Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Forever Carved In Stone

You know what? It's safe to say that the doom metal band Memory Garden are one of my favourite groups. I first heard them on their "Mirage" album and was instantly hooked. Memory Garden play doom metal with a little power metal and progressive elements. They are like a mix of Tad Morose and Solitude Aeturnus. They are highly under-rated and can hold their own with the other doom giants without being a copycat.

Starting with the bands sophomore album "Verdict Of Posterity" (I have yet to attain "Tides") which is the second album I bought. I had a couple of songs I downloaded or were on compilations from this album and was ecstatic to find a new copy a few years back.

"Verdict Of Posterity" kicks off with the darkly mournful "Carved In Stone" which lays down some killer riffs, solos and melodies. "Shadow Season" and "Wasteland Foretold" are similar with dark riffs and haunting melodies.

"Awkward Tale" and "Outward Passage" are more straightforward doom metal platters with the latter toying with some progressive elements. "Split Image" has a progressive feel as well as some sweeping melodies and choral work.

"Tragic Kingdom" is a mid-paced cruncher with a nice breakdown/bridge while "The Sum Of All Fears" has some cool dark riffs and a quiet melodic passage. The album closer is the epic "Amen" which is not a bad tune, but slows the momentum down some with its 6+ minute reflective, quiet opening. The last few minutes are bone-crushing doom metal with soaring vocals by Stefan Berglund.

The problem I have with "Amen" is that most of my listening is at work where I keep the volume down to respectful level due to our open concept. This means that I often have to strain to hear the first half of the song. And I'm usually home before I get to the last track while listening to the album during my commute. But hey, this is a minor complaint which is easily rectified if I'd just give the song a focused listen.

Overall, this is a solid album of doom metal with crushing guitar work by Anders and Simon, accompanied by the melancholic smooth vocals of Stefan. My favourite tracks are "Shadow Season" and "Wasteland Foretold".

I'll be taking a look at their next 2 albums shortly, but first I'll be reviewing the first of Bal-Sagoth's hexology of albums "A Black Moon Broods Over Lemuria".

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Green Jelly Sucks Even More ...

After Green Jello's "Cereal Killers Soundtrack" was released, the band encountered several lawsuits which led to the bands name to Green Jelly (with an umlaut over the Y, it's pronounced Green Jello) as well as re-editing their "Cereal Killers" album and cover. I'm ecstatic to have found a copy of the original Green Jello release.

Their follow up under the Green Jelly moniker "333" although good, lacked some of the silliness and spoofery of "Cereal Killers". It has a stronger punk edge and maybe even a mild hardcore delivery.

Kicking off "333" is "Carnage Rules" with its punky groove, sets the mood of the album. "Fixation" is punky as well with some female vocals. Nice variety. And "Jerk" adds rock sensibility to the punk foundation.

"The Bear Song" which is my favourite track, is punky with a hardcore delivery. It's super catchy with lots of crunch and loads of melody. "Super Elastic" is faster with a similar sound to "The Bear Song".

"Orange Krunch" is probably the most metal song here and "Fight" leans toward the industrial side of metal, similar to some Ministry. "Jump" is smooth and melodic with an alternative sound or even Alt Rock. "Anthem" is a silly spoof-like tune that's heavy and catchy and comedic. It reminds me some of Corky And The Juice Pigs' "Rok Stedy". The album closer is a rip on the B-52's that is super catchy with some nice female vocals.

Although "333" is probably a more accessible album then "Cereal Killers", I prefer "Cereal Killers". "333" is not without its charm, perhaps it's teenage nostalgia that holds me to "Cereal Killers". I don't know.

Green Jelly have not done much since "333" with a couple of songs recorded and a recent tour last year, that I was unable to attend. Ah well, maybe they'll come around again.

Up next, I'll be looking at the under-rated doom metal band, Memory Garden.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Green Jello Sucks.

Back in high school my friend Greg brought in a video tape of the worlds first video only band, Green Jello. The videos were crude, yet entertaining, especially to a teenage boy. The songs were actually quite good too. Green Jello eventually were forced to release a CD and the "Cereal Killer Soundtrack" was born thus making the band a bunch of guys with no talent AND liars.

I had made a tape of my friends CD which I used for years. The band had been sued by Kraft because of trademark infringement and the band was forced to change their name to Green Jelly with an accent over the Y giving it a long O sound. I though the lawsuit was absurd and refused to buy the album under the Green Jelly moniker. However, after a dozen years later I found a used copy of Green Jello's "Cereal Killer Soundtrack". Score!

This also meant I had a copy of the song "Electric, Harley House Of Love" with the Metallica spoofed solo and riff that was later removed due another lawsuit from Metallica's management.

Joke albums can be tricky and often have a shortened shelf life due to dated material. "Cereal Killer Soundtrack" has aged surprisingly well. Maybe it's nostalgia, but I still enjoy the music very much today as I did way back in high school. The videos not so much.

Kicking off with "Obey The Cowgod" one of my favourite songs here, is a fist pumping punk heavy tune. It's funny and catchy. "Three Little Pigs" is their breakthrough single thanks in part to the video and unexpected radio airplay. It's a mid-paced heavy retelling of the fable of the same name. It's silly, but performed with conviction. The title track is my favourite song on this album. "Cereal Killer" is dark and heavy, bringing out serious sinister-ness in some of our favourite breakfast cereal characters. Add to that the killer riffs and powerful vocal performance and this is one seriously killer tune.

"Rock N Roll Pumpkin" is a wailing rock song with wicked riffs and killer solos. "Anarchy In Bedrock" is a wacky parody of the Sex Pistols hit and "Electric Harley House (Of Love)" is a parody of rock and metal in general. With a classic Kiss sound the band rips through rock cliches and a sweet rip off of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" which they openly admit in the song and yet were still sued.

"Trippin' On XTC" is a funk infused tune that has a darkly trippy breakdown and heavy outro. "Misadventures Of Shitman" is a silly song. It is also super catchy with some nice riffwork. "House Me Teenage Rave" is a dancy, techno trip with cheesy porno like dialogue mixed with an industrial flavour in the chorus.

"Flight Of The Skajaquada" is dark, eerie piece with an intro that would make Vincent Price proud. and the album closer "Green Jello Theme Song" is a rousing anthem of self mockery with a sing a long lyrics ~ Green Jello Sucks! ~ A fun ending to an overall enjoyable collection of comic songs.

I missed a chance to see Green Jello live last summer on their reunion tour. Ah well, I at least found a copy of "Cereal Killer" with the Green Jello cover and that's fine with me.

Up next I'll take a look at their follow-up "333".