Trivium: Top 10 Deep Cuts!

What’s up guys! Ahead of the release of Trivium’s ninth album What the Dead Men Say next Friday, I decided to dive headfirst into the Trivium catalogue for another “Deep Cuts” video.

I did this with Slipknot and then Avenged Sevenfold and had an absolute blast both times, so I figured why not with Trivium too? But since Trivium have been so good to their fans in terms of keeping their live setlists interesting and always playing under-appreciated songs, I had to switch up the criteria this time for what exactly a “deep cut” is, which will likely spark some lively debate in and of itself.

But I’m super proud of this list I’ve put together – it runs the gamut of the band’s near 20-year career and serves as a great warmup for my forthcoming What the Dead Men Say review. Check out the full video below:

Code Orange – Underneath Album Review

You knew I couldn’t let this one go unreviewed!

Three years ago, Code Orange wowed every hipster music critic on planet Earth who needed a token Metal band to prop up – but underwhelmed me – with Forever. Now it’s a new decade, and the Pittsburgh Metalcore outfit is back with major label release numero dos. Does it live up to the exorbitant Hipster Hype? Or is it another intriguing but directionless mishmash of abrasive Hardcore, tepid Alt-Metal, and sporadic Industrial flourishes, like its predecessor? Full review below:

 

Bleed the Sky – This Way Lies Madness Album Review

FIRST ALBUM REVIEW OF 2020! I tackle the third full-length from reformed Orange County Metalcore band Bleed the Sky.

Bleed the Sky slipped by me back in the day. I had just enough awareness of their existence to off-handedly mention them during a tirade about “verb the noun bands” in my Betraying the Martyrs review but hadn’t actually heard their music. With today’s ever-changing Metalcore landscape, I figured it’d be interesting to dissect a brand new release from a band that emerged during the genre’s mid-2000s commercial peak.

After years away from the scene, how do these veterans stack up against their contemporaries? Full review below:

 

Discography Ranking: All That Remains

Happy Friday everyone! Jesus Christ (Kanye pun intended), there are a LOT of new releases to get to today! Of course, Kanye West finally dropped the Gospel-themed Jesus is King, but I’m also chomping at the bit to hear the new Cigarettes After Sex. And then in the Metal world there’s Mayhem, Fit for An Autopsy, Sunn O)), and I’m also planning to review Bad Wolves, who are a massively popular band I have yet to dive into. Oh, and that Alter Bridge review is coming. I double pinky promise.

But for now, I had a lot of fun traveling down memory lane to rank the discography of the Massachusetts Metalcore powerhouse that is All That Remains. As I discuss in the video, there’s nothing quite like listening to a band with the context of their entire career arc at the forefront of your mind. For me, it totally transforms the way I see certain albums.

And All That Remains was an interesting one to do because of how MUCH and how LITTLE I regard different parts of their catalogue. It’s a topsy-turvy ride. And of course, I got to squeeze in a tribute to the late great Oli Herbert. Watch the full video below:

September 2019 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:

As I Lay Dying – Shaped By Fire: Seven years and one attempted murder charge later (yep, I went there), Metalcore veterans As I Lay Dying are back in business. And I had a lot to say. Some of my key critiques of this album include whiny, poorly executed clean choruses, copy-and-pasted songwriting for their last few releases, and at least one track that’s just bad across the board. But I (pun intended) WARMED up to this album as time went on, and ended up finding a lot to enjoy. Full review here. RECOMMENDED.

Betraying the Martyrs – Rapture: I’m glad I finally swallowed my pride and gave a true-blue “Verb-the-Noun” band a shot. Sure, I had plenty of critiques for Rapture (the French Deathcore upstarts’ fourth LP to be released on Sumerian Records), but I went in hoping to be pleasantly surprised, and I WAS, mainly by the pure Death Metal fury of the title cut and the “Iron Gates” as well as the formidable two-guitar songwriting on the single “Down”. Full review here. RECOMMENDED

Blink-182 – NINE: All the way back to my formative years, I’ve never been a Blink fan. So why I keep taking their new releases exceedingly seriously (2016’s California being another example) doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. As I explain here, I’m always gonna cherry pick a couple of instantly catchy tunes and discard the rest. And that’s what I did here with the ballad “Heaven”, and to a lesser extent cuts like “Black Rain” and “I Really Wish I Hated You”. See you guys in 2022 for another three songs! NOT RECOMMENDED.

Cashmere Cat – Princess Catgirl: Possibly my favorite album I heard all month, Cashmere Cat’s ability to pull so much emotion out of cheesy Kanye-esque chipmunk vocals and glitchy EDM tropes astonished me. Dude, it’s 19 minutes long. Do yourself a favor and go listen to it. It’ll make you feel like you’re in a romantic, utopian video game. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Opeth – In Cauda Venenum: Far and away the worst of the “screamless 2010s” era of these Swedish Prog Metal legends, I found In Cauda Venenum to be dreadfully boring. Songs like “The Garroter” make me feel like I’m trapped for hours on end in the most depressing vintage record store ever, surrounded by rare Pink Floyd vinyls that not even Pink Floyd themselves give a shit about, wondering how the hell the owners can afford their rent. I’m not opposed to “screamless Opeth” – I think it’s fantastic that Mikael Akerfeldt and co. had the balls to drastically change course two decades into their career – but I AM opposed to soullessness. And In Cauda Venenum is egregiously soulless. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Post Malone – Hollywood’s Bleeding: After Postie Boy shocked me (and virtually all music writers) with the excellent Beerbongs & Bentleys last April, I thought to myself “gee, I hope he doesn’t rush-release an overly commercial follow-up”. I guess I forgot to knock on wood. Ironically, Hollywood’s Bleeding boasts excellent singles – the irresistible Young Thug collab “Goodbyes” is perhaps my favorite Top 40 Radio song of all of 2019, and the unexpected shoegaze-y guitars in the “Circles” intro still get me every time – but once you get to deeper cuts like the nursery rhyme chorus of “Myself”, or the failed Weeknd attempt “Allergic”, the LP doesn’t hold up. NOT RECOMMENDED.

