Ours “Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy” Album Review + Videos…

In Case You Missed It Series: Episode 8

Ours

Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy – CD // DD

American Recordings – released April 15, 2008

Reviewed by Zachary “+Norway+” Turner

 

Lineup for Mercy…Dancing…:
Jimmy Gnecco – Vocals, Electric Guitars, Bass, Drum outro, Percussion
Static – Space Guitar, Loops
Locke – Electric Guitar in instrumental, Piano, Keyboard
Anthony DeMarco – Piano
Michael Jerome – Drums, Percussion

Previous Releases:
1994 Demo “Sour”
2001 “Distorted Lullabies”
2002 “Precious”
2008 “Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy”
2013 “Ballet the Boxer 1”
2017 ***upcoming “Spectacular Sight”

Tracklist:
“Mercy” 6:41
“The Worst Things Beautiful” 4:21
“Ran Away to Tell the World” 5:00
“Black” 4:51
“Moth” 4:34
“Murder” 5:35
“God Only Wants You” 4:23
“Live Again” 4:27
“Willing” 4:41
“Saint” 5:06
“Lost” 5:18
“Get Up” 4:50

                               Video of Title Track “Mercy”

 

The Band:  Ours is an Alternative Rock band from New Jersey.

Album Art:  “Ghost Girl” was made by James Gnecco IV.

Review:  In 2004, Ours relocated from New Jersey to Los Angeles to work with Producer / Engineer Rick Rubin. The resulting album, Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy was released on April 15, 2008.  If you are not familiar with Mr. Rubin, he is one of the most famous producers of modern music. He has produced music from genres like: Hip Hop, Rock, Heavy Metal and even Country.

Musically this album is very similar to the other music from the late 90’s and early 2000’s like heavy hitters like H.I.M., U2, Sixx A.M., and at some points have a Muse flair. Some more accurate (meaning more recent) comparisons are 10 years and Evans Blue. There is a heaviness in the music but not enough to change the genre from Rock to Metal.

800px-Jimmy_Gnecco_-_Rockwood_Music_Hall

This album is a family affair, in between the album art, the singing (track 12) and the lyrics themselves are focused on Jimmy’s family. It is also a heavy album because of the emotion that is delivered through the singing and with some string arrangements that are present, but not overpowering. Ours’ “Mercy…Dancing for the Death of an Imaginary Enemy” could be considered a sulky emo record; while it is a more downtempo album, it isn’t wallowing in its own sadness. It is just poppy enough to be played on the radio and even in some TV shows like NCIS and CSI.

While looking around for info on this album I found that there is hardly any reviews, so in turn, not much open love for it by “The Powers….”. This is a really solid album that (if you like any of the bands above) you should take a listen to. Ours mix their first two albums together perfectly; the great production that was used in their first album, and a rough (while still polished) vocals. The personal lyrics from all of the band’s releases are fueled by meaningful, personal and often times heavy in weight that only frontman Jimmy can deliver.

There isn’t a dull song in the album (and after 20 months) that shows how good Ours are as musicians, as well as arrangers. If I were to choose a favorite track, it would be the title track. It is one of the most powerful vocal performances by Jimmy Gnecco; along with “Live Again”. Give “Mercy…Dancing…” a listen as I cannot recommend

Stream, download, and buy the album HERE

Logo

Extra Links:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/oursmusic/about/?ref=page_internal

http://www.ours.net/ourspages/

https://www.discogs.com/artist/473602-Ours

https://www.amazon.com/Mercy-Dancing-Death-Imaginary-Enemy/dp/B00133KDWS

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dancing_for_the_Death_of_an_Imaginary_Enemy


Abrams “Morning” Album Review + Stream + Tour Dates…

ABRAMS

Morning – Limited Vinyl (300) // Digital Download

Sailor Records – June 9, 2017

Reviewed by Ric “Suisyko” Dorr

 

Formed12-28-2013

LocationDenver, Colorado

Band Members:
Taylor Iversen – Bass and Vox,
Zach Amster – Guitar and Vox,
Geoff Cotton – Drums

