Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cutting Through The American Noise

WOW!!! To quote a title from Sweet Comfort Band, The Waiting Is Over.

Let me take a breath and rewind. Expectations are a cruel thing, and usually they are not met and disappointment ensues. The best out there usually wind up just meeting our expectations and leave us feeling... satisfied.

Then there are the truly rarefied air bands. They are the acts that not only clear the bar of expectation every time, they can clear it so well that they make further comparison ridiculous. Such a band is +Skillet.

Skillet had a less then industry changing debut in 1996, and even Nostradamus wouldn't have predicted their success. To be fair I got their debut CD after I was hooked. I came in at Hey You, I Love Your Soul, which though only their second album, represented a giant leap in talent and production. Beginning with Invincible, Korey Cooper, John's Wife, came on board to add programming, synthesizers and backing vocals. She also runs the band. (If you don't believe me, look at the credits for her name on any album).

Rise has been haled as the bands Magnum Opus, and hint that this may be their swan song. I hope it's not, but if it is, talk about going out on top. Though Korey has hit the big 4-0 and John is pushing it, the couple are in tremendous shape and I think with the popularity the band has they will be chasing Petra's longevity before long.

Rise is a Theme Album, like FM Static's Dear Diary, though on a much darker note. The Theme is Evil, and what we must do to stand against it. It is brought into focus with the 911 Montage ending the title cut, where we are urged to "Rise in Revolution", against the world system if we're "Sick of it", which reintroduces the long missing electronic edge of the band.

Chicks rule on Rise . The album marks the "introduction" of Jen Ledger to the world. Though she has been drummer since Comatose (2006), she shines on this time, and is even allowed to (almost) carry a few songs (three: Salvation, Fire and Fury and What I believe).

This could be Skillet's hardest rocking album, though ballads like Good To Be Alive, American Noise and Salvation could steal the show. They also create a few mega songs by using intros between Rise and Sick of It, Good to Be Alive and Not Gonna Die, and Madness in Me and Salvation. We still find room for strings, another Korey Cooper specialty, on Salvation especially.

Music Videos don't usually capture the intensity of the album, and lyric videos even less so. However for Rise Skillet has managed to do it. A "lyric video" with an animated dystopian world.

The only bad thing to say is that I have to give this album a measly 5 Emeralds. I mean, I've got this on auto repeat as long as Billboard Magazine has the preview up. 50 Emeralds is more like it. Rise in Revolution, buy the album. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Groundhog Blues: Winter 2013 Releases - Modern Worship

Well this is finally it. I know it because I have everything checked off. There are no more 2nd Quarter Releases to be rated. We end the quarter with Modern Worship, which was a big contributor this time around. A whopping 25 entrants hopped into the pool. That guy at the pool of Bethesda couldn't get past that Stampede. That number is almost enough for four years. Major judging in this category.

Modern Worship

I know, that's quite a list. Still, there are a few points of mention. Rend Collective is always a solid contender, as is The Ember Days. Surprisingly we got a perfect 5 in worship this time around from Kim Walker Smith. 5's in Modern Worship just doesn't happen. I guess there's a first for everything. On to the spring releases. Third Quarter ends in a few days. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Groundhog Blues: Winter 2013 Releases - Hard Rock

Just when you think you have things under control, you discover a whole pile of stuff you forgot about. I guess it serves to keep you "humble". I thought I was done with the recap of PVA Pool Eligible releases for the winter months, but I had neglected three genres. In the last post I handled the Adult Contemporary Releases. This time around we will deal with Hard Rock and Heavy Metal.

Seven releases made the cut this quarter. Now if all of them made it to the finals that would be it. We know that won't be the case, however.

Hard Rock/Heavy Metal

One more post to go. Just a friendly reminder. Please, if you are intrigued by any of the releases. Click Through to Amazon and support The Night Beat at the same time. Until next time, when we will be doing Modern Worship, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, June 14, 2013

The Groundhog Blues: Winter 2013 Releases - Adult Contemporary

Sometimes housecleaning turns up a few treasures. It did this time. I thought I had things under control. I was up to date with the new releases, the Platinum Vinyl Awards was posted, and I was happy. Then I discovered among my notes some of the Winter Quarter Releases I hadn't posted. For newbies that is Jan-March of this year. The Spring Releases are almost all in. I had neglected Adult Contemporary, Modern Worship, and Heavy Metal.

Adult Contemporary/Inspirational

As you can see there were a lot. Over a full years category if they all made it in. Jenny Simmons is starting a shower of former Addison Road Members releasing albums. This month another member, Brandy Allison, also has a release. 

That does it for Adult Contemporary. Two more to go. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Night Beat Rewind: May 2013

Things are finally getting back to normal. In April's edition of Night Beat Rewind I mentioned that no releases missed the mark. This month seven missed the threshold. On the other hand, four releases were labeled as Pure Platinum, the most in any month since this blog started (Technically there were 5 Perfect Albums in October 2012, but since two of them were Christmas Music, and there wasn't a Platinum Vinyl Award Category for that, they aren't counted). If I don't get a handle on things you are going to think that I hand out Fives like candy. If I didn't hand out an abundance of 4.75's, things would really be out of control.

We like to begin with those albums which we said were

Missing The Mark

To all my new readers, I like to mention that like the 4.75 rating, the 3.75 rating is sort of a cop out. When I think the album is very good, but not really award worthy, I give it 3.75. I don't start making judgements unless its 3.50 or below. There were, however, releases which really wowed me. These are they which are:

Pure Platinum

 The perfect list was all over the place. Rock for Elefante, Gospel for Bady, Electronic for ATBL and Yancy did her usual genre switch, this time either Inspirational or Modern Worship. I like to call the albums that fell somewhere in between these two

Semi-Precious Metal

That concludes the May edition of Night Beat Rewind. It's only June 3. That makes me very happy. What would make me even happier would be for you to click on the links and buy the music from Amazon. You help support the work of The Night Beat at the same time. Except for Allistair and All the Bright Lights. Allistair is on noisetrade for free. ATBL appears to be delayed, but the link will take you to a pre-order. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.