Tag: Album review

Best albums of 2022

It’s almost 2023, which means it’s time for me to choose the best albums of the year. The following albums are all great overall, and I’ll also tell you my favorite songs on each album. It’s too difficult for me to rank them from most to least favorite, so I’ll just list them off. (I’ll even give you some bonus metal albums.)

Fever Dream - Album by Palaye Royale | Spotify

Fever Dream by Palaye Royale

Release: Oct. 28

Mixing elements of garage rock with pop-punk, alternative and more, Palaye Royale has a unique sound that is still evolving. Fever Dream has elements from their past albums, such as Boom Boom Room Side A and Side B and The Bastards, combined with a fresh new sound. It has heavy, epic tracks as well as poppier tracks and slower, sad tracks. It feels like a concept album where you are taken on a thrilling rollercoaster ride from the beginning to the end.

Favorite songs: “Eternal Life”, “Off With The Head”, “King of the Damned”, “No Love In LA”, “Punching Bag”

 

Past Lives by L.S. Dunes (Album; Fantasy; 00888072445109 ...

Past Lives by L.S. Dunes

Release: Nov. 11

Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance), Tucker Rule and Tim Payne (Thursday), Anthony Green (Circa Survive, Saosin), and Travis Stever (Coheed & Cambria) teamed up to form a new post-hardcore band that sounds fresh and hits hard. With interesting and innovative guitar techniques, both ethereal and screamed vocals, and hard-hitting, grungy and thrashy drums, this is definitely a favorite of mine. It has a unique combination of emo vibes as well as thrashy, head-banging vibes.

Favorite songs: “Permanent Rebellion”, “Grey Veins”, “Bombsquad”

 

Complete Collapse - Wikipedia

Complete Collapse by Sleeping With Sirens

Release: Oct. 14

This album goes HARD. This may be their heaviest album, and possibly my favorite. If you like metalcore and screamo, this one might be your favorite too. They’ve had many heavier songs in the past, so this is still fitting for them, it’s just more metal than usual, which I really like. I honestly hope they continue in this direction.

Favorite songs: “Bloody Knuckles”, “Crosses” ft. Underoath, “Tyrants”, “Ctrl + Alt + Del”

 

Love Sux - Wikipedia

Love Sux by Avril Lavigne

Release: Feb. 25

For this album, Avril went more punk than pop, compared to her past albums. It’s very energetic and catchy. The lyrics are on the simpler side, but if you just need something relatable and fun you can bop to, it’s perfect for that. Overall, a great album to listen to if you’re going through a breakup or something related.

Favorite songs: “Cannonball”, “F.U.”, “Deja vu”, “Bite Me”, “Break Of A Heartache”

 

Scoring The End Of The World

Scoring the End of the World by Motionless In White

Release: June 10

I don’t know if I would say this was better than their last album, “Disguise”, however, it’s a great album overall. When I reviewed this album on Vocal Distortion, my specialty show I used to host at WONC, “Werewolf” was a controversial song between my cohost and I. I thought it was unique and different than what they’ve done before, whereas my cohost just hated it. Although, he’s more into super hardcore and less melodic stuff, so he didn’t like the album at all, whereas I really liked it. It does have some pop influences, but that BY NO MEANS means it’s a pop album. Overall, I guess it just depends on your taste, but if you like melodic metalcore, I think you’ll probably like this one. It might be lacking some cohesiveness, with songs ranging from “Slaughterhouse”, that pretty much starts with a breakdown, then has like three actual breakdowns, to Masterpiece, a sad, ballad-y song, to Werewolf, which is dancy. It’s a little difficult to understand what the overall theme is, because it seems to have many themes. On the other hand, sometimes albums can be too cohesive, where all the songs sound pretty much the same, so at least this has variety.

Favorite songs: “Slaughterhouse” ft. Bryan Garris, “Red, White & Boom” ft. Caleb Shomo, “Cyberhex”, “We Become The Night”

 

TRUE POWER - Album by I Prevail | Spotify

True Power by I Prevail

Release: Aug. 19

This is also a metalcore album with some pop influences, as well as some nu-metal/rap influences, yet at the same time is very heavy. It’s got great breakdowns and screaming. It goes from melodic singing to super heavy within a second in some parts. The songs on here are definitely cohesive, but have enough variety as well.

Favorite songs: Ummm pretty much all of them. You think you like one song the best and then you listen to the rest and you’re like, well now I can’t choose. “Choke”, “Fake”, “Long Live The King”, “Bad Things”, “Judgement Day”, “Body Bag”

 

Bonus:

(Warning: album cover contains some nudity)

 

 

S/T

Melissa by Melissa

Ok, this one actually came out in 2021, but it still deserves some recognition.

