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D Gray-Buchanan (Edinburgh, Lothian United Kingdom)

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Aenima
Aenima

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Aggressive Elegance, 15 Mar 2006
This review is from: Aenima (Audio CD)
Having never really been a Metal fan of any sort, I still to this day find it surprising that I am such a dedicated follower of Tool. They are simply one of those bands that can - despite their particular genre - appeal to the masses; anyone with an ear for a hypnotic melody or a sophisticated ensemble will appreciate the magnificence of their sheer musicianship.
Still, the band comes under a lot of stick for being overly pretentious. However if it were not for Tool's self-absorbed blend of art-rock and progressive thrash metal, then the alternative scene as we know it today would be somewhat very different.
And in truth, Tool's influence on the music scene came about some ten years ago with the release of this very record. A tour de force of aggressive elegance, Ænima holds the listener from the opening "Stink Fist", with its powerful breaks and dynamic melodies, to the momentous "Third Eye". Maynard James Keenan's unique vocal style is the most obvious individuality Tool have over their contempories; however, the vigorous authority of the rythmn section and Adam Jones' archetypal guitar playing (combining the traditional heavy-rock Jimmy Page-style riffs with Robert Fripp-esque overtones) help to display Tool's dominance over the rock scene.
Throughout Tool's 14 years, they have developed greatly as musicians - the most prominant development can be seen between the more simplistic "Undertow" (released in 1993) and this record. Ænima remains the band's finest effort to date, and even if you're not a Metal fan in the slightest, this is still worth checking out for its sheer brilliance.


Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Price: £9.55

6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Modern Day Lyrical Whiz Kids, 14 Mar 2006
Given the titanic hype of the Arctic Monkey's debut record, I was all very much prepared for a colossal disappointment. And in truth, one may have been foolish to have trusted the NME's characterisation of the Sheffield four-piece as "Our Generation's Most Important Band", but that is not to say that they are without their talents.
At first listen, the "Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not" sounds very much like the Libertines record that never was, with its rough-edges and punk-esque production, it exudes Alternative Indie to the extent that album closer "A Certain Romance" echoes the hypnotic guitar riff of the Barat/Doherty swan-song, "Can't Stand Me Now".
To those who have heard the Arctic Monkey's early demos, there is only a minor difference between those home recordings and these studio-polished tracks. One should also note that these boys are certainly not the most unique musicians of the 21st Century, as their sound comes straight out of 1980. It doesn't take a genius to draw parallels between the Arctic Monkeys and The Jam.
Where these Northern lads do excel however, is in Alex Turner's lyrics. The entire album functions like a running social commentary on small-town life. Turner's dry-witted observations of alcohol, violence and sex in day-to-day existence is a poignant departure from his contemporaries' love-riddled rants. The record materialises as a pastiche to the great social songwriters of the '60s and '70s, giving an indie nod to lyrical virtuosi, such as Elvis Costello and Ray Davies.
The Arctic Monkey's were given an impossible job. No matter how good this record could have been, it was never going to live up to the hype. But if you ignore the NME for 40 minutes and give this a spin, then you will see that this particular bunch of normal Northern kids can, in fact, put out something rather memorable when push comes to shove.


Reset
Reset
Offered by EliteDigital UK
Price: £24.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Surrender, 14 Mar 2006
This review is from: Reset (Audio CD)
It's hard to think of an up-and-coming band that is more original and instant than Mute Math. Renound for their live shows more than anything else, the American quartet have built an astounding following on a purely word-of-mouth basis.
This, their debut EP, captures the essence of their sound and live shows with near perfection, whilst still demonstrating their ability to pen a fantastic pop song, shown on the marvellous opener, Control. Tracks such as Perculiar People and OK draw on influences from such artists as The Police and U2, whilst the more electronic-based tracks (such as Reset and Plan B) take on more of a Massive Attack meets Mogwai approach, giving off a very similar sound to the early work of Future Sounds Of London.
Overall, this is a fantastic - no, flawless - effort, and if the popularity of the internet means anything to the modern age of the music business, then Mute Math will soon be playing sold-out stadium shows all around the world (their MySpace fanbase already exceeds 45,000).
Get your hands on this, and say you were there first.


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