Thursday, December 26, 2013
Windhand - Soma (2013)
Blackfield - IV (2013)
Chvrches - The Bones of What We Believe (2013)
Russian Circles - Memorial (2013)
Pelican - Forever Becoming (2013)
Since founding member Laurent Schroeder-Lebecleft this well-known instrumental post-metal band, many including myself were nervous about how this record would turned out. The answer is: not really that well. I absolutely loved the band's previous output, especially "What We All Come to Need," but this one seems to lack the atmosphere and memorability that characterizes those works. It's by means a bad record though. In fact, "Immutable Dusk" is already one of my favorite Pelican songs. But besides that cut it just kinda falls flat and doesn't really connect on an emotional level (especially when you compare it with "The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the Thaw"). That said, I think this is a grower so I'll have to give it more listens and hopefully it will indeed grow on me. But for now, it's a good record but one that doesn't really stand up to their previous ones.
Nine Inch Nails - Hesitation Marks (2013)
Alter Bridge - Fortress (2013)
Ulver - Messe I.X-VI.X (2013)
Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Protest the Hero - Volition (2013)
After the rather disappointing "Kezia" and the band's split from their previous label, the future didn't look all that bright for Protest the Hero. Fortunately, they weren't about to slow down and, with the help of their fans, managed to put out what might be their most accessible record to date. Whereas their magnum opus "Fortress" blends technicality and catchiness in relatively equal proportions, "Volition" is seemingly geared towards expanding the band's fan base (as well as pleasing the many generous fans who donated to their fundraising campaign). And yet there's still plenty of technicality helped in no small part by the phenomenal drumming of Chris Adler from Lamb of God who stepped in when the band's previous drummer left. But I think mainly the band was simply interested in having fun while recording "Volition" and this is evident throughout the entire album. It's a bombastic, theatrical affair whose melodrama is concentrated in the voice and lyrics of Rody Walker who gives the best performance of his career here. I will admit that his vocals are a bit excessive at times and that some songs should have more instrumental parts, but that doesn't change my opinion that he sounds great on this album. Songs such as "A Life Embossed" and "Skies" are a testament not only to Rody's phenomenal pipes, but also to the band's knack for stringing along complicated rhythms and melodies into a harmonious, memorable whole. "Volition" may not be on the level of "Fortress" but it undoubtedly a wonderful return to form that gets better with each listen.