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King Crimson Red'
Black Light Syndrome (Awaiting Repress)This power trio has famous roots, and they've brought it all together masterfully. First cut The Sun Road starts off like a tune off of David Gilmour's first solo album and then vanishes into a driving, power-chorded surge of soulful rock. Next, Dark Corners is a massive rocker that pulls you under its powerful whirlpool of guitar/bass/drum frenzy. Stevens tortures the guitar into absolute submission without any predictable riffs. Levin looms everywhere, and Bozzio flows in a polyrhythmic jungle. Fine interactive tension and execution everywhere. This goes way beyond King Crimson's Red days.
Duende opens with flamenco guitar firebursts, and slowly builds into a decent Spanish-flavored piece. Not my favorite, but well done. The title cut, Black Light Syndrome, is obviously a play on Bozzio Levin Stevens. It is a slower-paced dirge and filled to the brim with a variety of well-executed riffs, basslines, and drum tech.
Falling in Circles is an early Floydscape dotted with Ronnie Montrose leads, a ballad of driving determination and resolve. Floods of Satriani, Wishbone Ash, Alvin Lee, Fripp, Buck Dharma, and even that Duane Allman tone.
Book of Hours took me right back to Wheels of Fire's Pressed Rat and Warthog, rainy-day dreamy afternoons with a fresh pot of designer coffee. Levin, Bozzio, and Stevens play off of one another precisely as one mind.
On the last cut, Chaos/Control, you hear that E7 breakdown from Hendrix's Midnight on War Heroes, and then a jazzy boogie in classic Frank Marino style is laid down. Stevens is a guitarist with a wide range of dynamics.
- John W. Patterson (All Music Guide)1. The Sun Road
2. Dark Corners
4. Black Light Syndrome
5. Falling in Circles
6. Book of Hours
7. Chaos / Control$26.99Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
ForestelevisionLesbian are a peculiar band, and not just in name alone. This Seattle-based four piece is one of the more eclectic acts to grace progressive metal, touting influences based in doom metal, 70s prog rock, black metal, and grunge. Combining all these seemingly disparate elements together may seem like an absurd task, but when psychedelics are involved, anything is possible. The group's latest effort explores these sounds and more in the course of a single forty minute track, Forestelevision.
Forestelevision is as suitable a title as any considering the structure and content that lies within. Lesbian shuffle through genres and moods as if flipping through channels while doped out on cough syrup. ADD applied to metal has allowed for the creation of some very off-the-wall music, but few approach this attention deficit as slowly evolving as Lesbian. At a whopping 44 minutes, Forestelevision crawls and plods along throughout a myriad of vignettes and experimentation in a way that is as challenging as it is awe-inspiring. Typically, spoiler alerts don't apply to music. However, given the nature of Forestelevision, the surprises that may lie around the corner upon first listen can make for an exhilarating experience. Going in blind yields the best results, but for those in need of more convincing may read on.
The album first opens to trudging doom metal riffs with vocals bringing to mind the likes of a young Ihsahn before giving way to riffing not out of place on a King Crimson record. These motifs continue to grow and change form through solos and synth leads in epic fashion. It isn't until halfway through Forestelevision when the band picks up considerable speed and begins to sound like something in the realm of post-blackened thrash before bottoming out again in a breakdown not unheard of from death metal greats Suffocation.
And this is just the tamer side of the group. Things get downright bizarre in the album's second climactic half. Following a barrage of math rock, sludge, and oddball soundtrack work that would expect to hear in an episode of Scooby-Doo, the band pulls off a shockingly convincing King Diamond impression almost out of nowhere, falsetto screams and power metal galloping riffs included. The band closes the show in an explosive crescendo of tremolo picked power chords and blasts of cymbals. Even with the considerable length, the fact that the band were able to make such a strange transformation from bleak doom to triumphant classic metal feel so natural is deserving of praise.
