Archive for the Album Review Category

Review: Motörhead – Bad Magic

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , on September 20, 2015 by Tickets There

MotorheadBadMagicMotörhead have been in the press a lot recently and rightly so. The release of their twenty second studio album is a major accomplishment and cause for celebration. Few bands management such a feat and fewer still can still put out a record of this calibre but the unyielding force that is Motörhead have prevailed. Recently, some have dared to suggest that the God-King Lemmy may not actually be as unstoppable as we all thought! Of course, that is all nonsense and this album proves it.

Bad Magic is a blistering forty three minute display of Motörhead’s powerful song writing abilities and ability to hammer out great rock ‘n’ roll. There are moments on this record that’ll make you question if this is actually the finest collection of songs they’ve ever produced. ‘Victory or Death’ and ‘Thunder & Lightening’ set a bar so high few bands could level up for Lemmy and co just keep knocking them out on this album. While there’s little variety in style, there’s more than enough bad ass, whiskey sippin’ saloon rock ‘n’ roll for everyone.

This is an album to really bask in. Songs like ‘The Devil’, ‘Chocking on Your Screams’, Fire Storm Hotel’ and ‘Tell Me Who To Kill’ put it up there as one of the strongest hard rock albums you’re likely to hear for some time. Other moments on the album give a different perspective to the band. ‘Till the End’ is Lemmy at his most honest. The flawed, sometimes tragic hero bares his soul but assures us from the go, he’s not changing. Another nice surprised is the band’s cover of The Rolling Stones ‘Sympathy for the Devil’. Lemmy reckons it’s better than the original recording and he might just be right. After all,

Simply put, Bad Magic is a terrific album. Exactly what you want from the hard rock legends and more. This is a firm statement from the band that they’re not going anywhere and there’s still a hell of a lot to offer. Well done guys!

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Review: Iron Maiden – Book of Souls

Posted in Album Review, Music, News with tags , , , on August 31, 2015 by Tickets There

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Book_of_Souls_Iron_MaidenIt’s been a long wait, but Iron Maiden are finally ready to unleash their Sixteenth studio album on the world. Book of Souls is the first Maiden record since 2010’s The Final Frontier and fans are chomping at the bit to get a taste of this double disc behemoth. Like Judas Priest with Redeemer of Souls, it’s expected that this album is Maiden back on form and ready to enthral fans with a resurging comeback. We know Maiden have the 747 jumbo jet ready for a tour that’ll visit 35 countries – but does the music stand up to all the fanfare and hype?

Yes, yes it does. Opening with ‘Eternity Should Fall’, there’s a real sense Maiden have gone back to their golden age to pull out their core sound and lather it up with some modernisations. It’s a safe opening and it only gets better from here. ‘Speed of Light’ and ‘The Great Unknown’ follow and both increase the nostalgia, as well as faith in this new record. Fast, fun and full of catchy guitar hooks. ‘The Red and Black’ is a culmination of the best parts from the openers as it delivers the full frontal Maiden sing along we’ve (me) been waiting for. This track is solely written by Steve Harris and it’s a bit of a marathon at thirteen minutes, but who am I to question it? No-one, that’s who! Good work Steve, we’ll share a Trooper.

55DC97AE-iron-maiden-and-the-book-of-souls-go-jumbo-on-massive-2016-world-tour-bruce-dickinson-to-captain-pilot-boeing-747-400-to-play-in-six-of-seven-continents-around-the-glob‘When the River Runs’ continues the up-tempo feel and even ups the guitars and pace. This will be a little beauty played live, with it’s pure head banging built riffs and crashing drums. Maiden at their finest. The record’s title track starts with a more sombre tone before a punishing riff breaks through, casting you back to the Powerslave era for a healthy mix of intimidation and awe. In the song’s first half, the extended chorus seems to dominate a little bit too much and does not provide a catalyst for fans to really rally behind, but half way through the anty is upped and Maiden plough through with ferocity as the second half becomes dominated with power riffs, electrifying solos and all round epicness[ . Well done sirs – fills the 10 minutes nicely.

