Tag: Rock Music

Album Review: A Day To Remember “Common Courtesy”

adaytorememberA Day to Remember’s long awaited fifth studio album Common Courtesy was released digitally in early October of last year but didn’t hit iTunes or record shops until right before Thanksgiving—and fans of the metalcore band were extremely thankful.

Common Courtesy was written over the course of two years beginning in 2010 and was recorded from 2012-2013 in vocalist Jeremy McKinnon’s home studio in Florida. The band and their record label were entangled in a legal battle and the reason for the digital-only release in October was based on the lack of a label.

On October 4, A Day to Remember was notified that they won against their label in court and released the album digitally four days later. The physical copy that was self-released on November 25 contained three bonus tracks and this is the version that I have reviewed today.

A Day to Remember pays homage to their hometown of Ocala, Fla. in the opening track and then delves headlong into hardcore tracks ‘Right Back At It Again’ and ‘Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re The Nail.’ Fans of shredding guitars, pulsating rhythms and thunderous growls will be pleased with ‘Right’ and ‘Hammer.’

McKinnon’s melodic vocals on Common Courtesy are a welcome addition that crosses over into the pop-punk genre. Tracks like ‘Best of Me’ and ‘I’m Already Gone’ are radio-friendly songs with the latter reminiscent of the Foo Fighters recent music.

Violence (Enough is Enough) is already over a year old and still holds up today as strong as when it was released in December, 2012 as the first single. In an interview with Revolver magazine, McKinnon explained ‘Violence’

I was just trying to talk about different perspectives from the world and why people do terrible things to each other. It started out, to me, feeling like you’re helpless. It felt like everything is so much bigger than you–there are people above you no matter where you go. That kind of control of what you can and can’t do. It’s really not meant to be political as it might sound–that’s just never been our band. But it’s that feeling that things are out of your hands. I wanted it to have this dark, ominous feeling.

The next track ‘Life @ 11’ returns to the pop-punk genre resembling Blink-182 with McKinnon’s harmonizing and Alex Shelnutt’s pounding drums. ‘I Surrender’ is another radio-friendly track that was written several years ago but was re-worked for the album. The hardest songs, in my opinion, ‘Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way’ and ‘The Document Speaks for Itself’  follow up the pop songs to let you know that ADTR still knows how to growl and shred with the best of them.

It is rare to see a band put forth a release that is a general improvement over past releases. A Day to Remember has been to hell and back while writing, recording and releasing Common Courtesy so that one can almost feel their tumultuous journey. The formulaic mix of pop-punk and metalcore blend together well on this album ranging from sing-alongs to mosh invitations.

If you are looking for an album that hits all  parts of the rock spectrum, buy this album and “Brace for Impact.”

http://www.adtr.com 

 

ADTR-CCTrack Listing

  1. City of Ocala
  2. Right Back At It Again
  3. Sometimes You’re the Hammer, Sometimes You’re the Nail
  4. Dead & Buried
  5. Best Of Me
  6. I’m Already Gone
  7. Violence (Enough is Enough)
  8. Life @ 11
  9. I Surrender
  10. Life Lessons Learned the Hard Way
  11. End of Me
  12. The Document Speaks for Itself
  13. I Remember
  14. Good Things
  15. Same Book But Never the Same Page

 

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Album Review: Five Finger Death Punch ‘The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 2’

5fdp-main-3web-e1389913615738Five Finger Death Punch started working on The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell in early 2013, but there was just so much awesome rock left over that they decided to ‘Use Their Illusions’ and release a second album of the remaining tracks just four months later.

“We came off the road after a couple of great years of touring and were really amped up to write the fourth record. Everybody was in the right headspace and the band tighter than ever, so it was a perfect storm,” guitarist Zoltan Bathory said.  “We jumped in head first and found ourselves 12-13 songs deep fairly quick, but were still coming up with better and better material so we looked at each other and said… okay why stop there?… let’s keep going.”

Fortunately for lovers of metal music, the second helping of hardcore head-banging was not relegated to just leftovers. The first single, “Battle Born,” proves that 5FDP has the ability to crossover into the mainstream rock audience while still maintaining their metal cred. The guys simply know how to create rock radio-friendly music, from anthems like “Cold,” which uses piano and strings accompaniment, to pounding, growling vocals in the opening tracks “Here to Die” and “Weight Beneath My Sin.” If I had to choose the next single to be released, it would definitely be “Wrecking Ball.” Fret not, metal-heads, it has nothing to do with Miley Cyrus and would crush her twerking ass.

