Archive for category Rock

Fall Out Boy: Save Rock And Roll Review

The review for Fall Out Boy’s return album is up on Diamond In the Rock now! Unless you lived underground and didn’t listen to music in high school, you must be curious as to how their comeback album is. Read here why Save Rock And Roll is worth your time!

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Red: Release The Panic Review

Red had big shoes to fill with the release of their fourth album, which followed the nearly flawless Until We Have Faces. Here’s why Release The Panic doesn’t even come close to the mastery of the band’s best work.

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Silverstein: This Is How The Wind Shifts Review

Here’s the review for Silverstein’s sixth full-length album, “This Is How The Wind Shifts!” Like I’ve mentioned in a few posts already, this blog has been turned into a full website and I won’t be posting reviews here in the future. But if you want to read this review and over 120 other rock album reviews, head over to the new Diamond In The Rock site or click here to read the Silverstein review!

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Diamond In The Rock: Website Launch!

Hello readers! As most of you are aware, Diamond In The Rock is a WordPress blog I started because of my interest in rock music, but over time, it grew into my thesis project for graduate school. The original goal was to review and rank every album by the bands I cover as I created a website. Although I didn’t have the time or manpower to achieve that goal entirely (since I’m a reviewing army of 1), the website is now up! After tirelessly researching the history of rock music, rock criticism and the current state of the industry, I have built a website from the ground up and would love for you all to check it out! I will be transferring the domain and eventually the URL in the near future, but this is an update letting you know that all new content will be on the website. I may update this WordPress from time to time but any music writing I do for fun in the future will be on the new website.

Check it out and let me know what you think! Here’s the link.

Gerald

P.S.: Due to current formatting issues, the fonts on the site are not the ones I originally chose. So for now, if you’d like to see the site in all its aesthetically pleasing glory, go to Dafont.com and download/install the font called “Growly Grin.” I’m currently working on a way for that font to show up automatically, but for now it will only work if that font is stored in your computer’s fontbook, which is quick and easy to do. Enjoy!

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My Chemical Romance: The Black Parade Review

Breaking from their screamo past, My Chemical Romance breaches new territory with their groundbreaking third album, The Black Parade. Like Green Day’s American Idiot, The Black Parade is a rock opera mashup of the band’s edgier roots and the classic rock elements of the 1970s, sounding like a hybrid of Queen, David Bowie and MCR’s older screamo style. Its blazing guitar riffs and prominent drumming give each song this unique verve, while lead singer Gerard Way is superb throughout, conveying raw angst when the mood darkens and fervent emotion when the more introspective tone calls for it. Way’s charismatic flair and striking personality makes him the only singer capable of pulling this album off, and with an overarching premise of a cancer patient’s journey after death that sways from a tale of darkness and anger to reflection and redemption, The Black Parade truly impresses as a uniquely cohesive rock ‘n’ roll entry that still manages to present a wide amount of variety. While the unrefined screamo sound of Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge may be missed by some fans, My Chemical Romance’s incredible new album draws on the classic rock roots of the genre and still brings their own typical emo influences, easily establishing this entry as the band’s definitive sound.

Standout Tracks

Broad in its scope and execution, “Welcome To The Black Parade” embodies the spirit and plot of The Black Parade, emphatically delivering a grand tale that is a pure spectacle to behold as it unfolds. Switching from a melancholy and slow introduction of piano and buildup drumming from Bob Bryar, this standout track swells and busts the tempo wide open with exhilarating guitar hooks and frantic drums that gives it a lively and fun vibe. Ray Toro and Frank Iero’s upbeat guitar riffs match Way’s uniquely shrill vocals to make this complex rock anthem and all its tempo changes all the more enjoyable and memorable.

Serving as one of the album’s more emotional and introspective pieces, the bluesy rock ballad “I Don’t Love You” adds variety and depth to an already impressive lineup. Mikey Way’s groovy bass line adds to the bluesy rock feel, while Gerard Way dominates the proceedings with gloomily impassioned vocal fluctuations. The background vocals and guitar-chugging lend to the melancholy tone as well, making this ballad an enjoyable display of the band’s versatility.

Teenagers” is not as memorable as “Welcome To The Black Parade,” but it certainly is the most fun and functions well as the album’s feel-good, fist-pumping arena rock anthem. The quirky additions in the background add to the catchy chorus as resonating guitar riffs and splashy drums pave the way for Way to cry out, “They say that teenagers scare the living s**t out of me / They could care less as long as someone’ll bleed / So darken your clothes or strike a violent pose / Maybe they’ll leave you alone but not me.”

