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Music Reviews Progressive Metal

Soul Killing Female – Landmines

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.

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Music Reviews Progressive Metal

Kingcrow – Phlegethon

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.

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Music Reviews Progressive Metal

Haken – Aquarius

There are few albums that acquire your attention so quickly, and somehow, I missed Haken’s debut release Aquarius in March 2010. As the year draws to a close, this album has had several rotations on my playlist and there is no reason for it to leave any time soon. For a debut album, Aquarius has the polished glazed that often only appears on a band’s third or forth album.

Aquarius is a concept album about two parents who beget a mermaid child and release it into the river, knowing full well they could not properly raise it themselves. The mermaid child struggles to live in a changing environment as becomes surrounded by nature’s retaliation toward those responsible for global climate change.

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Music Reviews Progressive Rock

Spock’s Beard – X

Spock’s Beard has continued to press on, despite the diminished fan base over the years. With a lesser, but loyal fan base the band chose to use crowd funding to pay for studio time with an early limited 5,000 run pre-order edition with retail and digital editions at later dates. The crowd funding idea worked tremendously for Marillion, and many other bands have taken similar steps and may be the only way long-tail bands with a specific niche can survive. This independent choice in production of their tenth album is another wake up call for bands to being to realize the eventual change in tides when distributing music, particularly to retain control and ownership.

X is a pivotal moment for Spock’s Beard. The fourth album after Neal Morse left, certainly recorded during a time where fans of Spock’s Beard have retreated to a scarce few who remain loyal. For those who have stuck with the band, even pre-ordering the album will be fully rewarded with the band’s most solid release to date.