Linkin Park - Hybrid Theory

The turn of the century marked big changes for the world, and for music. Evolution occurred right from the start, yet nu-metal was carrying over from the 90s to truly dominate the first few years of the 2000s. The most prolific band from that era was Linkin Park their brand of nu-metal fused with elements of electronica and hip-hop made Hybrid Theory one of the most important records of the 2000s, and, by extension, all time.

Hybrid Theory changed more than just music - it changed lives. From the angst ridden rebellion of the brutal bridge of 'One Step Closer' to the personal, scared feeling of 'Crawling', Linkin Park hit people in more ways than most were doing at the time. Most people will put it off as just another angsty album of that era, but they miss so much more. From start to finish, this album made its mark in history and in many people's hearts.

1) Papercut: Fans of the band will always cherish the opening drum beat and distorted synth in their hearts. Whether it be from the live scene or just a casual listen, the beginning of the song is perhaps as iconic as the album itself. Mike Shinoda's verses are riddled with paranoia as random harmonies and voices punch in and out in all directions, the thick, drop-tuned guitars providing dynamic throughout its play time. The band's elements all come together in the epic conclusion, Joe Hahn's scratches adding extra percussion on top of Chester Bennington's harmonious croons of "The sun goes down, I feel the light betray me" lines as he sings with the stronger chorus, concluding the song with one big "I can't stop what I'm feeling within / It's like the face inside is right / Beneath my skin!" 'Papercut' is a huge Linkin Park track and it's held in the hearts of the band's fans for a good reason - for many, it was the first track they would hear from the band as they edged into an album that would stay with them forever, unbeknownst to them. That's what makes "Papercut" the true introduction to Linkin Park. (96 / 100)

2) One Step Closer: The opening riff of the song is perhaps one of the most iconic riffs of the era, perhaps even as significant as Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' or Guns N' Roses' 'Sweet Child O' Mine'. Equally as iconic is the bridge of the song, the rebellious, yet all too relatable, unrelenting screams of Bennington's "Shut up when I'm talking to you!" This song is what really got into people's hearts - the early 2000s was a period of confusion for a lot of lost and angry teens. The song's anger gave them a funnel for their inner feelings, and as did much of the rest of the album. What makes this record all the more timeless is the fact that even today, the same anger is what countless people - including pubescent teens and adults alike - struggle with, and Linkin Park has always been able to provide a way to channel that. 'One Step Closer' was only one of the first examples of this. (92 / 100)

3) With You: "Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Hahn!" The famous quote from live performances of this song made it one of the most memorable parts of the band's energy-filled live shows (shoutout LPLive!). While lacking the brutal "Come on!" scream from the intro of its Reanimation counterpart and live performances, 'With You' is still packed full of energy. It's this song that really brings out the elements of the band that weren't as obvious on previous tracks. The atmospheric, electronic verse flow sweetly under Shinoda's unstoppable flow and a hip-hop beat, transitioning perfectly into the heavy choruses with Bennington's raspy vocals. The song also highlights Mr. Hahn's contributions to the band (which have been sparse as of late) - his scratches may not be noticeable without focussing on them, but their purpose in carrying the percussion is perhaps just as important as the drums themselves. 'With You' is the perfect example of the band's electronica influences, as well as their talent in creating mind-boggingly amazing instrumentals. (98 / 100)

4) Point Of Authority: Anyone who has heard this song can never forget Shinoda's opening verse. It's one of the songs on the album that features the last rapping, though ironically enough it contains one of the most recognizable verses on the record. There's something threatening in Shinoda's "Forfeit the game" delivery, and it's a threat that sticks with you. Bennington also delivers a memorable appearance - really listening to the choruses, you can hear a lot of depth in his half-screamed vocal. The texture and melody of his voice atop the thick beat truly create a certain power that can't be easily recreated. (96 / 100)

5) Crawling: "Crawling" is the song that won the band a GRAMMY award, and for good reason. It's composition in dark but melodic, beautiful yet full of alertness. It's the first in the band's line of singles that features an iconic synth-key intro ('Numb', 'Burn It Down', 'Until It's Gone' are also examples) as other synths start kicking in and the higher register powerchords that provide a reprieve from the thick lower-register guitars that dominated the album until this point. Chester's delivery of the chorus really made it clear that his voice was something different. The perfect amount of rasp combines with the perfect amount of melody and power to create something unique and epic. The song's premise resonated with thousands, if not millions, again playing to the fact that Linkin Park are able to relate to you no matter what the case. As easy as it is to make "Crawling in my skin, these wounds they will not heal" the subject of a meme, its those simple lines that could really make a difference for some, and that it did. (94 / 100)

6) Runaway: The song leads in with a watery synth and lo-fi guitar before bursting into a heavy bombardment. The song is admittedly one of the weaker songs on the record, but it still serves its purpose. The verses feature Chester singing melodically over the keyboard synths before his raspiness is channeled for the choruses. The bridge explodes with thick guitars and Chester's strong voice screams high above them. The song doesn't have much more to it, but many could identify with its title alone. The frustration of the recording of this track led to the creation of 'One Step Closer', so we have that to thank it for, if for nothing else, at least. (83 / 100)

7) By Myself: Perhaps more iconic than the grumbling intro riff itself is the staple 2003 live intro the band used during the touring for Meteora. 'By Myself' is characterized by its ominous synth verse instrumentals with Shinoda's rapping sounding paranoid and anger and Bennington's screams acting as precursors to the melodic "I can't hold on, it's all too much to take in... with thoughts of failure sinking in" lyrics of the choruses. The bridge creates a quiet tension with Shinoda's threatening whispers before the song kicks back in full force for one final hurrah. 'By Myself' showcases both the melodic and heavy aspects of the band in a similar yet familiar fashion as 'With You' - these elements coming to into fruition together are a signature part of what makes Linkin Park's sound so great. (95 / 1000)

8) In The End: This song needs to introduction or explanation. Everyone has heard 'In The End'. Whether they have learned the simple yet effective key intro to the song or use the chorus as a joke, 'In The End' is a universally known track. It's the song that put the band on the map, and for good reason. It opened up the band's sound to a poppier audience that wouldn't agree with the anger of 'One Step Closer', 'In The End' instead telling the tale of tragic love or struggle. The seamless flow of Shinoda in the verses as he and Bennington trade off to the chorus made this song an iconic track, and a prime example or rap rock. The song's beauty is magnified by the guitar harmonics used in the choruses thanks to Brad Delson; the blend of pretty and heavy really play to the tragedy of Chester's lyrics and voice. 'In The End', as many times as you've heard it before, is ultimately a big classic tune. (95 / 100)

9) A Place For My Head: If you're a fan of Linkin Park, you're a fan of 'A Place For My Head'. The song reigns as a massive fan-favorite in the live scene and is one of the band's signature jams. The Middle-Eastern tinged guitar riff that backs Shinoda's blasting lyrics in the verses ("I watch how the moon sits in the sky in the dark night / Shining with the light from the sun / The sun doesn't give light to the moon assuming / The moon's going to owe it one / It makes me think of how you act to me / You do favors and then rapidly / You just turn around and start asking me about things that you want back from me"). The chorus reigns huge with crushing guitars that support Chester's powerful voice above it, singing melodically. The bridge is where things get intense: Chester painfully whispers "You try to take the best of me, go away" as his anger builds before he explodes into a massive outburst of rage. The chorus reprises itself once more before the giant outro begins, featuring the band giving their all to end the song on an unforgettably massive ending. 'A Place For My Head' to this day remains one of the band's biggest tracks (even with the heavy tunes introduced in the band's latest The Hunting Party), and it has not lost its luster at all in the last sixteen years. (99 / 100)

10) Forgotten: There's no build up to this one - the threat of Linkin Park's dynamic duo of Bennington and Shinoda open to the track in a trade off before the verse kicks in. Shinoda tells a story of loneliness in his rapping, perhaps one of the earliest indications of Fort Minor without an exaggeration of hip-hop elements. The song's guitars are really interesting, changing throughout the entire track. There's the main opening riff that's reprised throughout the song, the peaceful, flowing guitar lines of the verses, and the melodic, almost groovy powerchords of the chorus. 'Forgotten' is an acquired taste on the album, but once you invite its charm to your mind you come to truly appreciate it. (92 / 100)

11) Cure For The Itch: The album's instrumental that gives Mr. Hahn a chance to shine. It showcases his scratching and sampling techniques, but there's really not much else to it. It's nice to see the album's most understated element get a chance to shine all on its own, but it just doesn't do it for me. The song builds with strings and the occasional Eastern-tinged piano line as drum samples and scratches see it through. Never underestimate Mr. Hahn. (60 / 100)

12) Pushing Me Away: 'Pushing Me Away' is a ballad more in the vein of 'Crawling' than any other track, just in a prettier fashion. The guitar harmonics in the intro and verses are beautiful atop the electronic synth, and eventually the driven beat, give the song its character. It's not as heavy and unrelenting as many of the other tracks - like 'In The End', it sees peace in the verses then becomes bigger in the choruses. Chester's vocals sound pained and abused as he sings about being sacrificing everything for someone for it all to be taken for granted. The powerchords go higher up the guitar neck than much of the rest of the album, contrasting the thick rhythm guitar, ending the album on a different note than it began with 'Papercut'. 'Pushing Me Away' isn't about the heaviness; it highlights the band's songwriting abilities that may have been overlooked in other tracks. The album couldn't have ended in a more appropriate way (unless 'High Voltage' was kept on the backend - though 'Pushing' may still be the best way spiritually to end the record). (96 / 100)

Hybrid Theory was the album of a generation. Nothing quite like it had ever been done before - it seamlessly blended nu-metal, alternative rock, and electronic music all into one succinct sound. To this day, there are still bands who try to emulate the mastery of noise Linkin Park created on Hybrid Theory and still can't quite get there. This is an album that shaped music forever, setting it on a different courses and really brought metal to a more accessible scene. Its anger, pain, and fear gave countless people something to hold onto in times of confusion, and it has the same impact today that it did when it was released nearly sixteen years ago. Hybrid Theory is perhaps to most influential debut album to ever be released, and its importance will never be forgotten, because it will forever have a place in our hearts.

