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  #11  
Old 12-27-2013, 11:53 AM
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Lord Dying Ė Summon The Faithless

Portland sludge metal outfit, Lord Dying, bring some havoc with their Relapse Records debut, Summon The Faithless. The 4 piece borrows heavily from early High On Fire andÖ. Thatís it, really. Lord Dying sounds like early 2000ís High On Fire with modern production. Not to rip on them or anything, because there are some seriously badass tunes on the record. Hence why I even bothered to list them in what I see as some of the better records of the year. The tones are great, the riffs are in-your-face brutal and some of the guitar work is really impressive. If youíre looking for straightforward sludge/stoner metal, these are your guys.


In A Frightful State Of Gnawed Dismemberment
What Is Not... Is



Purson Ė The Circle and the Blue Door

London psychedelic rock group, Purson, put out a hell of a debut record with, The Circle and the Blue Door. Band leader, Rosalie Cunningham, has a knack for crafting together all sorts of cool psychedelic rock tunes and has the voice to go along with it. If youíve seen this bandís name paired with occult rock bands, ignore those who tried to convince you these guys are occult. Pursonís sound focuses more on the circus-y side of the spectrum of psychedelic rock. There are also a lot of nautical sounds too. The circus elements comes in a lot of the interesting melodies in Pursonís music, and there a lot of samples of circus music cut into the music, usually at the end of tracks. The kinds of tracks range from rocking tunes like Well Spoiled Machine and Leaning On A Bear, psyched out jams like The Contract, ballad-like tunes like Sailorís Lifeís Lament and Tragic Catastrophe. The whole record has a retro/nostalgic feel to it thatís just impeccable. If you need more female fronted psychedelic rock, look no further, because this is the best this year has to offer.


Leaning On A Bear
Sapphire Ward


Raw Geronimo Ė Dream Fever

Raw Geronimo are a 6-piece rock Ďní roll outfit from LA. The bandís songwriter, Laena Geronimo, is the daughter of Alan Myers, past Devo drummer. Raw Geronimo combine elements of alt rock, surf rock, pop, soul and tribal drumming to create some really cool tunes, ranging from soulful ballads, dance-punk jams and surfed out rockers. The band is really dynamic with their use of guitars and a bunch of different kinds of percussion that really add to all of their tribal moments. You wouldnít think white folk would make such spiritual sounding tribal jams. Theyíre not unlike what you might hear out of a voodoo gathering in the bayous along the Mississippi River. So with a wide array of sounds to craft some really interesting alt rock tunes, Raw Geronimoís Dream Fever is an interesting listen thatíll have you moving no matter where you are.


Bitched
Magnetic Love


Rin Tin Tiger Ė Splinter Remedies

San Francisco alt folk-trio Rin Tin Tiger are a band I discovered my first year at SJSU. Thought theyíre from San Francisco, they frequently play San Jose and they quickly became my favorite group thatís a part of the indie rock scene thatís happening in the south bay. Their style is a unique take on folk-rock, playing a wide array of material from folky love ballads, up-beat dance-along rock songs, summer time tunes and even some heavy folk-rock tunes. And all of the songs have a really strong lyrical center and focus, with topics that vary from past loves, social commentary, and other topics that I havenít spent enough time deciphering to get. The musicianship on the album is great. Guitarist/vocalist/harmonica-shredder Kevin Sullivan gives some of is best, guitar and vocals performances on this record, bassist Sean Sullivan gives shows how diverse a bass player is, from laying down moderate bass tracks on the softer tunes and laying down the stank of tracks like Michelangelo and Precaution. Overall, you get just about everything you might want from folk-rock record and more on Splinter Remedies, from ballad tracks like Haunted Now, upbeat smack downs like Michelangelo, and even a song that shows up djent bands on dissonance with the track Precaution. If you dig alt rock, indie, or folk, give this a whirl.


Stream the full album on their bandcamp.



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  #12  
Old 12-28-2013, 01:10 PM
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suicideyear Ė Japan

As you can tell by now, Iíve become a fan of hip-hop. And if you have any clue as to what kind of music I like, youíd know that Iím very much into groovy stoner metal and really atmospheric, ethereal forms of metal as well. So the idea that thereís a style of hip-hop production thatís heavy on groove and atmospheric goodness, while retaining hip-hop trademarks I love like soul samples, sporadic hi-hats and booming 808 bass drums would naturally excite me. And thatís what Iíve discovered thanks to Louisiana producer, suicideyear. Iím totally aware that cloud rap stylings have been around for quite some time, but this was my first exposure to the style and Iím really digging the material. Almost all the lead melodies on these tracks sound like they could belong club bangers, especially with the heavy use of trap-rap style hi-hats and bombastic 808s, but the keyboard sounds suicideyear uses are really calm and soothing, so it gives the songs a really chilled-out vibe. When I hear these songs I canít help but kick my feet up, relax and bob my head. Maybe do a little cookiní. If youíre into cloud rap, definitely check this out.

