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Issue 22 - November 8, 2001

Discussion in 'Songs To Watch' started by Demonspell, Nov 8, 2001.

  1. Demonspell

    Demonspell cheating the polygraph

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    DEMONSPELL’S SONGS TO WATCH
    POWER OF PROG EDITION
    Written November 8, 2001

    Greetings, devoted readers! I’m really starting to repeat myself in these intros and I have a long installment of The Progressive News to write, so let’s not waste any time…


    Borknagar – Soul Sphere, The Stellar Dome: One of this fall’s most eaglerly anticipated albums, no doubt due to speculation of how Vintersorg would affect the band, to which I say: Simen who? Both of these songs are excellent, and have great contrast between the heavy and atmospheric sections. Great acoustic work on the latter track.

    Cathedral – Whores To Oblivion, Templars Arise (The Return): A bit of an enigma with me, as I dislike most of the stoner genre, yet find these guys to be an exception. Maybe because they are definitely the closest to carrying the Black Sabbath lineage. The 13-minute latter track, with its eerie verses and savage breaks, would have been in the Halloween special…

    Crucible – An Imp’s Tale, Find The Line: Progressive rock in the classic 70s sense discovered through the progradio.net stations. The former song upholds that greatest of prog traditions, the 20-minute epic, and has many great and compelling sections. The latter track is a less impressive, but still impressive, slower song.

    Dysrhythmia – No Interference, Earthquake: Instrumental progressive rock act from Philadelphia who has put out two self-released albums. Both of these songs are highly impressive and they definitely deserve to get picked up! The intense nine-minute former track available at www.mp3.com

    Elvenking – A Dreadful Strain, Dweller Of The Rhymes: I know the name sounds like lame fantasy power metal act #3165, but they are different from that, playing folk-inflected metal that I enjoyed more than I thought I would. Another reader suggestion. First song available at www.metalexpress.no, latter at official site.

    Evergrey – Mark Of The Triangle, Misled: In Search Of Truth has quickly become one of my top ten (possibly five) albums of the year, superb progressive metal with an intoxicating dark atmosphere. The former song is arguably the heaviest on the album, while the latter provides a gripping yet unclear conclusion to the album’s storyline.

    Leviathan – The Door, If These Walls Could Talk: Despite having included this band before, I still know very little about them. But these songs are strong progressive metal, the latter being especially powerful with a strong chorus and great instrumental sections. Both songs from an album called Scoring The Chapters.

    Mayadome – Primal Secrets, Trifles: I had read several great reviews of this Swedish progressive metal act and both of their albums are on the Progged Radio playlist, but for some reason I didn’t really give them a listen until now. Both of these songs are really good, occasionally reminding me of Dream Theater. Vocals could still use some work, though.

    Money For The Toll – Absence, Balance: Another band discovered through the ever-helpful progradio.net network. Both of these songs are worth your attention, the former has an addictive chorus and an effective lead riff while the latter has impressive instrumentation.

    Novembre – Winter 1941, Distances: Reader suggested doom metal act that despite having two albums out on Century Media, is still largely unknown. Both of these songs are very good, the latter having some Opeth-like guitar lines while the latter makes great use of clean vocals. Former song available at www.mp3.com, latter at www.centurymedia.com

    Persephone’s Dream – Hyperspace Minefield, Tenth Moon: Second Pennsylvania band with self-released albums heard through www.hardprogradio.com to be featured this week. Both of these songs are excellent female-fronted progressive rock with strong arrangements and compelling song structures. Former song available at official site.

    Rain Fell Within – Alone, A False Reality: Another female-fronted atmospheric metal act, this time working in the doom genre. Both of these songs are lengthy and have strong instrumentation, and their vocalist hits some very high notes. Album Believe has received many positive reviews. Latter song available at www.mp3.com

    Jordan Rudess – Revolving Door, Crack The Meter: Long awaited solo album from arguably the most talented of Dream Theater’s three keyboardists. (they all kick ass, I don’t want to start any debates!) Both of these songs are excellent instrumental prog rock, the latter having several eccentric sections while the latter reminds me of his passages from Scenes and has a great guitar solo, available at www.metalexpress.no

    Sanvoisen – Colours Around, Behind My Dreams: Again, this band has received several rave reviews, but I have neglected them until recently. While having several weaknesses, both of these songs are good enough to warrant inclusion, and the latter has a particularly memorable bassline.

    Saviour Machine – The Locusts, Image Of The Beast: Reader suggested Christian (I may not agree with their dogma, but I’m not going to ignore them simply because of it) progressive metal act who has released a series of albums based on the apocalypse. These songs are heavier and more well-written than their often droning early albums, and have strong vocals from Eric Clayton. Former song available at www.metalexpress.no

    Superior – Nothing, Tainted Silence: German progressive metal act whose profile should be increased by their opening slot at Progpower (see below). The former nine-minute song has great use of piano and deeply personal lyrics, and has a great conclusion. The latter song from their debut Behind is a heavier song with a few surprises, available at www.666metal.com

    Tad Morose – Where The Sun Never Shines, Another Time Around: Reader suggested Swedish power/prog metal act who has released several albums to positive reviews, most recently last year’s Undead. Both of these songs are worthy of inclusion, the latter having an addictive chorus while the latter has a great lead riff and an effective arrangement, available at www.666metal.com

