Pyramaze – Contingent – Album Review

pyramaze artwork_1500

Artist: Pyramaze

Album Title: Contingent

Label: Inner Wound Recordings

Date Of Release: 28 April 2017

Melodic progressive metallers Pyramaze are one of those entities that prove that the band is bigger than the individuals within it. Since their inception in 2002, the Danes have had no fewer than four lead vocalists and have also lost their founding member, guitarist Michael Kammeyer and bassist Niels Kvist along the way. And yet, despite all this, the name Pyramaze still exists and, if the hype surrounding this latest release is anything to go by, they are gaining in popularity.

‘Contingent’ is the band’s fifth full-length studio release but only the second outing from the current line-up, in existence for only a couple of years. Following in Lance King, Matt Barlow and Urban Breed’s considerable footsteps, Pyramaze is now fronted by vocalist Terje Harøy, ably surrounded by keyboardist Jonah W., lead guitarist Toke Skjønnemand, drummer Morten Gade Sørensen and guitarist/bassist Jacob Hansen. Yes, the producer. And yes, Hansen has produced, mixed and mastered this record as well.

And as you might expect, one of the biggest strengths of ‘Contingent’ is indeed the production. This is a record that sounds as good as you’d hope it would, with a nice mix of clarity and clout.

Now, I’m a bit of a sucker for melodic progressive metal and so when I read that ‘Contingent’ was to be ‘an epic post-apocalyptic conceptual piece’ with ‘cinematic film score elements’ I had very high hopes for this release. Unfortunately, at the beginning, I struggled to get to grips with it and I felt more than a little underwhelmed. The hooks and melodies weren’t as strong as I had hoped and it all felt a little bit overblown to the detriment of the songs themselves. As such, after a handful of spins, I shelved it temporarily.

However, the more I listened to other music in this period, the more I found myself thinking ‘I need to hear the new Pyramaze again’. What witchcraft was this? Whatever the answer, I found myself gravitating back to ‘Contingent’. And finally, it all started to click into place. I now find myself really enjoying this album to the point where I can only wonder incredulously why I didn’t like it from the very beginning.

pyramaze band 02 web

The first thing to say is that ‘Contingent’ is indeed a very ambitious record, arguably the boldest of their career to date. It is full of bombast, drama and the symphonic elements are prominent, up front and centre much of the time. The good thing is though, that despite my early misgivings, the songs themselves are strong enough to cope with the additional baggage. The metal quota remains high, with powerful riffs, a muscular rhythm section and a commanding vocal performance from Terje Harøy. The progressive nature of the riffs and the changes in tempo are evident and the choruses, an integral part of any metal with the word ‘melodic’ in the title, take their time but eventually deliver the goods too.

The opening salvo, the impressive ‘Land Of Information’ is the perfect example of everything that Pyramaze have managed to do so well with this release. The first few moments introduce mechanical, almost dystopian sound effects amidst a bold cinematic score which then segues nicely into a powerful, progressively-tinged riff and a bulldozing rhythm section. It doesn’t take long either for Terje Harøy to make his presence felt behind the mic either, coming into the song with authority, confidence and an on-point delivery.

It may not have been the most immediate chorus to my mind but it has worked insidiously to get under my skin without me even realising it. The more I listen, the grander it feels and the more addictive it becomes. Keyboard and guitar solos litter the latter stages but it signs off in suitably bombastic fashion, with everything coming together in a final rousing chorus to leave a lasting impression on the listener.

This sense of grandiosity continues throughout the album but thanks to some strong songwriting and plenty of experience from this group of musicians, it never spirals out of control and crucially, focus isn’t lost.

Even when the metal falls away within ‘Kingdom of Solace’ to be replaced by a filmic passage of respite, everything works. In fact, this is a lovely touch that adds drama and intrigue whilst allowing the track to breathe. And then, in turn, the change of pace allows the wailing and gnashing solos of both keys and guitars to make a bigger impact when they arrive.