The Verdict

With aggressive delights like “Famous Last Words” and “The Sharpest Lives” to complement sentimental rockers like “Disenchanted” and “Cancer,” My Chemical Romance delivers their most cohesive and complete album yet. Harnessing the combined rock spirit of Queen, Bowie, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and The Smashing Pumpkins, My Chemical Romance has never sounded better than this classic rock ‘n’ roll sound. The screamo influences are still present, but don’t overpower this classic rock sound, making The Black Parade a simultaneously fresh and familiar experience. Fans of Green Day, The Used, Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, Escape The Fate, 30 Seconds To Mars, Rise Against, AFI, Queen and David Bowie should be right at home with this album, which soundly proves that sometimes breaking outside the mold is more than worth it in the rock genre.

Final Score: 9.3/10

Rank: 2nd (four total albums)

Track List

  1. The End.
  2. Dead!
  3. This Is How I Disappear
  4. The Sharpest Lives
  5. Welcome To The Black Parade
  6. I Don’t Love You
  7. House Of Wolves
  8. Cancer
  9. Mama
  10. Sleep
  11. Teenagers
  12. Disenchanted
  13. Famous Last Words
  14. Blood

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Green Day: ¡Dos! Review

When Green Day first announced a trilogy of upcoming albums, there was definite reason to worry about how good they would actually be; did the band actually have that much quality material to release? Or was this just a chance to rake in as much money as possible on B-sides and half-baked tracks? Whereas ¡Uno! proved the band was still recording punk gems worthy of recognition by old and new fans alike, ¡Dos! leans more toward the latter, serving up a few enjoyable songs in the midst of quite a few duds. This album is also hurt by the limited amount of time between each release: while ¡Dos! isn’t necessarily a bad album, it feels stale and uninteresting when ¡Uno! came out just a month ago. A new dose of Green Day like this might have gone over better had the fans been forced to wait a little longer, but there’s nothing new or fresh enough here to make ¡Dos! feel like anything less than the deluxe version of ¡Uno!. Green Day continues to experiment with their musical balance between the melodies and intricacies of 21st Century Breakdown and their punk roots, but the results are largely mixed and don’t do as much to raise one’s anticipation for ¡Tre! as they should.

Standout Tracks

The constant guitar-chugging of Jason White, Mike Dirnt’s twangy bass hook and wonderfully rhythmic drumming of  Tre Cool on “Stop When The Red Lights Flash” proves that Green Day still knows what it takes to make a good song, despite some of the album’s other tracks falling off a bit. The background vocals a sense of fun to each rocking chorus and bridge, while Billy Joe Armstrong delivers the type of glorious punk vocals fans have come to expect from the band. The lyrics leave a bit to be desired, but the upbeat rhythms and impressive composition make it an excellent addition to the album.

Dirnt’s groovy bass hooks usually play a prominent role in Green Day’s songs, but they rarely turn a song into a light and catchy tune like they do on “Stray Heart.” Despite the fact that this still isn’t Green Day’s A-game, the straightforward, sing-along nature of each chorus combined with easygoing riffs and a few solos thrown in makes it an entertaining and mindless listen, which might sound like criticism, but is actually praiseworthy in this song’s simple appeal.

Written after Amy Winehouse’s passing, “Amy” is a mellow acoustic track, melancholy in its lyrics but pleasantly soothing in its composition. Armstrong’s vocals aren’t anything special and the tempo feels a little too fast for a track of this type, but the sad and beautiful words ring true regardless for a memorable end to the album.

The Verdict

Musical eclecticism is a trait worthy of praise within the rock genre, but Green Day’s ¡Dos! pushed the limit a bit, feeling more jumbled than anything. From the Oasis-like vocals on “Wild One” to the guitar riff of “Makeout Party” that sounds strikingly similar to “East Jesus Nowhere,” it feels like the band is just making music for the sake of making music at times. And that’s before mentioning the appalling “Nightlife,” made even worse by Lady Cobra’s rapped verses. You read that right, rapped. However, there are some stellar tracks worthy of praise, such as the Wolfmother-reminiscent “Lady Cobra” and “Lazy Bones” which has some of the most enjoyable guitar riffs of the whole album and background vocals that show just how good Green Day is at crafting lighter and agreeable rockers that take the listener back to the happy days of punk rock goodness in the 90s. With a garage rock sound, fans of Foxboro Hottubs, Sum 41, Franz Ferdinand, Pinhead Gunpowder, My Chemical Romance and Oasis should be right at home. ¡Dos! won’t quite appeal to all fans the way ¡Uno! did, but it’s still a decent listen and certainly isn’t bad enough to discourage Green Day from devouring ¡Tre! a month from now.

