Monday, April 16, 2012

Album Review: Anathema - Weather Systems

Anathema have always walked the line between being melodic and entrancing, to heavy thunderous doom soundscapes. While continuing to walk that line, stitching together a fabric between beauty and morbid this album has a much more 'commercial' feel to it, as opposed to albums like 1995's "Silent Enigma" which, had that heaviness to it in such appropriate doses.

With that said, "Untouchables Part 1 & 2" kick off the album with the hauntingly beautiful soundscapes that make up the ethereal tone of the album. "The Gathering of The Clouds" is a standout cut that, while sounding commercial, has some very dreamy moments that merge into "Lightening Song."

The entire album is consistent in its departure into a more palatable effort for the masses. The standout track on the album, "The Beginning and The End" teeters on that edge of heaviness balanced with grace and beauty, while the rest of the album folds into a softer, gentler Anathema. One that is easy on the ears, at times too easy; making a longtime fan wonder what became of the heavy instances of doom that helped create an equilibrium that was so unique. 

Rating: 4 out of 7 Headknockers

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Album Review: MINISTRY - Relapse

When you've been in the business of making music, and have been raped by the 'labels' enough, it's no wonder Al and the gang decided to call it quits. However, when you're in the business of making music, it is your life. So when some artists retire, (Ozzy's 1991 "No More Tours" Tour ring a bell) it's hard to stay away from music for very long. So when I heard MINISTRY was dropping a new album, I thought to myself, "Ya just couldn't hang with old age anymore, could ya Al?"

Inevitably, he did what most who declare their music career over: Relapsed! And boy did Alain ever relapse!!!
If you thought "Houses of The MolĂ©" and "The Last Sucker" were the hardest & heaviest MINISTRY could get, then you're in for a shock!

"Ghouldiggers" starts off the album with some nice heavy guitar tapping, while Al does a trippy spoken word on the music business. It finally kicks in with the massive double bass programming, with the guitars perfectly inline creating an insanely brutal sound.
The usual themes surround the lyrics in songs like "Double-Tapped", "99 Percenters" where, if there were no politics, Mr. Jourgensen may have a hard time finding inspiration. Not so, as the title suggests. There are many references to relapsing into addiction, including a new drug, "It's called 'Crope' - it's half crack and half dope. And all it costs ya is twenty dollars."

Continuing the thought of record labels royal(t)ly screwing artists, "Kleptocracy" is hook-laden and brutal, with a very catchy chorus that is definitely an earworm!

Overall, this is MINISTRY's heaviest effort to date, and also their first since becoming independent, retired... anything but dead! Don't be surprised if you suffer cranial damage while listening to this at full volume!

Rating: 7 out of 7 Headknockers