CD Reviews

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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What Were The 25 Best Albums Of 2014?

December 22nd, 2014 11:00am EST
25 Best Albums Of 2014
Another year, another group of albums ranging from awesome to nothing short of horrid – blah! Although sales overall for 2014 have been at times as dreadful as a four-letter word, that doesn’t mean that there weren’t some awesome, truly dynamic albums to be found. The motto of 2014 definitely would have to be, “don’t judge an album by its sales.” Some truly terrific albums grace this list of the best albums of 2014.

1) Sam Smith, In The Lonely Hour

On his debut album In The Lonely Hour, Sam Smith shared with the world that a star was born – one transcendent of genre and otherwise. ...
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D'Angelo Returns With An R&B Masterpiece

December 21st, 2014 7:15pm EST
DAngelo and the Vanguard
What is better than a surprise Christmas gift? The answer is nothing. For the music – even more specifically the R&B world – D’Angelo delivered the best, most surprising gift of the year, by way of Black Messiah. Black Messiah is D’Angelo’s third studio album, but more notable than that is the fact that it is his first in 14, nearly 15 years. Dropped in Beyoncé fashion, Black Messiah, much like Beyoncé was in December 2013, is nothing short of exceptional. If 2014 hadn’t experience a three-point jumper Black Messiah delivers the game winner.

Black Messiah opens drenched in soul from t...
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J. Cole Is Fiery On ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’

December 16th, 2014 3:12pm EST
J. Cole Forest Hills Drive
Sometimes the best musicians don’t receive the recognition that they should – call it the ‘underrated bug.’ For rapper J. Cole, being underrated seems to be his middle name. Sure, he’s racked up two number one albums, but the über talented rapper still feels less heralded than some of his contemporaries. 2014 Forest Hills Drive, much like previous effort, Born Sinner, exemplifies why J. Cole ranks among the best in the game.

Following the mysterious “Intro,” “January 28th” finds Cole is on autopilot – cocky and confident from the jump. “The real is back, the 'ville is back,” Cole spi...
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Will You Like Mary J. Blige's New Album 'The London Sessions'?

December 3rd, 2014 2:18pm EST
Mary J. Blige Keeps On Shining On 'The London Sessions'
Sometimes changing things up can be a terrific thing. Other times, change is a pain in the butt. For veteran R&B diva Mary J. Blige – best known as the “Queen of hip-hop soul” – change works out splendidly overall on her latest studio album, The London Sessions. Tapping out some of the best talent in London, England, Mary J. Blige reaps the benefits of expanding her musical palette beyond the tried and true.

The London Sessions opens in electrifying fashion with the funky, upbeat “Therapy,” a stark contrast from Blige’s previous work. Focusing her vocals in her surprisingly powerfu...
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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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