A HUGE week for New Music Mondays this week. After a pretty big week last week it somehow gets even bigger for the second week of February. Seven albums from some of the biggest bands in the genre of the past and present. This is gonna be good. Join us as we check them out!
Slash Feat. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators: 4
The fourth official album from the GnR guitarist and his conspirators and his sixth overall solo album, 4, has a lot to live up to. I have to admit personally the last couple of albums haven’t done much for me. A scattering of decent songs between both, but their last truly good album was Apocalyptic Love.
Unfortunately, their new music doesn’t change that opinion for me. Now, don’t get me wrong, it isn’t a bad album per say. But there is absolutely nothing remarkable or stand-out on it at all. It is an average-at-best rock album, but this is the guy that wrote ‘Paradise City’ alongside the guy that wrote ‘Blackbird’. What the fuck happened? There is barely a memorable riff or chorus on the album; it seems completely phoned in outside of the solos. 95% of the NWOCR movement has written better music than this but this will get millions of streams and high festival billings and arena tours simply because of who is involved. Either Slash is saving all his good stuff for the new GnR album or he has finally lost it. I have most likely just come in with too high expectations again but either way, I’ve finally lost hope in this band. If you liked it awesome, please don’t @ me, but this bored me to tears. 3/10
Frank Turner: FTHC
You know the drill by now folks. First big album of this year to get a full review and it had to be Franky T. Check back on the site in a couple of days for the full review and score, but for now, enjoy this fantastic song and video…
Eddie Vedder: Earthing
The Pearl Jam/Temple of the Dog frontman released his fourth solo album the other day, and it sounds probably exactly how you expected it to if you are familiar with any of his work. Huge, steady, and anthemic, it’s everything the guy became famous for in the 90s. And that is in no way a complaint. I love Pearl Jam, and this is very much just an extension of them, at this point. There’s enough rockier, higher tempo stuff to keep it interesting (in a very U2 kinda way), but the anthemic feel is the real highlight. Tracks like the opening two and ‘Brother the Cloud’ are definite high points, but the whole album is a fun listen if you are looking for something more chilled out and relaxed. 7/10
Cult of Luna: The Long Road North
A band with a LOT of buzz around them right now, Cult of Luna have been around a lot more than I imagine many think. Starting way back in 1998, the band have just put out their ninth studio album. And the post/prog metal band may have delivered their finest album yet.
It’s dark, heavy, and a whole lot of fun. It won’t be for everyone, most of the tracks range from 6-12 minutes in length with the odd exception and there are no clean vocals to be heard, but it is a fantastic work of art when listened from front to back. And that is exactly how this was written to be consumed. Yes single ‘Cold Burn’ and the fantastic 12-minute epic ‘An Offering to the Wild’ are both excellent stand alone tracks, but they fit even better in the context of the album. Also a huge shout out to Mariam Wallentin and Colin Stetson for their work on ‘Beyond I & II’ respectively, both are fantastic interlude-style tracks that added so much to the album, and are two more firm favourites for me. I can’t give it anything less than an 8.5/10, but it may very well be a 9 at some point too. Great stuff!
Zeal & Ardor: Self Titled
From one complex, strange metal album to another. However, the tracks are a little shorter this time! The Swiss avant-garde metal band are another that have gained a LOT of hype and attention ahead of this release, and it is 100000% justified. This is a phenomenal album. From the opening title track to the heavy single ‘Run’ to the slower, plodding and piano-featuring ‘Death to the Holy’, it’s all awesome. And that’s just the opening three tracks, there are still another 11 left.
Don’t get me wrong, not all of it knocks it completely out of the park. ‘Emersion’ is a little too modern-Devin Townsend for me and ‘Golden Liar’ doesn’t quite get out of the indie stage. However, then there are tracks like ‘Bow’, ‘I Caught You’ and ‘Chruches Burn’ that are insanely good. The blend of styles, from extreme metal to tribal stuff to country and even a bit of punk is really interesting. The great far outweighs the not as great, and makes for the second highlight album of the year so far, and maybe my favourite album of the last two months. 9/10
Only Human: Scar Weaver
I really wanted to like this. However, the only thing this accomplished is making me more impatient for the new Machine Head album. Flynn was the best part of this album for me, and the rest felt a little bland. There simply just weren’t any riffs. I know how much I sound like a guitarist right now, but riffs provide such a core part of metal songs and to not have them definitely leaves it feeling like something is missing.
However, it is still enjoyable from a vocal/lyrical standpoint and ‘Deadlock’ is a definite highlight, with Robb’s vocals fitting and contrasting with Skyler Howren’s. A fun album for sure, but it was definitely not as good as it’s single overall. 6/10
I knew nothing about this band heading into this aside for the fact that I had seen their name around a bit. I decided to keep it that way and go in completely blind. They’re like if Iron Maiden and Dream Theatre had a child together but that child was kinda short and really into Amon Amarth. It’s fantastic. The big power metal instrumentation is amazing and so epic, while the vocalist(s?) nail it with the growls and cleans. My only slight nit-pic is that it gets a tad formulaic around the midpoint: big opening riff, growled verses, clean, uplifting choruses and then a dropped down bridge in the middle somewhere. However, as people say, you can never had too much of a good thing. A band that I shall definitely be keeping a close eye on from now on thanks to a fantastic album. 8.5/10
Voivod: Synchro Anarchy
The Canadian prog metal band returned with their 15th studio album last week. Another band I wasn’t too familiar with before now and again I hate it because this was also really good. It’s somehow the weirdest album on this album, which is saying a lot. But tracks like the opener and ‘Planet Eater’ are interesting and a lot of fun. It feels like a guitarists album as the vocals aren’t the strongest, but it doesn’t need them with this level of songwriting. A fun album! 7/10
And there we have it folks. What a week for metal! What a time for new music in general! I’ve found at least three albums here that I love and all from bands I wasn’t all too familiar with beforehand. Hopefully you guys are the same as there is some really good music here! Check back next week on our Facebook here for a slower one!