Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Ocarina Of Rhyme

And now for something completely different: Team Teamwork, a blog group that prides themselves on "ghettotech" hip hop remixes, has recently compiled an album of mash-ups that take instrumentals from everyone's favorite game in the Legend of Zelda series, The Ocarina of Time, and overlay them with rap from some of today's better MCs. The Ocarina of Rhyme is available for digital download pretty much anywhere online, so get to it!
To some the album may seem lame or nerdy (and it might actually be a little of both) but fans of old-school rap and old-school video games, which I'm sure there are a ton of, will be really pleased. The editing is done very well and the separate elements of each song were carefully chosen to fit together surprisingly well. The first track, which mashes Clipse's "Virginia" with the Lost Woods theme, is especially ironic in its combination of the most playful tune in the game with some pretty serious lyrics. The team does interesting work with "Still D. R. E." and the brief 6-second sample that accompanies Link's discovery of a treasure by altering the speed, chopping it up, and flipping it around to make a pretty royal accompaniment to Snoop Dogg's and Dr. Dre's rhymes. The best tracks, however, use the more simple and repetitive rhythms that play in the background during the game (and are thus deeply ingrained into the player's memory.) These include the mix of Goron Village's somewhat tribal percussion-and-yelping theme with Aesop Rock's "No Jumpercables," Spank Rock's dirty "IMC" over the serene and subtle theme from Zora's Domain, and the "Still Tippin'" duet between Slim Thug and Mike Jones with the high-pitched fantasy-synth melody found in all four Great Fairy fountains. The album is short, sweet, and a ton of fun, especially for those nostalgic types like myself, so go make like Link and explore the depths of google.com until you stumble upon this hidden treasure.

"What Would I Want Sky"

I just found a clean and edited BBC "Freak Zone" session of Animal Collective's new track, "What Would I Want Sky," that they've been playing at live shows recently, so I thought I'd share it. From the explosive percussion of the first half's crashing beat to the warbled vocals, shimmering guitars, glistening electronic effects, and choir-like harmonies that slowly layer to transition into the second, this song has got it all. Panda Bear's repetition of the title in the background of Avey Tare's ever-so-catchy hooks and melody will have you hypnotized and the seven minutes of ear candy will go by before you even know it, leaving you craving another listen. I wonder what delicious treats ANCO has in store for us next?

Refer back to this earlier post to see a video of them playing it live.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Playlist: Eat Out Your Brain

The next installment in my personal playlist series is complete: check out the 20 tracks that make up Eat Out Your Brain (a lyric from the previously reviewed "Zumbi" that somewhat captures the essence of the mix but is mostly just really amusing) below. Again, it is meant to be shuffled and the songs are in alphabetical order by artist:

1. "Collapsing At Your Doorstep" by Air France off of No Way Down
2. "River" by Akron/Family off of Set 'Em Wild, Set 'Em Free
3. "Summertime Clothes" by Animal Collective off of Merriweather Post Pavilion
4. "Useful Chamber" by Dirty Projectors off of Bitte Orca
5. "Mushaboom [Postal Service Remix]" by Feist off of Open Season
6. "Ankle Injuries" by Fujiya & Miyagi off of Transparent Things
7. "Ready For The Floor" by Hot Chip off of Made In The Dark
8. "Last Exit [Fennesz Mix]" by Junior Boys off of Last Exit
9. "Heartbeats" by The Knife off of Deep Cuts
10. "Yeah! Oh Yeah!" by The Magnetic Fields off of 69 Love Songs
11. "Hold The Line (DJ Edit)" by Major Lazer off of Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do
12. "Zumbi" by Major Lazer
13. "Nonpareil Of Favor" by Of Montreal off of Skeletal Lamping
14. "Moth's Wings" by Passion Pit off of Manners
15. "Eyes As Candles" by Passion Pit off of Manners
16. "Thickets" by Patrick Wolf off of The Bachelor
17. "You'll Find A Way (Switch And Sinden Remix)" by Santigold off of Santogold
18. "Inaugural Trams" by Super Furry Animals off of Dark Days/Light Years
19. "Dinosaur On The Ark" by The Very Best off of The Very Best Mixtape
20. "Damage" by Yo La Tengo off of I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One

