What's up rockers?! Insanity here, and today I have a special treat for everyone. I had the privilege of reviewing the latest album by Breaking Benjamin. I think you'll enjoy this review as much as I enjoyed listening to the album, so here we go.
Ember is the upcoming release by Hard Rock icons(too early for legends?) Breaking Benjamin. This marks the 6th release by the band and it seems to me that they get better with every album they put out. Ember is the second offering the band has given us since revamping their line-up, and the difference is noticable and awesome.
At first listen I had a difficult time feeling the music and had mixed feelings. However, after listening through the album five or six times I really started to fall in love with every song. Ben has a way of connecting to the listener that few other vocalist can. The composition and instrumentation is much more technical and intricate compared to Saturate and We are Not alone which is why I believe it takes more time to get hooked.
Dark of You is my favorite song on this album. The lyrics should speak to all listeners and strike a chord with them deep in their soul, as it did for me. The vocals are haunting yet beautiful. I found myself singing this tune for hours on end.
Psycho is another song that I instantly fell in love with. It's technical yet simple and the vocal melody is textbook Ben Burnley. This was another song that I found myself humming and singing along with constantly.
Ember is an amazing showcase of musical talent across the board. The lyrics are real and the vocals are catchy. Mix all that with the technical, catchy riffs and hard hitting drums and you have a recipe for success everytime. One thing that I didn't understand was the placement of the song Red Cold River. The song didn't seem to fit with the flow of the album. Had this been an opening or closing track it might have made more sense. But where it sits on the album had me a little confused, though it is a great song.
I would highly recommend this album to any fan of the band, or any fan of the hard rock genre. Breaking Benjamin keeps exceeding my expectations and it's great to see good people succeeding in a tough business. I can't wait to see their live show with these new songs. I give Ember an insane 8 out of 10 horns \m/
Bridges is the latest release by St.Louis based Rock band Cavo. This is their 4th album and displays their musical diversity and vast array of musical influences. Musically i got that alternative/old school feel from Bridges. Many of the tracks reminded me of bands such as Kings of Leon or Modest Mouse(A bit of a stretch).
When it comes to music I really dig artists that don't fit into any particular mode, which is why I loved this album. I can't put my finger on one band that Cavo sounds like and that's a good thing in my opinion.
Track 5 "On your Own" is a splendid display of excellent songwriting. The lyrics are very personal, meaningful and moved me emotionally. This is one of those tracks that I think define an album and set great bands apart from the average ones.
"Get Away" was another personal favorite of mine. This songs make me want to move with it's funky grooviness and it's just a feel good song and gets stuck in your head.
Listening through this album was a bit challenging at first for me because what I expected and what was delivered was way off. But sometimes the unexpected can be a great thing. Cavo brings alot of different musical flavor to the table and Bridges is sure to have something for everyone. I had only heard a couple of songs from the band prior to doing this album review. But I can honestly say that I am a fan of their work and will be following whatever they do next very closely. I give Bridges an insane 7 out of 10 horns \m/
Aurora is the latest release by Hollywood records rising star Bea Miller. This is her sophomore release and has already caught the world’s attention and let everyone know that she is here to stay. There is content for everyone to love on this album. I was drawn to songs that have a good beat that I can dance to(though I'm a lousy dancer).
Burning Bridges caught my attention in mere seconds. This has a great beat, mix in her unique silky vocals and you have a recipe for a hit. The lyrics are genuine and speak to the pain that can be caused by someone you love dearly.
Song like you is a track that will get stuck in your head for days. I even heard it while in the grocery store and recognized it immediately. I found myself waking up with the tune in my head humming along.
