Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Some musical mini-reviews

As the year draws to a close, I thought I'd provide you with a selection of mini-reviews, summarising my thoughts on a few of the albums I've purchased recently.

As I Lay Dying - Shadows Are Security

The second album from the USA's premier Christian metalcore band, charting their evolution from the raw brutality of their debut album, 'Frail Words Collapse', to a more refined and crafted sonic assault. Although some of the tracks are a little repetitive, AILD still retain their relentless aggression and passion, making this record an effective link in the band's musical progression.

Must-hear tracks: Confined, Empty Hearts
Rating: 3/5

Hurts - Happiness

If melodramatic 80's-inspired electro-pop is what you're after, then this duo from the UK is for you. Hurts debut album features incredibly catchy tunes, crisply recorded instrumentation and innovative yet vintage synths and beats. Pop princess Kylie Minogue also features on the record, giving the experience the authenticity it deserves.

Must-hear tracks: Wonderful Life, Better Than Love
Rating: 5/5

As I Lay Dying - The Powerless Rise

AILD's most recent release, featuring more piercing guitar harmonies, pummeling riffage, unforgiving drum beats and questioning lyrics. Although there are some great melodic sections to be sampled here, the solos let this album down, feeling unoriginal and bland for the most part. Not a bad record overall, but a step back from the perfection of 'An Ocean Between Us'.

Must-hear tracks: The Plague, Upside Down Kingdom
Rating: 4/5

Gypsy and the Cat - Gilgamesh

Another electro-pop duo for you now, but this time hailing from Australia. Possibly too sickly-sweet for some, but hitting the spot for others, this record features the great combination of lyrical ballads and programmed rhythms and tones. Some of the songs point to the band's influences a tad too overtly, but on the whole this a soulful and original album; I challenge you not to sing along.

Must-hear tracks: Time To Wander, The Piper's Song
Rating: 4/5

Demon Hunter - The World Is A Thorn

Christianity and heavy metal may not be a natural combination for some, but for US industrial-thrash veterans Demon Hunter, it's a way of life. This, the band's latest album, continues their no-holds-barred musical rampage, using epic riffs, rapid-fire drums and soaring vocals to spread their uncompromising message. As close to perfection as you can get outside of Heaven.

Must-hear tracks: Collapsing, Tie This Around Your Neck
Rating: 5/5

DJ Fresh - Kryptonite

And finally, some British drum and bass. This album features a mix of straight and swung tracks, as well as some dubstep beats for good measure. Although some of the songs aren't particularly special, there are a few absolute gems to be found here, utilising grimy synth tones, deep bass lines and high-speed drums alongside brilliant vocal performances.

Must-hear tracks: Talkbox, Golddust
Rating: 3/5

That's all for now, have a great New Year!

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