Archive for Prog

Ihsahn – Arktis

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , on 25th March 2016 by mickbirchy

Ihsahn
Arktis
Symphonic Black Metal, Progressive Metal
Released: 8 April 2016
via Candlelight Records

I’ll admit this wouldn’t usually be my cup of tea. However I do love listening Emperor and since Ihsahn embarked on his solo journey in 2006,  I have been inclined to listen to his music in the same way. I wouldn’t call myself a fan per say, but I do listen to his music every once in awhile and I like what I hear. So when his new album Arktis fell in my lap, I was curious to hear the next chapter in his evolution. Ihsahn should need no introduction to the metal community, he is a pure force to be reckoned with.  His writing is slick, matching heavy tones with brutal melodies like it was child’s play and believe me there is no difference with this record.

Arktis, sounds really nice straight from the get go. Ihsahn wastes no time in with the opening songs Disassembled and Mass Darkness, it just has that overpowering grandeur, that we have come to expect from his music. The heavy verses bleed into the melodic choruses and the production is on top form nothing feels out of place.  The music surrounds you and you can really get lost in the sounds. Ihsahn’s vocals have a heavy impact and the guttural vocals scream with power whilst the clean vocals are a little unsettling, in a good way. I think Ihsahn want to make you feel unsettled in parts of this album, like on the track South Winds, mixing the heavy metal with that mind-melting progressive stylings. Everything about this album speaks to his talent for writing and producing great work. When I was listening to the album, I got the same feeling of listening to Emperor’s Prometheus: The Discipline of Fire & Demise, I’m not saying it sounds anything like that album but I get the feeling that I’m listening to something that will stick with me for a long time, which that album did (and still does).

The melodies a beautifully crafted and entrancing.  Designed to keep you hooked to the album, with great riff work too.  My favourite riff on the album being Until I Dissolve Too, purely for it’s catchy sound and distance from the rest of the song, so it sticks out more. The more progressive moment on this album somewhat lose me as it’s a little too jarring to my ear, however, for someone who is used to progressive metal will probably love the way the sound twists and turns around in the production.  The guitar work is superb it always sounds good when it comes in. The keys and synth are a little too overused for my liking and sometimes they don’t really fit the music at times like on Pressure, again maybe that’s just me but it’s quite distracting.  However when the keyboard parts work, they really work.

Is this a great album.  For me it’s good and certainly will be on my playlist for the majority of 2016. For the average music fan who may not be really into this sort of music I really couldn’t recommend it.  I would say start with Ihsahn’s earlier work then work their way to this or just stay away from this type of music in general.  It was definitely something different and I’m glad that I have returned to his work after a bit of a break.  If you’re a fan or someone that may like this type of sound then I would say check it out.

3/5

Mick Birchall

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Toothgrinder – Nocturnal Masquerade

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 24th January 2016 by mickbirchy

Toothgrinder
Nocturnal Masquerade
Progressive Metal
Released 26 January 2016
via Spinefarm Records

The American prog-metallers hit us with their newest offering Nocturnal Masquerade and I’ll say this before anything else: this is one amazing record.  Never before have I listened to such brutality-meets-musical-brilliance like I have with this album.  At first it was a little jarring and I wasn’t too sure what to make of it, but I kept listening on and I really got into it once I knew where it was going.  

The album has a very mixed range of styles, as you would full well expect on a prog-metal album.  The opening track “The House (That Fear Built)”, like an overture, sets the mood pretty well for what is to come and the power and intensity is displayed throughout the whole album. The intricate guitar work makes for some great riffs and well crafted melodies. The broken riff patterns are great and coupled with the excellent drum work from Wills Weller; it creates a dynamic and powerful listening experience. The songs just have that hardcore and intense feel to them which is fun to listen to, being a fan of hardcore myself, at the same time the wonderful melodies just grab hold of you and the passion in Justin Matthews and Matt Arensdorff’s vocals just shine through so well.  To be honest, it’s hard to believe that there are only 4 members, there’s just so much going on.

For the more heavy of the performances on this album, Toothgrinder just really came together and created some spectacular tunes like “Blue” and “Coeur d’Alanse” which have this really relentless approach to them and I was left hooked. It really is difficult to fully grasp how interesting and diverse this album is, once you think you’ve got this band figure they go and add something into the song you just didn’t see coming.  Such as the odd quiet and unsettling moment before they kick straight back into gear, the anthemic clean vocals just cut off so suddenly by the rough guttural vocals.  This can be a little jarring and I did have a sense of tonal whiplash at times and this could throw some people off them.  

Overall, I have really enjoyed rocking out to this record and it has so many aspects that I love.  The technical mastery of the band is great and the music is so tight that it will just grab your attention and won’t let go. Fantastic work!

4.5/5

Mick Birchall

The Paradigm Complex – Amygdalopolis

Posted in CD, Experimental, Metal, Rock with tags , , , , , , on 8th November 2015 by Paul Macmillan

The Paradigm Complex
Amygdalopolis
Released November 1st 2015
Progressive rock
Self-released

The Paradigm Complex - Amygdalopolis

This is quite simply one of the most bizarre things I think I’ve ever had the pleasure to analyse in the process of reviewing music. Really weird. Really, really weird. The Paradigm Complex are the genuine stuff of twisted fever dreams, and have elevated themselves beyond the state of yet-another-prog-band, to actually using their instruments (including frontwoman Alexandra Pawlitka’s voice) to tell a story.

