2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

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2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Wed Feb 13, 2013 2:26 am

Haven't been able to get on the forums due to a 'malware warning' that seems to have been fixed.

I have a couple updates to start, but I've been busy with work, so reviews will have to wait.

I learned (and to my excited surprise) that Tacere has returned! They released a new album 'World's End' late last year. New keyboardist and new female singer, but the follow-up is almost as good as their debut, and considering how lackluster the music of 2012 was in the female rock world, this is a welcome addition. Very happy to see them back.

Lullacry will be releasing a new single this week. 'To Every Heartache' will be out tomorrow 2/13. Their last album was a little disappointing so I'm hoping for better things now that they've shaken the rust off.

And I also recently got the debut album from Vandroya entitled 'One.' Have yet to give it a listen.
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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Postby Jonny B » Thu Feb 14, 2013 2:20 am

New single by Lullacry on the front page of their site:

http://www.lullacry.com/

Excellent ballad. This is the Lullacry I expected on the comeback album. This is a good sign of things to come.

---

In addition, the new Amaranthe single 'The Nexus' is also out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxOybZcRXhI

My honest opinion? It's cool they're sticking to the formula that worked so well. But if given the option, I'd still get rid of the screamer and reduce the amount of falsetto the singers use (or at least make the falsettos ballsier ala 80's-style so that they don't sound so power-popish.) They're so much better when they sing clean vocals.
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Postby Jonny B » Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:43 am

Still too busy to review anything, but I've got some updates and a few quick opinions.

Delain will be releasing a new album 'Interlude' this Spring (No US release date yet.) Consists of 2 new studio tracks, 3 cover songs, several live tracks, and a bonus live DVD.

New Visions of Atlantis album 'Ethera' out later this month. Strangely, Maxi Nil, unlike past female singers in VoA, actually lasted long enough in the band to do a second album, a first for this group. I'm hoping it'll be an improvement over the abysmal 'Delta' album.

Within Temptation has announced a new tour in 2014, and are in the studio working on a new album. I'm hoping, that based on the plethora of cover songs they did for a radio station last year, that they'll return, at least a little bit, to the classic 'Mother Earth/Silent Force' style.

Amaranthe announced a late-March release for their new album.

Edenbridge's new album 'The Bonding' is slated for a Summer/Early Fall release.

I have 3 newcomers in the wings for at least a brief review (Vandroya, Envinya, Edge of Attack,) but will have to wait until I have more time. Work is frigging killing me. But my first impressions...all three have their flaws, but were solid enough to merit they can improve and make solid sophomore albums in the future.
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Serenity

Postby Soloud » Fri Mar 08, 2013 11:51 am

Serenity has added a female vocalist as a full member. The teaser trailer for the new release sounds promising

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?m ... mID=187123
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Re: Serenity

Postby Jonny B » Sat Mar 09, 2013 1:22 am

Soloud wrote:Serenity has added a female vocalist as a full member. The teaser trailer for the new release sounds promising

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?m ... mID=187123


Those guys are really good. Can't wait to check out the next album.
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Postby Jonny B » Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:21 am

Just learned that over the course of last year, Amberian Dawn pulled a Nightwish, right when they were peaking. Operatic singer Heidi Parvianien called it quits and went on to do a solo project. Like Tarja, the samples I've heard from her upcoming solo album are not as good as what she's left behind.

Meanwhile, Amberian Dawn did something that I was surprised Nightwish never thought of: Re-recording the best songs of their past discography with Capri, their new singer. As of now, they have a samples video up which can be here here:

http://www.amberiandawn.com/announcing- ... ion-album1

Though trained in classical vocals, Capri sings a lot cleaner, and gives Amberian Dawn a more commercial edge. I got chills just hearing the vocal harmonies on the sample of 'Cold Kiss.'

Final thoughts: Watch out for Amberian Dawn in the near-future. They gonna have a breakout album in the next few years.

