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A Metal-Prog Interlude: VOLA – Gutter Moon

I know and love VOLA, from Denmark, for their earlier and largely unheralded music. When I first heard them in 2009 they were a progressive rock band with a strong flavour of math rock in their compositions.

The new VOLA album, “Inmazes”, features a different line-up and a much more exploratory approach. It’s a beautiful merging of prog and math rock, prog and math metal and djent. I believe this must greatly broaden VOLA’s potential fan base. From my point of view as a metal-prog hybrid, this album will be too good to miss. It should be available now.

Find out more at VOLA’s Facebook page.

“Gutter Moon” is from the new album.

For comparison, “Like The Rainbow” is the first track on the 2009 EP, “Homesick Machinery”. Both songs are deeply satisfying.


Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2013, #10 – #6

MetalCatI haven’t referred to my list of top albums of 2013 that I posted on Metal State at the end of last year. I don’t need to because I know it’s markedly different to my current sets of year-by-year hit parades. This series has featured my favourite songs, not albums. It hasn’t included non-metal, whereas my top albums list did.

I set another condition for myself at the start of this exercise, which has been a wonderfully enjoyable game. To spread the pleasure among the artists who’ve given me so much pleasure over the years, I chose only one song per year per artist. There too I’ve been arbitrary at times. There are albums so good that just about any song would be a contender for top song by that artist.

No doubt my lists would look different if I re-did them in a year’s time. Music shapes itself to our moods.


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Mammal’s 21-Year Hit Parade: 2003 / #9 – #7

MetalCatWithout preamble, herewith a foreword. This hit parade has been compiled in compliance with the principles of not using a preamble to introduce the methodology. The results were not audited by a big accounting firm in exchange for high-profile TV exposure.




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Retro Roundtable Review: Textures – Polars

polars-4f273e55ef3b3Label: Listenable Records

Release Date:  2003

Songs:  8 tracks, 56 minutes

Genre:  Progressive metal

Studio Albums: Drawing Circles 2006, Silhouettes 2008, Dualism 2011

Location:  Tilburg, Netherlands

For fans of: Strapping Young Lad, Cynic, Meshuggah, Dark Tranquillity, Iced Earth, Gojira

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Concert Review: UK Tech Metal Fest 2014, part 1. Valis Ablaze, The Sun Explodes, DispersE, Mountains Under Oceans

The event I was looking forward to the most this year is already over. Time goes fast when having fun! And during four days unlimited amounts of fun and hugs was had by all: bands, fans and festival crew alike. This was the third time running for UK Tech Metal Fest and once again it proved to be a festival like no other, as it felt more like a relaxed holiday together with some of your best friends and favourite musicians. I can’t think of a better way to spend a summer weekend.


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Roundtable Review: Wings Denied – Mirrors For A Prince

downloadLabel:  Unsigned

Release Date:  13 May 14

Songs:   10

Length:  55 Minutes

Genre:  Progressive Metal

Studio Albums:   This is their debut studio album

Location:  Washington D.C., USA Read the rest of this entry

Roundtable Review: Slaveatgod – The Skyline Fission

cover artLabel:  No Regrets Records

Release Date:  31 Mar 2014

Songs:   8

Length:  33 Minutes

Genre:  Progressive/Djent

Studio Albums:   This is their second full-length album

Location:  Athens, Greece Read the rest of this entry

Full album stream: Leading Light – Protect the Sinner

Leading LightWhat a pleasure when the debut album from a new, young band puts a twist on several genres you love, produces a splendidly varied and polished set of songs, and sounds as relaxed and professional as any fully established band with a long discography to its name.

From those opening words, you’d be correct in assuming I want to hear much more from these Swedish guys in the future. What do they play — metalcore? Melodic metal? Prog metal? Djent? All of those styles, I’d say, in a package of very original compositions.

Rasmus Weström has a top-class voice, delivering dark and clean vocals, and he is also one of the guitarists. Johan Gustafsson on bass, Simon Östergren behind the drums and Axel Wennerberg, lead guitar, complete the line-up of excellent musos.

Mini Reviews – Man Must Die, Big Guns, Avelion, Neurotic November

626570625575I am not sure what to call Man Must Die; perhaps death metal or grindcore might be a good fit, but labels don’t really mean much.  What I should say is that the 10 songs on their new album Peace Was Never An Option are nothing less than guttural, brutal, bone-crunching, with a flair for melody.  The Scottish quartet stitches together some brutal elements that remind me a little bit of Napalm Death with the vocal style and tempo changes.  The big difference from a constant barrage of brutality is that they do find room for well-composed guitar melodies and short solos.  They aren’t thrown in there like some metalcore bands do it…faced and out-of-place.  Man Must Die does a great job of transitioning from harsh to heavenly when it comes to infusing melody with an otherwise devilish pace.  Their overall feel transitions from a more standard death metal formula and touches upon grindcore and thrashy elements a little bit for a fairly brutal concoction of enjoyable metal.  Their album was released on Lifeforce records and is out now worldwide.

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