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2013 - new and upcoming albums

Discussion in 'Symphony X (Unofficial)' started by Phanto, Apr 6, 2013.

  1. Liampie

    Liampie Member

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    I also agree that lyrics aren't necessarily the most important component of music. I'd like to add that there's no 'right' or 'wrong' when it comes to lyrics. Some lyrics are vague, some are metaphorical, and some are very clean and direct like Ayreon's for example. I don't think any style is superior to another. I was taught that good literature and good movies (as far as those can be recognized objectively; I'm talking about general consensus here.) are often more minimal and functional rather than extensive and overly complex. I prefer simple lyrics like Ayreon over pretentious shit like 90% of metal music... Another variable worth considering is layers. That's where Ayreon falls a little short, although it's definitely not single-layered. Moreover, an argument for Ayreon to use simple lyrics is that with most concept albums in prog (not familiar with other genres), the story is often buried beneath weird lyrics to an extent that you don't know what the fuck it's about. Ayreon does a good job at plain storytelling. I'm not saying Ayreon has great lyrics, not at all. Personally I think the quality varies, most of the time it being passable. Its weakness is cheesiness, its strenght is storytelling efficiency.

    Lastly, I think Arjen makes this kind of music out of love for 70's music and retro science fiction. He pulls off the music part pretty well. The science fiction is often cult and camp stuff and Arjen knows that. I mean, when he was still touring for Star One he appeared in a ridiculously sexy all-silver suit... If you try to see Ayreon and Star One as an avant-garde prog art thing, I guess it's just not for you.
     
  2. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    Is a blank canvas art? How about a red one? Okay, yes I know. Fine.

    But there's a limit to what is appreciable and what is just bad. Everyone knows what it is, subjectively for all of us, but there is also a consensus. Bad lyrics are bad. Stuff like Justin Bieber for example. "Baby Oh" is not enough lyrics to form any kind of meaningful song.

    As Wander wrote, "When I hear some guy sing "Yes, I'm a brilliant chemist" as exposition when an another character needs help in chemistry, I can't help but laugh out loud. it's just absolutely ludicrous. And the story is ridden with moments like these. Everything is explained through like the listener is a child."

    Show, don't tell. That's the secret to art.
    Arjen loves to tell you. And tell you why he told you. And recap what he told you. It's like a 3rd grade essay instead of a mature vision. Doesn't have to be as eloquent as Proust to be good. Sometimes, simple is good. But simple + deep, not simple + shallow. The right words are key to a good song if it's not an instrumental. Would anyone give a shit about "The Odyssey" if the lyrics were "My name is Odysseus and I pissed off Poseidon so now I have to endure all this crap."

    Sauna: Yes, lyrics are absolutely key to any song that has them.

    Liampie: The thing is, Arjen promotes Ayreon like an avant garde prog band. Not a campy Ziltoid kind of band. So it really is his fault that this reception exists.
     
  3. AsoTamaki

    AsoTamaki Member

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    He's definitely aware of the pitfalls and tries his best. This is part of what he wrote in the press kit thing for the album:

    For what it's worth, I don't think the lyrics on this one are any worse than they have been in the past. What maybe makes it stand out more is the subject matter. There's a poorly worded part here and there, but honestly, it is extremely difficult to write this stuff any better than he's doing. Impossible, perhaps. It's very different with concept albums where you just have one "character" or if you have spoken dialogue interspersed to carry the narrative along. Here you have all the many characters conversing and interacting with each other purely through song, but it's not even the same as stage or film musicals where you have visuals to assist in conveying certain things to the audience. The lyrics do need to be as clear and direct as possible. I'm not sure there's a way around the problem. You kind of just have to accept the style for what it is when listening. It's best to think of what you're hearing as "lines" rather than "lyrics" in the usual sense.

    Anyway, I like it a little more after listening a couple more times. Phase II is great. The others have great parts, but either have too much downtime in between "events" so there's all this instrumental filler or simply just do not flow musically. Like within the same supposed "song", it goes from middle eastern melodies to celtic folk to full on space metal, etc. I get that he always likes to incorporate these different styles, but it's ridiculous here and adds nothing to the story or concept.

    Absolutely. That's the biggest reason why he sounds so good no matter what.

    Well, it makes more sense since you say you never really liked a certain something about the way he used to sound. I do see what you're saying, but I can't agree that he's better singer now in any way whatsoever. His current voice has this weathered tone to it that he emphasizes to add a lot of emotional weight depending on the song (like the one you posted), but it's not really beneficial for every moment. On Origins of Ruin is where I think he reached the potential of that sort of thing. I like it too, but it doesn't make up for the other qualities I enjoyed.

    His best performances were in the APSOG era, hands down. He still had all the range of his youth and by then had learned when and when not to utilize the extremes of it.



    Everything he's doing today (and so much more) was there back then except maybe he sounded like less of a heavy smoker. Lol. For sure, he's a much improved singer compared to the very early albums though, especially No Exit. At this point I think he's still that great singer, but he's now unfortunately limited by what his voice is capable of doing and it shows on the new album. I don't quite want to say it's a one dimensional performance, but by comparison...yeah. The difference between the range of feelings he conveyed through his voice on the old stuff to DIADL is immense.
     
