Jonathan Hill Dot EU

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Kvelertak Nattesferd Review

General Information:

Artist: Kvelertak
Album: Nattesferd
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Hard Rock, Punk Rock
Released: 2016
Length: 47 minutes
Language(s): Norwegian
Label(s): Roadrunner

Track List:

01. Dendrofil for Yggdrasil
02. 1985
03. Nattesferd
04. Svartmesse
05. Bronsegud
06. Ondskapens Galakse
07. Berserkr
08. Heksebrann
09. Nekrodamus

Kvelertak Nattesferd Cover

Kvelertak Nattesferd Cover

Kvelertak Nattesferd Review

Nattesferd is the third studio album by Norwegian rock band Kvelertak. While they have been referred to as a black metal/rock hybrid in the past it is hardly relevant to Nattesferd because Dendrofil for Yggdrasil is the only black metal song, along with part of Berserkr, on the entire album. Almost everything else is broadly hard rock or punk rock filtered through the lo-fi aesthetic of black metal with a vomitus vocal style spraying all over the music. The lyrics all happen to be in Norwegian and given how they’re delivered it is questionable how intelligible they are, even to a native speaker.

After opening with a black metal song, Kvelertak immediately shifts to hard rock and then alternates between that and punk rock up to and including Ondskapens Galakse. The fusion and alternation of all these different elements is novel but in practice comes across as disjointed (and arguably unfocused) despite the sincerity and passion that the band clearly possesses. The vocal style doesn’t suit any of the hard rock songs and they detract from the experience since songs in this subgenre tend to sound powerful and spirited, whereas this leaves you lacklustre and wanting an actual singer that could have really made the songs into something special.

Berserkr, as the name implies, goes all out with the aggression and wild experimentation in which they blend all three styles into a single song. The majority of the song is black metal meets punk rock and from the bridge onwards the hard rock influences seep back in. To Kvelertak’s credit this is pulled of remarkably well and is certainly a highlight of Nattesferd, as is Bronsegud, a short and punchy hardcore punk flavoured song where the vocal style seems to fit almost naturally.

The last two songs on the album, Heksebrann and Nekrodamus, are almost yin and yang to each other. Heksebrann is a curveball at 9 minutes long while drawing on progressive rock and having a large instrumental section lasting about 4 minutes at the beginning. This contrasts with Nekrodamus, which continues the Kvelertak tradition of having “Nekro” in a song title, and is the complete antithesis of Heksebrann. This song sees hard rock stripped back to the basics and is much slower compared to the other songs, which once again take the listener in an unexpected direction, but is a bit longer than it needs to be.

It’s always good to hear a band perform in their native language and for anyone to embrace the spirit of rock wholeheartedly to the same extent that Kvelertak does. However, the scattershot approach to writing for several subgenres is often inconsistent and they seem to rely on the unpolished aesthetics and consistent use of harsh vocals to add a cohesive thread to the album.

Performers:

Erlend Hjelvik: Vocals
Vidar Landa: Guitar
Bjarte Lund Rolland: Guitar, Piano
Maciek Ofstad: Guitar, Vocals
Marvin Nygaard: Bass
Kjetil Gjermundrød: Drums

External Links:

Kvelertak Homepage
Kvelertak on Wikipedia
Nattesferd on Wikipedia

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Disturbed Indestructible Review

General Information:

Artist: Disturbed
Album: Indestructible
Genre(s): Heavy Metal, Rock
Subgenres(s): Hard Rock, Traditional Heavy Metal
Released: 2008
Length: 50 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Reprise

Track List:

01. Indestructible
02. Inside the Fire
03. Deceiver
04. The Night
05. Perfect Insanity
06. Haunted
07. Enough
08. The Curse
09. Torn
10. Criminal
11. Divide
12. Façade

Disturbed Indestructible Cover

Disturbed Indestructible Cover

Disturbed Indestructible Review

Indestructible is the fourth album by Disturbed and their second in the hard rock/traditional heavy metal style that was adopted on their last album, Ten Thousand Fists. Aside from a small step forward in musicianship not much has changed stylistically and Indestructible is a direction continuation of that sound.