Previous Releases:
“February ” (2014)
“Lust.Love.Loss.” (2015)

This album is the second full-length offering from this trio and exudes as much rage and vitriol as the first two releases.  Abrams have the added edge of thicker production and a more lavish sound that makes them sound even bigger and more bad-ass than before with their post-hardcore, sub-punk delivery that shows they have indeed been ‘sharpening the sword.’  With their endless touring and ‘shifts at the kit’ with each release that have seemingly only served to make Abrams a tighter/leaner animal that is ready to take hold and conquer the masses. When asked to describe themselves, Abrams posted “So, the guys name-check heroes of post-hardcore like Fugazi and At the Drive-In, and indeed, Abrams’ sound could be perceived as a turbo-boosted, sludged-up incarnation of those bands’ spirits – driving and impassioned, traversing the spectrum of feeling, from mournful to triumphant.” Add to that a maturity that has permeated the ranks and the end result is a record like this one.

 

Band Pic

 

While previous releases have leaned more toward the anger and sneer approach, and there is plenty of that still in place, this time out, there are even more facets revealed that you may not have expected here based on the last couple of outings.  It also shows a growth that is natural in all bands of this caliber, especially with the fine-tuning that Abrams strives for and has certainly accomplished here as tracks like ‘Mourning’ shows off with the clear vocals and a stellar solo section that could light trees on fire as it smolders as the tempo quickens and the rage returns for the final vocals, again showing the utter versatility of this powerhouse, much as staccato-tempo’d ‘Die In Love’ is pure Abrams-attitude, first punishing note to last.

As ’18 Weeks’ is a light, quick-tempo’d romp complete with fuzzed-out bass and echoplex engaged in what is yet another facet of the gem that is in hand, ‘Worlds Away’ and ‘At The End’ have an almost Season To Risk feel as they slam you around with the might pushing out of your speakers.

 

 

‘Rivers’ has a complex structure that is almost Irish-clan sounding in tempo and swagger of the bass line under that power-vocal over it and a guitar line that holds your attention with the precision of a laser-beam, hitting right between your eyes as you can’t help but follow along. ‘Can’t Sleep’ is a perfect follow up with it’s darker tone and delivery that seems to complete what the previous track had just set-up and is the seamless fit. ‘In This mask’ is another staggered beat, slower this time out, but as brutal and strong in each beat and when the bass guitar come in simultaneously under that vocal push, it is doom perfection and even the stoners will nod in agreement with that statement.

Closer and title track ‘Morning’ is the one that stands out for me and is yet another facet of this gleaming stone this record represents for Abrams and is full of the very best from every other song on this record congealed into a song that had my jaw hanging open in shock, surprise and absolute delight that these guys have come this far and to this point in the hear-and-now and can’t wait for them to hit the road, hopefully hitting my area again soon… been a ‘minute’ since…

Buy this record RIGHT AWAY, share it with every single person you come across, see this band LIVE if you get the chance to and keep it LOUD!!

Tour Schedule

LLNN & WOVOKA ‘Marks/Traces’ Split Review & Full Stream

LLNN/WOVOKA
Split – CD//Vinyl
Pelagic Records – Relase Date: June 16th, 2017
Reviewed By: Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker

LLNN’s and WOVOK’s Marks/Traces split will see release June 16th via Pelagic Records on CD, LP, and digital formats. It remains to be seen if the planet’s fans of atmospherically dense, crushing doom heaviness are able to withstand this bleakly oppressive effort. The seven song Split sees Copenhagen, Denmark’s LLNN contributing six of those selections while Los Angeles, California’s WOVOKA add one rather lengthy number themselves. But it is the results that matter here I suppose and in this case, those are impressive…perhaps depressive too for some but either way, this is textural doom in all of it’s glorious greatness.

