Posts Tagged ‘cd review’

CD Review: Paradise Found – Foundations

06 Nov

Originally published at

Paradise Found - FoundationsHailing from Newcastle, Paradise Found offer the listener a mix of hardcore-influenced vocals with down-tuned riffing that combines equal parts hardcore and circle pit-inducing breakdowns. According to the band’s bio, Paradise Found has been credited with having one of ‘the highest energy live shows in Newcastle to date’, which is a big call; however, as far as the local Newcastle scene goes in recent years, that could be a perfectly believable statement.

‘Foundations’ is the band’s new debut EP and it’s full to the brim with concise, infectious slabs of brutality that remain totally hummable thanks to their strong guitar melodies. From the opening strains of ‘Northern Lights’ to the closing gang vocal of ‘End of the Story’, this EP will have you either shouting the words or humming to the guitars – no question.

With plans for a full-length album in 2013, you can expect big things from this Newcastle quintet. Their unique mix of influences will no doubt continue to see plenty of bruised and bloodied bodies in mosh pits up and down the east coast in the coming years. Keep an eye out.

1990s Revival: Junkie XL – Saturday Teenage Kick (c1997)

06 Sep

Now this is different. A techno disc featuring rap vocals and guitar loops recorded by one of the music industry’s heaviest weights: Dino Cazares from Fear Factory! Yes, that is correct, it is actually different enough to become part of my collection; and I’m a metal head!

I believe a lot of the Triple J-listening community would have heard the first track off this, their debut album: ‘Underachievers’. From my point of view this is the catchiest and least disjointed of all the tracks on the disc; some which border on the self-indulgent. This is a shame, because at times you end up thinking to yourself, ‘if only he had have…’, or ‘only it were more…’. Anyhow, it is still an unusual and new sound, and I like it.

The artwork must have taken an age to create because it is so intricate, involving different backgrounds and images and all this stuff that looks so cool – it’s fantastic. Obviously the computer generated tuned had a big influence on the artwork, too. Cool, I am a big fan of computer assisted design. One thing that  was also different was the length of the tracks. Often with techno you’re wading through tracks that seem to go on forever, but Junkie XL has been able to keep the songs down to the typical three to four minute, radio-friendly limit with only a few tunes running long.

If you don’t already have this, then get it. Hey, even I have a copy and I’m supposed to hate techno. But I don’t really; that’s just the common perception.



Coming Soon: 1990s Music Revival

12 Aug

The 1990s: what an amazing time for music and Hosking Industries was there. Well, Ben Hosking was, anyway (is it weird talking about one’s self in the third person?). I’ve talked briefly about my old ‘zine 27twelve on this blog before, way back when I still found myself with some spare time. I reviewed about 10 CDs in that little ‘zine each month, as well as running interviews and live reviews of the acts at the time.

I also wrote for Newcastle, Australia music press outlet ‘concretepress‘. It was in the more traditional tabloid newspaper format and fed music and arts news to the Hunter region. Both publications pre-dated the internet age and due to my computer at the time not having the storage space to house my hundreds of reviews and other documents, today I find myself with only A4 paper print outs of them.

I got to thinking the other day that it could be cool to type up each of these reviews and post them on this blog as a way of remembering this special time in my life and in the life of the music business. A time before the industry crashed and so many new genres were being created as opposed to simply rehashing old ones.

So, over the coming weeks and months I’ll be endeavouring to type up as many of the old reviews as  I can, including gig reviews; creating a new ‘1990s’ section of the blog so you can find them all easily. I’d love to hear your thoughts not only about the idea, but also hear your memories of the 1990s (if you were old enough to enjoy them).

Stay tuned!

CD Review: Sevendust – ‘Cold Day Memory’

04 Nov

Sevendust - Cold Day Memory‘Cold Day Memory’ marks the ultimate return to form for the Atlanta, Georgia quintet, after less stellar recent releases like ‘Next’ and ‘Alpha’. Given that these albums were written and recorded during a period when guitarist Clint Lowery had departed the group (returning for 2008’s ‘Chapter VII’); you’d be forgiven for believing he was the spark that lights the band’s song writing fire.

Lajon Witherspoon’s mammoth voice soars over the bottom-heavy riff-fest that Sevendust have become renown for – a combination that is finished off with choruses likely to stick in your brain long after the 12 tracks of ‘Cold Day…’ are over. It’s a typically layered listen, with the album opening with the epically heavy ‘Splinter’ and closer ‘Strong Arm Broken’. In between, tracks like ‘Unravelling’, ‘Last Breath’ and ‘Confessions’ are reminiscent of Sevendust’s early classics ‘Home’ and ‘Animosity’. It’s all killer and no filler.

