Some people don’t like surprises – they prefer things predictable, just so. But what would life be without surprises? I was surprised, for instance, when my good friend Ajax recited the closing lines of The Great Gatsby, at 4 AM, after a vat of cocktails (sours, rickeys, alexanders, the lot).
Sons Of Apollo, the prog-Metal supergroup which includes former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force)-just shared their first single and video from their new album MMXX (pronounced: 20/20). Watch Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian discuss the clip in a new video below. MMXX produced by The Del Fuvio Brothers (Portnoy and Sherinian), MMXX will be released on the 17th January 2020 via InsideOutMusic/Sony as a standard CD package, Limited Edition 2 CD package (which includes instrumental mixes and a cappella excerpts), 2 LP + CD package, and on all digital formats. The album is the followup o the acclaimed debut Psychotic Symphony, one of the rare albums Ghost Cult gave a 10 / 10 grade to. Continue reading
Sons Of Apollo, the prog-Metal supergroup which includes former Dream Theater members Mike Portnoy and Derek Sherinian, Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal (ex-Guns N’ Roses), Billy Sheehan (The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, David Lee Roth) and Jeff Scott Soto (ex-Journey, ex-Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force)-will release their second studio album in 2020, appropriately titled, MMXX (pronounced: 20/20). Produced by The Del Fuvio Brothers (Portnoy and Sherinian), MMXX will be released on the 17th January 2020 via InsideOutMusic/Sony as a standard CD package, Limited Edition 2 CD package (which includes instrumental mixes and a cappella excerpts), 2 LP + CD package, and on all digital formats. The album is the followup o the acclaimed debut Psychotic Symphony, one of the rare albums Ghost Cult gave a 10 / 10 grade to. Check out the video for the first single, the Vicente Cordero-directed clip for, ‘Goodbye Divinity’ right now! Continue reading
Bloodstock Open Air has made their first headliner announcement for their grand 2020 anniversary festival, naming Devin Townsend to headline Friday Night on the Ronnie James Dio stage. Devin breaks the news in a video you can watch below. Other bands announced are Jinjer, Gloryhammer, joining previously announced acts Skindred, Black Dahlia Murder, Vio-Lence, Sacred Reich, Dark Tranquillity, and Butcher Babies. Two more headliners and scores more bands to be announced until next summer. Continue reading
Devin Townsend can be a difficult guy to nail down musically. Whether it’s coffee-themed prog-metal concept albums, stadium rock or Strapping Young Lad levels of brutality, there are few styles the man hasn’t touched upon. And now he can add Country music to his repertoire.
The man’s latest album, released under the Casualties of Cool moniker with Ché Aimee Dorval, is the result of a massively successful campaign on Pledge Music. The success of the campaign is testament to the Canadian oddball’s enduring popularity as even in the bio he explicitly states, “It’s not a metal album, nor is it meant to be a statement about my interest in metal…This is something different.”
It’s rarely worth looking at Devin’s solo work in any sort of grand context; previous Devin Townsend Project albums were all radically different from each other, and the bombast of 2012’s uplifting Epicloud was as different to them as it is to this. But there are traces of Ki‘s minimalist songwriting and Ghost’s (all HevyDevy/InsideOut) almost ambient mood music to be found here.
Casualties of Cool opens with ‘Daddy’, a dark country tune, and from there we’re taken on a quiet acoustic journey. Everything is very understated; some parts are quietly uplifting, some more eerily haunting, and the whole thing is full of ambient atmosphere. Dorval (previously heard on the DTP’s Ki) and her deep, smokey voice takes centre stage for most of the album, with Devin providing backup.
With the exception of the epic ‘The Bridge’, it’s hard to pick out any standout songs. They flow into one another quietly without any big fanfare. Whether it’s the jazzy saxophone of to ‘Moon’ or the dark melancholy of ‘The Field’, the quality rarely drops but the quiet, introspective nature means CoC requires multiple listens. What may be little more than ambient whispers on the first or second listen can turn out to be actually a worthwhile bit of music.
It doesn’t have the same kind of highs of previous albums, but Casualties of Cool is an intriguing experiment from a man who excels in making left-field music. Go in expecting massive a prog-metal exercise will only lead to disappointment, but having an open mind will result in a rewarding if largely uneventful experience.
