Posts Tagged ‘Album Of The Week’

MFSL1-442-2On Sunday September 15, 2019, the rock world and the Boston music scene lost one of it’s greats in Ric Ocasek who was one of the singers and rhythm guitar player of Boston rock band The Cars. The Cars were a very important band to the identity of Classic Rock in the city of Boston and they were a band that I grew up on. For today’s album of the week, I have decided to cover the band’s fifth studio album in Heartbreak City because it was the album that introduced me to the band. The album was released on March 13, 1984 which marks this as the 35TH anniversary of the album’s release and it was produced by famed producer Robert John “Mutt” Lange who was known for producing albums by AC/DC and Def Leppard to name a few. The album once again featured Ocasek (Rhythm Guitar and Vocals), Ben Orr (Bass and Vocals), Elliot Easton (Guitars and Vocals), Greg Hawkes (Keys and Fairlight CMI programming), and David Robinson (Drums). The album was a huge success and it bounced the band back as it peaked at number three on the Billboard Top 200 Charts making it only the second album to reach this high on the charts (Candy-O also peaked at 3). The album would also chart at number 12 in 1984 and 49 in 1985 on the Billboard Top 200 year end charts as it sold over four million records.

the-cars-heartbeat-city-6-cd1. Hello Again– A new wave rocking hit, but it definitely was experimental as well for the band at the time. I always loved the key and synth opening of the track and we’ve seen the vocal intro effect before with Def Leppard. 5/5

2. Looking For Love– Even though this wasn’t a single, I always thought this was an awesome song for a deep cut on the record. It does a nice job treading on the line of ballad and synth pop single very well as she looks for love. 5/5

3, Magic– The second single released off the album and a number one hit on the U.S. Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart. You can hear the Fairlight CMI programming being put to use in the beginning before the keys take over. The track has a great charging rock sound to it complete with awesome bass riff from Orr. The track is all about when you find that true love, everything feels like magic, but it doesn’t last forever. 5/5

4. Drive– This is probably my favorite song on the whole entire album and one of the band’s best ballads. This is a track that is sung by Benjamin Orr and his bass riff dominates this great track. The track is all about how anyone can say they love you, but there is one true person who will “drive” to the ends of the earth for you. 5/5

5. Stranger Eyes– I love the intro to this song because it’s so 1980’s with the synth they are using I love it. I could see this song on a soundtrack to an 80’s horror film. A very bass driven track that is once again sang by Orr. 4.5/5

the-cars-602962-2-cd6. You Might Think– The very first single released off of the album that peaked at number one on the US Billboard Top Rock Tracks. I love the balance of it being a rock track with the keyboard playing and the nuances of the synth playing. 5/5

7. It’s Not the Night-a keyboard and synth heavy track that was written by both Orr and Ocasek and it features vocals from the both of them as well. When it comes time for Orr to sing, it turns into more of a rock song with the keys and synths still there. 4/5

8. Why I Can’t Have You– another Keys and Synth drive track whose tempo is a little slower than the other tracks that has that person in distress kind of mode (described as a lush ballad) especially since the song is about a guy who wants this woman, but he can’t have her. 5/5

9. I Refuse– a more upbeat synthpop track from the band in this track about a guy who refuses to be used by someone. 4.5/5

10. Heartbreak City– The last track on the album that was originally titled Jacki on the US cassette release. It’s a synthpop track that is a little bit on the darker side as it has to do with two lovers who can’t seem to be together because Jacki is obsessed with big lights of Hollywood or Heartbreak City. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– I love this album and always have since the first time I heard it and that was thanks to MTV who used to play music videos. There’s really only one song on the album that I never really cared for, but other than it’s a solid release. I am giving the album 4.75 stars out of five for a final grade. R.I.P. Ric Ocasek

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The album cover when you unfold it

Enslaved-E-SmallWhen one thinks of metal and the country of Norway, the first thing that comes to mind for most is the Black Metal genre that essentially took off from there. Very few realize that Black Metal is not the only genre that breeds bands to the world as we have seen in the 80’s with TNT or even in the last 15 years in Extreme Metal band Enslaved. So, I have decided that for this week I would check out an album from the band and I thought that I would start with E which was released on October 13, 2017 via Nuclear Blast Records and the album featured Grutle Kjellson (Vocals/Bass), Ivar Bjørnson (Guitars, FX, synthesizers, Piano), for the last time Cato Bekkevold (Drums),  for the first time Håkon Vinje (Keys, Organ, Vocals), and Ice Dale (Guitars). While it may have failed to chart in the US, the album was a success for the band as they took home the 2017 Spellemann Award for best metal album which is Norway’s equivalent to the Grammy beating out Satyricon. The album may only contain six songs total with two bonus tracks depending on what version you get, but it’s 50 minutes of intensity.

