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Ganon1998
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PostSubject: Ganon's Album Review Thread   Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:05 pm

Decided to make a thread where I'll review albums as I listen to them or see fit.
Check in if you want some good recommendations. :U

It'll be like my 2011 thread, except involving albums from any year (and genre).
Then probably at the end of the year I'll post my top albums of the year or something.

I'll have a review of probably a few albums up in a bit.
And I'll try to be more in depth with my reviews if I can, but no promises. :U
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PostSubject: Re: Ganon's Album Review Thread   Sat Feb 11, 2012 3:12 pm

Ghost - Opus Eponymous (2010)
Heavy Metal
8/10



The easiest way to describe this album's sound or style is simply to say imagine classic metal band Mercyful Fate (particularly the vocals of King Diamond) had a baby with Blue Oyster Cult. And it's awesome. :U
Just all around a fun record in a sea of metal records that take themselves 100% serious. Cheesy satanic lyrics, great riffs and solos. Just everything this record needs to be to not only be a throwback to classic metal, but also be some of the most refreshing music to have ever come out of the metal genre in a long time.
Seriously, the music on this album sounds like it belongs in an old episode of Scooby Doo or as the soundtrack for the NES Castlevania games.
All around, a fantastic album. Highly recommended.

Ghost - Con Clavi Con Dio:
 


Deathspell Omega – Paracletus (2010)
Experimental Black Metal
9/10



The only real way to describe this album is to say that it is insane. Almost to the point where it sounds like it has no real rhyme or reason at to what’s going on in the songs, but there is always that hint that the band has it under complete control. For example, the second song, Wings of Predation, is just crazy. The band just seems to be throwing things at you from everywhere. Towards the end of the album it starts to drag because of how long they go on pummeling the listener without really slowing down (tracks 7-9), but it ends on a spectacular note with the song Apokatastasis Panton, just a really moody, creepy, depressed song.
The instrumentation is pitch perfect, reflecting that chaotic yet controlled feel, the production is crisp and clean (a rarity for black metal bands). Ultimately, this is a brilliant album by a band that’s long been known for being one of the more inventive black metal bands around.

Deathspell Omega - Apokatastasis Panton:
 


Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)
Hip-Hop
10/10



You know. This is pretty much it. I don't think I will ever be surprised (in the sense of going into an album thinking "Alright, this is gonna be good, but not really my thing") by another album ever again, as long as I live. I'm not a fan of hip-hop. It's just not my thing. Previous to hearing this album, the only hip-hop song I've ever liked (not including anything by Gorillaz, which I don't consider hip-hop) was Jay-Z's song "99 Problems" (mainly because it's referenced in one of my favorite webcomics, Questionable Content). Every other hip-hop song I've heard outside of that, I couldn't get into. So I've pretty much resigned myself to accepting the fact that I will never find a hip-hop album I like.

And then this album pops up. Aside from some lyrics here and there, this album is damn near perfect. The music is, on the whole, just downright beautiful in spots, particularly songs like Runaway and Blame Game with the piano. And that's the thing I love about this album. The music isn't just standard beats and whatnot. It's orchestral, dense, and just amazing. Then you got things where it samples well known rock songs like King Crimson's 21st Century Schizoid Man or Black Sabbath's Iron Man, and while, 99% of the time I'm pulling out the torches in pitchforks going "How dare you ruin one of the greatest songs of all time", when these samples come up, it's a goddamn treat to hear them.

But overall, damn. My mind's been blown. I'm gonna have to think long and hard where I'm going to place this in my list of Greatest Albums of All Time, but rest assured, it's going near the top.
I couldn't recommend this album enough. Now I know why basically everyone and their dog had this as their #1 album of 2010. Highly, highly, HIGHLY recommended.

Kanye West - Runaway:
 


Jethro Tull - Aqualung (1971)
Progressive Rock
9/10



Now, I always loved Jethro Tull's singles but I never really listened to their albums. Aqualung, Bungle in the Jungle, Locomotive Breath, Hymn 43, all fantastic songs (all being on Aqualung aside from Bungle in the Jungle). So going into this album, I was thinking "Hm, I'm gonna like this, but I have this feeling the songs I don't know aren't going to be quite as good as the singles". And I was wrong. The whole album is solid, front to back. And while I still love songs like Aqualung and Locomotive Breath over everything else, the rest of the album holds it's own against these juggernauts.
All around, just a fantastic, classic prog rock album. Definitely recommended.

