The Weird/The Wondrous
I am back people! And with a new series; Christmas List. This is where I will review all of the albums that I was given as Christmas Gifts by my family or I purchased through cash gifts I received during the Christmas period. Today we look at a band with a very strange name, and even stranger music.
The 1st song ‘Behind Those Eyes’ starts out with a very early 2000’s metalcore feel, and at first listen may trick you into thinking this album is softer than it would appear. It has a bit of a strange feel to it when the song sort of stops and some whispers are heard for a few seconds before the song just sort of gets back to it. It’s a touch that is feels somewhat pointless and is sadly a recurring theme on this album, with a lot of strange little monologues and odd sound clips inserted where they didn’t need to be. Sadly not much to say about this song, it’s fairly unremarkable and easily forgettable. It adds very little to the album in a general sense.
Very thankfully the 2nd song more than makes up for it. ‘You Won’t’ starts out slow and gets faster and faster with each passing second; pumping out as much liquid anger as they can before calming down a bit and doing it again. The song is chaotic, as is much of this album, but here it’s a great showcase of Danza’s (which is what I will shorten it to, because I’m not typing The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, every time) instrument based talents. This song has, what I would call, the grindcore effect, where the song seems much, much shorter than it really is. The song feels half as long as it is, but also feels like they jammed in twice as many notes into it as should be possible with the available length.
‘Rudy X3,’ the 3rd track, sort of attempts to segway off the awesome tunes of the previous track by blending in perfectly with the end of the other song. But it’s apparent from the weird little bit of speech at the start, that the song has changed. The song is a tad boring for my taste, this has a reverse grindcore effect, where the song feels longer than it really is. To me, its most redeeming feature is the fact that when it ends we can go to the next track.
‘The Crossfire’ is a pretty cool little interlude. A weird little inbetweener track. It’s short and to the point, but very catch and worth a listen. Plus it’s the first occurrence of the really cool, and sad, sounding synthesizer tune that appears a few times throughout this album.
Track 5, ‘Hold the Line,’ starts with a small anecdote about the song being dedicated to, “The Troops” and then breaks into an aggressive, intense, overwhelming experience. Even if you don’t support the troops, or if you’re like me and just like the song because it sounds cool, you’ll probably enjoy this song. It manages to pack a lot in to 5 minutes of listening time, which is 5 minutes very well spent. The song ends with one of those needlessly inserted sound clips I talked about earlier; this song honestly would be so much better if it just played the soft instruments at the end with the synth instead of adding in all the sounds of war and fighting which typically makes me feel nothing… other than the urge to skip the track.
‘Death Eater,’ to me, is a fairly underwhelming track that feels like a great example of why some people likely think metal is a tasteless artform that requires no actual skill. This is basically a two-and-a-half minute long track where the guitarist basically plays one note and the singer just literally screams into the mic. No lyrics, no pattern, just screaming at the mic like it had a malfunction. To add to the things this track has going bad for it, the ending is equally obnoxious, with the sound of what I’m assuming is failing machinery but could just as well be an error in the mixing process, either way this abysmal failure of a song would be better off without it.
Another recovery song. ‘Canadian Bacon’ helps soften the blow that the utterly rubbish previous track dealt to us. Providing a catchy, brutal riff-fest here with many strange tune patterns coming together and blending into one big crockpot of oddness that just works. If Metal had an equivalent for a rave party, this would be the song they would play at that party I think. Sadly, once again, we have sound clips at the end that were totally uneeded but all is forgotten about that when the next track comes.
If you’ve read reviews I’ve written before, you’d likely notice that I complain a lot about songs being too long. And at first glance, a 7 minute long instrumental track, is the last thing that a deathcore album needs. But oddly enough, ‘Paul Bunyan and The Blue Ox’ aka, the longest track on the album, is also probably the absolute best. Having almost what feels like “acts” in a sort of instrumental performance. Starting out fairly shaky with a weird electronic sounding riff at the start, we are subjected to for about 40 seconds, before it picks up into a faster and more heavy guitar solo that goes on for about 30 seconds, before a short pause, then into a solid slog of continuous notes. Another layer of notes is added, and then another! This continues on for a bit before a layer is dropped and then at the 2 minute mark the whole song completely changes, taking an entirely different direction again soon after.
