This week, we inadvertently did a study in evolution (or lack there of) of bands. Two of our bands have been around for quite some time and over the years have had some major internal changes (one of them, very recently) and we look at what it has done to their output by putting it up against their past works. One of them hasn’t been around for nearly as long, hasn’t had the internal changes, but somehow made an evolutionary step that, well…I don’t want to spoil, but we have a discussion about. And the fourth band we review only put out their second album, we haven’t hear the first and they don’t really fit the change thing. But, hey, we didn’t intend to have this sort-of-theme, so deal with it. OH! And we also have a new (Side)Showcase this week! We haven’t had one of those since Episode 114 in December.
Last but not least – Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers, grandfathers, uncles, and other fatherly figures out there!
Reviews: Arch Enemy – War Eternal (Century Media); Shear – Katharsis (Lifeforce); Tombs – Savage Gold (Relapse); Vader – Tibi Et Ini (Nuclear Blast)
Every day I seem to have a different opinion of the Arch Enemy album. At first I thought that the first half of the album (with all the singles) was significantly better. But then after listening more, the second half grew on me. But one thing is for sure with me is that I think it took too many listens for it to sink in. These aren’t some long, complex compositions here so I feel that there should have been a little more immediacy to them.
Regarding Alissa, it is disappointing that there isn’t really any clean singing on War Eternal. I understand that Arch Enemy’s style involves no clean singing, but we know Alissa can sing. I equate it with only using 3 strings on a guitar. People criticize some deathcore bands for writing songs that can be played on a single string on a guitar. So why not take advantage of the full range of your vocalist?
I’ve actually seen Alissa perform live, but not in a setting that you’d expect. She sang with Kamelot who opened for Nightwish when I saw them 2 years ago. Alissa stole the show. She dominated that stage with Kamelot and had a great stage presence.
-You’re not missing something regarding about Tombs. They are another overrated Decibel darling.
-I haven’t heard of Shear but I have heard of Amaranthe and have also been intrigued by them, but I’ve only checked them out on a YouTube video or two.
-So if Vader the band formed in 1983 then that’s the same year that Vader died on screen.
I have to say that War Eternal grew on me even more once I let go a bit to my AE fanaticism (for lack of a better term). I still maintain what i said about the back half being better and than Alissa needs to write more of the lyrics, but I found these songs sticking with me much more and much sooner than anything off of Khaos Legions.
As for Alissa, looking at her performance without comparing to Angela, she is good; I don’ have a problem with her. That said, what you said about her in Kamelot just furthers my opinion: she was not the best choice. As I said, she is more known for her singing, and then the fact she can also scream. However, her “harsh” vocal is nothing to write home about. So, while I agree her talents aren’t being used to their fullest extent, I don’t think they SHOULD with Arch Enemy. Yes, some songs in the past have had spots with clean vocals from Chris Amott, but I don’t want AE to do, say, what Soilwork does. MAYBE a song here and there would be ok but…it’s just not who they are. IN the end, this is why I said they should have gotten a different vocalist all together.
Moving on – Amaranthe is a band that many would probably consider a guilty pleasure. They are a mix of Blood Stain Child and Engel (if those bands have any relevance to you). It’s fun, it’s bouncy, it’s catchy, it’s overly polished, and some songs just make you wanna dance more than headbang…but that is why you listen to them, for that reprieve. I suggest seeing if you can find the songs “Razorblade” and “Electroheart.” They are the, um, danciest (that’s a word now) songs on the album, but damn are they fun.
Good point, re: Vader! A coincidence? I think not.