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First Impressions: @ConvergeCult - All We Love We Leave Behind
09/04/12 at 01:47 PM by Drew Beringer
How in the hell do they keep doing it?

That was one of my main thoughts all weekend while listening to Converge's 8th studio album All We Love We Leave Behind. 2+ decades in the game and yet the Massachusetts quartet has shown zero signs of ever slowing down. And with All We Love We Leave Behind, they've raised the bar again. This may be the best heavy album you listen to in 2012 (and that's saying a lot - considering the stellar releases from bands like Every Time I Die, Birds in Row, The Chariot, and more this year). Songs like "Trespasses" and "Sadness Comes Home" (which features some fantastic riffing from Kurt Ballou) are some of the heaviest tracks in Converge's discography, while "A Glacial Pace" may be the album's highlight - its sludging pace slowing collapsing into a chaotic breakdown. Jake Bannon is as insane as ever with his voice, mixing in high shouts with guttural screams throughout. Just wait for "Coral Blue," which sounds like a Converge/Baroness/Mastodon hybrid baby, as Bannon's vocals span from spoken word to unrestrained yells. And the title track! Oh man, the title track is truly classic Converge craziness. Ballou's unleashes some ungodly riffs behind Ben Koller's fantastic drumming as Bannon just lays it all on the line (as he's prone to do). I won't give too much away (wait for my official review for that), but I will tell you that Converge has released an album that's truly great, continuing their dominance as the best band in the genre.

I saw Converge play at FYF Fest this weekend in LA, and for a group of guys that have been doing this for 22 years, they still go on the stage like they're a new band with something to prove. It was one of the best shows I've ever seen in my life, as Converge peppered in some new songs ("Aimless Arrow" and "Empty On The Inside") with absolute classics like "Jane Doe" and "Last Light." Bannon is a mad man on the stage, as at times I was just focusing on him spill his guts on stage instead of the music. What I'm saying is - you don't want to miss Converge on their upcoming fall tour (overseas and here in the States). You'll leave the pit sore, deaf, and happier than ever.
Tags: first impressions, converge
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First Impressions: Jack's Mannequin - People and Things
08/03/11 at 03:38 PM by Drew Beringer
It's kinda cool that the artwork to People and Things is a pretty good representation of the album's sound. The vintage look of the art is exactly what this album is: a pop throwback. A lot of Americana/Petty influence fused into Andrew's wonderful storytelling and pop sensibilities - with tracks "Hey Hey Hey" and "People, Running" being prime examples. The music here is very layered and thick, some nice dark melodies. "Television" may end up as one of my favorite Andrew songs, and "Hostage" and "Platform Fire" are fantastic slices of piano-pop. Everything gets stripped down in the delicate "Restless Dreams," which is just Andrew, an acoustic guitar, and some well-placed strings near the end. The album closes perfectly with the uplifting "Casting Dreams."

What's so great about Andrew McMahon is that he never writes the same record. This record is a complete 180 from his debut, and it takes the skeleton of The Glass Passenger and fleshes it out completely on People and Things. If you're expecting another Everything in Transit, I'm sorry, you'll be greatly disappointed. But if you've been enjoying the progression Andrew has been making as a musician, then you'll appreciate this record so much. Pop doesn't get much better than this.

Tags: first impression, jack's mannequin
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First Impression: Relient K - K Is For Karaoke
06/14/11 at 04:18 PM by Drew Beringer
It's no secret that the guys in Relient K have gotten more and more serious with their past 3 albums, moving past some of the more light-hearted/goofier songs that were on their first few albums, but their new EP K Is For Karaoke is a return to form of sorts. Covering an eclectic group of songs (ranging from Weezer to Justin Beiber to They Might Be Giants), Matt Thiessen and company deliver the most fun EP you'll hear all year. From the pop-punk reincarnation of Cyndi Lauper's hit "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" to Thiessen's catching Bieber Fever on "Baby", it's the perfect lightweight music to blast in your car this summer. And for those who are sick of rock bands covering pop songs (RK also covers Gnarls Barkley's massive hit, "Crazy"), the group throws in some great covers of Weezer's "Surf Wax America" and They Might Be Giants "Doctor Worm." Make this EP a priority on June 28th and get ready to include it in all of your summer party playlists.
Tags: first impression, relient k
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First Impression: 2 new @twypoppunk songs
04/23/11 at 04:09 PM by Drew Beringer
Over the last day and a half, I've been listening to a Wonder Years album sampler, which features 3 songs off their upcoming new album, Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing, and I must say they give off the sense that this album will be sonically different than The Upsides. A lot more punk than pop, it's very aggressive. 2 of the 3 songs are new ones (one of the songs is the song we premiered at AP.net, the great "Local Man Ruins Everything"), and they are definitely in your face. Soupy's vocals sound better too, and his lyrics are still instantly relatable as they carry over some of the themes from the previous record and the fallout from that. "Coffee Eyes" is my favorite of the bunch. The guitar work is crunchy and the hook is immediately catchy. "Don't Let Me Cave In" is a song that bleeds passion, and Soupy's vocals are full of emotion. Overall, from these 3 songs, I am liking what I hear and it leads me to believe that Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing will be one of the best albums of the summer and perhaps The Wonder Years' best record yet.
Tags: first impressions, the wonder years
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Album Preview: Bring Me The Horizon - There Is A Hell...
08/17/10 at 01:04 PM by Drew Beringer
The talent has always been there for Bring Me The Horizon. It was evident on their Epitaph debut, Suicide Season. Sure, you might hate Oli Sykes personality, you might hate the type of fans BMTH has, but you cannot deny that the Sheffield, England, quintet can absolutely set the stage on fire. I'm here to give you all a first look into their brand new album, There Is A Hell Believe Me I've Seen It, There Is A Heaven Let's Keep It A Secret, due out October 5th through Epitaph Records.

