itself that they're turned off to, it's the way that music is being presented to them. Enter The Sounds Of End Game. This album has all the characteristics of a heavy album: it's fast paced, utilizes stop and go rhythms, has breakdowns, but none of it comes across as overly aggressive, it just makes you want to get up and move! They should play this shit in night clubs, I guarantee you this will get people moving in ways the new Lady Gaga single could never. Highlights of this album include: BGM 10, BGM 11, and BGM 12. Not to say that the beginning of the album doesn't have some great songs on it, but I Shot the Duck Hunt Dog hit a groove with those tracks. If you listen to those three you'll understand what I mean by "Heaviness without the Heavy"

Download HERE!!!

Maps & Atlases - Trees, Swallows, Houses (2007)

This album makes me laugh. Not because the music's funny or anything, but because every time I hear these guys, I picture they're guitarist as a stereotypical metal head, standing in a crab stance head banging with his 3 feet of hair while he does these grueling guitar riffs, because make no mistake, the guitar work on this album sounds EXACTLY like what you would expect from a Tech Metal or Mathcore band. The only difference is that it's played through a non-heavy sounding amp setting. The Vocals are nice and pretty, the drumming is that of your typical math rock/indie band, there's a tambourine, it's an overall pleasant and upbeat sound. And then there's this guitarist, absolutely shredding up and down, playing in I don't even know what time signatures. Don't get me wrong, it comes together great, I really do love this album, I just can't get this image of the guys from Jimmy Eat World or something playing on stage, doing their thing, all happy go lucky, then all of a sudden they're getting smacked in the face by hair as the guitarist from slayer stands in the center of the stage in his lowered stance head banging as he goes to work on his guitar… I know that's not how the band actually looks when they play, but a guy can dream, can't he?

Download HERE!!!

Letters In Binary - Pretty In Perpendicular (2006)

It's time to review another Mathcore/MathGrind band. Letters In Binary is a relatively unheard of band that I think a lot of fans of the genre are missing out on. Let's see, where to start, I guess the opening track is a good place. It starts off in hyperspeed, mixes up the ryhthym a bit, goes a little jazzy for a second, before going back into a bru-hu-hu-hutal ending. At least, I thought it was over, they decided to put about 2 minutes worth of silence into the song, only to pick up where they left off for the last 20 seconds. Okay, so from the start I guess they're trying to say this isn't going to be what you'd expect from the typical MathGrind album. The next track starts off in a similar fashion, then about a minute into it switches it up completely and does this reverse breakdown type deal. At this point I'm 5 minutes into the album and have completely given up on trying to figure out what's going to come next. This band has three different styles which they seem to enjoy switching between every few seconds. They have they're Mathcore(hardcore) style, the style that hits you with lightning fast stop and go rhythms (al la dillinger), then they have they're Jazzy style, which they throw in just when you least expect it and switch back from as soon as you've gotten used to it(Think the number 12 in fast forward). And then they have they're Tech Metal side, where they switch to the high strings and sweep (tap…idk what it's called I'm not guitar savy) solos lightning quick and with surgical precision. (They'd make Psyopus proud.) The Entire Album clocks in at 13 minutes, so there really isn't any room here for filler. that being said, there are two interludes, but they're short enough that you're not going to want to bother skipping them, and they tie the album together nicely. If you're a fan of this type of music, then take 10 minutes out of your day and give this album a listen through, it'll be well worth your time.

Download HERE!!!

