Set Your Goals: This Will Be The Death of Us

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Set Your Goals has proven that they are a force to be reckoned with in the Pop-Punk scene, and this album only makes that force stronger.

With the release of TWBTDOU, Set Your Goals has evolved more as a band. I think that Set Your Goals just may very well be the future of the pop-punk/hardcore-pop scene. They function together as a band very nicely in unison, and that’s especially hard considering that they have two different vocaslist. The guitar riffs differ from each other, both bringing different things to the table, and finally making other bands relaize why there’s even another guitar in there. The bassist does a nice job of realizing that even though you play bass, that doesn’t mean you have the easiest part in the band, as his riffs can go from nice and subtle to brutal and menacing. And the drummer, probably the most talented in the band.

Their intro song, which has the same name as the album, couldnt be a stronger opener. The drum intro is heaven to anyone’s ears, and the voacals get better and better with each passing second of the song. Although Set Your Goals doesn’t do too much to set themselves apaart from other vocalists in the pop-punk scene, their vocals fit so perfectly with the music that I can’t coplain too much, as I love it anyway. The next great song on the album is Summer Jam. It has such a nice beat to it, and the lyrics are about them touring with each other kind of like AFI’s 6 to 8, except with A LOT more pop.

The next song on the album that really stood out (not that the rest of the great songs are bad), was The Few that Remain, which features Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams. The song is a great mix between hardcore and pop-punk music, that even incorporates some hip-hop beats midway into the song. And if you ever call Set Your Goals, “Too poppy of a band…”, you must listen to the next track, Gaia Bleeds. It’s a straight forward hardcore song with probably the best vocals on the record.

All in all, Set Your Goals hit the jackpot with this album, as it leaps miles ahead of their already good predecesor, Mutiny!. If your a fan of hardcre or pop-punk music, pick up this album now.

Tracks with Scores:

  • This Will be the Death of Us: (10/10)
  • With Hoffman Lenses We Will See the Truth: (9/10)
  • Look Closer: (8.5/10)
  • Summer Jam: (10/10)
  • Like You to Me: (9/10)
  • The Fallen… (8/10)
  • The Few that Remain: (9.5/10)
  • Equals: (10/10)
  • Gaia Bleeds:  (10/10)
  • Flawed Methods of Persecution and Punishment: (9/10) 
  • Arrival Notes: (9.5/10)
  • Our Ethos: (9.5/10)

Overall Score:    93%   (Outstanding!)

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Gallows: Grey Britain

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Could this be possible? A modern-day punk band actually achieveing a masterpiece? Ladies and Gentlemen, this is more true than anything else in the world. Gallows have delivered a near-perfect record that almost improves upon their first one in every aspect, and the great thing is, there weren’t even that many things bad with the first one! In fact, it’s currently one of my favorite records! So with this one being better, you can only expect what I’m about to say.

This punk band and record is perfect.

The record starts of with the song,  The Riverbank, which starts off with a nice fade-in and leads to a ballad to will make your ear-drums explode with angst! The next song, and probably the best song on the record itself, is London is The Reason. It’s a great song that starts off with a nice drum solo and leads to a brutal intro that will leave you speechless, with Frank Carter and his amazing way to get you pumped on and off the stage.

I recently had a chance to go see Gallows when they opened up for AFI back on November 7th, here at the Rivera Theater in Chicago, Illinois. It was probably one of the craziest and most energetic shows I had ever been to in my life. Gallows knew all the right things to do to get the crowd pumped, by starting a circle pit, to crowd surfing, and the band themselves getting in the crowd to taste a piece of the action. There was even an instance where Frank Carter, the singer, dived into the crowd off of a balcony. A balcony!

So it’s quite evident that Gallows are a very raw and energetic band, which makes them stand out in a way. Their first album, Orchestra of Wolves, was a sure-fire hit, with loads of angst and rebellion, but it didn’t really stand out when compared to other hardcore punk records ot just punk bands in general. But this record puts Gallows in a position where tey can either embrace heir new, more edgy punk sound, or they can continue down the path of becoming another scene-punk band. I’m sure glad Gallows chose the first option.

In all actuality, Gallows could create a full acoustic record, and it’d still be filled with angst and energy.