As excessive or self-indulgent as Forestelevision may seem, the ideas explored within are often captivating and epic as much as they are crushing and brutal. This is a culmination of all the insanity found throughout rock and metal condensed into a single epic track, and on more than one occasion can elicit a mouthing of "what the fuck am I listening to?" Those with enough patience to sit through Forestelevision will be left confused and disoriented, but compelled enough to go back for a second helping.1. Forestelevision$24.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
BleederBleeder was recorded by drummer Ben Koller's Converge bandmate Kurt Ballou at his GodCity studio in Salem, MA. While Helium Head was recorded as a duo, the upcoming LP expands the original lineup of Koller and vocalist/guitarist Stephen Brodsky to include bassist Nick Cageao. The album is said to have bigger production, increased ferocity, and the bolstered confidence from writing as a three-piece unit, offering up everything from hardcore, to NWOBHM-styled arrangements, to sludge. The album's 1000 Mile Stare and Soft Spot in My Skull apparently blend thrash with King Crimson-minded prog, while other touchstones include Ronnie James Dio-period Black Sabbath.1. Bridgeburner
2. Reptilian Soul
3. Sweet Ivy
4. 1000 Mile Stare
7. Dead Dreams
8. Soft Spot in My Skull
10. Bleeder$18.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
GenerationJoyrides atop a walloping disco beat and furious percussive guitars, headed somewhere between the Rapture, Chic, and Talking Heads, but with a cartoonish giddiness that takes me back to the heyday of Junior Senior and Scissor Sisters. - Stereogum
Rising stars - DJ Mag
On their full-length 2014 debut Voyage, L.A duo De Lux learned how to
take their influences and create a sound all their own-a beyond-their-years
synthesis of post-punk, disco, funk and of course synthesizer wizardry,
drawing inspiration from the same combination of agitation and exhilaration
that helped LCD Soundsystem and Talking Heads deliver some of the most
danceable social commentary ever. And now that they've found their sound,
De Lux are creating a story to go with it on their new album Generation: "All
of these things that they put us through," sings co-founder and multi-instrumentalist
Sean Guerin, "I'm writing it down / I'm writing it down."
They first started writing Generation in the kind of uncommitted
instances that happen so rarely once a new band puts out its first album. Once
Voyage was released, De Lux found themselves playing and interviewing and
touring and remixing-"All fun!" says Sean-but they had to fight to find time
to write. A random Instagram of work-in-progress song "It's A Combination"
was the tipping point, when Sean and co-founder Isaac Franco realized they'd
been rough-drafting for a year: "Let's finish it now," they decided, and that's
the exact moment when Generation officially started.
They returned to the L.A. practice space where they wrote and recorded
Voyage, this time with new instruments-like the little-known but sought-after
synthesizer guitar beloved of King Crimson's Adrian Belew-and new inspirations,
chief among them punk peformance artist Karen Finley, whose 1987
debut album Sean discovered at a Seattle record store simply because it
looked promising. Her infamously uncensored lyrics made him realize there
was more he could sing about, too: "You admire the ambition behind her
saying whatever she wants," he says.
So if Generation is a darker album than Voyage-and it's inherited plenty
of the modern urban anxiety of David Byrne-that's because it's a fearlessly
honest and candid album, too. In fact, call it a millennial documentary. In
Generation's eleven songs, De Lux chart the distance between childhood and
adulthood, nostalgia and aspiration and dream and reality, all with unflinching
autobiographical detail. (And with a secret nod to the Pokemon theme, too.)
Says Sean: "When I write lyrics, I try and be as specific as possible. We think
about if someone listens to us in 30 years: 'Oh, that's what was going on at
The result is a sort of Less Than Zero for the post-Social Network era.
Think of it as a nighttime freeway drive that starts with the propulsive "L.A.
Threshold" and rides the borderline between feel-good rhythm and artfully
sophisticated sentiment. "There's dark moments, but it's still fun," explains
Sean. "The first album was just more innocent." There's new space in De Lux's
sense of rhythm and groove, says Isaac, for Sean to say what he needs to say:
"The song gives him the freedom to be himself."
And so Generation is an album about high highs, low lows and the vast
space in between. "Center of L.U.B" is a roller-skate jam that starts with a
Can-style guitar riff before spinning into an examination of one utility company
employee's ennui-you knew this wasn't going to be a love song,
right?-while "It's A Combination" is a brooding Italo disco track and
unexpected piano piece "Conditions" is like Harry Nilsson or John Lennon
suddenly transplanted to Rough Trade Records. Then there's the alternately
hilarious and harrowing "Oh Man The Future"-a satirical reading on the shape
of things to come, propelled by a bass-and-drum rhythm right off one of ESG's
first EPs-to the desolate-yet-funky "When Your Life Feels Like A Loss," where
De Lux dissect just what happens when "you think you're special/no, you're
not special/you're just an average guy."
