Sunday, October 4, 2009

Dark Suites Music Reviews

Slipknot 10th anniversary Review

It’s been 10 years since a then unknown band from Des Moines, Iowa released their self titled album. Of course I'm talking about Slipknot, one of the surviving pioneers of the Nu metal movement. Since 1999 they have released 4 studio albums, 4 DVD’s, and a live album to round out their career. Three of their albums have been certified Platinum, while the remaining two have achieved Gold status. That’s not even mentioning the seven Grammy nominations, along with a win in the “Best Metal Performance,” in 2006.
Slipknot has accomplished a great deal in 10 years and are celebrating the anniversary of their first release with a special edition of their first album. The first part of the album has the same track listing as the original 1999 album. The song "Purity" has been included after previously being removed due to copyright issues. The new release also includes songs that were previously only available with the digipak release of the original album. The songs “Interloper", "Despise", and "Get This,” round up the digipak tracks included on the reissue. Being a self proclaimed Maggot (a true fan of the band) I was most interested in the remix tracks that were to be included on this album. I have to say that I was disapointed with the end product. The included remixes sound too much like the original songs. When I hear that a song is being remixed, I expect a new take on an old track. These remix tracks show very few changes, which are mostly found at the beginning or at the end of each track. Slipknot has too much talent not to deliver fully remixed tracks of their older material. I've heard remixed songs from drummer Joey Jordison and percussionist Clown to know what they can do with a remix. A good example of this is the Bloodstone remix of "Vermillion Pt 2". which was originally included on the "Underworld Evolution" soundtrack. This remix had a completely different tempo and included various sounds and effects not found on the original.

Now that I got that off my chest, I do appreciate the demo version of “Wait and Bleed,” that is included on the album. Hearing how much lead singer Corey Taylor’s vocals have changed over the years really shows how far the band has come. The album comes with a DVD that includes behind the scenes footage taken place between 1999 and 2000. This insight into the band's lives on and off the stage is interesting veiwing. You get to see a montage of DJ Sid puking, followed by the band's early onstage antics of lighting things on fire, then of course peeing on it, all while onstage in front of screaming fans. As an added bonus the DVD includes a full concert from 2000 as well as music videos that were released when the album first came out.
Overall a good package for a classic album that deserved the anniversary treatement. If you are new to the band you definatley want to pick this up. If your not new to the band and already own their first album, pick it up anyways since you get an insightful DVD with it.

“Then and now”
1999 - 2009

--Steven Duarte

Alice In Chains: Black Gives Way To Blue (2009)

Following the tragic drug death of iconic lead singer Layne Staley back in 2002, it was pretty much assumed by Alice fans that it was all over. Despite the fact that remaining members said many times it wasn’t, and that they’d been touring off and on for the last few years with new lead singer William DuVall (former member of ‘Comes of the Fall’), someone who can carry the angst ridden vocals we’ve all come to expect from these guys. I didn’t start getting excited about a possible new incarnation of one of the best bands to come out of the 90s until I heard they’d been in the studio back in October of 2008. Studio time ain’t cheap, so if a band is promoting the fact that they’re in the studio, you can usually bet your bottom dollar that something will come of it.
And now, folks, we have probably the strongest Alice In Chains full length album since ‘Dirt’. With ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’, Jerry Cantrell, Mike Inez, Sean Kinney, and, of course, William DuVall breath life back into the grunge sound we all love and miss. This is like the good old days before alternative music became the likes of Lillith Fair bullshit being toted by greedy ass, ignorant record execs as alt music.
We have the trademark Alice dark harmonies and raw lyrics that made them the best of the best back in the 90s. We have the classic Alice power chords that get down into your blood and burn like beautiful black stars. Thankfully, these uber-talented guys did not spend their days pining for the loss of Staley (which still irritates and saddens many) but did what any self respecting band should do: they carried on. And in doing so, they’d proven that nothing is impossible with ‘Black Gives Way To Blue’.

Track Listing (they’re all good, but I’ve marked the standout tracks with *):
1. "All Secrets Known"*
2. "Check My Brain"
3. "Last of My Kind"*
4. "Your Decision"
5. "A Looking in View"*
6. "When the Sun Rose Again"
7. "Acid Bubble"*
8. "Lesson Learned"*
9. "Take Her Out"
10. "Private Hell"
11. "Black Gives Way to Blue"

--Nickolas Cook

Five Finger Death Punch War Is The Answer (2009)

Second albums are notoriously difficult to pull off--especially if you've been successful with the debut album. But Five Finger Death Punch has the fact that they've all been in other bands before joining to create this supergroup of like minded maniacs.
'War Is the Answer' continues the heady, gutteral bass driven sounds from 'The Way of the Fist', and they've kept the melodious rage filled lyrics from their first album as well. And that's what the hell we wanted, so thanks guys!
There are moments when their anger and frustration with the modern American sheep-like culture seems to transcend their musical cage and get inside your head. What are they so angry about? Good question. Pay attention to the lyrics and find out. Even the album's misleading political title makes you wonder if these guys, who seem so hardcore and pissed off, are denouncing the American government's involvement in 'police keeping' ventures that we don't dare call a war. Well, sort of, but there's, like the first album, a deeper human condition concern in their lyrics. Their aggression veils their love for all living things.
Lyrics aside, this is a savage album made by guys who can come off sounding like testosteronic ape men bent on slamming their enemies into the mud, dead or dying. But there are times they can also create some really beautiful melodies that bring a tear to your eye.
But you best not let them see you crying; there's no telling what they'll do to you.

Track Listing (standout tracks are denoted *):
1. "Dying Breed"*
2. "Hard To See"*
3. "Bulletproof"*
4. "No One Gets Left Behind"
5. "Crossing Over"*
6. "Burn It Down"
7. "Far From Home"*
8. "Falling In Hate"
9. "My Own Hell"
10. "Walk Away"*
11. "Canto 34"
12. "Bad Company" (Bad Company cover)*
13. "War Is the Answer"

--Nickolas Cook