Tiny Little Blackouts- Idea of Alice-CD (Robot 123 Records)
This is very much a shoegazer meets Dream pop sound that Tiny Little Blackout create. The lush soft but very well sung female vocal with the droney, lazy, bluesy fuzzed out guitars a warm deep bass line and very jazz meets post rock drumming is whats going on. Think bands like Belly, Curve, The Gathering and The Cardigans is all the bands that really come to mind here. Tiny Little Blackouts have a very 60's Pop feeling to the over all sound to what there creating . I'm really impressed by what I'm hearing. The production is monstrous as well " Idea of Alice" as that Phil Spector production to it if you know where I'm going from. This is another label I'm not heard from before on any regular basis but if there material is all like this then more power and send more releases for review as Tiny Little Blackouts are making me fall in love with pop music for the 1st time in years. As I go through this review you know who this band most sounds like to me is when the band LOW has female vocals going on. I finally got to pinpoint the sound I was hearing. Fantastic work here.
LUX DIVINA- From the tomb to natures blood-CD (Ars Magna Recordings)
I'm going to start with this as my 8 yrs old niece Mackenzie walking by will I was listening to the new LUX DIVINA told me Uncle this sounds freaking awesome and you know what I agree. This band holds all the elements that good if not great Pagan Black/Post Black metal needs. The Atmosphere, Grim and Clean vocals , Cold and melodic guitar and bass lines and the progressive sound that bands like Borknagar, Code, DHG and Arcturus all have had and still do. This is the league I would put LUX DIVINA into. There are very strong Power metal tone at times too in which the band starts going into almost a nature based mode like Agalloch and Falkenbach have at time. I would say there Viking metal in any way but very kindred spirits to say the least. They do show there Black metal teeth often on "nature's blood" but more in Avant black nature this is not lo fi raw black metal at all. The Acoustic remind me of early Ulver at times too. LUX DIVINA are a complex project to say the least and something that is very very pleasurable to this listener and reviewer. This will be a stand out of 2010 for sure .
Fear Factory- Mechanized-CD (Candlelight Records)
So the main writing force of Fear Factory has gotten back together Dino and Burton to stoke the fire of the days of yor .. This time out they bring in the Strapping young lad rhythm section of Gene Hoglan (maybe the best drummer ever) and Bryon on bass. well on to what really matter and that the songs well . you like the 1st few proper Fear Factory releases then your going to love this as this is much more the Industrial metal force that we remember think of Godflesh, Ministry, Old Pitch Shifter mixed with bands like Front Line Assembly and Laibach. This is a balls out power house affair going on here. Were metal and electronics meet. I'm shocked to see them not return to a larger label like Roadrunner again but not the less this is very much in the Demanufacture style we all remember and love from this band. Candlelight has a major star back out and in there roster they seem to pick up all the Roadrunner bands that are making stronger comebacks then before look they have Obituary as well now too. I was worried as the last few Fear Factory albums were getting way to groove in element but not with this. Welcome back gentlemen..
Ihsahn-After-CD (Candlelight Records)
So we are a few album post Emperor now and the major difference I hear with Ihsahn solo verses the old days is the more progressive and Post rock elements in his music mixed with the Post Black metal that emperor in essence really started with Anthem Release and now with "After" Ihsahn has moved more into were artists like Devin Townsend, Dan Swano and Opeth have a much more personal sound with blistering moments but are the song structures go they become very delicate and avant at time to the point of crazy horns, amazing melodies and touching acoustic moments. I really feel the Peccatum releases really help change his views on music for the positive. Ishahn still has a strong love for King Diamond and Prog Metal as you can hear it in almost every track. With "After" I really hear more experimentation almost in the way bands like Sleepy time gorilla Museum, Neurosis, Mr Bungle and Pokadot Cadaver. Ishahn has matured a lot on this release and this is not a bad thing at all. There is a 50/50 mix of metal and non metal sounds this time out I can see a move away from the more abrasive and now just doing what he loves and its about time this is a genre defining release for him and then the metallic sounds on the Northen European scenes. "After" will be listened to many many times with me. Where the last release AngL had great moments but was much more disjointed. Candlelight this is the release you have been waiting for from The voice of Emperor...
Karen Page- S/T-CD (Rotten Records)
Karen Page threw me for a loop folk this is not a poppy or alt record band at all with a name like Karen Page I was not expecting equal parts Avant Metal, Grind and Jazzcore music but then again if you assume what does it do to ya. Well here we are and Karen page is all men and one hell of a vocal and musical assault on the senses. We've got shredding guitar, guttural vocals and a drummer on a mission to play blast beats as fast a possible at time. Where the hell do the reggae riffs and beats come from at times but they do. Rotten records is a label to never wait for the ordinary and you know what I was the fool on this one and came out very surprised and smiling at the end again. Karen Page live must be a hell of a live show so if they come to your town check them out I'm going too.