Monday, June 27, 2011

Dark Suites Music Reviews

In the spirit of our 2nd annual Horrorhead Awards, we present a reprint of this years' winner for 2010 and the runners up:

Deftones: Diamond Eyes (2010)
Review written by Steven M. Duarte

The Deftones have gone through a lot since they last released Saturday Night Wrist in 2006. They were originally working on a concept album titled Eros. They had a majority of the work done on the album before tragedy struck the band. The bands bassist Chi Cheng was in an automobile accident which left him near death. At the time his status was unknown and the band went on a short hiatus. This occurred in 2008 and while Cheng is still comatose his condition is considered to be stable. The band felt that they could not use what was created with Eros and decided to start on new material. Thus we now have Diamond Eyes with former Quicksand bassist taking over for Cheng.
Diamond Eyes is very much a Deftones album. Much heavier than Saturday Night Wrist Eyes reminds us of the heavy sound they came out with on Around the Fur and Adrenaline. The album is also a departure from the sound that came forth in White Pony which was also very much a concept album. Now don’t get me wrong I loved White Pony and was patiently waiting for Eros but there’s just something about the Deftones and a really heavy sound that makes them who they are today.
From the very start of the album Diamond Eyes starts with the album titled track. Diamond Eyes prepares you for the heaviness that continues through the entire album. You’ve seen the Butcher is a song that is very reminiscent of a track that you might find from the White Pony sessions. The track is a slower paced melodic romp where lead singer Chino Moreno wails along with the guitar. Beauty School has a Lincoln Park vibe going on with the start of a hip hop beat which then goes into a slower paced rock ballad.
There’s no denying that Chino Moreno is a vocalist in his own category. Chino has always had an awesome unique voice that simply cannot be imitated. The only other vocalist in rock who has a better voice would be Maynard of Tool. It was only appropriate that they did a song together on White Pony called. If you’re new to Deftones this would be an excellent album to start off with. For Deftones fans you’re in for a real treat as you reminisce about the good old days when Deftones first started and Korn was still a good band.

Track List
1. "Diamond Eyes" – 3:08
2. "Royal" – 3:32
3. "CMND/CTRL" – 2:25
4. "You've Seen the Butcher" – 3:31
5. "Beauty School" – 4:47
6. "Prince" – 3:36
7. "Rocket Skates" – 4:14
8. "Sextape" – 4:01
9. "Risk" – 3:38
10. "976–EVIL" – 4:32
11. "This Place Is Death" – 3:40

(Check out tour and news on their website:

--Steven M. Duarte

Muse: The Resistance (2010)

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

HIM: Screamworks: Love in Theory and Practice (2010)
Review written by Steven M Duarte

I have often defended HIM’s music. Too often people hear their music and dismiss them for some alt emo band. There is so much more to their music than their radio friendly singles. Their new release “Screamworks,” is perhaps their most emo sounding album yet which makes it tough to defend their music from falling into the emo category.
Screamworks is very much a departure from their previously dark and heavy album “Venus Doom.” Venus doom had heavy down tuned guitar work along with dark lyrics and themes. The songs averaged 6 minutes in length with the exception of Sleepwalking past hope which clocks in at 10 minutes. My enthusiasm for the band was increased tenfold when I first heard Venus Doom. HIM has always had that dark gothic sound and Venus Doom really put that side of them center stage. Venus doom was based off of Dante’s Divine Comedy. The darkness of the album really reflects this.
Screamworks is much more pop and emo than any of their previous work. This album is closer sounding to 1999’s “Razorblade Romance.” Majority of the themes and lyrics included on Screamworks involve heartbreak and love. The radio friendly single “Heartkiller,” is very reminiscent of the Razorblade Romance era. A couple of the songs contain throwbacks to the old casio keyboard sound of the 80’s. “In The Arms of Rain,” starts with an Atari Pong sound effect that plays throughout the entire track. “The foreboding Sense of Impending Happiness,” also contains an 80’s Depeche Mode sounding backing track. A very nice throw back to the 80’s with the use of these effects.
“Ode to Solitude,” and “Like St. Valentine,” are two of the heavier songs on the album. These two mirror the sound found on Love Metal. I always felt that HIM sounded their best when playing heavier and this album could have used more of these heavier songs. Screamworks is not a bad album by any means; it’s just disappointing that they were headed towards a darker sound first with Dark Light then with Venus Doom. Now they have taken the route of a lighter pop sound which can leave HIM fans on divided ends.

Track List
1. In Venere Veritas
2. Scared To Death
3. Heartkiller
4. Dying Song
5. Disarm Me [With Your Loneliness]
6. Love, The Hardest Way
7. Katherine Wheel
8. In The Arms Of Rain
9. Ode To Solitude
10. Shatter Me With Hope
11. Acoustic Funeral (For Love In Limbo)
12. Like St. Valentine
13. The Foreboding Sense Of Impending Happiness

(Visit H.I.M. here)

--Steven M. Duarte

Rob Zombie: Hellbilly Deluxe 2- Noble Jackals, Penny Dreadfuls and the Systematic Dehumanization of Cool (2010)
Review written by Steven M Duarte

The long awaited sequel to the original Hellbilly Deluxe has finally been released. Fresh off directing the not too well received Halloween 2, Zombie felt the need to return to his horror rock roots. And for the most part he succeeded as Hellbilly Deluxe is much more 90’s era Zombie than his previous effort Educated Horses.
Even though not specifically stated in public, I always felt that Educated Horses was somewhat of a concept album. Then Zombie had a new band backing him and he had not released an album in a couple of years. The overall direction of Educated Horses took a much different direction than we had previously heard on Hellbilly Deluxe and Sinister Urge. To my surprise Hellbilly 2 features much of the same feel and direction of his previous albums. The titles of the songs mirror names of 1950 B-movies that were never created. We have titles such as Werewolf, Baby, Mars Needs Women, and Werewolf Women of the SS. Zombie includes samples of dialogue from older movies, much like Hellbilly deluxe contained.
One thing that Zombie incorporates into the new album that was not used too much in previous albums is his use of distortion for his singing. Songs such as What, and Dream Factory contain this filter. While I guess the potential is there for it to sound cool, I just couldn’t get into the sound and felt like it actually took away from the songs. Zombie’s band from Educated Horses is back which includes one of my favorite metal guitarists John 5. His melting riffs never disappoint and Hellbilly 2 is full of face melting solos and haunting complex riffs.
There really are not any bad tracks on the album. Every track is listenable and you really will not find yourself skipping through tracks to get to your favorite. The entire album is decent enough to allow a full play through. One nod that horror fans will easily recognize will be Zombies inclusion of a song for his faux trailer Werewolf Women of the SS. Werewolf Women of the SS was one of the trailers included between the Planet Terror and Death Proof double feature released in 2007. The song is fitting for the trailer and we can only hope that Zombie actually makes a Grindhouse style full feature film for Werewolf Women. Hey if Robert Rodriguez’s Machete does well, it might actually happen.

Track List
01. Jesus Frankenstein
02. Sick Bubble-Gun
03. What?
04. Mars Needs Women
05. Werewolf, Baby
06. Virgin Witch
07. Dream Factory
08. Burn
09. Cease to Exist
10. Werewolf Women of the SS
11. The Man Who Laughs

(Visit Rob Zombie's site here)

--Steven M. Duarte