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ANDE Het Gebeente

Album · 2017 · Atmospheric Black Metal
Cover art 3.00 | 1 rating
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adg211288
Single musician black metal acts seem to a dime a dozen these days. This may be a good thing as some of the best black metal albums I've heard in recent years came from one musician 'groups'. Het Gebeente (2017) is the second album release by Belgian one-man black metal act Ande. The project of Jimmy Christiaens, the album is a follow-up to Licht (2015).

My first thought upon starting up Het Gebeente was that Burzum hadn't existed in vain. There are some striking similarities in style used here, right down to the vocals. Compared to Burzum's intentionally minimalist style I do find that on Het Gebeente Ande is incorporating more ideas which results in something that sounds a bit more direct with more discernible riffs. Another similarity between the two though is that Ande, like Burzum, opted to include an ambient track on the album in the form of the closing Uittrede.

While the bulk of the album is fairly passable black metal work I have to say that it's the ambient track that I'm most drawn to here as it suddenly shows off another side to what has up until that point proven to be a fairly one dimensional album. I think I'd like to have heard it used a bit more, especially in conjunction with Ande's black metal tracks. I expect that the music would have been more interesting that way. Right now it seems as if Ande isn't sure if it wants to be a more traditionally styled black metal act or an atmospheric black metal act. Again that's not unlike Burzum's early classics that showcase atmospheric black metal developing as a genre. But of course with Het Gebeente we're instead talking about an album that came out over two decades after Burzum classics like Hvis lyset tar oss (1994) and Filosofem (1996) so instead of pioneering the impression it leaves me with instead is lacking a coherent identity. That's the passage of time and context for you I guess.

It's a decent effort from Ande though, one that shows off a few good riffs and ideas here and there but just like the one member black metal act in itself is a dime a dozen so are releases like Het Gebeente. The average ones that are listenable, even enjoyable, but don't leave a lasting impression in any way.

SUBROSA For This We Fought the Battle of Ages

Album · 2016 · Doom Metal
Cover art 4.00 | 2 ratings
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Warthur
Another solid doom metal release from SubRosa, enriched as always by distinctive vocals and the twin violin sound of Pack and Pendleton. This time around, it seems to me that the band allow more post-rock influences to creep into their sound, in terms of production style, songwriting, and overall performance and aesthetic. This is not a radical departure - a slight post-rock influence by way of sludge metal has been present in their music for a good long while - and whilst it's not the sort of thing which will win over doom metal purists, SubRosa have never been an entirely purist doom metal act anyway. It is, however, just enough of a twist to keep things interesting, despite SubRosa ploughing this particular furrow since No Help For the Mighty Ones.

ALUK TODOLO Voix

Album · 2016 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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After four long years the mysterious ALUK TODOLO finally releases a followup to their attention getting breakthrough (well in the underground freakazoid’s world anyway) album “Occult Rock.” While the first three releases were primarily based in the bizarre world of noise and Krautrock with dark ambient and psychedelic accoutrements, the band added black metal elements on their fourth album and continues those same characteristics on their fifth album VOIX which is French for “voice” however there are no vocals on this as are there on any (unless some weird spoken gibberish counts) ALUK TODOLO album. This music lies outside the confines of language and takes the listener to some far corners of some remote corner of the sonosphere, so dark and daunting that no one has ever dared explore.

On paper VOIX sounds much like what was established on “Occult Rock,” namely black metal type tremolo picking with distortion galore with a frenetic and repetitive bass and drum to infinity while the guitar has little freak out dances around the main groove. Despite that similarity something sounds a bit different on this one. Whereas on “Occult Rock” it seemed like there was no sense of melodic development and in reality a very sophisticated take on the no wave sound that emerged in the early 80s by acts such as Swans, VOIX seems to have melodic developments albeit minor compared to the energetic performances that accompany each and every note that is played. In fact i think there is a slight surf rock type of thing going on at times but it is so obfuscated and drenched in hypnotic and chaotic time signatures that it is very hard to distinguish. But the fact that there is a variation in actual notes means that this album isn’t nearly as meditative and mesmerizing as previous offerings even though it is!

Another aspect that makes this different from previous albums is the fact that the drums have gained some independence. While in previous offerings it was customary for percussion to be tied to the activities of the bass guitar, here it breaks free from its constraints and acts more like a jazz drummer would do and creates complex drum rolls that create a rhythmic backbone of the droning lysergic dissonant guitar distortions that venture into pure atmospheric space that can result in extended humming sprees. All tracks bleed into each other and this is really one long sonic journey through the noise filled halls of the jittery and distortion fueled head trips of ALUK TODOLO’s wildest dreams. This type of music is in effect a psychedelic black metal free form extravaganza in a universe where no song structures exist and snippets of melody come and go as they please offering not a scant trace of rhyme or reason or any predictability whatsoever.

