album reviews

If the Sick Puppies are a band headed in the right direction, I don’t think Adelitas Way even has a map. Their eponymous first album is exactly what I feared might happen with this entire “light metal” movement. This five-piece from Las Vegas wallows in overwrought emotional choruses, melodramatic guitar hooks, and unimaginative songwriting.

Now we’re getting somewhere. That doesn’t mean we’re there yet, but I think we might be getting closer. Enter Sick Puppies and their album “Tri-Polar.” This band from Australia is giving a good push to wedge their way into the landscape of heavy metal. I remember thinking that this whole “light metal” movement might culminate in something bigger. “Tri-Polar” is, at moments, an example of what this could become.

New Clutch album. The very words strike a certain amount of fear into my heart. They didn’t used to. I used to get excited for new music from one of my all-time favorite bands. Those were good days, when “Pure Rock Fury” and “Blast Tyrant” didn’t leave my CD player for weeks at a time. In what ended up being a very dark period for American heavy metal, Clutch kept the home fires burning with pounding swamp metal albums one after the other.

So I’ve been keeping my eye on something. In the last six months to a year, there has been considerable movement in the growth of a sect of music on the outside of metal. It consists largely of bands trying to straddle the gap between rock and metal, attempting to create a unique sound while catering to both audiences. Bands like Burn Halo, Black Stone Cherry, The Veer Union, Sick Puppies, Halestorm (who I saw live the other night and was suitably impressed,) and a host of others, are getting some moderate metal billing while maintaining a more solidly rock sound.

What the hell is this?

I find myself faced with a new album by Marilyn Manson. Now, allow me to be clear; the man has yet to impress me. Sure, he’s done a small handful of pretty good songs, and I’ll also admit that he has (had) some talented musicians in his entourage. Still, even as a young, not-really-angsty teenager, I found the whole act overblown and insipid. It was clear to me that the man was simply a marketing machine; any message he had hidden away was comfortably couched within his ability to sell records.

Yes. Yes, yes, yes. Frequent readers of my little corner of the universe will remember that I have been campaigning for the emergence of a new American thrash metal band for months now. Also recall that when I saw Soilwork live back in February, I spoke at some length about the up and coming band Warbringer. I encouraged everyone to look into their forthcoming album “Waking Into Nightmares” and said we’d reconvene upon its release in the spring.

I have been loosely following the career of Lacuna Coil for a number of years now. I was first exposed to them when they opened for Anthrax in the summer of 2003. My friend and I were going to the show, and he mentioned that he was excited to see this new band from Italy start the program. On stage, they were fantastic. “Heaven’s a Lie,” was their signature single, and with the burgeoning chemistry of their dual lead singers, I couldn’t help but be entranced.

Hey there ladies and gents. You might remember a couple weeks back, I spoke about a young up and coming back called "The Veer Union," and how their live show was full of energy and potential. Well, their album has been released, and I was curious to see if they could capture that kind of energy in recorded form.

The answer is both yes and no. "Against the Grain" does contain glimmering pieces of the potential that the band showcased during their on-stage performance. The sin here is that the consistency is lacking.

Guns N Roses just seems to be one of those bands that won’t go away. Not counting “Chinese Democracy,” the band hasn’t had any relevance in fifteen years, and yet the name just seems to keep popping up. Lately, the cast of this wayward soap opera has been prominently featured throwing mud to and at each other in an incessant cycle of “he said, he said.”

I didn't want to do this. I wanted to let it go by and never speak of it again.

I just couldn't leave well enough alone. I had to review Chris Cornell's new album "Scream."

Now I'm the last guy who should be charged with the reviewing of an RnB album. My knowledge of R n B begins and ends with Motown, and that's about it. It's not something I get, not something I pretend to understand, not something that captivates my attention.