New Music Starts Early This Year
As we mentioned last week, we actually have some new 2018 music to check out! I know, right? Who would thought we’d be able to start so early? It’s a pretty strong start, if we do say so ourselves. Continuing Bands Across America, we hit the Dirty Jerz – Brian’s home state!
Bloodshot Dawn – Reanimation (Hostile Media)
Audrey Horne – Blackout (Napalm)
Bleeding Gods – Dodekathlon (Nuclear Blast)
New Jersey: Framework
I just listened to the song “Bastards” from the new Machine Head album for the first time. I don’t think I need to listen to it again. Ever.
Brian — I listened to the first two singles and that was it. I am already upset by this album and I haven’t listened to most of it, but everything I have read does not sound good. They have also released most of the album (it seems) as singles, proving the push for that wider audience they don’t need. Also, I am not holding MH 100% accountable here (though they get most of the blame). Nuclear Blast and Monte Conner (who I believe is their A&R rep) definitely have to take some of the blame.
I really can’t see how any negative things on the new Machine Head album could possibly be the fault of anyone at Nuclear Blast. Even though I don’t have any first hand information about this, I think that Machine Head are at a point in their career where they have 100% artistic freedom to release whatever they want. I would suspect that anyone at Nuclear Blast would be very hesitant to stick their noses in what Machine Head is doing because then Machine Head could just say goodbye to Nuclear Blast. I suspect that part of building relationships with bands that someone such as Monte Conner has done over the years requires letting bands do their own thing and taking a hands off approach. I’d be willing to bet that throughout Monte Conner’s career there were things he thought were shit that ended up with big sales numbers and there were things he thought were awesome that ended up tanking. My guess is that experience has told someone like him to trust the artist and let them do their thing, even if it does end up being shit.
Brian — While a band may have artistic freedom, the label still has there name on it and still foots the bill for all the marketing and actual production of the album. Ultimately, they could tell the band “No, go redo it.” Would they? Well, that is another question. It is also possible that the powers at the label actually like it like the band (presumably) does.
My favorite (ok, only story) i know like that is for Chimaira’s second album. Sure the band was blip on my-metal going into it, but they wrote a second album, and RR told them to go back tot he studio and redo it. The end result of that is The Impossibility of Reason, which is what catapulted them to NWOAHM status at the time.
Monte Conner is rightfully a legend in the industry. His early days are Roadrunner really helped shape the course of Metal. However, he is not infallible. Sure, some missteps are subjective, but I’d point to Trivium’s “Crusade” as an example. That bombed Trivium’s career pretty early. Another arguable one is MH’s “The Burning Red”. While I enjoy that album (and it was my first MH album) that was a drastic change from their first two and clear reach at the success of nu-metal. So, it may have been successful in it’s own right, but i think it ultimately ended up a blemish for MH…though not as bad as “Supercharger.”
This will be discussed more next week, but in the end, it was bluntly said by Flynn that they want to reach a larger audience, and to do so, they made “Catharsis.” Time will tell if it worked, or if they just piss off too many existing fans.
I realize I’ve said this about 4 times already, but I’m making it official: January 2018 is the best January for metal releases ever, even if Machine Head ends up sucking. I’m agreeing with everything you said about Bloodshot Dawn. I’m loving Reanimation. Nick says it’s not tech death, but to me it is technical melodic death metal, which is my wheelhouse. I do agree that we will be talking about this album again in December. I’m a little surprised that you chose to play the first track on the album, knowing your preference to not play first tracks or singles. I would have gone with “Upon the Throne of Fear” or “Shackled”, but you really couldn’t have gone wrong.
Of course the song “Blackout” by Audrey Horne sounds like “Hit Me With Your Best Shot”. That’s the point. And the opening track “This Is War” sounds like “Call Me” by Blondie. The whole raison d’etre of the band is to pay homage to 70s and early 80s classic radio rock. And that’s what I love about Audrey Horne. Brian makes a great point about the guitar harmonies and the production on Blackout. Those harmonies are outstanding and the production really allows them to shine. Another plus for me on Blackout are the bonus tracks. 95% of the time that there are bonus tracks on an album, I listen to them once and then never again. I’m glad I kept listening to the 2 bonus tracks on Blackout because the final track “The End” is a fantastic ballad. But only 4s from you guys? It’s a 5 for me.