Fates Warning

Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void Review

Psychotic Waltz – The God-Shaped Void Review

“The nostalgia circuit has been around forever, and while it’s fun (sometimes) to see old bands play their decades-old hits in casinos, it’s even more fun when formerly awesome bands reunite and put out new GOOD music. Case in point: Satan, with a 26-year gap between releases – and with a trio of excellent new albums to boot. Psychotic Waltz tried their best to match that, going 24 years between releases here, but with an asterisk: The God-Shaped Void is their first album in 26 years with the original lineup. Take that, Satan!” Not the last Waltz after all.

Thoughts Factory – Elements Review

Thoughts Factory – Elements Review

“So when I pulled my head from the murk of the most grimy, gritty, and distorted music metal has to offer to review the clean, keyboard-laden progressive metal of Thoughts Factory, my initial reaction was that of a belligerent child forced to take a shower after playing in the mud: I don’t like it this clean! Make it more filthy! But does that knee-jerk reaction hold on repeat listens?” Clean thoughts.

Schammasch – Hearts of No Light Review

Schammasch – Hearts of No Light Review

“There are two kinds of metal albums that tickle my fancy. The first kind takes a band’s trademark sound, alters it just enough to keep things fresh, but also retains everything that makes that artist or band unique, enjoyable, and otherwise impossible to do without. The other has mere glimpses of what made that band who they are, but throws so many curveballs, surprise left hooks, and a kitchen sink or twelve your way, and demands that you catch it all. Swiss avant garde spiritualists Schammasch most certainly fit into the latter with relative ease. Even after releasing a three-disc, exactly-100-minute monstrosity in the form of Triangle back in 2016, it still didn’t fully prepare me for what Hearts of No Light had in store for me.” That’s a big Schammasch!

Ray Alder – What the Water Wants Review

Ray Alder – What the Water Wants Review

“Ray Alder has accumulated some major prog bona vides during his time on the music scene. Replacing the mighty John Arch in Fates Warning way back in 1988, Alder became one of the major faces of American prog-metal. His sojourn with prog super group Redemption only reinforced his place in the genre pecking order. After 30 years in the game, 2019 sees the man release his first solo album.” Water bending.

Atlantean Kodex – The Course of Empire Review

Atlantean Kodex – The Course of Empire Review

“After impressing the metalverse with 2013s The White Goddess, the band took their sweet time crafting a followup, and the long-awaited The Course of Empire definitely dials up the Bathory-esque epic Viking side of Atlantean Kodex‘s mammoth heavy metal sound. Along with the band’s usual While Heaven Wept meets Manowar on Manilla Road take on oversized throwback metal, there’s a powerful Hammeheart influence under-girding the already titanic, soaring compositions, making for a heavier, darker sound.” Atlantean Empire rising.

Trauma – As the World Dies Review

Trauma – As the World Dies Review

“Last month I reviewed the latest Very Good release from Flotsam and Jetsam, a band known more for their contribution to Metallica than to thrash music in general. Well, not to be outdone, here comes Trauma, a band that should be known even more so for their contribution to Metallica. After all, it was Trauma that gifted the inimitable Cliff Burton to Metallica, and as we all know, the rest is history. And it was history for this Sunset Strip band: their debut album, Scratch and Scream, came out two years after Burton departed, and it was another three decades before their follow-up, Rapture and Wrath, dropped. Now here they are with As the World Dies, their third album (a mere three years after their second, instead of thirty), and another attempt to establish themselves as more than just a footnote in metal history.” And it certainly won’t be their cover art that does it, so can their music?

Heir Apparent – The View From Below Review

Heir Apparent – The View From Below Review

“Okay kiddies, gather around Uncle Steel, Witchfinder General and Keeper of the Sacred Banhammer. It’s time for another metal history lesson. Once upon a time there was a little band called Heir Apparent. They played what we now might call prog-power and they were heavily influenced by the early works of Queensrÿche and Fates Warning. Their 1986 debut, Graceful Inheritance is a forgotten gem, featuring a dated but highly impressive take on proggy melodic metal, full of hooks and overflowing with talent.” Out of thin Heir!

Circles – The Last One Review

Circles – The Last One Review

Circles‘ textured approach to prog metal recalls the moodiness and energy of Fates Warning within the context of a post-djent landscape where six-string guitars and straight rhythms are seen as passé. Yet success stirs in their artful and sensitive exploration of space, whether they’re marching through angular hardcore, tip-toeing across delicate electronics, or bobbing in subtle waves. Like many modern, progressive-leaning rock/metal bands, they bring elements of Periphery-worship on their journey but deploy them so intelligently that at times The Last One becomes greater than its individual components.” Always sphere for you.

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.