A Day To Remember – You’re Welcome Album Review

It’s album review time!! This week I’m digging into the seventh record from Pop-Punk/Metalcore schizos A Day To Remember.

Having followed this band’s music for close to a decade and a half, discussing it comes so naturally that I barely needed any notes in front of me for the shoot. Needless to say, those are my favorite videos to make! And ADTR took their material in some surprising new directions for this one, so there was a lot to get into.

Check out the full review here:

Discography Ranking: Carcass

Save your work, kids. You never know what you’re going to stumble on years later! Just ask Van Halen about A Different Kind of Truth, a lot of which was written before the millennial generation was even born.

According to the corresponding Word doc on my hard drive, I decided this video was a good idea sometime in early 2018. For some reason – and lord knows we all have enough distractions – I never got around to shooting it, so when I was cleaning out some files and found this ranking (all of which I still agreed with) I just had to shoot it!

As discussed here in detail, Carcass have a remarkably unique catalogue since they were equally influential across 4 or 5 different Metal subgenres. And because of that, there’s very little fan consensus, which lends itself to some interesting discussion! Check out the full video here:

Discography Ranking: Faith No More

What’s up guys! Time for another installment of my favorite segment – and possibly the best one of these I’ve done – the Discography Ranking! For those of you who love deep dives, there’s nothing quite like picking apart a band’s catalogue album-by-album.

I’ve been wanting to talk about Faith No More forever, as is evidenced by the 18-minute plus run-time of this vid! If I’ve done my job, this will double as a fun catalyst for debate among the band’s fans, and perhaps most importantly, an entertaining and digestible education for listeners interested in exploring their unique music.

You can watch the full video below:

January 2021 Album Round Up!

What’s up guys! Another month, another Album Round Up. Below is a quick run-through of all the records I checked out this month:

Black Pistol Fire – Look Alive: Do The Black Keys get a royalty check every time these guys tune their instruments? Can someone explain to me how this is distinct in any way from the countless QOTSA-worshipping Alt-Rock acts out there? NOT RECOMMENDED.

Devin Dawson – The Pink Slip EP: One of Country’s brightest and best songwriters turns in six dazzlingly mediocre tracks that make 20 minutes feel like an hour. The Pop and Hip-Hop influences on “Whatever Forever Is” are particularly unbearable. “I Got a Truck”, at least, sounds like a Country tune and the Alt-Rock crunch of “Range Rover” is the other moment I kinda enjoy here. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Gatecreeper – An Unexpected Reality: Considering it’s been nearly half a decade since the last (excellent) Nails album, I suppose these Phoenix Death Metallers figured it was as good a time as ever to swoop in and steal their whole fanbase? Kidding aside, Metal’s first critical standout of 2021 is a brief-but-satisfying mixture of Death Metal with old school Grind (the former being reserved mostly for the epic Death/Doom closer “Emptiness”). And the main reason I make the Nails comparison is probably the production more than anything – An Unexpected Reality has a dry, suffocating sound that compliments the blistering riffs beautifully. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Jazmine Sullivan – Heaux Tales: For over a decade, Jazmine Sullivan has mostly existed in my head as an elongated Royce da 5’9 punchline from “Welcome 2 Hell” (off the Bad Meets Evil album), and for some reason I’ve never given her a good listen. So I was excited to hear this. Though this album’s numerous narrated interludes would’ve functioned better if they were woven directly into the songs, I can’t argue with the songs themselves – the strong harmonies in “Put it Down” the vocal showcase in the Cardiak-produced Ari Lennox duet “On It” , or “Price Tags”, in which Sullivan and Anderson .Paak have a surprisingly natural chemistry. RECOMMENDED.