Favorite Tracks: A Place For My Head, With You, Papercut, Points Of Authority

Least Favorite Tracks: Cure For The Itch, Runaway

Rating: 95 / 100

Various Artists - Rock Sound Presents: The Black Parade

The Black Parade defined not only an era, but a generation. It was part of everyone's soundtrack in the mid-2000s, whether it was the heartwrenching piano chords of 'Cancer' or the iconic piano intro of 'Welcome To The Black Parade'. It was revolutionary, powerful, and generally one hell of an album.

Its been ten years since it was released. With its tenth anniversary just a month away, The Black Parade memorabilia is coming through. Next week, My Chemical Romance will be releasing a double LP: The Black Parade / Living With Ghosts, featuring the album on one side and demos from the era on another. This week comes in the form of a dedication album. Rock Sound has brought together a number of big artists to cover songs from The Black Parade. It's a cool project, but not everything is as good as it may seem...

1) One OK Rock - The End.: Starting off fresh is perhaps one of Japan's most well established rock bands, One OK Rock with the opening track, 'The End.' It's a pretty great cover as an opener, but also a bit misleading. The song has great little subtle differences hidden in between the more notable ones. The song's performance adds electronic elements in between the cleaner moments, the contrast between the soft and heavy moments becoming that much greater. What's misleading is how original and good the cover is: having it at the start makes you think some new interpretations of these classic songs are coming, not completely changing them yet adding something new... (92 / 100)

2) Escape The Fate - Dead!: ...sadly, that isn't the case, as seen in Escape The Fate's cover of 'Dead!' It's pretty much an except copy of the original, without much change to it. It has a great guitar solo, but that's as much credit as you can give it. The vocals don't quite give it the same punch, either. It feels like a standard cover band cover, and nothing else. (74 / 100)

3) Creeper - This Is How I Disappear: On the subject of vocals, Creeper's cover of 'This Is How I Disappear' has perhaps the least-fitting vocals on this entire record. It goes in with the nature of Creeper - the vocals are trying to sound creepy and condescending, and it simply doesn't work with the song. The instrumental is incredibly weak, as well. The vocals are half of the mix, and the instrumental is barely any louder than them, making it have little impact. (51 / 100)

4) State Champs - The Sharpest Lives: In the same scenario as Escape The Fate, this song stays even closer to the original than 'Dead!' did. The little guitar punches in the verses aren't as spidery as they were in the original, being fatter and bassier, an subtle but odd difference. the guitar solo is great, and they nailed the bassline underneath it. (70 / 100)

5) Crown The Empire - Welcome To The Black Parade: It's impossible to create a cover that truly does this song justice, but Crown The Empire didn't even try. It's almost painful to listen to this cover. It's completely uninspired, drained of emotion, and takes away all of the original charm of the song. They couldn't so much as try and take out the hammers of the piano hitting the strings as they play the intro. It's worse than a cover band. It really makes you appreciates the small things in the original song that may seem insignificant, but really made the track what it was. They didn't even do the guitar leads in the intro! It's nothing more than a badly rehearsed cover by a cover band you'd see in a bar setting. (35 / 100)

6) Moose Blood - I Don't Love You: Moose Blood amassed a pop punk following leading up to their release of their debut LP Blush - read our review of it here - and brought pop punk back in a new yet familiar light. 'I Don't Love You' meets all the criteria to be a banging pop punk song, and Moose Blood took it and made it just that. With Eddy Brewton's reckless abandon in his vocals, the vocals worry more about emotion than hitting the notes, giving the song a fresh new revival in sweet and warm colors. (88 / 100)

7) Palisades - House Of Wolves: Another song that's received a rebirth in a brand new light. Palisades brings a great blend of intensity and electronica, the verses quite and choruses explosive. The original had an off-kilter, funky composure to it, while Palisades brought a groovier rendition on this cover album. It sounds very modern - if The Black Parade was released in 2016, this is definitely what 'House Of Wolves' would've sounded like. The massive chants of "S-I-N-I-S-I-N" bring a huge conclusion to the song. It's one of the most original covers on the record, without a doubt. (94 / 100)

8) Twenty One Pilots - Cancer: There wasn't a better band to cover this song. No one else but Josh Dun could capture the somber and accepting tone that Gerard Way sang the song in better. The song's a melancholy build of piano and a light drum electronic beat, while Dun's vocals dance a tragic dance in a symphony of vocoders and reverberating words through a cavernous atmosphere. Some would argue that the cover abandons the original's premise and mood with the electronic elements, but its subtlety makes it just as powerful in a different light. It captures all of the beautiful of the original while still remaining catchy, especially in the amazing part after the chorus where samples of Dun singing "I will not kiss you, lips are chapped and faded, call my..." as they echo and float away. The ending reprises it, and the final piano chord resonates and fades away, as if its acceptance and resignation of the narrator. It's truly beautiful. (97 / 100)

9) Ghost Town - Mama: 'Mama' was always a weird song. Ghost Town made their cover of the song weird, but a bit too weird. It's a cool cover, but it tries too hard to create the mood of the original by adding a bunch of different elements. The creepy keyboard part in the verses is cool, albeit overused. It's encouraged for a band to not stick too close to the original, yet Ghost Town sounds like they had to deliberately try to make something like they did. It explodes just like the original does at the end and has the same vibe, for what its worth. It's a good cover, just... a bit too much. (75 / 100)

10) New Years Day - Sleep: Female vocals! It's great to hear someone of the opposite sex tackling the classics on the album, especially when she brings a badass rendition of 'Sleep'. New Years Day's Ashley Costello sings and screams powerful atop soaring and heavy choruses, truly bringing out the best of alternative metal, resulting in a massive, melodic, and epic cover. The guitar solo combined with her screams are just excellent as they kick into one last explosion to end the track. An awesome cover, no doubt. (96 / 100)

11) Against The Current - Teenagers: Against The Current brings in more female vocals into the mix, their groovy and fun alternative rock vibes to record. Their debut album In Our Bones proved that they have the anthemic pop rock vibe nailed (read our review of it here). The intro starts dramatically before Chrissy Costanza's vocals kick in in time with the bass synth. The choruses are just as anthemic as the original's, big drums and sweet guitars not powering the song but acting as support for Costanza's warm vocals. The guitar solo is nailed, leading into a powerful final chorus complete with big gang vocals to emulate the rebellious composure of the song and a bright guitar lead. No one could've fit better into this song than her. (94 / 100)

12) Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! - Sleep: This cover of 'Sleep' just sounds like an overproduced version of the original. There's really nothing special about it that MCR's version doesn't do better. Just a standard cover. It's good, but doesn't provide anything new. (74 / 100)

13) Asking Alexandria - Famous Last Words: It would just so happen that my two favorite songs on the original album happen to be the worst on this cover album. Perhaps it just goes to show how My Chemical Romance absolutely nailed what they were working to accomplish. If you read our review of Asking Alexandria's album The Black, you'd know that I was already unimpressed in them. If you haven't read it yet - click here to check it out. They completely tossed out the energy of the original song, making it feel like you're listening to a weak rendition by a cover band. Where's the punch of the final chorus? Why is it shortened? Why is the instrumental so undynamic? It's overproduced, uninspired, and just plain weak as a cover to end the album. It's a sad listen. (38 / 100)

Rock Sound's compilation is hit or miss, really, though the sentiment is sweet. My Chemical Romance truly created something amazing, and to see all these different bands come together to say thank you to the music and bring this dedication to them. It's humbling, even as a fan, to see these artists perform these songs that are close to so many people's hearts. You can't recreate what The Black Parade made, but you can always pay respect to it.

Favorite Tracks: Cancer, Sleep, Teenagers, House Of Wolves

Least Favorite Tracks: Welcome To The Black Parade, Famous Last Words

Rating: 73 / 100

Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool

It’s not easy to describe something so perfectly beautiful. Just as I fail to describe my girlfriend, I come to a loss of words with Radiohead’s highly anticipated ninth studio album, A Moon Shaped Pool. The austere beauty of this album is something almost beyond comprehension - well, that may be an over exaggeration, but this album hits hard and sad. It’s tone is clearly sad, but it has that optimistic tinge to it that Radiohead does so well.

