Archive for June, 2012

For All Those Sleeping: Outspoken

Posted in Album Reviews on June 30, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

This is the sophomore release from Minnesota metalcore band, For All Those Sleeping, a band that to me never made much of an impact and still doesn’t seem to make an impact on this record. This is by far their heaviest record thus far, but this record is also nothing like the debut. It’s almost as if it’s a completely different band. The clean vocals have always been too poppy for me and lack the balls that the band’s music is trying to convey. The first album always featured a breakdown towards the end of the song as if to quickly justify themselves and fit in with what everyone else is doing. Now this record has breakdowns scattered all over the place, a lot more aggressive vocals, a couple of cool moments, but overall nothing new or exciting.

This is all my opinion though. I like a lot of bands that are similar to For All Those Sleeping, but for whatever reason, I could never get into this band. There’s something about them that to me just sounds fake. Granted, this album sounds a lot more “un-fake” (for lack of a better word), but I’m still not totally hooked on this band. I’m sure fans of this band will love the new record and I’m sure we”ll here more from them in the next year and next summer I imagine they’ll be on some summer lineups.

I think this is a band still trying to find their sound. The first album had a lot of cheesy lyrics and poppy musical elements with minimal breakdowns. Now we have a record that is delving in lyrical content that is slightly darker, adding a lot more breakdowns and being a lot heavier, which is a fairly familiar trend in bands of this ilk. It seems like this band are just trying everything in order to see what’s popular and most beneficial for them, and in turn they aren’t really creating anything new, they aren’t rivaling any other bands, and I think they’ll end up fading away before becoming the next A Day to Remember like some people are claiming them to be.

Maybe I’m wrong though. I know of a few people who are really into them and I’ve heard that they have a pretty decent live show as well, but having never seen them live and not being totally convinced myself makes it hard to side with them, but fair play to this band if lots of people get involved with them because of this album. There are some strong moments on this record and some admittedly catchy hooks, but nothing really memorable or remarkable.

Luke Helker

The Word Alive: Life Cycles

Posted in Album Reviews on June 28, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

For me, this is a very highly anticipated album. After listening to the first record and then being able to see those songs live really connected with me and I think this band is one of the best bands in their genre. Life Cycles is the follow up to their widely acclaimed debut Deceiver. After listening to Life Cycles for the first time, I wasn’t completely hooked, but then again I wasn’t completely hooked the first time I heard Deceiver. It’s got a lot of immediate moments that are killer, but I’m going to need to give it more time in order for it to be up there with the debut for me.

I’m liking the album a lot and I think any fan of the band or fans of Attack Attack!, Of Mice and Men, or Miss May I that might not have heard The Word Alive before will immediately grapple on to this band. This is a really strong record and the only thing I really have to complain about it is that I wish I had it sooner. It felt like ages waiting for this album in 2011 when I saw this band live on the Warped Tour stage. That was the day I became a true fan of this band. I had always liked their music, but for me, they were the best band I had seen that day.

The band has aimed to impress with this new record and it’s clear from listening to this that the band won’t loose any fans with this record. If anything, they should be gaining more fans. Telle has been saying that this will be the band’s greatest effort, but I still personally find more enjoyment in Deceiver, but he isn’t wrong to make that claim. There’s a lot of new things going on, less breakdowns, and the tunes that are very different from Deceiver, but undeniably The Word Alive.

Luke Helker

Lostprophets: Weapons

Posted in Album Reviews on June 28, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

“I’d rather die on my feet than ever live on my knees!”

This is the anthemic war cry from the track “Better off Dead” that translates into something of a theme for this band. That and the image of the Phoenix are appropriate themes for a band that has something of a roller coaster of a career, trying to stand out by doing their own blend of pop punk and post hardcore music. Their music has always had that working class-us-against-the-world element and that fire still burns brightly for them.

I like this band a lot and I know that a lot of their stuff is unpopular to some, but I think this band is great. However, I think the biggest problem with their music is that Alter Bridge are kind of doing what they do better, which means that the band need to try some new things in order to compete and still be relevant. That’s another problem this band has. They’ve never really gotten all of the credit they deserve. Start Something alone sold half a million units, and yet you never see Losprophets on any headlining set or even on that many tours to begin with. For one reason or another, this band are seen as having an audience composed of mainly children. It’s a shame because this band deserve a whole lot more than that. I’m not the biggest fan of this band and I not terribly thrilled with this record in particular. I think in 2012, Lostprophets needed to make a much stronger record.

But there is some hope. That band are playing this year’s Warped Tour and if they can really kill it and convert a lot of people with a killer set, they may find themselves being booked for more shows and possibly a rising from the proverbial ashes in the image if this Phoenix theme.

Overall, not the best album of their’s but for someone looking for ten songs that are straightforward anthemic fist in the air tunes, then you might enjoy this a lot.

