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Old 02-14-2015, 05:52 AM   #211 (permalink)
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Yes, but who are they?


Artiste: Blush
Nationality: Swiss
Album: Lifelines
Year: 2015
Label: Reelmusic Switzerland
Genre: Pop/Rock
Tracks:
I wonder
Brilliant skies
Lifelines
Great place
You are the one
Broken glass
Storm
Strange to meet you now
Love
Mountains high
A place in my heart

Chronological position: ? album
Familiarity: Zero
Interesting factoid: I can find nothing out about this band, even from their own website, which is in Swiss, other than that they are, well, Swiss.
Initial impression: Great hooky rock/pop melodies and a very warm vocal.
Best track(s): I wonder, Lifelines, great place, You are the one, Love, A place in my heart
Worst track(s): Nothing
Comments: The fact that there is a mutil-denominational pop girl group also called Blush, who seem to be very popular, helps me no end in tracking down information on this Swiss combo. I canít even tell you if this is their debut, second or twentieth album. From the album cover it looks to be two guys, but that could be a wrong guess. Originally, I thought this was the girl group, but thought to myself she has a deep voice hasnít she? Anyway, it isnít and the closest I can come to with these guys is a sort of cross between maybe Imagine Dragons and Snow Patrol, with strong melodies and a kind of mixture of synthpop and indie rock. Yeah, I know: Iím really bad at describing these genres.

Nevertheless, opener I wonder is a great slice of pop/rock with a superbly solid melody, while the title track has some expressive piano against a bouncing beat that tends more on the rock side than the pop. The vocalistís voice probably sounds a little boyband for some, but I donít get the empty, vacuous feeling from this that I do from bands like Blue or Nsync. Thereís a lot of emotion in this music, and again I feel they come closest to Snow Patrol in sound. Great acoustic guitar on You are the one, though the ending is a little sudden. Thereís a nice celtic feel to Storm, touch of The Waterboys there. A simple song title like Love yields a really beautiful and deep little song, and in general these guys appear to be a whole lot more than they at first appear on the surface. Wish I knew who they fuck they are!
Overall impression: Superb album, and if itís a debut so much the better.
Hum Factor: 7
Surprise Factor: 9
Intention: Find out who they hell these guys are!
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Old 02-17-2015, 05:44 AM   #212 (permalink)
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Gahh! I need a drink!


Artiste: Moonshine Avenue
Nationality: Swedish?
Album: Moonshine Avenue
Year: 2015
Label:
Genre: Rock
Tracks:
Bad mistake
15 minutes of fame
The only one
Wake me
Moonshine asylum
Forgotten man
Rebel
Believe me
Bottoms up
Shotgun blues
Sleepless night
USA

Chronological position: Debut album
Familiarity: Zero
Interesting factoid:
Initial impression: The hammer has come down! Hard!
Best track(s): Wake me, Moonshine asylum, Believe me, USA
Worst track(s): Nothing bad per se, but most of the tracks are pretty mediocre
Comments: Another band about whom I can find out little or nothing. Seems they may hail from Sweden, and have been together since late 2010, so perhaps five years is a long time to wait before releasing your first album? It certainly kicks off hard and heavy enough with a driving, pounding beat that reminds me in places of southern rock bands mixed in with a dollop of Metallica-style metal. Seems a little formulaic lyrically though: ďI walked a mile in your shoes/ Singing those lonely bluesĒ -- oh dear. Good guitar work though. Are they trying to sound too American?

Yeah, I think maybe they are. A lot of the songs are good, some great, but itís all been done before and I donít hear anything new here that I havenít heard before. Do we really need another band who arenít from the US but display all the characteristics of being from there? Thatís not to say theyíre not a good rock band, but I donít see them as anything special I have to say. This, from their minimal bio on ReverbNation, says it all, I feel:
ĒHeavy groove at a never ending pace.Made for the stage.The music of Moonshine Avenue should not be trapped on a cd. When you listen to the music, itīs like looking on a bull caught in a Nissan Micra.Itīs beersplatter and hardnecking bikers whit no selfrespect. Itīs spontaneous dancing and singalong choruses.Ē
Um, what are ďhardnecking bikersĒ? Trying too hard guys, trying too hard. Yeah, just bored now. Next.
Overall impression: Meh. Good at what they do but very cliched.
Hum Factor: 4
Surprise Factor 1
Intention: Not really bothered to be honest
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Old 02-18-2015, 02:58 PM   #213 (permalink)
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A new dawn for Swedish prog metal favourites


