Montreal’s Polychuck is a heck of a prodigy. He’s a megatalented singer / songwriter / shredder / teacher / mixed martial artist (!!) who does it all, and now he’s expanding his palette and progressing. Far beyond his firsttwo EPs. When we spoke to Polychuck on the LeBrain Train last year, he expressed his desire to get more progressive on his upcoming recordings. By collaborating with former Dream Theater/Kiss/Alice Cooper keyboardist Derek Sherinian, he’s made a huge leap. Also playing on this track are drummer Philipe Landry and bassist Frédérick Filiatrault. With the added firepower, “Hero” has a fuller sound than previous Polychuck songs. It’s like the playing field just got a whole lot bigger.
So let’s get to it. Cut to the chase. Polychuck, who is of Ukrainian descent, says “Hero” is a cry for peace, directly about current events. In times of crisis, music helps sooth. In turn, crises often inspire great music.
“Hero” commences with steely rhythm guitar with a wicked tone. It bounces from heavy rocking to acoustic picking and an instrumental outro. When Sherinian comes in near the start, he’s instantly recognizable. His solo work here is lyrical, and the perfect compliment to the song. Not to mention Polychuck’s own lead work, which is both impressive and melodic. All the playing here is just awesome, period.
“Hero” is an impressive construction. It’s complex, with several different sections including one at the end that reminds me of the keyboard part in “No More Tears” by Ozzy. Importantly, all the sections work together like chapters in a story, and the flow is natural. Best of all, “Hero” never stops being great through its 3:26 length.
Support up and coming talent like Polychuck and buy “Hero”. If you love that Dream Theater vibe, you will absolutely dig it.
Polychuck’s back. The diverse Montreal musician / singer / songwriter / shredder has returned to cap off 2021 with a followup EP to this year’s Shadows Exposed, and it’s a step into a larger world. Everything seems bigger and bolder. According to the man himself, these two new songs are a closing of the Shadows chapter, as he moves on to prepare his full length album debut — a concept album.
Of this new release, Polychuck explains: “Those were the two songs that originally didn’t make the cut because of their darker, more aggressive sound. These are the heavier tracks that were written and recorded at the same time as the other ones on the EP.”
The progressive “Scarred” has elements that harken back to classic Alice Cooper. Haunting keyboard touches, cinematic dialogue in the backdrop. The song soon evolves into a chugging metallic stomp, with double bass setting an aggressive tone. The icing on the cake is the second solo, a guest guitar spot by 17 year old Justus Hajas. Wait until you hear this one!
The second track, “Lay a Claim”, stirs more ingredients together, including 80s pop and record scratching. This classic-to-be brings us out of the Shadows with positive lyrics and outstanding melodies. “I’m here to fuckin’ stay,” sings Polychuck with intent.
With talent like this, he’s sticking around!
Indeed, Polychuck has a vision, and it’s going to be cool to watch him unfold it. As his sound grows we can assume his forthcoming album will be even bigger in scope.
From Montreal, with a do-it-yourself attitude and all the know-how, Polychuck is ready to be heard. His new EP Shadows Exposed has something for everyone, and that’s not just a cliche this time. Five deeply personal songs, from the wellspring of modern popular music, heavy metal, progressive rock, and all the classics. Polychuck is a musically intelligent individual who pulls no punches on guitar, lyrically, or in the ring. He’s also an MMA fighter!
Lead track “Beating Myself Down” has the vintage piano bop vibe, complete with scratchy vinyl playback. Before you mistake it for a Billy Joel record, Polychuck brings in the modern influences and blunt lyrics. Synth horns give you an idea of where Polychuck is coming from. Performed on keyboards this time, he wants to use a real horn section on his next album. Creative use of vocoder, and a smoking guitar solo with some insane sounds are the icing on a very sweet cake.
“Exposure” has a modern urban feel, before the heavy metal drum beats kick in. This is augmented by some pretty awesome record scratching. The Styx-like keyboard solo reveals Polychuck’s progressive side, which he also wishes to explore further next time out.
Another strong tune, “In the Dark”, binds the heavy beats, some creative keyboard construction, and a solid guitar riff. This riff transforms into a wailing solo. Fans of Linkin Park will find something to love here.
