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Never Gonna Give You Up'
BrothersW/ CD version of the album included.
The maturation of the Black Keys as record makers and performers has been both subtle and startling. With their 2008 Nonesuch release Attack & Release, the fifth album of their eight-year career which doubled the sales of their previous album and Nonesuch debut Magic Potion, guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney illustrated the durability of their few-frills sound, a mysterious and heavy brew of '70s-vintage rock, classic R&B and timeless, downhearted blues. Producer and pal Danger Mouse, their first outside collaborator, didn't try to reinvent their sound but further isolated its essence with the help of a few carefully chosen guest players and some retro-modern electronic gear. It didn't need to get slicker to get better, or, as the Boston Globe put it, Attack & Release proves that cleaning up the boys still won't stop them from tracking mud all over the house.
Danger Mouse returned to co-produce Tighten Up on Brothers, but for the most part, the duo was on its own, spending ten days at the legendary Muscle Shoals studio in Alabama and coming up with the an even more intensely focused, deeply soulful set that includes a cover of Jerry Butler's Never Gonna Give You Up. The performances are inventive and impassioned: Auerbach extends his vocal range to falsetto on lead-off track Everlasting Light and The Only One; Howlin' For You opens with a Gary Glitter-style drum riff and the chorus practically invites singing along. The tunes offer a surprising amount of lyrical candor and more than a little dark humor; the grooves alternate between ballsy swagger and bluesy rumination. The album reflects where Auerbach and Carney have been lately, most recently collaborating with a who's who of New York City MC's, including RZA, Q Tip, Mos Def and Raekwon on the 2009 BlakRocBlack Keys fan Damon Dash. They've also pursued projects on their own, Auerbach with his solo Keep It Hid album and tour, Carney with his band Drummer and its debut disc, Feels Good Together. Their maturation didn't happen just in the studio, though. Carney admits, Dan and I grew up a lot as individuals and musicians prior to making this album. Our relationship was tested in many ways but at the end of the day, we're brothers, and I think these songs reflect that. super-session organized by hip-hop impresario and
Brothers was primarily cut in Muscle Shoals, a setting that turned out to have more in common with the Akron, Ohio factories where the Black Keys used to record. The place was desolate, the town depressed, so once again the duo slipped into a world all its own. They did additional recording at Auerbach's Easy Eye Sound System in Akron and The Bunker in Brooklyn. The album was mixed by engineer Tchad Blake, a veteran of sessions with Los Lobos, Pearl Jam and Peter Gabriel. Says Carney, The way he approaches mixing is the same way we approach making music. Respecting the past while being in the present..1. Everlasting Light
2. Next Girl
3. Tighten Up
4. Howlin' For You
5. She's Long Gone
6. Black Mud
7. The Only One
8. Too Afraid To Love
9. Ten Cent Pistol
10. Sinister Kid
11. The Go Getter
12. I'm Not The One
13. Unknown Brother
14. Never Gonna Give You Up
15. These Days$24.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Buy Now
Crooked TeethPapa Roach has never taken the easy way out and they aren't going to start now. Over the past two decades the group have established themselves as true trendsetters in heavy music: They've been nominated for two Grammys, toured the globe with everyone from Eminem to Marilyn Manson and crafted the nÜ metal anthem "Last Resort," which is still in heavy rotation on rock radio seventeen years after its release. However, the group's tenth full-length Crooked Teeth sees the band returning to their humble-and hungry-roots. The album was recorded in a cramped West Hollywood studio with up-and-coming producers Nicholas "RAS" Furlong and Colin Brittain, who grew up listening to Papa Roach and inspired them to revisit some of the traits that personally endeared the band to them, most notably frontman Jacoby Shaddix's remarkable rapping technique.
