Saturday, 15 December 2012

Contact Details

It seems near impossible on here for people to contact me, so I've set up an email account where you can suggest albums for me to review, whether it is your own band or one of your favourite bands. Also if you wish to give me feedback about any of my reviews, then I'll read it and get back to you.

Email: tom.albumreview@hotmail.co.uk

Thanks, I'll be looking forward to hearing from you viewers.

Tom

Milestone - 1000 views! (or somewhat just over)

I've done it, I've bloody done it ...

3 months of reviewing has led me to getting my first 1000 views on this blog! I would like to thank each and every one of you who have read anything I have posted. Special thanks to http://blog.largeheartedboy.com/ for sharing my top 20 Albums of the Year review, it's got me a fair amount of hits from all over the world.

I'll be back in 2013, better than ever and with more reviews than you can shake a stick at (I've never understood that saying, but it felt necessary to use)

Enjoy the rest of the year, and let's hope the Mayans weren't right about the end of the world....

Tom

...and finally! Top 20 Albums of the Year - Part 2

This is the one you've all been waiting for; my top 10 albums of 2012! Enjoy as I take you on a journey from number #10 through to that glorious number 1 spot:

#10 - The Fusion Syndicate - The Fusion Syndicate

One of the most unique albums I have heard; involving producer Billy Sherwood (Google him), as he collaborates with some of the finest jazz, prog and fusion musicians in this living age. Usually I would find an album like this particularly dull, it would generally drag on and sound repetitive. But The Fusion Syndicate is absolutely of the finest calibre, the musicians resonate off of each other so majestically. The combination of genres work together in a way that leaves you feeling stunned. It is not your typically jazz fusion album. Each song is roughly 7 minutes, but the tracks take you on a musical journey of pure enlightenment. I urge you to step outside the box and give this one a listen, it is a homage to an underground genre of the 21st Century.

Molecular Breakdown - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPD0fJsGOPI

#9 - While She Sleeps - This Is The Six

And now for something completely different, coming from British hardcore band While She Sleeps. This is a band I only discovered this year, and I'm glad that I did. They are refreshing to the metal scene at a time when things were looking a bit desperate. They're now starting to create a bigger fan base, and are receiving praise from huge rock industries such as Kerrang!, after picking up the award for Best British Newcomer. Their album This Is The Six is a well polished record, showcasing what they're about; which is basically a clash of pure metal and hardcore, meaning that there is melody interweaved with the heavier elements. The name of the album 'the Six' is representing the five members of the band, plus the fans. This shows in the album as the fans are getting what they deserve; fantastic music from a band who will take the world by storm in the next few years. You heard it here first... or maybe second...

Seven Hills - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6K4TIFcmTc8

#8 - Lower Than Atlantis - Changing Tune

One of my favourite up and coming bands of the last few years have returned with yet again another classic album, in the form of Changing Tune. Releasing an album a year since their first one in 2010 is no easy task, especially if the aim is to put out an album that is progressively superior to the last, but consistency is no problem for these guys. With the right influences like Foo Fighters and Jimmy Eat World, Lower Than Atlantis are blowing up on the music scene right now. Front man Mike Duce is phenomenal, he is what music should be all about, as he illustrates an amazing imagery in his music and lyrics. For fans of good ol' rock music, with short and snappy tunes, Lower Than Atlantis are the band for you. Just like While She Sleeps, they are showing how British music is fighting back against the Americans.

Love Someone Else - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLNM9i-MmdE

#7 - Marilyn Manson - Born Villain

Here's an album I never thought I'd see in my top 20, let alone my top 10, but it is right in the midst of my list. For me, it is a huge return to form for the metal icon. Despite what his live performances may be like nowadays, this record does not disappoint. It is dark as you'd expect, the musicianship is powerful. The eeire parts of the tracks create a creepy atmosphere which flows throughout the album. Plus Manson doesn't sound half bad on the record. His voice still has that distinctive tone to it, and it works perfectly. If you thought Manson had fallen off like the rest of us, then maybe this album will prove to you that he's making a comeback. Antichrist Superstar standard? Maybe not, but it still is a high quality album, let's hope he doesn't butcher the songs live.

