150 albums of 2011 – from 51 to 100

The Famine – The Architects Of Guilt (2011) “The Architects of Guilt” is the second full-length album by the death metal band The Famine released the February – months before I started this website and although I had write a review back then, it wasn’t translated for this and while I deleted my blog meantime, it’s actually lost. The album had a quite contorted story,vocalist Kris McCaddon left the band before the recordings and bassist Nick Nowell took over his duties. After the recordings, the band’s studio burned down in February 2010. They lost not only all of their equipment, but also the tracking for their album. So, their label, Solid State payed for a new recording session and the band re-recorded the material. Unfortunately, on April 12, 2011, Nick Nowell announced via a Facebook post that The Famine had disbanded and they performed their last concert on August 12, 2011 at Tomcats West in Fort Worth, Texas. Meanwhile “The Architects of Guilt” is available in stores and online now just $5.99, and it’s also available online at iTunes, and it’s definitively worth to buy it, this is hell of a brutal metal album, one of the best of its kind.
Faust – Something Dirty (2011) Formed in 1971 in Wümme, Germany, Faust (German: fist) are one of the most creative krautrock bands. Faust now exists in two completely different incarnations, both active and each reflecting different aspects of the original group. In 2010, Faust with members Jochen Irmler, Lars Paukstat, Steven W. Lobdell, Michael Stoll and Jan Fride released “Faust Is Last” and it was one of my favorite albums of 2010. In 2011, Faust with founding members Jean-Hervé Péron and Zappi W. Diermaier and the British artists Geraldine Swayne and James Johnston recorded “Something Dirty” and it’s definitively one of the most exciting releases of 2011.
The Felice Brothers – Celebration, Florida (2011) This is the American dream, or the sparking of it, what’s left from it. Ian,James and Simone Felice, sons of a carpenter, used to play on Sundays at their father’s afternoon barbecues. They stayed in a little apartment in Brooklyn and The Felice Brothers started as a band playing in the New York City subway stations at 42nd Street and Union Square and in Greenwich Village. Well, they reminds me of Bob Dylan, what Dylan used to be, I think The Felice Brothers have the feeling which is lacking from 99.9 of the bands now days, I rather listening them than any of the so-called Indie and Alternative shits the record companies trying hard to tamp down on our throat. And “Celebration, Florida” is a bright collection of 11 soulful songs. “Container Ship”, “Ponzi”, “Back in the Dancehalls”, “ Cus’s Catskill Gym” and any song I can name it are charming, glowing, exciting examples of kind of simple, straight honesty. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Fire! – Unreleased? (2011) Pour les connaisseurs! Fire! are the trio compound of Mats Gustafsson (The Thing), Johan Berthling (Tape) and Andreas Werliin (Wildbirds & Peacedrums) and “Unreleased?” is their second full length album, but this time they bring into the supergroup one more individual: Jim O’Rourke. Mats Gustafsson made it to this 150 list with two albums this year, and well, I guess creativity worth to be rewarded. “Unreleased?” – in my opinion – it’s about let yourself go, free, released. We’ve got four tracks, “Are You Both Still Unreleased?” (11.39), “…Please, I Am Released” (9.05), “By Whom And Why Am I Previously Unreleased?” (3.12) and “Happy Ending Borrowing Yours” (17.28), obviously all of them exploring the free, improvised area of experimental music where jazz and rock collide explosively. This is quite intense, but fresh, alive, breathing, quite crazy, but exciting. Fans of O’Rourke and Gustafsson/The Thing knows exactly what to aspect, others might be surprised or frightened. 😀 READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Gang Of Four – Content (2011) Gang of Four are an English post-punk group from Leeds, UK, active from 1977 to 1984, and then re-formed in the 1990s. “Content” is the band’s seventh full-length studio album released on January 24, 2011 on Grönland Records in Europe and the following day on Yep Roc Records in the US. R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe cites Gang of Four as one of his band’s chief influences. Also Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers has stated that Gang of Four were the single most important influence on his band’s early music, while Kurt Cobain stated that Nirvana started as “a Gang of Four and Scratch Acid ripoff”. “Content” was considered by some critics as “their best record since the Seventies” and their powerful (post) punk is still extremely intense and full of vitality, definitively worth to listen it and get a taste of what punk actually mean.