Some other choice picks off of this damn good record is Leeches, which is just a great song to headbang to, or mosh to if you ever have the privelege to see them live. The Vulture (Acts I&II)  is a slow acoutic number that just seems so right, and it’s placing on the middle of the record wasa good choice. It was sort of like a heavenly break from all the madness before it, and a prelude to all the madness that would follow it. A great song is The Great Forgiver, which is probably the most melodic rock song on the album, and it’s a great one at that. The albums closer, Crucifucks, is a great way to end the album with a great, angsty closing which leads to a soft fade-out…7 minutes of pure magic.

So what do I think of the album overall? I think the album is so close to perfect, you can taste the blood you’ll find on your body after seeing these guys live. It’s a contender for my Album of the Year award, and if it wins, it will have deserved it. If you don’t own this album, pick it up now!

Tracks listing with Scores:

  • The Riverbank: 10/10
  • London is the Reason: 10/10
  • Leeches: 10/10
  • Black Eyes: 9/10
  • I Dread the Night: 9.5/10
  • Death Voices: 9/10
  • The Vulture (Acts I&II): 10/10
  • The Riverbed: 10/10
  • The Great Forgiver: 10/10
  • Graves: 8/10
  • Queensberry Rules: 9.5/10
  • Misery: 10/10
  • Crucifucks: 10/10

Total Score:  125/130  =   97%   (Excellence!)

AFI: Crash Love

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It’s been three years since a fully-fledged A Fire Inside record. This album really came out of nowhere, and I’m really liking what I’m hearing. Crash Love is definetely one of AFI’s most unique approaches, and to think, many critics and fans thought that they could have gotten any more unique after Decemberunderground. But AFI have really pulled something out of the bag with this one. Every album has it’s ups and downs, but AFi were able to overlook the negative reviews and hate from their past, and not get cocky from most of the praise and fans. and move on to almost twenty years of rocking it out, and this album really brings out the true shine these vets have to offer to the Alternative scene.

This record really feels complete, in a sense that they sort of compile AFI beats from all records. If you listen closely, you can hear reminecent things from even the 90’s, like the album’s song, Sacrilege. This song has a very punk-vibe to it, and is nostalgic for those who have been long time AFI fans. People also loved the Alternative side of AFI which was really during the early 2000’s, like AoD and Sing the Sorrow. Something you don’t really see in this record is an electronic vibe. The band seems to have moved on from that sound, which was extremely abundant in their past album. They have been able to produce a full rock album, and it’s a success. The full rock vibe even kicks in with the album opener, Torch Song, which is a complete achievement in it’s own. The album is not too short either, but doesnot linger on.

Overall, the record is a success. Is it a spiritual sequel to Sing the Sorrow? No. This album has an identity of it’s own. An identity that deserves a great deal of positive reception in the rock community. It compiles nostalgic AFI music, with mid-career blowouts, and new ballads that you’ll find humming to yourself constantly. This album could not have been better, and I think that AFI really hit the jackpot with this one.

Tracks with Scores:

  • Torch Song: 10/10
  • Beautiful Thieves: 8/10
  • End Transmission: 8/10
  • Too Shy To Scream: 8.5/10
  • Veronica Sawyer Smokes: 7.5/10
  • Okay, I feel Better Now: 9/10
  • Medicate: 10/10
  • I Am Trying Very Hard To Be Here: 10/10
  • Sacrilege: 10/10
  • Darling, I Want to Destroy You: 9/10
  • Cold Hands: 8.5/10
  • It Was Mine: 9.5/10

Overall Score: 108/120 =    90% (Outstanding!)

The Gorillaz: Demon Days

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HalfSwiss was here, have a party with Afifan and the Gorillaz.

The Gorillaz have earned their fair-share of fans and infamy these days. I found that me being a big fan of alternative music meant that I had to be open to all types of Alternative style, including cartoons. Yes, these characters may not physically here, but musically, they couldn’t be any better. The gorillaz have released songs that have reached the bottom and top of charts, and this can also be said about Demon Days, their most recent release. the album features Alternative hits and catchy hooks that you’ll find yourself humming throughout the day.

