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Reviews Written by
S. Chamberlain (Rowlett, TX United States)

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Oncoming Storm
Oncoming Storm
Price: CDN$ 17.10
31 used & new from CDN$ 2.76

4.0 out of 5 stars The Metal world is now forewarned with this storm, June 29 2004
This review is from: Oncoming Storm (Audio CD)
Everyone who was worried when word came about that Adam Dutkiewicz was producing Unearth's new album should not worry anymore. Adam took a band that had a credible following and turned them into one of metal and hardcore leaders. While The Oncoming Storm doesn't top its predecessor Stings of Conscience, it still packs a mighty punch to not dissappoint.
As you'll notice with the opening track Unearth has shed some of its hardcore skin and built up a more metal sound around them. But no worrying hardcore fans, this still has breakdowns galore. Trevor Phillips still sounds like that madman that he was on Stings... The one thing that holds back their new formed sound is variety. You won't find much of that on here but each song does carry its own weight and there is no filler here.
Recommended tracks would be This Lying World, Lie to Purify, and the cleaned up but still deadly Endless. I totally recommend this for any fans of Lamb of God, Hatebreed, or even more technical bands like Meshuggah or Life Once Lost.

7 used & new from CDN$ 9.94

4.0 out of 5 stars The End of All Things To Come, June 10 2004
This review is from: Contradictions/None (Audio CD)
If only people knew what was upon them when they first encountered a Swedish thrash band named Meshuggah. This full length debut features 80's thrash in the same vein of Metallica and Anthrax.
On Contradictions Collapse, there is nothing here that is mindblowing but its your generic 80's thrash metal that is good but nothing that compares with the aformentioned bands. Musically they show that they can go head to head with any thrash band with some killer and often catchy riffs and lightning fast drumming. "Erroneous Manipulation" is by far the best track on the album and something I would even prefer to hear live from them on a rare occurence. "Greed"'s intro starts with a haunting acoustic (yeah Meshuggah and acoustic amazing) with a start stop guitar onslaught. The vocals are something that leaves something more to be desired from Jens Kidman. Yet as any Meshuggah knows now he turns into a rabid fast vocal man on Chaosphere and shows such a demonic presence on Nothing.
So, you're probably asking why the four starts well one word : NONE! This four song EP is filled with the technical heavy Meshuggah we have all come to love. The breakout track "Sickening" is still a regular in the band's setlist with its very grooving beat. "Ritual" is something that shows Jens showing his own sort of melody in what could be the slowest Meshuggah ever.
Buying this album is fully worth it just knowing that this is the end of a Meshuggah that also shows the very beginning of things to come.

Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 58.32
4 used & new from CDN$ 33.72

5.0 out of 5 stars Their best since Demanufacture, April 20 2004
This review is from: Archetype (Audio CD)
Fear Factory has gone through a lot of troubles over the years. From their long time guitarist leaving to the dissappointing results of Digimortal, they've gone through their share of problems. Which is why its such a relief to see Fear Factory back to their trademark sound. "Archetype" has everything that "Digimortal" didn't have and "Obsolete" almost had. Act of God and the title track songs have been some of the best Fear Factory songs ever put on cd. Im not going to go into full length about this record, because you know what kind of sound you expect from Fear Factory. It is a blistering and unrelenting release that is surely on the top of manys "Best of 2004" list.

Soundtrack To Your Escape
Soundtrack To Your Escape
Price: CDN$ 16.01
10 used & new from CDN$ 1.72

