Breaking News: Chris Cornell Has Passed Away at the Age of 52

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Before I discuss the tragic news of the death of grunge legend Chris Cornell, I want to mention the lack of content at Erik’s Album Reviews lately. For the past month and a half, the staff at Erik’s Album Reviews have dealt with serious issues involving school, family, and other personal situations that forced us to take time away from the website. We apologize to our fans for not having content for a long period of time, but we hope we can get back to providing all of you with daily content immediately! We are very grateful for your support and are excited to share with you new reviews, news stories, YouTube videos, and more!

During our extended break from writing last month, some absolutely crushing news made headlines across the globe. While standing outside my apartment at 3:30 am in the rain waiting for a shuttle to pick me up to take me to the airport, I decided to check my Twitter feed only to see that moments before checking my phone, grunge legend, and a simply impeccable artist who I looked up to for years, Chris Cornell, had passed away. In the first few hours of May 18th, I was completely stunned. I couldn’t believe that at only 52, Chris Cornell was dead. I couldn’t believe that the iconic singer, who seemed healthy and well at the time, abruptly passed away. I couldn’t believe that the singer who made Soundgarden and Audioslave so important to me growing up will never get to take the stage again and do what he loves to do. It was a complete shock that left me stunned in disbelief to say the least. 

According to reports following his death, it appears that the cause of death for Cornell was suicide. Personally, I’d much rather focus on the beautiful life of Chris Cornell than the painful reasons as to why the singer is dead, so in rememberance of the Seattle singer, please give a listen to the two tracks below.

The first is “Gasoline” by Audioslave. Growing up, Rage Against the Machine were sacred to me. Their agressive lyricism and mind numbingly perfect songwriting helped RATM become one of the most impactful bands in my life. That being said, discovering Audioslave, which of course features everyone from RATM besides Zach de la Rocha and has Chris Cornell on vocals, was extremely significant to me and my initial discovery of my favorite artists, and “Gasoline” was the reason for that specific musical discovery. The track itself is upbeat, catchy, well written, and of course heavy, and listening to it today is essential! 

The other track is of course “Black Hole Sun” by Soundgarden. Like most Soundgarden fans, the first track I ever heard by the legendary band was “Black Hole Sun” and it instantly made me a huge fan of the group. The eerieness of the track and the creepy, imminent doom portrayed in the lyrical meaning of the song despite its light vocal delivery was unlike anything I had heard at the time and was captivating to put it simply. After about a half hour of searching I found what is probably Chris’s best performance of the song live (attached below). You’ve probably heard the song countless times before, but I still suggest that you take a few minutes to revisit the classic song. 

Despite the sad news of Cornell’s death, we have more positive articles due out very soon at Erik’s Album Reviews, so stay tuned, and of course, RIP Chris Cornell you will truly be missed.
Audioslave’s “Gasoline”:

Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” live:

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Obituaries: Chiodos

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This is probably the most disappointing thing I’ve written about.  One of my favorite bands of all time, Chiodos, is breaking up.  Forming in 2001, Chiodos has been one of the most successful post-hardcore bands of the 2000s and will forever go down as a legend in the genre.  Recently, Craig Owens, lead singer of Chiodos, and one of the Michigan group’s founding members, commented on the band’s future in an interview with Billboard.com, simply stating that the group was done.  This isn’t really too much of a shock, especially since the band has been pretty dormant since 2014, and Owens himself even mentioned the group had gone on hiatus during the time since then.  However, it still is upsetting to know this amazing group is calling it quits after 15 years of genre-defying success.

Luckily I was able to see them perform live on the 2013 Warped Tour, and who knows, maybe they will return years later, but for now, RIP Chiodos and thank you for being an inspiring and monumental band for years.  There are too many classic Chiodos songs for me to post about and explain why you need to listen to them, so give a listen to literally any Chiodos release (except for “Illuminaudio”).  I will also eventually be posting my full Chiodos collection, and there might even be some album reviews of their classic releases in the near future.  So if you are a massive Chiodos fan make sure to visit the page often for all future Chiodos posts!

