- Nightwish – Oceanborn
- Pain of Salvation – Remedy Lane
- Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising
The ‘Oceanborn’ album is especially fresh after all of Nightwish’s recent releases being so cinematic in orchestration. I’m guilty of using the orchestra samples & click tracks live – you kinda have to when you play the “symphonic metal live in concert” game; however, I am thrilled to hear Nightwish at an earlier time with more lead guitar work, more synth & piano lines, and definitely Tarja. I re-listened to Pain of Salvation’s “Remedy Lane” because I found it in the car and it’s always been one of my favorite progressive metal albums – I’m still mad they didn’t play “This Heart of Mine” at our wedding reception. As for Amon Amarth…you just gotta have some Viking brutality every once and a while – Makes me very happy.