Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rick's Discoveries Volume XV

It's not even been 2 weeks since my last Discoveries article, but I've found myself enamored by quite a few recent listens. Whereas the last article leaned very distinctly to the heavy end of the spectrum of what I usually cover, this article resumes the more varied style that past articles had. However, for the first time in months there isn't a single djent album on the list, which makes me wonder if I'm now--finally--starting to tire of the genre. Even without a djent offering, there's a lot covered here from metalcore to dubstep to prog to doom to black metal, so there should be something to enjoy for everyone.

Chase & Status - No More Idols

I stumbled across this album on accident, but am very thankful that I did. One track by Chase & Status was on a comp I listened to earlier this month and I thought it was interesting enough so when I saw they had an album out from last year, I figured I'd check it out. What I expected was some decent drum and bass, but what I got was a stellar electro/dubstep/house album that not only had a significant variety of song types, but a plethora of guest vocalists. Nearly every track has a different vocalist which definitely influences the approach each song takes--be it hip-hop, R&B, or even pop (although the majority of the album has a hip-hop dubstep vibe). If you want some dubstep that's not just your standard dubstep, this is a choice release to give a listen.

Tea Break - Second Hand Hero

I don't know why the band thought "Tea Break" would be a good name for a post-hardcore band, but here they are. Upon first listen, you may just think you're listening to some Funeral for a Friend demos or B-sides from their Hours era. The driving hard rock and post-hardcore mix that FFAF pulled off so well is the bedrock that Second Hand Hero is built upon. Not nearly as dynamic as FFAF, Tea Break stick to a single formula throughout most of the album, which isn't all that bad except for the fact that this release is 15 tracks long. Still, all is forgiven since they manage to be very, very listenable throughout.

Lethian Dreams - Season of Raven Words

Remember when you first got dumped by someone you actually, truly cared about? Remember how heart-wrenching the experience was? You were stuck with this odd mix of feelings of sadness, listlessness, and apathy… but you also couldn't help but remember fondly the powerful memories of your ended relationship. You'd finally, fully experienced what it is to have a bittersweet memory... and it hurt. Lethian Dreams channels this feeling into their brand of doom and gothic metal. You'll not walk away from this album unscathed.

A Liquid Landscape - Nightingale Express

Starting your album off with a 13+ minute long track is a bit ballsy, especially for an alternative rock band with prog leanings. It's even more ballsy when you consider all of the other songs on the album run half as long or shorter. It almost makes it feel like this title track is its own little EP and the rest of the album is its own album… but anyhow, enough talking about balls. A Liquid Landscape remind me a bit of Karnivool in their proggy leanings, but there's also some nods to bands like Porcupine Tree and Dredg as well. The ambitiousness of some of the tracks on this album is really compelling and should hook in a lot of people looking for intelligent modern alternative rock.

Ceterum - Fathom

Need some Tool-lite to hold you over until we (possibly) get the next album from the prog greats? Then you might as well give Ceterum a spin or two. The influence that Tool has had on Ceterum is pretty obvious, so don't expect to see a lot of variation from their playbook, and I also wouldn’t expect songs quite at the same level as Tool, so maybe it would be more appropriate to categorize Ceterum a bit closer to, say, Earshot or Lucid. However you slice it, though, if you don't like Tool you won't care for Ceterum.

Necrocomiccon - Mjolnir For Nothing

Admittedly, this is not something you'll listen to more than a couple of times--maximum--but it is cute to listen to for those couple of times… if you consider listening to black metal covers of 80's pop songs cute. Cover songs aren't anything new, but hearing hits like "Billie Jean," "Who Can It Be Now?," and "We Didn't Start the Fire" done as straight-forward black metal songs is relatively novel. It's true that the album could have used some polish, but black metal in all its forms seems obsessed with having bad production (something I still don't understand to this day). Like I said, it's a fun listen once or twice through, but that's about it.

ShowYourTeeth - World Denier

I'm continually impressed by the output of Australia in recent years. I honestly think that it's one of the best regions for quality music nowadays and ShowYourTeeth are no slouch. The band's brand of metalcore trends very close to the output of I Killed the Prom Queen or Parkway Drive. The main difference between those bands and this one is in the vocal department. Unfortunately, the vocals are the one place where ShowYourTeeth are quite weak. The throaty yells have very little variation throughout the album, and they feel very forced, as if Michael Salemdoesn't naturally yell but is being told he has to for this album. Maybe this is something they can address in the future (hopefully!) because the rest of the band is rock solid.

Forty Fathoms - In/famous

Forty Fathoms are doing the melodic metalcore thing perfectly. Take the heavy moments from any Parkway Drive song and mix it with the melodic portions of any For the Fallen Dreams or Bury Tomorrow song and you have In/famous. There's absolutely nothing new being done on this EP, but Forty Fathoms are executing the melodic metalcore approach perfectly. If you even tangentially like the genre, you'll find yourself pulled in by this EP.

Spero - City of Tears

In my waiting for a new Trenches album, I found out a couple of guys who were in the band started up their own group--Spero. Wanting to get anything Trenches related into my ears, I tracked down this band and found out that they actually already have 2 releases and a collection of b-sides under their belt, with City of Tears being the latest. Now, if you're expecting something to sound like Trenches, holster those expectations because Spero instead plays a refreshing mix of rock that contains traces of Codeseven, Cave In, and Funeral for a Friend. If you long for hard rock that's not contrived or purposely created for cock-rock radio stations, this will satiate your hunger.

Kill the Noise - Kill Kill Kill

Since it's been a few articles since I've featured dubstep artists, here is your second offering in this round: Kill the Noise. What you'll find on Kill Kill Kill falls very much into the house and drop oriented form of dubstep that is either loved or hated by most. I found this album quite fun and full of energy. I'm sure I'll be kicking it on while I'm trying not to die doing my Insanity workouts and you should flip it on and let it get you moving as well.

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