Artiste: Evergrey
Nationality: Swedish
Album: Hymns for the broken
Year: 2014
Label: AFM
Genre: Progressive Metal
Tracks:
The awakening
King of errors
A new dawn
Wake a change
Archaic rage
Barricades
Black undertow
The fire
Hymns for the broken
Missing you
A grand collapse
The aftermath

Chronological position: Ninth album
Familiarity: One or two songs. I have their discography but somehow have never been interested enough to listen to a full album.
Interesting factoid:
Initial impression: Ambient, spoken-word beginning that soon kicks into a high metal groove.
Best track(s): A new dawn, Wake a change, Black undertow, Hymns for the broken, Missing you, The aftermath
Worst track(s): Nothing
Comments: After the short intro, the anthemic King of errors gets us out of the traps nicely, gothic choir working quite well on the slower but no less heavy A new dawn with some truly biting guitar, and, well, some piano work reminiscent of, um, Bruce Hornsby? Iím not kidding here. The oddly-named Wake a change slows things down for a bit with some super keyboard and piano but still enough heavy guitar there to satisfy any metal fan and a chorus to just keep repeating over and over. Great harmonies here and some fine use of keys.

That gothic feel is back for Barricades, then thereís a dark, menacing edge to Black undertow, very emotional, then weíre back off rocking with The fire, including a childrenís choir which actually fits in very well before the title track hits with a real slice of bombast and power. The first (probably only) ballad is a piano-driven effort, stark and haunting as Missing you brings a real sense of class to the album. The last two tracks are over seven minutes long and both are quite epic in scope. The closer, The aftermath begins as an acoustic ballad but surges near the midsection to become a really powerful curtain dropper.
Overall impression: Yeah, pretty damn good. Iíll need to check into these guys more.
Hum Factor: 6
Surprise Factor 7
Intention: Start working through the rest of their discography
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Old 02-18-2015, 04:24 PM   #214 (permalink)
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^Will check out, I've loved a lot of their stuff. Great review per usz, Trollman!
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Old 02-18-2015, 04:43 PM   #215 (permalink)
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Okay, something a little different. With my main journal being taken over by my Tom Waits discography Iím reluctant to post any other reviews till thatís finished, and anyway these are all going to be shorter reviews, but I promised my good friend Anteater that I would review every album in his thread http://www.musicbanter.com/album-rev...s-2014-a.htmll, and hereís where Iím going to do it.

Although our tastes do very often coincide, and heís introduced me to some great music, there are areas where we differ, so this may not always be plain sailing for me. Some of the albums on his list I may not like, but I trust the guy enough to know that a large percentage of it is likely to chime with me. Iím going to go numerically as he did, so weíre starting at the bottom of his list with this one at number 30.



Artiste: Ought
Nationality: Canadian
Album: More than any other day
Year: 2014
Label: Constellation Records
Genre: Post-punk (umÖ)
Tracks:
Pleasant heart
Today more than any other day
Habit
The weather song
Forgiveness
Around again
Clarity!
Gemini

Chronological position: Second album
Familiarity: Zero
Interesting factoid:
Initial impression: Harsh, grating, not quite atonal but not melodic. Me no likee!
Best track(s): More than any other day, Habit, Forgiveness
Worst track(s): Pleasant heart, Around again, Gemini
Comments: Post-punk is not a genre Iím familiar, or indeed comfortable with. In fact, anything with the prefix or suffix of punk is something I usually afford a wide berth to. But this is one of Antís picks and so, be it jazz, hip-hop or death metal, Iím duty-bound to investigate. So here I go. Harsh enough guitar that reminds me of Waits in a way, and the title of the opening track may be a joke. I canít really make out the vocals too well over the ragged guitars, and the melody seems very simplistic, something I suppose that should not surprise me, given the punk tag. Iím not exactly expecting orchestral interludes or delicate acoustic passages. It almost goes a little ambient there in the last minute or so, but the guitars are still scratching at the windows like wolves out in the winter forest trying to get in, and it gives it all a very cold, bleak air.

At least things quiet and calm down for the basic title track, for about half the song, then it picks up in speed and gets a little more manic, but itís still much better than the opening track. ďHabitĒ is decent too, holding back the lunacy a little with a pretty low-key guitar track and a vocal I can understand and hear. In fact, now I can hear him, the singer reminds me of David Byrne at times. Course, the song doesnít stay relaxed for long but even when it kicks up itís decent enough. Quite catchy, in fact. ďForgivenessĒ goes further, with a lament on what sounds like violin, very ambient and I really like it. I kind of lose interest after that though.

