Friday Four Pack 11/9/12

Good day all,

Another week another Friday Four Pack! I know you are all excited so away we go on another journey of metal musings!

Graveyard: Lights Out

Today’s first review comes from the critically acclaimed band Graveyard, a solid effort from this band and one thing that is for sure is these guys know their blues and they understand, appreciate , and perform a retro-nostalgic sound better than most have been able to do. What I do like about this album is that it sure does have a lot of hooks and catchy riffs that will keep you riveted to the music, they have a strong grasp of where the flow of the song should go and they take the listener their without being obvious. The vocals of Joakim Nilsson are dark smooth without being predictable. One of my issues with this album is not the songs itself or the musicianship but the actual flow of the album. The opening song “An Industry of Murder” is a strong song to open the album and flows with the influences of the old school sound that this band does such a great job emulating without abusing. But after this mid-tempo groover it goes into the first of two ballads on the album “Slow Motion Countdown” and the pace of the opening song is lost. It is a fine song I just think for the flow of the album it could have been placed deeper in the track sets as not to bring the feel of the opening song to a grinding halt as this seems to have done.

Lights Out is a really good album and if you are like me and really into the retro/sludge/stoner sound that seems to be permeating the metal scene of late then you should really get a kick out of this album. With what I consider small issues with the track set up being minor this album will satisfy your need for a metal sound that harkens back to our old friends Sabbath, Deep Purple and even the early blues infused Aerosmith and AC/DC. WIth all of the great music that has come out of this genre this year (and there was a lot) this album falls a bit below the earlier releases of The Sword, Bison BC, High on Fire, had it been released a few months later it may have been on the top of the heap for 2013 but as it is, it is on the low-end of a really great showing by the retro/sludge bands this year. Worth listening to? Absolutely!

Dragged Into Sunlight: Widowmaker

Dragged Into Sunlight’s new album? song? epic? Whatever you want to call it is a journey of music broken up into three parts and lasting about 40 minutes of music time. The thing about this piece is that you must have the patience to get through it, when you read that this album starts off slow and progresses to a cacophony of sound that is not an exaggeration. What Dragged Into Sunlight have done here is pretty ambitious and could very well make this band the talk of the town for 2012. They have taken one song, broken it up into three parts and created a full length album with it, if you can call it an album, I don’t know I am still confused. But what this doom infused album did do was make sure that every piece of this “song” is heard and comes through to make the “song” whole. Starting with “Part I” the band starts the album off with a slow atmospheric groove that builds at such a pace that the tension it provides for the second and third parts is palpable and the anticipation is almost unbearable. At just over 14 minutes “Part I” is as impressive an opener as I have heard but can it really be considered an opener? Should it not just be called the prologue? As it informs the listener of the majesty that is to come? Either way when Dragged Into Sunlight really hit their groove in “Part II” and close out with “Part III” the listener is literally exhausted and the movements themselves have left a crater in what we once considered an album. If it is not evident enough a listener must have patience with this album, it is not one that you are going to listen to on a quick jaunt to the grocery store. No instead this album is one that will take patience and have to be scheduled to have a good listening to. You might as well forget about putting it in the mix of your music player because without the other parts it will not provide the impact that these songs together provide. For as much as I like the concept of this album and the way it is arranged I don’t think I will ever have the time to sit down and listen to it again in its entirety, it is an ambitious piece of work and Dragged Into Sunlight should be credited with the amazing and unique job they have done here but unless I am taking a long drive alone I am not sure when I can appreciate this album again the way it should be experienced. One more thing, since technically this is one song shouldn’t I be able to purchase it for $.99 as opposed to $8.99 or whatever I paid? I mean really it is just a single right? Nevermind!

Dark Tranquility: Zero Distance

This EP is basically a reissue of some of the B-sides from older releases from this band. If you have been a fan of Dark Tranquility for a long time then you have probably already heard most if not all of these songs as they were all part of the “We are the Void” tour edition in this same running order as part of the bonus tracks, so nothing new here. However for those of us that have just been getting into the band this is a great desert as we await a new album from the band. Obviously there is nothing new in these songs and if you enjoy the Dark Tranquility sound you will not be disappointed in them. They have the same catchy grooves that you would come to expect and there are no surprises in the sound. If you have never heard these songs before then by all means go out and spend the money on this five song EP, but for the most part this is just a stop-gap and a way to keep the fans happy until the next album comes out.

Allegaeon: Formshifter

I feel as though I have neglected to talk about this album for a long time and every week I think I am going to put it in the Four Pack and some other album takes it’s spot. But this week I am going to finally briefly talk about Allegaeon and what I consider to be close to one of the best albums that was released in 2012. Granted this album was released back in May but I only have so much time to write about this stuff and this album deserves it’s place here getting some exposure from me if nowhere else. This is an album of technical mastery that starts off with what could be considered a fair warning in the beginning of the opening track “Behold (God I Am)” and pummel you with a euphoric beating for about 40 minutes. The guitar work on this album lends to the credibility of this band that they have progressed in both musicianship and writing ability from their debut album. It is nice that they have the backing of a label like Metal Blade and can get some support in bringing their brand of extreme metal to the masses. With its massive hooks and solid grasp of the technicality of what they are doing and with the impressive use of the sci-fi lyrical content Allegaeon have created an album that is well worth the acclaim that the critics have bestowed upon it, now people just have to go out and buy the album and find out for themselves.

That does it for this week, I hope you all enjoyed the Four Pack for this week, please feel free to leave your opinions on these albums in the comment section. As for me? I am taking my cranky ass back to bed and hopefully will awake with a better attitude than I have right now!

Until later, Peace!

Lurch

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