    #283 AsoTamaki, Oct 29, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
  4. Phanto

    Phanto Alalalalalalalala.

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    new Subsignal is alright...

    except the songs A New Reliance and The Blueprint Of A Winter. the former has a brassy part that makes me want to kill something, and the latter is just very not subsignal. kind of like you expect chocolate but get licorice taste.
     
  5. Isaac_de_Moorea

    Isaac_de_Moorea Silent Member

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  6. iceandfire84

    iceandfire84 The One Who Knocks

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    I recall them not being too big a hit with some folks on this forum, but I would definitely urge you to give the new Protest the Hero album "Volition" a spin. I think it's their best album to date. These guys just have a ridiculous amount of talent at every level, and I can attest that their live performances are on par with their studio product.

    You can tell they really put everything in this album as it was probably also the most successful crowd funded record I have seen and they wanted to do well for the fans above all else.
     
  7. Liquid Tension

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    The new Exivious is now out....
     
  8. Krondor

    Krondor Member

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    For me, lyrcis have never been THE thing... It's always been more about the musical side. For example I love me some italo prog, where I don't understand a single word. And from what I've heard, in some cases, it may be better not to know :lol:
     
  9. Liquid Tension

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  10. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    Bad lyrics utterly ruin a song for me. I cannot abide listening to bad lyrics no matter how good the music is.

    I suppose this is the same old argument as technical skill vs. arrangement.
     
  11. Phanto

    Phanto Alalalalalalalala.

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    There's a huge difference between not understanding lyrics and understanding lyrics and thinking they're bad :D In one case it's basically just another melody or "instrument", in the other it retracts from the song.

    Sigur Ros sang in a made-up language before switching over to icelandic. Made 0 difference for 99.9% of their listeners :D

    FYI Änglagård has okay lyrics, I think, although a little pretentious. Still, it's better than Arjen's lyrics.
     
  12. Liquid Tension

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    Good points about bad lyrics hindering a song instead of not understanding the language...

    There certainly have been a few songs that I remember being ruined by them but if the music is real good then I usually don't pay attention too them....

    The same goes for bad singing or if it's in a style I don't like... If the music is good enough I'll just ignore them...
     
  13. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    I just can't ignore it. It's there. It IS just another instrument. But it can ruin the song, just like a bad performance. If your band rules but the drummer utterly plays out of sync and out of the style, then the song is ruined. Bad lyrics are like that.
     
  14. Postulate

    Postulate Have a nice day! :)

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    Honestly, I like when singers sound like smokers. Especially women, but to a lesser extent men as well.

    Airbag is sweet. I'm usually in the mood for something a bit more "involved," though. They remind me a lot of Gandalf's Fist.

    If we could take a break for a minute from discussing Ayreon, some much better music has come out this year...there's a new Il Tempio delle Clessidre, for example.

     
    #294 Postulate, Nov 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015
  15. Phanto

    Phanto Alalalalalalalala.

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    I'm looking at metalstorm's upcoming metal releases for the rest of the year and everything I see are live DVDs. Not very interesting live DVDs at that.

    So unless something comes out of nowhere, I guess Vallendusk will be the best album of 2013.

    Actually out of boredom I'll just conduct my 2013 top 3 list now for funsies.

    Vallendusk - Black Clouds Gathering
    The best black(ish) metal album made in a decade. On par (or better) than Emperor's best stuff.

    Steven Wilson - The Raven That Refused To Sing
    His best solo album. I initially thought Grace For Drowning was better but I changed my mind.

    Haken - The Mountain
    Took a long time to really appreciate this. Previous Haken albums have all felt run-of-the-mill to me, but after a while this album really took on to another level.

    I doubt these albums will have any serious contenders by the end of the year. Ghost, Amorphis, Carcass and Fates Warning all had solid offerings, but no masterpieces. The most overrated must be Summoning and Ayreon.

    2012 was a better year. 2011 was worse. 2010 was on par.
     
  16. Phanto

    Phanto Alalalalalalalala.

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    Il Tempio sounds rather pleasant.
     
  17. Postulate

    Postulate Have a nice day! :)

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    Comedy of Errors - Fanfare & Fantasy is far and above those for this year, IMO
     
  18. Phanto

    Phanto Alalalalalalalala.

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    comedy of errors was great and I would put it up there with act's old stuff
     
  19. Kenneth R.

    Kenneth R. Cináed

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    thats high praise for Vallendusk. I'll give them a shot.
     
  20. Phanto

    Phanto Alalalalalalalala.

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    I thought you already gave them a shot and liked them!

    Anyway, yeah. I give them an insane amount of praise. Fragments of Light, Into the Mist, and Land of the Lurking Twilight are insaaaaaaaaaaaaane.

    Tasteful acoustics, soaring guitar-riffs, screams of anguish and agony, blasting drums, great breaks. Dynamic both in arrangements and mix. Bass is like a smooth layer, cymbals crash like pouring rain. Metal haven't gotten me this pumped since At the Gates, and at the same time it's so easy to listen to. I could both headbang and sleep to this.


    The riff starting after 0:26 in this song makes me weep tears of blood hail satan paradise on earth:


    This album deserves nothing less than FLAC quality if downloaded, however. Youtube sounds like shit.
    Headphones too.
     
    #300 Phanto, Nov 2, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2015

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