Ballad time? Not on your life as ‘Death or Glory’ opens with everything you could ever want, expect or ask from a Maiden tune. It’s almost like every song sees them get stronger and stronger on Book of Souls and the excitement of Speed of Light’s classic era sound becomes slightly faded as better and better tunes are propelled forward, Death or Glory has everything for everyone. Love it – no more reviewing, time to re-listen. “Like a monkey climbing out of hell”? Ok, Maiden \,,/.

iron-maidenShadows of the Valley’, and I apologise for doing this tune by tune – but how often do you get a new Maiden album to praise? Every five years or so? Yeah, exactly – keep reading.  Shadows is probably the first dip in quality, but that’s due to the repetitive style and it lacks the bite of the previous few tunes. I wonder if Maiden thought the same because the next song, ‘Tears of a Clown’ changes things completely and offers more of a nineties-era rock anthem. Thoughtful, hooky, fun and a re-affirmance that Book of Souls is probably the most exciting Maiden album in a very long time.

It all culminates  with the reflective ‘The Man of Sorrows’ and the much talked about, eighteen minute ‘Empire of the Clouds’. Both display a mesh of classic Maiden styles and deliveries, but continuing the unique themes that have steadily built up over this record. Maiden are taking stock. Lyrically, they’re looking around them at what’s come before and what the future could hold and musically is no different. Songs about everything from the dawn of creation to historical incidents are baked by a collage of previous Maiden styles all collected under an umbrella that makes Book of Souls distinctive and full.

This is an Iron Maiden album in every way, not merely a carrier for a few treats. Double albums are not easy to pull off and even when they’re done well, they can struggle to keep the listener engaged right to the end. That is fortunately not the case on Book of Souls. While some songs, like this review, could have benefited from some trimming – everything works and as the final notes of Empire of the Clouds come to a close, you sit back and truly recognize the colossal achievement this record is. This is an album Iron Maiden fans and band alike can forever be proud of.

Review: Marilyn Manson – The Pale Emperor

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , , , , on July 16, 2015 by Tickets There

Pale-EmperorYou can call him Self-righteous, egotistical, a genius or just absolutely terrifying. Whatever your view, Marilyn Manson has captured several generations’ attention since he sneered his way into popular culture almost twenty years ago. While music has always had its fair share of villains over the years, few have ever inspired such fear and hate in parents, bible bashers and politicians as the self-proclaimed “God of Fuck”. It wasn’t just Manson’s make-up clad, cross-dressing, bible tearing performances that caused so much outrage – although that made for an easy target for society’s great heard to mock at. Instead it was Manson’s disturbing insights, commentary and criticism of the hypocritical ‘norms’ in society that made him public enemy number 1 for many years. From his first album, Manson had sunk his teeth into those around us who preach one way of life and live another and he has never let go.

antichrist_eraAfter Portrait of American Family, Manson offered an almost biographical commentary on his follow up albums. Building on the early success of Portrait and an ever growing following, Manson went straight for society’s jugular – religion. Antichrist Superstar was a chance for Manson to express his blind rage at religious zealots, jock/beautiful culture and showcase the seedy underbelly and false prophesying and smiles of the world. This was quickly followed with a similarly unsettling insight into the lonely isolation , highs and lows lifestyle associated with fame on Mechanical Animals. The album was a perfect mix of style, pop and bleak emptiness – not in terms of content, but in its message. It’s singles further launched Manson and made him a household name. Its release also brought Manson up to his highest level of infamy – so much so that less than a year after its release, he became the focal point of blame for the Columbine High School massacre.

maxresdefaultFor many months Manson suffered the full wrath of America’s guardians of the peace and all things ‘normal’. His career was stalled and his fans attacked simply for the way they dressed and music they liked. It wasn’t until Manson appeared in Michael Moore’s film, Bowling for Columbine in 2002 and spoke with such sense and undeniable truth about that massacre that society finally accepted defeat and moved on from trying to sacrifice Manson to the lord. His simple comment that the people of Columbine had failed the kids and had failed to hear their problems was a summary of everything Manson had spoken about through his music for the preceding years.

