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ANATHEMA Distant Satellites

Album · 2014 · Metal Related
Cover art 4.42 | 5 ratings
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arcane-beautiful
Anathema to me can do no wrong. After their last album being an epic masterpiece, and their previous effort being a brilliant album in its own right, I was so incredibly stoked for this album.

The band have shown an almost found love for what they do after coming back from a hiatus in 2009, and their new reinvigorated sound means that the band have been able to release albums consistently every 2 years.

Musically the album takes a darker move than compared to their last two albums and touches upon some sounds from “A Natural Disaster.” While “Weather Systems” was very much a bright and joyous album, this one touches upon more melancholic feelings. There are some very beautiful and joyous moments throughout, but this is definitely one of the bands darkest albums in the past few years.

The album also seems to have two very noticeable sounds. While the first half is very much a prog rock album, the other half dwells on more experimental and electronic sounds. Now it does make the album a little less cohesive, but it does make the album that much more interesting.

The opening track “The Lost Song Part 1” is an epic opener. Opening with some beautiful strings the song goes into an offbeat drum pattern with some brilliant instrumental decorations. A brilliant and passionate vocal performance from Vincent and Lee also adds a lot of depth to the song.

One of the biggest growers on the album would have to be “The Lost Song Part 2.” While “Ariel” was tugging at my heart strings these past few days, this one has probably over shadowed it. In fact, this is definitely up there with my favorite Anathema songs and would probably be one of the most beautiful songs ever written. A beautiful arrangement and some heart felt vocals from Lee, the track can almost bring a grown man to tears.

My personal favorite track on the album would have to be “Ariel.” An almost sister song to “The Lightning Song”, it is a more melancholic departure for the band. Incredibly beautiful with some brilliant clashes and crescendos.

One of the darkest tracks on the album would have to be “Anathema.” Building up and climaxing into and epic chorus and a pretty amazing ending guitar solo, the song is a very emotional track with some brilliant clashes and crescendos throughout.

“You're Not Alone” is a very interesting track. With some electronic beats and over layered vocals, the song bursts into a heavy and clashing ending. Probably one of the heaviest songs on the album.

The title track is an interesting take for the band. Focusing more on the electronic sound of the band, its a very soft song with some beautiful melodies. I do feel the song does drag on a tiny bit too long, but it is pretty good nontheless.

The albums ending “Take Shelter” is a very soft and beautiful way to end the album. With some light falsetto vocals from Vincent and trip hop inspired beats, the song ends very beautifully...as an Anathema album should do.

In conclusion, I don't prefer this to their last album “Weather Systems.” But in all honesty, “Weather Systems” is probably one of my favorite albums ever recorded. This album is a brilliant follow up and a masterpiece of songwriting. Experimental and a step in the right direction, the band have again proved that they are probably the most interesting musical act going. This album takes a good bit of time to digest...but when it does, the after taste is sweeter than honey.

9/10

Genres: Progressive Rock, Experimental Rock, Electronic, Symphonic Rock, Art Rock, Post Rock, Pop Rock, Hard Rock, Trip Hop

Country of origin: England

Year of release: 2014

AMBERIAN DAWN Magic Forest

Album · 2014 · Symphonic Metal
Cover art 3.25 | 2 ratings
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J-Man
Finland's Amberian Dawn is not a band that I've followed in the past, but it's my understanding that 2014's Magic Forest is an important album in their discography. As their first album of wholly original material without longtime vocalist Heidi Parviainen, Magic Forest serves as a proving ground for new singer Capri. Though she has previous experience in the music industry, her presence in Amberian Dawn marks her first appearance as a frontwoman in a metal group - and even though I'm currently unable to compare Capri to her predecessor, I know that she does a damn good job on Magic Forest.

As a matter of fact, I would say that she even elevates this record from a fairly average symphonic metal outing to something worth hearing for fans of the genre. Comparisons to bands like Epica, Within Temptation, and Nightwish are inevitable when listening to Magic Forest, but Capri's powerful and "rock-inspired" vocal performance serves as a nice contrast from the more operatic styles heard from popular frontwomen like Simone Simons or Tarja Turunen. The music itself is well-written and meticulously arranged, though nothing totally stands out to my ears. While catchy enough, Magic Forest doesn't pack the same punch that recent Epica outings have (perhaps because of this album's general lack of aggression and preference for mid-tempo grooves) and doesn't stand out enough from the crowd to make for a stunning observation.

