Blog Archives

Mammal’s Best of 2015 – Part 9/10



Close-up of my left ear.

Close-up of my left ear.

Crunch time approaches. We’re into to the Top 10 in my metal hit parade and the runners-up in my other categories. I’d love to have all of the albums in today’s selection. Oh, wait, I do!

Some of us are born with big floppy ears, some are born lucky, and I’m a guy with big floppy ears who got lucky too.

Without music the world would be a much poorer place. Without metal and prog and all my other loves, the world might as well not exist. My ears and my brain would have nothing to do.


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Mammal’s Best of 2015 – Part 6/10



Over the weekend I checked the album selections for 2015 on quite a few websites that cover the various genres I love. Some of them, especially those with long lists like mine, feature bands I’ve never heard of. No doubt my lists include bands many people don’t know.

I believe I speak for all of us at Metal State when I say we end every year with a nagging, twitchy feeling that we missed something great during the year. It’s almost certain that we did. In the last 12 months we were offered a couple of thousand albums to review. No person, and no team of four reviewers, could possibly listen properly to that many albums.

To the bands that did make it onto my lists, even if I ranked you #50 that means I liked your work more than a few hundred other albums I played and enjoyed. The same goes for the lists my weird esteemed colleagues have posted. More good music is being made now than at any time, and I’ve been listening to plenty of music during most of my two-thirds of a century on this planet.


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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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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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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.


Mammal’s Merry Memories: Jethro Tull – Broadsword (1982)

The title track of Broadsword is a Viking song with a difference. It presents the perspective of the poor sods who see the Viking ships approaching. That must have been a slightly unnerving experience.

Jethro Tull mostly played progressive folk rock. This song, however, may appeal to fans of hard rock, prog metal and, er, Vikings.



Roundtable Review: Thine – The Dead City Blueprint

THINE_DCB_album_artworkLabel: Peaceville Records

Release Date: 13 May, 2014

Songs: 10

Length: 57 minutes

Genre: Dark progressive rock (also listed as melodic metal)

Studio Albums: A Town Like This (1998), In Therapy (2002)

Location: UK


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Roundtable Review: Between the Madness by VanGough

a0236553750_2Label:  Nightmare Records

Release Date:  Out Now

Songs:   12

Genre:  Prog

Studio Albums:  This is their 5th release

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What’s Cookin’ in the Inbox – 20 Feb 2014 Post #3

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????It’s time for the third installment of What’s Cookin’ in the Inbox for 2014.  This time around we have excess material floating in the mailbox, therefore I will sift through it and bring you what I think is the best and most eclectic bunch.  Here you go, I hope you find something you like.  Enjoy!


Song:  Save Me

Genre:  Power/fantasy metal

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