MNEMIC has always had a little engine that could story, at least when discussing the band with fans, that’s the impression I have always received. The comparisons were always there, well they’re o.k. but they’re no IN FLAMES, or no KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, or any other metalcore giant you could think of. All of their previous outings showed you glimpses of what the band could do, but it was as if they could never kick things into 5th or 6th gear to put them over the top. That is until the released Mnemesis.
This album is solid start to finish; there isn’t one weak track on it. It runs a little over 43 minutes, and before you know it, it’s over. Very few albums do this to me where you listen to it, and before you know it, the album is over, leaving you wanting more. As usual, you’ll probably have some fickle purist think otherwise, but this album was a pleasant surprise, as I did not expect to enjoy it as much I have.
The album kicks off with the track “Transcend”, and it starts a trend that can be heard on this album, continuous infectious melody that carries over from one track to the next. GUILLAUME BIDEAU pulls off one of the strongest vocal performances to come out this year. He paints each song with strokes of harsh and flips things with straight forward clean vocals. Where most contemporary bands would stick to generic guttural vocals, and throw in rudimentary, paint by numbers chorus on each track, each of the songs on Mnemesis really stand on their own, and could have easily been the leadoff single, instead of “I’ve Been You”.
The album takes some chances here and there, which is what puts it over the top. The track “There’s No Tomorrow” is a song 99% of the current metal crop would be hesitant to put on their album. The track is a mix of FEAR FACTORY, BAUHAUS, FAITH NO MORE and perhaps even a splash of JANE’S ADDICTION. Although a lot of bands will cop to certain influences, it’s one thing to say who has influenced you, and another to say, “screw it, this track kicks ass, it’s going on the album”! If more bands did this we wouldn’t have all of the monotonous drivel, cash in on the latest fad copycat bands that are thrown at us all of the time. Some detractors will think, well it isn’t as if MNEMIC is reinventing the wheel, they’re not, but who in the last 20 years has? At the end of the day the music needs to be strong, entertaining, and memorable. I do believe they’ve covered that with this album.
MNEMIC: You may in fact call it a comeback!
Mnemesis is highly recommended to anyone that is remotely interested in a band like IN FLAMES, and been disillusioned with their last few albums. This is in no way Clayman, but it is the strongest album in this sub-genre to come out this year. It is chock-full of melody, the right amount of keyboards, heavy detuned guitars and bass, and a tasteful amount of drumming that varies from complex double bass patterns to simple straight forward playing to fit and propel the mood of each song.
Much like in life, music doesn’t always fit into neat little packages. Part of the over analyzing nature of the human condition is that we are comfortable classifying and labeling things to conform to learned norms and types. The problem is that we then learn when things are out of the ordinary and brave enough to fly in the face of convention, we embrace them less easily. This holds true of music as well and in this age of great musical talents, genre splitting and creating sometimes true artistry gets over looked. One band who will have no issue getting and keeping your attention is CENTURY whose abrasive, heady music defies typical description. Coming back three years removed from their excellent Black Ocean album, they are again raising the bar for musical idealism.
Opening up with a the raucous “Lobotomy”, the songs breakneck tempo and dissonant riffs explode in your earpiece. The angrier they get the better the musical fire intensifies for this band so when vocalist Carson Slovak (ARMS BEND BACK) screams “If you want to do something socially responsible, kill yourself!” you believe him. The song is full of intelligent, righteous fury in the form of an all out assault on the senses. Second cut “Synapse” has a lot in common with the beefier moments from THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN in heaviness and structure. The TDEP comparisions shine through particularly in the structure and patterns of guitarists Jason Baker and Todd Mogle’s work. The beats pour down with great grooves and again the hysterical screams of Slovak are chill inducing. It is the best and most straight ahead track on album of left turns and abstract impulses answered. “Oak God” is a thrashy killer song with another great beat by Grant McFarland (THIS OR THE APOCALYPSE). This track has a little bit of musical whimsey to offset the fury not unlike FAITH NO MORE, THE DEFTONES or AT THE DRIVE IN. Half way through the song there is a great clean sung chorus provided by guest singer Kevin Martin (CANDLEBOX) that really gives things and emotional lift. Other vocal guest appearances on the album come from folk-rocker Adam Taylor and metaller Mike Coasey. Lyrically Slovak for his part keeps his fist and consciousness raised and hopes the listener will join him. “My Lexicon” is another crusher of a track with a combination of sick vocals from Slovak and bassist/guitarist/songwriter Rick Armenillo (THIS OR THE APOCALYPSE) who is actually singing lead about 50% of the time now in a effort to make their sound more expansive. “Dry Bride” is a alternately a dreamy fantasy play and a rocking jam. The vocals a pure magic and are electrifying to hear. “Painting Leprosy” also kills with its whirling riffs and off time poly-rhythms. “In Hell” is a bit more straight forward comparatively, but has a great breakdown with a terrific piano part. The verses call to mind the early work of RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE from whom the band draw some degree of influence. Other top tracks include “Threats” and “Obelisk”. Overall, I would like to see them temper the fury just a tad and send the music to some more dynamic range in places, but that is a trifling and small detail. This is a band truly unafraid to hang it all out there artistically and likely care less what you, you or this reviewer thinks about their choices. That kind of emotional honesty from a band is refreshing since many are caught up in a tough guy, who is core enough realm these days.
