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Top 9 of 2016: #6 Deftones-Gore

Friday, Dec, 30 2016



HERE IT IS! The best albums released in the year 2016. I feel like we should lay down some ground rules before we get started. First and foremost, this is my OPINION. Therefore, I could be right or I could be wrong but based on my taste this is the list I put together. If you feel like I made a miscalculation, please feel free to comment with your argument. I love debating music and would love to do it with you. Also, these albums fall somewhere in the rock genre. That's what I do. Thirdly, please when you're telling me what you think in the comments, keep it PC.

#6 Deftones-Gore

I have a love/hate relationship with the Deftones. As in, most of the time I absolutely love them. They are one of my favorite bands of all time. They taught me that a band doesn’t need speed, or force, or relentless aggression to BE ABSOLUTELY BONE-CRUSHINGLY HEAVY. However, recently I’ve come to this conclusion that I hate the fact that I don’t see the Deftones continuing for much longer. At this point you must be asking yourself “Why?” so let me explain.
The Deftones as a band are incredible. However, the music arranged, for the most part, by two individuals. Those two are Stephen Carpenter, the lead guitarist and Chino Moreno, the bands legendary front-man. These two are some of my favorite musicians on the planet. I think Stephen Carpenters guitar work is masterful. When he cuts lose and decides to crunch, he is one of the heaviest metal guitar players doing today. Chino, of course, has a voice that is impossible to pigeon-hole into one genre. I love everything he’s done. From every Deftones record, to his variety of electronic side projects, to the guest vocals he did on Lamb of God’s recent full-length (The song “Embers” for those that don’t know).
Unfortunately, the studio fights between these two titans is well documented. Chino wants the Deftones to take on more of the electronic, atmospheric feel of some of his side projects like Crosses or Team Sleep. Carpenter on the other hand thinks that Deftones should never lose the crunch that propelled them to the forefront of alternative metal in the first place.
This is what I think will ultimately end this band. These two need to settle their differences and get back to writing great music.
Fortunately, that exact tension and push and pull lead to one of the best releases of 2016.
Let’s take a look at the songs.

“Doomed User”
I’m starting off kind of off-beat and obscure when it comes to this record. This is the third track on the album and the point where things get HEAVY. This has easily one of the best Stephen Carpenter records I’ve heard. It even features Chino doing some screaming, harsh vocals and I think he’s got one of the best screeches in the business. This song pummels the listener into submission and doesn’t let up from start to finish. When it comes to lyrics, Chino has the ability to make his lyrics so ambiguous they almost fit any situation. That’s a master lyricist. The listener gets to express their own story through the lyrics.



“(L)MIRL”
Man, I wish this would have been a single. I think other than “Phantom Bride”, this song has the greatest radio potential. Chino has always been great at writing break-up songs but this kicks it up a notch. From the first lyric, “I don’t miss you. I don’t care where you are now. You’re a ghost to me. Left with my taste in your mouth.” you know that you are in for a heartbreaking tune. I love Stephen’s distortion. Bringing back the “underwater” style that made “Cherry Waves” such a great tune you are lost in the riffs and the space that the song takes until the chorus breaks through. What a chorus though. Classic Deftones right here. This song reminded me why I love this band so much.



“Phantom Bride”
Now, Deftones have quite the arsenal in Chino Moreno and Stephen Carpenter as I’ve been stating throughout this review. What could possibly add a layer that was missing? Well, Alice in Chains guitarist Jerry Cantrell of course. Jerry lends his incredible passionate leads to this particular tune about confronting someone who lets fear run their life. This song could also be looked at as being a confrontation between someone and their loved one who is addicted to drugs. If I was to put myself in Mr. Cantrell’s shoes, I might feel that this is what I would have said to Layne Staley before he gave up his life to heroin addiction. However, that’s just my take. This song has the best lyrics on the album in my opinion and is a classic example of the fusion of both sounds the Deftones try to aim for succeeding in making a truly impactful and powerful rock song.



