Wednesday, July 8, 2009

2009 Grades

Now that I have graduated high school, survived an unfortunate event in my life, and am back to being mentally stable (for the most part), there will be frequent posts here. I know you have no reason to believe me, but it's true this time. To get things started, here is a list of 2009 album grades. Let me know if you want a review of any of these or if you have any questions or opinions on these.

...And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead- The Century of Self (C+)

1349- Revelations of the Black Flame (B)

311- Uplifter (C)

Absu- Absu (B)

Adagio- Archangels in Black (B+)

Alestorm- Black Sails at Midnight (B)

Alexisonfire- Old Crows/Young Cardinals (B)

Amesoeurs- Amesoeurs (A-)

Amorphis- Skyforger (A-)

Anaal Nathrakh- In the Constellation of the Black Widow (B)

Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion (A)

Art Brut- Art Brut vs. Satan (B+)

Black Dice- Repo (B)

Black Lips- 200 Million Thousand (C+)

Black Moth Super Rainbow- Eating Us (B+)

Bob Dylan- Together Through Life (B-)

Bonnie "Prince" Billy- Beware (B+)

B-Real- Smoke & Mirrors (C)

Bruce Springsteen- Working on a Dream (C+)

Cage- Depart From Me (C+)

Cannibal Corpse- Evisceration Plague (C+)

Cattle Decapitation- The Harvest Floors (B)

Chickenfoot- Chickenfoot (C)

Chimaira- The Infection (C)

Chris Cornell- Scream (F)

Crooked X- Crooked X (C)

Cursive- Mama, I'm Swollen (C)

DÅÅTH- The Concealers (C+)

Dalek- Gutter Tactics (B-)

Depeche Mode- Sounds of the Universe (B)

Destroyer 666- Defiance (B)

Devin Townsend Project- Ki (A)

Dinosaur Jr.- Farm (B)

Dirty Projectors- Bitte Orca (A-)

DOOM- Born Into This (C-)

Dream Theater- Black Clouds and Silver Linings (C+)

Dredg- The Pariah, the Parrot, the Delusion (A-)

Eels- Hombre Lobo (B)

Eluveitie- Evocation I - The Arcane Dominion (B)

Eminem- Relapse (A-)

Franz Ferdinand- Tonight (D+)

Goblin Cock- Come With Me if You Want to Live (B)

God Forbid- Earthsblood (C+)

Graveworm- Diabolical Figures (B)

Green Day- 21st Century Breakdown (B+)

Grizzly Bear- Veckatimest (A)

Hammerfall- No Sacrifice, No Victory (B-)

Heaven and Hell- The Devil You Know (B+)

Hurt- Goodbye to Machine (B-)

If These Trees Could Talk- Above The Earth, Below The Sky (B+)

Isis- Wavering Radiant (B-)

J. Tillman- Vacilando Territory Blues (B)

John Frusciante- The Empyrean (B)

Killswitch Engage- Killswitch Engage (B)

K'nann- Troubadour (B+)

Korpiklaani- Karkelo (B-)

K-Os- Yes! (B)

Kreator- Hordes of Chaos (B)

Lacuna Coil- Shallow Life (D)

Lamb of God- Wrath (C+)

Lazarus A.D.- The Onslaught (B+)

Manic Street Preachers- Journal for Plague Lovers (A-)

Marilyn Manson- The High End of the Low (D+)

Mastodon- Crack the Skye (B)

Meat Puppets- Sewn Together (C+)

Method Man & Redman- Blackout! 2 (B)

Mono- Hymn to the Immortal Wind (B+)

Morrissey- Years of Refusal (C)

Mos Def- The Ecstatic (B+)

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band- Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band (B)

My Dying Bride- For Lies I Sire (B)

Napalm Death- Time Waits for No Slave (B-)

Neko Case- Middle Cyclone (C)

Obituary- Darkest Day (C)

Obscura- Cosmogenesis (B+)

Old Man's Child- Slaves of the World (C+)

P.O.S.- Never Better (A-)

Papa Roach- Metamorphosis (D)

Phoenix- Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (B)

Pure Reason Revolution- Amor Vincit Omnia (B-)

Queensryche- Amerson Soldier (C)

Riverside- Anno Domini High Definition (A-)

Royksopp- Junior (C+)

