Nos' Record Roundup: February

Date:2019-02-22 18:35:52
*It's the last release day of the month, and I don't know of anything of interest I haven't heard, so I'm going with this already.*

We got the year off to a bit of a slow start last month, but we put the pedal down in February, that's for sure. There was great stuff, terrible stuff, and plenty to keep things interesting. I wouldn't be surprised if this winds up being the most jam-packed month of the year for big name releases. Let's get right to it.

Album Of The Month: Soen - Lotus

We all knew this was coming. However many times it is by now I've listened to this, it hasn't faded one bit. It's a wonderful mix of heavy and soft, beautiful and dark, but all done with a more hopeful spirit than "Lykaia" had. As much as I loved that record, they might have just topped themselves with this one. It's nearly flawless.

The Good:

Within Temptation - Resist

If not for Soen, this would have been album of the month. The reviews I've seen have been mixed, but I absolutely love it. It probably helps I have no attachment to their symphonic metal stuff. This one is full-on pop, which I said before is like a slower and classier version of Amaranthe's "Helix" from last year. Heavy pop is a great thing when it's done well, and Within Temptation crushed it.

Avantasia - Moonglow

Tobi's done very well for himself again. There's a lot of great stuff here, but if I'm being honest, I think I prefer "Ghostlights" by a little bit. Still, this record is excellent, and I'm more than happy with it. I don't even hate Kiske's appearance. I guess my hope now is to maybe see another Edguy album, so we can have a little more fun with the music.

Dream Theater - Distance Over Time

I didn't like the last two albums, so I wasn't super excited for this one. This is what the self-titled was trying to be, and comes across as a tighter, leaner version of "ADTOE". Since that's my favorite DT record, that's a good thing. It isn't quite that good, but it's one of their better efforts in a long time. I still don't get why they make LaBrie sound so bad, but this is way better than I thought. Now bring on another James solo album!

Beast In Black - From Hell With Love

I hate this singer. One minute he's shrieking, the next he sounds like a woman, it's just not appealing to me. Nor is the 80s worship (why the hell does everyone love that synthetic shit again?). That said, most of the album is really fun pop metal. When they don't try to do too much, they're really good.

Bob Mould - Sunshine Rock

His solo albums have been as much about the sound as the songs. They are all interchangeable, but enjoyable if you like his sound. I'm always torn, where I do like what he's doing, but still wish he had better songs backing it up. This is another solid effort, with a few great tracks, and a few filler ones. The sound is cool, though.

Avril Lavigne - Head Above Water

And here's our diversion from regularly scheduled programming. No, I don't have any great nostalgic pull for "Complicated"-era Avril. I'm not even sure why I gave this record a chance, but I'm glad I did. Other than one trash song, this is actually a really good pop breakup record. I guess I like sad pop.

The Bad:

West Bound - Volume I

This one isn't bad musically. It's not great, but not bad. The production killed it. I couldn't listen to it without hearing so much echo and reverb it physically started to hurt. Roy Z should be ashamed to be part of this.

Candlemass - The Door To Doom

They should have stayed retired.

Last In Line - II

I don't get why this group exists. It was supposed to be the original Dio lineup, but now it's just Viv and Vinny, and most of the album sounds like his boring blues rock band. There's no connection at all to why anyone cared about Viv in the first place.

Spirits Of Fire - S/T

And the worst album of the month yet again features Ripper. This is a record filled with lousy songs, with even lousier production. I almost, but not quite, feel sorry for Ripper that he keeps saddling himself with this kind of trash. Awful.

As for March, it looks right now like it's going to slow things down again. I don't care at all that Children Of Bodom or Devin Townsend are back, and I'm only mildly interested to hear what The End Machine (or however they punctuate it) came up with. The big thing for me in March is going to be the new Forever Still album. That should be good.
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