If Neal Morse’s Testimony 2 – Live in Los Angeles DVD’s where not enough for a dosage of excellent prog, the same promo package we got included Transatlantic’s “More Never Is Enough: Live In Manchester & Tilburg 2010” DVD portion of the release, for another 3+ hours of orgasm-inducing musical experience.
The live DVD portion of this release features the complete Tilburg concert in all its glory and with seven professional cameras rolling. It also showcases the full band with the extra addition of Daniel Gildenlöw from Pain of Salvation. If you are a big fan of the band’s music and their latest release “The Whirlwind”, the first DVD shows the band playing this release in its entirety.
After being lost in the post-office oblivion for a few months, today we received a promo package containing the DVD portion of this 3CD/2DVD package that has been highly coveted by prog fans since it came out in November. Featuring around 3 hours of live material, Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Randy George, Eric Brenton, Rick Altizer, Mark Leniger, Nathan Girard and Nathan Brenton play some very intricate and exciting progressive music that has a very natural and free-flowing nature that only the best in the scene can achieve.
As a first thing to notice is that there is quite a lot of ‘praise and Jesus-stuff’ in this release to the point of being a bit annoying, but the music makes it quite bearable and when not focusing on the lyrics everything played in this release is excellent. Every since 2002 Neal has focused more on the spiritual side of things and this is very prevalent through the release. Nothing wrong with this and we are not against it, but we don’t really like it rubbed that much on our faces, especially on top of fantastic music.
Having been introduced to Leprous because they are the ‘live band’ of ex-Emperor Ihsahn’s solo project, the band never ceases to amaze me with their very intricate and well crafted release. “Bilateral” marks the band’s latest and third release and it is very impressive, good enough to be the best Progressive Metal album of 2011.
Featuring ten expertly composed songs, the band draws influences from 70’s prog and delivers a very dynamic and multi-textured album that will impress any prog listener. Particularly the synth and guitars create a very pleasant atmosphere that eases the listener through each track. The soaring vocals of Einar Solberg mixed with the backing ones create a multi-leveled attack that is as effective as any of the big-name bands of the genre.
Keeping the flame alive of bands like YES and King Crimson, today we have Beardfish and their excellent release “Mammoth”. Being the sixth album under their belt, “Mammoth” moves forward with their super catchy and authentic old-school influenced sound. As you know from the band’s previous release, their sound is very listener friendly and excellently crafted.
Opening with “The Platform”, the band nicely shows their experience in crafting very engaging sounds that have both technical proficiency and catchy melodies. This song keeps getting better and better as it progresses. “And the Stone Said” in our opinion is the best track in this album. Clocking around 15 minutes, this epic song features very catchy melodies and great keyboard and guitar solos.
As a prefect example of super-groups that don’t really work, today we have The Shadow Theory and their first full-length release “Behind the Black Veil”. Form by Psychotic Waltz vocalist Devon Graves and featuring Kristoffer Gildenlöw (ex-Pain of Salvation) on bass, Johanne James (Threshold) on drums, The Shadow Theory boosts enough musician fire power to be amazing…well they are half way there.
Starting the album with “I Open Up My Eyes”, you immediately notice a Jethro Tull rip-off flute using mixed in with the vocals, the bass guitar line is particularly great but it can’t save a mediocre song from crashing and burning with very uninspired repetitive sections. Another thing that kills songs is the stupid lyrics of “Ghostride”, in this track just after 2 minutes you will start wondering what the hell you are doing listening to such dumb lyrics.
As one of the most anticipated releases of 2010, today we have Star One’s second full-length album “Victims of the Modern Age”. After seven years of waiting, Arjen Lucassen brings us a brilliant Progressive Metal/Rock space journey with “Victims of the Modern Age”.
As you can always expect with any project where Arjen Lucassen is involved, the listener is treated to a wide variety of haunting songs featuring some of the best vocal arrangements and brilliant instrumentation on any album released in 2010. While the similarity to the last few Ayreon albums is very high, Arjen manages to craft songs that capture the listeners attention and transports them to a different world.
Progressive rockers IQ return with their latest album “Frequency”. This band has released very solid albums over the years and “Frequency” is not the exception. If you are looking for a traditional progressive rock release, this album is one of the best releases of the year in the genre.
IQ has a great trayectory in the Progressive Rock scene that spans over 28 years, 2009 marks the release yera of their 9th studio album. Peter Nicholls took some minutes off his busy day to answer our questions:
Most fans of a band panic when the band looses their lead singer. Speculation starts on how the band will continue, how their music will sound afterwards, and most importantly (for me) how are the band’s hit songs going to sound with the new singer. Well Saga’s selection of their new vocalist, according to their promo text, was somewhat based on how the old tracks where performed by the new vocalist.