European metal bands have always taken their craft to extreme limits, putting things on record that most metal bands in North America would only dream of doing. Sweden's Impious take the intensity of European death metal one step further by writing a concept album about a guy who cuts off the face of Jesus and wears it as he goes on a killing spree. Take that, Slayer! If the idea of listening to a concept album with such over-the- top subject matter sounds pretty kick-ass to you, how does the idea of listening to said concept album while reading the included 24- page comic book chronicling the masquerade sound? I'm not kid- ding. The band has turned their liner-notes into a comic book that co-exists with the lyrics to tell the complete story, ensuring the band will make it to the top of Tipper Gore's hit list. Musically speaking, Holy Murder Masquerade isn't half bad. The band is insanely talented, blowing out riffs and chug-chug guitars like cannons. Frontman Martin Akesson boasts some truly earth rumbling vocals, while the backing vocals of Robin Sorqvist are like the final boot to your side when you're already down. These guys are intense. While most people won't be able to get past the lyrical content, those that can will find a truly impressive exhibition of metal. If you're looking something heavy and unadulterated, I would high- ly suggest checking out Holy Murder Masquerade.
by Kent Farago
Some albums are so "of a time" that they don't really hold water over the long term, and Hamilton outfit The Reason's new LP, Things Couldn't Be Better, is one of those albums. It comes in on the coat tails of emo-pop bands like Fall Out Boy and Panic! At the Disco, with a distinctly similar sound, and distinctly similar subject matters. Do you hate your dad? Do you feel like people don't understand you? Then this, my friend, is the album for you. Even the guitar riffs sound plucked off of older Fall Out Boy albums. The music is competently performed, with strong vocals, but they sound exactly like every other emo-pop band out there. Slightly nasal, slightly synthesized, but entirely dated. Their MySpace is a strong enough sign of what kind of a band they are - individual pic- tures of band members in black and white, wearing hoodies, looking despondent. The music is extremely formulaic, and doesn't really bring anything new to the table, musi- cally speaking. There are, however, isolated pockets of quality which make their way out of the massive sea of bland. "We're So Beyond This" features a female vocalist who entirely overshadows the lead vocals of Adam White. The song features strong harmonies, and shines when the female vocals take over, leav- ing a sense of vulnerability and honest emo- tion. Emo-pop has been done a million times, by better bands than The Reason. You'd be better served to go get the new Fall Out Boy album.
by Steve Boutilier
Oh, my bleeding ears. Yes, this album is that bad. Acting like a failed Fall Out Boy side-project, the band set- tles for the most forgettable, droning half- assed punk-pop that I have heard all year. And, if you remember my last review, you will realize this quota has already been more than filled. Oh Carillon, what are you trying to do to me? What makes the complete crap that is this album stink even more is the way the album is presented in the band's press kit: "The infectious opening single ‘Insurance?' is a bonafide dance-floor anthem; ‘Guts' is a gui- tar-driven rock song that explores the group's darker side; and with its glitchy beat and stut- tering synths, ...‘Pace Yourself' is guaranteed to get even the most jaded hipster out on the dance floor." Wha-what??? Dance-floor anthem? Explorative rock song? Anything resembling a reason to abandon cynicism and detached cool? I didn't even notice these songs go by, given the depth of my disgust- induced coma. The verdict? May this band continue to burn in the fiery pits of total musical irrele- vance. And, may I figure out what I did to get such bad karma that I end up reviewing such terrible, terrible bands.
by Virginia Harper