Another Distraction’s New Album: Fragments


AnotherDistraction-Fragments-AlbumArtHey there folks, I’m DJ Rosie from Film Frequencies, on air Wednesdays from 12-1, and today I am going to be reviewing a brand new album from Another Distraction titled Fragments.
Before I begin, I’d like to put you in the headspace that I am currently existing in. I went out and saw the new Kingsman movie, Kingsman: The Golden Circle. Although the film was great I decided to make the fateful decision to drink 48 fluid ounces of Cherry Coke. I assumed that I could handle such a drink. As I have now learned, I cannot.
I got home and immediately felt sick, and then went into a sugar induced coma for five hours. I have now awoken and decided, “Hey, now is a wonderful time to write a review of a loud rock CD!” Let’s hope I was right.
After looking at the CD, there are six songs on it, and after some research, this is an EP released on September 8th, 2017. The total duration of the album is 22 minutes and 3 seconds. Not a bad listen if you’re on your way to work or want to show your friends. I personally don’t have a long attention span, so this length is perfect for me.
The first song is called ‘Direction Define’. The song is about, as I interpret it, someone being isolated by everyone and left to fend for themselves. Through all of it they find themselves, they define their own direction. Something about the tempo of the song makes you feel like you’ve listened to it before, but not in a bad way, it just feels nostalgic. If this first song is any indication of what is in store for the rest of them album, I am very enthusiastic about the rest of this album.
The next song, song two on the list, is called ‘Scene Kid’s Afraid To Leave The Scene’. This song is all about feeling in the moment. The chorus is “Let it go, let it go/ Tell me something I don’t know”. This song really makes you feel in the moment, and reaches out to the scene kid in all of us. I can completely imagine being in the crowd at this concert and excited to be part of something.
The third song is called ‘Use Your Words’. When this song begins, you can tell it is different the the previous two. It starts with a short instrumental, and the words are a lot angrier. It’s a lot of hurt, all about how someone hurt them and comments “It’s easy for you”. This hits notes a lot harder than the other two songs, and shows another side of the band that I am excited to see.
Track 4 is called ‘Betting On Infinity’. It begins with a tad bit of shouting, leaning towards my classic idea of loud rock. That theme continues through the song slightly, but the rest of the song is more similar to track 1 and 2, where it is a sadder, more classic type of punk (and slightly pop, just slightly) rock.
The fifth song is called ‘Where I Reside’, and it begins with a darker tone, with wording that leans towards more emo. There are sections of the song that have just the singer and drummer playing, and it helps pace the song a lot better than if it were to keep a similar pace the whole time. It gives the listener something to break up all of the songs and refocus and regain the interest.
The final song is the one I am most excited about. The title is ‘For the Love of Sarah’. I don’t know why, but I absolutely love when songs have the names of people in them. It has a voyeuristic feel that is very intriguing. It begins very softly, and with the line ‘This is not where I imagined we would be” which I found appropriately ironic, as my first thought when hearing the song was “Is that a acoustic guitar?”, which, as the lead singer stated, isn’t what I imagined in a loud rock album.
And wow, it surprised me. A female singer, who I learned is named Sara Anderson, comes in about a minute into the song. The duet is something I wasn’t expected, but absolutely love. This song is mostly acoustic and not at all loud rock, until about another minute in, and then the rest of the band comes in. It’s such a fun and wonderful song, I definitely wasn’t expecting this but it lived up to the hype that the title set for me.
Overall, this is a great album. Most of it –excluding the last song, that one just made me excited and a bit sad — was very nostalgic for me. About five years ago, this was the exact music that I was listening to and it took me right back to that. In this album, every instrument is very distinct, which is something I appreciate in loud rock. I know that I have listen to other bands where I can’t quite tell the difference between what is playing when because everything is so, well, loud. I’m so happy that I’ve been able to listen to this album and I am so very excited to see what Another Distraction has in store next!

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Last Flowers – Love Album Review


a4100428117_10.jpgLast Flowers is a musical band that started up in the year 2010; beginning their musical career with two alternative/indie albums EP One and From A Piano Room. After a 4 year hiatus, Last Flowers has released their third album Love which debuted April 20, 2017. Written and and sung by Benjamin H. Lemons, this new album is quite unique to his works from the other albums.