Tribulation – Where the Gloom Becomes Sound: My favorite Metal album of 2021 thus far! I know, all five weeks of it. Tribulation’s sound is difficult to categorize, but I feel reasonably comfortable calling it a melodic take on Blackened Death Metal. Agalloch fans will fawn over more atmosphere-driven cuts like “Ianna” and “Funeral Pyre”, while the pre-album single “Hour of the Wolf” will feel like a logical continuation of 2018’s more Black ‘N Roll-influenced Down Below, an LP I gave a Top 10 of the Year spot back when we used to eat at restaurants and high-five people. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Weezer – OK Human: This was actually pretty cool! I enjoyed hearing a Weezer album that shook up the band’s tired formula, eschewing electric guitars completely. It distills Rivers Cuomo and company down even further to what they’re good at: simple but profound song concepts (“Numbers”) and annoyingly catchy little ditties that sneak up on you after a few plays (“Grapes of Wrath”, “All My Favorite Songs”). Hearing the strings function so well as a melodic centerpiece on “Here Comes the Rain” and “Grapes of Wrath” is particularly rewarding. Don’t listen to the naysayers – it’s not perfect, but give this one a try. RECOMMENDED.

Enjoyed

You Me At Six – SUCKAPUNCH (Alternative)

Didn’t Enjoy

Accept – Too Mean to Die (Metal)

Alta Reign – Mother’s Day (Metal)

Maggie Lindemann – Paranoia EP (Alternative)

Painted Wives – New Medusa (Metal)

Zayn – Nobody is Listening (Pop)

Some Old Stuff I’ve Been Bumping

Cathedral – The Ethereal Mirror

Majid Jordan – The Space Between

Neurosis – Through Silver in Blood

Prince – Sign ‘O the Times

Repulsion – Horrified

Strapping Young Lad – City

In Case You Missed It: ALL My 2020 Year-End Lists!

What’s up guys! Hope your 2021 is off to an awesome start. In case you missed Year-End List Mania on my YouTube channel (or you’re just too lazy to watch another hour of content about 2020), I’ve re-produced all of the lists below, with links to each video as well as the relevant excerpts. If these lists help turn you on to at least one band, artist, album, or song, then I’ve done my job!

10 Songs That Defined 2020 For Me (Full video here)

10. Cardi B – “Wap” (see YouTube excerpt here)

9. Drake – “War”

8. The 1975 – “Guys”

7. Victoria Monet – “Experience”

6. Kygo -“Beautiful”

5. Morgan Wallen – “7 Summers”

4. Echosmith – “Diamonds”

3. The Weeknd – “In Your Eyes”

2. Tame Impala – “On Track”

  1. Pet Shop Boys – “Happy People” (see YouTube excerpt here)

Top 10 Albums of 2020: METAL EDITION (Full video here)

10. DevilDriver – Dealing With Demons I

9. Avatar – Hunter Gatherer

8. Napalm Death – Throes of Joy in the Jaws of Defeatism

7. Code Orange – Underneath

6. Deftones – Ohms

5. Pallbearer – Forgotten Days

4. Black Crown Initiate – Violent Portraits of Doomed Escape (see YouTube excerpt here)

3. Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment

2. Warbringer – Weapons of Tomorrow

  1. …And Oceans – Cosmic World Mother (see YouTube excerpt here)

Top 10 Albums of 2020: NON-METAL EDITION (Full video here)

10. Taylor Swift – Folklore (see YouTube excerpt here)

9. The Strokes – The New Abnormal

8. Run the Jewels – RTJ4

7. Pet Shop Boys – Hotspot

6. Chris Stapleton – Starting Over

5. Joywave – Possession

4. Kiesza – Crave

3. Grimes – Miss Anthropocene

2. Tame Impala – The Slow Rush

  1. Purity Ring – WOMB

Top 15 Favorite Songs: Q4 2020

Happy holidays everybody! It’s time for our fourth and final quarterly songs playlist of the year!

