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Author Topic: A rant/ not necessarily "album of the year", but pretty damn close thread.  (Read 16571 times)
Jamie
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« on: October 15, 2011, 10:53:35 pm »

Well, I thought I'd start this thread and take the time to review a couple of albums that I thought were quite incredible, and defined this year of music for me. That being said, I'd also like to hear others' thoughts on candidates for "album of the year", or even thoughts on the albums that I'm taking a look at.

Warning: be prepared to read... a lot.  Wink

First of all, I will (rant and) say that I haven't listened to ADTOE (yeah, go ahead, boo me). However, I do have a legitimate excuse, and a mediocre story to go along with it. I promised myself I would not download the leak of the album, aside from On the Backs of Angels. So I decided to order my copy of the special edition (along with the special edition of Opeth's "Heritage"in a separate order) on September 2nd. Omega records processed the payment on the 4th. The 13th comes around, I don't have ADTOE. I realized I was being a bit impatient, but I did order Symphony X's "Iconoclast" from Nuclear Blast and it arrived at my door the day of release, so I was a bit curious. I mean, I know that DT is a much bigger band than SX, but still... the fan-boy in me was speaking, and Omega Records processed the payment pretty freaking fast, you figured they would have delivered it at a quarter of the speed, at the very least. I ended up sending an e-mail to them that same day asking where my album was, and it's a good thing I did.

Anywho, the 16th of September arrives, and that marks the actual ship date of both my orders. One week passes by... "Heritage" is released. Another week... nothing. Third week... nothing. And there were no tracking numbers, to boot. Fourth week... I get an e-mail on the eleventh of October (which also happened to be my birthday).  At this point I had given up hope, and was extremely infuriated, almost to the point of absolute indifference. I open the e-mail and it turns out to be one of the guys from The End Records telling me that they were really backed up and received each album almost a week after their respective releases; fair enough. He added that I should have received my orders by now... "no shit!" Anyway, I told him I was still waiting and he said he would look into it. He requested a status on each order from the shipping company and apparently (wait for it)... they had never received either parcel. I knew that was utter bullshit (and golden at the same time), but after four weeks' time, there wasn't much I could do. So a couple of days ago, I received a refund for both discs. The end.

Needless to say, the same day as I received the last e-mail from The End Records (which was the 14th of October), I went out to go look for both albums. I could not find ADTOE anywhere; looks like I'm going to have to head Down-town (Toronto)... great. HOWEVER, I did find "Heritage"! YAY!

Alright, so now I can actually get to reviewing (but I'll make it brief)!

Opeth's 10th studio album is definitely a departure from their usual "progressive/death metal" style, but still retains the signature "Opeth" feel, which is characterized by *insert rhetoric and contrived adjectives I'm way too lazy to look up*. Most of Opeth's albums have been in different styles, most notably "Damnation". This album is definitely a throwback to 70's prog rock (i.e. Yes, King Crimson) with some heavy Jazz influence, some psychedelic rock, and hard rock mixed in there. There are absolutely no growling vocals, and the heaviest you'll get is on "The Devil's Orchard". Mikael Akerfeldt's voice really shines on this album. Long story short; if you're open-minded, you'll be able to appreciate this album. I've only listened to this album a couple times, and even being being a DT fan-boy, I'd go so far as to say that this is one of the best albums I've heard in the past 10 years, mainly because it's unique, and abstract. It may be mellow, and unnatural at times, but it has this subtle drive and emotion to it that you'll find yourself lost in (in a good way). Every time I listen to this album I'm taken to a different place, and I'm glad Opeth has found a new direction; I'd love to hear more of this, maybe with some heavier riffs, minus the constant growling from previous efforts, for their next album. This album is definitely a "brain-stretcher".