CS663979-01B-BIG1. Storm Son– It’s back to their Viking roots with this track as you hear the chants, the horses, the blowing of the horn, etc before a very melodic riff comes in to this 10 minute epic. Ivar explains to Loudwire that the track, “Storm Son’ deals with the duality of man and nature, how important and basic that relationship is.” The track is incredible especially with all the tempo changes and changes in vocal style.  5/5

2. The River’s Mouth-an in your face double bass smashing track that pays respect to Bathory and kicks ass as Ivar explains, “The theme here is your relationship with the “future”, as we describe it: The sensation of time moving along is a construction of our brains – physics claims all time to already have been “rolled out”; try wrapping our brains around that one!” 5/5

3. Sacred Horse– An 8 minute epic from the band that features one part with the organ playing that makes it sound like a heavier version of Deep Purple. The track is great and it has to be talking about Sleipnir who was an eight legged horse that was ridden by Odin. 5/5

R-10839532-1507817949-3685_jpeg_grande4. Axis Of The Worlds– I feel like this is a track that is referring to the fact that no matter what you do whether in life or death there will always be good and evil. I know they make references to Eihwaz which is kind of like a tree that is considered the passage way to another world through death. 4.5/5

5. Feathers of Eolh– a very entrancing track from the band that is another eight minute epic that takes you on a journey. The last track may have spoken about the Eihwaz and what it is, but I feel like this track talks about the other side. 4.5/5

6. Hiindsiight– I love how they transition from melodies right into doom like metal so easily and it especially is true on this track as they able to bounce back and forth. I love the different instrumentation that is present int his track as well. It was a bold move adding the sax to the track, but it works. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– I had honestly never listened to Enslaved before this experience and I have to be in honest in saying that I absolutely loved it because their seems to just be so many layers to this band that makes them more than just an Extreme Metal band. Kick back, relax, and just let the music take you on the journey. I am going to give the album 4.8  stars out of five for a final grade.

satellite-frontOne of the premier bands to ever come out of the Nu-Metal scene has always been the very underrated Christian Nu-Metal group P.O.D. (Payable On Death). This group from San Diego, California had been cutting their teeth on the scene for a little while before they gained recognition for the album The Fundamental Elements of Southtown. But the album that helped define the band’s fourth album Satellite which came out on September 11, 2001. The album once again featured Sonny Sandoval (Vocals), Marcos Curiel (Guitars), Traa Daniels (Bass), and Wuv Bernardo (Drums) while the album was produced by Howard Benson and P.O.D.. Despite the idea of the album coming out on the worst day in American History, the album did very well for the band as it peaked at number six on the Billboard Top 200 charts as it sold over 133,000 copies in the first week and it spent five straight weeks in the top 10. The album sold over seven million records worldwide (3 million in the US) and it placed at 137 on Billboards Top 200 albums of the decade (2000-2009). The album also had three different songs nominated for a Grammy despite not winning any of them and it shows you how amazing the record was.

51huIfSkhJL1. Set It Off– A kick ass way to kick off the album with a track that is so full of energy when it needs and melodic when it needs to be as well. The track is all about getting up and realizing that you have to stick up for yourself and be proud. 5/5

2. Alive– The first track released off the album that helped sooth times during 9/11 in a track that is all about knowing that life is so beautiful that we are lucky to be alive. The track was nominated for a Grammy for Bets Hard Rock Performance in 2002. 5/5

3. Boom– Another high octane, high energy track that bumps in this track that is all about the band’s rise from nothing to the top. 5/5