Birthday
CCCXXV



Windhand Ė Soma

If youíre in need of tasty stoner, riffs, look no futher. Windhandís major label debut, Soma, is chockfull of tasty, monstrous fuzzed out riffs, a la Electric wizard, that will hit harder than a semi. Another thing Iíd like to note about Windhand is that listening to them was the first time I legit couldnít tell the vocalist was a woman. Even listening to the record now, I canít tell the person delivering these psychedelic vocal melodies was a woman until the 4th track, Evergreen, because itís an acoustic jam. Thatís right, thereís an acoustic jam on this record and itís layered with beautiful, soaring vocals over a sorrowful chord progression that never changes, but never really gets old. All the other songs on this album are heavily distorted and hit you in the face with mouth watering riffs that sound like they were manifested from of an occult ritual. The only problem with the album is the last track, Boleskine, is 30 minutes long, and it really doesnít need to be. The last riff last like 15 minutes, which is a bit excessive. But other than that, this album is awesome. Monster riffs, psychedelic vocals, and even more monster riffs. If you like Electric Wizard, thereís no reason you shouldnít have already heard this.

Woodbine
Evergreen


Witherscape Ė The Inheritance

If you were bummed about Opeth turning into dadrock, then fear no longer: thereís a new band that can take Opethís place as Swedenís resident progressive death metal band. The new title goes to Dan SwanŲís newest project, Witherscape. If you didnít know, Dan has worked with Mikael Akerfeldt, both in death metal band, Bloodbath. This is the first Dan SwanŲ project Iíve heard, and I have to say I really like what he did on the record. The Inheritance features two musicians: SwanŲ on vocals, keyboards, and drums and Swedish musician, Ragnar Widerberg on guitar and bass. The alum is full of sounds, with lots of acoustic guitar passages, awesome progged out moments, and crushing death metal riffs, and atmospheric passages. Dan SwanŲ also showcases his vocal ability with one of the meanest death growls Iíve heard and some awesome clean vocals. Everything on the album sounds great. If youíre looking for awesome progressive death metal that sounds like a mix of good Opeth and old 70ís progressive rock, this is what you need.

Dead For A Day
Astrid Falls


Young Hunter Ė Embers at the Foot of Dark Mountain

Young Hunter returns to 2013 with an impressive EP. Embers at the Foot of Dark. Mountain sees the stoner/desert rock treading even darker territory than before across the 3 tracks on this EP. The opening tracks starts with a ominous drone before some vocals and wicked harmonized guitars come in. Then the whole band comes in and the enter desert jam that as groovy as it is ghostly. The second track starts off with a really western guitar lick that dances. The band comes in with some wicked sound organ and guitar lines that just add to the desert feeling. The song keeps a pulsating rhythm throughout, giving you the feeling that youíre on a getaway train. The final song on the EP is a bit looser than the first, centered around a drum jam that was a blast to hear when I saw these guys last year. It still has an overall dark vibe, but it also has some vibrant clean guitar licks and an overall uplifting vibe. Young Hunter proves on this EP that theyíre the desert rock band to watch out for. Grab this EP at their bandcamp for name your price.

Download the EP for free here


That concludes the first portion of the thread. Tomorrow I'll start on the records I thought were great.

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  #13  
Old 12-28-2013, 01:41 PM
Datjazzfusion Datjazzfusion is offline
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That concludes the first portion of the thread. Tomorrow I'll start on the records I thought were great.