Dropping one of the most significant releases in all of metal this year is REVOCATION. The band has been slowly growing in stature and improving every facet of their game. They might be the first band of this generation to blend all the many styles of metal together as one without ever sounding contrived. Now with the release of Chaos of Forms all of these ingredients come together in a show of power and musical force. Tearing the lid off of the beast with “Cretin”, the song has a breakneck thrash tempo and some fabulous melodies. Still sick and heavy as fuck, the band blasts away at your ears with the usual shredding guitar work you have come to expect. The interplay between Dave Davidson and Dan Gargiulo is even better than before with the two maestros complimenting and contrasting each others’ parts for most of the song. Going back and forth between punk, thrash and death metal the main part of the song builds unreal amounts of tension. More speed riffs and great drumming can be found on “Cradle Robber”. When the band thrashes, it does so in the finest tradition of the genre, calling to mind 1980s icons like MEGADETH, EXODUS, OVERKILL and TESTAMENT. As was the case on their last full length, the three headed vocal monster is in full effect here. Frontman Robertson’s gahstly growling scream sounds awesome and he varies it up depending on what the music calls for. His lyrics have also improved too. The chorus of the song has a brief three-part harmony that surprises, but is still gritty. Fear not true believers: there is no chance these guys will go soft. Death metal, boogie rock and power groove switch it up left and right adding to the chaos. “Harlot” features ill sounding gang death vocals and cool chromatic riffs showing the band wants to be as complex as they are catchy and innovative. When the band shifts into a funk rock breakdown it sends the track into overdrive. This album almost out MACHINE HEAD’s MACHINE HEAD in terms of quality riffs and great parts per song, if that makes any sense. I can’t say enough about the hyperblasts of drummer Phil Dubois-Coyne and his overall performance is sweet. “Dissolution Ritual” goes back and forth from tech death to almost a proggy rhumba part in the middle. More amazing guitar solos fly in from Gargiulo and Robertson, who was recently named the #1 best guitarist in metal by Metal Sucks. “Conjuring the Cataclysm” starts with another bluesy guitar solo before dropping into more riff laden grooves and head-nodding beats. The track is as beautiful as it is brutal and again has neat harmony singing towards the end. “No Funeral” is straight ahead thrash and hard rock. The band forays into tech death with the instrumental “Fractal Entity” and it doesn’t just work, it sounds like ORIGIN mashed up with BLOTTED SCIENCE. Bassist Anthony Buda gets the least publicity in the band, but he is no slouch on his instrument or on vocals. He has a monster tone and it shines through especially in this setting. The title track is preposterouly hard and technical. A brutal masterpeice and my favorite track on the album. “The Watchers” finds Robertson using his bellowing gutteral vocals to the fullest while jagged chords hack and slash at your mind. Veering into weird territory this song brings to mind FAITH NO MORE, before returning to the metal in epic fashion. “Beloved Horrifier” brings more death, thrash and roll like CANNIBAL CORPSE meets PANTERA. Just when you think the band might run out of surprizes “Dethroned” comes alongs and just kicks your face in. The opus closes out with “Reprogammed” and is every bit as unrelenting as the rest of the album. REVOCATION has not just made the best music of their career, but a modern classic that people will be talking about for years to come.
REVOCATION came to here to chew bubblegum and kick ass. And they're all out of bubblegum.
COACHELLA had a ton of great metal acts at last year’s event (Dillinger Escape Plan, Porcupine Tree, Faith No More, etc) so they obviously realize that heavy music exists. However, this year’s lineup featured ZERO bands that would even remotely be considered heavy. ZERO, zip, zilch, nada.
I would consider sitting through a DE LA SOUL set if I knew that I would also be seeing a band like Faith No More or Dillinger, however I can’t say that I certainly wouldn’t sit through a JACK’S MANNEQUIN set just to watch DAMIAN MARLEY later that night.
Unfortunately, I have not been able to catch FAITH NO MORE on their reunion tour. While they were playing New York, I was still in LA, planning my move to New York. Now they are playing LA and guess where I am! I sincerely hope that all of our readers have made it out to see the mighty MIKE PATTON though. His shows are NEVER to be missed and that’s especially the case when we’re talking about FNM.
Just check out this footage from when the band played The Palladium last night!
Take a little body paint, or some left over Nu-Metal fashion add a splash of KORN, FAITH NO MORE, SYSTEM OF A DOWN, MUSHROOM HEAD, MUDVAYNE, and SLIPKNOT, and you have Mexico’s FEEL THE PAIN. Their self titled album sounds like a cacophony of the these bands, you’ll hear hints of them here and there with their delivery. Especially their bass player Alfred who is an obvious disciple of MUDVAYNE’s Ryan Martinie’s playing. This is sort of evident throughout.
