May 31, 2020

Gene - Olympian (1995)

*U.S. pressing. 
Contains 13 tracks.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Alternative Rock
Style: Britpop
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© 1995 Polydor
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Kicking off with the sprightly "Haunted by You," Olympian immediately conjures images of the Smiths, particularly "This Charming Man." Martin Rossiter's voice also sways like Morrissey, yet his band plays their songs as if they were hard rockers, bringing a desperate edge to their best material. Most of Olympian's finest moments were singles -- aside from "Haunted by You," the epic sweep of "Sleep Well Tonight" and the gentle urgency of the title track form the heart of the album; two other singles were added to the American version, including the stellar "Be My Light, Be My Guide." While Gene manages to carve out an identity indebted to the Smiths but not dominated by them, they also fail to produce an album of consistently compelling material -- considering that it's a debut album, that's not a fatal flaw. And Gene's best material shows they are capable of transcending their influences.

tags: gene, olympian, 1995, flac,

Simple Agression - Formulations In Black (1993)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Thrash Metal
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© 1993 Leviathan Records
*No professional reviews re available for this release.

tags: simple aggression, formulation in black, 1993, flac,

Gene - Libertine (2002)

*U.S. pressing released in 2002. 
This pressing contains 14 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Alternative Rock
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© 2001-2002 Contra/iMusic
AllMusic Review by Jack Rabid
Though not quite back to the high plane of their first two monumental albums, Libertine is an improvement over 1999's Revelations. Producer Hugh Jones (who really should be knighted by now) has corrected the rare small botch he made of Revelations, restoring the dollops of shiny radiance and vigor. If the band still seems more world-weary than in their beginnings, when their songs were hung on greater exuberance, Libertine is still the most soulful record since Ken Stringfellow's Touched. And whereas Revelations' most emotional, astounding song came too late for many, at the finale, this time the three that break 1,000 hearts -- the sort of wildly emotive feeling this band gives at its best -- mostly come at the onset. The first, the seven-minute epic opener "Does He Have a Name," features the pungent rage and helplessness of a left-behind lover contemplating his ex's next. Likewise, the five-minute soundtrack-spectrum single "Is It Over?" backtracks to the sticky endgame of that deteriorating romance. The last of this terrific trio, another tearjerker that could shake a happy man to his knees, is the closing "Somewhere in the World," which remains as poignant as on 2000's live LP, Rising for Sunset. What lies in the valley betwixt these mountains? Namely, a greater predilection to classic '60s soul influences in a modern, post-Smiths pop context than listeners have seen previously. There's a few lesser songs that don't rate, but the more up-tempo tracks -- like the nimble bounce of "Walking in the Shadows" and the late-period Jam-ish "Yours for the Taking" -- are spry winners, and the eerie, desperate "Spy in the Clubs" is the sort of haunting, worried beauty that was once Gene's staple. Libertine is the sort of LP that is rarely made by anyone anymore: one that engages every ounce of empathy one possesses. [The U.S. edition appends three bonus tracks: "Let Me Move On," "With Love in Mind," and "From Georgia to Osaka."]

tags: gene, libertine, 2001, 2002, flac,

May 30, 2020

Simple Aggression - Gravity (1996)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Groove Metal
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© 1996 Massacre Records
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: simple aggression, gravity, 1996, flac,