That being said, Amberian Dawn have absolutely put together a solid collection of tunes for Magic Forest, and fans of symphonic metal will find plenty to enjoy here. As a well-produced, well-performed, and catchy album that features some truly terrific vocals, Magic Forest has enough going for it to warrant a listen from fans and newcomers alike.

KOBRA AND THE LOTUS High Priestess

Album · 2014 · Power Metal
Cover art 4.50 | 2 ratings
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adg211288
High Priestess (2014) is the third full-length album by Canadian heavy/power metal act Kobra and the Lotus. The band's line-up apart from vocalist Kobra Paige has hardly been a stable one and High Priestess again brings some changes to it, with the band mostly recording the album as a three piece. Though Brad Kennedy is mentioned in the album liner notes, the bass on the album was played by guitarist Jasio Kulakowski. Additional lead guitars are played by Charlie Parra del Riego.

Though Kobra and the Lotus tends to call themselves and be called a traditional heavy metal band the music on their self-titled album was actually a mix of that and power metal. On High Priestess they sound has stretched even further into power metal territory. That's the heavier hitting USPM type for the most part to my ears and I would call High Priestess a power metal album over a heavy metal album any day. A couple of the songs also feature a thrash metal edge most notably I Am, I Am which is more of a thrash metal song than anything. The band blends all three styles pretty well though and once again have produced a record that has classic metal written all over it. Cheesy power metal this certainly isn't.

While I still haven't heard their debut album Out of the Pit (2009) in full, the self-titled album immediately struck me as a band who'd improved by leaps and bounds based on the few songs I had heard from the debut. That growth can also be observed on High Priestess though as the self-titled was also a high quality album the results aren't as dramatically jaw-dropping this time, but by focussing even more on power metal Kobra and the Lotus have done exactly what I'd hoped they'd do. They're good at traditional metal but great at power metal, and the thrash elements are a nice addition to the album making I Am, I Am one of the best songs on offer along with Warhorse, Soldier, Battle of Wrath and Willow. While the guitar playing is great and really gets across the classic metal vibe of Kobra and the Lotus' music, once again it's the powerful singing of Kobra Paige herself that steals the show here.

With High Priestess Kobra and the Lotus have continued what they began on their self-titled and in my opinion outdone themselves. They've really played to the strengths made apparent on their last album while also covering some new ground. 4.5 Stars.

92/100

(Originally written for Heavy Metal Haven: http://metaltube.freeforums.org/kobra-and-the-lotus-high-priestess-t3635.html)

DIAMOND LANE Terrorizer

Album · 2014 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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Stephen
The front cover almost suggests that the band plays a pure thrash metal style, but actually DIAMOND LANE stands between hard rock and heavy metal. This second album brings the heaviness one step higher, almost thrashy in some part, especially the drums section. The classic American sound is there but DIAMOND LANE adapted with the necessary modern touch here and there. The very first track, 'The Enemy', is a perfect opener, packed with a thunderous riffs and a tense chorus. 'Favorite Kind of Victim' is okay but pale if compared to the likes of 'Cheating Death' or 'New Model'.

'Life To Lose' and 'Kiss The Ring' are another great tracks on the second half, but honestly I have a little trouble in enjoying the slow paced 'Hopeless Romantic'. Usually, a good ballad makes a nice interlude but in this case, I personally think DIAMOND LANE should just focus on the heavier tracks.

The production is big and bold and musicianship is top notch. The debut won slightly if viewed through songwriting consistency perspective, but these two albums proved that DIAMOND LANE is a strong contender to the major league and I truly hope they gained more followers soon with 'Terrorizer'. A great kickin' ass album for fans of hard rock and heavy metal!

TRIPTYKON Melana Chasmata

Album · 2014 · Doom Metal
Cover art 4.48 | 4 ratings
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UMUR
"Melana Chasmata" is the 2nd full-length studio album by Swiss extreme metal act Triptykon. The album was released through Century Media Records in April 2014. "Melana Chasmata" features the same lineup, who recorded the band´s debut full-length studio album "Eparistera Daimones (2010)". There was always internal strife in bandleader Tom G. Warrior´s longtime act Celtic Frost (which was also what triggered their demise), so I´m sure it´s a great relief to him, that Triptykon (at least from the outside looking in) feels like a more tight nit unit.