1. "Crucify Me" - 6:20
The first track starts out gently, but don't get used to it. The guitars and drums thunder down as Sykes powerful yell overtakes the tempo. Immediately I can tell this is a much tighter and cohesive offering from BMTH. Another treat is everyone's favorite electro-pop girl, Lights. Her voice is like a flower appearing out of a war zone, as she hauntingly repeats the album title a few times before Sykes' voice re-enters. A stunning beginning to one of Epitaph's biggest 2010 releases.

2. "Anthem" - 4:50
It's never been a secret that guitarist Lee Malia could shred. But this album is also the debut of BMTH new rhythm guitarist Jona Weinhofen. He doesn't miss a beat, and this track is one of many examples of their stellar playing. Heavy throughout and sure to incite the riot, the band also subtly insert some melodic riffs underneath all the pummeling. The final minute is absolutely crushing.

3. "It Never Ends" - 4:34
This is the track from the official album teaser posted here a few days ago. It starts lightly, showing off the band's new tricks on this record. Really, you can hear the significance of the album title here. The battle between hell and heaven, and this track is a great example. It blends delicacy with brutality. The voices coming from the choir is chilling, and this is just a huge track. Additional orchestration is the cherry on top of BMTH best song yet.

4. "Fuck" - 4:55
This track brings out the thrash mentality of the band, but the vocals of You Me At Six's Josh Franceschi is a nice touch. A lot of sweet riffing from Malia as well. This is metal through and through.

5. "Don't Go" - 4:58
BMTH throws another curve ball here, as "Don't Go" starts out beautifully with strings and gentle guitar strums setting the mood before Sykes passionately screams over it (ex: "So God please forgive me for all my sins!"). It's the most vulnerable song in the band's career. Lights is also featured on this track, and she and Skyes have a nice call-and-return before the climatic ending. Single potential here.

6. "Home Sweet Hole" - 4:38
This is the BMTH you fell in love with on Suicide Season. The rhythm section of bassist Matt Kean and drummer Matt Nicholls shines here, as they provide the backbone to the verses. The group shouts of "Home sweet hole!" are bound to stick in your head for a while.

7. "Alligator Blood" - 4:32
Breakdown city here. Nicholls is at home here with his double bass kick and clean drum fills. Yes, the added bells and whistles are great on this record, but we still need a few songs like this on the record were we can lose our minds.

8. "Visions" - 4:09
Very similar to the previous track, but with a catchier guitar riff. Potential to be another single.

9. "Blacklist" - 4:00
Starts with a muted pulse and a grungy riff. This song is just filthy, the kind you find in the gutter and love. Sykes also adds some electronic modifications to his voice while also incorporating a different vocal delivery. A nice change of tempo track for the record.

10. "Memorial" - 3:10
Ahh, this song is right up my alley. A dark and slowly paced instrumental, it includes my favorite instrument of all - the organ - and layers it with a cornucopia of noises. It gives you a chance to catch your breath and reflect.

11. "Blessed With A Curse" - 5:08
The previous instrumental leads perfectly into this track with a constant pulsation, electronic drumming, and elegant chords. I mention earlier that the album showcases the battle between heaven and hell, and you can hear it again here. Soft and loud collide here, Sykes does some shouting-singing over the verses, which lead into some epic sounding crescendos, showing off a completely different side of the band. Another huge stride for BMTH. The pinnacle of the album.

