And so attention turns to the Ghost Cult Top 20. The albums of the year, as voted (democratically) for by the writers, crew, contributors, alumni and just cool as fuck people that make up the establishment here at Castle Ghost Cult.Continue reading
2017 will be seen as a monumental year for both Arjen Anthony Lucassen and for Ayreon; the band and its fanatical fan base. Significantly it will mark the first live performances by Ayreon (and a very rare live appearance by the infamously shy and reclusive Lucassen), but also sees a brand new album that revisits the conceptual narrative of one of the band’s most beloved albums, 01011001 (InsideOut). Showing a return to the sci-fi storyline of said album, The Source (Mascot) in fact acts as a prequel piece, and is the most refined and strongest album they have released for some time.Continue reading
Nova Collective offer quite a dream meeting of minds in the world of Prog, and have been a hugely anticipated entity since their inception reveal a couple of years ago. Helmed by Between The Buried & Me bassist Dan Briggs and Haken guitarist Richard Henshall, the instrumental project was formed out of Briggs’ admiration for Haken’s then creative apex The Mountain (InsideOut), which (long story short), culminated in the sharing of musical ideas between the two and an eventual collaboration. Continue reading
When it comes to so-called progressive metal, far too many bands are too willing to tread easy territory and ape their peers. Very few under this umbrella actually seek to be original and stand out. Even fewer still actually boggle the mind on first listen nowadays. Step forward A Sense Of Gravity. Continue reading
Monster Energy Carolina Rebellion has been confirmed for May 6, 7 and 8, 2016 at Rock City Campgrounds at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, NC. Confirmed acts so far include:
Five Finger Death Punch
A Day To Remember
3 Doors Down
Bring Me The Horizon
Lamb Of God
Bullet For My Valentine
Between The Buried & Me
Black Stone Cherry
Escape The Fate
August Burns Red
Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown
New Years Day
Thousand Foot Krutch
Red Sun Rising
Texas Hippie Coalition
Hands Like Houses
The Glorious Sons
From Ashes To New
To some, jazz and metal may seem like odd bedfellows, but over time the paths of jazz and a variety of heavy music styles have crossed on numerous occasions in varying ways. Plenty of bands have cited the likes of Mahavishnu Orchestra and Miles Davis as an influence whilst acts from the likes of King Crimson to contemporary artists as diverse as Between The Buried & Me, Meshuggah, Trioscapes and The Contortionist have shown signs of its inspiration and aesthetic. Very few extreme metal acts however have shown as bold and overt a marriage as France’s Trepalium have over the years.
Over a number of albums Trepalium have taken Jazz’s most stereotypical musical traits and instrumentation and intertwined with a gnarly but accessible breed of death metal, creating a mind-jarring but infectious hybrid; and their latest EP, the recently re-titled Damballa’s Voodoo Doll (Klonosphere), is their strongest and most fully-realized effort to date. The jazz elements come across as very cartoonish rather than as avant-garde unpredictability but this is clearly the desired effect. EP opener ‘Moonshine Limbo’ encapsulates this with the introduction of what appears to be a bar fight in a classic Western style bar, with broken glass and piano before a chorus of trumpets signals its eruption to the current day.
Both sides of the coin take center stage at different points rather than messily fighting for attention. The title track for example shows the band’s jazz side taking time out on the bench, whilst on the likes of ‘Possessed By The Nightlife’ it is given room to really flourish. Taking these two musical styles as standalone parts, neither are revolutionary takes in themselves, while the vocals are a tad one dimensional in tone. Altogether, though, this delivers a unique and, most importantly, fun combination.
Of course for some this may seem like a gimmick, and yes it is very tongue in cheek at times, but here Trepalium have fine-tuned their vision and given their strongest, most immediate and enjoyable release to date. A strong reminder of both extreme metal’s (and jazz’s) knack for experimentation and of both genre’s ever crossing roads.