Thursday, December 29, 2011

Machine Head

After discovering vocalist Robb Flynn through The All-Star Sessions (see last post), I felt obligated to listen to the band he's actually from. And can I just say, I'm very glad I did.

Artist: Machine Head

These guys have been compared almost ad nauseam to the likes of Pantera and Slayer, in terms of their heavier and thrashier metal style. That common connection is not without merit however, seeing as Machine Head has even covered one of Pantera's songs.

Throughout their existence, Machine Head has experimented with other sounds, most notably their nu/rap metal deviations off of the album Supercharger. While the majority of their fan base tends to resent that divergence in style, I personally respect and enjoy it, so I'll leave the final judgement up to you as the listener.

Some of their standout tracks include;
• Halo
• Locust
• Hallowed Be Thy Name (Iron Maiden cover (one of the best I've ever heard))
• Davidian
• Aesthetics of Hate
• Kick You When You're Down
• Now I Lay Thee Down

If you're interested in Machine Head's more Pantera-like songs, you'd be best to explore their earliest (Burn My Eyes & The More Things Change...) and latest (Through the Ashes of Empires, The Blackening & The Locust) records. The middle section (The Burning Red & Supercharger) in between those two periods is where you'll find their nu-er sounding material.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The All-Star Sessions

If this sounds like an awkward name for an album, that's probably because it's far from what could ever be considered traditional.

Album: The All-Star Sessions
Artist: Roadrunner United

This one takes some explaining.

In 2005, Roadrunner Records wanted to celebrate their 25th anniversary. To do so, they embarked on this ambitious, ridiculously inventive project. See, there were these four "team captains" that were chosen to lead 57 artists from 45 past and present Roadrunner bands, and produce/contribute to/oversee the album's 18 tracks (Joey Jordison, Matt Heafy, Dino Cazares & Robb Flynn).

If this sounds unique, just wait until you hear the record itself. Words cannot describe how entertaining it is to listen to hardcore punk and heavy/nu/thrash/death metal songs put together by musicians from vastly different groups. For example, a song featuring ex-Misfits vocalist Michale Graves also features Killswitch Engage bassist Mike D'Antonio among others.

Some standout tracks include;
• I Don't Wanna Be (A Superhero)
• No Way Out
• The Rich Man
• Army of the Sun
• In the Fire
• Enemy of the State

In true All-Star spirit, if you intend on listening to this album in its entirety (which I strongly recommend doing), keep track of which songs you liked the most, and then at the end go to Wikipedia to find out which one of the four "captains" was in charge of each particular song you enjoyed. Tally up your results and see who came out on top for you.

For me, Robb Flynn was the victor, defeating Matt Heafy and Joey Jordison by the slimmest of margins, and leaving Dino Cazares in the dust.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011


A while back, one of my close friends showed me this group, and ever since then I've always been intrigued by them.

Artist: AFI

An alternative rock/punk rock/post-hardcore band from the 90s, AFI has been on the scene a while, and they've certainly left their mark for those who've heard of them. Personally, I would consider them a staple of the more modern punk rock "movement" following up the greats of the 80s.

What makes this group so remarkable is their blending of alternative styles with the tempo and feel of punk. While their older works stay truer to straight punk-rock, they've since broadened their horizon, expanding their sound.

Some noteworthy tracks include;
• Miss Murder
• The Days of the Pheonix
• Summer Shudder
• Girl's Not Grey
• Silver and Cold
• Love Like Winter

Fun fact, for anyone who wants to verbally talk about this band, it's pronounced "A-F-I," as it stands for "A Fire Inside."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Stone Sour

Because I've already mentioned multiple self-titled albums on this blog, I figured I might as well throw another one into the mix.

Album: Stone Sour
Artist: Stone Sour

The comedic principle of proposing yet another self-titled album wasn't the only reason behind today's suggestion. Also prompting it is the simple fact that this album is quite phenomenal. I know I've been leaning heavily on these guys for what now amounts to a handful of posts this past month, but despite the notoriety of singer Corey Taylor, Stone Sour still remains as one of the best bands you've never heard of.

