Mazzie's Music Magorium
Punk and Metal Album Reviews
Saturday, January 21, 2012
Arch/Matheos "Sympathetic Resonance"

Two members of Fates Warning, John Arch and Jim Matheos, formed a new project called Arch/Matheos (duh) and released their debut album, "Sympathetic Resonance" after eight long years of waiting since the excellent EP "Twist of Fate". This album is like Fates Warning 30 years later except it's updated obviously. 

John Arch definitely is the mastermind behind Fates Warning's success and downfall(they sucked after he left) and now he's doing it again with this project.  I'm not entirely sure if it's going to be a permanent thing or just a project.  I guess we will find out soon enough.  Anyway, he practically picked up where he left off when he disappeared after Fates Warning time and it's like he never left the music scene.  It's crazy how great he sounds and his talents haven't faded away.

It's full of insane guitar solos and the vocals is absolutely killer.  One thing for sure, don't expect another Fates Warning album! It is very prog and and even heavier.  I even detect Nevermore style riffing in some songs.  There's a lot of variety with the tempo and vocal ranges.  I haven't become bored as I listen through the album and every song is at least enjoyable though most are great.  At the same everything flow together and each song complements each other.  There is one thing that really disappoint me is the bass.  The bass is mostly just in the background and there is nothing special about it really.  As you regular readers know I am bass fanatic and I want to hear more bass!

Definitely a great comeback album for John Arch! Recommended for progheads and anyone who dig interesting metal album.

Score: 8/10

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Vallenfyre "A Fragile King"

I picked up a copy from a local metal shop today and listened to it as soon as I got home.  I've been looking forward to get a copy for a while and finally got the opportunity to buy it.  Vallenfyre is founded by Gregor Mackintosh of Paradise Lost along with members of PL, My Dying Bride, and some other band.  Mackintosh decided to form a old school style death metal band and Vallenfyre is the new superband full of famous musicians.  Same idea as Shrinebuilder and etc. 

This album is excellent old school death metal sound with big doom influences ala Entombed and Celtic Frost.  However there is nothing new with the sound but don't let that stop you from getting this album.  It's definitely great solid album.  The guitar riffs are heavy and dirty sounding.  The vocals is very gritty and really brought the sound together. The production is excellent and very gritty sounding without being too muddy and losing the clarity of being able to hear all the instruments. 

The artwork is excellent and I'm even considering buying a vinyl version of this album just for the artwork and listening to this on the good ol' wax! 

Definitely recommended for all death metal fan!

Score: 8.5/10

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Thursday, January 5, 2012
Virgin Black "Requiem- Mezzo Forte"

If you've been following my blog since the beginning then you should remember my review of their album "Sombre Romantic" and gave it a 8.5.  This album was released after "Sombre Romantic" and is a first part of the Requiem trilogy.  So far only the first two albums are released and the final part is unknown.  I really wonder if they will release the final part...

Back to the point, this album is an absolutely gorgeous gothic doom album with tons of classical influences.  The vocals are top notch and the instrument works is near perfect.  They got a symphony orchestra from their home country to play the classical parts of the album. That's pretty awesome and really expand the atmosphere of the album.   The lyrics is beautifully written and full of emotion but at the same time not so cheesy.  I don't normally over hype albums but I'm blown away from this one and it's definitely one of the best album I've ever heard.  Not just for metal genre but for music in general.  Recommended for any music fan really.

Score: 9.5/10

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Sinai Beach "When Breath Escapes"

I'm going to review the reissue of Sinai Beach's debut album by Victory Records.  I do own the original print but it's so terrible in production it's not even worth listening or recommendation.  So forget about the original print and let's focus on the reissue.  Sinai Beach was your typical metalcore during the height of the core music in early 2000s and they were signed to Facedown then Victory Records.  Unless you are metalcore superfan and want to own every single metalcore album in existence then don't bother with this one.