As usual, October was insane for new music and a good chunk of these tracks come from that period. Lots of of Hip-Hop made it in this time around, and we’ve also got representation from the worlds of EDM, Hard Rock, Pop, Country, and whatever the fuck you call that amazing Greg Puciato song “Temporary Object”.

You can find the full Spotify playlist with honorable mentions below the video, and I can’t wait to share my Year End Lists with you guys!!

November 2020 Album Round Up!

What’s up guys! Another month, another Album Round Up. Below is a quick run-through of all the records I checked out this month:

Chris Stapleton – Starting Over: When I complain about hipster music bloggers who prop up one token Metal band every year in a shallow attempt to be “diverse”, I often fail to mention that they do the exact same thing to country. And since Devin Dawson didn’t put anything out this year, their lone alternative has luckily hit another home run! Chris Stapleton’s fourth studio album in five years is exceptionally well-written – equal parts folksy, blues-y, and pop-influenced, it’s exactly what the neckbeards need in order to feel like they’ve listened to some real Country in 2020. I enjoy the twangiest moments here (“Devil Always Made Me Think Twice”, “Hillbilly Blood”) as much as I the crossover material (“Starting Over”, “You Should Probably Leave”) and I continue to be impressed by Stapleton’s ability to satisfy so many different audiences at once. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Eternal Champion – Ravening Iron: Metalheads love to champion (pun intended) Bandcamp albums because, as if listening to Gorguts won’t do the trick, it somehow makes them feel more subversive. And perhaps no Metal LP on the site got as much love this year as Eternal Champion’s Ravening Iron, with its mammoth Power Metal riffs, blazing solos, and fantasy-filled lyrics. If you love Dio’s early material but always wanted to hear meaner guitars in it, this album is for you. RECOMMENDED.

Fates Warning – Long Day Good Night: Continuing the suggestions for my readers with a taste for classic-sounding Metal, this one will ALSO do the trick! Fates Warning combine crisp production, huge late ’80s Metal songwriting, and slight winks and nods to the prog heads for a highly enjoyable listen front-to-back. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Hatebreed – Weight of the False Self: In a year where every quarantine-stricken gym rat could’ve used a stellar Hatebreed album to push us through the last few weeks until the holidays, we got an average one instead. Alongside 2009’s underwhelming self-titled effort, this is my least favorite Hatebreed album. Some of the lyrics are difficult to swallow, especially motivational-Twitter-posts-turned-Metal like the title cut, “This I Earned”, and “Set It Right (Start With Yourself)”. I also struggled with the frustratingly slow tempos of tracks like “Cling to Life”, “Let Them Rot”, and “A Stroke of Red”, which all feel like they would’ve been bangers if you just add 12 BPM and a grittier guitar tone. I love this band and will probably still put this on for the occasional run, but you’re better off with just about anything else from their catalogue. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Megan Thee Stallion – Good News: In the rap world, 2020 has undoubtedly been the year of Megan Thee Stallion. She’s been such a ubiquitous presence, in fact, that I totally forgot that her excellent Suga EP actually came out THIS YEAR! Between all her critical acclaim, her string of head-turning guest appearances (including this summer’s controversial “WAP”), and umm…getting SHOT, Good News came at the perfect time for her to capitalize. It was gonna be her Get Rich or Die Tryin’. Unfortunately, she just didn’t bring the songs to back that up. Remember, we all made fun of Big Sean early in his career for singing “ass ass ass ass ass ass ass” and calling it a hook, so I’m not about give Megan a pass for “body-ody-ody-ody-ody” just because she’s being more…err, wholistic. Her rhyming prowess is on full display for much of the album – most notably on my favorite track “Outside” – but song-wise it’s far from a consistent body of work. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Miley Cyrus – Plastic Hearts: If Miley Cyrus twerking and collaborating with Juicy J in 2013 was “bad gurl Miley: HOOD EDITION”, then Plastic Hearts is “bad gurl Miley: RAWK EDITION”. I will say, the RAWK EDITION goes over much better. This era of Cyrus feels more natural, and has produced some of her best music to date. I just eat up those cheeseball synths and crunchy guitars on “Night Crawling”, and Miley does her best to resurrect ’80s balladeering on “Angels Like You”. It’s not for everyone, but it’s definitely worth a curiosity spin. RECOMMENDED.

