May 18, 2024

YZ - EP (1991)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: TUF CD 8065

© 1991 Tuff City Records
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tags: yz, ep, 1991, flac,

YZ - Sons of The Father (1990)

*This is a digital store downloads purchased from Qobuz.
This pressing contains 12 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: None

© 1990 Tuff City
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tags: yz, sons of the father, 1990, flac,

Rachid - Prototype (1998)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B
Label Number: UD-53114

© 1998 Universal Records
Rachid's Prototype is one of the most unpredictable and refreshing urban R&B debuts to appear in 1998. Instead of sticking to conventional urban influences, Rachid strengthens his music with a diverse array of influences that actually gel into a distinctive style. Borrowing from soul, techno, industrial and electronica, Rachid has created a continually intriguing album -- even when he doesn't quite fulfill his ambitions, the music still holds promise, which makes Prototype an exciting debut.

 tags: rachid, prototype, 1998, flac,

Kreator - Hordes of Chaos (2009)

*U.S. standard pressing. 
Contains 10 tracks total.
Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label Number: SPV 91972 CD

© 2009 Steamhammer
You know what lays ahead whenever you embark on listening to a new Kreator studio album, and 2009's Hordes of Chaos is certainly no different. And that isn't meant as a knock on the band -- heck, Kreator should be commended for sticking to their guns and continuing on in the same "thrash-happy" style since pretty much their inception (without bowing down to musical trends). So, that said, you can make up your own "Kreator checklist": growled vocals and intense riffing (the album-opening title track), lightning-fast tempos ("Warcurse"), tasty dual-guitar work ("Destroy What Destroys You") -- it's all represented here, folks. It's been nearly four long years since Mille Petrozza and friends issued an all-new studio album, and Hordes of Chaos should most definitely meet the needs of Kreator diehards worldwide.

 tags: kreator, hordes of chaos, 2009, flac,

Kreator - Gods of Violence (2017)

*U.S. standard pressing. 
Contains 11 tracks total.
Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label Number: 3916-2

© 2017 Nuclear Blast
There is plenty of thrash metal out there; too much in fact, as it's become the most overpopulated zone of heavy music. That said, there's thrash and then there's Kreator. Mille Petrozza (vocals, guitars, lyrics) and Jürgen "Ventor" Reil (drums) have always sought to reinvent the wheel while remaining true to their roots. Despite lineup changes -- the band currently includes Sami Yli–Sirniö on guitars and bassist Christian "Speesy" Giesler -- they've always managed to inject vitality, personality, and innovation to this beloved yet musically restricted terrain.

Five years was a long time to wait for a new Kreator album. Given the manic energy of 2016's Violence Unleashed EP, which whet fans' appetites for more of the good stuff, it seemed even longer. Produced by Jens Bogren, Gods of Violence is the album the other lineage thrash acts could never make again. It's impossible to conceive of Metallica or Slayer pulling off anything this intense or imaginative. The 11-song set belongs in the line that began with 2001's Violent Revolution and continued through 2005's Enemy of God and 2012's Phantom Antichrist. (The 2009 release Hordes of Chaos, recorded live in a single studio setting, is the only outlier.) The music here is almost a companion to Enemy of God as it balances its deadly assault with melodic death metal.

Appropriately, it commences with an anthem. "Apocalypticon," an intro complete with martial drums, a military choir, and razored guitars, with orchestral work from Fleshgod Apocalypse's Francesco Paoli and Francesco Ferrini, just stops seemingly in the middle and gives way to the brutal "World War Now," with its triple-time chug and churn. Petrozza's riffs are as meaty and physical as ever. His vocals ride just enough above the mix to discern his hostile lyrics. In the refrain, the pace increases. First single "Satan Is Real" is all swinging groove and knotty twin-guitar hell, but "Totalitarian Terror" delivers one of the catchiest and most punishing riffs the band has ever laid down. "Lion with Eagle Wings" nods at both classic Judas Priest and later NWOBHM with power metal asides and soaring choruses, all while waving the thrash flag high. Closer "Death Becomes My Light" is a gallop worthy of the entire price of entry all by itself. The way melody and guitar harmonies and riffs are threaded through these tracks is admirable. No. It's killer. All told, Gods of Violence proves well worth the wait. Kreator proves -- yet again -- that the kids still have a lot to learn when it comes to keeping thrash viable.

 tags: kreator, gods of violence, 2017, flac,

May 12, 2024

Left Hand Solution - Shadowdance: E.P. (1994)

*First pressing. 
Contains 6 tracks total.
Country: Sweden
Language: English
Genre: Doom Metal
Label Number: MASS CDS-63

© 1994 Massproduktion
*No professional reviews are available for this release. 

