Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 6

What do we have for you today, my music multiverse travellers, on the Album Review Saturdays 2024 Episode 6? We’ve got a hard, stoner rock band that’s got a gritty yet underlying metal vibe with shuttering vocals, if that’s your rock shuttle.  Or, if you’re looking for a return to big, soul-funk bands with improvisation, tricks, and surprises galore, oh than we certainly have found your new go to! For the deeper, darker progressive rock lover, we have a veteran band that has been locked into a signature, but the precision and edge that is delivered here makes it an enticing listen, and one that could be a great starting point to a twenty-five year rabbit hole dive. Intrigued? You already know some of these?  Cool.  Let’s give these three albums a little review! Oh, and don’t forget the YouTube version of this and any of our blog posts. We work hard to make these Album Review Saturdays all they can be, and showcase all that we can!

 

LINK TO OUR YOUTUBE VERSION
[Mark Kuligowski & Panelist DAHM discuss these (3) albums + adds three (3) more reviews at the end]

 

Blazoner – Escape To Electric Land

When the album starts, Escape To Electric Land‘s minute intro, you’re way too bombarded with annoying under-talk and looping, until “shut your mouth and listen to me for a minute” comes from your inner voice and the actual voice of someone on the record.  Good, that’s right — the shows started — shut up!  Cool!  I get it.  I’ve been there, more times than I care to share (although if I had $1 for every time that’s happened I could do this show full time).  The hard rock guitar crunch, fuzz and blistering drums come in, and the vocal gritty-growl delivers.  The noise of talk and background are gone leaving only Blazoner’s hard rock alternative stoner triple threats to their loud and intense devices.

Let’s define the word blazoner for a second, as I’m going to use it, for the rest of the review.  It is basically one who foreshadows.  Well, I think this fits extremely well.  This three piece metal, hard rock band does a marvelous job of allowing the music to foreshadow, effectively what’s to come within the song and throughout the flow of the record (despite how easy the cliche of foreshadow is). What am I talking about?  Well, they start with hard rock and that hard stoner, but under the riff and ride you can feel what’s coming, as they give you a blast of it, or very noticeable hint.  Like ‘Fallout’ and that cliche cowbell, leading into ‘Onyx Stone’ and long lingering guitar weight that leads into the groove and hook.  You’ve been there, and you’re waiting for what’s going to happen next, even though you’re pretty damn sure what is.  And, it does come, that creepy edgy vocal that speak-sings, and the leads to crescendo banging refrain (the ‘karma’s a bitch, cause and effect, your innerself gets you out of bed).  The bass line is also a wonderful foreshadowing instrument on this album, too!  So, while there’s nothing above the norm, they take it all on hard and heavy, which is always great, engaging!  But, most importantly — it shuts the crowd up and blows the listener away who’s ready to escape to wherever the harsh rock of these blazing Virginians (Fredericksburg to be exact) wish to take you!  Hopefully, their debut journey is fortunate for you, and not misfortunate (knod to band songwriting here).

The Band

  • Stephen Sullivan – Guitar, Vocals
  • Brian Carnes – Bass, Vocals
  • Andy Murray – Drums, Vocals

Escape To Electric Land Tracklisting

  1. Electric Land
  2. The Servant
  3. Ghost
  4. Fallout
  5. Onyx Stone
  6. Misfortune
  7. Time Shift
  8. Full Stop

 

 

 

OrgoneChimera

A simple hanging organ sound, lingering amidst a clever drum fill, then the bass line kicks in, and soon after that we’re off to building, adding and fluctuation of great simple late 60’s – 70’s soul rock instrumental bliss.  We’re smitten, but the Chimera here is the band, because while they linger in the genre and soufilled mystique of the era, they have no problem giving you an improvisational tickle, rumble or jolt.  The continual changes in vocalists (although all part of this expansive band, apparently) add to the illusion and beautiful misdirection and ever-changing stimulations of the band.  You’ve got a great slow funk and R&B feel that definitely flows through most of Chimera (thanks to the organ/keyboard, drum and bass), but the next song you’re rolling funky and slightly modernized with trippy electronica-like paces and buzzy jazz (like in the second instrumental, ‘Basilisk’).  Welcome to Orgone’s fantastic, and properly titled, Chimera.