Vinyl and Cassette News: Promo Tape For Prince’s “The Versace Experience – Prelude 2 Gold” Sets Record For Most Expensive Cassette Sold On Discogs

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Discogs is easily one of my favorite sites to buy vinyl and cassettes from, and even though I’ve spent a questionable amount of money on these formats, this is unheard of!  Apparently on August 29th, someone on Discogs paid exactly $4,049.07 USD (which may or may not have included shipping) for Prince’s 1995 release of “The Versace Experience – Prelude 2 Gold”, ultimately setting the record for the most expensive cassette sold on Discogs.  With Prince’s untimely death earlier this year, fans of his have been scrambling to pick up represses and rare releases to both add to their collections and to also pay tribute to the late icon himself.  Apparently this promo tape is one of the rarest releases from Prince and was only distributed at the Versace collection at Paris Fashion Week in 1995.  It features rare, previously unreleased tracks and remixes by both Prince and projects affiliated with Prince.  According to Discogs, there are 8 people who claim they own a copy of this extremely rare and valuable tape, but no one has sold a copy since August 29th.

Prince was one of the first artist I ever listened to and is one of the reasons why music is a huge part of my life today.  However, it is nearly impossible to be familiar with all of his absolutely massive collection of releases, so despite being a fan of Prince, I have actually never heard of this promo tape before.  I do plan on finding a way to listen to it though, especially seeing that someone was willing to pay a little over 4 thousand dollars for it!  Unfortunately, I’ll have to listen to it through streaming rather than on tape, because unlike whoever bought the promo cassette, my tape budget is not very high at all.

The link to the Discogs page, where the tape was sold, is attached below for those who would like to check it out.  While there, look through Prince’s extensive discography and give a listen to your favorite Prince album!

Also for future reference, “Vinyl and Cassette News” is another new segment, which I just launched, that will be the hub for all breaking news about vinyl and cassette tapes.  Being a huge collector of these formats myself, I will be writing in this segment often!  If you enjoy these formats as much as I do then make sure to check back in to the site often as I will be updating the segment regularly!

https://www.discogs.com/Artist-Formerly-Known-As-Prince-The-Versace-Experience-Prelude-2-Gold/release/488455

500 Word Review: Expire “With Regret”

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As mentioned earlier, Wisconsin based hardcore act, Expire, will be breaking up next year after being a notable hardcore band for 8 years.  With this news came the release of their last full length album, “With Regret”, which was released through Bridge 9 Records on September 23rd.  This record is Expire’s farewell album and absolutely proves that Expire is going out with a bang.  Being a fan of the group for the last few years, it was bittersweet listening to this final album by the group seeing that the record itself is phenomenal, possibly their greatest release ever, yet this is the very end of this great hardcore band.

Throughout “With Regret” it is obvious that the production on this record surpasses anything they’ve released so far.  The final product is crisp, clear, and shows a perfect balance between every instrument and vocal track heard throughout the release.  It also gives a much needed emphasis to more aggressive and hard hitting sections, in return strengthening the iconic sound of Expire.

This high quality production also helps to clearly showcase the multiple strengths heard throughout Expire’s third full length album.  Things like fast tempo catchy riffs followed by bone-crushing sections, brutally raw bass lines, precise yet impactful drum fills, and anger filled emotive lyrics that at times can be both depressing and inspiring (especially when looking at the lyrics for “Fighting the Slip”), help create the most significant and prominent parts of “With Regret” and make this record phenomenal.  There truly is not a single dull moment throughout the release, although the fact that the longest song on the release is only 2:02 might help contribute to this.  In fact, my only complaint about the release itself is that it is not long enough.  “With Regret” comes in at 22 minutes and while I understand that these brief songs are unique to Expire’s songwriting, I still believe they should have finished their last album with at least 15 songs.  With not a single bad track on this album, it would’ve made their farewell release even more electric with a massive collection of legendary songs to give to fans as their last official release.  However, “With Regret” is nearly flawless and is a great way for the Wisconsin hardcore group to ride off into the sunset.

In summation, I give “With Regret” by Expire an 8.7/10.  If you haven’t listened to the record yet the full album stream is posted below and if you like it make sure you buy a digital or physical copy!  I’ve also posted the blog I did recently about their announcement that they would be playing their final shows next year.

RIP Expire you will truly be missed.

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/09/21/obituaries-rip-abiotic-and-expire/

Obituaries: RIP G.L.O.S.S

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In case you missed it, hardcore/skate punk band, G.L.O.S.S., announced last week that they were breaking up.  G.L.O.S.S. (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) were a pretty new band out of Olympia, Washington only having two releases; a demo released last year and this year’s “Trans Day Of Revenge”.  G.L.O.S.S made a significant impact in the punk/hardcore scene with their feminist/gender equality lyricism and beliefs and also by addressing social gender roles.  These songs show a great amount of anger and aggressiveness about these issues, however this infuriated lyricism talks about topics that are extremely important to discuss, especially in the hardcore scene, and have in return helped create a safer environment for all peoples in hardcore.