 tags: left hand solution, shadowdance, shadow dance, ep, 1994, flac,

Taral - This Time (1997)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B
Label Number: 314530668-2

© 1997 Motown
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: taral, this time, 1997, flac,

Boodah An Da Bandit - Brain On Drugz: E.P. (1994)

*This is a digital store download purchased from Qobuz
Contains 6 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A. 
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: None

© 1994 Tuff City
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tags: boodah an da bandit, brain on drugz, ep, 1994, flac,

Arianna Puello - El Tentempié (Maxi Single) (1998)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
(*Se incluye una foto del disco en el archivo RAR.)
Country: Spain
Language: Spanish (Castellano)
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: ZB-010

© 1998 Zona Bruta
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tags: arianna puello, el tentempie, maxi, 1998, flac, ari,

Elements - La Esperanza (1999)

*This is a digital store download purchased 
from Qobuz. Contains 14 tracks total.
(*Esta es una descarga de la tienda digital comprada 
en Qobuz. Contiene 14 pistas en total.)

Country: Spain
Language: Spanish (Castellano)
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: None

© 1999 Boa Music
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tags: elements, la esperanza, 1999, flac,

Pale Forest - Exit Mould (2001) ☠

Country: Norway
Language: English
Genre: Alternative Rock, Gothic Rock
Label Number: POSH 034
☠: Selected by Lass
© 2001 Listenable Records
The blurry-eyed mope rock of Pale Forest is a bizarre combination of styles. With vocals that would sound natural on a Cardigans album, music that runs the gamut from Bettie Serveert gentleness to Gathering-style goth metal, and lyrics straight from the Juliana Hatfield school of cute, Pale Forest combines many unlikely elements to produce a satisfying album. Exit Mould rests almost solely on the delicate, charismatic vocals of Kristin Fjellseth. It is her voice that ties together the many elements that make the band work; any other vocalist would probably make the band sound dull and uninspired. But she skates along the melodies provided by the band effortlessly, peeking her head into the songs and sprinkling her vocals over the sparse instrumentation. The music itself is quite nice, finding a middle ground between the lush guitar workouts of Ride and the sparse soundscapes of Codeine. The results are a wonderful album that proves that the best surprises usually come from the most unexpected places.

 tags: pale forest, exit mould, 2001, flac,

Kreator - Enemy of God (2005) ☠

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label Number: SPV 085-69842 CD-E
☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 2005 Steamhammer
"Never underestimate the heart of a champion" may as well have been the unspoken moral behind Kreator's astounding return to form via 2001's Violent Revolution, following over a decade of "wilderness study" in non-thrash terrain. As well as revitalizing the band's career the album clearly helped main man Mille Petrozza make peace with his past, and set the stage for his band's wisely retro-minded direction going forward into the new millennium. Cue 2005's Enemy of God: not only Kreator's next shot at revitalizing old-school thrash metal for modern generations, but a necessary building block to sustaining their unexpected renaissance. And as the pummeling opening title track's timeless thrashing proceeds to detonate everything in sight, indeed all appears to be well and good in the Kreator camp's future. Of course, no matter how forceful and successful this initial assault, the inevitable irony of Kreator's decision to stay the course on Enemy of God is that it invariably doesn't sound quite as fresh as its direct predecessor. But in terms of those other, all-important attributes: intensity of attack and quality songwriting -- the results are almost identically inspired, more often than not. Simply witness the blinding solos and masterful twin harmonies that pepper instant neo-thrash classics "World Anarchy" and "When Death Takes Its Dominion" for proof that this is Kreator at their tightest, devastating best. Not to be outdone, additional speed-fests such as "Impossible Brutality" and "Suicide Terrorist" basically speak for themselves, and even the more sedate acoustic guitar twangs introducing "Voices of the Dead," "Dying Race Apocalypse," and "The Ancient Plague" offer but small relief from the album's decapitating onslaught. And, all things considered, it's a testament to Petrozza and company's creative acumen that such savagery never descends into repetitive overkill. In short, although Kreator remain staunch Enem[ies] of God, it's nice to see they are still faithful friends to thrash metal fans everywhere.

 tags: kreator, enemy of god, 2005, flac,

Kreator - Violent Revolution (2001) ☠

*U.S. pressing. 
Contains 12 tracks total.
Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label Number: SPV 085-7254A CD
☠: Selected by Buccaneer
© 2001 Steamhammer
One of the legendary thrash bands of the '80s, Kreator is back in fine fashion with Violent Revolution. So strong is the album that it not only reclaims their previous glory, but even sets about to show a bit of one-upmanship on it. The album utilizes much of Kreator's earlier musical leanings while moving the group forward into a new age. In fact, in many ways it seems as if Kreator has taken lessons from recent releases that, while experimenting with new styles, left the band's old ways somewhat forgotten. By combining those experimental ideas with the old character, Kreator has basically reinvented itself. What you have is something that should please all of Kreator's old-time fans who may have felt a bit disenfranchised by the band's later works, while still creating a fresh sound.