Rumpelstiltskin Grinder- Living for Death, Destroying the Rest (B)

Sepultura- A-Lex (C)

Sonic Youth- The Eternal (B)

Spinal Tap- Back from the Dead (D)

Stream of Passion- The Flame Within (B)

Street Sweeper Social Club- Street Sweeper Social Club (C+)

Stuck Mojo- The Great Revival (F)

Suffocation- Blood Omen (B)

Sun O)))- Monoliths & Dimensions (B+)

Tech N9ne- Sickology 101 (B)

The Crystal Method- Divided By Night (C-)

The Decemberists- The Hazards of Love (B)

The Gathering- The West Pole (B+)

The Lonely Island- Incredibad (B-)

The Mars Volta- Octahedron (C+)

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart- The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart (B-)

The Prodigy- Invaders Must Die (B+)

The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus- Lonely Road (C-)

U2- No Line on the Horizon (C-)

Wilco (The Album)- Wilco (C+)

Wolves in the Throne Room- Black Crusade (A)

Yeah Yeah Yeahs- It's Blitz! (C)

Zu- Carboniferous (B+)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

After a long delay...The Top 10 Albums of 2008

Last year my list was delayed due to me being in the hospital. This year, it's delayed because the guest critic I was going to be revealing my top 10 list with is in the hospital. Once he gets out, we may still do an "Ebert & Roeper" type video blog where we discuss both of our lists, but for now this is the best I can do. No comments yet, as I'm still holding out for a chance to explain my list alongside my good friend, Noah.

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds
Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!

The Way of All Flesh

Fleet Foxes
Fleet Foxes


The Balancing Act

The Hold Steady
Stay Positive

Steven Wilson

When Life Gives You Lemons You Paint That Shit Gold


TV on the Radio
Dear Science

"Shallow Life"- Lacuna Coil mini-review

Lacuna Coil- Shallow Life

What happened here? Although I attempt to review every album objectively, I wouldn't be reviewing albums to begin with if I didn't love music, and thus have some bands that I consider to be my personal favorites. Lacuna Coil have been a personal favorite of mine ever since I became a metalhead many years ago. While their sound has contained of heavy metal, gothic rock, and alternative, Lacuna Coil have always been a creative and often under appreciated group that has stayed far ahead of their countless imitators. Led by the duel vocals of Cristina Scabbia and Andrea Ferro, the former being one of the absolute best female singers in rock and metal, the pure and powerful vocals have been one of the group's strongest assets. Not here though. On Shallow Life both voices sound like they've gone through some "studio magic," and have become boring in the process. That's the first of many problems with Shallow Life. The biggest, however, is that there are hardly any strengths to overshadow the flaws. The opening track has a nice little intro to it, but that goes to waste once the actual song starts. Every single track sounds like a radio rock song. Maybe this album will be a hit with mainstream rock fans, but anyone who remembers the days of a creative, varied, beautiful, heavy, and powerful Lacuna Coil will be flat out angered by the atrocity of Shallow Life. It's doubtful that any fan of the band, even those who learned of them through the often criticized (but still solid) Karmacode, will be pleased with what Lacuna Coil has released. If you're a fan of mainstream rock, there might be something here that you'll like, but if you're Lacuna Coil fan I hope you don't mind that I'll put myself out of the misery of having to think about this album and end the review here by simply telling you to avoid this album at all costs unless you're a Lacuna Coil purist that has no other choice but to give it a try.

Grade: D

Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Worst Song I've Ever Heard

For reasons I will likely never understand, most critics seemed to think Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III was a masterful album. I am not one of them. Tha Carter III was one of the worst albums I heard all of the last year, and in my humble opinion, is an absolute to disgrace to hip-hop. His latest single, "Prom Queen," takes things to a new low. It might not be my place to post a link to a song and then deliberately bash it, but this one deserves it. After having time to digest Lil Wanye's first single from his upcoming "rock" album, Rebirth, I have come to the conclusion that it is the single worst song I have ever heard. Honestly, I'm not sure why I'm posted this other than that I'm horrified that a song like this can exist and that the artist responsible can be met with critical praise. This, my friends, is a sad time we are living in:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2009 Rockstar Energy Mayhem Tour Info

