Friday, March 31, 2006

Taking a break from my regular review postings because someone felt that it was getting too repetitive .. so, I am posting something that I created a long time ago.. Hope you like it... And yes, I have grown up since then :)

Pin Prick on a lonely Tuesday Afternoon (1999)

Want to keep something precious
Lock it up and throw away the key
You want to hold on to possessions
Dont even think about me

If its a mirror you want
Just look into my eyes
I'm a whipping boy
Someone you love to despise

A prisoner in the dark
Tied up in chains you can't see
Or a beast in gilded cage
Thats all some people want to be

I've spent too many years
At war with myself
The doctor has told me
Its not good for my health

To search for perfection
Is all very well
But to look for heaven
Is to live here in hell

There were rooms of forgiveness
In the house that we shared
There were cupboards of patience
There were shelves of care

But forever conditioned to believe
I cant live and be happy with less
So many riches, so many souls
Everything I see in you, I want to possess


And another one I dug up that I call "Tourist in your Arms" (2000)

I was never good at loving you
Never good at coming through for you
You are going to feel much better
When you cut me loose forever

I was dying when we met
I bet my life on you
But you called me and I folded
Like you always knew I would do

I was good at taking out the garbage
Pretty good at holding up the wall
Dealing with the fire and the quake
Company kept with one and all

I was never good at loving you
I was just a tourist in your arms, admiring the view
The moon looked from behind the wall
I think the moon's already seen it all


And finally.. something that I wrote when I was 14.. in 1991. I call this "Anthem of the Birds"

Birds sing at the break of day
Shining brightly as the morning ray
Dont dwell on what has passed
Or what is yet to be

The wars, they will be fought again
The holy dove will be caught again
Bought and sold and bought again
The dove is never free

Sometimes you add up the parts
But you cant get the sum
To every heart love will come
But like a refugee

So ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
Thats how the light gets in

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

In their 1996 album "Roots", Sepultura experiments with minor-key dynamics and atonal harmonics, imbuing their wall of noise with an oppressive sense of mystery. They also extend their musical horizons, adding clattering tin drums and what sounds like a jew's-harp to "Breed Apart," and garnishing "Lookaway" with DJ scratching, half-speed vocals, and a gothic, chiming mid-section. Read the review...

Even though "Chaos A.D." was Sepultura's bravest and most innovative album (because it premiered a song which was an instrumental consisting entirely of acoustic guitars and tribal drums), I still consider "Roots," Sepultura's sixth, their most experimental and creative work. This 1996 album was also Sepultura's last with frontman Max Cavalera; he would leave the group and go on to front a solo band, Soulfly. And, until 2004's "Prophecy," "Roots" was also more experimental than anything Max would make in Soulfly.

"Roots" is still a heavy metal album, but the death metal is long gone, because (as was the case with "Chaos A.D.") these riffs are tinged with punk. Plus, since Max adopted Korn's downtuned guitars and had guest appearances, some fans think this album helped usher in nu-metal. I, however, still believe that the experimental aspects of "Roots" made it innovative.

"Roots, Bloody Roots" is the first single, probably the heaviest song on "Roots," and is one of Sepultura's best known songs. It remains a staple of their live shows, and the success of this song has influenced some Soulfly songs (like "Prophecy.") Plus, Max has even adopted this song as his own, and played it during some Soulfly concerts. The album opens with the sound of crickets chirping, then this song launches into heavy, de-tuned guitar bluster. These guitars, which make a heavy churning and humming noise, are a big part of why this song is so heavy and catchy (even though there are some good vocal hooks, here, too). I enjoy how the beat comes down, then Max comes out of no where to let out one of his loud, ascending yells.
"Attitude" features guitars which are at first flamenco, then punching and pounding.
"Ratamahatta" is the song with the Brazilian tribe. It begins with what sounds like maracas and tribal drums. The guitars kick in and there's some catchy, aggressive scat in the background. The verses on this song are soft and restrained, making a good friction between the verses and heavy choruses.
"Breed Apart" has tin drums at the beginning, before turning to chunky, chug and churn guitars and vocals that alternate from supple growling to raging yells. The Jew's harp comes aboard and plays briefly over the beat, and the song ends with some static-sounding white noise.
"Spit" starts with (what sounds like) guitar feedback and some distant yelling (of "Un, dos, tres, cua!") The crunchy guitars eventually come to the front, and there are a few more of Max's heavy yells.
"Lookaway" has an instrument that could be a flute and a catchy drum beat, followed by DJ scratching (compliments of DJ Lethal-a DJ who would later join Limp Bizkit). Even though there are some guitars, this song's pace is about half as fast as the others. Two guest vocalists, Faith No More's Mike Patton and Korn's Jonathan Davis, make an appearance and sing/whisper over distant, dreary, ghost-like noises.
"Dusted" begins with a banging of the drum sticks, then the guitarists (Andreaas Kisser and Max Cavalera) make some of the heaviest and fastest guitar riffs since track one.
"Born Stubborn" has a beeping guitar noise which becomes increasingly fast and heavy, but some more tribal drums and Brazilian chants are tossed in near the end.
"Itsari" mixes more South American chants and maracas with acoustic guitar strums and soft hand percussion.
"Ambush" is highlighted by a nice breakdown of heavy, groove-y guitars, which comes after the song veers into soft, serene territory.