Built To Spill - Perfect From Now On (1997)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Indie Rock
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© 1997 Warner Bros. Records
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
Not many groups would take a major-label contract as a cue to put out an album where the shortest song is still a radio-unfriendly five minutes in length. For that, listeners can thank their stars that Built to Spill isn't like many groups and Doug Martsch isn't like many artists. Perfect from Now On manages the amazing trick of being one of the band's best albums, with Martsch and company using the opportunity of larger budgets and distribution to create an album at once inspiring and quietly emotional, not the easiest combination to pull off. With drummer Scott Plouf and bassist Brett Nelson as the other core performers, plus second guitarist Brett Netson and cellist John McMahon as key guests, the result is astounding all around. The length of the songs allows the band to create uniquely post-everything mantras, blending psych trances and drones, post-punk airiness and flow, and Martsch's affecting, tender singing and lyrics into a whole. Martsch's high tones and the guitar passion here helped fuel further comparisons to Neil Young -- to pick out one moment, consider the closing minutes of "I Would Hurt a Fly," feedback peeling out over the rhythm and strings -- but the Boise musician is his own man through and through. Selecting standout moments from such a solid disc almost defeats the purpose, but many examples still deserve further notice. "Stop the Show" builds to a dramatic, but not in the least bit hammy, shift from a roaring wash to a quick, clipped pace; Martsch's vocals and further sudden tempo switches are the icing on the cake. "Velvet Waltz" indeed plays at that musical pace, McMahon's playing and Martsch's heartbreaking, lovely lyrics and singing the core of an incredible song. "Untrustable/Part 2 (About Someone Else)" concludes a simply fantastic record.

tags: built to spill, perfect from now on, 1997, flac,

Green Magnet School - Illuminatus (1995)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Noise Rock
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© 1995 Sonic Bubblegum
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: green magnet school, illuminatus, 1995, flac,

Built To Spill - Ancient Melodies of The Future (2001) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Indie Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 2001 Warner Bros. Records
AllMusic Review by Charles Spano
With Ancient Melodies of the Future, Built to Spill expand on the big sound that they crafted with Keep It Like a Secret. Like their Northwestern peers Modest Mouse, Built to Spill anachronistically create indie rock that can be played in arenas. "In Your Mind," with its Far Eastern guitar lines and thumping beat, beautifully updates "Tomorrow Never Knows" for the guitar rock set. "Alarmed" spirals into a satisfying guitar and keyboard noise jam, while "Trimmed and Burning" brings a dark "Sunday Bloody Sunday"-era U2 grandiosity to the band's usual jangle pop. "Happiness" is like a speeding car -- it has the intensity, rush, and twanging swagger of an automobile race. The following song, "Don't Try," unleashes a full-on assault of melancholy guitar whine in a validation of life and experience where Doug Martsch repeats matter of factly, "and everyone goes on and on." The album closes with "The Weather," a shimmering love song that begins with a resonant acoustic guitar. The narrator describes being "outside in the cool night, and the stars gravitate towards you." These few lyrics are a fitting description of Built to Spill, a band that goes on and on, always changing, always moving forward, but somehow always staying the same -- familiar and comforting -- as they carry the ancient melodies of personal histories, theirs and yours, into the future

tags: built to spill, ancient melodies of the future, 2001, flac,

Built To Spill - Keep It Like a Secret (1998) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Indie Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1998 Warner Bros. Records
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Perhaps realizing that their time on a major label was likely limited, Built to Spill made a gutsy choice for Keep It Like a Secret, their second album for Warner Brothers. They embraced the sounds of a big studio and focused their sound without sacrificing their fractured indie rock aesthetic. In a sense, this is Built to Spill's pop album: every song is direct and clean, without the long, cerebral jamming that characterized their earlier albums. That's not to say that the album is compromised -- the songwriting may be streamlined, but Doug Martsch now packs all of his twists, turns, and detours into dense, three-minute blasts. This approach, combined with the shiny sonic textures, makes Keep It Like a Secret the most immediate and, yes, accessible Built to Spill record, but they steadfastly open their music up and breathe the way, say, Pavement did on Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain or Brighten the Corners. Built to Spill still demand that listener meet them on their own terms -- these just happen to be the easiest terms to understand in their catalog.

tags: built to spill, keep it like a secret, 1998, flac,

May 29, 2020

Bauhaus - Burning From The Inside (1983)

