Thursday, December 23, 2010

Underoath-Ø (Disambiguation)

The group of astonishing artists that go by the name Underoath have finally released their new masterpiece. Except now, the album does not include their long appreciated and loved drummer/singer, Aaron Gillespie. Aaron has always been (and still is) one of my favorite drummers of all time. So I have been longing to hear what their new drummer sounds like. So when Aaron left the band, Spencer really had to take initiative and be a good leader to help the band stay together. Along with that, he now does all of the vocals (singing and screaming). And he did an amazing job of working with the band on creating a completely new sound.

I have noticed lately that a lot of bands have been striving to create new sounds (kind of like the 70s all over again). Bands like Alexisonfire, Mutiny Within, Animals as Leaders, Augury, Decrepit Birth, Iwrestledabearonce, Keep of Kalessin, I, Nachtmystium, Bring me the Horizon, Winds of Plague, and many more have been striving to create something not slightly new, but completely new, things that haven't been even thought of before! This album somewhat reminds me of Plagues by The Devil Wears Prada. But even then, those two albums sound almost completely different from each other. That is partly why Underoath is my all-time favorite screamo band; because they will go to the edges of the earth to create their own sound (which they are great at). But in my opinion, that's not how they've always been.

Underoath's landmark album (They're only Chasing Safety) is the first album with Spencer Chamberlain being the guy that does all of the screaming, instead of Dallas Taylor. Taylor's departure outraged and upset numerous fans. But the band's worldwide recognition skyrocketed. Here is my personal opinion on all of the albums previous to (They're only Chasing Safety). All of the instrumentations are simple, uncreative, and all of the songs generally sound the same. There just wasn't that much variety or progression in their music. Starting with (They're only Chasing Safety), EVERYTHING that Underoath played was filled with color, experimentation, and pure artistry. I think that Spencer had a huge influence on the band's new sound; constantly supporting progression and wanting to create something new. And ever since that, Underoath's sound has been getting better and better.

A lot of bands rely on one member (or person) to write the basics of a song, and then they take each part and build on top of it to make it have its own unique sound. After that, they will combine each member's part to create the final song, critiquing each other's parts along the way. But Underoath does something completely different. The whole band literally writes everything! This record comes with a bonus documentary DVD that the band filmed and produced themselves (along with occasional interviews by an anonymous interviewer). And it was surprising how each member took a small part in everything. I also noticed that everyone got along perfectly like a family should.

The overall quality of the music on the record is astonishing. The sound of the guitar distortion is a little similar to Lost in the Sound of Separation. I am one of the many people that believe that Aaron is a way better drummer than Daniel. But I think that it's obvious that the band wouldn't hire a mediocre drummer. He has to be good. And Daniel is an amazing drummer! He is a little more stubborn than Aaron, but he is a very good musician with plenty of talent. Aaron's drumming is a little more explosive and chaotic than Daniel's. But Daniel has done a great job of making his drumming blend in well with the music with more of a traditional style, rather than being more abstract. This album is also the album that has the most digital effects and keyboards in the music. This I think really is the main factor that gave this album its truly unique sound.

The instant that the In Division music video got uploaded on YouTube, I watched it (me being view #3). It was nothing that I think anyone was expecting. And the song did nothing short of blowing me away (I think I might have shit myself). The pure color and creativity of the album is not something that can be easily put into words. I would say that the song that sticks out to me as my favorite is Vacant Mouth. In this song, Underoath really tries on the jackets of heavier music. And they did a great job of it, especially with the solos done by almost every member. Driftwood really is a weird one. I can't really say much about it other than that it's cool, but really nothing I've ever heard in my life. If you want to get an idea of what I'm getting at, buy the CD and listen to it, because it's an experience you will never experience ever again unless you play the album again. The three remixes at the end of the album are actually really good (most remixes of metal songs aren't that good, because it's hard!). This album gets a perfect score on ANY scale.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Napalm Death-Scum

Napalm Death has had a huge affect on my musical life. Not only did they make me truly appreciate other crust punk bands, they also have had an influence in my songwriting. I am someone that strongly believes in the crust punk genre (I just call it crust). For those of you that don't know what crust is, it's basically hardcore punk mixed with a metal genre. Some crust bands are Napalm Death (punk mixed with brutal death and grindcore), Hatebreed (punk mixed with thrash metal), Darkthrone's newer material (punk mixed with thrash metal and black metal), Black Flag (punk mixed with thrash metal), and Extreme Noise Terror (punk mixed with death metal). Black Flag was really the first band to start the crust trend. Obviously they got their influences from Venom and Slayer, who formed right before Scum was released. I personally have been growing up listening to Napalm Death due to my older sister playing it in her car and at her house a lot. Out of all of the works of art that Napalm Death has produced, Scum still stands out to me as being a huge landmark in music and a masterpiece.