Garage A Trois – Always Be Happy, But Stay Evil (2011) Garage A Trois was originally a trio founded in 1998 during the recording of Stanton Moore’s debut album “All Kooked Out!” by Moore, eight-string guitarist Charlie Hunter, and Skerik. The project grown to a quartet, the actual line-up including Stanton Moore (drums), Skerik (saxophone), Mike Dillon (vibraphone and percussionist) and keyboardist Marco Benevento. They play a variety of music including rock, funk and jazz. I stumble into this band a few years ago searching on YouTube for versions of the song by Hendrix “If 6 was 9”. Charlie Hunter it’s a killer guitar player and Moore is a color and powerful drummer, Skerik knows to blow his saxophone, so, Garage A Trois was an exciting discovery. I’m kind of missing the presence of Charlie Hunter and his guitar, who this time did not get involved in the project, but still, Garage A Trois remains a powerful band and actually this is the second recording without Hunter. We’ve got 12 brand new songs, the quartet exploring the same wide range of music from rock to jazz and back through funk and lot of improvisations. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Gary Numan – Dead Son Rising (2011) The wizard is back and only after a few moments of listening to “Dead Son Rising” it was pretty obvious this will be one of the finest albums of the year and definitively one favorite. Surprisingly – or not quite – Numan sounds a little bit “Reznorish”, the blueprint of Nine Inch Nails are present all over the album and the (good) student have now some influence on his master, but all those elements are melt into the typical Numan’s constructions and sounds. This time Numan and Fenton find a fine balance between intensity and gloomy experimental sounds and passages, between cinematic and anthematic moments and themes. In spirit, “Dead Son Rising” might be related to Nine Inch Nails “Fragile”. I love Numan and he never ever delivered something only to be present, but always works of art. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Gay For Johnny Depp – What Doesn’t Kill You, Eventually Kills You (2011) It’s the perfect balance between not taking themselves very seriously and taking the music absolutely seriously. And they know how to write extremely catchy hardcore songs, while the lyrics might bring a smile upon your face, the riffs will blow your head off definitively. Just as they sing it: “We Are The World? Burn It Down!” That’s what it’s all about: humor and hardcore. Kind of… Nine Inch Males… or something. 😀 “What Doesn’t Kill You, Eventually Kills You” is the band’s second full-length album and the funny lyrics and song titles are served with high energy, pumping, sometimes quite chaotic (“Pink Flag”) hardcore. Let’s just say: Cum On Feel The Noize! READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Given The Day – In Search Of Eden (2011) Powerful, cutting, groovy – Pantera-like – riffs, grinding tempos and exciting breaks, melodious passages are merged together in the work of these two guys from San Diego, California, and currently they are looking for new band mates playing drums, guitar, bass and keyboards. Garett Chambers – vocals and Mike Burrows comes in the footsteps of bands such as We Came As Romans, Sleeping With Sirens, Emarosa, Attack Attack! All That Remains, August Burns Red, Of Machines, Saosin, Lower Definition, etc and “In Search Of Eden” is a colorful, flowing metalcore album up to date, Garett brings raw vocals, but shift to clean singing while Mike delivering very good riffs and some nice guitar solos. These 11 songs are absolutely ok and promising, my only problem with this “genre” is that everything is quite predictable, too many bands/artist are playing the same kind of patterns, it might be trendy, but it’s full of cliches. Still, I think Given The Day have a good start, I really enjoyed Mike’s riffing and generally his guitar work, Garett have a strong, powerful voice and if they will manage to find their own path, detach them self from the trends. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
GWEX – Debaucherous Adventure (2011) Reminds me of Frank Zappa and Mr. Bungle, but also of Green Jelly and eatmewhileimhot!, The Global Warming Extravaganza comes between parody and insanity, chaos and music, and as always, it’s quite impossible to draw the line between genius and madness. Mark A. Shredmurder and Christopher T. (“The T is for Teriffic”) Bottomsworth supposed to form a band back in 2007, but the other guys didn’t showed up, so… they had to struggle through all the Budweiser and Jack Daniels bought for the party and the result is this monster-brain-child abbreviated GWEX. And as any good thing in life, “Debaucherous Adventure” can be downloaded for free (“name your price” = donate much as you want/can) from their Bandcamp page. Be prepared for anything – good and bad – you can think on/of because there will be more. Welcome to the “mEatrix”. This is fuckin’ unbelievable. But brilliant. 😀 READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Harm’s Way – Isolation (2011) from Chicago, IL, Harm’s Way delivered “Isolation”, one strong, exploding, strip down to core… hardcore album. Chris Mills, Bo Lueders, Justin Mulry, Hammers, and Saba bring to the surface 8 powerful tracks on this second LP. Hard not to love this kind of brutal, grinding and pounding hardcore merged with crushing, powerful (groove) metal. Pantera fans definitively will love this band and “Isolation” is an excellent support for wreck your neck and smash your air guitar till you drop! I believe this band live is quite murderous!
