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CD Review: The Relapse Symphony – “Shadows: The Acoustic Sessions” (Standby Records)

December 22nd, 2014 7:19pm EST
CD Review: The Relapse Symphony – “Shadows: The Acoustic Session
By unplugging the amps and tripping the breakers, The Relapse Symphony has accomplished a difficult task – they’ve managed to make their catchy debut Shadows even more infectious. On Shadows: The Acoustic Sessions, the resistance to singing along is futile (“Make Your Move,” “Walls”), plain and simple. And, as if you ever had any doubt, yes, vocalist Bret Von Dehl is this good. Perhaps the strongest part of Shadows: The Acoustic Sessions is that the move from electric to acoustic doesn’t cause all that much of a drop off in song quality or bite, which speaks to the sheer veracity of this co...
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CD Review: Billy Talent – 'Hits' (The End Records)

December 22nd, 2014 7:17pm EST
CD Review: Billy Talent – 'Hits' (The End Records)
It’s hard to say anything negative about a compilation album that houses Billy Talent cuts like “Try Honesty,” “Rusted From The Rain” and “Viking Death March,” but by that same token, it’s hard to see the necessity of a greatest hits album after only a handful of studio releases. Regardless, that’s what we have with Billy Talent’s Hits, a collection of the best the Mississauga, Ontario, Canada quartet has to offer. From old school heavy hitters like “Nothing To Lose” and “Red Flag” to more contemporary offerings like “Surprise Surprise” and “Stand Up And Run,” Hits is arguably the best Bill...
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CD Review: Drowning Pool – 'Sinner 13th Unlucky Anniversary Deluxe Edition' (Bicycle Music)

December 22nd, 2014 7:16pm EST
CD Review: Drowning Pool – 'Sinner 13th Unlucky Anniversary Delu
Given Drowning Pool’s revolving door of frontmen since his untimely and tragic passing, there’s something so comfortable about hearing the voice of Dave ‘Stage’ Williams again. Williams was a true showman in every sense of the world, and honestly, there’s no better way to revisit the bands seminal debut full length Sinner than with him leading the charge. From the unforgettable opening cavalcade of guitars of “Sinner,” the timeless hit single “Bodies” and the heartbreakingly endearing “Tear Away” to deeper cuts such as the Mike Luce-led “Mute”(seriously the albums best drum work), the seari...
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CD Review: His Dream Of Lions - 'Part II'

December 1st, 2014 7:33pm EST
CD Review: His Dream Of Lions - 'Part II'
An impressive array of profound, heart-on-sleeve showmanship (“Next Stop, Fall City”) mingles with slightly less weighty offerings brimming with precision hooks and captivating melodies (“The Ordinary,” “Dreams Equipped”) throughout Part II, an EP that offers up a lot to like as a mere six-song clip. There’s the Jimmy Eat World meets Something Corporate meets Get Up Kids swagger of the opening single “The Pace Car” and the deliciously not-so-subtle underlay of keys on the subsequent “Summer Song,” not to mention the set closer “All the Salt In the World,” which somehow manages to encapsulat...
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CD Review: Falling Through April - 'Risks And Rewards'

December 1st, 2014 7:26pm EST
CD Review: Falling Through April - 'Risks And Rewards'
Risks and Rewards is bookended by two solid entries littered with modern rock tropes including, but not limited to, explosive hooks, churning guitars and euphoric melody (“Breakdown,” “In Control”), though the solo in the latter is not to be missed. But in the case of Risks and Rewards, it’s not about how Falling Through April starts, or even how they finish. It’s all about the journey, not the destination as they say, as the body of the EP morphs in something entirely different and unexpected, something akin to say Yellowcard or Jimmy Eat World, as 90’s alt-rock meets emo-pop to create a t...
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CD Review: The Paramedic - 'Diary Of My Demons' (Bullet Tooth)

December 1st, 2014 7:22pm EST
CD Review: The Paramedic - 'Diary Of My Demons' (Bullet Tooth)
With Diary of My Demons, The Paramedic has just put the entire scene on blast. The album’s devastating opening triumverate (“Have a Nice Day,” “Who I’ve Become,” “Proud”) levels the battlefield immediately via lion-sized barks and throat shredding screams, hyperactive guitars, frantic riffs, manic drumming, which combine to create an immersive sound. Lead vocalist Mike Luciano delivers one of the year’s best vocal performances - reminiscent of …An Ocean Between Us-era As I Lay Dying. “Make Me Feel,” one of the only tracks on Diary of My Demons that is out of place, sounds like a The Bunny T...
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CD Review: Letters From the Fire - 'Letters From the Fire'

November 29th, 2014 3:17pm EST
CD Review: Letters From the Fire - 'Letters From the Fire'
At a terse five song clip, there's nary a lull on Letters From the Fire's volatile and fiery eponymous debut EP. Channeling the modern rock stylings of Trapt and Edgewater, Letters From the Fire, a band once fronted by former Candiria singer Carley Coma, deliver a stunning collection of rock entries, a record that, while criminally short clocking in under 20 minutes, offers no shortage of standout tracks. Perhaps the most recognizable of which is the bands stellar take on the Beatles timeless “Eleanor Rigby,” one of the best versions of this song you’ll hear this side of Godhead. The tremen...
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CD Review: If I Were You - 'The Sleepless' (Manifest Records)

November 29th, 2014 3:14pm EST
CD Review: If I Were You - 'The Sleepless' (Manifest Records)
The Sleepless really hits its stride with single “Memories,” a stunning offering that puts the very best of If I Were You on display – combining explosive, spastic riffs and guttural barks with soaring vocals and driving, angular melodies, all laid atop a bed of non-offensive synth-led electronics. This formula continues to shine as The Sleepless progresses (“Moving On,” “Finding Home”), though the album is far better of when the band focuses on the lighter side of the coin (“Fading Away” feat. Shannon Egan), because when stray too far the other way (“Made New”) they just end up sounding li...
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CD Review: A Failed Apology - 'This Past Year'

October 25th, 2014 8:25pm EDT
CD Review: A Failed Apology - 'This Past Year'
On their latest EP soiree This Past Year, pop-punk merchants A Failed Apology are, at times, more punk than pop (“This Past Year...,” “Say It, I Love You”) thanks to punchy guitars and driving rhythms, though there are instances when the pop outweighs the punk (“Keep Your Head Up,” “The Way I Think Of You”) due to severe bouts of call-and-response vocals and unavoidably catchy hooks (the Knuckle Punk and Real Friends shout out in “Keep Your Head Up” is just the icing on the cake). Just as the band did with “Goodbye” on their previous EP The Weekend, A Failed Apology turns down the lights an...
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CD Review: A Breach Of Silence - 'The Darkest Road'

October 20th, 2014 7:15pm EDT
CD Review: A Breach Of Silence - 'The Darkest Road'
With crisp production and perfect structures, A Breach Of Silence’s The Darkest Road is as much Killswitch Engage as it is Avenged Sevenfold, combining a dazzling array of all things heavy from thrash to power to (old school) metalcore; an album rife with unrelenting monsters and beastly stomping thrashers that rarely, if ever, take their foot off the gas (“The Darkest Road,” “Hang Em High,” “In Reality We Trust”). Shredding opener “TPNE” aka “The Party Never Ends” proves Attila isn’t the only band in town with the party game locked down, while The Darkest Road spews forth pinpoint blast be...
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