Melvins – Ozma (original version; 1989)

I don’t know much about Melvins, to be perfectly honest. I started listening to them a few years ago (maybe 2009-ish?) and while I do very much like the band, I don’t often find myself coming back to them. Maybe it’s because  I’m always doing something else that demands more attention, like homework or snorting cocaine off of the ass of a mime – and not Robins Williams from Shakes the clown (who was very clearly coked out of his goddamn mind when they filmed that shit.). Movie still gives me fucking nightmares. It’s uncomfortable and slightly diseased feeling.

Appropriately, this brings me to the general feel of Ozma. It’s a pretty gross album. Not the subject matter so much; it just feels like a dingy bathroom. And I don’t mean that in a bad way – It’s an *endearingly* filthy bathroom with lots of creative and colorful graffiti.
But the subject matter is pretty urky as well. Themes of being generally desperate and pathetic, lowly, wormlike. And weird. I always like lyrics that make little apparent sense and are vague without being pretentiously so. Unless Davide Lynch is pretentious.

Well okay, he probably is.  And this is, a little bit at times.

But there’s always something dark, and threatening and sexual going on here. And not in a fun way. Like the dude in the alley wearing the trench coat is masturbating and giggling ass you walk by. Probably coked up.

A track by track rundown would be pointless, all but two tracks fall just under or over the one minute mark. I feel reasonably certain that the original pressings of this album were drugs. I don’t know what drugs. Whatever they were, I would never take drugs that make me feel this disgusting.

I feel like I need to take a shower.

There are few hooks to speak of, and it almost seems crass to call this “music”. It certainly doesn’t sound like it at first – it sounds more like a group of paranoid hobos learned how to riff. And it *sounds* random. But it *isn’t*. There *are* patterns… the hooks are simply too jagged to identify them as such. It takes a very intent and focused listening to pick up on them. And some of them are actually pretty clever.

Any singular adjective I might use to describe any of the sounds on this recording, would only be polluted by it’s juxtaposition with this album.

I rate this album:
Huffing paint in a nightie/10

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Psychotic Waltz “A Social Grace”

This is a band that got lost in the 90′s. Devon Graves of Dead Soul Tribe fame (I should use fame loosely and I mean that in a Platinum hit top 40 kind of way which means nothing to me personally, but DST is the reason I know this band exists.) is the vocalist and plays flute occasionally. I am not sure why this band was under the radar but I am going to guess it is the prog influences. Most people find it too complex I suppose. This is also a time when bands from Seattle’s grunge scene were making waves in the music industry and the differences are quite apparent. The band hung it up in 1997 and Graves went on to start DST.

I would describe Psychotic Waltz’s music as a fusion of prog rock, heavy metal and perhaps psychedelic rock. The band calls it Hippy Metal and I guess that works. Graves has such a haunting voice it really ties together with the mood of the music. The smatterings of flute and piano really help give it the prog feel.

There is one song called “Spiral Tower”, it is appropriate because listening to the album from start to finish I sort of feel as I am embarking on a journey up that tower. Fighting Demons and Hydras on my way up losing companions and still soldiering on………I have played way too much Shining Force 2.

When I hear an album and can listen to it end to end without wanting to skip a song it delights me more than most people know. I’d go in depth into the songs but really feel the album as a whole package is what is important here. Each song feels like it was written for the rest of the tracks on the album. Notably exceptional songs are “Halo of Thorns”, “I of the Storm”, “A Psychotic Waltz” and “Spiral Tower”

Check it out. Oh and good news Psychotic Waltz is back together and working on a new album which will hopefully be out sometime before the end of this year.

Psychotic Waltz web page

Colin

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Dream Theater – A Dramatic Turn of Events

I went into this with very low expectations due to the departure of Mike Portnoy on drums and the fact that I found the previous two albums barely listenable. Ok so they weren’t that bad but for a band who is adept at producing phenomenal album after phenomenal album they were quite bad. I am still absorbing this new album but as it sits this is easily as good as Metropolis PT2 : Scenes from a Memory. That, from me, says a lot since it is my third favorite album after Train of Thought and Octavarium.

