Markus' Heavy Music Blog

My world of music - est. 2013

dream theater

Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017

Veröffentlicht am 27. April 2017 von Markus W. in Dream Theater, Live Review, Live, Tour, Prog Metal, Prog Rock, Heavy Metal, 013, Power Metal

Dream Theater belongs to the group of that had and have a major impact on an entire music genre. In their case it's progressive metal that wouldn't be where it is today without the quintet from North America. Starting their journey in the second half of the 80', at that time under the banner of Majesty, the guys gained popularity in the 90's. Grunge, rock and pop music was dominant in those years; a fact that didn't make it easy for a metal band to start off. However, Dream Theater was one of the few bands that took the challenge, being since then a constant factor in metal. "Images and Words" was the band's sophomore album and after starting quite slowly it evolved to a break-through record for the band. That was 25 years ago and what seems more natural than celebrating it with a anniversary tour.

It wasn't a too long time ago that the NY-based progressive metal enthusiasts  played in Tilburg, The Netherland. As being a part of their current "Images, Words & Beyond 25th Anniversary" tour the guys performed a show at 013 in Tilburg on February 8th this year. Another show in Holland was planned for April 25th in Amsterdam which was, based on production reasons, moved to Tilburg. The band took this with humor with James LaBrie saying that the band probably would have got lost on the way to Amsterdam.

Since the first show was sold out this concert gave even more Dream Theater fans the chance to join the band on a musical journey that was mainly built on the earlier mentioned "Images and Words" album from 1992. Following the fantastic debut it was the sophomore album that included James LaBrie as the new singer and frontman of this highly influencing metal band. During the show guitar wizard John Petrucci talked a bit about these days when the band was looking for a new frontman which was a nice anecdote to listen to. Even if the band focussed on the music there were more of these moments when the band talked about the time 25 years ago with travelling in a van, touring through smaller clubs and so on. This short stories spiced-up an evening that was dedicated to music in perfection.

Following the momentary trend of playing iconic records in its entirety, Dream Theater decided to give this longplayer a new stage as being the center piece of this tour and this show. But before the prog metal milestone delighted the fans it was a a kind of 'best of' set with songs taken from the entire Dream Theater back catalogue. On exception though; the outstanding debut "When Dreams and Days Unite" didn't get a song on this nights setlist, which is a bit of a pity since track like "A Fortune in Lies" are pearls of prog metal; tunes that brought the band some first appreciation. Anyhow, songs like "As I Am" and "The Bigger Picture" are great stuff too, creating a scenery for the second act that night.

After having been on stage for more than an hour it was a 20 minutes break for band and fans, time for some refreshment. It almost felt a little bit like Dream Theater being their own support act with the best that was yet to come. "Pull Me Under" is the opener on "Images and Words" and I think it's THE Dream Theater song. It was also the foot in the door for the bands entire career. After the album had a slow start in the beginning, it was "Pull Me Under" that got some airplay on college radio, followed by country radio stations who picked up the song and made it even more popular. Regardless how often you hear this tune, it keeps its excitement and magic. It's the best song the band ever wrote and it was the one that kicked-off this night with an outstanding "Images and Words" performance.

I don't go into detail of each of the songs from the album because you all know them and the performance was as good as all the other tracks played that night. One thing I would like to mention though and that is the drum solo Mike Magnini did. I have to admit that I'm no fan of these solo parts because mostly another song would have been the better option. Not in this case. What Magnini did was very impressive and treat for ears and eyes. Sitting in the spotlight behind a mighty drum kit, the guy included everything in his drum solo - from silent moment in which yu could have heard a needle falling to hard-hitting parts that made you doubt if this man has just two arms and feet. Very well done I must say.

After such an impressive look back in time the encore was not less exciting compared to what fans got served up till now. The band played all seven chapters of "A Change of Seasons", which makes sense. This song comes out of the "Images and Words" session and just didn't get on the longplayer because the label didn't want to take the bold step of releasing a double album. Fortunately the song was newly recorded a few years later and hit the shelves as an exciting EP that also included some well-done covers versions. In these terms it was almost a no-brainer that Dream Theater has chosen this 23 minutes composition as the encore, finishing an evening that underlined why the band belongs to the heavy influencers in modern progressive metal, being a reference for many younger bands.

Dream Theater is still playing in a league of its own. Even though the more recent records couldn't get close to the iconic early albums the band's still a unit that gives individual capabilities, passion and talent a common platform, leading to jaw-dropping moments for fans of excellent rock/metal music.

Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017
Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017
Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017Live report DREAM THEATER, 013, Tilburg, 25.04.2017

Setlist:

Act 1:

  1. The Dark Eternal Night
  2. The Bigger Picture
  3. Hell's Kitchen
  4. The Gift of Music
  5. Our New World
  6. Portrait of Tracy
  7. As I Am
  8. Breaking All Illusions

Act 2:

  1. Pull Me Under
  2. Another Day
  3. Take the Time
  4. Surrounded
  5. Metropolis Pt.1: The Miracle and the Sleeper
  6. Under a Glass Moon
  7. Wait for Sleep
  8. Learning to Live

Encore:

  1. A Change of Seasons: I The Crimson Sunrise
  2. A Change of Seasons: II Innocence
  3. A Change of Seasons: III Carpe Diem
  4. A Change of Seasons: IV The Darkest of Winter
  5. A Change of Seasons: V Another World
  6. A Change of Seasons:  VI The Inevitalble Summer
  7. A Change of Seasons:  VII The Crimson Sunset

 

Location: 013, Tilburg, The Netherlands

Date: 25.04.2017

Kommentare

CD review REDEMPTION "The Art of Loss"

Veröffentlicht am 3. März 2016 von Markus W. in Redemption, Fates Warning, Dream Theater, News, CD Review, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, Heavy Metal

(9/10) Redemption can already look back on a rich history that covers quite some excellent longplayer. It's five full-length records that have seen the light of day since the beginning of the new century and number six is now out in the record stores.

What's impressive with such a 'super group' is the consistancy when it comes to the line-up. The two main men behind Redemption are the two guitarists. Bernie Versailles and Nick van Dijk kicked it off in 2001, but in the meantime also Fates Warning singer Ray Alder and drummer Chris Quirarte are part of this prog metal command since many years.

When it comes to the new album "The Art of Loss" I almost got the feeling that at least the title has some autobiographical components, knowing that van Dijk recovered from blood cancer while Versailles is still on his way to come back after dealing with aneurysm.

Anyhow, five years after having released the latest studio album Redemption is back with their newest output. The record was long awaited and after having heard the disc I can conclude it is a real strong return of this prog metal flagship.

"The Art of Loss" continues with where the band stopped with "This Mortal Coil". The music is still comparable with outputs from Fates Warning (not only based on Alder's vocals) and Dream Theater. What is the joy of this album is the fact that Redemption never forgets that music is more than 'just' notes. The guys manage to give the each of the songs a high level of importance by adding emotions, dynamic and melodies. Van Dijk and Co. does this very well by not forgetting hardness when it comes to riffs and sound.

The highlight on this anyhow pretty strong album is the closer "The Day's End". Here we are talking about a 23 minutes long masterpiece that shows tha high level of musianship that goes along with the band. This epos contains so many ideas, twists and tweaks that it is thrilling throughout. I mention this song by purpose since it contains all you can get from Redemption. But I also have to say that the rest of this album can easily keep the high level of the closer. Tunes like heavier "Damaged", the title track with the neo classic solos and the light-hearted "The Golden Light" are pearls of progressive metal. This music fits for guys that want to have a high standard musical level as well as for fans that enjoy good music and well-crafted melodies.

Redepemtion is one of those bands that always delivered excellent music without getting really famous. But maybe it is this 'underground' status that keeps them fresh and going.

"The Art of Loss" became the expected great successor of "This Mortal Coil" and it's another milestone in the bands history that you should have heard.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The Art of Loss
  2. Slouching Towards Bethlehem
  3. Damaged
  4. Hope Dies Last
  5. The Golden Light
  6. Thirty Silver
  7. The Center of the Fire
  8. Love Reign O'er Me
  9. At Day's End

 

Label: Metal Blade

Genre: Prog Metal

Release Date EU: February 26th, 2016

CD review REDEMPTION "The Art of Loss"
Kommentare

CD review DREAM THEATER "The Astonishing"

Veröffentlicht am 3. Februar 2016 von Markus W. in Dream Theater, News, CD Review, Heavy Metal, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, Rock Opera, Concept

(8/10) Dream Theater enters almost new territory with their new double header "The Astonishing". It's the second time that the New York-based band releases a concept album that is, this time, spread out over two CD's ("Scenes from a Memory" has been the first concept album). In total 34 songs, some of them are more interludes than full songs, found a spot on the setlist.

The story, told on "The Astonishing", is a kind of futuristic tale that takes place after the breakdown of society. Things developed backwards after such a collapse and old, almost medievil, structures have been re-developed. Such a story of course demands a hero which, in this case, is a young guy that gives hope to the people by music. In this context the new longplayer can stand in line with rock operas like "Tommy" and "The Wall", not only when it comes to the story, but also when it comes to way the tunes are written and put together on the album.