4.0 out of 5 stars Dark Side of the Clayman, April 6 2004
In Flames has become one of those bands that continually grow whether for the good or the bad. You can always expect something new out of this Swedish metal outfit. With their latest "Soundtrack to Your Escape", In Flames has managed to make a dark yet melodic album that has made quite the progression after Reroute to Remain.
Anders Fridén as of late had taken his vocals to a new level with melodic choruses with In Flames' last release and his side project Passenger. There appears to be more screaming involved than both of those releases. What this does is make the melodic vocals the climatic highlight in songs like "The Quiet Place", "My Sweet Shadow" and "Bottled". His screaming seems to be more reminiscent of the Colony release with emotional high pitched screams to dark growls. I truly believe this has been Anders' finest showing with an amazing all around effort.
Musically, I am constantly reminded that In Flames so perfectly incorporates melodic guitar hooks with heavy crunches. Even from the beginning stages of their masterpiece, The Jester Race, you could tell these guys took an idea Metallica spawned and truly perfected it. The opening chords to songs like "The Quiet Place" and "Dead Alone" are defining examples of just how creative one can be. Yet don't get into the idea that these guys have gone soft; my personal favorite instrumental wise is "In Search For I" in which it is a start stop onslaught that will have anyone banging their head in sweet bliss. Daniel Svensson, the drummer, I'd say is the only disappointment in this album. I am not discrediting his effort, but I am discrediting the sound of it. I have always thought Daniel has had the best drum sound any metal record could conjure up. His sound on this release is very comparable to Lars Ulrich's sound on St. Anger only mixed better.
If I had to base this on whether this was the next logical move in the right direction for this band, I'd say that this release might've been more suitable after Clayman instead of Reroute to Remain. Am I saying it is a bad album? Not by any means necessary but I'm merely stating this sound seems to be a very dark Clayman.

Crow Left of the Murder
Crow Left of the Murder
Price: CDN$ 25.69
17 used & new from CDN$ 0.39

3.0 out of 5 stars A Crow Off the Murder, Feb. 4 2004
This review is from: Crow Left of the Murder (Audio CD)
After Morning View, I knew that Incubus's creativity was going to head downhill. Yet while this is a pretty solid outing, it really lacks an identity through each song. It doesn't feature the imaginitive bliss of Morning View nor the hypnotic craziness of Make Yourself or S.C.I.E.N.C.E. There are a select few of songs that I will go onto mention later on but this outing really lacks an Incubus sound.
Brandon is at top notch as always but kind of faltered slightly lyrically. Vocally he does what he does best and does it very well, but it is the lyrics and no experimentation with his vocals. His lyrics don't paint the lyrical picture that Morning View paints or the blissfully irony of Make Yourself or Science. His vocals I think were proved best in Morning View and he really could've experimented and went above and beyond. Oh well, you can't be picky about every little thing.
The band as a whole goes everywhere looking for inspirations. My personal favorite and the album's true highlight "Sick, Sad Little World" dives into sounds of the old funk of Red Hot Chili Peppers to the trippy blues sound of Jimi Hendrix from the Axis of Blues album. If they took their time with this song as much as other songs this would've made for a very great album. The song is one of Incubus's best songs in any catalog. On "Priceless" the drum production was done very much in vein of Metallica's St Anger sound done by Lars Ulrich. Even the drum rhythem pattern is very reminiscent of St. Anger's patterns. "Southern Girl" by far the album's worst cut is a clone of Stone Temple Pilot's dreary "Sour Girl".
In the end, I believe Incubus did a credible job moving away from their sound that so many bands copied, but they moved away from their own sound so much that they lost identity. Was this the next logic sound for Incubus? Well, I can't really say but this album isn't as bad as others are saying.

Marvelous Things
Marvelous Things
Offered by thebookcommunity_ca
Price: CDN$ 59.62
7 used & new from CDN$ 3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Eisley's Kid A, Dec 15 2003
This review is from: Marvelous Things (Audio CD)
I've been reading some of the other reviews of this cd and it reminds me a lot of another band that got criticism for not being as catchy or pulling 180s in music. I personally found this record to be overall better than Laughing City.
The vocals are just as harmonious as Laughing City but from hearing the vocals it seems like the girls are lamenting. There are no happy friendly vocals of say Tree Tops. It really makes the effort a lot darker. The lyrics are very unique and really almost paint a picture in your head as your listening to the cd.
Musically, the first thing I noticed was the guitars. There aren't as many chunky or alternative parts to the effort. Clean guitars dominate mostly with even hints of acoustic now and then. The keyboards done by Stacy remind me of the darker sounds of Bjork or the parts done on the previously mentioned Kid A from genius rock band Radiohead.
Overall, this is a very solid outing in the right direction. It shows that for their major label debut could go either way in terms of being an underground fav or a band that you won't be able to stand because the radio will overplay them. If Laughing City was Eisley's O.K. Computer this without a doubt is their Kid A.