Telefon Tel Aviv - Remixes Compiled (2007)

As the name rather blatantly points out, this is a collection of songs by various artists which Telefon Tel Aviv chose to add their trademark Hi-Fi electro-flare to. The songs they chose to Telefon Tel Avivize span a number of Genres, from Post-Rock to Pop, to Classical Strings to Indie Rock. Mixing these various genres and sounds with Telefon Tel Aviv's trademark electronic touch brings out something that neither sound or artist could achieve on their own. Whereas albums like Fahrenheit Fair Enough seem to struggle to reach the forty-minute mark, This Compilation starts off each track with a fresh feel to it, sounding completely different from the track before it while still feeling familiar. My favorites on the album include Komponent, which sounds like it was originally an Indie Emo ballad transformed into an Ambient Dance Groove, one of those tracks that could make you either want to get up and dance or lay down on the floor and stare at the stars, depending on your mood. Another High Point on the Album would be the two songs "A Genuine Display" and "Time Is Running Out". Now, I wouldn't be able to tell you what the original songs might've sounded like, these two wouldn't feel out of place Between Fahrenheit Fair Enough and TTV. This is Telefon Tel Aviv in their element right here, a mixture of intricate electronic drum-type sounds being carried by a distant melody, with tons of super Hi-Fi electronic sounds that only those with a top-notch sound system will be able to appreciate. Another shining star on this collection would be Stolen Moments, a classical orchestra piece. Telefon Tel Aviv work's their magic to enrich the sound of every instrument by using different delay, release, time stretching and about a gazillion other effects on it to make each instrument come out in a way that would make the original composer's jaw drop. As a whole, I would say this is my favorite album by Telefon Tel Aviv. While Fahrenheit Fair Enough is a very close second, there're a few points where album loses steam and slows to a crawl. Those songs aren't bad by any means, just a tad too slow/repetitive for my tastes. Remixes Compiled doesn't have that problem, each song is accessible, listenable, and enjoyable to just about anyone. Pop this into your stereo the next time you need some high quality background music.

Download HERE!!!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Bled - Pass the Flask (2003)

The Bled is the story of a band that started with their best foot forward, and then tripped and broke their ankle and were never able to recover. Back in 2003 The Bled's 'Pass the Flask' set the standard for metalcore. At the time the concept of metalcore was fairly (in a relative sense) new. There were not a lot of metalcore bands around, to put it this way, if you were to go to warped tour there might be 3...4 sets where you could see a breakdown. Nowadays you can't walk 10 ft without hearing 'dum....dumdumdum dumm......dumdummm......dumdumdum dummm.' So while 'Pass the Flask' holds up as a great metalcore album today, back in 2003 it was THE metalcore album. Two years later the band released 'Found in the Flood', which was the most disappointing release I've ever had the displeasure of purchasing. "It's The Bled's new album, it's gotta be epic, right?" WRONG. They took everything that was great about Pass the Flask and threw it in the garbage, instead opting for the generic, bland, uninspired Screamo sound of the time. Even IF they were going to change their sound, they could have done it so much better, it feels like no effort was put into Found in the Flood, if there was it was just finding new ways to make it more 'mainstream'. It is, in my opinion, the Definitive "Sell Out" album. 2007 brought us 'Silent Treatment' which felt like damage control, they re-embraced their heavy side and combined it with the new sound of Found in the Flood, what came out It sounds the same as the swarm of other Metalcore acts out right now, they don't do a single thing to stand out from the pack. The Bled might be happy being just an 'average' band, but I'll always be disappointed. They could have been up there with Everytime I Die, but they opted for the easier route. It's a shame....a damn shame.

Download Here!

HORSE The Motherfucking Band Motherfucker!