Jethro Tull - Locomotive Breath:
 


Jay-Z and Kanye West - Watch the Throne (2011)
Hip-Hop
7/10



Figured I'd give this album a shot after loving Kanye West's album My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Compared to MBDTF, I found I had a much harder time getting into the album, and although all the songs were fairly good, there were a few of them that just weren't as good as others IMO. However, there were the songs just like in MBDTF where I did eventually warm up to the song after a bit. Overall, I enjoyed it, but nowhere near as much as My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Recommended if you are interested.

Jay-Z and Kanye West - Lift Off:
 


Liturgy - Aesthethica (2011)
Black Metal
2/10




[This is my review of the album I posted on the Rock Band forums]

Ultimately, what we have here is an album with some decent ideas that gets drowned in annoying riffs, lack of any ability to transition from one section of a song to another (making it seem like they're just playing random bits of different songs without gracefully moving from one piece to the next), and just downright annoyingly baffling ideas, such as the awful John Carpenter-esque song that sounds like it was run through a NES.

Once in a great while the band will happen along a decent enough riff but just when you're finally sitting there going "About time I hear something decent", the band abandons that and transitions poorly into a section where they bang on one note over and over again for what seems like ages before finally going back to something that could be considered a riff.

Another thing that really bothers me about this is the triumphant and exuberant "feel" of much of the album. And while I don't want to pigeonhole the black metal genre, I just don't go looking for "happy" music while listening to black metal. It just doesn't work at all I feel. All it does is end up creating a really annoying sounding guitar.

All in all though, this is just an annoyingly awful album. The band really needs to go back and learn how to make a song instead of just stringing together different riffs Frankenstein-style and hoping it works (it doesn't).

Liturgy - Sun of Light:
 


Kanye West - 808's & Heartbreak (2008)
R&B, Pop, Electronica
7.5/10



After being completely obsessed with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, I was interested in checking out some of Kanye West's previous stuff, mostly gravitating towards this release due to the backstory (the album's basically Kanye's reaction to his breaking up with his fiance of 18 months and his mother's death) and the direction he took with the album (heavily inspired by 80's synthpop and features little rapping, with Kanye mostly singing through autotune).
Overall though, I quite enjoyed the album. Not to the extent to which I enjoyed MBDTF, but it was an interesting album. One thing I loved about it is the obvious influence of 80's music on the album. While I'm not a fan of 80's music that uses synthesizers heavily, Kanye manages to make songs that sound as if they were ripped from the 80's sound great. Another thing that surprised me though is how much Kanye's use of auto-tune didn't really bug me. Normally, auto-tune (especially taken to T-Pain degrees) just annoys the hell out of me, but it doesn't bother me here. However, there are a few "meh" songs on here. At least for me, the more R&Bish songs along with some of the songs with rapped verses and stuff, as they just kinda seem out of place.
All in all, good album though. Definitely recommend.

Kanye West - RoboCop:
 


Volcano Choir - Unmap (2009)
Experimental Folk
7.5/10



Interesting release coming from a side product of Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Basically, easiest way I could describe this is if you took Bon Iver's first release, For Emma, Forever Ago, and expanded upon it with a more experimental take. Don't really got much to say about it other than that I liked it (although a few songs I didn't quite care for the sound). Good album, check it out if you're into stuff like Bon Iver.

Volcano Choir - Island, IS:
 


Rainbow - Rising (1976)
Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
9/10



There's really not much to say about this album. It's a damn fine classic heavy metal/hard rock album done by heavy metal gods Ritchie Blackmore (also of Deep Purple) and Ronnie James Dio (Dio, Black Sabbath, Elf, Heaven and Hell). If you're at all into stuff like Deep Purple and Dio, I HIGHLY suggest this album. Can't really say how I'd rank it with albums like Dio's Holy Diver (which I consider to be the greatest heavy metal album of all time), but it's definitely up there.

Rainbow - Stargazer:
 


Rainbow - Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (1977)
Heavy Metal, Hard Rock
8/10



Another great album from Blackmore and Dio, however, in my opinion, not quite as good as Rising. The album on the whole feels much more straightforward Hard Rock or Heavy Metal and less like the more symphonic feel of stuff like Rising or Holy Diver. The first few songs kinda come off as Led Zeppelin-ish, although that's not necessarily a bad thing (because even Blackmore aping Led Zeppelin is good), just something that made me go "Huh... they went this way?". Starting at Gates of Babylon (the highlight of the album) and ending with the hauntingly beautiful song Rainbow Eyes, the album seems to find it's stride, providing a very good listen.
All things considered, just another great album. Definitely recommend.