This is a black metal EP that I discovered this year when Frank Iero posted it on his Instagram story. Each song is titled with a name, like “Christopher” and “Lisa”, and they all kick ass. As with most black metal, the lyrics are pretty unintelligible; however, I don’t really need to know what she’s saying for me to enjoy it. It’s fast paced, so even on the longer songs, it feels like it went by fast. It’s a great EP for when you’re angry. It has such great guitar riffs and honestly inspires me when I’m playing my own guitar just making up stuff. It also has amazing drums that compliment the guitar very well. It’s has chef’s kiss distortion and really cool dark vibes. I would highly recommend it if you’re into black metal or heavier stuff, or if you just want to check it out.

Favorite songs: All of them (I think “Lisa” might be my fave tho)

 

There has been a lot of great music that’s come out in 2022, and there will be more to come, as bands like Blink-182, Waterparks, Pierce The Veil, and Paramore have recently announced their upcoming albums. Let me know what your albums of the year are!

 

New UK band RiotWeekend release debut EP

New UK Band RiotWeekend release self-titled deput EP

RiotWeekend , a fairly new pop-punk band from Guildford, Surrey in the UK, have released their self-titled debut album today! Recently, they’ve released their first single off the EP, “Never Again”. I’ll be reviewing the EP track-by-track.

  1. Drip Feed

This song starts out with a grungy melancholy 80’s-sounding guitar, then the feedback transitions into ripping guitars reminiscent of The Used and Pencey Prep. Then, unexpectedly, Holly Nunn’s ethereal, mysterious, melodic vocals come in. Her soothing voice contrasts with heavy guitars and drums, yet they compliment each other nicely. If you enjoy grunge, punk, post-hardcore and emo influences, then you will definitely like this song.

2. Fine

This is one of those songs that as soon as it starts, you know it’s going to be a banger. The guitar is energetic and exciting throughout the whole song. The vocals remind me a little of Hayley Williams from Paramore, however, lack some punch in my opinion. This is definitely an angry song, which you can hear in the music and the lyrics, and I just wish the vocals had more of that emotion. The bridge gets heavier, which I Iove. The chorus is anthemic and makes you want to headbang and/or jump around, so I think this would be a great song live. I thought Drip Feed would be my favorite song on the EP, but then I listened to this one and I think I might like it more.

3. Never Again

This song starts out with a definite early 2000’s “Skater boi” by Avril Lavigne vibe. Personally, I feel the bridge and ending is a little meh. It takes me back to bridges that were common in early 2000’s pop-punk. It just kind of gets higher and then ends pretty predictably. If it was intentionally made to have this nostalgic sound, then they got it spot-on. It just wasn’t clear enough to me whether it was intentional or not, so I feel like they could’ve either made it more obvious or taken more risks, rather than just copying the style of this kind of music.

4. Sleep Song

This gives me a bit of a party song vibe. It builds as it begins, and then goes into a catchy chant. Again, I think the vocals are technically great, however, they just lack a certain punch or emotion that the music envokes. However, I think this is a good closing song, because it’s fun and dancy and has closure as it fades at the end.

Overall, I think this is a good first EP, and I especially like the first two songs, “Drip Feed” and “Fine”. They are both punky, energetic, and make me want to move. I think the vocals work the best in the first song, because they act as a good contrast to the heavier guitars and drums. However, in the rest of the songs, I feel like the vocals don’t match the same energy and emotion that the music envokes. It just needs a little more oomph. I think RiotWeekend has a lot of potential, and this was a good first start. I hope to hear more from them as they evolve as a band.

You can listen to the RiotWeekend EP here.

You can find RiotWeekend on:

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Noelle Matonis

Pop-Punk & Pizza Podcast Host

Instagram: @noelleturtlez16

Twitter: @noellewiththe_e

 

L.S. Dunes ‘Past Lives’ album review

L.S. Dunes – Past Lives album review: fresh and rippin’

 

L.S. Dunes band photo by Mark Beemer

From left to right: Tim Payne, Tucker Rule, Frank Iero, Anthony Green and Travis Stever (Photo by Mark Beemer)

L.S. Dunes is a supergroup of sorts comprised of My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero, Circa Survive and Saosin vocalist Anthony Green, Thursday drummer Tucker Rule, bassist Tim Payne, and Coheed & Cambria guitarist Travis Stever. The band has explained that “L.S.” mainly stands for “love songs for lost souls”; however, the lyrics of their song “Grey Veins” reveal even more possible meanings of the two letters (We’ll get to that later). L.S. Dunes released their debut album Past Lives, last Friday, Nov 11. The album synergizes the sounds of each member’s styles, and sounds fresh at the same time. The genre can overall be described as post-hardcore, but it also sounds new and unique from what other post-hardcore acts have done in the past.