Stylistically the music on "Melana Chasmata" more or less continues down the same extreme metal style that the band initiated on "Eparistera Daimones (2010)". It´s a combination of elements from doom, thrash, black, death, and goth metal, that you can´t really label neither. Therefore the "extreme metal" tag is probably the most valid here.

The music on the album is crushingly heavy, featuring meaty riffs, dark lead themes, rumbling distorted bass, heavy beats and a varity of vocal styles, ranging from aggressive death/thrash vocals, to sneering black metal type vocals, to goth spoken vocals, to female singing. It´s also very dark and atmospheric music, so all in all there is a good level of diversity on the album. The sound production is powerful, raw and organic. A very impressive sound production, which suits the music perfectly. I´m especially fond of the thick and menacing guitar tone and the ultra heavy bass, but the organic sounding drums and the well sounding vocal production are also great assets.

The material are generally very well written, effective and delivered with great passion and conviction by a cast of skilled performers. However one of the greatest strengths of "Melana Chasmata" is the diversity of the material. The thrashy and aggressive "Tree of Suffocation Souls" and "Breathing", The ultra heavy "Altar of Deceit" and "Black Snow" and the atmospheric and goth tinged "Boleskine House", "Aurorae" and "Waiting" are good examples of how varied the album is.

It´s not always a combination of so many stylistic elements works wonders, but Triptykon make it sound natural and as if they are completely at ease with what they do. And don´t misunderstand that as if they´ve lost bite or aggression as a consequence of how sure of themselves they sound. They deliver their music with fierce conviction. A 4.5 star (90%) rating is deserved.

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IMMOLATION Demo I

Demo · 1988 · Death Metal
Cover art 3.00 | 1 rating
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UMUR
This is the first demo release by Immolation after they changed their name from Rigor Mortis in April 1988. The demo was recorded in July 1988 at Sleepy Hollow Sound/Dobbs Ferry. The demo is the first release featuring vocalist/bassist Ross Dolan, who has replaced Andrew Sakowicz and also the first release to feature new drummer Neal Boback who replaced Dave Wilkinson.

The demo features two tracks in "Immolation" and "Dawn of Possession". Both tracks feature a raw, brutal and slightly muddy sound that perfectly compliments the savage death metal tracks. Compared to the Rigor Mortis demos which featured a thrash metal influenced death metal sound, the two tracks on the this demo are fully fledged US death metal. Early Morbid Angel is very similar in sound and style to how these two tracks sound. Both tracks would eventually appear in re-recorded versions on the band´s debut full-length studio album "Dawn of Possession (1991)". These demo versions of the tracks are also available on the Immolation compilation album "Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn (1995)".

The two tracks on the demo are among the very early examples of US death metal and while acts like Death, Possessed and Morbid Angel had already pioneered the genre, Immolation should still be counted among the seminal acts in the genre if you ask me. The quality of the two tracks, the playing and the raw sound production are really successful to my ears and a 3 - 3.5 star (65%) rating is deserved.

QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE Songs For The Deaf

Album · 2002 · Hard Rock
Cover art 3.62 | 7 ratings
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VerticalUprising
Songs For The Deaf is a studio album released by hard rock/progressive metal band Queens Of The Stone Age. After their first two dismal releases, being their self-titled debut ("Queens Of The Stone Age") and "Rated R", they decided to follow up them with a loosely titled concept album that takes the listener from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree while tuning through the radio and listening to different stations along the way. SFTD got high rated reception, and therefore became the Queens's best selling album.

0. The Real Song For The Deaf

A funny concept, and a nice hidden track. Not much to say here.