In other words, Generation isn't a departure. This is De Lux going
deeper, not farther away, and the result is surely the most anthropologically
daring dancefloor album of the year. That might seem difficult to pull off, but
that's why they did it, explains Sean: "At some point we realized creativity is
just limitless," he says. "You can do anything. There might be certain people
who think, 'Oh, you can't do that.' That's when you say, 'Well-I'm doing it!'"1. LA Threshold
3. Living In An Open Place
4. Center of L.U.B.
5. Simba Simba Simba
6. No One Really Cares Who You Are
7. Oh Man The Future
9. When Your Life Feels Like A Loss
10. It's A Combination
11. Someday Now$20.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Coma EclipticGrandiose, dynamic, heavy, melodic, technically challenging: these are all words that fall equally short when trying to describe Between the Buried and Me's sonic offerings. When tasked with explaining the band's previous effort, The Parallax II: Future Sequence, Decibel Magazine claimed that the album offers more substance than most bands put forth in entire careers and Metal Hammer simply stated that it was utterly captivating. Where does a burgeoning progressive act go from there? The answer is found in their seventh full-length album, Coma Ecliptic. Spanning just over an hour, the album stands as a significant step in the evolution for the group as a whole, as well as the individual musicians: vocalist / keyboardist Tommy Rogers, guitarists Paul Waggoner and Dustie Waring, bassist Dan Briggs, and drummer Blake Richardson.
Tommy Rogers posits: Coma Ecliptic is a new life for BTBAM. Throughout the process we worked harder than we ever have and really pushed the BTBAM sound to a new identity. In a world of repetition, I'm very proud to be a part of something that is extremely rewarding, as well as frightening. When you don't push yourself you will never know what the outcome is. The outcome is Coma Ecliptic.
What is Coma Ecliptic? It can be interpreted as a modern rock opera, and another ambitious concept album from a band that has completely mastered that format. Dan Briggs comments: Spending the last year immersed in a world of Quadrophenia, Operation Mindcrime, The Wall- as well as Sondheim and Lloyd Webber musicals, Stravinsky and Mussorgsky symphonic suites; writing an over the top, dramatic and forward thinking rock opera was the most natural thing to do. The story follows the wanderings of an unidentified man, stuck in a coma, as he journeys through his past lives. Each song is its own episode in a modern day, sort of The Twilight Zone-esque fashion. The unidentified man enters each world and is offered a choice: stay, or move on to the next in search of something better, something more perfect. The man does find his ideal life, but then is offered the ultimate choice of life or death. He chooses life and wakes up to his own actual reality. It's at that moment he realizes that he had been in a coma - everything that happened had been dreams and false memories. After awakening, we find the man outside finally experiencing reality, and he sees what he has been missing: the world is beautiful, the air is fresh, and the people appear to be happy, and then he falls over dead. The take away from this is to make the best of your life. People are constantly searching for something better without taking the time to appreciate the things they have. What we need may already be here, and is hopefully real. We may all be in a coma in another life.
Musically, Coma Ecliptic boasts a series of emotive peaks and valleys that drive the narrative along with the lyrics. Tracks such as Memory Palace, while sounding wholly unique, clearly have a distinct BTBAM flavor to which fans have grown so attached. The Coma Machine brings to mind prog in the most classic sense; think YES and King Crimson passages with the added layer of modern metal heaviness. Dim Ignition highlights Rogers' continuing development as a keyboardist, but don't fret, there's still plenty of speed, technically challenging guitar, bass, and drum runs, and quirkiness throughout. What makes these parts work is the interplay of the heavy and technical with the simpler, almost cinematic, soft passages; that is the power of Coma Ecliptic. The listening experience is a journey, and when Life in Velvet brings the album to a sudden, triumphant end, fans will surely be reaching for the replay button. But what does the band think? Rogers adds: If you asked me what this record sounds like, I would tell you BTBAM. With every listen I still find new exciting moments that each member has put into these songs. After all these years we still push each other to try new things and push our individual skills to the next level. It is an absolute thrill to write with such an inspiring group of people. Briggs continues: Writing with a focus on storytelling and just crushing melodic themes set the tone early on before we were even in the rehearsal room together. Put your velvet capes on and get ready for a journey!1. Node
2. The Coma Machine
3. Dim Ignition
4. Famine Wolf
5. King Redeem / Queen Serene
6. Turn on the Darkness
7. The Ectopic Stroll
8. Rapid Calm
9. Memory Palace
10. Option Oblivion
11. Life in Velvet$33.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now