This week it is a collection of prog reviews, and as always, the types of it vary quite a bit.
Artlantica are what you would get if Yngwie Malmsteen and Joe Lynn Turner did a symphonic metal album. Across the Seven Seas is a tour de force of histrionic vocals and guitar flamboyance. Not that this is a complaint by any means, just if you are not into the over-the-top show-off type metal, this might not be for you. Me, I love it and it stays just the right side of impenetrable self-indulgence.
Delain are back with a “stop-gap” release called appropriately Interlude. Rather than merely covers and live tracks tossed together, there are a couple of new songs that are on par with some of their best. Neither have the “left on the studio floor” vibe at all. The highlight of this release has to be the “ballad” version of “We Are the Others” from their last release. This version makes for an even more moving song considering the subject matter. The covers are suitable and the live tracks demonstrate the band’s power live. This is certainly worthwhile for fans of the band or of the prog genre.
Divided Multitude have released an album called Feed on Your Misery which is quite good fun. The most amusing thing about it is that it sounds like Paul Stanley of Kiss fronting a prog metal band. That is not to say it doesn’t work, it is just amusing that the lead singer’s voice is so familiar-sounding. While I might have never heard of them, I can’t argue with the quality of this power prog metal. They certainly do it well.
Landmarq produce a rather mellow version of prog. And you can’t help thinking of Kate Bush when listening to Entertaining Angels, which is by no means a bad thing. This is the most English of prog music. This is a “Special Edition” of the release with another CD almost 30 minutes in length. All in all, this is a pleasant and entertaining release that is a good counterpoint to much of the prog metal I listen to.
Niacin are not really any type of metal but are merely heavy jazz fusion power prog. However, on Krush, they prove while they are so beloved by so many. The music is so complex and meaty that the lack of vocals never even registers. This is very much jazz for the non-traditionalist. It is not a very far reach from this stuff to the jazz-tinged power prog of bands like Dream Theater and their ilk. The virtuosity is quite impressive and will amaze many.
Timo Tolkki’s Avalon have released The Land of New Hope and this as over-the-top epic stuff, as you would expect. However, if you love this type of symphonic metal then you will lap this all up in spades. The interchange between the male and female lead is done perfectly and to the max. The songs are epic, catchy and satisfying. It is equal parts Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice and Iron Maiden. Every song is crafted in such manner as to squeeze everything out of it. “I’ll Sing You Home” is a power ballad done right. It’s a perfect album for the right mood and clearly a contender for album of this year.
And that is your lot for the week. Stay safe and rocking out there people.