Posts Tagged ‘Progressive Metal’

b223926466145523090ae092b42c83f49a8efc44The album that I chose to check out for today is one that I have always wanted to because I have always respected Opeth as artists. I have always heard tracks from the Swedish Progressive Metal band, but I have never checked out full albums until today as we check out what ranked 15TH on their 50 Best Metal Albums of All Time list in the band’s fifth studio album Blackwater Park. The band which was made up of Mikael Åkerfeldt (Vocals/Guitars), Peter Lindgren (Guitar), Martín Méndez (Bass), and Martin Lopez (Drums) collaborated with Steven Wilson of Porcupine Tree for the first time as he was picked to produce the album. The album was considered a critical success for the band with some calling it their coming of age album, but unfortunately despite spawning two singles in the US, it failed to chart on the Billboard Top 200, but it peaked at number 10 in Poland. In 2007, IGN ranked it 18TH on their top metal albums list while Rolling Stone ranked the album 28TH on their Greatest Prog Rock Albums of all time list and 55TH on their The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time list as well. Åkerfeldt talked about making the album and how he felt like they were ameteurs compared to Soilwork who were int he studio around the same time saying, “They were working all the time. When they came into the kitchen for a break, we’re still there, on the same break we took 3 hours ago. We don’t want this to become a ‘job’, or something you do because you have to. We wanna have a good time, and thus we only work when it feels right.”

bL6cCUZ1. The Leper Affinity-The 10 plus minute opening track has a slow and eerie buildup with what sounds like an organ before the band comes all guns a blazing in this track that is about a man who is a rapist and a murderer. The guitar work on the track is absolutely amazing. 4.5/5

2. Bleak– an absolute eargasm is the best way to describe this nine minute track that I believe touches upon the theme of a character dealing with loss of a loved one. 5/5

3. Harvest– The next tracks lyrics are powerful and can be left to interpretation by anyone, but I believe the track is about someone who is dying and they have accepted what they have done and feel everyone should too. 4.5/5

4. The Drapery Falls– another almost 11 minute banger that starts out very beautifully with some great acoustic guitars matched with the electric before it changes into a metal track five minutes in as they start the track with clean vocals and go right into the death metal vocals. 5/5

blackwater-park-4f220b8bd721c5. Dirge for November– an eight minute track that takes a journey into the topic of suicide that is very real in this modern day. I love how it starts off with the acoustic guitars before going electric which is a very nice transition. 5/5

6. The Funeral Portrait-I think the track is literally about a man who has a secret that no one else knows and that is that he is a serial killer and the people he kills are his canvas. 4.5/5

7. Patterns in the Ivy-An instrumental track on the album that is almost two minutes in length that leads into the next track. 4/5

8. Blackwater Park-Even though the 12 minute title track was named after a German rock band who went by the name, we will pretend that Blackwater Park is a real place and that everyone around our narrator is dying, but it could be a metaphor for all the corruption and death that happens in the world. 5/5

My Final Thoughts-If you want to expand your horizons musically then this is an album that is worth picking up because it kicks a lot of ass. Musically, the album is definitely one of the best I have heard to come out of that Swedish scene. I am definitely glad I listened to it because I am giving the album 4.7 stars out of five for a final grade.

81mnRoyrC7L._SL1500_We are continuing our voyage through a comprehensive list that created called the 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time. When we started this journey, there were a heck of a lot of albums to cover from artists I had not fully explored as well as albums I have always been well aware of. Now that we are finally into the top 20 of the list, it was about time, we checked out #19 on the list which belongs to the mighty Mastodon. In 2004, Mastodon who were made up of Troy Sanders (Bass/Vocals), Brent Hinds (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Bill Kelliher (Rhythm Guitar), and Brann Dailor (Drums) would release their second full length album Leviathan which also marked the first time the band decided to do a concept record. The album is loosely based off the classic novel Moby-Dick that was written by Herman Melville and released in 1851. This was the album that helped me discover who Mastodon was and it certainly was the case for them with the rest of the world as the album helped place them on the map especially with the help of touring.

