Archive for Progressive Metal

Need – Hegaiamas: A Song For Freedom

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , on 5th February 2017 by mickbirchy

Need

Hegaiamas: A Song for Freedom

Progressive Metal, Hard Rock

Released 17th January 2017

 Self-Released

What is it with Greek metal music and me.  Every single band/artist I lock my ears on to from Greece, I absolutely love them. I must make an effort to get to Greece one day for a gig or a festival. Need, are a progressive metal band from Athens, they’ve been around since 2004. Hegaiamas: A Song for Freedom is the fourth album from them and it’s good. Like, really good!

I have to say I’m really impressed with this album. There are some absolute powerhouse tunes with solid production. Everything is clear and balanced, with right amount of emotion drawn out of every song. The musicianship on display is pretty damn superb. The band gel together so well and deliver and amazing performance here. They manage to produce a decent amount of atmosphere that lingers across the record. It sounds simply wonderful. The spoken word parts also add to this, in fact the track ‘Iota’ really does make the album feel more of an experience than just a record. They way the performance and production move me on this album is staggering. The vocal performance is excellent had it really draws you in.

Seriously not a bad thing to say about this one other that it’s a damn great record with and amazing atmosphere.  The band have clearly grown to a point where they can make great tunes consistently and they really sound great. The melodies are enchanting and the lyrics, captivating.  This is really a record you need in your life. I’ve already gone back through their discography and picked up their previous albums. They have a maturity not found in other bands of their ilk.  The smooth musicianship coupled with amazing writing makes this record an experience you have to immerse yourself in.

5/5

Mick Birchall

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Section A – Wall of Silence

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , on 26th February 2016 by izaforestspirit

Section A
Wall of Silence
Released 12th February (North America) 26th February 2016 (Europe and Asia)
Melodic Heavy Metal/Progressive Power Metal
Released via Mausoleum Records

‘Wall of Silence’ is the new album from the Danish heavy metal band Section A. It is the long awaited follow-up to their previous release ‘Sacrifice’, which was released back in 2010. This is the first album to feature their new singer Nicklas Sonne (Wasted, Defecto). The band was formed back in 2001 by guitarist and keyboard player Torben Enevoldsen (Fatal Force).

This is my first encounter of Section A, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from them. The album’s futuristic cover art made me think of science fiction themes and ‘outer space’, which in metal tends to be linked to bands such as Fear Factory or The Kovenant. In this case, though, it couldn’t be further from the truth. There’s no techno drums, electronics or space metal here. Instead, what you get is some melodic, mostly guitar-driven power metal with melodic keyboards and the odd hint of progressive tunes.

Some of the songs are faster and heavier than others, for instance No Tomorrow picks up the pace and really highlights Enevoldsen’s skills as a guitarist. Speaking of guitar tunes, the ones on that song owe more to power metal than progressive metal which is good for me since I’m not a massive fan of the overly technical prog-metal guitar work. It’s got the right balance of a decent pace, catchy and slick guitar riffs and a sing-along chorus. I also enjoyed the dynamic guitar tunes and highly energetic keyboards in the first half of When All is Falling. However, if more complex structures and progressive guitar riffs are your thing, then Bleeding Chains is the song for you.

Overall this album requires a bit of patience and it took me a few listens to get into it. While I’m not super keen on the progressive elements, I did enjoy the catchier, more power metal -style tracks like ‘No Tomorrow’. Also the guitar work is top notch and that’s what counts the most for me.

3.5/5

Iza Raittila

Northwinds – Eternal Winter

Posted in CD, Metal, Uncategorized with tags on 4th January 2016 by Paul Macmillan

Northwinds
Eternal Winter

Released: July 10th 2015
Prog Rock/Trad Metal
Released via Black Widow Records

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It’s my personal opinion that some sub-genres have been expanded repeatedly to the stage where certain fringe elements are no longer a part of the original movement in any recognisable way. Some atmospheric black metal, to me, just isn’t ‘black’ in any shape or form. Likewise, and probably even more so, the ‘doom’ moniker has been diverted from what it means to me, and, I can imagine, to a vast number of metal aficionados. Northwinds are one of the bands that fall outside of the bracket they have self-chosen; the latter above-mentioned category of doom.

