Bullet For My Valentine
Heavy metal fans will rejoice at the return of this Welsh band’s third studio album. One of the few successful gothic metal bands out there, BFMV has stuck to its guns this time around as well. The amazing thing about international metal bands is the level of production that goes into a record. Every sound is so sharp and punchy that it makes it a pleasure to headbang to. Not to mention the evocation of the quality of songwriting that comes through with these guys. Who’d have thought a metal band from Wales would be such a force in metal circles? Right from the opening track, Your betrayal to the closing Pretty on the outside, the sound comes in hard and sharp. Pounding double bass drums courtesy Michael Thomas, give this one a thumping to experience.
One of rock’s most hated women returns with her band in this their fourth studio album in 12 years. Now I have never been that into Courtney Love, but if I look beyond her into the music, I find there is much to like. And particularly with this album, Courtney’s songwriting collaborators are the amazing Linda Perry and the enigmatic Billy Corgan — and it is for that reason that I listen to this album. Originally titled How Dirty Girls Get Clean, this is pretty much the sound of the mid-nineties alternative vibe that we so loved. So it has that sense of melancholic desolation that meets angst-ridden tirades on a boring summer afternoon. Think of it as a Linda Perry/Billy Corgan album and you’ll be fine. And as for Courtney Love, she really is a ‘nobody’s rock star,’ isn’t she?
Some more metal for you metalheads out there, this American metal band return with their fifth album after 2006’s IV. Somehow Godsmack has always reminded me of a young early Metallica. With vocalist Sully Ema riffing unashamedly on James Hetfield. So what we get here is more of the same, the songwriting not very imaginative, the opening track is titled, Crying like a bitch and the rest of the album pretty much flatlines on that same theme. Godsmack is a band that is good to have on a metal soundtrack — you know, those Rob Zombie horror films that have a host of metal bands singing about death and destruction. I got through this album with much difficulty and I’m sure even the most hardened metal fan out there will agree with me.
Elect The Dead Symphony
Serj Tankian has taken his System of a Down to great heights and as of 2007 went solo with his album Elect The Dead on which he famously played most of the myriad instruments. The subsequent tour made him a solo force to reckon with. In the March of 2009, with the help of the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, Serj recorded a live concert in performance with songs from his solo album and a few unreleased ones. Much of Serj’s solo songs are reminiscent of his work with System of a Down, but to hear those very songs in an orchestral setting is quite a departure for him as a musician and it brings out a different nuance via the symphonic arrangements. His voice does tend to go off at times, but it all picks up when he uses his power of range that we know so well. Get this, if this style of experimentation is your kind of thing.