1) Burn The Witch - The album couldn’t have had a better intro if it tried. The opening strings and synths just bring you into the looking hole, Alice In Wonderland style. This song is actually an older one, pieces of which were teased a decade ago during the band’s live performances. The song’s symphony adds huge colors and layers to it, and is oddly invigorating in the context of the introduction track. Perhaps its the way the strings in the song like the innards of a clock coming to life and burst into action, or the badass choruses chanting “Sing a song of sixpence that goes burn the witch” that make the song sound so triumphant. It was the perfect hype-up song leading to the release of the esteemed LP9, and an even more perfect introduction to a legendary record. 9.5/10

2) Daydreaming - To describe this song in a short paragraph is like trying to write a college essay in a short and sweet thesis, and nothing more. This song is so magically and hauntingly beautiful that it stirs the emotions within you like a soup with thousands of ingredients. The somber and happy memories within you all come to fruition with this song. It won’t make you cry - it’ll do something that ultimately may be even worse: make you think. Click the link to read my full review of the track, because that’ll say a more worthy claim of my opinion than I can here. 10/10 

3) Decks Dark - The first taste of brand new music from the album had you listened to the singles. ‘Decks Dark’ begins with ethereal pianos and the verse kicks in with sweet piano arpeggios. When that bass kicks in, it’ll send chills down your spine, and then the rest of the band follows suit along with a haunting choir to back Thom Yorke’s cryptic vocals. A very chill song and quite laid back, but beautiful all the same. The bittersweetness of the song inches away from the heartbreaking ‘Daydreaming’ while still provoking the thoughts the song stirred up. ‘Burn The Witch’ gets you riled up, then ‘Daydreaming’ takes everything from the deepest pores of your body. The rest of the album explores those feelings and thoughts. 9/10

4) Desert Island Disk - Things take a folky turn with ‘Desert Island Disk’, another song that has been performed live before its studio version. Beginning with a warm acoustic guitar with an almost country twang, the song explores a sense of recollection, with lyrics like “Waking up from shutdown / From a thousand years’ sleep” provoking your attention. The song is relatively simple, the synths in the meat of it flowing like waves at just the right speed to stir up the same feeling of flow within you. It’s an interesting one, to say the least. 9/10

5) Ful Stop - The introduction of this track is almost creepy. The saxophony-synths harken back to David Bowie’s ‘Blackstar’ and are definitely unsettling if nothing else. All of this song feels pretty Bowie-esque, even Yorke’s vocal delivery. The tonality of the line “A foul taste of medicine” especially gives a Bowie vibe. The second part of the song builds up epically, guitarist Jonny Greenwood playing something simple that just sounds so dark, on top of the wails of Yorke and huge walls of synths and bass. The bass is just so crushingly awesome, and paired with the higher guitar synth creates a haunting contrast. This song will take you to a dark place if you let it. 10/10

6) Glass Eyes - Another song that begins with absolutely gorgeous piano. ‘Glass Eyes’ is like a little brother to ‘Daydreaming’. But that brother is going through their emo phase. While the prior had a certain optimism to it, this song is just purely sad. Beautiful piano topped with stunning symphonies elevate the crushingly sad melody of vocals consisting of lyrics like ”I just got off the train / A frightening place / Their faces are concrete grey / And I'm wondering, should I turn around?” and “The path trails off / And heads down a mountain / Through the dry bush, I don't know where it leads / I don't really care”. This song is stunningly sad, and as beautiful as it is sad. And it is quite sad. 10/10

7) Identikit - Another live classic, this one has awesome guitars backing it, giving it a great live presence already. Thom Yorke really outdid himself with melodies on this record. They’re just so beautiful. The backing vocals are especially haunting. As the song progresses, the guitar gets more and more awesome, building to an absolutely epic guitar solo to close it out. The only word to describe this song: awesome. 10/10

8) The Numbers - Awesome piano paired with groovy guitar open this one. This song was formerly known as ‘Silent Spring’, yet another live song performed in the past, albeit only acoustic (during the same performance as ‘Desert Island Disk’, in fact). This song is grand on a different level than ‘Identikit’, this time bringing strings to the forefront instead of guitar. The orchestra has the epicness of ‘Burn The Witch’, the song’s epic climax falls into layers of piano that tapper off into nothingness. Awesome. 9.5/10

9) Present Tense - More live classics - this album was definitely made, in part, to be a fan pleaser. The guitar and beat is almost funky, funny enough. The stunning vocals are just sad enough to keep you from shaking your hips. The vocal melody is great and the echoing vocals add distinct color to the track, on top of the Spanish twang. This track is just general chill. As far as provoking memories goes, this one makes you feel wanderlust. You just want to get up and run somewhere listening to it. Radiohead really left no stones unturned here. 9/10

10) Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief - Now, I will admit: I copied and pasted the title of this song. The origins of this song are very clear: this tweet. The band deleted all of their media presence not for promotion, but so all of the secrets of this album couldn’t be found before it came! Jokes aside, this track feels very Kid A to me. Perhaps the splashy beats that fill the track accompanied by dreamy synths and bluesy piano. It’s kinda off putting, but in the endearing Radiohead kind of way. You can’t have Radiohead without weird. It just doesn’t work. There’s some fantastic string work on this track, too. It is admittedly a little blander than the rest of the album, but it’s still a fantastic and haunting track all the same. 8.5/10

11) True Love Waits - This song. The world may have not been ready for this song. By far the oldest track on the record (performances date back to 1995 - that’s 21 years!), this song has had decades to grow and develop. The fan-loved ‘True Love Waits’ concludes this already near-perfect album, and so beautifully so. The somber piano accompanies Thom Yorke’s desire-filled vocals. The way the piano reverberates sends the soundwaves throughout your body (which at this point of the album, should have lost all sense of emotion - you’re at the beckoning of A Moon Shaped Pool now) and Yorke’s absolutely defeated disposition in his vocals will have you choking back tears. This song plays with your heart. It almost sounds like a send off, or a goodbye. The final words of the track aren’t even pleading as they should be; they’re like a final attempt at asking for forgiveness. Nothing more than a simple cry of “Don’t leave” brings the album to a close as brilliant pianos fill into a intertwined array of emotion. If this was Radiohead’s last album, they couldn’t have ended their career on a better song. A classic becoming a sendoff. That’s almost crushingly sad in itself, isn’t it? 10/10

No one crushes your soul better than Radiohead can. A Moon Shaped Pool is a truly beautiful album. It has an overall sad tone, but it goes deeper than that. Truly absorbing it will take you on an exploration of your inner mind, an elaboration of all of your past experiences. Guilt, regret, desire, and love are just a few of the emotions that will stir within you listening to it. Radiohead may have hit their magnum opus here. If In Rainbows had brilliant orchestras and the subtle electronics of Kid A and the rock vibes of OK Computer, you’d have this album. Perfection is the easy way to describe it. My girlfriend is perfection, so that’s where my standard lies (pretty high). But this album comes close to that. Pure emotion is beautiful in any form, and that’s what comes out with it. A Moon Shaped Pool is a classic, and will never lose that magic touch.

Favorite Tracks: True Love Waits, Daydreaming, Identikit, Glass Eyes, Ful Stop

Least Favorite Tracks: Tinker Tailor Soldier Sailor Rich Man Poor Man Beggar Man Thief

Rating: 10/10


Top Albums Of 2016 (so far):

  1. Radiohead - A Moon Shaped Pool
  2. Aurora - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend
  3. Panic! At The Disco - Death Of A Bachelor
  4. Deftones - Gore
  5. Dream Theater - The Astonishing
  6. Foxes - All I Need
  7. Daughter - Not To Disappear
  8. Lacey Sturm - Life Screams
  9. HÆLOS - Full Circle
  10. Weezer - Weezer (White Album)

Deftones - Gore

Art metal is brought to an all time high with every Deftones release. The alternative metal outfit have released their highly-anticipated follow up to 2012′s Koi No Yokan in the form of Gore, an new exploration of melody and riffs that are new for the band whilst still giving out what they are best at: beautiful pieces just excreting passion and tension.

As Deftones are one of my favorite bands, it’s only right to do a track-by-track review for this one.

1) Prayers/Triangles - I’ve actually already reviewed this song, but the context of it’s opening position on the album gives it a new punch. It’s feedback intro and light drum beat enters the album on an eerie note, before Chino Moreno’s flowing melody soars over a punchy bass track and dreamy guitar work. The tension in his voice adds to the chorus’ relentless bout of emotion, crying, “Prayers, lay it on the line / You will never be free… / Triangles, placed in your mind / You will never be free,” leading to an outburst of anger of the bridge which is reprised in the outro. A standout track and a fantastic opener to a thrilling album. 9.5/10

2) Acid Hologram - The first taste of brand new music for those who have been following the singles, ‘Acid Hologram’ can be confusing. Moreno’s almost dreamy melodies and harmonies soar over thick guitar. Something with this track just doesn’t sit me with my initial listens... While it is a somewhat of a signature with Deftones music to pit clean and heavy together, it just doesn’t seem to work with the heavy distortion and the soaring vocals. Isolate either or, and they are both fantastic performances. The song definitely takes some growing, and as of right now, it’s still in that phase. 8/10

3) Doomed User - Back to familiar territory for fans; ‘Doomed User’ is heavy. It has a big heavy metal, Alice In Chains vibe, especially the choruses. Stephen Carpenter’s triumphant guitar licks elevate the song to a massive level, as Chino roars over the choruses and brings it back during the chorus for a slight reprieve. It doesn’t last long, as this song’s constantly chugging big riffs and headbang moments that just ask to be jammed to. It’s easy to forget the lyrics to the song, which do have some tasty moments. Particularly the bridge’s, “Go waste your breath somewhere to someone new / Your castle’s burning down, here / Your kingdom is burning down,” grabbed my attention. This song has a lot going on, and that also means it a lot going for it. 9/10

4) Geometric Headdress - The guitar in this song is just awesome. Carpenter’s finest moment on the album is on ‘Geometric Headdress’, the guitar just adding such a mysterious and urgent feel to the song that makes the backing synths sound massive. Chino sings beautifully in the chorus while Abe Cunningham delivers a badass performance on the drums - another highlight of the track. There’s not really any clear statement that can be said to define the intensity this track has. It’s just huge. 10/10