The album’s opener, “Intro” features the more electronic side of the record that is actually a real great success. The song feels right for an intro, and doesn’t seems overdone, especially considering the fact that the song is just a bit over a minute long. It’s very nice, and is one of the best on the record. Then the record takes you to Last Living Souls, a more rock-oriented song, but still has much electronic influence. The song has a beat that you’ll find yourself snapping your fingers or whistling to constantly, in a good way. The record then goes on with a great, even flow.

the record has it’s ups and downs though. the vocals are sub-par, and are no where near as great as the inspirational debut album, Gorillaz. But honestly, that’s my only complaint.

The Gorillaz are a band that have changed the alternative music scene. They’ve combined rock with hip hop, jazz influences with pop. The Gorillaz, and Demon Days, are a success. If your a love of rock, hip hop, or just music in general, I suggest picking up this album, or at least giving it a listen. you’ll thank me in the longrun.

Overall Score:    92% (Outstanding!)

All Time Low: Nothing Personal

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These pop-punksters have been rocking out since early 2003, and they were the kind of band that you thoguht would record one record, fight, and break up to create five other pop-punk bands that sound exactly alike. The scenario is not the story for these punk rockers. Although they have created a name for themselves in the pop-punk scene as being “blink-182” posers, or “The guys who just got lucky”, All Time Low have proven that they have something to say through their music. This whole, “every band sound the same” thing in the pop-punk scene didn’t really start until Panic! released their first album, and it all went downhill from there, with pop-punk wannabes like Forever The Sicket Kids, Hey Monday, Boys Like Girls, Cobra Starship, and more. But All Time Low’s debut album “The Party Scene” proved that they weren’t like all the other pop-punk fakers out there.

This album says the same.

The album starts with the “Weightless”, a song with a damn catchy tune that you’ll find yourself humming every now and then. The approach with Weightless starts off with a fade-in, which isn’t exactly the most original concept for an opener, but All Time Low proves to pull it off without having to linger the song on for 2 minutes without singing. Right off the bat, lead singer Alex Gaskarth sings his heart away that keeps the fans screaming the lyircs, and the critics pleased.

The rest of the album is also pretty straight-forward to say the truth. the major dissapointment soon crawls in though. Although I’ve stated many positive things about All Time Low and this record, the album was close to being another geneirc pop album that just wasn’t going to cut, and let me tell you why. the album features tracks that sound strikingly similar to each other. Although I don’t know if this was true, information was released that the rocks went into the studio in January 09, and left early February.

Only a month of work on this album?

It’s apparent really, because the album feels like it was rushed. Although their prior album, “So Wrong, it’s Right” was released in 2007, which leaves a 2-year gap between albums, this album doesn’t seems to have a consistent flow of genre. Sticking to one genre isn’t a bad thing at all, but when every song sounds the same on a record, it just won’t cut it in the industry. This was NP’s biggest mistake. The album tracks sound much to similar to each other, and the only track that differs on the record is “Too Much”…and it’s a bit too much on the different side. The track leaves the band hanging as to where to go, and the electronics stray too far from the albums core, leaving it at an unorganized disadvantage.

But overall, the albums was extremely pleasing. Sometimes sounds the same isn’t the worst approach, and it’s definetely one of the best pop-punk albums I’ve listened to in a long time, in fact, it just might be up to par with blink-182 material, although it didn’t leave the same effect as the trio did and does today (yay!). the album is a total pickup if your an ATL fan or a lover of pop-punk music in general.

Scores:

  • Weightless: 8/10
  • Break Your Little Heart: 7.5/10
  • Damned if I do Ya, Damned if I don’t: 7.5/10
  • Lost in Stereo: 7/10
  • Stella: 7/10
  • Sick Little Games: 6.5/10
  • Hello Brooklyn: 7.5/10
  • Walls: 7.5/10
  • Too Much: 5.5/10
  • Keep The Change, you Filthy Animal: 8/10
  • A Party Song: 7/10
  • Therapy: 7/10

Overall Score:  86/120  =  72% (Passable)

Alkaline Trio: From Here To Infirmary

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Well, seeing as though I’ve already reviewed the first two Alkaline Trio albums, Godammit! and Maybe I’ll Catch Fire, I thought that it would only be customary to review the thrid one, and the remaining ones so that I could complete the collection of reviews for my favorite Chicago punksters.

