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Everything posted by Iceni

  1. On July 27, 2018, Redemption released their seventh full-length album, Long Night’s Journey Into Day. The release was mastered by Jacob Hansen, who has also worked with Amaranthe, Doro, Primal Fear and Volbeat. It is the first album to feature Evergrey vocalist Tom Englund on vocals, replacing longtime frontman Ray Alder, also of progressive metal institution Fates Warning. Englund’s highly emotional, husky vocal style could lend a rougher edge to Redemption’s simultaneously melodramatic and contemplative approach. It is also worth pointing out that in the band’s new promo shoot (https://www.redemptionweb.com/) he looks quite a lot like the 30-year-old Boomer (https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/30-year-old-boomer). It’s a good choice, however, considering that Evergrey and Redemption are strongly reliant on their vocalists to define their sound. The Art of Loss was the band’s most eclectic effort, but Alder’s singing provided the basic foundation that defined it as a Redemption album. Englund could be better off in Redemption, given that Evergrey have been meandering for the last couple releases while the former band have been musically top-notch for most of their oeuvre. Chris Poland, formerly of Megadeth, returns for this album, having appeared on The Art of Loss for a very noticeable shred outing on the title track. He will be joined by Italian guitar veteran Simone Mularoni, of Empyrios and the estimable prog-power heavyweights DGM. Also, after an extensive coma after a 2014 aneurysm (https://www.facebook.com/Bernie-Versailles-379611832240834/), the band’s longtime lead guitarist Bernie Versailles returns to the lineup. The title Long Night’s Journey Into Day is (according to the label, Metal Blade: https://www.metalblade.com/redemption/) an inversion of Long Day’s Journey Into Night, the title of a play by Eugene O’Neill concerning a dysfunctional family being destroyed by addiction. (Interestingly, the album title itself is also the title of a movie about life under apartheid, as revealed during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In other words, the most South African documentary imaginable.) The album itself sees more varied lyrical content. The video for “Someone Else’s Problem” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQKHm_l-vcc) sees alternating shots of the band playing out in a very Bonneville Salt Flats-looking area, and of a woman luxuriating amongst various high-end items seething with unsubstantiated ennui and vindictiveness. Hilariously, like the divergent plot points in an episode of The Good Guys, the woman drives up to where the band are playing and contemptuously chucks a presumably very pricy set of pumps out the window at their feet. The band, consummate prog heads as they are, ignore this amusing display of human behavior completely and keep playing. It’s hard to tell exactly who is going to be someone else’s problem. It seems like it’s the woman, as the guy in this interaction is totally absent and the band seem to be slightly on the receiving end of this annoyance. Englund was added in the hope of finding a replacement for Alder who could address the same themes with the right tone. The press release notes both bands cover the human condition – though it should be said that Evergrey often takes on a pessimistic approach. Nonetheless, Englund is best when he can exercise the full range of his voice, which a Redemption album certainly would permit. Long Night’s Journey into Day tracklist 1. Eyes You Dare Not Meet in Dreams 2. Someone Else’s Problem 3. The Echo Chamber 4. Impermanent 5. Indulge in Color 6. Little Men 7. And Yet 8. The Last of Me 9. New Year’s Day 10. Long Night’s Journey into Day Redemption is: Tom Englund – vocals Nick van Dyk – guitars Sean Andrews – bass Chris Quirarte – drums Vikram Shankar – keyboards
  2. I invite you to come with me to a time before 2008. It may surprise you to learn that at this point, Circle II Circle was actually a pretty damn good band. They did eventually become prog Godsmack, as history will record with bitter regret chronicling the storied tale of Savatage. For now, however, let’s make like boomers and complain about how things used to be better. Burden of Truth sounds like sentimentalism, at times. It feels rather like Skid Row filtered through Phantom of the Opera, in that characteristically Trans-Siberian Orchestra fashion. The difference, though, is that Circle II Circle crank the technicality and bite of their music significantly higher than TSO’s comfortable bombast. It’s certainly a little saccharine, but performed with such conviction and talent as to make that nearly irrelevant. Zak Stevens’ voice is vital to this whole undertaking. His overbored bass resonates unstoppably through every song, an unmistakably mature vocal delivery that dignifies even the album’s most banal emotional turns (“How can we learn to live as one…” “I