These sounds are solely for those who love noise, chaos and cold, dark places. This “music” may contain more elements of melody that the listener can latch onto in order to have some point of reference but they are equivalent to the bio-lantern of a deep sea angler in the crushing pressures of the deepest recesses of the Mariana Trench. This is bizarre music that is equally evocative as an active listener as a passive one. Much like the mathematics of a fractal, you can zoom into the details of your temporal comfort zone or not. This is music that is equally bizarre if you fully focus upon every detail or simply sit back and shop for new shoes on your favorite internet site. There seems to be a slight step up in the evolution of ALUK TODOLO and even though it took four years, it is excellent to hear their distorted reality coming into a new phase as it gradually and reluctantly takes on more melodic aspects of music and twist and distort them into their own bizarre concoctions.

ORANSSI PAZUZU Värähtelijä

Album · 2016 · Black Metal
Cover art 4.36 | 5 ratings
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Oranssi Pazuzu, of Finland, are a rare breed of black metal act. They play what can only be described as psychedelic black metal. Psychedelic black metal as a genre is not something I don't see used to describe bands or anything, but actually finding an artist that genuinely plays it, at least to the level of what Oranssi Pazuzu do, is much more rare. Apart from these guys the only other band I'd say genuinely plays it is Greek act Hail Spirit Noir, who gave me my first taste of what this style could offer.

Oranssi Pazuzu actually predate Hail Spirit Noir, having released their first two studio albums before Hail Spirit Noir put out their first, so they could well be the originators of this style. At the very least I haven't managed to find a third genuine psychedelic black metal band yet. That's definitely a shame as between them the two bands are producing some really interesting black metal and do things completely different to each other. Värähtelijä (2016) is Oranssi Pazuzu's fourth full-length album.

If Värähtelijä didn't have such a harshness to it the album would probably be considered to belong to the atmospheric black metal genre as the band very much focus on building an atmosphere here, compared to the more direct song-writing approach used on their previous album Valonielu (2013). It definitely has elements of it though. I'd say that their influence from psychedelic music also draws on the space rock sub-genre. At least its a spacey kind of vibe that I get from this album. Their song-writing tends to focus on longer compositions with the notable exceptions of Lahja and Hypnotisoitu viharukous. Three of the seven tracks pass the ten minute barrier including the 17:39 long Vasemman käden hierarkia.

I do find the individual compositions on the album to blend together somewhat though, as the band's style has a hypnotic quality to it. I'd say that's the main appeal of the album, though for me their style proves to be less immediate in terms of enjoyment compared to what Hail Spirit Noir play, or indeed prior album Valonielu, which I instantly found to be more accessible than this one, though I would say this one is ultimately the more interesting release. Värähtelijä has proven a very rewarding album to keep coming back to though, but at the same time it's not an album I've felt that I'd want to play that often, only when the mood strikes. For what it does, it's very good stuff and makes me want to hear more black metal acts adding such strong psychedelic influences into their music. There's a wealth of potential for this stuff if this album is anything to go by.

BUCKETHEAD Pike 245 - Space Viking

Album · 2017 · Non-Metal
Cover art 1.00 | 1 rating
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siLLy puPPy
BUCKETHEAD (as Bucketheadland) / Pike 245 - Space Viking / 2nd release of 2017 / All instrumental / Contains 3 tracks / Clocks in at 30minutes 30seconds / everything played by Buck-buck-buckethead

“Space Viking (To Bernie Worrell, the greatest music maker of all) (21:29) swallows up 2 thirds of the PIKE’s real estate and is one of the many ambient lullaby tracks. Ugh! My least favorite kind and at this time length i predict a serious snoozer-ama. It begins with a clean guitar melody and ambient backings. A bass is used sparingly and percussion is limited to cymbal action. As i suspected. This is nice mellow background music for surfing the web but totally boring otherwise. Nice production and would sound brilliant if he hadn’t done this type of album a million times before but the problem is that it is repetitive and has no musical composition taking place. It is simply a loop of a simple riff that repeats to infinity. Really? How many times can BH repeat this same booooooooring type of track? Mellow is fine and dandy but what if Barry Manilow only wrote “Mandy” and changed it around slightly for 100 times? In fact i’d rather listen to Manilow over this sterilized crap any day. The worst of the worst. Total sewage sludge on smear nursing home toilets. I’d rather watch paint dry than listen to this one more time

