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.
Caligula’s Horse has crafted songs that are so alive and so powerful that I get tears in my eyes. Their music makes me do more than just listen, I’m feeling it, I’m living it.
Genre: Progressive rock/metal with a unique, modern and intelligent sound
Recommended for fans of: Opeth, Pain of Salvation, Porcupine Tree, Karnivool, Dream Theater, TesseracT, concept albums, interesting music
Tags: Album Streams, Australia, Australian Metal, bandcamp, Caligula's Horse, Dream Theater, Full Album Stream, Heavy Metal, metal, Music, Music Reviews, Music Videos, Opeth, Pain of Salvation, Porcupine Tree, Prog Metal, Progressive Metal, Progressive Rock, Rock
If you have the slightest interest in progressive rock/metal, especially the kind with a good rhythm section and great guitar work, and some of your favourite bands happen to be named Opeth, Tool, Karnivool, Porcupine Tree or Pain of Salvation, you need to check out the Australian band Caligula’s Horse. Don’t worry, they are not copying aforementioned bands, they do have a very nice style of their own and perfectly blends modern metal with a more classic proggy sound and outstanding vocals.
I first saw their name on Facebook a couple of weeks ago, as a recommendation by the band Ne Obliviscaris. Because they were mentioned by Ne Obliviscaris (another awesome band) and in the same sentence as “great gigs” and “Twelve Foot Ninja” (my latest musical addiction), I decided to investigate it further. After a couple of days and their new album ‘The Tide, The Thief and River’s End’ on repeat, I’m sold. Completely. In love. Head over heels…
‘Dark Hair Down‘ provides a taste of it, but the album has so much more than this to offer:
Full Album Stream:
The UK-based band The Sun Explodes just released their second full length album ‘We Build Mountains’ showing off their high quality musicianship. It’s one of the most unique sounding albums I’ve heard this year, and as always with these types of albums, it’s very difficult to describe the music. The Sun Explodes mixes proggy instrumental delicacy with a creative use of fast-paced metal and dramatic melodies. ‘SevenThreeOne’ is a good example of what they sound like; it has fantastic powerful, passionate singing mixed with growling and crazy falsettos as well as innovative and technical guitar parts together with extremely catchy grooves. The first time I heard it, I almost turned it off after the first few seconds, thinking it was something I wouldn’t like. But I continued to listen and it quickly grew on me until I was completely addicted to their captivating sound.
Concert Review: UK Tech Metal Fest 2013 part 2 – Shattered Skies, Drewsif Stalin, Uneven Structure, Skyharbor
Bands playing: Colors To Shame, Above The Earth, Immerse, Kartikeya, Shattered Skies, Red Seas Fire, Aeolist, Drewsif Stalin, Destiny Potato, Disperse, Xerath, Uneven Structure, Skyharbor, Veil of Maya
Afterparty: Bilo Super Jam – members from different bands.
This was the day when three of my absolute favourite bands were going to play. And I mean hugely favourite bands. So be warned, I might enter fanboy(girl)-mode. For a general review of the festival and the bands from the first day, check out part 1. I will cover the lineup of Sunday in part 3. These three parts won’t include all the bands playing, not even all of the ones I did end up watching; I’ve only chosen the ones I liked the best.
(THE PHOTOS ARE USED WITH PERMISSION FROM AND ARE COPYRIGHTED TO METALWASP.COM)
Shattered Skies are a really charming and talented bunch of guys from Ireland. They released an EP called ‘Reanimation’ in 2011 and it contains some of the best melodic, uplifting progressive metal I’ve heard in the past few years. Even though their bassist couldn’t make it, they happily went on with their show. Seeing them live put a big smile on my face and even though they only played new songs from their upcoming album, that I don’t know well, it was incredibly easy to like their catchy, rhythmic and fresh-sounding melodies. Ian Rockett gave us some impressive guitar-work and the vocalist Sean Murphy’s voice was powerful and warm, which suits the atmosphere in their music. In the middle of the set they kicked up the speed a good bit by playing a fantastic, and unexpected, cover of Pendulum’s ‘Propane Nightmares’; who would have thought that song would sound so cool when performed by a prog band? This show made me forget how hot it was in the tent; the positive energy from the music and the crowd was so strong. Shattered Skies were amazing live and I can’t wait to hear their new album!
