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Old 02-16-2016, 01:29 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default The Rock Album Survivor Reviews Thread

OK, I've found a lot of underground albums to listen to, so I'm reviving this.

This thread focuses mainly on grunge, punk, indie, and alternative that has not met with a lot of media attention. I know three journals is quite a bit, but I'd love to cover this. I've always been the kind of person who supports "the little guy," and I hate when some great artists go unnoticed.
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Old 04-01-2016, 01:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Togetherly by Nero's Rome.
Style: Alternative Rock, Grunge.
Release 1995.


Doesn't even have ten votes on RYM.

I found this when I was listening to Dayglo. I wanted something I've never heard of, so I switched to this. I've been steering closer to grunge/post-grunge/alternative lately, so this was exactly what I was looking for.

So, what's the best way to describe the second and final studio album by the underground grunge band Nero's Rome? Well, from the ear's first glance at the sound, one could easily say it's just another alternative rock album, something that won't be very fullfilling to hear. However, is that necessarily bad? Can all generic albums be bad unless it actually sounded good to begin with? And can it stil sound good? Some Foo Fighters albums are simply alternative, and certainly less necessary to listen to than other alternative albums. And personally, I believe this is better than many other plain alternative albums. Nero's Rome had the basic emotions they were going for down on the money in every track. Soft, melodic, and yet creepy vocals sing their way through the loudest and the quietest moments, somehow dissettling me and yet conforting me with the acoustic guitars that played soft lullabies when they weren't heavier tracks. When transitioning from a soft tune to a heavy riff, something most of the songs do, it does a faurly well job of building itself up or down. The drumming is quite creative, balancing out some sense of drama through the release. In fact, the drumming may be the best part of the album. Some of it reminds me of Radiohead's OKC. I'd give the drumming alone around an 8.5. And if the band felt generic, they would use the guitars to make light, unconventional sound effects. An OK little add-on. But what's really cool is the blend of acoustic and electric guitars that occasionally pop up. Really cool sound.

I guess for a sound that many other alternative bands have done before, this band showed that they do in fact have a songwriter's talent if not a sense of diversity. It's a shame when a band doesn't know how to be diverse. If they were a little different, they might have been together long enough to make a third album. Still, they are real musicians. They play their guitars well enough and cool enough to make themselves better than a generic band, their drummer is great, and the vocals are soothing and haunting.

Overall, I'd recommend this for alternative and grunge fans. I'm personally interested in the debut since this one was actually quite good. I'm glad I loved grunge enough to find this album.

83.5/100
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Old 04-01-2016, 02:31 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Endorphin by Hush
Release: 1993
Style: Alternative Rock, Hard Rock, Pop Rock

I found this album right after Nero's Rome. It labeled itself as grunge/stoner, but it really isn't; it's a pop/alternative album. Despite that, it's a great album. The atmosphere of the album is bordering on incredible, taking mild punk influence and incorporating it into an almost britpop style. The style is very ubpeat and poppy, which go well with the vocals that have a little Staley, a little Bon Jovi, and a little early Axl Rose. Despite how bad that may sound, it fits with the album perfectly. The band knew exactly what fun music was about, and the songwriting talent is quite good. Layout perfection, plenty of really cool guitar solos, and a really cool sound which I recommend for anyone. Anyone.

On their page where I found the album, it stated Endorphin was their fifth album. I seriously want to listen to the other four. This album is very underground, though. These guys don't have a bandcamp page or RYM page. I'm here to spread the word: The album's actually a lot of fun. Poppy alternative greatness from the Czech Republic.

92/100.
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Old 04-03-2016, 10:42 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Middle of the Night by Sabatta

Middle Of The Night | Sabatta

Styles: Grunge, Soul. I'm not joking.
Release: October 19, 2015
Length: 35 min.

The music of Sabbata takes many grungy influences, such as the aforementioned, some alternative, and a little Sabbath stoner. However, the vocals are totally Sly and the Family Stone, but a little less funky. And the cool thing is it works. The lead vocalist, Yinka, has a great soul voice which he decided to use for the unique purpose of "grunge soul."

