Time Stand Still (DVD)
Release Date: November 18, 2016
Time Stand Still is the document of what is generally believed to be Rush’s final tour. I use the term “believe” loosely here because by all accounts throughout the documentary, this is indeed the end of the touring life for the iconic band and perhaps even the last curtain call altogether. The expertly put together documentary sadly does not spend much time exploring the possibility of new music but it does note the band’s elation with the Clockwork Angels album and tour, feeling it was the album and tour that they had been trying to have for 40 years.
This documentary feels like an end cap to Beyond the Lighted Stage in all honesty (which isn’t a bad thing at all). It follows the band as they trek along the all-too-short R40 tour, which began each set with the newest material and ended with the backdrop of a high school gymnasium and a never-before-released song. It really was one of the band’s most iconic tours, in some ways surpassing the aforementioned Clockwork Angels tour for me. The DVD also includes some live extras from the “Rabbit Hole” that, as a big fan of the Presto era, is pretty cool to see.
The viewer learns more about the band’s many, largely unspoken ailments of aging, and how they present unique challenges for a band like Rush, who are not known for three chord anthems, right? Peart wisely notes that Rush are not the Rolling Stones and that their bodies cannot perform at this level anymore. As sad as it is to see and hear, it should make us all that much more appreciative of the fact that for the last 20 years these guys have given us 3 hour set after 3 hour set, night after night, year after year. We also spend a good deal of time following Peart’s motorcycle adventures, something that helps him deal with the harsh boredom of touring after 40 years.
What I really appreciate about this documentary the most though is all the footage of the managers and crew, some of which have worked with Rush for multiple decades. From the truck driver who went on the road with the band and never really came home to the instrument techs to the fans from RushCon. It feels like great lengths were gone to to ensure that the band recognized everyone one last time. After a sold-out tour the band called it a day and the filmmakers do a great job of recognizing the fact that many lives changed the next morning, not just those of Lifeson, Lee, and Peart.
Narrated by Paul Rudd, this is another excellent Rush documentary that almost feels surprising. A world without a touring Rush is an idea I had ever really entertained and it’s honestly quite sad. That said, Rush has left some of the most epic tours and albums ever in their wake, all the while never losing their connection to the hearts of the “working man.” Bravo Rush. Bravo.
Reviewed by mark1340
Release Date: November 18, 2106
Legendary Southern Rockers, Outlaws, continue their new millennium run with Legacy Live. This double disc of hits and deep cuts was recorded live in 2015 while the band was on the road celebrating the 40th Anniversary of their debut album. These days the band is led by “classic era” members Monte Yoho and Henry Paul and also features former members Steve Grisham and Chris Anderson. The band is rounded out by decade old “newcomers” Dave Robbins and Randy Threet.
There is a lot of ground to cover here as Outlaws straddle the fine line between Southern Rock and Jam band. These guys are no strangers to long, intricate guitar solos, as evidenced by the groovy “Freeborn Man” and the band’s epic Rock and Roll classic “Grey Ghost.” The later clocks in at over eleven minutes and the band are in top form, not noticeably missing a note or a time change anywhere. This is probably the second most epic Southern Rock song ever (just behind “Free Bird”) and the band pull it off magnificently. The guitars weep and scream and cry the blues all throughout as the piano sprinkles itself all around the solid as a rock rhythms.
The band are just getting warmed up on Disc 1. On Disc 2 they rip through songs like the more laid back “South Carolina,” which is part backporch sippin’ and part Boogie Woogie stomp, and the more passionate “Trail of Tears”, which is a storytellers classic in my book, among others. It’s the finale that really brings it all together though. “Green Grass and High Tides” takes awhile to get rollin’ (which is okay since it clocks in at over 13 minutes) but by the time they get a third of the way through the song you just can’t deny how tight this band is…even if you don’t enjoy Southern Rock. Of course, the band’s biggest hit, their cover of the Country Music staple “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” (from 1980) ends the album on a spectacular note and the audience eats up every bit of it.
Come death, come legal battles, come poor sales, come out of fashion years, these Outlaws are still going strong over four decades later and the proof is in the pudding. If you enjoy Blackhawk, Alabama, Poco, Lynyrd, Skynyrd and the like then you need to own Legacy Live. The Outlaws are a band that many thought time would leave behind, but their die-hard fanbase proved otherwise and Legacy Live shows exactly why the fans love them so much.
Reviewed by mark1340
Revelations: The Pale
Release date: October 14, 2016
WiL Francis is a musical chameleon. A chimaera of sorts. While Aiden was still active, and a powerful force on the punk scene, tearing up Warped Tours and generally causing a sensation, Francis began making electronic music under the moniker William Control, and shocked the world with his debut, Hate Culture, in 2008. With its dark sythnpop and new wave stylings, this album was vast diversion from Francis’ work in Aiden, and he embraced it by creating the persona of its narrator, taking this new name for his own. Quickly embraced by fans both old and new, a rabid public awaits Revelations: The Pale, the first EP of four that will comprise the fifth William Control studio album.
