jamesrsutton.net | music & stuff

July 13, 2014

The Manics : Futurology

Filed under: Listenings,New Music and Video — James R. Sutton @ 5:27 PM


Manic Street Preachers (Wales) – Futurology | http://www.manicstreetpreachers.com/

All of the respectable, forward-thinking bands will change up their sound, continually challenging themselves and the listener with each album. Although I can’t say I like everything they’ve done, the Manic Street Preachers are definitely one of those bands. I was late to the Manics party and it wasn’t until 2007′s “Send Away The Tigers” that I began to really appreciate their music.

From what I understand, the songs on “Futurology” were recorded at the same time as last year’s “Rewind The Film” which was a more melancholic, acoustic album. This new release however has a lot of electric guitars and is more of the sound and approach I was hoping for.

James Dean Bradfield’s catchy, soaring vocal melodies are as moving as always and the arrangements are only predictable when they should be. The lyrics are smart and dynamically delivered whereas the album’s two instrumental tracks stand strong on their own. I couldn’t be happier with this new collection of songs.


June 10, 2014

New Music 2014 Pt. I

Filed under: Listenings,New Music and Video — James R. Sutton @ 10:00 PM


A.C.T (Sweden) – Circus Pandemonium | http://www.actworld.se/

A.C.T are one of my favourite progressive rock bands. This new concept album tops everything they’ve released previously.



Alaya (US) – Thrones | Basick Records

This is the debut album from Chicago’s Alaya. The whole thing is packed full of extremely tight, rhythmic, and melodic playing. I hope we see more from these guys.


The Algorithm (France) – OCTOPUS4 | Basick Rercords

RĂ©mi Gallego’s first album “Polymorphic Code” absolutely blew me away. I’d never heard anything quite like it before. It’s progressive metal disguised as well crafted electronic music. “OCTOPUS4″ has got more of a soundtrack vibe while maintaining what makes The Algorithm so fresh and original.


Animals As Leaders (US) – The Joy of Motion | Sumerian Records

AaL’s new album is so strong that I honestly don’t see myself listening to either of their first two recordings again. Where the previous releases seemed a bit scattered at times, “The Joy of Motion” feels very focused from start to finish. It’s maturely diverse, dynamic, and pioneering in all of the best ways.



Arch Enemy (Sweden) – War Eternal | http://www.archenemy.net/

I’ve enjoyed Arch Enemy in the past, but never like I am with this new album. With Alissa White-Gluz now in the band, their sound feels re-energized and inspired.



Destiny Potato (Serbia) – LUN | Bandcamp

Destiny Potato is David Maxim Micic‘s project. I’ve yet to hear anything he’s done that I don’t respect.


Devil You Know (US) – The Beauty of Destruction | Wikipedia

This is Howard Jones’ (Killswitch Engage) new thing. I dig it.



Epica (Netherlands) – The Quantum Enigma | http://epica.nl/

Epica have outdone themselves with this new album. It’s the fresh approach I was hoping for.



Edguy (Germany) – Space Police – Defenders of the Crown | http://www.edguy.net/

This is unquestionably the best Edguy album ever.


April 10, 2014

Delain : “The Human Contradiction”

Filed under: Listenings,New Music and Video — James R. Sutton @ 11:33 PM


Delain (Netherlands) – The Human Contradiction | http://www.delain.nl/

Symphonic metal is a genre I’ve spent a lot of time exploring over the years. Heavy guitars, double kick drums, and grunt vocals mixed with keyboards and a melodic female voice is a combination I’ve grown very fond of. There are many bands doing this kind of thing, but few have their own, original sound. As far as I’m concerned, Delain are at the top, humbly and maturely showing everyone else how it’s done.

As I grow older, there are certain things that I’m always listening for when I hear an album for the first time. I listen for a solid mix and quality production, unpredictable arrangements, mature lyrics if applicable, and musicianship that demands respect. As I made my way through my first listen of this brand new double LP, I often found myself moved to chills, smiling and shaking my head with disbelief. Everything I’d hoped for was there.

The artists worth supporting, regardless of genre, will develop without compromise as time passes. With each album, Delain takes something that was already noteworthy, and improves upon it in all of the best ways. Their first three albums; “Lucidity”, “April Rain”, and “We Are The Others”, are recordings I know and enjoy very much. “The Human Contradiction” is unquestionably their best work so far.

When “The Human Contradiction” was made available for pre-order, I initially ordered a copy of the limited CD box that included a flag and pendant, and the only vinyl version on offer at the time which was a purple pressing. I’ve found that I prefer the sound of a black pressing over coloured vinyl, but I didn’t want to miss out. Later, the black version was made available so I ended up ordering that as well. I now own three copies of this recording and I regret nothing.

As a side note, I’d like to mention that Austria’s Napalm Records is a label that I continue to be very pleased with. Their staff are very nice and communicative, and the quality of their releases, especially vinyl, is very high. They’re the perfect label for a band of Delain’s caliber.


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