February 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:

Galantis – Church: YAWWWWWNNN. Songs on here like “Hurricane” give me the ominous feeling that NOTHING has changed in mainstream Dance music for a decade (seriously, doesn’t that track sound like an early Calvin Harris b-side?). It’s hard to imagine the irony was completely lost on Apple Music when a PR guy instructed them to describe this album as “wild”. To the contrary, this is super not wild. This is super safe, played-out EDM tailor-made for a Coachella crowd. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Green Day – Father Of All: Watching one of the most important Pop-Punk bands of all time show up with under 30 minutes of phoned-in Portugal the Man knockoffs and call it an “album” was heartbreaking. Troll or no troll, I couldn’t find any redeeming qualities here. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Grimes – Miss Anthropocene: I’ll admit it; I’m impressed. The way Grimes weaves together modern Electro, Pop, and a bit of that ’90s Alternative aesthetic and floats over it with her ethereal vocals is both unique and compelling. A song like “Delete Forever” feels like it came straight from ’90s Alt Rock radio, but spacey, immersive cuts like “Before the Fever” and the trap-influenced “Darkseid” go in the complete opposite direction and feel futuristic and forward-thinking. She’s combining the sounds of tomorrow with the jaded attitudes of the past and present. “You’ll Miss Me When I’m Not Around” specifically is the breakout hit in this set that perfectly encapsulates that sentiment. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Kvelertak – Splid: One of Metal’s most unique bands makes a glorious return after four years! I had no idea how much I missed these guys until I heard the delightful mixture of styles on album number four from these hipster-approved Norwegians. It’s rare that you can aptly describe a Metal album as “fun” or “rapturous”, but how else are we supposed to feel about Black n’ Roll stompers like “Fanden Ta Dette Hull!” and “Delirium Tremens”, or the punk-infused “Bratebrann”? And I equally enjoy the moments where Kvelertak do lean a bit harder into Extreme Metal, such as the closer “Ved bredden av Nihil”. Expect to see this one on MANY a year-end Metal list for 2020! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Ozzy Osbourne – Ordinary Man: In what I can only describe as the biggest surprise of 2020 thus far, a 71-year-old Ozzy Osbourne delivered his first good album since 1988. You should watch my full review for more detail, but what’s so interesting about Ordinary Man is that it’s a complete standalone effort in the man’s catalogue. It doesn’t share any of the production, personnel, or emotional messages of the other 11 Ozzy LPs, therefore giving Ozzy a chance to reinvent himself at this late stage in his career.  Here is a full review. RECOMMENDED.

Royce da 5’9 – The Allegory: Ugh, Royce finally broke his streak! As I discussed here, 1/2 of Bad Meets Evil has been on an absolute tear the past few years, between PhrymeLayers, and the intensely autobiographical Book of RyanThe Allegory is the first Royce project in half a decade that I do not enjoy. The features fall flat, the odd anti-vaccination and politically paranoid lyrical topics are an unwelcome distraction, and the beats – while Wu-Tang members may have sounded dope over them in 1996 – feel painfully forced and retrograde. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Suicide Silence – Become the Hunter: After the unmitigated disaster that was the critically-panned 2017 self-titled album, I was curious to see how this band would bounce back. Would they double-down on their faux Nu Metal approach as a giant pulsating middle finger to their whining fans? Or would they make an equally egregious error by running scared and playing it too safe in response? Well, neither happened per se, but some of the latter is evident. This is a very run-of-the-mill Deathcore record. It’s emotionally one-dimensional and the guitars are consistently lagging behind the drums in terms of intricacy and nuance. My one big compliment goes to frontman Eddie Hermida, who turns in the vocal performance of a lifetime. While I couldn’t get into this, I will say that Suicide Silence’s core fans should be pleased overall. Here is a full review. NOT RECOMMENDED.

 Tame Impala – The Slow Rush: That this is arguably the weakest Tame Impala LP to date doesn’t mean shit. It’s still a remarkably enjoyable body of work, fusing Psychedelic Rock with a Pop sensibility and smooth, pristine production. Especially poignant and heartbreaking here are the lyrical themes revolving around the passage of time;”One More Year”, “Lost in Yesterday”, “It Might Be Time”, and “On Track” are all prime examples, the latter joining the ranks of my favorite Tame Impala songs to date. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

A FEW MORE:

Enjoyed

Disclosure – Ecstasy EP (Dance)

Sepultura – Quadra (Metal)

Sylosis – Cycle of Suffering (Metal)

 

Didn’t Enjoy

Bad Bunny – YHLQMDLG (Latino)

Best Coast – Always Tomorrow (Alternative)

God Dethroned – Illuminati (Metal)

Lost Society – No Absolution (Metal)

Lil’ Baby – My Turn (Hip-Hop)

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