“Litten Well (3:20) picks up the speed and has a more percussion oriented groove with the clean guitar echoed more and sounds more akin to a folk rock track from Kansas or some other 70s prog folk entity. After the last dud any change is welcome of course but this pretty much takes the same timbres and tones and makes an interesting musical creation without wearing out its welcome. Perfect sounds, perfect composition and perfect time length for ideas presented. See BH? It’s not the hard. Spare us of the long winded crap like track one and make decent albums where EVERY track is worthy of investing our limited life span for a listen

“Ever” (5:41) starts out sounding more rock oriented with echoey more distorted guitar and bass and drums. It picks up speed right away and then has a heavier drum and more distorted guitar but it stays in mid tempo range and reverts to slow. This type has been done to death as well since it has been featured on many a PIKE.

After a promising first PIKE of 2017, i’m immediately hit by a total dud. The second track is moderately interesting but nothing to warrant a special effort to hear this one. As far as i’m concerned this PIKE is total filler in a sea of releases that contain many traces of greatness. Is the point of these crap albums to create a contrast for a higher appreciation of the excellent ones? Hmmm…. maybe the chicken lover isn’t so stupid but i’m not a believer that crap needs to fill the cracks between releases that are worthy of entering my ear canals. Overall i’m thoroughly bored by this rotting piece of excrement

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metal music reviews (older releases)

WARLORD Deliver Us

EP · 1983 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.41 | 8 ratings
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WARLORD was basically the creation of guitarist and songwriter Bill Tsamis and drummer Mark Zonder in 1980 which started in San Jose, CA but moved down to LA to find greener pastures and soon after this fortuitous decision caught the attention of Metal Blade Records with a couple demos and in no time at all released their debut EP album DELIVER US which found the band riding the new epic metal wave of early 80s bands. While WARLORD was clearly inspired by the sounds of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) they managed to distance themselves sufficiently in their approach along with other early American pioneers of this sound such as Manilla Road and Brocas Helm. On this debut Tsamis handles both guitar and bass duties but ironically goes by Destroyer on the guitar parts and The Raven on bass while Zonder copped the alias Thunder Child. This early version of the band included Jack Rucker aka Damien King on vocals and Diane Kornarens on keyboards who adopted the name Sentinel.

DELIVER US is an excellent slice of top notch early metal which offers all of the best features the era had to offer. The music is heavy and melodic with catchy riffs, well crafted compositions, excellent instrumental executions and all of the juicy lyrical themes ranging from mythology, fantasy, Christian values and epic battles. Damien King has the perfect vocal skills for this type of metal which captures all of the melodic flavors and operatic yumminess of Iron Maiden or Judas Priest with a more “earthy” type of grounded sound to it and sounded like a precursor to the more energetic power metal bands that would emerge towards the end of the decade. The guitar riffs are crisp and the independent bass lines delivery the classic 80s galloping effect while the keyboards are restricted to atmospheric generators to give the overall sound an epic ambience with some flashy effects thrown in now and again.

While WARLORD were clearly a product of their era, their true strength is in the excellent songwriting skills of Tsamis who cranked out one addictive track after another. Some tracks offer classical acoustic guitar intros that build up to a cranking riffy early metal anthems and some just rip from the get go and while soloing is included it is used sparingly as for effects rather than interrupting the overall flow of the music. Personally i’m not sure why WARLORD has never garnered more attention as their material was some of the strongest the early 80s metal scene had to offer but was probably overshadowed by the greats of the era stealing their thunder and also the MTV scene had propelled metal music onto the world’s stage and it seemed like everyone wanted to start a band and become the next Maiden or Priest. WARLORD was one of the strongest bands to emerge from this era and is definitely a must for fans of melodic 80s epic metal in the vain of Manilla Road, Blind Guardian or Virgin Steele. They would only release this debut EP and the following “And The Cannons Of Destruction Have Begun…” the next year but have released a few albums sporadically since 1997.

VENOM Demon

Demo · 1980 · Speed Metal
Cover art 2.00 | 1 rating
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The beginning of all things extreme metal can be traced back to this single demo released by VENOM in 1980 appropriately titled DEMON. While the early classic lineup consisted of Cronos (Conrad Lant) on vocals and bass, Mantas (Jeff Dunn) on guitars and Abaddon (Tony Bray) on drums, this three track cassette-only demo is the only VENOM release to feature Clive Archer aka Jesus Christ on vocals. Yep, JC dropped down from heaven to lend a hand at creating the big bang of everything thrash, death and black in the metal universe to follow! Saviors have their work cut out for them, ya know.