All the bands that were influenced by this monumental album (including Soulfly) have not been able to match the incomparable ferocity and raw rage that Roots unleashed onto an unsuspectful public almost 10 years ago. It is highly unlikely anyone ever will too.

If we were to scan for the most significant releases in music (and i mean in all the musical spectrum) "Roots" would rate way up there amongst the most original and influential albums of all time, not to mention one that drew yes many copycats but like all genius efforts it's nearly impossible to reproduce.

What's more substantial is that the band established themselves with "Roots" as one with one of the most important rock albums of all time under their belts, one of those albums that justifiably deserve the title of "definitive rock album", in fact, and as far as I'm concerned it's among the top 5 rock albums in this genre's history. If for whatever reason you've missed out on this classic do yourself a huge favor and discover it.

Coming next: Creed, with "Human Clay"...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Metallica, never resting, never ceasing to innovate or amaze, bring us an extraordinary document of their concert with the San Francisco Symphony. Metallica's select favorites unfold like never before with the eloquent symphonic backing; they have never sounded more powerful or dramatic. Presenting Metallica with the San Fransisco Symphony Orchestra - S & M

What happens when you mix a heavy metal band with the San Francisco Symphony? High quality sounds that compliment one another. This is a highly creative (and original) task. The bass is particularly noticeable, vibrating entire rooms if played loud enough.

As an owner of many concert DVD's, the sound on this is amazing. Metallica sonically shine on this DVD. It will knock your socks off with or without a Home Theater System. The orchestra adds texture and fills that allow the band to emphasise the potent riffs, crunchy tight rythmns and razor edged solos. All backed with the furious precision of blisteringly fast percussion. Metallica play with emotion and they are captured beautifully with inventive camera angles that seem to coincide with the music especially during the opening of One.

The making-of documentary is a treat for fans as it shows the band at their most honest. I'm sure Metallica's other DVD's showcase that aspect better but I thought it was interesting. Devil's Dance, Fuel, Memory Remains all sound good with the symphony but aren't very good songs, especially with the early catalog of Metallica's music. Songs like Fade to Black, Unforgiven, Sanitarium, could have been incredible additions and could have made this concert something special. Hetfield sings from the heart while Lars goes completely insane during One - until you have heard that song on this DVD you have not truly heard it. This may well be Metallica at the very height of their musical abilities.
Fuel is too fast for the symphony and just sounds odd. Hetfield sings from the heart while Lars goes completely insane during One - until you have heard that song on this DVD you have not truly heard it. This may well be Metallica at the very height of their musical abilities.

The 2 new songs are OK but nothing groundbreaking. However, the 2 tracks that make this DVD worth owning are Master of Puppets and One. Nothing Else Matters, sends shivers down my spine, especially if listened to during a particularly negative mood swing. Nothing else matters indeed, especially after you listen to this and get over the pain you may experience at a particular time.

These are incredible songs on their own but coupled with a good symphonic arrangement and perfect sound and a gutsy vocal performance, these songs flat out pound your audio system and are visually impressive. Enter Sandman is another concert staple and sounds great as well with the addition of the symphony, however, the guitars are a bit muted.

An honarble mention is the hyper-fast Battery. A long favorite of mine from the PUPPETS album, it quite possibly sounds better here, than it does on the remastered album. Metallica play with guts here and in my opinion, sound incredible with the symphony in most cases. All in all, worth owning to wow your friends if you have a nice sound system and if you are a fan. My only gripe aside from track selection, is the somewhat muddy production and the average picture quality. Highly recommended and warn your neighbors because it will shake your room.

