Tag 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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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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Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman (2012) [video]

The Afterman is the next track to be taken from the recent album The Afterman : Ascension.

After the release of ‘Domino the Destitute’ in August this track (and album) continues Claudio Sanchez’ Amory Wars storyline.  You can watch the video by clicking below.

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KISS – Monster (2012)

So I’ve been struggling to write this review for over a week. I’ve struggled because I really like KISS and after 2010’s Sonic Boom I expected big things from Monster. Come on, it is called Monster after all!!

As soon as I saw the lazy album cover and then on hearing first track ‘Hell or Hallelujah’ I started to get nervous. As I listened to the album nothing jumped out at me. I was hearing a run-of-the-mill 80’s-style rock band, not the KISS from the last album at all.

Soon after I stopped listening and thought I’ll go back to it. Perhaps I just wasn’t in the mood for them. I did go back, and the album is alright, but it just doesn’t work as well as Sonic Boom did.

This is not progress, and but then perhaps progress is not what KISS are about. Sure there is some fantastic guitar playing, and there is a classic 70’s-era sound to the production of the album. What there isn’t though is classic songs. Nothing really strong enough to justify rushing out and buying this album.

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Muse – The 2nd Law (2012)

Well a lot of hype has surrounded the release of this album. Not least helped along by the dubstep comments from the band during recording sessions.

Then there was the barkingly mad Olympic song, ’Survival’ which seemed to surprise everybody. To top it all off they then released ’Madness’, a single which is one of the best songs of the past five years. So what does The 2nd Law actually sound like?

‘Supremacy’ kicks things off and its as if we should never have worried. All guns blazing Muse are back and the style, subject matter and everything else is just perfectly aligned to what you would expect. Could easily have been the theme to upcoming Bond film “Skyfall”, well if it wasn’t for Adele…

Up next is ‘Madness’, and as I’ve said it is in my view the best song released in recent years. It is so understated, slowly creeping up to suddenly become a gorgeous chorus and guitar solo which has echoes of Queen without ever aping or being cliché. Inevitable derogatory comparisons will no doubt ensue anyway. Continue reading

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Lynyrd Skynyrd – Last of a Dyin’ Breed (2012)

With what has to be the unluckiest band of all time (plane crash, car crash paralysis, found dead in a hotel room, two deaths from cancer, death from heart attack) comes a new album Last of a Dyin’ Breed. The current incarnation of the band are a strong collection of musicians who although now with only one “pre-crash” member absolutely deserve to use the name of a band whose musical output has provided the world with some true classics.

The follow-up to 2009’s God & Guns starts with title track ‘Last of a Dyin’ Breed’ and introduces the listener to a top-notch production and deep, enveloping quality which does not let up throughout. Slide guitar, and fast frenetic bass / drum combo allow the song to charge through its 4 minutes and by the end you are faced with how strong this album could well be.

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Europe – Bag of Bones (2012)

Europe. Yes, “The Final Countdown” Europe are proving to be a very interesting band indeed. Obviously they are famous for good looks, blonde hairspray manes and catchy (read easily irritating) 1980’s soft-rock “classics” such as “The Final Countdown”, “”Rock The Night”, and of course “Carrie”.

It is a surprise then that their last three albums have proven to be of such high calibre rock music that they are producing some of the best material of the genre around today.

Starting the trend (and comeback) with Secret Society and following that up with Last Look At Eden, Europe firmly put themselves back on the radar with strong songs, no pomp, very little obvious synth, some great guitar work and fantastic vocals. Oh, and did I mention the brilliant live performances? returning earlier this year with Bag of Bones, Europe have continues the upward trend and produced a stormer of an album. The sound is classic rock, with deep and weighty guitars punching the air at every turn. Continue reading

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Radiohead – OK Computer (1997)

From the initial off-time drums to the heavily distorted guitar refrain, ‘Airbag’ tells you that this is a different Radiohead to that which you heard on their previous album, The Bends. A very different Radiohead.

Sure, sitting here in 2012 looking back to their 1997 release you would be forgiven for thinking that it just sounds like Radiohead do. But back then, it was clear that as an artist they were about progression, and ‘High & Dry’ this was not. ‘Airbag’ was just so different and did not easily invite the listener in, or wrap warm cosy feelings around them.

I loved Radiohead before OK Computer was released, and had already had the pleasure of seeing them live on The Bends tour twice. In that regard I was already a fully paid up member of the “I love Radiohead club”. But then perhaps I had more to lose, what if I wanted (or at least expected) The Bends Part 2. Certainly at the time there were many who hated OK Computer, and still do as they wonder what happened to their favourite little Indie Rock Band as they cry “Why won’t they play ‘Creep’ live anymore?”

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