HORSE the Band is one of the few bands that I loved when I was 16 and love even more today. Having grown up on Super Nintendo, a band who had dubbed themselves 'nintendocore' instantly caught my attention. As was customary back then I went to their Purevolume and listened to everything they had up, which was 3 songs, "Cutsman", "Birdo", and "The Black Hole". Now, at this point in my life I was a complete Scenester, I listened to Saosin, Scary Kids Scaring Kids, and basically worshipped UnderOath(no pun intended...wait, yes there was), to me 'heavy' meant that the lead singer screamed more than he sang. I was standing ankle deep on the shores of the Beach when HORSE the Band came in like a Tidalwave and swept we into the depths of Heavy Music. I knew I liked it, but I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA what I was listening to, my ears weren't able to pick up on just how truly amazing the music was. Cutsman instantly became my favorite song, The Black Hole was high on my list as well, but 'Birdo' was a little too out there for my tastes at the time. Nevertheless I bought Both The Mechanical hand and R Borlax, the bands two Releases to date. The Mechanical Hand was instantly accesible to me, I enjoyed listening to it start to finish, even if there were some parts of it I didn't 'get'. R Borlax was completely different story, other than Cutsman, the entire thing was incomprehensible to me, it was too fast, too heavy, I couldn't catch the rhythm of any song so it just all sounded like noise to me. Now, lets skip ahead about 3 years, HORSE the Band has released two more full lengths and one EP. The now musically literate me has now appreciated every tiny reason why The Mechanical Hand was so Perfect, appreciated 'Pizza EP' for the fact that even when making songs about something as ridiculous as 'Pizzarrhea in the Pizzaria' they won't fail to deliver musical brilliance, found 'A Natural Death' to have its shining moments and its shortcomings, and saw that 'Desperate Living' showed off that these guys will always find ways to be original yet still sound exactly like HTB should. Despite the greatness of the rest of this bands Discography, those memories of being sonically obliterated by R Borlax still lingered somewhere, stopping me from giving it the listen through it so rightfully deserved. After a friend of mine was talking about how amazing R Borlax was I decided that I HAD to give this album a shot, I mean, it's horse the band, I should be able to appreciate it now right? Right!? Right!!!!!!!!! I understand now why I couldn't handle this album before, it is one of the most intense Mathcore Albums I've ever listened to. And after the initial shock of how great it was set in, the realization that this was their FIRST album set in. R Borlax set the Standard for technical intricacy, and every album after that lives up that standard, in its own unique way. HORSE the Band is the best mathcore band making music today, a lot of people are blinded by the label 'nintendocore' or by Lord Golds amazing synth riffs to realize the glory of the 4 other members of this band, and it's probably that reason why these guys aren't hailed in the same light as bands like Dillinger, but thats okay, because the members of HORSE the Band don't give a shit, they're happy doing what they're doing, going where they want to go, even going so far as to book 'earth tour' and travel to every corner of the world, including africa, china, and every other place bands never even consider travelling to, just because they wanted to see the world. On top of all that, what other band do you know has the balls to name a song after themselves? Anyone else chant their Name during a breakdown and finish off with "HORSE THE MOTHERFUCKING BAND MOTHERFUCKER!" Can you honestly think of any? No? That's because HORSE the Band is just...they're just the best. You should listen.

Download Discography (1st half)

Download Discography (2nd half)

Heroshima - Through Hell and High Water (2009)

Bands like Heroshima are rare. There are a lot of heavy bands, but most of them will fall into either the Metalcore or Mathcore niches, meaning, they're either too focused on double bass and heavy chugging or they're too focused on showing off how technical and fast they can play. Heroshima says fuck that, we dont like metal and we don't need to play 5 beats a bar to sound original. Heroshima is Hardcore. They play straight forward, fast paced stop and go rhythyms to create their brand of heaviness. They've got breakdowns, but like the rest of their songs their fast paced and will come and go before you realize what hit you. They've also got a kind of southern rock feel to them, I can't explain why, I don't even listen to any Southern Rock, I just think 'this has a southern feel' when I listen. If you still don't grasp what i'm trying to get at, think of it this way, Heroshima would be the perfect opening act to an Everytime I Die show.

Download Here!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Misery Signals - Controller (2008)

Misery Signals album 'Controller' is the best metalcore album ever recorded. I'm not exagerating and i'm not being biased, this is cold hard fact right here, and this blog is going to explain why.