I can certainly see that, if you were to pick out a cross-section of young-ish metal fans of today, you’d find that the ones most likely to give this band a warm welcome would be those obsessed with the slow dirge of doom, but that doesn’t make them any more of a doom band than Deep Purple or Uriah Heep. That might sound like a slating, but it really isn’t. I love classic rock (another designation with moving goalposts), and that is most certainly what this is.

I can’t help but feel Northwinds are missing a trick by not playing on that a bit more. All the original bands who they bring to mind – Black Sabbath, Angelwitch, Rainbow, and the like – are slowly but surely coming to end, as much as we hate to hear it. Although those progenitors of metal were most certainly the founding fathers of the doom genre, Northwinds sound more like one of them than a band influenced by them. They are a fairly long-running band, but not quite that long-running.

This is a solid player, straight out of the 1970s, and if that’s what you’re looking for, this will most definitely hit the spot. Let’s face it, if you don’t occasionally feel like getting your trad metal fix, you probably don’t get metal in general, and Northwinds are tapping right into that old time vein.

3.5/5

Paul Macmillan

New Queensrÿche album in October

Posted in News with tags , , , , on 4th August 2015 by Pieni

Queensrÿche have revealed the details of their upcoming studio album. Scheduled to be released on October 2nd, via Century Media Records, and produced by Zeuss, “Condition Hüman” will feature the following 12 tracks:

1. Arrow of Time
2. Guardian
3. Hellfire
4. Toxic Remedy
5. Selfish Lives
6. Eye9
7. Bulletproof
8. Hourglass
9. Just Us
10. All There Was
11. The Aftermath
12. Condition Hüman

“The artwork depicts a beautiful innocence surrounded by the darkness of a jaded unpredictable world”, says singer Todd La Torre:

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The opening track, “Arrow Of Time”, is available for streaming on the label’s Soundcloud account here.

www.facebook.com/QueensrycheOfficial

Blind Guardian – Beyond The Red Mirror

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 27th January 2015 by Paul Macmillan

Blind Guardian
Beyond The Red Mirror
Release: 30th January 2015
Symphonic progressive metal
Released via Nuclear Blast records

Blind Guardian - Beyond The Red Mirror

I really have to be in the right mood for music centred on specific themes throughout a band’s career. Battle, pirate and fantasy focussed discographies don’t feature highly on my radar, and those that do lose out to more varied catalogues. However, it’s the same as any other genre (or sub-genre) on the go: if it’s done well, it’s done well. Few could argue that Blind Guardian imitators rather than progenitors of their own bombastic soundscapes, but in all honesty, I half lost track of them after the turn of the century.

Beyond The Red Mirror is massively produced to great effect, and displays a new stage of development in Blind Guardian’s sound. Much like A Twist In The Myth and At The Edge Of Time (incidentally, one of the track titles), this new offering is equal parts Iron Maiden, Wagner and Pirates Of The Caribbean, although it has stripped away yet more of the speed metal element that had been at least partially retained from their early incarnation. It favours, instead, bombastic moments which would put Heavy Devy’s most overblown tongue in cheek moments to shame.

There are still plenty of thrashier sections throughout, particularly from the album’s mid-way track Ashes Of Eternity onward, but equally, a surprising industrial edge is brought to bear in songs such as ludicrously epic opener The Ninth Wave, and it’s a good thing! If nothing else, Blind Guardian have always had their own sound, and these changes appear to have further exemplified this. The old dogs have learned new tricks, indeed.

Penultimate number, Miracle Machine, is one of the most genuinely old fashioned pieces I have heard in a crow’s age, harking back to the golden age of hard rock. Strongly reminiscent of Queen (seemingly a major influence on Blind Guardian), it stands alone as a truly intelligent musical interlude between the riffing and heavy orchestral power of the rest of the album.