5FDP_WSOH2The Wrong Side of Heaven and The Righteous Side of Hell, Vol. 2 has everything that you can imagine from a metal band; hard-driving rhythms, blistering guitars, monster drum solos and lead singer Ivan Moody has the ability to growl and hit higher notes in the blink of an eye. Five Finger Death Punch gently walks the line of being too commercially successful for purists of the heavy metal genre, but the groove put forth on both volumes will make even the biggest metal fan throw up the horns.

For those that look to bands who cover classic tracks, 5FDP does a masterful job on The Animals’ “House of the Rising Sun” with amazing lead guitar work from Bathory. “The Agony of Regret” is a haunting, instrumental track and a departure from what people know of 5FDP and will surprise many fans on their first listen.

My two favorite tracks on the album are “Let This Go” and “A Day in My Life” with insane drum/rhythm guitar intros and great riffs and solid groove throughout.  “Cradle to the Grave” has entirely too much going on in one song though, while “My Heart Lied” doesn’t have enough, making the two tracks my least favorites, but they work well as album filler.

Five Finger Death Punch is one of the most ardent, dedicated bands when it comes to bringing the music to their fans with their relentless touring. They head off to Australia next month and then hit Europe in March and April with an arsenal of 24 new hard-rocking, arena-tailored songs created to incite a frenzy and rock your face off.

Track Listing

  1. “Here to Die”
  2. “Weight Beneath My Sin”
  3. “Wrecking Ball”
  4. “Battle Born”
  5. “Cradle to the Grave”
  6. “Matter of Time”
  7. “The Agony of Regret”
  8. “Cold”
  9. “Let This Go”
  10. “My Heart Lied”
  11. “A Day in My Life”
  12. “House of the Rising Sun”

Album Review: Pearl Jam ‘Lightning Bolt’

PJam Lightning

Pearl Jam’s 10th offering proves that the innovators of Seattle’s grunge movement still know how to pack a punch. It took over four years for Eddie Vedder and the boys to release ‘Lightning Bolt’ and the wait was definitely worth it.

Since the 1991 release of ‘Ten’, Pearl Jam has defied all the odds that often plague rock bands; the lineup has stayed intact, save for their drummer, Mike Cameron who has only been with Pearl Jam for 15 years. This brotherhood lends to great cohesiveness that shows through on every track on ‘Lightning Bolt.’

At first listen, the album begins with full-on punk rock tracks with short, hard-hitting numbers ‘Getaway’ and ‘Mind Your Manners’. The band flexes also their creative muscles with Pink Floyd influenced tracks ‘Sirens’ and ‘Infallible’ which have a deep, almost psychedelic groove to them that still satisfy the rock quotient

Most surprising was the power-pop anthem ‘Let the Records Play’ which hearkened back to the days when AM radio ruled the airwaves. It’s catchy, sugary-sweet pop make you forget that the song is about how alcohol and music “take away the pain.” Vedder’s knack for haunting ballads also make the cut with ‘Pendulum’ and ‘Yellow Moon’ while the love song ‘Future Days’ completes the album.

This album, as a whole provides great variety for the epic Pearl Jam live shows that have become a must for any fan of rock music or music in general, for that matter. I have grown up with Pearl Jam over the past 22 years and still vividly remember the antics of a crazy front man that opened up for little-known Nirvana and the Red Hot Chili Peppers in December, 1991. I fell in love with the band that played live on my 25th birthday in 1993 in support of the ‘Vs.’ album and hearing ‘Lightning Bolt’ is another gift that will delight music lovers of all ages.

On the Bowers’ scale of one to five, ‘Lightning Bolt’ receives:

4.5 stars

 

 

 

Track Listing

  1. “Getaway”
  2. “Mind Your Manners”
  3. “My Father’s Son”
  4. “Sirens”
  5. “Lightning Bolt”
  6. “Infallible”
  7. “Pendulum”
  8. “Swallowed Whole”
  9. “Let the Records Play”
  10. “Sleeping by Myself”
  11. “Yellow Moon”
  12. “Future Days”