Ever since I first started listening to Coheed And Cambria, I have been caught. Not only with the music, but also with the fact that a guy (Claudio Sanchez) comes up with a storyline, and is able to fill a whole bunch of albums based on that. And even adding a comic to go with that. As it also is a kind of SciFi theme, there is a faint resemblance to the Star Wars Saga in terms of conceiving a story and start telling it. Yeah I am a bit of a geek.
So now the band is back with The Afterman Saga. In between getting this and writing the post, the successor has already been released, so no rest for the wicked I guess. What I don´t understand is the emo tag C&C sometimes get. To me this is progressive music with some alternative touches. Okay, some people might find it hard to get into Claudio´s voice, but I am loving this. Be it on the more explosive tracks like Mothers Of Men or Holy Wood The Cracked, or the more contemplative stuff like The Hollow, The Afterman or Substraction, I always enjoy the musicianship on offer. Good songs, good melodies and especially in the lighter stuff some chilling moments due to the beautiful arrangements.
So no doubt that new album will find it’s way into the collection as well. Great stuff as always!
Violet Sun are a new name, but main songwriter and instrumentalist Dario Grillo (guitars, vocals, synths, bass, etc.) is far from the new kid on the block. Together with (his brother?) Allesandro on drums and the talented Alexandra Amata on vocals and piano, the trio surprise with a heavy power rock album that is firmly influenced by the Progressive and Gothic scene. And again brought to us by the MelodicRockRecords label. From all the recent reviewed releases by that label, by far the most complex and heavy outfit, proving that MRR is going to delve in deep in the rock scene to bring us quality music.
And while the albums’ title might suggest that they stand alone in this, I do think Violet Sun are a welcome addition to the roster of bands operating in this field. I have said before that it is hard to write original sounding songs and that it is best to deliver quality and develop over time. Here again, an unique angle is not present.
That is not saying this is a copycat. I do think the band came up with 12 songs that are worth listening to. Melodic, complex at times, well produced with a lot of power. And the vocal interplay between Alexandra and Dario works well. The occasional classical sounding choirs add a lot of drama to the sound. Something I tend to like by the way. So if the mentioned genres tickle your interest, again something worth picking up! And you are supporting a young label as well….
Another MelodicRockRecords release and man, am I glad I got this one! Coming from out of nowhere for me, this bunch surely took me by surprise. Degreed are a five piece band consisting of Robin Ericsson on bass and vocals, Mats Ericsson on drums, Daniel Johansson and Jesper Adefelt on guitars and backing vocals and Mikael Jansson on keyboard.
To describe their music think this: progressive metal married with AOR and got some children who write damn fine catchy short tunes, but put some more technical stuff in, just because they can. And without it becoming a blur, no, they just intensify the performance!
I know, sounds kinda odd, but this was the feeling I got listening to this. Packed to the brim with energy, opener B.O.D. is a prime example of what I said before. Very melodic and rocking, yet arranged with a lot of solo keyboards that give that progressive idea. And still the song hits home hard. Actually every song here is killer. Very fresh and impressive. and I don’t know who plays those guitar solos, but I want what they have been feeding that guy. Awesome playing throughout!
So I am not going to spend more words on this, essential buy. (one small remark, next time please no black letters on a dark background…)
Vanderhoof is of course the band with Kurt Vanderhoof (Metal Church guitarist) on board. This outfit will later be named Presto Ballet (see an earlier post here). Truth be told, I don´t know much about the regular dayjob of mister Vanderhoof, but I like his side projects very much. And some more attention will not hurt.
Vanderhoof is just like Presto Ballet firmly rooted in seventies music, from both progressive and hard rock origin. Think Hammond, guitars, melodies, and songs with depth and variation. Hence the progressive tag.
The quality of the playing is without question and I would like to mention the sound of the drums, which is very natural and especially the kick drum has a lot of click in the sound which I happen to like very much.
Although I feel that Presto Ballet is even more adventurous and perhaps in some aspects better (after all, they are older and wiser now), this is still a great album that easily withstands continuous play. So look out for it and pick it up. There are 2 albums under this name, this self titled and A Blur In Time. Very worth your money and time.