The whole release has a far more upbeat, positive atmosphere than I was expecting. It lends the affair a very heroic bent, leaning away from the darkness of previous releases. It’s hard not to feel lifted while giving this platter its day in court, and as much as it’s not going to make my top ten, it is both accessible and powerful, and for that reason alone, it is definitely worthy of repeat listenings. If power metal and its ilk is your game, this may well make it into your memorable releases of 2015. Personally, while it’s a good release, I’ll hold my breath a while longer.

3 / 5

Paul Macmillan

Silent Call – Truth’s Redemption

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , on 5th October 2014 by izaforestspirit

Silent Call
Truth’s Redemption
Released 15th September (the UK), 19th September (EU), 7th October (The USA) 2014
Progressive Metal/ Power Metal
Released via Dust on The Tracks Records

‘Truth’s Redemption’ is the third album from the Swedish progressive metal band Silent Call. It is the follow up to ‘Greed’ which was released back in 2010.

After an atmospheric intro, it’s straight into typical power metal territory with clean vocals and mixture of both melodic and slightly faster, more classic rock style guitar riffs. Then there’s the keyboards which add a symphonic element to some of the tracks such as the intro to Erasing The Sky and Alive. The progressive element can be detected from some of the guitar melodies and solos with variations in both pace and overall style evident on tracks such as These Four Walls and The Knife.

The guitar patterns tend to fall into one out of two categories: there’s the catchy, mid-paced power metal variety and the more complex, somewhat experimental-sounding, progressive metal type. Personally I prefer the former style which is sadly in the minority on this particular album. Another thing which I’m not super keen on is the amount of slow “power ballads” on here. While I don’t mind a couple of these if they are sandwiched between faster, catchier and dare I say it… more energetic songs, they seem to dominate this album. Having said that, there are some tracks which caught my attention. The most prominent is The Kingdom’s Fall which has a few decent, catchy guitar riffs and lively, energetic keyboard tunes in the first half of the song.

In summary this album has done nothing to convince me to give progressive metal another try. While I like some of the catchy, keyboard-infused power metal elements on here, some of the slow ballads have a tendency to drag on for a bit too long.
3/5

Iza Raittila

Spires announce crowd-funding campaign for upcoming album

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on 5th September 2014 by Pieni

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Manchester progressive metallers Spires have launched a Kickstarter crowd-funding campaign for their forthcoming full length album, “The Whisperer”. After the critically acclaimed “Spiral of Ascension” (2010), and the equally praised acoustic mini-album “Lucid Abstractions” (2012), “The Whisperer” is planned to be released in early November, with the Kickstarter campaign ending on 4th October. If you wish to take part of this, please click the following link: ttps://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1250333601/spires-second-album-the-whisperer-t-shirt-campaign

The album will initially be a limited edition run of 500 copies, on 6 panel digipak, featuring extensive artwork by Daniella Morrison, and a full lyric booklet. The 7 track release will feature over an hour of progressive metal, and expands upon the foundations laid on the band’s previous releases.

“This album is going to be even more expansive and wide reaching,” vocalist/guitarist Paul Sadler explains, “with more varied instrumentation including cello, violin, piano and female vocals, as well as a guest spot on guitar from Tymon Kruidenier from Exivious / ex-Cynic The overall dynamics are pushed to further extremes in both directions. We’re all extremely excited about how it’s sounding. We decided to launch a Kickstarter campaign to give us that helping hand to produce a physical product that’s really worth having. In this day and age we feel this is necessary to convince people its worth parting with their hard earned cash for something you have created.”

The band is also producing a limited run of T-shirts to coincide with the release, featuring artwork from the album, also available through Kickstarter. A small UK tour is also in the pipeline for the end of the year, of which we’ll inform you as soon as the dates are confirmed. They play a one off show alongside Falloch and Jordan Reyne on 17th September at The Flapper in Birmingham .

Spires online:
http://www.facebook.com/spiresofficial
http://www.spiresband.co.uk