The Thursday Ten: 11/15/16

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For those who visit Erik’s Album Reviews regularly, you will know that the staff has been very busy for the last two weeks.  Because of this we unfortunately missed the last two “The Thursday Ten” segments.  However, last week we announced that in order to make up for this lack of album ratings, we will give 20 album ratings for this week’s installment rather than the usual 10!  This week’s post features various releases over multiple genres covering everything from Black Metal to EDM.  Even though twice as many releases are feature in this installment, the rules to “The Thursday Ten” haven’t changed, and of course, we encourage you to check out every album listed on any of the major music streaming platforms.  Let us know what you think of the ratings, which albums you want us to rate next, and don’t forget to check out the previous installment to “The Thursday Ten”.  Here is this week’s post:

  1. Skeletonwitch – The Apothic Gloom EP: 8/10
  2. The Acacia Strain, Thy Art Is Murder, and Fit For An Autopsy – The Depression Sessions: 9/10
  3. Power Trip/Integrity Split EP: 7/10
  4. Dan Mason – Summer Love: 7/10
  5. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool: 7/10
  6. Aborted – Termination Redux EP: 8/10
  7. Lamb of God – The Duke EP: 7/10
  8. Jason Richardson – I: 8/10
  9. bl00dwave – Distance: 8/10
  10. Defeater – Abandoned: 8/10

 

  1. Mac Miller – The Divine Feminine: 8/10
  2. Blink-182 – California: 8/10
  3. Balance and Composure – Light We Made: 8/10
  4. Moose Blood – Blush: 8/10
  5. Wakrat – Wakrat: 4/10
  6. Tesseract – Polaris: 7/10
  7. A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations: 6/10
  8. Adventure Club – Red // Blue: 5/10
  9. PZA – AMERICAN RITUALS: 9/10
  10. Vaerbitt – Tid: 9/10

The previous “The Thursday Ten”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/the-thursday-ten-112416/

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Classic Album Review: FALLUJAH The Flesh Prevails

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I hadn’t listened to Fallujah before I heard “The Flesh Prevails”. I believed what I was told and anticipated a polished progressive metal album with a deep atmosphere. I knew my expectations had got the best of me from the first volley of machine gun double bass. After accepting that Fallujah was in fact a death metal band, I strapped in and started again. Even with my expectations out of the way, I found myself dissatisfied. While there isn’t anything terribly wrong with the album, there isn’t much to praise either.

“The Flesh Prevails” is by no means a poor album. It is a valiant attempt at the difficult task of combining atmosphere with sheer brutality, but fails to seamlessly unite the two themes. Instead, atmospheric trances are often interrupted by grisly vocals, and soaring guitar leads compete with the domineering rhythm guitar. Their use of contrasting elements is, at best, partially effective at lending gravity to critical moments. An overabundance of bends, reverb, pinch harmonics and sparkly tremolo is often their idea of ambience. This style works in small doses, but gets tiresome too. On the other hand, the pensive atmosphere gives the album a wonderful sense of organic flow. But at the same time, its unity is cause for giving songs lack of distinction from each other.

Fallujah was certainly successful in making their music powerful. Each component is complicated, or simply busy enough to contribute to the sense of onslaught. Alex Hoffmann’s vocal delivery, both punishing and gorgeous to behold, is the backbone of the album’s muscle. Even though I can only make out one out of every ten words heard, it does not detract from the vocals’ emotion.

The instruments donate to the cause as well, but fall victim to the botched production job. They have a noticeably sterile sound. The drum kit and bass guitar in particular feel very synthetic, reminiscent of crappy post-hardcore metal bands. Double bass is heard without end and is regularly just a source of noise. However, the band does make interesting use of it in moments such as the blazing drum fills in “Sapphire”. The other instruments receive their moments in the spotlight too. The guitar isn’t at its best in the solos or nonchalant shredding, but in its excellent regular lead lines, like those amid “The Night Reveals”. The bass has increasingly more involved parts as the album goes on, being featured in the beginning of “Levitation”, but it occasionally gets swamped by the other instruments. Despite any setbacks, the album is full of moments of true brutality that manage to hold an elegant air.

In the end, “The Flesh Prevails”, is restrained by the production effort. The guitars and drums are turned up to eleven and are both in competition with Hoffmann’s voice. The volume is taxing and distracting, but the down time we get from “Alone with You” and “Allure” helps some. The production really gave this album a flat tire. Perhaps with better mixing and mastering, Fallujah could have achieved a more persuasive atmosphere and a palatable drum kit. Perhaps it could have been great.

 

Score: 7.2/10

 

Album Review by Zach Norton, December 2016

“The Flesh Prevails”:

 

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: Business Casual Releases BIZBOX #3

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Today, one of the most prominent vaporwave/electronic labels, Business Casual, has released the third installment to their bi-monthly release promotion project called BIZBOX.  BIZBOX, which has become extremely popular since it first started last summer, is a series of releases where the founder of Business Casual, who goes by the stage name “christtt” and also has some of his own tracks included on this BIZBOX release, creates cassette tapes for certain releases and bundles these tapes with stickers, assorted merchandise, and a surprise cassette tape, usually of a record that had yet to be pressed on a physical format.  For example, BIZBOX 1, which featured Don Mason’s “Summer Love” also came with the surprise cassette tape for SYLLABUS’ “July”, which was never been pressed on cassette before.  These release projects are usually out of 200 and sell out extremely fast.