mast_lev_backtray1. Blood And Thunder– a thunderous riff opens up the album and the track which was the second single released features Clutch frontman Neil Fallon. The song is about the paranoia that Ahab goes through as he dreams of the whale that has escaped him. 5/5

2. I Am Ahab– The third single off the album and a very intricate track with time changes that explores the character of Captain Ahab and his lust for revenge as he sets his eye son the sea. 4.5/5

3. Seabeast– a very melodic opening to the track and the track has more of a sludge metal feel to it as we explore the very beast that Ahab is chasing in Moby Dick himself. 4.5/5

4. Island– an in your face track that I think is Ahab praying to the Norse Gods that he will be able to succeed as he leaves Iceland for the seas. 4/5

5. Iron Tusk– It was the first single released off the album and it’s a punishing track that is heavy as hell and I love it. I think the track is Ahab telling his men exactly how he plans to kill Moby Dick. The track features some of the best drumming I have heard on a track. 5/5

R-9856364-1487694084-2361.jpeg6. Megalodon– I love the guitar playing on this track because I feel it’s Hinds showing you exactly what he has on this track about a giant shark that is stalking them. There is a part in the track where it slows down and it has a country blues moment which was weird but very cool. 4.5/5

7. Naked Burn– a track that Brent Hinds hates playing because of the nature of the track. This is a track that has nothing to do with the concept of Moby Dick, but the track is about how Brent was pissed about Catholic priests raping little boys so he wrote a track to raise awareness about it. 4.5/5

8. Aqua Dementia– The track features Neurosis great Scott Kelly and is all about the battle between the men and Moby Dick as they try to kill him with the spears, but I think it also features a message on pollution of the earth and them trying to raise awareness on that. 5/5

9. Hearts Alive– This song goes hands in hand with the previous track as this tells the grim and dark details of the fall of the Pequod by Moby Dick. I love the melodic nature of the track and it’s the perfect ending of the story. 5/5

10. Joseph Merrick– an instrumental track on the album named after the world famous Elephant Man of England in the mid to late 1800’s. 4/5

My Final Thoughts– This is an album that you better be strapped in and prepared as they take you on a musical voyage that you will not forget. In a way this was a great concept album because the music matched the mood of what the lyrical content was. Tracks 1, 4, 8, and 9 are my favorite on the record and I am going to give the album 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.

Images_and_WordsAfter taking a break last week from Loudwire’s 50 Best Metal Albums Of All Time list to cover Aerosmith, I thought it was time to return to the list and continue chopping it down. This week we are looking at a band that is musically gifted and probably the bets musicians band out there in Dream Theater. The Long Island band that met while attending the Berklee College of Music in Boston were made up of Mike Portnoy (Drums), John Myung (Bass), John Petrucci (Guitar), and Kevin Moore (Keyboards). To fill you in on the last piece of the puzzle, the band had recently lost their lead singer Charlie Dominici so they tried out over 200 singers, but they chose James LaBrie, who at the time was in an Canadian Glam Metal band called Winter Rose. With the news, the band was signed to a seven album deal with ATCO Records and they released what Loudwire ranked #25TH on their list in 1992’s Images And Words. The album was so successful for the band that it remains their most successful commercial record to date and it also features their only top 10 radio hit to date as well. It peaked at number 61 on the Billboard Top 200 charts while being certified Gold in 1995.

CS495513-01B-BIG1. Pull Me Under– A very melodic opening of a track that remains to be the band’s only top 10 radio hit of their careers. Portnoy commented saying, “it was just an 8 and a half minute song, and it was just a fluke for MTV and radio play to happen.” The track I believe is about Hamlet as their many references to the play in the lyrics. 5/5

2. Another Day-a touching song that was written by Petrucci who was dealing with the fact that his father had cancer. Musically this is a beautiful track which features Jay Beckenstein playing the Soprano Saxophone on the track. 5/5

