All you need to know about the latest albums—straight, no chaser!
Father of All Motherfuckers
No matter your political affiliation, you must be tired of both parties’ constant rhetoric. And, with no end in sight, you must be yearning for some form of escapism. Thankfully, Green Day have delivered just that with Father of All Motherfuckers, on which they dispense with the social commentary of their recent records in favor of 10 brash blasts of irreverent fun.
At times embracing their Southern California roots and at other times invoking the spirit of The Beatles and Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound—dragged through a pop-punk masher—the veteran trio have delivered an early contender for rock album of the year. Clocking in at just over 26 minutes, Father of All Motherfuckers is an example of leaving an audience wanting more. “Graffitia” and “Meet Me on the Roof” are inevitable radio hits, while the tongue-in-cheek “I was a Teenage Teenager” and “Stab You in the Heart” are destined to become live staples.
Unfortunately, the album is not perfect. The title track is such a rip off of The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s “Fire” that Green Day should expect to soon be hit with legal action.
It’s been nearly 25 years since Sepultura acrimoniously split with original front man Max Cavalera, yet some metal fans still cannot let go of the past. It’s sad, because the band’s recent output has been too good to ignore. And their latest, Quadra, about the concepts that enchain us—money, religion, politics, etc.— is their masterpiece.
Although Andreas Kisser, the band’s guitarist, chief songwriter, and de facto leader, is the album’s MVP, as highlighted on the instrumental “Pentagram,” underrated vocalist Derrick Green is given the spotlight on the epic “Agony of Defeat,” while long-time drummer Eloy Casagrande is quickly emerging as one of the most-serious players in extreme music. As Kisser explains in an upcoming interview with The Aquarian, the drummer has not only brought fresh energy to Sepultura, but he has also pushed the band’s members to a new level of musicianship.
In recent years, few albums have moved me as much as Quadra. One can only marvel at how much this band has progressed since essentially starting over during the mid-nineties.
STONE TEMPLE PILOTS
Will Stone Temple Pilots’ decision to release an acoustic album at this precarious point in their career be remembered as genius or a disaster? The ideal soundtrack for a stormy night, Perdida, like many relationships, runs the gamut of emotions. It is romantic, upbeat, introspective, mournful, solemn, and hopeful. It’s also undeniably beautiful. On the surface, many of its songs are about love, about burgeoning relationships, and those beyond repair. Dig deeper, however, and Perdida reveals itself to be a search for closure following the tragic deaths of its two former frontmen: Scott Weiland and Chester Bennington. Weiland’s spirit is felt through the album, especially on the Latin-flavored “She’s My Queen” and the throwback, “Miles Away.”
“As one door closes, another opens.” Alexander Graham Bell’s quote may be cliché, but it applies here. Perdida is also a chance for current singer (and former X Factor contestant) Jeff Gutt to shine, proving he is not only the perfect choice to fill Weiland’s lofty shoes, but he will offer the band the chance to settle down and enjoy a long, creative life.
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Angry Machines/Magica/Master of the Moon/Killing the Dragon: Special Editions
It is hard to believe that Ronnie James Dio departed this mortal coil nearly a decade ago. The diminutive legend with the larger-than-life voice certainly left behind a legacy of classics as a solo artist and as the singer for Elf, Rainbow, and Black Sabbath/Heaven & Hell. Sadly, his last four solo efforts, re-released here in remastered special editions, do not find Dio at his creative best. With the lone exception of Magica, which includes the latter-day Dio classics “Turn to Stone,” “As Long as It’s Not About Love,” and “Losing My Insanity,” these records findRJD merely going through the motions. Perhaps his time with Heaven and Hell, which followed these recordings, would have recharged his creative batteries for when he returned to the band that bore his name. Sadly, we will never know. Yes, each of these “special editions” have been remastered and sound better than their original versions, but Ronnie James Dio completists will already own each disk’s bonus material.
Trivia: Did you know the Killing the Dragon track, “Throw Away Children” was originally intended to be an all-star charity single in the vein of “We’re Stars,” with dozens of hard rock celebrities contributing vocals or instrumental parts? It would have benefitted the Children of the Night organization of which Dio was a huge supporter.
Acoustic Sessions EP
As the brother of two sisters, I understand sibling rivalry. What I don’t understand is the love/hate relationship shared by some brothers, especially the self-destructive pairs who once created classic rock music. The Kinks Ray and Dave Davies have yet to put their differences aside and reunite for a long-in-the-works 50th anniversary tour. Chris and Rich Robinson’s fighting resulted in The Black Crowes splitting on numerous occasions, though the pair have assembled a new version of the band for an upcoming tour. The worst, however, are Oasis’s Liam and Noel Gallagher, whose venomous feud continues to play out in the media. When a recent $100 million-dollar offer for an Oasis reunion tour collapsed, the barbs began flying through Twitter. Entertaining for readers? Yes, but also sad.
For the time being, we can enjoy the brothers’ respective solo work. Liam just release the “surprise” Acoustic Sessions. Mostly captured during Liam’s recent MTV Unplugged performance, this EP features slightly stripped-down versions of songs from his recent Why Me? Why Not? album. It also features renditions of Oasis’s “Cast No Shadow” and “Stand by Me.” But this disc’s real treat is Liam’s version of Oasis’s “Sad Song,” which was unearthed during the making of the 2016 documentary, Supersonic.
As demonstrated here, Liam is an incredible songwriter and a musician. He is also a decent singer, clearly capable of taking on even Oasis’s most demanding material. So, what makes Acoustic Sessions bittersweet? It’s missing a key ingredient that would have elevated it from being good to being great: Noel Gallagher’s voice and personality.