*U.K. second pressing with a slightly different cover. 
Contains 14 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: New Wave
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© 1983-1988 Beggars Banquet
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
If The Sky's Gone Out felt like a collection of various recordings, Burning from the Inside really was, due in large part to outside events -- Murphy had fallen victim to a life-threatening illness, so the rest of the band began recording without him, which more than anything else foreshadowed both Bauhaus' breakup and the trio's future work as Love and Rockets. As a result, two songs ended up on the album, the piano-led cinematic moodiness of "Who Killed Mr. Moonlight" and the sweet acoustic drive of "Slice of Life," with David J and Ash on lead vocals respectively. Furthermore, more songs from the earliest days of the band were dug up to provide material, the most notable and successful being the dub-inflected, heavily dramatic "She's in Parties," using filmmaking as a metaphor for romance and life, with Murphy's excellent lead balanced against a near-whispering chorus from the other two singers. The end result of all this was an album that was good in spots but not as strong throughout as it could be, while betraying the other performing and writing strains that would soon cause the band to call it a day. As before, though, when the band members were on, they were on with a vengeance, such as the medieval folk dance "King Volcano" and the starkly beautiful "Kingdom's Coming." The ten-minute title track takes a good idea and stretches it out a little too long, but the concluding track "Hope" follows it with a life-affirming, inspirational vibe that serves as much as a farewell for Bauhaus' audience as anything else. While imperfect, Burning from the Inside has much more to recommend it than many other albums.

tags: bauhaus, burning from the inside, 1983, flac,

Bauhaus - In The Flat Field (1980)

*U.S. pressing. 
Contains 17 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Post Punk
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© 1980-1988 4AD
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
Few debut albums ever arrived so nearly perfectly formed; that In the Flat Field practically single-handedly invented what remains for many as the stereotype of goth music -- wracked, at times spindly vocals about despair and desolation of many kinds, sung over mysterious and moody music -- demonstrates the sui generis power of both the band and its work. This said, perhaps the best thing about the album isn't what it's supposed to sound like, but what it actually does -- an awesomely powerful, glam-inspired rock band firing on all fours, capable of restraint and complete overdrive both, fronted by a charismatic, storming frontman. Starting with the challenging angst of "Double Dare," with shattering guitar over a curious but fierce stop-start rhythm while Murphy rages ever more strongly over the top, In the Flat Field contains a wide variety of inspirations and ideas. The astonishingly precise rhythm section of David J and Haskins pulls off a variety of jaw-dropping performances, including the high-paced tension of the title track and the brooding crawl from "Spy in the Cab." Ash, much like his longtime hero Mick Ronson, turns out to be a master of turning relatively simple guitar parts into apocalyptic explosions, from the background fills on "St. Vitus Dance" to the brutal descending chords of "Stigmata Martyr." Murphy, meanwhile, channels as much Iggy Pop as he does Bowie, proving to be no simple copyist of either, able to both maniacally sing-shout and take a somewhat lighter touch throughout. Concluding with the seven-minute "Nerves," an aptly titled piece that alternates between understated energy and unleashed power toward a dramatic ending, In the Flat Field started off Bauhaus' album career with a near-perfect bang.

tags: bauhaus, in the flat field, 1980, flac,

Bauhaus - Mask (1981)

*U.K. first pressing. 
Contains 15 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Post Punk, New Wave
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© 1981-1988 Beggars Baquent
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
Managing the sometimes hard-to-negotiate trick of expanding their sound while retaining all the qualities which got them attention to begin with, on Mask the members of Bauhaus consciously stretched themselves into newer areas of music and performance, resulting in an album that was arguably even better than the band's almost flawless debut. More familiar sides of the band were apparent from the get-go; opening number "Hair of the Dog," one of the band's best songs, starts with a double-tracked squalling guitar solo before turning into a stomping, surging flow, carefully paced by sudden silences and equally sudden returns to the music, while Murphy details cases of mental addictions in pithy phrases. The energy wasn't all just explosive angst and despair, though; the one-two punches of "Kick in the Eye" and "In Fear of Fear" have as much hip-shaking groove and upbeat swing to them as portentous gloom (Ash's sax skronk on the latter, as well as on the similarly sharp "Dancing," is a particularly nice touch). Elsewhere, numerous flashes of the band's quirky sense of humor -- something often missed by both fanatical followers and negative critics both -- make an appearance; perhaps most amusing is the dry spoken-word lyric beginning "Of Lillies and Remains," as David J details a goofily grotesque situation as much Edward Gorey as Edgar Allen Poe. Add to that three of the most dramatic things the band ever recorded -- the charging, keyboard-accompanied "The Passion of Lovers," the slow, dark fairy-tale-gone-wrong "Hollow Hills," and the wracked, trudging title track, where the sudden appearance of an acoustic guitar turns a great song into a near-perfect blend of ugliness and sheer beauty -- and the end result was a perfect trouncing of the sophomore-slump myth.