Coming next : Album Review - Sepultura : Roots

Monday, March 27, 2006

Type O Negative is a somewhat unknown band in Indian metal circles... This is a gothic-doom metal band from Brooklyn, New York. Their dry, morbid and self-ironic sense of humour often reflects in their slow and brooding music. Peter Steele, their 7 Foot tall frontman, is a Goliath in every sense. He writes some of the most inane, but at the same time, some of the most intense stuff. This brings me to their "Best Of" album... amusingly titled "The Least Worst Of"...

If Soundgarden had a head-on collision with Black Sabbath (whose "Black Sabbath" they cover) while Sisters Of Mercy was in the middle, you'd get Type O Negative. Or, as better described by brooding frontman/bassist Peter Steele, Type O Negative play a unique brand of "Gothadelic Industrimetal." Well put.

I have no clue as to how these guys aren't more successful, they're absolutely amazing. I've always liked Type O Negative's songs, I just never got around to buying any of their CDs, so when "The Least Worst Of" came out, I had to buy it. I'm still kicking myself for not getting into them much sooner. The only real complaint I have, which I'm getting out of the way first, is that "Haunted" isn't included. That was the first Type O Negative song I ever heard, and its absence is definitely tragic. Never mind that though, that's not even a fault, just me whining. Besides, with amazing songs like "Black No.1," "Everyone I Love Is Dead," "My Girlfriend's Girlfriend," "Cinnamon Girl," and, well, the rest of the CD, there's nothing to complain about.

What makes TON so good though, is Peter Steele. His vocals are deeper than a grave, and he is definitely one of the greatest lyricists in music. He's smarter than Marilyn Manson, funnier than Insane Clown Posse (just pretend they're funny), more depressed than, um, me, and more cynical than anybody I've ever heard. Take, for example, "Unsuccessfully Coping With The Natural Beauty Of Infidelity." Not only is it the greatest title for a song ever, but it's a mini-epic unto itself successfully combining rage, humor, and the drive of thrash. My favorite part is when Peter starts screaming "I know!" while his band repeats him in the background (I know, as in, I know you're cheating on me; that's what they're talking about). If you don't laugh after hearing that song, check your pulse, as you probably are dead.

My personal favorite on this album is "Black No. 1," which is about hair dye (as well as the ever-occuring theme of despite for some woman). Sure, it is funny (especially if you're a Goth with a sense of humor), but it's also amazing musically as well. Another funny one is one of the four unreleased "new" tracks, "Stay Out Of My Dreams." I won't say anything other than you have to hear what Peter's saying, it's absolutely hilarious. "Cinnamon Girl (Depressed Mode Mix)," a Neil Young cover, is one of the best songs here. It's both psychedelic and danceable. How unique is that?

The band's Metal highlight is their cover of Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath (From The Satanic Perspective)." Peter Steele sounds even more evil than Ozzy himself, and their cover rivals the original (I'm serious). Unlike the lame poser Goth-Metal bands that are out there today (Marilyn Manson, Coal Chamber, Cradle Of Filth, etc.), TON get both the Goth AND Metal side right. Bottom line is this: If you were foolish like I was and hadn't bought any TON albums, redeem your status and purchase "The Least Worst Of." This band is utterly brilliant. Here's to another decade of great Type O Negative material. "The Least Worst Of" is, simply put, a perfect album.

Reviewing next: DVD review - Metallica: S & M with the San Francisco Symphony

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Today's post brings me to what is my favorite alternative metal album. Come to think of it, this album established a new genre all its own called 'Art Rock.' The first time I heard A Perfect Circle's debut album 'Mer De Noms' (Sea of Names) was back in 2000. Their first album was groundbreaking in the sense that James Maynard Keenan fused the complex sounds of his other band 'Tool' with a melodic metal sound. More in the review..

I initially bought this casette (later CD)because of its beautiful cover. But after just one listen I learned that the cover accurrately depicts what they go for, beautiful music. Whether it is heavy or melodic, they create some of the best music that's out today. A Perfect Circle has the gift of being able to conjure up images through their music. Very few bands have that ability these days, nor does anyone really try.

Maynard writes some of the best, most eccentric lyrics out these days and he does it with little problem. His voice is your guide through this epic journey that just doesn't stop. After the last note of the last song you feel that you have just finished the journey of your life. Every song on here pulls out all stops and flows perfectly. A lot of bands these days hit a rough spot or two during a song, but this band, no matter what tempo of music they're playing, just glides through every song with ease. The texture created blends utterly amazingly with Maynard's voice.