3. Take The Time– A very Rush like beginning complete with some insane bass playing from Myung. Portnoy says this about the track, “We decided to write a song about everything we’d been going through for the past three years – looking for a new singer, a new label & new management – just all the changes we made & all the frustrations we went through…but, have it coming from each of our four different perspectives.” 5/5

4. Surrounded– A track that starts off sounding like a ballad, but then takes a Styx like turn in my opinion at some points. I think the song is about someone who with the fact that they have to make difficult decisions. 4/5

6b4e656d21158879db41b977f381a9a15. Metropolis—Part I: ‘The Miracle and the Sleeper‘-a nine minute epic track from the band that was called part 1 as a joke by Petrucci. The song is about dealing with loss and finding that thing like religion that keeps you going. 4.5/5

6. Under A Glass Moon-a seven minute track that starts with some cool riffs by Petrucci before Portnoy comes in with his bad ass drumming. The track in my opinion could be about someone coming to terms with the end and having a religious epiphany. 4.5/5

7. Wait For Sleep– The shortest track on the album which is a keyboard driven track that Moore has said in interviews is about a lost girl. 4.5/5

8. Learning To Live– The last track on the album clocks in at 11 minutes long and starts with Moore again before Portnoy and the gang catch up in a very Rush like fashion. The track is all about learning to live with all the difficulties and sorrows that life throws you. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– Before listening to this album, I was admittingly not a Dream Theater fan, but after listening to the album, I have a new found appreciation for them. Musically, their only match was Rush and I felt that Dream Theater was adding to the genre with some of their other influences. My favorite tracks are Under A Glass Moon, Pull Me Under, Another Day, and Take The Time. Surrounded was my least favorite track on the album. I am giving the album 4.6 stars out of five for a final grade.

magmaFour years ago, I covered an album from Rammstein because Germany had won the 2014 FIFA World Cup. So to try and keep the tradition going, I am going to do the same for this week considering that France is officially the 2018 FIFA World Cup Champions and the band that I chose is an absolute no brainer. Gojira (the Japanese name for Godzilla) is one of those bands that stormed onto the metal scene and has just made an impact with every album making them the real deal. The band made up of brothers Joe Duplantier (Vocals/Guitar/Producer), Mario Duplantier (Drums), Christian Andreu (Guitars), and Jean-Michel Labadie (Bass) together have recorded six studio albums with the band’s last effort in 2016’s Magma being this week’s Album of the Week. It was released on June 17, 2016 and it sold 17,000 copies in its first week landing itself at number 24 on the Billboard Top 200 charts which is the highest charted album int he band’s history. The album also landed in the top 10 in five different countries (France, Switzerland, Austria, Finland, and Norway) as well as the top 20 in four others. The album was also voted as the album of the year for Metal Hammer Magazine and it was voted the number one album on WhatCulture’s 20 Best Hard Rock & Heavy Metal Albums Of 2016 and that is why it was a successful album.

magma back cover1. The Shooting Star– A very cool track that is just atmospheric in my opinion and it bodes true with the lyrics which could be about two things. It could be interpreted as the loss of a loved one or about breaking out of the illusions the world throws up at us. 5/5

2. Silvera– an in your face track that shows off the thunder that the band brings to the table along with the amazing intricate notes. I think the track is about shedding your former self and becoming a new and more enlightened you. 5/5

3. The Cell– If you thought they brought the thunder in the last track, then check this one out. The track is apparently about the band’s dislike of how technology like cell phones have taken over society. I can’t say that I blame them. 5/5

4. Stranded– This is one of my favorite tracks on the album, I just love the riff, it has this rumble to it that is bad ass. I’ve read reports that the Duplantier brother’s mother had passed away before the making of the album and I believe this song has something to do with her. 5/5

5. Yellow Stone– This is the first of two instrumentals that is on the album that has a sludge metal feel to it. 4/5

6. Magma-A very eerie sounding track that I believe is about the death of their mother with lyrics like The poison slowly spreads/Through the body and the mind/Close your eyes and drop your things. It’s easy to see it could be about her sickness. 4.5/5

