Porcupine Tree

Votum – Metafiction Review

Votum – Metafiction Review

Poland’s progressive rock and metal scene has definitely been strong of late. In the last year I’ve discovered some really great bands, particularly Indukti and Riverside which have just blown me away from the Polish scene. Turns out Poland doesn’t have just black metal and death metal in their veins, but instead there are a good number of proggy dudes who really dig the new wave of prog that has been pushing its way into metal in the last decade. Votum’s second album is another one of these Polish prog rock records that’s definitely influenced by neo-prog bands like Porcupine Tree, Opeth and Anathema. In 2008, Votum released their first album Time Must Have a Stop, which impressed some but left me cold. Metafiction is the next step in the band’s development, but still doesn’t impress.

Kobi Farhi Interview

Kobi Farhi Interview

For anyone who has regularly read my site, it is pretty obvious that I am a big Orphaned Land fan. So it is no exaggeration to say I was pretty stoked to do an interview with the band’s vocalist, lyricist and gigantic personality, Kobi Farhi. We had a chance to talk about several different things, ranging from the cultural approach to metal in Orphaned Land to working with Steven Wilson (from Porcupine Tree). For the first time I am going to offer the audio of this interview edited down with some clips from the record, as well as typing out the “transcript” as it were. The transcript, of course, will have the full text and the audio is a bit more edited down so as to cut out the BS.

Ihsahn – After Review

Ihsahn – After Review

Easily one of the most anticipated records of 2010 for me has been Ihsahn’s new offering. While I was a passing Emperor fan, really just a fan of In the Nightside Eclipse and Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk-era, I was taken by Ihsahn’s solo stuff. The Adversary felt fresh, progressive enough, a step away from the later Emperor material of which I wasn’t a fan, and it captured the sonic styles and textures that he was never quite allowed to explore while in Emperor. The record didn’t stick with me as I had hoped, while I listened to it occasionally it didn’t hold a steadfast position in my discography. On the other hand, angL blew me away. Probably the finest record of 2008, angL has maintained a steady place in the rotation and is a record that I’ve showed to dozens of people. Perfectly produced, perfectly composed and smartly written, angL contained everything that I wanted out of a new progressive metal record. So, of course, when I heard that Ihsahn would be releasing a new record in 2010, I became justifiably excited.

Orphaned Land – The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR Review

Orphaned Land – The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR Review

Few bands will ever make their own mark on a genre of music. it’s just a statistical rarity. Someone once told me that there are something like 5 million bands on MySpace, if that gives you an idea of the breadth which exists when one is thinking in terms of how many musicians there are out there. Of those, most of them probably last longer than a year, never produce much of a demo much less get signed to a real label, and how many ever produce a real step forward into a new decade with a statement of great things to come? The chances of becoming a professional musician are basically NIL and then of the number that do, how many ever produce something that will be remembered and affect enough listeners to ever influence any? That number is even smaller. Orphaned Land is one of the few bands that will ever exact change in metal and they are doing so now with their new record The Never Ending Way of ORwarriOR.

Blaze Bayley: At the End of the Day – Lawrence Paterson (Book Review)

Blaze Bayley: At the End of the Day – Lawrence Paterson (Book Review)

A few of you might have noticed that I have taken to reporting a lot on Blaze Bayley (the man and the band), and this is partially due to the fact that I have long been a fan of his solo stuff (and his tenure in Iron Maiden). As I’ve stated before, I think that X Factor is a classic album and I will continue to defend that to this day (though, I will definitely also point out that it is poorly produced, as was Virtual XI, which in my book was also poorly conceived). In any case, I, like others who gravitated to the Blaze-era Iron Maiden, continued to follow him afterwords and were happily surprised by the quality of the material that his newly formed band BLAZE had produced. Since then, I have paid attention, with a heavy heart often times, to an ongoing saga of an excellent underground band getting ignored, fucked repeatedly by labels, management and finally crumbling under the weight of outside and inside pressures. For me, the collapse of BLAZE and the rise of Blaze’s current self-titled incarnation was shrouded in mystery as I was just a fan witnessing it from the outside, but much of what I did not know is now available in a book written by current Blaze Bayley drummer Lawrence Paterson entitled At the End of the Day (and conveniently available for Christmas!).

Three – Revisions Review

Three – Revisions Review

Progressive rock and metal have been looking for a new band to update the genre with something new and original for a long time. While the progressive metal sub-genre has expanded outward, it seems like progressive rock has been left to whiny emo kids and their pretentious and totally incomprehensible space odysseys. Though in recent times bands like The Dear Hunter have started to appear, they tend to be far more eclectic, and rock oriented than I think many fans of progressive guitar rock are really looking for. So when Three burst onto the scene a few years back and was, really, the first band to do something new and interesting with progressive rock since the mid-90s, they began getting some well-deserved attention.