Album review overview 2023 week 51

Photo (c) Jorge Fakhouri Filho

Dozens of new albums arrive at Maxazine’s editorial staff every week. Way too many to listen to them all, let alone review them. It ensures that too many albums are left behind. And that’s a shame. That is why today we post an overview of albums that arrive at the editors in short reviews.

The Hill – From Alpha To Omega

At the end of this year another nice album will be released for fans of technical Death/Thrash Metal, namely the second album by the French band The Hill Is Burning, “From Alpha To Omega”. The album sounds like a clock, and none other than Colin Richardson and Chris Clancy were behind the controls. The band writes in the press bio that it is influenced by Sepultura, Nevermore, Coroner, Neurosis and Gojira. I can relate. I especially hear the compatriots of The Hill Is Burning, Gojira, regularly on this album, but this is certainly not disturbing. The Hill Is Burning does not copy indiscriminately, but shows in their songs who their inspirations are. I recommend anyone who likes well-played technical Death/Thrash Metal to give this album a listen (Ad Keepers) (8/10) (Monstre Sonore)

Astrosail – Целое

The title “Целое” is Russian for whole. That is also what the band wants to convey with this album. Or yes, it’s more of an EP, with five songs and just under thirty minutes. The stoner/doom of the band has some pastoral vocals at times, which contrasts the aggressiveness. The EP is a concept album that focuses entirely on everything. Even though I don’t speak a word of Russian, the album feels like a whole. It is one for the enthusiast, this album is not an easy sandwich, but it is well prepared. (Rik Moors) (6/10) (Own production)

Dolly Parton – Rockstar

This album can certainly be regarded as a small surprise. This woman has been around for more than 50 years and is responsible for classics such as “Jolene” and “9 To 5”. Lighthearted Country-Pop songs that everyone worldwide can sing along to. The reason for making a ‘Rock’ album is her induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2022. Dolly herself felt that she had never really done anything related to Rock and then decided to join a battalion of famous artists to record a real rock album. For example, she sings her biggest hit “Jolene” with Rob Halford. The album also contains a handful of new original songs that appear at the beginning of this album. The rest are covers of (Rock) songs that everyone knows. Unfortunately, I have to come to the conclusion that “Rockstar” falls through the cracks. Too soft for the Rock/Metal fan and too wild for fans of her own work. The perfect Christmas gift as a karaoke album, but that was probably not the intention. (Ad Keepers) (5/10) (Butterfly)

Children Of Bodom – A Chapter Called Children Of Bodom (Final Show at Helsinki Ice Hall 2019)

Children Of Bodom was a melodic Death Metal band from Finland. The main man was Alexi Laiho. Not only did he found the band, but he also wrote all the songs and also took care of the vocals and lead guitar. This album is a recording of the very last concert they gave as the band Children Of Bodom. Alexi Laiho and Daniel Freyberg continued under the name Bodom After Midnight until the tragic death of Alexi Laiho as a result of years of excessive alcohol consumption. This live shows Children Of Bodom at the height of their abilities. All studio albums are represented, with an emphasis on the albums “Hate Crew Deathroll” and “Follow The Reaper”. A beautiful live registration of a band that has done groundbreaking things for the Melo-Death genre and a worthy tribute to Alexi Laiho. (Ad Keepers) (8/10) (Spinefarm/PIAS)

Pape Diouf – L’Alchimie (live)

