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.
Sometimes in our review queue some albums get lost in the mix and we don’t get to them until ‘late’. Unluckily for us we didn’t heard this majestic release from Fen (from Canada not the UK one) and now we can’t stop listening to it in order to pay attention to newer releases that need to be heard.
Before the confusion set’s in, this Canadian outfit plays Progressive Rock/Metal and it should not be mixed up with UK’s Fen (that play’s Atmospheric Black Metal/Post-rock). The first impressions we had of this CD where outstanding since the band has managed to craft 9 Progressive Rock/Metal anthems unlike many bands are able to do these days. After further listening, we can’t stop agreeing that this is surely the Progressive Rock/Metal album of the year for us as of August.
As soon as we saw that Votum’s second full-length album was promoted for fans of Opeth, Anathema and Porcupine Tree, we immediately took out the CD from its packaging and started listening to this promising release. To our surprise, Votum actually delivers on the promise of being compared to the previously mentioned legendary bands.
Hailing from Poland, Votum has been around since 2002 and (from what we have heard) has been evolving from Heavy Metal into the mystical genre of Progressive Metal/Rock in the last years. We immediately identify with Votum’s music since it’s well crafted and atmospheric enough to draw our attention away from whatever else we are doing while reviewing music (playing MW2 mostly).
We have been waiting for seven long years to get a new release from one of our favorite bands: Anathema. “We’re Here Because We’re Here” is the band’s latest album that will surely gain them a ton of mainstream fans, but will loose of the fans that have been expecting something completely different (and more inspired) from them.
The band’s atmospheric rock has suffered a very drastic transformation since “A Natural Disaster” shifting into a more commercial-friendly sound. Even Vincet’s vocals sound different than in the previously mentioned release. With only three tracks that appealed to us, we must say that this album is a big disappointment (at least for us).
Having formed back in 2007, Haken sounds like a band that’s been around for decades. Attempting to dethrone Dream Theater, Haken is here to blow us away with their impressive first release. The band comes close with a very good progressive Metal/Rock Jazzy album with “Aquarius”, but the only problem is that they sound too much like DT and IQ.
“Aquarius” is a monumental 72 minute long release that is very impressive and every Prog fan should check this one out. In a few years Haken has done what it has taken 10-15 years to other bands. The band has polished their sound greatly and they can compose monumental 16 minute songs that will keep you engaged the whole time, with not a single dull moment.
Hailing from France we have Les Discrets, a very unique band that makes it nearly impossible for us to define their musical style. Featuring a rich palette of influences ranging from Progressive Rock to Post-Rock to Shoegaze to Alternative Metal with a splash of Folk, we have one of the most unique sounds to ever be signed by Prophecy Productions (and if you know your music, you know this label is responsible for acts such as Empyrium, Autumblaze, The Vision Bleak, etc).
Featuring songs the band wrote in a span of six years, you can see how this band started with a very solid musical foundation and only refined it to near perfection. “Septembre Et Ses Dernières Pensées” is one of the best albums we have reviewed in 2010. The band has done a great job in polishing their own sound and laying down some amazing tracks over the year.
The Devil’s Blood is one of those bands that will totally catch you by surprise. Playing a funky mixture of Progressive Rock with Psychedelic Rock they totally rock at it.
I have never been a fan of the 70’s music of the same style, but there is something about “The Time Of No Time Evermore” that hooked me since the first time I heard the album and now I find myself enjoying this release at any point during the day, after listening to whatever other kind of music I’m currently reviewing.
Magnum has been around since 1972 and after taking a break from 1995 to 2000 they came back stronger than ever. “Into The Valley Of The Moonking” is an excellent example of current Metal influenced Rock releases capturing the old school sound. This album will send the listener a few years of AC/DC and bands alike.
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: