500 Word Review: Primal Rite “Sensory Link To Pain”

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Recently I’ve gotten back into thrash metal by listening to both classic bands like Metallica and Slayer and newer bands like Skeletonwitch and Eternal Champion.  However, through listening to the new era of thrash metal, I was able to discover a recently formed band, Primal Rite, who combine influences from hardcore punk and thrash metal to embody a hard-hitting, completely abrasive thrash metal sound that is simply addicting.  Last month, the San Francisco based metal band released their latest EP, “Sensory Link To Pain”, which showcases the group’s stellar, most recent sound.

The EP begins with a sinister, ominous sound of guitar feedback slowly fading in, leaving the listener anxious and at the edge of their seat as to what is coming next. Suddenly, the whole band enters and a wailing, distorted guitar, pummeling drums, rattling bass, and of course aggressive, hatred filled vocals create the title track, “Sensory Link To Pain”. Sporadic section changes with heavy, yet intriguingly groovy riffs encompass the entire EP with only a few moments of chugging riffs at a slower tempo to give the listener some kind of breathing room in between the chaos filled parts heard throughout each track.

These slower tempo sections can easily become highlights of tracks, however, as the near breakdown heard on “Is It Me?” becomes the most memorable part of the entire track and is easily the catchiest riff you will hear in Primal Rite’s latest project. This hardcore influenced breakdown perfectly exemplifies Primal Rite’s raw, bone-snapping sound of hardcore influenced thrash metal. The project itself, which comes in at just under 8 minutes, leaves its audience feeling like they got hit by a train of pure hardcore and thrash metal, as the project ends just as abruptly as it began with the fast tempo, mosh pit inducing riffs on “Primal Discipline” transitioning directly into the same eerie guitar tone heard at the beginning of “Sensory Link To Pain” slowly fading out. This Primal Rite EP is in your face hardcore thrash metal done right and is full with non-stop, unrelenting heaviness from start to finish.

In summation, this is metal, simply put. Everything from the harsh vocals, to the phenomenal guitar riffing to the upbeat, old school thrash metal inspired drum beats purely encompasses what the new era of thrash metal is all about. The only gripe I have with this project is that it sounds a little too much like Power Trip, who happen to be the most prominent modern hardcore influenced thrash metal band, and my personal favorite thrash metal band as well. I’m sure over time Primal Rite will find their signature style and sound in this crossover subgenre of punk and thrash metal, but their latest material still resembles, and is inspired by, the Texas based act in a very prominent way. However, if you listen to older Counterparts material, you can hear how it is directly influenced by Misery Signals, so it’s not a huge concern to seem Primal Rite paying tribute to the sound of the act they most likely look up to, especially since sounding like Power Trip is far from being an insult. I give “Sensory Link To Pain” an 8.6/10 and highly suggest that you check this EP out by the soon to be household name, Primal Rite.

 

“Sensory Link To Pain”:

Breaking News: Obey the Brave Announce New Upcoming Album “Mad Season”

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Montreal/Ottawa based hardcore group Obey the Brave have recently announced that they will be releasing their third full length record, “Mad Season”, on June 2nd.  Featuring a unique style of hardcore punk fronted by Despised Icon’s own, Alex Erian, Obey the Brave have established themselves as a prominent hardcore band since their formation in 2011.  The album, set to be released on Epitaph Records, is the first release since their 2014 sophomore album, “Salvation”, and is also the first release from the Canadian outfit since their significant lineup changes.  The new material will feature Terrence McAuley and Cory Wilson’s first recorded performances as members of the group, which should reflect heavily on the sound we’ve heard from Obey the Brave in past releases.  Unfortunately, as of right now a single has yet to be released for “Mad Season”, however once it does we’ll be sure to attach it at the bottom of the post!  In the meantime, the album’s track listing has been attached below.

Personally, I wasn’t too thrilled with “Salvation”, so seeing new members join the Canadian hardcore band is a great sign in my opinion.  Being a huge Despised Icon fan, I’ve personally stayed up to date with Alex Erian’s musical projects, especially after hearing Obey the Brave’s widely successful first full length album, “Young Blood”, shortly after it’s 2012 release.  However, “Salvation” seemed to sound like a slightly lesser version of their phenomenal debut record and didn’t leave the same lasting impression on me that “Young Blood” did.  In fact, with Obey the Brave’s inactivity over the last year and Despised Icon’s return with “Beast” and their frequent touring, I thought that Obey the Brave was finished, at least for the near future.  This recent news of new members and new material, however, has me very excited to hear the possible redemption to the somewhat disappointing record, “Salvation”.  Of course, when the album is released a review of the record will be posted here, so stay tuned for more posts regarding Obey the Brave!

