Archive for the ‘Album Of The Week’ Category

R-1259237-1377112122-2012.jpegIf you have been following my blog for quite some time then you will have learned that I like paying tribute to artists that I respect in the industry. Today’s album of the week is one of those tributes to another artist that we lost, but right in the beginning of 2018.  Dolores O’Riordan was the lead singer of the Irish rock band The Cranberries who on January 15TH was discovered and pronounced dead at her hotel room in London. There are no details on the cause of death, but I wanted to pay tribute to her by covering Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can’t We? for this week’s album of the week. The album was released on March 1, 1993 and it featured O’Riordan (Vocals), Noel Hogan (Guitars), Mike Hogan (Bass), and Fergal Lawler (Drums). The album was a huge success for the band as it went number one in the UK and Ireland while peaking at number 18 on The Billboard Top 200 Charts. The album sold over 5 million in the US making it five times platinum while being certified two times platinum in the UK (selling 600,000 units).

MI00021791721. I Still Do– The very melodic and brooding opening track starts and Dolores amazing voice carries you through. This is a track about Dolores having to make a tough choice because she knows she is not going to be around and long distance relationships don’t always work, but she loves him and can’t leave him. 4.5/5

2. Dreams– One of my favorite Cranberries songs ever with it’s upbeat tempo that reminds me of the glory days of 80’s post punk music. I think the track is about how things always change in one’s life, but one thing is for sure and that is she’s in love. 5/5

3. Sunday– The beginning of the track makes me think we are in a dream state at first, but when it kicks in it’s a pretty good mid tempo track. The track is about a guy coming into her life, but she couldn’t muster up the words to say that she needed him. 4/5

4. Pretty– The tempo is slowed down while Dolores just takes over the track vocally while she talks about the same thing saying we know you’re pretty, but there’s no need to act like your better. 4/5

5. Waltzing Back– A track that has some acoustic elements to it with some cool yodeling from Dolores in the track. I’m not really sure what the track is about, but it could be about the wife of a soldier who is mad that he husband is being taken to fight in the cause. 4.5/5

6. Not Sorry– A cool track that starts with some piano before some clean channel guitars come in in this brooding track that is about a girl basically saying that the way you treated me you shouldn’t be mad that I hate you. 4.5/5

everybody-else-is-doing-it-so-why-cant-we-56e9f3c411d647. Linger– An amazing track on the album that Riordan once said is about her first kiss with a soldier that she once fell in love with. The track has that element of regret in the lyrics which puts it into perspective. 5/5

8. Wanted– A more upbeat tempo track about a relationship in which she feels like she likes them, but they don’t like her. 4.5/5

9. Still Can’t …– The element of post punk in this track is incredible and it sounds great too in this track that is about a guy who did wrong, but he hasn’t done anything to fix it. 5/5

10. I Will Always– a very beautiful track musically that is yet so tragic in lyrics because it’s about how she holds on to a relationship even though it’s bad for her. 5/5

11. How– Another cool track on the album that is once again about a relationship gone wrong and how both parties pretend like the other isn’t there except she knows. 4.5/5

12. Put Me Down– The last track on the album which is very haunting especially with Dolores’s breathy vocals. If you guessed it, I think it’s another track about a relationship that is just no good. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– Dolores is an incredible vocalist that I feel is extremely underrated and deserved more than what she had. One thing is for certain and that is her fans know how incredible she is. Check out the album for yourselves, I am going to give the album 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.

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taprootWe are continuing down that road in the history of one of my favorite genres when I was in my latter years of high school and into college known as Nu-Metal. The band that I chose for today had a little bit of a controversial way of how they were signed or at least what happened after they signed made headlines in the Nu-Metal world. Apparently, the band which was made up of Stephen Richards (Vocals and Rhythm Guitar), Phil Lipscomb (Bass), Mike DeWolf (Lead Guitar), and Jarrod Montague (Drums) were apparently on target to get signed by Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst. Fred apparently was taking too long to make a deal go through so the band went ahead and signed with Atlantic Records. Fred in a fit of rage left this on Stephen’s answering machine, “Hey man, you fucked up. You don’t ever bite the hand that feeds in this business, bro . . . Took you under my wing, brought you to my house, talked about you on FM radio and in the press, and you embarrassed me and the Interscope family. Your association with Limp Bizkit doesn’t exist. Your manager slings our name around, he’s going to be blackballed and probably erased, and you will, too. You need to be associated with someone, and now you got enemies. You just fucked yourself. Don’t fucking show up at my shows. If you do, you’re gonna be fucked. You’re learning exactly right now how to ruin your career. All the luck, brother, fuck you.” The rest is history as they said because this may have given the band the publicity they needed as the album Gift sold over 250,000 copies and it peaked at number 160 on the Billboard Top 200 charts.