"We've always kind of considered ourselves to be the bastard cousins of everything we've every been involved with so we wanted to be true to that and switch things up this time around," Shaddix says. "The first time we met up with RAS and Colin, they said that [2000's] Infest was on constant rotation when they were growing up and they wanted to bring back some of that fire." The connection between the artists and producers was immediate and the first song Papa Roach-which also features guitarist Jerry Horton, bassist Tobin Esperance, and drummer Tony Palermo-came up with for Crooked Teeth was "My Medication," an instantly catchy banger that sees Shaddix spitting verses in between massive choruses and ambient accents. "I really felt like we had a personal connection and the music was just there waiting to be written and once we nailed that song things really clicked and we knew exactly what we had to do" Furlong explains. "We really followed our instincts and tried something unproven with this record and because of that we ended up with a bold, courageous and more adventurous version of Papa Roach." It was in this studio that "old school" Papa Roach ways, morphed to create this "new school" Papa Roach sound.
From the instantly infectious nature of the title track to the atmospheric sheen of the ballad "Periscope" (which features Skylar Grey) and the hip-hop rock mashup "Sunrise Trailer Park" (which features an impassioned verse from Machine Gun Kelly). Crooked Teeth displays the various sides of Papa Roach and illustrates why they've managed to remain relevant while musical trends ebb and flow. "We didn't go into this album with the intention of trying to write radio singles," Horton explains. "The collection of songs was really about bookending everything that we've done prior to this album and reintroducing Papa Roach to people who didn't realize the depth that we have," says Palermo. "The whole idea was to take the classic elements of Papa Roach that everyone loved and revamp them into a modern version of the sound through the creative process," adds Furlong. "We just wanted to flip everything on its head and see what would happen and it turned out more amazing than any of us could have expected."
"The people who have wanted to hear me rap for years are gonna love some of the viscousness on this record," Shaddix explains adding that while he had his own initial reservations about some of the album's more unorthodox moments - such as the 808 bass drop into a metal breakdown on the album title track, "Crooked Teeth" - ultimately those adventurous decisions are what make the album such a refreshing change of pace in a rock climate that's grown increasingly sterile. "I'd like to personally thank all of the guys in the band for making this happen because all it takes is one person to give you a shot and this was definitely mine," Furlong adds. "I want to be one of the best producers in modern day music so I wanted to work as hard for these guys as they would for themselves because as a producer it was my job to push them to get the kind of quality work everyone has been expecting."
Just as Papa Roach felt like they still had something to prove with this record, so did the production team who attempted to bring in elements of music from different genres and parts of the world while still staying true to Papa Roach's sound. "One of the big elements in my production is finding those pockets of rhythm that people associate more with rap or reggae," Furlong explains, a fact that came in especially handy when Shaddix was fine-tuning his freestyle skills. "I know rap rhythms because I grew up listening to hip-hop, so I was able to make sure that the delivery was on point and the beat was in the pocket so it didn't suffer from a lot of the stylistic pitfalls that can happen when you merge rock and rap."
Crooked Teeth also sees Shaddix pulling no punches lyrically, as evidenced on intensely personal tracks like "Born For Greatness," produced by Jason Evigan (Jason Derulo, Demi Lovato, Kehlani, Madonna), which sees Shaddix getting sentimental about his three children, or "American Dream" where the lifelong pacifist begs the listener to ask, "have you ever thought war was a sickness?" "My father is a Vietnam veteran and a lot of those soldiers came back to a country where people weren't accepting them back into society or aware of the effects that war has on your psyche," Shaddix says of the song." "Post-traumatic stress disorder and the disintegration of the American family are things I've dealt with personally and I knew other people could relate to. I think that's what makes this record bold. Nothing was off limits when it came to what was on my mind."
Never one to shy away from difficult topics, Papa Roach dug deep with Crooked Teeth and refused to censor themselves when it came to their opinion of the current political landscape and organized religion. For example, on "None Of The Above," every ounce of musical intensity on the album is mirrored by Shaddix's words whether he's screaming, singing or rhyming. "It took me a long time, but eventually I realized that in life we're all human and we all make mistakes whether you're the president or the preacher, you know?" Shaddix explains when asked about the latter song. "It's an example of how I can get lost in a storyline and explore so many different issues in one track and that's what I love about this record. Just the spark of an idea would instantly ignite and the next thing we knew we had another song that we all loved."
