Thursday, September 23, 2010

Blast Beats: Iron Maiden, A7X, Kingdom of Sorrow

Sometimes I find myself with many more records than I have time to review, so I have to pick and choose my reviews based on what I like better or what my fellow writers at other outlets are doing. Sometimes, though, I’d still like to say a little something about those records, so I’m going to try a new feature out and see how it works. From time to time, I’ll collect three or four of these records and just give a quick paragraph or two take on them. Here are the first three.

Iron Maiden, “The Final Frontier”
I really should do a full review on this record simply because it is Iron Maiden. Unfortunately, every time I sit down to try to write it, I find myself without much to say about it. I definitely don’t love it. I don’t hate it enough to rant about it. Ultimately, I guess I really don’t care about it either way. I know there are people out there who will disagree with me vehemently, but to my ear, this record lacks energy and passion. While many of the songs here are not bad, and a few even conjure up images of classic Maiden at times, they just seem kind of dead and lifeless to me – like a band going through the motions. There’s nothing very memorable on the record, and like the band’s last two, I doubt that I’ll return to it much. It’s probably the most disappointing record of the year for me.
Check out: "Starblind," "The Alchemist"
Skip: Pretty much everything else

Avenged Sevenfold, “Nightmare”
Here’s a band that’s always frustrated me. On nearly every record they’ve released, they’ve done a few songs that I really like, then they’ve reverted to this boy band pop rock sound that I find really annoying. That formula doesn’t really change on “Nightmare,” but at the same time, I finding myself liking this record more than some of the band’s past releases. The presence of former Dream Theater drummer Mike Portnoy certainly elevates the record, and I like the rocking songs here well enough that the pop tunes don’t quite spoil it for me.
Check out: "Nightmare," "Natural Born Killer," "God Hates Us"
Consider: "Welcome to the Family," "Danger Line," "Buried Alive," "Tonight the World Dies"
Skip: "So Far Away," "Victim," "Fiction," "Save Me"

Kingdom of Sorrow, “Behind the Blackest Tears”
I’ve always found Jamey Jasta’s (Hatebreed) monotonous shouts boring and almost painful to listen to, so despite the presence of Kirk Windstein (Crowbar/Down), I didn’t give much thought to this record until a couple of friends convinced me I should give it a listen. In most cases, Jasta’s vocals still annoy me, but the grooves found on the record balance things out for me. It strikes a nice balance between Jasta’s hardcore background and the groove-oriented projects of Windstein and the doomy classic influence of Black Sabbath. The infectious “God’s Law in the Devil’s Land” is also possibly one of my favorite tracks from any record this year. If not for Jasta's vocals, this record would be a contender for my favorite of the year.
Check out: "God's Law in the Devil's Land," "Envision the Divide," "From Heroes to Dust," "With Barely a Breath,""The Death We Owe"
Consider: "Enlightened to Extinction," "Monuments of Ash," "Behind the Blackest Tears," "Along the Path to Ruin," "Torchlight Procession"
Skip: "Sleeping Beast," "Salvation Denied"

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