gift by taproot1. Smile-The track opens up with an in your face riff in a track that is all about being yourself and not what people want you to be. 4/5

2. Again & Again– One of the lead tracks off the album and my favorite track that is about someone who just needs to take a step back to get back to the point when they were in control and above the noise. 5/5

3. Emotional Times– Not a favorite of mine lyrically because it just about how life sucks and not having control of feelings, but musically it’s fierce and Nu-Metal at it’s best. 3.5/5

4. Now– I love the clean channel playing of the intro to this track and it drives most of the song until you get to the all out madness of the chorus. It’s about the narrator needing his significant other or someone he is infatuated with because he feels he can’t go on. 4/5

5. 1 Nite Stand– You would think this song is about one night stands, but it’s not. It’s more about doing something that surprises you cause you never thought you could. 4/5

6. Believed– A very interesting track that starts with some cool pedal effects on the guitars before it kicks into the track and Stephen starts rapping the verse. It has an Incubus feel to it when the chorus hits. It’s lyrically the most interesting track on the record. 4/5

gift-4e9a348e8eb457. Mentobe– Some heavy riffs open the track before it calms for the chorus in a track that looks like it’s about fearing the person that you are meant to be. 4/5

8. I– One of the other amazing tracks on the album that the music is dark in nature with the melodic guitar riffs right into the distorted playing. The track is about all the sorrows that one holds deep inside about the past. 5/5

9. Mirror’s Reflection-an interesting track that is about someone who hates what they see in the mirror so they take it out on others. Insecurities can make someone do awful things. 4/5

10. Dragged Down-The track starts off like a rocket flying into space before it gets melodic for the verses in a track that is about someone who is an relationship where things are one sided but they don’t leave. 4/5

11. Comeback– Musically the song is cool, they try to sound like Korn at times in this track, but sometimes the lyrics don’t work for me. Some of them just seem forced. Otherwise, it’s a cool track when they turn it up. 3.5/5

12. Impact– The last track on the album that just steamrolls through in a track that is about someone who believes that they are making a positive impact on people. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– This was a decent album from a band that I believed was growing musically with every release after this one. Unfortunately for Fred Durst, he was not the reason for the demise of any band because time was ultimately that for the short lived genre. Nonetheless, this was a strong debut for the band that made a statement and I commend them for it. I am going to give the album four stars out of five for a final grade.

ultraspankFor the last two weeks, we have been exploring the Nu-Metal scene which was a scene that I heavily promoted on my early college radio show from 2000-01. One of the bands that I was admittedly obsessed with back in those days was the band Ultraspank which formed in 1995 after the break up of another band. On May 30, 2000, the band would release their most critically acclaimed album Progress which featured Pete Murray (Vocals and Programming), Dan Ogden (Bass), Jerry Oliviera (Guitar), Neil Godfrey (Guitar), and former Snot drummer James “Fed” Carroll. The album was produced by the great Peter Collins who had produced albums for bands such as Alice Cooper, Gary Moore, Rush, Queensrÿche, and so many more. I can’t find much online as far as the band’s chart history or how many albums the band sold, but it is considered by some critics as the best Nu-Metal album that was ever released.