In many ways making Crooked Teeth reminded Shaddix of the band's early days, well before they sold millions of albums and became a household name. "When we were in the rehearsal space I wasn't thinking about who I needed to impress, I was thinking about how much I love making music with the guys in this band," Shaddix admits. "It feels honest and it feels pure," adds Esperance. Fittingly, throughout the process, Shaddix gained inspiration from bands like Led Zeppelin and Faith No More, acts who constantly redefined themselves and were never content to rest on the merits of a hit single." This band encompasses some of my greatest victories, but it's also brought out some of my darkest character flaws," Shaddix summarizes, "so I have kind of a love-hate relationship with this music, but I can't stop because I've got too much of my life invested in it at this point. We are a purpose-driven band and I've got a responsibility to myself and our fans to continue to create."1. Break The Fall
2. Crooked Teeth
3. My Medication
4. Born For Greatness
5. American Dreams
8. Sunrise Trailer Park
10. None Of The Above$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Satanist (Out Of Stock)
Exclusive Bonus Track
Double Gatefold Jacket
24-Page LP Sized Book
"The Satanist is magic. It's dangerous. It's adventurous, and it's organic," states Nergal, the driving force behind Behemoth since their inception in 1991, and brief exposure to the band's tenth album more than supports this statement. While instantly recognizable as the work of the Polish blackened death quartet it takes their sound in previously unimagined and riveting directions. A writhing, densely layered, brutally violent and sinister record, it is quite unlike anything ever unleashed within the canon of heavy music. As such it demands attention, offering ever greater sonic and emotional depths with every listen. "You may hear the title and think it's very primitive and one-dimensional, and yes it is, but when you look beyond that it's as primitive as it is complex and multidimensional, and that applies to everything about the record."
It has been a rocky road leading to the realization of the album. Having dropped 2009s Evangelion to almost universal critical acclaim they saw it top the chart in their native country and dramatically expand their following around the world, and playing some of the best shows of their lives the band seemed truly unstoppable. But, in August 2010 Nergal was diagnosed with leukemia, stopping them in their tracks. Forced to abandon their ongoing tour in support of Evangelion Nergal was hospitalized, and both he and Behemoth faced an uncertain future. With the search for a bone marrow donor ultimately successful Nergal underwent a transplant, leaving the hospital after six months and beginning down the long road to rehabilitation. "I knew I was pretty much fucked and there was a battle to be won, and I had no fucking idea if it was going to take six months or twelve months or maybe four years, because with cancer you never know. I learned from being in the hospital that there are things in life that you can control and things that you can't control. The sooner you realize which is which it's going to make your life so much easier, and since then I started to focus on the right things. I could be determined, I could have discipline, I could have faith, but everything else is not under my control, and it really was a case of just crossing fingers for the best possible outcome. I was fortunate enough that that recovery period was relatively fast, and that I was really strong and very determined to get back into shape made a real difference."
Rather than immediately getting down to working on a new album, the band - also comprised of drummer Inferno, bassist Orion, and guitarist Seth - set out to complete the abandoned touring cycle for Evangelion, hitting the road for the aptly titled Phoenix Rising Tour. Wanting to prove they were stronger than ever the first show was the only time doubts crept into Nergal's mind. "I was a fucking wreck, and I almost didn't make it to the end of the set. The venue was really smoky, and that was stuffing my nose and my lungs, and physically I felt that I couldn't pull it off. I did, but I was close to passing out on stage. I was literally shocked by this, I remember thinking while we were playing shit, what if I can't do this anymore? I'm just a human being after all. Going into the next show I had no sleep because of all the nerves and anxiety, but it was fucking amazing. With every following show I would get stronger and stronger and grow more confident, and aware of the fact that yes, we will do this."