No Reflection - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuhgWXg4rw4

#6 - Every Time I Die - Ex Lives

Ah how it feels good to see Every Time I Die in my list! One of the craziest, exceptional bands in music history have returned with an incredible album, their sixth studio effort. It is exactly what you'd expect of them to have achieved, but to a higher level. By far their best record yet, and that is a huge call. Every song has a uniqueness about it like no other band can accomplish. Some parts are melodic and epic, other parts are crushing, and even more so, some parts are perfect sing-a-long/shout-a-long moments. The band are completely underrated, and they deserve a lot more recognition, and this album should draw in a bigger fan base and help this band reach their deserved heights of fame.

Revival Mode - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuhgWXg4rw4

#5 - Shotty Horroh - Shotty vs. Horroh; Battle in the Belly of the Beast

And now for the all important top 5. This one of something completely different to the rest of my list, as not only is it not an official 'album', is it also my only rap/hip-hop album in my top 20. Recently Manchester is known widely for its powerful surge of the arrival of amazing rap acts, but Shotty is by far the most talented lyricist, and one of the biggest names in the underground scene. Some people may know him just as a battle rapper, which he has a huge talent for which has taken him globally, but his music is what gets him most of his credit and praise. With his release earlier this year, there are 26 tracks which are incredibly produced and contain lyrics about the struggles of life, partying, and various other gritty topics. The lyrics are combined with flow and technicality which makes the whole thing that extra bit superb. Some music 'fans' frown upon the rap genre, but usually only because they're ignorant about it, how it isn't 'creative' and how they only talk about guns and violence. Well, they couldn't be more wrong. There are rappers out there who make fantastic tracks about subjects which are relevant to most people and Shotty Horroh is one of them. One day he'll break through to a wider audience, he deserves the credit he gets.

Zombie - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA0pvsyQXQk

#4 - Axewound - Vultures

Back to the metal world, and here's an album that has completely blown me away. The 'supergroup', made up of Liam Cormier of Cancer Bats on lead vocals, Matt Tuck from Bullet For My Valentine on guitar and backing vocals, Mike Kingswood of Glamour of the Kill fame on guitar, Jason Bowld of Pitchshifter on drums and last but not least, ex Rise to Remain member Joe Copcutt playing bass. It is probably the album I have listened to the most this year, and surprisingly not in my top 3, but it shows the high standard of albums this year. This one is by no means an exception, as Vultures shows how well executed heavy music can be on a record. You feel the emotions of the band better on this record than any other record I've listened to this year. The guitar playing from both Matt Tuck and Mike Kingswood is outstanding, the riffs are great, but the solos are of a different kind. But the credit for the best solo on the album has to be given to guest guitar player Synster Gates (from Avenged Sevenfold) on the opening track, which is self titled. So overall an amazing album, to the point where if the members main bands stopped, then I'd be more than happy for Axewound to continue.

Exorchrist - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-Q9r6hIp-w

#3 - Tenacious D - Rize of the Fenix

Top 3 time, and who better to start it off than the almighty comedy duo Tenacious D! Everybody knows who Jack Black is, and how much of a genuis he is, and this reflects in all of Tenacious D's output. New album Rize of the Fenix is a journey of how far the band have come and how they have conquered all. The songs are just as funny as the old material, the lyrics are as insane and hilarious as ever, but musically I'd say this is their finest effort to date. JB's voice is golden, and seeing as he's not a classically trained singer, he does an awesome job. Kyle Gass (KG's) guitar playing is also an integral part of the duo's music, but of course they are aided with their backing band, who are hard rocking. "The nicest man in Rock n Roll" Mr Dave Grohl is on drums again for the album and it's safe to say we can see why he's one of the greatest drummers of all time. Tenacious D are as relevant as ever in 2012, and if like me you were lucky to see them live this year, then you'd know how amazing a show they put on. Pure entertainers and they love giving back to the dedicated fans.

