Tag Archives: review

Album Review: Pulled Apart By Horses

Album Review: Pulled Apart By Horses
Album: Tough Love
Label: Transgressive

Somewhere, buried deep within a cupboard which is rarely blessed by daylight, I have a hand-drawn comic created by the lads from Pulled Apart By Horses, picked up all the way back in 2009. It’s a little reminder of the hard graft that the lads from Leeds have put into their art; an effort that has been well rewarded with the rapturous reaction to live shows and the healthy dose of radio coverage that they’ve received to boot. Continue reading Album Review: Pulled Apart By Horses

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Album Review: Admiral Angry

Admiral Angry - BusterAlbum Review: Admiral Angry
Album: Buster
Label: Shelsmusic

With a name like that it’s easy to only give Admiral Angry a cursory glance, simply writing them off as a bit of a silly sounding band. But delve just a little bit deeper, to the tracklisting of their debut album Buster, and those initial conceptions will immediately crumble. ‘Sex With a Stranger’, ‘Kill Yourself’ and my personal favourite, ‘Bug Vomit’ are just some examples of the imaginative epithets on offer. Explicit and disarming, Admiral Angry’s subject material is shocking, and that’s before you’ve even listened to the tracks. Despite their rather comical name, do not expect a laugh a minute ride. When they say they’re angry, they really mean it. Continue reading Album Review: Admiral Angry

EP Review: Sons of Noel and Adrian

Sons of Noel and Adrian - Rivers EPEP Review: Sons of Noel and Adrian
EP: Rivers
Label: One Inch Badge Records

Music writing as part of the Sons Of Noel and Adrian collective must be an interesting experience. Consisting of twelve talented members, all with their own ideas and thoughts on what to write, it’s commendable that the band have managed to cram all those personalities onto just three songs, in their stop-gap follow up to last year’s self-titled debut album. Having said that, there is one overriding attitude that prevails over any other individual influences, and that is one of total melancholy. Continue reading EP Review: Sons of Noel and Adrian

Album Review: Powerdrive – Steel Roots

Powerdrive - Steel RootsArtist: Powerdrive
Album: Steel Roots
Label: Self Released

Here’s the first album review of 2009, which is set to be the worst year ever for everyone in the world. So what better way to kick off the year with some heavy fucking metal from Sweden? Concerned? Yeah, so was I given the terribly 80’s album cover and band logo that looks like it was an idea thrown into the rubbish heap for the Sega Mega Drive. But never judge a book by it’s cover, and so I eventually braved listening to Powerdrive’s debut, Steel Roots. Continue reading Album Review: Powerdrive – Steel Roots

Album Review: Mogwai – The Hawk Is Howling

Artist: Mogwai
Album: The Hawk is Howling
Label: Wall of Sound

How does a band like Mogwai go about recording an album? Known as one of the leading pioneers of that post rock arena, even if they don’t like the label, they can’t deny their incredible talent that has seen some of the greatest albums ever recorded done so in their name. Despite coming from Glasgow, surely a bad start in life for anyone, they have consistently released albums of such high quality that even their most dedicated fans still can’t quite agree on what is their magnum opus. So, with all this pressure upon the four men of Mogwai, how do they go about working on album number seven without sounding stale, without repeating past ideas, without alienating new and old fans alike? If there’s any one band that has had enough practice answering those questions, it’s the ‘Gwai. Continue reading Album Review: Mogwai – The Hawk Is Howling

Album Review: Metallica – Death Magnetic

Artist: Metallica
Album: Death Magnetic
Label: Warner Bros.

For some this album is like a second coming. The gradual build up of expectancy and hype, which saw Metallica fans straining their eyes across the internet at poor quality phone footage of new songs eagerly setting online forums ablaze with questions, with doubts, with fears and with a childlike innocence that suggested to all these worried fans: “It’s ok children, Uncle Metallica won’t let you down again.” Continue reading Album Review: Metallica – Death Magnetic

Review: ASHES dIVIDE – Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright

Perhaps most known for his work with Maynard James Keenan of Tool fame in poppy proggy combination band ‘A Perfect Circle’, Billy Howerdel has decided to jump the shark and take on a solo project of his own, maybe inspired by his friend Maynard’s recent foray into the world of solo musicianship, Puscifer.

First things first – ASHES dIVIDE is a terrible name for a project, and is made even worse when you decide to go against the rules of grammar and spell it with extreme capital letters. Add to this the fact that the album title, ‘Keep Telling Myself It’s Alright’ sounds like My Chemical Romance’s next release and the warning bells are immediately ringing louder than a fire alarm in Camden.

One thing is for sure – Howerdel really was the creative force of A Perfect Circle. Each song has that same almost ethereal atmosphere that APC managed to pull off on their two original albums (let’s not talk about that abhorrent cover album – as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t exist) with a labyrinth of meddling guitars and simple drumming that, despite being pretty quiet, manages to pierce through the soundscapes like a hoard of stampeding goats. That’s assuming that goats do stampede.

What is even more interesting to hear is Howerdel’s singing. Despite being looked upon as a guitarist, he does a bloody good job of carrying some interesting and haunting melodies with his voice, without falling into the trap of sounding too whingy or too quiet. He doesn’t quite have the same vocal ability as Maynard, but it came as a pleasant surprise to hear him sing, to the point where I almost took a double take thinking Maynard might have slipped in a cheeky guest appearance.

Despite being a ‘solo’ album, Howerdel also enlists the help of some other musicians, including Maynards son Devo playing the cello.

The first single off the album, ‘The Stone’ is the closest thing to that APC sound that Howerdel can’t seem to completely escape from. It’s rocky, there’s a little guitar solo thrown in and a hypnotic chorus that stands out from the airy vocals used throughout the verses and it all eventually builds to a repeated crescendo which see’s the song end in a rather cliché guitar riff and drum bangs. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it was probably the justification for the sheer unoriginality in this track.

The album itself breezes past you in a flurry of four to five minute songs that successfully becomes blander than a white wall. At least with APC you had a mix of heavy and light tracks to keep you aware that you were listening to an album and not the sound of a light breeze. Furthermore, closer track ‘Sword’ does one of the few things that completely infuriates me. During the previous ten tracks things have been fast and digestiable, which is absolutely fine. But, Howerdel, like the majority of rock bands these days, has seemingly tacked on a longer song with a piano for the sake of closing on an epic. It’s just such a tired idea that only seems to suggest that he himself found the sound of the album all a bit dull, and decided to change things for the finale so as to avoid any bitter tastes left in the listener’s ears.

Howerdel has proven here that he is a very talented musician. He played pretty much everything which is no mean feat, but listening to the album just makes it all sound like a poor man’s A Perfect Circle, and even they were a poor man’s Tool. It’s bland, and gets a little bit boring towards the end, only really livened up by a couple of select tracks near the end. Of all the emotions I’m left feeling, it’s one of disappointment – I feel Howerdel can do much better than this, if he just moved away from the sound of his previous work. Perhaps even, dare I say it, take a risk.