1. You Think I Ain't Worth A Dollar But I Feel Like a Millionaire

This song technically Starts off the album, starting with the sound of a car starting up and the sounds of a radio being tuned. This starts us out with "YTIAWADVIFLaM" (holy hell). We are greeted with a slightly generic sound hard rock song. However, let me make this clear. Mark Lanegan does not sound good when screaming. In fact, the song only gets good when he stops screeching and actually sings. The guitar is nice and groovy, and the drums are well done. The song sadly doesn't go anywhere and abruptly changes into No One Knows. This is definitely one of the weaker songs on the album. (5/10)

2. No One Knows

The first and best selling single from the album, 'No One Knows' is a much more guitar based song than the screaming laden "YTIAWADVIFLaM"(there it is again, jesus christ). The drumming is nice and plentiful along with the nice heavy bouncy guitar, which makes up for an interesting but pleasing happy feeling. This song absolutely deserves it's success. (10/10)

3. First It Giveth

Unlike 'No One Knows', 'First It Giveth' loses the former's happy feel, instead making for a much darker song. That would be all and fine, if it weren't for the fact that most of the base in the song has gone, and the guitar has become weak and dull in the song. The vocals slightly redeem it, but not enough to hide the fact that it is, indeed, a dull song. (6/10)

4. A Song For The Dead

The longest song on the album, 'A Song For The Dead' incorporates a much more changing tempo than the other songs. It starts out fast, but quickly gets slow (no joke intended). Not bad guitar and backup vocals, but again it's quality is lacking in the lead vocals. They sound scratchy and unnatural, and just don't sound very good. The song has greater strong suits that weak suits in this song instead. (8/10)

5. Sky Is Falling

'Sky Is Falling' is a song I like because of it's simplicity. Plain bass, drums, and guitar lead some amazing vocals along with superb lyrics. The chorus is spectacular also. I like to think that this song is the perfect example of the Queens's ability to make something amazing out of very little. Quite spectacular, and definitely my favorite. (10/10)

6. Six Shooter

A short song, coming in at 1:16. The song doesn't really contain much, except for the worst voice and the most horrible lyrics I've ever heard. The song is boring, and is really nothing. I think that this is actually the opening to the next song, but I am glad to see that they had fun with it from the laugh at the end. (4/10)

7. Hangin' Tree

'Hangin' Tree' is another good song. It incorporates ominous lyrics along with nice guitar and drums. It is a nice and simple song from the album, and I rather like it. (9/10)

8. Go With The Flow

'Go With The Flow' is probably the heaviest song on the album. Nice simple entrance by being thrown in immediately, no upstanding with this. Nice lyrics, and definitely good vocals. The guitar and drums are absolutely excellent and perfectly compliment eachother. Nice song no doubt, and just god damn fun to listen to. (10/10)

9. Gonna Leave You

There isn't much to say about 'Gonna Leave You', seeing as it is the most generic song on the album. The vocals are slightly annoying in places, and the guitar and drums are pretty boring. A pretty weak song. (7/10)

10. Do It Again

This song incorporates a nice beat and rolling drums. Nice vocals, but the lyrics are highly generic. The song is pretty good in the case of everything else, however. (9/10)

11. God Is On The Radio

A song about gospel on radios, 'God Is On The Radio' is a nice and catchy song. It has nice vocals and groovy guitar. The lyrics are very fitting to the title, and the vocals are pretty okay. (8/10)

12. Another Love Song

Nice guitar work heads off this song and gives way for the vocals to come in and take the song away. The drums are pretty generic, and can sometimes be boring in places. The vocals are nice to listen to, and are paired well with the vocals. This is definitely one of my favorite listens from the album. (9/10)

13. Song For The Deaf

Another heavy song (no pun intended) from this album, and also happens to be the one that technically closes the curtain on the real album. There are interesting backround noises that blend in well with the vocals and guitar, which seem to follow eachother throughout the song. A nice end to a nice album. (9/10)

14. Mosquito Song

Not technically a part of the album, 'Mosquito Song' comes in as a nice acoustic to end our album. The acoustics are coupled with a nice orchestral piece, which is nice and loud. Definitely an amazing acoustic and great vocal piece of work. Really catchy, and gets stuck in my head very easily. (10/10)

And there ends Songs For The Deaf. Sadly, the Queens did not have very good musical sequels to this album, except for the okay "...Like Clockwork". I hope the Queens get this sound in any future albums that they make. ------------------------ Thanks for reading, and be sure to comment and share your personal opinion on the album! Salutations, and have a nice day.

-VU-

RUSH Moving Pictures

Album · 1981 · Hard Rock
Cover art 4.43 | 114 ratings
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Unitron
Rush-Moving Pictures

Moving Pictures is certainly Rush's most popular album and the one that probably every rock fan has. Even though the more accessible feel to some of the songs on 'Permanent Waves' gained Rush some popularity, they didn't really hit the big time until such classics and radio hits like 'Tom Sawyer', 'YYZ' and 'Limelight'.