 

“Mad Season” Tracklisting:

1. On Thin Ice

2. Drama

3. On Our Own

4. Mad Season

5. 97 Again

6. Les Temps Sont Durs

7. Low Key

8. Feed The Fire

9. The Distance

10. Way It Goes

11. RIP

12. This Is It

500 Word Review: The Weeknd “Starboy”

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Let’s get something out of the way: I hate The Weeknd. His whiney ass voice doesn’t work with his cool guy lyrics and it makes him sound like a twat. When I listen to his music I can’t help but imagine a 12-year-old prepubescent boy bragging about his vagina loosening abilities. His act isn’t very convincing whether it is genuine or not, and has reached a new level of annoying on “Starboy”. Fame has undoubtedly gotten to his head. The way he pronounces some words, and his offensive vibrato consistently distract from his music, but maybe it’s just because he’s Canadian. He isn’t all that original either. The Weeknd’s musical influences are easily apparent. A handful of his songs unapologetically resemble the style of his idol, Michael Jackson. Even his name is unoriginal. There was already another Canadian musical artist by the name of The Weekend in 1998. The Weeknd only adapted his stage name when copyright infringement became a worry. However, as much as I dislike this artist, it is difficult to deny that “Starboy” is a decent album.

“Starboy” doesn’t shine all the way through. There aren’t any truly bad songs, but it is certainly too long. The Weekend secured several big name features to keep things interesting, yet there are still plenty of dull moments on the album. The only feature that falls flat on its face is the one I had the highest expectations for, that of Kendrick Lamar in “Sidewalks”. His what should’ve been a solid verse is immediately derailed by the choppy line “Say, say, say” repeated five times. The end of the verse’s flow is thankfully unmolested. It looks like The Weeknd called in some favors for the production job too. “Starboy’s” production boasts a long list of contributors including Daft Punk, and it has a gorgeous crystalline sound to show for it. There are plenty of dank beats and contagious rhythms on “Starboy”. “Rockin’” pulses with energy and “A Lonely Night” has a dapper swing reminiscent of something you would find on a Michael Jackson album.

The Weeknd may admit to his affinity for the king of pop, but he has another strong likeness to a successful artist. “Six Feet Under”, “Party Monster”, and “Reminder” could be covers of Drake songs. Being compared to two influential artists would normally be a complement, but The Weeknd doesn’t seem to have a method of his own. While it leans heavily on the work of others, this album is not redundant. It does not hold up the expected clichés we have come to expect from pop music, and yes this is a pop album not R&B. Instead it breathes new and formidable life into a copy and paste genre. While he didn’t quite knock it out of the park, “Starboy” is a reminder that the Weeknd is a force in the pop genre and will be for a long time.

 

Score: 7.5/10

 

Album Review by Zachary Norton, March 2017

“Starboy’:

Track(s) of the Day Tuesday: PANOPTICON Into the North Woods, BLACK TONGUE In The Wake Ov The Wolf, PROTEST THE HERO Yellow Teeth, and SEVDALIZA That Other Girl

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After missing the first few weeks of 2017, we’re finally back with one of our favorite segments, “Track of the Day Tuesday”!  Usually, every Tuesday we post about what track you absolutely need to listen to today and why.  Since we had a slow start to the new year, we decided to make up for lost time and give you FOUR tracks that you need to give a listen to today!  Unfortunately, all of the songs, except for “That Other Girl”, are metal tracks, so there isn’t much diversity in the group.  However, each track and artist listed is fantastic and I highly suggest you give each song a listen today!  Here is our largest “Track of the Day Tuesday” segment ever!

First I want to discuss American Black Metal act, Panopticon’s, “Into the North Woods”.  Panopticon is one of the US based Black Metal groups that I have heard nothing but positive reviews about, but have continued to procrastinate with giving them a listen.  In fact, I first heard about how phenomenal Panopticon’s “Autumn Eternal” was through CountBlagorath’s Youtube channel.  After finally giving the Black Metal band a listen I can agree with all the hype that Panopticon is a fantastic band.  Despite only hearing a few projects by the Minnesota based band, it is obvious to any listener that their musical ability and skill in songwriting surpasses the standards set by modern Black Metal.  If you love melodic Black Metal with heavy folk influences, then you not only have to check out “Into the North Woods”, but the entire “Autumn Eternal” album.  Panopticon might be one of the greatest American Black Metal bands of all time, and I highly suggest you don’t sleep on this group like I did!

