Review Rundown: Redemption, Electric Valentine, Relient-K, Victims of Circumstance, Flood of Red

This time around, the Review Rundown features looks at the new releases from Redemption, Electric Valentine, Relient-K, Victims of Circumstance and Flood of Red, as well as brief takes on Sunday Night Scene’s and the Destro’s latest.

File Under: Epic Metal
Redemption – “Snowfall on Judgment Day” (Inside Out Music): Words like epic and ostentatious, and phrases like thoroughly exhausting come to mind while listening to Redemption’s latest, Snowfall on Judgment Day, but those thoughts just don’t do the record justice. Sticking with that thought, bands like Dragonforce, Blind Guardian and Hammerfall come to mind as well, even though Redemption aren’t pigeonholed by such comparisons. This record is meticulous and methodical in its execution, bursting with comprehensive and larger than life tracks that will surely challenge your sonic endurance. No track off this disc fails to last at least five minutes (“Another Day Dies”), with the longest clocking in double digits at 11 minutes (“Love Kills Us All/Life in One Day”). Snowfall on Judgment Day is unrelenting to say the least, so be primed. If you choose to brave the undertaking that is this disc, you better saddle up for an expansive journey. (
Grade: B+
Go Download: “What Will You Say”

File Under: Glitzy Electro-powerpop
Who Gives a Tweet? (Your review in 140 characters or less) – Sunday Night Scene – America’s Playmate (Chamberlain Records): Album closer “Postcards” gives America’s Playmate hope; it’s just too bad the record sounds like everything else. Go ahead and sing along. (
Grade: C
Go Download: ‘Hollywood Dreams’

File Under: Dirty Electro-pop
Electric Valentine – Automatic: Not taking anything away from the abilities of Lauren Baird, but Automatic would have benefitted from more vocal work from Chris Qualls. It’s just that this record would have been better with more vocal interplay between the two, more give and take if you will. It’s a good idea to go ahead and get this CD in the rotation at your next party – your dance floor will never have looked so alive. Electric Valentine sound like a mash-up of Hypercrush and the Whip – just enough tricks of the trade mixed with an actual passion and understanding for the dance/electronic genre. The beats are fresh; the grooves run deep and last, while the overall product is as keen as it is ferocious. “Waiting for the Harmony” is proof that the duo can do more than simply turn on a laptop. Electric Valentine know what they are doing when it comes to making club ready dance floor explosions, and they are eager to prove that to you with this record. (
Grade: B
Go Download: “Waiting for the Harmony”

File Under: Full on Metal Mayhem
Who Gives a Tweet? (Your review in 140 characters or less)  - The Destro – Harmony of Dischord (Metal Blade Records): An unrelenting metal assault that can be described by any number of tasty adjectives, although the record wears thin by the latter tracks. (
Grade: C
Go Download: “Thorns of Truth”

File Under: Indie Tingle Powerpop
Relient K – Forget and Not Slow Down (Mono Vs Stereo): This record is like a light, refreshing drink that is well put together. When you first take a sip, you’re immediately satisfied, and each one gets better from there. The more that drink you have, the better it gets until you have so much that every drink feels the same. And much of the same goes for Relient-K’s latest, Forget and Not Slow Down. Upon first listen you’ll realize that this record is surely a good one, one that’s pretty well produced. It’s full of good songs and fantastic melody, but the more you listen to it, the more you’ll see that you’ve probably heard all of this before. This record luckily houses some saving graves like “Therapy” and album closer “If You Want It,” where the boys channel a bit of Mae or Jack’s Mannequin, but this record isn’t the best thing these guys have ever released, but keep in mind Relient-K did just release a Christmas album, so how do you top that? (
Grade: C+
Go Download: “Therapy”

File Under: Punk Rock Ska Ready to Drink on Your Tab
Victims of Circumstance – Roll the Dice (Financial Records): Man, these guys know how to have a good time. If by listening to Victims of Circumstance’s latest, Roll the Dice, or even viewing the albums artwork for that matter, you don’t see that these guys have fun in no matter what they do, you obviously so not ears or eyes. Victims of Circumstance is the type of band that would come and play your house party if you invited them, but they would probably run the beer pong table or tap your keg, or both. Yeah, come to think of it, more than likely both. This record is summed up in a few lines from the song “Had Enough” – “we can sing the songs we want to hear/we can exist outside the mainstream/we can write the words we want to read/a poetry of tattoos and graffiti/you can’t define us with a magazine or generate a music scene or bear a resemblance on MTV to something like reality.” It’s those words; that thought process that makes this disc so subtly powerful, and the bands near perfect blend of mid-90’s ska (Mighty Mighty Bosstones) and today’s mainstream ska (Reel Big Fish) doesn’t hurt them either. These guys are fine not being famous, and they are a better band for it. They are untainted and unblemished – what you see is what you get. (
Grade: B
Go Download: “Had Enough”

 File Under: Layered Post Hardcore
Flood of Red – Leaving Everything Behind (Dark City): These guys sound like a UK-born post-hardcore love child between A Secret & a Whisper and Circa Survive. There are atmospheric rock touches strewn about Leaving Everything Behind, at times leading the band to sound closer to Moments of Grace than Thrice, and it is those touches that add depth to an album that is already rich with heady spacey feel that can deliver a heavy punch. The undeniable British accent cuts through the albums sonic mass from time to time, but honestly, if you didn’t know these guys hailed from across the pond, you’d never know. If you were listening to it, sure, but this record by and large sounds Americanized. The production value plays a part but it’s not like that takes away from the records overall product. At 14 tracks this record doesn’t get tiring, a trait typical of such discs. It has a definite beginning, middle and end with tracks “the Edge of the World (Prelude)” and “the Edge of the World,” with a handful of bright spots in-between (“The Heartless and the Loving”, “I Am the Speechless,” “Home, Run (1997)”). Flood of Red might be the new kids on the block (or NKOTB for those in the know), but this record doesn’t show that. (
Grade: B
Go Download: “The Harmony”