DEMONSPELL'S SONGS TO WATCH: The Director's Cut Written February 22, 2002 I apologize for last week's delay. Since I still have a large amount of assignments to complete and one of the forums where I regularly post this column to is not working at the present moment, I am going to keep the descriptions brief this week. I'll compensate by including the album for easier reference. Blind Guardian - Sadly Sings Destiny, Wait For An Answer - More superlative work from A Night At The Opera, which brings another new dimension to Blind Guardian's unqiue sound. The latter track's propulsive intro proves they haven't abandoned metal completely. Angel Dust - Forever, The Cultman - Although somewhat lacking in the raw power and sophistication of Enlighten The Darkness, these tracks from Of Human Bondage are far from disastrous, especially the latter, a ballad with great atmosphere and acoustic work. Pain Of Salvation - Thorn Clown, Dryad Of The Woods - Former Japanese bonus track is profound as anything from Remedy Lane (now firmly established in my mind as their best album), with heavy sections, ominous organ work, and a melodic chorus. Latter track is an instrumental with a great pastoral atmosphere. Soilwork - Black Star Deceiver, Mindfields - The melodic death act returns this month with Natural Born Chaos, these songs should please fans of their previous work, while the latter includes a good amount of clean vocals and doesn't lapse into second-rate Gothenburgisms like they are prone to do... Virgin Black - Walk Without Limbs, Museum Of Iscariot - Yet another provocative act on The End's roster, the title of Sombre Romantic aptly describes the mood on both of these tracks. Latter song is a multipart composition with a dark and lonely feel. Former track available at www.theendrecords.com The Black League - Bunker King, Pain Without A Name - Another band recently added to this site's growing legion of hosted forums, and many will argue Taneli Jarva has reinvented himself more successfully than his former Sentenced bandmates. Latter song is an official site exclusive bonus track from Ichor. Alas - Endlessly Searching, Loss Of A Life - Again, another UM-hosted band, and an unlikely but successful colalboration between former members of Morbid Angel and Therion. The former song is one of the better female-fronted tracks I've heard in a while, featuring a killer arrangement. Falconer - For Life And Liberty, The Clarion Call - Their debut was a welcome departure from power metal conventions, and their followup Chapters From A Vale Forlorn should receive similar accolades if these tracks are indicative of the rest, especially the latter with its Maidenesque guitar runs and addictive chorus. former song available at www.metalexpress.no John Petrucci - Glasgow Kiss, I.B.S - Dream Theater's guitarist is set to release a solo album later this year, these are two exceptional tracks he debuted on last year's G3 tour. Video of the former is available at the Bootlegmania site, which also has lots of great Opeth concert documents. Alchemist - Warring Tribes, Escape From The Black Hole - I found this Australian tech-metal act's latest album Organasm in a local used store for $5. Quite a steal, I must say. Former track is part of a trilogy and includes some insane keyboards, while the latter contains a strange but unforgettable chorus. The shouted vocals may turn some off, however. Havayoth - Mirrors, The Watcher - A side project of Vintersorg, this one being more melodic and progressive oriented than his solo output. Both of these songs have great atmosphere and, of course, his distinctive vocals. Onward - The Seven Tides Of Labyrinthine, Who Saw The Last Star Fall - One of the more successful attempts at capturing an 80s power metal sound, their album Reawaken has received some encouraging reviews, and both of these songs show the band looking to expand, and with much success, especially on the former. Sinakdus - Kakafonia, Ulv I Faraklader - One of the people on the Opeth forum has been begging me to include this Swedish prog rock act in Songs To Watch for months, so here you go. Both of these songs have a dark atmosphere with some awesome organ work, especially the latter with its arresting vocals (delivered in their native tongue, title translates to Wolf In Disguise.) Ivory Tower - Beyond The Stars, When Thoughts Are Running Wild - An overlooked Italian progressive metal act, occasionally leaning more towards melodic rock as on the latter song, which features a great instrumental section. Former title track from their lone album has a strong chorus. Soul Cages - Elegy, In Our Hands - Reader suggested progressive metal act whose strengths include delicate vocal arrangements and emotional songwriting, especially prominent on the former track. The latter track shows that they can also deliver some memorable riffs as well. Theater Of Tragedy - A Distance There Is, Bacchante - Two from both periods of this doom act, whose electronic-oriented direction has been met with harsh criticism, although the latter track is quite effective. However, the former is superior with its acoustic work and emotional vocals from Liv Kristine. Magnitude 9 - End Of Time, Man On The Silver Mountain - Progressive metal project led by former shredder Rob Johnson. The latter track opens their impressive debut Chaos To Control (last year's Reality On Focus was much better), some copies of which include a bonus cover of the Rainbow classic, on which the keyboards play a heavier role than in the original. Parish - Rachel's Eyes, Dark Desire - Reader suggested melodic rock act featuring former members of Crimson Glory, both of these songs should be heard by all fans of that band, especially the latter, which sounds like it could have originated from the Transcendence sessions. Ozric Tentacles - Ayurvedism, Eternal Wheel - A pair of earlier aural soundscapes from the British progressive instrumental experimentalists, who have attracted a large cult following. Former song is an indication of their live prowess, while the latter leads off 1990's Erpland, often considered their best. Chalice - Solitary Waves, Catalepsy In Staccato Rain - Reader suggested Australian femlae fronted acts. Both of these songs are equal parts doom and progressive metal, with a dark atmosphere and some exotic influences. Both songs available at www.mp3.com Finntroll - Jaktens Tid, Skogens