‘Star Men’ begins with tinkling ivories and a brilliantly heavy and menacing chugging riff as the frenetic pace of the opening tracks is deliberately slowed. It also features one of my favourite choruses on the album which has a faint ballad feel about it, such is its sprawling grace and beauty. I hear echoes of Evergrey in the ensuing guitar solo from Toke Skjønnemand, but this entire track is an utter delight in its own right.

The introduction to ‘A World Divided’ is a thing of magnificence where an orchestral score is built around a sorrowful-sounding piano melody. In a heartbeat, it is replaced by a barnstorming riff and rhythm combo before settling down into a bold mid-tempo, dominated by yet another deceivingly catchy chorus. Morten Gade Sørensen’s inventive yet thunderous drumming catches the ear on this track, as does the rumbling bass of Jacob Hansen.

Then we come to ‘Nemesis’ and I’m blown away. This has to be my favourite track on ‘Contingent’. It bounds along with at a great pace, exploding into the chorus. And the chorus is one of the best I’ve heard from this kind of music in a while, it’s completely killer, taken to a new level by an inspired performance by Harøy. You can’t help but reach for the volume dial, crank it up and sing along. I also love the way it slows to introduce a hard rock-esque segment before increasing in intensity towards the close, led by Sørensen’s powerhouse double-pedal drumming.

Comprised of thirteen tracks, ‘Contingent’ lasts for a good hour but it never really feels that long. In fact the whole thing zips by in a blaze of barely-contained glory. There are a couple of symphonic, cinematic interludes that help to underline the conceptual nature of the album whilst offering some brief yet sophisticated respite to the listener.

Other highlights within a consistently tremendous album have to be the feel-good anthem that is ’20 Second Century’, the stomping mid-tempo majesty of ‘Heir Apparent’ and the piano and vocal ballad, ‘The Tides That Won’t Change’ which features a guest female vocal performance from Kristen Foss to duet delightfully with Harøy.

2017 is not even four months old and already we have yet another contender for the best melodic progressive metal album of the year. ‘Contingent’ has slowly and cleverly worked its way into my affections and now I can’t sing its praises highly enough. Pyramaze have quite simply delivered a stunning album that’s ambitious and highly impressive.

The Score Of Much Metal: 9.25

If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others from previous years and for 2017 right here:

2015 reviews
2016 reviews

Shores Of Null – Black Drapes For Tomorrow
Asira – Efference
Hologram Earth – Black Cell Program
Damnations Day – A World Awakens
Memoriam – For The Fallen
Pallbearer – Heartless
Sleepmakeswaves – Made of Breath Only
Ghost Ship Octavius – Ghost Ship Octavius
Vangough – Warpaint
Telepathy – Tempest
Obituary – Obituary
Fen – Winter
Havok – Conformicide
Wolfheart – Tyhjyys
Svart Crown – Abreaction
Nova Collective – The Further Side
Immolation – Atonement
The Mute Gods – Tardigrades Will Inherit The Earth
Ex Deo – The Immortal Wars
Pyogenesis – A Kingdom To Disappear
My Soliloquy – Engines of Gravity
Nailed To Obscurity – King Delusion
Helion Prime – Helion Prime
Battle Beast – Bringer Of Pain
Persefone – Aathma
Soen – Lykaia
Exquirla – Para Quienes Aun Viven
Odd Logic – Effigy
Mors Principium Est – Embers Of A Dying World
Firewind – Immortals
Slyde – Back Again EP
Sepultura – Machine Messiah
Deserted Fear – Dead Shores Rising
Kreator – Gods Of Violence
Borealis – World of Silence MMXVII
Pain of Salvation – In The Passing Light of Day

Phantasma – The Deviant Hearts – Album Review

phantasma cover

Artist: Phantasma

Album Title: The Deviant Hearts

Label: Napalm Records

Year Of Release: 2015

When you consider the clientele involved in this record, I’m genuinely surprised that there’s not been more of a buzz about ‘The Deviant Hearts’ by Phantasma in rock/metal circles. Ok, so it may have been voted by readers of Loudwire.com as the release of November 2015 but aside from this, a smattering of reviews and a few mentions across various forums, it seems to have flown under the radar somewhat. But why is this surprising, exactly?