For BIZBOX 3, Business Casual has decided to bundle together “Digital Office” 1, 2, and 3 and has labeled the box set as ‘Office’.  Each “Digital Office” release is a compilation of artists who have released material through the label in the last few years.  The individual cassette tapes made for these releases when they initially came out have since sold out, so this is probably the last opportunity for fans to buy these records on cassette tape before they sell out for good.  Business Casual, who only release vaporwave and various electronic albums through free digital download and extremely limited cassette tape pressings, seem to have continued success with their BIZBOX projects and I won’t be surprised if this becomes a staple for the physical copy release aspect of their label.

Despite being really into vaporwave for the last few months, I still have a lot to learn about the young and up and coming genre.  However, I know for a fact that if you are a new fan to this style of music, like myself, Business Casual’s impressive catalog of releases is the best place for you to start.  Almost all of my favorite vaporwave artists have come from this label and the ability to download any release I want for free allows me, and other listeners, to have access to hours upon hours of the genre’s leading artists.  If you like what you hear definitely support the label and pick up your own copy of the BIZBOX 3 box set ‘Office’ before they are sold out for good.  The link to purchase the tapes are posted below along with free streaming of each “Digital Office”.  Who knows, maybe you’ll receive one of your favorite vaporwave releases on cassette tape as well with your purchase!

BIZBOX 3:

http://music.businesscasual.biz/merch/bizbox-3-office-limited-edition

 

Update: Animals As Leaders Release Third Single Off New Album “The Madness Of Many”

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The anticipation continues to grow for the new material by instrumental prog metal group, Animals As Leaders.  If you have been following the page lately, you would know that the genre-defying band, Animals As Leaders, are releasing their fourth studio album a week from today, and it is on pace to be their greatest release to date.  This is an extremely significant statement, especially since “The Joy of Motion” was such a stellar album.  The group originally announced the upcoming release with two singles; the first being a lighter, soothing track titled “The Brain Dance”, and the second single, released shortly after, was a far more heavy and aggressive song called “Arithmophobia”.  These two tracks appear to be the most polarizing songs on the project and give the listener the full range of how light or heavy any track on the album will be.

The third single, released this week titled “Inner Assassins”, appears to be the middle ground of the two singles previously mentioned.  It features both the light sounding, complexing riffing and the upbeat, heavier sections that were emphasized in the first two singles.  “Inner Assassins” sounds like classic Animals As Leaders with the superb songwriting we’ve heard so far on “The Madness of Many” mixed in, which is an extremely prominent sign that the rest of the album will follow this already fantastic song structure.  I will say, however, that the most impressive aspect of this track is actually the mind-numbingly intricate drumming.  Artfully mastering odd time signatures and polyrhythmic sections, while simultaneously adding character to the track and essentially becoming the backbone to the song itself, the performance by Animals As Leaders’ Matt Garstka, is easily my favorite part of the third single.

A handful of phenomenal albums will be released this month, and “The Madness of Many” is sure to be one of them.  If you are equally as excited for the latest record by Animals As Leaders, be sure to visit the site next week to check out the album review for “The Madness of Many”.  Check out the posts about each previous single off the upcoming album below and give “Inner Assassins” a listen as well!

“The Brain Dance” Review:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/10/06/update-animals-as-leaders-release-first-single-off-upcoming-album-the-madness-of-many/

“Arithmophobia” Review:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/10/23/update-animals-as-leaders-release-second-single-off-the-madness-of-many/

“Inner Assassins”:

Update: Animals As Leaders Release Second Single Off “The Madness Of Many”

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We’re getting closer and closer to the release of the next Animals As Leaders record and the anticipation could not be any higher.  The upcoming fourth studio album by the instrumental, prog-metal innovators is titled, “The Madness of Many”, and so far we have heard two singles off the soon to be released record.  The latest of these two singles is a track called “Arithmophobia”, and it is the complete polar opposite of the first single, “The Brain Dance”.

“Arithmophobia” is a mix between smooth-flowing riffing in peculiar time signatures and impressively heavy sections that make any listener subconsciously head bang.  From melodic, sitar leads to polyrhythmic, heavy breakdowns, “Arithmophobia” adds to the already extremely high anticipation for this sure to be stellar Animals As Leaders album.  I’m assuming AAL released these two singles to show the extreme ends of the spectrum “The Madness of Many” will feature.

With what I’ve heard so far off this upcoming release, I would not be surprised if “The Madness of Many” finds its way onto the Albums of the Year list for 2016!  Check out this latest single below and be sure to check in for more updates and reviews leading up to the release of “The Madness of Many”!