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Issue 23 - November 15, 2001

Discussion in 'Songs To Watch' started by Demonspell, Nov 15, 2001.

  1. Demonspell

    Demonspell cheating the polygraph

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    DEMONSPELL’S SONGS TO WATCH
    FOR YOUR LISTENING CONVENIENCE
    Written November 15, 2001

    Greetings, devoted readers! Unfortunately, I didn’t get any Progpower reviews to include this week. In another disappointment, Nevermore was put in a position that left them with no other option but to cancel a tour due to Overkill bailing out, and I was looking forward to seeing them again. Again, I’m growing weary of having to write these introductions, so let me just say I have the usual grouping of lesser known and obscure artists, new releases, and links so you can hear the songs…and now, what I’ve been listening to…

    Arena – The Hanging Tree, A Crack In The Ice: British progressive rock act led by extremely talented keyboardist Clive Nolan. These songs are from The Visitor and feature a different vocalist than on their most recent release. The former track features a haunting atmosphere and highly emotional vocals.

    Armageddon – Blind Fury, Cry Of Fate: Some of you may remember this band from a highly praised album called Crossing The Rubicon, which I haven’t heard. Chris Amott returns with this year’s Embrace The Mystery, which finds the band going in a more progressive direction, although both of these songs have energetic and heavy riffs. Great slow section in the latter song.

    Aztec Jade – Nosferatu, Indian Summer (Retry): Progressive metal act discovered through Progged Radio…as with most of these entries, I’m lacking information (one day I’ll do my beforehand research!) Anyway, the former song has an impressive progression and arrangement, while the latter’s lead riff is very catchy and has a slight Celtic feel to it.

    Blind Guardian – Harvest Of Sorrow: And Then There Was Silence was released in Europe this week. Read my Blind Guardian special for an extended review of the 14:07 epic. This song, which has been performed at concerts in the past, is its B-side and will not be on the upcoming album. It is an excellent ballad in the NIME style, please buy the single when it’s released domestically next month!

    Echosilence – Straight Circle, Negative Pocket: Reader suggested instrumental act, at least on these songs from an album aptly named Eclectic Collaborations. Both of these songs contain some excellent musicianship and deft transitions between heavy and atmospheric sections. Well worth your attention, especially for those who appreciate great instrumental prog.

    Greyhaven – Mirror My Eyes, Solitude Surrounding: Another progressive metal act I’ve read some encouraging reviews about, but have only discovered (with the aid of progradio.net, my main source as if you couldn’t guess!) recently, Both of these songs are lengthy and contain some great arrangements and impressive keyboard work…the former sounds especially promising, with some superb interplay.

    Katatonia – Brave, Rainroom: 1996’s Brave Murder Day, named for its first three songs, is often considered to be an important melodic death album. Both of these songs do much to explain why, the former being an awesome ten-minute track full of great riffs from Anders Nystrom. A good of amount of the vocals on this album are by Mikael Akerfeldt, making it a must for Opeth fans. Latter song available at www.666metal.com

    Maudlin Of The Well – The Curve…; The Ocean, The Kingdom, And The Temptation: I’m not typing out the full title of the former (the latter’s long enough, excerpt and information at www.darksymphonies.com), but it’s a good summary of this band’s innovative progressive approach of doom, featuring a beautiful slow section and unexpected conlusion amidst the heavy parts. The same can be said of the latter 11-minute track from their debut. A must for adventurous extreme metal fans.

    Scott Mosher – A Season of Fire, The Promise Of Truth: Multi-instrumentalist whose self-released debut has received some rave reviews, particularly at www.progressiveworld.net The former track is a highly impressive instrumental with great keyboards, while the latter goes in a more melodic metal direction.

    Erik Norlander – On The Wings Of Ghosts, Alchemy And Astronomy: Talented keyboardist who has released albums under the name Rocket Scientists and who has been a frequent guest on Ayreon albums. Both of these songs from Into The Sunset (on which Arjen plays and contributes) are very good indications of his talent. Latter song is a 17-minute Floyd-like atmospheric piece. Former available at www.thetank.com

    October Tide – Into Deep Sleep, Floating: Reader suggested melodic death act. Both of these songs from the album Grey Dawn show that this band is clearly aligned more with Opeth than the Gothenburg crowd, both of them having melodies and arrangements reminiscent of them. Definitely worth a listen, and both songs are easily available at www.mp3.com

    Reading Zero – Turning Down The Sun, Scene Unseen: Another reader suggestion that has become one of my most rewarding discoveries, this being a highly skilled prog metal act from New Hamsphire (of all places!). Both of these songs have excellent arrangements, and the guitar parts remind me of Queensryche (who I’m seeing next week) at times. Both songs available at www.mp3.com

    Symphony X – Of Sins And Shadows, The Divine Wings Of Tragedy (live): Live on the Edge Of Forever was released this week, and thereby completes the live album sequence described earlier in this column. The latter 21-minute epic is performed in its entirety with amazing precision and note-perfect accuracy. The former’s complex harmonies are replicated flawlessly. Warning: the running time on the former is significantly longer than the album version, but this is taken up by a band intro.

    Transatlantic – Bridge Across Forever, Suite Charlotte Pike: Progressive supergroup consisting of…if you’re familiar with their first album, named for its members’ initials, then you already know. The former song, available at www.metalexpress.no, is a beautiful ballad, while the latter is a more lively and multifaceted track at a mere 14 minutes (I’ll get to the real long ones in the future…) with an amusing intro.

    Tunnelvision – Tears Of Goodbye, Empress: Finnish progressive metal act discovered through Progged Radio…these songs are reminiscent of Dream Theater at times and feature some heavy riffs laced with strong keyboard signatures. The latter song has a very good instrumental section.

    Unicorn – Hiding Again: Yet another Dan Swano outlet, truly one of the most versatile men in the history of metal. This is another of his projects originating out of his love for progressive rock, being a beautiful nine-minute composition with great atmosphere and emotional vocals. May be too mellow for fans of his extreme projects, but highly recommend for prog fans.

    Vanishing Point – Bring On The Rain, Two Minds One Soul: Reader suggested Australian melodic hard rock act who has toured with Gamma Ray this year. I’ll admit that I’m not completely taken with these songs (the vocalist does nothing for me), but the former ballad has a great solo in it, and the latter song has some good keyboards and shows some promise.

    Winterlong – The Water Spirit, Mystery Of Life: Power metal act whose debut Valley Of The Lost has attracted some good press. As with most bands in the genre, they have some derivative qualities, but this one avoids some of the worst clichés and doesn’t have a Kiske clone fronting them. The former song also has some Maidenesque guitar lines.

    Wolverine – Again?, Towards Loss: Progressive metal act who distinguishes themselves by having a mixture of harsh and clean vocals. The former song has a great extended instrumental section, while the latter from their current release The Window Purpose reminds me of Pain Of Salvation and is heavier than most of their debut. Former song available at www.mp3.com, latter at official site.

    Thus ends this chapter…in the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to know what recommendations I have included in the past you are thankful for. E-mail your responses to demonspell@maidencentral.com, or send a private message through this site’s forums…I’ll be looking to reprint some of the replies next week.
     

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