Though I try my hardest to put unique and unexpected tracks on every playlist, Animal Collective always seems to end up there in some form, so I apologize (but have no regrets.) Also, even though Passion Pit and Major Lazer are on here twice, their songs are different enough from each other and good enough on their own to warrant two separate places on the list. I found most of the tracks with Elbows music blog aggregator (though "Thickets" and the Fennesz mix of "Last Exit" are TPP originals), so follow the links to download your own copy of Eat Out Your Brain.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Mind Over Time

I'm not sure when it will be released or if it's even a real Interpol project, but a rarities compilation consisting of 19 remixes and unreleased tracks has been floating around the internet recently. It's called Mind Over Time and it collects Interpol's early self-titled and Remix EPs as well as Japan-exclusive bonus tracks, outtakes, and new mixes of songs from Our Love To Admire, their most recent album. A lot of the remixes are sort of worthless because they sound almost exactly like the originals and true Interpol fans will already have most of the material on the compilation, but there are a few specifics that are definitely worth hearing and owning.
The title track, "Mind Over Time," is a dark, moody piece written and recorded during the sessions for OLTA that resembles the untitled track from Turn On The Bright Lights. It features samples of radio broadcasts and a truly haunting vocal performance from frontman Paul Banks. The entire Interpol EP is also included, but "Song 7" and "Precipitate" are really the only two tracks from the pre-TOTBL era that deserve attention. Banks' alternate version of "Narc" is mostly acoustic and sounds more eerie, subdued, and surreal than the album version. The Carlos D remix of "Public Pervert" is one of the best remixes I've heard in a while, taking all of the best elements of the original song and repeating them over and over in time with a cool electronic dance beat. The Interpool Swimwear remix of "Untitled" is also really interesting as it overlays choppy samples of the song on top of some of the actual instrumentals, creating something both comfortably familiar and excitingly different. The Phones remix of "Heinrich Manuever" is also pretty different from the original and is worth checking out. The closing track on the compilation, "Fog Vs. Mould For The Length Of Love," is actually much better than the Antics version, adding a steady Krautrock beat and switching back and forth between tension and release. The most exciting alternate take presented, however, is the orchestral version of "Pioneer To The Falls," which sounds exactly as it seems: it's as if Interpol were on stage in a theater playing with a full backing orchestra, and it makes the already brilliant song more epic than ever.

"Plutonic Dancing"

Though I first heard this song almost a year ago on a mix CD, its genius didn't strike me until I heard it as the closing track to new wave revival group Dogs Die In Hot Cars' album of demos for their second effort, Pop Nonsense. The album itself is rather lackluster, as there are way too many mediocre tracks and only four or five standouts out of a hefty 17, but the few songs that are good are extremely so.

"Plutonic Dancing" is one of these, if not the best of the bunch. It combines elements of synth-pop, electronica, and dance music to create a clever pop melody with a cheery enthusiasm. The electronics are bright and bubbly, evoking Swedish acts Air France and The Tough Alliance, while the vocal performance is clearly Scottish, highlighting the band's brit-pop roots. Frontman Craig Macintosh follows the recent trend of singing in falsetto, and on this track he steps up to an even higher pitch that gels wonderfully with the musical backdrop. The lyrics are simple and repetitive, but they also work to greater the sum of the parts: an incredibly catchy tune that will make you want to get up and move.

Other similar tracks that capture the same essence are the title track, "Something For The Good Boys," "Real," and "Beauty US." Apparently, the group is going to compile a more focused album of re-worked fan versions of each of the demos, a project which should be completed before the year is out (the deadline for submissions was May 1st.) Fingers are crossed that all of the aforementioned make it to the proper release!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sholi

I don't even know where I heard about this album, but for some reason it was on my list of things to look for this year. It was released back in February and it's taken me quite awhile to find, but now I'm so glad I tried because Sholi's self-titled debut is worth the work and the wait.
The band was formed in Davis, California by songwriter Payam Bavafa and consists of the typical guitar, drum, and bass found in most rock groups. Sholi's sound is an interesting blend that can only accurately be described as "experimental rock," though it has elements of psychedelia and math rock as well, featuring fast guitar-work, strange chord progressions and bizarre melodic arrangements. It was produced by Deerhoof's Greg Saunier, which may partly explain why it sounds the way it does. The album consists of eight somewhat lengthy tracks, most of which take turns in dramatically different directions at several points throughout the song. The percussion is also very propulsive and gives the music a sense of rapid forward motion, especially on standout track "November Through June." Most of the songs have a rather dark feel because of the heavy use of minor chords, such as lead single "Tourniquet" and epic closer "Contortionist," both of which sound alarmingly urgent. Other notable tracks include wandering opener "All That We Can See" and the more march-like "Any Other God" found much later on the album.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wilco (The Album)

