Wednesday, November 19, 2014

XTRMST Album Review


It's a 31 minutes blitzkrieg of an album; from the moment it starts to the moment it ends, XTRMST's debut, XTRMST, is a swift strike to the jugular. It's the hardcore album from AFI's songwriting duo- Davey Havok and Jade Puget- that fans have been waiting for.

As previously mentioned on this blog, Havok and Puget joined forces again to not bring you an industrial dance band but a hardcore, straight edge group that brings back old school AFI's guttural screams and unforgiving guitar lines. But unlike a lot of the AFI records that feature an almost melancholic undertone this album is all about pent up anger and rage. It's practically seething with it, oozing over with Davey's growls and Jade's relentless playing.

The album feels like a whole story, which is different for a hard core album. Though it's only 31 minutes, it feels like something bigger and grander. My favorite track, "Extremist," features a lot of spoken word punctuated by screams of "war." It's really a creative take on the hard core song and what it can do and translate. Other gems- "Words for the Unwanted," "Swallow Your God," and "Juliets"- showcase just how Davey and Jade have perfected this angry but poignant sound.

Also unlike a lot of purely hardcore tracks, this album features a lot of complex musicianship that reminds listeners that, yes, this is Jade Puget playing. He finds a great balance between raw power and intricate playing that really sets this album apart.

Overall, it's a fantastic album. It does have its weak moments- "Dirty Nails," which is ironic because that is the track that really pulled me into this project, and "Merciless"- but it's definitely worth a full album buy.

Davey and Jade once again proved that they are versatile and passionate musicians and I'm looking forward to the tour these guys are bound to do.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Relapse Symphony Wants Its Fans Help

  Okay, I'm not sure how I feel about this but The Relapse Symphony (I wrote about them back in the summer) have asked its fans to help the members put together their new album.

  I know, I know, what? Okay, from what I gathered off their minuscule post on Facebook, the band has a ton of music that its going to curate for its next album. Savvy? Okay, so Bret Von Dahl and crew need their fans help to pick out the songs. How? Just tell them what you're fave Relapse Symphony song is.

   Why do I have reservations about this? Well, it kind of seems to go against the artistic idea of a band. You should be creating for yourself and worrying about reception later. I mean, if we all based our art off of what our fans think, then it wouldn't be organic or true to ourselves and who we are as individuals at that time. It's like basing your outfit off of what your friends think is cool and not on what you want to wear. Savvy?

  So, while I think the band's attentiveness to its fans is amazing, I'm also a little disappointed that they would compromise themselves in such a way.

  If you're a fan, head on over to the band's Facebook and let them know what your fave song is and ignore this twenty-something cynic. I probably would have told My Chem to write a million "Disenchanted"s if I had the chance.

My New Writing Music Obsession: John Butler Trio

   This is for all my folk-music loving readers out there. These guys, who I was recently introduced to while interviewing an old band from my town, are AMAZING. Their guitar work is some of the best I've heard in a while and is definitely a great soundtrack when you just need to sit down and write (or paint or whatever it is all of you people do in your free time). They have a  very laid back sound to them, which is why I was not in the least surprised when I found out they hailed from Australia (the land of other great musicians like good old Daniel Johns). 

  Formed back in 1998 (yeah, yeah, I'm late to the party) by guitarist and vocalist John Butler, an APRA and Aria-award winning musician, the line up has gone through a couple of changes but the core has been Mr. Butler and his incredible musicianship. 

John Butler Trio- "Ocean"

   He's got a very folk-inspired style that fits your snowboarding playlist perfectly but, not only that, he's creative, having skills and ideas that are seriously lacking from today's artists. While his long guitar pieces are my favorite ("Mist" is a great track you should all download off of iTunes NOW), his shorter pieces are also incredible, kind of like a more talented Jack Johnson.

  The band released its sixth studio album, Flesh and Blood, back in February of 2014. 

  If you want more info, check out the band's Facebook or official website