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The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love CD (album) cover

THE HAZARDS OF LOVE

The Decemberists

 

Prog Folk

4.07 | 292 ratings

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horsewithteeth11
Prog Reviewer
5 stars I normally hate when people use the metaphor of "desert island albums", but I can't really think of another term to describe my feelings for this wonderful record. I'd also like to make a shout-out to a certain someone who has been nagging me endlessly to publish my review on this album. You know who you are, and my message to you now is "Here you finally freakin' go, you (insert foul name or insult about said person's mother here as a joke)." Haha.

Anyway, down to business The Hazards of Love is arguably one of the most well-thought-out concept albums ever, and one of my personal favorites. Unlike most progressive rock fans, I don't really find concept albums all that appealing anymore. Too often it feels like bands are trying to copy some formula found on a nearly infinite number of concept albums from the past. I guess everyone has to have some exceptions, and for me this is one of them. While I'm sure others can explain the story better than me, and many others will be certain to do so, I feel Besides being one of the best releases I've heard so far from 2009, I also got the pleasure of seeing the entire thing performed live in Louisville back in August of this year. The live performance removed any doubts in my mind about the emotional charge and sheer power that Colin Meloy put into this story. He said the name comes from a 1966 EP of the same name by Anne Briggs, and most of the album was influenced by the 60s folk rock movement. Although besides lots of lush acoustic guitar ballads, there are all the other trademark Decemberists elements: heavy use of Hammond organ, fairly economical but well-used bass and drum work, and the other obvious ones. But the one thing that is added is thundering hard rock riffs, some that almost border on heavy metal territory. Think bands like Sabbath or plenty of other 70s hard rock acts here. To be honest, it adds a nice, new dynamic to the band's sound. Becky Stark and Shara Worden both sound absolutely fantastic as guest vocalists on this album as well. Although Shara blows me away whenever I hear her voice, and she really fit the performance well, especially in a live setting. From the organ buildup in the "Prelude" to the bluesy acoustic riff in "Hazards of Love 4 (The Drowned)", this album just echoes bliss to my ears.

Besides being one of my favorite releases for 2009, this album almost seems sure to go down as one of the premier rock operas of the modern era of music. And it well deserves whatever honors it receives. A musical masterpiece through and through, and it receives a well-earned 5 star rating. Hopefully The Decemberists continue in whatever direction they are going in, because it seems to work wonders so far. Personal favorite song is probably The Rake, and when they performed it live, everyone in the band except Colin was playing drums, which was incredibly badass if I do say so myself.

horsewithteeth11 | 5/5 |

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