Best of 2011 – Archie’s Music Picks


The Best

Evanescence – Evanescence (Wind-up)

Evanescence’s newest self titled album is more of a return to form rather than a reimagining of their sound. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as their more subdued last album, The Open Door, was a bit of a departure from what fans of the band’s breakout hit “Fallen” had come to expect. Songs like “The Change” are laced with the Amy Lee’s signature melodic vocals, heavy drum beats and rich guitar-laden tracks, all while maintaining a generally uptempo sound. While it’s great that the band has returned to their trademark sound, there are a few of songs that sound similar to each other. That being said, this is still a great album and a must-have for fans. (more…)

Best of 2011 – Bill’s Music Picks


The Best

Polar Bear Club – Clash Battle Guilt Pride (Bridge 9 Records)

Polar Bear Club’s Clash Battle Guilt Pride makes my list for one key reason – it has spent more time in my CD player this year (I’m estimating) than all other albums I’ve listened to combined. The band’s best to date walks a fine line between gruff aggression and catchy melody, with the band’s usual blend of post-hardcore and indie rock sensibilities, and it gets its all right from start to finish. That’s not to mention lyrics that engage throughout. It’s a culmination of everything the band has been working toward. It’s every reason I’ve loved listening to them for the past few years, only better, and it’s nothing short of my favorite album this year. (more…)

Best of 2011 – Kevin’s Music Picks


The Best

Fucked Up – David Comes to Life (Matador Records)

Toronto’s hardcore darlings, Fucked Up, has constantly getting better with every release whether it be their half of a split, a new full length or one of the many singles they have released. Their songs and extraordinary live shows have rightfully gained them the attention of media outlets ranging from NPR to the holier-than-thou Pitchfork Media. I took caution when it was announced that their next album would be a musical. All worries vanished about 15 minutes into the 78 minute opus of love gained and lost in a self aware story set in early 80s England. (more…)

Best of 2011 – Sarah’s Music Pick

Adele – 21 (Columbia)

There is one album this year that seemed to keep finding its way back into my CD player and staying there for long periods of time. That album is Adele’s sophomore release, titled 21. The inspiration behind her bestselling songs, which she pens herself, was a bad breakup with her boyfriend. The songs show some raw emotion and are completely relatable to anyone who has ever experienced heartbreak. From the anger-filled fast-paced songs to the mournful and emotional ballads, Adele gets it just right with this collection. (more…)

Best of 2011 – Matt’s Music Picks


The Best

Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials (Island)

Not to be simply lost in Adele’s shadow, UK sensation Florence + The Machine released a strong follow-up to 2009′s Lungs. Florence Welsh’s voice is still as haunting as ever, and sounds as if, at times, she’s channeling Tori Amos at her best. Her talents lead the album down a more imaginative path than its simply raw and powerful predecessor. Producer Paul Epworth is in no small part responsible for providing Welsh with her canvas, and does a fine job of keeping The Machine focused. The epic scale of horns and strings interlaced with a driving voice makes any track a good fit for a movie soundtrack. (more…)

Best of 2011 – Eric’s Music Picks


The Best

Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction (HevyDevy/InsideOut Music)

To describe Deconstruction in a nutshell is an impossible thing to do, as it is one of the most bizarre metal albums of the year, and likely the most avant-garde piece of music that Devin Townsend has released yet. Throwing together everything plus the kitchen sink, all forms of metal show their faces in this showing, from progressive to black to death and everything in between, not to mention the backing of the Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as guest vocals by some of the greatest vocalists in extreme metal. It’s not for everyone, but it more than proves that Townsend’s creative wellspring is far from run dry. (more…)

Hello, folks. We hope you’re enjoying the holiday season. While you’ve been sipping on spiked eggnog, opening copious amounts of gifts and bickering with relatives you see just a few times a year, we’ve been…well…we’ve been doing exactly the same. But we’ve also been getting together and compiling some of our favorite things from 2011. We’re kind of like Orpah, except multiple people instead of one big person, and infinitely less rich. (more…)

Artist: Bury Your Dead

Album Title: Mosh ‘n’ Roll

Record Label: Mediaskare Records

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Review by: Eric Stuckart

I’m not gonna lie, I enjoy the simple thrills that a good metalcore or hardcore band can bring to the stage, even if the songwriting is a little on the simple side. Sometimes, really stripped down, no-frills hardcore can be good for the soul. It is for me, at least. You can just sit there, turn off your brain and just roll with it.

For a while when I was younger, Bury Your Dead was that band for me. Not as thoroughly pissed and serious as Hatebreed or Madball, and definitely not as militantly straightedge as many of these types of bands tend to be; they just hit the spot. Their mosh-centric approach was littered with breakdowns, making it great for letting off steam, whether it was in the pit, driving in bad traffic or at the gym. (more…)

Artist: Thrice

Album Title: Major/Minor

Record Label: Vagrant Records

Rating: ★★★★½

Review by: Eric Stuckart

I’ve always had a bit of a love/hate thing going on with Thrice. Initially they were one of those bands that I just loved to hate for no particular reason. I think a lot of it was that I was particularly slow to come to love a lot of the more melodic spectrum of the post-hardcore boom, and my metal allegiance was having a bit of a hard time coping with that. (more…)

Title: AC/DC: Let There Be Rock

Format: DVD

Studio: Warner Bros.

Rating: ★★½☆☆

Review by: Bill Jones

Take one of the greatest rock bands in the world and capture the energy and excitement on film during a Paris performance that turned out to be the last filmed show AC/DC front man Bon Scott performed, with classic songs like “Highway to Hell,” “Whole Lot of Rosie” and “Let There Be Rock,” and that should be a recipe for immense success. The thing is, the Let There Be Rock release accomplishes just that, but still finds a way to muck it up bit.

First and foremost are the interview segments that are used to divide the show and create a concert film, rather than just a live video release. But the questions are absolutely ridiculous, and while it does serve as a snapshot of the band, it provides very little insight. It’s throwaway material, or in terms rock stars might understand but be hurt to hear – filler. And along with a silly filmed segment it simply detracts from the brilliant performance that can stand just fine on its own. (more…)

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