Wednesday, July 6, 2011

#10 : Full Circle

Hi guys, 

I guess I have sufficient matter for a new blog post. But first, a few things I need to tell you.

The banner has changed. Yes. No one gave me feedback, so I just took my own opinion - the new one looks better. Also, the blog is undergoing cosmetic changes, so excuse me if the fonts and headers look mismatched and unaesthetic for a while.
Second, clickity-clack that follow button, I'm nothing without your support, you're a douchebag without my blog (Okay,maybe not, but I do dole out some good music,don't I? ) so it's win-win.
Third, spread the love, I need this blog to be even more popular, and even cooler.

So I'm going to start with an album review of 'Sounds Of A Playground Fading', the new album by the Swedish melodic death metal band we know as In Flames. Though I have never felt that the vocals were stellar, I have always loved the music, constantly air-guitaring to hits like 'Come Clarity', 'Trigger', 'Alias' and others. So here we go.


Artist: In Flames
Album: Sounds Of A Playground Fading
Release Date : June 15, 2011

A listen through this new album and it’s clear that In Flames is holding steady to the same path they’ve been on since 'Clayman'. The record is rife with the band’s signature drop C/D-tuned heaviness and smooth, melodic hooks. From the first attention-grabbing title track, they prove once more that they are the kings of catchy metal. There is no lack of infectious and memorable licks, vocal refrains and rhythmic pummeling. And, probably best of all, there are a lot of truly awesome guitar solos on this record - almost more than you’d expect. Add to that some really stunning production quality, and you have yourself another smash hit.

But I am somewhat ambivalent towards their approach : there’s no denying they sell lots of records and sell out concerts and are probably one of the most radio-friendly bands you can still confidently refer to as good metal. But the some of the songs such as 'Fear Is The Weakness' and 'Ropes' bring out a certain pop-punk like quality that purists (and I refer to out and out metalheads) may not appreciate. Make no mistake, the band is still conveys visceral feelings fiercely and aggressively, an essential part of the songs being power chord chugging. But some of the songs seem to deviate intermittently from the metal approach, more towards a cleaner rock sound. 

'The Attic' is a clear example of the softer side that other bands such as Metallica have shown in the past, whereas 'Darker Times' and 'Enter Strategy' represent the darker, irascible side, and 'A New Dawn' shows that In Flames is experimenting with the metalcore sound (The wailing electric guitars at the start remind me of Nightmare by Avenged Sevenfold).

So does all this mean it’s a bad metal album? Not at all. All the tracks I mentioned are actually pretty good songs - if you think of them in terms of “will most people like this?”. 
I only bring up this observation because if the last In Flames album you heard was Whoreacle, you might be at a loss hearing some of the content on SOAPF. Overall the quality of this release is of the high quality you would expect from a band at this level. The song-writing is solid and a lot of the new bells and whistles turned out to be welcome additions. Though metal purists will bitch, loyal fans of the band will see and admire the direction and vision the band is going with in this new album.

Rating4/5 stars


And then there was the trance, house and 'step I heard this week. A lot of bloody good tunes. Staring off with Dreamer,a fairly breezy electro house track and One Way Out of Love, which was fairly enticing in parts but otherwise generic.

The tune that blew my mind is a song by Yuri Kane called Right Back. I love the vocals, and I love the piano. Great trance music here. Currently ruling the playcount in my library.

There was also this great mix by Utku S., a relatively unknown figure in Electro, of a song called Party Days by Pulseless. I really loved how it started but the tech. house additions and Skrillex like "roboto" exchanges towards the middle of the song are subject to taste.

As funny as it sounds, dubstep and electro house producer Uppermost has named this track 'System32'. I don't know about his love for Windows (Pretty sure he carries a Macbook Pro, like all EDM producers do), but the track is really good.

And then there's Joe Garston. I first thought he was with mau5trap, given how similar is to Moguai, Wolfgang Gartner and Deadmau5 himself. Still need to do a bit of googling, he might just have been signed by Mau5trap. Clean, 130 bpm beat that has a lot going for it. I have no idea how those squeaky bits are made though - possibly through a monome or tenori-on.

Coming to this song called Bounce by Calvin Harris (The "I'm not alone" guy), featuring Kelis. Perfect summer tune, very, very chill. Best described by this line in the lyrics - "It's like I flicked a switch and now I'm feeling good." 

Adam K is back! Without Soha again. :( 
But there's Funkagenda. Really, really good progressive tune. Though I don't know where it fits. Neo-trance like in my opinion.

Also, Dada Life came out with this new track, but I like Disco Reason's mix a lot mroe than the original. Gets very electro.

There were a few other average tracks I heard, like When The Sun Goes Down (DJ Solovey Remix), Records Back '11 (Darth & Vader Remix) and This Is The Night by Guru Josh Project (Sounds too much like Infinity in my opinion).

The dubstep prodigy Skrillex launched 'More Monsters And Sprites', an EP with a few mixes of the songs from his previous album. The star seems to be 'First Of The Year (Equinox).

Also check out his mix of Benny Bennassi's Cinema, which has a massive drop.

Also, a blast from the very recent past, I heard a new dirty electro mix of 'Move For Me' by East Freaks. 

Then there are the chillstep and melodic dubstep numbers. Got linked to these awesome tracks, you need to hear them both. Right now. 

I happened to miss hearing this Seether track called 'Country Song' that came out in late spring this year. Heard it on the radio a few days ago. It's just what you want to hear from a post-grunge/alternative band.


The playlist to the iPod on the right hand side of the blog has been updated, and I've made it public now so you can add music to it if you want to. But restrict yourself to EDM, atleast for now. I might make Rock and Metal playlists in the future.

Anyway, so I guess that's it from me for now. Please follow the blog @Audiophile93 on Twitter.

Audiophile 93