Blog Archives

Reggie’s Top 15 Albums of 2014


Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklersThis year I had the pleasure of reviewing over 150 albums; some on my own, but most with my Metal State partners on our RoundTable review forum.  Despite being a great year in metal I only awarded five albums a best 5 out of 5 rating; four of them made my Top 15.  Those four bands are Revocation, Behemoth, Arch Enemy, Ghost Brigade, and Insomnium.  Arch Enemy did not make my list.  I guess you could say it’s one of those reviews I wish I could go back and change…same thing I said about Khaos Legions.  Arch Enemy has that kind of effect on me; come on strong and then fizzle a little bit.  I still like the album a lot and think it’s better than their last two albums.  All things considered in metal they didn’t make my Top 15 this year.

My average score for 2014 was a 3.7; perhaps a little on the high side on a 5-point scale, but it is worth mentioning that I gave up reviewing albums I seriously do not like.  For me it became a waste of time and energy talking about something I truly found dissatisfying.  My lowest rating, a 1.5, went to four bands; Ceremonial, Dodsferd, Heresiarch, and Shroud of the Heretic.  Sorry guys, your music is probably appreciated in some metal circles just not mine.

Over the last two years, a progressive metal/rock band topped my end-of-year list.  Sleepers Awake last year and Rush the year before that.  Machine Head made my #1 back in 2011 and are on my list this year, but not at #1.  Another thing worth noting is that seven bands on my list this year I heard for the first time ever.   They will have a * symbol next to their band name and album.  Another band that made my list this year was part of an article I wrote some years back called “Bands I Should Like, But Do Not.”  Click here to see the article and the band I have since grown a fondness for.  Lastly, four bands on my list this year are repeat offenders since I started doing lists in 2011.  You already know about Machine Head.  Who are the other three?  One of them is my #1 album.

2014 was a great year in metal in my humble opinion.  There seemed to be way too many releases to keep up with even for the four of us.  Based on what we experienced this year I think you will see a lesser amount of reviews on Metal State in 2015 (at least from me) and hopefully more original content and discussion pieces.  Enough chatter; here is my best in metal for 2015. Enjoy!

15.  Scar Symmetry – The Singularity (Phase I – Neohumanity)* (favorite song; Neohuman)

Scar-Symmetry-The-Singularity-Phase-I-–-Neohumanity

 Reading up on the history of the band a little, I can see why long-time fans are at odds with the latest release from Scar Symmetry.  I, however, am a first time listener and coming in from the outside, I find this odd mix of extreme styles interesting.  I mean, it’s like Def Leppard meets death metal.  It’s quirky and melodic and at other times so damn heavy. Other times it’s a little of both.  I am cool with concept ideas for an album or a plan that is going to span multiple albums, but that has nothing to do with why the album is on my list.  It’s different, than most things you hear out there.  And, for that fresh appeal to my senses it makes my list.  Read the rest of this entry

Song of the Week – While We Sleep


An album that screams awesomeness, “Shadows of the Dying Sun” was released earlier this year and is still ringing in my years.  End of year list contender?  I think so!  ‘While We Sleep’ was the first single accompanied by this cool video.  For those that haven’t heard the album yet, this is one of the more tame songs.  For a dose of exquisite blast beats check out ‘Black Heart Rebellion.”  It is sure to knock your socks off.  Overall, an outstanding album.  Click here to check out the review back on 1 May.  Have a great week.

Metal Meets Yoga


cropped-mudra-sans-faceIn the last couple of months I picked up this thing called yoga.  You might have heard of it.  That thing where you do strength and flexibility poses and it’s supposed to make you strong, limber, and cleansed in the mind and body.  Ask a yogi and they will probably give you a more philosophical answer to what yoga does for a body.  In layman’s terms, all I can tell you is that I feel freakin’ good when it’s over.  I am getting more flexible and stress-free and that’s kind of important at my ripe old age of 40.  I attribute my progress specifically to my twice-weekly sessions.  See, only twice a week and I have come so far.  Who says they don’t have time for this?  Anyway.  When it’s over, I feel like all I need is a shower and a bed – I feel so relaxed.  Something must be working and I found that I am starting to “need” these yoga sessions twice a week.  It’s kind of addicting. Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Insomnium – Shadows of the Dying Sun


75579_insomnium_shadows_of_the_dying_sunAlbum:  Shadows of the Dying Sun

Songs:  11

Length:  63 Minutes

Record Label:  Century Media

Release Date:  29 April 2014

Style: Melodic Death Metal

Home:  Finland

Discography:  In the Halls of Awaiting (2002); since the Day it All Came Down (2004); Above the Weeping World (2006); Across the Dark (2009); One for Sorrow (2011). Read the rest of this entry