Rainbow - Gates of Babylon:
 
Rainbow - Rainbow Eyes:
 


Last edited by Ganon1998 on Fri Feb 17, 2012 10:00 pm; edited 3 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Ganon's Album Review Thread   Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:15 am

Fiona Apple - Tidal (1996)
Jazz, Alternative
8/10



You know, I don't know what it is about this album, but it reminds me a LOT of Portishead (fantastic band, definitely recommend everything they've done). Even though Portishead is trip-hop and has kinda a smokey, back alley kinda vibe where as Fiona Apple is jazzy alternative that kinda reminds me of spring-time, maybe a day in which it just rained and you look outside and you see the deep green of the plants and whatnot.
I dunno, either way, I really like this album. Not generally the type of music, but I've heard her name come up a few times in the past week (once on VH1's 100 Greatest Women in Music and once somewhere else that I can't remember), checked out the type of music, and was intrigued. And I found the music to be pretty damn good. Definitely recommend.

Fiona Apple - Shadowboxer:
 


Deep Purple - Machine Head (1972)
Hard Rock, Heavy Metal
8/10



... It has Highway Star and Smoke on the Water on it. It's great to begin with. I mean, I guess I could talk about the other songs on the album, like Pictures of Home with it's great bass solo or Lazy with it's eerie opening and bluesy guitar and keyboard solo. But really, that's just icing on the cake. This is a great album.

Deep Purple - Lazy:
 


Isis - Oceanic (2002)
Post-Metal
10/10



Oceanic is one of my favorite albums of all time, and if I had to put it in a list, it'd be #5 behind Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, Radiohead's OK Computer, Nirvana's In Utero, and Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. Absolutely love the massive watery (Oceanic?) feel of the album. From the back and forth of the opening track The Beginning and the End to the closing Hym, it's just as perfect an album as you could possibly get. Few albums manage to come close to this album in terms of brilliance, and fewer still surpass it. Highlight of the album, at least for me, is the song Weight that just builds and builds for the longest time until it hits a peak, comes back down, and then builds up again. There are good albums, and then there are albums like Oceanic that are monolithic in their greatness.

Isis - Weight:
 


Fiona Apple - Extraordinary Machine (2005)
Jazz, Alternative
6/10



In comparison to Fiona Apple's great debut, Tidal, Extraordinary Machine (her most recent release) doesn't compare in my opinion. Tracks 1-7 are all pretty good. The first track, Extraordinary Machine is a little bit weird, but in an endearing way. Continuing on, you have O' Sailor, which I feel is the highlight of the album, Tymps (The Sick in the Head Song), and Window, which are all great tracks, on par with stuff from Tidal (maybe not quite as good, but they hold their own). However, after Window, I think the album starts to lose quite a bit of steam (maybe one good track in tracks 8-12). Not that those tracks are bad, they just aren't anywhere near as good as the rest of the album, and it really hurts it IMO. It just doesn't hold my interest like the first seven tracks do.
I'd recommend the album, but only if you first listen to Tidal and really liked that album.
I'll eventually get around to reviewing her second album, When the Pawn..., but Spotify mysteriously has a song in the middle of the album greyed out, so I can't bring myself to listen to the album while not being able to listen to a song halfway through. :I

Fiona Apple - O' Sailor:
 


Black Tusk - Taste the Sin (2010)
Black Tusk - Set the Dial (2011)
Kylesa - Spiral Shadow (2010)
Sludge Metal, Hardcore, Psychedelic Rock
8/10
8.5/10
9/10



Gonna lump together these three albums into the same review, especially considering all of them are great albums (and all of them are sludge metal albums, the only difference is, Black Tusk fuses sludge with hardcore and Kylesa fuses sludge with psychedelic rock). Also, only going to post Kylesa's album Spiral Shadow's album art as John Baizley's (singer of Baroness who does album artwork for a bunch of bands) art has a tendency to feature nude women.
ANYWAYS, highly recommend all three of these album, which is weird for me, because a few months ago I could not stand them. One by one though, Taste the Sin is probably the "weakest", but that's not saying it's a bad album, far from it. I just feel it sounds way too much like other sludge bands/songs out there to really garner a higher rating than that. Set the Dial, on the other hand, just rocks out and is an incredibly fun album, which is why it gets the 8.5.
FINALLY, the best of the bunch IMO, Kylesa's Spiral Shadow is a really weird album for me. For months on and off before today, I kept trying to listen to it on and off and it never clicked. However, after finally being able to get into Black Tusk, I gave this album one last shot, and holy crap. Starts off like your typical sludge album, but once they throw some songs at you with a more prominent psychedelic rock twist (particularly the second half of the album), the album really takes off.
But overall, if you're interested in some sludge metal, you couldn't go wrong with these albums. Expect more reviews of albums from these bands as well as another sludge band I want to check out called Black Cobra.