The compilation album 'Re-Evolution' will be out later this year.
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Postby Jonny B » Wed Mar 27, 2013 2:52 am

I wish my ambition to write reviews was as high as the plethora of new releases that have come out this year as of so far. 2013 is shaping out to be another 'Year of the Newcomer.' I've got at least 8 albums on the slate for listening and 5 of them are debuts. One thing holding me back is a broken iPod. So my music capacities is limited to sitting down at the computer, which I only do to check e-mail and Facebook.

Not sure if it's a social issue, but I know what I like for music, and what I don't like, and so it's just easier to point out where improvements can be made and pointing out when a band is doing a lot of things right or wrong. It's just easier this way than to write reviews. I'll save the detailed reviews for albums that I'm looking the most forward to. I think this would be the best way to go for 2013.

I do have 3 Quickies for now. Hope to do more when time allows. I hate my work schedules.

Vandroya 'One'
When you hear the opening track 'The Last Free Land,' one thinks this is gonna be a by-the-numbers power metal album. But then the comparison is gone henceforth. Vandroya's style reminds me of the progressive lines of Ivory Tower, where they don't really follow a song structure, but they don't try to cram a thousand notes at the same time either. Plus, most songs, regardless of musical tangents, are held together by memorable choruses. This is prog done right. Being different but without making the listener confused. Decent debut album.

Visions of Atlantis 'Ethera'
It's a first for VoA, they released a second album with the same singer. But I don't know if this is a good thing, because I thought 'Delta' suffered greatly at the expense of Maxi Nil. But thankfully with 'Ethera' her vocals have improved greatly. But the ongoing problem is the same as before. Her vocals clash with Mario Plank's. When they take turns, it's pretty good. But when singing together they're still off-key, and it makes the album difficult to listen to. In addition, there aren't too many standout songs, so they seem to have chosen to play it safe once again. No heart-pounding power metal anthems that were once a common thing on 'Trinity.' Ironically, the best track, a ballad called 'Cave Behind the Waterfall' is also the only track where there's no duel vocals, all Maxi Nil. Might be something worth exploring for future albums if the two of them can't at least sing on-key together.

Envinya 'Inner Silence'
Now THIS is what I'm talking about. An excellent power metal/melodic metal debut that doesn't leave anything on the table. Excellent vocals (think Stratovarius with a frontwoman,) big chorus hooks, but while still leaving room for improvement (They'll be elite if they can connect their verses to the choruses a little better. But room for improvement is always good for a debut.) They do use a few grunts, but it's definitely not a primary vocal and is very tolerable compared to the music they have to offer. Instead of continuing with this brief review, I'll finish by stating Envinya will be on my 'contender' list for 2013, and will post a song and let it speak for itself.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=On8Fyrb9CWQ
Last edited by Jonny B on Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Jonny B » Wed Apr 03, 2013 2:29 am

Couple more quickies today. More mixed opinions.

Amaranthe 'The Nexus'
One step forward, two steps back. The step forward: The screamer doesn't lead off on as many songs, making the album, as a whole, more tolerable. Step back #1: The screamer wasn't eliminated completely (what can I say? I will NEVER like screamers.) Step back #2: 'Burn With Me.' This power-pop style of vocal and melody has killed North American music in the past 10 years, and I BEG my European counterparts to please NEVER sell out to this style....Other than that...this is Amaranthe as heard on the debut. Fast, heavy, and chock full of big rock anthem choruses, hooks, and crazy guitar solos. The bonus tracks are worthless. Acoustic versions of 'Burn With Me' (The worst track gets worser...) and 'Hunger' (the acoustic version sucked the life out of this song.)

MindMaze 'Mask of Lies'
I didn't think it was possible...an American female rock band that isn't Power-Pop! And, it's an American female rock band that isn't Screamo! At first I thought I'd be copying and pasting the Vandroya review when I mention the opening track 'Never Look Back' is power-metal by the numbers. But then, the group shows its true nature. Although MindMaze is placed under the 'progressive' category, but they're more of a straight-forward guitar-driven 80's rock group. By-the-numbers kind of deal. No huge rock anthems, but very solid songs start-to-finish. The only questionable track is the epic track 'Dark City,' the one track that possibly put them in that 'prog' category, but is the least consistent of the songs. Overall, If you're desperate for a clean-vocal female hard rock album from the US, this is your band.

