ben folds - way to normal

Ben Folds: Way to Normal (2008)

I wish this was a case of “second verse, same as the first” but the sad reality is I think there was a moment in time where the music of Ben Folds really impacted me, and that time is past.  The music I experienced at the time still holds up and connects me to those moments in time, but Way to Normal feels like it trades too much on the nostalgia of past albums, and beyond a few key moments doesn’t hook with either its music or its lyrics. Continue reading “Ben Folds: Way to Normal (2008)”

ben folds - rocking the suburbs

Ben Folds: Rockin’ the Suburbs (2001)

There’s no way for me to be impartial when it comes to Ben Folds, and specifically his first solo album Rockin’ the Suburbs.  Sorry if that makes me bourgeois or vanilla or uncool.  Ben Folds Five was a huge deal for me finding a way through a lot of feelings of depression and anxiety during my 20s, and the way the songs on this album mirrored so many moments of my inner life was scary.  It’s a huge musical touchpoint for my life, one I can’t listen to without getting emotional. Continue reading “Ben Folds: Rockin’ the Suburbs (2001)”

belus - apophenia

Belus: Apophenia (2017)

The first thing I noticed about Belus was the drumming.  Listen to how the drums practically skip over the melodic black metal riffing on “Chasm,” the opening track of the band’s debut album Apophenia.  It’s a marvel of work, on par with the first time I heard someone like Brann Dailor explode on Remission or even (gulp) Lars play on And Justice for All.  It immediately serves to move Belus apart from what the glut of other melodic black metal bands are doing, and makes Belus one of the best modern US black metal releases in some time.  Continue reading “Belus: Apophenia (2017)”

behold the arctopus - nano nucleonic cyborg summoning

Behold…The Arctopus: Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (2006)

Behold Behold…The Arctopus!  See their shimmering and gnarly cacophony of sound as they summon forth nano-nucleonic cyborgs on their EP/later expanded to full release with live cuts Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning.  If that sounds like a mouthful, well it perfectly encapsulates the music, a frenetic prog/noise/thrash-jazz hybrid instrumental execution courtesy of Colin Marston and Mike Lerner.  Continue reading “Behold…The Arctopus: Nano-Nucleonic Cyborg Summoning (2006)”

behemoth - the satatnist

Behemoth: The Satanist (2013)

It would be a simple thing to talk about The Satanist in terms of Nergal’s bout with leukemia, how in the face of sickness and death he found it within himself to create a towering work of death metal fury, the rage and volume a shout against his condition, his mortality, and his reliance on a higher power.  I’m pretty sure a ton of magazines and sites did just that.  But coming to the album, and to Behemoth years later, I’m left with the realization that – as solid as the metal is, and as good as The Satanist is – I don’t see myself reaching for this or any of the albums when I’m in need of a loud death metal fix.  Continue reading “Behemoth: The Satanist (2013)”

behemoth - evangelion

Behemoth: Evangelion (2009)

We’re back with the Good News, because apparently “good news” is a loose translation of the word evangelion, which also happens to be the name of the 2009 album from Behemoth.  And it is good news, because after the dulling of Nergal’s schtick with Demigod and The Apostasy (which I never bothered buying but a quick re-listen confirmed I made the right choice) Evangelion is a brutal return to form. Continue reading “Behemoth: Evangelion (2009)”

behemoth - demigod

Behemoth: Demigod (2004)

It’s not that Demigod, the 2004 followup to Zos Kia Cultus by Behemoth is bad…it’s not.  It’s just that this is the first album where the songs really begin to blur and I lose interest about halfway through.  There’s less distinction through the album, less that jumps out and grabs you.  This is blessing and curse of blind buying based on previous albums: sometimes you get gold, sometimes you get, well…meh. Continue reading “Behemoth: Demigod (2004)”