When I first saw the album Love, I soon became in love (no pun intended) with it. What first caught my eye of Love, was the album cover(the image featured); to the illustration of the man and woman together on the front cover, to the hand-lettering of the title and songs titles on the back, to the color scheme of red and white, to just basically everything of the album was physically aesthetic to me.  It gives off such a beautiful, artsy vibe that reminds  me of the movies 500 Days of Summer and The Fault in Our Stars. 

I listened to the album in my car mostly because I don’t have own a CD player. I would listen to it on my way to work and on my way to school.The next thing I knew when I was listening to the album, I was entrapped, I loved it. ( Even now, when I am writing this post, I am listening to the Love album for references and still loving it!) The first track, Good Morning, is a poem being with an instrumental background. This caught me off guard because music albums do not tend to do this but nonetheless I really enjoyed it. My personal favorite tracks were 4. Joker and 6. On Your Own; the sounds of the songs and the lyrics made me feel calm and serene.  The song Joker, begins with a piano opening that also reminds me of John Lennon’s Imagine and continues to do so throughout the whole song.On Your Own begins with an acoustic guitar opening, then transitions with Benjamin H. Lemons singing that also brings in the underlying strums of an electric guitar. I really liked this song because it started off very calm in the beginning with the acoustic guitar and gradually builds up to using the electric guitar with drum beats. This song reminded me of the transition from being a boy and becoming a man (a stepping up of coolness or maturity).

The rest of the album was also very lovely with the sounds of guitar and piano being the main instruments of this album which do make a really good combo. Not only was there acoustic guitar, but also the electric guitar and also drums.  This album reminded me of bands such as Sales and Plain White T’s because of the rhythms and lyrics of love. I could see myself lying in bed and playing the album while doing some homework or when I need to just sit and think to myself.

You can check out Last Flowers and have a listen to the Love album on their website: http://www.lastflowersmusic.com/

 

Album Review: Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?


Black Lips’ new album is just like any other album they’ve released in the past 15 years, exciting and very different than any other release out there right now. In Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?, they’ve introduced a full time saxophonist Zumi Rosow, while two long-time members, Joe Bradley and Ian St. Pé, left the band. Black Lips’ sound has been altered since the original drummer and long time guitarist have left, but their reckless and eclectic sound has shown itself in this album as well.

Points are given to their attempt of making Satan’s graffiti or God’s art? a conceptual album, but it wasn’t quite executed in a creative and consistent way. Had there not been short interlude tracks that feel like filler songs and no sense of consistency, it would have definitely exceeded expectations. Even though it was produced by Sean Lennon and had background vocals from Yoko Ono, it felt like they were just hanging out; you couldn’t feel their presence throughout the album. Maybe they were just there as a big names to get people to listen to this release?

As a conceptual album, I didn’t feel the vibe of a overarching theme or influence. Most of the tracks had okay vocals, but nothing throughout the album excited me to be a repeat worthy album. I would give “Can’t Hold On” and “Crystal Night” a listen when you first dive into the album. They’re easy listening tracks that had a road-tripping kind of sound but have them in the background at a party as well.

All in all, I didn’t love Satan’s graffiti or God’s art?. It feels like Black Lips need to evolve their sound and change it up a bit. A few songs are worth listening but definitely not my go-to for hot new albums of 2017.

 

 

All In My Mind And All Of The Time: Spoon – Hot Thoughts Review


There have been a number of popular indie rock bands that have been lovingly (or deridingly depending on who you talk to) labeled “dad rock” – a title given to older bands who put out a consistent stream of quality albums that are dependably good (nothing more and nothing less). While bands like Yo La Tengo and The National come to mind (the latter having a full Billboard article written about this distinction), no other band has been carrying this title quite like Austin-based indie rock band, Spoon. Spoon has been kicking for over two decades now, and while their discography hasn’t reinvented the indie rock wheel, all of their albums are still quality listens. With that being said, their new record, Hot Thoughts, is a surprising album. After a successful two decades worth of music, Spoon could have come out with an album like their acclaimed 2014 release They Want My Soul as a victory lap of sorts. However, Hot Thoughts sees the band with a newfound energy and an album that is their most playful, emotional, and experimental yet.

