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Seven Year Storm - Aion I 2015, EP
Sean Lang, the main man of Seven Year Storm, Sean Lang, is a freelance drummer and drumming instructor who had been composing a lot of material for his own amusement which was never meant to be released. However, some of his friends liked it and suggested that he release it. And, voila, after a successful Indigogo campain, "Aion I" sees the light of day.
We are dealing with instrumental progressive metal here which, despite what one might expect, is not at all drum-centric. Granted, there are plenty of rhythmically challenging parts, and Sean Lang definitely gets to show off his chops, but the guitar is given just as much room, and the listener is treated to several impressive and shreddy guitar leads. Combining atmospheric keyboards and djenty rhythms, and adding a slight touch of jazz rock and loads of melody, this EP should definitely appeal to fans of modern progressive music. And those who do not like djent ned not worry. This is not a djent EP. It's a progressive metal EP that features a couple of djent elements among many other elements.
Needless to say, the musicianship and songwriting is top notch, and the production is also extremely professional for a self-released EP. The production nicely allows for the sweeping layers of sound to shine through in a balanced and harmonic way.
I definitely hope to hear more from Lang in the future. "Aion I" should appeal to fans of Animals As Leaders, Chimp Spanner, and Planet X.
(Review orginally posted on metalmusicarchives.com)
Silent Voices - Reveal The Change 2013
Anyway, if "Reveal the Change" is progressive metal, then it is perhaps best described as progressive metal lite - or maybe just very accessible progressive metal. "Reveal the Change" is largely characterized by straightforward riffage and catchy vocal melodies. There are plenty of elements from more traditional heavy metal and hard rock, as well as some more stuff. I do not really detect a lot of power metal on this album ther than a cople of scattered power metal aesthetics every now and then. There are not that many quirks, twists and turns.
I would not say reject the "progressive" tag, however, for a number of reasons. If we ignore the very last track, it may take a couple of listens, but then the listener will probably realize that the progressive nature of this album lies in the details. Firstly, the use of keyboards is definitely akin to what ... -> show full review
Knight Area - Hyperdrive 2014
The new heavy Knight Area is underlined by the hard rocking opening riff of 'Afraid of the Dark'. After an epic power ballad in the form 'The Lost World' with its power chords, Queen-like background vocals, and "Trick of the Tail"-inspired bridge, 'Bubble' kicks into a couple of heavy and groovy riffs. This track also features a bridge with a retro keyboard solo on top of an old school heavy metal passage. After another ballad in the form of 'This Day' (which, strangely, reminds me of the obscure Danish 80s prog band Zaragon), the listener is treated to a heavy and groovy tune in the form of 'Crimson Skies'. Slower, but also more melodic, is 'Avenue of Broken Dreams', which also features some quite aggressive riff-bursts in the transition between the verse and the chorus. 'Living in Confusion' takes a more AOR hard rock path, combining this with influences from ... -> show full review
Mekong Delta - In a Mirror Darkly 2014
On their latest album, "In A Mirror Darkly", they remind us of their excellence over the course of eight tight, yet totally mind-boggling, tracks (on some versions of the release, the two first tracks are conflated into one).
After a mellow, classically oriented introduction, the listener is treated to a challenging instrumental in the form of "Ouverture" and its relentless onslaught of notes, beats, and harmonies. In typical Mekong Delta fashion, the following track 'Armageddon Machine" offers a flurry of riffs and parts, all delivered in the same onslaught manner, with Martin LeMar's vocals floating on top of the instrumentation. 'The Silver in Gods Eye' is a slightly more amorphous affair, which also has a bit of a symphonic feel to ... -> show full review
Ashent - Flaws of Elation 2006
Having listened to the reissue of "Flaws of Elation", I now understand the dark prog power metal label. One "Flaws of Elation", Ashent draw much more extensively on dark power metal, and their guitars a crunchy and the riffs heavy, yet challenging (there are even some elements from extreme metal every now and then). While not as experimental in terms of texture as "Inheritance" is, "Flaw of Elation" still feature some nice textures primarily provided by the keyboards.
Now, "Flaws of Elation" is at heart very melodic, and there are plenty of guitar melodies, and also some nice guitar harmonies which seem to build on the foundation laid by Fates Warning on "Perfect Symmetry". Sophisticated and ... -> show full review
Ashent - Inheritance 2012
Striking is, first of all, the massive crunch of the guitars and how this suits both the melodic harmonies and rhythmic ambiguities that abound on this fine album. The music is technically advanced, to be sure, but comes across inviting and accessible. The drumming is organic an full of fills and, while not overtly show offy, definitely not stuff that is easy to pull off. The bass has a nice broad and round sound, at times taking an almost lead-like position, but always providing the glue that holds the many textures on this album together. On the lead side, both keyboard solos and guitar solos reflect technically skilled musicians who know how to perform leads that showcase their skills without stealing the stage from the rest of the instrumentation.
I do not know if this type of ... -> show full review
Anubis Gate - Horizons 2014
While I think that the previous three albums are slightly stronger than this one in some respects, there are some new elements on "Horizons" - probably adopted by the band as a consequence of the inspirations brought by the two new members - which I think enrich Anubis Gate's already interesting style of music. Firstly, I think that "Horizons" is musically the most varied album by the Danish band, as it explores both melodic pathways and heavier grooves. The rhythm guitar has become slightly more aggressive, which I appreciate, while the use of keyboards has become more prominent, which works very well here. Morten Gade Sørensen's drumming is both considerably technical and dynamic, yet also potent.
'Destined to Remember', which listeners might already be familiar with because an alternate version appeared in the ... -> show full review
Comment by Mike 6 months ago
Threshold - For The Journey 2014
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