[REVIEW] “Ummagumma” ~ Pink Floyd


I’m gonna start by saying this album (studio portion) is not good, however i feel i need to look at it critically and open mindedly. Dunno why i found myself listening to this but i did and i have 30 minutes till work so here is a brief review of the album. Please note that i won’t be looking at the live portion of the album.


There is nothing wrong with experimental music, i have listened to some pretty weird shit and own some weird music in my collection. A good example of experimental/avant-garde done right for me personally would be Gentle Giants eponymous debut LP with a good mix between the more conventional rock and also experimental music.

This area of music was not new though to the Floyd with works such as a Saucerful of Secrets, which i personally see as a masterpiece, and also Interstellar Overdrive. It can be done right by them but i feel that it must be done right together. The way i see it, Ummagumma is like if you took a Saucerful of secrets and separated it into all the creative inputs from each member and had them as separate tracks. This is album is the biggest piece of evidence to prove that Pink Floyd really were a sum of its parts.

I’m not saying the album is not worth owning though. A couple of standout tracks being “Grantchester Meadows” and “The Narrow Way Part 3” being decent enough tracks from Roger Waters and David Gilmour, which makes sense due to their successful solo careers, and also the live portion of the album. Ummagumma is definitely a quintessential album for the Floyd fan.

 

2/5

 


 

[REVIEW] “Fortress of my Dark Self” ~ Ocean of Grief

A few days ago i received an email from a guy in Greece. He was the guitarist for a melodic doom metal band based in Athens and asked me to do a review of their new EP Fortress of my dark self, here is that review…


Ocean of Grief are a melodic doom metal bands from Athens, Greece. They formed in late 2014 and brought together influences from bands such as Enshine, Slumber and Saturnus. Their debut EP began its production in late 2015 and was released in February this year through Russian label GS Productions.

Photo


The EP opens ominously with a keyboard and guitar, this builds in the first track Spiritual Fortress. One thing that strikes me is the use of death metal type vocals from vocalist Charalabos Babis Oikonomopoulos, though they sound really awesome i personally feel that they don’t really fit with the genre of music too well, at least not as the main vocals. I think the addition of the keyboard is a nice touch and something i feel adds to doom metal music quite nicely when done correctly, which it is here.

The second track comes in with some nice clean-ish guitar and a beutiful distorted lead. House of Misery is the longest song on the EP at 6:22 and has again got some nice use of the keyboards from Aris Nikoleris using what sounds like a synth-strings patch of some sorts. I really like the melodies in this song as well, something about it just clicks together.

One thing i will say is that i feel that this first track and “House of Misery” maybe need some more dynamic variation to the mix to give more texture to the songs

Futile Regrets blasts in as the third song bringing a more uptempo feel to the mix yet still retaining that dark tone. The use of keyboards again draws me in further with a nice piano sound added in here and there.

Cover

From here we move onto “Drowned in Nostalgia”, again returning to the slower ominous opening with guitar and keyboards bringing the track to life slowly before more guitars explode onto the playing field. Again another track that i feel has a good melody. Their is also a nice bit of dynamic and structural variation, probably why this is my favorite track on the EP.

The final track “The Birth of Chaos” has again got that uptempo yet still dark feel to it and also like “Drowned in Nostalgia” and “House of Misery” it has a good melody flowing throughout. This song probably has the nicest sounding solo out of the EP with an awesome melodic bass line from Giannis Koskinas holding up with again the keyboard and guitar.


Despite a couple of small things this is a good EP for people to check out if you are interested in exploring sub genres of doom metal or already like melodic doom metal!

4.5/5


Check out Ocean of Grief with these links:


 

Drifting towards the Red Shores!!!

 

I encountered an interesting band the other day, one which blasted the audience with a wall of distortion. The band in question is Red Shores, a two piece from Brighton consisting of guitarist Harrison Mortley and on drums/vocals Caleb Morganfield. The band’s music is a mix of Noise, Heavy Metal and Progressive rock and is quite interesting to say the least. There are elements of Doom Metal with them and they have got a lot of potential.

I got the chance of talking with Red Shores last week. “We currently are focusing on developing our sound” says Mortley. It would be really interesting to hear what other genres they could incorporate into their music. Despite their potential i feel that they are lacking a third member, maybe a bassist who they can work with to develop their sound.
I conclude by saying that Red Shores have a lot of potential (despite some of my friends calling me deranged) and with the right development and exposure i hope they will go far into creating some interesting distorted masterpieces in the future!

 

Visit their Facebook  here…

Noobs on the NSR – a Radio Show Review by Alex Peter Josephson (college)

Listen to the show here.

As I tuned into NSR just the other day a mix came on by four of the college’s students. The show begins with no opening but with a short introduction to their first song ’18 and Life’ by Skidrow, a song about a young man being imprisoned for murder. Starting of the show this way is kinda dull as anyone listening might not know what the show is about. The Show itself follows a simple format of introducing each song, playing the song and then each other presenter giving their own opinion about the song. While there is nothing wrong with this format however it is executed in a clumsy way.

