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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    CD Reviews

    Shadows Fall:Threads of Life

    The obituary of American heavy metal was all but written in the early ’90s when Nirvana and its flannel-clad army crushed hair bands like Poison and Warrant forever. There was an attempt to bring metal back in the latter part of the decade, but grown men in clown masks and idiots in red baseball caps weren’t capable of resurrecting it.

    But now, in a new millennium, a new breed of head-banging maniacs has thrashed its way back into the forefront of the American music scene. Helping lead the charge is Shadows Fall, a hard-hitting five-piece outfit from Massachusetts. With dual guitar pyrotechnics that recall the glory days of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, they’ve taken control of what’s been dubbed the “”New Wave of American Heavy Metal.”” Their fourth full-length album, Threads of Life, shows they don’t plan on letting up anytime soon.

    The record kicks off with “”Redemption,”” which features a great riff and relentless drumming. One thing that is noticeably different on this album is lead singer Brian Fair’s vocals, which are significantly cleaner and have less of a death metal influence than on previous works. But rather than making the music softer, the singing juxtaposes perfectly with the crushing guitars.

    While the songs have mostly become slightly more accessible and polished, the band still knows how to bare its teeth, so to speak. Guitarists Matt Bachand and Jon Donais really shine on the thrash-influenced “”Failure of the Devout,”” which starts with a deceptively mellow intro before going right for the throat. The only respite from the heaviness is the ballad “”Another Hero Lost.”” This kind of song is new territory for Shadows Fall, but they manage to make it heartfelt without getting too emotional, and it is very reminiscent of Pantera’s classic “”Cemetery Gates.””

    All of Shadows Fall’s albums have shown a clear progression in terms of melody, and this one is no exception. The songs are catchy and memorable and don’t sacrifice the aggression and attitude that they’ve always had. This generation of metal fans needs its own Metallica or Black Sabbath, and they just may have it.

    -Nick Hourmung

    Panda Bear: Person Pitch

    Judging by the name, you may think this is some kind of cute and cuddly pop band. It isn’t. In fact, Panda Bear is the alias of Animal Collective member Noah Lennox. As with Animal Collective, Lennox has crafted a set of sprawling, intricate songs. Person Pitch is decidedly pop, but not along the lines of Britney Spears or Gwen Stefani.

    One such example is the nearly 13-minute “”Good Girl/Carrots”” that features the best of what Panda Bear has to offer. The song starts with an almost tribal set of rhythms followed by chanting vocals. A short time later, it transforms into a “”Twilight Zone”” version of the Beach Boys. If you have a curious mind wanting new music, or if you dig the droned-out sounds of Animal Collective, this record needs to enter your collection immediately.

    -Patrick Valenzuela

    Timbaland:Shock Value

    Recently, hip-hop mega-producer Timbaland’s 2006 Nelly Furtado song “”Do It”” was identified as having the same beat and rhythm as a song by Swedish artist Janne Suni, with the only difference being Furtado’s singing.

    Luckily for him, his latest album, Shock Value, has only been out since April 3 so nobody has had the time to identify what new songs he may have ripped off.

    It’s a stretch to say this album is by Timbaland when only the first song is a solo effort and the following 17 tracks feature other artists.

    Although it starts with an R&B tone, the album gradually becomes a catastrophe of convoluted styles and songs. Following Shock Value’s Justin Timberlake and Nelly Furtado sex-induced single, “”Give it to Me,”” Timbaland quickly finds himself out of his element working with bands like The Hives, She Wants Revenge and Fall Out Boy. Although a couple singles may be blasted at night clubs in coming months, as a whole this album was a bad idea from the start.

    -Andrew Austin

    Mims:Music Is My Savior

    Nobody can do confidence like Kanye West. He earns it through his producing and lyrical abilities and deserves to be as cocky as he wants to be. However, this self-assurance has led other members of the rap and hip-hop community to attempt to be overconfident as well. Hence the downfall of Mims’s Music Is My Savior.

    Known for his ode to arrogance, “”This Is Why I’m Hot,”” Mims mentions song after song in his slow rhymings that he is, in fact, hot.

    If it wasn’t for his lack of smart raps and fast paces, the songs would actually be great party hits due to the beats that have been perfected throughout the album. If you are drunk enough you can probably even have a good time by singing along to the simple lyrics of “”Superman””: “”I’m fly/I’m fly, I’m fly, I’m fly.””

    Skip out on buying this one – maybe Mims will learn from his mistakes from this record and replace smugness with talent with his next release.

    -Jamie Ross

    Silverchair:Young Modern

    Although its members are still in their late 20s (all three were born in 1979), it seems like Silverchair has been around for ages. A victim of being too successful too soon, the band was touted as the next Nirvana but has seen limited success outside its native Australia since its sophomore effort, Freak Show.

    Young Modern, Silverchair’s first studio album in five years, follows singer/guitarist Daniel Johns’ struggle with reactive arthritis. The album is solid but seems a little overproduced and undercreative.

    The album does a good job of carving a timeless style but Young Modern comes across as too epic and constantly retreats to a backing orchestra. The tracks seem too calm for their own good and only on occasion does the album break form.

    Where’s the old Silverchair? Not here, obviously.

    Record execs are obviously hedging their best, limiting the album to an Australia-only release until July, although fans can order the imported version online.

    -Andrew Austin

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