Combining the meandering laziness of Sky Blue Sky with the more upbeat tunes of Summerteeth, Wilco assemble another album of warm, mellow summer songs, just in time for the season with its release on June 30th.Wilco (The Album), with its in-your-face title and cover art, is a true testament to the band's progress toward mastery of their unique blend of country music and indie rock. The first three tracks on the album are vintage Wilco at its finest: they exemplify everything I love about the band, including Jeff Tweedy's emotive vocal performance and the group's powerful songwriting. The aptly-titled opener "Wilco The Song" is an upbeat opening track that is sure to get stuck in your head (and with it the line "Wilco, I love you," which could be an interesting marketing strategy but was probably intended as an ironic statement.) "Deeper Down" is more interesting musically, with its Andrew Bird-esque backdrop of high-pitched strings, while "One Wing" is an all-around incredible song that captures the essence of the entire album. "Bull Black Nova" is a more experimental track, with extremely repetitive pulsating notes to balance out Tweedy's smooth lyricism. The next track, "You And I," is the charming collaboration with Feist that everyone has been so excited about, and it certainly lives up to the standards of both artists. The album takes a turn toward the more boring with the next few tracks, but then returns to form with the heartbreaking "Solitaire" and the rock anthem "I'll Fight." "Sunny Feeling" and "Everlasting" (which are both steadily growing on me) end the album as polar opposites, with the former continuing the basic rock styles and the latter closing with an extremely mellow build-up that evokes "On And On And On" from Sky Blue Sky and possibly even "Reservations" from Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. The comparisons to YHF end there, however, and those expecting a "comeback album" will be disappointed. Fans of Summerteeth, A Ghost Is Born, and Sky Blue Sky won't, however, and the album is a perfectly-fitting addition to Wilco's extensive discography.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Animal Collective Live

On Thursday night I had the wonderful privilege of seeing Animal Collective perform live at the House of Blues in Boston. The concert only increased my awe and respect for the members of the collective, and solidified their status as my favorite band of all time. Following the more quiet, reverb-loving noise folk act Grouper (who also sounded pretty cool), Avey, Panda, and Geologist took to the stage with high energy and churned out track after track of danceable animal grooves. The band played continuously for about an hour and a half, rarely speaking but instead shouting random noises into the microphones and playing with the electronic equipment. They only stopped to take a brief break before the encore, to say "thank you" to everyone for coming, and to exclaim "that one was wild" after the audience got a bit too rowdy during "Slippi."

The stage was set up like a DJ dance/disco hall, with a giant floating orb projecting various images and videos while strobe lights flashed and rainbows erupted in time with the beats. The MPP album cover was draped across the back like a flag, and all the flashing lights served to enhance the optical illusion. There was also a drum set behind Panda's sound board, though it remained unused much to my dismay and was probably there just as a back-up.

The AC fans in the audience went wild during the more upbeat songs: people crowd-surfed, moshed, bounced up and down, and knocked into each other repeatedly as the pulsing rhythms filled the venue. I wasn't expecting anything like a dance party when I first got to the concert, but found it was really fun to lose myself in the movements of everyone around me. Clouds of smoke also erupted as various people lit up during the more trance-like parts of the concert, though some were asked to leave by security (not cool.)

Here's the set list (I tried to recreate the exact order, but some things may be mixed up):

Concert:
1. "What Would I Want Sky"
2. "Summertime Clothes"
3. "Guys Eyes"
4. "#1"
5. "Slippi"
6. "Who Could Win A Rabbit?"
7. "Fireworks Essplode"
8. "Bleed"
9. "Comfy In Nautica"
10. "Brother Sport"

Encore:
11. "Chocolate Girl"
12. "My Girls"
13. "Leaf House"

Click on the links to download mp3s of the new songs or see video clips I took of my favorite parts of the concert. (The videos for "Slippi," "My Girls," and "Summertime Clothes" were taken and posted by someone else.)

