…and his name is ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER!
Could this game have come at a more appropriate time? If you follow the news, then you will undoubtedly have heard of the whole Edward SNowden vs. NSA scandal where they were revealed to have been “spying” on their own citizens. Placing my personal opinions on the topic aside (i.e. you ave to be naive to think this is some revelation!), I would like to introduce the following game: Watch Dogs.
The game was announced in 2012, but I’m just getting around to writing about it. I try not to get hyped up about games years before they are released. However, Watch Dogs is out on November 19, 2013 and looks bloody amazing.
The plot of the game centers around information warfare and the interconnectedness of data and technology. It boasts a sprawling alternate reality Chicago complete with espionage, conspiracy, hackers, a supercomputer and the requisite antihero of dubious morals. it raise questions of power, corruption and anonymity. In other words, this is Person of Interest: The Game.
I have to say I am excited about the game and it looks to be highly original. Ubisoft usually has strong stories attached to their games, and I hope that this is no exception. From the gameplay videos (above), you can see that there is a lot to do, such as stealing cars, odd missions and hacking. Having said that, I just hope it doesn’t boil down to cheap and tedious mechanics which betray a lack of imagination. For example, in one of the gameplay videos I watched, the hero (Aiden Pierce) has to infiltrate a local security grid before he can gain access to all the technology (phones, traffic signals) within that locale. This is because it is all connected to the CtOS supercomputer. This is similar to the uninspiring gameplay of Far Cry 3 and Assassin’s Creed where you had to climb towers to “reveal” the area to the player. I really hated that and it drew me out of those games, so I hope this game is more than just that.
The game is out on November 19th in North America for all major platforms from all major games retailers. Pre-Order here.
Sevendust return with a mixed bag of tunes for their ninth album. As a fan of the band, I was looking forward to this album since I burned my copy of Cold Day Memory to a cinder from repeated playbacks. The Atlanta bred quintet are clearly on point with Black Out The Sun, but the new cuts still leaves a little something to be desired.
I’ve been a fan of the band since I saw them at Woodstock as a young’un. More importantly, I’ve seen this band go through hell and back to emerge victorious on the other side (Clint leaving, money troubles, lawsuits, labels…). In fact, other than Chapter VII (yuck!) I’ve always enjoyed the patented Sevendust “heavy groove + screams+ melody+soulful” vocals formula. I respect the band tremendously and think they don’t get the credit they deserve. Hell, how many bands from the nineties are still kicking it like the old days? Maybe that’s a good thing because it keep them “real”, which is what fans such as myself admire about them. They remain true to themselves and their craft. Personally, I considered Cold Day Memory as a comeback album which promised a revitalized Sevendust. Having said that, I would rank this as one of their weaker efforts.
The album attacks from the front with the double punch of Faithless and Till Death. At this point it feels like the darker sequel to Cold Day Memory. I suspect Till Death will become a moshing favorite with Clint, Morgan and Lajon trading vocals all over the place, while the rest of the band keeps things tight with frenetic instrument work. It has a very old school Home vibe to it. In particular, pay attention to the drumming on this song because Morgan pulls out all the stops like he grew an extra set of arms to play some of the parts.
Suddenly, the album shifts into a very groovy, bass-heavy and cocky tune infused with a little southern hospitality. I dig it. Mountain is the band’s declaration to the world that they are alive and kicking while many others have fallen. I would push it to be the second single off the album. Cold As War turned out to be the first weak tune of the album. It isn’t very exciting and sounds like a rehashed ballad off Chapter VII. There is some very good guitar work, but it doesn’t elevate the tune and feels forced.
The title track is Sevendust at the top of their ‘effin game! This is the formula I spoke of earlier. This is an inspired song with passionate lyrics. As Lajon raises his voice to new heights, the rest of the band is busy drowning you in the emotive musicianship that is Sevendust’s trademark. An outstanding song on every level.
Nobody Wants It is an average song and propels the album into the second half. It has a catchy chorus with a driving beat that percolates throughout the song. Unfortunately, everything surrounding that isn’t very inspiring. Dead Roses is an interesting fast paced song. Initially I thought it was more filler, but it grew on me. The solo late in the song is well devised and the song really benefits from it. It’s a different approach for the band and it works well enough to be one of the standout tracks on the album.