Since this was Stone Sour's first real release, some of the tracks remain true to a heavier style more reflective of two of the members' former affiliate Slipknot. However, that's not always the case, as some songs employ a softer style that showcases their flexibility and immense talent. Overall, it's a hard rock record that is worthy of a faithful listen.

Some standout tracks include;
• Bother
• Omega (spoken word)
• Idle Hands
• Cold Reader
• Inhale
• Monolith
• Orchids
• Choose

I know it looks like I just referred to practically every song on the album as a standout, but the album actually contains 18 songs if you count bonus releases. And as I previously proved with "Freeze Dry Seal," you can never discount a track just because it was relegated to bonus status.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

November Rain

Even though where I hail from, we have a forecast of snow, not rain, in the near future, I felt that this video would be appropriate to suggest this month for obvious reasons.

Song: November Rain
Artist: Guns N' Roses

All too often, it seems like people only know Guns N' Roses for "Sweet Child o' Mine" and "Welcome to the Jungle". However, this song is a gem that cannot be overlooked. Clocking in just shy of 9 minutes, this track is the power-ballad of rock. Complete with three guitar solos and one of Axl Rose's best vocal performances, this is not a song for any real fan of rock to say they've never heard.

The video itself is also very emotional, and adds to the overall experience of "November Rain". I can't say too much about it, except that words would not do its glory justice. Sure, it's somewhat lengthy, but every minute is well worth it, trust me. In fact, near the end, Slash has a rather epic solo on the piano that you simply cannot miss. If all I've said is not incentive enough to watch the video, I honestly don't know what is.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Freeze Dry Seal

As with most of the other song suggestions I give, this one is something I just discovered under thirty minutes ago and have already absolutely fallen in love with.

Song: Freeze Dry Seal
Artist: Stone Sour

A bonus track off of Come What(ever) May, it's a song that often gets overlooked by many when exploring Stone Sour's somewhat extensive discography. However, it's far from deserving of that disregarded status.

The lyrics during the chorus convey the message that there's more than meets the eye to people, and just because someone exhibits a certain behavior doesn't mean that's the complete truth. It's pretty powerful, helped along by Taylor's voice and the chord progression put on show by the guitarists. Oh, and it's only 2 minutes and 44 seconds long.

As far as the title goes, I'm not entirely sure why it's called what it is. However, there's more than meets the eye to any song, especially anything Corey Taylor is involved with, so just because it has an awkward title it doesn't mean it's not an amazing song.

If you take this suggestion for what it's worth, come back and reread this post after your mind is blown. You just might be amused by some of the wording I chose.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

No Bragging Rights

Today's suggestion is an artist that to me seems like a cross between Atreyu and A Day to Remember, and I'm pretty sure it's a blend that needed to happen.

Artist: No Bragging Rights

I'm a fan of discovering small, lesser-known bands that deserve to be recognized. I've been listening to this band for a little while now, and I must say I'm thoroughly impressed. A melodic hardcore band, they mix the catchy with the thrash-y in a style that's rather remarkable.

Having only experienced one album, I'm not the ultimate authority here. That would be you, if you decide to take this suggestion seriously. If you're looking for a new spin on some already popular styles, this is the artist to start with.

As far as "standout tracks" go, I can give you a few from the album I've been rocking out to;
• A Shot To End This All
• Ode To Logan (by the way, the "Logan" in question here is Wolverine)
• Home Away From Home

Sorry I don't have more to say about these guys, just that they are an amazing group that deserves far more attention than they've gotten.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Good Charlotte

How about another self-titled album? No witty nickname for this one; The cover is rather multicolored.

Album: Good Charlotte
Artist: Good Charlotte

Anyone who listens to Good Charlotte's more recent releases might question their inclusion on a site for the punk, rock and alternative. However, they were quite punk when they first started out, and this happens to have been their first full-length album.

