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Music Review: Avenge Sevenfold, Darkwater (Scotland), Darkwater (Sweden), Octavia Sperati, and Tesla

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I'm quite surprised the pile keeps at a constant rate for review discs. It seems the weather is keeping the PR types in doors more this year. This week marks an unusual event for me. It is the first time I have ever received two CDs from two different bands with the same name within quick succession of each other. A lawsuit brewing perchance?
You would think people would do a bit more research before coming up with a name. I am well aware that coming up with a name for a band is a pain in the arse. There are many people I know who think my band's name Growing Old Disgracefully is lame and  I have challenged them to come up with something better, with no responses so far.

DVD Reviews

Avenged Sevenfold: Excess all Areas

Metalcore heroes have taken a risk with this DVD. It is pretty much devoid of music at all. It has 5 live tracks as a bit of an aside to the rest of it. However, for fan or non-fan alike, the documentary, which makes up most of this DVD, is quite interesting. If you want to know what it takes to be a big band these days, they got the skinny on it.

From their touring together all over the US in one van to their current level of fame, this fan driven band tells it like it is. And unlike many bands in a similar position they take time to thank all the people who helped them get where they are. They even dare to tell us how their odd name came about. It becomes clear that this lot know where they want to be and how to get there, even having a plan on what type of music each CD will be like early in their career.

It might have been a good idea to include more music in this package and have a slightly less annoying interface, but then again I think the lads can get away with it. Their fans probably have oodles of examples of all the tracks and will snap this up in droves. For the rest of us, it's an fascinating ride on the current trail to superstardom.

CD Reviews

Darkwater: 1920 Single

This bunch of Scots play heavy goth electronica that the lazy compare to Garbage. They produce danceable female song gothy pop with attitude and class. On here you get the title track,  a b-side, a live track, plus a video for the single as well as for "Alone And.." The band will be filling goth dance-floors in your area soon. No ponce posturing just quality stuff. Oh and Anthrax's Scott Ian mixed this in LA. Expect to hear a lot more from this lot very soon.

Darkwater: Calling the Earth to Witness

Swedish Power Prog which is firmly placed in the Dream Theater worshiping throngs of progressive musicians. The band produce accessible power prog that neither gets to noodley as to be boring nor too long. Think "Pull Me Under" era DT and you would not be far off with this lot. The musicianship is absolutely first on here and there is none of the excess you find on a lot of similar CDs.

You have to feel sorry for anyone in this genre releasing stuff right after the amazing new Porcupine Tree and Dream Theater releases. But one has to say, if you are a fan of accessible melodic power prog then look no farther than this lot. Its a most satisfying listen and like much of this type of music shares one aspect with port. It gets better and better with time.

Lets hope on their second CD they can start developing a bit more originality and songwriting prowess, but not a bad debut.

Octavai Sperati: Grace Submerged

This lot prove to anyone who hasn't got it yet that women can do power metal just as well as the men. The band, made up of all women save the drummer, produce a wonderful mixture of gothy pop and power metal that is one step heavier than say Within Temptation and is closer to the Viking metal of Leave's Eyes. I have the enhanced version which comes with a video for the track "Moonlight" which does not over-egg the female element and concentrates far more on the music.

This is heady stuff that I thoroughly enjoy and they are definitely a band to watch. While not in the Nightwish, WT, or Leaves Eyes league yet they are certainly chomping at the bit. Codpieces, swords and fur outfits are fine but its the tunes that really matter. Candlelight, their label, continues to release some cracking stuff.

Tesla: Reel to Reel (part II)

This is the second part of their covers album that was given out at their UK gigs and with Classic Rock magazine. Et tu 2 Tesla! More covers *&^%ing covers…egads ugh. Say it ain't so Jeff?

Like the first one, I can gladly report that this is not one of those dire cover albums that seem to pop up all the time. It's, in fact, rather decent. Not as good as the Shaw/Blades release of late, but decent. The band does not butcher anything too badly, it's all listenable and quite pleasant for a few spins. They do an admirable job on tracks like "Shooting Star", "Saturday Night Special" and "Beer Drinkers and Hellraisers". I have found myself reaching for their debut Mechanical Resonance with renewed vigour. There is no denying Tesla's talent. Let's just hope next time round its original material.

I hate to end on a bummer but it would be amiss if I didn't mention the tragic loss of a close online mate of mine Mike "Cold Fury" Hendrix's wife. She died tragically in a motorcycle accident on Friday. Mike has been a keen advisor and aide to me in both my blogging life and that of my musical endeavours. So I ask you, dear readers, to raise a glass of your favourite beverage to Christiana's memory. She is a tragic loss to all that knew and loved her.

As always, and possibly more urgently this week, I urge you all to stay safe, rocking, and check out live music as often as you can.

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