What 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.
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.
Posted by atleastimhousebroken
Label: Mortal Music
Release Date: March 11th, 2014
Genre: Prog Metal
Studio Albums: Earth
Label: Scarlet Records
Release Date: 21 January 2014
Songs: 8 Length: 55:40
Genre: Progressive/Experimental/Post metal
Studio Albums: Ordinary Days, 2008
Location: Toulouse, France
For fans of: The Ocean, ISIS, Nami, Tool, Katatonia
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: https://www.facebook.com/StructuralDisorder
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.
Release Date: 11 November 2013
Genre: Progressive metal
Studio Albums: This is their debut album
“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:
A 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.
#4 The songwriting and lyrics
The biggest part of my musical heart belongs to progressive metal, mainly because I like the complex and diverse nature of the music, the excellent songwriting, carefully thought out lyrics and lengthy tracks. The best thing is when bands compose concept albums that are one long, consecutive song, like TesseracT’s ‘Concealing Fate’ and Uneven Structure’s ‘Februus’. Another example of good songwriting and lyrics:
Gojira – Pain Is A Master
#3 Emotional Vocals
A vocalist with a powerful and versatile voice is very often present in the music I like the most. I’ve realized it’s a very important component; instrumental music doesn’t interest me much at all. I love a sincere, emotional voice with a good range that can perform many different styles like Daniel Tompkins (Skyharbor), Ilkka Viitasalo (Benea Reach), ICS Vortex (Borknagar) Daniel de Jongh (Textures)
Skyharbor – Catharsis
“Eclectic” is a useful word. You can write it to make people think you’re very clever or very pretentious. In a musical context, however, everyone should know that “eclectic” simply means “deriving ideas, style or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.”
That’s what the eight-member Austrian band Circle of Illusion is. Eclectic. So much so, in fact, that you could include their debut album, “Jeremias”, in a music trivia quiz – how many different genres do these guys play?
If there is a blanket genre for this band, it can be no more precise than “prog”. Under that blanket you’ll find all sorts of warm and comforting prog metal, symphonic prog, funky jazz, symphonic metal, neo-classical prog, theatrical composition, and even echoes of the 1980s disco-esque funk-jazz of bands like Shakatak. Read the rest of this entry →