Megalithic Symphony

1. Megalithic Symphony
2. Some Sort of Creature
3. Soul Wars
4. People
5. Jump on My Shoulders
6. Burn it Down
7. Guilty Filthy Soul
8. Kill Your Heroes
9. My Nightmare's Dream
10. Sail
11. Wake Up
12. Not Your Fault
13. All I Need
14. Knights of Shame

Aaron Bruno (vocals)
Christopher Thorn (lead guitar)
Kenny Carkeet (rhythm guitar, keyboards & backing vocals)
David Amezcua (bass & backing vocals)
Hayden Scott (drums)

Back From Earth (EP 2010)

Aaron Bruno (synth, drums, percussion, keyboards, bass guitar, Rhodes, guitar & piano)
Jimmy Messer (guitar, drums, synth & bass guitar)
Drew Stewart (guitar)
Billy Mohler (bass)
Tony Royster Jr. (drums)
Brian West (synth, casio)
Watts Choir (additional vocals)
Arielle Verinis (vocals on 11)
Cameron Duddy, Curtain$ & Tarrah Toland (vocals on 14)

Aaron Bruno, Jimmy Messer & Brian West (Producers)

Released 1/6-2012
Reviewed 21/4-2012

red bull records

I struggled for some time with the decision wether I should write this review in English too or only Swedish since the album was released in March last year in America but only comes to Sweden by June this year. However, since a lot of Europe other than Sweden haven't had the opportunity to get this album either and a lot of English speaking people live in Sweden too you will also have a Hallowed review on this album in English. For me though, I didn't know the band had released this full album already last year since my first acquaintance with this band only was the hit single Sail that now is certified for platinum in the US and Canada. The album though really shows why America is the country where the food blender was invented because this album really feels like it's been putted in a blender by this American band.

'Megalithic SYmphony' has music that can be labeled as pretty much everything. Pop, indie pop, indie rock, hip hop, techno, 60's rock, modern rock, hard rock, R 'n B and even some punk rock. One can argue that because of this pretty much everyone can find something they like on this album and that might very well be true but you can also say that more or less everyone will also fins a couple of songs they don't like on this album. Us "know-it-alls" (aka music reviewers) often love albums like this because most of us listen to so much more music and hear so many more bands/artists than most "normal" people can even imagine and therefore we often like albums with lots of variation, genre transitions and mixed candy. However, the so called "normal" music listener might not see this as the kind of candy mix they normally chose because I actually see some difficulties with an album that doesn't seem to know which direction it's going and on the surface only seems to be rambling around in any direction. The demands on an album like this where every track is so individual in style and sound are therefore bigger than on albums with a red musical line and to tie the whole thing together is not the easiest thing to do. So the main question is this review will be wether the band succeed to do that and keep their listeners or if they're lost on their journey across the universe.

I can begin to answer my question by saying that the band at least does a good job trying to make the album cohesive. The production is great and the sound is amazing and sounds as clear as tears of angels. The trio Bruno, Messer and West that are credited as producers have at least done a good job with the sound and tied the songs to each other with that, but they make a huge mistake when it comes to the concluding 15 minutes long song because this song does not tie up all loose ends and conclude the album but rather create new ones and this is what I see as the weakest link with this album. All songs are good - very different, but good - and then we reach a 15 minutes long concluder that isn't closing the whole thing properly and gives it a grand and magnificent ending. That's really a shame.

Looking closer at the songs on 'Megalithic Symphony' I think most of them qualify as both good and worthy your attention. Three of the songs are intro songs in less than a minute, which isn't strange in itself but I think it's quite unusual to put two in a row at the very beginning of the album but about a minute and a half in to the album we get the first real song, which is a fast and catchy song with a chorus close to screamo nu-metal or perhaps modern rock while the verse is more speedy indie pop or some sort of child-directed pop music. And already here we're introduced to the diversity of the album. The second songs begins with a reggae or R'n B sound that then turns in to a pop music sound more related to techno or house in the chorus. The third real song (fifth track) uses that same recipe (play something in the verses and then something very different in the chorus) and takes it to an extreme because Jump On My Shoulders has a very toned down indie pop sound in the verses and then goes completely bananas in the chorus with a catchy, grand and radio friendly chorus. At least I can't see the bridge between verse and chorus because to me it's like two completely different songs and this gives a really bad flow in the music and I've never liked this kind of things because of that. But granted, the chrous in Jump On My Shoulders is one of the best things on this album. It's just a shame they let the verse ruin the song.

Burn It Down, which comes as number six, begins as an Elvis song from the 60's but like the rest it change character in the chorus and turns in to more of a punk rock song with about half a minute of techno one and a half minute in to the song. Guilty Filthy Soul sounds like a tuned down ska-song with hand-clapping and simple melodies from a synth. This is one of a only few songs where verse and chorus actually works well together and the first track so far but despite all this roving between genres and styles in verse and chorus I think the album by this stage is really good and fun and everything but it's what comes after this point that I find most interesting on the album. Here we comes to a song called Kill Your Heroes that is one of the very best on this album and after this we get the hit single Sail and sandwiched between these two is the interlude My Nightmare's Dream (which is something of an intro for All I Need that comes a few songs later). Sail is a great song already the first time you hear it and it has stayed good even after 20 runs and it's not difficult to see why it has become so popular, currently climbing the charts in Sweden.

Wake Up follows Sail and is a pretty good song but my third favorite on this album comes after this - the screamo/hard rock song Not Your Fault - so Wake Up becomes something of a incongruity stuck between the two best songs on the album while still being one of the better tracks on the album. In my opinion it's only the last song that doesn't work - not only on the second half but on the entire album. It's not only because it fails to close the album and the many directions it has taken but also because it's a 15 minutes long song without any real direction and with mostly strange and unexpected things happening in it, which isn't really helping the album anywhere. Besides Kill Your heroes, Sail and Not Your Fault that I've already mentioned as my favorites, I think most songs have great choruses and as a whole the album is exciting, interesting and feels somewhat inventive. However, looking at the tracks individually I can't really say the same thing because many of them are incoherent and feels a bit too "inspired" by things already existing. Still, most of the songs are well worthy your attention and really good!

If you have any form of perception I think you've understood that I really like this album. But how good is it, actually? And who is it for? Well, I'm not sure of the last one but I guess it's for people with a wide interest in music… or a very unspecified interest in music. I do, however, belive that regardless of what kind of music you like, you'll find something of interest on this album so iTunes is recommended your you with a limited range of music interest. I have a really hard time to see that there's many out there that can't find anything on 'Megalithic Symphony' they don't like. This is one of the best albums of 2012, despite it was released in 2011 and from time to time I think it's absolutely brilliant. However, from time to time it spins a bit too much out of the frames of perfection but I still consider this album really good and I strongly recommend it to you!



Label: Red Bull Records/EMI/Triada
Three similar bands: Mika/Styx/U2
Rating: HHHHHHH (5/7)
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm

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