Phantasma is the brainchild of Serenity vocalist Georg Neuhauser and Everon multi-instrumentalist Oliver Philipps. Neuhauser has always been interested in historical-based themes as is consistently borne out by the lyrical content of Serenity. However, partnered by Philipps, he has been granted the opportunity to create a more story-based concept album. With the addition of Delain’s Charlotte Wessels as the third principal member of Phantasma, perhaps my surprise begins to make some sense. These are three well-known and respected musicians within the rock/metal world and would, I’d have thought, created a bigger stir than they have to date by coming together in such a way.

When you factor in the cast of guest musicians, the consternation only grows. Joining Neuhauser, Philips and Wessels is none other than Evergrey’s Tom Englund, Dennis Schunke (Van Canto) and Cloe Lowery (Trans-Siberian Orchestra) on vocals as well as drummer Jason Gianni (Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Neal Morse Band), Randy George (Neal Morse Band) on bass and guitarist Tom Buchberger (ex-Serenity). As line-ups go, it’s a pretty heavyweight affair and one that, on paper, promises much.

As I downloaded the promo, I wondered whether it may have something to do with a lack of quality within the music itself. I therefore pressed play with slight trepidation. Within the space of a few songs however, this hypothesis was blown out of the water; the music is of a standard you’d readily expect from the personnel involved and has provided me with much enjoyment to put it mildly.

Credit: Unknown
Credit: Unknown

‘The Deviant Hearts’ is a slick and professional 12-track album that’s grandiose, ambitious and suitably varied throughout. Those familiar with the artists involved will immediately notice strong accents of their day jobs within the album. The big key/guitar walls of sound that dominate Everon’s output make several appearances as do the familiar chord progressions and Philipps’ thickly accented vocals. The melodic power metal sensibilities of Serenity play an active role, as do Neuhauser’s unique and powerful vocals, whilst Wessel’s contribution will have Delain fans purring thanks to another strong and committed performance.

However, for all the echoes and similarities, Phantasma offers something different to all three. From all-out metallic bombast to subtle ballads, to more modern touches, ‘The Deviant Hearts’ features it all whilst managing to maintain the feeling that this is a proper rock opera with all the pomp and circumstance that accompanies such a thing.

The album kicks off with ‘Incomplete’ a piano and vocal ballad featuring Philipps and Wessels behind the mic. If I’m honest, it isn’t the strongest of beginnings but I understand its inclusion in terms of the concept. Following hot on its heels however, is the title track and it’s here that the magic begins. The keys create a hugely opulent introduction before the drums and guitars add a sense of drama. It all drops away and an acoustic guitar is joined by the soulful and utterly beguiling vocals of Tom Englund as he makes the first of two guest appearances on the record. And then there’s the chorus which is, frankly, enormous and hook-laden.

‘Runaway Gray’ produces another bombastic chorus within a quieter, more ballad-like number dominated by Wessels’ heartfelt vocals. ‘Try’ is another ballad that features Cloe Lowery on lead vocals and is one of my favourites on the record. I love the way it grows and in true Everon style packs a huge melodic punch, although Lowery’s voice at the beginning and end of the song is what draws me I for repeated listens, such is her fragile and absolutely beautiful delivery.

My all-time favourite metal voice returns in the more openly bombastic and up-tempo ‘Enter Dreamscape’ but Tom Englund’s wonderfully unique tones are this time joined by Neuhauser’s equally familiar timbre. It’s not a bad combination as I’m sure you’ll agree.

‘The Lotus And The Willow’ slows the pace again with absolutely beautiful results, mainly thanks to the excellent songwriting and another commanding performance by Wessels in particular. ‘Crimson Course’ has more of a Serenity stamp all over it, albeit with added rock opera pomp and some well-placed modern synth effects. It is here that Neuhauser reminds me forcefully why I consider Serenity to be one of my all-time favourite melodic metal bands.