Many of the lyrics are about dealing with the effects of the pandemic. From reading the lyric booklet, I can see that they are very poetic and intentional as well, which is something I love to see in music. In short, it is a totally rockin’, rippin’ album.

Past Lives album art

Here is my review of each song on Past Lives.

1. 2022

As with a typical post-hardcore song, 2022 starts out already swinging. Then it slows down when it gets to the chorus, and becomes almost dreamy before going hard again. The bridge is intense and suspenseful; I can imagine it playing at a point in a movie when someone is running away, trying to reach whatever their ultimate checkpoint is. It goes out with a bang and ends with faint, mysterious piano.

2. Antibodies

Antibodies starts out with a solid melody. It’s definitely something you’ll want to bop your head to. It’s a little more upbeat-sounding than 2022. It still has a twinge of sadness to it with the guitar though.

3. Grey Veins

This is one of my favorites on the album. LOVE the bassline this starts out with. The vocals in the beginning are soaring and ethereal. I LOVE the chorus too–It’s something I can specifically picture Frank Iero writing and singing, even though he’s not singing on this album. However, he did sing the some of the chorus when they performed it live at Riot Fest in Chicago in September. That might be part of why I can picture it; but it’s not just that. It reminds me of a song on one of his solo albums, like Barriers (2019). Anyway, it’s very vibey and kinda chill, but not too chill, like you can still rock out to it. I’ll probably have it on repeat. In addition, the lyrics give more possible meanings to the acronym “L.S.”, such as: laughing stock, limitless song, loveless sour, leave so long, etc., and then does it reversed: “separated line, sensing less, so long”, etc. I like how the lyrics are so intentional and almost cryptic, in a way you have to think about what they mean; because you don’t get that very often these days.

4. Like Forever

Starts out with great screamed vocals. As with all the songs, the layered guitars compliment each other very well. The bass is also audible in every song, which I appreciate, because this is not always the case with other artists/bands. It’s not a track that stands out to me compared to the other ones, but it’s good and cohesive with the other songs.

5. Blender

The guitar melody in the beginning is almost bluesy, but emo at the same time, and makes me picture someone in an empty bar, looking out the window. I know that’s very specific, but I’m just trying to paint a picture here. It’s a good song to listen to while you contemplate your life.

6. Past Lives

This one starts out more upbeat and faster than the last one. The bass is especially clear on this one in the beginning, and there is something mysterious and almost alien-synth about the guitar. It transitions into the chorus nicely and makes you want to bop your head along to it. “I know we can get well,” is one of the lyrics on this one that stands out to me, and the lyrics on this one are overall encouraging. Then the guitar sounds kind of violin-y, which is interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a guitar sound like that before, if that even is a guitar, but I think it’s cool.

7. It Takes Time

This one starts out with a beachy sounding guitar. The guitar on the pre-chorus reminds me a little of “Aberdeen” by Cage The Elephant, and kind of has that vibe on the bridge as well. It’s kind of eerie in a way.

8. Bombsquad

I love how the guitar on this one starts out. Definitely another head-bopper. This is one of my favorites on the album. I really like the licks of the lead guitar as well as the fast strumming of the rhythm guitar on the verses. The chorus is a jam too.

9. Grifter

This one is really cool on the pre-chorus as well as the chorus. It’s dramatic and epic with the echoey vocals and then the transition to the heightened excitement.  I mean, the whole song is really cool. I love the screams and the dramatic drums on the bridge–it’s almost something that could be on The Black Parade. It’s not quite that vibe, but it is a really cool and epic song in my opinion, almost rallying.

10. Permanent Rebellion

This is my favorite song on the album. First, there’s a sound that reminds me of .Stomachaches. by frank iero and the cellabration. The bassline in the beginning reminds me a little of the one in “Give ‘Em Hell, Kid” by My Chem; and the fast drums build the excitement, and remind me of the drums in the beginning of “Stay Away” by Nirvana. So naturally, it’s my favorite. It’s catchy and I LOVE the screams on this one. The chorus is thrashy and you can definitely headbang to it. I really hope I get to see this one live sometime (I wanted to see their set at Riot Fest but unfortunately was held hostage by the secret service, but that’s a story for another day). It’s energetic and lets you get some of your anger out.

