Song Impression: Skillet – Legendary

After three years since Skillet’s Unleashed record, the quartet has announced their new album Victorious which will release on Aug. 2. I had a lot of expectations for the new song that released today due to their last album being my favorite that the band has crafted in their long career. Legendary has some of the most energy ever heard from the band along with the refined sound that came off of Unleashed.

Before the explosive song starts, things start off with some catchy synthesizer action from guitarist/pianist/synth Korey Cooper. Lead guitarist Seth Morrison lays down some riffs and lead singer/bassist John Cooper’s bass blasts with sonic booms for a grand entrance into the first verse. So much is happening within the first 30 seconds, and that creativity does not stop flowing throughout.

The first verse is ready to pounce for an attack as Morrison continues his dangerous sounding riffs and Cooper starts his singing. Soon he is accompanied by drummer/backup vocalist Jen Ledger. The two have an excellent back and forth chemistry with a catchy rhythm that will surely be in my head for weeks.

The slightly subdued pre-chorus leaps into the highly energetic chorus. Steady drumming that continues to pummel along with everything else aggressively laying out the rest of the layers as the two singers lead the way. In many ways, the structure and sound remind me of Feel Invincible from the 2016 record with the exception this does not let go of the beat and vigor.

The bridge leads into a melodic, yet still maintaining that gripping instrumentation that does not stop with its assault. Cooper and Ledger singing steadily together to a chaotic climax then seamlessly transitioning into the final chorus to end on a high note.

Legendary already shows Skillet is coming into this year for blood. The rock group has a lot to prove with the rest of the album, but this first single is a positive sign that they are on the right path. I was already hyped for a new release, and now this is one of my top most anticipated records for 2019.

You can listen to the new song below and pre-order the album to support both the band and my blog:

Pre-order and support the blog and band: Victorious

Image via Pixabay/PascalBeckmann

Advertisements

Song Impressions: Spylights – Empath

The progressive rock band Spylights are gearing up to release their EP The Empath, and along with that, there is the title track. The emotion-provoking song does more than deliver heartfelt lyrics with complimentary vocals, it has substance musically.

Empath is a slow burn of a build up. The soothing bass, steady drums, and light guitar work make for a somber entry. The final act takes the personality of the track from something shy into a confident statement. The transition is not jarring, it fits and flows naturally.

Vincent Giovanni’s voice has a delicate balance between a deeper voice, but able to reach higher notes without sounding too whiny or annoying. To my surprise, he has quite a powerful voice to go with the powerful song.

Giovanni’s lyrics symbolically and literally get his message across about empathy. Visually memorable lines like, “I’d shout it to the top of my lungs directly into the flames of hate.” While other words take a blunt route, “Then we could move on like a civilized human race / Instead of letting the media control and fuck with your mind.” Nothing feels too cheesy or too reminiscent to other songs about the same subject since so many rock bands write songs about similar topics.

Spylights have a great jump start to their band. The bar has been set quite high, so the rest of the EP has a lot to prove to beat the title track.

The Empath comes out May 10. You can pre-order below:
Pre-order: The Empath

Keep up with Spylights on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Image via Spylights

Song Impression: Thy Art is Murder – Death Perception

The Australian deathcore group Thy Art is Murder is back with a brand new track. I have such a love-hate relationship with their music. A part of me wants to like them more, but as their last record, they continue to churn out uninspired work.

Right from the first click, an explosive opening of too familiar sounding riffs and drumming along with singer CJ McMahon’s distinct ferocious screams. Try blindfolding people and having them listen to the guitars then they would probably not be able to tell between Death Perception or any other song in the band’s catalog due to the uninspired riffs and generic breakdowns. Even McMahon’s vocals have no variety except for some brief moments of going lower, but nothing caught my ear as interesting.

One of the few moments the short, rapid-fire track delivers something different is in the solo. A fast and generic delivery that could be mistaken for a million other songs by extreme metal artists.

The best aspect is the lyrics. McMahon is back with the same themes as always, centering around religion, but he seemed more passionate and determined with his message than the dull Dear Desolation. I am brought back to the all-powerful Holy War. He screams, “Bring forth the lamb of the sacrifice / One more heretic to crucify / Stained with the blood, the mark of the three.”

Not much can be said for the new song besides how disappointed I feel. Thy Art is Murder showed real promise despite the flaws in their third record, Holy War. Then I could not stand the emptiness of Dear Desolation. All I can do is hope for the new album to get better.

Check out the song below:

Image via Thy Art is Murder/Nuclear Blast Records

Song Impression: Slipknot – All Out Life

Just in time for Halloween, Slipknot has decided to feed their hungry maggots with a brand new song from their untitled sixth album that will be unleashed sometime next year. The band has teased the world that the new direction will be as aggressive as the fan favorite sophomore album, Iowa. With the promotion of a heavier sound similar to their roots had brought fans to get onto the hype train, now it is time for Slipknot to prove themselves.

That they did, in the bloodiest way Slipknot could provide.