‘Carry Me Home’ is a slightly quirkier, modern-sounding track that benefits greatly from Randy George’s elegant bass playing and Schunke’s rich timbre. Again, that satisfying Everon wall of sound re-enters the fray helping to build momentum into the composition.

For me though, one of the best moments on ‘The Deviant Hearts’ is reserved for the final act, in the shape of ‘Let It Die’. Arguably the most grandiose and over-the-top of all the compositions, it is a delight. Wessels shares the mic with Philipps principally with great results but it is the chorus that sends shivers down my spine as it’s irresistibly melodic and as a big Everon fan, its overt bombast and epic overtones strikes a real chord with me.

So there you have it. This is a very solid and nicely put-together record with some real knock-out moments, meaning that overall, there’s very little not to like about ‘The Deviant Hearts’; strong songwriting, heartfelt performances and a slick production from an impressive group of musicians means that Phantasma have delivered a grand melodic rock opera that offers a very high level of enjoyment time and time again.

The Score Of Much Metal: 8.0

If you’ve enjoyed this review, check out my others right here:

Rendezvous Point – Solar StormVanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld II
Antimatter – The Judas Table
Bauda – Sporelights
Waken Eyes – Exodus
Earthside – A Dream In Static
Caligula’s Horse – Bloom
Teramaze – Her Halo
Amorphis – Under The Red Cloud
Spock’s Beard – The Oblivion Particle
Agent Fresco – Destrier
Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction
Between The Buried And Me – Coma Ecliptic
Cradle Of Filth – Hammer Of The Witches
Disarmonia Mundi – Cold Inferno
District 97 – In Vaults
Progoctopus – Transcendence
Big Big Train – Wassail
NightMare World – In The Fullness Of Time
Helloween – My God-Given Right
Triaxis – Zero Hour
Isurus – Logocharya
Arcturus – Arcturian
Kamelot – Haven
Native Construct – Quiet World
Sigh – Graveward
Pantommind – Searching For Eternity
Subterranean Masquerade – The Great Bazaar
Klone – Here Comes The Sun
The Gentle Storm – The Diary
Melechesh – Enki
Enslaved – In Times
Keep Of Kalessin – Epistemology
Lonely Robot – Please Come Home
The Neal Morse Band – The Grand Experiment
Zero Stroke – As The Colours Seep
AudioPlastik – In The Head Of A Maniac
Revolution Saints – Revolution Saints
Mors Principium Est – Dawn of The 5th Era
Arcade Messiah – Arcade Messiah
Triosphere – The Heart Of The Matter
Neonfly – Strangers In Paradise
Knight Area – Hyperdrive
Haken – Restoration
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance
Mercenary – Through Our Darkest Days
A.C.T. – Circus Pandemonium
Xerath – III
Big Big Train – English Electric (Part 1)
Thought Chamber – Psykerion
Marcus Jidell – Pictures From A Time Traveller
H.E.A.T – Tearing Down The Walls
Vanden Plas – Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld

Album of the Year 2014 – Number 8

It might now, strictly be 2015, but I’m ploughing on with my Album of the Year 2014 countdown. Thanks again, as always, for the continued support, the comments and the interaction. I hope you continue to enjoy my remaining posts in the series and if you’ve missed the preceding posts, links to these can be found at the bottom of this piece.

And now, on to my choice for number 8:
VP album cover
Vanden Plas
‘Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld’
Frontiers Records

Vanden Plas are stalwarts of the progressive metal scene and at the very beginning of 2014, they released the massively impressive and grandly-titled ‘Chronicles of the Immortals: Netherworld’. I knew then that this was an album that would be in my top 20 come the end of the year and so it has proved. Rightly so, too.

