2008 – More music (July to October)

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29 Nov 2008, 11:23

RIGHT. I've been on holiday, had a summer, wound up at university, started a radio show and learnt the art of proper capitalisation since I last did one of these, so this should be pretty sexy. Thing is, I've been poor, so I don't know how many CDs I've bought since then. I've not even looked to see what's new and what's old. So this'll be pretty exciting for me.

Well, exciting-ish.

JULY
A Perfect CircleMer De Noms
Oo-err. Not quite so good as Thirteenth Step. I mean it's still pretty good, no denying, but it has songs like Rose that are a little bit annoying. That said, the first two songs are both amazing, Judith's pretty sexy, and Thinking of You is just brilliant. Also, big up to Renhölder for being funky cool.
Standouts: Magdalena and Thinking of You.
Not so good: Rose

AUGUST:
Nothing. I had an impoverished summer. :(

SEPTEMBER:
ColdplayViva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
I HEAR JEEEERUSALEM BELLS A RINGING, ROMAN CAVALRY CHOIRS ARE SINGIIIING. “neeeeigh.” If someone had told me last year that I was gonna buy a Coldplay album, I'd spit in their face and bite them in intimate places. Their old stuff, while occasionally neat is pretty drivel. However, Violet Hill was inoffensive with some VERY nifty bits which made me go “ooh,” and then when Viva la Vida stormed onto the radio I was sold, and ready to take the dive. And I'm glad I did. It's a brilliant album, full of layers and texture and it's very original. It's unlike anything else in my CD collection and yet it fits snugly into it. 42 made a huge impression on me on first listen, although its effect has faded a little having heard it a fair few times now. I still really dig the Blackout-y intro and the heavy riff though. Yes made a huge impression, and Death and All His Friends really grew on me. Excellent album, and I've almost been tempted to delve into their back-catalogue since. Almost. I'm definitely up for Prospekt's March though as soon as they release it in something other than that crappy cardboard digipack.
Standouts: Cemeteries of London, Yes, Viva la Vida
Not so good: Strawberry Swing

Blackfield II
God these fellas are dreary. I love Steven Wilson, but life is worth living. Please don't jump. I can't help but think that Aviv's self-loathing is bringing out the worst in ol' Stevey – as far as I can tell the moral of this CD is “if life gets on top of you, it's because it's shit. Just do yourself a favour and die.”

That said, there are some really neat tunes, and Christenings alone justifies the CD. (Although, that was an offcut from Deadwing... so I'm not sure what that says about Blackfield's quality relative to the Tree.) I don't like Aviv Geffen's voice at all, although it's better here than it was on the first album. All in all it's decent but a bit forgettable. Not really my thing. Although the cover art is beautiful. Not so much the pictures of Aviv Geffen all over the booklet. Cheer up Aviv. There's loads of good things too! I mean check out cake, that stuff's badass.
Standouts: Christenings, Epidemic
Not so good: Miss U, purely for the misuse of the letter U. I've retagged the song in my music library so it doesn't look like it's targetted at 12-year-old girls.

OCTOBER
Dream TheaterImages And Words 15th Anniversary Performance
I'm not really sure why I have this. I'm sure that my membership with Voices UK expired years ago. That said I'm not complaining, this just came through my door totally unannounced one fateful day, and it's a brilliant performance. Really shiny pristine performance (amazing considering it's only a fanclub release), and it's a great alternative to Chaos In Motion, which I couldn't afford at the time due to the fact that my loan STILL hadn't come in. Surrounded is given a nice long extension to over twice its original length, and they don't even cut the middle section out of Take the Time like they usually did this tour. You wouldn't expect a live performance of an album that you've had since you were fourteen to be so replayable, but this shit is bananas.
Standouts: Surrounded, Wait for Sleep, Learning to Live
Not so good: None!

Fates WarningParallels
Ouch. I'm a bit funny with Fates Warning, so long as you take “a bit funny with” to mean that I hate them. My history with them stretches back to way back in ye olde days, when I decided to order three Fates Warning albums because I'd heard them hyped so much, and I hated every single one of them. To this date they're the only CDs I've ever given to a second hand shop, and I have an Electric Six single. (Which is actually quite enjoyable! I came back to it recently and had forgotten how rocky it was. Very cool.)

That said, Parallels was in a second hand shop, it had James LaBrie listed in the liner notes, and so I thought “sure, why not. I'm older and wiser now, maybe I've matured enough to appreciate it.” I should have trusted my instincts because even as a naïve youth, I'd correctly ID'd Fates Warning as being dross. It's bland and somehow feels really “thin,” or lifeless. Like there's no meat to it. It could be due to the powerless guitar tones but the gloomy songwriting doesn't help. Not a good album.
Standouts: Ehhh...
Not so good: More or less the whole album.

EvergreyTorn
I bought this on the same day as Fates Warning, and for some reason I decided to listen to Fates Warning first. To this day I have no idea why. This is my first Evergrey album, my prior experience being limited to a few pirated tracks back in 2004, so I hadn't heard anything of them for about four years. I picked it up on a whim, knowing that my progressive rock show would be starting soon and I should probably have some new music for it, and I was instantly rewarded. Evergrey have as much in common with power metal as they do with progressive rock, and underscore it with a sort of dark, rough edge – a bit of a contrast to the usual optimistic sheen of power bands. That said, this isn't the kind of darkness that grates, because they're full of melody. The chords can be very low and depressing at times, but the guitar runs gush all over the place beautifully, meaning that the band don't get dragged down by negativity. For some reason the opening of Soaked doesn't sit well with me (I think it's the vocal line... and the crap chords), but in general this album's endeared itself to me through and through. Some of the songs are a bit samey, but it's not annoyingly so.
Standouts: Broken Wings, Fear, Fail
Not so good: Soaked, but only for the annoying first few seconds

That's as much as I can be bothered to do now. More later.

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