In terms of sound, Spoon has been known for some fantastic grooves (look no further than “Me and the Bean” from Girls Can Tell and “Eddie’s Ragga” from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga), but no groove in their discography has been as danceable as the one on the title track which starts off the record on a high note. The groove, the bells underlying the beat, and the layered sections of instrumentation (such as the violins near the end of the track) is like a kickstart to the heart and shows right away that the band isn’t set on making another conventional indie rock record. This newfound experimentation continues on album highlight “WhisperI’lllistentohearit” who’s first-half features a tasteful, low-key brooding that’s highly reminiscent of Spoon’s discordant “The Ghost of You Lingers.” Songs like “Do I Have to Talk You Into It” and “First Caress” both feature some enjoyable piano-laden rock along with interesting electronic elements that add another layer of variation and flourish to their tried-and-true formula. But none of the tracks here exemplify Spoon’s goal for experimentation as much as the songs “Pink Up” and “Us.” “Pink Up” is a moody slow-burn that features a prominent xylophone melody and flourishes of warped vocal samples from frontman Britt Daniels. On the weirder “Us,” the band sees fit to end the record with a four-minute instrumental jazz track which builds upon the xylophone motif from “Pink Up.” It’s something that you could hear as an interlude in an instrumental post-rock album, definitely not from a band like Spoon. It’s spacey, wild, moody, and gutsy. I was definitely put off at first listen, but subsequent playthroughs definitely helped solidify the song’s place in the track listing.

Now, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that Spoon purists shouldn’t be put off by the new sounds of the record. There are definitely vintage-Spoon songs such as “First Caress” and Tear It Down.” “Can I Sit Next To You” is an energized Spoon track that sounds like they listened to Rolling Stone’s Some Girls (especially “Miss You”) before they hit the studio. If I had a major gripe with the album, I would highlight “Shotgun” as being a weak song in the track listing, especially since it feels awkward as a transition to the album’s closer. As far as vocal performance and lyrics go, Britt Daniels hasn’t sounds so spirited in years. Whereas frontmen like Matt Berninger from The National find ways to sing without putting too much strain in their voice after years of wear-and-tear, Britt Daniels’ voice is still as dynamic and pleasing as ever.

Spoon is a road-tested band that continues to show that they are capable of staying around for many years more. You would think a twenty-plus-year band would begin to sound drab, but Spoon, with every release, prove capable of putting out fantastic records that sound modern in any age and do so with extreme fervor. I would highly recommend this album to fans and novices alike.

Recommended Tracks: “Hot Thoughts,” “Can I Sit Next to You,” and “WhisperI’lllistentohearit”

Follow Me Into Sweet Fields of Blue: a Tennis Review


Tennis came back last month with there latest album Yours, Conditionally. After a months out at sea, facing nature and the isolation of the vast ocean they’re back at it making dreamy surf pop.

The duo had worked together with Urban Outfitters as they tracked their adventures writing the album out on the high seas. The married couple of Alaina and Patrick Moore along with one other person took to the ocean on a sail boat. The couple have sailed before, often a method in their writing process. The album is the end result of love testing it’s limits against outside forces and inner struggles.

The duo can’t help but make me think back to Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham’s relationship. Although their love ended with a separation, it’s the brilliant way the two complimented each other that reminds me of the former. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Tennis live twice during their last tour and could feel the love between them from across the stage. It’s easy to see how much they support and encourage one another.

This album is a lot like their other albums, it’s warm and invokes that desire to head to the islands with your loved one. The songs feel like sunshine on your skin the very first day of spring. Alaina wrote this album as the result of her exploring and learning the limits of her love. As a wife, a lover, a partner and a friend she found herself challenging the roles she’s come into. Her marriage has taught her what it’s like to share a life with someone else yet still remain true to herself and be her own person. They’ve become a team but at the same time she understands how necessary it is to still be able to function on your own.