Take A Look In The Mirror
Take A Look In The Mirror
Price: CDN$ 5.00
24 used & new from CDN$ 1.35

5.0 out of 5 stars A collage of Korn material rolled into one, Nov. 21 2003
Despite what other people believe Korn over the years grew and matured with each album and having their own sound for each effort. Whether it was the teen angst of the self titled, the layed back approach of Life is Peach, the hip hop groove of Follow the Leader, the dark and experimental Issues, or the high production sound of Untouchables Korn decided on Take A Look in the Mirro to roll all those sounds into one complete package.
Jonathan Davis the spokesmen for anyone ever in need of some anger. On Untouchables, he showed pity and melody which left a lot of fans puzzled by the sound. On Take A Look..., all that pity is traded in for pure unadultered anger. Sure the melody is still there but done through with lyrics that could make just about anyone want to go rip someone apart. Personally, his screaming to me has never sounded better from the death metal style roars of "Break Some Off" or the classic Jonathan davis' style scream presented through majority of the tracks. The lyrics are a lot more simplistic than Untouchables or Issues so don't go in expecting any Shakespeare.
Musically the band goes everywhere and more. From the Metallica-esque "Break Some Off" to the carnival grooving "Deep Inside". Ever since his wrist injury during the Summer Sanitarium tour, David Silveria hasn't been the same. Which is why it was a very welcome surprise to see David back at pounding the living h*** out of the skins. Fieldy's signature heavy bass is back in full form and is a lot more distinctive this time around. I don't think Head and Munky will ever create such a unique sound on Issues. This album is kind of a mix between self titled's simplicity and Untouchables effects. As a whole, they explore through their previous sounds to make a very solid and variety filled album. From the self titled like "Right Now", "Alive", and "When Will This End" to the Issues like sounds of "Counting On Me" and "Everything I've Known". The band really stretches its creativity and puts forth a very great effort.
Production wise this album is everything Untouchables wasn't. I'm actually a big fan of this album, but fans and the band are right when they say it was a very polished outcome. However this time around the band themselves decided to produce, and my only complaint is the sound of David's snare drums. Yet i'm definetly not going to be picky.
Overall I'd say this is the release that Korn NEEDED to make. A very down to earth anger filled album that was done with simplicity and not 3 years. For anyone that likes certain previous efforts, this album is great for a fan of any album. I suggest you buy this because it is fully worth your time.

Offered by nagiry
Price: CDN$ 10.08
22 used & new from CDN$ 1.98

5.0 out of 5 stars Real hardcore, Oct. 2 2003
This review is from: Spirals (Audio CD)
2003 so far has been a very dissappointing year for hardcore or more specifically the so called labeled "emocore". Poison the Well failed again to produce another "Opposite of December", and From Autumn To Ashes got rid of everything heavy and great about them on "The Fiction We LIve". Well, Blood Has Been Shed does not dissappoint from start to end.
Some people were a little weary about Howard joining Killswitch Engage simply because everyone thought that he wouldn't perform quite as well for BHBS. Howard quickly and powerfully puts all doubts to shame. His vocals have more emotion, anger, and just amazing through and through. "She Speaks to Me" seems as Howard complete vocals from high pitched screams to low dark growls. To cap it off he finishes the song with a great sense of melody. His singing is nicely arranged so that the melodies don't get overused. On "Utah" melody is the key as Howard sings primarily the whole time.
Musically, the band got heavier, nastier, more complex, and much more techinical. A comparision a lot of people are seeming to link towards metalcore kings Meshuggah. There are a lot of polyrhythems and great breakdowns for those hardcore fans. The drummer Justin Foley's really showcases his psychotic talent on "She Speaks to Me" with a stop and go onslaught on the skins.
As Derek from Hitthepit said, "When a band can jump from tapping triangles and smacking bongo drums, to belting out death licks and roaring with anger, you know they have talent. Intelligent yet deadly! Furious yet controlled! Beautifully ugly! These are all description of "Spirals". Spin it and love it!" Simply put this so far is the best cd of the year by far and really sets the bar high for Howard's next release with Killswitch Engage.

