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Kikagaku Moyo - Kikagaku Moyo 2013, EP
Oh what's happening, wonder why KIKAGAKU MOYO have played stuffs easy to understand.
I've got blown by their weird Kraut-ish Oriental edges when I listened to their first single for the first time. The unrefined, non-united atmospheric aggression might squeeze something comfortable into my brain. No objection to say they play acid folk with strong Kosmische initiation upon this EP indeed, but simultaneously I guess they might grab more of folksy acidity with mainstream-y tips.
Fantastic wet, foggy airsound has been created by gracious female voices (sensual, dangerous traps in a sense) based upon specific ethnic freakout psychic folksy agents launched with sitar, theremin, and deep guitars, percussive drums. Quite dreamy especially for acid folk freaks on the psychedelic ground like me. On the contrary, smooth and simple spherical sound body, that can be digested easily in general, should not satisfy Krautrock adherents enough, sad to say.
Oh yes let me say the fourth track "Lazy Stoned Monk" (what a fascinating title!) has completely reminded me eccentricity of 'real Kosmischemuzik' ... quiet but explosive underground beats based upon bubbled synth lesions / mellow guitar riffs, and weird obscurity with dark matter can be called as surrealistic Geometry methinks. Not simply lazy but powerful with strong intention to invade my mind space. This enthusiasm is what I want really.
Got unified compactly upon a part, but such a meditative wave can make us dream that we can grab more hypnotic, more mysterious, more addictive smoke agents particularly on stage. Amazing.
Tomutonttu - Hylyt 2012
This album "Hylyt", constructed with lots of samples created by Jan for a decade, and released in 2012, may notify us he's produced samples case by case and built a structural creation up dexterously with his simple theory and simple plan. Combinations with many noises and musical phrases, each of that sounds eccentric for us, can get crystallized as a fantastic dreammare. Looks like every sound has been put together in disorder but mysteriously (at least) I cannot hear any confusion via them. Some phrases are based upon well-matured mellow riffs (especially on B Side), and basically inorganic chemistry but natural mess structure would not disturb me.
His soundscape reminds me Satan Alfa Beel Atem aka Ziggy Atem indeed, but let me emphasize this, Jan’s creation consists of various unsettled elements "obviously with his strong intention" that we could not hear via Ziggy's schizophrenic messages and samples at all. We can have Tomutonttu sound-salad prepared with enormous sounds leaning towards natural beauty and inorganic dirt, and seasoned with versatile noises launching spicy, sour, bitter earache for us. Enjoy.
Jastreb - Jastreb 2012
Hailed from Zagreb (Croatia), JASTREB, a psychedelic / stoner / Krautrock obscurity, say they were founded as a destroyer agency against the earth in 13th century. Their eponymous album featuring a long jamming titled Yggdrasil has been released in the summer of 2012.
JASTREB, mystical troubadours hailing from 13th century (!), finally have discharged such a minimalistic, hypnotic, apocalyptic stoner nightmare just now. In this dark matter, the very beginning distorted noise sounds like the key bullet, that goes through our brain and shoots us away into their infernal space. Deep, insidious heavy riffs produced with soundgel by guitars, bass, and drums, can easily give us claustrophobia or something. No major key nor clear tone needed but superb minority and disastrous negative fantasy attack slowly and gradually but continually for completing our brain contusions.Yes step by step, their loud sounds and noises get louder and louder, whilst they get flooded with mind-altering maniacal status created by their own soundscape agents. Sounds like they fall into ruin suddenly at last. Why cannot we feel this 37-minute Yggdrasil fruity? Not long nor boring but enthusiastic, like a big tree.
Count Zero - Little Minds 2005
Although not as nearly as experimental as Count Zero's previous album, Robots Anonymous , this album may take a few listens to be fully appreciated. Little Minds is my personal favorite Count Zero album (I haven't listened to Affluenza as of this review) since it's the most consistant and polished of their albums. This album is also distinguished from other Count Zero albums by the steel guitar that's featured in every song (which fits the music almost perfectly.) Guitar solos don't necessarily take the stage on this album, but every instrument contributes to the music like clockwork. I must say that I love the drums on "Sail Your Ship By" (which happens to be featured as a bonus song on Guitar Hero 1.)