This album is full of songs with teenage angst. The lyrics are very "punk" oriented, with themes revolving around doing your own thing and not needing/wanting to be accepted by society. It's a very nice blend of the faster and slower sides of the genre. Some of the songs are rather catchy, but not in that "poppy" way.

Some standout tracks include;
• Complicated
• Little Things
• I Heard You
• East Coast Anthem

Before Good Charlotte sang about love and parties, they were singing about hatred and just growing up. Naturally, they had to outgrow that stage in their lives as they got older and matured. However, this album still stands as a remarkable punk record that details some of the pains of an average teenager.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Driven Under

Although I do have mixed opinions regarding the artist of today's song suggestion, there's nothing mixed about my feelings for this amazing song.

Artist: Seether
Song: Driven Under

This song falls pretty solidly into the category of rock (not too hard to do, it is a rather big category after all) and when all is said and done, it's a pretty grooving track. One of those ones you find yourself involuntarily banging/nodding your head to, even singing along part of the time.

Shaun Morgan's voice adopts a haunting tone throughout the entirety of this track, maintained almost entirely throughout the softer and heavier parts. Towards the end, it gets a bit grungy, but then relapses into his previous style. It absolutely makes this song.

Like I said at the outset, I don't claim to be a huge fan of Seether. However, after having this song on replay for about a half-hour now, that statement is subject to change.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Say You'll Haunt Me

In case you haven't noticed, I'm into music videos that are about more than just the band performing their song. Not to say that I don't like music videos where they just perform, I just prefer it when there's more material there.

Song: Say You'll Haunt Me
Artist: Stone Sour

I find it a little hard to believe that I haven't mentioned these guys on here yet. Stone Sour has matured into one of the more prominent modern rock bands, and for good reason. Although the singer, Corey Taylor, doubles as the singer for Slipknot, his voice is purely amazing in Stone Sour's music. It's sensitive, yet sometimes very powerful, an awesome combination that compliments the outstanding rhythmical backups.

As for the song mentioned here, it's a perfect example of what Taylor can do, and why he's as famous as he is. In this typical rock-type track, the chorus is extremely catchy, and the lyrics are romantic at their base, springing off from that in a totally unique direction.

The video is confusing to say the least. It's neat to watch, but hard to follow. A lot of computer imaging technology was utilized, on top of the raw footage. I can't really explain what it's about, but I can say that it's a really cool video that does have an interesting plot (even though I'm not quite sure exactly what it is). Also, for having such a strong voice, it's pretty amusing to see just how short Corey Taylor actually is.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Misfits

I realized it had been a while since I had actually highlighted something truly punk. Today, I intend to make up for that.

Artist: The Misfits

You've probably seen at least one shirt or bag with the Misfits logo/skull emblazoned on the front of it. And that's because they're one of those bands that a lot of people have a shirt of, but don't all actually listen to them (most do, though). That being said, these guys had (and still have) a considerable cult following of sorts.

The Misfits created the genre of horror punk. For those of you unaware that such a genre existed, it's just as awesome as it seems. It's basically straight-up punk rock, but the lyrics are all macabre to varying degrees. Yeah. They went there.

Because they unfortunately had to transition to a different singer somewhere along the way, their "newer" tracks are nothing in comparison to those from their past, but they are still enjoyable to listen to.

Some standout tracks include;
• Die, Die My Darling (Metallica covered this... you should probably listen to the cover too)
• Don't Open 'Til Doomsday
• Dig Up Her Bones
• Horror Hotel
• Where Eagles Dare
• The Haunting
• London Dungeon
• Last Caress
• Astro Zombies (My Chemical Romance covered this... you should probably listen to it too)

See what I meant about the macabre theme? This is only a small sample from their large collection of the creepy and the ghoulish. Just look at a picture of them and you'll see that this genre fit them perfectly, and they exploited it for all it was worth. As one of the more prominent punk bands to roam the planet, you should probably add them to your music repertoire. And buy a shirt while you're at it. It seems to be the thing to do.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Avenged Sevenfold

When Metallica titled their 5th studio album after themselves, it was (and still is) colloquially referred to as the "Black Album", thanks to their choice in cover color. For sanity's sake, I think we should just refer to today's suggestion as the "White Album".