Well, although I loved the first two albums, and they have a place near and dear to my heart, I can’t really say the same when it comes to this album, their thrid installment. Alklaine Trio have been known to be one of the most talented punk bands out there, with their catchy riffs, almost-perfect lyrics, and aggresive drum and bass beats. But what happened during the recording of this album?

Alkaline Trio, in the day, would release Albums yearly, and it was only apparent and reasonable to believe that they would have a slump eventually. This is it. Although the album features super catchy tunes like “Mr.Chainsaw” and “I’m Dying Tomorrow”…it just doesn’t feel like the Trio we knew and loved before. This album feels a lot more soft, and it seems that they tried to spend more time polishing the album, rather than making it their next best hit, and a favorite for the fans. Alkaline Trio seemed to have been losing their edge…fast.

But, although all these negative things came up with the record, it wasn’t a total baddie. In fact, I still enjoyed this album quite a bit. Although it’s a bit softer, songs like “You’re Dead” and “Bloodied Up” can really sound like hits, and songs that you could listen to over and over again. Even if they are a bit softer.

They also didn’t stray too far from their aggressive core. Songs like “Steamer Trunk”, “Crawl”, and “Private Eye” all have a hard, fast punk beat. And I really can’t complain at all with those songs, I really love them.

Even though the album wasn’t their best, it was still good. I would recommend picking it up if your a Trio fan.  

Tracks With Scores:

  • Private Eye   :   7/10
  • Mr.Chainsaw  :  8/10
  • Takes Lots With Alcohol  :  8/10
  • Stupid Kid  :  4/10
  • Another Innocent Girl  :  7.5/10
  • Steamer Trunk  :  10/10
  • You’re Dead  :  10/10
  • Armageddon  :  6/10
  • I’m Dying Tomorrow  :  8/10
  • Bloodied Up  :  8/10
  • Trucks and Trains  :  8/10
  • Crawl  :  10/10

Overall Score  :  94.5/120  ( 79% ) = Fair

Alkaline Trio: Maybe I’ll Catch Fire

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“Shakin’, like a dog sh***ing razorblades, waking up next to nothing. After dreaming, of you and me, I’m waking up all alone, waking so releived, while your, taking your time with apologies. I’m making plans for revenge. Red eyes on orange horizons, if Colombus was wrong, I’d drive straight off the edge. I’d drive straight off the edge.”    – Radio; Alkaline Trio (Maybe I’ll Catch Fire)

Let me tell you one thing, this album is almost perfect.

For any lover of punk rock, this album would be an ace hit right from the beginning. Alkaline Trio are talented bunch of lads from the streets of Chicago, all just trying to do what they love, write music. Well they really aced it with this album. It’s absolutely spectacular.

Alkaline Trio’s debut album, Godamnit!, was a sure hit. It was one of the best records I’ve ever listened to, and especially considering it was their first LP, it was just unreal. And no one really thought that any band could follow up an album like that, well, Alkaline Trio did. Maybe I’ll Catch Fire is one of the most intriguing and inspirational albums I’ve  ever listened to.

Lyrically, the album is fantastic. As their first album focused more on love and drinking, this album focuses a lot on the darker side of life, and would soon launch Alkaline Trio’s unique trend with death and alcohol. The album starts off with the song “Keep em Coming”, and it’s one hell of an opener. Lyrically, musically, and spiritually, the song is sheer hit, and one of the best on the record. Some of my personal favorites were “Keep em Coming”, “Madam Me”, “Maybe I’ll Catch Fire”, “She Took Him To The Lake”, “Fu** You Aurora”, “5-3-10-4”, and “Radio”.

The album is near perfect, only because no record is ever “100% Perfect”. But if there was ever an album closest to that, this one would be it. If you don’t own this album, pick it up, download it from iTunes, I don’t care! Listen to it, it’ll change your life…musically.

Tracks with Scores:

  • Keep Em Coming (10/10)
  • Madam Me (10/10)
  • You’ve Got So Far To Go (9.7/10)
  • Fu** You Aurora (10/10)
  • Sleepyhead (9.8/10)
  • Maybe I’ll Catch Fire (10/10)
  • Tuck Me In (9.7/10)
  • She Took Him to The Lake (10/10)
  • 5-3-10-4 (10/10)
  • Radio (10/10)

Overall Score: 99.2/100   =    99%  (Excellence!)

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