[/center]
So these are the good albums, then great, then top 10?
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  #14  
Old 12-28-2013, 02:06 PM
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Yeah, with top 10 concerts thrown somewhere in the mix
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  #15  
Old 12-28-2013, 02:40 PM
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I'm really big on cover artwork, and the three albums Leucosis have on their bandcamp site have some fantastic art. The music is pretty cool stuff too.
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  #16  
Old 12-29-2013, 02:21 PM
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Bosnian Rainbows Ė Bosnian Rainbows

Bosnian Rainbows is the latest project from Omar RodrŪguez-Lůpez, known for his work in At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta. Bosnian Rainbows are an indie rock band that features a lot of experimentation and electronics. The band features Omar on guitar, Teri Gender Bender on vocals, Deantoni Parks on drums/keyboards, and Nicci Kasper on synthesizers and keyboards. Thatís right: the drummer plays drums and keyboards simultaneously and thereís no bass player. But I didnít know that they didnít have a bassist Ďtil I saw them live. Their bass synth sound is really convincing. The record features a wide array of songs, each having really unique intricacies. Thereís all sort of sound manipulation, from sporadic uses of guitar layered in effects, odd keyboard sounds that resemble static being used as a melody, and vocal sampling, the album presents a lot of cool ideas. But donít think itís all experimental music piece, all of these songs are rock songs that features verse/chorus structures. There are upbeat songs like Torn Maps and Always On The Run, slower pieces like Eli and Turtleneck. Most of the songs have elements of it all, but are usually mid-paced rock songs. Overall, this record has a lot of interesting sounds to offer and features some of the most interesting musicianship Iíve heard in a long time. With the exception of Teri, each musician is doing at least two things at once, and it sounds just as cohesive live as it does on record. If youíre still butthurt that Omar broke up The Mars Volta and want everything else he does to sound like Volta, this may not be for you, but if youíre interested in hearing some of the most interesting rock music that come out this year, check this out.

Turtle Neck
Torn Maps



Castevet Ė Obsian

One of the more interesting black metal releases of the year, Castevetís Obsian adds progressive and avant-garde elements to atmospheric black metal. The trio consists of Ian Jacyszyn on drums, Andrew Hock on guitars and blackened vocals, and Nicholas McMaster, also in Krallice, on bass and death growls. Although the record is only a short 35 minutes, it packs in a lot of different soundscapes and atmospheres. The album is primarily really dreamy and desolate, focusing and building on atmospheres with dense guitar chords and odd time signatures. Another thing I love about this record is the amazing bass performance by McMaster. He uses the instruments in many different ways, from using it as a melody instrument, building dissonant atmospheres with it, and overall just writing some really original and unique sounding bass lines throughout the entirety of the record. With odd song structures, desolate atmospheres, and awesome instrumentation, Obsian proves to be one of the most interesting atmospheric black metal releases to come out this year.

The Curve
Fathomed By Beggars And Victims


Chance The Rapper Ė Acid Rap

Every now and again, a record comes out and shows you a complete fresh take on a genre that youíd never expect to hear. As I am new to hip-hop, this may happen to me more often than others, but this mixtape presented a lot of idea that I havenít heard before that really resonated with me. Chance The Rapper is a 20-year-old rapper out of Chicago and Acid Rap is his second mixtape. Acid Rap features some of the best production Iíve heard in a while. Chance selected great beats that completely matched what he was going for on every song. The album features a lot of soul, RnB and jazz type beats, along with some more unconventional beats for some tunes, like the atmospheric stuff on Paranoia or the pseudo-trap beat on Smoke Again. Chance himself is a fantastic rapper and signer, showcasing really witty lyricism and fantastic delivery on every song, with a really unique voice. His sense for hooks and his ability to make everything extremely catchy is uncanny. Itís almost impossible to listen to Acid Rap and not have at least one song stuck in your head for hours. Another thing I love about this record is how positive and uplifting this record is. While there some tracks that are about typical young rapper stuff; Smoke Again and NaNa; plenty of other tracks are really introspective and a few tracks are about love and other feel good topics, but it isnít cheesy. Chance comes off really sincere on tracks like Cocoa Butter Kisses, Everybodyís Somebody, Lost and Acid Rain. With a mixtape thatís highly infectious and fits every feel good mood, Chance The Rapper put out my favorite hip-hop release of the year.