The song’s introduction is a slow, quiet start that has a haunting electronic element that sounds out of an ’80s horror movie. The light concussive beats of drums lightly shake the floor with each second the force grows. Pressure builds until an explosion of instrumentation erupts as eight of the members go all out to make anyone want to start headbanging. The low tuned guitar riffs give vibes from The Negative One, the first single off of the band’s previous album. A perfect way to start off shows that these masked metallers mean business.

Corey Taylor comes in with his barking screams that sound as powerful as ever. His constant speed and aggression will make you start to sweat as he tears through the song. The only moments when he remotely slows down is during pre-choruses and the bridge. With vicious lyrics like, “What a world/the horizon’s coming like a hell-bent killing machine,” and “We are not your kind-I challenge you to all-out-life,” you know Corey is ready to tear someone’s head off.

The only slowing down is during the bridge. Taylor dives into a monologue. While Taylor talks, the guitars and bass are distorted and slow, and the three concussion members continue quieter but strong to support Taylor’s speech.

The harangue changes tone as Taylor delivers grows more aggressive as he switches to his rough screams as he repeats the words, “We are not your kind.” Jim Root, Alessandro Venturella, and Mick Thomson lash out with heavy riffs, Chris Fehn, Jay Weinberg, Shawn “Clown” Crahan start smashing their concussive instruments, and Sid Wilson and Craig Jones add some atmosphere with their technical skills.

When the song ends with a fiery rage delivers a final statement that leaves maggots that the guys who created Iowa have two new members and are all grown up. With all the hype that some of the members have been building up, they have proven themselves once again. Slipknot continues to be the kings of the modern heavy metal scene, and they are not going anywhere without a fight.

All Out Life is not even the heaviest song off the upcoming album, as Taylor confirms on his Instagram. While it is not the most brutal track, it is satisfying enough to hold me over until we get some more news about the rest of the record. Maggots have plenty of time to look forward to the rest of the new music.

Slipknot has not released the title of the new album, not the release date either, or the new masks that they are developing. You can check out the new song along with its blood-soaked music video below to hold yourself over if you are just as excited as I am.

 

Song Impression: Disturbed – Are You Ready

If you know me, then you know Disturbed has always been my favorite band. After three years of waiting after their last album Immortalized, we are getting the new album. This will be the seventh full-length record the group has put out, and they have said we will be getting something ambitious. The record is titled Evolution, fitting since every song is supposed to have its own unique sound. Now we have been delivered the first single, Are You Ready, let’s see if it is a worthy single of showcasing their new album.

The song starts with an electric opening right before Mike Wengren’s pounding drums come in, quick bursts from guitarists Dan Donegan, and David Draiman saying, “Are you ready?” to lead the listener into an explosive introduction. A bouncy beginning as David shouts, “Get up,” multiple times as the rest of the band are smashing out heavy riffs and heavy drumming to follow with the powerful singing.

The first verse barely slows down to maintain that energy, a speed in which we have not heard from Disturbed in a very long time. With the absence of David’s animalistic noises, this could possibly be a song we would find off of The Sickness with its aggressive energy. The same riffs are steadily going from bassist John Moyer and Dan’s guitar work with Mike laying down a steady beat to keep up with the melody. For added layers, the initial electric sounds can be heard in short bursts throughout the verse. Adding those electronic elements is another thing that the band has dismissed from their music for a long time, but now they are bringing back those combined layers.

The chorus slows down enough to have an added melodic focus. As the instrumentation stands strong, David mixes his iconic aggressive sound while slowing down at moments to add some dynamic sounds to the chorus. Out of the band’s usual sound for their harmonic choruses, this is something that stands out as trying to keep a certain level of power and energy throughout the song. After a short chorus, the song goes back to the vigorous sound from before.

After the second verse, Dan goes into guitar solo mode which is much better than anything we heard off of their last album. While I love Immortalized, none of the solos were as captivating as something off of Indestructible or Ten Thousand Fists. Here we get something closer to what we are used to when it comes to a Dan Donegan solo with a mix of heavy use of the whammy bar and speed to make for an excellent break from the heaviness that we endured throughout the song this far before going back to a fast and heavy ending.

Are You Ready is easily one of Disturbed’s most energetic and heavy songs they have ever released. When the band put up a poll for fans to decide if the first single would be heavy or a ballad, they were not joking on the heavy option. While the band is not the heaviest group in the rock world, they have an iconic sound that has drawn fans to them for years. If what they say is true, we will be getting an album full of unique tracks and things we have never heard before, or have not heard in a long time by the quartet rockers. If this is how they are starting then this could be one of the best albums in their career.

You can view the music video for Are You Ready below along with a link to pre-order the album Evolution which comes out October 19.

Header image via Reprise Records/Disturbed

Song Impression: Behemoth – God=Dog

The Polish blackened death metal band Behemoth has been riding high years. Since the last record, The Satanist, which came out in 2014, fans wondered when we will be getting the new record. After all, critics and fans alike loved The Satanist, the band’s tenth album. Not many bands get to a point where arguably their best album is something that comes out so late in their career. Now the band has released the title of the new album, I Loved You at Your Darkest along with the first single, God=Dog.