Misery Signals is a Progressive Metalcore band. They use atypical time structures to give the rhythm a slightly awkward feel to it, and they do it perfectly. Back in another post I said that Minus the Bear had transcended Math Rock so that it sounded smooth and natural. Misery Signals is the Progressive Metalcore equivalent to that concept. If anyone ever asks me what 'Progressive Metalcore' means, I give them this album as an explanation. They are typical metalcore band in structure, two guitarists, a singer, a screamer, a bassist, and a drummer who seems to really enjoy using both his feet while playing. What sets them apart is how they use these pieces to make the greater whole. Let's start with the vocals, the lead vocals are a deep scream, almost a growl, that are perfectly articulate, you can understand every word, which is important, because Misery Signals LYRICS explain why Misery Signals is Misery Signals. From beginning to end this album is about internal conflict. The lyrics are all directed towards oneself. It's the narration of a man who hates his weakness and is desperately trying to overcome it. I think the opening song 'Nothing' sets the tone for the rest of the album with its last line: "Dear God! What have I let myself become!". There are instances of singing or backup screams throughout 'Controller', but they are few and far between, when they are used it's to portray a shift in emotion, from anger to desperation, or sometimes to serene calmness. But vocals are nothing if not backed up by fitting instrumentation, which is where Misery Signals truly shines. The Drums on this album are ridiculously good, and LOUD. If you don't 'get' what math based music is all about, listen to the drums on this album, they switch tempo and rhythm in a way that's noticeable but still sounds like a natural progression. A lot of Math bands either change tempo and rhythm so abrasively it sounds off putting or so subtly that you barely notice, but 'Controller' has found a happy medium. As amazing as the drum's are, Misery Signals two guitarists are what carry them from 'Amazing' to 'The Best'. One guitarist plays heavy (insanely heavy), riffs. He's so brutal he makes bands like Miss May I sound like Taylor Swift(Zing!). The second guitarist is there to add a layer of airy, melodic texture to accent the leads absolute brutality. While the rest of the band is pounding you into the dirt with their heaviness, guitarist number two sounds like he's playing off in the distance, or to keep with the theme of the album, he's like that small voice of in the back of your head you have when you're really, really, angry that's trying to tell you to listen to reason but you ignore it. It's volume and noticibility go up and down throughout the album, sometimes you can't hear it at all, sometimes it sounds level with the lead guitar, and sometimes, usually after a part that was particularly heavy, it takes center stage. It's like if you let out a huge surge of frustration and you punch a wall. After you do it you look at the hole you made, and you wish you had never lost control and broke it, because now you can't fix it. That is what 'Controller' is all about. Complex music backed by a complex message, this isn't something the typical Scene kid would appreciate, but being a metalcore band, and being from Canada, most of their US tours have been with really, really, shitty scene bands. No one wants to see Misery Signals open for Bring Me the Horizon, that's just depressing.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

I Shot the Duck Hunt Dog - Ninstrumentalism (2008)

Ninstramentalism is an instrumental nintendocore album, which in my book automatically makes it amazing. This album is six songs of insanely catchy, upbeat, heavy, jazzy, experimental, all around fun music. I can't see how anyone can NOT like this album, it's intelligent instrumental hardcore music with NINTENDO sounds. Like seriously, Nintendo synths are just the best sounding synths there are, even if you've never played an old school nintendo you'll love the high pitched, sometimes trancelike, 8-bit sound spectacular. If you grew up playing 8-bit Nintendo than the nostalgia factor makes it that much better. While the rest of I Shot the Duck Hunt Dog's discography is brutally heavy, I prefer the instrumental tracks a little bit more. It seems to me that losing a vocalist pushed the rest of the band to compensate for the loss,they made an album thats supported by creative and diverse songs, rather than just blast beats and piercing screams. The final result is an excellent addition to the world of nintendocore.

Oh wow its actually a short review. Maybe people will bother to read this one :p

Download Here (Mediafire)

Vanna - A New Hope (2009)

