Monday, October 24, 2011

Puscifer: Conditions of My Parole

Conditions of My Parole

Reviewed by Lisa Selvaggio
From the opening track, it’s clear that Maynard James Keenan (TOOL, A Perfect Circle), has yet again given fans something that proves his immense talent, which he takes in a multitude of different directions on this album.  Puscifer has always been a project that is humorously experimental while at the same time containing lyrics that Maynard is known for: sometimes goofy, other times emotional or contemplative, and still other times puzzling.  In my opinion, each album is better than the one that came before, and, as such, this is my favorite of the three thus far released. 
Described as “danceable,” I cannot disagree (just listen to “Man Overboard” and tell me you don’t start moving).  “Horizons” even has a sort of Hip-Hop style beat to it.  “Oceans” is calming, soothing, somewhat in the same way as “The Humbling River” off of "C" Is for (Please Insert Sophomoric Genitalia Reference Here).  One of my favorites, musically and lyrically, is “Monsoon,” a song about the dry desert calling for help from the sky, in fact asking it to cry its emotions down to quench the thirsty earth.  Switching it up, “Telling Ghosts” is heavier, more aggressive, drums leading, marching.  “Tiny Monsters,” the opening track, actually starts off with “Tumbleweed,” the final song, playing at a very low volume, making the album come full circle.  
This is the strongest Puscifer album thus far.  If you enjoyed the first two albums, you’ll like this one too, and if you weren’t really feeling the first two, give this one a chance anyway.

Rating: 5/5

Friday, October 14, 2011

System Syn: All Seasons Pass

System Syn 
All Seasons Pass
Reviewed by Mike Ventarola
      For those with a penchant for dark dance electronic music, you won’t need to look any further than System Syn’s latest album, All Seasons Pass, newly released through Metropolis Records. This is more than your bevy of tracks slated for eargasm club candy. The recording is a concept album based upon a true story and the last days of a young woman who went missing in 2006 only to be found four months later, after the winter’s thaw, with a gunshot to her head. These songs manage to encapsulate the last days of her life and the emotions of those around her.
      In a dark music scene that has gone somewhat static as of late, it is something quite bone-chilling to enjoy these tracks so much and, in the back of your head, realize the impetus behind their creation. Lyrics fraught with angst, fear and desperation are interspersed with infectious foot stomping beats. These aren’t just random lines of poetic lyrics as much as they are a tribute to a nameless victim whose short life somehow affected this band enough to pour through the case files behind this crime. The complete story can be found on the band’s web page at 
      All of the tracks are constructed with detailed precision that, if one weren’t aware of the reason behind the songs, it would just appear as though the band had raised the bar on themselves to deliver the most comprehensive songwriting of their career. These really well written songs did not stoop to being overly mawkish and melodramatic, but aimed for introspection and psychological emotiveness. In less capable hands, the concept and lyrics could have easily veered into exploitive territory, but the band painstakingly avoided that from the collection we have on this CD.   
      Each song is enveloped with an otherworldly presence, clearly demarking this as a concerned and loving tribute to a young women none of us knew. The majority of these tightly crafted tracks will more than likely be in heavy rotation in your underground clubs across the globe. In essence, whenever we hear them on the dance floor, it will bring us back to ourselves to remember that life is precious and that a snapshot of someone’s life has been preserved eternally through this recording.

Rating: 5/5