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Deftones Gore Review

General Information:

Artist: Deftones
Album: Gore
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Experimental Rock
Released: 2016
Length: 48 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Reprise Records

Track List:

01. Prayers/Triangles
02. Acid Hologram
03. Doomed User
04. Geometric Headdress
05. Hearts/Wires
06. Pittura Infamante
07. Xenon
08. (L)MIRL
09. Gore
10. Phantom Bride
11. Rubicon

Deftones Gore Cover

Deftones Gore Cover

Deftones Gore Review

Gore is the 8th studio album by American rock band Deftones. As the band has evolved and implemented new sounds into their repertoire over the years it is self-evident with Gore that they’re still cutting into new territory. This has largely been caused by the conflicts within the band over what direction they should move in and somehow both camps got their way through an amalgamation of post hardcore, post rock, shoegaze and sludge metal in different measures. Some of these genres do already overlap in other musical circles but Deftones have managed to combine them in an entirely new way that most easily placed Gore under the large umbrella genre of experimental rock.

The use of the pop format is still present in many places but there is also a two part song found in Pittura Infamante, meaning “infamous painting” in Italian, and Xenon. This format also works to their advantage by being able to experiment sonically while still appealing to a wide audience.

Chino Moreno’s voice is at times heavily distorted to sound like high pitched radio garble so his lyrics aren’t always easy to recognise, with many of them being cryptic enough to be interpreted in many ways depending on the listener, but he also clings onto his distinct singing voice elsewhere when he isn’t breaking into a shouting frenzy elsewhere.

There are some parallels to be found with their 2006 album, Saturday Night Wrist, in terms of subdued musical elements although the flirtation with trip hop found there and with White Pony (2000) are nowhere to be heard. The opening song, Prayers/Triangles, kicks off Gore with familiar feedback noise from Saturday Night Wrist’s opening song, Hole in the Earth, but instead of launching into a meaty guitar riff it dissolves to introduce the subdued moods that are littered throughout Gore. (L)MIRL follows on much in the same way whereas the title track is much less streamlined and evolves into a massive sludge metal plod towards the end.

There is certainly no hugger-mugger from the variety of influences that have crept into the melting pot that is Gore because everything from the internal conflicts of the bands has managed to be turned into an unexpected advantage rather than a hindrance. How far the pendulum swings from this point on is yet to be seen but if Gore is any indication to go by then Deftones will continue to innovate.

Performers:

Abe Cunningham: Drums
Stephen Carpenter: Guitar
Frank Delgado: Samples, keyboards
Chino Moreno: Vocals, guitar
Sergio Vega: Bass
Jerry Cantrell: Additional guitars (track 10)

External Links:

Deftones Homepage
Deftones on Wikipedia
Gore on Wikipedia

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Tomahawk Tomahawk Review

General Information:

Artist: Tomahawk
Album: Tomahawk
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Experimental Rock
Released: 2001
Length: 42 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Ipecac Recordings

Track List:

01. Flashback
02. 101 North
03. Point and Click
04. God Hates a Coward
05. Pop 1
06. Sweet Smell of Success
07. Sir Yes Sir
08. Jockstrap
09. Cul de Sac
10. Malocchio
11. Honeymoon
12. Laredo
13. Narcosis

Tomahawk Tomahawk Cover

Tomahawk Tomahawk Cover

Tomahawk Tomahawk Review

Tomahawk is the debut album of the eponymous rock super group featuring vocalist Mike Patton (Faith No More, Mr. Bungle, Fantomas), guitarist Duane Denison (The Jesus Lizard), bassist Kevin Rutmanis (Cows, The Melvins) and drummer John Stanier (Helmet). With the band members’ collective backgrounds covering post-hardcore, noise rock, country rock and experimental music among other genres it would be difficult to guess what the end result would be although you could describe Tomahawk as an experimental rock album that blends a wide scope of influences together in their own twisted fashion while retaining some pop sensibilities, mostly in terms of song structures.

Gritty lyrical themes appear throughout the album to tackle different subjects with the most noteworthy arguably being found on Flashback, the first song on the album, which starts out with a seemingly harmless description of someone undergoing hypnosis before a sampled voice counts down “3, 2, 1” to start visiting memories to end up diverting into child abuse with snarled lines like “I’m a schoolboy why don’t you teach me/bend over and we’ll hush the squealing/put on the mask and dance for Daddy/wait for the world to say it’s sorry”. The bridge of the song sees it descending into a series of screams and cries that alternate between your speakers and make you think that if this is how the albums starts, it is going to be a twisted experience in one form or another if this is Tomahawk decided to introduce themselves to the world.

101 North focuses on hitchhiking through a ghost town the ends in a hijacking and the ensuing violence whereas the short country song Cul De Sac, which is stripped down to an acoustic guitar and telephone vocals, is used to express an apathetic view of the end of the world with Mike Patton speak-singing “the world is growin’ old/and preparin’ for sleep/but you and me are just not gettin’ outta bed/wakin’ up/sunbathing on the shores of a nightmare”. The lo-fi recording style used on this song adds an eerie touch to it much like the harmonica contribution of JD Wilkes (Legendary Shack Shakers) does to the country rock song Point and Click when it interplays with the bass guitar.

Underneath the grittiness of the lyrics found on many of the songs is a sense of humour and self-awareness in the band which comes out on the satirical Pop 1. This song mocks the nu metal and rap rock trend of the late ‘90s and early 2000s by using a steady drum/bass combo with keyboard ambience for the verses before lunging into a screaming frenzy on the chorus to proclaim that “this beat could win me a Grammy” backed by the guitar. There are more cutting lyrics found throughout the song but they are nigh-on impossible to understand without the lyrics written out in front of you due to the jabbering delivery of them.

