Tuesday, January 23, 2007


I am currently working on reviewing the up-and-coming band Black Stone Cherry's self-titled album.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Music Review: Muse - Black Holes & Revelations

Opening words -
This is a hard one to review, and Muse albums have always been so.
In essence, it takes a while to digest a full album's worth, and this one hasn't been any different.

On with it!

1. Take a Bow - A strong arpeggio keyboard progression compliments the intro of the song, a long-time Muse formula. This one dives deeper into the edgier, more electronic and hard bound vibe. "Pay, you must pay for your crimes against the earth."-
There doesn't seem to be a distinct lyrical direction, rather; a cryptic grandiose general gnashing bite at the heart of angst motivation, a never ending theme for Bellamy.
It's a rather simplistic opening track, and it sends a clear message: no holds barred.

2. Starlight - Wow. I can't seem to fathom the ongoing vibe of Pixies-esque combined with yet another drift into the spacial realm. What seems like a comparison, between our Hopes and Expectations - to Black Holes and Revelations, takes place.
The song in itself is vary varied in it's changing themes, from an 80's Duran Duran hit, and a 180 degree turn back into Muse music, with more subtle keyboard fills and arpeggios, making the song feel like a comic relief at one point, as there's nothing new to be heard here, except for the usual Muse'ish deviation into whatever comes into mind (the writing proccess) - the end result being a cross-over song from Take A Bow to -

3. Supermassive Black Hole - This one is pure inspiration. A type of synth which will make you instantly think of Jamiroquai's Deeper Underground, and a strong synth-rock guitar line.
Bellamy draws out an incredible high pitched voice, followed by a great chorus overwhelmed by a couple of vocal overdubs to set a distinct vocal harmony.
A slight growlish whispering will set even harder intentions, and an glass-breaking guitar solo comes out of nowhere to really emphasize the fact that Muse do not inhabit any particular genre.

4. Map of The Problematique - What first comes to mind, almost simultaneously with the awesome intro, is the title of the song. Problematic twisted into what seems like it's French twin - Problematique, makes you feel weird. I think we got the point already Hmmmuuuseee! You're trying to be original, and that's great! why push it tho...Anyway, on to the song itself.
More 80'ish melodics await underlined by a nice drum line, nothing I haven't heard before though. A break into the world of electronic music in the shape of some form of Dance, seriously benefits from the fact that the melody is mediocre, else I'd be pressing stop, and rethinking this entire album over. At this point, except for Supermassive Black Hole, I'm waiting for something to blow my mind, make me feel a progression has been made.

5. Soldier's Poem - Another grind on the old bag of tricks, musically speaking.
The lyrical theme might relate to the situation in Iraq, whatever it relates to, I am hearing something somewhat never-heard (in the context of Mus(e)ic), more vocal harmonies, and that's where it stops getting any better.

6. Invincible - I'm terribly sorry, but this is proving out to be a weird ride grinding more and more of old Muse themes and vibes, so you add a March-like drumline over the song - and don't get me wrong, a brilliant solo near the outro of this song really came close to blowing my mind, but it's still more of the same; for some people it may be enough, I find it rather disappointing.

7. Assassin - A very Progressive Metal message breaks out of the intro, a BRILLIANT display of drum work on the main theme, breaking on the upbeat snare, and some time signature changes, really kicked my ear into gear. From there we move on to another typical theme in the shape of a Chorus full of beautiful vocal harmonies.
A lot of surrounding electric guitar/synth sounds really add to the feeling that somewhere in the writing proccess a sense of direction was somewhat lost, while a nice sense of musical freedom was gained.

8. Exo-Politics - A beautiful melody followed by another versatile drum-beat opens up for another trip through the very-well-known. Some breaks into harder metal lines, and no real sense of direction - or restriction, which may prove to be good in time.
A distinctly lovable guitar solo really lets you know that the band's still making inspired music, and emanates a great feeling.

9. City of Delusion - Became my favourite for the time being, after 1 minute of song-time.
A beautiful acoustic intro sets up a beautiful effort in melody and musical versatility, followed by inspiring orchestra work, and more prog-metal heavy lines to co-incite.
The beat is dynamic, constantly changing, and makes me feel we were waiting for this one for along time. A beautiful Trumpet solo, underlined by an immense variation of Spanish/South American chord progression, really delivers some shiver, despite the fact it's been done a hundred times, by a hundred different artists, it caught well on me.