tags: bauhaus, mask, 1981, flac,

Bauhaus - The Sky's Gone Out (1982)

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 10 tracks total.
Country: United Kingdom
Genre: Post Punk
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© 1982-1988 A&M Records
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
More fragmented in origin than it might appear on first glance -- the leadoff track, a phenomenal, nuclear-strength rip through Brian Eno's "Third Uncle," featuring some fantastic soloing from Ash, came from a BBC radio session performance -- The Sky's Gone Out was caught between the expectations of an audience now thoroughly embracing the incipient goth genre, with all the built-in limitations such expectations often provide, and a band which wanted to please them while still following its own muse. On balance it's quite a fine album, but unlike Mask it misses the infusion of a more positive energy, and simply doesn't gel as perfectly, more notable for individual songs than as a whole. Old, pre-recording-career songs like the strong but already dated "In the Night" were revived and balanced against experiments and attempts to further develop the band's sound, ultimately making The Sky's Gone Out feel more like a compilation than anything else. Piece by piece, though, the songs still often showed Bauhaus in excelsis. Ash's elegant, haunting acoustic guitar work received two great showcases -- "Silent Hedges," adding a more familiar electric explosion to a fine Murphy performance detailing a desperate mental collapse, and "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything," a sympathetic, nostalgic reflection on dreams of the past, again matched by a perfectly balanced Murphy vocal. Other standouts include the brooding lope of "Swing the Heartache," with a skeletal rhythm matched against some of Ash's best guitar work, and "Spirit," a live standout inspired by the performance vibe the band received from its fans

tags: bauhaus, the skys gone out, 1982, flac,

Green Magnet - Blood Music (1992)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Post Hardcore, Nose Rock
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© 1992 Genius/Sub Pop
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: green magnet school, blood music, 1992, flac,

May 27, 2020

Various Artists - Sub Pop 200 (1988)

*U.S. first pressing. 
Contains 20 tracks total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge, Punk Rock
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© 1988-1991 Sub Pop
AllMusic Review by Bradley Torreano
With the exception of the Melvins, at the point Sub Pop 200 was released the label had virtually every important Seattle band on its roster. Here 20 bands get to strut their stuff in the premainstream alternative rock world. And many of the bands that helped alternative rock reach its popularity are represented here, including Soundgarden, Nirvana, Screaming Trees, and Green River (which would mutate into Pearl Jam). Strangely enough, most of these bands do not have the standout tracks on the album. The Fastbacks try to steal the show with their charged cover of Green River's "Swallow My Pride," but the Walkabouts might have the best song here with their folk-rocker "Got No Chains." Mudhoney covers the Bette Midler torch song "The Rose," while the Chemistry Set have an impressive entry with "Underground." The Thrown Ups also show up with the best song in their catalog, "You Lost It." The album as a whole is really good; there are few standouts, but everything is solid. Many will buy the album for the Nirvana track "Spank Thru," which is decent, but hopefully those listeners will stick around for the good obscure grunge tracks included.

tags: various artists, sub pop 200, 1988, flac,

Regina Belle - Reachin' Back (1995)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: R&B
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© 1995 Columbia
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Regina Belle's Reachin' Back is a collection of 11 covers of classic R&B and soul songs, including numbers performed by Al Green and the Spinners. Since their definitive, original performances have become part of the public's collective consciousness, it's unfair to hold Belle's interpretations in comparison, since hers inevitably pale. Taken on their own terms, her versions are well-sung and well-produced, yet slightly uninspired. Fans might find it necessary, but Reachin' Back doesn't rank among her most distinguished efforts.