The beginning of the Split does so with the superb LLNN track ‘The Guardian‘, a melding of post-hardcore and noise rock with obvious doom and metallic overtones. The track’s rhythmic, pattern-like pulses act like a slow-grooving juggernaut rendering all before it asunder. Tribal drumming and intermittent walls of sound host the acidic vocalizations that permeate the song. Subsequent cuts like ‘Swarms’ and the blast furnace ferociousness of ‘Engineer Of Ire‘ only drag you further downward into the mire of this sludgened bog. The stand-out content provided by LLNN definitely is delivered in the back-to-backs tracks ‘Nostromo Falls‘, ‘Eye Of The Covenant‘ and ‘Gravitated‘. The latter one an instrumental delivering a slow deluge of electronica, rumbling undercurrents of bottom-end heaviness and shadowy, eerie vibes altogether. There are haunting vocal chants that remain ethereal and quite ghostly as well.

Traces‘ is WOVOKA‘s one lone, long-playing selections at over seventeen minutes playing time. After a brief intro piece, a barrage of molasses-molded riffs, skull crushing rhythms and drums driven by what sounds like axehandle-hewn strikes arrive. Hellish, anguished vocals cascade from within the cacophony, flowing across turbulent tempos and resting harshly upon your soul. Everything feels as if it is gradually increasing, building ever so subtly like a slow rising tide that will eventually overcome you..and it does. Aggressive transmittances ebb and flow, rise and crash within this swirl of tidal tonality until a break point is reached. From it, things settle into a less chaotic state as some massive bass lines and tightly wound drums take the reigns. Eventually they are accompanied by some intriguing, emotionally-enhanced clean vocals as the cut takes on a more definitive alternative, almost showgaze-y styling of post-rock content.

The pairing of these two bands on this Split from Pelagic Records is an ideally intelligent move. Both LLNN and WOVOKA work well in complimenting each others’ contribution. While there’s currently just a track from each band above (a press promo copy of the album was used for this review), it is more than enough for you to fathom exactly what we are dealing with here. ‘Marks/Traces‘ is a volatile offering that is simultaneously dangerous and daring for all the parties involved..them, you, me, us..everyone. See all ordering links below.

For Fans Of: Cult Of Luna, Neurosis, ISIS, Amenra

North America:
CD: http://pelagicrecords.indiemerch.com/item/45849
Vinyl: http://pelagicrecords.indiemerch.com/item/45848

EU:
CD: http://www.pelagic-records.com/?p=11628
Vinyl: http://www.pelagic-records.com/?p=11621

– Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker


Aeges – “Weightless” Album Review & Stream…

Aeges

Weightless – Vinyl // CD // DD

Another Century Records – Available Now

Reviewed by Andy “Humdinger” Beresky

 

 

It’s always tough for me to be critical of a band that I love.  However, when I made the decision to start writing reviews again, one of the things that I promised myself was that I wouldn’t pull any punches.  I don’t want to be the guy who blindly loves everything and writes hyperbolic praises of every band that graces his speakers.  I honestly don’t think that’s constructive, and for me personally, when someone does that, I stop reading their reviews, because I know that I can’t trust their opinions.

Which brings us to Aeges.  Since I heard their debut album, The Bridge, I’ve been a huge fan; it combined big riffs with big hooks in such a compelling way, a balance of lightness and heaviness that was right up my ally. Boasting members of Pelican, Shift and 16 didn’t hurt their cause either.  Two of the members were also a part of San Angelus, a pretty straight forward post-hardcore band, and Aeges definitely incorporate elements of that sound.  Interestingly enough, Aeges was apparently formed as a side project because of geographic obstacles with the members of San Angelus – some of the band were in California, while some were in Vancouver.

