This marks the start of a series where I let myself look back at cds which older. Normally I have restrained myself from reviewing non-new items because that is what the people want to read, however, there is a whole world of music out there that doesn’t fit into the new shelf at stores.
Solid State Records
This is the cd that started my facination with metal. I heard the track “Reflections of a Broken Soul” on a magazine sampler disc. I was facinated with it’s mix of clean and “cookie monster” vocals, as well as the Oriental sounding guitar work. I bought the cd and discovered while none of the other songs featured quite that mix, they did deliver solid death metal tunes. There is a darkness about the cd, which draws comparisons to black metal, however, most black metal fans would get offeneded at that classification. The two guitarists weave complex but beautiful parts around those distinctive cookie monster vocals. Production wise, the cd suffers a bit from that almost hollow, almost flat feel, however, there is enough life in the music that it shines, anyway. Most of the lyrics are in english, however, a few songs are in the band’s native tongue. Without hesitation I would call this my favorite metal release of all time.
The Residents- Gingerbread Man
East Side Digital
This is a really weird album. Of course, it is argued (and generally agreed) that all Residents albums are weird. This one takes the melody from the children’s rhyme “Gingerbread Man” and weaves it into an entire concept album. Each of the first nine tracks tell the suffering of a character. Their fears, phobias, and regrets. You’ve got everyone from a dying oil man to a confused transexual, to an aging musician, or a simple weaver. The liner notes give the background of the person while the song delves deep into their wretched feelings. Needless to say it’s not an easy trip. And to have the unsettling melody “run run run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man” taunting you between every song can create your own phobia and fear. While this isn’t the best The Residents album (and there are many) it also isn’t the worst and is worth picking up.
Switchfoot- The Legend of Chin
Switchfoot has become a fairly popular and mainstream band here recently. They’re more popular than Extol and The Residents combined, despite The Residents’ 30 plus years of existance (and insistance to release music). This is the first Switchfoot cd and the one that most drastically differs from “The Beautiful Letdown.” It’s kind of an edgy alternative with some indie influences. Most mainstream fans will probably find this less enjoyable than “The Beautiful Letdown” because of the production. It’s kind of crusty feeling, despite the well crafted and performed songs. However, I think that also adds character to the cd. Some standout songs include, “Chem6A”, “Underwater”, and “Concrete Girl.”