New Album by The Grand Undoing

Arcade Fire shines a light on Brooklyn at Barclays Center

Arcade Fire shines a light on Brooklyn at Barclays Center

What are we but reflections of ourselves, what others see us as, and what we try to portray ourselves as, often in the form of a mask or a metaphysical disguise? Arcade Fire has decided to tackle this question on their latest album and have pulled it off in a expansive way that only they could do. They started off back in 2001 as a rather odd Canadian import from the sprawling metropolis of Montreal, centering on the husband and wife team of Win Butler and Régine Chassagne and they had a decidedly artsy northern exposure baroque-esque folk sensibility along with other numerous alternative stylings, often augmented with extensive arrangements and a grand array of instruments and players. However, by the time they made a surprising smash with their debut full-length album Funeral in 2004, they had lost a driving founding collaborator Josh Deu. Nonetheless, the band continued to both expand their line-up and their sound as well as climb up the ladder of success with each successive album, and, despite having that distinctively alien Canadian experimental sound, they have experienced little of the success-roadblocks that many of their fellow countrymen have experienced in the past. Their last couple albums have acquired a special amount of intense attention and shown a serious evolution. With their newest offering, Refelctor, they have come of age with an extremely catchy, almost disco-ish, dance beat that carries throughout much of it, which is not to surprising considering LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy produced it. Since it’s release late last year, the band has been busy doing the soundtrack to Spike Jonze’s Her and appearing on a number of compilations including an impressive Peter Gabriel tribute. Still, this is the big support tour everyone was hoping on, and they hit NYC hard with a three-night stand at the massive new indoor arena in downtown Brooklyn called Barclays Center for what was sure to be a definitive moment in their career, so much so that they even requested that people get dressed up for the occasion, which to many meant elaborately wild costumes. I was lucky enough to get press for the second, or the middle, Saturday night show, which is the first time since I saw them play since they killed it at the ridiculously tiny Mercury Lounge in 2003 for the CMJ music fest, and I was ready to be blown away.

Arcade Fire, Dan Deacon, and Unicorns at Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY 8/23/14, review by Dean KeimContinue Reading

Album Review – Overkill

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White Devil Armory

Entertainment One Music

With an ominous fifty second instrumental intro, Overkill’s new album, White Devil Armory, was unclear on which direction it would go in.  It was fifty seconds of suspense and anticipation until “Armorist” kicked in, with the heavy guitar riffs, rapid double bass pedal and the shrill, piercing vocals of singer, Bobby “Blitz” Ellsworth.

For a thrash metal band that was formed in the early 1980s, Overkill stays true to the genre and its fan base with White Devil Armory.  This eleven track album is aggressive, powerful and going full throttle for all of your moshing and head banging needs.  I sat at my desk, forcefully tapping my fingers to the rhythm and thinking it was way too early for this level of chaos.  Then again, listening to this was more effective than coffee, in a way.  It was a good thing I brought my head phones with me because this is probably not the sort of thing that would be appreciated by all of my co-workers at 7:30 on a Monday morning.

All of the songs average out to about five minutes long, give or take, but some of them feel as though they are longer because of repetitive, chanting choruses.  Their music remains consistent from start to finish.  Overkill’s White Devil Armory is comparable to many popular metal bands that rose to stardom during the 1980s and early 90s.  While many of those bands changed with the times, Overkill does not deviate with this album.

While the music is certainly intimidating, the lyrics to follow are empowering.  These songs are battle cries and warrior anthems.  They touch on the darkest of fears and then literally laugh in the faces of them.  No, seriously, at the end of “Down to the Bone” there is actual demonic laughter.

Blow off some steam and get ready to take on just about anything.  If you want to frighten the happy family that is next to you in traffic, you could also put this album to good use.  The language isn’t terribly offensive, but it’s not family friendly by any means.

Overkill will be touring all across the US in September 2014.  They will be making an appearance in their home state of New Jersey at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville on September 27th.  For more tour dates and other information on Overkill and their new release White Devil Armory, please visit their website www.wreckingcrew.com.