The Scramble

In Uncategorized on October 30, 2008 at 1:44 am

A Brief Look at New Media

Eight years in between releases is an eternity in the music business.  For AC/DC, the long hiatus has done nothing but good.  Black Ice, the fifteenth studio album from the legendary hard rockers, is probably the best thing they’ve done since 1980’s Back in Black.  Where Back in Black is the most celebrated entry in AC/DC’s catalog, Black Ice is their most solid.  Vocalist Brian Young wails away like he did 20 some years ago, while Angus and Malcolm Young’s blues rock riffs blare so loud even John McCain can hear them.   With the bands on the radio today acting like they know the formula for panty droppin’, fist pumping, bar brawling man rock (cough cough Nickelback cough cough),  the return of AC/DC couldn’t have been timed better.  The first single, “Rock ‘N Roll Train”, is already tearing up the radio with twice the testosterone as anything else on the underused airwaves.

As soon as Gossip in the Grain starts with the opener “You Are The Best Thing”, there is an essence about the album that just feels right.  Maybe it’s the bellowing brass section, the shimmering piano, or maybe its LaMontagne’s Van Morrison-esque voice.  No matter what does it for you, Gossip in the Grain sounds like an autumn afternoon in 1960-something.  LaMontagne, once again, expands his sound, adding instruments and compositions, something he started to do on his 2006 release, Till the Sun Turns Black.  Evolving from simple lo-fi singer/songwriter to 60s full band folk mastermind has seemed easy for LaMontagne.  Tracks like “Meg White” and “Let it Be Me” show Ray can stay basic, only to flip a switch, turning on the sparkling analog wall of sound.

Ok, so I know that when the words “Death Metal” appear, the page will probably get turned.  This one time, read on.   Gojira, a French (yes, French) death metal band have tons of monstrous low end riffs and creative songwriting to offer, if you give them a chance.  On The Way of All Flesh, Gojira tear down numerous stigmas behind their genre, all while sounding like a run away Mack truck.  The lyrics are poetic, decipherable, and insightful, while the band backing them is about as creative a metal band as you’ll hear.  Taking cues from Meshuggah, Gojira have learned to craft some incredibly heavy music with all the ‘listenability’ ( drinkability is a word…right?) of lighter stuff.  Gojira have found a good balance between melody and malice, making The Way of All Flesh the smoothest of death metal albums.  Check out the track “Orobous” for a taste.


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