Author Archive

Climbing! – Mountain

Posted in Mountain with tags , , , , , , , , on February 12, 2013 by Michael

Climbing!

Mountain

1970

Windfall

Alright folks, here’s a CD I purchased a while ago but never really listened to. To those unfamiliar with Mountain, they are the authors of “Mississippi Queen,” a song that is featured on the album being reviewed, the debut album released after their appearance at Woodstock in 1969.  The distorted sounds and rocky-bluesish vocals give the album a very unique charm, along with the additional instruments, like a keyboard which can be heard in a few of the songs. This band is attributed as being a heavy metal band, and considering the context of 1970, this is most definitely true.

The first song is their well-known hit, “Mississippi Queen”. The immediate heavy sounds clue you in to an album that is, in general, pretty rockin’. The second song, “Theme for an Imaginary Western,” however, is quite mellow given the buildup from the first track.  The rest of the album barrels into some more hard rock with some very strong bluesy undertones. The vocalist, Leslie West, brings a sound that is almost Clapton-esqe, especially in the fifth song, “For Yasgur’s Farm,” which gives the bluesy sound some familiarity, but still enough difference to be very enjoyable. Continue reading

Michael’s Top Ten Minus One of 2012

Posted in Between the Buried and Me, Devin Townsend, fun., Godspeed You! Black Emperor, LISTS, metric, Mumford & Sons, Royal Thunder, The Faceless, The Killers with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 3, 2013 by Michael

Alright children, sit and gather ’round, ’cause the Man of Year is giving his personal faves for 2012. Of course, like Kristen, I hate the number ten, so what’ll my top nine be?  THE SUSPENSE IS KILLING ME.

-9-

‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

2012

Constellation

Ryan, having once again interested me in a band, had me check these guys out. A heavy instrumental band, they kick some ass. Since this is the first album that I have listened to from them, I figure I should check out their other stuff. So far my favorite from this album has to be the second song, “Their Helicopters’ Sing.” It reminds me a lot of Wagner, the classical/opera composer, and the instrumentals in this song are quite impressive.

Best Tracks:”Their Helicopters’ Sing” and “We Drift Like Worried FireContinue reading

Hall of the Mountain King – Savatage

Posted in Savatage with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 26, 2012 by Michael

Hall of the Mountain King

Savatage

1987

Atlantic Records

Following a trip to Vintage Vinyl in East Brunswick, I picked up a handful of CDs that, while not quite as numerous as the amount Ryan or Nick pulled in, was still generous compared to my usual take during a trip to a record shop. Among the pick was an album by a band called Savatage. This band was what some consider to be the precursor to the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, due to the fact that Savatage was the main contributor for the songs belonging to the Christmas Eve Sarajevo collection, as well as the songs on Christmas Eve and other Stories. The band would go on to work mainly with TSO following the death of the guitarist Criss Oliva, among other reformations of band members and albums released. The music done in the middle of Savatage’s career was pretty intricate, with elements of the fantastical present in the lyrics, plenty of distortion, and heavy drums. The music on Hall of the Mountain King, the first record featuring these tendencies, turned the band commercially successful. Continue reading

The Parallax II: Future Sequence – Between The Buried and Me

Posted in Between the Buried and Me with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 12, 2012 by Michael

The Parallax II: Future Sequence

Between The Buried and Me

2012

Lifeforce/Victory/Metal Blade

Following their 2011 EP, The Parallax: Hypersleep Dialogues, Between the Buried and Me delivers yet another mind-blowing album as a sequel. This band had me hooked ever since their album Colors came out, and I have not only followed them and listened to much of their music, but I respect them as the genius artists they are. With every new album, they seem to top the previous one. If you’ve listened to their previous work, you know about the closing to Colors with the epic (yes, epic) song “White Walls,” with the lead-in from “Viridian.” The first time I heard that I thought someone took my brain and frolicked through a meadow of Metal amazingness. But this is all my own opinion, this review will be totally un-biased and completely neutral! (/sarcasm). Like the first Parallax and Colors, Parallax 2 features the disc-at-once playstyle, which means the transitions between the songs are seamless and hardly noticeable. Which is going to make reviewing this album very easy. Continue reading

