Category Archives: Album

Biffy Clyro – Opposites (2013)

Biffy_Clyro_-_OppositesMuch has been made in the media of Biffy Clyro’s new album Opposites. For the months leading up to the release there have been interviews, “exclusives”, two tracks released, and Radio gigs to promote it. But also not least the excitement felt from the fans in the wait for it to be with us.

It arrived last Monday morning and I have played it pretty much all the time since. During the week I also discovered that there are two versions of the album; the “deluxe edition” which is the only version I thought existed (certainly how the band described it in all interviews) and a shorter, re-ordered single disc version which apparently the record label wanted to release. More on that later.

This review deals with the album as intended by the band – the two disc “opposites” of each other. I remember reading that disc one is darker, brooding, looking back at how life has changed, strains on relationships, and everything which has happened to get to the point at which they are now. The second disc is the uplifting look to the future and opportunities which await. When listening to the music the tone and mood is clear. There is much anger and pure rock out moments and there is  the anthemic choruses and joy that Biffy seem to have discovered in their most recent releases. Continue reading

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Bad Religion – True North (2013)

Bad Religion - True NorthThis may be the shortest review I’ve ever written, which seems quite fitting considering the average Bad Religion song couldn’t be further from the 20 minute epic style of music. Simply put, this is a Bad Religion album. It sounds pretty much exactly like you’d expect a Bad Religion album to sound. Lucky then that Bad Religion are still one of the best punk bands on the planet.

Starting off in blistering form with the title track, True North immediately lays out what you’re going to be getting over the next 36 minutes in the form of 16 blistering songs. Lets pretend you’ve never heard Bad Religion before though. What’s on offer here is a collection of 2-3 minute songs with all the hallmarks of proper punk – none of your pop tinged Fall Out Boy/Blink 182 style bollocks here; this is political, philosophical, anti-establishment, socially aware music. Continue reading

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Iain’s Top Ten Albums of 2012

It’s officially 2013 and what better way to look ahead to a fine year than looking back on the year gone by.

2012, a year that will be remembered for Olympic Heroes, for the amusingly named Felix Baumgartner making a parachute jump from space, the creation of a Royal baby and of course the plummet in sales for antiseptic cream Savlon. When all these major events of 2012 have long been forgotten, I can safely say I’ll still be revisiting some of the albums that made my top ten list. Starting with….

Rival Sons Heads Up

 10. Rival Sons – Head Down

Read anything about California-based quartet Rival Sons and you’ll hear the same thing. They sound like a bit of a mash-up of The Black Crowes and Led Zeppelin which in theory, sounds great!

My first listen to Rival Sons a few years ago didn’t quite get my juices flowing but 2012 release Head Down has a maturity and the production values that help this band stand out among the reams of guitar based Rock N’ Roll bands doing the rounds these days. The real stand out being Jay Buchanan on vocals.

No, I don’t think they will ever be The Black Crowes or Led Zeppelin but if they keep on plugging away one day they may not be miles away. Continue reading

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Gareth’s Top Ten Albums of 2012

Following on from Paul’s top ten review last week it is time for me to put together my thoughts on the albums which really struck a chord with me this past year. Putting the list together this time around proved more difficult than previously as 2012 seemed a far better year for great new albums than 2011.

Halestorm-Strange-Case-Of10. Halestorm – The Strange Case of…

Halestorm are great live and have been working extremely hard over the past few years constantly touring both on their own dime and as support to some big-name acts. They also have some great songs. Latest album The Strange Case of… is worth hearing overall. Tracks such as ‘Love Bites (and So Do I)‘ are up there with the best songs of the year.

Lzzy Hale’s voice is as amazing as ever, and the rest of the band’s playing is getting stronger and stronger. However if I’m totally honest, somehow the album just didn’t live up to all my expectations as the follow-up to the brilliant self-titled Halestorm.

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Paul’s Top Ten 2012

Xmas comes but once a year and brings along with it the decorated trees, inflated Visa bill and those cool little sausages wrapped in bacon. It also signifies the beginning of the end of the year and thus the regular festive tradition of the top ten season. So here’s my top ten albums released this year. Sadly not wrapped in bacon.

Lamb of God - Resolution10. Lamb of God – Resolution

Lamb of God have had a bit of an up and down year with singer Randy Blythe still currently being accused of manslaughter in the Czech Republic. At least the year started off better with the release of Resolution. It’s a rocking album full of the usual variety of high powered riffs, chugging guitar and awesome drums you’d expect to hear. There’s a little variety this time round too with one song featuring some orchestrated parts. Maybe not the best entry in the discography, but a damn good record that I’m still enjoying even though it was released in January. Continue reading

Black Country Communion – Afterglow

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In anticipation of Black Country Communions 3rd studio album, Afterglow, I had aspirations of it being the best yet which would have been a hard act to follow considering how much I enjoyed the first two albums, Black Country Communion and 2. Maybe I got too excited, maybe I hyped it up too much in my head or maybe it’s just not a great album but I say this with a sad face, I was left extremely underwhelmed and quite honestly a little bored. It’s not a terrible album but like a parent, I’m not annoyed at the album, just disappointed.

Black Country Communion are a current ‘Super Group’ made up of Glenn Hughes (Deep-Purple) on Bass and Vocals, Jason Bonham (Son of mighty John) on Drums, Derek Sherinian (Dream Theatre) on Keys and modern day guitar legend Joe Bonamassa who also contributes to vocals. Individually and collectively these guys have the talent and experience to produce some mind blowing music and for two albums, they did just that. I love this band, for the record, which is why it’s not fun to write negative things about them. They play the type of music that I wish I could create and the style of music that I missed first time around. For me, it’s a pleasure to hear a band playing classic rock in this day in age.

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Led Zeppelin – Celebration Day (2012)

“Good Times Bad Times”, “Black Dog”, “In My Time of Dying”, “No Quarter”, “Dazed and Confused”, “Stairway to Heaven”, “The Song Remains The Same”, “Kashmir”, “Whole Lotta Love”. It is quite a legacy.

It is no wonder then that with such a top calibre selection of songs both fans and Promoters have wanted the band to reform time and time again. Led Zeppelin have always said “No.” Until one day in 2007 they announced for one night only they were reforming along with Jason, their late drummer John Bonham’s son, to play a tribute show for Ahmet Ertegun the founder of Atlantic Records who had died the previous year.

Most will remember the frantic scrabble to get tickets, the ballot system put in place and the millions from around the world who tried to get briefs for the show; myself included. I was unlucky. Five years later the unlucky ones finally get to see the show and those who got the ‘golden’ tickets get a gorgeous reminder with Celebration Day which documents the show in full. Continue reading

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We Are The Ocean – Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow (2012)

We Are The Ocean - Maybe Today, Maybe TomorrowLast year We Are The Ocean released Go Now and Live which became one of my favourites of 2011 and made it into my top ten of the year’s releases. Since then they’ve parted ways with Dan Brown, the growlier half of the vocal team, resulting in a slight shift in sound that both retains the aural traits I’ve enjoyed so much while moving into slightly softer territory for a band that’s always had the dual vocal.

When I heard about Dan’s departure I initially didn’t think it would make that much of a difference. To an extent I’m both right and wrong in that respect. Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow is a very good album, proving that there’s definitely life after the departure of a key member but it is obvious that something’s changed. Remaining vocalist and rhythm guitarist Liam Cromby has an astounding voice on his own (I’d liken him to a British version of Dallas Green of City and Colour) and the majority of the songs sound like they’ve been written or reshaped for the solo vocal. Continue reading

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