In my last post I talked how a torrential downpour of shitty bands in emocore/metalcore have made it very difficult for some people to accept the fact that some emo/metalcore bands actually ARE talented. Inhale Exhale was my prime example for metalcore, but there are a lot of other really talented metalcore bands, so they're credibility isn't as bad as I might make it out to be. Emocore (or screamo as most people call it, I think of them as two different genres...not gonna get into it) on the other hand, has the misfortune of being the most underrated genre of music that I can find in my library. Honestly I can't say I blame most people for dismissing it as crap, I don't think I've ever seen a genre of music so overinflated with no talent bands as this one, and more and more keep popping up all the time. Putting aside all the awful Emocore/Screamo bands out there, there is one more prominent reason why most people wouldn't be caught dead listening to it. That being: the word 'emo' is in the title, no self respecting human being wants to be associated with anything that can be associated with anorexic teenage boys flat ironing they're black dyed hair while wearing they're sisters jeans and mascara, while moping around sulking about how no one understands them. Say you're willing to put that aside, there is still the problem of the hundreds and hundreds of terrible acts that have made careers making some of the most unoriginal, simple, boring, just all around awful music, and they've been doing this for almost a decade now. All that combined is why when a band like Vanna comes along, most people won't give it a second (or even first) look. If they would give this band a chance, they would realize that Vanna's latest album is different. It's actually good. All things typical of Emocore are found here, Clean and Unclean vocals used interchangeably throughout the album, elements from hardcore and emo combined to provide a listening experience that's both harsh and heavy as well as soothing and melodic. So what's different? (geez I feel like this is a repeat of my last blog, sorry) Well they take elements from each, it's not like, an emo song with a breakdown smushed in the middle. Making actual intelligent music requires a bit more effort than that (Don't tell that to Attack Attack though). They take the melodic and the heavy and fuse them together. The final product includes things such as melodies with chugging guitars and group shouting vocals mixed with clean singing. A New Hope is a fitting title for this album; from what has been more or less a dead genre since its creation, Vanna has given it a new hope to become something more than just music for teenagers who care more about the music being 'different' than it being good.

If after reading this you think I'm a complete retard, feel free to let me know using the comment box, its right underneath where you clicked to get your free music.

Torrent Download Link

Inhale Exhale - Bury Me Alive (2009)

Some genres are so overcrowded with crap that some people just write them off as bad genres. In mainstream music it happens with Hip Hop, people hear Lil Wayne's newest track on the radio and immediately denounce all Rap as garbage. They never think that if they just look past what they hear on the Radio they could find that talented Rappers Do actually exist. The same thing happens in alternative music. People see terrible bands like Attack Attack, I Set My Friends On Fire, Bring Me The Horizon, Drop Dead Gorgeous (I could go on for days but i'll stop there) reach a certain level of popularity and they just write off all emocore/metalcore. However, just like the Radio, if you're willing to look past the giant wall of crap that is those bands you'll find that there are quite a number of bands doing amazing things with Screamo and Metalcore. Take Inhale Exhale, a metalcore band who's living proof that when done right, metalcore can be just as creative, intricate, dynamic, and intense as any other genre. The band makes use of the clean/unclean vocal setup that characterizes most bands of the genre, and for the most part they follow the same format of heavy/melodic/heavy with the unclean vocals accompanying the heavy parts and the clean vocals accompanying the melody. So what makes them different than every other band? Well, bands like ISMFOF and Attack Attack (And The Devil Wears Prada...I HATE Them) don't really put any effort into making their music. Let's put it this way, my friend picked up his first guitar a few months ago, he didn't have any talent for it, but he was determined to practice and get better, after about a week he was able to play every Attack Attack song. Shortly after that he stopped listening them entirely. So basically, these bands songs are so simple that anyone with a basic understanding of how to play guitar can pick them up quite easily. Inhale Exhales songs, on the other hand, are complex, intricate, dynamic, and intense. The heavy parts are some of the most creative I've ever heard, and the melodies fit well with the rest of the music. That's right EFFORT went into making songs flow seamlessly from heavy to soft, unlike some bands who's songs sound like breakdowns were just randomly thrown into the middle of them(*cough* I See Stars *cough*) Also, Inhale Exhale does a great job in melding the two together, the last minute of the song Condemned is the most brilliant combination of a heavy breakdown and a calming melody I've ever heard. Hell, I can't even think of another band who has tried anything like that.

So there ya go, Inhale Exhale is proof that there is no such thing as a shitty genre, only shitty bands that give genres a bad name.

