My Favourite Albums To Date:
#5 by: Ian Albrecht
Artist- La Dispute
Album- Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair
Genre- Post-Hardcore/Spoken Word/Hardcore Punk/Experimental Rock
Lyrics 97/100, Vocals 90/100, Instrumental 94/100
This album was released in November, 2008, and is an absolute masterpiece. There is so much substance to this album, and to the band, it is ridiculous. I have never encountered a band such as La Dispute before.
When I first heard them (unlike many other people I know) I was intrigued by Jordan Dreyer's weird vocal style and I found myself wanting more and more.
I started digging more into the band’s lyrics and that's when I hit La Dispute’s gold mine. This band writes better than any other band I have heard in my entire life. Each sentence contains meaning rather than just song placement, and the meanings are both literal and metaphorical. Prior to La Dispute, singer Jordan Dreyer used to write poetry and short fiction and his talent is apparent.
A big shout out and thank you to Brynna Thorlakson (and her avid ear for amazing music) for introducing me to these talented guys.
This album revolves around the usual feelings of love, betrayal, hatred, pain, rage, anger, and dealing with loss. But La Dispute approaches these themes with more lyrical depth than the average band. I honestly cannot think of any better tracks the band has, that should have been included or replaced on this album. The songs appear to be ordered strategically, as each song’s meaning flows into the next and all the tracks are where they should be.
The first song up for evaluation is actually two songs which complement each other: "Such Small Hands” and “Nobody, Not Even The Rain". These two songs are like the ‘bow’ you unwrap before you get to the ‘gift’ of the entire album. "Such Small Hands" is the introduction track and "Nobody, Not Even The Rain" is the CD’s finale.
Holy s%@&! Are these two songs ever powerful, even though the duration is only 2:34 minutes when placed together. With lyrics like:
"I thought I heard the door open, oh no. Thought I heard the door open, but I only heard it close.
I thought I heard a plane crashing, but now I think it was your passion snapping"
They had me, right away. Another amazing line from this song is:
"I know that even with the seams stitched, darling, scars will remain.
I say we scrape them from each other, darling, and let them wash off in the rain."
The next song I need to highlight is "Bury Your Flame". Another powerful song, that speaks to me. I could easily write a thousand word essay on the impact of this song, so it is really tough for me to find one set of lyrics to share. However:
"You came back and you brought floods wearing a necklace made of hearts that you'd dragged through the mud. And I guess I wasn't quite sure what to say to you. But then I saw mine, almost reached out to grab it. Said, ‘Darling, you're the only one on earth I want to have it.’ But now I'm not so sure that was true, after the hell you put it through."
I get chills when I hear Jordan’s raw anguish as he screams through those lines. It feels as though he had to relive the experience over and over in order to lay it down, to share with us.
As I have mentioned throughout this review, this album is perfect in every single way possible - lyrically. I cannot say anything bad about Jordan's writing style. La Dispute’s vocals are hard for most people to sit and listen to because they are very rough, raw and gravelly. But I implore you to also listen to Jordan’s spoken word songs because they present an entirely different genre – yet on the same album.
The band’s instrumentals are on point throughout the album – every note belongs where it is, and reflects the mood and lyrics
Both Chad and Kevin, La Dispute’s two guitarists, deserve recognition for their ability to play perfectly to the mood. As well, they provide some amazing riffing throughout the album, and Adam's distorted bass additions add further depth. Clearly La Dispute is a cohesive group.
Songs To Check Out: Bury Your Flame, The Last Lost Continent, Damaged Goods, Sad Prayers For Guilty Bodies.
My Favourite Albums To Date:
Artist- Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Album- Don't You Fake It
Genre- Post-Hardcore/Alternative Rock
Lyrics 92/100, Vocals 93/100, Instrumental 94/100
This is easily one of my favourite albums, beginning to end. The songs on this album are so consistent that there really isn't a single track that I would consider better than the others, unlike most of the albums on my top-twenty list.
This album was initially released in 2006, then re-released in 2007 with two bonus songs… and holy were those bonus songs amazing, but I will discuss them later.
