Blog Archives

Roundtable Review: Between the Madness by VanGough

a0236553750_2Label:  Nightmare Records

Release Date:  Out Now

Songs:   12

Genre:  Prog

Studio Albums:  This is their 5th release

Location:  Oklahoma, USA Read the rest of this entry

Streams of the Week: Metazoa and Dwellings by Cormorant

band_logoI know I haven’t held back my love for the Californian prog metal band Cormorant ’round these parts.  So it should also be no surprise that I’m well-hyped for the release of their 3rd full length album, Earth Diver, next week.  In preparation for the new album, I decided to give their past material a good listen to better hear how they evolve into the new record.  I popped them in last week and pretty much nothing else has found its way into my ears since, especially the album Metazoa.

When I first heard Cormorant it was right around the time the hype machine was promoing their 2nd full length Dwellings and I instantly fell in love with the album.  From the heady lyrics to endlessly engaging musical compositions it has become an album I listen to more than regularly and has been aging more than well, getting better with each listen.  Unfortunately, while I still owned Metazoa, I never gave it the attention I gave Dwellings and therefore was never really firmly grasped by just how freaking outstanding it is.  Revisiting it in a more lucid state has allowed me appreciate how terrific and unique it is.

Compared to Dwellings, Metazoa has a folkier, more aquatic feel compared to the raw and earthen sensation I get from the former.  Tracks like ‘Uneasy Lie the Head’ bleed that battle feeling I get while listening to bands like Moonsorrow and strong melodies heard on tracks like ‘Blood on the Cornfields’ have an almost Iron Maiden goes death metal touch to them.  Seriously every track on the record is diverse and filled with power and passion.  And the same could be said about Dwellings from the horror it weaves with the retelling of a genocide (based on a true story) in ‘Junta’ or the terror of being lost in outerspace on the tune ‘Unearthly Dreamings’ (which at the same time paints a picture of beauty and wonder).

Pretty much, if you dig on prog metal bands like Opeth and want something in the same vein that is wholly original I behoove you to dig into Cormorant.  If you find yourself digging on these albums, you should totally get them (they are ‘pay what you want’ so free if you are really strapped for cash, but I highly recommend the physical CDs as the art and packaging are outstanding and well above par for your average CD release) and pre-order the new one so it’s ready to go next Tuesday.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!!

Full album stream: Leading Light – Protect the Sinner

Leading LightWhat a pleasure when the debut album from a new, young band puts a twist on several genres you love, produces a splendidly varied and polished set of songs, and sounds as relaxed and professional as any fully established band with a long discography to its name.

From those opening words, you’d be correct in assuming I want to hear much more from these Swedish guys in the future. What do they play — metalcore? Melodic metal? Prog metal? Djent? All of those styles, I’d say, in a package of very original compositions.

Rasmus Weström has a top-class voice, delivering dark and clean vocals, and he is also one of the guitarists. Johan Gustafsson on bass, Simon Östergren behind the drums and Axel Wennerberg, lead guitar, complete the line-up of excellent musos.

Video of the Week: Vanden Plas – Vision 3hree – Godmaker

Vanden Plas has been one of my favourite prog metal bands for many years. They’ve been around since 1985 but haven’t pumped out a huge volume of albums, preferring quality and perfection to quantity. Their eighth full album, Chronicles of the Immortals – Netherworld (Path 1), was released a week ago. Judging by the album preview and this song, it’s going to be just as good as their previous work. To me, that makes it an almost certain inclusion in my Top Albums of 2014.

They play what might be called old-school prog metal, the sort you’d expect from Symphony X, Queensrÿche or Dream Theater. Perhaps the band that sounds most like Vanden Plas is another of my favourite prog metal outfits, Kamelot.

One of the most magnetic elements of Vanden Plas is the unique voice of Andy Kuntz. There is an almost theatrical timbre in his voice that sets him apart.



Roundtable Review: Universe by Monsterworks

Universe StarchildLabel: Mortal Music

Release Date: March 11th, 2014

Songs: 7

Genre: Prog Metal

Studio Albums: Earth

Location: U.K.

Read the rest of this entry

Stream of the Week: Structural Disorder

It may be just as well I’m merely posting a stream of The Edge of Sanity, the album released this week by these magicians from Sweden. I don’t think the processor on my computer holds enough numbers for the score I would want to give this album if I was reviewing it right now. The band’s hugely inventive, varied and musical prog metal has totally blown me away. This is the type of modern prog metal that slides its way into my category of “As good as it gets”. Haken and Leprosy, you have serious competition.

Meet the band on Facebook:

To add this splendid release to your digital collection, find it on Amazon, iTunes, CD Baby, Spotify or through the band’s FB page. The physical CD should be available in a week or two.

And hey! Record companies! Structural Disorder are unsigned. Grab them while you can.

Roundtable Album Review: Chronos Zero – A Prelude Into Emptiness: The Tears Path – Chapter Alpha

Chronos ZeroLabel: Scarlet Records / Bakerteam Records

Release Date:  11 November 2013

Songs:  10

Length: 1:03:12

Genre: Progressive metal

Studio Albums: This is their debut album

Location: Italy 

Read the rest of this entry

Song Of The Week: Brutai – Never Change (free download)

This place is always empty
This place is always hard to breathe in
And it will never change
These moments lived without concern
To take our lies when will they learn”

The London-based band Brutai (review of their EP here) released a new single last week and it’s certainly worth a couple of minutes of your time. They have that special something in their groovy music, that I can’t put my finger on, but it makes me come back for more. Maybe it’s the interesting twists in the songs, the tone in the vocalist’s voice, the underlying melodies or just how they implement great variation into a single song. ‘Never Change’ is a track that reveals more and more things every time you listen to it and I’m pretty sure it won’t take long before you’re hooked on this band as well. Enjoy!

Stream and Free Download:

Mik’s Top 100 Favourite Albums of All Time #20-16

Top100A while ago, at the same time as Matt and Reggie, I posted my Top 100 All Time Favourite (Metal) Albums over at the forum The History of Metal on FB. It took a good amount of time and effort to put it together, but it was so much fun! My taste in metal is always changing, so the list will not always look the same. In fact, it’s already a bit different than it was when I first put it together and posted it on the forum seven months ago.

I tried to limit myself to three albums per band to make the list a little more diverse and interesting. I don’t really consider the ‘test of time’-factor when selecting what albums that will go on my list, instead I measure it by how strongly the album has affected me emotionally and how much/often it has helped me through both good and bad phases in my life. That’s why you can find quite a few newer releases among my favourites too.


#20 Ihsahn – angL

I might be considered strange who prefer Ihsahn’s solo albums over his work in Emperor. But who cares, right? By now you all know I’m a sucker for a strong, unique singing voice and Ihsahn is one of a kind. His style of blackened progressive metal includes amazing riffs, dark melodies, relaxing bass lines, vicious screams and thoughtful, poetic lyrics. Like an all-in-one-package. Perfect.

Read the rest of this entry