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From the moment I laid eyes on the morbidly beautiful cover for THE HUMAN ROMANCE, the seventh studio album from Washington D.C.'s DARKEST HOUR, I was intrigued. A fan of their earlier work beginning with SO SEDATED, SO SECURE (2001), and following them through HIDDEN HANDS OF A SADIST NATION (2003) and UNDOING RUIN (2005), I'd actually given up on the band, skipping their last two albums as I felt that with UNDOING, they'd fallen into the same "metalcore" trappings as many of their peers - it all sounded the same. Based on cover art alone, I was ready to give the band another chance.
There's times I think that being from Chicago (and possibly the Midwest in general) causes a large portion of the population to graviate toward the dark side of life by default. It's probably the same reason that so many horror films are set in Illinois. Between the mobsters, supernatural phenomena, and generally weird shit that goes on, it's no wonder that Chicago is the home base of MACABRE.
On their debut full-length entitled ONE, UK-based TESSERACT have crafted an intriguing collection of progressive metal that weaves their heavy playing between a thick layer of ambient noise - something that would be significantly impressive if it didn't sound so damn familiar. Set for release on March 22 via Century Media, six of the eleven tracks present on the disc were already issued last year as the CONCEALING FATE EP, making ONE feel more like a reissue with bonus tracks than a fresh full-length.
It's not often this situation presents itself, but with THE WARRIORS are a band on their fourth studio album - and I haven't heard any of their prior works. With no background on which to judge, SEE HOW YOU ARE (out today on Victory Records) arrives without preconceived notions or opinion on which to compare.
Released elsewhere in the world last Fall, THE PRETTY RECKLESS will see the North American release of their debut album LIGHT ME UP this Tuesday. Fronted by actress TAYLOR MOMSEN of GOSSIP GIRL fame (Note: the only thing I've ever seen her in is HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS), The Pretty Reckless is everything that a rock band should ever hope to be.
One of the buzz bands of the early-mid 2000's explosion of emo-driven rock, BAYSIDE first my radar with their first two releases on Chicago's Victory Records, 2004's SIRENS AND CONDOLENCES, and 2005's BAYSIDE. Either by timing or presentation, those albums always seemed to place the band as a third-tier artist among then-labelmates TAKING BACK SUNDAY and THURSDAY. By the time their next pair of albums rolled around, I'd moved on and lost interest. Now, with the release of KILLING TIME (out February 22, 2011 via Wind-up) my interest has returned, and after hearing it I'm fairly certain that I won't be alone.
Aside from essentially having two first names, BOB WAYNE and CHARLIE DANIELS have a lot in common. Both share an affection for the banjo and the fiddle, a slightly nasal vocal delivery, and a robust storytelling style. As for Wayne, his fourth album OUTLAW CARNIE just hit stores via Century Media, and is something worth a listen.
As a serious entry into the new wave of thrash metal, TUCK FROM HELL's debut album THRASHING is a head-scratcher. As a comedy album, however...
While the music itself is competent, the vocals are sheer parody. Picture a cute little James Hetfield in about seventh grade, belting out the "yeah yeaaaaaah!'s" as he talks about "sipping on Gin & Juice" and "drinking a beer with Beelzebub," on the album opener "Barbeque Beast." Next, the band asks that you "Ride the Lightning... INTO THE PIT!" on "Death Before to Disco" before cranking into "Tuckerz," which appears to be a love-letter to their (alleged) legion of fans who are said to call themselves 'tuckers.' Yes, KISS has the KISS ARMY, SLIPKNOT has the MAGGOTS, ICP has the JUGGALOS, and now TUCK FROM HELL brings you the TUCKERS.