Uneasy Listening: 05/20/11
What gets us through the work week over here in "Revolver-land," as Lars Ulrich calls it? Hard rock and heavy metal, of course. (And occasionally something a little softer. Hey, you got a problem with that?!) So every Friday we're going to be posting some of the albums that our staff has been rocking over the past week. Maybe you'll find something you like—or at least something to bust on us about.
Editor in Chief
Strapping Young Lad, Strapping Young Lad
“We’re featuring former Strapping Young Lad main maniac Devin Townsend on the ‘Favorite Shit’ page in our issue out July 5, and shit, the photo shoot and interview came up hilarious. So hilarious that the piece inspired me to go back to this, my favorite SYL album. A great record and a great band live.”
Dead Letter Circus, This is the Warning
“Cool album from a cool Australian band that Sumerian Records is putting out stateside in July. Their music falls somewhere between the weirdo, proggy, experi-mental realms of Tool, Muse, and the Mars Volta. That kind of shit generally gets on my nerves pretty quickly, but there are some solid, catchy songs here.”
Morbid Angel, Illud Divinum Insanus
“Still jamming this album, which is finally out in a couple weeks. I. Am. Morbid.”
Dark Castle, Surrender to All Life Beyond Form
“This growly sludge-metal duo gets really out their on this, their second full-length, and for the most part the experiments work. I especially like the piano and other effects on ‘Learning to Unlearn.’ In fact, the only real turn-off on this album is hackish song titles like ‘Learning to Unearn.’ (Two more terrible song titles: ‘I Hear Wind’ and ‘To Hide Is to Die.’ Nope, nope, nope.)”
Nekromantheon, Divinity of Death
“This Norwegian thrash crew shares members with the equally notable death-metal group Obliteration. Divinity of Death, their first full-length, recalls American thrash like Exodus and early Anthrax more than Euro thrash greats like Destruction and Sodom—but the growly vocals are undeniably European. Definitely worth your time.”
Black Sabbath, Born Again
“My favorite band of all time is Ozzy-era Black Sabbath—hands down. As such, I’ve always been pretty hot and cold about their other eras. I’ve tried getting into Born Again, which features Deep Purple frontman Ian Gillan on vocals, a few times over the years, after all it’s the last studio album to feature the original lineup (minus Ozzy). After listening to the WhoCares—the supergroup featuring Gillan and Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi—so many times over the past week, I’ve come back to this and found a lot about it I like. ‘Disturbing the Priest’ and especially ‘Zero the Hero’ are great songs. I even like the ‘ballad,’ ‘Keep It Warm.’ I still have a hard time calling them Sabbath, but now I can see why musicians ranging from Cannibal Corpse to Lars Ulrich can call this album a classic. You just have to overlook the clichéd album cover and exceptionally bad sound mix—two things Gillan has always complained about with this record. I’m hoping when the deluxe version comes out on May 30 that it sounds better.”
Captain Beefheart, Safe as Milk
"This album is not as revered as Trout Mask Replica, but it’s way more accessible and catchy. 'Sure 'Nuff 'n Yes I Do,' and 'Call on Me' are killer tunes and this is some of the heaviest bass playing pre-Geezer Butler that is out there. (Jerry Handley on bass!)"
Jeff Beck Group, Truth
"Not as well known as the Hendrix/Clapton/Page three-headed guitar monster, Beck in my opinion is even better. Proof of that is on his post-Yardbird’s 1968 debut of the Jeff Beck Group. Released at the same time as Led Zeppelin, this record is just as hard-hitting and legendary in my eyes (ears?) and this is some of the heaviest bass playing pre-Geezer Butler that is out there. (Ronnie Wood on bass!)"
Blue Cheer, Vincebus Eruptum
"Cream might have been the first power trio, but these Bay-area acid freaks played even faster and louder. This album is super short on songs, but long on power. Even if this just contained their balls-to-the-walls cover of Eddie Cochran’s 'Summertime Blues,' heavy music would never be the same. This is some of the heaviest bass playing pre-Geezer Butler that is out there. (Dickie Peterson on bass!)"
Lock Up, Necropolis Transparent
"Grind, grind, grind and a little bit evil grind, too. I was never a big fan of the previous Lock Up records--not even sure why? The band features duders from At The Gates, Napalm Death, and Cradle of Filth. I mean, Napalm Death know how to grind and At The Gates were one of the best bands ever... So, yeah, this records grinds hard."
Trap Them, Darker Handcraft
"I seriously have not been able to stop listening to this record ever since it came out in March (or in our case over here, since we got our hands on it in February). Pissed and catchy, a little Entombed, a touch of Dismember, a dab of Black Flag, and a hint of Converge, really just some well-written metal songs. One of the best records in 2011 in my opinion."
"I love this record. I know fans were kind of bummed when it came out, but to me, this record is the black-metal Black Album. Jon Nödtveidt’s swan song, this record sounds like a well-calculated and well-written masterpiece. Really sounds like Jon poured all he had left into this album and everything was considered. I come back to this record all the time."