This story is the base for such an ambitious musical package that is combining a lot of Dream Theater moments on one release. The sound and the expertise of the five-piece is predestinated for such a challenging album. Dream Theater increases the width of the their sound on this double CD by even experiementing with bagpipes sounds, electronic moments and James La Brie also discovers the 'evil' spectrum in his vocal range, moments when he sound rough and menacing. I'm not sure if this would have been taken place if the story would have screamed fior it.

All this enriches the album since it unveils new details each time you listen to it. "The Astonishment" is everything, but for sure not musical fast food. The record is more a eight couse dinner that demands time and asks for attention. Some of the dishes are well known, some incrediences are newly combined and some things might not fir your taste. Anyhow, "The Astonishing" unveils various shades of Dream Theater's trademarks.

An introduction called "Descent of the Nomads" opens the first chapter of this more than 2 hours long story, followed by a dramatic number called "Dystopian Overture". It's an instrumental that could be also taken from a movie soundtrack.

After such a non-vocals beginning James LaBrie gets his first 'scene' with "The Gift of Music", a quite melodic moment accompanied by a certain ease. Compared to this more Dream Theater typical song structure, "Lord Nafaryus" has a far more rock musical-like expression. Songs like "Brother, Can You Hear Me?" follows the same pattern which underlines the rock opera atmosphere of this longplayer.

Silent tracks are present on "The Astonishing" (Act of Faythe") as well as electronical interludes that are popping up here and there.

Tunes like "Three Days" combine drama with complexity and very melodic vocallines. "The Road to Revolution" brings together all these elements too and the result is a great tune with big soundscapes.

The main songwriters for "The Astonishing" have been John Petrucci and keyboarder Jordan Rudness. That's something that can be heard back on the album by some quite hard riffs as well as reoccuring piano parts and keyboard foundations. Actually I had a few moments, thinking that some of the songs sound like Dream Theater meets Savatage/TSO.

The sound of "The Astonishing" is very well done. The record got a clean and organic production, in which each of the instruments gets its space. Sometimes the production switsches into being more cold and technical, just as demanded by the storybook.

Dream Theater's new album brings more than 2 hours of finest Dream Theater music to your home. "The Astonishment" is an album that might be perceived controversially but it contains, without any doubt, a lot of great songs. It might became a bit long but if you handle it like a 2 hours movie rather than a 'normal' longplayer, then you will explore, step by step, the beauty of each of the tunes. All in all, the album is a brave step that shows Dream Theater in a partly new manner by still being 100% Dream Theater.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

Disc: 1

  1. Descent of the Nomands
  2. Dystopian Overture
  3. The Gift of Music
  4. The Answer
  5. A Better Life
  6. Lord Nafaryus
  7. A Savior in the Square
  8. When Your Time Has Come
  9. Act of Faythe
  10. Three Days
  11. The Hovering Sojourn
  12. Brother, Can You Hear Me?
  13. A Life Left Behinbd
  14. Ravenskill
  15. Chosen
  16. The Tempting Offer
  17. Digital Dischord
  18. The X Aspect
  19. A New Beginning
  20. The Road to Revolution

Disc: 2

  1. 2285 Entr'acte
  2. Moment of Betrayal
  3. Heaven's Cove
  4. Begin Again
  5. The Path That Divides
  6. Machine Chatter
  7. The Walking Shadow
  8. My Last farewell
  9. Losing Faythe
  10. Whispers on the Wind
  11. Hymn of a thousand Voices
  12. Our New World
  13. Power Down
  14. Astonishing

 

Label: Roadrunner Records

Genre: Prog Metal

Release Date EU: January 29th, 2016

CD review DREAM THEATER "The Astonishing"
Kommentare

CD review TERAMAZE "Her Halo"

Veröffentlicht am 19. November 2015 von Markus W. in Teramaze, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, Rock, News, CD Review, Dream Theater

(8/10) Australia is known for blues-based hardrock. Bands like AC/DC and Airbourne are from Down Under and also some thrash bands are based in the land of the kangaroos. But prog metal?

I guess that the new record of Teramaze will change this. The band from Melbourne is the brainchild of lead guitarist and producer Dean Wells.

The debut was released already back in 1995 and was called "Doxology". Now it's time for their next undertaking. "Her Halo" is the name of the bands newest disc that offers you eight prog metal songs that are really good.

The entry point into "Her Halo" is the 12 minutes long "An Ordinary Dream (Enla Momento)" that has heavy riff-based parts with pure energy which go hand in hand with some spoken word moments and almost classical music section. The great thing is, that all those puzzle pieces fit together very well and create such an epical opener.

