Maybe you have that also sometimes; there is so much going on in a record, you kinda get lost listening to it. This is what happened to me when I started playing this disk. These 7 musicians (2 keyboard players and 2 guitar players!) fire away constantly making this a hard album to get into.
But after several spins it grows on ya. After all this is melodic metal with a lot of progressive twists. Despite all the notes fired at the listeners, this is a very enjoyable affair once you get used to it. And from that point on you start hearing the melodies. Without doubt a very competent band, that maybe should consider the adagio less is more. But then again, there is a market for this I am sure. And understand me well, these guys know what they are doing!
So for all you tech freaks out there, pick this one up. If you prefer more instant melodic music, this may be a little heavy weight. I think this will continue to grow on me.
Personal play tips (subject to change): Dark Mind, Catch 22, Supernova.
Don´t know about you, but when I read about a band who gets seriously hyped I almost always get suspicious. But then again, if you don´t give them a try, you will never know, right?
So when the opportunity presented itself, I bought Anno Domini High Definition by Polish band Riverside. So the first question to answer is, is it any good?
I can honestly say I think it is. Especially music wise this is a very convincing album that speaks loudly of its qualities. This is somewhere between symphonic rock and progressive metal, with some unexpected twists added. Think of brass (really! and it works) and some more modern sounds (sequences). It rocks where it needs to, the guys know what they are doing, know how to write a good tune, can lock into a groove and how to spice it all up with clever arrangements.
The only 2 things I feel leave room for improvement are the lead vocals and the length of the album. I think 44 minutes is rather short and as far as the vocals go, they are in no way bad, but fairly clean. I would love to hear Jorn Lande or Steve Hogarth doing this. I know, 2 very different types, but both are able to add an extra dimension to a song.
That said, these remarks are obviously minor. This is top notch without doubt. If you haven´t checked them out yet, do it, you will not be disappointed!
Personal play tips: hey there are 5 songs on this record…
Looking back on my posts I noticed a lot of symphonic and progressive albums. Must be a phase I am in. Naah not really, I love that stuff.
So another one of those is this band with the quirky name Beardfish. Likely a concious effort to resemble Spocks Beard? This I sometimes noticed in the songs, though they are surely not a copycat. The start of the album is very promising, with a lot of Hammond organ. Reminded me of another great band from the same part of the world I reviewed earlier: Magic Pie. But as the album progressed (pun intended) the differences became more clearer.
It is obvious that these guys are very competent. They add a slight jazz feel to their songs. Not only on chord progressions and moods, but also through their choice of weapons. Harpsichord anyone? The music is at times mainly instrumental with a lot going on, and at times it is melodic with typical symphonic use of organ, mellotron etc.. As a whole this is less rock as the earlier mentioned Magic Pie. Nevertheless, this is convincing material. And according to the “law of symphonics”, they do not shy away from creating lengthy material…
Only criticism I have is the use of certain words. We have a saying that translates to something like ” they don´t need to do that”. Meaning they have enough quality to show for and don´t need to shock the listeners. Now is shock a too big word, but I hope you get my point. But maybe I get it after reading the lyrics.
Personal play tips: Awaken The Sleeping, Destined Solitaire, The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Off.
Recently I read a news item somewhere that these guys where offering their album for free. So I visited their website and asked for it.
I got it pretty quick, and recently started playing it. Before hand you always wonder with a stunt like this, will it be worth the while. And to cut a long story short, it is! Though this band may not have reached the top in the prog metal field, I think this is a quality release and any serious fan should get him or herself acquainted to this band. It is simply an offer you can´t refuse! I won´t elaborate on that as this is up for grabs. Figure it out yourself. I will just repeat that you won´t be disappointed… Support them!
Despite the cast of known characters (David Ragsdale and Damian Wilson to name a few), I am sorry to say it did not convince me like I expected. Maybe my expectations just were to high, or I should give it a few more spins. It´s not bad mind you, but it just didn´t stick. Some really good progressive ideas though, so time will tell.
Soil, Scars, 2001
Holy smoke, these guys take no prisoners. Labelled as nu metal, but I totally like their songs. The band show a lot of attitude. It grooves and kicks ass from start to finish. This just plainly rocks hard, yet stays melodic. Highly recommended for any rock lover.
Hinder, Extreme Behavior, 2005
This band got labelled as post grunge alternative, but to me that is just wrong. This is (hard)rock with a modern twist. The album shows depth in the song writing department, so don´t let the parental advisory sticker tell you otherwise. Very diverse, great and hard rocking record. And still enough light and dark to keep it interested. My only complaint is it´s length. A few songs more would be nice gentlemen…
Just recently I discovered this band, and so far every new addition to my collection has proved a pleasant experience. So how will this one fare?
The album starts off with the title track, and already they take no prisoners. Very convincing delivery and great use of light and dark. The singer may not have the greatest reach, or be able to put a little rough edge on his voice, he still hits all the notes. And he´s supported by a lot of backing vocals without it all sounding too smooth.