Next up: Protest The Hero's "Scurrilous". Now, I feel a tad out of place reviewing this album, because nobody's mentioned these guys on the forum; at least, from what I've read. It's surprising, since these guys cite DT as an influence. They're a Canadian band originally from Whitby, Ontario, and these guys boast a zany brand of rock that involves some of the wackiest- or at least, most abrupt- time/tempo changes you will probably hear. They are far ahead of their age in terms of musicianship, and are only getting better with each album; everything about them -from album art, to lyrics, to music- is spot on, which is something very few bands can do (or are doing). "Scurrilous" is definitely another "brain-stretcher" of an album, but on the opposite end of the spectrum from "Heritage". Whereas the latter is mellow, the former is like a rush of adrenaline whose musicianship leaves you rather dumbstruck by the end. I honestly thought my brain was going to explode, and considering the album's just over 40 minutes, that's saying quite a bit. It's a lot more structured in contrast to their two previous efforts, "Kezia" and "Fortress", and feels like a natural progression; it outlines the story of the band's roots and their life. Rody Walker's voice absolutely soars on this album; definitely some of the best vocals I've heard in a while. The instrumentation is awesome... I mean, there's not much more I can say. Just listen to the album for yourself and be bewildered.

A word of caution, for both of the albums I have reviewed- and I also said this for Symphony X's "Iconoclast"- listen to them multiple times. There's a lot to process; do not make judgements based on your first listen. I'm assuming we're all educated/logical/open-minded enough here to do so, but I've seen it done way too often, so I thought I'd throw it out there.

So, I still have to listen to ADTOE. I have heard OTBOA, "Build me up, break me down", "Lost Not Forgotten", and "Bridges in the Sky"; after four weeks, it was hard to contain myself. I had a huge grin on my face when I heard BMU-BMD, and it didn't stop with the two songs that followed. My jaw literally hit the floor when I heard the part at 2:00 in LNF; I could have sworn I was having a seizure. But... the quality wasn't the greatest, so I can't wait to get my hands on a physical copy. Bridges In the Sky is definitely my favourite so far. I also noted that it was very theatrical (in terms of production and sound) and keyboard-oriented, which I expected. The first three songs connected as if I were watching a movie. I have a feeling that ADTOE will be the middle ground between the wacky "Scurrilous" and the more calm "Heritage", but with a lot more grandeur. It will be epic, I know it.

These three albums will most likely be tied for "album of the year" (in my books) by the end of 2011. Symphony X will be a close second (or fourth, if the other three are tied for first).

I am officially sick and tired of rambling, so I'll let you guys comment now.  Grin
« Last Edit: October 15, 2011, 11:01:52 pm by Jamie » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2011, 10:42:28 pm »

I've been listening to:

-DT - ADTOE
-Peter Gabriel - New Blood
-Arch Matheos - Sympathetic Resonance
-Redemption - This Mortal Coil
-Steven Wilson - Grace for Drowning

Those have been in constant rotation. The most surprising and best of the year so far is Arch Matheos followed by Redemption, SW, PG, and DT. The other 3 are pretty close as well. Opeth's album was good but I still have a hard time to get it. I feel there's an incomplete Opeth sound somewhere (it's not the growling). It sounds like Opeth but it isn't Opeth. Something like that anyway..lol

Evergrey's Glorious Collision had a massive playback earlier in the year and still keeps coming back every now and then.
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ashflower
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« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2011, 08:07:22 pm »

Top ten of the year for me:

- ADTOE: Zee best of the year - hands down.
- Opeth - Heritage: Watch the bonus dvd to see Mikael explaining exactly why I love this album.
- Iced Earth - Dystopia: MUCH better than I expected. Stu Block is amazing.
- Stream of Passion - Darker Days: Even though Arjen isn't involved anymore, this band is really great.
- The Aristocrats: Having seen them live =D I enjoy this album immensely.
- Turisas - Stand Up And Fight: Viking Metal is NOT a guilty pleasure when it's this good..
- William Shatner - Seeking Major Tom: EPIC is not a strong enough word.
- Evanescence: 10x better than Fallen or The Open Door.
- Jorn - Dio: Cover album to end all cover albums
- Mr. Big - What If: Now if only those bastards would come to CANADA!!
- Whitesnake - Forevermore: Much better than their last album which sounded a bit overproduced. This one follows the timeless Whitesnake formula - catchy melodies, great guitar playing, ballads in the right place, just the right amount of blues. And Coverdale sounds AWESOME.
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« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 12:28:13 pm »

hmm...

