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Raindance- New Blood

Raindance - New BloodSometimes your music needs a brutal punch in the face. That is where New England-based Raindance enters. Their newest release, New Blood, set for release on October 30 on Animal Style Records, is a spastic kick in the balls. Coming in at a tad over 20 minutes, the six songs Raindance bring us are somewhat similar of something you’d hear from Norma Jean, and a lot of what you would hear from the likes of Converge or Every Time I Die. Crazy fast hardcore mixed with a crunchy hard rock sound make New Blood a somewhat infectious album; you may not be into it the first time around, but by the third time, the attitude that vocalist Sean O’ Brien spews around is hard not to enjoy. New Blood isn’t reinventing anything, but that’s not what it’s about. Raindance deliver a solid record, and anytime a band does something that is true to themselves, you have to give them respect. Raindance does just that. Solid overall record. Matt White

Hidden Hospitals- EP 002

Hidden Hospitals - EP002Hidden Hospitals might be one of the smartest bands in alternative rock at the moment. Don’t believe me? Front man David Raymond said this to Krisp Magazine about the band’s new EP, titled EP 002: “After absorbing the experience of our first EP (001) we discovered all of these new sounds that I feel are unique to us as a group. In other words, they wouldn’t have surfaced had we not been exposed to each other.EP 002 is parallel to this exploration, discovery, and mindful application.”

Now do you believe me?

EP 002, which comes out on October 30, is really, really good. While it’s not altogether fair to label the band as some type of progressive/alternative band, that’s about the closest thing you will find to describe HH. Some elements of pop, electronica and a little bit of a harder sound are found all throughout EP 002, but nothing takes over to the point that you’d classify them as a certain type of band. You could name anyone from Thursday, Mutemath, Minus The Bear, etc. to give yourself a little bit of an idea of the type of sound HH has.

EP 002 brings a lot to the table musically. At times you have your shoe gazer type of sound, then the very next verse or song will be all guitar driven rock. The next minute you will want to sway your hands back and forth. The first three songs, “Featherweight”, “The Absence Of Emotion”, and “Picture Perfect” are the more hard type of songs, while the last two tracks, “Monsters” and “Lullaby”, are lower, more melodic and experimental in sound. I really like “Monsters”, a softer sound that just grows on you.

Hidden Hospitals is a great band that you’ve never heard of. It’s great and downright amazing when a band seemingly has it all together so soon (HH have only been playing as a band for a little more than a year), and by that I mean you can tell by listening that these guys know the sound they want, and they know what they have to do to accomplish that. One of rock’s best kept secrets right now. Enjoy.

Stiff Donut – Once You Go Chocolate You Never Go Back

Stiff Donut - Once You Go Chocolate You Never Go Back CD cover

Music/comedy albums are always tough to review. Do you review the comedy? The music? Both? Sometimes (most times, really) an album comes along and makes it all a lot easier by not doing either that well. So for that, let me thank Stiff Donut for Once You Go Chocolate You Never Go Back.

Things start off with “its hard to take the pope seriously”, a song that – ironically – begs to be taken seriously…I think. There’s a point there, trying to be made, but this really isn’t the forum, is it? Frank discussions of poverty and disease and the exploitation of the third world don’t really work when accompanied by a Casio on a CD with a picture of a chocolate donut that looks like poop on the cover. The same is true of “fucking retarded” and “criminals in blue”, which is actually one of the better tracks on the album if for no other reason than that it’s slightly less juvenile.

“be extra gentle when you go muff diving”, on the other hand, works. It’s silly and goofy, but the lyrics as well as some random power metal backing vocals make it fun – that’s what this whole disc needs more of. “fake id” and “everyone can be replaced” are similarly entertaining, but others like “a wooly mammoths asshole” and “circumcision sandwich” take even that to new extremes and become noise quickly.

The cover art should pretty much clue you in, but you never know where you’re going to find the next Bloodhound Gang. Not here. The cheesey 8-bit-sounding keyboards set the tone nicely to begin, infusing just the right amount of playfulness. Unfortunately, the vocals then squash that with eight tracks of droning monotone, making the whole thing sound like a rambling answering machine message. I, for one, went and won’t be going back.

-Late

Once You Go Chocolate You Never Go Back

Rating by Larry McCloskey: 1.5 stars
*1/2

Marilyn Manson – Born Villain

Marilyn Manson - Born Villian CD cover

With so much polish and slick production, Born Villain, the newest disc from Marilyn Manson, loses some of its edge. Since Holy Wood Marilyn and his ever-changing lineup of misfits have fallen into a groove of conservative tunes, as if afraid to take chances anymore. Who would have ever thought that would be said about this band?

Though there isn’t much fat to these songs, there does seem to be a high level of filler. For every good groove or catchy turn of phrase there is lackluster build-up or unimaginative transition. The whole album seems to be stuck at one tempo, and the songs follow the same cookie-cutter formulas. There are a few brief moments that stick out from the minutia, but nothing as creative as the dullest moments from Mechanical Animals, Manson’s gutsiest album.

“Overneath The Path Of Misery” starts with similar drums to “Cake and Sodomy”, but by the time the song builds up the tension all Marilyn can do is muster an awkward hook, which sounds suited more for a Jane’s Addiction song than a Manson tune.

“The Gardener” is a spoken word piece a la Jim Morrison or Henry Rollins, until a cool David Bowie-esque key part chimes in over a disco beat leading to a heavy chorus. The song feels stuck in the middle of art and hesitation.

The anti-love/love song “Pistol-Whipped” is one of the poppier songs in the collection, but is evened out by the dark-themed lyrics and creepy intro that sounds like a pitch-shifted gun being cocked.

Johnny Depp shows up as a guest musician on a very straight-forward cover of Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain”, the closing song on the disc. Being one of the few people on this earth who has seen both Carly Simon and Marilyn Manson live, I enjoyed this cover, but at this point, Manson has covered so many songs that they are all blending together. Maybe they can skip the cover next go around and focus more on their originals because “Breaking the Same Old Ground” is way too prophetic.

 

Mnemic- Mnemesis

Mnemic - MnemesisMnemic has always been a favorite band of mine. The band plays what they call “future fusion metal” which can often be described as something you would hear in Fear Factory’s Demanufacture album. Mix that with their Meshuggah-influenced sound, and it’s a thing of beauty for your listening pleasure.

Mnemic’s first two albums, Mechanical Spin Phenomena and The Audio Injected Soul are, in my opinion, Danish metal masterpieces. Nothing bad with either album. After the second album and the departure of lead vocalist Michael Bogballe, the remaining albums have been good, but have lacked that certain something, that power you had come to expect. On Mnemesis however, front man Guillaume Bideau does his best work. He belts out amazing choruses that you want to sing along to every step of the way.

Mnemic plays the whole groove metal genre better than most, and for that reason you really just want to do that for the most part when you listen – groove. You’ll find yourself bobbing your head to the simple sounding yet very intricate guitar work of Mircea Gabriel Eftemie and Victor Ray Salomonsen. Drummer Brian Larson and bassist Simone Bertozzi round out the band, and play tight as well, making this the best lineup and album since The Audio Injected Soul.

As good as Mnemesis is, it’s far from the best album put out by Mnemic. I think that with Mechanical Spin and Audio Injected Soul, the band might’ve put out two albums that were the best the band can do. Maybe it really was Michael Bogballe that held the band together with his amazing voice? Not really sure. One thing is for sure though: even if Mnemesis isn’t their best album ever, it’s still really really good. Good enough to put Mnemic back in the hunt as one of the better Danish metal bands in recent memory.

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