Despite what seems like a rather generic black metal album cover from the future with the inverted pentagram complete with a blurred goat depiction and black background with white font, DEMON is much more in the NWOBHM realms but don’t expect Angel Witch or Iron Maiden here. VENOM started out with an interest in Satanic shock value lyrics from the beginning. While very much rooted in the 70s blues oriented heavy rock scene, VENOM does turn up the steam a bit more than their contemporaries with heavier distortion on guitars and bass along with more pummeling rhythmic and percussive attacks. Also JC delivers some decent growly vocals at this early year sounding somewhat like a more talented Lemmy from Motorhead.

While “Angel Dust” and “Red Light Fever” would end up on the debut release “Welcome To Hell,” “Raise The Dead” would end up on the second release “Black Metal.” Of course all of these would be re-recorded with Chronos picking up JC’s savior torch. Despite this being rare and never re-released and ground zero for an entire sub-universe of the metal kingdom, it is hardly an essential release for listening purposes as the differences between the second versions are of much higher quality and Chronos’ vocals sound pretty much exactly the same as JC. This demo is merely of historical importance for its opening up the Pandora’s Box of extreme metal. Worth a listen on YouTube, for sure.

SCORPIONS Love At First Sting

Album · 1984 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 3.57 | 36 ratings
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Warthur
Blackout was a fun album, but it did rather walk a fine tightrope between pleasing the diehard metal audience on the one hand and expanding the band's appeal to a broader crowd on the other. With Love At First Sting, the balance tips firmly towards smooth accessibility and broad commercial appeal, with the end result being an album which will be liked by many but rarely loved.

For my part, there's just slightly too much self-conscious pandering to generic rock tastes here to make this feel like a really compelling Scorpions album; Rock You Like a Hurricane, the breakthrough single, kind of sums this up all really, in that it's a song that promises to rock you with the force of a natural disaster but is actually much wimpier than a good cross-section of their prior material. Interesting only if you are looking into Scorpions' brief moment in the pop limelight.

W.A.S.P. The Headless Children

Album · 1989 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art 4.08 | 23 ratings
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Warthur
Blackie Lawless and crew had been responsible for some of the most deliciously sleazy albums of the 1980s metal scene, successfully latching onto the dirtiest, filthiest side of the glam metal aesthetic whilst keeping a more purist heavy metal sound than most of their glam contemporaries. By the end of the decade, though, glam's shiny lyrca star was fading, and to their credit the group manage to pull off an extremely successful stylistic and aesthetic pivot with The Headless Children.

It's not that it's a radical departure from what has gone before musically - it's still WASP's style of heavy metal, with perhaps less emphasis than ever before on including a catchy number here and there. But lyrically, suddenly things have become surprisingly serious, Blackie Lawless revealing a thoughtful side to his writing that must have been incredibly surprising at the time.

In retrospect, of course, we've had a bunch of more serious-minded WASP releases like The Crimson Idol, so listeners coming to The Headless Children from that direction may find it seems like a solid, entertaining example of business as usual. But compared to the material preceding it, it's a radical shift in perspective that is elegantly executed. It must surely have seen like a massive artistic risk at the time, but not only is it a great album in its own right, but it also paves the way for WASP's future career.

ALUK TODOLO Ordre

EP · 2011 · Avant-garde Metal
Cover art 4.00 | 1 rating
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Sandwiched between their albums “Finsternis” and “Occult Rock,” the French experimental rock act ALUK TODOLO released a few nonconventional items. Firstly they were included on the split album “On The Powers Of The Sphinx” with Nihil Nocturne, Nightbringer and Saturnialia Temple. Then there was the collaborative effort with Der Blutharsch and the Infinite Church of the Leading Hand. And then there was this tiny two track EP titled ORDRE which was essentially some unreleased material from the “Descension” era and was excavated from the caverns of creativity to be resurrected onto they vinyl 10.” The two tracks are simple called “Side A” and “Side B.”

