Friday, June 4, 2010

Dark Suites Music Reviews

Muse: The Resistance (2009)

Review by Nickolas Cook

With a running thematic core of revolution, politically and spiritually, they manage to create not only one of the most lyrically relevant albums of 2009, but also musically. These guys clearly are more than just an alt-rock band of the first order. They're on a mission. The sonic soundscaping they achieve is nothing short of amazing, a unique admixture of rock, electronica elements and pure classical phrasing, using piano and full orchestra. They've even managed to write a three-part symphony called 'Exogenesis' that's just beautiful. This is a must own album for music lovers.

1. "Uprising" 5:03
2. "Resistance" 5:46
3. "Undisclosed Desires" 3:56
4. "United States of Eurasia (+Collateral Damage)" 5:47
5. "Guiding Light" 4:13
6. "Unnatural Selection" 6:54
7. "MK Ultra" 4:06
8. "I Belong to You (+Mon cœur s'ouvre à ta voix)" 5:38
9. "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 1 (Overture)" 4:18
10. "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 2 (Cross-Pollination)" 3:56
11. "Exogenesis: Symphony Part 3 (Redemption)" 4:37

(Check out MUSE's Official Website here for details on tour dates and news)

--Nickolas Cook

Lush: Spooky (1992)
Review by Nickolas Cook

Lush's Spooky is an ear-pleasing mixture of the ethereal and sinister, with gorgeous cascades of shimmering guitar and thumping, driving basslines, from one of the 'shoegazer' school of music's greatest groups--and, God, how I miss that particular musical movement. Quite simply no one could harmonize like these shoegazer angels, Miki Berenyi and Emma Anderson, two of the most beautiful rockers I've ever seen. By the mid-90s, Lush was right on the cusp of huge fame and fortune, and then their longtime drummer, Chris Acland, hanged himself in his parents' home, leaving the band in despair. Their official dissolution was almost immediate.
Spooky remains for me their most impressive work, the culmination of what the 'shoegazers' were all about and a sort of soundtrack for my 20s.

1. "Stray" 2:07
2. "Nothing Natural" 5:54
3. "Tiny Smiles" 4:26
4. "Covert" 3:34
5. "Ocean" 4:49
6. "For Love" 3:29
7. "Superblast!" 4:07
8. "Untogether" 3:33
9. "Fantasy" 4:27
10. "Take" 3:28
11. "Laura" 3:22
12. "Monochrome" 5:05

(For those who want to relive the old 'shoegazer' days with members of LUSH, visit this officially sanctioned website: LIGHT FROM A DEAD STAR)

--Nickolas Cook

Callisto: Providence (2009)
Review by Nickolas Cook

Callisto's is one of Finland's most respected prog metal bands, and, in my opinion, these guys sound like no other metal band out there right now. They don't let the metal label stifle their creativity in the least. In fact, I'd say if Radiohead ever went all dark doom metal and shoegazer, they'd sound like Callisto. Great use of harmony, both vocally and instrumentally, with some rather sophisticated lyrics and timing changes. And unlike most nu-metal vocalists, it's obvious they want you to hear their lyrics. They aren't obfuscating them beneath overdrive and distortion and screamo pretensions of pretended rage. They even go so far as to use trumpet, violin and saxophone in their compositions. I'm pretty impressed with this metalgaze sounding album and can't wait to hear more from these guys.
Oh, and if you really pay attention to the lyrics, it'll become evident pretty quickly that they consider themselves to be hardcore Christians. But, even if you're not in the least religious (like myself), you'll still love this album.

1. "In Session" — 6:34
2. "Rule the Blood" — 6:42
3. "Covenant Colours" — 7:45
4. "Eastern Era" — 5:38
5. "New Canaan" — 6:55
6. "Stasis" — 7:37
7. "Where the Spirits Tread" — 6:27
8. "Dead Weight" — 6:09
9. "Drying Mouths (In a Gasping Land)" — 7:08
10. "Providence" — 7:27

(Check out this exciting band's official website here)

--Nickolas Cook

Steve Roach: Immersion: One (2007)
Review by Nickolas Cook

Steve Roach is, for my money, the king of pure ambient soundscaping. This is the first in his famous Immersion series and there's a good reason why they're called the Immersion albums. Listening to them is, quite literally, like being aurally immersed in a sensual soundscape that pulls you under its ethereal waves and pulses. If this doesn't put you into a state of deep concentration and set your imagination free to roam the swirling depths of your consciousness, then you might be on crack. Highly recommended for shutting out the world for an hour and fifteen minutes. But be sure to use good earbuds for the total aural expreience. It will stretch you wide and far.

(Steve Roach maintains a great website for listening samples and purchasing his entire discography:

--Nickolas Cook

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