3/9/18 Release Reviews: Judas Priest, Ministry, Three Days Grace, Twitching Tongues
"Outsider" By Three Days Grace
Genre: Hard Rock
At this point in Three Days Grace's career you know what you're going to get. Their sound has stayed mostly the same through their career even through their singer switch in 2013. A big criticism since new singer Matt Walst's joining is that the lyrics have taken a stark nose dive. Just like on his previous album with the band, Outsider has Walst spitting out more cliched and rudimentary metaphors than ever before. It's evidenced in the track titles alone such as "I Am An Outsider", "Love Me Or Leave Me", and "Nothing To Lose But You". There are some interesting moments in the catchy and melodic "Infra-Red" and the stomping rhythm and unconventional atmosphere of "Me Against You". Though the majority of this record is in the vein of overly familiar post-grunge and stale radio hard rock. This record should be pleasing for long time fans but won't be netting any new comers.
“Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred” By Twitching Tongues
Genre: Stoner Rock/Doom Metal
The eclectic blend of styles that Twitching Tongues employ came to polished fruition on their previous record Disharmony. A unique blend of doom, stoner metal, and hardcore; it held a sound that was aggressive, metallic, and all their own. With this latest effort the band is looking to push their experimentation further and have added a great deal of melody to their heavy sound. This puts more of a focus on the distinct croon of frontman Colin Young which may be an acquired taste for some. While there are still some heavy bangers like "Harakiri" and "T.F.R." a lot of this record slows things down and is uncommonly ballad-centric. This is most notable on the late album track "Long Gone" which features piano as its leading instrument. Some of the softer tracks can come off with a slightly cheesy vibe and make the record feel like a conscious shoot for a mainstream sound. Twitching Tongues do accomplish these tracks with a better than average level of adeptness but it may be a little jarring for the band's long time fans. Gaining Purpose Through Passionate Hatred sounds like a transitional record for the band and it'll be interesting to see if they push this more melodic tone further or try to balance these lighter elements with the heavy more on their next release.
"AmeriKKKant" By Ministry
Genre: Industrial Metal
While it seemed like we might not get another Ministry album Al Jorgensen and company have returned with their 14th LP AmeriKKKant. While the band has always had a political element this latest record turns that focus up to eleven and centers around the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. election. It's sure to polarize many with its messages of support for Antifa and mockery of President Trump. But musically the album is sound. The guitars are not as driving as much of Ministry's work which may be due to the loss of longtime Jourgensen collaborator Mike Scaccia. And instead focuses more heavily on the industrial elements with heavier use of audio samples and a mostly atmospheric tone. The anger in the political message contrasts a bit with the subdued musical vibe. Subdued compared to other Ministry records at least. If you're looking for a driving, riff fest this isn't it. But there's still plenty of fun to be had with AmeriKKKant. And if you're looking for a more pure industrial album than an industrial rock one this fits the bill.
"Firepower" By Judas Priest
Genre: Traditional Heavy Metal
Judas Priest fans have been clamoring for a truly great album ever since Painkiller way back in 1990. And they've finally got it. Firepower holds both the classic metal style that the band helped pioneer and a songwriting polish that has been absent from their work for quite some time. Right from the beginning the title track is a display of aggression and riffage that does the classic Priest material proud and the sinister energy of Halford's vocals in the chorus is infectious. There's also plenty in the way of rock and roll anthems in "Never The Heroes" and "Rising From Ruins" that show that the "Metal God" hasn't lost a step vocally. The riffs are catchy and easily hold their own against metal's new school and, unlike the band's previous album Redeemer Of Souls, don't sound as stock and are better arranged. If this is to be Judas Priest's final album they'd be ending their historic career on a high note that would be a satisfying bookend for one of metal's most important bands.