Black Tusk - Red Eyes, Black Skies:
 
Kylesa - Spiral Shadow:
 


Fiona Apple - When the Pawn... (1999)
Jazz/Alternative
8/10



In comparison to her other albums, I'd probably place this album inbetween Tidal and Extraordinary Machine, although probably closer to Tidal. There's really not much to say about this album that hasn't already been said about the other albums. It sounds like a Fiona Apple album. Nothing really groundbreaking or anything. Good piano work.
Just a good album overall.

Fiona Apple - On the Bound:
 


Massive Attack - Mezzanine (1998)
Trip-hop
8/10



As far as trip-hop goes, I'm not a huge Massive Attack fan (granted, I'm not a huge trip-hop fan either). For every song I really like (Angel and Teardrop from Mezzanine, for example), there's a few that, while good, I just don't fully "get". Overall though, it is a damn good album and a classic one at that. If you're interested at all in trip-hop, definitely check this one out.
Personally though, if I want to get my fill of trip-hop, I'd turn towards Portishead's first two albums. By far two of the greatest albums of all time IMO.

Massive Attack - Angel:
 


Meshuggah - Destroy Erase Improve (1995)
Experimental Metal
7/10



First time checking out Meshuggah's earlier stuff and I gotta say, it isn't half bad. While the band has matured and improved a hundred fold over their career, Destroy Erase Improve still holds up decently. The only complaint I really have against the album is the hardcore backing shouts throughout the album, which don't really seem to mesh all that well with the rest of the music or Meshuggah's style. Glad they dropped that pretty fast and started moving in a far more experimental direction for their later albums.

Meshuggah - Future Breed Machine:
 


Meshuggah - Chaosphere (1998)
Experimental Metal
8/10



Moving on from Destroy Erase Improve, Chaosphere really marks the point (at least IMO) where Meshuggah started adopting their trademark experimentalism. And it really shows, because it is a HUGE improvement over Destroy Erase Improve. Not really much to say because Meshuggah doesn't really change in the sense that they move in directions so much as they just improve on their sound. Just a great album all around.

Meshuggah - New Millenium Cyanide Christ:
 


Meshuggah - I (2004)
Experimental Metal
9/10



While I regard obZen as Meshuggah's best album, I honestly think they hit their peak with this EP (really, the only reason I can't consider this release their best is because it's only a one song EP). The most amazing thing with this is that it manages to be completely engaging throughout the entire 21 minute runtime of the song. At no point whatsoever does it feel like it's dragging, and in fact, despite it being a gargantuan song at 21 minutes long, it still manages to feel like they could throw on another 10+ minutes without the song overstaying it's welcome.
This is in no small part to the sheer range the song manages to go through, constantly changing, evolving, and throwing out interesting idea after interesting idea. Just a damn good release by one of the best bands in the metal scene right now.

Meshuggah - I:
 
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Ganon1998
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PostSubject: Re: Ganon's Album Review Thread   Sat Apr 07, 2012 4:59 am

Meshuggah - Nothing (2002)
Experimental Metal
8.5/10



Probably the last Meshuggah album I'll review for this thread (unless I decide to put up an obZen review, but I don't really care for putting up reviews of albums I've listened to long before I even made this thread).
Anyways... it's Meshuggah. There's really not much to say. One of the most consistent metal bands out there, couldn't release a bad album if they tried.
If you like Meshuggah, listen to it. If you don't, don't. That's all I can say about it.

