It's been eight long years since we've heard from Blink-182. After an 'indefinite' hiatus The boys are back delivering Neighborhoods, their sixth studio album. Few bands are as well known, respected and influential, especially in the pop-punk scene as Blink-182. Their last album, their self titled, was a departure from their traditional humorous pop-punk sound and was met with mixed feelings. It contained a lot more experimentation and branching out in terms of sound. Fans have been dying for a new album, many clamoring for a return to the old Blink we knew and love. So does Neighborhoods deliver? Or should we all be moving out?
Hurricane Katrine devastates the south! George W Bush begins his second term. Micheal Jackson is acquitted. Blink 182 breaks up! It seems like we've traveled back to 2005, influential pop-punk rockers Blink 182 have once again broken up. Well founding member Tom DeLonge has left/been kicked out, leaving bassist Mark Hoppus as the only original member. Officially the band hasn't actually broken up, Mark and Travis have expressed interest in continuing with Blink and have enlisted Alkaline Trio guitarist Matt Skiba to complete the shows they had already committed to and have hinted that they may recruit him to play in Blink 182 as a full fledged member.
I grew up on Linkin Park as I'm sure a lot of you did as well. Hybrid Theory was amazing for me at the time, and it fit perfectly with where I was in my life. It was the perfect album for an angsty pre-teen. Their brand of rap-metal was fitting and unoffensive to suburban youths everywhere. Looking back it wasn't really that great musically, but it did spark an era and was a huge part of a lot of people's lives. Their follow up (ignoring the remix album Re:Animation) Meteora was generally held as a stronger album and better than Hybrid Theory. Personally well at the time again I loved the album I started getting bored with them when I noticed all the songs were the same structurally. It's still nostalgic for me to listen but I usually skip through it. Their next album Minutes To Midnight was a huge departure in sound, there was a lot more experimentation and it had a rougher feel to it in general. At the time it wasn't 'heavy' enough for me and it lacked the aggression of the previous two albums. It has definitely grown on me as I've matured but at the time it was where I lost interest. I kept up with them and tried getting into their next two releases but only found a few songs that really captured my attention. Which brings me to The Hunting Party, so what did I actually think of the sixth studio album from the band?
The early 2000's where a huge time for post-hardcore and what has been deemed emo music. Pop punk was huge, indie rock was huge, and a ton of bands exploded. Out of all of them my favorite is easily the band Say Anything, especially around that time period they set themselves apart with satire, self loathing, and expressive imagery. While they are still one of my favorite bands, their style has easily changed since this era. So why am I starting off the review talking about them? Because Runaway Brother's Bedhead is basically like being transported back in time to this era and in particular to Say Anything's magnum opus ...Is A Real Boy, and I mean that as the biggest possible compliment.
Sleepwave is the anticipated new project from former Underoath frontman Spencer Chamberlain. Delivering something that manages to defy all expectations and excite. Broken Compass is the debut album and it's a hell of a way to start off. Falling less into hardcore or metalcore it's more of an industrial rock album and it works. Nothing feels forced, nothing feels out of place. It has it's flaws but overall it manages to stand out and at least break out from the shadow of his former band.
There's a reason I love going to shows. You never know when the opening band is going to blow you away. This is exactly what happened with Artifex Pereo. I recently went to see Norma Jean and Emery touring with Night Verses and Artifex Pereo, the latter I had no prior knowledge of at all. When I heard them I was just completely caught off guard. Anyone who wants to claim the post-hardcore scene is dead or no longer interesting needs to take a listen and shut up. Artifex Pereo are doing their own thing and shaking things up.
I'll start this review by getting the obvious things out of the way. First I'm sure by now unless you really don't follow the band, that there are no guitars on the album. Second this is not ...Is A Real Boy. If you were expecting a return to that sound or part of the crowd that refuses to accept anything else, then may as well stop reading now, your mind is already made up. In fact this albums lyrics are definitely inspired by your close mindedness. This album is a departure in sound and yet feels oddly familiar, especially if you've followed the band or have at least embraced the early years.
Growing up in the 90's/00's with the whole nu-metal scene, I had an easy jumping off point to the metalcore bands that are a dime a dozen these days. I often wonder though what ever happened to nu-metal? I mean Linkin Park are doing their own sort of electronic thing now. Korn is still, well to put it nicely, trying. Adema are dead. Trapt is trying. I know those are just a few of the more mainstream artists but you get the idea. Where is nu-metal today? It easily could have evolved and adapted. Instead those bands remained stagnant and pretty much are non-existent at this point.
Long Island rockers Bayside last graced us with their presence with 2011's Killing Time. Personally I felt like it was their best work since The Walking Wounded. It featured a largely diverse rang of sound from the band while maintaining their core style of emotional punk infused hard rock. The band follows up that masterpiece with Cult. Can this album reach the same heights as the previous album?
Rise Against have been in the game for quite sometime now. They really gained popularity with their third album Siren Songs Of The Counter Culture which managed to blend enough melodic hardcore and anti cred with catchy lyrics and a more mainstream sound to appeal to both the hardcore/punk crowd and the more radio friendly audiences. Their next couple albums managed to stay just this side of punk without truly crossing over into pop. Their last album, Endgame, however felt like it was produced for the pop/power rock radio crowd. It wasn't bad, it just felt a but pre-packaged and flat.
It's been 6 long years since we last heard from Akissforjersey, a Christian Post-Hardcore/Metalcore quintet. In the vein of bands of Emery, Inhale/Exhale, and Underoath they combine hard hitting metal riffs, hardcore beats with a mix of clean vocals and deep screams and growls. They've always been a great band, but have been a bit lost in the wave of similar bands that came out in the early 2000's. Their last album really saw them come into their own and find a cohesive sound that was all their own.
The internet is an amazing place. It's made it a lot easier for bands to connect to new fans and for people to easily find new music. I discovered Papertowns when they added me on Twitter. Whenever a band adds me I always give the benefit of the doubt and take a listen, there's nothing to lose. I'm glad I did with this band. They deserve a lot more recognition and fans. They're friendly and unlike a lot of bands that seem to add you only to gain followers, they have great communications with the fans and are very likely to respond or retweet or at least acknowledge their fans.
This is the seventh studio album from the Detroit based Psychobilly band The Koffin Kats. If you don't know what psychobilly is, the best way to describe is if Elvis did punk rock. It blends old-school rockabilly beats and bass lines with punk rock riffs and B-movie horror references. It's a genre that seems old and yet at the same time new. The Koffin Kats have basically defined American psychobilly and are one of the older bands still out there going strong for over a decade now.
It's always scary for fans when a band replaces a member. It's especially so when that member is a charismatic lead vocalist. With most bands a change like this goes one of a few ways: Either the new vocalist has a different style and the band changes their style to match dividing fans; the new vocalist tries to match the previous vocalist and ends up sounding unnatural (see Underoath's album 'They're Only Chasing Safety for a perfect example of this) and it ends up off putting.
The Ocean have really only been a band in a traditional sense since 2009. Originally it was founding member, guitarist, and song writer, Robin Staps brain child. A collection of over 20 different musicians contributed to their early albums, and it shows. While they were all great albums, it wasn't until Heliocentric, when Robin Staps formed a stable lineup with the current members, that they really found their own style. Taking elements of metal, post-metal, metalcore, and progressing everything further, while maintaining a set theme isn't a task suited for any band. The Ocean does just that with each album. While Heliocentric and Anthropocentric were outwardly looks at the problems and hypocrisies of Christianity. It was hard hitting and unrelenting, but never to the point of bashing, just questioning.