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  #11  
Old 11-08-2012, 11:41 AM
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Album #7: Carrie Underwood - Blown Away
May 1, 2012


First off, bring on the haters. I grew up on country and while I don't listen to much more than three or four artists nowadays, I still enjoy it from time to time. Carrie Underwood is someone I've been a fan of since her first album a few years ago. She has a really strong voice and, a bit to my surprise, it seems completely genuine as her live vocal performance was every bit as good as on her albums when I saw her in 2010. She doesn't write all of her own songs, but neither do Kiss for that matter so whatever.

This album is kind of a mixed bag, some great stuff and some crap to be found here. The title track is one of her best ever while others such as See You Again, Wine After Whiskey, and Good Girl are great. But tracks like One Way Ticket, Leave Love Alone, and Cupid's Got a Shotgun fucking suck and are among her worst of all time. One problem is there are just too many songs on this album. She could have dropped those 3 horrendous ones and still have had 11 tracks.

The last two albums have both been kind of disappointing, there's always some great stuff but there's too many just ok or downright bad tracks. Her first two albums are still her best. Still, I'm pissed that the only close VA date of her tour is the one day of the week next semester that I really can't afford to miss.

It gets a 7.3.
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  #12  
Old 11-08-2012, 02:07 PM
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She's sexy.
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  #13  
Old 11-14-2012, 06:35 AM
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Album #8: Rush - Clockwork Angels
June 12, 2012


This is a lock for my album of the year. A fantastic release after the inconsistent and somewhat ho-hum Snakes & Arrows. One of the things I love about this record is that it's heavy as balls, at least for Rush. S&A was seriously lacking some intensity. All of the instrumentation here is great as you would expect from Rush and the songwriting is top-notch. Geddy sounds a little tired but I really enjoy his vocals on this one even with his age starting to show.

The only two tracks that I'm not crazy about are Carnies and The Anarchist, both are good tracks but for some reason I can never tell them apart. They're just not as memorable as the other songs. I've heard a lot of people complain about Halo Effect and Wish Them Well but I think those two are both great. BU2B2 is an interesting little transition piece. My favorites off the album are BU2B, Seven Cities of Gold, The Wreckers, and Headlong Flight. The Garden is really good as well. The Wreckers is my favorite song of the year and probably one of my favorite Rush songs, it's just so catchy.

I'm glad that they did so many of these tracks live because they came off really well, I didn't realize how much extra layer the strings section added until after I saw them do it live. Including the two tracks played on the Time Machine tour, I've seen the whole album live except for BU2B2 and Carnies. Hoping to see them again on the next NA leg of the CA tour.

Amazing album, get it. 9.5
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  #14  
Old 11-18-2012, 01:58 PM
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Album #9: Gojira - L'Enfant Sauvage
June 26, 2012


I wasn't into this band until this past August when my friend gave me a copy of The Way of All Flesh. I'm not normally into many extreme metal bands like this but I fell in love with Gojira. The songwriting is so unique and that really sets them apart from their peers. I can't think of another band that sounds like them.

I got this album this past fall and it's definitely one of the better albums of the year. My favorite tracks are Gift of Guilt, Liquid Fire, and the title track. Mouth of Kala is awesome too. The Wild healer is the weakest track and is actually kind of annoying. Explosia is good but I feel like they could have done more with it, especially the back half of the song. Pain Is A Master is pretty hilarious with that outrageous sounding riff near the beginning, I busted out laughing the first time I heard it. I like The Way of All Flesh more because I feel that there's more variety to be found on there but this is still a great album.

I wish I could see these guys on their tour next year. I've actually already seen them once in 2009 with Metallica but I wasn't into them then and don't remember a thing about their performance unfortunately.

This one gets an 8.5.
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  #15  
Old 11-18-2012, 02:06 PM
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Album #10: Agalloch - Faustian Echoes
July 11, 2012


This will be a short review. This is a 1-track, 20 minute EP. The song is pretty good although I can't say that I'm a huge fan. I really like the spoken word parts as I feel they add a lot to the atmosphere but a lot of the parts are too black metal for my tastes. I'm a huge fan of everything before Marrow and Marrow itself is really good but I hope they incorporate more acoustic work and clean singing into their future releases. Those are the two elements I've always loved most about Agalloch.

I picked this up when I saw them on tour, they put on a phenomenal performance. I took my girlfriend who only likes a couple Ozzy songs, Alice Cooper, and Fleetwood Mac. But we had a good time. She saw Maiden, Alice, and Agalloch for free this past summer so she should be stoked, she's probably not but oh well. Hope I get to see them again soon.

