Sunday, March 30, 2014

#6 Ian Albrecht's Favorite Albums to Date - #6 Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

My Favourite Albums To Date: #6
Artist- Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
Album- Don't You Fake It
Genre- Post-Hardcore/Alternative Rock
Lyrics 92/100, Vocals 93/100, Instrumental 94/100

This is easily one of my favourite albums, beginning to end. The songs on this album are so consistent that there really isn't a single track that I would consider better than the others, unlike most of the albums on my top-twenty list.
This album was initially released in 2006, then re-released in 2007 with two bonus songs… and holy were those bonus songs amazing, but I will discuss them later.

So right out of the gate, this album’s first track’s impact is fast paced, in your face, heavy, and let’s-start-a-fight. Combine Ronnie Winter’s awesome screams an overall amazing instrumental, and "In Fate's Hand" is the perfect introductory song to this album.

The first song worthy of serious discussion is also the most popularly known song on the album, "Face Down". This song is profound. Honestly, I cannot think of a way to make this song any stronger than it is! Just the raw emotion of Ronnie's voice paints the perfect image of a victimized girl in an abusive relationship with some dirt-bag ‘boyfriend’. The track’s chorus contains the best lyrical part of the whole song.

With lines like "Do you feel like a man when you push her around? Do you feel better now as she falls to the ground? Well, I'll tell you my friend, one day this world's gonna end. As your lies crumble down, a new life she has found"

The words clearly reflect the deep affection the song’s author had for this girl. The underlining feeling of the whole album is that the guy who wrote it, truly loved this girl in every way possible, but she never figured it out. Sadly, at the end of the original release of this album we learn that she had died before she even got to hear all of this.  Like a love letter never received.

The song "Grim Goodbye" might be the most heart-wrenching song I have heard in ages. The song begins strictly instrumental then Ronnie’s pure agony comes through as crying/ screaming/and singing. It literally has brought tears to my eyes. Not enough to cry but it has caused me many bleary-eyed moments. This part of the song always gets to me:

 "But wait, now that I've found you, situations from dark now change to gray. Disregarding my absence of memories, it's perpetually blinding me of sanity, and just when I'm giving in, as I try to scale these walls Jericho falls around me and I feel that I've strayed too long. And darkness is fading in, and darkness is real." Yes, the chills this album brings me are damn real.

Now in the re-released album, they included an acoustic version of "Face Down" and the result is a much sadder, less angry output. So for an average guy, I suggest the original and for an average girl, I suggest the acoustic version.

This whole album just flows together so amazingly. From Ronnie's incredible voice (be it singing or screaming) to Duke and Elias' guitar riffs intertwining and complementing throughout the whole album. It’s a complete, consistent, and consummate effort. For songs about women, the lyrics are some of the best I have heard – pretty impressive considering 90% of songs seem to be written about love and women.

Songs To Check Out: Face Down (Both Versions), Grim Goodbye, False Pretense, Seventeen Ain't So Sweet, Cat And Mouse

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Freemasonry Album Review by Ian Albrecht

Album Review by Ian Albrecht
Freemasonry- Sparrin’ With The Varmint

The opening song is called “Lick Clean Method” and is a short (1:32 m) segue way to a quick paced CD. The vocals in the opening song aren’t anything special. It sounds as if they are trying too hard for the punk edge over a rock organization. The general sound of the band appears like “The Misfits” with a style of yelling the vocals over a very repetitive instrumental.

I am into the third song “Kitty Come Home” and so far all of the songs have sounded the same, vocally. The only difference has been the drumming, which seems to be consistent and at this point in the album, it’s the strongest component of the band. 

One thing that has been very noticeable throughout the album is the odd fact that the singer’s voice appears to always be overwhelmed up by the instrumental, which either means the studio’s sound mixers doesn’t know what they’re doing, e.g. they wanted to go for a more distorted sound or they were trying to cover up his voice because it just isn’t up to standard.

The eighth track (of fifteen) on this album is called “Mystical Union” and the first 1:44 of the song is the same, repetitive instrumental. At this point, the album has become increasingly hard to listen to with all of the songs, sounding the same. Now some bands can get away with this style, because they change things up just a little bit, like with their tempo or use of breakdowns and bridges. A band to do this successfully would be “As I Lay Dying” but the Metalcore genre is a lot more basic with how different the bands can sound. There is only so much variation one can apply.

If I were to choose a “favourite” song, which is difficult given almost all of these songs are weak; I would choose “If It Isn’t One Thing”. However, the biggest problem with this band is their drawn out, boring, repetitive intros!

