Unida - Coping With The Urban Coyote.
Live music can be very powerful. The honest truth with this. Iíd written a review of it - it was ok, but it didnít inspire me. Then, Unida did a free gig at the Angel in Nottingham, which I was lucky enough to witness. And on the sheer strength of the performance, I walked away knowing that I had to listen to this again, and see how it hit me. Now, you may think thatís a little unfair, maybe even showing bias or allowing myself to be influenced and swayed, and well you may be right. But like I said, thatís part of the power of music. It can move you, or change your opinion of something.
See, this is more bluesy, more like say AC/DC than stuff I normally listen to. To be perfectly honest, I always found AC/DC boring as hell. I normally like stuff with a bit more ooomph you know. But thereís maybe the point and the problem. I have to listen to this for what it is, not what I want everything to be. And the gig had kind of illustrated to me that if I did listen, if I did persever, then maybe thereís something here that I actually like.
Another reason I listened again, is that initially, and still, I think the vocals of John Garcia are mixed a little too low in this, whereas live they were more to the front, which kind of gave it more of a balance.
It may be intentional. It may be designed exactly to downplay the voice. But to my mind itís forgoing its greatest weapon here. Of all the songs, itís the nine minute plus closer of You Wish that steals the show. It was the first few times I listened to the album and was unsure, it stood out like a beacon, and it still does to me. The almighty riff is dropped a little, and thereís more use of an atmospheric build up. Driven along on the crest of the bass and with a lovely melodic lilting guitar to aid it Garciaís voice is brought more to the front as a result. Heís also being very mellow, blissful and laidback - it almost sounds feminine. It builds, but its majestic.
On the kind of second chance if you will, things to become more obvious to me. Maybe Iím just picking up on those things now after seeing them live, but thereís little riffs, little bass licks, and the overall groove making a lot more sense. Itís also a bit more varied than I initially put it down as. And to be fair, whenever a certain soundengineer is engineering sound for bands at some venue, you can be almost guarantted this CD will be playing between sets. And then? It rocks like a bit of a bastard to be honest.
Cradle of Filth - From The Cradle to Enslave EP
Oh good God. I've received a Cradle of Filth EP, and I'm therefore about to embark on my first ever listen to this rather well known little combo. What will I make of it all? Well, to find the answer to that, you're going to have to read on. If you can be arsed. First track is the title track From The Cradle to Enslave, and musically I like it. It's heavy, yet still melodic, I reckon I can detect hints of the Maiden influence in some of the guitar work, and the drums drive it along nicely - I'm still a sucker for that double bass rumble. The keyboards add a bit of atmosphere. And the female vocals are nice. Ah vocals. I've read many a tale of the love it or hate it dilemma of Dani's voice. And I suspect I'm not the first to say I think it spoils it all a bit. It's not necessarily whether this growl and shriek I'm so scary style is just stupid or not, more that I just reckon it doesn't wholly fit the music. Of Dark Blood and F**king is next. Their "spelling" not mine. The drums have moved up a notch to the hyperspeed movement, which is sometimes a little pointless. You can almost hear the spittle emerging from Dani's mouth on some of this. Which I don't need. Someone pass the towel please. And then his voice just drops to a "how deep can you go" thing. The guitars take a backdrop this time, as the speed means there's no real chance of a memorable riff. It's not until they drop the pace during the middle of the song that anything vaguely memorable emerges. Plus I think it's a dumb title.
Weíve got a couple of covers, the Misfitís Death Comes Ripping which features an uncannily accurate vocal impression of Mr. Danzig by Dani. Ok, I was kidding. Thereís also a cover of Sleepless by Anathema, but as to my shame Iíve still not got round to hearing the original, I canít comment on whether itís accurate or faithful or bollocks. Treated as a song in itís own right, well it certainly shows a difference in style between the two bands, and at the moment it has to be said, Anathema have the classic album. The EP finishes with a couple of remixes of other CoF toooons. The first being a remix of the title track, retitled Perverts Church here. Plenty of appropriate blips, that remix drum sound - you know the one especially the drum roll thing. Itís all there. Any good? Depends if you like remixes or not. Though I suspect some people hearing the remix only might get something of a shock if they listened to the original. Ainít that what itís all about. Shock with the possibility of crossover potential. Mind you, a road gives crossover potential. The final one is Funeral In Carpathia (Be Quick or be Dead verion), whicih made me expect a Maiden tribute. And although thereís some guitar moments reminiscent of them (and Helloween - ha, that could piss people off) it sounds like itís probably fairly standard CoF fair. Overall dunno. Musically I can deal with it. Vocals are hmmmm. The mix of stuff here means itís hard as a new listener to judge the band, and whether as a fan youíd be getting a fair deal. If itís sold at an EP price, ie, 4 quid or under, then itís great value given its 32 minute playing time. Charge 7 or 8 quid for it, and you could be extracting the urine somewhat.