Three vastly different releases run the gamut from symphonic metal to chillwave bliss

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer

Roadrunner Records

Initially, I thought major yawn factor when I heard that Finnish band’s seventh album is a conceptual release based on an old composer at death’s door. To add to that, it’s an accompaniment (not a soundtrack) to a film of the same name comprised of similar themes. Heavy.

Gladly, I misjudged, because they churn out a sort of heavy metal opera that’s only Meat Loaf could dream of. The operatic quality is exploded with a heavy guitar assaults and rapid drum smashes. But in all that thrust, the songs are constructed tightly keeping its themes right on course. Singer Anette Olzon sometimes gets outta control with her Abba-esque vocalizing, but the album has a linear quality that kept me interested the entire way through.

Minus the reasoning behind the album, it’s simply a grand listen. Even without lyrics, Nightwish pulls off a coherent and conclusive song cycle that’s headbanging, quirky and epic.

Three stars

Watch “Storytime”

Beautiful Things
Anthony Green
WEA Creative & Design Group

Indie rocker and Circa Surive singer Anthony Green is back with his second full-length solo of garagey rock and 20something angst. The album opens fine with “If I Don’t Sing,” an OK rocker that isn’t groundbreaking. But second track “Do It Right” is a full-out mess of handclaps and acapella. His voice is too harsh for this kind of singing and really just hurts the ears. And the album’s lead single “Get Yours While You Can,” displays no real soul to it other than maybe for some good drumming. Otherwise, he could use a Sucrets.

At times, Green is just too whiney that you just wanna smack the shit out of him. But in other tracks, he grows up nicely as in “Get Yours While You Can.” Overall, he doesn’t deliver much new that Jack White hasn’t already given us with much more depth. Green has a long way to go.

Two stars.

Listen to “Get Yours While You Can”

Dark Matters
Expensive Looks
Group Tightener

For a kid who taught himself to DJ and the move into producing, Alec Feld’s debut album as Expensive Looks is a big time knock out. The electronic music he creates play as complex symphonies in as little as a 1:49. With much of the same sophistication Washed Out displayed in last year’s Within and Without, Feld does the same, but with some dancey undertones. Yet, it’s never obnoxious with overdone production and bass beats, nor does it come off as self-indulgent.

The album has its specific tone of dreamy disco but tracks tend to run together. I couldn’t tell you the difference between say tracks two and five, but as a whole, it’s a collective breath of relief that works a whole lot of magic just over half an hour.

Surprisingly Feld describes the album as “confusion and constant bipolar shifts all for the pursuit of happiness. I kill for euphoria and use it as a venue to get that polar-shifting depressive state across. This isn’t about me not being happy; it’s more about my frustration with the pursuit of happiness.”

And yet, in all its originality and focus, it’s pure bliss to listen to.

Four stars

Listen to “Moving Visions”
Expensive Looks – Moving Visions by Group Tightener