So right out of the gate, this album’s first track’s impact is fast paced, in your face, heavy, and let’s-start-a-fight. Combine Ronnie Winter’s awesome screams an overall amazing instrumental, and "In Fate's Hand" is the perfect introductory song to this album.
The first song worthy of serious discussion is also the most popularly known song on the album, "Face Down". This song is profound. Honestly, I cannot think of a way to make this song any stronger than it is! Just the raw emotion of Ronnie's voice paints the perfect image of a victimized girl in an abusive relationship with some dirt-bag ‘boyfriend’. The track’s chorus contains the best lyrical part of the whole song.
With lines like "Do you feel like a man when you push her around? Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground? Well, I'll tell you my friend, one day this world's gonna end. As your lies crumble down, a new life she has found"
The words clearly reflect the deep affection the song’s author had for this girl. The underlining feeling of the whole album is that the guy who wrote it, truly loved this girl in every way possible, but she never figured it out. Sadly, at the end of the original release of this album we learn that she had died before she even got to hear all of this.
Like a love letter never received.
The song "Grim Goodbye" might be the most heart-wrenching song I have heard in ages. The song begins strictly instrumental then Ronnie’s pure agony comes through as crying/ screaming/and singing. It literally has brought tears to my eyes. Not enough to cry but it has caused me many bleary-eyed moments. This part of the song always gets to me:
"But wait, now that I've found you, situations from dark now change to gray. Disregarding my absence of memories, it's perpetually blinding me of sanity, and just when I'm giving in, as I try to scale these walls Jericho falls around me and I feel that I've strayed too long. And darkness is fading in, and darkness is real." Yes, the chills this albums brings me are damn real.
Now in the re-released album, they included an acoustic version of "Face Down" and the result is a much sadder, less angry output. So for an average guy, I suggest the original and for an average girl, I suggest the acoustic version.
This whole album just flows together so amazingly. From Ronnie's incredible voice (be it singing or screaming) to Duke and Elias' guitar riffs intertwining and complementing throughout the whole album. It’s a complete, consistent, and consummate effort. For songs about women, the lyrics are some of the best I have heard – pretty impressive considering 90% of songs seem to be written about love and women.
Songs To Check Out: Face Down (Both Versions), Grim Goodbye, False Pretense, Seventeen Ain't So Sweet, Cat And Mouse
Album Review by Ian Albrecht
Freemasonry- Sparrin’ With The Varmint
The opening song is called “Lick Clean Method” and is a short (1:32 m) segue way to a quick paced CD. The vocals in the opening song aren’t anything special. It sounds as if they are trying too hard for the punk edge over a rock organization. The general sound of the band appears like “The Misfits” with a style of yelling the vocals over a very repetitive instrumental.
I am into the third song “Kitty Come Home” and so far all of the songs have sounded the same, vocally. The only difference has been the drumming, which seems to be consistent and at this point in the album, it’s the strongest component of the band.
One thing that has been very noticeable throughout the album is the odd fact that the singer’s voice appears to always be overwhelmed up by the instrumental, which either means the studio’s sound mixers doesn’t know what they’re doing, e.g. they wanted to go for a more distorted sound or they were trying to cover up his voice because it just isn’t up to standard.
The eighth track (of fifteen) on this album is called “Mystical Union” and the first 1:44 of the song is the same, repetitive instrumental. At this point, the album has become increasingly hard to listen to with all of the songs, sounding the same. Now some bands can get away with this style, because they change things up just a little bit, like with their tempo or use of breakdowns and bridges. A band to do this successfully would be “As I Lay Dying” but the Metalcore genre is a lot more basic with how different the bands can sound. There is only so much variation one can apply.
If I were to choose a “favourite” song, which is difficult given almost all of these songs are weak; I would choose “If It Isn’t One Thing”. However, the biggest problem with this band is their drawn out, boring, repetitive intros!
