Rapid Reviews Part 2

It’s time for two more rapid reviews of your favorite albums of 2012. Just for a quick reminder to try to minimize the hate comments, these are rapid reviews. I haven’t had time to digest the albums or come to a good final conclusion about them. These are just first impressions of the things from other people’s top 10 lists that sounded interesting.

First, The Safety Fire’s Grind the Ocean. I was really excited about this because of the many, many comparisons to Periphery which made my top 5. I know I shouldn’t say this, but I mostly hated this. Let’s start with the good. There are some really great and amazing parts to this. One of my favorite music composition techniques gets used in a few places. This involves constructing a chaotic turmoil accompaniment to a beautiful flowing melody. The contrast is really cool and this gets executed perfectly in the album.

Also, overall the album is full of tons of styles and contrasts. I love this as well. There are some great grooves that lock in and crazy, heavy awesome technical playing. As for the bad, well, let’s just say it is the usual. There are some long, drawn out, boring pure djenty parts. I don’t understand it either. There is so much good, originality to this album. There’s even interesting harmonization to the singing that just isn’t heard in other metal.

Why was this necessary? A little djent influence is fine (I love Periphery remember), but it seems to add nothing to have whole sections of songs be so cookie cutter. Maybe this wouldn’t upset me so much if the rest of the album wasn’t so good. With some minor editing this could easily be one of my top 5 of the year, but like a drop of mud in a perfectly clear glass of water, the whole thing becomes tainted and I just can’t get over it. Some of the standard song structures (like Floods of Colour) that come back to the “chorus” many times make a few songs drag on with the effect as well.

I give it a 6/10. This number might increase if I manage to get over my petty annoyance at some parts of this album. For the composition technique above here is a great sample (I love everything in this song, so you won’t here the stuff I was talking about negatively):

The other rapid review for today is Enslaved’s RIITIIR. I’m not even sure how to classify this album. Sometimes it feels like prog rock and others it is pure black metal. Should this be possible? I don’t know. I don’t care, because this album is really fantastic. Thank you internets for bringing this to my attention. It is exactly finds like this that justify doing the whole year-end-top-whatever list.

I’m not even sure what made me pick this one up. It had to be number one on several lists, since the general description I’ve found isn’t that interesting sounding. This is a rapid review, so I won’t spend anymore time trying to describe this band which won’t give you any idea of what it is like. I give the album a 9/10. Here’s a sample:

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