Albums of the week: From Slipknot to Feeder
Heavy metal rockers Slipknot seriously impress with their latest offering, in a week that also includes new releases from former American Idol star Tori Kelly, Welsh rock band Feeder and more.
SLIPKNOT - WE ARE NOT YOUR KIND
There is always something primal at the root of a Slipknot album, whether it be the screams of rage or the cracking vocals of heartbreak.
Corey Taylor et al are really on top of their game with their sixth album.
Taking a step back in time, they have created a unique soundscape, the uber-short Insert Coin winding up the crank handle for what is about to spew forth.
I'm wary of saying that Slipknot are embracing the mainstream. However, We Are Not Your Kind branches into being dark metal with gothic-pop leanings.
It is an album that reaches the height of optimism but also delves into the darkness of the human condition.
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HALF ALIVE - NOW, NOT YET
Long Beach indie dance-pop rockers Half Alive are on the cusp of something quite great, with millions of streams and YouTube views already under their belts, as well as a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live in the States.
The high-energy trio - singer Josh Taylor, drummer Brett Kramer and bassist J Tyler Johnson - are managed by the same team behind Twenty One Pilots and have a lot to live up to with their debut album following the release of critically acclaimed single Still Feel.
The infectiously upbeat track is easily the best offering on the entire record, a jazzy-sounding song with an over-exuberant feel and layers upon layers of musical fun.
They clearly try hard with their sound, but not too much - nothing is ever pushed too far with the slick production.
There are moments erring on the more challenging side, but overall, as a first full body of work, this is a coherent, peppy, vibrant offering from the California up-and-comers.
TORI KELLY - INSPIRED BY TRUE EVENTS
Tori Kelly has the type of voice that you can't help but be mesmerised by. In the US singer's third full-length album, Inspired By True Events, she definitely puts those vocal talents to use.
Each of the 16 tracks on offer is like opening a Christmas cracker. You don't know what you'll get but the result is thrilling all the same.
There is no shortage of emotion and depth in this album -the tracklist is proof in itself.
There's no doubting she's poured heart and soul into every inch of this record.
THE REGRETTES - HOW DO YOU LOVE
LA punk-pop group The Regrettes' sound is a mash-up of 1950s girl groups, '70s new wave and '90s grunge, and their second album takes a spiky look at the vintage tropes of love and lust.
A romantic undertone is set with the short opening track, a spoken word poem that asks "are you in love?"
The album then goes on to explore the full cycle of love found, experienced and lost.
Lead vocalist Lydia Night and cohorts mine a rich seam of teen angst set to infectious rock hooks.
Stop and Go, Fog and Pumpkin feature some of the most rousing choruses since Weezer emerged.
Although a lot of fun, at 15 tracks all of a similar tone and tempo, the album could have used a bit more variation.
The pace is a little relentless, but then so is the pace of many relationships.
FEEDER - TALLULAH
A best-of compilation often marks the end of a band, but Feeder carried on regardless, releasing a mini-album of new material called Arrow and now Tallulah, 12 tracks of on-brand alt-rock.
The relative success of The Best Of Feeder offered the Welsh rockers the chance to head out on tour and play to a new cohort of fans.
It's no surprise, then, that having recruited these bodies, Grant Nicholas's outfit choose to stick to the sound that put them in the charts.
Previously they offset their Americana influences with the unbridled energy and spikiness of British guitar music, but here they slip into the slightly grunge-y sound of middle-market alternative rock and end up sounding like a pale imitation.
Even worse, on title track Tallulah they make a foray into an electronic soundscape of soaring synths. But even when trying something new, Feeder sound stale and uninventive.