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Songs of the Week: Moon Above, Sun Below and Eternal Rains Will Come by Opeth

I was considering making these 2 songs the Video of the Week because the neat-o nature visualizers are damn hypnotizing, fit their respective songs perfectly, and would be perfectly acceptable as official videos in my book.  However, RoadRunner decided to label them as official audio, so I would expect that something a bit more big budget is in the pipeline.

Anyhoo, in case you missed our Roundtable Review of Opeth’s latest, Pale Communion, some of us liked it, some of us not so much, and I flipped head over heel in love it claiming it belongs with the upper echelon of the prime Opeth releases.  Every song on it is pure gold in my opinion and even cooler, my 2 favorite tracks from the record got this cool official audio nature visualizer treatment.

Eternal Rains Shall Come shows some stylized footage, of, well, rain and thunderstorms.  Really cool, especially if you are the type of person that find comfort in just staring out into a rainstorm.  The song is really damn cool as well.  I love how it floats from upbeat, chipper moods to relaxing and slightly melancholy to punchy and powerful.  Damn fine song and an instant classic in my book.

Moon Above, Sun Below showcases my favorite season as Autumnal clips hypnotize as Opeth takes you on a trip to the Harlequin Forest to see how much it has changed over the years.  While the last time we visited the forest of regrets and our protagonist’s tortured mind was being chased on a Wintery and stormy night, we now see the forest in a different season and illuminated by the sun.  It still has maintained a bit of menace, but without the cover of dark, refrains from baring its teeth opting to lull its prey into becoming lost within the flurry of trunks and branches until the dawn of night approaches.

Am I crazy in thinking that Moon Above, Sun Below is the spiritual successor to Harlequin Forest? (I embedded the song so you can listen and reaffirm my over-analyzing.) Have you listened to the new Opeth? What do you think?  Love it, hate it, meh?  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Roundtable Review: Pale Communion by Opeth

Opeth_Pale_Communion_album_artworkAlbum: Pale Communion

Label: Roadrunner Records

Release Date: August 26th, 2014

Songs: 8 +2 Bonus Tracks with digipack

Length: 55:48 (w/o bonus tracks)

Genre: Prog Rock

Studio Albums: This is their 11th LP

Location: Stockholm, Sweden

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Mammals’s Top 25 In-Betweener Albums, #15-#11

Continuing my selection of albums that bridge the blurred gap between metal and prog. Some of these albums are labelled as metal, some as prog, but all of them could be both. Read the rest of this entry

Mammal’s Top 25 In-Betweener Albums, #20-#16

I call these albums In-Betweeners because to me they are not strictly prog, metal or hard rock, they draw from all of those and other genres. Genre labels continue to become blurred. Hurrah for that! Read the rest of this entry

Mik’s Top 100 Favourite Albums of All Time #61-65


A while ago, at the same time as Matt and Reggie, I posted my Top 100 All Time Favourite (Metal) Albums over at the forum The History of Metal on FB. It took a good amount of time and effort to put it together, but it was so much fun! My taste in metal is always changing, so the list will not always look the same. In fact, it’s already a bit different than it was when I first put it together and posted it on the forum seven months ago.

I tried to limit myself to three albums per band to make the list a little more diverse and interesting. I don’t really consider the ‘test of time’-factor when selecting what albums that will go on my list, instead I measure it by how strongly the album has affected me emotionally and how much/often it has helped me through both good and bad phases in my life. That’s why you can find quite a few newer releases among my favourites too. 

#65 Bathory – Hammerheart

”Northern wind, take my song up high
to the Hall of Glory in the sky
So its gates shall greet me open wide
when my time has come to die…”


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Album Review- Infestissumam by Ghost

ghost-infestissumamTwo years ago when my ear drums caught the crunchy Satanic grooves of Ghost’s debut album Opus Eponymous it was a bit of a musical revolution for me.  First off, there was just no band that I had known about making modern music like them with that heavy 70’s vibe mixed with Black Sabbath style doom metal and a generous sprinkling of Mercyful Fate.  The right amounts of heaviness and catchiness won me over immediately and to this day Opus Eponymous is one of my most frequented haunts at minimum getting a playthrough a week.  Second off is the lyrical content.  Ghost sings about Satan and Satanism pretty much to the point where it’s so over the top it becomes absurd and humorous.  You can’t help but chuckle at how they were able to twist the words of the Our Father prayer into an Our Satan prayer on the tune “Ritual” or how they turn the much used Christian phrase ‘Stand By Him’ into meaning ‘Stand by Satan’.  And they do all this with a perfectly straight-face trying to make you believe that they are serious in their Satanism, but you know deep down, they aren’t.  And that is where I find the real fun in the genius of Ghost, if you give a listen to any Christian or faith filled band you will also easily hear how over-the-top it is with all of cheesy Biblical quotes and professing that ‘God’ is the only way and yadda yadda yadda.  It’s such a fun little parallel.  Finally there is the contrast of their themes and their musical output.  On one hand you could call Ghost a metal band, but since there is a crap-ton of pop influence by way of bands like ABBA one does have to question Ghost’s metal cred.  That contrast of super hammy yet infectious melodies and tunes to the super Satanic themes creates such a contrast that one has to wonder how it even works in the first place, let alone find an audience that could bring popularity to the band.  Though one would think that the metal fans would find them too soft and poppy for metal stardom and the pop fans find their Satanic themes a bit too dark.  Oddly enough, they did find an audience with this contrast as they became one of the biggest rising stars in the metal realm gaining big support from fellow metal artists like James Hetfield and Phil Anselmo and in the pop scene gaining lots of coverage in big name publications like Rolling Stone.

