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Tales From Bandcamp: Heart of Oak by Anciients

a1928185160_10Somewhere between Opeth and Mastodon lies Anciients.  Wielding the sword of prog metal coated in moody atmospheres and honed with memorable riffing and catchy melodies Heart of Oak slays even the weariest of prog metal fans.  Stellar musicianship that is very technical but never roams into the superfluous realms and a dearth of variety and pacing make this album even more of an engaging listen.  While I have found myself becoming rather disappointed in new prog metal bands the past couple years or so and many new bands that tag themselves with the genre and produce nothing but snooze-fests, Heart of Oak is such a breath of fresh air.  Nothing comes off feeling contrived or forced but wholly organic and passion fueled.  An excellent debut and I greatly look forward what this Canadian band can do in the future.  Give the album a listen and share your thoughts.  If you dig it buy yourself a copy and tell your metal loving brethren about them.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!

Band Links: Bandcamp Facebook Official Site

Tales From Bandcamp: Marrow of the Spirit by Agalloch

460468120-1Since I’ve already reviewed this album and spoke about it quite a few times, I’ll just be the lazy shit I am and tell you to click here to read my review if you want to know my thoughts on Marrow of the Spirit by Agalloch (pro-tip: it’s a positive review).  Anywho, they now have the record up on Bandcamp, and if you have yet to give it a listen, I implore you to do so.  It’s a damn fine record and also one of my all time favorite albums.  So, Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Full Album Stream: The Crystal Eye by Sinister Realm

Need a dose of some great traditional metal, well here you go.  Taking a lot of inspiration from Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Man-O-War, Sinister Realm‘s 2nd full length album, The Crystal Eye, completely rocks.  It’s chock full of huge riffs, superfluous solos, fist pumping choruses, manly chest hair, and war horse galloping rhythms.  There are more hooks in every song than in a salt crusted fisherman’s tackle box and plenty of opportunities to sing along with the “whooooo oooo oooooooooo”s to trick you neighbors into thinking that you have transformed into a werewolf.  Probably the thing that I like the most about this record is that it does have that 80’s old school sound to it, but at the same time it carries its own personality and feels quite modern with some neat prog tendencies mixed in.  So go break out your leather or denim vest (your choice), crack open a Tab, then ball up your fist and raise it high, and rock out to some Sinister Realm.  Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Full Album Stream: Dystopium by Loch Vostok

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, sorry.  I just haven’t found anything in my Bandcamp searches that really felt ‘worthy’.  Take that however you will.  Anywho, upon seeing a band I am quite fond, Leprous, of is hitting my area in a couple of months I decided to give a listen to some of the other acts that are on the bill.  After my search, I now can’t wait for Oct. 11th to hit.  A big part is due to the band I’m going to feature here.

Sweden’s Loch Vostok are quite an interesting beast.  They’re part power prog metal akin to Symphony X, part heavy metal similar to Nevermore, and part death metal with hints of Amon Amarth sprinkled in this volatile cocktail of explosive metals.  The end result is something like I’ve yet to hear before.  I love the vocals on this record where a slight hint of Warrel Dane shows in the cleans and growls as powerful as the Viking Lord Johan Hegg power through the harsh sections, but vocalist Teddy Möller seems to have developed a unique sound all his own.  Their use and contrast are superb only matched by Mikael Åkerfeldt’s mastery of being able to flow between the two styles this well.

The music is also great blending the 3 previously mentioned sub-genres into one where the lines between are blurred wonderfully.  A death metal riff maybe grinding in the foreground while power prog style keyboards flutter in the back.  The songs themselves are insanely diversified ranging from power ballads to crushing death metal anthems, often in the same song.  This is definitely a band that doesn’t want to pigeonhole themselves to one genre.  It makes for a fully engaging and captivating listen.

Check out the video below for “Sacred Structure” and give a listen to Dystopium.  And as always, if you dig it, grab yourself a copy and/or tell your friends.  Enjoy!  Peace Love and Metal!!

Full Album Streams: Bloodrayne: Betrayal Official Score by Jake Kaufman and FEZ by Disasterpeace

I’m sure you have all noticed that we love our video games in these parts.  For me, a huge thing that really defines a game is how well it utilizes music to create a certain atmosphere which enhances the play of the game.  Just imagine if you took away the whimsical music from the Mario Bros. games.  The Mushroom Kingdom just would feel all that magical.  Here you will find two game scores from two modern indie games, both have very excellent scores that add so much to their respective games, it would almost be impossible to imagine playing them without any other music rolling in the background.

The first is the score for Bloodrayne: Betrayal by Jake Kaufman.  This Gothic power metal score rounds out the hyper-stylized look of the game and also compliments the games insane speed of side-scrolling action.  The speedier metal parts play when you are in battle slicing enemies up with your glaive, sucking their blood, and turning foes into mobile bombs to detonate on large groups of enemies.  There are also fast paced escape sequences that the music also enhances making the task at hand feel more urgent.  The more mellow Gothic piano parts work wonderfully for fleshing out the dark Gothic architecture of stages and really setting the tone for when the action is at a slow down.  On its own the score holds its weight being a fun and rocking listen.  Check it out, and if you are a fan of fast paced, insanely difficult side-scrollers, give Bloodrayne: Betrayal a shot.  Reviews online are mixed, some damning the game for being overly difficult, others praising it for being unwilling to compromise itself and it’s amazing hand drawn sprite based graphics.  Me, I loved it, and while challenging, it wasn’t that bad.  Contra and Mega Man are still much tougher games.

And FEZ, oh FEZ.  Where do I begin at how amazing this game is.  Well since I’m still cracking away at the games mind twisting platforming and cryptography puzzles I’ll start at the music.  No, this score is not metal in the slightest, but it’s still really damn good, and any opportunity I can take to talk about this mind melting game I’ll jump on.  FEZ is a game bereft of conflict, it just want’s you to relax and take your time exploring the colorful 8-bit retro world discovering treasure chests and solving some of the most clever puzzles I’ve seen in a game to date.  The game is all about relaxation and thinking in a relaxed state of mind, and along with the gorgeous visuals the music really helps achieve that goal.  If it weren’t for the soothing chip tune music, my Xbox may have been out the window as I worked out solutions to some of the games trickier puzzles (and some I’m working on now are really damn tricky, when was the last time you pulled out a pen and paper to play a game 😉 ).  This score works delightfully both in-game and out providing some great ambient music whenever you may need to just chill out.  Check it out, and if you are a fan of puzzle games and platformers you need to get FEZ now.  I’ll hold back go on how great this game is for when the eventual review comes, but I’ll just say, that it may quite possibly be my top game of the year.  “Reality is perception.  Perception is subjective”.

Bloodrayne: Betrayal Score

FEZ Score

Trailers for both games can be found after the jump.

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1,000 Leagues Under the Metal Sea

This weeks full album stream comes to you from San Francisco(I’m really digging on the scene they have going on out there) band Giant Squid and their latest release Cenotes.  With an atmosphere that is a cross between Jules Verne, Herman Melville, and H.P. Lovecraft, Giant Squid take you through a tour of the darkened bottom of the ocean with their huge and sludgy riffs and sweet and flowing violin and cello melodies.  Haunting vocals and a powerful rhythm section accentuate the album also and as a whole make Cenotes a unique listen and it’s worth the quick 35 minutes the album takes to play through to check out.  Click on the picture below to go to the official full album stream and let us know what you thought.  Enjoy!!! Peace Love and Metal!!!