Album: Avenged Sevenfold
Artist: Avenged Sevenfold

Because I previously referred to this album in a fun factoid on here, I felt obligated to actually follow up on it. Well, that and I feel that anyone who calls his/herself a fan of (modern) rock better have at least heard of this masterpiece.

The "White Album" is rather short in length, featuring only ten different tracks. Yet, after you've listened to it, you'll probably think that you just listened to ten different bands. And honestly, that's not as much of a hyperbole as you want it to be.

Without describing in immense detail the specifics of each individual song, I'd like to list off some of the more "different" styles/influences/instruments/sounds featured in this album.
- orchestral backgrounds & melodies
- symphonic backgrounds & melodies
- country music
- organ solo
- vocal choir
- child vocalist(s)
- autotuned vocals
- harmonic scale
- "tribal" sounding percussion

I'll just stop there.

However, that list does omit the important fact that in addition to all of those ridiculous aspects, Avenged Sevenfold turns in a sensational rock performance, complete with outstanding drumming, amazing vocals, and some of the greatest guitar playing I've heard in a while.

Some standout tracks include;
• The entire album.

The "White Album" is not so much a record as it is an experience. Not in the sense that it's an emotional roller-coaster (that would be Nightmare) or anything like that, but instead that it's something you have to listen to in its entirety to fully appreciate it. For instance, if you listen only to "Afterlife", you might think this just another traditional rock album. Or, if you randomly select "Dear God", it would seem a country album.

The effort level put into this album is tremendous, leaving it standing head-and-shoulders above most of its counterparts. It's remarkable not just for what it contains musically, but what it represents. It was a leap off of the figurative music cliff for these guys, a huge risk to take for a band in a relatively young stage of their career. They wanted to push the envelope on what they could produce, not knowing how well it would be accepted. Plain and simple, that's a sign of a band making music for the sake of making music (not money). The fact that it turned out amazing is just a [really good] bonus.

I strongly recommend giving the "White Album" a listen, but definitely be prepared for the numerous double-takes that will occur when you stop headbanging only to find yourself caught up in a heartfelt county ballad.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Today's suggestion is a song I heard for the first time ever about 18 hours ago. I'm very disappointed that it took me this long to discover it.

Song: Downtown
Artist: Toh Kay

This is actually a cover song, originally having been done by the alternative group MU330. I've listened to both versions, and I must say, I favor this one over its successor, only partly because Toh Kay is actually the singer from Streetlight Manifesto.

This song has perhaps one of the most grooving Latin/gypsy vibes I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing. I suppose there are some more common alternative facets if you look/listen hard enough. The lyrics seem to be some form of slight on the music industry, but that's not really the defining feature of this song.

The guitar is absolutely amazing. It captures that eastern European ambiance, complimented rather splendidly by the drums and vocals throughout. It's so catchy, prompting a likely outrageous number of repeated plays. All I can say is that you've been forewarned.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Waking the Demon

Happy Halloween! In honor of the creepiest night of the year, I give to you a somewhat macabre music video that seems appropriate for such a day of frights.

Song: Waking the Demon
Artist: Bullet for My Valentine

The plot of the video is pretty obvious right from the start, where this borderline "scene" kid is getting repeatedly beat up and bullied by a bunch of jocks. However, what's unknown to the viewer is why he doesn't fight back, and instead simply crosses days off on a calendar. Short of spoiling anything for you, I will say that he's counting down to a specific day (actually, it's not Halloween) and all is resolved on said day.