walked by the church and saw the children, and the world through their eyes…”). Moreover, it is very identifiably American, and that’s the biggest selling point of this album. It’s worth noting he layers very nicely with his backing vocalists. The “The Black” and title track have particularly good harmonizing. One might be tempted to snicker at some of these lyrics and the melodies. How antiquated the notion of melodic music without dizzying rhythmic changes or production magic out the ass. Yet, the sheer power behind it all is impossible to deny. The piano line on “Heal Me” would be insufferable if it didn’t drag you in immediately. Despite the sugar content, Burden of Truth is largely fat-free. It doesn’t fall victim to most metal tropes, including the prevalence of vibrato. It’s endearing too, in a sort of Andie McDowell in Five Weddings and a Funeral kind of way, or perhaps of Joy Davidson in Shadowlands – very American. The opening to Revelations? Badass. The crunchy riffs of A Matter of Time? Some slick shit. The entirety of Evermore? One of the most masterfully tight, pointed pieces of prog metal out there that still pounds away at the ears like a cannon blast. If you wanted an aspirational American soundtrack, this is it. Songs for an endearing everyman with more behind his ears than you might guess.
  3. I seem to be one of the few people who correctly predicted that comedy would suck balls during this administration. Very few comedians know how to mock someone like Trump because it's way too easy to just come off as angry rather than amusing (i.e. the George Carlin dilemma) Since the start of his campaign I've counted about 7 good jokes about the man. Most of these good jibes have been either gentle jokes that create humor through stark contrast with the man's character, or searing indictments by conservative religious people who voted against him. Anyhow, this review is interesting considering most highly ideological metal has sounded pretty shit - so much that even if I agreed with them I couldn't enjoy it. Elgibbor is a very Christian and very polemic artist but the music is pretty mediocre. I remember Jon Schaeffer's Sons of Liberty being kinda crappy, and this was back was I was really into libertarianism. Halcyon Way started sucking after their first album, and what a pity because they had some real potential.
  4. I'm a sucker for symphonic/dark melodies so I may well have skimmed guitar for them. That being said I remember thinking it was an improvement in every way. Nyn is hilarious. You'd absolutely hate them, they're basically Archspire with symphonic elements, but I enjoy them. You can't beat being able to capture a band's sound by humming Phantom of the Opera, making barking noises and blowing the occasional raspberry to imitate the kick drums.
  5. After two singles – 2014’s poppy “inner Enemy” and the somewhat more straight-laced “The Promise” in 2016 – Swedish progressive metal maestros Seventh Wonder have recently announced their new album “Tiara”. The release is being mixed by Oyvind Larsen, the man responsible for mixing on the already-mentioned singles. The album has undergone mastering by Jens Bogren at Fascination Studios. Bogren has previously worked with other progressive metal stalwarts such as James Labrie, Katatonia, Opeth and Symphony X. ( Frontiers Records will oversee the worldwide release of the 13-track concept album, including as a double LP. The band used the following lyrics in their promotion: “’We've watched you since the dawn of time, with every moment gone by. A million suns fade and die, this is the end?’ Beware, for they're coming..!” These are presumably an allusion to alien forces, given the cosmic imagery. The precedent for a concept album about exists in the band’s widely-lauded “Mercy Falls”, and more within melodic progressive metal more generally, perhaps most notably in Evergrey’s “In Search of Truth”, which also concerned aliens and isolation. Musically it’s very much in keeping with the band’s tradition. From the promo, the work sounds rather more like “Mercy Falls” than the preceding “The Great Escape”. It’s less melodic (of course this should be taken with a grain of salt given the general character of their oeuvre) but slightly darker than their previous work. From the musicianship I trust this will work; Anubis Gate attempted this in 2017 and failed, as did Adagio who despite employing the preeminent “dark prog” master Kelly Carpenter (Beyond Twilight, Darkology, Epysode, Outworld, Zierler) dropped their neoclassical edge and therefore their unique appeal. If anything it sounds like SW might be making the opposite ‘mistake’, but their style is developed enough that for them churning out the same stuff would be at least to my ears an entirely acceptable route. The tracklist is unknown, but Seventh Wonder’s promo video can be found here:
  6. I would have thought the potato's texture would clash with the dough and cheese. I guess that's not the case for pierogis though.