51NZls8K2bL1. Push-An cool industrial like bass riff along with some drums opens up the track and launches into overdrive as soon as the chorus kicks in. I think the track is about that fear of growing old and knowing change is taking over, but you just have to push through it. 4.5/5

2. Crumble– A cool guitar riff leads us in to this track that is about someone who realizes that they are not growing as a person like their counterpart, so they need to change it. 4.5/5

3. Stuck– A ferocious track right from the get go, the song follows someone who feels like they are stuck in a situation that is going nowhere. You can hear elements that are very similar to bands like Taproot in this track. 4.5/5

4. Feed-The opening riff reminds me of Korn’s Shoots and Ladders until the song progresses forward. the song is about someone who constantly feeds you BS and pretends to be your friend, but they prey on you because he thinks you’re weak. 4.5/5

5. Smile-Bass and drums once again open the track with a mellow guitar riff that eventually follows in this track that has a huge similarity in style to Tool especially as Pete channels his inner Maynard James Keenan. 4/5

6. Click-A rockin tune that has a driving riff that will have you grooving to it especially when the chorus hits. The chorus has a flare to it that sounds like Static-X’s Push It. One of the best tracks on the album for sure. 5/5

R-11096097-1509798523-3387.jpeg7. Jackass-A hard driving rock track that slows down the tempo for the verse to the point that it’s only bass and drums with that ominous guitar riff that comes in to signal the chorus is near. This is another amazing track on the album that seems to be talking about someone who thinks they are great, but there really a…. 4.5/5

8. Crack– A track that seems to be talking about someone who is cracking under the pressures of what life brings that they are shutting themselves off to the world. 4/5

9. Invite Yourself In– A 16 second intro to the next track 4/5

10. Thanks-A track that is purely metal and in your face as it may be one of the heaviest tracks on the album for sure. 4.5/5

11. Left-A cool track that starts off heavy, but then it gets very melodic and evil sounding which is pretty cool. It has that Tool influence to it which I think is a cool touch in a track that seems to be about someone who needs to leave the place he is over guilt for something. 4.5/5

12. Where– This is one of the best and my personal favorite Ultraspank track that I played every chance I could on my radio show. It starts off with this cool acoustic side to it then a cool programmed riff comes in before the band launches into overdrive for the chorus. I just think it’s about keeping your head up because somewhere out there is a better place than this. you just have to find it. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– The track features so many sounds that would be utilized in the scene right after it’s release and you can definitely hear the similarities with bands on the scene. This was an amazing release and it’s too bad that the band would break up shortly after the release, but those things happen. Check this one out on Spotify, iTunes, and on CD if you can find it. I am going to give the album 4.5 stars out of five.

71TtrBCBivL._SL1433_I was going though my collection of cassettes of early college radio shows that I did back in 2000/01 when I came across a song that brought back memories. The year 2000 was kind of a hot year for the genre known as Nu-Metal which at this point had taken over the world with bands like Puya, Limp Bizkit, Hed PE releasing music and gaining airplay. One band that had struck a chord with me was Los Angeles Nu Metal group Spineshank who by October 2000 had just released their sophomore effort The Height of Callousness which is this week’s album of the week. The band was made up of Jonny Santos (Vocals),  Mike Sarkisyan (Guitar, Co-Producer), Robert Garcia (Bass), and Tommy Decker (Drums) while the album was also produced by GGGarth. The album did fair upon it’s release as it sold over 150,000 copies and peaked at 183 on the Billboard Top 200 charts while also peaking at 13 on the Heatseekers, 23 on the Top Independents, and 104 on the UK album charts. The band mixing in elements of industrial metal on the album has often drawn comparisons to Fear Factory and Rammstein by critics.

918EIeKSQWL._SL1500_1. Asthmatic– The first track opens right up by going for the throat with a Slipknot ferociousness in a track that seems to be about how hurt the narrator is by someone who abandoned him. 4/5

2. The Height of Callousness– The title track does not lift the foot off the gas as the band is in your face right from the start in a track about a person who just feels nothing anymore. 4/5

3. Synthetic– One of my favorite tracks on the album that has that Nu-Metal radio sense to it while being an intense track. The track is about how if you keep listening to what other people tell you to do then you’ll never make your own choices because their synthetic. 5/5

4. New Disease– You can definitely hear the industrial influence on the track that reminds me a little of bands like Orgy in a track that is about no matter how hard you try to think that you have a purpose, the one that you believe to have may not be it. It’s kind of a self realization track. 5/5

5. (Can’t Be) Fixed– A track with a slow build up to a bass driven Dope-like sound on this track about someone who can’t be fixed because he refuses to change. 4/5

6. Cyanide 2600– an industrial heavy track that is all about someone who doesn’t care about anyone, but wants everyone to care about him. 4/5

the-height-of-callousness-51f9817d6b23b7. Play God– A track that goes back to the heavy guitar driven Industrial metal that we heard in the beginning. It’s a track that goes from 1 to 1000, but not one of my favorites on the album, but it’s not terrible. 3.5/5