Shattered Skies – “Saviours” and “As the Sea Divides”
I had been looking through Drewsif Stalin‘s videos on YouTube (he’s a so called YouTube-celebrity) before the festival, to see what kind of an artist he was. Turns out he’s been making metal covers of pop songs, is a good guitar player as well as the bearer of an impressive singing voice. He seemed to be quite entertaining and fun, so I decided to check out his live show. He played some extremely heavy, riff-filled songs and one very long track where he took over the mic as well (what a cool voice, I would have liked to hear more of that!). He was joined by the vocalist from Red Seas Fire on a couple of songs. Overall, it was fun to watch, the songs were a nice listen and I hope Mr. Stalin will continue to write music, and more importantly, use his singing voice to a greater extent. Well done!
Drewsif complete show:
Now it was time for a band whose debut album ‘Februus’ has impressed me greatly over and over again. They have also recently re-recorded and released their first EP ‘8’, to include a new mix and the vocalist from their debut. I could never have imagined how powerful their music would sound live. It was a sound so crushingly dark and heavy it went through flesh and bones and completely smashed everything. I don’t mean fast-as-hell kind of heavy, it’s more like aggressive-low-end percussive-riffing-kind of heavy. In particular when they played the first half of their set, which was the whole EP ‘8’ from start to finish. You could tell people enjoyed it but as soon as the first song from ‘Februus’ started playing the crowd really woke up and started moving; this were the songs we all know and love. They played the first six songs in the order they appear on the album. With no less than three chugging guitarists, one skilled bass player, a drummer that is working hard and a vocalist that hits every note perfectly, this was a very tight and flawless performance. The ambient melodies in the backing soundtrack we know from their albums added a beautiful, electric flow to the music and is a part of the band’s perfect use of dynamics. These soft passages make you relax and breath a bit, just enough so the contrast of the explosive, thundering parts will hit you even harder.
This was the most intense live show I’ve ever experienced and in such an intimate live setting it was just… wow. I was speechless for a good while when the show was over, I couldn’t even collect my thoughts and comprehend what I had just experienced. Now I know what ‘having your mind blown’ really means…
Uneven Structure complete show:
It’s impressive when a band travels all the way from India, only to play a 45 minute live set in front of an audience on a tiny festival. For many visitors, including myself, this was one of the most anticipated shows this weekend.
Skyharbor was started in guitarist/composer Keshav Dhar’s bedroom and quickly became a well known name in modern progressive metal. He started out with instrumental songs, but soon Daniel Tompkins (ex-TesseracT) joined the band and provided vocals on their debut album ‘Blinding White Noise: Illusion and Chaos’, which turned out to be the perfect fit. For this show, Skyharbor’s drummer Anup Sastry wasn’t available as he’s on tour with his other band Intervals, but they borrowed Mike Maylan (who also played a set with his band Monuments as well as being the drummer for The Algorithm this weekend) and he managed to learn the whole set of Skyharbor’s complex songs in only 4 days! That’s one hell of a drummer…
Due to most of the band living on the other side of the world, and their singer being British; they haven’t had more than a couple of chances to actually play together as a whole band before. This didn’t hinder them in the slightest and it did not affect the quality of their live performance. Which was, of course (did anyone ever doubt this?), absolutely breathtaking.
There were many happy faces in the crowd during this set, and I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one with serious goosebumps and tears in my eyes after getting over the initial chock of hearing Daniel Tompkins’ sincere and powerful voice in the opening track ‘Dots’. He’s a very charismatic front man and always leaves a humble, kind and genuine impression. Vocal-wise, there are some extremely demanding screams, high notes as well as low ones throughout the songs and Daniel managed to deeply impress with his range and versatility, doing everything from long, dreamy notes to sharp, edgy and harsh vocals.