  7. Last day at Target. Wasn't that bad, but I am happy to be out of that job and looking forward to Christmas. Unfortunately I wasn't up at the checklane so I couldn't use my Duke Nukem impression on any irritating customer.
  8. Iceni


    Im curious to see what Trump would do in a bailout assuming he doesn't shit the bed. Technically his party should be all about letting the market run so he presumably wouldn't bail the banks out. That being said, I'd be a moron to think the Republicans aren't severely compromised.
  9. Iceni


    That is definitely worse than anything I've experienced. Too bad you can't tell them that they're the kinda people who helped cause the 2008 financial crisis... Dicky Fatwallet. God damn. Gotta remember that one, beautifully British.
  10. Iceni


    You know I can almost handle the stupidity. It's the angry stupid people that get on my nerves, and more than that the angry entitled people. Honestly the customer base at my store wasn't that bad but boy howdy the bad people got pretty bad. The worst guy was someone who wanted to get a cash refund despite having no receipt and no card. It gets better: the item in question was a bottle of vitamin water. MSRP: $0.88. He kept saying "it's no big deal, so just gimme the cash refund." That's not how it works, dipshit. The correct line is "it's no big deal, so I will quit holding up the line to shake you down."
  11. He's good at that...he pulled the US out of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which I have no choice but to assume was done specifically to piss me off just in case everything else (including his transparently cynical pandering to Christians) hadn't already soured me to him.
  12. Iceni


    Well that certainly explains your music preferences. Godspeed you peerless altruist taking upon yourself the unrelenting negativity of the nation's aggregated dimwits, assclowns and shitheads. I worked retail part-time for the last year and from what light interaction I had with customers in that capacity I can't even begin to imagine how stark raving mad I would have gone if I were in your position.
  13. Alabama didn't vote for Moore, thank God. I'm excited about some of these applications. One school I didn't actually apply to until I was pleasantly surprised by a promo email from them. My professors had good impressions of the program and judging from how enthusiastically said program bombarded me with emails after my GRE results I would assume I could not only get in but also expect pretty good financial aid. There are more prestigious schools I'd choose over them if I had the option (three, to be exact), but I really do have to take cost into consideration and that being said I think I could have a really good time with these guys. Courses look damn good, and it'd be nice to get away from this stuffy East Coast atmosphere and live in a proper city with more than two metal gigs a year. Who knows, I might even interact romantically with a woman at some stage.
  14. "Lost Innocence" by UnSun. Stupid poppy 'gothic' metal song. Don't care. Catchy as hell, lead riff kicks ass. I've enjoyed this one for years.
  15. I actually liked Robin Williams. Brian Regan is phenomenal, or at least he used to be. Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Godfrey, and Bill Burr are probably my favorite American comedians. There are any number of British comics I've enjoyed: Michael McIntyre, Simon Evans, Miles Juppe, David Mitchell, Lee Mack, Frankie Boyle, Jo Caulfield, Zoe Lyons, Romesh Ranganathan, Stephen K. Amos, Alun Cochrane, Rhod Gilbert, Sean Walsh, and of course Bill Bailey.
