Archive for progressive

Forbidden Lore – Forbidden Lore EP

Posted in Metal with tags , , , on 6th January 2017 by izaforestspirit

Forbidden Lore
Forbidden Lore EP
Released 13th October 2016
Symphonic Metal
Self-Released


‘Forbidden Lore’ is the first EP from the Greek symphonic metal band of the same name. Forbidden Lore describe their style since as a mixture of symphonic metal with progressive metal and soundtrack music.

There are only three tracks on here, which is just about enough for the listener to get an idea of what this band is all about. First up is the melodic Endless Run which definitely has that fantasy soundtrack feel to it. Nightwish and Epica comparisons are pretty much inevitable due to the melodic female vocals (please note that “melodic” in this case doesn’t mean “operatic”). Luckily Georgia Mavrantza has a good voice which suits the music. There are some progressive elements audible in the guitars. Shadows on Ice is a much more straightforward piece of symphonic metal with equal emphasis on both the vocals and the orchestration. There is only a small portion of the song that features the progressive guitar parts. Last one is Grace In Our Fall, which really brings out the high notes in the vocal department demonstrating the singer’s impressive range. This is probably the most symphonic, orchestral and the most fantasy soundtrack -esque song on the EP.

In summary, it’s difficult to judge a band based on just three tracks. I now have a better understanding of what Forbidden Lore are trying to be. Their music can be described as being metal in the same vein as the more established bands Epica and Nightwish. So if you like these then there is a very good chance that you will enjoy Forbidden Lore.

3/5

Iza Raittila

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Exist Immortal – Breathe

Posted in 'Core, CD, Metal with tags , , , , on 17th December 2016 by Pieni

Exist Immortal
“Breathe”
progressive metalcore
Released: 3rd November 2016
Via Primordial Records

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So, progressive metalcore is a thing, eh? Not sure why these labels still surprise me… A more common one is “experimental metal”, but then again, “Breathe” goes beyond common, making the fancy “progressive metalcore” somewhat more fitting.

This is their second full-length record, and even if “Darkness Of An Age” shaped what they sound like now, “Breathe” exhales (pun intended) a refinement that the debut lacked. Refinement and maturity, as their eagerness in thinking outside the box took them just far enough. For instance, the fooling-around with the tempo in “Saviour” is never too daring; the weeping guitars in “In Hindsight” are never too grieving, the same way the brutality in “Invisible Lines” isn’t too callous. The songwriting was carefully laid out in order to sound exquisite but not weird. There’s also a purpose behind every breakdown of “Follow Alone” and the bluesy hints of the title-track aren’t random, so no matter how elaborate and sophisticated the melodies turn out (the ominosity of “Release” is quite stunning, by the way), they will flow easily through both the most demanding and the more straight-forward ear-drums. But it’s still a piece that I would especially recommend to those with a taste for modern aggression.

4,5/5

Renata “Pieni” Lino

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

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

Chapters – The Imperial Skies

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , on 24th May 2015 by mickbirchy

Chapters
“The Imperial Skies”
Progressive Metal

Released on 14th October 2013
Self Released

The Imperial Skies is brought to us by an awesome young British band called Chapters. Formed by Joe Nally and Angus Neyra of Hang The Bastard, I was already expecting top quality, as they are one of my favourite British bands that are going.  Yet, this is a far departure from the sound of HTB.  This is more of a tech/prog metal sound mixed with elements of hardcore.  It’s one of the more unique listening experiences I’ve had.

Straight from the get go, the album shows of the skill and sheer talent of the band.  The guitar skill is excellent with mind blowing licks, skill riffs and fun melodies.  The bass line are thick and compliment the songs melodies and harmonies beautifully.  The harsh tones are great, providing intensity and energy into the record.  The production of the record is awesome and mixed well. Not one element feels like it’s taking precedence over the others and it comes together really well.  Musically this album is all over the place, you can hear influence from all corners of the metal and rock globe.  In that sense this is a musicians band, as the more you understand about music the more enjoyable this album becomes. Not to say you can’t enjoy it if you’re not a musician, but it definitely helps.

As I’ve said, the album ranges but keeps within the theme of tech/prog metal. However, the hardcore elements of this record are fantastic; being a long time fan of the genre, I identified with these elements. They just have a real bite to them. It keeps you interested as a listener whilst the the more tech/prog elements take you on a journey through the songs.  I usually look for riffs on heavy albums but there aren’t any to speak of here. Yet, there are some cool riffy moments that certainly captured my imagination.