7.5.
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  #16  
Old 11-18-2012, 06:35 PM
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Album #11: Baroness - Yellow & Green
July 17, 2012


This has been a controversial album but I don't have a real strong opinion on it. I haven't listened to it a ton and I don't have any of their older stuff so I'm just kinda taking it for what it is on the surface. My favorite tracks are March To The Sea, Sea Lungs, and Take My Bones Away. A few of the tracks annoy me a little stylistically and I suspect these are the same suspects who many other people find fault with.

This isn't a bad album but it didn't set the world on fire for me and I'm not a huge fan of the band or the style but I enjoy it when I'm in the mood for something like this. The cover is really good and I love the title Cocainium. I think I like the yellow half more than the green half.

I'll give it a 7.7. It's good but it's not a regular listen for me.
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  #17  
Old 11-18-2012, 07:30 PM
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I've been wanting to give a listen to Carrie Underwood for quite some time now. She has a beautiful voice, and some stuff I've heard online has been good.
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  #18  
Old 11-19-2012, 08:19 AM
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Album #12: Testament - Dark Roots of Earth
July 31, 2012


This is my number two album of the year. A fantastic release from one of the best thrash bands out there. I had been looking forward to this album all year and it was perhaps my most anticipated release of 2012. Upon hearing early reviews on this board that it was more low-key than Formation I knew I was in for something good. Not that I dislike all of Formation, some of it is great, but I really don't like the death vocals on a few of the tracks. Chucks a great singer so I really wanted to hear more melody in this one and that's exactly what I got.

The first single, Native Blood, may be my favorite song on the album. It's catchy and heavy with a god tempo, much like most of the material found here. My other favorite tracks are the title track, Cold Embrace, Throne of Thorns, and Rise Up. True American Hate, Man Kills Mankind, and Last Stand For Independence are all great thrashers. They're more formulaic than something like Cold Embrace or DROE but they serve the purpose of giving you something to rock hard to without having to think about it too much. In that sense I would say that them being less original really helps the album because of course you'd want to have some straight up thrash on a thrash record. A Day In The Death is my least favorite song but it's by no means bad, just my least favorite.

The covers on the deluxe version are really good as well. Dragon Attack is freakin great and the Powerslave cover sounds true to the original while having its own unique flavor. Animal Magnetism is good but not as much as the other two, but I'm not a huge fan of the original anyway.

Oh, and the production and the cover rule. I really wanna hear some of these songs live. I think each and every one of them could come off great on stage.

9.25.

This may be my favorite Testament release. I love the songwriting on The Legacy but the production is just so horrible on that one.
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  #19  
Old 11-20-2012, 10:21 AM
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Album #13: Kiss - Monster
October 9, 2012


My expectations were low for this album so I can easily say it exceeded expectations. But despite all that, I am somewhat surprised to say that it's actually pretty good. Obviously it's nowhere near their old material but there are a number of real standout tracks here as opposed to there being about two or three on Sonic Boom. My favorite track here is Freak which I think is one of the best Kiss tracks since 1992's underrated Revenge album. Other really strong songs include: Wall of Sound, Take Me Down Below, and All For The Love of Rock and Roll. The choruses for most of the songs on this album are pretty poppy, but I don't mind. The guitar work is a noticeable step up from Sonic Boom and Tommy and Eric seem to have improved vocally since that album as well.

A lot of the songs on this album are fairly average for Kiss but that doesn't make them bad. Kiss isn't one to break the mold often so you know what you're getting when you buy one of their later albums.

One thing I found funny is that Outta This World and All For The Love of Rock & Roll are extremely similar to Shock Me and Hooligan. Similar feels, similar lyrical themes, it's a blatant attempt to cement Tommy and Eric as the real Spaceman and Catman.

It's better than Sonic Boom and it's better than I expected. It's not a great record but it's pretty enjoyable.

7.9
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  #20  
Old 11-29-2012, 09:59 AM
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Album #14: The Sword - Apocryphon
October 22, 2012


The only other Sword album I have is Warp Riders. While I'm not a huge fan of this band, I really enjoy that one so I figured I'd pick up their new album. Apocryphon is not as good as Warp Riders in my opinion but its a solid release. If you dig their retro sounds then you'll dig this record. My favorite tracks are the title track (love the synth ), Seven Sisters, Dying Earth, and Execrator. This album doesn't break any new ground and it won't blow you away but if you want some easy, simple, rocking music then this should do the trick.

7.25.

Oh, and the cover art and the rest of the art on the album is pretty awesome.
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