With Roy Khan reviving Conception back in 2018, the band took a while to deliver their return full-length “State of Deception”. Delivering around 40 minutes of music, this release has that old Kamelot vibe with a few sprinkles of Evergrey and Queensrÿche. The nine tracks here are catchy and engaging and will surely be loved by Roy Khan fans, as his vocals take front and center to solid songwriting skills and crafty arrangements.
After the mood setting intro, the album kicks off with the hard rocking “Of Raven and Pigs”, a track that starts a bit slow and it takes a while to settle with its lush vocal melodies and crafty guitars. With “Waywardly Broken”, the band goes into that Power/Progressive Metal vibe that we were expecting, thanks to the lively vocal leads and lush atmospheric keyboards. Thankfully, “No Rewind” continues this mood with dynamic guitars and crafty tempo changes, making it one of our favorite songs in this release.
Fully embracing and developing their Progressive Metal/Rock sound, Opeth as embarked on a journey in their last few releases to discover and create an own cohesive sound. With “In Cauda Venenum”, the band seems to be nicely settled and delivers ten lush tracks that showcase their impressive progress in this genre. Released in both Swedish and English, this album is quite a treat to enjoy if you are a fan of the genre and bands like Leprous and Haken but with a funky Psychedelic punch to them.
After setting a trippy mood with the opener “Garden of Earthly Delights”, the band starts their proggy journey with the funky “Dignity”. Featuring an intricate bass guitar line and psychedelic synths and eerie vocal arrangements, this track nicely showcases the band’s craftiness. Mikael Åkerfeldt’s clean vocals are a very nice complement to the music’s craftsmanship on tracks like “Heart In Hand” and “Next of Kin”. We particularly enjoy how the band shifts tempos and hooks the listener with subtle details between transitions.
We just had to wait 11 year for a new full length release, from personal favorite band Noekk. On the bright side, I guess “Waltzing in Obscurity” did take one year less to be released than the time between Empyrium albums. Led by Markus Stock and Thomas Helm, this band is the proggier/psychedelic outlet from Empyrium, as you can hear some minimal influences in this and their previous release. However, this band is a very different outfit with a heavier and trippier edge to its music.
Opening with the album title track, we have a folky opening that evolves into lush vocal arrangements and a retro vibe with its intricate synths. We particularly love that dramatic sound created by the powerful distorted guitars and the clean vocals around the 5 minute mark, which reminds us of Empyrium very quickly. That being the last comparison with their partner band, the album progresses with the psychedelic brilliance of “Perseus” and its superb instrumentation. The drum crash cymbals are just amazingly produced, and are perfectly contrasted with the funky retro synths, making for one hell of a song.
After their brilliant and lively debut “This is the Sound” back in 2017, Cellar Darling quickly established themselves as one of the most promising up-and-coming Folk Metal/Rock bands in the scene. With “The Spell”, the band builds up on their earlier sound and turns into more Progressive territories with 13 superbly crafted tracks. Featuring a wide variety of folk elements , the super talents of Anna Murphy on vocals, and proven song-writing capabilities, the band delivers one of the best releases of their genre in 2019.
Opening with “Pain”, we notice and instant shift into darker and more progressive territories. The band continues to deliver their signature lush vocal arrangements, but in a more conservative and yet engaging manner. As “Death” and “Love” roll in, the band’s sound feels like a combination of Kari Rueslåtten’s folkier works with Anneke van Giersbergen’s charisma and sense of melody. This is quite a killer combination we have to say, however, of course Cellar Darling imprints their own ideas and style in the mix.
It is rare for us to find a release that is just so catchy that we drop everything else we have to review and focus 100% on it. Luckily for us, The Moor’s latest album “Jupiter’s Immigrants” falls in this very elusive category. Delivering nine brilliant and super melodic tracks, this Italian band managed to capture our undivided attention for hours on end. Mixing Progressive Metal and Rock elements, this album will captivate you since the first few seconds until the last note.
Opening with the highly melodic riffing of “Lead the Difference”, the band’s vocal melodies are what hooks you right in. Reminding us a bit of Edu Falaschi’s Almah, this band does a super job in oozing melody and catchines as we can hear in the album’s titled track. Packed with hefty dose of heavy riffs, subtle atmospheric keyboards and the guest appearance of Mikael Stanne, this title track is hands down one of the best songs of 2018.
