Review Rundown: Burning Hearts, Soulicit, Chevelle, Ned Evett, Lamb of God

The new Review Rundown features reviews of new releases from Burning Hearts, Soulicit, Chevelle, Ned Evett and Lamb of God.

File Under: Dream Pop
Burning Hearts – Extinctions (Shelflife): Moody and provocative describe Extinctions, the latest offering from Finnish indie pop mavens Burning Hearts, an album that full of rolling waves of lush sounds loosely intertwined to create lullaby-like landscapes. On Extinctions, the groups sophomore album, Burning Hearts channel a bit of Siouxee and the Banshees through introspective moments of pure, adulterated shoegaze (“Love and Dissonance,” “Deep Waters”), though the album isn’t without a certain bounce and swagger (“The Swallows,” “Burn Burn Burn”). Frontwoman Jessika Rapo’s (also the vocalist for Le Futur Pompiste – check them out as well) dreamy voice lingers in the ethers, as it hauntingly registers with each passing line. Whether you enjoy your indie pop in a minimalist setting (“One the Last Day of the Decade”) or you enjoy it with punchy undertones (“Into the Wilderness”), Burning Hearts’ Extinctions is a record to put on your 2012 bucket list. (
Grade: B
Go Download: “Love and Dissonance”    

File Under: Nu-Rock
Soulicit – Parking Lot Rockstar (Thermal Entertainment): Just as nu-metal dominated label rosters just over a decade ago, nu-rock is dominating radio airwaves everywhere nowadays, the latest installment being Soulicit. Upon first listen to the band’s debut Parking Lot Rockstar, it’d be easy to simply cast these boys off as another Saving Abel clone complete with a record full of b-sides scraped up off of Nickelback’s cutting room floor.  If you’re looking for lyrical depth, you’re sure not to find it here, as Parking Lot Rockstar reads like something off the letterhead from the desk of Josh Todd (Buckcherry frontman for those not following along closely). But that’s not to say that you can’t have some good old fashioned, blatant irreverent fun with Parking Lot Rockstar via a number of tracks driven by bass guitar riffing (“Hell Yeah,” “Beauty Queen”), though the record excels during it slower paced moments when the band lets their ballads hop in the driver seat (“You Are the Song,” “Time To Fly”). To be honest, Parking Lot Rockstar is probably best suited as entrance music for the next dancer to the stage at your local gentleman’s club (“Parking Lot Rockstar”), but that doesn’t mean you can pop this bad boy in and rock out a bit. (
Grade: C
Go Download: “Too Cold to Pray”

File Under: Modern Rock
Chevelle – Hats Off to the Bull (Epic): Honestly, Chevelle have yet to release a disappointing album. Each of their five previous studio albums have been sturdily built from top to bottom, and their sixth,  Hats Off to the Bull, is no exception, and far from it actually. In fact, Hats Off to the Bull might just be the bands strongest all-around offering to date, and the band doesn’t waste much time delving into what they do best -  energetic and heavy-hitting modern rock cuts led by dense riffing, melodic hooks that take flight and deep, Tool-inspired bass lines - with the opening track and lead single “Face to the Floor,” a steady wave of momentum that doesn’t let up until Hats Off to the Bull reaches its conclusion. Hats Off to the Bull is driven by smartly-structured, well-executed hard rock tunes (“Hats Off to the Bull,” The Meddler”), which is what the band’s built their reputation on, though, to be honest, aside from the afore mentioned “Face to the Floor,” Hats Off to the Bull doesn’t possess a leading man as it were; a standout best track. In other words, Hats Off to the Bull is the album you’d expect the band to release, making it something of a ‘safe’ record. The sum is greater than the whole of its parts with Hats Off to the Bull, though is it really a bad thing if the albums’ biggest flaw is that each and every song is good rather than one song being better than the rest? It’s up to you to decide. (
Grade: A
Go Download: “Envy”

File Under: Guitar Driven Mayhem
Ned Evett – Treehouse: Guitar virtuoso Ned Evett, the fretless wonder himself, is back with his sixth solo record, Treehouse, a record that surprisingly features little soloing considering the man at the helm. Though rest assured that when Evett lets his fingers do the talking and takes his riffs out for a walk, we are all the benefactors (“Dead on a Saturday Night”). Treehouse is an ever-changing record that features a multitude of looks, including rockabilly (“Pure Evil”), straight ahead rock and roll (“Falling in Line”), and Americana (“Why Can’t I Believe”), one that travels through both the light (“Treehouse”) and the dark (“Say Goodbye to the Both of Us”). Treehouse is both compelling and complex; a record fueled by Evett’s fretless  expertise, and while it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it is an album that should be spun more than a few times in order to truly appreciate every wrinkle, and most importantly, every note. (
Grade: B
Go Download: “Say Goodbye to the Both of Us”

File Under: Groove Metal
Lamb of God – Resolution (Epic/Roadrunner): Lamb of God’s seventh studio release Resolution is exactly the type of album you want out of the band – vitriolic, pissed and full of riff-tastic guitars, all album characteristics we have all come to know and love from the Richmond, Virginia metallers. The unstoppable guitar duo of Willie Adler and Mark Morton drive a good portion of Resolution, doing some shred-tacular damage throughout (“Guilty,” The Undertow,” “Ghost Walking”), and although this album picks up where pretty much every other long player in the band’s canon left off, Resolution still manages to intersperse a few intriguing cuts that see the bands straying a bit from their typical piss-and-vinegar laced groove metal, most notably on the trudging, Mastodon-esque “Straight for the Sun,” the spacey and epic “King Me” and the brooding “Insurrection,” which houses frontman Randy Blythe’s best vocal entry of the album. Even though the band doesn’t explore much new sonic territory with Resolution, it’s still Lamb of God being Lamb of God, and regardless of the fact that you know right from the start what you’re getting here, it doesn’t make it any less stout of an album, one that’s immediately better than most metal records you’ll find around these days. (
Grade: B+
Go Download: “Ghost Walking”