Another country-inspired song is the albums closer, Narcosis, which is also sombre in nature and is complete with wordless chanting to counter-balance the noise rock explosion on Laredo. Tomahawk also penned a downbeat quasi-ballad in the form of Sweet Smell of Success complete with elements of noise music as well as the more even-tempered Honeymoon that has subtle glitching noises and panted breathing sounds.

Tomahawk offer a lot of variety on their debut album while managing to strike a good balance between accessibility and experimentation that comes through the blending of some pop sensibilities with different rock subgenres and the creativity that has manifested itself through the members’ collaborative efforts.

Performers:

Mike Patton: Vocals, keyboards and samples
Duane Denison: Guitar
Kevin Rutmanis: Bass guitar
John Stanier: Drums
JD Wilkes Harmonica on “Point and Click”

External Links:

Tomahawk on Ipecac Recordings
Tomahawk (band) on Wikipedia
Tomahawk (album) on Wikipedia

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Stolen Babies There Be Squabbles Ahead Review

Stolen Babies There Be Squabbles Ahead Review

Artist: Stolen Babies
Album: There Be Squabbles Ahead
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Experimental Rock
Released: 2006
Length: 49 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): The End Records, No Comment Records

Track List:

01. Spill!
02. Awful Fall
03. Filistata
04. A Year of Judges
05. So Close
06. Tablescrap
07. Swint? Or Slude?
08. Mind Your Eyes
09. Lifeless
10. Tall Tales
11. Push Button
12. Gathering Fingers
13. The Button Has Been Pushed

Stolen Babies There Be Squabbles Ahead Cover

There Be Squabbles Ahead is the debut album of the genre bending Stolen Babies. The quartet manages to pair their unusual take on rock music with twisted circus-like sounds that move in many bizarre directions while featuring an alarming number of instruments. The more common ones being the accordion, organ and piano in addition to the standard bass, drum and guitar set up. Stolen Babies then go as far as using a glockenspiel, jaw harp, mandolin, sitar, marimba, tuba, trumpet, euphonium and a violin in a low-key capacity.

The bulk of the singing duties are handled by Dominique Lenore Persi, whose abilities are as flexible as the music is. She goes from explosive rage (Spill, A Year of Judges and Tall Tales) through to singing (Lifeless), semi-spoken lines (Push Button) and a smattering of hissed whispers are thrown in the mix for good measures (So Close) but most songs have a combination of two or more styles in them.

It’s hard to tell what you should expect on first hearing There Be Squabbles Ahead when Stolen Babies kicks it off with the volatile Spill before going onto the comparatively relaxed and bass driven Awful Fall. Filistata is the first song to feature the oddball circus music and from then on you will be subjected to any combination of this (much like the vocal performances).

Stolen Babies break further away from their wayward format to feature dance-like rhythms with a heavy keyboard focus on So Close, the tragic Lifeless provides a much needed break from its antithesis Mind Your Eyes and The Button Has Been Pushed is abstract and sounds as though it belongs on a credit reel to a film from a far off land that only exists in the mind of the Stolen Babies band members.

Most bands that purposefully try to stand so far apart from any of their contemporaries while using so many instruments would easily turn everything into an unfocused pile of auditory vomit. Stolen Babies are one of the rare exceptions. There Be Squabbles Ahead is well structured and thought out, with their collective vision coming through in their music to give the album (and band) a real identity of its own.

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Andrew WK Close Calls With Brick Walls Review

Artist: Andrew WK
Album: Close Calls With Brick Walls
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Art Rock, Noise Rock
Released: 2006 (Japan), 2010 (international release)
Length: 48 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Universal Music

Track List:

01. I Came for You
02. Close Calls With Bal Harbour
03. Not Going to Bed
04. You Will Remember Tonight
05. Pushing Drugs
06. Hand on the Place
07. One Brother
08. Las Vegas, Nevada
09. Dr. Dumont
10. I Want to See You Go Wild
11. When I’m High
12. Golden Eyed Dog
13. Into the Clear
14. Mark My Grace
15. Don’t Call Me Andy
16. The Background
17. Slam John Against a Brick Wall
18. The Moving Room

Close Calls With Brick Walls Cover

Andrew WK Close Calls With Brick Walls Review

Close Calls With Brick Walls shows Andrew WK stepping down from the wall of sound approach of I Get Wet and The Wolf entirely. Instead, he allows for his creative spirit to run wild and takes his sound in a direction that no one could have predicted.

The throaty shouts are just a memory at this point as more conventional singing techniques have taken the helm, but perhaps the biggest change of all is the lack of adrenaline pumping guitars that were a staple of his sound up to this point. While the guitars still have an important role on Close Calls With Brick Walls, equal focus has also been put on writing more memorable moments for the bass, piano and drums that let them share the spotlight.

Calls With Brick Walls should solidify the artistic integrity of Andrew WK and dispel any notions of him as a gimmick act. The new direction will also probably alienate some hardcore fans who were expecting him to follow up in a similar fashion as before, but Close Calls With Brick Walls will reach out to new listeners and long-time fans alike. Andrew WK’s new sound is unique and just as engaging as his previous efforts but in an entirely different way.

External Links:

Andrew WK Homepage
Andrew WK on Wikipedia | Close Calls With Brick Walls on Wikipedia
Andrew WK on Discogs | Close Calls With Brick Walls on Discogs