I said it in July and I will say it again. The new Slayer just plain kicks ass. While what I heard in July was almost the final mix (or perhaps it was) it included 2 additional songs, so when I bought the CD recently I was still pretty much in the dark.
One of the most common things I have heard from folks is "Dude the new Slayer sucks, it sounds just like everything else they ever do" Umm shyeah. That is somewhat the point to me. I do prefer when a band keeps its sound. That is also primarily the reason I could not wait to get my chubby little fingers on the CD. This album returns to the darker side of things. Songs like "Snuff" which is about those lovely and illegal snuff films and "Americon" which tackles the current state of affairs in the Middle East, Slayer has returned to their tried and true history.
One thing that stands out is the fact that Jeff Hanneman is writing again. For the past several albums, the vast majority of writing belongs to Kerry King, but this time Jeff is back. The best example of why I missed Jeff writing is "Beauty Through Order". This song is truly class Slayer. From the tempo, to the solos and lyrics, this is the Slayer template.
Another one of my favorites is "Not Of This God" Its the classic questing of Christianity that Kerry is known for. The change from fast and furious thrash to the rhythmic middle groove and back to the speed again is what gets me. This is the ultimate pit song. Mental insanity with a small breather in the middle. Perfect for their aging fans in the pit.
The 20 minute short film by Mark Brooke would best be described as a Gein-esque comic book set to songs from the new Slayer Album. Initially it reminded me of an older video game/comic book type set up and that lost me in the beginning, but as you watch you will see things tie together nicely in the end. My hopes is that in any videos slayer makes, perhaps they can make this a live action theme. Definately a story entertaining enough to replicate.
Personally a true test has been passed. I have managed to clean the snake cages in record time with this album cranked. The Tarantulas like it as well, becoming excessively active. Always a good sign to me for my heavier music.
Brand New with Glassjaw
November 21st, 2009
Glassjaw, the very influential post hardcore band, are very interesting to see live. Playing to the audience seems like an afterthought to them. They quartet faces each other as though they were jamming in a garage, making constant eye contact with each other, and with the bass players back facing the audience the entire set. Singer Daryl Palumbo breaks away from the rest to dance, jump and interact with the crowd. The eager crowd doesn't seem to see any of this as bad showmanship. From their reaction this band can do no wrong. Definitely work checking out - especially if you've wondered what Rage Against the Machine would sound like if they were heavier and more experimental.
The Kool Haus holds 2500 and most bands play their for one night. Brand New packed it both nights in a row! And their fan-base is a perfect storm of emo teens & collar popping young adults, all willing to shell out $ for as much merch as they can get. Jesse Lacey could have been Robert Pattinson based on the crowds screaming reaction to him. It's been a long time since I've looked over my shoulder in the pit to see the girls singing and crying tears of joy at the same time. This pop punk / alternative band are still reaping the success from the release this fall of their 4th studio CD "Daisy" (reached #6 on the U.S.) chart. I really enjoyed the sound textures in their material as well as Jesse's ability to command a crowd. His ability as a lyricist paired with Brand New's songwriting talents will ensure prolonged success.
Wolfmother with The Heartless Bastards and The Newno2
November 11th, 2009
Gotta get this out of the way. Andrew Stockdale (the singer) from Wolfmother looks like Carrot Top. There I said it. And while I'm at it Dhani Harrison from thenewno2 looks a lot like his dad George....Harrison....from the Beatles.
I'd like to 1st review the show lighting from a photographer's point of view. It was bad - too much red and green. But that's my only gripe. Thenewno2 are a great sounding band with some great lineage. You can hear the similarities between Dhani and his father but it's not in a bad way like Julian Lennon - sorry Julian but "Valotte" sucked. Thenewno2 was the band I was most looking forward to tonight and their 6 song set left me wanting more. Gotta get this Cd.
The Heartless Bastards came out screaming and didn't stop. There set was a mix of fantastic vocals and guitar from Erika Wennerstrom and a solid pulse from the rest of the band. The crowd really came alive when they hit the stage after being more subdued for thenewno2.
Wolfmother are back with their 2nd album "Cosmic Egg" and a new band. Founding members Chris Ross (Bassist and keyboards) and drummer Myles Heskett left the band due to "irreconcilable personal and musical differences" leaving Stockdale to bring in 3 new members and a new energy. The addition of a 2nd guitar really helped during "Woman" when Stockdale knocked his mic stand over, tried to recover it and dropped his guitar. Minutes later everything was OK but the band never dropped a beat. The crowd loved them but I really couldn't get into it. I like the music but the show was almost "paint by numbers". Jump here, riff here, pounding drums. Just stuff we've seen and hear before but nothing groundbreaking. Cool band but not sensational.