This CD starts off with The Hollow. Possibly one of my favorite songs on here. The lyrics are great and the instrumentation is absolutely perfect for the mood of this song. 3 Libras is one of the slower songs on here, but don't let that drive you away from it. This song is so thick with emotion that you can feel where he's coming from. The band keeps it down on here, and in doing so puts Maynard's lyrics proudly on display.

Thinking Of You is a song with a bridge so catchy that it'll be in your head for days. I love the beginning of this song, simply because they use an unusual mix of instruments that create some good ear candy. Orestes has to be the best song on this album, with the line "bring me into your perfect circle" providing the basis for APC's name, and some very chilling lyrics. Magdalena's screaming guitars and deep bass lines give me shivers, as does Maynard's long note at the end of Judith.

"3 Libras", the song that got me into the band in the first place, is flat out gorgeous. It begins with a beautifully orchestrated string intro, then goes from mid-tempo ballad to a heavy, emotional finale. The creepy industrial-atmospheric assault, "Rose", which culminates with elegant strings. The raucous "Thomas". "Sleeping Beauty", in which Maynard puts a slight twist on the classic fairytale of the same name. And finally, the aggro-funk of "Thinking Of You". The CD ends with the appropriately named "Over." There's nothing complicated to this song, just Maynard reciting some lyrics with a light background beat.

Some stand-outs on this disc are The Hollow, Judith, 3 Libras, Thinking Of You, and Over. This is one of those records that you can listen straight through and love every single song. Although I like their new CDs, I strongly doubt that they will ever top this CD. This is a CD that you can listen to no matter what mood you're in, and that's something only a select few bands can accomplish because of its beautiful cover. But after just one listen I learned that the cover accurrately depicts what they go for, beautiful music. Whether it is heavy or melodic, they create some of the best music that's out today. A Perfect Circle has the gift of being able to conjure up images through their music. Very few bands have that ability these days, nor does anyone really try.

Coming next: Album review for Type O Negative - The Least Worst Of

Friday, March 24, 2006

Continuing with the series of album review, we come to what can be considered one of nu-metal's (I know, I know, its a dead genre) best albums. Reviewing today, Korn's self titled debut album...

A lot of people bashed this album and I can't for the life of me understand why. If you just flat out don't like Korn, then yeah, I'll understand that, but if you do like rock, then you should, I would think, rejoice in this album. Afterall, Korn's self-titled debut shows Korn at their peak. Jon will probably never recapture the rage of the lyrics, or even his voice with this release, and the band, well, I think it's safe to say they peaked here and are coasting along now. I can't find a single song that I don't absolutely love on here, I think this is one of the most consistent rock CDs, if not the most, that was lumped in with the 'Nu Metal' label.

Blind, I'm convinced, is Korn's best song. From the second Jon asks the rhetorical question of 'Are you ready?' to his final scream of 'I'm blind', there's not even a question of whether this is Korn's best. Ball Tongue's first 33 seconds always has me floored, it's one of the best beats Korn has put out. The chorus is pretty chaotic so all that equals a very good song. While I like 'Need To' a lot, if I had to pick a weak song, this would be it. 'Need To' is very catchy and has some really good lyrics though. 'Clown' could do without the little intro it has, but despite that, it's one of the best songs featured. 'Divine' is your basic straight-forward Korn song. I like the verses much better than the chorus though. 'Faget' is, no doubt, a personal song. While it's a bit heartless to say, Jon's pain equals good music and 'Faget' is proof. 'Shoots And Ladders' is probably my second favorite Korn song behind 'Blind.' The chorus is the only original part lyrically since the rest is simply nursery rhymes, but the build up to the beginning is amazing. The use of bagpipes should've shown that Korn wasn't like the rest of the bands they were compared to. The rest of the CD, aside from 'Daddy,' is pretty much you like it or you don't, I like it, but I could understand if you didn't. 'Predictable' is another one of the more straight forward tracks featured yet it's got its own feel and stands alone. 'Fake' has a slower feel to it, but the chorus picks up the pace for those of you who can only hear riff after riff. 'Lies' is a song a lot of my friends don't like. I'll admit it's weaker, but nonetheless, I still like it. 'Helmet In The Bush' is one of my favorite songs on here. It's nowhere near the heaviest song on here and there's not much screaming, it's probably the slowest song on here actually, but Jon's voice is something to listen to. 'Daddy' is without a doubt the emotional peak on this CD and rightfully finishes off the CD. For the longest time I would have this song on repeat for hours because everything about it is done to perfection. Jon's emotion is palpable and the rest of the band is even more intense than usual. To this day 'Daddy' still gets to me.