Gojira-Magma-CD7. Pray– An interesting track that touches a bit on the Djent side of metal with the chanting like vocals in this song about someone who has lost faith in the world and wants to leave. 4.5/5

8. Only Pain– A track that has the feel of Stranded with the guitar riffs that talks about someone who wanted it all despite all the people that he might hurt on the way. 4.5/5

9. Low Lands– A very cool track lyrically that might be them speaking to their mom who is on the other side now. It’s almost like they are trying to talk to her spirit because their curious as to what she see’s now. 5/5

10. Liberation– The second and last instrumental on the album that just showcases the brilliance of this band. 4.5/5

My Final Thoughts– Lyrically, these guys really make you think and that is what I love about this band. I know a lot of people admire their musical abilities much like I do, but they are also lyrically amazing. My favorite tracks on the album are the opening four tracks plus Low Lands. I don’t really have a least favorite track, but I guess I’ll put Yellow Stone as the track. I am giving the album 4.7 stars out of five for a final grade.

war of the covers  perfect strangers.jpgLast week, we went on the lighter side of the spectrum of music with a hard rock classic in Street Fighting Man by The Rolling Stones and between Motley Crue and Tesla, you voted and chose Motley Crue as the winner by half the votes. This week we have another hard rock classic for you guys to vote on, but this is a unique one because it’s a battle of metal subgenres. This week we are checking out the classic 1984 track Perfect Strangers which was the title track to Deep Purple’s 11TH studio album (check out the review here). The album was iconic because it featured the return of Deep Purple’s famous Mark II lineup consisting of Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Roger Glover, and Ian Paice. Now you are probably wondering what two bands did I find that covered the track that pin certain metal sub-genres against each other? In one corner, we have progressive metal legends Dream Theater who covered the track for their 1995 EP A Change Of Seasons. In the other corner, we have legendary symphonic black metal legends Dimmu Borgir who covered the song on their 2010 album Abrahadabra. Now only one version can prevail and it’s up to you to make the choice. You have until the next War Of The Covers to decide.


condition-humanAs is tradition, we here at Moshpits and Movies cover an album by the winning band of the Pedal To The Metal tournament. So with that being said, we are covering an album from Washington progressive metal band Queensrÿche who are the 2017 Pedal To The Metal Tournament winners as they defeated the mighty Amon Amarth with the help of an incredible fan base. Queensrÿche who is now made up of Todd La Torre (Lead Vocals), Michael Wilton (Lead and Rhythm Guitar), Parker Lundgren (Lead and Rhythm Guitar), Eddie Jackson (Bass), and Scott Rockenfield (Drums) released their second album with La Torre called Condition Hüman back on October 2, 2015. It was stated that the album featured demos from the band’s previous self titled album sessions that had never made the cut along with brand new tracks that they were writing at the time. Michael Wilton described the record saying, “We’re taking the songs in the classic Queensrÿche direction but maybe a little more progressive and heavier at times.” When the album was finally released, it was met with great praise from critics and it even peaked at number 27 on the Billboard Top 200 charts and number five on the Billboard Top Rock Album charts as well.

QUEENSRYCHE - Condition Human [Japan Edition] back1. Arrow Of Time– The first track of the album opens with that singature sound we love from the band with the dueling leads and amazing bass playing by Jackson that we loved from albums like Mindcrime or Empire. Todd of course sounds amazing as he belts out the lyrics to the track that talk about fighting against societies inability to avoid repeating past mistakes 5/5

2. Guardian– A definite Empire-esque track on the album that is about rising against the strangelehold of the government. 4.5/5

3. Hellfire– I love the acoustic intro of the track with the cadence like drum playing from Rockenfield. The track is heavy, hammering, and it has a cool groove to it which I definitely like. 5/5

4. Toxic Remedy– A cool track that I believe talks about how people drown themselves in toxic ways. 4.5/5

5. Selfish Lives– A very Mindcrime like track that at first the music fades in before the band launches it into overdrive with that sledge like guitar riff. 4.5/5