This is the the new project masterminded by producer, guitarist and vocalist John Mitchell (It Bites, Frost*, Arena).
Mitchell had this to say about the first full track to be released from the album:
“God vs Man, the human race seeks to control and overcome everything it comes into contact with. Just because science and progress says we can doesn’t mean we should”.
A teaser for the album was also recently launched and you can find that here.
Backed by the storming rhythm section of Nick Beggs on bass and Craig Blundell on drums, the album also sees guest appearances from Peter Cox (Go West), Nik Kershaw, Steve Hogarth (Marillion), Heather Findlay, Kim Seviour (Touchstone), Jem Godfrey (Frost*) as well as narration provided by British actor Lee Ingleby (Master & Commander, Harry Potter).
John Mitchell had this to say about the project:
“I’d long thought about doing an album where I could have total control from start to finish with the music, lyrics, production, and choosing who I wanted to contribute – expanding from the idea of just a solo album. Musically, this album is very proggy, but more about atmosphere than technical expertise, inspired by my love of science fiction and interest in the evolution of the human race.”
The track-listing for the album is as follows:
God Vs. Man
The Boy In The Radio
Why Do We Stay?
A Godless Sea
Are We Copies?
The Red Balloon
On what may be the coldest night ever experienced in a jammed pack Worcester Palladium, the Abstract Reality Tour was able to heat up Massachusetts on an early December night. From the moment opening band, Monuments, hit the stage until security was trying to clear the floor after The Devin Townsend Project, the energy in the venue did not dwindle. The Abstract Reality Tour consisted of Monuments, Animals As Leaders, and The Devin Townsend Project. Some might say that three bands was not enough for this tour, but I beg to differ. Personally, I have seen both Animals As Leaders and HeavyDevy’s solo band a multitude of times but I always hope for longer set lists and this was a perfect set up for that. To start the night off, however, I was able to see a band I had never seen or even listened to before.
Monuments was a band I had always heard great things about (especially after their recent tour with Scale the Summit) but never really gave the time and attention to them. Well, I am proud to say that I was happily surprised. The best way I could explain the sound of Monuments to someone who does not know them, think of an early djent band such as Tesseract or Textures, but with vocals that were very similar to that of Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust fame. Monuments did a great job with the time they had in trying to push their newest release that came out this year, entitled The Amanuensis (Century Media). The Worcester crowd got a total of six songs in this short opener slot where four were from the new album and two from the first release, Gnosis. There was one track, which unfortunately the title has escaped my mind, where lead singer, Chris Barretto, actually picked up a saxophone and played a very melodic, but appropriate, intro and then picks it back up halfway through for a solo that was truly ground shaking in the metal world.
Up next were co-headliners, arguably one of the biggest instrumental heavy bands out there today, Animals As Leaders. Lead by virtuoso guitarist, Tosin Abasi, the progressive threesome played a slew of songs off all 3 albums. Obviously with a new release out this year (The Joy of Motion (Sumerian) I would expect a heavy list of newer tracks. AAL actually did a fantastic job of playing a good mix of new versus old with six off the new album and seven off of previous releases (five off the Self-Titled, two off Weightless). Oh and for the few concerned fans out there, yes, they closed with CAFO again. Complete with a mind bending video/light show in the background, I tend to lose track of where band members are and just lose myself in the visuals in front of me and the music all around. Each and every time I am truly happy with this band and their live performance. The only burning question in the back of my mind over this band: How in the Hell do these kids mosh to this?