Songs I’ll recommend to you from this record are the title track “The Imperial Skies” (this one has a load of transitions and feels like the track that takes the most risks and shows off the band’s style) and “The Siren” (which is a fantastic tune with a load a heavy nail biting moments).

Overall, yeah, this is a solid record, you guys need to listen to it.  Really fun, heavy, interesting band.

4/5

Mick Birchall

Code to release new album later this month

Posted in News with tags , , , , , , on 10th February 2015 by Pieni

Progressive post-rockers Code will release their 4th album on the 27th February in Europe and 10th March in North America, via Agonia Records. Recorded in the Brighton Electric Studios with producer Paul ‘Win’ Winstanley, the follow-up to “Augur Nox” is called “Mut” and presents itself with the following artwork and tracklist:

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1. on blinding larks
2. undertone
3. dialogue
4. affliction
5. contours
6. inland sea
7. cocoon
8. numb, an author
9. the bloom in the blast

“The new album really sees us free ourselves from any self imposed restriction for the first time and for us is the most honest and rewarding album we have released. Although this isn’t a metal album by any stretch of the imagination, it is the most confrontational move we could have made and we hope that it’s honesty and freshness will appeal to those who like sounds out of the norm”, says the band.

They have recently released a video for “Affliction”, which they claim to be “the most foreboding track on the album”:

Make your pre-order at: https://www.agoniarecords.com/index.php?pos=shop&lang=en

https://facebook.com/codeblackmetal

Sylosis – Dormant Heart

Posted in CD, Metal with tags , , , , , , , on 1st February 2015 by Pieni

Sylosis
“Dormant Heart”
Progressive thrash metal
Released on 23rd January 2015
Via Nuclear Blast Records

 photo Sylosis - Dormant Heart - Artwork_zpskanzbtgs.jpg

Whether you like Sylosis or not, you can’t accuse them of writing mellow songs. So you’ve probably figured out that this title, “Dormant Heart”, has nothing to do with the music featured in it but with the lyrical content (not to mention the catchy, poetic ring it bears). What you may not know is what inspired it. Frontman Josh Middleton has said that it’s about those people – who sadly represent a large percentage of the world population – who just go with the flow, accepting the way things are and what society tells them to be right. People who need a wake-up call to get a new perspective on life. Now, I’m pretty sure none of the members in Sylosis fit in such category, but they’ve faced that kind of wake-up call in September 2013, on a driving accident while on tour, and it’s become a major influence on the writing process of “Dormant Heart”. I’m not telling you this just as a curiosity; after all, Sylosis have always written about the human mind, inner struggles and so-on. The difference is that this time its intensity is stronger, more compelling, as it doesn’t come from what they perceive but from something they’ve experienced; it comes from something more personal.

More intense and more somber. The first track, “Where Wolves Come To Die”, is a pretty sorrowful tune that I still look at as an intro: far shorter than all other tracks, the tension builds without actually exploding, until it abruptly comes to its end. Even though the following track, “Victims And Pawns”, doesn’t take on from where the other left it – kicking off with a thrashing attitude (the “explosion” missing in its predecessor) – it meets the same vibe as “Where Wolves…” at some point in the middle of song, before resuming the thrash speed and again the doom-ish vibe with which it ends (typical prog, when you think of it). So yeah, “Where Wolves Come To Die” screams “intro” to me.

I don’t want to sound too much like the official press release for this, but the truth is that “Dormant Heart”’s distinctive features are indeed its rich riffs – both in number and composition – , solos and breakdowns. I dare saying that the best combination of those resulted in “Overthrown”, “Indoctrinated” and “Mercy”. “Leech” as well, but this one deserves an additional note: the way the guitars sound so vibrant in that beginning reminds me of how Judas Priest “Hellion” makes way to “Electric Eye”. Please note that I am NOT comparing the songs but their effect on your senses and their nature – classy and epic. Although the guitar seems to cry its strings out in the solo, very lament-wise, very eighties-heavy-metal-like. Yes, I confess – it’s my favorite.

But all in all, every song here has the potential to be someone’s favorite (hence the “I dare saying”, as you’ll probably name other songs yourself). Even the 9-minute ballad “Quiescent”, which personally I’m not very fond of, but where I recognize a great job nonetheless.

You know how most bands claim to have released their “best work so far” when they have a new album? Occasionally they’re right. And Sylosis are definitely right.

4,5/5

by Renata “Pieni” Lino