1. Tom Sawyer. Tom Sawyer needs no introduction, being Rush's most popular song it does deserve some of that fame. Radio airplay aside, this is probably one of my favorite 80's Rush songs. The blast of synth at the start is a great introduction, before some menacing guitar riffs come in as Lee gives a great vocal performance. The synth adds to the song instead of dominates like it would on some later albums. A great song even with it's airplay. (10/10)

2. Red Barchetta. Another popular song from the album, 'Barchetta' begins with a fade-in synth riff. Nice guitar drags along being complimented by the drums, and a cool car screech signals the guitar solo fitting the lyrics. Good, but not one of my favorites. (7/10)

3. YYZ. YYZ along with 'La Villa Strangiato' from Hemispheres take the places as Rush's most popular instrumentals. It starts out with great percussion before the guitar comes in while the keyboard plays underneath. The bass is what really stands out for me though, with Lee constantly slapping it while the guitars change. A masterpiece of instrumentals. (10/10)

4. Limelight. Another radio staple, 'Limelight' has some great riffs complimented by the drums. The transitions into the softer melodies is great and has a kick-ass guitar solo by Lifeson. (8/10)

5. The Camera Eye. The only epic on the album, it starts with synth that drones on for a little to long in my opinion before the guitar and drums kick in. Lifeson conducts great fast guitar as Lee comes in with nice vocals and bass. After an awesome guitar solo, the song ends. This song took a little while for me to fully enjoy it, but once you do it's great. (8/10)

6. Witch Hunt. My favorite song from the album begins with a menacing ambient atmosphere. The guitar really marches in this song with Lifeson's driving riffs. The synth really adds a lot as it sings during the rest of the song. A woefully underrated song. (10/10)

7. Vital Signs. Another dark menacing song from the album, 'Vital Signs' enters with glitched out vocals and synth. Peart's drums just pound throughout the song combined with some echo vocals. The slow bridge is great as well. Another underrated song. (10/10)

Moving Pictures certainly deserves it's fame, being flawless. Unlike certain songs on 'Permanent Waves', Moving Pictures used the synth to improve more then lead the songs making it a much stronger release. Essential.

Hope you found this review helpful.

NEW YORK ) RIGOR MORTIS (YONKERS Rigor Mortis

Single · 1990 · Death Metal
Cover art 3.00 | 1 rating
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UMUR
"Rigor Mortis" is a posthumous single release by US death metal act Rigor Mortis. By the time of it´s release Rigor Mortis had changed their name to Immolation. The single was relased through Seraphic Decay Records in July 1990.

The "Rigor Mortis" single features two tracks. The first is "Holocaust" which is taken directly off the "Decomposed" demo (recorded in July 1987). The second track on the single is "Warriors of Doom", which at the time was an unreleased demo track recorded in November 1987. Both tracks are examples of early US death metal with a raw thrash metal influence. The single is a rare collector´s item, but both tracks are more readily available on the Immolation compilation album "Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn (1995)".

So while the quality of the music is on a good level, I´d probably think twice before seeking out this rare collector´s item and get "Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn (1995)" instead. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

NEW YORK ) RIGOR MORTIS (YONKERS Warriors of Doom

Demo · 1987 · Death Metal
Cover art 3.00 | 1 rating
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UMUR
"Warriors of Doom" is the 3rd demo by US death metal act Rigor Mortis. It´s a one-track demo recorded in November 1987, but initially it wasn´t released. It wasn´t until the "Rigor Mortis" single was released in 1990, that the track officially saw the light of day and by that time Rigor Mortis were known as Immolation. The track is also available as part of the Immolation compilation album "Stepping on Angels... Before Dawn (1995)".

Compared to the thrash influenced early US death metal style on the "Decomposed" (recorded in July 1987), the "Warriors of Doom" track is slightly more death metal tinged, but still with a raw thrash influence. The sound production is of a pretty good quality (for the time) considering this is a demo and the musicianship are on a good level too.

While this demo never saw an official release, I´m sure there are copies out there. At the very least the copies the band made for themselves. I guess those copies are what you´d call a real collector´s item. A 3 star (60%) rating is warranted.

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