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Issue 18 - October 11, 2001

Discussion in 'Songs To Watch' started by Demonspell, Oct 11, 2001.

  1. Demonspell

    Demonspell cheating the polygraph

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    DEMONSPELL’S SONGS TO WATCH
    PROGTOBERFEST EDITION
    Written October 11, 2001

    Greetings, devoted readers! I know, I’m guilty of serious cheese with that title, but I couldn’t resist nor think of anything else. Extreme metal is also represented, with two major upcoming releases included. Because I have a lot of educational obligations, I’ll have to keep things a little short this week, meaning no news reports and slightly less detailed descriptions. A brief update to part of last week’s report: the files previously hosted on www.bestofmetal.net have been relocated to www.666metal.com for the time being, so get them while you still can! This column is brought to you by the word plebes. And now, the songs…

    Beyond Twilight – Shadowland, Perfect Dark: This band is fronted by the extremely busy Jorn Lande, who has lent his expressive vocals to both Ark and the Nostradamus rock opera this year. As the title of the latter indicates, these songs from their debut The Devil’s Hall Of Fame are much darker than the prog of his main band, but do contain a similar amount of smart passages and powerful choruses.

    Borknagar – The Genuine Pulse, Gods Of My World: Highly praised melodic black metal act with an ever-shifting lineup, this year saw a much discussed change of vocalists. On these songs from this month’s Empiricism, Vintersorg seems highly capable of filling the void, as he delivers great vocals on both songs, and the music is equal to anything on Quintessence. Former song available at www.darkwood.com/musiquemachine

    Edenbridge – Cheyenne Spirit, My Last Step Beyond: Female fronted classically-influenced power/prog act. Although I have admittedly lost interest in the genre because of a preponderance of similar acts, these songs do distinguish themselves, particularly the latter eleven-minute epic. More information available at www.lasercd.com

    Eternity X – The Confession, Crawl Before You Walk: This prog metal band’s 1997 album The Edge has received several strong reviews, but I haven’t been able to find a copy yet. Both of these songs feature strong arrangements and great instrumentation. Unfortunately, their leader Keith Sudano has recently quit writing music.

    Evergrey – Watching The Skies, For Every Tear That Falls: In Search Of Truth was predicted to be among this year’s breakout releases, and so far it has received almost unanimously positive reviews. The former song indicates how their recent lineup changes (new guitarist, full-time keyboardist) have improved the band. The latter song is a great emotional ballad from their debut, video available at official site.

    Labyrinth – Heaven Denied, Die For My Sins: There have been reports that this excellent (but plagued with several career setbacks) Italian power/prog act has broken up, which would definitely be a great loss. The former song is one of two superb ballads from their best album Return To Heaven Denied, while the latter is one of the better cover choices I’ve seen, of a track from Sanctuary’s classic debut.

    Lake Of Tears – The Homecoming, Forever Autumn: Swedish band who began playing doom metal but quickly moved on to a more atmospheric sound, these songs from their last album Forever Autumn contain some memorable melodies and warm arrangements. Fans of recent Anathema should give them a listen.

    Lana Lane – Speed Of Sound, Escher’s Staircase: Talented vocalist whose profile was increased by her participation on Ayreon’s Universal Migrator albums. Her own albums aren’t quite as impressive, but these are very good songs, the latter having a great progressive arrangement and the former sounding like a female fronted Stratovarius! Latter available at www.thetank.com, I think…

    Madsword – Through The Sky, Evolution: I mentioned in last week’s column about how bad luck seems to especially strike quality Italian acts, this one quietly disbanding after leaving behind one excellent album and one EP, these are the only two songs I’ve heard from the latter, but they show that this band could have been a leading force in progressive metal, especially the awesome former track…

    My Dying Bride – A Cruel Taste Of Winter, The Raven And The Rose: British band that pioneered doom metal in the early 90s with their slow, hypnotic riffs and misanthropic lyrics. These songs from their upcoming album The Dreadful Hours should keep fans of the earlier work impressed, especially the latter song’s extended finale. Excerpts available at www.peaceville.com

    Ozric Tentacles – Holohedron, Sultana Detrii: Instrumental prog act who has built a cult following through their extremely innovative, electronic-inflected sound. Not for all tastes, but highly recommended for those who appreciate a sense of experimentalism. Excerpts available at their official site.

    Persephone’s Dream – Dream Catcher Static, Agent Of Chaos: Promising young female fronted prog act from the Pittsburgh area, discovered through one of the www.progradio.net stations. Both songs feature strong arrangements that suggest a cross between Rush and Nightwish. More information can be found at official site.

    Planet X – Dog Boots, Warfinger (Beer Garden): Derek Sherinian has found himself in the news lately, resulting from the incident when he was playing Brazil as part of Yngwie’s touring band and our national anthem got booed. Both of these songs from Universe are as good as instrumental progressive metal gets. Former track available at official site, concert review on this page.

    Poor Genetic Material – Wouldism, Living Desert: Another www.progradio.net owed discovery, this is an interesting German progressive act. The former song, available at www.mp3.com has a richly melodic signature and expressive vocals from Philip Griffiths, while the latter has great atmospheric keyboards.

    Rocket Scientists – Break The Silence, Brutal Architecture: Erik Norlander, who has also played with Ayreon and released several solo albums, contributes keyboards and vocals to this progressive rock act. Both of these songs from the album of the latter name contain strong arrangements and instrumentation. Several samples available at www.thetank.com

    Sculptured – Together With The Seasons: This band received several good reviews for last year’s Apollo Ends, said to be an innovative extreme metal album, unfortunately I haven’t heard it. This song is well worth your attention, it features some Maiden-like guitar signatures and a great acoustic part, sounding a bit like Dark Tranquility. Available at www.theendrecords.com

    Sigh – Black Curse, The Divine Graveyard: I have mentioned Imaginary Sonicscape as being among this year’s most innovative releases. These songs are from its predecessor Scenario IV: Dread Dreams, and are just as powerful. The former finds Mirai challenging the listener by including many unlikely passages, while the latter has a great orchestral background and is available at their official site.

    Superior – Amok, God’s Funeral: German progressive metal act who captured my attention after being named as an opening act at Progpower. Both of these songs show a strong Dream Theater influence, and the latter eight-minute song has some strong riffs and a powerful closing section. Former song available at www.colorsofsound.com

    Watchtower – The Eldritch, The Fall Of Reason: 1988’s Control And Resistance was years ahead of its time, and stands as a technical metal landmark, Spiral Architect being one band that was clearly inspired by them. Great arrangements and powerful lyrics abound. Guitarist Ron Jarzombek has went on to critical success with Gordian Knot and Spastic Ink. Both songs available at official site.

    So ends this chapter. Again, I don’t really have that much to say besides the recommendations themselves, I have essays to write and tests in the near future…I did include tons of links this week, so happy hunting to you all!
     

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