Sturgill Simpson – Sound and Fury: Simpon’s brand of Alt-Country is one of the only modern shades of the genre granted full acceptance by the “music writer crowd”, and listening to tracks like the rock-influenced “Remember to Breathe” or the funky synth-infused “A Good Look”, in which Simpson’s hearty twang is the only noticeable “Country” element anywhere in sight, you can see why. But that’s not Simpson’s fault. He continues to be a fearless experimenter and poignant lyricist on album highlights like “Make Art Not Friends”, the aforementioned “A Good Look”, and “All Said and Done”. A must-listen! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Zac Brown Band – The Owl

WOW. This is a (potentially unequivocal) contender for Worst Album of the Year. And “OMW” – in which the band recite a texting acronym and pass it off as a chorus – is an equally fierce contender for Worst Song of the Year. If “OMW” and “Me and the Boys in the Band” are the type of music Zac Brown and Co. want to make, then just go be Florida Georgia Line. Or join Florida Georgia Line and make one giant Pop-Country conglomerate with 32 members. It’s actually MORE offensive to me when they try to “return to their roots” with a late-album cut like “Shoofly Pie” buried in the tracklist. NOT RECOMMENDED.

A FEW MORE:

Enjoyed:

Cult of Luna – A Dawn to Fear

Eclipser – Pathos

Korn – The Nothing

The New Pornographers – In the Morse Code of Brake Lights

Tegan and Sara – Hey, I’m Just Like You

Didn’t Enjoy:

Charli XCX – Charli

JPEGMAFIA – All My Heroes Are Cornballs

Starset – Divisions

As I Lay Dying – Shaped By Fire Album Review

What’s up, guys! Time for one of my biggest reviews of the Fall release season!

This week I dig into the long-awaited but controversial return of Metalcore veterans As I Lay Dying. Remember that little “attempted murder” thing that frontman Tim Lambesis went through? Well regardless of where you stand on the issue, Lambesis is now a free man, back on the streets AND the stage, fronting his old band.

However, rather than spend any time debating the ethical and moral implications of the situation, I chose to focus solely on the music. As I always do. We’re now 7 years removed from the band’s last album Awakened – how does Shaped by Fire measure up? Watch the full review below:

Betraying the Martyrs – Rapture Album Review

What’s up guys! Got a brand new Metal review for you today! This week I’m unpacking the fourth full-length record from French Deathcore band Betraying the Martyrs.

I was just introduced to these guys about a month or two ago, and I thought Rapture would be a great opportunity to stretch my tastes a little bit and do a deep dive into something I typically wouldn’t check out. A majority of bands either on the Sumerian Records roster, within the Deathcore movement, or of the “verb-the-noun” persuasion tend to not be my cup of tea – and Betraying the Martyrs happen to check all three boxes. So I purposely went into this review hoping to be pleasantly surprised. Full review below:

Discography Ranking: Lamb of God

Happy Friday guys! GOD, I’m so happy to finally release this video. See what I did there? No? It’s ok, neither do I most of the time.

Lamb of God has such a fascinating catalogue. They are the PERFECT band for a Discography Ranking because across all seven of their albums, there not a single undisputed “dud” nor “masterpiece”, which lends itself to incredibly rich discussion and debate, and a massive range of opinions.

I definitely make some controversial picks here, and I can’t wait to see what people think. If you watch this, do me a favor and leave a comment below the video with YOUR ranking of the band’s discography! Above all, I hope Lamb of God fans really enjoy this celebration of one of Modern Metal’s elite:

NAME THAT KILLSWITCH ENGAGE SONG!

Alright guys, time for another edition of Name That Song! I figured since I just reviewed their new record Atonement, Killswitch Engage would be the perfect candidates!

What I really enjoy about doing these videos, besides testing my knowledge about some of my favorite bands, is that I get to squeeze in quite a bit of commentary too. While I’ll never be a “Reaction Video” guy, there is admittedly something totally different about talking about music while you’re listening to it. And I had a lot of fun doing this one, as I did with Slipknot, Machine Head, and Trivium in my previous installments of this segment.

Be sure to comment below the video with your score! Best of luck!

Killswitch Engage – Atonement Album Review

Another album review! It feels so good to be back doing these, I can’t even tell ya. This week I’m digging into the brand new Killswitch Engage album Atonement, the band’s first for Metal Blade records, third since the return of original vocalist Jesse Leach, and eighth overall.

Based on this record’s singles, one of which I reviewed here, I gotta say, I was a little nervous. Atonement follows two SUPERB Leach-fronted albums (2013’s Disarm the Descent and 2016’s Incarnate), and I was anxious to see if the band could keep the momentum going and score a little hat trick here.

Full review below. Thanks so much for watching!