Most people have probably heard Decay by now. It’s the heaviest and darkest song on the album and it borrows influences from Animosity and Home. I would call it one of their better singles, but it isn’t totally representative of the album as a whole. This is very noticeable on Dark AM and Picture Perfect. By far, these are the most underwhelming tracks on the album. The former has infectious verses but falters in the chorus. The latter has a beautifully orchestrated chorus accompanied by weak verses. They aren’t terrible by any stretch, but they didn’t impact me like the songs in the first half.
Got A Feeling rescues the album and brings the band back to revisit their acoustic skills. It’s an incredibly memorable song with hair-raising melody as it ebbs and flows through different emotions. The manner in which it shifts gears has a classic rock vibe to it and catches Sevendust at their introspective best. The final track is Murder Bar and I don’t understand why they chose to put this as the closer. Ending the album with Got A Feeling would have been a better idea. Still, Murder Bar is a solid song with a very interesting stop-go and almost staccato rhythm. I felt it would have made a superb opening song because it feels odd to hear it follow the fantiastic Got A Feeling.
Overall, the album is a mix of everything Sevendust has accomplished up to this point in their career. The band has a formula and doesn’t stray too far from it. That’s completely fine because Sevendust has nothing to prove. They’ve been around a long-ass time and I would place them among the elite of their genre. Nevertheless, I was a little disappointed with this album because that same formula led to a few stale tunes on this album. Of course, that might not be true for everyone because there is a lot to like across the album. The first-half is truly stellar and the entire album is brimming with excellent musicianship and standout moments. In closing, buy the album and catch the band on tour this year. I promise you won’t be disappointed.
Since the mighty Disturbed are taking an extended break, David Draiman created Device. With the help of Gene Lenardo (Filter), they created a darker project with an industrial tinge and an envious line-up of guests from rock’s. elite.
The album drops April 9th: http://smarturl.it/deviceitunes
One of the longest running and hardest working bands out there. A consistently professional band that never fails to impress. Black Out The Sun promises to continue that trend as the band sounds fresh and energized. It is Sevendust at their purest and most alive with a wicked mix of melody and riff-charged brutality.
The album is out March 26: https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/sevendust/id13125174
The follow up and conclusion to the excellent Part 1 is finally upon us. Stone Sour prove that they are expert storytellers and musicians as they push themselves further than ever before. Threads from the first album will tie into the grander scope of this sequel and the tapestry will be completed. This one promises to be a scorcher and it will not disappoint.
The album is expected April 9th : https://itunes.apple.com/ca/album/house-of-gold-bones-part-2/id598737461
The king has returned. The great David Bowie returns with his first new album in a decade! It’s been a long wait and the reviews for this album are stellar. The man has influenced just about anyone involved with music and art. Hell, he’s done just about anything and everything. BBC Music said that the album was “a triumphant, almost defiant, return. Innovative, dark, bold and creative, it’s an album only David Bowie could make.” That sounds about right.
The album is out NOW! http://store.davidbowie.com/
The boys from Manchester bring their own brand of darkness with Exile. It is an album that is full of memorable and evocative tunes. A perfect marriage of The Smiths, The Cure and Depeche Mode mixed with a sinister edge on tracks such as The Road.
The album is OUT NOW! http://www.informationhurts.com/gb/splash/
No introduction necessary. If you don’t know this band, then you need to get educated…quick! The most popular electronic band ever is back with a new offering that promises o expand upon their already diverse discography.
Delta Machine is out March 18: http://www.depechemode.com/
Kevin Matisyn and crew return with a brand new follow-up to their well-received, and absolutely stellar, album Your Starry Eyes Will Never Make Us Even.
The new album is entitled Air and it’s currently headed for an April release. You can get the new album here: http://www.parabelle.ca/
The popular British metalcore heavyweights are back with a new album that brings a radical new energy and sound to the band. Heavy, smart and ridiculously infectious.
The album drops April 2, 2013. Get it here: http://www.sempiternal.info/
Stay tuned for more upcoming music and reviews in the future.