Album reviews 5/13/22

Primal Fear- Metal Commando: These guys hit kind of in the sweet spot between modern power metal and a more classic band like Iron Maiden or AC/DC. The latter is mostly thanks to the singer, who’s just screaming everything to the heavens. This is pretty much an instant fave, I liked it a lot and I look forward to hearing more of their stuff someday. 8.5/10

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Album reviews 4/30/22

Taylor Swift- Evermore: I can’t believe Taylor put out two albums in 2020. And not, like, one in January and one in December, that I’ve seen before. This dropped about five months after folklore, and that is just insane. Now, the thing about that album is that, toward the end, she goes back to her country roots a bit. It’s not offensive in any way, but it’s also clearly a lead-in to this album, and the transition from folk-pop to country is far more appealing than its reverse. Thematically and even musically, this is an effective follow-up, but it does pale in comparison to its predecessor. 6.5/10

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Album reviews 4/29/22

Freeloaders- Freshly Squeezed: Here’s a 2006 collection of random dance tracks from a group who I definitely got mixed up with the name of a classic trance track. “So Much Love to Give” is the standout here, and the one song I know them for. Their version of “Free Falling” is also pretty good. Though I have to raise an eyebrow at “Elvis Is Dead”, which is just a list of names of dead musicians. Like, not even in a paying tribute sort of way, more like, “hey, in case you missed it, these people are all dead”. Thankfully, there’s a whole range of styles here, so a little something for everyone. 6.5/10

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Album reviews 4/28/22

Clannad- Nádúr: And then, just like that, we jump across a lengthy hiatus to 2013 and an album that sounds quite different from what they were doing in the 90’s. Not stylistically, I’m just talking about the quality and their approach to Celtic New Age. The vocalists distinctly sound different is a big element, and that’ll happen over a decade and a half. Quite nice though, I’m glad they didn’t pack it up forever. 6.5/10

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Album reviews 4/27/22

Genesis- We Can’t Dance: Genesis is one of those bands whose discography I went through well before I started reviewing albums. And on the whole, despite the fact that they did some really great songs over the years, I can’t say I’m a huge fan of their albums. And in this case, I’m definitely not a fan of the title track. But on the whole? This is pretty good. Can definitely see why it’s a classic. 7.5/10

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Album reviews 4/26/22

The Naked and Famous- Recover: Goddamn if these kids aren’t always doing something different and knowing exactly how to make it awesome. After the one-two punch of “Recover” and “Sunseeker” lead into a couple of softer songs, I was ready to call this off, but really, that’s the only hiccup. This rest of this is great, and a demonstration in how to make low-key still resound with power. 7.5/10

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Album reviews 4/24/22

Haken- Virus: Time for some cool prog metal! I don’t really have a lot to say about this, save that it has all the things I like about prog rock and none of the things I don’t like. So I liked it! I’ll have to check out more of their stuff sometime. 7.5/10

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Album reviews 4/22/22

Kansas- The Absence of Presence: Well there’s a name I didn’t expect to see pop up again in the 21st century! This turns out to be some pretty cool classic prog rock with modern mastering. If anything, the only marker that time has passed since Kansas’s heyday is their lead singer doesn’t sound his best. But not even that is notably awful or anything. A really solid effort! 7.5/10

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Album reviews 4/20/22

The Pretenders- Hate for Sale: Yeah, it’s the same Pretenders who did “Brass in Pocket”, they’re still around in 2020 apparently! And I’ve really got to hand it to them, they’ve changed handily with the times. This sounds like a modern indie band inspired by the 80’s rather than a band that was making hits in the 80’s. This is a really solid contemporary rock album, good on them! 7/10

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Album reviews 4/19/22

The Michael Stanley Band- Heartland: I remember hearing about Michael Stanley passing away not that long ago. It was a big deal around here, as even his Wikipedia page says he and his band were big in the Cleveland area. Me, I never really knew about him. (Though I’m pretty sure I’ve at least heard “Don’t Stop the Music” before.) I’ve just now heard a couple of later albums by both the band and Stanley himself, and they aren’t quite to my taste. But this? One of their early albums, this is really good AOR. Like, almost Springsteen level here, not to oversell. I didn’t expect to like this as much as I did. 7.5/10

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