“Side A” sounds very much like the “Descension” album where their mesmerizing and transcendental opiate grooves combined with spooky atmospheres create nightmarish visions of cold ethereal visions of lost worlds. This track is characterized by a repetitive marching of the cymbal heavy drumbeat that works in tandem with the bass line as the guitar performs horrific distorted and mangled dissonant antics around them. As it continues the percussion becomes somewhat sloppier and erratic as some kind of buzzing sound swarms in and out while swirling ambience effervescently haunts the soundscape. Towards the end the percussion picks up speed and becomes quite solid as the no wave ostinati pummel the senses.

“Side B” continues imperceptibly with the chaos continuing in full force and continues to ratchet up the nightmarish tension with the instruments falling increasingly out of sync with one another generating true occult mystic psychological assaults as the pummeling percussive drive seems to be at war with the atmospheric swarms of sounds. ALUK TODOLO really blur the genre lines here as it sounds like a form of black metal no wave with Krautrock type psychedelia. While the earliest albums weren’t very metal oriented yet, this release is actually the first one that has enough drive and distortion of the guitars to be classified as part of the metal universe.

Despite being some leftovers they seem to have gotten the royal treatment and elements of blackgaze were unleashed to steer ALUK TODOLO towards the more metal oriented “Occult Rock” sound. While they’ve always been on the verge of being somewhat metal, the intensity fell just short enough to actually feel like they would fit in. On ORDRE that thin grey line was crossed and there is lots of energetic noisy distortionfests at hand although the song structures are nonexisistant and simply relies on free form meandering down a torturous sonic path into oblivion. Pretty cool stuff if you like dark ambient distorted no wave with Krautrock and traces of black metal chaos.

ALUK TODOLO Aluk Todolo

EP · 2006 · Non-Metal
Cover art 3.00 | 1 rating
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The debut release by ALUK TODOLO came out a year before the first full-length album in the form of this eponymous EP that contains only two tracks simply named “Side A” and “Side B.” This one was only released on 7” vinyl and debuts this French experimental band’s fascination with incorporating magical theories with traditional rock instrumentation to create new forms of consciousness and meditative states. Although they don’t incorporate black metal into the mix quite yet, they are often associated with black metal because of members involvement in Diametregon and Vediog Savior.

“Side A” begins with a repetitive bass ostinato with cymbal action and drumbeats accompanying. The guitar takes on a post-rock type of role as it dances around the groove and creates hypnotic riffs. The track picks up steam gradually and ratchets up the tension while the cymbals and drumbeats become more powerful. In the middle there’s a slow down but picks up the tempo again as the guitar becomes more frenzied and murky in the mix. It ends with some spoken dialogue by Aleister Crowley.

“Side B” is a lot more energetic than the “A” as the drums take a prominent role in fast and furious rolls while the bass while still repetitive has a more complex ostinato riff that has a touch more melody to it. The guitar floats in screechy sustained distortion mode but also has the role of extending the sound structure to include a dissonant riff while background ambience bleeds in to create a sinister sounding backdrop which is more poignant when the instruments drop out for a while and only its spooky howling is heard. The band jumps back into the groove and the guitar adds more antics and effects and i also detect a slight surf rock type of guitar riff popping in towards the end.

Not a bad start for ALUK TODOLO as this would establish their hypo-groovy mix of no wave and Krautrock. The no wave aspect is more in play at this stage with jangly dissonant guitars reminding me of early Swans but the mesmerizing repetition certainly brings Kraut classics by Neu to mind as well. This one doesn’t sound much different than the first full-length album but isn’t quite as dark and spooky as the following releases become.

DREAM THEATER Live at the Marquee

Live album · 1993 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 3.79 | 41 ratings
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Modrigue
Short but good

This album represents for me the first time I heard of DREAM THEATER. Recorded at the Marquee Club in London in 1993, the concert was part of a huge tour following the unexpected success of "Images and Words". (Almost) cleverly thought, the set-list simply consists in 2 emblematic progressive metal titles from their first and second albums, 1 new improvisation and... unfortunately 1 soapy song, "Another Day" or "Surrounded", depending on your version... Choose your sleeping pill. Nevertheless, despite the 45 minutes duration, the quality is present.

The live renditions of "Pull Me Under" and "Metropolis" touch perfection. If you want me to nitpick, I will just mention the very low volume of John Myung's bass solo. A problem of microphone? "Bombay Vindaloo" is an instrumental jam led by John Petrucci, where he displays his virtuosity. This improvisation offers a nice Middle-Eastern-ish mysterious ambiance, although a bit too long. Only appearing on this disc, there exist no other studio or live versions of this track.