5) Hearts/Wires - Beginning creepily, like a more bluesy and ambient reprise of the eeriness of the intro to ‘Prayers/Triangles’, the track begins softly with atmosphere and beautiful guitar. When the body of the song comes in, it just feels beautiful, like a whole different beast has entered the game. Like the softer tracks on 2010′s Diamond Eyes, Chino shows off his quieter range delivering hypnotizing verses and an intense, emotional chorus. This song doesn’t disappoint on any front. It’s beautiful intro is followed by a beautifully composed instrumental that brings Chino’s melodies to a whole new wavelength. The intensity of the choruses scream back to the aforementioned album’s title track (which also just so happens to be my personal favorite Deftones song) and I just fell in love with those one as I heard it. There’s no more to it than a brilliant sense of elation and yet, a sadness this song has. 10/10

6) Pittura Infamante - Triumphant guitar chords bring this song to a huge start, with Cunningham delivering another brilliant performance on percussion. continuing with the tantalizing melodies from the previous track, ‘Pitture Infamante’ has a wonderful chorus melody that’s so enchanting, you almost miss how epic the chorus sounds as a whole, the chugging guitars and bass driving the song like an engine at full roar. The guitar feels like it was inspired by Porcupine Tree - that’s the first thought I had, hearing the intro. The bridge sounds epic and grand, Chino’s lyrics showing sensuality while also taking over a thrilling sense of imagery: “I’ve sank through the cracks / I’ve drowned every one / To bathe in your soul,” on top of purely electric guitar riffs. The song’s outro is pure intensity and brings it to a thrilling conclusion. 9.5/10

7) Xenon - This one is... weird. The electronic transition from ‘Pittura’ halts abruptly, before a disjointed guitar riff comes in, attempting to mesh with one another and just creates a cluster. The chorus comes in promising with the cool lines, “With the lions at the gate / With a diamond in your brain,” but then takes an optimistic sounding melody that melodically works pleasingly with the guitar, but feels out of place before you can accept it. You can tell the type of sound the band was going for here: big and anthemic, but ‘Xenon’ just didn’t get executed the proper way. It has some epic moments, like the crushing drums in the outro, but altogether it just feels like it was slapped together for the sake of it. 7/10

8) (L)MIRL - Another creepy intro to lead the album into its final quarter. This one washes over you with a wave of effected guitar, before a Tool-esque bassline from Sergio Vega and a sweet guitar line dance with each other. The prechorus in the second verse has the same big sounding idea that they tried to capture in ‘Xenon’, but executed properly this time, the song’s flow not being interrupted. It does take you out of it for a second just in the same way that the prior track did, but the recovery period is much swifter. This track, like ‘Pittura Infamante’ has a big progressive rock presence. As to be expected from Deftones, the bridge is massive, and seems to use the same formula of heavy section with razor lyrics like ‘Prayers/Triangles’ and reprises it to end the track. No complaints, it sounds huge! 8.5/10

9) Gore - This one’s a surprising track. Of anything the title track of this record could’ve sounded like, this isn’t what I’d have thought. Chino’s credited with saying this was his least favorite track on the record, but I can’t see how - it’s classic Deftones material. A picked bass chugs quickly on top of a syncopated hi-hat before a crushing chorus comes in to bring groove and metal together. I can just picture Chino moving to this one onstage. It’s epic and driven, just what you need from Deftones. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. The screaming at the end sounds like it came straight from the Adrenaline and Around The Fur days. The ending is tense and concludes with a horrifying shriek, that I want to say is a scream, but honestly don’t want to question. It’s a thriller. 9/10

10) Phantom Bride - The Alice In Chains influence on this record reaches a peak, especially considering this song features the lead guitarist from the band, Jerry Cantrell. Despite the massive guitar presence this song seems to have given its featured collaborator, it’s Chino that really shines on this song. His vocal delivery and falsetto on this song just add a beautiful juxtaposition to the muted guitar in the verses and the electrifying Cantrell solo that makes its way to the bridge of the song. The final chorus explodes with a brilliant light, the powerful guitars and sweet melody leading into a guitar reprieve, which brings the song to an even more intense conclusion. The sheer intensity of the heavy outro is a thrill in and of itself. 10/10

11) Rubicon - Rubicon: a point of no return. That’s exactly what this song is. It burns with a conviction to end this album on an unforgettable note. Deftones bring their all on this track, combining everything you’d want into this one thrilling conclusion. Deeply tuned guitars contrasting a shriller, higher line, a driving drum performance, and Chino’s growls and belts. The song is brilliant and extreme, its conclusion threatening and unrelenting, as if building to what ever is in store next. And after this record, I’m not sure I’m ready for what’s next. 9.5/10

Gore is an experience best taken in as a whole. Each track has an intensity and unchallenged presence that separately makes each a monster, but cohesively makes an absolute beast of an album. Deftones have outdone themselves and crafted an album beautiful yet thrilling and exciting, forming a collection that will be hard to follow up. Gore is a thriller, a challenge that can’t be beaten. All I can say now? Wow.

Aurora - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend

Every year, there’s an artist who throws their genre into a spiral. Their music is so powerful or just makes such a strong impact that it leaves the world wondering. This year, that’s Aurora. Her debut album, All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend is perhaps the most perfect piece of pop 2016 will see. This Norwegian singer has the purest voice and doesn’t need sex appeal - though she is absolutely adorable - for her music or performances to catch your attention. It’s as pure and as true to heart as music can be.

It’s been awhile since I’ve done one, and every track on this album is oh-so-deserving of being talked about, so here’s a track by track review of the record.

1) Runaway - Beginning with an intro of epic harmonies consisting of Aurora’s calming voice and low bassy vocals, the album couldn’t start any more enchantingly. As is the case with much of the record, Aurora’s voice is the highlight of the track. The instrumental in and of itself is very minimalist: the beat isn’t flashy and the synths build from a relaxing harpsichord to an explosion of sound. The vocal harmonies act as an instrument: they’re brought all the way up in the mix. Aurora sings about being tired of her world and wanting to go “home where I belong,” though as amazing as the lyrics are, the melodies are what you’ll be focussing on. 10/10

2) Conqueror - A change of pace in the album; this one actually sounds like a pop track! Beginning with clean guitar, a thicker beat, and her voice in a major key, ‘Conqueror’ will get you dancing. It’s a pure, big, and fun pop banger that is just perfect to let go to. This fun song is about searching for someone to “conquer” you and give you what you’re looking for - to complete the challenge that is you. There’s a lot going on in the percussion that’s pretty hidden in the mix but adds so much color to the track. The giant bass synth in the choruses also elevate the song to its soaring levels. Again, Aurora’s voice is so pure you can feel the curiosity of the track in you. It’s the best pop song of the year so far - how it hasn’t taken over radio by storm is crazy. The final chorus is an explosion so grand that it’s appeal is just unarguable. It’s a great track. 10/10

3) Running With The Wolves - Returning to the subtlety, the title track of the Running With The Wolves EP that gave listeners the first taste of her album material, this track is deceptively quiet. It starts with the same quietness found in the verses of ‘Runaway’, but includes instrumentation of a guitar and piano instead of layered harmonies. The chorus explodes in a flash of synths, a confident drum beat, and a thousand voices singing altogether because flawlessly returning to the quiet verses. The bridge is a little strange, but still amazing with the almost possessed vocals over the driving beat. The backing vocals in the final chorus end it with a breathtaking finale. 9.5/10

4) Lucky - The first track that is exclusive to the album, ‘Lucky’ is a hard-hitter. It’s quiet, and the song is mostly Aurora’s singing over symphonic synths. It’s a song about escaping the darkness that takes over so many people. The harmonies are absolutely beautiful and compliments the minimalistic instrumental. The meaning of the song gives it so much weight, the ending has a sort of mysteriousness to it, as if saying that the full story isn’t over. But, I’m willing to wait for the rest of it to come given how wonderful this track is already. 10/10

5) Winter Bird - This song almost plays off of ‘Lucky’, in that it’s about feeling alive again with someone. The song’s instrumental makes it so huge - like a winter storm. It has the grace of a dove, the verses being very beautiful and the choruses grand. It has a certain sensuality to it that adds to it’s atmosphere. As typical with the songs on this album, the harmonies build the track into another flawless vocal performance. 10/10

6) I Went Too Far - This song is an apology. It’s also the most modern pop song on the album. It has the Aurora flair with vocal movements being a primary part of the instrumental, yet the piano intro shows shades of Adele and the choruses have swelling synths. Perhaps the most average song, as it leaves little to talk about, but amazing in the Aurora kind of way, all the same. 9/10

7) Through The Eyes Of A Child - This song is... interesting. Every listen makes you feel something different. It may be nostalgia, it may be sadness, it may be regret. There’s no one emotion you feel, there’s something new every listen. The song is one of the most simple on the album, too. It’s largely just Aurora singing over a piano that flows like a river. In her voice is a certain recollection that brings upon so much emotion that’s just unfathomably pure. The ending just swells with harmonies and emotion. It’s just a down to earth, beautiful track. It’s almost near perfection. 10/10

8) Warrior - ‘Warrior’ was the last teaser track before the album’s released. It begins with an eastern flair before a bassline and Aurora’s pure voice carry it into a soaring chorus. The verses have a particularly capturing melody. I can’t put it in words... there’s just a certain way her voice works with the eastern vibes that make it an entrancing moment. The choruses are huge with massive percussion and synths. It’s another track that has loads of appeal and would do insanely well on the airwaves. 9.5/10

9) Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) - This song is probably the most heartbreaking song you’ll hear all year. Just wait until I get to the acoustic version... The complete version still has a certain vibe to it that paints a haunting picture of its target: abusive relationships. This version lacks the intimacy of the acoustic version, but has a greater urgency. The choruses are soaring and full of noise, with a CHVRCHES-esque vocal line and an enchanting bell synth. The bridge is an explosion of emotion that just sends chills down your spine. There’s something just so intrinsically haunting about the lyrics and their delivery in this song that makes it unforgettable. 10/10