Cocoa Butter Kisses
Chain Smoker


Dead In The Dirt Ė The Blind Hole

This is probably one of the most ridiculous albums Iíve heard in a while. In a completely good way, mind you. Dead In The Dirt are a powerviolence band from Atlanta, Georgia, and their music is some of the noisiest, chaotic, and bi-polar out there right now. Some things you should know about this band and the record before I go in to more details are: theyíre only a three piece, and the album features 22 songs in 24 minutes. From that you know youíre in for a ride. As you can guess, many of the songs here are short blasts of hate-filled rage and itís absolutely heavy and unrelenting. The band uses a mix of death growls and hardcore screaming and both sound great. And the tones are absolutely righteous. The band combines sound from grindcore, hardcore, and sludge metal, and they switch from on style to the other at a moments notice, see Swelling. Thereís also a profuse use of feedback. In fact, the track Strength Through Restraint is practically all feedback and itís absolutely manic. Between having your face pummeled buy non-stop carnage, you get some oddball tracks like Caged, that features what sounds like a church bell and uses delay to itís advantage to resemble what it might feel like to be in solitary confinement. The short tracks are sweet and to the point brutality, and the ďlongerĒ tracks (2-3 minutes) are actually well structured songs that combine sludge and hardcore beautifully. The album closer, Halo Crown, sounds like somebody getting sucked into a black hole, ending with feedback, trudging drums and the vocalists screaming until it all turns into noise. The Blind Hole is an impressive record that fits in just about every flavor of ďangryĒ you can imagine. Listen to this and start punching holes in your wall.


It's only 24 minutes long, just listen to the whole record.



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  #17  
Old 12-30-2013, 01:37 PM
Datjazzfusion Datjazzfusion is offline
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Bosnian Rainbows Ė Bosnian Rainbows

Bosnian Rainbows is the latest project from Omar RodrŪguez-Lůpez, known for his work in At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta. Bosnian Rainbows are an indie rock band that features a lot of experimentation and electronics. The band features Omar on guitar, Teri Gender Bender on vocals, Deantoni Parks on drums/keyboards, and Nicci Kasper on synthesizers and keyboards. Thatís right: the drummer plays drums and keyboards simultaneously and thereís no bass player. But I didnít know that they didnít have a bassist Ďtil I saw them live. Their bass synth sound is really convincing. The record features a wide array of songs, each having really unique intricacies. Thereís all sort of sound manipulation, from sporadic uses of guitar layered in effects, odd keyboard sounds that resemble static being used as a melody, and vocal sampling, the album presents a lot of cool ideas. But donít think itís all experimental music piece, all of these songs are rock songs that features verse/chorus structures. There are upbeat songs like Torn Maps and Always On The Run, slower pieces like Eli and Turtleneck. Most of the songs have elements of it all, but are usually mid-paced rock songs. Overall, this record has a lot of interesting sounds to offer and features some of the most interesting musicianship Iíve heard in a long time. With the exception of Teri, each musician is doing at least two things at once, and it sounds just as cohesive live as it does on record. If youíre still butthurt that Omar broke up The Mars Volta and want everything else he does to sound like Volta, this may not be for you, but if youíre interested in hearing some of the most interesting rock music that come out this year, check this out.

Turtle Neck
Torn Maps



Castevet Ė Obsian

One of the more interesting black metal releases of the year, Castevetís Obsian adds progressive and avant-garde elements to atmospheric black metal. The trio consists of Ian Jacyszyn on drums, Andrew Hock on guitars and blackened vocals, and Nicholas McMaster, also in Krallice, on bass and death growls. Although the record is only a short 35 minutes, it packs in a lot of different soundscapes and atmospheres. The album is primarily really dreamy and desolate, focusing and building on atmospheres with dense guitar chords and odd time signatures. Another thing I love about this record is the amazing bass performance by McMaster. He uses the instruments in many different ways, from using it as a melody instrument, building dissonant atmospheres with it, and overall just writing some really original and unique sounding bass lines throughout the entirety of the record. With odd song structures, desolate atmospheres, and awesome instrumentation, Obsian proves to be one of the most interesting atmospheric black metal releases to come out this year.

The Curve
Fathomed By Beggars And Victims


Chance The Rapper Ė Acid Rap

Every now and again, a record comes out and shows you a complete fresh take on a genre that youíd never expect to hear. As I am new to hip-hop, this may happen to me more often than others, but this mixtape presented a lot of idea that I havenít heard before that really resonated with me. Chance The Rapper is a 20-year-old rapper out of Chicago and Acid Rap is his second mixtape. Acid Rap features some of the best production Iíve heard in a while. Chance selected great beats that completely matched what he was going for on every song. The album features a lot of soul, RnB and jazz type beats, along with some more unconventional beats for some tunes, like the atmospheric stuff on Paranoia or the pseudo-trap beat on Smoke Again. Chance himself is a fantastic rapper and signer, showcasing really witty lyricism and fantastic delivery on every song, with a really unique voice. His sense for hooks and his ability to make everything extremely catchy is uncanny. Itís almost impossible to listen to Acid Rap and not have at least one song stuck in your head for hours. Another thing I love about this record is how positive and uplifting this record is. While there some tracks that are about typical young rapper stuff; Smoke Again and NaNa; plenty of other tracks are really introspective and a few tracks are about love and other feel good topics, but it isnít cheesy. Chance comes off really sincere on tracks like Cocoa Butter Kisses, Everybodyís Somebody, Lost and Acid Rain. With a mixtape thatís highly infectious and fits every feel good mood, Chance The Rapper put out my favorite hip-hop release of the year.

