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Devin Townsend - Ziltoïd the Omniscient

 

devinziltoidsmallwg5.jpg

 

This new Devy album is amazing. This guy is crazy, nothing new. But this time he wrote all the songs, played all the instruments and did all the production work. It's a concept album about Ziltoid, a 4th dimensional alien from the planet Ziltoidia 9. The storyline on Ziltoid The Omniscient is bizarre and funny as Ziltoid comes to Earth searching for coffee so he can travel through time and become a rock star. Ziltoid The Omniscient is over the top and theatrical, with narration between many of the songs telling the story of Ziltoid. The music is very diverse and experimental, just as you'd expect from Devin Townsend. It ranges from slow and atmospheric to fast and thrashy.

 

Definitely one of the best CD of this year IMHO. A great musical experience which remind me in a way the atmospheres of the Tim Burton's movies (Mars Attacks). Highly recomended.

 

Go take a look here (crazy) :screwy: :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=viaRKlgQo3E

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Homegrown - 'When it all comes down' ; Shitty production job, great songs. This would be gold with a good sound, but as it is it's still pretty good anyway. Good melodic "pop-punk" rock.

 

Lorene Drive - 'Romantic Wealth' ; this blew my f*cking head off. Alongside A Change Of Pace, these guys are the best band I've heard in a long time. Excellent musicianship and worth hearing even for the "modern" haters amongst us. Big riffs, huge melodies. I'm dying to spin this one again. A real treat because I bought this without ever hearing a note previously.

 

October Fall - 'Season in hell' ; watered down modern rock a pretty much what defined 'nu-breed' a few years ago. This is okay and there are a few good tracks on it, but I prefer it much heavier than this. Musically very average too. Not one of my faves, but a few solid songs.

 

Permanent Me - 'After the room clears' ; A few great tracks, especially at the start. Sort of in the "pop-punk" style. Not remotely original, but a good solid CD. I dig it.

 

Roses are Red - 'Conversations' ; I am loving this one. Killer first track and I have their 2nd album 'What became of me' up next. I've only heard it once before and I liked it, but I don't think it was as heavy or energetic as this one. First spin, I prefer this one. Solid as hell, some great songs and very ballsy. Thumbs firmly up.

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Strethc Arm Strong - 'Engage' ; I have a copy of 'Free at last' and really like that one, some awesome melodic metal tracks on that one but I've avoided this one for a while because I thought it'd pretty much be hardcore. It is a little more so than 'Free at last' (2003) but it's still very good and I'm enjoying most the songs here. Good stuff.

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Frederiksen/Denander - Baptism by Fire

 

SHIT, guys and girls !!!! This one is PHANTASTIC !! :dance: For me definitely the AOR highlight of this year !

 

That one came through the post this morning. It's very very similar to the last RADIOACTIVE album, but maybe even more keyboard-driven. After the first listen it's very polished & has some strong songs, though it does tail-off after a terrific first-half. Definitely recommended though....

 

Frederiksen-Denander - Baptism By Fire

 

Been spinning this one most of the night at work. First spin didn't exactly have me jumping up and down, but 4 or 5 later this is doing the job nicely. For fans of Tommy, this will be right up their alley (oooh errrr) but if you don't particularly like his stuff, then it won't convert you either. I happen to love most of Mr. Denanders stuff (as do a few others here) so a big recommendation to them. It is very similar to a lot of his previous stuff, especially Radioactive as TIM mentions above, although maybe not quite as good (I say Quite!!) but that ain't no bad thing as far as I am concerned. Fergie Frederiksen sounds as good as I have heard him for many a year as well, which adds an extra bonus to a consistently good set of songs. For the non Tommy D/Toto guys and gals I'd stear clear as you won't find anything remotely new on here.

 

 

TRW (Michael Thompson, John Robinson, Mark Williamson) - Rivers Of Paradise

 

No doubting Michael Thompsons talent as a guitarist and he shows off his nice subtle playing on this one. Nice, Bluesy Melodic rock with a hint of AOR. As with the Frederiksen-Denander, this didn't blow my socks off on first spin, but now I have blasted it out nice and loud on the old stereo, this sounds pretty damned good. Songs are pretty good throughout, although may lack a killer chorus here and there, 'Rivers Of Paradise', 'Only A Letter' & especially 'Hard Time Love' are all excellent though. Good production job without being too polished and some nice vocals and drums from Mark Williamson and John Robinson (Both ex Bridge 2 Far). All in all a thumbs up.

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Frederiksen-Denander - Baptism By Fire ; I actually have to disagree with our buddy Jez here. IMO this is BY FAR the best I've ever heard Denander and there's only a few tracks at the end that have that real (imo) awful pure Toto-like AOR feel. The rest, imo, is actually good solid melodic rock. It won't be anywhere near my top 50 this year, but it's a good solid melodic rock album and a lot better than what I expected of these two. A hundred times better than Radioactive, IMO.