Rize of the Fenix - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls3rD8VfiSY

#2 - Stone Sour - House of Gold & Bones; Pt 1

An album I have reviewed a couple of months back, it has made it into my top 2. Such a brilliant album from one of my favourite metal bands. Such a clever concept record and an emotionally intelligent journey when listening to it. The music is the best the band have ever made and I'm excited for Part 2 in 2013. If you want to know more about the album, and you know you do, then check out my review of it!

Gone Sovereign/Absolute Zero - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1aikxaVCJk

#1 - Deftones - Koi No Yokan

It was probably predictable, but nevertheless it is here! My number 1 Album of the Year is from Deftones, with Koi No Yokan. This is another album I have previous reviewed in-depth, so please check out that review! This album shows a band who were struggling, making an album that has silenced all critics. Such a 'beautiful' album and if you haven't checked it out yet, then now is the time to do so, I'm not angry that you haven't, I'm just disappointed.

Tempest - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIgNBxNvAJg

So there you have it, my Top 20 Albums of the Year, and by far the most diverse list you'll see! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed it. I'll have plenty to review next year, but until then, enjoy the rest of 2012 and keep rocking!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

It's here! Top 20 Albums of the Year - Part 1

It's been tough, but I've finally managed to make a list of my favourite 20 albums of 2012! So I'm going to get straight into it and give you the countdown from number 20 to number 11:

#20 - The Darkness - Hot Cakes

As I've already explained in my review of the album, it is a massive return to form for the glam rock band. The album is full of hits and it is entertaining for the whole duration. The Darkness have made their return to the scene known, and therefore it just enters my list at number 20.

Keep Me Hanging On - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3omeCLAkwgc

#19 - Lamb of God - Resolution

I was hoping this would be higher in my list, but I've had to place it at number 19. It is a great album, and a step up from previous album Wrath. The song from this album 'Ghost Walking' is quite possibly my favourite song of this year, if you haven't heard it, then you need to get out of the hole you've been hiding in for the whole year. The fact this came out in January means that it was sitting highly on my list during 2012, but other albums have come out of nowhere this year and it has made Resolution fall off its pedestal. It's still a corker of an album, full of brutality and sounding like old school Lamb of God.

Ghost Walking - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BA3hPMhXnkY

#18 - Enter Shikari - A Flash Flood of Colour

An album I didn't think would make it into my list before hearing it is Enter Shikari's - A Flash Flood of Colour. But after playing it countless times throughout the year, it is evident that this album is a pure grower. It is bouncy, ruthless at times, and incorporates dance and dubstep elements better than any album I've heard this year. Fantastic musicianship throughout, solid drumming, and the gang vocals bring excitement to the British band. A job well done, and a sign of Enter Shikari maturing as a group.

Sssnakepit - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znQii6mB8Hw

#17 - Parkway Drive - Atlas

The Aussies have made a classic metalcore album this year, with their release; Atlas. Full of raw emotion, it is unlike any metalcore album I've heard in the last year or two. Again, if you haven't heard it or haven't read my review on it, please check it out. You won't regret it!

Dark Days - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_7lpftvYDMA

#16 - Buckethead - Electric Sea

A slightly different choice of album, but nevertheless it makes my top 20. Buckethead is definitely one of the most underrated musicians to exist, and it's a travesty how he's not as well known as he deserves to be. His work rate is outstanding, he releases albums practically every day (well not quite) and each one represents a different side of him. But the quirky chicken man has decided to go back to his roots and release a counterpoint album to Electric Tears. Electric Sea is a beautiful album, one that displays an innovative skill of acoustic playing and dynamics used perfectly. Some may find this album boring, but you need to look further into it, consider what the music's connotations. It is a masterpiece, just like most of his discography, and I urge any fans of ambient, acoustic music to check this out.

