Tech N9ne - The Storm

Tech N9ne may be a sort of meme in the hip-hop industry, but his new record The Storm may help him achieve more of a serious position as an artist, because, for the most part, it's a pretty solid record.

The Storm is a bumpy ride, but it has its promising moments. The record's start is fairly strong, 'Godspeed' opening up with some good ideas. The first verse is pretty funny, which doesn't really help solidify his position, but that's only a small fault. Much of the rest of the track actually goes pretty hard, filled with some drive and confidence. 'Need Jesus' featuring Stevie Stone and JL follows through, this one really bringing the best of Tech N9ne out. The flow has a Jamaican vibe to it, adding some color and taste to the track. The hook is dark both melodically and sonically. The song is overall just darker, and it pays off as Tech N9ne has a rock and metal past.

That past is referenced towards the end of the record in 'The Needle.' It's one of the two tracks that help bring the album back up from a low. There are plenty of name drops in this track, from Jimmy Kimmel to Slipknot and Deftones. This track is thankful, discussing the memorable moments of N9ne's career. It has a solid flow, too, really standing out from the rest of the record. The final track 'The Long Way' flows with some average pop hip-hop melodies, but the instrumental helps bring it all together, ringing sweetly and dramatically under the verses an chorus.

A lot of the record is unfortunately quite forgettable. There's not really a truly awful song on the record, but there's not much that stands out. Sandwiched between very solid tracks are many run-of-the-mill tracks that don't make any memorable mark while listening through it. There are tracks with promise, too, that don't quite live up to what they could. The most pristine example is 'Starting To Turn' featuring Jonathan Davis; Davis brings all the Korn vibes into play, creepy instrumental included. Tech N9ne sounds like he's back in his element to, being carried by the heavier instrumental. The song proceeds nicely, but after the first chorus, everything falls apart before coming to a very disappointing end. The brassy instrumental of 'I Get It Now' also feels like it could've been a lot more. There's nothing other than the brass elements making the song standout, which is really disappointing. There are songs that just feel uninspired, too. All that needs to be said for that is the lyric "I'm like the L in salmon / They can't hear me." It speaks for itself.

Tech N9ne has had a long career. It doesn't sound like he's quite ready to call it quits yet, though. The Storm has a lot going for it, and while it may be largely disappointing, there are promising moments. There's something. You can give it that much.

Favorite Tracks: The Needle, Need Jesus

Least Favorite Track: No Runnin To Ya Mama, Starting To Turn

Rating: 54 / 100

2nd Quarter Of 2016 in Music - Wrap Up

2016 is still rolling by, and the albums are getting more diverse. Here's what I've listened to over the last three months (April - June) and links to the albums I've reviewed.

5-Star Albums (8.5 - 10)

4-Star Albums (6.5 - 8)

3-Star Albums (4.5 - 6)

2-Star Albums (2.5 - 4)

  • None!

1-Star Albums (0 - 2)


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. Gojira - Magma
  9. Thrice - To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere
  10. Architects All Our Gods Have Abandoned Us

Top Songs Of 2016 (so far)

  1. AURORA - 'Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (Acoustic)'
  2. Radiohead - 'True Love Waits'
  3. Deftones - 'Hearts/Wires'
  4. Radiohead - 'Daydreaming' *
  5. Panic! At The Disco - 'Emperor's New Clothes'
  6. Foxes - 'Better Love'
  7. Lacey Sturm - 'Rot'
  8. AURORA - 'Through The Eyes Of A Child'
  9. Deftones - 'Phantom Bride'
  10. Thrice - 'Black Honey'

Once again, thanks for reading our reviews and following us! :) There's a lot more to come. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like our Facebook page so you don't miss anything!

1st Quarter Of 2016 in Music - Wrap Up

2016 is off to an extremely strong start. Here’s just a list of all of the new albums I’ve listened to from January to March and links to reviews, if applicable.

Doing it a bit different this time, doing it by rating, from greatest to worst. Alphabetical just seemed trivial.

5-Star Albums (8.5 - 10)

4-Star Albums (6.5 - 8)

3-Star Albums (4.5 - 6)

2-Star Albums (2.5 - 4)

  • Killswitch Engage - Incarnate: 4
  • Cozz - Nothin Personal: 3.5

1-Star Albums (0 - 2)

  • None! :D


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. Deftones - Gore
  4. Dream Theater - The Astonishing
  5. Foxes - All I Need
  6. Daughter - Not To Disappear
  7. Lacey Sturm - Life Screams
  8. HÆLOS - Full Circle
  9. Weezer - Weezer (White Album)
  10. LIGHTS - Midnight Machines

Top Songs Of 2016 (so far)

  1. AURORA - 'Murder Song (5, 4, 3, 2, 1) (Acoustic)'
  2. Panic! At The Disco - 'Emperor's New Clothes'
  3. Deftones - 'Hearts/Wires'
  4. Foxes - 'Better Love'
  5. Lacey Sturm - 'Rot'
  6. AURORA - 'Through The Eyes Of A Child'
  7. Deftones - 'Phantom Bride'
  8. Dream Theater - 'Moment Of Betrayal'
  9. Daughter - 'New Ways'
  10. Jack Garratt - 'My House Is Your Home'

Thanks for reading my reviews and following! :) A lot more to come, I’m nowhere near stopping. Follow me on Twitter or add me on Facebook too, while you’re at it.

