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I have been a huge music fan since I was a child, and been in several bands when I was young (vocals and guitar). I have two children and am in a long-time (and very happy) relationship. I am a manager for a non-profit organization, and live in Southern Utah.
I picked "The Reckoning" up after listening to a few sound clips, and have been quite addicted to this disc for about a week. Arise play an eclectic style of modern metal lifting elements of black and death metal and adding an occasional shot of melody and plenty of aggressive jackhammer drumming. Definately a good album, track two, "No Memory Of Light" has been stuck in my head for days...all but the most jaded of metal fans might want to give this a shot; worth listening to, for sure. I subtracted a star for a distinct lack of originality-it sounds like a lot of other bands, honestly. That having been said, it's managed to achieve heavy rotation in my world despite not reinventing the wheel in metal...check it out!...Read more
John 5's initial offering, "Vertigo" blew me away when I first heard it. Full of original, explosive guitar pyrotechnics, an absurd sense of humor, and true originality, there was nothing else quite like it. One of Mike Varney's same-ol Shrapnel Yngwie shredders he is not. Unfortunately, his subsequent solo albums ("Requiem", "Songs For Sanity") have never reached that same pinnacle of over-the-top absolute chaos. That having been said, "The Devil Knows My Name" is a giant step back in that direction, with some fantastic guest appearances and moments for guitar fans (the crazy noise-solo trade off between John5 and Satriani is worth the price of admission alone), great production, and some very cool solos. I guess my complaint is that it seems hard for him to top himself after the audacity of "Vertigo".....definately worth checking out, and much more interesting that his last release. Recommended!...Read more
After picking up the incredible "Underworld" from Adagio a couple of years ago, I have been eagerly anticipating a new release from this band, and "Archangels In Black" is certainly not a disappointment. I consider Stephan Forte, the mastermind behind the various lineups of Adagio, one of the best guitarists interpreting modern neoclassical "shred" metal as a style, probably second only to Michael Romeo of Symphony X in terms of technical ability and songwriting skill. I can't keep this out of my stereo.
Both Symphony X and Adagio have brought this style out of the "Malmsteen-ish" '80s by adding complex instrumentation and progressive structure, modern digital production and guitar tone, polished vocals, and a darker, less corny air to the proceedings....Speaking of M. Romeo and Symphony X, the guitars on this album seem to have acquired a tint of influence from them, this album is full of awesomely heavy off-kilter guitar riffing, which really adds something to the band's sound. Guitar fans will love this album.....all of the players are incredibly talented, and the music has been taken to a new level of complexity and heaviness....too many amazing solos, harmonies, riffs, and moments from this excellent new release to list here. If you are a fan of epic, shred-oriented metal, you have to pick this up, definately a 5 star release!
Having been a fan of Zero 7 since "When It Falls", and having picked up every subsequent release by them, I am a bit surprised after reading so many negative reviews....Many reviewers of this album have complained either about the new disc's "lack of soul" or being overly mechanical-sounding, as well as a lot of complaints about Zero 7 having "changed their style" and having supposedly sub-par new guest vocalists.
To address the previous issues for fans of the band; this album is dripping with r&b soul and groove, it is admittedly, slightly less organic and more techno-sounding that early Zero 7 albums, "The Garden" was a much more dramatic shift in the band's aesthetic than this release, and the guest vocals are excellent and more diverse. Had to give this disc 5 stars simply to counteract all of the negativity. Seriously, if you enjoyed Zero 7's previous releases, you should pick this one up. All of the signature elements of the band are there, it simply doesn't sound like "When It Falls-Part II", which is what people seem to want. Sometimes it's hard to give artists the space to be creative and actually create instead of copying what other people want....anyway, off the soapbox (laughs)
For those who haven't heard of Katatonia, they play an exceptionally well-concieved modern prog-rock style which incorporates elements of such bands as Opeth, Pink Floyd, Dead Soul Tribe and (especially) Porcupine Tree into a signature blend of metal and lush, melodic progressive tendencies which harken back to art-rock bands of the seventies. Certainly not as heavy as Opeth (and minus the "cookie-monster" vocal style), they do use many of Opeth's songwriting conventions.
"Night Is The New Day" features very well-written compositions and an incredibly good production which rivals the best in the genre. This is art-rock at it's best. I would still recommend "The Great Cold Distance" as their best album, but this is just as highly recommended. My only complaint is that towards the end this disc starts sounding a bit "samey"....but it's an excellent album with fantastic production values and great musicianship, nonetheless.