tags: regina belle, reachin back, reaching, 1995, flac,

Scarce - Deadsexy (1995) ☠

*European pressing containing 
a different track order. 
Contains 12 total.
Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1995 A&M Records
AllMusic Review by Aaron Schatz
What should have been a hit album during the alternative rock boom of the mid-'90s became a forgotten record after Chick Graning's brain hemorrhage and Scarce's subsequent disbanding. Nonetheless, Deadsexy is full of great, catchy rock songs that show off Graning's sense of melody and his uniquely expressive voice -- intense, scratchy, and soothing all at once with an astonishing range. His sense of drama evokes David Bowie, while the band's guitar textures and the dynamic between Graning and bassist Joyce Raskin recalls the seminal New England alternative rock band the Pixies. "Honeysimple" and "Glamourizing Cigarettes" are short and memorable, while "Freakshadow" is a great example of the loud-soft dynamics that typified alternative rock at the time. The album closer "Obviously Midnight" is strangely prescient given Graning's medical problems after the album was originally recorded (the lyric states "I know I'm alive, I feel like I've died"). Raskin, however, is de-emphasized on this record, and the production is a bit too smooth and clear for this ragged crew, as can be heard in two songs redone from the band's Red EP ("All Sideways" and "Days Like This").
( Prior to Graning's brain hemorrhage, the album was originally released in the United Kingdom with a different track order, a different drummer, and four different songs. The main difference is that while the U.K. version features a better Raskin song ("So, Thrill Me" instead of "Summertime"), the U.S. version features the live favorite "Crimea River," the roots rocker "Rains of Kansas," and the unexciting but thankfully short "Salvador Sammy.")

tags: scarce, deadsexy, dead sexy, 1995, flac,

The Big F - The Big F (1989) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Hard Rock
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1989 Elektra
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: the big f, the big f album, 1989, flac,

Running Wild - The Brotherhood (Limited Edition) (2002)

*Contains 2 bonus tracks. 
12 tracks total.
Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Heavy Metal
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© 2002 GUN/BMG
Review by Mike for Metal Reviews.com
The pirates of metal have returned with their latest opus, The Brotherhood. Like its predecessor Victory, this album is not a “pedal to the metal” speedy effort, but instead features mostly mid paced songs full of catchy hooks and wonderful guitar work. The album does have its speedy moments, but don’t expect heart pounding double bass drums from beginning to end. Basically, if you are a fan like me that appreciates the earlier work of the band as well as the more recent “quieter” work, there is absolutely no reason at all not to get this CD!

As always, the rhythm section is tight and steady, providing a strong backbone for the overall sound. In the spots where the tempo is turned down, the thoughtful and more intricate song structure fills in the gap. The production is top notch as the guitars, vocals, and percussion are clear and one component of the sound is never overpowered by another. In particular, the percussion is very clear and crisp which can really be appreciated after listening to an album with “muddy” percussion. For me, “muddy” percussion can ruin an album, but that is far from the case here. Every drum hit and crash of the cymbal is crystal clear, even during the three most powerful tracks of the album, Pirate Song, Welcome To Hell, and Siberian Winter. The instrumental, Siberian Winter is very much a power packed cut, complete with time changes, furious riffs and guitar solos, as well as pounding drums clocking in at over six minutes. Unlike the instrumental track Highland Glory from the Death or Glory album which could only have been an instrumental, I really believe this track should have lyrics. Given the long length of the track, and there being only two other speedy cuts on the album, I think the album could have been enhanced by adding vocals to this track. This is a small complaint since this track is still a damn good, well executed instrumental. Throughout the album, I hear more shred work in the background in comparison to previous albums which makes things a bit more interesting. Such is the case for instance on the leadoff track Welcome to Hell and the more melodic cut Crossfire. Crossfire also has one of the most memorable hooks I’ve heard from the band in recent years. Almost worth the purchase of this CD on its own is the ten minute long epic, The Ghosts. Complete with intricate guitar work, time and key changes, and the unique “piracy” atmosphere the band has delivered time and time again, The Ghosts is a standout track that doesn’t become boring or repetitive in the least despite its length. This track is a model for the more complex songwriting Rolf has developed in recent years as well as the talented musicians Rolf has surrounded himself with. After hearing this track (last of the album), I am craving more. I eagerly await to hear the standard release of this album which contains an additional two tracks!