Unleashing a very lively proggy release with “Aeon Chaser”, Norway’s Oberon self-labels their music a Gnostic Rock and they are not very far from the truth. Exploring a wide palette of sounds in their 11 songs, the band perfectly pairs acoustic passages with tons of atmospheric elements alongside a Progressive/Folk Rock core. In a similar vein than bands like Anathema, this release contains very well crafted songs that have a high replay value.
Opening with the dreamy “Omega”, we are instantly taken on a very trippy journey with songs that remind us of outfits like Yes and Marillion. The band’s progressive core allows them to craft intricate songs like “Walk in Twilight”, “The Secret Fire” and “Surrender” filled with memorable guitar melodies and soaring vocal arrangements. For those that like dreamier songs, “To Live to Die” crafts a very delicate atmosphere that nicely progresses as layers of additional elements like subtle piano arrangements are introduced.
As one of the most unique and diverse releases we received in the last few months, today we have Project Nightscape and their 13-track opus “To Sin against our Mercies”. In a similar fashion than Ayreon and Beto Vazquez Infinity, this album is a concept release and features a very wide variety of musicians allowing for very diverse styles to be played. Mostly varying between Progressive Rock/Metal, this release has very memorable tracks that are quite catchy and expertly crafted.
With the lyrical/story concept crafted by David W. Edwards and the guitar work crafted by other than Tony Gaglio, this release opens with the hard rocking “(Living in) Sacred Time” and the Heavy Metal anthem “Only Reason”. Continuing the album’s story after an interlude, we have proggy Rush-like “Now Silence!” and the ballad-esque “Inmortuorum Memorias”. As you could tell, the music varies from track to track but the songs are very well aligned to match the album’s lyrical progression.
As THE most awaited release of 2016 for us, today we have the pleasure of reviewing the return of In The Woods… with “Pure”. Having influenced hundreds of bands over the years with their visionary music and style, this band finally reformed back in 2014 - after 14 years of hiatus. Featuring over 67 minutes of music, this release perfectly delivers the traditional In The Woods… experience but not without a more refined an evolved sound that puts them right back in the map, picking up exactly where they left off.
Opening with the soaring vocal arrangements of “Pure” alongside a very moody and engaging instrumentation, the band will instantly transport you to their unique world. With British singer James Fogarty at the helm, instant comparisons to Jan Transeth can be made, but Mr. Fog has a more dynamic range and brings his own style into the mix. For those of us that enjoyed the experimental nature of the band, they quickly deliver the atmospheric and dreamy “Blue Oceans Rise” and “Devil’s at the Door” to hook the listener further in.
Delivering one of the most expected releases of 2016, today we have Pysch/Prog Rockers Purson and their sophomore album “Desire’s Magic Theatre”. Since creating quite a commotion with their creepy debut release “The Circle and the Blue Door”, the band has been gaining fans left and right in all parts of the world. Featuring a richer and warmer sound, this release delivers ten brilliant tracks that perfectly highlight all the awesomeness behind this promising band.
Led by the lovely and equally intimidating Rosalie Cunningham, this UK outfit opens with the fuzziness of the album title track. This piece sets retro Rock vibe with its groovy guitars and hypnotic percussions. The full-on explosion into melodic psychedelic/proggy interludes makes this track quite a solid opener. Moving on into more ‘traditional’ Jimi Hendrix-esque territories, the band delivers the trippy “Electric Landlady”, one of the most playful and engaging songs in this release.
Fittingly bearing what it looks like a psychoactive toad on its cover, today we have Tusmörke and their trippiest release to date “Fort Bak Lyset”. Combining psychedelic and folk elements ina a very proggy way, the band crafts seven unique pieces that are beyond original and totally weird. If you are looking for weird psychedelic music, this is probably as weird as you are going to get in 2016.
Opening with the Jethro Tull-esque “Ekebergkongen”, the band sets a very odd stage with tons of psychedelic atmospheric elements and very proggy music. Entirely sung in Norwegian, the music in this album explores all kinds of weird folk corners as we can hear on “Et Djevelsk Mareritt” and “De Reiser Fra Oss”. While one can quickly picture a bunch of geeky larpers frolicking around with their foam swords to this music, we have to say that even this is too weird and out of the ordinary (in a good way!) for said sinister purposes.