Michael’s Mystery Song Reviews

Posted in LISTS with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 3, 2012 by Michael

With just a quick browse, all I can say about the selection I received from Ryan is, “What. The. Fuck.”  The collection generally sounds like ’80s Rap, and not the good kind. The kind you’d find in a dance club that was so ’80s, it was probably required that you wore Zooba pants and shoulder pad vests (they exist, don’t even argue). Along with some clips of what sounds like Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure on a short once over, this mystery song list is exactly that for me: a big, fat, ’80s Dance-rap-music mystery.

1. Mystery Song 1 (M.C. Hammer – “This is What We Do”)  – I can only assume this song is called “This is How We Do,” since it seems to be the recurring phrase. It sounds like the artist is M.C. Hammer, and I’m pretty sure I have the song in my library. It’s pretty dance-centric and incredibly ’80s.

2. Mystery Song 2 (Hi Tek 3 – “Spin that Wheel”) – Someone is here to play the music in another very ’80s Rap-dance song. Or at least that’s what they said in it. The opening beat is reminiscent of the Boogerman video game opening song on the Sega Genesis. It sounds like a female singing, and the background has those screaming people from Lyn Collins’ “Think (About it).” You know, that “Woo! Yeah!”. Can someone say over-used? Continue reading

Snow – Spock’s Beard

Posted in Spock's Beard with tags , , , , , , , on October 23, 2012 by Michael

Snow

Spock’s Beard

2002

InsideOut Music

The sixth studio album from the Prog-rock band Spock’s Beard is the double-album, Snow, a concept album chronicling a man named John “Snow.”  Lead by Neal Morse, this was his last album recorded with Spock’s Beard before leaving to pursue a more religious calling (and a solo career). This was my first album owned from Spock’s Beard, so when I popped the CD into my stereo, I didn’t really know what to expect. Okay, that’s a lie. I’d heard “The Great Nothing” before this, from the album V. It was a solid song, running a good twenty-five minutes or so. Pretty common for a Prog-rock band, actually. So after only hearing one song, I decided to pick up Snow.

What I am about to say may be frowned upon, or even considered taboo for review, but I initially was not the biggest fan of this album. That’s an understatement, actually. I hated this album. I gave it a once-through in my car, ejected it, and then forced it to sit on my shelf collecting dust like those Pokemon cards that you keep holding onto under the vain impression that that holographic Charizard will fetch your lazy bum self oodles of non-deserved cash.  That is, until a Music Night with the other members of this site. I brought this album with the introduction of saying “this album blows,” gave it a listen, and was both blown away and confused. Confused mostly because of wrong I had been.  Continue reading

Avalon – Roxy Music

Posted in Roxy Music with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by Michael

Avalon

Roxy Music

1982

Warner Bros. Records

Roxy Music released this album in 1982, their last recorded studio album. Among much of the ’80s-type Synth-pop music, Roxy Music used the genre’s sounds and instruments to deliver a richly bursting album that some consider to be the culmination of what they’d been attempting to accomplish throughout their years. Although it wasn’t as popular in the States, it topped the charts for three weeks in the U.K.  This seven-man band, fronted by Bryan Ferry, delivered an album that’s not only easy to listen to, but is enjoyable as well. The plethora of noises is brought together throughout the album to give the listener a very worthwhile album from not only Roxy Music, but from the ’80s in general. You know — if you’re into that whole Synth-pop stuff.

The album leads off with my personal favorite, “More Than This“. This song was featured in the movie Lost in Translation as  a karaoke song, which is honestly what rekindled my love for this song. After picking up the album at a local record shop, I gave the album a listen and loved what they did. The music from the synthesizers, guitars, and drums intermix very well and work to deliver a sound that most ’80s bands, I believe, strived to make.  Among the many outstanding songs on this album, sits “India,” an instrumental song used as beautiful segue into the next song, “While My Heart is Still Beating.” Continue reading