Overall Rating: 3.2/10
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#11 My Chemical Romance, Welcome to the Black Parade. My All Time Favourites Thus Far... Ian Albrecht
Ian Albrecht’s Top Albums Thus Far… By: Ian Albrecht
My Favourite Albums To Date:
#11 Welcome to the Black Parade
Artist- My Chemical Romance
Album- Welcome To The Black Parade
Lyrics 84/100, Vocals 82/100, Instrumental 87/100
Released on October 24, 2006, this album is a lot more unique then the others on this list due to the album being a Rock Opera telling the story of a character (“The Patient”) dying of cancer. The songs tell the story of his apparent death, experiences that he faces in the afterlife, and a reflection of his life. This whole album's concept came from Gerard Way's feeling about death, and how, while dying, you relive your fondest memory - for this album - a young child seeing a parade. Since this is the concept for this album, it’s hard to talk about single songs because they all feed off each other, but I will do my best.
I suggest if you already like the concept of this album, listen to the album in its entirety, as it is truly a beautiful story. The first track on this album that I love is, "The Sharpest Lives". It is a fast, upbeat song that has a great intro - a very simple instrumental, with an almost whispered verse from Gerard Way. The song "Cancer" might be this band’s ultimately depressing song. I have never heard a song quite as sad as this one. After listening to this song, I pray that no one I know and care for will ever get cancer. The lyrics describe it too well for my liking. Another cool song is "Mama" which follows after. "Mama" is a kinda creepy song with odd moments of haunting laughter layered over Gerard singing. It almost seems like he is taunting the idea of war, which I find frightening, considering this band formed due to the events during 9/11. The song that emphasizes their feelings towards 9/11 is in the following song called "Sleep" which makes me want to cry as it reminds me of the jumpers during that awful event in history. Especially at the beginning, when you hear the recording of someone talking about how they felt while they watched the buildings go down. But this song is also about the character finally giving in to death and accepting the idea. So yeah, that song has a double meaning - take it as you wish. I see it more as a song about that horrible event, but that's just me.
The lyrics in the album are great because this album is pretty much one big song, but sadly the lyrics aren't overly special in my books. Gerard’s vocals are well done, but sadly his vocal range isn't amazing, but for the band and within this album, it works surprisingly well. The instrumental throughout the album is amazing. You could take out the singing and just listen to the instrumental; that alone would tell you the story. All in all, it’s a great album, and if you are at all interested, I suggest you go and purchase it. My Chemical Romance disbanded on March 22, 2013.
Songs To Check Out: Famous Last Words, Sleep, Mama, The Sharpest Lives, House Of Wolves
Album- Artist In The Ambulance
Lyrics 91/100, Vocals 88/100,
This is Thrice's third album, though first on a major label, and is an absolute masterpiece of Post-Hardcore genre albums. All the songs flowed into each other and the album has a solid sound that doesn’t get annoying or old, like more Post-Hardcore bands. Also, this album demonstrates that the Post-Hardcore genre is good for an entire album, not just one or two songs. Although at first the album seems to have a hard rock feel, Dustin Kensrue’s vocals ensure it stays in its proper place.
The only reason someone would tag them as Emo is because their lyrics and subject matter sound very depressing. The first real bad-ass song (in every way) on the album is "All That's Left". This song has a little bit of everything: awesome lyrics, great vocals, amazingly catchy riffs from Teppei and Dustin, and just a great feel, overall. Solid lyrics in this song would be:
"In summers past we'd challenge fate.
With higher pitch and perfect aim.
And standing fast, we'd radiate
a light we loved but never named.
But the answers never came
and our shadows never looked the same."
The above quote, from my understanding, is simply talking about death and how the band questions if there is a heaven, hell, or if you live in limbo, still attached to the earth?
The next song worth addressing is "Stare At The Sun" which is a song that seems to question why horrible things happen to good people, and why is it that no matter what you choose, it seems you made the wrong decision? Probably my second favourite lyrics on the whole album is on this song:
"Do I trust my heart or just my mind,
why is truth so hard to find.
In this world, yeah in this world."
Here is is great writing because it is simple yet speaks to today’s world and to our struggle to make some serious decisions that sometimes go against our hearts, or ideals. The chorus in that song is also super catchy.
Now, my favourite song, and arguably the best song on this album is "Artist In The Ambulance". I could write an entire review on this song because I believe it has many metaphorical allusions as well as literal references. The song starts with lyrics that paint an amazing picture:
"Late night, brakes lock, hear the tires squeal.