...

And one quick news update. Tristania announced a new album ('Darkest White') slated for early summer....'Rubicon' was definitely a step forward compared to all of their previous work, with quite a few listener-friendly songs and a sudden presence of strong duel male/female vocals that would give Lacuna Coil a run for their money. If they continue to cater to this new-found strength on the vocals and take another step forward on listener-friendly gothic tunes, this could be a sleeper pick for 2013.
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Fri Apr 05, 2013 3:10 am

Lovelorn Dolls "The House of Wonders"
I've been completely frustrated with the Gothic scene. Bands are either going complete sell-out mainstream with no hint of the gothic sound, or they're reverting back to the non-commercial ways, devoid of any memorable melodies and hooks. There are so few groups left who remain in perfect balance between mainstream and the gothic sound....And then there's another type of goth where the Lovelorn Dolls fall under. They tease with a few commercial-sounding melodies, but are hell-bent on choruses that are completely devoid of hooks to give the illusion that they don't sound mainstream (A style that The Birthday Massacre has made a career of.) 'Purple' is the best example of all the tracks. You're waiting for that big chorus hook to put the song over the top...only it never happens. This theme persists throughout the album....I'll pass.

Serenity 'War of Ages'
It's no secret, as far as bands outside of the female rock world go, I'm very fussy. There are tens of thousands of male-fronted metal groups, and so unless a band of this type is writing songs that are spectacular and stand above the rest of the filler, I'll pass on it. That said, Serenity falls under that category of standing above the clutter. They've written 3 solid albums in the symphonic/melodic metal genre during a time where the genre has shown little change in the past years. And now that they've added a full-time female singer in Clemintine Delauney (She gets a few lead roles but she still plays primarily a back-up role,) I can now add Serenity to the bands I review here. While as there are some excellent tracks that show Serenity at it's finest (Wings of Madness, Shining Oasis, For Freedom's Sake,) I think the songwriting took a tiny step back overall (and I mean a VERY TINY step, I just like the previous albums more.) Regardless, the latest slice of Serenity is still very good and worth checking out if you're an established fan or even a newcomer.

Edge of Attack "S/T"
A combination of power metal, thrash metal, and hard rock, not really settling on any specific style song-to-song, primarily guitar driven, with a diverse set of vocal styles. (which, sigh, includes a little Screamo. :roll: ) I've included a link to one of their music videos, 'Forever,' which sums up just about every vocal and musical style that comes in various forms throughout their debut. It's a little easier than dissecting it and being nit-picky.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yL1diclz8tM
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Sun Apr 07, 2013 12:19 am

Within Temptation in the past year had been writing cover versions for a radio station called QMusic. They've announced there will be a cd release for mid/late April of a compilation of the best of these QMusic covers. While as I have no idea who these artists/groups are that WT was covering, the cover versions were fairly decent, like a continuation of 'An Acoustic Night at the Theatre.' I'm hoping the more laid-back atmosphere of these covers is a sign that WT will revert a little back to their classic Mother Earth/Silent Force sound. They did mainstream fairly well, but I still miss the older style.
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Fri Apr 19, 2013 11:25 pm

New Sirenia album will be out at the end of June. Full news here:

http://www.nuclearblast.com/en/music/ba ... -blue.html

There is no other album release I'm anticipating more this year. I hope they continue to find the perfect balance between the artistic and commercial sides of gothic rock. If they continue to focus on the diversity of vocal styles, I expect another win.
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Thu May 23, 2013 1:21 am

