Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Rick's Discoveries Volume XVI

In my unconscious (or, more likely, conscious) desire to be diverse, I have crafted this Discoveries article to be similar to the last, so you're going to see some hip-hop, some house, and some post-rock to go with the usual metal leanings. These "other" genre entries aren't here just to be tokens, however; they are genuinely enjoyable albums, so even if they're not usually your cup of tea, you still might want to try them out.

Face Candy - Waste Age Teen Land

The few reviews I read for this album paint it as a mess… which, well, I can actually understand. Like the first Face Candy album from 2006, Waste Age Teen Land is a 40 minute improvisational experiment. Recorded live, Eyedea, Kristoff Kane, JT Bates, and Casey O'Brien start with a blank canvas and improvise beats, rhythms, raps, and flows, going with whatever comes to mind. Much like the first Face Candy experiment, this is an odd beast all around. I think I'm partially drawn to it because this is one of the last things Eyedea recorded before he died, but even barring that, I admire the way these individuals go out on a limb and explore whatever road they decide to go down throughout the course of this album. For anyone who likes freestyle hip-hop, this is something to check out.

Sleepmakeswaves - Sleepmakeswaves

This is a busy post-rock band. Having released an EP in 2007, another in 2008, and a full length in 2011, they start off 2012 with this self-titled EP. These Australians aren't breaking any new ground in the post-rock arena, but they're executing on it flawlessly. Using the build-up, crescendo, come-down formula Explosions in the Sky made famous, interspersed with some louder Caspian moments, Sleepmakeswaves gives you exactly what you would want and expect from a post-rock album. It's not boring, yet it's not overly complicated or off-putting. They hit that post-rock sweet spot that so many other bands fail to even come close to.

Invisius - Changes

As I Lay Dying + newer Soilwork + some metalcore tropes + some Killswitch Engage = Invsius. I'm not sure I need to tell you any more, do I?

Cult Cinema - Iscariot

This is a brutal, little EP. Combining chaotic hardcore, the darkest Cult of Luna influences, and throat ripping screams, Cult Cinema utterly destroy you with the 5 tracks on this EP. Now when I mention "chaotic hardcore" I should probably temper that by saying "controlled chaotic hardcore" because even though there isn't one iota of slickness, and the band tip-toes so close to losing it, they have a firm grip on how to channel their chaotic tendencies to make songs that keep you wondering how they keep it all pulled together. What I wouldn't give for a full length by these guys!

Thira - The Ascension Construct

I was initially caught up by the song "Release" when I checked it out on the band's bandcamp page. It started as pretty standard deathcore with djent leanings, but in the middle of the song there was a bit of southern swagger added to the djenty guitar tones that reminded me a bit of a mix of Nemertines and The Showdown. Not content to just add a southern twang to their approach, Thira also has some industrial elements that provide even more variety to their djenty deathcore mix.

Dot Three - Antithesis

Whereas Thira went down the deathcore lane of djent-land, Dot Three are firmly planted on groove terrace. If your favorite part of any TesseracTsong is the thick, guitar lead then get over to bandcamp and buy this album. The full focus of this album is on the movements of the guitars; everything else just serves to back them up. The downside to this is that the djent guitar tone is so very obvious here and is so far at the front that if you're getting a bit worn on the sound, it may seem old hat and slightly uninteresting. However, I found it to be a solid instrumental entry utilizing the now popularized djent sound.

Dungeon Elite - New World Disorder

Man… I feel really dirty recommending this album, but I have to simply based upon how catchy it is. This is trendy nintendocore that shouldn’t be good, but the combination of bouncy, almost j-pop style song structures with mallcore metalcore elements, keyboards, and infectious choruses is simply too much to deny. This is the definition of a guilty pleasure album. Imagine Enter Shikari with male/female vocals, and that they listened to tons of pop music and grew up watching ungodly amounts of anime… if that doesn't turn you away instantly, then New World Disorder will easily keep you entertained.

Born to Suffer - The Rambler

I'm not completely sure if I like this album or hate it. The band has so many influences mixed into their songs, from Onward to Olympas toKillswitch Engage to Attack Attack! to Anberlin. It's an interesting mix for sure, but sometimes it feels haphazardly slapped together. I like the mix of metalcore, melody, and keyboards… but I also know I've heard this all before by other bands (and executed a little better)… so why did I listen to this album a couple of times instead of tossing it aside? I'm not sure, really, but since I did come back to it they must be doing something right!

Kaskade - Fire & Ice

I really like the concept of this double album. One disc, Fire, offers the clubbed up, house version of a song while the other, Ice, is a more subdued, trance version of the song. The Fire versions of the songs are very club oriented and have a strong focus on big beats, so make sure your sub can kick it. The Ice versions, for the most part, are a bit slowed down and more nuanced than their Fire counterparts, but some still have a big bass focus (like "Llove")… so I guess what I'm saying is this is a great double album to give your sub a workout, regardless of your mood.

No Trigger - Tycoon

On their third album (their first in 6 years), No Trigger have not changed one bit which, if you ask me, is the best thing they could have done. No Trigger play no frills hardcore punk in the classic EpiWreck style. Think A Wilhelm Scream meets Kid Dynamite meets Strike Anywhere to get your head in the right mindset. There's honestly not a whole lot else to say other than that they do this sound perfectly. They had this style nailed in 2006 with Canyoneer and they haven't lost a single step on Tycoon.

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