Red light, can't stop so I spin the wheel.
My world goes black before I feel an angel lift me up
and I open bloodshot eyes into fluorescent white.
They flip the siren, hit the lights, close the doors and I am gone.
The song’s initial intent is clear - it is about the lead singer getting into a car accident, but the rest of the song goes on to theorize about whether he's done enough, or contributed enough in his lifetime? Has he been wasting his life and does he need to reevaluate. and furthermore revisit specific times, so that he may give back to others. It’s a huge question of morality, life, and legacy. Later in the song:
"My world goes black before I feel an angel steal me
from the greedy jaws of death and chance,
and pull me in with steady hands.
They've given me a second chance,
the artist in the ambulance."
Here, he is talking about himself and his sheer will to survive; or about someone else who had the ability to bring him about… or… is there an artist who is orchestrating all of our lives, giving people a second chance (a do-over) at life? You will have to form your own opinion regarding the intent of this song.
Songs To Check Out: Artist In The Ambulance, Stare At The Sun, The Melting Point Of Wax, Blood Clots And Black Holes
Album Number 8
Artist- Three Days Grace
Genre- Hard Rock
Lyrics 89/100, Vocals 89/100, Instrumental 89/100
The Canadian rock band's (Three Days Grace) second album is a knockout. A dark and emotional theme is littered throughout the album’s lyrics and instrumentals.
It is nearly impossible for me to narrow down, isolate and dissect the album’s tracks to a handful of memorable songs as I consider all the tracks to be amazing in their own right. Probably the most popular song on the album would be "Pain". I am a huge fan of this song because of Adam's raspy, gravelly voice wishing for true pain to break the numbness that is inevitably the rest of his life. This song relates to what teenagers appear to be experiencing today; that aimless lost and/or misguided direction.
The majority of the album was written by lead singer, Adam Gontier. His lyrics are extremely personal, clearly revealing his life experiences, especially his struggle with an oxycontin addiction.
Another kick-ass song on this album is "Let It Die". I love this song so much because it feels like a response to every breakup song written by a female. Let it Die is responding to those songs by declaring that the ‘girl’ gave up without even trying to make the relationship work. With lyrics like ""I swear I never meant to let it die. I just don't care about you anymore. It's not fair when you say that I didn't try. I just don't care about you anymore."It’s evident this is a man’s break-up song about his attempt at getting on without her
The final song worth discussion is my second favourite song, “Gone Forever”. The track revolves around Adam’s realization that a relationship he is in is truly dead and gone forever, However, Adam can’t fully let go of his feelings, which prevents him from allowing another to love him. Even though the lyrics state, “I feel so much better, now that you're gone forever. I tell myself that I don't miss you at all. I'm not lying, denying that I feel so much better now. That you're gone forever,” it’s implied that he’s lying to himself and he doesn’t want the relationship to be over. He goes on to sing, “So I’ll stay out all night, get drunk and fuckin’ fight. Until the morning comes and I’ll forget about our life.” If that isn’t a man suppressing his emotions and in denial, then I do not know who is.
The lyrics throughout the album are forthright, realistic which I appreciate when it comes to songwriting. Adam Gontier’s vocals are just as strong as on his first album, if not better, and he is consistent throughout the album. You can hear his pain, vulnerability and strength in his songs, and he sounds like a man struggling to share his experiences.
The instrumentals perfectly complement the vocals and the lyrics. This album is a gem of a package; tied with a beautiful bow Three Days Grace couldn’t have done any better.
Songs To Check Out: Never Too Late, Gone Forever, Over And Over, Let It Die, Get Out Alive
Reblogged from swanktrendzvanc
Artist: SlipknotAlbum: Iowa Genre: Death Metal
Lyrics: 80/100, Vocals 93/100, instrumental 96/100
This happens to be the heaviest album on my list/ It’s not the heaviest album I have ever heard. However, my CDs don’t get a whole lot heavier than this one. At least not the albums I like.