4. Youth Of A Nation– A very dark and melodic track that was inspired by a tragedy. The band was on their way to rehearsal when they were stuck in traffic. They found out the reason was because their was a school shooting and after the album’s release was delayed they wrote this track. The track was nominated for a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance in 2003. 5/5

5. Celestial– a very cool instrumental from the band that segways nicely into the next track. 5/5

6. Satellite– a very cool and inspirational track from the band that is all about God and how he looks down and watches us. It’s like saying to yourself that you know things are good because God is always watching over me. 5/5

7. Ridiculous– a rock track with a more reggae feel to it and that could be because the track features Jamaican reggae artist Eek-a-Mouse. 4.5/5

satellite-4ee2821eb12cd8. The Messenjah-a cool track that is all about how P.O.D. have established that they will always speak the word of Jah no matter what until death so they are the messenjahs. 4.5/5

9. Guitarras de Amor– The track title translates to guitars of love and this is another instrumental track that blends some Latin guitar playing into it. 5/5

10. Anything Right– a very melodic track from the band that features Christian Lindskog of Swedish group Blindside. The verses are very melodic, but the chorus is intense as Sonny claims that no matter what he does, he an’t do anything right. I think the track is basically saying we should show more love because not everyone is like us. 4.5/5

11. Ghetto– Another melodic track that has a lot of hope for the world in it’s lyrics as Sonny believes that the world believes in love. It’s basically preaching that love is basically the answer. 4.5/5

12. Masterpiece Conspiracy– an OK track on the album that is all about how this band is a family and that everything they have they have worked for so no one outside the circle can claim a slice. 4/5

13. Without Jah, Nothin– an in your face punk style track (with a little reggae mixed in too) that features HR of Bad Brains on the track whose lyrics basically says that nothing good comes out of this world with out God. 4/5

14. Thinking About Forever– a track that is semi acoustic in this song that Sonny wrote for his mother who passed away. He hopes that she is proud of him. 4.5/5

15. Portrait– The last track on the album that was nominated for a Grammy for Best Metal Performance in 2003. The track is a metal track with a little bit of a punk feel to it that talks about how people have taken a beautiful thing like God and they have distorted his teachings and who he is. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This at the time was the last album that Marcos would be on with the band until 2008’s When Angels & Serpents Dance. This was one heck of a follow up to Fundamental…, but it set the standard for the band moving forward that they have had to top. These are literally some of the nicest guys in the business which is why I love this band and have a lot of respect for them. So, I am going to give this album 4.8 stars out of five for a final grade.

81BbQMTakEL._SL1425_You never forget memories like where you were the first time you saw a movie that brings back pleasant memories. You never forget memories like the first time you heard a song from a band that you love and that was definitely the case the first time that I had ever heard of the Deftones. The first time I heard Sacramento’s Alt-Metal kings was the track Be Quite And Drive (Far Away) because it was unlike anything I had ever heard before so I had my brother purchase their second album Around The Fur which was released on October 28, 1997 via Maverick Records. The band was made up of Chino Moreno (Vocals), Stephen Carpenter (Guitars), Chi Cheng (Bass), and Abe Cunningham (Drums) while the album was produced by Terry Date. The album was pretty successful as it helped establish the band on the scene. A lot of critics felt that the album was a good stepping stone for the band because they were on the cusp of discovering who they really were. The album peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts while it was a number one album on the Top Heatseakers Charts and it has gone platinum in the United States.

deftones1. My Own Summer (Shove It)– The first track off the album and the lead single help kick things off. With it’s Nu-Metal swagger guitar riff and soft sung vocals from Chino during the verses help setup the big time in your face chorus in a track that is using summer to symbolize people who hide behind a facade because the sun burns your eyes meaning you can’t see the real them. 5/5

2. Lhabia– the track kicks right off where the first one left off in this driving guitar riff in a fun song that is just about a kid who just wants to get laid because he is bored. 5/5

3. Mascara-The song is very slow and very ominous in it’s tone and I love his vocals at times in this song because he channels Robert Smith of The Cure in this track. I think the song is about him accepting his loved one even with all of her faults that she may have. 5/5

4. Around The Fur– A Nu-Metal track through and through that is all about his dislike of vain people because they seem one way on the outside but they are dead on the inside. He uses a fur coat as a metaphor to describe this. 4.5/5