 

Ari Koivunen - Fuel for the Fire ; Great hard rock album. I really enjoyed this... especially the first few tracks. Sort of like Monarch, I guess. Good CD.

 

Bon Jovi - Lost Highway ; Hmmm, not sure yet. The country aspect doesn't really ruin this, it's more of the same. Pretty poor songs surrounded by about 4 or 5 gems. Tracks 2, 6, 9 and 12, I think, were the best. And they're actually quite good. But of the rest, more ballads and lacklustre tracks. It's not awful and the country side of this is not even remotely overbearing, so give it a go. I don't think anyone's going to like it and 'Have a nice day' is 100% better... but I don't know. Maybe better than I expected with all this country talk.

 

Poison - Poison'd ; Okay, I have to admit that for a covers album it's bearable. Only 'cause it's Poison. I actually really love hearing the guys again, especially CC's trademark solos. A few of the songs actually aren't bad and the production is all of 100% better than *gulp* 'Hollyweird'. Not too bad at all, for a covers album... I guess.

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Jorn-Out to Every Nation.

I had heard great things about this one...first spin did nothing for me....

He has a Great Voice and the music was really good,but I just wasn't

awed when I heard it....

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Megadeth - United Abominations

 

First spin, loved it! Great to hear Dave at fighting weight again without those totally out of place commercial sounding choruses and melodies... gack...

 

Many spins later: This friggin' disc lives in my car stereo now, holy shit it's good. Earlier references to Peace Sells... and Rust In Peace are dead on IMHO. It just sounds like Dave's home again, with a great backing band and angry about the issues (as opposed to his record label).

 

Total thumbs up on this from first spin to last, I even like this version of À Tout Le Monde... :anon:

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Megadeth - United Abominations

 

First spin, loved it! Great to hear Dave at fighting weight again without those totally out of place commercial sounding choruses and melodies... gack...

 

Many spins later: This friggin' disc lives in my car stereo now, holy shit it's good. Earlier references to Peace Sells... and Rust In Peace are dead on IMHO. It just sounds like Dave's home again, with a great backing band and angry about the issues (as opposed to his record label).

 

Total thumbs up on this from first spin to last, I even like this version of À Tout Le Monde... :anon:

 

 

I agree it's a killer album and it gets better and better with each listen. :headbanger:

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Paramore - 'Riot!' ; Anyone who loves the debut will love this one. These guys are damn consistent and sure didn't disappoint after an excellent debut. Excellent female fronted hard rock. If pressed, I still prefer the debut, though. :)

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Trajik - 'Poetic Justice' ; Let's just say they're not called Trajik for nothing. Pretty horrible stuff... had to turn it off early. I won't listen to this a second time.

 

Two of a Kind - s/t ; very nice stuff. Some great tracks, even if it fades a bit in the middle with a few ballads. But overall, this is good solid melodic rock. Even if it is very safe.

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American Angel - 'Vanity' ; Hmmm, the first song is amazing; 'Pantomind'. Killer track and invites us to a massive chorus, but also displays a very raw production/sound. And as the album goes on, this aspect becomes more and more obvious, as does the slow-paced bluesy vibe of many of the tracks. Track 11 is a sensational ballad, and track 12 was easily the best hard rocker of the album (was it the only one?). That all probably sounds like I don't like the album, but that is far from true. These guys are excellent song writers and song-wise this album probably slots easily into third best of the year behind Gotthard and PC69 (in HH-related artists) but the raw production leaves me thinking what could have been. The three songs I've mentioned would all be stunning with a more polished and tight sound. As they are, they're great... but this album could have been magnificent with the sound/production of their first 2. Still, great stuff.

 

Megadeth - 'United Abominations' ; I checked out these guys a long time ago and made up my mind they weren't for me. Musically where I'm at, but the songs and vocals and lack of good choruses sort of put them off my list. After a few comments of worth lately I thought I'd check this new one out. And you know what, it's cool heavy rock/metal. But vocally a lot of it sounds like talking over cool riffs and the choruses just don't work for me. Biggest factor, however, is the f*cking subject matter of pretty much every song - war. For f*ck's sake... too much for me. Anyway, it's a cool/decent metal album and I know this is going to anger people, but I don't feel a need for this when there are modern bands who are heavier, plus they have the huge choruses, hooks and melodies I need too. And good lyrics, not about war. Sorry, a cool metal album, but comes off sounding a little cheesy if I'm being totally honest. To each their own, but not for me personally.