10) Home - After the explosion of ‘Murder Song’, ‘Home’ returns to the minimalism. The song builds the harmonies like that of ‘Runaway’, but it’s largely what makes up the entire song. It includes various layers of percussion and small synths, yet the song’s mainly built around the singing of a thousand layers of vocals. Luckily, Aurora’s vocals are beyond belief and we have another fantastic song. 8.5/10

11) Under The Water - Beginning with strings and Aurora’s flawless voice, this song can’t go wrong, right? Right. This is perhaps the “heaviest” song in terms of how huge it is. The chorus is best described as CHVRCHES meets industrial, huge drums accompanying you as you sink into an abyss that would leave Chelsea Wolfe breathless. The brooding chorus is tantalizingly immense, between pretty calming verses. This song oozes urgency and power, as if a force to be reckoned with. So massive. 10/10

12) Black Water Lilies - Right off of the oppressive choruses of ‘Under The Water’ comes the soothing piece, ‘Black Water Lilies’. I screams color and relaxation, like iamamiwhoami, but done better. The choruses show off Aurora’s falsetto and her voice soars high above the lower synths and piano arpeggios. This song is something you could play in a spa to ease tension - it’s so smooth and entrancing, it’s hard to not just feel cozy listening to it. 10/10

13) Half The World Away - The first of the album’s bonus tracks is a cover of Oasis’ ‘Half The World Away’. Aurora’s version places emphasis on the meaning of wanting something new but still not wanting to let go of the past through her voice. There’s just so much thought and emotion in her disposition, you wouldn’t even need the lyrics to understand the meaning. You can feel it. The song bares a full symphony (including a brass section hidden in there) that gives you the sense that you’re floating through space on a small planet with a piano, á la Muse’s ‘Explorers’. 9.5/10

14) Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (Acoustic) - This version is a thousand times better than the already incredible studio version of the song. Seeing her perform it live adds a whole other dimension to it. The way she reacts to it, as if she’s fighting away the memories that have come back to attack her. The male harmonies are a welcomed surprise in this version, too, but that’s more of an afterthought. This song has the achievement of being the only one this year to make me cry. There’s something so powerful about it and in her delivery that is just so chilling, it’s indescribable. The line “I know he knows that he’s killing me for mercy”, and the crushing chorus that is probably my favorite vocal moment on the entire record, where she sings “he did it all to spare me from the awful things in life that come / And he cries and cries” ALWAYS get me. It’s just too flawless to comment on. This is the best song of 2016 to this point, and it’ll be hard to dethrone it. 10/10

15) Nature Boy (Acoustic) - This is a haunting song. The dark cello and Aurora’s disposition leave a very mysterious track. This kind of thing could be found in the soundtrack of a Lord Of The Rings film. It just has that feel to it - like you’re journeying through a thick forest towards some magic. It has something that’ll make you uneasy but entrance you all the same. A song very well performed on all ends. 10/10

16) Wisdom Cries - Björk is in the house. Aurora’s final track to offer (besides the remix at the end of the album) is dark and icily creepy. It consists of a disjointed electronic beat and a piano like that of ‘Bloom’ by Radiohead. The harmonies scream Björk. They’re dissonant but work so hauntingly. It’ll make you uneasy like ‘Nature Boy’ but in a very different way. There’s fear in this track, in its recording and its output. A chilling way to end this album’s deluxe version. 10/10

Aurora’s debut record can go down in the books as one of the strongest debuts of all time. You could put this on repeat for days and still need more. She has the most enchanting pop presence and the purest voice you’ll ever hear. So much emotion comes out in every track, it toys with you in a way. It’s perfection in music. Her career will be a gracious one, and I, for one, cannot wait for her future releases. There’s just nothing like her out there. A phenomenal debut from a phenomenal performer.

Favorite Tracks: Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (Acoustic), Through The Eyes Of A Child, Under The Water, Conqueror

Least Favorite Track: If I had to pick... Home

Rating: 10/10


Top Albums Of 2016 (so far):

  1. Aurora - All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend
  2. Panic! At The Disco - Death Of A Bachelor
  3. Dream Theater - The Astonishing
  4. Foxes - All I Need
  5. Daughter - Not To Disappear
  6. Lacey Sturm - Life Screams
  7. David Bowie - 
  9. Savages - Adore Life
  10. Kanye West - The Life Of Pablo

Linkin Park - The Hunting Party

Just over a year ago, Linkin Park released their sixth album, The Hunting Party. Coming fresh off of LIVING THINGS and collaborations with Steve Aoki, it was an expected move for the band to continue in their electronic rock-based direction. Then they dropped ‘Guilty All The Same’ in March, and everyone was shocked. Bordering thrash metal, the six minute long riot featured hip-hop legend Rakim and Linkin Park merging their electronica influences with their old, raw sound. And so, The Hunting Party was born and the band yet again changed their game.

For it’s one-year anniversary, here’s a track-by-track review of my opinions on the album. Spoiler: it’s my favorite album of 2014.

1) Keys To The Kingdom: Right from the get-go, you know what you’re in for. Chester screams madly with a distortion effect over another distorted sound. Then that disjointed riff kicks in, and the drums go wild. The verse is a throwback to their electronic influences... There’s just a lot going with this song sonically straight from the beginning. Shinoda’s rap in the second verse brings us back to the aggression of Meteora and Hybrid Theory. Perhaps the best moment of this song is the bridge, a huge buildup to a massive solo and final chorus. While the solo is somewhat wonky (a portion of it questions itself on whether or not it’s in key or not). Some people aren’t very fond of Chester’s voice breaking in the choruses, but I feel like it adds a sense of intensity and danger, as if he’s battling something. If anything, this song proves Linkin Park’s evolution. They’re not the same band writing ‘Burn It Down’ and ‘New Divide’. They’re out on a mission to be visceral and heavy, and they’ve proven themselves right off the bat. 9/10

2) All For Nothing (ft. Page Hamilton): Continuing on with the rebellious riffs is ‘All For Nothing’, featuring Page Hamilton from Helmet. Shinoda delivers some of his best verses since A Thousand Suns, bringing some heavy-hitting lines into the mix. The only real complaint I have with this song is that Hamilton’s voice feels very processed and refined, not akin to his Helmet work where his voice is raw and powerful. It still works in the song, but it could have been better. The solo in this song is one of the only solos on the album that isn’t just “RANDOM-TREMOLO-PICKING” but actually thought out. A great song, all-in-all, but there could have been improvements in the chours (the “You say!” parts do get a bit repetitive at some point). 8.5/10

3) Guilty All The Same (ft. Rakim): Oh boy, this song. From the instant I heard this one, I was in love. It’s almost as if this song is quintessential Linkin Park. It has everything the band embodies: emotionally-packed lyrics, heavy riffs, soaring electronics, a killer verse, and a huge jamming bridge. Rob Bourdon truly shines here, showing his improvements as a drummer since LIVING THINGS - in fact, this album contains his best drumming since ‘The Little Things Give You Away’ and ‘When They Come For Me’! Rakim delivers a massive verse, shredding the record-label industry. I love every part of this song, the long buildup intro, the electronics in the verses and behind the guitars, the HUGE riffs in the bridge. There’s nothing more I can say - Linkin Park truly shines at every element they’ve honed until this point in this song. 10/10

4) The Summoning: A filler track to relax the listener from the mindfuck of the first quarter of the album. Was that really Linkin Park? A disjointed, minute long track that prepares you for the rest of the onslaught that is The Hunting Party6/10

5) War: Did Linkin Park just go punk rock? Yes, yes they did. One of the simpler songs on the album in regards to vocals and guitar, but it’s a punk rock song. Can you really ask for anything more? Bennington belts out screams against war and its effects with his self-written lyrics on top of a fast-paced instrumental. The guitar solo in this one is one of those solos that sound impressive, but it’s really just tremolo picking and hoping for the best. It still sounds awesome, though. Another testament to Linkin Park being able to smash and genre they choose to. 8.5/10

6) Wastelands: Hello there, Meteora. While ‘Wastelands’ may be one of the more underwhelming songs on the album in terms of lyrics, what it does it does well. Shinoda delivers more brutal verses and Chester delivers another big chorus - the classic Linkin Park formula. One of my guilty pleasures in this song are the synths from the second verse onwards. I feel they add a lot of color, especially in the second verse and bridge. Other than that, Bourdon delivers another foot-stomping, awesome drum line as the rest of the band storms in with the big riffs. 8.5/10

7) Until It’s Gone: This song means a lot to me. Around the time the album was released, my grandfather had just passed. It was the first major family loss for me. All his life (and throughout my life), my family saw him as evil and abusive. While it’s not truly a lie, we never saw him for who he was until he was gone. This song really clicked with me around that time. Personal connection aside, this song is beautiful. Melodically and instrumentally it’s one of the best songs on the album. The part that throws me off about it are the lyrics. There was so much opportunity for it to be amazing. With better lyrics, it might have been one of the best songs on the album. Beggars can’t be choosers, I suppose. It’s a beautiful song sonically, and a song I’ll hold close to me for a long time. 9/10