They state on their MySpace page (http://www.myspace.com/feelthepainnet) that their music is inspired from hatred and anger, and they honestly don’t stray from that at all. Which is cool, but most of the bands mentioned above also give you a side of them where they’re trying to provide/instill hope, or inspiration/fuel to get out of the crappy situation you might currently be in. Based on this band’s lyrics your life sucks and it will continue to do so, and will only ever suck!
Maybe it’s just me, I remember hearing LIFE OF AGONY’s River Runs Red when it first came out, and thought it was an inspiring album, certain aspects of the lyrics made me connect with Keith Caputo and the rest of the band. At the same time, a friend that was slightly older, hated the album because he only heard the darker aspects (thoughts of suicide, etc.).
Perhaps I have now filled his shoes, and happen to only see this with FEEL THE PAIN? Maybe I’m just not connecting due to my current station in life? Or maybe it’s just that I’m looking for something else at this point in time. Or maybe it’s just lack of originality, obsession with the word fuck that has sort of turned me off to the band. I have no issues with profanity, and use this word quite frequently, but you’re using it to just fill in the gaps, well it gets kind of old! I also don’t have issues with lyrics or themes being dark. Life is a constant roller coaster and you need (in my opinion) the ups and downs to balance things out.
Songs are done in Spanish and in English, if I haven’t made this abundantly clear I am physically located in Spain, but grew up in New Jersey. Which means I have no problem understanding any of their lyrics. However a big issue that “bilingual” bands have is that they think they have a better grasp of the language then they actually do, and subsequently butcher it to death. FEEL THE PAIN is coherent for the most part, it’s just that they rely too much on (as alluded to above) the word fuck to fill in all of the blanks. The only song I remotely connected with is “Reject”, again put all of the bands listed above in a blender and well that’s what the song sounds like. Except you’ll hear the line “Fuck you Fucking Life” about a million time in the song. Again, get’s sort of old real quick.
The music sounds cool throughout, but the lyrics for their lack of substance just don’t convince me. The album shows they have talent, but they need to find themselves and put something together that at least to me is more convincing of who they are, not what they grew up listening to.
I just returned from the FAITH NO MORE show in Brooklyn and my mind is officially blown! I am still trying to fully comprehend what I witnessed tonight, but I will do my best to faithfully report what just went down. This leg of the reunion trek has been dubbed “The second Coming” tour and my expectations and emotions were both sky high going in. I had managed to miss seeing FNM on three separate occasions in the 1990’s, including their last tour in 1997 due to the death of my mother. Aside from the personal gravity, the band has influenced nearly every sub-genre of metal and always meant a lot to me.
The Williamsburg Waterfront is not really a venue as much as it is a slab of land with a beautiful harbor view of New York City. It was hot as hell and the place was fairly well packed when comedian Neil Hamburger took the stage to introduce the band. Drawing his delivery straight from the late Andy Kaufman’s “Tony Clifton” alter ego, Hamburger wasn’t original, but he was plenty funny. After about 10 minutes of shtick he brought out the band we all came to see.
By coming out with the house lights up, FAITH NO MORE gave us all a reminder that have always been a band of the people, music lovers themselves and not rock stars. All dressed in sharp suits the opened up with the theme from “Midnight Cowboy” which was a surprising choice. The crowd loved it of course and just goes to show the band and their fans have similar pulses musically. Next they played “The Real Thing” which totally changed the pace, amped up the crowd and sent chills down my spine. As always FNM begins and ends with frontman/madman Mike Patton (MONDO CANE/MR. BUNGLE/TOMAHAWK/ FANTOMAS/PEEPING TOM & many others). Perhaps the most versatile vocalist to ever be associated with heavy music; he is just impossible to take you eyes or ears off of. Be it shrill screams, deathly growls, operatic singing, rapping or his deep baritone croon, Patton much like FNM’s music runs the stylistic gamut. He is also incredibly funny: making jokes in a New York accent, talking about Swedish death metal, complaining about the oppressive heat and the crummy L Train service. They next played “Be Aggressive” and the crowd went nuts, dancing around singing every word of the catchy chorus. Led by Roddy Bottum (IMPERIAL TEEN) on the Keys and backing vocals – Roddy has always been the glue that holds things together and plays cheerleader to the crowd. Credit also must go to the unsung hero of the band, guitarist Jon Hudson. He has no easy task replicating the memorable axe work of Jim Martin every night as well as his own work. To his credit Hudson was excellent and unassuming at the same time from his side of the stage. Continuing with “Land of Sunshine” the band set the trend of drawing heavily from both 1992’s Angel Dust and later on from 1995’s King for a Day… Fool for a Lifetime record with a sprinkling in of other gems. Tossing out the “The Crab Song” from Introduce Yourself was another cool twist, but was also the least well-known song of the set. (more…)
FAITH NO MORE frontman Mike Patton recently spoke with ArtistDirect.com about reuniting with the band after 12 years and what their music means to him now. Patton said, “To be honest, I never thought that I would ever revisit that stuff again. After some reflection and speaking with the guys, I realized, ‘Well, wait a minute. I’m not embarrassed about it (laughs). It’s still good music! Is there a way that we can still pull it off and do it justice?’ So we rehearsed! When we rehearsed, I realized this is good and I feel great about it.”