Ladies Don’t Play Guitar was their first release from the album. The song is her reflection on her experiences in the music industry and how being a female musician has affected her. She believes in feminism and how necessary it is for us to stand up for our beliefs and this song came at a time in her life where she’s felt the most empowered.

Other songs like Matrimony and My Emotions Are Blinding and 10 Minutes 10 Years display how her marriage has affected her life and their music. Matrimony was written as a reflection of the day they were married. Lines in the song were thoughts that crossed her mind that day. It’s personal and so incredibly sweet you can’t help but smile and wish you had been invited to their wedding.

Fields of Blue, personally my favorite off the album was inspired by the logbook or as Alaina put it, “her teenage diary”, of their days out on the choppy waters. Her findings came out sounding very stream of conscious and like that of the diary of young romantic. She became inspired by one entry in which she had written, “Follow me into sweet fields of blue”. One can’t help but yearn for their love and the sea all at once while listening to her dreamy, sentimental voice.

It’s refreshing to hear an album so consistent with its theme and quality. Often more and more artist feel like they’re trying to release singles rather than songs that flow together in an album. Yours, Conditionally takes us on a trip and leaves us wanting love and adventure out in open waters.

9 out of 10, oh what’s the use in resisting?

 

Demon Hunter “Outlive”


“Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.” – Dalai Lama XIV

For the band Demon Hunter, the above-mentioned quote defines the message behind their eighth studio album, “Outlive”.

In the three years between their last album, “Extremist”, and this release, the band has gone through their own set of trials and tribulations, yet through all that, the veteran Christian metal act came out of those tragedies an even stronger, tightly threaded unit. Nowhere does it show more than in the songwriting in the album.

Ryan Clark, the vocalist and founder of Demon Hunter, pours out his soul in the opening song, “Trying Times”, a song written about taking a stand and uncovering the truth behind our existence. The opening, which serves as a connecting gateway to “Jesus Wept”, shows the maturity the band has made with each passing album since their self-titled album in 2002.

Patrick Judge, who joined Demon Hunter as the lead guitarist back in 2008, was finally given a chance to contribute as a primary songwriter, and he made the best of it, contributing five songs to the record. If you’re a longtime fan of the band, you can tell the difference in songs like “Cold Blood”, “Cold Winter Sun”, and the single “Died In My Sleep”, where the guitar is among the most technical work in their entire catalog.

The songwriting has also taken a more personal approach for the band, as well. While Demon Hunter has always been known for their uncompromising Christian faith, the band has also grown, welcoming five children into the fold between “Extremist” and this album. The songs “One Step Behind” and “The End” are examples of how parenthood has made an impact on the band and their families. Whereas the former was written as a message from a father to his daughter (Ryan’s daughter, Ryan), the latter speaks of the struggle of being a first-time parent and always being concerned over the smallest thing.

The band also recorded their longest song to date, “Slight the Odds,” which, according to Ryan, they didn’t know whether it would be the closing track on the album until the end. The song, which talks about how the odds are stacked against those who manage to keep their faith strong, is a perfect ending to what is otherwise a cathartic release.

Overall, “Outlive” is Demon Hunter’s most personal and strongest album to date. With no shortage of inspiration for the album, the band stuck true to their roots while enhancing their message of hope and faith. If you are a new listener to Demon Hunter and this is the first album you have heard, then welcome. If you’re a longtime follower, then you will be pleased with the growth that this record shows.

Tracks to listen to: Cold Winter Sun, Died In My Sleep, One Step Behind, Slight the Odds

Thanking A Tribe Called Quest…


tribe

A Tribe Called Quest is known for being both legendary and innovative for their epic contributions in hip-hop. Since releasing their last album 18 years ago, many fans feared that the group would refrain from ever releasing new music. This seemed especially true with the unfortunate passing of Tribe’s master rapper and co-founder, Phife Dawg, in March. New music from ATCQ seemed highly unlikely then, until the recent release of their sixth and final album, We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service. The album not only reminds listeners of their classic 90s style, but also reinvigorates the group’s collection of work without using nostalgia as a crutch. There are tons of songs on this album worth listening but I have picked the moments that have most impacted my experience the most with this new ATCQ body of work.