My favorite songs on here are Blind, Faget, Shoots And Ladders, Helmet In The Bush, and Daddy. Korn tends to be one of those bands that I can't stop listening to for about a month or two, but then I'll go five or six months without ever thinking about them. The fact remains though that they did, whether you'll admit it or not, make some very memorable songs. It's safe to say that this CD serves as a virtual 'best of' seeing as how every song is nothing short of amazing.

Coming next : The album review for A Perfect Circle's 'Mer De Noms'

Thursday, March 23, 2006

From today, whenever I have time, I will be reviewing one of my favorite albums or DVDs.. So, of course, the first one I have chosen is the all time epic album by Metallica... presenting... MASTER OF PUPPETS

Master Of Puppets is an immortal classic, a defining moment in metal's history. This is the sound of youthful fury that knows how to play guitar really, really well. This is the greatest accomplishment thrash metal has ever achieved. And above all, it rocks. 1986 was arguably the golden year for thrash metal. Between Slayer's "Reign In Blood" and Megadeth's "Peace Sells..." it would have been great enough, but throw this into the mix, the best of the three, and you have a hallmark year. The way I see it, "Master..." was the first genuinely mature heavy metal album, addressing real issues such as drug abuse, war and religious corruption. The technical proficiency of each member is dazzling, and they all know it. With huge instrumental sections and solos populating the whole album, by the time the 54 minutes are up you'll be picking your jaw up off the floor. James Hetfield's voice was also in it's prime here, suitably gruff to compliment the albums general atmosphere. What's also remarkable is the variety shown between songs, another symptom that this is a true masterpiece. The songs range from thrash attacks, like "Battery," to fist-pumping hammer-fests, guaranteed to get you headbanging like "Leper Messiah," to the surprisingly emotional instrumental "Orion." This also stands out as being a great work as, despite the fact that it is fast and brutal enough that it should please fans of even the most vicious metal out there, it's still reasonably accessible - that's not something many bands are capable of making. The best song on here is probably the epic "Disposable Heroes." All in all, an indispensible classic. You can't call yourself a music fan without it.

Next time, something comtemporary.. something Modern Rock.. something Korn.. :)

Current listen: Metallica - Master of Puppets, Apocalyptica, Sepultura, Limp Bizkit - 3 Dollar Bill Y'all

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Thanks to Evanescence who did an excellent cover of this already excellent song by Korn, I have been listening to this song non stop for the past few days .. its got shades of misery, compounded by a lingering sense of helplessness against an enemy that is too big to comprehend or beat... presenting, Thoughtless...

Thumbing through the pages of my fantasies,
Pushing all the mercy down, down, down.
I wanna see you try to take a swing at me.
Come on, gonna put you on the ground, ground, ground.
Why are you trying to make fun of me?
You think it's funny?
What the fuck you think you're doing to me?
You take your turn lashing out at me.
I want you crying with your dirty ass in front of me.
Oh, all my hate cannot be found.
I will not be drowned by your thoughtless scheming.
So, you can try to tear me down,
Beat me to the ground,
I will see you screaming.
Thumbing through the pages of my fantasies,
I'm above you smiling at you - drown, drown, drown.
I wanna kill you the way you killed me.
And I'll pull the trigger and you're down, down, down.
All my friends are gone; they died.
(Gonna take you down!!!)
They all screamed and cried...
(Gonna take you down!!!)
I'm never gonna fucking, gonna fucking back against the wall.
Oh, all my hate cannot be found.
I will not be drowned by your thoughtless scheming.
So, you can try to tear me down,
Beat me to the ground,
I will see you screaming.

Current listen : Thoughtless by Evanescence and Korn, Nemo by Nightwish, Roads by Roadrunner United, The Reason by Hoobastank

Monday, March 20, 2006

My vague disposition in the past few weeks has seen me veer back to some of my old solaces.

I threw you the obvious
Just to see if there was more behind
The eyes of a fallen angel
Eyes of a tragedy

Far beyond a visible sign of your awakening
Failing miserably to find a way to comfort you
Hiding from some poisoned memory

I am expecting just a little bit too much
From the wounded
But I see through it all

Well, apparently nothing
You don't see me at all