Everything about this album is heavy. The lyrics are dark and disturbing. The instrumentals are distorted and violent-sounding. To top it off,Corey Taylor’s vocals full-out reside in my nightmares.
This album was clearly made when they were all at angry/hateful points in their lives. This album embraces everything they’re feeling, including their hometown, Iowa. The starting track, like their debut, is called “515” and it is creepy, eerie… a soundtrack that immediately puts you on edge. All you can hear is Corey screaming something awful, (turns out to be “death” which is fitting, considering he sounds as though he’s being slowly murdered.) The following track is “People = Shit” – a song that adequately fits the title. The band sings about why they hate the human condition. The song which comes after this tune is “Disasterpiece” which is the heaviest song and on the album (and also my favourite Slipknot song) bar none. The opening of this song is the coolest – Corey yelling at the top of his lungs. “Hold on to something!!!.” Then song then slides into a huge instrumental breakdown with some of the best riffing I have ever heard. This is pure Death Metal bliss, at its finest.
This is what one needs to turn on when one is angry with the world. The opening lyrics sum up the entire emotional mood of this album, so if you are looking for pretty melodies and you don’t like the lyrics you’ve read thus far… well, I suggest you never listen to this album. For example, if you were to read on you'd come across, “I wanna slit your throat and fuck the wound. I wanna push my face in and feel the swoon. I wanna dig inside, find a little bit of me, cause the lines get crossed when you don’t come clean.”
Another song on the album worth discussing is, “I am Hated”. Believe it or not, this song is fun to listen to. Corey’s vocals are once again very raspy and he spits out his lines so fast, it almost comes across as rapping. I love every second.
My biggest album complaint would be that the song “Iowa” is 15:04 minutes long! Other than that, it’s a classic and would probably be in my top 5 or 6. That long, boring, and tedious “Iowa” song affected an otherwise superb and well-put-together Death Metal album.
Other than that, I consider this an above-average Death Metal album. The lyrics throughout the album are good, but nothing special. What makes the lyrics appear outstanding is the application of Corey's raw, emotional, hate-filled pipes. And the vocals aren’t even the attention-grabber. By far, the instrumentals are what put the album into my top ten. I would classify the album’s music as ‘organized chaos’. Joey’s drumming is exceptional, especially on the songs “Disasterpiece”, “People=Shit”, and “Left Behind”.
A fun fact I recently learned about the album is that it peaked at #1 in Canada. (No surprise, really, as Canadians have always had good taste.) If you are a music lover who is into ‘heavier’ music, I highly suggest you purchase the CD, “Iowa” by Slipknot. It truly kicks ass.
Farewell Terrence Stephen Lowe (November 21, 1957 to January 24, 2011
Sometimes people come into your life in a way that is so mild and so inconspicuous that you don't realize what an impact they have made until they are gone. Terry Lowe was one of those people. I first heard of Terry from my friend Christine back when the two of us were in university. She was telling me about her previous life, a life that involved a rogue of an ex-husband, a life lived on the edge to a dangerous degree. But there was a guy, a roommate, she called Ratt - he was the touchstone that helped her to keep her life centred; he prevented things from spinning wildly out of control as she packed up a newborn baby and left the debauchery of her life in the big city to make a new life for herself and her infant son.
Fast forward twenty years, and Christine and I had re-connected through our mutual love of music. We decided to take that passion and throw it into an endeavour where we would write reviews of the shows we were seeing. But how to make this dream a reality? Once again, Touchstone Terry rose up to meet the challenge. He had stayed in Christine’s life the whole time; her personal cheerleader that she could do anything she put her mind to. He loved the idea so he created an inventive program that would run our website, and did it for the steep price of a dinner out at a restaurant of his choice. Soon we had contributors from around the world adding to our cultural ezine.
That was one of the two times I met Terry. It's hard to know someone if you've spent less than two hours total in their company. But if I were to choose one adjective to describe him, that word would be 'comfortable'. Terry was a homey, comfortable person to be around; there was no pretense about him. He was a man who had three loves in his life: writing, art, literature, computers, and bikes. He flew the flag of all proudly, and was able, after I met him, to secure a job that combined biking and writing, acting as Editor for a local bike enthusiast’s magazine, Momentum. I heard that this was a shining moment in his life, but unfortunately, it was to be short-lived. Terry Lowe succumbed to a bout of pneumonia unexpectedly over winter.