The album starts eerily with, “The Space Program”. This recalls back to the essential beginnings of Tribe. The song is organized and arranged specifically to flow and blend the past of jazz with the intergalactic noises of the future. Jarobi rhymes “We takin’ off to Mars, got the space vessels overflowin’/What, you think they want us there? All us ****** not goin’”. Though the lyrics concern traveling to space and landing on Mars, the song is about the future of hip-hop and staying relevant while from an older generation of this genre. Tribe is stating that although they are not based in the new generation of hip-hop, they encourage the future of the genre and are reminding all listeners of their style and skills as artists.

Along the journey listeners are given powerful messages. On “We the People…,” Q-Tip’s hook specifically calls out the political ridiculousness of Donald Trump while also predicting a false vision of a Clinton victory this recent election. The most impressive collaboration from Tribe is their partnership with Jack White and Elton John for “Solid Wall of Sound,” while “Ego” serves as a both vulnerable and passionate confession.

“Dis Generation” uses a sample of Musical Youth’s “Pass the Dutchie”. The most exceptional moment in the song is when Q-Tip refers to Joey Bada$$, Earl Sweatshirt, Kendrick Lamar, and J. Cole as “gatekeepers of flow/They are extensions of instinctual soul.” Tribe continues throughout the album projecting wise messages in a form similar to Yoda projecting wisdom to young Jedi.

“The Donald,” is a homage to Phife Dawg and how he will not be forgotten, while also stamping the late MC’s strong influences and contributions to the album.

We got it from Here… Thank You 4 Your service serves as another A Tribe Called Quest album that has gone right. This is not an album that demands closure or legacy. The work actually seems as though, in a perfect world, the group will band back together and Phife Dawg will magically come back to life and continue working on another album and eventually go on tour. However most times music lovers cannot get what they want, and this may be one of those times where we have to be okay and accept that this is a magnificent and epic ending to the group’s extensive line of work. I mean we could not expect Jarobi and Q-Tip to continue without Phife Dawg. So for now, and for always we will have to accept this beautiful last gift and thank them for their service…

Album Review: Kings of Leon – WALLS


kingsofleon-walls-album-2016

The year of 2016 has marked the beginning and the end of a plethora of items and people.  Over the course of the year we have lost music icons such as David Bowie and Prince to name a few; however, we have also seen new releases by formidable artists and performers such as Green Day, The Weeknd, Metallica, Radiohead, etc.  One of such releases comes from American alternative-rock band Kings of Leon with their seventh studio album titled “WALLS” (We Are Like Love Songs).  Although arguably not a masterpiece, WALLS delivers familiar Kings of Leon staples reminiscent of their material eight years prior that are both energetic and relaxing.
Alternative-rock as a genre itself can be dismissed as one that is characterized by an overuse of delay, distortion, fuzz, power chords, and underdeveloped melodies that are forgettable; however, WALLS takes these familiar elements and blends them smoothly with subtle embellishments and instrumentation to offer a bit of variety.  In the opening track, “Waste A Moment”, listeners are presented with an upbeat, almost pop-oriented single that is full of energy and announces the band’s presence with their signature overtones and gain-filled rifts.  The result is a simple, yet fun way of demonstrating that this in part is the band listeners have come to enjoy over the years, yet they have changed slightly since the last time we have heard them.  The latter effect becomes apparent at the album’s midpoint with tracks such as “Find Me” and “Muchacho”, which introduce synthesizers, rhythmic sampling, whistling, and other subtle instrumental embellishments that diversify each individual tune.
Despite these small innovations, the tracks themselves are still characteristically Kings of Leon tracks that do not stand out among the discography that they have established over the years.  “Find Me”, for example, is primarily driven by a semi-complex guitar riff that appears at the track’s beginning and makes subsequent appearances with each chorus.  This is not particularly a bad thing; however, this focus on familiarity and on what we have come to expect is exactly what makes a majority of the tracks rather predictable.  Though the synthesizer usage is present briefly in the beginning and sporadically though each verse, it is a lack of utilization of these devices that makes tunes such as “Find Me” fun but relatively forgettable.  Aside from this, active listeners will also recognize a familiarity in structure.  Yes, I refer to the typical Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus.  Though there is not necessarily anything wrong with this standard format, this additional limitation does not serve the band justice in these instances.  In this listener’s opinion: “I get that it works, cool, but I am getting bored”.
The Kings of Leon have always been a band that strikes me as not too innovative in regards to new styles of music, but rather, one that seeks to improve upon a genre that is adored and enjoyed by thousands throughout the world.  They have demonstrated time and time again that they are good at what they do, and I commend them for that; however, it is time to change.  What else does the Followill gang have to offer?  Until that time, enjoy more of the Kings of Leon you have come to love.

