album review

Eve to Adam's new album "Banquet for a Starving Dog" is an exercise in new-era emotional rock. Now, that does not mean the album is emo. Rather, this is twenty-first century rock in the style of the Foo Fighters with a thick layering of attempted emotion.

“Shallow Bay” is a greatest hits album that represents the full catalogue of Breaking Benjamin. Now, it should be noted that includes both the good and bad parts of their legacy.

It’s also more than that. To obtain the deluxe edition of this release is to gain ownership of a double disc loaded for bear with rarities, live cuts, remixes, acoustic performances and all other manner of scattered musical ephemera.

The metal community has been waiting for the sophomore album of Black Tide ever since their debut was released. Everyone who was anyone, no matter their opinion of the album, was witness to the nearly limitless potential that Black Tide was harboring. Merely teens at the time of their first release, the band was considered in need of just a little refinement; a few minor tweaks, and Black Tide would join their inspirations (Metallica, Trivium, et al,) in the upper echelons of heavy metal's notoriety.

In 2002, I saw Soulfy and In Flames open for Slayer. Of the two openers, In Flames impressed me more, coming equipped with style, youth and engulfing passion. I was certain that In Flames was destined to become part of the heavy metal landscape for years to come, as were most other attendees and metal people on the whole.

If you thought Crowbar’s “Sever the Wicked Hand” was the shoe-in champ for “Most Vicious American Metal Album of 2011,” you might be well served by staying your judgment for a moment and taking a listen to this.

Sometimes, music is powerful enough that it can evoke mental images in the listener’s mind. While listening to Indestructible Noise Command’s “Heaven Sent, Hellbound,” a few pictures were clearly conjured in my brain. In no particular order, this album could be used as the soundtrack for:

1) A low-altitude napalm carpet bombing
2) A shotgun-wielding bank robbery

SoulMotor’s album “Wrong Place at the Right Time” is a studied, skillful blending of time-tested themes. One part hedonistic strip club fodder, one part sludge-drenched metal fugue and one part classic rock homage, the album is then dipped in a candy coating of pulp fiction and biker babes.

Now, this is what we like to see. As Unearth gets older, they seem to be learning more and more about how to become the best band they can be. Each album from the metalcore sentinels has been better than the previous, and “Darkness in the Light” continues that impressive trend.

2008’s “The March” was, as called in the pages of this very blog, “frustrating.” It contained several warts of noticeable size, beginning with the vocal stylings of Trevor Phipps.

Expanding on what we were talking about last week, this album from “World Under Blood” hits closer to the proper death metal mark. “Tactical” blends all the right elements of creativity and power, leaving them in a rough blend that keeps the listener off balance and explores greater artistic depth.

All Shall Perish’s new effort “This is Where it Ends,” leaves one without many words. Not because it is so unspeakably awful as to defy description, nor because it is so perfect that the clumsy words of mortals would fail to describe it.

Rather, the album simply is what it is. Which likely sounds to the reader like an aircraft-carrier-sized cop out. Maybe it is. Still, better that than to talk in circles without really saying anything.

The long running and yet on-again-off-again musical creation known as PAIN has twisted, turned, bent, changed, morphed and changed again over the years. The constant is frontman/guitar player Peter Tägtgren, who remains focused on turning PAIN into a household name. Already a dynamo in his home of Sweden because of his work with Hypocrisy among other acts, Tägtgren has assembled another compendium for this vanity project and released his latest album, “You Only Live Twice.”