He was a healthy-living guy who exercised regularly, avoided drugs, but enjoyed the odd beer. His death was a shock to all who knew him. The saddest thing for those left behind was that he died alone. Terry, the man who was always there for others in his own quiet, unobtrusive way, didn't have anyone there for him in his time of need. And for that, I am truly sorry. He deserved better. Terry, we miss you.
Thanks to Lezah who wrote most of the above. I had quit writing as I needed closure for my best friend. Terry was my confidenté, my voice of reason and when I didn’t hear from him, I worried. However, I knew he often went home for Christmas. By the end of February my emails were returned, his phone was cut off and I knew intuitively I had lost a friend who truly understood me. He bought me swanktrendz prior to his death and told me to get out there and write. I shall try, Terry, so long as you guide my hand.
My Favourite Albums To Date: By Ian Albrecht
Artist- Tickle Me Pink
Genre- Alternative Rock
Lyrics 90/100, Vocals 90/100, Instrumental 85/100
Tickle Me Pink is a relatively unknown band that released their third album, Madeline, on July 1st, 2008. The publicity of the album’s release was overshadowed by the overdose death of bassist/ guitarist Johnny Schou, aged 22, on the same day. The band temporarily broke up and lead singer Sean Kennedy formed the band, Talisker Skye. Tickle Me Pink still performed gigs until their final one, March 5, 2011. The following day, Sean released a message reading, “Farewell all. We love you and will never forget you.”
Madeline tackles a lot of touchy, subject matter. It covers basic topics such as: drug use, suicide, loss, and brutal breakups, as well as not so basic topics such as major issues of today's world, and morality. The opening track of this album, "Typical" is a simple kick-ass tune. It’s fun, fast, very rock style and has the lead singer telling off a girl. It sets a good mood for the whole album.
The song, "Madeline" is easily the most emotional of the album. It’s about a girl the band was friends with and of her struggles with depression as well as suicidal tendencies. The song has a very guilty tone to it. With such lines such as, "Oh, I never said goodbye. I wish I would of tried. I couldn't hear her cries as she filled her veins with lies, until she saw the light." The raw emotion in Sean Kennedy's voice almost brings tears to my eyes, especially when he sings (my favourite line of all) "If I could turn back time, I'd find a way to remind you that somehow you could try to give in and fight the good fight. Oh, you didn't have to die, you filled your veins with lies, my precious Madeline."
The singer, Sean, stated, “It is somewhat ironic that many of our songs deal with death and a higher purpose. We want to let the world know how short life is…”
The rest of the album continues to be solid, with songs of many feelings. The next worthy stop on this album has to be the song, "The Answer". Now even though "Madeline" has my favourite line, “The Answer” is my favourite song. It contains a great beginning, all soft, but then quickly cut off by Sean's questioning of a girl's reason for loving him. Another great lyric from this song, "The answer deep inside me is ripping me apart, the truth of who you are. The answer deep inside me, is eating at my heart, I don't know who you are!" Oh yeah, chills from that line. Sean's voice perfectly reflects the subject matter and the only thing I can do, when listening, is question him as to who it was who hurt him?
The last song worth talking about (despite most of the album being worthy) would be, "Beside The Others". This song has Sean questioning how he could ever be loved, because of his many weaknesses and flaws. This song is his way of releasing this girl, helping her move on by saying leave me, because I'm only gonna drag you down. However, simultaneously, he's being selfish because he won’t let her go. It is a true battle within his head and his morality. The best line in this song is, "If I could tell you one thing, I think that you should know. I'm not afraid to love you, just of letting go." The lyrics throughout the album are top notch. It affects the listener but is not over the top with metaphors and symbolism. The vocals, as aforesaid, are perfectly matched with the lyrics. Sadly, although the instrumental is good enough to crack my Top 10, they are not different, or outstanding in any way.
Songs To Check Out: Madeline, The Answer, Beside The Others, Tomorrow's Ending, I Can't Breathe