Overall Rating: 3.2/10

Friday, March 14, 2014

Don't feel like cleaning? Call.. EXCELCOR

A young acquaintance of mine, Nathan, is part owner of a custodial service called XCELCOR Cleaning. He and Excelcor staff are able to clean everywhere from residential, to offices to small cafĂ©’s, as well as restaurants/ eateries.

If you are in a tight spot and need some cleaning done -  call XCELCOR. Perhaps you have invited people for dinner, yet still need to get your hair done before swinging by Daycare to pick up your children – call XCELCOR so you come home to a clean environment.

You might be the owner of an apartment complex who needs a reliable company to clean and organize an apartment after a tenant moves without notice. An apartment manager would be wise to leave the clearning to XCELCOR, and therefore the owner would only need to know.that a new tenant has arrived.

Best of all - especially for us environmently friendly West-Coasters, XCELCOR only uses Green Echo Logo certified products.

Check out their site or better yet, give them a call and get an estimate. Tell them Christine A recommended you, and tap them for a discount.  Good luck with the estimate, I'm sure you'll find them to be fair : 604 XCELCOR  604 923 5267  If you share their Facebook page, you will have the chance to win an Apple TV!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

#7 Favourite Albums... to Date - Thrice, Artist in the Ambulance - by Ian Albrecht

My Favourite Albums To Date By Ian Albrecht:
Artist- Thrice
Album- Artist In The Ambulance
Genre- Post-Hardcore/Emo

Lyrics 91/100, Vocals 88/100, Instrumental 92/100

This is Thrice's third album, though first on a major label, and is an absolute masterpiece of Post-Hardcore genre albums. All the songs flowed into each other and the album has a solid sound that doesn’t get annoying or old, like more Post-Hardcore bands. Also, this album demonstrates that the Post-Hardcore genre is good for an entire album, not just one or two songs. Although at first the album seems to have a hard rock feel, Dustin Kensrue’s vocals ensure it stays in its proper place.

The only reason someone would tag them as Emo is because their lyrics and subject matter sound very depressing. The first real bad-ass song (in every way) on the album is "All That's Left". This song has a little bit of everything: awesome lyrics, great vocals, amazingly catchy riffs from Teppei and Dustin, and just a great feel, overall. Solid lyrics in this song would be:

"In summers past we'd challenge fate.
With higher pitch and perfect aim.
And standing fast, we'd radiate
a light we loved but never named.
But the answers never came
and our shadows never looked the same."

The above quote, from my understanding, is simply talking about death and how the band questions if there is a heaven, hell, or if you live in limbo, still attached to the earth?

The next song worth addressing is "Stare At The Sun" which is a song that seems to question why horrible things happen to good people, and why is it that no matter what you choose, it seems you made the wrong decision? Probably my second favourite lyrics on the whole album is on this song:

"Do I trust my heart or just my mind,
why is truth so hard to find.
In this world, yeah in this world."

Hereis is great writing because it is simple yet speaks to today’s world and to our struggle to make some serious decisions that sometimes go against our hearts, or ideals. The chorus in that song is also super catchy.

Now, my favourite song, and arguably the best song on this album is "Artist In The Ambulance". I could write an entire review on this song because I believe it has many metaphorical allusions as well as literal references. The song starts with lyrics which paint an amazing picture:

"Late night, brakes lock, hear the tires squeal.
Red light, can't stop so I spin the wheel.
My world goes black before I feel an angel lift me up
and I open bloodshot eyes into fluorescent white.
They flip the siren, hit the lights, close the doors and I am gone."

 The song’s initial intent is clear - it is about the lead singer getting into a car accident, but the rest of the song goes on to theorize about whether he's done enough, or contributed enough in his lifetime? Has he been wasting his life and does he need to reevaluate. and furthermore revisit specific times, so that he may give back to others. It’s a huge question of morality, life, and legacy. Later in the song:

"My world goes black before I feel an angel steal me
 from the greedy jaws of death and chance,
and pull me in with steady hands.
They've given me a second chance,
the artist in the ambulance."

Here, he is talking about himself and his sheer will to survive; or about someone else who had the ability to bring him about… or… is there an artist who is orchestrating all of our lives, giving people a second chance (a do-over) at life? You will have to form your own opinion regarding the intent of this song.

Songs To Check Out: Artist In The Ambulance, Stare At The Sun, The Melting Point Of Wax, Blood Clots And Black Holes