I give WALLS, a 3 out of 5.

Album Review: Danny Brown – “Atrocity Exhibition”


atrocityexhibition

Back in October, fans of hip hop collectively laughed at a young mother who uploaded a video in which she discussed at length how aghast she was over hearing rapper Vince Staples’ song “Norf Norf” on her local radio station. As ridiculous as this video is – she at one point sobbingly recites the song’s explicit lyrics with her young children present – Vince later came out with a set of statements defending the mother and her right to state her opinion even if the opinion was off base from the original message of the song. This video, after quickly becoming a meme, finally dissipated into the ether of internet lore, but not without creating some discussion on the artistic merits of rap and hip hop and their possible glorification of drug use, misogyny, and violent imagery. While there are many advocates who believe rap and hip hop are glorifying these types of lifestyles, there is something to be said about a growing number of rap artists currently showcasing these lifestyles as snapshots of where they’ve been as if to warn others not to go down the same route they did.

Such is the fact with Detroit rapper Danny Brown who recently came out with his fourth album, Atrocity Exhibition. Every track on this album showcases various personal stories of sex, drugs, and situations far from rock n’ roll, but never once does it glorify these types of lifestyles. Rather, Danny showcases these songs as “cautionary tales.” If someone happens to misconstrue it as anything but, Danny lays out his mission statement with complete sincerity in the closing lines of the last song on the album: “So my task is/inspire your future with my past/I lived through that/So that you don’t have to go through it.”

Brown’s writing is on point here as he tells little pieces of his backstory from song to song, and it’s definitely a hard listen when one digs into the lyrics. On “Tell Me What I Don’t Know,” Brown details his past escapades with friends getting in trouble with the law and dealing with drug deals gone wrong. On “Rolling Stone,” Danny Brown details his drug dependency and how hard it is to break out of the cycles of the highs and lows it brings about even if he is completely aware that this is happening: “I’m on a road that never ends/Don’t know opposite of sin/Some people say I think too much/I don’t think they think enough.” Every song on this record showcases his growing ennui of the lifestyles that he had chosen to immerse himself in, and it’s an engrossing listen through every turn.

Before going further, I would be remiss if I didn’t note that this album is not for everyone. For fans of Danny Brown’s earlier albums, this is not Old. Neither is it XXX. It is Danny Brown by way of Death Grips and clipping. Certain beats contain punk rock-like elements, such as on the guitar-driven “Golddust.” Things turn toward the deliciously abrasive on album highlight “Ain’t It Funny” where a horn section blares to no end as if to signal an incoming tornado. However unconventional and experimental the instrumentals and samples are, it plays into the albums themes perfectly. It’s the musical equivalent of a bad acid trip with the listener riding the highs and lows.

In terms of features, other than Petite Noir, Kelela, and B-Real all singing hooks on their respective songs, “Really Doe” is the only track with guest features rapping over the instrumental, and it’s stacked with Ab-Soul showing some passion for the rap game, Kendrick being Kendrick, and Earl Sweatshirt showcasing some brash, brazen verses that cements his top billing on the song. With a line-up such as this with the performances given on the track, it’s crazy to think that this might not be the best song off the album. There are many highlights on Atrocity Exhibition, and it’s thanks to Danny Brown’s lyricism and fiery delivery. There are instrumentals on this album that Danny has absolutely no business sounding as good as he is when he raps over them – especially on a track like the album’s second single, “Pneumonia,” where Brown spits bars over an idiosyncratic industrial beat with a time signature that should make spitting bars over it humanly impossible. Songs like this one shouldn’t work, but they just do thanks to Brown’s technical ability.