VP band21

It’s clear that over the years, the band have become increasingly interested in the theatre, becoming more and more involved with stage shows and rock musicals. ‘Chronicles Of The Immortals: Netherworld’, however, takes the concept story idea to a whole new level and should put to bed all those negative comments about concept albums. In this case, the music on the album is based on a stage show that the band put together in conjunction with renowned German author Wolfgang Hohlbein and it’s really something special; even after a year or so of listening. In fact, like a fine wine, this is an album that gets better with age.

In keeping with the stage show theme, ‘Chronicles…’ is split into ten Acts or ‘Visions’ with each one standing on its own whilst also playing an important and integral role in the album as a whole.

One of the most instantly noticeable features of ‘Chronicles…’ is the recurring central melodic motif that flirts in and out of many of the tracks like a magnificent golden thread which is utterly beautiful and beguiling, only serving to underline just how impressive this album truly is.

When I re-read my full review of this album that I wrote at the time. I realised that much of it holds true and so, rather than reinvent the wheel, here’s a direct quote:

‘Unlike many prog albums, ‘Chronicles…’ is also properly heavy. Unrelentingly powerful double-pedal drumming and monstrous bass work create an impressively strong framework upon which sit riff-hungry guitars that growl and shriek with real intent. The guitar tone throughout offers a satisfying crunch and the sparingly used lead runs are expertly crafted to provide that most metal of embellishments without detracting from the overall feel of the music. All of this is then wrapped up in some stunning keyboard and synth work, that adds depth, warmth and richness to the compositions. Always present, it is often subtle but comes to the fore when required, underlining that dramatic, filmlike feel to the vast majority of the material.

The other big strength to this album is the sheer variety on offer. Given the band’s penchant for the theatre, it comes as no surprise to learn that this is an album that provides drama and pomp from start to finish, be it via the use of clever tempo changes, the contrast between all out bombast and quieter introspective and reflective moments or via a varied vocal approach. Kuntz is a great front man with a unique voice but when joined by a female voice for an occasional duet, it really stands the hairs up on the back of your neck.’

With Vanden Plas, professionalism is built in and so once again, the quintet deliver a classy, vibrant and rather spectacular melodic progressive metal album. If you’ve never listened to this band, now’s a great time to remedy this enormous oversight.

Check out the other posts in this series:

Album of the Year 2014 – Number 9
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 10
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 11
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 12
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 13
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 14
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 15
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 16
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 17
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 18
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 19
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 20

And if you’re interested, my similar countdowns from previous years can be accessed here:

Top 20 of 2012
Album of the Year 2013

Album Of The Year 2014 – Number 13

We’ve reached the number 13 spot which might be considered to be an unlucky position. Not so here, because hopefully the band at the centre of this post will enjoy a little more time in the spotlight. I hope so anyway.

Before I launch into today’s pick, just a reminder that you can read any of the preceding posts in this year’s countdown as well as the entire lists from 2012 and 2013 via the links at the bottom of this post.

And with that, here’s my number 13:

act cpA.C.T.
Circus Pandemonium
Actworld

I reviewed this album in full a few months ago. If you’re interested in reading the full review, click here. For the purposes of this post however, here are the highlights:

The music that A.C.T. offer is difficult to put into words, although the adjective ‘quirky’ is one of the most apt that I can muster. At it’s core though, and regardless of any genre labels one might wish to apportion, this is progressive rock of the highest order that blends many different styles into an homogenous and cohesive end product that will no doubt confound and delight in equal measure.

One of the big strengths of ‘Circus Pandemonium’ is the lyrical content which, in common with many other bands in the prog rock world, is a concept disc, where each track acts as a chapter in the overall story. The lyrical content may be commendable but crucially, it is backed up by some stunning music.

act band

To begin with, the musicianship is of the absolute highest calibre. Each member of the band is a master of his chosen craft, resulting in a set of songs that, on the face of it appear quite straightforward and immediate, yet are deceptively complicated and involved. Every note has been thought about in minute detail and is performed with the professionalism that many other bands would kill for.

