RockStar Weekly

CD Review: Gotye - Making Mirrors

Gotye - Making Mirrors
Star25
Over the last few months Gotye has become a kind of collectively known global musician. I hesitate to say star. This has prompted many to wonder: how do I pronounce that? For those unfamiliar, Gotye is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist musician operating under the indie-rock banner. Gotye’s Making Mirrors LP was released on February 13th, 2012 on the Universal Records label.

A Belgian born Australian, Gotye, real name: Wouter “Wally” De Backer, has been a pop star in his native Australia for a number of years. Indeed, this is his third solo studio album (he is also one third of, the Melbourne based indie act, The Basics). However, Making Mirrors is the first Gotye LP that the world has really taken notice of. This is due in part to the hit Somebody That I Used To Know which is off the album. The song was a global hit, attaining number one status in various charts around the world. The song also gained in popularity due to a cover version that went viral. Yes, that video where five people play one guitar at the same time. In case, you haven’t seen it (and if you haven’t, check it out), Canadian indie rock band Walk off the Earth decided to do a cover version. They uploaded their version of the song to YouTube in January of this year and the response was phenomenal.

In the cover, all five band members play the guitar simultaneously. The cover has been such a hit that they have even performed the song live on the Ellen show. At present, the Walk off the Earth version has been viewed over 89 million times on YouTube. Despite the fact that Gotye is in danger of ‘losing’ his song, you have to feel that, ironically, Gotye would probably approve.

Gotye is known for being, shall we say, experimental? Making Mirrors is little different, so if you’re hoping for an album full of anguished Somebody That I Used To Know-esque melodies, think again. Indeed, the LP has not fared as well as a whole as the Somebody That I Used To Know single. Unsurprisingly, the LP was a number one hit in Australia. Occupying the top spot for eight weeks. Response elsewhere in the world has been lukewarm, with the album gaining only top 20 status in the influential UK charts. Unfortunately, I found the album to be more top 20 material than number one material. The LP seems to venture from one influence to the next and is rather hit and miss as a result. Of course, for hardcore Gotye fans, the experimentation will be nothing new and will even be welcomed in some quarters. However, with most of the world only waking up to Gotye as a result of Somebody That I Used To Know it is important to note this album has a wide variety of influences and styles. Gotye seems to be heavily intrigued by the tools and instruments at his disposal. He has talent, as Somebody That I Used To Know demonstrates, but a little more concentration on a core sound would certainly help him. The best songs on the album are, in no particular order, Somebody That I Used To Know, Eyes Wide Open, In Your Light and I Feel Better. Outside of that, the album is decidedly a miss for me.

gotye

 

Last Updated on Friday, 11 May 2012 18:30

Hits: 1753

CD Review: Six Feet Under - Undead

Six Feet Under, UndeadMetal’s Cookie Monster returns on Six Feet Under’s latest Undead, which hits stores on May 22. The CM vocal technique made famous by the Florida death metal band, is strong and proud throughout, as is a killer musical background that will remind fans of the brutal energy and excitement of the first couple albums. For Six Feet Under it’s about brutal attack rather than speed, so expect some groove tracks and a lot of mid-tempo work, although the band can thrash it out with the best of them, like they do in the lead track Frozen At The Moment Of Death.

The album continues with its main focus point, the riff driven Formaldehyde, which runs well under three minutes. In fact, none of the songs on the album make it to four minutes – the band has kept it short and to the point with each track, giving it a punkier attitude and averaging two and a half to three minutes per song.

The guitars are punchy and the vocals are front and center, but the drums sound a bit old school with a hollow metalic sound similar to the early Metallica material or more recently, Job For A Cowboy. With that sound, the drums seem to puncture the ears rather than hit them, so it adds to the viciousness of the overall music.

Founder and vocalist Chris Barnes still leads the band, which includes long-time member Steve Swanson on guitar and newer members Rob Arnold on guitar and Kevin Talley on drums. Bassist Matt DeVries appears on the album, but earlier this year he quit and was replaced by Jeff Hughell.

Lyrically,  the album dwells in dark horror and tackles murder, death, aggression and even sadness, so it will be familiar to fans as they trudge through the new songs. Highlights include the heavy groove track 18 Days, Formaldehyde, Blood On My Hand and Delayed Combustion Device, which has an extremely memorable chorus.
4 stars
Six Feet Under
 
 

Last Updated on Monday, 07 May 2012 19:30

Hits: 1467

CD Review: Trioscapes - Separate Realities

Trioscapes - Separate RealitiesTrioscapes is a relatively new outfit that plays punked up jazz music. Headed by Between the Buried and Me bassist Dan Briggs, the trio (completed by Walter Fancourt (tenor saxophone/flute) and Matt Lynch (drums)) take the ideas of jazz, fusion, progressive rock and meld it with a bit of a punk attitude. The result is a six track album of rock music lead by infectious wind instruments.

Not Metal Blade Records usual fare, Trioscapes might be a hard sell for the label. The instrumental music is something more akin to a live show rather than a recording, but could be a treat for those looking to experiment with their regular sound intake. The standout track is the band’s take on Mahavishnu Orchestra’s "Celestial Terrestrial Commuters" which sounds more progressive rock than the jazz of the original. There’s a touch of RUSH and Yes in this piece that gives the 70s song a modern sound.

Definitely not something for everyday listening, Trioscapes is more of an assault on the senses and most certainly a mental mind fuck.

star 1.5

Trioscapes

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 05 May 2012 23:03

Hits: 1413

CD Review: Cattle Decapitation - Monolith of Inhumanity

Cattle-Decapitation Monolith-of-InhumanitySan Diego death grinders Cattle Decapitation have returned with Monolith of Inhumanity, their seventh full length release (and fifth with Metal Blade Records). The album shows quite a bit of growth as the band pulls out an occasional melodic riff and several attempts to include melodic vocals. Although it’s a bit of a stretch to expect screamer Travis Ryan to drop the shrieks and adopt a melodic style, it is nice to hear a bit more than just deep growls.

The Monolith is an outstanding moody track that seems more like something Marilyn Manson would record, but it gives Cattle Decapitation a chance to have their words heard, rather than growled. Ryan gets to add a bit of theatrics to the lyrics with his less brutal attack on the words.

The other notable song is the albums lead track The Carbon Stampede, which mixes some of those afore mentioned melodic riffs with an all out power assault. Kudos to drummer Dave McGraw, who shows no signs of slowing (literally!). It’s also a good debut for the newest member, bassist Derek Engemann, who makes his recording debut with the band. The bass in death metal is an often forgotten and neglected instrument, but Engemann makes his presence known when the band slows down from time to time.


It’s often exciting when death and grindcore metal bands add some melody and slower song elements in the song arrangements, like Cattle Decapitation has done here. It gives new fans a chance to explore the meaning of the words, especially when a band like this has something to say.

star 3.5

Cattle Decapitation

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 05 May 2012 22:32

Hits: 1645

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