The track has a rhythmic and groovy sound to start off. It gave me a false sense of safety before the traditional Satanic brutality that is Behemoth. The speed quickly picks up with faster, but still maintaining a nice rhythm with the guitars and bass, while the drums are firing like a machine gun. This makes for an intense instrumental intro that gives a dominant start to the song before the first verse.

As the speed continues, we get Nergal guides us into the first verse. His screams are brutal and in moments he starts talking in a haunting tone. During those moments of speaking, an operatic voice can be heard adding to some atmosphere to these words, “The holy river Ganga flowing through my muddled hair. In the ancient times before I learned ov who I am.” His voice just adds to the level of power and horror to his words. With lyrics such as, “There’s serpent coiling around my neck,” and “If I am a missing link between the pig and the divine. I shall cast the pearls before the swine,” Nergal shows he has not lost a beat in writing excellent lyrics to continue his statement about religion.

Halfway in the song, you get to catch your breath after the first verse. Short bursts of the guitar as the drums halt to slower pacing lends itself to some contrast from the relentless verse. Now that you caught a few breaths of air, it is time for the band to grab you by the throat through the rest of the song.

The second verse starts with the same horrific voice and singing in the background as he says, “I am no good shepherd on an ox. But a solitude ov the loneliest star,” before going back to gruesome screaming.

The most disturbing aspect comes in the last verses. As Nergal screams one sentence, children repeat after him. Having a choir of children to stand by him as they say things such as, “Is a God to live in a dog? No!,” and “Jesus Christ, I forgive thee not!”

Before the last verse, we get an excellent solo with added chaos from the other instruments. This is a nice break that shows more contrast to the chaotic track. There is some peace with the destruction that adds a level of complexity to the song.

God=Dog is an excellent way to introduce fans to the new record. We don’t hear a ton that is too new for the group, but we get hints of their further evolution here and there. The song is evil and relentless throughout. During slower moments of the song, you never feel safe as you should feel during a Behemoth track. Fans of Behemoth will get everything and more with the new track that came along with a brutal music video full of nudity, violence, and evil religious symbolism that make Behemoth’s message still stand strong.

Comment below on what you thought of the new track and if you are excited about the new album. I Loved You at Your Darkest comes out on October 5. You can listen to the new track and pre-order the new record below:

Header image via Nuclear Blast

Song Impressions: Beartooth – Disease

Caleb Shomo’s band Beartooth has not only released one single off of their upcoming album titled Disease, but they have put out two songs, Bad Listener and DiseaseBad Listener is a heavy, fun, and powerful tune that is all about succeeding in the music business. The title track is what I will be looking at instead due to both other plans for articles, but also it is a song that will better represent the overall themes of the record which is depression.

Lyrically, the song sticks to the same theme as the other albums which is Caleb’s struggle with his mental health. Here we get one of the most powerful songs in Beartooth’s catalog along with a single that sets the stage for what’s to come in the rest of the album. The first verse starts the song off with a compelling line, “If I fall again, will it be the end?” which gives the song a melodic and somber start before going into the more energetic verses and choruses. The second verse continues with, “Stuck at the surface, not making progress.” which gets to the best part of the song which is the chorus. Beartooth has always had memorable choruses due to their melody and being able to be catchy in a way that will be stuck in your head for weeks. Disease is a prime example of how Caleb will get in your head with, “I still feed my insecurity when I know the cost,” and “Will it bury me? Or will clarity be the cure for my disease?” Caleb has extensively talked about this being the hardest album to make both physically and emotionally throughout his Twitter and recent interviews. You can feel his emotion and know precisely why this might be the band’s most powerful statement musically and with their message about the struggle with mental health.

Vocally Caleb demonstrates his range as always here. With the melodic first verse, to the somber pre-chorus, and to the energetic chorus. He has been one of my favorite vocalists ever since I got introduced to Beartooth within the last year or two. There is a particular style that comes to a Beartooth song both vocally and instrumentally, but there is something slightly different here in Caleb’s approach. Of course, there is a lot of emotion in the vocals, but the melody has a different feel than any other song in the band’s previous material. With powerful lyrics, he must get it inside of his fans’ heads and with this vocal approach, he has executed this flawlessly.

Instrumentally the band has always been simplistic that gets the job done. Nothing is quite crazy regarding complex riffs or intricate drumming. The first verse starts with light guitar work in the background as Caleb sings. Then everything comes together in fast and heavy. The second verse has exciting dynamics between each instrument. Heavy bass riffs and powerful drumming as the singing continues with some rapid-fire guitar riffs coming in every so often. The pre-chorus goes almost silent as the guitar quietly plays and some drum cymbals are hit as the song is about to dive into the chorus. While the instrumentation is not doing anything spectacular, what works is how everything comes together and their dynamics.

Beartooth has made two excellent albums, and now they are on their way to make another excellent and emotion provoking album. With each record taking a new stance towards Caleb’s issues, this might be the biggest statement yet. While mental health is often tackled in music, especially this scene of music, Beartooth has been able to do it, unlike most other bands. If the rest of the album is up to this caliber, then we might have the most compelling Beartooth record to date.

Disease comes out September 28. You can watch the music video for Disease and pre-order the album below:

Image via Red Bull Records/Beartooth