Josh’s Retrospective: October 2018
October is almost over, (or if you are ready this after October 2018, then it is over) so here I am, trying to be original. I’ve thought long and hard on how to do so. So I decided, whatever. I’ll just put together a roundup of some albums that came out this month.
Here are five albums that came out this month that I had been greatly anticipating. Whether or not they reached expectations that I had hoped for… I guess you’ll have to scroll down.
5) twenty one pilots – Trench, Fueled By Ramen
This was an album that I was rather interested in hearing. twenty one pilots previous album, ‘Blurryface’ (2015), was one that I quite enjoyed. Upbeat rhythms with some heavy lyrics held the album together, coupled with infectious beats and pop sensibilities. There is a reason why this album continues to chart, as well as being recognized as the first album to have every song certified gold. Suffice to say, this duo from Ohio had a lot to live up to with their follow up.
‘Trench’ is an interesting album. Instead of going for the straight pop sound that permeated their previous outing, they reach for broader sounds that were merely hinted upon in ‘Blurryface’. But their lyrical content? That is where I feel the album is at its strongest. The biggest standout of the album? The somber, self-reflective ‘Neon Gravestones.’ This track is a look at mental health, the way people glorify suicide, fame, and a message for fans of twenty one pilots’ fan base if vocalist Tyler were to succumb to his depression. The only real issue is that this album can be slightly difficult to listen through completely, as it does have some thematic moments that aren’t accessible for casual listening. A truly haunting album, and one worth a spin.
BEST 3: Levitate, Chlorine, Neon Gravestones
WORST 3: Smithereens, Bandito, Leave The City
SCORE: 4 Car Radios out of 5 Car Radios
4) Coheed and Cambria – Vaxis – Axis Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures, Roadrunner
When 2015’s ‘The Color Before the Sun’, was released, fans were disappointed over a more simplistic approach to their sound than before, and an album that doesn’t fall into their Armory Wars Saga, the main overarching theme that connected all of their seven previous records. While it was a great album, the fact that it does not relate to the band’s other releases means that it seems to be the black sheep of their catalog. Vaxis – Axis Act I: The Unheavenly Creatures is truly a return to their form, both in a good way and in a bad way.
The Good? Coheed and Cambria return in full force to their big, dramatic, luscious sound. Their time proven sound is back and you can feel it in every facet of their sound. This is Coheed and Cambria.
The Bad? I feel this album brings nothing really new to the table. This album feels too safe to me. Everything sounds like we’ve been here, and it really doesn’t feel like anything too new. Despite my gripe, this is still a very solid album.
BEST 3: The Dark Sentencer, Unheavenly Creatures, Black Sunday
WORST 3: Prologue, Toys, Love Protocol
SCORE 3: 3 Space Wars out of 5 Space Wars
3) Behemoth – I Loved You At Your Darkest, Metal Blade
Veteran Polish blackened death metal band Behemoth continues the trend that they started back in their 2014 effort, ‘The Satanist’, with a very polished sound. Their style of black metal that slowly is expanding towards other genres, crafting a rather versatile sound that appeals to both newcomers and returning fans.
My only issue with this album is that this could have been called The Satanist: Part Two, The Satanist Strikes Back, The Satanist 2: Electric Boogaloo. Basically, the album just really sounds like their previous outing, like these were simply left on the cutting room floor. This is by no means a slight, as it is still a great album, and one that is worth a spin.
BEST 3: Bartzabel, Ecclesia Diabolica Catholica, Havohej Pantocrator
WORST 3: Solve, God = Dog, Coagvia
SCORE: 4 Pentagrams out of 5 Pentagrams
2) Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Screams, Fearless Records
Metalcore is a very hit or miss genre for me. There are several bands that I enjoy and several bands that I do not. Ice Nine Kills, however, is not particularly one that I actively listen to. That said, when fellow DJ Samantha Carter (Host of the Daily Blend, every Monday from 4pm to 6pm) recommended me to play a song that was about the “Halloween” franchise, my interest was piqued.
An album based on famous horror films? Um, f**k yes!
Let me just say that I was blown away by some of these tracks. A lot of them are nice and heavy, just like I like my music. Despite there being a few duds in the album, in particular, the ballad that shows up, this is an overall fun listen.
BEST 3: American Nightmare, Stabbing in the Dark, Rocking The Boat
WORST 3: SAVAGES, Freak Flag, The World In My Hands
SCORE: 3.5 Bloody Butcher Knives out of 5 Butcher Knives
1) High On Fire – Electric Messiah, Entertainment One
Matt Pike has had quite the year, with a surprise release ‘The Sciences, from his stoner metal band Sleep earlier this year (on 4/20, no less). Quite the listen, the question would eventually become will Matt continue his trend with his other project, High On Fire?
Well, this album starts with ‘Spewn From the Earth’, grabbing you by your shoulders, then proceeds to shake you, throw you around, scream at you, for the next 56 minutes. This album is balls to the walls heavy. I’m talking just pure thrashy, heavy, sludgey goodness. And honestly? There really isn’t much more to say. From Matt Pike’s guttural vocals that conjure images of Lemmy Kilmister, of which the album was inspired from (and from a dream, no less), to just the barrage of double bass drums, to the fuzzy guitar and bass, this album takes you for a ride and does not stop until the last second.
BEST 3: Spewn From the Earth, Steps of the Ziggurat/House on Enlil, Electric Messiah
WORST 3: nah this sh*t rocks.
SCORE: 4.5 Shirtless Matt Pikes out of 5 Matt Pikes with Shirts
BONUS: Greta Van Fleet – Anthem Of The Peaceful Army, Republic Records
This album has pretty good production and alright musicianship going on. That’s pretty much it. People like to call them the next Led Zeppelin… Because they sound like Led Zeppelin. Like EXACTLY Led Zeppelin. Influence is fine, but this is just full on let’s be Led Zeppelin. GVF should hope to find their own sound because man this is dull, especially since people call them the next LZ. You’re telling me this stuff is supposed to be on par with Black Dog, Kashmir, Moby Dick, LITERALLY ANYTHING in LZ’s discography? Get outta here. I read a YouTube comment that says how I feel the best.
“Led Zeppelin covered their tracks. Greta Van Fleet failed to cover their tracks.”
SCORE: 1 out of 5
Josh is a DJ for UIC Radio. Tune in to his show “Josh’s Roadcrew” every Tuesday, 6pm to 8pm, for your weekly dosage of Rock, Punk, and Metal.
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