8) Rebellion (ft. Daron Malakian): Let’s get this straight: we went from thrash-esque riffs, to a Helmet song, to punk rock, took a trip to Meteora, and now we’re listening to System Of A Down?! This album really has it all! Another amazing song from this album, I have the same ideas about as I did with ‘Guilty All The Same’. It’s less quintessentially Linkin Park, though. Rather, it’s quintessentially The Hunting Party. It’s everything the album embodies: heavy, visceral, in-your-face, amazing drumming, electronically subtle, and so much more. Daron Malakian brings the SOAD influence in strong, his signature Drop C and hammering techniques shine bright on this track. Chester’s brutal screaming in the bridge shows that he still has it - he may even better than he ever was! Mike does a great song singing the song, and all in all ends up to an epic track. 10/10

9) Mark The Graves: Now, we delve into some progressive rock. What’s going on, Porcupine Tree? When listening to this song, you don’t know what to expect. It’s all over the place. The intro is just massive, huge and in your face. Shinoda’s countdown is an epic moment. The verses bring in atmospheric guitars that surround the listener, then the guitars kick back in for the huge choruses, which have Chester and Mike singing pretty high - Mike’s backing vocals are some of his best! The best part of this song may not even be the structure or the vocals, but the fact that you can actually hear the bass - something unheard of (pun intended) in a Linkin Park song! This song embodies Linkin Park’s evolution - to think how much an album difference can make. If this were their previous effort, you’d be listening to the synth-packed ‘Skin To Bone’. Instead, you’re listening to a progressive rock epic, intense and atmospheric. Quite a change, if you ask me. 9.5/10

10) Drawbar (ft. Tom Morello): When you think of a Tom Morello collaboration, this is probably the opposite of what you expect. It’s not a heavy, disjointed wall of guitars. Rather, it’s an atmospheric, almost creepy journey through a dream. Mike on piano, Tom doing his thing with a weird effected guitar, and Rob jamming away with a march-inspired drums. The outro of the song, the piano instrumental, might be the most beautiful moment on the album. The ‘Final Masquerade’ progression chokes me up sometimes. It’s a perfect way to start the final quarter of the album - perhaps the best run of consecutive Linkin Park songs in their entire discography. 9/10

11) Final Masquerade: I’d be lying if I said this song doesn’t make me emotional. It’s a beautiful, emotional journey through a love story. Is it a good bye? Is it a “see you soon?” It embodies so many perspectives and emotions - it’s more of a love song than Taylor Swift has ever mustered up. The solo is another BEAUTIFUL moment - another reprise of the song’s chorus. Nothing about this song is not perfect. Perhaps Linkin Park’s most emotional song in their discography. 10/10

12) A Line In The Sand: There’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for this. This is Linkin Park’s The Odyssey (not only because the working title was ‘Odyssey’). It begins like we’re back on A Thousand Suns. Then the drums kick in, and instantly we’re back on The Hunting Party. Everything about this song is perfect, just like ‘Final Masquerade’. The pounding drums, the callback to ‘Guilty All The Same’ in the choruses, the atmosphere of the intro and outro, the energy of the guitars... I can go on and on. The breakdown - oh, the breakdown - has Linkin Park fully delve into Metallica and trash metal territory. The tapping solo in the outro is something else Linkin Park has never done, but execute perfectly. What you’ve done with this song is taken their two best albums, A Thousand Suns and The Hunting Party and created their love child. This is what the next album needs to be. A colossal, epic journey of visceral energy and atmospheres. If this isn’t one of Linkin Park’s best songs, I’ll be damned. You’ll need to sit down and reconsider what you just listened to after this one. It’s that huge. 10/10

The Hunting Party is more than just an album; it’s a statement. It is pure visceral energy and emotion packed into twelve songs. It is a long journey and an experience that you can’t get from anything else. It makes you feel alive and makes you question what you are. It’s really a cruel reality. While it’s not the best Linkin Park album (that honor still goes to A Thousand Suns), it’s a close second. Linkin Park does what they do best - change and evolve. There’s no predicting where they’ll go next - if it’s in this direction, only good things lie ahead.

Favorite Tracks: Guilty All The Same, A Line In The Sand, Final Masquerade, Rebellion

Least Favorite Tracks: The Summoning, War, Wastelands

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

Muse - Drones

As civilization moves ever further into the era of technology, we begin to make everything mechanical. Including ourselves. The creation of drones allows for silent murder - the controller sitting behind a monitor, aiming their strike on their target. The controller of the drone is influenced by its handler, and so forth. Everything has become so monotonous, so controlled and contrived, as far as to say we have become so dead inside that killing is just another check off of the to-do list.

Muse explores this concept with their latest album, Drones, a concept album exploring the journey of a protagonist trapped in a world like this (that is, a more acute approach on the whole “mechanical killing” world than ours is at the moment). It follows a vivid story, from losing all emotion, to becoming a human drone, to fighting against the system, and ultimately finding love again despite being broken down so many times.

1) Dead Inside: I’m not afraid to admit that I was skeptical about this one at first. Muse had been promoting a “back to basics” and “heavy, guitar oriented” album and had released ‘Psycho’ only a short while before. Then they dropped ‘Dead Inside’, which is almost the opposite of what everyone expected. This song, has, however, REALLY grown on me. The funky sound is great and the U2-esque breakdown is just beautiful. You can really hear the emotion in Bellamy’s vocals in this one. The story is introduced in this song, giving an insight to how the protagonist has reached this point in his or her life: they lose hope and all concept of love. This makes them vulnerable, for what comes next... 9/10

2) [Drill Sergeant]: Nothing much to say about this one. It almost feels unnecessary, nothing much other than a drill sergeant yelling at the next “super drone”. It doesn’t deserve a 0, though. It builds up the hype for one of the biggest moments on the album... 5/10

3) Psycho: That goddamn riff. I still remember blowing up when the famous “0305030″ riff that has been a staple riff to jam to live after the likes of ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ and ‘Map Of The Problematique’ had finally become its own song. While the instrumentation really, really brings out the best in this song, it’s hard to say the lyrics are particularly good. You have to understand the perspective of it, first, before making a judgement on the lyrical content: the drill sergeant. In this song, the drill sergeant is drilling these thoughts that the protagonist is nothing more than a killing machine. “Your ass belongs to me now” does have its own charm, though. Can’t have a good album without the one meme-generating moment, can you? As a whole, the song grooves throughout, keeping the listener bobbing their head and ready for the riff to kick back in. The brass being brought to the front in the final chorus is a great moment, too. 8.5/10

4) Mercy: At this point in the story, the protagonist realizes that they’ve lost something. Theirself. They become aware of what has become of them after the brainwashing in ‘Psycho’, and beg for mercy (who’d have thought?) against what they’ve become. Sonically, this song is comparable to Black Holes & Revelations’ ‘Starlight’, albeit heavier in many ways. Muse’s synth arpeggios return in a big way on this track, a welcome element in any Muse song. Admittedly, like ‘Dead Inside’, this track took a bit of growing on me. Everything feels in place and adds to a very enjoyable listening experience before the truly heavier parts of the album kick in. 8.5/10

5) Reapers: This is what Muse fans were waiting for. It’s like a wonderful mashup of the rocking of Absolution, the electronics and vocoders of The 2nd Law, and just pure rock ‘n’ roll. The song begins with an awesome tapping riff intro and progresses into an onslaught of pedals and modulation on the guitar end of things. Bellamy really shines with his falsettos during the choruses. The massive outro cannot be overlooked either - one of the most memorable (and jam-worthy) parts of the album. Muse meets Rage Against The Machine! Thematically, the protagonist realizes the truth behind the mindless killing and the danger and brutality behind it. 9/10

6) The Handler: Muse? Progressive rock? Well, hello there, Origin Of Symmetry. With an absolutely crushingly huge riff in to kick this song off (the Drop D is strong with this one), you know from the get-go that you’re in for a monster song. The chorus is everything Muse should be - heavy, falsettos, you name it. The bridge is reminiscent of another relatively-heavy Muse song, In Your World. No complaints there. The quantum entanglement with ‘Showbiz’ from the band’s debut album right after the bridge is an incredible moment, sends chills down my spine. Another “ah-ha!” moment: “behold my trance formation.” Oh Matt, how clever you are. Doesn’t make much sense, but points for trying and admittedly posing an interesting play on words. The protagonist no longer wants to be held down by the controlling, and seeks rebellion. Ultimately, this is my favorite song on the album, nearly beat out by ‘The Globalist’ because of that bridge, but we’ll get into that later. 10/10

7) [JFK]: Finally, treading into some unmarked territory. Unless you watched the leaked “Making Of:” featuring ‘Defector’ and ‘The Globalist’, for which I’d scold you for, but that’d make me a hypocrite. The song features a speech by President John F. Kennedy regarding the spread of communism, which carry a relevant meaning in today’s society, not necessarily to the intended message. According to Mr. Bellamy, the track, “...talks about the human spirit, freedom, and independence...” and “where everything transitions.” Accompanied by a lovely string version of the ‘Defector’ solo, this song is very beautiful. 8/10

8) Defector: Based on prior reviews of the song, no one expected this one to be as good as it is. Muse meets the grandiose of Queen meets the riffs of AC/DC. Bellamy preaches, “Free / Yeah I’m free / From SO-CIE-TEE!” in the most operatic way possible while still remaining subtle and massive at the same time. A chorus of a thousand voices, if you will. The solo utilizes some Whammy pedals, which is also welcome. The riff comes in pretty big, too! The protagonist begins to realize their freedom in this portion of the story. 9/10

9) Revolt: It’s hard to not associate this song’s melody to an 80s sitcom. It just fits so perfectly. This one also didn’t immediately bring me in, but I was hooked by the end. The song is built on charm and some heavy powerchords. Bellamy does great vocal work here. That falsetto coming out of the bridge is phenomenal. Nothing much more to say about the sonic elements of this song! Here, the protagonist encourages others around him to stand up against the system and find back. 8.5/10

