album reviews

From 1983 to 1985, the new wave of American thrash kicked off with an explosion of albums. Leading the way were four singular pieces that would dictate the pace for years to come. Metallica's "Kill 'em All," Megadeth's "Killing is My Business...and Business is Good!" Anthrax's "Fistful of Metal," and Slayer's "Show No Mercy."

The Almost’s new album, “Monster Monster” doesn’t offer me a lot musically, but I like the idea.

Katatonia is another of those bands that is blessed with a large following overseas, but just has never really hit a solid chord with Western audiences. I get the feeling that their newest studio album, “Night is the New Day” will do little to change that.

In the past, I have been a serious critic of Atreyu. I found their music to be uninspired and derivative. However, with a new album on the way, it was upon me to shelve my previous prejudices and see what the band had to offer.

Listening to Wolfmother’s “Cosmic Egg” is a refreshing break from the usual blasé fare offered under the aegis of “rock revival.” Even with an almost entirely new band in tow, Wolfmother has produced a second album that can stand the test of time. The linchpin in the entire effort is that Wolfmother plays stand up rock and roll without any of the ironic sense that has become so fashionable in music and pop culture. Andrew Stockdale isn’t playing rock and roll out of some grand nostalgia, or to impress any sort of image on the listener.

I couldn’t let this get by without a review. I kept holding it on the back burner, with the mindset that I would get to it eventually. Well, that time is now.

Okay, I admit it. I am the one guy that actually has bought a couple GWAR albums. Yes, me. I’m the one. So anyway, “Lust in Space.”

Arch Enemy’s “The Root of All Evil” is an interesting study. It has all the tenets of typical European death metal fare, but at its darkened and fiery center beats an irrepressible heart of old-school thrash. Beneath the prominent blast beats and screeching vocals is an album that features intricate and calculated guitar work, down to earth riffs stretched over simple but infectious rhythms, and an integrated understanding of powerful metal themes.

I’m not much of a lyrics guy. I don’t tend to study them, and I certainly don’t tend to read much into them. Still, when the first chorus of the first track of Alice In Chains’ new album came out of my speakers, I listened. “There’s no going back to the place we started from.” While not a deep metaphor, it is a poignant reminder of the band I’m listening to, a continual needle pricking the wounded tissue of what must feel to Jerry Cantrell like unfinished business.

Children of Bodom's covers album is both a tribute to artists the band loves, and a tongue-in-cheek mockery of artists they love to hate.

Unlike many of their Scandinavian brethren, Children of Bodom has an obvious sense of humor regarding their particular brand of black metal, and that sense shines through on "Skeletons in the Closet."

Shadows Fall’s “Retribution” is an exercise in metal-by-numbers. Start with acoustic beginning A, attach distorted guitar riff B, growling verse about pain C, slide that into the connection for guitar solo D, and then cover with double kick E, and you’re done.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat. The end result is an album that lacks any true firepower. It is a paper tiger with no actual bite, no heart. “Retribution” is like any number of brightly colored snack foods that have no real flavor; seems like it should be enjoyable, but fails to satisfy upon ingestion.