This isnít the raw, angry punk I usually associate with the tag sure, but itís still a bit too visceral for me. Iím not a great fan of angry music or shouted vocals, and while this album has its quieter moments, it is mostly something of a roarfest. Just not for me. Not the best start, but Iím sure itíll get better as I go through Antís list.
Overall impression: A little too harsh for my gentle soul I fear.
Hum Factor: 3
Surprise Factor: -8
Intention: Be a while before I let the word post-punk into my vocabulary again...
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Old 02-18-2015, 04:44 PM   #216 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpe Mortem View Post
^Will check out, I've loved a lot of their stuff. Great review per usz, Trollman!
Thanks Carpe lady! Your approval actually means a whole lot to me. Glad you're checking this journal out. I'll be updating it quite a lot from now on.
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Old 02-24-2015, 10:27 AM   #217 (permalink)
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To sleep, perchance to ... nod off?


Artiste: The Arc Light Sessions
Nationality: Canadian
Album: Perchance to dream
Year: 2015
Label: None
Genre: Symphonic Progressive Rock
Tracks:
Perchance to dream...
... only to awake
There will come a day
Through these years
Please let me know
Eye of the storm
The old man and the sea
The ghosts of winters past
Jigsaw
Deception days
Misunderstood
Over the horizon...
Ö Till the end

Chronological position: Debut album
Familiarity: Zero
Interesting factoid: So far as I can see, this album is only released on CD by individual request, as the artiste does not believe it is the best medium for his music.
Initial impression: Powerful, dramatic opening, very Genesis/Yes and other seventies progressive rock bands come to mind.
Best track(s): Ö Only to awake, There will come a day, The old man and the sea, The ghosts of winters past, Ö Till the end
Worst track(s): Deception days
Comments: In essence I guess TALS could be described as spiritually similar to the Alan Parsons Project, as this is a band who are made up of musicians who work in other fields and is the brainchild of one man, John Alarcon who, though not really ever considering himself to be a professional musician, has released two albums under the name Synthology, having been playing piano and keyboards for over four decades now. Comparisons of his earlier material have been compared to Arena, IQ and Genesis keysman Tony Banks, so I know Iím interested at least.

Thereís certainly a very Yes/Asia feel to the opener, with plenty of bright keys and muted drumming, the vocals very APP with a touch of opera thrown in there too. A good start for sure. Not certain though if this is one track or two: album cover shows Perchance to dream Ö onyl to awakeĒ with one running time, but itís shown as two tracks on my copy. Either way, the second part is pure mid-seventies Genesis instrumental and I can see why comparisons are made so often to Banks in reviews Iíve read of this album. Alarcon has a great presence on the keys, though praise should also be given to the two guitarists, who do a fine job. I must admit though, either the production is poor or the vocalists are weak, as a lot of the time they seem to be fading into the background.

Another problem is that, so far, this album is becoming too piano driven, with two ballads following each other and to be fair, sounding rather similar. After a good, promising start itís beginning to fall a little apart. The old man and the sea is nice, with some decent flute, but this is not turning out to be the powerhouse I had been led to expect. The vocal is lacking something here too. None of it seems to be strong enough or have enough character to keep my interest. To a degree, given the (possibly) poor production, it really does sound like something put together in someoneís bedroom or garage. Which is not to take from the proficiency of the musicians, but perhaps if it had been an entirely instrumental affair this might have worked better. One of the few albums Iíve ever heard where, with a very few exceptions, the vocal songs let the overall quality down. Deception days really highlights this, with the vocalist straining to reach the notes and sounding like heís in pain. The music, to be fair, that backs it, is a little confused to say the least.

Sad to say, that by the time I reach the last two tracks I really donít care any more. I thought this was going to be something Iíd be enthusing about, but itís a far cry from what was promised. Good, mostly, but certainly nowhere close to great.
Overall impression: Maybe with some better vocalists and some decent production, but not right now. Maybe not ever. A big disappointment.
Hum Factor: 5
Surprise Factor: -8 (A minus score means I was expecting much more and was let down)
Intention: I was originally going to check out the Synthology albums, but I feel less inclined to now.
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Old 02-25-2015, 05:35 AM   #218 (permalink)
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[entry deleted as in the wrong journal]
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Last edited by Trollheart; 02-25-2015 at 08:59 AM.
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Old 02-25-2015, 07:22 AM   #219 (permalink)
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That last piece was really interesting. Nice to see this thread and your others still surprising me and informing me.
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Old 02-25-2015, 08:58 AM   #220 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by James View Post
That last piece was really interesting. Nice to see this thread and your others still surprising me and informing me.
Yeah. Woops! That was posted in the wrong journal! It will now be removed and hopefully rehomed... Glad you enjoyed it though and if so please check out my new journal for more of the same.
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