After having such a start into "Her Halo" the question came up to my mind, if Teramaze could keep this high standard throughout the rest of the record. And 'yes', they can. There is no single weak spot on this longplayer. Teramaze wrote and recorded excellent songs that brought more than once the earlier Dream Theater days to my mind. 

And it's not only the heavy stuff that is persuasive. Also the silent and more solemn "Broken" is a winner on this record.

Prog fans should check out this album - if you haven't done it yet anyhow.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. An Ordinary Dream (Enla Momento)
  2. To Love, a Tyrant
  3. Her Halo
  4. Out of Subconscious
  5. For the Innocent
  6. Trapeze
  7. Broken
  8. Delusion of Grandeur

 

Label: Mascot Label Group

Genre: Prog Metal

Release Date EU: October 30st, 2015

CD review TERAMAZE "Her Halo"
Kommentare

CD review THE WINERY DOGS "Hot Streak"

Veröffentlicht am 4. Oktober 2015 von Markus W. in The Winery Dogs, Hardrock, News, CD Review, Blues, Classic Rock, Mr. Big, Dream Theater, Rock

(9/10) When Richie Kotzen (g), Billy Sheehan (b) and Mike Portnoy (d) make common cause with each other, the result must be good, regardless if we call the band supergroup or not. Those guys have proven over years that they belong to the spearhead of musicians in their field of expertise.

The Winery Dogs is the name of the band this trio formed in 2012. Los Angeles, Carloforina was the cradle of this fantastic three-piece that got quite some attention already from day one onwards.

It took till 2013 that The Winery Dogs released their debut album simply called "The Winery Dogs".  Their first longplayer was immediately followed by a live album the band recorded in Japan before they went back into the studio to record their second strike. "Hot Streak" is the name of this album which is another masterpiece of modern hardrock which combines modern sounds with classic rock in an excellent way.

Thirteen new rock anthems are captured on this CD that shows again the musician extraordinaire of the three guys. And even after so many years in so many different bands the trio is full of creativity that just wants to get out of them.

"Oblivion" marks the beginning of this exciting hardrock trip. This opener starts like a complex prog metal track before a fast beat leads to a higher paced hardrocker that combines complexity and catchiness.

"Captain Love" is different - like each of the tracks on "Hot Streak". It's build on a slow and mean AC/DC-like riff with an rough bluesy appeal. "Hot Strteak", title track, reminds in the verse to Whitesnake and I noticed for the first time how much Kotzen's voice can sound like David Coverdale. I love this track.

Billy Sheehan's bass kicks-off "How Long" before with "Empire" another melodic rocker takes over. 

The album also has its silent moments. "Fire" is a soulful and emotional ballad that is very well-crafted. I think that this melancholic tune has the potential to get a charts entry; if it would be released as a single. Those guys know how to move people.

"Ghost Town" is a sphereful tune that sounds like fog that slowly disappears and gives space to the sun. Portnoy's drums start "The Bridge" which is a riff based rock song a la Mr. Big followed by "War Machine". The title makes you think about a hard smasher but actually it's a more complext tune with an acoustic part embedded half way. The different instruments get a lot of space here. Kotzen's solo is one part, but also Sheehan's bass gets some moments and the same goes for Portnoy's drums. Actually this is the red thread through the entire album. World class musicians don't need ego trips. It's the combination of all this extraclass that enriches The Winery Dog's music by putting the song into the spotlight.

"Spiral" is a more creepy groover that shows a new side of The Winery Dogs. And it's great to discover this side of the band.

We are coming closer to the end. "Devil You Know" is a more straight-forward number that leads to the blues of "Think It Over" - a piece of music that gives you the shivers.

"Hot Streak" is one of the most divers hardrock records I have heard since quite a while. However, all this variety fits together and has common trademarks that makes The Winery Dogs to a special band which hopefully will enjoy us for quite some more years with their awesome creative output. "Hot streak' is a 'must' for each hardrock fan.

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Oblivion
  2. Captain Love
  3. Hot Streak
  4. How Long
  5. Empire
  6. Fire
  7. Ghost Town
  8. The Bridge
  9. War Machine
  10. Spiral
  11. Devil You Know
  12. Think It Over
  13. The Lamb

 

Label: earMUSIC

Genre: Hardrock

Release Date EU: October 2nd, 2015

CD review THE WINERY DOGS "Hot Streak"
Kommentare

CD review NEXT TO NONE "A light in the dark"

Veröffentlicht am 21. Juni 2015 von Markus W. in Next To None, Dream Theater, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, News, CD Review, Heavy Metal, Alternative Metal, Classic Rock

(8/10) Next To None is the band of four young guys that are from Lehigh Vallay in Pennsylvania. Their names? Max Portnoy (d), Thomas Cuce (key/v), Ryland Holland (g) and Kris Rank (b). Portnoy, Portnoy, Portnoy? Yes, Max is the son of Mike Portnoy who some of you know from his time at Dream Theater or many other projects.