6. Eye9– Jackson starts off the song with a cool bass riff with La Torre coming in with a mystical sounding vocals before the band comes in smashing in. The track features a very cool guitar riff towards the end that rivals some of their best. 4.5/5

Queensryche-Condition_Human_(Limited_Edition)-CD7. Bulletproof– There’s some choir like chanting in the beginning which is followed by some clean channel playing before they turn it up for the chorus in a track that is all about relationships that are struggling. 4/5

8. Hourglass– Rockenfield kicks off the track before the band comes charging in with some ferocity in a track that is all about how time is precious in life especially as you get older. 4/5

9. Just Us– Acoustic playing opens up this mid-tempo track that is ballad like, but definitely not a ballad like what we would get in the 80’s. The track seems to be about a child that maybe is a newborn or at least a child where the narrator is reflecting that no matter what happens, he will always love them. 4.5/5

10. All There Was– A very cool track that has a rockin riff that gets your blood moving that is talking about someone going through a one sided relationship where they put in and never get anything back. 5/5

11. The Aftermath– An acoustic intro track that leads into the next one. 4/5

12. Condition Hüman– The last track on the album which also clocks in as the longest track on the album at almost 8 minutes. It starts off as a mid tempo track until after the first chorus when the band turns it up with an epic metal sound. It’s a classic metal epic in the structure, etc. 5/5

My Final Thoughts– This album is exactly what Queensrÿche fans ordered as far as what we wanted from a Queensrÿche album. Todd La Torre is doing an excellent job at the helm after what is now two amazing records with the band. I can only hope that this continues to move forward and we experience more of what these guys can offer. While I would still love to see Chris DeGarmo come back and make it a three guitar band like Maiden, I think the band is doing quite fine as it is. I am going to give the album 4.5 stars out of five.


unnamed3As usual, we are giving you two singles of the week with one on the rock side and the other on the metal side of life. This is your metal side of life single of the week.I wasn’t too sure what Djent was for a while, but I became curious after hearing a new track from the band Periphery. Thanks to Google and wikipedia this is what they gave me, “Djent /ˈdʒɛnt/ is a style of heavy metal music that was developed as a spinoff of traditional progressive metal. The word “djent” is an onomatopoeia for the distinctive high-gain, distorted palm-muted, low pitch guitar sound most notably employed by bands like Meshuggah and Sikth.” Now I am understanding the genre and the intensity that Periphery brings to the table with their new song The Price Is Wrong which is off the band’s upcoming record Periphery III: Select Difficulty which comes out July 22ND via Sumerian Records. The song is truly an in your face explosion of blast beats and chugging guitar riffs and a bad ass guitar solo. Guitarist Jake Bowen talked about the track saying, “It’s like handing somebody a grenade. It’s so in-your-face and brutal for us. It was a great way to start.” Misha Mansoor continues the convo saying, “Every one of our albums has a nice long intro, and we were like, ‘Let’s kick this off with a drum fill and a pissed-off riff. It’s something we haven’t done. It was fun.” If you want to pre-order the album, then click here otherwise check out the track below:

We are going to try something new on the blog where we explore music from bands that are not signed to a label. Hence the name of the piece being Unsigned Band Of The Week, but this is way to try and expose music from bands all across the country and world. We usually only cover bands that are signed, but hopefully this can bring some noise to the scene for these bands. Our first band that we chose for this piece hails all the way from Milwaukee and they are called UNDER AEGIS. They are a progressive metal band that just absolutely pummels right from the first chord. The song I chose to share with all of you is the track Smoke & Mirrors and the song is just heavy as hell. The song gives you everything you need from the in your face vocals from their singer Zach Murphy to the amazing chord and tempo changes that the band provides. The music has some in your face breakdowns as well which just pump up the adrenaline. Definitely check these guys out as I provided the music video for all of you below. Give them a like on Facebook and follow them on Twitter as well.

