Just a brief update on what’s been floating my Canadian-made boat as of late, to be applauded or dismissed by anyone taking the time to read this. But, since I don’t generally write about crap unless conned into doing so or I feel the need to make fun of somebody (myself included; see Retro Fit) chances are pretty good my opinions are actually of worth (says the diva… 😉 ).
First off, the new self-titled Annihilator record is a killer. Guitarist / founder Jeff Waters shreds up a storm and nobody can take away Dave Padden’s rightful position as the band’s singer. It’s a grower though, and it wasn’t until the fourth or fifth time through that I actually began hearing this album for the shredfest it is. Very ugly and mean just like the cover art, but that’s a good thing. As much as I like the previous record, Metal, I have to admit there’s an energy level and a lack of polish on the new one that makes it sit better between my ears. Been playing the hell out of it much the same way I did when Carnival Diablo came out all those year ago.
I recently spoke to Waters about the album; the interview will be online soon. Check out the album details here. Release date is May 17th…
The new Danko Jones record Below The Belt likewise takes lessons learned from his previous one (Never Too Loud) and changes things up considerably. Danko and Co. have gone back to their punk KISS rock sound circa Sleep In The Enemy, resulting a welcome return to the man’s piss-and-vinegar fun factor. The album is a kick in the ass if you enjoy his older stuff. Extra points for shredder ‘I Think Bad Thoughts’, the KISS-esque ‘Tonight Is Fine’, and the ultimate “there’s a bus leaving, be under it” song ‘I Wanna Break Up With You.’
Something new came across my desk in the form of Exes For Eyes, a modern-edged thrash oriented project out of Somewheresville, Ontario headed up by guitarist Dave Sheldon, who was last seen wielding the bass on tour with Annihilator in Europe (check out the new Live At Masters Of Rock DVD). Musically the band is very reminiscent of Never, Neverland-era Annihilator while the vocals – provided by one James Arsenian – are Soilwork-ish growls minus the melodious flip flopping. Sheldon is one hell of a guitarist, and the more I listen to this the more Arsenian reminds me of a young Machine Head named Robb Flynn. Looking forward to seeing where this is going because the 12 songs I’ve heard smoke righteously. Check some of ’em out here.
And finally, click here if you want to see some impressive acoustic guitar playing. No, actually it’s shred. I recently stumbled upon the Barenaked Ladies’ official Bathroom Sessions from 2007. It’s really just frontman Ed Robertson performing acoustic versions of the band’s songs in, you guessed it, his bathroom, with occasional visits from now former co-frontman Steven Page. Talented as fuck, these guys. No effects on the voices, and I’m in awe of Robertson’s six string abilities. And if doesn’t sound complicated… bah. I broke two fingers trying to play ‘The King Of Bedside Manor’ trying to keep it up to speed, and contrary to popular belief I do know how to play. Or at least I thought I did until now 😉