The closest "sound" I can describe this album is like a mix between Radiohead's OK Computer and Incubus's Make Yourself.
Chosen - Resolution 2013
After a turbulent history of transatlantic relocations, break-ups, reunions and hiatuses, the Irish extreme metal act Chosen are finally ready to released their debut full-length "Resolution". And, chances are that the album will enjoy much success among fans of the more tech/prog-oriented type of extreme metal.
While not insanely technical, Chosen's nine tracks on the album are nonetheless quite progressively oriented and definitely belong to the more sophisticated end of the extreme metal continuum. Drawing on both death metal and djent-thrash with a slight touch of metalcore and melodic death metal, "Resolution" is a rather eclectic album and may be compared to as diverse artists as Death, Atheist, In Flames, Nevermore, and Opeth. And all of this is wrapped in Meshuggah-esque grooves. Although inspirations from these and other artists may be traced throughout the album, "Resolution" stands on its own as an original work of art. A major attraction point is the Irish duo's talent for writing crushingly heavy riffs that ... -> show full review
Terminate - Ascending to Red Heavens 2013
Melodeath, you say? No, before melodeath.
Yeah, that's right. The Stockholm scene of the early 90s.
Do you remember how primitive and dirty the music was back then? The Stockholm sound was something entirely different from the more melodic and steramlined Gothenburg sound. Drawing on American acts like Obituary, Necrophagia, and Possessed, the Stockholm-based death metal band injected a good dose of crust and hardcore punk, and upped the dirty fuzz and the primitivity. This type of music is making its way back onto the metal scene, and now it has gone global!
One band that has embraced the Stockholm sound and mastered it to perfection is the American act Terminate. Their debut full-length Ascending To Red Heavens is all the proof you need. Drawing on old school death metal chaos and the brutal dirty Stockholm sound, the album is an onslaught of aggressive ... -> show full review
Victor Griffin's In-Graved - Victor Griffin's In-Graved 2013
While Pentagram and Bedemon are more on the doom side of things, In-Graved pursue more of a hard rock-driven sound, albeit one that does display some doom tendencies, as heard in the heavy bridge, of the otherwise bluesy 'Fading Flower' as well as in 'Love Song for the Dying'. Tracks like 'Digital Critic' and the classic 'Late for an Early Grave', which has figured in Victor Griffin's inventory of compositions for a while, are more uptempo, while 'Thorn in the Flesh' combines heavy grooves with folk-inspired passages. This particular track is extremely well put together.
The guitars are incredibly heavy and have a nice fuzzy edge to them, which definitely adds the doomy aspect that the album doubtlessly has. A stable element is a 70s-tinged organ (provided by none other than former Trouble drummer Jeff "Oly" Olson) which serves to add a further layer of texture in the background, and this goes well together with Griffin's bluesy voice.
With nods towards the likes of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple, and Black Sabbath, but also retaining the darkness of heavy blues and groovy Southern rock, In-Graved's debut is a very successful tour de force in dark and heavy hard rock and should appeal to fans of Pentagram, Bedemon, Trouble, Black Sabbath and Witchfinder General.
(review originally posted at metalmusicarchives.com)
My Soliloquy - The Interpreter 2013
As with other British progressive metal bands on the scene these days, My Soliloquy take their music in an alternative, more accessible, direction than the type of progressive metal metal spearheaded by the likes of Dream Theater. While definitely sophisticated and progressive, My Soliloquy focus more on songwriting than on self-indulgent instrumental masturbation, which has resulted in an album containing songs that are dynamic and kept interesting all the way through.
Featuring, after all, some of the more typical traits of progressive metal, such as a couple of odd time signatures and prominent keyboards are present on the album, but My Soliloquy also draw inspiration from outside of the universe of progressive metal, such as progressive rock and, well, you will be forgiven if the techno-intro of 'Corrosive De-Emphasis' gives you a WTF-moment.