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Escape the Fate – ‘Dying is your latest fashion’ ; Good solid modern hard rock/metal. Another one of these dime a dozen bands, but like so many of them, these guys are also very good. Ten fast-paced passionately delivered tracks with cool lyrics, big hooks and great choruses… even a couple of solos thrown in the mix. And a nice acoustic ballad to finish up. Really not a bad word to say about them. Great for fans of A Static Lullaby, Bullet for my Valentine, Silverstein etc.

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Tesla – ‘Reel to Reel’ ; Okay, so Poison committed a deadly sin with the awful ‘Poison’d’ but there were one or two tracks on that one I sort of didn’t mind. Sort of. So what have Tesla done? Well, to be honest, I despise this heap of sh*t. Every single song on this makes up the list of the worst songs Tesla have ever recorded. The most bland, un-melodic collection of shitty songs I have ever heard. Sorry to fans of the originals, or fans of this album. I love Tesla and will to my dying day – and I would pre-order a new album of originals without blinking an eye-lid… but this is the darkest moment of a previously flawless careers. Awful, awful, awful.

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Boystown - 'Angel with a dirty face' ; huge thumbs up for this one. It takes a very good AOR album to impress this bitter old modern-rock-lovin' monger at the moment, but these guys have done it well. But yeah, seriously, I get very tired and bored very quickly of average AOR these days, but this is a good solid peice of AOR. Reminds me a little of Stage Dolls, I dare say. I counted two fillers, the rest of the songs were very impressive. Great disc.

 

Sequel - 'Back' ; Hmmm, pretty standard/average hard rock. I was very, very unimpressed until the ballad hit my ears. Beautiful tune and a saviour to this disc. Overall, I guess the album's okay-ish, but extremely standard hard rock, I must say.

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Winter Rose-S/T...Very Good Melodic Metal...Great Vocals...Great Playing...

A little "Hairish" in spots...overall A Very Good First Spin....

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MUNICIPAL WASTE - The Art of Partying

 

Killer old-skool thrash metal. Anyone who loved the Bay Area sound - but thought they all took themselves a little too seriously - should own this album.

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Return-V

Heard great things about this band...this release doesn't do it for me...too many ballady

type songs...Good singer though...maybe this is a grower....

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PARAMORE - Riot

 

Much hype surrounding this one, & it's a really good catchy dose of modern rock. Nothing groundbreaking or different from the debut, but well worth getting IMO.

 

STRAPPING YOUNG LAD - The New Black

 

This is Gene Hoglan (Dark Angel drummer) & Devin Townsends band, they play ultra-aggressive modern metal/thrash - a little like the HELLYEAH album shouldve sounded like. This thing really is powerful, but another goodie for those into modern thrash like: Machine Head, Chimaira, Sanctity, Shadows Fall, etc. "You Suck" is hilarious.

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Hollywood Roses-Dopersnake....a member(London) let me check his out...

Really good sleaze rock..very modern...a very good first spin...nice vox,blazing

guitars....I like it...

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KELLY CLARKSON - My December

 

Well it's definitely rockier than "Breakaway", but more in an Indie-rock vein & certainly less melodic & polished. To be honest, on first spin, it's nowhere close to "Breakaway". "Sober" is a killer track, but this is a more varied album & the quality varies as a result. "Yeah" is awful, so is the closing track, but it might be a grower. This one is a 'try before you buy'....

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Sevendust- Alpha :banger:

 

This album is a f#@king monster. This is by far their heaviest relase since the awesome debut in 1997.

Not near as many melodic moments on this but much more balls out kickass METAL songs. "Driven", "Deathstar", "Suffer", "Beg to Differ", "Under", "Story of your Life", and "Alpha" are all kickass rockers. With "Burn" they have their longest song they've recorded which comes in at 9 minutes.

 

 

Dream Theater- Systematic Chaos

 

A perfect mixture between the more prog stylings of the Scenes from a Memory release and the more metal Train of Thought cd. Great songs are "Forsaken", "Constant Motion", "The Dark Eternal Light", and "In the Presence of Enemies-Part 1". This cd has a little for every type of DT fan, whether you enjoy the over indulgent side of the band or if you enjoy the more song oriented side of the band.

 

 

Lillian Axe- Waters Rising

 

I like this cd, I don't love it, but I like it. A good mixture of the Psychoschizophrenia and the Fields of Yesterday releases. The new singer doesn't sound that far removed from Ron Taylor, which is a good thing. There are some pleasent suprises on this one like "Fields of Yesterday" which has a very Beatles influence.

Other winners are "Water Rising", "I have to die goodbye", "Until the end of the world", "Quarantine", "Fear of time", and "The 2nd of May". Another suprise was that there's two songs that are over 8 minutes long.