10. Hoodoo - Hoodoo! a beautiful guitar intro shows off more versatile sides in a different musical direction. Slowly backing off for a slower melody, complimented by a beautiful mind elating progression. A grandiosic line breaks off "Come to be, how did it come to be?" only to lighten things up back again - A gem.

11. Knights of Cydonia - The opening line instantly reminded me of Deep Purple, switching off the memory banks to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, straight into Pulp Fiction.
I'm awfully distracted by movie associations. An Anthem'ish sounding main theme sets off another journey into fantasy. The first four opening lines are incredible, and I don't need to put any more emphasis on them. The song then keeps rolling till we reach a break - 3 overwhelming voices in harmony chant the main lyrical theme - followed by an incredible hard rock'ish line to make sure you know they mean business. The outro really feels complete and puts an end to a rather weird mash of Good, Bad, Ugly, and some Fiction (not a pulp one.)

In Conclusion - I have no idea how to sum this up. It was a hefty rollercoaster ride, filled with some potentially skippable songs, and yet a lot of great material, mostly for fans of the band.

For me, the highlights of the album are Supermassive Black Hole and City of Delusion.
Don't get me wrong, this album is a full on Muse effort, and any fan of their music should definately check it out, and in the spirit of foolish ratings:

Inrandomality Rating : 7/10 - Disillusioning

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Music Review: Red Hot Chili Peppers - Stadium Arcadium

ell, I've been a fan of the peppers for a very very very long time, so pardon any bias-sounding sentences.

I'll make these ones abit short, since this review is kinda late anyway.

1. Dani California - Well, I personally feel this one came outta nowhere.
As usual, John strikes yet another catchy, rigid feeling tune.
Him shining out like never before in a jaw-droppingly composed solo, rings in your head for days on end - A great single, and a burst of energy to start the album.

2. Snow (Hey Oh) - Let's make one thing clear: the main guitar riff on this song is one of the greatest discoveries in guitar fretboard history.
The song is lovable, but has it's repetitive parts.
Anthony going "I said hey, hey yeah, oh yeah" in a baritone touch, is just an underheard gem.

3. Charlie - Groovy, funky, and a great dissonant guitar/bass line to get you in the right mood, equals somewhat of a time-passer, but altogether a great track to jam to.

4. Stadium Arcadium - A brilliant drum groove underlined by a beautiful simplistic melody, followed by an "old school" Pink Floyd'ish guitar solo, puts this one in my top 5.

5 - Hump The Bump - A no holds barred jump back to the Peppers' funkiest roots, also giving Anthony the chance to throw in some more erotic metaphors, Flea's work on the trumpet is a joy to behold, and shows off the versatility in the band, as if they needed any more.

6. She's Only 18 - Another good jam track, a mind blowing chorus and solo, full of funk yet cooling things up setting up for one of the best songs the Peppers have ever written.

7. Slow Cheetah - If you've got your headphones on, you can hear a slight "One...two...three...four" whisper, which for me is a subtle lesson in musical simplicity.
The song cannot be described in words, it is beyond your everyday soft roundabout.
What can be emphasized though, is the sheer openness in Anthony's lyrics.
A potentially under heard Trumpet line by Trumpeteer Extraordinaire Flea rounds the song up for a big, humongous, whisper.

8. Torture Me - A running melody surrounded by terrific vocal harmonies and another appearance by Flea to generally contribute to the song.
The amount of tracks spent on John's vocal harmonies tracks is just staggering, and he's yet again giving me the shivers only a musical genius could.

9. Strip My Mind - A classic made in 2006; this one leaves no room for criticism, as the beautiful guitar overdubs and Chad's grinding transition fills serve as a catalyst for what may possibly be one of the greatest guitar solos ever performed.

10. Especially in Michigan - From a musician's point of view, this track is pure inspiration for the level of freedom and intensity you can achieve when you have such a well connected group of guys. A very welcome appearance by Omar Rodriguez (of The Mars Volta), a great guitar player, who worked with Frusciante in the past and played on some of his Solo albums.