8. Malnutrition– More industrial driven metal with that guitar assault which is more of the same like we heard in the last track. The track seems to be about someone who just feeds everyone BS all the time hence being malnourished. 4/5

9. Seamless– The track starts off with some bad ass metal riffage going on there and they never let the foot off the gas at all during the track. The song seams to be about someone who just feels like life sucks and that you’re wasting your time trying to better yours. 4/5

10. Negative Space– A track that reminds me of the radio tracks in a song that is about the narrator and how he is not going to be the same as everyone else anymore because he is giving up a life of addiction. 4/5

11. Transparent– The last track on the album that hits as hard as any on the album about someone who feels like he isn’t who he used to be and that he is so different it’s becoming transparent. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– Were Spineshank titans of Nu-Metal the same way that Korn, Limp Bizkit, and so many others? Maybe not, but that is because they are one of the most underrated bands of the genre. There are some great songs on here and others that are really good. This is definitely an album worth listening to besides Strictly Diesel. So, with that being said, I am going to give the album 4.1 stars out of five for a final grade.

sanctuaryI am always looking for new bands to cover, but there is always that unfortunate circumstance when a member of a band passes away and I cover the band’s album as a tribute. Warrel Dane, the lead singer of the bands Sanctuary and Nevermore passed away this morning in Brazil of a heart attack. He was in Brazil recording his second solo album when the incident happened where he was staying. So, I wanted to pay tribute to Warrel Dane by covering an album from the band that introduced me to him in Sanctuary. The album that I chose for you guys is the band’s 1988 debut record Refuge Denied which was produced by Megadeth frontman Dave Mustaine and Paul Lani. You may be asking how in the world did they get Mustaine to produce the album? Apparently, after they recorded a demo, they approached Mustaine who had just performed with Megadeth in their area and they handed it to him. Mustaine was impressed enough with the band that he agreed to produce the album. The album featured Dane, Lenny Rutledge (Guitar), Sean Blosl (Guitar), Jim Sheppard (Bass), and Dave Budbill (Drums). Initially, the album had sold 7,000 copies on Vinyl, but has since sold over 200,000 worldwide.

sanctuary-refuge-denied-1988-japan-back1. Battle Angels– The band launches into overdrive with some chugging riffs right from the get go in a track that has some amazing battle fantasy lyrics. 4/5

2. Termination Force– The track starts off with that typical 80’s thrash melodic sound that is a little eerie with the guitars made to stand out the most before the rest of the band launches in and the song features some cool bass playing from Sheppard. It seems to be a song about rebelling against your government and the need to feel like you have to before it’s too late. 4/5

3. Die For My Sins– This is a kick ass song that has that trash metal sound with the power metal vocals in a track that is about someone who doesn’t have the will to live, but wants you to have fun for him. That is what it seems like anyways to me because I am not picking up a religious tone. 4/5

4. Soldiers of Steel-A track that has that Megadeth/Mercyful Fate to it with some killer guitar work with more of those fantasy inspired lyrics. 4/5

refuge-denied-515ccee9558bb5.  Sanctuary– Every great band has a song named after them right? Well, Iron Maiden did and so does Sanctuary. The track helps kick off side two of the vinyl and it does with this melodic riff that fades in and at first I was worried because of the intro, but the band turns up the tempo and they save the song. 4/5

6. White Rabbit– I wonder how much of an influence Dave was when the band decided to cover this Grace Slick written Jefferson Airplane track. Nonetheless, I have to say that this is a pretty decent cover, it’s better than Megadeth’s cover of These Boots. 4.5/5

7. Ascension To Destiny– This might musically be the best track on the whole record in my opinion. The band is on fire as the duel guitarists get it right on this one and it fits with Dane’s powerful vocals. 5/5

8. The Third War– It’s an all out metal assault on this track which is about, you guessed it, the possibility of World War III which is nuclear war. 4.5/5

9. Veil Of Disguise– I love the clean guitar channel, slow tempo’d track that this is because it just has that evil feel to it. I think lyrically, we are in ancient Egypt maybe just from the nature of the lyrics. Don’t fret because the distortion does come back at some point in the track. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– This is a pretty decent debut for the band, but it was their next album that would top this one’s sales. Nevertheless, I love the mixture of thrash with power metal because it was something a little different even though you can hear the Mercyful Fate influence in it. I am going to give the album 4.2 stars out of five for a final grade.