Next up on the list of tracks you need to listen to today is Black Tongue’s “In The Wake Ov The Wolf”.  If you’re familiar at all with the deathcore band, Infant Annihilator, then you will know that after the departure of Dan Watson, guitarist and drummer Eddie Pickard and Aaron Kitcher, went on to form a separate, downtempo deathcore group called Black Tongue.  Black Tongue, in the 3 years of being a full time band, have already seen an immense amount of success in the metal community and in their own songwriting.  Releasing 2 EPs and a full length record titled “The Unconquerable Dark”, Black Tongue have begun to solidify themselves as a prominent leader in the continuously growing sub-genre that is downtempo deathcore.  As you might have guessed, I also slept on their full length record despite the fact that I absolutely loved their fist two releases.  After finally checking out “The Unconquearable Dark” I cannot stop listening to the entire 2015 album.  That being said, this is a record you need to give a listen to as well, and I suggest you start off with the track “In The Wake Ov The Wolf”.  “In The Wake Ov The Wolf” was one of the first singles released off the debut full length and it has easily become one of the catchiest songs on the entire record.  I know it might be hard to imagine downtempo, beat down deathcore to be labeled as “catchy”, but the leads and chord progressions heard, especially in the chorus, are absolutely addicting and get stuck in your head immediately after listening to the entire track.  If you are not familiar with the new Black Tongue album, or the sub-genre they write in general, “In the Wake OV The Wolf” is the perfect place to start.

For those who have been reading the blog for the last few months you will remember that I wrote a blog post about the upcoming August Burns Red tour.  Last year, Lancaster’s own, August Burns Red, announced that they would do a North America tour performing “Messengers” for its 10th anniversary.  Recently, the 10 year Messengers tour went through Denver, Colorado and I was able to attend the show!  Of course, the concert itself was phenomenal, but what truly stuck out was actually Protest the Hero’s performance.  Once again, Protest the Hero was another band I heard great things about but never thought to give their discography a listen.  However, I was completely and absolutely blown away by their seamlessly flawless performance.  Every song was perfectly crafted with face melting riffs, intricate drumming, and (for a lack of a better term) impressive vocals that made me listen to the Canadian group non-stop for days after the show.  So far I can say that “Yellow Teeth” is my favorite track by Protest the Hero.  The high pitched vocals cry out as a speedy instrumental section burns through chugging and melodic shredding riffs.  If you want to be blown away by insane musicianship, then stop reading this post right now, scroll down to the bottom of the page, and listen to “Yellow Teeth” by Protest the Hero and enjoy one of the best Modern Progressive Metal acts.

Finally, the last track I want to share with you today is an experimental pop track by the Iranian upcoming pop artist, Sevdaliza.  Sevdaliza’s music, and the music videos that accompany her catalog, are mesmerizing to put it simply.  Sevdaliza’s approach to her songwriting and how she visually portrays these tracks is something that not only makes her unique, but will also allow her to reshape and change the genre of experimental pop completely.  There isn’t a single bad place to start when first listening to Sevdaliza, but I must say that Sevdaliza’s “That Other Girl” is one of her masterpieces so far and is a track that you must listen to, regardless of what other songs by the Iranian pop artist you’ve heard so far.  Plus the 2000s-esque style of animation featured in the music video for “That Other Girl” is not only trippy, but extremely nostalgic and entertaining.  I guarantee I’ll be writing a lot more about Sevdaliza in the future, so if you really enjoy this track stay tuned and I’ll be sure to post about other songs in her discography.

Of course, every song mentioned is attached below.  I know this is a lot to take in all at once, but these four songs are tracks you absolutely need to give a listen to today.  The “Track of the Day Tuesday” segment is a segment I greatly enjoy writing and the staff here at Erik’s Album Reviews is extremely glad that we can continue this segment into 2017.  Check out the songs mentioned below, let us know what you think of the tracks, and of course, let us know what songs you would like to see featured on future installments to “Track of the Day Tuesday”!

 

Panopticon’s “Into the North Woods”:

Black Tongue’s “In The Wake Ov The Wolf”:

Protest the Hero’s “Yellow Teeth”:

Sevdaliza’s “That Other Girl”:

Breaking News: Deadmau5 Releases New Album “W:/2016ALBUM/” And His Single “Ghosts N Stuff” Goes Platinum

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Yesterday, electronic music titan, Deadmau5, released his latest album, “W:/2016ALBUM/”, through his own label, mau5trap.  The 2016 record is Deadmau5′ latest full length album and release since 2014’s, “while (1<2)”.  The album was released with hardly any promotion, and practically had a surprise release, but so far Deadmau5 fans have welcomed the new release with positive feedback and reviews!  Personally, I’ve only heard a track or two off “W:/2016ALBUM/”, but what I have heard is extremely promising and leads me to believe this latest Deadmau5 project could be his best release in years!  The release features a different sound from Deadmau5 that includes a significant amount of experimentation, different from his previous releases, while also showcasing the classic synth sounds and recognizable beats that make Deadmau5′ material iconic and timeless.

