GWAR + Every Time I Die tonight. Last one.
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Sylosis are terrifying and I don’t mean in a “hurrr we’re so metulz and evil” way. It simply boggles my mind how a band can traverse an entire spectrum of “heavy”. Though labelled most often as a “thrash” or “death” metal band; whilst that can be true for the majority of the time that doesn’t mean they should be pigeon-holed with other bands from those genres. Similarly, it would inaccurate to describe them as a “post-metal” band but if you just heard particular sections you could be inclined to disagree. The tight, face-rippingly powerful thrash sections are by no means unimpressive, the can however blur together as you wait for the band’s true talent to take hold, which lies in the swelling and crescendos of the huge, post-metal, melodic breaks that come so fluently. Edge of the Earth is beautiful, exciting and bound to catch you off-guard and after a while you will find yourself listening to the album purely for the joy of discovering where the next turn will take you. It’s no surprise Sylosis have been voted the best new British band in years; they have carved their own unique sound out of something familiar and it’s an impressive foray into a brand new world.
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Dave Mustaine and the success of his thrashy crew are forever going to be compared to the likes of Metallica. It’s just a fact we’re going to have to accept. Whether you love one, the other or both; if Megadeth and Metallica both release a record in the same year the unavoidable question of “which is better?” is going to arise. This year, Th1rt3en (I assume that’s pronounced Thonerthreeen) definitely trumps Lulu especially since it contains actual songs as opposed to unrehearsed six minute jams backing a senile old man’s obsession with Ikea. But is it a good album? Well, yes and no; in terms of sound, Thonerthreeen is the simplied, more melody-based Countdown to Extinction to last year’s Rust in Peace-like thrash-a-thon Endgame. However, the album is partly made up of songs and riffs that have been lying around the Megadeth back catalogue for a while and as such fails to feel like a cohesive piece of work. The songs are fine, but unlike Endgame; the album feels like it has no real goal or continuing theme. A good album should be more than a fine collection of material; sadly this is all Thonerthreen is and as such it falls afoul of the mark of greatness.
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Whilst I like to think that metal is a genre that can embrace something new and different (as long as it’s good, I’m not talking about Load and Reload), it is clear that a lot metalheads have a problem with their comfort-zone, especially the younger ones when it comes to embracing other music styles. TRC is by no means rap-rock but the vocals of one of two frontmen, Chris Robson, may turn off some more “Americanised” listeners with his harsh, honest Cockney vibe. TRC, which is short for The Revolution Continues, present a change in sound with what sounds like Your Demise and The Streets’ orphaned child; it’s rough and heavy but not without melody and direction. Tracks like H.A.T.E.R.S. and Go Hard or Go Home pull some of the hardest punches I’ve heard in a while whilst others such as Temptation and Closure add a degree of total honesty that most bands try to hide from behind artsy metaphors and subtlety. Bright Lights tells the stories it needs to absolutely like it is in a very accessible way with musical proficiency not to be sniffed at and a no-holds-barred, infectious sense of excitement. Let’s put it this way; I hate hardcore dancing but somehow this record makes me want to swing my limbs around. If the world is ready for them, TRC are going to be huge and this will be a debut album many will look back on and remember fondly.
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Five Finger Death Punch have almost done themselves an injustice by stating in interviews that “the third album proves that you’re here to stay”. After the hugely successful The Way of the Fist and War is the Answer, stakes were going to be high and, depending on how much you want to like it, the band may pull themselves out of the nosedive at the last second. Although heavy and catchy, one can’t help but hear the band forcing themselves to do certain things for the first few tracks of this record, clearly thinking they need to keep all of their personality traits intact.
Although the songs are by no means “bad” (except “Menace”, which doesn’t even deserve to be a B-side) they don’t have that same face-punching passion as before. The second half of the album, which does away with the stupid self-important proclamations and simply focuses on good writing shows excellent growth for the band composition-wise, but sitting through the first half of American Capitalist is an uncomfortable experience; like watching your drunk Uncle proclaim he’s still the tough guy he used to be. No one can say if it’s true but no one really wants to know for sure anyway.
And for the record, American Capitalist states “heavy metal” as an American concept. Does anyone want to give them a copy of Black Sabbath’s first record?