To make reference to all of the influences at play on this album is, to a certain extent, an exercise in futility but I shall try to give it a go. Naturally, there’s plenty of circus-inspired themes given the story, as evidenced in ‘The End’ for example. There’s a reggae vibe to ‘A Truly Gifted Man’ which ends in rousing fashion whereas ‘Look At The Freak’ calls to mind Queen or E.L.O. at their most theatrical, bringing a touch of the West End stage with them at the same time. ‘A Mother’s Love’ is a piano-led ballad that has echoes of 80s pop about it but which is beautifully emotional whilst the cheeky beat to ‘The Funniest Man Alive’ will have fans of all ages dancing a jig around their living rooms. Then there’s the opening riff to ‘Lady In White’ which would be comfortable on many a metal album, as would the ferocious drumming within the closing moments of final track ‘Freak Of Nature’.

The band’s own Facebook page also mentions acts like Styx, Rush, Kansas and The Beatles. Normally such things should be taken with a pinch of salt but, in the case of A.C.T., there’s a strong case to say that these references are absolutely spot on and to a greater or lesser extent, there are elements of each to be heard on this record.

But above all and arguably more importantly, each and every track, be it a full-on tack or a brief instrumental interlude, offers something very special. In particular, the melodies throughout are stunning and will stick with you for days on end. Just listen to the choruses to ‘Lady In White’ or ‘Manager’s Wish’ for examples of this.

To cut to the chase and put it as simply as I am able, this is art rock at its very best. Progressive in nature, it flits from idea to idea with gay abandon but manages to keep the central core intact, namely creating memorable music that defies labels but which is memorable, entertaining and technically superb. You can’t do that and pull it off so sensationally well without being a very special band indeed. And that’s exactly what A.C.T. are: a very special band indeed.

Check out the other posts in this series:

Album of the Year 2014 – Number 14
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 15
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 16
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 17
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 18
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 19
Album of the Year 2014 – Number 20

And if you’re interested, my similar countdowns from previous years can be accessed here:

Top 20 of 2012
Album of the Year 2013

My Most Anticipated Release of 2014

Having briefly rounded-up those albums that I consider to be the best so far in 2014 (check these posts out here), I fully intended to take a general look at the albums still to be released this year that I was particularly looking forward to. I still intend to do that in the coming days/weeks but as I began to write, it became obvious that there is one album in particular that I am most excited about and which I felt deserved a little more exclusive focus from me.

Evergrey – Hymns For The Broken

evergrey hftb

They are my favourite band. Simple as that. Anyone who has read this blog probably already knows this. If you didn’t, please click this link and catch up! ‘Glorious Collision’, released in 2011 was seen by many, myself included, as a real return to form after a couple of albums that weren’t received quite as positively as others. That’s not to say that either ‘Monday Morning Apocalypse’ or ‘Torn’ were bad records, just that they maybe didn’t fire the enthusiasm as much after the devastatingly great triple combo of ‘In Search Of Truth’, ‘Recreation Day’ and ‘The Inner Circle’.

These three albums deliver time and time again and, despite being released a decade and more ago, they have all stood the test of time. Moreover, as I’ve made clear elsewhere on this blog, ‘In Search Of Truth’ is my absolute favourite album of all time. The question is, will album number nine, ‘Hymns For The Broken’ live up to my ultra-high expectations?

Evergrey and their irrepressible front man, Tom Englund, have been pushing ‘Hymns For The Broken’ very hard on social media in the recent months and although Tom, in true Swedish self-deprecating style, will not go so far as to say that he is proud of what he has created, I get the feeling that on September 26th, we’ll be treated to a very special album indeed. Based on the support that their record label have also given to the cause, I think AFM Records agree too.

We’ve been treated to a few small teasers, but these don’t seem to be giving away too much in terms of the music itself. The first was released at the beginning of June 2014. It lasted for less than a minute and gave fans the album title, the track titles and confirmation that the album will feature a new concept story. The latter is greeted positively because, in my opinion, Evergrey are at their best when delivering a story.