Hamond - This band and album has received so much attention for its unusual "polka-metal" (you read that right) stylings that I would have had to cover it eventually. The verdict: While definitely innovative and extremely catchy, the vocals annoy me. Still a band worth keeping an eye on. King Diamond - Spirits, Slippery Stairs - Again, Abigail II has been a subject of heavy debate lately, so an opinion is necessary. The album doesn't really break any new ground, and certainly doesn't capture the dark magic of the original. But one constant remains: Andy Larocque, whose solos on the latter are as sharp as ever. Kopecky - Magic Room, Bartholomew's Kite - An extremely impressive instrumental progressive metal act who has received some rave reviews, both of these songs are full of insane musicianship and well-executed time changes. Hear for yourself at www.mp3.com The Postman Syndrome - Lonely In Your Arms, Schizorabbit And The Face Parade - An mp3.com discovery, this New Jersey based technical metal act features some disturbed sections, especially in the two part latter song. Vocals alternate between clean and gratingly harsh. I'm going to try to include at least one unsigned band per week. THE PROGRESSIVE NEWS, vol. 6 Disclaimer: This is an attempt at writing a satirical news story. All events in this article are completely false. If you are offended by anything below, you are an idiot. DREAM THEATER'S JOHN MYUNG QUESTIONED ABOUT TIES TO HIJACKERS MANHATTAN - Fans of the progressive metal kingpins Dream Theater gathered last night outside Manhattan's district court on 100 Centre Street, within walking distance of Ground Zero, in what the media is calling "The Most Bizarre Trial Of The First Twenty-Fifth Of The Century.", or simply the Trial Of Tears. Dream Theater bassist John Myung, known for his reserved demeanor, motionless stage performances, and versatility on the six-string bass and Chapman stick, is being interrogated by local authorities for the shocking possibility that he may have had prior knowledge of the attacks on the World Trade Center. The FBI has already seized advance copies of the band's scheduled January 2002 release Six Degrees Of Inner Turbulence to examine possible clues concerning the attack, and already Dream Theater has experienced controversy relating to the attacks, as their live album Live Scenes From New York was originally issued with a cover depicting the NYC skyline, including the Twin Towers, engulfed in flames. "That would be an indication in itself that Dream Theater might have taken the time to have become involved in the planning of the attacks, but the fact that it was RELEASED ON THE ELEVENTH OF SEPTEMBER. Couldn't they have just tried another day? This proves that there is more than just a coincidental connection, and we believe that we have a case against Dream Theater. Perhaps the case of the new millennium. In addition, I have been told that one of the songs on this album is called About To Crash. That is either wholly insensitive to the victims of this fatal tragedy and the families scarred by its effects, or an indication that they knew how Bin Laden would implement the attacks. Worse yet, the working title of another song was Conflict At Ground Zero. This must be more than starnge deja vu!", remarked city prosecutor Jules R. Conacher. When asked why he had singled out John Myung in his case, he simply said "Anyone that quiet must be hiding something. He gives everyone the impression that he's still learning to live, but I know he's a sneaky little bastard. Those terrorist scumbags, trying to pass themselves off as different nationalities! If I had been on the plane, I would have stood up to those assholes, I'd have said "Pull me under, I'm not afraid!" Myung himself typically was the silent man in the courtroom. However, drummer Mike Portnoy got angry when called to the stand by Judge Nicholas Victor. "This is fucking bullshit! We love New York, why would we have anything to do with the Trade Center getting burned down by those fuckheads! If anyone should be on trial, it would be John (Petrucci, Dream Theater guitarist) for that awful haircut! I would like to see that prick Conacher put in a fucking glass prison!" Former Dream Theater keyboardist Kevin Moore attempted to read a statement on behalf of his former bandmates, but was refused entry to the court because he was improperly dressed in a space dye vest. Current keyboardist Jordan Rudess was busy fighting the proposed Side Project Limitation Treaty that would restrict musicians to only one outlet outside of their main bands. Myung is believed to be in an undisclosed solitary shell, believed to be located under either a glass moon or Peruvian skies, watching the Discovery Channel and trying to invent the nine-string bass. Local fan Bryan Nolan, head of a Dream Theater fan club called the Imagistic Awakening, expressed his sentiments toward the trial on his website, www.infinitememory.com. "It was hard enough getting through when they sued Elektra for trying to overcommercialize Falling Into Infinity. But this all about them, not me. But I'm sick of all these hypocrites! I mean, have they seen the fucking DVD! Even if Myung was involved with Al Qaeda, even Bin Laden couldn't have got any secrets out of him. The man is made of fucking stone, but nobody can play the bass like him! He's superhuman, and he's been misunderstood. These prosecutors are just status seekers looking for a fortune in lies. I'm looking forward to when their finally free, which I estimate will be six o'clock on a Christmas morning." A full editorial of Mr. Nolan's comemnts about the Myung investigation can be found on the section of his website called Court In A Web. At this moment, Mr. Nolan received a phone call, he immediately went to his bed, which is surrounded by images from Dream Theater's 2000 Roseland concert. "It was my girlfriend, she's calling me back to her home." Later that night, Myung was aked by reporters about Dream Theater's failure to appear at any of the recent New York benefit concerts. He looked about to say something, which caused stunned reactions from the many DT fans called in as witnesses, several of which fainted, before being interrupted by Portnoy: "It could be worse. At least our name isn't Anthrax." Upon hearing this, the court's bailiff screamed "ANTHRAX! THEY'VE DONE IT AGAIN!", prompting a massive evacuation.