Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Best Albums of 2012, So Far by Dom

Well it's roughly half way through 2012, so I'm just gonna do a quick list of my favorite albums that have been released this year. In alphabetical order:

Attack Attack!'s This Means War

Big K.R.I.T.'s 4evaNaDay

The Bunny The Bear's The Stomach for it

Chiddy Bang's Breakfast

Lamb of God's Resolution

Upon a Burning Body's Red. White. Green.

There's plenty of albums coming out soon that I'm excited for. Albums are coming from Big K.R.I.T., Chelsea Grin, Kreator, Meek Mill, Nas, The Sword, With the Punches and of course, Whitechapel. So look to see those being reviewed after they come out.

"Lamb of God - Resolution" Review by Dom

Since I started with one of the bigger hip hop releases of the year, I thought the first metal review should be a big one too. So here we are with Lamb of God's latest offering Resolution. This is the band's seventh album, eighth if you count the album released under the name Burn the Priest. Lamb of God had their work cut out for them trying to follow up to 2009's Wrath. Did they succeed? Let's look at the track-by-track.

1. Straight for the Sun - What a hell of an opener. For those used to LoG's normally fast tempo this song will seem odd, it's a slower, sludgier song. Almost a mix of Lamb of God and the band High on Fire, a great song though, Randy's vocals are spot on.

2. Desolation - I love when tracks lead right into the next, this track picks up the pace to normal LoG speed without missing a beat. Mark Morton and Willie Adler's guitar work is definitely on display on this track and they sound as good as ever.

3. Ghost Walking - This song starts off with an acoustic intro, reminiscent of the track Grace from Wrath. This song evolves into a monster of a track that is pure gold. Instrumentation sounds straight off of Sacrament. This one kicks ass, just like Lamb of God should.

4. Guilty - As with every Lamb of God album, there's always those few songs that are just okay. They kick ass, vocally and musically they are great but for some reason just stick out. This track is one of those, it starts getting memorable and hitting hard around 2 minutes in but overall is not a standout.

5. The Number Six - This song is straight filler for me. Has a great chorus but the verses leave little to be desired and I just get too bored in between the chorus' to get into the song.

6. Barbosa - Here's a break in the action, just a short minute and a half acoustic interlude with light soloing over it. It leads perfectly into track 7.

7. Invictus - Lamb of God is back to top speed on this one. The riff machines that they are known for is definitely still a label that they deserve, evident by this song. Surprisingly the guitar work actually overtakes Randy's vocals, which is hard to do considering he has one of the most recognizable voices around.

8. Cheated - Here we go, a short two and a half minute thrasher of a song. Lamb of God definitely dug into their 80's thrash roots for this one and it works fantastically in their favor. A huge standout.

9. Insurrection - On this track we hear clean vocals for the first time in Lamb of God's catalog, arguments can be made for other song such as Dead Seeds but he really sings on this song. Though the departure in sound is admirable, the song is forgettable at best.

10. Terminally Unique - This song falls under the "Another Lamb of God" flag for me. One of those songs that's good, not a standout, you know, just another Lamb of God song, not much to say on this one.

11. To the End - As soon as I think that the latter half of the album is lacking in quality, this song comes along. It's a little different for them but Randy's vocals are spectacular, the guitar work as always is fantastic. I'm surprised it took me so long to mention Chris Adler's drumming but it is just has great on this album as all of the others. He truly is the backbone to the LoG sound.

12. Visitation - Another top-notch song off of this album, Randy really shows off his range on this one, full of high screams. The solo on this song is nothing short of great.

13. King Me - As the past 3 LoG albums have concluded with the longest song on the album, Resolution does not change that. King Me is reminiscent of Remorse for the Dead and Reclamation off of 2004's Ashes of the Wake and 2009's Wrath, respectively. Those 2 songs are among the best on the albums they reside on, King Me is just the same. Lamb of God definitely know what they're doing with this song and it shows, it is a beautiful and amazing song and end to this 2012 album.

Overall - For a band that has been around since the late 1990's you'd think they'd be losing steam by now but Lamb of God has been like fine wine, only getting better with age. Wrath seemed like the band was rejuvenated and reborn. The direction they are heading in is one that fits the band and tears up anything they've done before. With Randy Blythe sounding amazing as always, Mark Morton and Willie Adler shredding it up on guitar, John Campbell holding it all together on bass and Chris Adler just annihilating it on drums, Lamb of God is and always will be a force to be reckoned with. This album is a great addition to their already legendary catalog.

Rating - 8.5/10

A small hello

This Jon just saying hello, giving this little blog post a test drive, and promising to be as fair with the ratings as I can be. Please feel free to send me any cds or artists you would like reviewed and i will do my best to get to them at some point or another. PEACE

"B.o.B - Strange Clouds" Review by Dom

B.o.B is a multi-instrumentalist and rapper from Atlanta, GA. Strange Clouds is his highly anticipated sophomore album following his acclaimed debut: The Adventures of Bobby Ray. Now B.o.B has stated this album would be more pop-oriented and less rap-oriented and after listening to the album this is definitely not an understatement. Now to the track-by-track.