  16. S/T by Harvest Misery - fairly good semi-technical death metal from ZA. @deathstorm it reminds me a little of Dying Fetus, you might wanna try this. https://harvestmisery.bandcamp.com/album/harvest-misery
  17. I'd recommend using the @ sign to tag me if you'd like a response and don't want to hunt down a quote - but to answer your question here: I'd not mind giving Ihsahn money just because he's opposed to my religion. I assume the vast majority of metal musicians are opposed to my religion, so if I went with the whole "think impact" route I probably couldn't listen to any of it. My decisions to purchase music are driven by the client-vendor relationship. Burzum killed a guy and people seem quite happy to give him money, because he didn't use his electric guitar to murder anybody. I just refuse to give people money for making music that attacks my religion. Hence, my refusal to buy from Akercocke, Amon Amarth, Deicide, Vital Remains. Question is whether Ihsahn makes music shitting on Christianity or whether he just spends his spare time doing that. If it's the latter I'm happy to pay for his guitar work, but I sure as hell won't pay to hear him prattle about religion. And yeah, I was streaming it over YouTube. Candlelight Records has a Bandcamp where I could listen for free as well.
  18. Ay oop m8. Finishing up that NORSE album I conclude it's worth everyone's time. "Further Nowhere" by Cold Insight. Pretty good drawing music provided what you're drawing is kinda miserable. It's not phenomenal but it does suit the mood. Features some guy who's part of Enshine and used to be in Letheian Dreams, so there's some melodic cred for you.
  19. I think it's a subgenre of prog, in its purest form, that borrows a lot from hardcore. It's got its own tropes and approaches to other genre tropes. That said, it seems more a production technique than anything else. Evidence being that bands like Novallo, Shattered Skies, Voyager and even Orden Ogan have used said elements but incorporated them with their own style.
  20. Quo Vadis could probably get back to top of the heap if they issued a new album, but for now it's gotta be Gorod. If First Fragment follows up Dasein with one or two albums that are even remotely as awesome they'll blast right up the rankings too. Same goes for Dawn of Dementia, Deviant Process and Vale of Pnath, and their latest work. As for new bands, I'd say Inanimate Existence has shown the best combination of quality and consistency.
  21. Oh man, I'll keep an eye out for that. Apparently Augury will be releasing something, very excited for that.
  22. Welcome, fellow Sun Belt native here from New Mexico. Check out Sunless Rise for some quality melodeath if that's what you're spinning now.
  23. I recall their first album "A hunger rarely sated" being better, but I'm not sure. NP: "The Divine Light of a New Sun" by NORSE. Definitely something @MacabreEternal should look into, sounds kinda like a more industrial and blackened (albeit less crushingly heavy) Altarage. Imagine putting a diesel engine inside a washing machine, turning on both and plugging a MIDI cable into it, cranking the reverb and then kicking it down a really long flight of stairs.
  24. I've just noticed I used "That being said" twice in that paragraph. Good Lord, I really have gotten lazy with my writing...in any case, I might not buy from Ihsahn but I'm more than happy to throw him on when I'm on YouTube or something. "The Ache of Want" by Anopheli. The musicians describe this as "Cello-driven emo crust", which sounds a lot shittier than the actual music. It's more like a type of black/doom-death with entirely different approach and production, and the aforementioned cello. @FatherAlabaster don't think I tagged you on FB for this but I imagine you'd enjoy.
