Let’s get right to the metal.
I have been really bad with this following release, hoarding it and not sharing like some paranoid miscreant. Then again, it is the new Therion (Les Fleurs du Mal) and that means something special. Not wishing to be in a rut, the band have tried something new. Much of it is in French, quite a bit of bawdy and oh so pleasurable. “Initials BB” is worth the price of admission alone. No need to understand French to get the gist. Think a musical interpretation of an Emmanuelle movie. Just because it is called Les Fleurs du Mal and based on a volume of French poetry by Charles Baudelaire doesn’t mean it has to be turgid pap. It is an album that should be played in its entirety live for certain.
Another album that I have been enjoying is the new Kamelot. Silverthorn is really rather good, but I am yet to determine whether or not it is their best to date. It is as beautiful and passionate as some of their best, but nothing that jumps out at you like their song “Haunted”. Yet again, I am moved to say if Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice had a metal band it would sound like this. “Song for Jolee” is an epic and soaring ballad. There are people who loath this band for their pompous symphonic metal and their reasons are exactly the reason I can’t get enough.
Ashes You Leave are a band who I don’t recognize. Despite my ignorance there is no denying The Cure for Happiness is goth prog metal at its finest. The metal flute on “The Ever Changing” would make Jethro Tull’s Ian Anderson proud. Their female lead singer drags you into their world and firmly keeps you entranced. The Cure for Happiness doesn’t necessarily have that instant catchy factor but a bit of patience is rewarded quite nicely. Well worth the effort and a welcome addition to the genre.
Kiss are back with an album called Monster and for once this lot have lived up to their hype. This is quite frankly the best thing Kiss has done since the ’80s. The sound reminds Kiss fans of their output in the early days. It might have something to do with the fact that guitarist Tommy Thayer has been co-writing much of the music on here. Kudos to Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons in letting other band members have a crack at things. If you ever liked Kiss then this one is worth your attention.
Dave Mustaine of Megadeth & Metallica fame join forces with Dan Spitz of Anthrax fame on an album called Red Lamb. Pretentious wank that should remain a one-off? Far from it, the one feeling you are left with at the end of this album is a desire that this leads to the collaboration becoming a real band. Oh yes and it is for charity, mate! That is right, some damn good metal, all in aid of autism awareness. If Mustaine had replaced Joey Belladonna one of the many times he left Anthrax, this might be what it would have sounded like.
And finally we come to the live album from Gamma Ray. Called Skeletons & Majesties Live, this a wonderful two-CD 20-song release that includes appearances from Mike Kiske (ex-Helloween, Kai Hansen of GR’s main man’s ex-band) on several tracks including Helloween’s classic “Future World”. Not exactly the best intro to the band but an enjoyable live album nonetheless.
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