5. Rickets– Another Nu-Metal styled track with some sick bass playing from the late Chi Cheng in this track that is all about even though someone is pointing all your faults, you know they are just ignoring theirs. 4/5

deftones 26. Be Quite And Drive (Far Away)– My favorite track on the whole album that has been described as a nu-metal track laced with some shoegaze in it. The track is all about how the narrator lost a relationship and has been trying to replace that person, but it doesn’t work. 5/5

7. Lotion-An in your face track that is all about how Chino can;t stand girls that are so vain that they only care about their looks, etc. 4/5

8. Dai the Flu– A bass driven track that is leaning more in the alt-metal side of things that is about a girl who is in a relationship with this guy even though she doesn’t care about him, but she’s just “sleeping” the time away. 4.5/5

9. Headup-this is a track that was co-written with Max Cavalera of Soulfly about both of them grieving over the death of Dana Wells who was Max’s Stepson and Chino’s friend. 4.5/5

10. MX-The last track on the album and a very bad ass track to end the album with that I believe is a track that is all about S&M with the sound effects and the woman’s voice like he’s calling a sex hotline. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– A lot of critics believed that with this album that they could sense that whole it was a good one that the band was close to establishing who they actually were and that is very true with the next release. Still, this is definitely an amazing album from the band in my opinion that still sort of held on to the Nu-Metal sound. That is why I am giving the album 4.65 stars out of five for a final grade.

feverThere were not too many metalcore acts that I have supported over the years, but there always one band that I stuck by and that is Welsh Heavy Metal/Metalcore act Bullet For My Valentine. The band was riding the high of the very successful Scream Aim Fire when they decided to enter the studio again in 2009 to write their third album Fever which was released on April 26, 2010. The album once again featured Matthew Tuck (Lead Vocals/Rhythm Guitar/Bass but he received no credit for it), Michael “Padge” Paget (Lead Guitar), Michael “Moose” Thomas (Drums), and Jason “Jay” James who receives credit for bass, but he actually did not perform on the record. The album was produced by famed producer Don Gilmore who was known for working with Linkin Park and it showed as the album was successful for the band as it peaked at number three on the Billboard Top 200 Charts which at the time was the highest placement just above Scream Aim Fire which peaked at four. The writing process for the album was also different as Tuck was used to writing the music and then attacking the lyrics, but this time he wrote both at the same time. He talked about the whole experience saying to Metal Hammer, “We wanted to do something fresh and exciting, but that was still us. Having Don Gilmore was a very conscious decision. We didn’t want him to change us as musicians, just help with the vocals and get the best possible performances out of us. […] It’s a weird thing singing in the studio; you don’t get the adrenaline, the energy, the buzz, it’s you in front of a microphone looking at a guy staring at you. To get the performances out in the studio was hard, but Don was amazing. We rewrote the lyrics and melodies up to five times on some songs because he didn’t think they were strong enough. We worked insanely hard to get the vocal lines different but still Bullet. The vocals took longer than everything else on the album put together. It was brutal work, but I personally thought I had a huge point to prove so that’s why I stuck at it. […] Everyone’s buzzing about this one. We just tried to get that energy and excitement and vibe back into the band because the Scream Aim Fire [2008] sessions just ripped our hearts out of wanting to be in a band.”

51JMJUuPQLL1. Your Betrayal– The track comes exploding on to your speakers with a huge drum beats from Moose as Padge and co making their way in on the lead single off the album. The track is all about being betrayed by someone you love. 5/5

2. Fever– I love the ferociousness in the title track as it goes right for the throat in this song that is all about strippers and his desire to have one of them. 5/5

3. The Last Fight– One of the more successful tracks on the album as critics loved the track for the ability to be a ferocious track while also have great moments of melody that help carry you through all the delightful moodswings. 5/5

4. A Place Where You Belong– a very melodic power ballad from the band in a track that is all about the narrator recounting how he feels lost without the one he loves, but he hopes that she is in a better place. 5/5

5. Pleasure and Pain– The opening part of the track I absolutely love and the track is just in your face intensity from beginning to end in this track about someone who puts in all the work in a relationship, but gets nothing in return. 4.5/5

