After logistical issues stopped us last week, we’ve returned with a bumper double week of New Music Mondays, featuring the music from the last couple of weeks! Check it out with us below!
Queens of the Stone Age: In Times New Roman…
Controversial opinion time: I’m not a QOTSA fan. Sure, Songs for the Deaf is a good album. And yes, there are a couple of good tracks spread between their other albums (usually the opening tracks). But I don’t get why they have gotten as big as they have gotten. I do think it’s due to who’s in the band as opposed to the songs they write.
This new album didn’t really catch my attention at all. There wasn’t a ‘My God is the Sun’ or ‘The Way You Used to Do’ on here. It all felt kinda B-side from start to finish. Nothing stood out to me at all, even the singles seemed simple, mid-tempo and uninspired. I at least commend them for going back to the more grungy, sludgy desert rock sound over the more pop-oriented former album, but Villains definitely had more highlights. Lead single ‘Emotion Sickness’ was at least the right call as it’s the best track on the album, but it doesn’t live up to former singles from their previous three albums.
If you’re a fan of the band you’ll probably find a lot more to like than I do. I just feel like desert rock was perfected a fair time ago now by the likes of Masters of Reality and, ironically, Kyuss, that this feels like a bland rehash. Even as an only slight fan, I know they’ve done better than this before. 4/10
King Gizzard and the Lizzard Wizard: PetroDragonic Apocalypse…
Owen: After their 2019 album Infest the Rats Nest fans of King Gizz have been eagerly awaiting the bands return to thrash and stoner metal. PetroDragonic Apocalypse will not disappoint for those fans. The 7 tracks released this month showcase some of the best of the groups abilities. Similar to their previous exploration of these genres, the focus is on environmental ruin. Taking it a step further, the lyrics describe mayhem and chaos at the hands of large Godzilla-like creatures. Fans may have wanted to hear that there were more than 7 tracks being offered on this newest release but when you consider only one track is sub 5 minutes and 3 of them nearly hit the 10 minute mark, there’s more than enough to sink your teeth into here. All eyes are on the Australian outfit to see what they do next, being unpredictable in genre and releases to keep us all on our toes.
Chris Janson: The Outlaw Side of Me
The country singer returned with his fifth studio album just over a year after his last. I have to admit I knew the name but not really the music. After hearing this, I’m kicking myself, as it’s an awesome album! Opener ‘Rowdy Gentle Man’ is a blues rock ‘n roll shot in the arm and a great choice to start with. It set the tone for the album well as well as ‘Honkytonk Minute’ is a similar feel. Meanwhile the title track feels a little slower and darker, reminding me of the current pop-rock-country sound. It was awesome. Then single ‘All I Need Is You’ is a slower, radio ballad, and a damn good one at that. Following that is the guy that is feating on every country this year, Brantley Gilbert. ‘Hank the Hell out of the Honkytonk’ is another up-tempo blues rock banger, and Brantley fits in well.
Honestly the tracks following those were also awesome, but those first five tracks were something special. It’s so nice to hear a country album in 2023 that, for the most part, keeps the pace and energy high throughout. Don’t get me wrong, there are four more ballady tracks here, but for the most part they are spread out, aside for the closing two (the final track doesn’t count, fight me). Oh, and did I mention one of them, ’21 Forever’ features Dolly Parton AND Slash?! Another awesome song! And for the first time in a while, a mainstream country album doesn’t feel like it drags. The 13 tracks and 45-minutes go by in a flash. That’s the real testament to how much I enjoyed it. 8.5/10, this was awesome and he has a new fan in me!
Boris & Uniform: Bright New Disease
So a Japanese experimental rock band teamed up with a New York industrial metal band, and this is their love-child. Honestly, I think the most flattering thing I can say is that I can actually hear both bands. The bands clearly wear their sound and influences on their sleeve as I can hear both styles throughout. And, they both blend together surprisingly well. Somehow the end product ends up sounding like a heavier, dirtier and messier crossover thrash style.
Now, don’t get me wrong, sitting down and listening to it from front to back was an interesting, enjoyable experience. However, I don’t think I’d really ever do it again. It’s a fantastic art piece and I’ve added a couple of tracks to my playlist, ‘No’ and ‘Endless Death Agony’. However, even at 32-minutes it feels too chaotic to do often. I’m clearly too much of a sucker for a radio sound! Still, 7.5/10, that was cool!
Gov’t Mule: Peace… Like a River
Southern prog rock… interesting. They are also classed as a Jam band which always feels like ‘we play live in the studio and just keep going until one of us stops’. Regardless, this was a lot of fun. It had elements of Dave Mathews Band and Yes, while also having enough southern swagger to match up to the likes of Molly Hatchett and Black Crowes. Heck, I even heard a healthy amount of Deep Purple and The Doors in here at times. They even got The Reverend himself to feature on ‘Shake Our Way Out’. His signature drawl was the perfect addition to the track and it was easily a highlight of the album. Some of the rest was a little too drawn out and prog for me, but ‘After the Storm’ was another definite highlight.
