art blakey and the jazz messengers - caravan

Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers: Caravan (1962)

Keeping this one brief…not only because it’s late and I’m slightly drunk, but also because often writing about jazz eludes me.  So…in that vein let’s talk about Caravan, which not only is the first album the Art Blakey Jazz Messengers recorded for Riverside Records, but it was the first jazz album I ever bought on vinyl.  Featuring incredible performances from the likes of Freddie Hubbard and Wayne Shorter, not to mention Blakey’s insane drumming prowess, it was an opportunity for me to discover a new voice I didn’t already know, as opposed to picking something up I was already familiar with. Continue reading “Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers: Caravan (1962)”

arrayan path - dawn of aquarius

Arrayan Path: Dawn of Aquarius (2017)

And so with Dawn of Aquarius we come to the second and final “freebie” from a record label.  I started getting back into power metal around 2016 with a handful of modern, aggressive bands like Judicator, Innerwish and Arrayan Path, whose fourth album IV: Stigmata I featured in an article of power metal album to ease someone into the genre.  When it came time to review their (at the time) latest album I was really taken with how strong the writing was, let alone the technicality and execution.  A few weeks after the review came out the label contacted me and sent it a copy of the album on CD as thanks. Continue reading “Arrayan Path: Dawn of Aquarius (2017)”

armageddon

Armageddon: Armageddon (1975)

One of the best things Decibel Magazine ever gave the world was Scott Seward’s Filthy 50: a collection/ranking of 50 of the best proto-metal/stoner rock albums.  I was only aware of a handful of the more popular bands (Cactus, Grand Funk Railroad) so to have my ears opened to the fuzz-blown wonders of bands like the Groundhogs, Dust, Toe Fat, and the great Armageddon was like a gift from the sticky bud gods of yesteryear.  We’ll definitely be checking a few of the bands from the list later in this journey, but for now let’s talk a bit about the band’s one and only album, 1975’s Armageddon. Continue reading “Armageddon: Armageddon (1975)”

arkheth - 12 winter moons

Arkheth: 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew (2018)

I *think* this was the first “freebie” I got tossed as writer.  I’ve been a big fan of Transcending Obscurity as a metal label and tend to give their stuff a chance when it passes through the Nine Circles inbox.  Arkheth is a one-man black metal project (after my own heart) out of Australia, and 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew reaches levels of carnivalesque mayhem that have me admiring its audacity, even when it’s not something I can just randomly grab and listen to.  Anyway, they sent me the CD as thanks for a good review…completely unexpected but appreciated nevertheless. Continue reading “Arkheth: 12 Winter Moons Comes The Witches Brew (2018)”

aretha franklin - aretha's gold

Aretha Franklin: Aretha’s Gold (1969)

There was Aretha Franklin, the talented jazz singer signed to Columbia who just didn’t know how to harness all that talent. And then there’s Aretha Franklin, the powerhouse signed to Atlantic who wisely set her up with Jerry Wexler, who immediately knew how to take that power and just unleash it (he just stepped aside and let her do her thing).  Between the two of them the legend that was Atlantic Records in the 60s was solidified, and Aretha’s Gold is frankly ridiculous when you consider this is just a sampling of what Franklin brought to music in late 1967-68. Continue reading “Aretha Franklin: Aretha’s Gold (1969)”

arcturus - the sham mirrors

Arcturus: The Sham Mirrors (2002)

I can’t remember if I came to Arcturus via Garm and Ulver or through Ihsahn, who does a gust spot on the the band’s third album The Sham Mirrors.  Listening back I probably came to it from some description of it being progressive and avant-garde, though the truth is now the feels a little antiquated.  Using electronics and try-hop elements that Ulver in particular would put to great use later, The Sham Mirrors nevertheless is a solid album of ambience and cool riff work I wish would be just a little more dynamic so the interesting songwriting would really shine instead of appear (and sound) tinny. Continue reading “Arcturus: The Sham Mirrors (2002)”