The first track, "Politician," has a heavy grunge influence, almost a little too much. However, the vocalist gets his first chance to impress the listener with this strange combination. "Go And Be Damned" is a better track. It steers toward that Sabbath style stoner music I was talking about, and has better vocal compositions. "Let Off The Leash" was an alright track. The soul aspect was more heavily experimented upon. "The Last 5 Minutes" was great. Lyrically impressive, good structure, not as redundant, and some alternative influence. The title track experiments more on soul again. It carries a heavy use of symbols and a heavy guitar riff that unfortunately almost contradicts the soft feel of the rest of the song. "I Wanna" starts off with a soul-style guitar riff that's backed up by a dark and grungy bass riff. And then we find that the song steers closer to soul than anything, again. The drumming and bass playing are quite grungy, as well as the solo. "Always You" takes the alternative route while keeping the same drumming style as the previous. "Have a Go Hero" takes the sdame path as the first few tracks

There's nothing wrong with the songwriting or structure, but the band doesn't use their instruments for anything new other than being a soul grunge band. The vocals are great, however. I'm not big on soul, but I've heard enough to know a soul fan would be pleased with the vocals.

It seems like they didn't try hard enough to be a soul grunge band. In fact, it felt like the weren't entirely sure which direction to take. However, listening to this album has taught me that it can be done. They use some techniques that could work for both soul and grunge. So why not combine them? I imagine they could probably do a better job on the next album, if they decide not to go for a different style. They should practice hard enough to combine the two, so they could attempt pioneering a new yin and yang. Despite my criticism of the ":diversity," this is not to say the album was bad. Yinka's music has some heart to it, and you can tell he likes what he does. It's a fun album and it's worth playing.

81/100
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Old 04-03-2016, 11:42 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Rogue Taxidermy by Daze N' Daze



Release Date: 2013
Style: Folk Punk
Length: 46 Min.
Status: It's got 62 ratings on RYM, so I imagine they're only fairly underground.

One of the many tags the Bandcamp page had was “thrashgrass.” Upon the first track, I understood exactly what they meant. A couple of goofy, squeaky voices were cussing their way through a hard and heavy acoustic riff backed up by a couple of horns. Thrashgrass.



I was amazed at how great Rogue Taxidermy turned out since the first track was a little lame. The album does a fairly good job at combining the goofy and raspy vocals with the soft feel of folk (no matter how fast or slow the acoustic guitar is played), but the real talent lies in the influences of anarcho punk, ska, crust, and even a little country folk. We have band members who are all vocalists: Jesse Sendejas , Geoff Bell, and Whitney Flynn. All of them blend with each other very well, even though Flynn has a more high-pitched and pretty voice than the raspy voices of the other two. The lyrics they write have a great sense of imagery. “So let's pretend all of the ones we love won't die. Sweep their skeletons off to the side.” “My breakfast was straight out the medicine cabinet. A remedy for the aftermath of my habits.” Those are some pretty cool lyrics for a change between calming folk punk to the “thrashgrass” label. Sometimes they just go for a straight country folk feel, like in “Blue Jays,” where Whitney does all the soft little work. But the album follows with a fast and furious track, as expected. It's called, “Remnants of What People Used to Be," by the way.

After the lame first track, I was quite impressed with the rest. I liked it enough to give Violent Femmes another try. These guys are a real punk band. There is a lot of punk out there, but not all of it is good. These guys are good lyricists, decent composers, and a good combination of different kinds of vocals.

Overall, where Violent Femmes failed when I first listened to it, Rogue Taxidermy may be the album to get me into folk punk. I've been needing to listen to both a little more, anyway. Now let's just get the f-words out of the way.

