Saturday, March 21, 2009

Current Trend: Old Bands With New Music

Moving away slightly from my last trend, I have been listening to alot of folk rock recently, but still mixing in the folk metal, and I have also been listening to new albums by old bands - bands that haven't released much in the past decade (or more), but have a new album out within the past few years.
The folk is just a continuation from last time, except a little softer. Most of them are celtic punk, but I found a couple of new ones that are reminiscent of Simon And Garfunkel, mixed in with indie rock (Sun Kil Moon and Great Lake Swimmers). Kind of nice, nothing I'll listen to much, but a nice sound to listen to if you're winding down for the night.
I have been pretty disappointed with the new music by old bands, most of it has been very ho-hum, nothing is too exciting. I don't know why I was expecting more, most of these bands are over 30 years old at this point, and have lost their edge. It's not bad, but I wouldn't call any of it 'metal' per se. Most of the bands are the grand-daddies of metal sub-genres, but now it falls mostly into hard rock.

Metallica - Death Magnetic
  • The long-awaited album by thrash gods Metallica. I like to pretend that St. Anger never happened, and it seems so does the band. Death Magnetic is very different then their previous attempt at the new market, much better - not as good as The Black Album or previous, but way better then Load or Re-Load. I've already said something about this release, but now that I've heard it a few times (and that I don't remember what I put the last time) I'll weigh in again. You can tell that they listened (at least partially) to the numerous complaints from St. Anger, although the production quality is still in the gutter. Death Magnetic tried to mix the thrash days of old, with the hard rock times of now. Almost every song is over five minutes, and has several different segments and breakdowns, a throwback to their older days. Again, not a bad album, by far their best in almost twenty years, but not great. I'd like to see them work on this formula and perfet it for their next release.
Rush - Snakes And Arrows
  • Snake And Arrows is one of the only albums this month that is both by an old band and that I haven't listened to before. I can't say anything negative about it, being a Rush fan I hear all the things I love about them, the intricate drum work (Neil Peart is God) and the flowing guitar and bass. But I also haven't really enjoyed a Rush album sense Moving Pictures, released way back in 1981. Every release after '81 has been...well I don't know really, its been kind of boring. My friend Sloth (check out his blog) would disagree, as Rush is his favorite band, he could go on for hours about how "this song means such-and-such" and why Geddy Lee should be the next president (if he weren't Canadian), but not me. Actualy this past statement isn't 100% true, I did like Rush's cover EP, Feedback, that came out in 2004. But as I said, if you are a Rushophile (Rush lover, get it?) then pick it up, but if you feel, as I do, that they haven't released anything amazing in 20+ years (aside from Feedback) then you might want to pass this one over.
Guns N' Roses - Chinese Democracy
  • Ah, which brings me to The Axl Rose Project, oh wait no - it's Guns N' Roses (I can't take credit for that name, it was my friend Krotch). So I walked into this album, trying to keep an open mind, but it was difficult. The only song I enjoyed off of the album was their single, "Better," and that's probably only because I've heard it 50 times on the radio at work. The album would be alot better if you don't think of it as a GNR album, if you look at it as The Axl Rose Project, it seems to get better. Unfortunately, I can't get passed what a dick Axl has been. I loved classic GNR, I liked Velvet Revolver (which just shows that the rest of the guys still have it), but this album just falls flat. Rose tries to do too much with too little, the album cris-crosses genres randomly, it has too many "guest performers" to count (If you can even call them guest performers, it's just a list of people that were "members" of GNR over the past 20 years, who then Axl got angry at and fired).
Iron Maiden - A Matter of Life And Death
  • Another of my favorite bands that's new album really doesn't match their heyday. As the same with Rush, I don't think that Maiden has released anything great sense Fear of The Dark, in 1992, and again I have a friend who would hit me if he heard me besmirching their good name. But oh well, you can't please them all. A Matter of Life And Death is, well a so-so album. I got the promo for "The Reincarnation Of Benjamin Breeg" months before the album came out, and as such it is the only song I enjoyed on my re-listen to the album. It's not a bad disc, it's just kind of boring, nothing really stands out in any way. The songs are all long in length, with only one under five minutes, but most don't need to be. They seem to just go on and on for no reason other then they can. Actually, going back and looking at my Rush paragraph, these albums are surprisingly similar, well in the aspects of my reviews at least. If you're a fan, buy it, it you're a weekend warrior (casual listener) it's easy enough to forget about.
So there you have it, the albums and bands that have been occupying my time of late. Of course there are more, lots more, but I haven't posted in a while and I didn't want to wait for me to finish these other albums to write about them, maybe I'll write a part two eventually.
Other bands and albums on my list:
AC/DC - Black Ice
Alice Cooper - Along Came A Spider
Judas Priest - Angel Of Retribution
Mötley Crüe - Saints of Los Angeles
Ozzy Osbourne - Black Rain

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