Guns N Roses bassist Duff McKagan has been commissioned to write the liner notes for the new reissue of Prince’s 1982 all-time great album 1999. due this Friday for Record Store Day Black Friday by Warner Bros. The set comes in three versions: super deluxe (5 CDs or 10 LPs and DVD); deluxe (2 CDs or 4 LPs) and remastered album (1 CD or 2 LPs). The 5xCD/10xLP “super deluxe edition” will feature 35 previously unreleased tracks from Prince’s vault, as well as a DVD containing footage from his 1999 tour stop at the Houston Summit on December 29, 1982. Also included will be photos by Allen Beaulieu, who worked with Prince in the early ’80s, and additional liner notes by longtime Rolling Stone critic David Fricke, the Current radio host Andrea Swensson, and Prince scholar Duane Tudahl. Watch a video of McKagan unboxing the “super deluxe edition” of “1999” right now! Continue reading
On this day twenty years ago the final studio album from the wild and weirdly cool, insanely talented Mr. Bungle, California (Warner Bros), was released. At the time it seemed like the band best known as the side project of Mike Patton had long legs as if they would go on to make many more albums afterward. Sadly, it was not meant to be. Still, California holds up today as a strong album and a forebearer of further musical projects all of the members would undertake in the future. Continue reading
An effects-heavy floor tom pounds and reverberates sinisterly sounding like an unholy sub drop as a layer of distortion grows from the aether. Various squalls of feedback and twisted auditory hallucinations wrap their way around the percussion making ‘(vortexwound)’ a fittingly unsettling opening to Weapon (Hidden Deity). This segues into the first track proper, ‘We Don’t Deserve Death’, a creeping, sanguine number that evolves into a Rock paced rager. The instrumentation is crisp and bass heavy, perfect for the Sludge/Doom hybrid Moros are seeking to evoke. Continue reading
Forty years ago today Van Halen dropped their second album less than a year after their debut Van Halen set the music world on fire. In just a year, the band had become a household name, and headliner nationally, and Eddie Van Halen, in particular, had graced the cover of many magazines for his sweet shred skills. Wanting to strike while the iron was hot, the band came right back with Van Halen II (Warner Bros.), made up of their infamous pre-record deal demos made with Gene Simmons and Ted Templeman, and a few new songs. Van Halen II had the unenviable task of following one of the greatest debut albums ever. Continue reading
New York Groove Metal band What You Need has been busy this fall in their hometown of New York City playing gigs. They recently released a live performance track of them performing Black Sabbath’s classic ‘Children of the Grave’ from 1971’s Master Of Reality (Vertigo/Warner Bros) album. Recorded at Lucky 13 Saloon in Brooklyn NY, you can hear What You Need’s take on this track. Continue reading
Iron Maiden having wrapped up the massively successful Book Of Souls World Tour will now release a live concert album from all over the world. The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter on November 17 worldwide, via Warner Brothers and through BMG in the US. The tour covered thirty-nine countries across six continents during 2016 and 2017, and was seen by over two million fans, ended on July 22nd in Brooklyn NY. The Book Of Souls: Live Chapter will be released physically in CD, deluxe CD and vinyl audio formats, with the concert film available to stream at all digital servicing platforms. Continue reading
Get in your way-back machine and set the dials for 1997. People back then had big 1990s optimism and even bigger pants (JNCOs). James Cameron’s Titanic was dominating the box office, and sadly two iconic women, Mother Teresa and Princess Diana died. Scotland cloned a sheep named Dolly, and the first of the Harry Potter novels was published. And a band from Sacramento, CA put out their second album. Of course, we mean Deftones and Around The Fur (Maverick). Not just any sophomore effort, the album would be a stylistic left turn for the band that was on the forefront of Nu Metal just a few years earlier. A classification the band would come to shun and remove themselves from over future releases. Continue reading
According to the business website Quartz, the guitar industry is suffering because rock music is falling out of favour, especially in the mainstream. Lucky then for bands like Royal Blood. The Brighton (UK) rock duo’s 2014 self-titled début album was very well received, and with their second effort, How Did We Get So Dark? (both Warner Bros), they’ve crafted another neat piece of simple but effective radio-friendly rock. Continue reading