Delain 'Interlude'
The name says it all. It's an in-between album kind of albums, consisting mostly of leftovers, b-sides, and live tracks. If not for the bonus DVD, it would've been a non-essential. The highlight song on the cd is the ballad version of 'We Are the Others,' which gave the song a 'Lucidity/April Rain' feel, obviously the style that I much prefer to hear from Delain. Also includes the single edit of 'What You Want From Me,' which IMO was the worst track on their last album. But it's become a trend for European bands to use the worst track as one of their singles. On to the DVD: For starters, be forewarned that just because it says Region 0, doesn't guarantee it'll work on your DVD player (which I learned the hard way.) You may need a region-free player even if you purchase a US copy....Outside of that, the DVD is a good hodge podge of typical video footage you come to expect from a group releasing a DVD. Includes live tracks from their performance at last year's 'Female Rock Metal Voices' festival, backstage footage from the '70,000 Tons of Metal' cruise, as well as various small-club gigs. Capping it off is four of their music videos ('Get the Devil Out of Me, We Are the Others, April Rain, and Frozen.) What I don't understand is why did they exclude their remaining music videos? (Stay Forever, The Gathering, See Me In Shadow.) Considering the DVD barely runs over an hour, there really isn't an excuse for this. Short story long, this is only essential to die-hard Delain fans, or for anyone looking to add another music DVD to their collection, but it just feels incomplete without all the music videos.
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Thu May 23, 2013 1:43 am

In other news, there are a lot of big guns lined up over the course of the summer. I've listed their US release dates, as well as quick opinions:

Sirenia 'Perils of the Deep Blue' (July 9th)
(New single indicates they're abandoning the mainstream style and catering to early fans. Now I'm skeptical.)

Amberian Dawn 'Re-Evolution' (June 25th)
(Even for a remake compilation album, this is gonna be huge. Capri is gonna take this band to a whole new level, and they seem to be gearing towards their power metal side and less towards neoclassical.)

Tristania 'Darkest White' (June 11th)
(The title track doesn't have me jumping up and down with joy. With 'Rubicon,' I thought they had a new sound with their duel vocals that would be very helpful in their future, and yet they don't take advantage of it on their single.)

Edenbridge 'The Bonding' (No US release date yet. Euro release June 21st)
(Not too much leakage on this one yet, but the short 55 second teaser on their site says it could be a good one. Limited Edition version comes with an all-instrumental version of the album. I wish more bands would follow Nightwish in this regard.)

Tarja 'Colours In the Dark' (Late August/Early September)
(I just won't ever be interested in Tarja unless she can deliver a Nightwish kind of album. Period.)

In addition New Year's Day will have a new album 'Victim to Villian' out June 11th. Was never a fan because they are more aligned with a Paramore kind of group. However, their most recent single 'I'm No Good' sounds more in the vein of Halestorm meets Lullacry, which is of course, a vast improvement. Not gonna hold my breath until I hear the rest of the album.

ReVamp are wrapping up the recordings for their second album, yet to be named. I'm hoping the tour with Nightwish rubbed off on Floor and will give her ideas to put this project over the top. Still waiting for something that will top the last After Forever album.

I think that's everything. I'll post additional news/reviews as I hear/learn more.
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Fri May 31, 2013 4:24 am

Mastercastle has released their latest 'On Fire' Some song samples can be found on their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/mastercastleband

And Robin Beck has a new album slated for mid-August, entitled 'Underneath.' Sound samples on her website:
http://www.robinbeckrocks.com/home.html
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby doggy » Fri May 31, 2013 8:18 am

hello Jon, long time no see.
I just picked up the brand new cd by Baby Animals. On first listen it is quite good, but only first listen
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:54 am

Hey doggy. Good to hear from you. I don't hear much from the 'Rant' group anymore.

Really? I didn't know the Baby Animals were still around. Did they reform recently?
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby doggy » Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:28 am

They, Baby Animals, reform early last year. In that time they done an unplugged cd and this brand new cd.
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Wed Jun 05, 2013 1:24 am

So in the once-or-twice-a-year rarity, I scored an advance copy of an cd. So I put a little more effort in a review than I have been in recent years. But first, a word before said review.

I've been criticized on other forums regarding my musical interests, that my tastes for a genre are illegit unless I obligate myself to pay homage to those who created the blueprint for those who would follow....Personally, I would care less about who did what first in music. What I care about, is the quality of the music. 'Pioneer' is a dirty weasel word in the music scene. It often refers to a group that is one of the first to establish a genre of music. And therefore, in some way, this makes a group better than the 'followers' who come thereafter, but only because they did something first.