The boys began already at the age of 12 and 13 to write own music. Additionally they also could gain already some live experience by being on tour with Adrenaline Mob and The Winery Dogs. 

The music of Next To None has many influences. There is the harder stuff that Max brings in and on the other hand the classic rock component that comes via Holland. The result is an interesting metal cocktail that is very entertaining.

The diversity of sound comes back in songs like the melodic "Runaway" which is a straight-forward one. It includes a heavy riff, but also a keyboard-based middle part that give the tune a slightly new expression.

The opener "The edge of sanity" instead is an nine minutes long epos that start with pouring rain, thunder and a chiming bell. It builds up to an dark prog metal track that reminds to Dream Theater not a big surprise. Their are two more of those extraordinary long tracks on "A light in the dark". "Control" is another nine minute long tune while the closer "Blood on my hands" is with eight minutes a bit shorter. Also those two numbers are more complex prog metal that shows the musical quality of the guys. 

Next to these extralong tracks it's the different influences that enables Next To None to numbers like "You are not me" too. Here we are talking about a raging metal track with a brutal verse. The chorus is more melodic, however, it is one of the heaviest tunes on the album. And it still fits into the context.

But it also shows the wide vocal range of singer Thomas Cuce. He can handle the angry screams like on the before mentioned track as well as some soulful vocals that are need for e.g. "A lonely walk". The classic rock influences are very present in this song and I had to think about the good old Rainbow times. Cool stuff.

There are maybe a few smaller parts that sound a bit unfinished but it's amazing how far the four guys got already. Still being in their teenage days the boys write already excellent songs and their musical talent is amazing. If these guys continue we can expect something very special for the coming years.

These boys did a great album that has for sure a 'Wow'-factor.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. The edge of sanity
  2. You are not me
  3. Runaway
  4. A lonely walk
  5. Control
  6. Lost
  7. Social anxiety
  8. Legacy
  9. Blood on my hands

 

Label: InsideOut Music

Genre: Prog Metal

CD review NEXT TO NONE "A light in the dark"
CD review NEXT TO NONE "A light in the dark"
Kommentare

CD review SOUL SECRET "4"

Veröffentlicht am 2. Mai 2015 von Markus W. in Soul Secret, Dream Theater, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, Heavy Metal, Rock, News, CD Review

(7/10) The story of Soul Secret started 2004 in Italy. The five-piece band was founded by guitarist Antonio Vittozzi and bassist Lucio Grilli. In the meantime only Vittozzi plus drummer Antonio Mocerino that are still a part of the band. For the rest Soul Secret had to suffer from some line-up changes over the years. Nowadays the line-up is more stable again which made it possible to record a new album. "4" is, what a surprise, the fourth album of the Napoli-based band that found there passion in progressiv metal.

The fact that the group toured with bands like Vanden Plas and Subsignal gives an idea about the music of the five guys. "4" contains more complex metal tunes that reminded me to Dream Theater all time long. The way how the songs are written, the guitar sound and also the vocals by Lino Di Pietrantonio show some parallels with the iconic prog band from New York. Sometimes the paralles are in my opinion a bit too much.

But let's forget Dream Theater for a minute. In this case Soul Secret would be a quite interesting band. The musical capabilities of the musicians is on a pretty high level and the songs they wrote have the right mix between complexity, variety and melody. Soul Secret doesn't get lost in their own songs. The never forget the listener, that also wants to follow, even without being a studied musician. 

The highlight of the album is the 16 minutes long closer "The white stairs" that sounds like a melange of many different elements that fit together very well. The epos still stands like one rock. Jazz-parts go hand in hand with heavy guitars, followed by great melody lines and rocking riffs. And the spoken words section is a well perceived break too. All in one song.

So far so good. But there is no world without Dream Theater. And this is the disadvantage of the album. Soul Secret are excellent musicians but there are already bands that lead this metal segment. But based on the musical capabilities I'm not afraid about the band finding their spot and their unique characteristic. For sure a band that is worth to follow.

 

(7/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. On the ledge
  2. Our horizon
  3. K
  4. As I close my eyes
  5. Traces on the seaside
  6. Turning the back page
  7. Silence
  8. In a frame
  9. My moonlight
  10. Downfall
  11. The white stairs

 

Label: Golden Core

Genre: Prog Metal

CD review SOUL SECRET "4"
Kommentare

DVD review DREAM THEATER "Breaking the four walls

Veröffentlicht am 26. September 2014 von Markus W. in Dream Theater, Prog Rock, Heavy Metal, News, DVD review, CD Review

(8/10) I have the feeling that the prog masterminds from Long Island are also the record holder for having the most live releases in their career. "Breaking the four walls" is the newest one from Dream Theater. I have stopped counting, but I was surprised when I got the new recording on my desk. It was in 2013 when the band published "Live at Luna Park" and already 12 month later there is a new one out.

