No. 8

January 01, 2014

Boston - Live, Love, and Hope (Frontier) ....

Boston has released Life, Love, and Hope, their first studio album in over a decade. The album features lead vocals by several singers, including original Boston frontman Brad Delp, who committed suicide in 2007, guitarist Tom Scholz, former Boston bassist Kimberly Dahme, and current members Tommy DeCarlo and David Victor. I was excited to hear about this release from a band known so well for its great classic rock songs of the 70's and 80's, but was decidedly disappointed listening to this new album. While there are glimpses throughout of that characteristic Boston trademark guitar sound and vocal harmonies, what is missing is the magic that once was the band Boston. The songwriting is mediocre at best, with most of these songs sounding like early 80's pop music. The recording production suffers severely from the fact the drums are computerized sounding little better than a drum machine and the keyboards are not much better. The songs "Heaven on Earth" and "Te Quiero Mia" probably come closest to capturing the essence of anything we once remember the band Boston to be. It seems evident that Boston fans will ultimately be let down by this new release.

Listen to Boston

Deicide - In the Minds of Evil (Century Media) ....

Its hard to believe that Deicide have been around for over 20 years now. The band broke into the metal scene with albums such as Deicide, Legion, Once Upon the Cross, and Serpents of the Light, defining their brutally evil sound, but then spent years releasing albums that were little more than mediocre. In 2006, the band released The Stench of Redemption, which seemed to mark a comeback for the band with better material, but then the band continued on to follow that up with more mediocre releases. Deicide returned at the end of 2013 with their 11th studio album In The Minds of Evil, but again deliver nothing more exciting than their previous so-so releases. What you get are songs that sound mostly the same, not very memorable, with the typical blast beats and break-downs. You will as well find songs that are recycling old Deicide riffs, most notably on the song "Beyond Salvation". "Even The Gods Can Bleed" is the one decent track on this eleven-song album release. Judge for yourself.

Listen to Deicide

Iced Earth - Plagues of Babylon (Century Media) ....

US power metal band Iced Earth return with their 11th studio album, Plagues of Babylon, due for release in Jan 2014. Guitarist/songwriter Jon Shaeffer returns with singer Stu Block and new members, bassist Luke Appleton and drummer Raphael Saini. Overall the album is average for Iced Earth, less than I had expected from this new release. There were a few notable songs. "The Culling" is a memorable track with great guitar work and arrangements. The epic 7 minute 14 second song "The End ?" was another memorable song with its sharply edged verses, harmonic choruses, and really great breakdowns. "Plagues of Babylon" is another notable song. Jon Shaeffer delivers a great guitar sound on this album, but frankly the songwriting fails to deliver songs that really grab your attention. I suspect this album will barely satisfy Iced Earth fans. It has its moments, but that's about it.

Listen to Iced Earth

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