Pagan's Mind - Heavenly Ecstacy
Dream Theater - ADTOE
Symphony X - Iconoclast
Scar Symmetry - The Unseen Empire
Redemption - This Mortal Coil
Protest the Hero - Scurilous
In Flames - Sounds of a Playground
Machine Head - Unto The Locust
Arch Enemy - Khaos Legions
Devil Driver - Beast

(those are my personal top ten)

honorable mentions
Pat Matheny - What's it All About
Devin Townsend projects
August Burns Red - Leveler
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Asianhawk
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« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2011, 04:33:30 pm »

Wait a sec....Iced Earth's album is out?? I thought is was later this month or November...!
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w34vi1
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« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2011, 07:33:17 pm »

Wait a sec....Iced Earth's album is out?? I thought is was later this month or November...!

came out yesterday (or today by US standards)
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Asianhawk
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« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2011, 09:27:03 pm »

Arrrgghhhhhh....50 million new albums to buy on any given Tuesday.
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MuumiPeikko
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« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2011, 04:09:24 am »

Hey, it's only October! Way to early to define albums of the year. Especially for me, as far as new Nightwish not realized yet.
Plus I heard something like 50 albums of 2011 - and many of them are great. Will be not easy to choose 10
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Jamie
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« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2011, 11:40:05 am »

Hey, it's only October! Way to early to define albums of the year. Especially for me, as far as new Nightwish not realized yet.
Plus I heard something like 50 albums of 2011 - and many of them are great. Will be not easy to choose 10

Well, there are only two months left... but I know what you mean. However, nobody said you had to pick ten!  Grin I figured people would be interested in sharing some of the great albums they've heard thus far. 
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MuumiPeikko
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« Reply #9 on: October 22, 2011, 04:30:37 pm »

I figured people would be interested in sharing some of the great albums they've heard thus far. 

From this point...

By far, the best album of 2011 that I heard is ADTOE (surprise?  Grin) Actually, it has only one competitor for number 1 place - Imaginaerum by Nightwish.
Other pretty good albums are:
Amorphis - The Beginning Of Times
Powerwolf – Blood of the Saints
Redemption - This Mortal Coil

These three are simply amazing! All bands realized very strong and solid albums in 2009 and now develop their success.

Evergrey - Glorious Collision. Evergrey returns! They are prog metal band once again, and the Glorious Collision is a true heir of "In Search for Truth"

Plus:
Serenity - Death & Legacy
Sons Of Seasons – Magnisphyricon
Symphony X – Iconoclast
Wolfpakk – Wolfpakk
Alestorm - Back Through Time
4th Dimension - The White Path To Rebirth
Arch Enemy - Khaos Legions
In Extremo – Sterneneisen
Love.Might.Kill - Brace For Impact
Within Temptation - The Unforgiving

That's all, which I can remember now  Cheesy
And the biggest disappointed of the year is Edguy - Age of the Joker. I can't ever imagine, that one of 5 my most favorite bands could record such shitty album. Epic fail - all that I can say 'bout it. Worst Tobias Sammet's album in whole career.
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« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2011, 01:28:30 am »

Wow really?? The sticker on the cover of the new Edguy album really made me want to buy it and finally get back into them again. I fell out of love with the band with Hellfire Club...but the sticker on the new album says something like, "The music that made Edguy famous, catchy heavy epic music".  Mandrake was a near masterpiece, and I have never like the direction they went with the music after that...But apparently "Age of the Joker" is a stinker? What is so awful about it?
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Asianhawk
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« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2011, 11:42:37 am »

I figured people would be interested in sharing some of the great albums they've heard thus far. 

From this point...

By far, the best album of 2011 that I heard is ADTOE (surprise?  Grin) Actually, it has only one competitor for number 1 place - Imaginaerum by Nightwish.
Other pretty good albums are:
Amorphis - The Beginning Of Times
Powerwolf – Blood of the Saints
Redemption - This Mortal Coil

These three are simply amazing! All bands realized very strong and solid albums in 2009 and now develop their success.

