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All reviews - Music (49)

Lies for the Liars review

Posted : 10 years, 11 months ago on 29 July 2007 11:02 (A review of Lies for the Liars)

One can’t help but compare this to My Chemical Romance’s The Black Parade, and although the latter was an obscenely pompous mega-production, the Used have taken a less ambitious step forward, retaining their punk roots. The group still added plenty of studio tricks that are mostly unobtrusive, except for the strings and Gregorian chants of the single “The Bird and the Worm,” which one could simultaneously appreciate for being utterly bat-shit insane and deride for its horridness. “Hospital” and “Liar Liar” are energetic and fun pop-punk tunes, while the softer “Find a Way” promises to be a major late-summer hit.

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Year Zero review

Posted : 10 years, 11 months ago on 29 July 2007 10:58 (A review of Year Zero)

Trent Reznor takes a look into the future 15 years off, and things are looking pretty grim. The artwork reflects the horrors of today (the wall keeping hell out of paradise) and the future (chips inserted under skin, removed to resist). The music this time is noisy, minimal and different from previous releases, though that familiar NIN sound does pop up now and again, a reminder of the long thread Reznor has woven through the skin of his musical career. Year Zero would be a little fresher had Jeordie White (NIN’s live bassist and Marilyn Manson’s former sonic architect) co-written. Josh Freese is in the mix, and Saul Williams joins in on the hook for single “Survivalism,” a wartime anthem that takes it back to Pretty Hate Machine’s “Wish.” Although lacking a little dimension, Year Zero is another fine stake in the black heart of the Bush administration.

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Panopticon review

Posted : 10 years, 11 months ago on 29 July 2007 10:55 (A review of Panopticon)

It is impossible to chart this band's growth between albums. They're constantly searching out new sounds and songwriting techniques. This new one could be their most epic outing yet, shining all the way through as they hit their zenith. Matt Bayles' production is perfect as vocals ring more melodically, Slint-like time signatures snake around weaving arpeggios and song structures are left unmolested to create small moments within moments. With seven songs clocking in at an hour, Isis throw away the blueprint and become perfect sonic architects, building with dense instrumentation as opposed to just heaviosity (which they are very good at), which makes this epic record the ruler for which experimental rock will be measured for the next while.

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Blood Mountain review

Posted : 10 years, 11 months ago on 29 July 2007 10:52 (A review of Blood Mountain)

With Slayer’s new one recently cracking the Top 10, and Lamb of God soon to follow, Mastodon can easily include themselves in this unholy trinity of the metal elite. Although they make no bones about their metal roots, it’s of course their trademark propensity for stop-on-a-dime prog that blows this record sky-high. Their constant push to take riffs to epic proportions is now perfectly honed, and for all their progressive tendencies, there isn’t a nanosecond of fluff here. Discharge-styled crustcore rests next to King Crimson time signatures (“The Wolf Is Loose”) while discordant, Voivod-esque arpeggios side with blast beats (“Bladecatcher”). Blood Mountain is a monster!

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Harmonic Tremors review

Posted : 10 years, 11 months ago on 29 July 2007 10:49 (A review of Harmonic Tremors)

If you’re a fan of heaviosity, you have to admit, we’re indeed living in very good times right now. Cave In bassist Caleb Scofield’s new joint is rife with heavy-handed doom and psychedelic blips and bleeps, but it’s his melodic howl that really earns the points here. Scofield proves to be king of the low end with his bass wrapped up in fuzz, while stomping from the drums gives the songs the atmosphere and drama they need. Songs like the incredibly catchy “Levitate” and the naked dirge of “Silver Ghost” redefine aggressive music while songs like “Soon to Follow” just plain crush. Fucking great!

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Conqueror review

Posted : 10 years, 11 months ago on 29 July 2007 10:46 (A review of Conqueror)

Jesu obliterates yet again. This could be the greatest moment in Justin Broadrick’s already astounding career.

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In the Absence of Truth review

Posted : 10 years, 11 months ago on 29 July 2007 10:43 (A review of In the Absence of Truth)

Already one of the most challenging and inventive bands in aggressive metal, Isis continue their paradoxical tradition of not repeating themselves, while still showing themselves able to draw out the drama with expert use of tension before finally dropping the hammer like no one else. On this new one, their punches are pulled slightly to leave more elbow room for psychedelic tendencies, but they’re no less lethal on songs like “Not in Rivers, but in Drops” and “Holy Tears.” Amid the current crop of heel-biters and cheap imitators, Isis show us who has their hands firmly on the leash with this early contender for metal release of the year.

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Bubblegum review

Posted : 10 years, 11 months ago on 29 July 2007 10:32 (A review of Bubblegum)

Lanegan, once of Screaming Trees and Queens of the Stone Age, could sing his shopping list and bring you to tears. Now that he's away from QOTSA's crushing volume, Lanegan lets his lyrics out for a walk and delivers his best piece of work yet. All the usual suspects show up here as well - Josh Homme, Nick Oliveri, PJ Harvey, Chris Goss and even Izzy Stradlin and Duff McKagan. Make no mistakes, though, this is Lanegan's show all the way down the line. The understated self-production is replete with buzzing amps and cheap drum machines, but these lo-fi trappings only make Lanegan's urban tales of despair and destitution hit home that much harder. One of America's best living songwriters right now.

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Ballad of the Broken Seas review

Posted : 10 years, 11 months ago on 29 July 2007 10:30 (A review of Ballad of the Broken Seas)

Campbell teams up with Queens of the Stone Age’s Lanegan, but the four songs on this just don’t register over the short trip.

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Lullabies to Paralyze review

Posted : 10 years, 11 months ago on 29 July 2007 10:26 (A review of Lullabies to Paralyze)

With Dave Grohl and Nick Oliveri gone and Mark Lanegan reduced to cameos, QOTSA main man Josh Homme's had a lot of weight to shoulder on this one. Punk rockers like "Medication" and "Everybody Knows You Are Insane" almost make you forget about Oliveri's previous contributions, "Little Sister" is bound to be a breath of fresh air on the radio dial, "Tangled up in Plaid" is sure to please old fans and "Someone's in the Wolf" and "Long Slow Goodbye" show the band paving new roads. But Homme stops just short of the brilliance he's achieved in the past. Definitely a good record - hell, a great record - but considering how talented Homme is this should've changed the face of hard rock. Guess we'll just have to wait for the next one.

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