Thirteenth Step
Thirteenth Step
Price: CDN$ 22.62
41 used & new from CDN$ 2.50

5.0 out of 5 stars Mer De huh?, Sept. 16 2003
This review is from: Thirteenth Step (Audio CD)
Thirteenth Step is not only a great follow up but it makes Mer De Noms look dismal. I was initially dissappointed by their lead single "Weak and Powerless" just because it didn't have that punch to it like "Judith" or "3 Libras". Yet when I had the honor of going to one of their shows and hearing "The Package", "The Outsider", and "Pet" I was blown away by first listen.
Vocally and lyrically, what hasn't Maynard James Keenan done? From high pitched screams of "Ticks and Leeches" to the soothing vocals of "Sleeping Beauty" he's done it all or at least I thought so. I think his main highlight on this album is on the song "The Nurse Who Loved Me". Maynard chooses a very unique soothing vocal for the track and it comes off just brillantly. And lyrically, he is nothing short of genius. He states, "Clever got me this far, tricky got me in" and to say it got him far is a huge understatement.
Musically this album is a much darker yet much more beautiful presence if theres such a thing. "The Package" is a very unique way to kick off the album with a 7 and 1/2 minute moody epic. "Pet" is very creeping song that matches Maynard nightmarish lyrics and they mesh it together so well. Twiggy (acquired from Marilyn Manson) shows his talent and really outstages Pat from Mer de Noms. Billy Howerdel and Josh Freese are both on the top of their games, and it shows through and through on the record.
With a slew of great rock records this year (Radiohead, The Mars Volta, Opeth's Damnation), so far I'd have to say that APC still pulls away with record of the year. As Maynard has said time and time again, this is not a side project and he proves through his effort and his band's that they are one of the best rock bands today.

Offered by goodemotions
Price: CDN$ 20.87
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5.0 out of 5 stars Appropriately titled, Aug. 12 2003
This review is from: Chaosphere (Audio CD)
This is truly the music your parents would not understand. Meshuggah unleashes the adrenaline-charged, deafening noise bomb "Chaosphere" (Nuclear Blast) on a load of unsuspecting listeners. If it's aggression you're looking for, with a beaker-full of psychosis tossed in for sonic measure, Meshuggah is where your search will end. And unless you want Mom and Dad to worry about you, you should probably hide this one under your pillow.
It took Jens Kidman (vocals), Marten Hagsterom and Frederik Thordendal (guitars), Gustaf Hielm (bass) and Tomas Haake (drums) three years to amass this mangled and gnarled assortment of mayhem. There is not an ounce of sanity to be found within the self-produced and aptly-titled "Chaosphere". One must wonder just what events took place to have inspired the writing of such a cataclysmic blend of sounds and lyrics. This release is the sixth in a series of relentless aural attacks by this Swedish-based band? and it doesn't let up for a minute.
In an era where most CDs include upwards of 12 songs, "Chaosphere" has included 8 powerhouse tracks that pack a huge and damaging punch to the eardriums. With titles like "New Millenium Cyanaide Christ", "The Mouth Licking What You've Bled" and "'The Exquisite Machinery of Torture" - no one will make the mistake of thinking this is going to be a fun-filled, joyride. It's more like this: if you don't want to end up being committed to an insane asylum for the musically misunderstood, wear headphones? AT ALL TIMES.

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