70%

Thu
26
Jun

TESLA - Simplicity (Review)

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BOTTOM LINE
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A few classic Tesla tracks, and a few great ballads also, but too few rockers that deliver and way too many tracks overall – and slow ones at that.
Coupled with the stripped back production, Simplicity isn’t good enough to match what is otherwise a very consistent and impressive catalogue of albums over the years.
I remain a huge Tesla fan, but won’t be coming back to this album too often. Just a few individual tracks.
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SCORE
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70%
section name: 
TRACK LISTING
Produced By: 
Tesla
Running Time: 
65
Release Date: 
2014
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
Melodic Hard Rock
Label: 
Frontiers Records
Artist: 
Thursday, June 26, 2014
Categories: 
 
As a longtime fan of this band – since the very beginning actually – I feel that I’m more than qualified to call this new album the band’s weakest to date.
The essential quadrilogy of Mechanical Resonance (one of the best debut albums in history), The Great Radio Controversy, Psychotic Supper (again, utterly essential) and Bust a Nut are four of the best American hard rock albums I own.
I’ve not rushed into this review hoping the album would grow on me more than it has. But I’m still stuck in a middle ground of appreciating some of the tracks on here as classic Tesla brilliance, but overall, there are several tracks that fall flat and simply drag.
 
Simplicity is a case of what could and should have been rather than what is.
Style wise the band has stripped the sound right back. This is a pretty raw affair, with a live in the studio feel.
That in itself is ok, but the album is way too bloated at 15 tracks. An 11 track album would have flowed better and maintained a better tempo. As it is, the album drags through too many slower tracks and a couple of true fillers.
 
I don’t think they do themselves any favors leading off with the plodding MP3 as an opening track. It’s an ok song, but it is a mid-album track I think. The faster and more classic sounding Ricochet would have made a much better opening track.
Rise And Fall is another pretty decent track and is reminiscent of the classic Tesla sound, but I’m not sure about the sequencing at all as this track also has that mid-tempo pace.
So Divine is a uptempo rocker. Better for rocking, but let down by not being one of the band’s better tracks.
The slow bar room boogie of the acoustic driven Cross My Heart again affects the flow of the album.
The heartfelt rock ballad Honestly is a great track, but this album really has no flow.
 
Flip Side is another bar room boogie track that highlights the back and forth nature of the style and tempo within the album.
Other Than Me is another ballad and a pretty decent track in many ways, but as a die-hard Tesla fan, I’m hanging out for a classic rocker at this stage.
Break Of Dawn delivers the tempo, but perhaps not the song quality. It’s pretty raw and does grow on you and might have fared better in a revised shuffle of the running order.
Burnout To Fade is yet another slower track – another acoustic ballad which is one of my preferred slower tracks on the album, but I’m really suffering from lack of tempo.
And what do we get now, yes, another slow ballad. Life Is A River is once again, a decent enough track, but to many slow tracks are killing this album.
Sympathy picks up the pace with a heavy, but it’s a modern rocker with little redeeming value.
Time Bomb is almost there – the twin guitar attack and frantic pace is great and long overdue on the album.
Closing out the 14 new studio tracks is yet another acoustic driven ballad. Fortunately for the band it is the album’s best ballad. Classic Tesla all the way.
 
Score: 
70
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Mon
16
Jun

ASIA - Gravitas (Review)

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section name: 
BOTTOM LINE
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This is a really painfully slow album to get through. I spoke of the occasional joys of a nice mellow album, but in this case, the songs are simply frightfully dull and lacking any enthusiasm by those performing them. The production and style of the album is as close to classic 80s Asia as you could imagine, but it's wasted on some tepid pacing and dull songs. 

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SCORE
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70%

 

Produced By: 
Asia
Running Time: 
47
Release Date: 
2014
Released: 
Worldwide
Musical Style: 
AOR, Classic Rock
Label: 
Frontiers Records
Artist: 
Monday, June 16, 2014
Categories: 
Asia delivers another new album in pretty quick time following their acclaimed XXX album in 2012. Gone is guitarist Steve Howe and in his place is young gun Sam Coulson.
The band has stuck to its mantra of slick, polished AOR, staying true to their original early 80s style.
Unfortunately the band seems to have slipped back into the slow to mid-tempo slumber that has been an issue in recent albums. The brief sojourn into a more uptempo realm on XXX is once again abandoned in favor of a moped in first gear here.
The production of course is super smooth and multi-layered, but the songs….dull I'm afraid.
Kicking off with what is possible the most annoying chorus in at least a decade, Valkyrie has a nice laid back verse reminiscent of the band's debut album, but that chorus makes you want to stick cacti in your ear.
Then comes 8 minute title track, where there's no sign of life until near the 3 minute mark. Followed of course by an ultra-slow ballad, a painfully slow song followed by the mid-tempo quirk of Nyctophobia which is kind of annoying also.
Russian Dolls is then another slow song before Heaven Help Me Now finally hits second gear.
That's followed by the album's best track – the slightly anthemic (in a mellow way) I Would Die For You.
That's followed by the horribly slow and dull Joe Di Maggio's Glove and the slightly more dramatic Till We Meet Again to close the album.
Score: 
70
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