Fifty years into their career and Birmingham hard rockers Magnum are still pumping out the hits on this, their twenty-second full length studio release. Aside from a five-year period during the nineties when the band was put on hiatus, Magnum has been rocking for longer than some of us have been alive, churning out album after quality album like clockwork every two to three years.
Not content to just let the sludgy boi/spooky girl pairings have all the fun with multi-artist collaborations in Doom, A Story Of Darkness And Light (Stickman Records)features the coming together of Elder and Kadavar as Eldovar (I don’t know where that ‘o’ comes from either). The two groups certainly make for interesting bedfellows; while both are arguably rooted in Seventies Rock traditions, Elder has evolved to Heavy Prog splendor while Kadavar largely subsists on off-the-cuff Stoner Blues. However, their shared interest in various genre experiments as well as established track records of high quality material gives plenty of fertile ground for such a union.
One thing became crystal clear very quickly after listening to MØL’s most recent effort, Diorama: this band can do it all. They’ve devised eight elegant tracks to prove just that, frankly leaving fans wanting more. Listed as “Post-Black Metal/Shoegaze” on the Metal Archives, these Danes dabble in Progressive Rock, Black Metal, Melodic Death Metal and even a snippet of Pop Punk. Another appealing aspect of MØL’s Nuclear Blast debut is the apparent influences vocalist Kim Song Sternkopf takes from fellow Scandinavians Dark Tranquillity and Omnium Gatherum. There is even a whiff of Parkway Drive.
After two years of releasing the amazing album Pitfalls (Inside Out Music), the Norwegian Progressive Metal band Leprous comes back with an equally strong effort on their new album Aphelion (Inside Out Music). This is the kind of album that is released in what seems to be perfect timing, particularly for those who are going through some type of mental health issue. The quintet brings a variable set of songs that can capture both the passion and dexterity of the band in what seems to be a great year for Progressive Metal/Rock music.
When every superlative known to man has already been used a hundred times over, it’s difficult to find something to say about Iron Maiden that hasn’t already been said. Every lyric, song, album and music video has been rated and evaluated to within an inch of its life. Business dealings and interviews are scrutinized in microscopic detail, and the minutiae of every record cover examined and dissected like a hairy art project. The moment anything regarding the band is released, the global hive mind that is Maiden’s information-hungry fan base not only know about it but have already expressed their opinion.
It is quite outstanding when we sit down to realize how human nature can easily adapt (for better or worst) to its surroundings and environment. Particular historic examples in the music industry like the shift of the typical major label model, to music piracy, to streamings platform era, and some more social events, like a pandemic, are some of the major challenges that musicians have had to deal with through history. How some musicians have been able to, somehow, stay on their feet and continue to deliver quality products to their fans it’s simply remarkable. Some bands have been able to release some formidable production, and an example of this is Tesseract’s latest livestream event P O R T A L S (Kscope Records), released in December 2020. Continue reading →
Like the previous installment, the third chapter in Ripple Music’s Turned to Stone series is framed as a challenge between two contenders for Stoner Doom supremacy. But while Chapter II saw Howling Giant and Sergeant Thunderhoof put forth their competition as a battle of wits between mythic swordsmen, Chapter III is the culmination of an ongoing meme war between Merlin and Wizzerd. It also operates on a similar template as each band is given a full epic track to put their best foot forward.
Everyone’s perspective of what they enjoy while watching a live performance is subjective. Some like to have that big splash of energy being thrown at them, others simply like to watch a well-played performance by their favorite musicians. In rare cases, you get to have both moods in the same set, particularly when we talk about instrumental music and that is precisely what The Aristocrats bring in their latest live album Freeze! Live in Europe 2020. The trio composed of Marco Minnemann on drums, Guthrie Govan on guitars, and Bryan Beller on bass released a live album that showcases perfectly what is “The Aristocrats live experience” is. The combination of comical glimpses in their jamming sessions, lots of musical influences, and the extreme dexterity of each of the musicians in their instruments is the order of the day in their live performances and you can listen to all of this in this album.
It’s been twenty-two years since Liquid Tension Experiment, the Progressive Metal supergroup formed by Mike Portnoy (Transatlantic, The Winery Dogs) John Petrucci (Dream Theater), Jordan Rudess (Dream Theater), and Tony Levin (King Crimson), released a record after their critically acclaimed album Liquid Tension 2 (Magna Carta). In this new album entitled LT3 (InsideOut Music) these musicians prove once again why they are part of the biggest bands in the genre and why they are considered to be among the best in their respective instruments and their craft.
Every album that Moonspell releases explores a different facet of their Gothic Metal style, sometimes responding to the one before it in a constant tug-o-war between darkness and light. Their thirteenth album, Hermitage (Napalm Records), is no exception. In contrast to the grandiose symphonics of 2018’s 1755, the band opts for a scaled-back, atmospheric approach with more Prog influence thrown in than usual. It seems to invoke the band’s early vibe without going full throwback and also reminds me of Tiamat or Opeth in spots.