I haven’t done this in a while – so let’s see what’s changed!
1. Rush – Snakes and Arrows – This CD over the past six months shows up in my cd player every once and a while. Full of great songs, philosophy, incredible musicianship, and an agnostic overtone that makes me glad to know the Creator, but gives me a glimpse of what my thoughts might’ve been if I didn’t.
2. Punch Brothers – Who’s Feeling Young Now – I heard some critiques over this album; people complained that it was overproduced and didn’t have the same organic sound that previous Punch Brothers albums have had. Pfff, forget that – this is progressive bluegrass at its finest and it reminds me of how much I miss Joy Kills Sorrow being together.
3. Within Temptation – The Silent Force – I literally hadn’t listened to this album in years. I came upon it today while I was cleaning. For a pop album (according to Finnish/Swedish standards), the orchestration and development is out of this world. Within the verse, chorus, bridge, etc., form – the composers and orchestrators build their orchestrations and motifs well enough to make a classically trained composer smile. Reminds me why I got into writing metal to begin with.
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.
This past week, Theatre of Tragedy has been high in my rotation; however, only their last two albums because of their switch to Nell Sigland on vocals. She doesn’t do anything especially technical; however, her tone is incredible. That could be a good lesson for us all that a good tone can trump the most technical of virtuosos. Nell also did vocals for The Crest, which is also another good listen. I hadn’t listened to Rush in a while and I’m especially fond of their songwriting on Test for Echo and Vapor Trails – I may be alone in these feelings, but those 2 albums offer something especially pleasing to the ear and mind. And finally, I’m greatly disappointed that I never really listened to Pearl Jam’s Ten album with it being such a staple of 90’s culture and the launchpad for PJ’s career. Simply songwriting at it’s finest.
With this New Year – I’m overcome with new projects – both symphonic rock/metal & electronic. I’ll have more detail soon – but both are in creation with performance in mind! More soon! In the meantime! – Monday Playlist!
Living Sacrifice – The Hammering Process – I really enjoyed ‘Conceived in Fire’ – so I got this one, as well. Awesome dual percussion, breakdowns, and dissonant guitar work. Similar in ways to Meshuggah 😉
Demon Hunter – The Triptych – Definitely a classic and essential album in the world of Christian metal – many great songs on this album.
Becoming the Archetype – Dichotomy – Probably my favorite release from the Atlanta-based Christian metal band. It bases it concepts around the C.S. Lewis space trilogy – great metal and lyrical themes – and probably my favorite – “Science cannot explain me… This body will not contain me” AH! Epic!
Amplifier – Amplifier This biggest guitar sound I’ve heard from a power trio; Simply awesome – Kinda progressive, but with a consistent guitar wall of sound
Russian Circles – Enter – I heard of this group years ago and was reminded of them once again when browsing through the iTunes catalog. Impressive, innovative, and inspiring instrumental progressive post rock from a power trio. I’m going to enjoy listening to this album very much all week!
On Nov. 8th – the electronic EP – ‘The Very Machines Will Cry Out’ – Hymns for Analog Synthesizer will be released via JohnnyNewman.Bandcamp.com along with a couple of bonus goodies! So, for you electronic music, synthesizer, and hymn enthusiasts – this is definitely for you!
As for what I’m listening to this week; Here’s the rundown…
Blindside – The Great Depression – Definitely solid Christian hardcore out of Stockholm
Chris Thile – Deceiver – Thile totally takes a dive into pop music. While it’s still bluegrass – there’s a touch of rock and experimental pop involved for sure
Underoath – Lost in the Sound of Separation – My wife bought this album for me on a whim sometime ago..and while I wasn’t an Underoath fan… this album won me over. It seriously rocks and has some great progressive elements to it. Definitely check it out.
Thank you all for the support on the album! For those of you haven’t heard it; do Check it out! You’re in for a real treat of aggressive metal that has some really great musicianship and symphonic orchestrations!
As for this post! I’ve started back up the ‘Monday Playlist’ Here’s what I’m listening to
Keane (Pandora station) – This station has just enough progressiveness to it along with catchy & pop choruses to keep it fresh and inspiring.
Neal Morse – Lifeline – This album from progressive rock keyboardist/guitarist Neal Morse (Spock’s Beard) is a bit softer than his previous ‘Sola Scriptura’ but still incorporates great worshipful music that is unique to the Christian rock genre.
Head – Save Me From Myself – The debut album from ex-Korn member Brian Welch is unapologetic as very much ‘tells it like it is.’ Away with the fluffy stuff; this is the core of it all.