What we have here is yet another classic to add to the Running Wild discography. This album took me an extra listen or two to fully appreciate compared to Victory. But, once you give this album a few spins, it will forever imprint itself within you as do most other Running Wild albums. Not a weak song on the entire disc, and in this case I believe the band truly did “save the best for last” with The Ghosts, which is simply brilliant. Excellent job guys, hopefully many albums more to come in the future!

tags: running wild, the brotherhood, limited edition, 2002, flac,

Running Wild - Rogues En Vogue (2005)

Country: Germany
Language: English
Genre: Heavy Metal
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© 2005 GUN/BMG
Review by Mike for Metal Reviews.com
I have sat on this review for some time. Running Wild is a long time favorite band of mine, so I did not want to rush to judgment, writing a review without giving the album enough time. Well, I've had enough time, and I have determined that the best days of Running Wild are clearly over. While I first praised The Brotherhood, I would now quote that album some 20-30 points below my original score. I learned from my mistake on that review (one of the first that I did for this site). That is why I have given this album time to resonate in my mind, allowing time to form a firm opinion in my mind. Some would argue that Running Wild started to slip off the cliff after Black Hand Inn. While I would agree that Running Wild haven't released anything better than BHI as they progressed through the 90's and into the new millennium, The Rivalry is a kickass album, with Masquerade holding up quite well for me also. Like I said, I have realized that The Brotherhood has a handful of cool tracks, but its programmed drums and excess of mid tempo filler material represents a serious slip in quality. Although Rock 'n' Rolf credits tour drummer Matthias Liebetruth for the drums on this album, the drums are again programmed…Ughhh!
I have to start this off by mentioning a couple aspects of this album that I really like. The production and mixing is at its best on this album. I like the fact that each element of the sound is well balanced and crystal clear in terms of sound quality. The guitars simply sound outstanding, with the soloing and background shreds really coming to the forefront of the sound. It's too bad that there aren't that many galloping riffs to take advantage of the excellent sound quality found on this album.
I knew things weren't looking good when I gave the album it first spin, and heard a filler track in the leadoff spot. Draw The Line is fairly representative of a good portion of the album. It is a mid tempo cut, completely devoid of energy and emotion. The programmed drumming drains any life out of this song that may have otherwise existed. I have no idea why Rolf decided to go with programmed drums instead of a real, live drummer 100% of the time. If he thinks this option is better than having the likes of Jörg Michael pounding the skins, he is sorely mistaken. Like I said, the programmed drum sound manages only to strip the music of personality, excitement, and becomes extremely repetitive by the fourth or fifth track. Even the good songs on this album have a stale, lifeless tone in some form because of the programmed drums. I don't think it's an overstatement to say that Rolf is digging his band's grave with this choice. Compared to the material that the band has written in the past, this material just isn't in the same ballpark in terms of quality. Gone for the most part is the speedy tempo. Gone are the catchy riffs. Gone are the addictive hooks that had me sold on the band's shift towards mid tempo songs over recent years; these mid tempo songs are just sterile and lifeless.
As the album progresses, I struggle to differentiate from song to song. Aside from hearing nearly the same damn drumbeat the whole album, the songs for the most part lack creativity to keep me coming back. There are some exceptions, however. Angel of Mercy, however, is a speedy and catchy cut that does justice to the best of the band's many pirate hymns we've heard over the years. Skull and Bones isn't necessarily a speedy cut, but it certainly contains infectious guitar work and chorus lines that stay in my mind long after the album has finished playing. Although the band took some heat for shifting more toward a mid tempo style in recent years, I never objected to songs like this. Unfortunately, most of the other mid tempo songs on this album don't share the quality of Skull and Bones.
As I said earlier, the guitar work throughout the album is excellent. I can't say enough about the general guitar tone of this album. Additionally, I have no complaints regarding the solos and shredding; they are in fine form. As I said earlier, I do miss the catchy, driving riffs of the past. They are all but gone completely. Aside from the two aforementioned tracks, none of the remaining songs stand out to me at all. Instead, the band flounders in mid tempo mediocrity the rest of the album. There aren't any mistakes, and the guitar work is great, but this alone doesn't make a great song. I know that I've pounded on this subject, but the programmed drums further enhance this mundane, repetitive, and boring feeling. Compared to many bands putting out music these days, you can't really say that any of these songs are bad. However, it is pretty easy to conclude that they are average at best, especially when you listen to the material this band has produced over the last 20 years. The final track, The War, is a ten minute track that seemingly tries to duplicate the ten minute + epic (which was actually pretty good) from The Brotherhood. Unfortunately, The War ends up a 10 minute borefest, unlike it's predecessor, The Ghost.
The hardest part of being a reviewer is writing a negative review of one of your favorite bands. However, as a reviewer, I have to try my best to avoid any "fanboy" spin or overquoting, and be as objective as possible. Having been a fan of this band for years, and having stuck with them through recent years when their fan base has largely vanished, take the following for what it's worth: I've listened to this album over 20 times now. I find it very, very difficult not to stop listening after about the sixth track. That has never happened to me with a Running Wild album before. I sincerely hope that the band can right its course with their next album and produce at least a good album. I know the masterpiece days of the band are long gone, but how about giving us at least a good album? In all seriousness, the programmed drums have got to go. This facet of the sound could very well be the nail in the coffin for this band. The sterile, lifeless drums really flat lined any impact any of these songs could have had. And with that, Rogues En Vogue will sail back into my CD cabinet, likely to collect dust while albums such as Death or Glory, Blazon Stone, Black Hand Inn, The Rivalry, and other greats from the band catalogue get regular play in my stereo. I expected more from a band that has released these great albums.