The whole band seemed happy to be playing together and they all did such a great job performing both the bass-driven, groovy melodies and the heavy riffing parts, while the stand-in drummer was pounding away like he’s been a member of Skyharbor his whole life. They played all the tracks from ‘Illusion’ in album order and it was truly beautiful. The third song ‘Catharsis’ has nice, driving drums and fantastic rhythm guitars; it really builds up tension through the song and when Daniel released a cascade of high screams at the end… I was standing there with chills all over and my jaw on the floor… During ‘Night’ and my favourite song ‘Celestial’ I could hear many fans loudly singing along, and so was I; completely drawn in by the intense and emotional atmosphere of Skyharbor’s music. They certainly delivered in every way, and left us with many unforgettable moments from their first UK show.
Skyharbor – Intro and “Dots”
In less than a week I’ll be off on a plane to Great Britain to attend U.K Tech Metal Fest 2013. The line up this year is delicious, so I just had to buy a ticket even though it’s “only” a small festival on the countryside, far away in distant country… I’ve been wanting to see TesseracT live for a couple of years now, as well as Uneven Structure and when I saw that Skyharbor was on the line up too, I knew I had to go or I would regret it for the rest of my life.
Another band that is playing on the festival and that I’ve been enjoying a lot lately is the Irish band Shattered Skies. They are soon releasing their first full length album ‘The World We Used To Know’ and ‘15 minutes‘ is the first single + video from it. They make some really catchy, proggy songs with an original sound.
Posted by WarpRider
Based on the title, I wouldn’t blame you if you thought this was about Judas Priest. Sorry to say, it’s not. This is about a band called KingBathmat from the United Kingdom. I got wind of their latest album Truth Button and enjoyed it quite a bit. It gave me the feel of an edgier Transatlantic.
Sentinel is the new single from their forthcoming album Overcoming the Monster set for release on July 22. Though it has only six tracks it looks to be near the 50 minute mark (I didn’t do the math, but it looks close to that)…progressive music at its best. Enjoy this hump day and for those that celebrate it, have a great Independence Day this Thursday and through the weekend…I hope it’s a nice long weekend for you.
#16 Tool – Eulogy
“Don’t you step out of line. Don’t you fucking lie. You’ve claimed all this time that you would die for me. Why then are you so surprised to hear your own eulogy? You had a lot to say. You had a lot of nothing to say. “
A mysterious, weird and almost hypnotizing intro. It builds up beautifully and seamlessly into the song and just keeps going. After a minute some nice bongo drums are added and around the two minute mark the guitar riffs starts and Maynard comes in sounding like he’s singing through a megaphone. It’s such a great song with emotional vocals and wonderful flow. It’s taken from the album ‘Aenima’, released in 1996.
“Your assumption brings to a conclusion of no consequence.
And I refuse to play into your hands for your appeal.”
– Of Matter: Retrospect
A band that makes progressive music has the freedom to be whatever they want. Progressive bands can and should experiment and break boundaries to reach their musical vision. The members of TesseracT were not afraid to do this and took a road less traveled with this album; they once again created something fresh and unexpected (no, I’m not only talking about the saxophone solo) in a sub-genre that has become saturated with unoriginal bands. ‘Altered State’ is a confirmation of their remarkable talent when it comes to creating strong musical structures combined with an intense and emotional atmosphere. If you are a fan of progressive rock/metal and bands like Anathema, Pain of Salvation, Periphery, Karnivool or Tool this album might be interesting to you. The first single ‘Of Mind: Nocturne’ was out already in October last year and it has been a long wait for one of my most anticipated releases of the year.
The Italian band PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) was formed in 2005 and has now released their second album ‘A Sense of Decay’. The first thing to catch my attention was the attractive cover art with a picture of a colorful butterfly; half of it is alive and the other half is turning into dust. It’s beautiful. PTSD plays a style of alternative rock/metal that often strays into a progressive metal sound that reminds me of a melodic Dream Theater. There is also a slight feeling of bands like Stone Temple Pilots, Alice in Chains and 30 Seconds To Mars.