EP Review: Insomnium – Ephemeral


downloadI am a little late to the Insomnium game.  My first taste was during the release of One For Sorrow and as a result of that album, they cemented themselves as a band of interest in my life.  I then went back one album and enjoyed that too.  I still have others on my list of albums to buy and will get to them soon I hope.  I also had a cool opportunity to meet them and see them live a couple of years ago.  Needless to say, when a new EP presented itself to me (or the world I should say), two things went through my mind.  First, where the hell did this come from and second, why just an EP?  I can’t say I am complaining, but I am a little bit because I was looking forward to a full-length release.  However, if there is one thing I learned in my life is patience and I am sure the full-length studio album will follow.  Based on my minimal research, there will be an album in 2014.  So, we wait, but for now we can enjoy four new tracks; three of which are instrumental.

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Album Reviews: Taketh – Ignorance Is Strength and Noumena – Death Walks With Me


a1775136158_10Taketh – Ignorance Is Strength

Taketh is a Swedish melodic death metal band and this is their second full length album. It contains ten tracks of typical sounding melo death, with growling vocals, melodic choruses and middle paced songs. The songs are well written and well performed and although the lyrics are a bit simple and too cliché, it still works out okay. After a couple of listens it gets a bit repetitive, both the music and the vocals don’t have much variation to them and some riffs seem a bit overused. I like the guitar solos and the more screamy, powerful vocals that appear at times. More of that and a little more diversity and maybe it could have been a more than average release. The last song is titled “Mind Numbing Crap” and makes me suspect the band isn’t overly serious about this release and when I hear it ends with someone saying “Oh well, shut up” in Swedish, I smile to myself and think my suspicions were probably right. But I hope Taketh are having fun when creating music, which is all that matters in the end!

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Reggie’s (Plantera7’s) Favorite Videos of 2012


FilmAfter looking at my top 10 favorite videos of the year, I can imagine I missed out on so many cool videos.  Since seeking out videos on YouTube is pretty much my only avenue for visually stimulating music, I miss out on quite a bit due to lack of time.  If the could only be extended a couple more hours…

The other best avenue for checking out cool videos is through you readers, bloggers, and friends on facebook or other blog sites and I thank you for opening my eyes each year to so many awesome bands.   Below is a list of videos I thought were cool enough to make my top 10 for 2012.  I will keep my commentary short and let the videos do the talking because that’s what they are supposed to do.  And if you watch these videos and understand the meaning behind the music, then the video served its purpose.  I do have one exception and I will explain that one when I get to it at #5.

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Concert Review: Paradise Lost


Nick/Paradise Lost

Paradise Lost graced the Waterfront in Norwich, Norfolk, on 30 April 2012.  I had the fortunate experience of being there, center stage, to watch the veterans of gothic doom perform a wide range of their discography to the loud, albeit sparse Monday night crowd.   This concert review is coming from a different angle this time around.  Instead of reviewing the show from a distance as a spectator, my review is based on the experience.  Not only did I get to meet Paradise Lost, I also got to meet the Finnish support act, Insomnium – double bonus!  This is more than just a show review…it’s my awesome VIP experience with veteran doom masters.

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Video(s) of the Week – Honesty In Death & Regain The Fire


This week’s video of the week is a double dose of doom and gloom. I mean that in a good way. In the near future I will have the pleasure of seeing Paradise Lost with special guest Insomnium. It just so happens, both bands released new videos and you can wrap up your week with them here. The double feature is Paradise Lost, Honesty in Death, from their forthcoming album Tragic Idol and Insomnium, Regain the Fire, from their current release One for Sorrow.

I am new to Finland’s Insomnium; I really like their blend of death metal and doom. One For Sorrow is the first album I bought from them and it has had regular play on my music playing devices. I think their appearance on the upcoming Paradise Lost will provide a harder edge compared to the more slow/doom that Paradise Lost has mastered over the years. This is Insomnium’s latest video. Enjoy!

Tragic Idol is the new album from the U.K.’s Paradise Lost. Fans will be graced with its presence in April; just around the corner. Honesty in Death is their new video, another visually stimulating depiction to follow-up the more disturbing Faith Divides Us video from their album Faith Divides Us, Death Unites Us. Based on this video, it appears Paradise Lost is continuing with their trend toward the more heavy-doom style they started with many full-moons ago. I am definitely looking forward to the new album. Have a great weekend.

Song(s) of the Week – Paradise Lost & Insomnium (Tour News for UK)


Today’s song of the week is double-bill of bands I just found out are coming to a club near me – Norwich, England, at the end of April.  Paradise Lost is headlining a UK tour with Finland’s Insomnium.  This is promising to be an intimate night of gloom and doom; up close and personal with two bands I have never seen before.  Below (page 2) are the dates for those living in the UK and also two songs for this week.

Check the next page for UK tour dates!

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