The Haunted – Unseen (2011) This guys from Gothenburg, Sweden managed to came out with the perfect blend of the traditional Melodic Death/Thrash with the modern, straight approach and sound of the later trends. And I’m gonna tell you right from the beginning: “Unseen” it’s another outstanding collection of heavy, consistent songs, all the 12 new tracks are killer ones, crushing constructions of modern metal, the three years passed from their previous material, “Versus”, worth the extended waiting. Dolving has described the album being “Epic. Danceable. Groovy. And very very arty farty metal. With this next record we are going to be taking a piss in the general direction of all the crappy 99.9 percent of generic contemporary Mr. Goatse jerks out there”. I think The Haunted is – at least one of – the best answer against all this so-called Alt Metal wave and trend, actually full of fakes and craps, and hell yeah, they took a piss on with this “Unseen”. “No Ghost” will stuck in your head at first listening, just like “All Ends Well” and most of their new songs. I will keep this one for a while in my player and play it fucking loud! READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Henceforth – The Gray Album (2011) “The Gray Album” consist of 11 round and nicely balanced songs in the neo-progressive, post-metal area of music with interesting colors of post-rock and post-grunge echoes. Listening their songs I had the impression of listening to a nice jam between (the new) Marillion and Tool. It may sounds unlikely, but Henceforth managed to blend classic and modern trends, rock, indie and jazzy sounds into a fluid, flowing music, calm and soft moments are twisted into intense guitar riffings and heavy rock constructions with perfect good taste and inspiration. An excellent and beautiful album, a must to listen! This is one fine, Brazilian band, check them out! READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Hidden Number – Human_Error (2011) Dean Swanson and his Hidden Number is a good opportunity to break the chain and listening something else which will do not fit in the boxes, you can stick labels to it. Well, only if there’s something human still left in you and you didn’t become completely a Pavlov’s dog… After their debut release, the ten songs of “Burn Alive”, “Human_Error” released on May 5, 2011 consist of five tracks which will take you on a hell of a ride from the dark and subtle themes with roots back to Southern rock to painful explosions of the angriest hardcore riffings and on our way we will cross through psychedelic moments, space rock explorations and convulsive constructions of shady sounds or some exciting jazzy moments. This is something just nothing like. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
iwrestledabearonce – Ruining It For Everybody (2011) Merging colourful, different approaches and genres, iwrestledabearonce managed to create their own unique style metal. Between death metal and metalcore, heavy metal and avant-garde with neo-progressive infusions, iwrestledabearonce seems to delivered an unstoppable album. Their musical style is considered avant-garde metal due to their use of frequent genre changes within songs, including jazz, swing, neo-progressive, grindcore and electronica/disco, on a solid ground of metalcore. Influences for their musical style have come from a wide variety of bands including The Dillinger Escape Plan, Between the Buried And Me, Radiohead and Bjork. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Jello Biafra and tGSoM – Enhanced Methods Of Questioning (2011) At the age of 52, Mr. Biafra is still fresh and biting while a bunch of kids calling them self “punks” still can’t have a hard-on. Inspired by Iggy Pop’s 60th birthday gig at the Warfield in San Francisco, Biafra laid plans for his own 50th birthday party and finally decided it was time to start a band of his own. The result, “The Audacity Of Hype” was a perfect and striking bending of the Dead Kennedys hardcore-punk adding a healthy dose of Detroit style proto-punk and mixed with layers of sonic guitar noise, and Weiss’ industrial excursions into metal percussion. The follow-up EP, “Enhanced Methods of Questioning”, was released on May 31, 2011 and the 6 tracks have the same pumping energy and roots-back both to Dead Kennedys and the nerve and sound of the now days post-hardcore. Learn from the best! READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Joe Lally – Why Should I Get Used To It (2011) If his name doesn’t ring the bell, I’m gonna whisper it to you: Joe Lally formed Fugazi – the brilliant post-hardcore band – with Ian MacKaye in 1987 and remained the group’s bassist until their “indefinite hiatus” in 2003. Recorded in January 2010 at Mhouse in Rome, Joe Lally – vocals, bass, guitar, organ, fake strings; Elisa Abela – guitar, flute; Emanuele Tomasi – drums and percussion and Christine Mairer – cello, delivered a charming collection of modern rock songs with charming indie after-taste, spacy and straight compositions with refreshing flute and cello spices and the pumping, driving and drifting bass of Joe. Joe’s voice is warm, guiding and friendly. Absolutely charming and refreshing while most of the so-called indie products lost their sense. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
John Waite – Rough And Tumble (2011) Listen and wrote about this before I launched this site, that review is lost now, but it’s not that hard to remember, Mr. Waite delivered probably the best Hard Rock album of 2011. Classic, but extremely alive and breathing, John Waite (age 59) feels and sound strong and fresh. Waite was lead vocalist for the bands The Babys and Bad English. As a solo artist, he scored several international hits, best known probably for his 1984’s “Missing You”, a top ten hit on the US Billboard Hot 100 and the UK Singles Chart, reaching #1 in the US. The title track from his tenth solo album ” Rough and Tumble ” went number one on Classic Rock radio, but this music is actually not about charting singles, but feel good.
