Arts

CRUSADES

Crusades

Perhaps You Deliver This Judgment With Greater Fear Than Receive It | No Idea

It was heartbreaking when two of Ottawa’s best local bands, sludge metal titans Buried Inside and poppy punk rockers Year Zero, bit the dust. While the city’s punk scene has moved on, so have Buried Inside guitarist and CHUO program director Emmanuel Sayer and Year Zero singer and guitarist Dave Williams, who both hooked up with former members of The Creeps and The Sedatives to form Crusades.

On their 2011 debut The Sun Is Down and the Night Is Riding In, the band played straightforward melodic punk rock. However, they stood out by showcasing metallic riffs and a unique dark atmosphere. On their sophomore outing, Perhaps You Deliver This Judgment With Greater Fear Than I Receive It, Crusades tightened up their musicianship and released a significantly better album.

While Sun Is Down had lo-fi production, Perhaps You Deliver, immediately stands out with its clear, thick sound. The album finds the group still playing mid-tempo punk rock, but they now sound fresher thanks to more diverse guitar work from Sayer and Williams. Tracks like “The Transport of Intrepid Souls” and “The Expulsion” feature heavy guitar breaks that might make you think that you’re listening to a metal record.

However, some of the album’s tracks sound similar to others and more variety in song writing could be the key to improving future albums. Also, the band briefly teases a heavier sound on the climax of “The Incantations,” making it hard not to wonder what a faster, heavier version of Crusades would sound like.

—Max Szyc

 Arts_CDreview_ProtesttheHeroWEB

Protest the Hero

Volition | Razor & Tie

Since their inception in 1999, the evolution of Whitby, Ont.’s Protest the Hero has been remarkable. Beginning as a heavy punk rock band with awful vocals, the group rapidly evolved into a technically proficient metal beast and established themselves internationally through rigorous touring.

The year 2013 not only sees the exit of original drummer Moe Carlson, but the group having to deal with not having the financial backing of a label for the first time in eight years.

The band decided to take advantage of their freedom by crowdsourcing a new album—raising a whopping $341,000—and recruiting Lamb of God drummer Chris Adler.

The result is Volition, an album that slays their previous release Scurrilous and comes close to matching the intensity of their ferocious 2008 masterpiece Fortress.

Despite Scurrilous having a much cleaner production and subdued sound, Volition sees the progressive metal band playing some of their heaviest riffs in ages while retaining their trademark silly lyricism. Songs such as “Clarity” and “Mist” contain some of their most infectious hooks ever, despite the former being about Star Trek and Star Wars fans. The latter is a cheesy-as-hell ode to Newfoundland that is arguably the most smile-inducing song I’ve heard all year.

Despite an overload of guest appearances that include guitar shredder Ron Jarzombek and Propagandhi’s Todd Kowalski, they can’t disguise the fact that Volition, excellent songs and production aside, doesn’t sound too different from most of the band’s output. However, it’s hard to care when this band’s output consistently sounds good.

—Max Szyc

 Arts_CDreview_LadyGagaWEB

Lady Gaga

ARTPOP | Interscope

If her third album ARTPOP proves anything, it’s that Lady Gaga won’t disappear from the public anytime soon.

There are three characterizing features displayed on all the songs on ARTPOP: thumping bass lines, jittery drum beats, and swooping vocals. As these features can be heard on nearly every song, it’s hard to distinguish one song from the next.

The two songs that really stand out on ARTPOP are “Dope” and “Gypsy.” Driven by piano and Gaga’s vocal range, both songs are quite striking and prove that she can actually sing when not accompanied by a dance beat.

The lyrical content of ARTPOP focuses on modern society’s obsession with material wellbeing, her fame, and her sexuality. In the opening track “Aura,” Gaga sings, “Do you want to see the girl who lives behind the aura?” However, Gaga does not offer up any personal insights; instead it’s her public persona that is on display.

Like her previous albums, ARTPOP will undoubtedly be played constantly in dance clubs in the foreseeable future. It’s not to say that Lady Gaga is not talented. Her ability to market herself is virtually without parallel, yet her music still comes off as more of a product to be marketed. Perhaps more art and less pop would be a welcome change.

—Jesse Mellott

 TIM

Tim Moxam

Blue Son | Nevado Records

Toronto artist Tim Moxam of Great Bloomers is attempting to go it alone with the release of his latest solo album. Different from the indie sound of Great Bloomers, Blue Son showcases a beautiful mélange of acoustic guitar, vocal harmonies, piano, and violin in a way very similar to folk bands like Mumford & Sons and The Lumineers.

“Come and Gone By” is slow and relaxing but keeps you listening with elegiac lyrics about someone trying to hold on to an old relationship. There is also intriguing violin about three minutes in that separates this track from the other three that are more piano and guitar heavy.

The final track “Live in the Bedroom” is a love song easily relatable to all who have awoken next to their lover in bed in the morning and have stayed there for hours. It culminates in beautiful harmonies and wraps up the album perfectly.

With only four songs on the EP, at the end the listener is waiting for more. Blue Son is a great first attempt by Moxam and is sure to give other folk-pop bands a run for their money.

—Tori Dudys