The song behind this video definitively falls into the hard rock category, even slipping a bit into metalcore at times. It's a powerful song, with shredded chords and thrashing drums that backup the absolutely insane vocals. To anyone who previously knows this song off of Bullet for My Valentine's album Scream Aim Fire, the verses in this version of the song are not screamed/growled. They're pretty clean, all things considered.

As with the other videos I've suggested prior, this one has more of a plot than most of the others out there. That being said, there are also some nifty shots of the band tearin' it up in the middle of the woods. At night. In the fog/mist. Because that's not terribly clich├ęd or anything, right?

Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Confession

What do you get when you combine Atreyu with a little bit of Avenged Sevenfold, and maybe a hint of Bullet for My Valentine?

Artist: The Confession

Although you might never have heard of these guys, they aren't as underground as they initially seem. In 2006, they were slotted on the Taste of Chaos tour, and have even toured with the likes of Megadeth, Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet for My Valentine. Oh yeah, and they were only a band for a grand total of about 3 years. Impressive, much?

Their debut album, Requiem is outstanding, a satisfying blend of metalcore, hard rock and actually a bit of heavy metal if you really look for it. A mix of slower ballad-like tracks with some heavy-thrashing ones creates a truly unique listening experience for any fan of rock. The album as a whole is very reflective of Atreyu's style, in the sense that there are some screamed vocals, but a balance of other cleaner passages throughout.

Some standout tracks include;
• The End Is Near
• Dance With the Devil
• The Rise and Fall
• Time Is Gone
• Bleed You Dry*
• War of Ages*

*(off of their EP, not their album)

The only downer is that because they were together for such a short time, they only released one full-length album (and an EP as well).
But it's okay, because Requiem just might be one the most amazing albums I've heard.

And, as your fun fact for the day, the track "The End Is Near" off of Requiem features the singer from Avenged Sevenfold, who also happened to be one of the album's producers. This production experience was actually one of the factors that contributed to Avenged Sevenfold self-producing their 4th studio album. Not that you needed to know that, but figured I'd throw that in.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lead Sails (And A Paper Anchor)

Today's suggestion is a song I had never even heard of before I gave it a try due to it's interesting title. Now, it's one of my favorites, thus garnering a spot on this humble blog.

Song: Lead Sails (And A Paper Anchor)
Artist: Atreyu

I think it's fair to say that with hearing the name "Atreyu", comes the song in question usually being perceived as heavy, complete with grungy/growled vocals. However, this song pays tribute to the band's "softer" side.

Right from the beginning, the song sounds very country-esque, complete with twangy guitars and an emotional vocal performance. And to be truthful, it never strays too far from that, except you do get a more rock/alternative vibe as the song progresses. Yet that's not what makes this track so remarkable. In fact, it's hard to describe what actually does make it outstanding, but I shall endeavor to do so.

Rarely do I think the chorus is the brightest shining point of a song. Yes, I do love me some good choruses, but usually I tend towards the awesome bridges and ridiculous instrumental sections. In this song, the chorus is what makes it, all the way through.

The best way to put it is that in the chorus, the first part of the phrase is in what sounds like a major key, the final part of which drops down enough to make it minor. When you listen to it, you'll understand, and appreciate just how awesome such a technique really can be. It adds so much to the power of the song. Not to mention the fact that Brandon Saller turns in some epic drum (and vocal, as he seems the be the main vocalist for the song!) performances, especially in the final repeat of the chorus where everything is coming together.

I know that's a lot to take in for just a song, but all these words simply cannot do it the justice it deserves. I might wind up saying this a lot, but if you only take one of my suggestions seriously on here, this just might be the one to do so for.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Ghost Of You

On this rainy Tuesday afternoon, I've had the pleasure of watching many a music video to kill time, and I decided I'd share this one with you.

Song: The Ghost Of You
Artist: My Chemical Romance

Now I know some of you might hesitate to give this one a try because of the notion that My Chemical Romance is "emo", but hear me out.

This is a beautiful, alternative song that captures so much emotion and intensity that it seems like a video just had to be made for it. Starting out slow, it builds up to a final climax preceded by a passionate instrumental section that, if nothing else, will get your heart racing.

