The Thursday Ten: 12/29/16

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Even though we are a little late with posting this, here is this week’s “The Thursday Ten”!  This segment has been very rewarding to write this year and we’re glad to see that our viewers enjoyed reading these installments as much as we did with writing them!  This post is actually the last “The Thursday Ten” for all of 2016.  It’s amazing to see how many albums we gave ratings to this year and the staff here at Erik’s Album Reviews can’t wait to see what albums will make it onto “The Thursday Ten” next year!  Once again thank you for support and we will be back with more installments to “The Thursday Ten” next year!

  1. Deftones – Gore: 6/10
  2. Shokran – Exodus: 8/10
  3. Abbath – Abbath: 7/10
  4. Phantogram – Three: 6/10
  5. Zao – The Well-Intentioned Virus: 9/10
  6. Solange – A Seat At The Table: 8/10
  7. Norma Jean – Polar Similar: 8/10
  8. Emarosa – 131: 9/10
  9. Angelmaker/A Night In Texas – Split EP: 8/10
  10. Hodgy – Fireplace – TheNotTheOtherSide: 8/10

The previous “The Thursday Ten”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/the-thursday-ten-111516/

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Classic Album Review: METALLICA St. Anger

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Metallica may be a thrash metal band, but for all their aggressive drive, they manage to make their music balanced. The same cannot be said for “St. Anger”. To put it quite simply, it is a mess. In an attempt to recreate the raw sound of their early work, Metallica decided to make new material for their album in an old military barracks. A noble idea, but one that ultimately failed. In the end the band decided the sound was too raw, and moved to their own studio to record the final product. Sadly, even a bona fide studio and the skills of producer Bob Rock were not enough to save this album.

Shortly before recording started, Metallica’s bassist Jason Newstead left the band. Determined to release a new album, Metallica had Bob Rock step in as a temporary replacement. James Hetfield’s alcohol addiction and personal issues further complicated recording, and a sloppy album was the result.

Metallica’s drummer Lars Ulrich is often criticized for his decision to remove the wire from his snare drum, and for good reason. The drums are overwhelming. The kit doesn’t sound raw, but like it is composed of trash cans. The gimmick is distracting from the rest of “St. Anger’s” noise, which is probably a good thing. Apart from their sound, the drumming is tame compared to the skill Ulrich has shown before.

Putting it mildly, the vocals are strident. Hetfield is frequently off key and manages to sound far less suave than before. Uncomfortable wailing and ugly shouts plague the album too. The lyrics are all things childish, cliché, and boring. In the title track, Hetfield spouts cringe worthy lines like “fuck it all and fuckin’ no regrets” and the album ends up sounding ridiculous, rather than metal. Other times the lyrics are lazy.   For example, Metallica lists off as many words as they can think of ending in “or” in the track, “Dirty Window”, to show off their rhyming skills. The background vocals are usually buried in the mix, but Metallica has hung on to the kind of gang vocals that have worked for them in the past. Unfortunately, we can often hear what sounds like layers of Hetfield screeching over each other, like what is heard on “Some Kind of Monster”, as if he wasn’t making enough of a ruckus already.

It was depressing to listen to a Metallica album without a single guitar solo. Kirk Hammett usually delivers standout riffs at the least, but none were to be found on “St. Anger”. In general, the guitar could be described as uninspired. Hetfield’s performance wasn’t very impressive either. It doesn’t have much of an impact on the album, instead it’s just there. Perhaps they are rusty or old, but it was a lackluster performance.

Bob Rock’s bass performance was completely drowned in the mix, which is strange considering he was the album’s producer. You really have to press your ear to the speaker to notice the bass, and when you do, it sounds like a carbon copy of Korn’s signature rattling bass, especially when listening to “Purify”. On the other hand, who knows what that sound is. It could even be Hetfield puking into one of Lars’ trashcans.

“St. Anger” is not cohesive. Each transition is clumsy, and the instruments fail to complement each other. Not a single aspect of this album is without flaw, and that includes its themes. The lyrics, like those heard on the track, “Invisible Kid”, try to be philosophical, but sound like they were written by an angsty teenager. The songs last too long and even when they have something good going, they ruin it moments later. One of the albums redeeming moments, reminiscent of the stylish rhythms of Metallica’s self-titled album, is when the band lays down a grooving riff to Hetfield’s well delivered lyrics of “Open your heart, I’m beating right here”, but the moment is murdered moments later with more horrible wailing. Overall, this is a horribly discordant album that relied too much on production despite its goal of achieving a raw sound. Something tells me that recalling an album on the sight of a trashcan is not a good sign.