Drafted in from classic Hammer Horror films, themes from lycanthropy to extra-terrestrial abduction are used to break up the main track of almost an hour into mini-stories, each with their own, highly characterised musical backdrop, and engaging storytelling. It is powerfully tangible how much thought, effort and ingenuity has gone into the creation of what is not just a music release, but essentially a piece of art. A certain Mr Zombie would quite possibly be a little jealous (as a director) of the effectiveness of The Paradigm Complex’s cultural appropriation.

As the recording spirals through various atmospheres, it’s difficult to pin down any continuous comparison to other artists, but they are there. There is a film score flavour akin to John Carpenter colliding with Goblin, liberally splattered with classic prog and acid rock, while the vocals meld from Bjork into Lacuna Coil, into Angelspit, and back again. There is also a thread of metal sewn into the fabric, but this is not a metal album, per se; it simply encompasses some of that spirit.

The project in its entirety is held together very aptly with bleak interludes, which serve to complement the neighbouring movements, and amalgamate this as one fluid piece, an apocalyptic infection creeping up the listener’s spine. It’s one wild trip, and White Rabbit is going to have to try mighty hard to survive this audio conflict between War Of The Worlds and The Walking Dead.

4.5/5

Paul Macmillan

Quinphonic Festival Announces 2016 Line-Up

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 14th June 2015 by mickbirchy

After the success of this year’s festival, the world’s premier Quintuple header festival returns. ‘The Quinphonic Festival 2’ will feature five outstanding international symphonic / melodic / power / prog metal bands all, playing full one-hour sets. We happily announce the bands that are performing next year:

The enigmatic Evenoire from Italy

http://www.evenoire.it/

https://www.facebook.com/evenoire

 

The wondrous Wildpath from France

http://www.wildpath-music.com/

http://www.facebook.com/Wildpath.metal.band

 

The lavish La Ventura from the Netherlands

http://la-ventura.com/

http://www.facebook.com/LaVenturaNL

 

The hypnotic Hydra from Germany

http://www.hydraofficial.com/

https://www.facebook.com/OfficialHydra

 

The dynamic Dakesis from England

http://www.dakesis.com/

https://www.facebook.com/Dakesis

The day of metal goodness will take place at The Roadhouse in Birmingham, UK on Bank Holiday Sunday, 27th March 2016 from 3pm till 11pm.

Information regarding ticket sales will follow in due course.

Technically Dead – Perth Tech, Prog, Death Metal Show

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , on 12th May 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Technically Dead

The Fair City will play host to a clutch of heavy, technical, progressive and death metal bands this May 23rd. Top of the bill is Dundee based Animus, plying their diverse brand of down-tuned, modern metal. The show is their first in Perth for some time, and comes as part of their campaign to raise awareness of their upcoming debut album, “Men Into Memories”, due for release this summer.

Support comes from a range of bands from around Scotland. Openers Bloodthread, featuring a former member of Anencephalic, are the most traditional death metal band on the line-up, but they deliver their sound with technical flourish. Descending from the far North, Seed Of Sorrow bring a more melodic aspect to the event, and Glasgow/Falkirk act Centrilia – comprising past members of Madman Is Absolute and Toy – raise the flag for a unique blend of heavy prog and hard-core metal.

The event details are as follows:

Event: Technically Dead
Venue: The Corinna, Atholl St, Perth
Date: 23/05/2015
Doors: 6:30pm
Entry: £5

Despite announce new bass player

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , , , , on 23rd January 2015 by Pieni

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After enrolling Zoran Panovic last month for the third guitar, prog/melodeath metallers Despite have now announced Anthony Cui as their new bass player, replacing Mathias “Matte D” Dagerhed, who left the band in November due to lack of time and other personal reasons. With the line-up complete, the band from Gothenburg, Sweden, is ready to hit road, while writing the follow-up to their latest EP “Epic”.

Says singer Peter Tuthill: “It feels absolutely killer to have Anthony on board! I had a gut feeling about him right from the get go, and I’m positive he will be a fresh blood injection into the veins of Despite.”

As for the man himself, he claims: Despite is a killer ride and I’m absolutely stoked to be on board. Home is where the gut tells you it is, and thanks to Despite‘s warm welcome I know where I’ll be. The future is NOW!”

“Epic” was released in January 2014 and in November the band brought to light the single “Chaos Trigger”:

http://www.despiteofficial.com/
https://www.facebook.com/DespiteOfficial

Between The Buried And Me to release “live” CD + DVD

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 28th August 2014 by Pieni

 photo btbam_zps6156a1d2.jpg

“Future Sequence: Live at Fidelitorium” is the title of the upcoming “live” CD and DVD by progressive act Between The Buried And Me. “Live”, in quotes, as it was recorded in the Fidelitorium Recordings studio and not during a concert. According to drummer Blake Richardson: “We’ve always been fans of dvds where it’s just the band, you don’t have any other distractions”. And vocalist/keyboardist Tommy Rogers adds: “We wanted to give the fans something that made them feel a little closer to us, and made them almost feel like they’re at practice with us.”

The film will show the band performing their most recent album “The Parallax II: Future Sequence” in its entirety. It’s directed and edited by Justin Reich, with director of photography Ismail Abdelkhalek, and audio engineers Jamie King and Kris Hilbert. Audio mixing and mastering was completed by Jamie King. It also features guest musicians Walter Fancourt (tenor saxophone, flute), Julian Hinshaw (Tuba), Will Goodyear (marimba, glockenspiel), Taya Ricker (violin), David Parks (violin), Leigh Dixon (viola), and Socrates Razo (cello).

“Future Sequence: Live at the Fidelitorium” will hit the stores on September 26th via Metal Blade Records. Watch the trailer and click HERE for pre-orders, including bundles.

http://www.facebook.com/BTBAMofficial
http://www.twitter.com/btbamofficial
https://www.youtube.com/BTBAMofficial