12. Sleep Cult

This is the slowest one on the album, and my least favorite, because I don’t typically like slow songs, but it does do a good job of closing out the album. It’s got a doo-wop thing to it, and it’s kind of like a slow-dance song. But the dark lyrics contrast that sound: “Sorry that I wish that I was dead.”

Overall, I love the screamed vocals, the layered guitars, the strong clear bass, and the exciting drums on this album. I also really like the lyrics and I can tell they put a lot of thought into them, which I appreciate. I will have songs from this album on repeat, like Permanent Rebellion and Grey Veins, which are my favorites. Bombsquad and Grifter are really cool too. I would definitely recommend this album, especially if you like post-hardcore, emo, alternative, grunge, hard rock, or screamo. There are elements of all those genres on this album, and at the same time, it sounds fresh and different. Congrats to the band for working hard on this album and making it sound awesome! I love it.

Listen to Past Lives here or anywhere you get music.

You can find L.S. Dunes on:     Instagram      Facebook      Twitter      YouTube      Tik Tok

L.S. Dunes are performing at Corona Capital in Mexico City, Mexico next (11/18).

L.S. Dunes tour dates

L.S. Dunes tour dates

If you got this far, here’s a bonus photo of me with Frank Iero at Riot Fest (AAAHHH!!)

Me with Frank Iero at Riot Fest!!!

Noelle Matonis

Pop-Punk & Pizza Podcast Host

Instagram: @noelleturtlez16

Twitter: @noellewiththe_e

Palaye Royale Fever Dream Review: You will cry and dance

Palaye Royale Fever Dream album cover

Palaye Royale ‘s new album, Fever Dream, was released today (10/28) on Sumerian Records.

A track-by-track review of Palaye Royale ‘s new album Fever Dream

Palaye Royale released their new album Fever Dream today! I’ve listened to the singles that came out before the album, but today is the first time I’ve listened to the rest of the songs, and I can already say it has my vote for album of the year.  If you like My Chemical Romance and/or the White Stripes, and/or kick-ass music, you will love Palaye Royale. Perhaps their most ambitious album, it has sounds from their first couple albums, Boom Boom Room Side A (2016) and Boom Boom Room Side B (2018), some sounds from their 2020 album, The Bastards, and synergizes it with a whole new sound. It has big concept album vibes, including MCR’s The Black Parade (2006) vibes, that will make you both cry and dance. It is the kind of music that hits you in the soul, takes you for a ride and makes you want to scream, “YESSS!!!”

In this review, I will be going into my first impressions of the newly released songs on the album, as well as  commentary on the already-released songs.

 

Tracks 1&2: Eternal Life (Intro) & Eternal Life

The intro starts out with a mellow guitar that ellicits a certain feeling to get you into the mood. After the intro, the ripping guitars kick in. The guitars in this song remind me a lot of the guitars on “Sleep” from MCR’s The Black Parade, which Palaye Royale frontman Remington Leith has stated was his favorite MCR album, so it makes sense. This is definitely one of my favorites on the album. The bridge starts out with some wicked guitars, and then changes it’s melody a few times, which was unexpected, and kind of caught me off guard. However, I definitely feel like that part will grow on me the more I listen to it. Plus, songs that are too predictable usually aren’t as good anyway. And if you know me, you probably already guessed that I love the screamed vocals on this song.

Track 3: No Love In LA

This was the first single Palaye Royale released from Fever Dream, back in the summer, and it is still a bop. Plus, now I see how it fits into the album. Because of this single, I thought the album was going to be more pop than their other albums, which it is, but it’s also a mix of that with rock and a big concept-album feel. This song is catchy and ends with an eerie orchestra of violins, which makes it tie in more with the rest of the album. Also, I just realized as I was typing this that the violin outro kind of reminds me of the outro to “Mama” from The Black Parade. There will be more mentions of that album in this review, just sayin.’

Track 4: Punching Bag

“Punching Bag” is another single that was released before the album around the same time as “No Love In LA”. It has eerie and dramatic vibes, and the lyrics have a sarcastic tone to the person who is treating the narrator like a punching bag. I originally liked this one more than No Love In LA, because it’s darker and has more screamed vocals; however now I don’t know because they’re both great.

Track 5: Broken

Not one of my favorites on the album; it’s more pop-sounding and one of the slower tempo songs. However, it’s still good, especially if you prefer those kind of songs. It’s sad as well–actually, pretty much all of the songs on this album are sad in some way.

Track 6: Fever Dream

This was a single released very close to the album’s release. When I first listened to it, I cried a little, not gonna lie. It immediately reminded me of “Welcome To The Black Parade”, because of it’s concept-album sound. That essence is difficult to describe, but what I mean is that it’s big/grandiose/epic. If you just listen to it, you’ll understand. It also reminds me a little of the melody/chorus in “The Only Hope for Me is You” from MCR’s Danger Days (2010).