EatMeDrinkeMeAfter Columbine, Manson was both famous and infamous. His next album, Holy Wood capitalized on his reputation and brought him more fame and fans than ever before with anthems such as ‘The Fight Song’ and ‘The Nobodies’ reaching brand new audiences. Unfortunately, some of the raw anger started to disappear and it wasn’t until 2007, when Manson and his wife, Dita von Teese, broke up that we once again heard something that seemed truly from the heart.

Eat Me, Drink Me is not technically a release by the band, but more of a solo album Manson wrote/recorded and produced with Tim Sköld which saw the singer return from semi-retirement. For the first time in several years we got to hear a god’s honest album from Manson’s heart. There was no attempted ‘Beautiful People’ / ‘Rock is Dead’ style anthems. Just straight forward honesty with Manson’s usual unique take on life. Since then, Manson has released two further albums and while both held some promise, they delivered little more than the singer’s own effort in gaining ground with the emo fans who had come of age to the less frightening, style over substance groups like… well, I won’t badmouth any bands here. Onwards!

2015 will now be entered as one of those massively important chapters in Manson’s career. After years of reported drink and drug problems, almost scandal-less obscurity, line-up changes and presented with a very different, far less aggressive world than his sound had originally found a home in – Manson has changed styles, modernized and heralded his return with an absolute classic of an album..

JJjvJtb3_400x400The Pale Emperor is without a doubt the most exciting record MM has released as a group since Mechanical Animals. They have recaptured everything that made their music great on those early records, while still managing to overhaul their style and delivery. It’s still undeniably them, but they have modernized successfully, giving their songs a more relevant and fresh platform from which they can dispense the much loved cynical truths fans have wanted to hear again. Like Eat Me, Drink Me – there are no attempts and peddling out major anthems or angry for the sale of it former glory re-hashes. Instead, you have an extremely melodic, atmospheric and enjoyable collection of songs that will fulfil every hope fans could have for a new album – and more.

Marilyn Manson may never again relive the infamy of his earlier years, but his despise for ‘society’ is unabated. While many of his fans will love this record, the ones who really need to hear and understand his message will hardly blink an eyelid and carry on with their torches and pitchforks to demonize the next person who tries to act improper. Let’s just hope Manson continues to keep them in check.

Review: Coldwar – Pantheist

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , on May 16, 2014 by Tickets There

untitledColdwar are a scary fucking band. Pantheist has been screaming over my headset the last couple of weeks and I am no so shit scared I can’t leave my house for fear of bumping into then, being verbally beaten to a pulp and then properly killed in a beautiful violent display of gore, terror, new age beliefs and thoughtful insights into human philosophy, anthropology and theology. Basically the three ology’s I actually understand, please add more at your pleasure.

The album is a brutal piece of work. Nine songs of unrelenting ferocity that you imagine were written to scare velociraptors away from farms and captured terrorists into submission. What am I talking about? Who knows when Trevor LcLave (singers always get called out on this site because we don’t believe in other musicians) is screaming down the house and trampling your brain into the crevasses of your skull.

I’m not going through it track by track. Pantheist is so incredibly intensely dense that calling out subtle differences, the heavier tracks and trying in anyway to breakdown this is beyond the powers of yours truly. It’s just one of those albums that means serious business. The Serious business of Coldwar and Pantheist. I’m going back to listen, I advise you to do the same.

Coldwar

Tickets There pretends to be reviewers from time to time. Discernible readers will notice what a crock of shit this is. You should note that you are not our core market focus. We aim for the slow folks and not so well read….