 tags: kreator, violent revolution, 2001, flac,

May 07, 2024

Raw Breed - Lune Tunz (1993)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Hardcore Hip-Hop
Label Number: 19305-2

© 1993 Nuff Nuff/Continuum Records
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tags: raw breed, lune tunz, 1993, flac,

Showbiz & A.G. - Party Groove/Soul Clap: E.P. (1992)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: 828 309-2

© 1992 London/Payday/Showbiz Records
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 tags: showbiz and ag, party groove, soul clap, ep, 1992, flac,

Raw Breed - The Demo Deal 1992-1994: E.P. (2018)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: ZCD5H1T0FF36

© 2018 Chopped Herring Records 
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tags: raw breed, the demo deal 1992 1994, 2018, flac,

The Creators - The Weight (2000)

Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Hip-Hop
Label Number: MAGICCD2

© 2000 Bad Magic
At the end of the 1990s, an interesting trend developed in underground hip-hop: the rise of British production teams working with MCs from America's east coast. The Creators, along with fellow Brits such as Unsung Heroes, Nextmen, and Herbaliser, gained international renown for their beat-making abilities but were not associated with any particular vocalists. Instead of joining forces with British rhymers, they decided to reach for more success by collaborating with Americans. This was perhaps the result of the relative lack of success for the great majority of British hip-hop groups, combined with the warm reception many little-known American artists found overseas. Many hip-hop artists such as the Roots launched their careers in Europe before finding success at home.

Whatever the reason, Simon Gilbert and Julian Baker assembled an impressive list of collaborators for their debut album, including underground heavyweights Lootpack, Dilated Peoples, and Black Star and old-school legend Craig G from the Juice Crew. These talented MCs obviously traveled abroad for a reason, and that reason is the promise shown by the Creators. The beats they produce are fresh and crisp with a melodic edge, and at their best rank with the cream of the New York underground, such as DJ Spinna. "Hard Margin," with Mos Def and Talib Kweli, has a rumbling reggae-tinged bassline, while "That's My Word" provides Craig G and Will Pack with a airy jazz guitar loop and simple drum kick to rhyme to.

Although it starts off with great promise and has a few very good songs ("The Music" featuring El da Sensai and "Heart Pound" with Evidence and DJ Babu from Dilated Peoples are two others), overall The Weight is disappointingly mediocre. Some of the guest stars, like Mike Zoot and Phil da Agony, do not deliver their best performances, while the choruses on other tracks border on laughable. Also problematic are the interludes between each song, which feature phone messages from various American rappers requesting a copy of the album, but are merely interruptive filler. This album suffers from problems that haunt many other collaborations between hip-hop artists who aren't familiar with one another. Songs become nothing more than beats and generic rhymes, with no theme or interesting territory covered. While fine for a single or two, when stretched out over an hour it becomes tiresome. The Creators would have been better off compiling their six best tracks and releasing an EP, because they are clearly talented producers.

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tags: the creators, the weight, 2000, flac,

May 04, 2024

O.C.M. - Watch How You Slang (CD Single) (1994)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop
Style: Gangsta Rap
Label Number: 2-18080

© 1994 Qwest/Warner Bros. Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

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 tags: ocm, watch how you slang, single, 1994, flac,

Kreator - Outcast (1997)

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 13 tracks total.
Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Groove Metal
Label Number: N0287-2ux

© 1997 F.A.D. Records
The unexpected arrival of former Coroner six-string genius Tommy Vetterli into the Kreator fold, there to spar with founding mastermind and resident blazing thrash guitar specialist Mille Petrozza, seemed like one of the oddest stylistic pairings in metal history. Needless to say, observers expected one of two options: absolute fireworks, or a complete and utter failure to communicate. Ironically, they didn't really get either one, for not only was 1997's Outcast conspicuously scarce on virtuoso guitar solos, but it also stuck with recent Kreator history in exploring sonic territories far beyond the legendary German group's once dependably strict diet of pure thrash metal. In fact, though it thankfully coalesced the chaotic ideas scattered all over 1995's Cause for Conflict into a more cohesive whole, the album resurrected some of the industrial elements first heard on 1992's Renewal with questionable results, and focused predominantly on mid-paced arrangements that hardly approached the hyper speed of yore. As a result, despite offering some quality songwriting via first-half highlights like "Leave This World Behind," the pounding "Phobia," and the claustrophobically slow "Black Sunrise," the bulk of Outcast is barely recognizable as a Kreator LP. And even if approached as a brand new entity, the material (particularly second half yawn-fests such as the title track) is nowhere near groundbreaking either, never mind -- God forbid -- exciting. In short, whatever artistic headway purportedly made here was rendered null and void by the commercial rejection that met its release, although Kreator would take one final stab at this direction before reverting to the band's trusty old ways.

