Posted by: Rites of Patches | September 4, 2009

Metal Reviews by Patches: Speed Round II

A quick review of four recent albums.
serious_catExplanation of Scoring System Here

Lacuna Coil: Shallow Life

Lacuna Coil took a huge step, going from the electronics of Comalies to a thicker, warmer sound on Karmacode. Although there is no similar leap here, if you enjoyed Karmacode, then Shallow Life will not disappoint. Shallow Life is a little simpler, the music a little thinner, and the atmosphere a little less moody, but Lacuna Coil succeeded in making an album better than most out there.

Bottom Line: The simplicity of the album ensures that it will never be as good as Karmacode, but the album still has enough solid modern rock tracks and gorgeous ballads to justify spending your money. If you want another reason, Cristina Scabbia is an attractive person. Just like me! Only on the outside too.

Told Ya...

Told Ya...

Killswitch Engage: Killswitch Engage

With 2006’s  As Daylight Dies, KsE continued the evolution of their emphasis on the melodic side of their music. Killswitch Engage is a refinement of the musical style found on Daylight. The only real change in the music is the influence of Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots producer Brendan O’Brien, who shares production duties with guitarist Adam Dutkiewicz. While the album is still undeniably KsE, it continues to emphasize the melodic aspect over the hardcore.

None of this is to say that the album is boring or not heavy enough. KsE still knows how to kick ass. “Never Again” and “A Light in a Darkened World” feature Jones’ brutal verses and gorgeous refrains. “This Is Goodbye” is as epic an album closer as “Hope Is…” or “Reject Yourself” (Okay, maybe not, but darn close). “Starting Over” features some really cool drum production. The biggest change is the lyrics. No matter how brutal their music, KsE’s lyrics have always been hopeful and optimistic; one of my favorite features of metalcore in general. The pessimism of our times seems to have infiltrated the band as they were writing this album. Hopefully, this change is not a permanent one.
Toonces2Bottom Line
: Do you like metalcore? Yes? Then buy this album. KsE may have slid towards the mainstream over their last three albums, but they are still metalcore’s most talented and consistent band.

Anubis Gate – The Detached

Unless you arrived here via Google search, you’ve likely never heard of Anubis Gate before. Allow me to bring you up to speed. Anubis Gate. There. I linked it to Wikipedia. God, do I need to do everything around here?

The Detached is a concept album, telling the story of time-traveling immortals blah, blah, who cares. This album is incredible and the early front runner for my rock album of the year. The story is interesting, the lyrics are engaging, and the music is melodic and technically sound, even if it never goes overboard into the realm of Iron Maiden or Dream Theater. The vocals are powerful and expertly produced to maximize impact on the listener.

Best of all, The Detached is an album. All of the songs flow perfectly from one to the other. From the classic metal of “Find a Way (or Make One)” and “Lost in Myself,” to the Egyptian influence in “Pyramids,” to the harmonies of “Out of Time,” to the funky bass of “Options – Going Nowhere” and the auto-tune tinged vocals of “A Lifetime to Share,” The Detached simply grabs hold of the listener and never relinquishes. It’s an album so complete that you feel like you would be doing the band a disservice by listening to anything less than the entire album. That might be the greatest compliment anyone can give an album.Toonces3

Bottom Line: Did you read anything I said? Buy the damn album already!

Cavo – Bright Nights, Dark Days

After hearing the undeniably catchy “Champagne,” I eagerly anticipated Cavo’s debut album, entitled Bright Nights, Dark Days. However, as soon as the abovementioned lead single, and album opener, ended, the disappointment began. Few of the remaining songs stood out, and their attempts at ballads were as bland as every other band that sounds just like them.Meh Cat

Bottom Line: Although there’s only a couple memorable songs on the album, Cavo does display a good deal of potential. They’ve shown they can write a few strong tracks. The next couple of albums will show whether Cavo has either the talent or the desire to rise above the three singles and eight fillers formula of their genre’s albums.


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