Let me start by saying Mike Mangini did more than deliver he brought it in your house and set it up for you, even gave you a quick training session. I am impressed, I have heard of him in the past but it was hard for me to believe anyone could replace Portnoy. Rudess is in classic form on this album, never much of a complaint when it comes to his performance on the keys after all he is the modern day Rick Wakeman. Petrucci, Myung and LaBrie all bring it together to reseal the void that seemed to be quite apparent in the last two albums.

On the Backs of Angels is the first track and is a perfect example of why these guys are some of the best progressive rock musicians in the world. It has a great mix of well paced guitar and drums, the keyboards are a bit more lively but appropriate.

Build me up, Break me Down is the second track and is a standard sounding DT piece throughout the chorus but the verses are sung by LaBrie through a filter of some sort and it transforms in to an early 2000′s heavy metal track with an almost Disturbed sound to it.

Lost Not Forgotten starts with a piano solo develops into a ten minute long excursion of this joyous genre that is called progressive rock.

This is the Life is a standard ballad style DT song, nothing real impressive here but a good listen for sure.

Bridges in the Sky is one of my favorite songs on the album. We start out with some guttural chanting that transitions to chanting you might hear in a church. Then it’s on with the guitar and complimentary drumming and keys that have always kept DT in a league of their own. (Mike Mangini is a beast) I absolutely recommend you give this song a listen it is epic. Yes I did just say EPIC!

Outcry the song that takes up track 6 and possibly ranks #1 in my heart. This is an 11+ minute song that really puts on display that these guys have not lost their touch in over 20 years of making music. I am not even going to try and describe this song just go listen to it.

Far from Heaven is another ballady type of song and my least favorite on the album. Not much to be said except LaBrie’s vocals are very good on it.

Breaking All Illusions is the longest song on the album at 12:26 and is a decent song until about ten minutes in where it becomes freaking incredible. That crescendo to finale part of any prog song worth its salt is what I live for when I listen to it (that and abrupt changes in pacing).

Beneath the Surface is the final track and is another ballad but a good song, solid acoustic guitar and vocals. I rather like the lyrics to this song reminds me of crappy women……..anyway.

My conclusion is that if you are a fan of music you should pick this up, if you are a long time DT fan who is bitter about their last two albums pick this up you won’t be disappointed. I sure wasn’t.

You go here you buy,

A Dramatic Turn Of Events

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Trivium – In Waves

I was very excited for this album to release. I have all of their previous work and enjoy the mix of metal and rock, with sprinklings of prog. Naturally I expected this album to deliver all of that and hopefully more, but I am finding myself disappointed thus far. There are a few notable tracks such as “Black”, “Built to Fall” and “Shattering the skies above” the latter of which was released months ago on the God of War 3 soundtrack so it’s lost the appeal it had when I first heard it.

Now bear in mind these are initial impressions of the album, I have many times found certain releases from a band to grow on me with time. This is definitely the case with Dream Theater’s Octavarium which is one of my favorite albums from them now.

The song “Of All These Yesterdays” really hit me when I first heard it, but as I continued to listen to it, the lyrics became repetitive and well perhaps boring. Usually I find myself not liking the beginning of a song and it growing into a masterpiece or at the very least something enjoyable, this song had the opposite effect on me.

The rest of the album at this point sounds like a mix of Unearth and numerous other popular metal bands, which isn’t a bad thing by any means, just not unique enough for me to consider it a stellar release by these guys. They have put out phenomenal music in the past and this just doesn’t stack up to the previous work. I am not saying avoid this album it isn’t bad just go in expecting a good metal album not a work of art.

Colin “Loudneighbor”

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Pomeroy – A New Reflection

Pomeroy “A New Reflection” I know most people around my area heard of Pomeroy with their popular single Roboflow played on 89.7fm The River and their frequent appearances at the old Ranch Bowl and other local Venues.

The newest album is in my opinion the best they have made to date. I call them the Crimson Kings of Harmony. Ok I don’t ever call them that but they do have a knack for nailing catchy riffs and harmonies. I try to push it on a lot of people and anyone who actually tries this album likes it.

The album is only 11 tracks, but I can honestly say I like all of the songs but 3 and they aren’t terrible, just not my style I suppose. First 4 songs are great. Starts out with “A New Reflection” which is definitely a funk derived tune, certainly has some hints of Stevie Wonder’s more upbeat stuff.