That said, Tristania from a complete careers' aspect, haven't written a lot of say, listener-friendly Gothic Rock, the side of the goth spectrum that I prefer. I've tried, but their brand of Gothic Metal does nothing for me. But considering that I dropped a brief review on 'Rubicon' highlighting the positives, I felt obligated to review their latest. Tristania fans probably won't be impressed with me.

Tristania "Darkest White"
Credit where it was due in their last album 'Rubicon.' This was the one time where I felt Tristania realized they were being left behind by a lot of Gothic bands who were churning out better, more listener-friendly music, regardless if we're talking about commercial, artistic, experimental goth, etc. Thus, the group responded by assembling a halfway decent listener-friendly album of their own, with memorable guitar melodies, and sure-thing vocal harmonies between the many vocal styles. It still wasn't perfect, but songs like 'Year of the Rat,' 'Patriot Games,' 'The Passing,' 'Vulture,' and 'Exile' showed a band, albeit with an almost-complete change of line-up, re-energized and with a sense of direction. Said fore mentioned tracks could've been used as stepping stones to build on for the next album.

But then they tossed said stones into the water and proceeded to do something different. As per the usual for Tristania. Enter 'Darkest White,' though could be considered one of their heavier efforts, inconsistency remains a recurring theme. As I slogged through the opening grunts of 'Numbers' the title track, and the songs that followed, I couldn't help but wonder why they didn't take advantage of the many band members who contribute vocals and add some harmonies around Mariangela, as they did on 'Rubicon.' ('Scarling' does an ok job with this.) In addition, it's like they're trying too hard to write a song. If songs like 'Himmelfel,' 'Diagnosis,' and 'Requiem' had been simplified or even uptempo'd a bit, certainly they could've been excellent tracks. The highlights of 'Darkest White' go to Mariangela for producing a few good chorus hooks, but the lack of harmonies and the over-experimentation before said choruses made the songs long and tiresome, long before those choruses ever came around.

Three things I look for? Heavy guitars, a keyboard presence, and vocal harmonies (a huge booster if keyboards are not used.) All were present on 'Rubicon.' These are virtually non-existent on 'Darkest White.' Album-killers, every time.

It was very difficult to listen to this album start-to-finish....It took 7 attempts....Fact is, the competition in the Gothic scene is more fierce than it was 15 years ago, and after slogging through 'Darkest White', the questions are the same for Tristania....What is their direction? What are they trying to do? Why do they refuse to learn from the 'followers' who have surpassed them in many aspects? Would they even exist as a group today if they didn't have the 'one of the pioneers of the genre' label? I've concluded that 'Rubicon' was a fluke, and the true Tristania is just one of those groups with an eccentric discography that won't be to everyone's tastes. Include me in that group.
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Sat Jun 08, 2013 1:11 am

Trail of Tears 'Oscillation'
Apparently this is a group that could fall under that 'pioneer' category, as they've been around since the late 90's. Strange that I hadn't heard of them until now. Likewise, I just discovered them for the first time, and the band has already announced they're done after this album.

I did some research with regards to earlier work, just to figure out what I was getting into. Trail of Tears falls under the 'Beauty & the Beast' category; Female vocals and male grunts. In addition, more under the non-listener-friendly category. Very heavy, and with more 'beast' then I care for, as I prefer my grunters to play the less crucial supporting role to be tolerable. And with this last effort, 'Oscillation' is safely and easily the most listener-friendly. Not quite as heavy and more simplified than previous albums, could even border as a symphonic metal album as opposed to full-out heavy goth. However, you can tell right off this is a group that was getting tired. Even though 'Oscillation' is drastically different than what the typical Trail of Tears fan would come to expect, every song seems to just blend into each other and nothing really stands out. Likewise, they are still more 'beast' here then I would like to listen to.

It's unknown what the Trail of Tears fan will react to this 'farewell' album. The drastic change could turn most of them off, if that was the intention upon quitting. Or, they may look at the band as one riding off into the sunset after releasing their greatest album. Me? Yes, I agree, it is their best, considering I prefer this style over heavy goth. However, there are groups who've done this better in the genre. I think I would prefer to see this group try this new direction a couple more times to try to get it right. But, that isn't going to happen.
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Tue Jun 11, 2013 1:41 am

An update from the Melodic Rock side of the Female Rock world.