This time around there are less songs and a slightly shorter running time which both work in Disturbed’s favour because despite refining their knack for high calibre anthems even further, Indestructible is very much a by the numbers effort and the first few songs will let you know exactly what you’re in for so not much is going to catch you off guard.

The title track gets the ball rolling and sets the tone perfectly with a mid-paced guitar riff that is preceded by air raid sirens. The lyrics have an inspirational angle that is used to address and motivate soldiers which contrasts with the contemplational lyrics of Overburdened, a song from Ten Thousand Fists, which deals with the morality of war and its consequences.

Many of the other lyrics found on Indestructible deal with harsher subject matter such as suicide (Inside the Fire), mental illness (Perfect Insanity) and domestic abuse (Façade) but if your band operates under the moniker Disturbed you probably feel somewhat obligated to live up to your name.

Unlike the infamous shock monologue heard on Down with the Sickness from their debut album, Façade is far more mature in dealing with the subject matter of domestic abuse, which describes the situation of a female victim with David Draiman questioning “for how long will you try?/how long until you walk away?/your facade can’t disguise/the fact that you’re in misery” before the situation is escalated to her retaliation with lines like “homicide flashes through her mind again/no more pain, take control/if he raises his hand again/she’ll find her freedom in killing him/the world will see that she’s had enough” which points to her taking her partners life and the situation subsequently unfolding through the media.

Perfect Insanity and Divide were both originally written before the release of their debut, The Sickness, in 2000 but they didn’t make it onto the album and it’s not hard to see why since they didn’t adhere to the strict nu metal sound that Disturbed moved onto at that stage in their career. The groove metal foundation of these songs translates into their current hard rock/traditional heavy metal sound exceptionally well because they both offer a lot of aggression that is rounded off with their emphasis on melody to bring the best of both worlds together.

Other moments on the album such as the bridge to Enough ramp up the aggression not only in terms of instruments but also in terms of David Draiman’s vocal delivery, which is done with a deeper snarling voice that is outright ferocious. His manic laughter on Inside the Fire is another highlight in its own right while the keyboards/programmed parts heard on some songs are tastefully integrated to enhance the atmosphere.

To some listeners Indestructible could start to wear thin after a few listens because Disturbed haven’t really pushed their sound out of the box on this album but their ability to fuse hard driving guitar anthems with an unrivalled sense of melody will undoubtedly allow them to embed themselves in your ears after any amount of time spent listening to them.

Performers:

David Draiman: Vocals
Dan Donegan: Guitar, electronics
Mike Wengren: Drums, backing vocals
John Moyer: Bass guitar

External Links:

Disturbed Homepage
Disturbed on Wikipedia
Indestructible on Wikipedia

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Disturbed Ten Thousand Fists Review

General Information:

Artist: Disturbed
Album: Ten Thousand Fists
Genre(s): Heavy Metal, Rock
Subgenres(s): Hard Rock, Traditional Heavy Metal
Released: 2005
Length: 56 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Reprise

Track List:

01. Ten Thousand Fists
02. Just Stop
03. Guarded
04. Deify
05. Stricken
06. I’m Alive
07. Sons of Plunder
08. Overburdened
09. Decadence
10. Forgiven
11. Land of Confusion (Genesis Cover)
12. Sacred Lie
13. Pain Redefined
14. Avarice

Disturbed Ten Thousand Fists Cover

Disturbed Ten Thousand Fists Cover

Disturbed Ten Thousand Fists Review

Ten Thousand Fists is the third studio album by Disturbed. With the popularity of nu metal rapidly declining most bands in the subgenre chose to take another path and Disturbed are no exception to this as they embrace a sound that is somewhere between hard rock and traditional heavy metal for Ten Thousand Fists.

With the musicianship of drummer Mike Wengren and guitarist Dan Donegan being heavily contained on Disturbed’s nu metal albums for the most part, Ten Thousand Fists makes its evident that they want to do more or at the least get back to the level that they were at when playing groove metal under the name Brawl.

The songs are faster, sound more powerful and for the first time there are guitar solos to be heard on several songs including Stricken, Overburdened, Forgiven, Avarice and Land of Confusion, an unexpected cover of a Genesis song that translates exceptionally well into their new sound. There aren’t any weak songs to be found per se but after a few listens it can start to sound a bit played out due to the lack of variety, which isn’t helped by a 56 minute running time and it seems hard trying to justify the length of it for this reason.