"What Would I Want Sky" is an awesome new post-MPP song that sounds warm, sunny, and a bit repetitive. "Bleed" is also new, though it might've gone unnoticed by many as it sounds similar to the sonic experimentation between songs. "Fireworks Essplode" is a medley where verses from "Lablakely Dress" and "Essplode" (from Danse Manatee) were inserted between the parts of "Fireworks" from Strawberry Jam. The tunes from older albums were also given new mixes, almost as if the band were updating its catalogue to fit in more with the new material. "Slippi," "Chocolate Girl," "Who Could Win A Rabbit?" and "Leaf House" were all set to a different backdrop of dance beats and electronic samples provided by Geologist and Panda, sounding as if they were part of Merriweather Post Pavilion. Another cool treat was the performance of Panda Bear's "Comfy In Nautica," which none of us were really expecting but went over really well. Though I was pleased to here all of the aforementioned, my favorite was definitely "#1," which sounded even stranger and more bizarrely ritualistic when coupled with the swirling onstage images and the hypnotic ambience that fell over the crowd. I would've liked to hear "Safer," "Daily Routine," or anything from Feels, which was conspicuously absent, but I guess that's what live albums are for and I really can't complain. Check out the audio streams of their other concerts (just search on Stereogum) to hear more.

The bottom line is, if Animal Collective ever comes near you while on tour, GO SEE THEM! I guarantee that you'll have a good time. Also, check out the video clips I took during the concert to get more of a feel for what it was like. Below is my video of one of the new songs:

video

Monday, May 11, 2009

"Hold The Line"; "Zumbi"

Two singles from Major Lazer, the new collaboration between recent popular remix DJs/producers Diplo and Switch (or Sinden) are available for free download on music blogs everywhere, and if these tracks show any inkling for what to expect from the debut album Guns Don't Kill People... Lazers Do, it's going to be one hell of an album.

The first single from the album, "Hold The Line," featuring vocals and rapping from Mr. Lexx and Santigold (who has become quite the trendy artist to feature on singles), is an example of the variety, ambition, and strangeness we can expect from the two DJs. It samples horses, phone lines, operators, and various other random things while keeping a quick pace with a rockabilly "Misirlou"-like background. It's crazy, it's weird, and it's extremely addicting and an all-around pleasure to listen to.

Playing up the bizarre side of things is the other single, "Zumbi," which is not actually on the tracklist for the album but should still be downloaded. Featuring incredibly distorted and mechanical vocals from Andy Milonakis, whose growth hormone deficiency leads to some incredibly creepy thoughts considering the subject matter, the track is pretty minimal in its elements (rhythm is kept only by something that sounds like a laser gun and a repeated groaning in the background) but so intriguing that it's hard to stop listening. The lyrics are both corny and bad-ass at the same time: the song is from the perspective of a zombie who repeatedly refers to eating brains as a sexual act. Some of the more hilarious lines include "you can't test me, 'cause I eat your zombie blood like Nestle Quick, and you'll suck my zombie dick" and "me, I'm zombie and me don't eat gays 'cause I don't like the HIV." At certain moments in the song (like the former of the two lyrics I just mentioned) Andy's voice dissolves in an infinite reverb loop: these are the big payoffs that make the song incredibly worthwhile.

The album drops June 16th, and I hope to get a copy ASAP.