 

Score: 3.4/10

 

Album Review by Zachary Norton, November 2016

The Thursday Ten: 11/24/16

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After missing last week we are now back with the next installment to “The Thursday Ten”!  Like usual, the rules for “The Thursday Ten” haven’t changed and we encourage you to check out every album listed below on any of the major music streaming services.  Let us know what you think of the ratings, which albums we should do next, and don’t forget to read previous “The Thursday Tens”, like the most recent one attached below!  Here is this week’s “The Thursday Ten”:

  1. Hail The Sun – Culture Scars: 8/10
  2. Stolas – Allomaternal: 8/10
  3. The Devil Wears Prada – Transit Blues: 7/10
  4. Gallant – Ology: 9/10
  5. Sianvar – Stay Lost: 8/10
  6. Memphis May Fire – This Light I Hold: 6/10
  7. Fire From The Gods – Narrative: 7/10
  8. twenty one pilots – Heathens *single/not an album*: 5/10
  9. Rob $tone – Chill Bill *single/not an album*: 9/10
  10. Leon Bridges – Coming Home: 8/10

The previous “The Thursday Ten”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/the-thursday-ten-111016/

The Thursday Ten: 11/10/16

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This week we have another installment to the segment, “The Thursday Ten”.  The rules are still the same as usual, and in fact, this week is actually very similar to last week’s post.  This week I have given ratings mostly to releases I wasn’t too fond of.  While there are some great albums in the list below, there are also some extremely cringe worthy ones mentioned.  However, don’t let my opinion stop you from giving these records a listen and determining your own opinion on them yourselves.  Like usual, every album mentioned can be heard on any of the major music streaming platforms, for those who want to give the records a listen.  Last week’s “The Thursday Ten” is also posted below if you are interested in reading older additions to this weekly segment!  Let us know what you think of the ratings in the comments below, make sure to follow the page to never miss an update to “The Thursday Ten”, and of course, all suggestions for records to be rated are always welcome.  Here is this week’s “The Thursday Ten”:

  1. Brokencyde – All Grown Up: 0/10
  2. The Chainsmokers – Collage EP: 7/10
  3. Young the Giant – Home of the Strange: 7/10
  4. Capsize – A Reintroduction: The Essence of All That Surrounds Me: 8/10
  5. Die Antwood – Mount Ninji and da Nice Time Kid: 1/10
  6. Beartooth – Aggressive: 5/10
  7. Fit For a King – Deathgrip: 7/10
  8. Attila – CHAOS: 3/10
  9. Meek Mill – DC4: 6/10
  10. Dayshell – Nexus: 8/10 

Last week’s “The Thursday Ten”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/04/the-thursday-ten-11316/

 

Breaking News: The Last Ten Seconds Of Life Release New Music Video For The Track “Little Black Line”

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Nu-metal inspired deathcore act, The Last Ten Seconds Of Life, have recently put out a brand new music video for their single, “Little Black Line”.  The single is off their upcoming album, “The Violent Sound”, and is the first release to feature their new vocalist, John Robert C.  The Last Ten Seconds Of Life, who released an album last year that made it onto my list of albums of the year, showcase their continued experimentation with nu-metal and various modern extreme metal genres with “Little Black Line”.  The track itself is very good (and actually features some singing vocals alongside guttural, screaming vocals), but still doesn’t match the high standard set by “Soulless Hymns”.  The absolute raw sound and catchy, yet unfathomably brutal sections made “Soulless Hymns'” first few singles a little more memorable in my opinion.  It’s fair to say that “The Violent Sound” will be very good, but based on the “Little Black Line” and “Bloodlust” the record itself might be a little too experimental with different genres in my opinion.  However, I might completely change my mind once I’ve heard the entire album.

Regardless of my opinion, make sure to check out this new single from The Last Ten Seconds Of Life below and also read my albums and EPs of 2015 post to see where The Last Ten Seconds Of Life is ranked!

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/09/26/2015-albums-and-eps-of-the-year/