Rock N Roll Hall of Fame band The Red Hot Chili Peppers have always been synonymous with their home in Los Angeles. Now they are helping welcome the NFL‘s Los Angeles Rams franchise back to the area with their first home game this Sunday, September 18th as they return to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum against the Seattle Seahawks. Continue reading
One of the most anticipated albums of 2016 is here with Deftones’ long awaited eighth album, Gore (Reprise). While much has been made in the press by the band themselves of the growing division of styles and tastes between core members Chino Moreno and Stephen Carpenter, the reality is the band has always thrived on challenging themselves musically. Continuing the arc the band started with 2010’s Diamond Eyes and followed to a logical next step with 2012’s Koi No Yokan (both Reprise), musically they continue to flow back in more of the aggro-heaviness that made them shine early in their career. Meanwhile crafting sweet, dreamy shoe-gaze inspired jams takes equal footing without giving any ground. The blend of the two styles is magical most of the time. If there is any disharmony in the ranks, it doesn’t show in these beautifully crafted tracks. In fact, this is music that screams out “let’s get making with the love! Oooh yeah!”
Lead off track ‘Prayers/Triangles’ could be straight off of the White Pony album. The track has a persistent beat and is not overly heavy, but works well. A hypnotic, multi-layered vocal track from Moreno hits home, as few vocalists in modern music can make you feel what he wants you to in an instant. Considering his penchant for obtuse and poetic lyrics, this is quite a feat.
Much heavier and slower, ‘Acid Hologram’ creeps in with massive riffs and subtle melodies. Turntablist/programmer Frank Delgado adds a lot of sonic heft here as well. When the song pivots toward the end and steps up the sonic urgency, it is one of the best moments on Gore.
‘Doomed User’ is another top track out of the gate. Chopping riffs and that patented super-tight Abe Cunningham beat bring it home. I can’t wait to hear this one performed live. Similarly ‘Geometric Headress’ kicks in with a tribal beat, but has a very different feel by the end, almost a proggy, Tool-flavored affair track Chino’s lovely crooning coming in between periods of yelps of dismay.
‘Hearts/Wires’ finds them exploring their Joy Division jones before the epic chorus kicks in. In terms of dynamic interplay and lyrics, this is easily the best track on Gore.
One standout thing about the last few Deftones releases are the contributions of bassist Sergio Vega. Long past is the time when he was standing in for the late Chi Cheng, and is now a full-fledged, weight-bearing member. Cheng himself was a dynamic writing force on early Deftones albums. Vega has more than picked up that mantle now. Beyond putting his unique stamp on the songs, Vega pushes and pulls the tracks as well now too.
Tracks like ‘Pittura Infamante’ and ‘Xenon’ will call to mind the Around the Fur days of the band, which was the moment they killed off the nu-metal of their youth and became something much more deep and interesting as a band.
If this band made power-ballads in the traditional sense, ‘L(Mirl)’ would be the closest thing to one. Not at all typical, but an easy to digest track that grooves along. Switching it up, the title track comes next and it is like a DNA strand of the bands history. A little metal, a little gaze, and a lot of brilliant.
‘Phantom Bride’ is another standout deep cut. It’s as gorgeous as it is harrowing on the senses. It’s the most “Chino sounding” track here, but isn’t so way out that it sounds out of place. It also has a stellar guest performance from Jerry Cantrell of Alice In Chains adding some slick lead guitar and his trademark harmonized licks. I kind of wished the ending riff of the track would have gone on for a while longer, but it’s pretty satisfying still. ‘Rubicon’ is the album closer, but it has the energy of an opening track. A soaring, emotive song full of chaos and sadness all at once.
The hallmark of all the great bands is they continue to grow gradually across many albums and ages, without over-shooting when it comes to experimentation. This band remains unique in that they always sound like themselves, even when incorporating new influences and themes. Deftones remain the same, but spreading outward like a glacier. Solitary, beautiful, cold, and unstoppable.
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