Evergrey - Glorious Collision. Evergrey returns! They are prog metal band once again, and the Glorious Collision is a true heir of "In Search for Truth"

Plus:
Serenity - Death & Legacy
Sons Of Seasons – Magnisphyricon
Symphony X – Iconoclast
Wolfpakk – Wolfpakk
Alestorm - Back Through Time
4th Dimension - The White Path To Rebirth
Arch Enemy - Khaos Legions
In Extremo – Sterneneisen
Love.Might.Kill - Brace For Impact
Within Temptation - The Unforgiving

That's all, which I can remember now  Cheesy
And the biggest disappointed of the year is Edguy - Age of the Joker. I can't ever imagine, that one of 5 my most favorite bands could record such shitty album. Epic fail - all that I can say 'bout it. Worst Tobias Sammet's album in whole career.

Also Muumi---I don't know how you could compare Nightwish's new album to DT's for the top spot. Nightwish is my OTHER favorite band of all time....So I guess I will just have to tie DT and NW for #1 album of the year. Have you heard Storytime yet!!??? <Asianhawk's jaw drops to the floor>
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MuumiPeikko
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« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2011, 01:44:00 pm »

Wow really?? The sticker on the cover of the new Edguy album really made me want to buy it and finally get back into them again. I fell out of love with the band with Hellfire Club...but the sticker on the new album says something like, "The music that made Edguy famous, catchy heavy epic music".  Mandrake was a near masterpiece, and I have never like the direction they went with the music after that...But apparently "Age of the Joker" is a stinker? What is so awful about it?
How can you imagine sticker telling "This album sucks"?  Grin
Mandrake is not *near* masterpiece, it is masterpiece. HC, RR, and TS are not that great, but still very good albums, especially Rocket Ride. And Age of the Joker is a fail. It's weak, non-energetic, non-melodic. Listening to it is like chewing the plasticine. Seems like Jens and Dirk playing the same through the whole album.

Also Muumi---I don't know how you could compare Nightwish's new album to DT's for the top spot. Nightwish is my OTHER favorite band of all time....So I guess I will just have to tie DT and NW for #1 album of the year. Have you heard Storytime yet!!??? <Asianhawk's jaw drops to the floor>

Heh, it's actually advance for Nightwish. It's among 3 my favorite bands, Tuomas is one of my top-3 composers, and he never disappointed me. I guess, he just can't do that Cheesy I love all music he wrote.
And no, I haven't heard Storytime yet. Realize date is 11th of November. Even Russian pirates not that good Grin I pre-order the album, so I probably prefer to wait 'till I get it.
« Last Edit: October 23, 2011, 01:46:24 pm by MuumiPeikko » Logged

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Jamie
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« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2011, 06:54:04 pm »

I figured people would be interested in sharing some of the great albums they've heard thus far. 

From this point...

By far, the best album of 2011 that I heard is ADTOE (surprise?  Grin) Actually, it has only one competitor for number 1 place - Imaginaerum by Nightwish.
Other pretty good albums are:
Amorphis - The Beginning Of Times
Powerwolf – Blood of the Saints
Redemption - This Mortal Coil

These three are simply amazing! All bands realized very strong and solid albums in 2009 and now develop their success.

Evergrey - Glorious Collision. Evergrey returns! They are prog metal band once again, and the Glorious Collision is a true heir of "In Search for Truth"

Plus:
Serenity - Death & Legacy
Sons Of Seasons – Magnisphyricon
Symphony X – Iconoclast
Wolfpakk – Wolfpakk
Alestorm - Back Through Time
4th Dimension - The White Path To Rebirth
Arch Enemy - Khaos Legions
In Extremo – Sterneneisen
Love.Might.Kill - Brace For Impact
Within Temptation - The Unforgiving

That's all, which I can remember now  Cheesy
And the biggest disappointed of the year is Edguy - Age of the Joker. I can't ever imagine, that one of 5 my most favorite bands could record such shitty album. Epic fail - all that I can say 'bout it. Worst Tobias Sammet's album in whole career.

NEW NIGHTWISH ALBUM?! Wow, I have to get on that. And I highly doubt anything will be as big a disappointment as Metallica's "Lulu" *bursts into hysterical laughter*... and "Death Magnetic"... and "St.Anger"... the list goes on.  Cheesy
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« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2011, 08:45:55 pm »

Get Arch Matheos Sympathetic Resonance please!!

Thank you  Cheesy
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