10) Aftermath: You couldn’t have prepared me for how beautiful this song ended up being. An ambient journey where you can feel the dramatic atmosphere of the aftermath of war. Amidst the destruction and strife, the protagonist finds love again - the opposite of what ‘Dead Inside’ brought to the plot. This song is so serene, imagine Hendrix ft. an Italian Orchestra. In Muse-terminology, imagine ‘Blackout’ meets ‘Hoodoo’. Simply fantastic in every regard. 9.5/10

11) The Globalist: Ask any Muser what song they weren’t prepared for on Drones. It’s ‘The Globalist’. The claimed sequel to the beloved ‘Citizen Erased’ and a ten-minute odyssey of progressive rock. While a sequel to ‘Citizen Erased’ only in that it feels segmented into “parts” (it’s more of a heavier sequel to ‘Explorers’), it still a massive track. The symphonic intro akin to Ennio Morricone’s ‘L’arena’ builds a beautiful and haunting image building up to Matt kicking in with the vocals. The first part of the song (up until 4:28) is a beautiful dream, and suddenly, the ‘Helsinki Jam’ riff kicks in full force. It’s in your face and the operatic backing adds to the intensity. It all counts down into the heaviest territory Muse has ever delved into with a Spanish-esque guitar solo that breaks down into a piano ballad. Wild from start to finish! The story of this song is almost separate from that of the entirety of Drones - perhaps it acts as a backstory of sorts. It is its own narrative on the rise and fall of a dictator. ‘The Globalist’ ends with the thought-provoking lyrics, “I just wanted, / I just needed to be loved.” All a dictator ever wants is some attention. Before you can ask for more, the song ends just as subtly as it began, leaving you reconsidering what rollercoaster you just experienced. 10/10 (note: it COULD have been a smart move to split this song into two separate songs, but I’m not complaining.)

12) Drones: Nothing more than a beautifully layered a cappella track featuring Bellamy sending off the album in a sort of prayer. It’s a statement on the casualties of this war of drones - the voices of those who perished and those who will be forgotten without justice. It’s pretty dramatic, really: they’ve been killed by this machine of a human, who had no empathy towards them as they pushed the shiny read button. A big statement on what war has become, and what it can and will evolve into, should we continue in this direction. The album concludes on one final “Amen” as the story comes to a close. The album could not have ended on a more perfect note. 9/10

Muse delivered one monster of an album, fulfilling their promises in more ways than one. They returned to the basics of who they were: guitar driven songs, synth arpeggios and pianos splashed here and there, and grandiose melodies driven by huge choruses. Sure, it may not be as fine tuned or revolutionary as Origin Of Symmetry was, but, then again, can it be? This album combined the best of what Muse had to offer throughout their career, and I couldn’t ask for anything more out of this album. It told a story and made its mark on society. Here come the drones!

Favorite Tracks: The Handler, The Globalist, Aftermath, Reapers, Dead Inside

Least Favorite Tracks: [Drill Sergeant]

Overall Rating: 9.5/10


My Top 10 Albums of 2015:

  1. Muse - Drones
  2. 10 Years - From Birth To Burial
  3. Fall Out Boy - American Beauty / American Psycho
  4. Halestorm - Into The Wild Life
  5. Zs - Xe
  6. Joey Bada$$ - B4.DA.$$
  7. Purity Ring - Another Eternity
  8. Liturgy - The Ark Work
  9. Lightning Bolt - Fantasy Empire
  10. Kamasi Washington - The Epic

10 Years - From Birth To Burial

It’s hard to find a band these days that so definitely have their respected place in a genre, yet create music with their own sound making it hard to place a label on it. For alternative rock, one such example is 10 Years. Ever since 2002, Jesse Hasek and co. have been releasing powerful and heavy songs on each and every release. Perhaps one of their most commercially successful releases (at least based on its day-of-release), 10 Years delivered another album that’s definitely a force to be reckoned with in their discography.

Haven’t done one of these in awhile, so here’s a track-by-track review (for those tl;dr peeps, there’s a wrap-up paragraph at the end instead if you’d prefer):

1) From Birth To Burial - Starting off ominously with nothing but an effected guitar, piano, and Hasek’s vocals, you can tell from the get go that you’re in for something big. The song picks up with a punchy distorted guitar and drum with Hasek delivering a fast-paced verse reminiscent of Enter Shikari. Then, the huge riff kicks in. The massive chorus, “We’re dying in stereo! / From birth to burial!” demands your attention, and the massive instrumental keeps your heart racing and head bobbing. Not to mention, the songwriting is top notch, as to be expected with 10 Years. A triumphant and perfect way to start this album. 10/10

2) Selling Skeletons - Opening up atmospherically before exploding into an in-your-face riff, Selling Skeletons is very reminiscent of the band’s “Minus The Machine” era. The bridge of the song sees Hasek desperately growling some high notes, with his voice slightly breaking adding to the intensity of the track (similarly to Linkin Park’s Keys To The Kingdom). The short orchestral refrain before the final chorus provides an intimate moment with the listener before one last burst of energy from the song. 8/10

3) Vertigo - This song is perhaps the most “average” track on the album. There’s nothing really special about it; but don’t get me wrong, it’s a great song. The chorus has some great guitars and the lo-fi drum intro is a bit of a refresher, but it sounds like as typical of a 10 Years song as others. The lyrics are alright, relating to the confusion and spinning to the battle that is love. A bit of an average track, but a good track nonetheless. 7/10

4) Triggers and Tripwires - BRING ON THE HEAVY! 10 Years brings in some djent/post-hardcore vibes in this one. This song is essentially three minutes of brooding riffs, angry verses and screaming. The bridge/outro is one of the most badass riffs I’ve heard all year. There’s truly not much more to say about this track, it does everything it does heavy and amazingly. 10/10

5) Luna - From the way the track opens, you can tell it’ll be a bit different. 10 Years channels its inner Chino Moreno here. Bringing some melodically pleasing vocals here in both the verses and choruses, Hasek showcases his clean vocals on this one. Guitars are kept to a minimum here - it seems this was Hasek’s track to take full lead of with his voice. This song could easily be a Palms track with its lovely layering, the verses even have a Crosses vibe. Beautiful track. 9/10

6) Crimson Kiss - Aaaaannnnndddd straight back into the riffs! This song borders progressive metal at its core. Opening with some tortured screaming, you immediately know you’re back in the brute force of this album. The layered screams in the chorus reminds me of letlive. or Arcane Roots, in the best way possible. Something about those words, “Killer creator / Blow me away / I am the loaded gun” feels like something to scream to the sky when you’re mad (akin to “Is this who you are? / Some sweet violent urge / A weak fallen man / With the promise of an end!” from Thirty Seconds To Mars’ Fallen) The brutal screaming to end this track wraps up the whole headbanging extravaganza in this track. 10/10

7) The River - Nothing like a heavy, relentless track to tell you about religious and political injustices of our society. It follows the story of a citizen forced to do the work of those with power, and being confused on what path he can follow, whether it be religious, political, or monetary. The bridge of the track is perhaps the best wrap up of this idea: “Chaos comes from the cross / Monetary masquerade / Religious rat race / Do or die and down the drain / Fight or flight parade.” If the lyrics aren’t good enough for you, the chorus riff is essentially a continuation of the outro riff of Triggers and Tripwires - how could you not jam to it? 9/10

8) Ashes - Bringing back the piano! Admittedly, I find the first verse a little strange - not that it’s bad, but something just doesn’t sit well with me in regards to it. Perhaps the “embryo” and “down the rabbit hole” combo for some reason? Regardless, the bass and guitar do a lovely pairing of notes together (it’s also nice to hear the bass brought up). The guitar sound shares resemblance to a dulcimer in the section after the second verse (really, it could’ve been taken right out of Botanist’s “VI: Flora”!). Another pretty characteristic song for 10 Years - the chorus especially. 7/10

9) Survivors? - Channeling Chino Moreno again, are we? Perhaps taken a more focused rock influence on Crosses with this one. This track is very ocean-oriented thematically. The narrator searching for survivors on the vast ocean (a metaphor for the impossible game of love, likely). A very simple, yet captivating song. 7.5/10

10) Miscellanea - Ah, yes. The lead single of the album revitalizes the energy for the end of the album once more, immediately kicking off with that massive riff. Hasek sings really high in this one, his voice cracking as a result. In my opinion, much like in Selling Skeletons, this adds to the desperate, visceral nature of the song. The piano interlude just before the second chorus provides a short reprieve, right as the madness kicks back again. Then, back to piano after the bridge ends! And this time, it beautiful segues into the final track of the album. 10/10

11) Moisture Residue - When I first listened to this song, it gave me chills. The piano is beautiful if somewhat repetitive, and Hasek’s wonderful vocal performance here lends itself hand in hand for the track. The song builds up into spiraling symphonics and closes out the album in a haunting fashion, almost as if the whole story hasn’t come full circle left. As if something is left to be continued. 10/10

10 Years has had a history of releasing powerful and memorable albums with each effort. This hasn’t stopped here. “From Birth To Burial” stands as a powerful force in their discography, perhaps not at the top but definitely not near the bottom in terms of ranking. In it is everything you’d expect from 10 Years and more. They bring out their influences, try new methods of expressing themselves musically, and even exploring some uncharted territory in terms of sonic growth. One of the strongest releases this year, by far.

