ALBUM REVIEW: Stake – Love, Death and Decay


 

The concepts and the all too real, bleak experiences of mental hardships and loss of loved ones will be well known to many people and additionally to many people we know. For Stake, these have been the fuel for the band since their inception (previously under the Steak Number Eight moniker), a vehicle for vocalist/guitarist Brent Vanneste’s grief and anxiety.

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ALBUM REVIEW: A-Z – A-Z


From the opening strains of guitar riffage, I feel like I’ve been transported back to my teenage years (the eighties / early nineties). Then I’m like, is that a cowbell? Surely not? But ZOMG, I’m having flashbacks. The hair. The jeans. My Samik bass. By two minutes in, I’m singing the refrain from ‘Trial By Fire’. This is an instant in the feelings. Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Ed Wynne – Tumbling Through The Floativerse


Ed Wynne is best known as the founder and only consistent member of Ozric Tentacles. An emblematic group within the nineties hippy revival scene who have continued to endure, the Ozrics fuse instrumental prog rock with psychedelic dance music. I discovered them in the early 2000s at a time when I was starting to seek out a more diverse listening experience encompassing more than just the seventies hard rock I had, by then, already grown somewhat tired of, and they served as a bridge into the multifaceted world of electronic music.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Greylotus – Dawnfall


Trying to crack the shell that is Greylotus is like the struggle of explaining the inner workings of the Holy Roman Empire in three sentences.Continue reading


ALBUM REVIEW: Porcupine Tree – Closure – Continuation


“Progressive rock” is a term that can encompass a wide variety of sounds. At one point or another in their 35-year history, Porcupine Tree — the brainchild of Steven Wilson — have probably touched upon most of these. Having put out several albums of electronica-infused psychedelic space rock since their formation in 1987, the band reached a peak of critical and commercial success in the 2000s with the metal-influenced experimental songcraft exemplified by In Absentia and Fear of a Blank Planet. By the start of 2011, however, Porcupine Tree appeared to be no more, with Wilson announcing a hiatus to focus on his solo career; he stated as recently as 2018 that getting the band back together “would seem like a terribly backward step”.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Coheed & Cambria – Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind


After a brief hiatus from the overarching conceptual narrative that their previous catalogue followed, 2018’s Vaxis- Act 1: Unheavenly Creatures saw Coheed & Cambria make a welcome return to The Armory Wars saga, commencing a new tale within the narrative, one to be told across a five-album span. A span that follows the titular and, currently, little-known character Vaxis, who at the point of Act 1 is unborn but an almost guiding hand to his parents Nia (Sister Spider) and Nostrand (Creature) in their escape. A welcome return with glorious results which means anticipation is rife again for the follow-up as the narrative continues on Vaxis II: A Window Of The Waking Mind (Roadrunner). Where Act 1 largely comprised of deceptively sprawling songs and hit a near eighty-minute mark, Vaxis II’s repertoire is generally more succinct with songs around the three-to-four-minute mark. Arguably a more commercial-friendly effort, that thought belies the still present depth within even shorter songs and the areas of innovation throughout which still feels unmistakably in character for the band, despite clear differences to its predecessor.

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ALBUM REVIEW: James LaBrie – Beautiful Shade of Grey


Having amassed a discography of over twenty albums as the lead vocalist (of which this is the fifth solely under his own name), and nearly two dozen guest appearances across a thirty year professional recording career, you could have forgiven James LaBrie for taking some overdue and well-earned time off when the 2020 Dream Theater world tour was halted. Instead, he and Eden’s Curse (whose Trinity album was adorned by his distinctive a glorious pipes) guitarist Paul Logue began trading the musical ideas that would grow into Beautiful Shade of Gray (InsideOut Music).

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ALBUM REVIEW: Voivod – Synchro Anarchy


Thrash. Post-Thrash. Punk. Speed. Sci-Fi. Industrial. Proto-Industrial. Avant Garde. Space. Alternative. Progressive. Nuclear. Some quite frankly preposterously named musical genres and subgenres, but into all of which Canadian act Voivod has been unwillingly pigeon-holed over the years. Having firmly refused to be anchored to any one particular style, the band has actually become a little more settled of late, their current approach now reined all the way back to just including all of the above and a small handful of others.

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EP REVIEW: He Was A God – The Smile and The Scar


Hailing from Southern Connecticut, Progressive Metal band He Was A God, recently unleashed their three song EP The Smile & The Scar. A first for this band, however, they are not new to the scene. Chris Densky (Genitorturers, Deadstar Assembly, Adva), Tony Pellino (Transfixed Movement, Adva), Dan Perrone (Adva, Odessa) and Ray Zvovushe (King Sexy, Adva) have been making music together since grade school. The addition of vocalist Ben Curns completed their lineup and He Was A God was formed.

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ALBUM REVIEW: Dream Theater – A View From The Top Of The World


The fifteenth studio album from prog legends Dream Theater finds the Bostonian act with nothing left to prove but still in the form of their lives. At a mighty seventy minutes in length yet featuring a mere seven tracks, A View From the Top of The World (InsideOut Music) explores and probes new ideas while reinventing the past with gleeful abandon. Complex compositions which could seem forced, unwieldy or contrived in the hands of others, Dream Theater pulls off with unerring and enviable ease.

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