Scum has a quality that for some reason I love, which is the low quality recording quality. I have this weakness for music that has been recorded with a very raw sound, and very little editing. It shows basically that the band doesn't need any editing to make the recordings better (and also that the band/record label didn't have the equipment or money to edit them). Scum also covers a huge variety of genres, such as hardcore punk, crust, grindcore, brutal death, thrash death, death metal, drone, and speed metal. And to just about every album, there are downsides. The biggest ones are that Lee's vocal style is something that has to take some getting used to, and the drummer uses way too much symbols in some songs. Otherwise, the creativity is outstanding, and the musicianship is very enjoyable. The really fuzzy distortion that the bassist uses sounds really interesting when he plays alone, but it really adds a different kind of distortion to the band's music that sounds outstanding. I would recommend looking at the lyrics for this album, because most of them really give a realistic and accurate view of the mainstream style of living from the perspective of a metalhead that is far away from everything mainstream.

This isn't an album that was meant to be partially listened to. To get the best enjoyment from this album, listen to it when you know you won't get interrupted or have to skip songs. Otherwise, you won't feel truly satisfied. The song that stands out to me the most is the title song. It's obviously the song that they worked on and practiced the most. Divine Death and Parasites are really influential songs that really play around with the elements of thrash metal and grindcore. I noticed that this album possesses the shortest song in existence. You Suffer is about .4 seconds long! That's less than half a second! This album would impress mostly people who are diehard fans of brutal music. This would also be a good album to show people who are still new to the elements of brutal metal. Since first listening to them when I was 12, I have seen them perform twice; both of those times being an amazingly brutal experience, this gets 18/20.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Happy Hanukkahkwanzamas!!!

Hello everyone! Apologies for my absence for I have had so much school work and stuff with my band that i haven't had the time to post. Sound of Silence will be releasing their debut album on the 21st of this month!!!!! Our new website is and don't forget to check out my black metal solo project Cold Cry ( I will be posting reviews and posts at light speed over break, continuing my Iron Maiden review series and start with a black metal series that includes albums like Transilvanian Hunger by Darkthrone, Gorgoroth's 2009 album, and Defective Epitaph by Xasthur. Hanukkah+Kwanza+Christmas=hanukkahkwanzamas!!!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Miss May I-Monument

I've only been listening to Miss May I for a few months. I have known about them since they came out with their first album, but haven't really gotten around to actually listening to them. After being legitimately satisfied with the band's material, I heard from a couple of my friends that they were coming to play in Seattle in about two weeks. They said that they had bought me a ticket because one of them was having his birthday there, so I decided I would go since this band was pretty good, and I had seen both opening acts before and liked one of them. Overall I was satisfied with Miss May I's performance, not something I would spend my own money on but I had fun. I had only heard their first album before that so I bought their new CD since I liked the songs that they played off of it.

First off I would like to say that Miss May I is one of the heaviest metalcore bands I've ever heard in my life. They aren't quite as thrashy and ear suffocating as Mnemic (the heaviest metalcore band I know of), but their breakdowns are so brutal I think my heart skipped a beat during one of them. I would like to note something that I think was a horrible decision. And that is that they chose one of the worst screamers to be a guest vocalist on one of the songs. I mean, he is horrible, and if you want to know just how bad he is, read my review on Attack Attack's self-titled album, and message me and I'll send you two YouTube links that I will have you watch. My favorite thing about the overall sound of the album is that there is tons of clean, meaty bass that sounds awesome. The bass blasts are perfect, without distortion. In Miss May I's first album, the vocalist really needed some improvements due to an undeveloped and unpracticed scream and growl. But in this album, damn, his vocals sound astonishing. His vocal frys are perfect and his growls are deep and full. The singing can be a bit out of tune sometimes, so maybe the singer should practice more and remember to take care of his throat and such. One thing that I recently realized is that this band is one of the only screamo/metalcore bands that get regular air time (I don't know about the rest of the world but they sure get played on one of my stations quite a bit), even though there are tons more other bands like that that never get played on the radio, which is something that I've always wondered (which probably why the concert had tons of people there). An improvement that I would make is that most of the breakdowns in the album sound very similar to each other, which shows lack in creativity. I think that the best musician in the band is most definitely their drummer! The drummer uses a larger than usual set and (unlike most drummers that use huge sets) he actually uses it and knows how to use it well! That and the singing are the main downsides to this album.

The first song is one of their faster songs, and the band really nails keeping on time which makes the song really cool. The song starts out with pure speed and brutality, and then makes a very smooth transition to a melodic, sung chorus with an excellent transition back in to the speed and anger. The second song is my favorite, despite the fact that it features one of my most hated and unsupported vocalists. The song is very fast a lot of the times, and then has a whole mish-mosh of melodic parts, brutal breakdowns, and other unexpected stuff. This song is really where the drummer shows everyone what he is capable of, huge thumbs up for the fancy drumming! Now the breakdown at the end is one of the most brutal breakdowns I've ever heard a melodic band play, when I heard it, I couldn't stop smiling and laughing because it really gave the song an astonishingly fantastical ending. The pure anger and rage in the whole album is so controlled and beautifully expressed. This album definitely gets a solid 19/20. This album would mainly impress people who are fans of melodic death, metalcore, and screamo. I will most likely buy their new album.