1. Bombs Away (featuring Morgan Freeman)- The song starts off with a spoken word intro by the amazing Morgan Freeman and leads into a very promising opening track. Not only is the song catchy, the rapped verses are excellent and it just sets the tone for the album.

2. Ray Bands- The promising opening track leads into a song that isn't on par with the first track. The song is one of those typical pop-rap songs,almost no substance in the content. To it's credit, the chorus is fun and it definitely succeeds at doing what it's meant to do, be a chill party song.

3. So Hard to Breathe- One of the slower tracks, this one got my attention right away, one of my favorite tracks on his debut was the slowest on the album, "Ghost in the Machine". This man knows how to make a slow, deep song, especially when it covers the struggles he deals with. The chorus is just fantastic.

4. Both of Us (featuring Taylor Swift)- Well if this isn't on the poppier side of B.o.B, I don't know what is. It's a decent song, one could see it becoming a huge radio hit, especially with Miss Swift contributing vocals. In that lies the songs downfall, the song seems more like a Taylor Swift song with some verses from B.o.B on it, while the verses are adequate the focal point seems to be Taylor's chorus.

5. Strange Clouds (featuring Lil Wayne)- The first single released from the album, it was actually released almost 6 months before the album dropped. It's a straight pop-rap party song, it succeeds at that. That being said, Lil Wayne's verse is not only unnecessary but it's also a below-par verse. Overall, it's not a bad song but it doesn't get played much anymore.

6. So Good- Yet again, another pop-rap song. This one though is much better than the rest out there, the chorus is infectious and contagious. There's not much to say about this one, fun lyrics, definitely a song to blast when you're in the car with the windows down during the summer.

7. Play for Keeps- B.o.B returns to rapping on this one, his beat choice on this track is pretty fantastic. It does make one start to wonder if he's putting on a front, talking about how hard he is on this track but then with the other songs on this album we have a lot of soft songs. Regardless, this song is to the level of songs off his debut and especially of his earlier mixtapes.

8. Arena (featuring T.I. and Chris Brown)- This track, to me, reminds me of the song "Lighters" from Bad Meets Evil. On this track you have to rappers that you know can spit rhymes just like Royce and Em, then you have a pop artist with a great voice coming in and doing the soft chorus, this song has Chris Brown, "Lighters" had Bruno Mars. That being said this song is good, not fantastic, maybe this will be a preview of the B.o.B/T.I. album that is being rumored.

9. Out of My Mind (featuring Nicki Minaj)- Back to rap, this time Nicki Minaj is here to help. This has become one of my more favorite tracks on this album. Definitely is experimental, this is probably the first song on the album that I really can't see on the radio but with Nicki on it it will definitely get some attention, and it deserves it.

10. Never Let You Go (featuring Ryan Tedder of OneRepublic)- Just when it seems he settles into rapping he comes back with a pop song. Now B.o.B has worked with OneRepublic before, he did a verse on the remix version of "Good Life". While it's not a standout track, it's appeal is easy to see.

11. Chandelier (featuring Lauriana Mae)- This is a feature where I actually am not familiar with the artist so I didn't know what to expect. She's got a good voice, it fits with the song, to me though, the chorus doesn't make a lot of sense: "Hold me when I'm down, bury my soul underneath the ground, let my blood keep pumping, heart keep beating, shining like a chandelier", to me it just seems quickly thrown together.

12. Circles- I can't even call this one pop-rap, this is straight pop and it takes the crown of worst song on the album. The lyrics aren't great, the beat is lacking and it just falls flat on it's face.

13. Just a Sign (featuring Playboy Tre)- These two have worked together before, on the song "Bet I" from B.o.B's debut album. This time around the tone is completely different. The song is slacking, the chorus is boring, as is the song overall.

14. Castles (featuring Trey Songz)- A good featured artist, fits perfectly with the song. This one's like "So Good" in the way that it's got a summer, feel good feel to it. Just a song to chill too and be happy.

15. Where Are You (B.o.B vs. Bobby Ray)- This song was a surprise to me, it's a self-reflective song but from the perspective of fans. It's similar to "Stan" by Eminem in it's subject matter but it's a different song all together. It's a slower song, mostly just a piano and B.o.B's vocals, the song is ironically about B.o.B's transformation into a pop artist over a rapper. It's not only one of the better songs on the album but it's very interesting, especially as the album closer, it leaves the question in your mind of what direction will he go with his next album?

Overall- It's a good album, not to the degree of his debut album but going into it I knew it wouldn't be. While it won't be herald as a classic in 10 years it's definitely a worthwhile album to pick up. For his rap fans, I guess we'll have to wait for his mixtape, that seems to be where he raps more.

Rating: 6.5/10

An Introduction

This is a review blog, here myself and Jon will review albums, songs, and whatever we feel is proper. We will also take suggestions from anyone and consider reviewing it. For the most part albums and artists that will be covered will be mainly metal(various subgenres), hip hop and indie. We look to have at least 2 reviews up per week but we'll see where this goes. We hope you enjoy. -Dom