Devin Townsend is one of few who can, by himself, truly create sonically perfect heavy metal albums that are unlike anything else. Not to take away from his early collaborations, but his genius seems to be so much more when he does it on his own. After briefly leaving behind the music industry, Townsend announced his four-part The Devin Townsend Project. 2009 saw both Ki and Addicted appear with a fresh update on Townsend’s signature style. Now, two years later, Townsend has completed his series with Deconstruction and Ghost.
Let it be known that Beardfish may indeed become the leading progressive rock band coming into the 2010s. I consider that be a bold statement because the band composes interesting songs that seem so effortless, yet consistently awesome. I jumped aboard the Beardfish bandwagon in 2009 when they were announced to be a part of the Progressive Nation Tour 2009, alongside Pain of Salvation. After giving both Sleeping in Traffic Parts 1 & 2 dozens upon dozens of listens, I knew that Beardfish was something special in the current progressive scene. Both bands would be victims of the economic downturn. Unable to find financial support to get both bands to North America, they had to pull out of the tour. Beardfish turned around with a stellar release, Destined Solitude which equaled the greatness of Sleeping in Traffic.
Project D’s 2011 release, Big Face has an compositional quality that never feels like one has truly traveled through the album or have been challenged enough to warrant additional listens. D Project constantly switches gears to only to please themselves, leaving the album’s contents feeling disconnected. The album does have moments that suggest the musicians are talented, but overall, Big Face fails to truly be a work worthy of your collection.
“They” starts off with a great groove before the song finds its rightful melody before it becomes an unpredictable journey towards the end. “So Low” and “Kids Will Never Know” are uninspired, straight-ahead rock tunes that keep the album unbalanced. “Big Face” is a dated wall of sound that reaches too high and ultimately never delivers. “Anger Parts 1 & 2” and “Anger Part 3” beat the message across the head eventually becoming kitschy towards the end.
Soul Killing Female’s Landlines is a self-produced work by Michael Lewis that certainly has its influences on its sleeve and attempts to create an atmospheric experience with these influences in mind. The convolution of so many influences and the lack of collaboration leaves this album flat.
The album lacks any replay value since each song has a similar build-up and never provides a lasting impression. Instead of an album filled with songs from a particular musician or group’s signature sound, Landmines is a rehashing of the artist’s need to find that perfect build-up that leads to a chaotic conclusion. The pattern becomes old on this album.
If you haven’t noticed, it’s been awhile since I’ve posted a review but now I’m back. Graduate school doesn’t offer enough time to write quality progressive rock and metal reviews alongside my popular website CinemaFunk where I write movie reviews.
Despite my lack of updates, the site has grown in visits and pageviews and I might as well take advantage of that. I’m roughly 12 or so albums behind and that is after rejecting new album submissions so start to expect new reviews in the next several weeks.
Lime Shark, at first, sounds laughable, many progressive bands do. As the tracklist moves on you start to “get it.” This British band is less of a progressive rock band and more of a rock band with progressive leanings. The similarities to the harmonies of King’s X and driving bass rhythms from Rush are not apparent at all, allowing the band to exist as their own entity. Subsequent dives through The Money Clock reveals an album that does not bask in progressive over-achievement but relies on the simplification of melodies even in non-conventional time-changes.
The Money Clock certainly takes its time to present its best material, as “Burn” does not adequately grab the listener. The style and sonics are most interestingly not conventional, and at first can appear un-listenable. However, it is the third track, “Blindside”, that properly portrays the band’s intentions and as post-millennial, hard-driving, and accessible.
Jordi Clapés-Bot’s Right Sides kicks off with the title track, “Right Sides”, and features a haunting atmosphere with a sense of vicereal mystery and does not deviate much from the motif. Instead, Clapés-Botadds poses new ideas, experiments on top of his constant compositions and keeps the groove going by introducing contradictory sentimentality.
“Geometrical Views” features a bass line with a immediate hook, but abandons it for duel-melody, a guitar against whale song like effect. “Rocks” is placed at the center of this EP and its dark, cinematic leanings has you questioning whether you are the only one in the room or if there is someone in the back seat. All the while sustaining the beauty in the lightly plucked strings.
I am always skeptical about reviewing albums submitted to ProgSnobs, but of course the one or two that turn out to be excellent always revives my interest in continuing the blog. Kingcrow‘s Phlegethon is one of those albums, pure progressive metal on their own terms. It is well-composed, well-paced, and the entire album never outlasts the spectacle.
The first song “The Slide”, more of a prologue, includes the use of traditional progressive rock album opening tropes, the sound of the sea on the beach and a haunting single-note piano. It works. It segues into “Timeshift Box”, a hard-driving and well-composed instrumental that sets the tone of the album and frames the band’s progressive metal style.
Every fan has their own ideal set of figures that are seminal to the foundations of heavy metal and Lemmy Kilmister has always been a part of that set. As the new decade has rolled over, Lemmy, at 65, has a career spanning six decades, with no sign of slowing down or changing a damn thing. Lemmy examines Lemmy’s career, lifestyle and impact on Western music, much of which should impress a fan of any sub-genre of rock.
Without a direct chronological narrative, Lemmy, produced and directed by Greg Olliver and Wes Orshoski, reveals Lemmy’s live and let live ideology even into his mid-60s. He plays video games, in his house, on his phone, in bars. His home is filled with trash, memorabilia (both Motörhead and World War II), and his proudest, most valuable possession, his son. As Henry Rollins explains, Lemmy grew up in a time before rock n’ roll; cut his teeth on Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, was a roadie for Hendrix, and has his own place in rock n’ roll history with The Rockin’ Vickers and Hawkwind long, long before Motörhead.
With my Graduate World Cinema course at the Savannah College of Art and design, one of the particular aspects I have been studying is trying to reduce the Eurocentric (often Americentric) vision of the world. For cinema, this is easy as watching films with subtitles, even though the images can tell the story just the same. For music, this is a far more difficult task. I could have easily asked for Jose Carballido to provide me with some translations, but rather, I chose to challenge myself and listen and review this album solely based on how the language, which I do not speak or understand, interacts with the music. I think I failed.