Torrent Download Link

Saturday, February 27, 2010

If Lucy Fell - You Make Me Nervous (2005)/ Zebra Dance (2008)

If Lucy Fell is an experimental/progressive/different type mathcore band. They're not like most of the other mathcore bands I've reviewed, who use supersonic speeds and jarring time signatures to deliver their intensity. They play at a pace akin more to post-hardcore Thursday and the like. They're mixture of off putting rhythm with melody makes for quite the interesting listen. The first half of this album is good, but just good, which is why even though this band has been sitting in my iTunes for so long I've had the misfortune of overlooking them. As if the first four tracks are a warm up, the band kicks it up a notch at the track 'Together In Stupidity'. If you think about the first four tracks, they each have their moments, but the songs on a whole are subpar. Starting at track five, and staying strong throughout the rest of the 6 remaining tracks, If Lucy Fell shows their creative ability to the fullest. The songs "Demented" and "Whenever you find yourself deconstructed, It's a good starting point" shine as my two favorites. They're like this hybrid of Math Rock and Mathcore (sounds stupid I know) that's heavy without being heavy, tempos that are off putting but still have a melody and a dancability to them that make them just...great. The Band's sophomore release, Zebra Dance, is a great follow up. It's everything that was great about the debut album, with much, much, less of its flaws. The Vocals, which I found to be annoying on the first album, are much more listenable this time around. Other than that, It's just more creative, more dynamic, there's more depth to each song, It'ss just...better.

So to sum things up: You Make Me Nervous, " Eh, decent album." Zebra Dance: ".....Woah".

Link To Download Both Albums (Mediafire)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sharks Keep Moving - Self Titled (1999)

Here's "Sailor", the first track on the album and one of my favorite songs of all time.

Sharks Keep Moving was the former band of Jake Snider, the lead singer of Minus the Bear. They were an indie/math-rock band who played mellow, softer, but no less complex songs which have an overall soothing feel to them. If you enjoy Minus the Bears earlier work like Highly Refined Pirates, I can pretty much guarantee you'll like this album. The song 'sailor' is one of the most beautiful and calming pieces of music I've ever heard. It's too bad that this album only has three songs with vocals on them, because Snider does an amazing job with the lyrics, that and his voice fits perfectly with the music. It's really a shame that this band disbanded after a very short career, it would have been nice to have at least one more album just to have a few more songs of this sound at this level of quality. But I guess all good things must come to an end for better things to begin.

Download Torrent Link

Download Mediafire

Friday, February 12, 2010

Minus the Bear - A Look Back In Anticipation of the New Album.

I know everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I just cannot fathom how anyone could listen to Minus the Bear and not think its great. Usually bands that can be described as 'Math Rock' are so rhythmatically and compositionally complex that it puts off people who aren't familiar with it. However, Minus the Bear is able to make sophisticated songs that sound smooth enough that they sound like they wouldn't be out of place on the top 20 charts. But I guess when you're band is comprised of musical geniuses who have refined their skills in bands like Botch, Sharks Keep Moving, and Kill Sadie it'd be a shock if they weren't borderline perfect. Every album, hell, every song stands out in its own right as a masterpiece. I can't think of any other band that I can honestly say that I like every song that they've ever recorded. In fact, they've set the bar so high for themselves that I don't get excited when these guys announce they're releasing a new album, I get anxious that it won't live up to the brilliance of the rest of their discography, which is stupid because if I've learned anything in life it's that Minus the Bear can do no wrong.