THERE YOU HAVE IT! #7 DEFTONES-GORE!

Miss #7 Metallica-Hardwired...To Self-Destruct!? Find it here!

http://razor947.com/index.php/Interactive/Blogs/Zach/R/2620

Miss #8 Amon Amarth-Jomsviking? Find it here!

http://razor947.com/index.php/Interactive/Blogs/Zach/R/2593

Miss #9 A Day To Remember-Bad Vibrations? Find it here!

http://razor947.com/index.php/Interactive/Blogs/Zach/R/2504

posted by: BallZach


Top 9 of 2016: #7 Metallica-Hardwired...To Self-Destruct!

Thursday, Dec, 29 2016



HERE IT IS! The best albums released in the year 2016. I feel like we should lay down some ground rules before we get started. First and foremost, this is my OPINION. Therefore, I could be right or I could be wrong but based on my taste this is the list I put together. If you feel like I made a miscalculation, please feel free to comment with your argument. I love debating music and would love to do it with you. Also, these albums fall somewhere in the rock genre. That's what I do. Thirdly, please when you're telling me what you think in the comments, keep it PC.

#7 Metallic-Hardwired…To Self-Destruct!

Admit it; you’re surprised to see this on my list. I know Cutter is. Hell, even I’m surprised that I’m actually taking time out of my busy existence to write up a RECCOMENDATION for Metallica. I know what you’re saying to yourself, “But BallZach…Don’t you hate Metallica?” Well, no. I don’t actually HATE the band. Hate is a strong word that I’m reluctant to use unless we are talking about Drake or Kanye.
However, since you asked so nicely, I will tell you exactly how I feel about Metallica. Just to get it out of the way.
I think Metallica is EXTREMELY overrated. I mean I respect the contributions that they have made to the genre of Metal, but honestly, they haven’t put out a culturally relevant album in 25+ years and that includes this one. Biggest band in Metal? Well, that only proves that once you get enough people together, their opinion invariably sucks (Thanks, Plato for pointing that one out to me, and they said that those college Philosophy classes wouldn’t come in handy). They need to stop. They are suffering from one of the most serious problems in Metal. Once you reach a certain age, it becomes very hard to take you seriously once you become angry. You’re a millionaire, dude. What do you have to bitch about exactly?

Now that all of that is out of the way, it didn’t stop Metallica from releasing one of the best albums of the year and that brings us to this list. Let’s take a look at the songs.

“Hardwired”
We’ll start with the first single from the album. When this one came out Cutter about wet himself, and for good reason. Metallica hasn’t thrashed this hard in years. Now that’s not saying this is Master of Puppets or even close to anything off Kill’em All. The lyrics are childish, but let’s be honest is anyone really paying attention to the lyrics when they are being relentlessly beaten over the head with that riff? This song is nominated for the Grammy for Best Rock Performance and again, for good reason.



“Moth Into Flame”
I admit it; I’m a sucker for duel guitars and love the way this song starts out. You know you’re in for a ride when it comes to that particular intro. You just can’t keep from bobbing your head when you listen to this tune. The lyrics are VASTLY better than “Hardwired” which is exactly what was needed. The chorus is big and it should be. It has a sort of “Whiskey In The Jar” feel until it comes back and thrashes your head off. I absolutely love the solo Kirk Hammett pulls off as well. He reportedly didn’t have much to do with the writing, but definitely makes his presence known with his signature guitar sound.



“Atlas, Rise”
I saved the best for last. I absolutely, unequivocally love this tune. When I first heard it, I was having a meeting with my boss and Cutter was playing it and I started tapping my foot and bobbing my head. I was like “Dude, who is that? That kicks ass!” only to find out that it was Metallica and I was about to eat my words when it came to this record (story of my life). The lyrics are the best of the three tunes I’ve listed. I love anything having to do with ancient mythology and James Hetfield uses it masterfully here. The only problem I have with this tune is that there should have been double-kick. If there was double-kick I don’t think I’d stop listening to it. However, it’s Lars Ulrich and I’m never going to win when it comes to that dude.



