THE BELONGING ENDEAVOR
Reviewing these modern day mallcore bands is one of the most difficult things to write today. I hate to sound like my parents, but this style of music just all sounds universally the same. For some, they'll label me as old and outdated, and that's fine. I swear though I could stack up a pile of discs released by Rise Records, Standby Records and Sumarian Records, mix up songs from various releases and put it out, and most would think it was a singular artist putting out a really solid album. It's just that genre I guess. There's somewhat of a lack of creativity in it, and the kids that listen to that kind of stuff really don't seem to mind at all that these bands vary in sound, structure or style from album or album. Ultimately, it's probably more important for these bands to have a cool T-Shirt in Hot Topic than a unique sound on their album anyway for fans of this genre, so I get it. That said though, Senseless Beauty might have something to them.
OUTLAW GENTLEMEN AND SHADY LADIES
Many times over the past five years, I've proclaimed Volbeat as the lone exciting new band out there today. Their sound is definitely one that you either love or hate, and there's no middle ground whatsoever with them. That said, their growth in popularity has not been the most healthy for this band creatively. They have seemingly started to play to the masses a little bit. It started showing itself with "Fallen", and now there are plenty of moments on their latest that seem to grow from that. I'm not sure if they are just churning out music a bit too fast to capitalize on their popularity growth or if they have just come up a little bit flat this time around, but OUTLAW GENTLEMEN AND SHADY LADIES simply isn't as good as what Volbeat has been producing since most of us first heard them with "Sad Man's Tongue". While it doesn't suck by any means, OUTLAW GENTLEMEN AND SHADY LADIES is a bit of a letdown.
THE DIVINITY OF PURPOSE
(Hatebreed Concert Tickets)
There are some bands that just get it. Hatebreed is one of those bands. Like clockwork, I know that when I'm presented with a brand new Hatebreed release, I'm going to like it. You know why? Because before I ever hear a single note of it, I'm 100% certain of what I'm going to hear. Without question, their uncompromising approach to hardcore has launched them past almost all of their peers in the genre. While there are definitely bands like Agnostic Front that will always get more love as the creators and innovators of this style of music, there's very little doubt that it was Hatebreed that took it to the widest range of fans. Sure, they don't sell a zillion copies of any album, but who does that makes metal these days? What Hatebreed does doe, with every release, is deliver integrity, big sound, and uncompromising lyrics. THE DIVINITY OF PURPOSE is just what you'd expect from Hatebreed, although it's a touch heavier than even their past work has provided. In short, THE DIVINITY OF PURPOSE kicks ass.
I know a great many people that hated Disturbed. They considered them to be a poser metal band. They hated vocalist David Draiman and his pompous attitude. They didn't like their hits. They called them formulaic. To be sure, Disturbed has taken every bit of the hatred that most metalheads throw at a band like Nickelback these days. Yet, whatever the case was, they still sold a lot of music. Maybe it was truly "teenagers and girls" that bought their music, but whatever it was, they moved product. Being a Disturbed fan myself, I was excited about the thoughts of this new project from Draiman. He claimed it to be very "Nine Inch Nails". It was claimed to be very heavy. It had all kinds of hype behind it. The result? Well, maybe it's just me, but it's pretty damn close to what you would expect from the next Disturbed release. There are subtle differences to the sound, but overall, there won't be a single Disturbed fan out there that will be put off by this release. In fact, I'd bet most of those that are just casual radio fans won't even know it's a new band.
I can't speak for everyone, but I like a little bit of weirdness in my music every once in awhile. Not all the time, but there are definitely times when I need something that just goes far beyond the scope of "traditional" sounding music. My collection is littered with bands like Mr. Bungle, Pygmy Love Circus, Dog Fashion Disco, Mindless Self Indulgence and the like. These bands definitely find their way to my player a lot, specifically when I'm in a bad mood and need something strange to listen to and give me a "what the fuck" moment. Certainly, these kinds of bands are not for everyone. If they are your speed though, you might want to add NorseLaw to your collection. Listening to their release MOON HUNTERS is kind of like if you took a room full of iPods, blew them up, and could listen to the individual pieces all mixed up into some sort of cohesive, strange collection of songs. To my ear, it's a lot of Mr. Bungle, a touch of Borknagar, and a lot of straight up experimentation that doesn't really define definition easily.