I had avoided Pelican over the last few years of their rise to popularity; mostly due to not enjoying some of the clips I had heard from a previous album of theirs, "The Fire In Our Throats....". After picking up the new album, I can safely say that my opinion has been changed.
"What We All Come To Need" is full of oddly hypnotic and compelling instrumental post-metal music that can be compared to bands such as Isis, Nerosis and even SunnO))), and even features guest musicians from some of the aforementioned bands. It should be mentioned that this is definately not "drone" in the style of SunnO))-it is much more "musical" and akin to Isis. Pelican builds dense soundscapes with a variety of rhythmic guitar textures and interludes and manages to keep the audience interested despite the lack of guitar pyrotechnics (this style is the antithesis of old-school instrumental guitar albums a la Shrapnel Records). Give it a listen or two, and it will definately get you "hooked". Great driving music...highly recommended.
After becoming addicted to The Red Chord's excellent previous alubm, "Prey For Eyes", I anxiously awaited their next release, and with "Fed Through The Teeth Machine", I am certainly not disappointed. Red Chord's style of metal is hard for any metalhead not to like....basically, they stack riff after riff on top of each other, building intricate song structures full of off-kilter tempo shifts and progressive tendencies without being so over the top it becomes a convoluted mess, like some of the more "tech-metal" oriented bands. It bumps up right against the edge of being technical death metal without losing the groove or the heaviness. Very good playing throughout,an occasional melodic touch and excellent guitar solos without the mindless wankery. Highly recommended....Read more
I have been a tremendous fan of Nile since "Black Seeds Of Vengeance", and Karl Sanders and Co. have never disappointed; but somehow they manage to raise the bar nearly every time they put out a new release, and "Those Whom The Gods Detest" is no exception. Any fan of death metal as a genre should own at least one Nile album; their original take on modern metal has been exceptionally influential. Basically, Nile employ exceptionally well-researched and detailed ancient Egyptian historical and mythological themes as their subject matter, and combine world instruments and atmospherics with downtuned and technical death metal to create a very compelling and intense style.
For those who are well-acuainted with Nile, this is a "slower", more dirge-heavy and plodding album, somewhat similiar to "Ithyphallic", and less akin to the more frantic "In Their Darkened Shrines" or much of "Annihilation Of The Wicked". Happily, Karl Sanders has returned to the inclusion of his liner notes, discussing the specifics and historical details inspiring each song; long one of my favorite aspects of each new Nile release. Too many great, epic moments on this album to mention here, but the crushingly heavy guitar riff and droning bells of "Those Whom The Gods Detest" and the convoluted, technical playing on "Eye Of Ra" come to mind....highly recommended!
Having never heard of this band, I checked out a few sample clips and decided to pick it up....and I actually haven't been able to take it out of my cd player for a week or so. Centaurus A play an intense, technical style of death metal with a few melodic elements and progressive, shifting song structures. Well-phrased solos, unexpected melodic interludes, and some very interesting rhythms add a lot of depth and longevity to this album. I find that since the resurgence of metal's popularity, so many bands sound the same that it's hard to set yourself apart in the saturated "progressive/technical/deathcore/metal" scene; but these guys are one of the best new bands I've heard in the genre. Add the excellent production and eerie, paranoid artwork and lyrics and you have a great release...I'd like to hear more from this band. For fans of The Red Chord, Faceless, Job For A Cowboy, etc....Read more
Years ago, a friend of mind and I were in a band together, and we were both getting into more and more of the esoteric, prototypical prog/jazz metal hybrid bands (Cynic, Watchtower, Atheist, Death). One day while browsing in the local record store, we found an interesting cassette by a band called Believer, and I remember playing it pretty much solid in my car for about a week. "Dimensions" was a very intelligent, experimental, creative, and uber-heavy chunk of food for thought. One of the things I have always liked about metal as a genre is the fact that it is such a fertile ground for conceptual and musical experimentation and exploration, and Believer was one of the bands at that time out on the fringe setting new standards.
Years later, with the resurgence of metal's popularity, Believer is back, and the results are as good or better than expected. Crushing, off-kilter polyrhythmic metal riffs like the bastard child of Pantera and King Crimson, some classical elements (strings, operatic vocals), eerie clips and overdubs, and interesting philosophical lyrics with vocals somewhere in between death metal growling and the "old-school" Hetfield barking style. If you are into unusual and creative metal, you should check this out.