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Mammal’s Best of 2015 – Part 9/10


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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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Reggie’s Top 15 Albums of the Year + Honorable Mentions


2015-woodWell, here we are again, another end of year list.  First, big thanks to you for reading and engaging with us.  I have to say, this year’s list is more well-rounded than previous year-end lists.  I guess it is because I continue to get exposed to new bands and others that have been out a while, but are new to me.  Take my #1 for example.  I knew they were out there, but took it took me a while to sit down and have a serious listen.  I am glad I did.  One major difference between this year and my other lists is the (almost) absence of thrash metal bands.  While there are a few, not as much as I would normally have on my list.  Seems as though my taste in progressive based metal is expanding.  I guess it’s time to see for yourself.  Enjoy, and let’s have another great year in metal. Read the rest of this entry

Roundtable Review: Underworld by Symphony X


Symphony_X-Underworld-Front-Label: Nuclear Blast

Release Date: 24 Jul 2015

Songs: 11

Length: 64 Minutes

Genre: Thrash/Power/Progressive Metal

Studio Albums: Symphony X (1994); The Damnation Game (1995); The Divine Wings of Tragedy (1997); Twilight in Olympus (1998); V: The New Mythology Suite (2000); The Odyssey (2002); Paradise Lost (2007); Iconoclast (2011).

Location: NJ, United States

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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.”

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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.

 

 

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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


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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.

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