Favorite Tracks: From Birth To Burial, Triggers and Tripwires, Crimson Kiss, Miscellanea, Moisture Residue

Least Favorite Tracks: Vertigo, Ashes

Overall Rating: 9/10

My Current Top 10 Albums of 2014:

  1. Fall Out Boy - American Beauty/American Psycho
  2. 10 Years - From Birth To Burial
  3. Halestorm - Into The Wild Life
  4. Darlia - Petals
  5. Zs - Xe
  6. Joey Bada$$ - B4.DA.$$
  7. Periphery - Juggernaut: Alpha
  8. Liturgy - The Ark Work
  9. Purity Ring - Another Eternity
  10. Lightning Bolt - Fantasy Empire

Foo Fighters - Sonic Highways

"Rock is dead," they said. Oh, were they wrong. This year alone has been filled with some huge rock releases, being topped off by none other than the Foo Fighters. Foo's eight album (in case you didn't pick up on the 8's scattered around the cover), Sonic Highways is a strong one, an appropriate follow up to 2011's award winning Wasting Light. Recorded in eight different cities, it holds true to Foo's sound while inhabiting every location at which it was recorded in. Full of huge, arena-filling moments, as well as having the down-to-earth, mellow moments, this album is nothing short of amazing.

1) Something From Nothing - The track begins as a light guitar track, a contrasting gentleness to what becomes a track that would probably punch you in the face if it had a physical form. The track gradually builds up in an epic fashion, beginning quietly and becoming a huge jam only halfway through. What makes this track is Mr. Grohl's huge "ALL RISE!" to conclude the bridge, reasserting himself as one of rock's strongest vocalists. A very powerful track on the album, one of the best on the album. 9/10

2) The Feast and The Famine - Immediately out of the eargasm that is Something, comes this upbeat, relatively standard rock track. While one of the more safer tracks on the record, it provides a huge sound all the same. The drum track does an excellent job of driving this track, understated yet powerful at the same time. Also, it's necessary to yet again point out how great Mr. Grohl's vocals are, specifically during the chorus. The song concludes with a powerful, almost thrash-esque breakdown of sorts, letting out on a strong note. 8/10

3) Congregation - This song is very reminiscent of the Foo Fighter's older sound, among the rest. The lyrics even hint at the classic rock-sounding track, with, "A jukebox generation..." The chorus is complimented with a great, happy riff that just screams "Victory!". The song has an overall upbeat tone to it, speaking to the spirit of the song. The bridge does a great job of showing off both Foo's ability to buildup a track flawlessly and the great guitar work that went into the album. Definitely a great jam, I can see it being a very "American" anthem to be blasted throughout households everywhere on Independence Day (coincidentally, they'll be performing at the 4th of July. Hard to get much more American than that). 8/10

4) What Did I Do?/God as My Witness - The track starts off with a burst of energy, probably as a filler in order to dispel the excitement from the album for a brief moment. This is one of the first moments on the album where the piano is brought to the front of the mixing, allowing for an intimate moment in an album constantly exploding with energy. Complimented by guitar chords, the track builds up to another very Foo Fighter-esque track. Once the "God as My Witness" portion of the song kicks in, it becomes an anthem for the lost. "God is my witness / Yeah, it's going to heal my soul tonight." A lot of emotion is clearly put into this portion of the track, and it pays off as the track doesn't lose any power while it fades out. 8/10

5) Outside - This track begins by introducing what is personally my favorite baseline on the record, very groovy. This song is mixed in favor of the instrumental taking power, but the vocals follow a great melody and have some wonderful meaning behind them. The first guitar solo on the song is an unforgettable moment on the album, the two guitar tracks harmonizing with each other fantastically before subsiding into the groovy baseline again, this time complimented by some bluesy guitar. The guitars yet again build up for a second, epic reprise of the guitar solos. Honestly, one of the most epic moments on the entire album. 9/10

6) In the Clear - One of the most uplifting riffs on the album right here. The big rock sound complimented by the addition of a brass section reminds me of myself, walking down the streets of a big city, about to fulfill my dreams. Gotta let each note inhabit you, man. Dave Grohl reminds you in the chorus that now that he's found success doesn't mean that the struggling is over. There's a constant battle between yourself and society that will never end. In the end, once you've fulfilled your dreams, it's all worth it. 9/10

7) Subterranean - Opening with a string section and acoustic guitar, you can tell this one will be the ballad of the album. The term "subterranean", in the context of the album, refers to digging down deep inside within yourself to find who you really are. The track seamlessly transitions from the sad, reminiscing first verse and chorus to a guitar-heavy track. The ascending baseline in this portion of the song is another great lower-register moment to pay attention to. The song soars throughout, concluding with a synth that transitions wonderfully into the next track. This track seems to lack something that the others do: a powerful vocal line. While they are more centered around the lyrics, there's no real power to them making it one of the weaker tracks on the record. 7/10

8) I Am a River - My personal favorite on the entire record, the song transitions from the synth ending of Subterranean and adding a wonderful delayed guitar into the mix. The formula of adding the drums and more consecutive layers after the first chorus, in this case the pre-chorus, of the track continues to prove effective. One of my favorite moments of this track is, in fact, the pre-chorus, in the sense that it reminds me of My Hero, in that uplifting (and even in a somewhat melodic) sort of way. The chorus could definitely be better, but Dave Grohl crying out, "I! I am a river!" in such a heartfelt way makes up for it. Everything after the first chorus of the track is full of emotion, every note, every beat. The strings coming in at the last part adds to the beauty and power of this track. I wouldn't have chosen a better way to end this incredible album. 10/10

The Foo Fighters are often acclaimed by many as the leaders of today's rock circuit, and for very good reason. With each effort, they continue to grow and expand their huge sound, all the while staying true to their roots. Each album proves that they can create some of the greatest moments in music history, as well as bringing true emotion to the plate. This album is nothing short of incredible.

Overall Rating: 9/10

Thom Yorke - Tomorrow's Modern Boxes

In today's day and age, music is flourishing like it never has before, despite record sales and all the other physical charges being utter crap (thanks, record labels!). Music discovery is booming, with avenues such as Soundcloud and Bandcamp giving new artists the chances they need. However, who ever said you can't teach an old dog a new trick? Recently, major artists have started taking music distribution to the next level, introducing new methods that many artists have not dared try. Most notably, U2 distributing "Songs of Innocence" via iTunes, to which the Internet responded "Who the hell is U3 and why are they on my iTunes?" While they essentially "forced" their music upon every Apple user, they did achieve quite a feat - over 81 million people have experienced the album. Maybe giving music away for free is the REAL way of making some cash? Probably not. But that didn't stop Thom Yorke for going to the next step: releasing an album through piracy. Tomorrow's Modern Boxes, the first album to be released via pay-gate, was released on BitTorrent to millions of listeners. Though, while it may have reached these unimaginable amount of people (aren't there only 6 million people anyway? I call hacks), were these people satisfied? Hell if I know. Here's how I felt:

1) A Brain in a Bottle: This song starts off the album strong. Musically, it's relatively simple:  a soundscape of synths and vocals. Something that this song does very well is layers. Each sound is layered very nicely, making it almost impossible to distinguish different channels, though it all adds up into a fantastic experience sonically. All in all, my favorite on the album. 10/10

2) Guess Again!: This one has a nice funky beat. Grooves for days. Lyrically, this isn't too impressive but the subtle vocal approach makes up for it. The atmospheric background is also great, very haunting. The piano is also creepily awesome (i made pun), love that. Solid track, overall. 8/10

3) Interference: My other favorite on the album, though there's not too much to say about it. The very light vocal approach adds a very innocent tone to the piece. Very atmospheric track. 9/10

4) The Mother Lode: mr. yorke cant speel At this point, I can say things I've already said before: nice soundscape, atmospheric, etc. What's unique about this track (at this point in the album) is that the piano is especially weird in this one. I like. The vocals are equally haunting. There's also a particularly interesting synth line in this one. Weird track overall, though it definitely says what it needs to say. 8/10

5) Truth Ray: Not much to say here - the soundscape has a more "brassy" sound than the previous songs (and most of the following ones, as well), making it a bit more open sounding and entrancing. Abandoned subway/factory vibe. If there was like a robot rave there. Yeah. 7/10

6) There Is No Ice (For My Water): Well that's just too bad, Thom. My least favorite track on the album, a 7 minute track that just drones on. It's charmingly weird but it starts becoming uninteresting after awhile. Its one saving grace is that it has a nice piano outro. 5/10

7) Pink Section: I liked this one because it continued the lovely piano that TINI concluded with. The entrancing piano starts becoming glitchy, with random bursts of sound interspersed in there. Adds an interesting element that keeps your ears intent. 7/10

8) Nose Grows Some: To conclude the three-song medley and the entire album, and it builds off of the glitchyness and noise that Pink Section had created. The song has a nice message: I'll stay with you no matter what, through thick and through thin ("But you're just another drop / It is metal and it's cold / We'll wait upon the rocks, I am waiting on the tide / Through my back doors / If I'm blowing myself away under half fluorescent lights / Two birds on a wire / Your nose just grows / And grows / Did I grow up tall / I will be with you") Yay for Pinnocchio and his allusion to lying. 7/10

This album is centered around its soundscapes over it's lyrical or vocal material, which is very weak as compared to what Yorke can do as displayed by his other projects. more falsetto pls. For the Radiohead fans, consider this a continuation of The King Of Limbs in a more experimental direction. This is electronica level Yorke. In the end, I was pleased with the album as a whole, only partially disliking one of the tracks. My only wish is that his next effort steers away from the soundscape-dependant tracks and opens up to more open-sounding and even rock influenced tracks.

Favorite(s): A Brain in a Bottle, Interference

Least Favorite(s): There Is No Ice (For My Water)

Overall Rating: 8/10