Overall this album is enjoyable with a lot of different song styling that all showcase her diverse vocal talents. The only negative thing was that the album was a bit too profane for my liking. I consider artists such as Bea to be a role model for young girls and that's why I thought the “F" word was used too often. She writes from the heart and her lyrics have deep meaning that everyone will connect with. I recommend this album to anyone, even as a rock music fan I found myself listening to aurora for hours on end. I give this release an insane 7 out of 10 horns \m/
Defy is the upcoming release from Orange county California based "Of Mice and Men". It is the beginning of a new era for them with the addition of Aaron Pauley who brings new melodies to a sound that is already oozing with hook. This album is extremely impressive and features a variety of styles ranging from metal to the ﬁnal song which I would describe as a ballad type.
The song placement is spot on as well. Other albums in the genre tend to be too heavy at the beginning and then fall off leaving the listener in a lulled state. But you’ll be completely engaged throughout the entirety of this album. Warzone is hands down my favorite. It’s a balls to the wall metal anthem that is in your face from the word go. That song really gets my adrenaline going. It is sure to be a fan favorite at concerts! Sunﬂower is another track that really moved me. The opening guitar riff is catchy and the combo of vocals and the groove of the music made it a song I put on repeat. There is also a cover of the iconic "Money" by Pink Floyd. This was surprisingly badass, and did the original some justice. It wasn't over produced or made to sound completely different. 2 thumbs way up dudes!
Overall there isn't much more to say. "Defy" will be a juggernaut of a release in the rock/metal world. Other bands watch out because Of Mice and Men is coming to take over. Very well done by the guys, this album is incredible. I give it an insane 8.5 out of 10 horns \m/
Former Mushroomhead member Waylon Revis brought his new project "A Killer's Confession" to the Open Chord in Knoxville, TN. The opening bands got the crowd pumped up and anticipating the presence of Revis. Upon taking the stage the crowd was solely focused on him and his control of an audience that he clearly learned from his time in Mushroomhead. He and his bandmates intensity was present from start to finish.
The stage could barely contain his energy, and I honestly wished that I could see him perform on an appropriate sized stage. The voice that I have been all so familiar with for the past two decades was spot on and he has definitely added some new weapons to his vocal arsenal with this group. As a photographer I love seeing a front man that never stops moving and gives action shots, and Waylon didn't disappoint at all. The performance was just that, what a concert should be... "A Performance". With A Killer's Confession you won't bare witness to zombie like movement from the band. Waylon is on top of my list when it comes to stage performers. I enjoyed every moment of their set and I am very excited to see them again, hopefully on a much bigger stage. Their show is a MUST-SEE!
Review by Echo Asylum writer Rachel Craig
South African rock band Seether has released their new album Poison the
Parish, nearly three years after Isolate and Medicate. It’s the band’s seventh album,
produced by frontman Shaun Morgan under his brand new label imprint, Canine Riot
In February, the band announced this album with the release of “Let You Down,”
which accurately sets the mood for the rest of the tracks. Poison the Parish is gritty,
aggressive, and brooding with a message that makes the listener think about societal
influences through comparisons to religion. The album is darker and heavier than recent
music from Seether, and it will remind listeners of the band’s earlier records.
Seether fans will find this album very familiar. Most of the tracks do not break
away from the usual Seether mold of simple riffs and aggressive vocals. It is a longer
album with 15 songs, which is a little lengthy considering how most songs have a similar
sound. However, this is an album that demands to be listened to all at once because it
does flow well.
Seether’s influences also come through, bringing the band’s familiar sound that
dominated rock radio during the 2000s. The album also incorporates familiar sounds
from other bands like Nirvana, Chevelle, and Tool without sounding like a copy.
“Something Else” is one of the standouts for me on Poison the Parish. It’s a mid-
tempo song with dark, crooning lyrics. “Emotionless” gives me the same feeling. These
are songs where I feel like Shaun Morgan’s vocals have the perfect blend of softness
Instrumentally, I feel like Poison the Parish was produced with heaviness in mind,
and that doesn’t always mean being loud and fast. The guitars, drums, and bass are
simple, creating a blend that is easy on the ears. Sometimes simplicity is the better
choice, and Seether uses it well on this album.