John Zorn – At The Gates of Paradise (2011) When you listen a new Zorn album, you don’t even know what to expect of. And ladies and gentleman, that’s why I love Zorn and I believe he worth all our attention. “At The Gates of Paradise” takes on a mystical journey upon William Blake’s visionary poetry and Zorn delivered this delightful and hypnotic suite performed by John Medeski on piano and organ, Kenny Wollesen on vibes, Trevor Dunn on bass and Joey Baron on drums. Delicate pianos, smooth and delicious vibes with subtle shadows and peaceful lights gathering together on the gentle sky made up of mystical thoughts and intelligent sounds. Improvising, but conscious, settled, but creative, Zorn is always the same: different and diverse. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
John Zorn – Nova Express (2011) Zorn made it with two albums into this list of mine of exciting releases of 2011. And once again, Zorn gathered together a brilliant line-up of musicians with Trevor Dunn on bass, John Medeski on piano, Joey Baron on drums and Kenny Wollesen on vibes. Dense and beautiful performance, Zorn is a wizard. This is another piece of the puzzle from his colorful, restless, dynamic and sometimes moody musical world. “Nova Express” is a very intense work where most of Zorn’s previous explorations comes to unite. It contains the depths of the Interzone conspiracy, the lyricism of Zorn’s classical works, the clear-obscure notes of Naked City and the virtuosity showed on the Masada songbooks. It’s an avant-garde journey where jazz and contemporary music collide in the most intense and vibrating way its possible. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Kaizers Orchestra – Violeta Violeta, Vol. I and II (2011) Kaizers Orchestra are notable for being among the first non-black metal Norwegian bands or artists singing in their native language to become popular beyond Scandinavia. The band is instantly recognizable because of their unique, unpredictable and colorful style. Somewhere on the edge of Alternative/Post Rock, but mixing it with Folk and traditional music, Kaizers Orchestra is definitively one of the freshest Rock bands. “Violeta Violeta” is a series of studio albums comprising their sixth, seventh, and eighth studio albums by the band. Vol. I was released on January 31, 2011, and its going straight to #1 in VG-lista, the official Norwegian Albums Chart in its first week of release. Vol. II was released November 11, 2011, while Vol. III is expected November 2012. Have a special kind of positive vibe, this is definitively something worth to listen.
The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble – From The Stairwell (2011) I discovered them back in 2009 through the “Mutations” EP which promised to be the preamble for the new album. It’s been over a year and finally we’ve got “From the Stairwell” and eight fresh tracks. This is a Jazz experiment with gloomy electronic textures and atmospheric noise spices, it has a deep Miles Davis after-taste and abstract post-industrial flow, well, this is avant-garde in it’s deepest meaning. TKDE started in 2000 as a project to compose new music for existing silent movies. Jason Kohnen (better known as Bong-Ra) – double bass and fretless, respectively Gideon Kiers – beats and effects, both graduates of the Utrecht School of Arts, combined their audio and visual skills to reinterpret classic movies by F.W. Murnau (Nosferatu) and F. Langs (Metropolis). While Bong-Ra is quite known having several releases through labels such as Planet Mu, Cock Rock Disco and Sublight, Gideon Kiers worked with Jochem Paap (Speedy J), on the development of the 5.1 surround sound ‘Umfeld’ project. Runs the bi-annual Sonic Acts Festival in Paradiso Amsterdam. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
The King Blues – Punk and Poetry (2011) Or dub and hardcore. Whatever. But it’s “nice”, even if the world it’s not quite appropriate. Raggae, punk, dub, rock and hardcore are melting into one and The King Blues delivering another album with good pulse and groove, pumping rhythms, punk flashbacks and ska/dub mixture with hardcore attitude. The King Blues started off in 2004, in London as a two man ska outfit, consisting of Jonny ‘Itch’ Fox playing ukulele and vocals and Jamie Jazz playing acoustic guitar and contributing vocals, fusing ska and folk together with influences from punk rock and hardcore punk. Influences include Public Enemy, The Clash, The Specials, Black Flag and Minor Threat. Full of energy, but not aggressive, more fun and refreshing. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Kodjabashia And Foltin – Penelope X (2011) Nikola Kodjabashia is a London based Macedonian composer, audio artist, producer, electronic wizard, conductor, pianist and virtual instrumentalist. “Penelope X” has a charming mystic air, a fascinating groove, jazz and trip hop themes shifting in a movie like soundscape and nice sonic textures with folkloric roots are crossed over by discrete electronic floats. An excellent album with an absolute beautiful musical structure and eight perfect songs. There is a motto which says “that if you don’t know to which port you are sailing then no wind will be favorable”. Well, Branko Nikolov proof himself to be a master captain and he knows not only the port, but he know everything also about the wind. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Kourgane – Corps De Chasse (2011) Can’t dig and figure out too much about Kourgane, but I know for sure, they delivering a sick, twisted mixture of contemporary music including explosive spices of noise-rock, post-hardcore, jazz and experimental avant-garde elements. This is future-hardcore. Gloomy, heavy, contorted and restless. This universe was revealed for us by Tool at the beginning of the 90s when almost out of the blue the EP “Opiate” (1992) and their debut album “Undertow” (1993) opened a new doorway to an unexplored path of music expression of anger and twisted thoughts. “Corps De Chasse” is heavy and contorted, unfriendly, dark and cutting. Full of tension and energy, Kourgane merging and overlapping passages of calm, but gloomy textures with erupting moments of anger and rage. This is dark, heavy and beautiful, apparently unfriendly, maybe quite hard to swallow at first bite, but charming and hypnotizing material. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Krakatau – Krakatau (2011) If you’re familiar – and in love – with tumultuous, turbulent musical project such as Fantômas, Tomahawk, Moonchild Trio and Mr. Bungle, generally speaking, if you like the mainly twisted and contorted avant-garde experiments of Mr. Mike Patton, Krakatau might just fit your taste and extremely important: this self-titled full-length debut album is available for FREE DOWNLOAD at the band’s official web site. This is metal only if you’re not committed to Iron Maiden or Metallica, don’t think that “progressive metal” means exclusively Dream Theater. Say (vocals/guitar), Muz! (bass/vocals), Max (lead guitar) and Mark (drums) expands the horizons and sometimes construct music by demolition. Sometimes hypnotic, other times quite schizophrenic, Krakatau is actually an explosive music volcano, this might not be a safe trip, but eventually an exciting one. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Kreidler – Tank (2011) While the British scene still suffers the trauma of The Beatles or even worst, uninspired kids are sweating reproducing the riffs of Iron Maiden from the 80s, the originally humorous term of “Krautrock” still bring to the surface interesting products. Bands like the two fraction of Faust released very intense materials lately and all over the world different bands came to the surface delivering exciting and innovating Krautrock materials. Kreidler was founded in 1994 in Dusseldorf and they combines electronic and analog instruments to create a blend of Post Rock with Electronic Music. Maybe their not at the same level of creativity as Tangerine Dream, Faust, Can, Amon Düül II or Ash Ra Tempel, but still, their tenth album is a nice intercourse in the good old Krautrock traditions and holds some interesting moments for the listeners. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Kultur Shock – Ministry Kultur (2011) This is a Seattle-based band, but its members hail from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Japan, and the United States and they delivering a murderous cocktail of Punk, Balkan’s ethno music, gypsy folk and Rock’N’Roll. “Ministry of Kultur” is the seventh album by the band and blow your loudspeakers with another killer collection of “revolutionary songs”. More closer to Metal and Hardcore sounds then Gogol Bordello, Kultur Shock knows to operate cutting edge riffs, incorporates also Metal and Hardcore grooves and elements in their music and the result is definitively mind-blowing.
KYNAN – High Heals (2011) When I saw the cover and read that is an “experimental” labeled product, I admit, I was pretty scared that I stumbled into another dark and twisted noisy “sick something”, connected to S & M, bondage and god knows what else. Don’t judge a book by its cover and this time I was absolutely misleaded, this is quite a nice, pulsing, even sunny trip into the pop flavored, electro-dance-funk area with charming trance filtered moments, groovy pop punk like turns and tempos, catchy themes and “feel good” spices. KYNAN is a young musician from San Diego, CA, and “High Heals” was digitally release on 31 March 2011 via the Absent Fever label on their Bandcamp page from where you can downloaded for the symbolic price of $1. 10 tracks, extremely pleasant listening, a nice mixture of indie pop and electro-acid, chill moments and quite danceable explosions in a fluid flow of sparking sounds. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Lake Of Tears – Illwill (2011) Four years after their 2007 effort “Moons and Mushrooms”, Lake Of Tears will release on April 29 their eight studio album. “Illwill” it’s dark, it’s heavy, it’s beautiful, it’s always recognizably Lake Of Tears, but they always evolved, searched, experimented and vary their sound and this ongoing development has continued through to this new album as well. There’s still gloomy reminiscences of Doom Metal, persist some polished Gothic shines, but Lake Of Tears have a strong and simple line of pure Rock groove in their vein and what make them different from most of the now days bands it’s their determination and focus to quality and music without fitting into some strictly delimited genre. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Lamb – 5 (2011) Lou Rhodes and Andy Barlow parted their ways in 2004 to go on divergent solo projects after four beautiful electronic albums. Six years later, talking on the phone and catching up, their considered the time it’s right to make another Lamb album. And this is it. “5” will be released on May 5 and the pre-ordered special limited-edition version consist in 15 tracks. The flawless blend of baffled beats, intriguing textured ambience and lush, the soulful melodies and color of exciting noises are merged into this highly pulsing new material, Lamb sounds fresh, distinguished, alive and kicking, the best possible mixture of experimental trip hop and pumping drum and bass. Aside from trip hop and drum and bass, their musical style is included a mixture of jazz and dub. