Dream Theater

Nanowar of Steel – Stairway to Valhalla Review

Nanowar of Steel – Stairway to Valhalla Review

“For the first three years of their existence, Nanowar of Steel operated under the shortened moniker of Nanowar, adding the of Steel subtitle through a hasty MS Paint logo re-work in 2006. As NoS’s Facebook page states, this was done “not in order to spoof Rhapsody of Fire, but for REAL and TRUE copyright issues.” There’s some serious power metal in-jokage going on with the title alone, an infectious cheekiness that has spread to every corner of Stairway to Valhalla’s musical and lyrical execution.” Sign of the Humor.

Ethernity – The Human Race Extinction Review

Ethernity – The Human Race Extinction Review

“I have a love-hate relationship with progressive metal, particularly power prog. Several of my all-time favorite acts are prog as fuck, or at least dip their toe in those waters. However, not many musicians know how to actually write progressively, bloating the scene with bland mediocrity. This is true of most music of course, but it’s particularly heartbreaking to see in genres with so much potential. So where do Ethernity, our new Belgian acquaintances, fit into this?” Prog extinction.

Great Leap Skyward – Map of Broken Dreams Review

Great Leap Skyward – Map of Broken Dreams Review

“‘Cinematic progressive metal.’ Now there’s a tag rife with possibilities. Theatrical djent? Dream Theater 2.0? Coheed Jr and Cambriette? Prior to this review, I’d never heard of Australia’s Great Leap Skyward. Subsequently, I had no idea what I was in for when I rescued Map of Broken Dreams from Angry Metal Guy‘s Home for Wayward Promo.” Prog, broken dreams and depressed Muppets.

Halcyon Way – Bloody But Unbowed Review

Halcyon Way – Bloody But Unbowed Review

“Just because you wore yourself down to the stubs doesn’t mean you produced anything worth a damn. It’s about what you achieve, not how much of it. Halcyon Way would seem to disagree. Having built their reputation on grit and gumption, they stand proud of their latest album, Bloody But Unbowed, a declaration to dogged persistence if there ever was one. But, does effort guarantee success?” Prog-thrash is a dangerous game.

Redemption – Long Night’s Journey into Day Review

Redemption – Long Night’s Journey into Day Review

“Once upon a time I went all in for the larger than life prog bombast of Fates Warning and later, Dream Theater.  I admired the cerebral nature of both their works and the mind-blowing level of technical proficiency with which they delivered it.  Over the years, Dream Theater lost their way and the ability to deliver memorable material, but Fates Warning modified and ultimately streamlined their sound to remain a reliable, engaging act 30-plus years into their career arc.  Redemption, a sort of prog super group helmed by Fates Warning‘s Ray Alder and some Fates expats, has managed a successful run of albums by following Fates‘  blueprint and delivering songs first, with wankery added in a relatively unobtrusive way.” A long noodle’s journey.

Between the Buried and Me – Automata II Review

Between the Buried and Me – Automata II Review

“July is “Part Two” month for me, and first up is the second half of Between the Buried and Me’s double album, Automata. Take a moment, if you will, to reacquaint yourself with the first half of this opus. Too lazy to click: Well, to summarize, BTBAM wrote their usual long album, but new record label Sumerian suggested they split it in half and stagger the release. That allows those folks who can’t stomach an hour of music to take it in smaller bursts.” A band of many parts.

The Sea Within – The Sea Within Review

The Sea Within – The Sea Within Review

“I’m as leery of self-proclaimed supergroups as the next guy. They almost never work out. Usually, though, they at least have some humility about themselves, and claim they are not in fact a supergroup, but rather just a bunch of chaps who happen to want to make music together. Not so with The Sea Within. In fact, guitarist Roine Stolt (Transatlantic, The Flower Kings) says “Call it a supergroup if you want – I think we can handle that.” Big words!” Super group, super attitude.

Angra – ØMNI Review

Angra – ØMNI Review

Angra‘s Secret Garden was a surprise for me. It captured my heart by being extraordinary in its execution, not its novelty. The record was a solid group of songs that were well-written, well-performed, and fun to listen to. But let’s not kid ourselves, aside from having a spunky new 23 year-old drummer and slightly used 41 year-old singer, Angra wasn’t really doing anything unexpected. The record was graced by Jens Bogren’s Industry Standard Power Metal Production™, a guest appearance by scene matron Doro Pesch, and it was a straight forward affair. Secret Garden‘s directness was charming in its lack of pretense, and I’ve come back to it a lot since then. So, three years later, 2018 starts off with Angra‘s newest record entitled ØMNI. And this time, they’ve gone and written an orchestral, progressive metal concept album about the future. So, how’d that work out for them?” AMG and Angra together again.