Reviews

THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE UGLY: A QUICK LOOK AT NEW ALBUMS FROM MADE OUT OF BABIES, MOTLEY CRUE, AND ABORTED

Rating
210

There’s some interesting releases coming out today, and I’ve been meaning to write about a few of them; unfortunately, life got in the way. So without further adieu, I just wanna toss in my two cents…

THE GOOD: MADE OUT OF BABIES, THE RUINER

I’ve had this album for at least a month, and I’ve spent that entire time trying to write a review that would do it justice. But I just can’t find the words; there’s nothing I can write that’s as elegant as what Made Out of Babies have accomplished with this disc.

So let’s simply say this: I love this fucking album. And if you like good music, you owe it to yourself to check it out.

Julie Christmas’ vocals are brimming with emotion and are unusually expressive, not just for metal, but for pretty much any genre, and the music feels stripped-down without sounding like the band had no budget whatsoever. I’d call it “garage rock” but I don’t want anyone confusing it with The Strokes, The Hives, or any of the other overrated bands generally associated with that genre. These are catchy as fuck, punky, poppy hard rock songs that will absolutely ruin your fucking life, as you’ll want to spend little time doing anything other than listening to them (the epic yet intimate “Invisible Ink,” which features the best repetitious refrain this side of “Hey Jude,” has particularly consumed me).

So look: I apologize that this review is so slapdash. Just go buy this fucking album. You won’t regret it.

And by the way, Made Out of Babies are playing a CD release party tonight at Union Pool in Brooklyn (484 Union Ave.). Doors are at 8, The Austerity Program and Dianogah are also playing, and tickets are a whopping eight bucks. If Vince and I don’t see at least a few of you there, we will feel deeply, deeply ashamed.

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(four and a half out of five horns)

THE BAD: MOTLEY CRUE, SAINTS OF LOS ANGELES

The question shouldn’t be “Do I only like old Motley Crue albums out of some sense of nostalgia?” The question should be “If this album had been released instead of Too Fast for Love or Theatre of Pain or Dr. Feelgood, would the band still be where they are today?”

And the answer is, “no.” Saints of Los Angeles isn’t the total car wreck I assumed it would be, but it’s a lot closer to Dr. Feels Sort of Okay than I would have hoped.

Look, give Nikki Sixx this much: unlike most of his peers, he never lost his ability to write catchy pop-metal anthems. The Heroin Diaries proved it – not that there really should have been any doubt. Even Generation Swine had some good hooks buried beneath all the musical “experimentation” that pretty much ruined that album.

The problem with SOLA, then, isn’t that the songs are bad, just so much as they’re not nearly as memorable as vintage Crue. I don’t mind the absence of any “Home Sweet Home”-esque power ballads, but I do mind what seems like a bizarre lack of proper Mick Mars solos (although that might be a side effect of the fact the Mars is slowly turning into a human statue), and even if most of the songs are catchy, I couldn’t really hum any of the hooks back to you. The best songs, like the title track, still just feel like direct rip-offs of some of the band’s better riffs, and even if Sixx was never a poet, the fact that he’s abandoned being a Sunset Strip Studs Turkel dealing in scuzzy little slices of street life in favor of indulging his own narcissistic nostalgia (we wanted to be rock stars, they told us we’d never be rock stars, now we’re rock stars, hoo-ray) makes every track feel like a real drag.

In 1999, Def Leppard released Euphoria, an album that looked, felt, and sounded akin to their 80s trademark releases. Motley Crue basically followed suit a year later with the Tommy Lee-less, Mike Clink-produced New Tattoo. Those albums are cheesy, but at least they played to the bands’ strengths. I know that these groups can re-capture their glory days if they just put in a little elbow grease.

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(two horns out of five)

THE UGLY: ABORTED, STRYCHNINE.213

Wow. Didn’t really know Aborted before this and wasn’t really expecting much, but this album slays. Like The Black Dahlia Murder, Aborted probably owe some royalty checks to the dudes in Carcass; but since there’s about 10 million bands that owe royalty checks to Carcass and most of them aren’t making anything nearly as heavy-yet-infectious as this album, I’m inclined to give Aborted a pass.

Eric Rachel’s killer production is typically crisp-yet-monstrous, and do the songs – which are somehow crushing, catchy, and cinematic all at once – an incredible service. Aborted haven’t exactly reinvented the wheel, but then, I don’t think they’re trying to. They’ve made one of the more fun melodic death metal albums I’ve heard this year, and not only do I highly recommend it, but I like it enough to admit that I will now check out the rest of the band’s discography.

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(three and a half out of five horns)

-AR

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