12. "Fox And The Wolf" - 1:43
The final (and shortest) track on the album, it's a fireball of a closer. Josh Scogin joins Sykes in this growlfest, which will result in numerous head injuries.

My first impression of Bring Me The Horizon's second Epitaph album, There Is A Hell Believe Me I've Seen It, There Is A Heaven Let's Keep It A Secret is wow. The band took huge strides from their previous album and have created the best album of their career and one of the best heavy releases of 2010. Many of you will be stunned by this. This is one hell of a firestorm.

Tags: first impression, bring me the horizon
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First Impression: @singitloudmusic Sing It Loud - Everything Collide
04/11/10 at 10:10 PM by Drew Beringer
When I wrote my review for Sing It Loud's debut in late 2008, I wrote that they had a lot of potential. And with their second Epitaph release, they realize that potential. Everything Collide features better songwriting than their first album by a longshot, this is a great pop record, more solid and consistent than most of its contemporaries. It's just a good, fun pop record. In fact, it may be exactly the record you are looking for this summer.
Tags: first impressions, sing it loud
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First Impression: Oh, Sleeper - Son of the Morning
07/22/09 at 10:20 PM by Drew Beringer
Pretty good release from Oh, Sleeper, composed of former members of bands such as Terminal and BTBAM. Pretty good step up from their debut. Oh, and Cody Bonnette (ex-As Cities Burn) makes a guest vocal appearance.
Tags: first impression, oh sleeper
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First Impression: fun. - Aim and Ignite
07/18/09 at 12:11 AM by Drew Beringer
I have been jonesing for this album all summer long. I am (was?) a huge fan of The Format and Nate's work, so it makes sense that I'm super stoked on fun. The soul of The Format is still heard within fun., but Aim and Ignite explores a lot of different instrumentation that The Format didn't do often or never did. Per usual, the lyrics are spectacular, and Nate's voice sounds great. After listening to this 3 times yesterday, I wanted to write a review ASAP, but I will wait about one more week before doing that. So be on the lookout for that, this album is going to please so many people. And my girlfriend loves this album too. Get excited.
Tags: first impression, fun.
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First Impression: The Used - Artwork
07/16/09 at 10:57 PM by Drew Beringer

I should do this more often.
Tags: first impression, the used
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Some thoughts: All Time Low - Nothing Personal
06/17/09 at 09:15 PM by Drew Beringer
Just a few thoughts to jot down on the new album from ATL. Some parts definitely remind me of Jimmy Eat World, especially "Lost In Stereo." Overall, a solid album, a step up from SWIR, definitely has some more meat, substance to it.
Tags: first impression, all time low
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First Impression: Alexisonfire - Old Crows/Young Cardinals
06/03/09 at 09:28 PM by Drew Beringer
So Alexisonfire has always been a weird band for me. I really dig their first two albums, and I love Dallas Green's side project, City and Colour. But Crisis wasn't that good and it really let me down and killed my AOF high for a while. But Old Crows/Young Cardinals is really good. It's fast and intense, Dallas sounds great, and it's just an in-your-face type of album. AOF fans will love, those who fell off the wagon with Crisis, like me, will dig it too. It's out in stores on June 23rd, I'll have a review of it up by next week.
Tags: first impression, alexisonfire
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First Impressions: Taking Back Sunday - New Again
05/18/09 at 09:39 PM by Drew Beringer
a giant meh. It's no better or worse than Louder Now. I think I like it better musically, but vocally it's worse. Where are the duel vocals that made TBS a staple in my heart? Regardless, it is what I expected: nothing special, and will probably have a lasting power of about one month for me.

Buy the new Emery on June 2nd instead.
Tags: first impression, taking back sunday
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First Impression: Emery - In Shallow Seas We Sail
04/28/09 at 07:36 PM by Drew Beringer
So far so good, the songs definitely carry a Weak's End/Question vibe, a step up from IOA. Also, if you have twitter, follow me @drewberinger

- the first three songs (Cutthroat Collapse, Inside Our Sking, Curbside Goodbyes) are very good. They all have a Weak's End feel, awesome screaming breakdowns and great melody.

I think those who were lost by I'm Only A Man will be back for this album, Emery is back.
Tags: first impression, emery
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Emery - In Shallow Seas We Sail
04/28/09 at 03:58 PM by Drew Beringer
Just got the Emery, I'll post my thoughts later this evening.
Tags: first impression, emery
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First Impression: The Devil Wears Prada - With Roots Above and Branches Below
04/23/09 at 02:15 PM by Drew Beringer
Just got it, will have thoughts on it later.
Tags: first impression, the devil wears prada
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