I’ve been listening to new stuff this time. I wanted somewhere to write about it though, and the style I’m going to write about it in best fits this series. Even if I’m not currently on a challenge, here comes some descriptions of the music I’ve been listening to:
First up; Kezia by Protest The Hero. This is a concept album released by Canadian (at the time) teenagers.
This may sound a little clichéd, but its like a band playing a medley of different sections from songs by At The Gates, Children Of Bodom, Megadeth, Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Sikth, Dillenger Escape Plan, Gallows, Parkway Drive, Coheed & Cambria, Fair To Midland, Funeral For A Friend and Panic At The Disco all at once.
They also drop a cut-to acoustic and woman-singer once like There Is A Hell era Horizon and there’s an acoustic section at very end of the album which sounds a bit like ‘My Empty Room’ by Queensryche. There’s even a bit on the lead single ‘Blindfolds Aside’ which reminds me of the ridiculously fun ‘Manhunt’ by Wolfsbane.
Rather than sounding muddled, confused, or cheesy, they somehow manage to pull off this Alterna-Prog-Gothenburg-Metal and Math-Emo-Core mixture (with song structures that should be obnoxiously bizzare but mysteriously feel natural) with an absolute flair and perfection.
There’s such a brilliant spark of creativity, every single section in this gigantic puzzle of a record is brilliant in and of itself, (every single one!) and each one perfectly compliments the next, and indeed the next few along. Every song is a well thought out and surprising journey that never feels like “wacky for the sake of it” and yet flutters between styles, tempos, time-sigs and vocal styles in a way that could easily be described as bonkers if it didn’t somehow flow so not-only-smoothly-but-magically.
Every single song has got stars on my iPod now. There’s not many albums I own that can boast that. Even two of my favourite albums every (The Keepers and Mindcrime) don’t boast that. This is a level of perfection up there with Crack The Skye. It’s the kind of billion-piece project that you could hear a different new part you never noticed before on each new listen. Its beyond a grower… its a perpetual motion beanstalk. It’s the kind of album that could feel like Melodeath or Metalcore or modern Alterna-Prog depending on what mood you’re in. Fans of In Flames and fans of My Chemical Romance could sit down and enjoy it together. …and there’s no cheesy ballads or song-full-of-pointless-blast beats to skip either. There’s not even a stupid intro. Or any out-of-place comedy vocals. Its just a solid ball of serious music uninterrupted by distractions. There’s nothing wacky or off putting about it other than how very good it is, and your own personal preference on the actual constituent parts that form its mixture.
I know some Between The Buried And Me fans won’t appreciate the MCR vibes and some From Autumn To Ashes fans won’t appreciate the Arch Enemy sonic references, but please don’t be put off by a band I mentioned that you don’t like, if you do like any of them then you should check this out.
It sounds like today what Rust In Peace sounded like when it was new. It’s a super-technical yet super melodic mixture of musician-impressing virtuosity and every-man pleasing melody that’s heavy enough for the heavy crowd and light enough for the light crowd, with enough talent and interesting parts to fill up ten albums by only slightly less brilliant bands.
Seriously. Check it the fuck out!
Before I started repeat-listening to Kezia, I had checked out one more Madball album. Look My Way to be precise. That brings my total up to three (the first three). I got a £1 MP3 Credit off of Amazon when I reordered those Helloween albums that got cancelled, and I used it on this £3 Madball album to get it for £2. Yeah. £2 is a good price for an album. Not going to e any buyer’s remorse there.
Like all the Madball albums I got off Amazon-MP3 though, there’s some weird glitches at the end of songs that cut them short and rob me of endings. I don’t know if it can be fixed or what. It’s weird listening to some pummeling hardcore suddenly take a Trent Reznor direction that you only realize was unintentional when it happens again in the next song. “What do you mean Madball aren’t an industrial band? Haven’t you heard the electronic glitch noises in there. That whole record is a crazy concept album where the computer destroys every song!”
Anyway the album. In parts… more of the same. Which is absolutely fine by me. In other parts, it’s a bit thinner and slower and more considered. Good mixture between evolution and continuation.
Its hard to dislike Madball. They are Biohazard without Rap. They are Hatebreed without Metalcore. Its just super straight-forward, Metallic Hardcore with lots of gang vocals, and short bouncy songs full of aggression, without that noisy, sloppy, out of tune and out of time punk vibe that I don’t like. Just boom. The best bit of a Biohazard song and then the song is over. Hooray.
There’s also a song in the back somewhere where they sing in either Spanish or Portuguese (I didn’t learn either at school unfortunately) which really reminds me of Downset.
Speaking of re-ordering cancelled Helloween albums, I got those three (Better Than Raw through to Rabbit’) in the post yesterday afternoon. I listened to them. I was however, also reading Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns for the first time while I listened to them. So my attention was somewhat elsewhere.
In general, I’m not disappointed. It all seemed like varied, enjoyable, Power Metal with a few twists (like some Black Label Society sounding bits on The Dark Ride, and some Sitar music and Reggae on Rabbit’) with the usual Deris era Hard Rock undertones still in there, and the band’s usual silly lyrics (“something growing in my pants”) to almost put me off, but lots of stuff close to the Keepers style only updated and altered. Of course I want more Keepers-sounding music, but that’s why god invented Gamma Ray (fuck I love Gamma Ray) and Helloween have some very unique music to offer in their new style. Its cool when they kick into heavy staccato breakdowns, or whip out some of the other post-Keepers tricks they’ve picked up over the years.
I’m going to check these three albums out a hell of a lot more in the coming weeks (and maybe even while not simultaneously reading).
I also listened to Soil’s new album again. Its good. Its sort of like their previous style, but with modern updates. In places it sounds a little Black Label Society too, and even a bit DevilDriver. They always bring it back to super commercial territory though. It won’t alienate existing Soil listeners, but the new heaviness isn’t so all pervasive as to instantly chuck them on tour beside Lamb Of God and Devildriver and call it the “fuck-heavy-groove-tour-for-crushing-skulls.” Its kind of like… its heavier, for fans who moved on and are a bit self conscious of Soil. Its them doing what they always do, but accommodating for the fact that the listeners probably like heavier stuff now too. It doesn’t sound like Lamb Of God, but on shuffle, its not as big a whiplash as going from Lamb Of God to Linkin Park. Its a smooth step down, instead of one of those steps where you miss two steps and sort of fall to far and you feel your stomach jump a bit, and when you land your shin hurts for a second.
Either way, its good. I always loved Sean’s voice. I always liked Sean era Soil. I have my Surname printed on the Halo single (there was a Metal Hammer Competition at the time). Its good that he’s back in the band. Its good that the new album isn’t embarrassing and out-of-date yet its also good it still sounds exactly like early Soil. Its good that its good.
Also, I’ve been listening to all that Alice In Chains stuff as well, slowly absorbing it. But that’s another article. Its time to bring this meeting to a close. Goodbye for now.