Electric Sea - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCudXpXrIA8


#15 - Slash ft. Myles Kennedy and the Conspirators – Apocalyptic Love

 When my favourite singer, and favourite guitarist of all time decide to make an album together, you can gauge how excited I was when I heard about it. I gave it a few listens and thought it was a solid album, left it for a couple of months and then went back to it. It hit me much harder after leaving it. The album sounded completely cohesive, with Myles' voice and Slash and the band's instrumentation gelling extremely well. It is a complete throwback of 'Appetite' era Guns 'n' Roses, but with a modern twist. An enjoyable album and one that represents the importance of rock in 2012.

You're A Lie - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SZrJLMTO-8

#14 - Rush - Clockwork Angels

Yes, it's Rush, the Rush. They're still going, and stronger than ever! The prog legends are proving how important they are to the rock world, and with their release Clockwork Angels, they're not wrong. It feels as if they've delved deep into their previous works and pulled out some of their greatest elements and incorporated them into this album. Every member of the trio sounds fantastic and in top form. If you're a music fan, and you've never experienced prog, then check this record out. Also if you've been a prog head for years, then this won't disappoint you either. It proves that age is no limit to ability, unless if you're Lou Reed ... Get back to the nursing home, Lou.

Headlong Flight - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZcFGrWjOX0E

#13 - Cancer Bats - Dead Set on Living

Wow. That's all that needs to be said at this point. The 'upbeat' album shows the band moving away from their darkest side lyrically, and adding some 'lighter' elements to their music. Good move. It is still crushing and heavy hitting, but it's now a product of something that little bit more special. It's hard to see how they got their influence from this album from non-metal bands, because this album just sounds so damn hardcore. Gnarly and gritty as can be. Plus Liam Cormier is one of my favourite frontmen of recent years. The album is not quite as good as their previous effort, but it's still a mighty good album. Hardcore at its best.

Bricks & Mortar - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aenlQ7r69lc

#12 - We Are The Ocean - Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow

 A phenomenal, up and coming(ish) band from the mighty county of Essex have continued a run of fantastic albums and surpassed everything they've done with their third release entitled Maybe Today, Maybe Tomorrow. It shows a band fighting through their struggles, as replacing the lead vocalist is never an easy task, but to make an album that's in my opinion their best to date is another entity in itself. A classic example of an awesome, modern rock band.

Bleed - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-TXXkQHCMYo

#11 - Testament - Dark Roots of Earth

And finally, to wrap up the first half of my countdown, I present you with the best Thrash album of the year, coming from an unlikely source. I never really rated Testament that highly before Dark Roots of Earth, they had a couple of decent songs, but nothing that ever really got me into them. But then this album came out, and all of a sudden it clicked with me. From the first track onwards, I immediately thought; "Reign in Blood must have been quite the influence", but in hindsight, most Thrash sounds like that album. It's iconic. The change of tempos, double bass drumming, gritty vocals, etc. It seems that in 2012, Testament have nailed Thrash, and made it relevant once again. Sure, it's no Master of Puppets or Reign in Blood, but it's still a fantastic effort, something to be proud of. I'm now a fan of Testament, and that's a testament in itself.

Native Blood - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aHyVbLMSO7k

I hope you've enjoyed Part 1 of my Albums of the Year, Part 2 to follow next week! - #10 - #1!

Monday, 3 December 2012

...So I've been gone a while...

Hey everyone,

As you may, or may not have noticed, there has been an extreme lack of rock albums, or decent albums in general released in the last couple of weeks, therefore I've had nothing to review and have used the last two weeks to compile my Top 20 Albums of the Year!

During this week I will have a Soundgarden - King Animal review for you guys because I have been late with listening to it, so I'll share my thoughts with you on that album within a day or two. At the weekend I'll post from albums#20-#11 of my AOTY list, with the second installment being posted the following week.

So sorry for the severe lack of reviews recently, but I'll be posting like crazy during the run-up to Christmas. Stay golden, readers.

Tom