 tags: kreator, outcast, 1997, flac,

Kreator - Endorama (1999)

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 12 track total.
Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Gothic Metal
Label Number: 76962-32331-2

© 1999 Pavement Music
Not content with his Kreator's already-established reputation as perhaps Germany's top thrash metal band of the 1980s, group mastermind Mille Petrozza spent much of the 1990s attempting to reinvent and diversify their sound, most obviously by pushing the industrial metal envelope. Alas, all to no avail, as the majority of fans were not impressed with the mostly mediocre results heard on confused albums like Renewal and Cause for Conflict. Even the welcome addition of guitar ace Tommy Vetterli (ex-Coroner) lent more consistency than actual sparks to 1997's Outcast, and 1999's similarly dependable but hardly impressive Endorama eventually followed suit. Initial highlights such as "Golden Age," the title track, and "Chosen Few" are heavy on mid-paced grooves and gothic atmospherics, but still offer little songwriting redemption. For all their studiously constructed lyrics and supposed compositional maturity, they absolutely scream for some sign, any sign, of deeper emotion to snap them out of their glazed state of performed automation. Not even the keyboards that pervade the highly unorthodox "Passage to Babylon," nor the more energetic riffing contained in "Willing Sprit" can ultimately jolt the album into a higher plane of achievement, but then, Endorama still qualifies among Kreator's most cohesive statements from this under-achieving decade. And for what it's worth, Endorama would also become the final chapter of the group's experimental phase, which was emphatically obliterated two years later by Kreator's gloriously thrashing rebirth via their magnificent tenth album, Violent Revolution.

tags: kreator, endorama, 1999, flac,

Various Artists - Empire - Two Worlds Collide (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) (2002)

*A photo of the disc is included in the RAR file.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hip-Hop, R&B, Latin
Label Number: 440 066 953-2

© 2002 Motown
Serving as the musical background for this tale of a drug dealer from the South Bronx trying to go legit before getting double-crossed by an investment banker, EMPIRE is a melange of musical styles that leans heavily on elements of hip-hop, R&B, and Latin music. Although cast members Fat Joe and Naughty By Nature's Treach don't contribute any music, there's more than enough hard-core rap to go around. Representing the thuggish elements of this film are the gruff-voiced DMX ("Fame") and Mobb Deep, who crib the Liquid Liquid bass riff best known for its use in a Grandmaster Flash classic and turn it into a semi-sequel to the landmark rap song, called "Beyond White Lines." Lending a softer edge are female vocal trio 702 (the string-laden "I Still Love You"), new-jill vocalist Rachel (a soulful "Best Thing"), and India.Arie (the flamenco-kissed "Slow Down"). Otherwise, Latin artists run the table, whether its Puerto Rican crooner Luis Fonsi warbling a bilingual "Amante," Cuban '90s pop sensation Jon Secada delivering a soaring "My Life (Through The Spirit In Your Eyes"), or salsa queen La India serving up English and Spanish versions of the theme "Welcome To My Empire."

 tags: various artists, empire, tow worlds collide, original motion picture soundtrack, ost, 2002, flac,

May 01, 2024

Esthero - Breath From Another (1998)

*U.S. pressing. 
Contains 11 tracks total.
Country: Canada
Language: English
Genre: Trip-Hop
Label Number: OK 68698

© 1998 Work
The first release from the Toronto duo Esthero, Breath from Another blends a number of musical styles into a hypnotic, and a bit unfocused, potpourri of sound and texture. Consisting of lead singer Esthero and multi-instrumentalist Doc, who also handles programming chores and production, the basic feel of their debut is rooted in cool, electronic pop with some eclectic twist thrown in for good measure. As a singer, Esthero has a breathy, smooth delivery residing somewhere between the cool of Sade and the quirkiness of Björk. The music is heavy on programming, but also makes good use of horns on several tracks. There's a breezy air to the whole affair on tracks like the jazzy, lounge pop of "Heaven Sent" and the subtle, percussive feel of the Latin-tinged "Half a World Away." The best offerings are "That Girl," which wouldn't sound out of place on a Swing Out Sister record, and "Country Livin' (The World I Know)," with its lovely vocal melody and gentle keyboard washes. Breath from Another is too scrumptious sounding to be ignored, even if nothing truly sticks with you after the fact.

 tags: esthero, breath from another, 1998, flac,