Cocoa Butter Kisses
Chain Smoker


Dead In The Dirt Ė The Blind Hole

This is probably one of the most ridiculous albums Iíve heard in a while. In a completely good way, mind you. Dead In The Dirt are a powerviolence band from Atlanta, Georgia, and their music is some of the noisiest, chaotic, and bi-polar out there right now. Some things you should know about this band and the record before I go in to more details are: theyíre only a three piece, and the album features 22 songs in 24 minutes. From that you know youíre in for a ride. As you can guess, many of the songs here are short blasts of hate-filled rage and itís absolutely heavy and unrelenting. The band uses a mix of death growls and hardcore screaming and both sound great. And the tones are absolutely righteous. The band combines sound from grindcore, hardcore, and sludge metal, and they switch from on style to the other at a moments notice, see Swelling. Thereís also a profuse use of feedback. In fact, the track Strength Through Restraint is practically all feedback and itís absolutely manic. Between having your face pummeled buy non-stop carnage, you get some oddball tracks like Caged, that features what sounds like a church bell and uses delay to itís advantage to resemble what it might feel like to be in solitary confinement. The short tracks are sweet and to the point brutality, and the ďlongerĒ tracks (2-3 minutes) are actually well structured songs that combine sludge and hardcore beautifully. The album closer, Halo Crown, sounds like somebody getting sucked into a black hole, ending with feedback, trudging drums and the vocalists screaming until it all turns into noise. The Blind Hole is an impressive record that fits in just about every flavor of ďangryĒ you can imagine. Listen to this and start punching holes in your wall.


It's only 24 minutes long, just listen to the whole record.



All of these sound promising.
I will get on them once I have some more free time.
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  #18  
Old 12-30-2013, 04:54 PM
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Intronaut Ė Habitual Levitations (Instilling Words With Tones)

Stoner/jazz/post-metal giants Intronautís new album, Habitual Levitations, sees the band delving deeper in their more laid back, soothing sound. Since the introduction of clean vocals on their last record, it seems that Intronaut has only furthered that gesture, with their being almost no harsh vocals present on Habitual Levitations, but that doesnít take away from their ability to write some of the gnarliest riffs in post-metal. The heavy moments on this record arenít as unrelenting as on their first couple of records, but they still hit hard, and theyíre used brilliantly in juxtaposition with the jazzier, clean parts of the songs. Now-a-days, Intronaut seems to have a really clear sense of direction with the material, building some of these songs up in ways similar to post-rock bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, adding onto previous ideas and ending the songs with climactic conclusions. But there are some songs that do end with jazzed out jams, filled with Joe Lesterís amazing bass playing, like Harmonicon and Milk Leg. On this album, Intronaut has abandoned the use of harsh vocals, but has retained every aspect that makes this band so special. Riffs are still heavy as hell, the clean jazzy parts are still angelic and post-rock like crescendos are just awesome. The only difference is that theyíve decided to focus more on the cleaner (strong emphasis on ďerĒ) post-rock parts for song-writing than filthy sludge. If youíre looking for awesome post-metal that gets jazzy, you need Intronaut.

Milk Leg
The Way Down


Leer Ė SPRINGBREAKNOPARENTS

My first experience with Leer was when I saw them open at the San Jose top of the Gaza/Code Orange Kids/Full Of Hell tour back this time last year. I was really impressed with their set. Leer plays a brand of music that fuses math rock, screamo, and hardcore and overall has a really poppy, infectious sound. You can think of it as Piglet+American Football+Page 99 or something of that matter. So when I heard they put out their debut album this year, I decided to check it out and was treated to some of the best stuff Iíve heard this year. Leer is a 5-piece band out of San Jose, and theyíre fairly young guys. The vocalist is still in high school Iím pretty sure. And it shows in the music, in a good way. The band crafts some amazing screamo thatís filled to the brim with bright, lush tones, amazing musicianship and raw emotion. The vocalist screams his heart out over all of these tracks. The album has tones of moods, from booming angst, poppy fun, and introspective climaxes. Itís really amazing to see how many styles this band successfully pulls off while keeping the sound completely original. If you dig math rock, mathcore, screamo, or post-hardcore; you need to this album.