Now, onto what makes them so great. These guys evolve and reinvent their sound so much that no two albums, Eps included, sound the same, you really never know what they're going to do next. While their first 2 releases are two of the best Math Rock albums around, they're just that, Math Rock, meaning you either love it or hate it. It wasn't till the release of "They Make Beer Commercials Like This" that Minus the Bear first showed signs that they had much higher aspirations then being the best at something, they were going to create something new altogether. Whereas the first two cds had a much heavier emphasis on the clean, quick guitar in unique time signatures that is so common in math rock bands like This Town Needs Guns, "They Make Beer Commercials" is where Minus the Bear started breaking away from the pack and started to develop a sound unique to them. They Make Beer Commercials had a layer of depth not yet seen from Minus the Bear, where in previous releases they used that direct, intricate and technically difficult, but rather straightforward guitar thats typical to the genre as the backbone of their songs, MTB had begun to take steps towards transcending all genres and become their own entity entirely. Keyboards and Synths, which were originally used to accent songs, started to take a larger role, allowing for more creative composition. While this new take in song writing wouldn't fully bloom until the release of Menos el Oso in 2005, my personal favorite album from the band. At this point Minus the Bear had shattered all limitations like Genres and evolved into their own sound completely beyond what anyone else had done before them. They were able to take the main principle of Math Rock, that is, using atypical rhythms to create compositionally complex songs, and do it in such a way so that it flows smoothly and sounds natural. People who listen to nothing but Battles and Don Caballero can listen and appreciate the complexity and attention to detail in each song, and people who have never even heard of things like Math Rock and think a time signature is signing a clock (horrible joke, i'm sorry) can listen and enjoy it because it just sounds good. Honestly, how many other bands who create songs as detailed and complex as Minus the Bear can you think of that you could show to your musically illiterate friends and expect them to like? Let me know if you can think of any cause personally, I'm drawing a Blank. Anyways back to the subject. So anyways, when MTB announced they were releasing their next album, I had mixed feelings, to me, Menos El Oso was like the perfect album, I was nervous the they peaked and that Planet of Ice could never reach the standard set by Menos El Oso. The Day of release I hurried over to best buy to pick up a copy. After listening to it once, I'll never doubt Minus the Bear ever again, not only did it live up to my expectations, it showed that they these guys are never going to stand still, that they're always going to be doing something new, something that sounds completely different yet exactly like Minus the bear
should. Calling them musical geniuses is an understatement, they are lightyears ahead of everyone else, and after seeing them live twice this fall and hearing them play a handful of songs off their new album, I can safely say they have no intentions of slowing down.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

La Dispute - Somewhere At the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair (2008)

Holy Shit. No, Seriously, Holy Shit. Listen to this album, I dont care what kind of music you like, this album is FUCKING PERFECT. I've listened to it all the way through at least twice every day since I've first listened to it. Its like, Post-Hardcore Old School Screamoish, sort of like a combination between mewithoutyou and Hot Cross. But if those bands were...perfect.

Daughters - Canada Songs (2003) and Hell Songs (2006)

I think if you know about Mathcore and Grindcore you know about Daughters, but hell, they're so amazing you practically HAVE to write about them. Canada Songs is basically the definition of these genres, if you have no idea what Mathcore is then listen to Canada Songs and you'll have a pretty good idea what its all about afterwards. Hell Songs is their second full length and the bands growth is shown in leaps and bounds. Every single song on this cd is completely distinct from one another, as opposed to Canada where they all sound pretty similar. Both cds are ridiculously fast and intense, both of them combined clocks in at about 38 minutes, which is a good thing because I think my head would explode out of sheer amazement if it was any longer.

I can only imagine whats going to happen later this year when their next Full Length drops.

Rolo Tomassi - Hysterics (2008)

Hysterics has quickly become one of my favorite cds. Its everything you look for in mathcore, complex and intricate songs that can go from face melting speed to a crawl and back to blazing fast again before you knew what hit you. Add in an 8-bit nintendo synth and you've got yourself a winner.

Cutting Pink With Knives - Populuxxe (2007)

So its been a while since i've done this, kind of forgot I had a blog, oh wells. Well i've been binging on grindcore again and have come across a few ridiculous bands, a few terrible bands, and a few bands that've left me flabergasted. Cutting Pink With Knives falls into the last catagory. Imagine if Hellogoodbye did a collaboration with the Locust and you'd have a pretty good idea as to what this album sounds like. As absurd as that sounds its the best description i can think of.