90/100

Best Tracks: Fate of a Coward, Muddy Knees, Tarnished Ol' Photograph, Blue Jays
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:31 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Dropped by Mindfunk



Style: Alternative Rock, Stoner Metal, Grunge
Release: 1993
Length: 64 min.
Ratings on RYM: 123

I didn't listen top this album for a while due to its disappearance from YouTube. Well, I found it again, and I can say I'm quite pleased with the album. Mindfunk started out as a funk metal band, but steered towards the grungier sound of the rising fad with this, possibly in an attempt to capitalize off the new scene. Did they succeed? Well, it could be grungier, but it's grungy enough to call it grunge. Plus, the album itself is good for a couple listens, but one could also write it off as a simple alt. rock album. Released on Megaforce (some real gems there), Mindfunk is another obscurity that probably should have made it into the bigtime while grunge was still popular.

Upon the first buzzing noises, I eas puzzled by the symbolization and thought to myself it was just added there in a failed attempt to bring something a little different to the palette. That didn't stop the opener from being good. "Goddess" does iots job as an opener by being entertaining and by introducing the listener to the leading vibe of the album. It has a solo that's like a classical piece with electric guitars. It's quite a good opener. "Closer" is next, and it sounds like the first song ut with a differet riff. Having said that, we can confirm the opener did its job. There's definite AiC influence in "Closer," so it's not a disappointment. The next track isd "In the Way Eye," which seems like a vast improvement from the second track, being softer and more alternative. However, I entered the fourth track, "Zootiehead," which sounds like something straight out of a heavier Mudhoneyt album but with a serious stoner sound. Next is Wisteria." This song carries a similar stoner feel to the previous one, but it seems to be more rhythm based. If you listen closely, the Soundgarden influence is dead obvious. These guys must've really liked grunge. All that's left is Nirvana and Pearl Jam. The second half of the song sounds like a diufferent song, which begins as a simple, progressive style track. It didn't transcend into the second half well.

Second Half. The opener to the second half is "Mama, Moses, and Me" which carries a very fast-paced sound that's a bit different from the lengthy sounds of the previous tunes. There seems to be a slight bit of Pearl Jam influence in this track. I could be wrong. In "11 Ton Butterfly," it starts off with a slow, quiet, really cool bass riff. Right at the moment thaty it seems the riff has gone on long enough, they mix up the riff a little. Smart move. These guys may be really good with timing. It's a nice sweet song at first, but as predicted by the way it built itself up, it carries a heavy chorus. A typical alternative/post-grunge practice. Still, this was before post-grunge became a thing, and it retains a lot of creativity. I suppose it's the best song on the album. "Hogwallow" is next. Wow. That title is stereotypically grunge. As far as the tune gopes, it's too fast-paced to really call alternative or grunge. I suppose "Hard Rock" is the best thing to dsescribe this seriously fast-paced song. "Billygoat" starts off screaming a whole stoner vibe during the chorus and intro, but the rest is seriously alternative. "Hollow" is the last song. It starts out very strangelym and quietly, psychedelically. Every good stoner album needs a little psychedelia. The intro was so cool and so estranged that I was really looking forward to the other seven and a half minutes. As far as endings go, the only other time where the ending has been the best song on the album was Bee Gee's 1st. So, yeah. I really enjoyed this psychedelic piece of work. I rthink it was a wise choice to use this lengthy, cool track as the ending and to lengthen in to almost 9 minutes.

Despite having a fairly generic sound, the 5-6 minute songs almost never feel drowned out or longer than vital. In fact, that's quite impressive of the band to skillfully take a generic sound for so long, especially considering it's a one hour album. The album here is very diverse, has good lyrics, and a good voice. It's appealing on various levels.

Overall, I'd say this is a worthy addition to alternative, stoner, and grunge collections, even if it's not essential or mind-blowing in any way.

81.5/100. I recommend it.
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Old 07-03-2016, 09:57 AM   #7 (permalink)
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^Big fan of Days N' Daze, and I've even had the chance to talk to Whitney a few twins because she frequents r/folkpunk.

If you need more recs in the genre, hit me up.
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:18 AM   #8 (permalink)
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By the way, a while back I started a group, "Undrground Rockers Unite!" It's for discussing and recommending unpolular/underground music, notably alternative, punk, grunge, and indie. If anyone wants to join, please do.
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Old 07-03-2016, 10:42 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Ratings on RYM: 1

Naviculus is the most obscure grunge album on RYM, and I was looking specifically for something like that. And the one rating that band has is from the user "Navicula." So, there's that. This psychedlic, estranged, Indonesian brand of grunge is a great example of how far the sound can be taken. I dont know Indonesian genres, but is this part gamelan?

