That reminds me of some lyrics I wrote but which, amazingly, haven’t been snapped up by any band:
I am one of those who can speak through both me knees.
My left knee can say “thank you” and my right knee can say “please”.
Yet the longest words that I have ever uttered through my limbs
Are shorter than the longer words that people sing in hymns.
Arjen Lucassen’s Ayreon kicks off today’s selection. I really look up to him. So does almost everyone. He is 2.03 metres tall (6 feet 8 inches). In nautical terms, he is more than a fathom deep. In astronomical terms, a beam of light that started at his toes would take approximately 0.0000000077 seconds to reach the top of his head.
Collectively, the members of Isis and Dark Moor have many more arms and legs than Arjen.
Today’s posts reflect a minor problem that occurs constantly in metal – how the hell do you categorize a particular type of music? Sometimes it’s easy and obvious; heavy metal sounds like heavy metal. But when you have bands as different as Liquid Tension Experiment and Ayreon both labelled as progressive metal, that could easily confuse anyone listening to either band for the first time.
For each of us individually, there are only really two kinds music – the music we like and the music we don’t. If you prefer Elton John to Cannibal Corpse, that’s your business and nobody else’s.
One of the innumerable glories of music is that it spans time as well as physical, political and other boundaries. Music is four-dimensional. That’s why it’s so easy to get lost in it.
My 1995 kicks off with two bands I’ve loved for two decades. OK, Ayreon is a project, not a band as such, but you know what I mean.
1995, #10: Ayreon – Sail Away To Avalon
Album: The Final Experiment
Genre: Prog Metal
1995, #9: Monster Magnet – Dopes to Infinity
Album: Dopes To Infinity
Genre: Stoner Metal
From the agonising it required just to select an initial Top 60, I’d say 2013 was a damn good year for metal. We saw great bands from the past continuing to turn out fantastic albums. A surge of new bands across all genres arrived and pumped new interpretations and sheer skill into the metalsphere. Current and recent favourites lived up to their reputations and delivered outstanding work.
It won’t surprise my Metal State Of Mind colleagues that nearly half of my final Top 20 are progressive metal. At the same time it pleases me that my list includes eight different main genres. This is further proof that bands across the metal spectrum have been deliciously productive this year. Gauging by the various schedules of new albums on the way, 2014 is going to be another good vintage.
I’m not going to write anything about the individual albums on my list. As far as I’m concerned, the quality of all of them speaks much more eloquently than I can (and I’m a lazy Mammal). All I ask is that you accept I had special reasons for loving all of these albums, not just for the music but for sundry other reasons as well. They all struck special chords in the part of my head where other people have brains. Read the rest of this entry →
Thus concludeth my selection of albums that couldeth be either prog rock or prog metal, as the mantis said unto the moth before eatething it. Muncheth, muncheth, went the mantis. “Ow! Verily, friggin’ oweth!” wailed the moth.
This is the first time I’ve started a music post with a biology lesson.
Arjen is one of the most prolific and creative composers and musicians in modern metal. If you don’t already know, his projects have included Ambeon, Ayreon, Guilt Machine, Star One and his own solo album. The spectrum of his music spans across many colours on both sides of prog metal. It embraces power metal and symphonic metal on the heavier side. On the hippie side, it extends from symphonic prog (every project) to art rock (with Ambeon). All of his projects are a glorious integration of different styles.
It seems appropriate to preface Arjen’s Top 10 with a song from his solo album, The New Real. This song, Pink Beetles in a Purple Zeppelin, is specially fitting. It is Arjen’s wry and lyrical take on a hypothetical death of musical creativity. As long as the world continues to produce people like him, of course, that will never happen. Read the rest of this entry →