The Heavy Metal Review

Archive for June 2013

Quick Review: Megadeth ‘Super Collider’ is not great, but it is weirdly interesting

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Megadeth_SuperColliderDave Mustaine says and does some of the dumbest things these days. To the point you have to wonder what the other members of Megadeth are thinking (including the more recently reunited Dave Ellefson). I’m sure it’s along the lines of, “What have I gotten myself into?”

The internet reviews have been highly critical of Super Collider, where some are saying it’s the worst thing the band has ever done. Others have argued the album really isn’t that bad. I don’t think I have seen anyone claim it is the group’s best output anywhere, though I’m sure it’s possible (this kind of person probably also argues Lulu – by Metallica and Lou Reed – is a great record).

I have argued Megadeth has been on the decline since The System Has Failed, due to seeing them several times in concert and just being bored. The band lacks passion even when its playing the old tunes live. Granted I haven’t seen them since Ellefson rejoined the fold.

While Super Collider is nowhere near the top of Megadeth’s catalog, it is different, and that makes it interesting. If I had to categorize the band’s discography into groups, this would go into the bin I’d call “Wild Cards” also containing Hidden Treasures (awesome), Risk (not so awesome, some good moments) and The World Needs a Hero (not as bad as people think). I actually enjoyed listening to Mustaine’s crazily conservative rants and conspiracy theories set to the background of Megadeth guitars, bass and drums, which is basically what Super Collider boils down to.

So don’t be afraid, give Super Collider a full listen. It’s more interesting than United Abominations, Endgame or Thirteen, though I don’t think it’s musically better than those recent releases.

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Written by Eric

June 7, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Album Review: Alice In Chains ‘The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here’

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AliceInChains_TheDevilPutDinosaursHereAlice in Chains is a tough band to impartially review. There is the old iteration of the group, featuring the late Layne Staley on vocals, which released all the classic records – Facelift, Sap, Dirt, Jar of Flies and the lesser, but still solid, Alice in Chains. This catalog is untouchable in many fans’ minds who believe there is no Alice in Chains without Layne Staley.

Then there is what could be referred to as the coping/hibernation phase of the band, or the Jerry Cantrell solo albums, Boggy Depot and Degradation Trip, the latter record being an awesome reflection back on Cantrell’s career and the passing of Staley. It’s a monster in its own right and one hell of a double-album.

Which brings us to Alice in Chains circa 2013, featuring Jerry Cantrell in full-on frontman mode and adding William DuVall on backing guitars and vocals (with some standout leads peppered throughout). At this point, Alice in Chains is very much Cantrell’s band (though there are plenty of core members still around). So we get sort of a blurred mixture of his solo efforts without the raw emotion Staley added to the mix

Black Gives Way to Blue was the huge 2009 comeback record, and while perspectives (and reviews) were a bit biased, this was one of the best returns to form in quality for any reuniting band. Alice in Chains in 2009 was still foreboding and dark, but also more cleanly produced and polished, which could be good or bad depending on your perspective. Staley was declining rapidly towards the end of his career and this album was easily better than the band’s last self-titled record.

And now, in 2013, the at-first strangely titled The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here marks the next point in Alice in Chains’ career. The album does not grab the listener the same way Black Gives Way to Blue did, but there is no way it could. While the previous release had some amazing songs (“Check My Brain,” “Last of My Kind,” “A Looking in View,” the list goes on), the follow-up record is a more complete listening experience due to the band no longer having to prove it can still move forward without Staley on vocals.

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Album Review: The Dillinger Escape Plan ‘One of Us is the Killer’

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thedillingerescapeplan_oneofusisthekillerIt took me 10 years and one live concert to finally “get” The Dillinger Escape Plan. No I was not continuously listening to the band in this time, trying to understand the appeal of the music, but rather I didn’t really give the group a fair shake. That all changed when I heard 2010’s Option Paralysis and later saw the band live at Knotfest in 2012 (there aren’t many bands out there who put so much energy and emotion into a live performance).

To me, Option, was the perfect mix of melody and aggression (and admittedly it is the most melodic Dillinger album to date). I then went back and explored the group’s back catalogstarting with Ire Works and Miss Machine and finally getting into the group’s roots with Calculating Infinity (which is excellent in its raw appeal, but the weakest album in the band’s catalog).

This left me curious, what would Dillinger’s 2013 follow-up One of Us is the Killer sound like? The answer is a mix of the more intense moments on Ire Works (and even a hint of Calculating Infinity, blended with a scaled back version of the melody found on Option Paralysis). Maybe this album was released at the right point in my musical experience, but it fully delivers the sound I was waiting to hear from the band.

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Written by Eric

June 5, 2013 at 9:43 pm