Chris C's blog

Album Review: Hanging Garden - At Every Door

As a new year is at its dawn, a wellspring of hope and optimism will once again flourish, the belief that the coming year will be better than the last. It's natural to think that things will get better, that something grand and great will be coming down the line to lift our spirits. It's why we celebrate the coming of a new year, when it's really an arbitrary delineation of where we happen to be in a never-ending orbit.

Top Ten Albums Of 2012

This year proved to be an interesting one for me as a music fan, and not just because it marked my official foray into the world of criticism. After a few albums in the last several years began the trend, this was the year that prog became a larger presence in my listening. While not all of them will appear in the following list, there were more prog albums I enjoyed than any other subset of rock and metal, a fact that caugth me off guard. But when confronted with solid albums from bands like The Flower Kings and Affector, which didn't even make the list, and followed up on with those that did qualify, it was a banner year for prog. None of the albums will top my list, as Dream Theater did last year with their incredible “A Dramatic Turn Of Events”, but this year was defined, in my mind, by prog.

Album Review: Humanity Delete - Never Ending Nightmares

Earlier this week I talked about Rogga Johansson's Megascavenger, and here we are a few dyas later discussing yet another of his projects. This time out, Humanity Delete graces us with their debut album, though any such comments are laughable considering the amount of material Rogga has released both in his career, and this year alone.

Album Review: Megascavenger - Descent Of Yuggoth

It wasn't that long ago I was reviewing Revolting's “Hymns Of Ghastly Horror”, the latest album from the latest band culled from the never-ending death metal mind of Rogga Johansson. Having not paid much attention to the death metal scene, I already felt like I was being overloaded with material from him, and now comes yet more music from the most prolific artist working in metal today. Megascavenger continues Rogga's tradition of never stopping, never letting up, never thinking enough is enough.

Album Review: Fullforce - Next Level

One of the things that irritates me about the metal scene is the habit of making everything sound like a bigger deal than it really is. I'm referring mostly to the incessant need to label any project that features people who have been in other bands as a 'supergroup'. The bands that actually deserve to be called that are exceptionally rare, and the cluttering of the scene with dozens who wrongly wear the moniker only serves to make me even more upset when the end result turns out to be lackluster.

Album Review: Diagonal - The Second Mechanism

Progressive music walks a fine line for most of its existence, trying to balance the gratification musicians garner from playing difficult and involved compositions with the gratification listeners need to be able to elicit from those same songs. Finding the right mix of challenge for the player and fun for the audience is a bit of a magic trick, not unlike pulling a rabbit out of the hat. There are a few bands who have been able to marry the popular and the insular, but the numbers who manage to do so are few and far between. It's the nature of the beast.

Album Review: Stolen Babies - Naught

It's hard to remember sometimes that music is in fact art, and the songs and albums we listen to are supposed to be artistic expressions of the people who create them. Music has taken many turns over the years, and all but a few of those movements have ended up with a more commercialized product, records that aim more to please fans and bring in profits than they do give life to creative impulses.

Album Review: Daemonicus - Deadwork

Every genre, it seems, has its own sense of nostalgia. As the classic bands of every facet of metal continue to chug along, and in many cases find more success than they've had in decades, a new wave of bands is popping up, using the classics as more than merely an inspiration. While there are the bands making waves with their new takes on familiar tropes, there are even more dedicated to replicating what was great about the past, giving fans who weren't old enough at the time a look back into what the scene was like when innovation was everywhere.

Album Review: Troubled Horse - Step Inside

In what has been a great year for vintage styled rock can roll, we keep adding to the list of releases taking us back in time to the days when rock and roll still had a raw and youthful energy behind it. In the years that have followed, the genre twisted itself into something different, a corporate-sponsored mash-up of music that usually has about as much attitude behind it as the most generic pop song. Rock and roll is as much an image as it is music, mostly conforming to a neat little box everyone is afraid to step outside of, for fear of alienating fans.

Album Review: Halestorm - The Strange Case Of...

It annoys me when rock and metal fans use the word 'pop' as an insult, acerbically spitting the words through snarled lips. It's meant to be an insult, but it misses the mark, and instead of branding the music as heretical to the cause, shows that it's the 'fans' in question who deserve the harsh treatment. I often cite the adage “there's nothing better than a three minute pop song”, and for good reason; it's true. No matter what style of music you're a fan of, there's something comforting and enjoyable about hearing music that wants you to enjoy it.

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