Final Score: 7/10

Rank: 6th (eleven total albums)

Track List

  1. See You Tonight
  2. F*** Time
  3. Stop When The Red Lights Flash
  4. Lazy Bones
  5. Wild One
  6. Makeout Party
  7. Stray Heart
  8. Ashley
  9. Baby Eyes
  10. Lady Cobra
  11. Nightlife
  12. Wow! That’s Loud
  13. Amy

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Green Day: American Idiot Review

Green Day established themselves in the 90’s as a driving force in the constantly developing punk genre, but with the release of American Idiot, the band moves in a different direction. And although fans will lament the loss shift in style from Dookie, the new focus on arena rock anthems with political undercurrents results in the finest album of 2004. In short, Green Day has never sounded better. An iconic concept album telling the tale of the main character who is known as the Jesus of Suburbia, American Idiot pulses with an intriguing amount of imagery and symbolism to back blazing punk guitar riffs and booming drums. But even more impressive than the group’s first true rock outing is Billy Joe Armstrong’s vocal performance, which makes the change in sound possible. Armstrong’s sarcasm and punk attitude seeps through his aggressive yet perfectly pitched singing, but he also shows some versatility as he rises to the occasion for the album’s more serious songs. When all these elements come together, it’s easy to see why this stellar rock opera has achieved such commercial success, thrusting Green Day into the mainstream spotlight like never before. But this newfound popularity is not because the band has sold out; Green Day has become a household name because American Idiot is their defining work and one of the finest rock albums in the last 20 years.

Standout Tracks

Blaring guitar riffs and pounding drums open “American Idiot,” the album’s title track and phenomenal leadoff track. From Tre Cool’s spunky drum beat to the white-hot guitar riffs, this incredibly infectious and fun single is charged with political angst and disdain for the man that traces back to rock music’s origins. Armstrong is supremely confident in his defiance, showing no fear as he boldly proclaims, “Well maybe I’m the f****t America, I’m not a part of a redneck agenda / Now everybody do the propaganda and sing along to the age of paranoia.” The irreverent resistance embodied by the enjoyable guitar hooks and vulgar lyrics of “American Idiot” are simply too much fun to ignore, starting the album off on an electric note.

Following the pure and unadulterated joy of “Holiday,” Armstrong and company provide the first truly somber note of the album with “Boulevard Of Broken Dreams,” a melancholy hard ballad that speaks of loneliness and depression. The echoing resonance of Armstrong’s opening guitar surges with power and immediately draws the listener in, while Mike Dirnt’s deep bass hook adds to the gloomy atmosphere. Closing the song on a spectacularly epic note, Armstrong stops singing and lets the band’s music speak for itself with heavy riffs and the deep rumble of drums.

But for all their political sarcasm and amusing imagery, Green Day proves they aren’t a one dimensional group with the incredibly powerful rock ballad “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” which is easily the most profound piece of music the band will ever write. The light and endearing guitar riff gives the song a sense of sadness and reflection, while Cool’s steady but heavy drum beat adds to its majesty and larger-than-life atmosphere. But here is where Armstrong shows his greatest skill and poise, delivering heartfelt and composed vocals, even when the bigger and heavier moments come. The song’s excellent composition is matched only by its strong anti-war sentiment in its heartbreaking depiction of losing loved ones during war, making it the best song of American Idiot by far.

The Verdict

From the masterful composition and narrative of “Jesus Of Suburbia” to the outright arena rock of “St. Jimmy,” Green Day shows versatility and true musicianship for the first time in their career. Although Dookie will always hold a special place in punk fans’ hearts, it’s impossible to ignore the incredible progression Green Day makes with American Idiot, a more meaningful and musically eclectic entry in the band’s already impressive repertoire. From its superb guitar riffs to Armstrong’s well-suited vocals that perfectly match the tone and mood of each song, American Idiot surges with unruly fun, political opinion and sincere sentiment, making it the band’s defining album worthy of mainstream recognition. Fans of My Chemical Romance, Blink-182, Rise Against, Sum 41, Franz Ferdinand, Fall Out Boy, The All-American Rejects and Jet likely already hail this album as the rock masterpiece that it is, but there is no doubt that American Idiot marks a turning point for the band and represents a vastly improved and ultimately more memorable Green Day.

Final Score: 10/10

Rank: 1st (eleven total albums)

Track List

  1. American Idiot
  2. Jesus Of Suburbia/City Of The Damned/I Don’t Care/Dearly Beloved/Tales Of Another Broken Home
  3. Holiday
  4. Boulevard Of Broken Dreams
  5. Are We The Waiting
  6. St. Jimmy
  7. Give Me Novacaine
  8. She’s A Rebel
  9. Extraordinary Girl
  10. Letterbomb
  11. Wake Me Up When September Ends
  12. Homecoming/The Death Of St. Jimmy/East 12th St./Nobody Likes You/Rock And Roll Girlfriend/We’re Coming Home Again
  13. Whatsername

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