Blog Archives

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.

Read the rest of this entry

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


10730134_10152586018969011_6598355277326325895_n

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

Read the rest of this entry

Various progressive metal releases to get excited about in 2015


zNWeCrR

This is only a small selection of the best upcoming progressive rock/metal releases, some that have already been announced and others from bands who are working on new material.

*It’s been almost four years since the last Symphony X and now it’s time for their ninth work of art to reach our ears. The band says they are going back to their older sound, a mix of previous albums “The Odyssey” and “Paradise Lost” (those are not very old…), less heavy,  more melodic and classic sounding. Interesting! It’s set for an early 2015 release. Listen to older Symphony X.

—-

*A couple of days ago I read a claim that “Australian prog will take over the world”, and felt there’s hope for a bright future after all! Arcane are contributing to this cause, after a successful crowd funding campaign, with their ambitious 2-disc concept album “Known/Learned”, fronted by Caligula’s Horse’s brilliant vocalist Jim Grey. The songs are divided on two discs – the first one being on the heavy, traditional side of prog and the second goes into lighter acoustic/folk songs. A deep, thoughtful story of a father and his daughter on a bittersweet journey through life. Release date: January 20th.

Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Soen – Tellurian


soen-tellurian-7113“I will fight the system, break it down and redesign it, I don’t want anything the way it’s created by them. Where is my right to choose, if all the options are theirs?

Release Date: November 4th 2014 on Spinefarm Records

Tracks: 9

Length: 53 minutes

Genre:  Atmospheric progressive metal

Previous releases: Cognitive 2012

Location: Sweden/US

Recommended for fans of:  Opeth, Leprous, Rishloo, Riverside, Karnivool

Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2013, #5 – #1


MetalCatAnd so we reach the final countdown in my personal 21-year journey through metal. If you all promise to behave nicely, I promise not to post that song by Europe.

It’s been a good ride. Thinking back to the first time I heard Sabbath, metal has given me a wonderful ride for more than 40 years.

What’s really beautiful about metal – to me, at least – is that it keeps growing bigger, more diverse and better. I greatly look forward to continuing the journey until my brain atrophies again, as it did a couple of years ago when it turned into a fossil like the rest of me.

 

Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2013, #10 – #6


MetalCatI haven’t referred to my list of top albums of 2013 that I posted on Metal State at the end of last year. I don’t need to because I know it’s markedly different to my current sets of year-by-year hit parades. This series has featured my favourite songs, not albums. It hasn’t included non-metal, whereas my top albums list did.

I set another condition for myself at the start of this exercise, which has been a wonderfully enjoyable game. To spread the pleasure among the artists who’ve given me so much pleasure over the years, I chose only one song per year per artist. There too I’ve been arbitrary at times. There are albums so good that just about any song would be a contender for top song by that artist.

No doubt my lists would look different if I re-did them in a year’s time. Music shapes itself to our moods.

 

Read the rest of this entry