Light beach-ready guitar plucks away on “Driving Me Mad”, a song for the summer that sounds like a holdover hit from ages past. What sets it apart is, again, the guitar. At one point Polychuck hits upon a melody something like “Rough Boy” by ZZ Top, and it’s the perfect fixture for the song.
The last song “Lights Out” tackles a number of subjects: the inner critic, nostalgia, old friendships, and more. Light 80s keyboard is paired with heavy drums and guitar, ending the EP on a positive note.
When Deke and I talked to Polychuck, he told us he was very much looking forward to making everything bigger next time out, with more real instruments and much more prog. We look forward to what he has in store, but check out the EP for a taste. It’s available on iTunes and all the usual streaming platforms. Shadows Exposed makes a splash but it’s just the inception. More to come from this gifted artist.
FOO FIGHTERS – The Colour and the Shape(Originally 1997, 2007 Sony Legacy edition)
Sometimes, an album is just perfect. Nothing needs to be added or taken away. It is simply right the first time.
The Foo Fighters got it right the first time when they released The Colour and the Shape in 1997 At 47 minutes, it was already a bit longer than the average album, but what a towering 47 minutes they are! There is a reason that The Colour and the Shape is consistently the album that all others are compared to. It’s that one magical, flawless album that can never be equalled no matter what Dave Grohl & Co. come up with next.
The Colour and the Shape was a product of its time and all the things Grohl was going through. The drummer (William Goldsmith) was fired mid-way and Dave re-recorded all the drums himself, bar two ballads. Maybe that’s one reason that the album is so special. When Dave plays the drums, the energy level goes through the roof and comes out the speakers. That’s what happens on “Monkey Wrench”, “My Hero”, “Everlong”, “New Way Home” and “Hey, Johnny Park!”, five of the most exciting tracks. The energy simply cannot contained. The Law of Conservation of Energy dictates that it all comes out of your body as you rock to this album!
Of one were to give a negative critique to any of this album, it might be Grohl’s screaming on “My Poor Brain” and “Enough Space” among others. It is true: Grohl chips the paint with his voice from time to time. This works though, as an appropriate contrast to the soft melodies of “Walking After You” and “February Stars”. The album is well rounded. It joyfully careens from those heavy blasts, to quiet acoustic bits of pop glory.
The Colour and the Shape has the songs, it has the riffs, and mindblowing drums. It has the vibe, and it reeks of passion. Whatever Grohl was going through at this time, it ended up in the music. The production by Gil Norton is a bright contrast to the lo-fi of the debut album Foo Fighters. It simply cannot be improved upon. Even the lyrics go full circle. Listen to “Doll” and “New Way Home” and see if you catch it.
When Sony Legacy added seven bonus tracks, it beefed the album up to well over an hour. If you listen to the CD as a whole, it completely changes the listening experience, and not in a good way. It’s Coke vs. New Coke. Adding essentially a third side of B-sides doesn’t make it better. It would be advised to collect the original Foo Fighters singles from which these tracks were taken. And if you do, you’ll get more songs that weren’t included on the Sony Legacy, such as live and acoustic versions. Of the bonus tracks, the Gary Numan cover “Down in the Park” is particularly exceptional. The new liner notes by bassist Nate Mendel are quite cool.
The Colour and the Shape is one of the best albums of 1997, if not the very best of that year. It’s tough to beat and adding bonus tracks didn’t do the trick. Therefore, The Colour and the Shape gets two ratings:
RECORD STORE TALES Mk II: Getting More Tale #334: Tyler and LeBrain – episode one – “Nickelback”
Please welcome fellow Sausagefester, Dave FM listener, and lover of leather-clad blues-infested classic rock and roll: Tyler. We’ve decided to team up for musical commentary on a few different topics. Today’s subject:
These 16 songs are what we’re calling our “Greatest Hits.” Not to be confused with “Our Best Songs” or “Our Favorite Songs,” it is a collection of the songs that have defined our band’s identity to most people over the years. The other 65 album tracks… well, some of those might be our greatest songs. “Aurora”, “New Way Home”, “MIA”, “Exhausted”, “A320” … depends on whom you ask. Personally, I don’t think we’ve written our greatest songs yet. But that door is always open.– Dave Grohl, 2009
FOO FIGHTERS – Greatest Hits (2009 Roswell Records CD/DVD set)
November 2009 was a great month for Dave Grohl fans, with this release of their Greatest Hits CD, a slew of Nirvana, and Them Crooked Vultures. As far as the hits disc goes, I would recommend that you purchase the version that comes with the bonus DVD. It includes almost all of the Foo’s wonderful witty and goofy music videos as well as live cuts.