Track 7: Line It Up

The piano in the beginning is very reminiscent of Michael Andrews and Gary Jules’ cover of “Mad World” originally by Tears For Fears. Interestingly, Palaye Royale has also covered that song. The lyrics of “Line It Up” hit close to home for the band, according to some of their posts on Instagram. They have mentioned that the lyrics talk about the hardships they are going through on the road, being in the band, and in their life right now. This song features vocals from LP, which is an artist I haven’t heard of before, but the addition of their higher-pitched vocals go very well in harmony with Remington’s lower voice.

Track 8: Toxic In You

This song sounds pretty upbeat, despite its lyrics, and I personally think it would be good to listen to while working out. It’s not as memorable as the other songs, and it’s also the shortest one on the album, being 2 mins 20 sec. It’s a solid jam though.

Track 9: Wasted Sorrow

Wasted Sorrow takes me back to their first two albums with The Stooges-like garage-rock sound. It also includes some “Sleep”- sounding guitars in the beginning and chorus. It’s an eerie addition to this otherwise upbeat-sounding song. It’s pretty energetic and it’s one of the best songs on this album in my opinion.

Track 10: Paranoid

This was another single released before the album, and I really do love this one. It’s not my favorite, but it’s catchy and it makes you want to sing along to it. It also has a good build-up to the dramatic bridge, and then calms down again before heading back into the catchy chorus.

Track 11: Oblivion

Grab some tissues for this one, you might need ’em. This is the slowest and most ballad-y song on this album. It’s still good, just not one of my favorites, because I don’t typically like slow songs. But the lyrics are relatable, interesting, and from the heart, as with every song on the album.

Track 12: Lifeless Stars

The ordering of this track after Oblivion works well in my opinion, because this is also a slower song. Although, I like it better. It’s very calming and something about the melody and the drums makes it a little more upbeat. Come to think of it, I don’t believe Oblivion has drums on it.

Track 13: King of the Damned

This one will definitely make you want to dance and jump. Another one of my favorites. Gives me chills. I love it, and I hope they play it live at their future shows; I think it would be great live. It has a good stomping beat and it’s very energetic. Also, good distant screams in the background of the bridge. Definitely an anthem.

Track 14: Off With The Head

This gave me chills all the way through the song. If you thought “King of the Damned” was good, you’ll love this one too, maybe even more. This also has a good stomping beat and a quality that makes you want to shout the lyrics along with it. It also has some great distorted White-Stripes-like guitar. In addition, it totally reminds me so much of “Kiss The Ring” from one of MCR’s Conventional Weapons (2013) EPs. It ends abruptly and then goes into the outro. I really wish there was more to this song because it’s so great, and the outro is basically a completely different song altogether. I feel like it needed more closure.

Track 15: Off With The Head (Outro)

Not entirely sure why this one didn’t just get it’s own title, because as I said, it sounds completely different from the previous song and has a completely different vibe. However, it’s definitely a closing song; it’s slow and fades out at the end, with the lyrics repeating. It lets you chill out after you’ve been dancing like a crazy person to the last two songs. It also reminds me a little of Green Day’s “Jesus of Suburbia”, not because of the melody or the sound of it, but because of the way it transitions from the last song and changes tempo from fast to slow. This was just my first impression, but I kind of hoped it would’ve closed out with a little more “oomph” rather than just fading out. But maybe my opinion will change after more listens.

Palaye Royale Fever Dream In Conclusion

Overall, this album is cohesive and the order of the songs flow as well. The lyrics are also very relatable. It is a different sound from Palaye Royale’s past albums, but definitely still sounds like the band. My favorite album of theirs is still The Bastards (2018), because every single song on that album rips and is a favorite, but I love this one a lot.

You can really tell that Palaye Royale poured their heart and soul into this album, working to make sure it was what they wanted it to be. They really cared about making this the best they could, and it shows. I will definitely continue listening to this amazing album.

I was going to rank the songs, but it was too hard, so I’ll just tell you my favorites: “Eternal Life”, “Off With The Head”, “King of the Damned”, “Wasted Sorrow”, “No Love In LA”, and “Punching Bag”.

Palaye Royale is so underrated and if you haven’t already, listen to me. YOU NEED TO CHECK THEM OUT!!!

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One date left on North American tour: Nov 6 in LA

 

Next up is European & UK Tour

Noelle Matonis

Pop-Punk & Pizza Podcast Host

Instagram: @noelleturtlez16

Twitter: @noellewiththe_e