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Skeletonwitch is a band that plays to their strengths; their strengths being thunderous bullet-like riffs juxtaposing with great grooves and more Satan imagery than a Black Sabbath convention. Forever Abomination is everything Skeletonwitch have done right in the past, up to the nine’s. The impressive speeding thrash sections are tighter than ever and the commonplace groove sections that set them apart from other death metal bands, although no more frequent than before, are crafted to perfection. If you’re expecting a colourful display for this album you’ll be disappointed since every track, quite rightfully, is mud-black and sacrificial-slaughter red; that said, Skeletonwitch’s continued experimentation with what they can do within their boundaries offers a few surprises along the way. Forever Abomination is a stellar example that powerful, crushing speed metal still exists.
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Produced by: Fred Durst
Released: June 28, 2011
Let me start by saying this: Gold Cobra is Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavoured Water’s younger brother. It’s the true sequel to one of the greatest nu-metal albums ever written. Although Results May Vary and The Unquestioned Truth had their good points, they also didn’t have that Chocolate Starfish edge that only the original line-up can make.
The album starts in typical Limp Bizkit fashion; with an intro. Chocolate Starfish had it’s hip-hop beat and robotic voices, Results May Vary had it’s humorous carnival introduction… Cobra starts with something slightly different; a creepy, slow building mess of noises and samples as Fred whines: “I can’t stop it. No matter how hard I try.”
And then there’s the drop into the crushing first riff of Bring it Back, which is joined by a synthesised clap beat and Durst chanting “what?”. Suddenly the vocals occur and it all becomes clear: Limp Bizkit are back completely where they need to be. But just our thoughts begin to settle, Wes Borland blows the whole thing wide open with possibly the greatest Bizkit riff of all time; a nasty, thrashy beast that carries us through the chorus of “gimme the shit that makes the people go insane”.
The opener to the album is a short teaser of what’s to come, and with second single Gold Cobra the fun really begins. Heavy bass pulses throughout a track that could have very easily featured on any of the Bizkit’s first three records and John Otto’s signature drumming style smashes expectations into the ground. This is the real Limp Bizkit and in all these years, time hasn’t taken a toll. Rap and rock can still breed fantastic, catchy results; all that is necessary is the key components to do so.
Shark Attack pushes the point further (opening with a fat Jaws-inspired intro synth). Although a lot of the songs on the albums touch upon similar territory, this one in particular the declaration of Bizkit independence, particularly since it features the humour of the band with lines like “make them wish they never knew me / turn their ass to great, white sushi” and opening with the classic “it’s just one of those days” that will leave a smile on the face any fan of the band.
Of course, if you’re not a fan of the band chances are you will have given up on it by this point. Limp Bizkit have always been one of the biggest “Marmite bands”; you ever get it or you don’t… and by Get a Life, you’ll probably know which one you are if you didn’t before. Although the track is more downplayed throughout the verses, the chorus is the album’s first chance to showcase the true aggression of Durst, since it’s basically an F-bomb-laden threat. And it’s not the only one. Also of note is the calm middle-eight (with catchy robo voice) with a guitar tone that screams Hold On, It’ll Be Ok and The One from the likes of Chocolate Starfish…
The album trundles on in similar fashion for a while and, although the songs are great, the issue with balance on the record becomes pretty obvious. The next track is another rap party song and the first single, Shotgun. Don’t get me wrong, it’s catchy. But isn’t it time for Bizkit to show the ground they can cover and do a “more traditional” song? Nope, apparently not. Instead, next we get the frankly brilliant Douchebag. Seething with rage (this chorus is what I mentioned earlier); this is easily going to remain part of the band’s live set for a while. If you know the chorus, (and once you’ve heard it, you won’t forget it) you’ll know what I mean when I say: imagine a stadium-sized crowd chanting along.
Finally, we hit Walking Away, perhaps a few tracks too late. This song leaked a good while back, but the production values of the album version are not to be sniffed at (and on top of the that, the last chorus was changed). When it comes to “typical” Bizkit songs, the majority of people will think of tracks like Break Stuff, Rollin’, My Way etc forgetting that the band can do phenomenal things, melodically. This track is another return to form and it’s good to see that they can still do both song types as well as ever.