6. Alone– Matthew Tuck opens the song with a guitar solo before it launches into heavy metal overdrive in this track about telling your significant other that she can rot and die alone. 5/5

bullet7. Breaking Out, Breaking Down– a cool track from the band that is all about the idea of sink or swim, but in the idea of are your breaking out or are you going to break down and just wither away because you can’t blame the world for your problems all the time. 4.5/5

8. Bittersweet Memories– The band described the power ballad saying, “Bittersweet Memories’ is a classic Bullet for My Valentine fucked up love song about a relationship breakup. […] You know when you go through all the painful memories, but at the same time you’re fucking happy that you are now single, and you feel better off as you can now move on in your life? I guess it was chosen as the single as it’s the closest thing we’ve got to a big ballad on our album, and it sounds great on the radio!” 4.5/5

9. Dignity– a track that is all about going out of this world with dignity and never compromising for anyone ever. Screw what others think, fight for what you believe in. 4/5

10. Begging for Mercy– an in your face track that will smash your face before picking you back up for more. The track I believe was offered for free online at one time before the release of the album and man is intense as I believe it is about someone who is seeking revenge even though he knows it may be wrong, he is too invested in it. 5/5

11. Pretty on the Outside– The last track on the album that has the classic Bullet sound that is all about how he fell for someone who is so about themselves that they don’t care about others. The one thing I love about this track is the chorus because it’s just amazing. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This was a great album and I am not saying that the first two were not great because they were. This may have been the last complete album by the band that was phenomenal. They definitely left the thrash sound behind that they employed into Scream Aim Fire and it worked for this release which is why I gave the album 4.75 stars out of five for a final grade.

disturbed-believe-album-cover_552510Now that we are done with all 50 of the best metal albums of all time list according to Loudwire, I thought it was time to move on to cover albums that I love or I am curious about discovering. The album that I chose for this week’s Album of the Week comes from one of the most intense metal albums to be spawned from the Nu-Metal scene in Chicago’s own Disturbed. The band was coming off of their breakout debut album The Sickness that was released in 2000 and add to that the death of singer David Draiman’s grandfather and the events of 9/11 and you have 2002’s Believe, the sophomore effort from the band. The band which consisted of Draiman (Vocals), Dan Donegan (Guitars), Mike Wengren (Drums), and for the very last time Steve “Fuzz” Kmak (Bass) who was fired from the band in 2003. Once again with the help of producer Johnny K, the band would release their first album to ever debut at number one on the Billboard Top 200 Charts as it sold over 284,000 copies in the first week. Behind three singles, the album would go double platinum as it also peaked at number one in New Zealand and number two in Canada.

00073601. Prayer– The first single off of the record was a culmination of two events with one being the death of David’s death and the second being the clergy’s response to 9/11. David explains saying, “Instead of consoling their flock, people [of the clergy] like Jerry Falwell and Oral Roberts chastised them and used the situation as a means of empowerment, saying it was our own fault because we’re a decadent and promiscuous people. I just thought that whole notion is ridiculous.” So essentially the song is about David having a conversation with God. 5/5

2. Liberate– This was the third single off of the record and it features elements from the first record in the track as David tells you that you it’s OK to believe in God, but he also tells you to have an open mind towards other possibilities or other people’s beliefs. 5/5

3. Awaken-an intense track right from the start with a very melodic verse and heavy chorus style, the song is all about America’s obsession with cookie cutter/wallpaper music. 5/5

4. Believe-An interesting track lyrically from the band that deals with the idea of people who think that just because they are religious or believe in God, does not mean that they are absolved from their sins. 4.5/5

5. Remember– The second single off of the album and one of the best tracks on the record that lyrically deals with how cutthroat the music industry can be and how David has stayed away from the various temptations the industry can offer. 5/5

6. Intoxication-This is one of two tracks on the album that deals with the difficulties that David has faced when dealing with relationships. This one is more in the sense of how relationships can be intoxicating and how it can blind you from people’s true intentions. 4.5/5

believe(ltd)-disc17. Rise– This was one of the coolest songs to hear live when it was being performed by the band at the time. I like the lyrics to the track because it’s all about being yourself and not someone you wish you were. Rise and be you! 4.5/5