In other Deadmau5 news, Deadmau5′ most successful single, “Ghost N Stuff”, recently went platinum according to RIAA.  The single, which features vocals from Rob Swire and is featured on the highly praised album, “For Lack of a Better Name”, is one of the most well known Deadmau5 tracks.  The best part of this news story, however, is that according to RIAA “Ghosts N Stuff” went platinum  on Halloween this year.  Out of all the days in the year for a track titled “Ghosts N Stuff” to go platinum, Halloween has to be the best day for the track to do so.  Regardless of the well fitting date to go platinum, “Ghosts N Stuff” is still a fantastic electronic song and the fact that it is now certified platinum is a huge accomplishment!  Congrats to Deadmau5 for the remarkable feat and hopefully more singles of his reach this notable level of success!

Even though I am crazy behind on album reviews, I definitely plan on completing the review for “W:/2016ALBUM/” in the near future.  For the meantime check out the stream of the album below and let us know what you think of the latest Deadmau5 record.  Be sure to check back in for more reviews and music content and let us know if there are any records that you want us to review in the last few weeks of 2016!

Vinyl and Cassette News: Burial’s “YOUNG DEATH / NIGHTMARKET” Accidently Gets Released Early On Vinyl

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In case you missed it, Burial, the legendary English electronic producer and recording artist, recently released his latest project “YOUNG DEATH / NIGHTMARKET (HDB100).  The short EP, which was officially released only a few days ago, features an experimental ambient sound accompanied with reverb filled synths and multiple, altered samples that give the project an overall sound unique to Burial himself.  This new EP is very fascinating and is both relaxing and compelling, causing the listener to feel at ease yet never lose interest or focus on the material.

The release itself is stellar, and I will most likely follow up this post with an official review of the project, but the most prominent news to come from this release actually isn’t about the material, but how it was distributed.  Days before the EP was supposed to have a surprise release, it suddenly surfaced on Discogs.  Stunned, Burial fans quickly reacted to this update and wondered if this was a legitimate, new release from Burial and where they could get themselves a copy of this record.  It was soon realized that the Discogs update was made in response to a Toronto record shop, called Sonic Boom Records, accidentally selling the release early on Black Friday.  Sonic Boom Records, who received the new 12″ records by mail, assumed the new release was a Black Friday secret listing and because of this 5 copies were accidentally sold to Toronto customers.  This project, which was eventually officially released on Burial’s official Bandcamp page on November 28th, is the first solo project of 2016 by the British artist.  Once the vinyl EP was officially released it quickly sold out on Burial’s site and has since been selling extremely fast at local record shops in both North America and Europe.  There are still numerous places that have a copy left to purchase, including the 53 individual listings on Discogs selling the 12″ for as little as $8.57, however this record will definitely sell out completely eventually.

If you are an electronic music fan you need to listen to this release.  In my opinion, this will most likely be one of the best EPs you hear all year.  If you are unfamiliar with Burial this is a very good place to start, however his discography is extremely immense and filled with great material, so checking out any release from the South London based artist is highly recommended.  The link to purchase the 12” vinyl record from Discogs is attached below along with the full EP stream.  Give it a listen, check out the other electronic reviews and music content posted on this site, and be sure to visit often for more electronic, vinyl, and cassette news!

https://www.discogs.com/Burial-Young-Death-Nightmarket/release/9412422

Breaking News: Silverstein Release New Music Video For Latest Single and Announce A New Album For 2017

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One of the most notable acts in post-hardcore, Canada’s own Silverstein, have released a new single, accompanied with a music video, called “Ghost”.  This is a stand alone single and will most likely not be included in an upcoming release.  However, with this announcement came a statement from the band saying that a new record is in the works and will be released in 2017.  Silverstein, who will be a band for an outstanding 17 years next year, have managed to continue this success with their last few releases and have also been able to connect with both older and newer fans in the post-hardcore genre.

I personally love Silverstein and have enjoyed their entire discography, regardless of when an album or individual song was released, but after listening to “Ghost” I am not thrilled with this new sound.  It is obvious to any listener that “Ghost” is a blatant rip off of the band Beartooth and completely lacks originality and the signature Silverstein sound.  In fact, Silverstein and Beartooth have performed together simultaneously on one stage as “Silvertooth”, so I wouldn’t be surprised if Silverstein is attempting to imitate them in order to experience the massive growth in fan base that Beartooth has seen over the last few years.

However, this speculation is over just one single, so there is a very good chance I am overthinking the situation.  I hope that Silverstein showcases their unique sound in their 2017 release, especially since they are so monumental to the post-hardcore genre itself.  It would be really disappointing to Silverstein manipulate their classic sound to fit a trend, but regardless, their influence and impact on the post-hardcore genre will never change and their material up until now will still be amazing, no matter what next year’s album will sound like.

Watch the new music video below and let us know what you think of the new Silverstein track!