Main Stage:
Marilyn Manson
Killswitch Engage
Bullet For My Valentine

Hot Topic Stage:
Cannibal Corpse
Job For A Cowboy
The Black Dahlia Murder

Jägermeister Stage:
All That Remains
God Forbid

Tour Dates:
Jul. 10 - Sacramento, CA
Jul. 11 - San Francisco, CA
Jul. 12 - San Bernardino, CA
Jul. 14 - Seattle, WA
Jul. 17 - Phoenix, AZ
Jul. 18 - Albuquerque, NM
Jul. 19 - Denver, CO
Jul. 21 - Kansas City
Jul. 22 - St. Louis, MO
Jul. 24 - Atlanta, GA
Jul. 25 - Indianapolis, IN
Jul. 26 - Chicago, IL
Jul. 28 - Toronto, ON
Jul. 29 - Scranton, PA
Jul. 31 - Cleveland, OH
Aug. 01 - Pittsburgh, PA
Aug. 02 - Detroit, MI
Aug. 04 - Boston, MA
Aug. 06 - Virginia Beach, VA
Aug. 07 - Camden, NJ
Aug. 08 - Hartford, CT
Aug. 09 - Washington, DC
Aug. 11 - Tampa, FL
Aug. 12 - West Palm Beach, FL
Aug. 14 - Dallas, TX
Aug. 15 - Houston, TX
Aug. 16 - San Antonio, TX

I honestly wasn't expecting to be excited by this news. However, Slayer, Behemoth, and Killswitch means I'll be there on the 14th. What do you guys think of the lineup this year? My personal opinion is that this is a hell of lot better than Slipknot and Disturbed, the former headlining being one of the reasons I didn't attend.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

First Two Reviews of 2009

Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion

Merriweather Post Pavilion is an album that is difficult to describe, but not difficult to grade. It's hard to point out what exactly makes it a masterpiece, but it's also easy to tell that it is in fact a masterpiece. There is so much going on here that it's hard to filter out what's coming from where and how everything has been put together. That, however, is the genius of Merriweather Post Pavilion. Each listener will have a completely different experience with the music, and not just in the way that you'd expect from a work of art. The album's first impression will depend entirely on what you pick up first, and Animal Collective haven't made one specific part of the album stand out more than another. Just about everything stands out, and again, it can be overwhelming. However, with each listen more and more of the album comes together, and eventually it will click. The fact that someone actually wrote music like this and recorded an album with as many layers as Merriweather Post Pavilion is staggering. It's simply genius, as nothing about this album is simple other than its genius, and each song is completely different from the last. As a whole, the album is noisy, catchy, trippy, intelligent, clever, and incredibly subtle. There's more here than what one can write about, and there's more here than what one can pick up on after even a few listens. Animal Collective have crafted a gem in Merriweather Post Pavilion, and any true fan of music should not only listen to it, but invest the time into understanding all that's going on in this beautifully chaotic album.

Grade: A

Stuck Mojo- The Great Revival

I'll admit that I don't know a whole lot about Stuck Mojo. I love rap and I love metal, but the combination of the two has rarely resulted in quality music, so forgive me for not remembering much about this late 90s rap-metal act. What I can say is that whether you like rap, rock, metal, previous Stuck Mojo albums, or even music in general, you should avoid The Great Revival. This is as awful of an album as there is, and I can't imagine anyone being able to stand it for more than a track or two. It is, however, hilarious. It's not trying to be, but it is. Songs like the Limp Bizkit-meets-Hannah Montana "Friends" and the nauseating cover of "Country Road" (where West Virginia randomly becomes North Carolina, even though the band is actually from Georgia) are guaranteed to make any fan of real rap or metal laugh, but most of the other tracks are just awful in the less humorous way. The songwriting is horrific on just about every level, the rapping is even worse than Fred Durst's, the lyrics are laughably bad throughout, and the same generic drop-d riff is played over and over again. On top of all of that, Stuck Mojo throws in random style changes at the most inopportune times, making it even more obvious that this band has absolutely no clue what they're doing. The "experimentation" adds nothing to the music, partly because the band doesn't seem to understand how to play the styles they add in. If The Great Revival is any indication, Stuck Mojo don't understand rap, metal, or any form of music they attempt to play. Other than for comedic purposes, there is no reason to listen to this album. Please, do yourself a favor and stay clear of The Great Revival. Even though it's one the first albums released in 2009, it will almost certainly be among the worst albums released all year.

Grade: F