Category Archives: Music Reviews

Favourite Metal Albums of 2020

After another unintended break due to life beyond the Internet, here lies the final list that may allude to the year we would love to forget. Enjoy disagreeing with my personal favourites!

10. Wolf – Feeding the Machine

Six years after their last album Devil Seed, Swedish metallers Wolf returns with a brand new line-up to full throttle with Feeding the Machine. Frontman Niklas Stålvind is the last original bandmate standing, anchoring the group with his signature vocal that fortunately hits all the right notes.

The infectious energy doesn’t quite match that of their best work in Ravenous and Evil Star, with which they might have peaked too early. For the most part though, the song remains the same as the solos speed on while the riffs charge forth.

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Favourite Rock Albums of 2020

I’m late to the party, but here’s the first of 2 volumes of my favourite albums in 2020. 10 rock records, 10 arbitrary rankings, you know the drill.

10. Philip Sayce – Spirit Rising

The guitar solos are on fire in Philip Sayce’s Spirit Rising and no fan should be surprised. The virtuoso’s technical axe skills remain impeccable as before, while his passion and attitude shine brighter than ever in every note.

Granted his 2012 stunner Steamroller is tough to beat, his latest album comes pretty close to taking the top spot in his discography. His music speaks for itself, proving his place as one of the best blues-rock guitarists today.

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Album Review: Larkin Poe – Self-Made Man

Larkin Poe is back with their fifth release, just two years after their Grammy-nominated Venom & FaithSelf-Made Man clocks in a mere half-hour like before and wastes not a single second, packed to the brim with refreshing exuberance.

You will be hard-pressed to find a more aptly named album. The sister-duo’s self-produced record comes alongside a series of homemade live streams and music videos, just months after a successful world tour. It is a stunning display of marked confidence too, flying the flag high for women in blues.

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Music Recs: Favourite Live Bands

In a perfect world, Slipknot and Trivium would have played one of their finest shows in Singapore earlier this week. But this just hasn’t been the best year. In March, the gig was cancelled as the COVID-19 pandemic brought the planet to a standstill.

It was a disappointment, but our generation lucked out in other ways. At least, we have YouTube! And for now, watching my favourite live bands on screen will have to do.

Nine Inch Nails

Nine Inch Nails stopped by Singapore on their Wave Goodbye Tour in 2009, and thankfully, it wasn’t a permanent farewell. The night presented the best concert I’ve ever been to, without the shadow of a doubt. Aurally and visually stunning, their rock show doubles up as an impressive light display. The energy is indescribable, and this video is the closest one can get to the experience off-site.

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Music Recs: Rock Goes Acoustic

There is a special place in my heart for acoustic renditions of rock music. Back in 1989, MTV Unplugged showed how it is done as artistes like Nirvana and Bryan Adams stripped down some of the finest songs down to their core.

The show may have come and gone, but the trend has thankfully never gone away. Here are six of my recent favourites showing their other side. One rule before we begin, songs that started off as ballads do not count!

Black Mirrors – Günther Kimmich

Alternative rock group Black Mirrors hails from Brussels and first made waves with their brilliant garage rock EP Funky Queen. Their psychedelic leanings make their music perfect for the acoustic treatment, which they have fully embraced in their latest releases.

Slowing down the uptempo Günther Kimmich is their best move by far. Against the backdrop of steady drums thrum and bluesy guitar slides, Marcella Di Troia’s vocal truly soars above the hypnotic atmosphere.

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Album Review: Ron Coolen – Rise

Ron Coolen has done it all. Over the years, the Dutch musician has played in cover bands, raised funds for guitar legend Jason Becker, and hosted a regional radio show in Netherlands. Now, he has gone ahead to release his debut solo album RISE, and it is safe to say that hard rock has gained a star.

Not one for words? Just take a listen to Big Devil Data, the perfect first single to unleash upon unsuspecting audiophiles:

This brilliant opening track sums up the album’s merits, and a little more. The multi-instrumentalist rocks steadily on bass, drums, rhythm guitar, and keyboard, flaunting his flair for rousing riffs and catchy choruses.

It is more than musicality alone that pleases the ear. Penned by Keith St. John (Burning Rain, Lynch Mob) and Francoise Vaal, its lyrical content has something to say, tackling anxieties in a modern world that relinquishes privacy for convenience with no regard for consequence.

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