11. Warlocks - Another mixture of so many genres and styles, some basic Chili Peppers funk, open-minded jam track that's full of George Harrison esque guitar fills, of which John is very much known and loved for; Keep It Simple Stupid.

12. C'mon Girl - Noticeable as it may seem, the machine keeps rolling with nothing too original.
It's just another great track; could leave a big impression on some, while others may skip it.

13. Wet Sand - Anthony goes back to square 1989 (Under the Bridge) and sings his heart out raw and untouched, John's outro solo can bend your entire body, and even cause a slight eye pourage, as it is simply colossal - quite possibly my favourite.

14. Hey - The journey into Anthony's innermost desires and woes continues in this beautiful show of musicianship.
The genre, style, and feel of this song; is a realm the Peppers haven't ventured into for a long time.

15. Desecration Smile - Arguably one of the best creations emerging in a total wave of surprise; you just cant help but feeling this song was already "there", it just had to be written down and recorded.

16. Tell Me Baby - A great single, talking about a common topic among Chili Pepper lyrics; Hollywood. A great vibe of funk hovers over the general groove of the song.
I can't emphasize enough how much I like the incredible chorus slap-bass line, feel free to correct me, but I don't think I ever heard this kind of rolling slap-bass groove over any chorus in my (short) lifetime.

17. Hard To Concentrate - An intense melodic bass-percussion combo moves this one along like a warm breeze, It's really a song anyone can relate to, and in the end, its outstanding calming atmosphere draws you in for a quiet soothing ride.

18. 21st Century - Well, there we have it, a somewhat non-PC inversion, normally outside the lyrical range of the Peppers' songs.
Melodically, it walks the fine line the album is on.

19. She Looks To Me - One of my all-time favourite Chili Pepper songs.
It's them, all them, and there's no denying that the variating dynamics and yet another spine-chilling chord progression makes for a simplistic piece of John Frusciante's best work.

20. Readymade - This song came as a shock to me, as I'm sure it came to alot of listeners out there (fans or not). It's a fun deviation, and in the confines of the album - it's more of a good thing. "Oh clean it up Johnny!"

21. If - Very reminiscent of Pretty Little Ditty, which is actually in this case the perfect description for this song, a Pretty Little Ditty. If you still have the urge to go deeper, some more relationship woes unfold.

22. Make You Feel Better - Well, the Chili Peppers are known for their hands-on approach to their audience and the mutual understanding that in the end, feeding the audience constant energy and love is one of the main reasons they are where they are.

23. Animal Bar - When I first heard this song, I was amazed.
It's a shining light in the middle of a thunderstorm; catches your eye and ears, and makes sure to keep the grip firm. It can take a little while for the song to grow on you, but man, it overshadows your immediate horizon. John's outro solo is a complete smack in the face, as it sounds like an old instant-classic.

24. So Much I - A rolling rocking tune, feels incredibly raw and gets you jumping instantly.
Dynamic drum work that boggles the mind as to how Smith can always make something out of nothing.

25. Storm In A Teacup - A luscious back-to-the-roots funk-rap complete breakdown, add a banging drum 'n' bass underlining face melting guitar work, simply on fire.

26. We Believe - Yet another dominant post 2k Chili Pepper effort.
Amazing almost scat-like vocal shifts and harmonies, and enough energy to power a rollercoaster.

27. Turn It Again - Anthony pushes high, higher than ever, stretching his usually low-baritone voice to a vocal chord breaking effort, for him anyway.
The beautiful switching of progressions between the bass and the guitar, each dictating the pace in turns, shows off what might just be the end result of nothing specifically engineered, putting emphasis, again, on the chemistry between the band members.

28. Death Of A Martian - What a magnificent track, I was in awe when I first heard what sounded like random mumbling by Anthony at the outro of the song, which, after a few more listening chances, became memorised in my memory, bringing a close to an incredible outworldly song.

In Conclusion - A lot of people already made up their minds, quoting sparingly "Nothing but a big pile of good tunes that lead to nowhere".

In contrary to some of these rather popular opinions, I believe this is the Peppers' best work yet, and it is almost scary to think where can they go from here

Inrandomality Rating:10/10 - Perfect.

Simply a must buy for RHCP fans and music fans alike.