    Devin Townsend – Canada, Stagnant: Putting those two titles together doesn’t imply any insult to Canadian readers! I have been more impressed with the latest release from the enigmatic one-man project, Terria, than previous albums. (didn’t care for Strapping Young Lad.) Both of these songs are skilled progressive rock with a heavy emotional aspect, former available at www.mp3.com, latter at www.metalexpress.no

    THE PROGRESSIVE NEWS, vol. 3 (I intend this to be a monthly feature in the future)
    The big news this week? Definitely the announcement of the completion and release date of Dream Theater’s upcoming double album has people marking down January 22nd, 2002 on their calendars. But the really big news is Progpower 2.0 in Atlanta this weekend. Unfortunately I cannot attend what promises to be an incredible event, but for those who are lucky enough, please send a review to demonspell@maidencentral.com and I will include it with proper credit in next week’s Songs To Watch. What follows is the schedule for the concert, with strengths and weaknesses, a recommended album, and three/four songs from it.

    Friday

    Balance Of Power
    Strengths: skillfully integrates progressive touches into melodic rock.
    Weaknesses: occasionally annoying vocals, the usual AOR limitations.
    Album to own: Perfect Balance
    Songs to watch: Higher Than The Sun, Fire Dance, One Voice

    Nightingale
    Strengths: brooding progressive rock, arguably Dan Swano’s greatest triumph.
    Weaknesses: guitar sounds thin at times, drum machine on first album.
    Album to own: The Closing Chronicles
    Songs to watch: Deep Inside Of Nowhere, Alive Again, Thoughts From A Stolen Soul

    Angel Dust
    Strengths: powerful songs, excellent use of keyboards, great vocals
    Weaknesses: frequent lineup changes
    Album to own: Enlighten The Darkness
    Songs to watch: Cross Of Hatred, The One You Are, Come Into Resistance, Fly Away

    Ark
    Strengths: versatile vocalist, incredibly skilled guitarist, great songcraft
    Weaknesses: occasional lapses into Deep Purple/Whitesnake hard rock
    Album to own: Burn The Sun
    Songs to watch: Resurrection, Heal The Waters, Absolute Zero, Missing You

    Symphony X
    Strengths: the best guitar/keyboard interplay in metal, hands down.
    Weaknesses: since The Damnation Game, none.
    Album we’re all waiting for: Live On The Edge Of Forever
    Songs to watch exclusive: Church Of The Machine at www.metalexpress.no

    Saturday

    Superior
    Strengths: see this week’s entry
    Weaknesses: over-reliance on ballads, albums available only by import
    Album to own: Younique
    Songs to watch: Nothing, Amok, Stop

    Spiral Architect
    Strengths: Lars Norberg’s unreal bass playing, incredible technicality
    Weaknesses: Only one album to date
    Album to own: A Sceptic’s Universe
    Songs to watch: Insect, Cloud Constructor, Fountainhead, Moving Spirit

    Vanden Plas
    Strengths: Excellent guitarist, skillful use of keyboards
    Weaknesses: occasionally repetitive, cancelled their appearance (replaced by Steel Prophet).
    Album to own: The God Thing
    Songs to watch: Fire Blossom/Rainmaker, Garden Of Stones, Crown Of Thorns

    Evergrey
    Strengths: see this week’s entry
    Weaknesses: frequent lineup changes, not enough bass, first two albums import-only
    Album to own: In Search Of Truth
    Songs to watch: Dark Waters, The Masterplan, Watching The Skies, see above

    Kamelot
    Strengths: great production and strong arrangements
    Weaknesses: occasionally inconsistent albums, lapses into power metal
    Album to own: Karma
    Songs to watch: The Spell, Temples Of Gold, Across The Highlands, Karma
     
  2. RETIREDTrapped

    RETIREDTrapped New Metal Member

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    ...Have you got any more info on 'Leviathan – The Door'?

    I'm pretty sure i've heard them before, but since then haven't been able to find anything else out or find anything else from them..
     
  3. Spiff

    Spiff I have the power

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    I remember talking to Superior guitarist Bernd Basmer shortly after "Younique" was released, and he seemed a bit put out by the fact that people considered the band to be progressive metal. I agree - I don't consider them to be prog metal at all.

    He may have changed his tune since then, though.
     
  4. metalized

    metalized Member

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    Leviathan is one of the USA prog veterans. they really are legends in the prog underground. their first album is really great if you must buy one to start with, but i would suggest buying (or at least listening to) all of them.
     
  5. metalized

    metalized Member

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    I will add to my post that "scoring the Chapters" is their last album.
    Discography - Rate (IMO)
    Leviathan (1992) - 9/10
    Deepest Secrets Beneath (1994) - 8/10
    Riddles, Questions, Poetry, & Outrage (1996) - 8.5/10
    Scoring The Chapters (1997) - 7.5/10
     
  6. RETIREDTrapped

    RETIREDTrapped New Metal Member

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    Cool thanks, I'll try and find some of their stuff... I'm certain (?) i've heard them somewhere...



    :lol:
     

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