2 Chainz – So Help Me God: So I guess me and 2 Chainz are gonna have a “one album on, one album off” relationship. He followed up 2017’s career-best Pretty Girls Like Trap Music with 2019’s stagnant Rap or Go to the League, and just when I counted him out, he came back with another awesome project filled with grade-A production. Whether it’s the dramatic Jay-Z sample on “Southside Hov”, the Hall ‘N Oates-flipping “Can’t Go for That”, or the stripped-down and sentimental “Vampire”, Mr. Tauheed Epps offers up quite the diverse, well-rounded platter of tracks here. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Enjoyed

Dark Tranquillity – Moment (Metal)

Jeezy – The Recession 2 (Hip-Hop)

Within the Ruins – Black Heart (Metal)

Didn’t Enjoy

Kodak Black – Bill Israel (Hip-Hop)

Meek Mill – Quarantine Pack EP (Hip-Hop)

Sodom – Genesis XIX (Metal)

NAME THAT CHILDREN OF BODOM SONG!

What’s up guys! It’s about time for another “Name That Song” contest!

For this episode we’re competing with Children of Bodom, one of the top bands of my adolescence. This was an absolute blast to do and we got lucky because a LOT of deep cuts popped up. After all, you don’t want too many softballs. So if you’re a fan of the band this is a must-watch!

Of course, be sure to comment below the video with your score and see if you beat me!

And this is a good time to mention that if you haven’t yet, be sure to do the Slipknot one, the Lamb of God one, the Pantera one, the Trivium one, and….I’m sure I’m forgetting a couple but head over to my YouTube channel for the rest!

Discography Ranking: System of a Down

What’s up, guys! I am beyond excited to share this video. Please join me for a deep dive into the catalogue of Armenian Alt-Metal legends System of a Down!

FAIR WARNING: my picks here are extremely unpopular among the typical System fan, which is the kind of thing that, quite frankly, makes me overjoyed. What’s the fun in agreeing with each other on everything? My hope is that you’ll find my rationales entertaining, and be sure to comment below the video with YOUR personal ranking!

I hope you guys enjoy and thank you so much for watching!

October 2020 Album Round Up!

What’s up guys! Another month, another Album Round Up. Below is a quick run-through of all the records I checked out this month:

Anaal Nathrakh – Endarkenment: A significant improvement over 2018’s slightly dumbed-down A New Kind of Horror, one of my favorite Extreme Metal bands of all time comes roaring back with a powerful 11th album. It may not be as essential as 2001’s Codex Necro or 2009’s In the Constellation of the Black Widow, but stellar highlights on here like “The Age of Starlight Ends”, “Punish Them”, and the title track showcase the group’s unique ability to find bright melodies in the most chaotic of places. Meanwhile, there are songs like “Singularity” that simply hit like a sledgehammer. My bias is surely showing, but this is gonna be one of my favorite Metal records of the year. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Ariana Grande – Positions: In the eyes of the public, Ariana Grande has been virtually incapable of wrongdoing for at least half a decade. Dangerous Woman, Sweetener, and thank u, next in particular have achieved the difficult combination of extraordinary popularity among the masses, and accolades among the stuffiest of critics. Listening to Positions, I get the sense there’s gonna be more mixed opinions on this one – I, for one, can’t get into how surface level the record feels. The hypersexualized sophomoric moments like “34 + 35” (69, get it! You can almost hear Billy Madison yelling it in a classroom) are a bit much, and “Nasty” finds Grande overselling her Kehlani impression. The title track, the classy and understated “Motive” and a couple other moments stick, but the LP as a whole is spotty at best. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Benny the Butcher – Burden of Proof: As if being a lyrical powerhouse in his own right wasn’t enough, Benny continues to attract enviably high-level performances from the perfect guests – everybody from Lil’ Wayne (in one of his best post-2010 verses) to Freddie Gibbs to Rick Ross steps up to round out this project. Hit-Boy – who is having one of the best years of any producer in recent memory – also provides a fitting set of backdrops that range from soul-driven (“One Way Flight”, “Thank God I Made It”, “New Streets”) to rousing boom bap (title cut, “Legend”). RECOMMENDED.