File:Metallica - ...And Justice for All cover.jpgLast month we celebrated the 30TH anniversary of the release of Metallica’s Kill Em All and now we are celebrating a different release by Metallica. On August 25, 2013, …And Justice For All turned 25 years old which means it celebrates its silver anniversary (I believe). By the accounts of a lot of different people, this album signified that a lot of changes were going to come to the beloved Thrash metal genre and it signified the beginning of a new era. For starters, it was the first album to be recorded without Cliff Burton and the first with former Flotsam & Jetsam bassist Jason Newsted. It signified the end of a traditional thrash metal sound for Metallica as they took a more progressive metal approach with this album. Lars commented on the band’s change, “We took the Ride the Lightning and Master of Puppets concept as far as we could take it. There was no place else to go with the progressive, nutty, sideways side of Metallica, and I’m so proud of the fact that, in some way, that album is kind of the epitome of that progressive side of us up through the ’80s.” The albums lyrics were also very different and dark while being rooted in politics, inequality, and freedom of speech just being some of the topics. There is also a rumor that if you notice, you’ll barely hear the bass tracks because Metallica supposedly turned the bass down.

andOne of the most badass Metallica songs ever kicks off the album in the form of Blackened, a song that deals with the subject of the environment. I love the slow fade up tactic that Metallica chose for the track which signifies the beginning of the madness. It’s also the best drumming I have heard from Lars in my opinion and I love the breakdown after the 2:30 mark, it’s just punishing. …And Justice For All is the next track on the album and it’s a track that was inspired by the drummer Lars’s aggressive riff and drum patterns. Famed music critic Cosmo Lee once said that the song is, “”a linkage of blocks” rather than “a progressive opus”, because “the song is mid-paced and very playable. None of the riffs are that technical.” Eye Of The Beholder is another track that starts with a slow fade up as the track keeps building up and then it explodes into an all metal assault. The track is played at a conventional 4/4 rhythm while the chorus is famous for being played at a 12/8 time. The tracks lyrics deal with issues of limitations that are constantly placed on freedom of speech and freedom of expression. It makes sense considering the PMRC was hammering down on Heavy Metal at the time.

oneI hate to call the next track a power ballad, but that is exactly what One is. It’s the Grammy award winning track from the album whose lyrics are very anti-war. The song was inspired by a book by Dalton Trumbo that was called Johnny Got His Gun which was released in 1939 and dealt with a soldier who had lost all his limbs in battle.  The song begins in 4/4 time before it gradually switches in 3/4 and even 2/4 time. My favorite part of the song is the machine gun guitar build up with the double bass madness. Here is what James told Guitar World Magazine in 1991 regarding B-G modulation, “I had been fiddling around with that B-G modulation for a long time. The idea for the opening came from a Venom song called “Buried Alive”. The kick drum machine-gun part near the end wasn’t written with the war lyrics in mind, it just came out that way. We started that album with Mike Clink as producer. He didn’t work out so well, so we got Flemming to come over and save our asses.”

harvesterThe Shortest Straw is the next track on the record with it’s stop and smash playing in the beginning, it’s a song that deals with the topic of blacklisting. According to wikipedia, Harvester Of Sorrow is a song about, “a man who descends into madness, taking out his anger on his family. At the end of the song, it is hinted his sanity snaps and he murders them.” The song is a live staple at any Metallica show and deservedly so as the track hits you like a sledgehammer when it kicks off. Frayed Ends Of Sanity is the next track and it deals with the subject of a man who cannot live with the mania inside his head as he tries to become stronger than the demons (at least that’s what I get out of it). To Live Is To Die is the only song on the album where credit is given to Cliff Burton. The song samples a lot of different bass lines that Cliff had done before he passed away, but they were recorded with Jason for the album.

and justiceDyer’s Eve is the last track on the record and it’s a straight forward, cut ‘n dry message to his parents with some awesome and crazy stop and play metal madness in the beginning. Then out of nowhere the madness becomes even more maddening as Metallica embark on all out metal assault. This is definitely one of my favorite albums that started off with Mike Clink as the producer because Flemming Rasmussen wasn’t available when they needed him. After not being happy with what Mike Clink was doing, Flemming was finally brought in as he saved the day. Happy 25TH Anniversary to …And Justice For All you get four stars out of five.