Dreamgrave: Presentiment
Written by Charles Handley    Thursday, 07 May 2015 16:06    PDF Print E-mail


The latest release from Dreamgrave, Presentiment, may be their first full-length release, but you would never know that by the maze of sound woven by this five-piece Hungarian prog metal band. There is definitely something here for anyone who enjoys heavy, symphonic, expansive, ambient, dreamlike prog complexity from metal.

The use of an operatic female background vocalist, in addition to deep, old school Mikael Akerfeldt-inspired guttural male vocals, work well together in this release. This is a band that is not afraid to show their inspirations proudly, going from ELP- and Yes-inspired keyboard arrangements, to Dream Theater-like symphonic compositions, to the good old days of Opeth. There is a lot going on here and it demands more than a cursory listen or two. The band members are very good musicians, and this is clearly evident in their immense song structure and construction: everything is precise and well placed.

Although I thoroughly enjoyed this whole CD, two standouts for me would be track two, “Black Spiral,and track eight, “It’s Ubiquitous.” The first features pounding drums, technical multiple tempo changes, heavy and deep forward vocals and dreamlike background vocals. The latter features the haunting, unforgettable voice of Maria Molnar, which creates a dreamy, hypnotic ambience that is seamlessly meshed with a piano resulting in a very non-typical metal gem.

The use of the word “dreamlike” is used a lot here, and I believe the name of this band is no mistake. Upon listening to this nine-song, almost hour-long progressive metal standout, one would be hard pressed to realize this is their first studio album.


Tremonti: Cauterize
Written by Johnnie Vrana    Thursday, 07 May 2015 15:48    PDF Print E-mail

There is something deeply comforting about listening to Cauterize, the second album from Tremonti, featuring Mark Tremonti on lead vocals and guitar. Perhaps it is the thread that began 18 years ago the first time you heard Mark's guitar licks and co-lead vocals on Creed's My Own Prison. It could be the fact that the man just keeps pushing forward through the ups and downs of Creed, the slow and steady build of Alter Bridge, and the emergence of a solo project, which is not really a solo project, but a true band of musical brothers. Guitarist Eric Friedman, drummer Garrett Whitlock and bassist Wolfgang Van Halen are a force to be reckoned with, as any fan who has experienced the band live can attest to. Cauterize picks up where the brilliant debut album All I Was left off, pushing even further with the magical combination of thrash, melody, passion and heart. There are moments of fury, moments of quiet beauty and everything in between. The songs are Tremonstrous - they take you on an emotional journey, just like everything Mr. Tremonti has done throughout his career, in ways both familiar and unexpected. Quite simply, Cauterize is brilliant and flawless, which will satisfy any fan of metal and melody.

Whitesnake:The Purple Album
Written by Steve Higgs    Thursday, 07 May 2015 06:19    PDF Print E-mail

It doesn't take long to realize that David Coverdale and company are back. This is a totally solid, enjoyable album, and it is exactly the kind of release you'd expect to hear from the band that gave us some rocking classics.

From the very first song, "Burn," you have a good idea of the sound the band is going for with this album. This song is amazing and the sound is very present. I had to repeat it a few times before I could even get to the next track! The rest of the CD is made up of some great rockers, as well as a ballad or two that completes a great package.

David Coverdale sounds amazing. He can still sing quite well, and not many rock singers can compete with him, as far as I'm concerned. His voice sounds excellent, even if it does sound a bit rough in some parts, but Coverdale still has it. The ‘snakes bassist, Michael Devin, and drummer, Tommy Aldridge, are proving to be a very tight rhythmic section, which will surely make for a great live lineup. Joe Hoekstra and Reb Beach are excellent guitarists, and they prove why, once again, they do what needs to be done and then more.

It's quite simple: The more I listen to The Purple Album, the more I like it! It's still very early in 2015 to decide the best albums of the year, but I have a feeling this one will end up being in the top releases. In my opinion, The Purple Album goes for that bluesy rock sound from their earlier days back in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. It’s great to have Whitesnake back with a classic sound, but I think The Purple Album is even better. To me, this new Whitesnake album is everything the band is: dirty-blues rock and nothing complicated. But The Purple Album doesn't just merely go back to the sound of a certain era; it updates the sound to the current year.

If you've ever been a fan of Whitesnake, or simply like the band, or if you're looking to get into the band, The Purple Album is an excellent album that both fans of the band and rock music can enjoy.



Mellowtoy: Lies
Written by Lauri Lindqvist    Tuesday, 05 May 2015 07:14    PDF Print E-mail

This is melodic metalcore with an Italian touch - produced by none other than Marco Coti Zelati, bassist and songwriter of Lacuna Coil, and the influence shows, from the haunting guitar of the intro, to the anguished-clean choruses of "Lies", to the otherworldly lead guitar underlaid with churning bass in “Destroy Yourself,” and so on. There are also notes of Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger in the gritty-clean choruses of "Visions" and during several other moments on the album where the intensity drops down to hard rock levels, and even some pop-punk whoa-whoa’s in “A Letter from the Past.” Mostly, however, the songs follow the standard melodic metalcore formula of alternating harsh and heavy with clean and melodic.

Notably, Mellowtoy doesn’t compromise on either of these fronts. The screamed vocals (done by Matt Massa) are laced with as much anger as any punk band, sometimes dropping into more of a deathcore roar. In the hardcore segments, simple but heavy riffs pummel the ears. The clean vocals (done by Emiliano Camellini) are emotive, but with a gruffness that keeps the angst in check. While most of the guitar melodies, even in the big choruses, are restrained and a bit spacy in the vein of Lacuna Coil, they still provide a contrast with the more aggressive hardcore parts, just a reflective rather than bombastic one.

Contrast is the name of the game on this album, what with the mix of varying - and unadulterated - styles. “Dead Colours” actually seems to feature clean vocals from both vocalists trading lines back and forth, as well as overlapping harsh and clean vocals (something that ends up happening on most of the songs). In “Faded Promises,” a catchy pop-like vocal and guitar hook alternates with hammering riffs and punkish screaming. Guest vocalist Cristian Machado of Ill Niño adds some extra brutality to the song “Chain Reaction” with demonic screams and low growls. The contribution of Paolo Colavolpe of Destrage to “Bright New World” is less obvious; I think he does some clean vocals in the chorus, but I can’t really tell.

As a fan of Lacuna Coil, I can’t help but be drawn in by the similar feel of the guitars and vocals in the more melodic parts of this album. But I also like that the band hasn't compromised the in-your-face nature of the hardcore parts. They’re punching some much needed life back into the genre of metalcore.

10 Years: From Birth to Burial
Written by Karie Okerstrom    Saturday, 25 April 2015 08:32    PDF Print E-mail

Prog-metal veterans 10 Years are back with a vengeance. Their latest release, From Birth to Burial, is the band's seventh and possibly most anticipated release to date following the success of their last record, Minus the Machine. Alternative metal and progressive metal fans around the world will be chomping at the bit to get a hold of this one as 10 Years crosses between genres throughout the record.

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