Breaking News: Aphex Twin Plays First US Show in 8 Years and Releases a Surprise 12″ Record

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Over the weekend, one of the greatest electronic artists of all time, Aphex Twin, performed in the United States for the first time in 8 years.  Playing at Houston’s Day for Night Festival, Aphex Twin performed a two hour long headlining set to close out Saturday night.  The impressive live set is absolutely mesmerizing and easily makes up for the long gap between US performances.

What is even more notable to mention is that Aphex Twin released a surprise 12″ record at the festival.  Apparently, according to festival goers who bought a copy, the artwork and record sleeve is completely white and the only designs seen are on the vinyl disc’s inner label, which features the logos for Aphex Twin, Warp Records, and Day for Night Festival along with the date and location of the festival.  It is speculated that two songs are featured on the vinyl, but further information about the new vinyl has yet to be released.

If you picked up a copy, leave a comment and tell us more about this surprise 12″ record release and let us know how the festival went!  For those who weren’t in Houston, like myself, you can watch the first 30 minutes of Aphex Twin’s set below!  And lastly, If you love electronic music as much as we do at Erik’s Album Reviews, then make sure to check back in for more electronic music news and reviews to be released soon!

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500 Word Review: Metallica “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct”

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Last week, thrash metal legends, Metallica, released their tenth full length studio album, “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct”, which is their first full length album since 2008’s “Death Magnetic”.  Personally, I’m not a massive, avid fan of Metallica, however, they are the first ever metal band I listened to and became a fan of, and the releases I do enjoy are very important to me.  So with the announcement of a new Metallica album to be released in 2016, my anticipation and excitement for new material was very high.  Although, if you are familiar with Metallica’s discography, then you will know that the California based metal act has had some questionable releases in the post-“The Black Album” era.  So my excitement for new material would greatly depend on how the record’s singles sounded.  Thankfully, these singles exceeded expectations!  The three singles, “Hardwired”, “Moth Into Flame”, and “Atlas, Rise!” were phenomenal tracks and only increased how much I was looking forward to hearing the rest of the project!

When you first listen to “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” the first thing you will notice is that this is probably the best production a Metallica album has seen in literally decades.  Albums like “St. Anger” and “Death Magnetic”, which were the two releases prior to “Hardwired…”, feature some of the worst production quality in Metallica’s career.  Everything from how the drums were recorded to the mix and mastering of the entire album overall were terrible and at some points unbearable.  On “Hardwired…”, the exact opposite is seen.  The drums, especially the tight, bone-snapping snare sound, are recorded perfectly and the distorted guitars and bass tracks sound amazing.  The vocals sound powerful, well mixed, and most importantly, in tune.  Overall, the great production quality allows the album to sound like a successful modern day thrash metal record, and in return makes the whole release more enjoyable.

The songwriting exemplified on the new Metallica album is ridiculously good as well.  The entire album is full with catchy, memorable tracks that sound like great, classic thrash metal songs.  Chugging, head-banging worthy riffs are simply powerful, especially with stellar vocals.  Tracks like “Now That We’re Dead” and “Halo On Fire” are perfect examples of this and are reminiscent to their older sound heard in the mid to late 80s.  Even tracks like “Atlas, Rise!” and “Murder One” are instant classics and should be praised as some of their best tracks in their extensive catalog.  If you are a fan of the mind-numbing guitar solos from lead guitarist, Kirk Hammett, then  you will love this album as it is full with solos of his, like the extremely impressive solo heard on “Murder One”.  Overall, there are only two songs that personally I thought were just ok or decent songs on the record, but there is still over an hour of amazing material off this two disc record.  Besides the fact that there are only two decent songs, “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” is mostly fast tempo, in your face, classic thrash metal with some great, short, melodic breaks in between the hard-hitting riffs and catchy choruses.  There is rarely a dull moment throughout “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct”, which keeps the listener attentive and into the album despite the fact that it is well over an hour in length!

In conclusion, this is one of the best Metallica albums in literally decades.  The record features all the classic, widely praised aspects of Metallica that make their old releases so phenomenal.  It’s important to not listen to this album thinking it will be as good as the legendary releases like “The Black Album, “Master of Puppets”, or even “…And Justice For All”, considering the fact that these are some of the greatest metal albums of all time, but “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” is still a remarkable album and is for sure their greatest release in the post-“The Black Album” era.  I give “Hardwired… to Self-Destruct” an 8.5/10 and highly encourage anyone, regardless of their opinion on Metallica, to give it a listen!  The Youtube playlist for the album is attached below to view and make sure to check back in this weekend for more reviews and other music content!