Download the album for free on there bandcamp.



Pray For Teeth Ė From The Dry Edge Of The Shore

Pray For Teeth are a three piece out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. They started out as a hardcore punk band, but have changed directions into a more atmospheric sludge/post-metal direction. I discovered them when I saw them play with Children of God and Centuries back in October. Their set was absolutely crushing, and I really got into their single the released this year, Swallow The Ground. So when I heard they were also releasing a full-length, I was excited to hear it, and I was pleased. From The Dry Edge Of The Shore features 4 songs and theyíre all absolutely crushing songs. The band sounds top-notch on the whole record too. All the guitar and bass tones are great, ranging from glistening and beautiful to crushingly heavy. The vocalist also has a hell of scream that fits the music perfectly and send chills down my spine on certain moments on the record. The songs feature tons of sounds, from post-rock crescendos, heavy hitting sludge riffs, and even moments with really beautiful, glistening chords covered in echo. Given their recent change in sound, these guys have a really good ear for making some awesome post-metal with great crescendos and phenomenal climaxes. The riffs are heavy, the leads are beautiful and all around this record is just great. If you need some fresh post-metal, get this.

Stream it here



Protest The Hero Ė Volition

After a more than successful crowd funding, Protest the Hero had some big expectations to fill with their 4th record, Volition. And they did just that. If you donít already know, Protest the Hero are a Canadian progressive metal band. Their take on progressive metal is really technical and highly melodic fast-paced tunes. The guitar playing could is reminiscent of neo-classical stuff. The musicianship on their records is always incredible. This time around, it seems that the band has combined the highly melodic tendencies that were apparent on Scurrilous and combined the really aggressive elements that were on Fortress and staying true to their original hardcore punk influences. The album also sees the reintroduction of harsh vocals to PTHís music, as it was completely left out on Scurrilous. Another cooling thing about the record is that it features Chris Adler of Lam of God on drums. Youíd almost never recognize it though because he fits Protest the Heroís sound so damn well, which only shows that heís definitely one of the better drummers in modern metal. The album also features other cool features from people who donated to their fundraising campaign. The album also features vocalist Jadea Kelly on a lot of tracks, and she sounds just as angelic as ever. I was originally worried about this idea but none of the fan feature sound overwhelmingly mediocre. Another really cool thing I feel they threw in on the record was the callback to their 2008 hit ďSequoia ThroneĒ on the track Animal Bones on this record. Like with every record, this album features a lot of diversity in the tracks. Songs like Clarity, Platoís Tripartite, and Underbite are more on the aggressive side of things, tracks like Mist and A Life Embossed have a lot of epic tendencies. All the songs features tons of shredding riffs, highly melodic playing and singing, and are catchy as hell. The only negative thing I felt about this record is that it wasnít until a 4 listens or so that I felt some tracks definitely stuck out more than others, but that just means every track is about the same level of badass. If you like progressive metal, check it out.

Drumhead Trial
A Life Embossed

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  #19  
Old 12-31-2013, 01:11 PM
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This Town Needs Guns Ė 13.0.0.0.0

When most people think of math rock, they probably think of really sporadic rock music with shredding guitars and ADD drumming, kind of like Hella, but thatís not the kind of math rock present on This Town Needs Gunís new record. TTNG are a trio, consisting of a guitarist, bass guitarist/vocalist, and drummer from Oxford, UK, that take the technical musicianship of math rock and combines it with the song-writing of emo and indie rock. I say bass guitarist because the instrument the bassist/vocalist is playing is called a ďBass VIĒ, meaning itís an instrument thatís strung like a guitar, but is tuned down on octave, so it sounds like a bass. Itís a really interesting instrument and they get some cool sounds from it. Most of the sounds and tones on the record are clean. The songs are all mid-pace, calm and pretty soothing actually. The vocalist has a really nice clean singing voice, in kind of a middle range. The hooks on these songs are usually pretty catchy, and the bright sounds on the record do put on smile on my face even though the songs arenít necessarily happy themselves. Overall, This Town Needs Guns presents a really interesting take on math rock with this record, keeping the atmosphere calm, cool, and collected while still showcasing impressive musician ship.