Fortunately the setlist and a few more things in Boston differed quote a lot from the 2013 live recording. Of course there are some overlaps like "Breaking all illusions" and "On the backs of an angel", but their is still a reason for this DVD.

I mentioned already that it was the show in Boston that was recorded for the DVD. It took place in the Boston Opera House in March this year. That means that the location was already quite special. In addition Dream Theater have been supported by the ochestra and the choir of the Berklee Collage of Music. This connection goes already far back in time since John Myung as well as John Petrucci have been students there and drummer Mike Magini is lecturer at the college. That means that the cooperation was more a kind of 'welcome home' feeling for most of the participants.

So in the end there are much more reasons for releasing the DVD than just a different setlist from the Luna Park show. It was a unique night which is documented on "Breaking the walls".

The highlights are for sure the moments when the band gets the contribution from the choir and the orchestra. Those are the moments the very exciting moments.

I can't say at this stage if the DVD comes with additional bonus material. I hope it is included, since otherwise the incentive to buy would be limited.

But besides that we have another good DVD from Dream Theater that documents a concert. which was unique. So the product itself has absolutely its moments that are special. Depending how many Dream Theater live DVD's you call your own it is up to you to deside if you need another one. 

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. False awakening suite
  2. The enemy inside
  3. The shattered fortress
  4. On the backs of angels
  5. The looking glass
  6. Trial for tears
  7. Enigma machine
  8. Along for a ride
  9. Breaking all illusions
  10. The mirror
  11. Lie
  12. Lifiting shadows of a dream
  13. Scarred
  14. Space-dye vest
  15. Illumination theory
  16. Overture 1928
  17. Strange deja-vu
  18. The dance of eternity
  19. Finally free

 

Label: Roadrunner Records

Genre: Prog Metal

 

DVD review DREAM THEATER "Breaking the four walls
Kommentare

CD review REDEMPTION "Live from the pit"

Veröffentlicht am 12. September 2014 von Markus W. in Redemption, Dream Theater, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, Heavy Metal, CD Review, News

(8/10) Redemption could be seen as a prog metal supergroup. Now, maybe 'supergroup' is a too big word, but however, the band isn't just a bunch of newcomers too.

The main pillar of Redemption is founder, guitarist, keyboarder and songwriter Nicolas van Dijk. He managed to also gain guys like Ray Alder (Fates Warning) and Bernie Versailles (Agent Steel) for his band. Already those two fellows add a lot to Redemption. The line-up is completed by a tight rhythm section consisting out of Chris Quirartes (d) and Sean Andrews (b). 

Van Dijk and his bandmates released so far five full-length records. The last one was called "This mortal coil" and was released in 2011. Over time the five-piece band from Los Angeles, California gained a bigger and bigger fan base. This was mainly due to the fact of live several activities like the support tour for prog icons Dream Theater.

Redemption had the honor to co-headline the ProgPower festival in Atlanta. This show was put on tape and the result is from mid September out in the stores as CD/DVD. Since I only had the chance to spend some time with the CD the review is only about the acoustical impression.

A crucial thing with live records is the sound. Sometimes it's really bad and sometimes it got too many adjustments later on. "Live from the pit" has a sound that isn't the one ot the other. It reflects the live atmosphere in an authentic way, while being still as transparent as possible. From this perspective already 'thumbs up'.

From a setlist standpoint the band played a good mix that covers all their records (except "Home"). There is "Nocturnal" from the self-named debut, but also songs like"Stronger than death" from their latest 2011 release. In general I can say that the focus is however a bit more on the newer discs. A tune that also found the way on the setlist is "Parker's eye"; a song the band hasn't played performed before. 

The musicians had obviously fun during the performance. Alder's vocals are excellent, the guitar sound is heavy, but also soulful and the rhythm section plays tight together.

"Live from the pit" is an excellent prog live album which should be a part of each prog metal collection.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Intro/Threads
  2. The suffocating silence
  3. Dreams from the pit
  4. Parker's eyes
  5. Fall on you
  6. Noonday devil
  7. Nocturnal
  8. Stronger than death
  9. The origins of ruin
  10. Black and white world
  11. The death of faith and reason
  12. Walls

 

Label: Sensory Records

Genre: Prog Metal

CD review REDEMPTION "Live from the pit"
Kommentare

CD review MALPRACTICE "Turning tides"

Veröffentlicht am 11. September 2014 von Markus W. in Malpractice, Prog Metal, Prog Rock, Heavy Metal, Rock, News, CD Review, Megadeth, Dream Theater, Queensryche

(8/10) Progressive metal from Finland - this is what you get from Malpractice. Eventhough the band isn't that very well known they are in business already since many years. The Kouvola, Finland based five-piece band started already in 1994 and released their debut called "Of shape and balance" also in the old millenium - in 1999 to be precies.

