Megadeth: The Sick, The Dying… And The Dead!
So, I was a thrash-head as a kid. Growing up I idolised the Big 4, Testament, Evile etc, alongside other 80s bands too. Though I have dropped off as my horizons have expanded getting older, Megadeth will always have a place in my heart. My dad introduced me to them, I’ve seen them multiple times and have a bunch of their albums.
So, it comes from a place of love when I say… this wasn’t great. It’s not bad by any stretch, but this is fuckin’ Megadeth we’re talking, it shouldn’t be as average as this. Mustaine didn’t sound like he was struggling, given his struggles the last few years. He just sounded tired. The whole band do, in fact. When the most standout point of the album is that Ice T is underused, you know that it’s not great. And ‘Night Stalker’ is still the best track on the album despite that!
But as I said, none of it is bad. The rhythm work is fine. The lead work is fine. The lyrics are fine. It’s all fine. But I guess after Dystopia I came in expecting a little more. It’s not as bad as Super Collider or Risk, but does sit comfortably around the Thirteen/Criptic Writings mark. 5.5/10
I didn’t think this was going to be for me. Surprise, it wasn’t. It’s like he’s tried to do a more pop punk Billy Idol, and it doesn’t really work. In terms of a continuation of this strange pop-rock trend going around it’s passable, I guess. But it’s exactly that, pop. No matter how much he wears eyeliner and acts ‘punk’, it’s no different to Olivia Rodrigo. Also, no matter how much I hear it, WILLOW’s voice is like nails on a chalkboard to me, so ‘Memories’ was like torture.
And look, I’m not saying that slightly rockier music being in the mainstream is a bad thing. Anything that will open more people’s eyes to the rock world and encourage them to support bands or even pick up an instrument themselves is a good thing. But that doesn’t mean that gateway music is any good, still. I’m sure the generation before me thought the exact same about me listening to Busted as a kid, but it definitely helped push me in the right direction. But then again, while Busted’s lyrics were cheesy, at least they weren’t all about being depressed and suicidal and doing drugs. Great message to give to the kids!
Yeah, no thanks. This is up there with MGK as one of the worst ‘rock’ albums of the year. If I never have to listen to it again it’ll be too soon. 2.5/10
Blind Guardian: The God Machine
This might as well be called ‘Painkiller Pt. 2’, and that’s in no way a bad thing. It’s like Iron Maiden, WASP and Judas Priest had a lovechild and that child got really into vikings and medieval times. It’s epic power metal and I love it.
Aside from the ch0nky riffs, the main highlight for me is the vocal harmonies. They’re almost Muse/Queen levels of good. It makes each song so catchy and fun to listen to. But yes, each member of the band does amazingly, the instrumentation is off the charts.
‘Secrets of the American Gods’ is a massive highlight of the album, as is ‘Blood of the Elves’. An album full of really great power metal, I can’t complain about any of it! 7.5/10
The Hu: Rumble of Thunder
The Mongolian folk metal band are back with their second album. Now, when these first came out with their original couple of singles, I LOVED them. However, I felt myself falling off them a little when the hype got huge and their debut album came out. That makes me feel like a huge hipster, but I cannot help the truth!
However, I really enjoyed this, it was really good! From the Metalica inspired opening track to the slower, almost upbeat indie stylings of ‘Triangle’, it’s got a bit of everything! It’s a good album in its entirety though, I enjoyed every track and it all went by in a flash. However, as good as it all was, the band did a good job at choosing the singles, as ‘Black Thunder’ and ‘This is Mongol’ are definitely the highlights. It’s nice to hear the band have some range, but they are at their best when doing their own take on epic metal.
The Butterfly Effect: IV
Having never even heard the band name before, I was really pleasantly surprised by this! It was like Dream Theater without the length, which is arguably their downfall to my ears at times. This was dark and heavy without technically being classed as metal, I’d say. It straddled the line perfectly and had some great tracks like ‘Dark Light’ and ‘Unbroken’. I’m definitely going to have to check out more of these guys moving forward! 7/10
Jon Pardi: Mr. Saturday Night
One of the biggest names in country is back with his fourth studio album. Now, none of the tracks are quite as big as the HUGE ‘Dirt on my Boots’ or even ‘Heartache Medication’. However, every track on this is solid. There isn’t even a hint if a dud track. ‘Mr Saturday Night’ is a fantastic, emotional opener and a definite highlight. Tracks like ‘New Place to Drink’ and ‘Longneck Way to Go’ are also huge highlights, but there are plenty to pick from. If you’re into country again all this is worth checking out, you definitely won’t regret it! 8/10
Oceans Ate Alaska: Disparity
The metalcore Brits returned this last week with their third studio album. I heard the name a lot in my youth as my friends were big into the band. I didn’t pay them too much attention though, unfortunately. That all changes today!
Right from the heavy opening of fan-favourite ‘Paradigm’ I was hooked, and hooked until the end. It’s definitely on the heavier side of metalcore so isn’t going to be for everyone, but it’s like 30 minutes of continuous breakdowns and I love it. Of course lead single ‘Metamorph’ is another huge highlight, as is ‘Plague Speach’. But the whole album is worth a listen if you’re into modern UK metalcore, this is great stuff. 8.5/10
King’s X: Three Sides of One
The Christian hard/blues rock band just put out their 13th studio album, and first since 208. I’ve heard the name at least this time, but had no idea they’d been going since 1979. Another insane fact I found out in my research is that it’s the same three band members, they haven’t had a lineup change in their entire 40+ year career. That’s damn impressive.
The album itself is pretty good! Opening track ‘Let it Rain’ is a fantastic way to kick off the album and gives a great insight into what the band sound like throughout. It’s dark, fun and catchy. Tracks like ‘Give it Up’ and ‘Swipe Up’ are also great. However, there is a surprising number of slower tracks on this album. It’s not really a bad thing, but does throw the pacing of the album off almost immediately. Front-loading the album with the slower tracks is an odd choice, but ultimately doesn’t make the album that much worse! 7/10
ENSANGUINATE: Eldritch Anatomy
Surprisingly opening into a fat riff to open up the album, this was much more thrash/death than I was expecting. I don’t know why I was expecting black metal. The speed and catchy gang vocals of ‘Haunted’ won me round to this album immediately and I ended up really enjoying it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly not or everyone. But this is a fun, great old-school death metal album. I’d even say it gives the classics a run for their money, if I’m being honest! Great stuff that I’ll definitely be listening to again and again. 8/10
Defacing God: The Resurrection of Lilith
This one is much more black metal, being more epic in feel and having much more blast beats. It’s more extreme or melodeath in its presentation, though. It reminded me a little bit of Cradle of Filth actually in the harsh vocals and the grand scale. Maybe because of this I didn’t hate this at all. I’m still a little fussy when it comes to the super heavy side of things, but when it feels epiclike this it definitely wins me over. Everything about ‘The Resurrection’ is fantastic, from the emotion and harsh vocals to the onslaught of fantastic riffs. Again though most of this is great, there really isn’t anything not worth listening to if you like this style of music. 7.5/10
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