 

 

Review: Def Leppard – Slang

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2014 by Tickets There

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album-coverI was initially going to avoid reviewing this and just enjoy it, but after several spins of the Slang re-issue this week and it being Valentines days and all, I figured my first love in music deserved my attention. Sending the actual members of Def Leppard a card is considered ‘psychotic’ by those around me so I hope a review will suffice.

Slang came our four years after I had first heard Def Leppard. Up till the point their previous albums, On Through The Night, High ‘N’ Dry, Pyromania, Hysteria and Adrenalize had all pushed their sound further and further towards a standardized, polished pop direction with layer upon layer of vocals, guitar fiddly bits, synths and all things eighties. Unfortunately for Def Leppard and many, many other colossal bands of that era, the sher volume of hack amateurs in the genre and grunge movement shifted people’s attention towards a more solemn, displaced sound. Plaid shirts, problems and anger replaced the mullets, spandex and sing along fun that came before it. Where to go?

slang01Leppard served out the early wave of Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden hysteria (no pun intended… well maybe just a little) by touring the Adrenalize album to packed arenas and keeping fans interested with the Retro Active B-sides albums which sparked the massively successful ‘Two Steps Behind You’. It would be three years before Leppard would remerge and like Metallica, they were barely recognizable when they did.

Slang was a kick in the ass to Leppard. The way they recorded, the sound, the style were all massively different to their tried and tested formula. No more years of recording and time apart. Leppard hit the studio and wrote/recorded like never before. The layers of production that had grown and grown over the previous three albums was replaced by a more raw sound that exposed Leppard to their audience in a way that hadn’t been heard since On Through The Night. The giant guitar riffs, duelling solos and plunges were replaced by melodic leads that allowed the matured lyrics and themes to hit the surface.

Def_Leppard-Slang-Interior_TraseraSongs like ‘Work It Out’, ‘Breath A Sigh’, ‘All I Want is Everything’ and ‘Where Does Love Go When It Dies’ brought a level of seriousness and reflection that was rarely heard before. No attempt was made to turn each song into a pop single, instead the band weren’t afraid to make a stamp with these tracks and open themselves up to a new direction. Turn To Dust, Truth, Slang and Gift of Flesh brought some of the rock back into the picture and but again showed Leppard were not rehashing their glory days by peddling out copies of ‘Animal’, ‘Rock of Ages’ and ‘Pour Some Sugar on Me’. The songs were darker, more blunt and perfect.

Musically the grouped changed as well. Eastern and meditranian includeces can be heard all over the record. Styles similar to R&B, alternative rock and even some grunge can be heard throughput giving additional depth and diversity.

Slang initially divided fans. While critics worldwide applauded Def Leppard, their followers missed the larger than life anthems. However the years have been kind to Slang, even from some of the most ardent corners of the Lepp base. It’s endearing credibility, it’s ecliptic mix of styles and warm collection of songs make it an interesting journey to bask in. After Slang, the band reverted temporarily to their older sound for the Euphoria album and the Slang sound was never explored further. Who knows where it could have gone, whether it would have improved or lost its meaning; but for one point in the middle of the nineties, Def Leppard shook things up in a way that would have terrified most established bands. They braved a committed, but traditional fan base, a hostile world of peers and a new youthful energy that’s primary aim was to destroy everything Leppard had championed in the previous decade and they came out swinging. Slang has stood the time and every fan should take the time to remind themselves of that.

Review: Animator – Blacklisted

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 2, 2013 by Tickets There

922328_463819373702599_683130385_oIn typical Tickets There fashion, we found an album we loved. We listed to the hell out of it and never bothered for one second to put a word down on paper. For years we’ve struggled to express the excitement about albums we love, but that stops now because Animator’s Blacklisted deserves the attention of every metal fan in Ireland.

