Blog Archives

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2011, #16 – #13


MetalCat“So, Mammal, your true colours are really showing now,” a few of you say, although not in tune with each other. “Four songs today, and all of them are progressive metal. You’re just a hippie in metalhead clothing.”

“Not true!” I protest, in perfect harmony with myself. “I’m a hybrid. It just happens that my favourite songs sorted themselves this way when I was compiling my hit parade.”

Dark Metal Cat adds, “Yeah, and a non-metal creature listening to those four songs consecutively wouldn’t ask if they were all prog metal, it would ask if they’re the same kind of music at all apart from having guitars and drums.”

Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2007 / #6 – #4


MetalCatNear the top of my song ladder for 2007, two giant bands bracket a relative unknown. Symphony X and Epica shouldn’t need any introduction. Age of Nemesis, however, gained little following outside their native Hungary. That’s a pity.

 

 

Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2002 / #6 – #4


MetalCatWhere were you on the night of September 4, 2002? Can you account for your activities at that time?

If I had to answer those questions, it wouldn’t be beyond the bounds of probability that I was in my office listening to one of these bands. Of course it’s just as probable I was playing “Baldur’s Gate” and reloading because I got killed so often.

Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 1998 / #12 – #10


MetalCatThis morning there was a magnitude 5.3 earth tremor in South Africa. It was felt across most of the country, which meant it shook things up as far as a thousand kilometres away.

Strangely, Black Metal Cat was playing his music at just about that exact moment. His new amp arrived on an Abnormal Load truck.

 

Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 1996 / #4 and #3


MetalCatThe way my hit parade has sorted itself out with considerable assistance from Dark Metal Cat, it happens that today is a very proggy day. It also happens that both bands are exceptionally good at their styles of metal, ja?

So, herewith two monster bands in one post. Come to A Metal State Of Mind NOW!!! for bonus music at no extra charge.

 

Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s Merry Memories: Symphony X – The Divine Wings Of Tragedy (1997)


Good memories don’t have to be ancient. They can be as recent as yesterday. This one goes back to 1997, which sometimes feels like yesterday.

Symphony X had released three albums before The Divine Wings Of Tragedy came out. It instantly became and has remained my favourite SX album. One powerful reason for its lasting appeal is the title song, which takes up more than a third of the album.

The song doesn’t have the structure to be called a symphony. Instead I call it a sustained caprice. If the term is sightly unfamilar to you, a caprice is a sudden change of mind, and it often takes the form of a flight of whimsy.

There’s not much that’s whimsical about this song. It does, however, contain any number of changes of mind — in style, melody, time signature and mood. It is an engrossing combination of acapella, symphonic, orchestral and heavy metal sounds in one glorious prog metal package.

 

 

EP Review: Brutai – Brutai


a0064076812_10

This should come with a warning-sticker that says “highly addictive music”.

A good friend of mine has been saying lots of positive things about the five tracks on this EP, and after a couple of spins I have to say he’s right. This is an impressive collection of groovy songs with a progressive and modern sound, which should appeal to fans of classic heavy metal just as much as it will to people that prefer newer styles. It’s slightly reminiscent of both Symphony X and Iced Earth, with heavy, hard-hitting music and melodic singing, but Brutai also mixes in elements of metalcore and progressive death metal, which gives a nice edgy feel to their songs.

Read the rest of this entry

Mik’s Top 100 Favourite Albums of All Time #75-71


Top100

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 almost a year 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.

#75 Symphony X – The Divine Wings of Tragedy

I discovered this band in a record store in Stockholm. This song ‘Sea of Lies’ was playing through the speakers, I liked it immediately; the melodic heaviness with dark undertones and fantastic choruses and composition was something I hadn’t heard before and I bought the album the same day. I’m glad I did, it has given me so many great experiences over the years. Released in 1997, it’s still their best album in my opinion.

.

Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Max Pie – Eight Pieces – One World


TITRE.EPSIf Max Pie had not landed in our inbox I doubt I would have ever explored the contents of their latest release Eight Pieces – One World.  Let’s face it, that’s a pretty unique (interesting) name does not match any of the musician’s names.  I figured that was the case.  After exhausting limited Max Pie research avenues, I have no idea why they chose that moniker, so let’s press on.  The important thing is that I gave it a shot and “impressed” is one word I can use to sum up my first impression.  After one spin, I am no less than hooked on their epic Dream Theater-style melodies and crunch of reminiscent of Symphony X – definitely two styles that work well together.  The Belgian quartet’s sophomore effort boasts 54 minutes of music across eight songs.

Read the rest of this entry

Album Review: Shadows Over Lothadruin by Wind Rose


The debut album, Shadows Over Lothadruin, by the Italian Symphonic Power Metal band Wind Rose is an interesting listen.  On one hand I found myself quite captivated by the rich melodies, huge symphonies and orchestrations, and huge guitars and vocals.  On the other I kept slipping into the ‘been there, done that’ state of mind.  Now, I don’t think having your musical influences shine on a record is necessarily a bad thing and it has led to many great albums.  But, when I’m listening to a record and find myself constantly going, ‘oh, that sounds just like Symphony X, Dream Theater, Blind Guardian,  etc.’ it pulls me out of the experience some when it happens enough times.  But I really like those bands, so what’s the problem?  You see how the angel and devil are pulling on both sides here.  But all in all, when I reached the end of Shadows Over Lothadruin, I found myself satisfied with the release.

Read the rest of this entry