It’s utter musical chaos, and it just keeps evolving. When it slows down for a bit and changes all the layers again, it only helps to strengthen the character of the song adding impact. The song totally stops for a few seconds before going into a weird foreboding low pitched sound, before “resetting” to the original electronic sounds; luring you into thinking its going to be the same, and for a few seconds it is, but then super unexpectedly it just stops again. When it does pick up, it has blended all elements present before and stirred them all up at once making the most beautifully chaotic jumble of sound I’ve ever heard in an instrumental. It’s my personal favourite song on the album, and I would highly recommend giving this song a listen if you’re up for listening to a 7 minute song. It’s easy listening compared to the rest of the album as it contains no vocals; so it’s perfect for anybody who isn’t into that style of vocals. This is more of an experience than a song in my opinion.
The 9th track, ‘Disconnecting, Pt. 1’ Is a total waste of otherwise valuable disc space. Like a few of the other tracks, it really adds nothing to this album and can be skipped without lessening the experience.
Though the previous track is a semi decent transition into ‘This Cut was The Deepest.’ It’s still not needed for this amazing track. Though the sound mixing is a tad off, it is otherwise amazing. The weird guitar shreds that sound almost electronic fit very well here and only add to the weirdness that makes this track so good. The chorus is very catchy too, and the way the softer guitar in the background plays when he sings that way really fits well here. The song feels rather short though, and does feel like it was played once, then copied and pasted to double its duration. It transitions its ending into ‘Disconnecting, Pt. 2’ so for the sake of simplicity I’m going to say that these 3 songs are all just 1 song, because as per the names, it’s likely the case that are you are supposed to listen to them all in sequence.
Time for the eponymous track. ‘The Alpha The Omega’ Is a bit on the shorter side, being only just over 3 minutes long, but it knows its time is limited so it gets to business straight away. Strangely enough, they found a way to make the title actually rhyme, which sounds like a real challenge. The song sounds like its got a lot going on at once and almost feels like 2 songs being played at the same time. Its got a strange way of not fitting in with its own themes but it really, really works. The song is short and to the point, fast, heavy, loud. Metal in a nutshell.
‘Some things are better left unsaid’ can basically be summarised by a parody of its own name; Some tracks are better left unplayed. It’s 5 solid minutes of…..uh…….lazy sounding guitar riffs, what sounds like breaking wood, and some machine sounds. Honestly, this song could be taken off the album entirely and it would probably make it better off as a whole.
‘Don’t try this at home,’ the 2nd to last track on this album, is an odd and confusing mess of a song that barely floats above “average” for this album. Yeah sure its got a few catchy bits, but that’s about it really. It does have a very nice, calm violin at the end though, so that’s cool at least.
And the final track, ‘This is Forever’ feels like a weak sendoff at the start, but it does pick up the slack a bit as the song goes on. Picking up speed, adding in complexity and some brutal vocals, the drums here are especially good, but much like Danza’s work, the main focus seems to be the technical showcase of the guitar players. The song becomes noticeably climactic from 3 minutes onwards, gearing up for the end of the album, it continues on that way for about a minute before transitioning into the final part of the violin sequence that is split up into sections on this album. It’s a very saddening feeling knowing this is the end of the album, and consequently the end of ‘The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza’ as this was the final album they released before they split up and went their own separate ways. Much like with Alice in Chains’ ‘Over now’ the final note for this song feels like the final goodbye from the band, and though it is sad, it’s also satisfying to hear, a sort of bearable sadness.
Well, what a rollercoaster this album is. Overall I’d give this album a 5/10.
Though it does have quite a bit going for it, the few glaring issues are fairly big ones. For one the sound clips were totally uneeded on every track. And as I said in the review, a couple of the tracks could probably be removed and the album wouldn’t feel any different and might even feel better to an extent.
Thoughts? Discuss down below!
Give it a listen yourself ↓