8. Mistress-Musically not my favorite track, but I do like the lyrics as it deals with how a lot of men have idolized women and the hardship that comes with the result of doing so. 3.9/5

9. Breathe-a decent track on the record that’s all about someone who is so self centered that when he finally realizes it, it’s way too late for him to change. 4.2/5

10. Bound– This is the other track that focuses on David’s troubles with relationships in the sense that because he is bound to his beliefs and who he is, it’s hard to maintain relationships when they want to change him. 4.5/5

11. Devour– a track that is all about David telling someone that no matter what he will be there for them whether they think they need it or not and that he will devour their problems. 4/5

12. Darkness– a very melodic track that features piano, very different vocals by David, and Alison Chesley playing cello on the track that is all about David’s personal journey following the death of his grandfather. 4/5

My Final Thoughts-This was definitely one of my favorite releases from Disturbed in where almost every track is a banger with a few exceptions like Mistress. Nonetheless, this was the growing up stage for Disturbed as things only got bigger for the band from here. That is why I am giving the album 4.5 stars out of five for a final grade.

LAs I had said before, back in September of 2018, we started tackling Loudwire’s 50 Best Metal Albums of All Time list and 35 albums later and we are finally at the finish line. Back when I reviewed Metallica’s Ride The Lightning, I said that was the greatest thrash metal album of all time because it still had the fury of the first record matched with the talented writing of Cliff Burton. Now I present to you what could be considered one of the greatest metal albums in Metallica’s third album Master Of Puppets. The album once again featured James Hetfield (Lead Vocals/Guitar), Kirk Hammett (Lead Guitar), Lars Ulrich (Drums), but unfortunately this was the last album to ever feature Cliff on Bass Guitar as he died in the bus accident. It was rather unfortunate because this was Metallica in their musical peak as far as being a metal band was concerned. Cliff was an amazing contributor to the band and this was the pay off of all that work. The album was such a success for the band that it peaked at number 29 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts and was the first thrash metal record to go Platinum as it did six times.

metallica-master-puppets-digipak-imported-cd-discplayer-1809-13-F1198959_21. Battery– The track starts off with an acoustic guitar intro before it kicks into metal overdrive in this track that is all about battery as in assault and battery. 5/5

2. Master Of Puppets– The title track and one of Metallica’s greatest songs that features a song structure similar to The Four Horsemen as far as how it is set up (2 verse/chorus set, lengthy interlude, verse/chorus set). The track is bad ass, but it’s about cocaine addiction. 5/5

3. The Thing That Should Not Be– The heaviest track on the album with it’s down tuned Black Sabbath influence is all about the monster Cthulhu made famous by H.P. Lovecraft. I read that the main riff is supposed to sound like the beast dragging itself back into the sea. 5/5

4. Welcome Home (Sanitarium)– Metallica set the pace for Power Ballads with Fade To Black and they crushed it with this track that alternates between 4/4 and 6/4 time signatures. The track’s lyrics are based off of the book One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey referring to patient trapped in a metal institution. 5/5

119071737-35. Disposable Heroes-a track that is just absolutely in your face intensity from start to finish that is an anti-war song about a soldier whose fate is decided by his superiors. The cool thing I read is that the end of each verse, the riff Hammett plays is supposed to imitate music found in war films. 5/5

6. Leper Messiah– The track starts with the band counting down until the freigh train intensity hits you in this song that is all about the explosion of TV Televangelists in the 1980’s and how people were so blindly willing to throw money at these frauds. 5/5

7. Orion-an instrumental track on the album that is meant to highlight the brilliance of Cliff Burton and his amazing bass playing featuring parts that were written and orchestrated by him. 5/5

8. Damage, Inc.- The last track on the album that starts with bass riffs that were based on parts of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Come, Sweet Death before exploding into a riff written in E that was influenced by Deep Purple according to Hammett. The song is all about senseless violence. 5/5

My Final Thoughts-As I said before that this may be one of the greatest Metal albums ever written as Loudwire ranked it 2nd on their 50 Best Metal Albums of all time list. Every track on the album kicks ass so back and enjoy this lesson in metal greatness. Thew album gets Five stars out of five for a final grade.