The production definitely improves over the original issue but still can't save this album.  The album is full of boring and predictable breakdowns and the vocals is awful.  There's some sound clips from random movies inserted in couple tracks and that just doesn't work here.  It works very well for Zao but Zao is good at everything they does.  I think Sinai Beach was trying to be like them but they threw in the clips just to be "different".  You can't be different for the sake of being different.  If it has purpose then do it, but if it doesn't then don't bother.  That's an important lesson all new and upcoming bands need to learn.  Unfortunately they didn't so it ruined the album in my opinion.

Score: 3/10 (gotta give them Candice song which was actually decent)

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Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Norma Jean "The Anti Mother"

Third album by Norma Jean and quite possibly one of their best work.  I'm very impressed and surprised because I thought they are done for after that Redeemer debacle.  This album is definitely different and has some typical chaotic metalcore, post hardcore, and even post rock songs.  There's a lot of guest musicians like Chris Moreno, Page Hamilton, Cove Reber, etc.  That's pretty cool and something different coming from Norma Jean.

It's definitely not same as their earlier works ala Bless The... and O'God... albums but it's a huge improvement than Redeemer like I said earlier.  The first few songs are your typical Norma Jean chaos and full of heaviness and breakdowns.  The later songs are more softer and full of "post" influences.  All of the guest musicians did great and adds something nice to the songs they worked on.  The production is great as usual which is what I always expect from them.  However, the album isn't perfect... far from it in fact.  There's couple of filler tracks that I felt were put in there just to make it a full length album.  I know I said it's one of their best albums but that doesn't mean it's the best album ever.  Basically it's a solid metalcore album for all those who enjoy that scene.

Score: 7/10

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Circulus "The Lick on the Tip of an Envelope Yet to Be Sent"
Circulus is a psychedelic folk rock band from Ohio and they have 3 full length albums under their belt.  I'm reviewing their debut album which was released in 2005.  I don't really remember how I stumbled upon this album but I remember it was about two to three years ago.  This album definitely isn't something I would normally listen to so it's bit "out there" for this blog but I don't really care and you are more than free to skip this one and read other reviews.  However, if you are more open minded like I am and willing to give this one a chance, then you won't be disappointed.

The album cover art is one of the best I've ever seen in awhile and even the album title is pretty awesome.  This is your typical folksy rock with a psychedelic influences.  It is not cheesy, far from it, but it is a very fun album to listen to.  One thing that is interesting is the fact there isn't much of singing on this album.  Some songs are instrumental and others just have a little of singing, mostly male vocals.  The production is very impressive for this style and I really appreciate that.  I absolutely love the songs "My Body is Made of Sunlight" and "Candlelight", such fantastic songs that are just beautiful to listen to. 

I strongly recommend this album to those who enjoy folk and folk influenced rock music.  Hell, I recommend this to anyone who's willing to be open minded.  Trust me, you won't be disappointed. I think this album is perfect for listening while you are surrounded by nature like forest or mountains or just away from people and technology in general(except for your CD player or iPod).

Score: 8/10

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A Thousand Times Repent "Virtue Has Few Friends"

I actually forgot I have this album in my collection.  What a blast from past...  A Thousand Times Repent is a metalcore band from Atlanta, GA and they only have been together for a short time.  As far as I know they only have one album released, which is "Virtue Has Few Friends".  It's an alright album and really only for people who dig metalcore music.  It has some good moments and many forgettable moments as well. 

There is no great song on the album but there are few good ones like "Curses! Another Shape-Shifting Wraith!" and "Complete Relinquish. Utter Abandon".  The rest are pretty much boring or just plainly sucks.  One thing that really bother me a lot is the way the album is very disjointed.  There's some heavy, almost deathcorey, songs and some clean acoustic songs.  Don't get me wrong, I dig albums with variety but for some reason it just doesn't work here.  The songs are too different and doesn't really have anything to do with each other.  It feels like they just created different songs and throw them together without considering how the songs can flow together.

If you are a metalcore aficionado, then go ahead and check this album out.  If not then just move on... nothing to hear here.  You can always download just the two songs I mentioned earlier and that's all you need from this band really.

Score: 4/10

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