Pamela Moore has returned with a new solo album, entitled 'Resurrect Me.' Here's a link to a music video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIe9dApQTis
The last significant album I own with her vocals is Radar 'RPM,' which, even in my diminished interest in melodic rock, still gets plenty of spins on my stereo. This song is much heavier than I expected to hear from her. Not necessarily a bad thing. A bit experimental, but still a good song.

***

Robin Beck announced a new album slated for an August release, entitled 'Underneath.'Sound samples can be found on her website:
http://www.robinbeckrocks.com/home.html
Song samples are ok. I was hoping for some material that was a little more aggressive. Seems too safe.

***

The Murder Of My Sweet have also announced they're returning to the studio for a third album....The second album, a little too experimental. 'Divanity' was much stronger. I think they do much better writing modern-edge melodic rock than they did with any of their gothic influences on 'Bye Bye Lullaby.' Plus, wasn't quite as good vocally as the first album.

***

Yesterrock has also announced a couple of reissues as well. First up is Lisa Price 'Priceless.' I think this is awesome that an obscure early 80's Female AOR album has finally sees the light of day. However, I can't justify paying full price for a 6-Track EP. Perhaps I'll stick to my vinyl just a tad longer.

In addition, they've also reissued Perfect Crime 'Blonde On Blonde,' the sophomore album from the band formerly known as Blonde On Blonde. ....While as it's been a long while since I listened to either album, I'm pretty certain that the debut album got a lot more spins than this one. None-the-less, it was a much needed reissue.

That's all from here. I'm just waiting for some new releases to come out so I can post reviews.
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Fri Jun 14, 2013 12:13 am

New Years Day 'Victim To Villian'
An album so excellent that I feel ashamed keeping this a brief review (Time is limited this week.) The easiest way to describe it? Think Lullacry back in the 'Crucify My Heart' years. In fact, this is the kind of album Lullacry should have written for a comeback effort. New Years Day is what I expect from all the bands I praise highly. Modern heavy, loaded with guitars, and chock full of chorus hooks. Singer Ashley Costello is a borderline power-pop style singer which reared it's ugly face in previous albums, however, so I was skeptical on the first spin. In spite of that pop-falsetto style, she chose to rock with it this time around, with traditional rock-style vocal melodies. A lot of bands could learn from her. When I listen to 'I'm No Good,' 'Victims,' and 'The Arsonist,' I wonder where has this style of music been all this time? Perhaps there is hope for the American Female Rock scene that I've criticized for so long. Watch out Halestorm and Evanescence.....You finally have some competition.
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Sun Jun 23, 2013 12:11 am

Amberian Dawn 'Re-Evolution'
I've mentioned this before, I'm surprised Nightwish never thought of this; recording a compilation album with their replacement singer. In this case, Amberian Dawn didn't just overdub Heidi's vocals with their new singer Capri, but they outright went back into the studio and literally re-recorded their best tracks, complete with orchestra arrangements. Overall, I think I may have over-hyped this one a tiny bit. Overall, I still believe this is the right direction for Amberian Dawn. Capri gives them a listener-friendly vocalist that seems to be a requirement these days. And the compilation focuses more on their commercial and power metal aspects, while moving away, or at least a little away, from neoclassical. The best makeovers obviously go to 'Eagle of Fire,' as well as the collection of songs that came from 'Circus Black' (Especially 'Cold Kiss.' The chorus harmony is chilling.) While as the more neoclassical tracks surprisingly suffer under the new vocal style. (A good indicator of where they'll be heading for the next album.) Short story long, Amberian Dawn showcase Capri perfectly, and they have a bright future ahead of them.
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Mon Jun 24, 2013 2:14 am