The Very Best Mixtape

Released at the very end of last year, The Very Best Mixtape by The Very Best (Esau Mwamwaya and Radioclit) went unnoticed by many, including myself. I just gave it a listen today, and the only phrase I can use to describe it is "really cool."Esau Mwamwaya is an up-and-coming London-based MC born in Malawia, and Radioclit are a European production team. The mixtape itself, which is available for FREE digital download on the team's myspace site, is a collection of tracks which take the instrumentals, beats, and backgrounds from popular recent songs and overdub them with African chants, rhythms, tribal vocals, and rapping. Sounds cool, right? My favorites are "Kamphopo," which uses the tropical percussion from Architecture In Helsinki's single "Heart It Races," "Tengazako," which uses the motif that M.I.A. borrowed from The Clash for "Paper Planes," "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa," which spices up the Vampire Weekend afrobeat track by cranking up the speed and energy, and "Boyz," which does the same with my personal favorite of M.I.A.'s. Both she and Santigold also appear on another cool track found toward the end of the album, "Get It Up." "Kada Manja" and "Dinosaur On The Ark" are a couple of other tracks that, though I can't recognize any sample material involved, are still just as awesome, thanks to the genius of Radioclit. Other tracks of note are "Salota," "Funa Funa," and "Chikondi," though the whole album is worthy of your time. To cap it off, the mixtape closes with "Will You Be There," which throws some Michael Jackson into the mix and is so well-produced that it sounds like the Lion King-esque additions have always been a part of the song. Once Esau is done singing, he takes the opportunity to tell the listeners how much he loves them and makes a plug for a debut album, which already sounds incredibly promising.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Yesterday And Today

Another great act from Sweden, The Field, also has a new record on the way. Yesterday And Today, the follow-up to 2007's epic From Here We Go Sublime, will be released on May 26th.
Like its predecessor, Yesterday And Today is about an hour's worth of minimalist ambient techno split amongst a few lengthy tracks, though here there are fewer and they're even longer (with the closer, "Sequenced," clocking in at over 15 minutes.) The new album, though continuing in the same vein, offers an interesting new twist on producer Axel Willner's one-trick formula. You can still expect the same vast, expansive sound that characterized the icy chill of the debut, but it's gotten slightly warmer over the 2-year gap between releases. This is probably due to the increased use of human vocal samples, something which Willner has been incorporating more and more into his live shows of late. These are especially evident on the preview track, "The More That I Do," and on "Everybody's Got To Learn Sometime," which borderlines on having vocals and lyrics (gasp!) Though most of the tracks contain the repetitive elements on which the ambient techno genre thrives, Yesterday And Today has a significantly greater dynamic range than From Here We Go Sublime. More electronic effects, layering, and use of different samples push the music in new directions, offering a lot of subtle yet exciting twists and turns that make the album especially enjoyable. However, I wouldn't say the sound is more refined: Yesterday And Today is more like a bolder, more adventurous sibling to the 2007 release rather than an evolutionary step forward (something also reflected in the album art, which is almost exactly the same for both discs.)

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Outside Love

Not having been a fan of 2006's Axis Of Evol, I was very reluctant to listen to the new release from Pink Mountaintops, a side project of Stephen McBean of the Black Mountain collective. After hearing a few free downloads of "Vampire" and "While You Were Dreaming," however, I was convinced that I should probably give the whole album a try, and I am so glad that I did.
I have a feeling that Outside Love is going to be fairly overlooked, and that's a real shame because it might be one of my favorite releases so far this year. The album is simple and continues to re-use the same formula of psychedelic noise-washed folk, but each track is actually very rich and elegant, having a subtle uniqueness that emerges only after repeated listens. While McBean's more upbeat tracks like "Holiday" and "The Gayest Of Sunbeams" are all good and well, the true genius of the album lies in the slow downers with an interplay of male and female vocals "While You Were Dreaming," "And I Thank You," and "Closer To Heaven." All of these tracks have a gradual build-up, slowly adding layer upon layer until a magnificent amalgamation of sounds and textures is formed. Though the songs have simple melodies with decent lyrics, the backdrop of sound on each track is the dealbreaker for me. Because of the lazy ambience of each of the individual tracks, the album as a whole fits together beautifully and ends up immensely improving upon the group's former efforts.

The Snake

The new album from vocals and drums duo, Wildbirds & Peacedrums, recently dropped on vinyl and I must say it's a pretty great effort. Though the sound is not exactly just drums and vocals, it's definitely limited in its scope of instruments and The Snake a perfect example of an album that uses percussion and the human voice to their full effect.
I must admit that I haven't heard their 2006 debut, Heartcore, but seeing as it was awarded Swedish Jazz Act of the Year and I'm not a huge jazz fan, it's pretty clear how I overlooked it. I'm still not sure what enticed me to this album, as it's described as "alternative blues punk jazz" on Wikipedia, but I guess I've been more intrigued by interesting rhythms lately, and this album definitely has them. I was pleasantly surprised when I gave it a listen, as so many things could've gone horribly wrong with the simple formula, and it turns out that The Snake reminds me a lot of some favorites like Give Up by The Postal Service and Devotion by Beach House while sounding nothing like either of them. Similar to the way Ben Gibbard's voice seems to float over James Tamborello's electronic compositions, vocalist Mariam Wallentin's strange, ethereal singing rides along Andreas Werliin's repetitive percussion patterns as a surfer would ride on top of a wave. Basic drums, woodblocks, chimes, and many other unexpected instruments provide an appropriately weird backdrop for the vocals, which seem as if they're trying to grasp the same sort of sound that Victoria Legrand of Beach House has mastered. Notable tracks include "Chain Of Steel," "Great Lines," "Liar Lion," and "My Heart."