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LOS ANGELES - S/T

 

Just got a promo copy of this, which is essentially covers of great AOR tunes. In fact the song choice is inspired, every single tune is a killer. There are a couple that Clay Aiken had written for his debut album, a Kansas tune, a Richard Marx tune, etc etc. Despite the fact that there are absolutely no filler tunes on this whatsoever, & Greg Guiffria plays keyboards on the album, it doesn't make this is a classic. You see Michele Luppi has a very strong Italian accent, & on tunes written largely by - and for - American artists, & this just doesn't work as well as the originals. And good old Fabrizio Grossi is back behind the production desk to squeeze all the life out of this.

 

Richard Marx's "One More Try" probably works the best due to some lush lead-guitar work. Not bad but nothing amazing.

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Bronx - 'Down & Dirty' ; Mixed bag, but the melodic hard rock tracks are great. Some awful bluesy fillers as well... overall, a very mixed and inconsistent bag for an EP... but the good tracks are very good.

 

Blind Gypsy - 'Never Coming home' ; Good solid hard rock with one of those raspy hard rock vocalists. Could only hear one or two fillers and a lot of cool tracks. Good stuff.

 

Silverstein - 'Arrivals and departures' ; Easily slots into the top 3 of the year so far, with Funeral for a Friend and Gotthard (and Cauterize when it finally arrives). If you loved 'Discovering the waterfront' you will love this as it takes off where that left off. No disappointments here for Silverstein fans. Great stuff.

 

My American Heart - 'Hiding inside the horrible weather' ; Hmmm, starts off excellent. Really good early tracks, and a few at the end, but also a few seemingly "lazy" tracks in the middle and towards the end. Still a very good album, but not quite up to the standards of 'Meaning in make-up'. Looking forward to more listens for a more informed decision.

 

Cinder Road – 'Superhuman' ; Right up there in the top 5 or 6 of the year so far, with 4 of the best songs of the year. Some amazing stuff here, as noted in the Cinder Road thread. 'Bad excuse' and 'Should have known better' are just f*cking awesome. Great consistent and solid hard rock.

 

Down to Earth Approach - 'Another Intervention' ; decent modern hard rock. Not the best, not the worst. Not recommended. Dime a dozen stuff.

 

A Small Victory - 'Camino' ; Pretty cool modern rock, sort of pop-punk-ish. Again, not the best but good solid stuff. I like it.

 

A Small Victory - 'Pieces We Keep' ; Raw EP, but good songs. I like this one. Again, pop-punk sort of stuff and not bad at all.

 

Cinema 8 - 'Cinema 8' ; Shit. Sold as 'hair metal' in regards to some big choruses, but these guys are dead in the water, IMO. One or two okay songs, but overall I really disliked this.

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Razor Baby - 'Too Hot to Handle' ; this CD sounds about as cliched as the album title is. Not bad. Solid average hard rock. A cool addition to the collection.

 

Newman - 'Primitive Soul' ; another gem from Steve. Probably not quite as good as the last CD, but this guy can't release anything sub-standard and this is excellent, as always. Will rate highly this year.

 

Great White - 'Back to the rhythm' ; I just realised I had the bass messed up on my discman, which is why this sounded raw and rough. Will have to listen to again, properly. I did like the songs, even if there's a lot of ballads and slower tracks. Very cool, though, and 100% Great White.

 

Dean Geyer - 'Rush' ; This guy finished up about 5th in the last season of Aussie Idol, and was my fave. A very handsome young man, and a great collection of pop rock tunes. I prefer this guy to any of the other Aussie Idols so far. Good CD, even if there are a few too many slow tracks after a rockier start to the disc.

 

Northstar - 'Pollyanna' ; Very disappointing. I paid decent coin for this too. Just your average decent modern rock band, nothing special at all.

 

June - 'If You Speak Any Faster' ; Sounds like a million other modern rock bands... except a million others do it better. Again very average.

 

Ever We Fall - 'We Are But Human' ; picture Saosin without the massive choruses and that's what we have here. Cool songs, and the choruses did have good hooks, but they just didn't explode, like I hoped they would - like Saosin would have done. Overall, this is good and will probably grow on me, more subtely than most bands.

 

Homegrown - 'Kings of pop' ; Very much in the "nu-breed" sound of things that was going around back in 2003. Once again, I had the bass all messed up on my discman which offered really bad sound, but even with that going on this still sounded quite good. A filler here and there, but a few great tracks too. Thumbs up, looking forward to a proper listen.

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Los Angeles s/t : Good disc and solid melodic hard rock, but far from awesome IMHO. I'm a little bit disappointed by this new 'all star' band. The sound production is weak. 6 or 7/10...

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