  25. Sorry deathstorm, I don’t like it. It took me a while to come round to Amaranthe. I first heard them when they were announced for the roster of ProgPower XIII and thought they sounded too poppy, sage musical critic that I was. I did entertain the idea that that was the entire point, but dismissed them as being too technically lacking in any case. Their second album, The Nexus, featuring the least inventive album art I’d seen in a while, was a marked improvement, with its title track nearly a total ripoff of the leading single from their self-titled debut but a demonstrably better take. Everything was more or less the same, just done right. The riffs were on point, there were a higher proportion of peppy bubblegum tracks that sounded like Cascada doing djent (or just a slightly less sugary Blood Stain Child) – it was their best album. They followed this up with Massive Addictive, a somewhat weaker but nonetheless slightly different album with a couple tracks that sounded like they could have been composed by MrWeebl. As far as third albums went, it wasn’t bad – and the slow songs were actually all rights, even on the acoustic versions. It was also a little closer to regular melodeath. That brings us to Maximalism. In principle, the concept behind this album is fine. Amaranthe always imitated pop, so why not imitate current pop? It could inject some life into this worthless moribund slurry of pink noise that the post-Trump miasma has been nice enough to slowly excrete over this most recent tax period. I mean, the only way this would could fail is if modern pop were so limp-wristed and ineffectual that even the nuclear cocaine infusion of metal failed to resuscitate its bloated heart. Whoops. It’s fascinating how one can avoid actually discussing the album for so long here just because of the hilarious incidental commentary. All of the songs here a poppy in an obligatory sense, rather like the current generation of pop. I remember hating Ke$ha back in 2012 when she was big, but hearing “Tik Tok” after a bleak slog through a bunch of mopey nonsensical dogshit and limp-wristed soggy whining is a godsend. At best, Maximalism is a poor man’s version of their previous output, and at worst it’s an imitation of modern pop in the sense that you don’t remember anything about it other than that it sucked. Anyway, what about the actual songs? “Maximize” is a terrible opening track. On one hand, it’s a pale imitation of the band’s previous pop-metal efforts, with all of the elements watered down – and on the other hand, it’s about as close as they get to their previous work. Compared with the other songs on the album, it’s not bad, but using it as an opener sets the listener up for disappointment. I remember thinking “well, that was kinda weak – let’s see what else you got” and then Maximalism kinda shuffles its feet before presenting the listener with a couple of nearly uncut metal tracks. Well, that’s not quite true. “Boomerang” is pretty fun if a little repetitive. Watch the music video because it is definitely the funniest I’ve seen in years. Oddly, Elle King seems to have been one of the stronger influences on this album. The combination of rhythmic country/blues-type riffs and poppy choruses has been combined with metal plenty of times before, but that doesn’t mean Amaranthe aren’t willing to take a few whacks at the deceased equine. It’s OK, I suppose. “21” is passable. “On the Rocks” is good, although the “na na na” shit certainly triggered an allergic reaction that clouded by judgment of the song for some time. The other tracks are a relatively dull mixed bag. “Limitless” has a dreary false energy and an utterly forgettable chorus. In other words it’s an excellent imitation of the vast majority of Daya’s work. “Fury” is the least poppy song on here, more or less just a modern melodeath tune. It works on its own merits, but it’s not particularly interesting. “Faster” is attempting to be an Amaranthe song and sorta falling short. The chorus is melodic, but it doesn’t work for me. There’s one track on here that instantly distinguishes itself as the worst song. “That Song”, the same old song. Too damn right. It is the same old song, the same old song I’ve heard from those perennially overpublicized Nevadan jackoffs they call Imagine Dragons. I usually despise songs made by these guys on the basis that they're trying to make powerful music but invariably fail because they're imitating a genre that sounds better with distortion. Amaranthe were nice enough to prove to me that even a bonafide metal band can make a song worthy of an Infiniti crossover. Let me be a little more clear-headed here. This isn’t, strictly speaking, a bad album (except for That Song, of course). Part of the bridge from “Supersonic” is all right, sounds kinda like Queen. The fact that the best song on this album is “Break Down And Cry” is a semantic joke the band have made for me, but it’s good nonetheless. Pretty strong keyboard and a decent chorus. “Endlessly” is a genuinely good ballad if a bafflingly austere end to the album. These tracks are…sorta catchy, and competently performed. “Fireball” is a good example of what I’m talking about. It’s a perfectly good song. The problem is that it’s not a good Amaranthe song. An Amaranthe song should be an earworm that you have genuine trouble dislodging. None of the songs here have that quality. “Drop Dead Cynical” and “Digital World” from the previous album were quite memorable despite being relatively weaker than previous work, but nothing on Maximalism sticks out like that. If you want a modern artist to imitate, go for someone energetic and chirpy like Allie X or Ariana Grande and imitate their best songs. All I’m asking for is a metal version of Greedy, because that song’s sexy as hell. Bottom line, Amaranthe are at their best when they’re being as bubblegum as possible, and this album sees them stray farther from that aim.
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