This information sits on top of what appears to be a atmospheric synth-led intro giving way to a slow-to-mid-tempo, heavy as hell riff that doesn’t sit, to these ears in a simple 4-4 beat. I’m already excited.

The second teaser was released just a week or so ago. At around 1 minute 30 seconds, it again begins with the sound of a piano before exploding into a riff that is big, fat and juicy. Given the apparent time signature, it appears that Evergrey’s progressive side has not disappeared either.

Accompanying the music, fans are told that the first single will be the track ‘King Of Errors’, released on 15th August. A video will accompany the song which will reveal the two mysterious new members to replace drummer Hannes Van Dahl and guitarist Marcus Jidell. The album artwork is also revealed in this clip. It is bold, striking and has grown on me over the past week or so.

What can we therefore deduce from these two teasers? It’s always a little dangerous to read too much into small snippets like these but I have to admit that I am very optimistic about what lays ahead. The fact that both teasers feature keyboardist Rikard Zander prominently leads me to hope that his involvement on ‘Hymns For The Broken’ will be more central as I love the juxtaposition between the heavy riffing and the dark keyboard-created atmospheres for which Evergrey are known.

Tom, Rikard and a mysterious new member of Evergrey. Just who is the new drummer?
Tom, Rikard and a mysterious new member of Evergrey. Just who is the new drummer?

We’ve yet to hear any vocals but I fully expect Tom Englund, one of the best voices in heavy metal today, to deliver a typically passionate vocal performance, full of emotion. As far as choruses or melodies are concerned, I really hope that Evergrey deliver as I know that they can and have done in the past. I want anthems that stick in the mind long after the album has finished. I want poignancy, I want intelligence and I want catchy. Not much then, no pressure Evergrey! But then, I only want all this because I know that the band are capable of these things and because previous albums have placed the bar so high.

Now the long wait until 26th September begins. It feels like it is a long way away but even now, consider me very excited!

Still unconvinced or unfamiliar with Evergrey? Check this out, ‘The Phantom Letters’ from ‘Glorious Collision’:

My Top 20 of 2012 – Number 11

Despite it now being 2013, we have reached the halfway stage in my top 20 rock & metal albums of 2012. How exciting!

If you’ve missed any of my previous posts in this countdown, links can be found at the bottom of this post.

Dockers Guild 1Docker’s Guild
‘The Mystic Technocracy (Season 1: The Age Of Ignorance)’
Lion Music

There is no explaining some things; they just happen. Like this, an unknown act finding it’s way into my top 20 at position 11. The work of one man, Douglas R. Docker, ‘The Mystic Technocracy’ is an ambitious prog rock opera that features a wealth of guests from the world of rock/metal including Goran Edman (ex-Yngwie Malmsteen), Amanda Somerville, Guthrie Govan (Asia) and Tony Mills (TNT).

Dockers Guild 2

With a keyboard-heavy core, this album draws influences from the likes of Yes, early Genesis and, more currently, Arjen Lucassen, blending them with inspiration from West End musicals, 70s pop and AOR, pulling it all together into a 15 track delight. The concept is classic prog, exploring the effect of blind faith within three of the main human religions against the science-fiction-inspired backdrop of a silicon-based life form which created religion as a way of controlling, manipulating and ultimately destroying humanity.

It may sound bonkers and a little over-the-top and I certainly had my doubts before giving it a proper listen. And then, it all began to make sense and now, every time I listen, I smile, I chuckle and I sing. Very badly.

If you’ve missed any of my previous posts, they can be found here:

Day 9 (modern extreme metal)
Day 8 (UK thrash metal/NWOBHM)
Day 7 (Norwegian progressive black metal)
Day 6 (Prog Rock/Metal)
Day 5 (Melodic Hard Rock)
Day 4 (Symphonic Folk black metal)
Day 3 (Modern Death/Thrash Metal)
Day 2 (Melodic Prog Metal)
Day 1 (Dark/Doom Metal)

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