A Violent Expression of a Particular Emotion
Compared to last week’s episode, we have a slightly more consistent array of albums, though one of these definitely stands out as a the proverbial sore thumb. What’s interesting is that the highest rated of these albums is an unsigned band’s debut album. Was that just a lucky pick on our part? Are labels missing out on some great bands? What do you think??
Vektor – Terminal Redux (Earache)
Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us (Epitaph)
Deviant Process – Paroxysm
Architects – All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us
Cool that you reviewed Terminal Redux by Vektor. I do agree that the album is too long and exhausting. But stopping after track 7 was a mistake because those last three songs are probably the best on the album because they offer the most contrast. “Pillars of Sand” (track 8) is certainly my favorite song on the album, and “Collapse” (track 9) offers the most contrast by slowing things down and using clean guitars and clean vocals (for the most part, it is a ballad). Your point about if the album was a half hour shorter, it would be a 5 is something I need to comment on. Something I’m coming around to more and more is that you CAN make an album a half hour shorter by not listening to all the songs on the album. I realize your thing is to review entire albums and that an album is what musicians deem as their statement to the world of their art. But as a consumer I have the choice to consume music however I want. In this case, I didn’t really listen to tracks 5 and 6 on Terminal Redux, which cuts out about 11 minutes and gets you closer to about an hour’s worth of music. Using the literal interpretation of your old rating system, even if you cut out 3 songs from Terminal Redux, it is still worth spending your money on a “Buy”.
Speaking of making albums shorter and listening to only a few tracks, I’ve found myself doing the same thing with The Concrete Confessional by Hatebreed. Even though it’s fairly short album to being with, I find that The Concrete Confessional benefits from listening to only about half of it. I think you briefly mentioned this, but I’m rather surprised by the extent of how much some of the riffs sound like Slayer.
I’ve also still been listening to Weekend Nachos. Apology is not getting tiresome. And when I say “Apology”, I am referring to both the album and the song. Who knew that a 9 minute instrumental powerviolence song with a piano interlude in the middle could be so awesome?
I listened to Deviant Process when it came out in March. This was another “Tech Death Tuesday” pick from Metal Injection. I don’t disagree with Nick about it in terms of the length. In the case of Paroxysm, the length itself isn’t so much the issue. the issue is more about contrast. 45 minutes of nothing but in-your-face brutal technical fast-paced music can get tiring over 45 minutes. The best bands find ways to throw in some contrast here and there to make things interesting while still keeping it heavy. Paroxysm might have just enough of a couple of clean guitar preludes and other parts, but it could use a bit more contrast. Having said that, it’s still a great album.
From the June 10 releases, I’m checking out Vale Of Pnath. I realize there’s been a lot of tech death lately, but Vale Of Pnath looks like another winner in that genre.
Many albums have songs you skip over for various reasons (filler track, bad song, too long) and it has ALWAYS been that way. We critique that stuff all the time! While we do have the ability to adjust how we listen to albums, i still think critiquing the album’s length (if warranted) is still valid, because the artist intended on you listening to the entire album as a piece. It is the piece of art they created. Yes, Terminal Redux (for example) is still a “buy” since we gave it a 4; even if you skip a couple tracks, it is still worthy of purchasing. However, that is probably not how Vektor expected you to listen to it. If they displayed a little more restraint and didn’t “force” you into skipping songs, the entire album would be much stronger.
I agree that from the perspective of a reviewer, you should base your review on the entire album even if it is too long. And I also can’t disagree that something like Terminal Redux from Vektor would be a stronger album if they would have cut a few songs. However, as a consumer and listener, if a band puts out 60 minutes of great music on a 75 minute album, that’s still a great album to me.