Their next song is ‘Kings of Beer’ by Tankard, a song that follows ’18 and Life’ well being the same genre and style. Now despite the lack of opening just by the first two songs listeners should be able to gather what genres they will hear… Or at least you would think.

Thirdly is the song ‘Run with the Hunted’ by Sky Hill, this song while still technically rock music stands out instantly with it’s alternative style rather than heavy metal. Despite this, it is still a nice song and somehow does fit with the show.

Now would be a good time to mention that the songs for the show were each chosen by the four presenters evenly meaning that their personal tastes are brought to the show. This does work for most of the songs with the exception of songs brough on by both Joseph and Ryan as they stick out, especially with Ryan’s songs (You’ll see what I mean).

The fourth song is ‘Comfortably Numb’ by Pink Floyd, again sticking out from the first two but still somehow fitting. This song was chosen by Joseph and you will notice a “dad’s record collection” vibe to his choices, all of which being from the 70’s and being prog. This is one of my favourite songs from the set, but this is inevitable accounting to the fact that I am a major Floyd fan and have been since The Wall was released in 1979.

After a fantastic solo from David Gilmour and more rubbish commentary we move onto ‘People = Shit’ by Slipknot. Oh dear. This song instantly displays terrible mixing within the show as I found myself turning the radio down 20 dB lest the neighbours complain. It feels as if the editing consisted of sequencing only and not mixing the audio to give a consistent dynamic range. Going back to the commentary they clearly recorded it with no effort as it sounds like they passed around an SM57 with no pop filter or shield and just gave a brief view on each song. A better way to have recorded the show is to get a condenser with an omnidirectional pick-up field and talk with that in the middle of them, but that’s just how I would do it anyway.

Our next delight is ‘Put Your Death Mask On’ by Wednesday 13. This song returns the to the style of the first two songs. They should have really thought about their choices more to make the style consistent. If you think that all the songs so far are fine together (and I know I said they worked but I can go back on myself) then think again because after this comes ‘The Next Episode (Remix)’ by San Holo. This song is a remix of a Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg song…. Yes, Dr Dre & Snoop Dogg. Now tell me how did we get from rock and heavy metal to hip-hop? Well that fault belongs to Ryan, one of the four presenters. While this song sticks out more than Kim Kardashian’s ass it is still a good song… But 0 points for consistency.

We then return thankfully to rock music with ‘Watcher of the Skies’ by Genesis. The song unfortunately is the previously unreleased single version as opposed to the 7 minute album version but the length suits radio more, that and this version is interesting to hear. After that we have ‘My Name is Jonas’ by Weezer. This song again fits better with the first two songs and was a good choice for the show. This can also be said about ‘Milk Lizard’ by The Dillinger Escape Plan. This song has a very experimental style to it which wins me over being a prog fan. After these three songs I felt like the show was becoming more consistent in style, how can they fuck it up?

Well… ‘Raw’ by Bad Meets Evil, that’s how. This is another song from Ryan. Although it is a good song like his last choice ‘The Next Episode (Remix)’ it again sticks out so much, how hard is it to be consistent? You pick a genre, then pick your songs. This inconsistency continues with ‘Oxygene Part 4’ by Jean Michel Jarre. This electronic gem is a favourite of mine but seriously guys, pick songs that compliment each other. It seems that I am focusing too much on the inconsistent nature of the show’s music choices so to be constructive, maybe they could have done a prog show as the style is quite universal. That way “Oxygene Part 4” would have fit in being ambient electronic, a genre that has origins from progressive rock.

The next song almost gave me heart attack as it exploded into my ears. This was ‘Coldly Calculated Design’ by The Faceless. Again fitting in more with the opening songs but maybe a bit too heavy, especially following Jean Michel Jarre. Still a decent song with again some interesting compositional elements to it.

This is followed up by ‘Dragon Slayer’ by Ninja Sex Party, a band with a pretty funny name. This song though sounds like it was ripped straight from the music video which there is nothing wrong with in a way but couldn’t they have edited out the opening and closing sounds? There really is no excuse for that lazy editing. Ranting aside, this song is a parody satirising songs where the protagonist is bragging to a women about the stuff they have done to try and get into their pants. Quite funny when you listen to the lyrics. The Lead singer from this band is also the lead singer from Skyhill who was featured earlier within their mix.

After some more bland commentary we move onto ‘Know your Enemy’ by Rage Against the Machine and I Love this song. Rage against the Machine’s funky style always gets me moving just from Timmy C’s great bass playing. This is followed by the final song ‘Funny Ways’ by Gentle Giant. This song is a decent choice to end the set but again the lack of mixing is evident as the song is really quiet. It’s as if the group slacked off for most of the time and then their teacher informed them of the deadline so they rushed to finish on time. Idiots!

The show ends so abruptly after the group converse. They could have at least recorded a short opening and closing then put some sort of stock music or whatever, maybe it would have sounded a bit more professional. Despite this and the inconsistencies it is still worth a listen for fans of rock music (who also like a bit of hip-hop) and is a good listen if you are doing house work or typing up a review under a fake name of your own radio show made for college…

With that note, I conclude.