The song crescendos with Durst screaming passionately before moving on to Loser. Although not entirely melodic, it’s is definitely “traditional”, as I mentioned earlier. Don’t get me wrong - the track is great, but in terms of experiencing the album, it seems a bit weird to go from no songs like this to two. Regardless, at least it’s different to Walking Away in terms of vocal styles (the verses are rapped). The click of Otto’s hi-hat and DJ Lethal’s deep, reverberating synths follow the track through to it’s conclusion, wherein Durst takes it upon himself to do another staple of Bizkit albums - a skit.
I’d like to think this was done when the record button happened to be down, with Fred experiencing himself under auto-tune treatment for the first time, which is the perfect way to open Autotunage. Yes, it SOUNDS like a terrible idea but this has to be, without a doubt, one of the best songs on the album - on first listen, and then again later. The band make a slight stick-shift to the 21st Century with the autotune parody but gladly it’s done in a such a way that doesn’t make your teeth grind. A party song through and through and catchy from start to finish.
It’s at this point you release that the album starts to slow down in terms of quality, sadly. Although the punishing thrash riff of 90.2.10 is like nothing ever before heard on a Bizkit song, it’s yet another party song. Maybe I’m getting too old and getting senile but I remember there being more to the band than this. Although the song is pretty good, it doesn’t add much variance to the album and would have probably been better as a B-Side or bonus track.
A telephone rings and suddenly we’re introduced into the much earlier leaked Why Try. At just under three minutes, Borland’s snaking riffs (and licks) thunder through a track that definitely deserves it’s place but, again, by this point it’s not going to blow your mind like the other tracks. If it featured earlier, probably. But by this point the tried and tested theory is perhaps getting a little thin.
Killer in You is last on the standard version of the album and is kind of a disappointment. I thought Bizkit were above such a silly song about a vicious murderer. Despite some opinions, they’re not 12, after all. Not a strong song to end the album on at all, especially since the special edition I have leads into such a good track that I really, really should have replaced this dull attempt. Back Porch is a chilled out rap song about, you guessed, a party. But it’s musical approach is simplistic and unique and it makes it a breath of fresh air. It swaggers alongside some palm-muted rhythm and guitar slides through what appears to be two, separate and equally catchy choruses.
Finally, the ‘melodic’ songs happen. Yes, that’s right. On the bonus tracks. My Own Cobain and Angels are similar enough to not both be bonus tracks. Although neither is clearly better than the other, it’s more down to opinion. The former features a classical, almost-country guitar sound (but not in a lame way) and is rather downtrodden. The latter, although sad, has a positive edge that could have been a fantastic conclusion to the standard version of the album. Again, it’s another song that says to me “we still have it”.
The final bonus track, on my copy, is Middle Finger featuring Paul Wall. This is a fantastic song, but perhaps that’s just my need for balance talking. It’s far more than hip hop than anything else; the electronic drums and big strings give the entire song a huge feeling. Although it perhaps drags a bit it makes for a nice experience; reminds me of the more rap-orientated tracks of old like Getcha Groove On and Red Light, Green Light.
Don’t let my complaints about balance turn you off the album though. Pretty much every song on the album is worth hearing and adding to your music library and this is going to be proved by the fact a lot of them will be in Limp Bizkit live set for a long time. If you genuinely liked Limp Bizkit in the past (and not because it was cool at one stage) then I can say without doubt that you will find a lot to love in Gold Cobra. If you didn’t, well, you can’t fuck with the Bizkit so it doesn’t really matter. Especially since this album is just the first of at least two…
TONIGHT’S SHOW -
Starting from the earlier slot of 21:00 - 23:00 GMT:
Brand new Disturbed and Scar Symmetry plus classics from Dream Theater, Slipknot, Every Time I Die, Cancer Bats, As I Lay Dying, Alice in Chains, In Flames and much, much more! www.affinitydab.com or on your DAB radio!
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Looks like this week we’re doing a two hour show, from 9 until 11… in order to shake things up we’re thinking about doing a twenty minute question and answer session. So drop your questions into our ask box and we’ll answer it Thursday!
Feel free to make requests too, of course. More info to come later this week!
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