Sun. Jan 16th, 2022

I was able to get copies of both the new Breaking Benjamin and the Alice in Chains CD’s, early, in order to review them. I also got the new Shadows Fall, Three Days Grace and Megadeth CD’s . It was a busy week for new releases and these were worth the wait. These are some of the best CDs I’ve heard in a while.Breaking Benjamin’s new CD is called “Dear Agony” and features the new single “I Will Not Bow.”

It is already a hit on the radio and is the featured song in Bruce Willis’ action thriller, “Surrogates” currently in theaters. The CD features 11 tracks including songs like, “Fade Away,” “Hopeless,” the title track “Dear Agony” and my favorite, “Into the Nothing”. The CD features classic Breaking Benjamin music in their own distinct style with no surprises. Just like their last CD, there are sure to be several hits from this one.

This is certainly one to buy if you like Breaking Benjamin. Remember, it’s good to support local bands. The guys hail from Wilkes-Barre, PA.

The new Alice in Chains album called “Black Gives Way to Blue.” This CD has been highly anticipated since it is Alice in Chains’ first new studio release in more than 10 years. Personally, I didn’t think they could make a great comeback album without Layne Staley, (their former lead singer who died of a drug overdose in 2002).

Boy, was I proven wrong.

Their new single “Check My Brain,” helps make this one of the best albums of 2009. It also features the songs “A Looking in View,” “Take Her Out” and my favorite “Acid Bubble.” One of the many highlights on the CD occurs in the title song “Black Gives Way to Blue.” This song is a tribute to their late lead singer Layne Staley and features a special guest performance by Elton John.

According to several recent media interviews with the band, a seven year old Layne attended his first concert and saw Elton John perform and remained a big fan. So having Elton featured on the album was a fitting tribute to Layne. Whether you are a big Alice in Chains fan or a casual listener, I highly recommend you buy this album.

Shadows Fall’s new album “Retribution” was the next one I listened to. With heavy hitting riffs and crazy solos, these bad boys from Boston have made their heaviest album yet . I was blown away when I heard their debut song, “Still I Rise,” on the radio.

At first I didn’t think it was Shadows Fall. I was pleasantly surprised on how thrash metal they have become. Jonathan Donais and Matt Bachand are all over the place with scorching solos and an interlacing of heavy riffs emphasizing their signature sound.

Drummer Jason Bittner expertly complements the riffs while bassist Paul Romanko adds massive weight to each song. I highly recommend you get the new cd and also catch them on tour with Five Finger Death Punch.

Three Days Grace’s new album “Life Starts Now” was up next. I was really excited for this new release because I’ve been a huge Three Days Grace fan for years. This CD does not disappoint! It features the new song “Break” which is similar to past Three Days Grace songs. My favorite new track is “Someone Who Cares.” This song stands out with searing guitar riffs, coupled with some solid bass. One surprise was the addition of the piano in “Last to Know.” It is unusual for the band, but really complements the song. Lead vocalist Adam Gontier also gets the opportunity to showcase his wide vocal range when his vocals remain strong even into the high notes. I hope to see them tour soon. They put on a great live show, and I think these new songs would be a welcome addition to their show.

Last, but certainly not least, I listened to Megadeth’s new CD “Endgame” featuring the new hit single “Headcrusher” a fast thrash song that makes you bang your head to every riff! The album starts out with an instrumental called “Dialectic Chaos” which really gives the album a great start. In contrast, the song ’44 Minutes’ begins with serene melody and eerie recordings of 911 tapes telling stories of being in a fire fight. Blistering guitarist Chris Broderick is a welcome addition to the lineup.

His playing is flawless and compliments Dave Mustane’s razor sharp vocals. Megadeth is one of my favorite bands but I was disappointed in their last release “United Abominations” This is nothing like their last cd.

I’m glad to report that this CD is vintage Megadeth and can take its rightful place alongside other Megadeth CD’s like ” Peace Sells,” “And Rust in Peace.”

I highly recommend this to any thrash metal fan.

As you can see there are many good albums out by many great bands of all genres. All albums are available in your local record stores.

Rich Jackson can be reached at RJ@689070@wcupa.edu

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