Half of the bands we review this week prove that you don’t need a labeler to make and put out awesome music. Sure, a label would help with some more promo and tours and such, but that is a discussion for another time. The point is that, signed or not, if your music is good enough, people will take notice. Like the other half the bands we review this week – they’re signed, their music is good, we noticed. And now you will notice all of them. See how that works?
Reviews: Castle – Under Siege (Prosthetic); Hoth – Oathbreaker (self); Misery Index – The Killing Gods (Season of Mist); Son of Aurelius – Under a Western Sun (self)
Allegaeon -“Threshold of Perception” from Elements of Infinite out June 24th thru Metal Blade
Monuments – “Origin of Escape” from The Amanuensis out July 8th thru Century Media
’68 – “Track One” from In Humor and Sadness out July 8th thru eOne
Betraying the Martyrs – “Where the World Ends” from Phantom out July 15th thru Sumerian
Opeth – “Cusp of Eternity” from Pale Communion out August 26th thru Roadrunner
This might be a record for me: I’ve listened to 3 of the albums you reviewed this week and 2 of the first impressions are from 2 of my favorite bands.
-I am in complete agreement with Nick regarding Misery Index. “Same-y” is a good way to describe the album. It’s not bad, but it needs some kind of contrast in the album. If I had to pick one thing that feels tiresome for the entire album it is the vocals. Some different style of vocals on this album would have helped it.
-Who would call you out for reviewing Castle? Kyle? He doesn’t even listen to the podcast so how is he going to call you out for reviewing Castle? Even though I don’t listen to a ton of that retro throwback stuff, I do tend to like some of it. That opening line of “Alright now!” from the song you played is straight from “Sweet Leaf” by Black Sabbath. And I wouldn’t have pegged you guys to even know Baracuda, and I never thought we’d hear a Heart reference on this podcast.
-So since you asked for some more metal-y throwback stuff that you might have missed, the one I’d recommend is Kadavar. Their second album Abra Kadavar came out last year and it’s worth checking out if you want to hear some good Sabbath inspired music.
-I actually haven’t even listened to that Allegaeon song you gave a first impression of. I’m holding out for the entire album. To say that I have high hopes for the new Allegaeon album is an understatement.
-You guys could never rank the albums each week because Brian would have a tie between all the albums as the top album of the week.
-If anyone still thinks Opeth is going to go back to old death metal Opeth, then you haven’t been paying attention for the past 6 years. They are NEVER going to be the band that recorded Deliverance again. They are a prog band now. That’s who they are. And as you alluded to, someone will surely give you the new Opeth album to review if you don’t buy it yourself. As for the song you reviewed, I haven’t listened to it. When bands put out singles in advance of albums that I know I am going to buy, I generally don’t listen to those singles. That goes double for a band like Opeth that is an “album” band. Ask 50 Opeth fans what the best Opeth song is and you’ll get 40 different answers. So to take one song out of the context of its album isn’t worth it to me.
-I’m completely with you guys on Son of Aurelius. It’s just too long. By about 45 minutes into it, I think “ok, I get it.” It’s good, but I don’t need 80 minutes of it. 45 minutes of it is enough. But would a label really have told them that the album was too long? It’s my impression that most metal labels, especially the smaller ones, give bands complete artistic freedom.
-The Hoth logo doesn’t just look like any old TIE Fighter, it looks like Darth Vader’s TIE Fighter! Or possibly a TIE Interceptor – you can’t tell from that front view. As for the album itself, I listened to it once so far and it’s decent but I really need to give it more spins to get a feel for it.
Awesome feedback this week, as usual, dude.
– I’m pretty sure that Brian thought you would be the one calling us out for playing something with a retro feel when we generally turn a blind eye to the existence of that genre.
– I love Heart. My first concert.
– I know Brian would want to just rank all 5 albums as 4’s, but if we could somehow force him to do a 1 – 5 system every week it might put a fun spin on things. I don’t know how it would actually work, so we’ll probably end up sticking to the standard format.