David Draiman’s vocals are as strong as ever and on I’m Alive he cleverly enunciates the words rage and anger when he sings “change again, cannot be considered/I rage again, dispelling my anger” for effect without having to resort to shouting. However his trademark barking noise from The Sickness make an appearance on the title track, Sons of Plunder, Forgiven and Avarice but is absent from most songs.

His lyrical themes have now progressed onto topics such as war and personal struggles with Decadence addressing self harm and I’m Alive dealing with the pressure of others trying to influence the bands artistic direction to create something that wouldn’t be Disturbed and their subsequent rejection of this.

Overburdened looks at people killing others in the name of religion or political ideology only to finding themselves queueing up to enter Hell, which is overburdened by the sheer number of people caught up in harmful ideology all while thinking that they’re fighting for a righteous cause. At the start of the song one of these people reflects on this by saying “Fate is so unkind/Now I should have known/Blind leading the blind/Reaping what I’ve sown/If it all amounts to nothing/Why, then, am I standing in this line?” after believing that they were right in doing what they did. David Draiman puts a different lens on this perspective to infer that “holy blessed homicide” is wrong in any context and that people that believe otherwise have been misled, possibly for the gain of others.

The improved musicianship and deeper lyrical content that has come with the change in sound will surely have won over some new fans and there are many infectious hooks that will get stuck in your head for days after hearing them but on repeated listens some songs will start to wear thin due to the rank and file nature of the album.

Performers:

David Draiman: Vocals
Dan Donegan: Guitar, electronics
Mike Wengren: Drums, percussion
John Moyer: Bass guitar

External Links:

Disturbed Homepage
Disturbed on Wikipedia
Ten Thousand Fists on Wikipedia

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Alice Cooper Trash Review

Alice Cooper Trash Review

Artist: Alice Cooper
Album: Trash
Genre(s): Rock
Subgenres(s): Hard Rock
Released: 1989
Length: 40 minutes
Language(s): English
Label(s): Epic Records

Track List:

01. Poison
02. Spark in the Dark
03. House of Fire
04. Why Trust You
05. Only My Heart Talkin’
06. Bed of Nails
07. This Maniac’s in Love with You
08. Trash
09. Hell is Living Without You
10. I’m Your Gun

Alice Cooper Trash Cover

Alice Cooper returned to the throng of commercial success with Trash in 1989. This was his biggest selling album since the mid-1970s and it isn’t hard to see why. Alice Cooper cuts the fat to leave you with the best possible experience; 10 powerhouse rock anthems with a plethora of catchy guitar rhythms and infections sing-along hooks that are bound to snare your ears.

He tackles 3 topics that more often than not make a pop sensation (sex, love and heart break) with a sleazy, tongue-in-cheek grin that will make you laugh and cringe simultaneously with his blunt refrains. Memorable lines go from “no one else gets as deep inside you as I do” (Bed of Nails) and “pull my trigger, I get bigger, then I’m lots of fun” (I’m Your Gun) to him portraying an obsessed stalker on This Maniac’s In Love With You.

The 8 boisterous rock anthems are balanced out with Only My Heart Talkin’ and Hell is Living Without You, the 2 slightly more sincere power ballads in which his tone changes fittingly to deal with heart break. It’s worth mentioning that while sincere next to the rest of the album, Only My Heart Talkin’ descends into an incessant animal yelps as part of a long fade out that cues Alice Cooper to get back to what he excels at on Trash. Spark in the Dark takes a nod to Alice Cooper rejecting the use of hard drugs with the line “we don’t need cocaine” after overcoming his own addictions in the early 1980s.

As far as the recording of Trash goes, it has a distinct 1980s sound to it complete with the era’s cheesy keyboard effects. Thankfully they are used subtly and are relegated to the background so when they come into play, they don’t have enough emphasis in any song to diminish its quality.

Trash possesses all of the hallmarks of a great rock album. It will have you coming back for more time and time again with Alice Coopers sleazy lyrics delivered in a high energy performance across a small set of songs that never feel played out no matter how many times you listen to them.