Having returned to full force the band were ready to once more move forward, and they began work on what would become The Satanist. While many bands might be concerned with how to follow up a record as devastatingly powerful - and successful - as Evangelion Nergal faced no such doubts. "I don't race myself, and I don't need to prove anything to anyone. Evangelion was a very important record to us, and yes, it was very successful too, but in making The Satanist it wasn't a point of beating that. The point was to do what was organic, and make a natural and honest and sincere album, and that's it. Now the record is finished I like to think of it as an album that is just so different that you can't really compare it to our previous works, which is the best outcome I could hope for." One thing is inarguable, and that is the record is the most sonically rich and complex released under the Behemoth name. With layer upon layer of sound it has great sonic density, but there is intricacy to this, and nothing is forced or contrived. "I don't have a kid but I think the process of raising one is comparable: you invest a lot of your energy and effort and wisdom and money and you educate them, but there's never a one hundred percent guarantee he's going to become a lawyer and not a serial killer. It's the same story with the records - we supply the elements but we just don't know how these elements mixed together are going to come out, and I think it's fortunate that we don't have one hundred percent control over it! It makes for something special."
The title of the record itself is undeniable in its power, and Nergal sees it as capturing the primal wisdom that the band have always tried to maintain. "To me it's not pretentious at all. It's very straight up, very sincere, and a devastating, conquering statement. There's no compromise or bullshit or gimmicks. What I love about it is that it just speaks for itself. On one hand it's a very black and white title: The Satanist is like a fucking nail through the hand of Jesus Christ, period. No more, no less. But then again, as with everything else you put a hundred people together and ask them what the name The Satanist means to them and you're going to hear a hundred different opinions, which they can then discuss and fight over." Likewise, Nergal views the lyrical content of the record as similarly open to interpretation, encouraging this. "There's a lot of symbolism and reflections and impressions in there, and it's using millions of metaphors to express a certain very sinister and very captivating atmosphere, but there are no answers. People always like to have a deeper insight into what we do, but that's not what we want to give with this record. The way I see it is that between us we can make a huge fucking pyre and set the world on fire, but what we're doing is just giving you the matches, giving you the spark, what you want to do with it is up to you. Personally, if I sat down with the lyrics in front of me I too would probably come up with a lot of different interpretations and concepts, it's a never ending process, and that's exciting to me."
Twenty-three years and ten albums into their career, that Behemoth is still in the ascendant is a statement to their commitment, determination and capacity for writing such powerful music. If ever a band was to go out on a high The Satanist would make for one hell of a swan song, but don't expect them to disappear any time soon. "I remember before we we had a record deal I was having a conversation with Baal, the band's original drummer, and we said okay, if one day we manage to record an album and put it out how cool would it be to split up right after that? It would be one record and no more, and there was something about that that had an appeal, but y'know what, it doesn't work like that for individuals like myself. Hunger has always driven me through life, and I can never sit in one place and relax for too long because I have the need to explore this whole universe in every possible way. Now, over two decades later it's the same story. I can tell you I have no problems with finishing my career after this record. Just say the title itself: The Satanist. How the fuck am I gonna beat that title? It sounds like the ultimate definition of our art - but then again, I remember that conversation with Baal, and I know it doesn't work like that, so I know there will probably be other incarnations of our artistic identity, one way or another. All I know is I love being here and now, and I just want to underline that I couldn't be more proud and happy with my own music. It really drives me through the day, and now I just want to sit back and hear any and all opinions of it."1. Blow Your Trumpets Gabriel
2. Furor Divinus
3. Messe Noire
4. Ora Pro Nobis Lucifer
6. The Satanist
7. Ben Sahar
8. In the Absence ov Light
9. O Father O Satan O Sun!$44.99Vinyl LP - 2 LPs Sealed Temporarily out of stock