Nov. 181. Metallica, “Hardwired … To Self-Destruct”Somehow it has already been eight years since the last Metallica album. Think of all that has changed. Don’t add Metallica to that list of things that have changed. James can still growl with the best of them, Lars is still a mediocre drummer, Kirk is still playing scales as solos and Robert is still somehow the new bassist even after 13 years of being in the band. The three singles that have released so far fit into the mold of “Death Magnetic,” even stepping up the aggression a bit on the title track. I think this will be a fine addition to your “loud rock” collection. Especially now that we all have another machine to rage against.
2. Protest the Hero, “Pacific Myth”Oh man, 16-year-old me loved this band. They play technical proggy metal with high-pitched falsetto vocals. The Canadian group tried something interesting with the release of this one, opting for a subscription-based release schedule, where interested parties could pay a dollar a month to get a song each month. Can’t say for sure how successful the strategy will be, but I applaud them for trying something new to escape the hell hole that the music industry can be sometimes. If you like amazing guitar work and songs you can sing along to, check this one out. You’ll dig it.
3. Bruno Mars, “24k Magic”The rumor is out! Imagine, if you will, a world, pure pop music, and a pure human delivering it. Autotune falls from the heavens and drenches your supple form. You dance. You cannot control yourself. You dance. Is this paradise or is this hell? Is this even a review? No one knows the answer but you.
4. Ion Dissonance, “Cast The First Stone”Whoo boy, this one is a doozy. This is an album where, if you’re not prepared, you might want to go with something a little easier to digest, like Cannibal Corpse. ID makes technical deathcore, along the lines of bands like Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza and The Red Chord. If you like it fast and loud and angry with lyrical themes centered on cynical and sarcastic nihilism, then by all means take this dive. Just don’t be surprised that you have trouble climbing back out.
5. Justice, “Woman”I forgot about Justice. When “(Cross)” came out, it signaled the arrival of EDM in the states on a level that I don’t think anyone expected. “Woman” is simultaneously a look back at disco-themed electronic music and a look forward at electronic music as a whole. While maybe not as instantly catchy and danceable as some of their earlier work, I was surprised at how much I liked the new record. I was never a huge fan of Justice, but this new one brings in everything I loved about “(Cross)” while having the roots of beautiful French techno come out in full force. If the wait for a new Daft Punk album is killing you, check this one out. It will be both familiar and alien.