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Last Chance To Reason – Level 2 (2011) If you like bands as The Dillinger Escape Plan and Between the Buried and Me, it worth to give a try also to this Last Chance To Reason, you will have a very nice surprise. They are from Augusta, Maine, and their debut album, “Level 1″, was released through Tribunal Records in 2007. Their debut album heavily references video games, especially to “Super Metroid” and in the title of their album ‘Lvl. 1′, and song titles such as ‘Escape From Brinstar’, ‘Kraid Ain’t Got Shit On Me’ and ‘Destroy Mother Brain’ they refer to the game. “Level 2″ is a new take on both the concept album and the video game. The current line-up consist of Michael Lessard – vocals, A J Harvey – guitar, vocals, Thomas Waterhouse – guitar, Chris Corey – bass, vocals, Brian Palmer – keyboards , synth and drummer Evan Sammons. This is a heavy and intense blending of technical but creative death metal and classic progressive rock with some industrial and jazz infusions added as flavor. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Leszek Mozdzer – Komeda (2011) Leszek Mozdzer is a classically-trained pianist, born in Gdansk, Poland, who discovered jazz as a teenager and now moves comfortably between the classical concert stage and jazz performance, garnering numerous awards along the way. He’s played with Stańko and has recorded with bassist Lars Danielsson, also he has worked with such artists and groups as Zbigniew Namysłowski, Tomasz Stańko, Jan A. P. Kaczmarek, Zbigniew Preisner, Anna Maria Jopek, Kazik Staszewski, Marcus Miller, John Scofield, Pat Metheny, David Gilmour, Behemoth and Lester Bowie. He is famous for his “Impressions,” subtle new interpretations of Chopin’s compositions. His recordings are the most popular jazz albums in his homeland. His classical background strongly influences the sound of Komeda. Krzysztof Komeda, the Polish musician and composer who died suddenly and in a mysterious way at age 38, in 1969, was a key figure in the emergence of European jazz, and remains a major source of inspiration for musicians across the continent. On Komeda, his ACT solo album debut, pianist Leszek Mozdzer pays his own beautifully crafted tribute to his fellow countryman. Fans of Keith Jarrett will be absolutely delighted. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Letlive – Fake History (2011) A classy, good-old fashioned hardcore record from L.A.’s Letlive. And still, Letlive looking forward, they blending perfectly the traditional hardcore approach with modern sounds and solutions. “Fake History” came out originally on Tragic Hero Records in 2010, but it is set to be re-released by Epitaph Records on April 12. We’ve got 14 (on the original release 11) very intense, high energy kicking tracks. It’s a very striking mixture of dark tone riffs, dizzy rhythms and tasty melodies. Jason Aalon Butler – vocals, Jeff Sahyoun and Nascimento – guitars Jean, Ryan Jay Johnson- bass and Anthony Rivera – drums find a path to bring together the frantic intensity of The Blood Brothers, the sonic complexity of At the Drive In, the unrestrained emotion of Glassjaw and industrial strength hardcore of Refused and the result is 100% Letlive. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Limp Bizkit – Gold Cobra (2011) Limp Bizkit finally made their way back. All along 2010 their official web site announced that it is “the year of the Cobra” and adding the fact it’s been six years since their last release, “The Unquestionable Truth (Part 1)”, the expectations were escalate pretty high. The downside of the delayed release might be that we set our expectations too high or some might lost their interest along the way. “Shutgun”, the first single was pretty convincing. I really can figure out what the fans actually expect while I’m not so sure what I did expected. While many people hate Fred “just because”, I like this guy and I think he’s intelligent, he wrote fucking great lyrics and he’s voice and singing/rapping style is quite particular. The album was produced by Fred Durst and Wes Borland, mixed by Dave Schiffman and mastered by Howie Weinberg, it sounds good, maybe not that killer striking as “Chocolate Starfish…”, a few times the riffs of Borland – for my taste – are a little bit too hidden behind the drums, but generally, “Gold Cobra” sounds – once again – powerful and groovy. Still, this is nothing, but a kind of best of Limp Bizkit with brand new songs and unfortunately nothing outstanding or innovating came along. Love Limp Bizkit, but this was under my expectations… READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Lisabi – Au Diable Les Bananes (2011) “Au Diable Les Bananes” migh be downloaded for free from HERE and Lisabi delivering a nice mixture of ska, jazz, punk and indie rock with exotic flavors and perfumes. Mateo Piracas on guitar and vocals, Sebastian Piraces on drums, Gabriel Slenes on trumpet and vocals, Andra Cardoso on bass and vocals, Matheus Fattori on guitars and vocals, and Anderson Kaltner on trombone and percussion delivered a vibrating, pulsing, colorful material. Full of energy, excellent grooves, nice breaks and turns, horny horns, pumping drums, colorful vocals and good riffs, Lisabi will pull you out of any lethargy, it will make you jump, dance and scream, they blending perfectly all he shames which makes ska, jazz, punk and indie rock exciting, so, don’t hesitate, go and grab it! READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
The Locomotive Sound Corporation – Self Titled (2011) How many times in the last few decades it was declared: “rock is dead!” and get buried? I think indie is dead. Or at least I thought so. Then out of blue appeared Jack and Meg White and at the break of the century they had their own little revolution and gave new sense for something which faded out of sense. Since, we’ve got The White Stripes, The Dead Weather, The Raconteurs, The Black Keys and a few other exciting acts. Now we’ve got to add another name to this list: The Locomotive Sound Corporation.