I actually don’t have too many beefs with the CD track listing itself. Granted, Foo singles and Foo album tracks are often two different beasts and equally good. As Dave points out in the liner notes (great liner notes by the way) maybe “Aurora” should have been included in a tracklist of the “best” Foo songs. More songs from the first album could have been here. I’m sure you could pick out a dozen more. All the tracks here are singles or new songs. By and large though, no big deal, as long as you dig deeper into the Foo catalogue after hearing this CD.
What about those two new songs?
“Wheels” has a neat opening riff that sounds like country music with feedback! I like this song alot. Honestly, I think this is a country song in disguise. Imagine Dwight Yoakam doing it. See what I mean? As far as Foo songs go, maybe this would fit right in with There Is Nothing Left To Lose material. Great chorus, there’s even a little twang in the chorus. It has an epic quality. Cool crashing chords in the chorus, too.
“Word Forward” starts acoustic, punctuated with some electric guitar. Not quite as strong as “Wheels”, the melody is a bit more awkward. This sounds more like B-side material to me. It’s a shame because I quite like the clean-picked opening guitar, the dynamics, and a lot of the chords, it’s just the melodies of the song that don’t work for me.
The flow of the songs isn’t perfect. A song like the electric version of “Everlong”, to me, is a song that goes on the later half of a CD (aka “side 2” to us old folks). To me it’s a song that builds up to a closing climax of an album. If I had chosen this exact same track list, I would have had the songs in a different order so they flow better in terms of mood. Also, I think a few too many fast Foo tracks are presented in a row without enough of their wonderful slower songs to break things up. Look at the first four tracks in a row: “All My Life”, “Best Of You”, “Everlong” and “The Pretender” are four fast heavy ones in a row, followed by “My Hero” which is still pretty heavy. It’s like putting your foot on the gas pedal and not taking it off even when your passenger is giving you terrified looks!
The album ends with an acoustic version of “Everlong” (not from the Skin and Bones CD, this is an unreleased 1996 demo). While this spare, Grohl-only version of the most epic of epic Foo songs is great, as a closer it’s not my choice, at least not for an album like this. It kind of left me hanging. I’m not bitching about getting an unreleased demo of a classic song, I just don’t think last was the right place in the running order for it.
I can only give the CD-only version 3.5/5 stars, because it’s a little underwhelming and I’m sure you, as a fan, could have made a better mix CD. Pick up the version with the DVD — 4.5/5 stars on that one.
There were some pretty awesome picks this year. I have to give Scottie props for “Coming Home” by Iron Maiden, from the excellent Final Frontier album. I found some things a bit surprising, such as the overplayed-on-radio “Black Betty” by Ram Jam, placing so high.
“Thick As A Brick” was the live version, so just over 10 minutes. Other long bombers included all of “Supper’s Ready” by Genesis, which resulted in a tirade by Phil for just as long, about how much he thinks it sucks! (And he’s an old-school Marillion fan…surprising.) And of course there were several Maiden tunes that clock in well over 5 minutes.
For your edification, here is the official Sausagefest XII Countdown: 75 tracks, plus 35 tributes. One tribute for each person that submitted a list! 110 songs over one weekend! Awesome.
A few months ago, I did a video review of one of my favourite Transformers toys, Soundblaster aka Soundwave.
Linkin Park must dig him too. Check out this article at Seibertron.com, for a full gallery of Botcon 2013 photos of the official Soundwave – Linkin Park Edition figure! It’s really cool looking. The set contains recoloured G1 Soundwave, Ravage, Ratbat, and Lazerbeak figures, all done up in gold. According to the Linkin Park website, Joe Hahn is behind the colour choice. Only 2000 will be made.