Filter - The Trouble With Angels Review

Release date: 18 August 2010
Label: Rocket Science Ventures/Nuclear Blast

2 years since Anthems for The Damned, Filter returns with The Trouble With Angels and alot of speculation was made if it could really be "this year's defining rock record" as mentioned by Richard Patrick, the only constant member since the creation of Filter back in 1993. Apparently, it might just be.

  1. The Inevitable Relapse
  2. Drug Boy
  3. Absentee Father
  4. No Love
  5. No re-entry
  6. Down With Me
  7. Catch A Falling Knife
  8. The Trouble With Angels
  9. Clouds
  10. Fades Like A Photograph (Dead Angel)
Most rock music lovers would remember Filter as the band that brought the mellow "Take A Picture" and would expect The Trouble With Angels to follow the same vein as that hit single. Be ready to be disappointed, as this album is far from mellow and even at it's softest point with tracks like No Re-entry and Fades Like A Photograph (Dead Angel), Filter manages to keep the music unique and away from what would be acceptable by mainstream radio.

The Trouble With Angels begins with its first single, The Inevitable Relapse, and from this choice alone, you would either love this album or hate it. For me, it hits the right spot with its infectious chorus, "drink it, drink it, snort it, smoke it, everything I love about it" , the coarse wails of Richard Patrick and the cleverly executed drum parts.

Not letting the tempo and heaviness seep away, Drug Boy, Absentee Father and No Love follows through with the same hard hitting attitude from The Inevitable Relapse. The only rest you'll get would be No Re-entry, where the music takes a step slower and serenades the ear drums with its heavy chorused guitars, light drumming and an almost heart wrenching vocal performance from Richard.

That is where the strength of the whole album becomes apparent, each and every track in The Trouble With Angels captures the emotions through its melody and composition. When the song is sad and dreadful, you would feel it too, and when the song just wants to smash someone's head, it will actually make you feel the same way too.

Down With Me and Catch A Falling Knife carries the album back up from sappiness with the same great heaviness introduced in the opening tracks. Following straight after is the title track, The Trouble With Angels, and Clouds which brings forth the best vocal performance from Richard and a well-balanced composition between heavy guitars and dreamy, ambietic choruses.

Ending all troubles with any angels, Fades Like A Photograph (Dead Angel) is most probably the slowest and mainstream song in the whole album. A remake of a soundtrack made for 2012, Filter definitely chose the correct song to end an album, with  its dreamy guitar lines and piano parts that just lulls you to sleep. A good rest from all the angst and aggression present in almost the whole of The Trouble With Angels.

Richard Patrick
This album has been on repeat since I've gotten it on release day. However, as I've mentioned before, Filter's new release is a love or hate thing. At puresinner, we're definitely loving this album and it may just possess the lasting effect to be "this year's defining rock record".

6 out of 7 sins

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Mirror of Retribution Tour: ChthoniC, Live in Singapore Review

August 14, Republic Polytechnic - I was to go to a school, on a Saturday evening. Not my school though. I was on my way to see a Taiwanese Black Metal band, ChthoniC. The show was held at the polytechnic's Cultural Centre Studio.

I was there an hour earlier before showtime. Entry was delayed until about 7:45pm. I was disappointed to see no tour t-shirts were sold. Only the usual t-shirts which are all SGD$30. MourningSound Records has provided pre-orders online before the day of show.

A Singaporean Gothic metal band, Meltgsnow was the opening band. ChthoniC came on stage soon after and the crowd participated in a mass of headbanging cult. Fans were insane enough to throw Taoist hell bank notes on stage (can be seen in the video below), which I think was suppose to be based on the current album's concept of Taoist folklore.
The band performed "Rise of the Shadow" as the first track off the Mirror of Retribution album. Other songs off their latest release includes "1947" and "Sing-Ling Temple". Most of what I can hear, Freddy sung in their native language despite also having an alternate version in English. Even their setlist was written in Chinese.

The band was nice enough to have a meet & greet session after the show. I was one of the lucky few and the last to be taken pictures with the band until the lights go out. The remaining queue had no choice but to be in the dark. Nonetheless, the show was something I don't want to miss, even as a casual fan.

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Lunarin - Duae Review

Release date: August 20, 2010
Label: None, Distributor: Aging Youth Records

Lunarin unleashes their sophomore effort, Duae, 4 years after The Chrysalis. Plenty have changed but does these changes make Duae a better record?

  1. For Apollo
  2. Midas
  3. Zero Point Red
  4. Saturn
  5. Red
  6. Coralline
  7. Icarus Rising
  8. Serpentine
  9. To Forget
  10. The Sky (Algiers)
  11. Solus Nebula
  12. The Inquisition
For starters, it is quite amazing to know that Duae was mostly recorded and mixed from a home studio set up. Though the quality of some of its tracks does bear its flaws, Lunarin manages to keep it together with their masterful riffing and unique songwriting. Hailing from Singapore, there aren't many bands that dares to venture out to the more darker side of alternative metal the way Lunarin has tried in Duae.

Duae, starts off with a haunting piano piece, For Apollo, which draws you in for the face crushing intro riff of Midas. Reminiscent of Dry from their debut, Midas slows down to its verse as Linda sings "Touch me, can you taste me? Can you break me down?". Off-timed breakdowns with otherworldly riff-age from Kah Wye and Linda, Midas leads you Lunarin's first single, Zero Point Red (which has been reviewed here).