One striking part of the listening experience for me is the discussion of mental
health. Many of the lyrics also discuss topics like depression and anxiety, in addition to
societal pressures. This is not new for Seether, since Shaun Morgan is known for his
involvement in suicide awareness with his annual Rise Above Fest. Since Seether is
performing at the festival, this album will provide plenty of material to support the cause.
It runs July 22-23 at Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor, Maine.
Overall, this album is a solid Seether album that any fan could appreciate.
Personally, I would have liked to see them break the mold a little and produce a few
tracks that stand out, like their previous hits “Careless Whisper,” “Country Song,” or
“Broken.” However, it is refreshing to see them return to heavier roots and produce a
solid hard rock album. I give it 8/10.
I've always felt that Amaranthe is a truly unique band in a world filled with copycats and generic artists-a-plenty. I've always appreciated the multiple layers of effects, vocals, and instrumentation that can be heard on all of their songs. It took more than a few thorough listens to the entire album to grasp the greatness that Maximalism is.
Much like it's predecessor, this album starts out with an adrenaline rush inducing, up tempo track. This was sweet music to my ears. Maximalism takes the listener through a wide range of emotions ensuring that there is something for everyone to love. And of course, the triple threat of vocals is alive and well. Elize, Jake and Henrik were spot on and did a magnificent job of arranging vocals in each song.
The track that stands out the most for on this album is Limitless. It took nearly half the album, but I finally got what I had been waiting for at first listen. It is a beautiful musical arrangement and features calming sounds of Elize and Jakes vocals, which still gives me chills when I hear it. There will never be another song quite like Amaranthine but, this track definitely delivers.
Break Down and Cry is a track that I can't say enough about. I love the backing tracks, this song is upbeat and features powerful vocals and brutal screams. If this doesn't get you head banging and singing along then you might want to check your pulse.
In summary, Maximalism has become an instant favorite of mine. Amaranthe is a band that I hold to higher standards due to their flawless past records. I had very high expectations prior to listening to Maximalism and honestly expected to be let down. How could they possibly follow up with something better than Massive Addictive... Well, they passed my test and then some. I will be rocking out to this album for many months to come and can't wait to see them perform live again with these new songs. If you call yourself a fan of Amaranthe then you must run out and get this album on Oct 21st. Any metalhead should thoroughly enjoy this album and it will be in contention for album of the year for sure. I give it an insane 9.5 out of 10 horns \m/
Connecticut based Hardcore/Heavy Metal band Hatebreed have been decimating the metal scene with their intense brand of heavy music since the 90's. They have been one of my favorite bands since I first discovered them after their 2002 release “Perseverance”.
Their latest release “Concrete Confessionals” is the follow up to 2013's “The Divinity of Purpose” which gained the band many accolades. More than three years have passed since their last release, and it was worth the wait. “Concrete Confessionals” is a fast-paced brutal metal masterpiece that left me satisfied as a long time fan of the band.
Hatebreed has re-invented their earlier signtaure style of writing of “Satisfaction is the Death of Desire” that dates back nearly 20 years. Every track less than three minutes long, but still packs a punch and gives you an adrenaline rush from the word go.
Jamey Jasta showcases his songwriting prowess with lyrics that really struck a nerve with me. The songs covers topics ranging from problems with society in America, not living in the past, and even touches on politically charged messages. Add to that the unique vocals and it's easy to see why this album is destined for success. The mixing and mastering was spot on and audio levels for each instrument complimented the others well.
A.D was a great choice for the opening track. It delivers exactly what the listener would expect from a Hatebreed album. It puts you in a metaphorical choke hold and doesn't let go through out the album. It mixes elements of thrash with hardcore that they are well known for, and yes the guitar solos are amazing.
My hands down favorite track is Seven Enemies. My first thought after listening to this track was "This is heavy as fuck, and just what I wanted”. The guitar tone is ballsy, grungy and hits so damn hard. I can't wait to see the mosh pit during this song live, there will be blood!