THERE YOU HAVE IT. #7-METALLICA: HARDWIRED…TO SELF DESTRUCT!
Now bang your heads!

Miss any of the other albums on this list? Find them here:

#8 Amon Amarth: Jomsviking
http://razor947.com/index.php/Interactive/Blogs/Zach/R/2593

#9 A Day To Remember: Bad Vibrations
http://razor947.com/index.php/Interactive/Blogs/Zach/R/2504

posted by: BallZach


The Top 9 of 2016: #8 Amon Amarth-Jomsviking

Wednesday, Dec, 14 2016



HERE IT IS! The best albums released in the year 2016. I feel like we should lay down some ground rules before we get started. First and foremost, this is my OPINION. Therefore, I could be right or I could be wrong but based on my taste this is the list I put together. If you feel like I made a miscalculation, please feel free to comment with your argument. I love debating music and would love to do it with you. Also, these albums fall somewhere in the rock genre. That's what I do. Thirdly, please when you're telling me what you think in the comments, keep it PC. 

#8 Amon Amarth: Jomsviking

F**K YES! VIKING F**KING METAL! 

That's how I feel every time I turn this album on. It makes me stop and wish I was crushing my enemies, seeing them driven before me and hearing the lamentations of their women. It literally is the soundtrack of a viking conquest.

First of all, this album is a concept album. It tells the story of the Jomsviking. The Jomsviking falls in love with a woman that he cannot have, and once she is taken away from him, he goes beserk. Literally the opening line of the album is "The first man I killed, was the Jarls right-hand man", and it gets crazier from there. 

At this point you might be asking just what the hell a Jomsviking is? Well, that;s easy to answer. They were a group of Viking mercenaries in the 10th-11th centuries. Front-man Johan Hegg had this to say in relation to the story presented by the album:

It's a pretty simple story where a young man is in love with a girl but unfortunately she's being married off. He accidentally kills a man when this happens and he has to flee," … "But he swears to have revenge and win her back. He can't let go of the past. He feels that he's been wronged and his life has been destroyed. The story of the Jomsviking is the background – it's the way he finds to go back and claim his revenge. The way the story evolves is not a happy story… it's a tragedy, I guess! But I like sad endings, because they're the ones that affect you the most.

Lets take a look at some of the highlights of the album:

"First Kill"

This one really sets the tone. It's the first song off the record and is exactly what you'd expect from a band that defines it's genre as Viking metal. The story told here is the first kill that gets the main character exiled. I can't think of a better opening to this album. The double-kick is perfect. The menacing vocals are perfect. The description of the feeling of killing an enemy is translated perfectly. Without a doubt, it lets the lisener know they are in for something special. 




"The Way Of The Vikings"

This track depicts a training session that two Jomsvikings are conducting. They are fighting each other the way that they would fight their enemies. There is no difference or mercy shown to the opponent because there wouldn't be any mercy shown on the battle-field. Again, the double-kick drives this song along. Johan Hegg delivers his signature growl but in a way that is completely understandable. As a listener it was very easy to find myself singing along with this tune.



"Raise Your Horns"

The true highlight of this record. This, in my opinion is the best metal song released this year, bar none. THIS IS VIKING METAL. The riff is perfect, driving the tune straight into your brain like a battle-axe. The tune takes on the feeling of a song that would be sung after a victory in battle. The chorus is just a banger. If you can listen to this song and not bang your head, your neck is either broken or you don't deserve to listen to this. I can't listen to it while I drive for fear that I'm going to careen into another car.  The video featuring cameos by some of my favorite metal-heads is even better. Check it out!



THERE YOU HAVE IT. #8 of the Top 9 of 2016! AMON AMARTH: JOMSVIKING!

Miss number 9? Check it out here!

http://razor947.com/index.php/Interactive/Blogs/Zach/R/2504


Here is the source for the Johan Hegg quote:

http://www.metalinjection.net/reviews/album-review-amon-amarth-jomsviking

posted by: BallZach