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Matt’s Top 25 Favorite Cover Songs: #9- Witch Hunt covered by Machine Head

witch-hunts-22149-20120730-503When I grabbed my copy of Unto the Locust one big surprise other than how absolutely solid the album is was the fact that their choice of cover song bonus tracks included a Rush cover.  In case you didn’t know, Rush is one of my Top 1% favorite bands and Machine Head have a pretty damn good track record of making some fine covers, so naturally I was really excited to hear the Machine Head rendition of the kick ass tune “Witch Hunt” off of Rush’s landmark album Moving Pictures.  Needless to say I was really impressed with the metal version of the synth heavy song.

Robb Flynn’s vocals work great with the song and somehow make the song sound more ominous and the guitar tone chosen really gives the tune a nice extra metal punch and a cool doom metal feel.  I also love how all the synth sections are translated into the 2nd guitar parts and Adam Duce’s awesome work replicating Geddy Lee’s bass lines staying true to the original yet adding a heavy metal attitude to the low-end.  Check the songs out and let us know what you thought.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Machine Head Version:

Original Rush Version:

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Album Reviews: The Afterman: Ascension by Coheed & Cambria

coheed__20670_zoomI’ll be perfectly honest, while I love me some concept albums and follow the narrative of those which reach to tell a story more often than not, I’ve just about abandoned the sci-fi story that Coheed & Cambria have been telling since their first album.  Not that it’s bad by any means, but because between sometimes cryptic lyrics, out of sequence unfolding, and the fact that it sprawls into graphic novel and written novel form I just lost place in the convoluted tale and haven’t put much stock into it since Good Apollo.  So, what’s left of a band that puts so much stock into its narrative for someone who isn’t placing too much attention into their tale?  Well, the most important part of any musical output, the music, and on this end CoCa also deliver tenfold quite consistently allowing the listener to enjoy their music first and as an added bonus be able to delve into a deeper level and get a crazy sci-fi story too.  The NY quartet has recently released the first part their new double disc album, The Afterman, with part 2 to be in stores sometime early 2013.  Titled Ascension, this first part of The Afterman series recaptures that spark that really made CoCa special that I felt that their past couple outings were missing (No World For Tomorrow and Year of the Black Rainbow were decent, but could have been a lot better).  And beyond the excellent music, they also piqued my interest in rejoining the narrative of the whole CoCa saga with its character dossier style of storytelling.

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Full Album Streams: The Afterman Pt. I: Ascension by Coheed and Cambria

Are you still on the fence about picking up the new record from Coheed and Cambria after their lackluster effort on Year of the Black Rainbow (I didn’t think it was a horrible as many fans make it out to be, but compared to their previous offerings it was certainly a step back).  Well if you don’t trust me to tell you that The Afterman Pt. I: Ascension is damn good you can listen to it for yourself.  After a couple of listens I’m quite impressed.  They show a nice amount of diversity on the record and seemed to have captured that punch of their earlier records.  Click here to give it a listen or click on the album cover above to go to the stream.  Let us know what you thought.  Enjoy!! Peace Love and Metal!!!

Full Album Stream: No Holier Temple by Hexvessel

Hexvessel are quite the interesting specimen.  In essence they play folk metal, but not exactly the folk metal you would immediately think of when you think of the style of folk metal their home country of Finland produces.  Hexvessel opts to go for a more slow-paced, hanging out with Hunter S. Thomson, psychedelic approach.  And while the guitar tone and chord choices screams of Black Sabbath the music as a whole has a lot more in common with The Doors (especially the vocals) or Pink Floyd when they get in touch with their more ‘experimental’ side (think songs like “L’America” and “One of These Days”).  There’s also a lot of proggy and trippy movements and sections that add a lot of personality and dynamic to Hexvessel’s overall sound on No Holier Temple.  The wonderful instrumentation of the folk instruments are icing on the cake and finalize this tasty morsel of psychedelic progressive folk rock/metal band.

On my next music shopping spree this is a definite purchase for me as it hits all of my buttons for a great record, and I highly suggest checking this out if you’re into psychedelic music or anything retro flavored.  But bear in mind, while there is a lot of inspiration taken from those carpe diem years of the 60’s and 70’s, this record still manages to come off modern and fresh.  You can click here or the album cover above to visit the Finnish E-zine Inferno to listen to the whole albumand be sure to check out the video below for the album single “Woods to Conjure”.  Enjoy!!  Peace Love and Metal!!!

Thanks to Angry Metal Guy and for the tip off on this band and stream.