Meshuggah - Stengah:
 


Slayer - Reign in Blood (1986)
Thrash Metal
9/10



Never really listened to Slayer (or Anthrax, as far as the big thrash bands go), but I was pleasantly surprised by this album (and the next album I'm reviewing). Just a really damn good album. Found the vocals interesting, wasn't expecting some Judas Priest type shrieks in there. Another thing I found interesting was how different Raining Blood was compared to the rest of the songs on the album. Just a far more atmospheric song. Which is probably why I feel it's the best song on the album. :U

Slayer - Raining Blood:
 


Anthrax - Among the Living (1987)
Thrash Metal
8.5/10



Like I said, pretty surprised (more surprised by this album than by the Slayer album though) about this album. Before I kinda considered Anthrax the "runt of the litter" of the Big Four Thrash Bands, so to speak. After listening to this... don't think that anymore. If anything, listening to these two albums by Slayer and Anthrax, Metallica's actually the runt of the litter now. Just don't really care all that much about Metallica, but that's a different discussion.
Anyways, yeah, kinda surprised by this album. Very consistent all the way through, band always sounds like they are having fun (that's the only thing I always picked up on about Anthrax though. Out of all the thrash bands, they seemed to make a point of having fun instead of always looking serious). Fantastic drumming, interesting vocal style (kinda got a rapping thing going on sometimes), and just all around fun thrash metal.
Good album, definitely recommend it.

Anthrax - Indians:
 


Enslaved - Frost (1994)
Viking Metal/Black Metal
9/10



Been trying for a while to get into power metal bands and whatnot, but I never seem to be able to. Everytime, they just come off as cheesy. So to satisfy my need for ultra epic metal, I usually turn to Bathory, pretty much the most famous Viking Metal band of all time. But this time I decided to check out another Viking Metal band, Enslaved, and am extremely pleased that I did. Fantastic atmospheric black metal with the viking metal touch. While not as "epic" as Bathory, it makes up for it in some of the most fantastic drumming I've heard from a black metal band. Add to it the fantastic production that sounds fairly clean and crisp, and you got one fantastic album.

Enslaved - Loke:
 


Chelsea Wolfe - Apokalypsis (2011)
Indie Rock/Experimental Folk/Doom Influences
9/10



It's really tough to classify Chelsea Wolfe's music, but it's got this kinda folky doom thing going on. Overall though, I was looking through artists similar to Wolves in the Throne Room on Spotify and saw Chelsea Wolfe sitting there. Now, I don't really get why she's compared to Wolves in the Throne Room (even though it definitely has some influence from metal), but either way it's some damn good music. Really enjoy the bleakly atmospheric stuff here and the vocals are awesome, with their slightly lo-fi kinda sound that makes them just barely understandable most of the time, which also adds to the atmosphere and bleakness. Just a damn good record.

Chelsea Wolfe - Demons:
 


Chelsea Wolfe - The Grime and the Glow (2010)
Indie Rock/Experimental Folk/Doom Influences
8/10



This is Chelsea Wolfe's debut album, and while I vastly prefer Apokalypsis (it has more in common with metal and overall is just moodier), this is pretty good. Not quite as gloom and doom as Apokalysis, but it's still a good record. Definitely check out this (along with Apokalypsis).

Chelsea Wolfe - Halfsleeper:
 


Darkthrone - Under a Funeral Moon (1993)
Black Metal
8/10



Tried listening to Darkthrone before, but I didn't really care for them.
Think it's because I tried listening to A Blaze in the Northern Sky which was still a rooted a bit in death metal.
But checked this album out today... really good. Really cool to hear some guitar solos on a black metal album (as well as the next album I'm reviewing).

Spoiler:
 


Mayhem - De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas (1994)
Black Metal
9/10



You know, I never really was interested in listening to the "classic" black metal bands (aside from eventually getting around to listening to Burzum's Filosofem, which I still gotta do). Liking this a bit more than Under a Funeral Moon if only for the fantastic drumming from Hellhammer IMO.
Also, the unique vocal style which reminds me of a ghoul or zombie from Atilla Csihar is really interesting and a breath of fresh air (granted, this album was recorded like twenty years ago) in a genre that seems to be content with just doing the same things over and over again. I mean, not that that's necessarily a bad thing, because at least if a band is able to adequately copy an older band, they still got some decent sounding riffs going and whatnot. Also, some actually audible bass lines here from Varg Vikernes (Count Grishnackh as he went by back then).
One other thing to consider is that the production on this album is actually pretty damn good, all things considered. Every instrument can be heard quite clearly (although the bass is sometimes a little tough to pick out with the other instruments going full blast). Drumming is clear, singing is clear, guitar work is clear. Really odd to see a "classic" black metal record with competent production.

Spoiler:
 
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