A stacked week of New Music Mondays this week, featuring everything from prog to NWOBHM to country and much more. Check it out!
The Used: Worst I’ve Ever Been
The emo/alt rock band are back with their ninth studio album. I have to admit I’ve dropped off from them over the last few years. I was a huge fan of their first three or four albums, but kinda felt like I’d had my fill at that point.
Having said that, this is a good album! It feels a lot like their older stuff; big pop-punk choruses beefed out with huge riffs. A lot of the lyric writing, while a little cringy from a bunch of 40+ year olds, is solid and some of the best I’ve heard all year. Tracks ‘Numb’, ‘Pinky Swear’ and ‘Dancing with a Brick Wall’ are all massive highlights. You can definitely heat why they influence so many other modern bands, be it Fall Out Boy, Set it Off and others. And rightfully so. They should be bigger than they are, and this album is a testament to that. 7.5/10
Dave Mathews Band: Walk Around the Moon
The legendary jam band are back with their tenth studio album. Being a big fan of the band, this was another slice of excellence. The opener and title track encapsulates everything great about the band in less than five minutes. The chilled out feel, catchy melodies and jazz fusion was all on display perfectly. ‘Madman’s Eyes’ add more of their folky sound to the album and also has an incredible Egyptian feel and melody.
Almost every track feels different; you can’t accuse the album of being boring! My only slight issue is the layout of the album. There were a few too many slower tracks following on from each other. Still, tracks like ‘After Everything’ and ‘The Other Thing’ are also great. Overall it’s a great, chilled-out soft rock album. 8.5/10
Sleep Token: Take Me Back to Eden
We’ve already reviewed this album, for better or worse, here.
Chapel Hart: Glory Days
The America’s Got Talent alumni return with their third album and first since their explosion to fame from receiving the golden buzzer. After checking out a couple of tracks, including their incredible audition, I was on and off sold on them, honestly. However, this album has sold me on them. I can’t quite place my finger on what it is, either. It just feels more polished, more rounded, somehow both more country and more pop.
It still strikes me as odd how they identify as a group when 90% of it is Danica Hart. How very Babymetal of them.
Tracks like ‘Dear Tequila’, ‘Redneck Fairytail’ and the title track are all amazing. Overall it is a little slow for my liking for a 40-minute album, but that doesn’t mean the quality suffers at all. A great album and a great way to capitalise on their recent popularity. 8/10
Yes: Mirror to the Sky
The prog pop-rockers are back with their whopping 23rd studio album. We checked out their last one a couple of years ago, which you can find here. Will this one be more of the same?
Yes. I could practically copy the review from 2021 word for word, except for the stuff about it being two disc. If anything the more concise 9-tracks (although it’s still an hour) helped the album even more. It’s hard to pick out a highlight or two as the tracks are all pretty similar, but they’re all very good. Massively talented playing and songwriting and a lot of fun to listen to. Another 8/10 from me!
Botanist: VIII: Selenotrope
This is black metal? Well, there goes my growing, albeit tiny, understanding of the sub-genre. Don’t get me wrong, I can hear it in the drumming, and in the utterly terrible production and mixing, but I wasn’t expecting the green, naturist vibes and slower pace overall. I also couldn’t tell if the vocalist was whispering, or screaming from way back in the mix.
I wasn’t into it. As a whole album, it did have a cool energy and flow to it all. Listening from front to back I got what it was going for and did find it an interesting listen. But I probably wouldn’t rush to go back and experience it again and definitely wouldn’t just go for a track or two. 4/10
Damien Done: Total Power
The goth/alt/punk rockers put out their sophomore album last Friday. Honestly, though I didn’t particularly like the opening track, I LOVED a lot of this. Tracks like ‘Black Moon’ and ‘Young Drugs’ feel straight out of Billy Idol’s playback, it’s great. Even the more electro, darker pop stuff like ‘Always on Fire’ is awesome. It’s so brooding, it reminds me of something Trent Resnor would put together for a movie soundtrack. Even the Lou Reedstyle delivery on ‘Fin Dom’ was great. If you’re into more of your 80s synth-rock style, this is definitely for you. 8.5/10
Marty Stuart: Altitude
The country legend himself has put out his first album in over five years. It’s also insane that he’s been making music for the best part of 60 years and he’s still making music this good. ‘Country Star’ is an old-school country classic already, while tracks like ‘Vegas’ and the slower ‘Space’ are also fantastic. It’s a proper old-school country album, and an amazing album to just sit back and chill to. At 64, Marty has done it again! There isn’t a bad track on the album, and if you like the genre, check this out! 8/10
ROADWOLF: Midnight Lightning
NWOBHM revial band ROADWOLF are back with their first album in two years, and first with Napalm. It’s the third album in a row on this list that is damn good. Think old-school Judas Priest mixed with a hint of AOR. It’s again hard to pick fault with it; it’s a well produced, well written, solid rock album. It does nothing to re-invent the wheel or anything even close, but it’s fun and very enjoyable. Highlights include the W.A.S.P-like title track, ‘Don’t Deliver Us From Evil’ and the frankly perfect ‘High Under Pressure’. Long time readers will know me, any time there is horns in rock and metal it’s amazing, and that solo came out of nowhere and was AMAZING. 8.5/10
Brandy Clark: Self-Titled
Another artist, alongside Marty, that we reviewed at The Long Road last year (check out the article here). Her new album is a little on the slower side of country, but maintains the same awesome sound and writing capacity and style that she is known for. It’s almost like easy-listening country. It reminds me more of Jack Johnson or Newton Faulkner than any modern country artists. Tracks like ‘Tell Her You Don’t Love Her’ and ‘Best Ones’ are personal highlights. It did get a little repetitive by the end, though, so I can’t give it any higher than a 7/10
Owen: It has been five years since Boston group Gozu have released an album. Remedy is a strong return for the group. The group have a clear talent for straight cut heavy rock. Expect chunky rolling riffs, some wailing solos, and all the usual sounds of the genre. Gaffney’s vocal work on this album is a real standout; at times it has a likeness to the late great Chris Cornell or even Ozzy back in the day. Opening track ‘Tom Cruise Control’ is a highlight of the album. However, it does go downhill from there. ‘CLDZ’ starts off well but by the end just feels self-indulgent, a theme that they unfortunately carry throughout the rest of the album. The songs feel too similar as you work through the album. It would have been great to hear the group try something different and stretch their legs a bit in some of the later tracks.
The five year break between releases has been attributed to both the pandemic and struggling to find a drummer to complete their sound. Seth Botos joined the group for Remedy and seems to have been the key to them getting back on
track as a band. There seems to be some real talent amongst the members that is almost
restricted by the songs in this album. Overall this is a solid first step to getting back on the road and establishing their new roster with Botos. The flashes of brilliance tell me these guys could be one to watch for the next couple of years, but that is heavily reliant on what they do from here. 6.5/10
Mystic Prophecy: Hellriot
Another NWOBRH style band but with a modern, almost power metal edge, Mystic Prophecy’s 12th album is a slab of full-force awesomeness. It very much has feelings of Iced Earth, Overkill and even some more modern stuff like Painside and even Parkway Drive. You know exactly what you’re going to get from the band, it’s straight to the point and does its thing to near perfection. Every memeber of the band is massively talented. Highlights include the opener, ‘Metal Attack’ and ‘Road to Babylon’. It’s a solid metal album that’s a lot of fun if you like the style. 8/10