Guilt Machine

Ayreon – Transitus Review

Ayreon – Transitus Review

“There’s nobody quite like Arjen Anthony Lucassen. Sure, Tobias Sammet of Avantasia is the other big metal opera guy, but he can’t match Arjen for variety or quality. Besides the prog/power sound of Ayreon‘s core albums, his other successes include the gorgeous classical instrumentation of The Gentle Storm, the mopey Porcupine Tree prog of Guilt Machine, and more.” Show tunes on show.

Myrath – Legacy Review

Myrath – Legacy Review

Myrath makes what they call “Tunisian metal.” While this is a totally legit way of framing it, it’s also fair to say that they really make a kind of orchestral power metal laced with the sounds and stories of North Africa. Despite having debuted in 2007, I’ve only previously listened to 2010’s Desert Call. It might be that I had just gotten to the album directly after reviewing the absolutely transcendent The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR by Orphaned Land, but the album didn’t stand up for me and I didn’t really ever follow up on them.” So what’s 5 years distance do for Angry Metal Guy’s opinion of the only Tunisian metal band you’ve ever heard of?

The Gentle Storm – The Diary [Vinyl Review]

The Gentle Storm – The Diary [Vinyl Review]

“It’s not news that I’m a big fan of Arjen Lucassen’s output from the last 5 or 6 years. Starting with 2009’s unparalleled Guilt Machine, Arjen has released a string of records that I love. In full defiance of Angry Metal Guy’s Law of Diminishing Recordings™, the “poofy-haired Dutchman” has seemingly upped his game on every release: a great solo release, a seriously enjoyable Star One disc, and a stellar Ayreon album which landed #2 on my Top 10(ish) of 2013. So it was with unabashed enthusiasm that I began my countdown when I heard he was working with Anneke van Giersbergen, formerly of The Gathering, on a project entitled The Gentle Storm.” And it’s not like anticipation has ever led to disappointment or anything…

Ayreon – The Theory of Everything Review

Ayreon – The Theory of Everything Review

“Of all of Arjen Lucassen’s projects, Ayreon is his best known and my least favorite. Having previously given both The Human Equation and 01011001 a shot, Ayreon really was a nut I couldn’t crack. Partially this is because I think the rock opera genre of power/prog metal bands à la Avantasia or Timo Tolkki’s Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Avalon tend to lack vision; but the writers also lack the kind of talent necessary that make undertakings like Jesus Christ Superstar or Little Shop of Horrors fun and interesting.” One does not simply write a 600 word review for a 90 minute concept record from Arjen Lucassen. Click to see the epic of The Theory of Everything.

Arjen Lucassen – Lost in the New Real Review

Arjen Lucassen – Lost in the New Real Review

A few years back when Guilt Machine released, Arjen Lucassen (of—deep breath—Ayreon, Star One, Arjen Lucassen, Guilt Machine, Galexia, Stream of Passion, Vengeance, Ambeon and a myriad of other projects I probably don’t even know exist) is reported to have said that if he’d had to do it over again, Ayreon would have sounded like Guilt Machine. Whether that was just talk in the build up for a new record or not, it appears that to a certain extent he meant it, as his new Lost in the New Real sounds like the combination of the two projects. On the one hand, Lost in the New Real is a concept record and (faux) double album, featuring the dulcet tones of Rutger Hauer as narrator and “psychologist,” like one would expect from an Ayreon record. However, like Guilt Machine, the record features primarily only one vocalist (Arjen himself), and the music is largely a post-Pink Floyd progressive rock heavy with atmospherics and sweet, but melancholic, melodies. As a fan of Guilt Machine and not of Ayreon, I can say that I was curious to see how this sort of combination would work and I was pleasantly surprised.

InTensity – Times Review

InTensity – Times Review

You may have noticed that AMG doesn’t actually really do a lot of unsigned band reviews. Partially this is ’cause we don’t get a lot of unsigned demos, and partially it’s ’cause when we do they tend to be poorly delivered with little promo info and so forth. So I was pleased to get this promo from the Greek progressive modern rock band InTensity who delivered it to me via BandCamp, this is a highly recommended way of doing this, unsigned bands. Times is a four track EP that was self-produced by the vocalist/guitarist Ilias Iovis and is available digitally throughout the world today with future, physical versions to be announced.

Pain of Salvation – Road Salt pt. 1 – Ivory – Review

Pain of Salvation – Road Salt pt. 1 – Ivory – Review

One would assume that an Angry Metal Guy wouldn’t be handing out high scores willy nilly, something I seriously try to avoid doing. But apparently 2010 is a year filled with really fantastic albums by bands doing the things that, as a reviewer, and more specifically, as a music-lover, I have trouble not totally falling for. Pain of Salvation has never been a band that I personally fell for. Scarsick, the band’s 2007 release, was a record that I had issues with and I’ve had some personal gripes about Daniel Gildenlöw’s vocals on the older material (specifically his wannabe Mike Patton rappy/talky vocals). But, that said, Pain of Salvation has long been the darling of the progressive rock and metal scene, with legions of fans who love their technical prowess and pop sensibility.

Cynic – Re-Traced Review

Cynic – Re-Traced Review

I make no bones about it, I have a total love affair with Cynic. Long have I been a sucker for good progressive metal and Cynic is about as good as progressive metal gets. While I was a bit young to really have appreciated Focus when it came out, I re-discovered it later and fell in love with it. When Traced in Air came out in 2008 I pretty much fell over myself with joy. That record has maintained a constant place on my playlists since it was released and ranks among my top 10 albums of the last decade. So when I heard that they were going to re-do some of the tracks in different styles as an EP I was justifiably excited, but skeptical at the same time. I grew up in the age of the Nine Inch Nails re-mix album: I know what happens when jackasses mess around with an already winning formula. Nothing good.

Top 10(ish) of 2009

Top 10(ish) of 2009

Well, everyone else under the sun has been releasing their Top 10 lists, and for those of you faithful readers out there I’m sure you’re also interested in what I’m going to say about the best records of 2009. First, let me say that for the first half of this year I was not indeed Angry Metal Guy, but instead, I was just a normal guy buying my metal and hoping that it was going to be fucking awesome. Now, I’m a bitter critic. As a bitter critic I hear a lot more, but this year has still been characterized by some of the biggest bands on the scene for me. Mainly, Amorphis, who in my opinion have released the finest album of the year, if not the finest album of their very distinguished career. But, let me get to that later. There have been some great records this year, but there has been a lot of mediocre shit. Think of this list as being two-tiered, top 10 and then top 20. The top 10 are the records that I think were really awesome, elite albums, the second 10 are records that I think are great and worth your time and effort. Note that I haven’t heard certain albums that I’d like to hear due to that whole poverty not being offset by stealing music thing. With this, I hope to launch AngryMetalGuy.com into the new year on a new note: one where bands suck less.