As for the video itself, like the others I've suggested prior, it's almost like a little movie. Those of you who have seen Saving Private Ryan will pick up on the noticeable similarities in some of the scenes. Matching the levels of the track it's based upon, this video is very climactic, and also a little sad.

Since one of the founding principles of punk is wanting to be accepted as being different, I see no reason why you should skim over this suggestion just because you've developed a preexisting bias towards this particular group. Not that I'm saying that you will, or were thinking of doing so, but honestly, set all that aside and just listen to the music. You won't regret it.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


Today's selection is personally one of my favorite albums of all time for numerous reasons.

Album: S&M (an abbreviation of Symphony and Metallica)
Artist: Metallica (with the San Francisco Symphony)

If that brief description hasn't already given you chills, you might be on the wrong blog. Basically, Metallica got together with the San Francisco Symphony in 1999 at the Berkeley Community Theater to put on this epic live performance. Sound awesome? You have no idea.

This two disk, 21-song set combines classical and rock music, spawning this genius hybrid. With 19 covers of previously released tracks (i.e, Enter Sandman, One, Master of Puppets... etc.) and two brand new songs, I simply cannot say enough about this album. No list of standout tracks for this one, because they all stand out.

Basically, you definitely won't regret giving this one a listen, even if you aren't a huge Metallica fan. As long as you love the genre, this is a must-hear.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Image of the Invisible

Today we'll be revisiting a band previously mentioned on here, but this time, it's a music video in the spotlight instead of an entire album (or two, as the case may be).

Song: Image of the Invisible
Artist: Thrice

The way I like to refer to this video is as a mini-movie. Meaning, there's more of a story/plot to it than a generic performance video. I also like to refer to it as "perfect", because all the parts of the song fit in flawlessly with the scenes being played out. Once you watch it, you'll see/hear what I mean.

The song itself is definitely one from the alternative genre, but some punk/rock influences subtlety shine through. Most of it is in a "call-and-answer" kind of antiphony, making it one to get stuck in your head for days to come.

On a side note, it's actually about invisible children (although it can mean a variety of things depending on your background and standpoint). No, not superheroes.
Here's a site for you to read more if you'd like;
But the video doesn't really have a whole lot to do with that it seems, unless I'm missing something.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

New Medicine

To anyone who might actually read this, I apologize for the extended break in posts. So today, I shall more than make up for that with an amazing band. 

Artist: New Medicine

New Medicine is a nice blend of alternative and rock, with some punk tendencies sprinkled in. Basically, it's the perfect band to be featured on a blog of this nature. 

Some standout tracks include;
• Rich Kids
• Little Sister
• The Takeover
• Laid

They've only released one album, Race You to the Bottom, however they were formerly known as "A Verse Unsung", and only some of their songs carried over. 

The vocals are very distinct, standing out above the guitar and drum tracks. However, this is a good listen when you want something a bit different than the norm. Give it a try, and you're welcome in advance.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Catch 22

I'm aware that this is also a ska band out there, one that is actually related to Streetlight Manifesto. However, that is not who/what I'm talking about today.

Song: Catch 22
Artist: Whole Wheat Bread

Some of you might be familiar with this song through the iPod app "Tap Tap Revenge", as am I.

Whole Wheat Bread is clearly a punk band, and this song follows that style very well, sans angry lyrics and drastically contrasting time signatures. But it still stands as a solid punk rock track that you can rock out to without having to sit there wondering what the heck the singer just screamed or whether or not the drummer was just wildly hitting everything in sight. (I'm speaking as a huge fan of the genre, really!) The lyrics are catchy as well, so definitely add this one to your playlist next time you go to listen to something new.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Streetlight Manifesto

What do you get when you combine reggae with punk, and throw in some jazz? A little something called ska.