Breaking News: Kanye West Extends Saint Pablo Tour By Adding More North American Dates

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Since August, Kanye West has been performing on the Saint Pablo Tour, which is intended to promote his latest album, “The Life of Pablo”.  The tour has recently seen an expansion, which will now be running until his New Year’s Eve show in Brooklyn and features stops in both cities he recently played in for the first wave of the Saint Pablo Tour, and cities he has yet to perform in.

The tour made headlines this year not for the material he was playing, but for how Kanye himself would put on these shows.  On the Saint Pablo Tour, Kanye stands on a “hovering” platform literally above his fans with a grid of stage lights beaming down on him.  This essentially creates a very intimate concert environment with the floor/mosh pit of fans being separated from Kanye by only a few feet.  This idea of a stage setup is absolutely genius and in return causes the Saint Pablo Tour to be a show I cannot miss, and you shouldn’t miss it either for that matter!

The picture above is one of the awe inspiring images that have surfaced online from one of the concerts on the tour.  A list of dates for this second wave of shows is attached below.  Also if the video below filmed by a fan in the crowd at the Dallas date of the Saint Pablo Tour doesn’t give you goosebumps and makes you want to go to this show, then I honestly don’t know what will.  This tour will probably be the greatest tour of 2016, and one of the best shows you will go to ever, and if you don’t believe me, then ask the thousands of people who have attended the tour so far and have said nothing but positive things about this electric performance by Kanye.  All tickets for the second wave of the show go on sale Friday so make sure you pick up your ticket then and get excited for the next stage in the Saint Pablo Tour featuring Kanye West.

10-19 Seattle, WA – KeyArena
10-22 & 23 Oakland, CA – Oracle Arena
10-25, 26, & 27 Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
10-29 Las Vegas, NV – T-Mobile Arena
11-01-02 Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
11-17 San Jose, CA – SAP Center at San Jose
11-19 Sacramento, CA – Golden 1 Center
11-22 Fresno, CA – SaveMart Center
11-23 Anaheim, CA – Honda Center
11-26 Dallas, TX – American Airlines Center
11-28 Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
12-01 San Antonio, TX – AT&T Center
12-02 Houston, TX – Toyota Center
12-04 Ft. Lauderdale, FL – BB&T Center
12-06 Orlando, FL – Amway Center
12-08 Atlanta, GA – Philips Arena
12-09 Columbia, SC – Colonial Life Arena
12-11 Albany, NY – The Times Union Center
12-13 Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
12-15 Philadelphia, PA – Wells Fargo Center
12-16 Newark, NJ – Prudential Center
12-18 Toronto, Ontario – Air Canada Centre
12-20 Louisville, KY – KFC Yum! Center
12-22 Auburn Hills, MI – The Palace of Auburn Hills
12-27 Washington, DC – Verizon Center
12-28 Boston, MA – TD Garden
12-30 & 31 Brooklyn, NY – Barclays Center

Breaking News: Apparently Brendon Urie Performed “It Remembers” With Every Time I Die

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As mentioned earlier, Every Time I Die’s latest album, “Low Teens”, features an extremely catchy and addictive track called “It Remembers” that includes guest vocals from Panic! At The Disco’s Brendon Urie.  I personally didn’t know that the two groups were fans of each other, so I was surprised to see they recorded a song together.

ETID has been playing “It Remembers” often on tour this month  and last night they played a show in Los Angeles.  Apparently, Brendon Urie was at the concert and got on stage to perform with Every Time I Die.  The short video of his singing with the band is posted below and I highly suggest you watch it!  It’s obvious after watching the video that Brendon Urie is a huge fan of ETID and his massive fandom for the band can be seen through his brief, yet electric performance.  Of course Brendon and Every Time I Die also sound amazing while performing “It Remembers”.  Urie even took to Twitter after the show to express his gratitude towards ETID for allowing him to accomplish his dream of playing a show with them.

Like previously stated, the video of the show in LA last night is posted below and the blog I wrote about Brendon Urie being announced as a guest vocalist on “Low Teens” is also attached, along with the music video for “It Remembers”.  The album review for “Low Teens” is almost finished and should be posted on the site in the next few days!

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/09/23/breaking-news-apparently-brendon-urie-is-featured-on-every-time-i-dies-latest-album-low-teens/