Pape Diouf is one of the most important singers in the West African, more specifically Senegalese, mbalax genre. Mbalax is the dance music of Senegal. Polyrhythmic music on which dancers often perform breakneck tours and has evolved over the last 4 decades into a musical export product of Senegal. In ‘light’ form that is. Artists like Youssou Ndour do make mblax, but it is often adapted to Western ears, just as a real gado-gado tastes different in Indonesia than it does here. However, Pape Diouf, who emerged from the group Lemzo Diamono, is the ‘real thing’. Idolized in Senegal as one of the biggest musical stars. You can hear his music in every car, on every street corner, constantly on the radio. Nice that there is now an international release of a (albeit heavily overdubbed) live album. Diouf’s biggest hit is also on “Delusina” and that is great, because it is an adaptation of “Con te Partiro” that we know here in the version by Andrea Bocelli & Sarah Brightman. For lovers of West African music, but definitely worth a try if you don’t know it yet. Mbalax of the highest level, including old-school and real DX 7 sounds. (Jan Vranken) (7/10) (Pape Diouf)

Dorothy Carter – Waillee Waillee

Dorothy Carter passed away more than twenty years ago, but an interesting album of her music has just been released posthumously. In her time, Dorothy Carter was actually the flag bearer for original, old-fashioned folk music in America. Played on dulcimers, rented gurdy etc, she sang the old stories of the young United States. Although this is a reissue of an album that was released in 1978, it is nice because it helps to bring this music back into the spotlight. This is certainly an interesting album for anyone who likes folk music. (Jan Vranken) (6/10) (Palto Flats)

Propain – Made from Scratch

Propain is a rapper from Houston, who has so far mainly attracted regional attention. Propain is a rapper of the old school, he is now 37 years old and he clearly draws his inspiration from old-school rap such as that of early Jay-Z or Andre 3000, when he still made rap music and not flute albums. “Made from Scratch” is therefore especially interesting for people who like original old-school rap. Propain has an easy to follow flow, makes good use of laid-back beats and is calm when it comes to samples and fortunately the use of autotune is also kept to a minimum. Listen to a track like “Your Wish,” it’s just finished. Very nice flow, and then such a silky backing vocal and a jazzy trumpet. This album delights and leaves you wanting more (Elodi Renard) (8/10) (Propain)

Renaud – Dans mes Cordes

This curious album by Renaud was released at the beginning of December. It is inspired by his “Dans mes Cordes”. Tour, which is received with mixed feelings throughout the hexagone. Memes and a video of Renaud singing “Mistral Gagnant” are doing the rounds on the internet. Delivered live during a concert in Brussels, people have seriously worried about the health of France’s national hero, the last of the greats. This album, recorded with the string quartet from the tour, shows Renaud as we already know him. An enormous amount of tinkering must have gone into this material, because we now know that the man can no longer achieve this vocally. Unfortunately, this album adds little to the immense musical legacy of the man we all have so much respect for. It contains a curious version of perhaps one of the most beautiful songs of all time “Manhattan-Kaboul,” which he sings here together with 21-year-old Noée, who has recently signed a contract with Parlophone, a nice promotional campaign by the record company. Unfortunately, this version cannot even remotely match the organ that Renaud recorded together with Axelle Red. The album ends with three live recordings from the last tour. Here too it can be heard that more work went into post-processing than was sensible. Renaud is in our hearts, and he will never leave. Renaud is a national hero, and we would like to keep him that way. This album is a document for the greatness of this artist. Still, we might prefer to listen to his originals. This doesn’t do the man justice (Anton Dupont) (6/10) (Parlophone)

Glasser – Vine

Behind the project name Glasser lies artist Cameron Mesirow, who makes electronic music with a high dream pop content. Imagine broad soundscapes with introspective-sounding, but actually incomprehensible vocal experimental lines running through them. You could call it pretentious if you don’t listen a little closer. The theme of the album is the empty existence of a person after the death of a good friend, and that vibe koreally about it. “Vine” is a surprise. Rhythmically a challenges the beautiful violin over it. A bit Laurie Anderson-esque, if you wanted to make a comparison. You can also hear her DNA in that rhythmic approach because Mesirow is the daughter of one of the men of the BlueMan Group. This is an album that gets better after a few listens, and is therefore worth it. A nice discovery at the end of the year. (Jan Vranken) (8/10) (Little Independent Records)

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