Albums
Periphery- Juggernaut: Alpha/Omega
Written by Mike Rocha    Tuesday, 20 January 2015 17:40    PDF Print E-mail

Always pushing the envelope for evolving in progressive rock, Periphery has delivered once again on this double album.   Alpha/Omega has every song delicately precision to where they all seamlessly flow together, to tell a really thought provoking story.  The production is at its best.  The entire guitar works sounds amazing and gels in so well with intrisicate bass and drum playing. Every song paints a picture of emotion, and one minute can be very beautiful, and the next very aggressive, but never losing focus.   Spencer Sotelo delivers some of his best vocals.  He knows just how to hit that high note, at the correct time and properly segue into showcasing the current emotion of the song.  Alpha/Omega is truly the culmination of the entire band’s previous work combined into what the album is titled…a Juggernaut!  The band really showcases its talent on the songs “The Scourge,” “Rainbow Gravity” and “Priestess.”  Periphery has definitely not lost their stride, and show that they’ll last the test of time and be a staple for a long time to come.

 
Voices Of Destiny- Crisis Cult
Written by Lauri Lindqvist    Tuesday, 20 January 2015 18:04    PDF Print E-mail

With so many female-fronted gothic-symphonic metal bands out there these days, it's easy to get lost in the sea of “beauty and the beast” vocals and soaring symphonics over crunchy riffs. At first listen, Germany's Voices of Destiny is just another band in the throng. Their third album "Crisis Cult," which will be out on January 20, is a solid and enjoyable effort, with adequate soprano vocals (by new vocalist Ada Flechtner), standard heavy riffs and the requisite moments of soaring epicness. What makes this album stand out is epicness of another kind, though - the storytelling kind. It's a concept album with an overarching story arc, and I can't wait to get my hands on the lyrics so I can understand the story more fully. Some of the songs stand out as especially dramatic. "The Easy Prey" tells of a bloody spectacle evoking the Hunger Games or gladiator combat. My favorite line in the song perfectly captures our morbid fascination with such brutal games: "You can't even bear to look, while you're dying to see what's next, who's next." A backing choir adds extra epicness and tragedy to this song. A few songs later, "21 Heroes" is not just a tale of heroes, but of reluctant, perhaps even failed heroes. The drama of the song is enhanced by some strident spoken parts and hammering riffs that further the story. It's followed by "At The Edge," a song featuring the operatic vocals of Manuella Kraller (ex-Xandria), which builds from a soft beginning to epic heights. "The Great Hunt" is another very dramatic song that uses symphonics to their full epic effect before plunging into furious riffs. It's one of the most epic and headbangable songs on the album. The song ends with a speech delivered in a mockingly villainous male voice, which neatly encapsulates the ideas that the entire album riffs on: "...this world is as merciless as it gets, where the strong take on the weak, just like wolves feeding on sheep. If you want to live you have win, for if you lose you will die. But how can you win unless you fight? Fight or flight – that’s the decision every single one of us has to make. So what will it be - are you a sheep or a wolf?" There’s no easy answer, as the dramatic tale of the album shows. But at least there is still something new in female-fronted gothic-symphonic metal.

 
AC/DC- Rock Or Bust
Written by Micael McGeehan    Tuesday, 20 January 2015 18:12    PDF Print E-mail

Spanning forty years, the rock gods known as AC/DC released their 15th studio album titled "Rock Or Bust" on Columbia Records late November and the latter of the title name pretty much sums up my review of the album and here's why. Now don't get me wrong, I am a huge AC/DC fan from way back, but the departure of founding guitarist Malcolm Young is definitely missing from this release at first listen. And second listen. And third listen. Most AC/DC fans know what to expect on a AC/DC album and yes, I am one of those fans, but I kept listening to this release hoping it would grow on me but this would not be the case. Other than the title track "Rock or Bust", the other ten songs on here are pretty much fillers to get an album out in my opinion. Yes, it did well on the Billboard charts and I expected that. "Ballbreaker" also did well in 1995 reaching number four. Quick--Name a song off that album. Exactly. Same thing here boys and girls. I'm not saying to not go and get this because you will need it to complete your AC/DC collection and yes, this just might be the last album. But be forewarned here. It's not their best work, but it is nice to hear new AC/DC, even without Malcolm.

 
Devin Townsend: Z2
Written by Mike Rocha    Thursday, 11 December 2014 15:13    PDF Print E-mail

It’s hard to argue and say that Devin Townsend isn’t one of the hardest working musicians in the last 20 years.  After all, from all of his work from Strapping Young Lad, to all of his solo efforts and now, his latest solo effort “Z2.”  Townsend combines all the elements from all of his solo projects and combines them into this unique album that showcases all the best of his heavy and melodic influences.  The first disc of this disc album really hits that pop metal sound that Townsend has created as his own and a frequent collaborator of Townsend’s by the name of Anneke Van Giersbergen lends her vocal prowess to majority of the songs.  With her voice melding with Townsend’s, the two create some very powerful songs albeit not as strong as their previous effort “Addicted,” but still strong nonetheless.    The second disc is a follow up to Townsend’s amazing 2007 effort “Ziltoid the Omniscient.”  It follows suit of how its predecessor was with really crushing guitar riffs followed by a humorous concept story involving the takeover of the human race.  You’ll be humored by many references such as “poozers” and “fooled you poopy pants.”  The second disc feels like a hilarious rock opera melded perfectly with sci-fi elements and wonderful guitar work that can perhaps one day be turned into a true sci-fi rock opera.  This double album may not be Townsend’s strongest work but it definitely showcases his creativity and humorous side of sci-fi and rock.

 
Mors Principium Est: Dawn Of The 5th Era
Written by Lauri Lindqvist    Thursday, 11 December 2014 15:03    PDF Print E-mail

It's been a good year for melodic death metal. Not only have legends At The Gates returned to the scene, but we've had strong releases from the next generation - the latest example being Finland’s Mors Principium Est. Since their debut album released in 2003, they’ve made good use of the furious pace of classic At The Gates while also bringing in a touch of Finnish melodic style – epic and a little melancholy. Their fifth album, “Dawn of the Fifth Era,” features new guitarist Kevin Verlay, the latest in a long history of line-up changes that nonetheless seems not have harmed the band’s sound in the least. “Dawn of the Fifth Era” is full of headbang-worthy songs, but some standout tracks include "We Are The Sleep," with its furious barrages of guitar during the verses and expansive sweeping choruses; "Monster in Me," which effectively creates the sense of madness with swirling symphonics adding to the frenetic sound of the breakneck guitars; and "Wrath of Indra," in which hammering guitars, racing vocals and speedy melodies, alternating with epic choruses, depict the struggles of a mythic hero. “Apricity,” a dreamy track including piano and synth, provides a short lull; otherwise the album is ten solid tracks of fast, harsh and melodic goodness. If you love melodic death metal and want to break your neck trying to keep up with it, this is the album for you.

 
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