Part 1 in a series of record reviews for albums that I think deserve a lot more attention. If you read these articles, please give these albums a listen.
Crime As Forgiven By - Against Me!
I'm sure that many of you have heard of Against Me! before. They recently signed to a major record label and have been touted about on MTV, VH1, David Letterman, the Warped Tour, and other musical graveyards just as Green Day was. But before they lost their meaning, before they sold out, before they started creating garbage like New Wave, they were one of the most amazing folk-punk bands out there. With socially aware lyrics and truly heartfelt riffs that will make you want to scream in the middle of a street until your voice is hoarse, Crime will destroy your pre-concieved notions of what an album can make you feel.
First of all, there is not a single record out there that can match the desperation, energy, and raw emotion of this one. All the production value, all the expensive recording tricks and cool effects in the world cannot cover up a crappy album(as demonstrated by Chinese Democracy). With the raw, unpolished sound of a band's first garage-recorded demo, Crime shows that flashy pedals and 30-piece drum sets are not required to make a hell of an album.
Against Me!'s first iteration has only two members: Tom Gabel on guitar and Kevin Mahon on drums. Both of them alternate vocals on the six tracks that make up the album. And while this is such a short album, while it has virtually no production value, it is still one of the most deepest albums ever concieved. In fact, I personally think that all of these aspects just make the end result that much more amazing.
Violence Violence - Ceremony
I saw these guys live before I had ever listened to any of their songs. And I noticed something: People went off to these guys. Moreso than any other other band. And it was one of the other bands' last show. I had never seen a band invoke such crazy, relentless, fury in their audience. So I picked this album up at the merch table and took it home. I gave it a few listens, and I was stunned. Of all the thousands of bands I had listened to, of all the live music I had seen, I had NEVER heard a band as angry as Ceremony. I had listened to so much metal, punk, and hardcore, that I thought there was no band that could really make me re-think what a genre meant.
But this album ripped up all of my notions of what hard music could be. The lyrics ranted about hating everyone you see. About walking down crowded streets and seeing nothing but emptiness in the eyes of those who pass by. About killing society, screaming in the face of every ignorant, materialistic asshole who measures success by salary. About how there's no love without hate, no happiness without depression. Never have I heard such blind fury contained in one album.
This album revived my faith in the hardcore genre. With such vanilla bro-core bands as H2O and Remembering Never mucking things up and leading the growing movement of being mediocre, I had almost written it off as a lost genre. But then I heard this album. It truly reinvigorated my love for hardcore.
Dead Mountain Mouth - Genghis Tron
There's a reason that Genghis Tron's MySpace page says Metal/Electro/Experimental. Why? Because they are marching down a less-than-traveled path in music. One that bands like Enter Shikari and Sky Eats Airplane have meandered around but never fully committed to. Genghis Tron has come up with some of the most interesting and innovative techniques in modern music. While their latest release, Board Up The House, has recieved critical acclaim and is becoming a household name due to tours with bands such as Converge, I believe that Dead Mountain Mouth is their most amazing work to date.
To me, it seems that Board Up The House was overthought. Dead Mountain Mouth seems that it was concieved, written, and recorded all within the span of about a week. This lends to the way the entire album flows from one song to another, wrenching your brain out of your ears, one cell at a time.
Anyway, Dead Mountain Mouth was a brave foray into uncharted terrain with a triumphant victory awaiting on the other side. If you are looking for something to spice up your playlists, check it out.