If you’ve heard of G.L.O.S.S. before then you’ve probably heard of them being targeted by the shoegaze band Whirr, who sent out a series of tweets that made fun of G.L.O.S.S. for having a feminist message in their lyrics and also for having a transgender member in their group.  These transphobic posts caused Whirr to get dropped from their labels, Run For Cover and Graveface Records, but also lead to G.L.O.S.S.’s breakup.  In their statement about why they were disbanding, G.L.O.S.S. stated that the level of high visibility that they were operating at was taking a toll on them both mentally and physically.  Backlash and transphobic remarks, like those from Whirr, definitely were instigators and causes for this extreme negative toll that G.L.O.S.S. endured.

While I understand their reasoning for calling it quits, it truly is a shame that G.L.O.S.S. has broken up.  Not only did they write some amazing music in their short career, but the message they brought to hardcore was one that was progressive and extremely important for the growth and acceptance within the punk scene.  G.L.O.S.S. essentially, through their message and transgender member in the band, were a representation for the numerous feminists and LGBTQ community members who were apart of the punk scene.  They helped make the hardcore community a safer place for these persons and were also an inspiration, showing that a group can have that message, beliefs, and personal appearance and expression and still be widely accepted and successful.  G.L.O.S.S.’s music is now available for free on their bandcamp, but any money spent on the site will be donated to Interfaith Works Emergency Overnight Shelter.  Their statement is posted below and regardless of how well you know G.L.O.S.S. be sure to give them a listen today.

Music:

https://girlslivingoutsidesocietysshit.bandcamp.com/

Statement:

Goodbye from G.L.O.S.S.

 

 

Obituaries: RIP Abiotic and Expire

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Today I’m releasing a new segment called “Obituaries”, where I’ll be writing about the latest band(s) to break up, go on hiatus, etc.  Of course if these artists ever return and end their break up there will be an updated post, however if an artist or significant figure in the music industry actually passes away, they will be remembered in a different post and will never be featured in Obituaries.

Now that I got that out of the way, the first two bands to be featured on Obituaries are Abiotic and Expire!  Both groups announced they would be breaking up this month for different reasons.

The first of the two, Abiotic, is a band I honestly never listened to despite numerous recommendations over the years.  I even have their album Symbiosis on my iTunes library (a download of the album my friend gave me as a gift along with other albums) yet I never checked them out until this announcement.  Of course, after listening to them I realize how amazing they are and can’t believe there is yet another group out there that I have just become a fan of as they’re breaking up.  Abiotic, during their time as a band, released an EP and two full length records.  However, life as a tech death band can be very hard and I don’t blame them for calling it quits, I just wish I hit play on their material a long time ago.

The other band calling it quits is Expire.  Expire is a band I have actually been a fan of for awhile now.  I first heard about them with their release of Pretty Low and began to really enjoy their more aggressive hardcore sound.  I was actually really bummed to hear they were breaking up especially since I haven’t seen them live at all.  They are releasing their last album ever called “With Regret” out September 23rd via Bridge 9 Records and are on Stick To Your Guns’ fall tour.  The band did announce that this is not their last tour and that their final North American tour will be in 2017 where they will be playing a lot of older material including songs off their 2009 Demo.  Hopefully they’ll hit my city on their farewell tour.

If you’ve never listened to these artists before definitely check them out and go see Expire play on their last few tours ever!

ICYMI: Fans of Architects Raise Over $41,000 In Memory of Tom Searle

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I know this is kinda old news but I thought it was extremely important to share regardless.  For those who still haven’t heard, Tom Searle, guitarist of Architects, passed away over two weeks ago after a long battle with cancer.  Since then Tom’s family started a fundraising campaign for The Martlets Hospice, where Tom was cared for, and with the help of the fans of Architects they were able to raise over $41,000, the largest online fundraising the hospice has ever received.

I personally saw Architects live on Warped Tour in 2013, but never got the chance to meet Tom personally.  That being said, I can’t imagine how hard this must be for Architects and Tom’s friends and family, especially his brother Dan.  My thoughts are with them during this unbelievably sad time.

If you would like to donate on behalf of Tom please see the link below!

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/thomassearle