At this juncture the William Control sound is well defined, and the four tracks that comprise this release do not step outside that box. The energy that radiates from the speakers when these songs play tells me that this isn’t a failing, and might even be the album’s strength. “The Monster” is synth driven darkwave that brings to mind the best moments of Depeche Mode. The lyrics mine dark themes and the most desperate of human emotions. “Confess” takes things even one step darker, and brings to mind lyrics from Hate Culture in their dark narcissism. “Mother Superior” uses 1980’s style electric percussion and ethereal keyboards to create the kind of atmosphere the Pet Shop Boys created on their darkest moments. “When The Love Is Pain” picks up the tempo a bit to end this quartet of offerings on a note that leaves the listener waiting breathless for the next note.
What ties these four songs together is Control’s ability to write a catchy hook. Each song has a chorus that bring an exultant note to the dark imagery these tracks create. It’s difficult to not crank up the volume and sing along each time one of these choruses starts to pulse from my speakers. While this music is dark, it’s a darkness that dares you to join it and be embraced by its mystery. Fans of Depeche Mode, New Order and The Cruxshadows will feel right at home brooding to the misery of the lyrics or dancing to the pulsing beat of the music.
Reviewed by Jim 1340
Honor is Dead
Release Date: October 21, 2016
If you missed out a couple of years ago, the basics are that Wovenwar was formed from the ashes of As I Lay Dying. The band enlisted singer Shane Blay of Oh Sleeper and released their debut album in 2014. They return with their sophomore effort, Honor is Dead, and find their feet a bit more boasting a sound that distances itself a even more from their former moniker.
The biggest difference between the band’s debut and Honor is Dead, in my opinion, is Blay’s performance. I’ve never been a huge fan of his vocals but he really steps it up here with a much more dynamic performance that proves he’s more than just a one trick pony. The title track is easily the best example of this as he knocks it out of the park by leading the charging song right into the middle of the masses. His vocals soar and it helps elevate the song in both energy and emotion.
“Censorship” is an excellent example of what this album achieves during it’s best moments. It’s heavy and melodic and aggressive but it also boasts a big, hooky chorus that suckers me in every single time. “World On Fire” is another excellent moment, full of emotional pleas regarding the craziness that we are allowing to happen in our world. Lyrically, this is probably my favorite moment on the album as well. “Bloodletter” is another dynamic song that leans towards the more emotional side of heavy music providing ample evidence that this is what the band is best at.
Overall, I enjoy this album but it’s the kind of album that leaves me skipping to my favorite tracks after a couple of spins. I love how melodic it is and, as I mentioned before, Blay’s vocals are outstanding but a lot of the songs blend together because of their similar structures. This is a marked improvement over the band’s debut and a great step towards what they are becoming but they are certainly still evolving.
Reviewed by mark1340
Metal Blade Records
Release Date: October 28, 2016
This is the perfect blend of the classic sound of Extreme Music and the new wave of it. The drumming is furious and energetic, the guitars are atmospheric, uncomfortable, and explosive, and the vocals are unbelievably powerful- almost a more fitting sound for Corpsegrinder than his main gig in some ways. And it’s short. The band put their best foot forward and leave on a high note. Something more bands should take note of.
After an acoustic intro, “The Vengeance In Me” kicks off the album with the shot to the nuts you are certainly expecting. It’s as brutal as they come but Adam D.’s creepy, off-center breaks and Lucas’ fast but extremely rhythmic grooves come together as an almost pleasurable assault on your eardrums. “Sovereign Hate” is another highlight for me that is both punishing and predictable. “Jagged Cross Legions” is a standout as well, particularly due to it’s incredible soloing which finds D. exploring his style a bit while still keeping everything in short bursts. The album closer, “This Endless War,” is perhaps my favorite track incorporating a bit more clean singing and offering a breakdown that is incredibly heavy and chaotic. I love the slowed down, groovier parts and it proves that a lot of thought went into making this album something that the members’ other bands could never achieve.
I didn’t want to listen to this album to be honest. So many times, “all-star” albums have left me feeling underwhelmed, and even occasionally disappointed, so I try to avoid them. Eventually though I got around to listening to this and it so far surpassed any expectations I had that I haven’t really stopped listening to it. This is a wild shot in the arm for Extreme Music and probably the most important album in the genre this year. It’s the perfect blend of classic and new sounds and it lays massive waste to its competition.
Reviewed by mark1340