Left Aligned
Triptych



Vhol Ė Vhol

Every now and again youíll hear that a few great musicians are working on a collaborative project and you canít help but be fucking stoked. Thatís what I felt when I heard that members of Yob, Hammers Of Misfortune, and Ludicra were getting together for a record. Vhol is a black metal/crust project featuring Mike Scheidt on vocals, John Cobbett on guitar, Aesop Dekker on drums, and Sigrid Sheie on bass. Vholís music is absolutely face-melting. Along with the aggressive sounds coming from the black metal and crust punk influences, you also get sounds inspired by traditional metal and power metal. John Cobbettís song-writing ability completely shines all over the record, and he proves yet again that heís one of the best the Bay Area has to offer. All the songs on here are complete rockers and highly melodic. Youíll find yourself whistling or humming snippets of the album all day after giving it a listen. Aesopís drumming is on point as ever and Sigridís bass playing shines through on plenty moments on the record. Not to forget, Mikeís vocals, which go from his powerful belt to more aggressive shouting. This album is just a really fun ride that truly kicks ass. If you want some awesome black metal/crust with traditional metal influences, check this record out.

The Wall
Arising



Whirr Ė Around

Whirr are probably my favorite band that Iíve discovered this year. Theyíre a Bay Area shoegaze group, featuring 3 guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, and a different female vocalist on each release. They play a wide array of shoegaze/90ís rock stylings, from down-tempo rock thatís full of fuzz and reverb, or more up-tempo songs that are loud. All of their material has elements of shoegaze effects, and 90ís emo melody, and really softly sung vocals. On their latest EP, Around, Whirr focus their efforts and crafting really dark, heavy music that sounds really melancholic and sorrowful. The material is just as loud and melodic as their past material, but there isnít a big emphasis on 90ís sound. In fact, with how heavy some of these riffs are, I wouldnít be surprised if they were listening to some sludge and doom around the time they were recording this. A lot of the melodies are full of sorrow and stay in your mind for hours. Even with the new dark sound, thereís still a lot of shoegaze sounds on the record, with glistening clean tones and completely fuzzed out chords. The music is still really emotive, and could very well fit as the soundtrack to laying in your bed wide awake at 2 in the morning pondering all of lifeís nuances. So if really dark, heavy shoegaze/emotive rock sounds cool to you, listen to this EP.

Listen to the full EP here.



The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die - Whenever, If Ever

Every so often, you see an album cover that really intrigues you and you have to know the kind of music that is accompanied by such an album cover. I felt that with the cover for Whenever, If Ever. The image of the young man jumping into a lake, to me, symbolizes an attempt to preserve the youth that a lot of us try to preserve as we age. That itself can be a metaphor for the recent 90ís emo-revival that The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die is currently leading. The World Is A Beautiful Place is a 8-piece rock band out of Connecticut. The band incorporates usual rock band instruments, but also incorporate plenty of synthesizers, trumpet and cello, which I absolutely love hearing in rock music. The band fuses elements of 90ís emo, current indie rock, and post-rock crescendos and climaxes. The product is stunningly beautiful and full of raw emotion. Tracks often buildup and transition into each other as if they were one seamless piece of music. All the vocalists sound complete sincere and the multiple vocal lines going on at once really add another layer to the music. A lot of the songs are slow brewing post-rock tunes that explode into really cheery sounding tunes that are really youthful and a ton of fun to listen to. The album captures every emotion thatís connected to being young and discovering your place in the world and trying to leave the biggest impact you can. If youíre into 90ís emo and post-rock, definitely check this album out.

Fight Boat
Ultimate Steve



So concludes my albums I thought were great. I'll do top 10 live performances, then get to Top 10 albums of the year. Hopefully you guys have found some enjoyable stuff in both the albums I thought were really good and albums I thought were great.
__________________
8/10 Badr Vogu/Forn
8/21 Boris
8/22 Usnea/Lycus
8/30 Whirr
10/30 KING DIAMOND
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Old 01-01-2014, 11:46 AM
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Live Performances

Before I dive into my Top 10 albums of the year, I want to discuss some of my favorite shows of the year. And by shows, I mean full shows, not just specific performances. I'll discuss 10-6 right now. Before we start though, honorable mentions go to:
Whirr/Lycus
Agalloch/Worm Ouroboros/Lycus
Nails/Xibalba/Power Trip/Palm
Rin Tin Tiger/The She's

Now onto shows 10-6. Do keep in mind that the numbers are kind of relative. All shows were fantastic.