 

Pro Live Shot

Their sophomore album, Above And Down Below upped the ante, expanding this formula into an axiom.  They’d changed guitarists and added a dual vocal approach.  As a result, the interplay of the vocal hooks and the heavy riffs is just brilliant.  Every song is chock full of both of these elements, and it’s just a recipe for an album with staying power that deepens with every listen, in my experience.    Their songwriting had drastically improved from the first album to the second.  The rhythm section is also pounding and poignant.  I’d list out who plays what for you, however, the “bio” section of their website is down, and their label’s website has a terrible design.  They’ve positioned the text for the bio over a picture of the band, and frankly it’s illegible.  Part of the photo is white or off-white, and the text is also white on top of it.  Who does that??   I can’t read that!! Did they pay a web designer??  I guess I could look up the info on the band’s Facebook, but then again, so can you.  If you’re interested, I suggest that you do so.  Let’s get back to the music; it’s like a wet dream for fans of Queens Of The Stone Age and Deftones, a band that’s heavy as a dump truck full of cement and steel, yet with modern, experimental and radio-friendly characteristics that make them one hell of a crossover act.  The deluxe version even included some incredibly cool covers of Cheap Trick, Corrosion Of Conformity, and Elliot Smith, along with a couple acoustic renditions of album tracks.  It was relentlessly ambitious in approach, arrangement and scope, and it seemed like Aeges were really poised to go places.

This brings us to Weightless, the band’s third album.  First, I really question the band’s decision to include the song “Echoes,” originally the debut track off of Above And Down Below.  I don’t understand the logic of re-recording and including this song, with only a slightly different arrangement and production.  The band stated that they wrote 30 songs for the album.  I’m feeling rather confused, you wrote 30 songs for your new album, yet rather than showcase one of the other 18 songs that aren’t included, you’re going to include the opener from your prior album? As a fan, frankly, I feel a bit cheated, and I really just don’t understand what they were thinking.  Perhaps if they read this, they can let me know.  I’m all for conversations.  If you ever want to question one of my band’s decisions, please, don’t hesitate to reach out.  I’ll be real with you.

Secondly, I don’t like this record as much as Above And Down Below.  It’s fairly obvious what they’re going for – the vocal arrangements are emphasized, and the riffs take a bit of a backseat in comparison.    I suppose that’s fine and dandy, I mean, the vocals do sound terrific and make great usage of Aeges’s two vocalist approach.  However, I’m a guitarist who sings minimally, so I’m biased.  I’ll admit it.  I want to hear the guitars take the forefront more often than not, and that’s sorely lacking on Weightless. The album is aptly named, as for me, it’s simply lacking in the weight of its predecessors.  It’s like they took that same dump truck, and they filled it with Cool Whip instead, because everyone loves Cool Whip. It’s not like there are no heavy riffs and cool guitar parts on Weightless, quite the opposite.  It’s just that for my perspective, the guitar work on Above And Down Below was downright magical and packed such a wallop.  There were more experiments with tone and texture. That album was such a high point for the band, and my expectations were high for Weightless.  This doesn’t live up. It’s even hard for me to talk about individual songs, honestly, because the only one that stands out is “Echoes”, from Above And Down Below, and as I said, it’s a different version that once again plays up the vocals and downgrades the guitars.

Regardless, it’s a great album with well-crafted songs, strong production and remarkable vocal arrangements.  Some people may regard it as their best album, I can see that.  Remember the jump that Metallica made between ….And Justice For All and The Black Album?? This is an equivalent and equidistant leap. Other than the inclusion of “Echoes”, I can’t really point to any glaring flaws other than the tamer production and the overemphasis on the vocals.  I’m wondering if that’s a conscious choice coinciding with their label change, if they’ve got their eyes on the bigger picture of mainstream radio rock success.  If that’s their motive, I have to say that’s a shame, because I’d like to think that their prior approach was strong enough to give them radio play.   I’m also wondering if rather than writing 30 songs for a new album, they might have been better served focusing more on the intricate details of the ones they chose to include, and had also written something solid enough that they didn’t have to rehash one from the last album.  They’re not BAD songs, don’t get me wrong.  They just don’t possess the weight or the intangible intrepid spirit.  There are not enough risks on this album for me to get totally behind it.  It’s safe as skim milk.  Great art requires us all to drink moonshine straight from the still from time to time.

Tour Schedule:

Aeges_Chevelle Tour Schedule