Friday, December 30, 2005

KoRn - See You On The Other Side (CD)

There are two factors that influence a band that makes them good or bad. 1) They lose a founding member (see Adema), and 2) They have a change of attitude (see Slipknot). But it's almost always never a good thing when both of these factors come crashing together as the result is usually for the worst.
This is exactly the feeling I got listening to the new KoRn album, See You On The Other Side, their first since the departure of founding member/guitarist Brian "Head" Welch. When Fear Factory lost (as in fired) their founding guitarist Dino Cazeras, they were still able to pull off their signature sound with bassist Christian Olde Wuldbers taking over the axe duties, but it's pretty obvious KoRn lost more than just a guitarist when Head left.
I can respect KoRn when they say they aren't the angry young men they were when they first hit the scene over a decade ago, and can admire them for wanting to try something different, but from top to bottom this is probably the worse album I've heard all year, and I'd put it in the running for my year end award for just that if it had came out just a month or two earlier.
There is absolutely no redeeming quality whatsover here, even the first single "Twisted Transistor". I had wondered why the video was more story based with more attention to the characters in the video than the actual song, and after hearing the song clearly on it's own I now understand why. It just sounds like a filler track with no head or tail, and an unforgivably long intro that you can't skip past. Heck, the whole album actually sounds like filler with nothing that would make me want to sit through the whole thing again.
I pains me to do this to one of my all time favorite bands, but..

Monday, December 26, 2005

Brian Setzer Orchestra - Boogie Woogie Christmas

OK, I'll admit it, I do have a bit of a fancy for big band and swing music, and no one does it better these days than the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Brian Setzer and his crew put on a fun twist to many Christmas classics here, as well as a few original tunes just right for the holiday season. There's no way you could not like the songs here as they all have that classic feel to them which is what really makes a classic Christmas song "classic".
To that end, I can easilly recommend this one.
CD Rating:****1/2

Various Artists - Taste of Christmas

Now this is an interesting Christmas compilation featuring various punk and emo bands doing covers and original Christmas songs. I liked it for the most part as some of these guys really know how to get in the spirit of things and have fun, where as some of them just cant escape their emo style and put out some boring and rather depressing accoustic songs about being alone or breaking up on Christmas. Can't they try to do something happy like Skindred's "Jungle Bells", a hard rockin' Christmas tune with a raggae rock twist, or "Christmassacre" by From First To Last, quite possibly the angriest Christmas song I ever heard and the must hear track on the CD for me even if it's just 2 minutes long.
Other great tracks are Funeral For A Friend's "Miracle of Christmas" and "Alone This Holiday" by The Used. Funny how the songs I liked the most were the ones most people complained about on other reviews. Guest they'd rather have boring depressing Christmas songs instead of fun lively ones. Isn't that what the season is supposed to be about?

Artist & Track List:
Street Drum Corps feat Bert McCracken - Happy Christmas (War is Over)
Funeral For A Friend - Miracle of Christmas
Skindred - Jungle Bells
The Used - Alone This Holiday
Roses Are Red - Last Christmas
The Smashup - Conventry Carol
Opiate For The Masses - Christmas Evel
Amped - We Three Kings
Emery - The Last Christmas
My American Heart - First Noel
Like Yesterday - We Might Be Alone Tonight
Bleed the Dream - No Smiles on Christmas
Versus the World - Blue and Cold
Bedlight For Blue Eyes - Chrismas Song
Gatsbys American Dream - Saint Nicholas
From First To Last - Chrismassacre
Black Halos - Homeless For Christmas
Plain White - Ts Season Of A Lifetime

Overall: I thought it was a fun album overall, but would have liked it to be just a bit more cheery since it is a holiday album afterall.
CD Rating: ***

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Slipknot - 9.0: Live (CD)

You had to know that these nine masked marauders from Des Moines, Iowa would release a live album sooner or later, and when they did it would be something special, right? Unfortunately for me, this double disc CD turned out to be just a little dissapointing.
Taken from various live shows (including one from the recent concert in Singapaore which I missed by just a day!), this double CD compilation shows how awesome experiancing a live Slipknot show can be, as bands can usually let loose when live on stage as compared to studio recordings. No complaints here as all the blast beats of Joey Jordison's double bass drum assault as well as Mick Thompson and James Root's axe attack are all intact, giving the songs heavier tones at times.
The only thing I would have to complain about is singer Corey Taylor's vocals. His trademark growls and screams sound more like out of breath screetching and it sort of takes away from the songs for me. Granted Corey knows how to command the crowd, but it kind of mars things when it sounds like he can't keep up at times cause he's running out of breath.
Comparing the materials from all three of their albums here, it's also quite clear (for me anyway) that the material from their first self titled major studio release is still far superior against most of the material from the past two albums and I really wish they would go back in that direction, as you could also hear more of DJ Sid Wilson's turn tables and Craig Jones' samples.
Overall, die-hard Slipknot fans won't want to miss out on this, but as much of a fan as I am of the band, I would probably pass on it if I had to pay full price for it.
CD Rating: **

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bloodhound Gang - Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss Uhn Tiss

Another rather funny video from the Bloodhound Gang. This one features the band attending a big party at the "Wiper Room", which is a club where the inside is composed of toilet cubicles! Party in the toilets! I wonder if the place is real or fictional?
Anyways, we see Jimmy Bop and company as they swagger their way into the club and get with the festivaties. It's mostly Jimmy doing his thing in a toilet cubicle while spying this really cute chick through a peephole in the next stall. The party progresses with all the dancing and such and Jimmy looks to be getting a little tongue action from the girl next stall through the peephole, problem is, the girl left a while ago and now a dog is inside the stall giving Bop his tongue action!
Funny stuff and great track from a really good album.
Video Rating: ****

Monday, December 05, 2005

Fear Factory - Transgresssion (CD)

Last year Fear Factory released Archetype, their first album after founding member guitarist Dino Cazeras left the band. The album was panned by some critics as Fear Factory without a soul just cause Dino wasn't behind the 7-string assault. But personally I found it to be the best Fear Factory offering since Demanufacture, and that's saying A LOT.
Fast forward to this year and the Factory released Transgression, in their words a step back to their earlier work like Demanufacture and Soul of a New Machine. To me however, this would be an example of Fear Factory without a soul. It's a step back in the wrong direction as nothing seems to mesh. While the trademark industrial trash beats and themes (cybernetic future wars) are there, as well as Burton Bell's trademark growls and choirboy like singing, it mostly doesn't feel complete and mostly forgetable.
But I do commend them on the track "Supernova", which is easily the best track on the whole album even if it sounds more rock than the usual Fear Factory industrial trash experiance.
CD Rating: **