ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
After all these years, Emo is still breaking hearts
Add some Garlic's to your diet
Disc of the Week
American Analog Set to fun O'clock tonight
Slayer and Karma grade well, but Frenetics flunk
Folds rocks suburbs, Razors piss
Slayer and Karma grade well, but Frenetics flunk
God Hates Us All
Four 1/2 stars (out of five)
So arrives the latest release from the much maligned, often mocked but never successfully imitated grandfathers of thrash metal the immortal Slayer.
This is one band that's managed to pretty much annoy almost everyone at one point or another during their lengthy musical careers.
Mainstream music fans have always been turned off by the sheer aggressiveness of the unique Slayer sound; casual fans are bothered by the band's supposed Satanic and Nazi affiliations, but both of these accusations are plainly untrue.
The last two Slayer albums (Undisputed Attitude, Diabolis In Musica) angered hardcore fans with their emphasis on groove rather than throw-a-brick-at-them-all anger.
With God Hates Us All, Slayer has successfully managed to rip right back and answer all of its critics with a big, loud "fuck you!"
God Hates Us All is an unbelievably aggressive release. Even the cover art has been censored in an attempt to lessen the impact of this ultra pissed-off feast.
Highlights abound, but the clear strong point is the absolutely brutal track entitled "Payback." Other stellar assaults include the straight-forward and catchy "New Faith," the pillaging attack entitled "War Zone" and the menacing stalk of "God Send Death."
Further tracks of note are the incredibly eerie opening track "Darkness of Christ" and the lyrical prowess of "Seven Faces," where the band sings, "My life came with its own scars/But I live for the things that keep me hollow."
Throw those devil horns in the air proudly Slayer really outdo themselves this time with an amazing release from start to finish.
You better believe Satan has struck back.
These Mistakes Took Years of Practice
Union Label Group
1 1/2 stars (out of five)
Move over Blink-182, there's a new mediocre pop-punk band on the horizon.
The Montreal punk scene has given prominence to indie-space band Godspeed You Black Emporer! is also responsible for spawning sub-par spin-off bands like The Frenetics.
While The Frenetics' Scenery EP may have managed to weasel its way onto Canada's Campus Charts, such a feat did not give them anymore artistic brilliance.
"Are You Waiting?," the opening track on These Mistakes Took Years of Practice is neither a good rock 'n roller nor an emotional plea, despite its attempt to be both. "Wintertime" is a stale song with the energy of an old Green Day song as if it were written after Billie Joe hadn't slept for three days.
Still, the band manages to convey genuine emotion on some tracks. "Crying a river" has a chorus gleaned from the breakup of a relationship, while "Try Again" bounces along happily.
Such virtues are unfortunately in the minority for The Frenetics. Most of These Mistakes Took Years of Practice feels like recycled garage riffs that have been done before and done better.
Stylistic comparisons could be made to Blink-182 and Sum 41, but The Frenetics cannot match the catchiness of either band.
People who speak of a bourgeoning Canadian music scene better not speak of The Frenetics or many Canucks may renounce their citizenship.
|Karma To Burn
3 1/2 stars (out of five)
The album cover for Karma To Burn's Almost Heathen displays atrocious figures engaged in acts of unusual brutality, aptly surmising their hardcore, satanic sound.
Further evidence can be found within the liner notes accompanying the record full of grotesque amounts of blood, mythical creatures and pools of fire all things associated with the underworld.
Needless to say, low expectations generated by such artwork may be a textbook example of judging a book by its cover.
Almost Heathen is stoner rock at its finest. For those who are unfamiliar with this genre of music, it's comparable to the sounds of Metallica and Kyuss, minus the vocalist's yelling and squealing.
Tracks like "Nineteen" and "Five" truly exemplify Karma To Burn's commitment to originality, demonstarting the broad range of musical instruments present throughout the record.
These jolly grunge sounds evoke feelings of bliss, similar to the occasional sniff of gasoline it's bad for you, but you do it anyway.
Such a motto is the whole premise behind Karma To Burn's approach: do whatever pleases you and if it means smoking a joint and downing shots of Wild Turkey while listening to their record, so be it.
Another standout track, "Thirty Six", slashes a path a thousand-mile-wide through any perceived musical borders and provides a rare mainline connection to real rock 'n roll freedom coming fully equipped with the required electric guitar solo lasting a minute and a half.
Almost Heathen is a rare trip into the essence of both headstrong individualism and unfettered musical excellence. If you're looking for a record that's the opposite of good, clean, wholesome fun, then the tainted, raw sound of Karma To Burn will more than aptly fit the bill.