– I agree on Opeth, as I’m sure you gathered from our little discussion. The difference is – I never liked the band that wrote Deliverance. The further away that they get from that, the more interested I become. Speaking of “throwback” styles, to me, Heritage was a bit too much of that and not enough of the prog for me to really sink my teeth into it. I know you haven’t listened to the new song yet, but it feels a bit more current….which is why I am enjoying it.
– Unrelated, mostly: Since we talk about Opeth much in the same way we seem to discuss the journey Mastodon has taken, I went back and listened to The Hunter last week at your suggestion. It is a much better album than I gave it credit for at the time. I still can’t make it through Crack The Skye, but that falls into the “transitional” category for me. I’m looking forward to checking out the new album when it drops.
– Depending on the label/producer I do believe that some music would have been cut from the final release. Either in the actual songs where a skilled producer would have told them to cut some fat and make things more concise, or some of the songs would have been saved by the label for special releases or an EP or something.
– Thanks for out nerding Brian on your Star Wars trivia. Haha!
I don’t think I’d call you out for reviewing something of a certain style or genre that isn’t quite metal. I believe I called you out for reviewing Vista Chino and not reviewing Queens of the Stone Age, but that wasn’t for stylistic reasons. That was because of those two bands with the same background, you picked the wrong one to review. Another example could be Casualties of Cool, which certainly isn’t metal, and I’ve noticed that it hasn’t been reviewed by you guys yet. I’m not sure if it is because it isn’t metal or if it just isn’t any good (I bought it and I don’t think it’s any good). But if you want to review the next Heart album, then by all means go right ahead.
Cool that you gave The Hunter another try, Nick. As I’m sure you can guess, Mastodon’s new album is another one that I have high hopes for. Coincidentally, it comes out as the same day as Allegaeon’s new album.
– Castle: Yeah, what Nick said. And, if I get a chance, I will stream a little Kadavar this week and see how that goes.
– Album ranking: I think Nick and I may be looking at this two different ways. Nick seems to want to just forgo the rating system and just rank five albums, using that for ratings. I think it would make more sense to review the albums as we usually do and then rank them at the end of the show, or even just on the blog. That way, it would act more like a buying guide. It could add a more detailed look at the ratings, as in where there are two (or three) 4 ratings, i have to put them in an order suggesting where you should spend your money first. I think I can handle that.
– Opeth: I think that is a fair way to look at singles, especially when it is a definite buy. I did that (kinda) with Arch Enemy. I listened to (well, we did a First Impression of) the “War Eternal” song b/c it was the first track with Alissa, but I didn’t listen to anything after that. Usually, I only listen to one of the advance tracks anyway at most. As for the rest of Opeth…I never thought they would go back to Deliverance. However, even Watershed had it’s heavy moments and was still a dark album with more of a Metal “feel” to it. Heritage was that transition album NIck talked about, and now, with their Prog Rock style, it’s not that it is bad – hell, Pale Communion may be great – it’s just not my thing. Nick’s Mastodon comparison, as far as how the bands have progress, I think is apt, but Cynic is definitely a better example, at least stylistically
– Son of Aurelius: I agree – 45 min would have been enough. 50 minutes would have been fine since that would have been approximately 20 minutes shorter. And yes, good label would have had them cut the album down.
I think there are two ways this length could have worked. 1) The album needed to be a concept album. IF it flowed in that way that told a story, having that kind of dynamics, the peaks and valleys, it may have worked. 2) It needed to go the other way and add even three more songs and been a double album. That would have prepared us for the epic amount of music within. I guess a third, and maybe best way…combine 1 & 2. See “The Living Infinite” for reference.
– Hoth: For the record, I knew that. lol. Just like I know a TIE Bomber has the same wing shape, but it had two pods, so that’s not what the logo could be. I am gonna vote it is Vader’s TIE though. Maybe I will ask when I send the show to the band…