tags: running wild, rogues en vogue, 2005, flac,

May 26, 2020

Rein Sanction - Broc's Cabin (1991) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1991 Sub Pop
Review by Mark Woodlief for Trouser Press.com
Broc's Cabin, produced by Shimmy-Disc honcho Kramer, revels in dense psychedelia, abundantly frenzied guitar and at least one song title — "Sasquatch" — that aptly describes the band's style. Mark Gentry's liberal use of wah-wah, distortion and envelope filter could also draw some comparisons to early Meat Puppets, but the blueprint here seems effectively Dinosaur-esque-pretty, sludgy and pretty sludgy.

. Special note from Lass: This is the band's debut album. Although I've stated that the band's second release is my favorite Grunge album (and it is) their debut album is my second favorite Grunge album. As with their second album, I highly recommend this one as well especially for those that are interested in Grunge music other than Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden Stone Temple Pilots etc.. Happy listening.

tags: rein sanction, broc's cabin, brocs, 1991, flac,

The Big F - Is (1993) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1993 Chrysalis
*No professional reviews are available for this release.

tags: the big f, is, is album, 1993, flac,

Various Artists - The Grunge Years (1994) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Grunge
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1994 Sub Pop
AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
This 13-track, sardonically packaged (complete with suited, briefcase-toting executive types on the front cover) set compiles material from Sub Pop's late-'80s/early-'90s period, when the company had just been tagged (and saddled) with the grunge label. Much of it was originally released on vinyl 45s, and some has subsequently resurfaced on CD; indeed, only dedicated collectors could probably tell you which of these tracks are truly rare by now. In any case, it's a decent sampler, with cuts by Nirvana, Tad, L7, Mark Lanegan, Screaming Trees, Mudhoney, Afghan Whigs, Babes in Toyland, and less expected entries like Beat Happening and the decidedly un-grunge Walkabouts. The Hype! soundtrack -- which includes material by several of these acts and adds songs by many Seattle-area bands not represented here -- is actually a better genre overview, at least until the inevitable day when the grunge box sets start appearing.

tags: various artists, the grunge years, a sub pop compilation, 1994, flac,