CD Review: Disturbed – ‘Asylum’

04 Nov

Disturbed - AsylumLove them or hate them, Disturbed have forged out their own distinct sound over their last four studio albums – one that’s immediately recognisable. On their fifth and latest, ‘Asylum’, Disturbed certainly don’t reinvent their wheel; however they do well to continue the development of their song writing skills and there are a ton of hooks prevalent within.

The disc opens up with the rather subdued instrumental ‘Remnants’ that seamlessly morphs into the title track boasting fist-pumping signature Disturbed staccato riffing and singer David Drayman’s equally trademark grunts. It’s hard-driving metal for the masses with a slick and polished production that has enough of the edges rounded smooth to land it deep within the mainstream. This means it’ll probably be too safe for the more hardcore metal fans.

Ultimately, it’s more of the same from the Chicago quartet; but they do what they do very well and you’ll be rewarded for your purchase by epic, soaring choruses and catchy-as-hell riffage.

CD Review: Dimmu Borgir – Abrahadabra

02 Nov

Dimmu Borgir - AbrahadabraAny connections that Dimmu Borgir had left to the Black metal scene have been ripped to shreds with the release of their latest album, ‘Abrahadabra’. The Norwegian group has been both loved and hated for their willingness – nay, compulsion – to continually push the boundaries of what makes up the black metal genre.

With this, their ninth studio album, Dimmu Borgir stretch their creative mettle to the point where they can now no longer be convincingly linked to the blackened realms of Norwegian black metal. ‘Abrahadabra’ is a 50-minute journey full of bombast, pomp and ridiculous levels of texture – no doubt helped by a 100-piece orchestra and choir that the band have put to good use.

CD Review: John 5 – ‘The Art of Malice’ for

13 Jul have just published my review of John 5’s latest album, ‘The Art of Malice’. An instrumental album, the former Marilyn Manson and current Rob Zombie guitarist adds his own distinct flavour to the art of shred. Read the excerpt of the review and CLICK HERE or on the album cover to read the full review on

‘The Art of Malice’ is a dynamic record that peaks and troughs well throughout its 12 tracks. Just as you get comfy immersing yourself within the drama of slower tracks like ‘Can I live Again’ and the tension of ‘Fractured Mirror’, you’re beaten over the head by thrashy outbursts and millions of notes in tracks like ‘Portrayed as Unremorseful’…

CLICK HERE to read the full review.


CD Review: Steve Vai – Where the Other Wild Things Are

13 Jul have just published my review of Steve Vai’s latest live album, ‘Where the Other Wild Things Are’ – recorded during his ‘Sound Theories’ tour in 2009, with this performance taking place at the State Theatre in Minneapolis. Read the excerpt below and CLICK HERE to read the entire review or click the album cover:

…As usual, the performances are perfect – Vai’s choice of backing musician is always spot on. The set list was well paced; including classics like ‘The Audience is Listening’, ‘Liberty’ and ‘For the Love of God’ from his groundbreaking 1990 album ‘Passion and Warfare’. But for the most part, it all just feels a little dead…

CLICK HERE to read the full review.


CD Review: Anathema – ‘We’re Here Because We’re Here’

18 Jun

Anathema CD have just uploaded my review of Anathema’s long-awaited eighth studio album (their first in seven years) – ‘We’re Here Because We’re Here’. Read an excerpt below or click the album cover or the link below to read the full review:

…It’s a wonderfully layered, ethereal experience that is as equally uplifting as it is darkly moving. There’s an incredible space in the mix that lets the listener virtually immerse themselves in the music – something very few bands seem to be able to achieve…

CLICK HERE to read the full review.


CD Review: Delerium – Remixed: The Definitive Collection

04 Jun have just published my review of Delerium’s latest release, ‘Remixed: The Definitive Collection’. An album of 12 tracks, including one new single ‘Dust In Gravity’; it’s an excellent addition to any fan’s list.

“Delerium has always been an infinitely listenable experience that has pushed the boundaries of the genre; often encompassing a wonderful darkness. Hopefully they’ve helped regular fans of mindless commercial dance to open their minds to something more creative, layered and ultimately – respectable.”

Read the the full review by CLICKING HERE or on the image.