Instead Alison Mosshart we’ve got more like a raging PJ Harvey from ’93 (“Rid of Me”) and raw, garage rock with roots back to Sonic Youth. And the Parisian band got a fan-friendly attitude: this self titled, five track debut EP scheduled to be released on July 11, 2011 can be listen and downloaded from their Bandcamp page for $1 (“or more”). READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Lord Of The Lost – Antagony (2011) From Hamburg, Germany, Chris “The Lord” Harms bring to the surface another collection of gloomy, melancholic, but heavy songs in which dark textures, edgy guitar riffs, gothic roots, glam rock echoes and industrial approaches are build into a powerful construction. Influences comes from Type O Negative to Marilyn Manson with strong accent on the gothic roots, and between these two references, Lord of The Lost create a vibrating and intense blending. “Antagony” is heavy and beautiful, it has a dense and catchy atmosphere, any Type O Negative or H.I.M. fan will be delighted and completely satisfied. “We Are The Lost” have the goth-metal nerve of Marilyn Manson, “Fragmenting Facade” could find his place on any Type O Negative album, “Love Is Not Enough” is better than any H.I.M. song written lately. After their debut album entitled “Fear” and released last year in February, this second album proof that Lord Of The Lost find their path and they have lot to offer to the gothic/metal fans. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Lost Sphere Project – Third Level to Internal Failure (2011) Brutal, grinding and merciless, Geneva’s Lost Sphere Project are back after their first full length album, “Verse XXIV” released in 2009. Make no mistake, they gonna rip off your head and eat your heart. “Third Level to Internal Failure” is an excellent mixture of grindcore terrorism and brutal, technical death metal, the result is a fast, violent, extremely complex, uncompromising grind metal album with many cutting riffs, tempo and theme shifting, raw vocals and beneath all the butchery, Lost Sphere Project actually are quite musical, managed to write songs beyond madness, chaos and noise. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Magazine – No Thyself (2011) Listening “No Thyself” it’s like a time capsule, a trip back to the late 70s, early 80s. And surprisingly, Magazine sounds fresh, this post-punk mixture with psychedelia still sounds authentically, have the right vibe and that particular glowing, deep groove. Once again, when everybody sweat to be more futuristic, more avant-garde and post-everything and post-whatever, the returning pioneers proves that some good ideas are more meaningful that the sophisticated sound, all the digital shit and eventually some fancy producer. I’m some freak nostalgic? Maybe, but I don’t really think so. I’m just sick of everybody sounds just the same. Sick of all those post, alternative and so-called core – actually fake plastics the industry lately delivered. Magazine are kind of dinosaur? Possibly, but while it seems we lost the direction, we might need them now more than ever. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Malakwa – Street Preacher (2011) As a new member of the Alfa-Matrix family, Malakwa strikes with their angry, psychotic EBM/industrial, cyber punk from Marseille, South of France. Powerful, dirty and energetic, Malakwa set the dancefloor on fire. With over 150 live shows experiences behind, getting to all corners of the world, not only France but also several times to China, Germany, Switzerland, Roumania, Slovenia, etc and the positive feedback of their debut album, “Feed The Machine”, the second installment of Malakwa is the perfect mixture of traditional industrial (Ministry) and EBM (Leaether Strip) filtered through the high end of Marilyn Manson, it’s edgy, cutting, powerful and noisy, but full of burning grooves and exploding themes, striking and memorable melodies. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Marcus Miller – Tutu Revisited (2011) Released in December 1986, 25 years ago, “Tutu” divided the world of jazz: some loving it, others labeled as “not jazz” and quite hating it. As Marcus Miller said in a recent interview: “I bought a Downbeat magazine when I was 15 years old and they were arguing about that. The last time I looked at Downbeat, they were still arguing the same stuff.” This two-CD (plus DVD) release given a second life to “Tutu”. The band made of Marcus Miller on bass and bass clarinet, Christian Scott on trumpet, Alex Han on saxophone, Louis Cato on drums and Frederico Pena on keyboards, bring back the magic of Davis mid-80s powerful vibe and reveals another dimension of these songs. Marcus said “that one of the problems with making contemporary music is that you never know how it will be judged in the future”. Well, I think we judging things by labels and not by our own soul. “Tutu” is still fresh and new even after 25 years. I’m still listening Davis – not only “Tutu”, obviously – and musicians as Marcus Miller still have resources to bring to the surface brand new aspects of the music even when their play “the same old songs”. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Matthew Shipp – Art of the Improviser (2011) Free improvisation, as a style of music, developed in the U.S. and Europe in the mid and late 1960s, largely as an outgrowth of free jazz and modern classical musics. Pioneers including saxophonists Evan Parker, Anthony Braxton and Peter Bratzmann, guitarist Derek Bailey, and the improvising group AMM. Free jazz is most strongly associated with the 1950s innovations of Ornette Coleman and Cecil Taylor and the later works of saxophonist John Coltrane. Other important pioneers included Charles Mingus, Eric Dolphy, Albert Ayler, Archie Shepp, Joe Maneri and Sun Ra. Although today “free jazz” is the generally-used term, many other terms were used to describe the loosely-defined movement, including “avant-garde”, “energy music” and “The New Thing”. With the release of “The Art Of The Improviser”, he has essentially summed up his first fifty years on two CDs. Shipp presents a solo recording of original compositions and one standard (“Fly Me To The Moon”), but this time adds a second disc with his new trio (since 2009), featuring bassist Michael Bisio and drummer Whit Dickey. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