Navicula is so obscure that only two of their albums appear on RYM. So, I plan on listening to all the others at some point.

Upon the first note, I became aware of this album's heavy experimentation. These guys are Indonesian, so I expect something new to the pallete. "Supremasi Rasa" starts out with a psychedelic form of their local sound. It's more psychedelic and foreign than anything at the start, but has shreds of alternative. It doesn't get anything close to grungy until the chorus, which is more post-hardcore than anything. But it carries the exact same angst as grunge, so I suppose it's their own special brand. "Kau and Aku" is the second track, carying some serious alternative rock and pop rock beats. As good as the first track. "Kidung Bulan & Matahari" is next. It steers toward the alternative/grunge sound the band is labelled as, but isd more alternative. "Parasit" is the next track, taking a much heavier, noisier, and punkier take on their sound. The vocalist switches between serene, ambient vocals and raspy Russkaja growls. I can easily say Parasit" is one of the best modern grunge songs. Jiwan Mukti" starts off with a high-pitched, sweet guitar playing its own sort of lullay akin to jangle pop songs. What a great riff. The guitars are great! "Suram Wajah Negri" goes back to the grunge; its riff and heaviness are likened to Skin Yard. he vocals are high, raspy, and ealmost as energetic as thios song. Antoher grand example of the diversity of the album. "Keluarga Tanpa Batas" retrains the alternative/pop sound of the second, but also carries a little bit of Indonesia's sound. Still, every song has been different in its own, great way. I'm actually a little upset that these guys are so unpopular. "Cosmogony's" angry sound is perfect for the grunge, but is different from the rest in the sense that all it has going for it is grunge. So far, everything else has been a little more experimental This is plain grunge, creating another great and different track.

Let me explain something about myself. If I'm a hipster, I'm the kind who likes to promote the unpoluar stuff in a possible failed attempt to maker them a lot more known.

The second half starts with a weird music box, acting as "Ubud's" intro. In the background, we can hear a recording of a woman speaking in Indonesian. Afterward's, a distorted grunge bass carries the tune. The vocals are well harmonized and nice. Kind of Pearl-Jam. The solo carries a strange Ravi Shankar style solo, one very fit for the song. "Aware" is next. I think it's in English, but I can't tell. The riff seems a little too heavy for these harmonized vocals, but it's a fun song. It does a decent job of envoking emotions, so it's a success. Plus, the stoner solo works out. "Jujur & Setia" is next, backed up by quiet, ambient sounds in the background. Almost shoegazey. "Kali Mati" is next. It's much heavier than most songs on it. Raspy. The song's a bit lame, though. "Zat Hijau Daun" carries its energy well, even if the song goes by quickly. "Pulang" comes. It's very porduction-heavy aura invokes emotions well. The solo once again steers toward psychedelia, something I missed for a while. The tune it carries is very balanced, well written. The final track is"Kami no Mori," which I believe is Japanese. Ther spound starts with a very Asian feel, but retains its rock elements as it transcends into a deep grunge bass while the Indonesian feel carries the guitars. This is the whole finale, and it's well done.

Overall, this obscure, rare, and overlooked album is actually very good. These guys take the alternative/grunge sound and greatly improve on any common practice the two have, as well as incorporating a lot of other elements into the mix. I honestly think this is better than Nevermind.

Supremasi Rasa 9/10
Kau and Aku 9/10
Kidung Bulan & Matahari 8.5
Parasite 9.5
Jiwan Mukti 9
Suram Wajah Negri 8.5
Keluarga Tanpa Batas 8
Cosmogony 8.2
Ubud 9
Aware 8.5
Jujur & Setia 8
Kali Mati 7.5
Zat Hijau Daun 8
Pulang 9.5
Kami No Mori 10

My rating: 9.4/10.

If you want to play the album, it's on YouTube right now. It's probably the only way to hear it.
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