Quite an interesting collection this week; an encouraging start to 2008. Something quite nice happened this week. I discovered an excellent band I confess I have never heard about before. I have always felt this is one of the "perks" of doing this gig. It doesn't happen that often, but it's great when it does.
Steve Wilson from Porcupine Tree's sideline returns, after their stunning debut, with an album that comes close to equaling its predecessor. It is a touch darker but in no way does it waver from the formula that worked so brilliantly the first time round. As with many great albums there is no real highlight but more of a case of it being great in toto. From the soaring nature of "Once" right until the end, this is a complete pleasure.
If you liked the first one anywhere near as much as I did then you should have this. Words are tough to find for this sort of quality.
Eyes of Eden: Faith
Much touted by many as a symphonic metal band of merit in certain circles I was curious to find out what all the fuss was about. Not varying from the formula too much this is quite a pleasurable album except for one minor thing. The lead vocals, on occasion, most notably on the last track, the wonderfully epic "Not Human Kind", started sounding like Madonna.
My first review thought for this album was: imagine if Madonna fronted a power metal band instead of doing pop fluff. It's oddly endearing and is an interesting break from the operatic based female vocalists that are so prevalent.
I have been hearing quite good things about this lot of female-led symphonic metallists. And I was not disappointed in the slightest. This is wonderfully competent metal with oodles of quality and class. I could listen to it all day. It never gets old. Lots of keyboards and strings twinned with some heavy power metal stylings; with delicate female vocals over the top. Soaring epics like "Shattered" are a pleasure to listen to.