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”:

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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/

Classic Album Review: MASTODON Crack The Skye

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Of all the albums in Mastodon’s vibrant discography, “Crack the Skye” is the most distinctive. Its distinction isn’t due to a higher level of quality or a lack thereof, but its departure from Mastodon’s original identity. The unreserved sludge held in common by their first three records makes a precious few appearances in “Crack the Skye”. Interestingly enough, the occasional bellow and plundering guitar riff seem even more powerful among the often churning album. The grumbling bass guitar in “Ghost of Karelia” and the familiar screams of the album’s title track, are no exception to that. Instrumentally, Mastodon has demonstrated their instrumental prowess once again, delivering precise riffs, solos, and drum fills that outclass the efforts of other sludge metal bands. Nevertheless, “Crack the Skye” is best described as progressive metal with a healthy dose of space rock; certainly not sludge metal. The mash up of genres grants the record an immersive atmospheric quality which is deliberately broken to lend a commanding air to their guitar solos and vocals. For the first time, singing has taken center stage over Mastodon’s signature guttural shouts. Their harmonies can be glorious, but are sometimes awkward such as in the pre-chorus of “Oblivion”. Despite their relative inexperience with singing, it still manages to add to the record’s synergy. Each song flows seamlessly into the next.

“Crack the Skye “continues on with the bands tradition of following a concept. However, never have they undertaken one so personal. Make no mistake, the album may be chalk full of topics like astral projection and the legendary Rasputin, but its true inspiration was the early death of a bandmate’s sister. Unfortunately, the concept is a bit too fleshed out and outlandish. The band may have overdone it in this aspect. Apart from this, there is little to complain about. The album starts off strong and ends even stronger: in a thirteen-minute epic. There is hardly a low point besides a couple of transitions featuring over repetition, something that could be mistaken for laziness. Given the emotional investment in the album it is more likely a thorough attempt to stick to the albums unique tone, which the band does very well. They put their fan base at risk with this album by changing their sound, but musically it is a success.

Often when a metal band lightens up their musical palate, it is seen as an attempt to reach a larger audience or “sell out”, despite what they may claim. It is not uncommon for the quality of writing to decline too. The reasons for Mastodon’s decision to move away from their roots in “Crack the Skye” is unclear. The personal investment they have in the record, and its overall quality suggest that it could be their earnest attempt at something a little different. It’s not uncommon for artists to experiment with their ideas occasionally. However, looking at Mastodon post-“Crack the Skye”, it seems certain that the album was intended to test the world’s reception of a new sound before they committed to what might be called hard rock.

Score: 8.5/10

Album Review by Zach Norton, November 2016

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”:

Breaking News: Animals As Leaders Announce New Album “The Madness Of Many”

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Progressive Instrumental metal powerhouse, Animals As Leaders, have announced they will be releasing their fourth full length album, “The Madness Of Many”, on November 11th via Sumerian Records.  Following their phenomenal album, “The Joy Of Motion”, Animals As Leaders are back and the hype could not be more real.  They have yet to release a single for the album, however they have revealed the stellar artwork for the album, seen above, which surpasses any previous release as the greatest AAL album artwork ever.  In the meantime, listen to their older material and get stoked for “The Madness Of Many”!