With superb songwriting and excellent musicianship, this is definitely an enjoyable and original progressive metal album. Pete Morten's quite distinct vocal style deserves special mention. Sounding like a blend of Rob Moratti, Geoff Tates, and Peter Gabriel, it may be an acquired taste, but I think that his singing suits the music perfectly and is a major factor in the establishment of the unique sound this album has.
Fans of progressive metal should definitely check out My Soliloquy's long awaited debut album.
(review originally posted at metalmusicarchives.com)
Edge of Attack - Edge of Attack 2013
I actually love power metal which emphasizes the METAL and which is not too cheesy. A bit of cheese is okay - it's part of the genre - but when it gets too much, then it stops appealing to me.
Well, the Canadian act Edge of Attack manage to find that fine balance between the metal and the cheese, thankfully tilting more towards the metal side, but retaining the amount of cheese that makes power metal charming. Thus, their debut album is characterized by the big and catchy choruses and the epicness that define the power metal genre, and there are also a couple of neoclassicisms every now and then. So, power metal fans should absolutely adore this album.
However, the typical power metal features are accompanied by aggressive and crunchy guitar riffs, many of which have a thrashy feel to them. In addition, Edge of Attack also draw on traditional metal both in ... -> show full review
Lancer - Lancer 2013
Drawing in particular on NWoBHM, Lancer make extensive use of twin guitars on their debut album, which automatically scores them a lot of points in my book, since I am a sucker for twin guitar leads. With its use of classic metal chord progressions, galloping bass lines, and at times soaring vocals, there definitely seems to be a heavy Iron Maiden influence on the album, without Lancer being a bunch of copycats.
That being said, there is another dimension to Lancer's debut album, which is grounded in early European power metal (that is, before it became silly and cheesy). Specifically the chorus lines have the same epic and catchy feel to them as heard in Euro power metal, many of the vocal deliveries being, melody-wise, reminiscent of the two Kiske-fronted "Seven Keys" classics. Moreoever, several tracks have that typical Euro power metal energy - just check out 'Young and Alive', 'Dreamchasers', and 'Mr. Starlight', now that's how I like my Euro power metal.
Lancer's debut, with its traditional metal and early Euro-power metal aesthetics should appeal to both fans of classic metal and power metal fans who prefer the early kind of cheese-free power metal.
(review originally posted at metalmusicarchives.com)
Cradle of Filth - Midnight In The Labyrinth 2012, Compilation
I just regret a few things: no "Bathory Aria" (maybe it was too long or already orchestrated enough in the original version), a pointless second disc (instrumental versions of tracks from the first disc that were already 80% instrumental), and only one new song (Goetia - clearly the worst of everything on the disc).
For sure, after listening to this record and checking the original versions, unless you're a hardcore black metal fan, you will find them quite horrible.
Neal Morse - Momentum 2012
Momentum consists of five relatively short songs and one 33-minute epic ("World Without End"). The album opens with the title track "Momentum." I consider this to be high-quality pop/prog as it showcases an engaging upbeat melody and a blistering guitar solo from guest artist Paul Gilbert.
"Thoughts, Part 5" is next. This may just be the best song on the album and is very reminiscent of King Crimson's "Red," but with Gentle Giant-like vocal harmonies. After the heavy guitar riffs and vocal acrobats, the song ends with an instrumental jam with some really nice playing from both Portnoy and George.
"Smoke and Mirrors" follows and is a gorgeous piece very unique to what you might normally expect from Morse. I consider this to be the best ballad he has ever written and feel that it fits very nicely on this album.
"Weathering Sky" is the fourth track and while catchy and hard-driving, this is probably my least favorite song on the album. Neal says on the "Making of" DVD which is included with the Special Edition that he doesn't know what "weathering sky" means, but he liked the sound of it. While I find that mildly humorous, I personally prefer lyrics with meaning over lyrics that have none. I will discuss this a bit more later in this review.
"Freak" is next and is another slower song that I would consider to be "prog-lite." It has a catchy bridge that leads into a dynamic modulation giving the song a nice dramatic finish.
"World ... -> show full review
Top Prog LPs of 2013