Saturn, the second semi-instrumental track, bridges listeners to the much more complex parts of Duae; Red, Coralline, Icarus Rising and Serpentine brings forth the meat of most of Duae. Red, the second longest track in Duae at 8 mins 39 secs, is probably the most ambitious track in the whole album. With the introduction of Mandala pads, dual vocal layers at the 6 min mark (or whatever it's called) and an intense off-timed breakdown towards the outro, you may get pretty amazed at what a home studio could do.

Coralline is the first track that has a second vocal backing from another member of the band and is a return to the old Lunarin sound from The Chrysalis era. However, the next two tracks, Icarus Rising with its addictive chorus and heavily-chorused guitars and Serpentine's dual vocal parts are tracks that further cement the fact that Lunarin has definitely grown over time and aren't releasing Duae based on the same formulae used for The Chrysalis.

As the album nears closure, To Forget, The Sky (Algiers) and Solus Nebula eases the adrenaline jolt from earlier tracks with two of the tracks being instrumentals and The Sky (Algiers) serving as a mellow bridge between the tracks. The Inquisition, the finale track for Duae and the longest track in the whole album, makes sure that the aggression of Duae does not die out by the mellowness of the previous 3 tracks with its intense drumming, and heavily riffed guitar and bass lines.

Loo Eng Teck, Ho Kah Wye & Linda Ong
Ending near the hour mark, Duae is an album that shows alot of the ambitions from Lunarin. Some of them are met, while there are others that fall short of expectation, but overall, Duae is worth listening to if you enjoy music that is outside of the genre-riddled rock/metal spectrum of music. Lunarin manages well with their home recording efforts, but there are certain areas where you could not help but think that the track should have underwent some sort of polishing, notably the sounds of some of the drum parts (crashes,splashes, etc) are pretty fake due to the fact that it was recorded through a digital set and the drowned out guitar parts in some of the tracks when it should have been made to the top of the mix. The latter could have been intentional, but one could not help but wish it would be the other way around.

As far as strengths and flaws are shown, Lunarin has done a great job in Duae and those fans that have been waiting for 4 years for it are definitely in for a treat.

6 out of 7 sins

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That Friday The 13th Show @ Home Club (13/08/10)

When I received the facebook invite for this show, I almost burst with excitement upon seeing the list of bands that were included. Zero Sequence, In Each Hand A Cutlass and Lunarin. 3 giants of the alternative rock scene in Singapore, 1 location at the price of $15 and with the inclusion of a pre-release of Duae for whoever that attends the gig, I just had to go even if I was pretty tired that night.

Note: I wasn't able to capture photos that would be decent enough for posting up during this gig and only partial videos were recorded due to depletion of my cam's battery. Apologies.

Arriving late to the show, I just managed to catch the last song being played by part of Zero Sequence. Apparently, there was no Zero Sequence set that night, but instead was pleasantly surprised by what seems to be Simon Yong's (guitarist, Zero Sequence) solo project. With 3 other members from Zero Sequence backing him for this new project on stage, Simon skillfully showcased his guitar prowess. It's a shame that I had only managed to catch the final song of their set, because I was really enjoying that last piece and I bet that it was quite a good set to begin with, though this depends entirely to the individual.

Crowd started to build up when In Each Hand A Cutlass began setting up their equipment on stage. I have only caught In Each Hand A Cutlass twice (one being the Waterfront gig) and both times I was pretty impressed with their brand of Post-Rock. Making her live debut with IEHAC, Amanda Ling was included in the line up as the new keyboardist/programmer. Another thing I've noticed is the missing guitarist, Farid.  As I'm not really that well-informed on the tracks that were played by IEHAC, I could just notice the difference from what have been played by them in the past as compared to present through the energy and amount of ambience.

Honestly, I preferred the last two shows I've seen them performed as compared to this set. Not trying to be a Post-Rock purist or whatever but, IEHAC used to incorporate much more ambience and lesser "raw rock" energy than they had now. Wonder if it has anything with the inclusion of Amanda, but overall, the set boasted loads of riffage and good guitar co-ordination between Roland Lim and leader of the pack, Dan Sassoon that impressed me and made me envious of their prowess.

Next up, the main performer of the night.

 Lunarin, supporting their sophomore release Duae, made sure that their setlist consists mostly of tracks from the new album. It is definitely not the first time that I've been to a 2010 Lunarin gig, so the tracks have pretty much been polished out for live performance this time as compared to the previous time (most notably, the Substation gig). Crowd was good, though I would have preferred if the screaming was toned down abit. Yes, support is support, buuuuuut...incessant screaming to draw attention to self and away from the band is a little questionable. Don't you agree?

So back to the performance, Lunarin was tight. Impressive performance by all members and especially Eng Teck (drummer). Multitasking as a backing vocalist and playing drums and inclusion of Mandala Pads and double pedals this time around, he has definitely outdone himself for Duae. All the videos for this performance have been uploaded on The Oracle's Youtube Channel. Check it out here.

This was definitely an awesome gig to be at and I would have regretted missing it. A full review of Lunarin's Duae will be made available here at puresinner closer to the official release date of the album (20th August 2010). Looking forward to catching them again at Baybeats 2010.

Do pardon the excessive Lunarin news on puresinner recently, we will return back to various music news again soon. Thanks for reading.

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