Malpractice has in total three full length records published which isn't that much over all those years. The biggest gap of releases was actually in the nearer past. It took 6 years to release a successor of the 2008 album "Triangular". "Turning tides" is the name of the newest output and will be at your record dealer mid September.

What I like with the music is that Malpractice plays a bit more guitar oriented. The opener for example reminds with the spoken words part of Queensryche while "State within a state" has some parallels with Megadeth. But the Finish guys don't copy, they include their inspiration in their own sound. This makes the album exciting and a cool listening experience.

Two more highlights. One is the furious instrumental "Symphony of urban discomfort". A perefct name since this is what you feel while listening to the song. The way the track is build reminded my to Dream Theater. Wild and furious but not unsteered.

The other one is the epical long "Turning tides" - the title track. Also here some cross references to the New York based prog masters cannot be dimissed. The tune playes with silent parts, melodic element and heavy riffs. All this in a way that there is a constant flow through the tune without creating boredom.

I haven't really had Malpractice on my list, but this changed after I have heard "Turning tides". An album for fans from Dream Theater, Queensryche and Megadeth. 

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Best kept secret
  2. Weight of the world
  3. Irony tower
  4. State within a state
  5. Turning tides
  6. Symphony of urban discomfort
  7. Out

 

Label: Sensory Records

Genre: Prog Metal

CD review MALPRACTICE "Turning tides"
Kommentare

Cover & track list from new THRESHOLD album

Veröffentlicht am 5. September 2014 von Markus W. in Threshold, Dream Theater, Prog Rock, Prog Metal, Heavy Metal, News

Talking about Threshold. Here comes the cover and the track list from the upcoming album:

1. Watchtower on the Moon
2. Unforgiven
3. The Box
4. Turned to Dust
5. Lost in your Memory
6. Autumn Red
7. The Mystery Show
8. Siren Sky


Bonus tracks:
9. I Wish I Could - available on the digipack, vinyl and download versions
10. Lost in your Memory (Acoustic Version) - available on the vinyl and download versions

Cover & track list from new THRESHOLD album
Kommentare

New song from THRESHOLD called "Turned to dust"

Veröffentlicht am 5. September 2014 von Markus W. in Threshold, Prog Metal, Prog Rock, Heavy Metal, Dream Theater, Video, News

Threshold stands for high level prog metal since many years. The new album is almost ready to be shipped and here is a first song from the next album "For the journey". Sounds like a successful continuation of their journey.

Kommentare

CD review THE WINERY DOGS "Unleashed in Japan - Live"

Veröffentlicht am 21. Mai 2014 von Markus W. in The Winery Dogs, Mr. Big, CD Review, News, Hardrock, Rock, Dream Theater

(8/10) There are three 'supergroups' at the moment which go into a similar direction. We are talking about California Breed and KXM who release(d) their first studio records in May. Next to those two there are The Winery Dogs who published their debut a year ago.

The allstar band around Billy Sheehan, Richie Kotzen and Mike Portnoy also has a new disc out on the market. It is a live recording from a show in Japan. You could think about, why releasing a live disc with one album? What is the benefit?

I will not focus in this review too much on the already known songs (see the review link to the debut album further down) since the joy of the live album is that 5 out of the 10 songs haven't been released by The Winery Dogs earlier. There is with "Shine" a Mr. Big track on the live album. "Stand", an acoustic ballad, actually comes from Kotzen's time with Poison and "You can't save me" is taken from his solo record "Into the black. In addition to that there is the Elvin Bishop cover "Fooled around and fell in love". Eventhough those songs aren't totally new it is exciting to listen to the versions with a The Winery Dogs approach.  All those covers are very well done and fit to the setlist very easily. The Winery Dogs make those songs their won and interpret them in their own style. This goes esp. for the Elvin Bishop cover, in which the trio adds a hardrock component to the soul foundation of the original tune. Well done and at least as good as the original. With "Criminal" the live gig also included a non-album track. The track is a cool blues based rocker with a great chorus which reminded me to the earlier Whitesnake ("Fool for your lovin"). Sounds cool.

The production of the live album is very authentic. The sound reflects the live atmoshere pretty well and I don't think that there have been a lot of adjustments afterwards. Probabaly this was also not needed looking on the experience and capabilities of the three musicians.