Manners; Chunk Of Change

Passion Pit has been getting a lot of attention lately, and people have been likening them to groups like MGMT or even calling them "the next Animal Collective." While I wouldn't go that far (I'd actually never go that far), most of the attention is deserved: Passion Pit really knows how to make good music. Both the full-length debut Manners (set for release on May 19th) and last year's Valentines-gift-turned-widespread-EP Chunk Of Change contain some incredibly catchy pop melodies that are sure to please casual listeners and aficionados alike.

The comparison to MGMT is actually very accurate, as Manners is very similar to Oracular Spectacular in that it has a few stand-out tracks (like lead single "Moth's Wings" and "Eyes Like Candles") that are climbing the ranks of my favorite songs of all time, while the other tracks aren't nearly as good but are still pleasant to listen to. The vocal performance is also very similar in both groups, and Michael Angelakos' falsetto is just as endearing and distinctive as James Mercer's and Zach Rogue's. That being said, Manners is a much stronger album as a whole than Oracular Spectacular was. From "Kids"-esque opener "Make Light" to the retro-dance influences on "The Reeling" to the high-pitched vocoder distortion on "Sleepyhead," the tracks on this album all offer different facets of the band while at the same time fitting together in a logical way to make a cohesive pop album that dabbles in the electro genre.

The Chunk Of Change EP sounds quite different, evoking dance-punk acts like Hot Chip and LCD Soundsystem on tracks like "Better Things" and soft electronic artists like Kelley Polar and Junior Boys on opener "I've Got Your Number." In case you didn't know the story, Angelakos recorded a few tracks for his girlfriend on Valentine's Day and once it circulated through his group of friends, it got so much attention that the group was signed and released the EP only a few months later. Anyway, all of the tracks on the EP, except maybe "Cuddle Fuddle," are heartwarming, genuine, and excellent ear candy, and when combining forces to form the sum of the parts they pretty much top the debut.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

The Bachelor

With album artwork that evokes (at least in my mind) a cut-scene from the classic Playstation RPG, Final Fantasy VII, Patrick Wolf's follow-up to 2007's critically acclaimed The Magic Position finds his music taking on a darker, more adventurous, and more dangerous sound, making the fanboy reference all the more appropriate. The Bachelor, the first in a duo of releases making up the former double album Battle, is a concept album named for the Sussex town in which it was recorded and will be released on June 1st.The darker, more disturbed sound of the album hearkens back to Wolf's debut, Lycanthropy, which incidentally features the musician in a very similar pose on the album cover. The font and placement of the artist name and album title further enhance the similarities, making it evident that the return to form was Patrick's intent. A few of the tracks, such as the incredible opener and second single "Hard Times," are as upbeat as some of the tracks on Magic Position, but there is a stark difference in tone achieved by the instruments used and the electronic manipulation applied in collaboration with pioneer Matthew Herbert. Most of the tracks, however, are slower and more introspective, resembling the more subtle "Augustine" and "The Stars" of the previous album. "Damaris," "Thickets," "Who Will," "Blackdown," and "Theseus" (on which actress Tilda Swinton speaks the "voice of hope") all exemplify a new trend of a gradual build-up of tension followed by an overwhelming release at the very end of the song through use of epic piano and string arrangements. At the same time, some tracks like "Oblivion" have more of an off-kilter electronic beat, another aspect which reminds us of Patrick's earlier work. All in all, the album is an incredibly cohesive exploration of themes of love and warfare, and I for one am already excited for The Conqueror, the second part of what promises to be an incredible double album.