Wait, is that a southern blues guitar lick, now?! Could be, as ‘Parsols’ has the twang, but they use it not so close to form, which is again, another wonderful illusion (Chimera).in the instrumental part!  Trust me, you will not get enough of these brilliant interludes.  Then, you’re whisked off to bass heaven, toms and a catchy Rastafarian club for ‘Zum Zum’ with collaborative vocalist, Mermans Mosango.  Totally awesome!  And, there’s more surprises ahead to make this one of the grooviest, fun, imaginative, and tight experiences in the genre in a very long time.  If you’re a soul-funk rock fusion officianto, they might be on your radar, but this album goes into the depth and sound orgies of The New Deal (instrumental electronica out of Toronto) and Portishead (minus Ms. Gibbons).  I even think I heard the breathing of the Predator improved into a track!  All kinds of funky fabrications that work on every single track!  Now, a slight minus, they have a hard time ending a song, which I can understand, so they tend to just let the song fade old school (still trying to decide if that’s cool or not).  Considering the overall five start musicianship, pace and style of Chimera, I’m willing to go with cool, and you will probably, too!

The Band

  • Sergio Rios – Guitars
  • Adryon de León – Vocals
  • Dan Hastie – Keyboards/organ, Clavinet
  • Sam Halterman – Drums
  • Dale Jennings – Bass

Vocal Performances

  • Jamie Allensworth
  • Terin Ector
  • Congolese musical alchemist Mermans “Mofaya” Mosengo

Chimera Tracklisting

  1. Hallowed Dreams
  2. Lies and Games
  3. Basilisk
  4. Peace For You
  5. Parasols
  6. Zum Zum
  7. Running Low
  8. The Husk
  9. Tula Muisi (Dance Like Them)
  10. Coronado

 

 

The Pineapple ThiefIt Leads To This

The peaceful, sincere and contemplative vocals of Bruce Soord is the fragile author and provocateur of It Leads To This, which musically is the absolute near opposite (not always, but take for instance ‘Every Trace of Us’ and the drum muscle and dark desperate keyboard arrangements).  This is an album the features the struggle and choices and what it all has lead to, whether small or expansive in scope.  Think Rush, for a minute, and the vocal soft style of Geddy Lee against the drumming and guitar work surrounding a lot of their works.  Well, enter The Pineapple Thief, and their slightly darker, deeper progressive rock style.  It’s like brawn meets thoughtful intelligence and introspection.  While the musicianship is willing and ready to throw down, crush, or fall endlessly into an awaiting abyss, Soord is hanging on every word, attempting to deliver a last word, a hopeful plea, or maybe an aside.  And, if you don’t think this works progressively, for some reason, like this band is stuck in a rut, I don’t believe you’re understanding the very push and pull that has built a twenty-five year span.

It Leads To This is probably the first truly progressive rock record of 2024.  The passion toward the lyrics and the interwoven brilliance of drum, keyboard, and guitar that linger in the journey, and then push and shove the listener forward (that’s right – you can’t fuckin’ linger here – time to move) like a prison warden of life, are spectacularly and technically produced.  The simple piano goes from lovely and deep, to haunting and menacing.  A wave across the guitar could be emotional or pivotal at any moment.  And, the drums, the fills and the rhythm moves from a stroll, to a uncomfortable march, to a harrowing tumble.  Truly remarkable.  But, you’re not going to get this on one listen.  You’re not going to believe it’s there.  You’ve got to spend some time to ‘Put It Right’ as this recording was intended.  I assure you, the Genesis, Rush, and Riverside progressive rock themes and memorable moments all lead up to a gorgeous, yet dark, music experience that, if you’re like me a casual listener of The Pineapple Thief, will lead you to their intended rabbit hole of a catalog!

The Band

  • Bruce Soord –Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
  • Jon Sykes – Bass, Vocals
  • Steve Kitch – Keyboards
  • Gavin Harrison – Drums

It Leads To This Tracklisting

  1. Put It Right
  2. Rubicon
  3. It Leads to This
  4. The Frost
  5. All That’s Left
  6. Now It’s Yours
  7. Every Trace of Us
  8. To Forget
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