Carcass – Despicable EP: These Liverpool legends took seven years to release a four-song EP that sounds exactly like Surgical Steel, so I can’t sit here and pretend to be over the moon. That being said, all four of these tracks are solid, and I’m still holding out for their next full-length Torn Arteries, which is due in 2021. RECOMMENDED.

Corey Taylor – CMFT: I’ve always maintained that I love people who “earn” their egos, which is why I’ve never had any animus towards Slipknot’s talented, self-obsessed frontman and his nonstop Blabbermouth headlines. I was happy to see him completely indulge himself here with a proper solo album, even if the results are a bit mixed. The blues-driven Hard Rock of cuts like “Halfway Down” and “Samantha’s Gone”, along with the occasional Stone Sour-esque Octane radio moment like “Black Eyes Blue”, represent the high points, while Taylor attempting to rap his way through his own 2002-era wrestling theme on “CMFT Must Be Stopped” is the kind of thing you wish you could un-hear. RECOMMENDED.

Pallbearer – Forgotten Days: I’m continually impressed with the ability of these beloved Doom Metallers to crank out albums that are as layered and intelligent as they are dirge-y and foreboding. Forgotten Days is the funeral that you drive through a thunderstorm to attend. And Randall Dunn’s production walks a balance not unlike that of the songwriting, between dirty and polished, hideous and refined. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Devildriver – Dealing With Demons I: Even though everything I listened to growing up SOUNDED just like Devildriver, they never released an album that completely connected with me. Maybe a song or two here and there. That’s why it’s so strange that as a grown-ass man, the first full Devildriver record I’ve truly enjoyed is this one. Granted, it’s Part One of a double album, and it JUST starts to wear out its welcome by the end. But since Dez and co were smart enough to release each part separately, they get credit for a tight ten-track outing with enough Extreme Metal-tinged brutality (“Keep Away From Me”), surprisingly melodic moments (“Wishing”) and New Wave of American Heavy Metal standards (“Nest of Vipers”, the title cut) to keep you engaged throughout. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Rittz – Picture Perfect: I know I didn’t particularly love my favorite Strange Music alum’s last record, but he bounces back here with a more lighthearted set of tracks that dial back the campy melodrama just a tad and welcome a few exciting features into the fold. The stomping “Bring Me Down” is one of my favorite instrumentals I’ve ever heard Rittz on (and Merkules and Snak the Ripper both slaughter their guest verses), while the metallic Tech N9ne-assisted title track and the dreamy Last Call-esque “Pain Killers and Paint Colors” are instant favorites as well. RECOMMENDED.

Enjoyed

Armored Saint – Punching the Sky (Metal)

Bring Me the Horizon – Post Human: Survival Horror EP (Rock)

Greg Puciato – Child Soldier: Creator of God (Alternative/Experimental)

Necrophobic – Dawn of the Damned (Metal)

Spirit Adrift – Enlightened in Eternity (Metal)

Venom Prison – Primeval (Metal)

Didn’t Enjoy

Enslaved – Utgard (Metal)

Gorillaz – Song Machine, Season One: Strange Timez (Alternative)

Mr. Bungle – The Raging Wrath of the Easter Bunny Demo (Metal)

Sevendust – Blood and Stone (Rock)

Smoke DZA – Homegrown (Hip-Hop)