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Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Reviews: Nickelback, Megadeth, Uneven Structure

Nickelback: Here And Now (Roadrunner)

The second biggest selling foreign band in American history. Return with their latest album of radio-friendly alternative rock. The band is continuing in the vein of their last few albums with heavy rockers mixed with over-wrought ballads. They have also kept the same production techniques that Robert John ’Mutt’ Lange showed them on their last record. Mutt doesn't produce this album as it is veteran Nickelback collaborator Joey Moi and the band that are at the helm and are aided by Brian Howes who has produced bands such as Hinder and Daughtry. The big gang vocals are back as is the muscular riffing and gritty vocals of Chad Kroeger. The lyrics also are similar with songs about love and partying mixing with strong global messages and some filthy Steel Pantheresque innuendo, most notably on Midnight Queen where the titular character is asked to "Lick my barrel clean". All in all this is just another Nickelback record that unlike Silver Side Up or All The Right Reasons doesn't have a genuine UK super single on it. Not that Nickelback will care due to the massive success they have across the pond. Not an essential but a good listen nonetheless. 6/10

Megadeth: Th1rt3en (Roadrunner)

The 'Deth return with their 13th album (the title gives it away) and first to feature classic era bassist Dave Ellefson for over a decade. The album sees them back in the mainstream form that they found success with in the early 1990's unlike their last album Endgame, Th1rt3en has more in common with the Countdown To Extinction/Youthanasia era. The songs are shorter and commercial, there is some super speedy riffing with the opening 2 tracks Sudden Death and Public Enemy No. 1 and the super-fast Never Dead. However the rest of the album is mid-paced riffing that is more hard rock than thrash metal. The lyrical content is the usual Megadeth anti-governmental jargon mixed with dark love stories. The playing throughout is superb but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Mega-Dave. A band who I have found to be hit and miss live have (nearly) always delivered on record and this is no exception however it just isn't as exciting as Endgame and not in the same league of their early material. (Still beats the hell out of most of Metallica's recent drivel). 7/10

Uneven Structure: Februus (Basick Records)

Another band coming under the Djent banner meaning that Messugah-like riffage is abound however this 6-piece from France are more than blatant rip-offs they manage to add some progressive influences as well as a heaving does of ambient experimentation to create a unique sound. This album flows fantastically and so it is hard to pick out one song as it very much and 'album' rather than individual tracks. The production is extremely clean and is very multi-layered to give a hazy tone to the polyrhythmic guitar playing from the three guitarists, the drum and bass lay a heavy foundation that is beefed up by the tuned-down guitars and the Fripptronic ambient soundscapes, these are topped by Matthieu Romarin's excellent clean and harsh vocals which are used sparingly. This band are obviously all about the music as there are no gimmicks just well played technical metal with heaps of dreamy ambience, mainly on the last track Finale, that bewitches the listener. A cracking debut. 8/10

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