Edenbridge 'The Bonding'
I believe when people listen to the latest slice of Edenbridge, they will believe it's their best work, possibly even better than the fantastic 'MyEarthDream.' Personally, I would've preferred a few more rockers....But considering Lngvall had to deal with the death of his Father, it's not surprising that, musically and lyrically, 'The Bonding' has a strong and profound influence on such a traumatic event as losing a family member. Overall, the message, though with slightly sad undertones, still remains on the positive, a 'death is only the beginning of a new journey' kind of deal. Musically, it's definitely the direction I've always envisioned Edenbridge at their best. The experimentation aspects of their style have been relegated to the epic-length tracks, 'Mystic River' and 'The Bonding.' Sandwiched between them are a couple of rockers ('The Invisible Force,' and 'Shadows Of My Memory,' a multitude of ballads ('Star-Crossed Dreamer,' 'Into A Sea of Souls,' 'Far Out of Reach,' and 'Death Is Not the End,') all loaded with some of the deepest lyrics they've ever written, complete with a signature single in 'Alight A New Tomorrow,' and backed by an orchestra arrangement (Is this a trend in European Metal? Where are these smaller groups finding the money to fund this?) The limited edition also comes with a bonus disc containing instrumental versions of the album (This is an awesome trend that Nightwish started. I wish every band was required to do this.) ....Overall, while 'The Bonding' isn't as instantly gratifying as the near-flawless 'MyEarthDream,' I have a feeling it will be one of those grower albums I'll be spinning a lot more as the year progresses. Could be a sleeper contender for Album of the Year.
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Tue Jul 02, 2013 3:54 am

I posted my first detailed review in 2 years in its own thread. You can view my review for Sirenia 'Perils of the Deep Blue' here:

viewtopic.php?f=68&t=58005
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Tue Jul 30, 2013 2:06 am

It's gonna be difficult to decide the Album of the Year. At the half-way point of the year, I have 5 candidates for the Album of the Year, which in itself has never happened before. I don't know if it's because of the sheer quality of the music that has come out this year. Or if it's because a lot of bands released solid albums, though not one has proven to be better than the others. Here's how it's looking so far. My Top 5 at the halfway point.

Envinya 'Inner Silence' -- No other album has got more spins while driving on the road than Envinya. And likewise, I tend to lean towards whichever albums pass the road test. The concerns is the lack of listener-friendliness as it tends to be somewhat all over the place while still being a true metal album. And the production isn't as good as some other albums.

Sirenia 'Perils of the Deep Blue' -- This group has come full-circle. They've successfully fused their early works with their mainstream days. And while at home, it sounds amazing on the stereo. However, because of the lack of mainstream songs, it failed the road test...badly. Though 'Ditt Enkelikt' and 'Chains' made my Best of Playlist.

Edenbridge 'The Bonding' -- Without a doubt, this is Edenbridge's best work. It may not rock as hard as 'MyEarthDream.' It doesn't really fare well on the road or even as background noise. But the artistic qualities between the band and the orchestra makes it a good 'sit down and listen' albums.

New Year's Day 'Victim to Villian' -- Pure mainstream goth albums are becoming more rare, but it now seems to be in good hands with New Year's Day. They've shaken off their Power-Pop tendencies and have delivered an album Lullacry should have made. Only filler tracks stand in the way of it's potential.

Amberian Dawn 'Re-Evolution' -- The best of the band, with a listener-friendly singer, sticking mostly to the less experimental tracks. It is just a compilation album though. I'm more interested in their new sound with the next album.

Could there be any other candidates this year? I don't see it happening. Unless Tarja can release a Nightwish-quality album, or if ReVamp can recapture the glory days of After Forever. And I'm curious what is next for Within Temptation. Will they stick to the 'Unforgiving formula? Will they also come full-circle and combine the old with the new?

