As with many of my blog posts, I hadn’t intended on adding a third part to my series of posts looking at those albums still to come in the latter half of 2014 that I’m really looking forward to. However, with a few announcements and confirmations in the past couple of weeks, I again felt compelled to add a few more albums to the already-impressive list.
If you missed parts 1 & 2, they can be read here:
This third installment contains a wide variety of music within the rock and metal genres, so hopefully there’s something of interest again here. In no particular order, here goes:
Knight Area – Hyperdrive
Dutch rockers Knight Area are simply one of the best bands within the modern neo-progressive rock scene. Every album that they release is of the highest quality and offers everything you could want in a band of this genre. The music is certainly grandiose in the manner of many of their predecessors, the keyboards dominate as they should and the guitar work is satisfying, containing plenty of interesting riffs and glorious melodic solos. And yet, Knight Area are also keen to avoid sounding overly pretentious, instead favouring strong compositions full of powerful melodic intent over self-indulgence. The result on the band’s last album, ‘Nine Paths’ was fantastic and I’m expecting nothing less from the forthcoming ‘Hyperdrive’
Scar Symmetry – The Singularity (Phase I – Neohumanity)
I have loved Scar Symmetry ever since they burst onto the scene in the early Noughties with ‘Symmetric In Design’, an album that simply blew me away. Their blend of brutality, razor-sharp precision, groove, hook-laden choruses and the clean/gruff dual vocal approach instantly hit the mark and, for me, they quickly became one of the most exciting melodic death metal bands to come out of Sweden in many years. Well over a decade later and, albeit with a few line-up changes since then, we’re about to be offered album number six. As the name suggests, it is the first album within a trilogy, an intriguing concept and one that just makes me even more curious and excited to hear it.
Freak Kitchen – Cooking With Pagans
How do you sum up Freak Kitchen in a few short words? It’s a challenge, but I’d say ‘quirky, progressive, fun and very catchy’. The Swedish trio of Mattias IA Eklundh, Bjorn Fryklund and Christer Ortefors are not your usual band but it’s exactly for this reason that they remain a well-loved cult band. The music is referred to as prog rock, art-rock and experimental rock but with Freak Kitchen, genres don’t mean much as they are truly unique. The core of the band’s music is technical and challenging but they manage to almost disguise the complexity by keeping the songs on the shorter side and lacing them with a surprisingly heavy and groovy guitar tone, huge melodies and humorous lyrics that often have me laughing or singing loudly as if I’m listening to a stadium rock band. A very impressive feat, one that very few could pull off with such stunning results. It’s been five years since the last album so I’m ready for this.
Flying Colors – Second Nature
In spite of the fact that their name is spelt incorrectly (, I am still greatly looking forward to a new release from the ‘supergroup’ that goes by the name of Flying Colors. Comprised of Neal Morse, Mike Portnoy, Steve Morse, Casey McPherson and Dave LaRue, the quintet offer the listening public a blend of progressive rock and pop music. Naturally, when musicians of this calibre are involved, you tend to expect music of the highest calibre and that’s exactly what you get. The self-titled debut album is a delight of beautifully-crafted organic-sounding progressive rock with huge hooks, giant choruses and a care-free, breezy attitude. As such, I cannot be the only one looking forward to the follow-up?