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Album Review: Bullet For My Valentine – Venom

bullet_for_my_valentine_venom_eae2207cc6After 2013’s Temper Temper I was a bit skeptical about a new Bullet For My Valentine album.  When initial reports spread that Venom was more reminiscent of earlier BFMV, I thought it was enough of an excuse to buy new music and give it a try.  In short, what I heard was accurate.  The new material is much less “pop” sounding than Temper Temper.  This can only be a good thing.  After numerous spins, I find the first half of the album is stronger than the latter.  As the album played on, my interest dwindled a little bit. However, tracks such as No Way Out, Army of Noise, and Broken really kick up the adrenaline.  Worthless is one of their anger-management-I-hate-you power ballads BMFV does well.  Overall, Venom is a solid BFMV album that should please long-time fans.  3.5 out of 5

Album:  Venom

Label: RCA Records

Release Date:  14 Aug 2015

Songs:  15

Length:  58 Minutes

Previous Albums:  The Poison (2005); Scream Aim Fire (2008); Fever (2010); Temper Temper (2013).

Location:  United Kingdom

Missed Reviews: Killswitch Engage; Bullet For My Valentine; Ghost Brigade; Toxic Holocaust; Skeletonwitch; Cradle of Filth

If I had it my way I would by every album I want with the money that grows on this tree outside.  But, since the world doesn’t work like that some potential album purchases get pushed to the wayside until a time arises when the wallet fairy says it’s time to buy.  In some cases, like with Ghost Brigade, I never knew they existed.  So, thanks to people like you, readers, fellow bloggers, and my Metal State cohorts, I get introduced to all kinds of bands, hence Ghost Brigade.  This segment is something I never did before, but I thought it would be cool to catch up on a few things I never got around to or freshly introduced to.  If you are like me, I hope you find something you like.  Enjoy!

Killswitch Engage – Disarm The Descent (2013)

Killswitch Engage is a band that was never really on my radar, but I could count on them for some pretty cool songs off each album; not to mention one cover I am really fond of.  In fact, by the time I heard of the band I didn’t even realize they were on a second vocalist in Howard Jones.  So, when I heard Jesse Leach was returning to the band I barely noticed there was ever much of a difference from the old to the most recent of their albums at the time.  When news of the latest album broke, I figured I would get around to it…well, that time is now.

I have to say my generalized opinion has changed a bit from my previous position.  I rather enjoy the new work.  I still only hear barely a difference in vocal style from Jones back to Leach, but music I find more attractive than past endeavors from Killswitch camp.  I felt most of their songs were a bit choppy whereas the Disarm the Descent has a smoother cadence and flow. Overall, a little bummed I didn’t grab it upon release, but I am happy to have it now and have given it several pleasurable spins.

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The Value of a Music Review…

541-album-reviewWhat does an album review do for you?  Do you make decisions based on what other people, those you don’t even know, say about an album?  If you are an avid Slayer fan, and I told you their newest album sucked beyond all suckiness would you still buy it?  After all, a review is nothing more than someone else’s opinion.  There is no scientific method for a music review applicable to all listeners.  But, do they still affect your desire to purchase something…or not purchase something?

I like to think that people make up their own minds. I like to think that I make up my own mind regardless of what other people say; however, I find myself in a position where an album review is actually impacting whether or not I buy an album.

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Theme Thursday – Metallica Covers

I think most metalheads like a good cover tune. What separates a good cover from a bad one?  Do you like when the cover is basically exactly the same or recreated using  a basic shell of the original song?  For me, it doesn’t really matter as long as it’s good.  I like both kinds of cover tunes.  Some bands lend themselves to being covered more than others.  For example, how many Megadeth covers do you hear out there?  I think there are a few, but not enough to stack a CD full of Megadeth covers.  Is that because Mustaine’s vocals are too hard to recreate?   Is it because the guitar work is too hard for the average guitarist?  You hardly ever hear bands cover Anthrax or Opeth.  I have yet to hear a band cover Blitz’s unique vocals in Overkill.   I am sure there are rough and edgy recordings on YouTube out there, but for the most part they are very rare.

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Album Review: AxeWound – Vultures

What is another name for a vagina?  Apparently, it’s AxeWound which happens to be the name of the new British-Canadian collaboration formed in 2012.   According to co-founder Matt Tuck of Bullet For My Valentine, AxeWound looks like a vagina and sounds “metal as fuck.”  The five-piece was also co-founded by Liam Cormier of Canada’s Cancer Bats.  Other members of the band are former members of Rise To Remain, Pitchshifter, and Glamour Of The Kill.  Needless to say, this is an experienced grouping of musicians coming together to create some cool metal.  This could be the start of something cool or a disaster waiting to crumble under the pressure of the band’s pedigree.  As far as the band’s title, it sure does sound metal, but if you look at the album cover very closely…leans more toward something else.

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Song of the Week – Cold

Last night I just happen to come across the video for this song, Cold, by AxeWound. I read about this collaboration band a while back; if you never heard of them they are basically members of Cancer Bats (Liam Cormier), Buller For My Valentine (Matt Tuck), Rise To Remain (Joe Copcutt), Glamour of the Kill (Mike Kingswood), and Pitchshifter (Mike Bowld).  I don’t believe any of these bands are on hiatus or defunct, AxeWound was started as a side project and as far as I can tell, still is.  I read recently that BFMV have finished recording their next album which means we will probably see it in stores in about 3-4 months.

As far as the song goes, it sounds pretty good to me, pretty straightforward metal as far as I am concerned and worth a little more exploring. Their debut album is going to be released October 1st, and I am sure I will be picking that one up which means you will see it reviewed shortly thereafter.  Have a great Wednesday and enjoy the Song of the Week – Cold – AxeWound.

New Band Alert: AxeWound

I have been reading about this band AxeWound for some time now.  I saw they were put in a good position at Download Festival (different day than when I went), so I thought I would finally give them a spin.  Their two main members hail from Bullet For My Valentine and Cancer Bats – Matt Tuck and Liam Cormier respectively.  I am a fan of BFMV, but not too familiar with Cancer Bats.  Either way, the article I just read on my digital copy of Metal Hammer featured an article about them and it promised to be heavier than what both BFMV and Cancer Bats creates in their bands.  Matt Tuck of BFMV stated that AxeWound is heavier than anything he could or should so in his main band, so this is a nice side-gig for him to express his musical desires.   That was enough to sell on getting my butt to YouTube for a listen.

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Theme Thursday – UK Metal

After my theme on Canadian metal bands, I figure it’s time to move over to an area I currently reside in; The United Kingdom.  I am sure you are well aware of the UK’s illustrious contributions in metal; therefore, I am not going to rehash some of the legends that have poured out of this region such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Ozzy, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, or even Def Leppard.  I am going to try to stay away from more well-known artists such as Cradle of Filth and Dragonforce.  Before I begin my discussion about what is current on these islands, I will give a brief overview of the UK mainly for my American brothers and sisters of metal.

The UK is made up of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.  I am stationed in England where the population is about 51 million (2008 estimate).  To put that into perspective, England is about the same size as the American State of Indiana.  The population of Indiana is about 6.5 million and is the 15th most densely populated American State.  England may be small in landmass, but is huge on international influence and culture to include heavy metal.  Many consider England to be the birthplace of metal, more specifically, in Birmingham.  So here we go.  This is what the UK has to offer right here and now.

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iTouch Report – July 2011

It’s time to discuss what we have been listening to this last 31 days.  I am going to do this month’s report just a bit different because 9 of my top 10 songs on my playlist all came from the same album…Symphony X’s Iconoclast.  That wouldn’t make for an exciting or diverse monthly report.  So I am going to take my top 20 non-Symphony X songs and talk about them instead.  But first…

Iconoclast does kick ass and I find myself listening to it everyday since it’s release.  There are songs for all occasions; thinking, exercising, dreaming about being a rock star.  Iconoclast is really an outstanding collection of new Symphony X.  Nine of ten top songs on my iTouch this month go to Symphony X.  Here are the next 10, so there is something more to talk about.

20.  Queensryche – At the Edge – off the album Dedicated to Chaos

19.  Machine Head – Wolves – off the album The Blackening

18.  Amorphis – Mermaid – off the album The Beginning of Times

17.  Katatonia – Sleeper – off the album Viva Emptiness

16.  Katatonia – Burn the Remembrance – off the album Viva Emptiness

15.  Amon Amarth – Destroyer of the Universe – off the album Surter Rising

14.  Megadeth – 1,320 – off the album Endgame

13.  Bullet For My Valentine – Dignity – off the album Fever

12.  Katatonia – Criminals – off the album Viva Emptiness

11.  Evile – Thrasher off the album Enter The Grave

Other than Symphony X, this is what has been whirling between my ears in the month of July.  Stay tuned, there will be a lot of new metal coming our way in the coming weeks and all of September.  What’s been blasting your brain lately?

iTouch Report – April 2011

It’s that time of the month to talk about what you have been listening to.  My list surprised me a little, but when I gave it some thought I see why my list for the month is  a bit more mellow than usual.  The reason for that was the long flight to the States.  I tend to listen to less metal and more prog and other slower stuff to keep me realized.  So here is what I have been into in April  starting with #10 and working to my most played song on my iTouch.  This list is based on about 600 songs loaded to my iTouch.

10.  Biffy Clyro – Born on a Horse

9.  Ensiferum – Twilight Tavern

8.  Biffy Clyro – Mountains

7.  Biffy Clyro – That Golden Rule

6.  Bullet for my Valentine – The Last Fight

5.  Biffy Clyro – The Captain

4.  Cavalera Conspiracy – Warlord

3.  Biffy Clyro – God & Satan

2.  Children of Bodom – Northpole Throwdown

1.  Amon Amarth – Destroyer of the Universe

I guess you can imagine which of these songs I worked out to and which ones were not on my workout playlist.  Biffy Clyro is one band I first heard of when they were announced as headliners on the Saturday bill of U.K. Sonisphere in July 2011.  Up to that point I never even heard of the band.  There was a lot of grumbling on Facebook about it, but I had to hear them for myself.  IMO, festivals are supposed to please a wide variety of people so seeing Biffy there is not surprising to me.

Of course, Scuzz and Kerrang starting playing Biffy videos and you what?  Biffy Clyro really isn’t that bad.  In fact my best comparison to Biffy Clyro would be Weezer and Foo Fighters, both of which I like.  Biffy might be a bit harder and darker than Weezer, but in the same ballpark.  So I bought their latest album, Only revolutions and listened to it a lot on the flight over.  That explains why they appear so much on this month’s list.  Their song Mountains was actually a good running tune along with the other metal I was running to.  If you like Weezer or Foo Fighters you might go for Biffy. Check them out.

The rest of the songs on the list really kick ass and kept me motivated while running.  I don’t have a lot of time to you use my iTouch since I am at school all day then busy with homework at night.  I have been using my computer to listen to tunes more than my iTouch, which is mainly used to help improve my fitness level.  So in May you might see a genre reversal on my playlist.  But, you never know.

So what have you been listening to?  Does your playlist change based on something like traveling or studying?  Have you heard Biffy Clyro?  What’s on your mind?

Here are a few of clips of this months iTouch top 10.

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