As an extra benefit the live album comes with a CD 2, which is the bands debut album in its full length. Of course only a benefit if you don't call this fanastic debut not your own already.

 

(8/10)

 

Tracklist:

CD 1:

  1. Elevate
  2. Criminal
  3. Time machine
  4. I'm no angel
  5. Not hopeless
  6. Stand
  7. You can't save me
  8. Shine
  9. Fooled around and fell in love
  10. Desire

 

CD2:

  1. Elevate
  2. Desire
  3. We are one
  4. I'm no angel
  5. The other side
  6. You saved me
  7. Not hopeless
  8. One more time
  9. Damaged
  10. Six feet deeper
  11. Time machine
  12. The dying
  13. Regret

 

Label: Ear Music

Genre: Hardrock

CD review THE WINERY DOGS "Unleashed in Japan - Live"
Kommentare

CD review VANDEN PLAS "Chronicles of the immortals - Netherworld"

Veröffentlicht am 16. Februar 2014 von Markus W. in Vanden Plas, Prog Metal, Dream Theater, News, CD Review

(9/10) After a four years German prog metal band Vanden Plas is back with a new CD. After they have released their latest album in 2010 they come back with the newest record called "Chronicles of the world - Netherworld".

The album is an awesome comeback. Not only that the band made again a big step forward on an already high level - it is also the fact that the new album tells a story which makes it standing out. The whole thing started years ago, when Vanden Plas and Wolfgang Holbein started a creative cooperation. Holbein is not a nobody. In fact he is one of the authors selling millions of books all over the world. Since he is also a fan of Vanden Plas he approached the band and suggested to work together. The result was the rock opera called "Bloodnight". During 2012 and 2013 the show became a overwhelming success. All 25 shows have been sold out and the audiance rescted very positive.

The new album from Vanden Plas contains ten songs which represents path 1 of the theater piece.  This leads to the assumption, that there will be also a path 2. And indeed, this is the plan - path 2 is expected to be released in 2015.

So, what to say about the song. I must say that you get 100% Vanden Plas, which means 100% powerful progressive metal. I actually think, that the album is better than the latest releases from Dream Theater. This has to do with the fact that Vanden Plas puts the song much more in focus instead of giving individual musical excellence a front row seat. I appreciate this a lot and Vanden Plas achieve a perfect mix out of musical complexity, hard, powerful music and catching melodies. This combination isn't found too often. I was actually reminded to the last releases of the incredible Savatage.

The album starts with an orchestral intro with spoken word (done by Holbein himself). A dramatic opening for this album, which fits perfect to kick off this album. "The black night" is following this introduction and a is an eight minutes long power prog track. Dense keyboards build the base for this song while a heavy riff gives the song the needed aggressiveness.  It's also Kuntz's fantastic vocals which we know alteady from the past, which makes this album an experience. Crystal clear and still with a lot on passion and strength. A almost brutal riff opens "Godmaker". A start like a thunder, before the song continues a bit more silent with vocals and piano. But of course this doesn't last for too long. Heavy riffing accompanies the song and make it a 5 minutes prog metal masterpiece. After all these energetic eruption it is time for a more peaceful tune. "Misery affection- Prelude" is its name. A short ballad performed as a duett supported by a piano, which lead you to "A ghosts requiem". The style continues. Piano based with beautiful vocals and a choir the song is carrying a lot of emotions - as it needs to be if you want to tell a story. In the end it gets back to more power and the choral passage finalizes a touching track. "New vampyre" is another stunning VandenPlas song, before "The king and the children of lost war" the next eight minute anthem starts. Pounding guitars are pushing this song and the band shows their whole repertoire in this tune. This is my personal fave. "Misery affection" comtinues what tHe prelude introduced a few songs earlier before "Soul alliance" with its pumping cool bassline and "Inside" round off sn excellence musical journey.

 

"Chronicles of the immortal - Netherworld" became a great album from performed by an awesome band and written by a highly creative team. Great that we can look forward to path 2. in the meantime enjoy path 1. It's worth it. Highly recommended!

 

(9/10)

 

Tracklist:

  1. Vision 1ne
  2. Vision 2wo The black knight
  3. Vision3hree Godmaker
  4. Vision 4our Misery affection prelude
  5. Vision 5ive A ghost requiem
  6. Vision 6ix New vampyre
  7. Vision 7even The king and the children of lost war
  8. Vision 8ight Misery affection
  9. Vision 9ine Soul alliance

 

Label: Frontiers Records

Genre: Prog Metal

CD review VANDEN PLAS "Chronicles of the immortals - Netherworld"
Kommentare
1 2 > >>