Haken – Affinity (2016)

 

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Author: Crono

Artist: Haken

Album: Affinity

Label: InsideOut

Haken is an English progressive metal band, and Affinity is their fourth album. They’ve earned quite a bit of praise over the past few years, starting right out of the gate with their strong debut Aquarius. What made that album so interesting from a progressive metal standpoint was the fact that Haken had combined the intensity of the American progressive metal bands like Dream Theater and Symphony X with the English flounce and flair of progressive rock bands like Yes, Marillion, and Canada’s Rush. While Affinity does manage to keep that balance alive, I would say that as the albums pass, Haken gets closer and closer to the harder and heavier progressive metal. Continue reading

Ihsahn – Arktis. (2016)

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Author: Gay For Gary Oldman

Artist: Ihsahn

Album: Arktis.

Genre: Extreme Progressive Metal

 

Label: Candlelight Records

 

 

 

When I was in my last year of high-school, I formed a band with a group of friends, centered around progressive extreme metal, mainly in the vein of Opeth. Our lead guitarist was a lover of funeral doom metal; injecting his emotive and far-reaching riffs into our music. Our drummer and bassist were mainly followers of melodic and technical metal, at once keeping us both grounded with melodies but being able to play with that technicality. And I, as rhythm guitarist and part-vocalist, brought the biggest share of my love of black metal into the group. What resulted was a band whose music shifted between many styles whilst adhering to a strict identity, and the very next year Ihsahn released his solo debut The Adversary, elevating him as the peak of my personal musical inspirations.  Continue reading

Dream Theater – The Astonishing (2016)

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Author: Bloodshot Grub

Artist: Dream Theater

Album: The Astonishing

Label: Roadrunner Records

 

 

It would be hard to overstate the influence that Dream Theater has had on my life. They were one of the first metal bands I discovered, one of my favorite bands through much of my teenage years, and inspired me to become a musician. Despite that, even early on I found them to be a somewhat hit-or-miss affair, and since 2002’s highlight Six Degrees of Inner Turbulence they seemed to be running entirely on autopilot. Their four album run from Train of Thought up through Black Clouds & Silver Linings was never entirely bad, and there’s at least one full album of really excellent prog metal songs between them, but they were nevertheless predictable and formulaic offerings. The infamous drummer shake up seemed to revive them, but only briefly. Continue reading

The Lion’s Daughter – Existence is Horror (2016)

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Author: Bloodshot Grub

Artist: The Lion’s Daughter

Album: Existence Is Horror

Label: Season of Mist

 

 

And here it is, my first new release of 2016, the sophomore full-length from Missouri’s The Lion’s Daughter. I’m not superstitious, but some ancient part of my brain seems to worry that my selection might prove prophetic with regards to the year ahead. If that were the case, the title alone would indicate that this would make an especially ominous note on which to start the year. There are some significant similarities to one of the last releases I caught in 2015, and the subject of my last review, The Tomb of All Things by Un. It’s slow, it’s bleak, it’s violent and unwholesome, and it doesn’t quite hit the mark. Continue reading

Adramelch – Opus (2015)

Author: Dave

Band: Adramelch

Album: Opus

Label: Pure Prog Records

This is the most recent album of a rather obscure metal band who released their incredible debut, Irae Melanox, in 1988. The band disbanded after this, and reformed after the turn of the century to record three more full length albums. After Opus was finished, they disbanded, leaving this as their final musical statement. For those of you familiar with Adramelch, you know that their debut album was a stellar example of progressive power metal in every sense. If you came here expecting the same, you will possibly be disappointed. Continue reading

Dean Cascione – Shred Crusade (2015)

Author: Dave

Band: Dean Cascione

Album: Shred Crusade

Label: Independent

More than thirty years after Yngwie Malmsteen exploded onto the stage with his solo career, the effects of said explosion are still rippling throughout the metal world. And our current case study is Dean Cascione, who has shredded out three full length albums over the last decade, all paying homage to the great Swedish godfather who started the whole thing. Cascione’s project is a small, independent one but he still managed to put together a decent band as well as get a few folks like David Shankle, Joe Stump, and Dave Mercado to join him in the studio for a few of the tracks. Continue reading

Amiensus – Ascension (2015)

Author: Crono

Artist: Amiensus

Album: Ascension

Label: Independent

Amiensus is a progressive metal band that blends a mystery cocktail of black, death, doom, and post-metal, sprinkling in melodic bits, atmospheric chunks, and the tiniest drop of wankery. They are a collection of many individuals, and many of the duties appear to be shared between different people. Suffice to say, there is a lot going on with Amiensus. Continue reading

Arcturus – Arcturian (2015)

Artist: Arcturus

Album: Arcturian

Label: Prophecy

Reviewer: Crono

    

 

Wow. Arcturus. I am going to be completely honest here – I have never listened to Arcturus before this. I always knew about them as a progressive/symphonic black metal band, but I never got around to listening to their older material. I know their albums are respected quite a bit, and I heard some positive buzz for Arcturian, so I decided to write a blind review for it. Continue reading

Leprous – The Congregation (2015)

Artist: Leprous

Album: The Congregation

Label: InsideOut Music

Reviewer: Crono

Depending on how much you pay attention to certain things, Leprous might be familiar to you. They’ve been around for quite some time, The Congregation being their fifth album. They received a bit of buzz a few years back due to the fact that they were basically Ihsahn’s live band. That’s actually how I heard of them, so there you go. Continue reading