Blog Archives

Roundtable Review: The Sun Explodes – The Calm, The Storm EP

TCTS ArtworkLabel:  Self-released

Release Date:  May 18th 2015

Songs:  5

Length: 23 minutes

Genre:  Creative progressive rock

Studio Albums: Emergence 2012, We Build Mountains 2013

Location:  Carlisle, UK

For fans of: Circa Survive, Children of Nova, Dream Theater, Tesseract

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Sonic Cathedral’s female-fronted roundup for April – Part 1/2

SC logoI’ve heard it said that Sonic Cathedral agreed to let Metal State publish a digest of their reviews because I train the Sonic Cathedral unicorns. This is untrue. Their unicorns are untrainable. It is very dangerous to stand in front of them when they are moshing. It’s also dangerous to stand in front of their unicorns.

Sonic Cathedral reviewed nine female-fronted albums during April. We’re doing a two-part digest of those reviews, including the album details and a very short summary of each review. Here are the first five. Part 2 will cover the next four.


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EP Review: Trepalium – Damballa’s Voodoo Doll

TrepaliumLocation: Poitou-Charentes, France

Genre: *Big breath…* Off-the-wall progressive jazz/swing death/thrash/groove metal

Release date: 9 February 2015

Label: Klonosphere

Previous releases: Through the Absurd (CD, 2004), The Holy Party (DVD, 2005), Alchemic Clockwork of Disorder (CD, 2006), XIII (CD, 2009), H.N.P. (CD, 2012)

Tracks: 6

Length: 24 minutes

Recommended to: Fans of Destrage, Meshuggah, Protest the Hero, Diablo Swing Orchestra

Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5

Trepalium are highly esteemed in France for their wildly eccentric and addictive style of metal. They’re not yet totally famous around the world, although four of the five members have been together since 2000 and the present members started making demos in 2002. If you’re not familiar with Trepalium but you love the most musical of experimental metal, be prepared for Damballa’s Voodoo Doll to blow you away in an orgasm of creativity. Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar

SubMasq-TheGreatBazaar-CoverLocation: New York, USA

Genre: Symphonic progressive metal

Release date: 13 January 2015

Label: Taklit Music

Previous releases: Temporary Psychotic State (EP, 2004); Suspended Animation Dreams (album, 2005); Home (EP, 2013)

Tracks: 7

Length: 39 minutes

Recommended to: Prog metal fans of Orphaned Land, Haken, Leprous, To-Mera, and Oriental and Middle Eastern metal; neo-prog rock fans of  *Frost, Blind Ego, Galahad.

Mammal’s rating: 5 out of 5

Visiting every corner of “The Great Bazaar” is an experience of unfolding wonder and amazement. Subterranean Masquerade are purveyors of musical splendour and delight. Their integration of any number of metal and prog rock styles is constantly unpredictable, varied, and jaw-droppingly delectable.

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Mystery, intrigue and inception: Michael X

I was present at the birth of my son. I was there when numerous litters of puppies and kittens were born, and when my Harpactira tarantula, Miss Piggy, kept guard over an egg sac until about 100 baby tarantulas emerged. This is the first time I’m following a music project from its beginning.

So far it is just one song, “Michael X”, from an EP, album or maybe some other type of production currently named “Michael X”. The man behind the adventure is named Michael X. All the vocals are sung and all the instruments are played by Michael X. All he has on his website so far is what you see in the YouTube video, below. He also has a Soundcloud page where you can get the song.

What I know from Michael X is that the project will be introspective and self-exploratory. His ideas for making his own music have been germinating since he was barely larger than a Harpactira. The first song of “Michael X” offers clues about the theme. The news item at the beginning is part of the song.

That is the inception. The mystery will be how the theme develops and what it’ll eventually become. The intriguing part was trying to figure out what sort of music Michael X composes and plays. Is it prog metal, heavy prog rock or art metal? I’d say it’s all of those plus prog/metal electronica. This X-man had better keep me briefed as his further work unwraps itself.

Mammal’s FREE!!! song pick: The Deadstation – Limitless, Or So It Seems

Episode 1When I reviewed The Deadstation’s debut EP last year, I asked two questions: “Where are they hiding the rest of their albums?” and: “Why aren’t there more?” I gave the EP a top rating. It’s superb prog metal.

Yesterday the band posted a Bandcamp stream of a song they’re offering to give away. You do have the option of naming your price, and I’m sure the band won’t moan if you’d like to pay something for the download. However, they want their music to reach lots of people, and giving away an excellent song is one way they’re doing this.

Check out the free download at Bandcamp. Then meet The Deadstation on Facebook. They are Shjon Thomas (guitar, bass and vocals), Ryan Mattheu (guitar) and Greg Murphy (lead vocals and drums). One of their favourite hobbies seems to be interacting with fans.


EP Stream: Major Denial – Self Titled EP

Major Denial hails from Athens, Greece and boasts a melodic progressive sound in a ballpark with Fates Warning.  In fact, they enlisted special guest Mark Zonder formerly of Fates Warning from 1988-2005 and again in 2010 to drum on these tracks.  Despite forming in 2013, their songs are reminiscent of 80s-90s progressive metal, clean, with crisp with strong vocals.  Their 4-track EP is available for streaming or downloading at Bandcamp.  Enjoy!

A Metal-Prog Interlude: VOLA – Gutter Moon

I know and love VOLA, from Denmark, for their earlier and largely unheralded music. When I first heard them in 2009 they were a progressive rock band with a strong flavour of math rock in their compositions.

The new VOLA album, “Inmazes”, features a different line-up and a much more exploratory approach. It’s a beautiful merging of prog and math rock, prog and math metal and djent. I believe this must greatly broaden VOLA’s potential fan base. From my point of view as a metal-prog hybrid, this album will be too good to miss. It should be available now.

Find out more at VOLA’s Facebook page.

“Gutter Moon” is from the new album.

For comparison, “Like The Rainbow” is the first track on the 2009 EP, “Homesick Machinery”. Both songs are deeply satisfying.


Album Review: Arcane – Known/Learned


Release Date: January 20th, 2015 on Sensory Records

Tracks: 2 discs, 16 tracks

Length: A little over 2 hours

Genre: Progressive metal

Location: Brisbane, Australia

Previous releases: Ashes 2007, Chronicles of the Waking Dream 2009

Recommended for fans of:  Pain of Salvation, Dream Theater, Caligula’s Horse, Fates Warning, Anathema

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