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Friday, 2 June 2017

Reviews: Roger Waters, Rammstein, Orphaned Land

Roger Waters: Is This The Life We Really Want? (Colombia) [Review By Matt]

In what is his first proper album since 1992's Amused To Death Roger Waters returns with his latest solo record, that album I hold in such high regard that I'd say it's on a par with Dark Side..., The Wall and Animals (still the darkest Floyd album). Amused To Death was a politically charged record ridiculing mankind's continued self-destruction. In the interim Roger has written an opera, reformed with Pink Floyd, buried a few hatchets, disbanded Pink Floyd indefinitely, embarked on one of the most successful and ambitious tours in recent memory (The Wall) along with a whole host of things involving activism. In terms of world view though very little has changed? The human race is still it's own worst enemy so naturally this has provided plenty of inspiration (or should that be lamentation) for this Water's fourth solo album of 'rock' music. He is still making a statement politically, he ahs always worn his heart on his sleeve (a self proclaimed bleeding heart artist) and from the outset until the climax, it's politically charged. However here he also  backs up his musical credentials by re-establishing his audio history.

It's the most Floydian album of all of his solo records, with the fluidity of Rick Wright in the keys, Gilmouresque guitars and of course Roger up front his voice moving from a whisper to and anguished rasp. You can pick out the songs that sound similar, the pastiches are heard throughout with this riff sounding like this song, that keyboard part originally coming from there and even a few borrowed lyrical troupes creep in, any other band and you could claim heresy or at least copyright theft, however can you really steal musical ideas if they were your ideas in the first place? Roger has clearly become more accepting of his Floyd years yet he is still as angry, politically aware and quick to criticise what he believes (rightly) are the biggest evils facing humanity today, as he was on The WallThe Final Cut and Amused To Death.

Trump is called a nincompoop, the refugee crisis is highlighted, the environment mourned and wars lambasted with bile, disgust and a very British melancholy. I could go through the songs but there is now point they have to speak for themselves it's an album that deserves to be listened to thoroughly, with the right amount of time given to it you can look past the crippling despair and gloom to the slithers of hope that just make it through. If you love Pink Floyd, buy this album, if you like Roger Waters, buy this album, if you enjoy well crafted, intelligent music buy this album, but most importantly if you give a shit about human beings at all. BUY THIS ALBUM. 10/10

Rammstein: Live In Paris (Spinefarm Records) [Review By Paul]

If you haven't witnessed Rammstein in the live arena then you have missed out. More pyro than the US Armed Forces, more lighting than most major cities and more dry ice than even Grand Magus at Bogiez! However, all the effects in the world mean nothing if your music is horse shit. Luckily, that is not something that you can level at the Germans, whose industrial battery has been consistently impressive since day one.

Live In Paris comes as a DVD/CD package, and whilst the invitation to have Rammstein blow up your living room on the TV is not to be sniffed at, it's on the CD where you feel the real power of this most incredible of metal outfits. Filmed and recorded in Paris way back in March 2012, this is their third live release. Astonishing in many respects, for a band that has only released double that number of studio releases in their 18 year career. However, all of their live releases are pretty special, each captures the power and intensity of the band. Live Aus Berlin remains my favourite, early and much rawer.

But what about the latest release? Well, apart from Benzin, the monster track on Rosenrot, this is pretty much as good as you could want. The tracks are just gargantuan. From opener Rammstein, through to closer Freuhling In Paris, it's a set list of epic proportions. A good percentage of the older albums are now staples in the band's set list with Sehnsucht, Du Riechst So Gut and Engel outstanding. Despite their limited back catalogue there are still tracks that would fit perfectly in this release which haven't made it. The throw away crowd-pleasers Amerika and Pussy still burn hard whilst the temperature is stoked to even higher levels with the anthems of Du Hast and Fire Frei!

Possibly the most interesting choice of the set list is the electronica tinged Mann Gegan Mann, not usually included in the staple Rammstein set. It's heavier and more powerful here than on Rosenrot. The band also deliver the goods on a couple of their lengthier and slower tracks, with Ohne Dich in particular quite spectacular. The irony of a partisan French crowd singing every word in German demonstrates to me how insular the UK is and, if I may pause for a second, what a disaster leaving the EU will be. Anyway, this is one hell of a release, capturing aurally why the band are such a huge draw. With rumours of new material and further touring to come in the next couple of years, it may be time to flame proof oneself once more. 9/10

Orphaned Land and Friends: 25th Anniversary Release (Century Media) [Review By Paul]

25 years on and the fantastic Israeli outfit Orphaned Land have released an eight track vinyl only release which comprises some rather special bonus tracks. These feature Steven Wilson on live recordings of The Beloved Cry and MI, Israeli musician Yehuda Poliker on Halon Layan Hatihon and As I Stare At The Ocean Alone. However, it's the remixes of Estarabim and the quite brilliant cover of Pearl Jam's Jeremy which are the stand out tracks. What this album does once again demonstrate is what a special band Orphaned Land are. It's been too long since All is One took our breath away. In the meantime, enjoy this release. It's something rather beautiful. 9/10

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