I especially like the guitars and keyboard parts. Together they create a lot of dynamics, thus making this a fresh sounding album. Hey, and a band that puts an organ to great use really can´t go wrong or ? 😉 The band is also not afraid to use subtle arrangements with piano and vocal. Of course a heavy guitar riff is never far away, after all this still is metal. Production wise they are not afraid to use more modern influences (processed drums / loops). And the best thing about that is they do it seemingly effortless. To conclude, give this a chance, I promise you won´t be disappointed!
Personal play tips: The Quiet Offspring, A Place For Me, The Everlasting Moment.
Together with the McVicar record (bought it for the utterly fantastic songs Without Your Love and McVicar) I got this one. Just because I read somewhere it was a really rocking record.
And is it? In a eighties AOR kinda way, yes it is. Songs are penned by several legends in the genre (including Who band mate Pete Townsend) and played by some big studio names. And with all that class writing and playing, together with Roger´s still forceful voice you can´t really go wrong now can you? And adventurous in places as well. The title track being a prime example of that (more drums anyone?).
So it actually proved a pleasant listen. Maybe a little light for my normal taste (at the time that is) but nevertheless worthwhile. It seems there is a 2008 reissue, but this is the original I bought second hand.
Personal play tips: After The Fire, Fallen Angel, Under A Raging Moon.
The first records I bought from these guys. But if this is anything to go by, certainly not their last. Good band, good songs. It rocks, it keeps your attention. May sound a little after Nickelback, but I like them as well. You won´t be disappointed if you give it a try!
Jane´s Addiction – Ritual De Lo Habitual, 1990.
Supposed to be a classic so I gave it a try. I can´t really say it is a classic. I do think it is unique! Very distinctive own sound. A lot of groove and yeah, it rocks. The uniqueness has a lot to do with the vocals. Needs repeated play.
Rage Against the Machine, Same, 1992.
I remember hearing this after it came out. Only a few songs stuck at the time. But playing it again now reveals it is actually better now than I thought then. Of course the singles are easy, but a lot of other stuff popped up. So if you think highly of massive grooves and the exceptional fretwork of Tom Morello, get it if you don´t already own it.
Uriah Heep, High And Mighty, 2004 Remaster.
Being somewhat of a completist, I was happy to find this for a reasonable price. And being totally unaware of the controversy surrounding it, I listened with a fresh ear. Afterwards I read the booklet and understood why this sounds less than a Heep records compared to most I already owned. So in a way I understand the dispute. Nevertheless, though not your typical rocking Heep record, this does have it´s moments. And the story behind it is intriguing. Not for starters, but after all worth the money.
Due to the controversy surrounding this band I never paid much attention to them. Lately I heard their single I Believe In A Thing Called Love again and convinced myself to check them out. If only to see what the fuzz was all about.
Having listened to this, I must admit this is far better than I anticipated. Sure, Hawkins isn´t behaving like the regular rock singer with his falsetto here and there. But hey, I like Queen a lot and think Freddy is one of the best singers ever, so why not.
And I have to admit, this actually rocks! It may not be the most original material, but it´s got attitude, it´s got melody, it´s got balls and it grabs your attention from the second you press play, so how can this be bad. And with a guy wearing a Thin Lizzy T-shirt on a photo in the booklet, there´s at least one dude knowing good music 😛 . Some lyrics are also very funny, so when I get the chance, I will get their other album as well. (they did make 2 did they?)
So I suggest that everyone who likes rock should at least give it a try. Don´t let the controversy make you believe otherwise!
Personal play tips: Black Shuck, I Believe In A Thing Called Love, Stuck In A Rut.
Wow, talking about a trip down memory lane… This album I originally bought on LP (for the young ones, think of that as a very large CD, often in a black colour, that you could play on both sides on a thing called pick-up (don´t ask) ). I always thought that from that period, Beat was the better record, but boy it was sure nice hearing these tracks again.
On this 2004 30th Anniversary addition (yeah, that long ago…) there are 6 bonus tracks. Or actually 4, as Sleepless gets a remix round from Tony Levin, Bob Clearmountain and an, ehrm Dance version…. Not sure I am all to keen on that one… The first bonus track, The King Crimson Barber Shop is hilarious however. Just vocals, but magnificent.
But back to the songs. Of course for KC adepts nothing new here. Soundscapes and songs. Very accomplished musicians. Most surprising to me however was that I still know all these tunes by heart. The impact must have been greater on me than I realized at the time. Of course the classic ending of Dig Me (” dig me, but don´t bury me” ) still sounded as strong as ever. And the aforementioned Sleepless is a great song no matter what remix you put it through.
But if you don´t know King Crimson, is this the album to start with? Mmhm, I don´t know. I guess the début (In the Court Of The Crimson King), Discipline, or Beat would be more obvious choices. But if you are willing to take a chance and want to discover this great band, give it a try. There´s a chance you will be hooked forever…