However, for the fan, the main interest of this record are undoubtedly "A Fortune In Lies" and "The Killing Hand". Finally, two songs from "When Dream and Day Unite" where James LaBrie replaces Charles Dominici! LaBrie's high-pitched and raging vocals does the justice that these great compositions deserve, making them more aggressive than the originals. His performance, especially on these tracks, is incredible! There is also an alternate opening for "The Killing Hand". Entitled "Another Hand", this enjoyable neo-proggy instrumental was written during the tour to bring a smoother transition to the end of "Another Day".

"Live at the Marquee" is simply THE old-school DREAM THEATER live album to own, as well as a good introduction to the band's first era. After the listen, a hopeless and futile idea germinates in your mind: maybe one day the band will re-record "When Dream and Day Unite" with James LaBrie...

CATHEDRAL The Ethereal Mirror

Album · 1993 · Doom Metal
Cover art 4.10 | 21 ratings
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Warthur
Although over time I have come to appreciate the early doom sound that Cathedral had on their debut - a style of comparatively purist doom metal flavoured and given a little extra edge by the band members' past experience in various extreme metal subgenres - the style wouldn't last long. Already, on their second album, you could hear the gear shift, with the band already moving away from traditional doom to the sort of good-natured stoner metal that would be their calling card for much of their subsequent career. This unfortunately puts more of a spotlight on Lee Dorrian's vocal performance, which frankly I find to be a turn-off, and the catchier, simpler, more accessible sound feels kind of vapid and empty to me if I'm being brutally honest.

DREAM THEATER Awake

Album · 1994 · Progressive Metal
Cover art 4.06 | 137 ratings
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Modrigue
When Dream and Technique disunite

After the unexpected success of the enchanting "Images and Words", and especially the hit-single "Pull Me Under", DREAM THEATER were urged by their music label to release a new album, more aggressive, certainly because of the recent grunge explosion. And that's exactly the main issue with "Awake": under pressure, the musicians didn't have the required latitude to fully imagine and develop their compositions. So the tracks are cold, darker, complex, maybe more modern, but without a proper soul. Those expecting the magic and fantasy of their two first albums may be disappointed. No problem with that, every band can - and must - evolve, but this time the virtuosity nearly fails at serving a real cause or crafting a captivating atmosphere. As you understand, I was mostly deceived by this third studio album.

However, there are some titles that caught my attention. "Erotomania" is easily one of DT's most breathtaking instrumentals. The musicianship is unbelievable, and this track features an incalculable number changes and ambiances! Great! My favorite song of the record is the multi-faces "Voices", alternating calm, floating and raging passages with cool sound effects. The middle part is an iced beauty... Concerning the average titles, "Caught in a Web" and "Scarred" reminds me, at times, the vanished magic of the former discs. "Space-Dye Vest" has also touching moments.

The rest of the disc fails at catching my attention and at really transporting me to another world. Furthermore, the somber and modern musical direction of "Awake" does unfortunately not spare us a few moments of soapiness: "Innocence Faded", "The Silent Man", "Lifting Shadows Off A Dream"...

"Awake" is definitely not my DREAM THEATER favorite, but will allow the band to confirm its leadership in the progressive metal sphere. Too long, too complex, too cold, lacking memorable melodies, this opus is an example where the means - the virtuosity of the musicians - is used as an end, and not to an end. Nonetheless, the band members shouldn't be blamed, they were pressurized by their record label, which is in complete opposition to their style of music, requiring to "Take The Time" to give birth to. As a result, internal dissensions will appear within the group, and keyboardist Kevin Moore will left the ship. Therefore, "Awake" marks the end of the first era of DREAM THEATER.

"Awake" still remains a technical demonstration and a mandatory listen for fans. The newcomers won't find it very accessible, although there are a few interesting tracks that shouldn't be missed. Not the DT album to start with.

WITCHCRAFT Witchcraft

Album · 2004 · Hard Rock
Cover art 4.00 | 5 ratings
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Warthur
Steeped sufficiently in Black Sabbath worship to be a natural fit into the Rise Above stable, Witchcraft nonetheless don't offer doom metal as such on this debut album of theirs. Rather, the album resembles occult-tinged hard rock with bluesy influences - the sort of material that the band might have turned out had Tony Iommi taken up the offer to leave to join Jethro Tull and the remaining members ended up fusing with early Wishbone Ash. Perhaps, had Pentagram had the chance to record some of their earliest material professionally back in the early 1970s, they might have produced something somewhat similar to this. Don't expect stoner doom of the crushing heaviness of Electric Wizard, but if you come here expecting psych-tinged hard rock verging on heavy psych, you're in the right ballpark.

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