To say Danny Brown reinvented his sound with this album is an understatement. Many of the tracks here – other than “Really Doe” – are a far cry from anything you’d hear on mainstream radio. However, the album is well made, well produced, and very much so a rewarding listen – no matter how weird or how long it is. Although this album is soon going to be measured up to other strong rap albums that came out this year – like Schoolboy Q and Anderson Paak’s new records – Atrocity Exhibition is a different beast entirely. It’s most akin to Kendrick

Lamar’s turn last year with the politically driven, jazz-influenced To Pimp a Butterfly. Both records showcases two highly skilled rappers at the top of their game – artists who switched up their styles and showed why they’re the best at what they do. They accomplished this because they both made strong, entertaining, and experimental album experiences with a message rather than their records being just vehicles for hit singles. They were both risks, and those risks paid off. And while Atrocity Exhibition isn’t on the same level as Kendrick’s masterpiece, it’s still an important piece of music and an enjoyable one at that.

I highly recommend this album to lovers of industrial, experimental, and alternative hip hop, especially for those that dig artists like Death Grips, clipping., Shabazz Palaces, and Run the Jewels. And to rap and hip hop listeners who usually stick with more traditional artists and sounds, this may be a challenging listen, but I implore you to give it a chance. It may just surprise you in ways you could never expect.

Allegaeon – “Proponent for Sentience” CD Review


a1216811115_10To all the geeks and science fanatics: your new favorite band is here.

With Allegaeon’s new album, “Proponent for Sentience”, the five-piece brings forth an aural assault of seven/eight-string guitar mastery, six-string bass and drum symmetry that almost resembles a marching band, and vocals that range from the depths of the abyss to the highest gates of heaven.

While always known for their scientific lyrical content, what a lot of non-metalheads do’t know is that the group is also known for their classical guitar work, which is featured prominently on their single from the record, “Gray Matter Mechanics – Apassionata Ex Machinea“, which features exquisite flamenco guitar playing from guitarist Greg Burgess (for the exclusive flamenco-only performance, click here).

The band confirmed in interview that a lot of the lyrical content on this album comes from the idea that robotics are not just a novel idea, but an eventual future that may be too much to contain. In a press release from the band’s label, Metal Blade, vocalist Riley McShane gave a bit of insight as to what the album is about.

“With this record we’re bringing ideas to the table that corroborate the fact that at this juncture, robotics as a field is moving forward at an alarming rate,” explains McShane. “This story is dotted with examples of real-life scientific advancements, and it is also perforated with details of humanity’s flaws. Overall, the record tells a story that is still a bit too far fetched to be based in reality, but isn’t too far beyond the scope of imagination to see occurring within the not-so-distant future.”

That concept is explained in great detail in the three-part trilogy sprinkled in different parts of the album, with the magnum opus of the album being the end of the trilogy, “Proponent for Sentience III – The Extermination“, which features guest spots from Bjorn “Speed” Strid of Soilwork and Benjamin Ellis of Scar Symmetry.

The instrumental work speaks for itself on the record, but one of the main highlights actually comes from the vocal work of Riley McShane, the ‘new’ vocalist. Although he has been touring with the band since 2015, the new record is his first with the band. While longtime fans of Allegaeon are used to the low, guttural vocals of former vocalist Ezra Haynes, they need not worry: McShane has that covered. For fans of higher-pitched screams, I recommend you listen to “Of Mind and Matrix”. And, if you’re one of those “I can’t get into metal because it’s too rah-rah and not enough clean vocals”, the band has you covered.

For the first time n the band’s history, they incorporated clean vocals into their material, which is a positive considering McShane’s expansive vocal range. The cleans on “Cognitive Computations” will give you goosebumps. And if you’re looking for a song with nothing but cleans, their cover of “Subdivisions” by the legendary prog-rock band Rush will more than satisfy your hunger.

Overall, I recommend this album if you’re a fan of movies like “The Terminator” or “The Matrix”. And while this record has its chock of singles, it will make more sense if you listen to it from front to back. Prepare to put at least an hour and a half of your day aside; this record is going to put your mind to work.

ALL HAIL SCIENCE!