That is all. No new albums to report or review. It's been a quiet midway point.
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Thu Aug 08, 2013 12:31 am

Nightwish announced on Facebook that they plan to release a live Blu-Ray/DVD release of their upcoming show at the Wakken festival....Funny, back when they replaced Tarja, I always thought the only singer that would've been a more suitable replacement than Anette Olzon was ReVamp singer Floor Jensen. She can sing both clean and operatically and would satisfy both what Nightwish was in the past, and the direction they wanted to go in. This is a good sign. If they're releasing a live album with Floor, perhaps they plan to use her as a permanent replacement.
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Tue Sep 17, 2013 12:42 am

Been busy still. As it is, on the slate is the new ReVamp and Tarja albums (neither have which impressed me even after a couple listens, but in the case of Tarja, I expected this. She rides her name alone and has yet to deliver Nightwish-quality music.) ....Leaves' Eyes have announced a new album (more info later,) ....The Gathering singer Anneke Van Giersburgen has a very interesting album in 'Drive.' Not remotely Gothic at all...in fact, samples indicate it's got more in common with a Fiona and Heart album than anything in the goth world...but I never liked The Gathering, so when I once preached change was bad, this is actually pretty damn good....In addition, the Nightwish DVD has been announced for a late-November release. Wakken + Floor on vocals = WIN!....Within Temptation will release their new single as an EP "Paradise (What About Us?)" which is slated for release within the next couple weeks. Their new album will be delayed until early 2014.

I got a chance to see Delain open for Kamelot last weekend. Best live band I've listened to in a long time! I dare say they had the better show that night.

I'm hoping to have time to catch up on brief reviews. I'll probably wait for a few more releases and do a bunch all at once.
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Soloud » Wed Sep 18, 2013 11:21 am

I am checking out an artist named Leah and her release 'Of Earth and Angels'. Many of the reviews like to say something along the lines of Enya meets symphonic metal, and on some songs that sounds true although the metal side is a little light. Still, this is actually a very good release. I downloaded it from Amazon it based on the reviews I read there and on iTunes and I will say they didn't steer me wrong.

Check it out.

Another one on my radar is: Alpine Fault-Iraena's Ashes.
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:24 am

Within Temptation released their EP 'Paradise (What About Us?') First impression is that the single is just ok. However, the demos, though very rough, show a lot of promise. Seems like they're doing a 'full circle' kind of album where they feature a little bit of everything. Sharon den Adel's soprano is once again present on parts, the grunts have made a comeback, and there are hints of all their previous styles, from 'Mother Earth' to their last album.

I checked out Anneke Van Giersburgen's solo album 'Drive,' and was disappointed. Title track is pretty rockin. It's so 80's-sounding and so superior to the rest of the album that sometimes I think it's a cover song of some unreleased Heart song nobody's heard of. But alas, after some research it is indeed an original song. I just wish the rest of the album lived up to the title track, as the other songs are pretty bland and lack creativity. Borderline contemporary pop. The 'C' word is a very dirty word and never wins points with me. However, I would still take this over everything The Gathering ever wrote.

Soloud wrote:I am checking out an artist named Leah and her release 'Of Earth and Angels'. Many of the reviews like to say something along the lines of Enya meets symphonic metal, and on some songs that sounds true although the metal side is a little light. Still, this is actually a very good release. I downloaded it from Amazon it based on the reviews I read there and on iTunes and I will say they didn't steer me wrong.

Check it out.

Another one on my radar is: Alpine Fault-Iraena's Ashes.


Not really a fan of Leah...too light....I had to back-burner Alpine-Fault, only because my overdue progressive kick hasn't set in yet. (Maybe the new Ayreon will get it going again.)
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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Re: 2013 Updates and Brief Reviews

Postby Jonny B » Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:07 am

Epica is releasing a 'Retrospect' DVD towards the end of the year, and have announced plans for a 6th Studio album to be released in the Spring.

My thoughts? Meh. My problem with Epica continues to be the same. Mark Jensen up to this point is content with rehashing After Forever's 'Decipher' album, and he also refuses to write a commercial rock anthem of any kind. Even the experimental Edenbridge figured out by Album #6 that they needed listener-friendly songs like 'Remember Me,' and later 'Higher' and 'Alight A New Tomorrow' to draw more attention. The reason why I don't take Epica seriously is because they have no answer for Delain's 'We Are the Others,' Nightwish's 'Amaranth,' Within Temptation's 'Faster,' or even Evanescence's 'Bring Me To Life.' As long as Epica continues to outright refuse to create that one listener-friendly signature rock anthem, I will always consider them second-rate.
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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