In Blacklisted, the Wexford lads have accomplished a truly memorable album, perfectly mixing writing quality, tight musicianship; all densely ground together to create something very special. Their diverse musical backgrounds fully complement each other as their sound screams through and you’re confronted with a thrash / hardcore assault of riffs, political angst and speed. First up to get the hearts racing, ‘State of Emergency’. Sirens, a brooding build-up; composed of John F. Kennedy’s 1961 ANPA address, breaking new stores snippets and James’s scream, “The shit has hit the fan this time, our nations on the brink” sets the tone for this entire record. ‘Death From Above’ strikes hard and fast, but its allure begins to pale when listed before the epic ‘In God We Trust’. A magnificent masterpiece of thrash metal. In God We Trust is reason enough to own this album, but it’s just one of several prime cuts.

960004_10151835604628200_548538767_nUltra 53’ 🙂 begins to express more personal anguish through a mix of swooping riffs, spiralling leads and surprise turns before ‘Dreadweb’ knuckles it’s way in to deliver some of the most balls out riffs and screaming solos of the whole album. ‘Taking the Liberty’ and ‘Electric Armageddon’ continues the punishing and lands yet another quality tune from this record. ‘Western Shadow’ adds little unfortunately for this review, the breakdown into scratchy bridges leads us astray, but the closing anthem of anthems (since In God We Trust), ‘When Duty Calls’ is the closing crown jewel on this incredible debut.

After months of listening, it’s hard to pretend there’s no prior judgements here. But six months ago I knew Animator as a name only. However, one or two listens of this album will turn any fans of thrash metal into Animatoriacs. This is a band with the talent, power and hunger to go far and all you need to do is press play. Well done lads!

Review: Reckless Love – Spirit

Posted in Album Review, Music with tags , , , , , , on September 2, 2013 by Tickets There

img_54601No matter how much metal you’re into, you still need something anthematic for those Friday and Saturday nights. Vader and Deicide are great and all, but they won’t have your singling along with fists raised on the dance floor when the thirteenth Jägerbomb. No, in times like that you need to turn to something else and Reckless Love are increasingly becoming that band for yours truly.

Their third album, Spirit, hits shelves in the UK today and if you had any expectations about what the band was aiming for this time – you’re probably right on the nose. Spirit is chock full of anthems, hair-metal riffs, solos and great fun. Opening with the first single, ‘Night On Fire’, the album is set up for quality sing along fun, which wanes just a little bit on ‘Bad Lovin’. Not an awful song, but as Pierre said – probably should have stayed in Finnish. ‘I Love Heavy Metal’ pays homage to the classic Def Leppard Hysteria sound and tips its hat at just about every major band from the genre. Great tune and you know what? I love heavy metal too lads!

1277220_10150322447189960_1989641591_oFavourite Flavour’ is fast, chorus filled and fun before ‘Edge of Our Dreams’ goes further down that old pop rock ballad road. Not something that would light my fire, maybe it’ll light yours. Everything gets firmly back on track for the classic ‘Sex, Drugs and Reckless Love’. Great 80’s KISS guitar up front, smashing chorus; a wonderful little number from the boys.  ‘Dying to Live’ hints back at Mighty Leppard and ballad territory but avoids the overly poppy feel of ‘Edge of Our Dreams’. On repeat spins, the appeal only grows and you find yourself a cracking new RL tune to enjoy.

Here at TT we’re trying to move away from these song by song reviews so let’s cut through the red tape and say one thing – the second half of Spirit kicks ass! ‘Metal Ass’ is just brilliant for reasons that will become apparent when you hear it (damn heavy for RL), ‘Runaway Love’ is another attempt at pop ballad world and delivers another success for the band. Not a standout track, but enjoyable. The licked up ‘So Happy I Could Die’ is another winner before ‘Hot Rain’ stands up to become numero uno ballad of the album. For the first real time on Spirit the band deliver a soulful, passionate ballad and round Spirit off on a high.

Call them pop, call them wuss rock or a guilty pleasure, Reckless Love know how to write fun filled catchy tunes. If you’re too uptight, too serious or generally can’t acknowledge good fun music – then you need these guys more than anyone else. As for fans, Spirit is a winner. It’ll put a smile on your face, a beat in your heart and give you another reason to treat Reckless Love with some well earned respect.