I still remember seeing KORN for the first time when they were the opening act on a tour that included MEGADETH, FLOTSAM AND JETSAM, and FEAR FACTORY. At the time, much of the black-shirt crowd had no idea what to make of them. Their self-titled first album was fresh onto the record store racks, and I was pretty-much hooked. The combination of Korn's bass-heavy rumble, Ross Robinson's production skills, and a slight aura of mystery were enough to rope in listeners from the darkest corners of the musical spectrum - and well beyond - to catapult the band to mainstream stardom.
When M.I.A. seemingly came out of nowhere to score pop-gold with her second album KALA in 2007, music critics nearly creamed their pants with overindulgent praise. While I enjoyed the album, I never could understand the hype around it.
On her latest album /\/\ /\ Y /\ (or simply MAYA), the multi-faceted artist has assembled a collection of barely-listenable audio diarrhea, that without the support of a major label would find itself buried alongside countless "experimental" indie noise releases.
There's a scene in the 1990 Renny Harlin film THE ADVENTURES OF FORD FAIRLANE where the title character (portrayed by the great ANDREW DICE CLAY) stumbles upon a less-than-stellar recording session where Wayne Newton (as Julian Grendel) claims that "the next big thing" is being packaged. Fairlane promptly stops the session to pull the vocalist aside, asking the unfortunate singer "What is that shit?" "You're killin' rock-n-rape-n-roll here. I mean, Keith Richards is rolling over in is grave- the friggin' guy isn't even dead yet," he explains.
Back for their fourth studio album, Mesa, AZ's AUTHORITY ZERO carries the flag for timely and politically-charged punk rock.
Like many of their older peers (BAD RELIGION, PENNYWISE, et al), Authority Zero works an in-your-face angle with their fast and ferocious punk rock chords laying down the foundation for crystal-clear vocals that convey emotion without becoming overbearing, though they break the mold on occasion to throw in some tasty ska and reggae grooves. STORIES OF SURVIVAL continues that musical tradition, while tackling the current Global Climate from economic downfall to the state of the ever-changing music industry.
It's not often that you can review one album by a band and then essentially apply the exact same review to their next album. In the case of CARDIAC ARREST,much of what I said regarding their excellent 2008 release CADAVEROUS PRESENCE can be applied to their latest album HAVEN FOR THE INSANE.
On their third album, Phoenix band EYES SET TO KILL finds themselves at a crossroads of genre and popularity with much of the attention often falling on the looks of sisters Alexia and Anissa Rodriguez than the band's musical output. After a tumultuous few years that has seen the band burn through an almost comical number of members (around 9 currently hold the "ex-ESTK" title), EYES SET TO KILL seems to have locked in a solid lineup following the departure of Keyboardist/Scream Specialist Brandon Anderson.