The third song is called “Beautiful Design” this reminds me more of early Maroon 5 than it does Pomeroy which isn’t a bad thing since I like me some Maroon 5. This song has since become my personal favorite of theirs. The lyrics alone just move my soul.

The fourth song is called “Motionless” starts out with piano and goes into background vocals which really show what these guys are capable of in terms of harmony and as I said catchiness.

“The Beat Goes On” the sixth song is upbeat and if nothing else will get you nodding your head wishing you had rythym.

Anyway go buy this CD it will make you happy and gets listened to by me on a regular basis and I have a lot of music so anything that makes it in to a normal routine with me has to be good.

LoudNeighbor

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Opeth

Opeth is a progressive metal band hailing from Stockholm, Sweden. This band with the exception of Dream Theater is pretty much what opened me up to metal and progressive rock. I was driving to get food after work one night about five and a half years ago listening to Sirius Satellite radio. When a song came on called Ghost of Perdition by Opeth. The mix of  fast paced drums, a singer who can growl with the best of them and a hypnotic guitar riff had my curiosity peaked. At the time I wasn’t into a lot of metal, I had the stigma of radio and mtv metal which consists mostly of noise mixed with other noises to make a mind numbing combination of shit my brain isn’t capable of decoding. Rightly so there usually isn’t anything to hear cause it is all mediocre musicians who think making more noise makes them better. This however wasn’t that at all, it had rythym and didn’t sound like it was composed by five twenty somethings banging drums really fast and screaming something that I won’t ever understand and I am better for it cause most of the lyrics are tripe anyway.

Well, I am into the song thinking man this kind of rocks out, then it happened, one of my favorite things in all of music the transition. What is a transition to me? Its when the pace and tone of a song changes either getting more aggressive or mellows out. This guy who seconds before was growling was now singing. I have been impressed by alot of singers but I have never heard one who could go from a roar to alto highs maybe higher.  Needless to say after listening through I felt that I had to hear more. So I got Ghost Reveries the album on which Ghost of Perdition was on. I instantly loved it. Never before had I heard such a mix of musical style from one band. One second you could be listening to the Moody Blues or Deep Purple (which Opeth covered a song by called Soldier of Fortune) then you are getting your ass kicked out of your seat by a sound that could be compared to 80′s Metallica or Pantera yet those names don’t even do this band justice in terms of chemistry they make with vocals and instruments alike.

So here I am with one Opeth album and I had played the hell out of it in an enthralling trance of sonic euphoria. I went out and found more Opeth and sometimes you tell yourself ok that album was great but it has to be the best they have to offer. Boy was I wrong. Each album equally impressed me, even Damnation which was a soothing masterpiece, no gutteral screaming, no fast drums, just a superb example of the range of art these musicians are capable of. Their newest album named Watershed is another masterpiece which captures some of the same brutal and calming sounds they are known for but still manages to be different from what they have done before.  It almost seems these guys sold their souls to the devil for their talent. If their next album features a song with the words “train a comin” I will know my previous statement to be true.

The fact that a band of this caliber gets only an underground recognition in the states really makes me sick to my stomach with the record industry controlled by old men who have no idea what good music is and want to sell us pretty people who have very little talent let alone the ability to create their own music. Thank god for the internet age I’d hate life if it weren’t for some of the music out there. Bands such as Opeth and Dream Theater should be the bands you hear on the radio on a regular basis because they put so much into writing their music even if it isnt for you, you can still feel the amount of love these guys have for the music they make.

If you are reading this and thinkin bah I don’t like metal, I urge you to go find an Opeth album. Damnation isn’t a good starting point but if you fail to care for the heavier elements of Ghost Reveries and their newest release Watershed, Damnation may be a good album to pick up.

Keep trying out new music, you may not like everything out there but it is good to broaden your musical horizons. You may discover something you love along the way.

LoudNeighbor

If you want to check them out here is a link to buy cds or the mp3′s from Amazon plus it helps me out.

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Ideas

I am gonna start this out by adding old thing I have written about music which are typically overviews I have on artists. After that I will take albums and listen to them then give my thoughts about them.

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