Finally it was time for the main event. The man behind DTP and everyone’s favorite coffee drinking alien, Ziltoid, was hitting the Palladium stage, ready for another comedic and awkward live performance. Again, coming into this show with a brand new double disk release (one for Ziltoid, one for DTP) most expected a list with mostly new tracks. Just like their co-headliners in Animals As Leader, The Devin Townsend Project did a great job mixing between old and new with exactly six old versus six new. To juggle up the set even more, the Worcester fans were treated to some old classics such as the opener, ‘Regulator’, ‘Bad Devil’, and ‘War’. New tracks were also a fair split, four from Dark Matters which is the Ziltoid disk and three from Sky Blue, the DTP disk. March of the Poozers, Z2, and Ziltoid Goes Home were some of the tracks from the Ziltoid disk while ‘Rejoice’ and ‘Midnight Sun’ were a couple off of the DTP release. For the bigger fans of Ziltoid than that of the DTP music, you can be happy knowing that most of the corny dialogue and narrator as found on the recording were used as samples throughout the ZIltoid songs. Personally I loved watching the poozer walkers march on the screens during, you guessed it, ‘March of the Poozers’. Also, ‘Ziltoid Goes Home’ may be one of the most epic songs I have ever seen Devin play live. Of course I am always open to a possible live performance of ‘Deadhead’… wink wink Devin. One of the best moments, even if it was the end of the night, was where Devin did not want to leave the stage and go outside into the cold so after playing Grace, he made the crowd pretend they left the stage, let us chant for another song for a minute or so, then Devin pretended to make his way back to the stage. At this point, Devin introduced the encore/last song of the night which was the rewritten version of ‘Kingdom’ as found on Epicloud which may be one of the greatest songs he’s written, even if it took twice to get it to where he wanted it.
Overall, another great show at the Worcester Palladium. Three great progressive bands with very different sounds and messages played to their fans for what was a very energetic night. It is safe to say that most shows a fan could attend would end up being described as “brutal” or maybe even a simple “great.”
Animals As Leaders
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
The Safety Fire shared an acoustic version of “Wise Hands,” which can be viewed here. The song will be available on all digital platforms including iTunes & Spotify from the 16th December 2014. They are also currently writing their third studio album, due in 2015 via Inside Out Music.
The band commented:
“Growing up with bands like Soundgarden, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam during the era of MTV-unplugged, we have always had a fondness for acoustic interpretations and versions of songs. This was something we just did for fun but were really happy with how it turned out. With the music being stripped back we felt the video was a fitting portrayal.”
The band also recently announced they would be replacing The Faceless as main support on the imminent European dates with Protest The Hero. Find the full list of dates below:
Nov 14: Conne Island – Leipzig, Germany
Nov 15: Pod Lampou – Plzen, Czech Republic
Nov 16: Bi Nuu – Berlin, Germany
Nov 18: John Dee – Oslo, Norway
Nov 19: Sticky Fingers – Gothenburg, Sweden
Nov 20: Voxhall – Århus C, Denmark
Nov 21: Poppodium Atak – Enschede, Netherlands
Nov 22: Essigfabrik – Cologne, Germany
Nov 24: Trix – Antwerpen, Belgium
Nov 25: Mo’ Club – Southampton, UK
Nov 26: Manchester Academy 2 – Manchester, UK
Nov 28: Voodoo Lounge – Dublin, Ireland
Nov 29: The Limelight 2 – Belfast, UK
Nov 30: Slade Rooms – Wolverhampton, UK
Dec 01: Studio 24 – Edinburgh, UK
Dec 02 Koko – London, UK
Dec 04: Le Trabendo – Paris, France
Dec 05 Substage – Karlsruhe, Germany
Dec 06: Live Forum – Milano, Italy
Dec 07: Traffic Club – Roma, Italy
Dec 08: Backstage Halle – Munich, Germany
Dec 09: Arena Wien – Bezirk Landstrasse, Austria
Dec 10: L’Usine – Geneva, Switzerland
Dec 12: Gaswerk Kulturzentrum – Winterthur, Switzerland
Dec 13: Warmaudio – Decines, France
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Swedish progressive rockers Beardfish will be releasing their forthcoming eighth studio album +4626-COMFORTZONE on January 27, 2015 via Inside Out Music.
The band commented on the new album:
“The comfort zone is the invisible protective suit of negative thinking, almost like an entity of itself. It’s been with you since birth: your parents and your teachers and your friends and your neighbours all teaching you the way the world works – this is how it is and will be and there’s nothing you can do about it. The negative vibe is like a voice living inside of you, a companion through life. With time you start to like that voice and the place it takes you to: your comfort zone. I’m so sick and tired of it and I want to address it and maybe in that way start to work my way out of it”
The full track-listing for the album is as follows:
1. The One Inside Part 1 – Noise In The Background
2. Hold On
3. Comfort Zone
4. Can You See Me Now
6. The One Inside Part 2 – My Companion Throughout Life
7. Daughter Whore
8. Ode To The Rock ‘N’ Roller
9. If We Must Be Apart (A Love Story Continued)
10. The One Inside Part 3 – Relief
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