end of all thingsOne of the coolest bands that I ever remember seeing in a live setting was Peoria, Illinois’s own Mudvayne. The first time I ever saw them live was when they were the openers for Rob Zombie and Ozzy Osbourne while supporting L.D. 50. The album that I chose for this week’s album of the week is the follow up to the very successful L.D. 50 in The End Of All Things To Come. The album featured Chad Gray (Vocals), Greg Tribbett (Guitars), Ryan Martinie (Bass), and Matthew McDonough (Drums) while the album was produced by David Bottrill. The band had a buck load of time to make the first record, but not a lot of time to make the follow up as McDonough explains, “We had all the time in the world to write our first album, but for the second one, we had about a month. I’m amazed how quickly we came up with the material.” While the time may have seemed short, it definitely paid off as the album peaked at 17 on the Billboard Top 200 charts while being certified Gold by 2003.

Mudvayne-The_End_Of_All_Things_To_Come-Trasera1. Silenced– Ryan Martinies amazing bass playing opens the track before the band comes in with the fury and intricate song structures. The song is one of the fiercest tracks on the album and a great track to hear live. 5/5

2. Trapped in the Wake of a Dream– McDonough revealed in an interview once that the verses were written in 17/8 while the chorus was done 11/8 time signature. McDonough says, “If I hadn’t pointed out which song was written in 17/8 I don’t think most people would have noticed. It’s a strange time signature but it works because it’s smooth.” 4/5

3. Not Falling– The first single off the record and one of my favorite tracks and it reminds me of a mix of Dig, but more mature and more mainstream conscious. The track itself is about being strong and never giving up on whatever it is that you face. 5/5

4. (Per)Version of a Truth– A great track that showcases more of the brilliance of Martinie and how he teams with Tribbett so well. The song is about how we are all seeking the truth in life, but in reality it doesn’t exist because society distorts the truth. 5/5

5. Mercy, Severity– an intense track right from the start before it mellows out for the verses. The track could have something to do with the tree of life which is found in the Kabbalah or it could be about creation or recreation. 4.5/5

6. World So Cold– A very different track for the time because of it’s more mellow nature, but it was the second single released off the record which talks about the band’s resentment towards society and how cold it can be. 5/5

the-end-of-all-things-to-come-4e805f94669bf7. The Patient Mental– A very Nu-Metalish sounding track right from the start that deals with the author talking about fame and why he doesn’t understand it fully as well as talking about the recording industry as well. 4/5

8. Skrying– They don’t let the foot off the gas as this one steamrolls ahead, but the lyrical content can be perceived as very dark. Skyring in Luciferian terms is all about reflecting on one’s own self, but he is not doing it in the occult way. Just check out the lyrics to the track. The one cool thing about the track is how it completely transforms at one point midway through the track. 4.5/5

9. Solve et Coagula– In alchemist terms, the song translates into dissolve and coagulate and the track is a reflection of how the band feels about society and how secular we are. The band is absolutely brilliant in the song writing department. 4.5/5

10. Shadow of a Man– A interesting track where the narrator is somehow displeased at the fact that there could be an alternate version of himself and how that version could be living a better life than him. 4/5

11. 12:97:24:99– a throw away track as there is no sound and it’s only 11 seconds in length. 0/5

12. The End Of All Things To Come– The title track is pretty intense in it’s thrash like nature in a track that is setting a point that things need to change in the world starting with our world leaders. 4/5

13. A Key to Nothing– The last track on the album comes in strong with it’s nu-metal sound about the fact that if we had nothing then there would be no problems. For example, no more/no less meaning if we have no more than 0 and nothing less than 0 then we have nothing. This is a world changing track y’all 4/5

mud-promoMy Final Thoughts– While L.D. 50 may be a brilliant debut from the band, I thought there sophomore release was up to par as a great successor. The singles were more radio friendly than Dig or any of the singles off the first, they were still great tracks. You should definitely give this one a listen if you want to get to know the brilliance of Mudvayne. I just wish they would reunite already! I am going to give the album 4.1 stars out of five for a final grade.