Artist: Streetlight Manifesto

They may not be the best known ska band to ever show up on the map, but based on other bands I've heard, these guys have stuck to a little more of the punk side than others have, making them perfect for fans of punk music who want something a little different. Heck, they even covered a NOFX song (Linoleum, in case you were wondering), but made it acoustic. 

Some of their best songs include;
• Forty Days
• Here's To Life
• Birds Flying Away (a cover of the Mason Jennings song)
• Would You Be Impressed
• Everything Went Numb

So basically, Streetlight Manifesto found a way to stay true to punk whilst incorporating a variety of wind instruments in interesting ways. Does this make them any better or more amazing? I'll leave that up to you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Seize The Day

This one is a music video, and one of my favorites to be exact.

Song: Seize The Day
Artist: Avenged Sevenfold

Seize The Day is far from the typical music video. It's like an epic mini-movie, essentially telling the story of a man who made a terrible mistake and in turn has his whole life uprooted. The song itself is a ballad-like rock track that's somewhat heavy, but not too much so that it overwhelms the emotion conveyed throughout.

Overall, this is an amazing video that really does make you think about the choices you make. The song is beautiful, and inspires you to seize the day, so you'll never die regretting the time you lost.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Alchemy Index

Today's suggestion is actually 4 EPs, grouped by twos into two albums.

Album(s): The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II and The Alchemy Index Vols. III & IV
Artist: Thrice

The Alchemy Index is unlike anything I have ever heard. The concept behind it is four separate mini-albums, each themed like an element (fire, water, earth and air). But it goes far beyond the themed titles and lyrics. The instrumentation and feel of each song perfectly captures that of the element it's about.

The fire tracks are heavier and more of a hardcore-punk/post-metal style, a callback to Thrice's early days.
The water tracks are more muted and flowing, with soft lyrics, creating an ocean-like atmosphere.
The air tracks are somewhat reverbial and organic, if that makes sense.
The earth tracks are acoustic, recorded specially to sound extra rustic and grainy.

Some standout tracks include;
• Digital Sea (from Vols. I & II)
• Moving Mountains (from Vols. III & IV)
• Burn the Fleet (from Vols. I & II)
• Digging My Own Grave (from Vols. III & IV)

In short, The Alchemy Index is Thrice's attempt (and success) at a very unconventional and experimental release. The best word to describe it is quite simply, amazing.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

You're Gonna Go Far, Kid

Next up is a solid punk rock song from one of the best-selling punk rock acts of all time.

Song: You're Gonna Go Far, Kid
Artist: The Offspring

For fans of punk rock, this would clearly be a must-listen, seeing as The Offspring are one of the most celebrated bands of the genre. However, it's a more recent track so there are some more "poppy" influences, but it never fully strays from its punk roots, making it the ideal song for anyone who enjoys punk without all the hardcore essences of its early days. 

This song also has the ability to quickly get stuck in your head, but be wary of singing it under your breath when there are young children around, if you know what I mean. 

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Begin Again

Let's begin your musical enlightenment with an album you may not have heard of just yet.

Album: Begin Again
Artist: Hell or Highwater

Brandon Saller, Atreyu's drummer, steps out from behind the kit and takes hold of the mic in Hell or Highwater's debut album, Begin Again.

Some standout tracks include;
• Go Alone (featuring Avenged Sevenfold's frontman, M. Shadows)
• Hail Mary!
• Terrorized in the Night
• Gimme Love

If you're a fan of Atreyu's more melodic passages rather than their screamed vocals, this album will be more suited to you. It's a flowing album, harnessing the hard side of rock without going entirely over the top. In a nice blend of the heavy and the light, Begin Again combines those styles for an album any rock fan can truly appreciate. Really, the best way to describe it is as being neutral. The vocals are far from clean, but not growled by any means. The guitar lines are intricate, but not insane. The drums are pretty intense, but not crazy. 

So next time you're looking for some new, not-too-heavy rock music, give Hell or Highwater a listen. And, if you're hitting up the Uproar tour this year, you'll get to see them live.