Luke Helker

Gojira: L’Enfant Sauvage

Posted in Album Reviews on June 27, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Quite possibly one of the best metal records of the year, French metal titans Gojira have smashed it again with another cerebral hemorrhage of an album. Chalk full of great tunes, Gojira have rightfully established themselves as one of the best and most insanely creative metal forces of our generation.┬áThis is the band’s fifth album and it still includes all of the bands trademarks and signature sounds, while blending a lot of new, modern elements. Their ecologically friendly, poetic lyrics go so well with their equally emotionally enhancing music. Songs like “Explosia”, “Planned Obsolescence” , and “The Gift of Guilt” are huge tunes that sound like the world is imploding from within.

Some really important things to note in this album is that 1) This is their major label debut. They recently signed with Roadrunner Records (Home of Slipknot, Trivium, and countless others) and although bands signing to major labels may alienate them from a portion from their fan base, this album has exactly everything it needs to be successful. No bells or whistles and electronic frills, so if anyone is gonna stop liking this band because they’re on a major label, then they are clearly crazy and missing out on a lot. 2) This album is 10 minutes shorter than their previous two albums. Apparently people have been complaining that their albums have been getting too long and so this album has been modestly shortened to 50 minutes as opposed to them being an hour long.

In 2012, this is the type of record that this band needs to make. Leaving most of their competition in the dust, Gojira are on of the few bands that are rewriting the history books in terms of how groove metal is done. Great job. Sure to be high in a lot of people’s end of the year lists.

Luke Helker

Orion Review & Photo Album

Posted in Concert Reviews, Podcasts on June 26, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Here’s an audio review of what I saw and experienced at this year’s inaugural Orion Music & More Festival.

Luke Helker

Jukebox the Ghost: Safe Travels

Posted in Album Reviews on June 22, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

This is the third album from this indie-pop band from New York/Philadelphia. I’d like to say that third time’s a charm, but with this band, everything they’ve done has been absolutely brilliant and this is just another chapter in what will hopefully a long and fruitful career for these fellows. Just in time for summer, Jukebox the Ghost deliver a delightfully upbeat album perfect for the drive to the shore.

Their unyielding optimism is truly a breath of fresh air in a world where music thrives on themes of grief and hopelessness. The album really picks up where Everything Under the Sun left off two years ago and with the first two tracks of Safe Travels (“Somebody” and then “Oh Emily”), the band is able to continue the idea set forth in Everything Under the Sun, and then take it up a notch to really drive the companionship idea home and set the bar for the rest of the album. With infectious sounds, soft, delicate pianos, and consistent songwriting throughout, the band give us what is arguably their greatest effort to date.

“Man on the Moon”, “Adulthood”, “Dead”, the list goes on. An unbelievably strong collection of songs closing out with “The Spiritual.” Not the best Jukebox the Ghost song, but strong enough to really drive the idea home and providing the perfect closure for a remarkable album. Any fan of this band with finds hours of enjoyment from this album and wouldn’t be surprised if we see a lot more from this band in the near future. If you take away anything from listening to Jukebox the Ghost, it’s to always keep your head up high and remain optimistic despite whatever shit the universe is raining down on you today.

Take care guys.

Luke Helker

Spineshank: Anger Denial Acceptance

Posted in Album Reviews on June 20, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

This is the fourth album from nu-metal/industrial metal-twinged group Spineshank. After releasing three amazing albums filled with rage, honesty, anger, and brutality, the band called it quits and got involved in other side projects (i.e. Silent Civilian). Now, the original lineup has reformed once again and have graced us with another album. But how does it stack up against the golden days? Well, if you’re looking for another Height of Callousness, then you will be disappointed, but all is not lost.

Yes, this album is a bit of a departure from their earlier albums, and yes they do downplay a lot of their aggression, but it’s not all bad. The production is great and some of the songs are killer, it just doesn’t sound like what they used to. I have to say though, they do sound a lot more commercial on this record and with nu-metal already being a virtually extinct genre, it seems like they were trying to still make themselves relevant in this new metalcore-dominant world…and didn’t do too well. I liked the record overall, but it’s my least favorite record of theirs and it kinda makes me just want to relive their glory days through Height of Callousness and Self-Destructive Pattern.

Overall, I think it was a good effort, but when we those first three albums, we don’t really need this album in 2012, which is horrible to say, but the harsh truth. But I guess that’s the reason the album title is so appropriate. Any fan no matter how casual or how strong will listen to this the first time and be angry by the way they don’t sound like they did a decade ago, will become in denial for why the band don’t sound the way they used to, but overall will hopefully be able to accept that they don’t sound like they used to, bands change and this is who they are now. When you look at it like that, you have to give them credit for sticking to their guns. It’s just a shame the album is as good as what the band are capable of.

Luke Helker