10. Lil B @ Regency Ballroom, 11/15/13

Lil B ĎThe Based Godí made a very #rare appearance in San Francisco on Friday night. The show was completely sold out and was a blast. Stunnaman and Lil Uno of The Pack provided a fun, booming opening set performing bangers and some choice cuts from The Packís past like ďIn My CarĒ. At one point, Stunnaman invited a bunch of girls on stage and had them twerk. That was fun. Bitch Mob/Task Force was in full affect at the sold out show. A lot of people were rockiní pink gear, myself included. I saw this one dude who had a custom made pink shirt that had all of Lil Bís album covers; respect. At around 10pm, the myth, the legend, Lil B came out, performing his recently released hit, ď4 My.Ē Throughout the night, Lil B kept the energy and positivity at max and played deep cuts that I didnít recognize at times and played all the hits from Ellen DeGeneres, Like A Martian, I Own Swag, to more recent hits from his multiple 2013 mixtapes like 4 Me, Eat, and Flex 36. He even performed Vans with Lil Uno and Stunnaman. He ended the set with Iím God; I Love You, both with the beat and a capella (he actually cried, it was beautiful); and ended it with Total Recall. Overall, the show was a lot of fun and it was awesome to see Lil B in the flesh


9. Mastodon/High On Fire @ Slim's June 26th, 2013

Shout out to Converse for making cool shows and doing cool stuff like putting on a lot of free shows in San Francisco. In honor of a new outlet shop being opened up in San Francisco, Converse held a weeklong residency at Slimís, hosting awesome line-ups each night, with each night being a different style of music. The only way to get into one of these shows was to win tickets, and luckily my friend Ben won tickets to the night that featured Hot Lunch, Saviours, High on Fire, Mastodon, and some band called Quicksand. Unfortunately Quicksand headlined and Mastodon and HoF had short set, but still, High On Fire and Mastodon for free in a my favorite club venue for free was an incredible experience, if not just for bragging rights alone. While I did enjoy High On Fire and Mastodon a bunch and being only a few feet away from Troy Sanders was incredible, their sets were short and fairly lack luster. Thatís why this is only #9.
Original review


8. Neurosis/Yob @ Regency Ballroom December 29th, 2013

Final show of the year was a good one. Got front row and pretty much center for the whole gig and witnessed some awesome sludge metal. Yob laid down the heavy, playing kind of a throw back set. Neurosis was absolutely hypnotizing and brutally heavy. Only bummer was that the set got cut short. This shot was definitely a great way to end the year for shows.
Original review


7. Black Sabbath @ Shoreline Ampitheater, August 26th, 2013

What more is there to say? I saw the Riff Lord, Tony Iommi, along with Ozzy and Geezer, perform a killer set of classic songs and some solid new tunes. The show was a fun time and I ran into some awesome people before going to my seats. The set-up time after Andrew WKís ďsetĒ was short and so getting straight into this black sabbath was great. I got to hear some all times favorites (INTO THE VOID, Children of the Grave, Black Sabbath) and a bunch of other classic songs. The band sounded incredible. Only complaint was the 10 minute drum solo. Fuck that noise. Overall, approximately 2 hours of Black Sabbath was incredible. All hail the Riff Lord.




6. My Bloody Valentine @ Bill Graham Civic Center August 23rd, 2013

This show was unlike ones I usually go to. The crowd was pretty diverse, ranging from old fans, hipsters, and new age MBV fanatics, and a decent male:female ratio. I didnít really know what to expect from the crowd or howíd they react to My Bloody Valentineís performance, or how I would really. Iím used to expressing appreciation for live music through moving my body and headbanging, etc, so when the band started I just kind of braced myself for sonic bliss and let instinct take over my body. And that instinct was to stand there and take in amazing performance that My Bloody Valentine put on, from the second row of the crowd. The band sounded incredible. Kevin and Debbie had such amazing tones; Kevin producing other worldy walls of sound and plain and simple, Debbie had some of the gnarliest bass tones ever. Bilinda sounded great throughout the entire night and Colmís drumming was really lively and brought a great dynamic to the bandís live sound. The setlist was full of some of my favorite tunes from Loveless, MBV, and all of their EPs. Everything sounded perfect and it was just a really blissful experience. My only complaint was that the leads on songs like ďSoonĒ and ďI Only SaidĒ were either performed on keyboard or pre-recorded. It wouldíve been cool to have seen those melodies recreated on guitar, like they are on the record. But overall this performance was like nothing Iíve experienced before.



__________________
8/10 Badr Vogu/Forn
8/21 Boris
8/22 Usnea/Lycus
8/30 Whirr
10/30 KING DIAMOND
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