In summary, Hatebreed has made an album that lived up to the incredibly high standards that I have set for them. I would put this as my 3rd favorite album they have released, but it was refreshing to see them go back to their roots in sound and composition. This is a must have for anyone that calls themselves a Diehard, or anyone that loves heavy metal/hardcore music. I love seeing Hatebreed going strong even after all these years. You should go out and buy this album right now. I give Concrete Confessionals an insane 8 out of 10 horns \m/
“The Other Side of Darkness” is the highly anticipated upcoming release by North Carolina rockers Decyfer Down. This is the follow-up to their 2013 release Scarecrow. Through the help of an Indiegogo campaign the band was able to release this full length ten song album which is their 4th album to date.
Within mere seconds of hearing the opening track “Rearrange” I was able to pick up on the bands signature sound... with the deep grungy guitar tones and familiar hard hitting drum beats, and who can forget the one of a kind vocal stylings of TJ Harris, who quite possibly has the best voice in the business.
Since first discovering Decyfer Down's music on Pandora many years ago I have fallen in love with this band all over again with this latest release. It would seem that they have a rock solid formula for producing catchy and meaningful hit after hit. The order in which the songs appear on the album is flawless, mixing their hard rock songs with their ballads... It is truly an out of body experience to listen through this album.
“Believe in Me” is hands down my favorite track on this album. I have always thoroughly enjoyed Decyfer Down's ballads. The lyrics in this track(like most of their other ballads) really touch me deeply. It's refreshing to see a band like this to be beacon's of positivity and hope in a world that is filled with hate and gloom.
At the end of “The Other Side of Darkness” is an acoustic version of my all time favorite song “Burn Back the Sun” that appeared on their debut release “End of Grey”. This is an amazing rendition of what I consider to be an iconic song. This is my go to song when i'm feeling hopeless, or lost in the world. There is a certain calm and resolve I feel by listening to this song... It heals everytime, without fail.
In closing it's easy to see that this album is destined to be another huge success by Decyfer Down(who I feel doesn't get enough exposure for what they do.) Music is meant to speak to the listener and “The Other Side of Darkness” does just that. As a Christian living in todays society it is difficult to walk in the world we live in. Thanks to Decyfer Down my journey doesn't seem quite as frightening. I definitely recommend this album to any rock fan, you certainly won't be disappointed with this release. I am giving this one 10 out 10. Yes, it's that good!
Zakk Wylde is an American musician, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and actor who is best known as the former guitarist for Ozzy Osbourne, and founder of the heavy metal band Black Label Society. He is also recognized for his signature Gibson Les Paul Custom guitars with the bulls-eye graphic that visually sets him apart on any stage. Book of Shadows 2 is set for release on April 8, 2016 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original Book of Shadows.
Instrumentals/Vocals: Zakk Wylde: Guitars, Vocals, Piano, Stings
John DeServio: Bass
Jeff Fabb: Drums Tracks:
1. Autumn Changes 2. Tears of December 3. Lay Me Down 4. Lost Prayer 5. Darkest Hour 6. The Levee 7. Eyes of Burden 8. Forgotten Memory 9. Yesterday’s Tears 10. Harbors of Pity 11. Sorrowed Regret 12. Useless Apologies 13. Sleeping Dogs 14.
The King Bonus Tracks on Deluxe Version and Available on iTunes: 1. Tears of December 2. Lost Prayer 3. Eyes of Burden The greatest struggle of reviewing Book of Shadows 2 is choosing my favorite tracks. This album in its entirety is a must hear. The typical mayhem maker tones down his guitar skills to an almost acoustical, classic rock feel versus his typical heavy shredding, balls to the wall, angry strings. I thoroughly enjoyed the entire album. It is perfect for the long drive home after a raging fest.
In summary, all I can truly think is, wow. This album is a must have for any fan of American Rock and all Zakk Wylde fans. It is masterfully composed; both lyrically and instrumentally. What else would one expect from Wylde? He does not disappoint with Book of Shadows 2.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.