MindFlow – With Bare Hands (2011) The voice of Danilo Herbert reminds me somehow of John Bush (ex-Armored Saint, ex-Anthrax). It’s powerful and classy. MindFlow was founded in 2003 in Brazil and they play a color and powerful kind of modern, progressive metal. Quality stuff, a rare feature now days. You can attach to them a few labels, mostly using the fancy “post” attribute, but actually you can not put them in a specific box and – I believe – it’s another absolutely positive characteristic. In one moment they sound like Anthrax, next minute they sound like Tool or some post-grunge band and they shifting from one thing to another very naturally, it’s enough to listen the title track of this new album and you will understand exactly what I’m talking about. “With Bare Hands” it’s their forth album and consist of 14 strong, consistent, perfectly shaped songs. The Anthrax parallel remains through the whole album, but it’s actually not that obvious and MindFlow always switch and surprise, they manage to done things differently. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Mindless Self Indulgence – Tighter (2011) This band from NY it’s around since 1997 and “Tighter” actually it’s the re-issued version of their debut and out of print album “Tight” released 12 years ago. It’s a crazy shit, but well, my kind of shit. Love at first listening. Because till this morning I never heard of them. MSI gave us a noisy mixture of Punk and Electronic music, whatever Electronic music may means from Synth Pop to Industrial, in and out and from Marilyn Manson to Jaguar Love. The 26 tracks of “Tighter” it’s kind of trip to Hell and back – all fucking inclusive. A good one. And funny one. To Hell or wherever else you want or imagine to go. It may be a sunny island, a cellar, the (pink) side of the Moon or… a bordello in Amsterdam. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Mindset – Midnight Sky (2011) It’s at least extremely uninspired to chose for name of your band something common and without make at least a search on Google if the particular name by any chance is still available. Mindset is one of the very bad choices possible. I found 4 bands with the same name… BUT “Midnight Sky” is quite a nice piece of classic hardcore blending with melodious punk, delivers a fresh take on the modern hardcore sound, holding down a purposeful balance of the old and the new, Mindset from Melbourne plays fast, intense songs with powerful vocals while melodious and crushing riffs are well assembled. This is absolutely good stuff. And after all, the music is what really matter. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Mombu – Mombu (2011) Well, I love crazy shits and this is one of the craziest shits I heard lately, so I love it. This is hardfuckingcore, we’ve got African rhythms, fabulous grooves, complex rhythmic structures and instead of crushing edge guitars, a mind-blowing bariton saxophone. Mombu reminds me one one hand The Thing, they have the explosive creativity of that improvising Norwegian/Swedish Jazz band, but Mombu use grooves, themes, killer unison, on the other hand they reminds me of one of my favorite bands, the Norwegian Shining. The duo consist of Luca T. Mai, the saxophonist from the band Zu and drummer Antonio Zitarelli from the band Neo. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Morbid Angel – Illud Divinum Insanus (2011) This is one of the best metal albums of the year. Extremely brutal, filled up with cutting edge riffs, crushing noises and killer tempos, technical death metal constructions and some demonic industrial like noises, this is a very complex and breathing metal product up to date and beneath the explosive sound, Morbid Angel write and recorded absolutely killer songs incorporated modern taste to their classic death approach. Brutality and harmonies, melodies, technicality and expressiveness are perfectly balanced and merged into one compact and weighty metal where classic values and modern sounds and approaches collide and melt into brutal and groovy metal. Absolutely brilliant. READ THE FULL REVIEW HERE
Mostly Other People Do the Killing – The Coimbra Concert (2011) One of the most exciting and innovative bands on the modern jazz scene, Mostly Other People Do the Killing is a jazz ensemble consisting of Peter Evans on trumpet, Jon Irabagon on tenor and sopranino saxophones, Moppa Elliott on bass and Kevin Shea on drums. This double live album was recorded live in Portugal. They play Ornette-ish free bop with sly quotes of other music, speeding up and slowing down, merging sounds, styles and different approaches. Extremely breathing, live and alive, featuring hot collective improvisation, Mostly Other People Do the Killing is one of the best modern Jazz bands.

To Be Continued.

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