If you’re into the more experimental side of southern and early blues rock, you’ll find a lot to like here. I’d LOVE to see it live, but on track my easily-wandering mind gets too distracted. Still, 8/10, this was awesome!
Vexed: Negative Energy
We actually have a review of this coming out tomorrow. It’s good! Check it out once it’s up here!
Jake Owen: Loose Cannon
The first of the second week, Jake’s seventh album was out last Friday. More country; a heavy couple of weeks for the genre, probably due to the time of year (?). This did the exact opposite of Chris Janson. 50-minutes and 16 tracks of slowwww. Tracks like the cheesy ‘On The Boat Again’ and ‘When it All Shakes Out’ are at least upbeat, and ‘Hearts and Habits’ is a little darker and rockier and is an easy highlight. However, for its length, a LOT of it is slow acoustic stuff. Jake’s another artist that I’m sure would win me over live, but on track it isn’t my sort of thing. Heck, it’s not exactly written for metalheads like me, lets be honest! There’s some good ballads spread throughout but it feels generally pretty average. So… 5/10
Wooden Shadow: Eternal Land of Wrath and Mourn
Owen: This is the debut album for Finnish black metal project Wooden Shadow. Taking influence from melodic death metal and black metal, as well as folk music from Finnish culture. Having already released a handful of singles and an EP, this debut album showcases the broad talent of the one man behind it all. 23 year old Jeremia Ponto is at the helm of Wooden Shadow, recording, writing, and performing the tracks all by himself in his home studio in Ylöjärvi. Stand out tracks for me were ‘Chaosreign’, a brilliant mix of old and new sounds to create something really unique, and ‘Rain of Tears’ with its speedy percussion and sense of impending doom. For a debut album, Eternal Land of Wrath and Mourn is an impressive selection of tracks, and I, for one, am looking forward to what Wooden Shadow can do in the future.
This epic slab of power metal is Pyramaze’s seventh album, and may be their best yet! Right from the huge, symphonic intro/title track, it had me hooked, and didn’t let go until the very last note. Every track flows together like water, it’s almost seamless. And every track is awesome. ‘Taking What’s Mine’, ‘Broken Arrows’ and the epic closer ‘Wolves of the Sea’ are all personal highlights, but again every track is pretty solid. It’s like power metal meets Dream Theater, a combo I didn’t know I needed until just now. It’s also another album that you need to listen to from start to finish. Even though the tracks do work individually still, moreso than others on this list, it all builds through the whole album into the epic finale, giving it a sense of earning. 9/10, more of this please!
Cable Ties: All Her Plans
The Australian punk band returned with their fourth album this last week. It was alright. If you are a fan of the modern underground punk revival you’ll find a lot to love here. I am not particularly one of those people. It reminds me a bit of Wet Leg, and I really don’t get them either! Tracks like ‘Time for You’ and ‘Silos’ were standouts for me. The band are all good at what they do and some of the lyrics were great. But this wasn’t for me. At least it was only 9 tracks! 4.5/10
Royal Thunder: Rebuilding the Mountain
This was really hard to pin down to a genre. There were definitely elements of prog and psychedelic, but I get why most places just call it hard rock and be done with it. It’s a dark, brooding and very well written piece of music. I feels like it even drags together elements of folk and Americana to it. That, and all I hear times is Tool for some reason.
While this isn’t typically the sort of thing I’d listen to, I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think it deserves a front-to-back listen at least once to really appreciate. Because of that, it’s hard to really pick highlight or standout tracks, as it feels like it was written to listen to as a collection. However, ‘The Knife’ felt like it stood out a little more than the others. It’s also more music that I think I’d love a LOT live. 8/10, good stuff.
Krashkarma: Falling to Pieces
Rounding out our bumper two week special is the awesome metalcore duo’s sixth album. Such is the theme this week, I’d not heard about these guys before getting the email through, but damn, this is amazing! Right from the title and opening track, they set the tone of the album perfectly; heavy, melodic and emotional. Niki Skistimas’ vocals have a great touch of Maria Brink to them which works so well with the heavier, faster pace, and Ralf’s harsher vocals provide an amazing contrast.
The band themselves claimed they wanted to ‘showcase what two people can accomplish when they’re fully committed to their craft‘, and I think they’ve done that and then some. The fact that two people have come up with all of this is massively impressive. Tracks like ‘Survive the Afterlife’ and ‘Shut Up’ are also massive highlights of an album full of them. 8.5/10, I’mma have to go back and listen to their older stuff now! And I NEED to see this live!