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.

Deftones - 'Prayers/Triangles'

First track review - let’s do it.

After a four year studio silence since 2012′s Koi No Yokan, Deftones are finally back and spacier than ever. Due out in April, Gore will be the band’s eighth album and the lead single, ‘Prayers/Triangles’, which also serves as the intro track of the album is now out, featuring the band taking a very progressive turn.

The song begins with vibes that serve as a throwback to Around The Furs ‘Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)’, beginning without climax, but with a reverberating guitar that sounds like something from the unreleased Eros (with the indications from ‘Smile’) and a light drum beat following it. The chorus bursts in powerfully, huge and demanding, every element commanding attention. The song has some of Deftones’ most atmospheric sounds the band has ventured into, the song sounding huge and expansive. The songs epic conclusion has the song turn full gear into a heavy wall of sound that sounds crushing and huge. The song does suffer a little from mixing inconsistencies, though it makes up for it by being so big.

This song has a lot going on lyrically, too. Chino Moreno’s vocals are full of tension in the verses and enchanting in the choruses, while still being packed full of anger and beg for something in the bridge and outro. The lyrics kick off intense right off the bat: “There's a new strange godless demon awake inside of me / There's a force divine terrorizing the ages I keep while we dream.” The song seems to be about a realization that eats its narrator up, as they realize the realities of it. The “new strange godless demon” is the thoughts they have that they don’t want to accept, but know is true. The “force divine terrorizing the ages I keep while I dream” are those thoughts tampering with the truth they want to believe. The chorus cries, “Prayers, lay it on the line / You will never be free... / Triangles, placed in your mind / You will never be free,” the narrator battles between the wishes they have for reality and the actual truth they must begin to accept. The bridge cries: “Beware / Now we will never walk this street again / The only time I feel I'm not alone / I pull my heart out, wave it in the air” and the narrator lets his true thoughts out as the truth solidifies within them. Chino specializes in all things about love and sensuality, and never fails to provide sexual yet provoking lyrics in every one of his songs, especially Deftones material.

Gore is set to be a standout in Deftones’ discography, and in all of music in 2016. The band seem to be taking a different approach to their music. While this song is definitely a Deftones song (you can just tell), there is something unique about it. Perhaps its spaciousness, though that is reminiscent both of Saturday Night Wrist and Eros. Only time will tell what Deftones have in store for this album. It’s bound to be massive.

Loma Prieta - Self-Portrait

Have you ever been hit by a freight train? If you have, congratulations on surviving. If you haven’t, Loma Prieta can give you a taste of what exactly that feels like. This San Francisco band has returned, following up their massive 2012 album, I.V. with Self Portrait. Between the massive walls of noise, Loma Prieta is back with a more refined sound and a thicker soundscape to rock your mind.

Going into this album is like being thrown into a pit, full of angry, hungry wolves, ready to tear your flesh apart. Some freight train collision, huh? The opening track, “Love” begins this monster album on a mild note, beginning with arpeggiated (albeit, distorted) guitar before screaming vocals kick in, barreling drums soon following. This is about as soft as it gets on this album. “Black Square” follows up “Love”, beginning with thundering drums a feedback buildup to more angry screams. The chorus brings us to the point of no return on the album - the distorted powerchords under extreme vocals are upon us. The album continues to march forward, each track being another punch in the face. The album, in fact, gets even crazier as it continues. “Merciless” is probably one of the most mind-bogglingly epic tracks on the album, beginning with what could be passed as a punk version of the intro to Deftones’ “Change (In The House Of Flies)”, this song embodies what hardcore punk mixed with noise rock is: confusion and sonic brutality. “Rings” continues the insanity, with pounding kick drums and giant distorted guitars knocking you out with every hit.

The concluding track of the album, in contrast, ends it on a lighter note. “Satellite” begins as the cleanest track on the album. It does eventually kick into another heavy-hitting punk rock banger as the choruses pick up, but it still shows a progression in the band’s sound, exhibited elsewhere in the album, too: a “happier” vibe. The band attempts to stray away from a purely negative sound at several moments on the album. This includes “Never Remember” (which could be passed for a really heavy The World Is A Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die song) and “More Perfect”, two tracks that are uncharacteristically happy for Loma Prieta.

And so, as lightly it began, a crescendo of noise lifts you out of the sonic experience of Self Portrait. Barreling towards a happier sound, Loma Prieta has developed a fuller sound, maintaining the heaviness of previous efforts all the while mixing in lighter moments to lead the listener to a false sense of security, before bombarded by a massive wall of noise. They have mastered the art of noise (that is, feedback) and built it into powerful, hard-hitting tracks, keeping every track fresh and new. Congratulations, you have survived a direct collision from a freight train.

Favorite Tracks: Merciless, Love, Satellite

Least Favorite Track: Never Remember

Rating: 8.5/10